For Stoneman Douglas’ Slain 17

The Angels of Stoneman Douglas

February 14, 2018

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 It’s not about the shooter and his issues.  It’s not about me or feeling unsettled, uncomfortable, terrified or heartbroken.

This is meant to be for:

Aaron, Alaina, Alex, Alyssa, Carmen, Cara, Chris, Gina, Helena, Jaime, Joaquin, Luke, Martin, Meadow, Nicholas, Peter, Scott.

The slain.  The fallen. The angels.  The heroes.

The Stoneman Douglas 17 that were granted wings during a Valentine’s Day Massacre that will haunt us for many years.

May we all honor them all and vow to make them immortal by spreading their faces, names, stories…to the point we can barely remember the details of the selfish punk-ass coward who stole their lives, spilled their blood, extinguished their light far too soon..

May their deaths not be in vain and we learn how to become kinder, more compassionate and better people, softening and becoming more loving and vulnerable in the aftermath.

I hope we may one day truly put down our arms and give peace a chance.

IMG_1698

 

Lamoureax

 

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[5…4…3…2…1…all systems g–wait…not quite yet…]

so, there’s a website that i am ready to launch into cyberspace.  it is a website i worked on rather diligently back a few years ago…all my blood, sweat, and tears…poured so much into it.  when it was all done…ready to be viewed…i pulled the plug on all the engines…kept it grounded.

why?

well, that will require a hundred more blogs to answer that question.  [stay tuned!  something to look forward to.  yeehaw!]

anyway…today…monday, february 11, 2018, i dusted off my old, dormant website…checked it out myself…[“wow, this is gonna be good, i can tell.”  i was so dory when i looked it over…no clue as to half the things i did with it.]

in this new year…in this awesome new year…2018…i am taking more chances with my books…my writing…and not letting the same old stupid obstacles hold me back anymore.

this is an unofficial launching…because as of now, the site still needs a little love…it requires some tweaking before it can be official.  so, for now i am doing a test run.  to anyone reading this right now…and within the remainder of the week…you get to sample how the sample looks right now!  wow…how lucky are you?!

bear in mind that there are some minor glitches.  the blog page is a bit wonky.  i am not sure why it looks that way…and im the creator.  i have tinkered with it…but not with very much success.  technology is not being that friendly to me at the moment…but i am confident and hoping to conquer this minor setback.

kazakhstan-soyuz-rocket-space-65704.jpeg

anyway…to those of you reading…[hello, is there anybody out there?] i hope you enjoy.

in a few days…the real launch will take place.

so, get your sunglasses and phones ready…it will be absolutely monumental!

<“)))><

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[march of the mushrooms]

 

Overnight…

by early the next day, long before the sun rises, we are ready, so ready, more than ready. Tossed once more from another safe yet suffocating cocoon and into the open, frigid, frightening world. We’ve been here before, standing in there same shoes, old fists, charged and pumped–and oh, so soft–so soft–unable to wreak any havoc or do any damage.

But now, now–[how now, brown cow, we giggle–] now it is time! This is our moment. Finally!

We bring to the surface, pull from the electric charges that illuminate our hearts, once more, all the fears and obstacles that once stood before us–blocking, obstructing, preposterously preventing us from
pursuing–and claiming, yes, claiming, what is so rightfully ours.

 

This is how the year started for me.

A mere mushroom…

meek…mild…patient…

now…persistent…

pushing his way up through the cracks of the pavement…

trying to find a place…

a voice…

no longer with my soft fists…

I am so ready to inherit the earth.

<“)))><

 

[an enormous, hearty thanks goes to sylvia plath…the beyond brilliant poet who etched the poem “mushrooms”…which is where this image came from.  read her poem…click here…don’t wait…do it right this minute.]

https://allpoetry.com/poem/8498359-Mushrooms-by-Sylvia-Plath

 

fly-agaric-mushroom-nature-red-40566.jpeg

Lita Ford Ain’t The Only One: “Gotta Let Go”

support artist friends

 

Hey Skulkers:

I’ve been in a dark place these last few hours, wondering why the silence is deafening from some people who know me and know I write.  Why don’t some people say anything?  And for my brother as well?  I was getting more upset, the longer my brain marinated in it.  As I waited for the hair dye timer to ding (at the salon getting my hair did today), I investigated.  And I found this:

https://selfpublishingadvice.org/dealing-with-friends-reactions/

It’s actually a thing, this whole notion of family and friends not say anything about art. The above article actually has some heartbreaking comments from writers who shared about their unsupportive spouses.  One writer said she was going to stop working on her manuscript since no one she shared with could get through the first chapter.And I related to these people.  As much as my heart hurt, I also realized the big message here.

This belongs to the people who refuse to be supportive.  It is their problem, not mine.  It is their fear, not mine.  And it’s not personal.  Sigh.

As I made a commitment a couple of weeks ago  to stop taking things personally, I suppose being in this dark place (stewing in this dark place) means I’m cheating.  I have been taking things personally.  It is time to surrender and allow people to be however they are going to be about my writing.  Because when I ask myself if their reactions will be so powerful that it will cause me to STOP writing I resound with a loud, “Uh, no!”  So, what’s it matter how they feel about it?  It truly is none of my business.

However, I can’t quite sing “yahoo yahoo” like all good little who’s who just had Christmas stolen from them by some green, sinister Grinch.  No.  It doesn’t quite work that easily in my life (maybe it does for you).  So, I have to work at it and release … get pissy… release some more… get pissy again… and release some more.  Maybe one day, I won’t get pissy for quite so long…or even at all.  Who knows?

So, my free advice?  If you know an artist, please be a true friend and support their art (if you can afford it).  Then, once you’ve taken a peek, whether you adore it or hate it,  maybe start the conversation by asking your artist friend about his/her work.  Once you have a little more insight, maybe try to find something sincerely positive to share about the work.  However, you should know that telling a writer that the writing was interesting or that they used a nice, legible FONT is a clear give away you either didn’t LIKE the work (which IS ok) or you REALLY didn’t like the work (which is ALSO ok). I think most artists would prefer authentic reactions (even if unfavorable) to fluffy compliments that mean nothing and are insincere.

If you truly think the artist is not hitting the mark and has no talent, then offer concrete and constructive criticisms.  Tell the artist what specific styles you most like and then what specifically you didn’t like.  For example, you might tell me after reading an excerpt of my novel or a poem, “You know, Lamoureaux, I just loooooove Nicholas Sparks’ books.  I’m not much on reading Sylvia Plath or dark subjects.  Your novel (or poem) lacked a love story and was a bit dark for me.  But the font was outstanding.  I am allll about American Typewriter.”    I will then know exactly where to put your comment, nod, smile and keep on writing what I’m writing, knowing my writing just isn’t your cup of tea.  For poetry or abstract art, it is probably best to think of some good open-ended questions to ask about the work to begin a conversation.  But make no mistake, your artist friend does notice your lack of talking to them about their work.  They want to have a conversation about their work.  Not because they are needy or looking for empty praise (they can see right though that), but because they are excited about their work and want people to enjoy what they are creating.

Anyway…I am stepping off my soapbox (for now) and going to let this one go.  I will tend to my writing and pictures of middle fingers.

Keep being the music makers and dreamers of dreams.

\m/ \m/

Lamoureaux

[Here’s Lita rockin’ out…if you were here for THAT… click here… (I wouldn’t want to disappoint any Lita diehards who stopped in) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0bkMDbebxc  ]

Discombobulated

Hello skulkers,

Thank you for popping in to skim this week’s rambling lunacy.  My brain is identifying LIBRA today and struggling to hang on to even the most basic of thoughts long enough to string them together in some coherent form (no offense to Libras in general.  We simply tend to have difficulty with decision-making).  Just to prove that point, take a look at the images that I collected for tonight’s blog:

(One of these images was simply a mistake…)

Discombobulated.

The do-si-dos image probably explains all the others since Girl Scout cookies have been the staple of my diet for this past week.  At some point I will need to actually eat a vegetable, but being that is International Pizza Day (National Pizza Day?  Universal Pizza Day?  Pizza Day in the Lazarus House But We’ll Just Say It’s A Big Deal To Lessen The Guilt?), the pineapple topping is as healthy as it’s going to get today.

So, here is where it gets semi-serious (keep scrolling if you aren’t doing emotions today…).  My brother is a brilliant writer…I am mere Jello to his Chocolate babka (if you know your Seinfeld references).  I’m actually ok with being the less talented one, however, I am completely flummoxed at the lack of support for his work.  He has done what the blogs and magazines say to do to increase book sales, get published and move to the next level.  He has sick, mad talent.   He even has his work available for purchase on iBooks (J. Todd Wilson: Spooky, K!ck, Gutter Muck, Lady Loaf, I am Cliche ).  Purchasing one of his books on iBooks is cheaper than purchasing fancy coffee beverage at Starbucks.  It contains zero calories, provides no guilt and allows one to relish in the groovy love vibes of supporting an artist that warms the heart.  That feeling can last months, years or even a lifetime.  However, his work is dark.  He writes about the freaks, weirdos and one of his books features a nameless anti-hero (Gutter Muck–my personal favorite).  The masses have found it too grim and dark so he lacks marketability. Hence, the lack of publishers wanting to take his work on, the lack of people reading his books.  Sigh. I understand the concept of book selling as a business, that the publishers and book stores are in it to make money.  Yet, there is something that is essentially punk rock in me that agitates me about that system as well.  I wonder where are the places that DO believe in good art?  Where are the publishers willing to take a chance and be the leader?  Where are the publishers that want to take a risk on quality?  Where is the Blackheart Record Label of writing (the record label that Joan Jett created when she couldn’t get signed)?    There seems to be no place for weirdos and freaks right now.  And won’t be until Snooki (or the next reality TV star, their pet or the next fan fic writer to make the best seller’s list) decides it will be the next writing trend.  Until then, weird is just weird. It remains taboo and we will remain unpublishable.  True artists get shoved aside while publishers put out calls for erotica (50 Shades of Gray) or zombies (whatever made that popular) and nonfiction (again, not sure why…reality TV? people wanting to be smarter?).   Being trendy and popular was barely important to us when we began writing, it certainly has only grown LESS important as the years have ticked on.  We are writers of stories and art.  Not trends.  (“We are the music makers; we are the dreamers of dreams.” )

Sigh.

In the deep recesses that tell me to not give up (or when I look at the blank spot on my foot where there used to be a toe), I remember I have to hobble on forward.  It feels as if we have been trudging through the dark underbelly of publishing for years (J Todd actually HAS been), yet it has only been a month that we both have been tackling this beast.  We are laughing and enjoying the process, however, when delving too deep into those dark places doubt begins to creep in and can decide to linger longer than is truly welcomed.  It’s the moments of silence, when people ignore the writing and say nothing that makes us wonder if we are on the way to losing our minds.  We aren’t needy…not by a long shot…but we wonder if we should be wasting our time… and doubt our abilities in when the darkness latches on. This is the mental game.  No wonder so many writers become crazy or addicted to opiates or hooch.

Sigh.  Only a month and so serious and dejected?  Really?

Well, that’s why stupid optimism is a blessing.  It keeps me going and convinces me that I have to write in the same way I have to breathe.  Publishing doesn’t matter.  The worth of our work outside of ourselves truly doesn’t matter.  Just get the word on the page.  Hone in on the craft.  Revise.  Edit.  Put it out there.  Or at least TRY to get it out there. And keep going.

So, in order to continue breathing, I am eventually going to have to stop with the Girl Scout cookies and eat a vegetable in the very near future.

[See?  What did I tell ya’?  Completely discombobulated.]
[*Oh and if you cared (probably not), Annie Oakley was the mistake.  I was researching her for a character in the novel I’m writing.  I was too lazy to remove her image from the others.]

[ You can also check out J. Todd Wilson’s books here by clicking on the bookstore: J. Todd Wilson’s Blurb site  … if you are looking for links to Snooki’s bookS (I sigh and roll my eyes and say I don’t want to be an enemy of art simultaneously)…but ya’ ain’t gonna find ’em HERE.!]

Much gratitude for your brief gander and scroll.

Continue being the music makers and dreamers of dreams and please support local artists,

Lamoureaux

 

An exercise with constructive criticism…

Bouncing back from receiving notification of the declined entry on Submittable, I re-read the editor’s constructive criticisms and made some changes based on her suggestions.

Here is the new and improved version:

declined courage to love suggestions

I think they made for good improvements.  Definitely more polished.  Maybe I will try to send off new and improved version to the links the editor shared.

[Below is the original poem as it was sent in all it’s flawed, apparently first draft glory]:

declined courage to love

 

DECLINED!

declined

A flash of warmth over my cheeks and across my chest.  Somehow I see DECLINED! rather than how the word truly appears.  Nerves and humiliation bounce as I quickly exit Submittable.  Oh the agony of being DECLINED!  The sting still burning on my skin as I pick up the poison pen, oozing on the page, creating four “chap-my-ass” poems.  Somewhere in this release it occurs to me that this place that DECLINED! my submission promised feedback.  So, begrudgingly, I log back into Submittable.  My belly catches and gnashes as I explore the DECLINED! submission.  I find the feedback:

declined 2 email

The pesky warmth of humiliation is biting my skin once more, however, I begin to realize that this email is not scathing, harsh or even personal.  It is actually fair and I’d even say kind.  The editor sent me links for places I could send my work.  Perspective shifts in this moment and becomes this surge of excitement.  A realization:  I’m a REAL writer now.  I’ve had my first rejection and survived.  I didn’t crumble or get angry.  I actually understand what this editor is telling me and am able to look back at this piece with a critical eye.  I will play with her suggestions and see if I like how they change my work.

“Declined” becomes less of an SOS, panic inducing signal and settles back to its regular roundness without color and dramatic emphasis.

There is still work to be done before accepting defeat and buying a black turtleneck, khakis and signing up for the poetry slam (though the Angry Lesbian Breast[sad hetero chesticle] poem is ALREADY in PUBLISHABLE form to be submitted!).

(The poem that was declined is below, if you were curious.  This is the exact form that I submitted.)

 

declined courage to love