For November Notes Day 30, the final prompt song is “Break the Shell” by India Arie. I’m combining with the #3LineTale prompt by Sonya of Only 100 Words.
Credit: Hans Vivek via Unsplash
“Break the Shell” by India Arie
Hard decisions are frustrating, such as spray painting a mural and wanting it to be perfect, then watching it painted over in white the next day; but we can’t let indecision and fear hold us back as shadows too make a person whole. We want to live a life without pain but that life doesn’t exist because life hurts no matter what and is meant to be felt; if we stay inside ourselves, then we’ll never accomplish our potential. I am certain that flying free means breaking out of our shells to thrive and take chances; and if we don’t decide to try we’ll remain trapped on the ground, always wondering, what if?
Before we go any further, I need to introduce Christine’s blog as a whole, it’s called: Brave and Reckless.
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself, Christine?
My name is Christine Ray and I’m from Havertown, Pennsylvania (outside of Philadelphia). I blog at Brave and Reckless. I feel as if sometimes I should call myself the ‘accidental blogger!’ I came to the WordPress blog site to do one piece of writing called: What Every Woman Knows. The piece is based on rape culture, sexual harassment, and sexual trauma and is, sadly, more relevant now more than ever.
Writing that one post literally changed my whole life. I rediscovered that I loved writing. I also love to write poetry and I’m thrilled to be part of an active writing community. My blogging goals include continuing to grow and strengthen Secret First Draft, the Go Dog Go Café and Blood Into Ink, all projects that are very near and dear to my heart.
2. Do You Have Any Particular Blogging Goals or Things You Want to Accomplish?
My first goal is to simply improve my writing skills maintain writing as a daily habit. When I started blogging, the deal I made with myself was simply to write 10 minutes a day. I had the option of writing a new piece from scratch, working on an ongoing project, or editing a piece of writing.
The idea was that I develop discipline and prioritize my writing. I am involved with a lot of other collaborative blogs. And sometimes my own personal writing keeps moving further down the priority list than it should be moving.
Additionally, I’m registered for a course about writing child and young adult literaturein the Fall that I’m really excited about. The thought of a low-residency program to earn a Masters in Fine Arts has crossed my mind a time or two (or maybe ten!!).
“My first goal is to simply improve my writing skills maintain writing as a daily habit. When I started blogging, the deal I made with myself was simply to write 10 minutes a day. I had the option of writing a new piece from scratch, working on an ongoing project, or editing a piece of writing.” – Christine Ray
3. When Did You Begin Writing or Blogging and Why? What Does Writing Mean to You?
I honestly can’t remember how old I was when I began writing but I was definitely scrawling short stories into dog-eared notebooks in middle school. As well, I started writing poetry as a teenager. I was also the editor of my high school newspaper and my senior yearbook.
Nevertheless, I have taken long breaks from writing when life has become busy but it has always been something I come back to when I’m in transition. I turned fifty-years-oldin 2016 which was a major life reassessment period for me. Writing became a primary method for me to work through my feelings.
Finding my voice again as a writer has been really powerful, though to be honest, I think other people took me seriously as a writer long before I did. There were most definitely several months where I transitioned from when I thought about myself as a middle-aged woman (who happened to write), to identifying myself as a writer and a poet, being who I am today.
Writing has become, and honest, always has been an essential part of my identity. As well, began my blog: Brave and Reckless on October 8, 2016.
4. Where do you Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing? Why is it Significant for you to Continue Writing and Blogging?
I find inspiration everywhere. Music is a big part of my writing process and song lyrics frequently inspire my workbut I’ve also been inspired by movies (Paterson is amazing);TV (you’d be amazed how much poetry there is in American Gods);beer menus, conversations with other people, and currently, a collaboration with Aurora Phoenix inspires and motivates me. The collaboration began in the comments section in one of my blog posts.
This sounds silly when I say it out loud, but when I started this particular blog in October, I had no idea that I had anything to say!The vast majority of my writing is inspired by exactly what is going on in my emotional life, in the moment.Sometimes I approach writing about those things obliquely, but often what you see is a direct reflection of my experiences during the day.
One of the most transformative experiences of blogging for me was realizing my writing resonates with other people.Every time someone writes to me and tells me that I captured exactly what they were feeling, but couldn’t articulate it, is an incentive for me to keep up with my writing.
Every time someone writes to thank me for writing openly about depression, suicide, PTSD, or trauma, it is incentive to keep writing. Feeling like I can still make a positive impact keeps me writing and blogging. I feel that I can make a positive impact on other people by continuing to write and blog because it helps other people, not only myself.
“Every time someone writes to thank me for writing openly about depression, suicide, PTSD, or trauma, it is incentive to keep writing. Feeling like I can still make a positive impact keeps me writing and blogging. I feel that I can make a positive impact on other people by continuing to write and blog because it helps other people, not only myself.” – Christine Ray
5. Do you have any Particular Writing or Blogging Habits? What do you Enjoy Most About Writing? Is there a Time of Day you Prefer to Write?
I have a busy life and have discovered that the only way to fit writing and blogging into my life is to awake at 4:00 a.m.From 4:00 a.m to 6: 00 a.m. I write, I answer blog related comments and emails, I record ‘Spoken Word’ versions of my writing, and see to editorial duties.
As well, I have been known to write whole pieces in the Google Docs app on my phone during my commute on the bus or train.I also eat lunch at my desk, at work, and try to catch up on reading other people’s blogs. At times, I’m still awake at 10:00 p.m. doing blog related activities and tending to my own writing.I must admit that I’m tired right now. However, I expect things to calm down a bit over the upcoming summer months.
6. Can you Tell us About your Most Current Writing Projects on your Blog or Outside of it?
In addition to writing and publishing daily, I’ve been running various writing challenges on my blog. This week I challenged readers to write about a life experience using ten objectsand will be publishing my favorites on my ‘Brave and Reckless’ blog. I’ve already committed to two Writing Prompt Challenges and have my third occurring now using the prompt: “I Am More Than Breath and Bones.”
I do publish some of my work, the pieces I call “the softer side of Christine”—on Poetry Corner. I’m also happily involved as a Barista at the Go Dog Go Café. It’s been fun to put the site together and to work with a lovely cadre of writers,some of whom I’ve met and some of whom are new to me. The Cafe has a wonderful community vibe and brings out the best in writers.
My most recent project was launching Blood Into Ink (with a group of writers from WordPress and off of it).’Blood Into Ink’ has a safe and respectful environment for stories of survival to be told. It gives a home for stories from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma.The focus of the blog is to discover our ‘warrior voices’ by telling our truths.
It is open to men and women and already features some pretty fierce writing. I am proud of this project and hope that it encourages many writers to tell their stories and aids them in receiving the support and respect they deserve for their stories of survival and dealing with them after the fact.
Also, I’m working on a project called Whisper and the Roar, a feminist literary collective site. I am still an author for Whisper and the Roar. All of the writers on this site are feminist but the content is not overtly feminist.I piece I wrote for this particular site is called “Ode to a Black Eye.” Such as many of my pieces, this post is autobiographical (my childhood friend Wendy had the black eye and we finally talked about the incident when we reconnected on Facebook.
“Blood Into Ink’ has a safe and respectful environment for stories of survival to be told. It gives a home for stories from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma. The focus of the blog is to discover our ‘warrior voices’ by telling our truths.” – Christine Ray
7. Have you Published any Writing or Poetry outside of your Blog? If not do you plan to in the Future?
I recently had a couple of pieces of poetry published in Felan Magazinewhich has lit a fire under me to publish more writing into print. Felan centers its issues around a particular feeling so it was easy to pull my best pieces about Anger (Issue 10) and Love (Issue 11).
8. Can you Briefly Describe to us Your Writing Process? Are there Certain Genres of Writing and Reading You Prefer?
The vast majority of my writing happens on my PC in the early morning hourswith music playing in the background. Some of my work happens on my phone on the train. Some it is sprawled into notebooks until I have time to typeit up. I’ve been known to write a poem or two during long and dull meetings at work (hopefully none of my co-workers are reading this).
Poetry is definitely my primary form of written expression but I do write some prose, some short fiction, and essays. As a reader, I tend to joke that I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy! I’m obsessed with Jane Austen (I’ve got a Jane Austen quote as a tattoo) and I’ve read the Harry Potter series a ridiculous amount of times. I love psychological British mysteries, Young Adult literature, as well as, science fiction, and fantasy. All in all, I’m a serious book nerd!
“Poetry is definitely my primary form of written expression but I do write some prose, some short fiction, and essays. As a reader, I tend to joke that I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy!” – Christine Ray
9. Do you have any Wisdom for Other Bloggers and Writers?
Make writing a daily habit even if you can only dedicate ten minutes a day.Write what you like to read! Find writers whose work you like and follow them too! Check out those who follow your blog—you may like their blog too!
Also, don’t obsess about numbers. Fifteen extremely engaged followers are more rewarding than two-hundred disengaged writers.Be brave and leave thoughtful comments on other people’s writing. I have picked up a lot of followers this way. Most vitally, I have made excellent friends by commenting on the writing/blogs of other people.
In addition, I recommend subscribing and responding to the Daily Post. I want everyone who writes and/or blog to know that their voice matters and their truths matter too. Don’t worry about your audience, worry about what you need to say.
There are twelve million people on WordPress—your people (your followers) are out there.You may need to look for them, but there is someone out there who wants to read what you have to say.
10. Is there Anything Else you Want to Share, something you think is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?
Things have calmed down a little but I spent three days replying to all the comments I received! I still don’t know how the WordPress editors found me or that piece.However, I try to use my newfound readership for good and give lots of other really good writers exposure on Brave and Reckless(I feel like I should be quoting Spiderman or something here)!
“Make writing a daily habit even if you can only dedicate ten minutes a day. Write what you like to read! Find writers whose work you like and follow them too! Check out those who follow your blog—you may like their blog too!” – Christine Ray
11. For fun, do you Have Any Especially Favorite Bloggers that you Love to Follow?
There are so many blogs that I love! My big writing crushes are:
The Feathered Sleep — Candice Louisa Daquin’s writing is elegant, exquisite, and emotionally resonant.
A Journal for Damned Lovers — Nicholas is gritty and dark and never glamorizes life, love or himself. He takes you on journeys into the human psyche that you didn’t even know you wanted to go one. He appeals to my darkness and I want to grow up and write like SK someday!
The Lithium Chronicles –Nicole Lyons and the other poets she highlights on her site are badass warriors! There is an electricity to Nicole’s work, a buzz that gets under my skin, and into my blood. Some of her writing is similar to what could be pulled from own diaries.
Additionally, all of the writers at the collectives I work with are amazing and deserving of a read.
12. Can You Please Share with us a few of Your Favorite Pieces from your Blogging?
Thank you so much to Christine Ray for being so detailed and open sharing her writing and poetry with us on my blog and on the Go Do Go Cafe.If you would like to be featured as a writer, blogger, or person who is blogging/writing about a causeplease reach out to me through my contact page. Next week`s interview will be a ‘Rewind Interview,’ a blogger I’ve interviewed in the past.
Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting Sunday Photo Fiction. Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to “write a poem that incorporates the vocabulary and imagery of a specific sport or game.” The A to Z Challenge GoodReads quote author’s name begins with the letter Q.
“Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future. And time future contained in time past.” ― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
Happy New Year 2017!!!!! Here are some quotes to start the new year off right. I look forward this year to exciting challenges to learn from, experiences to be present in, and new people I will have to pleasure to know and meet both out and about and in the blogging/writing world online.
Thank you to all of you who follow my blog and/or read my blog posts and writing. Thank you for your support and for your time! It’s much appreciated as are your likes, comments, and follows on WordPress, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook!!!! You are amazing!!!! Hoping 2017 is everything fantastic you hope it will be!
1. Lists – I make lists for most everything, to remember information, to remember items I have to buy at the store, to make note of something I want to research more, etc. It’s a memory tool but I also feel such gratification when I can cross items off my list.
2. Spiders and bugs – I despise them. Spiders are the worst but I’m not fond of any kind of bug. I wish they would stay outside, all of them good bugs or bad.
3. Dishes – I like to wash them in the dishwasher. I don’t understand people who do their dishes by hand when they have a new working dishwasher (unless it’s a pot or large dish). Your dishwasher uses hotter water to wash your dishes to kill bacteria and not to mention, it uses less water than you do washing dishes by hand. Washing dishes which could go into the dishwasher, is a waste of water.
4. Organization – I’m quite organized. You may not be able to tell I’m organized but I know exactly where I put things and why, so I get annoyed when people try to organize me because it pretty much puts me into chaos and then I have to go and fix everything. So, if I do something a certain way, I have my reasons.
5. Clothes/Makeup – I like to look put together and stylish. I know in the end clothes and makeup are things but when I dress nice and my makeup appears nice, I feel better. I feel prepared and I feel like I can face whatever will come my way. Also, having to attend medical appointments or whatever kind of appointments, and meetings, I have found looking your best effects how you are perceived and often treated. I like to look as if I take care myself well and my appearance matters.
6. Eating – I’m a picky eater. I’ll leave it at that. I don’t eat carbohydrates almost at all. And when I follow a diet, I do better eating healthy, than not planning my meals.
Thank you to Sonya for hosting 3 Line Tales. I took the quote route this round:
1. ” Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex . . . it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction” – Albert Einstein
Going against ‘the heard mentality,’ is difficult. We learn from a young age to ‘conform’ to others, so we fit in and don’t get beat up. When we’re older I think our differences, the aspects of us that are special and unique, are vital to our success as adults. It is easy to maintain pace with the heard, to want to be like other people, forgetting your own talents and abilities. But as Einstein says, it takes courage and genius to take the direction, you’re meant to go in life, to go against what other people are doing or think you should be doing.
2. “Sometimes the greatest act of love is to walk away, so that the other person can find their true self and direction again.” – http://www.feelmylove.org
Sometimes you are with someone ‘romantically’ but you know in your heart you’re not meant to end up together, even though you are comfortable as a couple. Comfortable is not amazing, and you should want amazing for both your partner and yourself. I learned comfortable is not the best situation, even when the other person doesn’t see it. You have to be the one to leave and let them find their self and the direction they’re supposed to take in their life. You need to find that for yourself as well.
3. “I have learned that if one advances confidently in the direction of his (her) dreams, and endeavours to live the life he (she) has imagined, he (she) will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau
We all have dreams and things we want to accomplish in life. Sometimes it is a challenge to see those endeavours through because while you try to complete your goals, life happens. I think Thoreau has a point that we need to with confidence approach our dreams. Hopefully, what we’re meant to do in life includes our dreams or what we end up doing becomes our dreams. It is my hope we have success in life, that we can experience it in the the hours we are granted.
A Clerihew is a comic verse consisting of two couplets and a specific rhyming scheme, aabb invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956) at the age of 16. The poem is about/deals with a person/character within the first rhyme. In most cases, the first line names a person, and the second line ends with something that rhymes with the name of the person.