Interview with Writer Dawn Taylor

 

Good afternoon everyone! I’ve always opened up my blog to interviews and this time is no different, except, I thought hmm, why not open the interviews to people I care about and that mean something to me. Some may be friends, family, acquaintances, or maybe even a famous person (you know I’m not shy).

Anyhow, today, I thought we’d talk to my best friend, Dawn Taylor, who was the one who first sat with me in high school as we wrote about the New Kids on the Block instead of studying. HA! Through Dawn, I realized writing didn’t have to be that awful school stuff, it could be fun. And to this day, I still call on her to help me with plots or sentences or even the titles of the books. I even present Dawn with a special surprise by the end. Take a little break and watch!

Ladies and gentlemen – Dawn Taylor.

 

P.S. Please excuse my appearance. I should’ve fixed myself up. I had just come from a hot run with the dog.

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From An Unapologetic Fangirl

October 23, 2011 - May 18, 2018

For the last forty days on Instagram I’ve been doing one of those posting challenges for the final forty days of my favorite television show Once Upon a Time. Let me stop here for a second, if you are not a fanatic kind of person, feel free to skip this. This is meant for those who love fantasy, fairy tales, and being swept away for an hour a week. Anyhow, back to the point… the challenge… well, I made it through all 40 days and today’s post is plainly stated: What is the best memory the show gave you? What impact will it have on your life? How it has changed you?

I thought I would open this up to my blog so I can share my true feelings without hinderance of space.

What is the best memory the show gave me?

Oh my goodness, SO many memories. At first, it was a time where my family and I could sit down together and fall in love with a show and it’s characters as a whole. I loved fairy tales as a child, my husband loved Disney, so we were easily swept away in the storyline. On October 23, 2011, we sat down watching this show and I knew from the first instant Prince Charming was racing across a road to get to his Snow White that I was going to love this show. I said it, right then and there, “Babe, I love this show.”

My husband had turned to me with a quizzical face saying, “It just started.”

But I knew. I was going to love it and I did. I watched all but 2 episodes live (and I know the exact 2 too, Heart of Gold in season 4 and Sisters in season 5). I had a set of rules that had to be followed for each episode too.

  1. There is no talking during the episode. You can speak during the commercials.
  2. I am not to be bothered for any reason, unless death is involved.
  3. I am to hold the remote. There is no channel changing during Once. (My husband has a bad habit of switching shows during the commercials and not going back).
  4. There is no making fun of me while I watch the show.
  5. Be quiet. No commotion in the background while I watch the show.

Most of the time these rules were obeyed, but Heaven forbid, one of these rules was broken – Mama was mad! Hell hath no fury like a woman being interrupted during Once.

Over the years of the show, my son grew up and stopped watching, my husband gave up during the Frozen arc, but I stayed on through it all – and none of that disrespecting season seven because the cast changed – no, I am in love with the show as a whole, not just specific characters. Sure, I have my favorites, but I would still watch even if they weren’t on it. I love the show as a whole, not just bits and pieces.

What impact will it have on your life? AND How it has changed you?

I think the impact it will have on my life is that it taught some life lessons that I can’t forget. Once taught me to dream unapologetically. And with those dreams, greatness can occur. Becoming an author was a huge dream of mine that I’ve been able to obtain in my life. I started writing well before Once Upon A Time, and was published before the first episode aired, but even through the tough writing times, I persevered because of the lessons I’ve learned on Once. You don’t give up. If you have a dream, you reach it. I don’t know if I would’ve been so persistent in my dreams if not for Once.

Also, I have met some beautiful friends through the show. These are wonderful, intelligent, funny, romantic people who I know will be bonded with for life. And through these people my life has changed too. I’ve learned to be more guarded toward some, more tolerant of others… I’ve learned that I’m not the only one who’s a dreamer, who’s anxious, who loves cookies and cream ice cream (Gabby!). These women, and some guys too, will be in my life for as long as they want and opened up my heart just that little bit more.

Heck, including parts of the cast… Adam Croasdell, Colin O’Donoghue, and Josh Dallas, have inspired characters in my books. Adam especially, we chat somewhat regularly about things far beyond the show, and I’d like to think of him as a really awesome internet friend.

The female characters alone have taught me how to embrace being a strong woman and to make my voice be heard. Lana Parrilla, especially, meeting her I saw this gorgeous woman from head to toe and when I said, “Oh my gosh you are so beautiful!” Her first response wasn’t, “oh thanks, I know,” like some stuck up snob… no, she said, “So are you!” And we are, aren’t we ladies? We’re all beautiful inside and out. Every woman should feel beautiful, because each one of us is special.

Through Colin O’Donoghue supporting his family through Twitter, I was able to “meet” his brother, Allen, who’s a life coach for parents on how to raise good, well-balanced children. His organization is called Help Me To Parent and his advice has saved my sanity more times than I can think of. From subjects on discipline to video games to my son’s always hungry stomach, I’ve learned some really wonderful, and life changing ways to guide my son through these awkward tween years.

What other show branches out this much and makes such an impact on lives? I don’t know many. Thank you Once creators and actors for bringing me this show for the last seven years. I won’t forget any of you and the memories you’ve given me.

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Just for fun, I thought I’d go through my social media history and gather ALL of the posts I’ve made over the years of watching Once Upon a Time. Yeah, there are a lot. But I have fun. I like being a fangirl. In a world where bombs go off, children’s schools are being shot up, and there are daily reports of abuse, murders, and heartache; getting away from it all an hour a week and celebrating something as simple as a favorite show is allowed.

GOODBYE ONCE

Where Were You When…

Two very important world events will be happening in the next two days: The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and the end of Once Upon a Time (okay, so one huge world event and one series finale that’s very important to me.) If you know anything about me, you know that I am super excited to experience both, but then that started me thinking… when we think of tragic events everyone seems to ask – where were you when such and such happened? But instead of focusing on negative events like assassinations, terrorism, or accidents, let’s see if we can remember some happy events.

 

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Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s Wedding

“I, Diana Frances, take thee Phillip Charles Arthur George…”

Just like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, I was enthralled as a young girl (very young) over his mother and father, Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding. I was six, I believe, and my mother had gone on and on about this real life prince and princess getting married. I was already a very imaginative and romantic child, using the sheer curtains in the living room as a wedding veil when I’d play pretend, so of course I was excited to see a real royal wedding. I remember it was a hot day and my mom had spread a sheet on the floor, since we had a shag carpet and it was cooler, and plopped my sisters and I in front of the television set. The princess bride was gorgeous, the prince was doofy but handsome in his blue royal suit. I loved it and since then, I don’t think there’s been a royal wedding I’ve missed from Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, to Prince William and Catherine Middleton–where I shared my royal wedding fascination with my son and “daughter” Princess Ellie (may she rest in peace).

 

 

Classic Television Show Endings

“I’m sorry, we’re closed.”

I may not remember the ends of super classic shows like The Brady Bunch, M*A*S*H, or Little House on the Prairie, but I clearly was present for shows in my generation ending, like Cheers, Seinfeld, Friends, Smallville and a bunch of others. Sometimes those final shows are awesome. Smallville, for instance, finally had our young Clark Kent that we had seen grow up finally don the red cape and save the day in a super suit. I shot off the bed, jumping up and down since I thought for sure they’d never show Tom Welling in the suit. Even still, we didn’t get much of a glimpse, but it was enough for me.

Some shows have had stupid endings like Seinfeld where everyone went to jail for all the narcissistic things they caused of the run of the series. They could’ve done better. Cheers too, it was so boring all sitting around the bar contemplating the meaning of life. Zzzzzz… The only thing I liked was Sam turning off the lights and telling the customer outside that they were closed. Great line, but very lack luster ending.

Friends though, oh boy. I cried. Those six people I watched every week were my friends and to watch them grow over the years into relationships and families of their own touched my heart. Then to have Monica and Chandler move away and everyone turn in their key was just heartwarming. I have a feeling my precious Once Upon a Time will be that way. From the way the actors on social media have been posting, it seems like this final episode will be bittersweet. Once has meant so much to me from the moment it aired too, so I know I will be sobbing whether it’s a good episode or not. I don’t want to see it go.

 

 

First Independence Day After 9/11

God bless America
Land that I love
Stand beside her
And guide her
Through the night with the light from above

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Yeah, yeah, so it’s not some big historic moment, but it definitely was important and I know exactly what I was doing. After 9/11 our country was in chaos and depressed – not economically, but as a mood. No one wanted to laugh at first, no one wanted to be adventurous. There was a heaviness to the nation and I know I had felt it. But that first Independence Day, July 4th, 2002, I will remember well. Jon and I had moved to Solana Beach, California from Tierrasanta, which is on the coast, north of San Diego. We lived on this hillside overlooking the Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds, and the Pacific Ocean. We knew there were going to be fireworks shot off after the P!nk concert going on, so we (and most of the neighborhood) started setting up chairs overlooking the grounds down below. We couldn’t see the concert, but we could definitely hear it and when it was over, P!nk sang some patriotic tunes as the fireworks burst almost eye level with us on top of the hill. It was magical. I remember leaning on Jon’s shoulder at one point tearing because it was such a perfect moment to celebrate the first American birthday after such a tragic event shook our world. He knew I am a huge patriotic sap, and wrapped his arms around me, sharing in the moment.

 

2009 Armed Forces Inaugural Committee

President Obama’s Inauguration

“We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin…”

Politics aside (and I don’t want to read them in the comments either), Barack Obama being elected to the presidency was an extremely historical moment: The first black person to hold the highest role in the country.

As a nation we unfortunately have slavery in our past. I am not proud of this. To me it’s a deep scar in our history and it shouldn’t be forgotten, but learned from so the same mistakes should never be made again. What our black ancestors went through was disgusting; how they were treated, how they were abused… and for what, because their skin is a different color? Seriously, beyond disgusting and it fires me up to no end. So to see how far people of this ethnicity have risen to such high powers makes me extremely proud.

The morning of President Obama’s inauguration I was in Springfield, IL, working for a company where the people weren’t too tolerant. In fact, some were down right ignorant, asking why I wanted to watch, since I was white. As if it shouldn’t matter to me since I’m not his same race. I remember shaking my head and fuming inside at the audacity of such a thought. I was so proud and here these people were ruining it. Anyway, I asked to take a long lunch so I could see the inauguration and witness the swearing in of our first black president. I came home and watched with chills gathering on my arms. The historical significance not lost on what was happening. I think I may have even shed a tear or two. Like I said above, politics aside, it was a beautiful moment in American history, seeing President Obama take on his new role.

 

Berlin Wall Coming Down

“Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall.”

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I specifically remember being in an elementary school assembly watching a movie about an East German family flying a hot air balloon over the Berlin Wall into West Germany to be reunited with the rest of their family. It was called Night Crossing, as I just looked it up, and I went home that night after watching it and asked my parents if it was a real story. That was the first time I heard about the Berlin Wall. Even as a child the story about the Berlin Wall effected me. How could families be separated and kept from each other like that? So fast forward to when I was in high school and I remember watching television in my parents’ bedroom when the show was interrupted with news that the wall was being torn down. There I watched as people were standing on top of this graffitied wall with pick axes, striking the concrete and breaking off pieces and panels of the wall that kept them separated from freedom. They were joyous and celebrating, crying for the freedom they’d been bestowed.

To this day, every time I hear President Reagan’s famous quote shown above, I smile and get those historic chills running up and down my arms and legs. What a privilege it was to have witnessed such an event.

 

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I could go on and on, but I’ve already written a short story here. So it’s your turn. In the comments below or back on any of my social media posts, tell me what some of your positive memories are from historic and/or world events?  

 

 

An Open Look at Anxiety

Time to some is just a minute on a clock. To others it’s a guide; and to others still, it’s a prison. I am one of those people who feel like I’m in a time prison when anxiety hits me like a torrential rain storm. Some of you may know, and other may not, but I suffer from panic attacks and bouts of anxiety. I don’t like it– I hate it, in fact, and wouldn’t wish on anyone. I do feel the need to talk about it today so maybe it helps someone else in desperate need to find answers.

I have a phobia, I have fears, and worries that plague me almost on a daily basis. I never stop thinking. Sometimes I can curb the madness and throw myself in work or family and those days are the very best. I feel like there are more of those than the anxious days, but if I’m being honest, they’re probably a 60/40 ratio (60% going to the better days). I’d love it if the anxiety side was a lower number and that is why I’ve taken the reins and gone to therapy to help learn why the anxiety comes on as often as it does.

When I first began going to therapy, I thought my only problem was anxiety that stemmed from my phobia of being sick to my stomach. I can’t even call it the real word when talking about it. I have to use a word that doesn’t specifically mean being stomach sick; I have to use a word that has another meaning like the word hurl. Hurl means the bad thing, and it also means to throw something – like a ball. And even after using a non-specific word, I still just say H, to further distance myself from it.  Anyhow, it’s a deep fear and it sets off panic attacks pretty badly.  These attacks then somehow get turned into the time prison I mentioned above. If I’m panicking, I start thinking about how long until this or that? How much sleep do I need to get before I’m supposed to be up for work? How long is my work shift? If I’m panicking on a trip, how long are we in the car/plane for ? But mostly, I think how long has it been since I or my son was last sick? Is there a long enough buffer zone from the last time to have trust in our stomachs? Or, oh no, it’s coming up on one week, one month, one year, five years, ten years, since some H’ed ? If I can get through those time prisons I can make it through the attack. At least that’s my thinking. Yeah, time is not my friend when attacks hit.

I would really like to know where this stems from and perhaps one day, I’ll figure it out. Until that day comes, I will try to do what my therapist says and ask the question WHY? Why am I feeling this way? Why is my brain taking me down this road? Why am I feeling nauseous or shaky or upset? Why don’t I want to work? Why don’t I want to move? Asking why, helps me logically think about why I’m feeling the way I am and how I can break free. So far it works. I’ve stopped a handful of panic attacks by asking why and focusing on the logic behind why my attacks are coming on.

Another method I try is the good, old favorite distraction method of finding a place I can go to where time doesn’t exist and bliss was forever. For me that would be on a beach somewhere listening to the ocean and seagulls with a cool breeze lapping my sun-kissed skin; my husband and son playing not too far away. Their laughter lingers on the air while I write stories to my heart’s desire. Ahh, my anxiety free, happy place of peace.

All in all, it’s hard for me to admit my faults (and yes, I see them as faults even thought I can’t help it – still working on that one too), but I do hope that writing this might help someone else in need of answers they are struggling to find. Anxiety is an individual affliction, but know you are not alone in the fight. I’m there too and together we can work on eliminating the prison where find ourselves trapped. We can break through.

 

 

 

 

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If you have found this during a panic attack and are looking for a place of peace, I hope you’ve found it. You are not alone. You are not trapped. I know what you are going through, and I pray that you will get through this bleak moment. You are strong. You will be free. Breathe. Relax. Go to my happy place if you’d like… there’s room for you and your family or friends or pets too.

If you are religious, God is with you. He won’t let you be alone either. Focus on Him. If you aren’t religious, consider searching your soul for God, a spirit that can guide you. God doesn’t have to be a strict religion in a church with rules. He’s a father, He’s love, He’s comfort. He’s in your heart. Trust Him. Trust yourself. You are stronger than you think you are. You’ve got this. Breathe.

Living Here, There, and In-Between

Aside from the state where I was born during my father’s stint in the United States Army, I’ve lived in three different states: Connecticut, California, and Illinois. Each place more drastically different from the other. I thought today, I’d go through some of  what I liked and disliked about living in these regions.

CONNECTICUT

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Brookfield, Connecticut

I grew up in Connecticut, in the tiny, semi-pretentious town of Brookfield. Where it’s a gorgeous place to live all year around with it’s lush green woodlands, rolling hills, and babbling brooks. It’s also a place I never felt a part of. I moved to this tiny town when I was 8 and by then, all the kids had spent the first 4 years of school together. I was an outsider, and I suppose I felt that way until I was 24 and when I moved out of my childhood home. I did end up finding friends and having some beautiful memories with them, but the once out-going, out-spoken little girl who danced around the grocery stores in costumes in the next town over before moving, I became the quiet one, not ruffling any feathers, not fighting for things I wanted. I simply retreated in my own little world and that’s where I stayed. I was a very lonely person who just wanted to find my place in the world, and hopefully someone to share it with me.

 

CALIFORNIA

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San Diego, California – La Jolla Cove

 

After college, I had to get out of the tininess of Connecticut and drove 3,000 miles to San Diego, California for the next stage of my life. I wanted to find myself, my career, and hopefully someone I could share love with there. In the sun and the surf, I soaked up every drop of California, from it’s amazing weather to it’s rocking night life and everything in between. I lived not too far from the photo above and worked at a little cafe that delivered to places all along the cove. Gorgeous did not begin explain how incredible it was to see sights like these every single day…and this was the first place I lived in Cali. I also was able to live in a 1920s studio apartment right downtown, in the mountains and canyons of eastern San Diego, and on the coast 6 miles from the ocean in Solana Beach. Each part of the city was more beautiful than the next. Even more than the beauty of the city, I met the man who shares my soul. I remember once walking into my bedroom with the sea breeze of the Pacific wafting through my apartment and thinking, “this is a dream and I never want to wake up.”
But with every delicious high of living in California there were a few downsides too. There’s the obvious downside of traffic… oh my gosh, it’s awful there! The anxiety I used to have driving to work was outrageous. Distance wise – I lived 15 miles away, but traffic wise – it took me upwards of 90 minutes to get there.

Then there was the cut-throatedness of the people. Whether I was in law school and having someone befriend me only for my notes, or a boss that was nice to my face but telling corporate crap about me behind my back, it was a tough world to live in. Let’s just say I learned a lot of valuable lessons about trust over there.

I also learned that the right people mean everything. If I thought living in Connecticut was lonely, I was wrong. I, at least, had my family. In California, I had no one for that first year. At one point, I called my friend, who lived 2 hours away in Los Angeles, and asked if we could meet half way just for some real human contact. She felt the same way and we did exactly that, giving each other a hug in Irvine, California because we both needed one.

At least the loneliness went away before I left, as well as finding out what I wanted from life and someone to share it with me. The traffic never died though.

 

ILLINOIS

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Bloomington, Illinois

 

While I lived in California, my parents and most of my sisters moved to Illinois. Jon (my then fiancé, now husband) wanted to go back to school and it just wasn’t feasible in California, since it meant we’d have only one full-time job to support us both. So we moved to Illinois. Boy did it take a while to get used to this place. Nothing prepared me for the Midwest. It’s a slower pace, flat, and a little behind in style, fashion, and dare I say it – education. (Sorry, Illinoisans, I don’t mean all of you. There are many highly intelligent residents of the state – I’ll explain in a bit what I mean by the lack of education.)  The first city we lived in was Springfield, and dear Lord, that is the sinkhole of the United States. The only memory that will keep me proud of Springfield is having my son there.

The biggest problem I had with Springfield is the racism (which brings us back to the lack of education in the smaller, more rural outskirts of the city). Both of my sisters were abused verbally and physically by kids at their school for being a different race other than their own blonde hair, blue eyed, Anglo-Saxon world. My husband, who is Korean, and I encountered some of this too, bumping into a kid at the grocery store who spun around, pointed to Jon and said, “Look mom, a foreigner.” The mother didn’t correct her son, just agreed with him, and walked on, leaving Jon and I staring at them like two wide-mouth bass.

Needless to say, we did not want to raise our son in Springfield and before he entered elementary school, we moved to Bloomington. What a night and day difference! The culture in Bloomington is vastly different, and I am so proud of this community. Every race is welcome and celebrated with open arms.

I’m happy to say that this is a town I love. I have my family, a career I love, and beauty all around us. Sure it’s not the rolling hills and lush woodlands of Connecticut, nor the sand and surf of California, but we have exhilarating storms, sunsets with colors I can’t begin to describe, and fields of green and gold as far as the eye can see all summer long.

All in all, I am a big fan of being an explorer. If you don’t know what you want to do in your life, go out and find it. Try different places, visit, travel, and treat your life like an adventure. Through it you never know, you might find exactly what you are looking for.

Feedback Needed

Good morning all! This is just a short blog today to get back into gear of writing weekly pieces, and I’d love some feedback from you.

I love to write. I write articles that mean things to me, such as: justice, history, every day heroes, every day stories and experiences. I also write short stories and some fan fiction here and there, but what kinds of things do you like to read? What would you like to read from me? What would you like to see less of?

Send me a note in the comments or on any of my social media platforms.

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Thanks for all your help. Your support means so much to me.