Writing Process Blog Hop

Robert invited me to participate in the Writing Process Blog Hop. He’s a fellow writer whose blog From a Clogged Mind features poignant poetry, exciting flash fiction, and occasionally, music videos for songs he enjoys. My favorite of Robert’s works are his flash fiction stories — action-packed with an air of mystery.

The rules:
1. I must answer the four questions below.
2. I must link back to the person who invited me to this Blog Hop.
3. I must name four writers who will continue this Blog Hop and notify them.

Questions:
1) What are you working on?
Aside from what I’ve been posting here, I’ve been outlining a romantic comedy trilogy. It may or may not be based on my hilarious female friends’ adventures in dating. It’s definitely based on how as twenty-somethings, all of us are trying to figure out how to be adults while still having fun.

2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?
With my poetry, I have a signature punctuation style — I use parentheses, don’t typically capitalize titles or within poems, and use dashes rather than ellipses. My short stories are dialogue-driven (sometimes, the story ends up being completely comprised of dialogue), which probably makes them read more like a play. I’ll get back to y’all on the novels once I’ve hammered those out.

3) Why do you write what you write?
I’ve kept a journal since I was four. Writing is my stress reliever. It’s the way I cope with and sort through my emotions. The reason I’m going to write those romantic comedies is that the genre is one of my favorites and there are too many cliched and unrealistic series out there. I wanted to write a rom-com series that was relatable and not rehashing what we’ve been forced to read, for lack of a better selection.

4) How does your writing process work?
Like Robert, my poetry is usually inspired by whatever music I’m listening to, or in my case, my mood. For short stories, I have an idea for a funny conversation or situation and write without planning it. For novels, I brainstorm, outline the characters and plots, then write (and continually revise).

Look for the Blog Hop to continue next week at these sites:
Author Miranda Stone
Miranda is a fantastic author. Her poetry is moving and has extremely vivid imagery. Her short stories have unique characters who don’t typically do the right thing, yet you find yourself sympathizing with them anyway because you’ve glimpsed why they’re flawed.

Little Steps
Dean is an expat whose life was turned upside down once she became a mom. She shares her stories and photos about the “little” triumphs (and struggles) of motherhood, as well as photos and stories from her travels with her family. She features other parents on her blog, as well.

The Lovely Photog
LeSha is an amazing photographer. She showcases her photos, gives helpful tips to newbie photographers, reviews beauty/hair products, and shares stories and photos about her family. Her blog is a collection of everything she loves.

Unzip These Lips
Vic is a youngin’ (a high school senior), but is mature for her age. Her blog features evocative poetry and prose posts about her budding relationship. She also reblogs feminist and LGBTQ articles, as well as other bloggers’ works that she enjoys.

I’m going to cheat and mention one other blog for y’all to check out, which I recently discovered:
Benjamin’s The Breakdown of Taboo – his poems are uniquely structured and thought-provoking.

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the downside to (complete) empathy

the downside to (complete) empathy
is that when you have it,
you will never be
a rational observer
who doesn’t get involved
in others’ affairs.
if a friend vents about a horrible day
& you rage with her —
the burden rolls off her shoulders
& onto to yours.
there is nothing cathartic
about reading a tragic novel —
your eyes swell shut from bawling
because of the characters’ misfortunes.
you give up watching the news
because seeing widespread injustice
depletes (what little) hope for humanity
you have left.
the upside to (complete) empathy
is that when you have it,
you will never be
an oblivious bystander
who can’t be bothered
to help someone else.

“That’s not a piece — that’s a billboard!”

The office was sweltering. Normally, I would wear a cardigan over a sleeveless dress for the entire day, but I was on the verge of melting. Since everyone was out to lunch, no one could be scandalized by my bare arms. I walked to the supplies room and reached for the paperclips on the top shelf.

“Did ya forget to wash or somethin’?” Old Jim asked from the doorway.

I jumped, dropping a box of paperclips that scattered on the floor.  “Geez, Jim — you scared me!”

“Am I gonna hafta talk with HR about your bathing habits?”

“I bathe daily! Do I smell or something?”

“Nah, you’ve got some stuff on your shoulders.”

“Oh!” I laughed as he helped me gather the paperclips. “I have tattoos on my back.”

Really?!

“Yes.”

“How many?”

“Three pieces — one on each shoulder blade and got a new one in between.”

“Of what?”

I pulled up a photo on my phone. I had the middle piece done the day before, so it was still sore. Amanda took a photo of my back after I got it done.

“Holy shit, Sam! That’s not a piece — that’s a billboard!” Old Jim’s eyes widened. “What’s your mama got to say?”

“She knows about the other two, not about this new one.”

“You kids ‘n’ your tattoos ‘n’ rebelliousness.”

“If I was being rebellious, I would’ve gotten some that would be in plain view all the time.”

“Then why’d ya get ’em done?”

“Each of them is for someone awesome in my life. The puzzle pieces heart is for my sister who is autistic (puzzle pieces are the symbol for autism). My best friend from college and I have matching ones of the bear and the tiger, which we got senior year. The one I got yesterday is for my boyfriend and me.”

“What’s the quote say? Is that French?”

“It’s a quote from The Little Prince that says, It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

“At least you got meaningful ones, not some dumb shit.”

“Maybe that should be my next one — Not some dumb shit in plain typewriter font.”

“Your mama would be thrilled about that one.”

“She’s always pissed at me. I might as well do what I want.”

“Are you seriously gonna get more?”

“I’m going to fill up my whole back.”

“You’ll be a mural on the side of a building!”

“Exactly.”

Continue reading

Schadenfreude is inevitable when the person everyone hates is suffering.

No one likes that guy (who is also known as Dementor) at work.

Dementor terrorizes everyone, so it’s not a surprise that he only has enemies here. Old Jim tolerates him because they share so many cases. People have waited years for karma to kick his ass. This week proved to be the beginning of his comeuppance.

The other day, Dementor left mid-afternoon because a pipe burst in his basement. We got reprieve from him for the rest of the day. This morning, he stomped into my office.

“Sam, do you know what happened to my coffee mug?” Dementor’s usually pale face was red and pinched with rage.

“Nope. The only mugs I’ve seen are the ones in the cabinet. Why?”

“Someone took mine out of my office and made a mess on the floor!”

“I have no clue.” I shrugged, turning back to my computer.

A few minutes later, the HR director called me.

“Samantha, you don’t think Mike would’ve –”

“Definitely not.”

“Okay, just making sure. Dementor emailed our boss, who suggested that it was the new maintenance crew who could’ve broken his mug while cleaning his office.”

“Dementor must not have anything better to do.”

“It just isn’t his week, is it?” She stifled a laugh.

“Apparently. Maybe he’ll start being nicer to people so bad things stop happening to him.”

Still.

Schadenfreude is inevitable when the person everyone hates is suffering.

Since NaNoWriMo is over, brace yourselves.

Since NaNoWriMo is over, brace yourselves. Somehow, 50,000 words weren’t enough to finish telling the story I wrote. I’ll continue working on that book even if November is over. Knowing my revision process, it’s possible that I’ll scrap most of it and start over. Regardless, it was a good exercise to churn out chapters, in an attempt to make a cohesive story.

I digress.

Get ready for an onslaught of posts about the past few weeks. After sorting and editing photos, I’ll be posting about the epic Asia trip that I took with my boyfriend. (I’m actually on the tail-end of the trip now and he’s back at work.) I’ll be catching up on reading y’all’s posts too.

PSA about NaNoWriMo

Just so y’all know, during November, I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It’s the first year I’ve entered this contest. While I’m aware the end product will be a very rough draft of a novel, I want to do the best I can.

Thus, next month, I’ll be posting mostly (if not all) photos on my blog while I write a novel that’s at least 50,000 words. I believe I can do it, given that my longest Harry Potter fic was over 65,000 words. (As embarrassing as that is to admit.) This is the first time I’ll be writing an original piece comparable to that story (in length — I’d hope it’s much better in quality).

Who knows, I may even post excerpts on my blog when I’m done (and have edited). Good luck to everyone else who’s participating in NaNoWriMo!

I will never be Jack Kerouac

I will never be Jack Kerouac.
The only people for me aren’t the mad ones —
the ones whose worst nightmare is to be called boring
& shrug off selfishness with their carpe diem philosophy.
The ones who are blasé about anything commonplace,
then burn & engulf bystanders in their flames.
The only people for me are the genuine ones —
the ones who don’t want to be revered as nonconformists
& know that living life fully doesn’t mean disregarding others.
The ones who find beauty in every day,
& don’t create conflict to have a story to tell.
I will never be Jack Kerouac
because I would rather have real, caring friends
than be surrounded by people who
careen toward impossibly perfect moments
& remain oblivious to the destruction left in their wake.