Why write? Well since you asked…

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Note: Today’s post is courtesy of a prompt from “642 Things to Write About“. Today’s prompt is: “Why you write.”

I was flipping through the “642 Things” book this morning when I realized I’d forgotten to write today’s post, and this was the prompt that I randomly flipped to. It made me chuckle a little because of all the 642 prompts in this book, this is probably the easiest one for me to answer.

It all started (she said, ceremoniously) when I was in the third grade, and it started in an odd kind of way. You see, one night I was having trouble sleeping. I must have gotten out of bed and been playing with my toys or something, because I woke up my father. He came in my room to tuck me back into bed and I complained to him that I couldn’t get to sleep. I can remember, plain as day, he told me to close my eyes and just think about my day, play it in my head like a movie, and eventually I’d drift to sleep. I nodded and he went back to his room, and I closed my eyes. But I didn’t think about my day. I thought about more fantastical things. I imagined myself in a crazy story, with monsters and heroes and lots of fun and danger. And eventually, I fell asleep.

That became my nighttime routine. Every night I would imagine myself in a “movie” in my head. Sometimes I’d be fighting alongside my favorite superheroes, sometimes I’d be the damsel in distress, and sometimes I’d just think of the craziest thing I could imagine. I enjoyed making up these stories in my head so much that sometimes I’d wake up in the morning actually excited to get to bed that night.

Then I found a better outlet, thanks to a school assignment. We were to write an original short story, paste it on construction paper, draw a cover, and bind it all together. I nailed that assignment, let me tell you. I couldn’t tell you for the life of me what the story was about, but I can tell you that I called it, “The Mystery of the Emerald-Eyed Cat”, and I drew two creepy green cat eyes on my cover, and I got an excellent grade.

That was the first real story I ever wrote, and it started one hell of a lifelong desire. In those early days, and for many years afterward, I mostly wrote stories featuring myself and my friends, because I was basically writing down my nighttime “movies”, but as time went on I moved on to fan-fiction and more professional fiction as well, and the rest is pretty much history.

So why exactly do I write? Because, to be honest, I’m still that little girl laying in bed trying to get to sleep. It may sound funny to people who have trouble sleeping because they think too much, but I still lull myself to sleep by telling myself stories in my head, and these days those stories are the scenes for the books that I write. Playing those thoughts and ideas through my head every night is something that I think I’ll always do, and as a result I think that I’ll always write because since that first story I’ve always felt the need to get the thoughts out of my head and onto the paper. ❤

Gym Class… My Old Enemy…

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Note: Today’s post is courtesy of a prompt from “642 Things to Write About“. Today’s prompt is: “Your worst experience in gym class.”

Well this is an easy one…ANY experience in gym class was a bad one for me.

Okay, okay, I might be exaggerating just a little bit, but the fact of the matter is that gym class was a horrible experience for me for many, many years. It wasn’t so bad back in the first years of elementary school when we were just running around doing tumbling, or making obstacle courses, or marveling over the fact that not one of us could climb those damn ropes. But as we began to get older and started doing more actual sports and the like, gym became nothing more than torture to me. I’ve never been the athletic type in the least, so I was the kind of kid who got picked last for teams and hid in the corner to avoid ever having to touch the ball. I was actually pretty good at things like gymnastics and basic exercise (situps, pushups, speed runs, etc), but those were the kinds of things that we rarely did in gym at my schools. Mostly we played an ungodly amount of basketball, interspersed by the occasional game of baseball, tap-football, or floor hockey, all of which I was absolutely miserable at.

So if you want me to pick one particular experience? It would probably be in the 9th grade, mid-semester, when our report cards came out and I found out that I was dangerously close to failing gym. Failing gym. I was making 90’s in every single other class, but I was failing gym. I nearly had a heart attack. The thing is, the reason I was getting such poor marks was a refusal to participate (I often came up with excuses to sit out, and even when I was playing I was obviously doing my best to avoid having to actually do anything), but at the time I felt like it was an injustice, like my gym teacher was purposely torturing me for being artistic instead of athletic. In the end I pulled up my shorts and forced myself to participate in order to bring my grade up, but at the time I felt like everyone in the world was against me for daring to not enjoy sports. I think every artistic kid feels like that at one point or another, don’t you?

A Nightmarish Impression

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Note: Today’s post is courtesy of a prompt from “642 Things to Write About“. Today’s prompt is: “What’s the worst nightmare you can remember?”

It’s strange the kinds of things that can scare the hell out of a kid. I’ve had lots of nightmares over the course of my thirty years, but there is one that stands out and it may not be what you’d expect. After all, I’ve had nightmares about zombies attacking my family, about my classmates and I fighting and dying in an unending war, about my husband leaving me, about all of my friends and family leaving me, about being on an airplane as it crashes to the ground, about being lost in the woods at night and being attacked by rabid wolves. I’ve had some doozies, is what I’m saying. But the nightmare that stands out is one that I had when I was probably about ten years old. I don’t remember much of what was happening in the dream at first, but I was at my grandmother’s house, and suddenly I was left alone in the living room with my aunt Judy. For some reason she began to smile at me, a really creepy, too-wide smile, and then she raised her hands to her face and as she did all of her teeth began to fall out of her mouth, into her hands, and all over the floor.

It might not seem like the most terribly frightening of things, especially considering other nightmares that I’ve had, but that morning I woke up literally bawling my eyes out. For some reason those teeth falling out of my aunt’s mouth scared the ever-living beejeezus out of me, and just thinking about it gave me shivers for months afterwards.

A Room With a View (of Collectibles)

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Note: Today’s post is courtesy of a prompt from “642 Things to Write About“. Today’s prompt is: “Describe a room in your house.”

Though it is technically the guest room, I consider this particular room to be “mine”. Much of the room is taken up by a bed that is actually just a box spring and mattress laying directly on the floor. Another large chunk is taken up by a chest-style dresser that is filled with blankets and sheets and has an old-style 32″ television sitting on top of it.

On the wall with the window there is another dresser full of more blankets and sheets, a large stack of old university text books, and a broken bedside table, on which sits a small pile of special stuffed animals that I’ve kept around.

In the corner by the closet is the duckling-shaped rocking chair that a friend of the family made for my daughter, another pile of blankets and sheets (because apparently we don’t have enough of those) and my winter work boots. Inside the closet is a wide variety of items, including spare pillows, stationary and craft supplies, old work and school notes, old magazines, unused picture frames, hidden birthday and Christmas presents, and (you guessed it) some blankets.

So why would I consider this random hodgepodge of items to be “mine”? Well it’s not all the items I’ve mentioned; it’s the ones I haven’t mentioned. See, on the wall opposite all this mess are four bookcases, and those bookcases are filled with things that I love. First and foremost are books of a wide variety. There are classic comics and manga comics, horror novels, fantasy-epics, supernatural YA series’, old kids’ books from my childhood, Star Wars books, inspirational books, some random school textbooks of a Shakespearean nature, and the first ever hard copy of my zombie apocalypse novel, Nowhere to Hide. But wait, there’s more! On top of the cases is a display katana on a lovely wooden sword stand, surrounded by a variety of McFarlane Dragons from each series. The shelves that contain my manga also house a few anime figures and toys. The shelf that holds my traditional comics also has several Marvel and DC Funko Pop figures. There are several more Funko Pops from various TV shows and movies on other shelves, as well as a variety of other small toys, figures, and collectibles.

In short, these shelves do an excellent job of giving a description of who I am…at least, the geeky part of me. ^_^

Recipe for Disaster

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Note: Today’s post is courtesy of a prompt from “642 Things to Write About“. Today’s prompt is: “Write a recipe for disaster.”

Start with a handful of full-grown adults of various shapes, sizes, and flavors. You may wish to also incorporate some children into the recipe, but grown adults enhance the flavor due to the presumption that they should know better.

Chop up the adults’ ability to hold their tongues and tempers by slicing their skin with early mornings, standstill traffic, thankless, dead-end jobs, inconsiderate families, unsympathetic friends, and ungrateful kids.

Rub some salt on the open wounds.

Place thoroughly chopped adults in a melting pot set to high heat. Sprinkle in a little hot weather, a handful of per peeves, and some deep-seated intolerances. Flavor to your liking with racial, sexual, and religious prejudices.

Bring to a boil and stir constantly. Once boil has begun, stir in a healthy portion of fists and feet, and if you’re in the mood to get spicy you might throw in a few police officers with twitchy trigger fingers.

Stir once more, vigorously, and serve immediately.

Social Media of the Future

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Note: Today’s post is courtesy of a prompt from “642 Things to Write About“. Today’s prompt is: “Write Facebook status updates for the year 2017.”

For the sake of having a nice number, I figured I’d do one for each month.

January

Happy New Year everyone! My resolution is to write more this year than ever before! Woo!

February

Final Fantasy OhMyGodHaven’tWeRunOutOfNumbersYet from my hubby for Valentine’s Day…he knows me so well. ❤

March

Anyone want to line up some March Break play dates? I am SO not used to having the whirling dervish in the house 24-7.

April

Thanks for all the birthday wishes everyone! I’ve gotta be honest though, 33 doesn’t feel much different than 32. 😛

May

Goddammit, why are we still running our pellet stove? Come on, Spring, where the hell are you?!

June

Congratulations to all the little rugrats on their Grading Day! So proud of my little missy for acing the 2nd grade!

July

Big Summer Sale, everyone! For one week only, get the ebook version of Book One of the “Other World” series for FREE! Get it now because Book Two will be available before you know it!

August

Oh man, we’re more than halfway through the year and I have amassed twice as many new goals as I have finished old ones. Will I never get the hang of this nonsense we call life?

September

It’s Day One of the third grade! Good luck little missy! I know you’re gonna do just as great as usual. ❤

October

Joining our Halloween decoration family this year is Michael Myers and Pinhead. Hubby, dear, I think we’re starting to run out of room for this stuff.

November

Damn you and your strange, masochistic allure, NaNoWriMo…don’t you know I have a book release to deal with? Only 30k words to go…@_@

December

Happy Holidays everyone! Some wonderful presents in the Tobin house today! I think my little missy will be quite well to do with until 2018….next month. XD

The Objects of Childhood

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Note: Today’s post is courtesy of a prompt from “642 Things to Write About“. Today’s prompt is: “Three objects in your childhood bedroom.”

There are a great many objects that I could choose for this post, but these are three that immediately came to mind when I read the prompt:

1. My Jumping Bunny

Quick quiz: how many of you had the jumping bunny toy as kids? It looked like a little stuffed bunny, but when you flipped the switch on his belly he would jump forward a few steps, sit back, wiggle his nose, and then do a backward flip. They were the height of a technological toy back in the day, you know. And I had one (still have, in fact, although he doesn’t work anymore) that has stayed with me my entire life. My father bought him for me literally the day I was born, and I kept him with me always. I’ve always had a thing for stuffed toys, but as different stuffies came and went, this one always stayed. I considered him to be my special bunny, because he’d been with me since the beginning, and he still holds a special place in my book room amongst a few other special stuffed friends.

2. My Super Nintendo

I’m old enough to have had an original Nintendo Entertainment System, but most of my memories of playing NES are of playing it with my cousin at his house. But the SNES? That’s all about my bedroom. By the time I got an SNES my parents had put a small TV in my bedroom, so I could actually snuggle up on my own bed and play my games, and that was the greatest thing ever. Don’t get me wrong, I was a fairly active, outdoorsy kid too, but it was just so awesome to be able to throw my pillow at the end of the bed, snuggle under the blankets, and play Chrono Trigger until I literally passed out.

3. Babysitter’s Club book collection

I’ve always been a reader, since I was old enough to start recognizing words. Over the course of my childhood my parents spent an ungodly amount of money on books for me, not only because it was a good habit to reinforce, but because I read so quickly that it was hard to keep up. Every time we took a drive over to Sydney to do some shopping (a half-hour drive) they would get me a Babysitter’s Club book, and many times I had the book most of the way read by the time we got home. Mind you I was (and still am) known to re-read books over and over again, so I did get their money’s worth, but let’s just say that in the end I wound up with quite the collosal collection packed onto my bedroom shelves. 😀

This prompt was fun…why don’t you take part? What are three items you remember from your childhood room?

An Altered Course

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Note: Today’s post is courtesy of a prompt from “642 Things to Write About“. Today’s prompt is: “What could have happened to you in high school that would have altered the course of your life?”

When I was in high school we had two guidance councillors, and as graduation approached we we’re required to meet with one of them to discuss what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives. One of the councillors was pretty damn useless, but I was lucky enough to get to speak with the good one. This guy genuinely cared about each individual student’s hopes and aspirations. If you told him that you wanted to be a Hollywood actor he would gather whatever information he could locate on the best course of action to get you there. He would be sure to inform you if your aspirations were the kind that are extremely difficult to achieve, but he would never try to talk someone out of their dreams.

The day I spoke to this councillor, I had the chance to tell him about what I really, truly wanted to do: write fiction. But at the time I was scared; scared that I wasn’t clever enough, scare that I wouldn’t be successful, scared that I would become financially destitute as a result of failure. So I copped out and told him that I wanted to do something with technology, and that decision that day lead to my eventually becoming a tradesperson…quite possibly the exact opposite of creative writing.

Now, I can’t really say that it was a poor decision. After all, thanks to being a tradesperson my husband and I are in a position to be completely debt free by the time we’re in our mid 30’s. I can give my daughter everything I want to and we don’t have to worry about childcare. And my current working situation affords me large chunks of time off all at once so that we can go wherever and do whatever we wish during my days off. It is a surprisingly wonderful setup, and we have a pretty good life because of it.

But if I had made a different decision that day my life might be a lot different in many other ways. I may have taken important writing courses and gone to convetions that would helped cement my place in the writing world. I may have published much sooner, and perhaps even the traditional way. I may have an entire library of published books by now, and I might even be making some money from them. Or maybe I would have failed miserably, become destitute. Maybe I would have failed at writing fiction but found a calling in journalism or scriptwriting.

And then, I wonder, what else might have changed? If I had gone away to take part in a writing course, would I have still started dating and fallen in love with my husband? If not my life would be completely different, and I might not even be the same person at all.

In the end, the way I look at it, is that there’s no sense even thinking about it. My life may have been very different, and maybe even better, if I had made a different decision that day, but I love my life the way it turned out, and that’s all that really matters.

A Charming Character

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Note: Today’s post is courtesy of a prompt from “642 Things to Write About“. Today’s prompt is: “Describe yourself in the third person – your physical appearance and personality – as though you were a character in a book.”

Tracey is the kind of girl who people underestimate because of her short stature and youthful appearance. At thirty years old she is still regularly mistaken for a teenager, a trend that is exacerbated by her penchant for wearing jeans and t-shirts emblazoned with her favorite video game and comic characters.

Tracey’s long brown hair has hints of blond highlights throughout, betraying that she does care about her appearance, but she is not the kind of woman who spends a lot of time on hair and makeup. She prefers to stick with a dark lipstick to bolster her normally pale lips, and a bit of mascara to accent her greyish-blue eyes.

Tracey might be the last type of person you’d expect to see working in the trades, but she is good at her job, even though it isn’t her true passion in life. Writing is what she truly loves, and someday she hopes to be able to put all her time and focus into that love.

Laziness and a tendency for anxiety are Tracey’s greatest faults, but she always manages to pull herself together in order to take care of her family and enjoy life with her husband and daughter, who are the most important people in the world to her.

Tracey is a mother, wife, tradesperson, and writer, and though it can sometimes me tough, she tries her best to make the most of – and enjoy – life.

To Understand a Technician/Tomboy/Mother/Provider/Writer

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Note: Today’s post is courtesy of a prompt from “642 Things to Write About“. Today’s prompt is: “Explain what people don’t understand about you.”

I’m not a terribly complicated person by any means, but even saying that, the number of things that people don’t understand about me could fill an entire book. Every group of people has their own lack of understanding.

Older women don’t understand how I could could wind up in a field like instrumentation. It’s primarily mechanical in nature, involves a lot of troubleshooting and critical thinking, and worst of all, usually involves some combination of getting sweaty and getting dirty. Older women just can’t seem to understand why I would want to do such a thing. Women in more “traditional” roles at the paper mill (secretaries, payroll, scheduling, etc) were forever asking me how I ended up in such a job and why I would want to do it. There was no explaining it to them, and all they ever seemed to be able to get out of the conversation was that I somehow – amazingly, oddly, astoundingly – didn’t mind getting dirty. Once, I got motor grease in my hair, and the mill nurse reacted as though I’d just told her I had cancer. Here only concern (and my, was she concerned) was that I might have to cut my hair to get it out.

Younger women don’t understand my beauty rituals (or lack thereof). I’m not alone in being a woman who isn’t really into fashion or tons of makeup and immaculate hairdos, but somehow I always seem to be surrounded by the ones who are the exact opposite. Hey, if you want to spend an hour every morning making sure that your hair is absolutely perfect and every inch of your skin has been painstakingly dusted with the exact same amount of foundation, just so you can go work in a dirty construction site where literally no one gives a damn what you look like…man, it’s your time. But that’s not me. I’m lazy, and I’m comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt with my hair in a messy ponytail and a bit of lipstick to keep me from looking sick. So please don’t look at me like I somehow don’t appreciate myself because I don’t subscribe to the same beauty rituals as you.

Fellow mothers don’t understand how I can travel out West two weeks out of every month and deal with being 3000 miles away from my daughter for all that time. Honestly, maybe this is something you have to experience to be able to understand, but it’s really not all that difficult. My family, like every family, needs money to survive. Out West is where the money is. And honestly, it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds because if you work it out into waking hours (the hours of the day that my daughter is actually awake), I see her way more on this kind of job than I would at a normal 9-5.

Older men don’t understand that I’m not completely useless. The exceptions are my coworkers, of course, who see with their own eyes that I know what I’m doing, but in every day life I meet plenty of older men who just assume that because I’m a married woman my husband must do all the “hard” stuff for me. It would blow their minds to see me repairing our icemaker, or tearing apart and rebuilding a broken dryer, or lifting and carrying more than 30 lbs of stuff at a time. Welcome to the future, guys. Not all women are trophy wives anymore.

Very few people understand why I write. It can be hard, I guess, to understand the compulsion, the desire to put words to paper. I suppose it can be difficult to understand why someone would want to spend all their spare time (after a full work week) curled up with a laptop. I’m sure it must take a lot to understand why a person would deal with fatigue and self-loathing, amongst a host of other problems, just for the sake of bringing a story to life. But that one I can’t really explain. It simply is what it is. I guess even I don’t really understand myself in this case.