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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Hooray for the fun! Is the pudding done?

by Selma

“The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day.”

BY LYDIA MARIA CHILD (1844 poem)

Fondly known as “Over the River and Through the Wood.”

Are you familiar with the song? If so, I invite you to sing along with me. I’ve attached some amazing pictures I found at Pixabay to help you remember. I hope they help. The hint is in the fond title… and it ends with the pumpkin pie. Enjoy.

Hooray for the pumpkin pie!

Pause! Enjoy the simple joys in life. Happy Thanks and Giving Day; Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello, are you still there?

It’s me, Selma…

I’ve been stumbling and choking as I try to chew everything that’s on my plate right now. I have tons of work, namely reading and writing to do, and sleeping, which up until now had been my favorite thing to indulge in, has become an abhorrent chore. Well, perhaps abhorrent is too exaggerated a word for my little life, but for today, I’ll let it remain as is.

I don’t want to sleep. I just want to read read read. Ah, if only.

I’ve been so negligent to you, my readers. I apologize. So today I want to make up for it, of sorts. If you’re like me, (a story lover) you’ll like this. Here’s a long list of stories entered into a writing contest I participated in. Click on the link and read about all the hype. (This is also the easy “VOTING” page. Just click on the green bar).

My little contest piece is entitled Breathe.Breathe.Breathe. by Selma Writes. You’ll find it at the bottom of the alphabetical list. I’d be honored if you’d read it. And in my world, this is something to brag about: my story and all the stories in this list have already been published by the literary magazine Short Fiction Break. Yay! How cool is that?

In the spirit of total disclosure, I want to tell you that I’m vying for the title of Writer’s Choice Award to which anyone can cast a vote for. A vote for MY story would be a dream come true for me. I thank you sincerely. Voting closes this week, on Tuesday (I believe). My lack of sleep has me in a zombie state *sigh* so, please honor me with a vote and I promise I’ll go get me some sleep…

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

MY Prayer for YOU Today

Do you remember the music you listened to when you were eighteen? Do you remember how it made you feel? Of course you do. We all do!

And to take it a little further, do you remember the perfume/cologne you chose to wear then? I most certainly do. The Avon Lady visited often and kept me supplied with Sweet Honesty.

If close my eyes and I can actually smell that fresh, sweet scent. It’s yesterday once more… I think that’s amazing!

Three decades ago, (0k, almost four decades  ago) I was eighteen years old — It’s a long time ago. I’ve seen a lot and done a lot, learned a lot and changed a lot too but the soul of that eighteen year old still resides inside of me. Still young… I think that’s amazing too!

I don’t want to return to that year; I like it where I am now, but to have lived it and to still remember that season of my life with such clarity is a miracle indeed.

Today I pray that wherever you are in your life’s journey that you stay true to that beautiful soul that still lives within you. Appreciate your human-ness. Nurture your spirit-ness. Live in the moment. Stop trying to ‘outlive’ your days or your years.

Because life isn’t something that happens TO you; life is something that happens THROUGH you and AS you. There is no life apart from YOU. Do your living with gusto!!

The Carpenters

With lyrics *wink*

Calling all Vampire Hopefuls– A Trial: How to become a Vampire

This piece was inspired by an article in Brain Pickings by Maria Popova
L.A. Paul (Philosopher):
If you were offered the chance to become a vampire — painlessly and without inflicting pain on others, gaining incredible superpowers in exchange for relinquishing your human existence, with all your friends having made the leap and loving it — would you do it?

Photo credits: Dieter_G, Pixabay

The decision to become a vampire, or not, has to be one of the most epistemic situations to find yourself in. For starters, you know very little about your possible future as a vampire. Running parallel to that, you are limited when you face a possible future as a vampire. If you want to make the decision by thinking about what your lived experience would be like if you decided to undergo the experience, then my friend — you have a problem…

If at this very moment you’re wrecking your mind wondering about giving it a trial run, know this — you cannot do it rationally. And I will say what I already know that you know: a trial on vampirey? Such a thing is ridiculous!

For sure, you can’t do it by weighing in on all the competing options concerning what it would be like and choosing on this basis. And wouldn’t it seem unreliable and biased to rely solely on the testimony of your vampire friends to help you reach an informed decision? After all, those vampire friends of yours aren’t human like you anymore. As such, their preferences are the ones vampires have — not the ones humans have.

The trouble in this situation is:
how could you possibly make an informed decision? Look, you cannot know what it is like to be a vampire until you are one.

And if you cannot know what it’s like to be a vampire without becoming one, you cannot compare the character of the lived experience of what it’s like to be a mere human right now, to the character of the lived experience of what it would be like to be a vampire.

This is an apt analogy for most, if not all, of our most important life decisions.

Choices
Big choices all around. To do or not to do…everyday. What is your gauge for the options you consider giving your precious time to? Whoever said that you could have it all wasn’t being completely honest with you. All decision involve making choices on one life or the other.

Temptation is everywhere.

Just once: try this drug; commit this unlawful act just for the thrill; give in to this or that; you only live once, so live — just once! Foolhardy words. Can you please tell me that you recognize the trap and that you can tell where it’s leading. Giving in to such temptations turns you into vampires.

We live everyday, we only die once. I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before; someone insightful said it. Our hearts beat every second we’re alive, why would you choose to exchange one second of your life for something other than living with purpose?

This is not meant to be preachy;
preachy doesn’t teach. Experiences teach. What I mean to do here is to remind you that it’s important to seek out experiences that help us to grow and that teach us things about how to be the best humans we can be. As a human, the sky is the limit. It will sound contradictory, but as humans tapping into the frequency of the universe from an authentic human standpoint where harmony and generosity flourish, yes, we can have it all. But, sorry to say, you will have to leave your vampire aspirations behind.

Go on, immerse yourself in the experiences you’re dreaming about but please be selective about the experiences you wish to have. Become a vampire if that’s what you want, but know that you will have to give up being human to become one. That is the only way!

And at the risk of sounding redundant,
let me just end this by saying that the only way to have experiences that teach us things we cannot know about from any other source is by going in and immersing into the experience itself. Selection is key. Become a vampire if that’s what you want to do, but know that you will need to relinquish your human existence. That is the only way!

100 Day Book Challenge

by Selma

Boy, was I in for a surprise… Here I was – little insignificant me, listening to podcasts every turn I got when I heard a name that I have come to love.

The Write Practice… the name came to me through the grape vine at the best time of my life. TWP was holding a Contest on one of its forums. Unsure of everything ‘technology’ I searched for a brave picture of myself and opened up to the idea of a Facebook account in order to dip my toes into the Becoming Writers Forum. Ready to claim a miracle, I joined my first Writing Contest.

Dang! I aced it! I got my miracle!

No, I didn’t win the Spring Contest, but I WON big time.

And little insignificant me — wow, I was pleasantly surprised.

After a month of practice Joe Bunting entices me with a wicked idea:

“pssst pssst,” he calls out to me, “why don’t you write the first draft of your book?”

“Nah, not me. I still need more practice,” I say.

“You’ll get 100 consecutive days of practice, with daily guidance and accountability,” he says.

I needed practice, guidance and accountability. “Sign me up,” I say.

Boy, was I in for a bigger surprise.

I had started exploring a story idea in the Writers Workshop, but I hadn’t given my idea purposeful direction. The pre requisite of a premise, synopsis, and outline came as a total shock to me.

Two words stunt me: “What? How?”

I exhale all the hot air that has my stomach in knots. I sit my butt in my chair and I give my little story idea the respect it deserves.

Then dang, I’m transported and amazed at myself at what came out of me for not fighting the exercise. It was my first time doing something like that. It was hard, I tell you, but I. Loved. It.

“Oh, Joe Bunting,” I say elated, “you the man!”

And we hadn’t even began…

Then the introductions begin. I feel like a fake.

“Wow Selma, that sounds soooo exciting. I want to read more,” someone tells me. I blush. I’m in disbelief. I sigh, relieved.

Next moment I start doubting myself.

What if I can’t deliver what I say I will do?

I’m overwhelmed with embarrassment.

I shush the voice in my head long enough to read everyone’s, and I mean everyone’s premise. I feel like a fake again and this time I set my feelings out in front of me for a talk. “Really, who do you think you are?” I reprimand myself huffing and puffing.

I’m sure I’m in the wrong place. I take long breaths.

“Nope — I can’t do it,” I tell them.

“You can do this Selma,” Ruthanne cheers me on. “I’m sure you have a book in you.” I take longer breaths…

More people read my premise. They like it.

“Hmmmm,” I sigh with eyes shut tight, “I guess I’ll try it.” My breathing stabilizes.

I ease into it. I start whipping out 800 words a day. I delve deeper. I find that I like what I’m doing. I try to stay within the confines of my outline but my characters pull me in different directions.

“Wait, wait, don’t go there,” I shout at them. They don’t listen. And my fingers follow my characters’ lead. “What am I, chopped liver?” I complain. They laugh.

And I. Like. It.

“Haha…” I laugh.

And that’s how it goes.

The daily guidance are a godsend.

Though I couldn’t read them religiously everyday, just knowing that they were there was reassuring. I skimmed through them and when my day and my characters allowed it, I would read Joe’s words, or listen to the lessons, and sometimes I would even add my thoughts on the threads — when time allowed.

The weekly check ups by the best administrator ever — priceless!

“Oh my gosh, I’m so busy,” I say to her one day. “I don’t know if I lost my horse or if I just found a rope — hahaha.”

“Your enthusiasm is contagious,” she tells me. I gloat at the thought that Ruthanne is referring to me.

Another time, “I wish you could ‘feel’ how I feel right now,” I say to her.

“I ‘can’. I can ‘feel’ it Selma,” she replies.

And I knew she could feel what I was feeling.

Oh my gosh! The company of the other Writers: Price-less.

These other Writers knew what they were doing. They were at the helm of their stories. They were calling the shots with such grace and dexterity and unbeknownst to them, they were pulling me up; elevating me to such heights with their stories that I started to soar alongside them. And I. Loved. It. It was never just about me. It was always them. They helped me to feel what I was feeling. That wind that I felt under my wings — it came from them. It was incredible.

They contaminated me. I was in good company.

And so it went.

The entire time I felt I was in a different zone. I was. Mentally and physically. I absolutely loved the mental part though it was far from easy. I loved the push. It was exhilarating. I felt invigorated and alive.

There were eyesores: my house and my yard looked forlorn and abandoned. Well, the dishes were washed and so was the laundry. But everything else… sssh!

This was not easy.

But you know what I would do it again. Sssh!

Then in week 12 someone went, “woo hoo, I’m finish.”

“I’m almost there,” I told them. I was gliding with outstretched wings.

On week 14 I came to the part where I got to write The End — I cried! I didn’t want it to end…

Though still in a less than pristine stage, I wrote an entire book in 100 days. The practice, guidance and accountability all contributed to get me there.

I no longer feel insignificant. I have an amazing experience under my belt and I have something huge to show for it. I wrote a book! Yay!

I’m not receiving any royalties for saying this, but the 100 Day Challenge was the oxygen I needed to breathe life into my creative outlet. It lit my candle and kept me focused in something that I didn’t think I could thrive in. It changed me. It made me believe that I had a real story to tell. And amazingly, I was capable enough to stick to the program. I would do it again. I would recommend it wholeheartedly. So if you, yes you dear reader are wondering if you might have something like a 70,000 manuscript in you, the 100 Day Program at The Write Practice is the place to do it. Trust me, you’ll love it.

***

It’s been almost a month since we submitted our last submissions with the prized words ‘The End’ attached. I felt such jubilation then. BUT– But, now I feel a little lost. Where do I go from here?

Yes, I have to work on my rewrite, but how do I begin to do that? It’s only 100 days old. Let me bask in the memory a little bit longer.

(Besides, I need to clean my house and my yard.)

I know that I have to replenish my well; the well I didn’t know I had. I will be at TWP recharging. The rest will happen when the time is right.

From someone fresh out of the amazing experience, here goes: the link to TheWritePractice.com/WriteABook, and do drop me a line if you decide to join the community of amazing cheerleaders. I want to cheer you on.

Fall Reigns Supreme

by Selma

Isabella was waiting for “something” to point her in the right direction with a self-hate habit she had been fighting with for a long time. Then a simple act of kindness from someone who had always been there in her life made her feel worthy of love. It was subtle.

Yet in that subtleness she found her resolve to change. As they say, when you’re ready, the universe conspires to bring you the change you need. Please read. This is the story I entered in a recent contest. Let me know what you think.

Fall Reigns Supreme

What will be on Your Fall Table?

by Selma

September ushers in a season I love.

In the summer, small colorful salads satisfied us. Fall offers us a chance to revamp our menus at home. For me, everything about the new season is amazing, but I’m particularly drawn to all the food that the season allows us to bring to our tables. Well, if not to our tables, then to the tables at the different restaurants in our areas.

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who finds that food catches the essence of the season and that it nourishes our souls from the inside. Mother Earth is generous to us. That said, I dare ask you: what will be on your table this fall?

At mine there will be braised lentils, parsnips, Butternut squash and Kabocha, crunchy al dente green beans, hearty stews, sweet potato raviolis, pickled apples, glazed pork, mushrooms, and if I can wing it, osso buco. Hahaha — if only! …the vegetables will definitely be there.

Fall reigns supreme!

Ah yes, I entered a writing contest this month and wrote my contest piece with that theme in mind. I want to invite you to read my contest submission published with Short Fiction Break.

http://shortfictionbreak.com/fall-reigns-supreme/

…And if you don’t mind, tell me what will be on your fall table. I really want to know. Blessings. Happy Fall.

Thank you, Mr. Ramclam

by Selma

To Sir, with Love and Appreciation.

People come into our lives for a reason. Some enter to teach us lessons about life, others to teach us lessons we need to learn about ourselves. Yet others are paid to teach us the lessons we need to learn in order to find the meaning of life. When done from clear-sighted earnestness, teachers deserve the prize for conjuring cohesion and purpose out of students. For me, one such person was my English Literature Teacher in High School. There were others who set me straight, but none more timely than shy Mr. Ramclam. And though he might never read this I want to send this letter out to the Universe where it will be turned into blessings for my dear Mr. Ramclam wherever he might be. Thank you Sir.

Concurrently, I have included a letter that I read today from a twitter thread from someone placed in my life today to teach me a lesson. I'll name her: Marylee MacDonald, through whom I came to know about brainpickings.org. Thank you two for the timely present. Sending out blessings to them as well.

The letter by Mr. Camus brought tears to my eyes today.
Born to an illiterate mother who was nearly deaf and losing his father in WW1, Albert and his older brother faced a dim future. It was then that a teacher by the name of Louis Germaine took the young Albert under his wing and nurtured the boy. Well, that boy went on to become a philosopher and the youngest recipient at the time of the Nobel Laureate. He then went on to write the letter I quote above.

Today I pay homage to Mr. Albert Camus (1913 – 1960) for causing me to think of my Mr. Ramclam.
To borrow a line from the great master : I embrace you with all my heart. Thank you Sir.

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.

 

What this author so eloquently explains in her piece about learning a language, could be applied to every aspect of our lives. It resonates with me in many levels. Afterall, we are all learning to do LIFE.