Library Grand Opening

This weekend was a special one. My local library is a historical landmark thus making it super old. The architecture, however, is beautiful. Still, it was lacking a whole lot – mostly keeping up with modern times. They finally were able to remodel and the library grand opening was on Saturday and I was proud to attend.

Library Grand Opening | Creative Writing | Writing | Reading | Library | Books | RachelPoli.com

What My Library Lacked

Most the libraries in surrounding towns have evolved with modern times. They have updated technology, study rooms, and the like. My library didn’t have that. We had two floors of books, the lower floor being the children’s room. It was a beautiful library and while there was an open space on the second floor with tables, chairs, and a handful of computers, that was about it. We had a beautiful field so, especially in the summertime, they were able to have fun events for kids.

My writing group meets there once a month but we were always in the employees’ break room. I don’t know about the rest of the members, but I always felt like we were taking over their space – especially when an employee has to come in to get their dinner. I felt like we were taking their break away since they really had no where else to go. My writing group had come together in January 2015. It’s been four years and now we’ll finally have a “home.”

Two Years In The Making

It took a long time and it was tough for the library to get approved for such renovations. A whole lot of money and two years later, the library was finally completed. They had their grand opening on Saturday where we were able to walk around, explore, and start taking out library books again.

The library is five minutes away from my house and Kris works right across the street from it. It’s been interesting to drive by it each day for the past two years and see the progress they made. They estimated it would be complete in March 2019 and I’m impressed that they stayed on schedule.

The Grand Opening

I have never been to any event where they had giant scissors to cut a large ribbon. No, that wasn’t the best part, but it was really cool. I witnessed history being made in my hometown and while I didn’t have a direct hand in any of it, I’m proud I was able to attend and join in on the celebration.

Kris and I arrived 15 minutes before the ceremony began. We waited outside in the cold weather – it was actually fairly warm with the sun but it was a super windy day. The high school marching band performed, an a cappella group sang our national anthem, a few people including the mayor made speeches, and then the host of my writing group, Morgan, read a poem he wrote about libraries. I couldn’t see anything and honestly, the host of my writing group was the loudest one so I heard him the best. (I barely heard the marching band, if you could believe that.) Then the ribbon was cut. I don’t even know who cut the ribbon because I’m short. I did see the scissors though – I didn’t know they made them that big!

Inside The Library

The speeches took about 30 minutes and then, because of the crowd, it took us another 10-15 minutes to make our way inside the library. We were standing outside for about an hour. My nose was so stuffed up.

When my sister and I finally made it inside, we veered off to the right because we saw Morgan standing off to the side. We said our hellos and then went off to explore the library. And holy crap, what a wonderful place it is.

We now have three floors. Kris and I started on the bottom since we were sort of swept away in the crowd. The bottom floor has a program room for… well, various programs. The children’s room is also down there. It’s much bigger than it was before. Aside from books there was a computer station as well as library card kiosk for kids to make their library cards. There was a separate room for story and craft time as well. The space is amazing.

Next, we went to the third floor, again following the crowd on the spiral stairs. Down a long hallway with some tables and chairs, there was an archive room off to the side. There are also three study rooms now, one is a little bigger than the other two. Hopefully my writing group has a home now!

Finally, Kris and I went back to the first floor. The new library is wall to wall glass windows. It looks really cool, but totally out of place with the old architecture. They preserved it since it’s historical. So, looking on the outside, it looks great but kind of weird. Going inside, however, I’m really impressed and pleased with the way they did it.

The first floor is a circle. When we came in through the front door, we went to the right where the new construction was. There are rows and rows of books plus a new room which we didn’t have before, a teen room. Guys, it has a Nintendo Switch. I’m happy with that. But anyway, as you keep walking around the circle (the middle of the circle, by the way, is part of the old architecture that’s blocked off but can still be admired by the glass walls) you’ll end up in the fiction area where they integrated the old building.

It’s hard for me to explain. I know I won’t do it justice, but one half of the first floor is the old building newly renovated on the inside and more polished, but still preserving what our library was before. The other half is the new building. It’s really cool how they integrated both to show that the library is one with the new and old all the while keeping the historical parts.

I’m Proud Of My Community

I don’t know many people who go to the library that much anymore. Myself, included. I’m often found at Barnes & Noble. One, because they have a cafe there and two, because I can be louder in there than the library.

I’ve always said I need to go to the library more often though. In fact, one of my goals for 2019 is to visit the library a couple times a month. Get some books or just be in the atmosphere of it. Granted, I’ll do that anyway because of my writing group, but I want to actually be apart of my library.

My original point, though was that I was shocked to see the crowd that came to the opening. I have a big city and it was great to see so many people come together for this moment. I saw so many people I know as well – a ton of people from my church were there, the kids I babysit were there, and I even saw a lot of kids who I don’t know but see coming out of the school when I pick up the kids I babysit. We ran into Kris’s best friend’s parents as well. We chit-chatted with a few people we don’t normally see often or talk to that much.

Overall, it was a great experience. It was certainly a memorable day for my city.

Do you visit your library often? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Short Story Sunday 256: Mystery

Short Story Sunday: Mystery | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

When Jamie entered the room there was already a blanket covering the body. She stared at the lumpy white sheet and swallowed a hard lump deep in the back of her throat. This was her first case. Her first case was a potential homicide.

She knew this would happen eventually. She always knew she would have to deal with something like this. She just didn’t think it would happen so soon. Jamie wondered if it would have been better if she had stayed at the desk job for a little while longer.

Was she ready to have such a hardcore case?

Well, at least the body was already covered up. Maybe she would haven’t to see it in person and solve the case through the evidence pictures. You know, she can ease herself into homicide cases.

“There you are.” Brock said heading straight toward her. “Where have you been?”

“Outside.” Jamie replied nonchalantly. She found herself standing a little taller when the head detective of her department singled her out from all the other officers.

Then again, looking around the room, all the other officers were busy doing something. She was just standing in the door way.

“There’s no dilly-dalling when it comes to homicides.” Brock spat.

“Yes, sir,” Jamie said meekly. Detective Hal Brock was head detective for a reason. His personality was hard as stone but he certainly knew his stuff. He solved cases faster than anyone else and he knew how to be a leader. He never had any trouble taking charge. Jamie thought he was a nice guy. She had talked to him at the department Christmas party and he was a normal person. When it’s time for work though, he put on a difference face. It was almost like she had never met him.

She respected him though. Real respect, not respect out of fear or intimidation. Everyone worshipped him.

“Where’s Gibson?” Brock demanded.

“Outside.” Jamie replied again. There wasn’t much for her to say. Her partner, Detective Seth Gibson, had told her to go on in without him.

Brock sighed. “Why is he outside? Did you two not get enough fresh air this morning?”

“He’s taking statements from a few of the neighbors.” Jaime explained. She made a mental note to kick herself for that later. She probably should have mentioned that in her original answer instead of giving the head detective one-word answers.

Brock narrowed his eyes. Jamie pressed her lips together. She didn’t know what was going on in his mind right now. He had a thinking face on. His narrowed eyes were from annoyance or confusion. He was simply thinking.

“This is your first real case, right?” he asked.

“Yes, sir.”

“Stop calling me sir. We’re colleagues.”

Jaime nodded.

“So why isn’t Gibson in here and letting you handle the statements?” Brock asked.

Jamie felt her face flush. In other words, Brock didn’t think she’d be good enough to be in the crime scene. Taking statements was something newbies did or was something when experienced detectives did when they were benched but had to tag along anyway.

Brock continued talking when Jamie didn’t answer. “Gibson wants you to get experience, is that it?” then he smirked. “He’s throwing you to the wolves?”

Jaime opened her mouth to reply, but she remained silent. Maybe her partner really was throwing her to the wolves? Although she was hoping he believed in her enough to just send her straight in and get the experience she needed. No two cases were the same but she needed to learn the ropes first hand.

“You’ve never seen a dead body before, have you?” Brock asked breaking Jaime out of her thoughts.

Jaime’s eyes grew wide. She knew she needed to work on her poker face, but she wasn’t expecting him to ask such a question. Then again, she had a feeling he was able to look right through her. Good poker face or not, she was still a newbie, which meant she was an open book.

Brock nodded his head to the side. “Come here.” He said turning. Jaime followed slowly as she came to realization that he was headed for the stiff on the ground.

The head detective shooed an officer away and then he squatted next to the body. He waved her forward with two fingers and Jaime took the cue to squat on the other side of the body.

She felt herself begin to sweat. Her palms were clammy and the room suddenly grew hot. Jaime didn’t know what Brock was planning but she wondered if she would be ready for whatever it was.

Brock pointed to the body while eyeing the rookie. Then he gave her her first task.

“Lift the sheet.”

Jaime chewed the inside of her cheek. Did Brock notice she was sweating? She felt dizzy and hoped he couldn’t tell that her eyes might roll to the back of her head at any moment.

She was just about to make her move when she shifted her gaze from the blank sheet to Brock. He had a neutral expression yet raised one eyebrow. He was wondering what she’d do. Then Jaime realized this wasn’t him assigning her something to do or trying to conquer her newbie jitters. This was a test.

Jaime reached into her pocket and pulled out a latex glove. She snapped it on her right hand before reaching over the body and gripping the edge of the sheet by the body’s head – at least, she thought it was the head.

After counting to three in her head, Jaime lifted the sheet and took a peek.

Everyone else around her seemed to freeze. The room suddenly went silent. A shiver ran down her spine, but she didn’t feel anxiety staring at the body. Instead, she felt remorse. She didn’t know the deceased, but she wasn’t expecting such a feeling.

“She’s beautiful.” Jaime whispered. The young woman’s eyes were shut. She looked peaceful as though she had merely fallen asleep on the hardwood floor and would wake with a start upon having a sheet over her head. Her skin was pale resembling a vampire and her hair shone like silk. It was almost as though she had just brushed and laid down gently before she died.

“She was.” Brock said briskly. “Tell me more about her.”

Jaime didn’t take her eyes off the body. “It looks staged almost. She looks too perfect. Maybe this wasn’t where she originally died?”

“Are you saying the body might have been moved after she had passed?”

“Maybe?”

“Are you guessing?” Brock smirked.

Jaime shrugged. “Isn’t all of this just a bunch of guesswork until we gather enough evidence?”

Brock grinned a genuine smile. “Fair enough. Nice job, Detective.”

Jaime couldn’t help but smile.

“Now let’s get back to work.” Brock said, his expression becoming neutral again. He stood up and turned his attention to someone else.

Jaime looked back down at the young women. She sighed, said a silent prayer, and put the sheet back over her head.

Words: 1,174

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Warriors: Darkest Night (A Vision Of Shadows 4) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Warriors: Darkest Night (A Vision of Shadows 4) by Erin Hunter | Fantasy | Middle School | Fiction | Book Blogger | Creative Writing | Reading | RachelPoli.com

I got a hardcover copy for my birthday.

Summary:

SkyClan has returned to its rightful place among the other four warrior Clans, hoping to find a new territory to call home. But not every cat is convinced that this is where SkyClan belongs—and the fate of all five warrior Clans remains uncertain.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comAs always, the cover is very pretty. I love seeing the vivid colors, even though this one is on the darker side. But hey, it matches the title.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThis book has a lot of build up in it. SkyClan is back, but some cats don’t necessarily know where they belong. ShadowClan is also going through a rough time as well. There are five Clans again, but it might not be for long.

While this was a good read, I felt like this book was a lot of build up for bigger things to come. The Clans are trying to rebuild after the events of the previous book and it’s almost like they’re starting over.

Characters | RachelPoli.comNormally, we follow one or two cats as the “main characters.” This particular series, however, have been following a couple. Normally they’re in the same Clan too, but not this time. There are a lot of cats to keep track of, but I like it. I like seeing how other Clans work and checking out which cats are where as they figure out where they belong.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is another easy read and while it’s wasn’t much a page-turner until the end, I still read it fairly quick. The story is easy to follow, the dialogue and cat terms are fun, and the characters are great.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was another great read and I’m looking forward to book five.

Warriors: Darkest Night (A Vision of Shadows 4) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Rowanstar doesn’t have enough cats to cause a storm. He barely has enough to cause a mild breeze.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: Darkest Night (A Vision of Shadows 4)

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Time To Write: Answer [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a Random Words. Check out some stories from fellow writers here:

This week’s writing prompt is:

Time To Write: Answer | Creative Writing Prompt | Writing Prompt | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

Write a story about the following word: Answer.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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Why Journaling Might Be The Key To Overcoming Your Writing Fears [Guest Post]

It’s my pleasure to welcome Kleia Paluca to my blog. This Inspiration Station is brought to you by her. Thanks, Kleia!

Inspiration Station: Why Journaling May Be The Key To Overcoming Your Writing Fears | Writing Fears | Creative Writing | Guest Post | RachelPoli.com

Many writers struggle at the beginning of their writing journey and never get past the first hurdle: the act of overcoming the blank page in front of them.

Fortunately, there’s an ancient art that can help authors face this writing fear, and it’s called journaling. The Harvard Business Review once said that the key to becoming an outstanding leader is simply to keep a journal. Well, the same truth holds for all writers — and we’ll show you exactly why in this post.

1. Journaling helps you practice writing consistently

To produce a book, you need to get in the habit of writing. This might seem like an oversimplification, but many bestselling authors have said that writing regularly — especially when you don’t feel like you’re writing particularly well — is the most important thing that they’ve done to overcome writer’s block. Maya Angelou is famously on record for saying that she might even jot down, “The cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat,” just to be able to put something down on paper.

In this respect, journaling is one of the best ways to practice regular writing. For authors, it can help build a good habit of writing daily (and personal character). Stuck for several days untangling a plot thread in your story? Write in your journal. You might be surprised at how the simple act of writing will benefit your storytelling.

2. It gets the creative gears in your head cranking

Multiple studies have confirmed that journaling will inspire creativity. And perhaps the most freeing thing about journaling is that you can journal about anything. If you’d rather not write about your day, perhaps you can instead describe a recent encounter that you had — in the third person! Or you can practice character creation by plucking a name from a character name generator and building a fun backstory around it. Or you can recall that conversation that you heard earlier that day in the coffee shop and expand upon it, wherever your imagination leads you.

Writing prompts in particular are a great (and readily available) source of inspiration that can get you started. In short, you’re asking the wrong question if you’re asking, “But what should I journal about?” What you want to be inquiring instead is, “What should I journal about first?”

3. It encourages mindfulness

As the old adage goes, a healthy writer is a productive writer. Stress and self-doubt can weigh you (and your words) down, which is why it’s important to try and keep these two horsemen of the apocalypse at bay as best as you can.

It’s important to note that journaling has been found to have long-term benefits for mental health. As Natalie Goldberg once said, “Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind.” Taking the time every day to journal will keep you keep in touch with your mind and thoughts. It can help turn a negative mindset into a positive one. More than that, it encourages mindfulness, which will benefit you not just as a writer, but as a person.

4. It makes sure that you don’t forget a story idea again

If you’re an author, aspiring or not, you’re probably familiar with this common writing fear: coming up with a really good story idea, promising yourself that you’ll actually remember it this time, and then forgetting it — all in the span of a day.

So, last but not least, a journal can help you recall important ideas. It’s no coincidence, either, that research has found that journaling actually boosts your ability to remember! So you can start saying goodbye to days where you forget a thousand story ideas, so long as you have your journal nearby and handy.

Start journaling!

If you’re excited about journaling now, first things first: grab a journal. Then give yourself 15 minutes a day to write in it, and strive to find a quiet place where you can write in peace. To give you a headstart, here are a few things that you might like to try writing about at first:

  1. How was your day?
  2. Describe a coincidence that happened to you recently.
  3. Describe the last time you experienced déjà vu.
  4. What was the last dream that you had? Can you describe it?

(For more writing prompts, you can go here.)

Remember: at the end of the day, a writing fear is just a fear, and you don’t need to be fearless to eliminate fear. You just need to know how to navigate it, so that you can do what you actually want to do. In this respect, journaling is an invaluable exercise that can help you climb daily nearer to your end goal: a beautiful book.

About Kleia

Kleia Paluca | Why Journaling May Help You Overcome Your Writing Fears | Guest Post | Creative Writing | Writing | Writing Fears | Inspiration Station | RachelPoli.com

Kleia Paluca is a writer based in the Philippines. She reads a lot of books, doodles portraits of famous and unknown people, and would like to make a difference in the world before kicking the bucket.

Be sure to let Kleia know what you thought of her post in the comments! Check out her links and show her some love. If you liked the post, please share it around.

If you’d like to write a guest post for my blog, then read the Guest Post Guidelines.

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WIP Wednesday [March 2019]

WIP Wednesday: March 2019 | Work in progress | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Writing

I have to be honest. I haven’t really been working on anything writing-specific this week. My sister is due to have her baby any day and I was so sure he’d be here by now. With that said, I’ve actually been just doing little things here and there while I wait.

I have done some things though. I started a Fiverr profile not too long ago. I’ve been working on adding more services to that as well as the Services page here. Slowly, but surely, I’ve been knocking things off my to-do list.

Blogging

I’ve been working on a lot on the blog as well. There are so many posts I can write and get up on the blog ahead of time. In the end, this will save me so much time in the long run so I can focus on writing and other things that I plan on doing outside of the blog.

So far, I’ve gotten all my Short Story Sunday shorts up, scheduled, and ready to go! I’ve also been getting a lot of drafts up for posts that I can write and schedule in advance as well. The Quotes are done for the year and I have drafts for the Character Asks as well. Those two features are every other month. The quotes didn’t take too long and the character asks should be quick-ish as well. I even have drafts for the WIP Wednesdays, Goals, and Wrap-Ups for each month. Of course, I can’t write these posts in advance, but at least they’re already set up, graphics and all. I just need to write them and schedule them.

My never big project is to get all the Time To Write prompts up here. That will take a while. Short Story Sunday took a couple of hours. Still, I’m happy to be making such progress! I plan to have this all done by the end of March. Come April, I can get into a better routine of getting that month’s posts done at the beginning of the month if I can. I can also get into a routine of reading and commenting on other blogs again, getting active on my social media again, etc.

Also, writing. It will free up so much writing time.

That’s It For Now

March has been the month of catching up and getting ahead especially this past week. I’ve been trying new things, such as Fiverr, and really prioritizing all my work. I’m getting somewhere!

What have you been working on this month? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Eating Habits While Writing [Healthy Writer]

Eating habits while writing is something difficult to maintain. I don’t know about you, but I will either sit at my computer and eat junk or I’ll get so wrapped up in my work that I’ll forget to eat and be starving by the time dinner rolls around. Neither is good.

Healthy Writer: Eating Habits While Writing | Creative Writing | Writing | Writer Habits | RachelPoli.com

Eating Snacks During Writing

If you’re going to eat while writing, you should be sure to have certain snacks or meals on hand. My favorite snacks are the cheesy ones like flavored-blasted Goldfish. I love other flavored things that get dust and grease all over your hands such as BBQ chips. Eating these things aren’t easy when you’re trying to write.

I don’t want to get my pen, paper, or keyboard all greasy. Yes, I know napkins are a wonderful thing, but I never feel like my hands are truly clean from my snack unless I wash my hands. With that said, if you’re going to eat while you get your writing time done, I suggest not eating those kinds of snacks. Plus, it’s junk food anyway, so if you’re going to eat while sitting at the computer most of the day, you should have a meal or something.

Eating “Meals” During Writing

When I said meals, I don’t mean sit at your computer and eat dinner. You should always take a break and if you live with others, you should eat with them and socialize if you can. But, if you have smaller meals like leftovers or frozen food, eat that for lunch or have a little as a snack while writing. Use a fork or spoon. Eat yogurt. Get something good in your belly without making a mess of your writing space.

Schedule Eating Time

It seems silly to have to “schedule” eating time into your day. But it forces you to take a break and get up and away from the computer. It also gets your stomach in a certain habit of when to be hungry and when not to be hungry.

When I worked at the preschool, I ate breakfast, had snack with the kids at a certain time, ate lunch, went to babysit and had a quick snack while wating for the bus, went home and ate dinner. Sometimes I would have another snack before bed and other times I wouldn’t. But it was a great routine and it helped me eat healthier as well. That was all thrown out the window as soon as I quit my job because now I can eat whatever I want whenever I want.

Needless to say, I need to start eating better again and eat at certain times during the day.

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

To be fair, I have gotten a little better at breakfast. I have my coffee and smoothie. Sometimes I’ll have Cheerios or a bagel. If I’m feeling ambitious I’ll even make myself eggs or something. I have lunch every day, even though that’s my least favorite, because I’ll make lunch for my sister when she comes home for her lunch break. I just need to figure out the middle. Some days I eat constantly while at the computer and other days I forget. Neither is necessarily good.

I’m working on it, okay?

Do you eat while writing or schedule in some breaks to do so? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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My Diagnosis Story [Mental Health Monday]

Welcome to another Mental Health Monday. Today, I’m going to talking about when I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Mental Health Monday: My GAD Diagnosis Story | Mental Health | Mental Health Matters | Anxiety | Generalized Anxiety Disorder | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Heading To High School

I was never a social butterfly, especially in school. High school was hard. I just wanted to get through each day and make it to the end of the year which would eventually lead to graduation. I felt like I was in a rut – wake up, go to school, do homework, go to bed. I also had a job and babysat in the afternoons as well so there wasn’t a whole lot of room for downtime. But, I much preferred to go to work and babysit than go to school.

I don’t remember middle school being like this. I didn’t really like middle school either, but I had a good group of friends. That group was lost by the time I headed into high school. One friend moved towns so she went to a different high school. Another friend had decided to go to a trade school. One friend stopped talking to me because he deemed himself a “cool high school” kid as he tried to fit in. Another friend did the same – except she didn’t have many other friends. So, as she tried to find her place, she remained “friends” with me. But she wasn’t happy about it.

(There was another friend in the group and she and I are still friends to this day. So something good came out of this.)

Anyway, when I was a freshman my sister was a senior. I often hung out with her and her friends because they were better than hanging out with than people in my class. This particular friend did the same because she thought hanging with seniors made her cool. However, she was going through some difficult times so when my sister and her friends graduated, she was completely lost. So was I, to be honest.

But instead of sticking together, she wanted nothing to do with me… but she still hung around me anyway.

Junior Year

Halfway through my high school career, it was the first day back from winter break (if I remember correctly… it was January, I remember that much). My alarm woke me up and something flipped a switch. I turned off the alarm, rolled over, and went back to sleep. My mom came up to wake me a while later. I told her I wasn’t going to school. She assumed I needed a mental health day and let me skip.

But each morning was the same. I woke up just to go back to sleep. Eventually, I didn’t even set my alarm anymore. I would only get out of bed until it was “safe.” Meaning, I’d be so late for school and everyone else was at school or work so I’d have no way of getting to school anyway.

My poor mother was at a loss. Even I was at a loss. I knew it was wrong, but I couldn’t bring myself to go to school. Even when my mom said, “Your job is to go to school,” “You need to go to school,” or, “Why don’t you want to go to school?” I responded logically in my head. “I know my job is to go to school,” “I know I need my high school diploma,” and, “I have no idea why I don’t want to go.” But out loud I simply replied, “I don’t want to.”

Doctor Appointments

My mom took me to go see my primary care doctor. She too was at a loss and was kind of harsh about the situation. She asked what I did all day. I told her I’d clean the house, I’d get my writing done, sometimes I would just chill and get the chance to sit and watch TV. I was still going to my job and still babysitting. I just didn’t want to go to school. That was totally not okay in my doctor’s book. She told my mother that if I wasn’t going to go to school, then I wasn’t allowed to do anything else.

Needless to say, we got a second opinion. When we went back to the doctor’s, we saw someone different. She was more sympathetic and in tune to what we all had to say. That fact that I had no idea why I didn’t want to go to school was totally okay with her.

They wondered if I had depression, but because going to school was the only thing I refused to do, it was confusing to them. If I had depression, I most likely wouldn’t want to write or go to work. So, the doctor referred us to a therapist.

Going To Therapy

Our neighbor was in therapy for anxiety and she recommended her therapist to us. I saw her for a few years and it was the best thing that I ever did. But still, it took a while to figure things out.

A lot of things came to light. I explained to her about my “friend” – who thought I was lying to her about why I wasn’t coming to school, thus spread rumors about me that I had died, and so on. I explained to her how most of my teachers weren’t on my side. My high school classes were split into two levels – academic and honors (honors being a higher level than academic). I was in all academic my freshman year and even though I had As and Bs, I had to argue to get into honors classes. My teachers all thought honors would be too hard for me.

So, when all this happened, they dropped me down to academic classes because they assumed I was too overwhelmed with the work, despite my grades. I had trouble with oral presentations, but I still got good grades in all my classes (except math. Math is awful, but I was never in honors for math and I knew that was the right choice). My point is, if my teachers didn’t believe in me, then why was going to going to spend six hours a day with them?

One of my teachers even spoke about my grades to this “friend” of mine. My friend called me saying, “You had better get your work in because she doesn’t know what grade to give you for your report card.” This was the friend who told my classmates I had died. This was my friend who I was there for when she went through her own mental health issues in eighth grade and was now thinking I was lying to her. This was the friend who saw my issues as a gossip-fest. This was the friend who never once called me this entire time to see how I was feeling – expect to “scold” me about my schoolwork.

Now, mind you, at this point, I was going after school for an hour to be tutored and get my work done. This particular teacher, my English teacher ironically, was the only teacher who had not given me work. How can I pass in non-existent work? And then she was talking to my classmates about my grades.

It was shortly after this that we all mutually – my mom, therapist, and I – agreed that I would not be going back to high school. A lot of things came to light and everyone realized that my high school simply wasn’t the best place for me. My therapist also thought that I was just the type of person to know what I wanted and high school couldn’t give that to me.

Some Good Things Did Come From This

I was ready to drop out. I didn’t think I had any other choice. My therapist actually found a Dual Enrollment program at my local community college. I would be able to go to that college and take classes for a year to fill up the rest of my high school requirements. Yet, the credits will also go towards a college degree. So, my first year of college killed two birds with one stone. I still graduated high school and got my diploma and I was already halfway done with my Associate’s degree.

I was able to stop being friends with that particular person. Which is kind of sad in a way because we were friends since third grade. But, looking back, she was even like that in elementary school. It was just something I never noticed.

I’ve learned a lot too. Everything I do now – the blogging, the writing, business, and marketing – it’s all stuff I taught myself through research and hands-on experience with trial and error. Maybe I should have gone to college for business or something of the like, but I’ve come so far myself. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished despite all I went through to get to this point.

It’s Still There

I still struggle with my anxiety on a day to day basis. Some days are definitely harder than others. It still affects my relationships. I have a hard time running errands sometimes. It actually took me a really long time to understand the anxiety myself. This post came out a lot different than I intended it to, but it still felt good to write.

Let me know your thoughts on this post in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Short Story Sunday 255: Wave

Short Story Sunday: Wave | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

He never saw it coming. His friends had dared him to swim out as far as he could. He was a good swimmer. Better than all of his friends. His parents had him take swimming lessons since he was two-years-old. He didn’t enjoy it very much as a kid, but he stuck with it. It wasn’t until he was much older that he really appreciated it.

It was a good thing he was there that day. The ice cream truck had come to the beach and he offered to get his friends each something. While he trekked through the sand, it stinging in between his toes and balancing frozen ice cream in his hands, he had heard his friends screaming.

He didn’t think anything of it though. His first instinct was that his friends were screaming for their ice cream. He assumed they had saw him coming and started cheering him on – or yelling at him to hurry up. He wasn’t too sure which one was it. The tone was hard to read from very far away.

Whenever he went to the beach with his friends they always camped right at the shoreline. It was always such a long walk through the desert sand to make it back to the showers, the shack, and the parking lot.

As he got closer though, he realized what his friends wanted from him. They wanted him to swim out as far as he could into the ocean.

They wanted him to do exactly what they had just dared their other friend to do who was having trouble swimming back.

There was a lifeguard already in the water for the rescue. He couldn’t stand by and watch his friend – and possibly a lifeguard – drown because of his friends’ stupidity.

Plus, he couldn’t say no to a challenge.

There was a huge wave on the horizon. He knew how to swim, not how to surf. He went out there anyway.

So, even though the lifeguard had brought back his friend, by the time he had a chance to go back out and get him… all that was left was the wave.

Words: 356

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Death By Tea (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 2) By Alex Erickson [Book Review]

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Book Review: Death By Tea (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 2) by Alex Erickson | Creative Writing | Cozy Mystery | Fiction | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

A bought a paperback copy at Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

Mystery lovers have descended on Pine Hills for this year’s book club competition, to be held at Krissy Hancock’s bookstore cafe. But the killer in their midst seems determined to outwit all the armchair sleuths and send Krissy to the remainder bin forever. Just before two dueling book clubs are set to square off at Death by Coffee, one of the competitors turns up dead bludgeoned with the silver teapot that was to serve as the prize. Suspicion immediately falls on Krissy, who was seen skulking around town in dark clothes on the night of the murder. To clear her name and find the real killer, Krissy turns to an old flame, Officer Paul Dalton. But even Paul can’t ignore the trail of evidence that seems to point in her direction. And with Krissy’s personal nemesis, Officer John Buchannan, working overtime to pin the murder on her, it will take an amazing feat of detective work to close the book for good on an elusive killer. . .

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover is similar to the rest of the series. Trouble, the cat, is present as is the silver teapot, which connects closely to the plot as well as the title.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI enjoyed the first book of the series, so I went out and bought this one.

Plot | RachelPoli.comKrissy’s bookstore cafe, Death By Coffee, has picked up quite a bit to the point where she and her friend/co-owner can hire two new people to work at the store with them. That doesn’t mean their work hours are any shorter though… still, they don’t have to been there all day long.

I enjoyed the plot of this book a lot better than I did the first book. A man is killed with a silver teapot in Death By Coffee. Krissy is the main suspect. The plot itself held a lot of stakes and tensions were high, which made it great.

Characters | RachelPoli.comKrissy, on the other hand, did not make it great. I always enjoy cozy mysteries to have the main character be a suspect in the murder mystery at some point. It’s cliche, but fun to read about nonetheless. Krissy just kind of ruined it though. She was annoying in the first book, but I was able to tolerate her. Despite her being a murder suspect, she was ten times more annoying. She was trying to clear her name, of course, but she stole evidence, lied and told people she worked with the police, made a fool of herself and everyone around her… it just didn’t end with her. She got arrested a couple of times, but I don’t know why they let her out in the first place… she should still be in jail for tampering with a police murder investigation.

Another person who should be in jail is one of the officers, John. He harassed Krissy to no end. He either should have been locked up himself or at least taken off the case. I understand it’s a cozy mystery, it’s fiction. But there were too many unrealistic things going on in this one.

The supporting characters were great, especially the two new hires for Death By Coffee. I only wish we got to know them a little more.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

Death By Tea is an easy and quick read at about 300 pages. Despite the annoyances, it is a page-turner. The mystery was a twister. I was able to guess who the culprit was before it was revealed, but it did take a while to get there.

Overall | RachelPoli.comDeath By Tea was just an okay read to me. If the characters were a little more developed and had more common sense, it would have been more enjoyable.

Death By Tea (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 2) by Alex Erickson gets…
Book Review Rating System | 3 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com3 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“My vocabulary suddenly took a break and left me sitting there like a dope, mouth opening and closing while I thought of something to say.” – Alex Erickson, Death By Tea (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 2)

Buy the book:

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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