Wednesday, December 14, 2011

'Tis the Season

Looking over the past few posts on this blog I seem so...optimistic. Sadly, I haven't been able to post much lately, especially on this one.  Part of that was my participation in the "poem a day" challenge in November, but here it is halfway through December, and I'm only now finding time to write. The sad thing is, I really don't have the time. There are about a hundred other things I should be doing, but for my own sanity I need to do this.  I'm having a bad case of the "bah-humbug-blues". Try as I might, I'm having a hard time getting into the spirit.  This is strange for me since for most of my life, I've really enjoyed the Christmas season. Maybe it's because my kids no  longer believe in Santa Claus. Maybe it's because the holidays just seem to add to my work load. It could be my head isn't screwed on just right, it could be, perhaps that my shoes are too tight... I digress.

I don't think I'm alone feeling this way, in fact a lot of people I know seem to feel just doesn't feel quite  right this year. Sometimes I want to scream at the advertisers "NO, REALLY, THAT'S NOT WHAT MOM WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS!". (Mom just wants a day off.)  I watch Christmas movies, knowing that it doesn't always end "happily ever after" even if you have all the freakin' Christmas spirit in the world. I notice that there are fewer and fewer Nativity scenes, and way too many Santa Clauses. Nothing against Santa... but a little perspective, please.

So if you are feeling like this, just know that you are not alone, and hey, call me!! (or facebook me) Or call another friend, or your mother or anyone. You'd be surprised how "not" alone you really are.  Meanwhile I know for me, a few optimistic heart cells still beat, in hopes that in the end, everything will work out; everything will be okay.  I hold on to that, turn on the Christmas music, and get through one holly jolly day at a time.

Caren E. Salas



quote from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I must apologize for my absence from this blog. It has always been one that I only posted on occasionally, but lately it has become terribly neglected.  There are many reasons for this, which are really not that interesting so I won't bore you.  At the moment, I'm trying to work on several projects at once. One of them is Robert Lee Brewers ("Poetic Asides") November Poem a Day Challenge, which I didn't quite get through last year, but I am determined to conquer this year. I'm also working on NaNoWriMo which is, I don't know, some Martian language for National Novel Writing Month.  The goal is to write an entire novel in a month. You are encouraged NOT to edit or rewrite. The point is to get the story down. Cleaning it up comes later.  While I don't see myself able to finish a two or three hundred page novel in the next few weeks, I am working on a story. I'm not putting any kind of label on it until I see how it goes.  My writing seems to take on a life of its own and who am I to get in the way early on?   I will try to write about my progress if possible. At this point, I have about seven pages handwritten, which, believe it or not will probably translate into about ten or twelve typed out. (I have my own messy short-hand)

To see what I'm doing for the Poem a Day Challenge check out my other blog:

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Gotta' go. Gotta' write some Mo.

Caren E. Salas

Friday, September 30, 2011


I can never seem to explain my overwhelming love for the ocean. It draws me in like a rip tide.  I can't even conceive of living somewhere where I couldn't at least jump in my car and be there in 20 minutes.  The feel of the wind...the sound of the waves pounding the's like: weighlessness.  It's fascinating to me the way the water pushes up a little farther with each swell, or pulls in a little closer, powerful and yet...a slave to the moon.  I can spend hours searching for shells and sea glass, or exploring tide pools, in search of hermit crabs and urchins.  After a while I can feel the salt on my hair, and my skin, and I don't care.  When I die, throw my ashes into the sea so I can be in that blue-green heaven, swimming with the dolphins, gliding through liquid space like a manta ray.  Meanwhile, I'll just spend my free moments (rare, though they may be) walking along the shoreline, because that's where I find my peace, and inspiration.  When the craziness of life starts to suffocate me, I find my way to the beach
...and breathe.

Caren E. Salas

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Goals, Ambition and Coffee to Go!

   I was reading a blog by Arthur A Levine (, and he had written about ambitions and goals; how there needs to be some kind of balance between them. It's one thing to be ambitious and believe you can do something, and it's quite another to actually do it. Most writers I know, myself included, are really good at one thing: procrastination. We all have the best intentions, and all the ambition in the world, but it's hard when you don't really know if all your work will actually pay off. I've spent years writing and re-writing a novel and I have no guarantees when or if it will ever be published. Somedays I'd look at the manuscript and think, finally! It's done. Then I'd realize, that's what I thought last year, only to have someone look at it, and point out a few major flaws (sometimes more than a few...). How do I know this time it was really is ready to submit?  Well, I don't know, but it sure won't get published if it's tucked away under the bed.
      In the beginning of this year I gave myself one goal: submit my novel. I decided long ago that New Years Resolutions were futile. I'd always give up after a month or two, but goals were different. This was one thing. One thing to do, and I did it. Having ambition was like having a Starbucks gift card; I still had to decide (make a goal) to walk to the store and use it. At this point, anything else I do will be like whip cream on my caramel macchiato.

So...I'll take that Venti Caramel Macchiato please, extra shot of espresso, don't hold back on the whip cream!!
Friends, say a prayer, wish me luck, sprinkle a little pixie dust. I'm still holding my breath, waiting to see if my order will be filled.

Caren E. Salas

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


     I often hear people refer to their high school years as the best time of their life, saying that they wish they could go back. I, on the other hand, feel differently. You couldn't pay me enough to relive those years. I had braces, know, the common teenage nightmares.  I was a "theater geek" but within our small family-ish group I felt I belonged. There was no shortage of drama of course, (in every sense of the word) but when I think of that time in my life, theater was what got me through. It made me feel good about myself. On stage, I could be someone else, not the awkward ugly duckling I felt like the rest of the time.

     When my class had its 10 year reunion, I opted not to go. The wounds of real and perceived teasing and degradation were still too fresh. For the money I would spend, I could invite the four or five people I actually wanted to see, to my house for a party. After 20 years, comfortable with my life and family, I decided to go to that years festivities.  I felt much more confident in some ways, but still felt like I was on the outside looking in. Still, I had a good time.

     By the time we got to the 25 years, I was all over it. I know what you are thinking...Why Caren! You can't possibly be old enough to be out of high school that many years!! I know, right?  (Okay, stop laughing.) Anyway, at that reunion I was ready to face the music, even if it was disco.  I had a few things published, I was working on my first novel, and I was happy in my life. I felt good.  I sat with some old friends, and we had fun, but I didn't mingle much. Part of me still thought, they don't want to talk to me, I'm still just the geek to them. I felt my former classmates looking at me almost as if they were thinking "who does she think she is?" Twenty-five years, and I still felt like I had to prove myself.

     This year was 30 years. Ouch. Struggling with my health, and still trying to finish the novel I'd been working on for years, I thought, maybe not this time.   I didn't want to go, feeling unaccomplished and under the weather. Having a disease that comes and goes at will, I tend not to make plans that may

     But then, there was facebook. Every time I'd go on I'd see comments regarding the upcoming reunion. I was torn between really wanting to go and feeling even more strongly that I shouldn't. No, I'm not going, I had finally made up my mind...or so I thought. Upon my declaration of decline, I received several adamant protests. "What? You have to go!!" No, really, I don't.  Finally, mere days before the event, my friend Rita told me she had a ticket that her husband would be more than happy to donate (the proverbial arm twist). She even offered to drive.  Seriously, turning that down seemed almost rude. 

     The day of the reunion I agonized over what to wear. I didn't want to look too casual, or like I was trying too hard, I wanted to look nice, not too dressy, blah blah blah! I wondered if I had made the right decision. Was it too late to back out? I called in my fashion guru (Lauren, my 18 year old daughter) and she helped me find just the right thing. Rita picked me up and we arrived early. I felt strange at first considering there was no plan for me to be there. I had no name tag, there were no pictures of me (that was a plus actually, haha) and honestly I didn't see that many people I recognized. 
    As the evening progressed I became much more comfortable. I looked around at the people who once were cheerleaders, football players, class clowns, popular kids, brains and theater geeks. Now they were parents, professionals, business owners, writers, dreamers, but mostly...friends. We joked about needing reading glasses, and how we just couldn't seem to party like we used to. Some of my classmates who had seen my posts on facebook asked how the writing was going. I thought, wow, these people have changed, but really, I think that I'm the one who's changed. I finally see myself as someone worth knowing. I may not be JK Rowling (yet) but I will get published. I will. The great thing is I already have readers, people that I grew up with, and  went to high school with, who will see my book in a store and say "Hey, I know her," and be at least a little proud of that.

And that, was worth going for.

Caren E. Salas

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

No Lifeguards on Duty

     There's something about having a lifeguard around that makes me I'm actually a pretty good swimmer, and honestly, if a shark was attacking me, chances are the lifeguard would look out, say "damn" and call someone to pick up the pieces. Still, I think it's just the idea of someone watching over me.  Lifeguards are the keepers of the peace; the enforcers of the rules; an icon of safety on the beach.
If only I could have my own personal lifeguard to follow me around all the time and keep me from drowning. Often, I feel like I'm a little piece if driftwood, floating about in the huge ocean, helpless to control my speed or direction. I'm bobbing on the waves holding my breath each time I go under, and then gasping for every molecule of air I can get each time I get back to the surface. I'm searching for a lifeguard to rescue me, but instead there's a airplane circling over my head with a banner saying "You're on your own, baby!"
I'm pretty sure I used to have a raft, or a body board at least.  I suppose I will just have to keep swimming, stay afloat as long as I can, and hope for the best. Who knows? Maybe I'll end up on the shore of a tropical island.

Caren E. Salas

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Think System

     Irish dramatist, Brendan Behan once said "I am a drinker with a writing problem." I have to admit, it's one of my favorite quotes. Around our house we look for reasons to celebrate: holidays (especially St. Patrick's Day) birthdays, graduations or because that particular day of the week ends with the letter "y". I enjoy champagne, margaritas, shots of Irish Whiskey, martinis...well, you get the picture. But here's the thing. Drinking and parties are fun, but not every day. If we don't throw a party for a few months (yes, it does happen) I'm still okay. 

     Writing, on the other hand is my addiction.  If I'm not doing it, I'm thinking about it. I think about my next project, how to fix my last project, projects I want to do someday. I look at something like a sunset, a rain puddle, or a popcorn kernel and wonder how I can describe it in a way no one else has. I think about emotions I have, and try to apply some sort of tangible image to it. I look at a park's playground and remember how it felt to fly down a slide. Unfortunately it's sometimes hard to get all those thoughts written down. It's like Professor Harold Hill's "Think System" in the play, The Music Man. If you just think about it all the time, you'll get better or hey, get published!...if only.

     Last year during April, I participated in a poem-a-day challenge, courtesy of Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides website. I'm pretty sure I did all or most of the prompts, but I had a hard time keeping up with posting and writing sometimes. This year I'm determined. I've been actively writing every day and keeping up with posting for the most part.  I keep thinking if I can get myself disciplined to write my work down every day, and not just be rolling it around in my head, I might actually sleep better at night...and maybe, getting better and getting published will be that much closer.

Caren E. Salas

Want to join me? Check it out:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

April is coming...

Well, my plan to get on here and write every day turned out to be a bust.  I have been writing more lately, I just don't always get on the computer and type it up. I suppose I should get into the habit, since next month is National Poetry Month, and I really want to keep up with my poem-a-day challenge this time. Last year I did pretty well until Spring Break. It wasn't entirely my fault. We were on vacation and I didn't really have internet access all the time, so I wasn't able to get the prompts. (I know, excuses excuses.) This year I'm facing it with determination. Not only am I going to keep up, I am going to submit other stuff I'm writing - dang it - if it kills me. At this point, it might (just kidding of course). Well friends, wish me luck. April is only a few days away. Better get my imagination warmed up and ready to work!

Friday, February 25, 2011


Today the previously little known, favorite pet chicken of the famous ancient Egyptian Pharaoh "Neva-hrd-Uvom", was ushered into the after-life. Chik-ho-Tep as he was fondly referred to, was carefully preserved and mummified by the pharaoh's faithful, yet somewhat demented young priestess, Jan-A-unKhamun.  Although previous to his journey into death, Neva did consume most of his beloved beaked friend, he did save the chicken's right leg for future preservation. Salted, wrapped, oiled and perfumed, Chik-ho-Tep was tenderly placed into his own miniature sarcophagus. He will be displayed briefly along with the remains of several others of his kind, before being set in his final resting place.  Jan-A-unKhamun's mother expressed relief that the process was over, since the mummification was performed in her kitchen and was beginning to aroma.  Jan-A hopes the High Priestess will be pleased and give her an A.

Social studies projects! Oy!

Monday, February 21, 2011


Sometimes I feel like my life is just this tangled mess of things to do, miscellaneous tasks to accomplish, endless bills to pay, and driving destinations that don't take me anywhere.  I want to just take a break from it all and go on a mental vacation. The problem is, that evenually I would have to return to my life and the insanity of it would have increased exponentially with each moment I was away.  Funny how that works, isn't it?  No matter what I do to try and slow things down, it never seems to work. Anything put aside, is only delayed.  Anything delayed, is added to the ever growing heap of doodoo that I can't escape.  So what gets sacrificed? The things that actually do bring me a little peace.  I can't delete things like taking the kids to school, or paying the phone bill, or shopping for groceries.  There never seems to be enough hours in the day to do all these things, much less write, or go for a walk on the beach.  What I can do is dream. I dream up my poems. I dream of a time when I'll have more time.  I keep trying to get things done, and somehow write in between.  It'll happen one day, at least I hope it will.

Photo by William Salas

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Feeling better...

Today, the sun was shining. There were a few fluffy clouds in the sky, but for the most part, it was a nice day. I actually got a few things done, made some phone calls I've been putting off, wrote some necessary e-mails. Tomorrow, I may even go back to editing my novel. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.  Today, the sun was shining. I'm good with that.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gray Skies

There's something about this kind of weather. At any time during the day you look outside and it's just...gray. It removes all sense of time. It's brighter than the night, granted, but there's no morning sunrise, or afternoon shadows.  For me, the time slips right out from under my feet, because I feel like it must still be six or seven a.m.  The next thing I know, it's evening, time to make dinner...and where did the time go?

I remember I used to enjoy this type of weather. It was the kind of day that I could just stay in, make cookies and watch an old movie. Somehow in the midst of adulthood, motherhood and just plain life, I've gone from enjoying the overcast to dreading it.  The lack of actual direct sunlight sends me into a world of melancholy limbo.  I call friends, I write e-mails, Twitter my fingers off. I try and keep busy, doing housework or running errands, but all I want to do is curl up, go to sleep and wake up in the Spring.  Unfortunately, I don't really have that option.  So I must fight the grays.
If only they had "Sky Color" in a box at the nearest drug store.
Someone should invent that. They'd make a fortune.

Meanwhile, I guess I'll go put the clothes in the dryer.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Dear Friends, I've decided to try something different with this blog. I want to try and write something everyday. It will probably be very short, more like a single thought or image rather than thoughts on a particular subject.  I'm hoping this will encourage me to actually write everyday. It always seems like other distractions keep me from actually doing that. Sometimes I will write a journal-type entry, other times maybe an idea for a poem or story or just something I see outside the window or while I walk my dog. It may be just a few words or maybe more. That's the plan anyway. So here we go. 
Just a little note, today is my mom's birthday. I need to call her.  :)
She's the best mom in the world.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A New Year...

Normally in January I have this feeling of second chances, and starting over, and feeling like things are going to happen. So why does it seem like every day that passes I look around and...nothing. It's the same old thing. I'm still on the same merry-go-round. I still don't have enough hours in the day. I still don't have enough energy for what I'd like to do much less for what I need to do. I try to be optimistic, but nothing seems to change.  So where can I buy some rose colored glasses? I try to be optimistic, but nothing seems to change. How do I get that "anything is possible" attitude? They say you can find anything on e-bay, but I'm not sure what category to search under for these things.  It always used to come so naturally, but I've been waiting, looking, and running around in hopes of a miracle: something that will make me want to wake up in the morning, something that will convince me that life will get to that place of relative peace. I'm having a hard time believing that I'll ever get there.
I know this feeling will least I hope it will.  Hormones and exhaustion reek havoc on me. It's hard to think of the last time I felt rested.  
For now I just get through each day, hoping tomorrow I'll want to.
Caren E. Salas