Oh What A Day

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Yesterday had to be one of the worst days I have had in some time – mentally and emotionally. No matter how much I tried to make things better, they got tremendously worse.

Firstly, I awoke with a banging headache and my back felt like I’d been hit by a car. It could have been due to the extensive kickboxing lessons I’ve taken. Or the fact, while overselling a joke, I tripped over the curb and took a tumble the night before. Nevertheless, these aches were nothing to cry over.

Then it happened. In my personal life I received a HUGE blow. I uncovered some really disturbing information. It was as if someone with the largest hands, pulled back as far as they could and slapped me in the face. You know, the kind of slap that is bound to leave a distinctive hand print.

At this point, there could be no possible way that things could get any worse. At least, that is what I thought. And then reality struck.

My driver’s license and debit card were missing. The last time I had them was the night before. I am very careful about things like this and came to the conclusion that the cards must have fallen out while I was overselling my joke. (I’ve been warned by friends about overselling jokes too.)

Regardless that all these issues were happening, and at a rapid pace, I was still resilient and continued with my day. It can’t get any worse, right? Wrong.

A writing job that I had been in the running for decided not to pick me for their project. Applicants had been asked to write articles of different styles and lengths to pass to the next level of hiring. I had reached the last level and was ultimately turned down. That was saddening enough, mostly because I really wanted and needed the job. It would have been the highest paying writing gig I’ve ever had. Not getting the job was bad enough but the coordinator wrote me a very disheartening email about my final article.

It said, “Thank you for your contribution. Unfortunately, the quality of the content is well below what we are looking for….The article is not up to the high standards that we have here at our company.” My ego was crushed, especially because the first couple articles I wrote were praised for their uniqueness and that I had a “desirable writing style”. Also, I worked really hard on them.

Reeling from all the bad news and bad luck, I took a moment to breathe. My emotions were all over the place and I began beating myself up mentally trying to figure out what I could have written differently.

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After my moment of irritation and a bit of self-loathing, I decided the best thing to do was to work on #NaNoWriMo. This would bring up my spirits, especially due to the fact that I am working on The Langley Heights Chronicles. Fans that have been around from the beginning know that rehashing the idea for this novel is a big deal for me.

It was going great. I was typing furiously, fueled by the day’s frustrations, and determined to add to my word count. A few thousand words in, the laptop stalls out of no where. Immediately, I’m telling myself, “Oh, I have to save before this thing loses my work.” Before there was even a chance to hit Save, the words that no writer wants to see popped up – Microsoft Office Word Is Not Responding.

“No, no, no, no,” I said aloud to myself. Then I thought, there was no way that after all that typing, the program didn’t auto-save at least once. So, I calmed down and reopened Word. Scrolling down to start where I left off, I realized what I had feared. All of the work I had done, the thousands of words typed, were gone. My response, “Oh Hell!”

This is when I shut all the windows that were up on the computer, laid down and pulled the covers over my head. To be totally honest, I was surprised I had gone so long through the day before I got to that point. I’ve worked hard at not allowing things to get me down to control my bipolar reactions. It has been really working for me too.

So my long and stressful day came to an end with me laying down and contemplating all that had occurred; the aches, the emotional slap, the ego burst, and the mental break. What could I do to counteract it all? I fell asleep to this thought, not working until 1 a.m. as I usually do.

Waking up this morning, back still aching; instead of lying around and reliving the awful day that I had. I decided to get straight up, hop on the computer and begin this day with confidence. No need to allow a bad day to ruin the rest of my week.

F.Y.I. – I am riding a creative high with the determination to make today great. Be ready for a lot of stuff coming from me, not to overwhelm you but to excite you.

Until next time.

 

 

NaNoWriMo Woo!

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My dear readers. Oh do I apologize for the lateness of this post. Things are so crazy, but they are wonderful and crazy.

Nevertheless, its November. Yay!

Why am I so happy about November? Well that is because the National Novel Writing Month has begun. Woo Hoo!

During this month writers take to their laptops and notebooks to write 50K words in 30 days, which estimates to about 1,700 words per day. This practice is to help release the anxiety of writing a novel by cranking out most of it in a one month.

Now, you don’t HAVE TO make 50K words but it’s fun to try to get there. Also, folks from all over are doing it. I mean, it’s less scary when the world is trying to carry out the same goal at the same time, right?

For the past five years, I have intended to take part in NaNoWriMo. Seriously. I get myself hyped and am ready to go and then anxiety sets in. Or I totally get sidetracked by life and forget until the month is already half way gone.

Well, not this year.

This year, I was ready for the challenge of putting together a novel. I even decided to work on an oldie but goodie.

Does anyone remember the Langley Heights Chronicles? A couple of years ago, I began to write entries for the novel on this very site. After some months, life got in the way and I couldn’t come up with where to go with the story.

Guess what? The Langley Heights Chronicles has a completely new twist and I am going strong with it. So far, I have only logged a few words shy of 4,000 in Word. This is only day 5 and I know that it is not nearly close to the estimated 8,500 words; however, I have more written than typed.

I am proud of myself. I set my mind on participating and I am doing it. And I’m not late on the draw this year either.

If you have that novel whirling around in your head but you are a bit nervous about writing it, join in the NaNoWriMo. It’s not too late. Like I said, it’s only 5 days in. There is more than enough time for you to just jump on it….unless you’re a chicken. Smh. Well, I hope you’re not.

Anyway, so for 25 more days I will be continuing to work on The Langley Heights Chronicles. I will also be popping in and asking you guys’ opinion on characters, plot and setting…if you don’t mind.

Happy November everyone.

May 21st

10:13 a.m.

That’s what the car stereo read as my best friend Khalil pulled up out front.

“All right,” he said putting the hazards on, “I’ll call you as soon as I get in.”

“Okay dude.”

We hugged.

“Thanks for taking me out. I truly needed that.”

“I know you did,” he replied with a smirk.

Shaking my head, I smiled and headed out of the car. A ball started bouncing down the street and I looked up. The guys were all outside Dom’s house dressed in their basketball gear.

“Looks like I’m going to have a little peace today,” I said bending down to look in the window.

“You’re too nice.”

“They aren’t that bad – most of the time.”

“Well you know you have work to do.”

“I know,” I sighed and looked at my watch.

“Okay hun. Call me later.”

“Okay. See ya. Chin up and go do your thing.”

Khalil sped off down the street and around the bend. I waved until he was out of sight.

Halfway up the stairs G screamed out, “Aye Cam! Ain’t that your boyfriend Cam?”

“Who? Khalil? No, he’s my best friend.”

I continued walking to my house.

“See I told you that was her homie,” I could hear Dom saying.

He would know better than anyone else. The two of us talked more than anyone else.

After I made my way into the house, I decided to grab a cigarette and go sit on the step for a brief moment and collect my mental. It was a beautiful morning. Not too hot and not too cold – just right. And the breeze was amazing.

What am I going to work on first, I thought looking up at the trees.

Immediately I started to hear the basketball bouncing closer and closer. Considering the basketball courts were in the other direction, I knew the guys were headed up towards me.

“Where you comin’ from?” Rell asked as they all filed up onto my steps.

“If you must know, I went to this new club downtown. It was pretty cool. I know I was messed up though,” I said laughing.

“What’s it called?” Dom asked.

“Xscape, I think.”

“I heard of it. My homie I work with told me it was a chill spot to go to.”

Dom shook his head in acceptance of my choice of destinations.

“You should definitely go some time.”

“Y’all wanna go this weekend? I’m off,” Dom asked everybody.

“I’m down,” said G.

“I gotta work,” Sharif said kind of down.

“Sharif, you couldn’t go anyway.”

“Why not?”

“Cuz you have to be 21 dude. No drinks for you, ” I laughed.

“I drink now.”

“Man, listen, just because ol’ head at the deli looks out, don’t mean them bouncers are gonna look out. They swipe id’s,” Dom said matter-of-factly.

“Where is the place,” Rell asked.

“It’s on 5th street. A block over from Macy’s.”

“Oh I’m not going down there.”

We all gave each other a look that said “Here we go.”

“Why not,” Dom and I said in unison.

“I’m not hangin’ down there with all them white people. There be too many cops.”

I raised my eyebrow. Typical, I thought.

“First off, there are barely any cops down there. Secondly, hanging out with white folks is awesome. Their friendly as hell.”

“Definitely are,” Dom chimed in.

“They will buy you a drink in a heart beat,” I said with Dom shaking his head in agreement, “Last night a group of chicks were sitting outside smokin’ weed and they asked if we wanted to join them just because I said hi.”

“Shit. I would of took it,” Rell said slapping fives with G.

“What would be the point in that. Shit like that just happens, especially if you’re nice to talk to. Why start trouble.”

“If you dumb enough to pull out weed in front of me than you dumb enough to get it took by me.”

I looked at Dom, G, and Sharif for help on this one. No one said anything.

“Well that’s just fuckin’ stupid. But whatever.”

I wasn’t in the mood for a back and forth so I quickly proceeded to change the subject.

“So, y’all going to play ball?”

“Yeah. I’ma go whoop on these guys right here,” Sharif said proudly.

“Whatever dawg. When’s the last time you won a game?” Rell asked with his hands on his hips and the ‘fuck outta here’ look on his face.

“Last week.”

“Naw man. Aye G, did he win a game last week.”

It sounded more like he was telling him, not asking him, but that’s how he operated.

“I don’t remember,” G responded. An easy way to exclude himself out of the impending argument.

“Well take yourselves down to the courts and leave me alone,”I said half playing, half serious.

They all started to file back down the stairs and headed for the pathway. Rell and Sharif were still going back and forth with who was better than who and their all time winning ratios.

“See you later Cam,” Dom said getting up to leave last.

“See ya.”

I got up and walked in before anyone had the chance to turn around and put me into something. Plopping on the couch, I allowed my mind to wander to my work and ‘the deadline’. I racked my brain for ideas and instinctively dozed off.

May 19th

My meeting with my editor was a total downer. I drove home feeling defeated and stressed. How the hell could they push my deadline up? So now, instead of six months, I only had four.

“I’m not even done with the first draft,” I said aloud as I pulled up out front.

I noticed G and Sharif were on G’s step as I parked. Glancing across the street I could see Rell in his doorway.

“Smoking as usual,” I said to myself putting the car in park.

As I reached into the backseat to grab my books and bag, I could see Rell heading my way.

What does he want, I thought getting out of the car.

“Wassup Cam!” he yelled when he got half way.

“Yes. I really wanted the whole block to know I was home,” I mumbled, “I just want to go in the effin’ house.”

“Yo. Wassup.”

I slammed the car door deliberately, “Hey.”

I began walking towards the stairs; purse and work bag in one hand and binders in the other hand.

Rell followed.

“What you about to do?”

“Going in the house.”

“Why? You should hang.”

Stopping mid stride, I glared up at Rell. He towered over me on a regular day but today I was in 5 inch heels. My vantage point was a little better.

“I am going in the house. Pouring a glass of wine. Listening to some good music and light up an el. That’s all I want to do.”

Continuing up the stair, I huffed to myself.

Rell followed.

“Hey you want to match up? We can all chill.”

“Did you not just hear what I said?” Why does he always think I’m supposed to smoke with him, I thought.

“Why you wanna chill by yourself? That’s boring.”

I rolled my eyes and proceeded to my front door. Rell ran ahead of me to reach the door first.

 “Yo, I almost forgot. Melanie is in the house right now. Ain’t nobody in there.”

“What’s your point?” I fumbled with my keys until I found the right one.

“You can go talk to her and shit.”

I dropped my stuff in my doorway and turned abruptly, “I am not talking to anyone. I just got home. All I want to do is relax.”

“Well you the one who wanted to talk to her so bad.”

My mouth dropped. Is he serious, I fumed to myself.

“Dude. The only person who wants me to tak to her so bad is you.”

I had begun to raise my voice.

“Hey Cam!” Sharif yelled from G’s step suddenly.

“What!” I yelled, immediately realized my tone and followed up with, “My bad. What’s up.”

“Lookin’ good!” he said giving the thumbs up.

I smiled and shook my head.

“Thanks.”

Turning back to Rell I said, “I’m going in the house. I’ll talk to her on my own time. Okay.”

“I was just sayin’. It woulda been a perfect time. You aren’t scared, are you?”

That’s it. I’m going to truly cuss this dude out if I don’t go in, I thought.

I threw my hands up and walked in the house.

“Damn. See you later than.”

“Bye,” I huffed grabbing my stuff out of the doorway and slamming the door deliberately.

“Ugh!!!” I yelled so only I could hear it.

Tossing my keys on the coffee table, I could hear the guys talking. Living only a few doors down from G, made it easy to hear conversations if they were loud enough.

“What’s wrong with her?” Sharif asked.

“She must have had a bad meeting,” G responded.

“Man, she’s probably on her period or something,” Rell blurted out.

Rell and G laughed. Sharif didn’t.

I grinned to myself and grabbed a glass out of the dining room cabinet. Allowing the red wine fill my glass, I turned on my stereo with my elbow. I let The Commodores’, “Zoom” play very loud, deliberately.

The Night of May 18th

Later on that evening everyone got together out front. It was just something we all would do after a long day: Grab some beers and some cannabis; sit about the midpoint of the lawns and talk.

Normally the conversation would be stupid, sports related or random happenings in the music world. Usually it ended with somebody getting mad because they weren’t getting their point across. Tonight, however, was a little different. There was this uneasy feeling looming in the air. No one was really talking until Rell spoke up.

“So Cam, did you talk to Melanie yet?” He reared back in his chair to look at me.

“Uh, no, not yet. Why?” I nonchalantly took a sip from my Corona.

“Talk to her about what,” G said coughing and laughing at the same time.

“Cam won’t believe Mel is crazy.”

What the hell, I thought.

“Ooooh. Sounds intense,” G exclaimed, looking directly at me.

I shook my head in disgust, “All I’m going to do is talk to the girl, see what’s on her mind, give her some female perspective. Ya’ll act like it’s such a big deal. Like I’m going to fight the girl or something.”

“You’re gonna want to. She’s a nut. I mean a serious nut,” G said, chugging his beer.

“Yeah Cam. She’s the type to drawl on you for no reason,” Sharif commented.

“Well maybe she just acts tough for you guys. You ever thought about that,” I huffed, “I doubt the girl is just going to pop off or something. 1, she doesn’t know me like that and 2, I’m only trying to help her.”

“Doesn’t matter Cam,” Rell started, “She’ll turn on you faster than the average person.”

“Look. There is nothing wrong with talking, especially if you have the capability to school a person. You know, teach ‘em the ropes of life. I’m not going to dislike the girl or think she’s crazy just because you feel I should, Rell.”

“Aye Dom. Tell this girl how Mel really is,” he said turning and looking at his brother, who seemed to be not even a part of the conversation.

“Hey, if she thinks she can talk sense into her, so be it. I’m not in it,” he said looking back down at his phone.

G and Sharif looked on as Rell and I went back and forth, like they were watching a tennis match. Nobody bothered to say anything, they just listened.

“See, Dom don’t even like her!” Rell exclaimed like he won a victory.

“He didn’t say that. He said he wasn’t in it.”

“That’s the same thing as not liking a person.”

“How the hell do you figure?”

“Cuz if you’re not even going to bother with a situation than apparently you don’t like that person.”

“I don’t know how you got to that conclusion,” I said rolling my eyes.

Rell lowered his voice, “See. Look at her. Over on the porch spying.”

Everyone looked across the street toward the house. The trees were casting a shadow over the porch, but you could vaguely make out a person sitting on the bench. The only real concrete evidence that there was a person sitting there was the light from a cigarette.

“She is so pathetic,” Rell said shaking her head.

“Why can’t she sit outside? We’re outside.”

“That’s the point. She’s only out here cuz Dom’s out here. She sits and listens to our conversations to see what he says and then brings it up later.”

“You can’t be serious. Dom, is he serious?”

Dom just sat, looking into his phone. He didn’t even bother to answer me, even though I was defending his “girlfriend” and Rell was trashing her. Sharif and G just kept laughing at the whole thing.

“Cam you don’t want to listen. Watch what happens.”

“Whatever dude.”

Rell’s need to be right was irritating me, badly. No matter what I said he had an answer, even if it didn’t make sense.

I sat, trying to calm a little from Rell’s arrogance. What was so wrong about trying to help this girl? If I could feel the dislike coming from the guys, I know she could feel it. It’s a lonely situation when you have no one in your corner and feel your back against the wall.

I smoked a little more and said, “Alright guys. I got to get up early, so I’m out.”

“You headed in?” Sharif asked.

“Yep. Got a long day ahead of me.”

“Cool. I’ll walk you up to the door.”

I had to admit the gesture made me blush a little, but only a little.

As we walked up to my door Sharif started laughing.

“What’s so funny?” I asked, confused.

“It’s just funny listening to you try to talk sense into Rell. You know he listens to no one but himself.”

“Well, somebody needs to tell him when he’s wrong cuz you guys sure don’t.”

“I just ignore him. If you don’t say anything, he’ll shut up eventually.”

I unlocked my door and turn to look at Sharif. He was just staring with this goofy look on his face.

“What?”

“Um,” he stammered, “I heard something about you.”

“O-kay. What?” I was totally confused about what he was referring to.

“I heard you liked me.”

I couldn’t hold in my laugh and Sharif looked a little disappointed.

“I’m sorry. Who told you that?”

“Rell.”

“Ugh. I said I thought you were cute, but you’re too young for me.”

“How? I’m 20,” he said appalled.

“Yeah but I don’t mess with anyone younger than me, especially under 21.”

“That’s messed up Cam. I would date you.”

I laughed again. “I bet.”

Grabbing the handle I started to walk into the house. He grabbed my free hand.

“So that’s it?” he asked looking rather pitiful. It made me feel kind of bad.

“Goodnight Sharif,” I said pulling away gently and heading in the house. I looked back and smiled at him before closing the door.

That was pretty awkward and sort of funny. Let me find out he has a crush on me, I thought.

Making sure my work bag were packed for my meeting tomorrow, I started to get second thoughts about talking to Melanie. The guys seemed to be pretty against it and that fact alone was making me wary. Besides, there was the chance that the girl really was crazy, but I never like judging anyone by someone else’s standards.