December 28 2017

Holiday Coffee Chat: 2017 Review and Finding my Why

A few years ago (2014 to be exact), I watched a video by Carie Harling called What’s Your Why Not? That video got me thinking and I changed a few things after thinking… why not… Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about my WHY. I’ve been reading Vlog Like a Boss by Amy Schmittauer, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero, and The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs–each of these books has at least one part that talks about your WHY. Why. Why. Why is my WHY so important?

As 2017 comes to a close I’ve been reviewing how my year went, whether I achieved my goals, what goals I want/need to migrate into 2018, and what my new goals are. I’ve also been thinking a great deal about what worked and didn’t work, and why. There’s that word again. I really liked Carie’s view–Why not? Why not follow your dreams? Why not change things? Why not work towards improving yourself, your brand, your creative endeavors, your creative work space, your outlook? Why Not do the hard things? The hard things are sometimes more difficult because of the why. What? What do you mean Burgess? Of course the hard things are hard. They wouldn’t be hard things if they weren’t hard. Weeellll… sometimes the hard things are hard because we either don’t really understand something or maybe we don’t know how to do something, or maybe, just maybe, we’re letting our fears, our self doubts, our anxiety overcome us and we’re making it harder than it has to be. At least that’s my biggest problem.  Continue reading

August 27 2014

I'd like to tell you a story

We all have a story to tell. Some of us will tell that story with music, some with art, some with poetry, some with a garden, others with photography, and some with the written word. 

Snoopy's book

My story began when I was a little girl. I was fascinated by books. My parents bought me books. I was in love with Snoopy’s book. I wanted a typewriter. I wanted to write stories. I could read well before I started kindergarten and I think it’s because I loved stories.  I’ve passed that down to my children and my grandson who is only two years old will hand you a book and tell you “read.” We’re a bunch of bookworms around here. 

What really upped the ante when it came to my love affair with books was when my father died when I was seven years old. Lost in grief, I turned to books. I could pretend I was a character in the book. Pretend that I was anyone except the little girl who had lost her father. Getting lost in the characters of books wasn’t enough though. I began writing about a little girl who saved her father. Then I wrote a story about a father who turned into a guardian angel. I don’t remember every story I wrote back then, that was forty years ago, but the one I remember the most was about a kingdom of magical people who were hidden from the rest of the world. A little girl loses her father and while she’s picking flowers in a garden she finds a hidden doorway. The doorway leads to the kingdom of magical people and she finds her father there. He is a prince there and he tells her that she mustn’t tell anyone, that it’s their secret. If people knew about the magical kingdom everyone who ever lost someone would come there in droves and the kingdom would no longer be hidden, and the magic would die. 

In elementary school I was in one library or the other all the time. I was the kid who always turned their books in late because I got so wrapped up in the seven to ten books I was reading I forgot when they were due back. My mother fussed about the late fees, but I think she was happy that I’d finally stopped locking myself in my room with a book and was out and about in the real world again. By the fifth grade I was reading adult books like Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, which my 5th grade teacher Mrs. Whittet introduced to us. I was hooked. Mr. King wrote stories like a real story teller and I fell right into the world of the book, like Alice in the rabbit hole. I remember sneaking my mom’s copy of Carrie out of her bookcase and going to my room so I could read it under my covers with a flashlight. Hooked, I tell you, hooked. 

When I was in high school I took journalism and was on the newspaper staff. I loved it. I went to the football games, wrestling matches, soccer games, and other school functions and borrowed my (step) Dad’s expensive Yashica camera and took pictures and took notes and then wrote stories for the school newspaper. I went to the University of South Carolina and toured their campus, including their journalism building. I dreamed of a journalism scholarship. And i got one, but it was only a partial one and things were rough back then (in the mid 80s) and we couldn’t afford the difference so I went to work full time at a bank. I told myself I didn’t need college. I’d graduated from high school, which was more than either of my three parents (my mom, my father, and my (step) dad) had done. I was ahead of the game. Besides, I told myself, I can always go to college later. (The longer you wait the harder it gets…)

I went to college in my early 30s. I didn’t finish. I had to drop out for various reasons: as a single parent I needed to work more hours, or I needed the benefits so they could get braces, or I was having a hard time juggling everything, etc…Back to work full time I went, deferring my dream. I also deferred my dream of writing, not just college. 

Two years ago when my husband (then fiance) and I were writing our vows, he said. “I ought to put a part in there about how I promise to move you and your books for the rest of my life…” and he did. Part of the reason he mentioned it is because he helped me and my daughter move two bookcases into my apartment on our first date. And he moved those same bookcases twice more, including all the books that go in those bookcases… Now we’re in our home and those bookcases, along with the other two I have, have been moved around our home several times and he never complains, just jokes about keeping his vows. 

Now as I sit in front of my computer screen typing this post I am reminded of why it is so important not to give up on your dreams. I’m writing a novel. Yes, I said that. I. Am. Writing. A. Novel. I am pursuing my dream. You’re never too old to pursue your dream(s). That little girl who turned to books out of grief and despair still resides inside me, pushing me forward to write that book. To pursue our dream. I carry her with me. 

There will be people in your life who will try to knock you down, make you question your dreams, make you feel unworthy, and there are those who will support and inspire you. Push you to do more, to do better, to be more. I know, I’ve had both kind of people in my life at one time or the other. I am blessed that my husband is the kind of person who pushes me to do more, be more, and he makes me a better person and still strive to be even better, to push even harder. To be inspired to write, motivated to write, and writing, especially good writing, is hard work, is such a wonderful thing. Don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you should give up on your dream, don’t let anyone push you to give up on a dream. 

It’s time for me to end this story, the little girl inside me is waving a book at me telling me it’s time to go back to writing my novel…

Carpe Diem

Category: Family, Inspiration, Life, Writing | Comments Off on I'd like to tell you a story
August 26 2014

The Truth about August Blackstone

My main character’s name is August Blackstone, at least that’s what I think her name is (she’s named after her grandfather Augustus “Gus” Blackstone). She’s bisexual, in her early thirties, a journalist, and she’s in that phase of life where she’s contemplating what to do next because her grandfather just died and left her a cottage in Black River, SC… Out in the middle of nowhere, but it’s on a lake and it’s gorgeous. Her girlfriend Stacy tells her that going to the funeral is one thing but leaving for a week is irresponsible… Stacy is selfish, controlling, and uses August as a babysitter for her six year old daughter Colby…She tells August if she leaves for more than a week then not to bother coming back.. She changes her mind quickly after she finds out that August has inherited a historic cottage on seventeen acres of riverfront property, and a little over a million and a half. But August came to her senses where Stacy was concerned before she found out about the property or the money, especially after she finds out that her family is cursed. She also meets Dylan Thomas, the sweet, talented and hot, musician who is taking a break from music and being on the road, and working at his father’s hardware store until he figures out what he wants to do.

Quotation-Armistead-Maupin-equality-gay-family-Meetville-Quotes-158896

She and Dylan fall in love. People, some of whom are friends and family, ask her if she’s past the lesbian phase, if she’s switched sides, if Dylan is alright with her being a bisexual hinting at whether or not he’s okay with threesomes or if maybe he’ll “allow” her to have a girlfriend on the side… BUT August is monogamous. She tries to explain that being a bisexual doesn’t equate infidelity, or having your cake and eating it too,  nor is it a phase. She’s not any more or less bisexual now that she’s with a man than she was when she was with a woman.

It matters not who you love

Dylan’s friends tease him. They give him high fives because he “converted” the lesbian…or “man, you’re the luckiest guy on Earth, what I wouldn’t give for my girlfriend to be bi,” or the “will you be watching or participating or both?” Dylan isn’t into sharing, and is monogamous as well, and though he accepts August the way she is, he wishes other people weren’t stupid and didn’t have to attach labels to everything.

I am human

The fact that they live in a small town in the South doesn’t help matters much, but they learn to deal with things, even the family curse and idiocy of people, as they pursue a way to undo the Blackstone Curse…

dequeered me

For a while I contemplated on whether or not to ignore the sexuality question when writing the book. Just make the book about the family curse and leave the whole sexuality thing out of it.. or perhaps the main character’s cousin Micah could be bisexual and the issues would be hers, not the MC’s, which wouldn’t make the book so much about the issue of sexuality, or bisexuality specifically, but more as a subplot. Would it put it in a specific genre if I continue with the MC being bisexual if her sexuality is only a small part of the book? Not sure about that part… The book itself is more about paranormal, romance, family, friendship, love, honor, obligation, and trust. August is psychic, she has visions in her dreams, and on occasion when she’s awake, of the future or the past (when she touches something). The curse came from a voodoo witch more than a hundred and fifty years ago.

Pondering plot, subplots, theme, and issues… Hmmm…

Category: Life, Outlining, Writing | Comments Off on The Truth about August Blackstone