Category Archives: Photography

The Running Life

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Funny thing, this running life. Addictive in nature, yet the desire to get out there and put in work is fleeting if not outright evasive at times… much of the time. Even those who have been at it for years, have confided in me that deep down, they really don’t want to do it. But the more that they do get out there and put in mileage, the more they are compelled to do it… they NEED to do it.  For the running devotee, this regimental practice of dressing out, lacing up the exorbitantly priced shoes with their color coordinated laces and running, whether three times per week, five times week, or whatever frequency is psychologically gratifying, usually involves getting up really early in the morning, eating a small portion of something that you would not ordinarily consume for breakfast—high carbs, grains, rocks and sticks, what have you—at an hour far earlier than the body is accustomed, or for some, race day means eating nothing at all.  Foregoing ones regular intake of coffee and its associated diuretic properties is also advisable—a learned practice, one that is tussled with tooth-and-nail by newbies, but one every runner adopts eventually if they value their beloved running time and its accompanying, and equally cherished pace.

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I’ve only been at this running thing for two and a half years. In fact, this month it will be exactly two and a half years since I ran my first race; a 5K dubbed “No Excuses,” held in Sacramento.  It was a blast!  The camaraderie, the people cheering on the sidelines, the free food at the end of the race, the announcer calling your name as you crossed the finish line; official race time posted on-line… what a rush!  I was officially hooked on this new and exciting approach to staying healthy and active, and on my way to becoming part of a huge community of like-minded people of all ages and from all walks of life.

Last Sunday, I ran my third half marathon.  It was the San Francisco Giants race. The course left from in front of AT&T Park, ran down the Embarcadero and beneath the San Francisco Bay Bridge to the Presidio before turning around and returning and finishing inside of AT&T Park to the roar of spectators (family and friends of other runners… none of them mine, unfortunately).  Rounding the corner and heading to the finish line inside the park was quite an experience.  I wore my GoPro Camera during the race, but unbeknownst to me, the battery died an hour into the race, so I didn’t get footage of the finish, or the last eight miles, for that matter.

Last night I went for a run on the Sacramento River—an eight mile out and back from the River Promenade near Tower Bridge to the Weston Hotel, the one with Scott’s Seafood imbedded in its left hip (or its right, depending on whether you’re facing the river or I-5).  This out and pack route of mine is on a relatively flat paved bike path with only one hill as the trail dips into the boat launch area of Miller Park before climbing back up onto the levy parallel to the railroad tracks and I-5 just beyond a barrier of evergreen trees.  I have run this route before—one of several out and backs and loops that I run with varying mileage and degrees of difficulty associated to them—and I typically do my running during the late afternoon or dusk.

I don’t mind running in hot weather.  It’s not the heat that gets to me, it’s the slathering on of sunblock before a run, just to sweat if off and have it run into my eyes while running… that I’m not to thrilled about.  I also find fewer people on the trails later in the day and fewer cars on the road when my running loop takes me occasionally onto residential streets, or traffic metered intersections.

About two miles into this run, I encountered a small cloud of insects that just happened to be hovering at head level directly in my path. I should mention that during one of my early running training courses that I had taken in preparation of my new running life, we were taught, contrary to previously learned behavior, to breathe through our mouths, and not through our nose.  As my breathing had not quite leveled out yet, I ran directly into this cloud of insects, or bugnado, as I have christened this phenomenon, mouth open and promptly sucked in a mouth full of the tiny black bugs.  With my mouth rapidly filling with natures crunchy protein supplement, I snapped my eyes closed and frantically blinked the tiny black monsters out of my vision and kept running… I was on a mission. I was not going to let being force-fed a few thousand bugs stop me from reaching my mileage and pace goals of my first post-half marathon run.  No sir.

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No sooner did my vision clear and I thought I had the last of the tiny creatures spat from my now hacking throat, I ran into another one of these bugnado’s… then another.  My process of eliminating these heinous flying monsters from my system was repeated two more times before I was able to regain my composure and take a breath of fresh air.  Thankfully, the remainder of my run was relatively bug free.

I continued my run, mindful of my GPS running apps declaration of my time and pace yammering from my cell phone each half mile to ensure that I was maintaining an active pursuit of my goals for the evening.  Passing a few meandering walkers near the Westin Hotel who decided to stop and take a selfie right in front of me, I approached the turn-around point.  They will likely be none too pleased to find that I had inadvertently photo-bombed their shot as I approached from the rear just before passing them on the left.  My turnaround point came at mile number four just beyond the Weston Hotel adjacent two large fire pits with lounge chairs encircling them with a wonderful view of the river.  I made my turn, and headed back from whence I came, passing the fire pits and the two women still fussing with their now increasing number of selfies, which, from the direction that they were taking them, had nothing in the background but a parking lot full of varying eras of automobiles and the occasional maintenance worker cruising by in his golf cart, smoking a filterless Pall Mall cigarette while attempting to conduct an intelligible conversation on his walkie-talkie between uncontrollable phlegm-rattling coughing spells.

The back-side of any out and back run invariably carries with it a level of fear and discomfort for me.  The fear is that I will abandon my goals altogether and walk.  The discomfort comes with I invariably make the conscious decision to stay the course and keep running, only to find that in doing so the pain in whichever muscle group is hindering me the most that week has been amplified ten fold with the psychological awareness that I am still only half way into my run, and that the hard part of this passionate endeavor is just beginning.  This usually passes, as by this time my breathing has leveled out, hitting the proverbial wall, as it is termed in the running community and its time to suck it up and cruise.

7 mile run map

On my return trip as I made my way back toward downtown Sacramento, the sun had all but set, leaving an orange hue of reflective light on the river to my left, and with the diminishing light, came a different populous of travelers on the bike trail on which I was running.  Typically, if I know that I will be out past dark during a run, I will wear a head lamp to light my way and to also let others know that I am there so that and can avoid running head on into me on the trail, or to enable cars to see me when I find the need to cross a residential street after I drop off the levy back into the neighborhood.  This was not one of those times.  I left my head lamp at home and had to rely on my store-bought vision (Lasik circa 2009) and the sporadic courtesy of oncoming runners and cyclists to either have a headlight of their own turned on or at least make an effort to move over once I enter their field of view.  I did most of the moving over, though, and I was grateful that I did not encounter any snakes on the trail as I had on previous runs along that same stretch of the river trail.

Intermingled with this new post-sunset populous of river trail walkers, runners and cyclists, at times can be found those who use the cover of darkness and relative isolation of this area to participate in activities that they would not ordinarily bring into the light… not in public, anyway.  About five miles into this run, as I approached the gap in the fence that accesses the Sutterville Road exit off of I-5; I spied far up in the distance, a walker in front of me. Ordinarily, I would not have been aware of this walker so far ahead of me, especially as dark as it was, had it not been for the aroma that was trailing several yards behind him, a pungent wake within which I was hopelessly trapped with no real means of escape.  This individual, after running behind him for several minutes I learned was a little paunch of a man with a thick black mustache and a ball cap mashed so far down upon his fat head that it was a wonder he had any ears at all.  He was strolling down the pathway practicing his no doubt newly attained card-carrying California—yet still against federal law—right, puffing away on some extraordinarily pungent and apparently high quality marijuana.  At first, I thought that someone had encountered and inadvertently startled a skunk on the trail, which in some parts, especially Miller Park, there are dozens.  But as I advanced on this pudgy little pot-head it became clear that it was not a skunk, but some quality pot, the smoke from which had trailed behind him in a translucent blue veil for several yards.

Back to Civilization

This development was of no help to my diminishing energy level as I approached the last quarter of my run. I must have taken in enough of his toxic haze that for a moment I briefly envisioned this new chemical element that had involuntarily been introduced into my drug-free system would somehow give me the boost that I needed for the last part of my run. You know, like when you hit the nitrous button in one of those computer racing games, sending you blasting along the raceway, barely maintaining control as you negotiate the next turn, knowing full well that you’ll never make it and you are destined to hit the wall, but you don’t care ‘cause you gots you some nitrous. Yeah, you know… like that.  Alas, this was not the case.  Alternately, it seemed to have the opposite effect on me, slowing my pace and leaving me longing for… something.  Perhaps another tasty encounter with the bugnado insect cloud that I passed through on the first leg of this run for no other reason than because now… I had the munchies.

I would be remiss if I did not lend a little advice related to the nose-rocket practice that is popular with seasoned runners, and unsuccessfully attempted by many newbies.  It is the practice of clearing the nasal passages during a run to get more oxygen to your euphoria fueled brain.  Seasoned runners, you know what I am talking about, but for those who don’t, it is exactly as it sounds… the practice of effectively launching that which is inhibiting the flow of oxygen to the brain, out… (a nose rocket) so the runner can breathe better.  There is a technique, one that should be adhered to if one is to ensure at least a relatively accurate aim. It goes something like this:  The idea is to cover one nostril with a finger and launch your projectile beneath the opposing arm and onto the pathway, street, or trail below without too much lateral velocity as to avoid nailing a neighboring runner in the process.  Never try to send your projectile over the top of your arm.  Nine out of ten times, you will fail miserably, lacquering your own shoulder in the process. This technique (the former, not the latter) has been thoroughly tested over an unknown period of trial and error, and if done properly, should render the runner with a new-found boost of oxygen infused energy.  If done improperly… well, let the chips fall where they may (pun intended) and with any luck you won’t be followed back to your car at the end of your race by some red-faced, runner wielding his newly acquired finishing medal like a weapon demanding that you wipe down his calf.

With this in mind I must add, as I learned last night during my run, this time-tested sinus clearing procedure should never be attempted two days into recovery from a bad head cold… If you do, you will find yourself frantically batting away at your own DNA as it stubbornly dangles to waist level before gently wrapping itself around your forearm, like some alien creature latching onto its long-lost mother.

San Jose Giants Race2

All kidding aside, running, if practiced properly utilizing time-tested proper form and wearing appropriate gear (supportive running shoes, moisture wicking socks and other gear) is a great way for one to stay active and attain a level of fitness that for some (myself included) was thought to be unattainable.

Running is also very therapeutic and is a proven natural antidepressant.  I have benefited from these latter properties on many occasions in the early days of my aspiration to become a runner.  When I embarked on this journey of fitness, solitary bonding with my thoughts and my environment, and entered into a lifestyle of physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being, I was at a turning point in my personal life.  Through the medicinal properties of running I was able to get through those emotionally trying times relatively unscathed.

Ultimately, I run because, by the grace of God, I can… there was a time in my life when, for many years, I could not.

Keep the forward momentum, my friends… The alternative is unacceptable.

J. Johnston

The Scent of Memory

The Scent of Memory

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Funny how the brain works. Memories are stored, and catalogued with scent keys, all accessible in a virtual database. Just plug-in a smell, and voila, like entering a keyword in a computer search we are instantaneously presented with a memory filled with joys and sorrows, pleasures and pains assigned to it from months, years or even decades in our past, as if by magic. Some are quite vivid in detail. Others elude us altogether. At times the brain recalls intimate details about an event, a person or a place—significant or not— some remembrances are delivered-up infused with raw emotion, or perhaps they are merely insignificant moments in time that occurred years in the past. But then, we cannot remember what we had for dinner on the previous evening.

Generally speaking, I have a great memory—for historical data, dates and times of significant events in my life, and the like. What I did the day before… sometimes not so much. My earliest memory, if it serves me right, and it does, is an interaction with a childhood friend. She was the daughter of friends of my parents when I was four years old. I remember her and this particular moment as if it occurred yesterday rather than the reality of the nearly forty-five years that have passed between then and now. My mother used to bathe us together when visiting the home of this family. On this occasion, after powdering our bottoms with baby powder, she put us down for a nap on my little friends’ parent’s bed. Her name was Sheri and she was my earliest friend. Blonde hair, blue eyes and she was cute, for a three-year-old. She may very well still be. Cute, I mean, no longer three. Last I heard she was married and had four children of her own. But things may have changed for her. That report was made thirty-five years ago or more. This particular post-bath moment in time, for reasons that escape me, resonates with me because… well, she kissed me. OK, the kiss landed on my forearm, but it was a kiss nonetheless. To this day, whenever I smell Johnson’s baby powder, I think of Sheri and that after bath-time first kiss.

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A few days ago, on the last leg of an 8 mile out-and-back run on the Sacramento River, I experienced this scent triggered memory phenomenon again. This time, the scent was that of standing pond water—river water in this case—taking me back to my childhood of exploring the outer perimeter of Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos, a park just below the larger and more well-known Vasona Park in this quaint upscale town in the South Bay Area of California. My brother and I would explore for hours on a given weekend day, time standing still for us, as is common for pre-teen boys fully engulfed in the essential task of park exploration as our parents barbecued and drank beer until dusk, when the park rangers would come around with their giant flashlights, asking everyone to wrap it up because the park was closing. Oak Meadow Park had a stream that ran through it (this may have been the upper fork of Coyote Creek), fed by Lexington Reservoir just to the south before filling Vasona Lake on its way through Los Gatos and then continuing its run through San Jose. The smell of the standing water in sections of the creek and the duck and goose populated Vasona Lake permeated my senses way back then and are forever stored in those odd cells in the brain along with all of the other seemingly meaningless—and some not so meaningless—information.

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Last night I was on another run. Not as long, but a run just the same. It’s what I do. I have to maintain The Temple. No one’s going to do it for me, you know? This particular run was around the perimeter of Capitol Park in downtown Sacramento where I live. The park is nearly a prefect mile in circumference, so it makes for good tracking of distance for me and the countless others that jog in a near constant rotation—clockwise on some days, counterclockwise on others—around its perimeter.   On the back side of the park (15th Street between L and N) there is an odd scent that I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s always there in that very same spot every time I have passed it over the two years that I have been using the park as my personal training ground. This scent instantly takes me back to a time two years ago when I first moved to Sacramento and was searching for an apartment to rent. The scent is fleeting, lasting but three strides of my typical 10 minute-mile pace, part floral and part the scent of antiquity. When I was looking for an apartment, I used a rental agency that took me around to look at prospective units. I toured many apartments, some in more recently constructed buildings and others that were of the more vintage variety in buildings that had seen more than their share of administration change in this great state. It was the small vintage—some not so much vintage as just plain old—of the apartment buildings I toured that were infused with this particular aroma. Not a bad smell, inherently, but an unmistakable tang of old construction, best described as the smell of antiquity that was peculiarly mixed with a pungent bouquet. This fragrance had to be coming from some type of landscaping flora or another, conceivably of a variety used in a bygone era—hence the recall—but of a resilient species that has endured the rigors of time and the volatility of decades of climate change.

Hotel Marshall

The period of my life when I moved to Sacramento was one of great turmoil, a time which conveyed much sadness, although conversely ample enthusiasm of new beginnings full of new geographically procreated personal and artistic potential.

If ever I feel the masochistical need to reminisce on that time, for its positive attributes or to evoke the immense melancholy tied to that particular chapter in my life, I just go for a run around Capitol Park—clockwise rotation or contrasting counter—or simply sit on the grass in that tiny segment of 15th Street where this unmistakable aroma resides, wafting its emotionally charged aromatic formula into the air, infiltrating the senses of all who walk, run, or ride past. This would have proven impossibly painful for me at one time, but I’ve since come to terms with those emotions and the decisions at their origin.  And who’s to say that this same recipe of scents does not trigger an alternatively joyous memory for another. I take no ownership of that which brings up feelings of regret, passion, or pain as it relates to the memories that environmental experiences evoke, just to say, that they exist and that no matter how painful their evocative properties, we are better for the experience. It only proves to the world and to ourselves that we are alive.

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Memories… we’re all only an aroma away from being transported to another time, another place, yet we are usually ill prepared for the feelings that await us there. We are an emotionally driven species occupying this tiny blue speck in the deep recesses of our vast universe. Our recollections are alive and well, residing within us all… until the day comes when they leave us… and they will. Gradually at first. Then one day, they will be gone forever, never to return. Memories, good and bad, happy and sad, these are cherished glimpses of moments in time. Hold them dear… for the day will come, sooner for some, later for others, when they will have departed for good.

The next time that a scent takes you to another time, to another place, a place where memories reside, fond or to the contrary, relish it but for a moment. Don’t stay there too long. Let the past remain in the past lest we lose ourselves in a time that is no longer belongs to us. Reminisce… but only for a moment. We owe it to ourselves and to those with whom we occupy those memories to move on—on to the present and to the future, for that is where new memories are created. We are not closing the door on them… just filing them away as to make room for more.

-JLJ

“The Hall” an excerpt

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The Hall

It was clogged with bodies.  The hall.  None of them were hers but who could be sure.  This has been her life, her way for so many generations that sometimes she loses track of her kills, her conquests, her food.  She needs them.  Each and every one of them to survive, in order to exist at all.  There are times when everything is just a blur, one scream, one frantic imploration for salvation after another, for life, for saving.  The pleas meld into one another.  Over time, the years, the centuries the screams, the pleas all begin to sound the same.  The imploring voices all possess the same acoustic tonalities, the same pitch, the same sound carrying with them the same urgency… all saying the same things over and over and over again:  “please, go away.  You scare me.  They tell me that you are not real—that you don’t really exist, yet I see you day in and day out.  I have for years.  Please, just leave me alone!”

But these pleas, these solicitations for mercy always fall upon deaf ears, for you see… it is not up to her to select who is saved and who is not.  It is not her decision who is spared her madness, who lives and who dies in this dark, dark world from whence she dwells.  The role of God is not hers to play.  But, is that not the role she adopts when she does not answer the multitudes of requests to spare life, and instead, takes it?

The hall could, however, be filled with the carrion of another.  There are others like her you know; the ones that dwell in the dark.  The ones that thrive in the void of night conducting their business as if it were the appropriate thing to do.  Annoying—disturbing–Killing.  It is however, unlikely that the rotting flesh piling up in the hall belongs to anyone but she, for this is her house.  This is her realm.  Here, she makes the rules and in this house is where those who know her or are at least acquainted with her ways and give respect to her techniques because she is not only the ruler of the night but the day.  She is the ruler of lives, when those lives are unwilling or unable to contain her.

Beneath Evenly spaced cones of soft amber light she hunts.  That is the stage from whence the curtain of tonight’s performance will be raised.  Shadows dissolve and then solidify again as if in not doing so would negate their very existence as she traverses the intersecting alleys of the urban jungle that is her downtown Sacramento home on this night.  Perpetually, she makes her rounds.  Her nocturnal activities have gone undetected in so far as she could tell.  Except for that one incident on the east end of Capitol Park; the forty acres of lush flora that surround the California State Capitol building.  It was there, crumpled beneath the bronze statue of a soldier at the military memorial next to the rose garden he was found, as if freshly slain by the lifeless metal figure itself, its gaze fixed upon the bloody and equally lifeless man at its feet.  A blood splattered bronze bayonet clutched tightly in his right hand told the tale.  For all intents and purposes, this was an exceptionally brutal form of suicide, but she knew better and so did he… wherever he now was.  The events of that warm summer night in August of 2013 were unfortunate, but the night could not have concluded in any other way.  The deed had to be done.

Whatever the origin of their encounter with one another, he too was on a quest –trolling—when he happened upon her on that dark downtown street in the appropriately christened neighborhood of Alkali Flat.

After a brief exchange of pleasantries, they strolled.  Hand and hand as if they were familiar, and they were—intimately in fact, but not in the physical sense, although the heat of their pressed palms with fingers interlaced like high school sweethearts would suggest this.  To the outside world they were strangers in the night.  They strolled several blocks southwest until they came upon the old historic Biltmore Hotel.  Long ago abandoned she will never again know the folly of her heyday, the late nineteenth century… the Biltmore and her alike.  Hesitating momentarily before the ancient entrance, once grand and ornate but now a crumbling shell of her former self, she cast a glance over a shoulder as if in anticipation of receiving a sight… perchance a sound with which to reminisce.  Alas there was none.  Only fond memories of an era long ago lost to the industrial revolution and the never-ending march of progress.  The unfamiliar strangers, in expectation of becoming familiar if only for a few moments—hours perhaps, resumed their promenade.

What happened that night was wholly unintended, but compulsory…  unavoidable.  It had to be done.  The gavel fell.  The law of nature called her infinite courtroom to order setting in motion the events of a dark and metaphysical encounter, the likes of which would prove unprecedented for these streets.  For this city.  For the unsuspecting of these two formerly unfamiliar strangers.   For one, the evening’s journey had reached its destination.  The other, well… his journey’s end was reached as well… or perhaps, for him it had only just begun.

Book Launch

If Walls Could Write Cover - Jeffrey Johnston

Greetings friends, family, Web-based acquaintances and classmates of scholastic endeavors recent and yesteryear alike.  At long last my fevered writing pace has decelerated if only momentarily, but with it comes the product of my efforts.  I am pleased to announce that my debut fiction short story collection is finally complete and has been released.  If Walls Could Write and Other Stories is a collection of fifteen stories related to the human condition.

To my fellow Willow Glen High School alumni, it may interest you to learn that some of these stories are set in the Willow Glen neighborhood where I grew up.  One story in particular Driver’s Training, revolves around a W.G.H.S. Driver’s Training class that went horribly wrong.  A synopsis of the stories and a link to purchase both print and Kindle editions can be found by clicking on the “Books” page tab of my blog above and is also located on my Amazon Author Page.

My blog: www.jeffreyjohnston.net/books

Purchase from my Amazon author page (HERE).

To those of you who endured my MIA status from social events and my sporadic lack of attention to your needs, I offer my most sincere request for forgiveness.  I hope that you understand… I am a writer.  While a very gratifying existence, it is also a very solitary one.

Cheers

Jeffrey L. Johnston

2013, the Year in Reflection

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It is the first day of 2014 and I find myself reflecting on the previous year with a full heart and a smile of contentment on my face. Many positive things have occurred in my life during the preceding year. Attaining several personal goals that I had set for myself in my own life only affirm what I have known for a very long time… what I tell those who doubt their own capabilities; we can do anything that we set our minds to do. Nothing is beyond our reach if we are willing to put in the time and the effort to achieve our goals, reach for the stars and work hard for what we want.

I attained a very personal scholastic goal with the completion of my MFA in creative writing program. This, I must say, ranks highest on my list of achievements for the year, although I embarked on that path more than two years earlier. This accomplishment is followed closely by the completion of my debut short story collection If Walls Could Write and Other Stories which I expect to publish in early 2014. I also reached a milestone in photographic print sales in 2013, surpassing the $1000 mark in photographic art print sales. In 2013 I ran my first half marathon and logged over 82 hours running covering more than 409 miles. As a result of this and the other physical activities that I am involved in such as yoga and mountain biking, I am in the best physical condition of my life. I also started a new job in October that I love, and for the first time in years I actually look forward to going to work each day.

The past few years have not been without their challenges, but these challenges have been met with resilience and a determination to maintain my forward momentum. I am a firm believer that God will not place anything in our path that with faith and the help of those who love us, we cannot handle.

There is a quote by Henry Ford that I am fond of referring to. I have had it framed over my computer monitor at work for the past seven years. They are words to live by… words that I have been living by for some time now:
“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

If there is something in this world that you are passionate about, hunt it down and capture it. Life is far too short not to fill our time doing what we love… what makes us happy. I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions, but in the coming year I WILL devote more time to my passions in life.

I see great things in store for me in the upcoming year… I hope that each of you will find the same foresight for a prosperous future for your lives as well. Make your dreams come true in 2014… I am. – JLJ

My Manuscript

Editing Progress

Greetings, fellow readers, writers, and other lovers of the written word. My Manuscript is back from the editor and I have gone through each of the suggested revision points. I applied those that I deemed complimentary to my work (which was most of them) and discarded a couple that altered the direction of a particular protagonists plight or adversely affected the story in some other way. I found the following message from the editorial team very encouraging:

“Your editor has reviewed your manuscript and determined that your writing is strong enough that the editing package you selected would not provide a great benefit.

Therefore, the service has been changed to the standard Comprehensive Copyediting service, which will offer you the best benefit in cost and for your writing.

A refund in the amount of $427.00, the difference in cost between the two services, has been approved and is currently being processed.”

Wow, I didn’t know this type of thing actually occurred. I find it quite promising that a professional editor, one whose eyes fall upon countless manuscripts in a given year, is telling me that my writing is strong, and that they would not have put as much effort into their process in order for my manuscript to be developed into a publication ready piece. Nice!

Stay tuned… more will be revealed.

Ghost Writers

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Ghost Writers

I needn’t come to terms with why I do the things that I do.  I know what I’m doing.  I am comfortable with it.  What is intuitive to one may seem a compulsory act by another.  Who is to say what makes up the intellectual interests of one mind over another, what fills the heart of one than another… to another?  This is not for me to say of others nor should it be the mission of others to say of me.  At this moment I am sitting in a cafe in the Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento hunched over my computer, double mocha half reach to my right, doing what I love… I am writing.  Surrounded by like-minded souls in a cafe of an eerily similar name we gather each week for the same purpose.  Seeking, striving to attain the same goal which is not really a goal at all, per se… more a need.  For some of us, perhaps an obsession.  An obsession to write.  The product of my efforts, or hers; his; theirs, are unimportant to you.  They are all important to me… to us.  I write for the pure joy that the creation of life on the page gives me.  I write for the sake of dropping a dime on that little voice in my head that tells me that I have no time.  I have no desire.  I have no-thing to write.  To this voice I say nothing.  I pay it no heed, give it no power whatsoever as it has no power unless I empower it.

This is what we do.  This is who we are.  We are writers.  Ghostly images reflecting in a cafe window, the diminished opacity of our true selves seemingly negating our very existence… still… we write. – JLJ