Welcome

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Welcome to my blog. In my Intricate Beginnings Blog I hope to paint a picture for you about the Intricacies and Follies of my people and town through the eyes of a child. This town and these people exist in my head. I will give this town a fictional name like Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ Macondo.

There’s a wealth of ordinary hue in my people. I will attempt to bring out their color and flavor in bits and small pieces.

The more I write; the more you read, the closer you’ll come to like and understand my Macondo. And if you still don’t understand, know that you’re not alone. Sometimes, I don’t understand either. In that case, I hope that the words that I use to paint these pictures, leave an impression in your soul.

In between stories, I will also add letters (hand-written letters) sent/received through snail-mail.

Selma is my Pen name. I am as shy as they come. Exposing myself like this will be therapeutic for me. Besides, I want to clean house as these characters have lived in my head for too long. I want to set them free.

I hope to post at least once a week and I hope that the blog-reading community gives me a chance to soar as high as my creative-wings will take me. Be generous and honest with your comments please because I want them.

I really look forward to connecting with you! xoxo S.

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Siblings–A force of Nature

Is your family close? What’s your relationship with your siblings like? 

In my family of origin, I’ve always been the outsider. I’m the oldest of three sisters and the one who no one “includes” anymore. And that is sad.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why this happened and when. But now that I’m an adult and more comfortable in my ways I’ve come to embrace sibling rivalry as a force of nature.

I’ve stopped asking whys, whens, and hows and being comfortable with who I am has never felt better. I am not my sisters, and they are not me!

But if you were to return to the place where you grew up and were to ask people there how they remembered you, I wonder what that would be like. Might there be something we could learn from that? I wonder.

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Sandra, the middle one, had always been the healthiest of all three sisters.  She was all about pleasing and about standing out. Typical for the middle child, you might say. But really?

Pleasing and standing out came easily to her. She was outgoing and she had a bright disposition. But despite that great fact, somehow, she couldn’t hold on to friendships for long periods at a time. Perhaps underneath her desire to please, she was too clingy and insecure? Maybe.

Personally, I’ve come to believe that she put too much of her self-worth in her petty acquisitions. To this day, that hasn’t changed.  I used to feel bad for her. Now I don’t bother thinking about it.

We are all different from each other; never better than each other.

If you were to go to Macondo today and mention us, people there would remember Sandra as the wise one; the one who was more tomboyish, the one who would take on a dare without thinking out the consequences first, the one who would think out good ways of making money on market day.

Sandra would be the one who would climb the trees the fastest and descend with the biggest coconut or the biggest avocados wrapped up in her skirt. The one who would not cry at the dentists’ or at the clinic when we’d get our shots.

I, on the other hand, would be remembered as the sick one.

I developed asthma as a child and missed a lot of school on account of that.  School was where I wanted to be most of all, but I never complained about being absent because it gave me the wonderful opportunity to get on with my passion for a good story book.

And when Sandra would come home from school and start a fight out of nothing, I would let her win. Always. I let her win because I felt bad that I couldn’t be there to keep her company at school as big sisters should. Instead, I  was at home hogging the attention of our parents AND reading to my hearts’ content.

As for my youngest sister, she would be remembered as the one who got away with a lot. We were instructed to keep a watchful eye on her and to cater to her needs because we were told, that’s what big sisters did.  And we did.

So when Terry became rebellious and arrogant, was that her fault? And when she surpassed me and Sandra and left home before we did, was it her upbringing that brought that on? I cannot say for sure.

As of now, Terry has been married and divorced three times already. She is in a relationship with a younger man and helping him raise his teenage children.

Sandra married once, divorced and now living the life of a single woman. She has a good job and travels often. She has a nice apartment but claims she’s not attached to anyone or anything.

Me, I’m happily married to the same man for nineteen years.

How come we’re so different in the lives we lead now? What brings about what we become? Though I said that I thought that sibling rivalry was just another force of nature, I cannot help wondering why I’m still the one who never gets invited.

 

When the Chickens Come Home to Roost 

by Selma


“Young lady– obviously, you don’t know who I am. I’m Mrs. Manzanilla from Refaccionaría Manzanilla,” my mother announced in Spanish in a voice too loud for my liking. I wanted to run and hide. The way she said that, and the dignified way she looked when she said that made the poor cashier take a nose-dive into the deepest recesses of her brain. I saw it in the way the cashier tipped her head. She wanted to try to understand what this lady in front of her was talking about. As far as the young girl was concerned, there was only one Refaccionaría Manzanilla in the whole of Macondo and this lady was not that Mrs. Manzanilla. She knew. 

She knew for a fact that Mrs. Manzanilla had never set foot into a Save Big Store; that instead, she sent her housekeeper into the store twice a week to drop off a grocery list. And that the necessary items then got delivered to the mansion. And besides, Mrs. Manzanilla’s daughter and her were thick-as-thieves. She knew exactly what that Mrs. looked like. 

“I’m sorry Mrs. Manzanilla, but I’m just following protocol of a report from our security personnel. They’ve instructed me to ask you to step aside and to request that you voluntarily return the items that they saw you stash into your two bags.”

“And I say, you are wrong! I have no need to do such an outrageous thing as stealing from a place like this. I demand to see the manager.” The girl makes a phone call. 

It was a busy Thursday evening and people were stocking up on items in anticipation of the long holiday weekend. The buzz of the cash machines, the intricate bustle of the happy shoppers and the upbeat tempo of the music in the store, drown the embarrassing tone of the commotion going on in front of me. But in my insides I felt a volcano erupting. I wanted to run away. I didn’t want to be around to see my mother get escorted to the police station. 

On my back, I carried an overstuffed rucksack that was ripping at the seams. My mother carried a small buston bag with wheels — just as conspicuous looking as mine. 

“Oh I understand,” my mother volunteered, “you see our overstuffed bags and think the worst… well I never! …” she slams her fist on the counter. “We came here with our luggage because we’ve just arrived from a short trip. We stopped in to pick up a few necessities. And you immediately assume that what you see us carrying in these bags are items stollen from your shelves. Well you are wrong…wrong, I tell you!”

Any minute now, any minute now the earth will rumble and swallow me up whole, I think. That will be better than this. I start to sweat cold. 

The people in line at the cashier where we stand get directed to a different line. They look at us with scorn for disrupting the rhythm of their shopping experience. But that is all they do. To them, we are nobodys. No one bothers to know more, but to me, of all the inconsistencies that I have seen and come to understand since turning nine, this has got to be the worst. 

And people will talk, a nagging voice announces inside my head. They don’t seem interested in the heated discussion going on right now, but someone will remember. 

I start to pray… 

They escort us to a room in the back; the office, and they ask us to wait.  My mother gives me a side glance and the zip-it-up sign to keep my mouth shut. No need to tell me Mom, I think, even if I wanted to, words have left my thoughts moments ago. All I have now is prayers. And those won’t buy me a pardon… 

Inside, we see a row of monitors apparently displaying every aisle in the store. 

We are dead, I think, then I hold my breathe. Just then I notice that the monitors show a lot of static on the screen. I exhale. But the exertion of exhaling, or perhaps it was the part about holding my breath, makes me feel light-headed. I lean on the wall and close my eyes. 

I hear the voices of men talking and above theirs I hear my mother’s unwavering voice. I do not know for how long this goes on; I remain fixed on my prayers. 

“Come on child, let’s get out of here.” Mother takes my hand and together with my uncle, the owner of Refaccionaría Manzanilla, we walk out of Save Big.  He calls us a taxi.  He hugs my mother and pats me on the head. Mother and I sit in silence in the taxi until we arrive on the front steps of our house. I drop my rucksack and make a dash for the chicken coop. I remain inside until my mother calls me in for supper. 

“Besides, it’s time for the chickens to roost,” she says. And then I begin to cry. 

Shadow Syllabus

Reblogging because feelings/insights like the ones portrayed here need to be circulated again and again. The Author IS the right voice at the right time. This piece serves to reaffirm our faith (if ever we feel we’ve lost it) in our own humanity. I’m glad I stumbled upon this one (via Cheri Lucas) I hope you find value in it as well. Selma

Their Ears, Not Pierced

by Selma 

February and March had me busy working on this contest piece. I worked hard on it, submitted and Short Fiction Break Magazine published it. Yay! 

I didn’t win the contest but certainly emerged a Winner in more ways than one. I invite you to Please read in its entirety. Thank you. And I’d be thrilled to read your comments… 

http://shortfictionbreak.com/their-ears-not-pierced/ 

Thanks again. Selma 

…WordPress HOW TO DO WORDPRESS

by Selma 


My last post was a clear indication of where I stood concerning WordPress at the moment. I haven’t stopped looking for answers. As they say, every problem comes with its new set of solutions. And I might add, every New Day brings you new lessons to learn. 

Today, tenacity has landed me here. I haven’t read it all, but I want to update anyone who, like me, is struggling to make sense of WordPress. 

I can only talk about what this new information will do to me because ME is all I know. I know that I will not get it right after a few readings, but I also know that it will keep me learning and questioning. 

There is hope. Hope is a good thing. 

If any of this has brought even a glimmer of light into your WordPress Forest, then I’d venture to proclaim that my ordeal has been worth it. 

Here’s that link:  https://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page 

HOW TO WORDPRESS SUPPORT

by Selma


The sky’s the limit, someone said, but then someone contradicted, the sky is not the limit. The sky is not the limit I say… and I add, one is never too old to learn how to touch the sky.

HOW DO YOU GUYS DO IT?

As you all know, I am a new blogger. The truth is, I am new at many things this year, and that’s because I decided to be more gogo about things this year. I want to make 2017 a memorable year for me. And in so doing, I want to add something worthy to the lives of people who I haven’t had the privilege of meeting yet. But for that I have to stand out a little more still. Standout — that is something I have shied away from all my life. What compels me to gogo right now though, is my heartfelt desire to help brighten a little corner of someone’s life somewhere.

I want to share short stories. I want to share awareness. I want to share joy and hope. But that will require I do more. I don’t know what yet, so I will keep my eyes open.

There are tons of wonderful bloggers already. I follow a handful only because social media is not my forte, thus, it tends to still be a little too overwhelming for me. I am still trying to assimilate what I am learning.

On January 15th, I opened a Twitter account without telling a single person I know. To my surprise, Twitter turned out to be a generous platform for me. A week later, I was following a select 126 and 47 beautiful individuals were following me. I was thrilled! @SelmaWrites is my twitter handle if you care to know.

But then I found I felt constricted with how much I can say on Twitter and my soul yearned for a way to vent. On a whim, I decided to give this WordPress a try. But this wordpress has me perplexed like never before. I have my website. But I have nothing else. Not much by way of tech-savvy or marketing or the like. And unlike twitter (where by the way, my followers now amount to 1,210 as of this post) I do not feel that I am moving. I have contacted some of the happy people at wordpress and asked for help, but I must confess that I do not know what kind of help it is I need, so I do not know how to formulate a request. The last time I contacted them my complain was, ‘um, I do not have a theme on my website yet; how do I do that?’ And their kind response was, ‘yes you do. Its 2016 Theme.’  That shut me up!

I have tried getting my answers from the big world wide web, but again, I cannot assimilate what they say with how I need to react to things. In short, I just don’t know how-to DO WORDPRESS. So until I learn, I will just need to keep at it.

If anyone out there already has it together, and would be willing to direct my attention to short/shortish sites where I can get help to make this page a little better (and to attract a little more traffic) please drop me a line.

I have been watching these tutorials, two, three times in a row, each. I enjoy listening to them, but the way they move the cursor on the screen is just dizzying. They are trying to help I know, but I have concluded that unless one knows which way the cursor will move next, it is difficult to follow along. And sometimes, many times, what I see on the video screens looks a lot different from what I have infront of me on my PC.  Sad to say,  this is all I have to work with.

I recon there must be more people struggling like me, (maybe?) so this is what I want to leave you all with today. Video-Tutorials. Look them over. If they help you, great!! That will give me satisfaction. In the meantime, I will keep on trying to stay positive and not let this website get to me. Wish me luck!

https://en.support.wordpress.com/video-tutorials/#get-started

Kids see Things that Adults can’t see

by Selma 

“Today I am a round blue thing mommy. What am I?” said little Donny. As soon as he posed the question to Mom he hugged his legs firmly and started swaying from left to right and back again; he laid curled up like a little fur ball on the floor. Sure that he had Mom’s attention, he stopped swaying to receive his mom’s response.

“Hmmmm, let me think,” said his mommy, “are you a furry, round blue thing?”
Mom thought that perhaps he was pretending to be the little blue furry kitten pictured in his story book the night before. Why would anyone think of painting a kitten blue anyway, she remembered thinking.

“No. No fur on me,” laughed Donny, “keep guessing mommy.” He swayed to the left and again to the right and then stopped, eagerly awaiting mom’s answer.

“Well, are you a round blue thing that enjoys to be kicked around?”  his mother asked.

“Mmmmhn. Maybe. You can kick me around but that’s not what I’m for,” said the boy with his eyes dancing on mommy’s face.
Mom was sure that the little boy was talking about the nice blue ball that his grandparents had recently sent for him. But, right after thinking that, a more recent image arose in her mind: 

“No ball kicking inside the house,” dad had said in an authoritative voice. Dad was bent over picking up the shattered pieces of the broke lamp. “Balls are for playing outside; not for inside the house — things get broken and hurt”, dad had punctuated. Dad’s reprimand had made Donny cry but he never kicked his ball inside the house again.

“Hmmmm are you a round blue thing that likes to bounce up and down then?” asked mom.

“No mommy. I cannot bounce. God didn’t make me for bouncing. Just for rolling,” replied the little boy.

“No?” Mommy said in surprise. “You’re not your new blue ball?”

“No mommy. I’m not that.”

Mom looked away from the magazine she was paging through to get a clue from the things he was playing with at the moment. No mention of round blue objects in the story books he had around him nor anything blue in his vicinity. He was playing with his toy cars but those were not blue. Mom couldn’t decide what to say to him.

“Well, I’m afraid I will need you to give me a clue because I cannot guess what it is you are today Donny,”  she said.

“A clue?” He was intrigued . He got off the floor and walked to where mom was sitting. “Well, daddy loses it everyday and he cannot go to the office without it. So every day he spends a lot of time looking for it. It’s daddy’s very important thing.”

Well, John is always misplacing his keys, that’s for sure thought mom, but Donny specifically said that he’s a round blue thing. Keys are not round, mommy thought.

“I give up Donny. I cannot guess what you are,”  she said at last. Even with his clue, she really couldn’t guess what he was pretending to be today.

“Mommy, today I am the little round blue marble on daddy’s keychain. The one he uses to start the car with.” He said this and then he folded his arms feigning anger, or perhaps that was pride on his face?

“Oh my Donny. You had me on that one. I would never in a hundred years have guessed that today you were the little blue marble on daddy’s keychain,” she ruffled his curly hair. “Now it’s mommy’s turn to ask you a question. Why is it that you are a round blue thing today?”

“Because today I am that little blue marble that’s hanging from daddy’s keys. The End,” said Donny. He emphasized the ‘the end’ just like mommy did at the end of every story she read to him.

And with that mommy knew that there was no point in her prodding him for more clarity. Today her son was feeling like a little blue thing that was very important to his daddy. It was no use trying to play detective or psychologist. Kids know what they know.