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Let’s Celebrate!

Anniversaries come but once a year, and for MyPenWritesNice, a very special one has arrived.

In the words of the legendary Tony Toni Tone, “do you know what today iiiiisssss?”

 

That’s right! Today marks the official third anniversary of MyPenWritesNice.com! The site began when Cortney decided it was time to set some of her fears aside and share her beautiful gift with the world. To date there have been over a thousand visitors and thousands of views across multiple countries and I am more than confident that there is more to come!

It is her hope that those who have followed and fresh readers will stick along for the continuing journey. It’s going to be a great one.

 

To celebrate MyPenWritesNice’s third anniversary, Cortney has asked that everyone take a trip throughout the site and take a new look at some or all of your old favorites. PLEASE share your favorite short stories and poems with your friends and family, via social media, and be sure to tag her on twitter @MyPenWritesNice and @WrittenByCort, you can also find and follower her on instagram @MyPenWritesNice.

Be sure to leave comments, share how her work has made you feel, and let us know what you’re looking forward to in 2020!

 

Happy Anniversary and Happy Reading!

 

“Dreams Of You” by Cortney Joseph

We were beneath the tree beside our house.

Me in my little pink corvette, you in your yellow prowler.

 

We were talking big smack, passing licks and clowning around.

Racing each other up and down the street until the sun went down.

 

Then you stood, and you smiled.

Your hands rose, you began to wave goodbye.

 

Tears fell and I prepared my plea for you to stay,

You smiled and said “Sister, you did great. Sister, you’ll be fine.”

 

In an instant you faded,

And I awoke,

Happy for the dream of a last moment,

Yet saddened there’ll be no more real.

 

 

 

Dedicated to : Sandy De’Marcus Joseph

December 1, 1993 – December 18, 2019

I’ll love you always, Baby Boy.

 

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The End.

They say that things happen for a reason, and sometimes it’s just not meant for us to understand.

Since this past Wednesday, it’s like I’ve been trapped inside of a dark and murky bubble… cloud. Something.

There’s a storm, and I don’t feel it’s one that will pass.

 

My whole world is gone, it’s empty and I heard that day by day it gets a teeny bit better, but I don’t think it ever will.

I’ve lost all strength. I’ve lost all drive and motivation. I’ve lost the only person I was truly trying to make a better life and succeed for.

And I know that I should continue, because he would want me to, but I can’t. For the first time ever; I am truly without words.

 

So with that, I’ll say goodbye for now. And thank each and every person that has paid me and my art a visit, even if only briefly. There’s plenty to read and re-read, and I hope that you still enjoy and share. But for now, there’ll be nothing new I can bring to MyPenWritesNice.com

My heart is gone, and everything went with it.

 

xoxo,

C.D.J.

Work In Progress, #1 (An Update)

So,

I’ve finally reminded myself that I’ve been doing a little too much playing around. And by ‘playing around’, I mean not putting my talent to use. Doubting myself entirely too much. And just being plain old LAZY.

I’ve been telling myself that I have to stop using these sad and depressed moods of mine (though valid, to me) as an excuse to make excuses and give up on the thing I love most.

Writing.

 

Let’s be honest; no matter how hard I fight or how many times I say I’m quitting (which is about a hundred times a day); the talent, the ideas, and the big goals and dreams I have for myself aren’t going anywhere.

It’s taking a lot longer than I anticipated (nearly twenty years now since I first picked up a pen by choice — nearly ten since I’ve been publishing my work and promoting on my own), but it’s NOT going anywhere.

 

By this point in 2019, I’d promised myself that I would have published my first OFFICIAL novel. My first one that I won’t have to remove from online because of some sort of theft or other scandal again (I pray no one does me dirty again).

It hasn’t happened. And while there have been many obstacles, many incidents that took away my focus from my tasks, a great deal of NO RESULT OR PRODUCT is my own fault.

I’ve decided tonight, September 19, 2019 that I am pushing all doubt, fears, and more aside. I am ready to work on, complete, and publish my novel. I feel I need to be seen beyond my poetry and short stories, and I can’t do that if I keep on holding myself back.

Now, originally, my official debut novel was to be Fly Girl, I even released a snippet of the intended intro. However, I’ve developed very harsh feelings towards that novel (as well as other works of mine that could very well be published), and I have the feeling that I just need to attempt something FRESH.

Who knows, that may change in the middle of me writing whatever I’m going to start tonight, who knows I may even publish the new novel AND Fly Girl. I just know that I need to get down to business and produce the quality work that so many believe I can deliver. I also MUST believe that I can deliver that quality work as well. And for once, I believe. I’m ready.

 

 

 

With all that being said; I’m not sure how long it will take me to write and publish. But this will be the official announcement of SOMETHING coming, and I think along the way I will post updates of sorts. This may include written posts here on MyPenWritesNice, as well as video updates on my youtube channel Just Cortney. May even toss in a few new poems over on my poetry channel as well, SpokenByCort. So, be sure to hit the subscribe button on those channels and be on the look out!

 

Now, I would also like to make mention that all of this is being done independently. While I gladly use my own funds for any and everything that I do when I self-publish any of my works, lately that has become a bit difficult as I have other responsibilities to take care of first.

For the first time in all of the years I have been working alone; I have begun accepting donations and contributions that will go towards any publishing, shipping, payment of artists other than myself (as I love to support the hard work of others, as many have supported me over the years).

As I have not found a service (that I like) that I can tie in with the MyPenWritesNice site; I have two ways of accepting donations if anyone reading and supporting feels the desire to contribute. Any and all amounts are GREATLY appreciated.

The first, is my CashApp; $cdeshaye

And the second is my PayPal; MyPenWritesNice

 

 

Lastly; I want to end this post with a HUGE thank you to everyone that has been in my corner in some way or another. Especially when I am feeling down or being extremely hard on myself. I can’t begin to explain how your words of support and encouragement have pulled me out of many many moments when I felt like throwing in the towel. I think all that I am about to mention know me well enough to constantly, even when it annoys them, remind me why I shouldn’t and can’t give up on myself or my dreams.

So, thank you to my father and stepmother, brother and sister, my aunts and uncles, and many cousins who cut no corners and offer up every solution in the world (going WAY out of their way) so long as it means I’m comfortable and continuing with my goals. For reminding me with those rough yet gentle talks that only greatness lies within me, that greatness is all that we, as a family, exude. Your love and support carries me high, and I am so very proud to be a Johnson because of you all.

To my aunt Stella for staying ON me about the words that I speak and the great weight that they hold. For being my shoulder to cry on, my listening ear, and intertwining your own growth, wisdom, and lessons you are continuously learning into the things you tell me to lift me back up when I’ve hit my lowest. Only you have seen me that way, and only you have the exact words to bring me back right where I need to be mentally and spiritually. I love you beyond all of the words that could ever slip past my fingertips.

To my grandmother, Catherine, for always being prepared to buy the many MANY works I always talk about working on but never publish or have ready for sale. If ever I create some sort of guardian angel in a future novel or short, please believe she’ll be the sweetest and most loving because she’ll be modeled after you.

My uncle Solomon for being one of my biggest cheerleaders. Your loving words of encouragement and support mean EVERYTHING to me! I cherish them greatly, and hope that I always make you proud with my future endeavors.

To my dear, closest friends; I think I’ve told you all in some way or another how much you, your friendship, and your support means to me. But it never hurts to make it known again and again. Kirsten and Coty (my very best friends), Jae, De’Leon, Moyet, Tangella, Yo’Lana, Sage (even when we’re not talking), Nita (my favorite author that I know personally), Bronnie, Lareesa, COOP!, Sheryl, and Jalen. Glyn, Leshae, Ayana, Izzy (thank y’all especially for being the level headed ‘Temptations’ to my irrational –doubting myself so terribly — ‘David Ruffin’. I know I aggravate y’all, but I thank you all for understanding why I was the way I’m leaving behind).

And, once more to those who have stumbled across my site and have stuck around to read any and/or everything I’ve ever posted over the last two and a half years; THANK YOU. Because you are ALL what motivates me to come back and keep this thing going as well.

 

See you all in a while with an update on how this new W.I.P. is going. I know it’s going to be great, and I can not wait to share it!

 

xoxo, Cortney.

 

 

What’s Next? Publishing Again!

So, my #ShortStoryAugust challenge came to a bit of an abrupt end a few days ago, but I wasn’t certain if I was completely done.

No, I’m not going to try and make up and post for the missing days or try to finish out the month. With work and other things occurring, I simply don’t have the time.

However, what I am considering is doing a short story collection featuring a select number of the stories I’ve shared during the challenge, as well as a few that have been sitting on the site for some time now and a new one or two.

 

Where do you all come in?

My hope is that you would all be so kind as to take a vote as to which of my favorites you enjoyed as well. I can admit, I’m never satisfied with everything I write, but I think I got a good one or two tossed in.

I would gladly appreciate those of you who have enjoyed anything I’ve shared over the last two years, to take a vote on the ones I’ve selected for possible inclusion in what I consider to be my next big project. For a refresher on certain shorts, you can find the links below the poll. I have left the option for multiple votes open, simply because I want to get as many votes as I can before I begin working on the collection, so feel free to vote as many times as you’d like for your choice. Happy reading, and thanks for all the support thus far!

 

 

A Friend In Need (by Cortney Joseph)

Love Is Blind (by Cortney Joseph)

Keep You Home (by Cortney Joseph)

Silly Wasn’t I by Cortney Joseph #ShortStoryAugust

Maybe I Deserve by Cortney Joseph #ShortStoryAugust

As If We Never Met by Cortney Joseph #ShortStoryAugust

 

 

 

#ShortStoryAugust 2019 Is Here!

Today is officially August first, and a challenge I presented at the beginning of July has now begun!

For anyone interested in participating with me, please check out the original #SSA post, and find out how to make sure your wonderful works are seen and how they can be shared by me.

My audience isn’t that large yet, but I do have some really wonderful frequent readers and I am sure they’ll appreciate great art from others.

 

Hope to see many more than myself participating. And if you are, happy writing!

 

xoxo, Cortney

Short Story August? Anyone Interested?

Hi!

 

So, to get back into the habit of writing, and writing OFTEN, I was considering taking the time this summer to write and post a NEW short story every day for the month of August.

Yep, that’s 31 short stories in a single month! I personally consider this to be a challenge because it has become so easy for me to become sidetracked, to lose focus, or to simply not have the energy to grab a pen or sit in front of my keyboard and do what truly brings me joy. Life happens, of course, but lately it’s had a way of taking me way down and it interferes in the worst way with my dream and talent.

I would like to challenge myself, and I would love it very much if a few others opted to join in the challenge with me.

 

If interested, please leave a comment letting me know you’re joining in on #ShortStoryAugust. Let me know where you’ll be sharing your posts so that I can share them to the audience that I have, and so that we can get a system of encouragement going for our fellow writers. Where can we follow one another?

You can find me on Twitter, at either WrittenByCort or MyPenWritesNice, and on Instagram at WrittenByCort.

Hope to get a few of you in on the challenge. Happy writing!

Fly Girl by Cortney Joseph [Novel Snippet]

The following is a snippet/intro for my upcoming novel, Fly Girl. Please feel free to share your thoughts/opinions, as I am in the editing stages and looking for any and all feedback as I work to piece together the final version.

 

_______________

 

Prelude: Interview With Broken Idols

 

2010:

 

“Major success. At the height of it all, you were one of the bestselling acts. Among the elite of the late nineties and beginning of the early two-thousands, with multi-platinum selling albums, sold out national and international tours. You’ve won several of the recording industry’s top awards as a group and within your solo endeavors. Certainly, there were more albums, tours, and endorsements in the works. All planned to further the success of Fly Girl. And then, you were done after seven short years. What happened?”

 

As she sat among the very women she’d grown up watching, adoring and admiring, wishing she too could have lived such a glamourous life, Andrea Harper asked the same question of all four members of Fly Girl. The interview was exclusive, highly coveted by some of the day’s top entertainment journalists. Per their request, she spoke to each woman separately, trying to gather why they couldn’t bare to be in the same room, even for a few short hours.

It had been a little over two years since any of them had been out in the spotlight, and even longer since any of them took to doing interviews that would include talks of a part of the past that they felt had dragged them all down in one way or another. And much longer since one half of the group had spoken to the other half.

Though they were all within the same age range, it was quite clear what the years of the stress and pressure to be to be perfect, trying to appease everyone around them had done to them. Their façades cracked, years added to their once youthful faces.

Troy; the youngest member of the group, often deemed the lead singer, sat comfortably in her chair. If you were to look at her; her sweet disposition, the smile she always wore whether happy or sad would give the appearance that all was quite well in her life. After all, once Fly Girl split, it was said that she’d be the one to leave the entire ordeal unscathed, destined for solo stardom whether she wanted it that way or not. If you were to look past that smile, and down towards where her right arm rested, you’d see a cane resting next to her chair, waiting to be used if she chose to stand. Only twenty-five, the rest of her life had already been mapped out as a lifetime of medications to manage pain and spasms that came and went as they pleased.

Torii; Troy’s older sister, bore a different struggle. Though she’d initially been happy to end matters with Fly Girl, it came with expectations she soon realized she couldn’t and didn’t want to live up to. She too had been set up to have solo success following the group’s disbandment, and for a time she’d found it. And then, it became about matching Fly Girl’s success, living up to all that fans and critics believed her sister was and could have been. Comparisons and demands became too much. A young wife and mother, she decided quickly that a quiet life back home in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee was what she wanted and needed most.

Leann; the oldest, who at one point had been the most sensible and a bit of a mother figure for the other girls, had taken the worst fall from grace. Trying to raise herself and a younger sibling after leaving New Orleans, Louisiana; she felt there were nothing but good times ahead when she’d been selected as the lone rapper of Fly Girl. A once in a lifetime opportunity that came with perks and benefits far beyond her wildest dreams; she was certain there was no way she’d go back to her old life. She wouldn’t trade her new success and joy for anything. However, it had never been easy out running personal demons and as she’d often feared, they’d caught up to her when she least expected.

Ava; the second oldest, had found freedom outside of her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She’d quickly swapped control over her life from one bad influence to another, only hoping for the best in each new situation she placed herself in. Singing had become an escape, though she was often told that she was not good enough, that she would never make it far in life with her foolish dreams. She’d proved so many people wrong, including her parents; and the last thing she’d wanted was the disbandment of the group that had brought her so much happiness and success. The last thing she’d ever do was admit that she had a huge hand in the group’s downfall as well as her own.

 

As Andrea asked them all the same question again, they all gave their honest answers and opinions. There was no image to keep up any longer. No one standing behind them, coaching them on what to say through a tiny mic and special ear pieces as a part of media training.

Leann looked down at her hands. “What happened? Egos, favoritism, underhanded dealings with a lot of snakes. A lot of sleeping around, as far as I know, with producers and label executives.”

“On whose part?”

Leann smiled. “Not mine, though almost all of those perverts tried.”

“Is that all you feel caused the downfall of Fly Girl?”

“That’s the majority of it.” She shrugged, growing hot within the small room they occupied. Removing her jacket, Leann spoke lowly. “I’ve always felt that the people who discovered,” she stopped. “scratch that. The people who put us together and packaged us as a complete group of four knew exactly what their intentions were. See, Fly Girl wasn’t supposed to be successful. One hit, sure. Two, a fluke or pure luck. We weren’t supposed to have more than one album. It was supposed to be Fly Girl, Fly Girl ends, then Introducing Troy Mercier. If Torii happened to get a deal out of it, then that would have been great for her. As for Ava and me; we were just backup, and barely that. I might have gotten features here and there on whoever was the big rap star at the time, but my time was always limited.” Leann sat up straight in her chair after draping her jacket over her legs. “I just wish they had told us that shit from the get-go. The fallout wouldn’t have been so bad. Wouldn’t have hurt as much.”

During her interview Torii sat quietly, holding on to her newborn as she took a few minutes to think about her answer. No, she wasn’t going to be politically correct, but she didn’t want to come off rude or hateful in her tone either. Fly Girl had become such a touchy subject in such a short amount of time. Anytime she or her sister spoke out it became some type of issue and she didn’t want or need any more drama between herself and Leann or Ava.

“Egos. One big, one non-existent, two so small that it could be considered naivety.”

“You believe egos are necessary, or unnecessary?”

“If you believe you are the greatest, doing all the work when there’s three other people in the group, on top of a hundred more working behind the scenes to make you look good, and a million more supporting you and keeping you on top, but you’re failing to give credit or thanks; it’s unnecessary. If you think you’ve made it so far without God, whatever God you serve, then yes, your ego is unnecessary. It’s okay to feel yourself, it’s okay to know you’re great.” Torii paused for a moment, trying to collect her thoughts. “When I say so small that it was basically naivety, it was two individuals giving thanks and credit to everyone, except for themselves sometimes; failing to recognize how big the part they played was. When I say one was non-existent, it was an individual giving credit to no one, including their self, except for the person who was dragging them down. When I say one was big; couldn’t tell that individual anything. It was all them, all the time. They could do no wrong in their own eyes when they were messing up everything.”

“Anything else you believe played a role in the ending of Fly Girl?”

Torii nodded her head. “Management. Whispering in ears, saying one thing to one girl, saying something else to another girl. Happened every day, from the very beginning to the very end. Fly Girl was a ticking bomb waiting to go off, simply because too few people had our best interests at heart. I don’t believe we were supposed to make it, but when we did, and the money came rolling in…” Torii smiled a little, clearing her throat as she readjusted her baby in her arms.

“And was there really favoritism?”

“Not that I knew of at the time. I guess a lot of people like to feel that way because I married within the industry, and within the immediate circle that surrounded us. My husband’s an artist and producer as well. What they fail to realize is that he was also a part of a group, the male group that debuted with Fly Girl. He never produced for Fly Girl, never even worked with Fly Girl unless we toured together or popped up in each other’s music videos. He and I did one duet, while we were in our respective groups, produced by someone far larger than he was at the time. So the sleeping around for leads or better produced tracks for the solo songs we did for each album,” Andrea nodded. “if it happened, it wasn’t me.”

 

Able to make her interview once she was assured that none of the other group members were in the building, Ava also took her time to give an answer. So used to being ignored or never given the chance to answer for herself, she was unsure if she wanted to keep it to a minimum or speak out fully. Doing so once before had landed her in hot water, and she was uncertain if she wanted to go down that road again.

Then again, knowing her former groupmates as well as she felt she did; she knew that at least one of them, if not all, would attempt to make her look bad in one way or another.

“What do I believe happened that led to our disbanding?”

“Yes.”

Ava ran her fingers through her hair. “It was never meant to last. They just dragged it out while creating more tension, lies, and pain. As I’d been told, I was the weakest singer. Soon enough, everybody ganged up on me, telling me that as often as they could. For my end of the damage, I gave up, stopped caring about the group as time went on.”

“But as far as the internal issues between the four of you; the constant fighting that fans heard about after it was all over. Who or what is to blame for that?”

“Everyone. Egos, pride and a whole lot of bullshit. We acted as if we loved one other, played like we were a real family, but I honestly believe there was never any type of love. Not genuine love, not from the other girls.” Old feelings began to surface, anger and venom dripped through her words. “Drugs and alcohol, immaturity, issues with management and theft. A LOT of sleeping around.”

“Are you guilty of any of that?”

“Yes, but I won’t say what just yet. I will say; it was half of a group effort to keep ourselves together while struggling to work with one another. It was a full group effort in tearing ourselves down. They just like to throw the blame at one person. It was all of us.”

Troy arrived last. She was the member Andrea had the most trouble tracking down. For the most part, she wanted nothing else to do with Fly Girl. It simply wasn’t worth it, not for her, to stress and make herself and her health worse over something that never should have even began. If she could have forgotten that Fly Girl even happened, she would have.

“What happened to cause the end? Same stuff that happens in most girl groups; cattiness. But, I’m sure all four of us can agree on egos.”

“Yes, that’s the number one reason from all of you.”

Troy nodded her head, sighing as she tried to sit comfortably in her chair. “Management telling us all one thing while doing another. Telling two of us that there was a guaranteed future while promising the other two nothing but a trip back to their hometown. Constant threats of being kicked out and replaced if things weren’t done the way management wanted. Jealousy. There are claims of favoritism, but really it was acts of greed and lies being fed to turn the outcome of the group into the wrong person’s favor. There was sleeping around, but the rumors of who was doing the sleeping around have always been false.”

“The rumors that someone slept with producers and writers for leads?”

“Tuh, it never took the promise of leads for that particular person to sleep around, they just did it and let the world believe bullshit to make them feel better about their self. I suppose.”

Andrea nodded, extremely curious as to who fit the exact descriptions of the incidents each member spoke of. “Anything else happen?”

“Mismanagement of money, lots and lots of theft. Internal issues between the four of us; a lot of ignorance, immaturity, and pettiness. Dishonesty, disloyalty. Lack of trust. Bad company and circles that some of us surrounded ourselves with.” Troy paused, looking at Andrea. “Drug abuse, physical and mental abuse, illnesses, and personal issues that others didn’t or chose not to understand because it wasn’t happening to them. Most importantly, and what a lot of people don’t realize,” Troy stopped and cleared her throat. “we were four teenagers, the youngest being thirteen when selected. Two of whom were placed with complete strangers and expected to bond within the time space of a week. Two of whom came from places where they didn’t have social skills, didn’t know anything about socializing because they’d always felt alone anyway. You’ve got siblings in the group, so two automatically feel as if it’s them against the siblings, as well as them against the world and everyone else. You’ve got two, unbeknownst to them early on, being put up on a pedestal and instructed to act as if everything is all good. We were impressionable, could be told anything and we would have believed it if we were too tired to do a little extra research or a little extra reading into contracts we were told to sign. Most times, we were too tired. Most times we were assured that we didn’t even need to read, and we went with that because we trusted the adults that handled us. Extremely naive teenagers, so naive that we were damn near dumb. We were still discovering who we were, we could have easily been molded in any way and fashion they chose if there were no parents or adult family members with us.”

“And were your parents around?”

Troy shook her head. “Not on the tours or in the studios or anywhere outside of Tennessee, Louisiana, and Arizona where we came from. We had one adult that truly cared and everybody else knew how to pretend enough to keep us comfortable and safe, they knew how to gain our trust.”

“While gaining your trust, did they try to change you all immediately?”

“I can’t speak for the other members; but I know those people went through hell and high-water trying to change how I saw myself, what I did, and what I said. And how I acted with my sister and the others. I didn’t see it that way then, but they tried to pit me against everybody early on, I just never had it in me to turn my back on anyone, especially my sister. They went through hell trying to force and pressure me into things I knew weren’t right. And yeah, some I went along with because I had this great fear, at the time, of being kicked out. Being told I’ll never sing again; we were all told that. Imagine hearing I can end your career now, forever when you’re that young. Imagine hearing that when all you know how to do is sing and dance, or rap and dance.” Troy chuckled at the thought of all she’d heard in her young life, shaking her head at how foolish she’d been to believe most of it. “It’s some mess thrown in from all of us, I’m certain; and I believe to an extent that we’re all to blame. Certain things can be excused because of circumstances, but some can never be excused or forgiven.”

 

Andrea nodded, leaning forward in her seat. “I’m going to ask you one final question. The same I’ve asked Torii, Leann, and Ava.”

“Okay.”

“We hear of old groups reuniting nowadays for award shows, small tours, and even a few because they missed one another. Do you ever see Fly Girl reuniting in the future? Could you see yourself working with any of them again?”

“I still work with Torii. That’s my sister, always will be and the disbandment of a packaged group won’t change that.”

“Okay, in terms of Fly Girl, including Leann and Ava. Is there a future for Fly Girl?”

“Probably. Would I join in, or want to join in?” Andrea nodded, waiting for Troy’s answer. “Nope. Some things are better left broken. And if someone were to try and fix it one day, it would take a major miracle.”

“Such as?”

Troy smiled before grabbing her cane, taking her time as she stood up. “We’d have to be in the same room without wanting to kill one another. Or, in my case, I’d have to see them and want to wish the best for them and mean it. That sounds mean but,” She lifted her cane “this was wished on me, so I can’t really feel anything positive for Leann or Ava. I haven’t made it that far past my anger yet.”

And with that Troy left, kicking off what Andrea was certain would be the very last Fly Girl interview. While she was glad she’d gotten the interview, and that she still had a few days left with them to get all the information she’d need, she was left a bit heartbroken and discouraged. She’d heard countless times about groups falling out, but never this badly. They’d all answered that question the same; a resounding NO to any type of reunion.

Andrea was now unsure of what she was getting herself into by penning the official Fly Girl biography. Perhaps it would be better to leave their memories as just that; memories. But as a longtime fan, and one of the many fans who held out hope for some type of explanation or resolution, her curiosity about the ins and outs of the group kept her mind on the prize. There was just one small glimmer of hope she would hold going into this task. Helping to heal the group by getting them to speak honestly. There had to be some good to come from this.

There IS A Such Thing As Perfection.

Why are we so comfortable with praising our favorite artists and celebrities when they release their art, immediately deem it perfection or genius…. but also so VERY comfortable with telling our friends and family that, when it comes to their art or work or dreams, that the perfection they seek is intangible or unreal.

“There’s no such thing as perfection.”

 

Yes, yes there is. It’s the very ideas we have in mind when we begin to work on our craft, it’s the final result that we have in mind. It’s what we feel comfortable with sharing once we’ve finally completed. It’s what we’re most proud of when sharing the pieces of ourselves that fall into that art.

More often than not, my work suffers because I have this idea of what the perfect piece of writing is. I have yet to reach it, and because I struggle to reach it, I start to feel like NOTHING I do is good enough.

And the gag is; I’m usually right, it’s NOT good enough.

That in turn leads me to feel the very way I feel right now. I’m never going to succeed as a writer, I’m always going to be stuck in Louisiana, at a dead end job that doesn’t drive me. Why? Because I can’t reach the perfection that I have in mind and too many of my ‘friends’ and ‘family’ are comfortable with telling me that my ideal of perfection is not real. And I believe them to the extent that I continuously quit, because obviously… they’re right in some way. I haven’t made it, right?

 

Anyway, this is my usual rambling. But it’s honestly how I feel, and a brief notice to myself that I quit. And for good this time. I’m never going to be perfect. Never going to be good enough. Never going to succeed. Never going to make it out.

New Release : Empty Room by Cortney Joseph

I can truly say that in recent months, my art has suffered greatly. However, in that suffering I managed to put together something special.

Unfortunately, it is not my long awaited debut novel, however it is just as important to me.

In my search for words to write and share came ten poems and a letter written to the being that had been my greatest motivation in life.

I formed a collection, and that collection has bought a bit of peace and comfort to me in very time moments.

At this time, it is all I have to offer those who support me as an independent author.

Empty Room, a deeply personal collection of poetry is now available for sale on Amazon. Currently, the paperback edition is ready for purchase at $8 with the Kindle EBook edition to follow for $4.

The title Empty Room stems from the fact that the person who motivated me most will no longer be there, physically, when I walk into his room, and each time I enter I am left with a range of feelings and emotions… A few of which you will find in the collection.

It is my hope that someone else will also take comfort in the few words I have managed to find during my struggle to make sense of life as it is now for me.

If you decide to purchase a copy, please let me know and share your thoughts via instagram (@ MyPenWritesNice) or Twitter (@ MyPenWritesNice).

Empty Room : Poems And Thoughts In A Time Of Grief

A Moment To Breathe… And Think.

Grief is such a weird emotion, and I dont know how it affects others but for me it has taken a mental and physical toll on me.

Some days I am perfectly fine. I feel good, confident, and I feel great that I am able to smile and laugh again in any capacity that I can.

And then, very swiftly I am brought back to the reality of why I lost my smile and happiness. Try as I might, it has been very difficult for me to understand the wide range of emotions that have been running wildly these past three months.

Honestly; does this last forever? And if it does, how am I supposed to go on?

Simply coping? Barely getting through each day, hour, and minute?

In a way, I am very grateful that (with the exception of a four day trip to Seattle) that I’ve had work to keep me and my mind preoccupied for at least 11 of the 24 hours in each day. But at the same time, I could truly use a break where I don’t have to do anything but take real time to process everything I am thinking or feeling without having time pause it all to pretend I’m fine.

I’ll be honest, as much as I’ve pushed myself to go on with my craft, despite my world constantly crumbling around me, my desire remains dampened and my art suffers greatly because of this.

How do I go on, truly?

Someone’s Watching (Novel Intro) by Cortney Joseph

The following is the intro to “Someone’s Watching“, book 1 in my upcoming Gaitland University Series.

As I work towards publishing, all four books will be shared in their unedited stages via Wattpad. Feel free to follow along if you enjoy the intros and select chapters that I will be sharing here on MyPenWritesNice.

 

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I watched as the devil lay dying, tears spilling over the heavy ducts of my eyes. They burned, streaming down each of the deep cuts that marred my face. Each sting reminding me of the anguish I’d endured, the battle I was slowly losing with each pained breath I took.

The more I tried to lift myself, a body of bones that ached insufferably, the more I felt myself falling into a puddle of sweat, blood, and tattered clothing. I could feel it all draining, the very short life I’ve lived sprinting through my mind. The good times, the bad, the things I’d put my parents through and all the wrong I thought they’d done to me.

I could hear sirens sounding faintly in the distance, and when I tried to wail along with them I heard nothing more than their echos fading.
Blurry vision prevented me from seeing a way out, any way to safety. Instead, each forced blink was met by a blinding light waiting to lead me out of the darkness and into another life I was not ready for.
I felt every inch of me, every part of me giving out as my mind pushed me to fight.
FIGHT DAMNIT.

But I couldn’t. I’d played and laid with the devil while searching for freedom I thought I needed; and now, a chariot swung low above me. It’d come forth to carry me home.

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Simple Girl, Simple Dream by Cortney Joseph

The following is a stand-alone short story, a prelude to the official rewrite of my upcoming novel Fly Girl.

Feel free to follow along with the full novel on Wattpad.

 

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Torii Mercier slammed her locker shut, wondering how she’d even found herself in random conversation with someone she rarely sat in the same social circles with. She sighed, walking away as quickly as her feet would carry her. The girl followed behind closely, continuing before Torii could insist she stop. She made mention of Torii’s sister hoping to strike a good nerve. “Troy auditions for anything that comes, and she does it because it makes her happy. She wants to be the pop star, not me.”

“She does it, because she’s smart enough to use her gifts to get the hell up out of here.”

Torii paused, facing the person intruding on her personal time and space. “Look, Miranda-“

“Randy is fine.”

“Okay, Randy, listen… I appreciate the vote of confidence that comes from you and everyone else. But just because a person has one special gift, that doesn’t mean that gift flows with the plan they have for themselves.”

Miranda Parker, a bit of a nervous soul, shifted her weight from one leg to the other. She scoffed, amazed at how simple the truly gifted seemed to be. “If I had a voice like yours, I’d be singing from a damn mountain top. Don’t you understand what could happen if you audition?”

“I don’t care.”

“Then what do you care about?!” Torii wondered why it mattered to anyone else what she did. Lots of people in the world had a variety of talents; some who never discovered them, and others who squandered them by choice.

“Whatever I choose to do, I’m going to be successful because I’m going to work hard at it. No talent is needed for an extra edge.”

“Extra edge gets you further in life. Do you really want to be stuck here forever?”

She didn’t, and there was nothing worthwhile in their little hometown. But, Torii had never been anywhere else to know if there was truly better elsewhere. Had never even thought of where she would go if she did gain a way out.

“Okay, so maybe I want to be involved in music in some fashion. If I had to sing, fine. But I just want to kick it in the background, where the real money is made.”

“Nobody shows love to the background singers.”

“And unless you have an amazing contract, the lead singers don’t always make bank either.” Miranda stood straight, intrigued. “The songwriters do, and often for a lifetime. I love writing.” A smile danced across her face. “I dream of penning number one hits, top tens and twenties. Writing for Celine Dion and Gladys Knight. I imagine myself the next Diane Warren. Troy sings, and if she’d have me on her team I’d write the hits. That’s the dream. Since there’s nothing for writers here, nothing else intrigues me. But thanks, Randy, for making me think of what I’d like to do for myself. It was a nice thought.”

Torii said goodbye, rushing off to her English class.

Little Girl, Big Dream by Cortney Joseph

The following is a stand-alone short story, a prelude to the official rewrite of my upcoming novel Fly Girl.

Feel free to follow along with the full novel on Wattpad.

 

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Timothy Mercier could only smile as he peered through the crack his youngest left in her bedroom door, opening it as quietly as possible before he leaned against the door frame.

Her short and thin figure moved in awkward motions to the classic tune that played from a stereo she’d been gifted, her voice shining greatly over the artist. He felt the song a bit inappropriate for a twelve year old, but it had always been her favorite. The very song that aided in the discovery of her talent.

He smiled at her frustration, watching as she decided to stand still and sing, using only her hands to make gestures. “You want thiiiiis…”

Timothy cleared his throat, startling the girl just as she was about to give it her all. “Daddy!”

“I always hope that you’ll sing more age appropriate tunes.” Nodding towards the mess that adorned her bedroom, he spoke in a more stern tone. “Troy, what’s all of this? And why are you up here stomping around?”

Her smile faded instantly. “Thanks for making me feel worse about my dancing.” Her hands fell to her side, disappointment weighing heavily. “I’ll never make it with my singing alone.”

“Make what, Troy?”

Stepping over the mess of clothing and random items to reach her bed, Troy grabbed a single piece of paper, handing it to him. “I’ve been going to these auditions, trying to gather up my nerve to perform for someone other than you guys.”

“You said it like performing for your family is the worst thing.”

“It would just be nice to garner a few unbiased opinions.”

He understood, though no one in their family had ever been the type to mince words or spare feelings when it mattered. “So, what exactly are you attempting to do this for?”

Troy looked at her father, giving a tiny smile. “We had a project and we had to create lives for ourselves in the future. Everybody had their entire lives planned out. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, until it dawned on me. The only thing I’ve ever loved.”

“Singing?”

“It’s been my dream for as long as I can remember. To be as great as Janet and Mariah. But, I’m scared of things ending for me the way they ended for Mom. Putting all of that time in, and no success.”

Timothy looked down at the paper he’d been given, glossing over the details. “Your mother’s idea of success was different. She was happy, even without making it. It may not happen when you want it to, or when you think it should, but it will happen. You’ve got IT, Sweetheart.  When’s this audition?”

“Next Friday.”

He nodded, folding the paper a few times before pushing it into the pocket of his shirt. “I think I better go and buy you that Janet Jackson VHS you wanted, get you some help with those steps.”

Troy smiled excitedly, grateful he didn’t shut her dream down. “Thanks Daddy.”

“Woke Up In The Sky” by Cortney Joseph

I flew.

Woke up in the sky with the hopes of

Seeing you flying by.

Thought I’d lift the window to catch a glimpse,

Thought we’d have a chance to play among the clouds and skip.

Thought the sun would shine on a crooked smile,

Thought your arms would stretch open with each passing mile.

I flew.

Woke up in the sky, said farewell to old fears in hopes of

One more hello, one to replace that last goodbye.

I flew.

Woke up in the sky to see you.