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.

I AM HERE

Epiphany #3:  I AM HERE… as in, ALL OF ME is still frikkin here.

If I hid parts of me from you, it was an unconscious, automatic reaction to clues (real or imagined) as that is what I do when I pick up on vibes of disapproval. If I think you find an aspect of me unacceptable, then I will simply hide that part of me from you.

It is easy to do… childhood conditioning.

I was raised in an era when children were seen and not heard, when little girls were supposed to be passive, weak, adorable, meek, soft spoken little ladies, and oh so very nice… stand still and look pretty.

Double down if you live in a glass house called a parsonage.

I was one of five little “angels” with impeccable manners, pretending to be what I’m not… feeling more like a fraud with each passing year. And, of course, little girls are not supposed to even FEEL negative or “inappropriate” emotions, so there was no outlet if you do, not allowed to express them. Best not tell anyone if something bad happens… your own fault anyway, something fundamentally wrong with you.

It took years and some therapy to love and accept myself as I am… now I am trying to be consciously aware to override that auto-response to clues (real or imagined) so I can stop hiding aspects of myself from those who love me.

Please know that I don’t do it out of shame or guilt or even to make myself more acceptable to other people. I do it for self-preservation, to guard my precious me… I am my own treasure.

I guard my me because I have always felt like people want to change me, or make me change myself, just so I would be more acceptable to them and/or fit their own impression of who they thought I should be.

Fixing me is not your project.

I am not going to change who I am to please anyone. The only one I have to answer to, besides my own self, is God.  The approval or acceptance from other people is not necessary. I hide my true authentic self from people who may find me inappropriate just so I don’t have to deal with their bull. Who I am is none of their business. They don’t need to know all of me.

WHY would I hid parts of myself from the ONLY person who has ever noticed that I do that? The only man who has accepted, and encouraged me to be my true authentic self as I am?

Clues babe… that automatic response kicks in, it’s unconscious… wasn’t done on purpose.

What clues?  Well, here’s an example… when I briefly mentioned what I was writing a book about, he pretty much told me that my topic wasn’t very nice, that I shouldn’t write something like that. So, I just never mentioned it to him again… it became none of his business… he doesn’t need to know anything about it. Eventually, I took ALL my writing underground, essentially closing off an aspect of myself as writing is vital to my existence.

Oh yes babe, I still write. I write a LOT… even got phone apps for that, so I can write anywhere at any time and email it to myself. That’s what I did in the wee hours of the night, when pain pulled me from slumber, and I got up so my moans and thrashing would not disturb your sleep. You bitched too much about me being on the computer so I alternated with using phone apps at the kitchen table, writing to take my mind off pain while waiting for pills to kick in.

Another example? When I try to talk to someone about things that are important to me and they cut me off with “why bring that up again” or some other offhand remark, I just shut up and stash that topic off as something I cannot openly discuss with them.  After that happens a few times, I stop trying.

Suppose it doesn’t matter anyway… but we are supposedly just taking a break so I can work on myself while you are out doing what you do.  That’s Epiphany #4:  I don’t really know you.