Interview with Sarah Whiley: Writer, Blogger, Teacher, & Future Author #interview #nonfiction #amwriting #nonfiction


Welcome to another writer/blogger interview. Today I’m interviewing the wonderful, talented, and gorgeous Sarah Whiley who I have come to know through the prompt website MindLoveMisery`s Menagerie (MLMM). Sarah`s personal blog is called: By Sarah. You can also look for her to do the Saturday Mix prompt on MLMM. Here`s the link to last week`s prompt: Same Same but Different December 30.


Sarah Whiley Interview Pic 1
Credit: Sarah Whiley

1. Sarah, Please Tell Us About Yourself? What Are Your Writing and Blogging Goals? What Do You Hope to Accomplish by Writing? 


My name is Sarah Whiley and I live in north-east Victoria, in Australia. My blog is: ‘By Sarah. I’m a primary school teacher of 17 years and have taught all ages from 5 to 12 years old. I have always loved writing since I could pick up a pencil and create. I am passionate about instilling this same love of writing in my students.

In order to do that, it is important that I see myself as a writer – as an author in my own right. This is what I am hoping to accomplish by writing and blogging. I am so fortunate to live where I do. They don’t call Australia the “lucky country” for nothing!


2. Tell Us About Where You Live and What You Love About It?


I’m originally a city girl from Canberra, and later, Melbourne. I have enjoyed the spoils of both cities’ such as the cosmopolitan cafes and restaurants, nightlife, and their unique cultures.

When I met my husband and moved to the country! I love the wide- open spaces, the varying landscapes and the bush. I am now an avid bushwalker and spend most weekends out and about, communing with nature.


“I am a primary school teacher of 17 years and have taught all ages from 5 to 12 years old. I have always loved writing since I could pick up a pencil and create. I am passionate about instilling this same love of writing in my students. In order to do that, it is important that I see myself as a writer – as an author in my own right.” – By Sarah Whiley 


Sarah Whiley Pic 2
Sarah Whiley

 


3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging and Why? What Does Writing Mean to You? 


My journey with blogging began five years ago, after a series of personal setbacks and issues. I commenced blogging primarily, as a cathartic experience to help me work through my thoughts and feelings. Once I no longer ‘needed’ my blog, I had a small break, however always felt something was ‘missing.’

After attending professional development for helping me teach writing, I realized, the hole that blogging and writing had left in my life!

I started my blog, ‘By Sarah,’ to explore my own creative writing, to explore myself, and my talent for writing. I have, particularly, enjoyed writing short stories and poetry. An unexpected bonus to continued blogging has been the great friendships I’ve gained in the WordPress community; I have established so many along the way.


4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing and Blogging? Why Is It Vital for you to Keep on Writing? 


I have some seeds of ideas stashed away in my writer’s notebook. I tend to work on these pieces over a long period of time. For other ideas, I rely on a range of prompts. I feel it’s important to write regularly in order to develop my skills and continue to write and maintain it as a habit. Also, I experience a great degree of stress relief from writing.

Moreover, as a teacher, it is easy to get stuck in a cycle of hyper-vigilance and not to give yourself enough ‘down time’. I find a variety of prompts extremely helpful for motivating and inspiring writing for myself and in my teaching.

As well, I have a schedule of sorts and I endeavor to write every day aside from Wednesdays (which is my ‘well-being-do-nothing’ night!


 

Sarah Whiley Group Pic 3
Credit: Sarah Wiley

 


“For other ideas, I rely on a range of prompts. I feel it is important to write regularly in order to develop my skills and continue to write and maintain it as a habit. Also, I experience a great degree of stress relief from writing.” – Sarah Whiley


5. What Are Your Writing and Blogging Habits? Do You Prefer Writing a Certain Time of Day? 


I set aside time each day to write. Usually, I can be found on the couch with a dog or two keeping me company, along with some background noise from the TV (I am one of these people who can’t concentrate when it’s quiet). I enjoy writing poetry most. I have a knack for rhyme and rhythm and find it easy to whip up a poem.

As well, I have been challenging myself to explore other types of writing and short stories to extend my skills. I don’t write in the mornings as I am in a rush for time once I wake up. I rush out the door to teach school, but I write after dinner, sometime between 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. at night. I find Tuesdays and Thursdays to be my busiest and most productive days.


6. What Are Your Most Current Writing or Blogging Projects? Do You Have Projects Outside of Your Blog Involving Writing? Do You Plan on Publishing Any Writing in the Future? 


Currently, I am undertaking Sammi Cox’s  ‘A Month of Mini Writing Challenges’ and have am the new host for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s ‘Saturday Mix’. Outside of my
blog, I keep a writer’s notebook and am busy maintaining a Class Dojo Story (similar to a blog) for my classroom.

I will soon be published as a feature writer in Linda J. Wolff’s upcoming eBook. Linda runs a fantastic Urban Poetry site and I was the winner of her Fibonacci poetry competition earlier this year. At the end of the year, I plan to convert my blog posts for 2017 into a self-published collection for family, friends, and anyone else interested.


Toa Hefitaba Sarah
Credit: Toa Hefitba via UnSplash

“I will soon be published as a feature writer in Linda J. Wolff’s upcoming eBook. Linda runs a fantastic Urban Poetry site and I was the winner of her Fibonacci poetry competition earlier this year. At the end of the year, I plan to convert my blog posts for 2017 into a self-published collection for family, friends, and anyone else interested.” – Sarah Whiley


7. Can you Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? What Do You Think Will Be Your Process of Self-Publishing Your Writing? 


Being a teacher, I find the writing process natural and not something I have to think too hard about. Storytelling and explaining my ideas is something I innately do. Upon analysis of my writing, though, I definitely follow six-traits in my writing process including ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions.

After I am happy with a final piece, I often bounce it off my husband or my mum, seeking their feedback. They are a tremendous help to me and improve the end result of my stories and poems and their overall flow. When I self-publish at the end of the year, I am investigating the use of the ‘Blook-Up Service.‘ (As Sarah gave me these answers super-quick back at the end of August or September, please ask her about the progress of her book and her published poem!!).


8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing and Reading Genres? And Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers and Bloggers Starting Out? 


Well, I’m definitely drawn to the dark, somewhat macabre styles of writing. My pieces often take a dark turn or have a twist at the end. I am not a fan of science-fiction or fantasy, at all, but I prefer supernatural, horror, thriller, crime, mystery, drama, historical, and biographical works.

My advice for new bloggers is:

  • Write what you know. Capturing a small moment in time can sometimes produce the best piece of writing! Also, go with the flow….literally! Don’t overthink it. Go with your ‘stream-of-consciousness’ and see where it leads.
  • Find like-minded people. Better to have fewer blog followers and likes, and better to have more feedback from those few who ‘get’ you and your writing, those who appreciate your efforts! Quality not quantity as they say.

Sarah Whiley Hiking 4
Credit: Sarah Whiley and Her Beautiful Photography!!

Find like-minded people. Better to have fewer blog followers and likes, and better to have more feedback from those few who ‘get’ you and your writing, those who appreciate your efforts! Quality not quantity as they say.” Sarah Whiley


9. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us About Writing Or Yourself? 


My experiences growing up in a large family and my relationships with my siblings have certainly shaped many of my ideas and stories! I am the eldest of six children (No, we are not Catholic!). My mum just wanted another son and kept trying until she got one! It’s ironic how she wanted four boys…she ended up with four girls! Despite the large age gaps between some of us, we are reasonably close and hang out together and, at times, travel together.

Also, I LOVE to travel. Whether it be exploring local gems, interstate expeditions or overseas adventures. I am curious and interested in the world around me. I soak up information and facts like a sponge (you never know when they’ll come in handy for a trivia night!) I enjoy nothing more than experiencing new things. I adore the outdoors and take every chance (money permitting of course!) to jump on a plane and go somewhere different.

As well, I love New Zealand and have holidayed there four times now – with plans to go back! I have also traveled to the US (including Hawaii), England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and Indonesia. All of these factors have helped develop my writing.


10. Can You Briefly Tell Us About Some of Your Favorite Blogs? What Do You Like Most About Them? 


Gosh, it’s hard to name a few. There are a lot of my WordPress friends whose work I truly respect and enjoy. But, if I have to narrow it down, I would have to say:

  • Jane Dougherty Writes – Jane has a wonderful turn of phrase and is able to use colorful words to create great imagery in her poems and stories.
  • God’s Chair – Jael Sook is an engaging and diverse poet and writer and I thoroughly enjoy her work, anticipating each post she makes.
  • RedStuffDan – Dan is an incredibly artistic photographer. His subjects include Bordeaux vineyards, local village life, architecture, doors, mirrored
    images and digital photography as art.

11. Can You Please Share With Us a Few Links from Your Blogs:

TASI

By Sarah Whiley

*Inspired by “Whiskey In the Jar” Music Prompt

*****

 

Tasi Sarah
Credit: Sarah Whiley

 

*****

My summer holiday in Hobart, Tasmania had not begun quite as I had expected. A thunderstorm, a severely delayed flight, and an inaccessible hostel topped off with some bitterly cold weather that I had most definitely not packed for. Finding myself with a few hours to spare, I decided that a stroll around the CBD to orient myself was in order.

The gathering, dark clouds had other ideas.

I had no sooner ventured out onto the streets when the skies opened and a torrential downpour began. Cursing, I sought cover under the awnings of the few shops that had them.

And that’s when I saw it from across the street. ‘Lark Distillery’.

I have never been a whiskey drinker, but I could not resist the pull of the plume of smoke coming from the chimney, nor the cozy 1800’s building that housed it. I ran across to the front door and pushed it open.

Immediately, a warm, yeasty aroma hit me. Unsurprisingly, I was the only patron. The young man behind the ba took in my sodden, street-urchin appearance, and without a trace of disdain, offered me a tasting.

‘But I don’t really drink whisky,’ I protested. ‘Can I just stay in here until the rain passes?’

‘Sure,’ he replied. ‘But why not have a little taste, just to pass the time?’

He took a glass and bottle from the shelf behind him and sang a few lyrics of the Metallica song, ‘There’s whisky in the jar oh.’ He winked, and with that, I took a seat at the bar.  I felt somewhat lonely amongst the long row of empty bar stools. Clearly, they were used to a greater custom.

‘So what would you like to try?’ he asked.

‘I’m in your hands,’ I admitted. ‘What would you recommend?’

‘Let’s start with the single malt. It’s a classic,’ he advised.

He poured a sample into the glass. The glug-glug and almost syrupy quality of the liquid was mesmerising.

‘This whisky is double distilled in locally crafted copper-pot stills and aged in small, 100 litre oak casks. We store our spirits for 5-8 years in smaller barrels for faster maturation,’ he explained.

I took a sip and promptly spluttered. He laughed.

‘Try throwing it back in one go,’ he suggested.

So I did.

After the initial burning sensation and urge to cough, the most amazingly delicious warmth spread from my belly to my brow.

‘Mmmm,’ I approved. ‘Nice. Smooth.’

‘Well if you like that, you’ll love the cask strength. It’s got the same smoothness but is more full bodied due to a higher percentage of Tasmanian malt. It bursts across the palate with hints of maple syrup and sweet notes of highland peat.’

‘Right,’ I said, not having a clue what that meant. Irrespectively, I nudged my glass forward and said, ‘Hit me.’

And I threw that back too.

This bloke knows what he’s talking about, I thought. It was amazing. My palate was dancing and my whole body was alive. The rain outside had faded away, and I felt all toasty and warm and happy.

‘How much alcohol is in this?’ I demanded.

‘58%’ he replied, with a twinkle in his eye, as if he knew that I was feeling tipsy already. ‘How ’bout we mix it up a little? Wanna try some gin?’

‘Gin?’ I replied with enthusiasm. Now we were speaking my language! ‘Oh yes please! Definitely’.

Again, I pushed my glass forward.

‘Now, here at Lark, we do a gin each season,’ he explained, ‘that way we can capitalise on the unique flavours available at different times of the year. This one is our summer release.’ He poured a more than generous sample.

This time, before I drank, I lifted the glass to my nose. The aromas were incredible. Bold and beautifully sweet, I inhaled a balance of citrus and rosewater with undertones of juniper and coriander. It made me think of the warmth of the summer sun. It was almost as if I could feel it on my skin.

I drank and closed my eyes with satisfaction.

‘That was good.‘ I could hear my voice starting to lilt and slur with the effects of the high alcohol content. I sat with the gin in my hand and sipped from the glass again and again. As if wanting to savour it but devour it at the same time, until every drop was gone. I couldn’t wait to see what was next.

‘This is slainte,’ he declared. ‘This is very, very special. It was developed by one of our owners in response to the strong demand for a unique Australian whisky liqueur. Slainte is the marriage of our single malt whisky and a distilled spirit of herbs and spices. The two are carefully combined to give a complexity of character, spiciness and sweetness, while maintaining the overtones of the whisky.’

I could listen to this guy talk all day! I thought. Such passion for the product.

My head was swirling, and I though I still didn’t fully understand what this whisky was all about, I had decided I liked it. Very much. I slid my glass towards him.

‘Now, Tasi,’ he began, as he pulled out a new bottle from behind the counter, ‘Tasi is something different altogether.’

‘What is it?’ I asked, my curiosity getting the better of me.

‘Tasi is a unique herbal liqueur derived from a single native Tasmanian berry.’

‘I know about the Tasi berry!’ I interjected, surprisingly myself. ‘It’s actually called a Myrtus berry isn’t it?’

‘Yes, that’s right. It’s unique to Tasmania. So this really is something you can’t find anywhere else,’ he was speaking almost reverently. ‘Pass me your glass.’

Unlike any of the other tastings, he first scooped up some ice cubes and placed then delicately in the bottom of my glass.  Intrigued, I leant forward as he carefully poured. Tasi was a glorious deep yellow in colour and looked like liquid gold, flowing over iridescent rocks.

I will never forget that first mouthful. It was as if the liqueur curled around every inch of my teeth and gums. It stuck to my tongue and was like treacle down my throat. That liquid gold coated every surface it touched within my body and I felt like royalty. I smacked my lips approvingly and even moaned out loud. I appreciated every last golden drop and licked the ice cubes once my glass was drained.

He smiled.

He knew.

It was THAT good.

I bought three bottles and thanked him for his time, his advice and his expertise. The bottles clinked as I pulled the door open and reentered the world outside.

I did not notice if it was still raining.

And I did not care.

****

Sarah 2017©


12. Here Are Some More of Sarah’s Link’s to Explore!

Some of her favorite Short pieces:

Some of Sarah’s Poetry:


Thank you so much to Sarah for filling out the interview questions and providing such honest and thoughtful answers. I’m so sorry it took so long to put the interview together. This last past year has been crazy. Make sure to check out Sarah’s Blog: By Sarah.


I should have another interview out in the next couple of weeks, with no promises. If you would like to be interviewed and are a writer or blogger or if you blog for a cause, please reach out to me through my Contact Page. If you’re a regular, you’ll notice I’m playing around with my blog to update my theme. The Contact Page info also needs to be updated eventually.

Have a fantastic week!


©Mandibelle16. (2018) All Rights Reserved.

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Collage Prompt: How Edges Are Smoothed #amwriting #poetry #LaCharta


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s Collage Prompt. 

——

Credit: MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie

——-

Obscured by flowers she slumbers;

In restless sleep, dreams and wonders. 

Of every place she could be stumbling. 

She’s on a bus; she’s left and coming. 

Engaging, discovering the world, 

Hands in the air, gives happy twirl. 

—–

She knows she’s one of those shattered

Those broken people, hearts scattered. 

All she lost hurts her, still matters, 

She’s travelling, her soul battered

Wherever she feels she goes free —

Never having felt mindless glee. 

—–

In parks she discovers nature’s gifts, 

Rain falling down in healing bliss. 

Frost on the pine trees, light snow drifts;

Fall’s leaves hanging with an ice kiss.

Dew drops on the pine needles caught, 

Icicled and splendid shots. 

—-

Shuttering Nikon bright photos, 

Numerous, exquisite, with notes —

Written neatly underneath rows. 

Photos printed, memories wrote. 

Publishes first book from afar, 

Remains here; she’s seen lucent stars. 

—-

Gleaming, brilliant lights overhead, 

New home to heal, words yet unsaid. 

Forgets past, hangs laundry instead, 

Milk in jug for children, she’s wed; 

Life remoulded into her dreams, 

Someone loves her, he teases. 

——

They laugh with each other love spun; 

Knows her well but she’s cut him some. 

Yet he heals, heals her too; he proves —

Love is the balm, steady, true. 

Whenever her edges spike through, 

Holds her tight until she’s smooth, soothed. 

—–
LaCharta

“The LaCharta, created by Laura Lamarca, consists of a minimum of 3 stanzas with no maximum length stipulation. Each stanza contains 6 lines. The syllable count is 8 per line in iambic tetrameter and the rhyme scheme is aaaabb ccccdd eeeeff and so on. “La” is Laura Lamarca’s signature and “Charta” in Latin, simply means “poem”.”

Please see Shadow Poetry for further information.

—–

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Friday Fictioneer: A Step Towards Home #flashfiction #amwriting #fiction


Thank you to Rochelle Wiseoff-Fields for hosting FF.

—–

Credit: Shaktiki Sharma

—-

Maryanne frequently found herself on the Greyhound bus travelling here, there, and everywhere. She didn’t understand what triggered the travelling gypsy in her, but she felt when she found what she was searching for, she would finally have a place of her own. She would find a decent job, have a car to drive, and most of all, have people to love in her life. 

As if on que, a stray dog yipped and walked out of the alleyway nearby. While she waited an-hour-and-a-half for the bus to Raleigh, Maryanne decided the dog was indeed homeless and picked her up gently. She brought the startled mut on the bus pulling into the station and named her Betsy. 

She was Maryanne’s first step towards finding a home

—–

“I Wonder” – Kelly Pickler

—–

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Poem: Diamanté – “For Colleen, Five-Years Gone”


Diamente ———

Line 1: Noun or subject
Line 2: Two Adjectives describing the first noun/subject

Line 3: Three -ing words describing the first noun/subject

Line 4: Four words: two about the first noun/subject, two about the antonym/synonym

Line 5: Three -ing words about the antonym/synonym

Line 6: Two adjectives describing the antonym/synonym

Line 7: Antonym/synonym for the subject

——

Thanks to A Reading Writer, Rosema my talented friend, for information on how to write a Diamanté. And my apologies, these are supposed to have a diamond shape, but I have no patience for that! Also, the picture isn’t Colleen, I just thought this woman was beautiful, and so was Colleen.

——-

http://www.mv1.dromghd.com

——-
 Energetic Woman,

 Beautiful, Vibrant,

 Forming, Endearing, Unfolding,

Helpful, Engaging, Miserable, Depressed

Bursting, Sobbing, Disappearing,

 Sick, Anxious,

 Tired Woman.

——–

Beloved Child.

Fond, Enchanting,

Living, Travelling, Teaching,

Beautiful, Unique, Self- Hating, Forlorn.

Ending it, Choosing, Dying,

Exhausted, Haunted,

Lost Child.

——

Miserable Daughter,

Guilty, Confused,

Not Understanding, Not Knowing, Not Getting the Right Help,

Lost in Her Head, Stressed, Finding Peace, Forgiveness

Loving, Glowing, Comprehending in Heaven.

Serene, Tranquil,

Hope for Daughter.

——

Blessed Mother,

One daughter, best-friends,

Laughing, Talking, Sharing,

Happiness, Remembering, Sadness, Grieving.

Crying, Missing, Wishing,

Thinking, Hoping to See Her One Day, 

Lost Mother.

——

Talkative Father,

Advice Shared, Helpfully Wise,

Cherishing, Loving, Listening,

Memories, His Little Girl, Painfully, Mourned.

Grieving, Hurting, Reasoning,

Hope Filled, Praying,

Wondering Father.

——-
Discerning Grandma,

Wise, Experienced,

Thinking Back, Memorizing Moments, Praying.

Sturdy, Strong, Badily Hurt, Too Much Loss,

Tearing up, Remembering, Smiling,

Tough, Missing Granddaughter,

Heartbroken Grandma

——

Children’s Mentor,

Teacher, Beautiful, 

Concerning, Demonstrating, Advice Giving.

Stylish, Classy, Covering Sadness, An Image.

Struggling, Breaking, Supporting.

Tears, Regret,

Mentor in Death.

—–

Woman passed on,

Missed, Not Forgotten,

Remembering, Laughing, Crying.

Magnetic, generous, Beyond Life, Loved.

Wondering, Praying, Inspiring,

Living-on, Saved By Grace,

Woman of Memory.

——–

©Mandibelle. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Poem: Diamanté – “For Colleen, Five-Years Gone”


Diamente ———

Line 1: Noun or subject
Line 2: Two Adjectives describing the first noun/subject

Line 3: Three -ing words describing the first noun/subject

Line 4: Four words: two about the first noun/subject, two about the antonym/synonym

Line 5: Three -ing words about the antonym/synonym

Line 6: Two adjectives describing the antonym/synonym

Line 7: Antonym/synonym for the subject

——

Thanks to A Reading Writer, Rosema my talented friend, for information on how to write a Diamanté. And my apologies, these are supposed to have a diamond shape, but I have no patience for that! Also, the picture isn’t Colleen, I just thought this woman was beautiful, and so was Colleen.

——-

http://www.mv1.dromghd.com

——-
 Energetic woman,

 Beautiful, Vibrant,

 Forming, Viewing, Unfolding,

Helpful, Engaging, Miserable, Depressed

Bursting, Sobbing, Disappearing,

 Sick, Anxious,

 Tired woman.

——–

Beloved child,

Fond, loving,

Living, Travelling, Teaching,

Beautiful, unique, self-hating, forlorn.

Ending, choosing, dying,

Exhausted, haunted,

Lost Child.

——

Miserable daughter,

Guilty, Confused,

Not understanding, not knowing, not caring.

Lost in her head, Stressed, finding peace, forgiveness.

Loving, Glowing, Understanding, 

Serene, Tranquil,

Hope for daughter.

——

Blessed mother,

One daughter, best-friend,

Laughing, talking, sharing,

Happiness, Love, sadness, grieving

Crying, missing, wishing, 

Thinking, Hoping,

Lost mother.

——

Talking father,

Advice shared, helpfully,

Cherishing, Loving, Listening,

Memories, his little girl, painful, mourned.

Grieving, Hurting, Reasoning,

Hoping, praying,

Quiet father.

——-

Woman passed on,

Missed by all, not forgotten,

Remembering, laughing, crying,

Magnetic, generous, gone, loved.

Wondering, praying, inspiring,

Living-on, saved by Grace,

Woman of memory.

——–

©Mandibelle. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Poem: Ghazal -“Newest Illusion”


A Ghazal is a poem that is made up like an odd numbered chain of couplets, where each couplet is an independent poem. It should be natural to put a comma at the end of the first line. The Ghazal has a refrain of one to three words that repeat, and an inline rhyme that precedes the refrain. Lines 1 and 2, then every second line, has this refrain and inline rhyme, and the last couplet should refer to the authors pen-name… The rhyming scheme is AA bA cA dA eA etc.

Please see Shadow Poetry for further information.

To explain this definition in my poem, ‘illusion’ is my repeating refrain and the word ‘trusting’ is the inline rhyme word that I’m working with in my poem for line A.

—–

face_black_and_white_optical_illusion
http://www.coolweirdo.com

——

Mirage of sensations, not trusting your illusion.

Letting go, letting you in — difficult, just an illusion,

Words swimming in my mind, creatures of the depths in flight,

Begun ‘us,’ place my heart in your hands — I must; illusion.

Images of red, colour offends me from my past life,

Wobbly bridge, cross to you or stuck, you an illusion.

Travelling wisps in the darkness they kiss, ghostly mist.

Implies, in my dreams, I have to risk, not just illusions.

Fantasy helps me escape you’re real, you’re here.

Thoughts unravel typing, wonder must I see illusion?

Confusion alludes to facts, can’t trust my own heart beating so fast.

Around you I find, feeling lust I conclude, you’re illusion.

Days will pass, yesterday is past, don’t relax yet, sublimity.

Thunderstorm forming, anger conforms, rusty old illusion.

Moments they hinder, life from lingering as you drift on by,

Would you be my shelter, find in me hope and trust — illusion.

Our minds whirl, spin, all over the place, seeking a resting place.

Need you to be my peaceful place in life, not just illusion.

Wrapped in your arms, haven of warmth, hearts beating as one,

Didn’t know, what I know now, you’re a must, no illusion.

—–

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Part 6: Never Again – Finding Peace.


Please read Part 5 of ‘Never Again’ here.

Part 6: Never Again – Finding Peace.

(Three-Months Later).

“Kasia, are you finished packing?” Jolene asked her daughter.

“Yeah, I’m good Mom, but I had to get another suitcase. I did more shopping then I thought.” Kasia was huffing and puffing as she dealt with her suitcases, bringing them outside Chateau Blanc for Luc to load in an SUV.

“I’m not ready to leave Mom. I’ve had such a fantastic time here, seeing Auntie Cathy and hanging out with Damon.” Kasia sighed. ” I can’t believe I didn’t meet him until a month and a half ago . . .and you’re leaving Luc behind too?” Kasia exclaimed with surprise.

“Kasia,” Jolene said. “We have to go back to Ottawa for awhile at least. Auntie Cathy will be moving into a condo close to where we live soon. She only has to finish training her replacement event planner and do a bit of packing.” Jolene cleared her throat reaching for a bottle of water in her purse.

” Luc owns Chateau Blanc but he’s found an experienced caretaker to keep the place running. Luc’s a trained architectural Engineer and he’s taking a job at an Engineering Firm in Ottawa. He’ll have a great deal of input on projects and doing them to LEED standards around the world. You know he is passionate about the environment…” Jolene said shrugging with a smile.

“What about Damon? How will I see him. If I’m supposed to travel around with you and have a tutor for high school, when will I see Damon?” Kasia asked worriedly. “I’ve been saving money to travel. You know, the money I made modelling for La Petite Mademoiselle and a few other shoots, Simon, your agent, could find for plus-sized models in Nice… How will you see Luc if we’re always travelling?” Kasia asked. Jolene smiled as Kasia peppered her with questions. They’d both been extremely occupied the last few weeks.

“There is going to be some changes, Kasia. I’m not going to model anymore. I will have business trips with La Petite Mademoiselle in Europe. I have hired a couple of Presidents for the Canadian and United States chains. Judy thought it was a great idea, she wants to travel more with her husband.” Jolene explained.

” Judy and I will be dealing with our expansion into France and into other select European cities. You will have occasions where you will be able to come to France with me or Luc and see Damon, while you work on Grade Ten material with your tutor. Damon maybe in Grade Twelve, but he also has his last year of high school to get through in Nice.” Jolene reminded Kasia.

“I think, it’s best to keep most of your modelling work for La Petite Mademoiselle, until you are eighteen. I don’t want to overwhelm you when you need to focus on school.  Not to mention, I would like for you to still put a shift in every week in our flagship store in Ottawa when we are home. It will help you to know how our company works on the ground level.” Jolene added. Kasia sighed, not completely happy with her Mom’s solution for Kasia’s schooling and work. Would she get to see Damon enough between work and school? What if Damon forgot about Kasia for some other girl?

“So, if you’re busy overseeing things in Europe, how will you organize your schedule with Luc’s” Kasia asked Jolene.

Jolene’s face lit with a smile. “I have something to tell you… I’m getting married to Luc! He asked me last week. It was so hard for me not to tell you. I wanted to wait for the perfect time, I suppose that’s now.” General shrieking ensued and the details of the proposal were shared.

” Luc will be doing some projects in Europe as well, so all three of us will often be back at the Chateau Blanc and Auntie Cathy is welcome, whenever she wants to come along.” Kasia was taken aback. Everything seemed to be falling into place. Kasia was overjoyed Luc would be her step-dad. Her only Dad, as far as Kasia was concerned. She missed Damon alread, even though he was chatting with Luc. He had come to the Chateau to see Kasia before she went back to Canada. “Damon,” Kasia called. . .

——

An iPhone began ringing and Jolene felt her pocket buzz. Her face went pale when she saw the number on the phone. It was Scott’s work number. Jolene felt sick. She hadn’t heard from Scott since she left Nice over five-years-ago. Jolene wasn’t ready to talk to Scott. But perhaps, she should accept his call and tell Scott once and for all, to leave her alone.

“Hello” Jolene said quietly, walking away from Kasia.

“Hello Jolene,” Scott said.”Nice of you to get in touch with me when you were here.” Jolene said nothing at first.

“Why would I want anything to do with you Scott. I don’t love you anymore and I’m not attracted to you. Our time together is a lifetime away, I’m getting married.” Scott laughed

” So, I heard. It took you a long time. It was difficult getting over me, huh?” Scott said.

” And why is that?” Jolene questioned Scott.

“Because you will always have me in our daughter, Kasia. She looks a lot like me you know. You should have told me about her.” Scott said sounding wounded.

” How did you find out about Kasia? You can’t have her. She’s mine, my daughter — not yours. You wanted me to abort her.” Jolene said furiously.

“Kasia came to visit me a couple months ago. She wanted to meet me. I can’t blame her. She’s a smart girl and tracked me down.” Scott remarked.

“Damn it,” Jolene said, “Auntie Cathy told her everything. I knew we should have kept our mouths shut about you, Scott. You stay away from Kasia, I mean it! I can afford a great lawyer these days so don’t try anything. You are not allowed to see Kasia until she’s eighteen. Then, it is her choice, unfortunately.”Jolene yelled into her phone.

“Relax, Jolene. I don’t want anything from you or Kasia. Kasia wanted to meet me but she doesn’t want a relationship with me. She also told me to stay away from her and you.” Scott said hushing Jolene.

” I don’t need Katrina finding out I have an illegitimate daughter, who might be a threat to the money Katrina brought to our marriage. She wouldn’t like it if Kasia inherited anything. Additionally, having somewhat a relationship with my own daughter Sara and my boys is hard enough.” Scott told Jolene, tiredly.

“So, what are you calling about then?” Jolene seethed.

“I need to apologize,” Scott admitted to Jolene.”It was wrong of me to tell you to get rid of Kasia when she was barely a person. I saw her at my office and I’m so thankful you never got the abortion. She’s a beautiful girl and I have no doubt she will be as successful in life as you Jolene.” Jolene couldn’t believe Scott was apologizing.

“Kasia hates me for trying to have her aborted and that bothers me. I couldn’t stand it if my daughter Sara was as mad at me, as Kasia is mad at me,” Scott admitted. “Kasia is also upset because of what I did to you. I can’t change myself  Jolene. I am who I am.” Scott said.

“But, I regret cheating on you the entire time we were together, when you were off modelling. I was never your ‘one,’ and only guy. I’m no women’s ‘one.’ I’m my own guy. I like to be in control and be with whoever I desire. Katrina understands this, she has had a long-time affair with another man. Kasia believes that guy provides for Katrina, what I should be providing for her, love and attention.” Scott said, his voice scratchy. Admitting his faults was hard for him, Kasia had made him think.

” I’m sorry I met so much to you Jolene. I wish I hadn’t met much to you. I would have broken it off sooner, but I had plans…”

“You are and were selfish Scott,” Jolene shouted.” You never cared about my feelings or what I thought about something. You even tried to tell me I was pretending I wanted a baby — which is why I never told you about Kasia.”

” It wouldn’t have mattered had you told me you had had our baby. My Dad said Katrina was the right wife for me. She is in a sense. . . What I wanted to tell you though is for Kasia: Do not let her end up with a guy like me. I told Kasia ‘boys will be boys’ and that men naturally cheat. She called me on it and I thought about it and she’s right, not all men cheat. My half-brother for instance, is faithful to his wife. He works at the company with me.” Scott said.

” Kasia needs to find a guy like my half-brother. Not like me or her Grandpa. And tell her Scott said he will do his utmost to ensure someone like him does not marry her half-sister Sara.” Jolene pressed the phone to her ear. She was amazed at what Scott told her.

“For real, that’s all you want?” Jolene stuttered. “You want Kasia to end up with a kind and faithful partner? You aren’t trying to get me to sleep with you or have an affair with you? You promise to leave Kasia alone, even though I never told you she was your daughter?” Jolene could barely say anything she was so surprised by Scott’s reason for calling. She heard him sigh on the phone.

” As far as I’m concerned Jolene, you and I are done. I have my life and you have yours. We may be connected by Kasia but I promise, I won’t interfere in your lives. If Kasia in the future, wants to contact me so I can help her get into a prestigious university, I can help her, it’s the least I can do.But I have one request Jolene. . . ” Scott’s voice sounded sad to Jolene. She didn’t remember Scott ever sounding emotional.

“Please send, me a picture of Kasia once in awhile on your phone. Not often, just so I know she’s okay.” Jolene couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She kept her voice neutral.

” I can do that, if Kasia doesn’t mind. I will tell her what you said,” Jolene remarked. “I’ll mention you can get her into a prestigious university, no strings attached. And I will definitely make sure she never falls for a man like you.”

“Great. . . gotta go Jolene. My 3:00 pm is here. Good Luck.” Scott said distractedly. Jolene heard the phone click and knew, Scott had moved on. She couldn’t blame Scott for that. It was time for Jolene and Kasia to move on in life as well.

——

I watch my niece as she finishes walking down the aisle. Beneath her veil, her face is glowing. Her eyes are fixed lovingly on her fiancé, Luc Devereaux.

Luc has a giant grin on his handsome face. He told me earlier, “Aunt Cathy, I can’t believe I get to marry Jolene. I always thought and dreamed about her. She’ll be my wife, and I get a beautiful step-daughter too.”

I carefully patted my new nephews arm. He used to be my boss but now, I am his cherished Auntie.”You’re perfect for Jolene and Kasia. You’re all exactly what the three of you needed, ” I tell Luc.

I see Luc take Jolene’s hand and slide on her wedding band. Jolene does the same for Luc. Beautiful Kasia is her Mom’s maid of honour in a couture pink gown.

But Jolene is simply stunning, channeling Grace Kelly. She is the perfect vintage leading lady in her bridal gown, except for one thing. Jolene’s back reveals a tattoo I never knew she had until I helped her change into her dress this morning.

Jolene’s tattoo is a quote that reads: “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is all you have to be.” 

Jolene’s tattoo demonstrates all that she has come through in life to be at the the altar with her ‘one,’ Luc. It tells me Jolene will be strong whatever she faces in life. But she isn’t alone. She has Kasia, Luc, and as always, her Auntie Cathy who had the pleasure of walking her cherished niece, down the aisle.

Fin

——

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

Part 3: Never Again – Jolene and Scott’s Past.


Please read Part 2 of Never Again here.

Part 3: Never Again – Jolene and Scott’s Past

” Do I look gorgeous Auntie? Do you think he’ll like me?” Jolene asked her Aunt Cathy who had become her guardian after her Mother passed away.

Cathy observed the stunning Jolene. “If only I still looked half as pretty as you look, I’d be married right now.” Jolene grinned.

“You’re beautiful Auntie. Any man would be lucky to have you. I had to get the looks from somewhere and it wasn’t from my Mom. You could be a Cougar.” Jolene joked. ” I’m sure you could find a man ten or fifteen years younger than you, with your timeless looks.” Cathy laughed.

” I had your Uncle Henry before Cancer claimed him. I haven’t had it in my heart to replace Henry. He was my one and only. I wish you could have known him Jolene. He was something in his day.” Cathy mused.

“Scott is my one, Auntie.” Jolene said with a soft sigh as she floated down the stairs in a soft pink skirt and black tank top. Cathy hoped Scott wasn’t  Jolene’s ‘one,’ — she had heard rumours of his sleaziness from some of the other ladies with girls Jolene’s age. But what could Cathy say. Jolene would be heart broken if she couldn’t date Scott after all this time crushing on him. 

A handsome young man in a suit, with brown eyes and dark hair, stood in front of an expensive car waiting for Jolene. Scott had a careless manner about him that made Cathy instantly dislike him.

—–

Jolene was thrilled to be out on a first date with Scott. She had loved him since she was twelve-years-old. Even when her skin was breaking out, when she wore geeky clothes, and had ugly glasses, Jolene adored Scott. It had taken time for Scott to notice Jolene. Jolene knew the affect she had on men these days. At seventeen-years-old, she finally had the boy of her dreams and they were holding hands as he drove them to the movies and then out for some wine.

” You look fabulous, Jolene.” Scott complimented her. Jolene felt herself blush. She never blushed.

“You’re pretty good yourself you know,” she told Scott, trying to be cool. He grinned and said:

“Of course I’m good. I’m hot! Every girl wants me, but you are the only one lucky enough to have me. I have wanted you forever, Jolene. Since I saw your sweet ass walk into Math class in grade ten. We make sense together. We’re the Homecoming King and Queen. I’m the MVP football quarterback and you’re the head cheerleader. Tonight is only the beginning of you and I. You’re so lucky to have me.”

Jolene didn’t think too much about what Scott said to her most of the time. She didn’t notice how the majority of what he said was self-centred and he wasn’t much interested in getting to know Jolene beyond what was skin deep. Jolene pretended to never notice how Scott had planned out their life, and didn’t include her wants or needs in his plans.

Jolene also was blind to Scott’s filandering. She never knew Scott made  plans with other girls. Scott began doing this after Jolene had graduated high school and her Auntie Cathy had allowed Jolene to start modeling full time. Eventually, Jolene wanted to go to fashion school. But Scott thought Jolene would be too busy looking after their children for her to go to school. Maybe she could do that when the kids were older, Scott said. For now he liked having a known model on his arm.

When Jolene turned twenty-one,  Scott and her were still a couple talking about becoming engaged. Jolene modelled all over France and she was away from Scott too often for her liking. Scott was working on finishing his degree in Business Management and he didn’t miss Jolene much when she was travelling on a modelling shoot. Scott worked part-time as a salesman in Marketing for his father’s company. He was kept busy attending classes, working for his Dad, and having trysts when Jolene was away working.

—–

Jolene was nervous to see Scott when she returned from a modelling gig in Paris after Scott had graduated. Jolene had exciting news to tell Scott, but she wasn’t sure he’d be as happy as she was about the good news.” I have a surprise for you,” Jolene told Scott on her cell phone.

” A surprise?” Scott said, “Will I like this surprise? Does it have anything to do with you and me naked, in bed all night.” Jolene giggled.

“It’s a wonderful surprise, I promise. We can celebrate in bed later. Meet me at the beginning of the pathway to the Chateau at 7:00 pm and I’ll tell you.”

Scott arrived later than 7:00 pm, but he walked with Jolene onto the pathway that lead to the Chateau at one end and to a beach at the other end. Scott held Jolene in his arms and kissed the top of her blond hair when they were at the middle of the walkway.

“So, what’s my surprise, chere?” Scott asked Jolene teasing her ear with his lips. Jolene could hear the waves lapping sloppily against the rocks on the side of the path. It was a distraction for Jolene as she tried to tell Scott she was pregnant.

“Well,” Jolene said, turning around in Scott’s arms. “I think this is going to make you happy. It’s the next step in our relationship. I know your Dad wants grandchildren soon.”

“G-G-Grandchildren?” Scott rasped. “What do you mean by that Jolene? Tell me right now.” Scott demanded.

“I’m pregnant, Scott” Jolene shrieked showing him the pregnancy test excitedly.Scott blinked at her.

“Aren’t you thrilled? We’re going to be parents.” Jolene said. Scott stopped her celebrating with a heavy hand on her shoulder, holding Jolene still so he could have a serious talk with her.

“It’s okay Jolene. I know you’re pretending and trying to act like you want this baby. But we’re too young to have kids. I want them someday but not now. It’s too soon and I’ve graduated with my Business Degree only recently. I’m starting my Masters Degree in Business right away. Because I have experience working in my Dad’s company, the University allowed me to start early.” Scott said ignoring Jolene’s eyes which were starting to tear up and looking up at him pleading.”Here, take my credit card. Get this baby taken care of. It’s only a few weeks old right?”

Jolene went absolutely still. “How could you not want a baby, even if it’s only a few weeks old. That’s our child, Scott?”

Scott gave a half-hearted attempt at a comforting smile.”It will be okay Jolene. I can come with you if you want to the clinic and we’ll get you sorted out. It won’t hurt too much. Many girls end up with unwanted babies and receive abortions, it’s safe for the Mothers.Don’t worry, we’ll have kids in the future. Just not when I’m in Grad school. Maybe when I’m higher up in my Dad’s company and when you’re not such a highly desired model in France.”

Jolene was aghast and her crying quickly turned into sobs. She grabbed Scott’s credit card and ran down the pathway to the Chateau, ignoring Scott’s pleas to come back. Scott tried to reach Jolene by phone or by visiting the Chateau many times. When she finally picked up the phone a month later ready to talk to Scott, he only asked about the baby. Jolene lied to Scott and said she had had the baby aborted, that her Aunt had paid for it. Jolene mailed Scott back his credit card.

Two-months later, Scott broke up with Jolene for good. She had been avoiding him because her stomach had begun to show she was pregnant. There relationship had been in shambles ever since she told Scott she was pregnant. 

“It’s for the best Jolene,” Scott said to her over the phone. “You’re away modelling most of the time and I hardly get a chance to see you. We had a good run, but you and I are not meant to be together for life.”

Jolene was angry and spiteful to Scott. She had seen him around with a lovely red-headed girl, who was delicate and acquiescing. “You only broke up with me so you could be with Katrina. She’s not half as pretty as me. You’re only going out with her because I’ve had issues with you lately and Katrina’s family has a mountain full of money. Your Dad likes Katrina because her father is best friends with him.” Scott laughed at Jolene’s spite.

“You’re just jealous Jolene. You’re not half the woman my Katrina is, not half as caring or beautiful,” Scott said meanly. Jolene hung up on Scott and she didn’t talk to him for years. 

Jolene told her Aunt Cathy about the baby. Cathy was sad about the situation between Jolene and Scott but she loved her niece as if Jolene were her own daughter. Jolene gave birth to Kasia eight-months after she last saw Scott on the pathway to the Chateau. Jolene loved her baby with all her heart. She loved Kasia more than she had ever loved anyone else. It made Jolene tear up when she thought about the fact that Scott had wanted her to have an abortion. Kasia was the best thing in Jolene’s young life.

Jolene never told Scott about Kasia but she never stopped loving Scott, despite the fact that Aunt Cathy and Jolene’s few girlfriends, pointed out what a loser Scott had always been. It didn’t lessen Jolene’s feelings for Scott. She loved him the only way she knew how to love a man.

Years went by. When Kasia was three, Jolene was battling Kasia’s sleeping issues. Kasia was having nightmares and refusing to sleep in her own bed. Jolene reassured Kasia her nightmares weren’t reality and sang Kasia to sleep, eventually in Kasia’s own bed. Jolene thought about Scott as her daughter retreated into dreamland. Seeing parts of Scott in her daughter’s appearance, and Kasia’s strong-willed personality, made Jolene feel as if she would always have a piece of Scott with her. At the same time she Jolene detested Scott, who had made contact with Jolene again and occasionally bothered her, wanting to meet up with Jolene.

When Jolene was twenty-eight and Kasia was seven, Jolene had had enough of Scott and his constant interference in her life. Part of Jolene still loved Scott, but a bigger part of her was offended by his mere existence. Scott wanted to have an affair with Jolene. Jolene refused because she still believed Scott was her’ one and only.’ Jolene thought Scott should divorce Katrina and marry her. Scott had thought she was hilarious for demanding such action from him. How could he abandon his daughter Sara, he asked Jolene. Just like you abandoned Kasia, Jolene thought.

Jolene in hindsight, believed Kasia should have been Scott’s true firstborn. Kasia should have been loved and cherished by a loving mother and a father as Sara was. Jolene avoided Scott as much as possible but he always reached out to her.

Feeling as if she was going to lose it, Jolene seized her chance to leave Nice, and the countryside in France where the Chateau was. Jolene left, barely telling her Aunt her plans. Jolene told Cathy the bare minimum (incase Scott contacted Cathy), that Jolene was going to live, work, and go to fashion school in Canada. She had modelling jobs lined up and a scholarship for a post-secondary school in Toronto. The institution had daycare and was near a elementary school.

Jolene packed up her daughter Kasia, taking only what they could fit in two large suitcases and two small carry-ons. Jolene isolated herself and Kasia from her worried Aunt Cathy with sorrow. Eventually, she did reach out to her with a picture of Kasia or the two of them, every now and then.

But she had escaped Scott and that was the best gift Jolene could give her young daughter: A life free from Scott’s selfish narcissism. She would never tell Scott that Kasia, the baby she was supposed to abort, had lived. Although, she knew someday she would have to tell Kasia the truth about her father.Jolene dreaded that day already. 

——-

Presently, Jolene paced the hallways of the Chateau trying to walk off her anger towards Aunt Cathy for telling Kasia who her father was before Jolene was ready. She felt betrayed. Jolene could feel that feeling of familiar dread making her stomach churn. Kasia must never meet Scott. Not until she was thirty at the very least. . . 

I’m having many ideas from the original prompt. So, please stay tuned for a Part 3 in the near future.

——-

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

Poem: A Few of My Favorite Things


Prompt: Of all the awful possibilities, what’s the worst possible thing that could happen to you today? Now, what about the best?

——

 

http://www.facebook.com A Happy Dog Hoarding her Twizzlers
 
Don’t ask me what’s the worst of all the possibilities that could be today. It isn’t a good idea to tempt fate like that.

Don’t ask me all the horrible terrifying things that could happen to myself or my loved ones. Don’t wonder about things you never want to be. Don’t ask for the worst.

It maybe superstitious but you see, worrying about terrible happenings doesn’t help you get through the day. It doesn’t help anyone you love either.

Wondering about the terrible things that could happen, well it’s bad juju. It’s bad Karma. It’s whatever you’d like to call it. But it isn’t safe, and it isn’t worth the time or effort 

The tears it inspires. The rage that could implode. The nightmares caused by this kind of thinking. No don’t think of the bad things in this world and imagine even worse.

What if the worse happened? Well you’d only blame yourself for thinking the thoughts you did that occurred. Is a thought worth a lifetime of misery? No, it isn’t.

Think of the good times you had in the past. The parties and meetings with friends and relatives.

Think of Christmas think of snow. Think of watching movies curled up on the coach. Think of your favourite things, as Julie Andrews once sang.

Thing of beautiful clothing made of silk and cashmere in a rainbow of colors. Think of jeans that fit perfectly. Think of a flat stomach. 

Think of the endorphins you feel rushing through you after you’ve done 50 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical. Think of walking your dog as he bounds and leaps for joy in the snow.

Think of meeting the one you love the most. Think of weddings, the birth of a child, think of Birthdays and summer vacations at the fair. Eating cotton candy and going on frightening rides and through haunted houses.

Think of little girls dressed up as Princesses at Disneyland. Think of camping,hiking, and drinking beer. Think of drinking wine with friends by the fireplace.

Think of finishing all your work for once. Think of travelling and fantastic art work. The Cistine Chapel, Monet’s Water Lillies, Andy Warhole’s Soup Cans and print of Marilyn Monroe. 

Think of Yoga poses that calm you and stretch out all your tired muscles. Think of how it smells after it rains and how clear the scent of air feels.

Think of summer nights walking in the night, with your guy or gal. Think of dancing until dawn. Think of conversations about trival and universal topics at 3:00 a.m.

Think of the place you grew up. The place you call home now. Think of your first pet. The cat that was morbidly obese on farm mice. Think of all your joys and all your trials and how good you felt after facing the latter.

Don’t think of all the terrible things that could be in this world. Think of better things. Be an optimist. Better yet drink the water, and live life to the fullest. 

——-

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.