Author Mae Clair is October’s Featured blogger in this, the second re-boot of my monthly featured blogger post.
In our interview, Mae shares some of her history and ideas about writing and success.
In your profile, you say you like to blend genres; does it happen as you write?
It developed as my writing progressed. I never liked being pigeon-holed to a certain genre, so my early books were a mash-up of mystery and romance. The romance eventually fell by the wayside and mystery took center stage. I do, however, blend that up with elements of the supernatural, paranormal, and psychological aspects. One book also included a bit of sci-fi with UFO sightings and Men in Black.
You wrote your first story at six; what was it about?
I don’t remember the content. What I do remember is being given the assignment and my classmates scrawled out a few lines…
A couple nights ago I was having some real nasty, dark thoughts and I just needed to refresh somehow and home decor is one of my facets that really helps me out of that trench. I love it, I’m inspired by it, I strongly believe that what’s in your environment is what’s basically in your head. So I started reworking one section of my room and the final look is about 90% different than it was prior.
Here’s a little of the “before” and I guess a bit of background. (Side note: I pulled these pictures off my Instagram so they’re not all edited the same- bear with me here.)
Now, I have enough furniture (minus a couch and bookshelves) to decorate a 700 sq. foot one bedroom apartment- which is what I lived in with my ex for 3 years. So moving into a smaller room (12’x11′), I’ve got to “store things” in it by maximizing the space I have. That wall has 4 pieces of furniture on it. One being a smaller little thin table, one is a (heavy) confessional chair from the 1800s, and the other two are larger pieces- a dresser and a rustic thin table. Two of those items I cannot move, one is just perfect for storing smaller things and housing things I like to look at- so those three are permanent. What is on top of them or added to them, however, is not (except for the TV, there’s no other outlets).
There wasn’t a whole lot I could do with this wall because of those doors and it doesn’t have any outlets. The piece that stuff is on top of is a big rectangle table- like the size of a set of drawers, but open inside with one prominent shelf (I’ve got a plastic drawer that houses my winter accessories on there, some journals, helmets, random knick knacks) and one that’s more hidden underneath it (perfect for things I don’t know where to put/cleaning products/old paperwork, etc.). This piece especially had to go here because on the other wall, there’s the only vent and if it were to sit there, it would cover it which is a huge no-no for me when this girl needs her warmth big time in the cold winters. I mainly made the top of this prettier because it would be something I’d see more often when I woke up in the morning.
I had those baskets under it to house more books. The bottom shelf had books lined up vertically. I went through more of my things under my bed (boxes) to sell some items I should’ve prior to moving from CA- books, DVDs, etc. I sold a bunch of books that I really didn’t need anymore- none that would inspire me again- and I pulled out more that I had had on my list for a while. So then this area became one where I housed the books I wanted to read and this way I could see them and have easier access to them. The remaining books under my bed are ones I’ve already read or ones that I’m not in a hurry to read. I added a bunch more books than there was before, which meant I needed to make them all fit- which is how the stacking variations came into play. Those stacking variations led to openings to fit vases or knick knacks I didn’t have a place for previously. Then on top of the table, I got a Himalayan salt lamp, and the rest were just some knick knacks I had to make it look nice.
This was mainly moving that round mirror over and removing/adding knick knacks. I also got some fake florals from Michaels that I made into fun, bright floral arrangements for pops of color. To the right, hanging on the door, I moved a picture hanging garland that used to be strung around the mirror. I felt it added extra color and love to an otherwise bland/normal area.
The main thing I wanted was to move that mirror over which meant I had to move a top table organizer (not the actual name for it, but that’s the best I can describe it as right now) and a bigger piece of artwork. Not a whole lot happened here, but it spruced it up, definitely. The left wall, however, didn’t feel right at all. I had to move the organizer (thing) on top of the dresser because it was longer than that thin tall table which then lead to the TV put on top of it.
Now there was a lot of added height to that space which I hadn’t originally expected. I didn’t think that organizer was longer than that table, but I wanted so badly for that mirror to go on the other wall and the mirror wouldn’t lean safely on that organizer’s smooth top (it could fall after the dog jumps off the bed). Having started this project 30 minutes before bedtime, I had to leave most of the (very) impromptu project for the next day.
Like I said before, I was having dark thoughts and I kind of threw my hands up (at how I was feeling inside) and thought “okay change something”. My environment is always a good one to change up because I have to live in it and if it’s not inspiring me or making me happy, I need to find a way that will. I wanted these two walls now to be more colorful and come alive again. This photo was after I had looked around in the morning sunlight at what I’d done which was the catalyst to my brain then reworking the puzzle and for the rest of the day I was coming up with ideas on how I wanted it to look and feel, how I could have even more storage space, how I could be further inspired in my day to day.
See the finished product and read the last 466 words here.
My top artist. I think they just may be my favorite band of all time (which is huge for me to say). I could listen to them all the time… in fact, I did for months just this past year. Only them on repeat.
I’m not entirely sure why, but they literally make me happy. I listen to them and my mood gets better, I feel relaxed. Any anxious feelings go away. Perfect for the car before I go to do something that makes me feel anxiety. Even writing this post now makes me really happy.
The song I’ve probably listened to the most is “Sabbra Cadabra”. It’s upbeat and just fucking great. If I were a runner, that’d probably be the one I’d start out my run with. It’s definitely high energy and gets me moving.
My next most listened to is “Killing Yourself to Live” which is really one of my current theme songs. It’s about the way people are living their lives in misery. I see it as that end goal of “if I work hard enough now, I’ll get to live my life after” whereas life should be lived now and you’re dying already.
It’s been a few weeks since my last post (part one) and honestly it’s because that one brought up a few things that rocked me a bit. It was also a post where more people read it from my Facebook page, meaning a lot of family or family friends read it, and seeing those numbers kind of freaked me out. This time, I’m just not going to look. It’s all memories that I’d like to get out of my head for my well-being and I can’t get anxious about those I know reading it.
Moving on, let’s dig up some more.
How about the relapses?
There were a few that I had witnessed. It was quick and rapidly terrifying. Most of the times were at a hotel where there would be a fully stocked mini fridge. Other times, she’d bolt to the local liquor store. Usually prompted by a fight between her and my old stepdad or otherwise it seemed to just happen out of the blue.
You knew before seeing her or smelling her. The energy of the “break” was always palpable. It was a certain kind of energy that I don’t wish to feel ever again. It was a downward shift mixed with shame, guilt, and a crazed excitement (for lack of a better word). It was disgusting and it clung to you and filled your whole body.
Then when you saw her, she was flighty, impulsive, and grasping desperately onto pretending everything was fine. I couldn’t hide my facial expressions so the moment she’d see my face, she always realized I’d known what happened and that I was scared. She then couldn’t hide so then she would try to pick fights with my old stepdad to make it seem like there were reasons within reality as to why she relapsed.
– This is only with alcohol, by the way. I couldn’t tell you much about the drugs because I wasn’t aware of them until much later. I also am only speaking about the times I was around. –
She’d tear around the room, spinning this wild energy around until I couldn’t breathe. There was nowhere to go and I had no clue what to do. I’d hang on the outskirts of the room and try my hardest to pretend I wasn’t there. I’d watch TV or listen to music. It helped a little, but never enough. When her attention would come to me, I’d pretend I hadn’t been listening or that I didn’t see what she’d just done and she would turn away again and I’d be invisible all over.
I’m not sure how many times I saw my mom pass out drunk. A handful of the times, she just fell to the floor. I was so little, I didn’t understand what was going on, but I knew it wasn’t good. I’d cry and wail.
Luckily, it never happened (as far as I can remember) when I was alone with her. My old stepdad (he was her boyfriend/fiance for the majority of time that he was in our lives, this story mostly contains bits from before they were legally married, but I call him “my old stepdad”) would always be there. He’d pick her up, wake her as best he could, and move her to the bed or couch.
One time that comes flashing back to me is the time where she decided to leave him. Wasn’t the first time. This time, she’d gotten an apartment not too far from our house. My old stepdad and I went to visit her (why I was with him and not her, I’m not sure of) and they got to fighting again. I think now the reason they fought was because she was drunk, but I’m not entirely certain.
With this one, I want to be clear that these are actual secrets. They’re things from my childhood that I witnessed that I never told anyone about. Not my dad, not my therapist, no one. If I had told them about it, it was years and years later when nothing could come out of it.
I was extremely protective of my mother and knew if I told anyone these things, they’d take me away from her. I was terrified of that. I thought it was the right thing to do. If I had spoken up sooner, maybe I would’ve been able to save myself from the things that pop into my mind now before I go to sleep (that’s mostly because I’ve been releasing things that used to keep me from falling asleep – look up my things that broke me series), but at the same time, I wouldn’t have known I was saving myself from anything at all and instead I would’ve most likely been resentful that I was taken away from my mother.
If I’d spoken up sooner, who knows who I would be. I seriously doubt I’d be the strong person I became through those experiences. I try not to wonder about those things. The point is, these experiences shaped a lot of my life and the decisions I made.
For some reason, I crave watching The Godfather (and The Godfather Part II) every once in a while. In the past, it’s usually been when I do a deep cleaning or something- I’d have it on in the background. This time, however, I watched for the love of it… three times in one week.
I couldn’t help myself! and I couldn’t stop. I think it could possibly be because I hadn’t watched it in a couple years? Or I’m just making up excuses for no reason. I enjoyed every minute of watching those two movies over and over. It never gets old!
I have been listening to Lesley Gore a lot lately. “You Don’t Own Me” has been played about 20 times which probably isn’t all that surprising since all my recent changes have been shedding away things that have had “power” over me. I can’t get enough of it. It’s like my theme song of the moment.
My favorite part about her music is that it’s bubbly with lyrics that are sometimes a punch to the face. She’s a badass! “Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You”… *insert heart eyes emojis here*. She gives women power and strength!
There’s pain, angst, absolute beauty, and total strength in her voice. It’s empowering. I can definitely say that I am in love with her! Look her up!
I believe an update is warranted since I’ve made all these life changes…
It honestly feels like I have taken felix felicis, aka liquid luck (for all you non-Potterheads out there). It feels like every single move and decision and thought I make is the right one preparing me for the future I so wish to have. It’s incredible.
I haven’t felt this type of motivation in years. Solely because I had no idea what the hell I was doing or what the hell I wanted. Now, though, each day is it’s own step toward a greater goal. I am first and foremost bettering myself as a human. I’m changing the way I think and how things make me feel. I’m changing how I react to things and the way I talk about things.
First and foremost, I cannot stress enough that my ex had nothing to do with breaking me.
The breakup, however, did.
Let’s start with the beginning and get to where I broke….
I wasn’t happy for a while in my relationship, but thought for so long that it could work itself out or there would be some moment where it just fizzled easily apart. Obviously, neither of those options happened, but what did was a wake up call that I had never anticipated.
I was sitting at my work station on a Friday, just doing what I did everyday. Then, bam! Old Alex appeared in my mind. And she was mad. She’s the girl I had left behind almost 4 years prior, strong and independent, badass. She began listing all the things I had sacrificed and would sacrifice in the future. All of it was true.
Now, she wasn’t entirely mean, but she definitely woke me up. I’ll yell ya, she was definitely scolding me. I could see clearer then than I had for a very, very long time… and I was horrified. I couldn’t believe what I had done and who I had let go of. I had lost who I really was… and for what? Nothing. Nothing in the world was worth giving up that person.
On top of that, I had given up many facets of my life that gave me joy and was going to continue to accept less than what I deserved. So I had not only lost myself, but I had stopped doing things I loved doing and would continue to accept less in my future than what I had previously always wanted. It would be sacrifice after sacrifice made by me and only me (hint: he wasn’t doing any of the sacrifices).
So. Obviously we know what happens next.
I got terrified and absolutely panicked after I broke up with him the first time. Yes, it took two times. After the first time, I told him specific things that needed to change. He tried for a few days, but still it was just one or two things on the list (a list of things very, very easy to do, I wouldn’t ask someone to move mountains if I knew it were impossible). A few more weeks go by and I can’t take it anymore. Old Alex was still in my head keeping me on track. I tell him I had to go and stay with my friend, if you read part one of this series you’d know, he said he loved me out loud for the second time, and I left.
Less than a week goes by and I met with him in our apartment and I ended it. He just sat there and shrugged.
It was 100% the right thing to do and I don’t regret it for a second.
Here’s where I broke…
I had thought I was going to marry this person and have kids with this person and be with him forever and always.
Another change has happened within the last few weeks… I post a positive message (image) to my Instagram account every day! It’s typically a message that I will take with me through my day and I hope that seeing it helps others during their day. Check it out here!
Sometimes I don’t really even know how it happens, but I pretty often have amazing conversations with my passengers (I drive for a rideshare app). Those conversations make it all worthwhile, work and, truthfully, life itself (shows humanity in a kind light). No matter how I’m feeling, I know that any day I go out driving, I will still have one of these awesome conversations. Those conversations sometimes help me make sense of the world, or they let me see joy in small things, or they teach me new ways of thinking and seeing. It’s nothing I’ve experienced in any other job.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I had a passenger for about 40 minutes (traffic). He started off by asking me if I like Black Sabbath because I had their playlist going, to which I replied that I love them. Then it branched off into how I only really listen to oldies classic rock and how that originated and how it’s been 90% of what I’ve listened to for the past 5 years, yadda yadda yadda. Well, it turns out a lot of our music “origin story” was the same. I’ve never met another person that had such similar experiences! It was wild!
We both were raised listening to oldies classic rock. My dad would always have it on and so would his dad. We both didn’t know there was anything new for a chunk of our childhoods because all we heard was classic rock. Once we figured out there was a lot more music out there, we both explored, but as we got older, all we wanted to listen to anymore was oldies classic rock. Sometimes, we listen to newer stuff, but it doesn’t last long and we revert back. Put on a classic rock station in the car and we can sing along to any song, like a human jukebox, BUT we have to hear the first few seconds of the song to have the lyrics spring to mind. More often than not, we won’t know the title of the song or the artist.
I felt so normal. Not like it was ever a major negative with my life, but I haven’t met anyone else with such similar experiences. Those experiences are usually anecdotes when talking about how my taste in music came about. Apparently, it’s a little unusual what I like to listen to so I tell them those things which usually brings about a laugh. I like to think those experiences made me special because I’m proud of my music taste- a lot of it took deep exploration (thank you internet) and lots and lots of listening time.
I started Buffy the Vampire Slayer a few nights ago. I had seen some episodes as a kid, but was really too young to have started it at the beginning or to understand a lot of what they were talking about. I guess I had initially watched after a few seasons, I remember thinking she was so cool.
Watching it now is probably a much different experience than those who had when it first aired, but I think it’s just the right time for me. The music is great, the sets, the outfits, the hair- all nostalgic for me! And Sarah…. Sarah Michelle Gellar! Beautiful and badass.
I was having a really rough day just over a month ago and I asked my best friend for some help. She had a bunch of positive affirmations and I needed some. She also told me about a meditation app. That meditation app has been my daily helper ever since I downloaded it!
The app is called Simple Habit. There are 5/10/15 minute meditations available with a ton of topics! I do it everyday before I leave the house. It clears out all my anxiety and any depression I may be feeling. It’s got options for if you’re having a rough day or starting something new or just going to start your day, etc.
Within the first few days, I noticed a change within my self and mind. From the teachings I’d meditated along with, I could just let my thoughts be instead of letting them get inside me and fester. I felt stronger just breathing and being at peace. I had much more appreciation for myself and my life.
I had a day all to myself recently where I could just relax and do absolutely nothing. I thought it would be a great day, but somehow I still ended up feeling anger or sadness. Before I went to sleep, I really thought about this and asked myself “what was it that got into your day to make you feel so upset? You were at home all day! There shouldn’t have been anything to upset you.” I realized that the only times I felt anger or sadness were from when I had opened my Facebook app.
So I deleted it.
Now, I just deleted the app so I still have a Facebook, but I don’t have the easy access to it like I did before. I haven’t fully deleted it because of all the photos as well as the fact that that’s how I can reach my page (to promote my blog). I haven’t been on it in about 3 weeks and it has been so nice!
I have been trying to change my way of thinking for the better the past few months and everyday, I still kept getting dragged into the same old thought patterns. It always stemmed from going on that app and seeing so much hate and anger and sadness and complaining. It was too much. If I couldn’t control their narratives, then it was time to control my own.
I didn’t have to go on it. I didn’t have to read their posts. I didn’t have to be upset from, well, bullshit anymore. I could free myself from it. I have that ability.
The thing is, I tried to end it. I tried to end it TWICE just two weeks prior to you ending it, but you wouldn’t let me. You. wouldn’t. let. me. When you do something like that, not wanting them to end it, it gives a person hope. It makes them think that you’re not willing to let go and want to figure things out (which is also what you said, so that just confirms it).
The thing is, you decided to do it at the wrong time. For weeks, I was excited to go to that event and you decide, halfway through, that then’s the time to end things. You waited just long enough to see your friends. You knew a bunch of my friends were there and they were going on next. You didn’t think it would ruin my night?
This one stems from good ol’ Valentine’s Day. Basically Old Faithful for pain.
Valentine’s is one of those days that makes you think about what has happened on all the previous ones, or at least that’s what happens for me. I’ve been hurt on more Valentine’s Days than not. I’m half terrified of the day each year.
Let’s start small. A high school boyfriend avoided me on VD and then called me from Ruby’s Diner that night and invited me to Ruby’s all in the same breath as when he said that I couldn’t possibly make it there in time to order and eat before his mom would pick him up… Lame.
One guy I dated took me to see “He’s Just Not That Into You” and then we sat in his car for over an hour after just listening to Dane Cook. He just turned up the volume or didn’t respond when I’d try to talk. I left the next morning for a week to NY and there was no “I miss you” or anything. That blew.
One year, a boyfriend broke up with me on VD saying that he’d “rather smoke weed than be with [me]”. Now, I had no problems with him smoking weed, but he had told me that he wanted to quit smoking and then would lie and sneak behind my back. All I ever wanted was honesty. He’s also one that used to ridicule my short hair after he dumped me so there’s not much lost in that relationship, but that experience on VD sucked.
Welcome back to my cleanse! Let’s get going on the next one…
I guess this one would have to be about dating.
During my long term relationship is when all those dating/swipe apps (don’t want to name names, but you can make your assumptions and know you’re right) came out. I came out into a whole new world that I had no idea how to navigate in… and still don’t. I had friends teaching me how to use the apps and telling me what I should do and say and none of it felt very good and obviously hasn’t worked out so far.
I’ve probably deleted and re-downloaded the app about 9 times in the last 3 years. I try it, I go on a few dates, feel like shit, and then I delete it again. It feels like what it was like dating right after graduating from high school- where no one cares about anyone else, but themselves and their desires. Why would I not just keep off it? Well, I’m not exactly comfortable going to a bar or something alone and trying to start up a conversation with a stranger and think that could possibly go well. I don’t want to give up.
Gilmore Girls will always hold a huge, special place in my heart. I have watched the entirety of the show countless times and still can’t get enough of it. It’s like a warm hug whenever I put it on. It’s like I’m going to go hang out with my friends all in the comfort of my own home.
When I was in middle school, my neighbors had introduced me to Gilmore Girls and right away, I was hooked. I had to go out and buy the first 2 seasons immediately so I could be caught up (oh, the days before Netflix…). I watched all of those episodes, then would watch a rerun every day at 5pm on ABC Family, and then just chomp at the bit waiting for the next episode to air.
During that time, I had started living full time with my dad and my stepmom. I had a rocky upbringing due to being in the middle of a custody battle for 11 years (along with some other stuff from Mom, we’ll get into that another time), so my dad and I had a hard time getting onto the same page (trust issues). He would watch Gilmore Girls with me in the living room just about every time it aired in the beginning of the week and we would laugh together and talk about the show. We really bonded over it.
Growing up, I was a lot like Rory. Total bookworm, had a badass taste in music, and knew way too much about pop culture for people to understand me completely. She made me feel cool and confident in a time where I needed help with that the most. I was definitely proud to be like her and thought it was so cool seeing a young female shown that way on tv!
As I have gotten older, the more I admire Lorelai. She has so much strength and it’s inspiring how she put it to use. How we both built up our strength might be different, but it’s empowering to see a woman overcome obstacles on her own. She went out, made a new family of friends, worked hard and reached her goals. It may have been hard at times, but she got through it with style and her amazing wit.
After some recent painful nights, I thought up the idea to create a series where I can release some of the things that continue to haunt me. I am trying to change myself, trying to be more positive, and change my way of thinking for the better. This is my way of cleansing myself and making way for beautiful change.
Let’s begin with one of the toughest ones.
I was in a relationship with someone for close to 4 years and he told me “I love you” out loud twice. There were times where I’d ask him to say it and he’d mumble it, but I rarely asked because it made me feel so pathetic even having to ask. The first time he said it on his own was when I tried to break up with him the first time (a month before actually ending it) and then the second time was right before I walked out the door for good.
His reasoning for not being able to say it was that his ex had “fucked with his mind for over a year”. At first, I understood that, but after we moved in together (after a year) and then more years stacked on to us being together, it felt more and more ridiculous and got more and more painful for me. I hate telling people about this whole thing because I still feel like an idiot. Who would put up with that?
I said it almost every day. Sometimes, I’d try to see how long I could go without saying it and I’d only last about 2 days. Why did I try not to say it? Because saying “I love you” to someone and NEVER getting an “I love you” back is so. fucking. painful. After a while, I felt embarrassed at myself each time I would say it.
Oh and we’re not talking about an agreed upon thing here. It’s not something that was ever okay with me and it was brought up many times. Some people have an understanding or whatever and that’s fine, but it’s not fine when it’s not agreed upon by both people.
I apologize for going away, but I really needed time to myself. I’ve been going through a lot the last few months, mostly depression, and it’s been difficult to find motivation. When it came to writing here, all my thoughts were depressed and I didn’t want the path of my blog to steer towards only depressed posts.
Now, I’m in a transition where I don’t want to dwell on the past, but I also want to release some of the painful things that have happened in my life. Maybe that’ll help as a sort of cleanse. I’ll release them here in writing and maybe others with similar experiences will see they’re not alone and that one day, they can move on from them, as well.