Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Hi, everyone,

Well, I can' believe it's time for another installment of the IWSG. It actually couldn't have come at a more perfect time.

As most of you know, I have been working on projects not related to writing for the past six months. Struggling through the A-Z challenge, keeping up with posts, and blogger friend's posts nearly killed me. Although I gave it the OL COLLEGE TRY, I failed. I couldn't keep up and do it all.

Talk about being INSECURE.... I know many of you have or do feel this way; beating yourself up because you can't keep up. DON'T DESPAIR....

That's what we are ALL hear for .... each other. With the amazing support of Alex J. Cavanaugh, Roland Yeomans, Donna Hole, and several other close blogger friends, I made it through the rough spots.

Our community, bar none, is THE most supportive community I have ever encountered. What makes it all the more AMAZING is that we all care! Basically we all strangers, yet .... I consider my blogger friends closer to me than people I have physical contact with. We understand each other. We know all the pitfalls .... we also know how to pull ourselves out of them. We share a passion for writing and for LIFE.

Many of us have families, insane jobs, or health issues, yet .... Here we are, visiting each other, sharing our tales of life, our stories, our dreams. Many haven't even told their families about their secret desires, yet we know.

So when despair hits, when you feel you can't keep up, when you lost .... come to us. That's what I did. When I returned back to Chicago, exhausted, and physically and emotionally drained, I came back to my blogger family. They had never left me.

Although I had no desire to write anything, I knew that reading posts and commenting would help pull me out of my slump. As I surfed the blogosphere I was amazed to find other blogger friends feeling exactly the same as me...

A week ago I dropped by Donna Hole's blog and saw a magazine contest sponsored by Narrative magazine in her sidebar.

"Could I possibly enter?" I had asked myself."What would I write?" I couldn't possibly have anything worthy by the July 31st deadline.

Two days ago I resurrected a short story I had written a few years ago. I knew the story was a strong one, but it needed some big editing, especially in the beginning.

I mustered up the energy and began. I finished the final edit 30 minutes before the deadline closed. I DID it!

For me, a few baby steps brought me back into the fold. It can for you as well. SO remember don't throw in the towel, NEVER give up....

At times like these I think of the A-Z post that Alex had written for T... I was mentioned... stunned. OF all the bloggers Alex is friends with, over a thousand, he chose me for being Tenacious. That alone gives me strength. Thank you ALEX! IT means SO much!

So I am now on the road to my writing recovery. YAY! It took some time, but sometimes time is all we need, so give it to yourself and DON'T feel guilty or put yourself down anymore!

I'd like to share an excerpt from THROUGH SHADES OF GRAY with you. I hope you enjoy. It's about a young man struggling with his life and where he fits in. He leaves the oppressive "Shades of Gray" in Chicago for the sunny shores of Florida.... Sound familiar. LOL.

The excerpt is from the end of the story... his observations while on the beach... It's fitting for this time of year.

Stepping onto the beach, I make it to the waves, drifting north on my odyssey. The beach vibe is altered today, as the human to wildlife ratio shifts. After a mile or so, I perch on an obscure sand dune. Several joggers pass by, but not the hardbodies I’m accustomed to seeing. Average middle-aged men and women smile at me as they continue enjoying their run together. I take a quick pic. 
A young father calls to a little boy, who is just a bit too close to the surf. A moment later, he rushes toward his son, scoops him into his arms, and smiles as his son giggles. The father’s patience and playfulness with the toddler intrigues me. I had always wanted kids. I take more pics as they play in the sand. The sound of a boom box distracts me.
Latino music washes over the beach as a group of teens dance. Passersby move to the pulsating beat. I click away at the random sites around me and then slide down the dune to continue my jaunt. The sun is high, and the heat of the day is peaking. 
The Ray Bans slip down my nose, as sweat pours from my face. Running to the shore with the Nikon held high, I step through the waves and a shock of cold rips through my privates. I’m breathless as I sink lower into the ocean’s depths, groaning.
I wade toward the shore after the impact and zero in on a small group. Teenage boys in over-sized boardshorts lift their bodyboards for another round with the surf, while bikini-clad girls watch in awe. I meander closer to them as the water shallows. 
Concentrating hard on my next shot; water-weight pulls my shorts down just below the equator. One of the teenage girls laughs as I awkwardly grope for the waistband.
“You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, honey,” a woman old enough to be my mother said. I must have turned crimson because she smiled, and then winked at me. I ran, kicking sand on the innocent bystander next to her.
I found another sand dune, and waited for the sunset. As the orange fireball’s lowering in the sky, I hear a couple hidden in the brush. They step out onto the beach hand-in-hand; they hadn’t noticed me. I zoom in on them, and see the vestiges of their former youth, but time had been kind to them. He gently kisses her, as streaks of gold illuminate their faces. I leave, letting them enjoy their private moment.

I hope you all enjoyed the excerpt. Have a wonderful day everyone. 


  1. Welcome back. This is such a great reminder. I keep coming back to the great writing community because they are great! =)

  2. And now you are rocking and rolling again! Good stuff on entering that contest. Just the push you needed.
    This community is what keeps me going. Never planned on being an author and certainly never meant to do more than one book. But everyone here has prodded me forward. And I do my best to repay everyone for their encouragement.
    You ARE tenacious!

  3. Welcome back!!! I love your story - both your blog post and your story excerpt. Thank you for sharing. I have felt like that so many times, and struggled and kept going, and struggled, and gotten back on track again.
    The most awesome thing about blogging is the community!

  4. That's a lovely excerpt and a beautiful slice of life. Welcome back! This is an awesome supportive community. Even the people we sometimes consider "on the other side" are supportive and helpful. I recently saw a Tweet by an agent who said, despite appearances, they always root for the author when they open a query or a manuscript. Always.

  5. Michael, I'm blogging about voice today. You definitely have it in your story and in your other writing. Sometimes writers get so lost in trying to imitate someone else that they don't develop their own voices. I'm glad you're back to writing!

    Mary Montague Sikes

  6. Welcome back! And I know what you mean. Sometimes the networking is overwhelming, and it can be hard to keep up.

  7. For a long while I imagined that experienced and published writers have fewer insecurities. When I read the different IWSG posts, I'm reminded that we are bound by a common thread of insecurity...
    The online writing community is really supportive!

  8. I love your writing so much, Michael. This is really good and captures both voice and atmosphere. Bravo

  9. wow, this is a very intriguing excerpt. Short story or novel? And go you getting your entry in before the deadline!

    Glad your back :)

  10. You ARE tenacious! I'm glad you made the deadline, but moreso, I'm glad you are back! We missed you. :D

  11. That's a wonderful excerpt! Congrats on the edit--hope you win the contest. :)

    Definitely agree on the writing community.

  12. Glad you're back and digging yourself back in! It does take a bit to find the groove again (at least it does for me!). Good job and good luck with the contest!! :)

  13. This community has given me so much over the last two years that I am humbled. Thanks for being my friend, Michael. Good luck on the contest!

  14. What a great way to restart your writing passion Michael. I'm so glad you polished up a writing and submitted.

    And your excerpt is great. Love the voice, and the playfulness, and the sense of connection to the environment.

    And yeah, keeping up sometimes can be difficult, but as you've noted, you can go away for a while but you are never forgotten. Welcome home Dear.


  15. Glad to see you back in the saddle.


  16. Good post, Michael. I agree with you. When we get the writing doldrums, friends are an Internet click away.

    One thing I will kindly disagree with you on is the failure you spoke of. Failure is final. Since you are still writing, you are not a failure.

    Write on, my friend.

  17. Writing recovery. I like that. I'm so glad you subbed your story. It's awesome. I made a deadline for a novella for Entangled Publishing. I never would have got it done at home, but my time in Fiji has been part writing retreat. All fired up for finishing those other novels now.

  18. Welcome back to the blogging/ writing world. Congrats on restructuring that short story for the magazine entry. Nothing like hitting the ground running. And you are so right, the writing community is amazing, always there with words of encouragement and support.

  19. Michael, that's wonderful you entered anyway. I went a very long time without writing, burnt out from the effort and doubting myself. But we have to get back on the horse sometime.

  20. Nice job pulling out of that slump so quickly! You'll be conjuring new stories before you know it...or maybe you already are. We certainly do have a wonderful thing going in this community - and it's nice to know they'll still be there even if life requires us to neglect them for a bit.

    Now scrolling down to see your fabulous redesign!

  21. Hey Bro, great post and glad to see that you are getting back into the writing swing of things again. Good luck with the contest! There is so much beautiful prose and imagery in your writing and this excerpt shows that off so well. I enjoyed it very much.

  22. lovely excerpt and great to read how you found your way back - I'm going to have to follow your lead!

  23. Baby steps are sometimes all you need. Sometimes less is more, Michael. :)

  24. (= Took the summer off myself! Good to see you on here. Your writing, as always, is honey butter. (;

  25. Kudos to you Michael. Tenacious, yes I would concur with that completely.
    Loved the excerpt. I felt I was there, watching the cameraman as he went on his journey taking his snaps.

  26. Hey Michael!! yeah the house looks great!!! I know you're relieved to be done with it. So glad to hear you're reviving your writer's muse. Has to be done. Mine needs a jump start too cuz summer is kicking my arse. :)

  27. I always get insecure when I start rewriting my first draft, because that's when you see all the flaws :)

  28. At the beginning, I felt like I was back on South Beach. This is such a great piece. Thanks for sharing it with us. I love the ending of it, a seasoned love being youthful. Great job!

  29. A nice glimpse into all the activity on the beach. Good for you for entering the contest.

  30. Wonderful excerpt, Michael, and well done for getting back into writing - and blogging! You're so right about the blogging community. It's wonderfully supportive.

  31. Yay, Michael! Glad you are writing again! Very nice excerpt, and it sounds like you. Keep writing because that's the only way we can find and refine our own individual voice.

  32. Congrats, Michael - your nomination for my contest was a winner. Both were, but I picked just one.

  33. Support each other is write! I mean, right!
    Thank you for always encouraging me as well!

  34. No, never give up, Michael! I live by that motto.

    I was so glad to receive your comment on my blog. I so missed being in touch with you.

    Your excerpt shows me once again why I adore your writing. It is so evocative, so introspective. The descriptions are beautiful. No, never give up. Not you.

  35. Good luck with your submission, Michael. Thanks for sharing the excerpt, it's so evocative and makes me long for the beach.
    I love this blogger family! :-)