Tag Archives: creative writing

6 Days

Sometimes a story comes to me through an image, a random thought, a song…I used to think I just had an over active imagination. I haven’t quite gotten used to calling myself a writer but I do understand better now that it’s not just imagination. It is a gift. A calling. Nothing helps me thrive more, lights up my world than writing (and fashion). The better I understand who I am created to be, the better I can love and accept myself. I’m learning just to BE. Here’s to finding out what lights up your world!

A small excerpt from a short story 6 Days. Enjoy!

The slow rhythm of a ceiling fan spinning nonchalantly amidst a quiet background. A young man, in his early thirties, stares blankly at it. He appears to be completely at peace amid the chaos that surrounds him. You see the stillness is only in his mind; for he is lone island in company of a tumultuous sea. Sirens, tortured screams and faint cries for help color the night outside of his bedroom window. A foul thick stench paints the air inside of the tiny room he has chosen to take cover in. Rodents, the size of domesticated animals, scurry across the floor and his lower extremities in a game of hide and seek. Yet the young man, clearly not alarmed at his living conditions, has found a peaceful solitude among the bleakness. The retreat of his will and soul has almost driven him to madness and he no longer gives a damn about consequences or outcomes. In fact, he prays to the gods for madness! Before it all ends, before he takes his final bow, exits stage left. Besides is there any more to the maddening insanity called life? For him, a wasted valley of year after year of utter nothingness with a few insignificant glances of familiar faces and feelings of love. Not real love, because to really be loved or love, one must possess some human quality…what is it? Ability? Ah yes, one must possess the ability and willingness to participate in the dance of love. The young man neither has ability, will or resemblance to humanity. He has known this and accepted his fate at a young age. He smiles at his deepest secret, although the emptiness of the present conditions would suggest this is no secret. And then he draws his eyes on the only decorative object hanging loosely on a pissy wall. A calendar. Gazing upon it makes him giddy, light headed and in comes a fresh release of endorphins. He must keep his composure, remain calm and steady and sure footed for he knows his fate, accepted it at a young age.
As a boy, his parents were told he had the IQ of a genius and they, being average people, dreamt of a wondrous life for him. A magnificent life, filled with accolades and accomplishments, making them proud to have birth such a gifted human being. But at eight, when he slit the throat of the neighbor’s cat from ear to ear, their dreams began to float into darkness until swallowed up, lost into a black hole. From there on, it was rough ride, all through middle school, junior high and high school. When he finally graduated from high school, the parents had hoped the military would bring a sense of balance and discipline into his life. Push him, where their guidance had failed, toward manhood. Make him responsible, a productive citizen of society. Sadly, his short lived stint in the military didn’t provide any of those; instead he was introduced to class three and four narcotics and episodes of gluttony and indulgence at the highest levels. This period, known as the Dark Ages, robbed him mercilessly of health and bled from him the wee bit of human likeness left in his wretched soul. What has remained isn’t a monster, per se, but a hollow gut of a young man who has lived a very insubordinate life. What’s remained is a young man whose life is abruptly ending and he, like a solider perched in a trench on a pre-war’s eve, is preparing to meet his maker. This young man, once labeled talented and thought to be going places in life, is facing the final finale of colossal proportions. Because for all of the days we live unnumbered, careless, drifting through life, unconcerned about the space in time where worlds conclude, chapters end, life ceases to exist…6 days is all that remains for him.

 

6 days.

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Confessions of An Introvert…

I am an Introvert.

I live right on the edge of the bubble. Just outside of the excitement, of life happening at the moment. Peeking in like a desperate window shopper longingly gazing at a purchase she can’t afford to make. Envying the absolute delight in all of the faces inside of the coveted bubble.

I am an Introvert.

More often, I‘m caught between a fraught yearning of desperately desiring to experience life inside of the bubble and utter contentment of observing it from the outside. A constant struggle of feeling like I’ve missed out on the only opportunity to fully be alive and another chance to grab life by the wheels is just around the corner. An optimist and pessimist in the same body. On the outside, I appear quiet, reserved and reflective. That’s how most view me and the label shy has been thrust upon me more times that I can recall. The revelation here is that this couldn’t be further from the truth about the real me. The shy label is only armor, armor that protects my rich inner world of a constant stream of loud thoughts, an imagination that floats to unimaginable heights for days even weeks at a time and vivid color filled dreams of past and future life. And while my exterior expression may communicate I have nothing to speak about, my mind is playing like a tape recorder on fast forward all of the time. Much of my teenage life I spent in angst and while this is normal teenage woes, for me it was because I wanted to accept the shy label, I thought it was befitting. True, I didn’t talk much, striking up conversations with strangers and friends alike caused anxiety. Instead of conquering my teenage angst, my worries only advanced into deeper roots as I developed into an adult. I spent years attempting to outgrow the shy label, struggling to be more assertive, more open to life, more social, all the while fighting against the grain of who I was originally created to be.

Again, always just outside of the bubble.

A traumatic experience forced me into therapy a few years ago, extensive therapy, where I had no choice but to face my nightmares alone. And speaking of alone, I oft wondered why I so cherished, essentially thrive at times when I find myself there. I spent years convincing myself something was wrong with me, that I wasn’t normal, like everyone else. Therapy, good therapy, gently places a mirror in your hand and lovingly forces you to stare at your reflection. At your insecurities and fears and again lovingly pushes you to embrace all of it. And in the accepting, the false layers began to peel away until you are stripped down to your true core. In all my getting, I got an understanding of me, of my introverted nature. I’m learning about self-care, what it consists of and how it relates to me. I’m learning to unleash the creative inside of me, instead of hiding her, allowing her to breathe and live. I’m learning the endless stories, fantasies inside of my head can actually be turned into something magical once my fingers hit the keyboard. I’m learning music, an impromptu solo dance party, an uninterrupted walk in the park, a glance into the blue sky on a busy day are like white blood cells fighting foreign substances attempting to invade my soul. I’m learning to pull all the way back after a really people intensive, environmentally stimulating work day in order to recharge. I’m learning to say no when I don’t possess the desire to say yes and not to accept social invitations out of guilt. I’m learning I cannot give of myself if my tank is empty and refueling requires alone time. I’m learning not to fear the unexpected waves of creativity, which usually involve a tsumani of intense emotional vulnerability, but instead allow it to swallow me, get still and just create. I’m learning mistakes are not fatal but directional and purposeful, and they are needed in any growth process. I’m learning that I am me and me, fatally flawed but gracefully forgiven, is enough.

I am Enough.

I am an Introvert.

And I’m finally living my truth.

Xoxo

In Love.

lia      How did SHE fall in love with herself? I was always driven. From a young age I knew I was going to be the best lawyer that ever was. I am proud to be the first generation to graduate with a high school diploma, Bachelor’s Degree and now Masters from my household. During parent/teacher nights in elementary school, my teachers would be surprised to find my short 4’9 mother shaking their hand. She has always been refined in presentation yet modest at heart. They were expecting to find an educated professional but instead of a little stern woman. “Digame la verdad, como se porta mi hija” translation “tell me the truth teacher, how has my daughter acted in school.” She never worried about my grades because I always brought home A’s. The important factor for her was my conduct. I went on to High School, was honored with the Gates Millennium Scholarship to go to college and moved into Law School in the cold state of South Dakota. The first summer I lived there I was gracious enough to live with a recent graduate. It was the most economic option for me, he was married and had one child. That family had no clue I was Latino, maybe, but one day I was saddened by the words that came out of their mouth after a news report.

“All those Hispanics are coming over, they are crossing the Rio Grande and just coming over. They ought to stay where they are.”

As an adult, I was now worried about my conduct. Was I acting in a way that would honor my family’s legacy? I had choices, yes, and one of those was to be quite and excuse myself. I left to the Mexican restaurant in town and had a wine-rita (because they weren’t able to sell the real stuff) and I reflected. Was it racism? Was it buying into the media? Did they really have a problem with my culture? It was at that pivotal moment I decided the next time my mother called and I was in a common area, I would answer the phone. They had yet to see an educated Hispanic person and I would subtly introduce that part of me. She called the following Sunday, I picked up the phone and started talking. It then prompted the question, “what is your background” to which I responded. The look of surprise will never leave my memory bank.

It was in that moment, I couldn’t be prouder of my heritage, of my values and of the extreme form of discipline I had undergone. I didn’t make a big deal of it, instead I found a way to educate them and maybe change their perception. At that moment, I fell in deep love with the passionate, empathetic, tactful, proud Latina, ME.

 

–Laura Isabel Alvarez

Laura earned her degree in Political Science from the University of Houston and currently serves on the Board of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs as the Vice-President. She was inducted as a Master’s of Science of Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University in May 2014. She joined Guadalupe Centers, Inc. in April 2013 with several years experience in Human Resources employee related issues and education. As a manager of HR, she is responsible for all Human Resources and Talent Management programs at Guadalupe Centers. You can connect with her on twitter or LinkedIn for the latest happenings in Kansas City, MO.

The Anniversary of Silence

As we continue our series SHE…

 

I am often asked, “How long have you been writing?” My answer usually ranges between the ages of 17 and 19, but the truth of the matter is I have been at it since grade 5. I was in a talented and gifted program (TAG), and I was tasked to create a book of poetry for a class project. This project introduced me to my love for words being eloquently linked together to tell stories. Not just any stories, but stories that my imagination birthed.

Over time I became more enamored with the multitude of pictures I could paint with words. It became an addiction for me to see how many people I could touch; how many women I could woo; how many of the fellas I could inspire to be more creative in their approach. I guess in a way I felt like writing was my mutant power (LOL). It was something about that pen and pad in my clutches that made me feel invincible. Writing gave me a power, an unequalled high, and a borderline sense of superiority. This craft has taken me on an amazing journey. I have been on stages with gifted musicians. I have headlined open mics with some of the most talented wordsmiths. I have been adored enough to be called a mentor to some of the most creative minds one would ever want to know. I enjoy the creative process, I really do. It’s like breathing the freshest of air. I cannot wait to inhale and exhale again.

The Anniversary of Silence

Facial features disguised

But she couldn’t hide the pain that outlined the unrest in her eyes

Untruths buried… Fed far to many lies

Even her tears had tears, drowning in cries.

Scared to be alone, so she couldn’t find the strength to leave him,

Unable to see past the blurred lines of hate wrapped in love, overwhelmingly deceiving

Because he loved her so much in that right eye that she hated to see thru her left

Thieving her self-esteem which each punch and kick, last breathes

Mommy I try to remember you,

But I pray to forget

The way that temperament changed when his empty bottle tipped

Liquor infused with the devilish spit

Massacre ensued, how fatal the script

Baby brother cry’s still echo with pain

Blood soaked denim still clutters my brain

No longer enjoying the beat of the rain,

Crazy how GOD’s music conjures up so much disdain

I just want to be plain,

A regular man who sleeps at night without the shakes and shivers

Without the cold sweats that my memory delivers

Without the eerie vision of a canvas painted in a nauseous river

My breathing is hampered

My legs are wearily weak

My arms don’t move

My mouth doesn’t speak

A victim

A witness

A murderous cowards retreat,

I try to drink the pain away

Smoke out the guilt

Purge the details from that night she was tragically killed

Silenced by Daddy

 

#TamirSaidIt

 

ts Tamir Salaam is a Dallas resident and a master composer of the written word. You can connect with him on facebook or blogspot to read more of his work.

 

The Fear…of Success?

We are excited to continue the series SHE with today’s contribution…

 

 
 

“You don’t seem that excited,” said my loving husband.

“No, I am,” I responded.

“You don’t seem that excited,” he repeated in his knowing tone.

“Ok, I’m freaked out,” I admitted.

Earlier that morning I received my first job as a professional writer. I sent in a pitch, it was accepted, and I had my freelancer contract in hand. I should have been over the moon excited, but I actually felt sick to my stomach. I told my husband the good news and, to spite my putting on, he could see I was in panic mode. For the life of me I could not understand why I was on the verge of tears, until I thought about the last time I felt this wonderful. It was the week before my father passed away. 

It was also the week I gave my two weeks’ notice. I was taking my leap into entrepreneurship and going for my dreams and the person I was most excited to share the news with was my dad – also known as, my biggest cheerleader. We talked for an hour about my plans and he gave me the encouraging words I knew I needed to hear.

Three days later, he was gone.

I knew to expect the pain, the loneliness, the fear of going on without him, and the deep sadness, but what I didn’t realize was that I had unconsciously fused joy with pain. One of the saddest days I ever experienced came not one week after one of my happiest. Because of that juxtaposition, I internalized the belief that the other shoe will eventually drop and great happiness is only the prologue to great sadness, so don’t get too happy.

Receiving that acceptance email from my editor set off a countdown to tragedy in my brain. It was only a matter of time until the rug would get pulled out from underneath me. I wasn’t freaked out by what was, I was freaked out about what could be around the corner. 

I have since unlearned that lesson, but I think we all, for one reason or another, are afraid of being too happy. So, we pass on opportunities that could be the gateway to our joy, not because we are worried our dreams won’t come true, but because we are afraid they will. 

We need to release the fear of failure, but, more importantly, release the fear of success.

If you can survive in suffering, imagine how high you can soar in the midst of joy.

 

cherise Cherise Luter is a freelance writer with Bustle.com and Houston Press. To learn more about her or connect with her, visit about.me.

From the Earth

(Our continuation with the series SHE..)

 

Seed to Flower to Tree

Ink to Words to Me

I Was

I Might Just Be

Birthed in the womb of the struggle

Reared in the tight grasp of the hustle

Came of age in a lane that keeps me respectfully humble…

I reach for stars with the lengthy limbs of a Poetic Goliath

Never touching, but that doesn’t stop my mind from aspiring to breathe new being into my plight

Profusely drawing my life in pictures with hieroglyphs and scriptures that speaks to my ancestral mixture

You see my people were kings like Askia Muhammad long before they were forced to rebel like Nat Turner

Read about it…

I am cut from a cloth that has a certain string about it

I am encrusted with a sense of pride, and I refuse to live on my knees about it

I am willing to scale the highest mountain and vigorously scream about it

I came

I saw

And I am not yet satisfied with my current state

So where to start and when to stop is a steadfast debate

Those that love the arts can surely relate

Enough is never enough

A collection is never complete

A poem is never expressive, descriptive, or polished to the point of perfection

So all that’s left is, to turn the page and make yet another valiant attempt to be that Tree

That matured from that Flower

That was birthed from that Seed

And again allow the Ink to formulate the Words that represent Me

TamirSaidIt

 

 

 

ts   Tamir Salaam is a Dallas native and a master composer of the written word. You can connect with him on facebook or blogspot to read more of his work.

Unlocking Purpose

The 9 Questions That Unlocked My Purpose and My Gift

I make my living by communicating. My voice is my hammer and ideas are the nails.

They say the thing you were meant to bring to this world is the exact thing people try to beat out of you, and my life followed that adage to the letter. One of the first compliments and one of the first insults I ever received revolved around my voice.

“You speak with such power for a young person, what an amazing gift.”

“The way you talk intimidates people. You are too bossy. You make people feel bad.”

I’ll give you one guess which statement I internalized until adulthood.

For 30 years, I hid my mind for problem solving, my knack for turning a phrase, my ability to bring people together through sharing, and my love for questions under a rock hoping no one would happen upon them. I allowed the idea that my God given talent would eventually chase people away burrow a whole in my heart so deep the excavation took three years. I spent thirty years pretending to love the acceptable life I had created for myself, then the floor fell out from underneath me and I was forced to admit I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror.

The only way I could figure out who I was, was to ask myself the big questions and allow only my inner voice to give the answer. After all, I would have to live out the findings of this expedition, so it only made sense that I have sole input. So I began…

What makes me special?

What talents do I bring to this world?

What could I do for the rest of my life and be satisfied?

What fills me with joy?

What steals my joy?

What does love look like to me?

How do I define success?

Where do I place my faith?

Who do I trust?

I followed each with the universal and all important question…why?, which, in most cases, is the tiny word holding back the floodgates.

Each question was a stronghold I needed to pull down, a lie I needed to dismantle, or a curse needing to broken. For three years, I felt my feelings and thought my thoughts completely removed from the fears, hopes, dreams, emotions, and intent of others.. I dared to reawaken my voice. Then, I set about learning to use it.

 

 

 

 

cherise Cherise Luter is a freelance writer with Bustle.com and Houston Press. Learn more about her at about.me.