“Memories stolen”, an unofficial title.

Sunlight has a funny way of invading the room. Streams of light peer through the cracks of fabric sworn to protect the fragile glass.

The sunlight today is more invasive than usual. I have an intuition of something big on its way. I was not wrong.

My aunt Flora is a funny bird. I never questioned it until recently. She is one of the select few with thick black-out curtains. Her excuse, since I was young, was her late-night shifts. Now that she no longer works, the darkness prevails. I never questioned it. I would be remiss if I said I never thought about it.

“How’s the job search going?” Mom asked. Her voice singing with the sound of eggs crackling in a pan.

“Nothing still. I haven’t heard from any of the companies I applied to, except one.” I lamented.

“And?”

“Sorry, we moved forward with another applicant. I say they’re lying.”

“These are uncertain times.”

“At least you still have a job.”

“Look, many people are still out of work. I have an idea, how about you keep aunt Flora company. She might know of someone looking for a fine employee like you.”

“She’s creepy to me.”

“Oh stop.”

“What if she bites me?”

“Just because someone works overnight, does not mean anything. Flora still did her daily duties around the house and went to the store like everyone else.”

“Do you know if she will go back to work anytime soon?”

“That’s a question you can ask her when you get there.”

“I don’t know.” I drank my coffee. I need time to think about it. Flora is disabled, for now.

“How about I call her, anyway?” Mom extinguished the flame before portioning off breakfast. “Why do you think Flora is creepy?”

“The way she dresses, the way she speaks, the way she is. It’s not just one thing about her that I find creepy.”

“Believe it or not, she has always been like that. I remember being kids and she would walk around with books on her head because she thought that’s what good women did.”

“How old was she when she did that?”

“I was six and she was twelve.”

“This validates my concerns with her.”

“You were an odd child too.”

“Was I?” Mom leered at me. The way she does when she is about to tell a wild tale. The storyteller in her freely painted the scene.

The year was 1996 when you were a wee lass of only (born 1987) eight years old. Grandma Betty sewed, by hand, a southern Belle’s costume for Halloween that year. The summer waned, but it was far too warm for you to be wearing such a heavy fabric, yet there you were frolicking in the dress.

I pinned the hat on your head so the wind would not take it. She happened to have sheep. You herded them as though you had done it before. I am still amazed by your imagination.
Your imagination scared me too.

When you were nine years old, you relayed a story of how a cousin of yours had a dog that dug holes in the backyard. The cousin in question had died years before you possibly could have met him.

“That was me?” I asked incredulously. Mom nodded her head, eyeing me as she ate her food. I stared blankly for a moment before I even thought about sticking my fork into the cooling eggs.

“You are not so different than either of us.” Mom smirked a devilish smirk. I have never seen her so amused.

I ate what I could. She cooked wonderfully, but I was enamored by her story. I insisted she call Flora after breakfast. Mom agreed, but I had to wash dishes. May that be the worst thing that happens to me today.

“Flora, Hi. I have a question.” Mom meandered into the living room, the nomad she is when she talks on the phone. I wish I could have heard the conversation. By the time I was drying the few dishes there were, mom wandered back with a grin. “Apparently your sister had the same idea and stayed with Flora for a few weeks.”

“Aww, I haven’t seen Miranda since she left for college.”

“She left yesterday morning. Flora said she would love to have you stay there for a while.”

“Do you think her house looks any different?”

“It’s cane friendly.”

“Funny.” I mused.

“It has been a number of years since you were up there last. I’m sure it looks different now. It’s been, what, eight years?”

“I guess it has been that long. I don’t think she’ll recognize me.”

“She might, I send her photos every year.”

“I’m excited about seeing her now. If not for her, for her stories.”

“You better get packing then.” Mom nudged me along.

I could not help but be overwhelmed. How long would I even stay for? It’s not like I have a job to answer to anymore. I had to dig for my suitcase in my closet. The last time I took a vacation was easily the honeymoon with my now ex-husband. I take small moments to regale how pleasant the beginning was. Beginnings are always pleasant and sweet. Until they are no more.

I am a single woman, thirty-two, with no kids and now no home. I had to move in with my mom. She allowed me back into her home without question. I am forever grateful for that.

Aunt Flora on the other hand. I know nothing about her, except she worked overnights until she had an injury of some kind. I think she slipped on a gravestone in the dark. It would be nice to quash old fears. I folded clothes neatly, adding amenities as I thought of them. Luckily, most of my belongings are still in boxes by my childhood bed.

It dawned on me that my room was left untouched. Miranda’s room had been transformed into a “hen den” as my mom called it. My room was left as it was when I left at eighteen. Not that it mattered, I was now filled with questions.

“I just noticed you never changed my room.”

“Something told me you would be back.” Mom shrugged, placing a hand on my shoulder.

“Really?”

“Ricky was a nice kid, but you are a free spirit. You need someone that can keep up with that. I think you would like a writer. They are introspective and intuitive.”

“What if I became a writer?” The moment struck me.

“What if you do?” Mom winked at me.

“I think I want to leave tonight.”

“I’ve never seen you so inspired. Let me make a few phone calls and see how early I can send you there.”

I buzzed with the sensation. I do not drink, but I was drunk with it. A revelation of creativity like lightning in pitch blackness. It is dazzling.

No time is wasted. I must revise my list of items for my trip. It is a small revision. My laptop bag and stationery are now a necessity. I’ve never written anything outside of an essay. This is a modern world where the internet exists. Videos and blogs should lead me in the right direction. I am one month divorced, my whole life turned upside down. Here I am, about to visit my Aunt’s house to seek out a niche.

“I hope you have fun with her.”

“I will text you when I can.”

“You are still my little girl.”

“Mom.” I groaned, that awkward feeling still there.

Update to “Rock Bottom on Diamond Hill”

This update not only changes the direction, but it also adds some flair the previous version did not have. Enjoy.

Bren calls on my lunch break most days. Part of me hopes she neglects this practice, as I am eyeing a sweet treat walking past my office. “Pam, can I speak with you?” Pam trots into my office with the door closing behind her.

“Yes, Elias.”

“Are you getting lunch with the boys?” She smiled with those teasing eyes.

“No.”

“Are you interested in helping me with this report? It’s so long and difficult.” Her cobalt, lightning eyes were my surrender. I stood to kiss her. Pam stood to accept the kiss. She wore a cherry lip gloss which my lips slipped around on, making the passion silly instead of sexy. I did not think twice, it is fun to feel her tongue glide across my mouth. I grab a handful of her supple breasts with ease before I offer a surprise for her. I know consent is even sexier when it is in the form of a work-related question.

“Oh, Elias. You know I am proficient in word.” Pam’s expression bore the telltale mark of ecstasy, entranced by Elias’s fondling and kissing. Her summer dress made insertion easy, leaning on his messy desk, not so much. In a fit of involuntary movement, Pam nearly tore my dress shirt in two when she lifts it. Her birth against my girth is an exhilaration I have long since felt.

The flurry of motion and intense passion is a welcomed distraction. Is the phone ringing? Oh, who cares when I am so close to a climax?

“I am glad I was of help to you with your report.” Pam winked.

“My sentiments are mutual.” I attempt to adjust my shirt, with little hope of it looking normal until I gain function in my hand again.

“How are you and Bren?” I stare at the wall, wanting to ignore her question. I could at the least answer her.

“Not great. I have a feeling the situation will only continue to go downhill from here.” Pam’s eyes flicker, a thought maybe?

“Maxwell and I have been fighting. I think he knows about us.”

“Part of me wished Bren would notice.”

“You really love her, don’t you?” I said that out loud, didn’t I?

“I think we should get back to work.” My attempt to shoo her out of my office, her eyes glued to me as she exits. Bren called.

I craft my alibi, while I am still confident, on my notepad. Too late, Bren answered.

“Hi honey. I will be in surgery late today. Do you need some money sent over or will the leftovers be fine?”

“Leftovers.” A one-word response would drive me up the wall. Bren ignored it with ease. Bren hung up without so much as an “I love you” or “I miss you”.

Click, the car is unlocked. “I made a mistake.” I fingered the leather of my seat before I drive home. The gravity of my indiscretion crept up on me. Is this affair worth it?

“Hey.” Jory’s cool voice played through the Bluetooth speaker.

“I made a grave mistake.”

“Pam? I told you it is a bad idea.”

“It seemed so fun in the beginning, but now the stakes are too high.”

“Elias, for the love of god.”

“I am an idiot.”

“I don’t think she will forgive you for this.”

“I wouldn’t either.” Every turn feels like I am defusing a bomb.

“I think you should gather your belongings now, because this is going to be bloody.”

“I think you’re right.” I said goodbye. I am nearly home when I feel the panging contrition. To repent is to leave at this point. I pace through Bren’s house. Did I mention she refused my name anywhere on her bills? I think she is cheating on me too. Our finances have always been separated. I guess I realize now this is a red flag for both of us.

“Elias,” Jory said “Liza just called me. She thinks Bren is on a date, not in surgery.”

“I guess this makes things easier on me.”

“You’re not mad?”

“I mean, I cheated first.”

“If I may add something. I don’t think you two were a good couple to begin with.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Look at Liza and I, everything is together. What do you have together?”

“Our bed, our food, and the garage.”

“Married couples don’t do that.”

“I know. This has been a long time coming.”

“I think you should make a nice dinner, actually eat together, then just end it. Make sure you say you want a divorce. She might even have to give you money out of this.”

“I want don’t want anything from her.”

“That’s a good mentality.”

I pace the house, padding through every room as if to say “goodbye” individually. I do not use majority of the house as this house is her childhood home. Some rooms have always been off limits. I think this is good for us. I laugh when I gather my belongings. It is a total of two duffel bags and my locking briefcase for work. I walk to our room and it is clear to me now. We have three photos together. Three years of marriage, five years of dating, and we have three photos hanging in our room.

Couples would have more photos together. At least a few more to adorn their home with, at the least.

This is it.

I sit outside with coffee, even if it is too late, and smoke. Bren is not aware of my smoking, maybe it will be another point of contention. The sun waned, giving way to evening, when I hear the thunder of the garage. Bren is home. The storm is on its way.

“Hello honey.” Bren said.

“Hello sweetheart.” The words are bitter as bile. Bren did not stay long, she disappeared to shower first.

“You look sad.” Bren said. Her towel barely clinging to her features. I must admit, she is still gorgeous.

“I want a divorce.” Bren barely batted an eye.

“You know about Alex?” There is no fighting. Not even a denial.

“It is when I started seeing my secretary.”

“Pam.” Bren’s voice is cool and calm. “I think it will be better for us. We started drifting apart and it doesn’t feel like we are a couple anymore.”

“In the beginning it was like electricity.”

“Eventually I became complacent.”

“We both did.”

Bren agrees on separation. A divorce is to come, she wants to pay for the process. I expect this to be a bloody process, but she made it seem so natural. I grab my bags and pile into sedan. I left without a second glance. Jory is home with Liza.

“How did it go?” Jory said. Cinnamon and apple filling the air.

“She agreed.”

“That’s it?”

“It is mutual. She sees the problem too.”

“Did she admit to her affair?”

“Yes.” Jory is stunned the break is without damage. Besides financial ruin, there are no wounds to speak of, yet.

“Corazón, that won’t happen with me. I’m smelling your clothes before you worry about me.” Liza said.

“I believe it.” Jory said.

“What’s your plan now?”

I hope your book becomes a “cult classic”

I wrote my first creative piece upon reading a book that had a frustrating ending. I, unfortunately, am extremely opinionated on what I like to read and watch. The ending of the above-mentioned book I have long since forgotten, not to mention its title. I do remember how passionate I rewrote the ending. This is where the obsession began. 

I had a therapist around this time, for behavioral issues, which led to the suggestions of writing in a journal. What began as nonsense thoughts and horrifying dreams, quickly became a source of creativity. Teachers from every school I attended all noticed a talent in me forming. Even my parents were supportive of this talent, going as far as to urge me to practice my signature in the event I “became famous.” I never wanted fame. This is a compulsion that sprouted forth because of trauma, has become a cathartic expression. I can write what I want to say without interruption. It is truly glorious.

The art of writing seems to be misconstrued as this way to become famous and receive clout for no reason. I have never been under that impression. As an actor losing the spotlight after someone younger and better looking enters the stage, writing too is merely a means to an end. It is a career that can be a fast-track to incredible money, but one should never assume this walking into it. It does not matter how you got published.

I chose independent publishing because I never wanted the censorship involved with traditional publishing. I know the topics I prefer to discuss are not a savory morsel for everyone. That is the way I like it. I want the strange and unusual. I like the idea of writing my way. I have a voice that is unique to me. I want everyone to feel that way. I support other indie authors in the way my mom, dad, grandmother, and auxiliary family members supported me. Writing should not be this fame driven pathway, it is an art.

Sometimes I feel like I see too many authors and artists fall into cliches, though not always a bad thing, it can be redundant. I want to encourage those to write their dream project, but it can be frustrating when I see four books or pieces with similar plots. Sorry if that sounds rude, I am saying it, this is my opinion. I have not encountered it as much since I joined Twitter, as they have flooded me with unique voices and even more creative pieces. Thank goodness this happened. I can see the world will soon be overrun with the voices of millions that are incredibly talented.

Circling back, this piece is more of a late night “shower thought”, if you will. I had been told years ago that writing is an investment. Many authors do not achieve fame, or infamy, until their death. Why is that? It takes so much work to actually get your name anywhere near a spotlight long enough to gain worldwide recognition. “Even the most incredible books are found in bargain bins.” A quote from someone I encountered earlier this year.

I do not know about you, but that does not sound bad. I am torn between wanting the fame and money and wanting my book to be free. I see no problem with ending up in a bargain bin. Would that not imply your book is more accessible to the masses? What if years after you give up writing, you become a cult classic with a following you wish you had when you wrote it? It has been done time and time again! I would much rather have obscure books that gain a following later down the road and become a trope of pop culture. Imagine the surprise when Richard O’Brien found out “Rocky Horror Picture Show” became a cult classic. It has been made fun of but think of how many people still love it fifty years later. I love it.

Do not be discouraged if you are not a best seller in any category, be reassured because I am not either. I hope that one day someone picks up your book at a library or at the bottom of a bargain bin and makes you into a cult classic. Turning your “flop” into a “top”.

The Struggle of An Author.

If you landed on this entry, you’re either a writer or you want to be one (although you could just be curious, that’s ok too). Hello and welcome.

I am an independent author/poet that works a full time job on top of my full time efforts to write and sell books. I love writing and everything that goes into it. I love editing, page formatting, creations, words, and characters. I love poems, haikus, essays, blogs, and books. You name something related to literary science and I can honestly say it’s “my jam” as the kids used to say it.

I started writing as a wee lass, eight to be exact, (when I read a book that I now can’t remember the title) and hated the ending so much I rewrote the book. Thus starting my journey into being the person they paid to write essays, and the leader on writing projects. I won a poetry contest with a poem I wrote to mock love stories. It won me $1,000 that I refused to claim to make a point.

I published my first piece in 2014, that which sold 100 copies. I was so fragile, that one bad review and I removed it from the market altogether and took a two year hiatus until 2016 when I began publishing poetry. I didn’t take the criticism well even after I gained more confidence when someone said my poetry wasn’t what they liked. I felt defeated, deflated, and as though my efforts were completely in vain.

In 2017, I finally got my stride back. From then until now, I’ve done fairly well. I don’t make enough to quit my day job yet but that comes with time. Even this blog I barely did anything with, up until recently.

I’ve been so enthralled with the industry, even though it terrifies me. So, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way. Let’s get into why we’ve met as we have, here in this safe space. Why is it we struggle? Artists and Authors both struggle to make a name for themselves and keep their heads afloat so they can breath. What’s good for us creators and what’s bad?

I feel like authors and artists should be the perfect match, your words create the image they produce and vise versa! Yet we both struggle so much to get our voices heard.

What else can we do? There has to be a way for us to do what we love and have a roof over our heads and eat all in the same sentence. Too many times there are authors and artists that need a full time job to back their projects so they can eat, yet no more time for their creative liberties.

This is turning out to be a little more political than I expected and I apologize. What I’m driving at is what can assist an author most? What Marketing tips can make the financial difference to survive and be considered an actual career instead of a cool hobby you make money with every three months that amounts to (if you’re lucky) a few dollars.

Authors becoming a team instead of competing is usually a good way to begin. Another thing I’ve learned is readers expecting excerpts instead of links. Telling them your favorite line in the story can be more beneficial than just the tagline you wrote on the description. Passionate conversation can be more beneficial and more personal than an ad, although more work.

The reason I haven’t quit my day job yet, if you’re curious, is because majority of the books I sold over the years has been in social interactions. It’s much more work. It can be pricey as you need to have a copy with you. It can also give you more clout. You speaking with the reader in person can change the dynamic so much, they can’t help but pay you. I’m not saying that in a bad way, it’s like if you met an actor or producer, you’d absolutely want to be apart of that experience. Am I right?

I need other ideas. What else is there? There has to be another way? I want this to interaction. Tell me something that worked for you?