Blink Poetry

A few words to the wind, as soft as a whisper. My first ebook was quietly published on October 15th. It’s a secret… just like this blog. Out there, as public as can be, yet most of the people in my everyday life don’t know that I write anywhere about anything.

Only two people knew about this ebook project until one of them (my bold and brazen daughter) found Blink Poetry at Barnes & Noble and just had to share a link on social media. She restricted her share to omit family, but I still await the backlash.

So, why am I so paranoid? It’s just bad poetry representing 40 years of raw and real emotions. Some poems reveal too much.

In some ways, putting this collection together was just tidying up the past, end of chapter, turn the page. Blink and it’s gone… time to move on.

The second purpose was purely technical. It was a practice in formatting my written words for ebook publication. Perhaps poetry was a bad choice for a first go… it’s so not perfect. Some of my formatting morphed a bit, lost my larger font size for titles and a couple poems with lines that indented visually on an angle all came in plain and straight. Nothing major, just little things that make me wonder how to make it survive the process in tack, but not enough to go on a revision quest seeking perfection. Yeah, it would be easy to get bogged down instead of moving on to the next project.

(SEE UPDATE BELOW)

I am considering an audio book version, on my daughter’s suggestion. She gave me the greatest compliment, said my poems “come alive” when I read them out loud. Maybe I should practice on street corners again. That was always fun, so doing an audio book might be fun, too. It will take awhile, of course, because I will have to learn how.

If you would like to check out my ebook, you can find Blink Poetry at Smashwords. It is rated for adults due to content and language. Yeah, six of the poems do contain profanity and some of the topics are not kid friendly. Or, parent friendly… as in my own.

Oh my gosh, the dreads hit me hard yesterday. I seriously thought about pulling it. Yeah, here I am, 59 years old, thinking about hiding my own words. And, for what? To protect other people’s fragile feelings?

Nah, it’s a bit more complicated. There are reasons why I cannot live in the same town as my family. I love them dearly, but they think everything I do or say somehow reflects on them. The pressure to conform, to toe the line is very real. Surely, if my family reads Blink Poetry, I will be shunned.

Straight up, I broke the rules.

Little girls are supposed to grow up, get married, and live happily ever after. Divorce is not an option. If a marriage fails, if the man sets her aside, the woman is supposed to maintain the highest fortitude of moral propriety until she marries again. In other words, my family believes that sex (correction, marital relations and anything that might lead up to marital relations) is for married people only. My husband left me in 1987. I was supposed to live by the rules, remarry or spend the remainder of my days without ever being touched, as if I had taken a vow of celibacy.

So you see, poems like “Sex with Neighbors” will not go over very well.

The title does sound slutty as hell, but in my defense, it was just one neighbor, the same man who practically lived with me for a couple years after I bought this house. I wrote the poem when we both lived in the same apartment building, when I wasn’t sure if we had enough in common to make a go of anything. My family knew that he stayed here. It was kind of obvious, with his clothes and stuff. Mom flat out asked if we shared a bed. She wanted to know if we intended to marry. I told her I’m like Aunt Betty, figured that would explain it in a nutshell and stop her questions.

Ye gads, that proved to be more true than not. My dad’s sister had a special friend for the last decade of her life and she couldn’t live with him either. That’s me and the Vet, but as just friends now.

There’s also a possibility that the Vet will disapprove of Blink Poetry, too, mostly because he would think that some poems should have been ripped up and tossed out long ago. But, I’m not shredding my words for someone who can’t even tell HIS delusional wannabee girlfriend to stop posting hearts and stickers asserting her fantasy relationship with him on Facebook. He knows I don’t believe his “I’m not messing with that woman, it’s all in her head” BS and has gone from total defense to just rolling his eyes now when I mention anything about his girlfriend. Bottom line, as he’s told me so many times, he can’t control what that woman does… well, ditto.

Thanks for reading!

UPDATE 14 NOV 2019: I’m on a perfection quest, almost done revising the ebook to eliminate that one blank page and some other odd things. I will update again when the revised version replaces the original. Blink Poetry will be released as a paperback soon, since several people have asked me for a hard copy. As for an audio book, that can wait as I don’t have access to equipment capable of doing that myself (or know how to use it) and the audio book service I checked into hires people to read so odds are, they wouldn’t read my poems exactly as I would. But, who knows? Maybe they could read my poems better than I do. Doesn’t matter… I don’t have money to do that anyway.

UPDATE 28 NOV 2019: Just deleted some links and edited the paragraph containing the links because I just opted out of global distributed to ensure compliance with the fine print for global distribution of the paperback. I get it… totally not cool to have the same book available from two different sources at the same retailers, even if they are in different formats with their own ISBN. I kept the Smashwords link because the ebook version there is the Smashwords edition, same poems, different back matter, etc. By opting out of global distribution, the Smashwords edition will ONLY be available ON the Smashwords website. In time, there will be an ebook version of the paperback so readers can choose… right now, I’m waiting on my second proof copy to arrive in the mail. Yeah, I rejected the first proof… my own screw-up, had the cover image too far off center and found a missing punctuation mark, plus a couple other little things. I absolutely LOVE the fact that the author must purchase a printed copy of their own book, see it with their own eyes and hold it with their own hands, before it can be approved for distribution. That extra step makes good sense to me.

BTW, sister Jai… I went ahead and ordered extra copies with this second proof as I expect to be pleased with the results. Yes, one is for you.

Delusional

He dangled a
future in front of me
as an unattainable carrot
that only he could see,
then called me delusional
thinking that I want
what cannot be.

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This selfie is proof that I am NOT delusional.

The painting is called SOAR… as in, NEVER TO NEST.  See those birds? I paint birds to represent souls. One of those two black birds flying solo is ME… the other is the old friend who cold turkey cut me out of his life via a one sided early morning text slam in January.

My art is abstract, but I am a realist…  I knew when I painted SOAR back in 1998 that there would never be a fairy tale romance leading to some happily ever after bull between us. That is one thing we had in common… neither one of us wanted that! I was fresh out of a suffocating marriage and the R.Tist was leaving before I met him.

Yes, there was a time when I wondered if we could be more than friends.

That was TWELVE YEARS AGO… he made it very clear that would never be, and described our relationship as a unique and special friendship back in 2004. Later that year, he moved to PA. The last time I saw him was in 2006, when he drove to Ohio to cheat on his then live-in girlfriend, who had gone to Vegas with her friends.

If he wanted to be with me, he would have stayed with me or asked me to go with him.  If he had a change of heart, his feet would have brought him back to me… that never happened so I had to get over it, accept what is as is… we were meant to be friends, nothing more.

So, I’m like totally confused.

I thought we were friends… long distance muses and friends.

I don’t understand why he would say things like he always doubted my ability to be his friend and how I could care less about what he’s going through… as if my interest in being friends with him was holding onto old hopes for more, rip me up one side and down the other.

Has he harbored a delusion of me being delusional all these years?

Maybe I gave him the delusion of me being delusional when I was twirling ideas of leaping in leap year… I wanted to run away, make a fresh start somewhere else and yes, I did considered moving closer to my old friend so we could hang out once in awhile and talk in person instead of texting.  He talked about moving, too. He’s the one who said, “yeah, I could live with you.” We did not talk about hooking up or anything stupid… it was more like a yeah, we could tolerate each other’s artistic quirks enough to share space, split the cost of living, make it easier to survive. Those conversations were like daydreaming out loud… just twirling ideas, nothing set in stone.

 

Can we make amends?

No… I am dead to him. He killed our friendship because I failed to live up to his expectations. My crime was being human. Okay, one slightly flawed bipolar human who self medicated during a manic stage and kept her personal life private, but it was really none of his business… and should have had no bearing on our friendship.

True, I could have been a better friend. He picked up on something being off with me… but was he there for me? No… when I told him that I wrote a letter to explain what was going on with me,  he mulled it through memories, twirled it with imagination, drew conclusions on assumptions, and slammed me with a text good-bye BEFORE the mail had time to arrive. Straight up, he could have been a better friend to me, too.

I’ve been talking to my shrink about all this… confusion, anger, mixed emotions is all part of the grieving process. I still care… I miss my friend, but I have to let the friendship go… it is dead.

We also talked about the death of my nephew.  I have a lot of anger, confusion, and unanswered questions about that, too. I want to blame the asshole who dumped his body in a McDonald’s parking lot. Paramedics were able to get his heart going again, but too much time had passed. The hospital tried heroic measures to save his life, even dropped his body temperature for 24 hours, but it was too late. He was brain dead. They took his body off life support last Monday.  I wonder where he OD’d, how much time had passed, if this dude purposely drove up to dump him on the south side of Youngstown, where discovery wouldn’t make the news. They lived way down in Columbiana County. What was he doing with that guy anyway? He was clean, why would he use heroin again? Was it by choice?

Shrink told me to keep writing… to keep doing what I’m doing… he said I seem more stable now, so that is a good thing. I feel more stable. I’m just grieving.

Thanks for reading.

 

RC #5

Yeah, it’s a weekend thing to step on the scale to verify that I haven’t binged since the last Reality Check and here it is Wednesday or actually Thursday.

Yes, I stepped on the scales last weekend and down two pounds, no big deal, didn’t have anything to say about it… oh, started a post but it was all happy butterflies and moon beams. Then I read the Sunday paper and did not feel like posting smiles and daisies fluff.

So, here it is Thursday in the wee hours of the morn, not even 4am, and I want to bake and eat a zillion cookies, call a taxi to find an open all night store that sells ice cream and chocolate sauce. I already ate a bag of chips.

WTF is going on with me?

I am tired but can’t sleep. That has become a frequent problem, not getting near enough sleep, some nights only 4 or 5 hours.

I have a shrink appointment next Tuesday, postponed from weeks ago till the end of June to give me a chance to pay off a stack of medical bills without adding to them. I am nervous about this and I don’t know why, dreading but looking forward to it at the same time. I debated about blowing it off, do I really need therapy?

I ordered clothes that don’t fit… knew I had dropped sizes so I measured myself and consulted the chart but should have dropped it one more. (Yes, returning loose jeans and capris and shirt that hangs too baggy, keeping a couple tops shaped well so loose is comfy.)

I shopped in stores, trying things on… almost bought a white cotton sundress until I noticed a rip in one of the fake macrame shoulder straps.

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LATER (Thursday afternoon)

Stopped writing in the night when it hit me… I have clothes in some of the same sizes that I was trying on in the stores stashed up in my “skinny clothes” box. So, I dragged out the box and tried things on.

I no longer have a skinny clothes box.

Oh, I still have three pairs of vintage jeans cira 1990 and one pair of leftover jeans from popping diet pills in 1998, which was the last time I wore the vintage jeans (got strange looks then, the styles are so dated). Those jeans can stack on a shelf as it is only a matter of time, ye maybe forty pounds, before I can wear them again.

I stepped on the scales this morning, against my better judgement… never weigh yourself the day after consuming 1120 calories worth of salty chips.

WHY did I buy them in the first place?

This is where it gets messed up.

First, let me share this: I have no problem keeping chips in the house – there’s an opened bag ye over half full of tortilla chips up in the cupboard right now. They’ve been there for oh, weeks? I’ve ate out of it several times, making mini tostadas for supper or crushing a few on a salad. If I want to eat chips, I eat chips, nothing is forbidden. I’m not dieting. So its not like oooo, that’s bad, not allowed or anything. So, eating an entire bag of these chips had nothing to do with an inability to have things like that in the house.

I bought the chips because a neighbor asked for a couple bucks the night before and I didn’t have the change so I sent him up to the store. I gave specific instructions of what to buy, including this particular type of chips and where to locate them in the store as they are in their own display rack over by the coffee pot and NOT in the chip aisle. He did not listen to me. Insteading of using my money to buy me what I wanted, he bought me what he wanted to buy me. I wanted “Munchies” (snack mix of doritos, cheese curls, pretzels, and sun chips) and sliced cheddar cheese from the deli. He came back with cheddar flavored potato chips and an ice cream candy bar.

I asked what happened. He forgot about the cheese. And they just didn’t have those chips I wanted. Yes, he looked where I told him they would be… none there. Okay, maybe someone came in and bought out the entire display rack, all four shelves? I let it slide, knowing that he just did not listen to me. Men. Generalization, yes, but typical problem with sending men to stores, they rarely return with what the woman asked for. Fresh spinach? Bring back a can. Ask for beans, lucky to get peas. Oh well.

I should have tossed the chips I didn’t want, but I ate them anyway, crunching down the irritation of not being heard, my instructions ignored. Then the next day, when I was walking past the store, I stopped in to see if he flat out lied to me. The display has obviously not been restocked overnight. I bought them out of spite, bit childish… but irritations simmer. It had nothing to do with chips and everything to do with feeling like I talk to the wind, my words ignored, as if what I say or what I want does not matter, ya-ya so what… so I ended up eating two bags of chips (and that ice cream bar) in attempt to crush those emotions instead of following my original intention… to eat ye about one serving of what I wanted and stashing the rest up for another day. I didn’t even enjoy eating them.

Oh well… it could have been a LOT worse… combined chip calories over two days still way less than than how it used to be, since writing and trying on clothes in the night stopped me from turning it into a full blown binge.

Damage? Temporary, mostly an OD on salt thing, as total calories consumed does not equal enough for a five pound gain. I feel puffy and miserable.

So, it’s a be kind to myself day.

Binge eating disorder has very little to do with food and everything about repressed emotions, how to do deal with things that are “inappropriate” to express. I cannot take out a lifetime of feeling ya-ya’d what I think or feel or say does not matter on a man who screwed up on a store run.

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People have told me that my blogging about it has helped them, which came as a shock as I had no idea that they even read my blog. I’ve been asked to be more specific, share what am I doing… what I eat, etc. Straight up, its not about food. Thanks for listening.