Insomnia, dear stranger

It’s 2:45 in the morning, and I am wide awake. This hasn’t happened in a while and I feel how my mood is changing. I am irritated with myself because I am to blame for tonight’s insomnia. I was tired but had an appointment tonight. I thought it would be good to have a cup of coffee. I should have drunk espresso instead. No matter how many espressos (espressi?) I drink in the evening, I always sleep through the night.

Also, it is hot, my partner had too much beer (TMI: his farting keeps me awake), and I need to get up for work in three hours.

I tried avoiding my phone for a long while, but gave up eventually. I probably had 2 hours of sleep so far.

On a positive note, I sold two books, and the more I think about it, the happier I about the release. Just 3 more hours at work, and I will be on leave until August 25th. I bought a dress for a wedding, it is unusually colourful, but I look good in it. Waiting for the first review of my novel.

Most of my thoughts these days revolve about the novel and how readers perceive it.

I should try to catch some sleep.

***

Dear Stranger,

It is late, and I can’t sleep. You were on my mind these last days. A lot. All the time. It is good that we are strangers right now, but once in a while, I would love it if we were acquaintances again. Ah, stranger. If you only knew what I know. Am I awake in your dreams? Some nights, I dream myself away to you. My head on your chest, your fingers combing my hair. Sweaty from the day, our skin would stick together, and unbothered, we would lead a naked life. Naked body, naked soul. I close my eyes, and I see you. Always yours, “marriage material”

3:32 – goodnight

And finally…

I first shared about my intention to publish my novel early this year, but a couple of setbacks made me drop my imaginary deadline.

Then last week, I didn’t have to go to work because there was no work for me left to be done… I was angry. Very much so. I felt useless and unneeded – and those are things similar to rejection – I can’t deal with them. I had to do something, and I dove into my manuscript for Heart of Stone. There was still a lot of work to do, and I did it. It took many hours, but in the end, I got it done, and I think/I hope there aren’t any typos left.

Upload, publish done.

That was the easy part. The cover had been done long before – I designed it myself, with a picture I took myself too. The picture inspired the title of the book.

The hard part was sharing with the world that I had written a novel that is almost 300 pages long. (291 pages of story). But, with a little shove and a lot of convincing, I did it. I shared on Instagram, on Twitter, and on FB. FB is the scariest because there is only family and people I really really really like. Their opinion matters.

And wouldn’t you know? They didn’t even ask about a synopsis, they simply asked where to buy the book. They will be surprised to read an English same-sex romantic novel. But, that they offered some support, albeit driven by curiosity, that means the world to me.

By now, Heart of Stone is available as paperback and ebook on Amazon worldwide. Mid-August, I will receive 10 copies that I can share and send around the world. One is already spoken for. 9 are left.

Heart of Stone – paperback version on amazon.com

Heart of Stone – kindle version on amazon.com

(Clicking the links will lead you to amazon.com – you will leave this site.)

I am proud of this achievement. It took me a while to come to terms with it, but yes, I did it. The first copy of the book went to the UK, to North Wales. That man bought his copy before I even told the masses that my book existed, and before I had the chance to correct the final typos. His copy of Heart of Stone is truly unique. And I will never forget his generosity and kindness.

Now, I will have to see if I can come up with a next book. There is only one older story of mine that deserves to be made into a paperback, but I am not sure if it will ever happen. Every Second, Forever. It is about a man who catches HIV and his journey through life, living with the virus. But, that book was written even before Heart of Stone, and therefore it is out of date. We’ll see what will happen.

Heart of Stone – it is out now, ready for your eyes. It will hit you right in the feels, I promise.

Sunday Scribblings #12 – immortal

This week, Aaron gave us the following prompt: immortal.

I didn’t write anything new, but it reminded me of an image I created and shared recently.

Polish_20200724_170224231.jpg

The black background is a close-up of a vinyl record. The dots are the flash of my mobile camera, and the words and the name are mine.

I write a lot of fiction, but some of it is inspired by people in my life or those who are not in my life anymore. When I wrote the above quote, I thought about a special man who taught me many valuable lessons over the years and who will forever have that special place in my heart. And because he has that special place inside my heart, he is immortal. I write about him, about who he was to me and how he made me feel. I fantasise about what could have been and what never was.

When I think of you while I write, then you will become immortal too. Like Aaron who shares questions, reviews, these writing prompts, and much more on his blog.

I believe that it takes a long while to be truly and completely forgotten. Everything we do has an impact on the people around. Isn’t that a nice and scary thought?

Or, as the Austrian Post-Rock band Our Ceasing Voice said: The only ones dead (are those who are forgotten)

(From the album “When the Headline Hit Home” 2011)

Celebration

As of today, I am a published author. Everything fell in place much faster than anticipated, and today, my novel went live.

For now, only available as paperback via Amazon worldwide.

amazon.com

There are only ten signed copies available through this blog. First come, first served.

The Ebook- version will follow, but I had some troubles with my laptop today and I gave up. Instead, I chose to celebrate my achievement.

But, here it comes: I am scared, almost a wreck, to be honest. It’s very different from when I published my poetry, I was more confident then.

But, my novel is good. The writing is good and the story too. I believe in my story.

So… Celebrate with me the release of my first novel, Heart of Stone. Buy it, read it, love it.

ramble…

You know what? Fuck it!!

It’s okay. I am okay the way I am. Including all my flaws.

We are all told every day that we need to change this and that to be loved and to fit in. But honestly? Who cares? No one does. No matter how much we work on us, it’s never okay anyway, and haters will always find something to criticize.

I am just fed up with people. At the same time, I want to acknowledge how far I came these last months. I did not learn a new language or learned to paint. I lost some weight and put it on again because I liked to have a drink (too many) a lot of the time… But skipped meals. And workouts.

I am passionately listening to music again. I haven’t written any poetry or anything else in a moment. I haven’t taken any pictures. And honestly, being here or not – it doesn’t matter. Or does it?

In my life was a person who didn’t speak well of me writing the blog. Did he ever read it? I am not sure. But everyone is a judge these days.

Years ago, someone told me “who cares? It doesn’t matter.” And I was so hurt back then, because I thought that it had to matter and that everyone has to care. But as so often, this person taught me a valuable lesson. How I miss that person…

So… I was sure to take a break and be quiet… Because I felt hurt. But I am a grown-up and will not act like a teenage girl. There is nothing wrong with being a teenage girl, I was one twenty years ago, but I am not anymore.

How is a grown-up supposed to act? How is a mom of three supposed to be?

I am me. I don’t always feel right, but in the end, I am.

I did have a drink tonight, but I also had lots of fun.

I don’t feel right – Tadgh Daly (2020)

Cathy, as a mom (it’s a conscious choice not to share many pics of my kids online. They are at an age where they are allowed to choose if they want to be present in an online world or not – I only share pics with their consent.)

Friday Afternoon Musings

I believe that things happen for a reason and that people are in our life for a reason too. I thought about this a lot recently. Why do friendships fade out, and why do new people enter slowly, and suddenly, you realise you are in touch daily? Why do lovers need to leave, and why do they come back on occasion too? Why was that perfect job given to someone else? We will never know. And overanalysing doesn’t help us to move on.

I used to write a lot. And when I say that, I mean that I wrote novels (60k words and more each) back to back between 2012 and 2016—18 full stories, and countless ideas that never made it past chapter 5. In 2017, I didn’t write all that much. I stuck with poetry and short stories, and I kept writing one or more poems daily until early 2020. I find it hard to write this year. As if the words are not there, or the emotions that fueled those words. And I can’t blame it on the pandemic. It is the change inside of me. Am I growing up?

All this reflection came after listening to an episode of the Podcast “What Do You Say?”. I mentioned it a couple of days ago, and this episode with Noah Kagan had some highlights for me. Fodder for thought, as they say.

What Do You Say?

Up until 2016, I was a housewife and stay-at-home mom. I had three small kids, a house, and a husband. And lots of time. I had routines and was able to set aside time to sit down and write. I was inspired to write, and the inspiration came from nowhere really. My life was so small, and I was living in a tiny bubble with almost no social life whatsoever. There weren’t many distractions. I dove head-first into my love for music and live concerts and discovered that I had some talent for writing good fiction. No, by far, not everything is worth reading, but I am proud of my writing voice.

We grow all the time, and life changes all the time. We adapt without really noticing. In 2016, I found a job at a nursery. I didn’t stay at that nursery but switched a couple of months later – and that’s where I am still today. I love my job. It’s not only an occupation, but it is also like a calling. And once in a while, I am fed up with the team or with my boss or with the decisions of our minister in charge of education, but ultimately, I love what I am doing.

If I had a choice, though, I would make writing my top priority. I was wondering if I could set aside time again, to make new routines and maybe set daily word count goals. But my schedule at work is inconsistent. Sometimes, I need to get up at 5.30am, other times I can lie in. And I love to sleep in. Sometimes I am done at noon, other times it is 7pm before I am home. It is exhausting. And then the chores are waiting and the kids deserve their time too.

How are those different thoughts linked? I have been chatting a bit with Gavin Simpson – Sourfish. And I listen to his weekly podcast, which was insightful and inspiring this week. Truth be told, we were following each other for years on Twitter and IG, but we were never in touch until last May (?). His enthusiasm and passion are contagious, I am learning a lot. And as I mentioned before, this episode 006 of his podcast was what I needed to hear.

Things happen for a reason. People are in our life for a reason. Life is a string of lessons, and we never stop growing and learning. Maybe I am at a time in my life where I want to take over more control again. I want to stop lamenting. And be happy. There is light inside of me. Somewhere.

I had a hard childhood and youth. But as much as I believe it shaped me into the woman I am today, I cannot allow it to keep me hostage. I cannot change the past, and I am tired of using it as an excuse. And I do—all the time. I want to stop that behaviour. It is the right moment to change for the better. I don’t want to be this version of myself anymore.

On top of all this, I still have my shoulder to deal with, and I decided that I will have a second opinion about it because I am in a lot of pain again. (I was diagnosed with bursitis in February and had a Cortisone shot that didn’t help at all.) There will most probably be surgery. And to be honest, I am scared. I was never at a hospital (apart from having my babies), I never had surgery, not even stitches. I never had to be treated at an ER. I am all original Cathy. I know the pain I am in now. It is familiar. The pain after surgery is unknown. But again, I want to face that fear. Maybe.

Furthermore, I don’t want to use the word “try” as much anymore. Either I do, or I don’t.

My mind is philosophical right now.

Everything happens for a reason—no need for any regrets.

And… if you like Podcasts and aren’t afraid of a Scottish accent, then, by all means, listen to the link I shared above and then go back and listen to the other episodes too. What do you say?

A moment of me

Tired me.

It’s been so long since I had a decent night’s sleep. I feel old and worn out. No makeup and no styling my hair can hide how much older I look these days. My eyes are puffy and swollen, which seems to be a constant these days. Lack of sleep, allergies? Just the way things are now? I also gained a lot of weight again, and it is a pain to get rid of it. I have to face it, I am not 20 or 30 anymore. And I am not 35 anymore either.

Years of being at war with myself left traces, and I can’t hide them well. Living is exhausting. I am tired.

I lost myself on the tip of my broken tongue.

I usually don’t allow myself to re-feel old emotions, but maybe it is time to revisit the places that made me happy. The faces too.

I tried sharing less of all the ugliness that is me. But I can’t. It makes me look bad, but it is the most real part of me. Maybe I should just go into hiding and sit it out.

As I said, I am exhausted and tired. Powerless and useless too. Sad for no reason apparent to anyone. And I don’t have to vocabulary to give this – whatever it is – a voice and words.

Thank you.

Memory lane

Today, I saw that an old post from November 2017 was read a couple of times – today. I am not one who looks at the stats all day long, but I noticed this because it is a special post to me. (That said, I usually take a moment in June to reflect on the first half of the year on the blog… Expect a post about that soon)

I remember that particular post from November very well. I remember exactly when I wrote it and why. I know what happened before and what happened after.

https://wp.me/p2ZT5k-392

It’s quite painful to read all of these words again. They were at the beginning of a dark and depressive phase in my life and I am not completely out of the woods yet. I have been fighting and struggling for three years.

Recently, I discovered that I am actually a mediocre writer at best. I keep repeating the same words and phrases; I keep replaying the same scenes and moments. And my writing became dull. Unimportant. Irrelevant.

There are many many amazing writers out there. There are musicians who write lyrics so powerful that they make the listener tear up.

I am not one of them. Not anymore.

Not anymore.

I am sorry.

I lost my most important muse and stopped listening to the music that makes me feel. It is as if I am overwhelmed all the time, yet numb too. It is as if I am censoring myself and hiding behind the mask of the person I am expected to be.

I am exhausted. I haven’t slept properly in four days. And I can’t do it anymore.

Tonight’s movie

Fridays or Saturdays we have movie night with the girls. Recently, we began showing them older movies, and tonight, we watched “I love you to death” with Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, and River Phoenix. In supporting roles are Joan Plowright, William Hurt, and Keanu Reeves. That movie is gold. I have seen it countless times, and I still laugh out loud every time. My kids liked it too. “I love you to death” was directed by Laurence Kasdan and released in 1990.

I was a huge fan of River Phoenix when I was a young girl. My bedroom was covered in posters of him and as weird as it sounds – he passed away a couple of years before I even knew he existed – I learned a lot from him. Veganism, for example, became a subject I educated myself in, esoterism too. Maybe, I became eccentric as a fourteen-year-old girl because I had this obsessive crush on River Phoenix. Sad, but true.

By the way, while we are watching fun movies with the girls (9 and 11 years old) we are watching fun movies with my son too (15 years). This week we watched Kill Bill (both parts).

Which movies have you seen this week?

They can’t breathe… again

I am not a political person, and truth be told; I am sitting in my bubble, far away from any violence. Heck, most of our police officers don’t even wear guns! I am living in a country where 48% of the citizens are not Luxembourgish. I am living in a country where many people don’t even know how to speak the national language. But that is okay… It only makes us stronger. It makes us support the other; it makes us stand in when we see that people are struggling to understand each other.

I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the things happening in the US right now. Maybe it is easy for me to say because I am far away, but the time to stay silent and let it happen is over. The pictures we see in the news look like civil war and /your/ president pours his venom like oil into the burning flames. His inadequacy and his inability to be who he is supposed to be is becoming more and more apparent. He should be removed from office, but… That has been said from the start. I am afraid that he will be elected again. Too many stupid people are kissing his feet, and he is mocking every one of them.

The time to be silent is over.

The above clip was sent to me by a very dear friend. He is a black man living in Arkansas. Right now, he is afraid to go outside because even the most mundane daily tasks could put him at risk of being killed. It sounds dramatic, but it is the truth. A couple of days ago, cops shot a man just a couple of blocks from his home.(unverified information my friend gave me, but I have no reason not to believe him.)

Being in law enforcement is never an easy job, and yet, it is very easy. There is right, and there is wrong. And there is the choice to show compassion and treating every human being the same, regardless of gender, race, sexuality (…). It is a dangerous job, but if the people who are supposed to protect us from the bad guys are worse criminals than them, then something is very wrong. Very wrong.

I don’t have a heart of stone, and watching American news these days is very scary. My heart is breaking.