Friday, August 21, 2009

Getting Published Is HARD WORK!

After spending the last three hours scoping out the same webpage I've had bookmarked for over a year, and reading and re-reading everything two agents had to say about trying to get published, I can honestly say I've never felt so overwhelmed. :-/

I am not a nervous person, naturally, but nine months ago a publishing agent replied to an inquiry I had sent to her about what they asked for before reading a manuscript, and it was still sitting in my inbox with the same answer: "We require a query letter before accepting any submissions. You can find examples of them at our website. Hope this helps!"

I looked it over. Then again. And again. One more time. But tonight was the first time I actually felt positive about writing the letter. It took me several hours to create a letter that I thought fit my personality and explained my first YA novel well enough in six sentences well enough to catch their attention. I have no one to read it to, being as I'm all alone over here in Phoenix (the desert really is a lonely and desolate land), and my significant other has no interest in reading nor writing, so it would have been a waste of time to read it to him and expect an educated opinion. Instead I read it out loud, to myself, and found that I actually could edit my own work by doing just that! I found several sentences that might not make sense to someone else, and corrected it. I didn't want to overdo it, and didn't want to stress too much over it, because it is supposed to show my personality and the talent of my writing. It shouldn't be too polished, because I'm not polished at all. Well, except for my toes.

After reading it one last time, I took a deep breath and posted it in an email to the agent, and sent it off. No turning back now. Of course, tomorrow is Friday (or rather today, since I'm still up at 1:42 AM), so I probably will not hear anything until Monday. I can rest easily this weekend, but starting Monday, my armpits will start to sweat, and not just from this 110 degree weather we're having.

Hopefully I catch more readers soon. I still have yet to perfect my navigation of and I'm lost when it comes to finding other blogs (HELP!). Maybe they'll just have to find me.

Happy Friday to everyone!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In The Clouds

This is a short story I finished this week, and just wanted to share. Wondering if anyone had any thoughts on it, since I'm new here. I hope you enjoy it.

“I wish that I could save the world.”

It would seem that she was being irrational, but this was all she knew, Audrey.

“Yeah?” I knew this was all she needed to start. She jumped up from the blanket we had spread out on the front porch of the Yearling mansion, where we had been lying all afternoon.

“Think about it- we’d just need to recruit people. We could travel, live off of donations. We’d start right here, in the States.”

I put my hands behind my head and watched her as she climbed onto the chipped and peeling white railing. Her green dress waved in the breeze, her dark brown hair flowed around her. She balanced easily as she walked across the wood, stopped when she reached the first pillar.

“There’s a lot of hungry and homeless people here, Audrey. There are people already trying to help.”

She shook her head. “Not enough people. Most people just want to make themselves look good by helping. Soup kitchens and homeless shelters- they’re all ran by people that want to look good. I want to actually care about helping others. Everyone should.”

“Yes, but not everyone does.” I rolled over onto my side, resting on my elbow. “You can’t force people to give up time and money to help others.”

“I think they should be forced!" she exclaimed, looking offended. "Especially the rich people. They don themselves with diamonds and rubies and pearls so easily, driving their expensive cars and throwing those extravagant parties. What about the people that can’t even afford a pair of shoes? Or breakfast in the morning? What about the single moms with three kids that lost their jobs and houses?” She threw her hands into the air, as if frustrated with the very idea of people not caring about one another.

“Why not single dads? They need help, too.” I winked at her, and she put down her arms and gave me a knowing smile.

“You know what I mean, Jack.” She wrapped her arms around the pillar and crossed one leg after the other around it, until she was on the other side. She spread her arms out, balancing as she continued on. “We could get the needy to help us, too. They could work with us. We’d provide a place to sleep, and food to eat, and they would just have to work in the kitchens, or sorting clothing, or distributing the canned food!”

“Sounds great. When do we start?” I continued to gaze up at her, inspired by her out of the blue speech.

“I wish tomorrow.” Her face fell at the realization that she probably wouldn't be starting it the next day.

“Well, until you can actually do that, start slowly.”

She put her hands on her hips and looked down at me. “How should I do that?”

I reached my hands up towards her, clasping and unclasping my hands. “You could start by helping me up. I feel so old!”

Audrey laughed, then gracefully jumped off the railing and pulled me to my feet. “You’re not old. You’re only 19!”

“19 going on 50! You see the hard work I do during the day.” I brushed my carpenter pants off and straightened my blue-checkered button-up shirt. Audrey helped by untucking my shirt in the back.

“Sure I have. I’ve seen you eat sandwiches, and scratch your head, and wander around the work site. That is hard work.” She smiled again. It was dazzling, with her hair blowing around her face, and her green tank dress billowing, and her emerald eyes full of laughter.

"Hey now, you try to pack away three sandwiches! It makes for a hard afternoon! Bet you couldn’t eat just one!” I patted my stomach, and she laughed at me.

“Not stuffed with everything you put on it! Onions and peanut butter.” Audrey made a face at me with her tongue sticking out.

“I make do with what I have, ok? Besides, they complement each other well.”

She danced down the steps and skipped down the path, which was long overdue for weeding. I followed her down the path, watching her feet tap the stones delicately as she farther ahead of me. She stopped at the end, and looked up at the grand old Victorian house. It had once been a buttercup yellow, but years had faded it down to a sickly looking white, and there were large sections that were peeling off. It had been empty since I could remember.

“Can you imagine what this must have looked like when it was just built?” she asked dreamily. “Probably like a fantasy. I wonder who lived here.”

“I can imagine how hard it must have been to built, that’s for sure. Even the one stories we work on take a lot out of me.” I walked slowly towards her, scuffing the toe of my work boots as I went.

“I wonder if they were rich? I mean, what if they just inherited the house, but couldn’t afford the maintenance? Maybe the girls were dancers.” She did a pirouette before hopping onto the lawn, which was mostly yellowed grass and weeds. “The lawn must have been so lovely back then.” She spread her arms out and twirled in a circle, as if imagining the yard being covered with thick green grass.

“Where do you get your imagination, Audrey?” I grinned at her as she danced her way across the yard. I really didn’t get it. Her father was a podiatrist, and her mother stayed at home, taking care of neighbor kids and her own. Both were very down-to-earth and straightforward; not imaginative at all.

“Mom says I’m just a silly girl. Dad says I get it from his mom, Grandma Weathers. She was a writer and a painter, but died when my dad was still in high school. I’ve seen some pictures of her, though. She was very pretty.”

You must take after her, I thought to myself. Audrey finally collapsed on the lawn and lay back, staring up at the sky. It was almost azure, so deep in color. The clouds were full and shapely across the sky, hiding the sun in short intervals. I joined her in the grass, sitting beside her. I picked at the dried grass, dragging a piece over my boots. When I looked over at her, she had her eyes closed. That usually meant she was deep in thought or dreaming up another wild plan, like saving the rain forests.

I lay back with her, and stared up at the clouds, waiting for her to break the silence. Even though she was fanatical and zealous, I loved her. Her ideas were sometimes outrageous, but she believed in the impossible, and it made me believe in it, too.

“What do you see?” Audrey asked suddenly. I realized she was looking up at the clouds as well.

“I see,” I started, but paused. What did I see? I saw the shape of two heads. I saw their noses; I saw long hair on one, and the eyes on the other. I saw two mouths, and the necks were twisting, as if towards each other.

“Yes?” she pushed me on. “And what else?”

I see me and you, lying here, and I see me leaning over to kiss you. And I see you kissing me back. I smiled, and turned my face towards her.

“I see us.”


I nodded, pointing, trying to outline the heads before they drifted away. “There, the one with the wisps behind it is you, with your wild hair. And me, with the big nose.”

She giggled. “Your nose isn’t big.

“And that is us, looking down as we’re looking up.”

I could tell she was waiting for me to say more, but I didn’t. I was content, and I was sure.

I was sure one day, I would lean over Audrey, and kiss her so deeply that maybe I’d be contaminated with some of her passion and imagination, and we could create our own dream world. And we’d start by fixing the Yearling mansion, and then save the world, just like she wanted.

If I Had A Billion Dollars

This would be a dream come true for me, at the moment. It's the perfect week to ask this, as I am short on cash and having a problem finding a second job. However, I will daydream for one moment.

First, pay off all my debts! Those debt collectors would be remembering me forever!

Second, I'd move away from the desert, and onto the coast. I'd buy a house on the water, with my own section of sun and sand to lounge on all day long.

The next thing I would need is a laptop. The best in the business for a hell of a lot of music and Word documents, because I'd spend my days writing on the beach, while listening to my favorites.

I'd be perfectly happy with just that. I'd probably take a trip to Malta, Europe, like I've always wanted, and also start my own animal rescue. But right now, I'd settle for a house on the beach and a great laptop to work on. I'd donate several hundred thousand, I'm guessing, because I always feel bad when I can't afford even a dollar to give towards charities. I'd spread it out among a few.

That is what I would do, if I had a billion dollars.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sex Does Not Mean Love!

I love that phrase soooo much. It used to be my motto. Back in my heyday, even being as young and naive as I was, I would have to explain this to my friends on an almost daily basis.

"John hasn't called you back? Well, did you have sex with him? You did? It was great, huh? Well, that's awesome. But it doesn't mean shit."

How many hearts have been broken over that one guy that was "It," "The One," all because a poor girl thought sleeping together would make him love her?

Or, what about the guys that had their hearts ripped out because of the girl? That's a more interesting twist. How many girls have broken a guy's heart by only wanting the occasional one night stand or "fuck buddy"? I'll raise my hand- I've done it.

This is actually a sad story for me to tell. It may bring a tear or three to my eyes because this guy is still in my life, and it's a very confusing situation. When I was 20 (yes, so very many years ago), I was a very wild and crazy girl, and on the rebound. I had broken off my engagement to my boyfriend of three years and just wanted to go nuts. I'd never been to a crazy drunken party, I'd never made out with a random guy (or girl), and I'd never woken up and tried to escape without waking up the unknown figure beside me. I figured it was now or never.

I went to a mudding party (how hick, right?) with my friend and cousin one afternoon, and figured I'd have a couple beers and finally get real good and drunk. At this point I'd probably been drunk maybe twice in my life and was due for some good craziness. We started the night out right, by opening some beer provided by my friend's brother and jumping in a 4-wheel drive truck and hitting the mud pit. The windows were rolled down and it was awesome. The guys were driving their big, beaten up POS's, and the girls were in the passenger seats, screaming and laughing and getting splattered by the mud flying in through the windows. My friend Amber and I were in the same truck with my brother's best friend, Fred, and had just got done saying how good he was looking. In high school I had flirted and teased him a lot, just because he was my little brother's friend, but now that he was graduated and (mostly) grown up, he was looking pretty good. I had called dibs on him, and that's how it started.

At this point I had no idea what it would turn into.

We got drunk. There were probably fifteen guys and five girls there, and most of the girls were already spoken for, including me. Fred had his arm around me the entire night, and I really didn't mind. It was just for fun, right? At some point, one of my past ex's showed up, and he happened to be good friend with Fred. I tried to avoid him, but he just had to tell me how sorry he was for everything and how he wished he could change things. I wasn't interested. However, he did go to Fred and tell him, "Don't fuck this up with her, she's a good girl to have." I was pissed, because I just wanted to have my first one-night stand, not a romantic hook-up that turns into more! That bastard couldn't keep his trap shut, though, and had to keep going on and on about how he wished he wouldn't have cheated on me and how great I was to him and how he kept all the letters I wrote him and blah blah fuckin' blah.

I wanted to shove his face right in the mud pit.

However, I didn't. I let it go and had some fun. Which led to even more fun in the house, later on.

In the morning, I got dressed quietly, found my keys and left. Fred was still sleeping and I thought I had escaped the situation. I felt great.

Until that night. It was Easter Sunday, I remember, and I had a get together to go to at my grandma's. I showed up and was talking to my brother, who just so happened to be talking to Fred on the phone moments before I showed up.

"Fred wants to know if you and Alison want to hang out with us tonight."

I didn't know what to say. "Um, I don't know. I'll have to see what's going on."

"You better not fuck with him."

Oh, boy. Even my brother knew what would happen before it did.

Fred turned into my one-night stand turned to occasional friend with benefits turned to a guy I'm dating.


Whoa. I didn't know what was going on. I knew I didn't want anything serious. I was on the rebound! I wanted to have sex with lots of guys! Safe sex, of course, but sex nonetheless! Everyone kept telling me, "He's a great guy and likes you a lot." And I never knew what to say because, yes, I liked Fred. He was fun and cute and hilarious and sweet. But I didn't like him as more than what he already was to me: A fuck buddy.

It turned into a disaster. Somehow, one night turned into three months and everyone was inviting us to places as a couple and if I was going somewhere, he was sure to turn up, and if he was going, I would probably be there, too.

I broke his heart in the worst way possible. My brother threw a party at our parents' house while they were away, and we had people over. Mostly his friends, but I was there, just to hang out for a while. I had plans to leave later on. Fred showed up, and he was immediately all over me, putting his arms around me and kissing me and I needed a breather. My friend followed me outside and asked what was going on, and I just said, "I need to get away." She was seeing my brother, so I left her there and drove (sober) to another friend's a few towns away. I ended up having the craziest night ever, not to mention my first real one-night stand.

And my second one-night stand, as well.

Don't judge me. I know, that's sick. Two guys in one night? What a slut. But really, it was out of character for me and I was so inebriated I couldn't see my own feet to get to a bed. I slept in my car that night in my friend's driveway, and the next morning, I couldn't believe what I had done. My 21st birthday was two weeks away and Fred and my brother were throwing me a party, and I had just gone and fucked things up.

Fred didn't hold a grudge. Apparently he called me a few names while talking to my brother, but he was never mean to me. He still helped throw me the best 21st birthday party EVER and even bought me a birthday present. We still talk to this day, but it still baffles me how it started from me just wanting to get laid to having someone fall hard for me. And believe me, it's not just because he was a clingy guy, because he definitely isn't.

Now I'm just curious. Why does this happen? I do know a lot of it has to do with having low self-esteem. However, I don't know why sex would lead some people to believe that a physical relation with another person means love, whether it was pretty good or fan-fucking-tastic.

Then again, I'm in a relationship now with someone who was supposed to be a one night stand. Maybe I'm the exception to the rule: sex does not mean love, unless you're doing it with Nicolette.

I'm doomed. What about you?

After note:
After that summer of going crazy, Fred and I did get closer, and he turned into more than just a fuck buddy. He has become one of my best friends, and now that we are separated by a million miles, I realize how great he was to me, and I miss him a lot. I think we do love each other in a very weird way, because nothing can be normal between us.

All of that out of a one night stand. If Chris and I don't last, I'm going to make sure I never have another one night stand again.

The Roommate

Could almost be a scary movie title, right?

Roommates...the biggest mistakes I've ever made. The biggest mistakes almost everyone out of high school makes. There are some that you can end up great friends with; but most of the time, we're just lucky to walk away from the experience with some good stories and most of our belongings (I'm still missing several books and pairs of shoes).

I used to talk to my best friend in high school about how we would make great roommates and we'd decorate our apartment in retro style and have bean bag chairs and posters everywhere. For some reason I had a thing for blow up furniture and decided I wanted to have a blow up chair in my room and possibly a bed. It seemed so awesome yet far away at the time. Once we graduated, things changed and we didn't even talk for a whole year afterwards, so I didn't experience the roommate thing with her. My first time with roommates was actually pretty awesome, and to this day I will always ask, "Why couldn't every roommate be like Jason and Beth were?"

My ex and I moved in with a couple he met through his job. They were several years older than us, with two Alaskan huskies and two kitty cats. Despite the fact that I'm deathly allergic, I figured I'd try it out, because I didn't want to live with my mother a second longer. It turned out to be the best experience I'd ever have with roommates. We split our chores between guys and girls: guys did the lawn and outside work, girls did the inside chores. We took turns cooking for each other and cleaning the bathroom. We never argued about eating each other's food, we never held grudges about one another being too loud at night, we never had a problem with each other's friends. It was the best living arrangement, ever. It helped that we all hung out together and liked each other a lot, and never had a problem with each other's significant other's. That would all change when the dream roommates decided to move to West Virginia, leaving us to find two new roommates to fill their spots. From that point on, I wouldn't have another good roommate experience.

The first two to move in were a brother and sister that were way too old to be living at home. The guy, Tony, was in my ex's band, and his sister was a cosmetologist. They both worked full-time and drove nice cars their parents bought them. I should have known it would be trouble. The sister, Jessi, was spoiled rotten. She was used to someone doing her dishes, her laundry, cleaning up after her, and allowing her boyfriend to stay as long as he wanted. The boyfriend was a problem. I came home one afternoon and found him watching TV in our living room, and Jessi wasn't even there. She gave him the key to let himself into the house. Big no-no. Second thing was, she had just turned 21 a few months before and was still going through the "I'm legal to drink so I'm going to spend all my money at the bar" stage. When the first electric bill was due, she didn't have it. It was two weeks late. It happened again the next month. However, she did have money to spend at the bar and on the shit ton of makeup she seemed to bring home everyday.

Tony was all right- the only problem was he took pity for his sister because she had never been on her own before. Well, sorry Tony, your sister has to go. We gave Jessi two week to get out at the end of the third month, when she had failed to pay her half of rent and bills the entire month, and kept letting her boyfriend stay there after we had asked her politely to limit it to one night a week.

I had several more roommates after that, but the worst was my own cousin, I'm afraid to say. My ex and I were making more than enough to cover our two-bedroom apartment, but she wanted out of her dad's house and so we made an agreement that she would pay us $100 a month for EVERYTHING as long as she just cleaned up after herself and helped us clean because we were both working so much. It was one thing after another with her. Her phone bill was outrageously expensive, she had to leave work early because she had migraines all the time, her car insurance went up after her accident; so she didn't have rent. The finally straw was when I found out she was trying to hook her best friend up with my boyfriend at the time, while we were all living together. I moved out for about a month, but I knew it wouldn't last, and as soon as I moved back I kicked her ass out and said good riddance.

This last time, though, was the straw: I told my boyfriend I didn't want any roommates when we moved into our new apartment. While I was in the hospital in April, he took it upon himself to move his brother Robert in because his wife kicked him out. He never asked me, he just did it. That made me unhappy. My boyfriend never asked him for rent or money for food, and he stayed there for a month and a half for FREE. Robert never offered, either. When we began looking at new apartments, I didn't want to move into the ones he liked because they were too far from my job and were way more expensive despite the fact that they are old. I relented and said, "Fine, we can get the one bedroom there for now." Next thing I know, he's informing me we're getting the two bedroom and Robert is moving in with us.

I about hit the roof. I gave him a chance, though, and maybe it was because I thought the worst to begin with, but it didn't work. Robert had told us he was getting a divorce, they just had to sign the papers. His wife is a drama queen, to say the least. They were constantly screaming on the phone and she was calling the cops on him every other day to report her car stolen, despite the fact that his name was on the title and registration. He brought her over here, along with his two year old, several times, and it was chaos. They had no control over their kid. Chris and I have two rabbits that are house trained and they are free to run around. Julien, their kid, was afraid of them, and kept screaming and crying until we put them away. Then he would hit their cage with all of his toys, scaring the poor rabbits to death. Neither parent told him to stop, so I took it upon myself and took his toys away, explaining to him why he can't do that. Apparently the wife was pissed about that, but this is my apartment, lady, not yours.

Soon after, she began bringing her stuff over, and they were staying the night. At the time I was getting up at 5 AM to open the store I worked at, and Julien would be screaming and crying all night because he didn't want to go to bed. I finally told Chris he had to tell Robert they can't stay there and most definitely were not moving in.

After that, the wife refused to come over and refused to let Robert have Julien over because she didn't feel comfortable. This whole time Robert was lying to us about getting a divorce; his sister-in-law kicked him out because he was immature and didn't take responsibility for anything, apparently, and wanted her sister out, too. Since they had broken their lease and owed their last apartment over $3000 in rent, they couldn't find another place to live, so they were trying to get Chris to let them live here!

Chris wasn't having that, either, so Robert didn't have his wife or kid over anymore. Suddenly the divorce was back on. He was home more often, and he tends to get up early. He started waking up Chris and I on our days off at the ass crack of dawn, and would come right into our bedroom without knocking. He didn't help clean at all. He never offered to help pay for his portion of food.

The final straw was when he started telling Chris that he couldn't believe Chris was choosing a "stupid bitch" over his brother. Chris had agreed with me on everything, after I told him I wasn't offering to feed Robert dinner anymore and I wanted him to do his shopping separately. He blamed the fact that his wife didn't want to come over anymore on me, saying I made her feel uncomfortable. I'm sure I did, but I wasn't about to let someone else run my apartment. I would plan dinners for Chris and I only to come home to her in the kitchen, making dinner with my own food for her family, too. I wasn't about to let it happen.

I told Robert myself that he was disrespectful and that he needed to grow up. Chris and I didn't expect much from him except to do his part in cleaning and to be respectful when we were home. He ended up moving out close to the end of the month without notice, therefore leaving us with a two bedroom we can't afford on our own and his part of the bills.

From here on out, I will never have another roommate. It makes me sad, because I still dream of having that retro apartment with blow up furniture, sans blow up furniture. But what fun would it be if I don't have the perfect live-in partner?

It makes me wonder if anyone else has better horror stories of roommates.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How Is A Girl Supposed To Live?

I've been working for the same store for approximately six months. I originally applied at the location near me, only to be asked to work twenty miles away, in a different position than what I applied for. They also didn't meet my minimum salary request. I took the job in spite of these things, because I was told I would be able to transfer closer after 90 days.

I put in my request a few weeks before my 90 days so that I'd get transfered as soon as possible. Using the bus system made it hard for me to get rides home when we closed and to work on time when I opened the store. My manager kept reassuring me I'd be transfered. Finally, I started at the store closest to me three days ago.

They cut my hours in half and pay me almost a whole dollar less than what I was making.

This brings me to my topic: In this economy, how is a single girl supposed to survive on an almost minimum wage job with part-time employment? One of the requirements is that I have an open schedule and that I have no outside employment that is a conflict of interest. I had an interview at another retail location, but it also was only part-time, and I could not work there because my current employer also sells music. Although they are two completely different types of retail stores, they made me choose.

This happens with most employers. It is, in fact, called a conflict of interest when a person works for two separate companies that sell similar items. I completely understand why this is in place in contract with most employers. They don't want one employee working with another competing company, say Barnes and Noble vs. Borders. That would be reasonable.

However, that is not the case. The company I work for is a clothing retail store. We mainly sell current fashion trends and pop culture items. We also carry a limited amount of CDs. I'm talking, one hundred to two hundred titles, at most. I applied at Best Buy, which is known for electronics and home appliances, but they also carry CDs. Therefore, I wasn't able to take the job.

Because most of my working experience has been in clothing retail, it is where I prefer to stay. I do love the company I work for, for the most part, but how do they expect their employees who are past high school levels and working on their degrees to live if they are cutting our hours and pay because we ask very little of them? I was transfered to one of the largest stores in the chain, yet they can't afford to give me more than ten hours a week, plus they cut my pay. They also demoted me. It's almost as if the corporate world stands to punish the people that want to push ahead.

Currently I am behind on my electric bill and will not make all of rent. My cable will be getting turned off, and I'm not quite sure what to do about it. I have applied at close to fifty different places in the last week, literally, and have not received one callback. I'm beginning to become desperate. It makes me wonder how people with families to feed are making it. It also makes me wonder how we are expected to live if there are all of these conflicts within employment but no one will hire full-time. The reason behind this is so that the company doesn't have to pay for insurance for the employee, because only full-time employees are granted opportunity for insurance. So most places hire for under 32 hours a week, just to get around having to pay for insurance.

It seems like a crummy way to run businesses. I wonder what would happen if employees started outing their employers for the scum bags they really are. What would happen? Is it fair to stop employees from getting second jobs because of a conflict of interest? Is it right to withhold full-time employment to avoid having to pay for insurance?

How is everyone else surviving these days?

Monday, August 17, 2009


I remember Christmas, 1989. Seriously. I was four and a half. Most people can't remember this early in childhood in detail. But I do. I remember we still had our woodstove in my first house, I remember my brother got a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sleeping bag, I remember we still had my first rabbit, Obade (don't ask). I remember my dad still living there. I also remember getting something similar to this:

Except, it was a metallic pinkish-purple. What went along with it was this:

Michael Jackson's Off The Wall cassette tape. Yes. While my friends were playing with Barbie's, and Rainbow Brite, and Easy Bake Oven's (I still have one, actually), I was dancing in my room to Michael Jackson.

I had the Bad album, as well, which this boombox later destroyed and turned into The Chipmunks' version of it. Everyone had "Thriller", I do believe, so of course I did, as well. I knew all of the songs by heart (some of them had my own made up lyrics) and my mom did, too, despite never being a fan, herself. I remember when my dad first got together with my stepmom, we would have dinner at her apartment, and she had the VHS of "Moonwalker." Remember that? I bet most of my readers have never heard of it. It was a compilation of Michael Jackson's concerts and music videos, and the movie version of "Smooth Criminal." That thing must have been watched thousands of times, just by me. I would watch it over and over again. I actually found it on YouTube and had to relive memories by watching it part by part. I still remembered most of the lines from it, despite nearly 16 years passing since I last watched it!

When the Dangerous album came out, I made my mom and step dad watch the celebration on TV, and the releases thereafter of the songs "Remember The Time" and "Black and White." (Which, I have to comment on, is weird I brought that up because Shaq is on TV speaking about doing the "Remember The Time" video.)

It continued thereafter, too. I watched all of the specials made, including the short film Ghosts, which had the songs "2 Bad," "Ghosts," and "Is It Scary?" I loved the release "You Rock My World," which had Chris Tucker in the music video. I drove everyone nuts. I'm sure most of my friends will probably want "Billie Jean" played at my funeral because every time it came on at the club I'd go nuts and make a fool of myself. Michael Jackson was a huge part of my life, from when I was just a little girl with a crush, to when I was a teenager and loved to dance, and now, when I'm all grown up but still love to dance on the bed and sing his songs. Chris has witnessed this and I'm not ashamed to say he has and always will be one of my all-time favorite artists.

Despite the bad publicity, rumors, and accusations he faced while still alive, I never believed any of it. I got so offended by my mom watching that junk on TV and actually believing it. I was pissed off at people at school for calling him a pervert, and not ashamed at all to say I didn't buy it and that I hoped he got off on the charges. It is obvious that because of the strange life he did lead (how would your life be if you lived in the spotlight from age 7 on?), he was picked on and singled out, and many tried to alienate him.

I just want to say that Michael Jackson will live on forever in my heart, and I will always remember him by dancing and singing to every song he ever made. I hope that his memory can live on without all the negativity. I think the King of Pop deserves that, at least, in his death.

What was your first memory of Michael Jackson? Or your favorite memory?

In Time

It came to my attention that whenever I switch pedals in life, my dreams start featuring my least favorite character:

My ex.

No matter what is going on with my life at the time, for some reason, my brain is triggered and brings him up in my dreams, whether in the leading role or as an extra. I'm not sure why this is, except that I'm stressed, and he was always a source of frustration in my life when we were together.

I'm sure there are other people that have certain things that come up in dreams frequently that wish didn't: the mother-in-law (might as well be Freddy Krueger), that bad speech we gave in high school (sans clothes), or the wolf that attacks all their children. I don't have a mother-in-law, I never gave a bad speech, and I don't have children (although I have had dreams about being attacked by wolves). The only thing, apparently, that truly brings me a great amount of stress is my ex showing back up in my life. I suppose this is natural.

Especially when the only time I was ever able to get my life together was WITHOUT him in my life.

The sequence of the dreams usually follows the same outline: I'm doing something normal, I'm with a group of people, then suddenly he comes barging in to bring up the past. Maybe this means I need closure. I never really had that with him. We were together three years, then on and off again for another year after that, and then suddenly, I never heard from him again. That was it. There was no "going our separate ways" speech or that teary good-bye that breaks your heart still, years later.

When my life starts to spiral out of control, I think it (my brain) is reminded of when I was with him and how out of control it was then. From there on, it reminds me of him every time I think about it. Maybe it is telling me, "Get your shit together before you end up like that mess you were then." Or maybe I'm still subconsciously yearning for the closure I never had with him.

Does anyone else have these sorts of dreams?