Lethal Poison And The Scorpion

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The title sounds slightly gruesome (I’m a writer who, up until a few weeks ago, was researching serial killers. Leave me alone, okay? LOL.), but it is merely a reference for people who’ve known me my entire career, or at the very least, a good enough chunk of it, and know what to expect from me.

It seems like only yesterday when I was first given the idea to write something immensely simple. After that, it was as if I’d been plugged in to something unique and special, and I certainly was. Back then, I didn’t know what it was precisely, or where it would lead, but the path less traveled has been both good, and not so good, to me.

A lot of people ask themselves “When do I get to call myself a writer?” or “When am I officially a writer?” First and foremost; there are many different types of writers. Some people write music, poetry, movie scripts. Some write books, plays, or simply share their thoughts in a creative way. When you do it and can’t stop doing it because you are driven by a genuine need to share your thoughts and acquire feedback, good or bad, then you, my friend, are a writer.

Don’t get me wrong, though. It’s important not to twist things; plenty of people “write” and aren’t true writers. It’s a fact. Many are published authors who I will not call out by name, but nevertheless, they’ve hit a lucky strike at the end of a rainbow because there is zero talent to what they’re doing. It’s published gibberish that would make any true writer cringe. I spend more days cringing when work is submitted to me for editing than I do enjoying the work of another writer. Sad, but true. Sometimes, no matter how strongly you guide someone, they simply cannot be a gifted storyteller. There’s no shame in that. I believe it is inherently within a person, or not. It is not something I will ever feel is taught.

Some people come at you, as a “writer”, from a different angle. Satire, humor, playfulness, honesty, anger. The list is never-ending. Choose an emotion and/or a genre and I assure you; someone, somewhere, is writing about it.

I’m told we all have our “gifts”, our niche, in life, and that it is through exploration and exploration alone that we stumble upon said gifts. But there are many people who are lucky; achieving a measure of success through connections, as opposed to genuine talent. Then there are those who are born with immense gifts they’re simply waiting to share with the world, gifts they are, too often, not aware of.

If my gift with the written and spoken word had not been encouraged, supported, applauded, then I might be doing something boring at this very moment; something I loathe with every fiber of my being.

I know far too many people who’ve been in the same job for twenty, thirty, or forty years and absolutely HATE what they do. I have my moments. I’ve never hesitated to discuss them openly and honestly, but my gift? No, I don’t regret it; not any of them.

I’ve spent the majority of my life being put down, shunned, laughed at, and/or insulted for being creatively talented, as opposed to a “follow the rules” type. I would rather live an authentic life, as opposed to one chosen for me by others. I would rather pick and choose my wealth of knowledge, as opposed to doing what is “expected”. That is precisely how one masters the art of being gifted with a talent.

I speak the way I write. I live the way I write. It’s one of the reasons people like and respect me. It’s one of the reasons I get feedback that doesn’t require anyone kissing my ass telling me how great I am. I don’t walk around trying to be anything I am not. In turn, I feel it helps the words be more clear for others. Because it’s honest; it’s easy to relate. I’ve had many people tell me when they could not relate to something I wrote or said, but they still respected the hell out of me for putting my thoughts out into the universe so boldly. I never looked at it the way they did, not until receiving that level of feedback. I was simply writing, and they were reading with their senses fully engaged. I call that mutual respect.

Several years ago I started shutting down certain aspects of myself that I was told were “wrong” or “needed work”. It turns out the people whispering lies in my ears were wrong. Very wrong. The only time I need to work on something is when I choose to work on it, and only then. I am fully entitled to my feelings, thoughts, unique point of view, and even more entitled to live my truth. It is more important to me to tell the true stories than it is for me to pretend.

Whispering lies to someone is a form of manipulative abuse. It’s a way of telling someone they’re not good enough in YOUR eyes, usually because YOU don’t like certain attributes they possess. Often because it makes you uncomfortable, or because you’re jealous you don’t possess the same level of strength. I’ve had people tell me they could NEVER be the kind of friend I am to others, and then turn around and tell me my friends wouldn’t love me if they had to live with me. That came from a former best friend, and it came from a place of jealousy because she couldn’t even be a solid best friend to ONE person, leave alone multiple people. She did not understand how crucial being a good friend is to the core of who I am, and so, a friendship I thought would always be present is a friendship no longer. Her choice. Her immense loss.

Most people don’t think I’m funny, which is perfectly okay. My friends and my brother find me HILARIOUS, and that’s because they get me. I don’t care if other people lack the ability to grasp my humor, because those that do are invaluable to me. Criticizing my sense of humor is only going to make me laugh at you, it isn’t going to poison my mind against my wacky, twisted humor. I have to live with me. I have to look in the mirror and be able to face that person day in and day out.

I wasn’t raised to worry about being liked or loved by others. I’m secure enough in myself to not need the approval of everyone around me. Sure, at least once a day it would be nice to not be insulted or told I’m wrong, or be accused of things I’ve never even thought of, leave alone committed, but that’s not MY issue and I’m not going to carry it with me any longer. I do, however, have to be true to myself.

So, Lethal Poison is back in business. This Scorpion may glow, but she’s not afraid to sting, either. You decide which side you’d like to be on. I’ll keep speaking the truth.

Vi veri universum vivus vic~ “By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe.”

copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

I’ve Got Nothing!

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I wish I had a dose of wisdom to bestow upon you today, but I don’t. I wish I had something to give that somehow made even just one person’s day brighter or easier, but I’ve got nothing. I am all out of poignancy at the moment. 😦 The thought is disheartening, to say the least.

I had an amazing character idea come to me in the shower the other day. Normally I would have immediately taken notes and elaborate on that idea, but I’ve decided to let it simmer inside my head. My fictional characters are loosely based off of people in my life. Some, not all. Many are an amalgamation of many people rolled into one. If a person is deeply entrenched in my life, they’re probably not safe showing off all of their character flaws in front of me. There’s this awesome mug I want and it says “Piss Me Off: Pay The Consequences”. As a writer, I definitely get my best revenge in print. Nine times out of ten, no one even knows what I am talking about, and that just goes to show you how unaware they are. Me? I’m self-aware and I’m glad for that because if someone were, on the off-chance, to write about me, they’re not smart enough or subtle enough for me to miss it. Reading between the lines is a special gift.

Call me crazy, but I don’t feel the need to make a laundry list of “2016 Writer’s Goals”. I’ve seen about a thousand of them on Twitter and they almost all say the same shit, ad nauseam. This year, I enter my 29th year as a writer. Far too many newbies discredit experience, mostly because they don’t have any to speak of. There is much to be said for the experienced writer who is comfortable in his or her own skin and mind.

The handful of times I have doubted aspects of my fictional work, a little voice would pop into my head and say “Pssh! You’ve written SO much. You’re attentive to the point of it being creepy. You’ve GOT THIS!” That is experience whispering in your ear; much like the angel/devil on each shoulder that some people like to speak of. My inner voice doesn’t lie, but people do, so I don’t put a lot of stock into a handful of people “loving it”. I’ve learned that a lot of people are scared to challenge me when it comes to my work or my words (and sadly, in my life in general), and so they will agree with me as opposed to saying “I didn’t really like or understand this part, can you elaborate?” I’m not SO bad that people have to fear asking a question or disagreeing with me, but apparently I am intimidating and intense, though my closest friends only see this on occasion, it is not a daily occurrence.

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Finding people who will challenge you, and not agree with every single thing you say, is crucial for any writer (or artistic creator). The few friends I have that do write are relieved that I don’t sugarcoat things. They know they can present their work to me and get an unbiased, honest thought process. They know I will push them to produce their best work. Honesty is a foundation of greatness, especially for the truly creative soul. I’d rather someone speak the truth as opposed to be fake with me, and this expands to all aspects of my life. I’m confident enough in my talents, but if I trust you enough to share my work ahead of publication, it’s okay not to like something. I will not bash you with a hockey stick for being real. I’m tough, but I’m not THAT bad. 😉

I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that it is important as a writer to take stock of your health. You can spend 16-20 hours a day in front of the computer, and while that might get you a completed manuscript or a ton of smaller completed projects, it can also lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. I know because mine required a LOT of rest and slowing down in order to go into “remission”. To this day, I still experience some pain in my hands and wrists and actual weakness in both hands when I overdo it, but thankfully it’s not daily. Don’t take your hands for granted; you only get two, if you’re lucky.

Posture is everything. Don’t slouch at the computer. If you feel your shoulders begin to touch your ears, you’re stressed and you’ve been sitting there way too long. It is time to take a break, straighten your neck/back. get some stretching in, and take a walk. You will already find that staring at the screen isn’t helpful, or productive. Magical words will not flow out of your fingertips. Step away and stop touching your face when you’re doing the slouch of exasperation in front of the computer. Sometimes it’s a good idea to pick up a notebook and a pen and make notes for a while, it often leads to a better period of writing because it helps spark creativity. I have always found that if I jot down 1-5 pages of notes, ideas, or dialogue, it will later result in roughly 15-30, or more, pages of high quality work that I am proud of. I type more than I write by hand, so when I’m filling up notebooks, you know I’ve got a dozen tricks up my sleeve.

I’d rather write 300 pages of my best work, than 600 pages that aren’t cohesive in the story-telling. I have to be able to read it from start to finish and say “Wow! This is really good! Who wrote this?” I have to be able to get lost in it. I have to be able to impress myself; no one else. I am not the first writer to exist and I am certainly not going to be the last, but I do have to be a captive audience.

Okay, so apparently I DID have something to offer today. I’ll celebrate that fact later. 😛

Carry on everyone, and unleash some genuine creativity this weekend.

copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Here’s What I’ve Learned

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2015 has been many things for me, but it’s hard, at the moment, to say it’s been kind. That would be a lie. Granted, there are pluses and minuses to every day, week, month, and year. It hasn’t all been bad, but it’s been hard times a million. We’ve all experienced this in some capacity or another, and if you haven’t, I assure you that you will, because that’s life.

This year my faith in people has been shattered. It wasn’t completely in tact to begin with, so you can only imagine what I’ve been through to say that and feel so strongly about it.

I’m done with people in the sense that they say one thing, do another, and lack the ability of being reliable and genuine. Not all people, but enough that I am disgusted on an incredibly large scale. I have a life to live. I have no time for ignorance, lack of empathy/compassion, and those who are intentionally uneducated in the sense of “Have you met my new friend, Google?” (Have Internet access? Good, then don’t be an asshole.) If you’re unsure of something and can research it, then I highly recommend doing so. If you’re simply being a vile person because you are ignorant of the world and the people around you, simply move out of my way. I have no time for crap, and I will roll over you. I might do it twice, to ensure my point has been made.

Sometimes bad things happen to extraordinarily wonderful people, and other times good things take the place of the bad. I have yet to see truly evil people get what they deserve, but I was always taught that I don’t need to focus on that because G-d has a plan for all of us that we simply do not see, or need to be witness to. If this is indeed the case, I’d like to get a move on because I no longer want to feel stuck, trapped, or tied to the wrong people in any aspect of my life.

This month alone I have experienced unparalleled tragedy, viciousness, & evil, of which I may never be able to speak of out loud, or in any capacity. These are things I would not wish on an enemy, and as far as I’m concerned, I don’t have any that I am aware of. People can think and say what they like; I don’t live my life perceiving others as “the enemy” or as competition. I stay in my lane.

I am exhausted (migraines & Fibro pain will do that to you), stressed, quietly introspective, and have been in so much pain that I’ve been at an absolute loss as to what to do about it. I can’t remember the last time I felt like a worthless rag, but it’s important to be honest when I do.

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Things are slow as I integrate Cat & Kitten. They’re doing so well together, back to being cuddle buddies, but OGK’s sugars are up, not good for a diabetic, be it a cat or a person, so I am trying to monitor him and his reactions without stressing all three of them out in the process. I want to see progress though, not setbacks. I want to see my brave, strong, smart girls thrive while we are here. Normally they are with me 24 hours a day, Kitten is often my writing companion, and that really helps me emotionally because they’re such good-hearted loves. For the past few weeks, I’ve maybe spent 15-45 minutes a day with them for a multitude of reasons. This weekend I am going to be organizing my clothes, so if nothing else, they will have more “Mommy time”. They’re always so happy to see me and I’m grateful that the diffuser worked for them because the move was a lot more traumatic than I thought it would be. I am very proud of them for traveling well and I’ve promised them that long trips are over for the near future. When I inevitably move again, I am not going more than an hour and a half away. My health simply isn’t that kind, and I physically cannot handle the stress or the emotion that comes with trekking around to that extent. I liked my life in the last state I called home. I loved the area and a lot of what kept me sane there are definitely things I miss, but I did not like these last few years, which took an immense toll on me in every imaginable way. I cannot allow that type of pain to re-enter my life ever again.

At the start of my move, Patient X went into arrhythmia three times and was rushed to the hospital. After 2 1/2 days, he was discharged with a lot more medication than he was given originally, medication I felt was crucial to his recovery, but man is that surgeon’s office fucked up! 😦 He’s healing. The surgical wounds are 90% healed, but all the other wounds he carries with him cannot be my responsibility any more. He visited for about ten days post-move, driving me absolutely insane. We fought more than anything else, enjoying maybe one or two good days the entire visit. The fact that he doesn’t seem to appreciate anything makes me feel as though I am dealing with an ungrateful, spoiled teenager. Neither of us was raised to behave in the manner in which he has been behaving, so as sad as it was, I was relieved when he left. Of course now, I’m worried. I said I wouldn’t be, but it just plain makes me sick to my stomach. Apparently he did not inherit the gene for common sense, so yeah, I’m going to worry. I wish he were 75% more like me and 95% less of an asshole. That is, indeed, a large request, I know, but one can still hope & pray that someone makes a drastic change in their lives and begins to see the error of nearly all of their ways.

I wish there was some kind of reassurance for me, but at the moment, I am doing my best to get through each day without focusing on anything too deep. Keeping my mind focused on the incredibly mundane is about all I can handle now.

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My goals for 2016 involve intense creativity & being selfish where certain things are concerned. I’ve never been selfish, but I’m making a list of “No’s”. Normally my “No’s” are: “No doing dishes, no washing windows, no dating actors, musicians, athletes, or anyone in the military.” (Yes, I have legitimate reasons for all that.), but I’ve expanded on the original list. Perhaps I’ll write about it up the road.

Another important goal is to completely regroup. I am unbelievably tired of being in so much pain. Here’s hoping & praying that quality health care and proper treatment is in my future so that I may avoid permanent damage. I want to be able to function at a higher level and I’d appreciate not feeling like a prisoner in my body. It’s bad enough that I do feel like a prisoner. My cell is roughly 5.4″, and I cannot seem to break free. 😦

If I am able to feel like a human-being on December 31st, 2016, then I will have achieved something great, though for now, my expectations are lower than dirt.

I want to explore this new town as soon as the ice melts. I would hate to slip and fall and have to call someone to meet me at the nearest emergency room because I don’t have a single pair of boots here. Sometimes a walk can do so much in terms of clearing your head and heart of negative thoughts, but since 20 degree temperatures and I don’t exactly mesh, I might have to wait for it to warm up a bit. I’m hoping people will be patient with me and understand that while I do have my priorities straight (Believe me, I wish I didn’t.), I’m not willing to sacrifice anything more that helps keep me sane. I don’t care how ridiculous it seems to you; let me live.

It is difficult not to feel damaged, bruised, and broken. I am reminded that I am strong, yes, but every woman reaches a point when she’d simply like to sit in a corner and cry. Not because she’s weak, but because she needs to get the rage out of her system. It’s healthy, cleansing, and allows you to move forward. I detest weakness in myself, so it’s either have a good cry or trial by fire. (I’m kidding…slightly.)

Whatever 2015 has or hasn’t given you, maybe you be blessed moving forward. If it was a painful year, much like mine, cleanse yourself now and don’t carry the bitterness with you any longer than is necessary. Set a goal, however little or much, and do your best. If anyone has anything snarky to say about your goal(s), by all means, tell them to bite you. That’s about as inoffensive as I get for now.

Whatever you plan to do in terms of celebration tonight, please be safe. If you’re going to be drinking, be certain you have a designated driver or plan to take a cab home. It is better to be safe than sorry. Also, put your phone away. Do NOT text and drive. (It’s one of my biggest pet peeves, but it is also incredibly dangerous.)

Wishing you all a fantastic, happy, and safe New Year! 🙂 Let the blessings commence. So mote it be!

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Genetic Link Found Between Mental Illness & Creativity: Here Are The Details

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/06/14/genetic-link-found-between-mental-illness-creativity-here-are-the-details/

As a right-brained individual, I find this slightly over-the-top. However, I don’t deny having the advantage in terms of creative talent thanks to my genes. By the way, I’ve NEVER liked the words “Mental Illness”. We preach acceptance of others, but that label is one of the worst in the United States, rarely ever linked to anything positive. I’d like to change that.

How Honest Are People About Their Mental Health? This Might Surprise You…

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Facebook needs to institute a better policy involving “friending”. Even with strict filtering, I have people sending me friend requests simply because they like something I’ve said. Why in the world would you want to be “friends” with someone who is simply the same astrological sign as you, or just happens to also be a writer/editor? I understand when people say they’re an “aspiring writer”. They want to see what they can learn from you. I am a very open person, BUT when it comes to my WIP’s, I am not about to post them anywhere for the entire world to see. I don’t want or need a critique, I don’t need someone to tell me how to be a better writer, etc. I have been doing this for 28 years this month. I know my shit. If I didn’t, I would never have continued to return to it, be it as a source of inspiration for myself or as a source of income.

Moreover, if a person openly declares themselves a “sociopath”, you probably DON’T want to accept the friend request that is sent to you an hour later simply because they “like” an intelligent and/or helpful comment that you’ve made. I keep my “inner sociopath” to myself. I do let her out on special occasions though, when a person is deserving of dealing with it. 😉

One interesting thing that caught my eye over the past couple of days was an article that other writers and aspiring writers were contributing to. I want to say that it was more a group of highly creative individuals, so there were songwriters and artists also involved in the conversation. It began with a question: “How many of us suffer from bipolar disorder or other forms of depression or anxiety?”

Nearly a hundred different people (it might have been more, this has been a rough week for me in terms of keeping in touch with others) responded with various responses that said yes and each of them explained their diagnoses. Only four or five people said they suspected they suffered from some sort of depression, but that it had never been diagnosed. About the same amount, more or less, said they did not suffer from depression.

I was very proud of everyone for openly, honestly discussing bipolar disorder, anxiety, OCD, and a plethora of other forms of “mental illness”. It hurts me to use that term AT ALL. I don’t see every single person as “mental” and I cringe when people refer to others in such a way, as opposed to educating themselves. An illness is an illness. I would never tell someone they were responsible for getting sick in the first place, but MANY do say shit like that. It baffles me. Some people even discussed varying degrees of autism. That takes incredible courage. One of my cousins is autistic, so I’m not ignorant there.

When confronted with my own mental health, I am supremely honest, but I do not advertise it. I am going through something that has made me full-blown OCD,  exacerbated my PTSD to levels I didn’t even know existed, and my anxiety is so bad, I can barely sleep most nights without waking up screaming, sometimes from pain, sometimes from my medication wearing off too quickly.

From day one, I have openly, and very honestly discussed suicide. This makes people uncomfortable because they REFUSE to face the fact that they’ve romanced the idea themselves. No one can tell me they suffer from any form of depression and have NEVER considered suicide. It might have been a fleeting thought, it might be something you NEVER act on, but it still exists. This is a trigger for a lot of people. They lash out at me and decide I am no longer worth their time, all because I was HONEST. Catch me on a dark day and I might scare you with my truth, but anyone who genuinely cares about you will give you their time and concern, they will not pretend you’re “mental” or tell you to “take a pill”. Those are two of the most insulting things to tell someone.

I once had a woman piss me off at the grocery store. I was going through a stressful time with my father’s health and, in front of her children (both of whom were under the age of 12, but not younger than 8 or 9), she told them to “Get away from her, she’s “mental”. I might THINK a person is batshit in a public place, but unless they’ve caused harm to someone or they’re about to hurt themselves, I’m not stupid enough to go there.

Truth is, they were standing in front of a huge display of fruit for nearly ten minutes and wouldn’t move out of the way. How do you not tell your young kids to move over so other people can shop too? She was talking to them like they were infants, as opposed to children that have the ability to comprehend. The comment was completely out of line and off base. I turned to look at her, contemplated knocking her teeth out, and then looked at her a second longer with her kids. I felt incredibly sorry for them. I then politely took the fruit I wanted and said “Did you learn that in your many years of therapy? You might not want to pre-judge people based upon your own issues.”, and I walked away. She was left in the dust, unable to speak, because I called her on her shit.

I don’t need that kind of false denial in my life, not from any one. You don’t have to like me or love me, but I guarantee that with an open mind, you will respect me. I would never intentionally hurt someone with my candor, and it’s okay to say “Lisa, I care about you, but this upsets me too much to discuss any further.” It’s called COMMUNICATION.

I have lost people to suicide because they had no one they felt would truly listen and hear them out or “make it stop”. I’ve stopped myself many times from acting on a thought because I believed it was irrational and felt it was wrong to leave any one of 4-5 people in my life behind to discover what I’d done, or have to receive the phone call that just plain brings you to your knees. It would devastate four of them. The last person probably wouldn’t give a shit or so much as come to my funeral. I’m not a priority now, why would I be a priority then?! (Yes, that was morbid and I apologize. Two, you’d understand why I said that if you knew who I was talking about and how they have treated me.)

Being honest about what I suffer from, including migraines and Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain is part of what keeps me alive. The other part is that I am responsible for little people that love me and would have terrible difficulties without me. And even still… I often find myself thinking “This isn’t enough to live for.” It’s not coming from a selfish place, it’s coming from a place of wanting to be better, to strengthen the relationships in my life, to bring other relationships into my life and allow them to flourish. I cannot live for one thing and one thing alone. That’s my personal take on it, but it might not be yours, and that’s okay. I’m by no means here to judge you.

I want to thank the people that have supported me this past week through a living nightmare. I am surprisingly uplifted by the emotional support, care, concern, dedication, determination, and devotion. Only ONE person said “I’m proud of you.” When you’re going through hell, you do not want to be pitied, treated like a failure, or be belittled and/or disrespected. You simply want to be treated like the person that you are. I had to be reminded that I am strong, smart, and capable in the face of others trying to crush my soul. Bad things happen to all of us at some point in life. I may have been given a higher dose, perhaps God shouldn’t trust me so much, but it is what it is, and I am making peace with it.

I refuse to allow anyone to make me feel small in order to raise their own self-esteem.

If you’re honest and upfront about any illness, I applaud you. If you’re a loyal, supportive person to those that you love, I also applaud you. Compassion & genuine kindness is severely underrated.

“Things” do not make you who you are. It’s what’s inside your heart and soul that is the true value of self. The trappings are pure nonsense. They do not define you. I wish I’d understood some of that for the past ten years, but now that I do, I am determined, now more than ever, to persevere and make important things happen.

This phoenix has been reborn. Stay the hell out of my fire.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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In Some Situations

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In some situations, you are the problem. In others, you are the problem solver. In the last week, I have been both the problem and the problem solver, but I’m proud of myself because I found a way around the problems and managed to solve them without losing my cool, yelling, screaming, or “unleashing the beast”.

It’s no secret that I have a temper. Push me and I will push back so hard, you’ll be in another country before you know what hit you. Over the last few years, I’ve worked really hard to dial back the temper and be a less anger-based person. So far, so good.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no angel and certain situations and people call for anger, but the day-to-day stuff does not. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” couldn’t be a more true statement or wiser advice. However, there’s a time and a place for every thing.

This past week I’ve struggled with my health, with work, and with things in my personal life. I’m concerned about my health, but all I can do is pray for the best and handle things as they come my way. Work, by comparison, is uncomplicated. I find it interesting how very specific projects land in my lap, and they’re 100% in my wheelhouse. It just goes to show you that the right people find you at precisely the right time. I truly have no explanation for all the batshit crazy people, but that’s life. There’s no true rhyme or reason, it simply is what it is.

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I’d like to thank all of the new followers that have come on board over the last few weeks. It’s so lovely to see readership grow in a positive way. 🙂 I also have to thank those of you following on Twitter. Feel free to follow and let me know what else you’d like to see here.

For now, all I can say with certainty is that stress and snow are causing me to not sleep well. Every night I have intentions of being in bed at 9:00 PM. Thus far, that’s just not working out and it’s driving me insane. Generally writers and insomnia go hand in hand, but because it screws up my days so badly, I am hoping this stops really soon. I’d rather write and edit all day as opposed to finally be hitting the pillow as the sun is rising. It’s not healthy and it’s disrupting so much that days just seem to blend into one another. I hope this coming weekend will be a breakthrough for me. Even if that breakthrough means I have to take a few sleeping pills to re-set my internal clock, I’m willing to do it. I simply cannot go on like this, it’s no way to live.

Work is going well. There is something wonderful about a writer that wants cohesiveness throughout their entire body of work and in turn, only wants to work with an editor that is honest, that pushes them to be better, and that truly knows their stuff. Working with an editor can be difficult if you’re unsure of yourself or you’ve heard only good things about your work prior to handing it over to a professional. It can be jarring for some people, and for others, it’s about revising, releasing, and moving forward. Detaching from your work is hard at times, but it’s the only way you grow as a writer.

I’m grateful to be booked up and to be sent projects I am highly knowledgeable about. I’ve taken way too many jobs where I didn’t know all the things I should have known about the subject matter, but because they were only critiques or proofs, I didn’t have to be, I just had to give my honest opinion and correct errors that had previously been missed. Editing is completely different. I’ve been very lucky to be sent things I know a lot about. Sometimes, especially in situations such as these, knowledge is power. Knowledge helps you make someone a better writer, a stronger storyteller. In turn, you come away feeling good about yourself too and then it’s not “just a job”.

Not everyone is a writer. Most people are born with the talent and the ability. It’s the creative voice and the creative mind unleashed. It’s not for everyone, and I think it’s important for people to realize that. I read plenty of manuscripts that make me cringe and many that make me smile. Okay, so the larger percentage makes me cringe, but you get my point.

Talent is what sets everyone apart. I may not be talented like five other women in the same room with me, but I know my skill-set very well and I’m not going to make myself small for anyone. I’m already short enough. 😉

Enjoy the rest of your week my lovely bunch of nuts.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Freelance Doesn’t Mean Free

Some days, I am utterly appalled by the audacity of others. There is a fine line between offering to help someone as a form of empowering another woman, and then dealing with the opposite side of the coin where someone wants you to do a job, but then wants you to lower your rate.

When I work with someone for the first time on a novel length project, or something larger (like a trilogy), I respectfully ask for 30-50% up front as a down payment. This protects me if the person eventually backs out. If they do, I’ve at least gotten something for my hard work. When a person jumps on my schedule and then tells me the down payment is “too high” (By my standards, it was actually too low.), but already admitted she was going to pay a hell of a lot more to another editor who could not take her until the end of next month, it grates on my hard-working nerves. I don’t like being screwed with.

Just like everyone else, I have bills to pay. They come every month, like clockwork, and none of them are willing to negotiate with me. Sometimes, you don’t eat because someone wants to wait two weeks to pay you. It sucks.

I’ve discussed my philosophy before about hiring an editor and it still stands solid: COME TO PLAY. Expect to pay. Yes, you can “shop around” for someone less expensive, but inevitably, you do get what you pay for.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve done thousands of dollars worth of work for little to no money. It’s terribly insulting to someone with 20 years of experience, but a job is a job. I will take a proofreading job if it will pay a bill or put food on the table. I will beta read for someone if that means I’m being paid. It’s not fun, but it is what it is.

I truly wish every aspiring writer knew how to use spell check, understood that commas are crucial, and didn’t have a negative attitude towards having to pay someone for WORK. Lets face facts, no one goes to work for free. You may love your job (I know a handful of people that do.), but ultimately you love your paycheck as well. Even a shitty paycheck can pay the rent/mortgage, pay for food, keep the lights on, etc. As a woman that has to do it all herself, I find myself less and less amused by the greed of others.

Alas, I’m simply venting. I have a migraine and because I’ve had terrible struggles with sleep of late, I know it will be a long time before my head hits the pillow. On the plus side, I have several hours all to myself tomorrow afternoon into the early evening. I am FINALLY going to change my hair color after saying I would do so for the past month. That might seem silly, but a company did send me a product to use and write reviews, and that’s one of the fun things about having a beauty blog on the side. I really think going back to that for a while and allowing myself to be creative would be beneficial to my health. I’m sure no one wants to read my bitching. God, please grant me the Serenity not to murder all of these idiots.

Here’s hoping tomorrow is a superior day for us all. 🙂

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

todaysmood

Grey Days

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Waking up this morning, you never would have known it was 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday. It’s so dark out that even though rain was not predicted, I suspect it is getting close. That’s okay, because I like the grey days.

A ‘grey day’ for most people might mean depression, but for me, it tends to be more about creativity. I am, quite honestly, locked in my room with my computer. It’s drowning out all the bullshit and drama, and allowing me to focus on what I truly want and need to do.

Drawing out creativity isn’t something you can truly schedule. There are days you can sit and stare at the screen, and nothing happens. I try not to push myself. I write and revise when I am feeling it. I go over other people’s work because it’s my job, but it is also my job to write my own material and make sure it’s cleaner than a hostel shower.

I cannot begin to say how many times someone has told me they’re sending me a “clean manuscript”, and the end result is me wanting to yank all of my hair out of my head because it is riddled with errors and is anything, but “clean”. In fact, it ends up redefining the words “first draft”. Alas, all you can do is fix it, provide notes and suggestions, and then send them on their way. Once your portion of the job is complete, you’re usually out of the picture. Not so with your own work.

Book #1 is important to me (They all are.). It’s not the first thing I’ve ever written, it certainly won’t be the last, but it is important. If I’m putting my name on it, it cannot be shit because I will not allow it. Thankfully, I’ve been writing so long that I know when I’ve written quality and I definitely know when I’ve written “filler”. Since I don’t get paid to write “filler”, I also know when to cut. The writer’s group I belong to; it seems a lot of people have difficulties with knowing when to cut. I’m not a “Please read my book so I can get your opinion/approval.” kind of person. I’m a protector of the body of work until it goes into the editing process, and even then, I am protective of what cannot be cut under any circumstance. Basically, I’m protective until it hits someone’s e-reader or shelf. After that, everyone that reads it will have an opinion and they are entitled to them. Unless someone is an absolute troll, the best thing for me to do is my job and allow everything else to simply be.

copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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