I’m a Teenage Lobotomy…

riff randell“Lobotomy!  Lobotomy! Lobotomy!”

Pounding in my brain.  Punctuating my thoughts and self talk.  I suppose my earworm is preparing to explode, like Principal Togar’s experimental mice.

Just because the school year is over,  I longed to spend a couple hours immersed in the hallways of Vince Lombardi High.  From Riff Randell’s passion for The Ramones and proclamation in lipstick on the bathroom mirror that “Togar Sucks”, to Eaglebauer Enterprises helping Kate to get with Tom, who loves Riff, this beloved, cheeseball movie is STILL one of my favorites.  I do realize I’m talking as a fangirl who had her first girl crush on PJ Soles, long before she knew girl crushes were a thing, OK and didn’t equate to full on lesbianism.  Although I grew to love the Ramones, that love was simply a natural a byproduct from gushing over Riff Randell and all her bad-assery.   Even today, speaking as a fangirl, Rock-n-Roll High School is a gem.  It has the ability to take me back to a time in my life where things seemed simpler (though I’m sure nostalgia has painted that in there and things were quite complicated).  I believed my dreams could and would come true.  I believed that anything was possible.  I was innocent and believed in movie magic.  I pretended I was Riff Randell as I skated around the patio at my house and fancied myself a “rock’n roller” as well.  I captured that yesterday while I re-watched a favorite, beloved movie.  The haze has yet to lift.  I hope I can remain in the cloud for a little longer yet.

So, forgive me for not showing up for my real writing today because I’m too busy being a Teenage Lobotomy.

Teenage Lobotomy clip from RNR High School

I Want You Around Riff Randell RnR high school

Rock on, nerds! \m/ \m/

Gabba Gabba Hey!

Lamoureaux

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For the Love of Lemons

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Photo by Ryan Baker on Pexels.com

It’s happened again.  Life has shown up to disappoint, hurling lemon after lemon after lemon my way.  This is the moment when despair meets disappointment because I am unable to obtain what I wanted.  Damn those high expectations that have been thwarted! Various clichés come to mind about whatever shit storm is raining on my parade and a whole bunch of twists on life giving me lemons so I can make _____________ .  Yet, I am supposed to be spending the weekend in a self-made meditative retreat that would center around  live streaming Pema Chodron’s talk in NY.   Pema is currently teaching on the 6 realms [Hell, Angry Ghosts, Animals, Humans, Gods, Demigods (or Titans/ Asuras)] and how we get stuck there.  Her purpose is to speak about two realms a day and discuss how they show up as well as how to flip the script on them and live with peacefully in and among the realms.  And it didn’t go according to plan. The lemons arrived swiftly after I logged on to the much awaited live stream event Friday night.  Buffering.  Choppy stream.  So, after a few hours of that and learning a video would be available “soon”, I made a nice tall, refreshing glass of lemonade to sip while I read, meditated, practiced.

The next day, I awoke refreshed and ready to log into the live stream again.  More lemons were waiting to be propelled my way, this time a dozen or so, as there would be no live stream again today.  I contemplate what to do with this time and decide to break my vow of silence to log on here and explore what exactly I could be doing with my newly acquired lemons.   Here is what I found:

  1.  Making Baked Goods  Who doesn’t like lemon cookies, lemon bars, lemon merengue pie or lemon cake? Why not take those pesky lemons and create something sweet from them?  This turns the negativity into something positive and uplifting.  Sure, I might gain a few pounds binging on the confectionary smorgasboard, but I can also share with others.  Rippling out the positivity to others is something I heard Pema discuss this morning while watching the video of last night’s talk.
  2. Bleaching Hair   If you were looking for something to do from a cosmetic standpoint, lemons are a natural way to lighten hair.  Squeeze some juice on the parts of your hair that you want to lighten and sit in the sunshine.  Hopefully, you slather on a good sunscreen as well (and the sun is actually shining for you today; it is raining where I am located).  Don’t expect to go porno blonde from them if you have naturally dark hair, see a professional hair dresser for drastic results.
  3. Bleaching Freckles  Because of a nasty chemical reaction that could happen after rubbing lemon to your face and shortly after heading out into the sunshine, do this with caution.  Most self-proclaimed, internet experts on DIY beauty regimines recommend using lemon juice on your skin at night and making sure it is completely washed off the next morning, prior to being in the sun.  Others suggest diluting the lemon juice.  Wait…you have google, you seriously wanna do this? Google away.
  4. Using Slices As Garnish   Add a slice of lemon to water or iced tea (sweetened, unsweetened, half-cut, Long Island, green)  and enjoy the little halo of sunshine clinging to the edge of your glass.  You also could use the garnish to squeeze onto into the beverage.  AAAAH, thank you, Lemon!
  5. Using For Tequila Shots   Lick.  Salt.  Slam.  Lemon. TRRRRRILLLLLL!!! Aye aye aye!!!   Just remember not to DRIVE after consuming lemon in this manner.
  6. Making Lemon Pepper Chicken (or Fish)    If you’re a vegetarian, try lemon pepper tofu.  Again, don’t be lazy, head to Google search and look for a recipe you would like to try out.
  7. Making Lemonade  Squeezing fresh lemons into a glass, adding water and sugar to taste, and pouring over ice  makes a delightful beverage.  Summer is upon us, so why NOT make lemonade with all those lemons?  Don’t forget to save a spare slice for garnish!  You can also spike the drink to create homemade “hard lemonade”.  You also can open a lemonade stand or just play the video game online while sipping your homemade lemonade.
  8. Cleaning The Garbage Disposal  Once finished with making lemonade, don’t throw away your lemon rinds.  Throw them down the disposal instead and grind your disposal clean. Then, you can stand commercial like in your kitchen, smiling from the nice lemon scent wafting from your disposal, rather than the rancid garbage scent that is creeping in there now.  Be careful of the seeds, though. I have heard from friends these can be problems for some disposals.
  9. Sucking on Lemons    Go ahead and stay stuck in the sourness, negativity and put a pucker on those lips by literally going off to suck on a lemon.  This one is self explanitory.
  10. Watching 30 Rock   Turn on the tube and binge watch everyone’s favorite lemon, LIZ.  Enjoy her foibles and have a few chuckles at her expense.  Maybe try this while sipping lemonade or sucking on a lemon.  If you are doing this while drinking tequila, I don’t think you quite understand the point of tequila.

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These are just a few of the various things you can do with your bags of lemons.  Remember, health benefits abound from consuming lemons, such as aiding digestion, lowering blood pressure, treating cholera and malaria, and some even claim it can calm an asthma attack.  In addition, there are many places on your body you can rub lemon juice for cleansing, bleaching, and it will disinfect cuts and abrasions.  Though, another caution from one who fell for that claim and used on already stinging, burning, painful vasulitis ulcers (before I know they were vasculitis ulcers), lemon juice hurts like a mofo.  I will save the final glowing moment of the benefits of lemons by stating how some women get a whiff of something questionable in their nether region and like to squeeze a little twist of lemon juice down there to freshen up.  Whether it is to rid yeast infections or balance the pH of an off kilter vagina, lemons are claimed to help out.  Again, I’m going to have to break in with a word of caution and logic to state that I would ask a gynecologist prior to adding a little lemon freshness to your vagina.  Trust your gyno, not some random female who thought plain yogurt sounded like a reasonable method of clearing a yeast infection, when it did nothing but create a cold, glob of a mess

So, have at it, nerds.  Cook up something great with those lemons, but please refrain from throwing them at me.  I already have enough to contend with this weekend.

Peace, love, puckers and poetry,

Lamoureaux \m/ \m/

 

A Post Card from the Doldrums

Stagnant.  Stale.  And almost still.

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The Doldrums feel like home right now and I am finding great comfort and bliss in the darkness of the dank, low energy.  Rejection after rejection after rejection… begins to erode my passion with each new “letter” on Submittable, even though I have made a pact with myself to refrain from allowing rejections to have absolute say over whether I have any talent what so ever or am merely a hack.  In lulls before this one, I have been able to dig a little deeper to strike a sort of muddy, messy layer of determination and grit, providing the courage to press on, with a fundamental belief in my work and scrounging for crumbs of encouragement within the lines of an ever growing list of declined notifications in Submittable.

As I have no view in this musty motel in the Doldrums, I have looked within and must confess (as I’m sure I’ve shared this in a previous blog), publishing was a bigger deal prior to the true attempt at getting my work published.  The fairy dust has settled and become sneeze inducing, ordinary, behind the dresser and under the bed, dust.  No frills.  No fairies. And a long line of the glass is half full kind of encouraging rather than crushing rejections has pushed me into this weird limbo of knowing I need to push on and continue, but having difficulty with HOW to do that exactly.

It probably hasn’t helped to be near obsessed with Death, keeping him in my thoughts, and close to my heart these last few weeks.  In addition, my brother’s 18 year old cat had been slowing down this past week; he practiced loving kindness and being present for her before she drew her last breath earlier today.  Watching the news, listening to people tell their stories off loss, challenges, pain and despair, as well as trying to get comfortable with the certainty of mortality has definitely contributed  me being stuck dumb and unmotivated.  Words swirl in my brain and I struggle to find their proper order and place on a document (or paper/journal).  The number of sighs I heave per half hour has increased with heavy thoughts and massive emotions.

I have come to understand that Death is a great teacher as I  read the articles in Lion’s Roar and Tricycle Magazines.  So, shouldn’t Death feel a tinge responsible for my lack of writing goals met these last few weeks?  Hasn’t he had some say in the increase of my disenchantment with writing and encouraged my muse to walk out on me if I don’t pull myself together and show up?  After all, I HAVE made Death my most trusted companion these days, even allowing him to mooch off the space in my mind without having to pay his fair share of the bills.  Sigh.  However, that isn’t completely accurate, because Death has also provided a renewed vigor and look at life.  He has helped me to put things into perspective and be present.  Death has been and continues to push me to understand impermanence in new ways, hence why I keep him around.  So this trip to the Doldrums truly is not his fault. Perhaps there is no place, person or experience on which to burden the blame. Sigh.

Maybe it’s time to go back to affirmations, even if they are whispered in a weak voice with plenty of accompanying eye rolls, I still should try to mumble them.  Even if I don’t entirely believe them today, tomorrow or by the end of the month and the conviction isn’t 100%.  Let me give it a whirl.  AhemI AM a writer.  I write for the right reasons.  I love writing.  I am not seeking fame, money, power.  NO EXCUSES.
That was exhausting.  But provided a little lift in mood.

I look to the internet for inspiration and my search provides me with a glimmer that this seems to be a popular “How To” blog topic for many.  Sigh. I must remain positive.  (And I’m positive writing is an over saturated market.)  This is one I liked, and sadly, I have no idea who Joe Bunting is (by the way he introduces the topic, I feel as if I should. So I searched his name to feel better about linking his tips here.  He IS a writer and WOULD/SHOULD know about these things.)

Other inspiration:

Image result for know your own worth in spite of the world

See the source image

Sigh.

I’m not sure I’m checking out of my motel just yet.  Maybe I’ll open one of my notebooks or files on my laptop during my visit to the Doldrums.  Maybe I’ll forget writing all together and watch Beauty and the Beast (again).  Maybe I’ll listen to Dolores O’Riordan, clasping Death’s cold hand while he shares some more secrets about life.  I’m not sure how long I’ll stay in the Doldrums, but I’ll try to accept it and learn from it while I’m here, for as long as I’m here.

[If any other writers want to share how they find the courage to keep on when passion and purpose lag, please feel free to share any pearls or nuggets.]

Write on, nerds!

\m/ \m/

Vomiting in a Blog Spot Without Focus

 

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Somewhere between my ankles becoming cankles and my shoulders pinching, I begin rocking back and forth to ease the pain that has settled into my glutes.  I have lost track of how long I have been sitting on the couch, clicking on journal after journal after journal after journal on Submittable.  I completed 22 submissions in one marathon, evening session.  With weariness and pain, came audacity.  No longer was I titling my submissions “one poem” or “callous” or “a smattering of poetry” or even “tres poems”.  I actually titled entries  “The Madea Collection” or “i plucked my chin for this?”  In the light of a new day, I pause and wonder, does that boldness come from frustration or arrogance?  I certainly don’t FEEL as if I am the greatest poet who has never been read, but when I DO read the poem that won the poetry contest (that I entered and heard ZILCH about ending or not being chosen), I’m a bit crestfallen and more than a smidgen disappointed.  “REALLYTHIS won?”  Sigh. I don’t consider myself an enemy of art either.  I pride myself with the ability to read another poet’s work and understand why they were chosen for the publication over my own (usually meager and scrappy) writing in comparison. Shelly Longbottom is absolutely FANTASTIC. I think we all recognize that.  But when I read this particular poem for that particular competition, I was nothing short of disgruntled and soured.  Talk about “jarring” line breaks.  Sigh.

I have known for a long time that poetry is the single most subjective form of writing that exists. Reading the contest winning poem confirmed that for me. With prose, a writer has to have a sense of story and character development.  Their style is determined by word choice, dialogue, description and other devices that help build suspense.  There is a reason Stephen King insists writers kill their darlings; it is to make sure writers understand and (at the minimum) adequately get to the crux of their story.   Yes, in prose, there are differences of opinion as to what differentiates the brilliant from the mediocre from the absolute terrible.  In my previous blog, I admitted a preference for literature and unique voice with poetic description over the cookie cutter, popular variety (Plath over popular, formulaic writing).  Yet with poetry, it’s much more muddled and murky.

The rejections I am currently receiving are along the lines of “you don’t SUCK and there is some merit / worth here, but it’s not quite right for the minuscule amount of space we have reserved for the one poem we will publish in the current edition of our publication that only comes out 3 times a year”.  Or “we enjoyed reading your work but it doesn’t fit in with our theme of ‘wilting daffodils and dilapidated fences’ that we didn’t mention we were looking for, but we WERE looking for and you should’ve KNOWN this was the unspoken theme for our current issue”.  Sigh.  Yet,  these kinds of rejections give me some reassurance that I don’t suck as a poet so much; I am just not what these places are looking for, due to a myriad of reasons.  I believe that usually these nuances determining the haves from the have-nots boil down to style.  If an editor prefers prose poetry or the all too trendy Milk and Honey variety of poetry, I’m out of luck.  Majority of publications on Submittable, open for submissions, are bare bones about their requirements.  I have found that as much as I appreciate this vague openness when I am submitting like a fiend, I do have deeper appreciation for  journals that are pin point specific about what they are looking for, especially when they have an incredibly narrow idea of what will work for their publication.  It makes it easier to  scroll on by, not wasting my time and energy with the submission process so that I can continue the search for a place that may be more fitting.  Though, I do have to confess that some publications that tout their openness to promoting/publishing the unique voices of unpublished writers are not always accurate either.  I’ve been declined from my fair share of journals that have stated they like “dark, edgy, quirky” work that is “outside the box” or “pushes boundaries” just to find out these publications are actually easily offended, rather trendy and traditional. Sigh.

Submittable is still a very strange place to venture off to; a place I still don’t entirely understand. Nine total rejections (eight on Submittable and one via email where the editor took the time to say some extra kind and thoughtful words encouraging me to continue to seek publication for my work).  Currently 37 active submissions.  Submittable is not for the insecure or doubtful writer.  This game has no manual nor real path to victory.  Best thing I can figure is writers should not allow the opinion of others to waver their confidence.  Writers have to believe in their art and voice, to continue to revise and edit their work and to continue to submit the hell out of their work. Writers have to know they were always writers and stop saying they WANT to become REAL writers.

cropped-img_3606 Who knows?  Maybe one day I will stumble upon the correct theme, using the correct style at the correct time for the correct journal and happenstance will bring me the elusive byline. It isn’t as exciting a thought as it was  three months ago.  I realize that even if that does happen, it is only ONE publication.  The process must continue, being published multiple times in journals no one seems to be reading, until I too have the same mediocre status of “published writer” in spite of the fact most of the world has no idea who I am, just like Shelly Longbottom.  I haven’t done the research, but am guessing that I have a better chance of an alien spaceship powered by yeti being the rescue team to save me from a great white shark attack than I do of being struck by lightning or being a hugely successful published writer.  Thankfully, this is not the reason why I write.  Who knows, with all this coffee I’ve been drinking, the posthumous publication of my non-award winning poetry may be closer than expected.

Warning: This blog may cause drowsiness that may lead one to drink copious amounts of coffee.  Coffee may cause cancer.

Additional Warning:  Submittable may cause hemorrhoids or very intense and real pain in the posterior, as well as anxiety, bouts of madness, self-doubt, depression and utter hysteria.  Standing and walking to get coffee may help alleviate intense symptoms.

Or, as Green Day says, “Warning…live without warning…”

Write on, nerds!

\m/ \m/

How to NOT get Published

 

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It’s frustrating.  Walk into any bookstore and you’re bound to be overwhelmed with the amount of books covering the shelves and display tables.  You can almost feel the anxiety build,  as if you are suffocating from so many books caving in around you.   Some writers actually feel puffed up with a sense of entitlement, thinking their supposed better than average writing ability should grant them their rightful place on display in book stores, waiting to be noticed.

But what about those writers who aren’t so sure their writing belongs on those crowded tables and shelves?  What about the writers who aren’t sticking their heads in ovens just yet, but rather waiting for the natural cessation of  breath to catapult them into writing superstardom?  Sound familiar?  Well, read on.  You can be comforted in knowing that you have a choice in making sure that no accidental coffee stains will ruin your books at crowded book stores.  You can avoid all the madness and headache of publishing in these 3 easy steps.

1. Don’t submit your work.  This one is pretty obvious.  If you don’t send your work to journals, publishers, agents, editors (or any of their lackeys), there is a 99.4% chance you won’t get published.  There is the overgrown brush that you may find you have fallen into after plummeting off the back of a watermelon truck you just happen to find yourself on (for some peculiar and inexplicable reason) that leads you to something that looks like it MIGHT be a path (but it’s not very clear).  In many circles, this is called “traveling lost and accepting happenstance lead you to the path that is said to be off the beaten one”.) Sounds a little far-fetched?  I think not.  Think about the very likely instance you gave someone your writing as a gift and this person has thoughtfully placed your book in a box full of random gewgaws, ready to deliver to a garage sale or charity bazar.  It is highly expected that someone in the publishing industry will stumble upon your work, read a page or 3,  and rather than trying to get it published as their own work, will wish you to get all the credit for your brilliant work.  This purveyor of great literature has one mission:  making sure starving artists like yourself are published.  So, to keep even the slightest of chance of your work getting into the hands of others, follow this basic principle:  if you don’t put it out there, they almost certainly will not publish it.

2.  Write something brilliant.  The other night I was at a local book selling establishment, searching to find The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.  As I walked up the aisle, browsing the shelves devoted to “P Fiction”, I noticed MANY books by one particular, popular writer, who I will call Fody Popcult  (I’m certain no one will be able to crack such a cryptic code).  Ms. Popcult’s work takes up at least two shelves and somewhere around there, I was lucky enough to spy one dinky copy of The Bell Jar by Plath.  I was aghast at the horror of Plath having one book on the shelf versus Popcult’s many books taking up multiple shelves.  In my own humble estimation, The Bell Jar is the single most brilliant piece of literature EVER written.  Sylvia Plath was a literary BEAST whose personal life and tragic death by suicide overshadowed her monumental talent.  For this unique, quirky piece of literature to be solitary among the more popular writers who tend to follow a formula and have a brand, was disheartening.  So, if you don’t want your work to be well read or take up much space on book shelves, make sure your writing is so extraordinary and noteworthy, no one will possibly want to read it (unless it is required for class).

3.  Refuse to follow trends.  I think we all know that the novel featuring the famous zombie soccer player who uses just the right amount of sexual prowess when stumbling upon a the fashion model vampire he initially can’t stand before pursuing a love relationship (with just the right amount of sadomasochism) that no one (except everyone) saw developing (with lots of twists and turns)  is BOUND to be a best seller. If you just keep to a story with heart, that is character driven and takes a new spin on a common theme,  people are bound to be bored with the slow pace and poetic descriptions.  This is another way to be sure your books remain in cheap, self published binding, tucked away in the cardboard boxes shoved in the trunk of your car (and off  bookstore shelves).

So there you have it.  A somewhat almost nearly certain way to never get published.  And if you do happen to be struck with the tragedy of being published, be reassured with the abounding hope that there is still a most EXCELLENT chance that people won’t read it anyway.

Write on, nerds!

\m/ \m/

 

Zora Neale Hurston

After visiting Barnes and Noble, my brother shared with me about Zora Neale Hurston.  Her image is a part of the mural of great and inspiring writers that is pasted to the wall hovering above the barista station at the cafe.  For those of us who go there to write and pray in our own, sacrilegious yet sacred way, these authors in the mural are among the elite writers we look to for inspiration and courage.   Apparently, Zora Neale Hurston was more well-known than I originally thought.  She received praise and recognition in the 1940s, but never achieved the pay-day that other successful writers had before, during  or after her time.  Zora Neale Hurston was a part of the Harlem Renaissance and inspired other writers, most notably Alice Walker.    My friend in life and on Facebook shared that Zora Neale Hurston was buried in a pauper’s grave in Florida.  It was Alice Walker who took it upon herself to give Zora Neale Hurston a marker for her grave using the words: “Zora Neale Hurston: A Genius of the South.”  Zora Neale Hurston’s work deserves to be read because she was a writer who wrote from that special, secret place where great writing happens.

Don’t believe me?  Click, the links below to explore and see for yourself:

Zora Neal Hurston — Click Here to Go to this Sway

Official Site of Zora Neale Hurston

Growing Thick Skin

I can add 2 more rejections to my growing list (that’s 5 declined out of 24 total submissions).

As much as it pinches and stings when I initially see another publication has declined my work (and I read the mostly banal rejection letters); I must confess that the twinge dissipates quicker these days.

What do I really care what these faceless editors think of my work?  Will it truly stop me from writing?  Will it stop me from submitting my work to other publications?  If I NEVER get published, does it mean that my work is less than those that did?

A big, fat stinking NOPE belongs right about here and answers all the above questions.

I am an artist.

I am a writer.

I am a poet.

I refuse to quit.

[X 10 gazillion]

I vow to continue to believe in my work, my voice, my art…even when no one else does.

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