A Lost Heart

Rest assured when I say “A Lost Heart” it does not mean what you think it means. It does not imply a lost love, or anything romantic at all.
When my late British West Indian Mom used this term, she usually meant “to give up on something or a person”. How do those words apply to me as a writer?
Here’s my story:
Back in April 2008 (04/05/2008) I started a blog on a site called “Writing Dot Com”. I did this because I had a co-worker who is an avid writer, had an account there, and recommended it to me. Like a curious cat, and since I’ve NEVER been a member of such a site in the past, I decided look into and try it. First with a free account, then moving on to a paid account, then posting my own personal blog.
Back then my blog was a source of therapy because I was going through many rough areas in my life. My blog helped me to talk it out.
Back then I had been taking care of my Mom who had been mentally and emotionally ill, for 35 years and was (and still am) working on a job which was/is extremely stressful. Eventually, as one of her old doctors predicted, Mom became much too ill to handle medically and I had to make the decision to place her in a nursing home. Plus I had to deal with my own personal demons. So you can best believe I was burning up the keyboard with HEAVY blog entries.
While I was doing this my blog was open for WDC (Writing Dot Com) members who were very supportive and encouraged me to publish my blog as a book. Why? Because it would be helpful and encouraging to others who are in the same fix. I briefly toyed with the idea, but wondered, who would read this? Who would believe this stuff? I didn’t think anyone would read and take what I have written seriously.
Truly I’ve re-read some of the stuff and it scared me. Indeed were I to edit and publish this, I might drive readers AWAY instead of TO the book. Sad to say, those who suffer mental/emotional illness(es) are considered a pariah to some, and a source of ridicule to others. Yes, even in this day and age.
Unfortunately, on 08/04/2010 my life was “reset” as my Mom passed away at 0400am that morning. Had it not been for God, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ I would’ve totally lost my mind. Since I am her only child, and she had no close relatives, I was the only one left to make her arrangements. That’s where my Christian family stepped in with helping hands in every area. I am eternally grateful to God and to them for that. Since then my personal life has about-faced and taken a totally different direction.
What has happened to the blog since then? I no longer make entries in it. Why? I’ve “lost heart” to continue. I’ve lost “the fire in the belly” so to speak. I am no longer inspired to blog about my life in that manner any longer. So I have closed the blog.
It kind of saddens me because as I read over some of the past posts. Even though some are horrifying, they are precious and bring tears to my eyes. Why? I had unknowingly documented the last three tumultuous years of my Mother’s life. Had I known that, I would’ve blogged much more about her. The real person she was before several nervous breakdowns, crippling mental and emotional illness and eventually death, stole her away from me.
Alas, I have lost the opportunity. . . . .




Photo taken 18 years ago. 
Me: standing. Mom: sitting.


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Klingon Poetry?

Yes! Klingon poetry!  


Despite the fact that KLINGONS are very gruff, mean, and DANGEROUS, 

they can wax poetic at times.
Of course you know, some of this is silly stuff, right? 

This is my “feeble attempt” at KLINGON poetry. . . . . . (^-)!
Oh just in case someone asks, 
“These works have all been translated from the original KLINGON.”
* * * * * * * * * * * *
The Games KLINGONS Play
It’s not easy bein’ Klin.
Bein’ a Warrior means,
you always gotta win.
You always gotta be on top.
You can’t take time to rest or stop.
You always gotta watch your back.
“Cuz you ne’er know when there’ll
be an attackAt times,
your poor body’s glad,when you finally hit the rack!
You always gotta strut you stuff.
Can’t let no one know.that you’re not tough!
If that’s not bad “noughYou’ve gotta train long
you’ve gotta train hard.With weapons and without.
‘Cuz if you don’tsomeone else’ll gladlycut you and out!
You’ve gotta be fast,
or you won’t last!
Whilst wolfing down,
Heart of Targ and Stewed Gargh.
To build up muscle mass.
Pardon me for sayin’.”
Haps “cuz I’m just a Human.
But that diet sounds,like it’ll give me gas.
I also wonder if,
after all o’ that.Wouldn’t Klingons ben’fit,
from a Stress Reduction Class?
Klingon Nursery Rhyme #4
One potato
Two potato
Three potato
Two
Red targ
White targ
Black targ
Blue
Disrupter
Mek’Leth
Bat’Leth and 
Le”VekToo
Yes, I am a Klingon male.
Yes. my name is Sue.
Don’t make fun o’ my name.
Don’t mess with me.
And I won’t mess with you!
Young Warrior
A young warriorwounded in battle
lay bleeding on the battlefield
Slowly, painfully
he lifted his eyes to the sky
as his life’s blood
seeped into the ground
He knew his wound
was fatal
Though he was Klingon
he did not wish to die.
He wanted to live to get strong
againto lift his bat’leth high
above his head again.
Do they not see me?
He despaired as others of his garrison
hurried past,
 some tripping over him
eager to enter the fray
Saddend and in great pain
he closed his eyes only briefly to rest them
and saw clearlythe portal of the Black Fleetirised wide,
beckoning,tempting him to enter
He hesitatedtook a step
Faltered and turned at the sound of the Garrison Medic’s
gruff voice as he did his battlefield triage
“Here’s another, bring my kit.
Let’s see how much life
he’s got left in him.”
He felt the practiced hand of the healer probe
near the wound renewing his pain
he nearly bit his tongue in two
to keep from crying out!
“He’s hurt bad
lost a lot of blood But,
he’ll live to fight again with proper care.”
The Medic said
The young warrior’s hearts
oared with joy as the corpsman broughtforth a stretcher,
 and bore him to the medical site
Yes, he would live to see another
dayto fight another battle
And again, raise his bat’lethin victory!

Cat Poetry

These are poems dedicated to my cats Biscuit and Spiral.  
Most are Free Verse as I attempted to make them as visual as possible.
Computer Kitty
Computer Kitty
What do you want?
Can’t you see I’m busy?
I’ve just clicked on Firefox!
Computer Kitty
I know you’re thereI feel your warm,
furry body slinking through my legs
Rubbing your head on my toes
trying to steal my slipper
Computer Kitty
I see you
Standing on your hind paws
Looking at the screen
Are you ordering stufffor me?
Yum-yum treats ora nice new bed?
Computer Kitty
I’m just reading my e-mail
I’m just updating my blog
I’m just checking my bank
account and paying  my bills
Computer Kitty
I’ll have a treat for you
when I sign off.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Purr
A soft and comforting sound
A wonderful for the ear to hear
Comforting for the
hands to feel
Tell me my
feline companion 
Is purring as comforting to you
as it is to me?
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Quietly
You slip in
Through an open door
Seen but unheard
You make your presence known.
By rubbing head and body against
my leg
whipping you long fluffy tail
against my calf.
When I don’t pay heed
You escalate yourassault
By rubbing your head
against my foot
and kissing my toes.
What is it you want this time
my furry friend?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I Hear You
Yeeeoool!
Shush cat!
Surely you jest!
It’s 400am!
It’s too early tobe hungry!
Meoooowww!
I know,
you’re happy to see me?
I’m happy to see you too!
Yaaaah!
No! 
I can’t come out to play!
I’m trying to sleep!
Woooohhh!
What’s wrong with you?
You hardly everspeak!
Squeak!
What a small voice
For such a bigcat!
Waaahhh!
Yes, I’m glad you are delighted
with that new,
comfy spot you’ve found!
Puurrrrrrr!
Yes,
I loveyou too!
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
A Cat’s Whiskers
Long and stiff
What are they for?
They tickle my legs
as you walk by
They give you a wise look
As you peer into
my eyes.
You pull them back
 when I touch them.
I’m sorry, are they
that sensitive?
But, I am fascinated by them
So, while you explore
I will watchto find out
Why you need whiskers.
* * * * * * * * * *
Lord, Bless The Cat
Dear Lord,
I thank you for the Cat
Whether they are slim or fat.
If lazy or spry
If ‘pon their back they do lye.
Thank you for the smile they always sport.
Though they feel nothing
of a sort.
With string or bottle cap fascinated be.
While I sit and sip
my honeyed green tea.
‘Round my leg they do curl
Saying “give me attention
you silly girl.”
My feet and toes they do kiss.
Telling me it’s me they miss.
‘Round my legs on two hind paws they do dance.
Knowing I’m to feed
them in advance
Using their meows and
yowlsReminding me,
they too can use vowels.
Their alert, bright eyes flash
their long whiskers wave.
Letting me know
My comp’ny they do crave
To stalk,
to leap,
to play
Whether it be a fly,
moth or each other
they are a delight to watch.
For loving me
and insisting I love them.
Thank you, Lord for the cat.
By dawnskyy Posted in cats

The Care and Feeding Of A Writer

Way back in the day before electricity, before pens and paper writers really suffered for their art. A combination of poor lighting (that was where that saying: “Burning the midnight oil” came from), they wrote by candle light if they wrote at night. They used quill and ink and parchment and everything was done by hand. If they wanted multiple copies, each copy of the tome/document had to be painstakingly re-written by hand. Back then there was a name for people who did this kind of copying for a living: SCRIBE
I can imagine because of poor lighting, many suffered from poor eyesight and some may have went blind as a result. Still others may have suffered arthritis in the hands, or what we now call Repetitive Action or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from the constant writing. Possibly back problems from sitting in a hunched over position for hours, days and years. And for all of the work, some writers/authors works (which spanned a lifetime), were not discovered and or made famous until they were dead.
Now writers and authors have a much better time of it. But, we still need to take care of ourselves so that we can remain in optimum condition to continue writing.
First and most important of all, we must have proper supplies. Back in ancient times, ink, and paper, scrolls were expensive and hard to come by. Now, it is as easy as going to our nearest stationary superstore to pick up paper, notebooks, printer ink, printer paper, pens, computers, software, etc. Why? So that we are well supplied in order to practice our art.
If painters must have a canvas(s) and a variety of paints in order to express themselves in color. And if a photographer must have his or her cameras at the ready to take photos which will inspire others. So must a writer.
Also. What are you reading? We writers must feed our minds in order to be inspired to write. Reading regularly must be part of our schedule. Even if it’s just to see what our competition is up to. . . . . . . . . . .
Now, here are some radical thoughts.
Writers must take care of themselves physically. How? What is your writing environment like? Is it properly lit? If composing on a computer do you have the proper keyboard ( ergonomic keyboard)? Do you have a proper chair which supports both your (lumbar) back and your arms? Do you have a mouse pad which has a “hump” to support your wrist?
If you are writing longhand what kind of pen are you using? Is it a “fat” pen (which has a cushioned barrel) and is easier to grasp and causes less strain on the fingers and hands? Pentel makes a “Pentel Wow” pen with a triangle base which is very comfortable to the hand. Also are you taking breaks to rest you hand and arm? Yes I use them and I buy them in bulk from Staples.
Spending long hours on the computer and writing means that one often forgets. Forgets proper meals, so we rush and grab junk instead of a decent healthy meal. Forget to drink water instead of soda, juice, coffee. And the most important of all, we forget to exercise.
A medical study came out recently, saying that our sedentary lifestyle (facilitated by the computer – fancy that) is killing us! Doctors advise that whether we are at work or at home to stop sitting on our duffs all day. To get up and stretch and walk frequently, or become a victim of high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke.
Side note: I find that when I stop and take a PT (Personal Training) break and either jog or power walk, I often get fresh ideas and I come back ready and rearing to write.
Last but not least, sleep. It is important for writers to get plenty of good quality REM sleep. I being a suffer of insomnia have stayed up for days on end writing. However, the resulting CRASH is not pretty. You may be on a high for days at a stretch, but your body eventually must shut down to preserve itself.
And after a “stretch” like that what have you actually written? I’ve heard stories about people who claimed after imbibing or taking drugs that they became super duper creative. Well, I’ve read a couple of my works after some of my “insomnia moments” and the stuff read like it was written by my “evil twin”, it was gibberish. It was better I had not written a word. . . . . .

So quality sleep is extremely important for your sanity and the integrity of your art.
For those of you who get ideas before settling down to sleep or upon waking. Keep a pad by the bed to jot them down.
I’m not a doctor or nurse but I’ve learned these things over the years and wanted to pass them on. I hope they have been helpful to you. Please feel free to either comment or add to what I have already listed.

Thank You.




Write It Out!

When I was in collage, I was a member of my collage track team. I’ve forgotten the name, but then the York Collage (in New York City) track team had a famous coach who also coached the New York Cheetah Track Club. And like their namesake, they were an awesomely fast bunch of ladies!
Back then we as young ladies would always go to our coach and whine with excuses as to why we could not attend/participate in practices. Either we had a cold, had our “menses” and cramps, had various aches and pains, and various mysterious maladies.
Coach Johnson’s solution? “Go run it out.” he would say.
Meaning: Get out there on that track and run whether you feel like it or not! Reaction?  We all thought Coach Johnson was a mean, cruel, and insensitive man. However, what he didn’t explain to us was how could he run a championship track team when all of the members are begging off sick?  And,if we wanted to maintain our championship status we had to get out there practice and produce. That meant workouts and practice whether we felt like it or not.
He also didn’t tell us that once we got out on the track or worked out in the gym we would forget our so called misery. Essentially what we were doing were exchanging one misery for another.
How does this apply to my writing?
I am Human and therefore I have feelings, and just like when I was on the track team, I have days where I just don’t wanna. Yes, I said wanna. . . . . . .
I just don’t FEEL like it. Though I have two computers (which makes it easier for me to write) I don’t even want to go near them. I don’t want to boot them up, when I do, I don’t want to transcribe. I am sick and tired of editing the same story over, and over, and over again. I don’t even want to write down ideas I have floating around in my mind. I just don’t want to be bothered.
What do I do?
Well, I have to suck it up.  “Get a stiff upper lip” as the British would say.
I’ve applied the same lesson that Coach Johnson taught our track team. Number one, if I want to be a good writer I have to work out on a regular basis. This means writing regularly whether I want to or not. Number two, I also realize that no one else is going to write FOR me. Those ideas I have in my head? They are not going to be written on paper or typed into the computer unless I DO IT.
In essence, if I want to be a champion, it is my responsibility to mold myself into one.
Like that Nike commercial: JUST DO IT!
Or like Coach Johnson used to say: “Go run it out. . . . . .”




A Writer Goes To The Doctors Office. . . . .

I went to the doctor’s office (clinic)today.  In order to get what is called a “walk in” appointment, one must sign in on a  “sign in sheet”, sit and wait until one is called.  


I signed in and sat, made myself comfy with my composition book and pen and began to write. I totally forgot about the time until I caught a chill and had to put on my jacket.  


I looked up at the clock and it was 1pm and I was the only one in the waiting room!  I decided that I had been there too darned long and was going to leave but decided to stop by the desk and see if they had called me.  Perhaps I just didn’t hear them call my name.  Hey, it happens. . . . .  


I was horrified to find that out of the twenty or so names listed on the sign in sheet, all were crossed out accept mine!  When I pointed out my name and asked the receptionist why she did not call me, her excuse was:  “I couldn’t read your hand writing so I couldn’t call you.”  


What the heck?  
Have you ever heard something so stupid?  


I was so ticked that I wanted to leave, but instead I asked to speak to her supervisor.  When the supervisor came over, she was horrified to hear her subordinate make such a lame excuse for not calling a patient.  She apologized up and down and offered to put me in to see the doctor right away.  I refused because I was, tired, achy, cold, too sick to sit there another second. All I wanted to do was go home and crawl back in bed.  So, she gave me an appointment for the next day.  


I told the supervisor that I worked with customer relations also.  My standard approach is, if I see someone sitting in the waiting area for a long time, I approach them and ask if they are being helped. If not, I help them or get them help immediately.  There is no way a person should be left sitting in the waiting room for two hours, just because their handwriting was illegible.


That was a very lame excuse and the receptionist’s actions were totally unprofessional.  Were it me, at my job, I would’ve been written up and possibly suspended.  I don’t want to see anyone lose their job, but when you work with the public, especially when dealing with “the public in distress” (victims of crime or sick) you must maintain a high level of decorum.  


I admit, I am partially to blame for this mess.  Had I not been scribbling away in my notebook, I would’ve noticed I’d been waiting an inordinately long time.  Ah well. . . . . 






An Interesting Teacher & Writer Analogy

I had an interesting discussion with my good friend Julie, who is a New York City 7th Grade English teacher.  After catching up with and greeting each other for the “New Year” waxing long, and catching up on news about on a certain “beloved celebrity”, we got down to the nitty gritty.


Julie both bemoaned and praised a new piece of equipment which she is now required to use in the classroom. I forgot it’s name, but it is the equivalent of MicroSoft Powerpoint. 


Instead of writing out lesson plans by hand, Julie uses  this computer program which helps set to it up for her.  Julie agrees that this particular program is very helpful and cuts down on the amount of preparation time needed to research and prepare multiple lessons.  


However, there is a downside.  When you utterly depend upon a computer to do everything for you. . . .  I’ve said it in a past post:  “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”


Julie’s students use laptops in her class, and she noticed that their penmanship had descended into the dark chasm of illegibility. To quote Julie:  “You couldn’t read a darned thing they wrote!”  Why?  Instead of writing, they were tapping away on computer keyboards all day. 


So, Julie crafted little pads for each student, with a lanyard attached so that they could wear them around their necks everywhere they went.  Their assignment?  To document their thoughts in this little books, not the computer.  A step back from high tech, to no tech. . . . .


Julie is happy to report that since she initiated this project in January, the majority of her students are still sticking with the project.  


Julie also told me that she initiated a project for her kids to read actual books.  Not books on computer, I-Pad, Kindle, Nook, etc, but the actual printed page type books.  Why?  Because she wants her children to have the actual hands on experience of reading and writing.  


I only wish her children, and the rest of the GenX or younger generation can experience what what I did when I had to do research.  I spent all day in the library closeted with the Encyclopedia Britannica, the dreaded “card file or cataloge”, cruised the aisles looking for books, and harassed the Librarian.  Now that was what we called research and studying!


By the way, Julie keeps her own “skills up” by reading at least two (paper) books a month and keeping a journal (yes, an old fashioned paper one).  We both had a good laugh because we are both the same age and are thus both Old School, so we roll like that. . . . .


In conclusion, I totally agree with what Julie is doing.  It seems that with the onset of each electronic devise, we lose another important part of our culture.  And if we are not careful to guard against one loss, all will be lost, and become irretrievable.   








My BUSY Bag

Those of you who are parents of young children already know what a “busy bag” is.  It’s a bag you pack for those long trips with the offspring, which contains enough things to keep the “kiddie-poos” busy.  Thus preventing them from asking: “Are we there yet?” every five minutes. 


When I was really young, when my Mom took me to the doctor (which was often because I was sickly), she always packed a busy bag.  But instead of toys and fun activities, she packed my homework, reading assignments and, math studies.  Yep, she always made me study my “sums”. . . . .


NOTE:  My British West Indian Mom referred to “math” as “sums.”


Well, I apply the “busy bag” method to my adult self.  Whenever I leave the house, unless it is on an errand, to jog, or to the gym, I carry my own version of a busy bag.  That means when I go to class, work, to the doctor’s office, the therapist.  Anyplace where I will have a long and BOOOOORRRRING wait.  This is especially true for long commutes.


I just can’t see spending great swaths of time sitting and staring at the walls (or in some cases the wide screen TV in some offices), out of the window, and at other people, with nothing to do. With even a free newspaper to read.  Yes, we have those here in New York City. . . . .  


I recall back in high school I took a beginning photography class, and my instructor taught that “In order to be a good photographer, you must always carry your camera with you. Why?  Because you never know when you will see a great shot.”  Mind you, that was back in the days of HEAVY and CLUNKY single lens reflex cameras.  Imagine “shlepping” that, plus extra lenses, film, batteries, etc.  I eventually gave it up.  


I’ve returned to photography due to the miracle of digital cameras.  They are one heck of a lot smaller and weigh a lot less.  And believe it or not, cellphone cameras can take some awesome photos by the way!  


I’ve long forgotten that teacher’s name but I took his advise to heart in not only carrying a camera but my writing implements.  A composition book, plenty of pens (the darned things always run out of ink at the most inopportune times. . .), and my netbook.  Thus, like the boy scouts, I’m always prepared.  


Here is a list of what I carry.


1.  Netbook
2.  Bag of wires (for netbook, cellphone, Kindle, etc)
3.  Composition book
4.  Pens
5.  Kindle
6.  Stainless Steel Flask (of H2O or Juice)
7.  A snack or meal
I WEAR my cellphone and camera.







P.S.  Yes, I realize I can carry both of my cats in this bag. . . LOL!

Do You Still Write Longhand?

The reason I ask is because I work in customer service.  Often the customers must fill out forms in order for me or my fellow co-workers to help them.  Which is par for the course in my line of work.


However, lately I’ve encountered customers who haven’t written in so long that either their penmanship is an abomination or, believe it or not, they no longer know how to write.  Yeah, I see you shaking your head with disbelief. . . . .


Apparently that old saying: “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” applies to writing also.


When asked about it, one male customer replied that he dealt so extensively with computers that he rarely, if ever, wrote anything by hand.  Everything he did was computer generated.  So, he had literally forgotten how to write and therefore could not fill out forms.  


Oh my heavens!  Is this what the Human race has come to?  Will longhand go the way or the eight track player, the cassette, and the poloroid camera?  


Computers were supposed to help enhance man’s intelligence.  They were not dumb us down to where we have become hapless sods, clouting each other over the head with clubs and naming our sons “Ogg”   ::facepalm::


As for me, I still use pen and paper.  Yes, I have a laptop, a netbook and a smartphone, but I also carry a handy composition book and plenty of pens.  Just in case I have to jot down some important thoughts, and I don’t have the time to fire up my netbook.


Oh yes, I did try the free “note” application which came with my new Android.  But, it drove me to the point of nearly smashing my brand new cell phone under foot . . . . . . . .   So, I went back to my composition book and pen. . . . . . .


I guess, I’m just very old fashioned in that respect.  How about you?










Online Censorship

I think I’ve already visited this issue but I need to kind of clarify it, for myself and others.  


I have no issue with online censorship if site self censor themselves.  The majority of the sites I’m a member of already know how to “responsibly censor themselves”.  What do I mean by that?  People are informed from the moment they join said site that any subject matter posted on said site, must fall within a certain set in stone guidelines, or it will be deleted by site managers, administrators or security.  And depending upon the severity of the breech, said member would be tossed out of the site or banned.  Same thing.


Most sites use the same ratings as movies do.  “General” membership which automatically means, minors are on board, so content must be kept clean as a whistle.


“PG” means a little something is allowed.  One can say damn and a chaste peck on the cheek and forehead is allowed.  No overt behavior is acceptable.  


“X” and above.  Well, we all know what that means.  


There are some sophisticated sites which allow you to lock down your rated X and above content, and only allow certain members access if they have a certain code.  Which allows under age members to stay out of the domains they have no business in.  This also keeps the site out of trouble for exposing minors to explicit content.  


This is the kind of censorship I don’t mind on line.  It is responsible and allows members to make responsible choices where it comes to what they wish to post or be exposed to.  The power lies soley in their hands.  


What I take strong exception to is a site manager dictating what one should write to the point of redacting your creation.


In short:  I was a member of a site where I was part of a group which helped write for and produce a monthly newsletter.  This went on for approximately 2 years without problems, in fact we got rave reviews. Thanks to our wonderful and hard working team.  


Suddenly this year, the chain of command changed and the “new” person in charge decided he wanted to read and approve of everything that was published first.  This was despite the fact that the experienced editor already approved of the content, which was written by experienced writers!  


The result was a predictably nasty fight between the editor and the “Tyrant”.  Then a bunch of us packed up our content, resigned, and quit the site.  If the Tyrant wanted to run his own regime, then so be it.  He can do it without us!   Let him find people who will write to his own self motivated specifications.  Which will suck, by the way. . . . . .

This is especially sad because we just had a 24 hour web shutdown (by some sites) over SOPA and PIPA, and here comes this guy.  Won’t people ever learn, that censorship is not good?


Like Einstein once said:  “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is INSANITY. . . .”


I rest my case.