Tell us of Monsters

Hello Interwebs, it’s been a while.

I’m going to do something different. I’m going to tell you about something I’ve been working on in an attempt to get myself to work on it more frequently.

First, back it up. I wrote a short story for my niece, and with the help of a brilliant artist friend, it’s now been illustrated. We’re going to get it published through a local printing press and perhaps you’ll find it in a local bookstore. It’s called Alyssa and the Elephant, but I’ll give you a better update on that when I have it.

Ok back to now. Let me tell you a story about a story.

Ever since I was a shorter slightly more annoying and younger version of myself, I’ve been convinced that some kind of monster lives in the woods. Not necessarily scary ones, or mean ones, but definitely something, or someone.

My family would always go adventuring around Michigan in the summer. This further cemented my ideology that monsters definitely live in Michigan somewhere. Especially in the U.P. Have you been there? You should go. It amazes me how many people live in Michigan but have never been to the Upper Peninsula.

There are towns in the UP that have just sat there empty since the logging industry has somewhat slowed down. To me though, what if the people just left? What if something was up there they just didnt understand, and that’s why the left. Or maybe it’s haunted. Probably haunted.

About six years ago I came up with a concept plot of a few monsters living in secret in the Upper Peninsula. It was mostly a love story, and a town full of secrets. But, as with many plot lines I’ve come up with, it wasn’t time yet. My brain had not been through what it needed to go through in order to tell this story. I didn’t know then how much I would need those characters in the future.

Let’s do a time warp again. To a year or so ago. Maybe two years. I was battling depression and anxiety. Every day was me getting up, putting on armor that didn’t work, and attempt to play a human being. And a character I knew from before, her name is Phoenix, reawakened in my head.

I hadn’t realized to write a darker story, I needed to be in a darker place. It has a much different tone than another piece I’ve been working on. Instead of seeing a character grow into a warrior, we have a warrior who is tired, and ready to live the quiet life. But the quiet life comes at a price.

In short, I’ve begun writing a story about a town in the U.P. that’s full of monsters wishing for the quiet life. The town is safe enough for them to live openly, and they come there for refuge. Founded by the protagonist’s aunt, it has it’s own government and standard of living for it’s residents. It’s centered around Phoenix and her family; herself, her two adopted children, her aunt, and occasionally her sister.

Developing the mythology behind this story is taking a lot of time and a long time. Deciding which monsters to involve and which ones not to. There are a lot of things to think about. Especially whether or not it sells (Is it believable).

Is this something you might be interested in reading? If not, then don’t read it. If you do, well great, I’ll keep writing it. I mean, I’m going to write more about it regardless of what you think because I owe it to Phoenix to write the end of her story.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Hopefully I’ll have something more for you to read soon. Oh writing, so much thinking. So many potential plot lines. So many characters whose fate lies in your hands.

Peace, Love, Ink stains,



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Out of the darkness

*The following post is going to talk about Depression, Anxiety, and some really not great thoughts.*


I posted the other day that I had received some good news, but I didn’t elaborate. Because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to yet. But I think I will now.

So here’s what’s been going on.

I’ve been going through Hell.

I’m not saying that to be overdramatic or try to get attention. I’m telling the truth. I was in the darkest place I’ve ever been. Every single day was a fight for control over my own mind. And I almost lost.

I never once thought in my entire life that would have to battle for my mind. To suddenly have the stories in my head be buried so far down that I couldn’t even write anymore. I couldn’t sing. I had lost my voice.

But one day in June, I decided that I needed help. I had been told that seeing a therapist might be a good idea by my friends and my husband. Who frankly, were probably tired of watching me spiral out of existence. But it was me who had to finally make that decision. So I found a therapist in my area that had the option to be faith based. Because let me tell you, that when you lose your voice, you lose your joy. I couldn’t even go to church. I struggled and forced myself to go if I did at all.

So since June, I’ve been working with a therapist. Once a week. It was not easy. Told her things that I’ve never told anyone else. Worked through the things that had been holding me back. Pushed myself to say the things that I really wanted to say. Reminded myself what MY goals were. Not what the world told me they were.

And then I made a really big decision. It was not easy. I’ve decided to quit my full time job to pursue my writing career for a year. I want to see where it takes me. I want the chance to write my name in lights. I want to be in the room where it happened. And if I fail, well, I try again. J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times. I expect to be rejected even more than that. But I’m ready for it. I finally have a plan, or at least a guide, and goals that I actually want to work for. The stories in my brain have to be there for a reason.  

And then the other day at church. I was sitting as the pastor was preaching his message and said to God “I’m done. Take it.”. I felt a release. I felt like I let go of the last bit of my burden. That the demon digging its claws into my back had finally released. And in place of a scarred and bleeding back, was a plate of armor.  

And then at my most recent therapy appointment, my therapist said she didn’t think I needed to see her weekly anymore. That we would meet again in a few weeks and reevaluate, and then meet on a need basis.

I win.

Peace, Love, Time to destroy the patriarchy,



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Checkers, Normandy, Black Coffee

I don’t have trouble with words. And I don’t have trouble putting words into sentences. Sometimes the words just come all at once. Which is what happens when something super emotional happens. Like my grandfather dying. So here we go.

My Grandpa was a war hero. He was a recipient of the distinguished flying cross. He was part of the young eagles program, and took 500 kids up in his airplane. He was a career electrician. He was married to my grandma for over 60 years. He ran 2.5 miles every morning until he was in his 90s. He loved the tv show MASH. He only drank black coffee. He was also my grandpa.

When I was little, as in so little I barely remember it, he would pick me up and take me to the fairgrounds to look at the horses. We’d walk around and look for a while, and then he’d take me home, most of the time, I’d fall asleep in the car on the way back. Walking is hard, k?

People have asked me if my Grandpa ever talked about WWII. Well no, he didn’t, unless you asked him. He was more interested in what I was doing, why I was doing it, always with this amused expression on his face, with the tagline “That’s outstanding!”.

My grandpa had the ugliest basement in the history of the world, which we fondly referred to as his “War Room”. It housed all his war memorabilia, a bomb (no really), and the most horrendous carpet of the 1980s. It was there that we celebrated birthdays, christmas, surprise puppies, and played checkers. Fun fact, I played checkers with my grandpa a lot when I was younger, until one day I beat him, and we stopped playing checkers.

I had the privilege of being with him the last time he went to France. It was an excessively generous and amazing graduation presents from my aunts and uncles (One of my uncles was working in France at the time). After meeting up with my grandpa in Paris, we went to Normandy. And let me tell you something, I have learned a lot about World War II in my history classes. Seeing the beaches of D-Day, and the airstrip my grandpa flew out of after D-Day, that was an experience. I wish I could convey to you how strange it was being in the museum on Utah Beach with my Grandpa, being treated like a VIP. To me, he’s just grandpa.

My grandpa and my grandma came to every single school event that they could. They came to all my band and choir concerts (and kept all the programs because I just found some from 2004). They came to plays, county fairs, horse shows, anything we said “Hey I’m doing a thing”, they were at that thing. My mom is a band director, and my grandpa even went to her band concerts. And even though I am not a fan of football, the rest of my family is. My grandpa had season tickets to the MSU Spartan games, and he went to as many as he could.

Today I have to bury my grandfather. It’s not going to be a fun day. But at the same time, it’s not a bad day either. He lived an amazing life. Traveled the world. Everyone in his town knew him. But not because he was a war hero, he was active in his community always. He was nice to people. He cared. He prayed.

We all think we’re going to live forever. My Grandpa, at the age of 96 (and a half), lived a well life.

Land of the free, because of people like my Grandpa.

Peace, Love, and black coffee,


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In the weeks that follow

Let’s settle in for some real talk, shall we?

I feel like in the last couple of weeks, I have literally given all I have to give. It’s weird. To be at the ultimate empty. To be at negative empty. But every theatre person knows, that you aren’t done until you’re in the negatives. Then you know you’ve put on a good show.

Here’s the stupid thing about me. I helped put a high school musical together. I helped organize it, cast it, hire people, order wigs, make arrangements for whatever needed to get done, built  a six foot tall hairspray can (no really). Did I mention I don’t run the theatre department? I just kind of did it? (With permission) I also have been coaching a JV soccer team in the midst of all of this? What is a life?  Why have I done this to myself?

So my tank has been negative empty. I knew it was going to happen. I knew it was likely that I would push to hard (and I did).  And today I found myself feeling guilty. Like I should have done all of these things better. That I could have coached better, helped the show run smoother, whatever. And, knowing what I know now, I could. And next year, I will. But for now, there’s this kind of fog hanging over me as I try to find my footing again.

Speaking of feet, I get to have surgery in June, on my foot. I am 97 years old and have a bunion, and pre-arthritic joint. And I cant drive for 4-6 weeks. So. There’s that. I’m kinda nervous about it. I’ve never had surgery (except wisdom teeth). And of course one of my soccer players HAD to be like, “you could die on the table, I watch Grey’s anatomy”. Kids…

So that’s how it is. Feeling guilty, anxious, and basically on negative-empty. I’m working on it. I planted one of my gardens, which is good. I’m trying to get back to writing, but my brain doesn’t exactly want to cooperate at this time. But some of the characters have finally started speaking to me again, and that’s a good sign.

Anyways. Thanks for reading. Don’t let any Avengers spoilers slip, k?

Peace, Love, Cake,


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Soccer, Hairspray, and Roller-skating Waiters

So like. Guys.

I’m tired.

And I’m not normally tired. Usually I’m good. But I’m at that weird point where the exhaustion just hits you. Physically and emotionally, I’m just about spent. I wasn’t completely sure why, but then I thought about what my week typically looks like. And it’s hard to find balance. I havent worked on any of my projects for a month. A. Month. No wonder I’ve felt off-balanced and weird.

I helped write this grant so the high school I work at could do Hairspray. And it’s just going to be a great production. And I helped put everybody together, and helped find a director, organized auditions, and I’m at rehearsals once a week. And answering questions about it. A lot of questions.

And soccer season just started. And I’m coaching a team of high school girls. And it’s great, I love soccer. I love it because it’s so different from what I normally do, that it helps my brain work out other stuff. It also keeps me very busy, and I feel like I’m home long enough to eat dinner, work out, and go to bed. And do it all over again. I leave my house at 6:30 in the morning, and get back, if I’m lucky, and 5:30pm. Unless I have to get groceries. Or if I have to coach later. Or if we have a game. Sheesh.

I’m struggling to find a balance. I think part of my issue (and there is a list of them), is that it’s still really friggin cold in Michigan. We’re into second winter instead of spring, and I’m not down with it. So someone please find the on switch for the sun, k?

Did I mention I also have a “real” job? Where I do paperwork and answer phones. But also act as a mentor, candy-dealer, bandaid supplier, confidant, and cheerleader. All these hats are clashing with my outfits.

I feel like a waiter at one of those pifty-poofty restaurants, with all the people demanding their food, but the other waiters have called in sick, so it’s only me, so I have to put on roller skates to try and serve everyone. But I keep falling on my butt, there’s spinach in my teeth, and someone just knocked over a bottle of scotch. And also there’s someone narrating my failure up on a stage, slam poetry style. Probably Ryan Reynolds. Maybe Melissa McCarthy.

There are a lot of people who say they’re tired. And I really that it’s a really <expletive> part of American culture. IF YOU AREN’T TIRED YOU AREN’T LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE.

Why are we so tired?

Why do we put up with being so <expletive> tired?

I like working hard. I love being busy. If I’m not busy, I get into trouble and spend too much money on Amazon. But, I’m busy on my own terms. I don’t have to do all these extracurriculars, but I do. I work hard. And when someone who doesn’t work as hard as me tells me that they’re tired, I have a hard time feeling sympathy for them. (But that’s me being judgemental, and I’m working on that)

One thing that Mr and I have been working on this year, is spending less time in front of the TV. We have one night a week where we dont turn on the TV. Because it’s a distraction. Keeping us from getting projects done,  and preventing us from connecting with each other. There are too many times where we’re just sitting in front of the TV. Watching nothing. It’s just on, playing a TV show we’ve already seen all of.

I personally have taken a step back from social media, especially Facebook. What used to be fun, just stresses me out now. Everyone’s an expert on everything (you’re not btw. So stop posting those memes as facts). I’ve felt better about myself, and had less anxiety in my hiatus.

I’m going to just let myself be tired for a day or two. The weekend is near, and I have a lot to do, but I can get it done. And I can also make time for myself, and stick to it.Whether it’s going out for breakfast, painting something weird, or playing fetch with the pack. Maybe I’ll make a pie. I shouldn’t ever feel bad about making time for me. You shouldn’t either.  

Peace, Love, & Spring Break Dreams,


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We’re Back Pitches: The Importance of the Squad


I just got back from watching Pitch Perfect 3, the latest and last installment of the series. While being pleasantly surprised, and laughing at all the inappropriate jokes, I enjoyed the movie. It reminded me of how important it is for girls to have a group. Not a clique, not a team, just the group. Or as the T-Swift calls it, squad. 

And I’m not the first person to consider this. Any TV show that has a group of girls really has the same categories. In The New Female Archtype, writes that they generally fall into the same four, the leader, the sarcastic second, the flirt, and the innocent. Pitch Perfect has those, Aubrey the leader, Beca the sarcastic second, Fat Amy the flirt, and Chloe the innocent.

There is something refreshing about how the narrative shows the squad. Not just how they work together, but how different they are, and still work together. My group is the same way, with one friend doubling up on the role of leader and flirt. I fall into the sarcastic second category, with a hefty side of leader if I have to be. My other friend follows up as the innocent/voice of reason/village elder.  

Women need other women. We’re fundamentally wired to be social, even if we’re introverts. Or introverted extroverts. Women need the other women to encourage them, keep them grounded, and tell them how good their butt looks in those pants. On a side note, I thoroughly enjoyed how Anna Kendrick was really given a chance to show off her vocal talents.

I am blessed enough to have a squad. A solid one. Squads come in different shapes. I have the ancient one, with my two bffs, and then another with my work bffs. And then even another with my family members.

It’s also important to note that I get along better with boys than girls. I’m not the most athletic person in the world, but my incredibly dry sense of humor makes up for it. I tend to be one of the boys, fitting in comfortably with them as I usually don’t have to be so competitive. As the sarcastic second, competition between girls bores me to no end;

I like the girls that realise and embrace the fact that we are literally all in this together. There comes a point when you realize that the light those other girls try to shine on themselves is just a reflection of the sun. The women who support you best are the ones that are comfortable generating their own light. The best women aren’t afraid to lend some to you when you need it. Sometimes we have to take more than we should, it’s ok as long as you give it back.

Even though I haven’t spent a lot of time on this earth, I’ve learned my fair share of how detrimental it is when a member of your squad turns their back on you. What I have really discovered from that is those people weren’t actually your squad anyways.  They were imitations of light. Reflectors, not creators.  

Don’t be a reflector, unless you’re doing it on purpose.

Be incandescent.

New Year, New Pages,


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The other side of the curtain

This last weekend I had the unique and fun experience of directing a bunch of high school students in The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon. This is the first time that I’ve directed a show like this, and the first time I spent all my time in the director’s chair, and not on stage.

Everyone who has ever met me knows that I can be on the bossy side (sorry, you’re just not doing it right). However I really thrive in the role of sarcastic second (I’m just a bossy one). Taking on the director role was something I’ve always wanted to do, and was very happy to do it. From a performer standpoint, it’s very weird. But not a bad weird. I loved pretty much everything about directing. Although I pretty much love everything about theater anyways. What surprised me the most about this experience was that I rarely second guessed my decisions. Which is something I do all the time in my regular life. Like, every day.

I’ve worked hours and hours with these kids. Warm-ups, blocking, all the scenes, changing scenes, running all the lines over and over. I’ve seen an amazing amount of growth in their performances. I love watching that. I’ve watched them struggle, from being terrified on stage, and only working in corners, to running all over the stage. I’ve seen them get frustrated with me, and then hug me (maybe they were trying to strangle me, but I’m optimistic).

It’s the performance that is the most interesting. I warm them up, I cue the stage manager, and boom, the show goes, and I just watch. I cringed when they stumbled over lines that they breezed through in rehearsal, but laugh at their jokes even though I’ve heard them 800 times.

I work at a low-income, high-trauma school. I’m there 40+ hours a week with this show. I work as a secretary at this school, and I can safely say that every day is different. People who work a regular  9-5 in whatever industry have no idea. I see fights, kids on drugs, kids smelling like drugs, hungry kids, sad kids, broken kids. But I also see happy kids. I see joyful kids. Even so, some days the bad outweighs the good.

We’re on the edge of Christmas break, and everyone here is exhausted, physically and emotionally. Because a school of 1700 kids who have trauma, wears on you in a way that isn’t really describable. Some days the kids are alright. Other days you let a student sit in your office for an hour because she misses her mom and that’s all you can do.

Even with all the bad that happens, they teach me to be more human. They remind me that at our core, we just want to be safe. They show me that no matter what dumpster fire is going on outside, there is hope for the future. Sometimes that future is late to class, and needs a granola bar because they missed breakfast.

That’s ok though, I’ve got granola bars in my top drawer. Take what you need, no, I’m not writing you a pass.

The Show must go on,






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