New Year – New Reading Goal

Since 2012, I have been taking part in Goodreads Reading Challenge and in that time I’ve only complete the challenge twice (2016 & 2020). This is far better than my attempts to write 50,000 words in a month and complete National Novel Writing Month each year. (Hint: I haven’t finished once.)

The Mega To Be Read Pile – Photo Credit @LucindaRose

The goal for this upcoming year is to read or re-read 60 books. Two of the books, I have on my to be read pile were given to by Ed from his collection of writing books. Ed encouraged me as a reader and a writer so including this books is a continuation of his presence in my life. The rest of the books on my to-read pile (TRP) are a mix of books for pleasure, research and curiosity.

The following are the books I’m currently reading or have been added to my to-read pile for the coming year:

  1. Marseille Tarot Revealed by Yoav Ben-Dov
  2. The Old Guard: Tales Through Time – Book One
  3. The History of the Occult of Tarot by Ronald Decker and Michael Dummett
  4. Octavia’s Brood edited by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha
  5. The Tarot: History of Symbolism and Divination by Robert M. Place
  6. Aftermath by LeVar Burton
  7. I am C-3PO by Anthony Daniels
  8. Monstress Volume Five – Warchild
  9. Sandman – House of Whispers Volume 1
  10. Sandman – House of Whispers Volume 2
  11. Monstress Volume Six – The Vow
  12. The is Ear Hustle
  13. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  14. SwordFighting by Guy Windsor
  15. Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? Stories by Kathleen Gollins
  16. Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster
  17. Hostage to the Devil by Malachi Martin
  18. The Invention of Murder by Judith Flanders
  19. How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
  20. The Explorer’s Handbook by Marilyn Tolhurst
  21. Writing Horror edited by Mort Castle
  22. The Sandman Preludes & Nocturnes Volume 1
  23. The Sandman Dream County Volume 3
  24. Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget
  25. We Should Have Killed the King by Eccarius
  26. Kaleidoscope by Darryl Wimberly
  27. A mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science
  28. Disease: The Extraordinary Stories behind History’s Deadliest Killers by Mary Dobson
  29. 13: The Story of the World’s Most Notorious Superstition by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer
  30. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  31. The Blazing World and Other Writing by Margaret Cavendish
  32. The Black Dossier by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
  33. Demonic Foes by Richard Gallagher, M.D.
  34. A Cultural History of Tarot by Helen Farley
  35. The Art of the Occult by S. Elizabeth
  36. Bad Behaviors by Mary Gaitskill
  37. Mad Madge by Katie Whitaker
  38. Blogging for Writers: How authors & Writer’s Build Successful Blogs
  39. Haunted Roanoke by L.B. Taylor JR.
  40. Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell
  41. Spellbinder by Melanie Rawn
  42. What Every American Should Know About American History by Alan Alexrod & Charles Phillips
  43. Morbid Curiosities: Collections of the Uncommon and the Bizarre by Paul Gambino
  44. Daily Doses of History by West Side Publishing
  45. The Mummy Congress by Heather Pringle
  46. The Little Book of Whiskey by Lynda Dalslev
  47. 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die by Loren Rhoads
  48. Mummies of the World by Alfried Wieczoriek & Wilfried Rosendahl, EDS.
  49. Witch: Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic by Lisa Lister
  50. The Mythology of the Grimm: The Fairy Tale and Folklore Roots of the Popular TV Show by Nathan Robert Brown
  51. The Atlas of Middle-Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad
  52. Sixty-One Nails by Mike Shevdon
  53. Oye What I’m Gonna Tell You by Cecilia Rodriquez Milanes
  54. The Chanseyville Incident by David Bradley
  55. Justinian’s Flea by William Rosen
  56. Ghosts of Vesuvius by Charles Pellegrino
  57. Notorious RBG – The Life and Time of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik
  58. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters
  59. Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopedia by David Day
  60. Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery by John O. Peters

As you can see the list is quite long and I don’t keep the TBR pile by my bed anymore. It is stacked in various places around the house. This year to keep myself on budget, I’ve decided to read books in my own house or that I can get from the library.

Yes, I own all of books on this list. And no, I don’t know how many books I own. One day, I may count them but that day isn’t today. Maybe the next time that I move, I will count them before I put them in boxes.

A Year In Review (Kind of)

2021 like its predecessor was a year that has left deep grooves in my memory. A year of hope and another year of loss, the last year is more of a blur than I like to admit. Everything has been whipped together in a blender of stress and I am over it.

Aren’t we all? The phrase that I heard over and over again at the beginning of the school year was that we are in the same situation. We were all in the same stress blender, except I have a feeling that my setting was puree and some were set much much lower. As the school year comes to it’s midpoint and the calaendar year comes to a close, reflection seem wise.

Lessons I learned in 2021.

Time is short and fast all at the same time. – Time with loved ones is never enough and perfect time will never arrive if you don’t work towards it. The pandemic travel restrictions meant that I didn’t get to see Ed or Stef before they died. The only thing we have in life is change and sometimes we do need to take that leap and not be sensible.

I am not always right. – Not that I think I am always right but the last year has shown me how many times my thoughts have existed in a vacuum and when exposed to more information needed to be altered or changed completely.

A good therapist makes a difference. – As I work on finding a therapist that is a good fit for me, I am reminded that it is important to find someone that you feel comfortable working with for the long term.

Goals and plans are great but what’s your back up plan. Huh? What I mean by the jumble of words that begins this paragraph is that you need to have a plan for your plan and if your plan doesn’t work what are you going to do about it. How are you going to accomplish your goal when the first plan fails? Cause it might and many of my plans this year fail in flames.

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Things I am changing as I go forward.

Off time is off time. Breaks from my day job don’t mean that I need to catch up on everything including writing. Writing will happen but if I work myself into a hospital This means not talking about work or checking email. Also not buying things for the students’ treasure box no matter how good of a deal.

Exercise is not if I have time thing but a daily activity. I’m not getting any younger and exercise is something that honestly makes me feel better. I am not talking about a work out every day but stretching or going for a walk. Instead of putting it off, I am going to attempt to go for that walk, swim or hike when there is time.

Plans need more than a concept. I make plans but they aren’t really detailed and don’t have back ups. I plan on writing daily mostly after dinner. The issue with this while it is somewhat specific often I am too tired after dinner. Fatigue has been a growing issue and has resulted in no writing happening.

Last Thoughts…

All that you touch, You change.

All that you change, Changes you.

The only lasting truth is change.

God is Change.

Octavia E. Butler

This quote by great author, Octavia E. Butler, has really shaped my outlook these last weeks of 2021. So much has happened in the last year that there is no way I could recap it. Hell, I can’t even remember all of it. It seems like Ed’s passing was years ago and yesterday. I feel like my new co-workers/friends have been with me forever and yet, they haven’t.

Changes rocks and transforms us. Here is hoping that we all can learn to manage the storm better.

10 years of Writing

A week or so ago, this blog celebrated it’s 10th anniversary.

Unfiltered Me Ten Years Past

I didn’t know anything about blogging when I started. I know slightly more about blogging now.

And the question on my mind is what to do with this blog. Do I continue writing this blog or do I stop and try something new?

Ten years ago, the blog was called Rosereads because I had intended it to be a place where I review books and eventually introduce my own writing. Papi gave me the idea. My book reviews never really did take off and I never did get tons of free books or advertising. Still, I continued writing.

And writing.

The fact that I have been actively working on writing for ten years is a success. That success has been bolstered by guest editors help me along the way and to each of them I am so grateful for that assistance.

If you are new here, I’ve dysgraphia which is an odd thing for a writer to have, but here I am. It makes writing a struggle. I have difficulty getting my thoughts out without making spelling errors, omitting words or using the wrong word completely.

I never thought growing up I would be a writer, let alone have a blog (those weren’t a thing when I was a kid) and two published works. My English teachers used so much red ink on papers they looked like victims of a massacre instead of term paper drafts. Friends and family ridiculed things I wrote. Poor grammar and spelling is mistakenly seen as lack of effort or intelligence.

Blood Child
My 1st Publication
My 2nd Publication

I’m still pretty shy about putting myself out there. Writing anything takes me a while because of the fear and anxiety of rejection and ridicule.

And yet, I am still writing.

This blog is going to stick around. It is an important part of my journey. It is something that Papi inspired me to do and even though he wasn’t happy with everything I wrote; it was his push that got things started. This blog will be everything that it should of been from the beginning, a record of my journey as a writer.

New blogs and adventures are beginning after all, what is the fun in making the rational decision and not continuing to do something that isn’t seen as a success. But, the writing while not award winning, it has reached people. It has touched them in heart and that to me is a success. Poe didn’t reach greatness until he had experienced long periods of horrible sanity.

Thank you, dear reader for all of your support.

State of Things August: Amended

The month of August has run off with my mind. If seen please return as soon as possible as I will be running through the fields until it returns.

August is the month, I return to my day job. It is the month that I should resign to take off this blog and other creative pursues as the chaos of the well planned plotted year unfolds. If you have a teacher friend or relative, ask them how the first month of school goes. If they say fine, then read them my description of the first month of school. They will then agree. Teachers tend to be humble folks that don’t want to make a fuss so they will douse negativity in a ton of sugar if need be.

I’m hanging in there. There is only one more day in the month as I begin writing this so I am pretty confident that I will be able to hold on.

Writing and editing are moving at a snail’s pace. The movement is a source of victory. Amid the chaos, work is still happening. The path may not be clear but there are times in life where we must push forward and forge our own path. Days like these it is important to remember that our memories are imperfect. The month of August began with the return to work, but there was also a campout and adventure with friends.

For the last twenty years, a group of my friends had been camping in the same spot. The only disruptions were the year the fields were closed and the pandemic. In both cases, we found ways to gather. The first time we found another location. During the pandemic, we held a virtual campout. It wasn’t the same but it kept the tradition alive.

This year we gather in the fields again surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Jefferson National forest. It was small gathering, the smallest since I started attending in 2015. Still, it was good. It felt right to gather and just exist in nature with friends that have become family.

Not having a tent of my own any more, I stayed in M’s tent. I was able to set-up a kitchen under her canopy as well. Although, I had brought food another friend furnished the sacred elixir of life every morning along for breakfast for me. The food was better than in most restaurants. I didn’t come back into town once. The closest I came was when a dog named George was spotted on the road. He was standing in the road looking for his friend. We were able to get George back to his people by driving down the road until we got signal and texting them.

Beyond that mini adventure; the field and the forest were the entire world for that weekend. It was the peace that I need before the start of the school year began properly.

Be well and take care.

Going Back In Time

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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.

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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.

State of Things July

Wow, what a month!! It is hard to believe that in five days it will be over. And then it will be back to my day job and the stresses and pressures of being an American educator.

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This summer, I have taken more steps to eventually leaving teaching to write and create full time. It is a slow process but I am working on it. Even if I never make a complete transition, I am happier when I am creating.

Most of my writing this month focused on editing, journaling and blogging. The outlines for my non-fiction projects haven’t really gotten off the ground. (Meaning, I’ve thought about them but not put time into the research.) I was hoping to squeeze in another trip to Richmond to write and research but alas I need to attend to more mundane things.

I did get to spend a wonderful day at the lake yesterday celebrating a good friends birthday and making some new acquaintances. It was the day of rest and relaxation that I didn’t know that I needed. Thank you to S for not only being my friend, but making me feel like family.

Family is important to me. In recent years, I’ve spent more time with my chosen family than my biological family. It hasn’t been something that I’ve done consciously. I tend to get lost in the day and when my spoons are gone, I am done. I am horrible at communicating with people I don’t come in regular contact with due in part to my anxiety. I want to, but… well anxiety is not a nice person, to say the least.

Momma and Me Many Years Ago.

This month, I got to see Momma and my sister and her wonderful kids in Florida. I won’t lie and say the visit was great. We all have issues that we need to work on as well as how we communicate with each other. Sissy, if you are reading this, I do love you.

The visit has prompted me to return to therapy sooner rather than later. I have a list of things that I want to work on so I can improve my communication skills, establish better boundaries and be a better me. Therapy has been helpful to me in the past, however, I never actively worked on communication skills. My doctor wants to see how I am feeling after a couple of therapy sessions how I am dealing with things on a mental health front. Did I mention that I love my doctor? Cause I love my doctor.

She did ask if the summer had been restful and I hesitated. It has been good to work on other things without the stresses of work. I’ve gotten to travel, hugged my Mom and good friends, saw new things and breathe the fresh air and sunshine into my soul. I’m lucky to have this time. Time to recoup.

The time is never enough. My gratitude for things I have is not comparable to the things I have lost, the things that have hurt me and the things I still need to heal from. The things I love lots, the things that have hurt me, and the things I need to heal from don’t compare to the things I am grateful for. I could rest for a thousand days and still not be ready to return to my work as an educator. I will, however, return, because I both love my job and need that sweet sweet health insurance.

Sometimes There Are No Villains

And no victims.

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In fiction, there is a villain to oppose the hero. In the wake of a villian’s terror, victims call and plead for help. In real life, no so much. And that’s just the way it is. No matter how much you want there to be. It is a hard concept for many of us to let go of.

In the days and now weeks since Papi’s death, I have thought a lot about this idea: villains, victims and heroes in everyday life. When we are hurt, we want someone to be responsible. We never want that person to be ourselves. When our heart is broken, we want to blame the one who did it. The one who made us feel this way. But is that healthy? Is it healthy to always seek to blame someone for our woes?

The simple answer is no. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on what didn’t work out in my previous relationships. The common factor in all of those relationship was me. Sure, some of the guys I dated broke up with me in harsh ways but that only makes them a jerk not a villain. I’m not the victim. They weren’t the bad guy. They just weren’t the right guy for me and when they realized I wasn’t the right one for them they left. I was hurt but not victimized.

There were a couple that were toxic and not nice people. Yes, Patrick, I am looking at you. (kidding, mostly).

That maybe is over simplifying it. There are toxic people out there. People who seek to victimize others. They want to be the villian and get off on it. What I am talking about is villianing everyone with whom you have a relationship that doesn’t work. Playing the woe is me card over and over again and hoping that something will be different.

When we seek to blame others and take no responsibility for our own unhappiness, it is really hard to take responsibility for our happiness. Why is one in our control and the other not? There will always be things outside of our control but not everything is outside of our spheres of influence.

We can work to control our reactions. Notice, I didn’t say control our reactions. No matter how hard we work, it is impossible to control all of our reactions. We can get better at it. It has taken medication, therapy and a lot of self-reflection to be able to control some of my reactions.

Twenty years ago, I was a hot mess. I may still be a hot mess emotionally at times. Adulthood is a series of events leading to the collection of your shit and the collapse of your shit. We are all at some point in the cycle. Some people are better at keeping it together than other. There is also a whole league of people that are incredible good at making everything seem like it is all okay dokey when it isn’t. I like to call them influencers.

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These days, I am pretty good at making it look everything is shipshape when it isn’t. Not because I don’t want people to know the realities of my life, because if I stop moving long enough to explain things to them something else is going to come crashing down on my head.

Papi and I had a complicated relationship. I never hated him even when things were twisted. He was never a villain to me. I don’t understand why he did the things he did, but I loved him. I loved him so so much. He wasn’t the villain. I wasn’t a victim. We were two people who loved each other, were horrible at communication.

When I reflect on my own childhood, I see a lot of things that were done to me. I didn’t have power and agency as a child. Adulthood comes and we aren’t always ready for it. There is no magically awakening that occurs when we turn eighteen. We don’t suddenly get all the skills necessary to live as adults. We don’t learn how to deal with each other.

I’ve been a teacher since 2006 and one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that adults don’t act very adultlike much of the time. They are petty and sometimes cruel for no reason. Logic may as well just be a pretty wreath of flowers that smells horrible. It is as rare as common sense.

Growing up as an eighties kid, a lot of the movies I watched pitted the underdogs against the popular kids. The good guys against the villains. Real life isn’t black and white. It is shades of grey and colors more beautiful than one imagines. It is seeing someone you love grow, love and live a life that makes them happy.

Papi had that with his partner. There is never going to be a day that I don’t miss him. There may never be a time that I don’t wish things had been different between us. But knowing he was happy, he was loved and loved in return, makes me smile.

Get Away – Don’t Tell

This is the second weekend that I have left the Big House on the hill for the wonders of the city and a room in a friend’s home.

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For the second weekend in a row, the stress and anxiety of the past weeks along remnants of the pandemic have drift away as I left the day to day behind for an adventure. This weekend’s adventure found me traversing the streets of Washington, D.C. in a quest to get to my friend’s house as close to four o’clock as I could. Waze, by the way, I don’t trust you any more since last weekend you guided me to the wrong restaurant and this weekend there was the detour through D.C. during rush hour. I made it to my destination in the nick of time but I fear you will do me wrong again.

This weekend, I decided not to post my trip on social media. Partly, due to fear of backlash for having the ability to get out of town. And mostly because I needed a break from everything. A break from my everything and a chance to refresh and renew my internal control system. I can not be the change I desire to be in the world if I allow myself to be crushed by the weight of things out of my control.

My weekend away let me reflect on the things that have been causing me anxiety.

Other People’s Perceptions.

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You can not change the way others think of you. You can not control their choices. You can only manage your own reaction. Do not be mistaken, you can not control them. So much of our lives are controlled by habits. The majority of habits are not set intentionally. We set them through routine. Resetting habits is difficult. Resetting thinking more so.

The anxiety that I have been feeling has been intense. I struggle to focus when my entire being is racked doubt, confusion and pain. The pain is so deep inside my core that I don’t know how to deal with it.

Recently, one of my closest relatives has been calling to vent. The anxiety and stress they feel has been passed to me and I have been waking up in the middle of the night racked with worry that I can’t do all these things at once. My relatives perception of what I have or have not done is beyond my control. Trying to control it and problem solve from hundreds of miles away is not working.

So, I am attempting to focus on what I can do and how I can help while maintaining my own mental, physical and financial health. It isn’t an easy balancing act, but it is necessary.

The Return

First, we are never going back to the way things used to be. Not a 100%, too much as happened and it is impossible to go back. Nearly 4 million people have died as a result of COVID. Business have closed and careers have been lost. The “normal” so many crave returning to was toxic to people of color, women and the working poor.

Maya Angelou said “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”. We know as a society how much we rely on low wage workers to keep everything running. While some folks are still refusing acknowledge the importance of these lower skill jobs (there is no such thing as a no skill job, fyi.) and say that people just don’t want to work, that is simply not true. It is an excuse to ignore the issue. I would also argue that they aren’t low skilled at all. My own work history has taught me that much.

As our society attempts the return to “normal”, we will all adjust at our own speeds. Some have already rushed back to their “normal”, others are still testing the waters. Everyone had been affected. The stress I was feeling from personal and work matters stems in part from the pandemic. The pressure placed on family ties and the education system for which I work exposed cracks and widen others. We need to take our time personally so that we don’t go back to what a comfortable dysfunction.

The Social Media Break

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My weekend break from social media let me two things. First, I enjoyed the weekend without trying to narrative it the same time. Freedom!! The second was living fully in the moment and resting. For myself, not telling folks that I was taking the break or the weekend was key. The people who needed to know where I was did and everyone else didn’t need to know. The purpose of the weekend was to visit with old friends and recharge. Unplugging from my normal was exactly what the doctor order.

It is going to take several more treatments and a lot more hugs to fully recharge. Honestly, I need to recharge on a regular basis and make that a habit instead of running myself again and again to the point of exhaustion.

What about you? Have you gotten away ? Taken a much needed break? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Lucinda Rose is an author and teacher living and working in the mountains of Virginia.  You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagam

State of Things May

Oh, lord, it is May and I’m a teacher. That alone would be enough to describe how I am doing this month. May is the time that all of the good little children begin to earn for freer days and all the rotten little children (the few that actually rotten) begin to fight against all authority. Schools struggle to keep children contained within the school walls and ground. This week, I had to get a child out of a tree twice. Same kiddo, he needed to climb and he did.

So professionally, the state of things is more chaotic than on average. State testing ends soon and then the days of waste. Days where learning had been dictated to continue by administration but everyone is so exhausted that the lessons are light and fun by design.

My tutoring gig ended abruptly. I’ll miss the kiddo and my interactions with his family. Our weekly tutoring sessions were a bright spot in my week. I have another side gig starting soon which won’t be as fun. It will however get my closer to my goals.

Writing has mostly been happening here on the blog. My other projects are either in research mode or caught in the Bermuda triangle of editing.

Mentally and Physically, I am on survival mode. Grief has a funny way of doing that to you. The only way I know to get through what I am feeling now is to keep moving forward that way I can get out before the devil knows I am here. I don’t think that I am moving fast enough.

It isn’t a perfect plan but it the one I’ve got. When Papi died, one of the people I hold most dear in the world, I poured my feelings into a blog and it touched people. Papi and I had a complicated relationship with good and bad moments, caring and cruelty- but at the end we had reached a better place because of all of that. My naked feelings touched someone in a way I hadn’t intended and a bridge was broken. Written words like spoken ones can’t be taken back.

I can’t undo the unintentional damage I caused and that bothers me. There is a part of me that just wants to find the perfect words to make it all better to explain myself and rebuild that bridge. And that is the part that has been waking me up in the middle of the night and draining my wine supply. It is also responsible for me putting a pen in the sink to be washed.

Did I see him as a villain? No, but there were times in our relationship when I held on to the hurt to the point when it was unhealthy.

Did I paint him as villain? Probably. Was it my intention? No, but intentions and results are often two different things. I can’t take back those words. The only thing I can do is honor the man I love.

In that light, let me tell you a story. Once a upon a time, I had lunch with Momma at the mall near where I worked. Things had been difficult between us for a couple of months so the lunch was a step in repairing our relationship. We talked about my paternal grandmother and that’s when Momma told me that my grandmother wasn’t part indigenous but that her father had been black. Suddenly a whole bunch of things in my life made sense. My sister’s comments about my body among other things and why we were discouraged from looking into genealogy.

Sometime soon after I told a friend who told another friend and that’s when the trouble started. I was excited about finding out more about my family’s history. The friend she told, unknown to me had feelings for me and the idea that I wasn’t white was too much for him. He ended our friendship with a nasty gram. My heart was crushed; nothing about me had changed beyond knowing more about my family. Papi called that day and when he found out he came right away and held me.

He didn’t try and console me by telling me that my friend had never really been my friend. He just held me in my grief and let me feel what I needed to feel. I will never forget that day or him.

I love you, Papi. And I always will.

Only Human

I am only human, although I have gone by nickname of Dragon for years. My flesh is mortal and although I have dry skin, no scales adorn my body.

COVID-19 took me out for 3 weeks.

In the midst of these unpresideneted (only unpresidenet because we don’t really study history) times, I have faltered from my writing routine.

I know why it happen and I could list the reason/excuses for it, but they all boil down to the fact that I am human. I can only do so much and in order to maintain the silver of sanity I hold close to my chest, something had to give.

And it was my writing routine.

I started a second job tutoring, twice a week. I’ve worked through the pandemic and all of the ups, downs, twists and turns around. I wrote and I plotted new projects and then came the night when I couldn’t.

The Writer in Happier and Healthier times.

Couldn’t sit and write after work. I couldn’t write because I was asleep. Night after night, I crashed on my bed. The mornings were a blur of things I needed, wanted and could to get were all mixed together. In the evenings, the only thing that kept me moving was the routine of my family life. It anchored and has let me weather the continuous storm that these days have brought.

Writing and the routine of it has returned. I am writing for at least a half-n-hour a day; more when I can. Vaccines have brought hope and some freedom, but the end isn’t insight. There will be a lot more days and nights of this pandemic. And my routines might falter again, as long as I survive this, I am ok with that bargain.