Blog Posts

Posted in Female Poets, National Poetry Month, Poetry

Jennifer Wong, Poet


Blogging From A2Z April Challenge

What better way to begin the Blogging From A2Z April Challenge than to tie it in with National Poetry Month. Okay, I started late so today my first blog post begins with the letter J. I plan to go back and write the complete April challenge with more posts for the entire month. I love poetry and look forward to April every year when there’s so many activities revolving around poetry. I’ve written poetry since I was twelve and have several poems published.  I’ve written a poetry manuscript which I’ve submitted to a publisher. I’ll let you know how that turns out. Rejection is so terrible but as a writer, you just have to keep going. Never stop writing! 

My favorite poets are women. I studied poetry in college and became fascinated with learning just how much women have contributed to the world of literature. We have copies of poetry from antiquity to current times. I discovered a list of Female Poets that I am using for research. Since I’m retired, my main project is studying more about poetry. I have several favorites that I intend to keep learning about. Reading about how women speak through the written word is something that never gets old to me and helps with my own writing. 

Today’s female poet is Jennifer Wong. I am featuring one of her poems GLOW that evokes such vivid images in my mind. 






By Jennifer Wong

In the old days everyone there knew
how to make ice lanterns: filling
the barrels with water from Songhua
and leaving the blocks to freeze.
They lit and hung the lanterns outside houses.
But as time passed they grew
more ambitious with their craft:
to carve a dragon’s whiskers and scales;
a lotus pavilion, goddess kwan yin,
and the Great Wall of China
for the brave-hearted.
Look at the children laughing
and skating away.
The crystal palace beckons to you.
You remember how far
this water has traveled.
The amusement won’t last.




Jennifer Wong was born and raised in Hong Kong. She studied English at Oxford University and earned an MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia. She has a creative writing PhD on Chinese diaspora poetry at Oxford Brookes University.

Wong is the author of the poetry collections 回家 Letters Home (Nine Arches Press 2020), which was the PBS Spring 2020 Wild Card Choice; Goldfish (Chameleon Press, 2013); and Summer Cicadas (Chameleon Press 2006).  She has also published poetry in journals, including Stand, Magma Poetry, World Literature Today, The Rialto, Oxford Poetry, Asian Cha, Voice & Verse and anthologies, including Eight Hong Kong Poets (Chameleon Press, 2015) and Becoming Poets: The Asian English Experience (Peter Lang, 2014). She is a book reviewer and translator, and her work has appeared in Poetry London, Poetry Review, Pathlight, Modern Poetry in Translation and Asian Review of Books, among other publications. She has taught creative writing at Oxford Brookes University and courses at the Poetry School and City Lit.  

Wong lives in the United Kingdom.




Posted in crime fiction, crime thrillers, undercover cops

Who The F*ck Am I?: Steve Regan Undercover Cop Book 1

I don’t usually read crime fiction books, so I didn’t know what to expect. After reading Who The F*ck Am I?, I can say that I was entertained and couldn’t stop until the end! The character of Steve Regan as the laid-back undercover cop was perfectly described. I like to see images of characters in my mind as I’m reading and the author used vivid details for the people and action. The internal struggle of Regan as he’s assigned a case involving a Bolivian cocaine cartel, and whether he should give in to the lure of easy money, makes the character more personable. I liked the fact that Regan considered his life and how his actions would affect his mother. I don’t like to read about characters who are one-sided. Loves his mom but likes to fight the bad guys, Regan is one attractive fictional character. Author Stephen Bentley uses his experience as a former undercover detective in the U.K. to give the reader insight into the criminal world. This is Book 1 of his Steve Regan Undercover Cop Series. I will definitely be reading the other books in this series!  5 stars!
Posted in author interviews, author's life, cop memoirs, crime fiction, crime thrillers, fiction, Reviews, the writer's life, undercover cops, writing

Steve Bentley Author Interview-The Writer’s Life

The Writer’s Life

Today for the series The Writer’s Life,  I am featuring an author interview with Steve Bentley, former undercover cop and barrister now a freelance writer and bestselling author and HuffPost UK Blogger.  Steve is the author of the Steve Regan Undercover Cop Thrillers, the Detective Matt Deal Thrillers, and Comfort Zone: A Tale of Suspense; a different type of mystery that features a conflicted character who suffers PTSD from war. He wrote his best-selling memoir Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story: A Gripping True Story of Britain’s Biggest Drug Bust, which will be made into a movie.

I first met Steve on Twitter when I noticed the ads for his books. The title Who The F$#@K Am I? was unusual, and of course, I had to find out the answer. That led me to buying the book and signing up for his newsletter and Facebook author group. Steve put out a request for writers to participate in a mystery anthology he was putting together. I contacted him and agreed to submit my work. I’m proud that I published two stories in “Death Among Us: A Murder Mystery Anthology”, a book that features the work of ten international writers. Although I haven’t met Steve in person, I feel like I know him and consider him a mentor and friend. I’m also a member of Steve’s Fan Club. Members have the opportunity to be beta readers and read ARCs plus write reviews. I’ve had the pleasure of reading all of his books that way.

  • Now let’s hear from Steve! Tell us about yourself Steve.  Where do you live? Where did you grow up and attend school?

Many people know me as Steve, but I use my full given name – Stephen – on my book covers. I have no idea why. I’m a Brit but have lived in the Philippines for the past five years. I grew up in Huyton, Liverpool during the Beatles era and saw them perform live once in the Cavern before they became famous. I consider myself fortunate to have attended a grammar school before they were disbanded in the name of ‘social equality’ which is just a phrase meaning a dumbing down of an education system that wasn’t broken. I didn’t go to university until my late forties.

  • Are you married or single? Any children or pets?

Happily married with two boys who keep me young and two puppies, Hershey and Cookie.  

  • Are you employed now? Retired? If so, what were your previous occupations?

Supposed to be retired but writing books seems like a full-time job to me. I was a detective in the UK for fourteen years and then a London barrister for another fourteen years. At various times, I have also worked as a sales manager, truck driver, motorbike courier, heavy plant operator, and hospital porter.  

  • Writers always talk about coffee a lot, even posting memes and cartoons. Are you a coffee drinker? Do you eat any specific food/snacks you while writing? Do you listen to music or need silence?

Yes, I like coffee, but only two cups per day. Too much caffeine is not a good thing. I don’t eat or listen to music while I write. I’m too busy ‘seeing scenes’ taking place in my mind before I transfer them to paper (Word).  

  •  What do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?

I love watching movies and TV shows mainly on Netflix. It’s my way of unwinding at the end of the day accompanied by a cold beer.

  • Would you consider yourself a reader? What types of books do you like to read?

I am a reader. I enjoy crime thrillers mostly, but I am also partial to good historical fiction or any interesting biography.

  • Have you ever taken any writing courses?

No. I’m self-taught using online resources and still learning.

  • Can you tell us what are your opinions about censorship and the media?

As a principle, I disagree with censorship, but I recognize the need to protect minors. I believe in freedom of expression, a free press, and open, transparent society. However, I do advocate that with freedoms come responsibilities. I detest state secrecy and wish I could abolish all freedom of information legislation. Now, there is an oxymoron.

  • Tell us about your books, especially your newest one. Why did you decide to publish it and what was your inspiration?

My latest release is titled ‘The Secret: A Prequel to the Steve Regan Undercover Cop Thrillers.’ I decided to write and publish it because the many fans of the series expressed some dismay at the then conclusion of the series in Book Three of the original trilogy. I’m glad I did resurrect Regan as it has been well-received, and that prequel is now permafree everywhere as an intro to the series. I now plan a fourth book in the series. I also have Book Two in the Detective Matt Deal series – ‘Mayhem’ – which was released November 25, 2020.

  • What type of characters do you enjoy writing about?

Flawed protagonists coping with their own demons.  

  • What is the theme of your book? What genre is it and who are your readers? Is it set in a certain time period?

‘The Secret’ is a crime mystery/thriller set in 1960s and 1970s England tracing Steve Regan’s first involvement as an undercover cop. Type of reader is an interesting question. As a generalization I would have to say mainly women aged between forty and ninety. Yes, I do have some nonagenarians in my fan base.

  • How do you come up with ideas for your book (s)?

Partly my life experiences inspire a story but also news events that pique my interest.

  • Do you self-publish or are you with a traditional publishing company?

As I write this, I am considering an offer to publish one of my books – my undercover cop memoir. That offer is from a prestigious UK mainstream publisher. There are pros and cons that I need to carefully consider. As for the remainder of my books, all fiction, they are self-published.

  • Writing can be an emotionally-draining and stressful pursuit for many authors. Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Don’t write if you don’t enjoy it. If you enjoy it, write, write, and write some more. You get better every time you write a book. 

  • How do you market your books?

Mainly through building an email list and cross-promotions with like-minded authors. I have also used Facebook ads with some success.

  • Do you have a blog or website? Where can readers buy your book?

My website can be found at ‘The Secret’ is free to website visitors who join my mailing list. I used to blog there too but lately I found that too time-consuming and now concentrate on writing books. Retail links for all my books can be found at Books2Read.

  • What is one surprising thing you would like your readers to know about you?

I was aged fifty when called to the Bar of England and Wales.  

  • Do you have a quote from someone else such an author or a quote from a book/song/motto?

Perhaps this motto – Illegitimi non carborundum (translated as “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”)

  • Please tell us about your book, Steve.

The Secret: A Prequel to the Steve Regan Undercover Cop Thrillers  

What is the secret capable of destroying a glorious achievement and a source of national pride? A secret so enormous it could not be told for many years, until now. British undercover cop Steve Regan experiences a baptism of fire when he investigates ‘THE SECRET.’ New and old Steve Regan fans can now discover him at the beginning of his crime-busting career in this gripping thriller. Join Regan in this prequel to the Steve Regan Undercover Cop Thriller series by tagging along with Steven Hanrahan as a young C.I.D. detective in 1970’s Liverpool until his world is shattered by a tragic event involving a fatal car crash.

The young detective is hand-picked for a dangerous undercover assignment. On accepting the role, he moves to London – the ‘Smoke,’ adopting a new identity. The legend of Steve Regan is born with a foolproof backstory so he can infiltrate the international crime gang behind England’s biggest sporting secret. A secret so shocking it could taint the image of British sport irreversibly if it were ever divulged. What is that secret? Is it worth dying for?

  •  Where can readers buy The Secret?

Free on all sales channels and on my website once the reader signs up to my mailing list.


What are the links for your social media and website?




Thank you so much Steve! I really enjoyed learning more about you and your writing life. I hope you’ll return with updates and news about more books.

***More of Steve’s thoughts about censorship and using swearing in writing will be in a future blog. Should authors use swearing or ‘bad words’ in books for authenticity or should they try to please all readers who may be offended?


Posted in Reviews

Review of Mayhem: A Detective Matt Deal Thriller (Detective Matt Deal Thrillers, #2

Review of Mayhem: A Detective Matt Deal Thriller (Detective Matt Deal Thrillers, #2

Writer Stephen Bentley, a former UK police Detective Sergeant, pioneering undercover cop, and barrister has published a sequel in the series about Detective Matt Deal, who is still seeking revenge for the death of his daughter Mercy. A New Jersey Mob boss puts out a contract on Deal for his part in the killings of his hit man. A journey to Mexico finds Matt in the midst of a cartel in the drug wars and face to face with a ruthless capo.

Bentley provides some back story for those who haven’t read Mercy, although Mayhem is a stand-alone novel. The book is easy to read, entertaining and a fast-paced action story. New characters make an appearance in addition to familiar ones from the first book. Readers of Bentley’s fiction won’t be disappointed.


Posted in Reviews

Review of Mayhem: A Detective Matt Deal Thriller #2


Writer Stephen Bentley, a former UK police Detective Sergeant, pioneering undercover cop, and barrister has published a sequel in the series about Detective Matt Deal, who is still seeking revenge for the death of his daughter Mercy. A New Jersey Mob boss puts out a contract on Deal for his part in the killings of his hit man. A journey to Mexico finds Matt in the midst of a cartel in the drug wars and face to face with a ruthless capo.

Bentley provides some back story for those who haven’t read Mercy, although Mayhem is a stand-alone novel. The book is easy to read, entertaining and a fast-paced action story. New characters make an appearance in addition to familiar ones from the first book. Readers of Bentley’s fiction won’t be disappointed.

Mayhem will be published on November 25, 2020. Pre-orders are available now on Amazon.



Posted in Books, Reading

Comfort Zone: A Tale of Suspense

​I just finished reading Comfort Zone: A Tale of Suspense by Stephen Bentley, former undercover British detective, now crime author. The book is different than Bentley’s previous novels. Comfort Zone is a thriller and a crime story, but not as fast-paced as The Steve Regan Undercover Cop Thrillers Trilogy or Mercy: A Detective Matt Deal Thriller. Comfort Zone is more complex.
Phil Mercer is one of the most intriguing characters I’ve read about in a long time. Mercer is a British veteran who returns home from the war in Afghanistan and studies law, then becomes an attorney in London. He is also a murderer who is not completely evil even though he’s done evil things.  He defends the poor and underprivileged citizens. Phil Mercer is not a one-dimensional character. The author writes about the humanity of a person who has taken the lives of other people. Like when watching a tragic play, I felt sympathy for Mercer at various times and then cringed at the murder scenes. The novel is also a mystery because the parts of the story come together in the end, similar to how the different parts of Mercer meld into one. I think he comes to accept his fragments and acknowledges them.
The title comes from the name of a parlor game at a dinner party that Mercer gives for his friends and colleagues in the legal profession. He’s invited them because he wants to show off his cooking skills and to play the game he’s invented. Every detail of the menu, the wines, the guests and the game is planned with precision.
Phil Mercer suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) from his war experiences. His role as an attorney is stressful, but he’s able to do a good job. The author uses Mercer’s military background to explore issues that many veterans experience such as long-lasting, even permanent, mental, and physical illnesses. Many serious traumas may cause PTSD, but since Mercer is a combat veteran, his wartime experiences continue to influence his life. War always has an enemy no matter whose side you’re on, and Mercer’s nemesis haunts him when he attempts to live a normal life. The opposing roles of Phil Mercer, a murderer given in to the temptation to kill, and an attorney, driven by order, logic, and law, make for a unique protagonist. Bentley does a great service in the way he writes about Mercer’s interior dialogue, hallucinations, depression, and memory problems. He does not make Phil Mercer a stereotype of a mentally ill person. Mercer is a sympathetic character; one who is approachable for the reader. I liked Phil Mercer so much that I can visualize his character in further novels by the author.
Told through flashbacks, dream sequences, and various points of view, Comfort Zone is a first-rate story. Crime novel fans will be entertained by Comfort Zone. I highly recommend reading this book. I received this book from the author as an ARC.

The release date for Comfort Zone is August 3.  Pre-order price is 99 cents/pence. Paperback is coming soon.


Posted in family



 J. C. Penney used to have a store right on the Circle in Indianapolis. The front was curve around from one corner to the next like all the buildings, a hundred windows facing the street. I counted them, but I could be wrong. Mommy wasn’t sick that day when we rode the bus downtown to the Circle. She had clothes on, clothes to go outside in, not the long gown she kept on all day. And she did not have on the old corduroy robe she wore in the kitchen. We had breakfast that day. Mommy  cooked boiled eggs and made buttermilk biscuits. The table was wiped clean that morning and the place mats had not a speck of food anywhere. The ashtrays were empty, and the vodka bottles were pushed down deep into the bottom of the trash can.

 My little sister Josie sat next to me in her own chair. The big ugly men hadn’t come in the night before to take up all the chairs, to take up all the room. There was no hurry. We had enough food to fill our stomachs-hot cocoa, not warm water in our cups. The neighbors stared at Mommy and me and Josie. Cissy was with us, but not yet born. She was in Mommy’s big stomach.

Doors opened quickly soon as we stepped out on the porch. There were so many curtains pulled back so the old women could watch us on our way to the bus stop. The only one who said hello was Mr. Dombrowski. His wife was dead a long time ago from a disease that ate her brain. That made me feel scared every time he told me. Every morning, he’d stroll by our house and yell to me, “Tell your mother she’s pretty!”, then he’d keep on going. He never came into our house, never slammed glasses down hard on our kitchen table, or never talked so loud that I couldn’t fall asleep.  Mr. Dombrowski  didn’t play the record player loud and he never dropped cigarette ashes on me or my sister. He never burnt us accidentally when we passed him in the hallway with a lighted cigarette sticking out of his fingers. Our neighbor never drank all our orange juice or left stinky whiskey bottles out on the counter. I never had to push his drinking glasses away or the ice-cube trays just a bit so I could use the toaster. I didn’t have to spend many minutes listening to his stories as he clenched my elbow. He had not made Mommy spend all her money for those things they needed for their parties.

 I never had to search on my knees for any of those shiny black capsules dropped on the floor from Mr. Dombrowski.  He didn’t enter our home, so he couldn’t do anything stupid like that. Josie thought the pills were pretty and swallowed three of them one morning that some other man dropped on the floor.  That morning, Mr. Dombrowski held the door open for Mommy as she rushed to throw Josie in the back seat of the station wagon. He sat with me on the steps outside, brought me butter and bread with lemonade, and then a thermos of soup later on for dinner. He made a bed for me on the porch swing with a pillow and blanket until Mommy brought Josie home.

But that other morning when Mommy took us shopping, he winked at us three girls going downtown to Monument Circle. The old women in their aprons carefully watched us. When we got to the corner, I turned around. Two of them with their tightly-permed curls whispered and pointed in our direction.

The driver smiled because he didn’t know us. Mommy had on lipstick and I carried my little white purse from Easter. We three were quiet until the bus finally pulled up on the Circle.

“Watch your step young ladies” the driver called out to us, then we were caught up in the middle of a crowd. They were waiting to get in to the doors of J. C. Penney’s Back to School Sale. Mommy let us choose our favorite candy. She let us eat it in the store even though we were not supposed to. The sales lady measured our chests, our waists and shoe size.

Mommy said with authority “My daughters each need two new uniforms with slips, underwear and everything. They need new shoes also. And where is the Infants Department?”

We had more food for lunch in the coffee shop with all the turkey and dressing we wanted. I asked for extra mashed potatoes and gravy. There was chocolate milk and butterscotch pie. The men and women in the other booths talked nice to each other. They told jokes, laughed and grinned at us in a friendly way.

Our last stop was the sewing department. Mommy bought fabric for new living room curtains. Josie and I sat at the tables flipping through page of patterns for dresses. Josie hadn’t cried all day. I left her for a minute. Those little spools of thread caught my eye. I chose pink, my favorite color and a package of shiny gold safety pins from the display tables. I opened up my little purse and put them inside. Then I returned to Josie still sitting and looking at pattern books.

Mommy got each of us by the hand.  The bag of fabric dangled from her elbow. At the door, she let us buy gum balls from the penny machine. We stood in the crowd waiting for our bus, the one that would carry us back to our neighborhood. Father O’Brien came up and tapped Mommy on the shoulder.

“Fancy seeing you ladies downtown! You’re looking fine. God bless you.” He said he had business at the government building, and then he hurried away. But then he turned around, came a little closer to us and smiled.

“Hope to see you, Mrs. O’Brien, and the family this Sunday.” And he blessed us again.

It was nearly dark, almost supper time when we stepped off the bus at the corner. Mommy had made meatloaf in the morning. Now all she had to do was pop it into the oven. None of the neighbors saw us come home. I begged to peel the potatoes.  Josie sat at the table with her coloring book.

“Mommy, shouldn’t you take off your hat to cook supper?”  She came over to me and gave me a great big hug.

My mother was the best cook in the world.

Posted in Writing and Mental Illness

Why I Keep Trying Even If I’m Too Sick to Go On

“Perhaps some day I’ll crawl back home beaten defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.”

Sylvia Plath

Should I Give Up Writing?

That is the daily question. It never leaves. I am a writer. I’m also sick with incurable illnesses. Lately I’ve been considering giving up writing altogether so that I’ll have less stress and anxiety. Marketing my work especially causes stress along with the painful feelings of rejection. That makes my depression worse. The coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine adds fear to my problems. My vivid writer’s imagination makes me wonder if the world is coming to an end.

Making a list is a favorite method to clear my head, pros in one column and the cons in the other.  I’m using my list to write this blog so hopefully it makes sense. Here are a few reasons why I’m tempted to quit writing. That’s the important thing in this post. I am tempted to abandon writing. Let’s examine the negatives first. Actually, I’m the one doing the examining; I just need some sympathetic readers to hear what I have to say.

I don’t receive much validation as a writer or appreciation of my work. I realize other writers may be in my situation. That’s a logical statement. I can understand perfectly why people want to point out someone else’s problems, but I don’t like it. If I get any feedback on my writing, it’s about what’s wrong with it. But logic is cold and impersonal. The lack of validation about my writing causes me to feel bad.

Opening my email to find another rejection message for something I submitted to a literary journal or contest makes me feel hopeless. Getting turned down after all the energy and time I spent on writing, sending it out and most of all, waiting for a reply, is one of the worst feelings. Their replies are many times the same. I receive a short answer like this: “Sorry, but we have decided that our publication is not the right place for your work.” I spend the day after that rejection, wondering where is the right place for my work? Is there really such a place? Does it exist or am I dreaming? Should I give up and stop writing? Should I throw my writing in the trash can like I did when I was twelve? Or burn some poetry like I did at age twenty three? Maybe tear it into strips and soak them in water so nobody can laugh at my writing ever again? I did that on my fortieth birthday. Should I dump the entire mess into a box and seal it with duct tape until later? When is later?

Anger is a powerful emotion and I get sick when I’m mad. I want to scream and sometimes I do. Those stupid editors don’t know poetry or fiction when they see it. They’re too dumb to appreciate my work. It’s good! They publish trash and garbage and silly stuff. I can’t tell anyone my opinions why the stuff that gets published is trash because I’ll lose what little friends I have. Well, they’re not really friends in the real sense, but Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, email and writer group friends. Online friends.

Justifications are easy to find. Quitting will lessen the negative feelings and expectations. I can have more time for other activities such as reading for fun and baking. I can have time to paint and draw. I’ll stop feeling guilty for using so much time marketing my writing. I can just read what I want without having to read boring articles such as “Give Your Readers What They Want!” or “One Hundred Proven Ways to Get More Reviews!” Haha! Reviews are another problem that cause me trouble. I have a few reviews. If I say how many, that will make me feel like people will laugh at me. Obviously, people didn’t care enough about my book to write a review, and they probably didn’t even read it if they bought it. Then I remind myself that the average person doesn’t write book reviews. Authors know how important reviews are. I’ve sold a small number of books and again, if I tell you the number, that will prove how worthless my writing is. How worthless I am. Won’t it?

I have life long mental illness. I have schizophrenia which is a very serious illness with acute symptoms. Disassociation, identity problems, lack of awareness, hallucinations, psychosis, lack of affect, paranoia. Not all of these symptoms are the same for all. I’ve had them in the past, but only a few now. They come and go. There’s always the possibility of relapse. The medicine has terrible side-effects. One is I can’t see good because it causes blurry vision at times. I can’t write or read with blurry vision. Trouble walking, tremors, oversleeping-these are terrible.

I have epilepsy that’s manageable now. Some studies have suggested that schizophrenia and epilepsy are interrelated. The anti convulsive medicine can provoke seizures. How crazy! Having a seizure wears me out for days. I have damaged heart valves which brings on fatigue and reduced energy levels. These problems have led to other issues. Testing revealed that I have mild cognitive problems. In my case, that’s forgetfulness, or sometimes not recognizing people I know.  Occasionally, I go blank when I’m writing and don’t know what word to choose. The same thing happens when I talk. It’s not a case of trying to use the best word at the time. I mean I can’t think of the name of a certain object or action. An example is I want to make a peanut butter sandwich but I forget what to call the stuff inside the jar. If I am alone no problem. But I’ve had trouble naming the peanut butter when other people were there. I’m aware of what I’m doing and I realize I can’t think of the name of what I’m spreading on my toast. I say “stuff” or “this” and use pointing to make myself understood. When my brain pauses like that, it makes it so hard to communicate. Writing is a solitary activity but I’m still slow. It may take me a week to complete a blog post like this one, stopping and starting as needed. (It took a month to finish this one. Damn you virus!)

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Funny thing is my writing has gotten even better as time goes on. It improves with each story or poem or book. Even writing a blog post improves my writing. The act of writing gives me more practice, just as practice with a sport or hobby makes you better. As the advertisement says, Just Do It!

My depression makes me introverted. It’s impossible to interact with people when I feel that way, so participating in writing groups and social media gets me “out of myself.”  A positive aspect of social media is the ease of communication for people like me.  Writing a sentence or two as a reply is still writing.

My dad used to motivate me when I was confused. That’s another result of depression and mental illness-confusion. What to do now? What to do next? The future? Dad always said that I don’t have to do anything except take care of myself, be a good person and stay close to God, and that gave me some direction. ( I’m not including working for pay, or taking care of children or home in this part.) I don’t have to write that blog post or article. I don’t have to submit a story to a journal. I don’t have to enter that contest. I don’t have to answer that email if I don’t feel like it. The knowledge that I don’t have to do certain things gives me hope out of darkness. If I just want to sit and think, that’s okay. If the only strength I have is reading in bed, that’s okay. If I don’t feel strong enough to say a word that day, that’s okay. My family understands. I try to at least say good morning but sometimes I can’t handle any more than that. When people talk beyond my comfort level it feels like a bunch of sounds beating on my skull forcing themselves into my brain. On the days I feel better, I can write. If I don’t write for a month or more, that’s okay.

I know that I’d feel worse if I give up writing. Today is a good day. I can use the logical side of my brain easily. I don’t want to make a decision that I’ll regret later. I know that I have the power to give up writing if I want to, but I don’t want to give up. But I will make a decision and that decision is not to give up. Today.



Thanks for reading. If you’d like to receive more posts, please sign up for my email list.

I found this photograph of Yellow Gorse, a bush with beautiful flowers that grows wild in Ireland. I still have to find out what kind of bird this one is. He or she is magnificent!  Credit: Richard Steel /