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. 😦

Black History Month: Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. I first began reading her poetry during a trying time in my life when I was depressed and even suicidal. I had to make a difficult decision, and I had a hard time forgiving myself and others around me who were involved. Then one day, I read this poem:

 

The Mother

Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.

I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children.
I have contracted. I have eased
My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.
I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized
Your luck
And your lives from your unfinished reach,
If I stole your births and your names,
Your straight baby tears and your games,
Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches, and your deaths,
If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths,
Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.
Though why should I whine,
Whine that the crime was other than mine?—
Since anyhow you are dead.
Or rather, or instead,
You were never made.
But that too, I am afraid,
Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said?
You were born, you had body, you died.
It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried.

Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you
All.

 

Gwendolyn was an amazing poet. She wrote about people and places. She wrote about the black experience and made it relevant to everyone. She provided a voice for the black working and middle class. She provided a voice for me.

When you make a mistake and subsequently hate yourself for it, you have a hard time moving forward. Coping with such a painful decision can be especially difficult when the people involved act as if it never happened and expect you to do the same. This poem helped me deal with my pain, guilt, hatred, (a multitude of emotions), through writing. Although I can’t say that I am completely healed, I am in a better place than I was three years ago.

Poetry is so therapeutic. Whatever meaning the poet had in mind when writing a poem, that meaning can change as the poem speaks to different people of different backgrounds. “The Mother” inspired me to write several poems about my experience, even a short story that I am in the midst of reworking. It feels so good to let my heart pour out on the page, and even if I never share my writing on the subject of abortion with anyone else, I am happy that I could release that built up emotion because if I had held onto it for a little while longer, it would have killed me.

Thank you Gwendolyn Brooks, and happy Black History Month.

 

For more on Gwendolyn Brooks, visit here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/gwendolyn-brooks