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This Square Peg.

Happily Not Fitting In Since 1978.

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Discoveries. (Or, Eureka, We Keep Finding Her.)

We never stop growing and learning about ourselves, do we? Below are some of the things I’ve realized about myself lately, because I’m all about epiphanies, epiphanies, dive-into-self-discoveryepiphanies…anyway, read on, s’il vous plait.

  1. Discovery: I receive a special kind of joy from unsubscribing to the abundance of emails that clog my various inboxes. There’s nothing like cutting the cord. And I accept that this provides a level of contentment that I can’t fully describe.
  2. Discovery: shyness never really goes away. But it becomes manageable. I have tons of friends who don’t believe that I was or am a shy person, and I attribute all of that to good shyness management; i.e., ignoring that 9 year-old who’d prefer that I retreat and hide and keep quiet. She’s cute but bossy. (Side note: I really appreciate the few people in my life who keenly see shades of that 9 year-old in my actions and completely give me room to navigate it all. It’s nice to be known.)
  3. Discovery: I give people very few chances to edit themselves. If you’re rude or mean or dismissive from jump, I rarely have the desire to want to see you change your ways. Because, deep down, I don’t believe you want to. People have the ability to be better and I should want them to want to, riiiiiight? Working on this one.
  4. Discovery: if I smile at you and you don’t smile back, you’ve ruined that aspect of my day. In other words, I’ve put a lot of importance of non-verbal communication lately, more than I have in the past. But perhaps this goes hand in hand with #3. Maybe you’re having a bad day. Maybe you’re constipated. I don’t know. Working on it. (I think it’s because if I’ve made the effort to be polite despite the insanity of my day, you should too? But when was human nature ever so black and white?)
  5. Discovery: I compete with other drivers. When you’re in the next lane and you rev up and increase your speed, I do the same thing. And I like to win. Don’t tell Mom.
  6. Discovery: also related to 3&4. Despite my penchant for quietly psychoanalyzing people, psychoanalysis isn’t necessarily insight. And as much as I dig deep in my own psyche and examine my choices and actions and why I do them, I honestly don’t give that time to other people. Insight and the ability to really see into a situation and the people involved is a gift. One I don’t have. And real talk: I think this also limits my fiction and the ability to really see into my characters.
  7. Discovery: I’m not as cynical or pessimistic as I like to believe. I am the child of parents who believed in and functioned on high levels of optimism. I think I’ve been volleying between those two opposing forces my whole life: cushioning myself in pessimism but nursing, deep down, the hope that I’ll be proven wrong.
  8. Discovery: During difficult times, writing has always been a crutch and/or a distraction for me. Don’t get me wrong. I fully believe that I was born to be a writer. But my inability to be creative lately makes me wonder if looking at writing beyond what it is–an art form–is why I can’t seem to get into it lately. Am I placing on it requirements that it’s not equipped to handle? As in: making me feel better?

Thanks for visiting epiphany central. What things have you learned about yourself lately?

Blogvember #24 and #25: Thursday and Friday.

#24: It was lovely being off work on Thursday. This is what I did, rather than blog. Sorry. Well, not really.


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#25: Since it’s Black Friday, here’s a poem I wrote a few years ago, entitled, naturally, Black Friday

and so she believed the hype.
she tipped her head toward the heavens and waited for the stars to descend into her eyes, and she waited, so quietly, to hear a skip, a jump, a tiny hop within her heartbeat, and she gazed at him and waited for an infiltration of memory to imprint his every nuance and niche…
they didn’t tell you, did they, honey?
you may leave with a shiny new gadget after that doorbuster sale, my dear, but hype isn’t the heart, and the feeling of his hand in yours will never not feel like a bag of nails tapping at the soft flesh of your confused palm.
behind silly platitudes and empty love songs is nothing but air and the truth and you.
and so you believed the hype.
and you were duped, conned, swindled, sandbagged, hoodwinked, and yes, so sadly bamboozled.
but didn’t you know? 
when did love ever need a sale?

Blogvember #22: Choices.(Mission Possible)

This was the photo I used for the back of my recent work of fiction, The Loftiest Thing. I love this photo. For one thing, the trees in the background absolutely fit the title’s theme, which was also one of the stories in the book. Secondly, I think my photographer (who also happens to be a good, longtime friend) captured the joy I felt at having accomplished this latest creative project. The natural lighting, the setting: parfait. 

My third book is on the horizon. Can we pause to celebrate this?


A part of me wants to keep that photo for the back cover. The other part of me wants to change it up. Just because change is always refreshing, and I think this third book represents some of the changes I’ve made with how I want to present my art. Below are the three photos I’m considering. 


Your mission, if you choose to accept it (and why wouldn’t you? You love me, right?): what say you? Pick the photo you like the most and tell me your option in the comments. I’m partial to all three of them, so I’m no help. The most-picked will win and I’ll make it my back photo. 

Happy choosing on my behalf…

Blogvember #18: About your Author. (Friday Taunts)

Been a while since you resurrected this feature, huh?
Well, I wanted to give you a break since you’re always so pleased when we do it.

By now, though: don’t your readers enough about you?
Nah, we haven’t even touched the tip of that iceberg.

Fine, fine. What’s going on with you? Are you eating tons of beef and wearing cowboy hats yet?
Perish the thought. I’ve yet to even see a cowboy hat.

Really?
A lot of people are transplants like me. And the natives I’ve met seem quite content to go hatless.

Interesting. What else is new? You still eating like it’s going out of style?
That was way harsh, Tai.

Sorry. But remember that you’ve accessed the meaner part of your personality when we have these silly conversations. You basically asked for it.
True.

Anyway, how is your eating and exercising and all that?
Much better. I’ve resumed my regular fitness schedule, left all the donut shops behind—we’re doing well.

Good. What else is new, pussycat?
You’re effective at pretending like you actually care.

I learned from the best.
Nothing else is new. My fro is handling the new environment better than I expected.

Oh, yeah?
Indeed. You know how temperamental she is. But I’ve been really moisturizing and babying her, so we’ll see. Next year will be a full-fledged summer here so she may implode.

Perhaps a protective style, then?
Look at you, giving advice!

I read enough about this stuff on here; might as well join in. Speaking of cowboys—
We were not discussing cowboys.

We talked about their hats, so yes, we were discussing them. Have you met anyone yet? You know…wink, wink…
Oh, Lord.

What? We’re all thinking it.
No, I haven’t.

No one?
No one. Unless Idris has decided to start dressing like John Wayne.

Oh, Lord.
Now you know what it feels like.

Switching reels: are you writing?
I am! Finishing up stories and starting new ones. All at the same time, of course, because this is how I do.

When is the third book coming?
I’m really shooting for early 2017.

Yeah?
Yeah.

Care to wager on that?
That’s my cue.

Come back! I want to taunt you!

Blogvember #17: Throwback Poemday.

I wrote this a few years ago. Happy TBP.

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From Damascus to Emmaus 

I’m waiting you out.
I’ll be here in Damascus,
waiting for the scales to fall from your eyes.
You’re making it hard on yourself, honey,
determined to wear
these blinders, determined to
ignore what we and the world know:
I am the one for you, and you are the one for me.
So, go on, kick against this oxgoad,
persecute your poor heart with denial,
hold their coats and stand aside,
pretend like you don’t feel it or get it.
The light will come. 
Oh, yes.
And it will be luminous.
When it does, I’ll be waiting, ready to use my heart as your salve to open your poor eyes, 
ready to journey with you to Emmaus,
where our chests will burn with love and understanding.

Blogvember #2: Deliverance.

Back in the day, I was a proud purveyor of the poker face. Betraying nothing on the surface while all kinds of madness/side eye/frustrations went on underneath. Perhaps it was a by-product of growing up painfully shy: I didn’t want anyone to notice me anyway, so it wasn’t necessary to communicate, even via my face, what I was feeling. 

Dear reader: that poker face is gone. 

Its absence was brought to my attention some years ago by my bestie, who commented that my face hid nothing. “Oh, really? It used to,” I replied, shocked and slightly hurt that my poker face powers had diminished. “Not anymore, cool cat,” she said, highlighting one of her many nicknames for me. (Another one is Muffin Breath. We’ll talk about that later.)

Alas, it was true. The fact was that I was no longer that withdrawing little girl who was content to observe without reacting. I reacted. And anyone could tell exactly how I felt. Something about this change made me proud. Sure: I’m a big believer in keeping calm. I mean, unless Idris is in the room, I’ve never been a proponent of losing your cool. Being the daughter of a mother who has repeated time and time again to always keep my dignity (advice that has brought me through a lot of interesting times) means that yes, I certainly try to maintain my composure. But maintaining my composure also means that my narrowed eyes in your direction is clear communication that whatever you’re doing/saying ain’t fooling me. And I think that’s the point, dear reader. If life is a poker game, at this point, I’d rather you look right at me and know how I feel about a matter. Plus, I don’t know how to play poker so I’m basically there to eat your snacks. 

Are you a poker face purveyor? Or, like me, has your ability to mask everything flown the coop?

Blogvember #1: Sorry, Blogtober.

Oh, did you think you’d only receive one post from me today? Not so, dear reader. I’m officially announcing that today begins Blogvember: I’ll be blogging every single day this month. Woo hooooo…

If you remember, I participated in Blogtober both in 2014 and in 2015. But since October kinda got away from me as far daily blogging, we’ll try for this month.

Blogging daily during my favorite month would have been a treat. But life happens. And honestly, the absence of a traditional autumn happened. By now, you know that I left the East Coast for Texas. And though several locals here have assured me that it gets chilly around this time of year (as 84 balmy degrees currently makes itself home in the atmosphere), there still won’t be the crispness and beauty and orange that encompasses the electricity I feel when autumn comes. Without that personal, seasonal, visual excitement to accompany this year’s Blogtober, it fell by the wayside for me.

But we always say onwards and upwards, around here, don’t we? Burnished leaves and orange moons or no, here comes Project Blogvember: 30 days of posts from yours truly. Will you join me?

the writer.

Simply put: the works that I produce need to thrive and be shared. We write for ourselves first, yes, but an audience is intrinsic. My family and friends have long supported my writing. And that was enough for me for a long time. It’s a big world. If 10 people I know and love like my work, hey, let’s throw a party. But there’s a comfort level in that. (See the above quote about shyness. That’s part of it, too.) Those you love are those you love. They aren’t the random reader that may stumble on your book and love it or hate it or scratch their heads or wonder who you think you are or applaud who you know you are. 

I’m looking for readers outside of my world, my comfort zone, my people. It isn’t about money. (Although, I mean, come on…) I want my audience to grow. I want to share my passion with more people. 

I have a new Instagram page: @sodavis_thewriter 

Kindly follow it, won’t you? Other than TSP as a platform to occasionally share my work, I’ll share here, as well: one clever hashtag at a time. 

try: Artists Series #1

If you’re an artist (writing, painting, singing, sculpting, dance, figuring out Math equations which, to me, is a true art form), perhaps, like me, your main medium is often influenced by another art form. For example, if you draw, you may love dance as a source of inspiration. As a writer, I find myself inspired by a long list of other art forms, most of them visual: the performing arts, fine arts, etc. I can look at a painting and fly off the artistic rails, so to speak, my creative drive climbing to giddy levels. (Or not. I haven’t written creatively in a while, save for this blog. And it’s why I have this blog. More on that later.) Anyway, the latter thesis statement is an introduction to a new feature here at TSP. Quite simply, I’ll be sharing things that inspire me. From paintings to photography to dance routines to music, I’d love to feature the works that have moved/inspired me in the past and in the now. You like? Cool, huh? First up: a music video.

I will say that music videos stopped being relevant to me when people started throwing dollar bills in the air and all the flashing lights took away from the wonder of the medium. I mean, come on. My first music video experience was watching a skinny guy in high-water leather pants stepping on a ground that lit up as he walked. Who or what could compare after that? (He also solved a potential gang war and walked on the moon. You know who I’m talking about.) These days, the videos I tend to watch are on YouTube and are of artists that I personally enjoy.

Several years ago, I discovered a music video called “Try” by Nelly Furtado. You guys. The video is just rich with story. I relate to story. No surprise there. When I first watched it, I was writing in my mind. It was that compelling. And when you combine Nelly’s lyrics to the visuals (that plaintive we are we are we are in love near the end of the song/video and the images that match continue to take my breath away), it’s hands down one of my favorite things to watch. And why am I drawn to it so significantly? Ultimately, the video reminds me of the primary topic I revisit time and again in my fiction, in my poetry, what I’m drawn to in life: the emotional connection between people. Whether that connection is strong or fraying, it’s the topic what I ultimately go back to.

Enjoy. In the comments, tell me whatever you like: if you enjoyed Nelly’s video, what inspires you, whether you also swooned when that skinny guy lit up every surface he touched. 

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