One of the hardest things thus far…

October 23rd, 2017 — 7:31pm

My Pastor went home to glory last week. His homegoing service was today.

This has been one of the hardest life experiences I’ve had thus far in my life and it’s so easy to fall into a spiral thinking “there’s so much more darkness ahead as well.” but, I’m going to keep on keeping on.

I have to keep reminding myself that the reason all those around me seem to be doing so well with all of this is because they’ve already had to bury fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, children. And, they all got to go through with their Pastor by their side. This is my first time dealing with death so close and I’ve no Pastor to talk me through this.

It’s just been so hard. The calls and texts of encouraging someone whose spiritual strength I’d often taken for granted. Overcoming my own anxieties to see him during hospital visits. Literally picking myself off the floor after collapsing at the news that he was being moved to hospice. Visiting him in hospice every day he was there and watching him slowly transition onto glory. Accepting the news that he was gone. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard or as much in the entirety of these 33 years I’ve walked this Earth. I’ve got my ramblings to say and these words may not make sense to many others, so perhaps this is just here for me.

Years and years ago, I was a very skeptical agnostic. I’d been baptized a Christian as a child, but had never really belonged to a church home and with very sporadic church attendance throughout my teens, very little remained of my Christian experience and understanding. In a lost moment in college, I’d attempted to find a renewed spirit within one of the churches my mother and I had visited some years earlier. I walked into that building a proverbial lost lamb, but I walked out of it no longer a Christian and certain that God, whatever form He took, was not to be found withing Christianity.

An extremely difficult period followed afterward, where I’d figuratively wandered lost within the world, but as providence would have it, God brought me to what would become my church home through the teachings of a very great man who would become my Pastor.

After so many years of absolute distrust in ministers and most Christians, my Pastor proved to be a man of the highest character. One of the things that I adored most about Pastor was that he put God first in everything that he did. Because his ministry was about Jesus and not about uplifiting himself, he wasn’t afraid to bring newer or even stronger preachers into his pulpit and he was never afraid to admit that sometimes he simply did not have all the answers. These weren’t overall concerns because he did not feel the need to put himself first, but God. He acknowledged that there was no way he would ever fully understand every single thing that the bible said, but to use a phrase he often did, “I may not know all the specifics about how electricity works, but I’m not going to sit in the dark until I do.”

He often quoted Matthew 6:3: “Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” and he had this deep, mighty voice that always stressed FIRST; that we were to put God first; that God was not running for any place in our lives but first; that anything that we put before God was idolatry. These teachings allowed Pastor to become the first preacher that I ever really trusted. Above all, I trusted that he would never purposefully tell me something to lead me astray or that would go against God.

Pastor focused on bible-based teachings and rarely did all the screaming and shouting “performance” that is so often found within black churches and we used to talk about that a lot. I told him often that I never liked all the “hootin’ and hollerin'” sermons because that was all show and had more to do about uplifting the preacher than the Word. I also told him that it was part of that latent skepticism that I struggled to lose. He agreed that the shouting was often part of the show, but that sometimes that’s what people needed to ignite their spirits. He also reminded that, in reference to my skepticism, that faith and doubt could not occupy the same heart, and I remind myself of this as often as possible as I continue on my journey.

We disagreed from time to time. He wanted me to be more involved in church auxillaries and often chastized me for quitting just about everything from the choir, to the usher board, to a helping auxillary, to teaching Sunday school…I’m sure there are many other things I’ve even forgotten that I’ve quit. And, he was very right; I quit a lot of activities, arguably out of fatigue. Every once in a while, I had something to throw back at him, though. Once, he demanded that all his lady ushers had to wear skirts when they served, so I sat down and quit. Eventually, it got back to him that the reason I’d quit ushering was because the Word said that men and women were to be dressed differently to be readily identifiable as such, not that men wore pants and ladies were skirts. If I’d been trying to usher in a men’s suit, then by all means call out that behaviour, but if I wanted to serve wearing a finely cut women’s pants suit, where was the harm? Later, he agreed with me and removed this rule, but this was the type of man he was. He acknowledged if he was wrong and moved forward.

One of the things I cherish most, however, was that Pastor never hesitated to teach God’s Word. When I was teaching Sunday School, he gave me (what I later learned was a very expensive) Matthew Henry Commentary Study Bible with my name engraved on it. He’d given one to my mother as well. I think I’ve learned more about scripture and also myself from reading this commentary than anything else in life. I remember asking him how much the commentary cost because my church is sometimes just barely able to keep the lights on, but he refused to say, and refused to accept any payment. I’ve several other spiritual books Pastor has given to me in this same manner and I’ll treasure all of them always.

He didn’t just preach and give out books, though. He was a 21st century pastor. Over the years, I could always depend on texts from Pastor. Admittedly, of late, they were of the variety “Daughter…you are MIA” if I’d missed more than 2 consecutive Sundays. Mostly, though, I could text Pastor any of my questions about scripture and he always had answers for me:

Many Sundays, I would approach him after service and ask further questions about his sermon. Sometimes he would even roll his eyes and laugh when he saw me coming. He’d say, “I knew you’d be coming up here after I preached that!” He always encouraged us, though. He often said, “Don’t just take my word for it. Read the bible for yourself. When you get to glory, God isn’t going to hold you accountable for what Pastor said, but for what God said.”

What I take from this most is that I will miss him so very much. But…in the same way, all those years ago, when he waved me forward as I stepped out in the aisle to join the church, he said to me in that deep voice of his, “Come on, Daughter. I’ve been waiting for you.” I know that when I get to glory too, he’ll be there waiting with a smile again saying, “Come on, Daughter. I’ve been waiting for you.”

One of his last sermons:

1 comment » | Jesus, On Me

Dorienne, the gamer

July 22nd, 2017 — 5:24pm

Something fascinating occurred over the last few months: I’ve finally decided to fully acknowledge that I’m a gamer, instead of someone who sometimes plays games.

Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes has taken up a huge part of my time lately. Not just the game itself, or my alt account, but planning for it and researching for it, interacting with my guild members, and recently, writing about it. I’m writing about it on, which is one of the first times I’ve written for someone else. I really enjoy writing reviews and such for GoH on the whole, partly because I enjoy the game, but mainly because I love writing about the game.

My gaming is really disjointed, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it from every aspect. I keep buying games like some people collect Lego sets. I had a somewhat sizeable Xbox 360 library, but then discovered Steam Sales and Humble Bundles and decided to switch to PC-gaming, which required re-purchasing (albeit for pennies on the dollar) a bunch of games and trying to play them in a different environment. That said, I’ve got 252 games in my Steam library and I’ve only played through 6% of them.

I usually end up restarting games half the time because I take such long breaks in-between them and tend to jump from game to game. Finishing Mass Effect for the first time really brought this home. Four years elapsed between the time I first attempted ME1 and eventually finished a complete playthrough, but once I got fully engaged in the game, I couldn’t stop until I’d finished. I loved every part of following my Shepard as she commanded the Normandy, befriended various aliens, and fell in love as she saved the galaxy and in playing Mass Effect and discovering its Reddit community, I finally realized that this is a media that I’ve long-since adored.

Regardless if I own a game and it’s just chilling in my Steam library or gathering dust beside the Xbox or I’m simply curious about it, I love reading reading reviews from professional critics and players alike and researching all the furor or glee about every release or console.

While every minute spent gaming is a minute not spent working on Flight or Damen or Anne or any of the other million projects I’ve got pending, with the way first-job has been stressing and depressing me, sometimes all I can do to keep my sanity is engage in interactive stories by playing, writing, or reading about them.

Whether it’s my 13-year-old Sims 2 game that still going and going until modders can’t get it to run on modern OSes anymore, or just discovering which of the latest games can hold my attention best, I’m a gamer. I’m involved.

Part of me wants to link this into all my other hobbies by thinking that eventually I’d like to write my own game, but I think it might be best to let gaming live on its own. Gaming can live beside writing and even occasionally intertwine, but there’s no need to force myself to start a new project like writing a game…at least not until I’ve made a dent in my Steam library.

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My Three Cents: On Adult Coloring Books

January 16th, 2016 — 7:05pm

I’ve been blogging in one place or another for the past decade, so my opinion is automatically worth more, right? Right?? 

Over the Christmas holiday, Amazon’s top selling “books” were adult coloring books. This distresses me because A) Amazon has a category issue; I don’t consider a coloring book to be a “book” in the same way I don’t consider a book of sudoku puzzles to be a “book”, and B) adults have turned to something so simple as a means of creative entertainment.

Before I get into the meat of this, I’ll preface by stating I’m no literary snob. While I prefer certain books over others, I think there is just as much literary value in James Joyce’s Ulysses as I do Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight. Reading material is supposed to entertain first and foremost. If it manages to teach, enlighten, and encourage conversation, that’s wonderful, but it’s first purpose is to entertain. If a book can’t do that, it fails before the reader has even picked up it.

Today’s diatribe, however, isn’t actually about what constitutes a book and what doesn’t. My gripe is that grown people are choosing coloring books over alternatives for a creative outlet.

Coloring gives people an opportunity to be creative without any of the necessary talent that goes into drawing or painting or even writing something from scratch. Coloring provides a sense of accomplishment that is normally reserved for those who have spent years honing a craft, which troubles me greatly. Rather than put forth the effort necessary to practice drawing or painting or dancing, adults turn to the coloring book because it is quick and easy.

If I’ve griped about anything throughout any of my blogs, it’s that I find most facets of adulthood to be difficult, so I fully understand the difficulty in finding the time to practice the skills needed to have a true creative outlet. I’ve had a piano in my apartment for 7 seven years, but I can hardly tinker anything familiar on it, and even after a brief stint of attempting piano lessons, I’m still no good at reading base clef. I’d love to take up painting, and after a random morning at home and watching a Bob Ross episode on PBS, I may still try again, but as many others often find themselves saying, “I just can’t find the time.”

Most adults could find countless options for a creative outlet, but the ones who don’t put everything else ahead of that need. While I can understand the stresses of work, spouses, children, cleaning the house, keeping up on laundry, maintaining the lawn, remembering to call Grandma on her birthday, and so forth, everyone can carve out time to work towards a creative outlet, but few do using many of the aforementioned excuses. What truly perplexes me is that the same people who can’t seem to find the time to practice writing poems or practice drawing, still somehow find a block of time to sit and color in an adult coloring book.

Coloring within the lines requires little creative effort. Creating the actual designs that go into coloring books, however, requires months or years of effort. In a society constantly looking for the easiest routes to success, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that people opt for the simplest path.

So, why do I complain that grown folks are opting for coloring books? I don’t look down on the exercise as a means of mental calm. I understand that it can be quite soothing, but so can many other creative outlets. I can’t get past the first few stanzas of Moonlight Sonata on the piano, but after a little tinkering with a tune found in a beginners practice book, I have a harmonious simple tune that I can play by heart when the moment warrants it. While working on any “major” writing project can bring its headaches, sitting down to create a new story from the beginning just because I can do it is more freeing than anything else I experience in life. A hectic life needs a method of calming the mind, but there’s nothing that suggests that that method has to be as simplistic as the adult coloring book.

Everyone needs a creative outlet. Whether it be writing, dancing, photography, learning, or (in the case of my mother, with whom I discussed this post in the midst of writing) applying customs law in creative ways, everyone needs a creative outlet. One doesn’t even need to be exceptionally good at said outlet either. Like I said, I can hardly read base clef, but it doesn’t stop me from playing the one song that I can play on the piano. I may never get published, but it doesn’t stop me from writing whatever I want whenever I want.

Creative outlets provide a mental calm in a hectic life and past the elementary school years, one can do far greater and better things to achieve that mental calm than pretend to be artist while filling in lines created by others. Stop taking the quickest, easiest routes towards a sense of accomplishment and put forth just a little effort. No one will hang the completed coloring book page from a 30-something on the fridge, but they may find delight in an original creation.

There’s a very real possibility that I’m missing something fundamental in the adult coloring book, but then…this is still my three cents on the issue.

1 comment » | Article, Rant

I Dream of Writing

December 31st, 2014 — 8:55pm


I’ve been using the app for much of the past eighteen months. In addition to helping me make flossing, bible reading, and some form of exercise daily activities, it has also given me a graphical display of my writing activities over the last year.


Towards the beginning of the year, I seemed to be writing almost daily, but from August through the remainder of the year, I’ve been declining month over month. It’s one thing to have an inkling that one hasn’t been writing much, but seeing it forces acknowledgement. Of all things I aim to correct in 2015, one of the most poignant will be to correct the above graph.

My lack of writing, however, has given rise to an incredible epiphany about myself.

Lately I’ve been growing a bit concerned about the dark and violent nature of my imagination. When left to simply create out of nothing, my imagination always defaults to something dark and dreary. I noticed it with my NaNoWriMo attempt this year where I decided to write about pedophile serial killer seeking help for his deeds. Last year’s NaNoWriMo was hardly better as I simply started with “Once upon a time…” and 5K words in found myself writing a story about a young boy escaping into his dreams as he is being abandoned by his family. I’m still unsure why my imagination, when left on its own, falls into these dark places and that’s something I’ll have to ponder and pray about at another time. This could arguably be to blame for my reduced writing in the latter part of this year, but I know outright laziness when I see it.

I’ve also been having these very detailed recurring dreams which I almost never have. I hate dreaming entirely because I never dream about horses or flying or living a happy life in my elder years. My dreams are almost always just as dark and horrible as my default imagination, but they often include very realistic circumstances involving people I love.

I had one dream several years ago where my mother and I were walking across campus and she suddenly collapsed. I tried picking her up and dragging her to find help and then I noticed that Death was following us. I then proceeded to drag my comatose mother all across campus, in and out of dorms and classroom buildings, trying to run away from Death. I had another dream about a dear friend of mine, who had just been married and was pregnant at the time. I dreamt that I arrived at work and my co-workers surrounded me to comfort me as they told me my dear friend had been killed in a motorcycle accident. That one was so horrible that I actually woke myself up screaming and I had jumped out of the bed and stood around my bedroom for a few minutes before I understood that I’d just been dreaming. These are just a couple examples of the ones that have stood with me over time, so needless to say, I hate dreaming.

My recurring dream, like most of them, can be easily interpreted. I was in college at the time I had the dream about my mother and losing her would have been incredibly difficult for me, at any time really. My dream about my friend occurred because usually when things are going perfectly for too long, I expect something horrible to happen. My recurring dream includes a mixture of current racial tensions in the country and my own frustrations about my life’s limitations. The end doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me yet, but I’m hoping to forget the dream sooner rather than later.

Despite having a mild understanding of what my recurring dream meant, I started searching online for a dream interpretation forum; something, anything, to help rid me of this recurring dream. In my searching, however, I started to think about what was really bothering me. It’s not the dreams themselves, because I know what they mean, but it’s the fact that I’ve been having these horrible dreams far more frequently than I’ve ever had and they’re recurring.

So, I posed myself some questions. Why was I dreaming so much?? What’s going on in my life that’s causing this? Is it a change in diet? Exercise? Music? Television? What?!?

No answer came to me immediately, so I focused on other things, namely my writing habits as I saw them in the Lift app and then it finally dawned on me: Reduced writing has given my brain no other storytelling outlet and thus, has left all the creative thoughts that used to be spent on a writing project with nowhere else left to go, but into dreams.

It sounds fanciful at first, but I came upon this realization in a slightly empirical manner. As I hadn’t been writing as much I should have been, I initially aimed to fix it by enacting what I called “No Write, No Reddit.” I procrastinate way too much on Reddit and so, I figured that preventing myself from viewing Reddit unless I’d written at least 100 words would kick start my writing and this actually worked. I started writing for a few days and, though it hadn’t occurred to me at the time, I had no dreams during this time. Unfortunately, after a few days, I started to get busy and I stopped writing and Redditing altogether. Then, the dreams started again and then they started to recur and the dreams even included a few slight deviations…almost as if my brain was trying to perfect or edit the dream.

After recognizing the correlation between writing and dreams, I tried to make sure I didn’t go more than 48 hours without some kind of creative storytelling and, Lo! the dreams have stopped. If were really a scientist, I’d test myself further by ceasing all creative activities again, while maintaining consistent diet, exercise, sleep, etc., and then see how long it took for the dreams to restart (and, I still may as that sounds very intriguing), but like I said, I hate dreaming and a simple hypothesis works well enough for me.

I’ve asked God recently about my writing endeavours and had considered giving up the craft altogether to focus on other ambitions, but I think I might have received my answer.

I’m a storytelling through and through. Whether I tell these stories aloud or commit them to the page, they will form and with nowhere else to go, they will internalize and haunt me either way. So, on I’ll continue.

Whether I publish or not, I’m still a storyteller and, if for no other reason than my mental well-being, I’ll continue to tell my stories until the end.

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My brief flirtation with LibreOffice

November 4th, 2013 — 3:07am

I’ve not written here in ages, but it is time for another review.

In my zeal to have full computing capabilities available in the thinnest, lightest form, I bought a Mid-2012 MacBook Air back in January. Initially, I was in love with the thing despite being staunchly anti-Mac since middle school, but when I began to utilize it for “real” work, I started to remember why I have always claimed that I hated Macs.

As an aspiring author, I write all the time and all writers who don’t wish to waste forests of trees and rivers of ink need proper word processing software. The de facto has been, throughout my lifetime, Microsoft Office Word and, despite disliking what Microsoft has done with the product line in the past six years, I’ve come to depend on Word like I depend on Firefox. So, in using my new Mac, I sought out Mac Office 2011, thinking that since it was Microsoft-produced, I would have the best option for document compatibility and “ease” of use.

Mac Office 2011 sucks in ways that would require a completely separate domain, server, and blog to explain entirely. To put it succinctly, Mac Office 2011 contains everything that you dislike about Office 2010, with none of the familiarity, and none of the features available in Mac OSX since Snow Leopard. What irritates me most is that Microsoft could have easily ported Office 2010 to Mac OSX without hardly deviating from the original product, but they refused. Note, that the blame for Mac Office’s lack of usability and general crumminess lays with Microsoft, not Apple.

With Mac Office acting barely usable, I sought other options for word-processing on the Mac. Pages was a possibility I considered right up through the last two weeks, when Apple made drastic changes to their iLife products. I tried Pages through iCloud in Safari, but gave up within ten minutes as I could not find simple a word count utility and nothing about the application brought any familiarity. Additionally, Apple insists on keeping all of its users within its “walled gardens,” which does not trouble me on iPhone/iPad because of the multiple workarounds, but is intolerable with a full laptop. Apple refuses to allow Dropbox integration with its apps, thus everything I’ve carefully organized and used with Dropbox on multiple platforms, operating systems, whatever, is unavailable to me when trying to use Apple’s Pages. Here the blame rest entirely on Apple and it was here that I began to once again mumble to myself, “I hate Macs.”

As neither Apple nor Microsoft could offer me what I wanted, I turned once again to LibreOffice. I say “once again” because I’ve experienced this application several times in the last decade with mixed results all placing me back into Microsoft Office’s slow, bulging, buggy arms.

Back when was whole, I found gross incompatibility with Word documents, few of the fonts available in Office, difficult to use features such as Word Count, and corrupted files upon going back to Office. I later tried LibreOffice when it was first forked from OpenOffice and still found that it was not anything close to Office’s usability and quit once again. Some time even later, however, I began to play with using Ubuntu and LibreOffice, installed with the operating system, was attempted again before I gave up and finagled Wine and Office 2007 to work relatively well together.

With my fifth or tenth or so attempt at LibreOffice, I was determined to make this application work for me as both Apple and Microsoft had spectacularly failed me. I installed LibreOffice 4 on both PC and Mac and spent an hour tweaking Writer on each operating system to make it as close to Office 2010 as possible.

My initial impression this time around was moderate joy over how LibreOffice had improved over the years. Built-in Word Count utility, default fonts from MS Office, and perfect Word doc compatibility through Windows, Mac OSX, and Ubuntu. At last! I had hit the jackpot! Then, I began to melt into the fictive dream and write like normal…

First came even more tweaking and searching and further tweaking to counter app deviations that were not immediately obvious. Then, I had to resign screen space in Windows and Mac OSX to some immoveable toolbars. The final straw, however, came with Autocorrect.

Writing in a plain text word processor provides straight apostrophes and quotation marks that, lacking the technical term here, do not have “curves” that are typically used in writing drafts. I have no issue with this, but I cannot stand a mix. Either all of the marks in a document are plain text and straight or all have “curves,” but a mix of the two completely throws me when I’m writing. I found myself paying closer attention to whether LibreOffice’s Autocorrect was automatically correcting these marks than on my actual writing and, even after triple checking Autocorrect settings, I was often forced to stop in the middle of prose or dialogue to adjust what LibreOffice called a grammar issue due to Autocorrect failing.

I also use ellipses when I write. A lot. I’ve remained conscious of it, but when I need to use them, I need them. LibreOffice’s Autocorrect includes switching three periods … to an ellipses, which is a very specific character that looks similar, but is functionally different in word processing. The problem is that unlike MS Office, LibreOffice does not take into account Autocorrect “wildcards.”

For example, three paragraphs above this text, I used a word and followed directly with an ellipsis, “normal…” In MS Office, the three periods directly following a word is auto-corrected in the same manner as it would be if it was typed “normal …” with a space between the word and the ellipsis. LibreOffice does not do this. To LibreOffice, “normal…” becomes a grammar issue that I have to stop and correct because the Autocorrect does not recognize that, despite coming after another character with no space between them, three consecutive periods should be automatically corrected into an ellipsis.

These may sound like minor trifles to an average user, and they very much are. To a high school kid writing a two-page essay on The Scarlet Letter, these aggravations would hardly be worth mentioning. To a writer, these minor trifles completely disrupt the flow of thought, which renders the application unusable.

Often times, when seeking to write with no distraction or interruption of any kind, I will utilize Microsoft’s Notepad application just to get down my thoughts without regard to grammar, redlines under spelling issues, or paragraph, spacing, and font. Ultimately, I have to take whatever I write in a blank atmosphere and add it to a true word processor to make the proper literary adjustments and continue writing from there. That word processor must include a Word Count and page number utility, it must be compatible with Microsoft Word’s formatting, and it must enable one to write without the need to pause the writing experience to fix what the application should be able to do on its own.

A word processor should be able to correct simple errors, like “teh” for “the” and three consecutive periods for an ellipsis, without the writer’s intervention and sadly, LibreOffice is still not quite there.

It could be argued that after several months’ use, I could grow accustomed to these differences, but I see no reason to force myself to ignore problems that should not exist in the first place. Were I further along in my programming knowledge, I would hack the application myself or even be so bold as to make the specific recommendation that the LibreOffice team focus on perfectly mimicking Office’s simple functions before adding all the bells and whistles.

I suppose no application will ever meet the expectations of everyone all the time, but I’ve never had to return to Microsoft Office with such dread since I began using Windows 95 versus the old typewriter my mother let me play with as a child.

1 comment » | Article, Rant, Writing

Revel in my achievement!

March 28th, 2012 — 1:50am

This has absolutely nothing to do with writing or Christianity or anything I’ve talked about in recent months. This is just a personal achievement.

Sunday evening, I decided that it was time to up the RAM on my PC and went to Micro Center since theirs was the cheapest. I’d researched the type I wanted and how much I’d wanted to spend and had even factored the $30 that would be necessary for the folks at Micro Center to install said RAM for me come Monday morning.

Whether it was frugality, procrastination or just plain laziness, I never got to Micro Center on Monday and instead spent the night researching how install RAM. After watching no less than 10 videos on YouTube each describing the same process, I decided that this couldn’t be that difficult to up my RAM from 6 to 16GB and…this evening, I did it! The entire process took roughly 30-40 minutes when I include all the unplugging, looking up a last minute how-to video, saying a few prays about proper grounding for myself, the actual installation and the time praying as I waited for the PC to boot. All in all, not a bad way to spend an hour and voila!

Voila! I've done it!

This process was far too simple to seem this scare, what with the concept of grounding oneself and now my next project will be to revive my old Xbox from it’s purgatory of RROD. If life had Xbox achievements, there would be a “Ba-loop!” and a brief sign near the corner of my eye stating, “Install PC Component for the First Time 200G!”

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Woot! Finished!!!

March 18th, 2012 — 11:55pm


It’s rare that I get to have a post that includes FOUR exclamation points, but I thought this post was worthy of it.

I FINISHED!!! The first full draft of Damen is finally done.

I don’t think I can actually count how many years it’s taken me to get to this point…but I’ll try.

The idea came to me with one of my normal “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” thoughts in the middle of my 16th century Brit Lit class and that was towards the end of 2007. Some of the earliest notes I can find for Damen are tagged as last edited in mid-2008 when I decided to pace myself on the novel because I wanted to see whether or not Barack Obama would get elected. If I look back to my first post about writing at this blog in May 2009, I mention trying to understand some nuances between Damen and Jessie, which would have been still very early in the novel (maybe even the third chapter out of 40) and when I was still doing the heavy notes for the novel…So, I suppose that puts me at a little more than 3 YEARS writing this thing.

I’ll note that I’m not as overjoyed as I should be given that, at 287,984 words, I’ve got some definite trimming ahead of me and I’m also rather tired, but I’d like to take a moment and look back to the first time I finished a novel five years ago. I think I’m in that same place.

Today, March 18, 2012 at 11:24PM ET, I finished my first “publishable” novel. I’ll also note that between Flight, Evan and Alex, this is actually my fourth overall novel, but to have some thing in my virtual hands that I could actually send to an agent/publisher is an achievement I knew I would get, but had never considered the moment until now. In fact, it made me tear up, just a little.

And so, on I trek! With almost 200K to cut before I can start sending this to anyone, I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I’ll posts will be still be forthcoming since I’ve never had to edit my own work before, so this will be the start of a brand new adventure! 🙂

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A house?

February 2nd, 2012 — 11:14pm

I’ve not written specifically in this blog for a while and I’ve got a great article coming, but until then a post from my WordPress ( will have to suffice:

For the first time in my life I considered that idea that I should be a homeowner. I actually started to look into what homes would be in my price range before I started to add some logic to it, but I can’t escape the fact that I actually thought about it.

I’ve been anti-house for a long time, but in recent months, I seem to be running out of space in my townhouse; and I really want a garage again. The living room isn’t large enough for all my stuff anymore and I would really like to have a decent sized kitchen again. I won’t be able to afford the kind of house I grew up in yet, but the idea of a little space that’s all my own is starting to sound more attractive than it ever did.

“Now is the time to buy” is all I ever hear nowadays and I’m wanting more than ever to feel like a “real” adult with a mortgage and a car note and all the other debt that the rest of America has. Now, feels like the time.

This idea faded a bit on the drive home, but it’s still there nagging at me as something to consider. That said, just a week ago, I almost dropped 1500 to buy a MacBook just because I wanted one, so I realize I just get caught up in the moment at times.

I had planned on getting more writing done today than I did.

I wrote 1003 words today (dinner with Angel and Anthony that evening.). As far as my writing goes, I’m starting to see what I used to attempt daily as not nearly enough any more. I used to pray daily for 500 words, but now when I see that all I wrote was 500 and I highlight it on the page, it looks like nothing and it’s no wonder that it’s taken me three years to write this book.

All this notwithstanding, I wrote a poem today; probably the first in about five years. It’s not truly “my” poem in the sense that I “was” my character Dana Barrington while writing it, but still, poetry is hard and I’m always lightly amused at the result when it’s done.

I wasn’t going to write any poems at all for this project, but I’ve got Damen and Dana discussing poetry in depth and it won’t feel right without at least one:

The story

How do I tell the story
to someone so young?
Should I lie
Should I weep?
Say nothing?
Keep it deep?

He’ll ask the question
I know it; soon
I’ll take time
I’ll get by
But can I look
In his eye?

How do I tell the story
to someone so young?
I’ll make it quick
We’ll feel our pain
But he’ll know he wasn’t
Born in vain.

I was inspired, and thus my character was inspired, for the poem after reading an Emily Dickinson (If I can stop one heart from breaking) and I don’t think much of it, but it’s done and now I can move on with the rest of the book, especially since I completed Chapter 24 tonight.

Comments Off on A house? | On Me, Writing

Dorienne vs. the devil

August 22nd, 2011 — 1:36am

Re-posted from my blog:

Every Sunday for the past three or four years, I’ve had a personal ritual that took me close to a year to recognize. Each Sunday following church, I require a three to five-hour nap. The nap by itself is nothing remarkable as many people take naps on weekends because the time is available, but I am not a nap person. The only time I end up sleeping during the day is when I’ve gone the last 28 hours without sleep and I have to go to sleep; I don’t nap. Every Sunday, however, I require a nap following church.

This Sunday nap only occurs on Sundays when I go to church. After going the entire month of July without setting foot in my church, I’ve tested this empirically and came to a conclusion I suspected long ago, but never had the opportunity to truly examine.

What’s fascinating is that I’m not doing anything that would require sleep on a Sunday afternoon. I usually get a full-night’s sleep Saturday evenings, the drive to the church doesn’t take any longer than the drive to first-job , I don’t wake any earlier than I do during the week and most weeks I don’t do much more than clap a little, sing with the choir a bit and take notes from the sermon. Logically, there’s no need for this Sunday nap, but when I sit down and really consider what is happening to me each Sunday morning, it makes perfect sense.

My current schedule with first-job makes it virtually impossible to visit my church throughout the week, so the only time when I have an opportunity to enter God’s house with the specific purpose of praise is Sunday morning. Every Sunday, however, I run into a gamut of emotions and “whisperings” in my ear that would prevent me from attending church.

First comes sheer laziness, as my bed is never as warm and comfortable as it is when I have to leave it to go to church in the morning. Adding onto that laziness comes procrastination which comes in the form of everything from checking all my e-mail accounts to perusing every single Facebook update from the past sixteen hours, even those I’d read the previous day, and on occasion even finding my way to StumbleUpon or Twitter to really waste the morning.

On Sundays when I make it to church, I must actually battle through all the negative, lazy thoughts and the onslaught of procrastination thrown in my direction just to get myself to the shower. Even after that, I’ve got the slow haul of getting dressed and putting on my makeup and, in that time, all these thoughts of “Wow, you’re already going to be late. You probably should just give up for now.” flow through my head. Some weeks, I give in to this line of thinking and don’t get to church, but when I pray about it the previous night and I set my mind to it, I can usually push through all of this and can get out the door.

Once out the door, a hunger, that I never usually meet so early in the morning, can often set in and all these desires to make pit stops along the way to church come to mind. Perhaps a stop at McDonald’s first? Maybe I’ll just stop at the Walgreen’s real quick to get something? Still, if I focus on the task at hand, I can get to the highway and finally get to the neighborhood where my church is.

My church’s neighborhood is not in the best of places, but that is where God put me and despite my best efforts to go elsewhere…that is where He put me. That said, when I come close to that neighborhood, thoughts of safety sometimes spark. “It’s really not safe for me to be out here” is most common, but even within three minutes of the church I can still get thoughts of all the million other things I’ve got to do that day and given that I’m already late…well, perhaps I can just get there next week when I’ll be on time?

After I push through all of this, I get to the church parking lot and on most days, I’m usually fine once I can see the finish line, but even there, I can still be tempted. Some weeks, I’m almost an hour late for service and the desire to not appear to be one of “those” Christians is deep and on one disastrous occasion, even caused me to just drive home, even though I was already there! With that memory in the back of my mind, thoughts of “You’ve done it before” and “You can always go next week” continually filter into my mind. God is good though and it is rare that I’ll turn away once I get within thirty seconds of the church doors, but still…it takes quite a bit of effort just to get out of the car.


All I do on a Sunday morning is get up, get dressed and go to church, but the act of doing all of this is a battle. It’s a weekly battle that gets no easier as time continues; in fact, it gets more difficult the longer I try to walk in line with Christ and, after a morning of stepping around the mental boxing ring with the devil, by Sunday afternoon, I’m completely exhausted and I just need a nap.

I wrote 714 words today (window popped on the screen from “himebrit”) and, while I had to battle to write them, that fight is nothing compared to the one I’ll face next when it’s time to go to church again.

Comments Off on Dorienne vs. the devil | Deep Thought, Favorite, Jesus

Dear Netflix: I still heart you

July 12th, 2011 — 10:13pm

So, I like many other Netflix users, received a disheartening e-mail today about a change in the Netflix pricing. Now, instead of receiving streaming and DVDs together at one price, each service is offered separately and charged separately.

Currently, I have 5 discs out at a time and I get free streaming for the pretty price of 34.99, plus tax. Starting in September, I will have the same service for 35.98, plus tax…barely a dollar increase for the same service.

The cheapskate that I am would normally be outraged at being charged more for the same service, but if I liken it to cable service, Netflix comes out the winner. For years Time Warner had effectively screwed me over by increasing their prices as much as ten dollars a month for receiving the exact same service, without having reasons as valid as Netflix’s.

What reasons, you ask? How about multi-fold increases in the customer base, all running off the same servers and all needing to increase the contracts with the studios? Sounds like a fair reason to increase a bit for the least profitable services.

What’s not profitable, you ask? How about the people paying 16.99 for 3 discs at a time and also a service that people who have no discs pay for 7.99? If you do the math, it only makes sense to differ the services as the folks paying 16.99 are getting far more than anyone else on line.

Now, someone like me at the higher echelon of Netflix service barely feels in the increase at all. In fact, it feels like a decent and expected increase for the cost of service and I don’t remember this big a stink when the previous year’s price increases came to light. That said, if you were paying just 16.99 for 3 discs at a time, you have been rather hosed, but seriously…why are people losing their minds over this? Did no one ever expect that Netflix prices were eventually going to increase over time?

It’s unfortunate that if you originally paid less than $20 for an awesome service that you now have to pay a whopping 8 dollars more than you did two months earlier, but when you consider the alternative, you are still paying far less than you did for cable.

If you are pressed for cash, then decide what you use more. Are you really taking advantage of all three discs at your house at the same time you stream movies and TV shows? If not, take advantage of one of the brilliant other offers available, like 1 disc at a time for 15.98, for example, and stop crying. If you do use all three discs and stream like crazy, then be advised that the gravy train stops here.

I, however, not being cheap when it comes to my Netflix love, feel very little of this new chain of events and, honestly, if a price hike is what it takes to keep Netflix service great and keep them from moving their call centers to abroad, I’ll pay an extra dollar or eight any day.

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