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Archive for January, 2015

WPBookRoses

Jessica McCallum © 2000

A short article written before my new life began… before 2002.

SYNOPSIS : Valentine’s Day looms and Our Heroine reflects that she will once again, succumb to the hype – the schmaltzy romantic music, the images of red hearts thumping with love and the roses – everywhere!   All those things that are not (though once… long ago…) a part of her life!

I got married on Valentine’s Day. 

That massacred the commercial celebration for me forever!

But I’m not bitter.  Perhaps I should explain… 

It’s February again, in the New Millennium. I’m sitting here, pursuing my writing career. A career I would not have if I were still married.  I’ve got the selfishness to do something that is just for me.  It’s my time now.

My children are grown and beautiful human beings – no small testament to my tenacity to keep going.  Right through the divorce and the poverty of being a one-income family, doing a job I hated for low pay.

The demoralization of society’s label ‘single mother’ is not for the faint-hearted! 

I could have taken the easy way out.  I could have grabbed some poor bloke with a steady income to help.  But that’s not my way.  My mistakes were my responsibility, no one else’s.

On lonely days I’d hide my tears from other people and their erroneous perception that I was a ‘superwoman’… working, feeding, educating and caring for my children while their father settled down with the woman I had caught him with.

Now happily married to her, he owns three properties, travels the world, buys what he wants, when he wants.  Good on him!

Every Valentine’s Day I’m grateful to my ex-husband. I don’t think about our marriage – what would be our 26th anniversary – he’s been married to her longer than he was with me.  And by all accounts, he’s happy! I can only wish them the best.

I have made loads of mistakes along the way, but he made me make the decision to leave – the decision to change my life. 

He made me take control again!  And although the struggle was unbearable at times and still is – I make my own decisions.  I control the direction of my life now.

But the dreaded Valentine-hype has got me thinking. 

I’ve been on my own for fifteen years…  Am I happy?  Does it suit me to be alone?

I’ve been so busy working, trying to pay the bills on time, and bringing up the children, educating them and now educating myself – I haven’t had time to think past my new career. 

I studiously avoid romance now. 

Years ago I was a member of a Romance Writer’s group, and was recently asked to tutor on the subject.  Hmmmmm.

The other day my niece took a copy of some old poems to school. I had written them in my peak romance years – long ago.    Long before marriage and serious commitment. Apparently her teenage school friends loved my literary angst. 

My children are of an age where they are not so embarrassed about their baby photos anymore.  Now they want to look at them, copy them – make collages for friends. 

And it’s forced me to look at them too!  To look – really look – at the family happiness that was evident…  the love that was in our house when we were all together and content.

Perhaps the Universe is trying to tell me, that it’s time I re-examined the subject? 

Soon it’ll be Valentine’s Day again.  I know I won’t get a card – I don’t expect one.  But I can’t help the thought entering my head.

I do nothing to encourage romance in my life.  I dress to please myself.  I don’t play the games -although I must confess to being a matchmaker…  I’ve helped quite a few friends find partners and all of them are still together. 

So I know the rules.  I admit it! I am a romantic! I do believe there is someone out there – for everyone – but not me!  I don’t have time and I don’t want the distraction of romantic love.  I am surrounded by love.  I have a close family and fantastic friends. 

I don’t need romance.  Do I?

Love? Does romance have to mean love?  Then by extension for me, a life-commitment and the responsibility for someone else’s feelings?  Well, I’ve had enough of responsibility!  I’ve paid my dues.  Now I just want to be responsible for myself.

Love’s too hard!

Can you have romance in your life, without love? 

I’m not the type to be half-committed.  I’m all or nothing.  And besides, it wouldn’t be fair to only give half of myself.  I’m a passionate person who needs to relate completely.  I can’t just use a person for company, for dinner dates, dancing – things I love to do…

It’s hard being single! Out in public, women who you don’t know and who don’t know you; are suspicious.  They consider you are competing or about to steal their partners!  You must want to be like them – anxious to be a full-paid-up member of Couple-dom.  There’s no other way to live – to be completely happy, is there?

And it’s got nothing to do with how I look or how old I am.  I believe love is possible at any age.  But it’s just not that important! 

Your sexuality is questioned if you choose to be out of the Manhunt.  Who gives people the right to ask these questions?  And what the hell has it got to do with them anyway?

I’ve got other things I am passionate about, my children, my writing, my family and friends.  But most importantly, my desire to make a decent living for myself, doing something I enjoy.  That’s all I have the energy for, these days.

Am I ready to try again?  I still don’t know.  I do know that when Valentine’s Day comes, I won’t be able to help myself – I’ll look in the letterbox. 

Then I’ll be disappointed that some knight in shining armor hasn’t scaled my protective walls and declared his love. But just for a second…

Then I’ll get back to my real world.

 

Frances Macaulay Forde © 2000

@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #Valentine’sDayMassacre  #Prose  #Valentine’sDay  #romance

#NotSoRomantic

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An excellent review:

Moira Sheppard reviews For Rhino in a Shrinking World, edited by Harry Owen.

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Trav03

Jessica McCallum © 2011

 

Making Up

Are we all clowns, underneath?

With faces painted, emotions

cleverly masked, windows

of the soul… concealed?

 

When make-up is removed

Will it wash away fears,

finally reveal thoughts,

make us naked?

 

Or tattoo a memory

of past love in pain

punishing or celebrating

that which shapes us.

 

Perhaps still clothe ourselves

In past experiences

keeping them close

to our hearts?

 

…and what colour should love be

on the face we show the world?

Is fear the white make-up base?

 

Do Blue Brows give early warnings

above our windows of the soul,

predict a cautious tale of woe?

 

The vehicle of words which wound

wears lipstick red – do they reveal

blood spilt in misunderstanding?

 

Are we all clowns, underneath?

With faces painted, emotions

cleverly masked, windows

of the soul… concealed?

 

Frances Macaulay Forde © 2011

 

#POEM:MakingUp   #poetry  #clowns  #HiddenFears  #ArtAsTheSpark

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Self-publishing advice…

CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD

****Update October 2014 – Read Me!****

From the Amazon KDP Tax Interview guide, October 2014:

“If you are claiming a reduced rate of withholding tax under an income tax treaty and do not have a U.S. TIN, provide your foreign (non-U.S.) income tax identification number to receive treaty benefits. This number is issued by your local tax authority or government for income tax purposes.”

That’s right, folks. Now – thanks to changes in something called FATCA (thanks Marcela of Beyond Frontiers Tax for the heads up!) – you only need the tax identification number from your own country to avail of any tax treaty benefits that may exist between your country of residence and the United States. This, for example, is an NI number in the UK and a PPS number in Ireland. This means you will know never know the horror of obtaining an ITIN or the suspicious…

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12 Tips For What To Do in 2015

Here’s part 1:

Writing and Illustrating

sarahgiraffes_sarah_chalek_1Today I am going to continue with the celebrating theme that Erika started yesterday. This illustration by Sarah Chalek should help us get in the mood – Sarah was featured on Illustrator Saturday in 2011. https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/illustrator-saturday-sarah-chalek/ Today’s post is geared towards illustrators. In the next few days, I will do the same for writers.

Here are some observations I made from last year while working on Illustrator Saturday. Below is a list for ILLUSTRATORS to do this year. It gives you lots of little things you can celebrate as you check them off during the year:

1. Work on adding new illustrations to your portfolio. Every illustration you do gives you the possibility to improve on what you already have. Plus, with each illustration you do, you will grow your skills.

2. Start a website that shows off your art in an easily accessible way. I’ve been preaching this for so many years, but there are still so many illustrators without…

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Lots of good stuff here!

Writers: 12 Things to Do in 2015 – Part 2.

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My sister-in-law does a Perth Daily Photo (Travel) blog and has just posted a wonderful series of photos and a link to a video showcasing our Australia Day Celebrations on the Swan River.

Enjoy!

 

#AustraliaDay2015  #PerthDailyPhoto

 

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