“It’s MY blood, so it’s cool.”

There should be CRIME SCENE PHOTO HERE

“It’s MY blood, so it’s cool.” Is what I’ve been rehearsing all day, in case the cops catch me. The only thing I ever learned from being a girl scout, well besides that girls are mean, is to always be prepared. Have an alibi or good story ready all the time basically.

*Also I learned from being a Girl Scout, to never believe someone when they say they won’t tip the canoe, but that’s a concussion story for another day. There should be ICON here

This all started last night, I had went into the bathroom to check a weird spot I felt on the back of my arm. Turns out it was just a freckle. But I have a feeling it’s suspicious so I’m going to keep an eye on it, just in case.

That’s when it happened, I stepped on glass. A tiny piece, that my husband swears is not embedded in my foot. But I should note he has selfish reasons for me to believe this, since he’s the one who broke said glass yesterday while I was at work.

I limped around all night, and noticed I left a slight trail of blood everywhere I went. But I figured I could sleep it off, since walking it off was out of the question.

I woke up, to the dull pain being replaced by a sharp pain while I tried to work out. After getting ready for work I felt like I had everything under control. I applied a band-aid to the cut, then overlapped that one with two more, just to be safe, then slipped on my shoe.

*I keep a five year supply for a family of four in my cupboard, which last me about two months.There should be ICON here

But I keep getting this weird feeling that my foot is squishing on liquids. Which leads me to having to slip off my shoe, where I wholeheartedly expect to find a tiny crime scene.

So far there hasn’t been any blood seeping into my shoe, but I imagine it’s going to wait to let loose until the cops show. I’ve heard that when you’re bleeding out you need to keep calm, so your heart doesn’t pump as much blood. So of course the cops showing up and demanding to know what’s going on, would cause my heart to pump an outrageous amount of blood. Where the path of least resistance would cause my wound to open up and let the blood pour out of my foot. That would so be my luck.

There should be bubbles here
I can see the headline now. “Pittsburgh woman claims her blood soaked shoe and condo is not a crime scene, that it’s her own blood. Investigators are suspicious.”


There should be quote marks here
Notice in this correspondence he clearly knows he’s guilty with how he’s checking up on me, but he still won’t admit it’s his fault.

He’s attempting to be funny, to try and show he’s understanding, and not at all the one responsible for my foot being stabbed.

And of course for ruining my dreams of making a career change into “dancing”.

There should be INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE THAT MY HUSBAND IS GUILTY HERE

The Writer’s Blog Tour

There should be quote marks here
Michelle Gordon PIX
Check out Nicole Nally’s Blog Creative Musings

I was invited to participate in this blog tour by Nicole Nally. I first started chatting with the lovely Nicole on Twitter where she was so helpful in giving me advice on Tea. I knew how to make a mean coffee, but my tea skills were lacking. In no time I was making tea like a proper Brit, if that Brit was actually an American with no tea skills.


There should be PENCIL here
What Am I Currently Working On?

Depending on who you ask, it’s either the worlds largest book ever (what my husband thinks), or I’m jumping between too many projects (what I think). What I want to be focusing on is finishing my memoir Under the Hospital Gown or maybe Crohn’s (the MAGICAL) Disease. I haven’t even nailed down the title yet. I’m hoping it comes off as a humorous approach to all the things I’ve had to deal with since getting my correct diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease.

But since I don’t outline or really do any structuring, I’m not really quite sure what all it’s going to cover. So far I’ve went over such topics as crock-pot food, being attacked by turkeys, my love of coffee, eating only cheese for meals, and high school gym class being the causes of my Crohn’s. *None of these have been proven to cause Crohn’s, but none of these have been dis-proven either.


There should be PENCIL here
How Does My Work Differ From Others In My Genre?

First off not a lot of people write about Crohn’s (which is a shame). And from reading a lot of memoirs (both Crohn’s and Non-Crohn’s related) myself, I think mine will stand out as being brutally honest about my craziness. I’m not in denial about this at all, other things yes I’m in full fledged denial, but not with how crazy I am.

Seriously mine will be different because it’s making light of the subject/disease. It’s not at all going to be informative of the disease and treatment process. That’s not the goal of the book. It’s going to be pure spit balling of mad ideas, that might have caused me to have Crohn’s. Or at the very least things that made my life unpleasant.


There should be PENCIL here
Why Do I Write What I Do?

Well I’m writing this book as a way to kind of deal, with the disease, the toll it’s had on my life, my sanity. Writing about this subject helps me to honestly feel more in control of the disease, which normally feels out of my hands.

I found the love of creative non-fiction a few years ago and thought it fit my personality well. I signed up for a creative nonfiction class with the lovely Stefanie [LINK] and found a place where my sarcasm really works. Since then I’ve been writing short essays about all kinds of things that have happened to me. *Full disclosure, Ex’s beware, I will write about all the uglies (not ugly men, but ugly things we’ve done to each other).

I currently am also writing a fiction piece, it’s huge and growing bigger by the day. But I feel I’m no where near being ready to try and finish it. I’m a procrastinator. And I have major self doubt, it’s to the point of being plagued honestly.


There should be PENCIL here
How Does My Writing Process Work?

I’m not very structured honestly. The most consistent thing about my writing is that it’s usually done with a Starbucks iced coffee in hand. Some times I just get an idea for something, something will pop in my head. Like I’ll remember that time when my sister hit me with her toy robot so hard in the gut I fell over. I’ll usually open up Evernote (my lifesaving app of choice) and jot down the idea, in a list I usually have going.

Then later I’ll go through that list and write, or if I’m able to write at the moment an idea comes I’ll just type away. I always write with a keyboard, either on my MacBook or my iPad, then I edit on paper. Which I’m a horrible editor, ask anyone, heck just read my writing.

There should be bubbles here
I’m passing on the Writer’s Blog Tour to these writers . . .



Stefanie Wielkopolan PIXStephanie Wielkopolan

Stefanie Wielkopolan is a Michigan poet that keeps moving back to Pittsburgh. Up until the age of eight, she grew up in the family’s bowling alley in Dearborn, MI and she credits this experience for her love of a good dive bar, people watching, and writing poetry. She’s currently working on a new collection of poetry that includes poems about Gregory Peck, peace activists, co-op volunteers, ham and cheese rolls and bad relationship decisions. Her first collection of poetry, “Border Theory,” was published by Black Coffee Press in 2011. She currently teaches students ages 2-82 in the Pittsburgh region. You can visit her at her blog Hickory Smoked Turkey or on her Twitter page @onewaytosayit


Michelle Gordon PIXMichelle Gordon

A believer in Faeries and magick, Michelle has always known that her purpose is to help people through her words. It all began with a simple, four-line poem, about the seasons of the year. To date, Michelle has published seven books, and plans on publishing many more.

The Visionary Collection so far has four books in it. A novella called Heaven dot com, and three novels – The Doorway to PAM, The Elphite and I’m Here.

The Earth Angel series consists of three books – The Earth Angel Training Academy, The Earth Angel Awakening and The Other Side.

Michelle also created oracle card decks to accompany the Earth Angel books.

You can find out more about Michelle on her website michellegordon.co.uk and on her blog eata.wordpress.com

There should be bubbles here
As always I’m open to feedback and guidance (I know I need it)


Creating a Writing Ritual . . .

There should be quote marks here
In my recent Hells No post I got myself into this predicament when I declared I would have my novel finished, soon, very soon.

As I’ve made the decision that I’m going to finish my book before the end of the year, I know I have to get serious. Which means I need to have a writing ritual/schedule in place. Now I “just do it” whenever I have the time and feel like it. That’s great for my enjoyment, but not so great for producing enough consistent material to know that I’ll be finished in time. To rub in my husbands face that is (actually he’s quite supportive, I just like making things into a competition).

With any luck I get my writing room (aka the spare bedroom) back within a month. My husband has taken off some time from work this past year as he worked on getting another degree. Which first left me being a slave to my job and also without a writing room as he has filled it with dozens of over sized medical books, and well just his presence. I like my private space when I’m writing at home. I write in coffee shops but mostly just rough drafts, when I’m editing and flushing out the ideas I need quiet and privacy. I like to shut the door then pace. I know pacing doesn’t actually do anything, but it soothes me. Only if no one sees me actually pacing that is, or I’d be self conscious about my walk otherwises.


I read a blog post by Matthew Peters – Why I Write With One Eye Closed. Matthew wrote about writing first thing in the morning. I liked the idea of it and started the next morning. For me it felt like that’s when I had great ideas, as if I was fresh before the world got in and killed my creativity. But I also found I was too wound up to write. I came up with great ideas for stories, blog post, and other things. But I was a little too wired to actually write.


There should be PENCIL here
So this got me thinking, that I needed to set up actual times throughout the day for different types of writing.

There should be ICON here
MORNING
I want to use the morning hours when I’m fresh and rested to come up with ides. I plan to sit for half an hour before work just brainstorming ideas. I won’t actually do any writing, probably just jotting notes into Evernote for later.

There should be ICON here
EVENING
I found that later in the day after I get a little more relaxed that I write better (when I’ve calmed down a bit). So after work I’m going to plan on sitting down to actually write at length. Hopefully from the ideas I had in the morning. I could let them play out in my mind throughout the day, where after they’ve settled down enough for me to capture them into words.

I’ve also found that while working out my mind comes up with “missing pieces”, it feels like. The parts of the stories I just couldn’t get to work before. I found this by accident when I recently started being able to work out again. I think it’s a combination of me now using a standing desk at work, and of course medication (damn Crohn’s).

*Note it’s very dangerous trying to type into Evernote on your iPhone while using an elliptical.There should be ICON here

There should be ICON here
NIGHT
I also read how David Sedaris writes in a journal everyday, and I’m going to try to incorporate this at night before bed. I want to just take a few moments to unwind and capture everything that I think might be useful. Plus I think this will help transition me from staring at a screen to trying to sleep. I just started and actually find it relaxing sitting in bed with a notebook and pen. Plus this way you always have a weapon handy in case a cat burglar breaks in, think ahead people.


So with the ideas from above, I’m going to attempt to set up a weekly schedule. With my job/health/Dr Apts it’s hard to set up a daily schedule. So I’m going to first attempt to plan out my week, and days that I will set hours aside to do nothing but write. Then on the other days I’ll plan on trying to find time through out the day to do what I can. Even if it’s nothing but coming up with ideas in the morning, and writing in my journal at night.


There should be PENCIL here
A few other ideas I have:

  • taking a lunch break (I just found out some people do this at work, crazy right)
  • while I exercise, only because I always have great ideas while working out
  • in the evenings I like to head to Starbucks and get an iced coffee and work (but sometimes I get distracted by the #PPLofSbuxs)

There should be bubbles here
Anyone have any other suggestions?

Hells no . . .

A few years ago I decided that I was going to write a book, I was going to stop just writing and focus on one thing and finish it. That hasn’t happened. I’ve written more than enough words to make the largest set of trilogy memoirs you have ever seen. But most of it I deem is either not good enough, not finished, not interesting or well too crazy to be usable.

imageThe real problem is that I just write, I don’t outline, or even have an idea of where this project is going. Instead I just write. Then one day I’ll have an idea and spend a weekend writing on a fiction piece that simply must be written, until a week later when I’m tired of it. This is why I have a hard drive and multiple flash drives filled with numerous ideas and chapters for books that have since lost my interest.

I’m a procrastinator and even though I love writing, I’m procrastinating about finishing. I’ve read all kinds of books, and blogs about people complaining about writers block or not having enough time to write. And I always say and know that these people would hate me if they knew the truth about my life. It’s probably why I never reach out for advice. I’m never lacking for ideas or things to write about, and most days I can always find a few hours to just sit and write. Everything I need it right there, except the mindset I think.

Last Friday (the last day for submissions) I submitted 25 pages of my working memoir Under the Hospital Gown, in hopes of being accepted into a writing workshop in November. This is the first huge step I’ve made in years. Before this I took a string of creative writing classes, which were amazing and fun. But they seemed to just let me do what I love, write. At no point did I have to turn over a finished project. No every week I got to write a new piece to workshop, it was an endless stream of writing and I loved it.

A few weeks ago my husband asked, how was my writing going. He’s very supportive and ask that a lot. He knows this is something I like and gives me my space to do it. I work a full time job and then spend my spare time writing. So he doesn’t get cooked meals or clean laundry from me. And when I say, not now I’m writing, he usually just says alright and cooks himself a steak on the grill. So when he then followed up and asked, when did I think it was going to be done, the book I was working on that was. I just stared at him.

imageIt was like he was asking, when did I plan to stop being a woman or breathing? I knew in the back of my mind that the point of writing this book was to finish it, but I didn’t plan on doing that just quite yet. I mean it’s only been like four years. I’m not Jesus turning water in wine, I’m not even a writer by trade. I’m a Web Developer, I write code for a living that looks like gibberish to the average person. What did he expect from me?

I remember pulling my laptop a little closer to my body as I sat indian style on the couch, thinking how dare this man come into my home and judge me. I will not be judged by the likes of anyone who eats that much red meat. I looked to my dog, because she is always on my side. And even if she’s not she’s tiny and I can just pull her into my side. But that day she looked at me and I could see the understanding in her eyes, she knew I was working on it, and I just needed my time. I needed to write something better, I needed to suddenly be able to edit, I needed to just rework like 90% of it, then it would be, well not done, but closer to being done.

I looked back up at this man who I had started to now think of as ex-husband No. 4, and smiled. “Greatness takes time.” He just stared, it was as if he was saying he knew I was procrastinating. “I’m getting close.” Still he kept staring and suddenly he started to remind me of the husbands who had come before him. “I don’t work well with you grilling me.”

“I just see you writing all the time . . . and I wonder how big this book is going to be?”

I sighed and tried to think of a way to explain creativity to someone who had none. “Well it’s not all writing for the book, I do some writing for practice, to master anything you have to practice every day.” His un-creative mind couldn’t process it I guess so he continued to stare. “I plan to have something put together soon, very soon.”

image“I imagine one day walking into the spare bedroom and seeing nothing but stacks of your books all piled up along the wall, just heaps of papers with nothing finished.” He even went as far as making some kind of crude hand gestures, that might pass for expression with lesser creative crowds.

“I save my work in digital form.” I would never print it all out, then he would try and probably get his grubby hands and un-creative eyes on it. “And if you must know, I’m working on more than one currently.” I said it and raised my nose, as if I didn’t even think talking about creative endeavors could make sense to him. Again he just stared, as he ate something, I’m not sure what, probably something very unimaginative like a hamburger. “I plan to finish at least one this year.” I had no idea where that came from, and started to panic at once. I was not ready to give up my babies, no not yet, they were still too young.

“So you plan to . . . actually finish one?”

imageIt was as if he had taken my dog and slapped it’s tiny little face and made me watch as the tears streamed down her little cheeks. “Yes!” I screamed it loud enough at least the other three adjoining condos could hear.

So now basically I have to finish a book this year, because there is no way I would ever let my maybe husband, maybe newly ex-husband have the satisfaction of proving me wrong. Hells no.

Until I win the lottery . . .

The first week of Camp NaNoWriMo is over and I’ve written 13k words so far. Which means I’ve written a fourth of what I need to reach my 50k goal by the end of the month. 

This year I don’t just want to reach my goal, which I have done in previous years. But I want to take the time to be appreciative of writing. I do this as a hobby, it’s something I enjoy, and it gives me an outlet for things I struggle with. I’ve always found expressing myself through artful ways is a great stress reducer.

I feel lucky that I have the time in my life to be able to spend hours each night, and huge chunks of my days off writing. I know some people don’t have this luxury, they might have kids or a second job taking up their extra time. I’ve not always had people in my life that’s supported my writing so now that I have my hubster Gregory, who is always so positive and encouraging, it makes things easier.

So after this first week I’ve started to think about a few things. Obviously mental health issues, and all of my stressers. But more than that, I’ve been thinking about the correlation between doing things we like and happiness. So many people I know are miserable, in almost all aspects of their life. It’s overly simplified to say they’re miserable people. I like to think that they could be happy, or at least less miserable if they just found things that they enjoyed?

Me personally I get grumpy when I don’t get to do what I want, which is spending my time on me basically. I understand that I give a huge chunk to my job, because it pays the bills, and I’m not looking to be homeless any time soon. But in my off time I get very possessive of my free time. I guard it and refuse to let anything take it from me. 

Having Crohn’s I realize a lot of that free time goes to Dr Apts, blood work, test, and just the extra hours this sickness claims from me for being ill. So those last few precious hours I reserve just for me. This makes me always feel selfish, or at the very least anti-social when I have to turn people down for things. I always wonder if others do this, or am I really just a selfish anit-social with only a winning lottery ticket keeping me away from being a shut-in?

Either I’m a genius or insane . . .

After NaNoWriMo I had this beautiful book that was coming along well. Then this past week I started getting these crazy ideas for things to do with the book. Now I have decided to completely change the whole set up, everything and everybody is getting changed all around. So either I’m a genius who had her eleventh hour revelation, or I’m completely insane and need help? I believe there is a fine line between genius and insanity usually, and the line is grey and very hard to tell which side you’re on. So as I re-write this book I just slaved away at, I like to think I’m on the genius side.

I think the problem is I have lived with these characters for years and never really did anything with them. I wrote some chapters and played with their lives a little as I scrawled ideas down on scrap paper and stuffed them into a notebook for tomorrow. But this past month I didn’t just live with them, I ate with them, I slept with them, my every free thought was them, and what they were going to do next. They don’t feel like the characters I created anymore, now they feel like they have grown and become something more. And that I was cheating them with the story I wrote, like they deserved more. More pain, more drama, more heartache, more loss. The bad guys suddenly needed to do something good, even if for just a moment. And when I looked hard at the good guys I realized they were just as flawed and craving to lash out too.

So now I am writing a book filled with nothing but grey people, and I’ve never been more excited to sit and type. I try to push the macbook away at night and just take a few moments to relax before bed, but it isn’t long before I’m reaching for the notebook and scrawling more ideas. I wake in the middle of the night dreaming of their pain and half awake, still half asleep I grab my iphone and start typing a semi readable email for myself to read in the morning.

At this point I know I have to finish this, finish all the pain I created for them before I can have a moment of peace myself.

WTF November . . .

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

I didn’t do too bad I ended up being a few words shy of 75k, which was awesome. So basically I wrote 75k words that goes in probably a million different directions. Yes I realize that I should have outlined, or at least made big decisions before I just started writing, but it’s too late for what could have been.

I found a few things out in November. First that most people that commented to me about the 50k challenge did so negatively. What ever happened to if you don’t have something nice to say, then keep your mouth shut? I did have a few friends and my hubster be positive. I didn’t need a cheerleader or a group to encourage me, but I could have done without the negative comments. I guess it just shows most people are assholes.

Not to repeat myself but seriously I realized you need to outline! Now I’m going to be spending my December trying to put all this stuff together, lol.

Another thing I discovered in November is that I don’t know if I can handle another winter in Pittsburgh. Alright that has nothing to do with writing but a fact all the same. Here are some examples of places I would rather be right now, Athens is 52, Key West is 73, Paris is only 46 today but it’s sunny. We haven’t had sun for so long I don’t know if I really remember what it’s like?

Anyways I’ve made it and I’m more excited than ever about my book!

Creativity Sparks Creativity

I am always surprised by how much doing something creative sparks more creativity, even though I have learned this lesson over and over, but keep forgetting it.

I have been working on my 50k words for NaNoWriMo for the fiction piece I’m calling Mensonges. But all it’s done is spark a dozen other ideas for other things to write on. So as I chip away at my 50k, I am taking down notes and ideas for future projects. And as usual the only thing I’m lacking is more time in the day to write. I’m not making excuses at all. Because I am using every waking moment that I have to spare on writing, but it still doesn’t feel like enough. If only there was a way I could not work or sleep, things would be so much easier. Those are my two biggest time suckers. I could care less about watching TV, talking on the phone, or social interaction at all. But there’s not much I can do about work and sleeping. Since I know myself, and I need money to pay the bills, and even loosing a few hours of sleep makes me a zombie and basically not able to write anything worth reading.

So until they make an app that allows you not to sleep, or I can clone myself and have my clone do my job. I will be left to writing in the hours in between the two time suckers.

But I’m also trying to carve out just a few hours a week to really immerse myself in other creative adventures. I have a list of things I want to do lined up. There are a few art galleries I use to love, but haven’t been to in years. Also I am getting some tickets to some up coming shows in Pittsburgh. On my last cruise I was watching the nightly entertainment, which turned out to be just alright. But there was this one song a duet between two of the singers and I could feel the emotions actually between them as they sang of heart ache, and it sparked this feeling that I’ve tried to remember as I’ve been writing a few of my sadder chapters.

My problem has never been writers block how most people think of it. I can always write, but sometimes it’s more automatic and I’m not feeling it. Which shows in my writing. This is probably why I like writing in public more, that way I can people watch and see interactions between people. I touch of a hand, or a look between two strangers can be that extra little detail that really sets off a scene. Or makes you seem like a total stalker at Starbucks, but no one said writing was easy.

So today if you’re struggling or even if you’re not go out and be involved in something creative and I bet your writing will thank you.

Day 8 and I’m ahead!

It’s Day 8 of NaNoWriMo and I’m ahead by almost 4,000 words. Which I know that I can loose that advantage at anytime. So instead of writing before work I just came in early, in an attempt to be able to leave early and get some quality writing time in this afternoon. Well if I don’t fall asleep since I’m pretty tired right now. So here’s hoping for a second wind . . .

Day 5 of NaNoWriMo!

Well it’s day 5 and I am currently above my daily word count goal to finish by Nov 25! I had a small set back this weekend when a particularly mean barista tried to not give me my daily dose of liquid crack, also known as a White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino. But not to worry my enabling Hubster sprang into action and went down the street to a different Starbucks and brought me back a perfectly made Frap for me to devour with my vanilla cupcake. I really am spoiled.

So as Election Day is on everyone’s mind, my mind is on a world where there are no elections. Instead Kings and Queens rule, and they don’t have any political debates or tacky lawn signs.