Blogging · writing

All Blogs Must Pass

Image result for blog
To every post (churn, churn, churn)
There is a season (churn, churn, churn)
And a time to every bloggy purpose, under heaven
A time to be write, a time to cry
A time to edit,  a time to die, words, die!
A time to be wracked with self-doubt, a time to heal
A time to alienate your entire family so you can waste precious time to write a post no one will ever read

Hey gang! There is still a gang out there, right? Hellllllllllloooooooooooo?

This year was my blog’s seventh anniversary. I was a spirited 39-year-old when I started She’s a Maineiac and now I’m still 39 so shut the hell up.

It’s been seven frigging years and I still, STILL! feel compelled to post crap at least once a month, much to my own chagrin. I feel like my blog has pretty much died a long slow death.  Or maybe it’s just in a coma and waiting for someone to wake it up so it will have amnesia and start over again with a new personality.  I like that idea! Hey, it worked for Sandra Bullock!
Image result for sandra bullock while you were sleeping
C’mon, Darla! Wake the f*** up! Also, you look like shit.
Let’s take a groovy-graphy trip down my so-called bloggy life’s past to see how things evolved over time….

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As we all know, everything has a purpose and a season under heaven.  I think it was George Harrison who once said, all things must pass. Or maybe it was Dr. Oz talking about constipation. We all know that life is an endless cycle of life, death, rebirth, and more life and more death and you get the picture.

The cool thing about a cycle is it can start fresh again, it can be reborn! Like my snazzy graph below illustrates….

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So, it appears I’m back to writing for only me again. Yikes. My blog readers have pretty much vanished. Blogs are dead. Disco is dead. Elvis is alive and well in an underground bunker in Albuquerque. This is good and bad. Lately, it seems I have forgotten how to write. I have that thing you get when you….what’s that called again?

But I do love to write for myself. Sure, I’ve started to rehash ideas and tend to do the same post over and over again and maybe I won’t ever get the level of readership I once had years ago. And maybe the grammar police will always be lurking around every dangling particle. And yes, I have no clue what that even means. I don’t care! I’m too old to care anymore! This is my place! I get to do whatever the heck I want here, gosh darnit! If you don’t like my blog, good riddance!

 

But you’ll stick around, right?

If you’re still here, tell me in the comments below about your blogging career. Did you make oodles of money and gain boundless fame? Or just a bigger ass like me?

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Nature · poems · poetry · spirituality · writing

Sequoia

Image result for sequoia

I dreamed of shadows and sheltered things

beneath the tree with golden leaves.

Today the mighty trunk sliced bare as bone,

the rings rough and splintered,

you take my hand as we count the lives together.

A thousand deaths, a thousand loves,

a thousand circles bound us with frayed fibers,

spinning its thread, the splinters cut deep.

Now and then at the wound’s core,

the sapling sprouts from a single seed,

always yearning and always bending toward love’s light,

free of pain again,

under the sequoia tree.

 

 

 

Giveaway · Humor · writing

Let’s Play the Lying Game!

I am such a good liar!

…or am I?

As a writer, I’ve got a good imagination so I like to make stuff up. I’ve been known to elaborate a little when I remember a past story from my life. If I were to give a rough estimate, I’d say about 99.99% of my posts are complete BS. Yep, I made it all up.

Nah, I’m kidding! It was all true! See how good I am at lying?

So do you think you can spot a lie? Time for the misremembering game that’s sweeping our nation –

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I lied. It’s really time for three truths and a lie. Damn, I’m good.

The following are a few short stories about things that really happened in my life. Really, I swear!

Your job is to figure out which one of the following tales is a lie. Give your answer in the comments. I’ll reveal the lie one week from today.  If you get it right you’ll have a chance to win a signed copy of Stephen King’s latest book Revival!

I lied again.  (Sorry but I’m not on speaking terms with good ol’ Steve-o anymore, ahem.) But you WILL win the right to sing “liar liar pants on fire” at the computer screen — just as good, amirite?

OK, fine — I’ll randomly pick from the winning guesses (who reside in the US, preferably within 5 miles of the nearest snowmobile trail) and mail that lucky person a copy of Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please.* (and yes, I’m being serious now)

STORY #1

One foggy summer night back in 1997, I was driving home from work on a desolate country road. Suddenly a voice sliced through my thoughts:

TURN OFF THE RADIO.

I sat straight up in my seat, the hairs on the back of my neck prickling. I switched off the radio.

MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO CARS IN ONCOMING LANE, the voice commanded.

I peered out at the road, my headlights illuminating a blur of dark pine trees racing past as I zipped along the curves of route 136. Before I had a chance to process why I was hallucinating, another demand:

SLOW DOWN NOW.

Without questioning, I did as I was instructed.  While rounding a sharp corner, I braked and slowed down to 50 mph. Suddenly a dark mass filled my windshield. I slammed on the brakes, my car skidding for several yards into the oncoming lane.  But it was too late, the sudden impact crushed the front of my little Ford Fiesta. I violently slammed forward then backward in my seat, severely twisting my back and neck.

I had hit a moose.

Somehow I managed to drive a short distance to find a phone and call the police (I didn’t have a cell phone back then). Sadly, the moose didn’t survive. But everyone from the cops to the mechanics to the insurance agent told me I was lucky to be alive at all because most people are killed instantly when the moose sails through the windshield. If I were going any faster, I wouldn’t be here right now telling you this story.

Was the voice I thought I heard my own intuition? Or God? A guardian angel? Whatever or whoever it was, there’s no doubt it saved my life.

STORY #2

Our current house was haunted for a time. Lights would turn off and on, TV channels would change by themselves. I’d put something down in the kitchen only to turn around and find it missing. Once my entire family watched as a glass bowl slid straight off the kitchen counter by itself and onto the floor, shattering into pieces.

Sometimes at night I’d feel the faint sensation of someone sitting on the edge of my bed. Once while I was still wide awake,  someone tapped my feet. I thought it was one of my kids so I sat up to peer into the darkness only to find no one was there.

I decided to ask a psychic friend of mine to “channel” the spirit for me. According to her, he was an old farmer who had lived in the 1950s near the very spot where our house now stood. She said he was searching for his tools because he used to fix tractors out in his shed, and this is why we’d find things misplaced. Why did he insist on haunting us? Apparently while alive he wasn’t a spiritual man and therefore wasn’t accepting he was truly dead.

She suggested I politely tell the ghost to “go outside because his tools weren’t in our house”. As silly as it sounds, I did this several times out loud. “Hey, farmer man!” I yelled in between giggles to the empty room. “Sorry, but your tools aren’t here! You can go outside now! Oh — and go towards the light! Thanks and good luck!”

A few days later it seemed to have worked. The air was clearer, no longer heavy with a spirit’s presence. The strange electricity occurrences and creepy nighttime visits disappeared. Our farmer was gone. Maybe he finally found his tractor tools outside in the shed? I chuckled to myself.

The following week my mom who lives right next door called me on the phone. “It’s the oddest thing,” she said. “I think my house is haunted. Someone moved all of the utensils around in the kitchen and the lights keep going on and off!”

Oops.

STORY #3

Back in my 20s, I used to hike at Wolfe Neck State Park off the coast of Freeport, Maine. One overcast day, I invited my mother to come along. We parked our car and started down a long winding trail in the woods that led to the ocean.

We heard a car pulling in, so I glanced behind me and noticed a man jogging in our direction. As he passed us further on down the trail, he took off his shirt and disappeared around the bend. An unsettling feeling washed over me but I shook it off. My mother and I continued our walk, admiring the stillness of the forest and the soft crashing of the waves in the distance.

We rounded a corner and there was the man again. Only this time he was holding his clothes in his hands — all of them. Standing there completely naked, he held up his hands, revealing a very sad and direct view of his nether regions.

“Do you ladies know the time?” he asked, like it was perfectly normal question.

My blood ran cold. I panicked, unsure of what to do next. Was this really happening? Is he going to do something else now? Should I scream or run?

Thankfully, I didn’t have time to figure out my next move because my mom disarmed the entire situation by bursting into incredulous laughter. “Time? TIME?” she yelled.  “I think time is the least of your worries, buddy!”

Suddenly appearing embarrassed, the man covered himself up and looked down at the ground.

My mother and I hustled down the path past him unsure of what to do next. When he was out of sight, we quickly make our way back to the parking lot using another path which turned out to be the longest hike of my life. We immediately told the park gatekeeper what happened.  A police officer soon arrived to take down our names and all the details.

“Can you describe the suspect?” he asked.

“Well, we sure as hell weren’t looking at his face, if that’s what your asking!” my mom sneered in disgust.

A few days later, I opened the local newspaper and gasped. Apparently, The Mid Coast Flasher was nabbed, his reign of terror finally over. For months he’d successfully flashed several other women at various spots up and down the coast. His signature move? Asking for the time.  Studying his mug shot, I had only one thought.:

Oh, so THAT’S what he looks like!

STORY #4

image: completelycoastal.com

Around 1998, the movie “Message in a Bottle” starring Paul Newman, Kevin Costner and Robin Wright was filmed off the coast of Maine at Popham Beach, not far from where I lived in the tourist trap outlet town of Freeport.

My house was right next to L.L.Bean’s main retail store,  so most summer nights my younger brother, Chris and I would sit on a park bench downtown to eat a Ben & Jerry’s cone and people watch.

One muggy night in August, we bought our cones and sat down on the bench next to an old man wearing a NY Yankees baseball hat. He responded to our presence by grunting under his breath and pulling the cap down over his eyes.

Minutes ticked by as Chris and I giggled and chatted, both of us noticing the tourist growing more agitated by our conversation.

“Holy shit!” the old man suddenly growled. “Isn’t there anything to do in this godforsaken town but sit and eat goddamn ice cream? Jesus!”

I turned my head and looked straight into a pair of unmistakable baby blue eyes now glaring back at me from underneath the baseball cap.

No, it couldn’t be him! …could it?

Before we had a chance to respond, another man walked up holding two cones. “Beautiful night, isn’t it?” he smiled at us.

“Um….y-yeah….” I stuttered.

The man then turned his attention to the crabby codger on the bench. “Chunky Monkey, right, Paul?”

“Just give it to me for chrissakes,” he grumbled, grabbing his cone. We watched in disbelief as the two men strolled off into the night.

And that was the day I met both Kevin Costner and Paul Newman.

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Okay! Wow. I’ve lived quite the exciting life, huh?

So what’s the lie? Is it

1) The Voice Saves Darla
2) Ghost Farmer Relocates
3) Flasher Needs A Watch
4) Paul Newman Was One Grumpy Chunky Monkey

If you guys all guess correctly, well then…maybe I should practice lying more?

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*If no one guesses correctly I reserve the right to read Amy’s book myself while gloating about how I’m such a good liar.

writing

Let Me Tell You a Story…

I’ve been blogging for a long time. Feels like an eternity.
As we all know 3. 5 years = 3,500 in bloggy years.

Hopefully by now you’ve noticed I like to write. I love words. Back in high school I used to look them up in my old dog-eared dictionary for fun on a Saturday night. (I still do, don’t judge) I enjoy the thrill of stringing them together in perfect order then going back to erase, erase, erase because I will never get it just right. Good times.

My love for writing goes way back to my early childhood when I tried to impress my kindergarten teacher with my dazzling wit.

The Maineiac, circa 1975
The Maineiac, age 5

Here’s my very first piece published in the prestigious Morse Elementary School Newsletter, right below a recipe for brownies and above the poem “My Dog Likes to Eat Poop” by Brian, age 6.

I AM THE SUN

by Darla, age 5

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Did you get chills? Yeah, good stuff.

I mention eating breakfast a lot. I’m thinking my brothers stole my strawberry flavored Pop-Tart again that morning.

Also, I think you’d have to agree I was a crafty storyteller in 1976.  Notice how I lull the reader into a false sense of security until the very last sentence when Bam! I punch them straight in the gut. “If I didn’t shine people could use flashlights”? Why would the sun not shine? Was this a foreshadowing? A child’s bleak vision of an apocalyptic future looming on the horizon? (If this Ice Age we’re currently suffering through is any indication, I think I was spot on.)

But like any good writer, I left the reader with a final message of hope. A sliver of light in the darkness. If I didn’t shine people could use flashlights. Maybe my stories weren’t riveting but at least they were practical.

I also wrote lots of poetry as a kid and into my college years. And as we all know the mark of a good poet is the ability to rhyme.

Check out this nugget I wrote when I was about 8 years old.

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A couple things I’d like to point out. First, the drawing — where in the hell are my hands? Or my feet? Is this why I’m so fixated on my nose?

I think we should all just take a moment to realize never before has a poem titled “Smelling” had the ability to move a reader to tears. “It never, ever gets in the way.” So true! The insight I had as a child is astounding. Even the way I spelled “bouquet” was inspiring. Who needs that jerky silent T anyway?

Finally, I’ll leave you with a cartoon panel, my earliest attempt at (intentionally) writing humor. I have no clue how old I was when I drew it but I’m guessing it wasn’t when I was attending college (although, it might be, as I liked to smoke the ganja)

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“You got celery in my peanut butter.”
“Well, you got peanut butter in my celery.”
“Well, let’s try it!”
“OK”
“Yuck! Awful!”
“You better not say that again about trying it!”

*****

oh!!! Bwah ha ha haaa!!! I kill me! [wiping away tears]

So? You think it’s good? Brilliant? Perhaps you’d even consider it….Super? Celery and peanut butter? I mean, C’MON! Comedy gold.

And you’re right. My writing hasn’t changed much since then.  Sigh.

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Bloggers/writers: How long have you been writing? Do you have any childhood poems or stories you’d like to send me so I can get a good laugh at your expense? Or old screenplays I can pass off as my own?