Going Back In Time

Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

Florida was my home for 18 years. In a way, it will always be my home. So much of who I am today was formed in the Sunshine State, albeit from the shadows as I am not really found of heat or sun. Yes, I did willingly move to Florida but until you live here you don’t understand how oppressive the sun is. It never really stops trying to scorch the invaders so it can go back to being a happy mosquito infested swamp. We all have our glory days, and Florida misses when its very nature repelled development.

The journey here was longer than expected. We left my beloved mountains and solid ground around 7am thinking that with stops we would be in Orlando around 7-8 o’clock. Alas, we made it in shortly after 1am. While we were finishing lunch and getting gas, there was a multi-vehicle car crash 25 miles from the Georgia-Florida line.

We were rerouted by GPS so many times that at one point after a much needed stop we had to head North on 95 to be able to navigate around it. With all the detours, there wasn’t much time to think or reflect on my first trip back home in two years.

Reflection came after I relinquished the wheel and saw the Orlando area for the first time. Places that I had known flying by in the shadows and then the lights growing of downtown Orlando. This is not the land of the mouse. It is hard to define what it is the land of because Orlando and Florida in general is more than a vacation designation. It is home and not home.

Home is the solid footing of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but home is also where the heart is and pieces of my heart will always be in Florida with my family (both biological and chosen). There were so many people and places that I wanted to see. I managed more than my last trip in 2019. Time, however, was not on my side.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I remembered Papi, first. I remembered the place where we first kissed and so many other bittersweet memories in between. We passed where my friend, Shannon, lived in the last days of her life. We drove pass what had been the home of my friends, Wolfie and Awen. Awen passed away in the home and Wolfie moved out more than a decade ago.

We briefly stopped at Lake Eola before discovering that our bladders wanted us elsewhere. I thought about the walks around the lake. One sticks out, we were walking around before Papa passed, my brother E was with us and we were all sad, but happy to be together in the sun and fresh air.

My companions and I walked through Disney Springs and all the happy memories of my best friend and I hanging out. Memories of family birthday gatherings at the Rainforest Cafe and the day I walked into the Chapel Hats and asked them to find me a hat to match my outfit.

There was a drive through my old neighborhood and so many memoires. My companions got to see the porch where the novella “Blood Child” was conceived. And the places where I used to walk with Luke

We wandered through the Greenwood Cemetery where I poured out every bit of knowledge I have concerning it. I couldn’t bare to take them to the Pulse Memorial but I could point out the section of Greenwood that were some of the 49 Angels have been buried. The City of Orlando donated the plots for them. I pointed out the trees and other features that mark it as unique.

My companions traveled with me back in time. They were most amused after dinner with Zee and the Professor where I had indulged into far too much wine. During the journey back home, I gave them Lucinda’s drunken tour of Orlando. Apparently, I had a lot to say about every building I could identify and quite a few that had been built in my absent.

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

The present and the potential future blinked in and out of my days home.

The past is not a place you can stay. You can only really glimpse it. The emotions push through the veil separating past, present, and future. You are there for a moment, feeling all of the emotions, drowning in them. Then you are in the now, and nothing is right.

Nothing is the same.

Everything changes regardless of your desires. Your favorite nacho places closes after twenty years. Friends move out of your old neighborhood. And sadly, there are people you never get to say goodbye to again, even when you are going back in time.

A Book Out and A Short Story on the Way

Blood Child

Coverart by Steven Warrick

February 13th is fast approaching and with it comes the one year anniversary of Blood Child‘s release.   Over seven hundred people have it in their hands and on their devices.

Thank you, because thanks to you, dear readers,  I made it on an Amazon Best Seller list.   For those of you who haven’t had a chance to pick up a copy, it is .99 cents for a limit time on Amazon.

“This is an amazing book! As the story progressed and more pages were turned I was beginning to wonder if this was going to be part one and I’d have to wait for a second book to find out what happened but then right at the end it all came together and was an ending I never saw coming. Excellent work Lucinda! Can’t wait for your next work!” – Amazon Reader

“Blood Child will keep you on your toes until the very end. You will not want to put it down. Grab a refreshment and cozy in for a good read.” – Marie Arminger

“Excellent. Grabbed my attention from beginning to end. I devoured it and now I’m craving more.” – Amazon Reader

I have begun work on the next book, Blood Ties, which is set to take place five years after the first book.  I won’t say much as it is very much a work in progress.

What I can talk about is Shadow Cat which is currently in the hands of my lovely editor, Zee.  It is a short story about a rather spectacular specter of feline making his rounds on All Hallow’s Eve.  ShadowsTale

Here is a brief taste of that Shadow’s Tale has in store for you.

The Florida air on All Hallow’s Eve isn’t crisp or chill, but muggy and dank giving way to a proliferation of minuscule costumes for all ages and sexes, although the ubiquitous robe with accompanying mask are still a favorite for the adolescent crowd. In days past, every neighborhood had houses with their porch lights lit declaring their intention to pass out candy.  But neighborhoods change.  City ordinances restricting teens from roaming the streets left some parts of the City Beautiful virtual ghost towns with only a few hearty souls daring to search out the few houses dispensing confections. The streets of these neighborhoods are far riper with ghosts and ghouls than one would imagine, but that is really neither here nor there since they are also well-suited to a black cat slinging his way home when all the good little kittens are tucked into bed or sleeping on people’s heads. A black cat not on a mission from some demeaned witch or demon, but one who has a story to tell.

A New Year’s Message

How you begin this year should not indicate how the rest of it is going to go.  A few bad days doesn’t mean that the whole year is going to suck.

Please remember that as you move through these first couple of weeks of 2016.  It is a new year, but the only magical thing that happens at midnight on December 31st every year is an agreed change in our perceptions.

Universally,  the decision was made that when the clock strikes midnight everyone gets a chance to start over.   Articles are published about New Year’s Resolutions, people share their hopes and dreams,  and we all move forward as if something momentous has changed for all of us.

The problem is that we wake up the same people that we were when we went to bed. We have accepted the narrative that while New Year’s is a great time to make changes while also accepting  no one is really going to hold you to those resolutions.

Sometime in February the articles on why we didn’t succeed in our resolutions and we will feel better about letting ourselves down.

We have gotten use to disappointing ourselves and looking to others for inspiration.  We tell ourselves that if  others can do it we can do it and then we beat ourselves up for not doing it.

My 2016 has been a little rough. Yep, three days in and things are a little bumpy.

Sick Lu

Sick again?

My first day of 2016 found me in bed after being sent home from my mother’s house for being sick. My family looked at me, declared that I was deathly pale and sent me packing. Not the best way to begin the year, but it is how I began my year.

On the second day of 2016, I tried to dye my hair purple and ended up dying the bathtub and my finger nails. Don’t ask me how, just know that I really did this things.

And today, the third day of 2016, I am cleaning the house with a headache and trying to write a new blog.  True, I am sick. True I still have the bills that I didn’t pay staring at me and a house that really needs to me to attend to it. Oh, and I forgot to pay a traffic fine in 2016.

Sweet Potatoes from my garden. I grew a thing.

Sweet Potatoes from my garden. I grew a thing.

However, it is also true that yesterday, I baked two sweet potatoes that came right out of my garden, that last night I was able to spend time with a dear friend on her birthday and that there is still a pretty comfortable roof, albeit a messy one, over my head. I have gotten myself up every day even when not feeling well and gone for a walk, done some stretches and done some writing.

The good is mixed in with the not so good.  Oh and there is a nice pot of chili on the stove.

I think it is important to note not how you begin a thing, but how you finished it and all the little steps in between.  And it can’t hurt to listen to the wise words of Julie Garland. Have a great 2016. Make it a great one.

10869798_10152937670660396_8074020522450445477_o

Manic Mondays or Why I am Leaving….

Lately all my days are have been intensely crazy as I try and navigate from the life I have to the life I want. A life where there is more time to write and enjoy with my family and friends. So after eight years in the classroom, I have decided to leave.  It isn’t that I don’t love teaching or my students. I love my profession and my students have keep me going day after day through the stress of being a teacher in the era of Common Core and accountability. It has kept me going through the politics that invaded my school.

Still after much thought, I have come to the conclusion that I am burnt out.

I am fried beyond belief. I can’t do it anymore and be effective in the classroom.  My days as a teacher have never ended at 3:31 in the afternoon, but this year they don’t end on Friday and the weeks of preparing and working through the weekends. Even my “breaks” have been filled with either on lesson plans or other school related projects or working a second and third jobs. It has been exhausting. Financially, I am doing better.  I am at least gripping solid ground. But, mentally, I am so exhausted that I find myself dragging every day.

I know I am burnt out on the constant pile of work and never ending feeling like I am not doing my job right.

So what to do.

Find a new job or position in education.

Yes, teaching is a calling, but after eight years in the classroom. I am tired of being dumped on. Tired of being praised for my work on one hand, but criticized for how well I am juggling everything.  Observations are dog and pony shows where you trot out what the administrator wants to see and hope they like you and don’t have something to prove. I once got a low score because I didn’t say “this is important” during a lesson on critical thinking.  Another time, I was criticized for misspelling something even though I turned it into a teaching moment for my students. Friends have been given needs improvement scores even when their students aced the state tests.

The quest for data on everything has been particular hard on me. There is no time to really teach my students. No time to teach them to love my English or learning. Just time to go from one test to the next or in my case one meeting to another.

And this year, I was tossed backwards in a fight. This year, I woke up in the middle of the night by a panic attack after dreaming about school. I don’t trust my administration to have my back and work with me to help my students. I feel like the county that I work for doesn’t care about my health just their numbers.

I am tired of being told you will do this and this in your classroom and you are a great teacher, but why aren’t you doing this? And surely you can do this as well. I work and work and my administration praises me, but does not promote me. They talk about it. Even say they are training me for it.  And then give the job to someone else.  I was never even spoken to about the latest opening (or given an interviewed)  even after expressing an interest and told on more than one occasion that I had it.  It was a slap in the face to learn that someone else would be assuming the position and becoming my boss. (If I make it to the next school year, I won’t take on additional duties.)

I am tired of working three jobs to pay bills and still failing to build something for my future. When countries slash budgets, teachers make up for it out of their wallet. I don’t need to work harder which is what I have been doing. I need less work. Ironically, with the start of summer school I will be working longer days.

I have lost the spark that I had when I first started teaching  and I feel like there isn’t enough time or energy to recover it.

So, I am working my resume, looking at teaching other subjects (English is a beast) and working on graduate school. It is time for me to go and when I do I know I will be crying because I love my students. I love them enough not to do this to them any more. I can’t give them my best. I haven’t been giving them my best for a while.

They deserve better and so do I.

Sometimes I….

Sometimes I write bad poetry and sometimes I write stories that don’t make sense.

Sometimes I just write and write for hours in my head. Lately, I have been working really hard to set a schedule up for myself and it hasn’t been working really well.  I did good up until last Thursday and then I fell off the writing wagon last Thursday and didn’t get back to it until today. Writers must write and they have to write things that sometimes scare them and push the boundaries. Something that I haven’t done a lot of in my own writing. I have tried to stick to safe topics so as not to offend people especially the people I love.

I have tried to be a pillar of strength, but really feel most days like I am falling apart and the duct tape isn’t sticking anymore.  This past weekend, I looked back after a phone call from Momma and my sister, Tish, that I realized that my strength doesn’t come from being strong, but each and every time I got myself back up and kept going.

So I am back at it, but with a difference. I am going to write the stories I see around me. The ones that have been pleading with me to finish them. The ones that scare me.  I will be finishing my April Page A Day posts and then going back to work on next book along with other projects. I want to have it finished by the end of summer and begin the editing process.  There are two or three more books, I have notes for but I am going to focus on the one that began this journey.

 

Generosity (April Page 10 )

The sun in April is already blazing, burning your tender alabaster skin to the color of freshly steamed lobster.  Hustler or vagabond, it doesn’t matter. Your need grabs my attention before you speak. You stumble over words in a quest for assistance.  Just three dollars, an odd sum and one likely to garner you a larger bill in any case.

Your cause is just.  A child, ill and in need of food. Just three dollars between you and the goal.  Three dollars is all you ask for. Your target, a woman, not too old or two young. Someone likely to have children and not yet over whelmed or maybe just in deep enough that she can see the desperation in someone else’s voice.  It is there. In your voice, in your question, desperation.  It doesn’t matter if your story is a lie or the truth. The desperation is real and thick in the air between us.

Reaching  into my bag, I don’t even wait for you to finish your plea before I but the money in your hand. I look only for a moment, lingering for just a second on the crisp twenty and then it is yours.  You talk for a moment, I answer your questions, hoping you will listen, knowing that the chances of you seeking assistance where I direct are slim. Still, I spoke the words meant for you and say my peace.  Grateful you haven’t thank god for my assistance.

Smiling as I go. It wasn’t a Christian thing to do. It was the right thing to do.

And I know by the laws of the old Gods that if you were lying and took my money, then the trick is twisted against you.  Enjoy the web that you have woven.

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her new novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.

Placed (April Page 9)

It wasn’t a torrid or trashy scene.  It was really beautiful and tender with ambient light and two lovers laying next to each other. Their bodies blending together as if they were created for one other despite the decade difference between them.  The look on their faces wasn’t sinful or awkward, but peaceful and content.  The sheets of the bed were artfully shielding any impropriety that their arms and legs did not cover.  Perhaps the gods of love had posed them there, placed them together where their hearts had always belonged.

Whatever deity or circumstance had placed them there was cruel and malicious to Malcolm. He already felt like a failure, unnoticed and unloved.  Opening the door to the studio whose key he should have lost and seeing them without them even stirring in their slumber should have caused some drama. Some outburst from his already defeated soul, a last gasp for love or maybe even outrage. He just stood for three heartbeats, each ticking in his head echoing in the silence, begging to be noticed.

It was a muffled mewing that caused their eyes to flutter then their lips to smile and finally a small gasp when they noticed the grey kitten peeking in the door.  There wasn’t a rush to close the door and hide in shame.  Just two lovers falling in love with a kitten, named Karma.

 

Moving Manic Mondays

My whole house seems so much brighter than it did a couple of hours ago.  This week my normal manic Monday has been replaced by a gentle and well deserved break. I woke up with a book besides me and went out onto the porch to read and drink my morning tea. It was the perfect dreary day.

11051906_663114840460500_2886341314953390785_nThen a story idea stuck and I let it take me on a three hour journey.

Now my house is a bit cleaner and I am contemplating a nap.  Life has been really hectic this year and there are some big changes coming in my life. Changes I am making willing and some unwilling.  I have come to the conclusion that I need more days like this where I am free to write and not being pulled in three or four different directions.   I am still working three jobs and writing whenever where ever I can.  Blood Child is still selling and reviews are slowly but surely coming in.  (If you have had a chance to read it then please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads.  Every review is helpful. )

The thing that I can do to help myself the most is not working until my brain is numb.  This past week I worked seven days in a row and barely had the brain power to string together a complete sentence let a lone a paragraph.  I can’t continue this pace.  It simply isn’t health. My mind and body know it.

I have also come to the conclusion that all this work really hasn’t done me any good. I am only marginally better off than I was a year ago. Financial things are a little better and for that I am grateful. It is time though to think about what I really want. Eight years ago, I thought that I wanted to be a teacher for the rest of my life. I was excited about all the opportunities in front of me.  That dreams was one that sustained me for so many years of self-imposed stupidity. I was going to do something with my life. I was going to give back and teach.

I had put an order dream aside.  A dream I thought that I was unworthy of.

Being a writer.

Now, I know that I can do it. I just have to be willing to do it. Willing to crave out more days like these for myself. 10367787_10155402717575397_8913494460226026793_nWilling to give up some income so that I can write and really work on the craft of writing.  I saw this image on Alethea Kontis’ Facebook page and realized that I have known what it takes for years, but have been afraid.  Afraid to give up what I have for what I want. I may never be a full time writer.  Still I am happiest when I am writing or teaching. It is time to do more of what I love instead of acting out of fear.

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her new novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.

 

Casting Off

I was a broken girl

tattered by the love you toss away

Used my scars and tears to build myself

Now

the past is gone and you still live there

calling of all my love obsession

no that’s right

and I would hate to miss quote you

all my love was just a delusion

a silly fantasy

nothing to cry to about

Just one more silly girl broken by your love

 

I was a broken girl

running from my heart ache

ran so much

ran straight into womanhood

left you behind

never really living

tell love found me begging

and I learn my to love myself

and say those magic words

taking my time rolling them off my tongue

 

No!

 

No!!

 

No!!!

 

They are so sweet to hear and

even sweeter to say

 

I was a broken girl

just a little thing cowering

from all the thorns you toss my way

twisted from my own need to be needed

Saying all the right words

but never understanding that my power lies

in my hips and lips

all fueled by

the soul that animates them

 

I am woman, rebuilt from all my heartbreaks

more than a lover, a thinker and action taker,

dancing through the rain of my own memories

splashing in every puddle and laughing all the way

knowing that when I stand up for myself

casting off the labels

casting off delusions

imposed or otherwise

I am the woman

I am meant to be