Guess What? I’m Published!!!

WooHoo! That’s right. Yours Truly is officially a published writer. Apparently, I’ve been a published writer for about two weeks and I didn’t even know it. A few months ago, I registered to attend Georgia State University’s annual Conflict Resolution Symposium on October 24th. I also submitted one of my poems, circa 2008, for consideration in their short story/poetry competition.

Conflict Resolution Magazine

I’m guessing the notification email of my success got lost somewhere in the depths of my spam folder, because I never saw it. I attended the symposium but missed the opening awards ceremony, because of another appointment that ran late. So, here I am, over two weeks later, finally taking time to read the magazine from the event – and “what do you know?” that’s my name and poem in print!

"Internal"

The poem, as written in the magazine, was formatted to fit on a single page, but you can see the full piece with it’s original spacing intent below.

Of course, now that I’ve reached this first milestone, there’s only one thing left to be done: write my Great American Novel! I’ve got the perfect motivation too because NaNoWriMo is in full swing. It’s already day 11!

If you happen to live in the general Atlanta area and are interested in all that’s going on in the competition with our local region, check out the NaNoLanta Panda page for a full calendar of group writing events. You may even spot me at the Atlantic Station Ikea on Saturday Night! ~cS

 

Internal

I am different Today.

I woke up this morning and discovered
… and discovered Me!

but a Me that was changed somehow
and Different
from the me i had been before.

I stand staring at this Face
scrutinizing Its every pore.

trying to put my Finger
on the
exact
Gruesome
Deformity
that has maimed me.

but there is no Third Eye …
… as far as i can tell.

Everything is the Same.

the Lazy Eye is still there.
the Full Lips the Chipped Tooth the Crooked Smile

but No!

this is an
IMPOSTER
looking out of my mirror.

not my Beloved
connie.

who is
Never
Quite
Convinced
that she is pretty

ENOUGH

or even
enough Enough.

this Person
LIKES
the Flaws

Revels
in them even!

and I am Trying
to Figure out
Exactly
whatwentwrong

so that my best
Friend
would Abandon/Betray
Me
this way. True,

she was In-
-secure and
Broken
and Damaged but

We were working through
all that!

she was my Person
and my Security
blanket

in a Cold Cruel
world. I

didn’t really need her

so much as
I just miss her
… SOMETIMES,

anyway. so what went wrong?

the Hair is shorter
but that’s not it
I’ve lost Weight and made
Friends and finally
Broken Out
of my Shell

but would she really
leave me
for such Trifles?

and suddenly
it Hits Me!
she Planned this! she
Meant To Go.

each tiny Growth
has been a small Parting
and the knowledge
makes my heart
Hurt

there is a Ripping and
a Tearing
as I see that old connie

turn

to walk away
and despite The Betrayal
I want to
call out to her:

Wait! Come Back!

but I know now
that it is Hopeless
… she will not
come back.

I am stuck here
With Myself

with this Constance
who uses her
Full Name and
laughs
Out Loud
and Loves herself

and I know
that I’ve been left in Capable Hands
but it is Bitter
sweet

she could have told Me
she was Going Away
she could have whispered to Me:

“connie, I am leaving you for good, Today.”

but she didn’t
and No One ever warned Me
that it would hurt like this.

No One ever told Me.
but Someone should have warned Me
that this is what it means …

to Find Yourself.

August 12th (Early a.m.) to September 05th, 2008
Constance SHERESE

Rejection Letter #1

It’s been almost two months since I got my first R.L. from one of the Arts applications I submitted. Admittedly, I’ve been stalling about updating everyone with the results. More interesting, though? My video diary belting out a Barbra Streisand classic and tracking what I’ve been up to since I got the e-mail. Why is Babs being dragged into this? Because there’s nothing like a little drunken (yes, there was alcohol involved in the making of this video) ode to Nikki Arnstein to make me forget how sucky Rejection Letters can be! #PushOnThroughTheStruggle ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

August 20, 2014
Dear Applicant,
Thank you for your interest in the Critic-in-Residence Program. We received a number of outstanding applications and were only able to choose three finalists for this year’s inaugural program. The review committee has considered your request and regrets that we cannot invite you to participate at this time. 
We appreciate the effort you put into submitting your application and we highly encourage you to remain in touch with our organizations in the coming year. 
Sincerely,
Your Latest Motivation

My Love Affair With Anaïs Nin

We’ve been seeing each other for over a month. It’s still early in the relationship, so I’m a bit premature in saying this, but I think she could be The One. My latest and greatest literary Muse. Why?

She inspires me. She challenges my preconceived notions. She makes me laugh. She pisses me off. She writes Erotica! She’s more than a little dysfunctional – but I’ve got talking rabbits in my mind, so who am I to judge? We disagree on key issues like abortion, fidelity, incest, honesty, and polygamy. But, “God how I love [her] Words!” And anyone who can feed my insatiable appetite for language automatically goes on my short list of True Loves, no questions asked.

Is it just me, or does she kind of resemble that other great lady, Hillary Clinton?

Is it just me, or does she kind of resemble that other great lady, Hillary Clinton?

So how did we fall for each other? Well, here’s the low down on the whole sneaky seduction – as told through my favorite Anaïs Nin quotes, of course!

It started innocently enough. In late March, my friend Selana posted this quote on her Facebook page:

Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”

This was about halfway through my self-imposed forty day “Facebook Fast” for Lent, so I didn’t actually see the full post online, but leave it to my oft-forgotten account settings and Gmail to send e-mail updates to my phone whenever a close friend changed their status. I took a moment to glance at the quote before quickly deleting it. The thought occurred to me that I really liked the eloquent wording, but I pressed the trash icon before I had a chance to see who the phrase was attributed to.

I guess you could say Anaïs and I spotted each other in a crowded room, shared a brief “moment”, but didn’t manage to exchange names or contact information. The moment passed quickly enough and I thought that was the end of it. Surely, I’d never see her again.

But less than two weeks later, there she was popping up in my line of sight once more! This time I was scrolling through the never-ending stream of advertisements that accumulate in my Gmail promotions tab. I paused to get my daily fix of curly girl hair inspiration from Curly Nikki, and what do I see from one of the many guest bloggers but this gem that literally stopped me in my tracks:

“I must be a mermaid… I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.” ― Anaïs Nin

If I’m being completely honest, I loved the quote but still wasn’t quite in-love with the author just yet. I’m a rabbit kind of girl, after all. Some days, when I’m feeling extra boundless, I’m even a bird.

image

I’m a bird, I’m a bird! Say it… Tell me I’m a bird… Better yet, I’m an Angel!!! #Boundless

But a mermaid? I could appreciate the sentiment behind the words, but they weren’t exactly speaking to my soul in that intimate voice that comes right before The Fall. On the bright side, I had a name to go along with the quote now, although I hadn’t yet realized it was the same person from my friend Selana’s earlier post.

Another week passed when I saw these words from fellow blogger and new friend Cristian Mihai “You cannot save people.” He attributed the partial quote to Anaïs also, and after several run-ins with her name, I knew I had to find out more. These accidental meetings were starting to feel downright kismet!

I stalked out her entire life. Her journals – expurgated and otherwise. Her erotic writings for a private collector. Her political views.  Her psychotherapy and incestuous relationships. Her marriages to two men at the same time. Her lovers. I wanted it all. Clearly I was obsessed.

Which, I guess, makes me something of the Anaïs to her June Miller? I told myself the whole thing would blow over soon enough – I can be fickle with my Muses that way – but for the moment, these were the Words that fanned the flames of my devotion:

“There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of the imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don’t work.”

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.”

A taste of my own search for Imagination

A taste of my own search for Imagination.

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”

You know how I love stars and constellations!

You know how I love my stars and constellations!

 

“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

“Someone told me the delightful story of the crusader who put a chastity belt on his wife and gave the key to his best friend for safekeeping, in case of his death. He had ridden only a few miles away when his friend, riding hard, caught up with him, saying ‘You gave me the wrong key!

“The only abnormality is the incapacity to love.”

“Our love of each other was like two long shadows kissing without hope of reality.”

“I write emotional algebra.”

“In chaos, there is fertility.”

Feeling pretty "chaotic".

Feeling pretty “chaotic”.

“Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terror, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.”

“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.”

Mural by California artist Chor Boogie

Mural by California artist Chor Boogie

After that last one, the only thing I could think of were the “mosaic eyes” that sit behind the Wish Boutique parking lot in my Little 5 Points ‘hood. Was the Boogie Blogger watching me … or could it be Anaïs? ~ cS

Movie Trailers… Do People Still Watch Those???

It’s been forever since I’ve gone to see a movie in an actual theater, so I’m not exactly the resident expert on what the trailers are like anymore. But is it just me, or does it seem like they’re slowly being phased out? We all still know which films are coming out next, but when was the last time any of us actually watched a preview? In this digital information age, I’d almost think they were being automatically streamed into some Collective Consciousness pool and uploaded into our brains each time we blink. If nothing else, it makes a good plot for a movie. The Matrix meets Inception meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Yes? No? Maybe…

On a similar note, it’s also starting to feel like forever since I gave you all a peek inside my own head. That’s not to say there’s been nothing going on up there. The Rabbits are as busy as ever. But as usual, my perfectionist nature won’t let me share the details if the timing is. not. quite. right. Maybe I should upload a few of my dreams to Facebook and tag my followers? The details would be just hazy enough that I wouldn’t have to worry about giving away too much, but I could still keep inquiring minds in the know. Not a bad idea, but until technology catches up I guess I’ll just have to make due with more “old fashioned” means. So here, for your viewing pleasure, is my list of “Coming Attractions” at your local RabbitsInMyMind Cineplex!

coming attractions

First up: An actual recurring dream that I’ve been having! It’s the subject of the play I told you I’m writing. I’ve set up my basic outline. I have a rough title. I know there will be four Acts with multiple Scenes in each one. And I’ve written text for most of the first Act. But, I still have to remind myself occasionally that I’ve accomplished a lot. It feels like such a slow process trying to solidify and create dialog around something as … well, hazy as a dream. It’s also been super draining writing on such a personal topic… hint hint, tease tease… Wondering what topic I’m referring to? Check out the snippets below and let me know what you think!

“… It was one of those weird, disjointed dreams that don’t really make sense. But somehow you just know that you have to go with the inside out rules. Y’know? … Yea, like that! Only it’s not really a “boom box” per se. At least, that’s not how I’d describe it … It’s my connection. To music. To the real. To myself. It’s my outlet. Short answer: They’re really big ass head phones that keep me close to her. (Pause) So yea, about that dream.”

“… Apparently, I’m the only one who knew how to drive, but they were the ones who knew where we were going. Although, I don’t really think they knew where we were going either. The dream ended and we never even got anywhere! Maybe I’m wrong to give away the ending so soon? Sorry, spoiler alert, but it’s true: all they did was create chaos and confusion.”

“… I know what I did wrong. I know that’s what everybody says. They all say: ‘If I could just go back in time, I could fix things.’ I also know that everybody’s wrong when they say they can fix things. Still. I know what I did wrong. I got a life.”

You’ve probably noticed, in those snippets, a few recurring themes from several of my previous blog posts. Yep, when my creative juices start flowing, it all seems to meld together that way. So it’s no surprise that my next preview flows naturally from the last one.

Continuing on the theme of music as my “connection” and my “outlet”, the thought occurred to me last week that I should share some of the music I’ve been listening to lately. It definitely acts as an inspiration for my writing. Or does my writing serve as an inspiration for the music I listen to? Hmmm. Anyway, I thought that would be a quick, easy post I could churn out in a day or two with no problem. I’d list my top five songs for the week – making sure to show off my eclectic tastes by featuring a song from five different musical genres – and include a brief description of what I like about each one. Easy, right? Apparently, my tastes are more eclectic than I knew.

I struggled to classify each song as falling under just one genre. I struggled to choose only five songs for the week. I struggled to write a description for each song that didn’t loop back to five other songs or artists or personal memories related to them. And after four days, the musical rabbits in my mind were starting to resemble a Markov chain that even Andrei Markov himself couldn’t unravel! But I’m learning not to fight my inner Dory. It’s part of my process. So I’m working on an interactive, much more in depth look at what’s Coming Through My Headphones. Think: memories of My First Kiss meets Skank meets Mahalia Jackson meets The Blower’s Daughter meets The Mad Violinist. It’s gonna be BIG. Real big. Yes, I do know I just listed five songs, but I promise there was no way I could have done a full post on those five songs without writing for weeks on end!

My final teaser trailer follows the thread of taking a closer look at old memories. It’s a Throw Back Thursday post I’ve been developing for the past two weeks. What’s so special about this particular throw back? It combines some of my Original Artwork, multiple Heavenly Bodies, a few Optical Illusions, my recent Greek Mythology binge (Did I mention I’m also planning a belated honeymoon to Greece with the hubby this May? Talk about binge-ing!), and more of my usual Self Discovery thrown in for good measure. Think that’s a lot to fit into a single post? It is. But it all comes as the lead up to another major announcement about the future of CultSTATUS.

Remember my last big news from a week, or so, ago? (Which is working out wonderfully, I might add). Well, Thursday’s post is going to be just as epic. Should I include a zoomed in picture of my artwork to whet your appetite? I think that depends on how many comments I can rack up below. I thrive on your feedback, after all! So, what do you think of the Coming Attractions? Are you guys tweaking any of your own W.I.P.’s? How goes the slow process? ~ cS

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