Poetry, Random Thoughts

Pretty Lights

“Don’t put dangerous things under
a pretty light and call them beautiful.”

If fiction is truth disguised in a lie, then poetry is the same, on a much smaller scale. But there should be a line no one crosses. If you don’t have intimate knowledge of something, don’t write about it. Don’t tell lies as truths. And don’t romanticize something dangerous. Ever. Especially if you know little or nothing about it. It’s not only irresponsible, but it’s reckless and could cost lives. Be careful what you put out into the world. You never know what your words will do to someone.

© Sarah Doughty
2018

Self-harm might be better than suicide,
but it’s still incredibly dangerous
and needs to be treated
by a licensed professional.

Poetry, Random Thoughts, Updates

Two In Twenty-Four

It’s been so long since the pandemic started raging through countries and cities. It’s spilled into every corner of the globe with no end in sight. And here I am, where I’ve always been. Except this is different. I’m not the only one in isolation. I’m not the only one that feels stuck with no hope of escape. I’m not okay. You’re probably not, either. And that is okay.

It’s okay to feel lonely. It’s okay to feel sad. Or scared. Or anything else. It’s okay to feel. Twice today, I was reminded of this fact. Despite my social distancing online — which again, I apologize for, people are still taking time to reach out and tell me how much my words have helped them. Different ways of helping, but helping nonetheless. I’d almost forgotten what something like that feels like, and I realized that we all probably need it, in some form or other, as well.

So, if you’re reading this and something has been on your mind, or you’ve thought about something someone is doing that you appreciate, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell them. Tell them how they’ve impacted your life. Even if it was only for a few seconds. Even if it feels inconsequential, it should be shared.

I, for one, cannot thank each and every one of you enough for being here despite my silence. Knowing you’re there waiting for me gives me hope to keep fighting through whatever this is I’ve been experiencing in different degrees of severity for nearly a year.

© Sarah Doughty

I’m still here
and so are you.
There’s hope left
for all of us.

Poetry, Random Thoughts, Updates

The State Of Things

“Here’s the thing: I’m not okay.
I haven’t been for some time.”

Here’s the thing: I’m not okay. I haven’t been for some time. And it seems that it’s only been getting worse as the days go by. I am at a loss for what I should do. Let me restate that. I know what I should be doing, but I cannot seem to force myself to do it. Instead, I’m seeking reprieve from life in something I never thought I’d enjoy instead of writing out my thoughts and really doing the thing that has always helped me — write. Yet here I am. Not writing. Well, I’m writing this little update, it’s been years since I’ve written fiction with any substantial amount of time. And I honestly don’t know if or when I’ll be able to snap out of this funk and just do it.

So that’s where I am. Don’t give up on me yet. I haven’t admitted defeat.

© Sarah Doughty

I don’t think I ever will.

Random Thoughts

Decades

At the start of 2010, I wasn’t sure what my future would look like. I didn’t even know at the time if I would become a mother, let alone anything else. But that December, my dream came true. And while this past decade brought its share of triumphs, joys, and pains, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.

After the birth of my son, memories slowly started to surface. Memories I, at first, had no idea ever happened. Those memories broke me, in many ways. But then came the blood clots. The migraines. The horrendous anxiety. That caused those memories to come faster. And each one was worse than the last.

Eventually, it came to the point that I needed help. And part of that came in the form of writing. Well, a big part actually. It is the best way for me to get out of my head and be someone else. In 2014, I wrote my first novel, something I’d never completed before. The following year brought my first published books. It was cathartic. It was encouraging. It was fabulous ammunition against my demons.

But then my health worsened. The migraines became far too frequent. They were debilitating in every way. I spent the last couple years of this decade in the dark and in incredible pain. I tried for as long as I could to just keep writing. All along, I held on to hope and tried to find my way back to my books.

In an ideal scenario, I would have written at least one more book this year, if not more. But that didn’t happen. It wasn’t all for naught though. I managed to re-edit my first book. I redesigned my book covers. I even went as far as completing the plot of the next installment of my series. Maybe, just maybe, the start of this decade will prove to be the light at the end of this proverbial tunnel for me.

But that might be hoping for too much. This year, I’m going to work on being healthier by making smarter choices with my foods and exercise. I will continue to work on my personal life, most especially my family. Rather than hoping for a completed novel, I hope to take baby steps toward its completion. I’d like to continue that editing project, too. Most of all, I want to focus on being me. Living my life as best as I can.

I think I managed to find what helps me the most, therapeutically, this past decade. I don’t need to keep repeating it to prove anything. I just need to do what makes me feel better. That’s the best I can hope for.

~Sarah Doughty

Photography, Random Thoughts

A Little Help

Pixabay
I think it’s safe to say I’ve been putting this off for far too long. By this, I mean everything. This is where you come in. My life is out of sorts and I cannot seem to find my way back. Around and around I go. The answers are clear and I know the path I must take, but I keep stalling out. The why is not something I can name. But I do know some of the obvious.

This writer’s block has lasted longer than I ever thought possible. I’ve been neglecting projects I promised to fulfill. My books, my beloved characters, and the world I created have gone untouched for longer than I’d like to admit, for a variety of reasons that have changed over time. And I’m just … tired.

Where am I going with this, you might ask? I have no idea, to be honest. I don’t have any good answers. Maybe I just need time to lay everything out and decide what really matters, and ultimately let other things go. Maybe I just need a swift kick in the right direction. Not literally. Some motivation, might be a better description of what I need.

Perhaps, let’s try this. If you’ve been around for any period of time, you know what really lights me up and gets me animated. The thing that pushes me on. And if you’re aware of that, odds are you’re aware of what dulls me. The thing that’s really not worth my time, but somewhere along the way, I managed to convince myself it was. Can you pinpoint what’s holding me back?

I could use a little advice.

~Sarah Doughty

Poetry, Random Thoughts

Shadows Fall

“No matter how many hits I receive,
I have the comfort of knowing who I am
and what I’ve overcome.”

No, this life of mine has never been easy. It seems as though I’ve been fighting some kind of war during every stage. A fight to survive. A fight to fit in. Make friends, not acquaintances of convenience. Try to live a life that had some sort of meaning after everything that happened. But school didn’t make that easy. It felt like an uphill battle and I was a well-tuned wheel, ready to roll down to the bottom with an unceremonious splat. I kept getting up. Kept trying. After all, I’d survived worse. So I pressed on and realized the bottom of that hill became a chasm. One that awaited to swallow me whole and devour me in the next instant. A place where shadows fall and never retreat.

But I’ve come to the realization that this life is what you make of it. No matter how many punches or kicks I receive, I have the comfort of knowing who I am and what I’ve overcome. This life of mine was never a competition, except the ones I set for myself. And to the ones that have thrown hits of their own, I hope you find peace within yourself. I’ve never been a competitor and I never will be. I’ve never been an enemy, except the one created in your head. I’ve never been more than an easy mark to trample over when the time was right. And I suppose that fault is mine to bear for putting that welcome mat on my revolving door.

© Sarah Doughty

I repeat, this life of mine
was never a competition,
except the ones
I set for myself.

While this came pouring out of me this morning, I realized I had a lot of feelings about this that needed to come out. So consider it more of an essay about one aspect of my current situation.

This was written for day fourteen
of November Notes.
Shadows Fall by Random Forest

Random Thoughts

SMITTEN Is A Must Read

Indie Blu(e)’s Smitten should be your newest gift of poetry

By Mariah Voutilainen

Before I begin to review Smitten, a book that lays bare and re-frames (in a very personal manner) the love that women have for women, I must be equally open.  As I formed my thoughts, I realized that I was (and am) extremely nervous about how to respond to these poems from my own heterosexual, cis female lens.  I felt this because I am a woman of color, one who feels the simmering heat of frustration when those who cannot ever know my experience want to take a stab at relating to it.  What I can say is the following:  While Smitten is a book about women who love women (from every-which perspective), of course, it is about love.  And I can relate to love.  I can understand first love, last love, forbidden love, unrequited love, the love of someone lost, the love of someone found.  The love of someone who saves.

But in truth, even as a woman of color married to a white man, I have not experienced love that is criticized or fetishized by outsiders, that is closeted by well (and not-so-well) meaning family.  I will never feel the excruciating pain of those who are beat down because of whom or how they love.  So, as I opened up my advance copy of Smitten, it was with delicate hands, an open and reverent heart—because that is how I wish my own poetry to be read.

Over a hundred poems about women, by women.  Can I say how exhilarating it is to have read so many at one go?  I happily recognized quite a few of the poets—hailing from an independent poetry network often curated by Indie Blu(e) Publishing:  Tara Caribou, Candice Louisa Daquin, Christine E. Ray, Kindra M. Austin and Georgia Park, to name a few.  But there was a mélange of poets new to me, whose unique voices were employed in a variety of styles from musical to prose to concrete poetry.  Among my favorites were Paula Jellis’ “I want a woman with a big bouffant,” Katherine DeGilio’s “Sunburned Shoulders,” Nick Kay’s “The Value of a Rusty Coin,” Jessica Jacobs’ “Out of the Windfields,” and Susan M. Conway’s “Letters to my Love.”

Would that I could list every single poem (my list is long), as they touched my sensibilities in different ways.  Some entreat us to dance to an inaudible tune; others confide to us the secrets of nerve-wracked first kisses; they relate the early-in-the-morning and late-at-night mundanities of love. But we are also invited to the troubled history of these loves in poems such as “Love is Our Theory” (Sean Heather K. McGraw), “Letter from Lock Up to the NYPD, June 1969, Christopher Street” (Melissa Fadul) and “You Don’t Deserve to Read About My Life” (Georgia Park).  These such poems are the ones that will be hardest to bear, but among the most important to read.

This is a book that should be gifted.  In spite of its implied audience, Smitten is not just for women who adore women.  It is for those whose hearts flutter and skin goosebumps at romance, who know the flight of butterflies in their stomachs and who long for the feeling of home in another’s heart.

 

SMITTEN This Is What Love Looks Like: Poetry by Women for Women an Anthology is now available on Amazon in both print and Kindle editions.   Request it at your local/international bookstores.


Mariah Voutilainen writes poetry and prose about all manner of things at www.reimaginingthemundane.wordpress.com.

Random Thoughts, Updates

Year In Review

The last few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time pondering the rest of this year and what it might entail, as well as setting some goals for 2019. You see, I’ve realized that it’s far more important for me to be who I want to be, rather than whoever or whatever I might have been. This year brought a great many wonderful things my way and I couldn’t possibly count them all without forgetting some.

One of the most important reasons I set out to share my writing is to help people going through hell (or recently freed from) their own hell. No one deserves to feel alone. We Will Not Be Silenced was an anthology and a cause I am passionate about. Because I am a survivor.

I’m not sure what roadblocks 2019 has in store for me, but I know I’m not going to let anyone hold me back from being me, as I did a few times this year. I’m going to do my best to be a better friend, a better writer, a better mother, a better wife, and a better person. Like I’ve always been.

But I won’t hold back any longer. I won’t let the actions of anyone in my past that has hurt me, used me (or anyone I love) dictate how I move forward. With luck, I’m going to be me, only this time, without chains. Without dragging any dead weight behind me. I’m going to continue with my ethos and try to help more people, as well as myself, along the way.

I’ll do my best to be a better person going forward.

~ Sarah Doughty

Poetry, Random Thoughts

Pretty Lights

“Don’t put dangerous things under
a pretty light and call them beautiful.”

If fiction is truth disguised in a lie, then poetry is the same, on a much smaller scale. But there should be a line no one crosses. If you don’t have intimate knowledge of something, don’t write about it. Don’t tell lies as truths. And don’t romanticize something dangerous. Ever. Especially if you know little or nothing about it. It’s not only irresponsible, but it’s reckless and could cost lives. Be careful what you put out into the world. You never know what your words will do to someone.

© Sarah Doughty

Self-harm might be better than suicide,
but it’s still incredibly dangerous
and needs to be treated
by a licensed professional.

Random Thoughts, Updates

Saving Her

A few days ago, I wrote about something very important to me. How she’s helped me over the years. I thought it was fitting to share actual photos and a little history about her. To celebrate her life, as she was then, and how she is now. Before it ends.

Lovelies, meet Pumpkin.

This was taken shortly after she was rescued, and she’d put on the much-needed thirty pounds of weight. Looking back, I can almost see the gratitude in her eyes for giving her a new chance at life. From the first day, she was always by my side….

And from the first moment she met this little boy several years later, she was smitten. Anytime he cried, she was there to soothe him. Her favorite moments were the ones like these….

Ever since, she has taken care of him, just as she has done for me. My family has been lucky to have her in our lives for over twelve years. The only problem is that we don’t know how much time is left. I see the clouds in her eyes and how stiff she feels when the weather changes or the temperatures are too cool. But, despite all that, she never stops taking care of us.

Every day, she leaves me
with this question:
Who saved whom?

© Sarah Doughty