Call for Submissions: Telling Our Stories About Invisible Illness Creatively

I was looking at the top of my dresser yesterday and noticed how all my jewelry, cosmetics, brushes and combs have been pushed aside to make room for creams, ointments and lotions to treat pain, muscle cramps and improve sleep. It was a stunning visual image that really brought home for me how much my life has changed over the last year as I learn to live with fibromyalgia.

This image has stayed in my head and has planted a seed about a possible series exploring what it is like to live with an invisible illness told in photos, artwork, poetry, prose, short fiction, essay and other creative mediums.  I think this could be a great opportunity to educate, to entertain, enlighten and express ourselves creatively.  If you are living with an invisible illness or are caring for someone living with an invisible illness I hope you will consider participating in this project. My goal would be to publish it as a week-long series on Brave and Reckless in February.

Email your submissions to christine.e.ray@gmail.com by Friday, February 9th with your name, the name you publish under, a brief biography and a link to wherever you publish your work.

Feel free to share this call for submissions.

Winter Holiday Writing Prompt Challenge: On This Winter’s Night/Gina Gallyot

I love winter and snow, this everybody knows. And I long for it like children long for Santa Claus and Christmas Eve. I heard this song back in 2012 when I was preparing to go away to Canada for work. I thought about snow and walking in snow and rolling in snow. Alas, my work attachment happened in spring, with no snow.

The song talks about the simple things in life, a kiss, icicles adorning a tree, someone to hold me tight, life’s joys and blessings and all the shared memories. What a joyful and sweet song. Even if you did not love snow as much as me you’d want it by the end of the song.

But this song says more to me than just about a winter season and the beauty of snow. It tells me that I am the daughter of a King, that I am worthy of love, it tells the story of a child born for greatness and love, a child just like you and me. A child who came to bring love and hope. Winter is a time of magical beauty, the white winter snow seems to blanket out all negativity and bitterness. It brings love back to our door.

Of all of the months in the year I love December the most. I have very fond memories of each December of my life, each one a Christmas bauble, fragile and precious, adorning the tree that grows in my heart. The only safe place I know. The love I have to give is the shiniest bauble of all.

This December I am grateful for many things, while it has been a year of great loss, it has also been a year of great joy. When in autumn I thought I could not be loved for the sorrow I carried in me, now here in December my love, he has returned to me.

It’s both a physical and spiritual love of two people who are drawn together by an almost indescribable fate yet have lives that pull us apart at every turn. But he’s always ready to offer me his warmth, his strong arms to hold me tight, and I allow his tenderness to engulf me and together we promise each other to fight the forces that try to tear us apart. But because we are both hopeful souls, we might just make it together.

 

you are a Saturn and I, a Neptune

with a ring of fire around your heart

you said I broke your atmosphere

with my laugh

 

earth humans destined to meet

our fates written in the stars

yet our centrifugal force

kept us spinning

away from each other

like two magnets charged with electricity

on a tightly bound sphere forever

 

I often drifted into invisibility

but he found me

by some mathematical prediction

and asked me if my cold heart

beneath my satin skin

would ever beat in a rhythm for him

 

one stormy day

I let him orbit away

leaving a taste of

ammonia on my tongue

a sick yellow pallor

against my ice blue hue

 

but he returned on a December day

said he was no longer in a hurry

patiently waited to see my ice flurry

float and then come to stay

 


I live on the equator, in hot and humid Malaysia, in an over populated suburb that is vibrant and packed with malls. I write about my thoughts on life and my hope for the future. My beautiful children keep my head out of the clouds and connected to the real world. Life has taken me on a merry ride and I am still enjoying the journey, more so now with the freedom to write poetry and stories about a life less lived but with much still to be discovered and enjoyed.

I blog at Singledust

 

Winter Holiday Writing Prompt Challenge: Devereaux Frazier-Yule Shoot Your Eye Out

The air is chilled 

from my nostrils, burning with anticipation 

to my hands, digging into the frost bitten mud

and I cannot build up the will

to bury my hands in the falling snow

fingertips redder than the bare nipples 

you were too eager to display 

and then I saw him with you, so now we know

he couldn’t fill

your misery any better than I could 

yet you yearned for him, excused me

now I’m left grasping a single dollar bill

I love you Devereaux” you whispered to me

but judging by my own eyes that was a lie

now I’m left with the images 

and I cannot hide, I must believe 

so I took aim at your heaving chest 

unaware of the impending doom

your orgasm would be ending soon

Merry Christmas, I couldn’t care less 

 

Yule Shoot Your Eye Out is from Fall Out Boy’s Greatest Hits album. While its not one of their most widely recognized, it is one of their best (to me), and it’s songs like these that showcase their versatility.  The song is about a girl they’ve (?) moved on from, with a lot less guitar as others (like Alpha Dog), but with the same FOB style that they’ve become known and loved for. This song inspired my piece because of a failed relationship of my own, with someone I thought was my friend…


I’m Devereaux Frazier, the voice behind An Aspergian’s Chemical Romance. Through poetry I discuss my life on the spectrum and how the events that happen in my personal life and the world around me mold my autistic life. I work at a donut and coffee shop and am an avid KC Chiefs and Fall Out Boy fan. You can find my work at Literary Arts Review, Teen Ink, and all across WordPress.  https://marylandpoetblog.wordpress.com/

Winter Holiday Writing Prompt Challenge: My winter underpants/Lee Dunn

See the snow

How it’s glistening

To a voice I am listening

It tells me I must go

On down the rabbit hole

Like Alice in her dreamy wonderland

So I go

Out the doorway

And the cold feels like Norway

There’s no time to dress

And I look like a mess

Walkin’ in my winter underpants

I feel so cold, just roamin’ in the gloamin’

A searchin’ for that silly rabbit’s den

A girl said “Aren’t you freezin’?”

I said “No Ma’am”

The whiskey has just started settin’ in

It may seem

I’m a liar

I’ve just dreamed this entire

I wake up in a trance

And watch the snowflakes dance

Been walkin’ in my winter underpants

 

This poem was inspired by, and should be sung to the tune of Winter Wonderland.

My favorite version is by Michael Buble

_____________________________________________________________________

My name is Lee Dunn, and I blog at AREMYFEETOFFTHEGROUND

I’ve been retired for a year, and am trying to pursue a lifelong desire to write. Lots of time to do it now, and better than thinking of that rocking chair.

I live in Shelburne, Ontario, Canada

Winter Holiday Writing Prompt Challenge: A Very Bizarre Christmas Eve- Damian Grange

The music video for Hey! Santa, where’s me fucking bike is available on YouTube.  It is NOT child or work appropriate


Several years ago, we decided to spend Christmas Eve in one of the City Public Houses we often frequented. As we had expected, we met up with lots of friends and acquaintances with the same idea. We had had what we considered a good night, it was just a few minutes before midnight, so we decided to finish our drinks and call it a night.

Almost dead on midnight the doors shot open, and two big fat guys in Santa Suits rode in to the pub on Kiddies Tricycles, they immediately did two laps of the pub. Brenda our friendly and sociable landlady had a screaming fit behind the bar, and while all this was happening, the track on the jukebox was ‘Hey! Santa, where’s me fucking bike?’ by the Australian comedian, Kevin ‘Bloody’ Wilson.

As you can probably imagine, these events turned a good night in to an unforgettable one!

© Damian Grange 2017


I am a 74 yrs old aspiring author. In my life I have been many things, I am relatively well traveled and have many and varied interests. I was on the British goth Scene for many years and a certain amount of my writing still reflects this. I write under the name of Damian Grange.  You can read more of my writing at Malcolm Marsh – Author

Winter Holiday Writing Prompt Challenge: 9000 miles from home-Carla Santamaria

As I wrap gifts, singing along with my somewhat cheesy Christmas playlist, I can’t help but wonder, as I do every year, “Will these presents make it safely to Melbourne?”  Then I remember that this will be the tenth year I have tempted customs officers to search a suitcase full of wrapped presents, and likely the tenth year of no issues.  And I am sure Mum will have spare paper if I need to re-wrap.  Next song, a piano chord, followed by a pause – and I know it’s Tim Minchin, I smile wistfully and start counting the days left before I get on the plane.

The first time I heard ‘Drinking White Wine in the Sun’ I wondered how Tim was able to see straight into my heart.  The uncanny ability for an artist to reveal to me my own soul is breathtaking.  And I love Tim Minchin. This song always makes me think; and feel – sometimes laughing, sometimes crying, maybe a little of both.

Tim’s lyrics remind me of our universal need for human connection and love.  And how that need holds us fast in the grip of nostalgia, and an ever-present ache for home.  Whether you are living ten thousand miles, or ten minutes from home, can the longing, the anticipated comfort of being home and being one with family, be part of the collective unconscious that binds us all in pagan ritual no matter our beliefs?

Of course, there’s the Australian connection.  Carving out a life and a career in the US provides boundless opportunities, but it means being a long way from home.  Like Tim, I am such a long way from home – eight thousand, nine hundred and eighty-six miles to be exact.

My father once lamented that we’d been raised without spirituality.  My analytical mind wants to, and does agree with Tim when he says tenacity of an idea alone does not make it worthy.  Yet there is some part of me that is searching, or yearning, for faith, for trust, in at least the intentions, that underlie ancient wisdom.

Daddy, just so you know, although we were raised without religion, we were not raised without spirituality.  The beauty of the wide sky, sunlight, starlight, mysteries of the cosmos – you inspired in us a spirit of wonder.  Perhaps you wish I had chosen to follow in the hallowed footsteps of Sagan, and Fermi, and unravel the paradox.  Perhaps it is me that wishes I’d had the courage.  And did I mention the grounded-ness that you instilled in us at the same time?  The simple, yet sacred mystery of growing plants, growing food, talking to the trees and the cycle of life witnessed in your garden?

In less than two weeks now, I will be there. Standing in the kitchen with Mum, melting an unholy amount of butter for the Christmas Eve ritual making of hedgehog, pouring Pascall’s columbines in their iridescent, blue and pink wrappers into a candy bowl, and washing and drying the crystal, champagne flutes.  No doubt, we’ll have ‘Carols by Candlelight’ on television and I won’t recognize any of the celebrities under 40, because I have been away so long now.

Just as the mysteries of the cosmos cannot be solved, neither can my middle-aged need for being home for Christmas.  In years gone by, this time of year has been a reminder of what I don’t have, what hasn’t ‘worked out’ for me.  This year, I am going home to play one role.  And just like Tim tells his jetlagged, baby girl, ‘when you’re 21 or 31’ – and I am sure he meant too, even when you’re 46 – there will be nothing, and I mean nothing, like being home with the people that love you and make you feel safe in this world.

 


Engineer by day, Carla Santamaria has been exploring creative writing since her teens, and has recently ventured into the blogging world with Magenta Blues.  Magenta Blues seeks to inspire ordinary joy by sharing stories and ideas that provoke a sense of human connectedness.  In a fast-paced world, quiet moments of reflection and satisfaction with life have become all too elusive.  Carla lives and works in Texas, but her heart and mind are never too far from her home in Melbourne, Australia.

Winter Holiday Writing Prompt Challenge: Cold Nostalgia and a Warmed Heart/December Rose

Where have the days gone

Of frozen toes and a runny nose

A stroll in the park

This romantic prose

 

Of snowball throws

And marshmallows

Atop a steaming mug

Of hot cocoa

 

When schools would close

From the perfect snow

That blankets the streets

And soaks your clothes

 

Where have the nights gone

When we’d stay awake

From gifts we anticipate

Our whole body shakes

 

Now I’m in a different state

I know what it means to ameliorate

I’ve grown up too fast and moved so far away

I’ve laid to sleep some childish ways

 

Now, in the Arizona air

Where the weather’s fair

My son’s asleep

His chin still bare

 

I stand, looking down

Can’t help but stare

I once was there

While my father prepared

 

Gifts beneath the Christmas tree

Most of them just for me

Now it’s my turn

To be jolly, I can’t wait for my son to see

 

The snow, the bitter winter freeze

That beckons the man on sled and skis

The season begins

With Christmas past and future dreams


I’ve never heard a song that more accurately describes my experience of Thanksgiving dinner and what the holidays season means to me than “First Snow in November” by Skippy. Growing up in Detroit, I’m used to a very different scene than the one here in Arizona, and I miss it dearly. “God gave us memories so we could have roses in December” means something completely different now, because just yesterday I pruned my rose bush, and it’s still budding and blooming. The hope that I cling to is that I would give my children a holiday season, whether it be Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc that they’d remember for the rest of their lives, and that they’d try to emulate for their children, too.

My name is December Rose… Well, that’s not entirely true, but I prefer that name as a writer. Just like everyone else, I’m not just a writer. I’m also not just a musician, engineer, coffee enthusiast, or child, but I am all of those things and plus a bit more. I’ve lived life and had my share of wonderful and regrettable experiences, and found that my place in the world seems to be in words. I like to tell stories about my friends because they’re all quirky characters, and I think they could all be legends, if they’d let themselves. I like to write poetry about the beautiful things in life, and yeah, sometimes I get a bit melancholy. Really, my December Rose blog is all about wearing my heart on my sleeve and keeping up my creative writing skills, since my job requires zero creativity, and if I went all day without some sort of outlet, I’d lose myself. I’d appreciate any and all critique (don’t worry about sparing my feelings. If you’re coming from the angle of trying to help me improve, I’ll understand even the most nit-picky critique) because I do intend to write and publish books someday. I also just love people, and if my writing can be an inspiration or simply bring a smile to even one other human, it’ll be worth it to me. My goal is to make memories, be in memories, and give others something to remember.

“God gave us memories so we could have roses in December” – J. M. Barrie (author of Peter Pan)

 

Moon Ate the Dark Writing Prompt Challenge: Alethia Green

He strolled through the night

nothing but the stars to guide him in his current flight

his legs worked much just from memory

As he looked over his shoulder not  at the way things were

but how they could be

 

He was walking away from the soul withering plans made for him

From a  future he refused to claim 

And the woman they had chosen for him

Bland and tasteless 

The Cookie cutter same

 

He fled this darkness that had no light

searched for her 

His love, his light

His breathe quickened 

His vision blurred

 as she stepped into sight

 

He walked away from the money

The birthright

He knew it was only the start

But when he looked at her he understood how the moon ate the dark


Alethia Green blogs at Twistdbutterfly

Moon Ate the Dark Writing Prompt Challenge: Sacha

The pain radiates from the core

Though my body isn’t hurt.

Every muscle has become sore

Yet my lungs still breathe

In – Out – Fresh air, inert,

The wind has made a wreathe

Of flowers and cool, green, healthy leaves

Around my head

And a garland of thorns bundled into sheaves

That stings my throat

And my heart red.

I know my cheeks are pale

Don’t stare –

Not with those doleful eyes.

I look at the moon, and only she can see me

Blushing behind these cheerless lips

Hungry for love –

Pink and full of kisses

Before the sour poisons of the skies

Made them look so frail.

Far green irises and specks of brown

Are vital and alive behind the masks –

The sombre masks of thoughts

That painted on my face a frown

I cannot brush it off

And away –

Where the moon ate the dark waves of the sea

And left a trail of light for me.


My name is Sacha and I decided to start a blog as a follow-up to my best friend’s advice that I share my thoughts, poetry and art with the world.  I blog at THE COLOUR OF POETRY