Month: February 2014

Unlocking A Secret

She was always guarded. Or… at the least she was guarding something. Leslie could never really tell what it was but the tattered string around her grandmother’s neck always reminded her that something was there. Anytime she would ask what was on the mysterious string her grandmother would simply hold up her finger to her pierced lips and whisper, “shhh.” It was like she was hiding a secret. A secret she couldn’t share. The more she hid it the more Leslie wanted to see it, touch it, examine it – it seemed magical.

As the years passed on, her grandmother never told her what was on the tattered string. Eventually the curiosity had worn itself away, until it finally had escaped from Leslie’s mind all together.

Soon after her grandmother had passed on, Leslie’s mother gave her a big cardboard box filled with trinkets and old books that her grandmother wanted her to have. Even though it had been years since she had given any hint of a thought about that mysterious necklace. She immediately grabbed the box from her mother’s hands, dropped to the ground and started ripping through it as quickly as she could. The musky smell that rose from the box made her smile. It was her grandmother’s scent left behind. She sighed; she was going to miss her.

After pulling out all the old costume jewelry, her Danielle Steele book collection, and an old wooden box there was a small ivory envelope sitting at the bottom. She ran her finger across her grandmother’s raised initials and then turned it over.“For my Leslie” was written in black ink. Her grandma always had the most perfect handwriting.

She didn’t even need to see inside, she knew what it was.

As she opened the envelope she pulled out that tattered old string and at the end was a tiny, antique bronze – key.

“A key?” she thought confused. A key to what? 

Just as she started to get upset she pulled out a note. It read:

Dear Leslie,

Since you have always been the only person in my life to pay such close attention to this, I had always known I was going to leave it for you. Oh I wish I could be there with you, and I hope you find it as special and enchanting as I always did. You see it is the key to my heart, in a sense.

Your grandfather was an amazing poet and writer. He always spoke from the heart. The key unlocks the wooden box I gave you, and that box holds every love letter and poem he had ever written me. They are so intimate I always felt it important to keep them locked away. After all, they were his own, personal thoughts. I hope you enjoy reading them. You will look at him in an entirely different light. I loved him so much. Always keep the key close to your heart.

Love you always,

Grandma

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Photo Link:Kaboodle

DPWriting Challenge: Object

Your Writer’s Desk

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Before I began writing I would have envisioned an author working on their novels while sitting behind an antique oversized mahogany desk… settling down into their obscenely overpriced Hermes leather office chair that surpasses all ergonomic standards… sipping on their extra hot cappuccino while surrounded by a vast library filled with books written by their favorite authors as well as instructional books that pertain to writing.

Well… that all sounds absolutely amazing – It is not at all how I write.

I live in a teeny, tiny, two-bedroom house, and we are busting at the seams. My two children share a room and between all the toys and necessary furniture there is no room for my “writer’s desk” I had once dreamed of, at least not yet anyway. Once I became an obsessive reader, my one and only bookshelf filled up quite fast {post Kindle}.

So I have found my favorite place to write – in my bed.

I prop up my pillows, {leather chair} and open up my laptop tray, {mahogany desk} and either do my necessary research online or on my Kindle, {Vast Library}.

This process is only successful at night. During the day if I actually have a childless moment to write, I have to do it somewhere else. If I don’t, either the dirty laundry calls to me from down the hall or the kitchen is begging for a good cleaning.

So I head down to the local Starbucks in the circle. Luckily it isn’t just your ordinary wood and slate Starbucks. It is located in an old 1930’s bank building. The ceilings are vaulted and there are lath and plaster columns surround the seating area. It is an extraordinary building. I am a sucker for anything old and historic.

I recently stumbled upon this magical place called Ink&Bean – a coffee saloon and wordshop. It is located in downtown Anaheim.

( 155 W Ctr St Promenade Anaheim, CA 92805)

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I cannot tell you how excited I am that I found this little gem! From the moment you walk in you are inspired to write. The walls are lined with antique typewriters, and there are book light strings from the celling. At the register there is a chandelier of books with a light through the middle {which I was mentally dissecting and figuring out how to make!} I can’t wait to get in there and write!

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Last night on Twitter I found an article the author Andrew Flynn had tweeted about: How Amtrak is testing a “writer’s residency” program. It seems they want to offer free rides to writers so they can well… write! It sounds amazing and inspiring to sit on a train and write. Just think of all the characters that board the train and what inspiration you could draw from them! I hope this actually happens but if not I will hop on a train one day and try it – why not?!

I would love to hear where your favorite places to write are. Maybe you will inspire other writers who are in a slump and need something fresh and new for their writing.

Tell me, where is your writer’s desk?

Amtrak Article

Ink & Bean

Life Is A Great Balancing Act – Dr. Seuss

ImagePrincess Victoria c.1919

  A quote from one of my favorite children’s books that I read to my kids quite often. It is full of advice that I have to remind myself of on a daily basis. I find it hilarious how such a simple children’s book can be used as inspiration through your adult years. Everyone should take the time to re-read Oh The Places You Go. I promise it will validate all those feelings you have been having or the things you are going through right now.

My friends and clients always ask me, “How do you do it? Do you ever sleep?” I just laugh a little and say, “There are 24 usable hours in a day.” (Seriously though, who really needs sleep?) Not only do I work full-time and have two children, I am also creatively driven. By creatively driven I mean I am either sewing a new dress for my daughter, making some sort of shower/party decor, shooting family photos, or reading and/or writing a novel. They all have one thing in common: They are driven by passion.

Recently a client of mine made me realize that my crazy life was the result of being passionate about everything I do. I must say I never really thought about it that way, but she was right. Whether I am obligated to it or just doing it for fun, I take the time to dedicate, follow through and finish it. I have the passion to create, the passion to do the best I can do, and the passion to learn.

The truth is I have absolutely no clue how I balance it all! (Although I’m sure being a woman might have a little something to do with it). At any given moment I could have a nervous breakdown and lock myself away in a closet – but I don’t. At least I know the closet is there if I need it! It doesn’t help that my mind frequently takes off into the unknown; that I can’t control. I am always off in “great idea” land. My husband always laughs at my neurotic thoughts or entrepreneurial ideas but I know he loves and supports all of them. After all, it is what makes me – me.

“The bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you…”

In life we all know a thing or two about bang-ups and hang-ups, I’m sure. It is unavoidable. In writing, “The bang-ups” (AKA rejection) are part of the process. Today I received my first, of many I’m sure, rejection letters to come. I think since I prepared myself for it, it wasn’t such a hard hit. When I began writing my book, I was really just trying to see if I could do it. I soon realized I had found another creative outlet that I became strongly passionate about. One more thing to balance!Ha! I’m sure I will hit many more bumps in the learning process but that’s life.

I will continue on {rejections or not} and do what I love to do. Be creative!

So always remember this quote when you need something to keep going…

“And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed! (98 and 3/4percent guaranteed)” – Dr. Seuss

In Tune With Your Inspiration

How do you find inspiration?

Inspiration is something that helps ignite your creativity from within. Inspiration can strike at any moment and can come from everything that surrounds you in life; books, art, people, music, travel, etc. I always find that when something inspires you, you will always have that to lean on when you fall into obstacles that stifle your creativity.

For me music is always my go to for inspiration. When I started writing I originally did it to tune out any surrounding distractions {aka my husbands obsession with the history channel} but now I can’t seem to write without it. What I listen to all depends on what I’m writing, although right now I seem to be on a Florence and the Machine kick.

When I work my way through a novel I always listen to music that will reflect on my character’s mood or if I need help setting a scene.

A piece of my book takes place in New Orleans but I was having a hard time setting the scene since I had never been there. So after subjecting myself to a million You Tube videos that portrayed the streets of New Orleans through other people’s eyes, I just wasn’t getting what I needed.I couldn’t quite place myself there.

So instead I turned on some New Orleans jazz and created my own New Orleans.

Have you ever watched a movie with no music in it? Of course not!

A movie without music would be dull and dreary. Obviously when people read my book there is no soundtrack that comes along with it {although that would be rad – maybe I should add that to my marketing plan}. It is my job as the writer to try my best to set a memorable scene. One that you will want to read over and over again. With music the beautiful words and sounds pour into our ears and help shape the story we are trying to tell.

Because let’s face it, life without music is just mundane!

Listen up – and get inspired!

Here is just a few of the many bands that inspire me…

Florence and the Machine

Lana Del Ray

Paramore

One Republic

Birdy

The xx

Billie Holiday

Muse

Matt Costa

The Beatles

Death Cab for Cutie

Ellie Goulding

Lorde

Of Monsters and Men

Emptiness Inside

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Photo from the Daily Post

Being hollow is something you can’t ever really explain. It stems from deep within the darkest corners of your mind. Once it fully takes hold, you are at its mercy.

I stood in front of my mom’s antique vanity, that conveniently had a crack running down the dead center of it. A metaphor for my life. I lined my lips with the reddest stain I could find. It never seemed bright enough. I stood there lifeless and gazed into my reflection – I was empty. I could easily blame it on my shitty home life: the fact that my dad left when I was born and never looked back, or the fact that my mom had to work two jobs to support me but never was around to actually raise me. I would like to think that all of this adversity was the cause of my hollowed soul but in reality I don’t think I would have felt any differently if I had had a perfect life.

A motorcycle pulled up and parked in the driveway. It sat there idling. It was him. I instantly felt the buzz of excitement from within. He was always late but I had never said a word about it – ever.

I tiptoed past my mom who was obscenely snoring, passed out on the couch while the Price is Right blared from the TV. She wouldn’t even miss me.

I stepped out into the dimly-lit night and there he was in his usual dingy jeans and aged leather jacket. His eyes were the deepest shade of blue-black as he piercingly glanced my way – it sent a shiver through me. He was my perfect Jaden. What more could I ever need or want in life but him?

“Thanks for picking me up,” I said swaying back and forth nervously. He always made me just the slightest bit insecure.

“No problem. Hop on, let’s go,” he said as he tossed me the helmet. Every time I wore it I wondered how many other girls had worn it before me. I tried not to breathe in as I put it on in fear I might catch the scent of someone else.

“Where are we going tonight?”

“I have a surprise and I can guarantee you will love it,” he said with a devious grin.

At the time I had a naive idea of what it could have meant; he was finally ready to commit.

We pulled up to this old brick building in Downtown Los Angeles. It seemed somewhat dark and lifeless. “What are we doing here?” I asked confused. I was expecting something slightly more romantic – not this cold abandoned place.

“I’m picking something up, wait here,” he said as he walked away through the brick arches that seemed to continue on forever. I didn’t ask what, but from the looks of it, maybe I didn’t want to know. I was always in denial. Something just drew me to Jaden, even though it was so obviously wrong.

He came walking out with his hands buried in his jacket and wearing that look on his face… again. The look that would be burned into my memories forever. Memories I wish I could erase.

He hopped back on the bike and we drove off in silence.

We went up a dark, steep road that led up to the top of a hill overlooking the city. We were so high up that the city lights looked like stars, if you squinted hard enough. I followed him over to a concrete bench and sat down. Something was off but I couldn’t quite tell what it was. I could never read him. What was he really thinking?

“What if I told you that you could experience pure pleasure?”

I grinned and said, “Where do I sign up?” I nervously laughed but stopped once he leaned in close and gently rested his lips on mine. He wasn’t kidding.

“Do you trust me?” he asked.

All I could do was nod. If I had tried to speak, he would have heard my trembling voice.

“Okay, close your eyes and just breathe…”

Those were the last words I heard before I felt a tiny prick, followed by a warmth that poured through my arm. He was right. It was purely euphoric. It was something that I would try many times to replicate but somehow would always fail.

Jaden and I had finally connected on an entirely different level, a way I never had with anyone before but was always in search of. We spent every loaded minute together. The times we spent together sober grew fewer and fewer. Once I had made a connection with his dealer, Jaden was no longer necessary. I no longer needed him to fill me up. All I needed was my ace of spades.

I was in search of something that would make me whole. I would drag myself through those arches time and time again – I always told myself it would be the last. Nothing could stop me. Not losing my mom, friends, or even my humanity was enough to make me stop. It wasn’t until the last time I passed through the arches – just as Jaden was walking out. I almost didn’t recognize him. I thought if I saw him again I would crave him like I had in the past but instead I craved something else more.

Jaden had become entirely hollow. He stared blankly ahead as he walked away. That was the last time I would see him in this lifetime.

Hello. My name is April. I am a recovvering heroin addict.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/inspiration-images-1000-words/

It’s just the beginning…

Why not start a blog…

Wait, but who will want to listen to my neurotic, random thoughts?

Maybe – just maybe I could meet some others who are just as crazy as me.

 I went back and forth for a while on the many pros and cons of starting a blog – the pros won.

 I am making a commitment to my blog.

I promise to write once a week and hopefully over time, gain a few followers/fellow writers that may be interested or inspired by what I have to say. Or maybe they will inspire me. Surrounding yourself with other writers seems to be the logical thing to do in order to learn and grow in the craft. It is truly invaluable.

 I am new to this writing force that has erupted and become impossible to stop. It all began with a dream…

 I know what you’re thinking… “what a f-ing cliche”

 It’s for real people, these things happen and you should listen to them. You never know where it will lead you.

I had a dream/vision or whatever you want to call it, of a boy with a tattoo that slowly spread across his chest.

 Lucas was born.

 I’m in shock at how quickly a story can develop with one random thought. Once you open your mind and let the story unfold and progress, you just need to write it down! Sounds easy right?

 I did research on how to start a novel and what I needed to do to begin.

I tried to plot – character develop – write dialogue, but I became quickly frustrated and uninspired to write. It was a complete roadblock. For me, I couldn’t plot out a story that hadn’t happened and develop characters that didn’t exist yet. How in the hell were these people supposed to have conversations with one another when you had no idea what they were like?

 I am by no means saying this works for everyone, all I am saying is that you don’t always need to follow the rules when starting your story. Do whatever you want and enjoy every minute of it – the story will follow. If anything, let the creativity sparks fly and if it has been your long lost dream to write, don’t wait – just do it!

 My latest inspirational writing book:

 WONDERBOOK by Jeff Vandermeer

The illustrated guide to creating imaginative fiction.

http://www.amazon.com/Wonderbook-Illustrated-Creating-Imaginative-Fiction/dp/1419704427