The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 016 Now Live!

The Merry Writer Podcast | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

The Merry Writer Podcast

The Merry Writer started as a hashtag game on Twitter and Instagram. Hosted by Ari Meghlen and myself, The Merry Writer Podcast is a fun, friendly show about all things writing and bookish. Join us as we ask all the “write” questions.

Episode 016: When should writers be present online?

In this week’s episode, Ari and I discuss our thoughts on marketing where we talk about online presence for authors and social media. Be sure to give it a listen through the YouTube video below or any of the links below.

New episodes are published every Wednesday at 10:00 am EST (2:00 pm BST). Please subscribe to the podcast so you can be notified when a new episode goes live. Also, give each episode a “like” wherever you enjoy tuning in. It’ll help the podcast grow and we’d really appreciate it!

Thanks for listening!

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What are your thoughts on this episode? Let me know in the comments below so we can chat! Please feel free to share this post.

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How I Use the Calm App [Mental Health Monday]

There are a lot of apps out there to help with anxiety, depression, or mental health in general. A lot of these apps are like journals or they track your mood. These are things you can easily do in a notebook or a bullet journal, but apps normally track the patterns for you as well.

Calm isn’t necessarily one of those kinds of apps that is a journal or tracks your mood. It’s just as it sounds – calm.

Mental Health Monday: How I Use the Calm App | Mental Health | Mental Health Matters | Calm | Apps for Mental Health | RachelPoli.com

What Calm can do

Okay, I kind of lied earlier. Calm does track your mood. I forgot it did that because I don’t use Calm for that. But, if you want, you can check-in with Calm. You can choose a mood and write about what’s going on and why you feel the way you do. However, you do need an account to do this.

There’s a free version of Calm and a paid version of it. I have the free version and it does just what I need it to do for now.

Calm has yoga and meditation as well as breathing exercises. There are also soothing music and bedtime stories. Most of this you need the paid version for. Which is why, eventually, I’ll probably pay for the app. For now, I mainly use the two free things I can: the breathing exercises and the scenes.

Breathing

Calm has a cool part of the app where it’ll guide you through a breathing session. You can choose how long you want to breathe for and it’ll show a bubble that will enlarge and tell you when to breathe in, then shrink and tell you when to breathe out. It’ll also ring a small charm when you’re supposed to begin breathing in or out if you need to sit and close your eyes for a couple of minutes.

I’ll admit, I haven’t used this feature too often. I sometimes forget it’s there so I get too wrapped up in something else to think about it. But it’s a good idea and it’s definitely helpful to have something to guide you through breathing exercises depending on what you need it for.

Scenes

This is what I mainly use the Calm app for. I use it when I work sometimes, when I read, when I’m doing a Sudoku puzzle or something, or just when I need to lie down for a few minutes, close my eyes, and relax.

These scenes create sounds on a loop such as rain on leaves, thunderstorms, a fireplace, ocean waves, and so much more.

The best part about this is that you can play the scenes with the app closed. So I typically have it on in the background on my iPad when I’m reading a book from the Kindle app.

I love the Calm app

I’ve had this app for years. I can’t even remember how I came across it or what made me want to download it in the first place. I use it all the time though and I won’t go back.

Calm is a great app for whenever you need to relax for a minute or an hour or longer. I highly recommend it to help with your mental health or just to have. I hope the get the paid version soon so I can talk about it even more.

Take care of yourself.

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Short Story Sunday: “Settlement” [308]

Short Story Sunday 308: "Settlement" | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

As much as Marin was nervous for this meeting, she was going to do her best to remain positive about how it would turn out. She didn’t want to admit defeat before anything started and she certainly didn’t want everyone in the room to think she was afraid.
So, she walked through the parking as though she were on top of the world. Well, she stood tall at least. If anything she might have looked like a snob with her nose stuck up in the air but that didn’t matter. Marin only cared about how one person felt about her and it wasn’t any of the strangers she passed in the parking lot or who drove her.

She entered the office with her head held high. She passed the lobby without needing to talk to the receptionist – she knew exactly where she was going. Unfortunately, she had been there one too many times already.

Marin didn’t know how her life got to this point and she wished it hadn’t. However, now that it had come down to this, she needed to stick up for herself. She had lost everything because she didn’t have much of a backbone. She felt bad for the situation so she didn’t care if she was left with anything at all. However, now she actually had nothing because she gave it all away. There was no way he was going to take the apartment as well.

She couldn’t be homeless with nothing to her name. That wasn’t fair to her at all. She was done playing nice.

When Marin made it to the third floor where the divorce attorney offices were, she drew in a sharp breath. She was fine, she could do this. She was going to walk in there and demand that she get to keep the apartment because she had given him everything else – even the things she bought with her own money. He took back one of the gifts he had given her because even though he never cooked, he knew he would for sure use an air fryer now that he was a bachelor again.

Marin seethed in the hall. She needed to calm herself down before she entered the office. She was a few minutes early. She didn’t think it’d be an issue if she paced outside the door for a moment or two to gather her bearings.

It wouldn’t be a big deal if she had asked for the apartment, right? Both of their names were on the lease and she knew they’d have to pay a fee for one of them moving out (a fee she didn’t mind taking care of if that meant he was gone). The bottom line was that it didn’t make sense for both of them to move out and have to find a new apartment. Marin knew what he was going to say. He was given everything else from the marriage so it didn’t make sense for him to have to pack everything up and leave the apartment. It would be easier (for him) if Marin just packed up what little stuff she had left and moved out of the apartment. Plus, the apartment was originally his. He lived there before Marin had even me him. They dated for six months before eloping. Marin moved in with him and now… Now she regretted just about all the choices she had ever made in her lifetime.

With that logic and reasoning between herself and the voices in her head, Marin barged into the office and stood in the doorway. Everyone in the room – her lawyer, his lawyer, and him – stared at her. Marin immediately regretted walking in at that moment.

“Thanks for joining us,” her lawyer said. “We’ve actually been talking about you.”

Marin felt her blood pressure rise. How could they start the meeting without her?

Her ex-husband stood from the table. “I already signed the settlement. We just need your signature and then we’re all set.”

Marin opened her mouth to retaliate. How dare they decide on something without her present!

Her lawyer raised a hand. “Hear him out.”

Marin was about to snap at him when her ex spoke up again.

“I realized none of this has been fair for you. We rushed into a marriage and it was fun while it lasted. I wish I could say I hope we keep in touch, but honestly…” he chuckled. “Anyway, I’m giving you everything. All the stuff you told me I could take, I’m giving to you. I mean, aside from the stuff I owned before we were married. The furniture, TV, the air fryer, other gifts I gave to you… it’s all yours. So is the apartment.”

Marin remained in the doorway with her mouth gaped open. She had to be dreaming, right? Maybe she had married the evil twin and the good twin was here to make things right?

“I talked to my brother and he said I can stay in his guest bedroom until I find a new place,” he continued. “I realize a lot of our problems from the marriage were my fault and I want to make sure you’re comfortable and taken care of. So, if that’s all okay with you, then please. Go ahead and sign.”

Marin felt tears form in her eyes and willed her emotions to stay in check. This was reason she had fallen in love with him in the first place. He could be a self-centered jerk, but he always came to his senses at the end. Even divorced, it seemed as though he cared and he still wanted to make sure things were not his fault. For once, he was taking responsibility.

She walked over to the table and picked up the pen. She glanced at her lawyer who nodded. Yet, she couldn’t find herself to sign it.

“I feel like this isn’t right. You should have something,” she said.

She cursed herself for saying anything at all. She knew she was too nice for her own good at times, but… how could she let things end like this?

Her ex shook his head. “Please? We’re already losing a friendship because we rushed into things. I’d rather just get this over with and be happy knowing that you’re taken care of.”

*

Marin got back to their – well, her – apartment. She had signed the papers. Everything was going to be processed and approved in a few months. The apartment was dull and quiet when it was just her there. She couldn’t tell if he truly did care or if he just didn’t want to deal with being in the apartment alone. Still, this was his apartment for about ten years. Marin couldn’t imagine him being able to give this up so easily.

After lying in bed that night and going through the following day as normal as she could, she realized something else. Her ex didn’t give up the apartment because he wanted to make sure she was taken care of, as he claimed. There was another reason.
Everywhere Marin looked, something was his. The apartment smelled like him. The apartment held a number of memories of the two of them – some good and some bad. Everywhere she looked, she was reminded of him and her heart broke all over again.

That was the reason he didn’t want to stay.

They hated each other, but they hated this situation more. Marin couldn’t help but smile. Well, it seemed as though he did like her a little bit.

She picked up her purse and headed out of the apartment. Without a second thought, she’d tell the leasing office she was moving out.

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 015 Now Live!

The Merry Writer Podcast | Creative Writing | Podcast | RachelPoli.com

The Merry Writer Podcast

The Merry Writer started as a hashtag game on Twitter and Instagram. Hosted by Ari Meghlen and myself, The Merry Writer Podcast is a fun, friendly show about all things writing and bookish. Join us as we ask all the “write” questions.

Episode 015: What have we learned starting a podcast?

In this week’s episode, Ari and I discuss our thoughts on podcasting. We take a break from writing-related topics to discuss what we’ve learned by starting a podcast and how we think the show is going in general. Be sure to give it a listen through the YouTube video below or any of the links below.

New episodes are published every Wednesday at 10:00 am EST (2:00 pm BST). Please subscribe to the podcast so you can be notified when a new episode goes live. Also, give each episode a “like” wherever you enjoy tuning in. It’ll help the podcast grow and we’d really appreciate it!

Thanks for listening!

Podbean | Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | YouTube | PodLink

What are your thoughts on this episode? Let me know in the comments below so we can chat! Please feel free to share this post.

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Podcast | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Short Story Sunday: “Coversation” [307]

Short Story Sunday 307: "Conversation" | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

“What do you think they’re talking about?” Lyla asked. She picked up her hot coffee and drew it to her lips without taking a sip. It was still piping hot, the steam rising from the small slit in the cover.

Victor, sipping his coffee across the table, stared at her. He put the paper cup down on the table. “What do I think who are talking about?”

“Them,” Lyla said, turning her attention back to her friend, jerking her head to her left.

Victor looked to his right scanning the cafe. There was an empty table beside them but next to that one was another man and woman sitting together. They seemed to be deep in conversation, not taking their eyes off one another. The man sat back with one arm casually on the back of his chair and his other hand holding his hot beverage. The woman hunched forward with both hands cupping her hot drink.

“Why are you curious about what they’re talking about?” Victor asked turning his attention back to Lyla.

Lyla stared at the couple once more. “I can’t get a read on them.”

“Why do you need to get a read on them?”

“Why do you have to question everything I do?”

“Because I think you’re crazy.”

Lyla snorted through a smile. It wasn’t the first time someone called her crazy and she knew it wouldn’t be the last. In fact, she knew she was a bit crazy. She was too nosy for her own good, but these were strangers. There was no harm in wondering what they’re lives were like today. Lyla brought her drink back up to her mouth and took the tiniest of sips. It was still hot but at least she didn’t burn her tongue this time.

“Okay, let me ask you this,” Victor said, “What do you think they’re talking about?”

Lyla shrugged. “That’s why I asked you.”

“You’re the nosiest person I know and you eavesdrop all the time. I’m sure you’ve heard bits and pieces here and there in their conversation,” Victor stated.

Lyla frowned. “I tried, but it’s too loud in here and they’re two tables away.”

Victor laughed. He took another sip of his drink and looked back over at the couple two tables over. They hadn’t moved their positions, but they were still talking, staring deeply into one another’s eyes.

“It seems to me,” Victor began, “the woman is trying to have a serious conversation and the man doesn’t seem to care.”

“That’s what you get out of that?” Lyla asked in surprise.

“Body language says a lot.”

“But you make it sound like the man isn’t serious at all. The woman is trying to convince him of something and he’s brushing her off,” Lyla countered.

Victor shook his head. “I didn’t say the man was never serious. I meant this particular conversation isn’t interesting to him. Or maybe the woman is making a big deal out of nothing and that’s why she’s stressed out and he’s not.”

Lyla pressed her lips together in a smirk.

Victor narrowed his eyes. “What?”

“You’re just as nosy as I am.”

“I am not.”

“You are,” Lyla said with a chuckle. “You have this all thought out. You thought of two scenarios.”

Victor waved her off. “Oh, forget it.” He took another sip.

There was a moment of silence as the two old friends sipped on their own coffee. Lyla and Victor met up once a week at the cafe to catch up with one another and have a relaxing time after a long week. They had been doing this for years, ever since they graduated high school and they went to different colleges. They wanted to keep in touch and going to a cafe for about an hour a week was the only time they were able to make. Even when college was over and they both had full-time jobs this was the only time they could make. Life was always so hectic and on-the-go. Lyla enjoyed that they were able to take this time out of their week and keep in touch with each other.

“Why do you care so much?” Victor broke the silence.

“About what?”

“About what those people are talking about. You ask me that just about every time we come here.”

Lyla shrugged. “I’m curious about what’s going on in other people’s lives. I think it’s cool that other people live like we do.”

Victor raised an eyebrow. He wasn’t too sure how to respond to that one. Of course other people had lives. Everyone went to school or work, they hung out with friends. Everyone had feelings and their own worries and doubts about things. Someone somewhere was receiving good news while another person somewhere was receiving bad news. It was the way life worked.

“I mean, I know other people have lives, of course.” Lyla attempted to defend herself. “But it’s interesting to know how similar or different strangers are to us. We get so wrapped up in living our own lives, thinking, and worrying, and all that jazz that we forget there are other people around us possibly going through the same thing.”

Victor nodded his head. She made sense. He had some interesting customers at his work all the time and he often pretended they were having a bad day so Victor tried to remain as calm and nice as he possibly could.

“It’s true,” he said, adding his two cents. “Everyone is fighting a battle that we know nothing about. I still don’t see why you need to eavesdrop on conversations in the cafe though.” He smirked.

Lyla laughed. “This place is filled with interesting people. It’s the perfect place to people watch.”

Victor smiled and raised his cup. “I can’t argue with that.”

*

“You don’t need to keep whispering. They can’t hear us.” The man two tables over took a lazy sip from his drink.

The woman, still hunched over the table, stared at him. “I know, but I don’t want them to see that we’ve been looking over at them.”

“Then don’t look at them. I don’t know why you always feel the need to know what other people are talking about whenever we step foot inside a busy public place.”

“You’re not the least bit curious about what’s going on in their lives?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’m not crazy.”

*

Victor nodded his head to two tables over and Lyla casually gazed over acting as though she was looking at something else.

“What about them?” she asked.

“I changed my mind,” he said. “I think they’re arguing.”

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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