This piece is part of a round robin story I’m doing with the Bannerwing Write Club. To read the beginning of the story, be sure to visit When and Where at Sure D, It’s All Good.
The name read: Allen Henry Buell.
Her heart, her joints, the sinewy tissue that aligned her spine popped and tore, so one moment Robin was flanked by the twins and the next she wasn’t inside her body.
She was inside her memory.
“Nothing good comes with babies,” her father had whispered when she first told him, and it was worse than if he had yelled it because Robin knew there was a tumor of disgust inside of him, and she wouldn’t be able to find it, to cut it out.
But Robin proved him wrong and gave birth to goodness personified: Eleanor Lynn.
Life was rougher but better. School (tenth grade) where the boys called her a slut, a job at Pickwick’s Pizza where the air moved heavy with oil, then to Mrs. Garrity’s next door to pick up her daughter who loved the woman with gnarled hands and a lovely voice still tinged from her British upbringing.
And then home. It was an interesting word, home, because it was where the blinds were always shut tight and the bitter taste of beer hooked her attention whenever her father said, “Trash. Needs to go out,” from back inside his cave of a bedroom. His doorway vibrated with color and sound from his always on TV set, and Robin would strap Eleanor to her chest to the beat of that noise, the baby clinging warmly against her.
She’d take the cans out in the broken ink jar of an evening and watch the stars, watch the skies for hints of her mother.
This went on for years, three to be specific. And everything was mapped out, rough but better, until the day Robin came home to find her father and daughter missing.
The past ripped through her, sewed her back together while the present battered her body like a pair of angry fists.
“You will pay,” Robin said, balancing on knees and hands in the wet cemetery grass, tempering her nausea against the bitter tang of beer in the air.
Have you ever read something so good that it knocked your own voice out of you?
You lost yourself because that piece of writing affected you to your core. You wanted to write like that author, you wanted to be that author. You thought you would never get back your own voice again so you were left staring at a blank screen, struggling with words that never came.
Sometimes when we are thrown like that, we just have to let the piece sit with ourselves for a while. Don’t worry, your voice will come back to you.
But you have to let it back in. You have to stop comparing yourself to that writer. You’re trying to capture that person’s voice and shove it down through your fingers but it doesn’t fit. It’s amazing to have writers we look up to—heroes, heroines. And you will always have your influences. Maybe someday someone will tell you that your writing resembles someone famous and you will glow at the compliment. But don’t try to be someone else. Don’t try to trap their voice and put your name on it. You have your own style. The way you choose your words to express yourself to the world is wholly and uniquely yours. Remember that.
Strive to be a good writer, a great writer, but don’t lose yourself.
Jessica Sita is an author and poet who you can find writing at her blog Watchful Creature. She is often blown away by such writers as Shirley Jackson, Richard Matheson, ee cummings and recently Ksenia Anske’s “Rosehead,” as well as our own Ericka Clay.
Welcome, folks! Today, two brave readers have stepped up to the plate of being Ericka Clay. Let’s all hold hands and support them on this journey as they don these extremely delicate ankles for the first time.
1. Why do you think Ericka’s ankles are so beautifully delicate? How could she make fun of all of us with cankles?! Only one with delicate ankles can call out those with cankles. Rule # 8,701 in the “Being Ericka Clay Handbook for Dummies”.
2. If you were Ericka Clay, how many mirrors would you look into every day? I wouldn’t be looking into mirrors, they would be looking at me! From full length, to hand mirrors, rear view mirrors and those on the ceiling, especially. Have you seen my ankles? GORG!
3. If you could change one thing about Ericka Clay, what would it be? Be specific so she knows how hard to punch you. Her freakin’ arms. Those arms have me thinking about finally cracking that Jillian Michaels DVD that I’ve had collecting dust for 18 months now. No it doesn’t. I hate to sweat. She can have her freakin’ Madonna arms.
4. If your name was Ericka Clay, what would you do with your life? (Besides be awesome, of course.) Headmistress of an all-girls school. I’d mold them like the pliable clay they are into writing ninja killers, covered in glitter of course. Pretty and not to be messed with.
5. If you were going to make a statue in honor of Ericka Clay (which you should), what would you make it out of? Gin and Juice. I know that sounds messy, but who doesn’t lean back and catch swag when they say Gin and Juice?! Ericka Clay, ahem, me ALL DAY!
Blurb: Cristina is a blogger living in Pennsylvania with her husband and two boys. A mix of faith and sass, Cristina blogs real talk about her conversion and is always looking to shake it up where stereotypes are concerned – especially if there are *snaps* involved. Full disclosure, Cristina’s left ankle is cankle-ish – she’s sprained it 4 times. Klutz.
1. Why do you think Ericka’s ankles are so beautifully delicate? Because clearly she is lighter than air and floats through life as if conveyed on a cloud. Cloud transport is out of the question if you have elephant cankles (indecipherable width change from calf to ankle).
2. If you were Ericka Clay, how many mirrors would you look into every day? Incalculable, I’ve heard she even lives in a mirrored house, and don’t let those Youtube videos fool you, there’s probably a wall of mirrors behind that computer, that’s why she always looks so dazzled.
3. If you could change one thing about Ericka Clay, what would it be? Be specific so she knows how hard to punch you. The vest tops. Always vests, but even layered vests cannot transform you into Bruce Willis. I think a full sleaved cable knit sweater with applique kitten would be much more plausible.
4. If your name was Ericka Clay, what would you do with your life? (Besides be awesome, of course.) Write, write, write, breath, write, write, write, publish. Repeat.
5. If you were going to make a statue in honor of Ericka Clay (which you should), what would you make it out of? Conglomerated glitter and kittens.
Blurb: Dawn Silversides is a poet, photographer, and writer in her head and occasionally these thoughts manifest into something real and tangible that one day will be made into a compelling resume with her creative writing skills.
Okay, maybe that’s not EXACTLY what you’re thinking, but if it were, I wouldn’t blame you. We’re all supposed to have very lively, very vibrant pages with a bajillion followers who yearn for our every Facebook move.
Well, not so much anymore. If you’ve been paying attention to the way Facebook pages have been decreasing in reach, you’ve probably realized there’s a crucial problem when trying to connect with your readership on the social platform.
So now what?
Facebook Groups and You
Facebook groups. If I could be addicted to anything other than looking in a mirror, it would be Facebook groups. Not only have I created my own to promote my work, I also hang out in a few other groups to network with fellow writers and to of course scare people. Boo!
I highly recommend starting your own Facebook group. “But that’s why I have a page!” you protest wearing a beautiful glittery scarf you found in the bargain bin at Marshall’s. Well, not really. A page is great to update your readers about blog posts, your books, stuff you’ve read and loved on the interwebs, but wouldn’t it be cool if you could create an environment for your DIEHARD FANS who will do everything in their power to spread the word online (and in person) about your writing??
That’s worth way more than a Facebook page like, my friend.
With my group, The EC Readers, I’ve created a tight knit group of promoters who I reward for being a whole bunch of awesome. It’s much more of a reciprocal relationship instead of me just publishing a bunch of stuff and cluttering up my readers’ newsfeeds. My Facebook group is about readership, friendship and sharing the perks of my success, because I’m kind of a big believer in karma. And all I know is that I’ve tried to be as helpful and kind and smiley as I can be all my life and now I’m getting a book published. So…science.
Make Sure Your Facebook Profile Packs a Punch
Listen, we’re authors here, not businesses. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m the first in line to tell you to treat your online presence and your entire writing career as a business because dreams only become achievable goals when your head is ripely plucked out of your ass. And trust me, I only know this because I used to wear my ass like a beautiful, nicely toned helmet.
So in order to connect with readers, why not allow people to follow your personal profile? Your public posts will be tailored to your audience but you can still publish private posts for family and friends. Best of both world, right? Plus, you can even decide whether you’d like your followers to comment on your posts or just hit the “like” button. Check out how I’ve made my own profile accessible to my readers.
Lastly, I’m a big believer in getting personal with my readers (haha, ew!) so I’d much rather have them feel like a part of my life versus being fed posts through a Facebook page that kind of feels like a wall that’s built between us. But, hey, that’s just me, the girl who’s been know to wear a nicely toned ass on her head.
SIDE NOTE: Do you know there are people out there who think I’m shy? Hahahaha! Ass helmets.
Anyways, let me know what’s working for you Facebook-wise. Love using a page? Comment about it. Think I’m on track with the whole group thing? Let me know. Like the idea of ass helmets? Sing their nicely toned praises.
Welcome, folks! Today, two brave readers have stepped up to the plate of being Ericka Clay. Let’s all hold hands and support them on this journey as a 1,000 glittery fairies kiss them as soon as they wake up.
1.Why do you think Ericka’s ankles are so beautifully delicate? It must be a daily regimen of aloe scrubs and kelp wrappings.
2. If you were Ericka Clay, how many mirrors would you look into every day? Just one, I would stop and look and then never be able to move from my glorious image. I would just spend the whole day there.
3. If you could change one thing about Ericka Clay, what would it be?Be specific so she knows how hard to punch you. Her pinky nail could use a little more polish, I think it’s starting to chip.
4.If your name was Ericka Clay, what would you do with your life? (Besides be awesome, of course.) I would work hard at not getting beat up for having a girl’s name.
5. If you were going to make a statue in honor of Ericka Clay (which you should), what would you make it out of? A myriad of precious stones to highlight the rainbow of awesomeness that shines from her face. To hold the stones in place I would use finely weaved titanium strands.
Blurb: Martin is the vastly undwhelming author of Hungry Dog’s Lair. He has been glittered by Ericka Clay much to his surprise and even managed to pick up at least one other award. He is currently completing what he hopes will become the worst selling book of all time, The Other Side of Darkness. Unedited chapters of this book may be found on his blog.
1. Why do you think Ericka’s ankles are so beautifully delicate? Ericka’s ankles are so beautifully delicate because the pajama pants have a polishing characteristic to them.
2. If you were Ericka Clay, how many mirrors would you look into every day? If I were Ericka Clay I would look in my side view mirror on my bike no less than twenty two times on my way to work, but maybe twenty three too.
3. If you could change one thing about Ericka Clay, what would it be? Be specific so she knows how hard to punch you. If I could change one thing about Ericka Clay, I would probably take the either the ‘C’ or the ‘K’ out of her first name name.
4. If your name was Ericka Clay, what would you do with your life? (Besides be awesome, of course.) If my name was Ericka Clay I would open up a Dave Coulier Stalking Firm.
5. If you were going to make a statue in honor of Ericka Clay (which you should), what would you make it out of? If I were going to make a clay statue out of Ericka Clay I would make it. That was kind of Yoda-like. That sentence will haunt you all day.
Blurb: Hi there! I’m a pinhead that writes some pretty stuff once. And I like beer, fart jokes, and dislike the word ‘moist’.
I’m actually live chatting with her as I type (*SWOON*) because she agreed to do a Happy Hour in our Tipsy Book Club. And everything she says makes me want to punch the sky and scream: FUCK YEAH!!
You know why? She does it for her readers.
I know this and I love this. Every time someone reads a blog post, a poem, my book, I kind of scream like a baby goat. I do a lot of screaming if you haven’t noticed.
But really, my whole writing existence is based on the eyes scanning my words, my pages. And that part is easy for me.
What’s not easy, is the actual sitting down and WRITING part that Ksenia masters like the badass ninja she is.
So many things, TOO many things get in the way: leading the Tipsy pack, taking my daughter to dance class, washing dishes, folding laundry, walking the dogs, walking myself, grocery shopping, my social anxiety, my clips of depression, my hair’s too long, too thin, I’m tired, I don’t wanna, I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS!!!!!
But that’s not true. What’s getting in the way of my writing process is, well, me.
Because when it comes right down to it, those things I THINK get in the way, really make me who I am, and without the beautiful stink of weekly monotony, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate sitting down and lightly hovering the tips of my fingers over the keys.
It begins with words, it begins with embracing the every day.
It begins with that chair, that desk. Bending your knees, bending the words.
Wait wait, the story doesn’t start here! This is a blog hop, people! Click HERE to start from the beginning.
The dreams come and they’re all okay, except the last one, the one with the baby. I’m in a grocery store and the grocery store’s too hot, too flourescent. I’ve forgotten to wear a bra again.
And I know this is a dream, and I’m drawing real life like a needle in a vein because of that one time in sixth grade when I forgot the sports bra my mother laid out for me which is a rather unfortunate occurrence when you’re the point guard on your basketball team. Thank bejeebus for that undershirt.
So right, the baby. It’s one of those sticky, beautiful babies and its mouth is packed with something crummy. Something like Cheerios and the mother’s back is turned to me, small thighs, beautiful hair. I’m sure she has a lot of friends, a lot of money, a lot of something that’s missing in my well whenever I dip a cup and it comes up dry.
And the baby’s head is attached to the mother’s shoulder, bodyless, wide-eyed and when that baby looks at me, it says the words that make up the braided fear in my core: