HERE is the rest of the story.

View my posts HERE.

The blog has been imported from my old site—when I had no clue what to do.

Once I find that all I want has been transferred to this site, then I will set that old blog aside for a bit.

When I first joined WP I focused on art and writing. Eventually I found it did not work out for me. Why WordPress for art?

So, I split the two themes. WordPress is about my writing journey. Blogger is about my art journey.

Both WP and Blogger posts are then sent to Twitter and FB. My limit for social connections. Oh, I have since joined Pinterest but don’t really get it.

Therefore, dear reader, you may read my blog at this new site or click on the HERE link to see the old site.

Please leave comments and follow on this site.

Thanks for following.

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J. M. Orise Writing Blog

My passion is creating imagery. I love to paint  and  write.

Over the years, I’ve written lots of poems and have stored them away. At first I was unsure of my ability to write well. Then I imagined poetry as painting with words instead of a brush. This idea actually made it easier for me to write. Pictures appear in my mind’s eye and the words follow.

After completing my first manuscript, I joined a writers group and their advice helped me see how a story is woven together. I have since rewriten and added a few strokes here and there to refine the story.

Someone asked me  if I find a similarity between painting and writing—knowing when to stop. There definitely is a similarity. When are you done? Will I mess up the ending like the painting that should have been left alone. That added touch of color or mixing the wrong colors could produce a dull, muddy painting.  Adding too many words just to ‘fluff’ a sentence or paragraph could also result in a dull, muddy story. Not every painting is a masterpiece and I assume the same for writing. So wish me luck and confidence to improve my craft.

I shall continue writing because my characters are now a part of me and I can’t abandon them.

Happy writing and painting to you.

J. M. Orise

It was just an idea… .

the-ideaAn idea brewed in my brain for two years. Like a bug, there was no cure other than a pen and a piece of paper. So, I began to write.

Where did my idea come from? Somewhere deep in my stream of consciousness I suppose. When I read or listen, my head makes associations. Some are  interesting, others strange yet possible, and some are outright dumb.

Years ago, as a high school teacher, I assigned projects that included lots of graphics and lots of writing. One assignment was called “Fact, Fiction or Fix It.” Each student had to create a newsletter layout with stories, ads, gag cartoons, strip cartoons, interviews, research, etc. Finally the editorial page assignment was an auto-bio.

What could a high school student write about? I realized many of them had stories never expressed that would probably spill onto the editorial page. So the theme “Fact, Fiction or Fix It Bio” would be a safety net for them to open up.

Upon reading each story, I was stunned at the pain some of my students suffered in their short life span. In particular was the loss of a parent, sibling and a friend. I could relate because at five years old, my mother died in a fire — my sister and I witnessed the event. Needless to say, we never forgot it.

My brain cranked out scenarios. At first it was a morass of imagery. How would I best present my idea. Picture book? Children’s book? Family story book? I wasn’t a writer. I wrote poetry and still do and tuck them away in a briefcase. But writing a book?

Since I am an artist, I began with pictures and cute stories. Then the story grew. But it didn’t need to be cute — loss is not cute.

Friends made recommendations. I was not an English teacher, so I took their advice. I wove a beautiful, wordy story. It sounded great. The story got longer. I was lost in my own words and characters. I needed another character. But who? It was necessary. A girl with trouble, like the two boys I had wandering about in those pages, would make it a better story. That required a re-write.Image result for free crumpled paper graphic

After four years and many re-writes, and retirement from a teaching career, I had the courage to join a writer’s group.

There I learned about fiction writing and I trashed a lot of my flowery words. A few critiques  helped me grow and encouraged me to continue writing my story.

Meanwhile, as an artist, I promote my art to galleries and display my work in group and solo show. However, my story is still alive in my head. I read about writing, attend writer workshops and talk to authors. I read YA novels and joined a national writers/authors group. I continue to re-write whenever I have the chance.

Publishing has gone through a lot of changes since I committed myself to this story. After a much research and comparisons, I have decided to self-publish.

The idea came to me fourteen years ago and now it is a complete story. My target is the YA audience.

Therefore, I am now seeking beta readers. If you are interested in beta reading my YA story, please write to me. Fill out the form found at my website and we will talk. You will receive a free copy of the book once it is published and I will mention you in the credits page.

Please share this post and leave a comment.

 

 

Summer is O – V – E – R – there. Somewhere.

Pulling out the old linoleum flooring was a chinch. Happy about that.

Pulling out the old linoleum flooring was a chinch. Happy about that.

Didn’t we just notice spring arriving and how hot it got in July. New England got damned hot.

Yeah, I know. I chose to used two different patterns from kitchen to dining. I like it. A dividing point instead of a wall.

Yeah, I know. I chose to used two different patterns from kitchen to dining. I like it. A dividing point instead of a wall.

July-August, I was cutting tiles for our kitchen  floor. Man, it was like standing in a hot oven as I cut tiles outside on a wet-table tile saw. No shade. The sun’s glare on a wet, shiny tile demanded sunglasses. It took several minutes to regain my vision as I stepped back into the house from each cut—many cuts.

August, we installed interior doors solid panel as well as french double-doors. Painting the woodwork and touching up was a joy. Uh huh. Right!

My easel is just beyond that doorway. Waiting.

One french door was too short. Fortunately, I had a remnant from another door, so with a little surgery and sanding and painting, I successfully ‘grew’ the too short door with a transplant.

I’ve seriously pondered such surgery. Three or four inches taller would be just right. I was ‘normal’ height in high school. I prayed I would continue to grow. Years later, I conceded that I was deluding myself.

Sutdio doors. Patient on horses awaiting surgery.

Sutdio doors. Patient on horses awaiting surgery.

Back to my door transplant. Hubby was impressed and promised to help with the installation. Once the paint was dry and the glass surfaces scraped clean, he helped carry the door upstairs. French doors may have less wood, but they are still  heavy. Since Hubby was not home, I installed the door myself. Difficult, but doable. The light shines through the glass door and illuminates a dark hallway at the same time. Just what we need.

September, it was sheet rock and mudding. Then, I noticed the kitchen ceiling—cracking? Grab the step-ladder, tape and tools and keep mudding until it looks smooth. That took a while. And yes, sanding and priming and painting. My neck hurt from hours of looking up.

October, finish work with door molding and thresholds and ahhh—some more damned sanding, painting and touching up.

“But you’re an artist. You must love doing this,” said Hubby.

Yeah! Right.

My finished doors and the patient now standing about 3 inches taller. Waiting to go upstairs.

My finished doors and the patient now standing about 3 inches taller. Waiting to go upstairs.

I don’t mind doing it a little bit. But this has been going on since I was a little kid helping my parents with each house project. Then my first husband proved inept with a hammer—to install little blocks of wood outside the window for drapery rod extensions he sunk the hammer head  deep into a plaster wall. So, I became the architect/carpenter/painter, et al. I’ve constructed additions, designed homes, built homes and two-story, 4-bay garages, an eighteen sided home and now this. It is going to stop.

My manuscript is in my computer just inside my studio, reminding me to finish the editing I promised myself to finish last spring.

Summer is over there. In my kitchen, on the floor, the ceiling, around doors, in doors and thresholds. Oh yeah. Almost forgot. We cut trees and split firewood and I helped Hubby design and build a retaining wall to support the fire-wood in the basement. He feared the stacked wood might fall atop our little VW. I assured him it would not. Hubby worries about stuff like that.

Hope your summer was fulfilling as was mine. 😉

Hello? Somebody Is Here. I Think I’ll Take a Nap

Charlie taking a nap.

Well, I’ve recovered from the foot thing. Walking normal again. Meanwhile, lots has happened and I have been busy as usual.

I can’t imagine being bored. I don’t seem to have enough hours in a day. I remember as a child, Pop ate his Sunday lunch, then trotted off to the living room sofa, lay back and snored away. I sat in the kitchen across from him and wondered why he was wasting so much time just sleeping during mid-day. After all, he did sleep at night as did the rest of the family. Even then, I felt the days were too short.

As I sit here, I am tired. I want a nap. But I have been too stubborn to take one. However, as time goes on, I believe I will soon submit to a siesta. My eyelids drop every once in a while and it is mid-afternoon.

Last night, at about midnight, I awoke, got water and returned to bed. The full moon allowed me to see enough not to bump into furniture. Soon after retiring once more, a voice called out, “Hello?”

Was I dreaming? I closed my eyes and again, “Hello?”

I quickly got up and went to the front door. It was closed. No one was there. “Hello?” Where? I call to Hubby, “Someone is here.” I went down to the kitchen. No one there. I opened the cellar door and to my surprise, the light was on. I had turned it on to assist my company in maneuvering the stairs with the platter of barbecued burgers and rolls served for dinner. That was hours ago. No one turned off the light. If the light was still on, the garage door might be open as well. I sucked in a breath and answered “Hello!” at the top of the stairs. “Hello?” came from below. It was a male voice.

Barefooted, I  quietly stepped down the stairs and hesitated at the bottom. Should I go around the corner into the basement and see this person? Perhaps he was outside in the driveway. “Hello!” I called. “Hello?” came from outside. I stepped into the lit basement and walked to the open garage doorway. A man of about thirty-five stood there with a flash light glowing from his smart phone. He appeared sober, and he stood about fifteen away. He stayed put.

“I’m sorry to wake you. But I’m not from around here and I’m lost. My aunt was driving and she was picked up on a DUI and they told me to walk. I’ve walked over two miles and I don’t know where I am. I finally saw your light and thought I could ask for your help. Can you help me. I’m not used to all these trees and woods that are around here and I’m really scared of wild animals coming out. Don’t be afraid of me, I’m a good guy. I won’t do anything bad. I’m just scared and I don’t know where I am.”

I asked him to stay. I went to the stairs and one of our guests was at the top with a quizzical look. Hubby appeared next to her. “I need a man down here please.” Hubby and the couple visiting all descended to investigate.

I returned to my midnight guest, grabbed a chair that was outside near the door and offered it for him to sit. He accepted. We questioned him and tried to decide what to believe and what to do. His name was Robert and he had to get home after a day at the Lobster Festival. He was about two miles from his destination. His phone had no service and he showed us that he had tried calling his wife eleven times with no luck. I got my phone. We called 411 for a taxi. 411 was not available. We couldn’t find the local taxi in the phone book. So I called 911. I explained the problem. The officer asked what the emergency was. I repeated my explanation. “You do NOT call 911 for a taxi.” I apologized, and asked who we could call, he gave me the sheriff’s number and hung up.

The sheriff’s dispatcher was sympathetic and gave us a number. Meanwhile the plan changed. We decided to call Robert’s wife who was at the cottage he was looking for. It took more than one call and finally, she answered. We asked if she knew Robert. She did. Robert spoke and had to beg her to pick him up.

We suggested he walk along the road to flag her down. As Robert parted, I said, “Don’t worry about wild animals. The only thing you have to worry about are the cars going by and they will avoid you.”

Robert thanked us and lit his way down our driveway into the moon-lit night.

Koala sleeping on a tree top

Koala sleeping on a tree top (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hubby and I could not sleep after that. After an hour, I sat up and waited a decent amount of time for Hubby to be still and obviously sleeping. He is aware of light and complains if it wakes him. So I am wary of turning it on unless necessary.

The door had been shut tight, therefore, I gently and firmly turned the knob. No squeak. I returned the knob to its original position. No squeak. I pulled the door open. No screaming hinges. Upon exit, I gently pulled the door towards me but did not shut it. Success!

I quietly descended to the living room in the dark. Once downstairs, I decided to read. As I fumble around, a light switched on in the stairway. I walked to the bottom of the stairs, “Hello?”

Our male guest was at the top step, bent over struggling to quickly don on his jeans. Was he planning on running down the stairs to grab the “intruder”? He stopped in a mid-pose. I imagined him tumbling down the stairs head first, like a ball.

“Jesus Christ, Jo. We thought someone was in the house!” He turned, disappeared into the guest room and shut the door.

“Sorry, I couldn’t sleep.” I returned to the living to read a novel for about an hour, then I tip-toed to bed and tossed most of the night. Perhaps I got four hours of sleep. We were pretty tired this morning. Especially my male guest who had to catch a 6:30 AM flight to return home.

I believe I will join Hubby for a little nap.

The Promotion – part 5

With folders tucked under her arm, Eve left Phil’s office. Her focus: be gone before he returns. She hurried down the main aisle acknowledging with a forced smile and quick nod those few workers who noticed her. Finally, she pushed the exit door shut behind her and breathe in the faint aroma of the familiar office chemicals used for reproduction.

English: The Balaklava naval Museum (former an...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ammonia. Applied to light-sensitive paper to reproduce large blueprints of equipment manufactured in the plant. Three years earlier, she had worked with these chemicals in the copy room. By lunch time, she had felt faint and nauseated. That evening she had experienced a horrific headache. That was the first and last time she worked in the copy room.

Aware of the sound of telephones ringing and employees shuffling about from desks to file cabinets, she marveled at how two different worlds were separated by the mere presence of the heavy double doors. Then, her brow knotted as she chewed her inner cheek. What do I tell Betty?

AshtrayUpon arrival, Eve exhaled a deep breath as she sat at the edge of her desk. Betty’s desk was strewn with papers and several lipstick-stained cigarette butts she had crushed amidst the ashes in the ashtray. Eve opened the window to air out the acrid stench. She could actually taste the horrid nicotine. She had read about nicotine in a health magazine. Second hand smoke was just as dangerous as actually smoking. Perhaps worse. The room, yellow with nicotine, had a terrible odor. It had to be unhealthy. There was talk in the office about a smoking room. But that had been discussed for over a year. Maybe to calm the health-conscious, non-smokers. Meanwhile, Betty smoked up a daily blizzard of smoke with windows closed.
Eve sucked in a deep breath of fresh air as she fanned the pollution out the other window.

How will Betty explain things to George? Get to work. She’ll be back. Or not.

“Eve, how’d your meeting go?” Betty asked as she returned to the office.

“Oh, fine. How did you do with George?”

“Well, not as good as I hoped. After all it is my first quarterly report. I could have used your help.”

“He wasn’t happy with it?”

“Oh. I don’t know, yet. We’re having another meeting ─ tonight.”

“Tonight?”

Betty smiled, “Yeah. What should I wear?

“What you have on now is fine. After all, it isn’t a date. No need to impress the boss, is there?” Eve frowned as Betty hugged her report to her chest and walked to her desk with a faint smile on her lips.

No report, the boss is not happy and she’s smiling! Eve suddenly saw this as an opportunity; a way out from Phil’s offer for a date. After all, George ordered her to teach Betty the ropes. “Want me to come with you?”

“Whatever for? No, George and I will do fine. Just fine.”

Eve wasn’t ready for a date just now. But when would be a good time? Who knew? “I could join you to explain things about reports. Along with George, of course.”

“I said ‘no’ didn’t I?” Betty snapped.

Humming a tune, Betty wrote on her notepad, flipped through her printout and reached for another cigarette.

Betty’s sounds happy. That “girl-friend” from California? That’s not it. Think she really met a boy-friend and now she’s lucked out not doing her work. Damn! How can she be so irresponsible and get away with it? I’d be fired on the spot! I’d fire her if I were George.

Later that evening, Eve arrived at Jason’s Grocery. As she pushed her cart to the meat counter, Betty brushed by in a black dress with a plunging neckline, fish-net stockings and silver, six-inch heels.

“Hey, Bet… .” Eve quickly puckered her lips. Don’t call attention to yourself. Where’s she going? Out. With? George? A date? A date. Geesus! You got to be kidding. No, no. She’s in a rush because she worked late with George. Must be. Going out with that friend from California. It’s late. Can’t be George. I’m sure he’s home by now.

As Eve drove home with her groceries, she pondered the plausible scenarios. What if there

Publicity photo of Carol Burnett and Mel Torme...

Publicity photo of Carol Burnett and Mel Torme in a skit from The Carol Burnett Show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

is something going on? But with whom? George or California boy-friend? Don’t know it’s a man. She did say ‘girl-friend’. “Stop it. It is none of your business,” Eve yelled to her rear-view mirror. She arrived home, unpacked her cache of groceries then turned on the television to her favorite sit-com, The Carol Burnett Show.

Oh, to be a sit-com queen. To watch what goes on in each department would probably be as good a laugh. Life at the office… .

Get to bed. Quit obsessing about Betty and her shenanigans.

Phil. Forget about him. Don’t want to call. What about tomorrow? At work? Discourage him. He’s not my type, anyway. “I’ve created a monster and I’ve got to be rid of him.” Eve pulled the covers over her head.

At her usual time, Eve pulled into the parking lot. When she exited her vehicle, she noticed Phil parked next to her reserved spot. She quietly closed her door and inserted her key into the lock. With his nose in the newspaper, maybe he won’t notice. She hurried away from her car hoping to avoid him.

“Eve! Wait up. Been waiting for you. Hold up a minute.”

Eve squeezed her eyes tight as she grimaced. She slowly turned feigning surprise with eyes wide and a limp grin. “Phil. I didn’t see you there. Is that your parking spot?”

“Naw. Got to move the car before the owner shows up. I knew you always got here early, so I thought I’d wait for you.”

“How’d you know that?”

Receptionist said you usually got here before she did.”

“I got to talk to our busy, little receptionist.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, I just need to tell her stuff, is all. We’re─we’re buddies. You must know that too since you know where I park.”

“You angry?” Phil asked.

Eve forced another smile. “Angry? Why would I be angry? It’s a free world. You can park anywhere you like. So. Why are you looking for me?”

“Oh. I thought we could have our meeting. You know. Yesterday. It hadn’t worked out then. So now I have time. Coffee in the café and a bagel? Bet you’re a plain-bagel gal.”

“The meeting is not necessary. I solved the problem and you don’t have to worry about it. But I’ll join you for coffee and yes, a plain bagel.”

“Okay. Forget the meeting. Meet you in the café after I move my car.”

Why did I do that? Eve was surprised at her bold invitation. It was definitely bold. Didn’t she just decide that she was not ready for any relationship? Her shoulders drooped as she carried her L. L. Bean bag, into which she stuffed her purse, lunch, book, and other stuff. Stuff she kept forgetting to throw away until she grabbed her purse next time─usually when she rushed out the door or walked from car to office. Then she’d forget again. Until the next day.

Betty doesn’t have a problem dating─dating─and dating. Bet she dates lots of guys at the same time. Am I jealous? Nooo way. I’ll find someone nice. No lecherous men panting over me, no thank you. “Men!”

Phil arrived at the café with a broad smile and a flash of perfectly shaped, white teeth. He sported a fresh haircut and a crisp, blue shirt with a pen and notebook in his breast pocket.

Eve remained quiet as he made his way from the coffee dispenser, picked up a coffee stirrer to blend the cream and grabbed a napkin.

“How’s the bagel?”

“Fine. None for you?”

“Never liked pastries much,” he chuckled.

“That explains your great physique.” Eve’s cheeks warmed.

“Oh. You noticed. And you’re blushing again. I think you like me. Do you?”

Surprised at his directness, Eve choked on her bagel and her attempt to wash it down with coffee only made it worse. She grabbed at his offered napkin, tried to control her cough only to dribble and spray coffee onto the table and her blouse.

“Eve. You okay?” Phil’s brow knotted over his now sympathetic stare. He rose and tapped her back in a firm stroke. “Can you breathe?”

Eve choked as the bagel stuck in her air passageway. She grabbed her throat with one hand

English: A plain bagel, bought from an Associa...

English: A plain bagel, bought from an Associated grocery store in Brooklyn in their daily bread section. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and Phil’s shirt with the other. She couldn’t breathe. She sensed being lifted out of her seat and a pressure came up from under her rib cage. She wanted to breathe. Another jab under her ribs came up hard. Where was Phil? Breathe! Again, a sharp jab. She was unable to control her body. Her surroundings were no longer visible. Where was she? Breathe! Breathe! Her watery eyes opened wide at the next jab under her ribs and a tightness around her middle that came from behind. She crumbled backwards as a sudden whoosh of air finally entered her lungs. Her heart pounded then eventually slowed back to normal.

“Can you breathe?” Phil asked.

Eve turned to Phil now standing over her and stroking her hair. She nodded while she wiped her eyes and blew her nose into his napkin. “I think so. I can breathe now. How embarrassing. Thanks Phil. I need another napkin.”

“Here take this one. You gave me a fright for a few seconds there.”

“Seconds? It felt like forever. I thought I was going to die. I had these sharp pains under my rib cage,” she coughed and blew her nose again.

“I gave you a couple of Heimlichs to make you breathe. This happen often?”

“What? Oh. You mean do I choke often? Never happened before,” Eve breath in a large gulp of air and emitted a squeak and a snort. She giggled into her napkin, “Sorry. I seem to be a mess at the moment.”

“Well, you were practically unconscious. I had to grab onto you so you would stay upright while I pushed up under your rib cage to force that bagel out. You had a pretty good sized piece in there. I kept going at it until it came out. Receptionist investigated the commotion and called 911. They should be here in a few minutes. You’re lucky I trained as a para-medic. Been one for years.”

“Oh. Thank you for saving my life. It was very disorienting to lose control like that.”

“I never knew my physique would affect women so drastically. I must have a hell of a good-looking body. Now you’re blushing again. No more bagels when we’re together. Okay?”

Eve laughed as she wiped her face and dabbed at her blouse. I need to go home and change. “I’ll be late for work after all.”

“No. Stay until the ambulance gets here. Company policy. Liability stuff and all. Gosh, hope I’m not a liability with this physique of mine. Think I could lose my job?”

Eve smiled, “I don’t think so. I promise no bagel from now on.”

Phil sat opposite Eve, cupped her hand into his two large, warm hands. “I think you do like me.”

Eve smiled as her cheeks got very warm. “Do I?”