Royalty free image
Royalty free image

Afthead invited me to participate in this challenge. I am very excited to create a list. But I’m not going to tag anyone else because I’m unsure if these challenges really work. So feel free to compile your own list and pingback to me if you want. The challenge is to list ten things that I hate and ten things that I love. Here goes.

Hate is such a strong word, so I decided to describe 10 dislikes and 10 likes. Beware though; there’s a bit of judgment below.

#10: I dislike screaming/crying children in public restaurants. As far as I’m concerned, if a child is screaming or crying, then that means something is wrong. And if the child’s parent is nearby, then that means the person should know something to do, a tactic, if you will. I know this sounds terribly judgmental, but really and truly, a screaming/crying child wrenches at my core soul. I want to go save the child and offer help. But usually I don’t. My #10 like is children who know how to eat at a restaurant without screaming or crying. These children must have practiced at home or something.

#9: I dislike team-building games, a lot. I don’t want to catch you and I don’t expect you to catch me. We’re co-workers. I don’t want to create a Haiku in five minutes (last year’s ice breaker) and I don’t want to listen to someone else’s Haiku. My #9 like is getting to know co-workers in more natural settings: lunch, coffee, hanging out, etc. I’ll look out for Bob because I know he has a wife and three kids to support, not because we feigned catching each other <sigh>.

#8: I dislike analogies. When I taught high school, I had to read a book called Who Moved My Cheese? The purpose of this book was to get people acclimated to change. It was an entire parable about what happens when you don’t change with the times. Guess what happened to the mouse that couldn’t find the cheese? That’s right. He died. Isn’t that awful? This leads me to my #8 like, which is just tell me what you want me to do and let me decide if I’m down or not.

#7: I dislike indirect interactions. I’ve learned this is strange. I’m a pretty direct person. For the most part you’ll know how I feel about you and what you’re doing. It seems that quite a few people are indirect and passive aggressive. They’d rather spare your feelings; they’d rather spare their own feelings. People would rather do anything other than simply tell you the direct truth. And I dislike this. Consequently, my #7 like is people who are direct. I surround myself by these witty, tell-it-like-it-is folks.

#6: I dislike Florida’s bugs. We’ve lived in this state for nearly 20 years. Here you’ll find something called Palmetto beetles, but if you Google them, you’ll see that they’re part of the roach family…just BIGGER. Much bigger. That’s just one example. All of Florida’s bugs are entirely too big, thus scary and messy if you kill them. My #6 like is regular sized bugs. Seems strange because I don’t necessarily care for bugs at all. But if there are gonna be some hanging around, then I’d prefer them to be small.

#5: I dislike dependence. Interdependence is one thing. Independence is totally self-sufficient. But if you’re physically and mentally capable, then dependence seems unnecessary. Kind of like #7, I’ve learned that I’m more independent than most, but still I think that everyone should be able to do something that shows self-sufficiency. My #5 like is independence. Maybe you won’t be 100% independent, but I think you should be able to take pride in knowing you can do one thing by yourself.

#4: I dislike the countryside. Trees, grass and streams are all well and good for a while. I admire different dialects, local cuisines and diverse people. However, my #4 like might come from being born and raised on the West side of Chicago. I like cities. Big ones. Small ones. If your city thinks it’s a city, then I like it. I like the noise. I like the diversity. I like the energy that a city brings.

#3: I dislike reality TV. And then I got caught up in RHOA. Suddenly, I couldn’t wait to watch R&B Divas Atlanta, then LA. And it got more ridiculous and eventually redonkulous with each episode. It seemed more and more staged with each feigned minute. So I stopped watching. I’m down to one, The Braxton Family Values. This leads me to my #3 like: OWN. That stands for the Oprah Winfrey Network. I watch Super Soul Sunday. Oprah had a series called Life Class. And there was Master Class. Either way, I felt as if I was becoming a better person with each show.

#2: I dislike the idea of binge watching TV. I wrote an entire satirical post about the binge-watching phenomenon. I refuse to watch more than one show at a time now. In fact, I figured out a way to watch Orange is the New Black without bingeing: I watched one show each day for 13 days. And I still saw the entire series in less time than network offers. Think binge watching bothers me because it shows a lack of self-control. My #2 like is finding something else to do, other than binge watch TV.

#1: I dislike excuses. Whether it’s why you cannot reach a dream, or why you treated someone badly, excuses are no bueno. An excuse is an excuse, is an excuse. And no one wants to hear them. They want to hear how you plan to succeed. People want you to own up to your part of treating them poorly. No one wants to hear an excuse. My #1 like is taking ownership for who you are in each situation. You chose to do “X,” so you have to temporarily live with consequence “Y.” It’s okay. You can own up to it and then choose a different action.

Can’t wait to see what your list looks like!

Requesting Presents but Requiring Presence

Blue Satin Sashes

WillowRaven asked me to write a short based on her artwork, “Blue Satin Sashes.” Although fiction/flash fiction is not my genre, I took her up on the offer and wrote the following 171 words. Hope you enjoy! And go check out the other artwork on her blog.

Presents. That’s all they ever cared about. Where are the presents? What did you get me? They never asked how she was doing. They never even pretended to care. Maybe it was her sister Mattie’s fault. She rarely prompted the children to ask questions dictated by social etiquette. How are you Aunt Lillian? How was your ride this time? Why didn’t Uncle Andrew come with? No. There would be no personal questions. Like stair steps, Mary, Margaret, Mildred, Minnie, and Milton would line up with their grins spread wide across their faces to receive the lavishly wrapped gifts that she brought. Even Mattie seemed to eagerly await Lillian’s boxes, but not her presence. Maybe it was Lillian’s own fault. She felt it important to visit at least once a year on Christmas, especially since Mattie’s husband had fallen ill to smallpox several years prior. Lillian figured this was the least that she could do. And because her sister didn’t have much money, she thought presents might lighten the mood. But she wasn’t sure how much longer she would keep it up, especially when everyone seemed so ungrateful.

Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-awardThanks so much to Lisa W. Tetting for this nomination! As a successful author and a fellow blogger, she is quite inspirational as she represents where I hope to some day be. Go check out her blog (and buy her book)! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Here are the five rules: (1) Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to her site; (2) Put the award logo on your blog; (3) Answer the ten questions sent to you; (4) Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer; and (5) Nominate ten blogs.

Here are the ten questions that I must answer as part of this nomination:

My questions from Lisa:

  1. Name your favorite character from a book? Janie from Their Eyes were Watching God is one of my favorite characters. I identify with her non-conformist attitude and her life story, which is also quite similar to Zora Neale Hurston’s.
  2. Do you prefer cds or vinyl? Eek! I prefer streaming and downloading now. This just happened around 2012…and now I’m all in.
  3. Coffee or tea? Coffee – only one cup per day, right in the morning after I’ve worked out and while I’m doing work.
  4. Where is your favorite place to write? I really don’t have a preference. In fact, I’ve recently written a draft while riding the Japanese rail system. I’ve found that words kinda come to me and usually I have to stop what I’m doing (if I can) and get it down.
  5. Name 5 places you want to visit, but haven’t had the chance?
  6. When did you fall in love for the first time? My senior year of high school I met the first person that I actually felt as if I really loved. His name was Jeffrey and we spent a lot of time together. Our relationship was a great lesson in what the actual cycle of love can be.
  7. Do you prefer the beach or the mountains? Beach! I love the beach and the water. In fact, I have a few beach pics on my blog.
  8. Who is your favorite member of the Jackson 5? MJ – circa 1983
  9. What is your favorite holiday? Thanksgiving because it’s not about gifts or anything. It’s about being grateful and eating, two things I love to do lol. Christmas is a close second but mostly because of the movies. I love Christmas movies.
  10. What place on earth brings you the most joy? The beach brings me the most joy because I think it represents life. Water can be calming, but it can also be dangerous. It can fade away. It can grow. It’s required to live.

My nominees (with no pressure to actually participate):

Life as Mrs A

Finkelstein & Sons

Whit C.

Academy of Gratitude


Living those Dreams

Nerdy and I Know it

Simply Marquessa

Sandra’s Place

Work in Progress

My questions:

  1. Do you have children, and if so, how have you managed to balance motherhood and other life activities?
  2. Do you have any pets, and if so, how did your pet come to be a part of your life?
  3. Do you have any other passions than writing?
  4. How did you become a blogger?
  5. What genre do you prefer to read?
  6. In what genre do you generally write?
  7. Do you have a spouse or significant other, and if so, how does this person complement you?
  8. What is your writing process?
  9. Are you a morning or night person?
  10. Have you ever won any writing awards?

*Honing One’s Craft

Hone (v). refine or perfect something over a period of time

My editor and writing consultant suggested that I start a blog to “hone my craft.” I figured she meant that I needed to sharpen my skills. You know learn creative ways to introduce content, like how to begin posts with definitions. Cause you know those definition introductions can be cute and engaging, but beginning a story this way could also be rather trite. I assumed this was the type of thing she wanted me to refine. Don’t judge. It’s the English teacher in me.

Similarly, a couple of writer friends suggested blogging as a way to sell my book. As it turns out, this is a lot more challenging than one can imagine. Especially because I’m not sure if I should do a hard sell, kwotedor an implicit sell. In a way, this too, includes honing one’s craft, as you have to cleverly use words to self-promote. And I’ve decided I don’t wanna necessarily be that blogger. Well, not all the time.

So I joined a couple of Blogging U classes.

Writing 201: Poetry helped me to hone my innovation. It lasted 14 days and I’d promised myself that I would participate each night and finish each challenge. Haikus, sonnets and acrostics got my left brain flowing. Do you know I even wrote a concrete poem shaped like a house that professed love for my toy poodle? Now, that’s some honing. These challenges helped though. I’ve even considered interspersing poetry throughout another book I’m writing. Equally important, Writing 201 introduced me to the blogging community at large and helped me to gain a bit of blogging confidence.

I figured that if I could do Writing 201, then surely Writing 101 would be just as breezy. I was wrong and I misread the directions. Instead of 14 days, this one lasted 21 days and occurred right at the end of my university’s semester. Still, I honed my niche: creative nonfiction. I practiced telling authentic stories without offending the other people who are involved. This is no easy feat. And I’m not entirely sure I’ve done well with this self-imposed task. But it’s something that I have to do well because I’ve only tipped the iceberg describing the people who have impacted my life, both negatively and positively. Again, all of this helped me wiggle a little farther into the blogging community.

Ultimately, I’m grateful that my editor suggested a blog to hone my craft. I’ve not only learned how to improve my writing, but I’ve also become a part of a group of supportive bloggers who seem to genuinely have one another’s best interests at heart.

*This was written as a part of the Creative Blogger nomination from Marquessa.