Bringing In Additional Talent

I wanted to let everyone know, in advance, that I am adding some additional talent to this blog. Under the blogger handle “fawkestears” will be one of my best friends, Stefanie. She & I have worked together on various projects, on and off, for over 20 years.

Whenever I am unable, for whatever reason, to blog, she will try to be here in my stead. I am also hoping she will add her photographic spin to things, as she is a talented freelance photographer.

Please, when she posts, treat her as warmly as you have all treated me.

Thanking you all,

Li

Baby-Cheetah-640x480

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135 ~ the New Blueprint

I must have missed this when it was originally posted. I share it now with all of you. Don’t forget to visit Britt’s blog and tell her how awesome she is.

Fairytale Epidemic

When the battle scars start fading
Stitch armor vests around your heart
When bullet cases fall from firing
You’ll turn your pain into an art

You had the blueprints to my body
Mapped your feet all over the chart
You had the key to the secret garden
Now you’re locked out from that part

Time to take this silly rough draft
Full of holes from cupid’s darts
Time to create a better prototype
Give myself a fresh new start

Raising ink from the blank pages
Uninhibited, yet still on mark
Raising the voice from my own phoenix
That had laid dormant in the dark

phoenix

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A Piece Of Big Apple PRIDE!

A Piece Of Big Apple PRIDE!

http://main.aol.com/2013/07/17/2013-mlb-all-star-game-la_n_3600996.html

*If you’re not a baseball fan, don’t read this. If you are, this is me, sharing my pride in Mariano Rivera, MVP of this year’s All-Star Game, which will be the final of his career. For those of you who don’t know, or those who live outside North America, Mariano is the ace of the New York Yankees bullpen. He has been our closer for 16 years of his 19 year career as a Yankee.

He is the epitome of humble, respectful, soft-spoken, and kind. As a New Yorker, and a born Yankees fan, I take great pride in the players that are “no laughs, no bullshit”. The ones that do their jobs, that don’t embarrass themselves, their team, their fans, or the city which they represent <cough, A-Rod, cough>. Mariano is that kind of player, the one that even opposing teams respect because they’re in awe of his abilities on the field, on a career that is damn near flawless in performance.

It was a great moment last night to see him respectfully applauded at Citi-Field amongst a, mostly, hometown crowd. Especially by his American League teammates and the opposing National League players. For his last All-Star Game to be in New York, for him to be the first closer to ever receive the MVP award at the All-Star Game, those are big things. This man is a future Hall of Famer for sure, and not only does he make me proud to be a New Yorker, he also reminds me that the American Dream of success and hard work is still alive and well.

I am SO proud of you Mo. I’ve watched you from day one and have always cheered you on and respected you. Last night made me emotional, knowing that you will retire at the end of this season. The team and baseball will not be the same without you. It will probably take someone the next 50 years to try to break all of the records you have worked so hard to achieve, rarely giving yourself the credit you so deserve. Believe me when I say that I will one day tell my children of your greatness, the same way my parents told me about Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford, and a host of other greats that followed in their footsteps.

At the end of the season, win or lose, you will always be named among the greats. I am proud to have witnessed your career and will always smile whenever I see your face. I also promise to beat the crap out of anyone I ever see wearing the number 42. They’re not worthy!!*

Shake It Out

*This was one of the best performances on The Voice this season. They lost me as a viewer about a month ago, even though I swore I’d get caught up, I really haven’t had the desire to tune in. Eliminating the true talent they had this season angers me. None of them deserved to go home, especially Judith Hill who is extraordinarily talented. I guess the winner will be determined Monday night, with or without my viewership. Maybe I’ll catch up with it at some point, maybe not. 

I’m so glad Christina will be back in her chair for Season 5. I’ve really missed her and the humorous banter between her and the guys. Shakira held her own, but she was not consistently entertaining.*

My Writing Roots

My Writing Roots

We all start somewhere, especially in terms of writing. My roots are steeped in tradition in the sense that I come from a family well versed with the written and spoken word. I, myself, have a way with words. There’s not a lot I won’t say. I’m direct, I have no time for bullshit, I speak the exact same way that I write, but I wasn’t always like that.

At an extremely young age, I was painfully shy and introverted. My extroverted self only “came out to play” when she was completely comfortable with those around her. There had to be a measure of trust, and even still, I held back a lot. Today, I am an introverted extrovert, but I’m also an extremely dominant personality. I can’t even begin to count the times the word “intimidating” has been used to describe me. The people that know me best know that I’m actually not like that, but it’s something I can turn on in an instant. We all have built-in mechanisms we use when dealing with others. If I have to amp up my intimidation factor, I go with it. Dumbing myself down and playing the pathetic card aren’t things I do very well, which is probably one of the reasons I’m single. What can I say? I didn’t major in drama, and I’m not an actress. To quote another Scorpio woman, “I’ve never faked it for a man, and I’m not going to fake it for anyone else.” Exactly.

I started writing as an alternative form of communication. I’d been given a school assignment at the time and I put it off for as long as humanly possible, until my mother was finally clued in that this assignment was way past due, and my Mom, God Rest & Bless Her Soul, was not the type to let her kids fail. She also never sugarcoated anything. If I had no talent in any area, she’d tell me not to quit my day job. If I had talent in an area, she was the first person to tell me to run with it. More parents should be that way.

I was convinced I did not have the ability to do said assignment, but my mother said “Honey, you’re over-thinking this. Just write what you think and write what you feel. If someone doesn’t like it, that’s their problem. You’ve still done the assignment and given it your best.” It was a very simple, honest statement, but it was as if she’d opened some kind of gateway for me, and in many respects, I know that she did. How many parents ever tell their children to say what they think and feel?! None that I know, but she opened a door that day, a door that has always remained wide open for me. I’ve been writing ever since.

I might have been kind of raw initially, but that grew into talent and ability very quickly. People commented on it, people took notice, and I started winning small awards. I was known for the fact that I was a writer, and I was also known for the fact that keeping my mouth shut when a voice needed to be heard wasn’t high on my list of priorities.

As I previously said, I was quiet, shy, and observant. Most writers are great observers of others, as well as observers of behavior and body language. I immediately realized that people responded to my opinionated take on all things, and I went with it. That eventually led to me operating my own “by-subscription-only” publication. It was not a magazine, but it wasn’t a flimsy joke either. A year into that project I was faced with a decision, realizing I could not run two publications simultaneously, and soon found myself the founder & President of a non-profit fan organization specializing in an individual’s athletic career (and at this point, I say “athlete” with a very thinly veiled cough. I’m not naming names. If I did, you’d throw rotting fruit at his house. I’m actually all for that, really. I’d be happy to give you his name and address. Ok, so I’m actually too classy to do that, but I’d still love to see someone hit him with an over-ripe tomato, or 400.).

I did everything from dealing with fans one-on-one, to handling personal appearances. Public & Fan Relations is no joke. I was also responsible for a fan based publication, which went out to roughly three thousand people all over the world at a time at its height (yeah, the post office loved me!). Sounds like no big deal, but it is, especially when you have to write more than half of it, do the layout and design, approve everything for print, and take it all by hand to the copier yourself. I had gotten to the point where I was turning people down because membership was out of control. If someone hadn’t said to me one day “You’re far too talented to be working for the likes of this asshole. You need to be doing your own thing, promoting yourself and your own work.”, I might still be in that job, which is still one of the most under-appreciated, but mind-blowingly amazing things I have ever created and done.

I did not have staff assisting me with any of that work. Not unless you count the fact that a handful of people submitted work, photos, and art for the publication, most of which had to be re-written, re-vamped, heavily edited, etc. And don’t get me started on all of the fan mail, because I answered all of it, every single bit of correspondence, myself. Not in a “form letter” kind of way, but in the most personal, professional way I knew how. I would never have been able to grow if it had not been for the fans, for word of mouth, for people being hooked on the work I produced. The work was mine. Every single second of hard work was mine, and mine alone, and in turn, people tried copying it. Many took my hard work and did exactly that without offering me so much as a “Would this be ok?”, and they quickly found out that the word “copyright” isn’t a lame or tame expression, it means “I own this, don’t F!@# with it.” True writers and artists do not appreciate or respect theft of their work. Plagiarizing someone else’s hard work because you yourself possess not an ounce of talent is cowardly, pathetic, and a host of other things I am lady enough not to say here.

After many, many years of this work, which resulted in carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, and ulcers, I then went through a series of personal & professional loss, and I had to take a step back. That step turned out to be a huge step away, a step I needed. It was a huge turning point.

Time doesn’t heal everything, but it can certainly help you see clearer than you’ve ever seen, to the point where you say “I’m done.” The only difference is, I meant it. I was done being unappreciated, I was done with the severe lack of respect, I was done catering to people who only wanted to get closer to what I had earned. It’s an extremely unattractive thing, riding someone else’s coat-tails. I went from being a sought after friend & advisor to having just a handful of people left in the world that I valued. More would continue to slip away, but after a while, you no longer think about it any more. It’s done, it’s the past, and I don’t spend a lot of time looking back.

At that particular point in time I chose a different career path and even started writing a book about my experiences in the new career. I had a lot of things I wanted to accomplish there, and only in the last year did I discover that someone else came up with a similar idea and is now turning a profit on it, which just goes to show you that there’s some truth to the saying “Everything under the sun has already been thought of.”, and yet, I am still fiercely protective of my work and ideas. I’m a writer, I have to be.

I shelved the book after getting my degree, not because I couldn’t finish it, but because my father was losing what would be a 15 year battle with cancer. I couldn’t write, constantly be at the hospital, constantly care for my mother, and maintain a decent level of sanity. The day I got a phone call from an Emergency Room physician telling me to get to the hospital immediately, I was prepared for the worst.

I stood there with my family, my father out like a light in cardiac care recovery, as a doctor quietly told me that the cancer they THOUGHT they had gotten through multiple operations, through several rounds of radiation, and the experimental treatment that landed him in the hospital for over a month that didn’t rid him of cancer, but brought all of his heart problems to light, had spread throughout his body. She was a fine physician, truly, but the next year and a half was hell on my father & my family. In the middle of all this, my Mom became sicker than she had originally been, so it was a constant back & forth. I was pretty sure I’d never write again, and at that point, I didn’t care.

I knew for quite some time that I was going to lose my father young. I always knew he would never see me get my degree (I graduated between semesters so that I could be close at hand, just in case.), that he’d never walk me down the aisle, that he’d never get to see his Grandchildren. I’d known this to the depth of my soul for a very long time, and yet the morning the phone call came, I was prepared and unprepared, all in the same breath. When I had gotten the final notice that it was time to move him to hospice, I fought like a vicious animal over it, I refused to do it, until he finally agreed that it was time, he’d had enough. By then he could no longer speak, the only person who understood him was me, and it was an extremely upsetting time for all of us.

Right about that time I picked up a newly released CD at my local Target and these incredible lyrics popped right out at me from the CD jacket. I read them to my Mom and said “Do you think I could write the eulogy? Would that be ok?” Traditionally at Jewish funerals, even the most relaxed, laid back ones, the only person who speaks is the Rabbi. I’ve always found it cold, a bit phoney, especially if the Rabbi doesn’t truly know the deceased, and I wanted to do something that I knew would honor my father when he eventually did pass away. It took me about two months to piece it together, and the night before the funeral I was up until way past my bedtime putting the finishing touches on it. It’s truly one of the finest things I have ever written, and I know I not only made my father proud that day, but I pretty much brought the house down. People who’ve known me my entire life came up to me afterwards and said “I had no idea you could write like that!”

I remember e-mailing my best friend a copy and she was so floored by what I’d written. Unable to be present herself for the funeral, we immediately made plans for her to be present for the unveiling the following year, not knowing that my mother would pass away five months later, making her even more intent on being present, because she knew & loved my mother.

I gave the eulogy at my mother’s funeral as well. A cousin I don’t really speak to came up to me afterwards and said “Ypu have a real gift, you should do something with it.” Yeah, because my incredibly expensive degree is just plain useless!! Backwards comments are so insulting.  For my parents’ unveiling, I gave an 11 page speech to my best friends (my brother’s & my own) and the few family members that deigned to show up who I share blood with, and not much else. My Aunt being the exception in the family, we’re very close and I love & respect her. I absolutely adore my Rabbi as well, and he has been an immense support from day one. He too encourages my progress as a writer.

It was right around that time that I started praying more than usual. I would often say “Mom, send me an idea I can work with. Send me something we’d both love to read.” My Mom was the person I shared books, music, movies, and TV with. We’d fight over books, we loved so many of the same things, and sometimes she’d read something and say “You could do this. You’ve got what it takes. Don’t box yourself in to a genre, you’re better than a lot of what’s out there.” Sometimes I wrote that off as my Mom being my Mom, and simply being proud of her daughter and believing in me, but eventually I did start believing that she was right. Most of the time, she was, so why couldn’t she be right about this as well?

One day, a tiny idea blossomed inside my head. I shook it off, but it became persistent and it was my mother’s voice basically saying “I like this. You can write it. Start typing, here’s an idea, see what you can do with it.”

I spent a lot of time after that writing, researching, and four months in I presented the first few chapters to my Aunt for her opinion, and because I desperately needed feedback I could trust, feedback not my own. She liked 90% of it and recommended some minor changes. A few months later I was back with the changes she had recommended and the additional chapters I’d been working on. She loved it, every bit of it, and said “You need to finish this. If I was flipping through this book in Barnes & Noble, I would buy it, and so would a lot of other people.”

Like my mother, my Aunt isn’t into the sugarcoating. If I lack the talent, I’m told I lack the talent, whereas when I’ve got it, I am encouraged to keep on pursuing it. She’s been that way with me my entire life, she’s never played games with my emotions or bullshitted me, so I respect her advice and value her opinion.

Book 1 has since received an official title, and despite being in re-writes, it will eventually be ready to be shopped around. When you begin a book and it’s not a stand-alone novel, it’s important to do the groundwork for future novels, and to think about the back story to your characters. I’ve got most of the series story-boarded out and I continue to write and do research on where the story will take you, what you will learn about each character, all while taking you on a believable adventure that you can get lost in. I, personally, prefer stories that, while fiction, are still pretty honest in the telling. There is a LOT of truth in the first book and in each of the books I have started writing chapters to. In many respects, these books are therapeutic in how they have helped me write out my anger and hostility about certain things, but also tell a story I believe in.

Writing hasn’t just given me my voice and a great deal of strength & confidence, but it’s also how I met my best friend, and many other friends that I am close to and would do anything for.

Marion found me through a mutual acquaintance when I was doing Public & Fan Relations. Four years into our friendship (this was before e-mail became so huge, believe it or not we actually wrote *gasp* letters to one another. And by “letter” I mean 6-20 page letters on a weekly basis. Marion blames me for the length, apparently I’ve got a lot to say. LOL.), she & her sister, who I am also friends with, flew here, though I was living in another state at the time, and spent a week visiting. We did everything from shop, goof off, laugh, enjoy great food, and I took them to the original Yankee Stadium where we took in their first official baseball game. It was a great week, despite the serious late July/early August heat/humidity, and we have been friends from day one. I have other friends that have also come in to my life through my writing and remained my friends through thick & thin, not caring what career change I may have made at any given time, but caring about who I am as a person, and knowing that at the end of the day, I say what I mean and I mean what I say, and that I am there for them no matter what, that my love and support will not waver. I can travel to a lot of places in this world and I have family in those countries, people who I’ve known for so long that they are closer to me than blood, and I think that’s a fabulous thing. Writing has gifted me with a lot, and I will always be grateful to my Mom for giving me the confidence to realize that this gift was in my arsenal.

So there you have it, my writing roots. Trust me when I say that as a writer, no matter what we may write about, we tell some of the best (true) stories.

262 ~ Ready. Set. Go.

How amazing is this?! Britt is so talented, I can’t help, but promote her here and hopefully others will catch on. I adore her. You don’t get much more real than this!

Fairytale Epidemic

I am as selfish as
Selfish comes
And do not regret
What I have become

When I walk away
But don’t feel the pull
Did I really love you
Or playing wolf in wool

The time apart
Just made me see
The years before
Do not matter to me

If only you knew
What I’ve been up to then
I can guarantee you’d
Never call me again

I’m giving you a head start
So don’t look back
For your skin will be ripped
And hung like a plaque

From a fairy tale story
That shouldn’t have begun
I want to hear your heart race
So run baby, run

I won’t suffer, be broken, get tired, or wasted
Surrender to nothing, or give up what I
Oh_dear____by_seijikatStarted and stopped it, from end to beginning
A new day is coming, and I am finally free

Photo Credit: seijikat

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I LOVE This!

I LOVE This!

I don’t care if a movie is highly rated by critics or fans, I go with what I feel from it. I love this movie and I adored the performances Christina gave so brilliantly. Some of those dance routines had some killer choreography. People can talk shit, but chances are they’re nowhere near as talented. I chose the song without the performance because the performance looks shitty on most monitors and if it looks that way on mine, I’d rather just share the music.

March Madness

For those of you who don’t know, I am a sports fan of epic proportions. A native of New York City, I am a born New York Yankees, New York Giants, & New York Rangers fan. I admit the Rangers have sort of lost me after the last 9-10 years, but I will still cheer for them over most teams. I am also a diehard New England Patriots fan, which means I catch a lot of heat from my family and many of my neighbors since I live in Philadelphia Eagles country. Outside of those sports, I am a true blue Duke Blue Devils fan. March Madness starts on the 19th. No matter where you live, you’ll probably be able to hear me arm-chair coaching the team to what I hope will be a full-out victory. #CoachKRocks!