Persistent whispers

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I really didn’t want to do it.  Homeschooling my dyslexic son was on the very bottom of my things I’d like to do in this life list and although my husband and I had already kicked around the idea and I had expressed that maybe I would homeschool him next year, I was really just dragging my feet hoping for something else or someone else to step in and present themselves as the answer to our problems.  The little voice in the back of my head, that persistent little whisper that had been there since my son was two, when I first started to become aware of his language and learning difficulties, the one that always said what I wasn’t willing to admit, told me there was no rescue coming.  It said, “you are all he has.”

I desperately didn’t want to believe it.

And then, six weeks into my son’s grade four year, at yet another school meeting with the teacher, the principal and a myriad of other admins who had simply passed the buck by passing my son through grade after grade, year after year, knowing full well he couldn’t read and not wanting to deal with his recent dyslexia diagnosis (no one at the meeting could even bring themselves to say the word dyslexia outloud -well, except me, who said it constantly and loudly knowing it HAD to be addressed if my son was to have any chance of success in school), the house of cards that had been my son’s inefficient education finally and completely, collapsed.  Through yelling and tears (and not just mine), it was made abundantly clear that no one at the school was willing to help my son in the way that he needed to be helped.  So, my husband and I gave up the fight, we collected our son from his classroom and went home to wage our own battle.

Sitting at the kitchen table with my boy the next morning, knowing that his education was now completely in my hands and my hands only was as scary and daunting as sitting in my dorm room in college away from home for the first time had been.  It was a spine-tingling sort of realization of “Oh my godI’ve done it.  I’m here.  Now what??”

The two years that followed (much like my two years of college) were some of the most challenging, yet rewarding times I’ve ever had the pleasure of going through and growing through – and most importantly, it had the same impact on my son.

During those long hard years of homeschooling / reading remediation, my son went from reading four years behind grade level (that equated to not knowing the alphabet in grade four) to reading at grade level.  He revelled in finally being able to read his Harry Potter books to himself.  I’d listen at his closed bedroom door with tears in my eyes as he carefully and haltingly read outloud.  It tugged at my mommy heartstrings just like hearing his first words and seeing his first steps had done – but moreso because learning how to read (and for me, learning how to teach him to read) had been a steep, steep mountain for both of us to climb.  But, even on my worst days, that persistent little whisper in the back of my head was my constant cheerleader, believing in me and what I was doing even when I wasn’t too sure of anything at all.  “You’re the only one who can and will help him,” it told me, “so keep going!”  So I did.

Two years have passed since I wrapped up homeschooling and put my son back into the school system. He just finished grade 7.  He still has his struggles (and always will) because of his dyslexia, but his reading has continued to improve and stay consistent with his grade level.  I couldn’t be prouder of him, even as that persistent whisper in the back of my head has continued.

“Keep helping,” it has told me for two years now.  “There’s more like him.”

And it’s true.

While homeschooling, so many of my mom friends shared their own frustrations at their child’s poor reading skills and the inability of the school to provide appropriate or effective resources to help and so many came to the same sad conclusion, “I can’t do anything about it.  I’m not self-employed like you are, so I can’t homeschool.”

That was true, too.  Being self-employed as a photographer for the past decade has allowed me to schedule my work around my kids and their needs and I was able to move from full to part time employment in order to homeschool.  But then, the pandemic happened and in March I closed up my studio, thinking it would be temporary, but instead, it offered the silence needed for those whispers to get louder.

 

This summer, I will finish up my Orton-Gillingham certification and will close my photography business.  This fall, I will start a new venture:  Rock Star Readers, a reading tutor service for kids.

Those persistent whispers in my head finally made their way to my heart and now I trust them to lead me where they may.

 

 

My book is FREE today!

The Latest on the Amazon Rainforest Fires(1)

My second novel, Hope Quest book 2: The Lightning, and second installment in my Hope Quest series, is FREE today as an e-book via Amazon!  Find it here!  Cosmic and supernatural, it is a coming of age/fantasy/drama about 14-year-old Hope Quest, an unusual girl who speaks in a whisper but has some strange and powerful abilities to control the stars and birds.  After learning of her origins in book 1: Blackbird and having to deal with unexpected trauma at StarFEST, her group of punk friends helps her navigate her growing abilities, just as a strange, new photography teacher arrives at school with a particularly strong interest in Hope.

Check it out and if you enjoy it, please consider leaving me a review on Amazon. Those reviews are gold for indie authors like me!

Mistakes brought me here

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At fifteen, I ran away from one bad home situation into an even worse one. Within a year, I was introduced to a lifestyle of rampant drug use and went from a straight-A student to a high school drop-out. Sitting by candlelight one night, the electricity having been cut-off due to non-payment again, I sat filling out application forms for dead-end, minimum wage jobs, when a life-changing thought occurred to me like a lightning bolt:

No one is going to save me from this.

I realized in that moment that I had made a mistake – a big one.  My life was falling apart. I was going nowhere very quickly and I knew that no one was going to sweep in and save me.

I had made a mistake, but in accepting that mistake and learning from it – rather than beating myself up emotionally and staying stuck in that situation -I realized that I could change things and, more importantly, I did.

Within a year, I had painfully extricated myself from that life into a better one.  I went back to school, earned a few university degrees and have been on the road to a much better life ever since and I owe all of my success and my happiness to those mistakes I made along the way.

Although painful, I am strangely grateful to them. Without those mistakes, I wouldn’t have worked as hard to get what I want.  Without them, I might not have known what I wanted and I certainly wouldn’t have learned to appreciate all that I have now.

Since becoming an indie author in the past year, I have recently begun to realize that I have been making a whole lot of mistakes along the way.  I have put out four books and have struggled to get them noticed, read, reviewed.  It’s been frustrating and disheartening, but I’ve begun to realize that it’s not because of me or the books, but because of my lack of marketing and distribution channels.  More importantly, I know that I can change that, I can fix it.  And I will.

Mistakes can lead to failure, but viewed in another light – even by dim candlelight- they can also point the way to success and there’s no shame in learning that at any point in our lives.

 

 

 

Redefining “responsible”

“No matter how far you’ve traveled down the wrong path,

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it’s never too late to turn around.”

Memes don’t usually give me pause for thought, but that particular one did.  A few years back, I began to question the path I was taking in my life.  I was happy with most of it – I had a great marriage, happy, healthy kids, a nice house, a decent job.  But there was this constant little voice nagging in the back of my head – what about Hope? what about your stories? 

What about them??

Shortly after the birth of my first, I gave up on my creative writing dreams.  I had had minor success as a teen and in my twenties with publishing my short stories and my poems, but with all the responsibilities of parenthood and a growing family, etc, I figured that writing – particularly all the time spent imagining, daydreaming – was something best left for the carefree (eg: not new parents) and best left out of responsible “adulting.”

Years went by, two more kids arrived and as the responsibilities piled on, my yearning for writing only increased in response. For so long, it had been my outlet, often my only outlet, for dealing with depression – something that has plagued me since adolescence. The writing wasn’t just a hobby, it was my therapy, my coping mechanism.  It was a large part of who I was and how I had handled my depressive thoughts in the past, and without it, I began to realize that not only was I risking falling into it again but I was also denying myself that important outlet of my own self-expression.  I wasn’t allowing myself to be, well, me.

It was just that important and I realized then that I absolutely needed it back in my life.

So, I stopped.  I stopped my journey down that long, arduous (at times, dry and dusty) road of responsible “adulting” and I turned around.  I bought a writing desk, a laptop.  I carved time in my day (sometimes even just 10 – 15 minutes!) and I gave myself permission to write again.  I changed my definition of “responsible parent/adult” to include imagining and daydreaming (and getting more tattoos and listening to new bands and going to concerts again!).

I’ve honestly become a better version of me – even a better parent – for it.  My kids are inspired by it – I’ll never forget my son’s look of amazement when he saw my book on the library bookshelf for the first time. He saw me in a whole new light then, just as I’ve started to see myself in that newer, brighter light too.

This indie author path is a bumpy and uncertain one, for sure, but two years and four books later, I am more than happy to be on it – even if at times I feel completely irresponsible and, not to mention very lost, along the way.

I’m figuring it out as I go.

 

 

 

 

Between the pages, between the cracks

crackI never feel more alone than I do when I am amongst a crowd.  I’ve always felt that way.  Just out of place with everyone and everything. I don’t stress about it too much.  I figure that’s just what makes me who I am.  And I like who I am.  I enjoy my own company, to be really honest.  But at the same time, there are periods when I want to belong, when I want to be accepted, when I want to be a part of something bigger than just me because sometimes being alone a lot becomes, well….lonely.

I have a very small family and I have very few friends.  Being introverted and, for the most part, very private, it takes a lot for me to let others into my tiny circle.  I don’t care for small talk and anything that is popular in the mainstream usually turns me off.  I’ve always been drawn to the outsiders, the outcasts, everything and anything on the fringe.

Maybe that’s why I was always drawn to writing.  It’s the perfect occupation for an outsider, an outcast and can and often is done on the fringes of society, away from the crowd.  I feel most comfortable when I am alone and writing.  But I sure would love for some of that writing to be read at some point.

Rachel Carson so beautifully wrote about the loneliness of creative work:

“If you write what you yourself sincerely think and feel and are interested in, the chances are very high that you will interest other people as well.”

I like to keep that in mind when I am writing – alone in my head, alone at my keyboard, feeling as though I am sending my thoughts and words out to no one.

If I keep at it, maybe people will eventually read my work.  Maybe my words will resonate somewhere, with someone and maybe, just maybe, I might be accepted and finally find my place amongst that crowd.

 

 

 

My book is FREE this weekend!

Screenshot_2019-05-14 Kindle Cover CreatorMy first book, Hope Quest book 1: Blackbird is FREE today (Friday, Feb. 21 thru Sunday, Feb. 23)!!  Get it here.  It is the first part of my Hope Quest trilogy (Hope Quest book 2: The Lightning also available and book 3 still to come this year).  Cosmic and supernatural, the story is set at a music festival with punk kids and musicians, and a strange girl named Hope who speaks in a whisper and occasionally pulls stars from the sky.  The story came to me in a series of dreams when I was 15 and a fun fact, my own fifteen-year-old daughter graces the cover!

I would love for you to check it out and if you like it, please consider leaving me a review on Amazon!  Those reviews are gold for indie writers like me!!

The Measure of Everything

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Two of the most powerful attributes that humans possess are:

1)  the ability to LOVE

2) the ability to CREATE

Having spent my formative years under the thumb of a restrictive parental figure: I was not allowed to say “I want”, I never heard the phrase “I love you” (certainly was never inspired to speak the words either) and my creative endeavors were always overlooked and dissuaded – the idea of living a creative life was laughed at and labeled a “pipe dream” – I’ve spent my adult years learning both how to express love and how to express myself – including allowing myself to express both my needs AND my wants.

 

In the process, I’ve discovered a deep, rich and untapped well of passions lying dormant inside of me. 

 

It’s taken many, many years of learning, growing, stretching myself beyond my comfort zone and oftentimes just plain scaring myself, but the faster my heart beats and more anxious I feel, the more that well gets churned, and the deeper and deeper I am able to dip into it – loving, creating (particularly, writing) and allowing myself, finally and freely, to express myself.

It hasn’t always made me the most popular girl around – especially within my own family!! – but I refuse to censor myself, to keep my emotions or my wants or needs repressed any longer.

It was no way to live. 

With a heart full of love and a head full of stories, neither of which were wanted or allowed to be expressed, my memories of childhood and adolescence boil down to being simply a very unhappy time for a very unhappy kid.

But now, I am the parent and as so, I have always encouraged my children to express themselves in every positive and negative way they see fit – and they are growing up to be the most loving and creative people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing!

 

My measure of everything in life now lies in how much that well of passion gets churned by the thought of a new project, new adventure or new endeavor:

If it’s not a ‘hell yeah!’   Then it’s a ‘no’.

                      (the unhappy kid inside of me smiles whenever she hears that)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visibility Lessons

alexander-krivitskiy-8Z8JijlydJs-unsplash (cue the tiny violins)….I wrote my last poem today.  Things just weren’t working out.  The amount of energy I was expending on them, losing sleep to get those lines out of my head, onto paper (initially – usually scrawled at 4 am by dimmed light with blurry eyes and a tired hand) and then getting them into just the right poetic order, searching for just the right stock photo, getting it onto Instagram at just the right time suggested by Insights………..only to get maybe 20 likes and generally zero comments.  It just wasn’t working.  It wasn’t what I wanted for my poems, those tiny pieces of huge emotions that I felt just secure enough to release to the world.  It just wasn’t working.

They were all falling flat. The message was being lost.  The words were unraveling.  Over and over again.

And it was making me feel…..broken.

So, I wrote my last one today.  It’s not my best one, but it took just as much time and care and attention as all the rest, so it’s just as important – and once I decide to publish it, I know it will suffer the same fate as all the rest.  “I’m sorry little poem,” I’d often say just before posting them, “you’re going to go die a slow death on Insta now.  I’m so sorry.”

But, in a way, I’m not.

I’m not sorry because I have written hundreds of those poems over the years and now I have hundreds to submit to literary magazines in a quest to get traditionally published for the first time in too many years.  My poetry audience wasn’t on Instagram, but maybe there are eager eyes looking somewhere else for my work, so I’m going hunting for them now, putting my energies into finding just the right magazines, submitting at just the right times for their deadlines.

Being invisible to some eyes doesn’t necessarily mean being invisible to all the eyes out there.  I know someone, somewhere will see my work – and now I can concentrate my own eyes on writing the three novels I currently have in the works.

I did start this year with a publication. A literary magazine in Indiana accepted one  of my dance photos – not one of my poems – but something of mine found an audience! It’s getting published!

I’ve found my first set of eyes.

 

My second novel is released!

Screenshot_2019-12-17 Hope Quest Book 2 The Lightning (Hope Quest trilogy) - Kindle edition by Melanie Ever Moore, Jared Ka[...](2)My second novel (and fourth book of 2019!) is officially released today!

Hope Quest book 2: The Lightning!  It is the second part of my Hope Quest trilogy and today thru Friday, the e-book is FREE!!

Link to book here: Hope Quest book 2: The Lightning

Also, for today (Wednesday, Dec. 18th) only, Hope Quest book 1: Blackbird is also FREE!

Link here: Hope Quest book 1: Blackbird

This is a story that was in my head for twenty plus years and that got me through some dark times in my life.  It is the story of 14 year old Hope Quest, an unusual girl with a face full of scars, who talks in a whisper due to a damaged heart from a lightning strike as a toddler and has some very strange coping mechanisms to deal with an abusive life as she searches for her true origins, which are not entirely human.

I would love for you to check it out!  And if you like it, please consider leaving me a review on Amazon and /or Goodreads!