Tag: novel writing

The Blur Called June

The Blur Called June

14 July 2018

Just before July 4, I received a text from a dear friend. She told me to stop slacking, having men chase me around and get back to my blog. After looking at my blog history, I understood what she was saying. June was a blur, which explains why I missed the remainder of the month blogging. Although I did spend some time working on novel, so not all was lost.

My birthday was weird this year. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have something planned for the annual (week-long) celebration.  This year I woke up early to go to the gym, met friends early afternoon for lunch, had dinner with another friend, drinks out with a bunch of single friends, and had an absolute ball hanging out with a group of First Responders from the Bay area (CA). Since Friday mornings are quiet in my office, my assistant and I walked to the student building to get coffee there. I ran into the CA crew again. “It’s the birthday girl!” “Karen!” “We missed you at the bar last night.” Sorry guys, I was busy-it was a night I had planned to stay in and not drink. And so on went the conversations. Between hand shakes and casual side hugs, I wished them a safe trip home once their training was done for the morning.

I am going to stop here to say my birthday week was interesting and there will be a few chapters in my creative nonfiction work…on schedule to begin writing this fall.

That was a Friday. I had to make a run across campus to drop off some paperwork. As I was leaving the office I was in, I opened the door and BAM! walking in my direction was my ex-husband. Even more so, had I stepped out of the office, I would have run right into him; the steps he was taking up were in my line of traffic. I knew he saw me. He looks like hell; he hasn’t taken care of himself at all. I immediately closed the door, stepping back into the office. I prefer not to put myself in situations where a conversation might spark with this man. I waited a few more seconds, that felt like 20 minutes, before I walked back to my office, dropping f-bombs in a text to a friend and my cousin. After that unexpected encounter I was reminded I did not need any validation; my assistant had witnessed the friendly exchanges with the CA crew. A point was made.

It must be a record to avoid an ex when you both live in a very small town. I avoided any close contact with him for seven months! I do a very good job at hiding in a small town. Very good. It also took me six months to open my new home up to mutual and new friends.

I am not the same person I was two years ago. I’m not even the same person I was a year ago. 250 pounds of weight had fallen off my shoulders; 68 off my frame and a ton of muscle added. To say I can bench press my dog is an understatement. My golf game also needs a revamp.

I have two homes: here in New Mexico where my life is, and in New York where my family still lives.

I spent that weekend packing for a trip back to New York for my niece’s high school graduation. I come from a large family. I am the oldest of my siblings. They all have children; my sister now included in that category. My stepchildren used to be part of that chaos, but those days are long gone (and they’re in their early to mid-20’s now. No, I have not heard from them. The oldest wears his heart on his sleeve and struggled with details that won’t be discussed here). In my immediate family alone, there are 17 of us. 17!!!  18, if I count my aunt (mother’s youngest sister) whom we are all very close to.

I love every minute spent with 18 of us…and a reason I enjoyed a few glasses of wine in first class on my way back to NM after my trip ended.

Toss in my cousins we’re close to, and we are the ones you will find sitting around the bonfire telling stories all night long because we all grew up together. Kristin, my near twin, is my partner in crime. We have never let distance keep us away. I’ve been to NH consistently the past three years, and it’s not stopping. She’s now begging me to move there, but I dealt with the snow and storms for more than half of my life. It’s refreshing to not have to worry about white knuckle driving in the winter, and I am truly spoiled by the sun and nice weather in the Southwest. I’ve seen more sun here than I have while living in NY.

In addition to my niece’s graduation, there was a family reunion, surprise 90th birthday party for my great aunt, and a post-party bonfire…although the bonfire was merely an extension of the day’s partying.

Seven days when I generally survive four, but I had a voucher and had to work within my budget and times with the airline to maximize the voucher. With family. A chance to see some friends; I would need another four days to see other friends whom I haven’t seen in ages. Six days with my adorable 9 month old nephew, brother-in-law, and sister.

And six days of bullshit. People bitching about other people. People bitching in general. People bitching about me and at me. Three days in I had reached a saturation point once again. My sister took a moment to talk to me at one point. She got it. She was in target range, too. I told her I understood why my ex-husband would leave the room when things became more intense and the complaining increased. I also told her, “I did not come home to deal with this. I’ve been dealing with bullshit for 15 months, and this does not entice me to come home again. Not for a while.” She talked me down from the emotional rung of the ladder. It’s also the last time I will be in NY without a car. We both agreed that we might plan to stay at a hotel the next time. It’s an added cost, but some things are worth it.

I didn’t like my sister growing up. There’s five years between us, but we, like all my siblings, have grown to be the best of friends as adults. It’s a shame our father never got to see us like this, and our mother got to spend ten years watching us grow closer. We certainly aren’t the perfect family, but after nearly losing my second brother from a 20 foot fall out of a tree early December, our bonds have tightened. Not even the best diamond cutter can break this bond. We count our blessings every single day. Being home to see my brother, still recovering, made some other things in my life so much less important while placing a few other items on a high priority list. Family photos being one priority.

My aunt went through our grandmother’s photo album when we all gathered at her house for dinner the night before my sister and I were scheduled to leave. She began to dissect the album, creating four piles of pictures for us to take home.

I am the keeper of the family albums from the very first one through 1987. My sister has the albums from 1988 to whatever our mother kept current. With the age of digital technology, the point to keep photos in albums is almost moot. I learned my brother didn’t have any photos from his childhood. The time for change is now. Plus, I don’t want to move 8-10 boxes of photo albums again, so one of my priorities is to begin to distribute childhood photos to my siblings and digitize all of them while I’m at it. The glue on those old magnetic albums can eat away at the photo, especially the writing on the back if not carefully peeled away. I also have new photo albums to put the pictures into and send them off to my siblings. It helps me with my downsizing project and gives them memories.

The Syracuse International airport is a mess while under major renovations. My aunt dropped me off late Monday afternoon (my 7th day in NY had come to an end), and after a long hug, she told me, “Don’t talk to strangers.”

Hah! “You do know who I am, right?” I said to her, laughing as I moved towards the doors inside.

I didn’t speak to many other passengers on the flight home. I was tired. I had suffered a minor sports injury before leaving for NY, so between that and sleeping on a pull-out couch all week, my body ached; I slept the longer leg of my trip. It took nearly two weeks to work the ache out of the muscles and be comfortable in my own bed again.

I also returned home knowing Duke’s time has shortened.

June went by in a blur: more writing was done with The Downfall, my birthday, travel to NY, then July appeared.

I love my family. Being home puts me back in the heart of my roots. The foundation from which my life began to build and grow. I am blessed to be part of such a large, close-knit family. Being home also gave me a chance to slow down (as much as a NYer can), unplug (since my cell signal doesn’t work very well), and appreciate the time given to surround myself, and be surrounded, by loved ones. I was the one who chose to move away from the daily drama 17 years ago, and thankful I can return to this home, complete with a different kind of a chaos that is quieter. The older we grow, we learn the order of our priorities change.

And in the middle of all of this, long before I went home for a short bit, Kiki (protagonist in The Downfall) and her siblings realized something similar. How they continue to grow as a (smaller than mine) family is written into the story. A story that is very close to being finished; my July priority, which means time out with friends, and meeting new people, has dwindled significantly. I can’t let the distractions pull me away. A writer can’t afford to see two hours turn into six if writing isn’t involved. It’s all about time management, and I have scheduled writing time back into my calendar again to help me with this novel goal.

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50,000 Words-It’s Go Time

50,000 Words-It’s Go Time

NaNo-2017-Participant-Facebook-Cover

31 October 2017

Today is Halloween, and I am dressing up as a writer.  Hibernating as a writer. Preparing to be more of a writer than I have been for the past 2 years.  It’s also the day before NaNoWriMo begins, and I am in the final prep stages for writing my next novel.  This is the story that must be written.  I believe it will help me in another stage of healing. There is a clear message in this story, and is one I hope to share with the world.

But first, I need to write my story. I need to write THE story.  In order to do this, I will have to revisit everything: all of my notes, journals, documents, and the secrets contained within some of them; a gazillion emotions and feelings (sorry, anger, fear, doubt, hope, joy, happiness, relief, loneliness, loss, despair, shock, and so much more).  I have a stock in tissue boxes because to write this story, I am going to need to feel everything all over.  Remember that emotional roller coaster I spoke of earlier in the year?  It’s here and bigger this time.

I need to write this story to take the next step.  To continue moving on. I poured my soul into my poem, “Youth Lost,” and was able to walk away feeling a little bit lighter. I hope this novel will give me even more of that feeling of liberation.

Some of my future readers might understand where I’m coming from because they’ve been there before, but our stories are a little bit different. Mine is about isolation and losing the one thing you thought you’d never lose. The empowering message is how to overcome adversity.

I need to write this story for me.

Welcome to The Downfall.  It is a work of fiction.  Events, names, places, etc. are fictional.  It is going to be an adventurous story that travels around the world.

Here’s a teaser before I go underground for NaNoWriMo.  Our lives were COPY. PASTE.

T-minus 3 hours. I will begin writing for a short bit at the stroke of midnight tonight. For prep work finished I have:

  • Blocked out time on my calendar, every day to write 1,667 words
  • Created two separate writing spaces
  • An exercise plan in place that will also help Duke
  • My plot written
  • My “Brunhilda”-my wine glass that fits an entire bottle; I’ll use it for water, along with several other super large cups. Alcohol is OFF THE TABLE! I will only enjoy a glass or two of wine, or a few beers during milestones. I CANNOT drink while I write this story
  • My grocery list ready, to buy more veggies and fruit to have on hand; have small bags of popcorn, nuts, and other healthy snacks in the house
  • Plans to have the phone in a different room during my writing blocks

I still need to:

  • Finish character profiles
  • Outline (something I don’t normally do)
  • Finish compiling my NaNoWriMo music playlist; I will be using some of the music I’ve put into three different playlists since December
  • Make sure I have a hefty supply of tea and honey on hand; I already have coffee, but will want tea in the evenings
  • Be diligent with staying on a keep-healthy schedule…the best I can…sleep still eludes me, and my appetite died (again) in San Antonio

I will be writing, writing, writing.  I also have some travels in between.  I’m excited. Some of my planned travels will keep me away from my sanctuary, giving me some breathing room to write with clarity. I’ll post on this blog every so often, because it will be great to switch gears every so often.

50,000 words in 30 days.  It can be done.  It has to be done. It shall be done.

My thesis-turned-novel’s protagonist was Natalie.  Meet Kiki. She is the new character in The Downfall.  I can’t wait for these characters to begin living, breathing and taking over the spaces they live in. When it happens, I get to hit the auto-pilot button.

Happy Halloween!  I hope everyone had a great, and safe, night.

Welcome to November-for writers, we know it as National Novel Writing Month.

the-art-of-writing  writer superpower

 

Aspects of Fall

Aspects of Fall

24 September 2017

Fall is officially here!  The temperatures are slightly cooler in the morning and beginning to drop more in the evening.  Here in New Mexico, the sun still keeps us toasty during the day.

I’m torn between which season is my favorite: summer or fall.  I love summer because of the dry heat; I can curl up on a chair on the lawn with a book and an icy beverage and get lost in another world, and I love to live in my tank tops, shorts and flip flops.

I love the fall because of the temperatures, which makes it easier to walk Duke early evening. There’s green chile that I will never be without in my life, and took time to package my own last weekend.  It took me the majority of the day, but was something I felt that I had to do.  Next year, I may buy it already roasted, peeled and cut, but for now, I’m happy with the 14 containers in my freezer, while also setting some aside to eat fresh last week.  I enjoy cooler nights huddled in a chair, wearing a bulky sweatshirt next to the fire pit; it’s the perfect time to play more golf, and, of course, football. I love receiving packages of apples from home, and my aunt sends me the different colors of maple leaves.

Unfortunately, the fall is also a season where every part of the environment bothers my allergies, and I suffer.  I’m not the only one; poor Duke is on allergy medicine for a few months every fall and spring now.

I created new summer traditions, and beginning to create new fall traditions, although every season and holiday now warrants a new tradition.  I am always thankful for friends and family.  I have turkey day plans now, which I am very excited about. I am off the hook for cooking (of course), but in charge of the pies and cranberry sauce. I have a new freedom in December, and plan to spend it with my sister, her husband, and my new nephew ready to enter this crazy world in a matter of days!

Fall is a great season to use for showing (not telling) in writing.  You can see it: leaves changing color, leaves falling off trees, crops being harvested; baseball winding down, the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta; feel it: cooler temps; a crisp morning chill that justifies why we dress in layers in NM; hear it: leaves rustling on the sidewalk, on the lawn, being tossed up in the air or in garbage bags; the echo of high school, college, and professional football games being played across the country; taste it from foods associated with the season: apples, green chile, pumpkin; and even smell: there’s a distinct smell in the crisp air, lawns still being mowed, the first cool night that causes fireplaces to be lit and the smell of burning wood infiltrating the atmosphere; green chile being roasted; I begin to bake a little bit more, and I even change my perfume according to seasons.

I have used the seasons and weather to show my readers where characters are in a story.  Weather can certainly play an important factor, as I used the howling snowstorm in my previous (unfinished) novel, Stricken, to set up the turmoil my protagonist endures.  Finishing Stricken, followed by Women in the Library, is my early 2018 goal after I have moved and settled in to wherever my new home will be.

I begin edits on Natalie’s story in October while plotting out my next novel for NaNoWriMo.  Another sign that fall is here, and I’m excited to have another focus once my October volunteer obligations are completed.

Life is certainly exciting, and I am keeping busy.  I am also focused on ways to bring happiness into my life.  I auditioned for Socorro Sings yesterday. Although I didn’t get picked to advance to the December 1 competition, all who auditioned were invited to return to sing a group song on that day, and I just might do it.  I figured I would have a better chance being published than picked from a singing audition, and I gave it my best.  It’s really nice bringing the arts back into my life.

While I’m done watching my team today, I do have the Red Zone and NFL Mix, on the tv in the background.  This is the perfect fall day to sit on the patio and get some serious writing done!

Images below by Karen M. Hellinger, 2017.  Green chile: from roasted to cooled to peeled. This is the good stuff New Mexico has to offer!

Soaring

Soaring

18 September 2017

This is football season.  I am back to my “fall” schedule, watching my New York Giants play, while paying attention to how the other teams in the NFC East are doing, knowing the tv will be on all day Sunday, Monday and Thursday night until playoff season.  Some days I have the Red Zone displaying, so that I can watch everything.  I contemplated not renewing my Sunday Ticket this season for financial reasons, but it’s really hard to live without it.  I’ve been an avid NFL since I was a child. And now I’m adding college football to my fall repertoire. This is really going to be a fun 2017!

For the first time in 2 years, I returned to an NFL game.  I met up with friends in Dallas to watch NYG lose terribly. I am still perplexed that there wasn’t a bigger focus on offense during the draft.  Our O-line hasn’t been cohesive. I am thankful the defense is strong… Hopefully, they’ll do much better for Monday Night Football.

So, this has been quite a week.  From suffering a minor hand injury the Friday before I left for Dallas, to flying back Monday morning, then dealing with a perpetual 2 year old deciding to tango with a skunk, a concert that was temporarily stopped for 30 minutes due to thunderstorms, the NMT President’s Golf Tournament, Saturday football, preparing green chile for freezing, and Sunday football.

I mentioned going to a concert.  A friend went with me.  I had lawn seats, but I wasn’t going to complain since the tickets were free. It wasn’t one of my top picks, but I wasn’t sure I would have the chance to use my voucher before it expired.  At least it was a rock concert, and at an outdoor venue that I enjoy attending.

I was looking down on the stage, and my friend noticed I was distracted. I began talking about events over the past week.  He pointed out to me that I had always watched football and attended concerts long before I met my ex-husband.  I was claiming to take it all back, but he pointed out that it was mine all along; I was simply sharing my experiences with him.  He’s right.  He does a very good job putting things into perspective when I’m trying to juggle with my thoughts, or attempting to piece things together to make some sense of my life.

Maybe that’s why he says I’m Karen 4.0.  I skipped the phoenix cliché, by not just rising out of the ashes, but jumped straight up from the ground, not even preparing to take flight, to soar. The same friend who once reminded me to be gentle and kind to myself earlier in the year was the first to comment that I am soaring.

I am soaring because I have the support of my friends and family.  I am soaring because I still fight battles (that many don’t see or know about) and I resolved to put “fun” back into my vocabulary and life. My wingspan is wide.  Everyone has a different definition of fun.  My definition includes: being happy, laughing, enjoying time with friends as if it is the last, talking to family; doing the things I love to do, and living life.

And my imagination has gone wild, constantly creating stories and poems.  I have a large file full of story ideas.  Or, the ideas that I capture immediately. I do not like being without pen and paper most days.

The time has come for me to wrap up the story of Natalie and Adam.  This is a good story, and one that should be read. The themes between this one and the next are going to intertwine a bit, so I will need to spend time including a twist to make each one sound exciting and new. Between everything else I have going on in my life, and watching my calendar continue to fill up, I am looking forward to the finale of the story; the sigh of relief with a large smile knowing my novel is as complete as it can be.

New routines.  That’s what I’ve found with the return of the NFL season-new routines and time management. I have music to practice, a novel to write, a poetry book to wrap up, friends to hang out with, a life to declutter, and a dog who is under close supervision after the skunk incident this past week.  I have finally gotten the smell out of the house, so now I am waiting to take him to the groomers to rid of any last remaining smell.  I guess most people would be terribly upset about this type of episode, but I have found myself laughing (with tears running down my face) because there’s nothing I can do about something that is done.  I simply have to clean up the mess, fumigate the house, and watch him closely when he goes out at night. Yeah, I’m still chuckling a little.  This is my first skunk incident.

I do like fall. I look forward to my NY apples to eat and make pies. I love football.  I forgot what I was doing long before I went back to school, but the only thing that matters now is what I want to do every day. I still take things one day at a time, and thankful on the days I only manage to breathe, but the other days that are full of laughter more than makes up for the harder days. This woman is soaring, but still remembers to touch ground every so often.

Photos: Hoffman hot dogs and coneys from NY-the only food to grill while tailgating with friends. Arlington, TX, for the NYG vs Cowboys game, Sept. 2017.

Welcome Back Old Friend: New Horizons. A New Story. A Fresh Chapter.

Welcome Back Old Friend: New Horizons. A New Story. A Fresh Chapter.

10 July-9 August 2017

This is the life.  Liberating.  Free. With no one to answer to.  I’m 100% accountable for my actions, and, did I mention, how liberated I feel? I am returning to old and new ways.

I am writing in places I’ve been, while experiencing new territories.  I’m living.  I’m laughing.  I’m happy, or as happy as I can be given each passing day.  I am in the slow process of healing, but I am nowhere out of the woods yet.  This is going to take some time.  There are going to be so many bumps, potholes, and other obstacles in my way, but if I remember the little stuff is not worth the stress, I can focus on what’s important.

I felt the moment when a connection of (still is) lust was made in January, and that was the final moment I began a long journey. However, this is neither here nor there because this is a new chapter to a new life, new beginnings.  This is the time of reinvention.  I am discovering what I want, what I don’t want; surprised by a few things I’ve done or have planned.  I am in the re-creation stage.  I am rising from a pile of ash.  My voice is stronger.  Fear has left me. I am more determined and motivated than I have ever been in my life to pursue my dreams.

So, let’s talk about fear.  The absence of fear doesn’t mean I’ll do anything.  That’s called a dare, more or less.  One of my fears was basophobia (fear of falling).  I could never get on the Tower of Terror without having a death grip on handles of the seat or against the wall.  I could never get on Soarin’.  I was petrified.  My first trip to Disneyland since my divorce was quite the experience, in a gazillion ways that I can’t even begin to discuss.  I was on the Guardians of Galaxy at least six times.  Arms were up.  With the numerous drops, I felt my butt leave the seat completely feeling the adrenaline rush.  I didn’t hang on.  My second trip, a month later, back to Disneyland was even more interesting.  My last day in California Adventure was an early morning.  Since I had done nearly everything during my June trip, I decided to try Soarin’ again.  Sure enough, I inhaled the experience without hanging on as if my life depended on it.  I watched the scenery unfold in front of me, silently saying, “Been there, done that.  Going to do that next.  That’s on my list.”  This is only one of many examples.  So much more will go into my next work-in-progress; hoping to finish November 2017.

My cousin put it perfectly. People are coming into my life for a reason.  I may not have the answers to why, but I’m not going to question it and simply take it for what it is.  I am learning to love myself, if, for nothing else, to be a better person.  I have a wide network of friends, worldwide.  I am thankful they are a part of my life, and continue to be.

I don’t need a career at this point in my life because I have made writing my career; I just need a job to pay the bills until bigger things happen.  This is my new dimension.  Welcome to my next adventures as Karen Hellinger, aka Karen 3.0.

Photo by  Karen M. Hellinger. 2017.

One

One

12-21 June 2017

Flying solo.  It’s not the first time, but it’s official. There’s more on that later.  However, the moment arrived on June 11, at 3:30pm when I turned in my very last assignment, turned off my computer, closed the blinds, packed up a dog and a human to spend time away on vacation (I still get separation anxiety when I board Duke).

Or, as I call it, the “escape I’ve been wanting since January.”  I was on a mission, a one week tour, and on a self-care program.  I was celebrating three milestones in life, focusing more on my birthday and graduation.  I was concerned about surviving the last three weeks of school.  I was simply trying to move forward one day at a time.  It was the hardest part of my life, but I am thankful I had the trials and tribulations because it gave me a focus.  This is something I’ve spoken of many times.

One.  It was just me.  “How many in your party?”  One.  “How many?” Just one.  Single riders inquire here.  So I did.  “Tell me about single riders.  I’m one.”  A few male cast members fought over who was going to give me a pass as a single rider on the Indiana Jones ride; the third one-upped them and gave me a pass that was even better, and more like a Fastpass.  It was my birthday, after all! They asked about my novel, that I am now calling the most anticipated read of the year.

I spent the best three days of my life at Disneyland, and completed a bucket list: physically spending my birthday at both parks in CA and FL.  I was at Walt Disney World five years ago.  Crazy how time flies!

I did my normal 14 hour marathon. I got the photo I’ve always wanted: an empty Main Street at night.  I ate a little, treated myself to a manicure/pedicure, a nice steak birthday dinner, and discovered the kids menu around the parks was better suited for my appetite.  I lost more weight.  I watched the fireworks on my birthday.  I spent time hanging out in Mickey’s house.  Sitting on the couch, at his desk, shaking my head at the kitchen, and his gardening tool house (still not for me).  It was great…and I forgot to get selfies!!!  Mickey applauded me, and Pluto gave me wet kisses.  LOL.  I want to thank the Green Army Men who taught the crowd how to clap.  I was on the bench finishing two beers before heading back over to Disneyland.  I was drinking when the Sergeant told a guest, “There isn’t any noise when your hands are open, ZZ Top action figure!”  and almost spewed the drink out. He spoke to “ZZ Top action figure” several times during their performance.  I am not afraid or ashamed to laugh out loud, and that’s exactly what I did.

I enjoyed my drinks. I found another new hangout place in California Adventure, in conjunction with the Karl Strauss beer truck.  I had a stalker. I met some new friends, and spent the remainder of my last night in the parks with them.  We met another person who was doing a one-day marathon and wanted to get in a few more rides before he had to leave.  One became three, then four for a while.  AND, there was football talk; three NFC East rivals/fans present: NY Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys.  (The season can’t come soon enough!)

I had the best time with me, myself, and I.  I was told if anyone could pull off Disney alone, that it would be me.  And I did it.  I did it all.  I would do it again. In fact, I’m itching to go back.  Disneyland is a short flight west.  I am also looking at a 2018 Walt Disney World vacation, before I say goodbye to New Mexico.

I have stories.  Then again, as a writer, don’t we always?  I spent time with my in-laws and helped a very special young woman celebrate her first major milestone graduating from high school.  I am proud of her.  She’s seizing an opportunity to pursue her dreams.  We’ll be friends for a long time, and I’m still proud to call her my niece.

If I can replicate a Carthay Manhattan (there’s still something missing), then I can do something with these lemons that are still waiting to be pulverized into the perfect drink.

I miss my patio days.  I miss writing from sun-up to sun-down.  I miss the days waking up late (because sleep still eludes me), not having to go into work because I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I couldn’t perform efficiently.  Several of my family and friends might be relieved to know the drinking has slowed down, and I’m rebuilding my bar.

There are new chapters ahead, but I can’t get to them yet until I finish writing the last ones to wrap up this journey.  I have learned a few more things about myself during the week away.

And for my thesis?  Well, I have approximately 50,000 more words to write to complete the novel, and I’m still writing.  Now, I call it work and make it a priority to write every day.  I have some back stories to insert, and a few clarifications to make.  It is an epic story, and a crossover where women’s fiction meets speculative fiction.  There is female empowerment.  There are moments of paranormal activity.

Stories, journeys, lemons, individualism, an empowered woman; a sister, a daughter, a cousin, a niece, a friend, a new friend; a stranger, a peer, a colleague, a former student…a writer.  I’m not going anywhere, and, as I mentioned, there are a few more chapters remaining here.  More importantly, there is nothing wrong with being alone.  There is a difference between being alone and being lonely.  I am far from the latter.  I encourage you to embrace being alone sometime!

Stay hydrated and cool!

Featured image: Stunning New Mexico sunset.  Below: Walt and Mickey.
Photos by Karen M. Hellinger.  2017

File Jun 21, 11 44 56 AM

 

Crashing

Crashing

9 June 2017

It’s another month of spending time on the patio, writing, reading, listening, learning, growing, and finishing school.  This is week ten!!!  Two long days away.  It’s short because today is Friday and Sunday is the end of this journey.  It’s long because I am working on my thesis defense, and other components of my second final project for my English class, and revising my research paper for my 20th Century American Literature class.  The good news is the bulk of the writing is done, and I can focus on revisions.

The fence that divides my yard from my neighbors has been in disrepair again.  It’s been propped up for several weeks now.  Nothing says vulnerability as much as a fence that’s on the ground, leaving a wide-open gap exposed.  The rabbits loved it, as Duke and I would discover them eating the grass on the lawn in the mornings and evenings.  However, I felt unsettled.  Add this to the wide range of feelings and emotions that hits me at any given moment of any given day; it’s not pleasant.  But, I am no longer responsible for something major like this.

Thursday was a chaotic day.  I felt like I walked into a storm, feeling the power of the waves crashing against me.  Because of a growing strength (on many levels), I felt the force bump me, knock me around, and try to throw me off my feet.  It didn’t last anything more than a minute before I realized what was really happening.  I walked up to and through the waves, walking past the sound of them whipping and whirling, making contact and impacting rocks and the shore.  The shock factor that followed was watching me walk away. And I didn’t look back as the door closed behind me.

The next storm that soon followed was more like a shipwreck.  I braced myself.  I observed the storm, taunting me to with a destructive force, chiding, searching for any loose items that could easily be manipulated and pulled away by the brute force of wind and water. I survived, with the boat intact, but slightly battered and bruised.

A third storm of waves was released later in the evening.  I stumbled. I phoned a friend, discussing the storm, as I was in the moment, and we talked for hours.  It is nice to have friends to turn to at all hours of the day, but I still spend the worst parts of the night piecing together moments of my life alone. I still attempt to wrap my head around the train wreck that hit me at full speed not so long ago.  The short duration, and the lightning speed of actions to immediately follow, makes it nearly impossible.  But, I think I found a book that might help me understand more.  We’ll see.

Sleep still eludes me.  The adrenaline continues to pump through every crevice of my body.  The big crash is coming, but, as my friend and I agreed knowing who I am, it will occur in smaller waves, not being as dramatic…which will be rather refreshing.  But it is coming.

My revised thesis was turned in this past Sunday.  It was complete, as far as the assignment dictated.  But, to begin querying an agent or editor it still needs approximately 50,000 more words.  This means the story is not over yet!  A few edits were made, including changing the name of Nick to Adam.  It seemed to suit the character better.  He was fleshed out a little more, enough to satisfy the final thesis.  What I discovered was his back story that will be written as part of the 50k words to turn it into a complete work of fiction.  I will admit there was one moment when I thought about the 138 page thesis, pitching it as-is.  It is a great product of how hard I’ve worked for 15 months, and writing it in less than 7 months. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby as a short novel, and the book is brilliant!  I had a rock star moment thinking mine could be just as brilliant, but the reality is if I pitched it today, it would be too short.  It still needs more.  I know exactly what I have to do, and will not waste any time writing to reach “The End.”

I am battered, beaten, torn down a little, vulnerable, uneasy, exposed, uncomfortable.  However, I am freakishly strong, independent, learning how to walk through the forces of water after walking through fire, empowered, and finding the right tools to deal with the extremely bruised psyche.  The fence is temporarily repaired, and even single boards have been reattached, so I feel safe once again. I  am focused on finishing the last remaining days of my education strong.  The final chapters of this journey are almost written to its own completion.  The bushel of lemons is on my counter again as I try to make the ultimate lemonade.  “YOU CAN DO THIS” remains on my computer monitor as I force my way through the storm that’s not quite over yet.

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