Random Wednesday: Unsupportive People And When Kicking Them In The Balls Is Ok

My husband spilled a slurpee in this car recently and I felt like I died a little on the inside. Not because of the car interior. But because he couldn’t eat his slurpee.

Before I get too far into this story I need to explain something.

Slurpee n. A slushy iced beverage favored with a carbonated beverage. The “carbonated beverage” part is key to what makes this beverage from the gods unique from anything else. Why do I need to explain this?

BECAUSE THE PEOPLE OF GREEN BAY WISCONSIN DON’T KNOW WHAT A FUCKING SLURPEE IS! They judge and sneer at you when you ask for a slurpee like you’re a freak that just asked for a bag of dead kittens.

“A what? I have no idea what that is. Do you mean a slushy?”

No. It’s a motherfucking slurpee not to be confused with a slushy which is much less satisfying. We can compromise at “frozen drink” but only if it’s coke flavored and that’s because copyrights are involved.

And either way, a beverage of royalty status does not belong splattered on the car seat, cup holder, pant leg, and floor mat.

I felt sad, not because ice crystals were slowly melting into fabric instead of on ones tongue. Not because of the flavor is now transformed into a syrupy mess instead of a belly satisfying sticky sweet substance.

I was upset because my husband deserved a little break and if what he wanted with his break from the work day stress was a slurpee, then I fully support his purchase. Just as much, I feel crushed when he feels crushed that after all his efforts, the reward was ruined.

It’s important to praise him for his hard work, to listen when he gets overwhelmed, to calm him off the ledge when he gets an email that something is wrong right as he is walking out of the work door to come home. It’s important to understand the emotional value of a slurpee.

This is support.

It’s easy to do when it’s something tangible. Everyone has dropped a slurpee, everyone has had work issues, everyone has that dream just out of reach, or that limit reaching breaking point.

What’s different about writing is whether or not people take you seriously and understand what it means to you. When you have a set back in writing, it’s an emotional set back. No one see’s the digital pages spilled over the floor quite like a writer does.

I have sat with a lot of “writers” and they have never written anything. These people just simply have the desire to write and there is something fearful about putting words on paper because it exposes what is in your mind. This fear to write often devalues what writing actually means to that person. Just because they might not be at the same level as the next person does not mean they long  or love to write any less.

This is where support and encouragement are key.

At any point someone tells me they want to write something, anything, I let them do the talking.

Why do you want to write?
What do you want to write?
What prevents you from writing?
What have you tried to help you write?
What would encourage you to write more?

But what is most important is to understand what they are going through and identify with them to understand how they are feeling.

Like when someone else drops a slurpee. You know what that feels like. You love slurpees, too.

But the topic is about how to deal with unsupportive people. Yeah, we’re several hundred words into this post and I’m just now getting on topic. Now, hold on to your butts…

I’ve never met an unsupportive person in the traditional sense of “unsupportive.”

Rather, I’ve meet annoying as fuck people. I call them the “me me me’s.”

No one has ever told my I can’t do something, that my writing isn’t going any where. I’ve never been told to give up, to move on, to stop trying.

What I have encountered are people who have gotten pass the fear of writing, found confidence and now, no longer understanding to the people who supported them and need support from them.

Example:

A) Supportive person: Yes, I have finished a novel. Have you? No? Well how can I help? What problems are you running into that is preventing you from finishing?

B) Nonsupportive person: Yes, I have finished a novel. I already have an agent and in the editing process as well as working on cover art. What’s your email address? Let me add you to my newsletter. I typically write about male banshees. Banshees are female in folklore but I wanted to branch out and be unique. I gave them dicks.

This really happens. (I made up the banshee dick part but the rest of it is true.)

I was at a writer’s conference not too long ago and there was a guy there who was speaking about how to land an agent. We’ll call him Tom. His name might have actually been Tom, I honestly don’t remember. Tom has had the same agent since 1997 and a lot of writing success. Which is really good, it’s nice to see an author with longevity because the business can be fickle. But his advice was out dated and “me me me.” I can tell you a lot about Tom. I can tell you how often he emails his agent, what projects his agent has gotten for him, the different genres he written in, what he has found success in, failures in, and how some projects were picked up easily and others failed to pick up at all.

I walked away with jack shit about agents.

Nothing Tom lectured about was relevant to today’s writer and methods on how to find an agent. He had no advice. He just talked about himself.

Don’t be that guy. Don’t be Tom.

But people like Tom are unavoidable. He is not the first Tom or last Tom I will encounter. I really wanted to know first hand what it’s like to work with an agent as a new writer. This is something I am new to and need help with. Tom had an opportunity to be supportive and there were willing participants in the crowd longing for his advice. All I learned was the 9/11 attacks ruined traditional querying because of anthrax fears. Yes, he really talked about this rather than suggesting something more relevant such as, “Pick up Writer’s Market which is full of information about agents and what they are looking for including pet peeves to avoid and how to write a query letter with examples. Cross reference agencies in the book by searching the agency online and seeing what that agency is specifically looking for. They don’t want to waste their time just as well as you shouldn’t waste yours. Give them only what they ask for.” Well, at least that’s what I would have said if I was giving a lecture on how to land an agent. Not gone on about the events of 2001 during a lecture about the writing business in 2016.

In 1997 while Tom was sending letters though the U.S. Post Office to land an agent, I was probably flipping through a Delia’s catalog while watching re-runs of My So Called Life. I assure you, things change. Even in 2001 when email became the preferred method over post mail, he already had his agent and wasn’t completely sure how querying was different. His recommendation was not to use Wingdings as your email font.

Very insightful.

When you encounter these people, still listen. Still ask questions. Still engage with them. Bottom line, they are writers with feelings too and their work should still be supported.

And if all else fails and the “me me me” starts to make you feel down and inadequate.

Just imaging kicking banshee dicks while they are talking.

Problem solved.

Please read my support team and the team I support.

Bronwyn Green

Jessica Jarman

 

Song Flash Fiction: Near Anger

The song to inspire this flash fiction is Far Away by Nickelback.

You know I didn’t pick the song. It was Kris Norris. It’s always Kris Norris.

But the fans have spoken and they all had the same request. If you are a regular follower of my blog, you won’t be surprised. If you’re new, I am not going to apologize for what you’re about to read.

Here is my flash fiction, Near Anger.

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He rolled his fingers into his palm and felt the nails dig into his flesh. One, two, three. He counted, trying to control the rate of the cool air he breathed in and the warmth of the breath he exhaled. In through the nose, out through the mouth. He concentrated, smelling the pine in the air, trying to relax his muscles. He has moved here to get away from the city, the noises, the stress, the politics. The Canadian country side welcomed him with rolling fields of evergreens, song birds, and legendary wildlife. He closed his eyes and tried to imagine the majestic elk he had seen a few days ago while hiking a nature trail. The creature paid him no mind as it carefully moved through the trees, it’s form large and strong. Concentrating on the details and markings of the bull, he imagined he was on the trail once more, carefully watching in the distance.

A surge of screams passed through the crowd with the wave of noise coming through his window. He dug his nails deeper into his palms and the hair at the nape of his neck seemed to stand against his skin. This was his own mistake he realized, his self isolation made him ignorant to the yearly held festival at the grounds no far from his new, once quiet home. The sounds of cars, muttering of people, the clanging of set pieces and pop up vendors setting up their shops. He couldn’t handle it, he knew he was going to lose control.

He began to pace. His feet pounding the floor harder and harder with each turn back and forth.

People cheer once more and the sound of a drums being hit in no particular order make the walls of his mind vibrate wildly.

Stings of a guitar are plucked and the sound of the crowd crashes like a wave pushing the room into an out of control spin.

He can’t hold back any longer. The image of the bull standing with elegance in his mind charged away and all he can saw is darkness and anger take over, pulling at his skin so tightly the pain was agony. His tortured body grew, fed by anger, strengthen by pure rage. The scream that emerged from his lips was primal and wild as he took in his first real breath. His heart raced in his chest as he ran and burst his transformed body through the wall.

The outside air was cool against his exposed skin. He ran toward the festival following the sounds that had been eating away at his soul. Music was beginning to play and a deep voice came over the microphone.

“This time…”

Is the last time.

“This place…”

Is my place. 

“Misused…mistake.”

The crowd screamed with fear and then quieted to a deafening silence. He could feel his heart beating and his breath was quick and uncontrolled. It was a blur, jumping on the stage, pushing his giant fist through the air. But suddenly he was aware. Aware of the handful of bleach hair he now held in his hand and the man splayed lifeless on the stage floor next to a guitar shattered to pieces.

“Oh my god.” The voice of the drummer was panicked as he dropped his sticks on the ground. He looked over at the drum set but the drummer had ran away and abandoned his station. The custom made Nickelback emblazoned bass drum still shown brightly in the spot light.

“H…H….Hulk?” A man appeared in all black from the side of the stage, his hands were held out submissively. “Heh, Buddy. Ah…Mr. Hulk. You…ah…you okay?” Another man followed behind him and quickly grabbed the arms of the body laying on the ground to pull it off stage.

Hulk stood up to full height and let out a roar. The audience ran screaming toward the exits.

The image of the elk returned and a calmness came over his body. Hulk sprinted and with a few leaps, was off and back into the woods. He would run until he no longer heard the screams behind him. He would run until he felt he was part of nature. He would run until he was free of anger. He would run with long hair still held in his fist.

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Thank you for reading. Here are the other participating authors.

Bronwyn Green

Kris Norris

Paige Prince

Random Wednesday: Promptly Penned

The prompt for today is: Write about the three things he could never tell her.

I had think about this one for a little bit and I kept coming back to the same idea which is a story I heard on the radio. We have this cool little thing every Thursday on our local radio station called, “Second Chance Date.” One person contacts the radio station and asks them to intervene on their dating situation. Typically, as the name suggests, something happened after the first day and the person calling in is unsure of how to land a second date. In some cases the other person simply isn’t calling them back or one of the two people on the date really screwed something up and would like a do-over. The radio DJ’s contact both parties and put them on the air to work out what went wrong, why there are unanswered text or non-returned phone calls, and see if they can help set up a second date.

The couple that inspired this story is one of my favorite Second Chance Date stories. Though the hungover guy that had to use the bathroom and puked after curiously smelling his dates shoe and finding a used (but saved) pregnancy test in her closet on the search for toilet paper was pretty epic. He ended up bailing to a local Denny’s without telling her. No second date there.

Here are the participating ladies:

Bronwyn Green

Paige Prince

Gwendolyn Cease

Kris Norris

Please enjoy my Promptly Penned short story Devote. 

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She stared wide eyed at her ice water. With her back straight as a board she kept her hands under the table where they are only noticeable when she reached up to check the time on her cell phone before hiding them under the table again.

“So, Deadpool is not your kind of movie?” Mitch sucked in a deep breath and exhaled, deflating his body to a slouch over the table.

Emily looked up from her water. “No.”

“Okay.” Mitch straightened himself with confidence, determined to right his wrong and win over his date before she ran to the restaurant door. “This is good. You know why this is good? This was my plan. Go, see a movie, then have dinner so we can talk about it. You didn’t like the movie. That’s okay. What didn’t you like? Let’s talk about that.”

“This was your plan?” Her voice had a touch of anger.

Mitch shifted in his chair. “To be honest, I heard it was a good movie. But I didn’t want any spoilers so I was unaware of some of the…er…adult content?  But it was my plan to see a movie before dinner. I ran it by your mom and she thought it was a good idea. She said you can be shy sometimes.”

“When you were sitting at church with my mom, did you mention to her your idea included Deadpool? A rated R movie?”

“Well, no. I’m sorry I didn’t think that through.”

Emily relaxed slightly, pushing her long hair over her shoulders and onto her back before picking up her glass of water. “I also question your choice in friends.”

“Yeah, they will probably give me shit for this, too.”

She set down her glass firmly without taking a drink. “Pardon? Did you just swear?”

Mitch felt a ball of anxiety catch in his throat. “Did I? I’m sorry. It must have slipped out. I didn’t realize.”

“This is what is wrong with movies and T.V. I’ll admit, I am utterly shocked at what I saw today but it’s already clear how it is starting to take over. Swearing, nudity, violence. Desensitizing and undermining the value of sensible and conservative life. I thought I’ve seen it all but really? Masturbation jokes? I can’t even believe this movie was made little alone written. If my mother…” Emily placed her hands on the table and rolled her body back in her chair. “If your mother knew you took us to see this trash. Oh Lord!”

Mitch picked up a menu to hide his face and compose himself. He had worn his favorite long sleeve button up shirt which he now regretted as the heat of embarrassment made him sweat, the smell of his deodorant becoming increasingly noticeable.  “Let’s focus on getting something to eat and putting this behind us. Can we agree the movie was a mistake and just move on?”

Like wise, Emily picked up her menu and stared down intently. Her breathing, quick and loud, eventually softened to a normal breath after paging through the menu front to back, and back to front, a few times.

“Would you like to share a bottle of wine?” Mitch asked.

“Wine?” Her voice mimicked her earlier tone as if he had just brought up Deadpool’s masturbation scene again.

“No?” Mitch asked quietly.

“No.” She raised her eyebrows and studied Mitch, judging him in silence, before returning to her menu.

A waiter came around to take their order. Mitch decided to do what was best for himself and ordered a hearty pasta entree. If all else fails, he assumed it would make good left overs. Emily looked carefully at the menu before ordering a salad in defeat and looking away from the waiter as she held her menu up for him to take blindly. The middle aged waiter was not new to the service industry and he just nodded kindly. He then placed a small plate of olive oil with seasoning on the table and a basket of bread before rushing off as Mitch wish he could at that moment. Still, as appealing as exiting himself to use the bathroom and bailing to his car sounded, he had actually been on worse dates. Emily was a little rigid, he knew this, her mother had warned him that she could be “a bit difficult” as she put it.

But she had also said, “My daughter needs a good Christian man and I think you two would be a good fit.”

Mitch came to his senses on how he could rectify the date. “Your mom and I met in the church choir. Do you ever come to see her sing? She has a very lovely voice. She said you go to the church closer to where you live. Do you sing too? Are you in the choir there?”

“I’ve been to your church many times. I don’t care for it. I like a little more structure though my mom has introduced me to many members of your congregation.” Mitch offered the basked of bread to Emily but she waved it away before she continued. “There is, no offense, too much singing and lax rules. I understand this pulls in more members but it’s not appropriate to think of member numbers over the word of the Lord. Are you really going to eat that right now?”

Mitch held in his hand a piece of warm bread torn off from the basket on the table, dripping in olive oil.

“You were going to eat without praying?” Emily’s nose wrinkled and she pushed herself away from the table.

Mitch felt his cheeks burning warm when small breeze of relief washes over him, he realized he is out of ideas and patience, freeing him to be himself. He put the bread in his mouth and chewed with his mouth open. “You know. You’re cute and all but, this isn’t working out. I don’t pray before I eat my complimentary bread. It’s delicious though. Want a piece? Quick! Come-Lord-Jesus-be-our-guest-and-let-thy-gifts-to-us-be-blessed-amen!” Mitch tears off another piece and holds it out to her.

“First, you swore.”

“I swear all the fucking time.” Mitch shrugged.

“Second, you drink.”

“Jesus made wine. Hell, if he was born today he would probably brew some kind of artisan IPA.”

“Third, you took me to see a rated R movie.”

“Okay, the last one, might not have been a wise choice for a first date. Should have reserved that as a second or third. But who doesn’t have a little wine now and again or say ‘hell’ instead of ‘heck’ once in a while?”

Emily picked her phone off the table and unhooked her purse from the side of the chair. “I thought you were a devote Christian. I am devoted and my companion should be as well. My body is a temple and full of faith to God. I do not poison or defile myself with poor choices.”

“Whoa.” Mitch leaned over the table while Emily recoils in her chair. “Are you a virgin?”

Her eyes narrowed but she hesitated to answer. “Yes. My body is a temple. All true Christians save themselves until marriage. Aren’t you?”

“Oh, GOD no.” Mitch laughs loudly. “Are you kidding? I’m thirty! Of course not.”

“And you call yourself a Christian!” Emily stood up from her chair and pushed it into the table.

“I go to church, I volunteer, I pray on Sundays. I met girls while helping Habitat for Humanity, we had some drinks, had sex, and watched something rated R online with the wifi I steal from my neighbor.”

“You’re a monster.” Emily turned to leave.

Mitch smiled to himself. “Glad you enjoyed Deadpool!”

 

 

 

 

 

Random Wednesday: What I wanted to be when I grew up.

I WANT TO BE AN AIRBORNE RANGER!

John_bender

Have that in your head the rest of the day? You’re welcome.

This Random Wednesday is about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Well, I took a test in high school to help me with college placement which suggested I should be a farmer. I can’t keep a house plant alive but this is what happens when you say “yes” to enjoying the out doors and “yes” to having an interest in mechanics.

There was also a time I did a report on being an oceanographer when what I really wanted to tell the teacher I was thinking of marine biologist. I cared so little about the mix up I did a report on oceanography.

“My report is about the topography of the ocean floor. There are mountains down there. It’s also very deep. Any questions?”

I had no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. Make a decision, move a few steps forward, make another decision, rinse and repeat. That was my very boring field of dreams.

What electives do you want to take in high school?
Do you want to continue with those electives?
Do you want to go to college?
What degrees are related to the electives you have chosen to pursue?
What degree do you want to obtain?
What college offers you the most ROI for attending to earn said degree?
What classes associated to your degree do you like the most?
What skill set do you want to promote to employers to jump start your career?
What recruiter to you want to punch square in the balls for lying to you about the average income and starting salary for your degree?

That last question is very important. Because I’ve seen it often. This time last year I was representing the company I work for at a career fair. We took a tour and the professor leading the group discussed how much graduates make.

Dickless wonder was lying a lot. It’s a harsh reality for students and graduates when they plan to pay off student loans and find out their degree doesn’t make them the unique little butterfly with a decent income they thought it would. One of the biggest tricks colleges do is, “With this degree you can start out making $150,000 a year.” This guy actually said this on the tour. I cringed and wanted to tell the guy, “What are the names of the companies that are hiring for that income because I need to brush up my resume.”

In reality we were the companies he was referring to, encouraging us to be more competitive with our entry level salaries. I recall looking around at the faded khaki pants and the slightly warped collars of cheap company logo embroidered polos and thought, “No one thought they were going to be here when they graduated college and I’m sure no one here makes six figures to hire an entry level graduate at six figures.”

Don’t let reality bite you in the ass and crush your dreams, always plan to start out on the bottom and follow the same path you have been.

What entry level position am I qualified for?
What direction can that position take me?
How do raises and promotions work for the company I am at?
What can I do outside of work to show I am a motivated person?
What extracurricular activities are available in my career to make me better at my job?

Work to pay the bills, work to support a family, work so you can retire and take care of yourself some day. It’s also okay to have fun and enjoy work.

But remember to have hobbies to keep yourself sane, to make you happy, and if you are one of the lucky ones who is really good at what you like to do, you might be able to make money at it too.

This is my rant about growing up!

And to the ladies:

Bronwyn Green

Kayleigh Jones

Paige Prince

Gwendolyn Cease

 

 

 

 

Photo Flash Nonfiction: Destination

I’m halfway through my manuscript.

It feels good to have a solid word count but I’m going to admit it’s not easy and the amount of work I put in for April alone, was difficult. I kept my goal challenging but not too challenging that I would become discouraged and give up when I fell behind. Which ended up being a good plan because nothing panned out as I thought it would.

At night, when the kids went to sleep, I would pull out my laptop and get started. Around this time I would hear a loud thump over the baby monitor. That would be my son, practicing crawling when he should be sleeping, and smucking himself on the side of the crib when he lost his balance. He gets his grace from his mother. The whiny sound that emerges when he is mad at injuring himself, that’s me too. Before I knew it, the time I’ve set aside to write was replaced by rocking my baby to sleep for the second time followed by the clock reminding me to get myself to sleep if I want to be a sane woman in the morning.

Okay so nights didn’t always work out. How about mornings? Mornings seemed like a solid plan. I do arrive at my office early enough to beat the morning school buses and I have some time to myself. If only I had the self control to not check my work email. “Can you check this out for me?” “Can you change this?” “Quick question….” “I was wondering if you could help…” “When you get a chance…” I have this problem over rationalizing things and believing that if I take care of these few, easy, simple, only takes a moment emails I’ll have more free time later to take a break and write a few words.

Nope.

After my morning of writing was shot down by good work intentions I would approach my lunch hour. From here we move to the always popular around 12:05 statement of, “Oh, I see you are on lunch. Don’t worry, this will only take a moment.”

I do have a door to my office. It has a motherfucking window.

But some days, my kids did sleep through the night and I did get my hour or so before it was my bedtime. A few mornings I walked in and there were no emails or any other work detritus sitting on my desk. Finally, the occasional lunch went uninterrupted.

One key thing I did to help was take notes when I wasn’t writing if an idea came to mind. I might be sitting and listening to a speaker or taking out the trash when I thought “My character could do this in this scene!” to which I would find my handy dandy badass notebook that Bronwyn made me and write down the idea. It made those quick thirty minute writing jam sessions go a lot smoother when there was an idea I could work with.

Brainstorming doesn’t have to happen at a desk in a quiet area. Which is nice. Since a desk combined with a quiet area is a luxury I already proved I don’t really have.

This is the “what’s next part.” Well, editing what I do have to help figure out what I don’t. I still need to finish this book and I have ideas, I just need to figure out how to get there. I’m going to keep reading and picking up tidbits of advice to help me spot my errors and make sure my plot has a direction. As I said to Bronwyn a few days ago, “I don’t want to pile more shit on shit. I have things to sort out.”

The next camp nano is in July and I’ll be there. Not only that, I’m going to up my challenge by 10,000 words.

I have a goal.
I have a destination.
And bumped heads and unread emails be damned, I’m going to get there.

image (1)
This was the picture for our photo prompt today.

Don’t forgot to visit the other ladies!

Bronwyn Green

Paige Prince