I really do miss blogging and from time to time, I revisit the old blog (tuallaleila.blogspot.com) and go through each post waiting in the draft pile. I haven't made the jump to fully revive it. Whenever I feel like I'm in a "good" place to finally get down to writing and scheduling, something distracts me and I'm off. But I'd love to try again and per my wayward and distracted little personality, I'll blog once a week (Wednesdays) here and break that down into different series. A bit ambitious for me, but I'm up for anything!
So today, I present the first in my motherhood series. I'm a mama and I love getting to know other mamas to find tips and tricks and "hacks" or basic survival + wine stories. One of the things I'm exploring is this need to simultaneously leave the house and make needed friendships or stay in pjs all day long and entertain myself + kids because friendships, especially in your mid-30s are complex and truly an effort for everyone on board.
But so much is made about needing/having a "tribe." What do you do when you don't have one? I've lived in Houston for almost 5 years and it took a while for me to find friends. I signed up for our neighborhood book club, left the book club, got invited to another one, left that one only to form a solid crew of booknerds. We're a team comprised of single mamas, grandmas, working and stay at home mamas, and a single ladies. It's been a lovely connection but our only get togethers because of everyone's schedules are once a month. However it's always much appreciated and needed.
I have done the "playdate thing" and walked around the playground hoping some other mom would look at me and go, huh, there's a friend. But it's always taken a few awkward tries to find the "right mom friend." It's almost like dating but you have to put not only your best foot forward but hope that your child gets along with theirs.
Rather than continue to make this post into a whiney lamentation snippet, I will share my recent epiphany with you. It was the moment I knew I finally found the "right group."
On one of our lovely book club monthly chat, I was FINALLY comfortable enough to pour my heart out to one of my fellow booknerds and she said, "put me on the list." Whatever I need, whenever I needed help, if there is a list, put her there. I cried.
Isn't that something? For another person to listen to your brokenness and instead of giving advice or a talking to, she offered unconditional support.
Put me on the list to add when you need a shoulder.
Put me on the list for when you need a break to breathe.
Put me on the list for anything.
Mamas, if you have no one - put me on the list. I am an email or a message away. I offer a shoulder. A stranger to vent to, judgement free. A prayer warrior for when you need to be lifted up and loved up on.
Sending you much love and light - Leila
Birthday month ahead
At some point, I am sure I will be doing a blog on reflections. I will be turning 37(!!!) this year and I still don't feel like a "grown up." Which is scary since I have to pretend I know what I'm doing and 'mommy-ing' hard. Anyhow, before I do my reflection post, here is my monthly goals for July. I haven't done a goals sheet in a while and I'm starting to wonder why.....I'm all about checklist and having been flying "off the cuff" without one these past few months have resulted in one frazzled mama and over booking several things. I have stretched myself too thin and I need to scale way back. I guess one of my goals for myself is the ability to say no once in a while.
JULY - AUGUST GOALS
**School starts in the middle of August and I know it'll get a bit hectic for our household, so this monthly goal will be "extended" until mid-August. I will begin a new goal for September.**
1.) Work on self - promotion more and not apologize for it. It's hard for me to seek a spotlight. I prefer hiding behind everyone and letting everyone have a go before my say. Sometimes that means though, I never get a turn. I never get to speak up. And I shouldn't have to view this as a selfish thing. I need to be bold enough to say it's my turn. I mean, I see friends and family, promoting their businesses with gusto. My books, my stories...these are major accomplishments and something to be proud of. I am. I need to treat my "babies" proud and promote them with just as much gusto.
I bought and downloaded this social media calendar by Angie Gensler. I spent $37 for it so I will let you know how my "engagements" and social media has grown, if any, by the end of the year. I'm starting this month, so if you see a sudden jump of activities all across my social media channels (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook), it's because I am working on my author platform.
2.) READ. I have been neglecting my reading list and goals!! This month, I aim to read (1) non-fiction an (1) fiction works.
3.) REVIEW. Again, neglecting all my reviewing. One of the lovely things about reviews is that even if I haven't written a poem/story for myself, I at least get to write something. It's a great practice and good for recalling what you read. Catch up on at least 5 reviews this month.
3.) Work on one short story with my little girl. Funnily enough, my daughter wants to write her superhero story. I outlined one with her a few months ago and still have it but this time, I hope we gett to finally sit down and work on it together. Bonus: it'll help her with her handwriting skills.
What about you, do you have any writing/author/life goals this month? Share them with me below or anywhere you see this post!
Keep writing on, friends!
Just in case you didn't know one thing about me....it is that I crave change. I get overtly anxious when things stay exactly the same. I don't know why. But every so often (and because I have a husband and 2 kids) I like to change the look of my house. Some are small: a little lamp there, a new vase here, a framed picture there. Some things are big and more noticeable: moving furniture around, taking down curtains, hanging giant posters there.
I can't seem to sit still and therefore my house shouldn't either...it seems is my random thought.
So, due to it being summer and I have kids all day long and my budget-friendly husband has had to put his foot down, I recently decided I need to make a change here. I don't blog anymore and I so do miss that. I'm not online anymore as myself and for a while, I loved stepping back from it, but I am more involved online repping for another organization and it's made me want to revamp my whole online 'self.' So I'm looking at you, website. Here's my "under construction" notice. I'm still toying with the possibility of having 2 sites: a blog and this author website but I've neglected both. I'm going to start combining both...starting in July. My goal would be to blog once a week about what I do best: mental health and preeclampsia advocating, book/author goals and whatever I feel like.
Thanks, friends for your continued support and hope you are still writing!
I have not been keeping up with this site or my writing. You can call it writer's block. Chalk it up to busyness of mommying 2 kiddos.
I finally got to sit down and do some writing a couple of weeks ago for a guest post over on http://myhealinghandsonhome.com She's doing a series called, "Childbirth Redeemed." I got the honor and pleasure of being her first guest. While I honestly still struggle to write about old wounds, and reigniting those memories, I am continued to be reminded that my story may help someone.
"I once described my postpartum depression as a forest; a place you can walk to and easily get lost in. I’ve liken anxiety and my preeclampsia diagnosis as storms; rough winds with nothing to hold onto. This is a short story of how fixing on Jesus helped me walk out of my postpartum forest and calmed the storms in me."
Here's the link to the post:
At the beginning of the year, I set a goal of sending off a piece - whether it be poetry or essay or chapbook length - to at least one magazine, or press a month. Some months I did more than one submission, and I took a break in July for family reasons, November for Nano reasons and while it's still at the beginning of December, I don't foresee sending anything out this month.
Here are my rejections and acceptances for the year.
3 still pending
1 runner up
16 total submissions for the year.
I'm actually quite proud that I stepped out of my comfort zone and jumped in.
My suggestions for you if you plan on doing these are:
1.) make sure you like the magazine/press you're submitting to and
2.) read them! read the emerging poets, the seasoned poets, the type of writing they like, the overall aesthetics of the press
3.) set yourself a goal. I did 1 submission/month because I knew I wouldn't have time for multiple ones.
and finally, BEST OF LUCK to you!! I enjoy reading some pretty powerful words and there are a couple of presses on my list that I will try and try again. I suppose they're what everyone calls "your dream press." Rejections sting....like a LOT. But it's helped me grow and learn. That's the point, right? I haven't figured out what my goals are for next year aside from working on poetry and submitting to my dream presses. One thing is for sure though, I'd like to add "award winning poet" on my bio!
Shoot for the moon.
Write on my friends!
JULY - NO SUBMISSIONS
NOVEMBER - NO SUBMISSIONS
DECEMBER - NO SUBMISSIONS
Not your token
PUBLISHED my first of a couple of chapbook series!
November is my favorite month, even more than my birthday month of July. It feels like time slows down just a little before we hit the fast forward button in December. The air is crisper. The Food! The company. I love everything about November.
Persona Non Grata is packed with exceptional poets writing on the theme of social exclusion.With interpretations exploring our refugee crises globally, physical and mental illness, homelessness, addiction and family estrangement, the anthology will fundraise for two important and vital charities: 'Shelter' and 'Crisis Aid UK'.
We are delighted that 'Fly on the Wall Poetry Press publishes charity anthologies- and anthology 'Persona Non Grata' is packed with poetry inspired by the concept of social exclusion. Without support such as this, we would not be able to support the people who reach out to us for help with housing issues and homelessness. Thank you so much to everyone involved."
- Lindsay Tilston Jones, Regional Community Fundraiser: Manchester
I submitted a poem entitled, "I pledge allegiance," to this lovely press called, Fly on the Wall Poetry Press. It's out now and she is taking poetry submissions, if you looking for places to submit!
I've been debating whether or not to share this.....but a few months ago, I wrote a poem about childhood trauma and #metoo movement for an anthology benefiting the prevention of child sexual abuse. I've buried this secret for so long and that one poem and one anthology call seemed like a small peeling of that wound....and then Christine Blasey Ford spoke - regardless if you believe her or not, the fact of that matter remains: there are those of us who have THIRTY YEAR OLD secrets. However far removed we may be from that day, that incident, that trauma, certain things can never leave us: smells, sounds, laughter, taunts..... those are imprinted in a survivor's dna. A memory that must be unraveled because the trauma was too much to bear.
So I happened upon this anthology call from Rhythm and Bone press.
I found survivors who never spoke up.
I discovered a community who are still grieving for an innocence taken, a trust stripped away..... a boundary that was crossed.
I dug up my secret and felt compelled to share.
In anger, I wrote.
In tears, I hashed out pieces.
In solidarity, I shared.
"I am not my rape
I tell myself today.
I am not my rape.
I told myself yesterday."
You are not your rape: an anthology coming soon.
Oh, friends. Life has been...hard over my household. Between going in and out of doctor's visit for my daughter, the toddler's increasing separation anxiety and my husband currently on a drilling rig somewhere in the middle of the gulf, I must confess that I don't even think I accomplished one goal in September.
I did turn in my 13th piece to an online literary magazine, so my 12 pieces (1 piece/month) new year resolution is completed. I can technically keep going and see how many more I submit before the year's end, or I can just stop, listen to my body and mental health and rest for a while.
So change is coming. I have some ideas of where I want to go from here. I know writing has always been my salve and I'm going to tackle whatever comes head on. But for now though, I'll hit pause on the new ideas and continue market what I do have.
As far as my NaNoWriMo project, I found the perfect piece. A middle grade mystery type where the main character has a chronic illness and spends a lot of time in the children's hospital..... and somehow solves little medical mystery/crime. I haven't figured out what crime a 10 year old might solve, but there you have it, Universe. I'm breathing that out, not just to help my little one with her chronic illness and her meltdown with needles but for me.....
~ I will see you at the end of November, writing buddies. ~
A look back on those August goals 1.) Fine tune my "I am" chapbook and have it ready. I've been debating on turning into a full fledge poetry collection but I'm also getting bored with it. I am easily distracted and my flaky self has already deemed this project "done." I have my eye on Dancing Girl press that a few poets have recommended and they are currently open for submissions. Deadline is the end of the month, if you would like to enter. - fine tuned and sent! Here's hoping I get some feedback!!!
2.) Write and edit a piece for this motherhood submission call I was lovingly tagged on. - this is still a current work in progress! I have until 9/14 to finish and submit!
September 8th is coming and so is the 15th anniversary for this anthology. I'm so incredibly grateful to be a part of this huge Filipino writing community that I honestly never knew existed!! I wish I was in San Fran celebrating, but I send all my love and positive vibes to my fellow Asian poets!!
For a complete list of all the poets and table of contents, click here. I can't wait to hold this book in my hands!!
1.) I'd really like to finish National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November this year and I have a couple of ideas that's been brewing. I'm a plotter, of course and just started printing out maps, and buying Filipino folk tales. I was so inspired by Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone and Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians that I'd love to do something along those lines. Write a story based off of a story that I vaguely remembering listening to as a child. But I want to fall in love and laugh and be surprised at the tears. I have NO IDEA what it'll be but I'd love to try. Soooo research, read, and plot. That's the BIG goal for this month.
2.) I still need to turn in my motherhood essay and hope to get that finished by the end of the week!!
3.) I need to write out two poetry reviews for this month! I finished Vachaknavi (Hiya) Sarma's Wild Imagination this summer and it was beautiful!! Cheyenne Raine's new poetry collection drops on September 14th and I'm in the middle of her amazing words. Look for both reviews by next week!
4.) I found a couple of journals that I wanted to submit to but sadly, the deadline passed by the time I sat down with pen in hand. This month's goal would be to follow them and read from their works to support more poets and get a feel of what they seem to be looking for.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
As we are winding down from summer and looking towards fall and winter, please know that September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This is a reminder to be kind to yourself and to the people around you. You never know what someone is going through. We cover up all sorts of pain and madness to fit in.
Know that you are not alone.
**the following information below was taken from NAMI**
We are getting so close to Fall, I've seen a few Halloween (and Christmas) decor set up at Hobby Lobby. I've actually bought a couple of fall things, ready to wear when September hits - I'm not even kidding!
I always feel like whatever happened in the slump and dog days of summer, not to mention the allergies of Spring....FALL turns my mood around and lifts up my spirits. Mid to late September through November exists to make people happy, more grateful, and a bit kinder - just my opinion.
I don't think I wrote any specific goals for July but even if I did, family vacation and sickness, and my daughter's few days in the hospital didn't exactly give me any writing time.
without further ado: August goals
1.) Fine tune my "I am" chapbook and have it ready. I've been debating on turning into a full fledge poetry collection but I'm also getting bored with it. I am easily distracted and my flaky self has already deemed this project "done." I have my eye on Dancing Girl press that a few poets have recommended and they are currently open for submissions. Deadline is the end of the month, if you would like to enter.
2.) Write and edit a piece for this motherhood submission call I was lovingly tagged on.
what the what news?!
Sometime ago I entered my very first poetry competition that We Art Friends was hosting and I'm so thrilled to say that my poem, "Indifference," was one of the runner ups! For the list of winners and runner ups, click here.
Happy rest of your summer!!
I'll be on vacation mode this Saturday, and probably won't "return" until July 8th. But before I go, I thought I'd share some exciting news!!
- I wrote a piece called, "if only," and submitted it below. I'm elated that it was accepted but anxious to have it out. I've never told anyone my #metoo story. You see, not only was I a victim, but a witness, as well. I cannot claim what happened to me without naming the others. Since it's a shared nightmare, I would need their blessings and their acceptance of what happened, before I can share. It sounds cryptic, and I apologize, but it is what it is, in order to protect those that I love, our stories will most likely die in the graves with us.
moving on to happier news
Matt Banks (author of the Lonely Heart Wanders) did a call for submissions recently for a "Blank Canvas" themed anthology. I managed to slip into it right before he closed it. I can't wait to share these with you. I'm rather proud of one!
Last but not least...
I belong to a Filipino Writers group on Facebook. Back in November, the prolific and esteemed poet, Eileen Tabios put out an anthology call for the 15th anniversary of a Filipino named poetry form called, "hay(na)ku. It's a take on the Japanese form, but instead of counting syllables, you do 1 word sentence, followed by 2 words, and then three.
(2) wrote my
(3) heritage in poems.
I can't tell you how proud I am that 2 of my hay(na)ku poems are in this. 127 poets are included in this anthology from around the world, including some poets from the Philippines!
This will be out sometime in September and I'll announce it the closer it gets!!
Aside from that, happy summer!!
I drink too much coffee, read too many books, and in between raising miracle babies, I find time to write.