Sodaro's Stories

December 31, 2015

Looking Back on 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 10:07 pm
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And this makes my 500th Blog. (It took some planning and replanning to get to THIS blog on THIS day, but here it is and cross one more Resolution off the list.)
Another resolution was to write, reflect, and read every day — hmm, well I got one of the three every day, 2 of the three most of the days, and the trifecta a few times as well.
Publish Broken Trust and Redeeming Trust — got the first one out and the second one is completely edited and now has about 20 chapters left where I need to type what was edited. So getting closer to that one (Had some roadblocks for about 5 months that put m ridiculously behind and having to play catch up and I just couldn’t quite catch up enough…since keeping my job is a necessity).
Financial Resolutions — didn’t get a single one of them and realized half of them were not in my best interests, so that changes things too.
Doctorate plans…hmmm…about that. So my adviser told me back in 2011 that I should wait until I finished my PhD to publish my first novel or I would never complete my degree. I want to be an author when I grow up which doesn’t need a PhD.
Two more tattoos plus books filled in…I did get Arianna’s Honor and Arianna’s Destiny filled out (Waiting for Redeeming Trust to be out for the top two books and then I will have all of my titles filled in…so progress on that and got GEMINI on left shoulder
Downsize extra “stuff” –definitely did this one…and not just stuff, I also did this with people. “Unfriended” some I should have never friended and some I thought I would never “unfriend” but life is what it is and I am better off without people around whom I can not be my true self. Thanks for all the memories. Buh-Bye now. It is amazing the sense of peace that can come from that visual of taking a person out of your virtual life as a representation of your actual life (thank you, Facebook). Also reconnected with some friends from my past, so thank you again, FaceBook
Through this year, I got the inspiration for 20 new novel/essay/short story ideas. (Which is good because I was running low, haha). This brings my number of started projects to 83 (Yes, I agree — I need to get this under control and actually finish things). Hi, my name is Michelle and I have a problem with commitment. It’s been about 3 minutes since I started a new project.
Let’s see…other resolutions…
Find healthy romantic relationship — yeah, failed that one completely but got more examples of what I don’t want in my life, and of course  for aforementioned projects) so I feel that goal is getting closer.
Work on professional author life: website, newsletter, PO Box, business cards, etc. — yeah, need to do all of that, so put that on the 2016 pile.
Get healthier — well that’s a convoluted and ongoing process, so let’s keep that on the list as well.
All in all, it was one hell of a year…with some unbelievable highs and some lows that ALMOST broke me…but through it all, my faith is stronger, my path is clearer, and I am better for it all.
Ready to turn the page.

December 29, 2015

The more “me” ME

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 1:08 pm
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“Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came.” Cheers theme song
Sometimes it is so comforting to go where everyone knows you. They have already accepted your quirks and seem to like you anyway. There is a level of coziness with people and places you have known your whole life. And what you sometimes don’t realize is that with that comfort, it is hard to grow into what you could become. When you are around people who have known you for years, every time you are around them, it is like a time portal swoops you back to who you were when you met them. Everyone says this “it was like nothing had changed.”
The problem being of course that everything has…EVERYTHING has changed. I am not the person I was at the beginning of this year or 2 years ago or 5 years ago or 19 years ago. Every experience I have had and every person I have gotten to know has shaped me into who I am and I am not the person I was when I experienced those things or met those people. I wonder if that me would even recognize the me that exists today.
My 40th year on this planet has brought intense change to how I see myself, how I live my life, and what/who I keep in my life It has made me into a more aware person, a stronger person, author, and teacher. It has also erased some of the lines between my roles as Ms. Sodaro, teacher and Michelle Sodaro, author/person/female. I am as close as possible to having Ms. Sodaro and Michelle being the same person as I have ever been, and as much as is possible (this will make more sense to some of you than others, those who have gotten to know me as Ms. Sodaro and also Michelle).
I am about 95% mask free with that last 5% sticking around when I want/need to write and have do to do other things…trust me, that 95% mask free is a huge step for me as I used to have to wear the damn thing about  75% of the time because of people I was around not being comfortable with the real me. Being my true self this much of the time is pretty amazing, not gonna lie…and truth be told, (which is all I do now) I have missed ME!!!
My writing is stronger, more honest, and just all around better. It’s amazing what comes out when you are no longer afraid.
I am smiling more…smiling for real…not a fake “everything is fine” smile…but the real deal.
I am embracing my author life. I am embracing the love that remains for my teacher life as well and I am finding ways to have balance between the two in time as well as energy.
So it’s a new ball game, folks. Should be an interesting ride.

December 27, 2015

Poetry

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 12:58 pm
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It always seems to me — the best poems and songs come from the deepest possible emotions one can feel and sometimes (most of the time, actually) the deepest emotions are the painful ones more so than the joyful ones. Maybe this is just because we analyze and think about the painful ones whereas the joyful ones we just enjoy and ride the wave.
Recent events have caused me to get thoughts for poems again. It’s been a while since I have felt anything deeply enough to put into a poem and every single time that well runs dry, I worry I have written my last poem. And then something happens…or an entire series of events happen…and the first inkling for a poem begins to appear, like a flower opening back up after a storm.
It starts with a word or phrase — an object whose meaning strikes you…a song that opens a memory…an onslaught of emotion that knocks you over with its intensity. And the dust settles and you pick yourself up again, you listen to the words of your heart, and poetry begins to come alive once more.
I have over 400 poems written. I have countless others started anywhere from a single phrase to a verse or two. Some of them will be published in Shades of Blue, (right now, I am thinking 2017 as 2016 is already full). Some of them will fill a later compilation. Some may never be published at all. I am far braver now than I was before, so maybe they will be published after all.
I do want many of them to be accompanied by a drawing or sketch (I need to talk to my artist friends as my drawing ability is limited to uneven stick figures and fat cats).
There are things to figure out…but the good news is that the poems are speaking to me again.

December 26, 2015

Reading

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 12:48 pm
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I read an interview with an author who said she didn’t have time to read. I haven’t read another book by her since then. Stephen King says he tries to read at least 80 books a year, and my respect for my idol grew.
I make a goal to read 40 books a year. I am currently at 24, so it is unlikely I will get 16 books read between now and midnight, 31 December. This year has been an odd one to be sure, but I will keep my goal at 40 for 2016 because I know it is achievable even with my full-time teaching job and emerging author life. It averages out to 3.33333 books a month, and my life is much calmer now and much more full of time for me to take care of myself and my goals.
The best way I know how to be a stronger writer is to read and write every day.
Reading helps you see how words play together…how dialogue sounds…how characters and setting are developed. It shows what plot paths work. (It also does the opposite — shows you the awkwardness words can have…dialogue that sounds forced…characters that don’t seem comfortable in their own skin…plot paths that have too many holes or short cuts
Stephen King also earned bonus points when he said it was okay to not finish every book you start reading. I used to feel too guilty (and my OCD of liking to finish what I start would pipe in) and I would plod through every book I started. Now, I know there are too many books I want to read (and write) for me to waste my time with something that just doesn’t work for me.
So the writer part of me needs to read…but even more importantly, I need to read to escape, to grow, to heal, to…just for a little while…forget reality and just be entertained.

December 24, 2015

Pure Magic

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:30 pm
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No matter how old I get…no matter what is going on in my life, good or bad…no matter what…I will always be fascinated by the magic of Christmas Eve.

The logical part of my brain tells me that Santa is impossible. The idea that he could get to every house in one night is scientifically impossible (yes, yes flying reindeer are also rather improbable). Emotional brain says, but it’s MAGIC…and tells logical brain to shut up and go figure out something.

Growing up, Mom had this cardboard fireplace for the apartments we had that didn’t have a fireplace…and every Christmas, no matter how hard things were, we always had presents from Santa. So if he could deliver presents to a cardboard fireplace, well…that’s some pretty powerful magic right there.

There is a sense of peace on Christmas Eve…the knowledge that things are going to be okay (perhaps because of a certain birthday the next day…which is also pretty fancy magic). I like it better when there is a blanket of snow on the ground (which can completely melt on 26 December) but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen this year…and darn you Christmas songs for making us think that is what is needed for Christmas. 🙂

I love Christmas eve night. I love to look out the window (or go for a drive because there isn’t that blanket of snow) and look at the Christmas lights and think of the people sleeping, waiting for Santa. Those parents taking those late night hours to keep the magic alive. And emotional brain tells logical brain…see…that is how it is possible…we keep the magic alive.

As an author, I see everything as a story…and I hope I can capture the magic of Christmas eve in one of my novels. The sense of wonder and peace…and magic.

Merry Christmas.

December 22, 2015

Happy Holidays

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:12 pm
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I don’t get upset when people say “Happy Holidays.” I don’t get upset when people say “Merry Christmas” either. I don’t get upset when people wish me “Season’s Greetings” any more than I would be upset if they said “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Kwanzaa.” Why does it matter what I celebrate? If people want to wish me good tidings, you better believe I am going to take those good tidings and the happiness that goes along with them. I know people get offended by this. I don’t. I am simply happy that someone is wishing me happiness.

It’s a strange world we live in right now. Words have always been powerful (I am an author, and I know how powerful words can be). But people are getting so offended by things and I just shake my head at some of it. If someone says “Happy Holidays” it doesn’t mean they don’t love God, it doesn’t mean they are anti-Christmas…to me it just means there are A LOT of holidays going on right now. It also means they want you to have happiness at a time of year where there are statistically more suicides than any other time of the year. To me that is not a bad thing at all…to me that is kindness, and if you ask me, the world could use more kindness.

I think about this as an author quite a bit. I try to keep my feelings about holidays from being reflected in all of my Characters. Valentine’s Day is one I especially watch because while I prefer my loved one to celebrate his love for me not just when Hallmark tells him to, that is just me. I intentionally make some of my characters like Valentine’s Day. Same with Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July (which causes me anxiety to the point I can’t enjoy fireworks), etc. I do the same with Christmas time. I want my characters to be celebrating humanity. Celebrating each other. I want them to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa…whatever fits the story…but I also want them to wish happiness on others…because to me, that is what this season (whatever you call it) is all about. A reminder for us to wish happiness for our fellow man.

Whatever you celebrate…whatever you believe…I wish you peace and happiness as we close out yet another year.

 

December 21, 2015

My Christmas Shoes

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:11 pm

No, this is not about that song that makes us all cry…

Shoes

I got these shoes in high school. Misty (then Botts, now Killip) bought me this pair and I love them. They are still in almost perfect condition (I only wear them a week or two each year, so…) with the exception of the bells that used to be on the edge. (My cat, Chase de-belled them…much to the delight of my father who didn’t care for the bells).

There hasn’t been a Christmas I haven’t worn them (though I must say it is much nicer to wear them when there is no snow, as they are the canvas Converse is famous for).

I get excited every year when I take them out of my Christmas tub. To me, this means it’s Christmas. Yes, people shopping everywhere…yes Christmas music…yes constant commercials and reminders…but to me, the second I put on my Christmas shoes…that is Christmas to me.

Merry Christmas.

 

December 18, 2015

Dear Santa,

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:26 pm

So I have been listening to Christmas music this past couple of days (it keeps getting closer and closer to to the holiday for me to actually be in the mood for Holiday music), but I heard “My Grown-Up Christmas list” and “Santa, Baby” (which is one of my favorites) and I thought I would write a letter to my old friend, St. Nick…

Dear Santa, it’s been a while since I have written, so I thought I would drop you a note for Christmas, 2015.

I would like peace for people’s hearts and minds. There is so much anger and ick in the world right now. Please spread joy and love as you travel delivering gifts.

I would like everyone to have someone that cares for them and food to eat, place to rest their heads. It’s a big request, but it connects to the first request.

I would like a publishing contract. I am enjoying self-publishing, but would also like someone else to pay for me to click send. So, please work on that for me, please.

I would also like to give love another shot. Think I have been avoiding that long enough and it’s time to try again.

I would like continued health and snuggles for my kittens as they have been by my side through everything.

I would like my knee to stop hurting all the time. It’s annoying and slowing me down, literally.

I would like to be more fearless and less anxious. I feel there is so much of life I am missing out on.

I would like pens and notebooks, always.

I would like money to pay the debts I owe and to save toward my future.

I would like my island. I think it’s time for that.

Thanks, Santa. Do your best.

December 16, 2015

Comfort Zones

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:41 pm
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The thing about staying where you are comfortable, is that you will never get anywhere new…Pretty profound, I know.

If you have ever hung out with me, you know it is usually very difficult to get me to try a new place, or even to try something new at an old place…part of that is my reluctance to try anything “weird” and my very full list of what qualifies as “weird”

As 2015 comes to a close, I am realizing I need to branch out from what is comfortable. I need to continue writing and finishing my novels, of course…let’s not get silly…but I also need to publish some poetry, some essays, some non-fiction bits, maybe even some risque material…I need to do MORE and I need to cover a broader spectrum to get my name out there more and finish more of the projects I have started.

I need to take a class because it’s interesting to me and something I have never studied before.

I need to network and promote my writing outside of my circle of friends, who are amazingly supportive and give me the strength to take this step.

I need to go to NEW places and meet NEW people…to network my books, yes…but also to potentially meet someone I would want to, I don’t know…date. Turns out nothing good comes from thinking that Mr. Right will come knocking on my door like a door-to-door salesman…though fictionally, it is a neat idea.

I need to try new foods…but not sushi, let’s not get crazy here. Not yet.

 

 

December 15, 2015

Feeling good…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:33 pm
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So last week, my muse was feeling very overwhelmed. I know this is true because one of my horoscopes said, and I quote, “your muse is feeling very overwhelmed right now” and who can argue with that…okay probably a lot of people, but regardless of your thoughts of horoscopes and/or muses, both were extremely true for me last week…they are slightly less true for me now.

So last week, my muse and I were hanging out at the corner of Overwhelmed and Lack of Patience and we were doing our very best to smile through our non-creative tasks and the small talk and time spent away from projects. I never mean to be rude, but I do have things on my mind, projects and novels and such, as is the gift/curse of any writer.

It happens every year about this time because all I can see are the sand in this year’s ‘hour’ glass and it’s running low and there are projects to finish and things to do.

2015 has been an odd year for me and the starts and stops caused by people and events that were not always entirely my choice or in my control, as well as those things which were my choice and in my control, made it difficult to get into a true rhythm with my author projects. My full-time job and my picking up two separate part-time jobs (well, really one, since Target lasted only a week and a half…just long enough to get a story idea) require my time and attention which also sometimes makes it a challenge to stay on track with my still-forming author life.

I am not making excuses. These are facts — things that have needed time. Through the events of the year, there are now fewer things that require time now and possibly in the future and I am very happy to fill those hours with writing and editing.

The last two weeks of the year, I get as close to a break as is possible in my current life, and my muse and I are looking forward to seeing how much can get done. First and Foremost is finishing Redeeming Trust (so much of everything that happened, occurred between June and September, which was the time slotted for Redeeming Trust to get finished, so I have been playing catch up the last 2 1/2 months.

There are also projects to get ready for 2016, where I get to flip the ‘hour’ glass over and start fresh. there is much to do to get ready…and I’m an excited to dive right in and get going. This weekend helped because I got things done, writing done…so I am feeling much less overwhelmed to face the week. Let’s do this.

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