Holi – The Festival of Colors

The three of us, Cindy, Natalie and I have a strange relationship with this Indian festival of color. Natalie and I have been to a local festival, it is making and appearance in a novel the three of us are writing together, and we’re all planning on going to the festival this year. For some reason, it speaks to our collective soul.

Imagine our surprise when a follower contacted us and asked to write about it for the blog. We were thrilled. Anuj Kumar lets us in on the beauty and meaning of this fun celebration of life, spring, and human togetherness.Holi

Holi – The Festival of Colors

Holi began as a festival celebrated, like many others, as a commemoration of a mythical event. For some, it signifies the victory of good over evil, and for others, the celebration of love. It is one of the few Indian festivals which has widespread international appeal.

Holi-OneThis is probably because of how inclusive and simple the revelry is. It involves throwing colored powder and water on pretty much everyone celebrating. There’s no competition, no rules, just pure countrywide enjoyment – which means hundreds of millions of people taking part at the same time!

Holi is one of the most famous Indian festivals, with major celebrations happening in over ten countries. These include India’s neighbors like Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan, as well as countries around the world like the UK, USA, Guyana, Suriname, and South Africa.

These countries have large Indian populations that celebrate it, and the local population joins in. The inclusiveness of the festivities has helped it spread beyond India’s borders, by bringing in a spirit of oneness and equality. In fact, some new countries even have their own ways to celebrate Holi, adding to the gamut of traditions that make up this now international festival.

As much as it has spread, the merriment cannot match the massive scale at which it is celebrated in India. As such, there are many Indians outside that miss the unbridled spirit behind the revelry, just as much as they miss their loved ones back home. There are, however, workarounds coming up. Smartphone apps like iHoli allow them to take photos of themselves, and add splashes and smears of color, and send these colored photos to loved ones!holi10

Though it’s based on Hindu mythology, it has the power to bring people of all religions together, in ways unlike any of its counterparts. It’s only a matter of time before Holi is as ubiquitous the biggest festivals of the world, with it’s new, unique traditions mushrooming as communities make it their own.

Anuj Kumar is an app-freak. He is very keen to try out the new exciting apps. Be it Windows, iOS or Android – all the platforms are a matter of interest to him.”

Advertisements

Guest Post- Poetry by April Stromberg

One of our loyal readers and friends experienced a painful and sudden loss in her life about a year ago. Though she hadn’t thought much about writing before, she turned to guest-postingwriting to help work through some powerful feelings about what happened.

Many times, writing is a tool to help us express words we can’t say, shed light on true emotions and set our hearts free. We here at Writing the Fire feel a kinship with those who are led to writing this way. We are honored to share April’s beautiful expression of love and loss and growth in her poems. We hope you enjoy them too.

***

The Last Time

Cold, only your face showing.
The last time I hugged you,
You weren’t alive.

Hard, speaking in short sentences.
The last time I saw you,
You were alive.

Aprils guest post

Warm, your voice was inviting.
The last time we spoke,
You were alive.

Soft, your ashes on my fingers.
The last time I touched you,
You weren’t alive.

The End

What have I learned?
Life is really too short.
Love doesn’t always last.
No one’s opinion matters.
I survived this.  I am strong.

About April Stromberg

April - Copy (2)I grew up the 5th child in a family with 7 kids, in Northern California.  After meeting my husband and dating for only 5 months, I moved to Salt Lake City and married him.  Three apartments, two houses, several jobs, two kids, one dog, several fish, and thirteen years later, I’m finally finding myself.

I never gave writing a thought until last year when my older brother died by suicide.  Not always wanting to burden my family with extra sadness, I took a pen and let the emotions flow.  It has become my therapy.  I’m allowed to say what I want without worrying about what other people think.  Most of them are sad because, well, grief is sad. 

I love to read like it’s nobody’s business.  I bake like a madwoman.  I eat until I’m full and love every bite.

I listen to happy music when I’m happy.  Sad music when I’m sad.  Melancholy music when I’m in a funk that I can’t get out of and dance music when I feel like dancing.

Guest Post- Jenny Shaw

This is a story about a girl who loves a lost boy, very, very, very much. She knew he was guest-postinglost but loved him anyway. He never returned her affections until one night right before his 28th birthday.

She knew it would never last. And it didn’t. But, these are the words that will remained burned into her heart for the rest of her life.

-Jenny

.
.

On a Wednesday night, the last week in May

 you started saying those words.

 I thought it was absurd, surely I misheard…

 You asked me to come back to you after I had gone away…

 So, come back I did, to reassure your soul.

 As you fell asleep, I went to go.

 Told you that I loved you so…then…you started talking too.

It started with “I love you Jenny”

followed by “Goodnight”

I didn’t believe my ears, I couldn’t have heard right.


.

 Two days passed, and then,

 I found myself once again

alone with you in your room

 where you were trapped in your spiral of doom

 trying just to keep yourself afloat…


.
.

 “Don’t leave me”, you pleaded

 my bleeding heart went out to you

I held you in my arms as you cried

“I’m so sorry, Jenny. So very sorry…”

For what, I didn’t know…


“I broke your heart so long ago…”

 That simply wasn’t true, this is what I told you

 I’m tougher than I look & stronger than I seem

 I saw in your eyes then a hopeful gleam

 “I’ve always adored you, I care for you so much

 I was just too afraid to ever let you know.

 I thought I would destroy you, I never wanna hurt you…”

 The sad smile on my face was matched by your own

 when I told you I loved you & I always would…

 But it was time for me to go.

 “No! Please, don’t leave me?

 Don’t leave me; I’m begging you Jenny-Bird.”

 As though your life hung on every word, you pleaded with me to stay…


.
.

couple holding hands

 So, I stayed.


.
.
.

 But the pleading didn’t stop,

 if anything it got stronger & more desperate.

 “I couldn’t stand it if you left, I think I might die if you leave…”

 Then you started to cry…


.
.

 “Oh, Peter Pan,” I said to you, so worried for my friend.

 “Are you talking about when I’m done with school?”

 I felt so foolish. Why should you care if I leave or I stay?

 I didn’t know what to say…

 “I couldn’t bear if you left,” you said in a rush

 Then with your voice quite hushed, through your tears you whispered

 “I think I would die without you here…”


.
.

 My heart stopped

 Tears filled my eyes

 I tightened my arms’ hold around you

 “No matter where I go, no matter what I do

How far away I am… I will never, ever leave you.

 I’ll always be right here for you, Pan.”

 You didn’t like that answer.

 You shook your head; you growled & said,

 “That’s not the same.

 You’ll be gone, I’ll be here…

 You’re leaving in a year.

 You’ll be with what’s his name who does the stuff.”

 You tried so hard to sound tough…

 I laughed,

 you frowned

 I turned your head around

 Took your face in my hands & I said,

 “Adrian. I think you have been misled.

 There is no what’s his name, not now at least

 and if you wanted to…

 You could come with me.”

 Your eyes, how they lit up,

 your smile brightened the room

 I saw you come out of your spiral of doom… and then…


.
.

love in the shadows

 The kiss.


.
.

 The thing I never knew I would miss

.
.

 exactly as I’d always imagined and better at the same time.

 For those minutes, for that hour… You were mine.

 But I knew it wouldn’t last

 the sun would rise, oh so fast…

 And with its rays your words would fade

 Disappearing in the light of day.


.
.

 You felt my hesitation,

 you asked me why?

 So I addressed the situation…

“I’ve loved you for so long,”

 a tear sliding down my face

 “It was always wrong… Wrong time, wrong place…”

With a deep breath I explained…

 “Tomorrow this will be over.

 You’ll wake up, you won’t remember.

 I know you too well, Peter Pan,

 More than anyone else, I understand.”


.
.

 Another growl then these words,

 “MURDER.

 I’ll do whatever it takes Jenny-Bird,

 to prove to you how much I care

Even if it takes forever, you’ll see just how much you mean to me.

Everything I’m doing now, everything I’ve done was to be the man you deserve to have;

so I could deserve you, too.

 I just can’t get rid of you, Jenny-Bird.”

 “Get rid of me?!” I cried, “If that’s what you want, I’ll leave right now,”

 Only half joking, I pulled away.

 You pulled me harder to your side,

 you kissed me long and hard, you said,

 “This connection that we have, it just won’t go away.

 I don’t want it to; I couldn’t imagine life another way.

 I’ve missed you Jenny, so much,”

 You showed me with your touch, the passion in your heart…


.
.
.

 As you drifted off to sleep,

 I wouldn’t let my eyes close

 I wanted to remember everything from this night

 So that when the sun rose and you forgot I would know…


.
.

 You told me that you loved me

you said how much you cared

 more than I had ever dared to hope for

 you showed me in one bittersweet night…


.
.

 It hurts but I know I’ll be alright

 now that once more you’ve gone away…

At least, for just a moment

 you found the courage to say what was in your heart.


 And now, just like we knew you would,

 this night has disappeared.

 It didn’t happen if I don’t remember…

 But I will always remember.


.

  Though our story may be over,   crush couple silhouette

 I will always be grateful for this one fateful night

when our paths met along with our lips

I’ll consider it our farewell kiss

before we embark into our new lives…


.
.

Goodbye Peter Pan.

.

 

About Jenny Shaw:

JennyI grew up in a rural town in northern Utah. My life wasn’t particularly exciting, no grand adventures or epic love stories. The oldest child of a middle-class American family, homeschooled and the only non-LDS family on the block, I didn’t have many friends growing up. So, I made them up. Writing became my escape, my way into the life and friendships I only dreamed of having. 

I’d been singing since before I can remember and writing for almost as long. Eventually, the two merged into angsty teenaged poetry which then evolved into something almost called real music. At this point in my life, my music and my writing are my ways of expressing myself, reaching into the world outside of me to add to it, make it more beautiful than it was before…and it is much cheaper than therapy. Ha!

Oh it’s NOTHING!

guest-posting

My Auntie M (as children we thought we were pretty special to have our own Auntie M–Like Dorothy) shared some of her writing with us this month and– ass that I am, I forgot to post it last night… chalk it up to all the changes I’m supposed to be going through.

Anyhow, it is a beautiful idea that she had and I am honored to share it with you today.

“Oh it’s NOTHING.”

 Have you ever done something for someone that you think is small and they tell you Thank you, And you reply – “Oh, Its Nothing.”?

Something like, taking the newspaper in when you walk in your grandma’s house.

Or giving a child a drink when her mother is especially busy?Pint girl

Maybe you just handed someone a napkin when they were too far away from the dispenser, or said; “Hello”, to someone who was all alone?

To you it may be nothing. But have you ever thought about what “Nothing does?

Today I was filling out a form for a woman.  It was so that she could receive an award, a token of the boss’s appreciation for a job well done.

As I typed in the amount of the bonus I was supposed to input $100.00 but accidentally put in $1000.00! When I proof read the form and realized the mistake, it was amazing to me how much one NOTHING can do.

It made me think of the many times I have said or heard; “Oh, It’s nothing.”

I just imagined what would have happened if I had left the form like that…

The awards were going to go clear up to the big boss’s desk and just suppose that she had missed that amount as well.

(I had actually shown it to the individual’s manager and he didn’t notice my mistake.)

Think with me for a moment, if you will.  What would have happened – say – If it would have gone all the way through the pipe line?  WOW what a bonus for a few hours work!

What if I had left off one of the nothings – $10.00?  WOW what a slap in the face for all that work!  Or Lets say I had not put in another nothing?  $1 – for all the work this employee had done over a month’s time that had helped the company greatly.

If we were to take out all of the nothings in the amount it would be just 1 cent.  That would have been quite a kick in the teeth! Let’s go back and imagine for just a second if I had added ANOTHER “NOTHING” to that award form? $10,000.00 Wouldn’t you have wanted to be the recipient of that?  I know I would.  Shoot – today I would take the $10.00!

This made me think, What if we do a bunch of ‘NOTHINGS” in each day – what a difference we can make, in our lives – because after all “IT IS NOTHING”.  Yet how do you feel when you do a “NOTHING” for someone?  You would feel pretty good most of the time if you knew you were doing little things for others that to you may be “NOTHING” but that they may be struggling to get to or just can’t do.

helping handsImagine – what the world would be like at work – people doing little random acts of “NOTHING” for each other? WOW – we might just want to be at work. Or our days would be so fun!

How about at home?  You and your husband just doing the little “NOTHINGS” that mean so much to each other or your children doing all the little “NOTHINGS” that would help SO much.

Have you done nothing all day?  You should feel pretty good about yourself about now.

Well, this is a whole lot of “NOTHING” for me to write a whole page about –

But it made me think.  “NOTHING” CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE EVERYDAY!

Margo Loftus

Two Young Boys and the Importance of Family

guest-posting

The following two poems are very special to me. They are from my Aunt who wrote them for her son and my brother. I would like to take this moment to express how grateful I am for the example my Aunt set during this extraordinarily difficult time in her life. She doesn’t know, but her example of faith and fortitude have carried me through hard times in my own life.

The first poem is to my brother.

I will let her introduce them:

Bryan was born 3/26/86 and was diagnosed with Leukemia in July 1986. He was not initially diagnosed with Leukemia. They told us it was a virus that attacked his blood system because babies don’t get cancer. He was treated for a week and was sent home.  About 10 days later he went to Primary Children’s Medical center and was diagnosed with 2 kinds of Leukemia.

Bryan was in McKay Hospital getting blood and platelets when Jimmie was being born upstairs!  I feel they were friends and there is a reason Jimmie came when he did and is such a great man.  His guardian angel is the same age as he is.

Bryan died 3/2/87.

Dear Little Jimmie,
Dear little one
Do you know of the loss
Of my own little son?
You come to me
Stay with me
Laugh with me
Play with me.
I can see in your eye
You somehow know why
I cry.

Dear little Jimmie,baby hands
Dear little one.
You can never replace
My own little son.
But you hug me and kiss me
And somehow understand
And you dont seem to mind
when I kiss your small hand
And cry.

Dear little Jimmie,
Dear little one.
Your Parents are thankful
For their own little son.
I’m thankful too, that their son is you.
You are helping me through some difficult times
Sometimes through the tears
Because of your special charms.
I smile.

Margo Loftus
August 4, 1987

Dear little Bryan,
Now that you are gone,
Did I tell you I love you each day?
Before you left here for your Father so dear,bryan
Did I teach you my very best way?

Dear little Bryan,
When you were here
Did I say all that needed be said?
Did I cover you softly and kiss you enough
as you lay in your sweet little bed?

Dear little Bryan,
Now that you’re gone
I know I did not do enough.
Cuz there’s never enough time to do all that you should
But I did do the best that I could.

Dear little Bryan,
Now that you’re gone,
I can tell you in three little words
And I’ll send them to you so that they can be heard
On the wings of a special blue bird.

Dear little Bryan,
I’ll be with you someday and then I can do all the things
And tell you the three little words you have heard
That have come on that special bird’s wings.

Dear little Bryan,
I miss you my dear
And I think of you day after day.
I doubt that the pain that I feel in my heart
will stop ’til you’re walking my way.

Dear little Bryan,
My sweet little child,
’til that day comes and I hold you again
Be happy.
Do God’s work.
And remember ~
You’ll always be my little man.

Love, mom

May 1988
Margo Loftus

Guest Post: Jenny Shaw

A musician’s thoughts about channeling emotion into art…

By Indie Ogden’s Jenny Shaw
 

Writing can be therapeutic. Taking emotions that fill you with pain, anger,anguish, sorrow, love, hope,  hopelessness, dreams, love guest-posting– unrequited or fulfilled – and let you place them outside of you, where they can be used to create, to build, to make something beautiful out of something ugly…or something heartbreaking . The words you put on that page can let other people know they’re not alone, not the only person to feel this way.

Writing can be challenging. It asks us to move outside of the box we normally live in, the way we express ourselves to others. There are no rules to writing (aside from spelling…), no one can tell you what you have to say, what pictures you must paint for your readers. Writing frees you from the confines of the “normal” world and lets you escape into a place where nothing you say is wrong, nothing you feel is “too much”,Jenny singing too passionate, whiny, pleading, hopeful, silly, it’s never too much.

I write songs. Sometimes, I really like what I write. Sometimes… I wish they sounded more like something else. So, I start over. I never scrap anything, because who knows but that something I wrote three months ago and hated won’t speak to me now?

This is mine. It doesn’t have a name. But it speaks to me. It may become a song…maybe not. It might just stay how it is.

Are you really such a fleeting thing?

Who would’ve guessed something so good could ever end…

As one day blurs into the nextgirl moon stars

I long to see you again…

Now I look for you each day

Praying that someday soon you’ll find me,

Somewhere along the way…

As of yet, I walk alone through this dark and stormy world, 

Hoping and wishing on stars 

for a love to call my own

So my heart, at last, can be at home.

I thought I’d figured this out, at last

But I realize now how naive I was

To think someone like you would want someone like me

To keep

To call dibs

To say “She’s with me”

What was it?

What did I ever see?

Are you really such a fleeting thing?

To go from embraces by the fire,

to stolen glances filled with shame

Things will never be the same, will they?

I lie in wait

Waiting for your call.


When I listen to a song by someone else, or I choose to learn a song to play, the words are the most important thing. Followed by how I know it will sound when I sing it. The following is a song called Perivigilo by a band called First Aid Kit. The lyrics speak to me so strongly, a song of passion and desire, unrequited love and hope with the full knowledge that it’s just never gonna happen…

 And that’s all she wrote… for now!

-Jenny

About Jenny Shaw

I grew up in a rural town in northern Utah. My life wasn’t particularly exciting, no grand adventures or epic love stories. The oldest child of a middle-class American family, homeschooled and the only non-LDS family on the block, I didn’t have many friends growing up. So, I made them up. Writing became my escape, my way into the life and friendships I only dreamed of having. 

I’d been singing since before I can remember and writing for almost as long. Eventually, the two merged into angsty teenaged poetry which then evolved into something almost called real music. At this point in my life, my music and my writing are my ways of expressing myself, reaching into the world outside of me to add to it, make it more beautiful than it was before…and it is much cheaper than therapy. Ha!

 

Interview with a Writer: Kira Lyn Blue

Hey guys, it’s Natalie.
You remember how last month we had guest writers? Each and every one of them had something wonderful to share. Well, this month, through my personal blog, I found another one!
Kira Lyn Blue is the author of an up and coming urban fantasy novel entitled Murphy’s First Law! Take it from me, ladies and gentlemen she and her book are fantastic! If you’d rather not take my word for it, head over and check out the first chapteKira imag0031-1editedr on her site. See? It was awesome, wasn’t it?
Without further ado, here is Kira sharing her experiences as a writer, and a little bit about Murphy’s First Law (her book, not the adage.)
 
 
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
This tale takes us back to the dark ages of dial-up internet when I was a senior in high school and thought I had my life all planned out. I was going to attend a service academy and become a career military officer. After turning in an essay on The Name of the Rose for a philosophy class, my teacher asked me to stay after class. I remember being mortified. I had agonized over that essay (read: there were tears involved) and I just knew he was going to tell me it sucked. What he said: “You know, if this military thing doesn’t work out for you, you should become a writer.”
  essay-writing
He had loved the essay and I was flabbergasted. That was the best compliment anyone had ever paid me and it stuck with me long past the military thing not working out. (Note: Short, myopic girls with inclinations towards motion sickness do not make good candidates for jet fighter pilots. Who knew?) It took me years to finally act on his advice, though. I’ve always loved to write, but I was never brave enough to actually commit to writing a novel.  I was, and still am, afraid it won’t be good enough. It was finally my wonderfully supportive husband who gave me a kick I needed by being supportive and encouraging me to follow my dream. I also keep the words of my former philosophy teacher in my head as encouragement and a reminder that other people sometimes see us much more clearly than we see ourselves.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have to pick just one? Eeep! I’m going to go with Chuck Palahniuk. It might seem odd since it’s not the genre I typically read and not the one I’ve chosen for my own series, but I think he writes the most amazing opening chapters. That he opened both Fight Club and Invisible Monsters with the end of the story has always impressed me. He shows you the end and still manages not to give anything away, so I devour his books trying to understand how the characters get to the point that he showed in the opening.
I’m also intrigued by how he can make me empathize with characters so flawed I would probably find them despicable in real life. Now that’s good writing. I want to be able to do that!
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
All of it. Ok, not really. I’d say my biggest challenge is not rambling. I’m still learning how to craft scenes using the minimum amount of words that still convey the tone and emotion I want.

What is your book about?
Jacquelyn Montgomery is a Jinx; the living, breathing embodiment of Murphy’s Law. When you’ve accidentally blown up a college chemistry lab, killed your boyfriend and best friend, and attracted the attention of the Justicars who hunt down and kill Jinxes, what do you do? You hide out in in a city no self-respecting sorcereress would deign to set foot in: Indianapolis. You hope the endless miles of cornfields surrounding the city will protect you. News Flash: They won’t.
What inspired you to write your book?
This question popped into my head one day: What if having a magical ability completely sucked? Things just kind of developed from there. The idea is fun for me because I want to see how my character, Jac, can learn to control her life even if she can’t control her magic.
What experiences do you draw from to make your characters so believable?
Hold on, I’m still reeling over the implication of that question. My characters are believable! YAY! Setting the book inbigstock_Indianapolis_Sky_Line_937865 my hometown makes it easier because I can picture the scenes better, so then I just have to focus on actions, behavior, and dialogue. Other than that, I have no idea. It frequently feels like my characters have a mind of their own. Their actions and words just play out in the never ending film running in my mind and somehow it ends up on the page. That said, I do have to go back in and revise using my character notes to make sure each character stays true to the personality I intended for them.
See, what did I tell you folks? She’s awesome! And if you didn’t click on the link above when I told you to… do it now so you can be as hooked as I am!
Thank you Kira for giving us this interview and reaffirming the knowledge that no writer is alone in their crazy! And thank you to our wonderful readers for coming back here again and again to see what kind of lunacy we’re cooking up!
Natalie

About Kira Lyn Blue:

Kira Lyn Blue is an urban fantasy author living in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband, two furry ninjas with tuna breath, and a deaf Humane Society rescue dog that looks like a cross between David Bowie and Krypto the Superdog. She is currently working on a novel about Jac, the chaos class sorceress or Jinx, tentatively titled Murphy’s First Law.