A 2022 Sundance Film Festival Discovery

Today a coworker was kind enough to share that this year’s virtual Sundance Film Festival is offering $20 tickets for single films. I decided to browse the website for any movies I might be interested in paying $20 to see. One particular movie caught my eye: Alice, staring Keke Palmer and Common. Here’s the synopsis:

Alice (Keke Palmer) spends her days enslaved on a rural Georgia plantation restlessly yearning for freedom. After a violent clash with plantation owner Paul (Jonny Lee Miller), Alice flees through the neighboring woods and stumbles onto the unfamiliar sight of a highway, soon discovering that the year is actually 1973. Rescued on the roadside by a disillusioned Black activist named Frank (Common), Alice uncovers the lies that have kept her enslaved and the promise of Black liberation.

Okay, am I crazy or does this sound a lot like my story “Runaway“?? What are the odds that I would write a story with almost the exact same premise of a feature film premiering at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, right?

Let me be clear, when I wrote “Runaway,” I’d never heard of this movie, so let’s not throw around the “P” word. Besides, I was high on caffeine and 10 hours deep into a Twilight Zone blogging (and watching) marathon, so any creator not named Rod Serling was far from my mind at the time of writing.

In any case, time travel is not a novel trope in fiction, nor is time travel to or from the antebellum period, for that matter. One book that immediately comes to mind is Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred (high on the recommendation list, if you haven’t read it already). And “Runaway,” specifically, was inspired by a Twilight Zone episode. So, while I can’t call my idea 100% original, it still fascinates me how I and the movie’s writer and director, Krystin Ver Linden, had the exact same setup for how our stories would begin.

Great minds, huh?

Anyway, I think I may buy tickets for this one. Maybe I’ll get ideas for an extended version of this Twilight Zone “episode.” But more than likely, I’ll just relish in the belief (now proven) that my stories are fully capable of becoming Hollywood feature films.

I just gotta write and publish them faster.

Would You Like to Hear My Voice?

Why, hello there, stranger. Yes, I know, it’s been too long. Years, really, as the poem at the end of this post explains, since my last post (September, 19, 2019), which was actually a throwback to an even older post from 2017.

A lot has happened in my life since that post…I wish I could say. Who would’ve known that a few short months after that throwback Thursday went live, the entire world would come to a complete halt, rife with pandemic panic, or pandemic denial—pick your poison.

So it was pretty easy for this blog to fade into the background. And fade it did. Quickly, as I became overwhelmed with anxiety, isolation, abandonment, depression, pandemic fatigue, health scares, work stress (“working from home” transitioning seamlessly overnight into “living at work”). Factor in a very old personal laptop that was barely functional when charged—and definitely couldn’t hold a charge past 15 minutes—I was never in the mood to write. The ironic part is that writing is my therapy, and the more I avoided it, the worse my symptoms became. And inspiration for new and current lovely curses suffered.

But as we approach the close of the year—and the reluctant acceptance that COVID will always be here—it’s time to make some changes, hopefully for the better.

Isn’t this always a resolution?

First on my list is prioritizing my health, because I won’t tell you how much weight I’ve gained in these last 20 months. But if I can at least get back to “onederland” by the New Year, I’ll be on track (and I am so close).

Thirty glow-up

I’ll be hitting the dreaded milestone next year, and I am not ready. Mentally, physically, style-wise. I hate to admit it, but my wardrobe has been stuck in the 2010s for far too long. There’s nothing more embarrassing than your own family members telling you how crusty your clothes look—or your little brother having more shoes in his closet than you do shirts that fit. So a makeover going into 2022 is a must. Add to that some new digs, because I can’t be the only one who is fed up with their current living space after being trapped there for over a year.

Prayer and mediation

The mental strains I’ve had to deal with these last several months have a lot to do with the fact that I don’t take out time in my day to close myself off from the rest of the world and sit and talk to God. I always complain about never having time to do anything (like writing on this blog); the truth is I allow too many things to waste my time (I’m talking to you, Married at First Sight and 90 Day Fiancé). If I eliminate these things, and take back those 2 hours of my Wednesday and Sunday nights specifically, I could do so much more (and that does not include finding another show to watch, although I have plenty on my watchlist to catch up on). I could spend those 2 hours pursuing and strengthening the one relationship that promises to always be there and sustain me, rather than heckle fake couples with fake storylines on Twitter, while secretly lamenting the realization that I’ll be separated from my forever person for an indefinite amount of time.

Long distance relationships during a pandemic… I do not recommend.

Write…just write

As I said before, writing is my therapy. And being away from it for so long was unquestionably detrimental to my health. So I’m easing my way back into it, hopefully without burning myself out in the process or draining my mind of creativity too soon. The first step was upgrading my laptop. Seriously, it was long overdue. My first post since being back from my extended hiatus was simply motivation to write…just right. Interesting thing is, I noticed something new when I hit publish. Which brings me to the reason behind the title of this post—no, it wasn’t just click bait.

Apparently we can convert blog posts to podcasts now! Boy, I missed a lot while I was away! When I clicked published and saw the option to also make the post a podcast, I thought, what a pleasant surprise! The option to bring my poems and stories to life with my voice? That’s one thing I’ve always wanted to do. Audio being my preference, because I hate showing my face, and I can have debilitating social anxiety when I have to talk to people, even if I’m not directly looking at them. But a podcast? Hmm, I could give that a try, be that voice in your ear as you function through life.

But then the self-doubt creeps in. That self-doubt that always seems to convince me to give up on pursuing the things I really want to do. It whispers, would my followers even want to hear my voice? Even I hate the sound of my voice, mainly because I’ve been told too many times that I sound like a 12-year-old; and let me tell you, not being taken seriously as a grown ass adult is very triggering. I’m also from the South, so, you know, accents. But the monotonous voices (specifically the female one—the male one at least has a little animation) available to use in place of my own don’t do my work justice, don’t convey the emotion I had when I wrote it.

So if you’re willing to give my little Southern baby drawl a chance, I would love for you to have a listen to yesterday’s poem. My self-encouragement to write. No limits, no obsessing over whether it’s good enough, or publication worthy. Just urging myself to write…the way I used to.

A Cold, Gray August Lovely Curses

This episode takes us on a flashback to the first story ever published on the Lovely Curses blog. Originally published January 9, 2014, "A Cold, Gray August" is an eerie tale about unseasonably cold weather in the height of summer and its effect on a mother and son.  Read the original blog post: https://lovelycurses.com/2014/01/09/a-cold-gray-august/
  1. A Cold, Gray August
  2. New Laptop…Now Write

New Laptop…New Me

Frantically, her fingers scurry across the keyboard—

And she types.

The first words to come to mind—

Those cohesive and incohesive—

She writes.

As much as she can—

New metaphorical pen in hand—

Because it’s been so long.

Months—

Years, really—

Since she’s seen so clear.

So she types—

And it feels nice.

2018 A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal: A Drabble about Tags

Almost three months ago exactly, I was deep in my 7 Things to Do Before 2018 list, on a mission to organize my blog before the new year. It was during this spree of deleting and restructuring that a gem fell right into my lap. Sadly, I had to wait until spring before I could tell anyone about it…

Despite being eager to reveal my 2018 A to Z Challenge theme since last Christmas, I come to you with my theme reveal a day late and a dollar short…

A 100-Word Story to Introduce My 2018 A to Z Challenge Theme

Delete. One page down. I think I deserve a pat on the back. Productivity score: 1. Procrastination: 0.

This blog clean-up will be a breeze! Only—I squint at the screen—173 more pages to go.

Procrastination creeping in. Why do I have so many tags? Half are for posts that don’t exist—wiped away in a previous purge—most have only been used once…

Like “100-word story.” Why? When I’ve written at least 100?

I select 20 more, drift the mouse toward “Bulk Delete,” when something catches my eye.

Accessory to murder… Only one story.

Hmm… How about another?

Have you figured it out yet?

The prompts are the tags!

Yes, from # to A to Z, I have literally thousands of tags in my blog archives, most of which have lost their companion stories over the years, others that have only ever had one…

Like “100-word story,” for which, before this post, surprisingly, only one story has ever made the cut.

So, starting this April, I’ll be giving some of my most interesting “lonely” tags another reason to shine on the blog.

Would you like to read more stories about becoming an accessory to murder? Or maybe you prefer to get lost in the Bermuda Triangle? Hell, let’s be serious here— you’re just waiting on the impending doom of a zombie apocalypse!

Well, all of those and more are coming to you in just 100 words (so the tag will have even more posts)!

See you in April!

2017 A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal

As we approach the final hours of this last day in March . . . I am reminded that tomorrow the April A to Z Challenge officially kicks off, and in my typical procrastinator fashion, I have waited until literally seconds before the challenge is set to begin to reveal my theme.

Truth be told, I didn’t think I would even participate this year. I haven’t been able to finish much of anything lately, and the last thing I want to do is get you invested in a set of characters, hooked into a series of stories, only to disappear off the map, right at the climax of it all, and leave you hanging—not even off a cliff, just in midair—desperate for a way down, frantically seeking a resolution.

Such has become my custom as I wrestle with this nasty beast called writer’s block—an on-going battle I’ve been dealing with since the end of April last year.

But enough wallowing in my own self-pity! I have an uncle who calls himself a writer too (we all have that one family member, right?) and every time I see him, he always has one question for me: “Published anything new?” An innocent question for the most part, but sometimes I feel he’s mocking me, because he already knows what my answer will be, and quite frankly, I’m sick of telling him no.

So while sulkily scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed a few days ago, I came across a picture that really lit a fire under my ass.

If I ever want to get back on the wagon and return to being the prolific writer and blogger I was at this time a year ago, I have to write something, anything. It doesn’t even have to be good, but at least I’m making an effort.

Which is why I’m taking a NaNoWriMo approach to this year’s A to Z Challenge. No, I will not be writing a 50,000 word novel in 26 days, instead I’ll be planning out a novel idea that has been brewing on the brain for several months now. Backstory, character sketches, outlines, maybe a few deleted scenes—anything and everything to help me formulate a plan of attack going into NaNoWriMo this November, where I hope to write and complete my first novel (because I have a ton of unfinished ones collecting megabyte dust on my hard drive).

As for that perfectionist editor bitch in me, who’s had a time deleting everything I attempt to write (even this very post, which I had to sleep on for a night because her perfectionist editor bitch finger was hovering over the backspace button), she’s getting shipped off to Timbuctoo, or a work camp on the frozen tundra of Siberia. She has no place here. The goal is to start. Simply start.

I have no title, not even a synopsis, just an idea, an image I hope to flesh out as I trudge down recovery road back from writer’s block. You may not like it. Hey, you may even hate it, but I’m seeking no one else’s approval but my own. What’s more important for me is to actually start and finish something I can be proud of. The editing part will come later. Much, muuuuuch later. So who else is joining the A to Z Challenge? Link me your blog and I’ll try to follow your posts! They changed the rules on us this year, so it’ll be interesting to see how much participation we get. Nevertheless, my only concern right now is my own participation. A friendly reminder from one of my favorite movies…

Just keep writing. Just keep writing. Just keep writing, writing, writing… 

Neighbors

My neighbor sets his trash pile ablaze with a blowtorch.

Because it’s Friday.

And he missed the garbage truck this morning.

“He’s mad!” my mother shouts. She yanks the curtains closed. Rushes to the kitchen to prepare dinner. “That’s how forest fires start.” She slices peppers and onions on the cutting board and rakes them into the sizzling pan on the stove.

I peek out the window one last time, watch the wind blow the debris in his yard east — toward our house.

—Nortina


flash-flash-2I think I might test my quick thinking (and quick typing) skills by trying this more often. It’s called Flash in a Flash, and the challenge is write a story in 120 seconds based on the one word prompt. Today’s prompt: blowtorch

No Hold Barred Poetry Writing Challenge: Day 19

Each morning
I wake up angrier
although I don’t know
why or with whom
only that I hate my life
and all who inhabit it
and this pair scissors
is dying to end it.

Nortina


This is the type of poem you receive when one is completely drained of inspiration. Apologies. 😦