Inside the soul of a writer

The Best Birthday Party Ever

A happier topic this morning and a continuation of my writing prompt series. Here’s the prompt.

Balloons … Streamers … Cake. I love a good party! What would be the best
theme if someone were throwing a party for you? What would capture your
all-time favorite things? What unique decorations would be used? What food
would be served? What music would be playing? Would there be costumes?
What do the centerpieces look like? What different elements would make it
the ideal party specifically for you? Capture the scene with your words …

My 50th birthday was last December. I hinted to my husband in every way I could that I wanted the day or days around it to be special. (since the actual day of my birthday was on a Monday) I would have to say he did well with the hints taking our family to dinner the night before and to see Christmas lights for the first time in the city we now live in. He also asked our entire church to sing to me when he was making an announcement after the service was over in the morning. I was not expecting that, and it was pretty cool.

What made it really special though was the actual day of my birthday. I’m a pretty simple person as far as decorations and centerpieces are concerned. It doesn’t matter to me whether I eat off of china or paper plates. I’m a meat and potatoes kind of girl who likes country and Christian music. So, when a good friend invited me to Shane’s Barbecue for lunch, I was very happy to get to spend time with her and wasn’t expecting anything else. Boy, was I Wrong! I write that with a capital W because I was wrong. Let me set the scene. I walked into the restaurant, and she came up and hugged me leading me to the back of the restaurant. I was bewildered because usually, ordering was done before sitting down. But, I walked back there and saw a group of our friends from church. It was a surprise party! It had been a long time since I had someone plan one of those for me. I was greeted and hugged by everyone and was especially excited to see my birthday buddy who turned 5 on that day. It made me feel good to know that I counted with these people because I struggle with that. Anyway, we ordered and had a good time talking and laughing as we ate lunch and the birthday cupcakes my friend had brought. People even brought me presents which was the last thing I had expected–mainly writing journals and Christmas decorations. The party was precious and made me cry. It was the best birthday party I had ever had. I’m very grateful for the community around me who showed me the love of Christ that day and who put up with me even when I’m not the best person to be around. I guess that’s what grace is all about.🙂

Hope everyone has a great day!

A Glimpse into Depression

This morning I’m going to let the words flow and see where they take me. I’m overwhelmed, overwhelmed with sorrow, and I don’t understand why. No, I understand why. It’s depression in its finest form. I’ve been told I do well with writing down things in order to understand them so that’s what I’m going to attempt by giving you a glimpse into my life with depression.

First, let me reassure you I am under the care of a doctor and am on medication to help me cope with this disorder, Sometimes though, it gets the best of me like it has for the past few days. I feel, today, like I have ants running around in my head. They’re fire ants so each time they bite I want to stop and scratch, but because they’re inside my head, I can’t. So, each nibble hurts and doesn’t stop hurting. It’s hard to explain the feeling to someone who has never experienced it, but this is the pain that’s been in my head for the last few days. One side of me is saying I can’t cope with this by myself, and the other is saying that being by myself is the way to go. So, I have a war going on inside of my head–not the way I wanted to start my day if I was being honest.

I do know God is with me. I know He is holding me and won’t let go. I have a strong faith that I’m not renouncing or denying just because I struggle with depression. Some Christians would say that my faith couldn’t be strong if I’m admitting to this, but to them I would say, ‘Talk to me after you’ve climbed out of the pit as many times as I have’.

No, what I’m fighting is feeling like I need to be by myself with no other human beings around. Feeling like no one wants to bother with or understand my struggle so why should I bother. Yes, that’s the battle. I feel alone so I think I need to be alone. What makes this more difficult is my status as an introvert. Being alone feels like a present to me even when I shouldn’t be alone, and I have to fight extra hard to push myself out into the world.

Another thing that makes my battle with depression more difficult is feeling like I can’t talk about it. People want to try to fix me when I talk about what’s going on inside my head like they would fix someone with a physical illness. It doesn’t work that way with a mental illness though. Yes, there are medicines which I take. For me though, depression stays at the edge of my brain, even when I’m in a good place, watching, seeking, wanting to devour the things in my life that are good. When I’m feeling at my worst, it accomplishes all it has set out to do. What I need from others when I’m in this place is a chance to talk, cry, or pray, but I don’t feel like I can ask because I suffer from depression and not a physical illness.

So, this is my battle today–wanting to isolate myself from the world. Sometimes I win these battles quickly and am able to go into the world with a renewed heart. Sometimes though I have to crawl into bed and wait for a new day to come so I can fight again.

I hope this has given you a glimpse into the world of someone who fights depression. Thanks for reading!

Another Prompt–Lines from Movies and Television Shows

This is a continuation of my month of prompts series.

Is there one line from a movie that makes you laugh or smile every time you
hear it? Or that you quote frequently? What’s the line and what’s the movie?
Do you remember it because of the film? Or perhaps because of the people
you were with? How would you persuade someone else to see the movie?

There are plenty of lines from movies that make me laugh. In fact, there are lines that make me cry too. If a movie or television show touches me in a particular way, quotes from said movie or television show will enter my quoting vocabulary, and I will use a quote when a situation arises in my life.

The quote I’m going to discuss today comes from the movie Independence Day. Not the one that came out this year, but the one that came out twenty years ago. I’ve talked before in this blog about how watching this movie on the Fourth of July every year has become a family tradition. https://writewhatyouknowdotorg.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/family-traditions/ So, it makes sense that this movie would also contain lines that I’m fond of quoting.

Here’s the quote: “I’m a pilot. I can fly.” Randy Quaid’s character of Russell Casse speaks this line to Adam Baldwin’s character of Major Mitchell towards the end of the movie when they are recruiting pilots to go up against the alien spacecraft. What makes the line so interesting is that Russell Casse is sobering up when Major Mitchell questions him and delivers it in a memorable accent. Memorable enough that I use the line years later whenever I am trying something new. I use the line especially if the something new I’m trying is difficult or nearly impossible. I do this because, in the past, I have had problems summoning the courage to try difficult things. Just like the character of Russell Casse. In the movie, his character touched me because, in the end, he did the right thing to save his children and the planet. While I don’t think decisions I would make at the end of my life would be so monumental, I would hope that people would look back at my life and say I did my best to do the right thing.

I would have to say I remember the line because of one of the people I was with when I saw the movie and a person who was not here yet, but who was growing inside of me. Yes, the first time I saw the movie I was pregnant with my first son and was with my husband at the movie. We are both sci-fi people and thought it would be a movie we would enjoy. It turned out we did, and we both have quoted lines from the movie to each other over the years. Even though the movie is special to us because of what it means to our family, I would think I could persuade someone else to see it by talking about the plot, the characters and the interesting science fiction elements. I would also talk about how the people in the movie ended up coming together to save the planet even though they had been so divided before. All in all, I believe this movie would be a great movie to see for anyone who enjoys science fiction.

A New Week and a New Prompt

I’m continuing with my month of prompts this morning.

Today, use all of your senses to paint a word picture. Pick an everyday
item. Describe it using five visual descriptions (what does it look like?), four
tactile descriptions (how does it feel?), three audio descriptions (how does it
sound?), two olfactory descriptions (how does it smell?) and one description
about how it might taste.

We have a tradition in my family of getting a box of fried chicken every Saturday after grocery shopping is completed and pairing it with Hawaiian rolls. The other sides we get differ. Sometimes, it’s mashed potatoes; sometimes, it’s mac and cheese. But, fried chicken and rolls are always a staple on Saturday afternoons. There are several places around town where it is available, and I think we’ve tried them all. When we go to one of the good places though, it usually has a certain appearance. The chicken is golden brown with crinkled skin to show where it has been fried. I can also see bubbles where the oil has merged with the skin and the chicken. When I peel away the skin, I can see white meat just waiting for me to sink my teeth into. Each bite brings me closer to the bone which has a gray appearance.

Picking up the chicken allows me to experience the roughness of the texture which is there because of the way the chicken has been cooked. Chicken which has been cooked a different way doesn’t feel the same when I pick it up. I also can feel the grease in the skin which gets on my hands and mouth. Sometimes, it feels hot if it has just come out of the oven. I can also feel the hardness of the bone underneath the skin and the meat.

I don’t think hearing food is something we usually think about, but there are sounds that come to my mind when I think of fried chicken. The first is the popping sound it makes when it is cooking or being reheated in the microwave. I took some of the leftovers to church for lunch yesterday, and I remember hearing those sounds when it reheated. I can also hear the skin crunch and the meat gurgle as I eat it.

Smelling food can evoke all kinds of memories. It can bring good memories to mind or bad ones. I like the smell of the skin as it cooks and the hardy, homelike smell it brings to my home as we begin eating.

And finally, the best sense of all when it comes to fried chicken–the sense of taste. The feel of the skin on my mouth, all of the spices combined together, brings a cacophony of music to my mouth filled with good family times and traditions.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Second Prompt—A Review of Agents of SHIELD

Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger all play important roles in Inside
Out, Pixar’s movie about the emotions inside the head of an 11-year-old girl
named Riley. Now it’s your turn to let one of the emotions have control of the
console.

Write five or six different emotions on little slips of paper and put them in
a bowl. Draw one at random. Write a review of a recent movie or TV show
you’ve seen using only the one emotion you drew.

In the first two episodes of Season 4, it has been easy to tell that the show has turned in a new direction. New elements have been introduced along with new characters. With the introduction of Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider, an edgier element, or one could say an element involving fear, has become a part of the show.

This was evident in Tuesday’s episode entitled Meet the New Boss. As the title suggests, we got to see who the new director was and found out things we weren’t expecting to find out. What was unexpected about the director along with the other parts of the episode added fear which upped the stakes and made the show exciting to watch.

The question could be asked as to why this is, but I think all of us who are consumers of media instinctively know already. Fear, or conflict overall, makes things more interesting. People don’t want to watch or read about people whose lives have nothing wrong in them. They want to know how people get through their problems and resolve whatever’s happening.

This is what makes shows like Agents of SHIELD popular. The people who watch it want to know how Agent May gets over her fear of her colleagues because of the pathogen she’s been infected with. They want to know if people will stop being afraid of the Ghost Rider. They want to know if the ghosts will be cured so people won’t be afraid of them. And finally, they want to know if people are afraid of the new director now because he’s an Inhuman.

So, Tuesday’s episode had more questions than answers. It had the emotion of fear as well as other emotions. But, mainly, it had the conflict that everyone who watches it has come to expect.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Trying Something New

I’ve been wanting to post in this blog more regularly, but have had problems coming up with content. That problem was solved yesterday when I received a free writing prompt book in my email from American Writers and Artists, Inc. It has a month’s worth of prompts, and I’m hoping to get myself in the habit of writing every single day by using it.

Here’s the first prompt.

What was your favorite book as a child? Do you remember? Did you read
it by yourself, or did someone read it to you? Did they do the voices? Were
you tucked up in bed, or curled up in a favorite chair? These days, do you
read to someone else? Do you enjoy acting out the parts while you read?
Today, write about a beloved book and relive your memories of time spent en-
tranced by a wonderful story.

I’m going to answer these questions on behalf of my younger son. He’s 17 now, but I remember well when he was in kindergarten and first grade. One of his favorite books was Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner. I read to him and his older brother every night, and when it was his turn to pick, more often than not, he would pick Skippyjon Jones or two of the other books we had by the same author–Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouse or Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble. He loved it when someone would make up voices for the characters, and I remember him trying to make up voices himself. These books were the first books he enjoyed reading, and I am grateful that his kindergarten teacher in South Carolina gave him a copy when we moved to Michigan in the middle of his kindergarten year.

Reading out loud to them was a precious time I will always remember. Each boy would usually want to be on one of my knees, and they would want to make sure the book was equally in view of both of them. It was a time my attention was solely focused on them and a time their attention was solely focused on me. I’ve recently become familiar with a song that illustrates how fast this time went for me–a song called Blink by the group Revive.
Here are the lyrics.

“Teach me to number my days
And count every moment
Before it slips away
Take in all the colors
Before they fade to grey

I don’t want to miss
Even just a second
More of this

It happens in a blink, it happens in a flash
It happens in the time it took to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there’s no stopping time
What is it I’ve done with my life?

It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink

When it’s all said and done
No one remembers
How far we have run
The only thing that matters
Is how we have loved

I don’t want to miss
Even just a second
More of this

It happens in a blink, it happens in a flash
It happens in the time it took to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there’s no stopping time
What is it I’ve done with my life?

It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink

Slow down
Slow down
Before today becomes
Our yesterday

Slow down
Slow down
Before you turn around
And it’s too late

It happens in a blink, it happens in a flash
It happens in the time it took to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there’s no stopping time
What is it I’ve done with my life?

It happens in a blink, it happens in a flash
It happens in the time it took to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there’s no stopping time
What is it I’ve done with my life?

It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink”

When we are in the middle of those periods with small children, it seems like they will never end with all the teaching and molding of character, with the preparation and cleaning of meals, with the washing of laundry, with…everything, but in the blink of an eye, they are over, and we don’t know where the time went. In two years, my nest will be empty, and I will be in the next phase of my life. My sons and I still read a book together at Christmas, but it’s different now. They don’t fit in my lap anymore, and I’m the one that’s about to go to bed. They are young men now, and we have a strong bond. A bond was established when they were small children, and we were reading together every night. My fondest hope is they will remember those times when they have children of their own and read to them.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Words, Words, and More Words

Words are a vital part of what we, as writers, do, so I thought I’d write about all the things they could do today. They are the smallest part of our craft. Words create sentences which create paragraphs which create pages which create chapters which create books. But they can also make us feel things. They can make us feel happy, sad, angry, disappointed, strange, bored, interested, encouraged, discouraged; the list of emotions goes on and on. They help us sharpen our imaginations by forming pictures inside our minds. If I read a book where the author has written a good description of his setting, I can imagine myself there and feel like I’ve traveled to a place I might not ever get to go in my lifetime. They are also a method of escape for me when I read as I can escape from whatever real life is throwing at me to enjoy the imaginary world of a book. In other words, words are the basic building blocks of everything we do in a society.

Written words are not the only words that are important though. Spoken words might be more important than written words because a lot of our communicating is done face to face. They can bring joy in one instance and then turn right around and bring sadness. From when we can first understand the spoken word, they help us form our concept of self. If the first words we hear are words that affirm us, we start on the path to becoming a productive person in society. But, if we hear words that demean us, that tell us we’re not any good, it doesn’t take much time for those words to take root in our inner being and become what we believe about ourselves.

So, words have power, power that I don’t think we realize sometimes. We realize when we are physically hurt whether we are ill with some kind of sickness or whether we’ve had some kind of accident like a broken arm or leg. Those hurts are visible and can be seen by whoever we come in contact with. But, words have the power to hurt us inside where the hurt is not as visible to the rest of us. We’ve all been hurt by words whether unintentionally or by bullying, and we’ve all been careless with our words and caused hurt. Words can form scars, but words can also heal. When I think of how I want to be with the words I speak or the words I write, I think of a verse of Scripture from my Christian faith.

Psalm 19:14 states, “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Hope everyone has a great day!