Why Write?

 

I saw a post in the LinkedIn group “Before the Ink Dries” by Don Gewywolf ford .This made me curious why writers write.

I’m a curious individual, so much so that I’ve been called a cat. I’m wondering why other writers write? Being new to this industry I have only met a couple of writers. What made you pick up that pencil, pen, or keyboard? What makes you tick, as a writer? What keeps you going?

I mean, it’s a cruel business to be in. Rejection is a guarantee. How many people would go to work everyday for a boss that tells them “We don’t like your work” or “You just don’t have what it takes to advance”? Everyone I know wouldn’t want to, they would find a different job, one that appreciates them.

Self-doubt, fear, that little voice inside always undermining every word you think or write. That thought “I’m not smart enough” and “No one reads my stuff anyway?” or “Is this post worthy?” The self-doubt is heavy, then add the naysayers telling you the same things you are thinking.

The fact that publishers will not even look at you if you are not published, yet you can’t get published unless someone publishes you. Yikes, that’s maddening. The pay is peanuts. Actually, it’s peanut dust. Some don’t pay you at all. You spend hours pouring out your soul, sharing pieces of yourself in your prose, then sell it for $25. Let’s dump some vinegar on that paper cut, that prose is kidnaped for months before you even see that money, since you don’t get paid until it’s printed. Worse, “they” change their minds and not print it, now there’s no money after waiting so long. When or if, you get a book published, you are the one who does all the work. You use your own money, (from that temporary job you do) you put in all your spare time to promote and sell your book. Then, how well you market your own book, and continue to market your book over the years; you may make some money. How’s your marketing skills and networking contacts?

So far, I have not painted the life of a writer in very good light. Painting it in the black of night I think is more accurate. When you consider all that is a “writer” it may not sound like a great career choice. The number of people who make a wealthy living on just writing is a small percentage. Is this maddening, crazy making career choice worth it? Are we just floating down that inevitable shit stream, with a ginormous hole in the bottom of a wobbly old wooden raft without a paddle? The answer I wish I could say is an absolute yes it’s worth it, but I can’t. The answer is very personal.

How much rejection can you take? How much do you want to invest of your time, finances, and emotionally? Why are you doing it in the first place? Have you forgotten why you are writing in the first place? Maybe you are unsure at this point.

I know for me I have those lows, but I write about it. Sometimes my most haunting stories come from those lows. Sometimes its just dripple on tear-stained paper. I say, write about it and keep writing. I do wish that it was a more welcoming industry choice. I wish all writers the courage to continue, only if it is what makes them happy.

So why do I do this? Originally, I wrote to escape reality; my imagination was a better place than what I lived. Over time I learned that through my stories they helped people. I love to influence people either a smile, anger, laughter or maybe even a tear. For whatever emotion sparked, I love influencing it. I want to live my dreams. Now that I am older, I must act on those dreams before I lose time, no more regrets. Perhaps this is selfish, but so be it. I’m too old to give a damn what you think of me type of thing. I write because I will not be told I can’t. I write because I want to be the best writer in the world. This will take some time, maybe 2 weeks. (I joke about the 2 weeks) I write because I want to, and I can. As I learn and grow, I want to write even more. Every rejection letter makes me want it even harder. Therefore, I write.

We can not blame the publishers for this writing game. Publishers are not bad people. It may feel like it as you have all this happening to you. But they are not these creatures with horns and a long pointy tail, smoking cigars in an expensively designed office, laughing at your work. They’re not gathering other creatures with horns and pointy tails to come laugh at your work. They are not laughing as they write that horrible rejection letter.

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“We thank you for your effort, but really you suck, though we had a great laugh at your writing. Better luck next time.” -Fictitious rejection letter #1001

 

 

 

Publishers have thousands of papers fall on their desk. (I’m not talking about the creatures with horns and pointy tails, I’m now talking about actual human beings.) When the work day is done, they take a pile of those papers home and read while in bed, in front of the TV, or maybe while taking a bath. That’s my image of someone who is a publisher. Just a hard-working individual who obviously loves to read, a lot. They’re on the hunt for the next big league writer. Publishers, I believe genuinely want to find someone to publish. So, I am sorry, we can’t hate on the publishers.

So, what makes you write? Such a personal question I’m sure. For some it’s personal and private, others it’s a hobby. Some for delusions of grandeur. I really want to know.

Each time a writer creates, they’re sharing a piece of themselves. They exposed themselves to you the reader. You are given the opportunity to peek into the mind and spirit of that writer. Why do you expose yourself writing?

 

 

Orange

Without colour our world would be so bland, what about those who can not see colour? Once class was done I started to write about each colour I could imagine. How would you describe a colour to someone who has never seen it? Could you instill a feeling of that colour? Could you show them the emotions that the colour could spark? Trying to understand the world around me, I must being able to see the world through someone else’s perspective. I show you the colour orange.

Amber Orange

When it comes to colour intensity, brag I must. My radiance impacts your body and mind beyond your control. Increase your pulse, brain waves spark, and even your hormones want to sing my praises. Stimulate bone growth with my mere presence, what colour can do that I ask you? All your 5 senses awaken; I’ll even vibrate at 473 trillion times per second just for you.

Not even the sun could rise or set without my radiant glow. I am strong, bold, creative and emotional.  I give the candle its glimmering command, to encapsulate your gaze. I am known to set your mind ablaze, creating the artist, writer, and musician. I chase away the shadows of sadness and fill the room with joy, love, and adventure.  I am a gift to November born. I am orange, not just any orange, I am the omnipotent amber orange. The orange of the majestic tiger. When you make a turn in your car, I flash brightly signalling the way.

 

Can you feel the power that orange can have? Have you a strong attachment to any colour and why? I would love to hear from you.

 

Picture by:The Irish Times

Fun Story

I posted a fun little story on my LinkedIn account and wanted to share it here. It’s just a little writing exercise that is fun, for me. I hope fun for you too. Can you guess who the “Bob” character is before the end? I have heard a few different ideas, some got it right, but I love to hear what impression people thought “Bob” was.

Eviction Notice

Mary is fed up with Bob, she knows something must be done. Bob’s constantly knocking over her pictures, erases the answer machine messages before she can listen to them. Bob turns the T.V. on or off whenever he feels like it. He’s always playing practical jokes and hiding things around the house. Marry searches for her slippers, finding one on top the refrigerator and the other under the couch.

“Bob has got to go.” she exclaims.

Mary calls her neighbour Dianna; she has a way with special people. Dianna can’t get Bob to leave. Mary thought if she makes the house smell bad he would leave. So, Mary burns all kinds of incense, candles and grasses and still he will not leave. She doesn’t want to call those guys in the lab coats, but she has no choice. It must be done.

Doorbell rings, Mary opens the door. There stood three very tall, muscular men. One man had more tattoos than she has ever seen. Mary felt a knot in her stomach, am I doing the right thing? She thought.

“Hello, you called us to help with Bob? My name is Jake.” The man said.

“Thank you for coming, I have to admit I am a little nervous. I have never done this before, he’ll be OK, right?” Mary said.

“No worries ma’am, we will take care of everything. You can even go out for coffee, this shouldn’t take long.” Said Jake.

Mary left for coffee and was back in 45 minutes. Not knowing what she will find when she comes home. She slowly enters the apartment, it’s quiet, no one’s there. She waits and listened for Bob. Nothing. She puts her T.V. on, it stays on, so she turns it off. She put her slippers beside her bed and propped up her pictures on the mantle. The next morning, the slippers are still there, the pictures are still safely on the mantle, and the T.V. is still off. Mary takes a deep slow breath and sinks into the couch as she thinks to herself, finally, Bob the ghost is gone.

 

Did you guess who Bob was? Did you think he was a mischievous cat? Or maybe a really bad roommate?

 

 

 

 

Organic or Non-Organic?

All the people I spoke to this week thought of fruits and vegetables when asked what is organic? Majority of the individuals I questioned, did not understand the real meaning behind “organic”. Fair enough, there is a lot of hype and contradicting information around this.  So, did you know that organic can be used to label fruits, vegetables, meats, grains, and type of fabrics as well? Think hemp and cotton.

Literally defined by the Oxford Dictionary, Organic (relating to farming) is: (1) “Produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals”. So far in (2) Canada our government states that a product cannot be labelled “organic”, “certified organic” if it is a G.M.O. product. So thankfully, for now, organic also means non-G.M.O.

So, what’s the big deal anyway? The big deal is that we as a human species, are losing the fight against obesity, disease, and it is costing us a lot of money and lives. Pollution is real. Global warming is happening. We can make a difference; it is not too late. How does this relate to our food?

Follow with me on the journey of our food. Let’s start with the plants. They are grown with chemical fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides / pesticides, sprayed regularly throughout the growing season. These fields are grown strictly to feed animals; none is put into human food sources. The amount of acreages to grow food for these animals is far greater than it would take to grow for direct human consumption. Destroying our natural resources such as the rain forests, forests, and over use of the land. This plant food source is fed to such animals as cows, pigs, and fowl. (We will come back to the plant farming later.) The animal does not get to roam around eating a variety of fresh grasses, or even see the sun. Instead they are packed into small pens and cages so tightly they cannot move and stand in their own feces. They are fed these plants and grains in excess, so to assist with production of milk and increase weight. (Remember we pay by the pound.) The animals are also injected with growth hormones, fertility hormones and a lot of vaccines.

So far we have an animal that now has chemical fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides / pesticides, growth hormones, fertility drugs, and a lot of vaccines running through the body which stores in the marrow, meat and fats. (If a human were to endure the stress and life of the slaughter animal, the human body would be extremely sick and in the hospital.) When an animal is stressed, such as being penned up, not allowed to sleep, beaten, prodded, the long tight transport to the slaughter house, and even walking down the line to slaughter; there are hormones the body creates that are also now added to this already packed list we just spoke of. This stress reduces the level of nutrient in the animal flesh depleting the vitamin and quality of protein.  (3)  (4)  Some believe that that fear is negative vibrational energy we too consume, as it has no time leave the body before being cut up.  As an understatement, the animal meat is tainted.

Now you go to the store and purchase some bacon, or a steak, or maybe a chicken to cook up for dinner tonight.  You ingest this animal flesh that is filled with chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides / insecticides, growth hormones, fertility hormones, multiple animal vaccines and the stress induced hormones; no matter how hot or how long you cooked your animal flesh, you cannot cook this stuff out.  These toxic substances are not heat sensitive, they do not evaporate, they do not magically vanish. They must go someplace, and where do they go? In your body.  You had a cup of milk as well perhaps? Now you consumed another lactating hormone as well on top of those same toxins. We have not even discussed G.M.O. and I will not in this post as it would make this article too long.

Maybe you didn’t have milk, maybe you had water. Great, that is healthy and great for our bodies. Did you get that water from the tap, that got its water from the streams, that got its water from the run-off those grain / plant fields grown with chemical fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides?  Or the water that seeps through the ground entering the waterways through underground water sources. Either way, that water has entered our main water system. So now you are drinking this toxic sludge as well and eating it.

So, what can you do about this? Through consumers shopping habits and letters to their supermarkets requesting organic grown and organic fed foods, it forces the farming industry to change its habits. But if consumers do not make the demand for the change, then farming continues as it has evolved into, and will continue to evolve into practices that pollute our water ways, and our foods. Stop buying animals that was grown with these toxins and cramped, stressful, and inhumane pens and cages. You want to look for (5) “free range”, “grown / raised without hormones / antibiotics”, “organic fed”, “organic or certified organic”. Do not be fooled either, “Humane” does not mean the animal was cared for, raised better, or slaughtered without stress. It is just as violent a life as any other animal endured in conventional farming. (7) (8) “Halal” or “Kosher” slaughter is another great thing to look for in your supermarkets. This is done by hand and with the care of the animal in mind. (9) Though, there have been some varying reports of some meat plants not performing proper Kosher slaughter, I leave that to you to investigate.

So, does it matter if we buy organic? I say yes, we can make farming change by our purchase demands. As a consumer, we drive the market to make changes, if you refuse to purchase “conventional” farmed foods they must change to make money, they must go organic.  I don’t want to feel fatigued all the time, nor do I want an unclear mind. I don’t want muscle aches, arthritis, impotence, disease or any other ailment from toxic foods and water. For me, I don’t have a lot of money, but I buy organic any place I can. I grow tomatoes and some veggies in a pot in my window and some fresh herbs.

Tina Curtis

 

 

 

Can’t I just get a pet instead?

Well our lives have not improved much since my “Hell Month” post I am sorry to share. However, I still want to continue writing and creating stories that hopefully inspire, so here is one I made up. Of course this did not really happen to me as I have no home. This did happen in my mind. I dreamed I lived in a two-story home in the good part of the city, that I’ve had more children, a great job and a busy life. I tried to imagine what it would be like to go on a date at my age. Sometimes I think we write from what we know and some of this is truth but not all. The truth is I have not been on a date in many, many years for the reasons in the story, so what would my date be like? This is what I came up with, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

 

Can’t I just get a pet?

Where did all the time go? Once I was a mother and wife. After the separation, I focused on raising children and work. Now the kids are almost out of the house and about to take on their own lives.  My house is getting more lonely and quiet. Now in my midlife I’m dating again? A blind date even, how nerve-racking is that? I didn’t even get to pick if I wanted to go on a date with this guy. I know nothing about him, what he looks like, where he works or even if he works.

I call my daughter on her cell. “Can’t I just get a cat or dog? I mean when the grandchildren come along the house will be alive again right?” I said.

My daughter won’t tell me anything so we would have something to talk about at dinner.

“This will take all of two seconds. Where do you work? I’ll ask. After getting released from jail and the doctor put me on some new trial drugs to keep my homicidal tendencies at bay, I decided to travel the world and really find myself. He’ll answer. There, now there is nothing left to talk about.” I said.

My daughter laughs at me and hangs up. She won’t tell me anything, I could use a bit of some information, my mind is running wild.

Looking into my closet I ask myself, what do you wear when you are about to go on a date with an experimentally doped up, homicidal maniac, freshly released from prison? With that in mind I’m reminded of my old girl scout motto, “Be Prepared”. I’ll wear a switch blade, pepper spray, panic siren, thigh pistol, mace, knock out gas, key lock iron chastity belt, and four armed guards. Yes, that should about cover it. Oh, don’t forget my cell phone.

You must know that I have not gone shopping for anything fashionable in at last 20 years. Yes, that is sad,but with work and trying to be the best mom ever I lost touch with myself. That is the reason my daughter is putting me on this date. I tear through my closet and dresser, getting more discouraged as I try on the last few items I own. Glancing around my room, I see that my grandmother’s closet has exploded, I have nothing to wear on a date. In despair, I sit on the side of my bed and cry, I can’t do this.

My daughter comes home to help me get ready. She finds me in my destroyed room, in all my nakedness, sobbing. I’m in misery and she walks in with this cheery, bright-eyed attitude, it makes me sick. I mean really, can’t she see I’m crying here?

“Come on mom, lets take another look at these clothes and get you ready for a great night out.” She said.

Oh, great, she is dressing me. Have I come the age where my children are dressing me? Is it time for me to enter the retirement home? In my miserable grumbling, I look in the mirror and admire her handy work.

“Dam girl, you should do this for a career. How’d you do this? I mean, wow.” I said

I look good, I feel good and I have the worlds greatest daughter. Tonight, is already fantastic. I don’t need to go on a date, this night is so good we should do a girl’s night. But she wouldn’t let me change the agenda, apparently, it’s prophesied that I’m going on this date.

Unable to argue with a prophesy I finish my make up and hear the door bell ring. I feel a lump in my throat, my stomach has twisted, I’m sweating and I think I’m going to throw up. My daughter bounces down the stairs and lets him in. I try to listen from the top of the stairs but she is whispering that little brat, she’s doing this so I can’t hear a thing and curiosity will get the best of me. I take a few deep breaths and head downstairs.

All I can think of as I walk down the steps is, do I have knock out gas? We are now standing in front of the door and he is good-looking, doesn’t look doped up or homicidal at all. Not that I would know what doped up homicidal maniac looks like. I figure I can leave the body guards at home.

“Hi, I’m Mike, your daughter has told me so much about you. You look very pretty.” He said

Well that is not a disadvantage at all, he knows a lot about me and I just found out his name.

“Hi, and thank you. You look good as well. Shall we go?” I said. Gee that didn’t sound like a robot at all. I feel like such an idiot.

I have decided that sharing the vehicle ride to the restaurant is just not a good idea. I think that the awkward silence should’ve been at the dinner table, so we could shove some food in our mouths.

While at the restaurant things start to relax a bit, perhaps it’s the bread sticks? We start to talk and find a few things in common. We are both parents, both separated and both have not been on a date in years. The night is going so well so he asks if he can take me dancing. I love dancing, not that bar scene type, I’m talking the tango, or even a country square dance is great too. He said he knows just the place.

We danced the whole night, there was a beautiful woman asked him to dance with her, he told her he was on a date with me and declined the invite. Wow, what a guy. He wanted to dance only with me, talk about make a woman feel like she is on fire.

Like all good things, must come to an end. Both of us not knowing what to do on the first date we kept it casual and just said good night with a kiss on the cheek. We are going out again. I decided blind dates aren’t so bad.  I entered my house to find my daughter standing at the door waiting for me.

“You’re home late.” She said

“yup” I said

She started jumping around screaming and yelling, “moms got a boyfriend, moms got a boyfriend”. It felt really good to feel like I was 16 again. Who ever said dating later in life is unnecessary is a loser. I strongly any one of you singles out there to get out and go on a date. It brings you to life again, maybe even a few years younger.  Maybe if you find the right match, it could be something more.

 

Tina Curtis