by MD Maurice
Reflections and ruminations from a modern day Alice - Life is Wonderland
Reflections and ruminations from a modern day Alice - Life is Wonderland
Welcome to the place were I chronicle my own falls down dark holes and adventures chasing white rabbits! Come on In, Take a Bite, You Never Know What You May Find...
"Curiouser and curiouser." Alice in Wonderland
|"Blogging Circle of Friends "
Day 2524 October 17, 2019
Do you share your real self online? Or have you created a fake online persona (pen name) for your writing? What is the value in using a fake persona for your work?
I have been writing and publishing under MD Maurice for as long as I can remember. It isn't necessarily a fake pen name, it is actually my maiden name and my initials. Using my initials served a dual purpose...it was first and foremost a nod to some of my favorite authors; DH Lawrence and CS Lewis. I also enjoyed the sexual anonymity by not using my obviously feminine first name. I found that particularly handy when I started publishing some of my erotic and horror pieces. I like that is put me on a gender neutral playing field to start off.
As far as sharing my real self online...I would say nothing exposes me more than blogging. It is difficult to hit "publish" sometimes because I have been too candid about one thing or another. It feels very vulnerable some times but I have to be authentic in my writing or else what is the point? I feel readers are owed at least that much if they are taking the time to read my work. It has to be personal. It has to be real. Even in my fictional pieces, there is always so much more of "me" in my characters than I might normally be comfortable with but that is just how I've always written.
"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 2024 October 17, 2019
Prompt: What books are on your winter reading list?
I would like to think I have the actual time for a winter reading list...sincerely. That sounds like a marvelous edition to my life. The reality is, if I have free time to myself, I'm usually grocery shopping or cleaning stalls and not reading or better yet, writing something. If the predictions of a snow-filled winter here in the Northeast ring true, I may just have some long snowed-in weekends of reading by the fire. If that happens, then I can think of a few titles I'd hit up first...
I'd tackle the latest James Lee Burke novels about his chief character, Dave Robicheaux. In 2018 he published, "Robicheaux" and then "The New Iberia Blues" in 2019. I love this character and the beautifully visual world Burke paints as only a master can. I start in on one of his novels and always feel as if I am warmly welcomed back in to a place I have been away from for far too long.
Then, because I can't think of more fitting polar opposite, I think I'd like to take on Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" or "Good Omens". I've become a fan of his style, he's made the sy-fy genre somehow more appealing and accessible to me with his dark visions and wry humor.
I'd love to read Stephen King's latest, "The Institute" as well. I'm more a fan of King's early work but I did enjoy "Dr. Sleep" - and its obvious connections to his wonderful book, "The Shining".
Lastly, and this I actually intend to do this winter, I'd like to read Lewis Carroll's classic, Alice in Wonderland. I'm not completely sure I've ever read the original. I need to do that both for the sheer enjoyment as well as to build some groundwork for a piece of fan fiction I am working on.
|The love we do not intend is sometimes the love that saves us. This phrase popped into my head as I was clearing out my emails and contemplating writing for one of the many prompts littering my inbox. These days my muse is a bit of a fickle bitch, so the fact that these words suddenly came to me wasn't something I felt I should ignore. A writer who is not actively writing needs to pay extra attention to such divine inspirations after all!
In many ways, as I think about it, this statement is one of my great truths. I might not have intended to fall in love with my future husband, but I did. At that time in my life, I can honestly say that it was the love that saved me. My heart and faith had been mortally wounded, dealt a death blow by back to back relationships that wore me down and left me feeling desolate. Then, unexpectedly and when I wasn't even looking, he entered stage left and restored my hope. In many ways I felt "saved" from taking up a permanent residence in all my familiar dark places.
Lately, there has been another unintended love that has supported that statement.
Recently various cosmic forces, and one determined little sister, combined to result in us getting a horse for our budding equestrian of a daughter. Roo is 12 year old, sorrel and white painted graded quarter horse that stands about 15.2 hands high. He has a sweet disposition and will certainly be able to grow with my daughter, they are about the same "age" experience-wise overall. When the opportunity presented itself, I knew relatively nothing about horsemanship. I was just starting to get the hang of being a horse-mom though, toting her gear and fetching her tack and using all the right jargon. I enjoyed our times at the barn, her weekly riding lesson was something I had grown to love and look forward too with the same enthusiasm as my daughter. Admittedly though, I hadn't considered ever owning a horse of our own despite the lure of empty and available stalls at my sister's recently purchased horse farm.
Yet, the opportunity arrived. I told myself I would be practical. I told myself that while it might be inevitable given my sister's agenda, it didn't need to be now and it didn't need to be this horse. Then, of course, it happened. My daughter fell in love with Roo. Unexpectedly however, so did I... the very first instant he nuzzled my shoulder with his big head and turned those big brown eyes in my direction.
For the first time in my life, I came to understand my sister's connection to the animals that had always been part of her life. There is something soulful about horses, some primitive connection that resides in human beings, brought to life by soft nickering and their sweet, grass-scented breath. There is something powerful about an animal who can so easily dominate you but is simultaneously so willing to please you.
Roo will always be my daughter's horse. She is very blessed and lucky to have him. He will be a good companion, they will make a good team. He is also however, the second unintended love in my life. He has, in many ways, saved me...albeit in a smaller and more humble way than my husband's love once did. Roo has become the balm on an irritating day and the stream of sudden sunshine on a cloudy one. He is the inspiration to spending time with my daughter and my sister, doing chores or training. These are hours passed simply and without thought or anxiety, stress or strain. Roo inspires me to think outside my rigid boxes and harness my bravery when I feel out of my depth. Roo provides the unique opportunity to see my daughter developing confidence and responsibility because challenges her to believe in herself, to push herself and to aspire to be stronger.
I tried to explain it all recently to my husband, who to be fair, has not fallen in love with Roo or the idea of having this new 900 lb family member to care for. After a long-winded explanation, I simply ended with, "he makes me happy." And, honestly, that is really just it. Whenever we walk up on his paddock and he flicks his ears and turns in our direction, the worries and concerns of the day just disappear. When I watch my daughter plant kisses on his soft white nose, I feel grateful and blessed. My heart is happy for her, and for him to know that boundless, unconditional love of a child. My heart is joyful to watch him run, moving with such freedom and grace but also to see him working, seeking that shared conversation his rider. Whenever I take a moment out of grooming him to step in close and lay my head against his neck, breathing in the smell of him, I am content and happy in this simple moment of shared affection. I can see my reflection in Roo's big brown eyes and I find a special peace.
These days, when the crush of daily life and the pressure of life gets to me, that special peace is what saves me; from rage, from discouragement, from doubt, from the rut of routine. Roo reminds me that my life isn't just about work and bills and responsibilities, but also about things that bring me joy. Roo is about taking the moments to find happiness and peace in my life - even if I find them in the most unexpected places.
|"Blogging Circle of Friends "
DAY 2462 August 16, 2019
Finish this sentence: Life is too short to…
Life is too short to waste time thinking about the people who do not care about you.
Over the last several months I have had this very same conversation with myself so many times it feels like I've adopted a new mantra. Truth is, I need the reminder because I sense myself still hurting, still grieving the losses of individuals whom do not deserve the validation of that heartbroken feeling. I am always surprised to find the indifference can wound me and that cruel words can break my heart in the already brittle places they've previous damaged. One day I will stop caring, I think. One day, they will not matter. They will not be able to reach me. One day I will be immune from the sickness of still loving them.
"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
DAY 2065 August 16, 2019
Do you still keep a personal journal? How is it different from your blog, or are the two connected in some way?
I have never possessed the discipline to keep a diary or daily journal. I have always just written when the need for it hit me but after becoming an adult and a parent, I always struggled with finding the time for that. Blogging became my way to try to regiment time to work on the craft. I hoped that by building in an obligation for myself, that I would put some effort into developing the discipline I would need to become a bonified author one day. Instead I found blogging to me more about me, literally. It has become sort of really cheap therapy, an outlet for me to create my own space in the world. Truth is, I doubt anyone even reads my blog but it feels good to put it out there all the same. I mean, it sometimes feels terrifying, but I think that is good for me.
|The knowledge that I haven't actually written anything all summer long, looms like a shadow over me. I suspect my absence from the world of electronic testimony isn't solely due to a lack of free time. I suspect it also may stem from fearing what would come out if I flung open my personal "Pandora's box", releasing words and sentiments that might be too toxic or too dark to process properly in a single blog entry. While I have experienced great moments of joy in the last few months, I have also had my share of doubt, rage, disillusion and disappointments...and given my predication of writing without self-censorship or apology...I thought it best to abstain until I had a better perspective overall. Or, and this is probably the most true reason, the drive to write something became as unbearable to ignore as my worry of offending some people with what I had to say.
This summer has provided many opportunities to discover things about myself and about the people in my life and its given me a lot of unexpected highs and, unfortunately some pretty big fucking lows too. I have felt uncharacteristically isolated and lonely, but have also found incredible joy and comfort in the re-discovery of old friendships. I have felt the support and connection to some family, but also battled with rejection and abandonment from others. It has been a summer of a hard learning curve, one that has often brought me stress and frustration, but also given me brilliant moments of feeling accomplished and refreshed. At times I have felt both like the Phoenix, as well as the smoldering pile of ash.
This morning, as I let the dogs out, I felt the promise of Autumn in the cool predawn air. I felt myself beginning to write in my head, found my mind going through the mental dancing of matching phrasing to feeling. I'd held the words at bay to long and now they were coming, rushing forward like the end of summer. So, here I sit, wondering where to I should begin to start catching myself up.
I supposed I should start with what is at the surface, the arsenal I have at the ready. As it frequently tends to be, the top emotion in my mental totem these days is frustration. I am frustrated with my middle-aged body and its inability to do the things I ask it too. I am often too tired, too sweaty, too unmotivated to do once of those HITT workouts that I so desperately need. I am frustrated by my 22+ year career which seems to be going exactly nowhere very quickly. I am frustrated by my limitations and even more so, the doubts I have about being a good mom, a better wife.
My level of frustration these days is matched only by my anger. I think I give in to rage more than I should. I think some days I get up and put on a "rage coat", and it feels too heavy for my personal climate. I know I should shuck the rage, toss it off and enjoy life more but some days it feels like its in my bloodstream, coursing beneath my skin, leaving me hot and fevered. I find inspiration in anger. I have written so many letters this summer in fits of rage. They are beautifully rabid works, overflowing with toxic righteousness and resilience. I sometimes love the "enraged and wounded" version of me best, as she writes with a firestarter vengeance that both scares and excites me. I haven't sent those letters. As angry as I have been, I haven't decided to torch all my lost cities to the ground yet.
It hasn't been all been about anger and frustration this summer though. I've reached really far outside my comfort zones and felt rewarded for the effort. I shed an old role or two and taken on some new responsibilities. In a decision that some still consider highly controversial, I became a horse owner. I am discovering, rather simultaneously, that I know next to nothing about owning a horse and also that owning a horse has gifted me with such unexpected peace and joy. It is a wonderfully perplexing dichotomy.
It is hard, so hard, to learn the basics about something so foreign to me. I struggle, a lot. I'm terrified more often than I care admit to myself. I sometimes laugh out loud about how clueless I am...but I also have those moments when I do something right on my own for the first time and I feel like a total rock star. Truth is, I love how hard I have to work at it and when I feel like I've learned something, the sense of accomplishment is something my life has been sorely missing for a long time. The truth is that while we got Roo for my daughter, our painted pony has captured so much of my own heart too. The time I spend with Roo and my daughter is like balm on all my sad and wounded places. I imagine in many ways, he will become a special kind of muse for me in the years to come.
Lastly, for I'm nearly the end of my blogging time allotment today, joy has also been a consistent feature of this summer. Watching my daughter blossom into a fierce and funny beauty under the blue skies and sunshine, has been my greatest blessing. She is coming into herself in delightful ways from making new friends at camps to discovering her own tastes and styles. She has shunned dresses and headbands in favor of shorts and anything sporty. She loathes anything pink. She frequently hijacks my playlist to blast Queen or Imagine Dragons and spends her free time face-timing her friends and snuggling with her dog. My daughter still holds my hand, still wants to fall asleep between her father and I whenever we allow it, and doesn't pull away when I reach to hug her or mess with her hair. She believes in "armless" hugs for everyone but Gramma Boop and her Dad but most of time still manages to remember her manners in most situations. In her long legs and sea green eyes , I get hints of the astoundingly beautiful of a woman she will be one day. In her boundless laugh and quirky smile, I see the fun and lively teenager she will soon become. I am, as I have been since her birth, incredibly amazed by all that she is and all I know she will do in this life.
There have been many times this summer that I have wandered out onto the back deck and watched my husband mowing the lush green yard. His legs are wrapped around his tractor and he looks lost in his task and in the music in his headphones. He looks like a man in his element and watching him, I've felt wonderfully blessed with him and with our home. I have sat in the twilight of a July evening and watched the bats flying circuits among the high, swaying trees, and felt humbled and grateful in my soul. I have walked the acres of my sister's farm as the sun was setting, felt its retreating warmth on my back, listened to her donkey braying for his dinner and thought to myself....how life could be so simply and so perfectly beautiful in some moments.
|30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 30th
Congratulations on making it to the last day of the competition! What was your favorite prompt from the last month? What was the most rewarding aspect of participating in the competition?
“The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
This has been a challenge on several levels for me this month but I am feeling accomplished to have address every prompt in some way this month. Some of them were a bit late, some of them were a bit short but I did them all in my own way and did not manage to skip even one of them! That feels like an achievement to me for sure this time around. I found that committing myself to this month and this community was the most rewarding aspect of this challenging. On the days it proved to be more than I was ready for, I found reading the blogs of my fellow bloggers always inspired me to stick too it. I like that sense of community a lot. I found I looked forward to reading other's entries as much as I looked forward to crafting my own sometimes.
My favorite prompt this month was: PROMPT May 15th, Share an instance when something blew your mind. It inspired me to get lost in a sweet memory about my daughter. I brought a smile to my face on a day when I really needed a little sunshine in my life. I was touched by the comments from my fellow bloggers as well. I made me happy to know my words had impacted others even in a small, subtle way.
As much dedication as this challenge has taken to see it through, I'm sad to see it finish. I will miss signing on to see the prompts and of course, to reading everyone's take on them. Best of luck to my fellow bloggers!
|30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 29th
I need help building the stock of prompts in the Challenge War Chest! Write four prompts of your own and then choose one to write your entry on
Okay, here are some prompts:
1.What is your favorite quote, who said it and what does it mean to you?
2. Genre Play - Pick your favorite genre and do a re-write of a classic fairytale like Three Little Pigs or Goldilocks & The three Bears in that genre.
3. Tell us your best ghost story, make us believe it!
4. Weather Patterns - Write a poem or story where weather (any kind) is prominently featured.
I would love to write something today, but I am feeling lost between raging allergies and violent coughing spasms that leave me feeling drained. My brain just feels fuzzy and while I have managed to write every prompt this round, today it just feels beyond my abilities. I hope at least my prompts are helpful, I feel like today 50% of the prompt is the best I can manage. Looking forward to reading everyone else's responses though!
|30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 28th
On this last Talk Tuesday of May, let’s talk about bias. How do your own biases influence your life? Is it possible to ever be truly objective?
I've spent the morning catching up on the three prompts I missed this weekend and now my brain feels a little like mush. I have to really take a minute here and think about biases...what ones I may have, of those of others that affect my life. I can think of more examples of the latter that effect my life lately for sure.
First and foremost, many people in this country are biased against Muslims. I feel that bias pretty acutely because my husband is Muslim. He is pretty lapse but still goes to mosque on the holy days and still refrains from eating pork. I find myself always worrying over his safety when he goes to pray. Recently, a mosque he has frequented in the past suffered a fire they believe was intentionally set. It saddens me because I've attended that mosque with him on holidays. Despite being a non-Muslim visitor, I was welcomed in so warmly. They wanted me to feel that this was my space as much as theirs and everyone had an encouraging smile and kind word. I know that many people, even those close to me, have a different view of Muslims but I have only know them as loving, peaceful and welcoming. I fear for my daughter, that she may face those same biases one day should she choose the path of her father's faith one day. I fear very much what her world will look like then.
Political biases shape much of our world these days. While I try to keep my personal politics close to my heart, I still feel the pressure of a world drawn on taught lines. I feel sometimes that I am judged on the basis of what I am perceived to be, and as a result, I am grouped onto one category or another. There is a mother at my daughter's school who has formed an opinion about who she believes I am, and as much as I am tempted to set her straight, I can't bring myself to invite the confrontation. Is it even worth it? Sticks and stones...right?
As far as my own biases...gosh I have a few of those. I'm ashamed to admit it but I do have some preconceived notions and biases that I can feel working against my better judgement sometimes. I try very hard to push past then though. I do believe we can reach a place where we can be objective, at least in a specific space and time.
|30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 27th
Today is Memorial Day here in the US, a federal holiday for remembering and honoring persons who have died while serving in the Armed Forces. How do you honor those who have passed (whether they served in the military or not)?
I always try to thank a service man or women when I see them out in public, especially those older gentlemen you see wearing the hats that say Korean War vet or WWII veteran. I want my daughter to see my example and learn to be thankful for those who served and continue to. We have started a tradition of making cards for soldiers at Christmas. She knows that we always give money to the veterans selling the little red poppies outside the super market. She understands the significance of that small red flower.
When she is a bit older, I will take her to Washington D.C. and we will visit the tomb of the fallen soldier and the great wall of names of all of those who have died in service to her country. I think those are such important lessons to impart on the youth of today, especially as an entire generation of warriors and heroes are passing on, leaving only their stories as evidence of their valor. It is our responsibility to make sure their sacrifices are not forgotten.
|30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 26th
Share an instance in your life when you would have liked a do-over.
As a rule, I do not contemplate "do-overs" in my life. It is a dangerous concept for someone like me, someone who spent so many years trying to "fix" someone only to have it all come to nothing. I spent five years of my life with an alcoholic whom I loved madly but must have known, deep down in my core, that I could not save him. Regardless I threw myself into his recovery with a determination and a passion he himself never possessed. I missed all the signs that he had given up until it was too late. He died in his mid-thirties, taking a large piece of me along with all the promises of marriage and a family with him. I'd give him those prime years of my life when I could have been getting married and starting a family. I traded those ripe years for pain and disappointments, betrayals and urine-colored hospital floors and acrid smells of blood and antiseptic.
If I had a do-over, would I even have handled it all differently? Would I have still fallen in love with my best friend? Wouldn't I have still tried everything to save him from himself? No, do-overs are not something I allow myself to contemplate ever. Instead I remind myself that all my choices, good and bad, brought me to where I am today and it is exactly where I am supposed to be. I met a wonderful man, got a second chance at love and discovered the amazing gift that is motherhood. Life has brought me blessings, three times over any pain and heartache I have been forced to bear.