high on joy

I did a thing I've dreamt about since high school. I wrote a book filled with poetry. This book isn't all poetry, but it has poetry scattered throughout, and I simply cannot get over how I actually did this thing I've wished for over half my life.

When I got the email that the book was officially listed on Amazon, immediately, my mind flashed to the English classroom I was walking out of and into the hallway where I remember standing as I wished this wish. I remember the white walls and the desks and how I had just spent a class period writing poetry. Not sure if I was supposed to be or was in a poetic fit and ignoring my classwork or what, but there it is. I remembered how I felt so sure I would attain my wish. I would be a poet one day. And it all felt so perfect.

High on joy is where I am right now with my book. I hope it sells nicely—even well—but just seeing how people who have been waiting all these years for "my book" to be published are buying it to see what I've done causes me to fill with joy. I'm absolutely changed by the experience. So much trust that I would write something worthwhile to read. So much loyalty. So much joy for me that they want to add to mine by sharing in it. It's a divine circle (opposite of a vicious one), and I am caught up in it thanks to many of you.

These past many years have been such a fire, and I don't imagine it will cease, but I now have this accomplishment to remind myself how I can reach my dreams. It is possible for a regular person like me. And I am completely overjoyed.

If you haven't already heard the news about my book, you can read the notice I sent out on Saturday, February 10, 2018: This Phoenix Speaks.

this phoenix speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks, is now a reality.

The tireless and tiring work invested to make the feat happen is absolutely incalculable. The pure love invested to make one of my dreams come true is even more so. But I did it. I showed myself I could accomplish something I had held in my mind as a dream, a far off dream, for too long.

To everyone who has read my work here and offered encouragement and feedback and support for my continued writing, you are part of my success. Without the readership on this blog (where I hold my draft writing) and your loyalty and comments, I do not know if I would have had the courage to keep writing and write what I have—let alone do this book.

Next month will be a full seven years since I began this journey in earnest, and it just feels pretty lucky. I think we might even need to do a giveaway to celebrate! I'll work on the details and get back with you!

Now about how to make this book do its job, it's quite straightforward actually. People need to purchase it and read it and share it and review it.

Some ideas in case you want some involve social media. I'm quite keen on seeing the hashtag #ThisPhoenixSpeaks alongside #bookstagram or even #booksofinstagram. I think I'd pretty much freak out with joy if someone other than myself tagged me on that kind of thing. On Twitter, mention me (@th_purpl_lady) in any blog reviews, and I'll share your links and even feature them on Facebook if you give a pleasant review. The Facebook page (facebook.com/thepurplelady) welcomes your reviews, interactions, and such as well. When I think about it, reviews on Goodreads sound like a very good idea. So many ways to show your support. It's exciting!

That's a great deal of work too. Books are major work. Reminds me of raising children and the saying "it takes a village." It'll take immeasurable love and support to keep this dream alive—and it's all something I cannot do for myself. That's where all of you come in. If you'd buy my book and spread the word, you will be part of the next stage of my success as a writer and the poet I aspire to be. Just choose any mode of support you'd like, and it will be simply perfect.

I don't have high connections or a lot of money. But I have all of you. That will be enough for me.

Purchase This Phoenix Speaks on Amazon


Devotion. Now, there's a word you don't think about or use often. It actually threw me off-guard the other day when someone I was talking with described me as "funny," "smart," and "devoted." The funny part threw me off first because most people don't get my sense of humor. It's so dry that I have to explain myself most of the time. And then I don't kid around often, so there's that too. People are like, "Why are you trying to be funny?" and "What's wrong?" Not really, but it feels like that.

So anyway, back to devoted. I was blown away and haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. I have pondered a ton of questions such as: Am I devoted? How am I devoted? What am I devoted to? What do I do that would make him think that of me? And as I have thought about each question in turn, I realize that the person is right. I am a devoted type of individual. I am a devoted friend, mother, teacher, neighbor, aunt, sister, and when I have a boyfriend or spouse, I am a devoted that too.

Now the question that I wonder now is Why am I so devoted? What is it about my make up that causes me to naturally respond in my various roles with devotion? I don't really know since it's about myself, so I wonder if anyone reading this might offer some thoughts on the subject.

Let's overthink this gorgeous treasure of a word together. 

nothing's wrong

I read the words "Nothing's wrong. It's just hard." on a Facebook post by Bunmi Laditan, whom I don't know, shared by my friend Julie, whom I do. And I want to write my "Nothing's wrong. It's just hard."

Nothing's wrong. It's just hard. "I never thought all the stupid things I did as a young person would help me as a parent," I think as I muster the courage to be outspoken for the millionth time with any one of my children at any point in time. These millions of times happen when I least expect them so often that I expect them while I'm in the car, walking down the street, shouting over the vacuum cleaner, or lying in bed wishing I could sleep uninterrupted. To be thankful you can function on three hours of sleep every day for a week is not normal but a gift nonetheless. Nothing's wrong. It's just hard. 

My youngest, with his still innocent eyes, looks at me in horror when I speak unkindly on a day when I have no more left to give, accusing me and telling me, "You're my mom. You're supposed to be kind to me." I know he's correct. I know I should always be kind, but I can't always get over all of the pressures and off-the-cuff decisions that are in my face without a moment's notice. I look at him and offer a hug and an apology and my broken heart, hoping I am not the one who snuffs out his innocence on accident. Nothing's wrong. It's just hard.

My oldest two are really my middle two, but they are so similar in so many ways that I put them together, hoping that I'm not pushing aside my oldest. My oldest has a special place forever for making me a mother and because she has severe autism. Not the type that makes her simply quirky but the type that makes her never fit to live on her own or know how to drive or swim or even wash her own hair. All of that said, the neurotypical children need so much more right now. They have places to be and things that only I can teach them to get them on their way. So I carve out time for my sweet girl whenever I can, knowing she will be with me, hoping she will be with me, when they are all grown and gone. I cry sometimes because I can't help everyone when they need me. Nothing's wrong. It's just hard. 

I look around my home and see all that I want to do, all that I can do, and all that I cannot do. There is an enormous difference between what I want to do and what is possible, and it drags me down sometimes. I see my limitations—all of them. I see the time ticking on the clock and the calendar days flying past us, and I tell myself to do one thing. Just do one thing each day when it's all too much. Just keep on trying. Nothing's wrong. It's just hard. 

Gaining weight because emotional eating is a thing, and a messy house in utter disarray is proof that life is happening. Everyone is still alive and making their way slowly but surely. I wonder if my mental health days of watching movies and doing nothing are actually productive or if it's an early onset stage of giving up. What does giving up even look like? I'd have to research it and find the best way to give up if that were something I could do. And I don't think that's the answer. I look around me and see all the problems and conundrums and loneliness, and I realize that life is just this way, and it's okay. Nothing's wrong. It's just hard. 

the cranberries

I said a little something yesterday as my initial reaction to the news of Dolores O'Riordan's death on my Facebook page, facebook.com/thepurplelady/

But I'd like to add a little more since I find myself feeling taken aback more than I could ever anticipate.

I'll tell you, after losing both of my parents as a young adult, no one except my siblings and children and my BFF Forever (and potential future husband) could compare in how their loss would make an impact on me. So whenever movie stars and musicians pass away, I see the loss and am empathetic to their families, but I do not go on about how very sad I am. It just isn't true. I see how death is part of life, and it is anticipated as people grow older. The untimely ones are harder to make sense of, but I believe that no one dies before it is their time—even if we can't see that it's their time. That all might sound callous, but it is my honest perspective.

All of that said, I've caught myself feeling sad about the music that will no longer be made because a very special voice has been taken from the earth. I adored the Cranberries. Their music was some of my favorite Alternative music at a time when it was fresh and new. I love the Celtic vibe that reminds me of my ancestry across the ocean. While I don't believe there is any Irish blood in my family tree, the Celtics are more than Ireland, and I am drawn to all of it.

I do not know Dolores O'Riordan, but I loved her gift of song, and my heart goes out to her children and other family. She was only a few years older than I am, and I can't imagine my children not having me around anymore. I realize, too, that she was only a few years younger than my mother was when she passed away. All of these connections are causing her loss to hit home a little harder than any other non-family member thus far.

It all reminds me of how every person makes a difference in our lives somehow.