#MarchWritingChallenge – Day 8 – Do you think you’re currently operating at 100% capacity?

gas gauge

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This March Writing Challenge of thirty-one questions is hosted by Marquessa, with questions from Alexandra Franzen‘s100 questions to spark conversation and connect.

All are welcome to join in and a list of the questions can be found here.

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Are you kidding me? I’ve been running on coffee and Grace since May 30, 2019.

Some days I believe I’ve reached the acceptance phase of grief and it’s time to go to work, but then depression gut checks me and I’m back at square one which means no writing gets done.

I admire writers who continued to publish books in the last year and send them all big KUDOS! I’m just waiting for the day when I can join them again. 😉

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Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

 

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#MarchWritingChallenge – Day 7 – What was your very first job?

children

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This March Writing Challenge of thirty-one questions is hosted by Marquessa, with questions from Alexandra Franzen‘s100 questions to spark conversation and connect.

All are welcome to join in and a list of the questions can be found here.

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Like most teenage girls, my first job was babysitting… my five younger siblings; and no, there was no pay! 😀

But the experience paid off when my Mom recommended me to her coworkers, who in turn told their friends about me.

I was in business! LOL!

On a lark, I applied for a summer job at a day care center when I was fourteen… and got the job. The kicker is I kept the job right up to the summer I left for college, working summers and after school during the school year.

I didn’t forget about my private customers though, and my nights and weekends were often booked solid.

My name got around as a responsible babysitter who brought arts & crafts and books with her, and by the time I reached high school, I was babysitting for teachers, members of the police department and several of my Mom’s coworkers. I started passing jobs to my younger sister, and she would eventually pass on jobs to our younger sister.

I’m still in touch with several of the children I babysat for, and some are even Facebook friends, including the first infant I took care of… who turned FORTY last year. YIKES! 😀

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Image by Prawny from Pixabay

 

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#MarchWritingChallenge – Day 6 – What are you freakishly good at?

I Got This Cat

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This March Writing Challenge of thirty-one questions is hosted by Marquessa, with questions from Alexandra Franzen‘s100 questions to spark conversation and connect.

All are welcome to join in and a list of the questions can be found here.

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My sibs called me Spock (Star Trek) and The Professor (Gilligan’s Island) because I had a knack for organizing/planning/fixing things. From pranks on our parents to repairing (or hiding) damage done in their absence, I was the go-to fixer.

It carried over into adulthood and spread outside the family and I became “The Facilitator!” 🙂

Weddings, funerals, bake sales, t-shirt fundraisers, potlucks, I’ve done them all, big and small. I never turned down a donation of anything (had to get REAL creative with twenty-four bales of hay donated for a PTA picnic on country property), and I never went into the red on project or event.

I’ve also orchestrated quite a few adult pranks, but I’m not publicly owning up to which ones. Statute of limitations and all. 😀 😀

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Image from Quickmeme.com

 

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#MarchWritingChallenge – Day 5 – What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

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This March Writing Challenge of thirty-one questions is hosted by Marquessa, with questions from Alexandra Franzen‘s100 questions to spark conversation and connect.

All are welcome to join in and a list of the questions can be found here.

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My teacher pulled me aside one day, wearing a huge smile, and complimented me on my attention to detail and organizational skills. She then strongly recommended I reconsider attending a state university and instead enroll in the local business college because I’d make a fantastic secretary.

I felt confused and awkward…. because I was an honor student with a spot already paid for at a top state university. I was only in her Business Infrastructure and Office Machines class because, like many of my fellow seniors, I’d more than satisfied the credit requirements for graduation. Instead of a winter ceremony, we opted to take the legal class enrollment minimum (3 classes) so we could graduate with our class in the spring.

Her class was simply filler and she knew this.

She also knew I had a university spot waiting for me in the fall.

I told my guidance counselor and my mom, who both had words with her. She approached me two days later with the same huge smile (and what I now realize was fake sincerity) and said she hoped she hadn’t upset me but really did feel I’d be a great secretary.

Yeah. That was the apology.

I later learned she gave this same career advice to several other female students. African-American female students.

Microaggression, marginalization, and misogyny… with a smile, and I didn’t even know it at the time.

Wonder how many others were graced with her great advice?

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Oprah advice

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#MarchWritingChallenge – Day 4 – Are you living your life purpose — or still searching?

 

This March Writing Challenge of thirty-one questions is hosted by Marquessa, with questions from Alexandra Franzen‘s100 questions to spark conversation and connect.

All are welcome to join in and a list of the questions can be found here.

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I believe my life’s purpose is service to others and I’ve spent most of my life fulfilling it by organizing food drives, teaching adults to reading, visiting seniors in nursing homes, and even volunteering as a hugger for mentally challenged children and adults during public sporting events. I’ve gone from Trick or Treat for UNICEF (anyone remember that?) as a kid to writing and applying for grants as a parent to expand and promote art programs in schools, and buy technology for learning disabled students. I didn’t do these things for praise or profit, but to fill gaps created by budget cuts and short-sighted administrators/officials. My parents taught us that if one person suffers or goes without, it doesn’t matter how well you’re doing personally. We all suffer. We learned to pay it forward decades before the movie and movement, and hopefully inspired others to serve in similar ways.

I was sidelined by grief a couple years ago, and as I looked for ways to get out of my own head and help others, the pandemic and self-isolation arrived. I have a sis who also lives here in the same apartment complex. We learned early in the lockdown days there were disabled and senior residents who had no idea how to get groceries and medications delivered. We created lists of delivery services and their fees and added them to ziplock bags of fruit we put together and left them at apartment doors. The response was crazy! We not only helped people navigate quarantine life, but they shared the info with family and friends outside the complex, and we made a few new friends. 🙂

I believe all too often one’s life purpose is confused with one’s dreams.

It’s just my opinion, but I believe dreams fulfill the individual while purpose fulfills others. Sometimes, they can be one and the same and that’s the perfect win-win situation.

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#MarchWritingChallenge – Day 3 – Do you believe in magic? When have you felt it?

magic book

This March Writing Challenge of thirty-one questions is hosted by Marquessa, with questions from Alexandra Franzen‘s100 questions to spark conversation and connect.

All are welcome to join in and a list of the questions can be found here.

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Magic as in abracadabra? No.  While I do love a great illusion and took several trips in the 80s to see the shows of David Copperfield, for me it’s simply entertainment.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t believe there are things science cannot explain.

Early in the summer I was fifteen, I dreamed of my maternal grandfather’s death and funeral service. It struck me as weird since he and I weren’t close. There were no ill feelings or anything like that. I thought my grandmother hung the moon and the stars, but could take or leave Granddaddy.

I didn’t tell anyone and forgot about it until six weeks later when the call came about Granddaddy dying from major heart attack at home.

From that point on, everything unfolded exactly as I’d dreamed. The trip from Michigan to Mississippi. The things which were said by some family members at the viewing and service. Even the dress I wore to the funeral which was not the dress I’d packed, but a dress Mom bought in Mississippi to go with the family theme and color scheme. (They do stuff like that for EVERY family gathering.)

But still, I kept my mouth shut.

It was weeks later in the fall when I finally told my best friend, Barbara, who to this day, forty-six years later, still calls me “Witchy” or “Witchetta.” Almost thirty years would pass before I told Mom… after my grandmother’s funeral.

It also took me weeks to sleep normally again, because while I never believed I was responsible for Granddaddy’s death, I didn’t want to dream of losing another family member… perhaps someone closer to me.

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Image by Yuri_B from Pixabay

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#MarchWritingChallenge – Day 2 – Do you have any irrational fears?

golden gate bridge

This March Writing Challenge of thirty-one questions is hosted by Marquessa, with questions from Alexandra Franzen‘s100 questions to spark conversation and connect.

All are welcome to join in and a list of the questions can be found here.

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Where do I start? 😀

Suspension bridges.

I can barely ride over them without throwing up. Driving over them is out of the question!

As a passenger, my anxiety kicks in the second I see the bridge. All sound dissolves into white noise and I’m frozen in place. My sister swears I passed out crossing the Mississippi River on the way to a family reunion, but I’m not sure if that’s true. I have no memory of it. 😀

Fun fact – I may have nearly killed my family during a trip to my older brother’s in Delaware.

Okay, it’s not a fun fact, it’s true.

It was my turn to drive, giving my parents a break. Mom and I were laughing at the crazy songs my five younger siblings were singing, and Daddy was just irritated. LOL!

I saw the bridge spires in the distance to my right, but no big deal, right. The bridge was next to me, not in front of me. I didn’t have to drive over it, right? Because roads never curve, right?

Fifteen minutes later. I realized the highway was curving toward the bridge.

I was seventeen, but had been driving a couple years, and was a good driver. (I had the Drivers’ Ed trophy to prove it!)

I quickly assessed the situation. Clicking my turn indicator, I glanced over my right shoulder… and yelled, “MOVE!” as I veered across four lanes of traffic.

It was only Grace that saved me from causing a major accident. My next memory though is still Mom prying my fingers from the steering wheel, and my sibs doing what sibs do… laughing at me!

And Daddy? Oh man! I think he created new swear words that day! 😀 😀 😀

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san francisco

I also fear hilly streets. A fear I didn’t know I had until my late husband and I road-tripped from Pasadena to San Francisco while still newlyweds. He was born in Frisco and raised in Berkeley and was excited to show me his city.

Though I had limited knowledge of the area, I’d read enough books based in Frisco and seen enough TV shows and movies to know the area was hilly. Not to mention Steve McQueen’s Bullitt was a huge favorite of the mister’s.

Experiencing it was a different story.

The streets felt like one long roller-coaster ride… which I also fear!

I thought I’d braved the worst after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge—no, I wasn’t driving—but after turning onto dozens of streets that declined in near ninety-degree angles, I’d had enough and refused to leave the hotel. My poor husband took pity on me and found shows and sites within walking distance of the hotel (no hills).

Don’t give him too much credit, though. Over the years, when we’d fuss and squabble, he’d always through out a, “Watch yourself. Don’t make me take you back to Frisco!” 😀 😀 😀

I really miss that man! ❤ 🙂

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Image by Erik Larson from Pixabay

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#MarchWritingChallenge – Day 1 – What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

orchid in vase

This March Writing Challenge of thirty-one questions is hosted by Marquessa, with questions from Alexandra Franzen‘s100 questions to spark conversation and connect.

All are welcome to join in and a list of the questions can be found here.

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Days before her death, my fellow church member and neighbor, Sister Prather, squeezed my hand and said, “God doesn’t make mistakes, and I’m grateful for my sons, but Felicia, I dearly wish I’d had a daughter like you.”

Her words can still bring tears to my eyes. Sister Prather was one of the two people I’d known in my life I’d considered perfect.

Of course, no one is, but Thelma Prather (and my maternal grandmother) were as close as one can get in my mind.

I’d never heard her gossip or say a mean word about anyone. I’d never seen her in a bad mood or even cranky. She not only always had a shy smile on her face, but she also appeared to always be filled with joy.

And I couldn’t understand it.

Married to a man of considerable means, Sister Prather lived as a pauper. Her husband could afford to buy her almost any house in the city and furnish it well. However, entering their home, it was like time stopped in the 1940s. Always neat and tidy, the dated threadbare rugs and furniture were impossible to miss.

A hard, verbally abusive man who was wheelchair-bound, the veteran and former local businessman refused to do anything to make his wife’s life easier. Not even buy her a washer and dryer. It wasn’t until a few weeks before her last hospitalization and the pain from bone cancer became too great, that she’d even allow my children to sneak to her back door for her laundry and return it after I’d completed it.

Two days after our last conversation, Sister Prather’s conditioned worsened. She could no longer sit up or respond verbally, but she was quite aware. When staff would try to spoon-feed her, she’d press her lips together and no amount of pleading or cajoling could get her to eat. My mom was present and witnessed the single shake of her head when her doctor said they’d have to tube-feed her.

She died quietly in her sleep two days later, on her own terms.

Weeks later, still prone to tears over the loss of my dear friend, it was Mom who gave me clarity.

“Thelma Prather was one of those rare people who didn’t judge others by their words or actions because she could see through to their heart. She knew her husband loved her, but losing the use of his legs made him bitter and he took it out on the world. He wanted everyone to suffer as he felt he was. She also didn’t fault her family for losing touch because they all feared him. But she didn’t.”

That made me grin, thinking of the woman who didn’t reach five feet in height and weighed one hundred pounds on a good day not fearing her six-foot-five husband, wheelchair or not.

“She knew you didn’t fear him either and she loved it. She told me you were always respectful, but you were going to do what you wanted for her, whether he liked it or not. That tickled her to no end.”

In the twenty years since her passing, I’ve learned the wisdom in Sister Prather’s example of living. A woman of faith, she refused to allow hate to take up any space in her heart… to steal her joy. She “did unto to others as she would have them do unto her” and was unbothered if they didn’t reciprocate.

I’m no Thelma Prather and will always fall short of her example, but I’m forever humbled by this amazing woman who saw something in me I don’t see in myself.

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Image by Maja Cvetojević from Pixabay

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Camp NaNo Update #2

NaNo Update2

Who knew anger was inspiring?

After a hectic morning or errands and busy work, it was after one in the afternoon before I sat down at my desk.

I figured I’d have to work well into the evening… and possibly night to make decent progress on my WIP so I decided to make the social network rounds while checking my email.

Everything was fine until I opened that email.

I saw red. I saw stars, and I’m sure my blood pressure spiked.

What someone saw as a simple request to me was nerve, gall…the audacity of the millennium! Excuse me, I wasn’t aware you are the center of the universe!

Before I could respond with an epic verbal smack-down, I said goodbye to a couple of friends I’d been chatting with, turned on my Internet blocker and pulled up my WIP.

I pulled out an existing 2-scene one-thousand word section with the intention of rewriting it as one scene.

That’s not what happened.

But the time I looked up five hours later, I had re-written the scenes…but I’d added four more scenes and nearly five-thousand words.

I was also almost at the midpoint of the story.

On day two.

Because I got mad.

Now I’m laughing at myself.

Anger is not healthy and I try to avoid it whenever possible. But, it happens to us all. At least now I know instead of fuming and ranting and raving, I can benefit from it by channeling it into something which results in a positive outcome.

Like writing.

 

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