Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mimi's Helpful Hints For Overcoming Writer's Block

HEY YOU!  Yes, I'm talking to you.  I have a question to ask.
Are you a writer? Well I am too.

 I am in the midst of a terrible dilemma, you see I was all Gung Ho, moving along smoothly in my story, then the next thing you know... BAM... I hit a wall. I had no idea what to do with the plot or how it even relates to the protagonist in my story. My favorite chair, which I bought a month ago, has become a curse, a bane to my inspiration, my get up and go. The Chair and I used to fit well together, however, 20 pounds and 30 bags of nachos later, I can hardly breathe in the stupid thing. Do you know what an emotional weight writer's block is, what kind of turmoil it causes? It's just awful. I have gone from being a simple couch potato to a blue ribbon winning super-sized couch spudzilla from sitting in this chair. I just keep growing in size, getting fatter and fatter by the day as I munch on my nachos. I am so tired, bored and depressed because I can't write. I can't write because I'm tired, bored and depressed. It's an endless cycle.

So how do I get my creativity back? Any suggestions?

DO NOT FEAR, WONDER WOMAN IS HERE... with some helpful advice.

If this scenario sounds familiar, here's how to get yourself going, how to hoist yourself out of that favorite chair. You won't even need a forklift. First, remove all those tempting treasures from your refrigerator and pantry.

Yes, that includes... THE NACHOS too.

Now here's a couple of easy to follow tips to get your mind and body moving so you can get back into that story.

1. EAVESDROP: Always carry a pen and pad. Try sitting next to, or even across the way from a person who has a cell phone glued to their ear. They usually talk loud enough to be heard across the room anyway. Also, pay attention at coffee-breaks or during your lunch hour at work. You can get enough dirt from random conversations to fill a best seller.

2. JOIN A MEET-UP GROUP: There are so many categories and plenty of conversations to glean from meeting with other writers and with other people period.

3. UTILIZE FAMILY GATHERINGS: Break out the old photo album. Jot down notes as relatives reminisce especially around the Christmas tree at holiday gatherings. This is great for writing a memoir, or even for finding a spark that will lead to a short story.

4. LISTEN TO THE NEWS: Current events may trigger your creative juices, like a murder, domestic violence story or an accident, even disastrous weather conditions or terrorist activities can stimulate the mind. The more you pay attention to what's going on, the more you can find to write about. Most of the best stories ever written are based on or around real events. The old adage is on point, 'truth is stranger than fiction.'

5. READ JOKES: They can give you anecdotes and ideas that can add humor to a story.

6. USE VISUAL PROMPTS: Look at a picture or a work of art and write about what you see or create a story from it.

7. EXERCISE: Walking is great for your health, and great for stimulating your brain too. Try taking different paths each day, so it doesn't become monotonous. You can speed up your walking or slow your pace down, based on your mood. You will feel more energetic and alert.

8. KEEP A DREAM JOURNAL: Some dreams are fresh in your mind when you wake up, so write them down, because you might not remember them later. Hmm... like our mouse thief stealing the piece of cheese, this could make a great children's story some day. Still makes me hungry for nachos and cheese though.

9. READ TRAVEL BROCHURES: This provides great material for blog writing, or for research for that international mystery novel you've always wanted to write.

10. GET INSPIRED: discuss your writing project with a close friend or someone you're comfortable with, let them give you some feed back and then take it from there. You'll be amazed how a fresh perspective, a new voice or some advice might help.

11. READ TOMBSTONES: Try to feel and imagine a family's grief when their loved one was buried. Try to understand the meaning behind the words that were engraved. Try to imagine what this marker says about the life of the person who inspired the tribute.

12. GO TO THE LIBRARY OR A BOOK STORE: Don't just read the contents of the books or magazines you peruse, look at the writing style of the author. Let them stir your imagination.

13. SOAP OPERAS: Practice describing each character, learn to understand why they are the villain and why they lasted so long in that series, what drives each character. This will help you with character and plot development.

14. WATCH JUDGE JUDY: Watch it for the courtroom scene, which might be helpful in one of your crime stories. Watch it to learn about the character of a judge, how they think and command the court. Watch it to gain insight into the emotions of the situation at hand, what drives people to need mediation. Watch it because it's a good show. JUST WATCH IT!!!

15. BE AN OBSERVER: Glean inspiration from participating in and observing life, it is the greatest inspiration of all. Look at the way people dress, walk and use hand gestures, watch facial expressions, how people speak, drive, and express love. Watch how children behave and how parents act toward their children. What do people do when they are alone? How they enjoy nature?

16. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, USE WRITING PROMPTS: These are great story starters if you get stuck, and every writer does sooner or later. Prompts are great jump starters to the writing process. They will help you overcome writer's block. All you have to do is write down a couple of opening sentences and take it from there. In Stephen King's book about the writing process, On Writing, King challenged readers and fellow writers to use a story starter he devised, and even carved out a forum on his website so he could read and respond to stories people wrote from his starter. He wanted to see where fledgling writers imaginations would take his starter, what dark and different places they would go to. How many best sellers has Stephen King written? He's written 48 novels (plus a few non-fiction works and some collections), 34 of which have been best sellers. There's a man who knows how to beat writer's block, and he suggests using story starters in his book about the art of writing. Why? They work!

Here are a few examples:

a. "Yesterday I went to the movies and... "
b. "I knew as soon as I ended the relationship he would... "
c. "As she walked into the dim lighted hallway, she... "
d. "She suddenly turned at the sound of glass breaking... "
e. "She knew he was there waiting for her but... "
f. "She was going to accept his marriage proposal, but...
g. "Tomorrow I will go... "

There you have it, plenty of tips and tid-bits to get you through the dreaded writer's block. Maybe all of them won't work for you, but some of them are bound to. They will at least get your mind working and they will get you out of that chair. If nothing else, you'll get to watch Judge Judy, always entertaining, and you might get some dirt on your family members during the next holiday gathering. You can't beat that. Alright then. Time for me to hoist myself out of this chair. I have fastened a hitch to the poodle, but I don't think she has the strength to pull me up. I might need some outside help this time. Stupid nachos. On second thought, I don't love nachos at all, I despise them!

© 2015 Miriam B. Medina

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Magic of Being Resilient


 by Miriam B. Medina.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back quickly from a crisis or a trauma. resilient people rely on their inner strength to keep them moving forward. They are like trees bending in the strong winds, but they always bounce back. In plain words they are optimistic people despite their struggles in life.

Negative people are habitual complainers. Wherever they go, the atmosphere completely changes. They're easily spotted with their drooped shoulders, their shuffled walk, their expressionless faces, their averted eyes and their sagging chins. They spend their days hunched over, forever carrying baggage from all sorts of little upsets, imparting negative vibrations to everyone they meet. Because they're always so immersed in their current difficulties and never-ending problems, people do their best to avoid those of a negative energy. Their constant complaining aggravates everyone within listening range. These individuals have no sense of direction in life, and no matter where they are, they are always unhappy. So they find themselves raging against fate, though it is their own choices and actions that create their unhappy environment. It's true, you reap what you sow.

Negative minded people forever bemoan their pasts, whining about the present and remaining ever fearful of the future. As a result of this negative attitude, their outlook on life is so limited that they can't visualize the opportunities and the wondrous possibilities that may come their way. They prefer to wallow in their dismal rut and to whine.Negative minded people have poor coping skills. This is why they are vulnerable to stress. The slightest problem crushes their self-esteem, killing confidence in their ability to cope with issues. As a result, they begin to cultivate the "woe is me" victim's mentality.

Please lend me your ear for a few moments so I can show you how to clear out the negative mental debris in order to replace it with a more appropriate, more effective mental attitude? For example, you can learn how to convert all of your setbacks, turning them into opportunities, reinforcing your values and living your life in the most positive way that you can. So let's start by developing a positive approach to life and move forward from there.

The opposite of a negative minded person is a resilient person who possesses a PMA and who are are easily spotted.They stand tall with their shoulders thrust back and their chest expanded. They have a brisk walk with an air of self-confidence. Optimistic people are wonderful role models. They know how to manage their emotions, how to deal effectively with stress, anger and fear. Positive minded individuals find a high-stress life exciting and challenging, because they have the resilience to bounce back from stress.They are more flexible in coping with different circumstances. They are motivated to take a positive view of the situation to see how they can either improve or correct their problems. They not only look for the good in every situation and find opportunities inside every problem, they build harmonious relationships with loved ones and coworkers. One outstanding characteristic of a person with a Positive Mental Attitude is that they do not fear failure because they never expect to fail. They never give up until they see their dreams and goals come to fruition. They are not hindered by self-imposed limitations. Their mind transcends limitations and their consciousness expands in every direction. These individuals have learned the secret of uncovering the hidden talents that exist within them. The optimistic person understands his or her true purpose in life. This is why their choices become much clearer and why they experience less chaos and confusion. They trust their choices, weighing all the pros and cons related to them, considering the consequences and deciding which action will result in a better return for them. Then they take the plunge by moving forward with a burning desire to win or perish with their decision.

The person that possesses a Positive Mental Attitude finds a way in which he or she will best serve the world. How different is this person from the negative person? The consequences of where both of these individuals are and what they have is based on the choices and decisions that they have made. The resulting consequences and the views of these consequences differ because of the different attitudes these two types of people possess. To the person with a PMA, every victory is glorious, and every setback is an opportunity. To the negative person, every victory is a burden laden with another shoe waiting to drop, and every loss is devastating.

Get out of that dismal rut you are in. Live in the most positive way that you can and most of all feel good about your life at last. Miriam Medina is a strong woman with a Positive Mental Attitude who has overcome her bitter past to lead a better, more peaceful life.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Blue Obsession-A Short Story

Blue Obsession

 



Expert Author Miriam B Medina 
She never, not for a second, let on that she was petrified. He was there again, trailing behind her for the fourth time this week. She knew if she walked calmly he would not sense her fear. She still had a distance to walk to reach her house from the bus stop. Was it just a weird coincidence that he started taking the same bus home every day at the same time? She remembered seeing him before, when she first met him by the elevator several weeks ago.

Susan couldn't understand why she was hesitant back then, when he had held the door open for her to enter the waiting elevator that day. Something seemed odd. They were the only passengers in the elevator. Though he was meticulously groomed, briefcase in hand, there was something about him that she couldn't quite place. He seemed familiar. She could feel his eyes consume her body, slowly, like she was a fine wine. He stared at her ass, hidden underneath her long jacket. She could feel his warm breath on the back of her neck as he stood close behind her. She felt strangely violated. His cologne was light, yet sweet enough to tease her senses. It made her extremely uncomfortable. It was even stranger, made the hair stand up on the nape of her neck, when he happened to get off on the same floor and followed her to the office, even opening the door for her with a smile.

Once inside the office, the man waited to see where she was going. He stared at her desk, looking for a name plate, trying not to make it obvious as she disappeared behind a door. After a second Susan erupted from the President's office, an angry look on her face. She was carrying a pile of files in her arms that she had to finish before she could go home. She threw the files on her desk and sat down, grumbling. Jim watched her, admiring the outfit she was wearing. Her beige tailored dress looked absolutely stunning on her, accenting her curvy body.

"Aahhh... there it is, Susan Steinberg, Administrative Assistant." he said to himself, spying her name plate and making a mental note.

"Can I help you?" The receptionist asked him.

The well-dressed man took a card out of his pocket and looked at it. "Oh, I'm sorry; I'm in the wrong office. I'm looking for the CPA firm of Gleason and Abramson."

"Oh that's on the third floor, Suite 310," the receptionist replied.

"Thank you very much. I'm late for my appointment. Have a good day." He placed the business card in his pocket and walked out the door.

Susan, curious, asked the receptionist, "Who was that man?"

"Oh, just someone looking for the CPA Firm upstairs."

Susan relaxed and went back to her desk.

The man left the office and headed for the elevator, taking one flight up. He got off and took the staircase to the side-entrance of the building, then walked out. He picked up a New York Times newspaper, glanced at his watch realizing he had time to kill and headed for the Star Bucks Cafe right around the corner. He took a spot facing the entrance to the cafe, taking out a notebook, and wrote down everything that had transpired in detail.

He remembered that one hot August afternoon when he saw her for the first time. She came bouncing into the Star Bucks Cafe. He always liked to sit there and have his coffee around noon while he worked on his lap top. He was mesmerized instantly by her shapely ass. From then on, no matter what she wore, it turned him on. He couldn't possibly see if she was wearing a thong, but he liked to imagine she was as her butt seemed perfectly shaped and perky as it bounced around. He admired her vivacious breasts as they spilled out of the top of her low cut blouse. Trying to visualize the magnificent curves of her lovely naked body severely aroused him. From that day on, he watched her, waited for her when he could, and began to fixate on her.

He looked back at his watch; there was still another hour to go. He knew she would be there at exactly noon. She was a creature of habit. At 12 on the dot she came rushing in. He immediately got up from his table and retrieved a fresh cup of coffee, standing right behind her in line.

"Hi there, we meet again." he chimed.

"Oh it's you. Did you find the company you were looking for?" Susan asked.

"Yes, I did. I had an interview for an accounting position." he replied. "My name is Jim, by the way, Jim Garrison."

"Oh, I'm Susan. Do you think you'll get it?" she asked politely.

"I believe I will" he responded.

As she paid the cashier she turned to him and said "Good luck," and then started back for her office.

Jim smiled at her and chirped "Thanks."

The next day Jim was waiting by the elevator again, briefcase in hand. "I got the job!" he said to her, smiling. "I guess we'll be seeing each other more often." Susan congratulated him politely and went off to work. Jim went up one flight and then back down to the side door. The first few days they smiled at each other as he rode the elevator up. Susan began to notice and despise the way he leered at her, feeling violated by his stares. She started walking the stairs to her office. After a few days, so did Jim, saying he needed the exercise. Susan began taking the elevator again, and shortly thereafter, so did Jim, but the acquaintance was obviously strained. Susan started ignoring Jim, and he silently seethed.

After a few weeks, a bouquet of flowers showed up at the office for Susan. There was no name on the card, but she knew it was from him. He smiled at her the next morning in the elevator, a big, creepy grin. She gave him the cold shoulder and stared at the elevator doors, closing her eyes until she reached her floor. She looked back, he tipped his stylish cap, the doors closed and the elevator went to the next floor. Susan shuddered and went to work. The flowers kept coming. She complained to her boss, felt she was being harassed by the guy, but when she told her boss the story, it sounded silly. A guy who started working in the building smiled at her, maybe liked her or had a crush on her. She started receiving flowers, but couldn't prove he sent them. The guy got coffee at Star Bucks like everyone else. Her boss dismissed it, and Susan felt a bit silly. It did sound harmless, like she was overreacting, but the way he looked at her, she just felt as though something was wrong with this whole situation.

She started receiving phone calls, first at work, then at home, but there was no voice on the other end of the line. She could hear someone breathing, but that was all. Now Jim was on the bus, her bus, heading towards her neighborhood.

"My car broke down." he told her. It would be in the shop a few days. This was the fourth day now, and Susan was beside herself, but she couldn't let him see her terror, sense her frailty. This was it. She was going to the cops perhaps, though what would she say? Someone sent her flowers? Some guy liked her? She thought she might be dismissed again, but she didn't know what else to do. Just then, Jim caught up to her, was next to her. She froze for a second, and just stared ahead.

"This is the last day I'll be taking the bus with you, I'm afraid. They finally fixed my car."

"Oh," she said coolly, "good for you. That must be a relief." Her mind was spinning. She reached into her purse and retrieved her keys, playing with them as though she were finding her house keys, but arranging them so she could use them as a weapon if need be.

"It is," he replied calmly. "Say, if you need a ride to work, I'll gladly give you a lift. I'm headed there anyway, and it beats riding the bus."

She stopped walking and he turned to look at her.

"No, thank you," she replied, "I like taking the bus. It allows me time to think and plan my day."
"Oh, well, okay. I can understand that," he responded sweetly, "but the offer stands. If it's raining or snowing or you just need a ride to work or home, let me know." Jim tipped his cap to her as he often did. "Well, this is it," he said to her, "this is my apartment complex. Have a good day."

He walked off across the street and Susan watched him for a few seconds and then started slowly towards her own home. She pretended to fumble with the keys and retrieve the mail at her front door, watching him disappear inside the large apartment complex beyond the thick double doors that guarded the entrance to the building. Susan went into her home quickly and bolted the door.

The next day went smoothly. He was on the elevator and at Star Bucks at lunch time. The flowers came, but there were no creepy phone calls. Jim was not on the bus on the way to work, nor was he there on the way home. Susan relaxed as she pulled to her stop. She got off the bus and looked around. There was no sign of Jim anywhere. Susan took a deep breath and started the walk home. She began to think that maybe this was all in her head after all. Maybe her boss was right. Maybe Jim was just a nice shy accountant with a crush on her. Perhaps the coincidence of living close together had freaked her out and made her panic. She decided, as she unlocked her front door, she would politely let Jim know at work tomorrow that she wasn't interested in all of the attention he was giving her. They could be acquaintances and even friendly, but that was it. This whole silly fear and the weird situation could end.

That was when, as she entered the door, she felt a pair of hands roughly grab her and shove her inside, the sharp edge of a knife at her throat, one hand covering her mouth, stifling a scream. She bit the hand reflexively, but before she could let loose a good scream, a gloved fist knocked her to the floor. The man began kicking her in the ribs so she couldn't breathe. She looked up and saw his face. It was Jim, as she had feared all along. She begged him to stop with what little breath she could muster, but he had her tied and gagged before she could get her wind back. In no time he had torn her clothes off and was on top of her, and she blacked in and out. When he had finished, as he was about to light a cigarette, there was a thump at the door.

"Police... " a voice screamed, "Open up."

Jim froze as Susan moaned. Before she could do more, Jim stabbed her several times and she blacked out.

She awoke in the hospital. The pain was hellish. She drifted in and out for weeks, awake or asleep, her world was a living nightmare. Her parents and siblings flew into town and stayed by her side night and day. Slowly she physically recovered, but mentally and emotionally she was shattered. One day she seemingly came to from a daze, screaming, pointing at him, she saw Jim in the doorway looking into her room. Her parents shook her and she felt as though she had just awoken from an endless dream.

"IT'S HIM IT'S HIM HE RAPED ME HE'S COMING TO KILL ME... " she screamed, then sobbed into her father's chest. He soothed her. There was no one at the door, and only a few policemen had been in the hall when she had freaked out.

The search for the rapist had been fruitless. The man had fled out the back door after trying to kill her before escaping. The police knocked down the door and saved her before she bled out. There was no matching physical evidence to work with. There was no Jim Garrison, no Jim at all at Gleason and Abramson, and no one at the firm had ever met a man that fit the loose description of the stalker. They had a generic description from employees at Star Bucks that had seen him there, but no leads had turned up anything. Susan was sitting at the police station 2 months later, waiting to meet with an artist to get a detailed sketching of the man when she found him. There was a picture of "Jim" hanging on the wall. He was a celebrated Detective in the precinct. It turned out that he had raped and killed 6 other women throughout the city, and was a highly sought serial rapist and murderer, which came as a great shock to his wife, kids, and fellow policemen.

Copyright: Miriam B. Medina

Saturday, June 20, 2015