Art Is Never finished… Only Abandoned — Leonardo da Vinci


 

It’s been a while since I opened up my blog page. I’ve missed writing here and checking in with you guys. Though I have been writing. I kind of got a new spark and have slowly been re-editing my book. I’ve lost count which time this would be. But I feel good about it. And now I am grateful that I didn’t try to publish it with all of the things that I have since changed and continue to rewrite still in it! As for the rest of the time, I’ve been getting ready for shows and restocking a little cozy booth I have at a store in town, called Reminisce. And working 12 hours a day doing it!  NOW that I am seriously attempting to make this what I want to do until I die!

Once upon a time, when someone asked me what I did, I would say that I was an Artist. And I was and always have been. In my heart. If you know my story, I worked as an Artist for over a dozen years and then moved to a small town in Paso Robles and opened up a little gift shop called Rose In The Woods which was supposed to mean “A thing of beauty in an unexpected place.” It was a favorite of the locals and tourists and was doing extremely well for a few years until an earthquake demolished it. (You can find the rest of the story in the ABOUT section of my blog. https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/a-thing-of-beauty-in-an-unexpectd-place/) But that is not what I want to talk about now, I just wanted to explain why for a while my  title was not “Artist” but Event Coordinator. And that was great. I learned a lot and had an amazing boss that has turned into a “forever friend.” But in my heart I always knew that there were more cards and dolls inside of me.

My husband built me a cozy little Art studio in our garage and created displays for me and has driven back and forth following me to Southern Californ to help me set up. And I do an amazing show that is still going strong called Sugarplum Festivals in Buena Park. I started doing that show almost 30 years ago and it is one of the largest family owned Arts & Crafts Show in California. With over 12 cash registers and a few hundred Artists, they have built an empire! The last show, A February show (mind you!) had customers wrapped around the building waiting to get in! They know how to Market their shows! They welcomed me back with open arms when I first approached them about trying a few shows again and each show I am learning new things. I think I could write a book on the dos and don’ts of doing shows.

But for now, I just kind of wanted to share a little of where I’ve been when not blogging!

 

My cozy little booth at Reminise in the heart of downtown in Paso Robles CcA. And when I’m not there, I am traveling to Sugarplum in Southern CA….

When you are traveling to do shows and have to be there by 9AM there are some perks to the challenge of getting up early to drive the four + hours to be there on time. That’s actually my sweet husband ahead of me, loaded up with half of my stuff.

This is what my booth looks like before I set up. I used to do this with no help at all. I’ve gotten so spoiled lately. Though I am trying to start doing it on my own again, just to see if I can since my sweet husband may be busier in the near future!

This was all set up

This was towards the end of the show! Blessed to take a lot less home! Gotta love me some of that Sugarplum!

My new line for 2019… My Antique Dolls and  if you notice my Shower Doll… Funny story, I was stuffing her and the stuffing got stuck in the middle and so I just went with it! So my new pregnant Shower girls are part of my line for this year!

Some of my cards out of my line… with a brand new line being introduced this year!

Thank you for taking the jouney with me. I am excited to see what this year holds for me! I am  definitely not ready to give up. I am praying that this year brings me enough success so that I can say that “I make a living” doing it!

Please visit my Etsy shop at dianeonawhim.etsy.com

and Sugarplumfestivals.com

(My mom creating when I was little)

I just lost my mom almost two years ago. She was a children’s artist during my whole childhood. I’d like to think that I am continuing her legacy!

Thanks for tagging along!

xoxo

Diane

 

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Those Unconditional Followers


 

I haven’t been terribly supportive in my blog world lately, or any other part of my life right now, because  I have been trying to prove that I can make a living in the art world  again. I plan for this next one, to be one of my most successful shows yet!  I have given myself a time limit to prove to myself and my husband that I can once again, make this “running my own business thing” a success,  and the deadline is quickly approaching.  I have really been working hard in trying to re-build my customer base.

artist studio

You see, I was pretty spoiled a couple of decades ago. I had a rather nice following of customers. I did my shows and made good sales,  finally, landing at one show called Sugarplum (Festivals)  ( sugarplumfestivals.com ) that made all of the others seem to pale to the magic that they created in every way. And so I have signed on again to do almost every one of their shows. I have also moved into a little local shop called Reminisce and have had a booth there for a year.  And just recently reopened my Etsy shop called Dianes’s Designs by Diane. Though as life happened and I slowly stopped doing shows, I slowly lost that “Once Upon A Time” long ago following. Since my customers  couldn’t find me anymore, except for a handful of loyal ones that I still am in touch with and are excited for me to re-enter this part of my past and still boost me up by reminding me of their loyalty.

That also has happened here, on my blog. I noticed the less I write, the more I am losing a lot of my readers. I once tried to write daily, and to keep up and support other writer friends. And notice that there are those sweet readers that pop right back up and support you unconditionally as you write. And then there are a handful of writers that do the same. Regardless, if you have ever supported their writings, they always support you, and then the others that  just stop supporting you if you don’t support them. Though I have shared before that I really started writing here, to basically write my book and my poems….  and to find a place to store my words… but I began kind of getting a charge out of realizing people found me somehow and began reading what I wrote. Just like when someone would purchase one of my paintings or cards, seeing that someone else liked something that I wrote and commented and followed me was a little (for a loss of a better word) addicting.

 

To be honest, what you put into anything is what you get out. Period.  work, writing, hobbies, friendships, relationships, when you really think of it that is how life is. Right? Sure there are those priceless friendships that can start right back up,  where you left off without guilt trips or expectations and those are to be treasured. And other relationships such as maybe familial ones, that are unconditional, but even those will fall away if you don’t nurture them a little. So in my business I must come up with new designs and verses for my cards. And here on my blog, I need to check in rather regularly. I do intend to continue my book series that I promised  (in my last post) that I would continue to work on and I will! But I wanted to let my facebook readers know that I will not be posting my book posts on facebook so if you are interested, please follow me and you will be notified by email when I post a new post and those will be included there. Though I will post other blog posts on facebook, just not my book.

I would like to take this time to stop and thank all of you who are reading this now, because unless you are a first time reader, I know that you are one of those faithful readers who inspire me and comment and continue to unconditionally follow me whether I deserve it or not.

Have you written your synopsis yet?


writers trash can

I think that when I finished my book I knew that I just had the bare bones. A writer friend of mine edited a few of my pages and then another writer friend did the same, but I didn’t want to waste their time, and I knew that I’d be changing things, several times before I’d consider it worthy to be read as “finished.” Or at least that is what I told myself as I only gave them a few pages at a time. I think that it is scary for most writers… because when you finally offer it up as a completed, you are putting yourself out there for the real critiques. You are now saying… I think it is good enough, not… this is still a work in progress. You imagine that raised eye brow reader thinking…”REALLY??? She seriously is done?”

And right now, I know I’m not. I am not even hiding behind the pretense of really thinking that I have told the whole story and now am just editing the grammar. I know that the whole story is not really there yet. It’s getting there but it still is not there.

reading on the floor

Someone recently asked me if I’d written a synopsis of my story. An outline so to speak of my intentions. What I’m trying to convey. Why I even felt the need to tell my story. I think that when I penned the first word several years ago and now, sit here today, a lot has changed in the way of technology and social media, in just the last decade. And so my story continues to evolve, even sitting on the metaphoric back shelf.

However, I do believe that if I am ever going to seriously put this one to bed I need to sit here and write this.

Though this book is presented as fiction, 90% of it really happened. The other 10% was just necessary fluffing and primping. But as I introduce the main character… Keri, she is my vessel that carries me through this project.

woman typing on bes

My goal from the start has been to make others aware of abusive relationships and the blur that keeps us asking… Why did she stay so long? Why doesn’t she just leave? In my story it is important to understand the chronological emotional pull that draws each of us in. All in very different scenarios. And yet to hopefully have even if just one person see themselves in the pages I have written. To maybe have an AHA moment and save themselves.

For anyone interested… I will continue my journey through these pages. “My little work in progress” so to speak. But I have learned that in the world of blogs… if you write 800+ words, you begin to lose your audience… and I do want feedback along the way. So for now I will  just say… To be continued. But I will come back and finish this. I promise.you-are-a-writer

Learning To Fight Fair


I am trying to post a little more regularly. After I came back from not posting consistently, I almost forgot how. I don’t want that to happen again. WordPress moved a few things around and I had to figure it out all over again. But like going to the gym, I just need to exercise this thing I do… write. My post, The Writing Room, made me realize that I’d pretty much decided that “that book” that I have talked about for the last seven years and re-written a dozen times is not as much of a burden for me to write. I think that I had to go through the process of just telling my story to me. If that makes any sense at all? I didn’t know the ending because it had’nt happened in my heart yet. NOW I think that I know it. It took about a half a dozen years to grasp it. I still think that I have a message that I need to share and I finally can.

In the mean time my story still resonates inside of me. And parts of that young girl that survived that story still hangs on by a thread, fighting for validation and to be heard. And I have come to the conclusion that life is all about fighting fair and sometimes I still feel as if I am that young girl trying to feel validated. In a lot of my experiences, I have gained the wisdom that would allow me to go back to my younger self and say: “Don’t be so hard on yourself, or don’t make this or that so important.” Because I’ve learned a thing or two. But I have never really mastered being able to just “let it go” when I feel attacked. For me, fighting fair is first not raising your voice, and the tone and respect you use when stating your argument.

I think because my story is about abuse in my very first relationship, I am more sensitive to times when I don’t feel heard or validated. And yet on the other hand, when I do feel that affirmation, I will give you the world. To me, it seems so simple. But in all of my years of trying to be heard, the one thing left to my story is learning how to fight fair. As I have been going through the pages, I look back at all the fights that kind of formed me into how I have this crazy need to feel validated now. And out of all the things that I have moved on from… the one thing that has lasted is the need to be understood and not have things twisted. I’ve learned to let go of  a lot of things by this scale I’ve learned to use… I ask myself, from 1 to 10, how important is it to me? And recently, I’ve used it a lot and let a lot go. Even if it is just me who notices. I just know that it is making it better for me. But sometimes… when someone misunderstood something I said or twists how I feel about something or misinterperts something else… I can no longer be that young girl again “just taking it” I can’t back down. I just can’t, because I promised myself long ago that I would never cower in the corner again.

girl sitting in dark hallway

Learning How To Fight Fair

Don’t raise your voice, I can hear you.

Don’t talk to me in that tone.

You always want to be entertained

I’d rather be left alone.

I wonder if you hear me,

cuz it seems as if you are just thinking of what you’re going to say

I wish we could discuss this in some productive kind of way.

You totally misunderstood

but I can only see the anger in your eyes.

If only you could see me on the inside

you might just realize…

That I wasn’t even thinking

what you’re accusing me of…

One moment we were laughing

but now shadows loom above.

What just happened here?

I can’t even begin to guess.

What started out as a joke

is now a crazy mixed up mess.

Sometimes I am confused

how we both are so on the defense.

And once the angry words begin,

nothing makes much sense.

You accuse me of things,

that were never in my head

and twist the things you heard

that I never even said.

You say I’ve made it about me now

making me forget words that never were there

I can’t even begin to understand what just happened

when no one is fighting fair!

Diane Reed© 2017

 

I Didn’t Take Care Of Me Then So I Have To Do It Now


If only we could learn to just expect the best from each other at an early age

I wonder why they say that our childhood affects us so much, and that the years; birth to twenty are our most formative?  So… approximately less than 20% of our life, (considering we live into our eighties) is supposed to be what makes us tick? Do you agree?

When I was seventeen I met a boy that changed everything. I felt so wrapped up in that relationship that I let my friendships suffer and walked away from my values and morals and let that boy become my world. I think that I had insecurities from my childhood that in turn caused me to allow the kind of relationship we had happen. Though I feel that I had a great childhood as childhoods go, my dad traveled and we moved a lot and I was never in one place or school for too long until about seventh grade so maybe that had a lot to do with everything. I was barely seventeen when we met. And in everything that came before that, I do feel that what happened next has made me who I am today.

I’d dated before but I was really swept up this time, like never before. I admired him so much. But there was always this ambivalent feeling deep down inside. Kind of like I felt so lucky to have him and yet wanted to turn and run like the wind to get away pretty early on in our dating. I wonder if it was my child inside me that had a little more spunk trying to give me the strength to hear my inner voice that I ultimately ignored. There were some really good times but some pretty bad times and I wonder why I stayed so long. It makes me want to analyze it more now.

Recently, a young girl I befriended a few years back, shared some abuse in her relationship on Facebook. Several people jumped in sharing how they were also in abusive relationships and how hard it was to leave. Not only was I stunned about what my young friend shared, but also about her friends that shared their experiences.  No one ever guesses what is going on. We all are experts in hiding and protecting our worlds as we know them. And… No one understands unless they are going through it. I’d hid what was going on for so long, I knew once I’d told someone  (like this girl did on Facebook) it would be my exit. Maybe that is why I didn’t tell. I wasn’t ready. I wonder why some people stay and some are carefully looking for the red flags long before they say yes to a first date? Well, I know that in my daughter’s case it was because she had a mom that drilled into her head to never put up with one second of someone with a temper. And she didn’t. She held out for someone who is her partner and best friend. I made sure that she felt valued and loved from the time she was born. So why did I stay? And why did I stay when I finally knew that I wanted to leave?

I asked myself these questions as I pondered writing a book about it. Back forty or so years ago, no one talked about abuse. Especially just dating abuse. Fortunately, I realized that if he treated me so badly before we were married, what would it be like married with kids and stuck? The thing is. YOU can only help you. We were engaged and slightly financially enmeshed but what if I only depended on him? I think that is why I’ve always found it so necessary to always have my own way of making money.

There are parts to this story that are so convoluted. Parts that I can barely believe ever happened. Parts about leaving, & returning and parts about leaving again. Today I have come full circle. I almost lost everything trying to get closure from a place in my life that changed me into who I am today. I had to go and get that part of me back. I don’t regret it. Though I regret hurting anyone in the process. The bottom line is that I didn’t take care of me then so I had to do it now.

Today I am not the same person that I was yesterday. And you know, I think that is what it is all about. To answer my own question… Our formative years are every year we are still alive living life. We don’t stop evolving and learning the lessons. We are a part of the lessons daily. I just needed to find the strength in the process and the tools to realize that I have learned that I don’t have to reside in my past ever again… only refer to it as needed.

IMG_3822

(I am beginning to dust my book off and trying to figure out what I want to say in my synopsis letter. This was just an attempt of the dusting part!)

PS:

Below (in RELATED) there is a link to  two past posts that explain everything much better.

1. Go to:  the click of a key in Facebook

& then

2. Getting Over It. In abusive relationships

(both below in Related) that will take you on this journey that will help you understand more & someday be part of the book I am dusting off & preparing for submission. I just need one week without interruption. 😏 Sigh.

Why do we write?


I just watched a video of a Chiropractor healing a young man who was bent over for a very long time. In less than a month of treatments, he stood tall as he walked out the door with plans of becoming a Chiropractor, himself. It was so inspirational, it almost made me want to become one!

http://www.newslinq.com/back-pain-kyphosis/

In a way, I think that we write to heal.

Most of us who are writers, remember when we knew we “had to” write. Like those who sing or dance, paint or act. It is so hard to explain. Right? Even when we don’t do what we are supposed to do, we still really are who we are. Does that make any sense at all?!  If a dancer stops dancing, she is still a dancer. I know that as an artist, I am still an artist. I could still draw a new illustration for one of my greeting cards or make a doll and at times I miss the art shows and the long nights getting ready for the next one, or packing up my car to head for a holiday show, But from the begining, I really feel that if I had to choose, I was always meant to be a writer.

During my art show years, I wrote poems for my cards, I could probably publish a few volumes of what I’ve written. I’m talking hundreds. Some not great, some not so bad. But writing here at WordPress, the last few years has really made me want to write more. Though I go through spells. Really dry spells. Recently writing my story, really did me in. Going back in time, affected me more than I knew. Literally, mood changing, and it was hard for me to snap out of it. But it was also very healing. I know I have a message for women. If just one sees herself in my story and takes back her power, it will be worth it.

writer frustrated

I have realized that I need to go back and adjust parts, tear out others and be more brutally honest. I am glad that somewhere inside myself, I knew that it wasn’t good enough. Fictionally introduced to spare those that might not want “their” story told, I intend to pull out some of those muscles that have become mushy and push on, like an old dancer, who knows that they have not danced their last dance, and still have a few more great performances left.

ballerina sitting on floor

The age old question.  Does everyone have something? Why do some live their whole lives without ever sharing it or letting us know their gift? Why do those of us “have to” do what we do? And why do we sometimes stop? I think it is exhausting at times. To share daily, is like going to the gym, you have to be dedicated.

It is more about exercising our words. It heals us as we write. More often, I have been going back into my archives and having my own AHA moment when I need it the most. Pricking my own soul with a message I wrote years ago. And realize that I really am writing for myself. Trying to reach my center, not really being the expert for anyone else but me.

library shelves

Blogging is a funny thing.  There will be the handful that LIKE this before I can even re-read it myself. The ones who support you just to be nice… And then I have my two or three dozen very loyal readers, who really read because that is what they do. (I love you guys!) And then there are the writers who I have bonded with who read pretty regularly, even if I have been missing for a while, every so often, if I don’t write, I get comments from people reading random old posts of mine, which is amazingly inspiring. And then there are the writers, that support you as you support them. If you don’t work it, you lose them. Like anything, ya gotta work it to stay in shape! Lets just say, like my wedding diet (mother of the bride in June) I am back! Well, I am trying!

ballet

 

The End


Just wanted to share with all of you who have follwed this project that I am finally letting you know that I think that I have finished my book!

keris journal

Keri felt as if the air was being siphened from her lungs as she swallowed, trying to breathe. Her head pounded as she tried to filter out the background noise. The pain was the kind  you feel that stings when something smacks you in the face. It was a surprise, so unexpected. She closed her eyes as she tuned out the voice booming somewhere in her head. There were no blows. Nothing physical about it, except for maybe when he yanked her arm. But that was not the pain she was feeling now. It was the humiliation and the shame. It happened more often now, and lasted longer and it exhausted her.

 couple fighting in car

They’d been driving. It was a beautiful morning. Their day began with passionate love making and Keri believed that today would be a good day. They’d just been laughing minutes before. And then like a ball in her face, things turned, Jack’s…

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Saving Me


I’ve written a few synopsis during my final drafts. I think that this one capsulizes my intentions. I’d love to have your feedback if you have the time. Does it capture your attention? Would it make you want to read more? Any changes you’d care to suggest? I appreciate you guys!

Thank you!!!!!

Prologue

This book is for all the silenced voices out there, trembling under the shadow of someone else’s demons. For those who know how treading lightly and walking on eggshells feels. And how we all become a little confused about love and loyalty to someone else while forgetting to love ourselves most of all.

I remember feeling so conflicted when I thought about the oxygen mask scenario and how we must save ourselves first, before we can save our children. We instinctively want to give them everything to save them first. But the fact is that without us, they would not survive. And so we must save ourselves before we save them. By receiving the oxygen ourselves first. I believe that it’s the same in love. We cannot love someone else without learning to love ourselves first.

**********

This is a story about a young girl who came from a loving home. Who didn’t have a lot of experience with grown up relationships. She was romantic and a maybe little boy crazy. But the intensity of everything that was to come caught her off guard. She began chronicling everything in a “Writing Journal” that started out as a simple English class assignment. Years later, she found the journals again and decided to share the stories with her young daughter,  now close to the same age as she was when she wrote in them. And through the sharing of the journals, it inspired her to write her story.

One morning, up in her study, half way into her writing project, she sat down with a mug of coffee to continue writing what she’d begun, as she noticed a friend request pop up on her Face book page and the name she’d never forgotten even three decades later, stared back at her. Little did she know that in the click of a key her life would change forever, in ways she could have never predicted. Accepting the friend request would allow her to confront her own demons that had followed her in every relationship since. It will be the closure that I’ve needed all these  years, she reasoned with herself as she clicked ACCEPT.

computer

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are interested… Below is the book that the above will prologue…

http://kerisjournal.wordpress.com/

Keri’s Journal


suitcasess

Hi Folks!

I am back! I feel as if I have been away on a long trip! Some of you have come along with me and faithfully stuck it out beside me the whole way and I am forever grateful!

For the others reading this…

I am Sorry that I took a powder for a while. I have been working on a project for my book. Some of you may have gone to my page and searched for Dear Journal Entry #1    and then followed as I have written a draft on here. Kindly offering to edit and read as I write. I have gained a wealth of knowledge from you all as you have offered different suggestions and even told me that you have cried in places! Which I know is the highest form of a compliment! A friend and published author http://dgkayewriter.com/  approached me last year with an idea. She suggested that I take some of the journals that I found and recreate them in my book in place of some of the chapters that I’d already written. Soooo I created another blog: http://kerisjournal.wordpress.com/

If you are interested after reading “ABOUT”  It is important to know that I started this in November 2013 or to  go to :http://kerisjournal.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/dear-journal-entry-1/     to begin reading.

I am far from finished but… I’d love to hear your feedback!

There were times that I was signed on under Keri’s name and have wandered around your posts and comments and forgot where I was! I am not done and still have poetry to write on the other blog but for the most part I am back! And will try to get active here again! I have written here and there since I’ve been working on the other project and thank those of you who are still reading “here” but not as much as I would have liked. Anyway…. I Just wanted to explain!

It’s good to be back! I’m gonna go unpack now!

xoxo

Diane

suitcase of memories

Chapter Nine – Revised


This is a revised version of the very last chapter that I published (a while ago)  from my book that is still in progress! In honor of those who have taken the time to read and even help with editing. I have tried to take all the suggestions and though I know there may be more to work on… I’d love anyone’s feedback who might take the time to read it. As always… I have mentioned before that if you have not read the first previous chapters (one through eight) you might not follow… but for those who have… Here is Chapter Nine revised. Thank you for your time!

Diane

open diary

Chapter Nine

In the weeks that followed, Keri learned to handle  her relationship with Jack on her own. It was a balancing act. She thought that she was doing  fine. But people began asking her if she was okay.  She caught herself snapping back. Keri trusted no one to talk  about Jack’s mood swings, Keri carried it all on her own shoulders. Then one day, Mrs. Walker came to her with tears in her eyes. She’d been worried about Keri and actually read her journal, “not all of it, but enough” she confessed. Keri was horrified. She’d always trusted the agreement they’d  shared, without so much of a second thought and through the years, she never suspected otherwise and became quite unconcerned and free about what she’d write. If truth be known, her teacher never breached that trust ever before, until she had she’d seen a change in Keri. Keri was coming  to class  upset more and more often.  One day Keri came to drop off an assignment and hadn’t waited to talk to Mrs. Walker who called after her. Keri did  not hear her. Or at least  acted as if she hadn’t.  Mrs. Walker was pretty sure she had.

Keri scrambled inside her head as her teacher stood in front of her with a pitiful look of concern. She tried to recall what she might have written recently.  When there’d been no other place to go but inside the pages of her journal. Mrs. Walker laid the leather-bound book in front of her. Tears of anger burned in Keri’s eyes. All this time, Keri had believed that Mrs. Walker was just initialing each new entry without reading a word. Now, she didn’t know what to believe. Keri snatched the book up and held it tightly against her chest. She wondered how far back that Mrs. Walker might have read.  Her teacher saw the look of betrayal on Keri’s face and rushed to explain. She’d just been concerned,  now, she couldn’t ignore what she’d read. Keri stiffened as Mrs. Walker tried to touch her arm. She pulled away and picked up her books and ran out of the library without a word.

woman crying

Keri agonized all night long. She couldn’t talk to Jack about this. He would be so angry with her. He did not know about the journals. She’d read poems to him from them, but her journals had been hers. They were not even for Jack to know about. She had not wanted him to ask to read them so she never mentioned them.  Her head swam. All of a sudden the room started spinning. Keri grabbed her mouth and ran to the bathroom and got sick. Keri kneeled by the basin coughing and crying.  She’d never felt so betrayed. And yet the hardest thing about her anger was that  she knew that her teacher really did just care. And yet she was just so ashamed that anyone  knew that she’d allowed Jack to treat her the way she’d described in those sacred pages.  Now, she felt naked and as if she wanted to run away, far away where no one knew her. That night she decided that she was going to finish High School even earlier than she’d planned. She did not want to have to deal with Mrs. Walker or anyone. She was so confused. During their conversation, Mrs. Walker told Keri she’d always be there for her if she needed her and  suggested that perhaps she’d really wanted her to read what she’d written. It just made no sense to Keri  and more angry at her teacher.

The next day Keri  went to her counselor to find out exactly what credits she still needed. She was happy to discover that she could complete them all  by taking the required exams through a few independent study classes that she could do on her own through the counseling office at the local community college. She was surprised how everyone seemed to support her plan. Keri  explained that she wanted to finish her Senior year early since her schedule was so minimal. She told everyone that she planned to start working at the Speech and Development School full-time, and have a little time  in-between before she had to start her college classes. She decided that rather than going away to school, she would take some of her general education classes at the  same community college where the counseling office was that she would be reporting to until she completed her High School credits. Surprisingly,  her counselor and her parents didn’t question her new change of plans even though she’d be forfeiting the scholarships she’d applied for. In fact, her mom and dad didn’t seem to discourage or encourage her to go to college. Jack was the only one who really encouraged her to go and yet the idea of  going away to school now,  seemed less and less appealing to both of them as they fell more deeply in love.

The weeks passed quickly and her own graduation was uneventful. There just wasn’t one. A few months later, after completing all of the requirements.  She’d gone to pick up her report card and diploma from the office, only to be told that her official diploma would not be available until after her graduating class had gone through the actual ceremony in June.  Suddenly the realization of what she’d done and was missing out on, hit her. Her choices impacted many things she’d been looking forward to. She’d known that she would miss her prom and other school activities the following year, but she’d also reasoned that Jack would not have wanted to go to any of it and she did not  want to go without him. And yet, Keri couldn’t help feel a tear slip down her cheek as she headed for the parking lot, with her report card in her hand.

The year before meeting Jack, she’d been invited to a boy’s Grad night who she’d met at church and been dating casually for a few months. He was valedictorian of his class and Keri was honored to be his date.  They’d gone to Disneyland after she’d watched him speak to his graduating class and the entire night had been magical.  She was glad that she had that memory, and decided it was going to have to be enough. She was just relieved that school was  behind her and that  Mrs. Walker  had not said anything to anyone else about what she’d read in Keri’s journals. Keri was sure she would have called her parents but for some reason she hadn’t, and Keri was grateful.

When Keri ripped open her report card and saw the A+  in English, a melancholy feeling came over her. She walked toward her car as she scanned the paper. Memories flooded her thoughts as she remembered  all the things she’d learned about writing from Mrs. Walker. She remembered the first time her teacher approached her with tears in her eyes after reading something that she’d written and telling Keri that she had a gift. Tears blurred Keri’s eyes,  just as she was about to  bump into Mrs. Walker herself, who looked equally surprised. She’d not seen Keri for several weeks though signed off on her class after  learning of her plans to not pursue her current scholarship she’d been disappointed but decided not to interfere. In fact, she decided to do nothing.

Keri had seen the familiar signature and had felt uncomfortable. She hadn’t seen her teacher since that day in the library. Only she and Mrs. Walker knew the truth of why she was really graduating early.  “Thanks for the A” Keri said uncomfortably. “You earned it as always, Keri”. Mrs. Walker smiled “Good luck to you honey, you are very talented, I hope you do something great with your writing.” Keri knew that graduating early had ruined her chances for several of the scholarships she was up for,  ones that they worked on together.  Suddenly they just hugged. Though it wasn’t clear who reached out first. The embrace was long and genuine. “Thanks for everything Mrs Walker” Keri whispered hoarsely and Mrs. Walker hugged her a little tighter and then slowly let go. At that moment, she knew Keri better than any adult in her life. The years of mentoring and long talks about her dreams to write, and then watching her progress and win awards, had been her teacher’s own reward. She wanted to say so many things to Keri at that moment and yet she knew that they were all things she would have to learn on her own.

hug

Why Blog?


blog defined

Why Blog? Lately, I have been asked this question by a handful of people and have run into it in a few Q & A writer’s forums.  Are they just curious?Why do I feel as if I need to “defend”  the time I spend on my blog?  It has made me ponder my own reasons for being here. I recently read about a writer who has come to the conclusion that her little projects including blogging do not take away from her “main” project at hand but enhance it. I also feel that each piece we write, regardless of the feedback we may or may not get, can strengthen our final results. Since each time we write, we are exercising our writer’s muscles, toning and working toward that final goal.

sit ups

With all that being said,  I  still wonder if I am procrastinating, Am I not finishing my book by being here? I have this urge to stomp my foot and say; “But I like it here and I don’t want to leave!”  I value what you have to say and have to admit that there is great affirmation knowing that talented writers like you guys have taken the time to read my ramblings and in turn, also find value in them! In the beginning, it amazed me that even one person was interested enough to come by to read what I wrote.  Now it inspires me to know that I am building my audience and that I might say something helpful or inspirational to just one person is enough. One at a time is fine with me.

blog readerssss

My readers…. Smile

Some of us who have seen Julia & Julia can relate where she begins her blog and her following of readers progress. I have been there. Haven’t you? Where someone begins to follow you because they like your writing. They see something worth following. It is quite validating. Writing connects us. When someone says; :”You took what was inside my head and made it come to life.” Well, does it get any better? It is addicting.

blogging door

I know that if we had a Writer’s Group on Thursday nights at a local coffee-house, I would look forward to each meeting with all of you! In the meantime, I love our connection and have learned so much from you, and your feedback here and reading your blogs as well. For instance, Paul took the time to edit a couple of my “chapters” when I posted my very rough draft versions from my book here. He pointed out that I insert the word: HAD a lot. I am slowly re-editing a chapter at a time and totally see how I do that and how taking that one word out, does not detract from anything at all! In fact, it polishes it! I have another friend who has basically gone through the backdoor of my blog and read every post from the beginning. Talk about affirming.

I have been inspired by each of your blogs, regardless of gender or age! Your notes of encouragment as you have read faithfully what I write can’t be duplicated. Just knowing that you feel that my blog is worth your time is like a piece of chocolate cake without the calories!

reading comp manreading compreading computer2

In my imagination, we are all sitting in our circle of writer/blogger friends sharing and connecting, encouraging and editing. That is why I blog! How about you guys? I’d love to hear about your reasons. Welcome to our first Thursday night Bloggers Circle… who would like to be the first to share?

writer'

My own words


writing in the windowseat

My words find me

alone in my room~

They keep me company

like a familiar tune~

records

From the time I was small

I’ve brought them along,

they comfort me

when all else goes wrong~

reading little girl by tree

My words come from

a place deep inside,

where my tears and my love

all tend to reside~

empty pages

At times I have written only for me

and others, just for you~

No matter what, where ever I go,

They’ll always come along too~

suitcase of memories

They are easy to bring.

they don’t take much room~

I’ve carried them with me

since; there in the womb~

words in the womb

Judge them or love them

but don’t take them away~

For without my own words

I’d have nothing to say~

   writers trash can

Diane Reed

2013

Chapter Eight


I know that I said that I was not going to post another chapter, but I had some special requests so here is one more.

WARNING: You will probably not understand this chapter… if you have not read the seven chapters posted before this one.

I am going to request one thing… please don’t click LIKE unless you actually have read it. I noticed that as soon as I posted this… I got several LIKES right away. There was no way that anyone could have read this THAT fast! Though I appreciate the support. I really do need real feedback. This is my baby and I am truly serious about it. But don’t get me wrong I LOVE those LIKES when they are truly genuine! Click away! Please!

 Thank you so much for all who take the time to actually read the chapters… you have my heart. To the others,  I understand that your time is valuable and appreciate that you follow me and read other parts of my blog!

Happy New Year!

******Chapter Eight******

Both Jack and Keri worked long hours during the week and cherished their weekends. They fit in as much time together as they could. Instead of being tired at the end of the week they both seemed to have renewed energy. They shared one adventure after another, wrapped up in their new young love and Jack loved introducing Keri to so many new things that she had never experienced or even imagined before. It was like a new high for him watching her learn.

Though they never mentioned the bouts of Jack’s rage after they were over, they always hung heavy in the back of Keri’s mind. They continued to sail but she could not deny the tension she felt each time they would leave the dock.  She dreaded finding herself in another similar situation and would make excuses when he suggested that they take the boat out.

sailing lesson

Finally, Keri took it upon herself to be proactive and decided to take lessons. She had seen the signs at King Harbor where they sailed, and so stopped in one day after work to check out the details. She ended up booking  the first few sessions right there on the spot. She paid for them all by herself, figuring that she was making an investment in their future.

She would get up early on the Saturdays that she knew Jack would be working and learned to sail like a pro. She never said a word to Jack as she learned all the terms and how to maneuver the boat in and out of the harbor. He didn’t seem to suspect that she was taking lessons and she never told him about them, because she did not want him to expect too much. Though, he seemed impressed that she was such a “fast learner” and she just smiled and said that he was just a good teacher and he seemed pleased.  And she left it at that.

Jack loved to look at boats and cars. He introduced Keri to them both. They would go to car lots late at night in order to avoid overzealous salesmen and look into the windows of all the latest models.

new car shopping1

Jack would run through different options and all of their statistics as Keri listened, impressed at how much he knew about each model.

boatshow

When boat shows were in the area, he would take her to all of them.  They would spend all day climbing on and off of boat after boat. They both fell in love with one called; The Fiji 41. As they toured the boat, Jack talked about them one day living on a boat like that and almost had her believing that they really would.

sailboat int

Keri knew that Jack was smart, and that he would be successful in whatever he decided to do. She knew without a doubt that someday, he could have whatever he wanted. And if he wanted to live on a boat, they would. Jack loved that Keri believed in his dreams and in him in ways that no one else ever had before and yet he remained suspicious and Keri knew it. She did not know how to break down that last wall of trust but she did not give up.

newspaper

One day, it was a particularly beautiful Saturday afternoon. Jack’s dad was at work which was not unusual, and Jack had finally stopped working weekends. They had spent the morning messing around and then lay sprawled out on the living room floor reading the paper when Jack suggested that they wash their cars. Keri who would have been just as happy messing around all day on the living room floor, had grown restless after reading each article from the front to the back page,  and jumped up laying the folded paper on the coffee table, thinking that getting out in the fresh air was a fine idea.

washing car

As they pulled their cars alongside the building, they took turns hosing each one down, soaping and rinsing playfully, they began throwing sponges at each other, while taking turns with the hose, both spraying the cars and each other. Jack loved that Keri was such a good sport, as he flashed on a time when Maddie stomped off after Jack had playfully gotten her blouse wet. After polishing their cars, they washed Jack’s motorcycle and as they admired their work, Jack suggested that they take a ride. Keri got a pair of cords out of her trunk and ran up to Jack’s apartment to change. She pulled on her pants just as she had promised her mom several months earlier. Soon they were headed towards the ocean, and ended up pulling over to watch some fancy, and very upscale Radio Controlled Sail planes soar over the cliffs of Palos Verdes.

radio control sailplane

Keri laughed at Jack as he stood with his mouth open, she smiled as she watched his eyes twinkle with such joy. His face looked like a little boy with a new puppy on Christmas morning. He grinned back and closed his mouth. “I have always wanted to do that ever since I was a little kid.” He explained standing in awe as he looked up into the sky. “There’s a place not too far from here, in Lake Elsinore where they have the real things.” He told Keri. She remembered him talking about the  Sail Planes he had read about when he was a little boy, in the National Geographic article She understood now, why he had been so impressed. She watched him watching the planes fly overhead,  and couldn’t resist as she walked up behind him. Wrapping her arms around his waist and whispered in his ear. “So what are we waiting for?!” As she gave him a light squeeze. Jack looked at her and then at his watch. His eyes twinkled as she grinned back at him. They dropped off his bike and hopped into his Triumph Spitfire. Driving with the top down and an eight track of Bread playing all the way to Lake Elsinore, Jack explained more about what to expect. Keri had never seen him so excited.

convertable

As they pulled up, they found a mobile home sitting on a dirt field with a few people walking in and out of it while a half of a dozen others wandered around the glider port, looking as if they all had a purpose for being there.. They all seemed very friendly and Keri smiled as they passed a few guys that looked to be familiar with the place and   Jack tipped his chin in greeting as they passed while Keri followed.  Keri thought that they were going to just watch a few take off but before she knew it Jack was paying to go up!

sailplane

Keri watched the plane take off with Jack in it. When he landed, She watched until the plane rolled out to the chalk line and then ran out to greet him.  As they popped open the plexi- glass over the cock pit, she could see Jack’s expression and it was priceless. He was that young broken boy, finally finding some joy.  Keri enjoyed just getting to be a part of his experience. She had never seen him so happy. That was enough for her to make their ride there worth it. But when he announced, “You are next!”  Keri hesitated. She had never been scared of an adventure. She loved roller coasters and all the E ticket rides at Disneyland but she had read the brochure and saw what the prices had been for just going up. But Jack insisted and when she landed she was equally as hooked. “That was so cool!” she exclaimed as Jack came running out to greet her as she climbed out of the plane.

“I just signed us up for lessons.” he announced. Keri was concerned. She had seen the prices for just a ride up. She knew that private lessons had to be much more and assured him that she would be happy waiting for him while he took the lessons. There was no way that they could afford both of them taking lessons at the same time. But Jack insisted. “We are a team, we do this together or not at all!” he said. Keri looked up, “Really, me too?” she asked? “Panicking remembering how hard it was for her dad to teach her things. “Do you really think I could do it?” Jack held her away from him, with his hands on her shoulders and such love in his eyes and said in a serious tone, “Keri, you can do anything you want to do and don’t ever forget that.”

sailplane open cockpit

Soon they were in a contest who could solo first. Every weekend was filled with trips to fly. It was very expensive but Jack always budgeted in both lessons. Keri never actually thought about it but she was happy flying and enjoyed it much more than sailing. Even though Keri had actually taken the initiative, Jack ended up soloing first but Keri did it with less flights. And they laughed about it but she knew how proud of her he truly was when he took home movies as she soloed for the first time. It was such a good feeling to be the one who made him proud or laugh. They had so much fun together and Keri was so in love.

sail plane jantar

Weekends consisted of trips through Corona, and staying at little motels in Riverside while studying for their future Glider license exam. They would joke and quiz each other and fall onto the bed laughing as they climbed all over each other until they got enough and then they’d repeat it all over and over again. Their love was endless. But at times, Keri felt a restlessness in Jack that she could not shake or joke it away. She never knew when to expect the dark moods but slowly she learned how to handle them. Sometimes, she could slip under the covers trying to tease him out of it and try to get him to talk about whatever it was bothering him but other times, he would get irritable and shut down. Keri knew by then, that at those times Jack was less than approachable and so she would let it go. One night after flying and having an especially wonderful day, Jack just turned his back to her without warning.  She began running her hand down his back and he stiffened.

sad couple in bed

She knew not to touch him or push, so she  just turned over. And contemplated everything as  they lay with their backs towards each other. She understood that was all she could do. There had been times before when she had attempted to get him to talk about what was bothering him. Those times had not gone so well.  It was a terribly helpless feeling to not be able to show the one you love how much you love them and that you were different from everyone who had ever come before. She had no idea what had caused the turn in his mood and realized that perhaps she never would. Jack would most like wake up with this behind him, perhaps even apologetic. She had begun to learn the patterns.  Keri lay still as tears slid down her cheek, trying to picture a life filled with nights like these. Finally, she turned over her wet pillow and fell asleep.

Still On the Darn Subject Of THOSE “LIKE” CLICKERS!!!!


Maybe I am just shell shocked from the recent election, when every ten minutes I was getting smooozzshed by one political party or another with promises and phone calls,  commercials,  bumper stickers and billboards coveting my vote. And now once again we all are left in the dust. I feel that this blog is a lot like an ongoing election. You can’t avoid the politics. Not even here. Our little corner of the world that we have found, makes the world go away for a just a little while. Our stage where we get to perform, even if to an audience of one or a thousand. We are doing what we love best, writing. Isn’t that enough? Why are those votes so important to us? Perhaps because we learned it really early in our young lives. If we cry, we get attention. If we cry hard enough, we get picked up and even fed. Think about it. We have been searching for that kind of high ever since.

Writing is my way. And if you have a blog here, I know it is yours too. But writing comes with it’s biggest joys and most frustrating draw backs.

A few weeks ago, I went on a hiatus of sorts after realizing that I was writing on this blog for all the wrong reasons. And that was for YOUR feedback. I would post something and then wait for the response.  I mean, we have all loved the proverbial red A+ and maybe even a little smiling face that we used to get after turning in an especially well thought out little story. Whatever it was, and whenever it was, as early as second grade? We experienced that first high and we were hooked. After that, we waited for the next and the next. Finally when our teacher even commented to our mom during a parent conference that maybe we had something special” we lived for the next sign of recognition of specialness.  And as we grew older, when our instructor or professor chose to read our essay as a special example to the class THAT felt even better than the A because we were actually hearing our own words being read aloud with all the same enthusiasm we felt when we wrote them. It was that connection. Our crying was heard and once again we were being fed. Thus… here in my blog, I have felt that. It is nice to be recognized, to feel “gotten” by someone else who understands why I am writing at two in the morning again.

No high could match that. Unless we went on to find it in some other way, I actually did in a  small way. I wrote for our local magazine for a few years…. I was  even given my own column for a while, until I needed to go out and get a “real job” I mean the way I wrote,  .15 cents a word could add up, but that was when I was working for myself, doing art shows as well but both weren’t paying the bills nor providing benefits, and so I had to move on and get the job I have now.  But it was good while it lasted. I would be in town and a random stranger would tell me how they enjoyed my column and once again that  A+, middle of the night feeding high took me to new levels. But then like I said, I had to give that up for a real job,  And for a while, something squashed my creative side by having to succumb to a nine to five. But slowly through the course of less hours and a few other things that inspired me recently, I have found myself NEEDING to write again. As if a part of my heart has re-awakened.

So I stumbled onto this blog here. And as we talked about it before in a recent post entitled :”CLICKING LIKE” I discovered by your responses, that a lot of you felt the exact same way. We got sucked in BIG time to the high of our very own STATS. Arrrrrgggh! And so I went on a little reprieve becuase I was writing posts like this. I would wait for a LIKE and then another and another. (Greedy gal that I am!) And they would come… sometimes right away. Before I was even done re-reading my own first paragraph again, making sure that all my editing was done correctly, I had gotten four clicks. I smiled and then thought…..”HEY wait a minute!” Hmmm what is going on here? How could they be reading everything I wrote so fast???!

So you seee… I fell for the LIKES of those who “CLICK” just to generate traffic to their own blog. They are hoping that there are those like me who actually will appreciate each and every one who takes the time to visit my site and (hopefully) actually read what I wrote, not just click on like for the sake of clicking, thank you very much! Does anyone get what I mean??? I know those of you who I feel that I have connected with do and I guess I am wasting my time writing about this again because the few who do GET what I am saying will probably only be the same ones reading “this” post too. And I love you for it! But I would love to somehow get those darn LIKE clickers (now have I discovered a new slang word here? lol.) And pleeease understand that if you are actually down to this * point in my ranting, you are not who I am talking about! I am talking about to the faithful LIKE CLICKERS that would never be caught getting this far into anyone’s blog. The ones who flat out, don’t read any of it.

Though I am not without fault, I know it is hard to keep up with some of the posts… I have never really cared for TWITTERING, I mean do you really care that I just had a yogurt or if I am on the 101 on my way to work?? As is here, I have found that some of the bloggers (me included at times) write several posts a day. It is kind of comical. We have this random thought we feel is kind of brilliant and so we share… like what I am doing here… so I am not laughing at you!!! I do it too. It is funny how we think that everyone else is so interested in our thought of the minute and yet I know that I didn’t start out coveting your responses or LIKES for that matter, I had come here to write, to stretch my wings, to oil my “writer’s block” to get unstuck and also have a place to store my own journal so that someday, I could come back and look at where I was today tomorrow. How much I have learned and grown someday. But I got caught up in the whole STATs thing and I am sorry I did that to myself. And have to wonder. Is this just a social network of writers? I mean is it more like I will scratch your back if you scratch mine? Or do we really truly genuinely look forwrard to someone’s posts? I know I do. I know I wouldn’t have “followed” you if I hadn’t. And I know I have liked a writer’s posts so much I have sought them out to see if there is a new one that I may have missed. And I can promise if I click LIKE I actually have read it!

Sooo what has prompted me to write this latest rant? Well, I have been posting my book and it is so hard to know who is reading, who is liking and I got absolutely hardly any feedback. Is it that bad??? I have to wonder….lol. I mean even the ones who commented on almost every post I have written…. NOTHING! Well, my friends… are always my best supporters, those of you who I have totally had a kindred moment with (you know who you are) I appreciate!!  But I have to wonder, maybe I am just asking too much to expect people to read eight pages of a chapter at a time. That is rather presumptious of me I know, but what was I was to think? You had puffed me up by LIKING me all those other times! I mean like lifting the proverbial crying baby out of her crib, you fed me… I expected more! Now my stats are sooo low but I expected that. Sadly. I did. I am not out there hanging my flag in the wind OPEN for business like I used to be so my once sky high views have dwindled and so my friends… if you are new here BEWARE…. Really think about the reasons why you blog before you invest so much time. If it is for you then that is wonderful. If it is for other reasons, that may be good too. The connection I have made with a handful of writers here is worth more than the thousand of LIKE clickers I may never know.

And who am I fooling thinking that writers and agents are actually wandering around wordpress looking for raw, new talent…

Getting published is not magic. It takes long hard work. The good old fashioned kind. Technology is awesome. Being able to send a manuscript with a click and publishing a book with another click may be the way of today but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to jump through the same hoops to get there. I GET it now.

Maybeeeeee I would just like to go back to the way things were. Where ignorance was bliss. Where I lived in a world of people LIKING what I wrote. What do I care if they read it or not? Nah. Ya know I do. I want to know if you reeeeeally like ME or you just want my vote.

But the final point (I promise) that I am trying to make i;s that I really am over it… the STATS thing… I probably will always want that primal pat on the back. But I know I dont’ truly need it anymore. Because if I think something is good than it is good. I don’t need  the click or the vote or to check out my stats ever again because I have finally found out how to climb out of the proverbial crib myself!

Chapter Six


Below is Chapter six from my book. For those of you interested, I have published/(posted) one through five in my previous posts. I have taken a break from blogging to finish my book and have been sharing it with my followers who have requested more.  Thank you for all who have actually taken the time to read each chapter. Your time is my most coveted gift!

*******************************************

Chapter Six

Keri had been slow in sharing anything about Jack with her parents. They had both met him, and he had been charming, while her parents had been cautiously gracious. It was difficult for them to watch their daughter become so consumed with a boy. Keri had always been a good student and had recently, been very focused on going to college early, majoring in English and becoming a Writer, which they encourage wholeheartedly.   Just the year before, they had watched her excel at workshops and earn awards. They had watched her become more involved in the school she volunteered at and had supported her decision to graduate early, and had been impressed that she had managed to accumulate enough credits to do just that.

They were  proud of her accomplishments and  that she had been offered a job at the Center while hearing glowing reports from Betty about what a natural she was with the children, they did not want anything to divert her from her plans, especially a boy. Keri was planning on working at the Center  the first of the year, and enrolling in the local Junior College with plans to transfer to UCLA the following.   Though  Keri maintained her grades and Mrs. Walker applauded her recent work,  they knew their daughter and saw a difference, subtle as it was,  and it concerned them.

Keri realized that her parents weren’t keen on her seeing Jack. He was three years older  and they had just started allowing her to date.  In the past, she had gone out with guys that were friends in more of a group setting. This kind of serious  dating was new for them all.  Keri didn’t want the bubble to pop or to have to answer too many questions so she hadn’t talked about, or brought Jack around a lot. She had  enjoyed the independence she had over the summer and wanted it to continue. Her parents had trusted her and given her more freedom due to an arrangement that they had made with Lori’s mom, knowing that she would be available if Keri needed anything . Though, they hadn’t counted on Jack hanging around.  Now that her mom was home,  Keri did not want to rock the boat too much. She tried not to be on the phone a lot with him when her parents were around or to be too obvious about the time he monopolized,  but she loved him and wanted to be with him as much a she could. And her parents couldn’t help but be concerned.

Keri would ride the bus in the mornings on the days she knew that Jack planned to pick her up after school. One day her mom joked about how Keri had begged to get her license and had worked hard to earn her car and how strange it was now that she was back to riding the bus and mentioned that she hadn’t seen Keri actually  ride the bus since Lori had gotten her license the year before. Keri just smiled, she was happy that her mom seemed to accept the new arrangements as long as she kept up with her school work. It was her senior year and her mom had shared stories of her own memories, telling Keri that her life was like an empty book and this was the year that she would begin to fill the pages with memories that  she would never forget. She told her that she didn’t want her to waste a moment of any of it with regret and seemed to be okay with giving her the trust she had earned over the summer, but Keri had been aware of her mother’s apprehension.

It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that her mom happened to drive up as she was hopping off of Jack’s bike. She slammed her car door and stood there with her hands on her hips. “What is this?!” her mother demanded. “Uhhhh,  motoooorcycle.” Keri answered a bit too flippantly with a sarcastic edge to her tone, as Jack nudged her in warning that THIS was not the right time to be joking.”  Keri’s mom reiterated that fact strongly by saying “I know very well that it is a motorcycle young lady! What are YOU doing on it?!”

Keri silently handed Jack her helmet as she was ushered into the house by her mom.  He had no other choice but to leave,  promising that he would call later. As Keri’s mom called after him saying “Oh no you won’t.” in a very firm voice. Keri’s face was filled with disbelief and anger as she raced into the house shouting “How could yoooou?!” As her mother promptly followed her, eyeing her shorts, and demanding, “What could you be thinking getting on that bike with just shorts on?” Keri had actually burned the inside of her calf on the pipe a few days earlier and sheepishly said, “He has a helmet for me. “That’s big of him!” Her mother retorted. “So your head will be okay while the rest of you is turned into hamburger!?”  “I think not!” Keri pounded up the stairs to her room slamming the door shouting, YOU are ruining my life!” Where she could hear her mom’s reply, “No, I am trying to save it!”

Keri’s mom took her to school and dropped her off the following week. Her dad was away on a business trip and had yet to come home but her mom had assured her that they would all have a discussion together as soon as he returned. Keri was miserable that week. She only spoke when necesarry and without any emotion at all. They had, had their share of mother and daughter disagreements but nothing like this. She and Jack met a few times at lunch. They sat beneath some trees behind the auditorium cautiously consumed in each other. “Baby, we will figure this out.” Jack promised, weaving his fingers through hers. He had parked his bike and  started just driving his car after the scene in Keri’s driveway, and had told Keri that he would even sell his bike if he had to. He told her that he planned to go to her parents and talk to both of them when her father came home at the end of that week.

He did as he said and Keri’s dad respectfully listened as Jack apologized for taking her on the back of his bike without their permission.  He assured her parents that he was a very careful driver, with both his motorcycle and his car, but admitted that it had been a bad idea to allow Keri to ride in shorts. Her mom  thanked him for realizing that, as Jack reached out to shake  her Dad’s hand. Her Dad had been impressed with the handshake and Jack’s apology and told them that they would be allowed to to see each other again, adding that he would  even allow Keri to ride on his motorcycle only when they had permission and were properly dressed for riding but he would prefer them  in a car for the majority of their dates. “Thank you daddy” Keri jumped up and wrapped her arms around her father’s neck. And then hugged her mom as well. There had been a lot of tension that week and Keri wanted it over as did her mother. “I KNOOOW that you just want the best for me” she said quietly to her mom as her mom hugged her back with an extra tight squeeze.

After that, Jack would pick her up in his Triumph Spitfire and they would take long drives with the top down. He would bring a blanket and lay it out as he would tell her stories of adventures he had, and wanted to have. Some of his stories were of wanting to sail around the world, others were of how he wanted to learn how to fly, and others included  memories of Maddie, and those were hard to hear. He spoke of  school and how hurt he had been by her and how betrayed he felt. Keri tried to understand and act like she didn’t mind the stories. She knew he was still hurt and had a hard time trusting her completely because of his past, and so she just tried to love him even more. and to prove that she was not Maddie and would never hurt him.

One day they went out on the boat alone. Jack was teaching Keri to sail. She loved it when it was just the two of them. Even though she enjoyed when other couples had gone with them, she cherished her time alone with Jack. Keri had discovered that she actually, loved sailing even though the first time out they had been caught up  in thirty mile per hour Santa Ana winds, they had been out several more times after that, and the weather had been wonderful.   This particular day, the breeze was perfect and there was no one around for miles.  They tacked back and forth a  long time and he praised her for her natural ability, he even sat back and let her handle the boat all by herself and praised her until she beamed with pride. Finally, Jack tied the line and leaned back into Keri, she breathed him in, she loved his smell. He smelled like fresh air and the sea.

Her heart felt full as she leaned back and let the sun coat her bare skin. They sailed that way for a long time and then Jack lazily asked, “You hungry?” Keri thought a minute and said “I guess I could eat something.” She got up and began unpacking the picnic lunch she had packed that morning. She had just handed Jack a sandwich and he seemed to be thoroughly enjoying it. He leaned back sipping a grape soda and began soaking up the sun again. The temperature was perfect.  Boats had slowly begun speckling the scenery and the sky was bluer than she had ever seen it.  Keri took in the day, took a bite of her sandwich and admired Jack’s swimmer’s physic when the wind changed and Jack steered the boat as she jumped up to adjust the jib, as she casually mentioned something about how she couldn’t reach the “rope.”

All of a sudden Jack stiffened and his face grew red and he exploded.  “Line, it’s a damn line!”  He bellowed at her.  Keri’s eyes grew wide in surprise. She was not sure if he was serious. He was in such a rage that it had totally caught her off guard. She dropped her sandwich. He threw his in anger, yelling at her and roared that “the only rope on a boat was the one on the bell ”How could you not know that by now?! he raged.

At first, Keri seriously thought he was kidding but when she realized he wasn’t, something inside of her broke. She had never had a “friend” speak to her that way. Even when she was in big trouble,  her parents had never yelled at her like that. Keri was dumbfounded. She did not know what to think. Something  shifted inside of her,  she did not recognize exactly what it was, maybe it was the instinct of survival kicking in, maybe it was just the simple respect that she had for herself but right there in the hub of that moment she knew that it was over. Even if she had made a huge mistake, if she had pulled the jib so tight that the boat had been hard to recover, she hadn’t deserved his anger, he had no excuse to talk to her like that.   Their day was ruined. Their future was gone. She watched a stranger storming around as he turned the boat back without her assistance. She just sat there frozen.

They were silent all of the way back to shore. She had never experienced anything like the scene that had just happened.  She kept playing it over and over again in her head.  She was devastated. He had not only screamed at her. He had grabbed one of the lines and hit her with it and then somehow in his rage had proceeded to spit on her. She was stunned. She wiped her face and stared out to sea. She tried to remember just what may have led up to his reaction, to trigger such an explosion. She did not know how it had finally ended. The rage seemed endless as if something had snapped inside of him. Keri had finally just started crying and then it was over as quickly as it had begun. As if her tears had snapped him out of the place he had seemed to go. He seemed spent as he reached the shore. She hoped nobody would ever find out. She was totally humiliated and very glad that they had been alone and no boats had been nearby.

The evening fog drifted in as she sat shivering in the car, it was not too terribly cold but for some reason she could not stop trembling, as if she was chilled to the bone. She sat in the passenger seat, trying to block out the memory of what had just happened and feeling the raw emotion of it all. They had never even argued before. She never imagined that he had such a temper. He had always been so patient and kind and a wonderful teacher. This had ruined everything.  She felt no responsibility over what had just happened and yet she was still so confused and began second guessing herself, wondering if perhaps, in some small way, it was her fault. She knew he had made a comment about ropes being called lines and the port and starboard sides and some other technical sailing terms but didn’t think it was such a big deal. He had seemed to love teaching her things and she loved learning from him. Keri began remembering a time when her own father would try to teach her things and would get so frustrated with her and the memory made her cringe. She wondered what really set him off or if it had actually been her. She continued pouring over every detail of the outburst in her mind and could not come up with a reasonable explanation except that perhaps she was to blame.

Keri could not move as she watched Jack hooking everything up. She caught herself holding her breath watching him and when she realized what she was doing, she would slowly let it out as she heaved a deep sorrowful sigh. She was so angry she couldn’t even cry. She was just stunned as she began thinking about all that they had shared,  and all that she had begun to dream of, now all lost in this horrific outburst. She wondered, maybe she had made a mistake about a nautical term but she could not excuse the scene she had  just observed nor could she erase it from her memory. No reasonable person would ever get so upset over something so irrelevant would they?

She wondered if this is why Maddie broke up with him. She wondered if Mrs. T knew about his temper when she manipulated them like little game pieces, relieving her own daughter of this boy only to push him off on some other mother’s daughter, not to mention her daughter’s best friend. She wondered if Lori knew. She sat there feeling totally sucker punched. The nausea inside of her began to make her stomach convulse. He was taking so long and finally she felt tears of anger rising, she began to strategize her departure and the little speech she intended to make when he finally dropped her off.  She kept wondering if Lori had any inkling of what Jack Sagan was capable of behaving like or if she had witnessed any of it. She stewed, growing angry and hurt and decided not to trust anyone ever again. She was mad at Lori, and at Mrs. T. and at Maddie for making her a part of this situation, and then feeling so consumed by it all, she felt nothing, just the hot tears on her cheeks.

Overwhelmed with a sadness she had never known. She had been humiliated, crying in front of Jack. Though Keri’s crying is what ultimately seemed to save her. He had not seen her cry much before and it really did seem to break the fog he seemed immersed in, but now, they were at a standstill No one had said a word since the outburst and Keri just wanted to go home.

The longer Jack took to get in the car, the angrier she became.  She was mad and she had a script penned in her head of what she was going to say to him. Maybe he had treated other girls like that but  she was not going to allow any boy to treat her that way ever again, and she meant it.  It looked as if he was having trouble hooking up the lights on the trailer. The longer it took, the angrier she got. Keri had believed in God since she was a little girl. Her mom had taken her to church and that is where she met Lori. They went to both the same school and church. But like so many, Keri had gotten busy and fallen away from her routine of attending regularly.  She had learned about praying and the thought nudged at her heart as she continued to sit there and slowly she just began to pray quietly but the words formed fluidly. As soon as she closed her eyes, a peace came over her that was hard to describe.  Suddenly, she was not worried about getting home or even about how Jack would respond to her, just bringing God’s name into the situation seemed to help her find an amazing peace. She felt a stillness in her heart that was calming, as she prayed, “Dear Lord please be with me now and on the drive home, it was as simple as that. Nothing elaborate, just simply inviting God into the car. With her eyes closed she felt His presence, almost as if He was sitting next to her and just the mention of His name, calmed her.  Keri watched as Jack walked around and around the boat and tried to wipe out the details of the memory and what had happened earlier. Keri was still hurt but she felt stronger after her prayer.

Jack finally slid int his seat and gently shut the door. The silence filled the car. Every sound screamed loudly inside her head. The door closing, Jack’s breathing, the clinking of his keys, the pounding of her own heart, the sounds of nothing and everything, overwhelmed her. Keri waited for Jack to start the engine, but he didn’t move. He sat there with his keys in his hands. He was not stoic or angry like she had expected him to be. She waited and waited.  Jack just sat there, in silence and then he did something so unexpected, he began to cry. “I am so sorry Keri” he began.”I want you to know that there are things about me that no one knows, I can’t really explain it. But I don’t want to hurt you and I will, I promise I will. I know that much and that we can’t go out anymore. I behaved like a monster today and can’t promise I won’t again. I want this to be goodbye.” He said so firmly that she believed that he was serious.

She sat there blindsided. She blinked, she swallowed. She let out a breath she didn’t know she had been holding and had to remind herself for the second time to breathe. This was nothing like she had imagined the conversation going. She sat still reeling by what he had to say. She sat there dumbfounded as he continued.  She had planned to tell him goodbye but hearing him take the initiative panicked her. He shared some memories from his childhood, horrific things that he had gone through as a young boy, things he had never shared with anyone, as Keri quietly listened.

little crying boy

Her heart ached for him.She wanted to reach over and wipe away his tears, she wanted to hate the ones who had hurt him. Tears filled her eyes as he continued to share his heart breaking memories, of horrific things that had happened to him as a little boy, and realized that his childhood was not a normal one by any stretch of the imagination. Keri’s heart literally hurt as she considered everything Jack had shared. He waited as he ran his fingers through his sandy blonde hair. Once he had finished the recount of some of the things that had happened to him as a young child, he admitted that though it might explain his anger, in no way did he feel it excused what had happened that afternoon and he was so sorry. He said that he knew that he had huge anger issues and had trouble controlling the rage he felt so strongly at times and again insisted that he could not go out with her anymore. He also assured her that none of what had happened had anything to personally do with her.

Even though Keri had made the decision to not continue in the relationship even before Jack had gotten into the car, she did not see this coming. She understood more now, on a much deeper level, where he had come from. She felt honored that he had trusted her with so much. She realized that his inner child felt so out of control that when Jack felt as if he was losing any part of control now, he just didn’t know how to deal with it. Keri’s heart broke for him and she began crying too. She began to imagine the terror he must have felt when his mother became so out of control. She felt his pain and loved him even more. All the anger left her. As her body relaxed, she wondered if God had a hand in helping her understand Jack more.

Keri tried to picture her days and nights without him in them and her heart stopped. She had known him for such a short time and yet could not imagine her life without him in it. She did not care about today. She would not mention it again. She would protect him now and make up for all those times as a child when he felt unprotected and abandoned. She decided then and there that she would show him how to love by loving him so much he couldn’t possibly ever feel unloved again. As long as she was by his side, she would teach him all about love. At that moment  she decided that she was not going to leave Jack. She would make it very clear that could never happen again, but she was not leaving.

Keri reached for Jack, all the resolve of leaving had left. Her heart changed in that moment. She saw his tortured soul. and looked right into it.  Jack could see that Keri was in this for the long haul. She was not going anywhere. For the first time in his life, Jack felt as if he had come home. Keri pressed her lips against his hair and held her face against him for a long time. She soaked in that moment, wanting to remember it forever. Feeling the calm and the love after the storm was like a salve.   The windows of the car were covered with a blanket of fog, providing a remote haven for their new found devotion to one another. They held onto each other with appreciation for their new though unspoken commitment. And then Jack lay his head in Keri’s lap and they both cried  and then sat in silence. Keri stroked his hair for a long time, feeling oddly maternal, and then slowly lifting his head in her hands, she told him. “I won’t leave you Jack, I promise. I won’t leave you, ever.And she truly meant it.

******************************************************

So thank you to all who have been reading. Just to let you know… there are about twenty more chapters…. I think that I have posted enough of my book for now….

I  will save Chapter Seven and the rest … for you when I finish the book.  Hopefully you have gathered that this story is a look back at first love and coming of age, it paints a picture of how an innocent young girl can lose herself so easily. Even when she knows better and comes from a good, solid upbringing.

It begins, in the seventies before cell phones  and google, before Facebook and Oprah. Before abuse was talked about openly. It makes you think twice about asking someone abused why they stayed. It is not an explanation for them or an excuse for the abuser but hopefully it paints a picture of  how people become who they become… because of where they began.

It is a story about a young girl who falls hopelessly  in love with a young boy so damaged from his childhood, and how that first love evolved into a heartbreak that followed her for the rest of her life controlling the different choices she made along the way and how those choices are a little like raindrops.  It only takes one to begin a flood. It touches on the tools she gathers along the way as she comes full circle, learning to build a dam so that she will never be washed away in the same way ever again.

Soooo again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading! I hope you have enjoyed it so far.

Hopefully I will finally get it published so that you can find out what happens next!

😉

Chapter Three


To those of you following this… Here is Chapter Three. For those of you just happening to find my blog, I am right in the middle of a little hiatus. I have 21 chapters of my book in the very raw, rough draft stages. I am in the process of fine tuning and editing each chapter. And asking my readers for feedback… Thank you all who take the time. If you are interested I have over 100 posts in my archives that will keep you busy until I return to my regular posting post!

Again, Thank you!

Di

Chapter Three

Keri and Lori went dancing that night as planned. Lori seemed a little more subdued than normal. But when Keri casually asked what she thought of Jack, Lori just replied “He’s nice enough.” In an indifferent tone that was hard to miss. But Keri did. In fact she missed it all together. The music was loud and the bar was crowded as the bouncer stamped their under aged hands and nodded for them to go inside. Keri barely gave Jack a second thought as they surveyed the crowd at the Blue Moon. It was the same place that most of the guys from Avenue F hung out and they always had a good time.

Keri was not looking for anyone serious. She had her summer planned. Jack was nice. Maybe, she could be a good friend to him. He was definitely going to need one she had reasoned with Lori on their way there that night, and Lori had agreed. She knew that Jack was not Keri’s type. She liked dark hair and green eyes and Jack had lighter hair with blue eyes. Though, she had noticed the cleft in his chin and kind of did like the twinkle in his eyes, she had explained to Lori that the main reason she had said she would go sailing was because she just wanted to go sailing. It was “as simple as that”

Keri had gotten a little irritated when Lori kept grilling her as to why she had allowed her mom to finagle her into the date, and told her in no uncertain terms, “I assure you that I really am not interested in Maddie’s leftovers!” Or at least she wasn’t conscious of it, nor was she aware of the fact that Jack had actually asked Mrs. T about her after she and Lori had driven away that day. It had completely gone over her head that he was even remotely interested and as far as she knew, he was still waiting for Maddie to return and had no idea that she wasn’t returning to him. But Mrs. T had come clean that afternoon. She hadn’t missed that Jack appeared to be intrigued with Keri. And when she had come out  to offer him a glass of lemonade after they  had driven off,  Jack had asked about her. Keri had just seemed like a perfect opportunity to help break the news about Maddie to him, a reminder that there would be other girls. She told him that Maddie had met someone but didn’t offer any more than that. Jack had been furious at first. But more hurt than surprised. Mrs. T had reminded him of of their fights but she didn’t need to. He remembered them all.

Mrs. T patted Jack’s cheek and went inside, letting the news sink in. She left him alone with his thoughts. He sanded and pounded and thought about all the fighting and breaking up that he and Maddie had done over the last year. He thought about the last fight that they had, had. And the words they both had shouted to one another, and could never take back. His mother had called him home and he had no choice, Maddie had taken that opportunity to tell him that she wanted a break anyway, and that perhaps this would be a good time for it. He flinched as he recalled the terrible timing and the things he had said to her when he left. When he needed her most, she had not been there for him. As he sanded, he realized that she never had. Even so, in all his reasoning,  he missed her like hell.

Mrs. T had also been thinking. She had seen him perk up when he had asked about Keri and so she had a little plan of her own. She went about making the lasagna and then went out and asked Jack to join them for dinner and mentioned that she was going to try to track down Keri and Lori and invite them too. She had not counted on not being able to reach the girls and remembered  Lori telling her that she was going to spend the night at Keri’s but had missed them the few times that she had tried to reach them at Keri’s.  Jack had seemed disappointed when Mrs. T had told him that she hadn’t been able to reach the girls, but had cheered up when Matt walked in. And then just as they were helping themselves to some salad, the girls had driven up. Mrs. T lost no time, running out the door and returned smiling with them both in tow.

They brought such energy to the table, all tanned and scrubbed, ready for a night out as they bubbled over, laughing and happily talking about their plans for the evening, still trying to decide which house they were going to end up at. “Just let me know, if it’s not here.” Mrs. T requested easily. When Keri had reached for Jack’s hand, as Mrs. T introduced them, he seemed to forget about his broken heart for a few minutes and Mrs. T had not missed the chemistry in that little exchange and had begun to look for an opening to encourage it more.

Keri had fun, just like all the other nights, with a string of boys inviting them both to dance.  They were hot and damp when they found each other again. A dark haired boy who she had danced several dances with asked her for her number. She just smiled and teasingly said “Sure, let me find a pen.”  But when he walked away for a minute, Keri grabbed Lori and said “let’s go.” When she finally dragged her out the door, Lori whispered “He was cute, why didn’t you give him your number?!” Keri laughed. She knew that they had learned where there was one cute boy, there usually was always a friend for the other. And since Lori had not been interested in anyone there that evening she had been hoping the cute guy that Keri had been dancing with, might have a friend just as cute. But for some reason, that night Keri wasn’t interested and didn’t want to give anyone but Jack her number.

Aside from the weather, the sailing date went well. Thirty mile per hour Santa Ana winds had tossed the little boat around significantly that afternoon. Though, the day had started out  with crystal blue skies. Keri’s dad had seen the small craft warnings earlier that morning and told her that he really wished that she would reconsider going, but after a little pouting,  which was really out of character for her,  he finally relented, giving her permission, shaking his head and sighing exasperatedly as she hugged his neck and happily ran out the door.

Keri’s Dad, was concerned and not just about the sailing trip. He had never seen his daughter care about anything more than her writing. Keri had always been so level headed when it had come to boys in the past. He had always known that the day would come when one would sweep her off of her feet but he had grown comfortable in the delay and had been hearing horror stories from his friends and the problems they were going through with their teenage daughters and had counted his blessings. He was confident in Keri. And yet he knew that it only took one boy to change everything. He could only pray that she would make the right choices.

Keri was not sure why she had persisted in getting her dad to change his mind, and why it had meant so much for her to go, except for the fact that she had given her word that she would go, and she liked to keep the promises she made.  She knew that she could have called Jack and told him that her dad had read the warnings and suggested that they change their plans to another day. And that he probably would have understood she reasoned. But she had felt a sense of urgency that she did not recognize, something that had made her really want to go, something that she had not felt before and it had registered with her, and bothered her a little. She realized that she did not want to cause another  disappointment for Jack, he had experienced so many lately, and she just did not want to be another one.

As the boys launched the boat, the sun reflected on the water as the warm winds blew. She wondered where her dad had gotten his information because from what she could see, the day had started out beautifully. Jack was very attentive he had packed a lunch for everyone and as Keri and Matt’s girlfriend Sarah, got acquainted, Matt and Jack maneuvered the boat out of the marina. She liked the way he handled the boat in the winds. How he directed Matt and seemed to know what to do as they increased. Keri felt safe as the little boat moved up and down over the rough waters and Jack took control, instructing which lines to pull as he and Matt steered the little boat back to the marina. She liked how he looked in his wet tank top. And watched the muscles in his arms flex when he grabbed the lines and tied the boat to the dock.

Keri told Jack about the small craft advisories that her dad had listened to earlier that morning and how concerned he had been, she was touched that as soon as they had pulled the boat out, he had found a pay phone for her so that she could call him.   Keri assured her dad that they were fine but admitted good naturedly that he had been right and she was sorry for not listening to him but promised she would in the future. As her father put the receiver back down, he breathed an air of relief though he knew from the lift in his daughter’s voice that she would probably break that promise many times from this day on. And that Jack most likely would be behind those broken promises.

Keri ran back happily to help the boys hook up the trailer and pack the soggy supplies that they had brought back to the car. The evening fog was rolling in as Jack turned on the heater and motioned for the girls to get inside, handing them dry blankets. As she crawled in the front seat, she watched the boys as they worked to hook up the lights. Finally as Jack slipped in next to her, something dawned on Keri, she knew why she had persisted in talking her dad into letting her go. She realized that she really liked Jack. She liked him in a way she had never liked a boy before.

Jack dropped his boat off at his Dad’s apartment where he was staying and then turned to Keri, Matt and Sarah, “How about Bobs?” He suggested. “Sure.” They agreed. They had worked up quite an appetite, having never finished their lunch when the winds had kicked up. And besides, Keri realized that she was not ready for the date to end. When they got to the restaurant she and Sarah excused themselves and went to the restroom, pulling out brushes, in an attempt to try to tame their long beach blown hair.”I must look just great.” Keri remarked as she slid into the seat next to Jack. “I think you look pretty cute.” He said and then added, squeezing her knee, “For a good sport that is! Over hamburgers and sodas they laughed, talking about how wet they had all gotten earlier that day. When their sodas arrived they all clinked their glasses in honor of their surving it.

That night, Jack dropped  Matt and Sarah off first. When he pulled into Keri’s driveway, he turned off the engine but kept the heater blowing. Keri leaned comfortably against her door as they began talking easily. He talked mostly. About school and having to leave it because his mom needed him. He talked about moving in with his dad and having to get a job at the gas station on the corner near their apartment. She knew that his parents had recently been divorced and that his reasons for coming home had something to do with that but she didn’t want to pry and so she listened to just what he shared. He asked her about her plans after she graduated and she told him that she had enough credits and  planned to graduate early.  He seemed impressed. And his admiration warmed her with a feeling that she had never felt before.

Though she felt that they could have talked for hours, she knew that he must be tired and she also knew that her dad had left the porch light on and didn’t want to take advantage of his leniency, after all, there was still quite a bit of summer left. “I had a wonderful time” she offered. Jack smiled and said “I’m glad. Let’s just see if I can ever get you back out there.” Keri laughed, “You just name the day, I’m tougher than you might think” Jack got out and went around and opened Keri’s door, taking her hand, he helped her out. Never letting go, he asked, “Can I call you?”