Sunday, June 15, 2014

Stories Told by Mack Trucks and Planes Sooth the Recesses of My Heart

Certain sounds have always drifted throughout my nomadic mind only to penetrate the depths of my memories and bottomless soul.  They either bring me back to places I’ve traveled to or as far back as to my childhood.  Waking up early in the morning while the world is still sleeping on this side of the horizon has become a ritual for me over the last several years.  The sky’s dark, shaded arms still reach above the hemisphere while hugging the remainder of an endless dome of stars.  As the sun slowly reaches out to touch what is left of the moon, the darkness drifts back behind an epic light making its way back from the other side of an unknown part of the world to me.
While I sit and bask in the wonder and painting of this magnificent miracle taking place right outside of my window around 5 am, this is when I hear them… the cars and trucks scattering down a highway not too far away from my house.  The sound of their tired tires treading along the road echoes throughout the trees and hills while landing right outside of my window; sending warm remembrances of my youth straight to the right side of my brain. 


The whispers of Mack Trucks are my favorite.   Their adventures and journeys flutter along the passing by of one another as they are driven to some distant destination.   I remember being around four years old and living with my grandparents after my mother and Daddy C had separated for the first time and hearing the conversation of trucks… or at least imagining I did.  We had moved in with my grandparents since my mother was a single mom of two and dropped out of college when she became pregnant with me. 

I was never a good sleeper growing up and often found myself lying next to my grandparents or mother when I had bad dreams and ghostly apparitions.  My grandparents’ house was in the heart of Camden, New Jersey, and built in the early 1900s.  Before Camden had become shaken and stirred with drug addicts, crime and people who destroyed this once, beautiful town, its spirit resonated throughout the compassion and communication between one neighbor to the next and ultimately; one friend to another.  This house was extremely haunted but I will save those stories for October.

At night, when I couldn’t sleep well while living with my grandparents, I would climb into their Queen bed and snuggle in between them.  Sometimes, when my sister, who was two and a half at the time, noticed I wasn’t in our bedroom with her, she would mosey on down the hall and pull herself up on the bed with us.  And there we were; four bears in the bed… so the little one said.  (That one was for you mom).
My grandparents’ bedroom had one of those large, circular front windows with three long rectangular smaller ones making up one big oval.  In the summertime, we would sleep with all of the windows open.  And yes, we are still talking about Camden, New Jersey.  Back then, you could sleep with your windows open without having to worry about someone climbing through them and murdering you. 

As the softness of the wind and the noises of the night eroded from the highway right through the portals of my mind, I heard the sound of the Mack Trucks come bustling softly in throughout the night.  The sound of their tires zip-lining down the road would bring a soothing to my aching soul and I didn’t realize, at the time, how much I would come to love and attach myself to those very noises.  These were the only sounds other than bedtime stories and my mother’s delicate voice which provided enough solace and warmth to secure my childlike dreams.

So when the day was done and I was left with the imprints of Mack Trucks making their way across state lines and beyond, I felt at peace with the world and ultimately; my little self.  After my mom married my step-father and we moved out of the heart of New Jersey, we shifted ourselves to a new city which provided even more noises throughout the night.  Not only did I hear Mack Trucks passing by, but I was introduced to the treasures of airplanes as they flung themselves off into the air and right over our heads leaving from the Philadelphia airport and venturing off to some exquisite island or unfamiliar continent.
By this time, I was six years old and began to depend on the silent whispers of big tire tracks on trucks treading off the highway and massive wings of air planes swimming across the sky.  I’d hug my pillow and lift my head up and notice how my sister was delicately lost and silent in her dreams.  We always shared a bedroom growing up until my parents managed to make enough money to move us out of the cities and into a small suburban town.  There, I no longer heard the sounds of Mack Trucks and slowly learned to depend on silence, the shadows of hundreds of secretive trees and darkness to fall asleep.

The town I reside in now is a couple of miles shy of the highway and a small, local airport where personal and company airplanes take off.  Still, all the same, the sounds which carry on outside of my window and straight to the right side of my brain bring me back to my childhood and the warmth of protection and feeling that the whole world is in my hands.  When you are a child, the world seems as vast and carefree as our dreams and imaginations take us to higher places and childlike musings.  We didn’t have a worry in the world other than playing with our friends, where we would build our forts, and what games and adventures were going to make up.

When I’m lying in my bed now, gazing out into the infinite, dark sky, listening to the distant commercial planes from an even bigger airport about 20 miles away, my mind drifts off to tropical places and distant lands I haven’t ventured to yet and am not sure if I ever will.  I think about places like Cairo, Medjugorje, Tokyo, Bali, Rio, the coast of Thailand and South Africa and wonder to myself; what are the people doing there and where are their devises and desires taking them at this very moment? 


Like all creatives, my mind is constantly thriving on the unimaginable and coincidently, the imaginable.  Both go hand in hand when you’re a writer.  My brain depends on the musings and recollections of my childhood and all of the things I thought were true and have learned and are still learning about throughout the years.  My untamed thoughts frolic beyond the meadows of the paintings I’ve managed to hold onto in my mind.  My fingers get lost and tangled in my mother’s long blonde hair as I look over to my desk at her graduation portrait and feel the warmth of her memories engulfing me and soaking me in the decadence of my adolescence. 

Between the airplanes and the Mack Trucks, my reflections and longings for distant shores bounce back and forth from the mind and heart.  They rock my soul and jolt every creative chord being strung throughout my body.  I am a puppet where sensations and sounds like these are my masters.  The world is an audience for all that I am made of and a plateau for the stories I am destined to create and consciously, or subconsciously, breathe life into.

What about you?  Are there certain sounds that bring you to different places in your life?  Are there any noises or musical tunes you like to listen to when falling asleep or being creative?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Liebster Award

I am over the moon to announce fellow friend and author, Chrys Fey, has nominated me for the Liebster Award.  I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear she chose me and ten other bloggers.  My blogging journey started in the summer of 2013 when my mother almost died from alcoholism.  From her mistakes, conquests and my own battles and struggles with this disease, I started to regain confidence and take back what were rightfully mine; my irreplaceable talent and passion for writing which was sacrificed for years of self-pity and not knowing how to love my own soul.  I can’t begin to express the gratitude and appreciation my heart feels at this time and it is all thanks to my family, friends, readers and admirable people like Chrys.  I am blessed in more ways than I could ever imagine so I want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to pass by my cozy little sanctuary, “Dawning on a New Day.”  And thank you Chrys for this incredible honor!

The Liebster Award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers.  The goal of this grand gesture is to help find blogs which are worthy of a bigger following... sort of like finding diamonds scattered amongst tiny grains of sparkling, white, distant sands.  You imagine they are there but you have to look hard enough to pick up their beauty and inspiration against the decadence of a jealous sun. 

In German, Liebster means kindest, beloved, valued and welcome.

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:

1)      List 11 random facts about myself.

2)      Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated me.

3)      Nominate 11 other blogs who have less than 200 followers and let them know they have been nominated.

4)      Post 11 new questions for those bloggers to answer (If they wish to accept the award, it’s completely optional).

11 Random Facts About Myself

1)      I have a tattoo of the Chinese symbol for “Love” because I believe in its power.   Love can help mold us into the leaders we wish to be once we learn to become infatuated with our inner-selves.  It also has the power to find its counterpart in another soul, create children and make this world a better place.  I won’t tell you where my tattoo is located because some things are meant to be a mystery=)

2)      I have a children’s book published under a pen name and I visit many schools throughout New Jersey for author visits.  I have two presentations next week=)

3)      In high school, I graduated in the top 10 of my class among 365 other students.  I was then awarded the Rutgers Pell Grant which afforded me half of a scholarship to attend Rutgers University where I received a degree in English.  I almost checked out with a degree in Business before my heart finally took over my dreams of becoming rich from working within the Finance industry.  After two years studying business, I quickly brought my minor (which was English) up to my major and graduated with a minor in Criminology instead.

4)      When I was 17, my father was murdered and his murdered never went to jail for this crime.  There is an even bigger twist to this story which I will someday reveal in a memoir. 

5)      I love historical fiction and romance.  Some of my favorite novels are Little Women, Dangerous Liaisons, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Notebook, and Memoirs of a Geisha.  When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with Anne of Avonlea and Anne of Green Gables.  I also enjoy a good mystery or suspense.    

6)      I am obsessed with cheese, olives and nuts; yes all three must be served together!  And on some occasions, I love a nice hard cheese (mostly manchego) with honey spread on baguette slices.  I also love a soft buttery brie or goat and if I’m feeling really spontaneous, a mild bleu.

7)      I love 80s movies.  Some of my favorites are Coming to America, Breakfast Club, Heathers, Trading Places, Can’t Buy Me Love, Beverly Hills Cop, Legend, Labyrinth, Cocktail, Top Gun, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and Ghost.

8)      I was a “trekkie” when I was a child and watched all episodes of Star Treck with my grandfather before he passed away.

9)      I have one more payment before I finally pay off my student loan.  You can imagine how much of a relief this will be after paying for my education for the last 12 years.   

10)   I love traveling and some of my favorite destinations are Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Rico, Playa del Carmen, and Las Vegas.  I am going to Cozumel and Costa Rica within the next year.

11)   I thought I knew everything there is to know about love before I met my companion on a dating website three years ago.  We have been living together ever since and he has helped me strive to be a better person not only for him, but for the woman I wish to always learn from and become.

11 Questions from the blogger who nominated me

1)      What are your favorite pizza toppings? 

a.       Normally, grandma pizza is my favorite but if I had to choose toppings, they would be mushrooms, black olives and maybe some type of chicken vodka, buffalo or alfredo.

2)      Who is your favorite superhero?

a.       Superman is my favorite superhero.  I fell in love with this character back in the 80s when Christopher Reeve played Clark Kent.  My 2nd children’s book has a new superhero=)  But this will be kept a secret!

3)      If your house were burning down, what would you take and why?

a.       I would take my children, if I had any, my husband and our two dogs.  If I had any other time left, I would grab all of the expensive jewelry and photo albums.  We would need the money from the jewels and memories to get us through such a devastating time. 

4)      If you had a time machine, what year would you travel to and why?

a.       I would travel to 1997 and save my father from his murderer.  I would warn him the day before to leave his house and his then, drug-addict and monstrous wife.  I would also warn my cousin Tee to not ride motorcycles and prevent his death only a few years later after my father’s death.

5)      What are you afraid of?

a.       Not succeeding.  I am so afraid that all of my hard work will never reach its ultimate destination.  I’ve had such incredible milestones along the way; however, we all dream of becoming a best-seller and well-known author.  I used to be afraid to die but after I watched a friend of mine suffer and pass away in the hospital, I am no longer fearful of it.  I know I have many angels waiting for me when I pass on into the afterlife.

6)      What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

a.       “Walk Me Home” and “Pay it Forward:  A Novel ” both by Catherine Ryan Hyde and “Walk Two Moons” by Sharon Creech which my niece recommended for me=)

7)      What is the best vacation you ever had?

a.       The best vacations I've had were to be Cabo San Lucas three years ago and a Bahama Cruise about five years ago.  On both vacations, I met some really great people who I still keep in touch with and even visit from time to time.  There was something about the cruise, though, that I have really great memories when I need to venture toward the back of my mind.

8)      What’s your biggest pet peeve?

a.       Cigarette smoke.

9)      What’s your favorite love story?

a.       I have so many.  But I would have to go four stories… House of Flying Daggers, Slumdog Millionaire, The Vow, and Far and Away.

10)   What is the best thing you have done in your life?

a.       Sobriety.  I wish I could shake the demons out of those who are struggling with this ugly and destructive disease known as alcoholism.  For me, I was only able to start living when I gave up the one thing which almost killed me and sadly, numbed me for a long period of my life. 

11)   List five adjective to describe yourself.

a.       Giving, Dedicated, Spontaneous, Grateful, and Hopeful.

My 11 Nominees

1)      Claudine from Carry Us Off Books.  It is always such a delight to stop by her extensive little nook of children’s books and thoughts.  If you are ever looking for really sweet and endearing recommendations, I highly suggest you visit her website.

2)      Charli Mills from Elmira Pond Spotter.  Charli’s writing always manages to give me something to take home.  Her stories are delightful and her thoughts are sincere.

3)      Sandra from Sandra’s Blog.  Sandra has over 200 followers but less than 300 and I wanted to give her blog some recognition because she always puts a smile on my face whenever I stop by there. 

4)      Christina from Turbulence in the Veins.  Her story is one of the most inspiring stories I know.  So many people can learn from her and truly be touched.

5)      Quanie Miller from Quanie Talks Writing.  She is always giving great reviews, giveaways and most recently, author critiques on her blog!  Such a great place for valuable information and advice.

6)      Chrys Fey from Write With Fey.  I know Chrys nominated me but I had to return this honor to her.  Ever since I’ve started this blogging journey, Chrys has supported me and been an incredibly kind friend.  Her blog is one of the best blogs out there and any author or writer could benefit from reading her weekly posts. 

7)      Christian from Lessons Learned From Living at Rock Bottom.  Christian’s words come straight from the heart.  If you haven’t had a chance to visit his blog, I suggest taking a peek and living through his eyes even for just a few moments.

8)      Sarah Elizabeth Boucher at Bringing Twisted Fairy Tales to Life.  Sarah is a beloved teacher adored by her students and an astounding author.  I love how she uses storytelling and her experiences to express such intriguing thoughts about the beauty of this world and life in general.

9)      Dawn from Funny Girl’s Memoirs.  Dawn is like a sister to me and has been blogging for quite some time now.  You can see how she is beginning to open up more and flourish with her thoughts and pen when reading her posts.  Dawn’s mother lost her battle with cancer last year at a very young age and Dawn has been embarking on and sharing the downs of such a loss.  Visit her blog to laugh, cry and cope through the toughest of times together.  P.S. She is probably one of the funniest and kindest people I know!  I literally pee my pants whenever I am around her!

10)   Anthony Otten from Anthony Otten.  Anthony’s writing is quite special and always manages to uplift my spirit whenever I need a reminder of how powerful our Creator is and most importantly; how important our relationship with Him really is.  I highly recommend reading his writing, even if you aren’t religious.  Anthony’s writing is going to take him places and I can’t wait to see what life has in store for this talented author.

11)   Christina Rowell at Devil Slaying Amongst Other Things.  I really adore Christina’s sense of style and creativity with her writing.  You can see how unique she is by the posts she chooses to share and for this reason, I nominate her for this award.

11 Questions for My Nominees

1)      What is one thing most of us do not know about you?

2)      What are your top 10 favorite movies of all time?

3)      What is one of your favorite things about each of the four seasons?

4)      Do you believe you can love more than one person at different times of your life?

5)      What do you love most about your writing?

6)      What are some of your favorite novels?

7)      Do you like cheese?  If so, what is your favorite type?

8)      If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

9)      If you had three wishes, what would they be?

10)   What was the best vacation you ever had and why?
11)  Do you believe in soul mates?  Why or why not?
Thank you, everyone, for visiting and I look forward to sharing this award with the nominees mentioned above!