I Had A Brother

I had a brother.
His name was Roger.
He was born on April 2, 1980.
I was 2 1/2 years old when he was born.
I don’t remember life without him around as a child.
He was my annoying little brother. We fought and endured sibling rivalry like many do.
I know we played too, although I would have never admitted it when we were young.        He liked to push my buttons like little brothers do.

For a significant portion of my teen years my brother was not around.                          Addiction introduced itself to Roger. They got involved, really involved.                        Things changed.                                                                                                                      It was hard.                                                                                                                              A couple of times it was scary.                                                                                               It was definitely messy.                                                                                                            I was 16 at the height of things. My baby sister was 6.                                                           It was hard – for everybody.

Eventually Roger found a sub-culture he seemed to fit in. For a few years he would visit from time to time when he passed through town.
He met my first son as a newborn and held him so gently and carefully, being aware he wasn’t the cleanest. It meant a lot to me that he came to meet my son and hold him.

Being himself, he would tell us wild stories of the adventures he had. They were never dull. At the same time you could see there were many more stories that went untold simply because they were painful and we became, whether real or perceived, too distanced to relate or even make the attempt.
For a majority of the time since they met, addiction stayed involved.                                  He tried hard, over and over but it’s grip was strong.

Eventually, his addictions caught up with him.

An overdose…revived at the scene…vegetative…1,177 miles from his birthplace…surname given…family contacted…days…decisions…waiting…

I had a brother.
His name was Roger.
He died on April 2, 2004.
I was 26 1/2 years old when he died.                                                                                        I will remember life without him now and wonder what may have been.                                He was my annoying little brother. He liked to push my buttons like little brothers do.

I miss him. Especially today.

Stacey & Roger

The Writing Room (continued…)- The Drafts

Well, after 4 (yes! FOUR!) coats of paint, the job is done! The walls are now white and I’ve spent part of yesterday and today making the space functional. It’s taking shape as I imagined it. There’s still organising and adjusting to do but the hardest part of the project is behind me.

The Writing Room

The Writing Room

There are a few more things I am excited to share about this space but that will have to wait for now…

I’ll be seeing you in The Writing Room from now on.

I Need A Name – The Drafts

The DraftsI’ll be honest. I’ve been having a hard time lately. It seems when there are certain challenges going on in my life I find other things that normally are very enjoyable to me, overwhelming. This is where I’ve been at with posting lately.

But by no means are things here, or YOU, forgotten!

So, back to The Drafts.

On a very happy note, I’ve submitted a short story to two journals. Now I will wait the 11-12 weeks to hear a reply. Since it’s the first I’ve done this I’m holding things very loosely. Mostly I needed to do it to have the experience of submitting a creation of mine for unknown eyes to read (and evaluate). That’s worth a lot to me no matter what the outcome!

Today I’m going to share the opening of a short story I’m working on. It’s very new and it’s already been causing me a lot of tension. I’m hoping that’s because it’s going to be important. Again, time and putting in the effort will tell. 

It still needs a name. Leave a comment giving your suggestions! It will be a challenge with just this little peek but that will make it all the more fun!

Also, tell me what you see when you read it. What do you imagine the main character to be like? What does the apartment look like? Where do you think the story is headed?

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He didn’t need anyone to lay next to him most nights. His heart was full. It didn’t matter if she was near or far. It didn’t even matter that she didn’t know this. He loved her. And each day of doing that was enough to fill him for the next. Sarah was the most beautiful creature. She was strong and virulent. She felt things greatly and inside out she was wonderful. There was nothing about her Luck didn’t love. Each day with her made him a better person; more whole, more complete. He would never forget the day he met her. She’s been walking down the road. He’d been walking down the road at the same time and came upon her since he’d been walking faster than her. They both turned to go into the coffee shop to their left. She’d gotten to the door first and was attempting to open it. He’d been able to reach out and hold the door for her.

“Well, aren’t you the Renaissance man. It’s not like I need you to do that for me or anything,” she’d said. He had smiled and she walked right through the open door.

That day had changed everything for him. Was it love at first sight? He wasn’t sure. But he was sure he was now different now. It was at that moment that he’d felt himself start to become more himself. His true self, there all along, but had lain stagnant since the times he’d had to set it aside to survive. Sarah was fire. Or better put, she was the heat source.

Stretching Luck got out of bed, pushed the curtains open and opened every window in the apartment. He loved morning air. It was the first air, the freshest air. Humming along as he went, he showered, dressed.

“What the hell Luck!”, His roommate said coming into the kitchen, “It’s freezing in here! Close some of those damn windows!”

“Don’t you just love the first air in the morning?”

Ooooh No!” We are NOT having this conversation again! Close the damn windows before we all freeze to death!” James said as the door to the bathroom closed behind him.

Making some toast for himself he took in the sun streaming in the windows. It wasn’t sunny everyday but when it was the apartment lit up inside. It was sunny the day he’d viewed the apartment and was probably the main reason he’d bought it. He finished his toast and then for James’ sake, he closed the windows. All but the one right outside the bathroom door.

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Talk to me in the comments!

See you there!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Lost In The Details

I love The Weekly Photo Challenge theme this week. Concepts and room for interpretation of meaning are things I get excited about. We are being challenged to get low with this week’s theme. At the same time I have found myself again and again looking up. The macro and the micro of getting lost in the details have great effect from totally different vantage points. Both so powerful, so beautiful.

Lost in the Details: Macro

Lost in the Details: Macro

While each branch and leaf tell a story themselves, looked at in the whole, this scene dances with detail and delight (and alliteration) ;-)

Getting low tells a whole new kind of story. The minute speaking quiet volume.

The Burren Flower - Micro

The Burren Flower – Micro

The Flowery Burren - Micro

The Flowery Burren – Micro

I like how these the focus of these two photos emphasise different elements of the same story.

In looking through my photos this week I have realised that I:

1. Like to look up. This doesn’t surprise me as I am a big picture sort of person. It’s pretty obvious all the way down to my preference for macro economics over micro if I had to pick one. (Although economics is not what I want to pick at all really!)

2. Even when I do get low in taking photographs I could still go lower. I wonder what this photo could have been like had a gotten even closer…

If I had gotten below the flowers to look up, or even gotten within them instead of looking at them, I wonder how it’s perspective would’ve changed and what we would have heard and seen differently from it.

I’m taking this as a challenge to get lower down in my photographs and see just how big things can become. I want to appreciate more of the “micro” things in life.

Did any of you find a similar challenge with The Weekly Photo Challenge? I’m so interested to hear if you did!

On a side note: if you have a chance today head over to The Improvised Life and have a look at the Irish surfing video. It’s pretty spectacular. So is The Improvised Life.

The Writing Room – The Drafts

I’m fortunate enough to have a space available to devote to work in my house. It was formerly a basically unused office that became full of things over time (anyone know what I mean?). Recently I started to make it mine. I want the space to be light and airy and have bright pops of colour with some quirky touches. It’s not there yet but I’ve started. It’s the first draft so to speak. So this week for The Drafts I thought I’d give you a picture of this working draft. I’ll update as I progress if anyone is interested (and probably even if no one is.) Whether it’s a first draft of a writing piece, an unedited photo, or a room, it’s always fun to see before and after shots.

Becoming white

Becoming white

The room was formerly a greyish blue. It was soothing, but for me it was too cool. With all the grey outside I need things to be bright and I’m in love with the idea of bright splashes of colour. The above photo is after the first coat of white paint. It will need at least one more coat, maybe two.

Sky blue

Sky blue ceiling

I’m pretty excited about the ceiling. I’ve never painted a ceiling before. I’ve seen photos and read up on how dark ceilings can bring a big room down (no problem with that situation here) and light ceilings can lift small spaces. I thought it would be pretty cool if I could make the ceiling look like the sky. I picked a really light sky blue. (The actual name!) and went for it. I’m really happy how it’s turned out. When the light hits it it gets lighter and the hues look like a morning sky. Big smile here! :-D

The scallop design on the walls is a reflection from the ugly lamp shade in the centre of the room. It needs to go even though the reflection is kind of fun.

So there you have it. A peek into my writing room. It’ll take me a few weeks to get it in working order but I’ll put up some more pics once I do.

Dublin Time Lapsed Beauty

Sometimes after you’ve lived in a city for a while you can forget what makes it beautiful. You get caught up in the things that are frustrating about it. Then something happens. The wind shifts, a new song plays, and you are reminded again why it’s beautiful in its own way. You remember why you love it.

Matthieu Chardon’s video just did that for me. It’s made up of time-lapse sequences but truly it’s made up of so much more. It really captures the history and a heartbeat of Dublin.

It was striking. The stillness in the movement and the changes in the constant.

All at once. Separate. Together.

Watch it and think about it. (I promise. It’s short. And lovely.) Tell me about it. Do you know Dublin? Have you been there? If you haven’t been yet, what did you see? Or if film and media are your thing, tell me what you saw in the film. What was your one beautiful thing?

(yes, the clouds really move that fast. and yes, they are there most of the time)

Love – Weekly Photo Challenge

Oh man…Love…

I’ve been spending every day since Friday trying to come up with something that isn’t the typical depiction of love. It’s really hard to do that! So far I’ve got….

Nothing.

I’m not happy about that.

I am happy I have so many things and people that I do love in my life. So back to the Weekly Photo Challenge. What to do…what to do…

Here are a few things I love:

I love imagination.

Hello!

Hello!

I love a challenge.

WestSouthWest Trip May '12 601-001

I love rocks!

Burren, Co. Clare

Burren, Co. Clare

I love paths not taken,

and the ones that are.

I love accidental beauty.

Inis Mor Aran Islands

Inis Mor Aran Islands

I love touching history.

and of course I love my guys.

Early 2012 212

Today I Will Write For Myself – The Drafts

Monday, Monday, Monday.

Here are some thoughts to start your day.

I wrote this last night in pen. I finished the last line this morning when I woke up.

“Today I will write for myself. If the world happens to look over my shoulder and see it, I will smile, for I have friends. And if no one ever sees or knows of its existence, I will also smile, because with words, I am never alone.”

I hope that there is something that speaks to you similarly in your own life. If there is, or if there isn’t, tell me about it. Leave a comment and we’ll have a chat.

How To Say More With Less – An Interview With Robert Bruce

Brevity. It’s fun to say and challenging to achieve. For me brevity is that annoying voice in the corner that keeps telling me I can say more with less. To cut, tighten, and pare it down. It challenges me and I’m, no doubt, better for it.

Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Robert Bruce.  He is the VP of Marketing at CopyBlogger by day, and a Master of brevity, writing very short stories at RobertBruce.com by night (or maybe also by day, I don’t really know, but that’s beside the point). The point is Robert is an artist. He manages to paint complex stories in a few vivid strokes. He doesn’t know it but Robert introduced me to Flash/Micro Fiction.

So in the true spirit of Brevity. Here are Robert’s thoughts…

Stacey: How did you become interested and start writing
very short stories?

Robert: I have a sickness for words, and I am a very impatient man.

Stacey:. Can you tell me about the process you go through
in creating one of your stories?

RobertIt usually starts with some kind of hook that I find interesting. If you can get your hands on one of those, you then hang it on a very basic plot. Of course, there’s not a lot of room to move around in these things, but I’m not going for a detailed literary inventory. When they work, the reader is left to fill in the gaps with her own imagination, which is much more powerful than anything I could ever write down for her.

Stacey: Which one of your stories continues to speak to you despite being done writing it?

Robert:  Soon as I write them, I forget them. I need to get the next one down, and then the one after that.

Stacey: Out of all your characters who would you most like to meet in real life?

Robert: None. I find al of these characters interesting in one way or another, but to meet any of them would instantly strip that away. Just like life, right? 

***

I think we all can learn a lot (and say a lot less!) from Robert’s points. Finding hooks and filling in just enough to entice the reader but not so much there’s nothing left to imagine is a challenge. When it’s done right it’s amazing. And whether you are writing a post on health and fitness or writing the next great novel, when well executed, brevity gives a power and punch to your work that make these stories hard to forget. Ironically, it creates more voice.

Thanks so much Robert, for sharing your thoughts on brevity and story! It’s been fun.

You can read Robert’s stories at RobertBruce.com

Or follow him on twitter at 

Epic – The Drafts

The Drafts I have some exciting things planned for this week. Now that the major writing project I’ve been working on is coming to a close I am excited about what’s ahead.

It’s time for The Drafts again this cold wintry morning. There is snow on the ground in Dublin. It’s a rare event here. People have mixed feelings, most of which are not happy ones. Me. I find the snow for this native US Midwesterner warming. It’s ironic, I know. I’ve been smiling about that all morning. =)

In honour of the snow I have some micro fiction for you today.

It’s also to go along with an interview on brevity with the person who introduced me to flash  and micro fiction. It’s going to be a good week! Stay tuned! For now…

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Epic

She’d been happy to walk in the only snow of the year. Then one step changed everything. As she could now see her feet above her head, she knew she was going to come down hard. It was an epic fall. And everyone but her remembered it. The 2013 snow and subsequent fall forever erased from her mind.

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I keep debating about whether to keep or take out the last sentence. Is it stronger without? With? Share your thoughts on this or whatever else is on your mind this morning.

Chat soon.