Monday, February 25, 2013

Negativity - A Writer's Demise

I know the title is a bit strange, but the topic of negativity is forever present in the life of a writer.  Granted I have tons of ideas in a variety of different genres to write about.  However, for every idea and for every person who says, "Go for it," I have at least two or three people who try to tell me otherwise.

The statements, "What makes you think you can write?"  "Why bother?"  "You are just wasting your time."  "Couldn't you do something more constructive?"  "Who would want to read something like that?"  The comments are endless and to say a little hurtful.

My stories started to develop in my mind about eight years ago, but I failed to write anything down, because the mere mention of writing ended with the above comments.  The naysayers kept my thoughts at bay, until  the stories continued to build and finally my family, and a few friends, sat me down and said to go for it.

I finally sat down to writing my first story a little over a year ago.  It was hard allowing my mind to wonder and just let go, as I kept hearing those wonderful statements fill my mind.  So the work ethic of starting, stopping, feeling like giving up, starting again, stopping again, and...well you see the pattern, started to develop.

It wasn't until I recently committed to become a writer, found a couple of author groups that welcomed me in and guided me along the way that I finally decided....WHO CARES what others think!  I love to write.  It makes me happy and I enjoy it.  I don't have to be a mega success like Stephanie Meyer or E.L. James, Sylvia Day, or Nora Roberts.  To me, the greatest success in writing would be to see my book available for sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and any other areas that I can possibly think off.  If a few people like it, then great, but I am doing something I love, so what is wrong with that!

I guess what I am trying to get across is that if you are an author or would like to give it a try, then go for it!  Don't listen to those around you.  If you love writing then by all means do it.  Negativity is a writer's worst enemy.  Buy into it and you are sure to fail; ignore it and the world of writing is only limited by your imagination. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My 1st Married Valentine's

Valentine's Day, and I, never really meshed well in the past.  My hopes for my first ever Valentine's, with my newly married husband, was quickly approaching.  We were, each, secretly planning a memorable day for the other.  I had plans on purchasing some wonderful chocolate covered strawberries from one of the local chocolatiers and along with a bottle of his favorite champagne.  I had already been perusing the store ads to see who had the best price on some surf and turf options for dinner.  A romantic dinner by candlelight, with soft music playing in the background was definitely in the foreseeable future.

I felt giddy with anticipation of this Valentine's going off without a hinge, especially since the previous year had permanently tainted the month of February for me, with the death of my father.  My hubby was out to prove that good memories could be made.  He kept telling me this would be a Valentine's to remember!

Something in me told me to hesitate on buying everything.  I could not understand why, but would soon find out.  Less than a week before Valentine's Day, my husband calls me up with the distressing news, "Honey, I am sorry to tell you this, but we may have to postpone our Valentine's celebration.  The company has some issues at our south Florida office and I am being sent down to try and straighten up their mess.  They want me to drive down tomorrow morning, for an indefinite stay."

My heart numbed, as the words slowly sank in.  "How can they do this?  Don't they realize we have only been married for a couple of months?"  Tears began to form at the corners of my eyes, wondering why every Valentine's was doomed to repeat itself.

My husband came home that night and took me out to a romantic dinner, in an attempt to smooth things over.  "Believe me when I say that I would rather be here with you.  I know how much you needed this week to be wonderful and I promise to do my best to make sure it is!" 

The next morning came and I kissed and hugged him tightly, before he pulled out of the driveway, taking my heart with him.  Work helped to keep me busy, but my peers continual chatter over their plans for Valentine's put a damper on my spirits.

As promised, my husband called me several times a day to let me know how much he loved and missed me.  Neither one of us could go to bed without talking with the other.  He kept getting surprised by the numerous cards I had placed strategically throughout the course of his suitcase, expressing how much I loved and missed him.  In turn, I kept receiving cards in the mail, one a day, telling me how much he wished I were with him. 

Valentine's day came and I went to work, not wanting to hear of everybodys plans for the evening or seeing the various romantic deliveries being dropped off at the office.  I managed to hide out in my office for most of the day, diving head first into work.  It wasn't until late afternoon that I received a call from the reception area, citing an issue with one of the computers.  I walked to the front and saw the biggest arrangement of long stemmed red roses, I had ever encountered, along with a bouquet of balloons.  I quickly asked which computer was causing problems, when everyone smiled and said the arrangements were mine. 

I walked over to the flowers, and nervously looked at the card.  I could not believe that it had my name on it.  My hand shook as I removed the note, which read, "To the love of my life, my reason for existence.  I cannot wait to hold you in my arms tomorrow.  You are my forever Valentine!  Loving you always and forever, your hubby."

My mind instantly honed in on the words tomorrow.  Before I knew it, a phone was being thrust into my hand and I heard his voice, "I hope I have managed to save some portion of Valentine's honey.  Know that if I had my way I would be with you right now.  Unfortunately, the best I can do is fly in tomorrow and show you just how much you mean to me.  Can you pick me up tomorrow at the airport?" Tears streamed down my eyes at his attempt to keep this day special. 

The next day I left work early to go to the airport and pick him up.  I awaited anxiously with a long stemmed red rose and Mylar balloon in one hand and his favorite chocolate covered strawberries in the other.  My heart began to sink when his plane arrived at the gate, but he was nowhere to be found.  Then, without warning, I felt familiar arms encircle around my waist, as he kissed me gently below the earlobe, whispering, "You are my forever love, my forever Valentine.  I have missed holding you in my arms."  I turned around to get lost in his kiss.

Our Valentine's day may not have gone as planned, but that day and the weekend will forever live as one of the most memorable times of my life.

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Chance at Love, A Lifetime of Loss

Since Valentine's Day is quickly approaching, with stories of forever love, I thought it would be nice to tell of the day going horribly wrong and share with you a short story regarding the worst date for Valentine's Day.   Enjoy!

There are stories of love in the air and visions of Cupid flittering about with his bow drawn, ready to aim his heart tipped arrow at the first person he sees that is lonely.  Well in my estimation, Cupid is blind as a bat!

I used to be one who dreamed of having Cupid's arrow hit my heart, where I would fall in love on Valentine's Day; having the perfect date, with the perfect guy and of course, dare I say again, the perfect kiss?!  Sadly, fate played a much darker card turning my Valentine's romance into a Valentine's nightmare.

Chloe started her week off with a wonderful start.  Her workplace was shifting some individuals around to one of their new offices, opening up some of the managerial positions at the financial institution where she worked.  Her boss, Derrick, offered her the chance to move up from an administrative assistant to an entry level manager of the business division.  To top things off, the guy she had been conversing with online, Vincent, for weeks on end, wanted to take her out to a romantic dinner, at the end of the week on Valentine's Day.  Everything in her life appeared to be falling into place for the first time in her life.

Mid-week came and Chloe received a call from her mother, mid-day at work.  She lifted the receiver with trepidation, knowing her family would only call work in the event of an emergency. 

"Honey, I hate to bother you at work, but it's your father.  He passed out, fell and hit his head on the coffee table at home.  We are, currently, at the emergency room where he is being admitted and tests are being run to determine why he passed out and why he hasn't been eating much the past couple of weeks," her mother, Sandra, stated.

"I'll talk to Derrick and see if I can get a few days off work.  I should be able to make to your place by early evening.  Is there anything I can do in the meantime?"  I asked, feeling totally helpless and heartbroken all in one. 

"No honey, just get here when you can."

Derrick offered to give me as much time off as I needed, offering to loan me some of his vacation time, if necessary to allow me to care for my family.  He was a strong manager, but somehow had a soft side when it came to her.

Over the course of the next two days, the doctors ran numerous tests on Chloe's father until they finally had an answer. 

She felt her heart being ripped from her chest, as Dr. Smithson explained, "I'm very sorry to inform you that Mr. Logan has an advanced stage brain tumor that is inoperable.  We estimate his life expectancy to be a few weeks, at best.  How he has managed to live this far without and symptoms is beyond comprehension.  All we can do now is to keep him comfortable."

Chloe entered her father's hospital room, wondering what to say, when her father spoke instead, "You still going on your date for Valentine's?"

"Why would I do that while you are in here dad?"

"Because I don't want to ruin your day and would prefer you go have a little fun.  You know your mother and I only want your happiness and who knows, maybe this guy could be your Prince Charming."  The determined smile on his face showed that he would not be reckoned with, despite the situation.

I argued my case anyway, but mom suggested I give in to appease my father and give him some hope.  If it were only that simple.  I knew I was in no condition to enjoy going out on a date, especially not a first date with someone I hadn't met in person before.  However, despite my better judgement, I called Vincent, explained the chaos going on in my life and to my surprise he wanted to continue with our date, even requesting to pick me up at my apartment. 

I answered the door to a tall, very tan, dark haired, blue eyed goddess.  Vincent was definitely everything his picture had promised.  My heart had skipped a beat when he said, "Hello Chloe."

My common sense told me I should make apologies and call the date off, but I made a promise to my father and I couldn't pass up this fine specimen of manhood.  Apparently, my dog had the same hesitation, because the sight of Vincent caused him to bark and growl continually, until I asked Vincent to wait down the hallway for me to grab my things and lock up. 

Vincent was the courtly gentleman, holding my hand as he led me towards his SUV.  Once there, he opened the door and reached in to pull out a long-stemmed red rose that smelled amazing. 

We ended up eating at a local Italian restaurant, close to my apartment.  Our conversation started out fine; however, my mind kept drifting to thoughts of my parents, in particular, my father.  I could not shake the feeling that I needed to be with him, because his time was drawing short. 

Despite my best efforts, I could tell Vincent was growing frustrated.  He kept demanding I pay him my full attention, otherwise he would leave.  I tried to explain my worries and how I was feeling.  His only response, "You are born, you grow up, you die and then life moves on.  Deal with it!" 

I respectfully requested that we call the date off and maybe try another time.  I guess I should have mashed the trigger to a ticking time bomb instead.  He excused himself from the table to go "calm his nerves," only he didn't return.  Instead I ended up paying for the entire meal, having to call a cab home, only to have an email waiting for me calling me, "A cold hearted witch, who was a waste of his time."

The next day I grabbed some things and headed back to my parent's house.  While in route, I called Derrick on his cell, to update him on my father's health and the need to take a couple of weeks off. 

Derrick sensed I was hurting and asked, as a friend, to tell him what was bothering me.  I took the opportunity to vent, so we ended up talking the full two hours of my drive.  He managed to soothe my nerves, calling my date a callous individual who may enjoy taking advantage of others.  He felt Vincent would have left me with the bill either way and it was probably best that our date had gone so horribly wrong. 

My nerves had calmed by the time I reached my father's hospital room.  He instantly asked about the date, so I simply explained we were just not a match. 

Over the course of the next week, my father's health took a turn for the worse.  We could tell his life was slowly slipping away from us.

Derrick, at first, called every couple of days to see how I was handling things.  When he heard that my father might only have days remaining, his calls came daily, with words of wisdom, offers to sit with us or help us with anything we might need.

To my surprise, after my father had passed and my heart felt crushed, Derrick continued to call, even dropping by to offer his condolences during the viewing.  His friendship did not stop after I returned to work.  Over time it developed into something deeper; love. 

I guess everyone can tell that the worst Valentine's Day/date of my life, also turned into one of the best.  The following year, I did not have a date with a potential boyfriend for Valentine's.  Instead, I had a date with my first Valentine's Day with my wonderful husband, Derrick!  ;-)

Here's hoping your Valentine's is something special.  If you end up having a terrible date, don't despair.  Sometimes out of horrid situations, comes the hope of eternal love.

I know...I couldn't go through with making it the worst date ever.  I am a sucker for a happy ending.  Now to those who know me...can you pick out what parts are fiction and what parts are reality?