When You’re Tired

Dear Reader,

That moment when you look around your house and think, “It’s such a mess. And I’m too tired to care.”

That moment when someone asks you to help with something – moving, a project, an event – and you say no because you’re tired.

That one time when you debate with yourself about seeing a friend because it’s been a long week and you’re tired and just want one day to stay home. (But you go anyway because you love them.)

We all have these moments. I’ve been having these moments all week. And last week. I’m tired. It’s my own fault, really. I have children in sports activities, I have a part-time job, I have my business, my writing career, and my college courses. Oh, and my husband wants some of my time too. Then there’s my friends and my parents and family visiting from out of town…and the next thing I know it’s been a week since I’ve stayed home longer than it takes to sleep and eat and go again.

When this happens, I get run down. Chronic illnesses will do that to a person. My whole body hurts, I have IBS, and my brain doesn’t work right. On the way home today I ran a stop sign and didn’t even notice until I was across the road! It’s not pretty. Or safe.

What do you do when you’re too tired? Do you take a break from it all? Push through? I find I do a little of both. I try to get up earlier or stay up later and work when everyone else is sleeping. I sneak a 10-minute break in and just read or take a walk. And then there are days like today. We had a family outing at a ski resort where we participated in a color run. So much fun! But exhausting after a long week of events. I came home and read for a little bit, then decided it was a good day for a nap. I didn’t clean my house even though it desperately needs it. I didn’t worry about the flower beds which are more aptly named weed beds right now. I relaxed.

Tomorrow I start it all over again. With a fresh perspective on my time, I hope to have a better week. How I use my time and how I allow others to use it is getting a closer look. I have lots of things I want to do, and I need time and energy for them. Which means saying no and not feeling guilty.

So say no if you’re tired. Put your time where it gives you joy. Give yourself permission to take a nap. It’s ok.

Loving hugs,

Alena

Walking by the Lake

lake-1279440_1280

Cool evening air floats across the lake
Bringing the stench of dead fish, old
Sandwiches and charred wood.
The path flows to the edge and
Reveals calm waters in the mist.
Gravity disappears.
Dark space surrounds me.


This is an Ekphrastic poem, inspired by a photo similar to the one posted here. I wrote this as an exercise at an Idaho Writers League meeting. Adam Walsh was our presenter and he challenged us to look at the photo and write the poem in one minute.

(Photo by Tim Mossholder, used with permission)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

The Future of Art

This is a little short story that I submitted to this year’s Idaho Writers League contest. It started as a quick write about a dystopian society where you must be productive to live. My original story was about Adam trying to escape the country. This one is about his sister. Let me know what you think! 

Looking out over the city, Amber compared what she was seeing with the photos on her Vu-pad. The hilltop was covered with lush, green grass while strategically placed benches and trees allowed one to pause and enjoy the beauty of Newtown. Amber sat on one such bench, her drawing kit next to her. She wanted to sketch how the city looked two hundred years ago and then overlay it with the current view.

Two hundred years ago, Newtown was called Houston. It was a vast and sprawling city, with towering buildings and hundreds of miles of paved roads that overlapped each other in a tangled mess. In the photograph, Amber could see vehicles crawling on the highways and smog hanging in the air. She was taught in school that this picture was taken right before the Great Purge when the pollution and garbage were at their worst. That was when the government changed the regulations and required that everything uses renewable energy and have little to no waste products. The Great Purge took place over a period of twenty years, and the structure of the government also changed. Instead of having a president, senate, and congress, the Commonwealth now consisted of the President, the Bureau, and the Councilors.

Sighing, Amber brought her attention back to the scenery and pulled out a sketch pad. The paper alone cost almost an entire paycheck, but she felt it was worth it. With quick, sure strokes of the pencil, Amber began to draw the city in front of her. Several minutes went by, and she found the in-between space where nothing existed but her pencil moving over the paper. The sudden sharp tone of her comm-unit startled her, and she put the drawing aside to look at the message that scrolled across on the screen.

“Ms. Amber Jaydine Austin: You are hereby summoned to the Court of Society where you will explain your chosen profession and how it benefits the city. Please present yourself in one hour.”

Continue reading “The Future of Art”

Friendships in Writing

Originally published August 25, 2015, by me on my other blog, which is in the middle of a transition.

A few days ago, I was getting ready to leave for 10 days to see some friends I have in Texas. This is my 3rd annual trip, and I’m really looking forward to it. I get to see my bestest best friend for a few days, then spend some time reconnecting and learning with my Sisters of the Sisterhood of Avalon. Over the last week, I’ve been thinking about the friendships I have. This past year has seen some of my friendships wax and wane, and one go out all together.

We all have different levels of friendships and some of those friends may feel they are at a different level with you than you are with them. Wait, did that make sense? Let me say it this way: I may feel one way about a relationship, while that person may feel that the relationship is something else.

I’m not going to analyze my various friendships for you. I know where everyone stands with me, and I usually try to make sure they know where they stand with me too. Sometimes that doesn’t happen, usually because the other person is thick headed and I’m trying really hard not to hurt their feelings.

For me, the different levels of friendships include the Best Friend, the Good Friend, the Old Friend, the Casual Friend, the Group Friend and the Acquaintance. I don’t want to go too in depth about what each category is, but they are listed in order from “most likely to tell a secret to” to the least. Some of these have sub-levels, but that’s not important for right now.

When you’re writing – whether fiction or non-fiction – you need to keep in mind the level of friendship someone has with the person they’re interacting with. For example, a character (let’s call her Mary) is talking to her best friend, Beth. Mary tells Beth all about her date including the details of the dinner and the goodnight kiss (maybe even a bit too much detail?). Later on, when Mary is talking to her casual friend Amy, a lot of the details are left out and the date goes from amazing and romantic over chicken parmesan to pretty nice and how was your day.

Don’t allow your characters to give up too many secrets or details to friends who aren’t at the top of their list. At the same time, allow all relationships to change. Maybe a casual friend becomes a good friend when they’re in a car accident together. They now have a bond that might not exist in other friendships. Flip that around, and a good friend who betrays your character suddenly becomes a casual friend or even an enemy. There are different levels of enemies too, but that’s a discussion for a different day.

What do you think? Did I leave out any important friendship levels?

Blue Bottle Trees?

I saw this article today and at first I thought it was a real tree with flowers that look like bottles.

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/othermagicspells/p/Bottle-Trees.htm

Turns out it’s another way to deter evil spirits from your home. I’ve always wanted to make a wishing/blessing tree by tying ribbons on the branches. Now I’m thinking I want a blue bottle tree too!

What do you think of this tradition? Would you do it?

Family Reunion

About once every decade, my family has a reunion. It was my grandparent’s legacy to our family. This would be my dad’s parents. Now, I was adopted by my dad when I was four years old after my parents got married. They were both previously married, and as a result, I have three sisters. I’m my mom’s only child, and was raised as an only child as my sisters are all older than me; the youngest of them is 14 years older. My dad is my dad; my sisters are my sisters. They aren’t my step-sisters. I don’t know any other family, and I don’t want to.

color runAnyway, last weekend we had our family reunion in Southern California. It was amazing to see everyone again! The family reunions we have aren’t just about hanging out and getting reacquainted. We have a talent show, an auction, and a sort of memorial service. This time, we also had a color run, tug of war, and got to play on a zip line.

I shared my poem Grandfather’s House at the talent show. Several of my cousins came up to me later and said they loved it, and they could visualize Grandma & Grandpa’s house, Grandpa’s library, and the orange trees in the back yard. Talk about warm and fuzzy feelings!

My sister’s granddaughter performed a little dance with the help of her mom, aka my danceniece. They danced to Lost Boy by Ruth B. Now I can’t hear that song on the radio without thinking of them. I love that because I only see my niece and her family about once a year. I have a memory of them dancing engraved on my heart.

At the memorial service, my dad and my aunts shared memories they have of my grandparents. Some of it I knew, some if it I had forgotten, and there was still quite a bit I learned. One thing stuck out to me, and that was how long my grandparents were married despite some terrible things that happened to them, including tragically losing three babies and losing their farm in the Great Depression. No matter what, they loved each other through it all.

Then there were the funny stories. Grandma is most famous for her April Fools Day joke. Grandpa was out working in the fields, and he heard Grandma yelling “fire!” He looked to the house to see smoke. Of course, he ran to the house and just as he got close, Grandma kicked a bucket off the porch then slammed and locked the door while calling, “April Fools!” I don’t know if Grandpa was angry at her for that or not, but my Aunt Joy read some of his journal entries, and they all had things like, “She’s mad at me again, but I sure do love her.”

I’ve been struggling with how to show love despite hardships in my book. Oh, I’ve experienced it myself since I’ve been married for almost 13 years now. We’ve had some rocky times the last couple of years, and some days are better than others. I still find it difficult to delve into that realm of love in spite of anger, and write about it. Hearing stories about my Grandparents and how they lived has given me some new insight and inspiration.

To all my family: Don’t be surprised if you recognize some moments in Over the Moon.

Why I Write

Why I write is not a complete title. The actual title should be something like, “Why I write and have this website.” But you can see that’s a little wordy. I’d like to break it down for you a little, give you some insight into my head. It’s a little dark and scary in there, but I’ll try to keep you on the fringes.

WHY I WRITE

I write because it’s in my blood. Seriously. I grew up watching my mom write. My mom has a few thing published (more on that later), and she was always journaling. I have a distinct memory of being about five years old and taking a bath in the big bathtub in my mom’s bathroom. She was sitting next to me on a little green stool with a notebook in her lap. I was telling her a story, and she was writing it all down for me. Years later, I found that she wrote that in her journal. Someday I should get her to dig that old notebook up and let me have my story back.

I also write because it’s an outlet for me. I’ve had lots of life happen to me. There was a lot of good things but also a lot of bad things. I like to think there has been more good than bad, but the bad was really, really bad. Some of it was evil. I would write stories to explain my feelings or work through events. It was a kind of mental purge, I guess. The beautiful part of my mental purge is that it included the love and laughter, not just tears and fear.

I’ve literally been writing my entire life. I have notebooks filled with stories, notes, and ideas. In recent years, I decided to become serious about writing and make it my career as well as my passion. This is my why.

WHY I HAVE THIS WEBSITE

I wanted to have a way to allow people to get to know me as well as have updates on what I’m writing. I’m super hopeful to be famous someday, with a book turning into a movie and then a TV series. Isn’t that the ultimate dream of all serious writers? So click “follow” if you haven’t already. Thanks!

I have lots of things I’m excited about and love. These things inspire and help me to create my stories. My family, travel, essential oils and how they changed my life, and my spiritual journey are all things that influence my writing. I want to share all of this with the world. That will happen here, on this site. Have you clicked “follow” yet? It’s going to be an awesome voyage.