A Mother’s Lament

Angry wilted flower of youth
trying to put a new step forward
Tired of pushing another to
do for themselves
Tired of the resistant wall
that can’t be knocked down
Tired of not being heard
or thought of
or appreciated
Cry through the heartache
Yell through the anger
Take a step back
let them fall
let them fail
let them hurt
let them know
you will be there
Suffering and loving
until they understand
for themselves
is easier said than done

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The Hump

I struggle. I struggle with such self doubt on my ability to reach out. I struggle with my need for praise that will push me to do what I love most. I write. I dream. I create and yet I don’t have much faith in myself. I understand this weakness. I know I am not the only one who deals with this. I believe all writers feel or have felt this way and it’s the getting over the hump. The getting to the “fuck you” portion of the process that becomes so difficult. I have been a writer my entire life. I learned to read at the age of four. I was one of those children who smelled the books in the library just to soak in the age and mustiness of the pages. I have at least two books on my shelves that I never returned because I just couldn’t part with them. Oh imagine what those fines would be if I still had the same library card. I beat myself up on a regular basis because I don’t think I have enough to say that would keep others intrigued. I am no different from the fashion designer who is so very talented and desires the recognition that such a fierce world demands. I am no fucking different than the woman wearing a skirt that she hates but understands the power of her legs. I am no different than the mother who wakes up at five o’clock in the morning to make coffee for her husband and lunches for her kids. I am no different than the teacher who taught me to use my words in such a way. Cussing, using flowery language, or speaking from the horrors that live within my mind, I am no different. I rant, I call attention to myself, I plead for recognition, and what have I done? Whined with fury and sadness and lust for a life that I may never achieve. I am writing for the wrong reasons. Writers should write because it’s how they breathe. It’s how they live. It’s how they cope. I will get over this self inflicted hump of mine and write. Flowery words may come through these fingertips of mine, but at least they’re mine.

Drunk

I am drunk within the confines of my mind
and I simmer with the light that shines through your soul
I delight with your music and your wisdom and your
smell and your sun drenched goodness and chocolate
and wine
I am lost to your touch and your spiciness and lust
I am cold with your lost love and your sadness and hope
lost within your own grasp
She leans into your heart
and your lungs
and your breasts
She touches your skin
with the longing of a child
She hurts for your lips for they
are untouched
And she weeps for the dew
that falls on your cheeks.

Crack in the Hourglass

I am an observer of time

We dance to the beat of our predecessors and
curl our tongues around false words

We ache to be understood
but don’t fight for the right to party
like it’s 1999

We nod yes Sir and No Ma’am
and how may I kiss your ass today

Where are the angry voices demanding
to be heard

Why do we allow the vulture of greed and wealth
determine our destiny

We are the X and Y of a booming generation that have
forgotten what they once fought for

We are laughed at and ignored and forced to march
to their tune

Go to college, get a degree, work to pay back loans
and tears and exhaustion and angst

For we do not use our voices or burn flags or raise
our fists to the man that condemns us

We are the lost generation
and we’re digging our own grave

The Fine Art of Etiquette

I, have terrible etiquette.  I would be the perfect pet project for Emily Post. There is a part of me that has a desire to be one of those women that send thank you notes to thank someone for thanking them, but lets face it, I suck at this small yet achievable task. I typed out thank you letters for the donations that I received for my 50 mile walk, in February and due to everything else that I have going on, I have yet to send them out. At first I wanted to personally write all of them myself instead of typing them. When I wasn’t able to get that done before and after Christmas I decided to type out a generic one and personalize them all with a little note. I currently have about half of them done. At this point I’m just embarrassed to send them out, but I don’t want people to feel like I don’t appreciate them. My husband seems to be this superman type human being that not only is a PTA President, a team captain of multiple non-profit events, works 40+ hours a week, and commutes to work via running or biking every day, yet I have issues just getting out thank you letters. I don’t want to sell myself short. I work full time, volunteer a ridiculous amount of time to raising money and recruiting volunteers for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, I organize all of the summer kids events at work, train for a 50 mile walk, currently training for a 5k and decided to add school to my list of things to do on top of it all. Yet, among these things, I seem to have issues with the little things that people do. I have yet to send a letter of thanks to a friend who sent me a lovely note when my Grandmother passed away.

 

I forget birthdays and anniversaries. I have an aunt who has sent me a birthday card for every year that I’ve been alive. She sends five dollars in the card until you turn eighteen and gives a larger amount when you graduate from high school. To this day, I know that I can look forward to her card making its way to my mailbox within days of my birthday and they always make me smile. It’s one of those little things that I have come to depend on. A couple of years ago I decided that I wanted to show my thanks by sending her a card for every year that she’s sent me one and I have yet to do it. Great idea, right? Now if I could just kick myself in the ass to just do it.

 

My fabulous mother in-law sends care packages or cards for every holiday. She sends my husband and I a gift card of some kind for our anniversary and ALWAYS gets me something fantastic for my birthday and yet I was the asshole that didn’t write down when she and my father in-law celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. It went right over my head that it was a big one.

 

I can’t help but feel that this is a lost art or am I in the minority. Sometimes I feel that if I only had a life secretary I would never have these issues. Is this too much to ask? Am I beating myself up for no reason? Or somewhere in my growing up years due to my dad working his ass off and my mom’s declining health, did I just miss out on these teachings? Please discuss. : )

 

To Judge a Book by Its Cover

I am a bookseller.  I am that pesky sales person that can convince you to buy a book or to put it back on the shelf and forget that you ever picked it up.  However, for those moments that there is no bookseller to be found and you’re browsing the shelves for that treasure; that one book that will change your life, personality, and pant size or simply take your mind away from the daily stress of being human; what is it on the front of the book that makes us want to read the synopsis on the back?  Is it the woman with the heaving bosoms being ravished by a shirtless man with pectoral muscles the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s in his prime? Or maybe it was the cyborg standing with a gun while looking back at a city destroyed by war that made you reach for that new mass market paperback? Could it be the title itself? Was the font bold and beautiful?  Or did you simply come into the bookstore to buy the latest book that everyone was talking about and the cover didn’t matter in the least? Marketing departments have to ask these questions every day and make decisions based upon those questions. The cover of a book has to also entice a particular audience. Is the title meant to attract a male or female? Is it geared towards a teen boy or girl?  I have witnessed children and adults alike put a book that I have passionately described to them back on the shelf simply because they didn’t like the cover and no amount of my sales expertise was going to persuade them. I have also convinced several people to believe they need a twenty dollar picture book just for the beauty of its illustrations.  We humans have become a picky lot and need visual stimulation.  If we don’t find something attractive to our own eyes, we have the tendency to pass it by.  This however can be a good thing, for it makes the artists and marketing departments improve their talents and stay current.

 

The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith was originally written in the early 1990’s. In 2007 the books received a new look for a new generation of teens and of course attracted those who had become obsessed with the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer.  If they had been released with the original covers, I have no doubt that sales would have gone in a completely different direction. Christopher Pike, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Orson Scott Card, Madeline L’Engle, Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary are to this day well loved authors, but would their books sell as well if they had the original cover art?  Gone are the days of long haired muscle men being placed on the cover of every romance novel and little green men on every science fiction title.  Teen books no longer have girls with mall hair and tight rolled jeans but have moved onto boys with dark brooding good looks or girls showing just their facial profiles.  Cover art and illustrations can make or break a perfectly good book. A childrens picture book could have the sweetest story to tell, but if the illustrator doesn’t do his or her job, that book will end up on the out of print list rather quickly.  With adult books it’s no different. A man will pick up a graphic novel with Wonder Woman’s breasts ready to pop out, but it’s the women that will pick up the paperback book with a woman in a tight dress, thigh high boots, and a bloody knife in her hand. Both covers show off a sexy image and yet the interest is divided by gender.

 

I have been doing my job long enough to know just by looking at a cover; the kind of person that is going to pick the book up to enjoy it and who is going to mock it with their nose in the air.  Some may call it stereotyping, some may call it pompous or egotistical, some may just tell me that I’m good at what I do. I can also tell by the body language of a child as to whether or not a book suggestion is going to be ignored or picked up with excitement.  I can look at the teen books coming into my section and usually tell without looking at the back as to what genre in teen it’s going to be placed into and whether or not the buyer at the corporate office is new to their job due to it being coded incorrectly.  That is the power of judging a book by its cover. That is the power of an artist and marketing department to entice, persuade, sell, or con a person into thinking that the book is going to change their life or just entertain them for a weeks worth of reading before going to bed.

 

Books I find are like wine, no one should ever tell you what you should like.  Like a spicy cabernet it doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy to be enjoyable. Sometimes the most simplistic covers make for the best books.  Sometimes the ones that receive the most praise are really as good as everyone says, while others may have you tearing your hair out and wishing for those hours of your life back. Never doubt the power of the consumer.

 

So, we will continue to judge books by their covers. We will base entire conversations on the silliness of titles and the beauty of Dave McKeans art on the cover of a Neil Gaiman graphic novel.  We will fall asleep to a book that a friend has recommended to us and wonder why the cover of that book shows the main character with blonde hair when the author describes her as having red.  We will curse Hollywood for destroying the image that we had in our head of a beloved character and laugh at the half eaten face on the cover of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  As for e-readers, they are the perfect tool to not have people judge you by the cover of the book that you’re reading and allow for those guilty pleasure reads that so many of us try to deny ourselves.  No matter how you decide on that perfect book, keep it up, for it helps to expand the minds of the artists that help you to judge the cover and us booksellers on our toes wondering what the customer will go for next.

                       

Some Nights I Just Wait for the Dawn

I am a night owl.  I am exhausted with my desire to come up with useless words to put on a page. I am hopeless in my ability to turn off the light and go to bed where a warm husband is waiting for me. It’s past 3am and there is no good reason for me to still be awake and yet I’m here staring at a screen. I have watched a movie, I have written in my journal, I have brainstormed scenes for my book that I hope to have done before I’m fifty and yet I sit here wide awake with no desire to go to bed yet.

We are the gatekeepers of our own emotions and desires. The nightmares that come are of our own making. I am adrift in a sea of my own rants and I can’t seem to stop it. The cat is snoring while I type random nothings and I have a desire to walk through my backyard without my shoes on just to feel the new grass on my feet. Maybe I’m already dreaming. This stream of consciousness makes no sense and yet it seems so right. Should I try to wake myself up or do I continue to let my fingers type out the words that shout at me from the voices in my head? I am craving apple pie and the scent of sun kissed sand and water. I have a headache and my mouth is dry. Time to power down the laptop and curl up next to the husband for I don’t think I can wait for the dawn.

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