Fading Away

I feel like I’m fading away

Life cannot make me stay

In my final hours

I’ve lost all my power

Its ten seconds to midnight

Something just doesn’t feel right.

My hands on an invisible trigger

Fear couldn’t get any bigger. 

I sense the end is near for me

The fate that awaits, I long to flee.

Terrified of what’s to come, 

I cannot be the only one. 

Am I alone in this delusion

Fueled by my seclusion?

Cathy Marie Bown

*Author’s note: COVID-19 recovery has taken a toll on my mental health. I don’t know how others have handled being sick and brain fogged. I can’t see myself finishing things I started before I got sick. It feels, to me, like this is the end of a long journey I didn’t ask to take. I desperately hope that the fog lifts eventually and I can resume my life as it was before. I weep at the idea the fog could be permanent.

Coronavirus

Well, it’s official. My husband and our 16-month-old granddaughter have tested positive for COVID-19. My test results haven’t come back yet.

We knew we were sick, but I honestly didn’t think it was “that sick” until my husband completely lost his sense of taste and smell.

The baby, who is autistic and non-verbal at this time, has been miserable for several days. She sleeps a lot or doesn’t sleep at all. She wants to snuggle constantly or doesn’t want to be touched at all. It can be very frustrating. And now, because of the illness, I can’t even send her to a relative for a brief respite.

As for my husband, he’s high risk and avoiding him getting sick is the reason we have been so careful all year. He’s been very sick for a few days, and seems to be getting better. I am hoping he doesn’t get worse, but the honest truth is we have to be worried.

I have been dizzy and nauseous. I thought it was side effects from medication changes, but now I’m not so sure. My doctor put me on new meds for depression and anxiety but it’s hard to tell if they are working.

Being sick makes it impossible to complete college assignments. I’m trying to focus but it’s nearly impossible.

I’ll write again to update our Coronavirus journey in a few days as a record for myself.

Cathy Bown

Weak

It isn’t weak to ask for help,

It isn’t weak to run away.

It isn’t weak to know you failed,

It isn’t weak to hate today.

It isn’t weak to relapse.

It isn’t weak to give in.

It isn’t weak to not say no,

It isn’t weak to sin.

It’s only weak to give up,

To never try again

To leave something that kills you,

Will never be the end.

Second Chance Progress Check-In

Good morning and Happy New Year!

It’s 2021 now, and things aren’t looking any better than last year. As such, I’ve decided to just focus on college, writing, and family. The world is chaos and I don’t like it. I lost my job, so I have some free time. Time to write. New medications are making my depression more tolerable, so I can see through the fog, for now.

“Second Chance” is doing well. I’ve just finished writing chapter seven. I am currently averaging between 500-1500 words a day, depending on the temperament of my children and granddaughter each day.

I’m eager to finish the story. I’m finding the hardest part of writing is putting my characters through difficult situations. This work features LGBTQ themes and violence, so it is difficult to write sometimes. There are echoes of my own life hidden in the stories of the characters, and that also makes it hard some days to make progress.

But, such is the life of a writer. I’m documenting it here, despite the small audience, mostly for my own records. I want my children to read this some day and understand that I struggled with this process, but I did not quit. I will finish this novel. My current goal is to finish my March 31st. I’m playing with several software platforms to find the best one for writing a novel.

The image for this post is a preliminary book cover design I created with Adobe. Creating it, I learned just how bad I am at cover design. I’m going to have to find someone to help me because I’m absolute rubbish at it!

Time to get back to the writing grind! Feel free to leave me comments, suggestions, or thoughts. I appreciate all the support I get from knowing a dozen or so people regularly read my posts and enjoy them. You keep me posting!

Cathy

P.S. I Love You – A Poem

Going through the pictures

Of what used to be,

I stumbled on the feelings

Of what I used to see.

I hid what I couldnt say,

Afraid of what I’d hear.

Now I’m filled with regrets

That I could have held you near.

I don’t think you’d remember

We almost had something there,

Long forgotten over time,

We’d have made quite a pair.

I wrote you a long letter,

Revealing all my deepest thoughts

But I couldn’t send it,

Fear of rejection leaving me frought.

The only thing I can say,

Though it’s nothing new,

I ended it by writing,

P.S. I love you.

Untitled Poetry

Everytime I see you

I see so much more.

I get these feelings deep inside

Urging me to explore.

I keep my feelings hidden

So no one else will know.

I’m not supposed to love you

So I can’t let it show.

Yet Everytime I start to think

My thoughts drift to your face.

I can’t even think clearly

I feel like I’m lost in space.

The butterflies won’t go away

I’m so in love with you.

Someday I hope your heart

Will say you love me too.

By Cathy Welton (Bown)

August 1, 2003

This is an older poem from my young adult days. I hope you guys like it.

Happy Holidays!

I’m currently on a two-week winter break from college. It’s a much needed break. As last term ended, I was refreshing my brightspace classroom often, watching for final scores to be posted. My 4.0 GPA hanging precariously in the air. When the dust of the term settled, my GPA still sits at 4.0. I’m eternally grateful for amazing scores on my final projects.

You see, I’m overly critical of my own work, to a fault. I can make sure all of the required elements are in the paper, and then some, but it still never seems good enough to me.

It’s this behavior that prevents me from making swift progress on my novel projects. I’m currently writing a thousand words a day for the romance project, “Second Chance.” At the current pace, the novel might actually be done by Valentine’s Day, though it is centered around Christmas.

I want so desperately to publish my first novel and get over that massive hurdle. But I am terrified that it won’t be very good. Severe anxiety keeps me from realizing my dreams, I know that. To date, I can push those worries aside by saying the story isn’t ready yet. Someday, though, the story will have to be ready. What excuse will I give then to keep from publishing? Thanks to my courses at SNHU, I know what my publishing options are and how to achieve that dream. I may still sabatoge myself, as humans do, because I am afraid of success and failure. My stories are my babies, and I’m quite afraid the world won’t love them as much as I do.

Well, now that I have rambled on about my problems, I hope you are all enjoying your holiday breaks. Stay safe out there and stay connected in whatever way you can. Whether COVID is keeping you home or you are out about with your friends, respect those around you and the choices they have made. In the crazy world we are living in today, if we can’t respect each other, how can we possibly respect ourselves?

Cheers!

Cathy

Pancakes and coffee…..Writing Prompt Free Writing

She woke to the aroma of pancakes and fresh coffee. Immediately, she started crying. She had to be imagining it, but it felt so real she could almost taste the buttery pancakes.

She lived alone. There wasn’t anyone in the house who could be making pancakes and coffee. And yet, she smelled it as clearly as if it was real.

One year. It had been one year, today.

That day would never be forgotten for her. It was the day she had lost everything that mattered to her.

She slowly crawled out of bed, determined to do more with her day than cry. After a long hot shower, she dressed in the floor length black gown she had worn at the funeral, a week after the death of her sister. Once she had applied makeup to her satisfaction and her hair was in a tight knot on top of her head with the black tulle veil in place, she made her way downstairs, barefoot so she wouldn’t fall.

She went to the kitchen to check on things, since the smell of pancakes and coffee was still very thick in the air. Sitting on the table was a mountain of pancakes, dripping in maple syrup and a cup of hot steaming coffee in a mug she never uses, because her sister gave it to her a week before she died.

She freezes in her tracks, looking around the dark kitchen, trying to understand what is going on. A black candle sits next to the food, burning, with a small pool of inky wax.

“I thought you’d never come downstairs. I see you dressed for the occasion.”

“Jasmin?”

“Who else? I can’t believe how long you kept me waiting. I had to make fresh pancakes because the first ones got cold.”

“I…I…” There were no words. She couldn’t see the girl, but she could hear her sister’s voice clearly.

“Don’t act so surprised. Did you really think death would keep me away?”

“Well, it’s been a year. I honestly expected you months ago. When you didn’t show up, I assumed you weren’t coming. And how the hell did you make pancakes and coffee?”

“I’ve learned a few tricks. Today seemed the best day for a grand re-entrance into your life.”

Leave it to Jasmin to refuse to stay dead.

It’s Been Awhile…

Well, NaNoWriMo was an absolute bust. I spent most of November buried in homework and sick. My final word count was just shy of 15,000. A dismal attempt, to say the least. With any luck, I will still be around next year to try again.

As December arrived, and is now steadily passing me by, I find myself consumed by my own depression, wishing this year would just be over all ready. Maybe the next one will be better.

Maybe it won’t though. What if we have another year that is identical to this one? This year has not been good to me. It hasn’t been “the worst” but it’s been pretty close.

I don’t want to write.

I don’t want to read.

I don’t want to watch television.

I don’t want to play video games.

I want to cry and sleep.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

NaNoWriMo – A Reflection on Writing

November has been a whirlwind, and we are only ten days in. I signed up to participate in NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month), so that has kept me occupied beyond belief.

The election consumed several days from me. I will not discuss political opinions here, as that isn’t what I created this page for. Instead, I just want to say a few words about how it affected my ability to write. For several days, including election day, I was unable to write creatively. I seemed to have hit a wall that wouldn’t allow creative thoughts to flow. Perhaps it was the uncertainty of our country’s future that affected me. Maybe it was the massive amount of media being consumed by my household. Or perhaps simply the unknown which scared me. At some point, I convinced myself that whatever happens is going to happen whether I am watching or not. And then, I could write again.

My granddaughter is finally getting evaluated for autism. Caring for her has been a time consuming matter that stiffles my creativity and prevents me from writing. Do not misunderstand this. I love my granddaughter. I love caring for her. But, it’s become apparent that she needs outside help and intervention to catch up to where her age would have her, developmentally. It’s exhausting, physically and mentally, with little progress to show for our efforts.

The pandemic, as much as I wish by now that I was used to it’s presence, still affects everything around us in a way that stiffles creativity and productivity. After losing my job, I have no reliable source of income. I should get unemployment, but questions of eligibility surrounding my college attendance have put that on hold. Mind you, my family is very resourceful and we had a comfortable amount of money in savings. But after a year of trying to maintain lockdown-like conditions and traveling back and forth to Missouri to be with my father, that money is dwindleing very quickly. As we continue to job search, it’s not as easy as you would think since arranging an appropriate day care for the baby will be difficult, not to mention our two boys that we homeschool. But these minor details could be rectified if only a callback would happen. It is comforting to know, however, that we are not alone in our situation. Many people across the country are sharing the same situation and enduring the same uncertainty.

And so, I’ve undertaken NaNoWriMo in the hopes of jumpstarting my writing career. I am working on two different writing projects since some days I struggle to stay focused on one topic. I will be sharing sections of each of them here in the coming month and beyond, as they take shape into novels. My program tells me I should be writing about 1700 words per day. Some days, I barely scratch the surface of a thousand words. And some days I pump out 3000. I can predict that I will not complete 50,000 words this month without an amazing visit from a muse. But I will be satisfied if I can reach 30,000, because it will be tangible evidence that the ball is rolling in the right direction.

To all my readers, I appreciate you. I am so pleased you take a few moments our of your day to read my posts. I know it is just a small piece in the gigantic internet of words, but I’m glad my words have found you.

Cathy Marie Bown

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