Mom is Sleeping

Another night in the hospital for me.

I kind of want a little more sympathy from the staff. Does that make me narcissistic? I’m sure they’ve seen this happening many times over and are jaded to the scene, but I feel like a little boy losing his mom and it should be the most unnatural thing in the world.

I laugh that over the past year my mom made me feel a rollercoaster of ages. When she advised me through my marriage problems, I was a teenager all over again. As I showed her how to use applications on her phone, the role was reversed wherein I was the parent and she the child. When I got the call about her heart attack, I shrank into the body of a 5 year old. I couldn’t even walk right.

I haven’t told anyone except Facebook and my phone keeps pinging with notifications. It brings me warmth as I lay here in this cot. I scroll through the sympathies and well wishes but smile as I watch the endless supply of cooking hack videos. Custard would be nice right about now.

I look over to the bed and see my mom lying there and my smile vanishes. She’s been in a coma for a week and the doctors don’t see her recovering. My family will need to make a decision soon. Her death is imminent. It’s strange. Shouldn’t the dead look like they’re dying? My mom still looks so healthy, like she’s napping. Shouldn’t she be skin and bones or have more grey hair? Her lips chapped or she bound to a wheelchair, but I just saw her walking around last week. Wake up, Mom.

I wonder how my dad will be after she passes. I should visit more often. Will he be okay with the bills by himself? Can he handle the big house all alone? Perhaps he can sell it and live with my brother.

Ugh, the lawyer is calling now. I’ll decline now, return the call later. I’m busy, but really, this is a sacred place. I won’t discuss the legalities of her demise while she’s like this. The lawyer should respect this.

It frightens me to know I won’t have her for much longer. I wish I gave her a grandchild. I wish my children could have seen what an amazing woman she was. How far she’s come since her humble beginning as in Italian immigrant. Mom would’ve cooked for my little darling like she did for me. They would have hugged and cuddled on Christmas day as How the Grinch Saved Christmas played on the television. Fahoo fores dahoo dores, welcome Christmas, Christmas day. They’d sing along, too, and sway like the Whos of Whoville.

It dawns on me that it’s not me I am sad about but the loss of a future with my mom around that I regret. It’s less that the world is deprived of her incredible beauty. She and I and my family are small folk and we live in a small circle, but her life was invaluable to those within.

But the world doesn’t stop and we must keep living life despite her not being here anymore. She won’t weave together a funny story again, but we will continue laughing in her memory. Mom was a giver, our happiness was her priority. It would be a shame if we lulled for too long. The next time we retell one of her stories, she’ll be present. If I have a baby, though they will never meet, I’ll make sure my kid knows the kind of person their grandma was. When I hear nonna speak, I’ll reply in the stilted Italian my mother tried so hard to teach me.

Mama, you were there for me, so for now and forever, I’ll be here for you.


My co-worker’s mother passed away this last week. I can only imagine what must be going through his head at the time. I’m very close to my mother and I have no plans for her demise. I know life is unpredictable and change is inevitable but I just can’t see my life without my mom, so the situation is my creation of events if I were in his shoes.

This post is dedicated to Rose, may she rest in peace.

Listen to Podcasts

No matter how smart you think you are, you’re not as smart as you could be. Bill Nye (THAT Science Guy) said in his commencement speech to UMass Lowell graduates: Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t.” So if you’re a homebody like me or don’t meet new people every day, I implore you to heed this: go listen to some podcasts! They are extremely informative. You learn so much of the world one earbud at a time. By the end of the day, I always feel satisfied that at least I learned one new thing. I could have gone years before attaining whatever topic was discussed and that’s just a shame. Therefore, I present the ones I subscribe to.

Mo’Money Podcast

A Canadian personal finance podcast, Jessica Moorhouse started, humbly, as a blog and successfully turned her side hustle into a full time career. This was my first subscription and she and her variety of guests were the inspiration behind Pen to Public. All of their blogs became successful and it seemed that the secret ingredient was persistence. As well, though, I know more about credit scores and mortgages and minimalism because of Mo’ Money.

Freakonomics Radio

Stephen Dubner is half of the brainpower behind Freakonomics the book and its sequels. Well researched, well produced and the topics discussed give me ideas to write about.

Beyond the To Do List

A productivity podcast, when a good episode hits me, I’m on the go for the rest of the day. It can be as effective as a double espresso.

Ex Boyfriend Recovery

The title is self-explanatory. Likely my least favourite podcast of the bunch, I will unsubscribe later but I compulsively finish things I go a little further than dipping my toes into. And when you’re going through a break up, you’re all emotion and no logic, so it wasn’t until episode 20 when I came to the conclusion that it’s content didn’t jive with me.

Love Life with Matthew Hussey

Episodes are usually 5-10 min long and Hussey gives advice the goes beyond love but for life.

The One You Feed

This is a new subscription for me. It deals with mental illness and the host, Eric Zimmer, invites guests who brings a perspective to the same parable used in every episode: There are two wolves inside each of us, a good and bad wolf. Who wins? The one you feed.

Life Hack ABC: Accountability Buddies Conquer

Last week a friend of mine asked me to be her accountability buddy and she mine. She emailed me a contract, pledged her time and vows, signed in blood and the rest of the nine yards. Her outrageous plan was more than welcome.

We’ve done this before, but it was towards a common goal. Corrine* and I registered for a 5K and race day was less than a month away before we realized neither of us trained at all. A few more days passed as we panicked and we each considered either bailing or walking the whole 5K so it still somewhat counted (it would be the most expensive stroll through downtown Toronto I had ever taken) until she proposed the idea to check in with a run stat every few days lest we suffer an immediate and tangible consequence. Corrine gave birth to the most productive time of my life.

Fast forward 3 years and a detour of lives lived, I was pursuing writing and she had grown fond of weight training. The trouble was both passions were easier said than done. I obvious needed a push to keep writing and posting entries on my blog. Corrine was slacking off on her workouts. The deal was for me to publish and she had to pump iron, both occurring twice a week or pay the other person $20.

Corrine lives in a big metropolis, alone, with rent and bills to pay. The girl is a queen at budgeting. I live in a much smaller city hours away but I’ve always been super stingy. Thus began the new lifestyle swing for the rest of 2017 and hopefully going into the beyond. By New Year’s Eve, she’ll be down 5lbs and my posts will achieve mediocre status.

I encourage everyone to find an accountability buddy. Studies have shown them to be effective. And they can’t be just anybody off the street. You almost have to fear letting them down, so someone you respect, someone of authority. Buddy up with a single person or a group of like minded folks. Mastermind Groups are a great option, though I don’t know from firsthand experience. Or go the route Corrine and I chose which was to up the ante. We don’t want to lose $20 due to laziness, when that money can easily go towards a savings account or cheese and wine.

So go forth, find your passion, and find that special somebody. (Um, this post has passed the Bechdel test.)

 

*names changed due to privacy

Intentional Practice

I must continue to blog. There was so many flaws to my writing and I know practising will strengthen it.

Two of the most glaring issues I have are verb tenses and word repetition. I dare anyone to read my past work and count the amount of ‘need’, ‘have to’, ‘must’, and ‘own’ I use in two paragraphs.

According to Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” 10,000 hours of intentional practice will result in mastery. For the sake of procrastination and lack of a better topic, let’s do some super basic math.

Let’s (be generous) assume it takes 1 hr to produce one post and I try to update my blog 3 times a week.

1hr x 3 = 3 hrs per week in the bank towards becoming a pro.

3 hr x 52 weeks per year = 156 hr per year

10,000 hr for mastery/156 hr per year ~ …64 years

Did I mess up simple multiplication or just made too many assumptions?

Wow I thought taking a logical approach would calm my worries.

I suppose this doesn’t take into account that after gaining a momentum, I may write longer and more frequently. I’ll have to brainstorm a bunch more topics to post. Storylines will need to come at the drop of a hat.

However the easiest(?) way to fulfill my quota and shorten my timeline is to read. Reading helps absorb data, research ideas, see ideas from another’s perspective (ie, Shakespeare’s Rom – well actually all of his work has been done and reworked through a different angle and yet still be refreshing). Books are a great tool.

Oh on that note the book that inspired me to start a blog was this one:

Francine Prose – Reading Like a Writer

In the book she goes over classics and contemporary fiction. The chapters are dedicated aspects of a book and she’ll choose excerpts for examples. So the first chapter is all on word usage and examines a work by, say Kafka, going over the beauty of his word choice and how every noun had the perfect placement. This progresses to sentences, paragraphs, chapters, etc.

Really a great book.

So if I keep reading at the same pace as I write, I could effectively cut my goal time in half. So by the age of 60 I’ll have my great American novel. I suppose that’s better than 91 :/

My History and Update

I know my last post was a while back and the honest to God reason was that I was depressed. I was left in bed and felt like I could not get up.

For the better part of a decade I’ve had depression. I didn’t know that was what it was. I assumed I was sleep deprived from school and workload. I thought I was homesick when I went out of town for university. I thought fighting parents was understandably saddening for any child. I thought failure made me stressful and therefore sad.

I didn’t understand that I had depression until I was in my 20s. By then it was a relief to finally have a name to what was wrong with me and I could work with the rollercoaster of symptoms. And then real life happened and the pressure of living in the successful adult life was overbearing which culminated to 2017’s introduction of suicidal thoughts.

Who knew something so monumental that literally led to THE life changing decision could creep up so subtly and be acknowledged so casually?

By the end of August I was at my worst point and I was praying for a reason to stay on this Earth. I had been crying for the past few days and saw that it was my rock bottom.

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I asked God, the universe, my mother for any reason to live to see another day. I didn’t get an answer except for the one echoing inside my head:

I have depression. I don’t need a reason to keep going, I need to have the will to find a reason to keep going.

My depression was telling me that I did not have anything to call my own and my world got dark. When I prayed, the conclusion was that just the act of wading through the darkness was what I needed. Everything is temporary and life is so much harder than death. To take a step

I know it seems cliché and I realize that the overarching characteristics of most mental illnesses are the same but the symptoms vary from each person.

The NaNoWriMo Grind

Now I have no expectations that this will be a masterpiece. Oh no, far from it. This will not be in the same league as Henry James, much less E.L. James. This will be my first written project in two years and first judged work in more than five. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an independent project. The writer takes it upon themselves to complete 50,000 words in a month and the only thing that keeps them going is self-motivation. And because it is so independent, participants don’t need to show their work, just note how many words they’ve completed.

At 30,000 words, my NaNo project is my longest work to date, but it is also a long compiled wordlist of garbage. For the entire month, you are made to push out words into sentences and those form paragraphs, and you hope to hell that everything makes sense. You ignore the plot holes, the fact that you changed the names of three characters after page 6 and again on page 20. You know that you turned a specific noun into a verb but convince yourself that it works!

It was a dreadful experiment in that I hated coming to my computer to write nonsense and I’d visibly cringe as I did it, but it did have its positive sides.

  1. Perfection is the opposite of completion and you learn to be okay with that.

I had a premise, that a man killed a woman in a hit and run. I didn’t have a name for my protagonist nor any secondary characters. I didn’t have a setting. I couldn’t even tell you the ending, whether it be happily ever after or if there would be a sequel that delved into the legal system on Nov 1. But damn it if I didn’t buck out a plot with every passing day. There were plot twists that included a pregnancy. There was the issue of morality of life and death that went further than I thought I possessed. And I named him Nick.

It should be noted that I didn’t know how a car would look after hitting anything (perfect driving record, yay!) nor the charges an officer would lay onto someone. I don’t know anything about pregnancy other than the highly inaccurate crazy hormonal upsurges I picked up from television. But I didn’t let these stop me.

You see, the most important thing a writer can do is write.

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You can always edit and do thorough research later, but if you have nothing to written down, it kind of ends there. Which brings me to point 2.

  1. It gives you a routine.

A few years ago I began running, but I was so out of shape that lasting a minute was absolutely undoable. I’d go around the neighbourhood at 2am because I was too embarrassed to be seen huffing and puffing by anyone. The embarrassment and the early hours were not conducive to a steady exercise routine so it would be weeks before I’d reach for my running shoes again.

This all changed when I registered for a race. It was only a 5K but it gave me a goal. All of a sudden I was running twice a week, which became thrice and then every night a week before race day.

Every night when 2am hit, I was lacing up my shoes. During Nov 2015 every night at 7pm I sat down in front of my computer to type as much as I could and I found that much more difficult than marathon training (one took only half an hour each night all the by-product was sweat while the other was at least an hour to two and mentally you are shot). But it became a daily habit with an end goal, so I credit that month to my current novel writing aspirations.

  1. It gives a great sense of accomplishment.

I didn’t do the required 50,000 words to receive a piece of paper that said “Congratulations!” at the end, but finding that I ground out 30K by Dec 1 was quite exciting. Perhaps it was depression’s effects but seeing that I had done so much work for little reward other than self-satisfaction was priceless for me. This short hobby almost gave me a purpose, or at least a new found passion.

 

I definitely recommend everyone doing this challenge, even if they don’t finish it and to give their full effort into attempting the required 1,667 daily word hit.

It is stressful but such a wonderful learning experience.

Chimera, Chapter 1

They say that journaling is a quality channel for your thoughts. I have been mass journaling these past two weeks, both for personal and professional (I’ll tout this blog as a side job for me) reasons.

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For my first story I will write a story around the themes of true love and soulmates. I know it sounds very juvenile. I assure you it is a lifelong dilemma and affects everyone and I will try to be very sophisticated with the message.

It is not coincidental that I just got out of a relationship. Deep sigh. I suppose I needed an outlet for all the thoughts surrounding my break up, that if I could learn the logic of it, I could understand and move on.

So onward we go…

I’m unsure about the characters and their culture and therefore societal practices. I don’t know their names. But I do know the general idea and the title says it all: Chimera

Premise

When mates are gifted to each person’s soul at birth, people spend their whole lives searching for The One. What happens when one person contains two souls?

I’m posting only an excerpt because 1. that’s all I’ve got written down so far and 2. I’ll put the complete chapter on my FictionPress account as it’s a better medium for a lengthy read.

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