Houses of the Broken and Other Stories

Posts tagged “creative

Third Life – Prompts and Circumstance

Soul searching is a tricky beast. The time spent rambling around in my own head would make me a millionaire if I could put it to better use. Times change, preferences shift and every once in a while you’re left working without a net and the only way out is down. I problem solve for a living, but the down side is sometimes that analytical beast looks in the mirror and it’s hard to break the gaze.

Seeking a little more organized way to rationalize through things, I found a career blog that suggested asking yourself the following questions, stream of consciousness style. They are universal in nature and could easily be adapted to almost any person and situation. After compiling and reading over the responses that took me several days I did have to chuckle to myself. It reminds me of a Tarot reading that high school kids would give each other, flipping through the little book of divinity sworn to give you all the answers. Your mileage may vary.

Q.1) What are you working on? What is important at this point in your life? What are your own goals? 

A.1) I’m working on keeping an income, finishing my house and establishing myself as a writer. At this point being financially secure and finishing my home is my main energy usage. My goal is to wrap my passions in to my daily life, have time and means to explore and experiment, and have a sanctuary for myself and my family. Another goal is to quit being stressed based on the actions of others – get away from the negative vibes and the stranger I feel myself becoming.

But now I know it’s best not to tell others your goals because once it is out, the internal governor has no power.

Q.2) What is your ideal situation? How would you like your life to look? What would you change in your job, your living situation, your activities and your relationships if you had a magic wand?  

A.2) If I had a magic wand – and only with a touch of magic – the house would be done, correctly restored inside and out with a workshop and a clean play yard. I would be out of my *profession and/or in a position where I wasn’t stuck at a desk and didn’t constantly have to compromise myself. There would be encouragement, humor and innovation with hands on applications.

I would de-stress my personal relationships. More time to do the things we need to thrive, not just survive. I’m tired of being just a survivor.

Q.3) Write about your day. What did you think about? 

A.3) After reviewing my inbox, I spent the day waiting to hear from people that never reply. I stare at the screen and my desk and try to think of ways to keep productive while I wait since I never know when I might get the critical piece of information that will allow everything to fall in to place.

I think about how nice it is outside after this god-forsaken winter, and how it’s a crime to sit here and stare at nothing.

Then I send another email to an unresponsive consultant.

I think about everything I wish I could focus on. House, garden, farming, future, books, art, cooking, chillaxing with my dog… I think about what it would really be like to leave my *profession.

I think about being gobbled up by the Nothing.

Q.4) Write about your ideas. What have you been thinking about? 

A.4) I’ve been thinking about how to make a better root beer, imagining taste profiles that I’ve been missing and how they would combine. I’m thinking about how much I actually want to sell my soul to get what I want. I’m tired of compromise, is it worth the risk? Will I have spent all of this time and energy and wind up with nothing? I’m always thinking about how to protect myself.

I’m thinking about getting my cookbook together. Re-starting the food blog. I need to find my passion again. I need to get back in to my Saturday morning routine.

I’m thinking about how to get our bathroom finished and how the heck to get the monster bath tub upstairs without injuring someone.

I’m thinking about my next book and if it’s even worth finishing.

Q.5) Write about the people who buoy you up and increase your mojo level. What is it about those people that make them mojo builders for you?  

A.5) There aren’t many people in my life right now that meet that description but when things were good it was the people who were genuinely interested in what I had to say, encouraging and happy to find out how things were going. People who were able to exchange ideas and brainstorm without drowning out my voice and challenging everything I said whether they needed to or not. Being believed in can go a long way.

Many people are encouraging until you actually start to make progress.

Q.6) Choose one thing you’d like to add and one thing you’d like to take away. 

A.6) I would like to add more travel and take away being chained to my desk.

Q.7) What do you want to accomplishing during the rest of your life?  

A.7) I want to find something I’m good at that doesn’t make me feel miserable, compromised and out of control. I want to be independent and stable, the less I have to rely on people the better.

I don’t really care about a bucket list because tastes and values change, along with the economy and politics around us. I want the freedom and flexibility to explore things as they come to me without having to justify myself or apologize for being different.


*profession withheld for the safety of the human race.

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Ready to Pounce

One minus T-10 days till Houses of the Broken takes the world by storm. I’ve been wishing my month away waiting for the big release (and a few warmer days.)

In the mean time I’m trying to prep myself for blog tours, interviews, private jets, paparazzi…. Well, a girl can dream at least…

But my muse has rolled back in to town, tapping on the outside of the window pane like the delinquent in every high school movie, trying to convince the good girl to play hooky and live it up. *tap tap* *tap tap* *tap* I see you, you naughty minx… I’ll be out, just you wait. And the bodies will drop with a vengeance!


Oh, Sweet Release…. Date.

Now that the ham and chocolate has settled, it is with great pleasure that I would like to announce that my soul book will soon be available for purchase from your favorite neighborhood e-tailers.

Houses of the Broken will be available to the public April 25, 2015 in all* e-book formats! There are rumors of a pre-sale, but more details and sneak peeks will follow as the timeline tightens up.

Many thanks to Cliffhanger Press, LLC for getting me this far. Can’t wait to pimp this puppy to the world!

*all = all ebook formats known to me….


Third Life: Fool’s Gold – Week 1: Gilding the Gauntlet

Is it better to be pretty or smart? Welcome to my poorly contrived social experiment.

As my professional and life experience grows and I become entrusted with more responsibility, I can’t help but feeling more left behind. I’m in my mid-30’s, never been a ‘girly girl’ and most often wore the badge of ‘nerd’ in my academic days. I have a mind for problem solving, and enough social skills to get me through some of the most complicated business meetings (Smiling through clenched teeth should be listed on my resume under special skills or maybe additional languages.)

This bad idea started as most bad ideas do. At the bottom of a glass at the end of the bar, at the end of another long, confusing, frustrating week. “… you know, I have a push up bra too, maybe I need to wear it to start getting some recognition around there…” And that’s all it takes for an idea to bloom in the prickly garden of discontent.

I wish I could encapsulate the montage of identity crisis that followed.

“Maybe I should dress nicer… maybe I should wear make up… maybe I should keep my mouth shut…” this would go on for a few minutes before the angel on the other side chimed in.

“Screw them! Your cup size has nothing to do with how well you do your job. Big hair and bad perfume shouldn’t dictate who gets more attention.”

“But….” the other side would whisper “… it does.”

I was vexed. After some serious rationalizations and my friends evenly dividing between “No, you don’t need it!” and “Do what makes you feel best.” I decided to hit the warpaint store. I don’t even know how to shop for make up right. It all looks the same to me and all costs 3x more than I think it should. My goal, however, was fairly simple. Start testing out new looks. Simple, understated and professional. Going full on clown college was not going to get the right response for my goals. (Well, we may revisit that later…) I am the type that gets funny looks when I show up in something other than boots and dockers. I hate being cold and uncomfortable, and I have to be able to go crawl through a muddy basement or a dusty attic at a moments notice. It’s hard to wear a wiggle dress and climb up on a roof, no matter how dedicated you are to looking fabulous.

While I do sometimes envy the women that can run a 5k in stilettos, I don’t often have issues with the fact that I’m not one of them. (Though being able to wear a pair of heels for more than 5 minutes without an oozing blister or calf knotting foot cramp would be nice.) I do my job, I do it well, and I’m usually pretty well prepared…but… BUT…. not being polished and prissy in the process sometimes holds me to a disadvantage. I don’t get dragged in to extra important meetings (well maybe this isn’t exactly a disadvantage…), and I don’t get invited along to the quick lunches with the clients or consultants when they pass through town. (I’m rethinking this ‘disadvantage’ thing…) And while I hate wasting my time on the social niceties, it still… stings.

So my bargain with myself is thus: Start presenting myself as a stereotypical female, for a month, and see what happens. Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. But then I’ll know.

It was grey and bleak this morning. I took my time getting out of bed, so I didn’t have a lot of extra time on my hands getting ready. My hair was done (takes 5 minutes) and I turned to leave the bathroom.

“Oh… shit… that’s right…” I stared at the medicine cabinet longer than I should have, trying to dismiss this whole idea as silly so I could just be on my way. It only takes a few seconds…the other voice chimed. “Fine.” A few swipes of neutral eyeshadow, enough to claim I did it.

The gauntlet has been thrown.


Third Life – Nothing.

In the silence, there are the voices of a thousand souls streaming through her head. Each begging for attention and thought and pointing out the wrongs she committed that day.

If she refuses them, they bark louder until the din is a symphony of chaos and are too much to ignore. Wave after wave crashing against her broken shores, eroding every bit of her self worth, breaking her will into finite grains of sand that slip through the fingers of her final desperate grasp.

“What are you thinking, dear?”

She bites her lip, the pinch returning her senses to the tangible world. “Oh, nothing.”


When the darkness doesn’t lift.

This is going to be a short one today, because life has a way of popping up at the most inconvenient times. Personal tragedy of some close friends, and a sun that refuses to shine has me stuck in the philosophical rut of “What’s it all about?”

Why do we do the things we do? The writing, for me, is an outlet. The things that collect in my head in the wee hours and the in between times. I like to share it, if I think it’s something someone else can relate to, or enjoy. And yes, it’s nice to show other people what you’ve made. But money and fame has never been an illusion of mine.

The bottom line is, I do  it for me, not them. If you could see my archives, you’d understand. I’ve been writing in a silent collection for years, with no intention of things ever seeing the light of day. But they’re there, for me, as a snapshot of my past, my experiences, and the occasional crazy dream I was able to capture before it slipped away in the morning light.

Maybe it’s a phase that will fall by the wayside when something more “Important” happens in my life, but I don’t think so. It’s how I balance, how I maintain, and how I help myself understand the world around me. A friend recently said to me “What is life, but a series of passing phases?” The point being, indulge the creative urges. Explore yourself, the world around you.

I’ve always been the type that would rather know, than ask “What if?”