I’m Having a Baby (I Think)

This last year has been the longest decade of my life. From injury to surgery to SURPRISE pregnancy to associated complications, I’ve wrestled with keeping some part of me afloat. The problem is, that part has not always been a useful one -like my face.

Yet as I draw ever nearer my scheduled surgery date, I must finally face the facts: I’m probably having a baby.

I know, I know; that sounds funny. Of course I’m having a baby. I’ve had appointments. I’m eating peppermint ice cream. There’s something moving down there that had better not be the oft-parodied Alien‘s clip. Professional people with professional equipment have seen a humanoid in my uterus.

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And, though you’ll NEVER see a picture of this, I’m about the size and weight of a hippopotamus. Still, I’ve been in a bit of denial. I’ve been ignoring the elephant in the womb in an effort to not accept the inevitable. But, facts are facts and this alien’s gonna be coming on December 2nd at 5:00 p.m.

Which leads to some other things I need to announce about life, the blog-o-verse, and my writing:

  1. Time
    Frankly, I won’t have any.
  2. Time
    Because of this, the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest will be on hold for the entire month of December. The last one of the year will run from November 16-22, 2019. The next will resume on January 4, 2020.
  3. Time
    I will not be writing on the blog, beginning on December 2nd. Oh -maybe I’ll drop a Wednesday Gripe or a Sunday Prompt, but I think taking a sabbatical would be healthiest for me and my spawn.
  4. Time
    I will also not be consistent in reading people’s blogs, though that’s been the case since about May. I love you all and will do my best.

My hope is you’ll stick around and deal with the adorable baby picture or two I’m liable to post. Thank you for your friendship, patience, and support.

—————-

And, here’s what I wrote this week:
Wednesday, November 6: Addressed my unhealthy lack of anticipation in “What do you hope for?

Thursday, November 7: Shared Heather Dawn‘s post, “I Met Depression… and I Won.”

Friday, November 8: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to The Abject Muse!

Saturday, November 9: Announced the 51st Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is Christmas commercialism. PLEASE ENTER!

And, encouraged everyone to go vote for a finalist in Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie Contest.

Sunday, November 10: “Capture a Critter #1: Monkey Buffet Festival,” in response to Deb Whittam‘s prompt.

Monday, November 11: An ‘inspirational’ quote by Steve Martin.

Tuesday, November 12: “Since the Bombs Fell: Four,” the fourth in a series I intend to end at #6.

Wednesday, November 13: Today.

 

I also posted a poem at my motherhood site: “Towels, a poem.”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Where, Oh Where Should My Blogging Go?

I feel lost.

Where once I had goals, dreams, aspirations, directions, and a body weight I could control; I now have exhaustion and confusion. The problem is with writing, with blogging.

Why did you start a blog? I began mine because a very good (talented, beautiful, intelligent) friend recommended I start one. I’d been trying to make TwofaceBook into a salon of sorts. I failed. People on social media want it to be a trash heap -but I digress.

I started writing a blog because I wanted to share my writing with others. I also wanted to complete a book, become world famous, and retire from housework forever.

After 2.5 years and little progress in the book-writing direction, I wonder if my followers have lost interest. I know I have. I imagine everyone’s thoughts:

What is she doing with this blog, anyway?

Why does she keep posting terrible poetry?

Is this a short story or a -oh. It’s yet another piece of that serial story thing. Just END it already!

Since no one’s been blunt enough to tell me these things, I’m taking the liberty of assuming their reactions.

In all seriousness, though, what should I do? I’ve finally finished Wilhelmina Winters. I prematurely ended the life of one my favorite serials because it was going the same, lengthy direction. I’m not certain anyone ever reads my mom blog. I think the bad poetry is hilarious.

I need a re-vamp, or I’m bound to drop the thing entirely. We’re talking a new writing schedule and different posts than what I’ve been doing.

If you have a minute, could you leave a comment about what you actually enjoy reading or would like me to write? I’m open to suggestions.

Thank you.

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Here’s a brief run-down of what I wrote:
Wednesday, October 9: Asked about faves in “What’s Your Favorite Holiday? Why?

Thursday, October 10: Whipped up a (highly condensed) version of Stephen’s writing in “A Tribute to Stephen Black of Fractured Faith Blog.”

Friday, October 11: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Peregrine Arc!

Saturday, October 12: Announced the 47th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is to parody a nursery rhyme. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, October 13: Shared Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Contest, Susanna Leonard Hill’s Children’s Halloweensie Story Contest, and Aurora Jean Alexander’s Halloween Poetry Contest.

Monday, October 14: An inspirational quote by Someone who may have been Winston Churchill.

Tuesday, October 15: “Wilhelmina Winters, Number One Hundred Eight.” The End!!!

Wednesday, October 16: Today.

I also posted a little bit at my motherhood site. I wrote “The Merits of Yelling in the House,” “Top Ten Things to Never Tell a Pregnant Woman,” and “A Parents’ Bedtime Poem.”

 

Photo Credit: Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

“One of the first things we have to say to a beginner who has brought us his [manuscript] is, ‘Avoid all epithets which are merely emotional. It is no use telling us that something was “mysterious” or “loathsome” or “awe-inspiring” or “voluptuous”. Do you think your readers will believe you just because you say so? You must go quite a different way to work.

“‘By direct description, by metaphor and simile, by secretly evoking powerful associations, by offering the right stimuli to our nerves (in the right degree and the right order), and by the very beat and vowel-melody and length and brevity of your sentences, you must bring it about that we, we readers, not you, exclaim “how mysterious!” or “loathsome” or whatever it is.

“‘Let me taste for myself, and you’ll have no need to tell me how I should react to the flavour.'”

-C.S. Lewis, Studies in Words

A Thoughtful Poem

What have wishing words giv’n me
Besides a wand’ring mind
What have whirling words giv’n me
Besides the need to rhyme;

Would I sit; soliloquy
If I had never known
Would I stare; tranquility
Whilst others study phones;

Am I the higher, better one
To wander, rhyme, and muse
Am I the thoughtful, ‘lightened one
Or am I just amused?

Happy Second Blogiversary!

I’d like to interrupt everyone’s regularly-scheduled program to acknowledge my blog’s second birthday. It’s growing up so fast!

2 Years Blogging

Two years ago; I timidly typed, edited, edited, edited, edited, and edited my first blog post. The idea behind it came from a dream. I stressed so much about what people would think and how many awards I would garner from its publication…

I also set a goal to publish a blog post every day. To get myself going, I re-posted thoughts and stories I’d originally written for Facebook.

After a few months, I broke out and started swimming on my own. Everything I type is original and formed solely for the blog these days. If not, I note otherwise.

I’d like to thank Charli of Carrot Ranch, Geoff of TanGental, James of The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health Blog, Stephen and Fionnuala of Fractured Faith Blog, Nitin of Fighting the Dying Light, P’Arc of Peregrine Arc, and Frank of Frank Prem Poetry for giving me opportunities to share my writings to their sites. You helped me feel my creations might be valuable.

I would also be remiss in not acknowledging all of the friends and fellow writers I have made since beginning. You know who you are, especially since I know I’d miss specifically naming a few due to Pregnancy Brain. Thank you for e-mails, complimentary messages, sarcastic comments, and camaraderie.

And (unless I forgot anyone else), thank you to my real-life friends who actually read what I write and don’t shun me publicly. You’re the best.

Raw Poetry

Here I sit in front of a keyboard
and I type on that keyboard
with my fingers but maybe also my toes
that’s so I can eat my sandwich and french fry sauce without getting it in between the keys like last time
which was messy
and bad
sorry, mum

And yet I think I need to write with fingers or toes
or now my tongue
it’s clean
enough
I
think
And yet I think I need to write with whatever because of the need to write which is like an open mouth that needs to vomit
Oh

Maybe that was from the fry sauce.

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Atrociously penned for the brilliant Anisha and her(?) Raw Poetry Contest.

 

Photo Credit:
Alex Iby

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

7 Tips From a Reticent Spymaster

When it comes to fantasy storytelling, Charles Yallowitz is your man. From why only some vampires can (and should) reproduce to the proper way of knowing the best mapper shop in town, he’s the expert.

He recently dragged one of the best spies from his Legends of Windemere series out to ask him for 7 Tips to Being an Effective Spymaster. The post is as follows:

(From a Yahoo image search)

So, I’ve asked Kai Stavros from War of Nytefall: Rivalry to give some tips on being a spymaster.  He doesn’t really want to share his secrets or be out in public, so he gave me a list.  It was written into my car with a warning that I should never ask him to do anything like this again.  Here we go:

  1. Never do public appearances unless they are on your terms . . . Just going to voice a complaint right away, huh?  You know, I could have asked another of my spy characters to do this.  Well, I don’t have any, but I know a few who would willing to make stuff up.
  2. Always double-check your information.  (That makes sense.)  Torture is a good way to confirm . . . Really!?  This is what I get for asking a vampire how this goes.  In his defense, vampires regeneration, so what would be a fatal wound for a mortal isn’t a big deal for them.  Still, there could be kids reading this, Stavros.
  3. Maintains some friendships with your coworkers, but remain distant.  You don’t want to get attached to those you might have to sacrifice for the sake of a mission.  The exceptions are your masters or employers depending on your personal employment position.  (That was bizarrely bureaucratic.)
  4. Never fall in love because that will inevitably be used against you.  If not your lover then children, so celibacy is a good idea as well.  (I know of one famous spy who would really disagree on that last one.  Why doesn’t that guy have kids on every continent?)
  5. When sending messages, you must write in code to protect your secrets.  It is best to have multiple code systems and randomly cycle through them.  Only one person should know the locations of the scrolls needed to decipher them.  It helps to put two spells on the messages as well.  One is to share the information with your employer if you and the translator are dead.  The other is to curse or kill anyone who manages to get even one word correct.  (Wow.  That’s actually a good one.)
  6. Never agree to appear on a blog to share secrets.  It doesn’t matter how much the author pathetically begs.  (And we’re back to the sass.)
  7. Uh . . . This one is in code and I don’t want to risk anything.  I mean, he did give me a warning in #5.  Oh, it’s just messy penmanship since I guess he was in a rush to get out of here.  The tip is: Don’t bring attention to yourself, but don’t try to hide from society.  You need to find something in the middle because blending in and understanding human nature are essential tools of the trade.  (I think that was cursed . . . No, just the Taco Bell I ate, which is basically the same thing.)

—–

See? Spies can be handy -you know, when they’re not stabbing you in the back or whatnot.

Be sure to check out Charles’ books for more adventures. He writes unique stories where vampires are the main characters, and not because they sparkle.

Why Do You Write?

I wasn’t certain of what I’d find when I started blogging. I thought to write an initial story; polish it, edit it, re-write parts of it, and timidly make it public. I planned to use snippets, poems, and short fiction pieces I’d already posted on Facebook for most of my posts. I vowed to publish to the blog every day for a year.

When one person liked something I felt surprised.

When another re-blogged my scary story I felt embarrassed but pleased.

When I saw that another writer was following me, I followed back. I read all she wrote and commented on her posts. I did the same for the 10 others who followed my site.

In gaming terms, I was such a noob.

The real question, however, is Why did I even start writing? It’s a favorite to ask authors, besides When did you write your first story? and What’s your secret to successful writing?

I began writing seriously because I was working on a book. After spending nearly two years on WordPress I’ve learned this is not a unique situation nor an unusual reason to be writing on here. I continued writing because I felt it would help my writing overall and give me connections to people. Maybe those people would read my book one day.

Y’know, if I wrote it.

But life happens. In my case, the thick of life is happening. The book hasn’t been revisited for a while, though I felt inspired to open up another blog using my proposed title for its URL: I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother.

Also like many writers, I now feel stuck. I feel overwhelmed. I feel intimidated and lost in a gigantic pool of talent and time, without the will to paddle. I probably shouldn’t have thrown my compass overboard during that one depressive episode last year…

Until I find my North Star, or even a lost kite, tell me: what is your motivation? Why do you write? How do you keep writing?

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I lagged a bit and back-posted, but we’re counting all I wrote over the last week:
Wednesday, April 24: Wrote “Where Did THAT Come From?” after pondering about heredity and genes with mental illness.

Thursday, April 25: “The Cure for Depression: Journal, Meditate, and Pray,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, April 26: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Bruce Goodman!

Saturday, April 27: Announced the 23rd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Spread the word! Enter! This week we’re doing rap.

Sunday, April 28: Re-blogged Frank Prem‘s fantastic “(what if I hear them) whistle and cry.
And posted “The Author of a Long Night,” to Charli, hostess at Carrot Ranch.

Monday, April 29: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Two.”

Tuesday, April 30: Inspirational quote by Og Mandine.

Wednesday, May 1: May Day!

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Steal Your Kisses if You Have To,” “Me Time Just Might Be Wishful Thinking,” and an okay limerick about kids making me late.

Photo Credit:
Thought Catalog

The Author of a Long Night

The cursor blinked from an empty screen, the only light in a night-draped house. Walls slept; world slept; he, for a moment, slept. She looked over at his backlit-shadowed features; they frowned.

She sighed and could not frown. Or smile. Expressions felt as elusive as the absent story arcs on her page.

I must write something, she thought.

Blink, answered the screen.

Anything?

Blink.

Then; through morning oatmeal mind mush, an idea came. Her fingers poised to type…

He groaned. Sat up. Named her.

She turned to his care.

The cursor sighed, yawned, and went to sleep without her.

Dedicated to Charli, for this week’s prompt at Carrot Ranch.

April 25, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes exhaustion. Who is exhausted and why? Can you make art of exhaustion? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by April 30, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

A Chelsea by Any Other Name Would Still Be Sarcastic

I used to be afraid of the world knowing my name. I guarded it like I did my writing. Both were precious, unique things I should not give to the world for free.

There is also freedom in writing behind a mask. I’ve enjoyed pseudonyms in the past because I could then complain about real people in my real life with real details and how I really felt.

Besides the maturity of not-caring that comes with age, I’ve also grown to learn there is little that is private. I realized my name is not so special, and grants me little protection if when I am an insanely popular novelist.

My good friend, Peregrine Arc, recently wrote about the origins of her name and thus inspired my musings. Since I obviously do not use a pen name, I thought to list a couple I have used and their origins. I also wanted to open up the discussion to what name you think I could use as an alternate -buuut, we can cross that bridge when the story arcs to it.

  • Celine des Guimauves – In junior high school, our French teacher suggested we all choose a French name to use in class. There was a list: Monique, Elise, Natalie, etc. I chose the least odious from the list. That ‘middle name’ I added isn’t grammatically correct, but I was 12. C’est la vie.
    ‘Guimauves’ means ‘marshmallows.’ It was one of those words I flipped to in the dictionary and thought hilarious. Again; 12 years old.
  • Celine d’Espions – This was the gradual evolution of my French name over the years of French classes. Technically, the name was Céline d’Éspions, but we won’t nit-pick. The name also gave a nod to my spy-philia; I sincerely wanted to be a spy when I grew up. That may not be a past-tense wish…

P’Arc said she admired Peregrine Falcons, hence the use of the word in the first part of her name. She has an elaborate shrine at home with diving spaces and fish in streams and such, but claims she drew the line at dressing as one more than once a year.

Have I an animal that resonates with me? I loved dogs when I was younger and can bark like a German Shepherd. I definitely wanted to fly but did not want to eat bugs nor regurgitate my food for my young. Therefore, I resonated most with being a dragon. Most of the awesome fantasy beasts would do -even an imp, since I …sometimes behave like one.

Which doesn’t lead at all into my final thought: what’s in a name? I’m not attached to the one I have. I feel it doesn’t fit, somehow. When allowed any time to ruminate, however, I cannot find one that works. Even mention of the one I respond to does nothing to my soul when I hear it. Have you an idea for a name? I could use it for nom de plume purposes since legal name-changes are sticky affairs.

What do you think of pen names? Animal spirits? Your given name? Am I strange in not liking my own?

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Photo Credit:
Carlos Quintero