Category Archives: random

Word Loss: A Great Fear

Since I was a wee child words have been my greatest asset. Word games? All me. Bring it on: Scrabble, Boggle, Words with Friends, even the ever fun family game of Words. I could out talk, and out verbally wit for that matter, just about anyone looking to verbally rumble. Ah, the good ol’ days when the words flowed like a Hawaiian volcano.

Flash forward to 2017 and a 43-year-old writer. A person of words. A person who was  a walking dictionary and thesaurus. Now I struggle for familiar words. The simple everyday words at that. In one story I struggled to recall the word charming. Imagine that. Not some crazy twelve letter twenty-dollar word. I was scrambling in my mind. It sounds like “C’,” like chair, like something yellow-orange (okay, I relate things to colors). It’s a man, like tall man, like that guy from that movie and a chair.

“Loss of words is actually part of the aging process …”

I’m not saying the thought processes of my mind are fluid, but there’s a method to my madness. After finally looking up the name of Cinderella’s dream man, I was able to get the word. Then for ten minutes I shook my head and wondered what the hell was wrong with me. I was worried to the point I was almost physically ill.

This isn’t something new. About five years ago I realized the words were escaping me. A real nightmare for any writer. Since I was twelve I suffered debilitating migraines and was once told, after a brain study, that I had lesions on my brain from the severity of the migraines. My personal research proves this is a possibility, which is why migraine sufferers have a greater chance of having a stroke (sorry, interjecting my medical career there). Back to the point: I wondered if perhaps lesions had anything to do with memory loss.

blurRecently, I spoke with a few other men and women my age and took note that they all searched the vast blue sky for certain words that were “at the tip of their tongue.” After asking if they had more of a difficult time remembering simple words, they all said they did, that sometimes even simple words were a blur. Great!! I mean, not great, but yes. Loss of words is actually a part of the aging process, which is why verbal engagement and mental stimulation is so key as we get older.

I have Thesauraus.com as a favorite on my computer, and such a lifesaver. I try to use new words everyday. I also work to recall a word using any kind of cue I can before looking it up. The computer is  my last resort, though I’ve called in a life line or two.

Me: Dasan, what is that thingy called?
Dasan: What thingy?
Me: You know. You go to someone’s house and you push the thingy so they answer the door. The pushy button thingy?
Dasan: You mean a doorbell?
Me: Awesome. Thanks.

It’s pretty much like that. So when my various writing groups pose the question, “What scares you most as a writer?” My answer is always the same: Losing the words.

What scares you most as a writer? As a writer do you get a little worried about losing words?

Tania L Ramos, RN BSN and author
Follow me on FB, Twitter, or visit my WEBSITE for book info

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Of Suns and Moons

I said I would do it. The story is written as fiction. So many aspects changed. But the story writes its self. My favorite lines from chapter one.

One baby, four years, and a million arguments later, we found ourselves caught up in a very bitter divorce. He tried in his way to make it work, but we were opposites, like the sun trying to marry the moon. Sure, we could occupy the same universe, but we would never occupy the same space all the time. The moon would always be jealous of the brilliance of the sun. He was the sun. I was the moon. I pale beside him, and every day I lost myself just a little more until I disappeared. Those eclipses though, those times we were as one…those were amazing.

sun moon

The Darkness Paved my Road

What a wild ride this summer has been. Turns out a little love triangle was actually a love octagon … fitting given the octagon is a battle arena. My son asked how I was doing, and I casually responded, “It’s not all bad. I mean, the gray skies have changed to silver, so there’s some glimmer and shine to the dull.”

All-in-all, I won’t be held down. But, my feet are in this running motion now. Every few years I get the itch to hit foot to ground and see how far I can get. That feeling has been coming in waves so high I may drown. Lately these memes keep popping up around me; these opportunities consistently present themselves, and for one who believes in divine signs, I gotta listen to the world around me.

The world will not change; only I can change my world. So i’m doing it. Taking the plunge and running away to a fresh new start. New city. New home. New life. New love. The evil, the darkness, the madness, the psychotics will all be left behind to figure themselves out and wallow in the shallow misery they created for themselves; one they will never escape unless they never look in a mirror again. One day I’ll look back at that one picture I saved, and only because my daughter was so darn cute in it, and I’ll know that five years of my life was a lie. What a wild ride. A ride that drove me to a peaceful plot of land overlooking vast mountains and a tiny sleepy city below. Maybe, just maybe, the psychotic darkness paved the road for my happily ever after.

Maybe, I have a best seller.

Video

Bernie Sanders Marshmallow Incident

For those people who have pets, you may be able to empathize. There is usually one pet who is generally smarter than the other. That one pet that “gets it.” Well here is a story of how the ugly face of politics crept into my home by way of marshmallow eating dogs.

The scene: The junk food drawer in the kitchen

The perps: Snookie, a cute, somewhat intelligent Husky looking dog that is anything but Husky.  Ruckus, just picture why this dog is named Ruckus, and add a short wiry haired part terrier with Miniture Pincher coloring.

The victim: Me.

marshmallowI go into the junk food drawer to grab some marshmallows, because I’m quite frankly to lazy to open the fridge and grab fruit. As I look down, both dogs are sitting in front of me with puppy eyes, waiting for a marshmallowy treat. My kids are sitting around watching me, no doubt wishing they had some marshmallows too. So, I hold one marshmallow in my hand and tell Snookie to sit, and she does. I hold the treat to her nose and tell her “no.” She sits politely and waits. After a moment I put the treat closer and tell her, “no.” She continues to politely wait. After another a moment, I tell her, “okay.” She takes the treat. Then I toss a marshmallow at Ruckus and he snaps at it.

My kid looks at me and says, “Why did you make Snookie work for the marshmallow and not Ruckus.” He asks this more because of the unfair treatment toward the favorite dog.

I respond, “Snookie is smarter. She’ll actually work for it. Ruckus will just try to bite my hand off.”

My kid scoffs and says, “okay, Bernie.”

You’d think I would’ve learned my lesson. But, no. A few days later my youngest sees me do the same thing and she asks the exact same question, only to receive the exact same reply. Her response, “voting for Bernie?”

And this, my friends, is why we aren’t allowed to talk politics or religion in my home. Every person in my house  has a different political view, different view on gun laws, and on a million other things. All I know is it’s satire, so I hope this doesn’t turn into a political rant. I found it extremely hilarious how quick witted my children can be over a couple of marshmallow treats. I truly enjoy the humor of my children. To each their own. Snookie now gets an extra treat, and Ruckus … well, I haven’t lost a finger yet.

Tania L Ramos, Author, Dog lover

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Presenting in DC

Last week I was excited to be given the opportunity to attend and speak at the National Council for Literacy convention in Washington DC. This came very last minute, down to the days, but I made it. For those who don’t know, DC is clear across the country for me. Thanks to Frontier airlines, I made the trip for $244 round trip, which meant I could drag my son along. Perk!

I spoke on Saturday at the convention to a small group from Vermont;  they were wonderful, friendly, and quite receptive. I then had the privilege to hear another group speak. It was fascinating to hear about so many literacy programs in the k-12 circuit. All-in-all, I was honored to be there to represent the High Desert Chapter of the California Writer’s Club DCB Memoir Project.

111The Dorothy C Blakely Memoir Project challenges seniors at a local high school to take on the task of picking a senior citizens, conducting interviews, and writing their memoir. They are given a once monthly class, put on by the HDCWC, to teach interviewing skills, point of view, and creating a memoir among other things. The memoirs are critiqued over the course of the program, until the final draft is turned in. They are then edited, and selected for publication. Not all memoirs are published. The HDCWC then takes the selected memoirs and  creates a cover, creates a template, and finally creates an anthology of the memoirs. The seniors graduate as published authors. In 2014, this project was recognized by the National Council for Literacy, and was presented as a literacy project in Washington DC…which I presented at.

This is a wonderful program, and I’m grateful to be a part of it. I love teaching.

Fun fact: Most the students who participate are NOT aspiring authors.

Tania L Ramos, RN

www.HDCWC.com for more info   To see last year’s memoir: AMAZON

 

Shattering Two Souls

Its funny what perspective can be gained from writing characters. Are they insights into our own souls, or are they pieces of coal that a character turns into diamonds? I’d like to thank these characters for one of the best scenes ever:

“Don’t buy into it. Don’t buy into ‘a soul is half whole until it finds its other half.’ Two souls wander the earth until they find their perfect match, and then and only then do they become whole and know how simple and easy loving can be.

Bullshit!

A person is whole. A soul is whole. There are no halves. One does not give 50% and think that they can get 100% from that. Love is brutal. It’s a big huge pain in that ass that breaks your soul. It breaks your heart from being so afraid that you’ll lose it at any moment. And only when you have been truly shattered can you pick up the pieces with her. You pick up the pieces, yours and hers, and you put them together to build something new. Something that isn’t half you and half her, where you take sides, but something that is beautifully put together, where you don’t know where she ends and you begin.”

“I’ve been shattered for two years since she left. Since I let her leave.”

“Boo hoo. Two years. Is she dead? are you dead? Do you still love her? Of course you do,  you’re shattered! You lucky bastard!”

Shattered_Glass_by_intothewest

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author

Copyright @TaniaLRamos 2014 No reproduction in part or whole without written permission from the author.

My Dream Never Gave Up On Me

Why I became a writer is the equivalent to asking an artist why they became an artist, or why a baby was born a baby, or why a cat became a cat. It just is. In this day and age of people pointing out we are born with certain choices and born without others the answers become clear that we just are.

I have ventured in many different paths since the age of twelve when I realized there was something different about me. While others kids were out playing for recess, I was inside the classroom playing with geometrical puzzles and holding the best conversations with the voices in my head. It just was; there was never a choice. I turned every and any situation into something dramatic, larger than life, and exciting, and the constant march of voices encouraged me all the way. I may have been an introvert, but I was never alone. For the most part, I assumed I was crazy and kept this to myself.

I failed every English class in high school and had to make them up in my senior year. However, I passed (with flying colors) Journalism, Creative Writing, Summer Youth Writing at USC, Poetry, and any other writing program thrown my way. My counselor scratched his head and asked me to explain. “I hate the boundaries of English class,” I told him. “But writing a story comes so easy.”

I blew away the instructors at the USC Writing program–I was only fourteen when I was asked to go. At any prompt they gave, I would have three full pages of a story in an hour, where others had half a page. I was disqualified from so many writing contests because my stories were too long. The other kids wrote short stories, I was writing sagas. In nineth grade I wrote a full length novel … there were no junior high writing contests for novels. Other kids were winning awards and off to competitions, I was nursing the callouses on my fingers after typing my 300th page. I didn’t need competitions or awards, I only needed to write.

One fateful day my favorite senior class teacher told me that becoming a writer would be the same as trying to be a rock star, famous model or actress. “Nobody ever really makes it,” he said. And so I stopped dreaming…but we are what we are. Over the course of 23 years I continued to “closet” write because I may have given up on my dreams, but my dream never gave up on me.

I became a writer because I had no choice. I was given a gift. And it may have taken me nearly two decades to accept that gift as mine, but it was always there waiting for me. There were always voices, characters, stories playing in my head. There was always a jotting down of ideas on napkins, the back of my hand, my blue jeans, my child’s diaper, and even the fog on the shower door.

I am a writer because I am.
I am a writer because my dream never gave up on me.

Photo art courtesy of: Daniel Mariano

Photo art courtesy of: Daniel Mariano

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author
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