You know those pain flares when you end up crying? Yeah, I just pulled through one of those. I think it was the Saharan dust storm. But I don’t want to just complain. It’s more of an explanation of why I’ve been gone for so long, in case anyone noticed.
I became a Super Contributor for The Mighty and had my resume forwarded to the CEO of Junebug Weddings. Both are paid positions, and I am extremely excited.
When I talked to The Mighty about being a Super Contributor, I explained I was elated but confused, as most of my articles hardly have any likes on them. They explained that it was more about my persistence and creativity that they wanted to make me a Super Contributor. I have somewhere around 12 articles written with them.
Persistence means a lot, friends. If you’re struggling, don’t give up, and maybe read a book. That’s where I’m at with my book writing – I’m reading other wedding books right now for inspiration, and it’s helping a ton.
If you read this I’m sending you love vibes from my part of the universe. Thanks for reading.
As I am awaiting to hear from agents and my freelance editor, I’ve heard the old advice to move on to my next project. But which one? I have half a dozen projects the way I read half a dozen books at once. I wear out easily, and then the soul-consuming anxiety sets in again.
What if I get rejected again? What if this initial contact is all a ruse? What if the direction my editor wants me to go is not what I originally intended?
So, I’ve discovered flash fiction. I know, most of you in the literary world may be rolling your eyes at me, going “How does she not know about flash fiction?” Well, I had my head in the sand for a long time when it came to my natural talents. For example, I made all A’s in my English classes from Kindergarten to Graduate School but never really put much stock in being a writer, excluding my Technical Writing master’s program of course. And when I had a horrible boyfriend tell me I was too fragile for the art world, I gave up my art dreams to be with him. I ended up with PTSD from that relationship and a blackened inside because of that.
Enough about all this emo BS. What is flash fiction?
Flash fiction is fiction under 1000 words. It’s the perfect thing for me to work on for a day or two and then hop on to something else. Right now I’m working on some sci-fi. Only having a 1000 word count makes me feel accomplished once it’s done, and then I polish it up over a day or two while working on another flash fiction project.
In the past, I was an art student studying graphic design. It was my dream to create beautiful things for others. But then I dated some jerk who told me I was too fragile to spend time in the studio without him, and I switched to the liberal arts.
It was the greatest regret of my life. I vowed that I would never let anyone or anything keep me from achieving my goals.
As some of you may know, I’m in the process of being published. I will be talking about this a lot for more than one reason, namely because it’s an emotional rollercoaster, and anyone who reads this blog knows I am pure emotion. I am 100% F in the INFP.
My post yesterday revealed the staggering amount of rejections I received in a month as well as someone attempting to con me. I’m not giving up, but I do need self-encouragement on my journey.
A weird thing I like to do is go back to my art roots and design dummy covers. Every morning I design about 6 and choose one to three that I like best. I choose my favorite to be my wallpaper on my phone and computer, and the grand slam of the week is printed out and taped to my desk. It helps me imagine a book on the shelf.
I have a creative vision of what the book will look like: delicate, cute watercolors. Because the book covers so many different types of conditions, I wanted a classy way to be inclusive. No bodies will be represented with images. No mobility aid depicted in a pictorial form. Just symbolic representations of what it means to traipse along the wedding planning process in a whimsical way. The book is full of whimsy.
The book needs to communicate that the differently abled, disabled, and chronically ill are people who are loved. People love us. The world needs to know that.
And with my pep talk, I hope you are looking forward to the weekend, and have a happy Thursday.
The following is an excerpt from my memoir draft. I was trying to be funny but I think it came out sad. You should let me know.
Nobody ever told me this, but I had the notion I was a fool child.
My parents both had two hour commutes one-way. I grew up in an industrial oil town and was quite literally born in a hospital overlooking a bayou. As I grew up, I would come to play baseball in swamps, and do other generally dangerous things even by 1990s parents standards. There were even a few times I was stopped by police for playing, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s get back to this one point in time, when I was three years old.
Because my parents had two hour commutes one-way, I almost never saw them. I woke up at 3am every day with my father, who I spent the most time with and therefore liked the most. My father had a calm, gentle voice and worked at NASA Mission Control. Sometimes when he worked weekends, which he very often did, he would take me with him. I felt like my own version of a scientist sending rockets to the moon. Now that I’m older, all I remember were the Florida pink walls and the potted palm trees inside the building up the flight of stairs before you made it inside security clearance. It was supposed to make the place look unassuming.
This morning was not a NASA morning. Today I was going to daycare, and I did not want to spend more than 12 hours alone with a group of kids that hated me.
Ever since I could remember at daycare, the other kids were mean. My three year old brain couldn’t register it, but they didn’t understand me and I didn’t understand them. They came from blue-collar working class backgrounds compared to my highly educated parents. My father had a Master’s degree in Computer Science and my mother graduated second in her engineering class from Louisiana Tech with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. This was almost unheard of in the South at her time, the 1970s. I sensed some sort of class difference the day I proclaimed my family was rich because I could see with my two eyeballs that our house was the biggest house in our neighborhood. The kids responded that if I was, I wouldn’t be at this daycare. I had no comebacks. When I told my mother, she chastised me, saying it was never good to flaunt your wealth. Honestly, I just wanted the kids to finally like me, I explained. Mom said that you get people to like you by talking about things they like, but I wasn’t allowed to like anything they liked.
My classmates liked the Spice Girls. I once faked knowledge and attempted to play along. They sassed me, proclaiming that I was Scary Spice. I had no idea who that was, but it sounded bad. Defensive, I explained I was not Scary Spice. I was Princess Spice (who I would in seconds learn did not exist). The girls explained I was Scary Spice because of my ugly curly hair and my mean personality. No, I said. My hair is not ugly and I am not mean. Yes, you are, they proclaimed. Go away.
I was not intentionally mean. I did not know what I did wrong. What was mean? Who was Scary Spice? I needed to investigate.
That evening my parents went to Walmart. I begged to go to the toy section, and they obliged. I saw a set of Spice Girl barbie dolls. Scary Spice was the darker skinned, dressed in black, curly haired doll. I was appalled, but I knew I needed these dolls for science. As soon as I picked up the dolls, my mother shrieked, “Put those down! Those dolls are bad girls. If you get those dolls you will become a bad girl!”
“But my friends want them!” I said boldly.
Now my father joined in, bellowing in his former 1980s preacher voice, “Meara, you have bad friends! They will only hurt you with those dolls! We don’t want you to be a girl like the Spice Girls so you must put them down!”
“How do you know that the spice girls will make me bad?” I sassed a little with my tone.
My father turned red and snatched the dolls from my arms while my mother dragged me out of the store. I was promptly spanked in the parking lot.
The next day, my father woke me up at 3am per usual, but I was numb. A strange liquid formed under my newly grown exoskeleton that appeared overnight. I wasn’t sure what it was, but the whole world knew when he dropped me off at daycare. It was an emotional bomb.
As my father walked me inside the window paned doors, I clung to the doorknob and sobbed. “Don’t go,” I wept defeatedly. “Don’t go, please don’t leave me here.” I slumped to the floor and bawled. “DON’T LEAVE ME HERE. I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE.”
My shot of negativity into the universe was duly answered when playtime came around that day.
It was clean-up, and I was sassing the “Everybody do your share” song as was my custom, when four little tykes ambushed me, put me in the toy box, and sat on it. I banged against the top. My meager three-year-old arms were not strong enough for four other toddlers. I screamed and cried. Eventually, the box moved, and in front of me stood another nemesis: a teacher.
I didn’t like the teachers, but I had to tell on these kids. But I hadn’t seen who they were. It did happen, though.
“What got you crying today Miss Glum?” the teacher queried. She didn’t use my name. I liked my name. And she used that kid voice my parents never used.
“The kids put me in the toy box,” I whined.
“That’s not possible. Quit lying.”
Quit lying. The story of my life already. My daycare teachers thought I was a liar. So did my Sunday School teachers and my parents. I couldn’t gauge my grandparents but I think I had them perplexed.
This is where I began to die a little inside. Where the darkness crept in. The princess wanted to be rescued, but she was mistaken for the dragon.
It’s dramatic, it’s not horrible, but it’s my life.
Today I was asked to send in my resume for a writing internship. I listed all of the writing I had done, and I felt a warmth inside me.
While checking my publications at the Mighty, I discovered one article that received over 400 likes. This is a milestone, as only a few before mine broke one hundred.
I haven’t told the husband yet as he watches John Oliver on his iPad, as is his morning ritual, but I am quite excited. Maybe one day I’ll be a thousandaire in the likes.
In addition, yesterday I was told by Offbeat Bride that I had two more articles I was going to be published by them. As a longtime fan of the website (seriously… I was thirteen) I can’t wait to say I’ll have three articles with them and be part of their bride tribe.
Then there is, of course, my experimental poetry book, It’s Okay, Magic Happens.
It’s experimental mainly for the fact that it was my coping mechanism for PTSD over 9 years and I only took the good stuff, stuffed it into Scrivener, and wanted to see if I could make a book. I wanted to see if I could learn a new technology. Friends who had read my poetry for years told me to self-publish for about three of the nine years the poems collected static on my computer.
Right now I am working on a bridal book I hope to get traditionally published. Email me for more info.
I am hoping this internship leads me closer to becoming a paid, full-time writer. But I am still blessed even if I don’t get the job.
Those of you that follow this blog closely know that I have been hinting at something big. Something huge that I’ve undertaken, a research project that I hope will change the world.
It’s called The Differently Abled Bride Guide.
I came up with The Differently Abled Bride Guide after mourning my own wedding planning experience and still grieving my diagnoses. What I wanted to do was use these two strange experiences to help other women.
In the media, the female disabled body is never portrayed, and when if it is, it is pitiful or evil. There is a lack of understanding from the outside in, and ultimately a lack of representation. More specifically, there is absolutely ZERO representation of disabled women in the bridal industry.
I decided I would write a book about this phenomenon. I’m almost there. All I’m doing is waiting for permission from the people I need it from and to get in contact with an editor.
This book I intend to go the traditionally published route after I was inspired by friends and professional book people in my circle to do so. I had originally planned a KDP book, but after I shared the idea in real life and was met with high praise, I decided to learn how traditional publishing works. As a result I am now a member of my state’s premier literary society.
It’s been a wild ride, and if you’re interested in learning more or helping out with the research, you can email me.
As always, I designed an amateur book cover using a commissioned watercolor used in the book by redlittleberry who, authors, if you need illustrations is fabulous. My book covers are always meant to be motivational for myself. I think these 4 book covers turned out pretty well. However, I could use a little sensitivity. What do you think? Offensive? The last thing I want to do is hurt someone, so please give me feedback. Note: this book is an all-inclusive look at people with chronic illnesses and varying abilities.