Saying goodbye sucks

Losing someone is probably one of the most heart wrenching experiences out there. It doesn’t matter if everyone knew their passing was something coming, or an unexpected accident no one would have ever imagined.

And it never gets okay. Honestly, why should it? But the one thing that’s super scary to me is that you do grow numb to it.

I mean, how weird, and awful, is it that I’ve experienced so much death in my life that I’m actually numb when i hear someone else has passed?

My first friend I lost was shot in the face by a kid with a shotgun because the kids mom didn’t approve of her daughter dating a black boy. So she gave her child a gun to scare him off the front step.

Now, my friend was an amazing person. And the fact that his skin color made someone take his life haunts me to this day. I’d been to funerals before his. Family members and such, but this was the first one that I felt deeply. I’d never been to his church before, even though I basically spent tons of my time in his neighborhood with my girl Trish. But that day of his funeral was something magical.

So many people came that we literally couldn’t fit inside the building. And those voices when they sang his soul to rest, well, they truly were the songs of angels. It didn’t matter that day what your skin color was because we were all celebrating the life of someone, basically still a child, who’d been taken from us too young. And he was loved. And he’s still missed.

From then on it seemed like someone else was falling down that hole of forever gone quicker than I could blink. I grew up in the 90’s, in south Florida, during the rave era. Not the big overblown commercial stuff it is now, but the underground south Florida breaks, electro, drum and bass dirty south scene. And man was it dirty. And dangerous.

Before I was 18 I could count at least 10 kids I’d known who had passed away from drugs. Some od’d. Others were killed in accidents involving dui’s and the like. One of the first people I ever loved met this fate.

My parents moved me to Las Vegas right out of high school. I rebelled and moved back home a few months later. Heck, I was 18 now and I could make it on my own. Or so I thought. So I went home and fell hard. I fell into partying, and dancing, and I fell for a boy so damn hard the world crumbled around me every time I looked at his face.

But he was a bit of a bad boy and had a past. Eventually, I couldn’t take living back home for many reasons and decided to move back to Vegas. This boy wanted to move with me, but he decided he wanted to do it right. He’d had a warrant out for his arrest and told me he was going to turn himself in, do the time and come meet me in Vegas when he got out.

So I left, and went home. We wrote each other pretty much every few days. Running to the mailbox was such an event. And we both loved art so we’d draw and fill pages full of inconsequential things to get us both through the long weeks. Eventually, his time was served and he was set free. We were both so excited!

His mom bought him a plane ticket to fly out to me. I woke up every day counting down the minutes until I’d be seeing him again. The weekend before he was to fly out he decided to go down to Miami to say goodbye to some of his friends. He called me from a party the night before his flight and told me he’d be seeing me in a few hrs. I said have fun, but not too much, don’t want to miss your flight!

We laughed. I sighed and went to bed.

The next morning I got a call from one of my girlfriends back home. Except I couldn’t understand a word she was saying. She was crying so hard I got scared for her. Finally she said two words that pretty much killed me. “Scott’s dead.”

It echoed around my head over and over and over. I didn’t understand. And told her it was an awful joke to be playing on me the day of his flight. Except it wasn’t a joke. He died of a heart attack from a drug overdose. There’s a good chance he could have been saved, except the monsters, for they dare not be named people, he was with left him, without his clothes, wallet or jewlery, out in front of the hospital after it was too late. So yeah. They robbed him and left him to die. And he did just that.

His mom bought me a plane ticket to go back home and attend the funeral. I remember bringing him a lucky poker chip my dad had given me with one of the casino’s names written on it. At his viewing I placed it in his coffin and told him if he couldn’t come to Vegas than I was making sure I brought it to him to keep forever. I said my goodbyes and flew back home and died a million deaths myself.

After that hearing about people’s deaths got easier. How fucked is that for me to say? I don’t know if it’s more fucked that I actually view hearing about someone’s death as easy, or that there’s still so much death surrounding me.

There’s one thing that didn’t get easier though. My fear of everyone I love dying. I might just be the most morbid motherfucker out there. I secretly fear people dying all the time. ALL. The. Time. Do you know how exhausting that is? When my kids go out to sleep at their friends- I fear their lives. When my sis goes out to a party, I’m afraid of a car accident. Hubs flying to New York for work? Plane crash. Parents having Sunday dinner? Choking. It never ends. All these scenarios run through my mind until I have to physically talk myself down.

But I keep it to myself. And then i learn someone else has died and I don’t cry. I don’t mourn. I don’t let go either. I can’t. If I did I might end up breaking for good.

In just the last few weeks, a man who basically was like a second father to me and a boy who was one of my childhood best friends/mortal rivals passed away. These two guys at different times in my life meant the absolute world to me.

And I can’t find it in myself to mourn their passing. I don’t know how any more. After Scott, I’m so empty when it comes to that part of life. Call it self preservation if you will. I cannot ever allow myself to break down the way I did after he passed. I might not be able to put the pieces back together again.

But I know it isn’t healthy either. To keep so much grief bottled up inside. To never let go and say goodbye. I just wish that my friends and family would stop dying for a little while. Give us a break.

I wish Florida wasn’t such a cesspit for kids and such an import state that dangles horrible temptations in front of bored children for them to lose their life on.

I wish more parents of my friends had given a bit more of a fuck about their children and not let them go down that road unhelped.

I’m so thankful I only played around the edges. That I never dove in head first and got caught up in a life of no escape except for the one 6ft below.

As to all the ones I’ve lost from disease, or accidents, old age or overdose. I’m so so sorry I cannot properly say goodbye. I know you deserve it. I’m sorry to all my friends to go to the funerals and are lacking my shoulder to cry on because I’m too much of a pussy to attend. I hope you don’t hate me because I didn’t show up. I wanted to. I swear. I just… I can’t

Life is such a precious thing. If you can remember that at least once a day, everything else will become so trivial. I think that’s what gets me through it. I only wonder, will it always be enough?

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What being an intern has taught me so far

So, back in October I stumbled upon an open call for interns/readers for an agency I adore. I think their whole group of agents are pretty spectacular. Now, I haven’t personally gotten to have conversations with all of them. But over the last year or so of seeing exchanges on Twitter, plus all the fantastic words of fellow writers as they mention the agents or the agency, well, it’s really made me think well of them as a whole.

And then this opportunity comes up, and I’m thinking no fucking way would they ever consider me. I’m a stay-at-home mom and have been for over 16 yrs. My work experience is as dusty as a New Mexican arroyo, (an arroyo is a dry creek not slang for something weird) and what do I know about this industry I’m just starting to cut my teeth on anyway?

Nope, no way do I have a chance.

But, because I’m me, and my aspirations run the gamut from trying to become an alpaca farm owner to, oh I dunno, turning a few acres into a community where all my wayward friends can come and lay their head… well, applying to be an intern didn’t seem as unreachable as it could have. If you’ve ever seen the movie Wanderlust, I’m pretty much a real-life, occasional cafe kinda girl.

No has never really been part of my vocab.

So, I applied. Annnd I was denied. But the whole process was so exhilarating.  Reading the sample manuscripts made me feel alive. I was doing something for me, to better myself.

It felt fucking fantastic!

So, I wrote a thank you letter to let the agent know how much the opportunity meant to me. I don’t know if she’ll ever really know how much, but I can only hope. Books have been my escape since I could read. As a child, and then a teen, there were times when life waved at me from the windows, and I would be so caught up in whatever story I was reading at the time that I just waved right back and continued on reading. As a new mom, books got me through a lot of lonely and tired days.

As a stay-at-home mom you tend to lose yourself sometimes. There’s a million and 3 things about it that I’m thankful for every day. But in learning to be selfless it’s easy to lose oneself. And it takes a moment like this to wake up, and say oh yeah, I’m more than a mom.

That was my moment.

Sooo, another intern/reading position came up for the same agent, at the same agency, and I grabbed the bull by the horns, threw caution to the wind, (and a few other cliches) and tried out again.

I made it! I squealed. I shrieked. I did a little victory dance. I probably cried a bit.

Since then, I wake up with a purpose. When I see that email with said agent(angel)’s name, my heart speeds up– cause I know I’m about to take another amazing journey and it fills me with joy.

 

Fellow writers, I admire you so much… Your words inspire me to become that much more in my writing. Every time I finish reading one of your manuscripts it motivates me to push myself that much further. I know your pain and your fear in letting your babies out into the world and having someone judge them. That’s the hardest part. Measuring my truth, my personal taste, and how I feel it will do in a market is so difficult. Every word I write in my report I want to erase. What if that one sentence dooms someone? Alternatively, what if another is the exact sentence needed to realize this ms could be the one?

Thank you, Agent, for trusting me with all the words. Thank you, writers, for making my life that much more. Between you both I have a reason, a reason for myself. Every day that I’m learning something new, honing my craft, and walking this path I send out a silent thanks that she decided to take a chance on me.

I don’t know how much time I have left. I’m not exactly sure of the lifespan of an intern. But I will make the most of every moment I’m given.

Holy shit, I’m one step closer to my dream y’all. One day I’m gonna get somewhere, and be someone, and now I know what I really want to be. I love writing sooo damn much. I’m in love with reading. Author, or agent, or intern for life– I’ve found my home and I don’t ever wanna go back. ❤

Thank you, secret angel agent. 🙂 (I wish I could give her a true shoutout but I’m sworn to secrecy 🙂

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Cass

So, A long time ago

I used to have a camera attached to me. Everywhere I went, no matter what I was doing, there it was. It’s been a really really long time since I’ve held it with purpose. My Flickr account renewed today and I hadn’t looked at it in so long.

Man, was that a mistake! Going through the last 10 years made me a little emotional. And I still have another 4 years of photos to look through on there. I can’t wait. I think I might dust off my camera and start taking pics again. I don’t know if I’ll ever have that obsessive must take photos of everything drive again, but it would be nice to capture life now every once in awhile through something other than my phone camera.

Anyway, here’s a few I especially enjoyed. Have a nice day everyone! And don’t forget yourself, or if you do, try and find what’s missing. You might be in for a pleasant surprise 🙂

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Ode to the querying writer

As a child, a teen, adult, or crone

you’ve decided to give your daydreams a home

Each day you struggled, laughed, and cried

as your lyrical journey took you for a ride

Through heartache and joy, interweaving a story for your eyes alone

and then to share with friends, and family,

the ones who always throw you a bone

holding your breath, hands balled up tight, hoping and wishing with all of your might that they LOVE IT

and they do. So you think I’ve a bestseller… or two.

Then you spread your wings and find others like you.

Writing, revising, downing a cup or four. Trying to turn your draft into something much more.

You let go your chains, fears, and shakes

and share the words you held deep in your core

and finally

FINALLY you hear the words needed. The ones your family forgot to tell you.

Edits begin with a ravenous rush

for now is not the time to be a lush

a tweak here

delete there.

Sprucing and pruning without care

it’s true.

Wait? My 200,000 word draft is too long? chop, snip 70,000 gone over night

another 20,000?

yes, that will make it tight.

Kill who?  Seriously you want him to go? But,

but I thought he was the star of the show.

and then it all makes sense.

This dream, this story came together again. Thanks you your new circle of writerly friends.

 

Until

 

the moment came to set it free

And you write your first fucking query

That awful, soul-sucking, mind number page.

the one, you know, that fills you with rage

because no one said when you started your dream

that you’d be judge by 3 little paragraphs.

and perhaps

they forgot to mention you’ll end up growing scales of titanium before your done

 

did not connect

your voice? well it sucks

subjectively, of course

keep looking, bubye, sayonara my friend.

Adios, till next time, please, let’s not meet again.

and then

you revise, resub, brush it off. Chug a bottle or two

secretly tell everyone off.

your crit friends hold your hand while you blubber and cry

One day, they’ll see, you say with a sigh

and they do

because you do not give up

you power through, dust yourself off and move the fuck on

you write a new manuscript, or two, or four

you go through the struggle again and again, knocking on their door

because you’re a writer.

you’re a fucking amazing, daydreaming, word-slinging, make-believing, world-building, murdering, fucking freak.

and those words you’ve written are fucking unique.

and you deserve to be heard.

so don’t give up.

because one day I’ll need you. One day i’ll pick you up. I’ll open your pages and you’ll take me away and you’ll break my heart over the course of the day.

I’ll cheer for your protagonist while creating ways to kill your antagonist. I’ll boo, hiss and cheer in all the right places

I’ll cringe in fear at your scary blood-mangled faces

I’ll try to pronounce each word of your world (and then secretly make up nicknames when I can’t)

But never once will I rant, because you’re story is still fucking awesome

without you, dear writer, our world can be gray. Full of dreaded real life. monotonous day by slogging damn day.

You are my rock, my soultrip, my escape.

carry on my friends, you unbelievable strong people. Please do not crack.

Forget the rejections, your words are not wack.

You’ve already won the moment you began

you created something from nothing and that deserves the ultimate hand.

and when your dear words finally come home

remember to cheer on another who’s still in the zone.

pick them up, raise their head and remind them it’s time

for their words to fly free, for they are sublime.

Dear perfect writer

It’s some hard fucking shit, yes it’s true.

never give up

if not for me, than… for you. ❤

 

 

 

 

Bad Beat

So I have a few WIPs I’ve been working on. And tonight I’ve decided to work on BAD BEAT. It’s been a few weeks since I touched it last, but I just booked a trip to Las Vegas, a place I’ve lived over 7 times in my life, and even confirming my trip had me wishing I was already there.

Anyway, BAD BEAT is a YA Thriller about a girl who’s a poker shark and get’s caught up in the high life when she wins way too much money at the casinos with her fake ID. I grew up playing poker. My granddad’s Sicilian blood runs through me strongly, and by age 5 I could play most card games.

I love it. It makes me feel alive when I’m at the card table. Anyway, since it’s Friday, and I’m missing cards, my grandparents, and my youth I decided to post the first 5 pages of my WIP. Feel free to lemme know what you think 🙂

Chapter 1

 

I hate people who say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I bet you any amount of money the people who say that don’t live here. They weren’t born here. And sure as shit, they don’t keep whatever extreme moment that called for such a dumb saying here.

My fingers tap a rhythm on the cool metal table. The clink of my handcuffs keep time with my digits. It soothes me. I’m getting used to it.

“Could you tell me why you started playing poker, Ms. De Spirito?” The Las Vegas juvenile correction officer asking me questions tries to pull off looking like she cares. She’s horrible at it, but I’ll humor her. Every minute spent out of my cell is one less minute spent in it. I’ll take as many seconds as they’ll give me.

“Why do we breathe? Why is the sky blue?” I shake my head. They’ll never understand. “I can’t tell you why I started, or even when. I could probably play cards before I could fully walk. My dad always called me a natural. Said I had a talent for reading people. You see, a lot of people play statistics, numbers. They are very methodical about pot odds and how that determines what hand they’re playing and why.” My fingers speed up, building to a crescendo. With a final tap I bring my hands away and gently place them on my lap.

“And?”

“And I’m not that kind of a person. I couldn’t tell you the first thing about pot odds. What I could tell you is how Big Bucks sitting to the left of me is holding a pocket pair of aces because his eye twitched when the board hit two kings and a five. He overbet to protect his hand and wouldn’t you know it, the little fella sitting next to him called it in about two seconds flat. That’s how I knew Shorty was holding the third king. The way he fingered his chips spoke louder than any pot odds could ever do. Made it pretty easy to throw down my jacks. Never was the kinda girl who liked two boys at once anyway.”

Officer Dean clears her throat. It looks like she’s trying to hide a smile, but I play nice and pretend I don’t see it.

“So, you don’t see anything wrong with the fact that you cheated multiple casinos out of one point four million dollars?”

Before I can stop myself, my hands shoot out of my lap and slap the table. I stand and look Officer Dean in the eye.

“I won that money fair and square.” I’m seething on the inside. It’s pointless, but I still try to calm myself by breathing slowly.

“Well, yes. You could say that under normal circumstances. But the fact remains. To gamble legally in the state of Nevada you must be twenty one or older. And you, my dear, are only seventeen.”

I sit down. The air rushes out of me until I’m deflated. Only seventeen.

“Thanks for the reminder.”

“Now, enough of the games. We both know underage gambling isn’t the main reason you’re sitting with me. Why don’t you start at the beginning? And tell me how you got to be here. I’ve got all the time in the world so there’s no point in stalling.”

“Stalling. Stalling? You think I’m stalling?” I wait for her to laugh, something. Anything. But she doesn’t even grin. Must not be a fan of Spongebob. Her loss.

“Fine. Well, it all started on the last week of school. You could say I was a fashion victim. Guess being overweight is a crime after all.”…

…The sound of my jeans ripping as I bend over should embarrass me. The fact that it’s happening in first period, only five minutes after the bell has rung, should probably have me melting in shame—wishing I was part of the horrid, orange and brown paisley carpet. I squeeze my legs together in the hopes that my white, “grandma” undies might have less of a chance to peek through. Carefully, I stand, and penguin-walk to the door.

Amidst the peals of laughter from my fellow oh-so-compassionate classmates I sketch a solute, and quickly hightail it out of class—Mr. Baldwin’s theory of the melting ice caps be damned. At least one good thing has come from this. The rip up my backside provides a much needed loosening along the whole waist area. Might as well go for glory. A sigh comes out of me as I give in, and undo the button to my jeans. It borderlines erotic. Yeah, soooo much better. I’m so busy looking down at the roll of fat now hanging slightly over my undone jeans it takes me a second to comprehend someone is talking.

“Hey, Sonja, you getting ready to enter a strip contest or what?”

Great. Not just someone.

“Oh. Hey there, Kai. How’d ya guess?” Without thinking, my fingers grasp the zipper and I begin to pull it down. A few flutters of my eyelashes, and a kiss blown in his direction, and we both break into laughter. I spin in a circle ballet dancers would be envious of—happily showing off my predicament.

“Ah, nice one. How in the world did you do that?” Kai raises his eyebrow.

“Well, I was trying to pull off this new parkour move. You know, show off for Billy. He’s really into girls that leap tall buildings and shit.” Silence greets me, so I continue on with my explanation. This time a measure of heat crosses my cheeks. “Or actually… I accidentally dropped my pencil when I got into class, and when I bent over to pick it up my jeans decided they were tired of being together. Think they wanted a break.”

Even though embarrassment courses through me I hold my head high, stare Kai straight in the eye, and dare him to laugh. To his credit he doesn’t even grin.

“Damn, Sonja, that’s booty.” The previously missing smile breaks through. “Haha. Get it? Booty?”

“Ugh. You so suck.” I shake my head.

“What are best friends for?” Kai wraps one wiry, muscled arm around my waist. As it touches each hill and valley that my body is comprised of I want to suck in my breath. Will his arm get stuck between the rolls? No such luck. Thank God for small favors.

His hand comes to a rest right on my hip. It’s in the place where a hipbone should be, but isn’t. Due to the extra padding my lovely body provides me any and all hints of bone structure are hidden. It’s like I’m supplying a pillow for his hand instead.

“Come on, songbird, let’s get you home.” Kai hooks a finger through my belt loop, and drags me down the hall.

Let it rain

As I sit in my car waiting (something that becomes a bit of a full time job for a stay-at-home mom) in the somewhat pouring rain, it’s come to me that we, Washingtonians, in general, are apposed to umbrellas.

Now, this is neither a novel, nor a new idea. I’ve observed it many a time and have heard others as well. But 10 years in and I’m still not quite sure why. It’s not like I was anti-umbrella pre-Washington. In fact, I remember clearly owning a few and using them.

However, since living here it doesn’t ever occur to me to use one. And by the amount of people walking by sans the useful gadget, I see I’m clearly in the majority. When raindrops hit us do we soak any less? Have we developed superpowers of deflection? Perhaps we’ve evolved to oily skin such as birds have on their feathers to let the rain trickle down. Or perhaps we’re so hipster rain falls around us as we walk, never on us.

It doesn’t matter the reason behind it, I suppose, but it does tickle me to see us so blatantly defiant in a land where rain is so common.

I guess we can all take comfort in things like the song, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, or the fact that will will never suffer the bad luck of opening umbrellas indoors. If you think about it, even the community is so secure in our lack of want that stores/malls freely offer the “use” of umbrellas to their customers on an honor code that they’ll be returned , in my opinion, knowing they are in no way going to be used in the first place.

I know this because I never see them out of their lovely little pots. No matter the deluge.

I’m sure I’ll ponder this again. Till then, stay wet Pac northwesteners. And if you do know the reason, don’t let me know. I like the mystery 🙂

 

 

ART FOR SALE

Good morning everyone. With the holidays coming around, and the fact that I’m running out of space in my new place, I’ve decided to sell some of my paintings to make room for new projects. If you’re interested, or know someone who may be feel free to ask me any questions. I also do custom work, so if you have something in mind let me know and we can work it out.

20151012_110528Rapture

Acrylic and ink on canvas

$85.00 +shipping

20151012_110611Seattle falling

Acrylic on canvas

$85.00 + shipping

20151012_110642Daydreamer

Acrylic and Ink on canvas

$175.00 + shipping

20151012_110703Dreamweaver

Acrylic and ink on canvas

&125.00 + shipping

20151012_110740Sunrise Snowstorm

Oil on canvas

$100.00 +shipping

Thankful for my Pitch Crit Crew

So a few months ago I entered a writing contest. Alas, I didn’t proceed to go, however, I received something waaay more valuable in return. A real writing group. A gaggle of writerly friends who are in the trenches along with me, and I am so very happy to have them around.

It makes it a million times more bearable to share joy and pain with people who have felt what you are feeling. While your loved ones might feel bad with you, they don’t know *exactly* ya know? But the crew does. Their empathy is real. Their happiness at a request is your happiness. Their elation at a signing with an agent is your elation.Their sadness at your pain in a rejection is what build your heart up that much stronger.

As a stay-at-home mom, over the years I’ve lost contact with a lot of my “real” friends. I used to be a social butterfly, but except on the odd occasion rarely do I get out anymore, and when I do with my friends it’s not spent talking about writing hehe or if I do it’s for a coveted date with my mister. And while he supports my writing 100% I see his eyes glaze and that’s totally cool too 🙂

Because of this writer group I really feel like I have a connection again. I’ve even had the chance to meet one of the badasses in person at a writing conference so far and that was beyond awesomeness. From the moment I sat down at the bar it felt like I had known her for years. There was no awkward silences, and we laughed into the wee hours of the night.

The best part is, the crew gets it. All of it. And we don’t judge.

The worst part is we all live so far away, cause dang it, it would be beyond fantastic to have a weekly coffee and writing get together with them. But I’ll take what I can get, and be thankful every day for the bonds we are all  building.

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and I’ll share a drink with ya anytime 😉giphy (7)

Thanks you guys.  You keep me motivated and I’m so happy to be one of you!

You down with PCC? Yeah you know me!