5 Miles of Country Road


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It was a normal day.  A day like any other day.   Typical  things to do: groceries, pay bills, post office, the gym.   I do the circuit, plotting my course to the most effective route, saving the groceries for last because  well, I didn’t want  my cold stuff going off.

The trip home is about 7 miles.  ( 6.78 if you want to be specific.)  I pass the office where I used to work, and traffic stops.    It’s not like a traffic jam in the city, no. We are still moving but at a snail’s pace of about 30 miles an hour.   A tractor was in the road about 5 cars ahead of me.  It’s a straight road, I could see all the cars lined up in front of me going down the hill.

Minding my own business, listening to my daughter recap her day at school – with a few minor extractions,  An idea struck!  I don’t mean popped in there, turned on like a light bulb I mean WHAM!  Like the impact of  when the Hulk smashes.

An idea, a twisted horrific idea  pops up from one of the dark recesses in my mind.  A terrifying scenario in a completely  different genre than I’ve ever attempted.   The bad thing is, I’ve got this full-blown evil  malevolence with  the power to deceive its prey, the power to absorb its  prey,  and the means to dispose of without detection. The problem is, how to  have someone figure it out before it’s too late and we are all alien bug food.

Is it not enough that I currently  have too many projects  that are unfinished?  Is it  too much to ask for ideas to  stay within the bounds of the current project?  NO!  Like a  piece of Johnston grass, this  thing pops in there and is invasive.  One little tiny spec   and it has taken over a good portion of my conscious thought.

I’ve jotted  some notes down, drawn out a few pictures, and even come up with the character for its first victim.  I’ll have to do some research don’t we always?

Horror would be a totally new direction for me.  Not being a fan of horror flicks,  or books I don’t know where it came from.  I suppose it could be a residual from the books I used to read back in  my college days.   ( Stephen King, Love craft, Poe, Anne Rice)

In the meantime, I jot down my  few notes and try to focus on the manuscript at hand.  Revisions: to add some depth to my story,  get out of my head the back-story  that helps with the world building and explains why my characters behave as they do.  It would be so much easier if I could just plug in a flash drive and download  the entire  story that’s in my brain.  But, if  that were possible I’m afraid some of those other ideas would download as well that aren’t even half-baked yet.  That wouldn’t be good.

What do you do when ideas strike you? I’d love to hear from  everyone on how and when your ideas  pop up and  how you handle them.

Write on my friends, write on!

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It’s Just 6 Inches!


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It’s just 6 inches of water – yet it’s enough to drown in.

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It’s just 6 inches of paper – yet it’s worth the denomination printed on it.

6 inches long

It’s just 6 inches – but able to end life.

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It’s just 6 inches –  but not a hole in one!

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It’s just 6 inches – so why is it such an insurmountable obstacle?

For all of you that thought  I was talking about a male appendage –  I knew you’d go there.  We are easily led! but get your mind out of the gutter because that isn’t what this is about.

It’s about brains!  BRRRRAAAAAAIIINSSS!  Sorry, was distracted by  the zombies on TV.

Brains: that 6 inches of gray matter between your ears.  Now, I know all about calories in and calories out.  It takes 3500 calories burned to lose a pound.  I know the calorie expenditure must  be greater than the calorie consumption.  I know it takes cardio to lose weight.  I know it takes weight training to tone the muscles and that muscle burns more calories than fat. I know all these things.  I know how to use the equipment at the YMCA.  I know how to follow the path around our park even though Runkeeper can’t seem to geotrack it from one day to the next.

I tweeted a session that the gps wasn’t working – and after 1.8 miles walking, sweating in Missouri summer heat the app said I had walked .02 miles.  REALLY??????  I tweeted it and I don’t think anyone even got it.  (FYI  – That was a seriously sarcastic post!)

I know  the difference between nutritional foods and empty calorie junk foods.  I prepare well balanced meals for our family and I know how to cook.  I even know how to prepare low calorie protein rich foods that taste amazing.

What I don’t know is how to overcome those 6 inches of gray matter.  When life gets tough, as it often does I revert to a conditioned response.  We all do it.  some people reach for a cigarette. some people reach for a drink.  Some people tear into the housework like there’s a demon on their tail.  Then there are people like me, that go on autopilot and stress eat.

When  there’s tension between  me and someone I love, I  stress eat.  When I am nervous about  a deadline, or missing a deadline, or an approaching appointment I stress eat.  When I am feeling down on myself, I stress eat.  ( I know , it makes no sense but I do.) When don’t I stress eat?  When I am angry.  When I am angry I become the white tornado cleaning everything in sight   to a sparkling sterilized form that the hospital staff would be jealous of.

Aside from being angry all the time, which I don’t really see as a valid answer.  I think my blood pressure might be affected and I don’t need that!  In fact no one around me needs Angry Ellie around more than she is.

It’s not a matter of knowledge, I know loads of stuff pertaining to health,  fitness and nutrition. I am an intelligent woman and I didn’t need the IQ test to verify it.  Although, that did help prove my point when I was employed by the government.  Something about an official score gets respect amongst your coworkers.

It’s not a matter of will.  I don’t have quite the iron will that my mother had, mine is Titanium.  Where there is a will there is a way and I am determined to find it.

It’s a matter of retraining your brain;  disengaging the rabbit tracks that are worn into a groove.  You know what I mean, that conditioned response  that sends us  onto the track on autopilot.

For example,  the husband comes home and comments on the pile of folded laundry on the bed that didn’t get put away,  Now he didn’t see the other 3 baskets full that were already washed, sorted and put away.  Nor did he see the dishes that were left on the counter after breakfast washed dried and put away. And he didn’t see the shoes that he left in front of the recliner with stinky socks sticking out of them that had to be put away before vacuuming the carpet. Or for one minute do you even think he’s going to acknowledge that  prestigious job of scrubbing out the toilet?  NO, of course not!  So, the thing he notices is the thing left undone.

So what happens?  the rabbit comes out of the chute and your braindogs are off and running around the track, chasing the rabbit  as it moves along the groove, following the same path every single time.  How do you break the cycle? You’ve got to replace your dogs.  Hack down the  wooden bunny. Change your race track to something else.

We have to reprogram our programs.

When i grew up,  food was punishment and reward. “YOU will sit here and eat this tuna casserole if it takes you till midnight.”  To which  my response was to sit there refusing to eat tuna casserole until 12:05.  At which time my mother  was ordered by my father to let me go to bed so I could go to school the next day.  Iron will mother put the tuna casserole in  a container for my lunch. Titanium willed me dumped the contents in the trash and skipped lunch.  The smell of  tuna casserole makes me cringe and  causes a response of losing my appetite at the imagined smell.

Ah, maybe that’s  it!  I make tuna casserole and I won’t desire to eat anything at all. Hmm, maybe if I do the tuna casserole combined with the anger switch I can avoid falling into  the same  rabbit track I’ve always reverted to.

What does this have to do with writing?  Simple: every area of our lives are affected by the other areas. If one is out of balance the others  will eventually be affected.  Feeling unable to  win a battle in one area causes you to feel  inferior in other areas.

Think about it!

Write on my friends, write on!