Friday, February 28, 2014

Rant: Arizona's Bill & My Anger

A ranting we will go. A ranting we will go. Hi-ho, crappy-o! A ranting we will go!

To those of you who are used to my “happier” blog entries, NOW is the time to hit that back button and escape, because you’ve walked into a wild, angry, break-the-dishes, pull-out-your-hair moment. 

There is no balance between today. I have jumped off the edge, and am currently swimming through shark-filled waters back to the mainland.

With that said, I want you to know that I’ve promised myself many things in my life—things to refrain from doing, committing, or whatever word you want to choose. I can’t help ranting sometimes, especially when the topics keep building and building and building. I will cover one of those topics tonight: sexuality.

Let’s start out with Arizona’s “bill.” Who sits around and comes up with a load of legal mumbo jumbo that will give business owners the right to sell (or not sell) to homosexuals? I don’t like it when anyone is picked on for being different, for reasons that constantly stew in my mind. From being a woman and getting arrested for voting (a long time ago, true, but—in the scope of this planet—not long at all), to being a slave ripped from his family to die under the whip of merciless “white man,” to what that monster did to Jews... even CHILDREN—I can’t get this stuff out of my mind. I can’t. I have a memory for details, no matter how gruesome, and keeping all of this in my head reminds me of the atrocities one human places on another, while the banner of peace waves somewhere in the back of my mind.

But, don’t you see, that’s just it: from one human to the next, we are all on this planet together, to face the mighty winds of life, to get out of every sunrise and sunset what our souls can claim, before drifting into the world beyond this one. I’ve met individuals that are homosexual. These individuals are sweet. Too sweet. I guess, in that lies their dilemma: they aren’t out to start a war, or bring blood into the ground of the earth—but LOVE. In the scope of our planet, I feel that there’s not a single spot of earth that hasn’t tasted blood. A sad thought, true. Why must we let the nation—and our hearts—deny others (human beings, not monsters) for bringing love to this world? We need it so desperately!

I’m sure someone is going to say, “It’s against God for two people of the same sex to marry.” I must have skipped over that part, or maybe paid too much attention to the Ten Commandments, where it asks us to “honor” our neighbors. If your neighbor isn’t the same sexuality as you, are you going to turn against him/her—or are you going to honor the soul within? I just don’t understand. We’re all sinners on a spinning ball of dirt. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” No one qualifies... and that’s fine. It’s alright not to be perfect, and not to be the same. Our individuality makes life worthwhile. No one loves the same. No one feels the same. No one dreams the same. If you’re looking for a perfect world, you’re looking for a boring world. What is a world with Bukowski if there’s no Byron?

Now, I know you’re wondering, “Are you homosexual?” I get that I haven’t ever dated, so that must mean to some I’m closeted or something. My sexuality is simple, because I’ve recently found out what my “kind” are called: sapiosexuals—those who find intelligence the most sexually attractive feature. I mean, come on, finding intelligence in a world retarded by “standards” that tell us what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s normal, what’s abnormal is really rare.

I’ll close with a simple lyric, for simplicity can often be a beautiful, though enigmatic, creature: “All you need is love.” In this world, what a rare, rare creature, too.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Happy Anniversary to Me

Hello, world, and welcome to another day of living in between.

Don’t worry: I won’t keep your time for long. After all, I’m short and sweet (and fat), so I guess my entries should be like me. Yeah, right. I’m not so sure about the sweet, but I will keep it short, seeing as I have more things to do before heading to work. Ok, ok, for you I'll keep it sweet.

Let’s take a trip down my memory lane...

Have you ever thought about good numbers and bad numbers? Thirteen is bad, yet I have a pretty cool sister born September 13th. I know everyone’s heard about “666.” Well, six can also be a good number—after all, I’m from a family of six kids.

With that said, I want to take a second and wish myself a happy anniversary. Today marks the very first day that I started in Adult Ed—in 2008, at the tender age of 21, though I would be 22 less than a month later. I feel that I’ve come a long way since then, and don’t aim as much for perfection in everything I do... at least, not to the point where I cry about it. I have a good Christian woman to thank for that—and the Big Guy for watching out for me, to keep me in line, and to keep me focused on my goals.

Before I started in Adult Education, the question posed to me was “Are you any good with people?” I will honestly tell you that I lied about the answer to this. Me? People? Does that include more than breathing around them? I was a work study student in the library at the time. We hardly had any visitors, which gave me time to read books of my own, but not to socialize. In a group of students, I was the quiet one who sat in the front because “Daddy said so,” who couldn’t even understand what my teachers were saying because I feared they’d ask me a question. I ran off to a book to acquire knowledge. In truth, people scared me. Any good with people? No way.

Shortly after that phone call, I met a small, energetic woman. She concluded our first conversation with the statement that I would be “thrown to the wolves.” All I could think about was the literal. It’s funny because, now, I love being thrown, whisked away into a handful of different things, to wear many different hats. I’ve also come to love this woman, who inspires me in many ways—some she knows, others she doesn’t. Through her, I found a connection to people, to traits of high value, and workplace morals—as well as workplace pride.

Along the way, I have met some pretty interesting folks. They have all inspired me and helped me grow, whether it be with my poetry, my skills with presentations, or getting up in front of the class to share my knowledge. I hope that I've done the same for them, because they have given my life so much color, so much love, and so much change. 

Speaking of change, the most fascinating change came through another avenue... with people that were more than "just people," but students. I love each one of them, with a love many can't understand. After all, there's no (prepare for a Steve Perry moment) “touchin’, squeezin’.” There’s something special when you see the light in another’s eyes, and know you opened a door in their brain. Some of them let you into their lives, if you talk to them, and give them a few shades of your own.

With all of that said, I want to be a teacher. For this reason, I must end this blog to study the SAT math. I need to pull my scores up 70 points—more than just for me, but for “the people.”

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rejections, Acceptances, & Flatness

Welcome, winsome wanderer, to my wonderful little world. How many w's can a sentence have, right? Oh, not the question you had in mind? I see: you're the negative type. What makes my world so wonderful, you ask? Well, I consider it wonderful, and that’s what matters most of all: having my own nice, wonderfully warm little corner of the world.

The topics of the day are my rejections, acceptances, and flatness.

Yesterday, I submitted a short story titled “Dirt.” to “The Literati Quarterly” (it's their logo up top). Within half an hour, my work was accepted. I also became a member of a closed group on Facebook called “Write to Be,” where I’ve met some very interesting writers and found out about some really cool places to submit my writings. Not only that, but the LQ has actually worked me out of a fiction drought. I’ve not written a short story in years—that I’ve finished, anyway. Great feeling!

Today, I received word from “Cactus Heart Press” that my poetry (which I submitted back in December) “did not fit with the editorial selection this time.” This time? The wording implies that I submitted a different body of poems that were acceptable. I did not. Still, at least the CH suggested I place “this submission in another forum.”

I plan to write more stories, since I’ve pulled myself from the dry spell, and see if maybe the world likes my stories more than my poems. An experiment, really—something I’ve found that I enjoy. I love all the experiment-type questions, too, like: What are the chances? What will happen if you try this instead of that? I have a scientist brain, I guess.

Being a human being as well as a writer, I find that I seek that connection with people—a support group, really. I felt really discouraged today when a certain family member started calling my writing “flat,” which wouldn’t bother me so much if he’d only included maybe a word, phrase, anything that said he had faith in my ability. Nope, there wasn’t any. He only said I was flat, needed to read Stephen King, and stop using so many adjectives. When was the last time he read something of mine, anyway? Over a year or two, I think. He even said that Nora Roberts wrote flat. When did he ever read her?

Reader, I know you’re probably thinking that I’m somewhat shallow, for seeking a connection with people. Well, I’ve never been an absolute loner. If I suddenly found myself stranded on an island, I’d be worse than Tom Hanks: I’d find an emotional attachment to everything, much less a soccer ball. Still, I sometimes wish that family wouldn’t crawl under my skin, but—like someone told me today—I need an objective audience. I also need to focus on the positive and never give up. When I write, I just need to ignore the skeptics, take a deep breath, and jump in. The only support group I need knows who she is, even if she sometimes thinks that I overlook her advice, encouragement, and collaboration.

What’s in store for me next? I’m planning to submit here:

Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Yonder Sanctuary

The day started with my momma waking me, making sure that I was going to go to church. I mumbled something Tarzan-like along the lines of, “Yes. Get up... 8:30.” Since I’d not been to church since I was a little girl (something that I don’t really remember), I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I know what church is about. Who doesn’t? Church is all about God, who you can still have a close relationship with...without leaving the comfort of your home. Since I’m an introvert who loves to read, I’ve always preferred staying at home to read the Bible.

If my brother-in-law, Ricky, hadn’t asked momma about going to church, we wouldn’t have gone. I was hesitant at first, because new situations always leave me feeling really off-center, but I decided to go since I knew it would make momma happy. If she asked me to, I would set the world on fire for that woman.

The Burnt Mountain Holy Bible Church is located in what one of my sisters calls “the boondocks.” The church is small and white, without many places to park. The congregation consisted of less than a dozen people, with me and my family about half of that number. Still, none of this deterred me in the slightest. After all, His presence is felt strongest in places and people where we least expect it.

When the service started, we sang a few songs. I shared a hymnal with my brother, though both of us weren’t sure about singing at first. Surprisingly, though he’s the extrovert, I started singing first and he followed. My brother-in-law sang solo a song or two, then volunteered me to sing. I felt my heart stop. Me... sing... by myself? Thankfully, my kid sister, who can sing who I am so proud of, walked up and sang center stage. She didn’t shake at all. I probably would have passed out, or come close.

The preacher did an outstanding job. He touched my soul with the personal stories that he shared, and the energy for life he showed, especially for someone in his eighties. I also loved how he thought of Heaven as “over yonder.” What a sweet Southern man!

Of the verses he read, he chose one that has always resonated with me, and is actually my favorite Bible verse. I memorized it years ago, when I first started learning to read. Hearing this was a definite sign that I was in the right place.

John 3:16 — For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

An hour or so after the church service, I spoke with my sister, Natalie, about how sunlight seems so much cleaner when we know what it truly represents—His power shining down on us. Often, when I’m upset with the world, I often think to myself, “The sunshine is free. I can’t stay upset for long.” Until today, I didn’t really consider what else sunshine means, because there’s more to it than freedom; more than growth. God ensures that, no matter how rough the storm, He will always bring sunshine to link our spiritual connection to him.

Let me close with a poem I wrote today (which actually touches on the themes covered today):

“Yonder Sanctuary”

boondocks church
made the light
cleaner, purer
than it’s been
in ages

long, winding roads
lead to faith, love,

let me hold this
to my heart,
O’ Lord,
until that hour
of yonder sanctuary

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Random Weekly Summary 2/8/14

Hello, visitor! 

Thank you—for whatever reason—for stumbling onto my blog. I cannot guarantee you’ll like where my mind goes sometimes, for my mind is mine and doesn’t stay on the same path as yours, though I do tend to wander and we might meet up ever-so-often.

The first topic I want to address today is Book ADD. My life is filled with books right now that have a page here or there read, ranging from “Casino Royale” straight through Montesquieu’s “The Spirit of Laws.” I still haven’t even finished “Atlas Shrugged,” which I started about a year ago—though that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped reading it completely. I don’t think there’s a cure, and I don’t really want to look for one, because doing so would limit my interests. I find interest in just about everything.

Speaking of interest, yesterday I took a personality quiz for work. I took one that wasn’t work-related last year, and came up with INTJ. Well, the one I took yesterday shows that I’m ISFJ. So, as far as I know, the two middle letters are always changing. The first and last letters are constant. Anyway, ISFJ’s are known as the Guardian Protectors, like Dr. Watson, which is odd when considering Professor Moriarty is INTJ.

I found a list of common traits on

People with ISFJ personality types tend to have the following characteristics:

Reliable, stable and down-to-earth
Enjoys order and structure
Dislikes conflict and confrontation
Kind, warm-hearted and considerate
Likes concrete information
Very aware of other people’s feelings
Has a great memory for detail

I actually agree with all of these—especially the last one—but I do have moments where I’m not really all that stable. Of course, after some alone time, I usually get back into the groove. Without my alone time, I will admit: I am a bitter woman. The funniest thing (which is also true) that I read about ISFJ’s is the fact that they unwaveringly stick to their guns. I am like that on many issues. Also, the mention of family and friends was spot-on: I cling too tight to those I love, which can seem somewhat overbearing, even if I do mean the best.

On the topic of best, I took the SAT a few weeks ago. The horror story of that, other than the math, is the wait. I have five days to go before I know if I passed or not, regardless of how many nightmares I have. I’m pretty sure I did really well on the reading/writing sections, because that’s stuff I do for fun, but math... ha, ha, ha. I wish there existed an option to opt out of a test, or take another test in place of one you hate. I would definitely take a social studies test over a math test. Or... they can like... give me a test on math history, with Euclid and all that jazz. But... no... there’s obviously a ton of math involved in obtaining a bachelor’s in management at Kennesaw! Functions, slopes, circumference, diameter, ew. The stuff makes my skin crawl. If they really based the questions on real life applicability, they would give me percentage questions because I shop; fractions because I can cook (basic foods, anyway); or even questions with dollar signs on them—because I LOVE MONEY. Seriously, though, I doubt I passed the math section. I’m not a pessimist. I’m a realist.

Thankfully I have a good boss who is letting me off the day after I find out my scores, which happens to be Valentine’s Day. Who am I kidding? She is more than a good boss. She is awesome. I get the day off; and I get to use the spa day gift certificate she entered my name for last year. Being an introvert, I will definitely be nervous when everything gets started, but I’m determined to have a good time and get my mind off my scores. Tons of love for her, should she happen to stumble onto this blog.

Not so much love for the literary magazines that keep sending me rejection letters. Other than Fjords Review and Literary Orphans, I have been turned down over and over and over again. Maybe, since I’m not mainstream, my poetry doesn’t connect to most individuals. Then again, most lit magazines want money for entries. Money I don’t have. I feel good about finding the free ones—until they send me rejections, which they’re pretty fast about. Maybe I should drop the idea of submitting poetry and try submitting fiction instead, since the writing websites I was involved in before this gig often praised my fiction. Then again, my readers probably did that because they were hoping I’d go to their work and enjoy it, which usually resulted in spending an hour editing. Maybe I should stop submitting completely and focus on editing. I don’t know.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discouraged or anything, because I’ll continue writing until death come’s knocking, but the letters are always saying stuff like “it’s not what we’re looking for,” which leaves me confused. Or one I received recently “We enjoyed your poems. However, they are not what we are seeking...” You enjoyed the poems? Isn’t taking the time to enjoy something worthy of saying, “Ah, yes, that’s precisely what I’m seeking in my magical literary ball...” How cryptic! If I was the editor for a magazine, I WOULD NOT CARE ABOUT HOW OVERLOADED I BECAME—I would send an email that stated precisely WHY the magazine couldn't accept the piece of work. I sure as hell won’t have a typo in the email—and, trust me, I’ve gotten my share of those from the “high and mighty” editors. After all, a good readership stems from having work from masterful wordsmiths, using each word with sharpest intention. Emails like this only confuse and irritate the writer.


Didn’t mean to rant.

I mean, after all, the strongest point is for me to remain true to myself, above all else. I’m thinking about a self-published book of poetry called “Renee’s Rejects.” Nice ring to it, right? I tried the self-publishing route and didn't like it all that well. At least with this route, despite the rejection letters (usually about three sentences long), I really am enjoying myself.

I shall close this blog entry with my latest reject:

“a living misnomer”

eyes half closed
drifting, diverting
warp speed unravels
cosmos’ weaving

while you search:
a living misnomer
in dead space

somber captain,
event horizons lure you
with black-hole destined

seeking a people
starved by stale moonlight
& eaten by time

your travels continue
in the span of my radiated arms
and my solar mouth,
where pulses emit
without end

while you age

& crumble like stardust

Thursday, February 6, 2014

RANT: Hunger Games

Hunger Games. Everybody loves it… and then there’s me.

I understand that this series is fictional. Dystopian novels have been written for ages, ranging from Radbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” to Orwell’s “1984.” I understand HG possesses loads of action, and the noble Katniss—the “girl on fire.” I read the first book, so I can say it was written relatively well.

I cannot say that I stand behind what exists at its core, because I cannot get beyond parental sacrificing. Maybe, in this mixed up world, parents sacrificing their children for a “game” is more than normal—acceptable, even. Not in my world. For this reason, I do not approve of HG.

An old saying goes “Art is best when it depicts real life.” My real life depiction involves parents who would never sacrifice me or any of my five siblings to a “game,” where only one kid is destined to come out alive. We might get on their nerves, but they would do as John Wayne, “I'm willing to die trying to keep 'em. The question is, are you willing to die trying to take 'em.”

John Wayne’s dead.

There aren’t any adults willing to fight for their kids.

Everyone’s ok with that. Except me.

Radical me.