Let it Linger

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There have been times that I truly wish could have lingered on a little longer. Moments when I knew this was one of the best moments of my life and I wanted to hold on to them. Sometimes in daydreams I go back in time, trying to feel that specialness again. They sit on the protected shelves in the halls of my memories and from time to time I take them down, dust them off, and cherish them for what they are.

When I was little, perhaps only a couple of years old I have a special memory of splashing around in my tiny pool on the rooftop of our apartment building. The water was cool on my tiny pink toes and the contrast against my hot skin made me feel exhilarated. The freedom of being alive, happy in the comfort of my toddler bubble was appreciated so much that I placed it as one of my favorite memories to be cherished my whole life.

The memory didn’t need to have other complex attachments. Even though in spite of my age, I knew that things would not stay this way forever and I had a need to appreciate the memory. Isn’t it funny how even little children have an understanding of important things?

CastlesA few years later I was snuggled close in the big bed with my great-grandmother. The covers were pulled up around us as we sat back on big fluffy pillows. Between us we had a bag full of snack sized 3 Musketeer bars that we shared. We were watching Gallagher, a comedian popular for smashing watermelons on stage and splashing his audience. Truthfully, I didn’t get most of his jokes. But I loved watching it with her and I laughed every time he took a sledge-hammer to a melon. I knew this was a special time with her. When she died many years later, the only thing I wanted was to crawl in bed with her again and pull the covers around us.   Now, from time to time, my daughter who is 15 and I will crawl into my bed for that special place and snuggle close to talk about life and share some chocolate.

First dates, first kisses, and first intimate moments all take their place in the halls of my memories. Laughing in the rain as it poured down on our heads as my husband and I danced through the mud to the music only we heard in our head as we fell in love. Hanging on to the moment as tight as we could, not letting anything spoil the memory we were making, that became part of our love story.

More recently I was sitting in a coffee shop overlooking the beach with my daughter. She and I love it there, we sit for hours watching the waves, look for seals, enjoying free wi-fi from the coffee shop. There was a moment that I drift to regularly that takes me to this favorite spot. I was writing on my laptop, reflecting on life and happiness. The sun was shining and it was just one of those incredibly beautiful days. As usual, Lance called for his daily chat. And I remember saying to him that this was possibly one of the happiest days of my life. For a rare time, everyone was happy. I was feeling really good. I was so thankful for the people in my life. I wanted to save that moment forever.

He had such a great way of looking at things. He and I talked about how our lives were actually taking a turn for the best. We were both making efforts to capture the spirit of true happiness in our lives. He was going to ask the girl he loved to be his wife. I was going to make some changes that were long overdue. We talked about a friend of ours that we were both overjoyed to reconnect with. He was going to call him and I had just came home from a visit. We talked about wanting to stay in the glow of this amazing day. It was one of our best talks in one the best places. We laughed and said he needed to come to the beach with me next time he was visiting and we talked about him coming to visit for Thanksgiving. He didn’t make it. He died in an accident just a couple of weeks later.

Amazing days all have to come to an end sometime. We get them and we save them in special places. When we need them, we get to go back to those days and linger in their warmth. I know I’ll have many more moments to add to as time goes by. Hopefully I am included in some of the special moments with others I love too. I know that for those that have passed on, these special times I shared with them make me feel like they are still with me. It’s as if we have this common place that we return to together and we can linger there in this timeless place.

Some choose to fill their memories with sadness or anger. Those feelings make it hard to take comfort in the times that were good. I don’t want to be that sort of person. I don’t want the images in my heart to be of tears or rage. I want to be back in my Gram’s big bed instead of hiding behind locked doors. Or sitting in the perfect coffee shop talking to my best friend, not knowing that it might be the last heart to heart conversation he and I would ever have. We actually get that choice. We have the option to accept this day as one of the best ones of our lives and breathe in this sense of joy or to be so busy and consumed with the negative feelings that we let these moments pass by without saving them for when we might need them.

Not every day is perfect. We have those frustrating days to make us appreciate the ones that are magical and worth putting on a special shelf. We all need bad days to make the good ones feel ever better, don’t you think?

Love, Crysta - Dancing With Fireflies

 

Owning Your Title

Take ownership of your title

As my writing career has begun to shift lately I’ve been amazed at how my titles have also changed. It wasn’t so long ago that my only claim to fame was once being a pre-school teacher and my fans were really just 2 year olds who loved my monster noises and snack time. I have always thought of myself as a writer, but it wasn’t until last year that my writing started to take off and I began actually receiving paychecks for my efforts.

Somehow once I received a paycheck for what I have given away my whole life changed how I saw myself. I felt a strange sense of pride and ownership of the title writer.

Since then I’ve also enjoyed other titles bestowed upon me like Content Writer, Thought Creator, Creative Specialist, and Blogger.  All titles I love to wear proudly on my imaginary nametag that I wear to work every morning.

But saying it out loud took me a while. I used to shy away and revert back to “Homemaker” to avoid questions I wasn’t prepared to answer.

Recently I heard myself telling a young woman that I am a writer only to hear her almost scream and giggle in delight and flood me with a dozen questions.

What do you write?

Do you have a blog?

What’s your Twitter handle?

Can I follow you?

I looked around to see that other people in the coffee shop had suddenly stopped sipping and started listening. The spotlight was on me and truthfully, I was both ready to run and ready to take the stage. As an introvert, I am a GREAT writer because I don’t mind locking myself in my office for weeks. But ask me a direct question or several and I am ready to say anything as I look for the exit. However, this was also a moment where I wanted to shine and have a moment to be proud of the hard work I put in.

I am a travel and food blogger, and I write for several websites as well as my own Dancing with Fireflies.

I do, Fireflydance.net.  I hope you will look it up. It’s lovely if you like coffee and creative freeflow writing.

I am new to Twitter, but my handle is @MorningTempest and I would love it if you would follow me. Twitter is a great space but I could use some friends.

Then all at once, I had people reaching for their cell phones, pieces of paper, and my fans were no longer toddlers, but actual readers.

I recently signed up for a blogging conference and on the forms there were spaces to list your credentials, links, and your title.  It was this intense moment when I started listing the places I write for, my links and my titles that it really hit me that I stopped writing as a hobby to keep track of my life and became authentic.

My favorite story, The Velveteen Rabbit, talked about the value of what is real and what is pretend.  The power of being real, owning the dream that you are working to create and living it.  I have always dreamed of being a writer, not because I can tell a good story, but because I have stories lined up to be told.  I don’t write because I can, I write because if I don’t then I don’t feel real.

Sure, like everyone I both love my job and procrastinate doing it.  But I also have a drive to write that wakes me up at night and keeps me entertained with possibilities.

I am a writer.

So what is your title? Are you an artist, singer, photographer, ect?  Do you fear the sound of your title or do you use it out loud and proud?app

Gymboree Sale On Now!

In sickness and in health

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When we got married, we had a lot of crazy things on our minds. For us, it was already complicated.  We started things off by throwing every obstacle in the world at our marriage.  We launched right into having a family, not a small one.. one cute kid and a dog, but a large one ending in 5 kids, dogs, cats, and a ton of debt that we managed to dig out of and turn around into forging a life that is both comfortable and stable.  My husband was and is a fighter, not the mean fist kind of fighter, but the kind that tackles the problems head on and solves them. He is great at solving problems. But I know that my diagnosis of having Chronic Lyme disease has been a frustrating problem that even he hasn’t been able to solve.

Featured on BlogHer.comWe knew that forging a family was going to be hard.  We came from different backgrounds and locations. We had different views about parenting and money.  But we managed to work out how we were going to both be equals. But what we didn’t know was that I was going to also be fighting a bigger battle with my health in addition.  I wasn’t diagnosed with Lyme disease until a few years after we were married.  I’d gone to so many doctors asking what was wrong with me and coming home with results that were either terrifying or depressing. I’d been diagnosed with MS, Chronic Fatigue, depression, PCOS, Hypoglycemia, Anemia, thyroid issues, hormone imbalances, even questioned if a brain tumor was hiding in my skull. Until I was finally diagnosed and treated by a Lyme literate doctor who truthfully learned how to treat Lyme patients through trial and error in my case.  We didn’t get the newlywed world of bliss, instead we were tossed into the reality of life together.

02aThe marriage question.. “Do you take this person to be your spouse in sickness and in health?” always comes to mind when I feel my worst and my husband is there at my side trying to find something, anything to ease my pain and discomfort. And I am not always the easiest to get along with when I don’t feel well. He should have married a healthy wife. He should have had the chance to climb mountains, windsurf the wild oceans, or at least someone who can keep up with him on a walk. I can only try. But sometimes I just can’t. I sometimes think about what choices I would have made if I knew I was sick when it happened. For me, I was a kid, probably younger than 12 when I was bitten by a tick in rural Tennessee.  At the time, tick bites were common.  I would come in from being in the woods, and if I happened to spot a tick latched on to me, I’d flick it off.. or ask my Gram to take a match to it. That was how it was done. There wasn’t a worry that in the future that bite might change the course of my life and that of my family I didn’t know I’d have.  I’ve had moments after being diagnosed, that I worried that I’d passed on this illness to my children. They have had issues with pain and inflammation, but the doctors try to reassure me that there hasn’t been any proof that Lyme disease can be passed on from mother to child. But admittedly there were moments when I was so scared and frightened of this disease that I questioned if I ever should have been a mother. It was my husband who crawled into bed beside me and over and over reminded me that our children are smart, healthy, and wonderful. I couldn’t have known I was sick before they came.  I only started experiencing the worst symptoms of Lyme after the birth of my daughter.   Still the fear haunts me that somehow I’ve damaged my children’s futures.

Lyme disease added a lot of complications to my marriage. But I am beyond thankful that unlike many, my husband is here for me.  Through the scary appointments and frightening test results, he has been the strong one and held me while I worked through the anxiety and depression that often comes with having an illness that has been described as both debilitating and even deadly. My husband had taught me that Lyme is just a part of life, our lives together. And never once has he said out loud that he wished he married someone who wasn’t sick. Instead he’s said he loves the wife he married, even though she wakes him up in the middle of the night with tremors and crying spells.

I’ve heard many times how lucky I am to have a strong support system, people who love me and understand what is happening with me. I know I am blessed to have them, even more blessed to have a husband that I respect and love more each day than the day before. Even though I daydream from time to time if it would have been better for him if he’d never met me. I know I am better for having him in my life.

02aI feel like we are stronger now than we have ever been. We’ve encountered the hardest trials of marriage, children, money issues, deaths in the family, moving, and even a chronic illness.  As we’ve grown older, I think that we’ve found a  better rhythm, a beautiful song we dance to together that is sometimes tinted Lyme green.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month.  I hope that you will reach out to someone you know and let them know that they are not fighting this battle alone. Every year Lyme survivors will end their struggle through suicide. Taking their own lives because they can't stand to be a burden to anyone else, because they are so tired, so sick of being sick.  I hope you will take a moment to let them know that they are important in  your life and they don't have to be alone.
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Stay Healthy While Blogging

As a writer I know from my past mistakes how easy it is to fall bad habits while trying to pursue a writing career. We get so involved in our writing that sometimes we fail to see that we haven’t eaten right, lack exercise and the only light we see is that glowing burn from our screens. Before you know it, you’ve packed on the pounds, turned an awful shade of pale, and walking to the bathroom leaves you out of breath.

Set yourself up with some healthy habits and not only will your writing improve, but your body will thank you!

Eat Healthy

When I first decided to pursue writing I was very excited about the idea of setting my own hours, having more time for my family, and being known as a writer. But what I wasn’t prepared for was that it wasn’t as easy as sitting down and writing a few thousands perfect words and then sending it off to be praised by everyone who read my masterpiece. In fact there is a lot 01more to a writing career than actual writing. So after a few months I found myself skipping breakfast, sometimes lunch, hoarding chips in my desk, and drinking way too much coffee. And 15lbs later, I realized I wasn’t an instant success and the only thing I’d gained from losing my healthy track was more jiggle when I emerged from my office.

So now every morning before I make my way to my office I have a quick easy breakfast. A quick yogurt parfait, a frozen egg biscuit sandwich that I’ve made ahead on the weekend, or just a simple toast with avocado and feta are quick options that take little time and effort and can be taken with you.

Pack yourself healthy snacks for the day. I like to grab some crunchy nuts and mix them with some dried fruit, toss them into a small mason jar. Then when I feel the snack need coming on, I have something I don’t feel bad about reaching for. Sometimes I’ll even add some ranch dressing to the bottom of a small jar and toss carrot sticks in so I have a small pre-measured snack.

Don’t forget to have lunch! I still struggle with this one. I get into a good groove around noon and I have a hard time stopping to go make lunch. So I set a reminder to have lunch and take a break around 1 and get into a routine of stopping for lunch, stretching, and getting away from my desk.

Don’t Forget The Water!

No, drinking 4 cups of coffee doesn’t count as drinking water. Go ahead, have that cup of coffee if that gets your day started. But pack a fruit water into your day by tossing in some frozen fruit a few ice cubes and a straw into your cup. Try taking a few sips as you sit back to reread what you wrote, or set a timer to take a sip every 30 minutes. Before you know it, you’ll have gotten your daily water intake.

Breaks are important to the writing process

Make a routine out of getting up, walking around, stretching, and getting some water in between you lunch break and the end of the day. Clearing your head and getting movement into your body is not only good for your body but for your brain. How many times have we gotten stuck in our chairs trying to write or take care of business only to see that 3 hours have gone by and only noticed this because we have to go to the bathroom?

01sI like to take a few minutes to walk away from technology – phones, computers, ect. and get outside. No matter what the weather, getting outside and getting some fresh air is the best way to reset my train of thought and energize. Often I’ll let my co-workers outside to stretch and wag their tails, go out with them and get some yoga movements in and blood flow back to my limbs. You writing will still be there when you get back, but taking care of yourself must be a priority too.

Need a quick pep up? Put on your earbuds and dance music, get your body moving and enjoy being alive! No matter where you are, good music and a quick dance party is sure to bring a smile to your face and some motivation to your writing. That extra dose of oxygen is great for your thinking!

Don’t Worry!

We all have deadlines, schedules, and pressure to accomplish it all in a day. But stress can be a real dead-end for your writing pieces. It’s hard to focus on good writing when you are thinking about how you are going to pay for car repairs, fights with your family, or the drama on Facebook. Take some time when you feel the distraction to calm your mind, meditate, and focus on your writing. You can’t solve every problem. You have to keep moving because you can’t go backwards. And most of all, bad thoughts mean bad writing.

Even for an emotional writer like myself, sometimes I just have to stop and find my happy place for a while before going back to a particular heavy place. My own emotional health is more important than sinking into the depths of stress and frustration. When I am having a hard time letting it go, I know there is a special place called the Internet filled with funny baby animal videos sure to make me smile. It’s okay to be human and need a mental break.

We are all guilty of trying to do too many things in a day and letting our health take the backseat. But with just a few healthy habits, we don’t have to. It becomes easy and routine, so we can focus on being terrific writers.

What healthy tips do you have for healthy blogging?

DWF Interviews – Bartholomew Korbyn

Interview with Bartholomew Korbyn

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

From the top. My name is Bartholomew Korbyn, or so I like that persona, that extension of myself, to be called. A bit of mystery never hurts so I chose the name many years ago as a pseudonym. I’m twenty-four, hailing from Backwater; which is the name I so lovingly give my hometown. If you want to learn a bit more about it and life therein, check out the preview of my book on Amazon. Currently I’m studying for my MA in English and American literature in Kassel, Germany. In my spare time I get into trouble and work my way through the cracks.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

To be honest, I wanted to make something out of my writing when I entered college back in Backwater. Professionally I decided to take my chance when I moved to Germany. It was due to the life I am forced to lead here. A dead-end job, barely any chances of a successful and fulfilling life, I found out that I’m not actually fit for something one would call a “normal life”. It feels like a chain around my neck and being a writer means a certain freedom for me. Not to be tied down by a place or other chains, just to live how I want for once. So, about a year ago was that turning point.

Who inspired you to write?

The one and only “murder of innocence and dreams” George R.R. Martin, with a bit of Homer to go along for the ride.

What was the first thing that you wrote that made you really proud of your work?

That would be the prologue to the fantasy series I was writing back in high school. I gave that thirty page “prologue” everything I got.

What is your latest book about?

Well my latest book would also be my first published one. It’s called “How to Live – A story called: Chasing Tomorrow” and is the first part of a duology; maybe a short novella to serve as an epilogue to the two as well. Now, I could dress up this part in the most pompous wordplay taken right out of the Shakespeare playbook, so I won’t. It’s an honest story about life and feeling trapped in life. It stars two friends who feel uncomfortable with themselves and their position in Backwater so they take everything they have, which is basically just their wish to live a little, and try to see if they can survive on the road. They go on an adventure to learn more about themselves, life and whatever they can steal along the way.

What are the inspirations for this book?

The idea for this novel came from a discussion my best friend and I had back in the golden age of college. We wanted to skip town and backpack through Romania. Just say “to hell with this” and bail. We never did, which does not mean we won’t. So I designed the two leads after my best friend and myself and put them into all kinds of situations in order to show how far desperation and monotony can drive you.

Tell us about publishing and how you chose the route you took.

“How to Live” was originally written four years ago and I sent it to agencies and publishing companies. Granted, back then the book was more of a rough draft than something really publishable, but I just wanted to try. Many of the agencies and publishers shot me down right away, but some showed promise and gave me constructive criticism. Six months ago I rewrote the book from start to finish and tried my luck again with agencies. This time they replied with interest but were all seeking one thing – market appeal. The novel does not exactly fit a category and they wanted me to change as much as possible for the purpose of raking in money. I don’t want that and never will, because I firmly believe the book has enough potential, even the most potential, just the way it is. So I went my own way; the hard way.

What books do you read?

Because I study literature the genres which I’m required to read go off the charts. I started with fantasy and SF, thanks to my father. Today, those two still remain my favorite genres and I tend to always have a personal reading pleasure in between assignments. Currently I’m mostly working with classics such as Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain, Henry James and Charles Dickens.

What is your favorite book?

“Cather in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, and I don’t care! It feels like the author knew me before I was born.

Who is your favorite author and why?

No, it’s no Salinger, but Homer. I spent my youth with the Iliad and Odyssey and have never looked back. His ideal blend of style and substance is amazing. I can analyze his words to the depths of hell and can read them for the sake of the story, which no one will ever be able to match, ever.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Very simple answer. After I graduate I will fake my suicide to launch the book into the stratosphere of popularity while my two best friends are assigned the royalties, with me living on a secluded island somewhere in the pacific or Micronesia. During that solitude I will write books and stories which my friends publish as “found manuscripts” and we all live a financially secure life. I do what I love and with a fake identity can even see the world while we all divide the cash between us. See, simple.

What do you think makes your writing different?

I try to keep my writing in the sweet spot between crude and shrewd. In regards to my first book, one could set it apart because it would technically belong to the long lost “adventure” genre. It has a soundtrack, as each chapter has a song devoted to it, and features a blend of real places and fantastic events; fantastic meaning hard to believe and not dragons. I wanted to mold it that way; to keep a certain sense of disbelief while you read, yet you can still imagine trekking through those places. Each chapter also comes from the first person view of one of the two main characters, so we get insight into how they think and how they see the world. You are not supposed to believe this all happened, but you will wish it did.

How do you feel about bloggers?

I love blogs and bloggers, and I’m not saying this because I’m currently writing for a blog. When the possibility of having your own blog came up years ago I jumped on the bandwagon instantly. During the biggest hype I was a ghost writer for a myriad of blogs and held at least five of my own. Bloggers are a special breed of writers because they don’t follow many rules and are often not bound by restrictions, which makes it ideal for creativity to blossom on their sites and in their own minds.

Are bloggers real writers?

Most of them are. A “writer” can be many things, not only fiction or creative writing need to be taken into consideration. Independent journalism comes to mind; basically everything from personal statements to poetry, if you produce quality and have something to say, in my book you’re a writer. Just because the market does not want anything that does not feature vampires, does not mean it should not be said or written down.

What is the last thing you read?

“Art and Identity: Essays on the aesthetic creation of mind.” I took some time off from reading fiction.

What is the last thing you wrote?

A seminar in linguistics entitled “How to approach translating Ezra Pound”. It was hell on earth and even having to work with Pound did not help the fact that it was all linguistics; which you can probably guess is my arch nemesis.

Do you prefer writing in pen or typing?

My handwriting is a mix between Aztec scripture, Cuneiform script and Hieroglyphs, so I prefer to type, because then people and I can understand it.

Do you read paper books or ebooks?

Nothing beats paper, but I do read ebooks when I have to. One day I want to see my own book in paper. That will be the greatest success of my life so far.

Do you think there is still value in printed books?

Undoubtedly! Printed books are the essence of writing and knowledge. Just because we have the technology to view everything on a screen, does not mean that something as vital to our culture as the book can be forgotten or lose value. This is proven by the fact that printed books still outsell ebooks every day and that people have not forgotten to fill up their libraries with not files, but hardcopies.

Do you remember the first book you ever read?

“The Three Little Pigs” was the first “book” I read back when I was about three years old. First “real book” was “Azure Bonds” by Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb. As a kid I adored the “Forgotten Realms” world and gobbled down everything in the various series.

We would like to thank Bartholomew Korbyn again for being an important part of the Dancing with Fireflies community. YOU ROCK!