Half empty…or half full?

Don’t let negativity steal your smile.

I was planning on sharing an update on my book progress, (Exciting things happening in the Autumn writing world!) but this just had to be shared.

Sometimes I feel like there are people out there who wake up, get on their computers or go to their jobs, to school, or  to the grocery store and literally look for ways to rain down on someone else’s happiness. What is awful is these people influence the world around them in HUGE ways. Their harsh words or attitudes stick in our minds, and even if we don’t like to admit it they affect us.

I like to think of Negativity as a train, a loud train that is ever present, always honking and rumbling through the world. It is a train that is absolutely free to ride with unlimited space, and it is literally begging people to jump on board. It promises the passengers that they will never have their hopes dashed or never be fooled.  But what most passengers don’t look at when they get on board is where the train is headed….which is straight to Misery.

Negativity doesn’t just happen over night. It can happen to anyone, take over anyone’s life. And it all starts with one small choice. Maybe something bad happened, horrible even. It’s okay to be sad…heartbroken, when bad things happen. But often times we hold onto those bad things, those hurts and replay them in our minds. And because the bad things are on our mind always present even in a small way, we start to see more bad things. Before long even things we once thought were so good are tainted. We are quick to point out the faults in other people and in things, and in our own misery we try and pull others down with us. (What is that quote? Misery likes company?)  We think we immune to being fooled or hurt or disappointed, but instead we are losing friends and opportunities and dreams.

If you look for the bad in things you will ALWAYS find it. Bad things happen every day, which is why it is so easy to be negative.

Fight negativity with being positive. Being positive (just like being negative) starts with a choice. You have to choose it. And being positive doesn’t mean you have a smile on your face 24/7. Being positive is choosing to make the GOOD THINGS in life BIGGER than the bad things. Good things happen every day…and if you are looking for them you’ll find them. You’ll find more friends, more opportunities, and you’ll simply enjoy life more.  

Everyone is afraid of something

Everyone is afraid of something.

This statement doesn’t seem true all the time. There are people I know who seem absolutely fearless– people that rush into situations most of us would pause at– they are the ones to stand up when no one else can– they are the ones who are willing to put their life on the line for their country, beliefs, or another person. Many times these are the people we call heroes.

Were these people, these heroes, just born with better genes….special DNA coding?

One of my fears is public speaking. Aahh! In school, I remember reading a report and shredding every last corner of it that wasn’t written on. My mind goes blank, I talk to fast, say “um” about a million times, and if it’s really bad my face turns red. Then I can feel it turn red…and that is all I can seem to think about. According to Forbes, only about 10% of the population LOVES public speaking…so I am not alone! This fact in itself is comforting.

I had a really great teacher growing up. She was crazy! Funny! Smart! Could connect with us all. And she definitely wasn’t afraid of speaking in front of a crowd.  I will never forget the day she confessed to the class that in her younger years she was gravely shy. We were all like, “No, look at you…full of jokes!” But it was the truth. She said on the first day of her being a teacher, she felt almost sick because she was so scared. She stuttered, her hands shook, and at the end of the day she wanted to cry. What if she made a huge mistake in wanting to be a teacher? But, everyday she went back…everyday she faced her fear…and slowly, with each day it got a little easier. She kept meeting that fear and slowly she conquered it.

Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Everyone is afraid of something. Even those people that seem fearless.Heroes are people that chose to face their fears, that believe whatever is on the other side of their fear is more important.We are all human, and we all have fears. Whether your fear is something big or small, don’t let fear rule your life. Don’t let your fear hold you back! Don’t let fear keep you from accomplishing your dreams!

It counts

Sometimes there are things we simply cannot fix or change.

I’m thinking of those moments when a friend, co-worker,  family member, acquaintance is hurting. The sparkle in their eyes has been replaced with tears, they don’t smile anymore…it’s like part of them has been stolen, which is partially true. And gosh, you just want to make them smile again, take away the pain and give them sunny skies.

There is a group of personality types out there I’d like to call the “fixers” and “helpers”. Fixers and helpers are driven to, as the name suggests, fix things…if we could, we would make the world have sunshine every single day.Fixers love to see people happy and make people happy; when someone isn’t happy or is hurting, fixers instantly want to fix it, they feel driven to help. Most, if not all of us, have a certain amount of this fixer/helper personality in us…it makes you human to care about another human.

But sometimes there are  things you cannot fix. Sometimes the hurt is so deep, too deep. Or the hurt and pain is something you cannot relate to at all… and you feel powerless. You want to help, but you can’t; you want to take the pain away, but you can’t. The person feels so far, so out of reach, and you don’t know what to do or say.

Today while I was at work printing paper after paper, this thought struck me: You may not be able to “fix” or take away someone’s pain…but you can be there. And just being there COUNTS. Just giving someone a hug COUNTS. Telling someone “Let me know what I can do to help” COUNTS. Even if you don’t see it, your presence counts to someone that is hurting.

People handle grief and disappointment differently…but we all appreciate when our friends and family are simply THERE for us–ready to talk to, ready to give a hug, ready to just sit in the same room with us.

Sometimes you may not feel like you are helping someone at all, you may feel like giving up…DON’T. You ARE making a difference…even if you don’t see it right now. BE AVAILABLE, GIVE PEOPLE HUGS (where words cannot go, touch often can!), AND DON’T GIVE UP…..IT COUNTS.

You are somebody

I ran across this quote and thought it was too good not to share:

“Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.” -Kid President

You can change someone’s life, and it’s not that hard.

Isn’t it amazing after you get a sincere and very specific to you compliment, or after someone gets you flowers for no reason at all, or after someone asks you a question and really listens, you feel recharged…important…a little more confident. Sometimes you feel more daring– you take risks…because you believe you can succeed. And sometimes…you DO succeed…life takes you places you would have never dreamed you’d be. Your life changed because someone took the time to make you feel special, like the somebody you were all along.

Challenge: Compliment someone in a very specific way. Don’t just say they are awesome, tell them very specific reasons why they are awesome. Compliment the barista that always makes your coffee ridiculously perfectly and always remembers your order (which is so confusing you’d think it was some kind of math problem); compliment a family member (sometimes, they are the ones who need to hear it the most). Yeah, this “challenge” is something so small, but small things matter…and lots of small things make a difference.

If you’d like, share your story! Or share a story of when somebody made YOU feel like a SOMEBODY.

Wings, a poem

Wings

A poem by Autumn Komzik

Down, down far below

Was a place I longed to go.

Each day I strained my eyes to see,

A place I only dreamed to be.

A little town, a mountain peak,

Grassy pastures and a crystal creek.

My friends would often come and go

And tell of the wonders down below.

I longed to join them in that place,

But I was trapped in fate’s embrace.

Separated by a chasm far and deep–

I was perched on a cliff narrow and steep.

Make the jump–it was the only way;

It was the one price required to pay.

Below the rocks were sharp as knives

There was the chance one wouldn’t survive.

I looked over the edge and hugged the wall;

I chose to stay and never to fall.

I lived my life always to dream;

I never felt the crystal stream,

Or stood on the top of the mountain peak,

Or laid in pastures grassy and sweet;

I never walked on streets of cobblestone–

I lived up here…all alone.

A life wasted, almost gone by;

I never truly lived, because I was afraid to die.

Make the jump–it was the only way

Not to waste one more day.

Now more afraid not to jump at all

I step over the edge, and take the fall.

The air around me sings,

And I discover all along, I had wings.

-Autumn Komzik

Don’t be afraid of to fail, be afraid not to try.

Little Things, a poem

Little Things

A heart beat

A music note

A word said

And a word wrote.

A flower petal

A silver dime

A drop of rain

And a minute of time

A first kiss

A laugh with a friend

A snow flake

And watching a life begin.

A bread crumb

A grain of sand

A blade of grass

And holding your hand.

A pink sunset

A red sunrise

A stranger’s smile

And the look in your eyes.

A “I love you”

A “I love you too”

A “I’m sorry”

And a “I’m sorry too”

A mean look

A little lie

An angry word

And a silent cry.

A dinner missed

A word unspoken

A call unmade

A promise broken.

A tiny rumor

A match spark

A little virus

And a deal in the dark.

A cigarette

A punch and hit

A drunken drive

And an atom split.

Years are made of days

And days are made of minutes

Life is made of moments

And the choices in it.

Little things aren’t so small-

A word, a minute, a look, a choice–

These are our life’s sails

And when we are gone, these will be our life’s voice.

-By Autumn Komzik

First page of my book!

The first page of my book!!!

Just A Dream, pg. 1

by Autumn Komzik

Charleston, SC 1925

   He had always hated hospitals. The blindingly white wall, the burning smell of sterilization, the strange silver instruments, the soft whispery voices of the nurses—it was all a cover for the death and disease which seemed to ooze out of every crack and crevice. Hospitals were a place where the haunted memories of his Mother’s life slipping away from the Spanish Influenza filled his mind. They were a place where nightmares came true and where people discovered their mortality.

Kale Desmin sat in a flimsy metal chair feeling exhaustion start to set in. His honey colored hair, which was normally held neatly back with promenade, was ruffled and his eyes burned. He had been awake all night. But no matter how badly he longed to leave, he wouldn’t–he couldn’t.

His gaze fixed on the girl that lay in the bed directly in front of him, a girl that had been so full of life only hours ago. Purple bruises and scrapes speckled across the left side of her face, her blond hair was matted with blood, and her skin was pasty white. Other than the sound of her slow, methodical breaths, the hospital was quiet and strangely peaceful.

Kale hesitantly touched her limp hand and whispered the words he never could say when she was awake, “I love you, you have to wake up. Please, Angel, I need you.”

The quiet of the morning in was broken by desperate wails echoing down the hallway. Kale snapped his head up and stared at the closed door to the room. The wails became louder and louder. He could hear heavy footsteps pounding against the floor coming closer and closer, making the metal rails of the bed tremble and squeak. He realized it was a name that was being called; the wailing was the constant agonized repeat of a name. His heart felt a sudden swell of sorrow for the person, the owner of the name. It was clear the news they were about to receive would alter their life in some painful and dreadful way.

Kale felt his stomach fill with a hollow pit; his breath caught in his throat. The name that was being called was his.

*

Perfect days come around like the Halley’s Comet. You might have one truly perfect day in your life and once it’s gone, you never see it again. At least that’s what Mammy Potts always told me.

I could at least boast this day was close to perfect. My hair had not yet succumbed to the humidity– the waves which had taken an hour to put in were smooth and sleek; I managed to pluck the sweetest peach in existence from one of our trees; and I was about to spend the entire evening with him. As I walked towards the docks to meet him, my pace picking up with every step, my palms began to sweat. The one way to make this day absolutely Halley’s Comet kind of perfect, would be a kiss.

How many books did you read in 2014

Before I get into this post I have to put it out there…I know it is already less than 10 days until the end of January. Now that is out of the way I had been going over 2014 accomplishments. One of my goals was to read…read…read and read some more. I truly believe that the more you read the better writer you will become. At the end of the year I counted all of the books I read and my count was 72! I know there are people to who would laugh at reading only 72 books in a year, but for me…72 is AWESOME!

What was your 2014 books read count? Do you have a reading goal set for 2015? What are your 2015 goals? Do you think reading has helped improve your writing?

My 2015 goals:

To have my book Published! (every year’s goal until it happens! NEVER give up!)

To read more books than I did in 2014…so 73? ha ha..

To finish my second book

Go to Charleston, SC (setting for my books) and excited to say I am going in the first week of March!

Be a better, more faithful blog writer… LOL I started off semi-strong at the beginning of 2014 but sort of deflated there towards the end

Brushing up on all those fun rules of proper grammar and composition (kinda important for us writers!)

Interview with the Literary Agent

While visiting the homeland (Colorado) I had the opportunity to meet a LITERARY AGENT. Unfortunately, it wasn’t about my book…it was an interview for a position in the company! Still good news! This would be an amazing opportunity and maybe even would be a foot in the door to getting my book published (perhaps I could “accidently” leave a copy of my manuscript on one of the agent’s desks?). If you haven’t read my post on what happens to me during an interview, I have to tell you, I get TERRIFIED when going to interviews…it’s worse than terrified…it’s like my mind goes blank and I can’t seem to remember a thing!

This was a job I wanted, a position I was fully ready to take and to grow into…prepare for the interview? You bet I did! But as I walked into the shiny office with it’s glittering chandelier and mahogany desks I suddenly felt silly in my fitted dress and floppy shoes. For some reason, the shoes were a huge part of my worries. I had forgotten to bring my black pumps with me and ended up borrowing a pair of flats from my sister. The flats were worn and too big, so big my toes were gripping the soles just to keep them on when I walked. I repeated the line from Ever After, “No one will be looking at your feet” and hoped it was true.

As I waited to be called in, I studied a library filled with books that had been brought to publishing by this company. My heart was racing.

The first part of the interview went well, even with my nerves I maintained control. I pushed my work ethic and passion for literature to cover my lack of experience. I was feeling good. Suddenly I was ushered into the president’s office. W-WHAT? I had no idea he would interview me! The position I applied for was administrative, it didn’t seem big enough to meet the president! As we walked through the offices of the agents, my heart was POUNDING. AAAHHHHH!! The president!

When I entered his office and shook his hand I was shaking…I literally felt petrified in his presence. He introduced me to his wife announcing that I was a writer. It is so good to here a professional refer to you as a writer, let me just say.

He says, “What is the first line of your book?”

I fumble my speech a little and I can feel my cheeks burn ( I HATE that I blush so easily!). “He always hated hospitals,” I say the very first sentence of my book, holding my breath for his response.

He nods and says in his very serious, no nonsense kind of way, “That’s pretty good, actually. The first sentence is so important…there are many times when I have only read the first sentence of a submitted manuscript and rejected it. The first sentence must be good.”

His words gave me hope and taught me so much.

Be sure your first sentence is somehow captivating…and with correct grammar. That first sentence counts…make it good.

Even though I didn’t get the job as an administrative assistant, it was AWESOME being able to share about my book to a literary agent that has lead to the selling of millions of pages of literature.

What is the first sentence of your book?

When life doesn’t do as we say…thoughts on waiting

Sometimes, dreams don’t come true when we want them to. Sometimes, waiting can be the most impossible feeling. Sometimes, we wonder if life will ever take us where we want to be. Sometimes, life takes us where we need to be.

I have had an interesting month…full of potentially life changing decisions. At the start of the month I have to admit, I looked at the lives of my friends around me from college and turned green with envy. Among all of our lives, I felt least successful and sort of trapped. When I was little and thought about being 26, I imagined myself traveling the world, married, having a successful career, and of course at least one book published. I was a big dreamer!  As we grow up, we realize that certain dreams can’t come true as fast as you hope and life doesn’t exactly “do as we say”.

So what do we do in the middle of waiting for our dreams to come true? A thought hit me last week. I had made the decision to turn down a job offer where I saw certain dreams of mine suddenly in reach. After my decision, of course I was like, “Crap! I totally threw my chance away!” And I really wondered if I had made the right decision. I thought to myself, Autumn, true, you may have been unhappy at work, but you would have had this…and that…you wouldn’t have been in this horrible phase of constant waiting.

stuck in traffic

We humans are impatient creatures. I mean…we LOATHE waiting for things. Take being stuck in traffic, for example. No one in their right mind says, “I LOVE traffic jams!” We all hate them! We left the house a happy and kind person and then suddenly turn into a roaring (green) beast, waving our arms, shouting, honking, about to mash things hulk. Most technology these days all has the same goal: to be faster.

I was hit with the thought, life will be full of waiting…no matter what we can invent…we will have to wait…it is just life. So what do we do, while we wait? Abraham Lincoln said, “Whatever you are…be a good one.” No matter what phase you are in life, be good one, strive to give your best. No matter what job you have, find what little ways you can excel and even learn. No matter if you are married, engaged, single, or dating be the best one…be the type of person who you would want. No matter if you are a national best seller or a writer which whom no one knows your name…don’t make any excuses, give it all you got. Waiting for things can actually be a gift. Maybe we aren’t given things now because now we aren’t ready for them as a person. Maybe if we got all of our dreams at the snap of our fingers we wouldn’t have the experience, the growth to succeed with them. Learn to take the wait and do all you can in that time so when your dreams come true, you’ll be ready. You’ll take those dreams and fly.