Footprints in the Hallway

The Website of C.L. Mannarino

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The woman you promised

Ghosts.
Ghosts everywhere.
They hover on the autumn air,
surrounding me,
phantoms of my own
imagination.
That’s been happening a lot,
actually.
You’re not the woman you
promised me you’d be.
If I’m Autumn,
then you are Spring:
hope eternal, and allergies.
Promises to come, but nothing
substantial;
fade into Summer, a land of
broken glass
ground into pearls and beach sand,
and seasonal flings.
Promises for the future, but
nothing you intend to keep.
Ghosts.
All fleeting.
Fleeting means nothing to me.
You’re not the woman you promised
to be.

Copyright © 2017 C.L. Mannarino All rights reserved.

Eating with the Fairies

I’m struggling to
understand
how to reach you
How do I make you care?
“You can’t make people love you”—
well, I don’t want
love.
Or maybe I do.
Maybe I want
more
than you’re able to give.
Certainly more than you’re giving to
her,
more than you gave to
him,
more than you give to
anyone
who asks for it.
But not the rest.
Not the ones who don’t
know
you’re after them, for
stories, or
experiences, or
anything you can
take. Bend. Horde away,
strip of all reality in
your mind.
I can’t actually tell you
anything.
You don’t actually
speak.
It’s all a game of
evasiveness,
leaving everyone else forever
chasing,
and you,
forever running away.
Maybe that’s why I want you.
Maybe that’s why I’m so angry.
It’s not real.
You’re just a fantasy.
And I have to stop eating
with fairies.

Copyright © 2017 C.L. Mannarino All rights reserved.

Swans of Atlantis excerpt

To get you in the mood for some beachy summer reading, here’s an excerpt of Swans of Atlantis, due out this July:

Swans of Atlantis excerpt clmannarino

I’ve been saying

I’ve been saying
“I don’t need more friends”
for years.
Funny how,
now that I want them,
they all seem to have
drifted away.

Copyright © 2017 C.L. Mannarino All rights reserved.

How much?

How much do you
want
this?
Enough to
keep
your day job?
Enough to
work
every time you have a free minute?
What are you willing to
give
up?
Because you’ll have to say no,
you know, and
not
just to the things you
don’t
like doing.
We all only get
24
hours in a day. So
what will you spend
your
day doing?
Are you willing to take a
class?
How about two?
Are you willing to
hear
the hard things
as well as the good? Are you willing to
change
if you have to? Or maybe even
give up
parts of your dream that
no longer work?
Do you know how to set goals,
standards,
for yourself? Are you willing to
save, and
save, and
save, knowing you may
never
get to leave your day job?
How hard are you willing to
work? How much do you
love
this thing you’re doing? Do you
love
it enough that it
doesn’t matter
how long it takes anyone else to appreciate it?
Is it enough that,
for a long time, the
only
person guaranteed to love it
is you?

Copyright © 2017 C.L. Mannarino All rights reserved.

Give it patience

Give it patience
Holy joy
Prepare to be the author of your
Love,
A revelation,
An opportunity.
Be held
And encounter love
Weakness to victory,
Testimony to healing.
Walk with me.

 

Copyright © 2017 C.L. Mannarino
All rights reserved.

Describing Frightened

It’s worrying your fingers while you wait for the dentist to come back and give you Novocaine for a wisdom tooth withdrawal.

It’s being the last group to perform in a series of short plays, and realizing you can’t remember your first line the second you get on stage.

It’s walking down the hall to find your basement door open, and then it hits you: where did you last see the cat? Did it get out?!

It’s the ticking clock in the back of your mind, counting down the days to when you move out for good. It’s wondering if it’ll really be alright, or if you’re just opening the door for something waiting in the wings.

#ROW80:

I’m this close to finishing the prequel short story draft for my news friends, which I avoided all weekend because sad things are tough to write, and I wanted to get it right the first time. (I’ll be talking more about this, and some other changes I’m making, in the next news issue.)

Oh, and there’s also been progress with book edits. Somehow, they’re making it through all my efforts at procrastination.

Want more of this? Then come behind the scenes with me and my projects on the first Monday of every month.

Also, from today through the end of the month, my book is only $0.99 on Amazon. <3

Describing Sarcasm, #ROW80

It’s the biting comment you make after someone in a position of power over you says something mind-bendingly stupid, and yet those in the room fall for it.

When you roll your eyes and plaster a fake smile on your face, just so you can get through the conversation without screaming.

It’s the laugh you emit when people try to convince you they’re interested in what you have to say, even though you’ve been bought this way before, and it didn’t end well for you.

When you play nice and agree to work with something that clearly isn’t right, so you make every act elaborate and unnecessary to make sure everyone knows what position you’ve taken.

#ROW80:

Forgot this part until about half an hour ago. 🙁

Handwriting the book 2 prequel short story. It’s either going to be longer than expected, or just the right length, with some changes I had no idea I’d have to make because what plays out in my head is different than how I planned it at the end of 2015. Go figure! Now, to choose which version to go with: the longer, or the more pre-planned…

Like this? Then come get up close and personal with me and my projects on the first Monday of every month.

Describing Judgment, and #ROW80 Progress

It’s making fun of my mom and Sister 2 for watching the Bachelor a couple years ago, and then stopping every so often, mesmerized and yet self-loathing for allowing myself to become so captivated.

It’s falling in line with the two of them, but in the “okay” sort of fashion: the one where you sit with popcorn in your lap, sneering at the lines of women who sign up for this show. But not just the fact that they signed up: the fact that they’re dressed in gaudy clothes, and three layers of makeup. The fact that they all look the same, sound the same, act the same, treat each other the same, but in different shades of cruelty.

It’s asking each other “but why would any self-respecting woman even begin to think she can actually find love on a TV show?

It’s feeling like a bigger, better, smarter person for not falling for it, not signing up, not being one of those clone girls who says the same thing every other clone girl does when she gets interviewed in their one-on-one back rooms: I’m just so in love. I think I’m falling for him. He’s so hot. This is the most incredible experience.

It’s watching them get googly-eyed over a guy they’ve never met, and know nothing about, and rolling my own eyes. It’s listening to them get jealous and petty when other girls express the same interest, and scoffing at them for not remembering that all the girls who are on the show are on it for the same reason. It’s watching them cry and sob when they start interpreting the guy’s actions, or get booted off the show, and laughing to myself because “you didn’t really know him” and “you went on one date, how can you say you’re in love?”

It’s yelling, “This is what you signed up for!” at the screen when they all, inevitably, tear up about how they didn’t expect it to be like this, they didn’t expect it to be this hard, they didn’t expect to have to fight for someone’s attention.

It’s listening to them talk about all the reasons why they’re doing this as a “last resort,” and hearing the same fears I had about being lovable and finding someone, and realizing they’re just like me, at the core.

What right do I have to judge? Hell, I thought of online dating as a last resort to finding anyone. Sure, the show is designed to be fake, with set-up drama, but the people involved, and their emotions, are very, very real.

#ROW80:

I’m making progress! I think I’m almost at 30,000 typed words, but there’s a notebook on my desk with at least 5,000 in it. The notebook is probably the least rambling part of the whole story. On the computer, Swans 2 reads like my college diary: lots of speculative thoughts from a young woman who believes she’s in the throes of a real relationship, but has plenty of doubts and is still, at the core, dramatic.

Which is unlike the shero of Swans 2, who is still a teen, and is actually in a real relationship. Otherwise, the story and my diary are similar. I have a ton of revision to do, and a two tons of pacing to increase to actually, you know, get to the end by the end of this ROW80 session. We’ll see. The side plots are definitely pushed to the side in favor of the romance between the hero and shero, and I keep thinking “if you bring in those plots, you can both weave them into the story, and you can have them written up, all before you revise, so that you don’t have to go back and actually write the parts you’re avoiding.”

Except my brain is having too much fun throwing things at me when I’m not looking. It’s making this particular car very hard to steer in the direction I was aiming for. But all writing is rewriting, and just because this draft isn’t doing what I like, doesn’t mean I can’t rearrange it later.

Like this? Then come get up close and personal with me and my projects on the first Monday of every month.

Describing Shame, and #ROW80

It’s telling your best friend something private and secret about yourself, and then listening to her reprimand you for even having those thoughts at all.

It’s the hot-cold flush you feel afterwards, like the room is too big and too small all at once.

It’s the way you hold your hands in your lap, averting your eyes, trying to shrink until she forgets what you said, forgives what you said, so maybe you can, too.

It’s the gulf you feel growing in the space between you as you finish whatever it was you were doing — why are we even here? you ask yourself, watching the TV flicker and the evening light grow dim. oh yeah, you remember, shaking your head a little bit and not enough to attract her attention, thank god. we were hanging out. — and wondering how fast you can make the day end without seeming rude.

It’s the way the blood drains from your cheeks whenever she talks to you for the rest of the night. It’s the way your words stick to your throat as you try not to ask, are you still mad, any time she asks you a question and you have to find a way to come back to center, bring yourself back to the room, warm up to her again, act like nothing’s wrong.

It’s the way she won’t look at you for more than two seconds. It’s the wondering if she’s embarrassed, too, and then the voice in the back of your head hissing, of course she’s not, you idiot. what does she have to be embarrassed about?

It’s the wooden feeling you get when she hugs you goodbye at the end of the night. It’s the regret you feel watching her leave, the sadness you feel that there’s so much between you that’s now locked up and closed in and can never be let out again. It’s the gladness that she’s gone, and the fear, to:

Will she take what you said to the grave? Will she let it out? Is it really as bad as I think it is? How long do I have to lock it up for?

#ROW80 update:

Right now, Swans is still going pretty strong, and I’m fairly confident that the real bones of the story are there. It’s going to need way more meat, though. Tons of reorganizing, too. But this is okay! Bare bones drafts are fine by me. I tend to need to add more later, anyway, because my ideas come too fast sometimes, so when characters start talking, all those surrounding nuances get lost.

I’m learning that I love first drafts for their sheer messiness. I love them for being the place where I can tell, not show, the story. And I love revision for being the slower, more methodical place where I can study what’s going on, make sense of it, and then recreate it so that you all can get the best of everything in the story.

Also, I’m working on a quick intro short story for my second book in the Almost Human series. Let me clarify: it’s a deleted scene that I deleted before I got to write it because it didn’t start close enough to book 2’s main story line to keep around. But now, I’m writing it up, and I’m not sure what exactly I’m going to do with it just yet, except that if you’re a news friend, you’ll be the first to read it when it’s done. <3

Like this? Then come get up close and personal with me and my projects on the first Monday of every month.

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