How The Hell Do You Edit The Truth?

I’ve been working on a personal and extremely important mental health piece for nearly two months. As I was writing the end and editing the deeply personal parts, I felt stuck. I’m rarely ever stuck as a writer. I think the problem is, I’m trying to edit out the harshness and the absolute truth to protect someone, but does this person really require my protection? Do they actually deserve it? It’s not like I’m naming names. And yet, I somehow feel the need to show compassion towards someone who has caused so much damage; damage they aren’t even aware of or care about. I suppose that makes me the bigger person. Guess what? I’m not liking this role too much. 😦

People have NO IDEA how often I ponder a situation and think, “Hmm, what would Dexter do?” That’s my first thought at times when people do something unforgivable or something that makes me contemplate strangling them. Note to self: Must get a t-shirt with Michael C. Hall’s face on it. My more recent thought comes after “WWDD”, and is “What would Tommy Shelby do?” Two completely brilliant characters portrayed by incredibly gifted actors, neither of whom have probably ever had to use these references in their daily lives. Interestingly enough, there is not a female character anywhere who I feel embodies any aspect of my thought process, and it makes me a little sad, but there’s no crying over spilled coconut milk.

For me, writing is the ultimate expression of honesty. It is the “public face” of my brand in a myriad of ways, and yet, many readers probably pass me on the street and have no clue who I am. I have always been incredibly content with that knowledge. Do I want strangers approaching me on the street because they read my work? Not particularly, but I wouldn’t be rude to them if they did. However, I’m not about to splash my face all over anything anytime soon because I get judged enough for my face on a regular basis. I remember meeting people at different stages of my writing career and for one reason or another, people were always shocked when they met me for the first time. I don’t think I’ve ever said to someone, “Wow. You’re actually really pretty.” or “You have no idea how other people respond to your beauty.” My best friend at the time, Shay, we were such polar opposites, but in some respects she made me come out of my shell far more than some of my other friends. I’m a much more confident person than I was a year or even ten years ago, but with social media, I am still careful and cautious. Also, I hate when I have an image of someone in my head, and then they send me a picture or they post one, and they look NOTHING like my imagination, which is very image specific. I suspect imagery is often based on how people write or speak, initially, or maybe how you discover their heart.

Getting back on track; I still feel stuck with this piece. I want to be authentic to who I am and post it entirely as is, including the bitchy parts I wrote when I was angry and felt the need to REALLY let loose. I don’t want to edit it. I don’t want to cushion the horrible aspect of what happened and what is happening because that’s taking the truth out of it, and that’s not who I am.

I have never written a single false thing. If you were to skim through the fiction work I have done, you’d find stacks and stacks of truth woven into the two different bodies of work, and yet, only those closest to me will ever know who the characters are in real life.

Writers find inspiration in many different places, but for me, my attention to detail and how I observe others is probably the biggest part of why I do what I do with ease and humility. It drives people crazy that they can’t lie to me or pull one over on me, and I know it’s because they have no idea how I know the truth. They have no grasp of what their tells are, and what it tells me about their character.

The biggest issue for me, in what I am writing, boils down to honesty and having mine placed under question and attacked. Anyone who truly knows me knows I’m a terrible liar, so I don’t even bother. One of my best friends pointed out to me that I have never lied to her once in all the years we have been friends, and she knows this because she trusts me with things many people would not. She’s not a naive person, either. She just happens to be my best friend and someone who has known me a long time. If I was deceitful, dishonest, or a horrible person, these things would have surfaced long ago. She was frank when she said, “That’s not who you are. Don’t let people twist the narrative to make themselves feel better. You KNOW who you are.” That’s where I find comfort; in my friends knowing me for precisely who and what I am. In their knowledge that I’m always the same person, all across the board. They’re right. Being dishonest isn’t part of who I am. If anything, I am probably too honest, but I’m trying to work on my filter where certain people are concerned.

I am struggling with a lot right now, but having anyone question or attempt to test me as a person? Sorry, that isn’t up for debate because I absolutely know who I am, and no one gets to question it. Not even me.

And so, I’ll edit some of the harsher points, mostly to be a lady, but I’m not going to pretend. I’m not going to temper my feelings because they might hurt someone else’s feelings; someone who didn’t spare a moment of concern for me during a horrific time in my life. After all, I was NOT the one to attack their honesty or character.

There’s a reason my platform is named “Poison In Lethal Doses”. It’s an analogy for many things, but at the beginning and end of each day, it also covers ALL BASES. Let that be a lesson to those of you who think I’m not venomous. If you’re going to attack me, you’re going to get served. For now, we’ll pretend it’s a game of tennis. If I remember correctly, having been taught to play, you lost the second you attacked me. I will come out the other side; mostly because you don’t think I can achieve anything. That’s where you’re wrong.

copyright 2018 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. All written work may not be re-blogged or posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. This authors’ work and personal photos are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws. Additional protection is covered under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.


There’s A Difference


Of late, I’ve noticed people feel incredibly safe behind their computer-based bubbles, but I often wonder how real people are being. Sometimes, stories don’t add up (You can’t bullshit me, I have common sense.), and other times, it takes about two seconds for someone to get offended by the simplest thing. What is that you may ask? Honesty.

Here are the facts: Not everyone is the world’s greatest writer, try though they might. Not everyone is talented, funny, or smart. However, there is seemingly a niche for everyone. To each their own. Everyone is entitled to be themselves, but please, be authentic.

When I say something, it’s not for shits and giggles, unless I’ve managed to make you laugh (I don’t go out of my way to be funny, but I know when I’m being a goofball. In print, not everyone’s sense of humor translates because you can’t hear the tone they’re saying something in). I come from a place of genuineness, and I think that resonates in my work and my words.

I’m not here as a “blogger”. I am here as an experienced writer and editor who, as of next year, will no longer be editing other people’s work. I am moving on to another creative endeavor, something I should have done ten years ago. I will continue to write, as I have an unfinished series of novels to complete for publishing, but I am tired of the bullshit, the drama, and the never-ending attempt to outdo one another, because no one wants to see you do better than them, no matter what they might say. Instead of people being happy for one another, people will go behind a person’s back and tear them apart, as if we’re all trapped in high school. That is not, and has never been, acceptable to me.

One aspect of my brusque honesty is that people often mistake it for me being “mean” or “having a bad day”. For starters, I tend to reserve meanness for people who deserve it and two, I keep my bad days/moods to myself because that’s rude in my eyes, so understand that if I say something, it is meant to be helpful, not cruel. Why would I take my valuable time to comment and be mean to someone I don’t know personally? That makes no sense. While I realize there are people who would jump on that and do precisely that to as many people as possible, because starting fights with strangers is what keeps their days and nights “interesting”, I have absolutely no need to be less than who I am. If you lack the communication skills to deal with my honesty, I have to wonder how you will handle the inevitable criticism you are bound to receive on your work up the road.

Every writer has been criticized. I am not immune to that, but I have risen above it. I have been told a handful of insulting things over the course of 28 years as a writer, but you know what resonated most with me? All the genuine, positive feedback from absolute strangers who had no vested interest whatsoever in my success. If a person said “Take that out.” or “That’s not funny.” or “What did you mean by that?”, then I answered them. A huge part of writing is being able to properly communicate with your readers. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t just flip people the bird and tell them to have a nice day. If you ask me a question, I will give you an answer. You may or may not like it, but at least it will be genuine. Also, if I have something personal to say to you, I will say it directly to you, I will not embarrass you on a public platform (if you’re the shy type), nor will I be mean for the sake of being mean. That’s not how I roll.

I am not everyone’s cup of tea, nor is everyone my cup of tea. We don’t have to be. I’d rather have mutual respect as opposed to catty bitchiness behind my back, but the fact of the matter is, I cannot control other people’s reactions or behavior. I, however, can control mine.

If you have something to say to me, by all means, say it to me. There’s no need to be fake about it or passive-aggressive (two things I loathe with every breath I take). Try being real.

There is real criticism in this world. It is vindictive, hateful, and mean-spirited; it is meant to dissuade you from your goal(s). And then there is constructive criticism that is meant to help you and make you better. If you don’t know the difference between the two, precisely who is responsible for that? You are. One should roll off of you, you should know in your heart who you are. The other is to be positively absorbed in order to help you grow. If you decide to turn that into something more than what it is, so be it, but it just goes to show the intelligent speaker that you’re immature and not prepared for what’s to come.

And this is one of the reasons I do not want to edit for fledglings any more. If you cannot handle my honesty, which is meant to help and guide, then what the hell do you think you’re going to do when bad reviews pop up on every book web-site from here to eternity? Amazon, Goodreads, and a plethora of other sites will not delete bad reviews. As a reader, I’ve seen a million of them and many times, they have saved me money. Other times, there was one bad review, but 500 reviews explaining why you should read/buy the book in question. Bad reviews are going to happen, but they will not make or break you. Just like constructive criticism will not break you, but it WILL make you better. Take that to mean whatever you like. I speak from experience.

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

But for the sake of all that is Holy, know where to put commas and periods in your work. Every time you don’t, an editor bleeds to death. Do you really want that on your conscience?

When I First Started Writing…


When I first started writing, the advice that has stayed with me for 28 years is this: Write what you think, write what you feel, and write what you know. It doesn’t matter if someone doesn’t like it.

There may have been some profanity thrown into the mix, but that was the gist of it. I’ve been writing ever since.

I was a quiet, shy, observant child. Painfully so. Writing became this exemplary form of communication for me. It is through writing that I discovered my voice, the strength in that voice, and it allowed me to become incredibly comfortable speaking in public. I used to avoid eye contact and concentrate on the words I’d written, but now I make a point of making eye contact with people as I speak and memorizing several lines in advance to avoid looking down at what I’ve prepared. I’ve found that this alternative form of being even more direct than usual actually makes people uncomfortable. They look away, but they don’t stop listening.

To this day, I am still quiet and observant. I’m not the type of person that pushes herself upon anyone in terms of friendship, or even conversation. I don’t walk up to strangers and have conversations with them for no reason. I tend to keep to myself and my circle of friends, a circle that I am drawing tighter each day.

In my core group of friends, I am the only writer. I’m also the one who communicates differently than everyone else, probably because I do write and putting my thoughts down, in any form, is generally how I keep from killing others, but it’s also how I fight for the things that are most important to me.

Of late I’ve been reading a lot of different statements about writing from people on different levels of the spectrum, and I either find myself inspired or irritated.

I’ve said it before, but it bears saying again: Proverbial puking words onto a page does not make you a writer. Cohesiveness in storytelling might not even make you a writer. Sad, but true. We are all different. The people who drive me insane are the ones who have, quite literally, been writing for 15 minutes and expect fame and fortune.

Getting published traditionally and being successful to the point where you can quit your day job is a longshot. You might very well have a greater shot at winning Powerball or Mega Millions. A writer I love talks about that a lot, but apparently no one is listening to him. However, I’ve read all of his books since about 2003, so I don’t perceive my work as “perfect”, “fantastic”, or “superior” because I see greatness in so many people’s work. It might be someone on the New York Times Best Sellers’ List, but it might also be a little-known blogger or an Indie author. So many people have great stories to tell, and many more do not.

Several years ago I was in Barnes & Noble with my Aunt. They were remodeling that particular store and the genre I write in had been moved around. There were probably several thousand books, all one genre, all potential “competition”. I could have had an outright panic attack looking closely at them, but I didn’t. I decided that there was room left on the shelf for me. I did have a moment of serious doubt, but it quickly passed. The fact that people have told me they love my characters and would buy my books, based solely on reading a few chapters, is special to me.

This platform is where I come to be myself. There can be a plethora of emotion here, and I do not judge myself, or others, for any of it. In my professional work as an editor, I am supremely honest and direct, just as I am in every other aspect of my life. And when I’m dealing with my fiction material, it’s not that different. It’s still my voice, harsh honesty, and intensely strong characters that you will either like, love, or love-to-hate. I like, respect, and appreciate the honesty within the fiction because that’s what helps breathe life into it.

In the future, I hope to be able to share it all with you. For now, I’ll be here… Writing what I think, feel, and know. I don’t care if it’s liked or not.

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


Only Ignorant People Walk Away From Greatness

/ˈdignitē/ noun

1. The moment you realize that the person you cared for has nothing intellectually or spiritually to offer you, but a headache.

2. The moment you realize God has greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or sad Pinterest quotes.

3. The moment you stop comparing yourself to others because it undermines your worth, education, and your parent’s wisdom.

4. The moment you live your dreams, not because of what it will prove or get you, but because that is all you want to do. People’s opinions don’t matter.

5. The moment you realize that no one is your enemy, except yourself.

6. The moment you realize that you can have everything you want in life. However, it takes time, the right heart, the right actions, the right passion, and a willingness to risk it all. If it is not yours, it is because you really didn’t want it, need it, or God prevented it.

7. The moment you realize the ghost of your ancestors stood between you and the person you loved. They really don’t want you mucking up the family line with someone that acts anything less than honorable.

8. The moment you realize that happiness was never about getting a person. They are only a helpmate towards achieving your life mission.

9. The moment you believe that love is not about losing or winning. It is just a few moments in time, followed by an eternity of situations to grow from.

10. The moment you realize that you were always the right person. Only ignorant people walk away from greatness.”

―Shannon L.Alder