Can You Vague That Up For Me?

Bronwyn Green's Random Thoughts

Archive for the tag “Gwendolyn Cease”

Promptly Penned: Rock Bottom

promptlypenned

Prompt: Well, apparently, Rock Bottom has a basement. 

I looked around the crowded bar. There wasn’t another server free. “Motherfucker,” I muttered under my breath. I’d have to take his table.

Sighing in resignation, I pulled the hairtie off my wrist and quickly pulled my hair up into a sloppy bun. I turned toward the bar where Veronica, one of my fellow waitresses, was loading up a tray with drinks and plucked the hot pink, prescriptionless glasses off the top of her head and shoved them on my face.

She glanced at me as she lifted the heavy tray off the scarred bar. “Got a creeper?”

“Something like that.” I grimaced and adjusted the glasses as I walked to his table.

He glanced at me then back at his menu. There didn’t appear to be any glimmer of recognition. Sometimes, a different hairstyle and ugly glasses were all it took.

“Are you ready to order?”

He did a doubletake. “Samantha?”

I didn’t respond. Unless glaring at him balefully could be considered a response.

“I haven’t seen you in class lately.”

I tilted my head to the side and just stared at him. The sheer magnitude of his douchery exerted a force too great for me to keep my head upright.

“No,” I finally answered. “I don’t suppose you would have. I dropped out.”

He sighed in seeming disgust. “Well, that was stupid.”

It was then that I noticed the hot, young blonde in the booth with him. I’d been so distracted by my dread of having to interact with this man, I hadn’t even seen her. She was a beacon of golden perfection, I honestly can’t understand how I’d missed her in the first place.

Something inside me snapped. I turned to address her. “Look, I know he’s hot. Smart is sexy and all that. But take it from someone who knows, he’s completely void of any kind of moral compass and has no business being an educator.”

I could hear my voice getting louder, but I couldn’t quite manage to quiet myself. Conversations around me in the capacity-packed restaurant sputtered to a halt. Too bad I couldn’t make myself do the same.

“He doesn’t give a shit about you,” I continued as the girl stared at me, eyes wide and lips parted. “He’ll fuck you, and then he’ll steal your research, slap his name on it, and when it comes time to defend your dissertation, you’ll have nothing. And you know what? The sex wasn’t even all that good.”

He blinked at me as I saw the night manager barreling my way from the corner of my eye. She looked pissed. 

I glanced back at my former advisor.

He cleared his throat and turned to the blonde. “Chloë, this is my former student, Samantha.” Then he looked at me. “Samantha, this is my daughter, Chloë.”

Well…apparently rock bottom had a basement. Fucking fantastic.

That’s it for me today, be sure to read Jess, Gwen, and Kris‘ stories!

Top 10: Quotes I Say from Movies/Shows/Songs

top10-07jul

It’s time for another top ten post, and this month is quotes. In our house, we quote stuff allllllll the time.  Also, this is probably going to be more than top ten–it might even be top ten from each thing I quote regularly.

Top Ten Labyrinth Quotes: 

10. ) “Say your right words.”

9.) “Goblin King! Goblin King, wherever you may be, take this child of mine far away from me!”

8.) “I wish the goblins would come and take you away. Right now.” (It never worked.”

7.) “You remind me of the babe.” (This inevitably turns into a sing along.)

6.) “Oh, please. I haven’t said it in such a long time.”

5.) “Well? Laugh.”

4.) “No, no, no. Of course, not!”

3.) “Nothing? Nothing? Nothing, tra-la-la-la?”

2.) “Ohhhhhh, what a lie!”

1.) “It’s in the rules.”

Top Ten Buffy Quotes:

10.) “This could be mathier.”

9.)  “Lie to me.”

8.) “Button, button, who’s got the button. My money’s on the witch.”

7.) “It’s a ritual sacrifice. With pie.”

6.) “Right. Wasn’t here. Didn’t see it.  Couldn’t have stopped you.”

5.) “A vague disclaimer is nobody’s friend.”

4.) “Can you vague that up for me?”

3.) “Bored now.”

2.) “What is your childhood trauma?”

1.) “It sucks beyond the telling of it.”

Top Ten Princess Bride Quotes:

10.) “Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.” (Said any time a wedding invitation arrives. But, I also got to open a wedding I officiated last year just. like. this!)

9.) “I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I’m swamped. ” (Said often when I’m on deadline.)

8.) “Life is pain, Highness!”

7.) “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

6.) “Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much.”

5.) “It’s for posterity.”

4.) “Good night, (insert either child’s ur husband’s or house guest’s name). Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”

3.) “Murdered by pirates is good.”

2.) “Jesus, Grandpa, what’d you read me this thing for?”

1.) “Have fun storming the castle!” (Said almost anytime someone leaves the house.)

Top Ten Hamilton Quotes:

10.) “Here’s an itemized list of 30 years of disagreements.” (Sweet Jesus.)

9.) “Uh, do whatever you want. I’m super dead.”

8.) “I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.”

7.) “Take a break. Run away with us for the summer. Let’s go upstate.” (Sung while we’re getting ready for our family vacation in the UP.)

6.) “When you knock me down I get the fuck back up again.”

5.) “We gotta go, gotta get the job done, gotta start a new nation, gotta meet my son!”

4.) “Pick up a pen, start writing.”

3.) “Write day and night like you’re running out of time.”

2.) “I’m not sorry.” (I sing this whenever someone complains about pretty much anything.)

1.) “I’m not here for you.” (I sing this whenever I enter the office I share with my son and all of his art supplies and gaming rig.) 

Top Ten Miscellaneous Quotes:

10.) “I could talk about industrialization and men’s fashion all day, but I’m afraid work must intrude.” Die Hard

9.) “She doesn’t even go here.” Mean Girls

8.)  “Flames…flames…flames on the side of my face!” Clue

7.) “I use antlers in all of my decorating.” Beauty and the Beast (You’d be surprised how often this one comes in handy.)

6.) “Then go ahead and STARVE!” Beauty and the Beast (What I said when someone dares express discontent with what’s for supper.)

5.) “If you don’t let me gut out this house and make it my own, I’ll go insane, and I’ll take you with me!” Beetlejuice

4.) “I have a permit.” Parks and Rec

3.) “I know what I’m about, son.” Parks and Rec

2.) “C’mon! We have a playdate with Banjo and Wingspan!” Baby Mama (My sister and I say this whenever we hear an especially hipster name. Since she works in an infant room at a childcare center, we say it a lot.)

1.) “In this parade of dumb and stupid, I’m the one twirling the flaming baton.” Gilmore Girls

Yeah…I know. Total overkill, but a lot of quoting goes on over here. What about you? What do you quote regularly? Be sure to check out Deelylah, GwenKris, and Jess.

Flash Fiction #59 – Witch

flashficphoto

38479482 - dark witch calling thunder powers . fantasy and surreal studio shot

Tansy’s cell phone vibrated, and she pulled it out of her pocket. After reading the text, adjusted the countdown clock.

This was it.

It was really happening.

They were going to do it.

Nervous excitement built in her stomach making her feeling vaguely nauseated as she laid out her supplies in the middle of her living room floor. Salt, crystals, candles, herbs, and her athame.

She glanced at at the countdown clock again. In three minutes and thirty-three seconds, they’d attempt something that had never been tried. Witches from every country–covens, solitary practitioners, would join together with a single purpose–saving the world.

When her alarm chimed, she took a deep breath and  moved to the center of the room and lit the candles.  Gripping the hilt of her blade tightly, she cast the circle, calling to the four quarters and raising the energy she’d need to complete the spell. As soon as she felt the power surging through her, she closed her eyes and focused on the subject of her spell, visualizing him clearly while reciting the words she’d spent the last three days memorizing.

As she held an image of him in her mind, the power swelled as it spread and joined with that of every other witch in the world. The magical current raced along her limbs, leaping from nerve ending to nerve ending, raising hair and goosebumps over her entire body as her heartbeat fell into rhythm and joining her consciousness with the rest of the spellcasters. And still the energy gathered and grew. When it was too vast to be contained, they all released it at once—sending it hurtling toward their target.

Tansy collapsed, breathless to the floor, pressing her palms to the old wooden floorboards as the lingering remnants of magic dissipated. After she’d caught her breath, she closed the circle and extinguished the candles. Before she’d even gotten her supplies put away, her best friend, Diana, had begun texting.

OMG – that was amazing. Did you feel it? Are you as pumped as I am right now?

Yawning, Tansy responded: I’m exhausted. I can barely keep my eyes open. When do you think we’ll know if it worked?

Diana texted back almost immediately. No clue, but you sleep. I’ll call you if there’s any kind of movement. 

Tansy thanked her and curled up on the couch. When she opened her eyes a few hours later, pinky-gray lighted filtered through the window and her phone was vibrating and and ringing loudly, Diana’s name flashing on the screen.

“Hello?”

“We did it! Turn on the news! Hurry!”

Tansy rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “What channel?”

“It doesn’t matter!” her friend crowed. “It’s on all of them!”

Fumbling for the remote, Tansy turned on the TV and squinted at the news anchor. “In a historically unprecedented move, the United States has thrown itself on the mercy of Canada, granting Prime Minister Trudeau governing responsibilities until the results of the 2020 election are in.”

The camera cut to a smiling Justin Trudeau. “Okay, healthcare’s been sorted. Now, let’s see what we can do about that climate agreement.”

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ takes on this image. Siobhan, Deelylah, Kris, Gwen, and Jess.

Favorite Writing Advice

#writelifeapril

Advice is a lot like music. Or styles of underwear. Use what works for you, and leave the rest behind.

Obviously, I can’t tell you what’ll work for you, I can only share what’s worked for me, but look around. You might find something you like. Try it on. See how it fits. If you like it, it’s yours.

So, these are my favorite bits of writing advice.

Emotional Meat Grinder – The first book I ever finished had zero conflict, and my very wise forever-friend, Alex Kourvo told me that it doesn’t matter how much I love my characters, I still have to grab them by the back of the head and shove them face-first into an emotional meat grinder and make their lives hell. Then, when it’s really bad, I need to make it worse.

Write What You Love – There are some people who advocate writing whatever’s popular in hopes of riding genre coattails to fame and fortune. Here’s the thing about that. If it’s not a genre or subgenre you truly enjoy, it’ll show. I saw it often in when I edited for small presses, and I still see it now with my editing business.  If you’re writing something in hopes of a paycheck instead of writing it because you love whatever it is, it’ll never be as good or satisfying for you or the reader than if you’d written something you were passionate about.

Who Has the Most to Lose? – Someone in a long ago and far away critique group had some brilliant advice about POV (point of view) that’s stuck with me to this day. When you’re writing a story with multiple narrative POVs, you’ll have to decide whose POV each scene should be in. Ask yourself who has the most to lose. Who has the most to lose physically? Who has the most to lose emotionally? (Especially emotionally.) Nine times out of ten, the character with the most at stake (in the moment) is the POV you’re going to want to write that scene from.

If You Want to be a Writer, You Need to Make Writing a Priority. – (Full disclosure: I can’t remember who said this to me–in reality, lots of people–but I have to remind myself of it on the regular. Sometimes daily. Sometimes all day long.) This isn’t to say that life–the busyness that comes from living and interacting with other people, a day job, and the world at large–can just be ignored. But if you’re finding it hard making time to write, you may have to take a long hard look at how you’re spending your time and decide where you can cut back to make room for more writing time. Also, make use of whatever tiny pockets of time you have.

Please note, I’m not including depression or other illnesses in the list of busyness. Those are a whole n’other ballgame. But as someone with multiple mental and physical health bullshit going on, I’m reminding you to be gentle with yourself. Constantly beating yourself up isn’t going to suddenly make you more productive. Trust me…I know intimately of which I speak. Be gentle with yourself. Accept help when it’s offered. Ask for help when you need it.

Trust the Story. – Background to this. It’s a paraphrased Neil Gaiman quote. More backstory. Jess Jarman, Kris Norris and I have had a three way text chat going on for almost four years, now. It’s incredibly rare that a day passes that we don’t text each other. I came across this Gaiman quote: “Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.” and shared it with them because I loved it so much.

While we were all working on newer to us genres and sort of stepping into the literary unknown (for us anyway) of self-publishing, we were having a lot of of doubt. Certainly, self-doubt, but also story doubt. We’re all mostly pantsers as opposed to plotters, and we’d often find ourselves second-guessing where the characters and the plots were heading because it wasn’t where we’d thought they’d be going. When that happened (and still, today, when it happens) we always tell each other, “Trust the story.”

Thus far, trusting the story and going with my gut has worked beautifully, and it’s brought me to places I hadn’t had any intention of going, but the books are better for it. I’m sure that one day, it might backfire and I’ll end up with a mass of revisions, but so far, this works for me, and I’m going to keep doing it.

Do you have any writing advice you swear by? What is it? Be sure to go check out the other bloggers’ favorite writing advice. Jess, Gwen, Jessica, and Deelylah.

Musical Musings #3

musicalmusings

It’s time for another Musical Musings, and this month, the subject is songs that remind me of my parents, my sibling(s), and my childhood. This should be fun! Also, I’m guessing it’ll be long. Because music. And family. You’ve been warned.

We’ll start with my dad. When my parents split, there were the weekend visits with my dad, and that meant car rides with the radio tuned to one of three things. Lions football, Tigers baseball, or country music. He’s a big country music fan–but you know, only “real country–not this new horse shit they have nowadays”. (Random thought alert: having spent many of my formative years surrounded by cow shit, I always wondered why he seemed to consider horse shit so much worse. I’m gonna have to ask him one of these days.) 

And while there are a ton of songs that remind me of him the biggest are probably The Gambler by Kenny Rogers and Ring of Fire and I Walk the Line by Johnny Cash. They always make me smile. Oh! And Delta Dawn – the Tanya Tucker version. I bet I can still sing that. Not gonna try, though.

There are so many songs that remind me of my mom, I don’t even know where to start, after all, she’s the reigning queen of Wildly Inappropriate Bedtime Songs. For instance, we got a lot of protest songs as lullabies well as other songs you wouldn’t normally sing kids like Brandy or The Eagles’ Take it Easy, Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain, The Beatles’ Lady Madonna and Eleanor Rigby, Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, pretty much all of John Denver, Carole King, and Simon and Garfunkel, but especially Cecelia. My brother, Tim, loooooooooved that song. But the two songs that probably most remind me of my mom are the Peter, Paul, and Mary covers of Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Blowin’ in the Wind and Don Mclean’s American Pie. You know…for those feel good bedtime vibes – lol. But, I think I get my love of sad songs from all of our Wildly Inappropriate Lullabies. And you know what? I’m good with that.

I have four siblings, so buckle up.

My brother, Tim, is closest to me in age, and when we were younger, we fought. A lot. But when we got along, we had some music in common. Like, I bet if pressed, we could both still sing the entire libretto of Jesus Christ Superstar. (Random side note: Probably the best birthday present I ever got [even better than the signed Brian Froud print] was when Tim surprised me with tickets to a really great touring production of JCS in the early 90s.) But without fail, the song(s) that always make me think of Tim, without fail, is the entire Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction album.

When it first came out, I loathed it–probably just to be contrary because he loved it so much. Fast forward to me moving 500 miles away, shortly after getting married. My husband was finishing up his final year of college, and one night, we were at the bar where he was on a pool league. Some bastard started playing Mr. Brownstone on the jukebox, and I was suddenly so homesick and missing my brother so much, I went into the bathroom and cried.

I’m gonna wait here a sec while that sinks in.

I sobbed overfucking Mr. Brownstone. In a super dodgy bar bathroom. In the U.P.

After that, I may have gotten my own copy of Appetite for Destruction. I am nothing if not nostalgic. You guys oughta know that by now.

I’m happy to report that Tim and I still have some music in common–like Hamilton. We went to go see it in Chicago with our kids (and our sister) a couple months ago. And in theory, we’re going to see Les Miz this year, too!

Next up is my brother, Martin. Now, Tim and I are a bit older than our younger siblings, so sometimes, when our mom was teaching night classes, we’d be on deck for singing Wildly Inappropriate Lullabies at bedtime.

I’ve got several songs that remind me of Martin. Puff the Magic Dragon is a big one. One night when mom was singing it to him, he started wailing. Sobbing like he’d lost his best friend. He realized at that point that Puff is a fucking depressing song. He started sobbing for my mom to fix it. So she had to make up a new, happier verse to finish the song with. Poor Cait was in high school before she realized that no one outside our family knew there was fourth verse.  My kids think there’s a fourth verse, too.

All the Mumford and Sons songs remind me of Martin because he’s the one who introduced me to them. (Yay, Martin!) But the song that always makes me smile and think of him is Turn Down for What. The year that song came out, he was constantly in my face shouting, “Turn Down for What!” He’d begin or end phone calls that way. It was constant. And annoying. But like most things, Martin, it made me laugh.

Fast forward to that summer, he and he’s awesome fiancée were getting married and asked me to officiate the ceremony. So, I got my internet minister’s license (like you do when your brother asks you for a favor) and helped plan the wedding. His wife didn’t know what music to pick for the recessional, so I said, “We could always do, Turn Down for What.” Because she’s awesome, she thought it was hysterical, she also wanted to keep it a secret from Martin. So we surprised him with it at the end of the ceremony. The look on his face was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. He recovered nicely, though, and danced his way back up the aisle.

Then, there’s Andrew. When he was little, he looked and acted so much like Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes that I bought him a stuffed tiger.  He had asthma and had to have nightly nebulizer treatments–so many, that he burned out a nebulizer. And like all junk in our house, it ended up in the garage where he cracked the casing off it and attached jumper cables to it and a car engine and jump started it.  He was that kid.

I have a couple songs that remind me of him. One is John Denver’s Country Roads. He loved that song and wanted mom to sing it to him every night. Or me. Or Tim. When he got married a few years ago, he surprised my mom by having the DJ play it for their mother-son dance. It was the greatest thing ever–even though I suspect most of the guests were confused. Especially, when the rest of us got up and sang along. Then, he also had the DJ play Carole King’s Tapestry so we could dance to it. If I was putting him to bed, he always asked me to sing that to him. And yes, I cried my eyes out when he wanted to dance with me to that song. Incidentally, I now sing it for his daughter when I babysit her.

That brings us to Cait (of Texts from Cait fame). Trying to narrow Cait down to a song or two is going to be next to impossible, but I’ll give it a go. Meatloaf’s Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad will always remind me of Cait. And Tim. Because when it was his turn to put the kids to bed, he’d rock Cait to sleep, and I’d hear him singing Two Out of Three to her. And it was honestly the cutest thing ever. And it was just as damn cute when he sang it to his own kids.

But there are so many songs that remind me of Cait, like Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid, because she thought the line bright young women, sick of swimming was pregnant women, sick of swimming for years. And sometimes we still sing it that way. And nobody karaokes Janis Joplin like my baby sister. Cait’s Piece of My Heart is amazing.  Then, there’s the entirety of Fleetwood Mac musical catalogue. Not to mention all the 60s girl groups. And literally everything Cher ever sang. Also, Cait does a brilliant Cher impression. Jess Jarman was treated to this phenomenon once upon a road trip. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention her love of Bowie. But I think I have to go with ABBA’s Dancing Queen for Cait. She adores all the ABBA, but Dancing Queen is her go-to song forever. It cheers her up when she’s in a bad mood. It makes her even happier when she’s in a good mood. And whenever I hear it, I think of Cait.

Okay, the last topic is childhood–which is tough since, with the exception of Part of Your World, all of the songs here remind me of my childhood. But…if I had to pick just one, it would be Sonny and Cher’s Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves. I know – wildly inappropriate on so many levels, but when I was little, it was my very favorite song ever. And also, I wanted to be Cher. Never was a little pudgy blonde girl so disappointed.

I realize this was probably far more than you bargained for when you started reading, so…sorry? But anyway, if you’re still with me, what songs remind you of your fam and childhood? Share!

And be sure to check out the other bloggers’ song memories. Deelylah, Kris, Paige, Gwen, oh, and my friend, Amanda, likes to play along with these Musical Musing prompts, so she blogged, too.

Promptly Penned: Magic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

 

promptlypenned

Heads up, guys. This promptly penned is probably going to to be super short. I’m heartsick (and terrified) at the latest (continued?) political shitstorm facing this country. But I’m going to give this a go anyway.

Prompt: Magic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For example, there are 20 spells for making tea but none to save yourself from falling off a cliff.

I stood in the richly appointed penthouse office, my feet sinking into carpet so plush, I wasn’t sure it wasn’t the entrails of enemies or something, and forced myself to maintain eye contact with this guy.

He laced his fingers together beneath his chin and stared up at me–charming smile firmly in place. “I’m surprised to see you. Our business has been satisfactorily concluded.”

“Maybe for you. I want it back,” I choked out.

He leaned back in his chair. “You know the rules: no refunds or exchanges. All sales are final.”

“You misrepresented the product.”

He smiled. “That’s called advertising.”

“There’s a difference between advertising and lying.”

“Tomato. To-mah-to.”

I sighed. Magic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. “There are twenty spells for making tea but none to save yourself from falling off a cliff.”

“So, stay away from cliffs.”

“Funny.” I glared at him. “That was just an example.”

“Look, you sold your soul. You got the ability to do magic. I don’t know what else you’re expecting.”

“I expected to be able to fix the government. I thought I could make all this,” I gestured toward the morning’s newspapers spread across his desk, “go away. I thought I could make things better for people.”

He was laughing before I’d even finished speaking. Asshole. “There’s not enough magic in the world for that.” He made a shooing motion with his hand. “Off you go.  Why don’t you go make yourself a spot of tea.”

He burst into another fit of laughter as I stalked from the  room, stepping aside as his assistant headed toward him carrying a cup of coffee. I muttered a spell under my breath as she passed. I may not have been able to save the world from certain destruction, but I’d managed to manipulate a couple of the tea spells to include coffee. I hoped he had a padded toilet seat. He was going to be there for a while.

That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check out Jess, Siobhan, Deelylah, Kris, and Gwen’s stories, too.

Monthly Goals Check-In: April 2017

monthlycheck-in

Man… this has been a month. A long, weird, disquieting month.

Sadly, my mother-in-law died recently, so much of this month has been dealing with grief, and frustration, and anger at a certain family member on that side who needs to be throat punched. But that’s life.

Weirdly, I managed to accomplish quite a few things. This was my list.

Finish the client edits I have scheduled. (Yep. Scheduled 3. Edited 6.)

Complete all April blog posts. (Yep.)

Finish up work on 2 of the (now) 5 websites I’m working on. (Finished one, progress on two and waiting for client response on both.)

Knit 3.5 pussyhats (Yepper.)

Progress on new book and Mist & Stone. (Progress on new book. Zilch on Mist and Stone rewrite.)

Continue with the Organized Home Challenge (Yes and also no. We’re still cleaning and purging but not in order of the list.)

Finish sorting stuff for donation. (Still sorting. Still donating.)

Sew more journal covers and open Etsy site. (Nope.)

I also completed a bunch of things that weren’t on the list.

I proofed, reformatted, and reuploaded 6 of my books.

I did a podcast with Focus on Fantasy Romance about editing.

I updated my blog links.

I cleaned up my blog tags and categories.

I also read 6 books from my TBR pile.

All things considered, I did pretty well this month.

Okay, so…my goals for May are:

Revise and re-release at least one of my stories that I have the rights back on.

Progress on RP.

Progress on TFAD

Complete 7 client edits.

Complete all May blog posts.

Progress on 4 client websites.

Complete the 7 sewing projects I owe people.

Begin deconstructing and reconstructing wedding dress.

Read some more.

Be sure to see how the other bloggers did. Jess, Deelylah, Torrance, and Gwen.

I Wish I’d Learned This Earlier Than I Did

Lessons-Learned

Welcome to another episode of Therapy with Bron. But hey, I figure if I struggle with this shit, some of you might, too.

I try really hard not to live my life consumed by regret. There are too many other things I’d rather be consumed by–laughter, love, a good story, kitty and kid cuddles, nature, music, etc. But even though I try not to dwell, I do have some regrets about things that I wish I’d learned earlier in life.

Like…

1.) How to say no. 🎼🎶🎵 Lord, show me how to say no to this. I don’t know how to say no to this.🎶🎵 (What? You thought I’d pass up opportunity for a Hamilton reference? Foolish mortal.) This is one of those things I’ve never been terribly good at. I’m not saying that I go along with everything that’s ever suggested to me, but I’m often overly concerned that me saying no to someone will hurt their feelings. In the past, I’ve found myself agreeing to projects or taking on obligations that I didn’t really want to do. Weirdly, these boundary issues have never really extended into my relationships with my husband or my kids or my daycare kids. I don’t even know what that says about me.

2.) Asking for what I need doesn’t make me selfish or weak. I’m not sure why this is such a damn struggle.  I mean, it’s really common sense, right? If you need help or you need a hug or whatever, just ask. I think that societally we’re all under the misconception that need = selfishness/weakness – both of which are heavily frowned upon by western society. While I’m clearly not a professional psychologist or a sociologist, it seems like most women skew toward selfishness (particularly older generations) though, with younger generations, I feel like they’re pretty equal. And the majority of men seem to lean toward weakness. Of course, neither of these things are true and most of us are more than willing to cut others slack we won’t cut ourselves, and that’s not healthy.

3.) Self-care is necessary and doesn’t make you selfish (there’s that word again) or lazy. Self-care is any activity that you choose that helps you relax in order to maintain your emotional and physical health and helps you feel able to continue to function. Currently, Parks and Rec and all manner of crafting are self-care go-tos. I think I must have internalized a lot of weird opinions about selfishness and laziness, and TBH, I’m not even sure where they came from. Catholic school seems the most likely place, because it wasn’t from my mom who was my primary parent/caregiver. I mean, she’d encourage “mental health” days from school when we needed them, and trust me, very few school age kids in the 80s had any kind of grasp of mental health.

4.) Being proud of yourself isn’t bragging. I think a lot of us, women especially, have a lot of anxiety tied up with any kind of pride in themselves and their work. For whatever reason, it seems more acceptable to verbalize pride in your children as long as you’re not that person and that’s all you ever talk about or the person who takes ownership of their children’s accomplishments as though they’re responsible.

But back to being proud of yourself for a sec. For a lot  of women, (focusing on women here, because there’s a definite gender difference with this issue) there’s a special kind of anxiety that comes along feeling any kind of pride in yourself or your work. And actually verbalizing that pride? Hahahahahahahahaha. No. Even if we’ve worked our asses off, and are genuinely pleased with something we’ve done, we won’t say anything positive about it. We might even speak negatively about it or say nothing at all.

5.) Saying thank you when someone compliments you doesn’t mean you’re bragging. I know I’ve mentioned this phenomenon on the blog before, but dude…still a struggle. And I know I’m not alone. When someone compliments us or our work more likely to say, “Thank you, but…” That “but” is always followed by a variation of the following: “I got lucky.” Or, “I had a lot of help.” Or, “People are just being nice.” Or, “They like me.” Or “They just felt bad for me.” These are things I hear my colleagues say on the regular. These are things I’ve said on the regular. Granted, I’m much more cognizant of this issue now, and I try really hard to just say “thank you, I really appreciate that” without trying to downplay it. But it’s soooooooooo hard.

I know there are people out there who put this behavior down to false modesty or fishing for more compliments, but this is an anxiety-inducing issue for a lot of people.

6.) Imposter Syndrome is a thing that exists. A few years ago, I learned about this little thing called Imposter Syndrome. It, again, predominantly affects more women than men, but men definitely experience it, too–particularly men in academia. The simplified description is basically that you feel like you’re a fraud, you have no business being in your field, and certainly no business calling yourself an expert, and someday, everyone will find out that you have no clue what you’re doing and you faked your way through your entire career. This constant feeling that the other shoe is going to drop is most common when starting a new project, nearing completion on a project, and/or achieving any kind of success with a project. And the more successes you have, the worse this feeling gets. The end result is usually metric fuck-ton of anxiety and it makes sufferers hesitant to call any kind of attention to their work.  It’s fucking bullshit.

7.) That one Maya Angelou quote is 3012% accurate. The quote I’m talking about is: “When people show you who they are, believe them.” I have a tendency to take people at their word. I’m rarely suspicious of anyone’s motives, and if they say something that sounds reasonable, I believe them. Some might (and probably have) called me naïve or gullible. You know what? I’m not even going to argue that. I could have saved myself years of heartache, grief, anxiety, and second-guessing myself if I’d a.) come across this quote sooner and b.) paid attention to it. I think we’ve all had people in our lives who purportedly had our best interests at heart, cared for us, and only wanted to help or see us succeed. Yet, so often, their actions were at odds with what they said. And if questioned, they’d always have a reasonable explanation for whatever troublesome thing they did. If you’re particularly naïve or gullible, that bullshit can turn into some next level gaslighting.

8.) Listen to your gut. No, I mean it. Really listen. If something or someone feels off, even the tiniest bit, pay attention to that feeling. I’m not suggesting that every twinge you get about a person means they’re an axe murderer. But you know how you sometimes meet people and they seem super great, (and some of them totally are, btw–those usually aren’t the ones you get twinges about) but you get this weird little feeling in the back of your mind or the pit of your stomach? Or even if everyone else really likes a person, but some indefinable thing about them rubs you the wrong way? Listen to those things. I’m not saying you need to run away and shun them, but maybe that’s a cue to slow down and observe this person a bit more before including them in your inner circle. Those little twinges are rarely wrong.

Okay, that’s it for Bron’s Life Lessons, today. Be sure to check out what Jess, Deelylah, Kris, and Gwen wish they’d learned earlier.

 

Flash Fiction #56 – Ever the Same

flashficsong

Okay, so we’ve got to new blogger for the flash fiction posts–please welcome Siobhan Muir! Yay, Siobhan, we’re glad to have you!

This month’s song fic is Ever the Same by Rob Thomas. Here’s the video and here are the lyrics if you’re interested.

Laughter bubbled from her, and she clapped her hand over her mouth–as if she were just as unfamiliar with the sound as he was. Her hazel eyes sparkled with bits of brown and copper and gold mixing with brilliant green as they captured his gaze. He couldn’t look away from her. How had he ever thought she was plain? He  was obviously a fucking idiot.

“Hey, after we clean up here, why don’t we…” he began, but his words died as soon as they hit the air.

Her eyes widened, fixed and unblinking as she stared over his shoulder.  The blood drained from her face almost as fast as her smile faded. Her head dropped and she appeared to stare at the table between them, but he could see she was staring through the curtain of her hair. Glancing behind him, he didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, and he turned back to her.

“Are you okay?” he asked, laying a hand on her arm.

She jerked her arm away from him as if she’d touched a live wire. Her gaze flew briefly to  his. Her pupils had blown so wide they’d all but swallowed the irises, and her breath was far too rapid and shallow. Her fingers had turned white from clutching so tightly to her phone. “I have to go. I’ll text your driver. I’m sorry…I can’t–”

Whatever she couldn’t do, he wasn’t going to find out any time soon. She was race-walking toward the bookstore exit, and there wasn’t a goddamn thing he could do about it, he still needed to finish the Q&A portion of the evening. As much as he wanted to chase after her, he couldn’t. These people had waited here all night. He glanced down. Her purse was still under the table.

He texted her, but there was nothing from her, and it seemed to take forever to finish answering questions for the assembled readers. Thankfully, he’d signed the bookstore stock earlier in the evening, so he could just grab his rucksack and Eliza’s purse and go. He continued to text her, but there was no response. He had no idea if she wasn’t getting his messages or was just ignoring him. As soon as he cleared the building, he started calling her. And as he expected, the calls went straight to voicemail.

As soon as he was in his room, he tossed his backpack and her purse on his bed, went to the doors of their adjoining rooms and knocked. No answer. “Eliza?” Nothing. He called her again. She didn’t answer, but he heard the muted sound of her phone ringing. She’d at least been there.

Worry sat like a boulder in his gut and he knocked again. What if she needed help? Crossing the room, he grabbed her purse rifling through it until he found her wallet. Her keycard was inside where he’d hoped it was. She must have gotten another card from the front desk. Heart in his throat, he walked into the hallway and knocked on the outer door. When where was no response, he called out, “Eliza, I’m coming in.”

Sliding the key into the slot, he sighed in relief when the lights flashed green and the lock disengaged. He pushed open the door and felt around for the lightswitch in the darkened room. When the overhead light flickered to life, there was no sign of her. The blackout curtains had been drawn, the bed was neatly made, and the bathroom was empty. He looked around for her phone thinking there might be some clue there as to where she’d gone. When he didn’t see it, he called her again.

He startled slightly as her ringtone sounded right next to him then was silenced. He turned and slowly opened the closet door. Elliza was huddled in the corner on the floor. Clutching her phone so tightly her hands shook, she glanced up at him, eye wide and face tear-stained. Her breath still came too frantic and fast.

His heart ached at the expression on her face. How many times had he seen that same haunted look on his sister’s face? Moving slowly, he stepped into the closet and sank to the floor, squeezing in next to Eliza. He slid the door along the track, closing them away from the light, and pulled her into his arms. She was stiff for an endless moment, then she sank into him, burrowing close, but she continued to tremble and gasp.

He pulled her over his lap to sit between to sit between his thighs and drew his legs up so they bracketed her. Her skin was chilled and clammy against him. Keeping his arms wrapped tightly around her, he pressed a kiss to the back of her head, and murmured, “It’s okay. I’ve got you.”

She took a shuddering breath that nearly broke his heart. “I — I’m sorry.”

“Shh. You’ve nothing to feel sorry for. But you need to slow your breathing before you pass out.” He took a long, slow breath, letting her feel the rise and fall of his chest against her back. “I want you to match your breathing to mine, okay?”

She nodded jerkily, hot tears splashing onto his forearms.

He took another deep measured breath and held it for a few seconds, hopeful as she tried to do the same. “Just focus on my voice and and the sound of my breathing. Those are the only things I want you to think about, now.”

She nodded again, still shivering almost violently.

He continued with his drawn out, exaggerated inhalations, quietly encouraging her as she gradually relaxed into him.

“Do you want to talk?”

She tensed.

“It’s okay. We don’t have to.” He smoothed his hands up and down her arms. “Whatever you need. I’m here.”

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ posts: Kris, Jess, Deelylah, Paige, Siobhan, and Gwen.

Promptly Penned: Complete Douchebag

promptlypenned

Prompt: “Wow. Can we just pretend, for one second, that you’re not a complete douchebag?”

So this prompt fits a story that I’m working on really well, so I’m just going to  throw it at these characters and see what happens.

 

Eliza spotted her charge in one of the glass elevators, descending from the twenty-seventh floor, looking for all the world like he was still half asleep. Though, when the doors opened and he stalked into the lobby, he looked less sleepy and more surly.

Oh, good. The diva behavior continues. This is shaping up to be a banner fucking day. “The driver’s out front.”

Angus grunted in response as he walked past her toward the revolving door. At least, she assumed it was in response. For all she knew, that could be his way of saying “good morning”. Or “fuck off”. She knew which was more likely.

Whoever said “never meet your heroes” must have been talking about Angus. And it was just her damn luck she’d been assigned to babysit him.

Following him outside, she pointed out the black SUV the publishing house had hired. He got in and immediately shut the door, leaving her to go around the other side of the vehicle. And of course, it had to be the kind she was too short to climb into comfortably. Or gracefully.

Once she was seated, the driver pulled through the half circle drive and onto the street past hordes of convention-goers, many, if not most, cosplaying their favorite characters and waiting in line for the doors to open.

Angus blinked blearily at the lines of people then sat up and turned toward her, his expression equal parts confused and accusatory. “Where are we going? I thought the whole point of staying at that particular hotel was because the con was being held there.

Eliza took a deep, slow breath, held it for a couple seconds, then slowly let it go, trying to release the sudden stress spike with it. “That is why we’re staying there. But, with all the other con guests, the hotel couldn’t accommodate your reader breakfast, so we had to book the—”

“My what, now?”

She stared at him, growing sense of dread curdling her stomach. “Your reader breakfast.”

His dark brows drew together, and annoyance gave way to confusion. He was still ridiculously gorgeous. But every time he opened his mouth, that fact was getting easier to ignore by the second.

She crossed her arms over her chest. It was either that or strangle him. “Just out of morbid curiosity, when’s the last time you actually read a message from your editor? Or your publisher?” When he didn’t respond, she continued. “The breakfast was also listed on the schedule I gave you last night…which obviously, you couldn’t be bothered to read.”

“Nope. It’s still laying on my desk with my room key.”

“Wow. Can we just pretend, for one second, that you’re not a complete douchebag?”

He glared at her. “I don’t know. Can we also pretend that you’re not a ball-busting bitch?”

She stared at him, biting back every last thing she wanted to say. Things that would likely get her fired before the end of the day.

“No?” he continued. “Didn’t think so.”

Fuckyoufuckyoufuckyoufuckyoufuckyoufuckyoufuckyoufuckyoufuckyoufuckyoufuckyou!

Swallowing her internal scream, she maintained eye contact. “Eight a.m.: reader breakfast. 11 a.m.:panel: Near Future Sci-Fi — Genre of the Future or Too Close to Reality?” 

“Wait…I’m on that panel? I don’t even write Near Future Sci-Fi.

Eliza smiled sweetly. “Huh. Guess maybe you should read your email more often.”

That’s it for me this week. Now, I’m off to see what the other bloggers came up with for this prompt. Jess, Gwen, Kris, and Deelylah.

Post Navigation