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Category Archives: Writing

SUICIDE ANNIVERSARY

Hello Friends,

I don’t normally do this, but today I was reminded that last year on this day, my brother committed suicide.  So I am going to re-post the post I wrote last year for any who may have never seen it.

May is Mental Health Awareness month.  If you are feeling lonely, discouraged, or severely depressed, call someone…please.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

Hello Friends,

I have been feeling a little reluctant to write about this, but honestly, I don’t see how I can NOT write about it.  This will be long; bear with me, please.

On the morning of May 5th, 2017, I learned that one of my brothers committed suicide on May 4th. In a way, I wasn’t surprised when I thought back on the last time I had spoken with him.  He called me out of the blue about a month before this and asked me if I knew where his daughter was.  I thought this was a strange question since I have not seen her since she was three years old!  She and her mom left California in the early ’80’s when her mom and my brother divorced.  Anyway, I asked him why he needed to find her.  I asked him if he was sick.  He said he wasn’t sick, but he couldn’t hardly walk anymore. He said he wanted her to be able to have all of his part of the financial investments that our parents left us “just in case something happens to me.”  In the back of my mind I had a flash of what he may have been planning.  However, I did not ask him if he was feeling suicidal.  I wish I had.   I was actually surprised that he even called me.

My brother and I had a very rocky relationship for most of our lives.  I never really understood why.  I am the youngest.  He was the middle sibling.  We were four and a half years apart.  He would have been 61 this July.  He always seemed closer to our other brother.  However, throughout our lives we all really went our separate ways.  The closest I ever felt to either of them was when we went through the death of our mother in 2006.  Our father died three years later.  So our eldest brother had to handle all of the inheritance stuff.  It was a very stressful time for all of us.  Since then, we have all lived separately; my oldest brother left the area and my other brother and I never knew where he was until about three years ago.

That was when my middle brother decided to call me and apologize for everything he had ever done to hurt me.  He was crying and truly sorry.  This was something I had been praying for since 1987 when God had turned my life around.  I had tried many times to make amends with him, but he was just not ready.  Needless to say, I was thankful for that call.  I told him I had forgiven him many years ago and had been praying we might be able to have that conversation someday.  I told him I had always wanted to know him and I loved him.  I asked him if we could just start to have a relationship then, but he said he didn’t want to.  He was addicted to drugs and couldn’t get clean.  He was living in a trailer park where he had been for the last 20 years.  He didn’t know how to change, and he didn’t ask anyone for help that I know of.  I felt helpless, but I let him be.  I called him a few times just to see how he was doing, but he just didn’t know how to connect with me.

I believe he suffered from mental illness his whole life; most likely anxiety and depression, just as I have since I was at least 15.  Looking back on my childhood, I now believe my dad suffered from depression and this was why he drank.  I also think my mom had anxiety issues not just because of his drinking, but because of her own chemical make-up.  She was always worrying about everything and everyone.

I went through my drug and alcohol abuse days from about 1980 to 1987.  That was the year I quit everything and got help through counseling and an ACA (adult children of alcoholics) meeting every week for a couple of years. However, both of my brothers kept using drugs and alcohol for the rest of their lives.  My brother who died was hurt on a job many years ago and was getting pain medicine through the veterans hospital.  He was in the Navy for four years when he was right out of high school.   Apparently, though, his back became so bad, he could hardly walk anymore.  I believe that he just chose to die to escape the pain that was consuming him.

I have been that low many, many times myself emotionally.  However, I am thankful to have a loving husband and two children who love me and would never ever want me to make that choice just to escape any pain I may go through in my life.  It doesn’t solve anything, and it leaves those whom the person left behind in shock, angry, and sad.

When I learned of my brother’s suicide, I was definitely shocked.  Then I was angry for a few days. Then I had to begin dealing with the aftermath of what would happen to him and his stuff.  At the time I didn’t have a clue as to where his daughter was.  Then his best friend found my brother’s ex-wife’s phone number.  She was contacted and then my niece was.  Yesterday I spent most of the day on the phone with my 37-year-old niece whom I do not even know.  It was strange, but good.

Hopefully, just getting in touch with her will be the blessing that comes out of his sad choice.  My brother and his daughter were estranged from each other for most of their lives as well.  I always felt sad about that, but hopefully she and I can build a relationship with one another now even though we live very far apart.

To this day I have no clue as to where my other brother lives.  We became estranged after our parents were both gone eight years ago.  He left the area and has never wanted to come back. However, our brother who died did have a best friend who knew where our oldest brother was.  So the same month that my brother called and apologized to me, he also went and found our other brother to make amends with him as well.  However, I have no way to find our eldest brother to try and do the same.  He is living off the grid which is what he always wanted.

I know this has been a very long post; if you stayed with me, thank you.  I wrote this to encourage anyone who is thinking about suicide or knows anyone who is, to tell you to please reach out for help.  There is lots of help to be found!  First, try to talk to someone you know.  If that doesn’t help, call a local suicide hotline.  Or call 1-800-273-8255.  This is the number for Suicide Prevention Services of America.  Their website is http://www.spsamerica.org if you want more information.  I have never used their services, but I am sure there would be someone there to talk to.

Well, friends, I am definitely going to be reaching out for some help myself in dealing with this.  I have talked with someone locally whom I am planning to meet this afternoon.  Perhaps this is going to be the start of something good.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

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Writing Project Finished!

Hello Friends, 

I do not have any new artwork to post yet, however, I did want to share that I have finally completed my seventh assignment for my writing class!  Yay!

I wrote a fictional story about a teenager who is a senior in high school and has been getting tattoos since she turned 18 in an effort to hide her scars from her addiction to cutting.

This has been the most challenging writing I have ever done and although I struggled with it, I enjoyed the process.  I also had to include a cover letter as if I were going to submit it somewhere. So now I will wait and see what my instructor has to say about it!

Hopefully, I will have some new work to post sometime this week.  It seems I may have a slightly pulled muscle from working out the other day; not sure how it happened, though.

Until next time…

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

I AM BUSY WRITING!!

Calvin and Hobbes

by Bill Watterson

 

Hello Friends,

It has been quite some time since I posted!  I have been reading a Calvin & Hobbes comic book I bought really cheap at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago.  It brings back memories of our son reading them out loud to us all the time when he was a kid.  He has a stack of those books!  But I decided to buy one for myself.  Bill Watterson is such a talented artist and humorist.  I have always loved his comics.

In other news I have been busy with my writing class’s assignment over the past couple of weeks.  I have consulted with my instructor about the story I came up with about a girl who is a cutter.   I found a literary magazine in the Writer’s Market book that accepts submissions up to 5000 words!  My story is almost half that, but I am still working on it.  I don’t want to make it that long, but it is nice to be able to have that much room to tell it instead of it having to be 500 or 1000 words only!  Plus, I am not planning to send it to this magazine.  Finding one was just part of the assignment.  We also have to write a cover letter which I haven’t done before.  I have also been reading a lot of children’s and young adults fiction.  I read Charlotte’s Web for the first time…and cried.  It was so good!  But I couldn’t get into Stuart Little.

I have only sketched a couple of things in watercolors in the last week but unfortunately, they didn’t come out great so I won’t be posting them.  I haven’t been drawing much either.  Just one of those weird months, I guess.

But I thought I would at least check in and tell everyone that I will have something new soon.  I hope everyone is doing well.

I am doing well.  I had a “procedure” (that I won’t mention ) done last Friday that wiped me out for the weekend.  So this has been a busy week getting back into the swing of things.  But life is great!  I hope everyone has had a good week!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

BLOGGING IS COURAGEOUS!!!

Hello Friends,

I have had such a great week!  First, I want to share quickly that I finished my Assignment 6 story which is a story about a girl with the compulsion to cut, and it is targeted at middle-school to teen-aged kids.  I haven’t turned it in yet, though, because I have another part of my assignment to finish also.  But it will definitely be in before March 1st!  I am proud of myself which is not as difficult to say as it used to be for me.

Second, I am working on a mama and baby porcupine watercolor, but because of all the writing, I am taking it easy with my arm.  I am still working out (not every day) but when I do, it helps a lot.

Lastly, the reason I titled this post “BLOGGING IS COURAGEOUS” is because I have been blessed to have many new followers lately, and NEW bloggers who have begun blogging about their challenges with depression and anxiety and other mental health issues.  To all of you who have recently found and followed me, congratulations!  Keep on blogging, try not to get discouraged, and make lots of friends.

It is challenging and blogging and making new friends online has been very rewarding for me.  Keep up the great work bloggers!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Mental Health Recovery

Hello Friends,

Recently I found this man’s blog.  His name is James Edgar Skye.  I wanted to share this post of his with you to encourage anyone who struggles with any type of mental illness.  The road is tough for us, but when we get help, take medication if we need it, and have support, we CAN accomplish our goals.

I have been taking a correspondence course through the Institute of Children’s Literature since about August.  I am halfway through it now!  My sixth assignment is to write a story using the character I created in my fifth assignment.  So my wheels have been spinning as I read other writer’s stories in my text.

I know most of you know me as a watercolor/drawing artist, however, when I began this blog over five years ago, I was focusing on writing.  The blog helped to motivate me.  I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember.  However, I have started many pieces, such as my memoir and a novel, that I have yet to finish.  That’s okay.  Right now I want to learn to write short stories for teenagers and write about serious issues that many of them face daily such as depression, anxiety, cutting, and various addictions.

So I encourage you to read James’s post as well and be encouraged.  Struggling with mental illness is difficult, but we can still achieve our goals with a lot of hard work.  Encouraging each other along the way is also key.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

Thanks for sharing your life with us, James.  🙂  Please read on to get to know James.

Yesterday I introduced a new series on the blog. My real life journal entries during some of my toughest times. My Mental Illness Journal. Today I want to talk about goals in mental health recovery. What Are Your Mental Health Recovery Goals? In the life with a mental illness, it can seem difficult to set […]

via Goals in Mental Health Recovery — The Bipolar Writer

Rejection Means I Tried!

Hello Friends!

I wanted to share with you what I received in my e-mail on my birthday!  (The letter is below)  I thought it was funny that it came that day!!  It has been months since I spontaneously submitted my picture book to this contest.  I didn’t expect to win at all, but I  am glad they let me know anyway.  So I guess this means I am officially a writer??  Ha, ha.  It’s fine.  I have never submitted anything before so it was a good experience.

I need to get started on my next writing project for my class.  I haven’t been doing any art this week.  My husband took two weeks off from work so we have had a lot more time to spend together.  We had car problems and had our car in the shop a couple of days so he took our daughter to work very early in the morning a couple of days, because she doesn’t want to drive his 5 speed Nissan truck.  She hasn’t learned how to drive a stick shift.

I hope everyone’s holiday season is going well.  My husband and I went to town yesterday, and it was a ZOO!!  I really want to stay away from there during the next week or so; it is just too crazy!

Until I have something to post next time…

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  And happy holidays!!  🙂

 

 

Sparkhouse Family submissions@sparkhouse.org via email.submittable.com 

Dec 14 (2 days ago)

to me

Dear Patsy Parker,

Thank you for submitting “Larry the Lonely Leatherback” to the Sparkhouse Family Children’s Picturebook Contest. Unfortunately, the submission wasn’t a good fit for us at this time. We received many excellent entries and the competition was very stiff. I hope you’ll consider submitting again if you have additional work that you think will be a good fit for our publishing house.

All the best,
The editors at Sparkhouse Family

You can go here to view the submission:
https://sparkhousefamily.submittable.com/user/submissions/8547122

Wet-into-Wet Practice

Hello Friends, 

This piece was a practice run at doing “wet-into-wet” watercolor painting.  For the sake of my friends who have never painted, it is just what it means.  We wet the paper first, let the water soak into the paper some, then paint into the wet, obviously with wet paint, thus, we-into-wet.

I did this one a few days before my watercolor class last week but then I learned some new things on Thursday when we practiced the technique along with some brushstrokes.  I might take this with me this week to see what my instructor says.  There is also some splattering in there to get the sandy look, but that’s something I’ve always liked to do for beaches.

Anyway, I had fun doing this and that is all that matters, right?  My instructor always says we are painting to have fun.  And I realize learning new things takes practice and work, but if I am not having fun while I am learning something new and just feeling too frustrated the whole time, I tend to want to quit doing it.  I have to REALLY love what I am doing to push through those trials to achieve my goals.

I remember feeling that way about ten years ago when I first started learning to draw in pencil and paint with watercolors. But I chose to stick with it.  I never even showed my very early work to anyone except my family.  I was fine with that. I am glad I decided to keep practicing and reading instructive books, etc.  I took some classes here and there, too.  I believe I wouldn’t be enjoying it as much now if I hadn’t.

I’ve tried lots of other things through the years as some of you know:  learning to play guitar (WAY more of a time requirement than I wanted to spend.)   Playing piano  (I already knew how to play, but was taking lessons again and trying to learn more difficult things.  Again WAY too much of a time – and money – requirement.  I wasn’t interested enough to stick with it again either.)  Once in a while I play stuff I have learned, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I sat down to play anything.

Lately, because of the “Writing for Children and Teens” class I signed up for, my old desire to spend time writing has been greatly renewed!!  It is exciting and has become fun again.  I think starting this blog four years ago actually renewed the desire that has always been in me to write.

This class is a very different kind of challenge, though.  Three things challenge me in this class:

  1.  Deciding what age range for kids to write the story for.
  2.  Staying within the word count limits!
  3.  Changing my mind about how to structure the story. Dialogue is something new to me, too!

So far, though, it is FUN!   I have attempted to write very little fiction throughout my life.  All the writing classes I took in college required writing non-fiction papers except for the last one I took over ten years ago.  It was a creative writing class.  I had to do short in-class writings in response to writing prompts we were given, write some poetry, maybe a story or two, and write a fable.  Writing the fable was the most fun for me.  However, I found it the other day, and it really isn’t very well written.  Hopefully, I am doing better now!

Today, I am going to be polishing up my story some more.  Then I am going to exercise!  Hopefully, I will get to do some drawing and/or painting, too.  And then there is always the laundry.

My husband is in town playing Dungeons and Dragons with some friends.   So I am here alone…oh except for those little Cinderella mice!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug.  🙂

 

FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY: Writer: George T. Parker

Hello Friends,

Today I would like to introduce my husband, George T. Parker, to you.  He is also part of our local writing group called The Redding Writer’s Forum.  His main role in the group is writing their monthly newsletter, mailing it out, and posting to their website.  He has photographed some of their meetings along with others sharing in this responsibility.  He also includes writing from other members of the group in the newsletter.

In September he will be their first speaker of the year doing a presentation on writing memoirs.  He has been working on putting together his own memoir mostly focusing on the years that he was in the California Conservation Corps.  Here is a link to a great fictionalized story he wrote about something that happened in the C’s. http://reddingwritersforum.com

———————

So here are George’s answers to my questions for this post.  Enjoy!

 

  1. How long have you been a writer and/or artist? 

I’ve been a writer pretty much all of my life, as far back as grade school. I wrote a lot of weird adventure stories, and even did some cartooning of stories. (Yes! I could draw back then!) My writing got more sophisticated in high school, with more sarcasm and wit. I also started writing Dungeons & Dragons adventures for my gaming group. I journaled a lot in the California Conservation Corps, and after the Cs, I contributed to my community college’s literary magazine, Bridges. Lately, I’ve been blogging about the CCC and D&D. The main project that I would like to finish and see published before I die is my memoir of life in the CCC.

 

  1. What do you like to write about and/or create? 

I love memoir. The motto for my CCC blog is ‘Everybody has a story that deserves to be told.’ I believe that, and I love to help people tell their stories.

I love to help people see, hear, and feel the outdoors like I have experienced them.

I also love to make people laugh.

        

  1. Who has been the greatest influence in your creativity?  (This could be someone you know or someone you admire but have never met.) 

I don’t know where to start. Certainly, John Muir comes to mind for any outdoors writing, or even memoir. Edward Abby’s Monkey Wrench Gang is the perfect blend of outdoors and humor.

Louis L’Amour really inspired me to write about places that I know first-hand. That’s what he did, and it showed.

Believe it or not, a primary influence for writing humor was Art Buchwald’s political satire of the 1960s and early ‘70s. I suppose that I should also include Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Robert Asprin (The Myth-Adventures series), and Monty Python.

You can see more of George’s work at either of his blogs.  Here are the links.

https://grinningdwarf.com/

https://ccchardcorps.wordpress.com/

Thank you, George, for contributing your story to my series FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY.   I enjoyed it as I am sure others will, too!

 

NOTE:  Unless I hear from other “creatives” who want to share their stories, George’s will be the last post in this series.  I realize it takes time to answer questions that perhaps you haven’t been asked in a long time, but just remember…it doesn’t have to be long!  Send it to larrytheleatherback17@gmail.com.  Thanks!

Have a wonderful day and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

 

My Autobiography (in progress, of course!)

(Image from Google)

Hello Friends,

This is just a quick post to let you know about my other blog.  I think I began it about a year or so after this one to pen my life story, such as it is.

If you would like to know more about me, here is the link:

https://spreadingmy2wings.wordpress.com/

If not, that is okay!   I had debated for a long time whether or not to make it a “public” blog, but I figure everyone has a past, and sometimes there are things in our pasts that we are not particularly proud of or things that were scary.  I started my story off kind of scary which is why I was really surprised that The Institute of Children’s Literature accepted me when I submitted the Prologue to them.

I also want to write for teens someday and began a novel a couple of years ago but I felt overwhelmed while I was working on it, distracted myself in the story, and confused myself about where I wanted it to go!  Yep, distracted and confused, that’s me!   Ha, ha!!  So I will not be sharing it.  It needs A TON of work!  I’m not sure I will ever be a novelist, though, and that’s okay!

By the way, I couldn’t keep up with trying to do a watercolor every day for the month of July!  So I commend all of those wonderful artists who did!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

Fairy Tale Turtle

DO YOU KNOW WHAT MOVIE THIS TURTLE IS FROM??

Hello Friends,

You’ll know which movie in a minute, but first I promised I was going to tell you about the new correspondence course I am taking through the Institute of Children’s Literature.  Here is their website.  https://www.instituteforwriters.com/

They teach courses for writing for children, teens and adults, however, I am taking the one called Writing for Children and Teeens.  There is a lot of reading to do along with the writing which I am finding is easier for me.  I haven’t attempted to write much fiction; I have a great deal to learn!

The reading also inspired me to get my own hard copy of Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales.  (However, that book is not part of the course.)  After I found a beautiful hardbound copy at Barnes & Noble the other day, which I got a great bargain on, I decided to compare the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with the Disney movie which I decided to watch.  I already knew the Disney version would be vastly different!! The Grimm brothers were, well…pretty grim!!  😉  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ends pretty violently as they tell it!!  I wonder what they would think of Walt Disney?

Our video tape is at least 20 years old and it got really hung up right around the part where Snow White is getting all the animals to help her clean the cottage where they live (during “Whistle While You Work,” my favorite song in the movie!  I think I need to get a new DVD of it.)

Anyway, I did not remember this wonderful turtle in the movie!  It is in more than one scene, but I stopped the video long enough to sketch out a couple of its wonderful poses!  I couldn’t get the tape to stay paused for when he tried climbing the stairs.  Also, I didn’t use the same colors from my watercolor pencils.  But here is part of the house cleaning/laundry scene.

THAT TURTLE IS SO ADORABLE!!!  Of course I had to try to paint it!  What it does in this scene makes me laugh out loud!!

All I did the other day was sketch the turtle, so I decided to “add water” and bring it to life today!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

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