Monday, July 14, 2008

I’ve Had Enough of This: A Collection of Short Stories written by me

"The End of Good Times" short story by Pia V. Pulido

Sunkissed77: This is what happens to people when they burn out.

She told me over instant messaging. Another message popped into the screen as Eva continued to make me understand why she is leaving him.

Sunkissed77: They go to work, they come home, eat dinner, go to sleep. Rinse, repeat. People just have to find something to keep them distracted from all the bullshit in their lives.

So I guess Sergio was her distraction. A three-month distraction, so far.

KerriLynn: What about the kids? Send.

I guess she had already thought of that because I could tell from the other side of the IM that she is typing and deleting, typing and deleting, furiously, like a madman. Blimp. A new window was blinking again. Blimp. Blimp. Blimp. Wow, three consecutive blimps. The woman had something to say, most definitely.

Sunkissed77: My daughter will be with me. I have a clean record, a stable income, a house that’s paid for, and no shady background lurking around somewhere. The judge will see that. There is no question there. I have police reports filed from a year ago when he was disturbing the peace. Remember how he shoved the front door wide open and knocked down our little daughter? It was an accident, but for fuck’s sake, it was our little girl. She turned out fine, obviously. Just a mere scratch on her foot, but I had to call the cops on him. Somebody had to calm him down, and it sure as hell wasn’t gonna be me. I can’t believe I stayed with that piece of shit a day longer after that. Sure, I’m not a good housewife, I can’t cook, and I hardly ever clean, but I do know how to raise kids, you know, unlike some drama mamas.

KerriLynn: You’re a good mother, I know that, Eva. But what about the boy? In the ten years that you’ve raised him, doesn’t he feel like your own? How is he going to feel when you leave him and Todd? Send.

No response. I have known Eva and Todd since they’ve been together. During our early twenties, when everyone else seemed focus on their careers and their identities, Todd and Eva worked their butts off to raise Todd’s son, David. It was a beautiful relationship, all three of them learning to love each other. Eva, being the lovable selfish brat that she was, finally had a reason to grow up. She became a great mother, and to this day, she would tell you that David was her inspiration for teaching and writing. And Todd, he seemed like a nice enough guy. He could tolerate Eva’s little idiosyncrasies when everyone else couldn’t. Todd could have abandoned all his responsibilities as a father, but he pursued custody of his son. He knew that the baby mama wasn’t going to give David a chance to grow up to become a decent human being.

They’ve gone through more ups and downs together than any other couple friends I have ever known, but they always managed to overcome their obstacles. Maybe not this time. I thought they had a genuine liking towards each other, but one thing’s for sure; they have never been happy together. It might be best for her to end it. Until today, I have never seen her so sure of anything in her whole life, which is probably a sign that she is ready to move on. She hasn’t responded to my question and I got the feeling she wouldn’t anytime soon. I changed the subject.

KerriLynn: So tell me about Sergio. Send.

Sunkissed77: He’s totally hot. He’s young, though. 25. But already accomplished so much. Earned two college degrees. Working on his Master’s, and invented some kind of watch technology for his undergrad thesis. It was so successful that he’s now a VP, but he really doesn’t have to work. He’s quitting his job and selling the technology to the company. He’ll get royalty fees for every watch sold. There is really no reason for him to work, but get this...he wants to be a teacher!

Blimp. A new window popped up. I rolled my eyes as I read the first sentence. What is she, 15???? He’s hot?

KerriLynn: WTF, Eva? I know I should be happy for you, but come on, Eva. You know this guy is probably not looking for anything but a good time. 25? He’s just a baby!!! Send.

Sunkissed77: LOL! Well, how do you know that I’m not looking for a good time, too?

KerriLynn: Because you will become emotionally attached. I’ve known you since high school, Eva. You are totally all or nothing at all. You need to be careful. You’re treading on dangerous waters. Send.

Sunkissed77: I’ve treaded on dangerous waters for ten years with Todd. I should have seen all the red flags before. But oh well, live and learn. I know you’re worried, Kerri, but things are going to be fine. You know, he’s actually nicer to me now that he knows he has everything to lose? The poor bastard doesn’t know what hit him until it’s too late.

KerriLynn: Is it too late? Send.

Sunkissed77: Ten years too late, dear. And no, I am not rushing into another relationship with Sergio. Like I said, he’s just a distraction. He makes me feel…oh, I don’t want to sound like a blushing schoolgirl. He makes me feel beautiful! Anyway, I still haven’t had sex with Sergio. We’ve made out a couple of times, but he knows I’m going through a divorce.

KerriLynn: brb Send.

I rubbed my eyes to recover from the glare of the monitor. I was getting a little tired, but I didn’t want to be rude and cut off the conversation, especially when she was trying to bear her soul to me. Deep sighs. I set the laptop aside and adjusted the pillow on my back. Still uncomfortable. I should probably fly down there and pay her a visit. We could fix it over a couple of martinis and some smokes, like we used to do, before everyone got married. Good times. I got up to go to the kitchen to pour myself a late night cup of coffee. It’s going to be a long night.

Sunkissed77: Are you there?

KerriLynn: Yeah, sorry, I had to get some water. I was thirsty. Send.

Sunkissed77: Oh, okay. So what’s new with you?

I could detect a hint of insincerity with this question. She could give a rat’s ass about what’s new with me, and besides, a single woman’s drama is nothing compared to a married woman, mother of one, stepmother of another, baby mama drama, daddy issues and husband with so many other issues kinda drama.

KeriLynn: Nothing much. Looking into taking cooking classes. Send.

Sunkissed77: Yeah, that’s probably what Todd wanted me to do. Take cooking classes instead of grad school classes. Shithead.

The conversation always revolved around her, but I didn’t mind. It kept me busy. It kept me company. It kept me sane.

Monday, March 10, 2008

How To Get Started in Freelance Writing

This post is dedicated to my old friend Anaka, a talented writer who wants to put her words to good use!!!!

As a published writer for small and local magazines, I've been asked the same question over and over again. "How did you get them to publish your pieces?"

Sometimes, all it took was a simple letter stating my ideas. Other times, it took actually writing real articles without the hopes of getting paid nor published. The most important thing is to keep writing and to keep collecting your writing samples. Keep the passion burning, baby!

In any case, Anaka, these are some tips to get a byline in a magazine:

  1. READ, READ, READ the local newspapers and small magazines in your area for at least a few weeks. You’ll need to get familiar with their story angles, and possibly get to know the writing of the regular reporters/writers who have particular beats.
  2. Jot down a list of topics that you, as a reader for a particular publication, would want to read. Make sure that your ideas are relevant to the focus of each publication. For example, you wouldn’t want to write about ski resorts in Colorado for Texas Monthly magazine, which is why it is so important for you to read and become familiar with each publication’s story angles and beats.
  3. Develop your ideas by coming up with unique/specific themes. Local magazines like seasonal things and events related to their communities, so make sure you develop a “nose for news.” Keep your eyes and ears open for any newsworthy event around the area and know your target. Who are you writing for? How does it benefit the community? Remember your 5 W’s and H (Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How)
  4. Write a QUERY LETTER proposing your ideas to the magazine editors. A well-written query letter helps proves to an editor that you are qualified to write the piece. Then look at the masthead of each publication and find the name of the editor-in-chief. His/her contact information should be listed. Send in your letter which includes your ideas and proposal and your contact information.
  5. Write WHAT YOU KNOW – All writers know this. Our best writing pieces come from our expertise in particular topics. You have more of a chance getting published if you write for a trade magazine. For example, teachers can write for education magazines, a musician can review local bands, etc.
  6. Prepare to get rejected. You are lucky if you even get a response, so a rejection is better than nothing. Many editors would probably say, “We already did a story like this.” Keep trying and maintain relationships with them. You can also offer to be their freelancer if they need any particular assignments covered. Even though your ideas may have been rejected, they may still need a writer to cover a particular assignment. Gladly accept and learn from the experience!

Good luck and happy writing!



Sunday, February 24, 2008

Five Wishes and Achieving My Dreams

Written Monday, January 14, 2008

Five Wishes

Instead of making New Year's Resolutions this year ( "Don't hate in '08" -Rubix), I decided to make life goals. I was inspired. The book Five Wishes focuses on a certain question: If you were in your deathbed right now, at this very moment, and someone asked, "Was your life a complete success?," would you say yes or no?

I had to stop and think about that for a minute or two. Is my life a complete success right now? Could I answer that right now? I would have to say no. It's not a complete success....YET! On the surface, as I flipped through the chapters, I thought the book was a bit cheesy. I couldn't put it down, though, and before I knew it, I was finished with it.

The book asked very practical and profound questions and has a "worksheet" to help someone realize their dreams. My answers are in that "worksheet" below. I invite you, my dear readers, to copy paste the template into your own blog and share your wishes with me. It's a great self-improvement exercise!

This is mine -hard work in progress...

The Questions
I ask you, Was your life a complete success? If you answer no ask yourself the main reason your life was not a total success and write it down.

The main reason my life was not a total success is because.....
I didn't teach my children to passionately pursue their own hopes and dreams the way my mother did for me.

And I didn't.......
finish writing my own Language Arts (reading/writing) curriculum to implement a successful writing workshop program for children and young adults.
And I didn't.....
accomplish my goal in becoming a published author who has sold at least a total of 100 copies of my published book (self-published, independently published or published by a distributor).

And I didn't....
take my children and husband to see the world through extensive traveling.

And I didn't......
expand my talents and abilities in and beyond the education field.

And Your Five Wishes
Now turn those reasons into wishes. For my life to have been a total success,
I wish I'd....
taught my children to passionately pursue their own hopes and dreams the way my mother did for me.

And I wish I'd....
finish writing my own Language Arts (reading/writing) curriculum to implement a successful writing workshop program for children and young adults.

I also wish I'd....
become a published author who has sold at least a total of 100 copies of a published book (either self-published, independently published, or by a distributor)

And I wish I'd....
taken my children and husband to see the world through extensive traveling.

And I wish I'd.....
expanded my talents and abilities in and beyond the education field.

If I'd done or experienced these things, I'd consider my life a success.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Achieving My Dreams

dream (dreem)

1. A series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep.

2. A daydream; a reverie.

3. A state of abstraction; a trance.

4. A wild fancy or hope.

5. A condition or achievement that is longed for; an aspiration: a dream of owning their own business.

6. One that is exceptionally gratifying, excellent, or beautiful: Our new car runs like a dream.

In this context, achieving my dreams is accomplishing my goals and resolutions, and I most certainly have a desire to do this. Writer Susan M. Heathfield suggested following the philosophy of Napoleon Hill, in his groundbreaking book, Think and Grow Rich, by saying, "The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat."

The next big question is - - How deep is my desire to accomplish my goals (See Five Wishes blog)? Am I willing to work hard while maintaining a full-time job as a teacher, being a wife, and mother? Will I be able to confidently break down barriers, take risks, make plans to follow the path, and commit to the discipline it takes to get there? Will I allow myself some wiggle room and give myself a well-deserved pat-on-the-back on my slow but steady progress on a regular basis? How long will I keep going? Will I give up hope?

While contemplating my "dreams," The 1994 Cranberries song "Dreams" came to mind. (Hahahaha, I know. I look at my life and add appropriate soundtrack songs to make it more melodramatic and interesting.) The first few lines are particularly striking for me:

"Oh my life, is changing everyday

In every possible way.

Oh my dreams, it's never quite as it seems…."

It's so true! Just when I think a perfectly matched opportunity falls into my lap, I am reminded by a stronger force of nature – God's plan, my destiny, my fate, or whatever you call that higher power that is beyond our control. Indeed, the path to success is never quite at it seems. Recently, I kept re-reading my Five Wishes. Did this opportunity (to make lots more money) that fell into my lap match my goals and desires? I honestly don't know. What I do know is that it takes more than opportunities falling into our laps to become satisfied with our success. I think my next step is to write a step-by-step plan of action that will allow me to measure my progress in achieving these goals - - sort of like an expanded lesson plan for myself with goals/objectives, procedure, list of materials needed, and assessment. Man, those five wishes are gonna take me forever to accomplish! Ugh………..

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Livin' La Vida Latina - Food and Drink

An old article I posted on in the TexTalk section

Food and Drink Livin' La Vida Latina

posted on Friday, August 08, 2003 @ 14:17:46 CDT

By: Pia V. Pulido

"Livin' La Vida Latina"
Latin American culture is usually misunderstood because far too often, the terms "Hispanic," "Latino," and "Latin American" are used synonymously. Contrary to popular belief, Latin culture does not simply equate Mexican food. It is inclusive of countries that make up Latin America, where the Spanish language predominates. Latin America is a geographic location that describes countries south of the United States, including South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Recently, the growing number of the Latin American population in the United States has captured everyone's attention.

Originally from Venezuela, Carlos Branger, owner of Zaguan World Bakery and Cafe, is on a mission to seize the Latin explosion hype. A six-year Dallas resident, Branger discovered a good market for Latin culture, food, and music. Inspired by such hot Dallas spots that he and many fellow Latin American friends frequented such as Cafe Madrid and Gloria's, he saw the increasing trend of international culture booming locally.

He explains that Latin culture is a hot commodity because it is "very warm, very personal, very happy, and family-oriented, and it is most often expressed through our hospitality."

Zaguan became his vision. The term "zaguan" depicts the elaborate entry passage in the colonial homes popular in Venezuela, Spain, and Colombia. The zaguan is a "symbol of a literal ground marking hospitality."

Since it first opened in May 2002, Branger was determined to educate the community on Latin hospitality, while tempting the taste buds of food lovers all across town. Featuring far more than the Tex-Mex staple of fajitas and enchiladas, Zaguan offers an array of international breads, pastries, and cakes, as well as delicious hot meals and drinks. The signature Zaguan dish, "cachapas," are sweet corn turnovers grilled until the become soft and warm, then filled with cheese, ham, beef, chicken, and other items.

Latin restaurants like Zaguan, are no longer the only defining aspects of the culture. The latest Census Bureau reported that Latin Americans are one of the fastest-growing minority groups in the country, and their visibility in the U.S. has prompted business owners to cater to their buying power. Interestingly enough, however, the Latin Americans are not the only ones enjoying the trend, but it seems that people from all walks of life have embraced the culture as well.

So what is the politically correct and proper term to describe these Spanish-speaking groups that have made such a cultural impact these past few years? It does not really matter, actually. What matters is their pride in their cultural legacies that have made them become united, rather than divided.