It’s a Mystery to Me – or – Dying for the Same Old Thing


50s tv adEven though television appeared on the scene in the 50s,  it didn’t become a household word until the mid-60s. By 1970 it was a major factor in the daily lives of Americans, and once cable TV became the norm in the mid-80s, the average American household was no longer content with just one boob-tube…most had at least two (I personally know a couple who have a television in every room of their home…including both bathrooms).

Before I get to my point I’d like to lay a few statistics on you courtesy of the A.C. Nielsen Company…

  • The average American watches more than 4 hours of TV per day
  • 66% of American homes have 3 or more TVs
  • By the time a child reaches 18 years of age they will have witnessed 40,000 murders on TV
  • 53.8% of TV programing is devoted to crime, disaster and war
  • 59% of Americans can…

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A Passing Year – choka – December 31, 2014

Bastet and Sekhmet's Library


A Passing Year (Choka)

the death of another year
what was
what might have been
happy joyous smiles
dark thunderous exchanges
new-born babes
acts of war
moments of peace
new friends made
losing sight of dear loved ones
joys and tragedies
often humdrum boredom

departing year
pasted in a scrapbook
entitled life
sitting in her rocking chair
the old lady remembers

© G.s.k. ‘14

Happy New Year!

Linked to: Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

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Don’t Get Tired of Living

TIRED OF LIVING….Or maybe not.

Things have been on my mind. So I thought I’d post a New Year’s blog a bit early.

Have you ever gotten tired of living? I mean it literally. Have you really been tired for whatever your personal reasons?

I think that most people experience it at least once in their lifetime, others many times. I think it is part of human nature to get this way. I often equate this feeling with the feeling of defeat; like I’ve been beat.

Have you felt as if the goings on in the world, or your personal life, have overwhelmed you to the point that you could just throw up your hands and walk off of a cliff with your eyes closed and just sail?

I have felt this way a few times in my life. But it’s been mostly recently that I’ve had these sad feelings. Some people feel them early in life, some when they are elderly, and unfortunately, if they cannot overcome them tragedy can strike. It becomes a matter of desperation – suicide, homicide; people just disappear from the face of the earth sometimes. Sometimes people go “postal.” The list of what could happen if people do not accept this defeat and face it can be catastrophic.

Woe! Wait a minute. Did I just say ACCEPT defeat? Yes. If we linger on the defeat, then terrible things can happen. We can do terrible things, and people and events can have a negative impact on us if we don’t accept the loss. Recognition and acceptance of defeat is not a bad thing! It should also be human nature to take the lesson and move on, but in these last few years, this part of human nature…the part that makes us forget…is failing for some.

When we refuse to acknowledge defeat, we are only punishing ourselves. I have learned this in my life recently mostly. Of course, I was once defeated as a young teen and I tried to commit suicide. That was dumb. And later, after living through that, I was glad I did not succeed. Life was great for a very long time for me. Then I hit 40 and took a look at where I was. I hated it. I marked myself as a failure.

When I was in my early 20s, it was hard for me to find a decent job. “You have no college education,” was their excuse. But, I worked two jobs, and I was never ahead of my bills, but I was content. Not happy per se, but okay with life. In 1996 at the ripe old age of 26, I pursued that college education. After September 11, 2001, it became null and void as employers used 9/11 to do all sorts of horrible things to their employees. As the years went on, I then heard, “You’re overqualified.” What?

I ended up working at Wal-mart. Right back to where I was before college, except I was not content. Now I have $130K in student loans I cannot pay due to that I spent so many years on minimum wage. So at age 39, I found myself ringing up the purchases of ungrateful, bitchy customers and being talked to like a dog, working for a corporation that cares nothing for its employees, nor does it support its employees. I was doing the backstroke, and it was tearing me down.

However, eventually things turned out okay and this last 14 months haven’t been so bad financially. However, I know to never look a gift horse in the mouth, as they say. Whoever THEY are. And I know that the universe takes as well as it gives.

I am not totally NOT to blame. Does that makes sense? I’d like to blame everyone else for my misfortune, and I won’t lie and say I do not feel I wasn’t dealt a raw deal sometimes. But I made mistakes. Mistakes I made consciously. And I let other people push me into things and moods I didn’t like.

I think sometimes, it hurts us worse when we screw over ourselves. People and events often hurt us. Even the doings of strangers can cause us depression. The people we care for say terrible things to us. Maybe a friend or family member died suddenly and left you reeling in sad feelings. Maybe you studied day and night for that exam, eating fruits and vegetables that you were sure to boost your brain power, but yet, you got a low grade on the test. What went wrong? Did you make a terrible mistake by driving drunk, and ran into Mrs. Smith’s award winning maple tree? – be thankful you didn’t kill anyone. Maybe you were just walking down the street and someone ran by and stole your purse. That all sucks. But does it hurt worse than when you really, truly, and totally fuck up your own life? Sure, driving drunk is a good way to start, and there’s a chance that some outcomes can be worse than others. But, say, you are like me. You do not drink and drive.

When someone wrongs us, we are not always to blame. Very rarely, in fact. But let us wrong ourselves and the world comes crashing down. Sure, sure, sometimes we let people wrong us, or we put ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe we should not have been there at all. But when we make one decision that seems logical, or profitable, and that shitty decision wrings our asses dry, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Sometimes one wrong move can cause an avalanche of incorrect decisions. Or cause a chain of events that make every other right thing that we’ve ever done or decided upon null and void. These are the things that create the moments in life when we are tired of living. Truly tired.

What are the symptoms of being tired of living? Well, depression, of course. You may find yourself not enjoying the things you should, like playing with the dog, going to birthday celebrations, watching your kid’s dance recital, or writing the great American…or some other…novel. Your sense of pride, both in the things that you do and in the things others accomplish…like that dance recital…is diminished. Foods don’t taste as good, comedies are not as funny, and no one loves us anymore. Why don’t they love us? Well, they still do really. They just don’t always understand what’s going on and they don’t know how to approach us. And if they’ve never had one of those tired-of-living moments, their understanding is even less. We feel abandoned.

I spent a couple of recent years going through this. Whatever THIS is. And I thought of all sorts of horrible things to do to myself or others. For instance, I contemplated suicide on more occasions than I have fingers and toes to count them on, and then I thought about murder. I also thought about just getting on the road and driving until that road ended so that I could start a new life.

The end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 were horrible. I’ve talked about that before. The terrible weather in the Midwest, my mother’s sudden illness and surgery. My beloved feline familiar and soul mate of 14+ years then went to the Rainbow Bridge. And one of her biggest illness episodes took place in the middle of the night, during a blizzard, while my elderly mother was still in the hospital recovering from her emergency surgery. I had to go out in the middle of the night in my pajammas, with a shovel, and dig my way to the shed to get my cat’s carrier to take her to an emergency hospital. I loved my Ganymede and still do. Do not make fun of me. I only hope one day you’ll feel love and devotion like that for someone, or an animal…who I do believe are someones.

It was awful. The last couple of years coming to a head. And even after Ganymede’s and my mother’s issues were resolving, more catastrophe continued – money issues, job issues, serious personal illness. Finally, around mid-2014, things settled down and began to look up a bit. Yet, even now, I get that feeling. In fact, I’ve felt it over the winter holidays.

Statistically, more people commit suicide during Christmas. Why? That’s when they feel the loss, emptiness, and loneliness the most and the worst. I miss many things during the winter holidays. And, it’s when I feel the most regret. I miss my loved ones who have died. I grieve the children I never had. And I miss the lover I never found. I always think he’s out there somewhere. Maybe he’s all alone like me. But I always prayed he went on with his life when I didn’t show up. I hope he’s not full of regret like I am. It is times like the season at hand, that I feel these voids the most.

I also reminisce about those old days at this time as well. The New Year’s Eves I spent with my friends on the dance floor. The Christmas cards I used to get. I remember when it took two books of stamps to mail out my holiday cards, now I’m lucky if it takes a half of a book.

As some of you may recall, I am a polytheistic pagan, and I miss having Yule circles with my friends. I miss these things the most around Halloween and Yule. Witches and pagans have it rough at these times. I like being a solitary practitioner, but I also enjoy celebrating Samhain and Yule, or Beltaine with a group of friends and acquaintances. I get depressed. Of course, there are familiar places and people I can join in with during the winter celebrations here and now, but my depression keeps me from it, which causes me more sadness.

I remember having costume parties when I was a kid, since Halloween is my birthday too. I mean, I was always a nostalgic fool. So I was always one to reminisce. I’m a romantic like that. But these days, the memories are painful, not joyful. I feel sadness when I remember the good times. Not joy and love. I used to be happy and laughing when I remembered those old crazy days when a friend and I got stuck out on the sands of Lake Waco as high tide was coming in and we had to push the car to get it to budge. Or when a childhood friend and I drove around until all hours back in the 80s, listening to Poison and stopping in at 7-Eleven to get those Big Gulps, which we lovingly referred to as “Soaks.” I miss the days of holding the hand of guy who cared for me. Now, that’s been a long time ago! Too long.

Yes, I have been missing the days when I had a life. Missing it for years. Missing it for so long I forgot to live in the present. It was so much easier to dream of the past. Life is sometimes hard to bear.

These thoughts and longings were ruining me. You know, I have always been one for not knowing when to let go. Sometimes I was not sure if I was supposed to let go of something or someone. Or a memory. I have developed the inability to also let go of pains and wrongs done to me.

For the last four or five years I have been just existing. Then I woke up. I spent many years pleased with myself and who I was. Something changed. I went from a flowery goddess-worshiping, meditating, tree-hugging lover of nature to an angry Midwestern bitch. I left my Texas home and came to a place I dislike greatly because I was bamboozled into it, and I let the feeling take over. Take ME. Drown ME. I failed. This warrior woman, who had never been defeated before was now…is now…weeping, down on her knees with her head on the floor.

But while I’ve been lounging on the floor, I had time to think. Yes, I did my good old reminiscing. But this time, it was not about the good old days. I was trying to decipher what led me to this point.

I let some people in my life demean me, use me, and talk to me like I’m an idiot. I am, by far, no idiot and I’m sure in the hell of a higher intelligence level than they are. It’s funny how someone can cause another person’s despair; steal their self worth. There was a time in my life when I would die before I ever allowed anyone to do that to me.

I was told by someone in the know, that I am a victim of jealousy. That someone with very low self esteem, who is a failure in their own life, was hell bent on making me one too. By crushing me. This person caused me to not be proud of my individual accomplishments. They said, “Look at ALL you’ve done. ALL the time you’ve wasted on college, writing fiction and poetry, and you have accomplished NOTHING. It got you nowhere. What a waste of time.” One thing some people are good at is manipulation.

This person made me believe because I did not accomplish the career I set out to start by going to university, I was a failure. They brainwashed me to believe that people should not celebrate tiny achievements. That it was all or nothing.

In other words, this person’s belief is that your big picture (whole life) is a failure, if that one big life goal is not met. If you do not end up a millionaire, working for Donald Trump or winning an Oscar, you’re a complete an utter failure, loser, etc. I was nothing because all that I have achieved did not lead to the big picture. I was slowly broken down into believing one should not celebrate life’s small successes if they don’t lead to the ultimate satisfaction. Even though, I was satisfied – ultimately. I was accomplished. It’s funny how another can turn off the lights on you, and whisper negatives in the dark, causing fear and desolation. Like the boogeyman.

Yes, I was torn down. Someone set out to destroy me, even though I did nothing wrong to them, just because I finished something. I am not even sure, however, if they did it consciously, or not. But the result was the same. For instance, because my novel, that I spent so many years on, Someday Always Comes, did not hit the best seller list of the New York Times, I failed. All the years I spent trying to make it great; the reading over and over and editing and fussing was all for naught. I failed. It doesn’t matter that I wrote 640 pages in MS Word. 640 pages that no one else wrote or could write. Definitely not this person tearing me down.

When this person wants something from me and I am trying to set aside time for writing, this person gets upset that I will not do for them simply because I want to write. They try not to show it, but I can read it in their voice. People do not understand the author or artist. Often non-writers don’t understand how our minds work; what makes us tick. They can’t and won’t understand it.

Some people I know do not appreciate or understand me or my love for writing. They feel, well, Wanda will be no Stephen King. Well, of course not. No one can be Stephen or write like Stephen, but Stephen. And, what’s up with that anyway? I do not even write in the same genre as him. I am trying to write in the horror/thriller genre, and even if I succeed, I shall be no Stephen King, even if I write as many, or more, books.

After a good cry, I became myself again. I will be a victim no more. I’ve had enough of being someone’s victim in this lifetime.

I let others steal my self-worth. And goddamn it. I will take it back! I AM going to take it back.

As I believe I have mentioned in a past New Year’s post, I let go of the idea of New Year’s resolutions years ago. Repeatedly, we do not follow through on many of them. Trying to meet New Year’s resolutions often stresses us out, then we give up on them. We are then stressed out because we gave up. It’s a crazy cycle. The last few years, I’ve set goals, instead of resolutions, for the next year which I try to meet, and even then, do not always get close. But goals seem more manageable than resolutions. Baby steps, my friends, baby steps. You can reach a resolution, if you approach it one goal at a time.

However, this year…for 2015, that is…I will state one resolution. I resolve to not let anyone cut me down and attempt to destroy me out of envy. Even if only during 2015. I have enough problems without that. I will not let anyone make me tired of living; steal my joys of triumph or tell me that what I have achieved – no matter how small- is not worth celebrating. Fuck off.

If I’m going to be tired of living, it’s because I did not succeed due to a mistake I chose to make, not because I let someone talk me into feeling like a failure. I will not be demeaned when I am actually victorious. I will be proud of my successes now matter what. Whether I type 100 or one-million words in 2015, that’s more than I can say of the one who downs me.

Enough. No more letting people discourage me out of jealousy or anger.

I hope that you will not do it either. Do not let someone downplay your achievements, no matter how minute or how huge, to suite themselves and lessen the blow of their own shortcomings.

Thanks for reading.

Vintage Christmas Ornaments

Vintage Christmas ornaments… I know it’s not Throwback Thursday. But since I missed Thursday, I want to post these. I was looking for vintage, and old fashioned Christmas ornaments online. Found these. We use to have these when I was a kid. Did you?



I enjoy learning about how other writers create. What their writing steps and techniques are.

When I am first working on a story…a book…I usually write it, well, un-colorfully….if I can use a crazy word. Let me explain. I use plain, bland words. I might write a line like, “The boat rocked back and forth on the fierce ocean.” Eh…eh…. Later, I’ll add the words that matter and recreate the sentence. “The millionaire’s yacht creaked and rocked under the weight of the menacing waves. The novice millionaire captain was petrified. His friends and family fought to hold on for dear life against the storm that mysteriously appeared.” Then, later down the road it will change yet again and add points of view, character emotions, etc.

I met one writer who does things differently than I do.  She over describes things, then cuts out instead of building up.

What is your preference?  Your first-draft technique?

Thanks for reading.

Chicago Down (excerpts)

Below are just a few random bits from my working draft of Chicago Down (the 1st draft). I have not written any real action scenes yet. But this gives a small feel about what’s going to go one. I had a bit of trouble transferring it to WordPress, so there might be some formatting weirdness. I tried to correct it.




Excerpt #1 –

The Florida sky was blue for as far as his eyes could see. But to look at him, you would not know it. His eyes were transfixed on something no one else could see. Something off in the distance. His face, a blank slate.

“Say that again, Rudy,” Al Capone said as stared out at swaying palm trees.

“Al. I’m tellin’ ya. I wouldn’t lie to ya,” Rudy said. There was a clear begging in his voice which trembled with both fear of what Al Capone might do if he did not believe him, and what he saw on in that Chicago garage on February 14th.

Al Capone sighed hard.

“Al, things didn’t go how we planned. I mean. It wasn’t supposed to go that way. You should’ve seen them…those things, Al. Al, you should have seen ‘em.” Rudy whined.

“Are you crying, Rudy?”

Rudy sniffled into the phone. “No. But there were monsters. I’m tellin’ ya. Like the ones that killed Little Joe Gilmore and that flapper, Dorine. Like Rebecca said. They weren’t alive. Al, how did they go around the city and no one seen.



How?” Rudy carried on, raving quietly, voice shaking. “Al, you have to come home.”

“Rudy. Rudy, close your damn head.”

“But, Al. You should’ve seen ‘em, Al. I never seen anything…Ask John and Alberto. Al, I’m tellin’ ya.”

“Rudy, shut it. Close it!” Rudy fell silent. “I’ll be back to Chicago soon. Don’t say anything. You don’t know a thing.”

“No. No, sir. Nothing,” Rudy swore.

“And, Rudy,” Al said.


“Yeah, boss?”

“No tiger milk. No flappers. No whores. Understand me? Don’t set yourself up to be anyone’s patsy. Got me?”


“I’ll be there soon to figure this out,” Al hung up.



Copyright 2014 Wanda S. Paryla


Excerpt #2-

Waves of heat rose from the barren, parched ground as if it were on fire. The sun blazed down, immobilizing Salbatora who sat on her father’s porch staring out across the land. If she could get a cool drink of water, just one mouthful, she would be grateful.

She let the thought of a cool drop of water go though. She thought instead of her father – a short, stout, but brave man who died. He had been gone for only three days and Salbatora’s grief, bitterness and fear was still fresh as their last hours together ran through her mind again.


“Salbatora. My sweet Sal. My little spitfire in breeches. You always hated dresses,” He laughed. “Your mother would fight you tooth and nail to get you into anything appropriate for a girl. We could never afford much. But she was good at making you and your sister pretty things,” he sighed then coughed as blood spewed from his lungs. “Your mother is dead. Your older sister is married to a man she hates. He treats her like vermin. You go. Find your brother in the United States. You find him. He did no wrong. You prove it to them. You show them he is a good man. And take Antonio with you. He’s but a boy. He needs you. You find Pedro so the three of you can be a family again. Then, you find a good man to marry.”

“Go to the United States. Find Pedro, my brother. Where is he, Father? Where?” Sal paced the dirty floor of their home. “Where do I start? Please. Tell me if you know.”

“Find a man named Ness. Prove to him Pedro is innocent, and he will help you free your brother.”

“Ness? Ness what?”

Her father smiled and sank into sleep. Sal went out into the hot night air. Starring up at the sky, full of stars, she gave in. “I’ll find him, father. This Ness. He’ll help me find Pedro.”

Sal sat with her rifle at her side, admiring the heavenly skies of her homeland, drinking sips of warm water. How she longed for a cold spring flowing with cleaning, sparkling water. But, even more than water, she wanted her family back. However, that would never happen. And now, with her mother dead, her sister married to a hateful gangster, and her father dying, there was no reason to stay in Mexico. At just seventeen, Salbatora would take her ten year old brother, Antonio, and leave the home that now lay more barren than it ever had in the past.

Sal went back into the house to be by her father’s side. She took his hand and he opened barely opened his eyes.

“Sal. My spitfire.”

She squeezed his hand and smiled at him, trying to be reassuring as he breathed his last. He laid there, dead, eyes focused on her. She let him look for a moment then attempted to close his eyelids. She could get only one eyelid to respond, the other stayed staring.

Sal covered him over with a blanket, grabbed her rifle and went back outside. She sat in a chair staring off into the darkness of the desert trying to decide what to do. She was brave before her father died. Now she questioned her promise. She milled it over again and gain. Stay at the homestead or go find this man named Ness.

She dozed on and off in the chair and the sun was finally coming up over the horizon when she finally stirred. “It’s going to be another hot one,” Sal said whispered to no one.

The quietness of the dawn was ruined by a loud thump and thud coming from behind her. It alarmed Sal and she spun in her chair to find where the noise came from. She spotted Jesus, her father’s mule, at the side of the house. It looked as if he had knocked over a wooden pale.

“Jesus! You crazy mule. You nearly scared me to hell.”

A thud and a crashing noise came from inside the house. The sound scared Jesus who took off running at a quick pace. Sal sprung up from her chair.

“Damn, Jesus! Wish I could get you to go that fast more often.” The mule just kept going. “What the hell’s going on in there?”

Sal hesitantly approached the house. Through the doorway she saw a shadow move among the glowing lights of the kerosene lamps. “Antonio?” She whispered. “Antonio,” she stepped through the doorway. “You’re supposed to be at Ana’s…” Her words left her.

There stood her father half illuminated by the lamps, the other half concealed by the shadows.

“Father?” Sal took one guarded step toward him. “It cannot be.”

Her father staggered forward. Left eye open, right partially closed, he stood with the blood he coughed up still on his chin and shirt. His eyes were void of emotion as he stumbled toward her with an outstretched arm, moaning and groaning, mouth agape.

“What the hell? Father? Father, what are you…” She shook for a moment. As he came closer, he seemed to not know a thing. Stunned, Sal could not move. She was frozen as she observed her father, now seemingly alive, but not at all like himself. As he came toward her, he did not notice the table in his path. He ran into it and hit his face on a chair back as he fell to the ground. He laid there disoriented and moaning.

Despite her disbelief that her father could be alive, she warily approached him. Still on the ground, he lurched at her, grabbed her ankle. She screamed and tried to pull away. She fell to the floor. Her father looked up at her and his left eye was out of its socket, resting against his face.

Sal screamed and nearly lost consciousness as her father crawled toward her. She kicked at him. Her foot hit his face and dangling eye and it totally dislodged and fell to the floor. Sal got loose and scuttled on her hands and knees to the porch. When she stood up and spun around, her father was still crawling toward her.

“Oh, God! What are you?” She asked him.

Without any further examination, her mind settled on demon. Why would a demon possess her father’s dead body?

“Oh, no you won’t,” she said. She charged over to the chair where she had kept vigil with the sky all night and grabbed her rifle.

She stalked up to the porch and just as her father, now back on his feet, came to the door she only hesitated for a second or two before she blew the top of his head off.

“No!” Antonio screamed just as their father hit the ground. He ran toward their father but Salbatora intercepted and grabbed him. “No, Sal!” he yelled.

“Antonio, listen to me.” He struggled against her. “No, Antonio. That was not our kind father. He died in the night.”

Her brother stopped squirming. “If he was dead, why did you shoot him? I saw him walking. I saw him.”

“Antonio,” she hugged him tight. “It was a demon. Father died peacefully in the night. But this…thing…took over his body. For some reason, the thing was after me.” Tears flowed down her cheeks as the realization of what just happened hit her. “I think he… it…wanted to kill me. It was not father, it was a walking corpse.”

“You mean, like Uncle Eduardo said happened to his wife’s mother, Lupe?”

“Yes. Like that.”

“Oh, no,” Antonio stepped away from Sal. “Oh, no.”


“Only two hours ago, Ana’s son, Julio, died from a fever. She made Maria and me stay outside most of the night. When I left…I mean, I…Everything was okay. But what if?”

“Stay here,” Sal ordered and she started back to the house.

“No,” Antonio grabbed her hand. He looked toward their father.

“It’s fine now, Antonio. I promise. Father really is at peace this time.”

Sal entered the house and gathered ammunition for her rifle. She put on her gun belt and grabbed her father’s guns then went back out to meet Antonio.

“You should stay here. It’s safer.”

“Safer?” He looked toward his father’s corpse. “I don’t think so.”

She took him by the shoulders. “Now, Antonio. I told you, father’s dead. You are safer here than anywhere.”

“And what if more of…of them…show up?” He gestured toward the zombie corpse that was once their father.

“Point taken. Come on.”


Copyright 2014 Wanda S. Paryla