Posted in Books, Imagination, Travel, Uncategorized

I LOVE a good bookstore!

Every time we travel anywhere, we always make a point of checking out the local bookstores.  Big chains, independent, used, textbook sales; you name it, we check it out.  Even when we were overseas and the bookstores didn’t have a ton of English titles, we still went.

Why do we do this? Because there is something breathtaking about being in a space where you’re surrounded by knowledge.  There is something life altering about immersing yourself in others’ imaginations; even if it’s just a glance inside from reading the covers; it’s absolutely gorgeous.

My partner is so patient with me in these locations.  He loves the stores equally, immensely, but it’s my sheer, childlike joy and my demands to find books, sit on the floor with them (regardless of designated spaces), smell them and read the first ten pages of each potential buy that makes me a weirdo.

Because he knows me well, we started our date day yesterday (Sunday Funday!) with books.  Big, beautiful books and deep, sweet, vibrant coffee; two of my most favorite of all things.

Ithaca,  NY has a number of beautiful, small town local shops but also a number of chains and “big box” stores that provide a great variety to those of us who frequent the small city.  What always fascinates me about Ithaca is even the big box stores are uniquely Ithacan; they are filled with diverse, interesting things and wonderfully odd people from all different backgrounds and incredible, joyful things happen surrounded by the individuality and absurdity we always seem to find there.

There are simply, not enough adjective and adverb pairings to describe every facet of Ithaca,NY.  Go visit whenever you get a chance!

Anyhow, on our visit to Barnes and Nobles in Ithaca, I found not only the robust, Cinnamon Dolce flavored coffee that makes me want to pay that kind of money for Starbucks, but also the books.  SO MANY BOOKS! So many amazing experiences with so much to offer.

Full disclosure; I really wreck stuff this time of year.  I get bored, I get anxious, and I find myself seeking escape in vacations I can’t afford and crazy DIY projects that turn our usually beautiful apartment into a glittering, shag rug, macrame-made, terrible art gallery  with supplies everywhere, kind of mess.

I also get crafty with food, which typically doesn’t end poorly for myself or anyone involved.  In general, that makes much of this insanity okay.

As I strolled through Barnes & Nobles though, I found myself entranced and genuinely excited about all of the things I could learn and fall into.  Books I could fall in love with; books that would feel like a vacation and a Martha Stewart style living space.  Books that would take the edge off the weather (which has promptly returned to February up North versus the 48 hours of February down South), and remind me that this seasonal slump will pass.

I picked up five paperbacks that spoke to me (in cover and descriptions and reviews only) and then found Nick in the graphic novels to tell him that I would be starting my floor-sitting, coffee sipping, 10 pages at a time process.  He nodded and asked me to keep my phone on; I obliged.

I found my corner, participated in my process, and fell madly in love with all five.  I then had to narrow down to three, or forgo all lunch money for the week ahead (and some of my gas money too!).

In the end, I was thrilled.  It was worth the $47 I hadn’t planned to spend on books.  The rest of the trip was wonderful as well, but it was the time in Barnes & Nobles Sunday in Ithaca that really made my weekend.

And so, as much of the weeks ahead pass, you’ll probably see some prompts, ideas, and book reviews on here as I use that inspiration and motivation that only reading and being in that sort of space can provide. I can’t wait to share the joy!

 

 

Posted in BlogABook, Fiction, Imagination, Uncategorized

Tim in Oz…an excerpt from Fairly Oz.

“What are you doing?”

Dorothy’s voice sang out over the giant stalks of the bustling red plants.  Everywhere, she saw munchkins, with their tiny little bodies sprawled all over the ground. On one another, covered in the pollen of the dangerous flowers, reeking of poppy seeds and the guilt of succumbing to an aching addiction.

Tim smiled. “Self medicating”.

Dorothy cocked her head to the side as she looked down at him. His tin face shining in the sun, she had to smile. Even covered in pollen, surrounded by the giant, frightening poppies and the addicted and loopy munchkins, something about him drew her in.

“Get up Tim.  Nothing good ever came from this.”

Dorothy reached her hand down to grab her Tin Man friend. He snickered as he grabbed her hand and pulled her in. She squawked as she fell into him, to the ground, bumping one of the prickly stalks of the giant poppies as she hit the earth. The golden dusted pollen sparkled, as deadly as the edge of a glittering sword, as it fell to the ground and on top of them.

Tim chuckled as Dorothy coughed from the deadly glitter entering her lungs. She sat up, trying to regain some composure. Tim wrapped an arm snug around her hips as he helped her sit up straight. Dorothy felt his cold tin hand on the edge of her skirt. That was Tim, always so close, yet always held back.

Dorothy began to feel heady as she leaned against Tim. Her head resting against his, she felt his head turn gently and press his hardened lips against her forehead. She snuggled in closer, thankful for the coolness, and suddenly aware that she was feeling very warm.

“Tim?”

“Yes, my dear?”

“What do you want from the Wizard? Like, what do you really want? I know you have family somewhere else. I know you have a happy life here in Oz…and really, the poppies are less frightening when you get used to them.”

She felt his body, hard as steel, shift slightly under her.  She turned to look up and over at him.

” I want what you want Dorothy.  I have a feeling I know exactly what a woman like you wants from someone like me.”

Dorothy felt confused…and a little defensive.  What the Hell does he mean? she thought.

” Oh really? What could we both possibly want?”

Tim grinned down at her.  God she loved that smile, even when it was surrounded by sin, addiction, and wit.

“My heart, DeeDee.  We both want me to have a heart.”

Dorothy shifted to turn sideways.  She wanted to see this man with no heart for herself.  “I believe you have one, Tim.  I really do.”

Tim shook his head, an ironic smile playing at the edges of his silvery complexion.  “You just said it Dorothy.  I have a family somewhere else, and here I am sitting on the ground with you, still soaring from this ridiculous dust.  How can you possibly believe I have a heart still?”

Dorothy had to give that a moment’s thought.  She looked around to see some of the munchkins stumbling about, when they caught her eye.  There were two of them, young munchkins, who seemed to be trying desperately to crawl towards the fields next to them.  Dorothy wasn’t sure if this was the time to be concerned or not, so she chose to inhale again to clear her mind of thought.  She wanted to focus on Tim’s question.  Why was she so sure?

Looking over at him again, she saw the dark, brooding tears of a man not quite made of steel building up in his eyes.  It came to her immediately.  “Your guilt!”

He looked stunned for a moment but seemed to recover quickly.  “My guilt?”

“Yes, your guilt! That’s how I know you have a heart!” That is also, she realized, how she knew it belonged somewhere else. “Your guilt! If you didn’t have a heart, you wouldn’t feel bad about the people and things you left behind!  You would just, float into the future, not caring at all.  Like the poppies!”

His hinged jaw fell open, and Dorothy heard the subtle squeak of the metal.  He was stunned.  Never before had he thought of it that way.  He knew somehow that she was right.  If he had no heart, he would not ever miss them.  He would never miss her, the queen that he had adored for so long.  He would never consider giving it all up and going back.

“I have to talk to the Wizard!” Dorothy suddenly knew again that

Posted in Fiction, Imagination, Uncategorized

The Scarecrow…a series piece from Fairly Oz

For an ever brief moment, he looked at her, standing there in the walls of the castle.  “I just took off the shoes.” Dorothy said.  “Thank God” said the Scarecrow as he grabbed her around the waist.  She couldn’t say for sure when it had started, but their relationship had gotten wildly out of hand in her own mind somewhere between their friendship, her longing for the Tin Man and her desperate need to be good enough for the Cowardly Lion.  She often quietly acknowledged to herself that although she wasn’t in love with his looks, he had enjoyed hers enough to look past her shortcomings.

“No one else is here. Liam and The Tin Man are gone. It’ll just be you and me tonight.” Caton couldn’t help smile.  The straw in his hat sticking out, his shirt untucked, he looked as unkempt as the night he met Dorothy, but without Liam and The Tin Man to moderate, he felt unbridled with passion for her.  “I love the way you think,” she said, as he gingerly kissed her neck, the soft scrape of his weather worn, untrimmed face on her cheek. He startled for a moment at her statement.  He’d wanted to be smarter, to be faster, to be as smooth as the Tin Man for as long as he could remember, but always felt like it was an exaggerated, unlikely wish. The Tin Man was so good at remaining composed, so able to know exactly what to say next, and Caton struggled with the moment.

“I know you’re not alone, but I can’t help it.  It’s uncomfortable how I feel about you.  Uncomfortable and amazing and hot and painful and perfect.  I want to remember the conversations we have; I want to know that we’re alike in this.”

Dorothy couldn’t say for sure what to expect, but she had known one thing for certain. With the Tin Man, she felt compelled to follow him and convinced that she knew his heart.  With the Cowardly Lion, she felt ashamed of her past but so willing to do whatever was necessary to be good enough, brave enough, for him.  With The Wizard, Dorothy felt as though she had been deceived in more ways than one; as though his stories and his actions were disconnected, and as though all of the good about her was often frustrating to him.

But here, with Caton, the Scarecrow in desperate need for acceptance of his brain, Dorothy was able to see how far she’d come.  With Caton, Dorothy could accept where she’d been, and to him and his wonderful brain, she was the person she’d always meant to be.  Caton was simply here, in the moment, and wholly accepting of her in a way that few people had been before.  In his quiet, sarcastic friendship, she had fallen for him, and although she knew he was not the lifetime accomplice she craved, he was every bit as important as that character in her story.  Caton frustrated her, refusing to give her the answer even when she asked, but the frustration was a slow itch in her skin.  Unyielding, craving for the scratch, his very words, with his deep voice and the resonate questioning of a scholar made her very skin crawl, both with desire and frustration.

Now, in this moment, she would try to be brave enough to satisfy that itch as much as possible.  Despite her concerns that acting on her deep rooted impulse would end the friendship she needed, Dorothy grabbed his face.  “You are smart”, she whispered, looking deeply into the deep blue eyes surrounded by husk colored lashes. “You are exactly what I can’t get out of my head.  I dream about you all the time. I hear your voice; your staggering one liners, and I know that I have to satisfy this.  And I know this won’t work for long, but I cannot let this go.  I just…want it. I need it. Is that okay?” Her voice faltered at the end as her courage got the better of her and her concerns for the Tin Man, the lion and wizard stormed out.

“It has to be.” He said.  “You’re you, and I’m me, and this has to be enough.”

 

Posted in Fiction, Imagination, Life, Uncategorized

Pinterest Prompt-1-1-17

“She added a charm to her bracelet for every life that she took.”

(Prompt inspiration from Promptuarium on Pinterest)

Today’s charm was a small, white and black spotted circle.  It reminded her of this morning’s charge.

It never got easier.  The look of life leaving the eyes of a soul that had a family.  Had a purpose; had loved and lost and shared and existed.

She stood washing her hands, looking down at the bracelet.  Some times of the year seemed more challenging than others.  This beautiful first week of May, she hadn’t had any others. It was just the one.

The worst part had been the young woman, sobbing as she’d explained the process. Sobbing as she’d put the needle under the skin.  She hadn’t seen anyone cry like that from her services in a while.  It was evident that the young woman wanted to hate her and didn’t want to be here.

She cleaned under her fingernails with a brush as she thought of how the young woman had held the beautiful soul she’d removed from this Earth. How she buried her face in the black and white spotted fur and told her that it would be okay; that she loved her and it wouldn’t hurt anymore.  That in her thirteen years, she’d been the best friend a human could ask for. That she was so sorry, and it wasn’t supposed to be this way but she never wanted her to suffer. That no matter what else happened in her life, she’d remember her, and this moment, for the rest of her life.

The young woman’s parents had brought them here, to the office, to relieve the old dog’s suffering.  Consequently, they left with a young woman whose heart would forever miss her friend, creating a different type of suffering entirely.

The charm was chosen as a reminder for the life she took.  For the power that her services had to relieve suffering.  For the beautiful soul that loved and left.

Posted in #Future, Imagination, Life, Uncategorized

As good a time as any…

Every year at this time, people make resolutions to better their lives.  I do the same thing.  Recently, I have noticed several articles regarding the concept of self-awareness and accepting responsibility for the things in your life that are not the way you’d hoped.

I think there’s really something to this.  Now seems as good a time as any to determine the importance of taking one’s destiny.

My business did okay this year, but I have been dragging my feet about marketing to a broader range of clients.  I know how to do it, and I train other people how to do it, but I haven’t done it.  Why? Because what if I fall on my face, and the people who think I won’t be successful are actually right?

I’ve not applied as seriously for as many, full time, big human resource positions as I could.  Because I am afraid. I am concerned  that if I take a new position, it will take me a long time to be as confident or comfortable as I am now…comfortable is a killer.

Another year has passed and my book isn’t finished.  Not surprising, as I’ve been struggling to focus in.  But also not surprising because I’m afraid of the rejection of publishers.  Pouring my soul into something only to be told it’s not good enough has long been a fear of mine.  Now is as good a time as any to admit that.

2016 is over, and I still haven’t lost thirty pounds.  I always resolve that I will;  but I haven’t.  I still haven’t run a marathon.  I still haven’t gotten my A1C (a test used to measure blood sugar over a period of time) under 7.0.  I’m still waiting to do those things, because what if I try really hard and nothing good happens? What if I get myself into the best physical condition of my life only to find out that it doesn’t matter and the diabetes has done too much damage to live my life the way I want?

The fact is,sometimes not trying is easier than failing.  Sometimes, it seems like by trying you’re really just running on a treadmill-endlessly wearing yourself out.

Even more terrifying: what if they’re wrong? What if I really do all these things?  What if I’m a huge overnight success and I don’t have to struggle and people hate me for it? Who am I to deserve to meet my goals? What if I win?

The fact is, the posts about taking responsibility are hitting home for me this holiday season.  I did accomplish several of my goals, and that should count for something with me.  I was a better friend, a better sibling and daughter and granddaughter this year. I stood up for myself and took pride in my work.  I did, at least, start my foray into working for myself.  I traveled all over the world and the US with my family and the man I love, and I didn’t apologize for taking care of myself.  I took some pride in me, and I saw progress.

But now is as good a time as any to admit that 2017 looks a little daunting, but like a mountain I want to climb.

I accept that I will have to beat me. I have to win against myself, and that means falling on my face.  I know this. I also know I might fail, but at least some of these things must get done this year.  This time I have to win, and that means accepting responsibility for my own sabotage.

Regular updates to follow. Similar resolutions, because I need goals.  Hopeful progress to share.

(P.S. How cute is this picture of us on our recent adventure to New Orleans? We’re in the Garden District here!)

Stay motivated everyone!

 

 

Posted in BlogABook, Fiction, Imagination

In the hospital…fiction, rough draft from The Many Men of Maggie James

“I’m okay Dad.  Don’t worry.  Couple days I’ll be back home and feeling fine.” Said Maggie.  She tried to force a small smile, but her mouth and throat hurt badly.

“Okay, Mag.  Okay.  Your mom is on her way and Jack let your brothers know you were here.  It’s gonna be okay.” He turned to Maisey.  “Dr. Kahn will be here soon, right? Do we need to wait for Martha?”

“Martha is Maggie’s mom?”

“Yes, Martha is Maggie’s mom.  My ex-wife.”

“Ideally, yes, we’ll wait. Can I offer either of you gentleman anything?  Maggie, can I get you anything?”

Both Jack and Dad turned to look at her. “Ice water. Please.” Maggie stated.

“Can she have that?” Dad asked.

“Yes, of course.  Water in all forms is good for you.” Maisy said.  “Boys?”

“I’m good for the moment.  Jack?”

“Do you have any coffee?”

Maisy smiled.  “Yes sir.  Why don’t you walk with me and you can make it just the way you like it.”

Jack nodded. “I’ll be right back Mag.  Hang out with Dad.”

Maggie closed her eyes, smiled a little and nodded.  Jack walked out with Maisy.

Dad looked up at her from the foot of her bed.  He reached down and patted her foot held under the yellow blanket.  “What happened Mag? Did you fall?”

Maggie breathed in through her nose and released the breath through her mouth.  When she was a kid, Mom had put her in counseling with a child counselor when she started crying randomly, all the time.  She’d be at school, at home, at soccer practice and would burst into tears.  The thoughts and anxious ideas would race through her mind.  Eventually the counselor figured it out and helped Maggie learn to control the feelings of anxiety through breathing and mantras and self-soothing thought processes.

“I don’t remember falling Dad.  I was trying to get over some things.” Her eyes welled up as she said it.  She was still feeling the dizziness but some of the nauseous was starting to subside. “What day is it?”

Dad looked at her, the concern was clear on his face.  “It’s Thursday, Mag.  What’s the last day you remember?”

“It was Tuesday afternoon.”

He shook his head and looked away.  He didn’t want to see her cry, and didn’t want her to see him cry either. He patted her foot again, “Okay. Rest.”

He walked into the hallway and left her in the room alone.  She started breathing through her nose again.  The dizziness was making her feel like she had motion sickness, but the bed wasn’t sailing.

She could hear Jack chattering away with the nurse and she smiled a little again.  He could talk to anyone.  He wasn’t quite as loquacious as she was, but as she listened to him talk with Maisey as he walked in the room, she was filled with pride and love.  If she’d really died, he would’ve  been okay.

Posted in Fiction, Imagination, Professional Experiences

The Grand’s Voice

Published under M.A.Cole in the Sibyll Literary Magazine, Elmira College, 2011.

As the swell of my feelings began to rage, the murmur of the voice of my true love came sliding towards me.  It was an echo of the voice I longed for, and as I stood surrounded by the sound, I forgot the others that inhabited that room with me.  For this moment, this brief glimmer of time, they were unimportant.

I found myself shaken as the murmur became a louder, more distinct calling.  Like a lost soul searching for eternal piece, I closed my eyes and searched for the internal light that the echoing voice promised.  I bravely held my own against the sound, recognizing that the others in the room could not possibly empathize with what I was feeling.  There were no words to describe the way my emotions flowed right through my soul and uplifted my spirit into a new, more beautiful place.

The voice suddenly grew louder, and louder still as my heart began to pound.  The dull beat that my heart felt prior to this meeting was a long forgotten memory as my heart began to race.  I could not find what it was racing from: was it to keep up with the volume of the voice? My feelings of passion and love and heart ache? Or, was it the continuity of a lifetime, this same burning ache that seemed to radiate from my bones and through my flesh into something so much more important than me?

Then, something amazing happened: a chord was struck within me. I felt it hit my ears and my heart at the same precise moment.  It was the voice, “I have to go. But I’ll always be with you…”  Silently, suddenly aware of the others, I begged, Please, don’t stop! I need you. I’ve always needed you. Who will keep me safe?  No one else understands…  But the voice doesn’t listen. It continues on, and the audiences of people surrounding me seem to notice the shift in moods.  The people around me are sitting up straighter, leaning forward on the balls of their feet, waiting and watching to see what will happen next.  They don’t understand, but they can sense the change.

Finally, in a last cadential whisper, the voice draws its song to a close.  Like children, the people around me are thrilled by the intensity, even if they don’t understand.  They clap and jeer, and seem all too excited to stop hearing the voice.  My eyes water as I bid it farewell.

The pianist bows and leaves the stage.  The grand’s voice is silent for now.