A Personal Update and a Poem: What’s Been Going on & Italian Sonnets –“The Race’s End” #poetry #amwriting #life #nonfiction 


Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

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I feel like I’ve been distant on here lately. But sometimes you need a break from the usual. I have always found it easy to pull a lot of inspiration from myself and those around me. From past experiences and from my friends and events around the world. Christianity too can be something encouraging as well as a vivid imagination.

I have been trying my hand at some freelancing but it’s been a lot of effort. It saddens me to see how little a writer’s words are worth be they for blog, article, or essay. But at least where I am now pays a better than where I started at which was doing short pieces of writing for experience only. So I have been trying to do some other writing as well as blogging. Some days it’s works and others not so much. I know I’ve had to cut back on my prompts recently so my blog schedule will be based on how much I have to do each week for freelancing. I’m not earning much of a thing but at least I feel like I’m contributing a bit more and learning new ideas.

I also continue to look for and submit poetry and some short story fiction to some different sites and magazines as well as edit my novel when I’m able to focus on a couple of chapters at a time. If anyone enjoys writing and is interested in being a beta reader for a paranormal romance please let me know. I would appreciate your opinions very much. My book is on Wattpad so you’d have to read it in their, but it has an app and allows a person to comment on each chapter after they’ve read it. Or you can go to the site on your computer HERE. Just check it out and if you’re interested in reading my book, let me know in the comment section below. I appreciate it! 💕❤ My user name is @mandibelle16

One thing I love about writing is that I am always acquiring more knowledge. Recently, I have been doing more academic writing and I have been relearning citation and rules for academia. At the same time I think about my novel and my other creative writing in the back of my mind, finding distance has given me a better perspective on my plots, characters, and stories.

Also sometimes watching your favourite TV or Netflix programs, reading books, and walking outside in the warmer weather we’ve been having, makes one feel well and helps me think things through and visit different angles. “Suits” is an excellent and entertaining legal drama if anyone’s interested in watching the seasons on Netflix. As I’m going through my own case right now, it drew me in but its characters are witty, charming, and funny except for the character of Louis. But you have to hand it to the actor, he does a superb job of being slimy and repulsing lol.

Additionally, I’ve also been drawing, working on portraits, and colouring using various mediums. Art very much  inspires me so it’s been fun to play around with that a while. I’m also working on a few technical glitches with my blog and the WordPress app, trying to figure some of those things out as well. I do want to make some changes to my blog. It’s only a matter of sitting down, figuring them out in the little time I have concentration well enough — along with everything else — and then doing those changes. Eventually, I’ll figure it out 🙂

As well, I’ve been working on my health. This year I have tried to learn a more basic healthy recipes and I’ve researched my health condition a bit more. I’m doing this 5:2 Diet which means five days a week you eat how many calories you would eat for your body and amount you exercise. It’s recommended for CFS/ME patients as medication can cause significant gain.  As I can do little beyond a small walk now and then and some weight loss yoga, I eat just over sixteen hundred calories a day but of course a woman who exercised more or was just out and about more would eat around two thousand calories or more on a normal day.

On a side note: I so recommend an online subscription to Gaia if you can’t make it to yoga classes at the gym always. They have all different levels and lengths of workouts. From beginner to difficult yoga of all types, to Pilates videos, meditation and breathing videos, and short little videos that relieve back or neck pain in around ten minutes which I love. Everyday new videos are added and you there is such an array of options that it is so worth the subscription about $13.00 (in Canadian currency)/month and I think anywhere from about $7.00 to $9.00 US depending on your subscription.

Anyways, two days a week on the 5:2 Diet, you choose which days you eat only 500 calories as a woman and only 600 if you’re a man. Once you get into it, it’s not so bad and you learn what foods are filling and healthy to eat. I haven’t been able to drop to five hundred calories but about to 600 on fast days. I do yoga of twenty to twenty-five minutes for two and sometimes three days a week and I’ve been able to lose what the diet promises, about a pound a week. So for me after three weeks, three pounds and today was the first time I noticed my clothes fitting better. That’s my hope honestly, for my clothing that I own and like a lot, to fit well. Also, to be able to continue purchasing future clothing in regular sizing. (P.S. I have plans for some spring fashion and makeup blogs so we’ll see how things go later!!).
Once a person gets to their ideal weight on the 5:2 Diet, they can keep fasting two days a week or drop to one day a week to maintain. Out of all the programs/diets I’ve tried I love that this is safe weightless and healthy because it’s four or five pounds a month and about making choices to eat better and to exercise instead just for a little bit at a time.

You don’t receive that instant ‘wow factor’ as fast-diets promise but I believe this is healthier for you because it takes place over months and is doable for ‘life.’ If you mess up, choose another day that week to fast and after the first week you honestly are used to the fasts for the two days. Two days are easier than dieting for an entire week all the time.

I didn’t think it would work as I had read about it before with caution. However, the plan worked for a family member first who showed my some YouTube videos on it and they were quite convincing. He has lost the weight and maitained his level of exercise. So something to check out if you’re interested. I borrowed the book from the library and it’s a simple diet to be sure.

Also, I’m afraid my biweekly interview is going to be a day or two late this week as I’ve got to finish a project first. So apologies there. As for my lack of writing and commenting, I will do as much as I’m able.

So without further ado, here’s a poem I wrote a while back. It’s comforting but also sad. It’s based around, knowing a loved one is facing the end. It’s difficult for the person and their loved ones, but at the same time, relief because that person will never feel pain again in Heaven.

Thanks for reading!

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Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

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” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” – 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV)

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One last mile, one more Christmas comes to pass,
Praying for ages, memories and lifetimes.
The quicksand buries, but light still yet shines,

A beacon, slowly immersed — death’s paid wrath,

We don’t know how long the present will last.

Keep wide the door, heaven’s gate you’ll enter,

All time converges, earth isn’t center.

We’re a blip, nothing’s linear, we’re the past;

Before glory, laud, and honour shown,

Is to God, in our eternal rest and home.

Someday you’ll go, tears mark your finish line,

But these days you run, pray you’re unconfined;

To be free of your burdens, what you dread,

Your time with us not taken — not the end.

—-

You’ve run the race my friend, endured the course,

And all our memories are so dear, of your face —

Brightly lit, your smile, a fighter’s proud grace.

You kept it up, as long as you could, and would —

Have had a runner’s chance, enduring pain, stood —

Humbled but kept striding in all you faced.

Every hill with vision, pose, setting your pace;

Life, your race, needed winning; without fear —

Embrace the end engaged; approaching so near,

Throw yourself into battle you’ve waged,

Never to be a victor, not to be caged;

Instead found eternal rest, your end page,

Last word fin, your Lord called: “Come home dear one.”

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Interview With Michele Vecchitto


Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview with Michele Vecchitto. 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.


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Credit: Michele Vicchetto

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 called The 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. Mark is 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


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Credit: Michele 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


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Credit: Michele Vecchtto

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


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Credit: 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 a Facebook page and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitter has 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 called Belle 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:

“Deerfield’s Ghosts”

By Michele Vecchitto

deerfield
photo: Atlas Obscura

Wandered into a cemetery

surrounded by a stone wall

hidden in the deep wood

The cold winter’s wind

calling the shadows and

whispering my name

Air weighted with sadness

as tombs of sorrow beckoned

like a house so empty

I stood alone, waiting

as voices of the lost

washed me in time’s tempest

My hands embraced each soul

as I traced those crumbling stones

placed long ago with care

Overcome with tears

as I read of Martha. loving daughter

a life lived five short years

And her mother, wife of John

who shared the same last day

in another time, another place

Night fell and mockingbirds

resumed their evening song, playing chords

that matched a funeral march

Chilled to the bone and wearied

I sank to my knees beside a family plot, crying

Tell me where hope lives

Awareness that each stone was marked

with that date, February 29, 1704,

came slowly, deliberately

Echoes of war drums rang

through the silence as fear

electrified the hallowed space

The massacre of yesterday

forgotten as time moved on

still hosts ghosts of the innocent

Every once and awhile

the lost invite someone back

to share their story

And so I did


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 blog one 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!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

Interview With Colin Chappell


Welcome to my bi-weekly interview series. I’m pleased to introduce to you today an interview with dog enthusiast, thoughtful, and entertaining writer, Colin Chappell. He is often accompanied by his friendly and energetic dog Ray. In fact, Ray is one of Colin’s favorite topics. You can visit Colin on his blog: A Dogs Life? (Stories of Me and Him).


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Credit: Colin Chappell

1. Please Tell Us A Bit About Yourself?

My name is Colin Chappell. When I was born, my parents were expecting a girl so, when I arrived, they showed great initiative by thumbing through the BBC Radio Times looking for male names. If Colin Yearsley (a classical pianist) had a second name, I would have probably had a second name also; my older sister did. I am originally from Peterborough (U.K.), and now live in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (on the outskirts of Toronto).

I was born immediately after WWII and moved around the U.K. a lot when I was young because both my parents were in the theater. My Dad designed and painted scenery, while my Mum worked in the costumes area.

The introduction of television decimated the demand for theater and my parents had to make some major decisions. Growing up, my Mum held down multiple jobs and my Dad came home only on weekends. He was working approximately one-hundred-miles away from where we lived. My Dad eventually decided to build his own house. He learned how to do this successfully from library books, visiting construction sites, and asking a ton of questions.


2. What Kind of Affect Has Your Childhood Had On You?

I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.

I wanted to be a locomotive driver, but was told that I couldn’t do this job by my Dad. I went to college to pursue a career as ‘Master’ of a cargo ship. I achieved a 2nd Class Honors Certificate and was welcomed into the Blue Star Line. I was ready to join ‘Scottish Star’ in Glasgow; however, I failed a medical exam which blocked my first chosen career path. This was my welcome to the world of adulthood and the realities of the world.


“I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.” – Collin Chappell


3. When Did You Being Writing and Blogging?

I have always enjoyed writing short pieces and songs, but they were always private and I rarely shared my work. I cannot recall how I discovered blogging. But I had already been adopted by my dog Ray and wanted to share our experiences. It was also an opportunity to write publicly which was appealing to me. My blog was officially launched in October, 2014.

Later, my desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray. He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!


4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean to You? Why Do You Write?

Writing is rewarding for many reasons. It allows me to express myself, to be as creative as I can, and to have some tangible evidence of my creativity and expression. No doubt there are psychological benefits to writing also. Poetry is a natural extension of writing because of my earlier days song writing; however, my blog is also my vehicle to present my poetry to the world.

Blogging is the corner stone of my literary endeavors because not only can I now share with the world, but I can receive feedback. I have access to links to bloggers and writers with similar interests and concepts. As well,  I am generally able to create a worldwide network of wonderful people. Over time I have developed friends around the world of all ages, cultures, religious beliefs (etc.) Now I have the pleasure of knowing many details about friends which go well beyond mere blogging.


” . . . [M]y desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray. He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!” – Colin Chappell


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Credit: Colin Chappell

5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?

Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.

Ray is also hugely inspiring. He is unlike any dog I have ever known. Just by watching him (which I do a lot) I’m invariably provided with the basis for a blog post. I also inspire and motivate myself. I am retired so have the luxury of as much time as I wish to allocate to blogging and writing but I do have many other interests.

There isn’t a particular time of day I enjoy writing more. Although, mornings and late evenings tend to be my most productive times. This is due more to convenience relative to other day to day activities. It’s not that I feel more particularly creative during these times.


7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?

I have two active projects at the moment:

My first priority is promoting my book: Who Said I was up for Adoption? All profits from this book go to the Humane Society whom rescued my beloved Ray. It’s hard to make the whole world aware of a book without investing large sums of money to market it. Self-promoting is more financially feasible, but a difficult and time consuming job.

My second priority is publishing a book of my poems. It is tentatively titled: Tina and Other Stories and could be available Spring 2017. My poetry book is ready to be published but some financial decisions have to be made.

I am uncomfortable making these choices until I have a better grasp of how Ray’s book is selling. Hopefully, I can make a decision within the next six to eight-weeks. I also have various other similar projects ‘on the back burner,’ but they will have to wait.


“Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.” – Colin Chappell 


8. Here is Colin’s book: Who Said I was up for Adoption?

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Credit: Colin Chappell

You can purchase Colin’s book from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Indigo, Google Play, Nook, and IBooks. Here’s another link to Colin’s page where you can find links to all book sellers noted: HERE.


9. Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing Process? Will You Continue With the Same Process in the Future?

I researched a number of leads before publishing and just as life in general — you get what you pay for. The inexpensive route (a relative term) dictated I take responsibility for areas of publishing I knew nothing about.

If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world because dog lovers exist in every country. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’s Humane Society.

My compromise was to have a contract with FriesenPress. They provided their expertise in cover design, book layout, proofreading, overall suggestions, legalities, and ensuring Ray’s book was available to all major book retailers. Regrets? I have none, although, what I learned during this publishing process will reduce the cost of publishing my poetry book!


10. Do You Have A Particular Writing Process?

Blogging – I write from heart to keyboard, and then read, re-read, re-read, fine tuning the piece. Sometimes I will leave a post for a few hours and then read it again to get a fresh perspective. I like to plan to create ahead of time, but more often I end up creating immediately prior to posting. I will not hit the ‘Publish’ button unless I am absolutely happy with my post.

Book Writing – I use exactly the same process, especially with poetry. Reading a poem can often draw attention to a bad line or difficult rhythm. My intended book of poetry is being reviewed, although, it was completed well over six-months ago. Who Said I was up for Adoption? was completed over a nine-month period, but took an additional eighteen-months to polish well enough to publish.


“If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world because dog lovers exist in every country. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’s Humane Society.” – Colin Chappell


11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas or Genres of Reading and Writing?

I have little time for reading fiction — JRR Tolkein being the exception. It’s not that I don’t enjoy fiction, but more that I want to understand more about people and the real world. I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’ poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need to relate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with fiction.


12. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?

Write… write… write.

Be honest to yourself.

Write… write… write.

Use blogging as much as you can because there is so much support out there in the blogging world for novice writers.

Write… write… write.

If you are pleased with what you write, then what other people think of it is secondary.

Write… write… write.

If you are not pleased with what you write, you need to spend time finding why you are unhappy with it. Once you have identified the problem, you can start working on the solution — Very logical!


“I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’ poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need to relate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with a fictional piece of writing.” – Colin Chappell


13. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Writing?

I have volunteered in numerous diverse places over the years, and every position I held was valuable education for me. It was valuable both because of the work involved and in the learning it provided me.

I support a number of charitable organizations which help people regain their self-respect and of course, I support animal rescue organizations. Life has been and still is, a wonderful education; however, one must always participate in life to see any results.


14. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs You Like to Follow? What Do You Like About Them?

I really do not have favorite blogs, but I do enjoy more philosophical blogs as they are thought provoking. Dog related blogs are interesting simply because I can relate to the topics presented. Any post I read that promotes a positive mental attitude maintains my attention. In a world which seems to celebrate negativity, we need as many positive vibes as possible!


15. Here is a Piece From Colin’s Blog, One of His Favorite Poetic Verse Posts:

“Skeeta’s Legacy”

By Colin Choppell

*****

Skeeta was a Siamese cat

Of distinction so we thought

She was rather unlike her breed

Friendly and quite large

I had known a few Siamese

But none had traits like these

*****

She would ride in our car

On top of the front seats

Swaying whenever I braked

Forwards and backwards

Sideways on the turns

We would laugh until we ached

*****

Then one day she clearly had changed

Her clean toilet habits had gone

Something was wrong we were sure

She used to be meticulously clean

A test revealed leukemia

With no treatment. No cure

*****

After living with us

For only three months

Dearest Skeeta was put to sleep

But she left her mark

Indelibly on my heart

With memories that I would keep

*****

She went to a better place

To join her kind and be without pain

Where cats are happy and free

To be as I’d want her to be

But Skeeta left a legacy behind

Unbeknownst at the time to me

*****

Many years later when Ray moved in

He tested positive for heart worm

After only three months in our home

What were our options? What to do?

A very serious condition

And he could not fight it alone

*****

We could return him, put him to sleep

Or do nothing which would eventually kill him

What would make the most sense?

For such a short and unhappy life

An expensive course of treatment

Could we justify the expense?

*****

The treatment he may not survive

But shouldn’t we at least try?

For perhaps survive he would

Shouldn’t we give him a chance?

A chance for his life to fulfill?

To live out his life being loved?

*****

Euthanizing would give him peace

Not 3 years old with an unknown past

His early life seemed hard and alone

Surely a dog has a right

To fight for his life

In a warm and caring home?

*****

To return him to the shelter

Raised problems of another sort

Who would adopt a very sick Ray?

Who would want his vet bills?

Who would open their home?

Who would invite him to stay?

*****

During these dilemmas I heard a voice

Reminding me of Skeeta long ago

With no hope of a cure in sight

How she was put down

Her future sealed by a disease

That cheated her out of her life

*****

But this time was different

Ray did have a chance

If treatment started right away

The decision just had to be made

And then hope for the time

When once again he could play

*****

Ray will never know

What influenced his future

Or how it came to be

That a cat, of all creatures,

May have saved his life

That was Skeeta’s legacy.


16. Additional Posts:


Thanks so much to Colin for sharing with us his book, poetry, love for Ray, and his experience in life and writing. I loved discovering he both searches inside himself to find the right answers and also engages with the world to learn and discover the things he needs to know. His love of learning and passion for volunteering is something we can all aspire to.


If you would like to be featured as a writer and blogger in my bi-weekly interview series please reach-out to me on my contact page. Thanks for reading and see you in two-weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

Poem: Free Verse – “A Congested Mind” #poetry #amwriting 


http://www.pinterest.com

——–

They call it the unknown

The future lying before you. 

No matter if you’re psychic, 

No one knows what happens. 

There are varied scenarios,

Ways it could play out, 

But truly we don’t know the future

It’s a mystery creeping forward, 

And it pulls us along on our knees.

Whether we go willingly, 

Or go kicking and screaming;

Time marches in to the beat,

Of father time’s own drum. 

****

I don’t know what’s coming, 

I know worrying won’t help. 

I think sometimes I try to give advice, 

Reassuring myself in kind. 

There are bright possibilities, 

Hoping people become, 

More kind than they are mean to each other. 

Pray people look-out for each other, 

But sometimes I think society is self-centred. 

I admit to such fault and others too,

But I’m still fearful;

When I think of a year or two ahead, 

I’m afraid what if it’s not the right plan? 

Experience deftly taught me,

Plans are dim outlines of reality. 

Mostly, life goes where it goes

And God only knows where or why. 

Leading us through dark valleys, 

Into trenches with piercing bullets flying. 

Into classrooms with screaming kids, 

A gunmen on the loose. 

He leads us through to people, 

Whose power makes one nervous. 

How even democracy isn’t safe —

A tyrant could rule all. 

Maybe the world will surprise me, 

But I fear for the little person. 

*****

My own personal fears weigh heavy, 

Though others bear pains greater. 

Of lawyers and cases, 

Of corruption and crime. 

Those crimes we deem terrible;

Those crimes brushed under the rug. 

Greed and all those other sins,

Abhorred but freely ignored. 

Though I can never say what’s worse —

My own flaws or imperfections

Or those I’m faced with. 

Stress shows through cracks, 

Egg yokes running. 

No one likes raw eggs except in cookie dough

The future is overwhelming. 

But at least they’ll still be cookie dough, 

And I don’t know why —

I’m particular and observant

Why I know it’s better to be alone

Than be truly alone with another. 

Why I wait for that spark

Why I wait for the morning dawn. 

A smile in his eyes which is genuine

Wherever he is. 

But maybe happiness is a puppy

Paws following me on the hardwood, 

Barks at random sounds. 

The glory of a puppy skidding down —

The off leash trail and wheeling;

Turning around to jump on me, 

To pick her up when she’s tired. 

*****

My bones are stiff and ridged

My dreams fall to despair

So many books and writers, 

And not anyone can compare

How to rise above the masses, 

Or fill your own niche contented. 

But perhaps one could be something

Success in small moments. 
Afraid and weighted

Need to cry, tears unshed, 

Because disease is cruel. 
Even if Heaven is the end of the tunnel,

So many words are left unsaid

The timing of it all, does it work? 

I feel alienated

Though I try hard to keep the connection

It’s all in your planning Lord;

So must I say, your will be done.

——-

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Sunday Photo Fiction: Poem – English Sonnet – “Desolation Of The Flames” #poetry #flashfiction #amwriting #music


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.

——

Credit: A Mixed Bag

——

My teary eyes on the buildings below, 

Keeping careful watch o’r those homeless souls.

And since the sky is filled with fire and with smoke.

Praying, keep careful watch o’r forlorn folk.

If we die in fire, keep us together, 

Flames swirling higher, stairs filled with smoke, soon –

Rising farther into the night sky bright, 

Watch flames burn stronger, apartment alight. 

I see fire, fire in our whole home; Such fire

I can’t even breathe; I see fire, can’t respire.

There’s fire hollows my soul, blood curdling free, 

All smoke, no breeze, hope they’ll remember me. 

And if we should die tonight, we’ll both burn, 

Raise glasses of wine, ’till we don’t feel spurned. 

Calling Lord Father, prepare us as thee will, 

Watch the flames burn our home, neighbours heard scream. 

Confined in building blocks, enclosed, we’re remains

No fireman came, desolation it stays

——

Based off the lyrics by Ed Sheeran’s song “Fire” from The Hobbit movies. I played with the lyrics for this prompt. 

—–

“Fire” – Ed Sheeran 

—–

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Sunday Photo Fiction: Ancient Treasures #amwriting #flashfiction 


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.

——

A Mixed Bag

———-

The books were torn and tattered at the edges and it didn’t appear as if they’d been read in sometime. Dust coated the tops and sides, especially the books which stuck out. At some point in their history, the books had been reread a great deal; they  had been well loved.

 Jy peered at the books on the shelf and sniffed at the foreign scent of mildewed paper in the air. He had only heard of books such as these. They were hundreds-of- years-old and Jy treasured them. Few books were published in paper except the reigning government’s: Manifesto. 

He gracefully removed a book from the shelf, surprised by the glossy cover under the dust. He turned to chapter one and started reading. This book was of the fantasy genre and Jy adored fantasy — especially fantasy which hadn’t been altered.

In his world, books were stored on computerized chips in your mind. You sat and closed your eyes, picturing yourself reading the book; that was how one read. Books were easily accumulated but you were only allowed to read approved books. There were millions available, but one could always tell when the regime had made changes in a novel, adding and removing parts. 

Jy came across a word he knew was banned. It read, “Freedom.” He curiously reread the word; his only frame of reference was that it was something of too much responsibility for mere citizens to have.

——

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer: Poem -Free Verse – “World’s in Books #amwriting #poetry


Thank you to Priceless Joy for hosting FFftAW.

——–

TJ Paris

——

Leave me here; I don’t want to go back yet, 

Gigantic and prolific library,

Please, I beg, let me stay the night, explore.

The windows are huge, light the entire room.

Let me stay as day fades, using candlelight to read.

I’ve spotted mint condition editions, Mark Twain.

On the otherside I found, several books by Jane Austin, 

I can hardly breathe, there’s so much literature.

Nathanial Hawthornes, Scarlet Letter,

D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, found, 

You’re angry; I understand, go back to the hotel, 

Let me read as the sunsets, in black night.

You don’t understand all the world’s I’ve discovered, 

I walked in a simple library, found glory.

Paging through stories, even modern,

Saul Bellow’s Mr Samler’s Planet, found,

Stephen King and Margaret Atwood her —

I never liked so much as Harlequins,

Dated back to the nineteen-forties, fifties, 

A treasure I’ve found, it’s priceless, worth so–

Much more than all the gold, which ever was and is,

Leave me read dear, let me delight, in lands, 

We can never see, outside this hallowed sanctuary. 

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Sunday Photo Fiction: Some People Never Learn.


“Oh god, it’s behind us. I don’t know how long I can keep running.” Derek shouted.

“Don’t stop, if you do, T-Rex is going to eat you alive, run faster!” Evan screamed.

“Ah, he almost had me there.” Derek yelled breathing a sigh of relief as he dodged T-Rex’s sharp teeth. “Thank god, he has a small brain, despite everything they’ve done to enhance him.” 

Derek hid behind an old building staying perfectly still. If Jurassic Park had taught him anything it was that a T-Rex couldn’t see you if you didn’t move. They couldn’t right? 

“Ah, no…aghhhhh.” Derek heard Evan screaming. Derek concentrated on keeping his breathing deep and even.

An entire series of books on bringing dinosaurs back to life had been written by Michael Crichton and made into graphic movies, yet President Trump decided that the Island of Bikini was the perfect place to make dinosaurs exist once more.

Not only had his scientific team cloned dinosaurs such as the T-Rex, they had also genetically altered their DNA making T-Rex a more intelligent dinosaur.

Additionally, the President’s team had cloned and altered these dinosaurs on the Island of Bikini where nuclear weapons were tested in WWII. The island was a mess of radioactivitiy which further mutated the dinosaurs DNA giving them greater stealth and prowess.

Derek had to warn people, convince the President to nuke the island so these beasts never got further then Bikini. Derek was going to move but it was too late, Mama T-Rex had known where Derek was all along. She clenched her mouth around Derek’s body as he screamed in agony. 

Out in the ocean, the large luxury ocean liner with the President and his scientific team, heard Derek’s screams. They turned away from the giant screen displaying his terrible death.

President Trump was angry. His team’s manipulation and creation of dinosaurs was going horribly wrong and he didn’t know why.

Under the surface of the gigantic ocean liner, an even greater and more terrifying dinosaur swam underneath the boat, flipping the ocean liner and eating everyone inside.

—–

Sorry whatever I did, the dinosaur picture wouldn’t upload. So imagine a T-Rex is about to eat you. . .

—–

Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.

—–

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

NaPoWriMo: Poem – Book Spine Poem – “Love Game” 


img_1070-1

And now for our (optional) prompt! I know yesterday’s was a hard one for many of you, although I also was also very touched by the vulnerability and bravery displayed in your poems! But today’s prompt should be a little bit less emotionally involving — a nice chaser for yesterday. Today’s prompt comes to us from Lillian Hallberg. She challenges us to write a “book spine” poem. This involves taking a look at your bookshelves, and writing down titles in order (or rearranging the titles) to create a poem. Some fun images of book spine poems can be found here. If you want to take things a step further, Lillian suggests gathering a list of titles from your shelves (every third or fifth book, perhaps, if you have a lot) and using the titles, as close to the originals as possible, to create a poem that is seeded throughout with your own lines, interjections, and thoughts. Happy writing!

For more information please see NaPoWriMo on their home site. 

——
 

http://www.newhdwallpapers.in
 

——-
It is said you are The Shadow, and I can’t be One with You. 

But you’ve lead me On My Knees, Into The Fire,

And  now I’ve burned on through.

There is a Bridge but you won’t cross it, 

You’d rather see my Beautiful Burn,

If you truly saw, you’d see in flame;

You’re my Beautiful Oblivion.

 I’m a Beautiful Sacrifice and there is no such thing,

As a Beautiful Redemption for me but a redemption in you, 

You say this is Last Call and I’m Mai Tai’d Up; 

I Caught my fingers on a Rusty Nailed door,

And you promised to be a WallBanger, 

But you laugh at ‘the mouth’ on me.

——-

Accelerated away you and a crash left me Screwed.

I jumped free falling and ended —

Broken, Twisted, Damaged, and Shattered.

I knew you would try to save me, 

Though we’re both dearly Flawed.

It doesn’t matter I’m Addicted to you, 

Even though you leave my heart Exposed,

What kind of Love Game is this? 

You can’t say you Claimed me; I’m not a piece of land.

This is Hard Love; my soul is Slashed,

Yet I’m lying here Sunkissed by your hands.

Lies you’ll hear, that you’re a Torture to Her Soul (my soul).

You Make Me complete, except when you’re ice cold to my face.

You say Let Me In but you mean Live For Me.

Where am I in us? Are you Meant for Me?

Do you Breathe Me In? Are we life in a breath?

——

God is my Salvation, but you take me to Oblivion,

When you Say My Name and I hear it on your lips,

You Have Me — get Under My Skin, and know me.

Will you Play My Game? Need we play games at all?

Maybe, you could call me Beautiful and mean it;

Although, I’m Grey inside.

You could be The Prince, women dream about but —

I’d rather have ‘you’the average guy, 

I’m no Princess either; I’m The Raven crying ‘kaw.’

Unveiled, you see straight through me; 

Ignoring my Hard Limit, don’t push my soul into departing,

Step away from your vastness, leave me the territory inside my head;

I’m already Captivated By You.

——-

At times I wonder if I am, The Monster in His Eyes

He leaves me Breathless, doesn’t see the green scales beneath my skin.

I’m Forever Consumed, Too Consumed by him, 

Trying to tell him, there’s ‘give’ and ,take;’

Delighting most, when I am Taken by Storm.

He tells me there’s No Takebacks —

And he won’t  Take Me Back if I leave now.

So, I remain Taken and Consumed, 

Feeling all the Aftershock of his Afterburn, 

Still setting me on fire, I’m Hardpressed to be Hardline(d) into his rules.

 I’m Hardwired to be me, burning in his flames, choosing while my heart ignites,

 He Shredded me in Full Exposure, my soul is raw and torn.

He loves me as the flames climb higher, before we’re Out of Time.

Being with him is glorious, rebirth from our ashes;

He Crash(ed) Into Me, and together we’re an Allegiant,

Pursued each other and both of us are Taken By Love; enthralled by the fire. 

——-

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

A List of Hobbies


Thanks to La Duchesse D’erat for this week’s list prompt of hobbies.

——- 

Unknown – Google
 

——

1. Writing – This hobby is a hobby most of you understand. The drive, the need to write. You do it like you breathe, and if you can make money while doing it, you’re extremely lucky. I started blogging about four-years-ago to improve my writing skills and to do what has always come naturally to me, to share through my writing. 

It’s my hobby but it is also work too. I write stories to obtain prizes and publication. I try to contribute a guest blog here and there. I’ve done editing and creative writing courses. I have a BA in English. I want an MFA in Creative Writing. I write, write, write, even when I’m trying to take a break from it. I suppose such as many things, writing becomes addictive. But whenever I do it, I enjoy it. There is peace in my heart.

——-

http://www.pinterest.com

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2. Reading – Usually, I read many books for a few months, then I become tired of reading books. Then, for awhile I don’t read much at all in novels, but end up going back to get my fix and read my favourite books over and read new books written by a particular writer or in a certain writer’s book’s series.

I also spend a lot of time reading other blogs on improving writing, pieces of writing, books, beauty, and an entire assortment of things. I’ve been reading since I was five-years-old and I have never stopped. 

In grade three I was reading The Hobbit and working my way through Lord of the Rings. In grade six I had a big thing for Michael Crichton books such as Jurassic Park and it’s sequals, and when I was about sixteen I went through a big phase of historic romance novels, and the romance novels that are sappy such as some of Nicholas Spark’s first books such as The Notebook. And I go through many other reading phases to this day. My last book was an audio book on Networking Marketing, it was interesting, informative, and a pathway I’m considering. 

—– 

Jamie Dornan Colouring Page in Artist Pen Brushes and Pencil Crayon (Amanda Eifert)
 

———
3. Drawing/Art/Colouring/Painting – Art is the only hobby I believe makes me feel more at peace than writing. My hands have always known what to do most of the time during painting or drawing, even before I realize I’m directing them. I’m not as good as I used to be, an effect of my initial psychotic episode. But I have become much better at drawing through some courses I took in my Residential a Design Certificate, focusing on drawing. 

I also adore acrylic painting. There is something so freeing about mixing colours and different gels to create texture on a painting. I haven’t done this in a bit I admit, but it’s something I find I have to be inspired to do. Lately, writing and other parts of life are running this well dry, but someday soon I promise to pick up my favourite paint brush.

Additionally, I have been colouring in colouring books for adults. Not the ones with all those small spaces, but ones with a general outline that you can be creative on. I find that hobby relaxing and use various mediums on a page.

——–

Nikki giving her Evil Eye (Amanda Eifert)

——
4. Scrapbooking – I have done this for years, since I would go out with my girl friends in university and we would take many pictures each weekend. I think the pictures are becoming less and less, but I make an effort to take some and I’ve done a few photo shoot type things. I do scrapbooking the old fashioned way, not online. I’ve been doing little wedding albums for my friends who get married, of pictures online that they might not otherwise have. Also, I will do them of the pictures they put up. It’s an ‘ I’m thinking of you guys,’ type of gift that will last for years to come. And when I had a pet, well there were more pictures of the dog then anyone. Funny how that works.

——

http://www.artofliving.org

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5. Yoga/Pilates – I began Pilates in grade eleven. I did it faithfully through university and even when I was going to the gym and weight lifting, I would go to the odd Pilates class. I also started to do yoga at this time. 

Pilates is an excellent workout using your core and strengthening it, using your own body weight as weight. It was designed by Joseph Pilates who came up with the excercise based off of yoga and other excercise types for soldiers in WWII; to improve their muscle strength while recovering from injuries. Honestly, it’s some of the best exercise you can do because it’s a bit cardiovascular, improves flexibility, and improves muscle tone.

After I became ill, and I wasn’t physically able to do harder exercises I did Pilates for a bit but found I couldn’t keep it up. I started doing yoga because it was easier and it helped with stiff muscles, while being a form of beneficial exercise. The challenge in yoga is holding your pose for the right length of time. It can be difficult but also makes you feel relaxed afterwards, while stretching muscles you didn’t know you had. When I’m feeling super great I do a DVD that is a yoga and Pilates combination routine. Mostly, I do ten to fifty minute yoga sessions from a yoga application on my IPAD. 

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.