Interior

You can’t see

The inside that is me

The love and tears

joys and fears

that line the walls.

you see the smiles, frowns, ups and downs

A musical with sound surround

but the the spider fear 

that inside crawls

is hidden from your gaze.

you hear the words I bear

like loaves to a feast

but the empty shelves

and yawning chasm of loneliness

are hid from prying eyes.

You see me but you do not

it takes a lifetime and more to know

The inside that is me.

Margaret Brizzolari

2 January 2017

written in response to the daily prompt.

Questions to ponder

 

Let me start by saying that the purpose of this post is not to garner sympathy or expressions of solidarity. Rather, it’s a genuine attempt to understand what other people do, and more specifically, other people of a similar age and background.

In many ways, life has become easier for the majority of middle class westerners in developed countries. We have easy access to food and water, and electricity allows us to be plugged in to entertainment and information 24/7. All of this ease comes at a price however, and the bottom line is that we have to continually earn a dollar to spend a dollar. That’s fine when you’re young, fit and healthy, but what do you do when age, health or circumstances make it difficult or impossible to earn a living in the conventional ways, or make it necessary to supplement your income in order to make ends meet?

I’ve just started this journey of discovery and wonder if others feel the same as I do. I’m fifty-five this year. Not particularly old if you ask me, but living in a country whose language is not my mother tongue and whose unemployment statistics are high and steadily rising means that I will probably never be able to find employment in the general market. Add to that my age, and I’m out for the count! Although I can earn a little by teaching English, it doesn’t pay very well, and during the summer holidays here, everything stops, including one’s earnings.

Spurred on by these thoughts, I decided to investigate other means of earning some cash, focusing primarily on Internet-related possibilities. After ruling out a number of ideas for various reasons, I settled on writing and online work and set about investigating these in more depth. After all, I’m an English teacher with a BA degree and I have a blog, so surely I should be able to make it in the world of copy writing and such? That’s what I thought!

I started my research at Textbroker.com and was surprised to find that they only accept writers living in the USA. Scratch that then! My next step was to investigate Textbroker.co.uk but they only accept people in the UK, Canada, New Zealand or Australia. So much for that idea! I moved on to the next websites on my list, which were eLance and Odesk.

A quick browse of both websites gives the impression that working online as a freelancer is as quick and easy as the click of a mouse. “Sign up right away and you’ll soon have plenty of work and much more money in the bank,” is what they would have you believe. I then did a quick stroll around some writer profiles to see what kind of background and experience people had, and that’s when my heart sank.

Seasoned writer with more than 17 years of journalism, public relations and marketing experience. I have a proven ability to produce engaging copy, meet tight deadlines, clarify complicated issues and write about a wide array of topics.

My background is in journalism and advertising. I ran my own small advertising agency for several years, which helped me hone my ability to put words together in fresh, meaningful ways. Along the way, I also created thousands of graphics for a wide range of marketing purposes. I have over 25 years of professional writing and graphic arts experience…

These are just two examples of the kind of profile that almost every person had. How could I compete with people like that in what I’m sure is an extremely competitive environment? What can I bring to the table? I don’t have any marketing/advertising/copy writing experience and if I’m honest, very little Internet experience ( I only started really using the Internet about 12 or 13 years ago and there is an awful lot I don’t understand). I’ve always been a mother first and an employee second. I have 9 months of experience teaching English in a high school and some years of freelance ESL teaching experience, but how is that going to help in this situation? My only other working experience has been my seven years as a receptionist and office manager for a dentist. Granted, I wrote quotations and reports and corresponded with the medical aid companies regarding the payment of patients’ accounts, but I don’t know how I could make that relevant.

So you’ve probably guessed that I’m feeling more than a little discouraged! I would love to know what other people think and what other people do when faced with this kind of situation. If you are my age, you’ve probably resigned yourself to the fact that you will always have to work (unless you have a secret method for winning the lottery, in which case, let me in on the secret, please!) but you realize that the opportunities for work will probably narrow as you get older. What will you do? What do you do? Please let me know in the comments.

This post was written in response to the Daily Prompt’s weekly writing inspiration.

 

 

 

Where’re you going?

I was ready to rant about the youth of today and how they have no respect for others after an unpleasant exchange of words at my local  bar yesterday morning. Then I opened WordPress and found this post from a friendly dinosaur, and all my plans turned upside down and wafted away in the fresh breeze of her voice. Welcome back little dinosaur. Your voice has been missed. Your question is echoing in my head and as soon as I figure out the real answer, I’ll let you know.

Let me not (poem)

Let me not

Let me not, when morning skies

Are painted hues of red and gold,

Or autumn leaves set hills ablaze

be soul untouched, oblivious and cold

 

Let me not, to piteous gaze

Of children living daily pain,

Or  catatonic victim stares,

Bring apathy and cold disdain

 

Let me not, to lover’s touch

Or gentle gaze and loving hold

In dark of night and light of day,

Be distant and aloof and cold.

 

Let tears fall for all the world

Let me live and embrace the pain

Not only mine, but all around

And sear my soul with cleansing stain

Margaret Brizzolari 2015

 

This poem was inspired by…. Actually, I can’t find the blog that inspired it. The intervening days between reading and writing have wiped it from my memory. I do remember that it suggested writing in the tone of the emotion that you fear most. Of course, this is a little different. Since I can’t link to the original inspiration, I’m going to link to the Jacke Wilson Blog because his Beatles prompts are so amazing. Thanks Jacke.

Free book from Amazon

I love finding free books on Amazon, especially ones that appear to be worthwhile.
A quick glance at the book reveals a number of quirky, innovative prompts that would make great blogposts or just good writing practice fodder.

I like the way this book starts off with simple, easy prompts and moves towards those that are more difficult. Many of these prompts would be suitable for teachers to use for free writing classes.

Some examples:

98. [WC: 100] You cut yourself, but no blood comes out.
15. You are forced to have a roommate. (If you have a roommate, pretend that they have just been introduced to you and are being forced upon you.) Create a list of rules designed to drive them crazy and make them move out. What happens as a result of the list?
82. [WC: 75] The dying words of your character’s father changes his life forever.
61. [Duration: 10 minutes] Your character discovers they are immortal. This happens when they are at the detonation site of an atomic bomb and everything else is laid to waste. Describe before, during and after of the explosion.
147. One more drabble. 100 words precisely: That’s the reason why Uncle Fred is never allowed to babysit again.

And I enjoyed the conversational tone:

Section 5: Writing Prompts #150-200   Yes, normal everyday write as much as you want prompts. The previous stuff was just for building muscles. The following prompts you can write as little or as much as you want. Heck, if you write a full novel out of it you have my blessing to go out there and get that thing published. Just give me thanks in the liner notes. Or don’t, I’m fine with either. You wouldn’t do that to me though, would you?

If you like the sound of these, zip over to Amazon for the book.

1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts[Kindle Edition]Ryan Andrew Kinder (Author)

Amazon is giving away this book for a limited period so check that it’s still free before clicking the buy button

I’m off to peruse for a perfect prompt.
Cheers!

I believe II

This is the second half of the I believe prompt. What do you not believe?

There are few things I would negate with all my heart. These are the ones I can think of.

I don’t believe in beating myself up when I make a mistake. We all make mistakes – some are corkers that seem to blindside us and some are little thorns that inch their way into our psyche – either way, I let it go. I pick myself up and learn from those mistakes. And I’m kind to myself. It’s better not to allow that inner conversation to wipe out all your good points because you’ve made one mistake.

I don’t believe in a God-given right to say whatever you think, whenever you think it, no matter who you’re speaking to or what the subject is. There is a place and time for everything and the time for speaking out should be well chosen. I’m thinking here of personal relationships, not grandiose social causes. So the picnic table your husband made is a little wonky. Is it necessary to tell him that in front of friends when he’s proudly showing off his work? When your child is telling a grandparent about a good grade he got, is that the time to bring up the poor grade in another subject? By the way, I don’t always get this one right. That’s when I refer to the point above.

I don’t believe everything I see or hear in my wanderings around the Internet. It’s important to ask yourself some key questions when reading web articles (or any article, for that matter). Who wrote this, and why? What are their motives for sending this article out onto the Web highway? What facts support their hypothesis? How trustworthy are those facts? Statistics are my favourite “fact” that can be manipulated to support virtually any argument. If an article contains statistics, be doubly wary. How trustworthy is the author? There appears to be a large sector of the population who believe everything they read or hear and rush to disseminate it to friends and family. And so urban legends are born. My cousin saw it on the Net, so it must be true!

What about you? What are the things you don’t believe with all your heart?
Posted from WordPress for Android

I believe

In the exquisite tenderness
Of your touch
Filling my body and soul
With your love.

In our children reflected in your eyes
Sweet laughter,
Rippling through years
Coming after.

In your smile,
Your tears,
Your presence
All my years.

I believe, now as then
You, always and ever
We two, always together.

Copyright M Brizzolari

Written for the daily post challenge

Posted from WordPress for Android

Happy

Happy! Poems in response to the Daily prompt: “What does happiness mean to you?” They are moments when I have felt truly happy.

I

Your baby breaths
My cheeks caress
Your tiny weight
Upon my breast
Soft, slow, warm
We rock.

II Spring Haiku

Spring sun warms my face
Gentle breeze her fragrance spreads
Soothes my wintry soul

III Wedding Haiku

Solemn vows exchanged
She glowing in purple silk
Made by mother’s hands

IV Writer’s Haiku

Words flit across page
Alive, they speak and enchant
Weave bitter-sweet dreams

Posted from WordPress for Android

Nighttime Daily Prompt: The Full Moon

In response to the daily prompt found here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/daily-prompt-nighttime/

Nighttime  

Silver moonglow bathes savannah
Doe eyes search long, yellow grass.
Fear stalks the night
On silent padded paws.  

She snorts a warning
Hooves explode in frenzy
Bounding, darting, dodging
A squeal rends the air
Claws rip, hold,
Teeth clamp throat.
Doe eyes glaze and fade
While in the silver glow Cubs tumble toward their meal.  

Silver moonglow bathes city streets
Warm brown eyes search the shadows
Fear stalks the night
On silent sneakers.  

Breath catches, heart pounds,
She calls a warning.
Silence.
Feet explode In a frenzy of fear.
Her scream rends the air
Cut off when hands grip throat.
Eyes glaze and fade
While in the silver glow He lets her fall and slopes off
To seek another victim.

Daily prompt: Is the glass half full or half empty?

So a month has flown by in the blink of an eye and I’ve been back home since Wednesday. This prompt gives me pause for thought as the things that have been happening in my father’s life are certainly not joyful, happy things and it would be easy to see the glass as half empty. He suffered horrible injuries to his leg a year ago and is still not fully mobile and able to walk easily. At the very least, he will always walk with difficulty and he will have constant pain in that leg. He may never be able to garden or work in his woodworking workshop again. How painful that thought must be for a man who was constantly busy making things, gardening and still working part-time at age 78! He seems to have lost so much – glass half empty.

But here’s a thought. Dad’s accident and the need to help has brought my brother and I much closer. Dad has drawn closer to my brother too, and they now have long conversations about the books they’re reading. My trip to care for them during Cynthia’s (my step-mom) hip replacement op and her convalescence has been a very special time for me. I got to spend a month in my father’s house. I cooked and I cared for him and for Cynthia. We chatted and reminisced. I sang all my favourite Broadway hits while he played the keyboard. I hugged him every day and I told him I love him. I may never have a time like this again, and I appreciated every moment. I made him laugh and I made him cry. He told me he was proud of me. Glass half full.

Does that mean I’m glad Dad had this accident? Of course not! But if you have to experience something so painful that it takes your breath away and steals the joy of every day, then you have to cling to whatever good and beauty may come from that deeply painful experience.