Wednesday, October 30, 2019

What Am I? Besides a Glutton for Punishment






 
It's not simple to say
That most days I don't recognize me
That these shoes and this apron
That place and its patrons
Have taken more than I gave them
It's not easy to know
I'm not anything like I used be, although it's true
I was never attention's sweet center
I still remember that girl
  
Sara Bareilles


 There's a line from the movie IRobot where the rogue robot who had learned to "feel" and Will Smith's character Spooner is trying to arrest because he knows he knows something about the death of Dr Lanning says, "What am I?"


 I also remember a time, years ago when I was talking to my sister about my husband and I's will. I don't know why on earth I am such a SLOW LEARNER and continued to talk to her about things which were none of her business and would no doubt offend her but.......I probably thought saying these things would draw her to God and "Save" her. Please admire my courage to say I was IGNORANT. But also truly committed to my convictions and Christian Fundamental beliefs. I thought I was right. So anyways I said to her that if, God forbid, something happened to Bob and I my kids would go to my brother Jon and his wife Joyce because, although at that time Joyce was not a Christian, Jon was/is and Joyce agreed to raise their two kids (My middle kids ages), Christian. My sister's reply to this was to begin yelling in the phone at me: "Well what the fuck am I?!" This is why this relationship never worked.

I hesitantly told Bob about her response (hesitantly because usually if anyone was mad at me- he was on their side and I was always in the wrong) and (I believe this was because he wasn't present in our phone conversation) he said, "Well she needs to think about that" I was very pleased with my husband's response and felt a feeling that was very very rare: Validation. Wow!

 I am now asking myself this question that the robot in the movie and my sister asked and I think perhaps I should take my time in answering because, at this point, I am unsure and I don't know.....and that is Okay. Noone else can answer this question for me, either. I for years let people tell me who to be but I am not going to do that anymore.

 I used to be a Polyanna, Goody- Goody, June Cleaver.....and I thought everything would eventually come up roses. (NOT the "War of the Roses"!) After all I'm such a good girl God's going to make everything in my life peachy, as long as I do what I feel He wants me to, right? And if I must get a divorce? It's okay 'cause I'm such a "Good girl" God's gona send me a perfect Christian man on a white horse to come fix everything! 

 

There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to heaven.

Led Zeppelin




 I recently posted this on facebook;
Not long after I moved in this house (August 2016) I celebrated my 50th birthday by going to the Georgia National Fair alone (Pretending pretty Polyanna was just Peachy!) In November my younger son and I picked me up a TV on Black Friday.

I spent much of that first year working on the house- trying to find a job and lying on my sofa with my dog watching "Grey's Anatomy" and/or crying, one night I heard Jon's unmistakable voice in the background of Grey's and realized he'd been doing this beautiful solo stuff......

The Cure for Pain- Jon Foreman 

Let me paint a picture for you: Imagine you believe something almost your whole life, then to discover it's not true: and you've poured your whole self into it for over 30 years? It's fucking traumatic!

I was a virgin before my ex- faithful to him 30 years . (He DID NOT want me to get a job- up until about the end- this is the only somewhat legitimate complaint he had, so he had to play on it: "She needs to stop this writing business and help pay for this big house I wanted to START building, that we don't even need anymore...." ) When we separated (Stopped having sex) in 2014 I stopped having sex and was CELIBATE (I highly doubt he was!) - in 2017 I get on a dating app and get date-raped.....then  celibate another year, lonely as hell especially because my kids seem mostly on their dad's side- cause I was awful? (No I wasn't that bad) and besides daddy has more bucks- daddy has a "regular job" he MUST be better  Then in August of  2018 Mohamad shows up at my Airbnb: It was like a fricken dream. I'm so NOT SORRY it happened!!!! Yep I am happy all of it happened. It was like my dream man showed up at my house to be my husband for the month! AND before he came there I had been very very depressed almost suicidal- after I go on ***vacation ( and by "vacation" I mean I drove to Ca. alone to meet Switchfoot, visit my family and go on a Missions trip to Mexico with the Newsboys) and come back home to reality and to the fact that I mostly had NOONE. Noone I was in regular contact with- noone that regularly texted or dropped by to check on me - NOONE THAT CARED. On a practical note, at the end of July I had asked my doctor to change my blood pressure medicine (I shouldn't have because it was only because of the inconvenience of having to cut the pill in half). Well the new medicine (because of a drug interaction perhaps) caused me to have chest pains! I knew I could text or call my daughter but we never spoke  and hardly texted and she's an RN and I was pretty sure she'd just say, "Go to the ER Mom" The next day I went to my general practitioner and they changed my medicine but also as a precaution sent me to the cardiologist. But just having something scary like that happen to you is bad enough, but ITS THAT MUCH WORSE when you feel you don't even have "a person"  (Grey's Anatomy) to call or text to even take you to the ER!  Add to that it's your fricken child who you were there for for 30 years! I got her (my daughter) to meet me at my cardiologist appointment which was next to the hospital where she worked. It was nice of her but it felt forced and I felt kinda like I guilted her into it. It wasn't really necessary but I wasn't really sure also- I still was on my husband's insurance but I still owe 26$ for that doctor's visit too! 


*** More explanation of vacation!

I was glad to be able to go (I had two great long term guests here at that time: Gladys who is back now for a temporary stay and The good Sam and my friend Cherity was overseeing my Airbnb) but the drive was stressful I was low on $$ I don't recommend driving across country alone and I was gone too long 3 weeks (I missed my baby boo) The Switchfoot Getaway was awesome (Not sure if I'll do that again or not) And it was Weird-Bitter-Sweet to go see my dad on the 4th of July. Also it was the last time I saw my brother Chris. (He passed away in December) This year I've been unable to go anywhere but a quick trip to Disney with Glad which was super great as I thought I was not going to go anywhere this year. I was happy to be able to go on two Mexico trips and two Cruises (2017-2018) my ex wouldn't take or let me go anywhere -those trips were during our separation - now that I'm actually divorced and got those credit card balances in our divorce settlement (which was fair) I have to be more frugal and pay off the rest and my lawyer!

                                              My family circa 1970
I recently came to the conclusion that I did the same thing -I finally realized my own mother did: I had all these kids to feel someone was here who connected to me more deeply than my own husband (Who was unable to do so) did. If we divorced I thought, at least I'll still have my kids......perhaps? I never ever thought we'd all become this Disconnected


I'm going under and this time I fear there's no one to save me
This all or nothing really got a way of driving me crazy
I need somebody to heal
Somebody to know
Somebody to have
Somebody to hold
It's easy to say
But it's never the same
I guess I kinda liked the way you numbed all the pain

Now the day bleeds
Into nightfall
And you're not here
To get me through it all
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved

 Lewis Capaldi
  
A year ago (October 2018) I was still “with” Mo- he claimed to be back in Saudi but was planning to return to the states soon to marry me (I didn’t think that before but I do now) he said maybe October but definitely January (his visa was expiring in June)

 Also in October 2018, I had a series of Airbnb guests through here who I told about my love and a few of them warned me about the possibility that he just wanted his green card. One girl said, I don’t want you to get your heart broken. I replied. Not possible It’s already in pieces: broken by my children. No man can break my heart like that. And that was the reason it all happened anyways: I had absolutely nothing to lose! If I were in regular contact with my kids, involved in church with church friends, if I were in college to be a Pastor would I get involved with a Muslim man 25 years younger than me? Hell no! I had already been celibate 4 years was date raped the year before. I was lonely and vulnerable but not divorced yet! (it was finalized 2 weeks after he left!) Ha! Jokes on you Mo! I also wasn’t going to give up easily the alimony I worked -yes ma’am worked so hard to get! Mo gave up on me (mid October) and I could sense that so decided to get off the merry go round and break up with him in November of 2018. Yeah it hurt some when he said, “It’s weird that you think it (marriage) was a possibility” Wow he never had spoke to me in that manner before, ever! And that’s when I knew he was a fake! But my heart was already broken so........whatever

But perhaps that adage goes here also: Hurt people hurt people. I was a good mom but I know too, that I wasn't perfect and the way I was so religiously strict and let their father be so unrelenting and invalidating and sometimes even physically abusive to them was wrong. I am sorry, hopefully my kids and I will eventually work these things out and start spending time together more often. 
 
 A Recent facebook post:

So I came to a conclusion last December: I felt like most of my children were spending time with me because of some obligation: Oh it's Christmas I have to spend time with mom:CHECK Oh it's her birthday; Went to the fair with mom: CHECK. I no longer enjoyed it, nor did they NOR did I feel loved or respected or even liked! I felt I was only being simply TOLERATED and I couldn't tolerate that any longer! It has been a most difficult year but I DO feel it was necessary and that I have grown in many ways.



 I recently listened in one day to the book,

You Are Your Own: A Reckoning with the Religious Trauma of Evangelical Christianity

by Jamie Lee Finch and to say I enjoyed it- is incorrect- it resonated with me and convicted me because I raised my kids that way! I recently e-mailed it to my children- with no words because I had none- I thought I could just say, "I'm sorry" but for now perhaps they can give Jamie's book a listen when they have time. I think they are all in different places in their individual journeys and I am done pushing anything on anyone- weather it be their relationship with religion or no religion or even me!

 I'm also getting free weekly therapy at the health department.

I'm reading the book Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion by Marlene Winell PhD
 I'm finding this very helpful!

 Also continuing to learn alot from Brenda's channel: God Is Grey

Soon I'll be writing about the Spiritual abuse I've been through and all the reasons why I finally decided to be identified as an #ExEvangelical, so stay tuned!

She's imperfect but she tries
She is good but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won't ask for help
She is messy but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up
And baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone but she used to be mine  
Sara Bareilles

 If I move on who does this? Nat
Maybe it doesn't need to be done. Cap "Avenger's Endgame"

 The poem below was inspired by the character, Black Widow in Marvel's Cinematic Universe. I draw a parallel to my own life; tears ran down my face when she spoke those words, 
"I used to have nothing, Then I got this job- this family....." Then she died.....It was PROFOUND and when I wrote about the date rape and Mo- the green card guy, I used the words to TSwifts, "Look What You Made Me Do" in which she says,
"I'm sorry, the old Taylor can't come to the phone right now."

"Why?"

"Oh, 'cause she's dead!"
She  (TSwift) meant she died, in a figurative way and so did I.




Natasha
In the Red room
They sterilize you
In the Red room you lost your virginity
Or did you lie to me?
I used to have nothing
Then I got this job- this family
even Airbnb
And I was better because of it
Now I have to give up that which I love most
Just to find myself?
What am I?
Who am I?
And even when they're all gone
I'm still here trying to be better....or worse?
Whatever it takes



 That's me!? Wow! DragonCon 2017





Deconstruct don't Self destruct!
I can't write
I can't cook
Nothing tastes right
I can't even make banana pudding from a box?
Should I swipe right?
What do you want?
What are you looking for?
What salary do you expect?
Are you gona send them a text?
I want out of this town!
But where should I go?
To the beach or the mountains,
To the East or the West?
If I move away will I see them less?
That doesn't seem possible
What do I want?
Trying to figure that out



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Thursday, October 24, 2019

My Elephant and Page Publishing



This is a review of a self publishing company called Page Publishing.
320 Water St. Box 700 Conneaut Lake, PA 16316 They use to be located in New York.

This is their website: Page Publishing




 Page Publishing's Twitter account
@pagepublishing










First some back story on me: Redheaded Writing Hood AKA Susan Hewitt Story and how "What Elephant?" came to be:




I'd been writing in a journal on occasion since high school. It was my 10th grade teacher, Ms Brown who taught us to write in our journal's every day. In 1994 I started writing Christmas letters every year, they would be newsy about our family & kids but also sometimes have a faith based theme. My Mom usually loved them until I messed up. 2008 I wrote my last one. It was about heaven and my three brothers who had passed. I didn't mean to upset my mom, I wasn't thinking. I said that perhaps they were working on mom and dad's mansions. I meant it as a comfort and I had no idea it would be four months and she'd be gone too. Mom passed on April 14, 2009 and I didn't write anymore Christmas letters. Although a different situation, I took inspiration from Ann Landers who published a blank column when her marriage ended. I decided to NOT do a Christmas letter in 2009 and discontinue that tradition all together. So all this is why I was very pleased to dedicate my book to my mom: 







When I was still married and not separated (before 2013) I wanted to write a book about my husband and I staying married through difficult times (like building a house I did not want to build). It was going to be called, "The Seven Story House" (Because with our five kids there were 7 of us and our last name is Story) But in 2010 (A year after my mom passed) I started this blog. It was called "The Seven Story House" but after our separation and impending divorce I changed it to, "Redheaded Writing Hood" In 2014 my husband and I separated. We lived together though for two more years. I moved into our smaller previous house in 2016. In 2015 though, I published my first book which ended up being the poetry I wrote through the years leading up to and the year after my husband and I split up. It's called "The Seven Story Tree". I did this with Amazon self publishing, at that time called CreateaSpace and that- I was surprised to find out was totally free. I bought copies of that book from them for about $2.79 a piece- Ironic as you'll see. (keep reading!).  In that book is a poem called, "What Elephant?" which I wrote about something I was going through. Ironically it is about  my feelings and relationships with the opposite sex without me going into it in depth. But on a basic level it's just about facing up to your problems, talking about them and giving them to your higher power. I thought that it was simple enough that a child could understand it, similar to some Dr Suess books. Since it was about an elephant, I thought it'd be nice in pictures.



I decided to hire Page Publishing without really searching and researching different companies or perhaps even trying to get a publisher I wouldn't have to pay. I've been learning so much since my separation. I had also not realized the lawyer I hired for my divorce was shady yet at this point.














I put down a down payment of $795.00 in early September of 2016 and I began making payments of $295.00 a month which was finished in July of 2017 and totaled $3745.00.

I was happy with how the pictures came out and we e-mailed back and forth throughout the process, with changes I wanted them to make.Their artists drew what I said I wanted for each line, it was my ideas, my creativity. I would love to find a new publisher and illustrator to redo the entire thing, the same but better, without these swindlers stealing my work!!!!



The books were to sell for $21.95 and I was able to buy copies from Page Publishing for half off - so about $10.97 a piece. So I could make more actually selling them myself -but who can market like the internet can? So in addition to the $3745.00. I already paid them I bought 20 copies in 2017 for me to sell which was $234.05 and many of those I gave away as gifts and all of those -I signed. I bought a few more smaller batches after that too but I honestly couldn't afford to buy copies of my own book! When I got well into 2018 and continued to login to page Publishings site I started to think something was going on. It kept saying I only sold four copies! My brother said he bought two. My Claire bear bought one online instead of me giving her one, like I did with my other kids because she said she wanted to support me, which about made me cry. So that meant I really only sold ONE online, besides to my family. As time went on and I discovered that I was only getting about 2.79 per book sold online I became angrier and angrier. In Page Publishings agreement it didn't say how much I'd get per copy sold online. It also needed to say, but didn't that I WOULD GET ROYALTIES FOR EVERY COPY PRINTED AND SOLD and I don't believe I did. Copies were showing up everywhere like at Walmart.com, E-Bay and MORE THAN FOUR used copies for sale on Amazon. None of them said they were SIGNED. The ones I gave away and sold were not to people who would even bother to turn around and resell online. I can attempt (and I might) to contact these people to ask them. I would love to sue Page Publishing but I've just gone through a divorce where I had to fire a shady lawyer I paid from my exes and I joint account and then had to hire a new better lawyer who I paid with a credit card and I'm not even finished paying her as of this writing.

It's funny and I think NOT a coincidence that I ended up with the name Redheaded Writing Hood. This blog post is the first in my "Beware of Wolves" series. Ever since my separation and divorce I feel as though I was "thrown to the wolves" and not only that but those wolves kidnapped my children. I was naive before but now I'm cynical and shrewd. Similar to the way my ex has charmed (and played on the sympathy) of my children getting them to side with him; Page Publishing has tricked me into paying them to steal my "baby": my creation! I can't begin to explain to you, how this feels, it's a horrible yucky feeling, like being violated. It's unjust and unfair and pisses me off!

It was early last year that I had an Airbnb guest who is a lawyer, who looked over my contract with Page Publishing. I was so thankful for this "Devine Appointment" She does not specialize in Publishing though but the good news she said was that the contract ended in September 2018 and they were NOT to print anymore after that date! I finally recieved a check for all the books I supposely sold online, it was for $11 and some cents, I was so angry I DID NOT even cash it.







I've continued to try to do what I could about this situation. I e-mailed the resellers, "Thrift Books"
asking them to stop selling my book and to send it back to wherever they got it, but they refused.  They would send me a link to some law that said they had the right to resell this book, "used" I was supposed to get the original royalties for that but I did not! Then I reviewed my own book, saying it was great but don't buy it here, then I thought, "Oh wait Amazon won't print a review saying not to buy a book on their site" they didn't but I tried again, making it shorter and ended with, "My hats off to Amazon if they'll print this" and they did. 

 Reviews for "What Elephant?" on Amazon



I also bought what I think was one of the last copies for sale on Amazon (directly from Amazon) for like $9.99 now explain to me why would they bother to get a book and resell it for $9.99? They're buying my books for less than I was paying for them and I'm the AUTHOR! I WAS LIVID! Then to top it all Thriftbooks decided to be smart asses and listed the copy they had for $650.00! WTF? AND now it's still there (Yeah it's good but not that good) for $199.00

My book for sale used on Amazon



Please "like" & "share" my blog post and whenever you can buy your books directly from the author. Please do not hire "Page Publishing" or buy books from "Thriftbooks". If you know a Publishing lawyer or a Publisher or Publishing Agent who might be interested in me or my books or this case, please contact me at redheadedwritinghood@gmail.com Thank you!



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