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.

Black Out Prompt: Poem – Black Out – ” Not Roses” #amwriting #poetry #beauty #politics


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting the Black Out Prompt: 

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Credit: February 2017 INSTYLE Magazine

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Spring collection first shown, standout trends captivate. 

Pretty pink dresses, bandeau tops [are] proposed by influential, 

Femininity, classic ladylike variety reflected, underlying desire.

Creative support for the power and rights [of women], 

At a critical moment, clothes mirror complexity and chaos.

[A] new creative pointed statement, paying tribute, 

[Reminding us] attend the collection, printed with a line —

[It] leans [to] the left, favor[ing us] suffragettes. 

Explicit in making politics known, a reaction to unsettling results, 

 [Women and] fashion imagined entering a [new] season, 

Clothing playing [an] unexpected role, [our] viewpoints, [what] the world wears —

Becomes a political act. 

Interpretation, construeing message of inclusion, 

[There’s an] intention to celebrate women, 

We can all agree, [we need] be attentive and open to the world, to our creativity

[It] reflects our desiresembracing the imagery of strong, 

[What we wear is a] universal language women embrace. 

 [Your] engagement [demonstrates] how perceptions can change, 

Judged the same, we don’t assume shallow or [too] serious. 

Imagine in the coming years [unyielding] support, consider —

A contrary affect; [our] standards represent [our] enormous role. 

Perceive beauty’s responsibility taken seriously, 

Heartening to see interest in lives, so moved [knowing] —

We’re more and [moving forward with all] pioneering women, 

We’re not [merely] roses. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) 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.

 

November Notes: Day 8 – Poem – Musette – “No Worries” #amwriting #poetry #novembernotes


Today’s song prompt is the song “Perfect Strangers” by Jonas Blue.

——

“Perfect Strangers” – Jonas Blue

—–

Credit: Zazzle

—–

We’re here,

Right now it’s safe,

No fear.

—–

No waste,

Spending our time, 

We’re great

—–

Does not —

Matter what is,

We’ve got —

—–

Us both,

Together and —

Don’t loath.

—- 

Spend time,

No hate, it’s good.

We’re fine

— 

You look,

I see, gaze back,

Let’s nook.

Lie next,

To me, cuddle.

Complex —

—-

What we,

Share; but simple,

We see —

—–

Life’s short, 

Live it breezy,

Support.

—–

We’re here,

It’s safe, no fear, 

Life’s clear. 

—–

——

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Poem: Free Verse – “Thick, Thin, and Tequila” #amwriting #poetry


Polyvore on Pinterest

———

You balance out my dance, 

And it isn’t per-chance, 

You’re the same women who tipped, 

Me back with a few drinks ten-years-ago.
Who talked to me in words much deeper

Much clearer than my confused soul.

You understood the words of my heart

Despite tequila, despite red red wine,

Maybe, even despite the way I was acting —

Dragged down by life’s issues, 

You always knew what I was hiding

Those secrets destroying me,

Never stayed hidden long. 

You laughed and you smiled

Gave me hugs and even —

A shot of apple whiskey, 

Or possibly a jello shooter.

In younger years we may have —

Only been egging each other on to drink, 

But we also learned to say to each other, 

Friend, I think you’ve had enough.” 

We’ve learned to have good times, 

Drinking nothing but tea, 

Or a single glass of our favourite wine. 

You’re always happy to see me, 

And I miss being closer to all of you. 

In these years you encourage me, 

For a few hours, for an early night —

To for a moment forget

The problems which haunt me,

You forget yours too —

We have fun, play some games

You tell me to —

“Celebrate with us and let life’s troubles —

Go up in the fire’s smoke. 

Forget your health, your other woes, 

Know us better, we know you best,” 

Years do not contest, the same kind faces, 

Always there, from nights at the bar, 

To tamer houses parties because —

Responsibilities they matter more now. 

You balance out my dance,

My friends, my connections

To myself, the real world, 

The way things could be, would be —

The way things are, 

You balance out my dance, 

In ways tequila never stood a chance, 

 My history, my friends, 

My ones I have chosen, as you’ve chosen me,

To walk with me as adults, 

Maybe someday in our old-age? 

For now we play games and laughter rings, 

It’s contagious and sets me free.

Cheers my soul, 

That unknowingly

You would lift my burdens from me

Give me pause and make me think. 

(The adult sipping on her Zinfandel, 

To make the tequila flavour go away.)

My friends, confidents,

Who accept me for me,

You set me free and give me faith, 

That I can face the bad guys, 

Live another day;

Just to see you all laugh uproarasly.

To see a fire glow and gleam, 

Beneath the silver moon,

And a game of flippy-cup by fires light. 

Some things never change. 

Friends playing, and in all seriousness saying:

“Everyone needs a night or two, 

To let go and live freely, 

And not overthink.” 

Your bestfriends give you liberty

Your best friends hold on to you

Through thick, thin, and tequila. 

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Moral Monday’s Flash Fiction: The Argument


Thank you to Nortina S for hosting Moral Monday’s 100 Word Flash Fiction. Feel Free to join in to at the link above. Today’s moral is: “Don’t Straddle The Fence.”


arguing girls
http://www.dreamstime.com

“Every time we go to a dance club, you drag me along to talk with some guy you have your eye on. I’d like to talk and dance with guys I like too.” Alex told Suzy who ignored her.

Alex turned to Melissa: “You told me you wanted to talk to a guy tonight but Suzy said he wasn’t worth the effort; it’s not up to Suzy.” 

“I’m fine.” Melissa mumbled, cringing as Suzy glared at her.

“Why did you say yesterday, how tired you were of helping Suzy chase guys?” Alex asked Melissa.

“I don’t want to get between you and Suzy.” Melissa said. 

“You’re a part of this too.” Alex said sternly. 

Suzy rolled her eyes: ” I’m the prettiest girl. I need you both to be wing-women when I’m scoping guys. Melissa gets this, you need to fall in line Alex.” 

——–

*My apologies for going over 100 words this week. I couldn’t seem to chop the story down more.* 


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: Art in the Eye of the Beholder. 


” So what do you think?” Paul asked his husband. “It’s a print of a famous painting and the ocean and sky is calm and relaxing. You don’t like it?”

Trevor looked at the print hung over their bed: “Paul, it’s a print. I think if you’re going to buy a copy of a painting, you should at least buy a copy which is actually painted. This is a poster, how much did you pay for it?” Paul smiled with strain.

“Oh, it was only a cheap print framed. Maybe, we can go find an actual painting soon. I only thought this was a serene piece of art perfect for a bedroom.” Paul said sounding hurt.

Trevor sighed deeply; he hated it when Paul made him feel guilty.

“The ocean and the sky are serene but we could go down Whyte Ave this week during Art Walk and find an original actual painting, while supporting local artists. I’m sure a peaceful ocean and sky will be a common theme.” Trevor remarked, trying to convince Paul’s high taste.

Paul grinned.”That sounds fantastic! There is this great restaurant where they have real Italian food on Whyte and…” 

Trevor tuned Paul out and flicked on the TV opposite the ocean print. An NFL game was on; true art, Trevor thought with a grin.

—–

 

http://www.pixebay.com
 
——-

Thanks to Roger Shipp for hosting FFftPP each Friday.

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award


  

——
Thanks to Joy Pixley of Tales from Eneana for nominating me for the award.

——-

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the giver and link their blog to your post.
  • Answer the 10 questions given to you.
  • Pass the award on to ‘N’ (as many as you want) other bloggers of your choice and let them know that they have been nominated.
  • Give your nominees 10 of your own questions to answer.
  • Include the logo of the award in a post or on your blog.

———-

Questions:

1. What are you trying to accomplish with your blog? Or put another way, what are you hoping others will get out of it, or that you will get out of it?

The original purpose of my blog was to improve my writing skills. I still think that is an important goal in my blog but I’m also trying to develop writing pieces – even just ideas or beginnings of — writing pieces to submit to literary magazines/contests and for a masters in Creative Writing in 2017. I also think a purpose of my blog is to share writing other people can read and enjoy and to be a community thing where people read my writing and I’m able to read there’s and we can share insights. We develope a lot from what we learn from other people and their ideas and that has certainly been the case with me. I have had many great mentors on WordPress.

How do you deal with the inevitable frustrations of blogging, like posting something you worked really hard on and getting little response? (It’s okay to admit if crying is involved; we’d understand.)

Honestly, it is difficult to predict why people like certain pieces and not others. I’m always surprised when a piece I spent five minutes on and because it was only an emotional outpouring, I receive a lot of likes and comments. I think you have to hook the reader, you also have to be willing to put yourself out there emotionally because people respond to that. Also, commenting on other blogs and reading other’s work opens up new doors and helps you to connect with other people who maybe interested in pieces other bloggers aren’t. It really just depends on the day too. Sometimes people don’t have time to read a long piece but a short piece only takes a few minutes to read.

What is one way that someone has been especially supportive about your blog and/or your writing more generally?

– My parents are pretty supportive of my writing in general and my wanting to get a MFA in Creative writing. I don’t know how much of my blog they read. My friends are good and often read a post every now and then. A great deal of support comes from the blogger community, especially when someone says they like my blog and my writing and are happy to have found it. Also, I have had great mentors as I’ve said in the blogging community – Joyroses, PJ, Clcouch, Jacqueline, to name a few.

What is one thing you wish you had known when you first started your blog?

I wish I knew how important it was to read and respond to other people’s blogs. I have actually been going at this for four-years and the more time I’m into it, the better response from others I receive. Two-days ago I had the most likes ever. Even though it is a long process somedays, I firmly believe that giving people positive support in their blogging and networking, using social media makes a huge difference. 

How do you find or make or schedule time to write for your blog? How well is that working for you?

Honestly, I probably spend too much time blogging between writing pieces and commenting but I’m on disability, I have time. I’m building myself as a writer and trying to get my name and work out there, so it is somewhat like a career a I do half-time. Writing is what I want to do with my life, so you have to put in the work and effort.

Everyone procrastinates at least once in a while. What’s a guilty pleasure that you indulge in when you’re supposed to be working?

Shopping sometimes. Or just watching movies or TV shows I like that I’m not caught up on. 

What do you like to do when you’re not working or writing? Do any of your hobbies, or your occupation, feed back into your writing?

I enjoy reading a lot. I can spend days just reading if I let myself. I go for walks. The weather has been nice so it’s been great getting down into the park by my home. I do yoga, go on Netflix, watch TV episodes I missed, adult colouring, and drawing in general. I love fashion/makeup so I spend time looking at Magazines, on Pinterest,, YouTube watching how to videos etc. Love watching hockey and going out with some friends. I often take courses too, not at the moment though. All this helps my blog. It is new experiences to write about and new ideas etc…

Which holiday or celebration (annual or otherwise) in the country where you live do you enjoy the most?

Christmas without a doubt. I love finding the perfect gift for everyone and I like our family traditions and the delicious food. I like being able to celebrate with friends too and seeing people I don’t always see often. I enjoy wine and friends this time of year especially.

Since I love food, I have to include it here: Tell us a story about one of your favorite foods, like a special time that you made it, or when you first had it, or just describe what you love about it.

My Dad, before he had to become Gluton free, he used to make the most delicious homemade apple pies. They were so scrumpious. Probably bad for you but oh well. At the time I could work out lots so it wasn’t an issue.

Tell us a story about someone who told you (or implied) that you couldn’t do something because you were a girl/woman, and how you responded.

i can’t think of one off hand. Except if you are a girl, their is a lot of pressure around my age to meet a guy and get married and have kids. It’s a societal thing. Because of my health issues I don’t know if I can handle kids. People don’t get that. And guys can be really dumb these days, they think because you chatted with them a bit or went for a coffee, now you should naturally sleep with them. 

——

Nominations

Sonya at 100 Words or Less.

Marie at Doodles and Scribbles

SWritings

Wandering Soul

Jennifer Terry at The Things I Yell
——

Questions:

Same as the ones asked to me above

——–

Letting Him Get Away.


It was along time before I had my first ‘real’ relationship. I went on Plenty Of a Fish, because my friend had met her husband on that site. My ex-boyfriend,  was not like the other men I talked to. He didn’t ask me what my job was or about sex. He asked me about my religion. He was Muslim and wanted to date a nice girl with morals, ethics, and who was close to her family. I was reluctant to date him because my ex’s religion is Islam and I grew up with Christianity. But I had never dated anyone longterm before. My ex-boyfriend was attractive and fun so I began dating him. 

My ex worked up North, where all the people who worked in the oil field, lived in camps. My ex worked three weeks on and one week off. I saw him once a week when he was home My ex was accepting of my condition. He didn’t mind that I lived with a mental illness which caused me fatigue and limited how long I could be out with him. He was quiet to begin with but later he opened up to me.

Our relationship functioned for awhile. My health improved so we were going out three times a week when he was here. Often, my ex would take an extra week off. My ex was gentle and he listened well. He gave good advice. But there were some issues in our relationship that became apparent.

The biggest issue was my ex staying in contact while working up North. Eventually, we were texting once or twice a day and I would call him every couple of weeks. It took three years to get to this point and a lot of hardwork on my end. When my ex was home we were together a lot. But I had to be diligent about making ‘talking’ and ‘getting to know each other better’ happen. 

My ex would also come back from work and go on a trip without telling me where he was going. Suddenly, there was no way for me to talk to him, sometimes for two-weeks. I learned he was seeing friends or had gone off on a road trip for awhile with his cousin. At first, I worried a great deal when all communication was cut-off. I often thought early on, he had decided not see me anymore. He accused me of seeing other guys in the beginning.

Ramadan was an extremely difficult time for our relationship. For the first couple of years we were together, my ex went to Saskatchewan to do his fasting with friends. Almost the entirety of June and July would pass and I barely was able talk or contact my ex because the cell reception wasn’t good. He was scarcely able to use Internet and he never tried to phone me. Although, I attempted to phone him. 

It was along time before my ex talked to me during Ramadan and an even longer time before he would go out with me in the daytime. Males can’t touch a woman they’re not married to during Ramadan before sunset. Muslims also spend a great deal of time reading the Quran in the day. I had no problem with my ex practising his faith during Ramadan, it was the fact he barely paid attention to me. Later, when my health became worse it was a challenge to see him at night anytime before 11:00 pm. It also took my ex an eternity to meet my family. He was scared of my Dad. He met my Mom a couple of times but not my Dad until the fourth year we were dating. 

The issue that finished us was me. I didn’t find the relationship to be fulfilling, I never felt secure. When I didn’t hear from him for awhile or he wouldn’t listen to me, I would break up with him because I couldn’t handle it. I broke up four more times with my ex because I felt he was ignoring me and he wasn’t giving time to our relationship. I didn’t hear anything from him for a month one time. He wanted to get married but he valued all the activities he wanted to do above his time with me. My family is also special to me and so was my ex becoming apart of my family, which he never attempted.

I went the last nine months without breaking up with him. He wanted to get married. I went to a friend’s wedding at her church. She was walked down the aisle by her Dad and her husband and she made their vows before God. 

At this point, I knew something was wrong with my ex’s and my relationship big time. I wanted to be like my friend and walk down the church aisle when I married. I believed in a Jesus who wasn’t merely a prophet but God’s Son. If I ever had kids, I wanted them brought up with The Bible and Jesus’ promise of salvation.

My ex hadn’t even told his Muslim family back home about me, even though Muslims are allowed to marry Christian girls. I knew his cousin because he lived with him and had been introduced to the odd friend of my ex’s at the bar. But after four years, I had no idea who most of his good friends were. Some of our problems were due to my health. I became worse for awhile and it became too much to date him often because he usually wanted to get together at night. 

Mostly, I needed a fresh start. I needed to develop myself as a person on my own. I needed freedom. It was hard letting go of my ex but the religion issue finally pushed me over the edge. My family is extremely Christian and I couldn’t deal with relatives who didn’t think our relationship was right, when I wasn’t into my ex anymore. I wanted a guy who involved himself in my family, friends, and life — who could relate to my lifestyle.

I’m busy in my single life. My ex was a good boyfriend but he was not the guy for me. In a relationship, when it is the right relationship, you want to be with the other person exceedingly. You want to be with the other person so much because you love them and can work together to build a life sharing similar values. I wanted freedom and a chance to see what the world outside of “us” offered; for this reason my ex is my ex.

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©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.