An Open Letter to Martha Stewart, or “I Ain’t Goin’ Back to Jail.”

I laughed so hard. So hard, guys. Just read it. Please.

Not a Day Over 45

Dear Martha Stewart,

I am writing to ask you, gently yet firmly, to stop contacting me via email and the U.S. Postal Service.

Our friendship, perhaps our co-dependency, was forged in a much different time for both of us.  Somewhere around 1996, I fell in love with your organizational skills, your quaint yet elegant homes, and your intricate fonts.  You fell in love with my $9.95 per year.

To me, you were the epitome of what I longed to be.  I was very desperate to be something other than what I was at the time.  I was trying to ignore my husband’s indiscretions, trying to ignore our problematic financial situation, trying to ignore my underemployment, my stress eating, and my lack of intellectual stimulation. I have to admit, Dear Martha, that I was simply using you as a distraction from my lackluster existence.

It’s not that you weren’t an important…

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These Abstract Street Artworks Look Like Portals to Another Dimension

I’m a sucker for crazy artwork. These images are insane!

TwistedSifter

In an ongoing series of abstract 3-D artworks, German street artist 1010 has an amazing ability to create depth on walls with pieces that look like portals to another dimension.

Information is sparse on the artist but you can see his work and unique style on his website, Facebook and Flickr pages.

1.

3d street art by 1010 portal to another dimension wormholes (6)

Artwork by 1010
Website | Facebook | Flickr

2.

3d street art by 1010 portal to another dimension wormholes (2)

Artwork by 1010
Website | Facebook | Flickr

3.

3d street art by 1010 portal to another dimension wormholes (1)

Artwork by 1010
Website | Facebook | Flickr

4.

3d street art by 1010 portal to another dimension wormholes (5)

Artwork by 1010
Website | Facebook | Flickr

5.

3d street art by 1010 portal to another dimension wormholes (4)

Artwork by 1010
Website | Facebook | Flickr

6.

3d street art by 1010 portal to another dimension wormholes (3)

Artwork by 1010
Website | Facebook | Flickr

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Daily Mail Ethics, Circa 1966

Found this an interesting read…

Dysonology

In 1966-7 my Dad got a job as a young reporter for the Daily Mail’s Manchester office, just as it was made Newspaper of the Year. All staff received the memo below from editor Mike Randall.

When Dad sent it to me, he added: “Mike Randall left the paper soon afterwards. It became a tabloid and in ethical terms its downhill slide began. However, I think Randall’s statement still stands as the model of propriety to which all journalists working for all media should aspire.”

I couldn’t agree more – and it’s certainly how I’d hope people expect writers to behave. I’d add though that in the 15 years I’ve been writing, I haven’t noticed nearly as much awareness of the dangers of libel, sensationalism and indiscretion in young journos as was drilled into [my generation of] pre-internet trainees. I don’t think Twitter and the pressure of instant comment helps…

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From one writer to another…

I read a post (you can read it here) recently by the brilliantly talented Heather Mackey that got the wheels turning inside my head, and had me evaluating myself as a writer and as a person. Heather explains, using the example of a memorable Chinese story, how she learned about herself throughout her writing journey, and how she has come to appreciate those lessons now that her book, Dreamwood, is becoming a reality for her.

[As a side note, I’d like to congratulate Heather Mackey. I look forward to reading Dreamwood, and I’m proud of your accomplishment after all the hard work you’ve poured into this book. As a writer, I can understand the struggle, and I want you to know that your contribution is appreciated, and your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed; at least with this writer.]

Recognizing Your Value

One of the hardest things I struggled with as a writer, was recognizing my value as a writer. Like Heather, I heard dozens of times, “Oh, wow…you’re really good at this.” Of course, I brushed that off most of the time, assuming that the person complimenting me was just being nice or trying to spare my feelings. Even winning awards and scholarships since elementary school for my writing, and scoring well on every writing test I sat for over the years, it didn’t seem that I would ever recognize my worth as a writer. I still struggle with this, and with the overwhelming sense that no matter what I say, it isn’t worth hearing to the rest of the world.

Heather goes on to explain her struggles, even after securing some recognition from within the industry. I feel I will probably be the same. I know that regardless of how well I write my manuscript, there will be a flaw, there will be a problem, there will be an inconsistency within my story that some editor will point out–and I’ll feel like the world’s worst writer. I’m my own worst critic. Truly, I hate everything I write, only because I know better than anyone that it isn’t perfect. Heather’s story encourages me to write anyway, and to keep the self-abuse down to a minimum whenever possible.

Knowing What is Truly Important

This post taught me more than the simple lesson that I’ll never be perfect. I already knew that. In fact, I think that’s what I crave more than anything–someone to tell me WHAT’S WRONG with my story. When I get reader input on my manuscript, I’m always secretly hoping there is something so glaringly insufficient in my writing that I’ll be forced to go back and do a better job. The worst part is that I consistently get the same response; “This is incredible. Now, where’s the rest?”

However, Heather taught me something I hadn’t expected to learn, and something I haven’t yet experienced enough to have learned on my own. [Another personal side note: Thank you, Heather. I’ll hug your neck one day for this.] I knew that writing was a lot of work. I knew it was, like any career, more about the effort you put in than the skill or talent you possess. In the same way that two musicians can sit side-by-side, playing the same piece perfectly, and sometimes you can’t tell which player began studying the instrument at the age of three and which one started playing in middle school…sometimes you can’t tell the “natural” writers from the ones that have put a lot of time, money, studying, and effort into their craft.

Becoming A Student

In a nutshell, I’ve learned that I must learn. I must become a student of writing in my everyday life if I want to truly succeed as a writer. If I want to reap any sort of reward from my hard work, I have to keep working at being a writer. I have to keep practicing, and I have to keep learning. I will never learn everything there is to know about writing, and I’ll never be “the best writer in the world.” However, I will be the best writer for the stories I tell, and I will do the best job I can for the audience that wants to read the stories I give them.

So, remember that you’re a student. No matter your profession, keep learning. It’s the only way to be sure that you’re doing the best you can.

Back at it…

Sunset in Lake Wales, Florida

(c) 2014 Jennifer Welch

Getting Healthy

It may have taken me longer than expected, but finally…I’m on the road to recovery. I finally have medication that seems to alleviate the majority of my seizures, and the ones I do have are not nearly as bad and don’t last as long. It’s nice to finally be able to get through the day without the awful feeling of being unwell. I still have trouble now and then with communication (something that isn’t exactly good for a writer) but for the most part, I’m able to get my thoughts out verbally without having a mental breakdown from the inability to vocalize the overwhelming sensations caused by my temporal lobe seizures. The absence seizures are almost gone, and as I said, even the ones I have aren’t that bad. They last less than a minute (so I guess they aren’t technically classified as seizures…I could be wrong so don’t quote me on that). Anyway, the point is…I’m healthier than I was, it’s just unfortunate that this couldn’t have happened sooner.

Personal Lives Exploding

My personal life exploded around me at the end of April. Without sharing the details, I can give you a general idea of the situation as it stands now. I’m sure some of my family and friends are wondering what in the world happened, but it isn’t as simple as picking a place or time where things collapsed. It was a series of instances that finally gathered into one pile of crap that I just couldn’t ignore any longer. I’m aware that everyone will have their opinions about this whole thing, and rest assured that I respect and value your opinion. However, simply put, you weren’t there. You don’t have the necessary information to assess who is right or who is wrong, and honestly it has nothing to do with you. Even more important, I don’t want you (or anyone else) to decide who is right or who is wrong. It’s irrelevant. This isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about two people that simply can’t be together. As I’ve said from the beginning, I don’t want anyone picking sides. It isn’t fair to him, or me, or you. So just don’t do it.

In the same way that a marriage is between two people, a divorce is also between those two people. If you weren’t in the marriage, how can you possibly understand the divorce? I’m comfortable taking responsibility for this, so don’t think that I’m going to spout some “we decided…” crap at you. Let me make this perfectly clear so there are no misunderstandings later: TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE, HE DID NOT WANT THIS. I wanted this. I needed this. It was a decision I made with God’s guidance, and whether you believe that or not is irrelevant. I knew my relationship with God, and my husband, when I made the decision. So, WE (my husband and I) didn’t decide to divorce.

No, we didn’t decide anything. Unfortunately, that’s part of the reason I chose to leave. Suffice it to say that I finally made a decision though…it just wasn’t the one anyone was expecting. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I expected this decision either. I almost didn’t realize I was leaving until I was gone, but once it was done (and my heart was finally done) there were no regrets. I don’t regret walking away. I don’t regret following my God away from something that I knew wasn’t pleasing to Him. He called me for something better, and I was ready to follow Him and find out what that something could possibly be; and I’m so glad I did.

Moving On…Not Like I Expected

God seems to have a sense of humor, and I don’t think anyone can argue that point with me. When I walked away from my marriage, I truly didn’t know what to expect and I knew that this was going to be a journey unlike any I’d ever experienced. I spent the first few days reflecting on my life, learning more about myself in those few days than I thought possible. I tried to help my children understand what was happening, I prayed a lot, and tried to build a home at my mother’s house for myself and my precious babies. I knew it still wasn’t enough.

I got a job with a friend I’d made during the previous month as I’d been searching for answers from God that He seemed unwilling to give. Like most people I’ve met in my life, Warren fell into my acquaintance and became my friend before I’d even made the decision to be friends with him. I started working for Warren (he owns Warren Cleaning, and if you’re in the Tampa/St. Pete or Polk County, FL area and need a cleaner, I highly recommend him) within days of leaving my husband. However, it simply wasn’t going to be enough, so I had to search out other employment options as well.

I called on another friend, and that’s where the story starts to get interesting. He’d offered me a job before I left my husband, but for various personal reasons this situation wasn’t going to work. I declined because of these personal reasons and never gave it another thought…until Warren told me, “You know, this is only going to be for a couple of days a week, so you might want to look into another job as well. Maybe one at night…” He just confirmed my fears that this job was not going to be enough for me to support myself and the four beautiful creatures depending on me. That’s when I remembered the job I’d been offered before. It was 7 days a week, technically in my chosen field (for a newspaper), and the work was done at night. I could do that job and still keep my “day job.” So, I came home that day–the last day of work for that week–and started trying to call my friend, Andrew.

What was intended as a job opportunity turned into so much more–and I’m perfectly okay with that. Just two weeks after leaving my husband, I came to realize that Andrew was quickly turning into more than a friend. We’d hit it off as friends so quickly that now I don’t see how I didn’t realize the potential was there for more way before it ever started. I know there are people that will try to say that Andrew is the reason I left my husband, and while those opinions are not going to cause me to lose any sleep, I want to publicly address the issue now, before it gets out of hand.

So…Here’s Where We Stand

As of today, I am separated from my husband. I am writing. I’m seriously healthier than I have been in the previous ten years of my life. I miss my children, but I’m hopeful because my God is with me. I’ve moved out of the only home I had left in my hometown because of some circumstances beyond my control that I can’t share with you until after my divorce is finalized. I’ve moved to Gainesville, Florida where I’ll be starting classes at Santa Fe College as soon as my transcripts arrive. I’m living with a couple that opened their home to me when they didn’t have to, showing me more Christian kindness than I’ve met with in a very long time. Yes, I am dating Andrew. No, I never saw him in that role prior to my separation. If you don’t believe that, I don’t care. God knows. However, if you need proof, I can point you in the direction of half a dozen (probably more) witnesses who can and will attest to the fact that prior to my separation I had made it clear to this man that he didn’t have a shot–and I was usually really mean about that fact when verbalizing this to him. He never had a chance. I’d told him on many occasions that he would never have a chance with me, we were only friends, and we’d only ever be friends. Apparently, God thinks that is the best place for a relationship to start.

I’m following my God, learning what REAL relationships look like, and I love it. I’m starting with Him, and letting Him show me where everyone (my parents, my brothers, my children, and even Andrew) belongs. I’m done trying to figure things out without Him. I think that was kind of His point all along. He had to get me completely alone before I’d let Him lead the way. I’m stubborn, but we already knew that, didn’t we?