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Stream of Despair
I’m tired of dying. I’ve spent many years, searching for relief, yet death eludes me. Swimming hopelessly in the swift currents of my life and tears, a distant part of my mind wonders if I’m swimming against the current, going with the seductive flow, or simply treading in place to keep from going under. I yearn for the shore, eager to feel the solid earth beneath my feet, but I can’t reach it from here and I grow weary.
The grave I’ve prepared in anticipation of my death is deep; its sides are slick and its sharp corners unyielding; my hands can find no purchase to facilitate escape. I cry for help, but none can hear. Perhaps if my cries had voice, someone would lower a rope into my tomb, but I silenced my voice long ago, afraid of my own sound.
I’m tired of dying. I crave life, but I don’t know how to seize it. How do you clear your lungs of the murky waters of despair, and teach them to seek oxygen for sustenance? How do you climb out of your deep, dark, tomb, the tomb that terrifies you, yet has become home? How do you reach the shore and take your life from the land?
These questions invade my slumber and attack moments of perceived peace. As I surrender to the current and slide down the smooth wall of my tomb, the questions bite at my tender flesh, and I cry out; they will not be ignored. Life reaches for me, but I am untrusting and afraid of this stranger, unfamiliar after so many years wasted, racing toward my demise.
Pain of Youth and Teen Suicide- what you’ve left behind
T.J.A. 7/28/94 – 3/25/11
What you showed the world a day ago:
Holy shit. Just went running…. about to die!!! Guess my lungs got a lil worse then I thought!
What you promised us later, but didn’t explain:
Feelin great. Tomarrow will be legendary!!!! 8:48 PM 03/24/2011 T.A.
T—. Your my boy. You better be in — this summer!
Love you bro. We will never forget you…
rest in peace and paradise man. we all love you…i’m sorry it had to be this way.
I Love You T— J—…forever and always you are in my heart..
T— u will be missed in every hunting and fishing trip b- and I take. You mean a lot to me you took up a lot of space in my hart there will always be a arrow in my quiver for you and a shell in my pocket
LOVE YOU BUD
T—, you are my cousin but I love you like i brother. You will be missed dearly. Just take Aunt L— hand and she will guide you. Trust in the Lord. I Love you T——– 7/28/94 – 3/25/11
though you didnt think so..you will truly be missed.. its gonna kill me to look at your empty desk in school..we all love you t—. we always have.. rest in peace..
T—, we shared alot of good times, and dear friend I will forever miss your silly jokes, your somewhat of a girl voice, I know in my heart that you were something very special and in my heart i will always remember you that way..
i love you man:( ill see you some day
You will be missed by lots!
Man I love u and will miss u dearly, will never forget huntin and hangin out with u, will never forget it.
“There I was back in the wild again
I felt right at home, where I be-long
I had the feeling coming over me again
Just like it happened so many times before
…The spirit of the woods is like an old good friend
Makes me feel warm and good inside
I knew his name and it was good to see him again
Cause in the wind he’s still a-live”
R.I.P best friend forever fer sure. it was just yesterday we were making epic plans for this summer for our crew. ill miss you and all the memories we had. love you buddy ♥
</3 R.I.P. T—. Ill miss you and you will always be in my heart.
We will all miss you T—. You were an awesome guy. I’m glad I met you. I will always remember you. R.I.P. T—..:(
T— I can’t believe this is happening. I love you and will never forget those great memories we had together. I will miss you forever and always and I’ll see you again someday. Your the funniest, nicest, coolest guy in the world. You don’t deserve to be gone.. RIP T——– ♥ ♥
I miss you T—! Ill miss our fun opens and having snowball fights and gettin in trouble by mr. s— haha Just ill have those great memories of us and having fun and you makin j—- be the human broom! I love you T—!! We will all Miss you Alot!
T— i can’t believe this happened. I truly do love you. And I will always remember the nights we spent together. I miss you so much. Rest in peace! ♥
R.I.P T—, youre very much missed and loved. sorry it ended this way i wish there was a way someone could have stopped it.
R.I.P my man.
T— we are going to miss you so so much : ( You were just like a son to me. I am going to miss your smile.. I Love you Mama Bear
Rest in paradise, t—. I’ll miss you bud.
I love you bro, rest in peace…
all the good times we shared together, in school, out of school they were all a memory i would never forget bud, i wish you could have stayed and had more fun then you already did. i wish you would have just stayed in i—– so we could still pick on j— and fucked shit up and had fun in shop and listen to f— talk about what his favorite porn was lol. i love you bud look over all of us and laugh at all of our stupid crap that we are doing, see you at your funeral man:( love you and see you when i get there!
T—- you have been one of my best friends sense elementary school. I will miss you and always love you bro. Sorry it had to end like this. R.I.P
:( T— you were always so much fun to talk to and im really gunna miss our late night crazy talks. R.I.P T—! ♥
everything happens for a reason, just wish it didn’t happen this way. just yesterday you made biology so much fun! 😥 see ya soon then. r.i.p.♥
T—, I miss you already bud. Seeing you in the hallways at school, you always had a perky smile on your face, and you always knew how to make people smile and make them laugh, we will all miss you. But, you’ll forever be loved, & you will always be in our hearts. ♥
T—. .. I love you and miss you sooooooo much.. its so sad that this has happened… but we had memories that will live on forever bud. 😥
You always made school interesting & fun. No one has the humor & personality that you did & even though we weren’t close, we were classmates. We miss ya!
t— u were one of my good friends it just sucks that this isnt a dream and u wont be here tomorrow sorry it had to end this way bro u will be loved and missed by all. just make sure u watch over all of us when ur up there and i will see u someday again. R.I.P T—. sorry it ended this way wish i could of helped out and been there with u so u wouldnt of done this. u know we were here for u. it didnt have to end this way. i love u bro and miss u :”(
T—)’: You were such a good friend. I’m sorry things went this way. You will always be close to our hearts and will most DEFINITELY be missed by every one of us. We love you T———): ♥ R.I.P
It seems just like yesterday we were screwing around in wrestling… We would always be partners even though there was a weight difference (:. When It’s my turn to go up there were going to have to wrestle just like the good ol’ days my man. Your always in my heart..
i feel like i can’t even function. its going to be a sleepless night. rip t—. ily dude.
i don’t even know what to think…
Yes baby boy, what you left behind scars us all and leaves us without your beautiful presence. Your friends will sleep little, and will never forget…
So now, it’s been a little over three weeks since I released Rhythm in Blue on Smashwords. I also ‘officially’ have it available on Amazon. Why do I say officially? Well, for starters, it’s because it is much more complete than the mistake version was. It has the proper formatting (thank you so much Guido!), and almost all typos have been eliminated. Almost? Yes, almost. My heart dropped a foot or two as I checked to see that my edits had the proper formatting, and found (gasp!) a spot with a space between a word and a comma, and another spot where I combine single and double quotes around a word. It just never fucking ends…
On the bright side, I have nine great reviews on Smashwords and two on Amazon, some solicited and some not. Unfortunately, this has not helped sales as I had hoped, thus far. RIB is so far down the list on Smashwords, it’s nearly undiscoverable. I had one sale on Amazon (other than my own purchase to review), and that one sale briefly bumped me up to the top 60,000, but within 24 hours, I was back to the bottom gazillion.
I feel so fortunate to have the great reviews– my friends are amazing! Now, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know it’s coming; it’s inevitable. Not everyone likes the book, I know that already, and when it comes to reviews, the old adage, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,’ does not apply.
My progress on Smashwords was slightly derailed by ‘Read an Ebook Week.’ Suddenly, all the other books on the site were discounted tremendously, and many of them were free. I had to offer Rhythm and Blue at no cost, just to keep it on the radar. Now that the week is over, the book has sunk to oblivion. I really wish I’d had the new cover at the time, as I think it’s more of an eye-grabber.
My next task, I suppose, it to finalize it for printing and get the cover, front and back, together for Createspace. This means reading the damn thing over again a few times, to catch more mistakes. Yes, yes, I know…I’ve heard it everywhere— get your book professionally edited, but I just don’t have that kind of money! And while I do great editing for others, I’m blind to my own mistakes. As many times as I’ve had to read through it, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I should write novellas from now on. Rhythm in Blue is just TOO DAMN LONG!
What I really want to do is work on another book, either a sequel, or one of several WIPs I have to chose from. Yes, I am a multi-tasker, but obsession is a stronger trait, so I’m stuck for now, until I see this through to completion. At least when I’m writing, I give myself breaks. When I’m editing, I’m likely to sit at the computer for sixteen hours straight (not including brief sustenance and potty breaks). Writing this blog post is a bit of a treat. Yesterday, I took the day off and read a book someone else wrote. It was a decadent indulgence, and now I feel guilty.
Anywhoo, I’d better get back at it and stop screwing around. (I could go on writing this all day, I’m so dreading going back to work!)
From a Humble and Racy Beginning
My writing experience… Hmm, well, I only took up writing seriously in the last few years. Seriously.
But in reality, I started writing at a very young age, before I could even read. My father is a writer, and his pile of crunched up paper that covered the floor of his various ‘writing rooms’ always fascinated me. I wished I could do what he did, so I’d fill page after page of scribbled lines to emulate his beautiful cursive writing, then crumble them up and throw them to the ground in frustration.
My first documented story (see below), I wrote when I was seven or eight- complete with illustrations! I was very proud of my story, as were my parents. That’s why a copy still lives to this day, and found its way back to me a few years ago. Now, as a critic, I can see a few plot and flow problems.
The Tree and the Boy
I don’t think I wrote much after that. At least, not until I was in the sixth grade. I decided to write a short story –I don’t remember now if it was just for me, or if I intended to show it to friends. The entire experience ended badly.
My first mistake was the genre: erotica- not your typical or acceptable sort of writing for an eleven year old. I barely remember the story. Okay, I do a little bit. It was about a teenage girl getting a ride from some boys she didn’t know (of course, they were all smokin’ hot, or foxy, as we said back in the day), and I won’t go into great detail, but there was much fondling of the girl by all the guys.
My second mistake was to write it at school. I didn’t get much further along in the story than that, because my archnemesis in the class at the time, ripped the story out from under my pencil (she sat behind me, and I guess she was reading over my shoulder), and called out to the teacher, “Mrs. Love, Tammy is writing naughty things!” and proceeded to hand over my story.
After reading my lovely account of the almost gang bang, the teacher was understandably horrified. She knew it was beyond her experience to deal with me, so she took me out, into the hallway, and called all the other sixth grade teachers out to read it and determine the best punishment. The lame explanation I gave was that it was an account of something that happened to my aunt, but my guess would be that they didn’t buy it. I don’t think they came up with any suitable punishment, despite their shock. I don’t remember getting paddled, and I know they didn’t call my folks. I didn’t go to the principal’s office. But, you can bet after that, I was the evil child. I knew it every time one of those teachers looked at me; it was in their leery glances, their thin-eyed glares.
After that, I took up journaling for a period. No more short stories for me! But journaling about a very boring life was, well, boring. At the time (age 12-13), I was reading books like Go Ask Alice, which were way exciting, so I started peppering my journals with little falsehoods, things that made me sound more adventurous than I actually was.
That was all fine and dandy, until I had to spend a week with a male relative (whose wife was gone for the week), and during that time, he attempted a little Tammy molestation- nothing terribly vile, and he stopped when I made it clear that I was not comfortable with the touching.
It made for some great journal entries, however. Finally, I had something compelling to write about! When it was time to leave and go home, guess what? No journal; it disappeared from the face of earth, and trust me, knowing all the information contained within (true and untrue), I searched like a girl possessed. I know exactly what happened to it. Someone (who shall forever be nameless) found it and destroyed it.
I took up journaling again after a year or so, but I never kept them. I’d fill up a notebook and quickly destroy it. It’s too bad, really. By that time, I had pretty cool things to write about, and I often wish I could look back at them, but the thought of my writing, once again becoming published (read- snooped and read by those it was not meant for) was more than I could handle.
It was a good thirty years before I wrote again, outside of school anyway. Any creative writing classes I took, I inevitably failed or dropped. Guess I didn’t like having to write what I was told, when the name of the class implied freedom. I could make quite a list of reasons why I stayed away from writing for so long, but I won’t. I will just say that when I did start again, and ventured to call myself a writer, the feeling was more euphoric than any I can remember. The circle continues, and hopefully, one day soon, the ends will meet. At least I’ve made it back to the point where I beg for others to read my writing!
The Odyssey Continues — A Journey Into Self-Publishing
Well, it’s been a week since I released Rhythm in Blue on Smashwords, and I’ve been busy ever since trying to get it ready for Amazon and printing through Createspace. I did release it on Amazon, although unintentionally, and it is now stuck in ‘publishing’ mode, again, unintentionally. I hit the wrong button trying to find a way to look at it in Kindle, which leads me to believe that I am either really stupid, or Kindle Direct Publishing needs a better model! I ended up having to buy the damn thing to download it to my Kindle; there must be a way around this, but I haven’t found it yet. You do have the option to preview it before you upload, but it shows on a tiny screen that only holds a little over a paragraph- STUPID!
The hassles that led up to the Kindle publishing were mind numbing. I’ve never had to work in HTML before, and figuring out the formatting was insanely difficult for me. Some parts were easy, but others still have me scratching my head. I found a good guide in Guido Henkel, but following all of his instructions was difficult, as he uses a Mac and had different software than I did. Toward the end of his tutorial, he had a great section on adding images, but I’ll be damned if I can make it work for me. Once Amazon unlocks my content, I’ll give it another shot. I do know that it takes much patience, and you really have to play around with it to get what you want. I also know that even if you do everything right, there is no guarantee that it will come out looking right. I found places within the Kindle version that looked like they were improperly formatted, but when I checked my HTML source, the formatting was there. Not sure where I went wrong, or if I even did.
I’ve also spent time preparing the work for printing, which has been kind of fun. It’s cool to see the exact layout the book will ultimately have, and to play around with the formatting and visual feel. The cover, however, is proving to be a pain in the ass! What I thought was good turned out to be not so great when I had to include text on the back. I had to change the color, and therefore, the look of the cover to accommodate my needs. The next challenge is getting the front, back, and spine into one image with the correct measurements (also proving to be very difficult).
Of course, all the way through all these steps, I’m finding more things in the actual text that need to be edited. For every edit I make, I have to remind myself that I will have to edit every version I have, including my Smashwords version, the HTML version, as well as the final print version. This wouldn’t be difficult, except for the HTML document. In Word, at least you can compare versions and implement all the changes pretty easily. Doing the same for the HTML will be a painstaking process, and I’m not looking forward to it, but it must be done.
So far, the downloads on Smashwords haven’t been great, even with the offer of free coupons, but they have been enough that I’m not twenty pages back on the best sellers list. It’s so hard to know where to focus first, and I feel myself being pulled in so many directions at once. I guess it’s almost a blessing that the Amazon version is frozen, because that gives me the time to do what I need to do without feeling rushed.
Okay, I guess I’d better get back to it. Just wanted to post an update on my progress. I’m still willing to give a free coupon to anyone who wants to download the book on Smashwords. Just let me know. And thanks to all who already have!
(What do ya know, as soon as I finished this, Amazon unlocked the book and it is now live again. I’m free to screw it up at will!)
P.S. Now that I’ve done it, I will say that Guido’s instructions didn’t cover some details, but he is working to improve the tutorial to make it more comprehensive.
The Odyssey Begins — A Journey Into Self-Publishing
Well, it actually began a long time ago, but now it’s headed in a new direction.
I finished my book, Rhythm in Blue, almost a year ago. I had an agent ready and waiting for me to finish. She immediately began sending out the finished manuscript, but after nine months, I discovered that most of the publishers she was submitting to were not suitable for the book. In the meantime, I have been watching the publishing industry’s doors squeeze shut, like a homophobe’s asshole when he learns he actually knows someone who is gay.
Because of this, I made the decision to self publish my book through the various electronic mediums that offer free ebook publishing. Yesterday, I released Rhythm in Blue on Smashwords. I hope to release it through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and however many other outlets I can find, within the next few weeks. Through Createspace, I plan to make the book available in print, and that should take another month or so. I put a call in to Facebook friends to download a free copy in exchange for a review; so far, I’ve had several takers. Then, I contacted friends who have read and enjoyed the book, and asked them to download it and leave me a review. Hopefully, between downloads and reviews, I can gain some momentum and generate some sales. I am also considering hiring a publicity company to help me push the book, because honestly, beyond what I’ve done, I’m not much for marketing and the like.
I’ve spent the last month or so reading blogs and ‘how to’s’ for self publishing, electronic publishing specifically, and I know there are many out there who are successful, but many more who fail. Some of the success has to do with marketing and networking on the part of the author, some of it has to do with luck, and some of it (no, not all) has to do with the quality of their work.
Anyway, today is day 1, and my fingers are tightly crossed! I will continue to work on releasing to various outlets when I’ve had more sleep; last night was especially hard after a very long day of formatting (not the first, and not the last by any means). I’ll try to keep this updated to document my progress, because every little blog helps, right?