Creative Question 23 – Wealth

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CQ 23 – What does wealth mean to you?

In regards to monetary wealth and material things, very little. So long as I can take care of my basics – food, shelter, clothing, and warmth – I don’t have much use for money. I am not materialist. I don’t necessarily want or need things, unless those things are books, candles, crystals and bracelets, my only weaknesses. I don’t have to buy the latest gadgets, spend money on jewels, or jet-set around the world. If I had money, I’d probably give the majority of it away to worthy charities.

I measure wealth by quality, rather than quantity. So long as I have a few close friends and am surrounded by a few caring family members, I consider myself wealthy in love and respect. Love, respect and honor are riches I would gladly accumulate, so long as they are genuine.

 

The Daily Me (Journal) Fave Color – 12/13/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

What’s your favorite color and why?

This question is a toss-up for me. My initial response is always black. I love surrounding myself with this color. My bed sheets are all black, my curtains are black, and one of my comforters is black (as are all of my blankets). I have black candles all over my room. Most of my clothing is black. My favorite coat and boots are black. I still paint my nails black and most of my bracelets are black. I prefer the night, because yes, it is black. If I could still get away with it at my age, my hair would be black and I would still wear my black eyeshadow, eyeliner and lipstick. To me, black is not evil or satanic. It dispels evil. My own soul is black.

But the reason it is a toss-up is because I also love burgundy and crimson and surround myself with those colors too. My other comforter is burgundy. My carpet is crimson. My chair is burgundy. Some of my clothes are burgundy and crimson, especially my velvet tops and skirts. I have a crushed velvet, crimson jacket that I adore. Along with my black candles are also blackberry ones which are burgundy in color. If I do wear lipstick these days, it is always a deep burgundy or crimson, and for many years, I dyed my hair burgundy.

These are colors that I associate with my love of all things dark and macabre. They also reflect my love of night creatures, like bats and vampires. It’s probably why I am attracted to ravens, as well. In pop culture, I associate with Batman more so than any other superheroes – I understand his darkness. My preferred music groups are Linkin Park, Disturbed, H.I.M. and Apocalyptica (and far too many black and death heavy metal groups to list). They all embody that darkness that I love to surround myself with.

I’ve had therapists tell me that surrounding myself with black, and dark colors in general, increases my chances for depression. And maybe they are right (for some people), but I tried the bright colors and pastels before and well, they just aren’t me. They didn’t cheer me up or make me feel better. They actually depressed me. So maybe these therapists don’t understand me at all, nor what makes me happy.

The Sandbox Writing Challenge – Loosening Up Exercises #1

Remember when I said I would eventually go back and do Calen’s The Sandbox Writing Challenges 1-23? Well, I am going to begin them now by starting with this first loosening up exercise from Roberta Allen’s book The Playful Way to Knowing Yourself which consists of Four Lists:

If you were asked to choose seven words to describe yourself, what would they be?

  1. quirky
  2. nerdy
  3. geeky
  4. solemn
  5. unique
  6. curious
  7. otherworldly

If you were asked to choose seven objects that have meaning for you, what objects would you choose?

  1. a citrine crystal
  2. an Orson Scott Card science fiction book
  3. a black cherry candle
  4. an autumn leaf
  5. a seashell
  6. a raven’s feather
  7. a beaded bracelet

If you were asked to choose seven colors that have meaning for you, what colors would you choose?

  1. Black
  2. Burgundy
  3. Royal Purple
  4. Indigo
  5. Crimson
  6. Copper
  7. Forest Green

If you were asked to choose seven places that have meaning for you, what places would you choose?

  1. The Outer Banks NC
  2. Maine
  3. Front porch
  4. Blue Ridge Mountains
  5. Roanoke VA
  6. Asheville NC
  7. Anywhere my laptop is

 

Creative Question 22 – Writing

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CQ 22 – Why do you write?

Writing is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s in my blood. Hell, it may be my blood. (checks) yes, there does seem to be some inky tar coursing through my veins. As a child, I would write my own fairy tales or stories based on mythology. In my early teens, I wanted to be a journalist. By high school, I was into writing poetry. In college, I learned the art of flash and short fiction. Now I even dabble with drabbles and novellas, and yes, still poetry.

I’ve rarely ever written for an audience. I usually write because I have all these characters running around in my head begging to have their stories told. I figure if I write something that I would enjoy reading, someone else might enjoy it too. What I don’t write for is publication. I could and probably should, but I am not that great a writer and I am just happy with the small audience I have here on WP. Truthfully, I am still in the learning process for writing longer fiction. The fact that I now have three completed novellas still surprises me. It also encourages me that perhaps some day, I will write an entire novel.

I also do a bit of journal writing. This is something I have done on paper since I was a teenager. If I’d kept all of my notebooks from those years until now, I’d probably have about 100 of them. Sadly, I burnt all my childhood journals, and I’ve lost other journals during moves throughout my life. These days, I do most of my journal writing online. Journal writing helps me to work through issues that are bothering me or to reflect on life in general. I love prompted questions and often seek them out, like this one from Kate.

The Daily Me (Journal) Perceptions – 12/12/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

How do you feel you are perceived by others?

Initially, not very well. I don’t usually make good first impressions. I am quiet and people usually take that as shyness. It isn’t. I am also observant, so I don’t generally make first contact. In a crowded room, I am the one sitting off to myself with a drink watching those around me and, if at someone’s house, playing with their cat or dog. For those who do take the time to make first contact with me, they will find a warm and caring person, but also a very quirky person. I don’t like small chat and I don’t care much for silliness or stupidity. I am far too serious a person for those things. That’s not to say I don’t have a sense of humor. I do. I just don’t do stupid. I also won’t be trying to chat up the popular people in the crowd because they are generally posers. I look for those like myself who are quiet and alone, but I still probably wouldn’t approach them first. I prefer the company of intellectuals because I love to hear how they perceive the world, but I often feel inadequate around them. I fear if they get to know me, they will think that I am an impostor since I am not well-versed in philosophy, psychology, technology and the like. I just enjoy hearing smart people talk about smart things. I am most comfortable around computer geeks, science fiction freaks and nerdy people, since I consider myself all of those things too.

There is also the dark side of me that makes it hard for people to get an accurate read on me. When people hear that I love horror and am a serial killer buff, that tends to make people weary. If they find out that I enjoy all things witchy and paranormal, love vampires and werewolves and generally prefer the night, then they really get concerned. I must be a total freak, right? Yep, indeed I am. If they’d met me in my 20s and early 30s during my goth years, they would have crossed the street rather than share the same walkway with me. And when they find out that at 50, my preferred music is still heavy metal, including death metal, they tend to really freak out.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that people generally perceive me as an odd duck. I don’t follow trends. I do my own thing, always. I am not superficial and I don’t like superficial people. I will try to get along with everyone around me, but if I find something offensive, I will call it out. If someone’s behavior becomes overbearing, I will leave and not care who’s feelings are hurt about it. You will not find me joining in on ‘the joke’ if it is at someone else’s expense, especially if it is cruel or rude. I am not a ‘go along to get along’ type of person.

Apparently my behaviors put me on the fringe of society. And you know what? I am okay with that. If it means less friends, then so be it. If it means less social interaction, so be it. Unlike a lot of people in the world, I am okay with my own company and all of my odd, quirky and strange behaviors.

#WeekendCoffeeShare – 12/11/16

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If we were having coffee, I’d invite you into the warm kitchen for brunch. We’d have a slice of south west quiche, a dish I learned from a lovely Mexican family when I lived in Oklahoma, and cups of Finca las Granadinas, a delicious coffee from Honduras. There’s a delicate balance between the spiciness of the quiche and the rich, bold flavor of the coffee. I think you will enjoy them both.

If we were having coffee, I would confess that we should have had this coffee and conversation yesterday, but my internet was down most of the day. We had an arctic blast come through here with high winds and below zero windchill. The company that my wifi is through had promised to winter-proof their system before winter actually hit, but some of their ‘optics’ (their word, not mine) still isn’t winterized. After huge gustings of wind that lasted several hours overnight, I awoke to no wifi. I have no clue what they are doing. I never had these kinds of internet issues in OK no matter the weather (unless power went out). I think this is a young company and they are going through a learning curve. I just wish they’d get up to speed, but since they have a monopoly here, they don’t have to hurry. They know their customers have no choice but to put up with their BS.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how excited I am that 2017 is almost here. I’ve been working through writing projects for next year. I won’t make the same mistake I did this year. This year, I had planned major writing projects for every month except January. In the end, I only accomplished four projects. My big mistake was not giving myself time off and pressing myself to keep going. Along with some personal stuff, this resulted in a major depressive break. Next year, I plan on taking Jan, March, June, August, Oct, and Dec off from major projects. So hopefully by the end of next year, I will have completed six major projects. My plans include more Horror Tales in Feb, Poetry in April, StoryADay in May, a continuation of the Jack Diamond story titled Raised Stakes in July, a vampire story in September, and a completely new story for Nov’s NaNoWriMo (still working out what kind of story I want to write). I have three projects that I will be shelving until probably 2018 – Killer Tales (about serial killers that I began in June of this year and never completed), another addition to the Astraeus story and a project I began back in college in 1998 that I hope to complete this time. I have a huge list of writing projects that I want to complete, but I am realizing that I can’t do them all in one year.

If we were having coffee, I’d invite you to read my paranormal mystery, Seeing You. I’d planned to complete it for Nov’s NaNoWriMo, but I was plagued with illnesses all during November and I had to take some extra time to finish it. The last part will go live today around 2 or 3 pm EST. So if you haven’t read it yet, you will have time to catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am mostly well now. Just a small cough left, but the doc said my lungs are now clear. No more pneumonia. Now I am taking probiotics from all of the antibiotics I had to take to get well. If I hadn’t been so ill, I would have eaten yogurt while taking the antibiotics,  but I couldn’t stomach it.

And finally, if we were having coffee, what would you like to share with me? Leave me a comment. Tell me about your day. Share something fun that happened, or something not so fun. 

This delightful coffee share is brought to you by Part-Time Monster and friends.

Creative Question 21 – Blogging Career

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CQ 21 – Please share a brief history of your blogging career

Kate also left some questions to consider:

What lead you to start?
Has your motivation changed since starting?
What has the experience been like?
Have you learnt anything?
Has your writing style changed?
What advice would you give to a new blogger?
And please don’t forget to mention some of the highlights along the way – such as the people you’ve met, things you’ve learnt …

My “blogging” career actually began in the late 90s (97 or 98) although it wasn’t called blogging back then. The term weblog had barely become a thing and wasn’t sophisticated like it is now. I taught myself html and began creating my own website hosted by Angelfire where I posted a journal and my poetry. Everything had to be manually updated. The first blogging site that I joined was LiveJournal. I think that was in 1999 or early 2000. I briefly joined Blogger in, I think, 2002, but I never really liked the format (still don’t). Around 2003, I joined WordPress when it first came out and have had various blogging accounts here over the past 13 years. The account I have now, I began back in 2006, I believe, but I didn’t get serious about it until 2011 when I began the blog A Whispered Wind. My themes for blogging have almost always been the same – journal writing and a place to post my fiction and poetry.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I have been using the internet for over 20 years and during all of those years, I’ve almost always kept some kind of account of my activities.  An online friend had a user board back in the early 2000s and gave each of us our own “room” on the board to write whatever we wanted there. I used Yahoo group boards and my personal manually-updated website during my Pagan Lake days on Yahoo Chat (2000-2005). And once upon a time, Yahoo had a section of your profile where you could have a journal of sorts. That feature (and Yahoo groups) was how I kept up with my friends in an online vampire game from 2004 until around 2007 or 2008 (I think) when Yahoo took that feature away. We used it to post story arcs for our characters in the game. Now, I just post here on WordPress – journal entries, stories, and poems. It’s funny… the technology has changed over the years, but nothing much else has for me and why I blog.

My advice to new bloggers are as follows:

  • Blog about what you are passionate about.
  • Themes can definitely help you to hone down your passion into one or two things. (Even Randomness is a theme *winks*)
  • Be consistent. Pick a few days a week to post or every day, if you are that ambitious.
  • Read other bloggers’ blogs. Like and leave comments.
  • Answer comments people leave on your posts.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned during all of these years of blogging is to have fun. Don’t stress about your blog or what you post. If you are building an audience, they will continue to return if you do those things above. When blogging stops being fun, it’s time to stop. Your audience will notice your lack of enthusiasm.

Happy blogging everyone!

The Daily Me (Journal) Out of Reach – 12/11/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

Something seemingly out of your reach

My dream, goal and aspiration, and they aren’t seemingly out of reach, they are completely out of reach. I’ve discussed this before. My dream has always been to be a college professor, my goal was to be a published novelist and poet, and my aspiration was to live in Maine. A financial mix-up in college cracked my dream. Severe depression shattered my goal and aspiration. If the depression hadn’t manifested, I may have been able to overcome the financial issue. It would have taken a lot of hard work and a job outside of my dream, but at the time, I was only 33 and could still have become a professor by the age of 35 or 36. I had the grades for it and the backing of a few of my professors. But that damn depression – I couldn’t easily overcome it. And so, I gave into it and allowed it to consume my life for the next fifteen years.

Now at the age of 50 and with my health issues, I know I will never obtain the dream, goal or aspiration. I’ve had a few people (friends and therapists) tell me to chose a new dream, create new goals and aspire for something more obtainable. They say, stop looking at what never manifested and look forward to new possibilities. And I do try to do that now. I know my limitations and try to work around them. Depression is still a major part of my life and probably always will be. I no longer have a dream and honestly, I cannot think of a satisfactory one. I do have goals. I try to write one or two major pieces of work each year, although I no longer attempt to be a published writer. I still write poetry when the muses strike. And I dabble with art now and again. I no longer aspire for anything great, like living in Maine. I am fairly content just to live in Virginia for now. My life has come down to simpler terms these days – make it through the day depression-free and write when my health allows. These are reachable.

 

The Sandbox Writing Challenge #67 — Can acceptance REALLY change relationships?

I am not sure how I missed last week’s challenge, but I did. Was this during my pneumonia bout? I think so. Anyhoo… Calen has give us another set of pondersome questions from Philip Simmons’ book Learning to Fall. 

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How would accepting yourself for who you are change your relationship with YOU?

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And thinking back to the person(or persons) you thought you could change, would accepting THEM for who they are change your relationship with them? How?

I’ve pretty much accepted myself for who and what I am. I’ve tried to change myself in the past for a few I had relationships with and all it did was end in misery. I have to be my authentic self, faults and flaws included. I think I am probably the most comfortable with my own self now than I have ever been in my entire life. And that’s a good thing since I mostly only have myself to talk to these days *laughs*

As for the one I tried to change, the estranged husband, I do now accept him for who he is. He is becoming a she and I think that is his authentic self. He hopes to begin taking hormone therapy next year and have the sex change in 2019. That will change the dynamics of our relationship a bit. For now, it isn’t a huge problem. If we decide to stay married, same sex marriage is legal. That could all change under this new presidency though and we could be forced to divorce. Our relationship at the moment is based on mutual respect. There is companionly love for now. We are no longer in love with one another and we are 1000 miles apart.

I think all relationships benefit from acceptance, of one’s self and of others. It keeps us from having to wear masks, be someone we are not, and then struggle with ourselves to be authentic. Unfortunately, too many people try to change others to suit themselves. What I find ironic though, once someone has changed you to be who they think they want you to be, the challenge is gone and some lose interest. I think that is why so many people cheat on their partners. They go out seeking someone like who you used to be so they can begin the cycle all over again. Such a sad state of affairs.

Creative Question 20 – Teen Porn, Pregnancy & Sex Ed

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CQ 20 – Teen porn and pregnancy are on the rise yet basic factual sex education is severely restricted they claim due to mature content?  What is the solution?

Knowledge is Power. Kids are learning all about sex by the time they reach the age of eleven (some earlier) and generally from bad sources – gossip and taunting at school and these days, the internet. I think we had a brief session of sex ed my sophomore year in high school. It was not nearly enough. I’d been taunted and teased sexually by male classmates from age eleven and molested by my sister’s boyfriend at age twelve. I wish I’d had some sex education before any of that began, along with some information on how to handle sexual advances.

Sex education should be taught as early as possible, but no later than  middle school as it is referred to in the US (6 and 7th grades), and it should continue to be taught until kids graduate from high school. But I think it has to go further than just teaching kids about the body’s anatomy and how sex works. There need to be programs on how to handle sexual advances, the proper ways to respect one’s own body and the bodies of others, and boys need to be taught that girls are not objects for their sexual desires and intentions. Parents need to be involved as well. They need to be taught to see signs in their children that sexual advances or molestations have occurred. They need to be taught how to monitor their kids’ time online and what sites their kids should avoid. Whether we adults like it or not, sexual issues begin earlier and earlier these days, and we have to stop being prudish about it.