Vignette #31 “Breathe”

Breathe.

It is one thing to say it. Another to do it.

Breathe.

But the world is spinning before my eyes. My brain can’t keep up with the thoughts running through my mind. Over and over and over. And over. My head is stuck in a loop.

Breathe.

But there are nails digging into my back. My shoulders are carrying the weight of the world. My mind hurts so much I think it’s going to explode.

Just breathe.

Don’t you know there are bills to pay? Don’t you know I haven’t touched another person in over two months? Can’t you see the people being attacked in the street? Everything is so wrong, how can things ever get better? HOW CAN YOU TELL ME TO JUST BREATHE?

But the oxygen is escaping my chest. I feel woozy. There’s a fist clutched around my lungs. If I don’t take a breath now, my body may give way. So breathe. I grimace.

My first attempt is a shutter. The kind you get when the winter wind blows right through you. I feel the emptiness rattle around inside and my shoulders twitch up to my ears. It is more like a gasp and less of an inhalation. Keep breathing.

The second is easier. It’s still not perfect with the air catching in all the other places except where it needs to go, but it softens the pain in my forehead. At least for a second.

Do it again.

I do it again.

Again.

I do it over and over and over. And over.

Do you feel better?

No. Yes. I don’t know. A little.

Keep breathing.

I can’t just stay here forever.

If you want to live, you keep breathing.

But what about money? What about the loneliness? What about the world?

You can’t do anything for anyone without first taking a breath for yourself.

I keep breathing. My shoulders sag. My vision sharpens. The nails in my back fall out one by one by one. The fist clenched around my lungs loosens, slowly… slowly… slowly….

Are you breathing?

Yes.

How do you feel?

…Better…

Good.
Now, go do what you have to do and don’t forget

Photo by Fabian Møller on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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“Boy Next Door”

I looked for you
when I rounded the bend
on our street.

I looked for you
when the sun was high
and the air filled with heat.

If it was raining out
I knew our paths
would surely not meet.

I thought I always
was the one
to notice you first.

I thought I always
tried to find the right words
only my voice was dried by thirst.

Probably, it was for the best
to stay on the sidewalk
as a girl, silent and cursed.

Then, one day walking
down our street
I noticed a flash of color.

Him going one way,
and I the other, neither of us stopped
except in the looks we gave each other.

I held your eyes,
and you held mine
until out of sight in that breath of summer.

After, I wondered
what it meant.

Me always looking to you
and then you seeing me.

Maybe you too thought words
weren’t the only way to speak.

©2020 Jai Lynn

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Snapshot 5/31/20 // “Living Really is a Giant Adventure”

Currently listening:I Wanna Get Better” – Bleachers
Currently watching: Oh My Venus
Currently playing: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Currently reading: God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World — and Why Their Differences Matter by Stephen R. Prothero

May, oh May, oh Mayyyyyyy!!

I enjoyed May immensely. I felt like I was so productive this month so please let me revel in it a bit universe because I am in such a great mood! I did a lot of thinking (all good things, all good things!) and in June I’ll be ready to implement some of my thoughts into my blog and writing! Oh, and I’m so excited about it because I feel like I learned so much. I read so many books, researched so many topics, and let myself have some fun because you know even though we are all trapped in our houses might as well enjoy it, right?

(Me, living my best life surrounded by learning)

May Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, and outlining my WIP! Check. I researched, commenced more world building and even did some prewriting so….. GO ME!
  2. Become EVEN MORE interactive on Twitter! Check. I’m checking it daily now, and even interacting more with the writing community! Baby steps but steps in the right direction.
  3. Continue making submissions! Check. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
  4. Continue practicing the piano and my violin! Check, check! Now that I’m practicing more consistently I definitely see a difference in my playing!!

June (the month when SUMMER begins) Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, and outlining my WIP! Step by step by step by step, and then the first draft…. the bane of my existence (i.e. the road block I must defeat in the perfectionistic tendencies of my mind). Working on my WIP this past May through research and world building has really invigorated me so much that I want to share my writing journey with you all so I’ll be attempting to post at least one writing update this month! This will keep me more accountable for working on it and hopefully keep my mind on track!
  2. Stick with my NEW blog posting schedule! Surprise. Some minor changes are coming this month with my posts but they are all good!! I’ll elaborate more later in the “What I’ll Be Writing” section below!
  3. Become more interactive on social media! Twitter I’m looking at you. Instagram, get ready! I’ve had both for a while (and I just went back to Instagram) but I’m going to try to be active on both this month. My handle is @jaiiiilynn4 for both so let’s connect!
  4. Continue making submissions with my writing! Status quo now. Just got to keep making it a habit, and before long it will be so much a part of my life that I won’t even need to write it as a goal because I’ll just do it!
  5. Continue practicing the piano and my violin! Me, over here, just giving myself an easy goal that makes me happy. #NoShame
  6. Do yoga every morning! This is something new I started this month and I love it. I suffer from a lot of shoulder and neck pain related to stress and since the current world problem that shall not be named because this is a positive post happened I have been in a lot of pain. Then, I started doing yoga every morning and honestly, because it did feel this way, like magic my pain went away.

What I Read:

Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia by John Dickie. This is a great nonfiction book. The way the author makes the language accessible to the average reader is to its advantage especially when pulling from so many sources into one comprehensive text. Not to mention the content of the book itself. I have always been fascinated by secret organizations and the mafia is one of the most infamous. This book starts at the very beginning in Sicily and links all the way to the early 2000’s, even linking to America and then back to Italy in between. The stories are gruesome, made even more so because they’re true and nothing is held back. It shows great insight into where the Italian government failed and also how something as huge and interlinking as Cosa Nostra went under the radar, despite its bloody history, for so long. There are a lot of names though littered throughout and it can get confusing from time to time just who this one particular person is when they were mentioned long ago in the book but that’s a minor complaint given to the information compacted inside. I highly recommend this read, especially if you are interested in history, secret societies or just Italy in particular.
The Day of the Owl by Leonardo Sciascia. I’ve read this book before in college, and it was a solid read then but not something I would have thought to gravitate back to. Well, it turns out I gravitated back to it and among many other things this reads better with age. The book is a genre I don’t read much of- metaphysical mystery, and in the future I believe that is something I want to try to change. We’ve all read our fair share of crime fiction, detective stories, or thrillers and the metaphysical mystery genre is similar in vein but a different animal on the outside. This genre explores the philosophical side of a mystery. There is a crime, like in detective stories, but in this case there is much less fanfare and more focus on the bones of logic, reason, and underlying study of the reality of what occurs. At least that is how I understood it through this book. It’s a quick read, engaging in its brevity, and takes a hard look at Sicily and its mafia ties. I recommend it if your interested in Sicily, the mafia, or crime fiction in general because it is a fascinating read. (MINOR SPOILER ALERT) Despite the forlorn (and yet realistic outcome of the novella) the ending does offer hope (SPOILER ALERT OVER). My heart goes out to Captain Bellodi, and all the men like him, just trying to serve justice in a sometimes very unjust world.
The Library Of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey. This book was exactly what I needed. I’m a strong mood reader and this just really fit my mood. Full of sweet romance, Peter Pan allusions and a voracious reader of a main character I adored this story. I can’t even right now so all of you just need to go read it!
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. I have always loved Peter Pan, and I will ALWAYS love Peter Pan. No matter how old I get Neverland will always be home to me. This retelling makes a believable prequel to the classic story and I found myself smiling and laughing to myself at all the clever ways the authors told the origin stories for all the beloved characters including Hook, Tink, the Lost Boys and even Neverland itself. It’s a good read for all ages and I know I’ll probably reread it again sometime in the future (for some reason I always need to read something Peter Pan related in May…). Molly was also delightful, I enjoyed her immensely. I highly recommend it if you are in the mood for some good old fashioned magic and adventure.

What I’ll Be Writing (MINOR SCHEDULE UPDATE):

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Living Life vignettes- posted first Friday of the month
  • Alternate Reality flash fiction collection- posted the last Tuesday of the month
  • Writing Is Hard|WIP Writing Update- posted in the middle of the month
  • Snapshot! monthly recap- posted the last day of every month
  • Announcements- posted as needed

All of my fiction writings are independent of each other and stand alone so no need to read any of the previous work to understand. If you want more information about any of the above, you can check out the About page on my site or just click here.

So, here’s what’s up! I’m changing my posting of the Living Life vignettes from every other Friday to just the first Friday of the month. That way I can give myself more time to focus on my WIP and my new writing updates to share with you all! Truth- I am a slow writer. Also truth- I tend to let my anxiety get the better of me when it comes to working on my WIP. SOOOOOOOOO, in order for me to combat this I am going to hold myself accountable to post an update every month. This way I can share all my writing fails (lol) with you guys and in turn hopefully get some sound advice on how to do things better through the comments you guys leave. It also, hopefully, will help me understand my writing process a little bit better. Which will, hopefully hopefully, lead me to fufilling my dream of publishing a book one day!

(Me, hoping & praying & dreaming [& solving murders in my spare time])

May Round Up of Magnificent Posts from Magnificent People:

My Round Up of May Posts:

It was definitely a good month. I feel like I was much more present in everything I was doing which was probably a major contribution. When you really focus on a task, especially if it’s something you love (*cough* like writing *cough*) you get a lot more out of the experience. Yoga definitely played a part in me being more mindful, and I hope I can stick with it going into June.

How has May been for you? Are there any exercise routines/ sports you love to do? Let me know in the comments below!

(ALSO, SUMMER IS COMING AND I AM READY! BRING ON THE HEAT!!)

Till next time,

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Vignette #30 “The Racetrack”

Before I can help it my fingers are flying across the keys, and I’m helpless to stop it. The thoughts are racing by, each one trying to overcome the others. Many succeed in flying straight ahead to the finish line, but some are left far enough behind to get trampled and lost in the mess on the track of my mind. My fingers are helpless in the competition. They just keep tapping and pressing and moving to the instructions they’re given, like announcers trying to keep the rest of the audience informed. The racing thoughts that get lost come out in bits of shattered fragments on the rapidly filling once blank page. A random horseshoe in the middle of a sentence that otherwise would have made perfect sense. A lost stirrup, ripped from the saddle lying by itself at the end of a paragraph, or a scrap of paper with the headline ripped from the top to be hidden somewhere else in the dirt of the track.

It takes a moment, after the burst, before I realize the race has ended. The winners are clear on the page. I need a deep breath because it’s over, and even though I haven’t even left my seat I am exhausted. I’m not part of the competition anymore, I’m a bystander, a visitor looking on from the stands. As I go through the sentences it is just like watching a recap on a screen. By the time I reach the last word, my mind and fingers in tandem have had to edit and cut. Getting rid of the things that don’t make sense, disregarding the racers that came in last, and painting the victorious in the appropriate light for the prize winning picture.

But this is just the derby, wait till the stakes get higher.

Photo by Jeff Griffith on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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Flash Fiction – “Ghost Town”

It doesn’t matter if the air is empty. I’ll tell you the truth. It is never really empty.

It doesn’t matter if at night the city is quiet. I’ll tell you the truth. It is never really quiet.

My brother is standing right next to me and he is totally, completely fine. He’s thinking about dinner I’m sure, he is almost always ready to eat. Words are coming out of his mouth with that easy way he has as if everything is and will always be okay. I’ll tell you the truth. I am not okay.

To him the air is clear, the city is silent. To me the air is filled with things I wish I couldn’t see. Some people call them visions, others spirits. Most people hear nothing at all, but some of us hear the whispers, the moans. To me it always sounded more like crying, and right here this little pocket of the universe is full of tears.

“I’m thinking tacos?” My brother says offhandedly.

I shrug my shoulders, my back pained with tension but my voice calm. “Whatever you want.” Gently I pull him over to my side of the sidewalk. The gesture is somewhat to get him moving again, but mostly its just to avoid one of the ghosts.

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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10 of My Favorite Feelings Tag

Life moves at the blink of an eye.

Now more than ever, with the world the way that it is right now, it’s important to slow down and remember what really matters in life. I’m sure all of us have had to take more than a few deep breaths these past few months, but in those breaths it’s the perfect moment to slow down and reflect on everything we do have that’s right in our worlds despite all the rest that isn’t.

I want to thank Xandria so much for creating this tag! If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, I highly recommend you do! She is such a ray of sunshine and positivity! 😀 Writing this post really relaxed me and brought a smile to my face as I thought of all my favorite feelings. It made me feel much more mindful about living my life in the moment, right here and now.

  1. Petrichor

I love going outside right after it rains. That first deep breath of fresh air is unlike any other smell in the world.

2. The Twilight Hours

I love that slip of time between dawn and sunrise or sunset and dusk. It’s such a strange, magical time of the day where it feels like anything can happen. It’s ephemeralness also makes it all the more special because you can only experience it for so long.

3. Surprise Laughter

Everyone knows this feeling. When all of a sudden something happens, and you totally caught off guard, just burst out laughing. Laughter is one of the most healing, stress relieving feelings in the world.

4. Mood Reading

A lot of us read but we don’t always read for enjoyment. Some things we are required to read but I love when I’m in a particular mood and I find the perfect book that embodies that particular mood. When the book I’m reading matches my feelings I feel like the world has come full circle.

5. The Ocean

I love looking at the ocean. I could go to the beach, stand and just look at the ocean for hours. It’s always changing, always rolling, always leaving but it also is never failing to come back.

6. Going to the Movies

I love going to the movies with my friends, but I haven’t been able to do this in forever because of current world problems. But, that feeling when the lights dim and the previews are over and the intro music starts playing…. I’m all there for that.

7. New York City

I love going to New York City. Whenever I’m there I’m surrounded by tall people, tall buildings and tall aspirations. It feels like an adventure every time I’m there, like wow this city can make all my dreams come true kinda feeling. I don’t think that’s universal for everyone who goes there but the City has always had a special place in my heart. You never know what’s going to happen, who you are going to see or what delicious food you are going to get to eat!!

8. High Intensity Exercise

This one is a double edged sword. To get to that adrenaline rush, I have to push myself to get into the zone of working out but once I’m there I feel so strong. Like I could fight a monster with my bare hands.

9. Wandering

I love to walk around. Especially places I’ve never been before. I want to see things I’ve never seen before and I want to people-watch and I want to see how this place in front of me is different from anything I’ve seen before. I’m always game for exploring and getting lost in the world around me.

10. Writing

This is my favorite feeling of all my favorite feelings. When everything melts away, your fingers flying, and it’s just you and the story playing in your mind. When you hit this level of emotion in writing it’s like the world you’ve created has come alive around you. Yes. This is my favorite favorite feeling. When I make imagination into reality.


Tags:
Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner
Sidharth @ Writing Rhymes
Olivia @ Purely Olivia
Helen Qin @ Confessions of a Doctor to be
The Orangutan Librarian

No pressure to do this!! Just if you want a fun tag to do 😀

What are some of your favorite feelings? Do the tag!! I’ll open it to everyone. Just don’t forget to tag Xandria in your post, and send me the link in the comments! I want to read about all your favorite feelings too!!

Till next time,

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Liebster Award #2

Hey guys!

Wow, I feel so honored to have been nominated again for the Liebster Award by my lovely friend Sidharth @Writing Rhymes. He is truly an amazing writer whose prose really hits deep. If you haven’t checked out his blog yet I recommend giving it a gander!

Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Share 11 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-11 other bloggers.
  • Ask your nominees 11 questions.
  • Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post.

Sidharth’s Questions for Me!

  1. What’s the one word that describes you best?

Hmm… I would have to say dedicated. If I love something I stick with it through and through even when things get rough.

2. Who are some of your most favorite writers?

Where to start? Maggie Stiefvater, Leigh Bardugo, Diana Wynne Jones and Erin Morgenstern to name a few!

3. Tell me about one of the most memorable moments of your life.

I remember my college graduation very clearly. That was a big day for me, and I had all my loved ones in one place there with me to celebrate.

4. What’s your outlook/motto in life?

My favorite motto is the Nike slogan. 😀 Just do it. I tell it to myself at least once a day.

5. A thing that you aim to convey through your blog?

Good question! Through my writing I hope to convey that life is worth living even when it gets tough (and it will always get tough). There is magic everywhere, the fact that we are alive breathing human beings is amazing in itself. Magic is everywhere. You just need to choose to see it.

6. What makes you truly happy in life?

My family and friends make me happy beyond all measure. I’m very lucky to have them.

7. What all are you doing in this lockdown phase to keep up the positive vibes?

Reading!! I read everyday. Also, cartoons. I watch too many cartoons.

8. Name one of your all-time favorite movies & why do you enjoy it so much?

I love Spirited Away. I can watch it over and over because everything about it (the music, characters, story) just relaxes me so much.

9. One aspect of your life that you intend to improve upon?

Writing! I want to keep writing and writing and writing so that one day I can hopefully publish a book.

10. If you could have a superpower then what would it be & why?

I want super strength. I’m on the smaller side so I would love to surprise everyone and be able to lift a truck over my head. #goals

11. What do you like the most about my blog/writings & any suggestions for me to improve as a blogger?

I love that your writings are very thought provoking and evoke strong feelings. Keep writing!

11 Facts About Me

  1. I used to hate pancakes (but now I love them).
  2. I like country music.
  3. My Hogwarts house is Slytherin.
  4. I’m addicted to Animal Crossing: New Horizons right now.
  5. I love the ocean so much but I am terrified of it.
  6. I dislike Italian ice. I prefer ice cream all the way.
  7. I tend to take on too much at once and burn myself out.
  8. I’ve started doing yoga in the morning this past month (and I love it)!
  9. I love hot coffee and hate iced coffee.
  10. My first car was older than me.
  11. I have siblings!

My Nominations

Since this is my second nomination I’ll just leave this up to anyone who reads this post and wants to answer my weird questions, haha!

My 11 Questions for You

  1. If you could pick one element to control what would it be?
  2. What song never fails to bring tears to your eyes?
  3. Swimming or biking?
  4. Do you remember your dreams?
  5. If you could eat dinner with three fictional characters who would they be and why?
  6. Would you rather be able to fly a plane, drive a car, or navigate a boat?
  7. If given the opportunity would you ever want to travel to outer space?
  8. Do you believe in ghosts?
  9. What’s something you are obsessed with right now?
  10. Favorite fairytale?
  11. If given the choice (and you could only pick one) would you save your best friend or save the world?

Now I must retreat back to my cave to work on world building for my WIP. I’m debating on whether or not I should do a separate writing update post and not just a quick blurb in my monthly recap Snapshot but I haven’t decided yet. What do you guys think? Would you be interested in hearing about my writing process?

Till next time,

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“Fairytale”

Once upon a time…
is how I shall begin.
A castle wrought in ivory
and knights dressed in tin.

A jovial king
made of poultry
and sweet pie.
A dour queen
subdued to never question
how or why?

Money and power
the kingdom
had renowned.
With two princes to boot
hunting in the woods
to be found.

The older
of the two
was strong and fit
but the younger
was smarter and
drowning in wit.

One day the older got an idea
to take his little brother
out to hunt deer
only his motives
in the situation
were very unclear.

As usual they rode together
on black horses
of noble breed
until the older deserted
the younger, losing him
in the woods was the deed.

The younger called out
and realized too late
that he was alone,
left to die
with his whereabouts
unknown.

Days passed
into weeks
and the king and queen
mourned their loss
of the little prince
gone and unseen.

The prince
was never to return
do you see?
For in those
very woods
he built his own country.

He used his head
to find shelter
and food,
he made friends
with the foxes
wild and shrewd.

He survived
and grew older
in a castle of trees.
A kingdom of nature
that stretched all
the way to the seas.

Did you think this was
a story of revenge
and deceit?
Sometimes the best comeback
is living well
and not falling to defeat.

The younger prince knew
what his brother
had done,
so he did one better
and lived a happy life
under the sun.

Living well
is retribution
kept hush
because swords are flashier,
as is dying
in the dust.

But don’t think
the older prince
still got to be.
His kingdom fell to ruin
while the younger’s
is still free.

As this is a fairytale
and I the crafter
all that’s left to say is
that prince lived happily ever after.

Photo by Scott Walsh on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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Vignette #29 “Wayfarer”

There is a path stretched out behind you. It’s concrete made with no bends in sight. As straight and narrow as the length of a computer screen, the width of an office desk, and the depth of the manager’s suit covered gut. The sun is the color of a fluorescent light, and the air is as stuffy as a hot classroom. Expectations, rules, the conventional like shackles pressing down onto your shoulders and binding your feet to the floor.

There is a path curving ahead of you, serpentine and shifting. There is no way to know what is going to come at you next on that mist covered trail. It changes its shape at every turn depending on the decisions you make, and there will be many decisions to make. Monsters lurk in the depths, some friendly and some not. Different than the behemoths you’ve fought before. These are stronger, and will swat the weak at heart away with a single slap across the face. There’s no tradition on this path to hang across your shoulders, but there is no guidance either.

And don’t forget the paths stretching to either side. You could go right where all the noise of the roaring waves is. Take off your shoes and let the sand crowd around your toes. Let the water call you in closer and closer till it caresses your skin. Let the call draw you in further and further till its over your head and all you can live, see, breathe is ocean.

Or, you could go left into the silence of the woods. Trees will stand over you and their leaves will cover you from the rain, while burrows will protect you from the wind when the storm comes to call. You can stay as long as you wish but this path can run around and around in circles confusing even the most skilled travelers. Everything will start to look the same until you forget there was anything different before.

You can even sit down and stay just where you are. The safest spot of all… at first sight. This is the one with the greatest risk to gain the greatest loss.

So, chose wisely.

Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash