Monday, July 29, 2013

Happy 3rd Blog-versary (Plus 14 days) to Me!

July 16, 2010. 
Just an ordinary day,
in an ordinary life.
The day I joined the blogging world.
My little piece of the internet
that belongs solely to me.
So glad I found my voice.
Can't wait to explore more!




26 Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm

So, I expanded my horizons and got me a pretty lil thing called a tumblr account about eight months ago.  Stumbling my way through the entries, finding old friends, I discovered this one post that was a list of 26 questions.  Some simple, some deep, some dark, and some just plain crazy.  I thought I would share them with you and give you a little something to think about.  Feel free to pick and choose a few to answer.  Post them here in the comments section.  Enjoy!

  1. If you could get away with one murder in your lifetime without any legal, social, or emotional repercussions, would you kill someone?       
  2.  What is your first thought when you receive a message on Tumblr, are you excited for the idea of someone from potentially the other side of the world wanting to talk to you or fearful that someone will criticize you?
  3. Have you ever looked down on someone because you thought your religious views were superior? 
  4. Would you rather know everything the universe has to offer but in exchange lose all emotions or remain the way you are now?
  5. If you could live and be healthy without sleeping or eating/drinking, which would you cut out of your life? 
  6. If you could take on the exact body and form of anyone else on Earth, who would it be? 
  7. Would you rather burn or freeze to death? 
  8. If it meant it would solve all world hunger, war, disease and bigotry, would you spend the rest of eternity in Hell? 
  9. Was the first crush in your life something you had or something someone had on you?
  10. Could you live without having sex ever (again) in exchange for eternal youth?
  11. Have you ever watched a full length pornographic movie? 
  12. The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? 
  13. If you could have the ability to manipulate matter or energy, which would you choose?
  14. What was the worst nightmare you ever had? 
  15. Would you rather spend one year with your one true love just to never see them again or the rest of your life with second best? 
  16. All the sequels/remakes/adaptations/rip-offs in movies nowadays, good or bad?
  17. Would you rather be dirt poor and emotionally fulfilled in life or be rich beyond imagination and emotionally dissatisfied for life? 
  18. Do you have any (secret) feelings of bigotry to any group of people? 
  19. Would you rather be the only person in the world that can read minds or have everyone else in the world be able to read minds except for your own?
  20. If everyone in the world would automatically only know one language, which language would you choose?
  21. If you were old enough and not in a situation where it would be inappropriate, would you sleep with one of your (past) school teachers/professors? 
  22. A world without religion, good, bad, neutral? 
  23. The men's rights movement, legitimate cause or laughable, and why? 
  24. You can eliminate one of your five senses to substantially strengthen the others, which one and would you do it? 
  25. Do looks mean anything to you? Don't lie, could you fall in love with someone you thought was ugly? 
  26. Can you understand the mindset and logic used by the opposite spiritual opinion? An atheist understanding the belief in a higher power and vice versa.

The Writing Challenge 1,000 Words in 1 Hour

I've got a wonderful friend named Lizzie, who is a very accomplished writer/author.  Every so often she challenges her writing buddies to write 1,000 in one hour.  Oh how I had that gift!  To write 1,000 words that flow together and actually make sense.  Can I do it? 

I know that I can do anything I set my mind and heart to doing. But there will always be a seed of doubt in my mind.  When someone I loved responded negatively when I told them I knew what I wanted to do in life - write a children's book series for pre-school and kindergarten aged children - my dream was all but completely squashed and self doubt came rolling through me like a crazy train running out of control at 200 miles per hour.  That day I closed my laptop and didn't open it for over two months to write. Ever since that time three and a half years ago, I can't seem to get it all together and as Larry the Cable Guy says "Get 'er done!". 

These days I tend to doubt my own writing abilities.  So many days I sit down, open my shiny, relatively-new laptop and then I just stare at the screen wondering what exactly I should write about.  I can start a blog page and by the end of the first paragraph I have run out of steam.

I have so many great authors that I look up to. I would love to replicate their style. Heck, I'd even love to be able to sit down and finish up the children's book I started about two years ago.  But then that over-powering fear grabs me by my throat.  The tingling sensation moves from my throat upwards to my neck and shoulders and slowly overtakes my brain.  Writer's Block as they call it is the bane of my existence!

Try as I might, I cannot find a way past it and I save the blank page and I close up shop.  Days, weeks, months and even years pass and I don't reopen the partially finished work.  I glance past it when I am on my computer as if it were just a bad dream or a bad time in my life that I wish never had happened. 

Do I have works that I am very proud of? Of course I do!  But those unfinished works, that's what I use to judge myself.  It is what haunts me.  I know in my heart I can write a good story. I've done it before. But I worry way to much about what my audience will think, how they will react and what kind of comments will be left. 

Courage. Yes, that is what I need.  It lacks in my life, in so many aspects. And one thing I am lacking the most courage is to put myself out there for the world to see.  I fear letting my readers down.  I am afraid of being a disappointment to those who support me.  I am afraid of sharing my writings with those literary folks I look up to as my muse.

I have a very long, deep, dark novel sitting in my heart.  I've played the entire novel over and over in my mind. I know who my characters are, where the story takes place and the time frame in which it occurs.  So many details all bottled up inside of me, but I am too afraid to share.  I can't even bring myself to do an outline of the story for fear of not "getting it right".

Where can I find that courage? How do my idols do it?  How do they take that first step off of the ledge and land safely on their feet? Is there a store of courage that they secretly buy all of their super powers?  If so, how does one find admittance to this private shopping facility? I'll gladly pay dues to their special club. But then again, would I be good enough to become a card-carrying member? Or would I be just another drain on their talents?

I recently reviewed all of the drafts I have sitting in my To Be Finished folder.  Man what  a lot of junk I was working on.  Trying to fill shoes bigger than mine will ever be.  Those authors I look up to have the drive, desire and courage that I pine for every time I write. So many times I doubt myself, I lose the desire to finish the piece I've worked on painstakingly for several days. Never to be finished or published on my personal blog.

See? Even writing this meme I doubt myself. Will I finish what I started? Will I make sense? Will someone want to sit and read what stories I have trapped in my head? If they are willing to take the time and read what I've written, will they be genuinely interested?  Will I put forth my best work? Will I be proud of the work I finally finish?

Someday I know I'm going to find a little bit of courage and start that outline. Maybe I'll find a way to block out the entire Universe and just let the words pour out of my mind, heart and soul.  Maybe I'll fill up several thumb drives, each chapter puling you further into my story.  Maybe each chapter will mean even more to someone else like me than I could ever imagine.  Maybe I'll share characters that you love, hate, become jealous of or that become an inspiration to the reader.  Maybe I'll write the next great American love story. 

Once I get it all finished, maybe, just maybe, I'll share it with the person who gave me this challenge to write 1,000 words in one hour and ask her to review my first finished piece of literary art. I'll happily sit there quietly and smile, enjoying the sight of Lizzie's rolling eyes as she reads my novel which will lovingly be dedicated to her and her stubbornness on pushing me to write as much and as often as I can.

Love you Lizzie Walker! Thanks so much for the challenge tonight.  It's time to forget the world and what they say and think about what I've written. It's time to just let the words flow from the brain to the screen!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

November 3, 2012 - Bringing Back the Memories, Renewing Long Lost Friendships

Thirty years ago in June of 1982, I took my last long walk through the hallowed halls of the junior high school building at St. Ambrose Elementary school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A lot has happened in my life since those days so long ago.  I graduated from high school, completed a few college classes, loved a few great men who all broke my heart,  moved to Motown, got married, birthed and buried a daughter and brought two more amazing and loving sons into the world. 
In all that time, and in all of life's experiences, I forgot about my days "way back when".  I moved on.  Some people I stayed in touch with and others became a distant memory. Trips home were only once a year and time was  constantly squeezed tight running from place to place to visit all the people whom I wanted to see.  Along the way, friends were missed and some feelings were hurt. And every time I headed back to my house in Michigan, thousands of tears were shed.  A lot has changed about that during this last year.... all for the better.
With the advent of Facebook, one by one our class came back together. It started with our 25th high school reunion in November, 2011, when people from our parish started talking about getting together for our own class reunion.  People reuniting online and in person, our old circle that was in the past scattered, began to re-form itself.  Friendships that were thought to be lost were found again. We shared the good memories and even the bad ones.  We talked about the teachers we loved and the teachers we thought should rot in hell.  And we even we lucky enough to move one instructor from "teacher" status to that of a good friend.  Life as we know it, in my humble little opinion, got MUCH better.
Keeping in touch through electronic media has been wonderful therapy for me.  It lets me into the lives of people who I once couldn't go a day or week without seeing.  I learned about their lives and their children. Learned who lost family members and who gained new members through marriage, birth or adoption. I learned of their triumphs and their tragedies. I laughed with them and shed tears with them, even from 600 miles away.  Little by little, the emails, posts and comments turned into hours long "chat sessions" or, even better, long phone conversations.  The final result lost friendships were being re-imprinted on my heart. 
I learned that as much as things change throughout life, way too many things stay the same.  Or at least the people do.   As I reconnected with each member of our class online, I realized just how charmed a life I lived. Something that living so far from home, hating the state I live in, I had forgotten.
Last night, a lot of the people who saw me as the shy, introverted "good girl" saw a whole new side of me.  A side of myself that, in the past, I was never comfortable sharing. And I realized why - I never realized how integral a part of my life they were at the time. I am now comfortable in my skin with this crowd.  I know I'm safe in their company.  I can be me, not a shell of myself. They're home to me.  They represent a huge part of my life that when thought of only makes me smile.
When I left The Kitchen Bar in Abington last night a simple little country tune came on the radio. And the uncontrollable sobbing began... "Find Out Who Your Friends Are" by Tracy Lawrence.  And then, back at my hotel, I started reading the Facebook posts and the sobbing got worse.  Tears of happiness for having these fine people in my life and tears of sorrow knowing that I won't see many of them in person for at least the next year.  The tears flowed off and on all day long.  Then the pictures started getting posted online and they started all over again.  Every photo has a special place in my memory. The smiles remind me of what a great group of loving people came out of that school, no matter what we faced each and every day. We have a deep, genuine, unbreakable bond that no one else can possibly understand. I thank God every single day for each and every one of them.
Some of these people may not know it, but they've talked me off the proverbial ledge quite a few times and they have each earned a special spot in my heart.  Some helped me out when I was lost, without hesitation, without thinking of themselves or what they'd get out of the deal.  Some offered advice and some just an ear to listen. Without some of them, I may not even be here to write this post tonight.  They are truly what made me the person I am today, and for that I will be eternally grateful!
Love you all so much and glad to have you back in my life.  I promise this time, I won't let go - at least not without a fight!  In the words of Rodney Atkins, "THESE ARE MY PEOPLE! This is where I come from.  We're giving this life everthing we got and then some. It ain't always pretty, but it's real! It's the way we were made. Wouldn't have it any other way. These are MY people!"

Time to Pick Up the Pen Again

With the death of my previous laptop, so tolled the premature death knell of this blog.  But not so fast my friends.  Phyllis is back!  All thanks to a few short online conversations with a dear high school friend.  Thanks Lizzie for the kick in the pants I so rightly deserved and so desperately needed!

Over the next week or two I will be posting some old stories that I wrote out long hand.  And I'll be including a few that I have published at other blogs that I am no longer maintaining. 

My goals for this site?  To coordinate all of my writings into one spot, finish half written stories and share my life, my family, my goals and my dreams with you. Thanks for coming along for the ride.  I couldn't ask for better company!