Really?

I’ve been invited to submit an article to Erma Bombeck’s Writer’s Workshop. How cool is that? Excited but feeling a bit intimidated. Going for it anyway.  Was thinking of sending something that I have already written. John thinks that I should write something new. I’m probably going to write something new. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to pipe up.

Aunt Betty, I promise that I won’t let you down.

Much love,

Erin Cooper Reed

P.S. – If you don’t know who Aunt Betty is, go to the “Read all blog posts” link at the top of my page and scroll to “The Center of Things” it will explain it all.

Wish me luck!  🙂

P.P.S – Actually, The Center of things is listed under this blog post. Just in case inquiring minds want to know…

I’m Going To Write My Way Out of This

So there it is… that’s my plan and truth be told, I have no other back up plan. Writing is my passion, so I’m going to go with that. I just have to keep pushing forward.

Image result for images of writing

The past few months have certainly been a struggle. I tore just about everything that a person could possibly tear in one’s knee, went to physically therapy, skipped the surgery part and went back to work at my job as a waitress. I had to and I’m still struggling to catch up on everything after going six weeks with no income.

“Mom, the internet is off!”

“Mom, we’re out of milk!”

I know, I know… I’m doing the best that I can.

Somehow I always manage to get by and make it all happen. I always do.

So, if it’s true that struggle builds character, then I’m filled to the brim!

Yet, as crazy as it may sound, I keep telling myself that I’m going to write my way out of this…

Out of this struggle,

Out of these financial problems,

And into a better life for myself and my children.

I’m aware that it’s a long shot… but I won’t give up hope.

But if it happens, when it happens, you’ll be the first to know.

And I’ll be, looking like the guy in this doodle…

Image result for images of writing

Just minus the stick figure part.

😀

Erin

Oh Joy, How do I fix this?

We have almost made it through the school year, but it’s not over yet. Apparently, my 15 year-old-son, Marc, (who has good grades and is passing) feels that it’s okay for him not to attend the last week and a half of school. Judge me here, if you dare… but I was stripped of my parental authority long ago, during my marriage. If you have never been there, you won’t be able to comprehend my predicament. If you have been there, then you know that I have a better chance of winning Powerball than I have of gaining my parental authority back.

To add fuel to the fire, Marc is pushing 6 feet tall and is almost 200 pounds, mostly muscle. Gone are the days of, “Get in the car, you’re going to school!”

Plus, parenting children of domestic violence is completely different from parenting by the standard of the hundreds of parenting books I own. Offering consequences like, “You’re grounded!” just doesn’t work. Saying, “I’ll take away your Xbox! leaves you up until two in the morning while your child flips the entire house looking for it.

Image result for images of a flipped house

What I have learned is taking away tangible things like an Xbox doesn’t work, but something that is intangible, like a sleep-over or the possibility of a trip to movies, works. What can I say? You’d never understand it unless you had lived it. If you have, I’m with you! If I ever get through this and figure it all out, I certainly will write a best-selling parenting book for children of domestic violence. For now, I take it day by day and do everything humanly possible to help my kids. (But I am taking notes.)

This week included a truancy meeting in the town of Bridgeport to get some support and guidance for myself and my strong-willed son.

I met with a lovely woman named Joanne, who not only recorded our session, but documented it, as she asked a lot of questions.

I’m an open person. She asked me about the counseling that we’ve had. I recounted the seven years of counseling for my children, all of the school assessments and explained what we all had to go through when I left my ex-husband, and as well, the aftermath.

I told her I attended counseling at the Woman’s Commission for Victims of Domestic Violence, in Charlotte North Carolina. Although I talked in circles at the time, and I couldn’t express a clear thought, it was then that I picked up a yellow legal pad and began writing.

I had no idea why, and I didn’t think that I had anything of value to say, until I showed it to my counselor and she said, “This is great! Can we use this?”

I said, “Sure, if it can help someone.” I had no idea where that was going to lead me.

We talked about Marc, all of his troubles and all of his strong, independent and humorous qualities. (He has many!)

I told her stories you wouldn’t believe, but ones I may reveal in my memoir, “Sometimes You Have To Run In Bare Feet.”

(Stay Tuned!)

I told her how my ex-husband was staying overnight in my basement (unbeknownst to me) and how Marc ran off to the Bronx and the police issued a Silver Alert.

She was interested in my son, my life and my writing.

She was surprised when I said that my notes on a yellow legal pad snowballed into me writing for five domestic violence organizations in North Carolina and the Charlotte Court System.

When I returned to Connecticut, I gave speeches and wrote for the Center For Family Justice and was appointed for six months to the Restraining Order Task Force for The General Assembly to try to change Connecticut’s current restraining order laws.

I looked across the desk at Joanne, (her head in her hands) and said, “You must be exhausted just listening to me.”

To which she replied, “No, You are inspiring! I’m going to figure out what we can do to help.”

I left her, feeling hopeful and better than I had been in a long time.

It feels good to be heard and not to be judged.

It feels good to be validated and to be offered some help.

And, it feels good to know how I have dealt with difficult times and challenging circumstances, can be met with a comment like, “You are inspiring!”

Thank you, Joanne. I think  you gave me the energy to keep going, and not give up hope my child will turn out okay, no matter how difficult it is right now.

I’m glad I inspired you.

Thank you for inspiring me.

Much love,

Erin Cooper Reed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing With A Ghost Over Your Shoulder

I once read or heard somewhere the expression, “Don’t write with a ghost over your shoulder.

I love to write and writing comes very easily to me. I write whatever is in my heart at the time and that seems to be working just fine.

Yet sometimes, I pause and hold certain things back.

This I’ve learned, is called writing with a ghost over your shoulder.

Maybe that ghost is the fear of negative opinions or judgments. It could be not wanting to disclose something that might offend, upset or make others feel uncomfortable.

It may be something from your past or present that you are hesitant to reveal.

Your fingers glide across the keyboard, then you glance over your shoulder at that ghost and say to yourself, I can’t write that…

Backspace, backspace, backspace.

Authentic writing is writing with the freedom and courage to honestly express what you want to express, without self-editing.

It should be every writers goal to exercise their own voice and write honestly from the authentic experiences that surround them.

It has certainly become my goal.

I struggle to rid myself of the ghost over my shoulder…Yet, I know that each time I push through my fear, ignore the ghost and post my writing anyway, the ghost loses his power.

The other day, Katherine from Mind Movies texted me and said, “I love your blog! You’re so honest and authentic, that’s why it’s so enjoyable to read!”

Take that, ghost over my shoulder!

Maybe it’s time for you to go find some other writer to haunt!

 

This Is MY Blog!

This is MY BLOG!

I’ll write what I want.

I’ll write how I feel and what I’m thinking about or going through.

If any of this offends you, or if you feel compelled to contact my ex-husband and make derogatory comments about how I am handling things in my life, I suggest that you find something else to read.

Thank you.

This has been a public service announcement.

Time to Drop the Blogging B.O.M.B.

Wait! Don’t take cover yet. I promise that no one is going to get hurt.

I don’t have an actual bomb…I’m just using the word bomb, so you can all relax.

 

According to Urban Dictionary, here is the top definition of the word

BOMB

  1. (before 1997) Something really bad; a failure
  2. (after 1997) Something considered excellent and/or the best (uses modifier “the”) “the bomb”

 

So I guess based on the above, this post could go either way. We all want to have a blog reflective of definition #2. Hell, we all want to have a life reflective of definition #2, so even if you’re not a blogger, please read on.

 

Seeing that it’s 2017, I’ve decided to go with the post 1997 definition and drop my blogging B.O.M.B.

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Basics

Of

My

Beliefs

THREE BASICS OF MY BELIEFS ON BLOGGING

  1.  Accomplishment – Nothing feels better in life or motivates and propels you forward like accomplishment. Blogging requires a lot of time and commitment. The more you blog, the more you want to blog. Momentum in life is everything. Just keep moving forward with your eye on your goal no matter what.
  2. Community – There is certainly no happiness in going it all alone. The blogging community is a virtual world of knowledge and inspiration. Just like life, you need to make connections and build relationships to enrich your experience and grow as a writer, as well as a person.
  3. Perspective – I started out thinking that I was writing for myself. What I learned is that writing for others to share your perspective, your ideas, your humor and your thoughts is a way of giving of yourself and giving back. The sooner you give up any self-doubt, ego or competitive nature the easier it will be to find (and truly own) your unique voice and share it with the world.

 

I’ll leave you with this quote by Colin Powell

Giving back involves a certain amount of giving up. - Colin Powell

 

Blogging is a journey. Have patience and enjoy the ride,

Erin Cooper Reed

What are your beliefs about blogging?

 

 

 

The Center of Things

I originally started my blog in June of 2016, after only three years of talking about it. One of my first posts was called “Boys, Boys, Boys.” It is a very funny story that unfortunately took place when my father was ill. While I was typing on my laptop, I inadvertently hit something that deleted a good part of my post. I was frustrated and told myself that I would get back to it. Now, if you’re a writer and this has ever happened to you, I know you understand the feeling of not wanting to go back and recreate something you already created.

Well, that was June, the months pasted. (July, August, September) and I never got back to it. My family and friends kept asking me again and again if I was writing. “I know, I’m going to.” I’d reply. (October, November, December) My fiance’ John would encourage me to write…I would say I was going to and then I wouldn’t do it. I think it was certainly the idea of recreating what I had already written, but it was more revisiting a very difficult time in my life when my dad was dying.

One day in January, my mother sent me a book called Write For Life by Sheppard B. Kominars, PhD.

Write for Life: Healing Body, Mind, & Spirit through Journal Writing by [Kominars, Sheppard B.]

As I opened the book and flipped through the pages, I found a paper tucked in the back. I unfolded the paper to reveal the title, “The Center of Things.” I read the article out loud and by the time I got to the end I was crying. The Center of Things was the column that my late Aunt Betty wrote for a New Hampshire newspaper.

I called my mother and asked her if she knew that a copy of one of Aunt Betty’s columns was tucked in the book that she gave me. My mother had no idea, in fact, my mother told me she had two copies of Write for Life. She told my sister that she could take whichever one she wanted and the one that was left was for me.

After I hung up the phone, I couldn’t stop thinking about what my mother said. How could it be that I got the copy of the book with Aunt Betty’s column in it? My Aunt Betty was an amazing person and a wonderful writer. She had a great sense of humor and it certainly came through in her writing. When I was living in North Carolina, we used to talk on the phone and we would email each other things that we each had written. Aunt Betty took such pleasure in reading my stories (and I in hers). She would tell me that I was talented and she encouraged me to write more. I love my Aunt Betty and I miss her so much. What I wouldn’t give to have that time with her back. That night, I fell asleep with thoughts of my Aunt.

I woke up and looked at the clock, 3:33 AM. I was wide awake. I tried to fall back asleep but I couldn’t. Now this may sound a bit out there to some of you, but it is said that the best time to connect with spirit is between 2 and 4 AM. This crossed my mind. Why did I suddenly wake up? I mean, I am not a light sleeper and I enjoy my sleep. If you’re thinking I’m a little off my rocker at this point, let me just go ahead and tip the rocker right over…It also hadn’t gone unnoticed to me that the numbers on the clock were 3:33. It is said that 11:11 and times with repeating numbers are angel signs, I thought.

Feeling like I was over thinking things and maybe feeling a bit crazy and unsettled, I grabbed the book my mother had sent and began to read. As I read Write for Life, I was fascinated with what it had to say about the power of writing and all of the positive affects it can have on a person’s health, well-being and life.

After I completed the first chapter I closed the book and sat in silence. It was so calm, so still and so quiet in the house this time of the morning.

I slowly opened my laptop, hit the power button, logged into my blog site, and began to write. I finished writing Boys, Boys, Boys and I wrote several more posts in the days that followed.

I have always believed that there are no coincidences in life. I also believe that my beloved Aunt Betty is always there cheering me on, encouraging me to write.

And here’s some food for thought…

Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous. - Albert Einstein

 

Take time to notice and even act on the coincidences that life presents, you may be surprised by the places that they lead you,

Erin Cooper Reed