Stephen, King of Horror

Chester’s Mill trapped under a dome

Your life force sucked away

Split personality serial killer

Dead cat dead child dead wife resurrected

Lose yourself in your writing

Forget what exists

And what is only an idea.

 

Stories not meant to be read in the dark

Novels that haunt

Plots that make us wonder

Darkness that makes us wonder

What’s hiding in the night

What’s hiding in our minds

At the deepest part

We cannot reach until

We break.

 

A fleeting thought.

Could I kill someone?

Of course not.

But if a character can slit the throat of his wife…

No. They’re not real.

How big would the knife have to be?

Does it matter?

Of course it matters. It’s just for a story I’m writing.

Was that a scream? Just now?

It’s nothing. Nothing.

A Haunting Melody

The radio’s on, but nobody’s home. The music weaves through the house, wanders through the kitchen, dirty dishes stacked in the sink, scent of last night’s chicken and potatoes still wafting around. Music wades through the bedroom, pages of books rustling in the slight breeze, sheets crumpled at the bottom of the bed. Music whines past the bathroom sink, faucet dripping clear, pristine tears that fall with heavy clinks against porcelain. Suddenly, the pipe bursts. Water waves down the cabinets. A crescendo erupts. Oh, how the music pours, sprawling over the white and gray diamond tiles, crawling out the door to fill the house. The radio’s on, but nobody’s home.

Shitty First Drafts

Hello to the few and loyal readers of my blog,
I have participated in National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) twice now. Both times I successfully completed a 50,000 word novel, which is the goal of NaNoWriMo. The pep talk this year for aspiring novelists was written by Anne Lamott, the author of “Bird by Bird.” Anne Lamott’s writing was introduced to me by one of my writing professors in college. She greatly influenced my writing when I read the chapter “Shitty First Drafts.”  It was the first time it really struck me that being a writer didn’t mean writing a perfect first draft and that shitty first drafts are completely acceptable. It’s the first draft for a reason. It’s all about getting the words down on paper. The editing comes later. As soon as I realized that even famous novelists don’t write perfect first drafts, overcoming my fear and writing my own shitty first draft became much easier to accept.
In Anne Lamott’s pep talk, she says, “You either start now, or it is not going to happen for you, and you are going to wake up at seventy years old (or eighty, if they are already seventy) filled with sorrow that you let your dream, your passion, gift, fall by the wayside. You start now, as is.”
Anne Lamott has successfully published several novels, so she clearly understands how painful the writing process can be. Writing a novel isn’t easy. There isn’t one method that works for everyone or a step-by-step process to follow each time that will guide you. There will be moments when you give up and want to quit. Everyone has excuses and things that hold them back or make it difficult to find the time to write. Working a full-time job, being a parent, not feeling well, being terrified of what everyone will think when they read it, or simply lacking the motivation. None of those are valid excuses to not let yourself try. The important thing is that you carve time out of your day to begin writing, no matter how much you think everyone will hate it (or even how much you hate it yourself). Don’t listen to your inner critic the first time around or you will never be able to convince yourself that what you have to say is worth writing.
As I sit here typing this after just finishing up editing 17 pages of the fourth draft of my novel, I can’t help but feel a bit proud of myself. I pushed past the shitty first draft, the awkward second draft, the third draft, and have moved on. I’m not going to wake up sixty years from now and wonder what would have happened or how different my life would have been if I had ever finished my novel. I’m making it happen now, one word at a time.

First Blog Post in 3 Years!

Hi everyone,

I realize that I haven’t kept up with this blog as much as I thought I would the past few years. Two years ago, I accepted a job as a Content Writer for a start-up company and worked my way up to being the Content Manager. Since I have a job where I spend most of my day writing and editing content, it has made it difficult for me to write and edit my personal writing in my free time because I feel as though the majority of my creativity and passion for writing is used up during my full-time job.

However, I am implementing changes in my writing habits to ensure that I get back on track to have my first novel published (hopefully within the next year)!

I just created a Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/NicholeHeydenburg/.

I have a design idea for the front cover of my novel (thanks to the creativity of my awesome husband). I’m working on hiring someone to design the cover.

I am also starting another round of editing on my novel to ensure it is ready for publication soon.

I feel excited and passionate about these recent changes and can’t wait to continue the crazy journey of becoming a published novelist!

 

An Ode to South Carolina

Michigan is the place where I was the nerdy, awkward new kid, who was bullied ceaselessly throughout middle school, and finally made good friends in high school. It’s the place where I battled depression and struggled to keep fighting. Michigan is the place that tore me apart and nearly wrecked me. Michigan is everlasting winters, too many layers of clothing, bitter cold that bites and stings at exposed flesh, icy roads, and

For someone who moved around a lot growing up, it was always hard to make friends when I didn’t know how long I would be there. It was difficult to settle down when I knew it wasn’t permanent. South Carolina is where I spent nearly five years of my childhood, but it was the first place I ever felt at home. Moving away is one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. I’ve spent the last thirteen years dreaming of a place that has become a once or twice a year vacation.

I know that I associate South Carolina with the carefree, effervescent happiness of being young, and having only minor worries. I picture the state with perpetual sunshine, the sand on the beaches glistening, the people always friendly and polite. After all, the state motto is: “Smiling faces, beautiful places.”

I chose to go to college in Michigan, to stay when all I wanted was to leave. But, I also know this was the right choice. I was also able to see my family once a month or so, which is essential because my sister is also my best friend. In college, I met the best friends I’ve ever had, the ones who are the majority of my bridesmaids, and even one of the groomsmen. These, along with a few from high school, are my lifelong friends.

It is also in Michigan that I met my fiance, the man I will marry in ten months and six days. So I cannot truthfully say that nothing good has come of living here, and of choosing to stay longer than I ever planned. My fiance has lived in Michigan his entire life. We visited South Carolina to tour wedding venues and he fell in love with the state, just like I hoped he would.

Finally, finally, I am moving home. We are getting married on Myrtle Beach next August, but we are moving in a few short months. After all these years, I feel an enormous sense of relief that I will at last be able to leave Michigan. I know a weight will be lifted the second we leave the state. Maybe it sounds ridiculous or dramatic or insane. But if anyone has ever fallen in love with a place like I have, they will understand. A state is more than just a state; I want a place that feels like home.

I’ve had enough of the never-ending winters. I’m ready for the sunshine.

Long Distance Relationships

No one can fully understand the pain and heartbreak of a long distance relationship unless they have been in one. Some people complain about not seeing their boyfriend for a week, or they attend different colleges a few hours apart, and only see each other several times a month. I think that’s more of an inconvenience than a long distance relationship. I consider LDR’s to be relationships where couples are more than three hours apart and can only see each other once a month, or every few months.

My fiance and I have been in a LDR for 2 years and 9 months. We see each other for Thanksgiving, Christmas, spring break, and the summer. He attends a college over 9 hours away from where I live now. I graduated from college last year. While we were in college, we were nearly 12 hours apart. Obviously, things have worked out for us because he proposed at my college graduation, and we are getting married in less than a year. But it hasn’t been easy.

We have made it work by trying to Skype at least once a week because seeing his face is the best remedy for missing him. I dress up for our Skype dates, putting on make-up and my cutest outfits, like I would if we were going on a real date. But sometimes the connection is bad and I can barely see his pixelated face. Sometimes we watch movies while we are on Skype and start them at the same time, so it almost feels like we are together. But nothing can replace the real thing.

We have become increasingly cheesy and romantic because we have to find ways to push through the separation. We send each other love letters by the dozen, we mail care packages of our favorite candy’s, DVD’s, and books. He sends me adorable stuffed animals to sleep with while he’s gone. I have so many now that they take up half of my bed.

We have a nightly ritual of calling each other before bed to talk about every little detail of our days: his anxiety about grades and professors, his latest A in a class, stressing over wedding details and trying to plan a wedding together while we are 9 hours apart, while I worry about paying off my student loans, and trying to make it as a writer. I tell him about my latest freelance gig and how excited I am to be writing and editing for a living. We discuss going out with our friends and having movie nights and board game nights without each other there. We discuss how no one else can replace this void.

I create a scrapbook for him every year and spend hours on it: filling it with pictures of our past year together, poems I have written for him, and scrapbook stickers that go along with the theme of every page. I have to find ways to fill my free time, anything to stay busy while he’s gone.

However, despite how tough it has been, it is all worth it. We have learned things about each other we never would have if we were together all the time. We have talked so deeply and intimately about anything and everything. We have connected in a way I never have with anyone else. Even though he’s so far away, I feel closer to him than anyone in my zip code.

We appreciate every single second we have together because we know we only have a set amount of days until he has to leave. When I first see him after months apart, he pulls me into his arms, hugging me tightly. Neither of us want to let go because any amount of time together could never be enough. He covers my face in kisses and tells me how much he missed me. Everything is right with the world at last…Until he has to go back to school and we are apart once again.

Now he is finishing up his last semester of college and soon we will be together; this time, there will not be a prolonged period of separation. This time when we are reunited, it will be for the rest of our lives.

What is a Feminist?

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, a feminist is “an advocate or supporter of the rights and equality of women.” But, what do you think of when you imagine a feminist? Do you think of a woman with short hair, who doesn’t shave her legs or armpits, hates wearing make-up, and believes women are better than men?

What do you think of when you imagine a feminist? Do you think of a woman with long hair to the middle of her back, who always wears eyeliner, loves lace and dresses, hates hairy legs, enjoys scrapbooking, and is happily planning every little detail of her wedding? Do any of those facts make me less of a feminist? Because that’s only one side of me. I also have a Bachelor’s degree in writing, graduated with honors, enjoy reading classical literature, attend theatre productions as often as possible, and refuse to ever think of myself as being worth less or more than a man.

I think what makes me a feminist is that first and foremost I believe women should have all of the same rights and opportunities as men. Women should have the same pay for working the same job. Women should be able to make the decision for themselves whether or not they want to shave, cut their hair, dress a certain way, or watch reality TV shows, without worrying about being judged as not feminist. They should be allowed to choose to have children or not, or work full-time and throw themselves into their career, or become a stay-at-home mom. It doesn’t matter what your career path is, or if you sacrifice it all for your children. All of these traits could make up a feminist.

It doesn’t count against you if you don’t fit some preconceived stereotype of what a feminist should be. 

Some “feminists” are supporting the “Free the Nipple” campaign. These people believe women should be allowed to walk around in public topless so women’s and men’s bodies are treated equally. However, where in the definition above does it say anything about appearance or physical traits? Don’t women lust over shirtless men just as men do the same to women? Some people may consider it a double standard for men to be allowed to go shirtless in public, while it is considered indecent for women to do the same. Instead of fighting for the same right, why not fight for the law to be changed so that neither gender can take their shirt off in public? The “Free the Nipple” movement is not empowering women at all; it does the opposite. Choosing to expose your breasts in public does not make you a feminist. It means you don’t respect yourself or your body enough to act morally.

Feminists believe in not exploiting the female body or looking at women as merely sexual objects. Feminists believe that women are people and should be treated as humans with thoughts and feelings, not as if they are something for men to gawk at and lust over. Women do not exist simply for men to enjoy.

Feminists think women can be beautiful with or without make-up because it is the woman’s choice and she is doing it for herself, not for you. If a woman feels more confident while wearing make-up and thinks she looks pretty, then good for her. There’s nothing wrong with confidence.

Feminists know that women have the right to make their own decisions because they are just as intelligent and capable as men.

Feminists believe women can get married and not be anything less than they were before because marriage is a partnership, not a dictatorship.

Feminists believe women have the right to say no if they don’t want to have sex and that their decision should always be respected, no matter what the circumstances are.

Feminists can be pro-life or pro-choice. It is a personal decision which has nothing to do with equal rights or women being treated as less than men. It’s an opinion, not an absolute.

Feminists think both long hair and short hair can be gorgeous on women. Desiring long hair does not make a woman less of a person or anti-feminist, just as having short hair does not make a woman automatically a feminist. Whatever makes a woman feel good about herself and the way she looks is fine. The length of a woman’s hair does not determine how she sees the world and therefore should not determine how the world sees her.

Feminists believe women can graduate from college, get a master’s degree, or a PHD, in any field they choose. Feminists believe women are intelligent and can have successful careers. They think women can be lawyers, writers, moms, doctors, photographers, bakers, artists, and actresses, with no disrespect or judgment for their decision. Feminists also think women have the right to decide what they want to do with their lives. 

Feminists believe that women can achieve, inspire, and accomplish just as much as men. Feminists believe that although our society has come a long way, the fight for equal rights is not over.