His world had been comprised of hastily constructed philosophies, which upon close examination, had failed him and promptly collapsed.
“Peanut butter,” he gasped moaning at the delicious taste of the product his mother had refused to feed him as a child.
“How can you have not tasted Peanut butter, Charlie? You’re thirty-nine years old and have been living on your own for twenty years. Didn’t it ever occur to you buy it, just once, to see what it tasted like?”
Charlie looked at Dana his mouth a gap,”This is mind blowing. All my life I thought Peanut butter would kill me. My mother convinced me my throat would swell, that I would die on the floor gasping for air if I ate it. But I’m fine. I’ve been eating it all day and it hasn’t made me sick or made me have trouble breathing. My mother was a liar!”
“She was just trying to protect you, Charlie. You did say she saw a kid die from being exposed to peanut butter when she was in school. It’s why they don’t allow it public schools. Your mom should have let you try a bit of Peanut butter first to see if your body reacted,” Dana remarked.
Charlie shook is head and sighed with pleasure. “I’m going to be eating Peanut butter for the rest of my days, for all those years I was robbed of it’s taste and smooth texture.”
Dana laughed,”Careful Charlie, there is a lot of calories in peanut butter. You don’t want to ruin your physique.”
“Who cares. I swear I’ll go to the gym if that happens.”
Welcome back to my biweekly interview series. Today I’m interviewing Lee Ann from the blog: Animals Are Feeling Beings Too. As LeeAnn’s blog focus is more on helping animals through her blog, the focus of this interview will be slightly different than past interviews.
1. LeeAnne, Please Tell Us About Yourself and Your Blog?
I have always been a quiet, deep-thinking, and observational person.Through deep-thinking and my tendency to observe, I noticed a lot of aspects about animals. Watching them, and paying attention to them, I fell in love with them.
As I am a quiet person, I feel I tend to get lost in the crowd much of the time. I noticed a similar thing often occurred with animals;they were getting lost in the crowd too when people didn’t pay attention and take care of them. Intrinsically, I felt their worth, their needs, and I noticed the way some of them were not treated nicely. My passion for helping animals was born.
2. When Did You Begin Blogging ? What Does Writing and Blogging Mean to You?
I had taken classes for Web Design in 2013 and one of the assignments was to create a blog. My blog was my current blog: Animals Are Feeling Beings Too and I wrote on it occasionally over the next few years. However, in August 2016 I started blogging regularly. I have had different experiences with writing throughout my life.
Back in elementary school I first fell in love with poetry and writing (and my poetry teacher J). Since then, I have written several poems over the years, but only for my family and friends for special occasions such as weddings, graduations, and other special events. Currently, some of my responsibilities at work include writing newsletters and social media posts.
Blogging means everything to me because of what I write about. I adore animals and feel passionate about helping them. I have been trying to figure out my entire life how to utilize my love for animals. When the assignment came up in my course to create a blog, my teacher told me she thought I should continue with my ‘helping animal’ themed blog.
I guess you could say a light bulb went off in my head. It took me a few years to apply myself, consistently blogging. But I think I had troubles because I was burnt out from being on a computer all day between work and school. I write because I want to help animals by spreading the word about animals who are abused, the worth of animals, and our responsibility to care for them.
” I write because I want to help animals by spreading the word about animals who are abused, the worth of animals, and our responsibility to care for them.” – LeeAnn
3. Where Do You Find Your Motivation and Inspiration to Write? Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer To Write?
Unfortunately, there are way too many people out there harming animals and not enough laws to protect the animals. This is where my inspiration and motivation comes from. I want to make a difference and ensure fewer animals are harmed. I also feel a lot of people are unaware of how much animal abuse exists and how few laws there are to protect animals (pets).I am hoping to bring light to these issues on my blog.
I am more alert and ‘fresh’ in the late morning after I have some coffee; however, because I have a full-time job, a lot of my writing and blog posts are done in the evening after work.
4. Do You Have Any Current Pet-Related Writing Projects or Hopeful Ones? Are You Planning on Publishing Anything Related to Animals?
My blog is my current and ongoing project. I am only six months into regular blogging, so I am still new at blogging. I am working hard at ‘getting my writing out there’ on animal issues. My hope is to grow my traffic, not for my sake, but for the sake of animals and to make a difference.
So far, I’ve not published anything other than blog posts. I have considered writing a children’s book on empathy towards animals someday. I believe since children are our future, teaching them to be considerate towards animals could make a huge difference on the way animals in the in years to come will be treated by their owners (etc.) I may also turn some of my blog posts into a book someday.
” I believe since children are our future, teaching them to be considerate towards animals could make a huge difference on the way animals in the in years to come will be treated by their owners (etc).” – LeeAnn
5. What Is Your Writing Process Like When Focusing on Animals?
As I mentioned, there is so much animal abuse going on, so there is not a lack of topics to write about. If I see a story on the web about an animal that was abused, I start thinking and the writing process for a post begins.
For example, after going to the Renaissance Festival I noticed an elephant chained to a contraption which only allowed him to move around in a circle giving people rides. I started thinking and when I was home, I wrote about this event and how awful it was for the poor elephant to be so confined and probably abused.
6. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Bloggers or on Advice on How People Can Help Animals in Need?
I am not a ‘professional’ writer, but as another blogger said: “If you’re writing on a blog, you are a writer.” Writing and blogging are skills I and other writers improve on with time. I am still learning and growing as I learn more about blogging, particularly for my significant cause. As well on my blog’s About Page I wrote this about how people can aid animals:
“Supporting animal organizations is . . . one way I help animals . . . I write about a wide variety of topics and types of animals, and I usually share links so you can check out the organization/topic being discussed.
There are many ways we can all help animals. Donating items to shelters, writing letters, signing petitions, volunteering time at an animal organization, sharing my posts to spread the word, and much more.” – LeeAnn
7. Do You Have Anything Else You’d Like To Share With Readers on Helping Animals, Yourself, or Blogging?
I am attempting to give my blog real purpose (a means to an end) that my writing and blogging actually result in animals at risk or already being harmed, not being hurt anymore. I also want people to know I do have a large variety of posts on my blog.
Some of the posts I write include Pet Tales, Vegetarian Recipes, Pet Care Tips, and Serious Topics such as Animal Abuse Issues. I also use pictures from other bloggers and Facebook Page followers. I post them in my posts called ‘Tuesday Tales.’
8. Do You Have Any Favorite Bloggers You Follow?
I enjoy different kinds of blogs, but I think my favorite blogs are when someone writes about their pet(s). I think it’s fun to see all those adorable pet photos and learn about various animals and their personalities. Oddly enough, I do not necessarily like to follow blogs that are about ‘animal activism.’ I applaud them but I find these blogs usually too graphic for me to handle.
9. Please Share With Us Some of Your Animal Related Blog Posts:
The post below was written when a young follower of mine contacted me to let me know she was inspired by my blog. She wrote a poem called “Animals Are Feeling beings Too” which she published on her blog.
I have been blogging (well…serious blogging) for a few months now. I have played around with my blog, changing & adding things like the “Tuesday Tales” where I share animal stories and “Sunday Pause (Paws)” where I encourage everyone to kick back & relax. On my “Vegetarian Challenge” page I try to add recipes every now & then. There hasn’t been an actual challenge yet, but maybe in the future. Also, I have been adding my favorite cruelty-free products to the “Links” page, adding some pictures of my cat, Cino and “Pet Care Tips.”
I will continue to add to these pages and keep a variety on my blog. But one thing that will not change is where my heart is, and that is helping the fight against animal cruelty.
This means some of my posts will not be so uplifting or fun. If I were to only do “happy” posts I wouldn’t be spreading the word about animal cruelty and therefore I wouldn’t be helping animals.
Something I saw on Facebook (or somewhere) not so long ago was this sentence, “The reason I dedicate myself to helping animals so much is because there are already so many people who dedicate their lives to hurting them.” Sadly, a true statement!
There are a lot of people who tell me they can’t stand to read or see anything about animal abuse because it bothers them too much. It bothers me A LOT too, but I can not turn my back on them. I want to encourage others not to either.
I recently have received a few great compliments from fellow bloggers about my blog. This makes me feel so warm & fuzzy. I also received a message from a young follower, named Leona, that said me and my blog inspire her, and that she wrote a poem and named it “Animals Are Feeling Beings Too.” I was overjoyed by this! It makes me think maybe I AM making an impact out there for the good of animals!
Thanks to LeeAnn for the lovely interview and sharing her passion for taking care of and helping animals at home and ones who are in need. Best of luck to her in her blog and spreading the word about animal empathy and the proper way to treat your pets and animals in general. Here is a Link To LeeAnn’s blog one last time: Animals Are Feeling Beings Too.
If you would like to share your blogging or writing in my biweekly interview series, please reach out to me through mycontact page on my blog. I will see you in two weeks!
Mom kept telling Autumn to stop playing in the water which had puddled into massive shallow lakes at school.”No Autumn, you’ll get your clothes and shoes all wet and you’ll come home and say how your feet are cold because you refuse to wear your rubber boots,”
Autumn gave her Mom a Cheshire grin, “It’s okay Mom, I brought extra clothes and shoes.” But Mom only frowned and forbid Autumn to jump in the puddles.
As with many children, forbidding them not to do something, ensures they will do that something. So when Autumn and her friends arrived at school and saw the giant puddles which rose to the middle of their calves, they splashed in the puddles all day.
Autumn came home on the school bus and her mother gasped. Her daughter was soaked straight through. Even her second set of clothing and shoes were wet. She was going to yell at Autumn but seeing the exhilarated smile on Autumn’s face, decided to forgo the chastisement today. After all, the puddles would be around for a while.
Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview withMicheleVecchitto. Michele is a friendly and kind woman who has a talent for writing wonderful poetry and engaging stories. I have been following her for a couple of years now, so I hope you will like her writing as much as I do. You can visit her blog here: Steps Times Two – Love and Life . . . The Second Time Around.
1. Hi Michele, Please Tell Us About Where You’re From?
I live in Niantic. It’s a lovely town on the Connecticut shoreline that somehow manages to hold on to the charm of days gone by while still offering all the conveniences I might need.
One of the many treasures in Niantic is a used bookstore calledThe Book Barn.It now has four or five satellite locations, but the main store is a complex which includes a large barn and several quirky, smaller buildings, each overflowing with books devoted to a particular genre. The few resident cats and some goats, add to its unique vibe. It’s a place to spend the day and get lost in books. Niantic also recently opened a new boardwalk along the beach that offers fantastic views and a place to meet neighbors.
2. Can You Tell Us More About Yourself, Your Everyday Life?
I’m the second of four sisters. My family is especially close and the fifteen children my sisters and I have between behave more like siblings than cousins. My parents are definitely the foundation of our lives. I love everything about belonging to a large family – the support, the laughter, the chaos, and the history we create.
My three children are young adults, busy finding their place in the world. In some ways, they could not be more different from one another, but they remain close. I’m enjoying watching them evolve into the adults they will become. I’m proud of the choices they’ve made and the direction each of them is following in life.
I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life.My husband and I have been married just over five years. Markis an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.
Our personalities are different but we complement each other well. We are each other’s top priority and do everything we can to support each other in our many endeavors. We’ve intertwined our families and I feel blessed to have his three strong, caring, and talented children in my life as well. They, along with their families, are a vital part of my life.
On a professional level, I teach middle school Literature and Language Arts. I love working with students of this age. It’s my favorite age group of kids. I’ve taught math and science and enjoy teaching each subject, but I’m most thrilled to spend my days sharing Literature with my classes. Preteens and teens this age are discovering their voice and it’s exciting to see the world through their eyes.
Additionally, I work as a freelance editor. I’m working with an audio book company and enjoy the exposure to books I might not otherwise read.
“I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.” – Michele Vecchitto
3. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?
I started my blog in 2014 as a way of keeping myself disciplined about writing, but I’ve always been a writer. I kept journals as a teenager and still have poems I wrote for a memorable class in high school.
My teacher, Ms. Jordan, helped me discover my voice and probably inspired me to become a teacher. I was a stay at home mom for fifteen-years, and when my children were in school, I’d spend eight or more hours a day writing. I took writing classes and completed two novels and a few children’s books.
When I divorced in 2007 and returned to work full time, I lost some of my dedication to the craft. Steps Times Two is my blog and remedy to not being able to write all day anymore.
4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
I’ve always been a writer as mentioned earlier. I many of my stories and poems from younger days and used to write tales for my kids, nieces, and nephews.
I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.
Beyond these meanings, I love the way writing connects people. I am so excited to be able to talk with people from all over the world about subjects I have brought up or someone else has written about. It sounds sappy, but I believe people are more alike than different and we all have something to share. I am a big fan of the community writing fosters between writers and readers (etc).
“I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.” – Michelle Vecchitto
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
Sometimes motivation comes from pure emotion. I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of it’s own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.
Inspiration for me can come from anywhere:a look between two people; a snippet of conversation I overhear; the expression on someone’s face when they don’t notice I’m looking; and/or an unexpected situation or some mundane activity we all experience. Music also inspires me. My playlist has a bit of everything on it and I love to hit play and let my mind drift. Sometimes I’ll find something to write about immediately and other times, I have to file an idea away and let it resurface when it’s ready.
As well, I’m a huge fan of writing prompts and blogging events. It’s a terrific way to stay involved in the writing community and interact with other people. I love to follow and read what other people are writing because each piece leaves me with something to think about and offers a varied perspective to consider. Prompts for me are similar to a puzzle. Each of us figures out how to put the pieces together in a different way to create authentic images. It’s fun when someone has a completely unique take on the same prompt.
6. Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer to Write?
I prefer to write in the mornings, although, it’s not always possible. During the week, I will write when I come home from teaching school. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I’d write from the time the kids went to school until they came home. I miss those days! I’m hoping to stay home next year and write full time.
“I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of its own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.” – Michele Vecchitto
7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have my blog which I try to work on each day. I also post on Poet’s Corner on WordPress and do my best to keep up. I am working on a historical fiction novel based on my husband’s grandfather who escaped from Poland in the early 1900’s. I’m enjoying the research portion of this novel greatly. In addition, I recently cleaned up a YA novel I wrote about ten-years ago. My romance novel also needs editing and I have two short stories to finish.
My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!
8. Can You Tell Us About What Your Publishing Process Has Been for Some of Your Writing?
I’ve had poems published in anthologies and in places like The Reverie Journal. I have self-published two volumes of poetry which can be found on Amazon. I’m considering adding a third volume but I think my next push will be seeking a publisher for a novel.
Years ago, when I had more time, I was organized about sending my work out. I had a contract with Blue Mountain Arts and several ‘good rejections’ from publishing houses. I took classes and attended conferences. I think networking is a huge part of the publishing process and hope to get back to it in the next year.
I’ve been invited to participate in the Austin International Poetry Festival next April. Eight of my poems will be included in their anthology and I plan to travel to the event to do some readings.
“My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!” – Michele Vecchitto
9. Are You Able to Describe Your Writing Process To Us?
My writing process varies, depending on the type of project I’m working on, but it always includes music. I have a million playlists and a great pair of headphones.
The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.If I’m working on a poem, I jot ideas or prompts on post-it notes and arrange them around my writing space.
If I’m working on a formal piece, I’ll have notes on rhyme schemes and various types of poetry. After I write, I’ll look for photos to accompany what I’ve written and then decide on a title. My titles always happen last.
If I’m working on a novel or short story, the music part is the same, but I’ll have notes on my bulletin board or in folders which I can flip through. I also send rough drafts to my sister Maureen. She’s read everything I’ve ever written and offers me honest feedback. She’ll tell me what works for her as a reader and what doesn’t, then I go back and edit.
I set my larger pieces aside, sometimes for days but often for months, and then return to them so I can see them with fresh eyes. My YA book has been through three major revisions already and I think it’s almost ready to send out.
11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading? Any Genres In Particular?
I’m not sure you can be a writer without being a reader. I love both equally and will read almost anything. I like to balance my writing with quick, light reads and books which require more concentration. I’m a big non-fiction reader. It must be the teacher in me, but there’s never too much knowledge to learn. I always want to discover new things.
My own writing style has surprised me at times. My YA book is a fantasy novel which is something I’ve never followed, however; a fantasy story was the tale waiting to be told when I tackled the YA book project.
I must confess, I do enjoy writing darker, more provocative pieces. There’s such power there. I enjoy inspirational pieces as well.Both of these kinds of writing have their place.
“The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.” – Michele Vecchitto
12. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers or Anything Else You Would Like To Add?
I find the more I write, the better I get. It’s a commitment and like any other craft, needs to be nurtured so, keep writing.
I’ve also started aFacebookpage and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitterhas been a great resource for finding writing communities and sharing information for me as well.
13. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs?
I’m not sure I have favorites. I love to read blogs of all styles and content. A friend of mine started a blog in which she combines book reviews and running calledBelle of the Book. It’s fun to follow a blog when you know the writer personally. If the writing is good I want to read it.
14. Here is A Piece of Michele’s Writing She Has Shared:
Michele says about “Deerfield’s Ghost:” “I love this one because it almost wrote itself. When I came to the point when I narrowed in on a subject, I googled “massacre” to find a specific date to use and came across a list of victims from the Deerfield massacre of 1704. The funny thing is, it included the names and ages of people I had included in my poem.”
More Links To Michele’s Blog Pieces:
Ray holds special meaning for me because it was written for a dear friend who passed away. Reading it at his funeral was the first time I’d read my poetry in public and I feel grateful I had a chance to honor him in this way.
Small Town Hens is an example of a poem I wrote after I witnessed a situation that made my blood boil. It makes me chuckle now because it captured my disgust at poor behavior.
Light of Love was written after the nightclub attack in Orlando. I will sometimes respond to current events in poetry. This incident demanded a response.
The Choice and Metamorphosis are two old ones that I wrote during very difficult times. I try to live my life as described in “The Choice”and “Metamorphosis” speaks to the ability to persevere in even the darkest of times.
Thanks to Michele for thoroughly and thoughtfully answering the interview questions. I wish her much luck with her writing and future endeavours. Here is the link to her blogone more time: Steps Times Two.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview. If you would like to share and answer interview questions on writing and blogging of any kind, feel free to reach-out to me on my contact page.See you in two-weeks!
“Come on Arryn. This is our annual vacation since we’ve been eighteen-years-old. You have to come to Phoenix.” Harley begged.
Arryn loved golfing, drinking beer, and the various sport’s games he and Harley usually attended on their trips. But Lisa was eight-months pregnant and Arryn wasn’t comfortable leaving her alone all day. The Doctor said Lisa should stay off her feet and Lisa seemed to ignore this particular instruction.
“Harley,” Arryn said, “I think this isn’t the best time for a holiday.” Harley scoffed. “I knew you would back-out. Lisa isn’t dying, she’s pregnant.”
Babyliss Miracurl. It’s a play on words. Plus, this machine is the best thing ever to curl long thick hair. It sucks it in and you hold it for about 60 seconds and out pops this gorgeous curl. Curls last all day! This gives me bliss.