Monthly Archives: May 2016

Fireworks

Fireworks

Though summer doesn’t officially begin for three more weeks, Memorial Day weekend kicks off the season in style.  One of the favorite things about this time of year for kids, and those who are forever young at heart, is the explosion of small containers of explosives mixed with rainbow hues to create a visual masterpiece against the night sky.

What always attracted me to fireworks shows when I was young was not the noise-in fact I often stood to watch them with my hands firmly over my ears-or the crowds, or the thrill of being outside far later than I was usually allowed.  What I enjoyed most was the surprise that came when a firework bloomed into full color, or multiple colors.  As a spectator I never knew what would appear next, but waited in intense anticipation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fireworks can mean more than just a breathtaking image-a firework is a moment of inspiration, of imagination, of fruition of a dream.  Fireworks can symbolize that impulse that drives us forward to explore and accomplish more than we ever thought possible.

As writers when fireworks, or inspiration, strikes at our hearts as we sit at the keyboard or take an old-fashioned notebook out into nature, we never know what form it may take.  We don’t know the exact moment it will come either; we can only hope that when it hits us we will recognize it for what it is, and have some means of preserving the thought on hand.  We live to see the next group of fireworks, and let it lead us into the next paragraph, the next chapter, and the next completed manuscript.

Here’s hoping your supply of fireworks is plentiful this summer, and as you enjoy the visual display that you also find the keys to unlocking a dream you had forgotten or never realized you could achieve.

Happy Memorial Day! everyone.

Amy

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The “Empty Nest” Doesn’t Have to Be

The “Empty Nest” Doesn’t Have to Be

This weekend my husband and I said goodbye to our daughter after an extended visit for what is going to be a three-month long absence.  This is not the first time it’s been just the two of us, but the house feels strangely lonely after having her here, back in her old room.  The reality of parents of adult children is this; nothing seems the same when the kids are gone, and then things are slightly out of sync when they do visit.   Then when they leave again everything is once more out of balance, while we adjust to the new reality.

This adjustment process is something most parents will eventually contend with, and there are various methods of coping, or not coping, with the fact that our children are adults and leading their own lives.  This does not mean parents should mourn the end of an era, though.  I’d much rather embrace the change in our lifestyles, and find new activities and interests to fill the time we used to spend in the queue waiting to drop off kids for school, or waiting for the  game or concert to start or be over so we could get them fed and ready to start the next day.

For me, having grown children has been an opportunity to express some parts of myself I had to repress when I was busy being mom full time.  My daughter especially encourages her dad and me to get out and try new things, though she does think we’re weird when we post pictures of ourselves at concerts on Facebook.

Funny thing is, I have more in common with my kids now than when they were younger.  We bonded with the kids over Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, and now we share copies of the Marvel heroes movies and hold screenings for Star Trek and classic sci-fi movies that are being remade (in abundance right now) in our family room.

My son has become interested in a number of shows, thanks to Netflix and Amazon Prime, which I once watched after he was in bed at night, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  It’s funny, now, that we can discuss the final season and how the spinoff came full circle back into the finale story line.

I am still a mom, and that’s not going to end any time soon.  That doesn’t mean I can’t spread my wings a little, and embrace being me, now that I have more free time, and still be a friend and mentor to my adult children.  I am proud to say I’m a fan girl in my own right, and just as likely to find a new obsession these days as they are.   Of course, someday I’d like to be the grandma who shares superheroes and space battles with her grandkids.

Thanks for reading,

Amy

 

Celebration and Goals

Celebration and Goals

This weekend I was blessed to celebrate with my family as I finally reached a long-awaited milestone, completing my college degree.  I started to college originally twenty-seven years ago, but put aside that dream for marriage and family three years later.  Now, in my mid-forties, and with two college-age children of my own, I finally can say I have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern New Hampshire in Creative Writing and English.

I do not regret for one minute the life I’ve had, or the decision to put my own dreams aside to care for my family, but even after all this time it still feels great to finally be done.  Like I’ve accomplished something important.  Like I’ve finished what I started.

This degree may not completely change my life.  I like to think the experiences I’ve gained while studying literature and writing will help me fulfill other dreams, and the computer skills I’ve had to master along the way will be useful in other endeavors. However, the biggest accomplishment I’ve made today is in the fact that yes, I did what I started out to do, and yes, if I can do it, so can my kids, and so can anyone who wishes to and is willing to put in the work.

I have other dreams to pursue, especially on the writing front.  I’m currently editing a book I have been writing for years, and will use the insight and critiques I have garnered from discussion groups to have it published later this year.   Look for my novel, tentatively entitled Virtual on Amazon later this year, and for samples of my writing on this website and on Goodreads in the meantime.  I plan to be sharing more excerpts with you soon, and honestly appreciate all feedback on my work.

Thank you,

Amy

Thanks to Those Who Call Us Mom

Thanks to Those Who Call Us Mom

Today is a day set aside to celebrate the mothers in our lives, but I wanted to take a moment to remember the reason we achieve that title-our kids.  Moms are privileged to inspire and sometimes enable our children’s dreams.  We have the joy of encouraging them to seek to fulfill those dreams, be they realistic or as far away as the stars.  Even if we gripe about driving them to and from practice day after day or standing in line at midnight releases to get that next book they just have to have, we still choose to do so.

A mom is the one who most often takes the kids to that one-time only appearance at the mall.  Traditionally it is Mom who gets to see those puppy dog eyes and their best “please” whenever the newest, best action figure comes out or the movie they just have to see comes to the theatre.  Of course, Dad does his part too, but usually Mom still makes it happen.

As moms we get to facilitate our kids’ love for all things of fandom, because we love our children.  Some moms are fangirls in their own right, of course, and actually enjoy reading books like Twilight and going to the movies just as much as their daughters.  Other moms, while having no interest in fantasy and sci-fi themselves, willingly tolerate and even participate as a means of bonding with their exuberant children.

My own mother never showed more than a passing interest in any superhero when I was growing up, but she bought me the Wonder Woman Underoos and lunchbox I asked for, because she understood that roleplay and fantasy were normal, and even healthy for a child’s development.  Later she indulged my children in Power Rangers and Harry Potter simply because she could.

I did some of that indulging myself, in my children’s early years, but as they grew I was lucky enough to find fandoms where I could share in my kids’ enthusiasm.  (It’s still much more permissible to be an adult, female fan of certain things if you’re sharing the experience with your kids.)  Now that my kids are grown, though, we continue to share interest in certain fan activities, and I’ve watched to my joy my kids take an interest in “retro” things I enjoyed at their age and younger.  Who expected cult classic movies from Carrie to Ghostbusters to be remade?  And who expected shows like Dr. Who would still be going strong, over 50 years after its original broadcast?

So today I’m grateful for the chance I’ve had to be a mom to two wonderful, thoughtful children.  I appreciate the fact that they both took time from their busy schedules to remember me today.  I’m glad for all the fun and mutual interests we have shared, and will continue to share in the future.  After all, they’ll both be home next weekend and we have a Captain America movie to see together.

Hope you all have enjoyed the day!

Amy

 

When it’s Time to Make a Change

When it’s Time (to make a Change)

Change is inevitable, in our own lives as well as in the lives of all our favorite fictional characters.  Sometimes we wish to see a change; we seek it out, we embrace it when it comes.  Other times, we would rather avoid change, prevent it, ignore or deny it.  We may find a way to delay it or alter it for a time, but in the end change will come.

Change can be positive; it can mean a new friendship, or a new love.  Who doesn’t get excited when the hero(s) falls in love?  It’s romantic to watch, not quite as euphoric as experiencing it ourselves, but still causes us to leave the theatre with a sense of completeness for the expected happily ever after.  Of course, the beginning of a relationship is only the first step in one of life’s most altering experiences.

Change can bring an alliance of former enemies, a “joining of forces,” an arrangement that benefits multiple parties.  Such disparate personalities as the cast of any superhero group movie ever made points out to us the benefits of partnership.  Such change is not always easy; it would be unrealistic and just plain boring to watch if it was, but what about life that is worthwhile comes to us without expending some sort of effort?

Change can also be negative or hurtful; it can mean a separation of friends, the end of an era or alliance, the death of a mentor.  The fallout from a fight between friends can be harmful to all involved, whether emotionally or even physically.  We hope we never seek to do harm to those we have called friends, but unfortunately history bears witness to the fact that conflicts sometimes escalate out of control, when cool heads and common values fail to inspire us enough.

Have you ever noticed how many father-figures don’t survive until the end of the story to witness how their child/protégé achieves success?  From Simba the Lion King to Luke Skywalker, the loss of a mentor is used as a catalyst to help along the hero’s development.  These losses are something we have no desire to experience in our own lives, and find painful even to watch on screen.   We only hope that when we must experience such misfortunes that we emulate our heroes and embrace the new understanding or maturity that follows.

Change can most certainly be painful, but we must realize that just as it is inevitable it is necessary.  Everyone undergoes change, because without it, we cannot grow or truly live; we cannot even become older or die.  The most we can hope for is to seek to continually improve ourselves, mentally, physically, and spiritually, either because of or in spite of the changes that come our way.  Here’s to meeting change head on, and striving for grace and wisdom in all we do.

Amy