My blog written for Welcome To My Reality.
|This is my blog written for "Welcome To My Reality Forum" .|
|This is a blog entry in response to the Community Newsfeed challenge, "Note:
48-HOUR CHALLENGE : Media Prompt
This song seems like it was written for me in this time of my life, now that I really sat down to analyze the lyrics. They reference "I've been losing sleep" in the song, and I have battled insomnia and hypersomnia for years. Lately the insomnia has been so bad and my mom has noted that my sleep/wake cycle is completely shifted to where it's 6-12 hours behind everyone else's that I went online to see if anybody else had been experiencing this too. The first link I went to in the results was a jackpot, because the author of the article I chose talked about how he has Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, which is basically when your body's internal clock, or circadian rhythms, are running on a day that's longer than 24 hours, like it can be 25 hours or even 30 hours, which makes it harder and harder to fall asleep at the same time every night because your body instinctually wants to stay awake longer to complete the longer day. That then leads to huge problems in the morning because if you can't actually fall asleep until around 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. and then you have to get up at 8:00, it's really hard to function on only 4-5 hours of sleep, especially when you've already accumulated a lot of sleep debt. So the author's solution in the article was light therapy. It seems simple enough but I bought a light therapy device that comes with a timer, and he advised to do it every morning for 30 minutes, and after a week you should be back on track with a normal sleep/wake cycle, and then 15 minutes every morning thereafter for maintenance. I've used it 5 days so far and it's getting better and I'm definitely way more awake after the light therapy! I eat breakfast and check my email while I'm sitting in front of the device. I'm so thrilled that I finally found a solution to a problem that's been plaguing me for the last 20 years.
OneRepublic also references in the song that they'll be "counting stars" instead of counting dollars from now on. I saw those lyrics as very symbolic, but their meaning was clear to me. The world lately has been to commercial, too capitalist, and I feel like we're living in Ancient Rome again with the bread and circuses. The masses are being controlled by major mind control (by the government) and if you don't think that's true, as anybody some basic history trivia and watch their faces go blank, but ask them which show Snookie was on and they won't hesitate to tell you the answer! It's mind control at its finest. So instead of counting dollars which is what the higher ups want us to do, we should be focused on counting stars, which to me refers to the major shift in consciousness that is currently underway. A year and a half ago I found out I am an empathy and so much has made sense to me after that realization, but it's also very difficult to live with my abilities because I have to learn how to control them to not soak up people's negative energy all the time. We are entering the age of the psychic where a lot of people are awakening to their inherent capabilities, and the more we embrace it, the more advanced we will be. I could analyze every line of the song but that would create an essay instead of a blog post so I'll leave it at that for now. Thanks for reading!
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|Written for "Welcome To My Reality Forum"
1. What do you like best about Halloween?
I love the ancient symbolism of Halloween, how it's the night where the veil between the two worlds is the thinnest. It harks back to the ancient pagans all over the world, but the ones I identify with are the Celtics, and Mexicans who celebrate Día de los Muertos, because my grandma is Mexican. I have always seen it as way more than a night where kids wear costumes and go begging for candy at strange people's houses. I think maybe the whole trick-or-treating thing has been a government-sponsored commercialized holiday to take the masses' attention away from the true meaning of the holiday and keep them in apathetic ignorance. However, those in the know, know that All Saints' Day doesn't fall so close after Halloween by coincidence. Samhain is October 31st. It's actually a beautiful holiday. There's nothing evil or scary about death. Like they say, the only things sure in life are death and taxes. If death is such a certainty, why be afraid of it? Why stigmatize it? Why stigmatize getting older and getting wrinkles and gray hair? Man, when I'm an 80-year-old woman I'm gonna rock my gray hair like nobody's business. But yeah, back to Halloween, it's the actual meaning behind the holiday part that I enjoy.
|Week 26, prompt 7 - "Welcome To My Reality Forum" - "It's been six months since you set your New Year's resolutions (if you set any). How are you progressing? Are you on track? What, if anything, do you need to do differently to achieve your goals for the year?"
I made some unofficial New Year’s resolutions back in December. They were to quit smoking and lose weight. Well, quitting smoking was a bust. I’ve tried and tried and can’t seem to get past the first couple of hours of not smoking without breaking down and running to the gas station to buy a pack. Losing weight took me some time, but I finally just started Weight Watchers on June 7th, and it’s been going great so far. In my first week I lost 7.4 pounds, which is roughly 3.3 kilos. I was ecstatic about that. I’m in my second week with my weigh-in date tomorrow morning. The meetings are Saturday mornings, so I have to get up early to go to them. I believe they’re at 8:00 if I remember correctly.
A new goal I set for myself is to write every day. I just set that goal on June 7th as well when I signed up for Give It 100! My Give It 100 goals are to do Weight Watchers every day and write something every day for 100 days, whether it be a review, a blog post, or work on a poem or short story. I’ve done great so far with that except that I took off Monday through Thursday of this week from writing because it was the week from hell as far as work is concerned, plus I went to my university’s transfer student orientation on Tuesday which took all day long, 8:00-4:30, so I couldn’t work much that day or get any writing done like I would’ve liked to. But I’m back at it now because I don’t have to work until Monday of next week. The days I have written, I’ve been working on various things; my blog, reviews, and haiku poems. A random free verse or form poem may be thrown in there, and I’ve written two short stories since the start of the I Write challenge, but I don’t write too much fiction. I feel like I’ll run out of ideas and that scares me, so I give them time to marinate when I come up with an idea. Poetry however is like an endless flow of ideas, a running river. I like that; at least that well never dries up.
|Week 26, prompt 6 - "Welcome To My Reality Forum" - "Tell us about the books you've read this year. Do you change genres very often? How long does it take you to read a book? Is reading a chore or a last resort against boredom, or is it a much loved and anticipated part of your day?"
The books I’ve read this year so far range from non-fiction to trashy fiction, I’m sorry to say. I read a couple of handbooks on classroom management for high school teachers, which took me two days, and they were loaded with tons of helpful tips for new teachers and how to manage the classroom and the students when just starting out. That’ll definitely come in handy when I go for my student teaching internship, because I don’t want to go in there cold turkey with no experience or any knowledge on what I’m doing there. I do have classroom and teaching experience, though. I was an after-school program tutor/teacher for elementary school students, with the grades ranging from K-6. Kindergarteners were the worst, and I hated teaching them. I liked the older students much better. They were more focused and disciplined and knew what they were doing and confident with it. I have all the patience in the world when it comes to students, but the younger ones were definitely difficult, more so than the others. I also did an internship at a high school in a French class (that’s my major, and I intend on teaching high school French) but the master teacher at that high school didn’t let me interact with the students much. It was more of an observation type situation, which was boring as hell.
Another book I read and I’m ashamed to admit it is Fifty Shades of Grey, which took me a couple of weeks, and I'll tell you why. I originally read it because I’ve heard a lot of hype about it and wanted to see what the big deal was. Well, the big deal was really that there was a cheesy sex scene every other page, I kid you not. I was getting so tired of reading poorly-written erotica that when I finally finished the novel, it was a relief. The story continues into a second and finally third book, and although I started the second one in hopes of finding something better there, I was disappointed in the plot line and simply gave up. I like erotica, don’t get me wrong, but raunchy erotica that’s written by somebody who doesn’t know what they’re doing is not my cup of tea. Reading any book by a poor writer is just painful. I’m ashamed to admit this as well, but a few years ago I read the entire Twilight saga, all 4 books. I originally watched the first movie first, and when I found out there were books, I had to read them. Little did I know that it would be so ridiculous, reading 400 pages of complete fluff and fillers. I kept waiting for that “moment” to happen in each novel but it never came, which was a huge letdown. I can’t stand published authors who take 300-400 pages to tell a frickin story. Be concise, for the love of God. Be a wordsmith and get to the point sooner rather than later. The only novel I’ve read over 300 pages that I didn’t think was fluff was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned. That book was amazing, and gripped me from beginning to end. 50 Shades and Twilight, however, leave much to be desired. Tsk tsk.
|Week 26, prompt 4 - "Welcome To My Reality Forum" - "Tell us about a time you won something. A raffle, a contest. It doesn't have to be WDC-related, and you can tell us about more than one."
I just recently submitted a poem to the contest Shadows and Light Poetry Contest. It was a dark, death-themed poem, and I didn’t write it with the intention of submitting it to a contest; I was just writing for the sake of writing it. I got the idea for it because I was inspired by the band Little Big Town’s song Tornado. The lyrics go something like “I’m a tornado…” etc. That’s the chorus. So I liked the descriptions of it and then conceived of the idea for my poem Inevitable, which focused mainly on violent acts of nature that could kill people. One of my darker poems for sure.
I’m participating in Giselle’s I Write In June-July-August, and so I counted this poem as one of my weekly entries. I got many reviews for it, 14 I think, and pretty good comments and ratings with good helpful tips on how to improve. I followed most of the advice, and did my final edits before submitting it to the contest. When I initially posted it to my port, I wanted a cover image as well as an embedded image in the body. I mention Thanatos in the poem, and so I did a Google Images search for “angel of death”. I came up with some great images, a dark hooded figure wearing a long flowing black cloak and carrying a scythe, so I chose two of them. I just recently figured out how to resize images in my Microsoft Picture Manager program on my computer, so I had to resize the images to make them at the most 400x400 to fit the WDC image size requirements. After finding 5 images I liked, I had my mom help me pick out which two were the best. We agreed on the best two, so I resized them and put them in my poem. I’m very pleased with the pictures, as well as the actual layout of the poem. It’s a visual poem as well, with the first stanza being left aligned, the second being centered, the third being right aligned, the fourth being centered and so on. I wanted the poem to look like an actual tornado since the first stanza was written about a tornado. I received good comments for the most part regarding the actual formatting, with some criticisms, but I think they just didn’t understand why I made it look like that. Oh well. The poem ended up winning 2nd place in Shadows and Light, so I guess I did an overall good job. I got a beautiful exclusive Shadows and Light merit badge, and a gorgeous black 25k awardicon. Needless to say I was thrilled!
|Week 26, prompt 3 - "Welcome To My Reality Forum" - "What's the best gift you've ever given, and the best you've ever received? Think of actual gifts for birthdays, special occasions, etc."
I don’t really remember any special gifts I’ve given people because I’ve been broke for so long as an adult that I generally don’t give gifts, not even for birthdays, Christmas, etc. If I can mention a non-holiday, I’ll say the best gift I gave someone was for a homeless man. He was outside of a mall at the Rubio’s restaurant across the way, and was basically asking people for spare change. I asked him if he had eaten lunch already and when he said no, I invited him in with me to buy him a lunch, a burrito or something like that. We ate together and talked, and he told me about himself. He had a good job before but lost it and then eventually lost his house, and sometimes stayed with his sister but she wasn’t very nice so she didn’t let him stay with her all the time. He slept outside most nights because he got kicked out of the homeless shelter for fighting, even though it was another guy who instigated the scuffle. So he’s banned from the shelter. After eating lunch, I asked him if he had a jacket. I could tell he didn’t because all he had on him was a t-shirt, jeans, shoes, and he was carrying multiple bags with plastic bottles to take to the recycling center. He didn’t bring the bags into the restaurant when we ate; rather he left them by the dumpster. So when he said he didn’t have a jacket, I took him into the mall and bought him a sweat jacket from Sears if I recall correctly. He was so thankful and grateful, and it was really nothing because it only cost about $20 because it was on sale. But I knew he was cold at night because even though it was summer (last summer) it got pretty chilly at night. He said he mostly slept in the back yards of foreclosed homes where the people had moved out already. It was so sad listening to his story, so I tried my best to do what I could in the moment.
The best gift I’ve received was a surprise party for my 18th birthday. My mom set it up, and she got hold of my best friend’s phone number somehow, then got to invite my other friends from my high school. I went to an all-girls Catholic college preparatory high school in Oakland, CA. I had many more friends there than I did in the trashy, rundown public high school I previously went to for freshman and sophomore year. Transferring to that school was the best thing I ever did during my high school academic career. So the party was a complete surprise; I thought I was just going to a Chinese restaurant with my mom and her boyfriend at the time. When we got there, the sever led us to the banquet room in the back and ta-da! Most of my family and several school friends were there. Even my childhood best friend who was already in college was there, and we hadn’t seen each other in a while since we weren’t in school together anymore. That was the best surprise and gift I’ve ever received. I was so touched I think I cried a little. I’ll never forget it.
|Week 26, Prompt 1 - "Welcome To My Reality Forum" - "What's your pet peeve? What thing really annoys you but doesn't annoy most other people?"
One of my greatest pet peeves is the sound of someone chewing something crunchy. It may sound ridiculous or futile, but I’d rather hear nails on a chalkboard than hear someone eating and crunching. My uncle Ben is the same way, but even worse. He can’t stand to eat with my grandpa because my grandpa is so loud when he eats. Now I’m not that bad; I only can’t stand the sound of someone eating when I’m not eating as well. If I’m sitting on the couch and someone comes in to have a meal (and I’ve already eaten) and they’re eating chips or croutons or eating cereal, anything like that, it drives me nuts. When I lived with my uncle Ben a while ago, he was watching TV one night and I went into the kitchen and made a bowl of cereal. Well he didn’t tell me then, but apparently the crunching sound of my cereal made his skin crawl and he complained to my mom!
Another pet peeve of mine is when I’m watching TV and my mom decides to file her fingernails. She’s watching TV with me, but the sound of her filing her nails is just awful. I can’t say anything to her without seeming rude and she wouldn’t stop anyways, so that’s a moot point. Sometimes I’ll be eating and she’ll file her nails and I think that’s just gross. Whenever I file my own nails, I’m always in the privacy of my own room and it’s only after I’ve clipped them so that my nails don’t snag on my clothes.
Yeah, eating crunchy food and filing one’s nails definitely set my teeth on edge.
|Week 25, prompt 7 - "Welcome To My Reality Forum"
When my muse has fled and I have no more fresh ideas for anything, be it poetry or fiction for a short story or flash fiction, I have many options to choose from for what to do. If I really have the writing bug and want to write no matter what, if it's poetry, I'll look at my surroundings and see if there's something in nature or in real life I can write about. There's definitely always something to write about, it's simply that we as writers have to find what that is in that moment. My haiku poems of course have to be about nature, so I usually go outside in the back yard and sit at the table with the umbrella and have a cigarette and look around me. I'll find inspiration in the hummingbirds that come to our feeder, or our resident blue jay who eats apricots that have fallen from the neighbor's tree into our yard, or the (former) wasp hive growing underneath the table's umbrella (a friend got rid of it thank heavens) or my own dogs, Hogan, Rocky and Gypsy who bark at anything and everything, and who also like to chase Blue, our blue jay. If I'm not writing haiku but need to write some other poem, usually I'll force myself to choose which type of poetry it'll be; traditional (form) or free verse. That'll usually get the wheels turning and then I'll choose a topic to write about, and then it's just about putting my pen to paper and writing the words out (I only ever write poetry by hand; I put it on my laptop after I've handwritten it in my poetry notebook first).
Fiction is another animal. I've generally been writing for contests lately, which I find helps me out a great deal because if there are prompts to follow, that narrows the scope of what I'm going to write. If I'm stuck with no ideas, save for the prompt, I'll think of all my favorite stories and TV shows and movies and reflect on the plots that I liked, and why I liked them. Then I'll take one tiny plot point from here and there, make up a couple of my own to fit that story, and voila! I just have created the backbone to a story. The characters pretty much create themselves when I've come up with my plot, but the names never do. I most often use name generators like Seventh Sanctum if I'm writing fantasy, or name databases if I'm writing a historical piece. Usually finding the right names adds some certain personality traits that I've just created in my head, so it's very important to me to choose the right names. I like Seventh Sanctum because it also creates names for places and organizations and kingdoms, etc. Very cool.
I have two different ways of approaching a story. I've either conceived the idea for the entire story beforehand, mapped it out and got some of the details planned before I start writing. That's what I do when my muse is with me (and she's a Greek goddess-like muse by the way ). When she's not with me, I resort to flying by the seat of my pants and coming up with all the details and plot points of my story on the fly as I write it. That's a little riskier for me because if I don't plan things well, they can go awry very quickly. Sometimes, though, it works like magic and the characters write the story for me; I'm just their channel by which they're telling their tale.
I enjoy writing stories in both formats equally, and I toggle back and forth with each new one I write. I'm curious as to know how others write their fiction. Do you plan it all out ahead of time (like the perfectionists I know you are because I am too) or do you just go with the flow and let the story tell itself?
|Week 25, Prompt 3
About a year ago I happened upon the website Seventh Sanctum. It's a name generator with every type of name you can imagine: witches, vampires, pirates, sci-fi, Greek names, evil names, organization names, place names, etc. It helps me when I'm stuck and don't know what to name my coven or one of my characters if I'm writing fantasy.
A couple years ago I was writing my historical fantasy story about vampires in Italy in the 1300s during the bubonic plague (the Black Death) and I wanted authentic sounding Italian names for everyone. So I found a website that claims to have data taken from the Dark Ages of names of men and women, and how prominent the names were. I'm fond of unusual names so I searched what sounded good and came up with a medieval name for every last one of my characters for that story. That story has to be my favorite as far as name choosing goes. It's not posted in my port because it needs a lot of work and it was sort of novel length but I'm thinking of shortening it to a novella. We'll see.
If you're interested in Seventh Sanctum (which I highly recommend): http://www.seventhsanctum.com/
|Week 25, Prompt 6 for "Welcome To My Reality Forum"
This is my beautiful, 4-year-old all-black German Shepherd. His name is Hogan. He is so loving but I'd be afraid to see what he could do if a burglar broke into the house! He's incredibly loyal but so high strung and high energy. He learns tricks at the drop of a hat and is eager to learn more (that's why German Shepherds are police dogs; they're too smart!).
He's also a sun-worshipper and a water dog. On a sizzling hot day of 100 degrees you'll find him lying in the grass under the hot sun while I'm under the umbrella of the table. When I set up the kiddie pool for him, he got in and splashed around, then laid down in the pool! He's so funny, he has a unique personality.
One of his favorite pastimes is to fight with the neighbor's dog Henry through the fence. They bark and scratch at the fence wishing to get to each other, and Hogan eggs Henry on. He lives to antagonize Henry I love that sweet boy, and he loves me too.
|Week 25, Prompt 1 for "Welcome To My Reality Forum"
A little while ago my friend bumfuzzled posted a poem in his newsfeed and I read it and instantly fell in love with it. I asked him if it's in his port and he said it wasn't before but after my comment, he did post it in his port, so I went and gave it a review. The reason I liked it is because it reminded me a little bit of my own poem that I just wrote a couple days ago, and the topic is also death, or death incarnated. But bumfuzzled's poem took a different approach in that death was represented by the Grim Reaper, possibly in human form. My poem has death represented by violent acts of nature, but it's narrated by Thanatos, so that's where I saw the similarities. We both mentioned a black rose which I thought was incredible (great minds really do think alike! ) but the story that he told was quite eerie and had me on edge while reading it. If you're interested, his poem is "Invalid Item" . It's got beautiful diction, archaic language and tells a good, creepy story.
Another and equally memorable thing I read this week was the Rising Stars Gazette Vol. 2. I was featured in it for the Author Spotlight, the first time they did an Author Spotlight in fact and when Mandy e-mailed me to invite me to be featured I almost fell out of my chair with joy and feeling honored. I had to really think hard about my answers to the written interview, but I think I came up with some pretty good ones in the end. The Gazette in whole was fantastic, incredibly written with many talented editors and columnists, and I'm so happy that I'm part of the Rising Stars program as a sponsor to the immensely talented 💙 Carly - BLUE!!💙. She inspires me with all of the contests she enters and activities and challenges she does, so I'm trying to keep up with her So all in all the poem and the Gazette definitely made my week.
|For "Welcome To My Reality Forum" Prompt 2
I'm not usually messy, but for some reason I can't seem to keep my things out of the living room. My laptop is always on the couch if it isn't in my lap, and I have mini notepads and pens to take reviewing notes while reading short stories to keep track of the comments I want to make when sending my review. At the moment the book Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell is on my couch next to me. It's my main go-to book for writing good fiction.
I have been getting many reviews lately for my fiction with a lot of constructive criticism, things I know I should've done but failed to do, so I decided to break out my book and start studying again. I also have a large notebook where I keep my poems. I write my poetry by hand first; it's the only way I write it. Then I transfer it to my computer. But when I write fiction, it's only on the computer. I guess I like the old-fashioned feel of writing poetry with a pen and paper; it makes me feel like I'm from a different era (I was totally born in the wrong century). So I always have my things strewn about on my side of the couch until I tidy it up again, then it all goes back in my room.
I pity my mom for having to listen to all of my adventures on WDC; I read her my poems (she swears she's not good at understanding poetry) and she knows all about the system of MBs and awardicons, and community recognition in general because I've talked to her about it a million times that it's drilled into her head. She even said the other day that she wants to read one of my most recent reviews (she knows I use a template) and then she wants to see one of my earliest reviews from when I joined WDC. I don't know if my first review is still stored because I joined back in the summer of 2009, quite a while ago. I'm sure my reviews were terrible back then; I definitely didn't know then what I know now about writing both poetry and fiction, because although I've been writing both for so long, I only started studying both about 5 years ago. Studying writing has helped my work tremendously and I encourage everyone to pick up a book or two on writing fiction or writing poetry. It can only help you to improve.
Well, this was my first blog, and I hope I did well It's weird for me to write in this style, but I keep trying to tell myself that I'm writing an e-mail to a friend, and that keeps the ideas flowing. Happy Monday everyone! (Or Tuesday if you're not in the U.S.)