Inspire (it isn’t a dirty word)

In my home I have a wall of bookshelves. Don’t we all. There are also more books scattered all over the house on other shelves as well. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from film maker John Waters, ““If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ’em!”

John Waters also said, “It wasn’t until I started reading and found books they wouldn’t let us read in school that I discovered you could be insane and happy and have a good life without being like everybody else.”

But back to what I was looking for. I was looking for a book about California art, but ended up on the other side of the wall looking at poetry and literature.

Then something in my mind just shattered. It was my current WIP (work in progress.) The structure is there but there had to be more. The characters need to care more about each other.

So there you have it.

Over the years, and I’ve been over quite a few, we adults find that things like work (jobs), school, judgmental friends and relatives, and society in general has totally beaten any inspiration and creativity out of us. Or at least they try damned hard to.

I never understood the disdain some people have for creativity, change, innovation, and inspiration. The artist is revered but damned if anyone wants to study art. The writer is mocked as a quaint hobbiest. The inventor is mocked with the mythical idea of the man who would rather spend his life inventing a better apple peeler, or mouse trap than feeding his children.

My advice to my children, and anyone else who finds everyone around them is trying to suck every bit of inspiration out of them, is don’t listen to them. Shut out those who say no. Shut out those who make condescending remarks. Shut out those who say your creativity, be in art, music, writing, or even science, is a waste of time. Shut them out. Make them more of a pariah than they want to make you.

Inspiration isn’t just some stupid workplace poster that usually insults rather than inspires.

Inspiration can come in any form. It can be love. It can be acorns that have fallen on your car. One idea inspires an entirely different idea out of nowhere. Just go with it. Don’t think about it too much. Just don’t listen to the assholes. They don’t want you to be inspired. Being inspired makes you dangerous. That is a good thing.

I also tell my kids that if they’re around those who are boorish and lack imagination, and lack empathy, and want to be jerks, to just keep their ideas to themselves. You don’t have to share your world with assholes.

Creativity doesn’t have to be monetized either. Don’t ever forget that. 

And when you’re young, and even if you’re not, it is OK to just move on.

Let yourself shine, even if it is just on the inside. Have satisfaction knowing that you aren’t like them.

Then share with those who care, and understand, and those who feel safe sharing their ideas with you as well. Yes, know you can always be inspired by listing to others. Your story is wonderful, but it isn’t the only story. Don’t shut others out.

In the meantime, since I’ve turned this post into a vent rather than what I was going to write (don’t mind me, I have other things to share so just move on to the items below.)

I recommend you check out the books below. These are four of the books that distracted me and got me thinking about other things. They are by two authors I admire and respect. I am honored to consider both friends.

They both have a reverence for words, and actually see the world around them. They’re observers of life, and love, and everything.

You might be inspired. You never know.

Sack Nasty
Prison Poetry by Ra Avis

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Dinosaur Hearted
By Ra Avis

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Centripetal Force and Other Stories
By Jon Obermeyer

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Wingspan
By John Obermeyer

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One last quote. This is something we don’t say often enough to each other.

You are loved.
~ Ra Avis

heart-kittens

For those looking more for the Vampire side of things, I understand Vlad will be back soon with mire diary entries.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Experience: Parenting, Teens and New Vampires

As smart as the teens in your life are, as worldly as they may seem, they are still inexperienced children. Sure they look like adults. Sure in some places in history and in the world today they’d be considered adults, but they aren’t.

One earns the right to be an adult with experience and that moment the lightbulb goes off when you suddenly realize out that money is earned, relationships need to be nurtured, and it never gets easy. That doesn’t mean that it never gets fun. That doesn’t mean that all happiness gets sucked out of your life. It just means that you have to wake up and pay for your own coffee. Yes, and remember to smell the roses without anyone reminding you to do it.

As the poster child for missed opportunities, cluelessness, bad decisions and what-could-have-been, I can say all this. Yes, I learned from my mistakes. It doesn’t mean I still don’t make mistakes. Oh, and I forgot everybody’s favorite what-could-have-been. But yes, like I just said, I learned from my mistakes so I can see what young people go through and try to guide my children, or at least encourage them not to let fear, anger, despair, misplaced romance or plain stupidity fog their judgment.

Anyway…

I’ve found that when someone turns into a Vampire, it is almost like being a teenager again. Everything changes – both physically and mentally. They change in ways they could have never imagined, no matter what they thought they knew.

My young friend Cody was a happy and successful Silicone Valley executive when he woke up one morning with a craving for human blood and fangs. Four years after the fact Cody has adapted quite well and embraced his Vampire self, but there are still frustrations. The learning curve is still there, even thought Cody firmly believes he knows everything. Yes, does that remind you of any seventeen year olds you might know?

Just as you need to give your teens a break and spend time talking with them, and listening, you need to do the same with your new Vampire friends.

Yes, they’re going to do stupid things like over indulge on blood or sleep for a week. They’re going to offend older Vampires. They’re going to make a lot of mistakes, but they’ll learn. So give them a break and let them know if they’re making fools of themselves. It is our job to protect them and teach them. After all, we will be spending a long long long time in their company.

That is all for today. Just a thought. And don’t forget to give a hug to your favorite Vampire today. And don’t forget to tell your kids that you love them – always.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

I dream of books I cannot read

flying pages

I dream of books I cannot read.

I dream of blank pages.

I dream of leather wing back chairs, a book, a G&T and bliss.

Books are always an interesting subject – all kinds – old, new, electronic, paper, fiction, nonfiction…some people lust after books. I have, over certain volumes and bindings.

I almost always have a book (or my Nook) in my purse or car or with me…

My house is filled with books with walls of shelves…thousands of books of all ages, all genres, all kinds…mostly fiction and art but there are ALL kinds.

It is a comfort and makes me feel at home. It is a passion that defines who I am. BUT…

But in defense of all of those kids who are spending their time socializing…and playing…and doing other things…things other than reading…

I grew up in a house full of books that I couldn’t read. I couldn’t read. After a while I could read a little bit but it wasn’t easy.

I’d look at novels for youths that my elder siblings would read but I couldn’t read them. I’d open them up and there would be too many words. I’d pretend to read them (that lasted all of half a second but I did it often.)

 I looked at the pictures and I’d draw. Drawing was my reading. I’d make up my own stories.

I’d play dress up and have grand adventures on my own, outside. I was never bored.

My mother read to us. My father made up wild stories with songs to go along with them. So I could say I knew the stories. I just didn’t read, at least not well.

One day a week my mother would take me to a tutor who would attempt to teach me to read and spell. The child I was could never concentrate. I’d be quiet and polite. I’d longingly look at the large world map on the wall and my young brain would travel the world by boat and horse and train. I could read the map, just not a large book. Maps would take me where I wanted to go.

I would write poetry because it was short. But the words in the books still were like great walls of a castle with walls I could never scale. But I don’t think I really cared because I figured it was my lot in life and I didn’t know any better and nobody ever explained anything to me about life and consequences. I just knew that when I was caught doing something bad I’d get into trouble so I learned not to get caught. Reading was another thing.

Then it kicked in, when I was about 11. My brain finally figured out what those words on the page said.  Long words now made sense. Sort of. It didn’t happen over night. Then the goal was to make up for lost time. Sort of.  It wasn’t easy. Now reading is second nature and a joy, but it was once a foreign uncomfortable experience.

And I had a strong desire for others to think I was smart (oh the folly of youth.)

I did, through no planning, became the most read member of my family.

My kids read but they’re extremely picky about what they read. So they don’t always read books unless it is a school assignment. Sometime they do, but not as much as I expected they would.

When they were small we spent a lot of time in the library, in book stores, and reading at home. We read and read and read. Well, I read to them a lot. I wanted them to be prolific readers.

They’re good readers. They’re smart. They’re scary smart. But they aren’t avid readers – at least not of books. But that’s ok.

The thing is… my children are a lot smarter than I ever was. They’re more worldly, independent and mature. They make good choices. They make better choices than I ever made at their age. They think about things. They talk about everything and discuss and figure things out. They keep up with the news and the big wide world. That isn’t completely a matter of chance.

I’m a firm believer that we all think a little differently. Our brains, our hearts, and our souls are all bound together. Our brains are a base of our being with layers of experiences bringing richness or bitterness or sweetness and insights. Or we can see those layers of experience as tools we have at our disposal to help us deal with those brains we’re born with.

As parents, as friends, as lovers we can give those in our lives more layers of richness and wonder. Give no burlap or thorns, we all get enough of that on our own out in the big wide world.

Books are like that too.

If there isn’t a book around I find myself reading labels or anything with words on it. If there are no words I make up stories in my head. And if someone else is there then they can tell me their stories.

When I dream I see books but the pages are always blank. When there are words in my dreams I can’t read them. Street signs are mysterious and undecipherable. It is a strange and frustrating world in my dreams.

And oh please, don’t go there…I don’t have any learning disorders. I just had other things on my mind like pictures and maps and everything I could see and hear. I loved books with a passion but reading came later, just in time.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

books

And to get into the holiday mood and READING check out my latest book Tinsel Tales and anthology from the WPaD group (the best Christmas stories since The Christmas Carol)  Click here for: My books.

Plus Creepies (Horror), Dragons and Dreams (Fantasy), Passion’s Prisms (Romance) and Nocturnal Desires (Erotica). All under my various pen names.