Tag Archives: marissa campbell

Nudist Colony?

Risk Taker by Marissa Campbell
Risk Taker by Marissa Campbell

 

What do nudist colonies, biker bars, zip lining, and air travel have in common? They are all suggestions from my well intentioned friends when I asked them to give me ideas … things to do in my new risk taking adventure.

Sometimes, life swings us into ruts … periods of inaction or immobility. Lately, I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten caught up in the safety and security of the mundane, the apathy of routine, and I find life just doesn’t hold the same passion, the same spark it used to.

Novelty is the spice of life—new people, new situations. But when we are involved in long-term relationships, long-term jobs, mortgage payments that will take twenty-five years or more to pay off … things can get … well boring. They drag. The fun gets sucked out of it all.

Risk taking brings back the excitement. It fills us with passion and vitality. It throws our world upside down. It shakes things up, enlivens us. But taking a risk, trying something new—something perhaps out of our comfort zone—also takes courage.

I suffer from anxiety. Always have. It’s just something I live with. But I’ve noticed as time goes on, my ‘threshold’ for stress is getting lower and lower. My ability to handle multiple things thrown my way has gotten smaller and smaller. Little things that would have slid off my back, like water off a duck, now stick, and congeal, manifesting as headaches, IBS, or muscle tension.   

I have big heart-pounding, stomach-clenching, hands-sweating fears around bridges, ferries, and airplanes. I don’t want to be under a bridge (it could collapse on me). I don’t want to be on the bridge (it could collapse and I would fall down with it. I don’t want to be on a ferry trapped in my car if the boat goes down. And I certainly do not want to be trapped in an airplane, since the idea of plummeting thirty thousand feet to a fiery death has no attraction for me whatsoever.

We all have ‘big’ fears, but when even little things start to throw us for a loop … that’s when we have to examine our lives and consider … how can I stop this from getting out of hand.

One way to do that is to desensitize ourselves to the fear, the anxiety. If you are afraid of snakes, you might start by looking at a picture of a snake, then imagining/visualizing yourself in a pet store with a small garter snake tucked safely behind glass. Next steps would be to actually walk into the pet store. Just being in the same building as snakes, then maybe walking to where you can actually see them, then one day, ultimately, holding one. For people who are afraid of snakes, even the thought of that final step is terrifying.

Risk taking involves building our ‘Risk Muscle’. This isn’t something we can just jump into—I for one am not about to jump out of a plane. You have to start small, build your muscle one step at a time. Baby steps. I may start with imaging myself on a bridge, then work up to actually standing under the bridge, watching my breath, in and out, in and out, in and out, until the wave of anxiety passes. And it will, if I can stay there long enough. Every strong emotion has a wave value/expression to it. It ebbs and flows. Anger, sadness, grief, even panic attacks, come on strong, peak, then reside. The trick is learning how to ride the wave.

So I have a plan. I’m going to build my risk muscle slowly. Starting small … little things like, maybe dying my hair another colour. I’ve been blonde … well, since I was born. Maybe trying something I wouldn’t normally ever eat that doesn’t compromise my gastric sensitivities.

Ultimately I’d like to get on a plane and go somewhere. This is not to say I haven’t been on a plane – I’ve been on two – each twenty years apart – and each time terrifying. But I did it, and I’d like to try and do it again.

But I need your help. I need ideas, suggestions. What are some risks I can take? What are you afraid of? What would you like to try to overcome? Maybe you might like to try the challenge with me?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

Antidote

Midnight in Paris by Marissa Campbell
Midnight in Paris by Marissa Campbell

I just finished watching Midnight in Paris, and I was struck speechless by a line Gertrude Stein (played brilliantly by Kathy Bates) said to the protagonist Gil. I’m not sure if this was a real quote from the legend herself, or Woody Allen’s interpretation. Either way it was brilliant.

She says: “We all fear death and question our place in the universe. The artist’s job is not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.”

Let me just say … WOW.

As a writer, and I say this with love, many of my fellow writers are tortured souls, myself included. I suffered from depression and anxiety and lurking behind the façade of keeping it all together, of keeping it real and happy was a feeling of emptiness, of despair, of loneliness, and misery.

In other words … many artists LIVE in the emptiness of existence and search their entire lives for the antidote. For some, it may be alcohol, drugs, sex, or shopping … anything in excess … anything used as a means of avoidance or denial; and our day to day life is a slog, trying not to ‘succumb to despair.’

I’d like to offer an antidote, but the truth is there may not be one. This is how our mind functions; it’s what makes us creative, powerful, reflective, brilliant. We are all tortured and troubled. We are all struggling to find meaning, to create order out of chaos, to find relevance and connection in our lives.

If we can’t avoid it, or run away from it, we must accept it. We must find others who share our convoluted way of looking at the world; we must surround ourselves with other writers and artists if only to know we are not alone! We need a support group.

Hello, my name is Marissa, and I’m a writer.

White Bristles

This is a free flow exercise I did recently during a writing retreat. The facilitator led us through a relaxation exercise followed by visualization.  The concept was to keep writing, keep the pen moving until time was up. This is the piece that resulted:

White Bristles, by Marissa Campbell
White Bristles, by Marissa Campbell

“Come sit on the bed, love,” she says.

I move closer, my bare feet on the carpet not making a sound. My pyjamas, a soft cotton, keeping the summer night’s cool air from making me shiver. The window open to the sound of crickets, a train whistles in the dark distance, the full moon brilliant in the ink sky. I sit on the bed.

She lifts my hair in her hands and begins to brush, the white bristles smoothing out my long blonde hair. She finds a tangle; her strokes slow, her attention gentle and light until the knot gives way, the strokes rhythmic once more.

I missed my grandma. She was closer to me than my mother, their home more comforting than my own. I would count the days until the weekend, until I could once again climb my trees, play in my garage, eat warm apple pie and get tucked into bed, the pink lava lamp globing and sinking, breaking and floating, its motion a lullaby, my grandmother’s words, ‘I love you,’ embracing me each night as I drifted off to sleep.

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

A Kitchen's Play

2013-04-11 17.55.15

This is  an image I had to draw at a recent writers retreat held by Writescape:  http://writescape.ca/writescape/

While drawing may not be my strong suit, I did make a lovely little poem to accompany the picture:

Four walls enclose an ideal,

Lost and left behind,

A world of peace and laughter,

Love and joy in kind.

Little faces, innocent smiles,

I hold the image tight,

A time before they grew and left,

Precious moments taken flight.

Life moves on and clouds drift by,

A window frames each day,

Youth remembered, a time since lost,

Once drawn in a kitchen’s play.

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

Buggie Blanket

Bumblebees and butterflies embroidered in even rows.

Soft yellow cotton soothes restless dreams.

Faded and frayed edges worn thin from little hands seeking reassurance.

He clutches it tight.

Slippered pyjamas pad softly down the hall.

Sleep well, my son.

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

Goodreads Giveaway for Life!

Hurry! Enter today for your chance to win a copy of Life!

Open to residents of the United States and Canada.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

LIFE by Marissa Campbell

LIFE

by Marissa Campbell

Giveaway ends February 19, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Bennet and Associates

 

Bennet and Associates, writing by Marissa Campbell
Bennet and Associates, writing by Marissa Campbell

It could have been the way her voice poured over him like cream, or the way Mr. Bennet lapped it up, all but purring and rubbing against her calves, but Tom froze. Three HB number 2 pencils gripped in his left hand, a package of White 96 Bright, 20-lb. Bond paper in his right. He had stepped into the stationary closet to retrieve them, but when his boss walked in the break room with her, he had been unable to leave.

This is my response to the writing prompt … “An employee overhears a conversation between co-workers and is not happy with what he hears.” I had  a lot of fun with this one. 🙂 Please be warned there are a few swear words in the following paragraphs, so if you are sensitive please feel free to enjoy another post.

He peered through the small crack in the door, pushing up his glasses with the back of his left hand. They were sitting at the table now, steaming coffee in front of them, “Bennet and Associates” in white capital letters on the smooth black surfaces of each mug.

“I’ll be making the announcement about the Vice Presidency this week,” Bennet said.

She leaned toward him, her posture, her smile directed only at him. “Perhaps, I can sway the decision?”

Tom watched her red painted toenails leave the confines of her black stiletto and travel up and under Bennet’s pant leg.

“I think we can discuss this in more detail tonight, over dinner,” Bennet said.

She slipped her foot back into the shoe and stood, resting a French manicured hand on Bennet’s shoulder.  “I’d like that.” Her fingernails trailed along the back of his neck as she walked away.

Tom pressed his back against the shelves, his breath shallow and fast, his heart clawing at his breast. Her shadow passed. He gripped the pencils tight, the edges pressing into his palm.

He chanced another look. Bennet stood and adjusted his grey woolen trousers, a hungry smile fixed on his foolish face. She was just using him, the slut. Couldn’t Bennet see that?

Tom had been in line for that promotion, working his ass off, and for what? For that upstart little bitch to steal it from him? He had worked here eighteen years. Eighteen goddamn years. And her? One. One fucking year.

He pressed his back against the shelves as Bennet passed, then slipped out of the closet. He walked over to the table and looked down at the coffee mugs. He put the paper down, placing the pencils carefully on top so that they didn’t roll, then ran a finger over the bright red lip stick, a perfect imprint of her filthy mouth.

An image flashed in his mind. Those bright toenails severed, her swollen lips wrapped around the barrel of his gun. He smiled and adjusted his grey woolen trousers. There was so much to do before dinner.

The Next Big Thing!

I am participating in a funky writers’ movement called The Next Big Thing, which provides a sampling of upcoming and recent novels. Each person tagged answers a series of interview questions and posts them on his/her blog or website while linking to other writers. Many thanks to Rachael Jackson who tagged me from her blog: http://rachaeljacksonthetempleofindrajewels.blogspot.ca/2013/01/the-next-big-thing.html Rachael is a lover of romance and historical fiction and is currently working on a wonderful novel comprising both. The Temple of Indra Jewels is a story of a young woman cursed by a mystical family heirloom. Destined to be murdered in each life by someone close to her, she is forced to travel through time, embodying her past lives in an attempt to find her killer. Thanks again for tagging me, Rachael. 🙂

Below, I’ve answered some questions about my novel, and at the end I direct you to two other authors that will tell you their story next week.

 1)      What is the working title of your next book?

Raven’s Blood

2)      Where did the idea come from for the book?

When I finished all of Diana Gabaldon’s books, I started reading every historical fiction I could get my hands on. It quickly became clear that I was searching for something specific. I needed a story with a strong, feisty heroine, a passionate love affair, and enough twists and turns to keep me guessing and my knuckles white throughout, so I decided to create that story and set it in a time and place in history that intrigued me—ninth century, England.

3)      What genre does your book fall under?

Raven’s Blood is a ninety-one thousand word historical romance with elements of fantasy (since my heroine is a pagan high priestess who dabbles in controlling the elements).

4)      What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Amanda Seyfried as Avelynn (heroine), Chris Hemsworth as Erik (Avelynn’s love interest), and Ryan Gosling, with black hair, as Demas (the protagonist). Seriously dreamy cast! 🙂

5)      What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When Avelynn, the headstrong and fiercely independent daughter of a powerful earl, is forced into a betrothal with Demas, a man who only covets her wealth and status, she takes matters into her own hands, stumbling into a passionate love affair with Erik, a Viking—the sworn enemy of England, committing heresy by dabbling in pagan arts, and invoking the ire of several powerful men in the kingdom by leading men into battle, all the while walking a dangerous line as Demas’ tactics to possess her become more desperate and increasingly brutal.

6)      Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I am currently shopping Raven’s Blood to agencies in North America, and the UK.

7)      How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

From research to final edits, the process took two and a half years.

8)      What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

This is how I envision Raven’s Blood: The passionate love affair in The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldon, marries the gritty and violent story line of The Saxon Series, by Bernard Cornwell, merged with the beautiful language and imagery of Anya Seton.

9)      Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My love affair with the time period, my love of historical fiction, and my wonderful writers group all contributed to my inspiration for Raven’s Blood.

10)  What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

How about the back cover copy?

For nineteen years, Avelynn, the beautiful and secretly pagan daughter of the Ealdorman of Somerset, has lived in an environment of love, acceptance, and equality. It is the year 869, and Somerset, England has flourished under twenty years of peace. But with the whispers of war threatening their security, Avelynn’s father makes an uncompromising decision that changes her life forever.

Forced into a betrothal with Demas, a man who only covets her wealth and status, Avelynn’s perception of independence is shattered. With marriage looming, she turns to her faith, searching for answers in an ancient ritual along the coast, only to find Erik The Blood-Axe and sixty Viking berserkers.

In a year of uncertainty that sees Avelynn discover hidden powers, stumble into a passionate love affair with Erik, and lead men into battle, Avelynn must walk a dangerous line as her deceptions mount and Demas’ tactics to possess her become more desperate and increasingly brutal.

Within the political turmoil of Alfred the Great’s England, Avelynn and Erik are caught in the throes of fate as they struggle to find the path back to themselves and onwards to each other.

Now, who wouldn’t want to read that? 🙂

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

Now, onto two exciting writers who will perform this interview. I am tagging Regina Glei, a brilliant fantasy and science fiction writer. You can learn all about her latest project here: http://www.juka-productions.com/newblog/ and Harrison Wheeler artist, author, and illustrator extraordinaire. You can find all about Harrison and his latest book Jester’s Incognito here: http://www.harrisonwheeler.ca/index.html

Tag! You’re it!

A Distant Bell

A Distant Bell by Marissa Campbell
A Distant Bell by Marissa Campbell

Luggage shuffled along the ground, edges grating on the concrete platform. Couples laughing and talking—a constant hum in the background.

The fog had burned off the land. Only a hazy memory silhouetted the grey shadows of the forest beyond the station.

My palms were moist, and I wiped them again, pretending to smooth down the soft velour of my yellow dress.

I lifted sleepless eyes to the large clock overhead, roman numerals black against a worn circle. The heavy hand moved. A minute closer. I could almost hear the click as it inched nearer to eight.

I gazed down the empty tracks. People clustered near the edge, craning to look. We all waited.

Was that steam ahead? I stood, my heart pounding in my chest, each beat a second of the clock.

Anticipation rose in the air around me.

A distant bell. It’s clang striking my stomach, a deep resonance in my soul.

The bell grew louder. Steam puffed in the air.

He was coming.

This was my response to a writing prompt at a workshop I recently attended … perhaps there’s a story in here somewhere. Who is she? Who is the man she’s waiting for? I may have to finish the tale to find out!

In gratitude,

Marissa xo