Once Upon a Time There Was This Woman… Who Looked a Lot Like Me

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in a lifetime far, far away there lived a woman. Single. Childless.

Let’s call her Kelly.

The long hair of the 90s.

Did you know Computer God used to have hair down to his waist? Kelly is the one on the left…

Kelly fell in love with a sarcastic Computer God, married him, and moved to a place so foreign from home, it might as well have been another country.

We shall call this land “Texas.”

Kelly spent her first summer hiding from the brutal heat—a mild summer by native accounts—and wondered why anyone settled in such a harsh place.

Then winter came and she still wore shorts.

Kelly embraced this new land, discovering perks never thought possible.

Her family expanded.

Uruk-hai The Laptop: Still working after almost ten years. It's successor, not so much.

The first addition to our family. Remember when laptop and monitor screens were still square?

Named Uruk-hai because of her obsession with Lord of the Rings (it was 2003, after all), it released her from the chain of Deathstar (aka her desktop PC, now deceased) and allowed her to enjoy the most magical gift from Texas: her deck in winter.

Basking in the warmth of the morning and early afternoon sun, legs propped up in her folding captain’s chair, it would prove to be the most productive writing location. Hours passed. She wrote her first novel—a young adult fantasy. She learned sunscreen must be applied in February or your legs will burn and explored every possible beginner’s mistake in book writing.

Then, one day, she typed the final words of the first draft. By now she knew the first 50% consisted of beginner crap and the rewrites would take even longer than this initial draft.

Undaunted, she plotted how to fix these characters who shared their story with her.

But then, one hot summer day, something happened that would alter her life forever.

You see, Kelly had been listening to The Clock tick-tock for years. On this humid day, after attempting to pee on a stick without getting any on her hand and failing, she learned her deepest wish had come true: she would be a mother.

Two overdue, two days to go

Two days before Kelly’s son arrived, her brain had long ago left her characters in the dust in favor of baby obsession.

Silence fell around the characters, their cries drowned by the shrieks of “BABY! BABY!” flooding Kelly’s brain. No longer could Kelly communicate with her sixteen-year-old protagonist as HCG levels multiplied in her bloodstream.

For years, these characters waited in silence, as a second pregnancy, sleep deprivation, and exponentially increasing piles of laundry imprisoned them.

Mommy Brain attacked any thought that dared linger more than 2.23 seconds, terminating all creativity and the basic ability to think more than five minutes ahead about anything other than children.

The characters feared they would be extinguished forever.

One tiny part of the former Kelly remained, and one day, it formed a resistance and fought back.

Dances with Chaos The Blog was born, followed by Writing with Chaos.

Baby step by baby step, Kelly worked to open the communication with the characters living in her head. The ones from long ago remained silent, still deeply buried in the dungeon, but new ones—unknown until they popped onto the page—began to appear. Aided by online writing prompts, the brain cobwebs began to clear.

Kelly joined with others who also fought the constant Mommy Brain battle. Together, their power overcame piles of laundry and cranky children.

Many setbacks happened, as Kelly strived to better herself in hopes one day her job could be writing. Her inner critic screamed she would fail.

And she did. Over and over.

Hope was nearly lost, her dreams in danger of being jailed again. Writing time dwindled to the point of non-existence.

It threatened to disappear forever.

But a few amazing friends and a small pact made months before rose from the ashes of her dreams.

Maybe there is still hope.

Kelly still cannot believe her piece was selected for the anthology. It’s now available at Amazon and Smashwords for download. The title of the piece, “Hand of Fate” is an homage to perhaps the worst movie ever made, though the plots have nothing in common. Honestly,she just sucks at titles.

Kelly and Erin had a vow—to submit pieces for an anthology—and neither one could back down for the other. This tiny thread of accountability somehow held more power than both of their inner critics and juggling the daily chaos.

The final day of submission arrived and both women entered their pieces, fulfilling their vow to each other.

This led to both Kelly and Erin’s stories making the cut for Precipice.

Released last fall, a part of Kelly still feared announcing her success. Life twisted and turned and then mentioning just seemed… wrong.

Then one afternoon Kelly, grumpy, tired, and craving all manner of junk food, forced herself back onto her deck and into the captain’s chair. This time Firefly (laptop 3.0) accompanied her as she soaked up the sun.

The deck of writing solitude

Look familiar? You last saw this in the pregnant photo.

Sitting there, where so many words were typed before, the flood gates opened and it was impossible not to write.

It seemed silly not to share her good news.

And in the corners of her mind, she heard voices silenced six-and-half years ago.

Whispering for their rewrites.

* * *

Where is your favorite writing spot?

About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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29 Responses to Once Upon a Time There Was This Woman… Who Looked a Lot Like Me

  1. Leigh Ann says:

    Congrats! And I totally thought you were going to say you were pregnant.

  2. Katie says:

    Congratulations!!!!!! So happy for you! I spend 90% of my work day writing (though a slightly different type of writing) so if say I’m most productive at my desk working against a deadline. I’ve never done much creative writing (though I always wanted to). Last time I tried I kinda sucked. Hope I can read your published novel someday!

    • You have no idea how many times I have written and it has sucked. I have found I learned the most from the biggest mistakes.

      Not that what I wrote is awesome. I can’t tell. I find it impossible to judge my own writing until I have received some feedback and most writers will have beta readers for this express reason. Mine helped me tighten up this piece and fill in any gaps.

      I honestly cannot believe it was chosen in a blind entry.

  3. startraci says:

    That is so awesome, Kelly! So glad that you shared.

    I love to write on the couch with my feet tucked up under me with my favorite cuddly blanket.

  4. I’m crying. and I love you. Maybe you can push me to write a novel. xoxoxoxo

  5. Omigosh! Did I know you know Erin? Kel, I’m going to BlissDom and rooming with her! Cannot wait. I would also love to trade WIPs with you. When you are ready. Because I have 50 more pages to type — and then it’s revision time. I could use some #concrit.

  6. OH KELLY!!! That is awesome! You are an amazing wife and mother and an incredibly talented writer. You inspire me often. (Love the picture of you preggo, btw, so stinkin’ cute!) I agree with the accountability partner – that is usually the only way I reach my running goals…perhaps I should start applying that philosophy to my writing???

    • It’s funny because I have always found you to be one who inspires me. I still remember how thrilled I was the day I found out you actually read my blog. 🙂

      I have found the whole accountability partner vital to doing anything that is work you are not in the habit of doing, whether writing or exercising (I had to do the latter today for an extra push).

      I really need to apply it more, as the writing skills are rusting from atrophy…

  7. jackiepcross says:

    Congratulations! That definitely reason to be so very proud and so much more!

  8. Bri says:

    Such SUCH great news! congratulations!!!!!!

    Also? Sweet deck!

  9. kvshaw says:

    Hooray for you, Kelly! I know you’re so excited. And I can’t believe the length of your man’s hair! 🙂

  10. Congrats, so exciting! I’m glad you battled through the mommy brain and something wonderful happened!

  11. JSolomon says:

    What an inspiration to moms! Way to thumb your nose at the inner critics!

  12. Liz McLennan says:

    This post has made my entire day. Happy for you. SO happy for you. Happier for us out here, who get to read your awesome words! Keep it up, mama.

  13. Congrats! I am inspired, and happy for you!!!!! And I LOVED your description of Texas and summer here! I still feel this way after 1 plus a bit of another summer’s here…and that’s even after hiding back home in Florida for most of the last one!

    Soooooo happy for you!!

  14. John says:

    When I was evaluating the Precipice writings, I had suspected that you entered . . . but had no idea that you had done so . . . so glad you were selected. And so glad to hear that said selection has stirred the want to write more within you 🙂

  15. Congratulations, Kelly. I “saw” you in passing @ Mama Kat’s today, as I have several other places, and I just happened to pick this Post of All Posts to visit. What fantastic news for you…truly a labor of love.

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