Hump Bear and Bleak Days

I wanted to kick about two unrelated topics with you this week. Both are of a personal nature. Neither one has anything to do with the other.

Here goes…

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Hump Bear

Hump Bear

Marble is our one male cat inside. You can read more about his past here. Being fixed, it would stand to reason that some of his desires no longer exist. At least, that’s been my logic. After all, if you don’t have the equipment to do the job, you aren’t going to be spending a whole lot of time think about that activity. Right?

Well, I guess Marble is different. He still spends time contemplating sexual activities despite having the surgery done. No wonder Miya and Nutty run from him all the time.

Back this last fall, the teddy bear husband bought me when we lived in Cookeville [one town west of us] ended up on the floor. Neither husband or I thought much of it at the time. It was dusty and I hadn’t thought about it sentimentally for years. After all, husband and I have a good relationship without the materialistic attachments.

Marble eyed it laying in the middle of the floor and decided to latch on to it. A-okay by me.

That’s how it started out, but I think he might have gotten too fond of it.

He’s been humping the silly thing.

At first, it was a sporadic occurrence. Then it became a daily activity. I would just shake my head as I walked by this spectacle. So I’ve got a strange cat. What else is knew? However, as of late, this cat is humping that poor bear several times each day. Does he need a therapist?

My poor little teddy bear has become Hump Bear.

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Bleak Days
Image provided by Stuart Anthony
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuant63/

Bleak Days

Most people around the globe peek at the weather, online, on TV, or in the newspaper. I consider it an obsession our society has had for a while. The same can probably be said about how we keep track of time too.

Here in the U.S., we’re having our cold months right now. In Tennessee, this time usually isn’t all that cold, though. Especially if you compare it to the northern states. The highs were reaching up into the fifties [Fahrenheit] until right before New Year’s Day. Yes, jacket weather but not cold enough to bring out the wool.

When the colder weather finally hit these mountains I live in, I felt a little apprehensive, although not about the temperature. I had been going through so melancholy and the thought of it turning into actual depression wasn’t something I wanted to deal with in any shape or form.

I started making plans that would, hopefully, keep the deep dark blues away. All this is, is preparing to do spring housecleaning in January. I’d forgo any intentions of getting serious writing done on my WiP in exchange for a clean house with a fresh clean springtime smell to it to chase away any depressing moods.

Believe it or not, this activity works for depression. At least it does for me. I remove everything from sight that reminds me of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Anything with black, rich orange, roasted brown, rich green, or rich red gets tucked away where I can’t see it.

I take a damp sponge to all of the walls, making sure I get the base boards. I spray Windex all over the windows, wiping them with a paper town. I deep polish wood furniture. I move furniture to vacuum and, with some pieces, rearrange so the rooms look a little different.

I even buy air freshener in one of the tea fragrances and spray the rooms afterward.

I made all these plans two days before New Year’s Day in preparation to ward off that nasty mood of despondency I thought sure would hit me January 2nd.

Although, it didn’t hit. It didn’t touch me. In fact, I don’t think it even put one foot in my yard outside. I woke up, greeted with a mood of smiles and wellbeing even though, looking out the window, it was clear that the days hadn’t changed. It was still gray and dismal out there.

As I waited for the coffee to brew, I gazed out onto the backyard, really not paying attention to anything that was out there because I was trying to figure out why I felt so good.

Did a giant-sized brick wall of gloom crumble for me in the middle of the night while I slumbered? Did I receive some divine wisdom that put all things right for me during one of those dreams I never remember?

Is it that the other shoe hasn’t dropped?

While I wait for the answers to these questions, I’m going to enjoy my days.

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How are your first days of the new year going?

“When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the center of every constellation, and people want to be near you.” ― Shannon L. Alder

 

Secretive Writing

Secretive Writing
Image provided by ohorella
https://www.flickr.com/photos/islandsoft/

Are you one of those writers who can write almost any place? You find it easy to get your muse going in a coffee shop, at the mall, or while riding the bus? I’m jealous. I’d be so distracted by my irrational suspicions of someone looking over my shoulder.

I didn’t have this qualm when I was younger. During my school years, I usually sat in the first row not giving any thought to what the kid behind me was doing. When I was in my twenties, there were occasions where I’d plop my butt down at McDonald’s with a Coke and write for an hour or two in a personal journal, never thinking someone might see what I’m writing.

Now I find it hard to write when my husband is at home, even if he’s in a different room. Where did all of this covertness come from? Have I gotten more insecure in my old age? Or could it be I’ve gotten more stubborn about what I want–quiet? Or is it that I can’t get to that space where I’m ultimately comfortable writing? In truth, I think it’s a little of all.

It used to be my physical challenges were just that, challenges. As the years have gone by, these struggles have gotten a bit more severe making me apprehensive in more situations. Sure, there’s usually a kind person about whose willing to help me out, but I’m an independent soul, always have been. Me asking for help is like you asking someone to break your arm are for you. The thought of not being self-efficient is a pill I’m having problems swallowing. So instead of taking the risk of needing help at the local McDonald’s or coffee shop, I do all my writing at home where I know I can maneuver under my own power without assistance.

Well, that explains a little bit, but still, this need for solitude still gnaws at me.

I want my writing to be my own. I don’t want suggestions about what my story should be about. This isn’t to say I don’t want selected people to tell me where they think I’m flubbing up, although, as I stated, these people are ones I select. They’re special to me because I respect and trust their knowledge, opinions, and intentions. So far, there are only two people I feel this way about. If I ever get past a second draft, I’ll be calling on these two for critiques. Until then I’m held fast in keeping my “baby” with me.

Does this say I’m bullheaded? Probably. I come by it naturally.

My writing space is far from ideal. Sometimes I get so irked at this cramped corner in the computer room that I go browsing through the pages of the HGTV site to dream about my perfect writing space. Of course, HGTV doesn’t have what I really want. That look is only in my head. Anyway, what I have is barely sufficient, giving me feelings of inadequacy as a writer. I know, it shouldn’t make a difference. Tell that to the emotional side of my brain. It isn’t listening to me.

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And maybe that’s what it all boils down to. I’m secretive because I don’t think too much of myself as a writer. Oh sure, some of you will say I’m doing just fine with my abilities at the craft. I’d love to agree with you but when I look at what I write… It just doesn’t cut it.

Because I’m so stubborn, though, I’ll continue to pound on the keys. My preoccupation with it won’t allow me to do any less.

One of these days I’ll break through the wool of my cowardice and show what I work on so diligently.

“You have to stop and freeze the moment,” he told me I had told her. “You have to make yourself remember by repeating it in your head over and over. You have to write to preserve your sanity.” ― Jenny Hubbard, Paper Covers Rock

 

Assails

Assails
Image provided by Moonlight 徐宇峰
https://www.flickr.com/photos/9706990/

It’s three days until New Year’s Day. Have any of you made a list of resolutions to work on during the coming months? I’ve never been one to make such a foolish list because, for me, it would jinxes anything I want to accomplish. Yes, I’m one of those who firmly believe in hexes, especially the ones I seem to put on myself.

This last year has been sorely disappointing for any advancement in my writing. I had such high hopes for this past year. I had been so certain I could get that first draft done and get, at least, halfway through the second one. As it was, I barely made it to the beginning of the middle of the first one before finding myself beating my head against a formidable wall of indecision,anxiety, and apprehension. Only through great stubbornness have I sat at this desk to try to go on every day.

My health problems these last ten months just added to the mental torture I insisted on flinging upon myself. Who would have thought as a scantily senior, I’d begin to suffer with the digestive problems my mother didn’t have until her late eighties? All I can do is be prepared to cope with them, which, I’m finding, isn’t any small matter. One thing is for sure. It wants to cut into my writing time.

At any given time over the past twelve months, I could have taken a break. I could have concentrated on the house, my relationships with ones I love, made more of an effort to make friends with the outside kitties, anything but keep on struggling at the WiP. My health might have improved, or, at least, learned more ways of how to cope with it better.

I tried conversing with other writers about these disputes I’ve been having with my WiP. All had excellent suggestions and advice. Somehow, though, nothing they were offering to me seem to fit with the tribulations glaring at me from the screen. I even tried taking bits and piece of what I was given, trying to weave a cure for the multiple dilemmas I saw before me.

You’d think I’d give up, right? I just couldn’t, still can’t. I’m obsessed, possessed, bewitched. What gets me is that it’s all a self-made plight. Maybe I need some time in a loony bin.

I’m hoping this next year will be more amicable. I’m still fixated on writing every single day. However, I’m becoming rather jaded with this WiP that’s been brutalizing me for months. Slivers of other stories are dancing in my head, sometimes calling to me in a sing-song voice.

No resolutions though. I stay firm on my belief of ill winds.

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“Writing is really just a matter of writing a lot, writing consistently and having faith that you’ll continue to get better and better. Sometimes, people think that if they don’t display great talent and have some success right away, they won’t succeed. But writing is about struggling through and learning and finding out what it is about writing itself that you really love.” ― Laura Kasischke

 

#amwriting – It was Him?

My favorite social media site is Twitter. I have yet to heard of any “backstabbing” there, let alone witness anything like that at this site. I can’t make the same claim to other social media sites. I’ve seen the tag, #amwriting, several times, yet, for reasons I can’t begin to fathom, I’ve never posted using it before. Ludicrous, isn’t it?

Today is my first post using the hashtag, #amwriting.

#amwriting - It was Him?
Image provided by Eric
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ejpphoto/

When Caitlin watched the news the night before, the weatherperson had predicted snow, wet heavy snow. She went to bed grumbling about the cold and wet the morning would probably bring.

Just as the weatherperson had said, large sloppy snowflakes were falling from the dove-colored sky when she woke up. She peered down from her apartment window at her car sitting innocently against the curb. Most of it was just snow that would easily brush off, but it didn’t escape her attention that ice crystals were forming on the front and back windows. There was something else she noticed in the dim dawn light. Something that looked like a piece of paper was stuck to the window.

After a couple of pieces of toast and a mug of coffee, she got dressed and was ready to face the cold dreary world that sat out there past her apartment building. Gingerly, she maneuvered the icy steps to the street’s sidewalk. The wind gusted, almost pulling her knit hat off. As she approached her car, she realized that what she had thought was a piece of paper was, in reality, just a place on the windshield where the ice was thicker.

She retrieved the scraper from the backseat of her car and placed the hard plastic edge on the front window. It was then that she noticed there was scratched lettering in the place where the ice was so thick. You’re next!

What was that suppose to mean? Obviously, it meant trouble, but she couldn’t fathom who would do this. Her life was so drab. There wasn’t any reason for anyone at all to want to hurt her. Or maybe that was the exact reason why.

As soon as she got her windows scraped, she slid into the driver’s seat and started the engine. While she waited for the car to warm up, she pulled her cell phone from her purse and pushed in the numbers for her sister.

Mona’s voice was sleepy. “Hello.” She lived a few states west of Caitlin making the hour much earlier. Caitlin was positive she’d understand.

The car was taking forever to warm up. She could see her breath as she spoke. “Mona, there was a message on my car this morning. Kind of threatening.”

“Cat, do you know what time it is? Is there someone standing over you with a knife or a gun pointed at you?”

“Mona, I’m not kidding around. The message said, ‘You’re next!’”

“Cat, go to the police precinct nearest you and report it. Do not call me back. Cat, I’ll call you tonight.” And with that, Mona hung up on her.

Caitlin sat there watching the snow slide off the front hood. She should have taken a picture of the message. She looked behind her and pulled out onto the street.

The police station was a mere five blocks from her building. When she pulled into the small parking lot, she was sure she’d have to circle a few times before finding a place to park. However, as she rounded one aisle and was headed down the closer aisle, a car pulled out. The car behind her tried to squeeze past her to grab the slot but his vehicle was too wide. “Serves you right,” she said looking in her rearview mirror. She turned in and shut off the motor.

Surprisingly, no one was waiting to talk to the officer at the front desk. “Hi, cold morning, isn’t it?”

The officer peered up from looking at his papers. “They said it was coming. How can I help you.”

“I got a threatening message.”

“Let me see it.”

Crimson crept up her neck and covered her cheeks. “It was written in ice on my car. I forgot to take a picture of it. But it was there. Honest!”

“Okay. What did it say?”

“You’re next!”

The officer picked up the receiver of his desk phone and punched in four numbers. When he laid the receiver down, he said, “Officer Tanner will interview you.” He gestured to the swing gate on his right. “Just go through there and take a seat.

This continues on next month…

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Inspired Prompt:

S/he walked out to find a message scraped into the frost on the windshield. —Today’s Author

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“That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.” ― Tim O’Brien

Happy Holidays!

#weekendcoffeeshare: Writing during the Holiday Season

#weekendcoffeeshare: Quirks
Image provided by Dave White
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrdestructicity/

Diana at Part Time Monster used to host a weekly link-up, where you can submit a link to your post and browse everything else that’s been submitted, or you can use the #weekendcoffeeshare hashtag on Twitter or Facebook. However, her last #weekendcoffeeshare was last June. Still, I like this idea of a dialogue so I’m bringing this post category back, but as a monthly feature. 😀

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We’re having our coffee at Sisters’, a little knock-about diner on Main Street. Things have changed a bit since the last time we were here. The linoleum is gone and tile that resembles a light grained wood has replaced it. They’ve removed some of the tables and chairs along the front and side walls where the windows are, replacing them with booths. Still, the laid-back atmosphere hasn’t changed.

(Your dialogue is in brown. My dialogue is in green.)

After placing our order, the waitress circles back to us.

“We have flavored creamer. Do you want that instead of the half and half?”

“If it comes in the packets, sure.”

We catch up on the going-ons of our lives at first. After all, it’s been months since we’ve gone out for coffee. With the winter holidays in gear, we end up talking about the interruptions in our schedules.

“So how are you handling your time writing right now?”

“Writing?! What’s that?” You look around for our waitress. “I need coffee. Ah, there she is. I don’t have time for writing these days. I shouldn’t have volunteered for the events at the school. I know better than that. How’s your writing coming along?”

I dump some of the French Vanilla creamer into my coffee and stir, trying to give myself time to drum up courage.

“Well, I shelved the book I was working on.” You don’t say anything, but the stiff posture says it all for you. “The thought of the wrong person reading it was wearing down on me to the point where I had a terrible time even thinking about what word should come next. I have two other incomplete projects I can work on, plus an idea for a new one. Now I find my time has to be gauged minute by minute because of family obligations. I hate to put it that way, but that’s the way it feels.”

“Yes, I know what you mean. I love my family, but this holiday stuff is mind-wrenching. You said you had gotten to middle of the story. Couldn’t you just change a few things and keep on going?”

“Chances are I could, but I think I need some distance from the story, at least for a while. Besides, I think this season has me in a funk. Every time someone calls, I cringe, wanting to be left alone.”

“Kinda sounds like depression. One of the best things for melancholy is to write. You know, get your feelings out in a way that isn’t too aggressive.”

“I think they’re talking about free writing where you write about anything. Writing a story doesn’t cut it. Besides, I’m kind of afraid of what I’d write under those circumstances.”

You shrug your shoulders and gulp down the rest of your coffee. I do the same. On the way out we make intentive plans to do coffee again in about four weeks.

“Happy Holidays! See you next year.”

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” ― Linda Grayson

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