Mystery and Magic of Cats

Pictured here is Velvet lounging on the picnic table with the leaves from the mimosa tree swaying above him. This photo was taken nearly twenty-five years ago. I found it tonight while cleaning out my garage.

Velvet had arrived on my doorstep the night of a tropical storm; rain was just beginning to fall when I heard a faint meowing. Initially, I thought it was just the wind. I opened my door and there he was trembling and huddled up; his large green eyes pleading to find refuge from the storm.

I have allergy to cat fur.

So.

So what!

I also had two little dogs. I wasn’t all too sure how they would react to a visitor since they both were already stressed with the howling wind slapping tree branches against the house.

So, I just couldn’t stand the thought of that little cat outside in the storm.

Of course, I bundled him up in my arms in a towel, dried him off, and opened a can of tuna for him. Needless to say, he stayed pretty much by my side for over a decade.

Curiously, no one ever claimed him; so, I claimed him. And, my two little dogs absolutely adored him. They would huddle into a big pile and sleep; they did this during the tropical storm that first night.

Velvet would follow me when I’d take walks around the neighborhood; I think he may have thought he was one of the dogs. He would jump on my son’s music stand and bat at the flute my son had been playing; he seemed to love music.

Mainly, he loved being apart of my family.

Interestingly, a few months after he landed on my doorstep another stray cat whom I named Sheba showed up. Nobody claimed her; so, I did.

My allergies to cats miraculously disappeared! I think it was their love that cured me of my allergies. . .

So, I ended up with two cats that became quick friends with my two little dogs.

Looking at all those all photos that I had stored in my garage is bittersweet. I was suddenly reminded of the rapid passage of time, of loss, and of those magical moments when a simple meow would make me laugh. I was reminded of sunny days in my garden with two cats and two dogs stretched out beneath the crape myrtle trees. . .enjoying the breeze.

Time goes way to fast; I wish I could step back into those hours, but I can’t.

But, I can remember.

I can remember the magical moments of calm and learning to just sit beneath the mimosa tree, like Velvet, and enjoy the sound of silence. And the beauty of peace.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Panacea, Pangaea, Noblesse Oblige

Okay.

I absolutely love learning vocabulary words that are rarely used. A few months ago, I bought Robert W. Bly’s 1,200 Words You Should Know to Sound Smart: Essential Words Every Sophisticated Person Should be Able to Use.

Well, I am not altogether sure if I would define myself as necessarily “sophisticated” per say. I do like to color coordinate my shoe color with my handbag, if that counts.

I do find, as a creative writer, that increasing my vocabulary helps with generating new ideas for stories and poems.

Some really interesting words that Bly mentioned which I would like to share with you are:

Jejune (adjective) an inferior work or poor performance.

Imagine at your job’s next board meeting standing at the head of the conference table and declaring, “Your proposals are all jejune!” (Well, that might just get you some days off since your co-workers will either assume you are mentally exhausted or drunk, or maybe both).

Imbroglio (noun) a sticky situation-a predicament that is difficult to get out of.

The next time your significant other’s family starts to give you grief blurt out “Marrying into your family has certainly created an imbroglio, wouldn’t you agree?” Just step back and monitor their expressions and bask in the knowledge that, yes, you’re not as dumb as they all thought you were!

Raconteur (noun) Someone who enjoys telling stories, does so frequently, and is good at it.

At the next office party, cocktail party, engagement party, (any of those places where you have to stand around and pretend you are interested in listening to others brag and boast about themselves, their children, and their successes) simply liven things up by blurting out “I come from a family of raconteurs” each time anyone inquires about you and your background. That should get them to scratching their heads for a minute or two while you slip away to another room (or to your car).

Yes, learning new vocabulary is a great way to stimulate creativity.

Take the words in my blog’s title and see what stories you can create. Drop me a line and share what you’ve come up with, if you’d like to.

Happy Writing!

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2022

And Now for Some Good News. . .

Okay, this morning I woke up and checked the usual suspects: the mainstream media outlets just to see what had happened overnight. . .And, of course, murder, mayhem, disease, and pestilence screeched from the pages.

So, I decided that since the world is filled with billions of people. . .and in my heart and soul I believe at least ninety percent of us are decent and kind, there has to be something good out there.

Lo and behold! There is a news network that focuses on the positive. It can be found at https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org.

The story that I just read is inspiring. With ingenuity and international cooperation, all is not doomed. There is no crisis that humans with creativity and a positive spirit cannot tackle.

So, read this story and trust that all is right with the world. We are not doomed, as long as we seek solutions rather than dwell on negativity. We all share this world. We are all connected. So, let’s work together to find solutions.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Unpublished: Part Two

Well, I decided to unpublish all my projects tonight. As I stated in my previous blog post, I have been disappointed by the whole self-publishing enterprise.

My advice is that if you plan to self-publish on Amazon/Kindle make sure you do your homework.

Apparently, even after you unpublish, third parties can sell your books and you will not get a royalty because the book is sold used. The rationale is that you got paid the first time the book was sold, so you don’t get paid again.

So, does that mean your creative work is out there being sold and resold and you do not receive any royalties for your creative efforts?

It appears that is the case according to the email I received from Amazon/Kindle regarding unpublishing my books.

They still haven’t explained to me how third parties can sell my books if my books are now unpublished and are not supposed to be printed anymore.

I thought the books were printed when they were ordered, so if I have unpublished then how could they print it and sell it?

Cautionary tale: Think before you self-publish.

I advise against it.

In fact, tonight I completely cancelled my Amazon account and Kindle, as well. Also, I cancelled Goodreads.

I am just sick of the underhanded dealings of big corporations.

My books are my creative property; I deserve to make a profit off my creative property.

I put my foot down here.

I refuse to associate with Amazon/Kindle.

I am walking away from anything that resembles big tech.

I want to support local stores rather than buy on Amazon.

I will find an actual small press or literary agent to publish my creative work.

Self-publishing has been a disappointment and a rip off. . .

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

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