Posted in Thoughts

Pain and Heartache

A Thousand Tiny Cuts

This past week has been a bit painful. Many of you know our infant grandson passed away. While I cannot know the pain his parents are going through, it has been doubly hard seeing your child suffering along with losing a beautiful new grandbaby. While grief itself will not kill us, sometimes the way we handle grief can.

As a fiction writer, I talk about pain and grief more easily than I do in real life. The filter through which I write my fiction allows me to view the world in such a way that makes the pain more bearable.

There is a torture method called a thousand tiny cuts. Many of you who watch spy movies or read criminal suspense thrillers may already be familiar with this. It was used on prisoners of war. It was designed to give maximum pain without fear of death. Think of a paper cut. A paper cut hurts, can even bleed but seldom leaves a scar and I’ve never known of one that was life threatening. If you have several paper cuts, one of them might leave a scar but it is doubtful you will die. You get the idea. Now imagine several cuts, some shallow like a paper cut, others just slightly deeper but none truly deep. If you are cut many times in the same place, after a while you build up scar tissue. Your skin thickens and in order to do damage your torturer must cut deeper, and the risk of death becomes greater.

In fiction as in real life, we deal with many little hurts. People are cruel or inconsiderate. Their words or actions cut and sting, some draw blood. Some of these hurts are done without malice, a parent fearing a child might get hurt if they try, might make them believe they cannot do something. That lack of faith cuts into their psyche and undermines their self-esteem. A sibling might tease leaving behind a scar that never goes away. Other cuts are done on purpose, a bully who cuts you down to make himself feel better or a cheating lover who blames you for their own weaknesses. Many cuts are done blindly, the person with the knife doesn’t know how much hurt their cut inflicts, some may not care.

This past week I felt as if I’d been sliced and diced. I’m still a bit raw but I’m healing. Some people choose to heap on more cuts when you are already bleeding but there are others who bring out the soothing balm and wrap your wounds.

In writing my new novel, my main character Janie butts heads with a controlling mother who has made her believe she couldn’t do anything because of her mother’s fears for her. She also suffers from a jealous sister and a well-meaning brother whose interference altered her life. After learning the truth of their involvement, she must work through her anger and betrayal to see if she can forgive them.

As Sheryl Crow sang, “The first cut is the deepest,” my character Janie revisits her first love but doesn’t trust herself enough to believe in second chances. Can the truth really set you free, and can Mike “…help me dry the tears that I’ve cried.”

Posted in my books, Thoughts

Discovering my Voice

Few people know I’m shy and timid, and a bit of an introvert. Okay, stop laughing, I am really, though I hide it well. In high school, I began speaking up for myself. It didn’t come naturally but with the encouragement of my mentor, Ms. Glenoria Jennette and one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Justice Tice, I began to find my voice. My husband, David, in the course of our marriage and raising our six boys has tried to help me find my courage. My sons, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, also taught me how to find my voice. Sometimes it was in their defense but often it was mediating between them.

For someone who is timid and fearful, standing up and making your voice heard is often difficult and emotionally exhausting. It’s much easier (less problematic) to just remain silent and stew in your insecurities. Writing is another way I have found my voice. Sharing my writing with others is terrifying and the many rejections I’ve received over the years has thickened my skin, though I am still insecure and tender hearted I handle it a little better now.

“A coward dies many deaths…,” If I could be anything, I’d be brave. For if I were brave then nothing would stop me from fulfilling my dreams. In my stories, I want my characters to be people who find their voice, their strength and their courage to face the task ahead of them. Whether it be allowing themselves to be loved or looking down the barrel of a gun, I want my characters to overcome their fears and conquer it.

My characters, like the main character in my novel “Chrome Pink”, are damaged personalities. Most of us don’t make it to adult-hood without some baggage. Rae Lynne Grimes has more than most but she is stronger than she realizes. She is a survivor—a fighter. After being raped and humiliated in high school, she fought back. Her anger and addictions nearly ruined her as she struggled with the shame and the pain, but with the love and help of her grandfather and her best friends she learned to cope with the demons. Hardened by her past, Rae still manages to retain a kindness the belies her tough exterior. Like many of the people we know, Rae has had to deal with the drama she didn’t create as well as her own bad choices. Her life hasn’t been a fairy tale and she is no one’s idea of a princess. She will tell you herself, she isn’t easy to love, but for that one person—she is everything. Logan Birdsong who sees past the tattoos and piercings, the foul mouth and anger, in his eyes, she is a jewel in the rough. While he has his own burdens, it is Rae’s strength and determination that pushes the story forward.

It is for those who will never reach the ball, those women who are destined to deal with the bad choices they’ve made, that I write. I want to tell the story of a women too tough to lay down and die. Women who go through hell and not only did survive, but thrive. I want to show others going through their own versions of hell, that they are not alone.


Posted in poetry

Peace on Earth

“Let there be peace on earth…”
There doesn’t seem to be much peace this year, the news is full of anger and fear, police brutality, terrorists and hate, crime is on the rise. Everyone shouting and screaming about the color of a cup or the words we use to greet each other. All the while children are being killed in their class rooms and shot in the streets.
As the bells jiggle and the lights twinkle children huddle in the cold, hungry and old before their time. Happy holidays, good cheer, would you like fries with that? Close the borders, close your eyes, don’t let the truth disturb the lies. Live and let live as long as we don’t disagree. Martyrs and fanatics, Christians, Muslims and Jews, straight, gay and all the way. Why can’t we all just get along?
My heart is heavy as children cry, old people left alone to die. Hate abounds, fragile glass of hope it drowns. Christmas star shine your light, we need your Peace on Earth tonight. Little Christ child in the hay, bring your love to me this day. The world can’t change unless we do, let the change begin with you. Peace on earth, the song we sing, let the bells of freedom ring. Be the change you want to see. Hope and faith and love are free, priceless their value to humanity. Gold and silver and silicone, the greatest of these is love.