Day-3 Of My Vacation Journal

Tuesday October 20 

Ouch! 

My phone’s voiceover woke me up that morning. I got a WordPress notification, saying that such-and-such and 66 others follow my blog. (I didn’t forget what this person’s name is, or her blog title. I just don’t casually drop blog names unless I personally know the blogger.) So anyhow, why complain about this? 

Because a week or so earlier, I had sixty-nine followers. I gained one reader, but after losing three. I know this is really nothing to wine about. Blogs get unfollowed every day. And it’s not like my ratings really plummeted. Losing two followers just came as a shock, after my blog’s audience number has been steadily increasing, over the past three months. I’ve put more effort into posting regularly, and had hours of fun reading other people’s blogs, giving them Likes, and commenting back and forth with them. As someone trying to make it as an author, I get such a high off of, when total strangers “Like” my writing. 

SO WHAT WENT WROOOOOONG?! I wondered. Were people offended by that Thank You, Rev Smart-Ass post? Did they think I was disrespecting Christianity? Do they think that I’m too bitchy? Too crude? Too self absorbed? Is it my breath? WHYYYYYY?! 

The universe only knows. It could’ve been nothing personal at all. 

About a year ago, I did an unfollowing over-haul, MAINLY because silly me didn’t use the much more convenient and low-tech user friendly, WordPress mobile Reader. I got everybody’s posts via email. Afraid that if I didn’t do it that way, I’d miss out on their latest posts, because I didn’t have faith in myself that I would remember to check the Reader. 

There were people who posted every once in a while, the once-a-week bloggers, the three-posts-a-week bloggers, and those who post once or twice a day. But man oh man, some of these bloggers were like blog post machine guns. How does one person have so much to post about?! Either they stay glued to their device, every waking second, or their doing some top quality cocaine! There were days when I opened up my Inbox, and I’d get, what looked like one blogger’s lifetime achievement of posts, all shooting in at once. Post! Post! Post! Post! Post! Post! P-P-P-P-P-P-P-Post! If I didn’t check my email every day, the amount of unread posts would add up into the hundreds, really quick. I wanted to connect with people, mainly other writers, but I felt that there was no way to keep up with everybody. So with much remorse, I unfollowed those who posted multiple times a day. Some of those blogs I thoroughly enjoyed, and in a weird way, I missed them as though I knew the people who wrote them. As I’m typing this, I’m thinking about looking them up, and re-following them. 

I unfollowed some book blogs too, because I felt they were a bad influence. At the time, I had an Apple Books shopping addiction. I wanted just about every book that these people blogged about. If they were available in the U S, and if I could buy them through my Apple Books mobile app, with just the double-tapping of a few buttons, look out, bank account. 

However, I did  unfollow some blogs, because of personal preferences.

1. Some of the bloggers were not as bilingual as they thought. I follow bloggers from other parts of the world, and sometimes it’s obvious that English isn’t their first language, but their posts still make clear sense. As for the ones that I unfollowed, I’m sure their writing is brilliant in their native language, but when they tried to write posts in English, oof. Nothing they posted made one bit of sense. They sounded like an ex boyfriend of mine, who suffered with progressing schizophrenia. Christa told me that they probably used Google Translate. 

2. I don’t like when bloggers don’t really write their posts, and just post links, hash tags and emojis, like this is Twitter. Or when 9 out of 10 of their posts are just re-blogs of other people’s posts. To me, that’s annoyingly lazy. 

3. While getting posts through email only, I resented the Read-More button. Getting to the rest of someone’s post through Safari was really annoying. Sometimes it took the thing a while to stop ticking, and show the full post, and sometimes it took for-ever. This one blogger I unfollowed wrote a lot of poetry, with the Read-More button, after a few lines. I got sick of having to click that button and wait, just to read ten more words. 

Whether it was personal reasons or not, unfollowing people made me feel like an ass, afterward. They did nothing wrong, or nothing that offended me. Some of them had followers in the thousands. So I tried to reassure myself that my unfollowing was no loss to them. They won’t even notice that I’m gone. 

Why is this lady rambling on about blogging? What the hell does that have to do with vacationing? 

Because nothing much else went on, on Tuesday, besides my Social media issues. 

I spent the first hour of that morning, swiping through my lists of followed blogs and blog followers. As you may know, the “Following” list lists the blogs by their titles, and the “Follows” list lists the blogs by their addresses. Most of my followers are people that I follow. I went back and forth, back and forth between the two lists, swiping through all the titles and addresses, over and over again, like an insecure mental case. Trying to figure out, WWWHHHOOO UUUNNNFFFOOOLLLOOOWWWEEEDDD MMMEEE! WHO?! WHO WAS IT?! 

What hurt more than the rejection was, knowing that if I want to become a successful blogger, I have no better choice but to handle getting unfollowed graciously

Just let it be… 

Don’t say anything about it… 

Just keep on blogging with your head held high… 

…When what I’m really dying to do, is go all psycho ex girlfriend on these people, who by the way, after the fifty or sixtieth list check, I figured out which ones they are. No, I won’t go into their comment section, and ask why they unfollowed me. Or, what can I do to convince them to give me another chance? What can I do to change? How could you leave me, when I JUST WANT TO MAKE YOU LAUGH! I JUST WANT TO MAKE YOU HAPPY! COME BACK! 

I admit, I did try to pull a psycho ex girlfriend shenanigan when, not too long ago, I found out that a blogger who I’ve followed devotedly, had unfollowed me. It took a year of following him, before he decided to follow me. Then about a year later, I read one of his posts where he talked about unfollowing people. He didn’t mention any names, but I had a sinking feeling that I was one of them. Sure enough, when I checked my “Follows” list, his address was no longer there.

Sometime after I reinvented my blog, and started going by my pen name, I unfollowed him, and then re-followed him. It was Tia Wojo from Diary of an Achiever Wannabe that he unfollowed. He won’t know who Bia Bella Baker from No Pictures Allowed is, hee hee hee. So maybe I’ll get a follow-for-follow? 

Don’t try that shit. It doesn’t work. 

I still follow him anyway, and I follow the other three. I’ll just let it go, and pretend I didn’t notice. (They’ll be back, ha ha ha ha haaaaa…) 

After facing rejection, and enjoying some delicious pumpkin-spice coffee, I hung out at the parents condo for a while. 

Aside from winning over a 67th blog follower, I got a 68th one too. Then another awesome thing happened, when Jo emailed me. He wanted to know how many author copy paperbacks of HECCTROSSIPY (book 1) The Legend of the Land should he mail to family members. When I asked the family via What’s App, none of them wanted a free copy. Each of them decided to BUY a copy! The book is $10.98 on Amazon U S. Talk about being supportive! 

When I went back to my lock-off, I just laid around in my huge, cozy bed, and let my mind wander through whichever realm it felt like traveling. It felt nice, spending some time being a lazy good-for-nothing. But then, I don’t know if it’s post-40 hormone changes, but I had a bipolarish mood swing, and suddenly felt a little depressed. So it was back to playing with the phone. I meandered about on WordPress, Facebook, and even gave Twitter an umpteenth chance. I was going to leave Twitter, because I’d been having a hard time getting into that style of social media. It’s like blogging put through a salad shooter. However, when I went on Twitter, that day, it wasn’t half bad. I tweeted sappy Thank Yous to Jo, my editor, Ross, my author website creator, Christa, my beta reader and helpful constructive critic, and to all of those who bought my book, and who Liked and re-tweeted Jo, Ross, and Christa’s promotional tweets about it. It was so exciting to see complete strangers spreading the word about the first HECCTROSSIPY book. For some odd reason, giving Twitter another chance instantly lifted away my depression. Perhaps it was the universe’s way of saying, “Don’t leave Twitter.” 

As for all of you in the blogosphere, I will never unfollow anyone again. But if any more of you unfollow me… I will… 

KEEP YOU ANYWAY! And I’ll continue on reading, Liking, commenting, and spreading good vibes. 

Love you all! Post you tomorrow!   

(Yahoooo! Feeling all better now!) Here is Day-2 of my vacation journal

Monday, October 19 

I had a weird dream about Jo. He was over at my house, hanging out with me and the family. For some reason, all the lights in the house were off, but the windows were enlarged, and bare of all window treatment. The crowd of us was downstairs, blabbing and mingling around in the dark, between the kitchen and living room. The enlarged windows revealed the dim but beautiful, purple-blue light of dusk. It was a more intense purple-blue than usual. 

Jo stayed close by me, through the whole gathering. Every time others in the room had their backs turned for a second, or if they got distracted by the other conversations going on, Jo would quietly slip a wad of cash into my hand. The first time he did this, I thanked him, and asked him what this was for. He pretended to not hear me, and kept talking. So I got the hint that I’m supposed to keep quiet about this. Then he snuck another wad of cash into my hand, and another, and another. I appreciated his generosity, but this was a weird way of expressing it, and it was making me uncomfortable. In real life, I had given him an extra 200 pounds, for editing my same damn book, for the millionth time. This equaled to about $284. In the dream, I was worried that he would end up giving me back all the money that I paid him and more. It clearly felt like the wads of money he kept giving me were of American bills. After the tenth or dozenth wad, I couldn’t keep quiet anymore. “Jo! What are you doing?!” I asked. “You’re giving me back, like, all the bonus money I gave you!” 

He stopped talking, and looked towards me, as though to answer, but before I got an answer, I was suddenly outside. 

I was walking away from the house, by myself. Heading down the driveway, and down the street. It was still dusk outside, but the street was brightly lit with silver L E D streetlights. This is the part where the dream got stupid, because the curbs of the street were replaced by mounds of plain, cooked pasta and white rice. 

Whenever my editor appears in a dream, it usually means that I’m either going to get an email from him, or I’m going to see him that day. There is something a little paranormal about Jo. Spooky, psychicish things like that often happen to those who work with him. 

It was vacation, so I switched off my phone’s 7:00 A M alarm, and slept in. I had coffee with vacation-style junk creamer, instead of the vegan kind that’s made with almond milk. Their coffee maker was awesome. It was one of those with no carafe. So the coffee never burns or gets stale and pissy smelling. 

While turning on the Apple Music hard rock station, I realized that the wi-Fi they gave us was a pain in the ass. Well, maybe not really. I’m just a technologically spoiled diva. The resort had a menu of other wi-Fi options. Some were secure, and others were unsecured. They gave us an unsecured one, which means that you don’t need a password to log into it. All you do is tap on its name on the menu, and your in. Perhaps It wasn’t necessary for me to explain that to all of you who are most likely more technically in-the-know, but this was something new to me. I thought it was cool, at first, until I discovered that every time you lock your phone, or put your computer to sleep, you get bumped off of the wi-Fi. Every time I unlocked the phone screen, god forbid I had to inconvenience a minute or so of my time, swiping through the wi-Fi menu to get back on our assigned network.  

When the clock struck eleven that morning, it was time for Monday’s Write-In, with the Writers’ Mastermind Group. The Write-In is when we authors and aspiring authors among the group meet up on Zoom, Mondays at 11:00 A M, and now on Fridays at 3:30 P M, Eastern Standard time. These meetings are for writers whose day jobs and busy schedules get in the way of their writing time. First, everybody who shows up spends a few minutes catching up with one another. Then Christa, who hosts these meetings, sets her timer, and puts the whole room, including herself, on mute for one hour. Within that hour, we are to get as much work done on our books, as we can. When the hour is up, we all share our W I P updates, and then just hang out for a while. 

I don’t have a day job, or a husband and kids to care for. My busy schedule is all in my mind. Nobody outside of my head is obligating me to write, read, and go on social media at such-and-such day and time. So I don’t necessarily need to attend these Write-Ins. The way my quirky brain operates, the Write-Ins are honestly more of a hindrance to my natural flow of productivity, than being of any help. However, I love them. 

It’s fun to hang out with other writers, and exchange gossip about our characters, as though they are real. We’ll exchange opinions on each other’s work too. I bought group members’ books, and some members bought their own copy of HECCTROSSIPY (book 1) The Legend of the Land. And we promised to give each other reviews, or blog about one another’s books. 

When people started showing up to Christa’s Zoom waiting room, sure enough, there was Jo. 

As much as I love the Write-Ins, and writing is my Lord and Savior, the Tuscany Resort is not the most concentration-friendly environment. They have staff outside, constantly primping up the landscaping. So all throughout the day, there’s either a lawn mower going, a hedge trimmer, or some other peace disturbing yard equipment. 

While me and the group members got our pre-writing blab on, someone started up a lawn mower that sounded large and powerful enough to mow the grass plus the trees and buildings. It mowed down the sound of our conversation too. 

When the timer was set, and it was time to write, I had to go look for an outlet to plug in my Mac Book. The poor old thing’s battery is near the end of its life. So it has to be plugged in, if I want to use the computer for more than ten minutes. The closest available outlet was at the wet bar, which was on the other side of the room. At first, I thought this was a risky place to put the computer. Thankfully, the sink didn’t turn on full-blast, by itself, and the nearby bottles of spring water didn’t spontaneously explode. 

When I pulled up a chair at the wet bar, and started writing, the lawn mower thankfully stopped. But only to make way for the noise bomb that went off by my workspace. The wet bar was near the lock-off’s front door, which faced an echoey walkway. Someone was shouting something in Spanish. Rattling room service carts came passing by, along with a stomping tribe of rowdy kids. A neighboring room was being vacuumed, and then someone started up a leaf blower. So yeah, I didn’t get much writing done. 

Even so, it was a wonderful write-in, because after the hour was up, the group members told me what I wanted to hear. That it’s perfectly OK if you’re not one of those writers who could pound out a thousand or so words an hour. Even Jo, who always seemed like a speeding novel dispenser, admitted that, on average, he gets about a little over 400 words done a day. My fellow blogger friend and group member, Clennell, mentioned a writing group called something like, The 10-Minute Novel, which is for those whose schedules are SO swamped, they could only squeeze in some writing time during their bus rides to and from work, or during their lunch break. Aspiring writers with that kind of life are lucky if they could get just a paragraph done each day, but it all adds up. 

While trying to make it as an author, it’s really hard to not feel burdened by the pressure to be productive. Especially when writing a series. Some of the group members, and even the authors I follow here on WordPress are SO… FREAKING… PRODUCTIVE! It’s like, every time they exhale, they have a new book out. Or they’re working on the next one in the series, and also an outline for a fresh new story idea, all while writing short stories on the side. And it’s not like these writers are just slopping ideas onto documents. I’ve read samples of their work, and they’re GOOD, god dammit! Grrrrrrr! It makes me so jealous. So intimidated too. How could I compete, when it took me THREE YEARS to complete the first HECCTROSSIPY book? It took a year-and-a-half to complete the first DARK ADMIRATION book, but that one is going to be the fourth one under the Velva Leena series category. So it won’t be released until after the third HECCTROSSIPY book. I started my dozenth or so re-write of the second book, back in March, and I’m still nowhere near being finished. It’s a well-known fact among the writing community, that you should never take a long time to write the next book in your series. People will forget about you, and forget about what happens in your story, which would make them not feel all that pumped up about the next installment. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!! 

…Relax… Take a few deep breaths… The Writers’ Mastermind group says, take a chill pill. Everybody goes at their own pace. Miracle willing, I’l get each installment completed and published, in less than a year. 

It’s hard for me to stay satisfied with what I’ve written. There’s always something to tweak, something to add or delete or rearrange. I’ll get a chapter done, and be on a high about it. Then a new idea would come rudely barging in, about how I could make this and that scene so much better. This, of course, really dddrrraaawwwsss ooouuuttt the novel writing process. Sadly, a couple other members among the group have to put up with the same issue. Fingers crossed that this perfectionism insanity will pay off…

After the Zoom meeting, I hung out at the parents’ suite for a little while, where mom read to me. Yeah, I know, I’m a grown-ass woman in her 40s, and mom still reads to me sometimes. Very cute, huh. Pllllll! 

Long, long ago, we used to have a morning ritual where she would read to me, while we had our coffee. We read mostly non fiction. A lot of personal growth books and spiritual type books, inspirational stories, and stories about miracles. Then I started going out in the mornings more often. Going to the gym, or attending classes at this or that program for those with disabilities. Then I lived in a separate place for a few years. Meanwhile, the parents got more and more into watching TV in the morning. So our cozy reading ritual gradually fizzled out. 

She brought an Anne Rule book to the condo, one of Rule’s true crime story collections. We had started this book exactly a year ago, during our last resort vacation! I hoped we could finish the book this time around. We got into a story about a sweet little housewife named Nancy, and her best friend, Rose, who was in an unhappy marriage. Rose’s husband, Art, was a good guy. It was Rose who seemed like a prissy bitch that didn’t appreciate him. Still, Nancy sided with Rose, no matter what. Her unconditional loyalty towards her was a bit overboard. Enough to where she assumed it would make Rose happy, if she had Art killed. So Rose could be free of her marriage, and have Art’s million-dollar trust fund. The way Nancy conspired this murder was so twisted and manipulative, and how this story ended up with a holy-shit ending, there just has to be a LifeTime movie based on this story. 

Mom read until her throat dried up. So I went back to my lock-off, and didn’t do anything according to plan. My book just came out! So there was no time to waste! I had to go hype it up on all of my social media outlets. However, vacation laziness overruled this plan. Christa had already promoted HECCTROSSIPY on social media, and so did Jo and Ross. I used this as an excuse to be a lazy turd for the rest of the day. 

Terrible. 

There was not going to be any indulging in TMZ and Judge Judy this vacation. To my great annoyance, the resort changed their TVs to be more high tech, in a way that’s not accessibility-user friendly. 

It used to be, when you turned the TV on, it would be on the Tuscany resort channel, which has TV guide and movie rental menus and such. All you had to do was simply hit the Channel-Up button on the remote, and it took you to their selection of regular TV channels. I loved it that way, dammit. Mom or dad would just show me where the basic buttons were on the remote, and I was fine on my own. Now when you turn the TV on, you have to visually point and click the remote at the icon on the screen that puts it on regular TV mode. This takes you to the Tuscany resort channel, where the Channel-Up button no longer takes you to the regular channels. You have to visually point and click the remote at some other icon, and only then can you watch TV. 

Booooooooo! Not cool, Tuscany! Not cool at all! 

I sure as hell wasn’t up to driving my parents nuts, coming into their condo a couple times each day, like, “Could you help me turn the TV on?”, “Could you help me turn the TV off?”, “Could you help me turn the TV on?”, “Could you help me turn the TV off?” 

Luckily, my favorite pass-times are on my I-phone, anyway. 

Among my inner rabbit hole of many levels of synesthesia, musical synesthesia is one of the forms of mixed sensory that I actually don’t resent having. Yeah, it’s like color-sounds, but different. Music doesn’t just send patterns of colors and shapes parading across my brain. I could feel the colors and shapes dancing, slithering, and swishing through my skin and internal organs. The patterns of melody, rhythm, and tones of singing are different electrical currents of emotion and expression that surge through my torso. No matter what the sound of the music looks, smells, tastes, or feels like, it sends all kinds of mental movie images into my mind that can put on one heck of a grand, imaginary story show. I could easily waste hours of time, just tripping out on music. 

Apple Music has a selection of radio stations that broadcast live, from all over the world. So I spent most of the rest of that day streaming radio from Kenya, Germany, Thailand, Norway, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, and several Latin American countries. It was addictive. Sadly, the dreams from my youth, of living a globe trotting, jet-set lifestyle weren’t written in my cards. So this was the next closest thing to world travel. 

It was interesting to listen to, and compare the tones and patterns of different languages. The Norwegian radio personalities spoke with a bouncier, almost singsong tone, while the radio voiceover guy from Thailand sounded kind of reprimanding. The people from some of those Spanish speaking countries can talk at the speed of light. It’s amazing that a human tongue could move that fast! Those people would definitely get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie pop, before any english speaking people could. 

While listening, I thought about how, somewhere in those faraway countries, someone was listening to the same radio station at the exact same moment. Thailand’s time zone is 11 hours ahead of Florida. At the time of the afternoon I was listening to their pop music station, it was a wee hour of the morning where they were. Who in Thailand was up at that hour, listening to that station too? A College student, cramming all night, before a test? Someone with a nightshift security job? An unfortunate young person who can’t sleep, due to the pain and suffering from terminal illness? 

Germany is 6 hours ahead of Florida. It was around 11:00 at night over there, when I was listening to their pop hits. Who was listening in Germany? Someone on their way home from a visit with their secret lover? Yeah, my imagination flies off the handle like that. 

It was evening, when I started listening to the station from Singapore, but it was Tuesday morning over there. The station had on a morning show, very much like the silly morning shows on American radio stations. I was surprised that the radio personalities, and all the people that called in, spoke full-blown English. They just had a cute, Singapore accent. There was a morning show on, on the station from Indonesia too. I didn’t understand their language, but I could tell it was the same type of morning show, with goofy radio personalities, and people calling in to answer prize-winning questions. 

It’s interesting how universal we as a human race, really are. The radio stations all around the world had the same types of radio jingles. Some jingles were snazzed up with the same types of electronic sound affects. I heard commercials for a lot of the same types of things, like car dealerships, insurance, and fast food. Except that these ads were spoken with different accents, and some countries have different car and fast food Preferences. We are more universal than a lot of people would probably want to admit. I had also observed this, by watching a lot of travel shows, through the years. However, as universal as humans may be, we still stubbornly insist on being tribal and cliquish, with this need to fight with other tribes and cliques over whose dominant, and whose right. So that could only mean that not getting our shit together is our most universal characteristic. 

Love you all! Post you, hopefully tomorrow!           

Vacation Journal: Day 1

 I prefer to post on weekends, but why not go Marathon for this week, and post you every day. I just got back from vacation, and thought it would be fun to share my vacation journaling with you… 

Sunday, October 18 

It had been an emotionally intense week. First, Christa went back to Panama, on Monday the 12th. She has been coming to the U S to visit us, twice a year, since she moved to Panama in 2006. In the beginning, her visits were about two weeks. Then due to family reasons, Visa reasons, and I guess because it was more convenient for hers and her husband’s work schedules, her stays in the U S extended to about a month. Usually, I could handle it just fine, when it was time for her to fly back home, but this time around, I was barely able to cry silently. 

Because of covid 19, Panama kept pushing up the date for when they would re-open their borders to travelers. Christa came to visit us, back in February, and was supposed to go home in late March. Then she had to reschedule her flight to late April, and then early June, and then late June, and so on. Of course she loves us, but this was absolute torture for her. The poor thing was dying to get back to her husband, and her beloved dog-dogs. She and Marco were stuck with having to make the best of carrying out a long-distance relationship for eight months

Since it had been almost a year, it seemed like she was here to stay. The downstairs guest room was her living quarters/office. She stayed with us through 4 birthday celebrations, 4 holidays, and multitudes of Wojciechowski/Jaramillo family dinners. Christa and I had cocktail hour, almost every day, and we also launched her Writers’ Mastermind Group, while she was here. I was surprised at how much harder it was to say, good-bye, after 8 months. I became very attached to her presence in the house. 

When Monday the 12th came, I couldn’t even bare to go with mom and dad that afternoon, to drop Christa off at the airport. I was happy for her, and relieved for her, but it was all just too depressing. The grief hit me like a death, especially that night.

For the past 8 months, while me and the parents would be getting ready for our old fart, early bedtime, Christa would be downstairs, making tea, and blabbing with Marco via What’s App. When I went downstairs that Monday night, to refill my water bottle, that part of the house was too dark and silent. All signs of her had been cleared out of the dark, lifeless guest room, forcing the fact that she’s gone, to really sink in. 

By the end of the week, good old Jo and Ross—the guys from the Writing Collective—snapped me out of my grief, when I got their email correspondence threads about my debut novel, HECCTROSSIPY (book 1) The Legend of the Land. Jo, my sweet editor, zoomed through all the proof edits, and got my book primped up and polished, AND OFFICIALLY RELEASED ON AMAZON!! Wooohooo! He also sent me an author copy, and a what’s-it-called copy. What’s the word? I’m having a brain fart, just like dad. Adobe? 

Meanwhile, his business partner, Ross, put my author website together. I was thrilled to read in their corresponding, how superb Jo thinks the site is. I don’t know shit about how to design, or even how to maintain an author website, so thank God I have Ross to take care of that stuff. both guys are angels disguised as humans. I felt more giddy-happy than a kid getting her dream Christmas present, when I found my own professionally published novel on my Kindle app. The parents were so proud. What an amazing way to end the week, before vacation time! 

Speaking of 2006, that was also the year mom and dad joined the Hilton Honors Vacation Club. Since then, we’d made it a family tradition to stay for a week at one or two of the Time-shared resorts in Orlando, usually sometime during autumn. We either go to the SeaWorld resort, Tuscany, or Parks Olay. 

This year’s resort fix was at Tuscany, which is our favorite of the three. We were booked to stay from October 18th to the 25th. Because of the virus, they only allowed 30% occupancy, but mom had no trouble getting our rooms booked. The governor of Florida has ordered all businesses to open up, but many Floridians are still safety conscious, and go out sparingly. Masks and social distancing were mandatory, at the resort, and they had hand sanitizer dispensers everywhere. So we felt it was safe enough. We got our usual family tradition type of suite, where the parents get the full-sized condo, and I stay in the lock-off. I LOVE having my own coffee maker, mini fridge, and wet bar, and my own hermit vacation space! When the 18th came, we were ready for a week of fun in the sun, and adventures all over Orlando—Nah, just kidding. 

My parents and I are the most boring fucking vacationers we know. 

We hardly ever leave the resort. When we do, it’s mainly to go to the Publix across the street. In fact, we hardly even leave our rooms. Every now and then, we might venture outside to take a walk around the premises, or go to the resort’s gym, or to the pool and hot tub. Maybe once during our stay, we’ll eat dinner at the pool-side cafe. The parents are reluctant to do this more than one time per trip, because going out to eat is expensive. Mom especially would rather not eat out. She’s one of those restaurant customers that are almost never happy with what she ordered. It’s either too dry, too salty, too saucy, not cooked right, and so on, and she often wishes that she ordered what me or dad got. 

My parents do the same things they do at home, while on vacation. Dad still goes to work, and mom still cooks and cleans, and they watch their usual political shows. To them, just a change of scenery is enough to make it feel like a nice getaway. I, on the other hand, at least do things that I don’t do at home, to make my vacation more special and vacationy. Like drinking more than usual, and filling my lock-off’s mini fridge with unhealthy food choices. Then I’ll be like a teenager again, and indulge in binging on hours of substance-lacking TV, like celebrity gossip shows, and stupid reality shows. Those day-time court shows are especially hilarious. This whole business of trying to make it as an author has turned me into a workoholic. So at home, I rarely ever watch anything. 

I’m not complaining about how boring we are. Since my eyesight has been reduced to indistinguishable color blobs, I’ve grown to feel perfectly OK with not doing anything that exciting during vacations, like going to theme parks, and other tourists’ delights. One reason is, yes, I admit to having a rotten attitude about making the best out of seeing the world through my other senses. I’ve already expressed that in past blog posts. The other reason is, my remaining senses are a warped and mingled, distorted mess. While walking around at some place, such as Sea World, or even at the mall, my surroundings become a confusing jumble of things like sound-color-texture-shape smells, and smell-color-tactile vibes, and too many note-humming energy presences. This makes me easily get disengaged from what the experience is supposed to be, and I get bored. When I had better eyesight, my visual sense was a mingled mess too, but the human brain is hardwired to perceive information, mostly through sight. So back in the day, I had a much clearer idea of what was going on around me, during family outings, which allowed me to enjoy the experiences as much as the rest of them.  Now-a-days I could be perfectly content spending my vacation time hiding away in my little lock-off, getting a good beer buzz, and snacking on junk food, while laughing at the people who go on TV to battle over the dumbest lawsuits. I eagerly looked forward to a week of this until we pulled into the Tuscany resort parking lot. Then anxiety over the virus started creeping in. 

We’ve had five covid scares, since the outbreaks spread to Florida. Christa and mom had gotten sick, some weeks ago, but luckily it was from other things. Christa’s sickness was brought on by stress, and mom was always one to get little virus bugs several times a year. Dad was possibly exposed to a Pet Boys employee who had contracted the virus, but when dad got tested, he was negative. There was one day when my throat hurt, and I had no sense of taste, which is a common covid symptom, but this only lasted for part of the day. So I couldn’t have been positive. Carlos, my brother-in-law actually had covid, but his case was very mild. Gina and little Jaden got tested, and miraculously, their tests came out negative. We have been fortunate, so far, but it’s because we stay conscientious about it. Never breaking the safety rules, and only going out more sparingly than other people. Now here we were taking a risk, staying at a resort among dozens of total strangers. Strangers who might not be as rule abiding and safety conscious. Or worse, what if some of them were carrying the virus, and didn’t know it. Then you have those people who refuse to take precaution, because they don’t want people telling THEM what to do. My paranoia was enough to make me borderline agoraphobic, but it was too late. I was stranded in our parked car, too blind to chicken out, and drive back home. Mom and dad were at the concierge desk, checking us in. 

We got settled into our nice rooms on the fifth floor. The parents got an order of groceries from the Publix across from the resort. We had an easy fried chicken dinner, and the rest of the night went along smoothly and relaxing. The only problem was—aside from my covid paranoia—was, how could I get into being in lazy, vacation-mode, when my freaking BOOK JUST CAME OUT?! I needed to get out there, and make it known!…  

Love you all! Post you tomorrow!        

Lady Liberty’s Green Tah-Tahs (A mental movie comity skit.)

This was a comedy skit that came about, in my head, around late 2017. My parents watch a lot of political shows. At the time, they were showing more footage on problems with white supremacists. These nutcases started up this “We will not be replaced!” thing. Speaking out against immigrants, and I guess every other race and nationality that they felt was a threat, and they wanted America to be more to their liking. Their whole little movement was so ridiculous that I couldn’t resist making fun of it. Well, I’m making fun of the KKK, but whatever. All of those white supremacy groups are the same. The same hatred, just with different theme songs and matching outfits and such. 

To anyone who reads this, from the southern states, don’t get all offended, because my monolog is in a spoofed version of a southern voice. I’m not stereotyping southerners as racists. About 20 years ago, I was watching one of those informative shows, like Date Line or 60 Minutes, and the show featured a story on how the internet has helped the KKK reach a new generation of young followers. The story went on to talking about KKK rally’s, which were held at convention centers, during the wee hours of the morning. They showed clips of the members’ speeches at these conventions. This one lady was fuming into the microphone, like “WE HATE NIGGERS! AND WE HATE JEWS!…”, and she had a thick, southern accent. Leave it to my quirky sense of recollection to make me get a flashback of this hellbent anti-public speaker I’ve seen for a few seconds, so many years ago, when I was inspired to write this joke monolog.    

I wrote it on a Pages doc, planning to act it out one day, and then post it on Youtube. 

This plan ended up never happening, of course. I’m too blind to know how to properly work a video recorder, and don’t even get me started on why I didn’t ask this or that person for help. So Lady Liberty’s Green Tah-Tahs remained dormant in my computer. Then I thought, what the hell, I’ll just recycle it as a blog post! This post is dedicated to those members of the Proud Boys, who sent threatening emails to many Americans, as a pathetic and cowardly attempt to intimidate people into voting for Trump. 

Enjoy! 

***** 

HEY!! 

We aint come’n out here, dressed up like a bunch of big ol marshmella puffs to make spectacles of ourselves! We came out here to make an important statement! That we WILL NOT be replaced!

Imagine our American society as a great big cereal aisle! In this here great big cereal aisle, WE are society’s Frosted Flakes! 

Because WE will make America GRRRRrrrrrREAT!! 

In fourteen-hunderd-in-ninety-two GOD gave white folk America! Mmhmm, that’s right. He just slapped the United States in between Mexico and Canada! Pah-pow! And then God said, let there be white! 

Then for years, through hard work, dedication, and honorable debauchery, we have strived to mold and shape this country into a land of purity! A supreme ruling nation, ran by us superior beings of the universe! And what do we have to SHOW FOR IT?!… 

Rap music! Caramel macky-ottos and FritoLays and spray tans?! SPRAY TANS! Things just aint white enough, dag-nabbit! 

What was once our great America, is now more under threat than ever! Now we got the whites mix’n with the blacks, and the blacks mix’n with the browns and the yellows, and them rainbow gay pride gayfferoos come’n out of their closets to take over every city and state! JESUS-RACKAFRACKEN-CHRIST!! This is a country! Not a big ol bowl of Skittles! 

You know who we REALLY hate!… 

Aside from blacks, hispanics, Arabs, Keebler elves, latinos, Japanese, Indians, muslims, them salty-ass merpoeple, Mexicans, Aborigines, Asians, *This part of this speech has been edited to a shortened version, due to the listing of hatred towards 250 other nationalities, and 1,500 other races of people, mythical gods, and emojis.* 

You know who we hate the most out of ALL of them?!… 

Jewish people! 

Get out of here, you Jewish people! We don’t need your jewishistic point of view, round here! 

Or your Jewish macaroons! 

Or your Jewelry! 

White folks! We are THE MILK of this nation! And we will squirt like the dickens, strait out of Lady Liberty’s green tah-tahs, from sea to shining sea! Because WE… WILL NOT… BE REPLACED!! White powder! 

***** 

Love you all! Post you before next weekend!

Thank You, Rev. Smart-Ass

It was Halloween of 1993—No, I don’t have this thing with 1993. No special, sentimental attachment to that year. It just so happens that some blog-worthy true stories took place that year, and I’m telling you a second one. 

So anyway, it was Halloween of 1993, the second-to-last Halloween I went trick-or-treating. I went with my friend, George, his younger sister and brother, Rose and Billy, and Billy’s friends, Paul and Kevin. I was a demon, and George was a Florida Power worker. I don’t remember who Rose and Kevin dressed up as, but Billy and Paul were Beevis and Butthead, which was so 1993. 

Paul, being the blond haired boy, was Beevis. Billy had brown hair, so he was Butthead. They had the simplest, most budget-friendly costumes out of all of us. Just shorts and solid colored T-shirts. Paul’s blue shirt had Metallica written across the front, in black marker, and Billy’s gray shirt said ACDC. The two boys stayed in character, almost the whole trip. 

“Uh… uh huh huh huh huh, Trick-or-treat.” 

“Yeah, yeah, uh hmm hmm hmm hmm. I need TP for my bung hole.” 

“Shut up, fart-knocker, huh huh huh huh.” 

As we made our rounds from neighborhood to neighborhood, we were getting a nice, gluttonous collection of candy. George, Billy, and Rose’s mom drove us to all of our candy grabbing destinations, but she liked to get us home around 6:30. This was years before my country’s politicians decided to extend Daylight Savings time until November. So 6:30 used to be near dusk, that time of year. When I went trick-or-treating with George and company, we usually got in about 2 hours of candy hunting. If it weren’t for his safety conscious mom, we would’ve went about it until midnight. You know how greedy kids can get. 

The sun had set, and we didn’t have that many more streets to go. When we turned down one street, the most delicious smell of fresh baked, homemade peanut butter cookies wafted into our noses. The alluring smell was like fishing hooks reeling us in. With mouths watering, and eyes wide with our child-like simple joy over more junk food, we eagerly followed the sent. The closer we got, the more amazing it smelled.

The smell was coming from a house that had its doors and windows wide open. Enticing us to come on in, and help ourselves to some of the world’s greatest peanut butter cookies. It smelled like the recipe called for $300-a-jar peanut butter, and maybe a few enchantments. I think I was swooning a little. 

A man greeted us at the wide open front door. We eagerly opened our bags for him… 

And he gave each of us a church pamphlet. 

The pamphlets were a reminder that the real Halloween treat doesn’t come in a wrapper, or on a stick. The real treat is that Jesus Christ died for our sins. Then it went into this cutely written story about it. The title of this pamphlet was The Treat. So this religious guy had a sense of humor, giving us kids our treat

I was a Christian at that age, who loved Jesus Christ, but man, I really wanted a peanut butter cookie. Of course I should’ve been grateful, but when I was a kid, getting a pamphlet of soul-nourishing reading material for a Halloween treat, was as thrilling as getting pennies and nickels, or fresh fruit.  

“The Treat? Really? Ha, ha, thank you, rev. Smart-Ass.” I thought, as we graciously thanked him, and headed for the next house. I thought these sort of things only happened on The Simpsons. I pictured Ned Flanders doing something like this. My overactive imagination kicked in, and I wondered if this guy deliberately intended for the delicious smell of his baking to waft into the street, and allure the children to his house. So he could hand them his church pamphlets, and encourage the youngsters to convert to his way of Christianity. 

When I got home, I took out The Treat. The pamphlet was folded almost like an envelope. A  very thick envelope that smelled strongly of the world’s greatest Peanut butter cookies. The title was written in big, orange letters, and orange—for some weird reason—is a color associated with peanut-butteriness. So there had to be a cookie somewhere within the bulky folds of that pamphlet. So I unfolded it, and even shook the thing a little. No cookie. The pamphlet was just made of sturdy, bulky paper. I admit that I even chewed on the upper left-hand corner a bit. The smell made me do it. 

So what was I going to do with an object of such heavenly aroma? It was too yummy smelling to throw away. 

So I put it in my sock drawer, as a sachet. Then it was my oh-so-1990’s slouch socks that smelled like they were made with $300-a-jar peanut butter, and a few enchantments. I know that was a blasphemous thing to do to a church pamphlet, but it brought a higher meaning to my socks, when they got “holy”  

One way your child should NEVER, EVER try to get revenge, if he or she is being bullied

I wanted to write this post during back-to-school season, but I got distracted by other blog post inspirations. You know how it is, creative people! But who cares about my out-of-season timing. Being aware of how getting bullied can effect your child is an important topic, no matter what time of the year it is.   

For this weekend’s post, I’ll tell you the story about the time I decided to give the bullies of Inverness Middle School their come-uppins. If you’re a parent reading this, this is one example to give to your kids, on how to NEVER deal with bullies. If you’re a kid reading this… 

Well, this blog is really geared for an 18-and-older audience, because I have a thing for profanity. So go hide in your closet to read this, and don’t tell momma. If you DO tell… 

Ah, whatever. I’m sure she’ll let you off the hook, because I’m teaching you a lesson on how to not let your anger make you stupid enough to risk falling off of a bridge, or forced into prostitution.. 

I got a lot of flack, through most of my school career, for being the one… the only… disfigured-eyed kid. This disfigurement came with a visual impairment. The impairment itself wasn’t really that bad, while growing up. I could still see where I was going, and I could read print and watch TV, and do lots of other visual stuff, but my disfigurement made it appear like my condition was far worse. People stared. Other kids sometimes acted like I had a contagious disease. Then of course, there was always those people who had silly delusions about me. Such as, believing that my botched up eyeballs must mean that I have the mental capacity of an inbred dog.

I looked like this squinty-eyed, Alien hybrid kid with these expressionless, blue and white marbled orbs where human eyes should be. Nobody ever said that my eyes lit up, at the sight of a wonderful surprise, and they never saw sadness in my eyes, or any other expression. You can’t really see into my soul through these thingies. I guess that weirds people out too.

In Elementary school, I was just picked on. I’d get the “How many fingers am I holding up?” vision test. Or some kid would swipe my lunchbox, in the cafeteria, and another would call me, “stupid blind bat” at recess. Stuff like that. Almost every day there was some kind of shaming reminder that being different was wrong. However, these kids had their moments of being friendly and tolerant, and acting more like pure, innocent children. So Elementary school was livable. 

Then when middle school came about, holy shit! I don’t know what happened, but a lot of innocent children somehow mutated into these horrid little demonoids. I was the punchline, the freak show, and the pariah all in one. My family cared, of course, and the school guidance counselor cared. But none of the teachers or other school staff bothered to do anything about it. Telling them when I was being made fun of and insulted, and who did what, didn’t help make any anti-bullying progress. It might’ve even made some of the teachers lose respect for me, because I probably came off as a winy big baby who needed to learn to toughen up. For example, there was this one time, in 6th grade, when a couple of boys in my class were singing a parity of Bohemian Rapcity, and I was the subject of their joke lyrics. I didn’t understand why the teacher wasn’t reprimanding them for being rude, because you could clearly hear these guys across the room. So I told her, thinking that maybe she was too busy with whatever she was doing at her desk to notice. She pretty much blew me off, and told me that it wasn’t her problem. It was my responsibility to tell those boys to stop making fun of me. I took others advice on how to stand up to bullies. Like telling them, “Why don’t you just go away.”, but that only got me laughed at. 

It infuriated me to no end, when grownups advised me to have more compassion and understanding towards these kids, as though I shouldn’t hold them accountable for being assholes. They only do it, because they’re afraid of what they don’t understand, I was often reminded. They don’t know how to act. I was reminded that I always had the option to put more effort into helping them understand. Talk to them. Teach them. Explain myself to them, with limitless patience. Maybe throw an Understanding-My-Blindness Phillie cheese steak party in the cafeteria, while I’m at it. Or hold a Disfigurement Awareness festival on the basketball court, with face painting and bouncy houses, and free key chains for everyone. 

See my discombobulated little marbles of nearsightedness as a gift from God, because they are what makes me special, and what makes me who I am. Because I was born different, it must mean that my sole purpose on this world is to teach others about my disability, and be an inspirational role model to others who are labeled in the same category as me. That was my childhood expectation, when I wanted to be a writer, when I grew up, along with many other creative aspirations. But most of all, I wanted to be counted as the young human being that nobody else believed I really was. Not the people’s Special Eyes Show. 

It was a December day in 1993, when I snapped. I was 14, and in 8th grade. It was almost halfway through the school year, but on that day, I decided to end my enrollment at Inverness Middle School. 

P E was one of the easiest classes, because for me, it wasn’t that much of a class. The teachers felt it was safer to exempt me from participating in sports. I was allowed to do floor exercises with the class, or work out to aerobics videos with other girls, and the once-a-year mile run. Whenever the rest of the class played a sport, which was most of the time, I was granted a period of free time. I just had to stay outside with the rest of the class. I spent this free time walking laps around the track, or withdrawing to a shady picnic table, where I’d write novels that would never be finished. Unfortunately, my peace and solitude was often disrupted by demonoids. 

Wherever I was out there, they’d spot me, like hawks seeking out prey. I don’t remember exactly how these kids were able to get away with wandering off from the rest of the venomous swarm. I think it had to do with multiple classes going on at once, and there were too many kids for the scarce number of P E teachers to keep track of at all times. 

At this age, like a lot of teenage girls, I wanted to be skinny. So I got in the habit of spending every free P E period walking laps. The track was a popular targeting zone, for demonoids that wandered loose. They would say some snide remark, as I passed them. Or a group of them would crack rude jokes amongst themselves, as though they thought I couldn’t hear them. Some would holler, “Watch out for that car!”, and imitate screeching tire noises. Sometimes one of them would try to make me trip. They found it especially funny to walk in front of me, and suddenly stop, and make me bump into them. I was able to tolerate this, because once they got in their couple of laughs, they moved along, and let me continue walking. But on this particular horrible day in December, this one group of bullying boys kept following me around, like pesky mosquitoes. 

They were at it with the same-old-same-old, “Watch out for the car! Ha ha ha. Oops, did I trip you? Ha ha ha.” I didn’t say anything back to them, and kept walking, but they kept walking with me, showing no signs of getting bored with their own immature jokes. I guess they were trying to make me cry, or something. My first tactic was to do the mature, civilized thing, and walk across the field to the other side of the track.

It wasn’t even a lap later, when they decided to catch up with me. “Hey, blind bat! Hey, Ray Charles!”, they taunted. Then it was back to cracking more lame insult jokes. So away I went again, to the opposite side of the track. I hoped to God that they would please get bored with harassing me, and go shoot hoops, or something. I was deliberately acting quiet and unresponsive, to make them get bored. Then to my further annoyance, another lap or so later, there they were again. I couldn’t believe these guys. They wouldn’t let up. This was getting ridiculous. One of the boys greeted me, with something in his hand that looked like an empty camera film container, or a pill bottle. I assumed it was a piece of trash that he picked up off the ground. That outside P E area was a pig sty of garbage litter. “Smell.” He taunted, waving the trash towards my face. Perhaps there was something gross in that thing. I didn’t oblige, of course. Instead, I quietly walked away again, but this time, I sat at a picnic table where one of the P E teachers was. Only then did they stop bothering me. I told the P E teacher about what went on, but it ended up being the same old conversation I’d had with I. M. S. teachers, countless times before. She was sorry that it happened, and she’ll keep an eye out for them, so it wouldn’t happen again. 

That did it. I decided to take matters into my own hands, and teach these little shits a lesson. The students and the teachers. Yes, I wanted to get back at the teachers too, for being so lenient toward mean spirited kids. They almost seemed indifferent sometimes. I felt like they didn’t care. Like their honest feelings about me were just as discriminative as their students.  

My plan was to make myself become a missing person. I watched a lot of America’s Most Wanted, at the time, and I wasn’t that much less immature than the mosquito boys. I was going to run away, and live in a woods far from home, where I would be hard to find. I imagined that my plan would work even better, if I got abducted. I pictured how sorry all the kids who gave me hell would be. How guilty they would feel, for being such assholes, knowing that my disappearance was all their fault. I pictured the story of my disappearance getting broadcasted all over Citrus County, or even all over the nation. My tormenters, and the school’s staff who let the bullying happen, would be crying into news reporters’ cameras, pleading for my safe return, and tearfully apologizing for everything I was put through. Then when I was found, and brought home, I imagined that the other kids would be so remorseful and disgusted with themselves, I would be wholeheartedly welcomed back to I. M. S., and finally treated with respect. 

During the next period, I set my plan to work. I forgot what class it was. I think it might’ve been History. We were watching a video of some sort, when I raised my hand for permission to go to the bathroom. I thought I was so slick, knowing that taking my book bag with me wouldn’t make the teacher suspicious that I was up to no good. Middle school girls were considered to be too young to be carrying around their own handbags. So they kept their makeup and maxi pads, and other things that are usually used in the bathroom, in their book bags. I did go into the bathroom, but not to pee. 

For the first step of my plan, I sat in a stall, and took out my loose-leaf notebook. I wrote the I. M. S. folks a sad good-bye note. I did my best to lay on the guilt trip. Letting everyone know that I can no longer stay in a place where I was never welcomed. The note ended with sappy good-byes to the few friends I had, I thanked them for their willingness to see past my disability, and for all the good times we had, throughout each school year. 

I left my book bag, and my open notebook on the floor, hoping that the note would strike panic, fear, and most of all, guilt into the hearts of whoever read it. 

The next step to my plan was to haul ass across the nearby part of the schoolyard, and climb over the fence. This was the nerve wracking part. The bathroom where I left the note, was conveniently on one side of an outside walkway towards the schoolyard. This part of the campus was deserted, which gave me the hope for an easy escape. Students and teachers were all preoccupied in their classrooms, but I was still so afraid of getting caught. What if some other girl just-so-happened to be heading for that same bathroom, right at the moment I was running for the fence? Or worse, what if a teacher saw me? What if I couldn’t make it over the fence fast enough? If someone spotted me scrambling and stumbling over the fence, that would’ve been really embarrassing. Then all my sick twisted plans to make everybody feel like shit would go out the window, and I’d look like a total idiot. 

I was just about to get a move on, when I heard the clopping of high-heeled footsteps, and was afraid that it might be Mrs. Goodman. She was a teacher’s aide who worked with me, and the two deaf kids in my class. Sometimes she had to run extra errands, making trips to this or that office. By the loudness of the clopping, it sounded a lot like her large-footed pumps. I quickly hid in a dark corner, and held still. How would I explain myself if she spotted me? “Oh, I didn’t know that I was gone that long, Mrs. Goodman. I have a stomach ache, and—oops, I left my book bag.” Then I would have no choice, but to go back to class, and that would be the end of it. To my great relief, the footsteps faded away. It sounded like she turned down a further off walkway that went the opposite direction to where I was standing. Then there was silence. It was now or never. 

I bolted down the walkway, and across the schoolyard, like I’d just robbed the school store. 

Thankfully, that area of schoolyard wasn’t that wide. The cyclone fence wasn’t hard to scramble over either, but once I jumped down to the other side, there was my first obstacle. 

Beyond the fence was a woods that was a lot denser than the typical Inverness woodlands. I mean, it was like the Citrus County rain forest. The trees had narrower than usual gaps in between them, and the underbrush was up to my thighs. Thorny jungle vines were everywhere, whipping me in the face, and snagging on my clothes.. Perhaps it was deliberately kept this way, to discourage kids from trying to cut class, and sneak off campus. Thank God there were no snakes out and about that day. I forced my way through this mess of overgrowth, with all my paranoid might, splitting my stretch pants in the process. I didn’t care. Things seemed to be going right for me, and I’d gone too far to chicken out. 

Thankfully, the I. M. S. jungle was a short hike, and I soon reached the street on the other side. I had no plans for where I was going to go, and how far. I didn’t think I would need them, if the goal was to go missing. This street was empty and quiet. There was a business or two nearby, but they appeared to be closed. I felt confident that no one would come looking for me here. So I stopped running, and slowed to a relaxed stroll. 

I walked straight along one street until I came across a concrete wall. It wasn’t a fence. I could simply walk behind it, but I thought this wall marked somebody’s property. There was grass and trees beyond it, that I thought might be the edge of someone’s yard. I didn’t want to be rude, and trespass, but I wanted to be completely out of the path of on-coming cars too. Strangely, this street had no curb for me to walk on. So I pulled myself up onto the wall, and crawled along its ledge.

Crawling and crawling, I wondered, “What the hell is this place?” The wall seemed to never end. The traffic on whatever this street was, was a lot heavier than the street I was first walking on. It seemed huge too, more like a highway. Cars and trucks sped past me, frighteningly close. I looked down at the other side of the wall, and still saw grass, but this part of the property had much smaller trees. A narrow, gray footpath went in a perfect straight line between these trees. As I crawled past it, some little kid’s toy car came rolling down the footpath, and disappeared beneath the wall. I stopped crawling, when the realization hit me, “Holy shit!” I thought. “That’s not a foot path! It’s a road! I’m on the side of a bridge!” A few more cars came down that road, as if to confirm this.

When I told my family about my adventure, later on, they knew exactly which bridge I was talking about. From where I was crawling, they said that that road was about fifty feet below me. Obviously, my visual impairment included sucky depth perception. Thank God I didn’t decide, “OK, I had enough of crawling on this wall, I’m just going to go ahead, and walk through this person’s property anyway… AAAAAAAaaaaahhh!!!” 

No wonder why this street had no curb! 

Now that I knew that I was on a bridge, I felt embarrassed. What were the people driving past me thinking, when they saw some nut-job in split stretch pants, doing a wall crawl across the side of the bridge? I hoped they didn’t think I was contemplating suicide. Then someone might stop, and try to save me, and my manipulative plan would be ruined. 

I breathed a sigh of relief, when I finally made it to the other side of the bridge, and was walking down a normal street. This street had a narrow curb that was awkward to walk along, but I did it anyway to keep safe. Along side of it, was something that resembled a fence, but it was way too short to be any kind of barricade. Maybe enough to fence in a tea cup poodle. It seemed pointless. I could easily step over this thing. And so I did, to have more space to walk. Not that far ahead of me, was one hell of a scary looking hole in the ground. I couldn’t figure out what this was. A sink hole? A construction sight where workers were in the process of fixing pipes? I thought I saw objects down in it, but my impaired vision wouldn’t allow me to distinguish what they were. Construction equipment? Sewer pipes? Litter? By the looks of it, I assumed it was a pretty steep drop. The surrounding grassy ground sloped towards it. Whatever this hole was, I had to steer clear of it. So it was back to walking along the awkwardly narrow curb.

The curb started tapering until it was too narrow to even walk indian-tribe style, forcing me to walk on the street. The traffic whooshed past me, close enough to rattle my nerves. So I stepped over the tea cup poodle fence again, but was walking on sloped ground that was too close to that hole. Now I was stuck. It was either, risk getting hit by a car, or risk losing my footing, and stumbling into the hole. I continued walking anyway, stupidly stepping back and forth over the little fence, not sure what I should do. When I told this story, later on, I was told that the hole was a phosphate pit. 

A blue car slowly started right towards me, and then parked on the side of the road. Desperately hoping that this wasn’t what I thought it was, I picked up my pace. I heard the car doors open and shut. “Ms. Wojciechowski!” called out a southern accented man’s voice. 

I was caught. It was over. I was still between a busy street, and a huge hole in the ground. So there was nowhere to run. I had no better choice, but to surrender, and own up to my dark shenanigan. Feeling ashamed and defeated, I obediently walked to the car. 

I don’t remember exactly who it was that found me, whether it was the principal, or one of the coaches, but I do remember that the guidance counselor was with him. Surprisingly, I wasn’t in trouble. I guess I really did strike fear, panic, and guilt in the I. M. S. people’s hearts. At least part of my plan worked. 

They gave me my book bag and notebook back. Then the guidance counselor took me to his office, and wanted me to talk to him about what I did and why. It was afternoon, by this time. So while we talked, he ordered us pizza for lunch. After lunch, he called my mom, and told her what had happened. He felt it would be a good idea, if she came and picked me up, but he wanted her to meet us in his office. 

When she arrived, we talked about the situation a little while, and he wanted me to show mom my note. When she read it out loud, I was horrified

I was so full of rage, I wrote the note too quickly for my eyes and brain to fully pay attention to what I was writing. It was so chop full of skipped words and sloppy sentences, it sounded like a cave man wrote it. I was afraid that it gave whoever read it, solid proof that the blind girl really did have the mental capacity of an inbred dog. 

I wasn’t in much trouble at home either. Mom and dad were aware that I had a rough time getting through school, dealing with people’s prejudice. They understood that I had reached my breaking point. Of course  they were very upset with me too. I could’ve gotten myself killed or seriously injured. That was a totally stupid, impulsive, irresponsible way of handling my situation, and I would strongly advise any kid who is being bullied, to not use deliberately going missing, as a tactic to try to earn respect. What if my plan worked in full swing, and I really did get abducted. I was 14, emotionally vulnerable, and had a low self esteem. The kind of girl a lot of pedophiles and rapists would’ve loved to get their filthy hands on. I could’ve been abducted by a human trafficer. I was within the age range of under-aged girls that sell the most. Despite my disfigurement, I had the type of body that would’ve attracted sick perverts. If something like that happened, my running away adventure wouldn’t have been so adventurous then. I could’ve brought so much more trouble onto myself. Far worse trouble than being taunted and harassed by mean spirited kids. Getting abducted, or even being a homeless runaway living in the woods, would’ve made Inverness Middle School seem like a vacation resort. I didn’t know shit about how to live off the land. I only thought that I did, from reading the Little House on the Prairie books. By the end of the day, I was so thankful that my plan failed, and I was safe at home. 

I had been wanting to be enrolled in the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, for a few years, because I thought I would fit in better there. I brought up this subject to the parents, every now and then. They thought it was a good idea, but for reasons I don’t remember, they wanted me to finish my enrollment at Inverness Middle School, before they would officially pull me out of public school. It could’ve had something to do with the distance. FSDB is a boarding school in St. Augustine, which is about a three hour drive from Inverness. 

After this incident, my parents grasped the full extent of how miserable I was in public school, and they wanted to help end my suffering. So they agreed to pull me out of I. M. S., and enroll me at FSDB. 

Because of the time of year it was, I couldn’t switch schools right away. I had to wait until the end of January for the enrollment process to start. So it was back to I. M. S. for another few weeks. I never earned any respect, of course. The same old shit continued, but knowing that I was leaving that hellhole made it easier for me to sluff it off. 

When I became a FSDB student, my life-long dream came true, at last. I found a place where I fit in. The kids there were really cool, and I was never bullied again, for the rest of my school career… 

Never bullied by other kids, I mean. 

Me and many other girls in my dorm were bullied by our dorm parents, but that’s a whole other adventure story that I’ll save for another post. 

Love you all! Post you next weekend! 

Please Steal My Software Idea, And Run With It

First off, I’d like to give a BIG thanks to those who read my re-blog of Clennell Anthony’s Responses Are Required post, and gave it a Like. She’s a fresh newcomer on the blogging scene, so stop on by at her blog, and give her a follow. I prefer to put up a post, once a week, but her message in that post was too important to not pass on to all of you. 

Bless all of those pure of heart writers who write books, just for the simple joy of writing. The ones who say that it doesn’t matter to them, whether their books sell or not, and that they don’t need to have a huge following. You guys are noxiously awesome! 

Then you have crazy bitches like me, and quite a number of other writers I know, follow, or have came across, who really want to turn their writing into a successful career. A career that will earn them a decent to a jackpot living wage, audiences from a multitude of countries, and all those other shamefully fantastic success goodies. However, working at a body farm, or at a prison for the criminally insane sometimes seems like a less emotionally and psychologically detrimental career choice, than trying to make it as an author. I’ve listened to what the authors in my Writers’ Mastermind group had to go through to get their books noticed, only to have disappointing results. And I’ve read blogs where struggling authors vent out their writing career woes, and wow, is it depressing. But we love what we do so much, it’s worth getting torn apart and shattered, over and over again! Right? 

Rejection letters are one of the worst obstacles an author has to endure. They hurt like hell, but for Clennell and I, and probably many other authors, getting no response at all is far worse. Not only is it hurtful, it’s the ULTIMATE insult. To me, it comes off as, “You’re a nobody. So i’m not even going to bother with inconveniencing my busy schedule, by taking a few minutes of my time to email you a rejection letter… Next.” 

I experienced this writing business snobbery in 2018, with the very first publishing company I submitted my Hecctrossipy manuscript to—Quirk Books. When Blair Thornburg—the literary agent who I sent it to—never responded, I was crazy angry. I couldn’t believe the nerve of that woman. She had her reasons for not accepting my book, which is fine. She didn’t owe me a full explanation for her reasons. I had to also consider the facts that she didn’t know how special this novel was to me, because it was the very first novel that I actually finished. And she didn’t know about the painstaking work that me and my editor put into it, and how great he was at helping me compose my very first query letter. Even so, I felt that she at least owed me some respect. The sample chapter I sent her was long, yes. Perhaps it would’ve been too much to ask for, to have her read the entire thing, but don’t some publishers make their decision, after reading just the first few paragraphs? To act like my sample chapter never existed was so wrong, no matter how swamped with sample chapters a Quirk Books literary agent might be. 

I ruminated about this, throughout that summer. I couldn’t understand why, in this digital age—where emails could be automated, mass-copied, and sent to anywhere in the world in seconds—could she not send me a rejection letter. Seriously? How was this excusable? I would’ve been happy with even getting a generic auto copied one. Well, I wouldn’t have been “Hip hip hooray!” happy, but I wouldn’t have felt psycho angry either. That small, simple, respectful thanks-but-no-thanks act of acknowledgement would’ve made my first experience getting my manuscript rejected, a whole lot less of a let down. I felt that she also owed me the respect, by responding, just because I was another writer who was interested in doing business with her stinking company. (Not anymore.) 

I tried to be empathetic, and come to an understanding conclusion. Thinking that maybe she feels that not giving rejection letters is the more kind way of going about it. Maybe she can’t find it in her heart to be the bringer of bad news who is responsible for crushing the hopes and dreams of many writers. Or maybe she had stopped sending out rejection letters, because she had a traumatic experience, getting harassed and threatened by an emotionally unstable, aspiring author with a fragile ego. 

According to my editor, Jo, and my sister, Christa, it’s a common thing now-a-days, for publishers to give no response, as a way of rejection. Last time I checked, it even openly said on the Quirk Books website, that if you don’t hear anything about your submission after three months, it means that your book has not been accepted. During that summer, I was so crazy-bitch angry about this, I paid my sweet editor an extra 120 pounds to track down a list of publishing companies who still value people skills. 

Then in the spring of 2019, I got a little taste of how it must feel, being a swamped literary agent, when I was one of the judges for a short story contest. Oh, man, was it time consuming, reading through all those entries, and sorting out the yes’s and the no’s. Some stories, I thought, were good, but their authors didn’t abide by the contest’s rules. So they had to be disqualified. Some of the ones I gave a “no” to were good, but had a shitty ending, or no ending at all. I hate when authors end their story abruptly, without wrapping things up, or even giving it a decent cliff-hanger. Some of the contestants tried to submit a sample chapter of their books, which seemed like a sneaky way of promoting them. This one writer gave us a generous sample of her werewolf novel, and at the end of the sample, there was the link where we could buy her book. I thought this approach was totally not cool. Then there were a few story entries where I thought, “Is this person out of their fucking mind?! Do they actually think that this crap is good?” I shudder to think that that might’ve been what Blair Thornburg was thinking, when she read my Hecctrossipy sample chapter. 

I very much enjoyed being a judge. It was fun to read through the wide variety of genres that the stories came in. We didn’t get that many entries, less than a hundred, but the time it took to read and sort through all of them was exhausting. It made me feel a higher respect for publishers. I couldn’t imagine how much more exhausting it would be, having to read and sort through THOUSANDS of submissions, almost every day. It must be brutal. Then on top of all that, to have to remember to email or send via post, acceptance or rejection letters to each and every one of these thousands upon thousands of authors. No wonder why authors shouldn’t expect publishers to always give them an answer.

FUCK THAT! I know I sound like a diva, but if I’m going to bust my ass for hours and hours—or more like, numb my ass—working on my manuscript, publishers, and spend hundreds of dollars on editing charges, publishers, and then there’s writing the query letter, making sure what I submit fits ALL of your knit-picky submission requirements, and finding someone who would help me fill out your non-accessibility-user friendly on-line submission form, I DESERVE some higher respect, and so do all thousands upon thousands of authors who get left hanging, waiting for your punk asses to give them a simple yes or no answer! It could be the most lame, generic, cold and mechanical sounding rejection letter, or even a text message. An automated text message. An automated text message written in shorthand. If Blair Thornburg walked up to me, and stuck a Post-It note on my eyebrow that said: Dear Ms. Baker, 

No

That would’ve been better than waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting………………………

…and nothing. 

Now don’t get me wrong. Despite my ranting, I’m not out to spread hatred towards Quirk Books, or any other publishing company that doesn’t make it mandatory for their literary agents to respond to every writer, but there needs to be a harmonious way to put all unresponsiveness to an end. Like a software program, only available to publishing companies, that makes responding to submissions even more quick and convenient, but also very simple. Maybe an email service for manuscripts only, but this service would also come with a variety of pre-written acceptance and rejection letters to choose from. Once the publishing company makes their choices, those letters would be programmed into all the company’s computers. Once an agent opens up a manuscript, or even a query letter, the program will automatically cut/copy the submitter’s name. Meanwhile, two icons would appear in one corner of the screen, one for “accept”, and one for “reject”. Once the literary agent reads enough to make a decision, all they would have to do is click on one of the icons, and a rejection or acceptance letter would instantly be emailed to the author. The program would automatically paste the author’s name after the word dear, in the letter, or after however the publisher’s choice of automated letter starts out. 

This way, nobody working for a publishing company has to take any extra time composing responses. They can click out acceptance and rejection letters at the speed of bullets, which would allow them the time to respond to all thousands upon thousands of manuscripts! I hope a software engineer reads this. Hey, you, computer geek! Please steal my idea, and run with it. I don’t have the technical savvy to bring such a program to life, but I hope something like it will exist someday. Something like this needs to be done to make things easier for swamped publishing companies, and authors who deserve their manuscripts to be respectfully responded to. 

I admit that, even though I didn’t like the way Quirk Books rejected me, it was a blessing in disguise that things didn’t work out with them. Since that first try at getting my first novel out into the world, Hecctrossipy has become HECCTROSSIPY 1: The Legend of the Land, a better written, edgier and more mature version of the original story. I used to think writing was easy. All I had to do was transcribe my mental movie into text form. Wrong! I don’t think the original book was terrible, but I could see why a publisher might not be all that impressed with it. I’ve learned a lot about how to be a better writer, since then, and my first novel eventually found a home. HECCTROSSIPY 1: The Legend of the Land will be available on Amazon, this month. When it’s out, I hope you all check it out, and download a copy, and enjoy. 

Love you all! Post you next weekend!