Realistic Goals for 2017 – Can You Dig It?

 

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You accomplish nothing when you aim at nothing.

 

Okay… we used to call them resolutions and that got us no freaking where.  Around 2012, I called them goals and I don’t know if I was the brainiac who thought it up or what, but it caught on and now people call them New Year Goals and hey… it works for me no matter who thought it up first.

Well, it works when I put in the effort.  Same goes for you.  I mean, I don’t know you, but if you are a writer, chances are you like the idea of things going as well as they went in Week One of Two of your project.  But then all hell breaks loose, the cat knocks your coffee over, the laundry is piled up and you aren’t sure if those are your kids or booger encrusted demons. You’ve got nothing accomplished save a pile of tissues inundated with your own tears instead of the tears of your enemies.

Usually, my goals are: save money, lose ten pounds, build a race car, travel to another dimension, communicate telepathically with my cat…blah blah blah… you know, realistic goals.  But one thing always gets in the way: ME.

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How I do things:

  1. make outrageous, unattainable goal.
  2. fail to reach said goal.
  3. hate myself and commence drowning in a pool of chocolate, self-loathing and my own damn tears.

This year I do have some goals… mostly REALISTIC ONES but a few ridiculous ones at the end… you know, just in case.

One of my goals is to get published.  Yes!  Published as in an actual book with actual pages with actual words on them.

So this is how I set my goals THIS YEAR (and the last few years):

  • GET PUBLISHED
    • write a book
    • edit book
    • rewrite until a finished, polished work is complete.
    • research agents and publishers
    • submit queries
  • GET IN SHAPE
    • Commit to gym 5 days a week
    • 30 minutes minimum cardio 7 days a week
    • strength training 5 days a week
    • eat good foods/drink a lot of water (100 oz daily)
  • STAY ORGANIZED
    • if it doesn’t have a place it is dead to me.
    • throw out all junk mail/mail/inserts/coupons 
    • magazines: throw out all old issues (or donate somewhere)
    • clothes: throw out anything I haven’t worn in a year.
  • GET FINANCES STRAIGHT
    • Pay down all debt by paying $20 extra a month on payments
    • DO NOT use credit cards
    • Set up automatic payments on all bills (I am almost at 100% with this)
    • Keep separate checking accounts and STOP transferring money!
  • READ 100 BOOKS in 2017
    • No need for bullet points on this one, really.  My goal is to read 100 books this year no matter what.  All kinds of books: thriller/suspense (my fave!); memoirs (my other fave!); self-help; horror; romances (not really my thing, but I’ll give it a shot).
  • Also, win the lottery, buy a nice cabin in the woods and never have to work a regular job again.

I have faith in myself that I can do all this. The ones in boldface are the ones I really need to stay diligent with.  The one in blood red, bold, italic, underline is my MAIN NUMBER ONE GOAL FOR THE F**KING YEAR.  If I am not stressed about money and bills, I can focus on other important things.

Have you given any thought to goals for 2017?  How do you list your goals? 

A Love and Enamorment of Bugs

I’m not sure what percentage I make up of the global population, or the national population, hell, the population of my city of people who ‘love bugs.’  I know that it is a small population (except for maybe entomologists) of strange and odd folks and I am one of them.

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When I was little, like most children, I was terrified of bugs.  More so, I was terrified of worms.  My mother would take my sister and me fishing and I refused to bait the hook.  Worms were slimy, shiny appendage-less aliens who wanted to suck my blood.

That was my theory.

I would scream if I saw a shad roach (water bug) in our kitchen (we lived close to the corner and sewer so we got a lot of them).  My mother nick named them ‘six dirty feet’ to make it a little more amusing.  Still, I hated those little shiny, black bastards and their damned feet.

Now, I can’t say I would welcome ‘six dirty feet’ of any kind into my home (shad roaches, cockroaches) because to me, those bugs represent dirt and dampness and my childhood and early years of my first marriage (things I would like to forget, thank you very much).

Spiders, stinkbugs, odd-looking bugs, caterpillars, moths, beetles, leaf bugs, cicadas… all those dudes. I love them.  I pick them up and inspect them.  I love Praying Manti as well, but I am also a stickler for superstition and will not disturb one unless it is unavoidable.  Still, my nerves get the best of me.

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Stag Beetle

Should I save a praying mantis or be doomed for all eternity? 

These are the types of questions that permeate my mind on a grand level.

But I digress.

We need bugs. The earth and all its occupants need six footed, eight footed, even thousand legged Hemiptera of all sorts because they help us more than we know.  They sustain life for other critters.  Honestly, everything on this planet helps everything else.

It’s funny… everything on this planet could live without humans, but humans could not live without everything on this planet.

Bees.

It kind of saddens me that so many people fear bugs and I think so many people fear bugs because they were taught to fear bugs.

Why are you afraid of bugs?

a) because they creep me out, man.

b) because they are ugly and gross.

c) I don’t know, I just am.  Isn’t everyone?

d) because my dad screams bloody hell and jumps around like a disco mouse when he sees one… and… isn’t that normal?

These are some common answers when asked.  I get it, I really do.  Bugs are creepy little critters that can show up in the darndest places and leave a person thinking, ‘how did you get here little guy?’ or grabbing matches and a can of hairspray and torching the whole place to the ground.

Is there an in between?  Yes, there is.   Freaking out over bugs is what a lot of people do… but before you go burning your house down or driving your car off a cliff, know that most bugs aren’t interested in you.  Some are, but the ones that scare the hell out of you most likely are not.

The only bugs that are interested in you are:

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Ticks, Fleas, Mosquitoes, Flies, Bed Bugs and Lice.  Four of these five live exclusively by drinking blood (flies eat other stuff).  These are bugs that I don’t like… these bugs are parasites that need a host to live but there are ways to keep them away from your person and your belongings.

So, good luck out there!  It is summertime which means lots and lots of buggies!  Keep yourself prepared for the pesky ones (in the picture above) and remember all the other ones aren’t interested in anything you have to do or say.

 

Flash Fiction – Crawling

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Photo: DAM Steelman

I came to the park to get away from stress.  Now here I lay, frozen on the mucky ground.  My brand new coat ripped and ruined.

Where the hell did that rock come from?  And who trips and falls on their back? Me.  That’s who. Well, at least the sky is blue.

Wait. What was that? Oh no.  I hear something in the brush next to me! I hope it is someone to help. Hello? can you hear me? I can’t move my legs.

No. No. No. Mr. Bear, please.  I just got this coat and it is so pretty! Don’t eat me.

Repost – Flash Fiction – The Darkness

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Image: forum.skyscraper.com

I’m sitting in the dark now.  It stopped raining about an hour ago.  People are walking up and down this quaint little street in Newtown, Pennsylvania.  I tried to walk; I really did.  But it was just too much for me.  All the people. Man, the people.  Their eyes boring through my skin began to drive me mad, you see.  I could see everything.  Everything!  All their sins, their heartbreak, their desires seeped into my soul like rain into the dry, cracked earth.  I had to get away you see.

Now, I am isolated with the memory of a thousand different stares beaming into my brain.  It is just too much!

There is only one way to get rid of this torment.  I have to cut it out.  I have to let the tears bleed out of my skin.  I must release the screams from my pores.

It is the only way…

 

 

 

Flash Fiction – The Leaf

(Repost from my old blog)
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Little Leaf

Carmine Carmichael smoked his last cigarette twenty minutes ago.  The sun rose above the row homes on Sutter Street as he sat down on the marble steps at the corner.  He hadn’t slept in three days, hadn’t eaten in two days and hallucinations were starting to begin.  His four-week old blue jeans felt crunchy as he ran his hands up his shins, to his knees and then his thighs.

A dead leaf blew down the sidewalk, past his battered sneakers and he thought of how peaceful the dead leaf must have felt. It was, after all, devoid of all feeling.  The leaf had lived its life on a tree somewhere as people passed it by without a thought.

Carmine knew exactly how that little leaf felt. Another leaf blew past and Carmine reached his filthy hand down and scooped it up with care. The weak stem felt dry in his fingers as he twirled it around, looking at the rips in the body of the little leaf.

“I’ll bet you were once so beautiful, little leaf, just like me.  I was a strong man once, little leaf.”

The little leaf stood lifeless in his fingers and Carmine felt his eyes well up as he clutched the leaf to his chest. Little leaf pieces fell to the ground as Carmine sobbed.

Footsteps echoed in the distance and Carmine put his filthy hands back on his thighs and watched the leaf blow away in a dozen pieces.  Carmine watched as shiny, pristine shoes stepped on and over the leaf.

Carmine knew just how that little leaf felt.

Regret – A Poem

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photo by DAM Steelman

I’ve seen so much in my short time…

Dug some ditches, walked the line…

My head drooped down, I cowered in fear…

Praying and hoping the end was near…

A switchblade smile and a melancholy laugh…

Always rewriting my epitaph…

I wear my heart on my sleeve with hate in my eyes…

Cursing you all under despondent sighs…

Why me? Why am I the chosen one?

This is not who I want to become!

But here I sit, on this lonely rock…

As the minutes go by, they tick and they tock…

I’m drunk again, and that feels right…

As the sun goes to sleep and awakens the night…

I think and cry and think some more…

As I make empty promises, to settle the score…

Tonight I will rest on this rock as I weep…

And pray the Lord my soul He will keep…

Flash Fiction – Repost – Rise and Fall

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I watch the sunrise over the ocean like a wild animal creeping out of a forest den.  It will be full daylight soon and the pain will come.  Sure, I could run back inside and hide in the darkness of the cave. However, that would prolong the inevitable and I want to see the sun.

Last night got so out of control.  How could I let Lily go with the others? I could smell their abhorrent kindness. The way Kaud, the leader, stroked the small of her back as they walked into the cave drove me mad.

He knew it drove me mad and he knew I would do something foolish. What a foolish idea, charging at Kaud!

I heard Lily shout, “I never loved you, Vol.”

As Kaud broke my neck, Lily broke my heart.

Now, I stare at the sun, so blinding and pristine, as I whither to a pile of forgotten ashes.

(flash fiction piece from my old blog)

 

Iffy Around People

So… I’m a writer… and an artist (kind of) and a bit of a photographer.   And I’m not sure if all of these things make me out of my effing mind, or because I am out of my effing mind, I can really love all of these things.  But I do and they really help me when I have to wind down from anything that freaks me the fuck out.  I love bugs too, but we can talk about that another time.

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Watercolor Marker Face by Me

Things that freak me the fuck out:

  • Groups of people.
  • Spontaneous plans.
  • A sudden change of plans.
  • Clowns.
  • Spontaneous plans that involve a group of clowns. *shudders*

And yes, being a writer, I kind of have to be around people because I write about people (unless I write a book of personification, but I personify my cat – and no one wants to read about that… trust me) and the silly, dumb, ridiculous, obnoxious things they do.

But the people thing is iffy for me… iffy because it is touch and go.  I can be in a group of people if I have notice.  The more notice the better, but I need at least 24 hours (gotta sleep on it).  I need this notice – this warning – because I need to store up a lot of energy and play out every ‘worst case scenario’ in my brain, mentally react to it and then file it away, and then re-react to a scenario I didn’t plan the worst about on my way to the event.

Sometimes, it is so bad:  I have actually driven by at least three or four gas stations until settling on one with no more than two or three cars in the lot/at the pump:

My truck: Yo.  I need gas.

Me:  I know, I know… but…

My truck: There’s one, a gas station.

Me: But… too many people.  We’ll find another one.

Truck: You’re ridiculous!

Me: *heavy sigh* I know… thanks for putting up with me. 

Truck: …

Ok, so clearly I personify more than my cat… but yeah, that’s a moment of a day in the life of afflicted me.

Before (like, a really really long time ago – almost 10 years!) I used to just get shit-faced drunk and then I could be around people (unless I was snorting cocaine – in which case, I couldn’t be around people) and who the hell knows how that turned out.  I was so drunk (frequently) that I’m assuming now (100% sober) that I was cool around people because I’m still alive and never went to jail.  And I absolutely should have went to jail at least two times.  Okay… maybe four times.

But again, it was always iffy.  If you get it, you’ll get it.  And if you don’t get it, you probably never ever will.  Ever. That’s something else I’ve learned.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him put on pajamas.

And, now I feel as though I am becoming condescending so I’ll see you around…

Flash Fiction – Repost – The Broken Road

There was this road; this cracked, steamy, dilapidated road that I had heard about in a bar about twenty miles outside of the small town of Centralia, PA.  The gentleman (and I use that term loosely) that spoke of the road was so inebriated, I could scarcely tell if he was just telling some whacked out story handed down through generations or if there was truth to the tale.

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But I had to know.  That was my nature.  I had to get to the bottom of everything.  So, like a snake slithering back into the trees, I slipped out of the bar unnoticed, and headed for Centralia. I drove around that bright, sunny Sunday afternoon and then I saw the sign:

CENTRALIA – 2 MILES

Yes!  I overheard the road was closed.  And why wouldn’t it be?  Apparently, it was in no condition to handle any kind of traffic.  There were cracks and graffiti; steam and overgrown weeds. I came around a bend and I saw the cemetery on Highway 61 that was mentioned. It was old Highway 61 I was searching for and it shot right off of new Highway 61.

I had made it!  I could go back to the city and tell everyone about the broken road I had stumbled upon.  Well, I could have.

You see, there was a large crack in the road, I hadn’t noticed it really, if you could believe that.  I was too busy gazing at all the profane graffiti on the sun-baked asphalt while catching glimpses of steam shooting out from cracks far down the broken road.

There was no rumble when the ground opened wide and swallowed me whole.  It was almost as if the broken road had been waiting to feast on something to quell its burning innards.

I always did have terrible timing.

(This Flash Fiction piece is from an old blog of mine called The Daily Woman)

Flash Fiction – Repost – The Woods

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The Woods 

The distant waterfall seemed quieter as Charlie tugged on the rope. She had been in the woods for three days. Her tummy growled as she thought of cartoon characters that used to tie belts around their bellies as if somehow it would save them from hunger.
Something woke her up last night that sounded like a train whistle and a chimpanzee. It didn’t matter. This rope trick would get her food.
Satisfied with the knot, she ducked behind the tree and waited. The woods grew quiet. A kind of quiet that made her hum to make sure she could still hear.
And then it came from behind her. That awful chimpanzee being bludgeoned by a train whistle sound. Charlie dashed out of the trees toward her rope trap. She could climb to safety. Her hand slipped on the rope and she felt it wrap around her ankle before it whisked up the tree limb. It was too fast. The rope; that noise. That wicked sound came again as Charlie hung there. She wished she had brought her gun.