Childhood

brown wooden armchair on brown wooden floor
Photo by Marcelo Jaboo on Pexels.com

 

CHILDHOOD

Chair in the corner of the dining room,

and Daddy sitting in it, and only the orange glow from the ashes,

and gray puffs of smoke,

gave any signal of human presence.

Otherwise it was just the darkness and a chair in the corner,

otherwise it was just daddy in the dark and all alone.

I watched the firelight from the cigarette, as a child,

and wondered why the night was so black,

and why Daddy was so alone, and why voices rang out in the night.

I thought of Mama in the next room sleeping,

and I wondered why I was so small, and why Mama and Daddy never laughed.

And I felt like the night, cold,

and like Daddy,

and like Mama.

so all alone.

Copyright 2019, Jenny W. Andrews

 

My poetry book “Life at the End of the Rainbow” is currently available at Amazon/Kindle. I would love to hear any feedback about my poetry. Thanks.

-Jenny

 

Unpublishing

Well, I guess it’s back to the drawing board.

It’s been over two years since I self-published my novel “Bully Another Day,” my short story collection “Short Stories and Vignettes,” and a second poetry book “Spaces between the Pause.” I’ve only had one sale for “Bully Another Day.” That’s it. Of course, I really don’t know for sure whether this is it. . .I mean, how would I know for sure if someone purchased my books out there in the virtual world?

I unpublished my books, but according to Amazon/Kindle, a third party could still sell my books. Not altogether sure that I am onboard with that. . .their little message said that my books will not be available for sale now

But if they’re not available for sale then how could a third party sell something that is not available for sale?

I give up on trying to navigate this virtual world behind a computer screen. It is isolating and dehumanizing.

I wonder if I should just delete my books. I need to look back and see if there is even an option for that. Probably not. Life behind a computer screen is like that song “Welcome to the Hotel California”. . .You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.

So, I wonder if I can submit my manuscripts to a publisher. Probably not, since I’ve self-published.

I have grown quite weary of all this. I am just tired.

Writing has always been something I have enjoyed, but, but, the quest to get published, to get just a little recognition has grown quite exhausting.

Self-publishing has felt like an exercise in futility; it is like hurling oneself down a dark, dank tunnel. Maybe others have had more success than I have. And, I congratulate you if you have been successful.

But, alas, I have failed at self-publishing. With the exception of my poetry book “Life at the End of the Rainbow,” which did sell a few copies, I have failed.

So, I throw in the towel; I send up the white flag; I step away from this unconquerable task.

I did try; I did attack it with optimism and dedication; I did have a plan. . .

So, this brings me to a quote by Mike Tyson “Everybody has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.” (Brainyquote).

I’ve definitely gotten punched in the mouth (metaphorically, of course).

I’ve actually gotten hurt in my heart; writing has always been my passion.

I am not sure what to do about this. . .this disappointment. . .this failure. . .

I’d like to say I will get up and brush myself off and try again. . .

So, what is the clinical definition of insanity? Doing the same thing and expecting a different result?

Uh?

I need to think about that. . .Yeah, I think I’ll just skip self-publishing and search for a publisher or literary agent. . .

Leave a comment, if you’d like. Any suggestions?

Be kind, though. My heart hurts. . .

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Enough! Can the Media be Kind to Meghan Markle?

Okay. Over the weekend, I binge watched You Tube about the goings on in the Royal Family. I certainly extend my heart-felt condolences to the Royals at this time. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was an incredibly kind lady. It appears that she extended kindness to everyone, including Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex.

It goes without saying that I do not know Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, and I probably never will. But, if I did, I most certainly would not speak to her or about her in the vitriolic, hate-filled, and vicious way that media and you tubers do.

I honestly believe that a kind and gracious lady as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was, would highly disapprove of the vitriolic manner in which Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is being treated.

In honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s memory, I would like to challenge the world media (especially the British media) to extend to Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, the same kindness and generosity of spirit with which the nation’s beloved Queen Elizabeth II had extended to Meghan Markle.

I have to say that some comments about Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, are just plain mean-spirited for the sake of being cruel.

It is as if the media is using its voice as a bully pulpit and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is their target for abuse.

Of course, she is not perfect; but, then again who is?

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is an American woman whom Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson Harry chose to marry. He chose; he loves her. That’s their business.

And, whatever the world might speculate about Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, the truth is that she is God’s child and she deserves to be respected if for no other reason than that. She needs no other reason. She is God’s child and she shouldn’t be treated with derision and vitriol.

So, in honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s memory, can the world just agree to be kind to Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex? In fact, why can’t we all just be kind to each other?

This life doesn’t last forever; we lose the people we love, so, let’s be kind.

Be kind. Be kind. And, be kind. Go ahead, try it!

If you’re not sure how to be kind, just watch old news stories about Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and Lady Diana. I think people can learn from them.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

September 11th: How Could We Ever Forget?

Twenty-one years ago.

I remember it clearly as if it were just yesterday.

I am not going to relive that nightmare moment when my world changed forever.

I choose not to allow the monsters from that moment to overshadow the depths of compassion and courage exhibited by those who rushed to rescue the victims in that moment of absolute evil.

The courage to survive and to rise above is what I remember most from that day.

I choose to remember the goodness of the human heart; I choose to remember that God is in control and that goodness will never be defeated no matter how much evil attempts to destroy it.

How could we ever forget?

How could we ever forget that humanity is decent and kind and that evil will be defeated; that God holds each of his children in the palm of his hands?

Yes, evil tried to terrorize us, but we should not fear, we should not be afraid.

This is God’s world.

God bless the U.S.A.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Trying. . .

“Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try-” Jack Canfield (keepinspiring.me/inspirational/quotes)

Late night and I am experiencing a bit of insomnia so I thought I would search for a bit of inspiration. And, then I decided to share it with the wider world.

Yes, I have decided to submit my poetry manuscript to a publisher and not listen to those irritating negative little voices that discourage me. I have found a small press that excepts manuscripts from new writers, and I intend to submit my manuscript on Monday for consideration. Say a little pray for me (or wish me luck) whichever you are so inclined to do.

Like Canfield said, chances are missed if you don’t even try. I have a 50/50 chance either way. One sure thing is that I am guaranteed failure if I don’t even submit the manuscript, right?

So, I am getting a bit sleepy. . .My dachshund/beagle BoBo has already fallen fast to sleep under the covers next to me. I feel better now that I’ve found this quote.

It inspires me; I hope it inspires you as well.

Have a good night.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Rejoicing: Psalm 118:24

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

The psalmist reminds us that the Lord has made the day. By this statement, we can be reminded that the Creator has given each of us a beautiful, beautiful gift. Each day arrives anew. Each day is the opportunity to start again. Each day is a concrete example of the Creator’s love for each of us.

I’ve gotten in the habit of waking up at dawn so that I can listen to the sound of birds singing high in the tree branches; I’ve gotten in the habit of watching the miracle of the sun rising and coloring the early morning sky in shades of soft pink and hints of deep lavender. Mason bees buzz in the petals of purple morning glories; even the irritating mosquitoes find their place stuck in the spider’s intricate web spun among the limbs of the yellow and white rose bushes in my garden.

Yes, God in all his glory and compassion has given each of us this day, this day to start anew.

So, rejoice and be glad in it!

Prayers and blessings to you all as you go about your day.

After all, God has shown us his amazing love by giving each of us this chance to start anew.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Fears, Hopes, and Dreams. . .

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but think about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”- Pope John XXXIII (Brainyquote.com)

I keep this quote near me whenever I get discouraged. We all get discouraged; discouragement is just apart of this journey here on earth. But, we don’t have to live from a place of discouragement; we can choose to think about our potential and we can choose to take positive steps to fulfill our potential. The most discouraging strategy is negative self-talk in which we tell ourselves that there is not a reason to even try, and, of course, another discouraging strategy is to listen to negative comments from other people. “The sky is falling down; the world is a dangerous place. Nobody can ever get ahead. . .Blah! Blah! Blah! And, blah!”

In this coming week, make a point to dedicate at least an hour to something you love to do, be it writing, painting, sports activities, reading. . .Do something that inspires you, and don’t look over your shoulder and wonder what anyone else might think.

In my heart, I sincerely believe God designs each of us for a purpose. Pray that God will help you discern that purpose. Plan a strategy with God’s help to fulfill that purpose.

And if you are in a dark place in your soul where sadness and depression has completely obscured the beauty, joy, and light of this life, please seek professional help from a qualified mental health provider.

You belong in this life; God has a purpose for you. Pray and seek out that purpose.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Here are some links if you need help:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention

Suicide Prevention – NIMH

https://www.nimh.nih.gov › health

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Success and Failure and Courage to Continue. . .

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts”- Winston Churchill (keepinspiring.me/success-quotes/)

Sometimes, continuing in the face of failure is difficult, to say the least. But, as Winston Churchill has pointed out it is the courage to continue that is important. Courage can be in short supply especially when faced with multiple attempts at something that result in failure.

But, I have been thinking about solutions, new avenues to take when faced with failure after multiple attempts at a goal.

I’ve decided to review my approach to my goals. I’ve decided to consider alternative approaches. What can I do differently? Do I need to breathe a breath of fresh air into old thought patterns? Am I spinning my wheels in the same rut? Do I need to step out of my comfort zone?

What can I do differently as I near a new year? What can I do differently in my writing?

Do I need to take more inventive chances?

Most importantly, do I have the courage to stand up to disappointment?

Like Churchill said, failure isn’t fatal.

But, I do think that giving into despair and deciding not to try something new can be damaging to our mental health and soul-crashing to our spirits. “Fatal” might be a bit strong, but then again just think about how damaging despair can be to our spirit, and as we have learned, our social, spiritual, physical and mental health are all intricately intertwined. When one component is broken, the rest soon follow.

So, for me, I have decided to focus on new strategies, step out of my comfort zone, and have the courage to do so.

I encourage you to do the same, as well.

After all, if you never try, you will never know just how successful you can be.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Typewriters: Nostalgia

Yeah, I am old enough to remember learning to type on an actual manual typewriter complete with white out correction tape and a typewriter ribbon. I can still recall how irritating it was to make a mistake and then have to back space, get the white out and correction tape and very messily make a correction. Oh, yes, I forget about the carbon copy paper that I could utilize to well make carbon copies (mistakes abounded that no amount of correction tape could correct). It could take hours (even days) to type up a decent page.

Today, people younger than forty have absolutely no idea just what a pain it was to type on a manual typewriter. Did I mention the noise of the keys as they clacked and clacked as the typist’s fingers pounded out a letter?

Oh, yeah, those were the days! In fact, I think learning to type on a manual typewriter should be required in schools (maybe it would teach people to appreciate what they have with the computers, but I digress).

Looking back, I think about how typing on a manual typewriter forced my concentration on each and every word. I had to focus so as not to make an error. I couldn’t think of anything but what I was typing. I had to have laser focus to get it correct, or else I’d have to stop and make an immediate correction.

You could not have the attention span of a gnat and type on a manual typewriter; you have to be fully present in order to complete your writing project.

As I consider my upcoming week, I consider what my plans are for writing. What do I want to complete? What steps am I going to take to reach my goals? How am I going to inspire myself to write?

Well, how am I going to focus, as well? I am afraid that in this Post-Modern Age we have all developed the attention spans of gnats; we can not focus for longer than a few minutes before we shift our focus to something else. Thank you, internet (sarcasm!)

I have developed a strategy to jumpstart my creativity. And, I will share it with you.

I usually scan the dictionary and randomly select up to twenty words and try to write a short story or poem using those words.

Here is my list for this week:

Epitome. Jasper. Bundt cake. Indignation. Smite. Puddles. Badger. Obsidian. Appaloosa. Canyon. Alibi. Feathers. Pearls. Rhoda. Judah. Tennessee Walker. Moon. Burgundy. Owls.

Even if you don’t use all the words, it is fun to shake up the imagination and experiment with potential stories or poems. . .

So, consider writing this week and if you’d like to share what you came up with please let me know.

Happy writing and have a beautiful week!

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Frame

Red holly berries cluster beneath green leaf canopies; thin branches point skyward, end.

Sunlight, golden, shifts like pantomime against the pale yellow wall.

Window is a picture frame, frames the forest outside the library.

Peaceful. Silence. Calm.

I sit and simply watch the world go by.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Out of Town

A short story sketch by Jenny W. Andrews

Edna crumpled the receipt, flung it into the garbage can after rolling it tightly into a ball.

Harris, in his starch white button down shirt, rifled through his desk’s top drawer, and muttered, “I know I put it right here.” He clutched the key. “Nobody else has a key. I just don’t understand.”

From her perch at the top of the staircase, Edna smirked and swallowed a giggle. “Darling, is something the matter?” She called to him. The sound of his little key locking the top drawer sounded so stupidly tiny, ineffective.

“Nothing’s the matter, Edna. Nothing at all.”

By the time she reached the bottom of the stairs Harris was seated in his brown leather recliner sipping a glass of white wine.

“Oh, I thought I could have sworn I heard you muttering. You sounded a bit upset. Are you sure you’re okay?”

Harris rested his wine goblet on the glass table top next to his recliner. “You must be imagining things, Edna. I wasn’t saying anything. I’ve been sitting here reading my book.” He patted the book that he had balanced precariously on his knee.

“Probably. Yes, I was probably just imagining things.” She leaned her back against the desk.

His face as of late ceased to remind her of the man she had once loved. No, he didn’t look anything at all like the man she had once loved. Now, he just looked shifty. Yes, that was the word. Shifty. The lies he told were beginning to etch themselves throughout the contours and creases of his face. . .

Hey, everyone, thanks for reading. This is just a sketch. I wanted to write about how people (especially married couples) try to manipulate and play mind games with each other as if it is an Olympic sport.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Thanks!

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022