Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankfulness



Thankfulness
My blog posts come from a Facebook post I made this morning.

Day 27 of Thanksgiving: I'm thankful I'm at a place where I can give thanks.  I've been so hurt to where I could only see the hurt.  I've been so lonely to where I could only see the loneliness. I've been so unloved to where I could only see the lack of love.  It isn't until I reached a place where I had to look up that I became thankful - no matter how close to the bottom I was.

Only the ground has limitations.  The sky is limitless.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dog Days Are Over


I love how when I hear a familiar song and it instantly transports me back to a particular place and time.  There’s just nothing like teleported by a memory, a feeling, especially if it is a beautiful one. 

Sometimes something happens in our lives and it so much bigger than we are that we can’t recognize it for what it is until a long time has passed.  Then we can look back and see all those little things that made such a huge difference. 

This past year has been so full of so many big emotions that I still haven’t sorted them out.  Yesterday afternoon I stumbled upon a playlist and it literally stopped me in my tracks and there was NOTHING that could stop the tears from spilling out.  Not sad tears, but happy tears, because I finally recognized what’s been banging on my heart for many, many months now.  I was just too scared to let it in. Love.

I can’t explain even still what it truly entails, because it’s so much bigger than me.  But, it’s also something I realize I’ve never let in before – ever.  I thought I had, I thought I knew what it was, I thought I understood what it contained, but I was wrong.  How can you know something, feel something you’ve never had, never experienced?  I’ve experienced various degrees, but not unconditional love – a love for me just as I am, with nothing to offer, nothing to change, no strings attached.

This year I have cried more than I have in my whole life combined.  I have grieved for the life I’ve lost.  I have grieved for the dream that has failed.  I have grieved for the lost little girl inside. But, I’ve also cried for the new life that has risen, the new dream that is just beginning, and the beautiful woman I have become. 
The song sent me earlier this year, in love, has proved to be prophetic. Because ‘the dog days are truly over’.  Thank you, my friend. I love you, too.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray




"Dog Days Are Over" – Florence and the Machine

Happiness hit her like a train on a track
Coming towards her stuck still no turning back
She hid around corners and she hid under beds
She killed it with kisses and from it she fled
With every bubble she sank with her drink
And washed it away down the kitchen sink

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run

Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your love and your longing behind
You can't carry it with you if you want to survive

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can you hear the horses?
'Cause here they come

And I never wanted anything from you
Except everything you had and what was left after that too, oh
Happiness hit her like a bullet in the back
Struck from a great height by someone who should know better than that

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can you hear the horses?
'Cause here they come

Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your love and your longing behind
You can't carry it with you if you want to survive

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can you hear the horses?
'Cause here they come

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run


Monday, November 25, 2013

Slow Moving Train


Have you ever been on a slow moving train?  I have at Six Flags, Stone Mountain and Walt Disney World.  Those were recreational trains, and that’s about as slow moving as trains go.

The young, adventurous side of me would like the train in my life to zip along like an Amtrak, getting me from Point A to Point B as quick and as smooth as possible.  I wouldn’t mind the scenery outside my window to be in streaks of brown, greens and grays, just so long as I get to where I’m going in one piece. 

The last train I rode derailed, jumped track and tossed me around something fierce, but I survived.  I’m bruised, beaten and whole lot of scared, but I seem to back on another track.  Hopefully, this one is going in the right direction.

I didn’t get on that track by myself, and I’m so scared of another derailment, each inch it moves has my heart pounding and me holding my breath while I’ve got a death grip on my hand rests.  I have some of the best friends in the whole world.

I know everybody always says that, and for many years I thought I had good friends, but what I had were fair-weathered sympathizers.  I also thought I was a good friend, but have come to realize that I don’t think I was ever a friend at all.  One of the biggest things I’ve learned this past year – is what the face, hands and heart of a true friend truly looks like. 

I’ve seen in the compassion, concern and courage, I’ve heard it in the voice of hard true and felt it in the nonjudgmental acceptance of true friends. I love you guys, I appreciate every kind word or act of kindness and love you’ve shown me.  I’m so blessed and overwhelmed.  I only hope that I can be one microscopic ounce the friend to each of you as you have been to me.

I am now on a slow moving train, moving at a pace that is really trying my patience, but it’s forcing me to look around me, take notice of what’s important in life, see who’s standing beside me, take stock in the direction I’m going, and moving at a pace I can build some confidence and momentum.

I’ve been so scared. I’ve been so lost. I’ve been so angry and hurt, and you’ve all been there for me in one way or another.  I love you all very much.

I love you Meagan, Johnathan and Kelly.  No matter what.  I love you Jeff, Jenna, Sara, Jaz, Christian, Justin, Lorien, Dawn, Denise, Maggie, Frank, Mary, Laura, and Ruthy.   Thank you to all the kind words from my friends on my blogs, Facebook, Goodreads and Scribophile.    I have survived and I’m going to make it just fine, but I couldn’t have done it without you guys. 

All aboard!

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Saturday, November 23, 2013

We've All Moved On


Today, the home I worked hard to build stands empty.  Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally too. 

The rooms I painted, the halls I decorated, the shrubs I planted, and the place I have called home for over two decades sits bare and abandoned.

Where is my home?  Where do I belong?

Everyone has moved on.  There's no going back.  A new family will soon fill those rooms, new memories will be made, a new life will be built, in both that house and in the hearts of my family.

Where is my home?  Where do I belong?  

I'm the one that left, and then they soon followed suit.  It was because of me that house stands empty, that family is now scattered, we've all moved on.

For what?  I just wanted to be loved, wanted, and desired. I still want.

Where is my home?  Where do I belong?

It was the only home I've ever had. I was lost and alone before, lost and alone while there, and I'm still lost and alone.

Where is my home?  Where do I belong?


I can't seem to find it. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Celebrate Your Differences


We delude ourselves into thinking that the perfect person for us would be someone just like us, who shares our same passions, ideas, desires, philosophies and faith.  While I do think it's important that there should be some agreement in the fundamentals, so two people can work together as partners, I also believe it's just as important to have some diversity.

My best friend shares so many of my passions.  We both love to write, are deep-thinkers, and have an insatiable passion.  We both are opinionated, stubborn and outspoken.  We both are Leos, perfectionists, and protectors.  There are so many things we share that make my soul burn with excitement.  They make me laugh.  They make me cry.  They move me with the way they see the world.  I really feel we connected on such a deep level and in a way that is eternal.  Yet, on many things we don't see eye to eye.  What's so funny is not that we disagree, because often we're not on opposite sides of the issue, but that we experience the results through different filters.  Some things affect them differently than they affect me.   

I love that my friend is different than me, because they force me to examine, test and release my expectations.  They cause me to question and stretch my thoughts, philosophies and ideas often beyond their borders.  They inspire me to think beyond myself.  I don't always agree with them, but I am so thankful that I'm free to enjoy them, for who they are, not who I want them to be.  I love them as they are, screwed-up philosophy (ha, ha) and all.  I hope they can see how beautiful they are to me for the simple act of sharing their true selves with me.

I'm not sure if they see me the same, but I hope they do.  I know they spend a lot of time shaking their head at me, but I take that as a good thing.  I love them dearly, and I hope they know that.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lost Words

Sometimes I sit and ponder about all the great stories that have been told in the past now lost and forgotten.  Just the mere thought of it makes my stomach tighten and my heart ache, much in the same way I feel when I pass by an old, dilapidated graveyard.  I know, I'm one of those strange people who do strange things, but it's who I am.

Have you ever visited an old graveyard?  I sometimes walk around and stop at a headstone I can barely make the letters and dates.  I then speak the name etched into the headstone out loud, so that the person who once lived, even for just a tiny moment, their name lives once more and is released into the universe.  It makes me sad because I'll think about whose bones may lie beneath and the surface and it brings my own mortality into focus. 

When I die, which is a natural certainty, how long will I be remembered?  If I'm lucky, perhaps a generation; If I'm really lucky and had been well loved, then perhaps two. At the rate I'm going, I'm banking on a week, if that.   But most people, their lives are but for a flash in this world, and unless they've made some huge impact WHEN they lived, they will soon be forgotten, in the same way those old books and manuscripts turn into dust and fade from our existence.  As for infants who lived and died quickly and suddenly, their impact even less. 

So, there's a part of me that wants to leave something behind. I have five publications in print and hope, as well as others I write, will leave an impact when I'm gone ...at least for a little while.  Of course, that's hoping for the best, because those works are often forgotten and I'm still very much alive. 

Just thought I'd leave you something to think about.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray


Picture: http://vimark.deviantart.com/

Monday, November 18, 2013

Be Yourself


Many times in my life, well really almost all of it if I really think about it, I always put someone else's ideas or wants before my own.  Perhaps it's just part of my DNA, though none of my other family members ever did this.  I have been taking care of someone else literally my whole life.  From the time I was able to climb on top of counters and change diapers, I took care of my brothers, to taking care of my own children (as a child myself at 17), taking care of a husband, taking care of a career, and taking care of my duties and responsibilities at church and in my community.  In all that time, I rarely took care of me.  I spent literally my whole life being what other people expected, demanded, or wanted from me.

Last year, about this exact time, I made a huge, life-altering decision - I was going to be myself and start to take care of me.  The only problem with my plan - I didn't really know who I was.  My children were now grown, I walked away from a 20-year marriage, I left my church and let go of all my friends.  I even stopped writing for a while.  I needed to meet me and I had no idea what I looked like.

I've since met me, and I like me very much.  I'm outgoing, love the outdoors, love to run and exercise, love to read, write and help others, love to dream, love to travel, love the Pacific Northwest, love to explore, love to meet new people, love 5k's, love hiking, love kayaking, love canoeing, love being alone, love being in a crowd of friends, love wine, love sushi, love hats and love being beautiful, sexy and flirtatious.   I love being me and can never settle again to be a copy or imitation of what someone else wants me to be. 
I’m the original T.L. Gray.
Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Superman (It's Not Easy) Article


Okay guys, if you know me, you know my insatiable love of all things Superman.  So, check out my new article at SongPlaces.com featuring the song "Superman (It ain't Easy) by Five for Fighting and the mysterious location of Smallville.


Check it out and enjoy the article.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Here’s a snippet:

I wish that I could cry, fall upon my knees.  Find a way to lie about a home I'll never see.  It may sound absurd, but don't be naive, even heroes have a right to bleed.  I may be disturbed, but won't you concede, even heroes have the right to dream.  It's not easy to be me.

There were a lot of attributes about Superman that were very popular, but the ones that this song - and fans like myself - seem to value most was the ability to "never tell a lie". It wasn't that he could fly, leap tall buildings in a single bound, or run faster than a locomotive, but his honesty, his heart, and his passion that made him a true hero.  I relate to how he felt as an orphan, having that strong desire to find an identity, to belong somewhere  to someone.  No matter how magnificent Superman's abilities, his greatest attributes were his love and use of his powers to save an often ungrateful and selfish world.



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Expectations


I wish there were no bad days or bad news.  I wish everything always worked out and the plans we’ve made for ourselves go off without a hitch.  I wish everyone loved everyone and that dreams really do come true.  There are a lot of things I wish, and I’ve learned over the years I’ve built those wishes into expectations.  When those expectations fail to be met, I then become overwhelmed with disappointment, depression and despair. 

What do I do about that?  What can I do?  Do I never dare to dream or wish again?  Do I stop expecting the unexpected?  Of course not, but that’s easier said than done and vice versa. 
Life sucks sometimes and it certainly isn’t fair.  It always seems as if chaos and karma target me personally more than anyone else, and as long as I am self-absorbed and wallowing in my despair, that’s all I can see.  I KNOW, I’ve been stuck there for some time now.  However, I’m beginning to look around me, take notice of other people’s pain, other people’s disappointments, and other people’s despair and expectations.  This evaluation doesn’t erase mine or take away the real pain and fear I constantly feel, but it does help me realize …I’m not alone. 

My depression lies to me and tells me I’m on my own, but I’m not.  I’m so thankful for the friends who have stuck by me, with me, and beside me through this time, because I’m beginning to realize just how much of a ‘downer’ I’ve been.  Yes, I’ve been hurt and afraid.  Watching those I really love and care about around me also hurting, makes me realize how much they’ve really been there for me and put up from me.  I feel so helpless to their situations, but I’m filled with compassion because I truly understand how they feel and know what they’re going through.  I only hope and pray I can be even the tiniest bit the friend they’ve been to me. I love them dearly.  I appreciate them more than I could ever express. 

Do I still have expectations?  YES, even greater ones.  I don’t have the facts and figures, the studies, the charts, or the evidence, but I have faith in myself and in my friends.  No matter what happens in this world and what we all have to go through, whether good or bad, the love we have for each other is really the only thing that truly matters.  Money, success, romance, fame, achievement, or status doesn’t mean anything without having people you care about share your life with you – and you share your life with them.  Their love for me and my love for them is truly where I draw strength and find the courage to live – to live fully.  I’m beginning to understand… our love for one another is truly where God lives, at least the God to which I believe.

We only get a short period in this world.  Life is too short to waste it being angry, disappointed and hurt.  Help me keep my focus on the love and friendship I have – and you know what… I will make it, I will survive and I will LIVE life to the fullest.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank you, Veterans

Thank You, Veterans
 


 I’ve had the honor of knowing many veterans, from several different branches of the military, and from several different countries, not just the United States. I can’t express how much gratitude I have for their service.

 I know many veterans who don’t like it or feel uncomfortable when people thank and honor them for their service. To many of them their service is simply their duty and don’t understand what we honor. They’ve been taught to be heroes, but not to think of themselves as such. That is another aspect of them that I honor. 

While I honor the individual and the choice they made to put their lives on the line for me, my family, my country, or in the defense of others, when I say “thank you” to a veteran, it is part for their individual service, but it’s also in part for those I can no longer tell those words, to those who did not come home.

 “Thank you.”

 Till next time, ~T.L. Gray
http://www.bubblews.com/news/1550740-thank-you-veterans

Friday, November 08, 2013

Song of the Goddess Review in West Georgia Living

Check out my latest review of Song of the Goddess by author Jason Argos in this issue of West Georgia Living Magazine. Check out the article on page 55-56.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Say Something


*An Adventures of Jude and Tammy story*

Tammy slowly swung back and forth, the tips of her sandals gliding through the sand.  She looked up, hearing Jude’s voice across the playground.  He laughed and chased Katy around, trying to place a ladybug in her hair, knowing she was scared of them.  Tammy smiled and kicked off to make her swing go faster, higher. 

Katy’s squeals echoed off the brick wall of the school. “Jude, stop!”  She ran into the circle of her other friends.  “Help me, Alex, Chris, Rob.” 

The three friends circled around Katy and then grabbed hold of her.  The tall skinny boy named Chris blurted out, “I’ve got her, Jude.  Do it!” 

The five friends squealed and laughed in their circle as Jude pretended to place the ladybug in Katy’s hair. Tammy giggled watching the chaos from the swings.  Katy frantically searched through her hair for the bug and everyone else busted out laughing. Chris and Jude fell to the ground holding their stomachs, Alex giggled into her pig tails and Rob shook his head.  They then launched into a game of tag, covering the entire playground. 

Tammy swung higher and higher, closing her eyes so she could feel the catch in her stomach as her swing fell back down to the earth after soaring high into the wide blue sky.  The warm rays of the sun kissed her cheeks with a light burn.  Her pale, porcelain skin always turned pink when exposed and caused a patch of freckles to appear across her nose.  A soft, sad song played in her mind as she lost herself in the swing. 

“Hey, Tammy!” 

She opened her eyes just as she reached the apex of the back swing and then smiled as she soared toward 
Jude standing beside the swings, his hands cupped over his brows like a visor to block the sun from his eyes. 

“Hey, Jude.” It took a couple passes, her toes running through the sand to bring the swing to a stop.  

“What’s up?”

“You should have seen it, Tammy.  I pretended to put this bug in Katy’s hair and she went all crazy. It was so sweet,” Jude told her as his eyes sparkled with excitement.

“I saw it,” Tammy responded.

“Did you see how she screamed? She sounded just like you when you scream.”

Tammy nodded.  The bell rang, indicating the end of recess. 

Jude turned his attention to the school and then back at Tammy.  “Well, I’ve got to go.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”

With a small wave, Tammy responded, “Bye, Jude.”  She walked slowly into the building with a huge lump in her throat.

~

Tammy hung upside down on the monkey bars.  She closed one of her eyes and held out her tiger-eyed marble, catching a ray of the late summer sunshine in it and it sparkled. 

Jude walked up beneath her.  “Hey, you still got that thing?”

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I?”

“Can I borrow it?”

Tammy wrapped her fingers around her marble and scrunched her brows at Jude.  The pressure in her brain grew heavy from being upside down for too long, so she pulled herself up and sat on top the bars.  “Why?”

“Chris wanted to play a game but I didn’t have a shooter.  We can play if I borrow yours.”  Jude held out his hand.

Opening her hand, Tammy looked down at her most precious treasure and then at the marble in her hand.  

She bent down, placing the tiger-eye into Jude’s hands. “Take care of it.”

Without looking back, Jude took off running toward his group of friends and waved over his head, “Thanks, Tammy.”

Her fingers ached where the marble had once sat.  She closed her eyes to stop the tears that wanted to fall.

~

Watching the pretty pink ink flow across the paper, Tammy carefully formed each of her letters.  Her teacher told her earlier that day she had the best penmanship in the class and her stories were very imaginative.  She lay in the grass, swaying her legs back and forth behind her as she scribbled words across the lined page.  The black beetle scurried across the moss-covered log.

A ball bounced onto her paper, causing her to mess up the letter-g.  She raised her head and shouted, “Hey, watch where you throw your balls!”

Jude ran up, his steps crunching over the fallen autumn leaves and grabbed the ball.  He looked down and said, “Sorry, Tammy.  I didn’t see you laying there. Your brown sweater camouflaged you.”   He cocked his head to the side.  “What are you doing?”

“I’m writing a story,” Tammy answered.  “It’s about that time at the start of school …”

“Jude, come on!” Chris yelled from across the playground. 

“See you later,” Jude said and took off running.

“… that we saw a black beetle in the woods,” Tammy finished saying.  She closed her notebook and placed her face into the crook of her arms and cried.

~

The cold winds came and snow fell, making the playground look like a winter wonderland.  Tammy loved her pink coat, boots, hat and mittens.  They had been an early Christmas gift from a grandmother she didn’t know who lived in the city. It was the last day of school before the winter break. 

Tammy stepped through the snow until she came to the familiar plastic tunnels.  She liked to crawl into the end of the one placed by the edge of the playground where the other kids rarely played.  She liked to write there, free from the sounds of laughter, the wayward ball, the stares, or simply the sight of anyone else.  She crawled inside and pulled out her tattered notebook, now almost full of her stories.  She pulled out her pink pen that was now almost empty of ink and began to write.

The princess swung her sword and slayed the mean dragon, saving the kingdom.

“What’cha you doing in here?”

Tammy looked up, surprised to see Jude peering into the edge of the tunnel.  “I’m writing.”

“You’re still doing that?” Jude slid into the end of the tunnel and sat next to her.  “What are you writing about?”

Tammy blinked.  Her bottom lip trembled.  She snapped her book shut and said to Jude, “I missed you.”

Jude looked up at her and answered, “What are you talking about? I’ve been right here.”

She shook her head.  “No, you haven’t.”

He smiled. “You’re being silly, Tammy.  I see you every day.”

“No, you haven’t seen me in weeks.  You haven’t played with me or talked to me.”  She stuffed her book and pen into her pocket and climbed over him to get out of the tunnel. 

Jude sat there quietly and stared at Tammy.  Confusion covered his face.

“Say something …” Tammy started, but then snapped her lips shut.  Tears sprang into her eyes.  “I was your best friend and would have followed you anywhere.”

“You are my best friend,” Jude muttered.

“You forgot me.” Tammy shook her head.  “I gave up on you when you took my marble and never gave it back.”

“It was just a stupid marble.  I’ll get you another one,” Jude said.

Tears coursed down Tammy’s face.  “It was mine and precious to me. You were precious to me.” 

Jude pulled himself out of the tunnel and crossed his arms over his chest.  “You’re being such a girl, Tammy.”


“I am a girl.”  Tammy turned away and started walking away. “Good-bye, Jude.”   

Till next time,

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Inner Child


Inner Child
I had a sweet conversation with my best friend yesterday, and she mentioned that sometimes when people go through some sort of tragedy in their life, they often stay at the emotional age when that tragedy occurred.  I’ve heard something like that before, but I always just brushed the idea to the side, not really identifying with the statement, relating emotional age with the maturity level.  So, the concept never added up for me.  I’ve since been informed that emotional age and emotional maturity are two different things.  Most often kids who’ve been abused are highly mature, highly functional, and highly intelligent, yet often emotionally na├»ve.  Now, THAT I understand.

In my defensive way, I made a joke out of the statement.  It’s what I do when I hear things that I don’t want to think about or want to deflect. Though I never just right out ignore anything.  When I hear something, I hear it.  I may not respond immediately, but I will respond. I like to think things through, weigh them, measure them, and work them out through my own understanding.  The joke I made was about my emotional age would then have to be about 4-years old.  My friend didn’t laugh.  Instead she says, “I can see that.”

Now, I almost got offended, because in my understanding I took it to mean she thought I was immature.  She elaborated and said to me, “You have a part of you that still believes in fairy tales, slaying dragons, knights in shining armor, superheroes, and happily-ever-afters.”  I wanted to argue with her and immediately thought what she said was idiotic and ridiculous.  I didn’t believe in fairy tales.  I know they’re not real.  I live in the real world, feel the real pain, and face real consequences.  But, I realized my friend was right.  I do still believe in those things.  I still believe in heroes.  They may not wear a cape and hide behind a pair of glasses, but they do exist.  I do still believe in valiant knights, brave men who go out to slay dragons in defense of their love, their country, or their family.  I do believe still in happily-ever-after though I don’t see examples of it every day, nor has it ever been a part of my life, but I know it’s there… I just have to find it.     

I’m so thankful today that inside me there lives an inner child, a little four-year old girl, believing in the fantastical.  More than anything, I hope she continues to cling to those dreams and beliefs and never lets them go. The world needs them. I need them.  I need her.

What is your emotional age?

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Why So Cynical?


I don’t know if my cynical radar is amplified, but it seems lately it’s picking up a particular signal and I don’t like what it’s playing.  I don’t want to think it’s the people around me, that I’d choose to surround myself with such an attitude, but it seems to be like an infection spreading over the universe.  What disease or situation am I talking about?  Cynicism, especially when it comes to love and romance.

According to Webster – a cynic is:
1.   A person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.
2.   One of a sect of Greek philosophers, 4th century BCE, and who advocated the doctrines that virtue is the only good, that the essence of virtue is self-control, and that surrender to any external influence is beneath human dignity.
3.   A person who shows or expresses a bitterly or sneeringly cynical attitude.

Where are the romantics? Surely they don’t just live in novels, because that would truly prove a depressing world in which to live. So, I ask myself WHY?  Why are people so bitter and cynical?  What’s happened to create this atmosphere and social paradigm shift? 

My only guess would be pain, heart-break and disappointment.  But, that is something we all have experienced in one form or the other, or if we haven’t yet, we will.  It’s like a human right-of-passage.  Pain cannot be avoided.  But, allowing that pain to replace hope, romance, or a positive outlook on relationships shouldn’t be accepted. 

I know too many people who are romantic at heart, but refuse to allow even a modicum of romance in their lives.  They’d rather be alone, than risk being hurt or rejected.  They’d rather protect themselves with an armored coat of cynicism than get lost in the idea of romance.

I’ve been hurt.  I’ve been let down.  I’ve been rejected.  I’ve been unloved.  I’ve been disappointed.  I’ve been used.  I’ve been abused.  But, where is MY romance, adoration and the opportunity to be cherished? When do I get a chance to be the girl deemed worthy enough to put it all on the line and risk everything, to give everything, or to trust enough to place the most precious of hopes, dreams and aspirations into her hands?  I seem to always find the damaged men who have given up on love and romance because they have failed in a previous relationship.  You know what?  It failed in my previous relationships too, but I refuse to give up.  Instead, I hope even harder. 

Someone I once loved used to tell me, “I tried that romance stuff before… the poetry, the flowers, all that junk, and all it ever got me was looking like a fool, because the first jerk that came around and treated them like dirt walked away with them.”  Perhaps he was right, because he never used any of that romance stuff on me, in fact, he withheld all romantic and intimate feelings and acts, and I stuck with him for twenty years.  If anyone should be a cynic, it should be me.

I have a friend who says he’s no good when it comes to romance, and believes he will mess up any relationship he has that involves it, and thus has decided to abort all romance from his life.  He hides that part of himself from the friend whom he claims to love and honor most.  He has convinced himself the friendship is better without it; safer, truer, though it was initially built partly by romance.  Perhaps that’s true on his part, but doesn’t he think his friend would want all of him, including the romantic side?  If he keeps that part of himself isolated, he’s cheating them.  He gets all of them, or they are forced to deny a part of who they are and only give half of themselves, and they only receive half of each other. Two halves, in this case, don’t make a whole. His cynicism of romance and the rejection of it is damaging to the relationship. 

The act of NO romance will eventually kill a relationship just as much, if not more, than previous failed romantic endeavors.  I hope cynicism doesn’t destroy this relationship and the cynic is able to keep his friend, even if it’s just as a friend.  Unrequited love hurts more than lost love. With lost love, at least the love was there at one time before it became lost.

I have another friend that doesn’t even try to have a relationship at all, who cuts themselves off from even being in any position to accidentally stumble into a romantic relationship of any kind.  Yet, sometimes I can see a small glimmer in her heart that tells me the harder she pushes the possibility away, the taller and thicker she builds her walls, the stronger I know she really wants it, but too afraid to open herself to it.  She’s convinced herself she doesn’t need love and romance at all.  We all need love, that’s how we were designed… to love and be loved in return.

I hope I can inspire her to heal her cynicism, though I feel I’m a terrible example.  She’s watched me go through my pain, my adventures, my new meetings, new experiences and new hopes, saw my tears, felt my heart-break and listened to my disappointments when I failed, yet again.  She is there with me as I fight through these fears and even with a freshly-wounded heart, watches me as I open it yet again knowing full well it could get crushed, abused or used.  I could very much fail again and fear the solidification of her cynicism. 

I believe with all my soul that as long as I keep my heart open to romance, no matter how much abuse it receives, someday… someday it will receive the love, desire and romance it deserves… that I deserve.  The only thing I know is … if I close my heart and allow this disease of cynicism to consume me… I will never receive it.  The love I have for myself continues to heal me, sustain me, and give me the strength to get up and try again.  I may get my heart broken over and over, but I also… just maybe… maybe find love.  

I choose to remain optimistic.  I wish I could inspire my friends to do the same because I truly want them all to be happy and deliriously in love.  Maybe they are perfectly happy in their cynicism and it’s my romantic notions that don’t understand. If that’s the case, and it could very well be, then I don’t want to understand and become cynical too; I am meant to be romantic.  I could love and accept them as a cynic, and hope they can love and accept me as a crazy romantic in return.  I’m not saying they’re wrong in their methods, I’m just saying their methods are not right for me.  My methods may be the wrong kind, especially in light of my constant failure, but I can’t give up.  I hope they still love me after they read this blog post… they are cynics, after all. 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Monday, November 04, 2013

Dog River Library Festival '13



One of the joys of being a writer is the opportunity to meet fans and readers face to face at local writing events, festivals, signings and conferences.  It’s a chance to connect to the reader, gauge responses to the work you’ve worked hard to create, see how well our vision translates, and just have a moment to witness the fruit to all our labor. 

Last year I attended over 42 appearances all over the state of Georgia.  I went as far south as Columbus and Milledgeville, east to Lawrenceville in Gwinnett County, north to Marietta and west to Bowdon Junction.  I could be found at festivals, cultural art centers, bookstores and libraries.  I met readers as young as ten and as old at 110, and I loved every moment. This weekend I attended the Dog River Library Festival '13.

My life has since been turned upside down (some for the good, some not so good) and took a little break from appearances.  I also took a little break from the marketing and business side of writing and publication and spent a little time being reminded of my joy and passion for the art of writing.  I learned a few new styles of writing, and dabbled in a few new genres.  I developed a love and appreciation for poetry, short stories and flash fiction, and danced around with the construction and exposition of romance and erotica (two genres I loathed to read).  I spent some time in the company and awe of other talented writers. 

It’s really important for writers to be surrounded by other writers, to learn from, to associate and to relate.  I needed the writers that have come in my life so much I doubt I’ll ever be able to fully express to them how much they have all meant to me. Recently, I’ve reconnected with some of my readers and fans and have made a few appearances as local festivals and appearances.  That’s important too.

But, it’s time to get back to work.  I’m now diving back into my writing and pushing my literary agency to the next level.  Thank you, everyone, to all those who have supported and stuck with me through what has been a very wild and changing season in my life. 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Friday, November 01, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 - Day 1


Day one is over.  Now it's time for me to get to my 'regular job'.  
Here are my counts for this first day into the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2013:

I started with the first three chapters already written.  I wrote them several weeks ago, but as always... life got in the way, the brick wall of writer's block slammed into my face and the story was pushed to the side.  I wasn't even sure if I was going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, knowing the dedication, determination and drive it requires to reach the 50,000 (+) word goal, but with the encouragement of some of my friends, I jumped in.  Mostly because some of my other writer friends wanted to do it and needed the encouragement, and how can I encourage others to do something I can't or won't do myself?  So, here I am.

Start Word Count: 3,794 words
Added Word Count: 2,584 words
Total Word Count: 6,378 words
Words left to go: 43,622 words
Days left: 29 days
Daily Word Goal: 2500/week day - 12,500 words per week

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray


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