Can You Vague That Up For Me?

Bronwyn Green's Random Thoughts

Archive for the tag “Gwendolyn Cease”

What would the title of my memoir be, and why?

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Please Note: If Kris Norris ever abandons me, this is how shitty my future book covers will look. *makes plans to bribe Norris with Tim Horton’s tea*

I feel like the “why” of this title can best be summed up by potential chapter headings comprised of things I’ve said in text messages.

1.) If I don’t answer for a bit, it’s because I’m driving home from the motherfucking store.

2.) I’d run away and join the circus, but I have no marketable circus skills. And also clowns.

3.) Yes…I ignored that little voice in the back of my head that said that person was batshit crazy. Again.

4.) Math is hard, yo.

5.) I cannot possibly people today.

6.) I’m sorry my cat hates you.

7.) Look, I just need some cheese.

8.) Is it wrong that I’m proud of my four-year-old niece for using “What the fuck” properly in a sentence?

9.) I don’t recall becoming a bigamist, but at the same, time, my brain has been nothing but cracks, lately. So…maybe?

10.) The hold music is static-y soft jazz. I am in hell.

11.) Excellent. I feel like the more people we have spreading the accelerant, the quicker it’ll be over.

12.) Filed under bad ideas: Don’t look at fabric you made your kids’ clothes out of. Especially not while you’re ovulating.

13.) I’m gonna need bail money. There’s a neighbor kid out there somewhere blowing a goddam gym whistle.

14.) But in Clue, aren’t you just supposed to murder people with the candlestick? Or are we lighting candles to celebrate afterward?

15.) I feel like we won’t be able to have our podcast if I’m in jail, though.

16.) I have zero of popsicles. And also zero of patience.

17.) Never look a gift moodswing in the mouth.

18.) I am a font of random information.

19.) Fuck that. I’m putting on my ruffle-butt undies and my ruffled bonnet. And we’re gonna go Pollyanna the fuck out of everything.

20.) ADD Powers ACTIVATE! Form of Squirrel!

That’s it for me this week, be sure to check out the other bloggers’ memoir titles. Jess, Jessica, Deelylah, Gwen, and Kellie.

Top 10 Things I Avoid

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I think we all have things we avoid in life–at least, as much as we’re able. Here are a few of mine.

10.) Clowns. (I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory. They’re creepy AF.)

9.)  Wet paper. (I don’t know why, but it makes me gag.)

8.)  Large warehouse stores like Home Depot, Best Buy and Ikea.  (They stress me right out.)

7.)  Fluorescent lights. (They make me twitchy and give me headaches.)

6.)  Aspartame. (It gives me migraines.)

5.)   Cilantro. (Because it tastes like soap.)

4.)  Spicy food. (Because I have baby mouth.)

3.)  People who use others to try to get ahead in life.

2.)  People who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions (or inaction).

1.)  People whose version of the truth changes depending on who they’re talking to and what they want from that person.

So…what do you try to avoid? Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ posts to see what they avoid. Jess, Kellie, Deelylah, Torrance, Gwen, and Kris.

Monthly Goals Check-In: February 2017

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I can’t believe it’s the end of February. Though, I probably said that at the end of last month, too. Sigh.

Okay, so last month, I said that I wanted to:

Continue with whatever’s next on the Organized Home Challenge (Yep.)

Finish revising and expanding Mist and Stone. (Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.)

Progress on DN & EP (Nope.)

Finish 5 more pussyhats (I did!)

Progress on the other two websites I’m putting together. (Yep, and I added a third.)

Oh yeah, and start that damn yoga program. (I did it!)

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And I edited several novels, worked on my annual writing plan did a massive amount of cleaning and sewing, and I’ve been happily hanging out with Jess Jarman for the last  eight days! And we’re gearing up for a mini writing retreat weekend. Oh, and I’ve developed an unhealthy washi tape addiction.

Oh! And I finished a bonus goal – organizing my bedroom and altering the quilt I bought that lied about fitting a king size bed.

So, for next month, my goals are:

Finish revising and expanding Mist and Stone. 

Progress on DN & EP 

Continue with that damn yoga program and exercise program.

Update Writing Bujo

Put together Publishing and Promo Bujo

Knit 4 more pussyhats. 

Continue with whatever’s next on the Organized Home Challenge.

Finish at least two of the three websites. 

Complete all client edits. 

Complete all March blog posts. 

Okay, that’s it for me. What are some of your goals? Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ posts, too! Jess, Deelylah, Gwen, and Torrance.

Flash Fiction #52 – Glycerin

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This month’s post was inspired by Bush’s Glycerin. Here are the lyrics and the video.

Thanks to Edna and her loathing of maraschino cherries, I rushed into room 406, bright red spots marring my scrubs and far later than I should have for the evening med round.

“Hey there, Hector,” I said as I cleared the threshold.

“Don’t let the days go by.” His voice sounded like a rusty tin can being opened–all metallic scrape and rasp–but he didn’t look at me when he spoke.

His words were so unexpected and startling, my hand convulsed around the styrofoam cup I carried. Water splooshed through the  now-cracked sides, wetting his paper-thin pajamas and the tiny paper cup of pills I held in my other hand, dissolving them almost instantly.

I should have been more worried about what the Sadie, the charge nurse, would say when she found out I’d screwed up the med schedule, but it was the first time I’d ever heard him speak. I’d been working in the head trauma unit for nearly four months, and he’d never uttered a word the entire time. He just watched the sharp angles of sunlight travel across the gray wall, slowly turning his wheelchair as he marked the progress. On overcast days, he just stared at nothing. Or maybe it was something. I wasn’t in his head, so what did I know?

“What did you say?”

He lifted his head and stared woodenly at me, blinking slowly, as if he were looking straight through me. This was more like the guy I was used to.

“Cathy?” And just as quickly, he changed again.

“Nope, I’m Dani.” I grabbed a towel from the bathroom and dabbed at his water-soaked knee. “I’m really sorry about this. I’ll get you some fresh PJs.”

His fingers, dry and papery, but still surprisingly strong closed around my wrist. “Could’ve been easier on her.

“On Cathy?” The question was out of my mouth before I could stop it. We weren’t supposed to engage about anything that had the potential to upset them, and the way his hand tightened around my wrist, I knew I’d just blown that directive.

“Tell her I’m sorry.” He stared into my eyes then his hand finally fell away from my skin. “I couldn’t change.”

“I’m sure she knows you tried.” I glanced at the clock on the wall behind his head. Shit. I was almost twenty-five minutes behind schedule, and I still needed to get him fresh meds. “I’ll be back in a few, okay?”

I needn’t have bothered speaking. He was already back to staring through me. While I waited for Sadie to sign off on a new med cup, I asked, “Hey, who’s Cathy? Hector mentioned her.”

Sadie’s eyes widened. “He spoke?”

“Yeah. Said he could’ve been easier on her or something.”

Sadie counted and recounted the pills in the paper cup. “Cathy was his daughter. She didn’t make it.”

 

That’s it for me. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories. Jess, Gwen, and Deelylah

Wordless Wednesday – Winter Where I Live

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This winter has been weird, yo.

Normally, this is what winter in West Michigan looks like.

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The back of my house.

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My garage.

However, this year, there’s some weird shit going on. We’ve even had 50 degree days in February. This is not normal. This is what it looks like today.

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I just went outside without a coat on to take this picture. It’s like spring out there.

Check out the other bloggers’ posts and see what winter is like where they live. Gwen, Deelylah, TorranceKellie, and Kris.

Top 10 Ways to Hook Me as a Reader

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It’s time for another Top 10 List!

Okay, so like most people, the best way to hook me as a reader is by writing a good book. And when I say a good book, I  mean the premise and the actual writing, too–some books are strictly a one or the other kind of thing. I want the whole package. Because I’m demanding. And picky. And a limited amount of time available to read. That’s why I usually read the first few pages to see if the author’s voice and I are going to get along.

I’m not sure these are actually in any kind of order, cover art aside, they’re all pretty crucial.

10.) Okay, so I’m going to start out here by being utterly shallow. I love a good cover. I’m not saying it’s crucial, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t play into whether or not I was attracted enough to a book to pick it up.  I mean, there are books I’ve loved whose covers I hate, and I secretly think to myself that it deserved a better cover.

9.) I want to see as little telling as possible. Show me what’s happening in the story, don’t tell me. What does her anger look like? How does it affect her and the other people in the scene. Do her fists clench? Does her scalp pickle? Does her face get sweaty? Does her eye twitch? What are her her specific thoughts?  I don’t want to read, She was so angry she was ready to scream. I want to read, Rage-fueled lava flooded her veins, and her hand tightened into a fist. If that horrible orange man got any closer to her, she’d punch straight through his saggy, fleshy throat. 

8.) I need me some character growth. I don’t want to read about static characters–I want evolution. I don’t want to read the story of a person falling in love and being  the same person they were when the story started. Everyone we interact with, every experience we have, changes us it some way. It makes us look at things differently. Even if it’s something as mundane as standing behind a hipster at a coffee shop. Fucking hipsters. But damn, that really is a cute plaid. Maybe I don’t hate plaid as much as I thought. The same is true for characters. No, they might not discover a latent appreciation for plaid, but if they fall in love, they’re going to change in other ways. Well, I suppose they could fall in love with a hipster and plaid.

7.) I need the story to be believable. I don’t care if the book is about a race of land-dwelling purple squids who time travel through portals in stairwells of municipal buildings. Does the plot of  a story about land-dwelling, time traveling squids make enough sense with enough familiarity that I’m willing to suspend disbelief in the laws of reality, possibly physics, and known biology of aquatic animals? If yes, good for you, writer. You’ve got yourself another sale.

6.) I need you to make me care about these people–or land-dwelling, time traveling squids. Can I identify with these people? With these squids? With their struggles? Are the squids holding up some kind of mirror to me that I see at least some portion of myself or someone I love amongst their tentacles and ink? Or something relatable in the life of this washed up actor or soldier suffering from PTSD?

5.) I also need you to not bore me. So, let’s talk conflict–is it helping to drive the plot? I’m talking both internal and external, here, but I’ll be honest, I’m far more moved by internal conflict. We all experience it–it’s a regular state of being for many of us. So, what do the characters what that they can’t have? What’s thwarting them? What’s keeping them apart? What’s at stake? Are the stakes high enough. That doesn’t mean that the stakes in every book need to be at the level of world-ending nuclear annihilation. However, whatever the conflict is in your character’s life needs to feel like it is. So that boy who desperately wants the lead in the school musical so his mother will finally be proud of him, being cast as an ensemble member is going to crush him. That conflict can be just as interesting, if not more so, than the fear of world-ending nuclear annihilation.

4.) Chemistry – it’s not just for high school teachers and meth labs. This goes back a bit to showing vs. telling, but I need to see the chemistry between characters. This goes for all characters, but it’s especially true of romance. I need to see how they affect each other. It’s not enough to know that each of the pair finds the other the hottest person in the history of ever. Finding each other attractive doesn’t equal chemistry. Characters who sex with one another also doesn’t equal chemistry. Show the reader specifically what makes the characters personalities spark when they’re together. When that’s absent, secondary characters commenting on the chemistry between the main couple doesn’t make it true, it just makes it author intrusion.

3.) Please don’t give me a story where the plot just happens to the characters. Those kinds of stories seem to grab the protagonist like a riptide and drag them farther and farther from shore and instead of acting on the plot–making choices that change the course of the story, the character is constantly stuck in reaction mode, trying to deal with whatever the plot is throwing at her, but not making any moves of her own to affect the storyline. Even if the character make some stupidass choices, and ultimately makes things worse for themselves, at least they’re victims of a runaway plot.

2.) I’m a sucker for emotional angst. I want to feeeeeeeeeeeel all the feels, and yeah, I usually want to cry about them, too. That’s not to say that I’m looking for melodrama, but I am here for the intense emotion and also the catharsis that comes from experiencing those emotions through the eyes of well-written characters.

1.) I can forgive a lot of writing sins in exchange for awesome dialogue. (Looking at you, Buffy and Firefly.) I love language. I love listening to the way people talk to each other–how we communicate. I’m focusing on English speakers here, because it’s the only language I speak fluently, but we’re all using the same 26 letters. We’re all (mostly) using the same collection of words. We’re all saying many of the same things to one another, but phrasing is everything. Some authors have such a way with dialogue that it not only sounds completely natural, it’s so delightful (and sometimes awful) to the ear that the reader has a visceral response to it. Some people write such great dialogue, you almost want to read it aloud. Well-written dialogue is at its best when it works to reveal the individual characters and their personalities. I read a book recently, and I found myself getting frustrated because while there were all these great lines, all  of the characters were saying them–even when what was being said was completely out of line for those particular character’s personality. That great dialogue lost all its impact.

What are the ways authors hook you as a reader? Share!

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ Top 10 posts! Deelylah, Jess, Gwen, Kellie, and Kris.

The Worst Place I’ve Ever Been Stuck – What Happened

Suggestion: If you’re reading this post and are stressed out by current events, I suggest skipping to the last paragraph where there’s a link to something just weird enough to be distracting and possibly amusing. 

So, this post…I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and I’ve been having trouble narrowing my focus. Look…I have a lot of options for an open-ended topic like this. There have been a lot of places I’ve been stuck that have super sucked, and I could blog about them, but honestly, I’m in a shitty place right now, and maybe it just feels so bad because I’m in the middle of it? I don’t even know anymore.

The place I’m stuck right now sucks ass. I’m currently stuck in a near-continual loop of almost paralyzing fear. The months prior to the election, I’d have a political/policy-related nightmare once a week or so. Since the election, I’m having nightmares multiple times a week–sometimes a couple times a night, and well, they’re all variations on a theme. A very orange-y nightmarish, rights stripping, nuclear code having theme.

The fear doesn’t go away when I wake up, either. I think of all of the horrific, soul-crushing scenarios that could possibly happen to the people I love, to the people I don’t know but who are far, far more vulnerable than they were even a month ago. I constantly come up with new and terrifying scenes to torture myself with, and let me tell you, my imagination is fucking vivid. I never used to have panic attacks, but boy howdy, I sure do now.

So, I guess the worst place I’ve ever been stuck is my own mind…and what happened? I don’t know. It probably involves using more inhalers than I should and fighting harder–both my own imagination (which if it’s not going to help me write books needs to sit down and shut the fuck up, already) and the things that are going on in reality.

Okay, so this wasn’t the most cheerful or uplifting post. I apologize. As what will hopefully be a peace offering and distraction, I thought I’d share an older post about the time I was trapped at the tire place with the guy who was telling me his life story and also quizzing me about John Denver, the Rocky Mountains, and the UP. That wasn’t a great place to be stuck, but in retrospect, it’s a fuck of a lot more fun than here. I almost miss that dude.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ posts: Gwen, Kellie, JessicaDeelylah, and Paige.

Musical Musings #1

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Musical Musings is a new feature this year where we’ll blog about some of our favorites and not-so-favorites. This  month, the topics are: Song that Makes Me Want to Dance, Song that I Love to Sing Along With, and Favorite Soundtrack.

Song that Makes Me Want to Dance – this one is super easy.

Rusted Root’s Send Me On My Way. Every time I hear it, I want to dance and dance–even when I’m driving.

Song that I Love to Sing Along With – This one is much, much harder – mostly because I love to sing. And if I know the words, I’m singing. Sometimes even if I don’t know the words. But I literally love to sing EVERYTHING, and I’m pretty much incapable of resisting singing along. But, I guess if I have to narrow it down to one, I’m going to go with Adele’s Rumour Has It.

Favorite Soundtrack – I’m hoping that a cast album qualifies because (and if you’ve been here before, you all know this is coming) I have to go with Hamilton. I still love this so hard I don’t even have words. It’s just fucking brilliant.

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Also…there’s this.

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Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ faves: Jess, Kris, Paige, Torrance, and Gwen.

Promptly Penned: Bruises and Glitter

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Prompt: S/he showed up at his/her door, soaking wet, bruised and covered in glitter.

Alex stood in line of the grocery store clutching the last bouquet of slightly wilted roses they had and red plastic shopping basket filled to the brim with all of Izzy’s favorites. He set the flowers and everything else on the conveyor and grabbed one of those reusable cloth shopping bags. She was always bitching about plastic bags. She’d probably appreciate the cloth bag. Hopefully.

“What’d you do?” the cashier asked.

“Huh?”

“Fancy wine, three different kinds of chocolate, and flowers.” He nodded knowingly. “You fucked up, bro.”

Alex pulled his debit card out of his wallet and as he finished swiping it, the other guy grabbed his wrist. Alex yanked his arm away. “What the hell?”

“Dude. Look at all that glitter on your arm. You can not go from the strip club straight into apology mode. Chicks hate that. Trust me, on this. Personal experience talking, here.” He nodded sagely as he handed Alex the bag. “Personal experience.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Alex squelched quietly to the car. Well, he tried, anyway. It was hard to be unobtrusive when his clothes were so wet he could probably wring out enough water to fill a kiddie pool. And how was it the cashier noticed the glitter but not the fact Alex had created a puddle in front of the register? Douche. 

With a sigh, he sat on the grungy beach towel he’d found on the floor in the backseat, hoping against hope it would protect his seat from the worst of the water and glitter. Putting the car into gear, he drove the few short miles to Izzy’s and forced himself to march up the steps and ring the bell.

The porchlight switched on, and he squinted in the glare.

“Alex! What happened?” She ushered him into the foyer. “You’re soaking wet! Are you okay.”

“I’m stupid. And I was so, so wrong.”

She brushed at his cheek. “Is that…glitter?”

He sighed. “Yeah.”

She lifted his hair off his forehead. “And a bruise?”

He shoved up his sleeve and showed her his arm. “Bruises.”

“What–”

“I promise, I’ll tell you all about it. But first I owe you a huge apology.”

Izzy’s eyebrow rose. “Oh?”

He shoved the flowers and goodies at her, waiting until she took them before he spoke. “I am so, soso sorry I ever said your job was a piece of cake.”

Her lips twitched. “Actually, I believe you said my job was a cakewalk.”

“Oh, it’s a cakewalk, all right. A cakewalk in the seventh circle of hell filled with tiny, demonic, soul-sucking monsters with voices so shrill I’m pretty sure my eardrums are still bleeding.”

“You don’t say.”

“I’m the worst little brother in the world for not believing you. Please say you’ll forgive me.”

She stared at him for a long, uncomfortable moment, until all at once, an evil smile lit her face. “You got assigned to a preschool room for student teaching, didn’t you?”

He nodded miserably as she laughed so hard, tears slid down her cheeks.

“Help?”

The only answer he got was more laughter.

That’s it for me this, week. Be sure to check out Deelylah, Jess, Gwen, KellieKris, and Paige‘s stories.

Top 10 Things I’m Proud Of

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Okay, I’m gonna be honest here, as relatively easy as top ten posts should be to write, this one is hard mostly because of the same old thing–as women, we’re conditioned not to think too highly of ourselves. Where even saying “thank you” when someone compliments us is seen as bragging.

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So, I’m just gonna go ahead and try to go ahead and write this list without feeling weird about it. Or maybe feel weird about it and write it anyway.

10.) I haven’t missed a single scheduled blog post since January of 2014. That’s 300andsome posts.

9.) I finally learned to knit cables–it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I was afraid it would be. In fact, cables are a lot of fun!

8.)  I’m proud of myself for journaling daily with both a writing journal and a bullet journal. It’s helping me stay focused. And dare I say it? Organized.

7.)  Asking for help isn’t something I’m terribly good at, however, sometimes I really need it. I’m proud of myself when I can bring myself to do it.

6.)  I’m trying to make time for self-care. This is another thing that isn’t a hundred percent, but I’m proud of myself when I manage it.

5.) I’m getting better at standing up for myself. It’s not a hundred percent or anything, but considering I used to be the world’s biggest doormat, this is huge.

4.) I’m proud of myself for taking the plunge into self-publishing. I had become deeply disillusioned and unhappy writing for small presses. It was incredibly scary–even with my wonderful friends and colleagues to offer advice and assistance. But I did it. I wrote the book I desperately wanted to write by pushing past the barriers of negative self talk and the negativity of another person. That book found a home with people who seem to love it as much as I do. I’m proud of myself for jumping off that cliff, because let me tell you, the water’s fine.

3.) I’m proud of the time I spent doing daycare–18 years. Yes, some days, it drove me batshit crazy, but ultimately, I had a hand in raising 3 brilliant, kind, creative, passionate young women. For 12 years per kid, I was the second mama, the other parent for the two single moms, the room-mom for them at school, the homework tutor, and the tooth reaper. Today, I’m still their other mama and also their friend and confidant. They’ve all taken very different paths in life, but I truly couldn’t be prouder of them.

2.) I’m proud that my husband and I are coming up on our 28th wedding anniversary in June. (Remember, people – child bride…) I’m proud because we’ve worked hard at our marriage–some days when neither of us particularly want to–because we love each other and we’re committed to making our relationship work. And I’m proud that

1.) I’m so damn proud of my kids. Again, there were times they drove me batshit crazy (yes, there’s a theme, here) and to be honest, sometimes, they still do. But my god, I’m proud of them. They’re both wildly different people, but they’re both wildly creative, incredibly compassionate, kind and conscientious. They’re hilariously funny, brilliant and they’re both joys and challenges to parent. But I’m incredibly proud that they’re secure enough in our love for them that they’re both comfortable being exactly who they are.

Okay, so that’s it for my top ten list. Be sure to check out Gwen, Torrance, Paige, Kris, Deelylah, and Jess‘ lists, too.

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