For those of you in the Maryland area, I will be visiting Chesapeake College on April 16th for a Poetry Panel. Myself, along with two other local poets, will be taking part in numerous poetically themed events throughout the afternoon.
I will be presenting numerous pieces, including ones from my upcoming book, I Am. You can check out the trailer for that here.
I hope you can make it out to the college and meet me!
I just finished a book, The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve, and without spoiling the story for you, because it is amazing and you should read it, the main character spoke numerous times about passion leaving a relationship as the time past. It inspired this piece, along with the wordle from MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie.
I hope you enjoy my new book trailer for my upcoming book, I Am! More info to come soon on a pre-sale date!
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A little while back I threw myself into a project that terrified me. After multiple attempts at joining my writing with another’s, and being burnt every time, I once again gave it a shot. I wrote to a woman here on WordPress, someone whose poetry was unspeakably beautiful, and asked to write a duet with her. I could only be speaking of the wonderfully talented Hastywords.
I didn’t get burned in the process. She was amazing. In fact, you can see our masterpiece here on her site.
By the time this was finished, I had both of her books on my Kindle and she had mine and we were happily diving into the world each other had painted.
I had to start at the beginning. I picked up Darker Side of Night and went through my nightly routine.
Fill the bathtub.
Pour some wine.
Soak away all the crap of the day.
Focus on someone else’s words instead of my own.
A couple of hours later, with stone-cold water and skin that was wrinkled past any redemption lotion could offer, I stepped out from the tub smiling. Page after page of beautiful prose, heartbreaking honesty, and a braveness I envied. Her words swept me away and carried me long into the next day.
I thought, not for the first time, that I should be proud of myself for being able to keep up in that duet with her. I had a complete and utter fan girl moment, the delight of reading her words, becoming a friend with someone capable of making every line of prose a praise to the love of words.
And then I read her second book.
Let me say, before I even begin talking about Depression’s Dance that I am not a great person. Truly. I have moments of failure just like everyone else. My mother suffers from depression. I’m not always as supportive as I could be. There are times when the caustic words, “Are you taking your medicine?” slip from my mouth. There are times I roll my eyes, or turn my back when she is falling apart and doesn’t know why.
I think, I know when I am sad. I know WHY I am sad. How could you not know? How could you just wake up sad? It doesn’t compute. Doesn’t make sense.
I told you I’m not a good person. Understanding is a fickle thing. You see, unless a person has lived through/with something, they can never really understand. Not truly.
In Depression’s Dance, Hasty gave a voice to depression. She allowed her reader a chance to snoop and spy. For a few hours, I was permitted to sit down at the table, quietly listen to a conversation that has probably played multiple times through anyone’s mind that suffers from this disease. Her words allowed me a moment to really, truly listen. To hear. Perhaps not to understand, but to at least feel empathy.
She taught me empathy.
And so I hope that others will pick this book up. I hope they will take a moment and allow themselves to listen to this conversation. I try to remember it now. I keep going back to it. I need to keep that lesson in mind. I need to keep my empathy close at hand.
I need to apologize to my mother.
To friends, to anyone, who hears this voice inside them. I am sorry.
Like I started the other day, I am sharing the reader’s choice from my second book, History of a Woman. Enjoy!
The check came once a week and on it, in the tiny, informal script she could see the statistics. She saw the demographics, the signatures, the dates, the times, the dollar signs and the cents. The sense. Pay to the order of the single mother, the broken hearted, the lost and struggling. Pay to the order of that bitch who walked out, that gold-digger, that useless leech.
Twenty dollars and thirty-two cents. Thirty-six dollars and seventeen cents. That was the breakdown. That was division at work. That was the price tag, per child, per absent father, per paycheck, as order by the court.
So her son was worth $20. 32 a week. He was worth one pair of sneakers, plus tax. He was worth a family dinner from KFC. He was worth two Wal-Mart brand t-shirts and a pair of jeans with the little buttons inside to adjust the waist so they wouldn’t fall off his thin hips. He was worth one pack of the good brand of nighttime pull-ups and a fruity flavored Tummy Yummy.
$36.17. She was worth fifteen dollars and eighty-five cents more than her brother. And why was that? Because she is the older of the two? Because she came first? Because she was left behind first? That extra fifteen dollars and eighty-five cents makes her worth ice-cream at school for an entire month. She is worth two of those scarves from Target that she wants, because all the other little girls are wearing them. Thirty-six seventeen means she is worth one new dress and stockings to match. She’s worth a movie date with her mom and maybe, just maybe, she’s worth popcorn with extra butter.
She stares at the names and the dates and the amounts. She pulls out her calculator, because she’s logical, because she’s sane, because she knows there must be some algorithm in play that dictates the price attached to another human being’s name, date of birth, and social security number. Somewhere inside her children’s DNA is the bar code that is engraved with all this information. That’s why she couldn’t find it. That’s why the numbers never came out right.
One month is $81.28 and $144.68. That’s school supplies for both, new book-bags and lunch boxes, and for her daughter, that means she’s worth a new pair of dress shoes where her toes won’t hang over the edge.
One year makes them worth $975.36 and $1,736.16. He is four, so that means he’s worth $3,901.44. She’s six, so it’s $10,416.96. Right? That makes sense, she figured. I mean, by the time they are grown, their price-tags will be immense. They will be worth so much…so very, very much.
And that was the game. It was all a gamble. They had set the bet and she had called. Not only had she called, but she’d raised. She’d raised and raised and raised. She met each of their bets and doubled and tripled them. She’d paid in her part, and not only with money, but with her time. With her kisses, her late night wake-up calls, her trips to the family doctor, her white hairs, her once a month new toothbrushes, her story times.
So when those men would show back up, she’d be able to look them in the eye. She’d be able to say, “Hey, I figured it out.” She knew her child’s worth and she’d raised the bet. “It’s on you now. Call or fold.”
Remember the contest is still going on until December 15th! Visit http://facebook.com/HistoryofaWoman and LIKE my page for your chance to win a copy of one of my books! Your choice!
I recently asked some of my readers what their favorite story or poem was from each of my books. After figuring out which was the most popular, I decided to post that choice here.
But that’s not all, because that would be relatively boring.
Not really…but this part is more exciting!
I’m doing another contest!
CONTEST CONTEST CONTEST
Yep. You could win a copy of one of my books…I’ll even let you choose. All you have to do is find me on Facebook (http://facebook.com/HistoryofaWoman) and LIKE my page. Yep. That’s it. I’ll gather all the new names and on December 15th will draw a winner. That’s only a few days! So get on Facebook and click that Like button!
Now, for the reader’s choice from my first book, Wake Up a Woman:
Normally, I struggle to get to sleep. My brain instantly becomes awake when I lie down and suddenly all these fantastic story ideas pop into my head. I could have used that last night, but instead I was wrestling it to just get it started with the project I needed to begin. Last night began the first official night of NaNoWriMo…I’d like to sound prouder of myself than I am, but I only managed 844 words. However, those were 844 of the hardest words I’ve ever written. I actually started at the beginning of a story, something I never do. I always start at some random place of action in the middle and work my way out to both ends. It’s terrible. So I forced myself to start at the beginning and 844 later…I’d done it. Now, 49,156 words to go.
No sweat. <—Sarcasm.
We took the monsters trick or treating last night, and we always walk through the town with a lady who was their day care provider, and who knows everyone and everything about everyone in that town. It is super helpful.
Because then there are situations like this:
Kids run up to funky house with grass that is like a foot tall and grab candy out of a bucket sitting on the porch.
Miss I Know All in This Town: Take that from them when they get back. I meant to stop them before they got there.
Me: Oh God, why?
Her: Lots of drug issues in that house. Someone OD’ed there not long ago.
The kids come running back and I grab their buckets, dig in and pull out the candy eyeballs they grabbed from that house.
Ninja and Merida: Mama! What are you doing?
I’d like to take this time to say that the dregs of society that make me fear candy in my child’s Halloween bucket have a special place on my If-I-Ever-Become-Friends-With-A-Mobster list.
Then there are those people who are just so kind, and wonderful, you want to share them with the word. Like this lady, who constantly goes out of her way to promote others across her blog. She chose my Halloween story for yesterday, which you can see here: