Sliver Springs

Yesterday I returned to Sliver Springs. Sliver Springs is a local nature park in Ocala, Florida. I visited Sliver Springs many times as a child, so it was amazing to go back and see the park again. Time has changed, yet in many ways it’s remained the same place.

Ok, time for a history lesson! Sliver Springs happens to be one of Florida’s first tourist attractions long before Disney world and Universal Studios. The park is famous for it’s nature, glass bottom boat rides, and of course the springs. The water is so pure and transparent you can pretty much see the bottom of the springs. And the springs are beautiful. They happen to travel north instead of south. A few historical figures have traveled across this water. I recommend going to see the springs in person, but make sure there are no alligators nearby.

Like I said above, you can travel across the springs on their famous glass bottom boats. The glass bottom boat ride is the only ride available today, but in the past they had three boat rides as well as a jeep ride through the forest. The Jeep ride was fun, yet sometimes the drivers were a little reckless. I don’t blame them. Sliver Springs used to have animal attractions, featuring animals from all over the world such as crocodiles, giraffes, otters, snakes, spiders, tigers, panthers, birds, fish etc.

As a child, I enjoyed seeing the animals. They had animals like zebras and where else can you see zebras in Florida, except for the zoo? Another interesting detail are the monkeys. About thirty or forty years ago, someone who worked at or for the park decided he wanted monkeys, so they gathered monkeys from other countries and placed them on a small island in the park. For some reason no one knew the monkey’s could actually swim, so in time the monkeys swam across the springs and found new homes around other parts of the park including in the state. I’ve yet to see any monkeys around our home, but have heard stories about monkey’s being seen as north as Jacksonville.

Sliver Springs used to have entertainment on the weekends. The bands or performers would preform from this stage. Although the mansion is in good shape, I don’t believe it’s used much today. Maybe for weddings or some type of parties. My grandfather loved going to their concerts and spying on the crowd with his binoculars. As I walked around the park, my memory reminded me of what was once there. It’s crazy how stuff like that sticks around.

I took about 82 photos, so if you want to see more of them check out my Instagram page. I’ll be posting more photos ASAP! I have so many memories of being at Sliver Springs for different events. It would take a while to tell you every memory, but I think this does it justice. I miss the animals, yet Sliver Springs is still a pretty cool place. Have you ever been to Sliver Springs or places like it? Let me know in the comment section below. And Happy Valentine’s Day!


Big, Red and Bouncy Ball

I look away as Josh enters the classsroom. Joshua Henry Barnes. What a dream. He’s the coolest jock at school and he’s actually kind and humble unlike the other tools on the baseball team. Josh has a noble heart like some knight of King Arthur’s round table. I’ve slayed the dragons and protected the border my lord. 
He helps care for animals at the animal shelter on Saturday morning.I only know this, because I work there part time. I’ve spoken to him, but not as much as I’d like too. I tense up just looking at him. Josh is so cool unlike me. I’m a total dork. Clumsy and goofy as can be. I hate laughing out loud, because it sounds like a baby goose crying out for its mother. I’m not strong. I can barely lift a pile of sticks. I’m not a Cover Girl.  I have a face full of freckles plus acne. My curly hair is always in a mess. I make up excuses to stay indoors on hot, humid days. And worst of all, I don’t have a driver’s license, because I’m too chicken to get behind the wheel. Miss. Stephanie enters the classroom and I switch my attention to my algebra book, yet I glance at his dreamy face from time to time. Who could blame me?


(Two hours later)

I switch into my gym clothes and walk into the gym. For PE, we play dodgeball on Thursdays. I love dodgeball. Although it’s a ridiculous, barbaric sport, supporting the idea that one person is superior to another, it’s a sport I happen to be good at. There is something about tossing a bouncy ball into someone’s face I love. It’s how I handle my stress. Crap!  We’re playing against the boys. But that means I have to play against Josh. Oh no. I can’t do this. How do they expect a teenage girl with raging hormones to go up against a boy she happens to have uncontrollable feelings for? What type of educational system are they running here? If I damaged his face, I couldn’t life another day. I have to get out of this, but how? There is only one way.

I stare at coach Gomez,” Um, I can’t play right now,”

Coach Gomez crosses his arms” And why not?”

I glance below my waist” I’m on my… Period?” I feel like an idiot using that line, but it seems to work well against the opposite gender. Boys are absolutely terrified to talk about that topic. Dad left the room as soon as mom brought the subject up two years ago. It’s like the ultimate cheat code.

Coach Gomez sighed. I think he also blushed,” Fine. Get out of here, Kennedy,”

I threw up the peace sign and rushed out of the gym. Everyone was laughing at me, but I was delighted to not have to play against Josh. I raced into the girls bathroom and looked at my sad, miserable reflection. Give it up Kennedy. Josh isn’t into you. Why would he be? He barely looks your way. He has his sight set on Veronica or any other Victoria Secret model wannabee at this school. Girls, including boys like me just don’t have a chance, because happy endings only happen in fairy tales. Or do they? What if appearance or popularity doesn’t matter? Why should it? Who cares if Josh likes me or not. That is for him to decide. Not me. I took a breathe and decide I should face my fear, so I returned to the gym, got in the game and smacked Josh right across the cheeks with that big, red, bouncy ball. I broke him down before going in for the kill.  

I helped him off the gym floor, dazed into his baby blue eyes, and whispered into his right ear,” I’m sorry Josh.” and walked away.

Simple as that.

A couple weeks passed by. I hadn’t spoken to Josh since the dodgeball situation, but when I opened my locker at the animal shelter Saturday morning, I found a note. The note said,” I forgive you, Kennedy. Text me.” I turned around and he stood beside the water cooler, smiling. Then he walked away. Badabing badaboom!

The End

Happy Valentine’s Day

The Writer’s Process

I downloaded and have been reading through a writing craft book called The Writer’s Process by Anne Janzer. It’s a pretty basic, yet powerful outlook on the process of writing. I’m getting toward the end of the book and had to give it a shout out, because it’s so good! A lot of the information is regurgitated, yet I really enjoyed this author’s voice. She explains the process very well.

Image result for the writing process anne janzer

She explains how there is a process to writing. Whether it is a blog post, an article, a story, or whatever else you’re trying to write. She mentions how science plays large part in how each of us write’s. She puts it simply into two categories. The Scribe and the Muse. The scribe is the conscience mind. The side of our brain that develops ideas. The scribe is what we use to focus. How we research and outline. If you follow these steps you’ll understand how the scribe part of our brain works and how to keep focused when the muse strikes.

The muse is the opposite side of our brain. It’s our subconscious mind. It’s the creative side that gets the ball rolling. The muse inspires us with a countless number of ideas. You could be just sitting in Starbucks, drinking coffee and boom inspiration hits you like a curve ball. These thoughts can be very random. It’s tricky to put everything together at once. This is when we link the scribe and muse parts of our brain’s together to create something.

There are hundred’s of ways to get inspiration and plot ideas, so all of those answer’s can’t be found in a single book. Instead we search for those answers by reading and writing. Although this novel is titled The Writer’s Process, these tactics don’t only apply to writing. There is a process to how we do things. Things become more simple when we actually know what we’re doing.

For centuries, humans have claimed work is hard. Hence the phrase” hard work,” Although I agree that work can be difficult, I don’t think it’s necessarily hard. I think if we say work is hard, it’s because we don’t understand the process. I took a few courses at a local state college. The class I’m referring to was English1101. English1101 was probably the worst class I took, because the instructor was a difficult person to deal with. Although he was a tough egg to crack, he did have his moments. One day, as he handed out our assignments for the weekend, students either sighed or chuckled. He glanced at us and said something like,” If you study, you won’t need to be afraid.” Everything has a process. If we focus and understand the process, things will surely become simpler to do. If you need some help figuring out your process or how to find it check out this book. It’s worth it.

Brick and Mortar Book Shops

So I went to Barnes and Noble. Although I didn’t purchase anything, I did wander around and check out multiple books of different genres. Usually I start in the YA section. I want to write books within this category, so I like to read a few lines from the most popular and or notable books from this genre. I forget the name of this book, but I read the first couple pages from a YA historical fiction novel about two adolescents growing up in the United States in the late 1930’s early 1940’s. War World 2 era. One of the girls is a German American while the other is Japanese American. Those type of books interest me, but being on sale at Barnes and Noble it was on sale for retail prices, so I’ll most likely search for it online and get a more affordable price. I feel terrible going into a book store and not purchasing what they have on sale, but there are much more reasonable stores selling the same product online for a more affordable price.

I soon walked into the isle where the entire shelf’s are full of Stephen King novels. I’m not the biggest fan of Stephen King’s books, but I admire his passion for writing and everything he does to help the writing community. My uncle also told me about a book Mr. King wrote called The Long Walk. The Long Walk wasn’t a bad price, yet the font was sort of small. I’d like to read this book someday, but I decided to wait and pick it up another time. I went from the YA fiction section toward the scifi and fantasy. I noticed a little difference between these two genres and others. SCIFI and fantasy are chunky books! They have a larger word count by far. Truthfully I’m scared to write a novel if it were SCIFI or high fantasy, because the word count is so long. plus they require so much world building. I’ll stick to contemporary fiction for now. Before I left, I checked out the mystery section, bargain books, and the new additions to the back of the store. As expected, they’ve replaced CD’S and DVD’s with tons of merchandise from stuff like Harry Potter, Stranger Things, Lord of the Rings etc. It’s pretty awesome. There was a couple of people checking out Funko Pop figures and other things. They seem to be having a blast.

Pile of Books in Shallow Focus Photography

I know I sound silly, yet I feel like I’ve robbed Barnes and Noble. I’m not the only writer who does this, yet wandering around a book store, peaking at certain books to get ideas for my own stories without actually buying anything just seems wrong. I feel as if I opened a bottle of soda, took a few sips, stuck the bottle back into the fridge and left the store without paying for it. It’s silly, but that is how I feel. Books will always be popular, but the way books are designed and published is changing rapidly. Will book stores such as Barnes and Noble or Books A Million still be around in ten years or will everything switch to Kindle? I buy tons of books off Kindle, because they’re affordable and so easy to read. I’ll always be a fan of reading stories from an actual book, yet the times are changing. What do you think? Am I talking crazy here or is it so long brick and mortar book shops?

I didn’t buy anything, yet nothing beats walking around Barnes and Noble. There is just something amazing about being around rows and rows of books and enjoying the experience with fellow literature fans. I get the same amusement being in a book store compared to going on rides at amusement parks. I guess I don’t need much to be satisfied. That is what is great about stories. Our beliefs don’t matter. Our thoughts escape us while we enter the realm of fiction. Plus we can find someone else to chat about the story with. This is one reason why I hope Barnes and Noble, Books A Million and other book stores remain in business. It’s a good way to stay connected offline.

Alien Encounter

Greetings, Mrs. Johnson.

My name is Officer Charles. I’m a federal agent from the United States Alien Defense Space Force. ADSF for short. We are called in when suspicious events occur such as alien encounters or UFO’s are spotted flying across the sky. It’s an interesting career. We need all the help we can get from our fine citizens such as yourself.

Blue Universe

I’m contacting you, because of the recent alien abduction. A child was recently taken from a home around your neighborhood. The child was abducted around 5PM Friday evening. We’ve been contacting locals and asking specific questions. Would you mind answering a few of those questions for us? Great.

Did you notice any suspicious bright lights near your home on Friday evening? Any strange and or loud noises that got your attention? Did you notice any bizarre creatures or figures walking around your street? Did you ever feel nauseous? As if you were going to throw up? It’s not uncommon for humans or animals to feel ill when around beings from other planets. They carry unknown diseases. Diseases that can kill us. If you remember noticing anything strange at all, please let us now. Take your time answering all of our questions maim. We need concrete evidence to figure out how to handle the situation. Although encountering aliens seems unusual, it’s becoming more a concern throughout our planet. It’s our duty to protect our citizens from any harm that comes our way. We will not stop until every problem is dealt with.

Thank you for your time Mrs. Johnson. We will notify you if or when this problem is secure. We do our best to provide our citizens with the safety and protection they deserve. Thank you maim.

Super Bowl LIII Recap

Although I enjoyed the latest super bowl, most fans seem disappointed. There weren’t many exciting plays nor moments to keep us on the edge of our seat. During the first half, Stephen Gostknowski connected on his second field goal attempt and the game was pretty much over. The Rams kept the game close, yet never got a true chance to take over. Todd Gurley went MIA and Jared Goff just played awful. He looked like a deer staring at bright headlights as the final seconds of the game vanished.

I feel for the Rams defense. They played a gritty, smash mouth football game. They put plenty of pressure on Brady and the rest of the Pats offense, but the Rams offense never showed up. The Los Angeles offense did nothing, but embarrass themselves. Even Tom Brady didn’t play so well. Brady didn’t throw a single touchdown pass, yet still the New England Patriots survived and won their sixth super bowl in eighteen years. The outcome doesn’t matter as long as you win right? And Tom Brady has won a lot.

Six Super Bowls. Tom Brady has won six Super Bowls. It’s crazy to think about. Tom Brady has played in nine Super Bowls and come out on top at six of them. Not bad. Not bad at all. He’ll probably win at least one more, until he finally retires. Or maybe two? We will see.

Players like Tom Brady are special. They’re the best of the best. The GOATS. The real MVP’s. What is most special about Brady’s story line is he wasn’t expected to be great. It took six rounds before someone decided to draft this guy. And everyone else is kicking themselves today for not taken a chance on Tom Brady. I love a good underdog story. As the 2019 NFL draft approaches, fans will create theories on why their teams should draft this guy first or second, but won’t think a second about who they’ll draft toward the end. Like that verse from the Bible says,” The first will come last and the last will come first.”

RIP Jack

Hello friends. I have some sad news. Jack has left the building. My mom and I gave Lil J all the comfort and treatment he needed, yet it was his time to go. He was experiencing extreme pain. He lived up to the age of 16. Jack was a great dog. Loyal and happy as can be. A bit mischievous at times, but what else should we expect from a Jack Russell Terrier. They’re very intelligent dogs. They teach us a thing or two. I’ll never forget him. He’s been reunited with his sister Sammy. I imagine he’s jumped on Jesus’s lap and been told he’ll see me again someday. See ya later pal!

Ok, so since it’s been a few days since he passed I wanted to share that tragic, heart breaking news, but I also wanted to fill you in on other more cheerful aspects of my life. Today is the first day I got back to writing. I actually thought back on a story I started writing a few years ago. The idea is pretty basic for now, but I like it, so I wrote it down( more like typed) in my what if scenario document on Google Docs. Basically this dude wakes up in a log cabin. He has no idea how he got there nor where he’s located. Sounds like a fun mystery right? I love getting ideas, but I’ve learned to remember it’s only an idea. Ideas are like sparks of a flame. You have to keep the flame lit or else it will burn out. Writing has become less strict and more of a routine. The old saying goes practice makes perfect, but I disagree. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes improvements. No one is perfect. Neither is our writing.

Super Bowl Sunday is well Sunday! Another match up between the Pats and the Rams eighteen years later. How crazier would it be if they face each other again at the super bowl in another 18 years? You never know. It’s going to be a great game. Although I think Los Angeles is going to win, I’d like to see Tom Brady and the Pats get their sixth ring. The last champion to do that was His Airness. The Rams have a tough defense. Arron Donald is going to be a nightmare for the Pats O-line. Unless the Patriots offensive line can hold down the front lines, I think the Rams defense will just attack Brady heavily. The final score will be close. Like 24-20. Something like that.

I also saw Glass. Although it was a slow paced film, Glass was an excellent movie. The trio of actors( Samuel L Jackson, Bruce Willis, and James McAvoy) did an extremely good job. Especially James McAvoy. I have mad respect for an actor or actress who can portray multiple characters. That is talent. Funny to remember he played Mr. Tumnus in Narnia. I enjoyed the message of the film too. It’s kind of funny, but I didn’t know about this film series until this year. I watched some of Unbreakable when it was on TV a few weeks ago, so I got some knowledge on the films origin. I rented The Darkest Minds off the PSN store. That is one of my favorite YA books, so hopefully the film did it some justice. I downloaded Hello Neighbor. That game looks hilariously fun!

That is pretty much what I’ve got to share for this week. I plan to get back to sharing flash fiction next week, so look forward to that. With my dogs out of the picture I have a lot of time on my hands. Plus I got to remember to go outside and exercise. Dogs, especially terriers, are like mini work out instructors. Things will be different, but life is always changing. Enjoy living.

An American Crime

Last night I watched a film on Amazon Prime called An American Crime. The film’s based on a horrific true story that took place in a small Indiana town in the 1960’s. For some reason, none of my relatives from Indiana have ever mentioned this story before. The story is absolute crazy. Like why didn’t anyone bring this up during Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Image result for an american crime

Ellen Page starred in the film as Sylvia Likens. Sylvia and her sister Jenny met two sisters on a bus ride home from church. The girls became friends and soon were invited over to the girls house to play. The girls came from a big family. Eight kids and a single mother named Gertrude Baniszewski( Catherine Keener.) No husband. Anyways Sylvia’s father comes by and meets Gertrude. The strangeness started from here.

Sylvia and Jenny’s parents happen to work for a mom and pop carnival. Their parents are like super busy, because it’s summer, so they don’t have much time to spend with their daughters. Although they just met, Sylvia’s father agrees to let she and her sister live with the Baniszewski family. He’s gotta pay her twenty bucks though. It was suppose to be for like two weeks, but then it became months and years. When Gertrude doesn’t get paid, she takes Sylvia and Jenny down to the basement and threatens them with a belt. For the next three years, the madness continues. Gertrude’s oldest daughter Paula lies about things Sylvia said about her around school, so Gertrude viciously punishes Sylvia whenever this occurs. Gertrude threatens Sylvia a countless number of times, including branding “I’m a prostitute” across her stomach. A few of the neighbors notice suspicious things going on within the Baniszewski household, but they all like” Oh it’s none of our business, so lets just ignore this crazy family.”#WorstNeighborsEver

In 1966, with the help of a neighbor boy who happened to have a fling with Gertrude helped Sylvia escape and she’s reunited with her parents. Soon Gertrude is put behind bars. She went to prison for like twenty years, but when she got out she admitted to her crimes, so I guess she went back to jail and died. The future for her children was also pretty grim.

It’s crazy to think something like this could happen. The horrific events Sylvia and Jenny went through are difficult to fathom. No child should have to endure such pain. I don’t understand why or how their parents allowed this to happen. Like they didn’t know who this lady was. She had children of her own, so I guess they assumed she was a good parent. But assumptions are not always valid. I’m glad Sylvia escaped and Gertrude was put behind bars. A lot of quirky things happen in this story, so I don’t want to spoil it all. If you like crime drama’s about crazy families go ahead and watch this film. Ellen Page is one of my favorite actress’s. She did an amazing job in this role.

Game Over

Happy Friday wordpress. My plans for today are to create a piece of flash fiction and submit the piece to flash fiction magazine. I’ve been reading stories from their website for over a year. You can submit your story to their site and if chosen they’ll add your stories on their website. Plus you win about 40 dollars. Submissions are free, yet if you want your story to be reviewed it cost about 30 dollars. Not a bad deal.

I once submitted before, but it didn’t get chosen. Hopefully this time my story is chosen. Anyways inspiration struck me. Yesterday I got a killer idea for a story. The story is about an open world video game where the choices players make determines their fate in real life. It’s sort of like Willie Wonka, but in a video game. The protagonist is a teenager named Katie Smith. I’m thinking the title is going to be Game Over or something like that, but I’ll first write the first draft and get to that later on.

I’m excited to get started! I’m thankful that I didn’t give up on writing. It’s been my goal to write a novel for a long time. My problem was understanding what a story is and how to write one. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I tend to think a lot about things which sort of puts me in a pause like state until I figure it out. I guess I’m a bit of a perfectionist, yet I want to do the best I can. I’m going to give 100 percent. I’m passionate about writing. I desire to put that fire into everything I write. I knew I could do this. I’m ready to begin. I can’t thank those who helped me enough. You guys and gals rock!

I’m also happy for Katie. She’s one of my first original characters. I’ve been searching for what story this character fits best. And this storyline fits her perfectly. Katie is a strong, moxie character. She’s got some baggage, yet is determined and bold. I think my readers will enjoy her story( or stories). I’ll share more here in the weeks and months ahead. Take care!

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