Poetry: Nightlights

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I got a new blackout poetry journal that uses classic literature to inspire new works of poetry. This first one is my attempt at making original poetry from a random page of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan:

Nightlights

My love,
were not all natural
dreams forgotten?

The skeleton
crawled about the floor,
rattled up the chimney,
and bathed her hand in sleep.

Nightlights pulsed
while strange children
found new mothers
in the faces of the night.

Once all were safe
her fears sat down
by the quickening fire,
warming the nursery.

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Afraid of Living

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I am not afraid to die –
but I am not yet
unafraid of living.

I’m not sure I have ever written truer words than the 3-line poem above. This little gem came to me while taking a bath last night, so I repeated it to myself like a mantra until I got out of the tub and could write it down.

It is true that I am not afraid of death. I am a bit afraid of the actual feeling of dying, mostly because of the instinctual anxiety I fear it would bring. However, I am not afraid of being dead. In fact, I rather look forward to it. If there is something after death, it will be awesome to explore and find out what else is out there. If there is nothing after death, it will just be like the times I have passed out or been put out for surgery…simply a loss of consciousness which often sounds like a relief in itself. No more worrying. No more pain. No more anxiety or depression.

However, living is scary. Knowing I may have years and years of dealing with anxiety and depression ahead of me. Knowing that I will likely suffer from chronic pain and chronic illness until I die. Knowing that my degenerative conditions will likely worsen with time. Fearing that my husband may get sick or die and I will be alone. Fearing financial ruin. Fearing homelessness. Fearing potentially abusive situations. Fearing the entire planet going to shit (a justifiable fear from my point of view). Fearing that I may end up committing suicide if life becomes unbearable (not the ending I would desire for my life).

Poetry – Malice

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This little poem was inspired by a middle grade book series called “Malice” by Chris Wooding. I liked the world that was created, and decided to capture just a bit of it in poetry (my favorite line is the “mushroom lamps” one):

Malice
By: Maranda Russell

Take the evening train
into the cavernous abyss.
Light up the darkness
with your mushroom lamps
and a fist full
of round trip tickets.

Alien Abduction Experience?

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You all seemed to enjoy my post the other day about past life dreams, so I thought I would share another weird experience I had years ago. This is the closest thing to an alien abduction experience I have ever had. This is only one of two experiences I have had where I honestly wonder if I was awake or asleep (I’ll tell you about the other otherworldy experience another time). It certainly felt like I was awake for the following experience, but it was so odd I can’t help but wonder.

Here is what I remember of that night:

Being woken up by a bright light and sitting up in bed. I have memories of looking at the window blinds in our room to try to figure out where the light was coming from. The next thing I remember, a few small alien beings entered the room and stood around the foot of my bed. I don’t remember them walking in or anything like that, it seemed like they were just suddenly there. The beings resembled the small grey aliens that have become popularized by pop culture/paranormal communities, maybe around 4 foot tall or so. I remember how smooth and shiny their skin seemed. They seemed to be silhouetted with bit of light too, but nothing like the bright light that woke me.

Naturally, I was terrified by these events and I remember trying desperately to wake my husband up, who was sleeping peacefully next to me. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get him to wake up, which panicked me even more. Suddenly, I found myself laying down again, almost against my will it seemed. I felt myself floating upwards in this horizontal position and then I don’t really remember much else until I was returned. I do not remember going through the ceiling, or being aboard a spaceship, or tests, or anything like that, but I do feel like a lot happened during this blank time in my memory. I do remember kind of floating back down into bed later, the same way I had started to float up. I remember being really sleepy and kind of out of it, almost like I had been drugged or sedated. Due to this, I fell asleep quickly.

If this was a dream and I was asleep the entire time, I find it odd that I don’t remember any of the middle part, even though I remember the beginning and end so vividly and emotionally. Normally, I remember a dream fairly in its entirety, and the more I think about the dream, the more details I remember, but no matter how much I have relived this experience, I really do not remember what happened after floating upwards until I came back down.

I have no idea what really happened that night, but I’ll never forget it. We do live near Wright Patterson Air Force Base, which I later found out is rumored to be highly connected to the Roswell incident, Area 51, and other secret space programs, but who knows? I have heard that UFO activity is common in the area around the base, but that could be due to various military-related programs.

Why Did I Watch the Abuse?

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Last night I was thinking about my history of abuse and how I grew up seeing so much of it. As far as physical abuse goes, I did endure some growing up, but it was much more common for me to see someone else physically abused in my family. There was a “scapegoat” in our family who seemed to be the target of much of the worst of the abuse.

Thinking back, I remember how when this abuse would happen, I would scuttle into the corner or hide in a nearby alcove, but I never tried to actually leave the room. Common sense would seem to dictate that when violence is happening, you would want to get as far away from it as you can, but I didn’t even try.

I questioned myself last night why this was so. I came up with several possibilities. First, perhaps I was afraid to leave the room because I thought it would draw further attention to me. My main goal when violence would erupt was to try to become invisible. Sometimes the rage would boil over and the physical and verbal abuse would extend to me if I happened to get caught in the crossfire, so I naturally tried to fade into the shadows. Sometimes, early on, I would try to distract and please the abuser in hopes of calming them down, but that never really worked.

Another reason I think I stayed to watch was because deep down I feared for the safety of the scapegoat and I wanted to make sure they didn’t die. There may have been some morbid curiosity tossed in there too, the way that human nature makes us crane our necks to see what happened when driving by a car crash.

Lastly, I think I stayed and risked my own safety because I felt responsible for trying to make peace after the explosion. I hated to see the division in my family and the anger and pain created by these confrontations. After the worst of it was over, I would often go to the victim and try to comfort them, and then I would even go to the abuser and try to comfort them. I would try to mend the rift between them, although obviously looking back with adult eyes, I see the utter futility of my efforts and sometimes feel anger that I felt responsible to hold the family together in the first place, as I was so little at the time (elementary school age).

Horror movies…are you a fan or a foe?

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This weekend I’ve been catching up on my horror movies. Last night I caught a flick that was obviously a SAW knock-off and another movie called “The Bunnyman”, which was about a killer who dressed in a bunny suit (yeah, it was about as scary as it sounds). Tonight, I am watching a movie about spoiled, ungrateful grandkids and their dead grandmother who wants to get revenge for being ignored all her life. Not sure how that one is going to turn out, but guessing that the airheaded girls the boys brought over to party are going to die pretty soon.

Anyhow, catching up on my scary quota has gotten me thinking about the debate around horror movies. Some people believe that horror movies are psychologically damaging and that the violence contained in them encourages violence in real life. Others, such as Stephen King (the master of scary himself) believe that horror movies are just for fun or good for letting off steam. Once I read an essay by King which explained that in his opinion, watching horror movies gives us a “safe” way to get out our baser emotions and instincts so that we don’t act on those feelings in real life.

My opinion is that horror movies are often good for a laugh (many of them are more funny than scary). I also think that horror movies can be a good way to feel better about your own life since (hopefully) you aren’t currently being tortured or murdered. I do think many horror movies are stupid and pointless which may be why I prefer psychological thrillers and supernatural scaryness to the predictable “slasher” flicks. I also prefer ones that have some kind of good triumphing against evil in the end. I don’t really enjoy movies where all the “good guys” die in the end because there seems to be no real resolution. Of course, those are personal preferences though.

So, how do you feel about horror movies?

Drugs are Scary

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Recently, my husband and I went to a special class about street drug use among youth. The only reason we really went was to earn some of our foster parent educational credit hours, but I must say that the class turned out to be eye-opening and even frightening on many levels. I thought I already knew the basics about street drug use…but apparently there is ALOT I still had to learn.

Following are a few of the facts and statistics that were shared during the class that surprised or even shocked me. Read them over for yourself and decide if we as a country should be worried…

  • Of all young people who die from overdosing on drugs, 98% started with marijuana. (Guess that kind of ruins our society’s whole “marijuana is harmless” belief).
  • Studies show that the risk of a person having a heart attack in the first hour after smoking marijuana is 4 times more likely than their normal risk.
  • On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the hardest to get and 10 being the easiest to get, getting crack cocaine in this area of Ohio is an 8 for a minor. (Although obviously this statistic would vary depending on where you live and other factors, it scares me that it is so easy for our youth to get hold of cocaine).
  • Ketamine, known on the streets as “Special K” is actually a tranquilizer for large animals. For this reason, many veterinary clinics and other animal handlers often become victims of theft and other crimes due to addicts pursuing their drug.
  • OxyContin, Morphine, Vicodin and Codeine are in the same family of drugs as Heroin. (No wonder these pain killers are so addictive)!
  • Heroin users often start out by abusing prescription drugs.
  • Approximately 1 in 6 meth labs EXPLODE! This is truly terrifying! And these are not small explosions!
  • People who abuse methamphetamines have less than a 5% chance of ever fully recovering.
  • The average age for someone who inhales chemicals to get high is 9-13. (If that is the average age, many kids must do it at even younger ages. We obviously need early intervention here.)

So did those facts worry you at least a little bit? They should. If you don’t already talk to your kids about the dangers of drug use of all kinds, please start talking. And always keep an eye out. Don’t be the parent that is in denial and doesn’t see a problem right before their eyes until it is too late.

Happy Halloween!!! Now get to writing!

First off, Happy Halloween to all of my fans, readers and fellow lovers of everything spooky! Halloween is probably my favorite holiday, and not just because my birthday falls close to it. I love creepy, dark and dreary stuff, so maybe that explains why my favorite authors are Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson.

Anyhow, Halloween is a great time to sit down and let your imagination run loose as well. If you love to write, feel free to take one of the following Halloween-themed writing prompts and make it your own! You can use these prompts to write a story, poem, journal entry, Tweet or anything else your little heart desires. Have fun!

*If you could be anyone or anything this Halloween, who or what would you be? Why?

*Use your senses. Brainstorm a list of all the Halloween sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings you can think of.

*Pretend you are a symbol of Halloween. Describe Halloween from the point of view of a jack-o-lantern, bat, witch, spider, candy bar…or anything else you think of!

*Do you agree with schools banning the celebration of Halloween due to the religious or spiritual roots of the holiday? Why or why not?

*What is the best trick you have ever pulled on someone? Or the best trick pulled on you?

*Make your own witch’s brew. What would go into it? What would the concoction do?

*What really scares you? Write about it.

*How has Halloween changed since you were a kid? Do you miss the way things used to be?

*Should adults be allowed to trick or treat?