Tag Archives: kids

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
Follow me on FB
My books are HERE

Advertisements

Chaos Factor; We Might Survive

We always said my daughter would be a lawyer, because she loves to argue her point. I also assumed she would write, because she has a brilliant imagination. But after spending an entire day alone with her at Knott’s Berry Farm, I realized she will be a chaotician. This, if you recall, was Jeff Goldbloom’s career in Jurassic Park. It is the study of chaos: how unpredictable things can be.

A seven year old chaotician in a theme park:

Jorja: Um, there’s water leaking from that ride and we are standing under it. If the wood breaks from mold we can be crushed. Or the wood can splinter and impale us. If we are on the ride when it breaks we can fly off. Even if we don’t fly off, the log can flip over and crush us to death. Or it can flip in the water and we might drown. We might survive though, but there is a possibility we will be brain dead. Someone might do CPR, but he might have a weird disease, then we’re brain dead and diseased.

Me; Well, the thrill factor on this ride just jumped ten notches.

Of course there is a small group of Girl Scouts in line behind us with their jaws on the floor. One woman is looking at me like I’m the maniac here, and I’m thinking in my head, “yes ladies, my seven year old did just scared the cookies outta your girls. Bet you don’t have a badge for that?”

a5

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author (who’s daughter is scary smart sometimes)
Follow on FB

Prenatal Ninja Assassination On My Life

There I am in my van, talking with the kids about the randomness of life. So many useless subjects, so little time. And so goes the life of having all the kids in the car at once. Each one has some silly question, some ridiculousness about life, and I’m supposed to have the answers to all that is silly, ridiculous, and down right weird.

As the conversation progresses–or regresses–the subject of who was the easiest kid rears its ugly, sibling rivalry head. The questions come flying like some kamikaze verbal assault, and I’m surprised I was able to multitask that with defensive driving through the bad lands of the High Desert. So who was the easiest kid during pregnancy? River was. Who was delivered the fastest? River was. Who didn’t try to kill me during my nine month gestation? River didn’t.

Oh, you think that last question is odd? Ha! You don’t know my children and their plight to stump me. Who was the most difficult pregnancy? Dasan. Who was the longest delivery? Dasan. Who made an assassination on my life while in the womb? DASAN! Oh, if you knew my Dasan, you would just nod and say, “Yep, that makes a heck of a lot of sense.”

ninja babyHow does a child attempt an assassination while still in utero? As such: he wiggled around so much, I had to get up and walk to relieve some pressure. All part of his master plot, by the way. I decided to walk to a little restaurant a few block away, and as I did, the little goon up and sends a forceful drop kick directly into my bellybutton. Yes, dropkick! It was so vicious that I swore I saw little toe sillhouttes protruding from under my tank top. Yes, dropkick! The neonatal executioner was able to defeat my awkward center of balance and thrust me face down into the ground.

Bystanders pulled over their vehicles to stop and see if I was okay. Not only did I fall face first, but I was very visually pregnant . . . and I rolled off the sidewalk. Strange sight to see, I imagine. Must have looked like some scene straight out of Fight Club. I remember it all too well, now that my child brought up the memory that was recessed somewhere behind gestational PTSD. Ah, memories . . .

Am I mad about it? Nah! These kids give me the best writing material. #AdenturesInPregnancy #MothersLife #RevengeIsMine

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Who Survived the Assassination Attempt

Facebook     Twitter     Website

The Magic Schedule

Today I am setting a schedule, not that I think it will help because I truly hate schedules.  Life has a way of manipulating even the best laid plains, but I’ll give it a try for the sake of being correct in my evaluation of schedules. Then again maybe it is just what the doctor ordered (pun, because i’m a nurse . . . haha. No? okay, I’ll continue).

Why a schedule? Because I see the accomplishments so many others are making in their literary career and here I am trying to catch, what I feel is, a much deserved afternoon nap. My life revolves around two major factors: nursing and my daughter.  The nursing portion consumes thirty six hours a week, but, and I stress BUT, it can, and has, easily gone into 48-72 hours due to my on-call requirements.  I also work 12 hr shifts, so if by chance I get the awesome 7am shift, it means I leave at 615am and do not arrive back home until 815pm. I’m so exhausted both mentally and physically that I can’t do much beyond making the drive home.

Then there is my beautiful and amazing, and now 6 year-old, daughter.  If you know the sordid story then you know I only have her half the week because of shared custody. 50-50, yikes. Dad lives 80 miles away, so I drive over 1.5 -2 hours into L.A. to pick her up. That’s one way. So half a day is lost to driving.  The days I do have her it’s usually all about her, as she is a handful of energy, but lovely to talk to and pick her brain.  She’s very hands on, artsy like grandma and her brothers, but tells awesome stories like her mom.  The firey ball of energy and need to move move move comes from dad. Thusly, she is a handful and occupies the better of three and a half days.

So if I’ve lost three days to work and three days trying to keep up with Little Miss Take-on-the-World in fifteen minute spurts, I’m left with half a day. What could I possibly do with half a day? Laundry, market, Costco, yard, marketing, advertising, blogging, a shower would be nice, toting around one of the other kids (17 & 18 yrs old), helping them with homework, procrastinating any of the above (especially laundry), trying to give Glenn some time or he gets antsy, and now trying to market my latest career as an independent distributor for a well known body contouring company.  Oh, and now I gotta create a schedule to find time to write? Is there a magic app for that? I’ll get right on that right on that magic schedule right after my first nap.

Tania L Ramos, RN, Author . . . Shhhh, I’m napping

Facebook   Twitter    Be Still

Huskyish

Looks like the couch is taken

I Couldn’t Do It

I wasn’t supposed to start writing until the end of summer.  I blogged it! I wrote it on my phone notes! I sticky posted it on my desk! I’m a LIAR!!!! I couldn’t do it.  I sat at the computer and said if the story with the character that is driving me mad doesn’t flow effortlessly, then she would have to wait until September.  Twenty-ones minutes (I timed it)and 1,098 words at the computer and this is what she had to say:

***********************************************************************

ONE

 

Watching him watch me causes my heart to race and bound so loud I want to cup my ears.  But I have to stand strong; he can’t see me falter or sense one moment’s hesitation.  This is my choice, though the sweat beading warm at the back of my neck is starting to cause me doubt.  No.  I clench my eyes tight and face away from him.  I must remain stubborn and resolved to finish what I started.  There is no life for me here, and deep down I’m certain he understands that.  I hope he understands that.

“You’ve hardly packed a thing,” he says, the slight sigh barely audible as he pushes a finger at the navy blue and white striped duffle bag strapped across my shoulder.  I don’t want to look at him for fear that I’ll expose the yellow cowardness of my soul and show the weakness that’s striking my knees.  He hasn’t asked me not to leave yet—not in so many words, but it’s there, in the dimness of his hazel eyes.  Because of that, I look away and say it’s better to pack light.  Only the necessities, I tell him.  There’s that pained sigh again, and it strikes me like a cow prod deep between my eyes as he replies, “I’ll miss you, you know?”

“I know.” It’s all I can muster between black dragging heart beats, and I know the words strike him like a blunt blow to the head.  The words I love you haven’t escaped my lips in days, but not because I don’t—because I do.  I love Tom with all my eighteen year old heart could possibly love another person.  His name is on my lips when my eyes first open, and sometimes even before they do.  It is him who occupies my deepest thoughts and sends my mind racing in swirls, causing many nights of insomnia.  And for all those reasons, the words—the pretty words—can no longer be spoken lest his heart be trampled a little more each time they are said.  Mine is darkened at the mere thought.

A tear is lost as I brush it behind my ear, out of his line of vision.  The spongy sound of the mattress tells me he’s sat on the edge of the bed.  I’m surprised he has stayed as long as he has, but Tom made a promise, and he is a man of his word no matter how much it eats at him.  Good souls like him are lost on the world, at least that’s what Mendy, my dad’s pretty awesome girlfriend, says.  I know she’s right, and I can’t help but replay the words, “nice guys finish . . .”  No.  I shake my head of the thought.  Tom doesn’t deserve to be some worn out, old cliché.  He sure doesn’t deserve the likes of me; some despondent, stubborn, misguided, loser of a girlfriend.  Hell, the world deserves better, but my heart aches for Tom.

“Do you know where you’re going?” he asks for the millionth time.  Through the reflection of the glass on a picture frame, it is easy to see him looking down, palm brushing heavy on the sandy blond hair I loved to mess up.  He never complained.  Not once.

“Yes,” I answer as vague as possible—for the millionth time.  I have no idea where I’m going.

He catches a glimpse of me in the reflection of the frame and I quickly turn away.  “You still won’t tell me?”

I suck down so much air it feels my lungs are going to explode.  It makes no sense that he would put himself through this over and over knowing the response would be the same.  Crazy.  I close my eyes and channel the fading courage to shake my head.  It makes no difference, I say through defiant exasperation.

The warmth of his breath lingers at my neck now.  It’s not fair.  All I want to do is fall in his arms and runaway to the place his pretty words can always take me.  He alone knows me and how to bring me out to be the person I truly am; how to take me beyond this world with nothing more than the expressions of beauty which slips passed his thin pale lips so easily.  Once he learned of my special attribute—hearing in color—he embraced it as a form of uniqueness and ran with the appealing words, forming linguistic prisms of color from his lips to my eyes every chance he had.  It was nothing short of magic, only shared before with my mother before she passed away.

“I love you, Raven.” He cheated.  The words floated on the air like a symphony of yellow ribbons increasing in radiance until the last word disappeared behind my eyes.  yellowI want to melt into his touch and hit him all at once, but he said the words again and so, I close my eyes to not see them in all their eloquence of flight.

“Stop saying them!” I shout.

“But I mean them,” he says, his breath tickling the soft spot behind my ear.  “I want to tell you all the pretty words every day.  I want to take you away to the places you get lost in when we talk.” He pauses, and I know there’s more.  “Stay with me, Raven.”

There were rules to my leaving, and in his panic, Tom is breaking them.  I pull away.  Not because I want to, because I have to.  This isn’t about Tom, it never has been.

My father doesn’t understand it—this lovely, miserable element that is me.  In the ugly world of fame and power built up like a sable fortress around his life, I am a challenge.  My gift of hearing words in color is a burden, once dismissed to friends as a possible brain tumor, is a disgrace; no more than an adolescent plea for attention from a daughter resembling nothing of what a prominent lawyer’s daughter should be.  I’ll never be free under his vice.  Worse yet, I’ll never see the pretty words in his world.

**************************************************************************

Looks like I’m writing again!

By the way, the reason I had such a hard time with thinking of writing this, is that I’ll be adding in graphics so readers can see what Raven sees.  Example: she sees the words I Love you floating from his lips to her eyes like a radiant yellow ribbon.  (for this purpose I just copied something off the net for effect).  I’ll add in a graphic of what this might look like, hence, I’ll need a graphic artist and know that this will never be an e-book and with full color will be a pricey physical book.  Oye vay! Somebody stop me now.

Tania L Ramos, Author Who Hears in Color (Synesthesia)

Facebook                Twitter             Website

It’s Done Now What?

Many of you who follow the blog or any other of my various media sites are completely aware my book is complete.  It remains without title until something truly pops out at me, and also remains without a cover.  I’m not hurrying either one at this point; there is still plenty of time since I remain in editing for some indefinite period as life has a way of bombarding me with twenty other “due now” tasks. Ah, I know the back burner all too well . . .  and so the story without title remains on a nice simmer until I light a large flame under my . . .

As I sat on the couch at 2 a.m., deliriously staring at my associate, Daniel, working on an ad for Surviving the Writing Apocalypse (out soon in tradeback), I began to wonder, “Why am I awake at 2 a.m.? Do business meeting know no time frames?” Oh, because there is much to be done and I was busy watching Good Will Hunting, avoiding my duties.  If you ever suspect someone of procrastinating look no further, I am a suspect at large and my associate works best at 1 a.m., a bad combination.

Am I procrastinating the edit on my book? Nope. That’s too easy. I’ve all the time in the world for that one (out this Summer). I’m putting off something new; a thought lulling and slowly eating at my brain.  Oh, I remember when the stories came so quickly, and I used to write at least the first chapter when an idea would come.  Every idea was a possibility, but most never made it passed ten chapters and so I have a flash drive filled with ditched thoughts.

This book is done, now what? I’m at a loss. I feel my standards have been raised for what I will and will not write.  Each book has to be better than the last.  I’m on such a daily schedule of interviewing characters and telling them, “i’ll keep your resume on file,” yet haven’t found the one.  Scratch that. I have found the one, but know the cost of production would be insane as it would have to be printed in color and likely would never make an ereader format. This irks me, and so here I am: Sunday morning running on 5 hrs sleep on the couch, procrastinating, thinking of new characters and wondering if I’ve got another book in me?

Two characters are very antsy, sitting across from me with hands raised high, bouncing in anticipation, desperately wanting to be called on. Pick us. Pick us! And yet it is their story that frightens me.  I’ve said it before and I tell them again, “I don’t do indie teen drama! Go haunt someone else’s mind.” They smile, and I know they’re mocking me, because the answers to my question of it’s done, now what, are sitting across from me wearing Chucks, baggy jeans, hoodies, confident smiles  with wide doe eyes and hope.  I just don’t know about this one. I’m not certain, I can pull it off . . .

indiekids

 

 

 

 

 

Tania L Ramos, Author Simmering on the Back Burner

*********************************************************************

Follow me at

https://www.facebook.com/tanialramosbooks

For more information on all my books: https://BeStillNovel.com

Age Limiting Books

This subject has been blogged, chatted, and come up across the web, but I feel the need to cover it.  Should there be age restrictions on books? My strong opinion is that there should be. Heck, until last July I had to escort my kid into the video game store to give him permission to buy Modern Warfare (he was 17), and had to go into the movies with the kids to see last The Fast and the Furious (he was 16). Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all warfare, hot cars, sensual women, and foul language; Wreck it Ralph was the last movie we watched as a family, and surprisingly, they loved it. Undoubtedly because it was about gaming, had a zombie, and fast cars (even the Sugar Rush ones).

laracroftBack to the topic at hand. At any given point, I could say that I am not allowing my child to purchase a video game because of the language or violence. Heck, did you know there is a special award for best “panty shot.” I once sat at work, when I was an EMT, and listened to my employees talk about how hot this girl was; she was a game character…oh Lara Croft, you were young boy’s fantasies across the globe.

Then there is the subject of movies. I can get my kids into an R-rated movie, heck, if I really wanted, I could take the 5 yr old in.  My neighbor once asked if she could take my boys with her son to see some horror movie (Jason or something to that likeness). She came back and apologized to high heaven.  The movie had so much nudity, she said, “I felt like I just took my neighbors kids to see porn.” She was appalled and confessed that had she known, they would have never gone.

So we have rules about movies and video games. Why not books? Yeah, I know I pick on 50 Shades of Grey a lot, but because most of us know what it is. Yes, I’ve browsed the book, can’t say I finished it, never will. One, I felt it was poorly written, but second, I figured why take the time to read porn when it’s readily available all over television. My issue was when I walked into the local bookstore to find two teenage girls, maybe 14-16 yrs old, purchasing the book.

Teenage girl conversation:

Girl#1: Okay, call me when you get to the good parts

Girl#2: [so and so] said they talk about fisting

Girl#1: What’s that?

Girl#2: My boyfriend told me what it was, but I guess we’ll see

And my ears began to bleed and pretty sure my uterus prolapsed right then and there! Oh my goodness. And what does the cashier say to them, “Oh, this was such a great book!” Argh! Really, you’ll let teenage girls read about anal fisting, use of sexual torture, and mental sexual terrorism, but my kid can’t buy  Modern Warfare or see The Fast and the Furious? Wow! Just wow! It’s all I got.

Some arguments are that kids should be able to read anything they want because it’s fostering … well, reading. Okay, so it’s alright for your teenage boy to read Hustler; for the articles of course.  Is there really a difference between visual pornography and written pornography? I’d like to think the teenage mind would do a lot better job at creating a visual than many would think. And hey, I’m not bashing erotica or Harlequin no more than I’m bashing that wild sex scene in Twilight, I’m just saying, shouldn’t parents have a say in what their children read? No, NOT book banning! Just book on hold until they reach a level age, OR, parents must buy the book in the same way they must purchase a video game or theater ticket.

It’s not rocket science. I am all about literacy and encouraging young people to read, but come on, there are thousands of other books out there to purchase.  And if you are okay with allowing  your child to read something more provocative, violent, and with moderate language, then okay, just show your I.D. at the store. I’m not judging, only saying we should have more discretion.

All comments welcome, just keep them in perspective and intelligent. I love hearing great arguments.

Tania L Ramos, Author With PG-13 Books

BeStill

Why is Be Still PG-13? It contains the subject matter of death, deals with personal demons which manifest as a psychological demon, and follows the progression of a man’s terminal illness. No moderate language, no sex scenes, and no violence.

Facebook.com/TaniaLRamosBooks                         Twitter.com/TaniaLRamos