*tap tap* Is this thing on?…

Last night I attended and read at what’s officially my first ever public open mic night reading. I’ve read a handful of pieces before in smaller, intimate groups at different writing conferences I’ve attended. Always surrounded by people that I know in some facet, even if only for a few moments, but always enough so that I know they’re going to be… nice? Last night though, was different… I arrived early in hopes of finding like-minded strangers interested in conversation… instead I sat alone, gripping my few printed pages and watching the podium and microphone in front of me as it grew a tail, fangs, horns, and leering yellow eyes… A group of strangers began arriving, gathering in the lower level of a local bookstore, all of them chattering eagerly with each other, making the monster before me grow even larger, and the knots in my stomach tighter, as I realized these people all knew one another. They knew each others style, voice, thoughts, opinions, and humor – whereas I, a tattooed trollope, had wandered aimlessly, naively into their lair, stupidly thinking that I might fit in.

Just as I was reacquainting myself with the nearest exit route I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to find a familiar face. The face of a friend from high school, 12 years ago, recently reacquainted, there to show her support for me. *sigh* You know who you are, and you both rescued me from a night of awkwardness suffered alone, and at the same time cemented the fact that I could not escape. I now had no choice but to follow through on my commitment to bare my still naked and quivering soul to these judgemental strangers.

I was further down the list, allowing me the opportunity to fully commit to my nervousness, and to lose myself in utter confusion at what appeared to be a night devoted fully to poetry written quite eloquently in Klingon, while I waited for my name to be called. Eventually it was, and as is my habit I made excuses for the piece of writing I was going to share before even daring to make eye contact with any of the rabid beasts in the crowd. No doubt at the point, already having noticed that I am a stranger, and not one of them. I read my piece, a short story, my first ever attempt at fiction; a piece that I recently shared at a small writers conference I attended to good response on the validity and thoroughness of my “voice.” Last night however, the room was silent, and I lost my place on a few occasions simply because I wasn’t sure that I was actually reading aloud to the room, or if I might be awkwardly standing there, in front of the crowd, making no sound at all – simply rereading the words to myself in my own inner monologue. When I finished there was a quiet whisper of golf clapping as I zeroed in on my destination, my empty chair 3 rows from the back of the room.

Luckily, these strangers must be used to having a newbie such as myself mistakenly wander in off the street on occasion, because they were careful to refrain from eye contact, or any other form of communication that would require us to speak. And before I knew it, another poet had taken the stage, sharing a rhyme about topics I still have yet to realize. And then another, this one speaking of anger, loss, rage, and abandonment. A mere moment passed, and just like that my voice had been forgotten. With that, the evening was over, and with my single friendly companion in tow, we hastily made our way to the exit. Bursting into nearly maniacal laughter the moment we made it back out, safely, into  the world we knew.

It’s my turn…

As those of you close to me may know, my recent ghostwriting opportunity wasn’t meant to be. Which is a nice way of saying that we went back and forth a few times negotiating numbers and whether I would be able to use the finished product on my resume at all – and in the end, we were unable to come to a mutual decision. I was definitely disappointed that things didn’t work out, but proud of myself for sticking to my guns on the few small things I felt I needed in order to make the project really worth my while.

Within a few days of realizing the ghost writing project wouldn’t be happening, I found myself slightly stumped for a writing project to drown myself in, especially since I’d just spent the last 3 weeks reading up on everything I could as far as fiction writing for dummies, character development, and setting a scene that already exists perfectly inside my head. As fate may have it, I stumbled onto a topic that’s held some intrigue for me since I was much younger, and almost instantly, in my mind, I could see the character that belonged there, her life, her traits, her flaws, her desires, and what would eventually be her demise!

At this point I’m 100’s of pages of notes & research in, and about 500 words deep into chapter 1 of what I feel could be the next big historical fiction novel to hit the shelves! Hopefully sometime soon – say 2013ish, assuming of course that the rest of the book/story tells itself as quickly and painlessly as things have fallen into place thus far. But whatever happens, however far I get, this is MY story – wholly and completely – and it feels EFFING AMAZING!!! 🙂

So, friends, family, and faithful blog stalkers – please accept my apologies in advance if I seem to be distant from the blog – and I do promise I’ll try to keep at least a few posts a month gracing these pages… Wish me luck!

~ m 🙂

A moment of thanks…

I visited with a new client yesterday afternoon and as she told me her story, I realized we have much in common, but really are living in two completely different times. From a young age she’d known that she would pursue a degree and career in journalism. And, after receiving her education, she sought out positions with the local newspapers, realizing quickly that while she possessed the same qualifications as some of her male counterparts, as a woman she would be hired as a “journalist” by title only, and would spend her days fetching coffee, answering the phone, and filling the role of secretary or receptionist, instead of writing the hard hitting news stories she so yearned for. Thus she pursued a career in education, becoming an elementary school teacher, and later a reading specialist.

Flash forward to myself, a single female, 60 years later, who’s decided to press pause on her technical education after receiving her Associates Degree, and instead of pursuing book smarts in the form of an astronomically priced Bachelors Degree, is earning her education through the school of life – working a few months as a freelance reporter for the local newspaper, a monthly columnist for a local entertainment magazine, published in a magazine that holds as an institution in most American homes, and all the while writing whatever I’d like, about whomever I’d like, with the dream of having a book of my own resting on the shelves of a local bookstore.

Thank you, to those that have come before, Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath… Those who faced the struggles they met head on, because of you, I’m able to do me.

~ m

Daydreaming….

“Hope is a waking dream,” so said Aristotle, and I for one, believe he had it right.

I also got an amazing phone call yesterday afternoon. To bring you all up to speed, I recently became gainfully unemployed (end of September) after 11 years of working full time + without a break. So, it’s been a bit of a shock to my system, having so much time for myself, my writing, reading, napping, and focusing on making some serious life changes. I’ve been looking for work over the past month plus, but to use the same line as hundreds of thousands of others, due to the economy, and lack of jobs that I have the knowledge, skillset, and training for – it’s been a little difficult to find something. I’m also being picky, not just taking a job, because it’s offered to me. I don’t want to find myself in another situation where I’m in a dead end job, dreading the office every morning because of one thing or another – I want to hold out a bit and find a position doing something that I can be passionate about, and with a team that I can feel a connection with.

So, as you may have noticed, I love to write… whether it be blogging, journaling, articles for local publications, essays for larger ones, or just doodling on a napkin in a coffee shop. A few months back, the local paper approached me about an interview & column that they wanted to create about me! Regarding my status as a small town local gal, seeking out the limelight of stardom as a writer. Well, yesterday afternoon, that same paper (who did print an amazing article about yours truly) contacted me about an open position they have for a freelance reporter & photographer!!! I meet with the editor tomorrow morning to discuss specifics… But, I really believe that this is the position I’ve been waiting for. And, the timing couldn’t be better. With the track I’m traveling now, towards a healthier, happier, stronger, prouder me… I can now add that I may be working in a position that I’ve always dreamed of!!!

~ m 🙂