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Surfing in a Hurricane

Howdy All ~ 

Oy vey. Right when things are finally getting back to what we Floridians can call normal, there’s been another announcement that Hurricane Maria is brewing in the ocean and it looks like her forces are going to be sending her right down Irma’s path. You’re kidding, right? This is a joke, right? #thisistoomuch #waytoomuch Cuz, that’s kinda what it felt like when I saw that.

The Weds-Fri before the 9/10 into 9/11 hurricane was absolutely insane. 8 or more hours of listening to hurricane talk at work, then following the Spaghetti Models website and watching how it can go three million trillion different ways…but yet, it was COMING STRAIGHT AT FLORIDA ON THE EAST COAST…then NOOOO WAIT…the WEST COAST…back to the east coast?! Nope, back to the west coast… MANDATORY EVACUATIONS ON THE WEST COAST, WHEN IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE HEADING TO THE EAST COAST. East Coast is doing nothing to prepare, but yet… IRMAGERD….Moving more NW more north, more west, now heading STRAIGHT FOR TAMPA AND OMG WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE BECAUSE IT’S A CAT 5, ETC.

Wow. It was stressful, and now, I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally hate spaghetti.

By Friday, there weren’t many open gas stations and the ones that had anything left was forty cars deep on each open pump. People were going insane–lots of screaming, impatience, and basic nastiness. There was NOTHING left in grocery stores (like cans or water) and most all places were sold out of plywood or anything you normally need to fix stuff in a hurricane.

By Saturday, I was just freaking out so bad that I truly thought this was the end for me. That’s why I said the goodbye that I did on Facebook. Saturday I spent all day packing up my entire apartment–like covering all electronics, getting stuff off the floor, making sure I had enough water in the fridge and freezer and etc.

My neighbor and I ended up going somewhere else in St Pete to stay during the hurricane. Because this thing had been drug out for so long–and when the electric went out–it was basically a waiting game. I kept looking at my phone and seeing that we were in the circle of it all but heard and saw nothing. I got sick of waiting and, as terrible as this is, I fell asleep through the brute of the storm. Oops. So I can’t exactly explain being awake and explaining what I heard… because I was so tired, I heard nothing.

But the stress was enough to kill a person. I was stressed about losing my car that I’m still paying for, I was stressed about losing the house and stuff that I’ve worked so hard to keep, I was stressed about Eisenhower reacting in this storm, I was stressed about losing work and not being able to make money to survive and what to do if something did happen. The headaches and extreme body pain that I got out of this was bad too.

After all is said and done, the power at the place where we stayed went out but we went home to our duplex house and nothing but tree limbs and stuff on her side was out of place. Luckily, it was untouched. We had power. We were thankful. I had NO SERVICE on my phone at all for a week, so every evening I’d walk down to the Gulfport waters and catch up for a few hours before going back dark when I got home. That was kind of inconvenient. But, nothing was touched, we had electric and water… So thankful.

The worst part of all of this was how crazy some people went, how some went out in the hurricane and was killed for being stupid, the way some reacted right before the hurricane, and the people who left their animals tied to trees while fleeing themselves.

The BEST part of all of this… was the chicken burritos (down in Key West someone wrapped up all the roosters/chickens in newspaper and took them away from KW so they’d be saved), the “cone of uncertainty” and “God flipping a fidget spinner” meme, and the single file flamingos from Busch Gardens.

But that’s not all of the best…. my beloved adult hometown of Gulfport had spirit. As soon as this was over, some of the places were open and people were gathered laughing and having a good time. Many people pitched in to help one another. Florida as a whole should be kissing the ground that we’re mostly 95% lucky that (almost all of us) quickly got everything back up and running. The town of Gulfport and Florida was amazingly quick and humble about handling the situation that was given to us (minus South Fl and Key West which will take some time)…and surprisingly, I haven’t seen any insane reactions lately, but I bet they’re heading back to town. Ha! FLORIDA STRONG AND GULFPORT STRONG. Fo’Sho!

Needless to say, I really hope Maria surprises us and goes back out in the ocean. I do not think I am ready for another one nor ready for any kind of rain. Or storm.

I know some of you are probably wondering why I stayed in FL when people were leaving town? This is my home. I want to be here to help if need be and I want to be around my family of friends who (for the most part) didn’t leave. Plus, there’s always that feeling of… if something like a window is broken, will my stuff be stolen? Sorry, I’d like to stay close to my place and make sure it’s okay.

I appreciate everyone who contacted me throughout this whole thing and was worried and asking what I was planning on doing. Thank you SOOOOO much! You guys, it means a lot. 

For those inquiring about Eisenhower: The day of the hurricane, he was acting so funny. Like, trying to climb up to the top of his carrying case. I was hoping to calm him down by picking him up and he pinched me so hard (for maybe a minute) and pinched a hole right through my finger. It. Hurt. Yes, it drew some tears. I kept him close for a few days, and last night (the 16th) when I was holding him, I could feel him go limp. He went into another molt, I confirmed that earlier, and I am praying to the universe that he turns out okay in time. He is moving around and was munching on his old skin… sooooo… that is good news.

In other news, as of Friday (I think?) Eisenhower has a new brother, a Betta fish. His name is Lord Augustus Wolfgang Fishypants. He’s a cute red fish, and he’s already reacting / communicating with me.

I think most of you know already…. I’ve been appointed as the stage manager of the kids show on Saturday and I’m taking Patrick’s writing class on Sunday plus I will soon be doing boat shows on the weekends and then working 2 jobs during the week. I am still staying absent from Facebook (if you message me, I won’t get it), I don’t really have time for much other than posting to Instagram. Please know I’m not ignoring you if I don’t answer. Emails are hit or miss, considering half of it is buried right now from not cleaning it out.

There’s going to be a ridiculous amount of things going on in my life the next 60-90+ days so the BEST bet from now on is to just text or call me at 919-900-0052, ESPECIALLY if you need an answer right away or it’s really important. Leave a message if you call and I don’t answer, or just text away. I have unlimited so it doesn’t matter how long or short the message. 

Love you guys, 
Karen Maeby, Eisenhower & Augustus 

Amazon Kindle Books by Karen Maeby

I have just released my newest book FASHION POETRY in honor of Project Runway coming back to our TVs! Get it FOR FREE along with the following books…. (This promo will run Friday through Tuesday next week. Amazon Kindle Direct is still free through.) 

DEAR ANNE FRANK | Dear Anne Frank is a narrative-based short story set up in a “dear diary” format. It was written in reference to a weekend trip to Washington, DC that the author took in 2010. What is shared is an unique mixture of thoughts ranging from personal feelings in relation to Anne Frank’s spirit, details about the trip to DC, updates since that trip, a poem and more!

MAEBY IT’S ONLY THE BEGINNING | Karen Maeby becomes vulnerable as she pours her soul into her poetry in ‘Maeby, it’s only the beginning.’ She invites you to join her as she tells her story, even though—like many—she’s been hurt before. Her poetry draws emotions from every angle and touches on many subjects such as: soulfulness, general: life, among the living, heartbrokenness, some narrative / non fiction, the ocean, goodbyes, truth, dreams, and so many others.

THE CAPTAIN IN ME SCRAPBOOK | This book is free because it needs to be updated, but it gives you a taste of In Love with a Sailor as well as The Captain in Me. 

This is the scrapbook / preview-teaser for The Captain in Me, of which, also will include my previous book In Love With a Sailor.

The Captain in Me takes your soul for a walk down a long pier on the beach where the only guide is the sunset right before your eyes. It’s the moment where you wake to see that you are no longer dreaming and you are given the chance to take charge. The only existence for the moment would be you and the words to describe how you are feeling when you realize that you can change anything around that you want.

Or, at least that’s how I would describe it. This poetry collection is composed of a mixture of a few sugar coated fiction and 99% non-fiction pieces plus several narrative-based essays. The poetry is a mix of romance with the life of the Sea, locations, characters, deep philosophies and eras of life, and lots of nautical references. My inspiration was the events that occurred while living day to day.

CAPTAINS & SAILORS THE POETRY BOOK | Priced at $2.99, you can get 200 poems!!! It’s free for Kindle Unlimited readers. 

Captains & Sailors: The Poetry Collection is a work of art that touches on every subject you can imagine! Each poem has a flair of narrative based truth to it, and Maeby brings it to life by sharing her dream of a very determined love, the characters in her life, an endless love for jazz music and all things vintage, life’s philosophies, Pirate adventures, life on the Sea and so much more.

So if you are in need of an escape from the wintry wind that the snow storm has brought, this is the book for you. Kick back your feet and imagine yourself sitting on the warm beach—with a drink in your hand—as you are watching the sunset. Use the words in this book as your map to escape your current world and step into viewing the life of a very soulful Pirate named Maeby. This is her “message in a bottle” to the entire world of which she wrote something for everyone.

 

Another trip around the sun at 31.

Aloha everyone! 

It’s another personal year for me as I turn from 30 to 31. Wow, what a year my 30th was… I am pretty sure that I experienced every thing one could experience in a year and then some. I have to thank Facebook a little bit for sharing with me my memories because I know I can’t remember them all on my own.

Last year–turning 30 in 2016–was spent amazingly and it was one of the most epic days, I just wish certain circumstances had turned out different. There was jazz night at the Hideaway Cafe, and a rather large party for Eisenhower and I at work. My actual birthday, our AC went out at work and it was 100 degrees in there… and that was the first time I was taking clothes off as opposed to wearing 15 shirts and 3 jackets. “My first hot flash now that I’m getting old,” they joked.

The year before that – my 29th (2015) – since I could get in for free because I worked at John’s Pass, I went to the alligator place there and held a baby alligator. I also kissed it. On. The. Lips. There are pictures somewhere on Facebook as the proof. This is the same year I adopted Eisenhower, BUT I had to take a couple of days to think about it. Did I want to bring a wee little creature in my life? I’m so very glad I did. He was meant to be in my life for sure.

I kind of blank out before that… but I know there had been a trip to Florida for my birthday week maybe in 2010 or so (which was amazing because we spent time with some amazing people while here having amazing experiences) and then some more time spent in John’s Pass either 2011 or 2012 (I really love that place). Oh and another year not sure which (2013? 2014?) was spent with Blanche and her BFF eating somewhere.

This year… 2017… a celebration started at my favorite day Christmas in July (25th) with G and I. We went down to Sarasota to a cook out with some friends. I remembered Joe Anthony like I always do. I told G the story about him, how he passed away and the story of my connection with that.

On my actual birthday a good group of us from the theatre plus a few others came together to eat at Neptune’s and it suddenly felt like we were back at the theatre taking a break in between shows! Ha! This was yet another epic birthday for sure. THANK YOU ALL FOR CELEBRATING WITH ME! 

So, I was late to my own party – I was stopped by some people sitting outside at the restaurant next door because they wanted to know all about Eisenhower. They said that sort of thing is why they love Gulfport so much! A GP police officer was eating in there and so he wished me a happy birthday, as well as I found out one of the cooks/waiters there was a birthday twin! They sang happy birthday to me followed by a piece of cheesecake. E and I blew out the candle. Also, we didn’t get any pictures except for what G took of E and then E & I.

Give or take a few more days and Eisenhower has been with me for 2 years. I cannot believe it. I was so scared that he wouldn’t even last a week or two with me, that’s why I was so hesitant, I didn’t want adopt a hermit crab only for something to happen to it instantly. My way of raising him is a little different than what hermit crab enthusiasts have going for their crabs (and, believe it or not, I’ve had those people grumble at me for certain things). As you all know, he does not stay home all the time – he’s seen 3 plays now, attended 3 different work places with me several times, goes on short rides, has been out to John’s Pass multiple times, and sometimes visits downtown GP. One of these days, E will have his own legacy. Everyone will know us as Maeby the Pirate and her crabby son Eisenhower. Only one could hope…

It was seriously one good birthday to spend it with friends who seem as close as family. I am 100% sure that E really enjoyed visiting with everyone too. Thank you all so much – again – and can’t wait to do this again next year! 

Always, 
Karen Maeby 

Summer One Acts 2017 [part one]

[ note: part two will come after the show is actually over] 

Aloha Everyone! 

It just doesn’t seem real that we’re nearly two weeks away from the ending of my favorite show of our theatrical calendar. I’m trying my best to not dry heave some heavy tears that I’m sure will fall the last weekend, just like last year, but this year…. is a little different.

Today was that normal Saturday of hell week where the backstage people meet at the Backdoor to put all of the stuff on the truck and take it over to the Catherine Hickman. Walking in the green room–it just felt so big for a moment–and walking out on stage… here we go again..the heart – pitter patter pitter patter and a moment of happiness calming my soul. After not having worked two shows (which was about 2-3 months maybe), it felt great to be back, and I had my usual strong sense of ‘I really do belong here.’

Another amazing feeling was also to be able to quickly put things where they needed to go, do what needed to be done, and be done…until tomorrow’s tech day where I’m sure half of the things will change. Last year I was just too new to know any of this stuff. (PLUS! It helped me to pretty much say let’s get everything packed after Wednesday’s performance, pushed near the door, and ready for Saturday instead of putting it off for another day!)  

I don’t think I actually mentioned this at all on my blog, but back in May–during the auditions–it was my one year anniversary with the Gulfport Players. [By the way, I still think there needs to be a party. Can we make that happen? haha cast party…and yes, I do make a big deal of anniversaries for things I am extremely passionate & care about. So there.] 

It doesn’t feel like a year at all but what an incredible one it has been starting with SOA’16 then hopping into Over the River, Parfumerie, Modigliani, then taking a break for two plays and now we’re at SOA’17. Each one of those plays have had some significance to me, and I’ve written about all of them on my blog.

At SOA’17 auditions: I knew almost everyone walking in the door, and it felt super comfortable to work the front desk after getting experience from a few  other plays. (That’s one of my favorite jobs there. Auditions are literally a way of life…. it’s a large family reunion that’s for sure.) 

At SOA’17 house rehearsals: I remembered props from previous years, so I was able to suggest those, or find them to use. I knew where a lot of things were to go and get it ahead of time. I also created a no-nonsense plan on how to keep tabs of everything in each show, and it deemed successful.

I have learned so much throughout the year by working the shows and working around who I have, and that’s just the technical part. Not to mention, some of the personal things I said last year as we were setting stuff back up on stage–I made those changes in my life, and I’m working on even more.

Last year I worked SOA’16 with only weeks away from my 30th birthday. It was such an I’m-working-the-show-as-29-years-old-but-almost-30th amazing 30th year for me: I met my favorite person and allllllllllllllllllllll of my favorite people (not people, MY THEATRE FAMILY) of which I love very, very, very, very, very much! I’ve drawn so much inspiration from all of this and all of you (in poetry, writing or art), learning what I did with the shows, and just every experience in between. The cast parties, meeting outside of the theatre, hanging out together sometimes – all of that – just fabulous! I’ll never forget!

Did I mention SOA’16 was my first year back after being out of the theatre world for 12 years?

Yeah.

That’s why it was so special. That’s why I was so emotional by the end, because–even though there were goals throughout the first half of my 29 years and down–nothing has ever compared to what happened after I joined GP.

Once I crossed ‘join theatre once again’ off my goals/dreams list, I went on and marked up to 100 more off my list in this 30th year! That’s the fastest I’ve ever hit goals and that many! We’re even talking about crossing some stuff off my high school dreams list that were still open, too! It was my returning to theatre that helped me advance my life to try to take control and make it exactly what I want it to be no matter what. I knew I belonged, it just took me 12 years (and that exact perfect timing) to make it all happen. Goals are so much easier to obtain, I’m no longer shy about getting what I want and putting myself out there to try all the new things. There are words and then there are no words… that’s exactly how I feel…and I’m not often speechless.

I want to shout out to everyone I have met because of the players. YOU GUYS are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met and I cannot wait until we work more shows together. I’m so grateful that I came to the Gulfport Players “ONE YEAR AGO” and started helping out. I have never met such an incredible group of people who claim each other as home, and I mean that in a way that never will you ever find a group like this one. I am thankful. 

PS – I’ve been taking walks every night that we’re not at rehearsal late or that I’m not doing anything. This photo I took one evening of the sunset just gleaming over the Catherine Hickman. I nearly screamed out, “It’s like the world knows we’re going to be there next week.”

next week’s secret 7.1.17

the “atmosphere, world, sky” knows a secret
and Mother Earth said that it was okay to tell me…
i was in the middle of the road–

and the music stopped in my headphones,
that’s when i heard a whisper
‘look over here child’ and i did

” we’re going to be here next week!! ”
i smile, as i took a picture,
and continued walking down the street

i think we’ve been blessed,
nothing is as holy as having a sunset
light your place on fire with ten thousand colors

magic was dropped off somewhere inside,
get ready for that ride
our show will be creating stars at night

Love Always, Karen Maeby 

 

Wondering why you haven’t seen or heard from me? This is why.

Hello everyone!

Oh boy. I don’t know where to even start but I guess starting at the beginning would be great, aye? This’ll be long so make sure you have tea/coffee to sip while reading!

With a lot (and believe me when I say A LOT) of consideration and talking with my boss after my Ft Myers-Miami vacation in February, I put in my “90 day notice” at T. While it will always be my dream company to work for, the position of which I worked was NOT the dream job (everyone knew this). Basically if you work at a dealership the marine industry is so cut & dry – you’re either in sales, service advisor, parts, warranty or upper management or an admin training to do one of those things. Some companies have a marketing department but we weren’t big enough to have that and that is what I wanted. I really loved working in the warranty but we already had someone, and even if it became available, it was only going to be a portion of the job–not full time–and the benefits from the previous person would never follow out-of-house ever again like I would have wanted to continue.

So hence my big decision. Every time I would go in and talk to my boss, I’d start crying, my heart was breaking even more than what it already had been. I knew that even the thought of leaving was sad, but it was just time to move on. Two years of doing the same exact thing every day was enough but almost 3 was just too much for someone that wants to do a whole lot more with their life (you should see my goals/dreams list – it’s now 1,000 pages long). What started this whole thing was having a really, really good performance review but it being said that they were aware of my abilities and talents and couldn’t satisfy them because a position like what I was wanting either didn’t exist or couldn’t there. I understood.

So on a Tuesday at the tech meeting I told the guys about my “90 day notice” and they were shocked because they knew how much I was Team T forever and ever until the day I die. (I still am!) We didn’t know how long it would take to hire someone, so 90 days felt safe for finding someone, training and giving me enough time to get my act together.

However, not shortly after, a girl had walked in with experience in the same things that I did in the admin role, so they hired her. By the end of the first month I was like, okay there’s just one computer and either I need to stop working (and feeling bad about that) or not let her do anything (and that just wasn’t right)… so I decided to leave two months early. I didn’t want to stay if I wasn’t able to earn my keep. 

All four of my bosses were completely 100% behind/beside me and supported me wholeheartedly. Before I left I got to go on my first seatrial which was a lot of fun and super philosophical for me (yes there’s a poem, it’s on boatshowgirl.com). Also, they threw me one huge party.

I left on a Tuesday and came back on Friday for my lunch party. When I walked in, there were thousands of decorations hanging from the ceiling, on the walls, everything. It was amazing. They gave me two cards, a poster that said “good luck with your next adventure,” a crown that said “retired” (haha), and even bought a flag that said “it’s five o’clock somewhere”. They fixed shrimp tacos for me and we all ate together for the last time. (Eisenhower even joined in and he was sooooo full from the shrimp that he fell asleep propped up against his ship! ha!) With them doing all of this for me, it gives me even more fuel to not give up no matter how much I might fail. They believed in me enough to let me go. And, like a butterfly… if it was meant to be….back around it comes. 

What’s a shocker to the very few that knew about this — I left without having a job or much of a back up. While that might scare people, it did me too, but please know it was for the best. The last few weeks of April I was unraveling at the seams. Holy cow was I ever. After going from doing everything I was doing at the end of last year until April, I was just so overwhelmed I needed one hell of a break… and that, I did get. There were weeks I didn’t get out of bed. I slept up to 20 hours some days. I didn’t talk to anyone really. I wasn’t working, I wasn’t doing the theatre or film at that time, and no other activities other than reading 1-2 books a day. Actually, I did get started on some of the scenes out of a book I’m writing about T, but that was about it. I even “quit” BoatShowGirl for the time being. Yep. My heart and my brain was just so broken by that point. There were so many clouds in my sky that I couldn’t see right in front of my face anymore. My ideas weren’t ideas any more. Nothing would compute. It was not good at all.

Then………weeks later, I went to the Gulfport boat races and reported live to my radio show. I felt sort of alive again being by the water and seeing the boats. It’s a thing I can get behind – boat races – it was awesome.  The next day I went and saw Foolish Fish Girls at the theatre and saw everyone I loved and cared about. I started missing everyone so badly.

The end of April to middle of May, I kept applying to full time jobs. Why? Why in the world would I do that? I don’t know. I went on a few interviews and they didn’t work out. I wanted to strangle myself because I left my dream company to do my own thing.. not to go work for someone else (unless it was freelance/contract)! SO. Ever since having realized that the reason nothing like that was working out is because this is my time to make my future and it is not by coping out and having a cheat job. It’s working my ass off to get everything I ever wanted in this life. When I truly realized that, things started to center out with me again, and I’ve been able to smile and be happy.

After taking that good ole awful couple of weeks worth of a break, I can finally breathe again. I can finally think creatively again. I just feel so free. I can’t explain it. I have ideas. I feel like I have a creative future, unlike what I was feeling before.

One night I was turning in for sleep and a large storm of termites (yay Florida!) started taking over my apartment. It was awful. I ended up running to the store at 10pm at night, getting bug spray and a new metal bed frame. I stayed up for 30 hours straight moving and going through everything in my front room just so I could move everything from my bedroom into my front room. I threw my wooden bed frame out the next day, set up my metal one in the front room and completely crashed.

My neighbors and I had a yardsale this past weekend and just by having a lot of $1 items I made money, more than I’ve ever made at any of the previous yardsales. I’m going to be doing another one in a few weeks. Right now I’m just getting rid of a lot of things I no longer want that’s mine, and it’s helping clear the apartment of so much clutter. I believe that letting go of a lot of things (like items no longer used or wanted) is a part of my life lessons for this 30th year of mine. It’s working well thus far. My apartment is almost back to normal and I FINALLY HAVE A DESK AREA AGAIN. I haven’t had that for a few months now, so I haven’t been able to use my desktop computers which has been annoying! But alas, there’s a lot of room in here and much needed junk is going bye-bye! First step: become less of a past hoarder. I guess? Lol.

Work status: I’ve been getting about 3 emails or calls a day pertaining to my ads about work, so I’m super excited, this is a great start. I will be popping up a lot more places but for now I’m keeping things under wraps. I don’t want to take on too much right at first or talk about many of my ideas/goals because I need to figure out time and prioritizing, but so far… I’m really liking the freedom. Once I’m ready, I’m going to start posting all of the things I’m doing. In fact, if you keep tabs on my websites you’ll probably start to see some stuff pop up. I already have 1 perm job that I started this week, and doing some other work for both myself and others making amounts here and there.

In another sense, it was frightening to scramble money together to be able to pay this month’s rent, but it’s something I needed to learn… in order to work harder, smarter, better to make more money than ever so I’ll never have to go through that again. It’s going to be rough for a little bit, but I’m getting it together, and it’ll get easier.

Here’s what I need you guys to do for me: if you live in this area, spread the word that you know someone that wants to do freelance/contract marketing/ graphics/ small office work/ stuff like that. I can do online selling via etsy, eBay and those places. I know how to do a lot of things. My resume is at karenmaeby.com/work Or you can just keep an eye out for stuff like this and let me know if you see anything. I like tiny projects, but I also like ones that’ll keep a stream of income month after month…

As far as everything else… I’m so, so, so, so, so happy I’m back at the theatre helping out with the Summer One Acts. Auditions was actually my 1 year anniversary! I attended movie night with the film society last month and really enjoyed that. For those that I have seen, it’s so good to see everyone again. I’m just counting on a lot of things working out for me with a lot of hard work, and hopefully, another butterfly (not the one mentioned above nor one that has to do with work) will come back around this time again but in a better, different, more permanent way. My heart and soul feels it as my chakras are being cleaned…but it’s just not time yet, dammit. I am not the most patient person which is why ‘patience, young grasshopper’ makes me angry sometimes. 😉

Always,
Karen Maeby

Perfume by Karen Maeby (poem)

PERFUME
4.17.17 © by Karen Maeby

the bottle that you hold so dearly
in between your hands
is the flesh that holds my bones together
and
the liquid found inside
is my life’s personality
that will eventually run out.

you unwrap me, make a face,
and give me away during white elephant.
i just wasn’t your taste.

i am undoubtedly fragile
because one slip to the ground
and i will break.

i will break into a million pieces,
only to never be put back together again.
my puzzle will always be missing something.

i think
i feel
i breathe

until i can’t.

i am perfume:

i get used, and then,
when i run out of steam
i am thrown away.

will i be replaced?
will i be replaced?

i am a scent that you will carry with you
always, always, always
as you start thinking back to the memories
you replay scenes in your mind
like the black and white movie on a film board.

midnight jazz
the singer sings on
and the drunk
keeps drinking
and there’s a sneeze in the air
with me on the tip of your tongue.

if i’m replaced—
am i a reincarnation of your memories
or a new and improved tomorrow?

i am now a broken glass,
shattered, impossible to put back together.

i am a butterfly that has just been released,
only wanting to come home.

i am recyclable
determined to be turned into something else.

I AM PERFUME
FOR ONLY SO LONG.

my bottle harvests that moonlight glow
and the tiniest bit of sweetness
between sea breeze, pumpkin, memories and jazz.
i can play the piano to a tune of an illusion

that i was meant to be anything but broken.

Masquerade Fantasy – A short story by Karen Maeby

Masquerade Fantasy – A short story

2017 © Karen Maeby

(Copyright notice: This document shall not be replicated or posted elsewhere unless the author provides written permission. As of right now, the only place this short story is on the author’s private blog at KarenMaeby.com – Thank you for understanding.) 

He sat almost lifeless at his computer, obsessively staring at the screen, as he tapped his pen against the desk. Everything stopped for a minute—the noise of ambulances rushing down the road, the neighbor’s kids screaming as they play, background music on the TV—and all he could hear was his own heartbeat ringing through his ears. As he came to, he wiped the sweat that was pouring off his forehead.

“I have to do this.” He says out loud, as he replies to an ad for a call girl. After responding he hurried up and closed out of the computer when he heard his girlfriend coming in the door.

“Hi honey, what’s going on?” She asks.

“I need to go out for a bit.” He gives her a light kiss then quickly rushes to his car and out of the driveway.

One knock on the door, and this beautiful woman dressed in a Masquerade mask and a black silk nightgown, opens it. “Hi, Sugar. Come on in.” She moves aside as he walks in, taking note of everything in the hotel room.

He doesn’t even take a minute to get settled in. “The beautiful mask. You hide behind it–your true identity. Tell me…. how does it feel to hide your true identity? What is your name?” He asks her, as he brushes her face.

She replies almost uneasy, “My name is Marilyn. You contacted the Masquerade hotline, so the mask is part of the game, Sugar. Now…do you want to start, or should I?” She reaches for him, and he grabs her arm to stop.

“I only want to talk.” He says, “I need to talk to someone and I felt that someone like yourself—with secrets of her own—would be a good contender to lend an ear. Would I be correct about this?”

“…Yes? In a way?”

“Oh don’t worry, beautiful. You’ll still get paid your wage.” He paces the floor. “I suspect my wife is cheating on me, and I want to put a stop to it, but I think murder is the only option. I have thought about this every night since I started suspecting her. Here’s what I will do: I will cook her dinner—her favorite meal—put some sleeping pills in her red wine, and seduce her all the way to bed. Then, after we’ve done the deed for the last time while she’s alive, I will smother her to death. I will wrap her body in a bag—attach some weight to it so there’s not a chance her body will float up—and throw her in the river that’s about 25 miles north of where we live, that way, it’s not suspecting on my part. I would have no reason to go to private property farmland, because that’s where the river is located.” He continues, as he is rubbing his hands together like he’s concocting a plan. “I will wait a day and call 911 to file a missing persons report, then I will call everyone that we know and ask if they’ve seen her.”

Horrified and shaking, Marilyn says as she’s backing away from him, “Are—are—you sure you want to commit murder?”

“Oh Marilyn,” he reaches for her and strokes her arm, “I’m not going to harm you, my dear, there’s no need to be terrified.”

“Why do you think murdering your wife the only option, instead of just talking to her? Couldn’t you go to counseling?”

“Because Brandy had it coming.”

“Had?”

“Has. I mean, has… if I catch her in the act, she’ll be punished.”

“Okay, so say you caught her in the act—wouldn’t you think, that if someone you knew saw you with me here—and let her know—she wouldn’t think you’re doing the same thing?”

“It’s logical, but doubtful. We’re too far from my neighborhood for anyone to recognize me.”

“Chuck, I’ve never been in this position before. I’ve never had someone to confess something this outrageous to me, so you’ve got to understand where I’m coming from, please forgive me… but are you absolutely sure you want to kill your wife? There really are other options to avoid jail time for the rest of your life. Maybe a divorce will suit?”

“If I go to jail over this, the kill will be well worth it.”

“You’ve puzzled me, Chuck. I wish I could help you resolve this so you wouldn’t go to such lengthy matters and end up in so much trouble. What if she’s really not cheating?”

“You could help me find out. I’ll even protect your identity when the time comes, that is, if we have to commit murder.”

“NO! No, I will not help you murder anyone, Chuck. I will talk to you all day here if need be to help change your mind, but I cannot ever do something like that. How could you even think about this yourself? How do you sleep at night with this on your mind?”

“I have slept just fine.” He says, in a matter of fact way.

A buzz of a phone disturbs the awkward silence of the conversation. It was Chuck’s phone. “Oh it’s my girlfriend Diane. She wants to know when I’ll be home and what to fix for dinner.”

“But I thought your–” A knock at the door dismissed Marilyn’s sentence, as she got up to open it, five police were standing outside the door.

One rushes in with a gun drawn, “CHUCK POLASKI, YOU ARE UNDER ARREST FOR THE MURDER OF BRANDY ELAINE POLASKI.”

As the police were reading Chuck’s rights to him, he kept glaring at Marilyn. They escorted him to the police vehicle, and Marilyn shortly followed.

Back at the police station, several people were in the interview room, among them: Diane, Chuck, Marilyn, two detectives and a police officer.

One of the detectives said, “After twenty years, we finally have you. Twenty years. It took two decades to find you, but we did it.”

Chuck spits out. “Who the hell are you, Marilyn? Were you in on this? I should have known you were asking too many questions!”

Diane starts to cry, “Your questions are irrelevant, Chuck. I suspected you were cheating on me, so I hired a private investigator and they’ve been following you around for a while now. You’ve been having some odd behavior that resembled that to a murderers. Sadly, I was right.”

Chuck says, “No, Diane, I suspected you! I thought you were cheating on me.”

“So that’s why you went to meet with someone from the Masquerade hotline? Really?”

“Obviously I contacted the wrong Masquerade hotline.” He snorts.

“Oh no, it was the right one but unfortunately, for you, your date was with an undercover cop.” Marilyn says, as she flashes her badge in his face.

One of the more threatening looking detectives leans in. “Now, Polaski, let’s get down to the nitty gritty business of why we’re really here. Our private investigators have followed you to and from the location of where you threw Brandy’s body in the water. You drive there at least three times a week and you’re walking a very thin line of trespassing on private property. And, according to your confession today of a pre-confessed murder, you already knew it was private property.

And, let’s think about this next one for a minute—you’re not married, you’re with a Diane who holds girlfriend status, so who in the world is Brandy?

Brandy was your wife that you murdered in cold blood twenty years ago. Am I right, Polaski? You just couldn’t take it anymore. You had to tell someone, but yet, you picked your destiny. You could have gone anywhere else but you fell right into a trap of your own doing. But we are so thankful you did, so thank you, Polaski, for setting your own trap.

Needless to say, if we can’t keep the confession as evidence for the court, we can submit your fingerprints. For twenty years, Polaski, we’ve been missing your fingerprint in our database for the proof of closing this case and arresting your ass. It would be in your best interest to plead guilty. So, what will it be, Polaski?”

My initial reaction to the possible axing of film/entertainment offices and tourism groups in Florida. 

Last night I attended Tampa Bay Film Society’s general meeting and the big topic of discussion was HB 7005 (formerly PCB CCS 17-01). If passed, this bill will cause our industry to have a tax increase as well as abolishing Film/Entertainment offices directly effecting tourism/jobs. I haven’t been in the film society for very long, and I know I have a lot to catch up on before I can really discuss things. But today, I researched a lot on this topic, and now, I am speaking out because it is so important for the future of film in Florida. Here is my take on what I have read thus far and took notice of:

First of all, the person who is responsible for wanting to pass this bill and kill such things, seems to have nearly the same mindset and agenda as our now, well, leader. With having said that, the first line of business I see is that [he] wanted to get rid of is VisitFlorida after a certain event. I dug around the Internet for a while to read on this, and truth be told, I am highly disappointed in the VisitFlorida people. Here’s why:

A while ago VisitFlorida hired Pitbull to do a music video. They wouldn’t release details nor the amount of which he was paid. And, he was paid a LOT… to produce such a…well….let’s just say, to be fair here, I do like him, but VisitFlorida—really? Like, really? The video and the lyrics were ridiculous. Suuuuuure, it pictured Florida beaches up and down the coast and mentioned Florida. But… really? And they say they were trying to get Millennials to come to Florida.

I’m a Millennial—a different kind of Millennial—but still a Millennial and there’s no way that video would’ve convinced me to come here if I lived somewhere else. This is where I direct it to the film part…. If VisitFlorida wanted a tourism video or something about Florida, why in the world didn’t they reach out to film makers across the state? They could’ve shown the rest of the world that the state of Florida (aka a tourist-based company from Florida) supported local film makers by hosting a contest where they could’ve won portions of the money they spent on Mr 305. I mean, really. That alone would’ve been so good for the talent in this state, and maybe we’d get noticed again. I could see them splitting up and having a competition for each area where they’d find the best photos and video to put together in either one large video or several shorts and have some sort of documentary where they point out not only the best beaches, but the best local retailers and food of all of the area. Do you guys know how important that would’ve been? Had it been produced, and found by people either on Netflix, Hulu or even YouTube? If people of other states heard the stories behind certain locations (say mom&pop shops) or secrets to the hidden gems of Florida… I mean, not only would we support our own people, we’d get even MORE tourists here.. but, no.

Which brings me to the next point—I have learned in these general meetings that Florida isn’t very friendly towards the film industry due to having 0 incentives, which means, almost no production company wants to produce movies here without having something like that! According to Wikipedia, in 2006 our state used to be #3 in having movies produced here, and now, we’re not even near the top. This is sad. This means: lack of jobs for any one involved in the industry. Not only that but people are losing the chance to be enticed by seeing scenes of Florida in the movies/shows, and that’s one of the many things that drives tourism. Shortly after Dolphin’s Tale was released, it is very well known that Florida saw a rise in tourists. This is what Florida is all about—tourists—that’s what keeps money flowing in our state so why aren’t we being supported?!

Not only am I involved in as much of the arts side of things, but my other industry is the boating industry. Florida has a loooooot of beautiful beach towns, central locations, attractions and events that build up the audience to come here—among those—are having really large BOAT shows all throughout the year in several locations. People from other countries visit Florida just to go to these conferences that we have, the boat shows, or just to boat! They make money here, but they also spend it. So there are a TON of ways to get people here—but to take away certain avenues that might help—isn’t exactly the best decision.

My other alias is “BoatShowGirl” and in the near future I am going to want to use my film knowledge to develop a show about going to the boat shows in order to attract potential employees to the industry as well as future buyers of boats. Bringing newcomers into the state to fill empty jobs, creating more jobs because we can, and having a booming economy could develop from things such as these! Do you think that I want my dream (or someone else’s) to be killed over something like this? No, no, and no. We must fight to keep what’s right for us and the state of which we live in!

To play the devil’s advocate—I will confess that in a way I understand why some of this is going on—in certain people’s minds, they think that money is being hemorrhaged, and tax payer’s money shouldn’t be going towards one person’s paycheck (or things that doesn’t help the economy or community in a big way). I get that, and agree, however, is killing something so important going to do more harm than good? Probably, and that opens a whole other mess of where will all of that ‘saved’ money go? Does it get transferred into another one person’s pocket, or will be it be sent into the community to boost things there? These are the questions we have, as well as what will become of the film industry’s future, will we ever be supported again, and how well will tourism be over the next few years if such avenues disappear?

If you are interested in saving the film industry and reading what’s going on with this bill, you should look up HB 7005 (formerly PCB CCS 17-01) and read on it. I will definitely be doing more research as the days go on, and write more as I see fit.

Karen Maeby takes a vacation detour through the south prior to the Miami Boat Show.

The weekend before vacation. 

Since I started taunting the dudes about my vacation starting early on Friday, one of them found this voice translator and they’d type “Shut up, Karen” in response to my ‘only a few more hours until vacay!’. It was sooooo entertaining and it ended up being one of the best days. Sunday was the last of Modigliani and, as we put props away, I had all of the feels from the ending just like Summer One Acts.

Vacation started Monday, February 13th.

Monday was nothing to write home about. I had every intention on going to Matlacha but it ended up being a bust because I left home too late, and with it being a true beach town during busy season, it was nearly impossible finding a place to park. I drove through the town, seeing what I could see, turned around and left.

I decided to head on to Fort Myers Beach where they were doing construction in the middle of the heat of the traffic, so I drove around, and then went to check-in where I was staying.

One of my long time fears is having roommates or staying with strangers (and having to share common areas), so I overcame that by staying at an Airbnb place. They were a nice couple that had things in common with me, and a few cats so it was cool staying with animals. Bed was super comfy, in a purple room (which reminded me of my room back at my parents) and lots of TV channels which I took seriously since I don’t have cable!

Happy Valentine’s Day 

TREAT # 1

I went to bed watching Golden Girls and woke up to I Love Lucy, so it was already a great start to the day. A little before 11am, I left for Bealls in Fort Myers to go see Leoma Lovegrove. I barely made it to the entrance when I saw her car, walked in and saw all of her stuff right in front of the doors. No joke—there were {what seemed like hundreds} of people there! I purchased a ton of her things: 3 shirts, 1 jacket sweater, 2 fish purse things, and a scarf. There was a guy behind me that walked up to the cashier pretending to my grandpa, so I’d get a discount. That was hilarious.

 
 

Leoma came out, painted, and then people lined up for autographs. It was an amazing random experience, and I say random because I didn’t know about her for more than a week before I left on my vacation….and now, I am a huge fan!

TREAT # 2

A little bit in the afternoon, I left for downtown Fort Myers. I walked around in the Repertory Theatre shops that I saw when I was there last year for the Fort Myers Boat Show. I went to one of the shops and talked to one of the ladies that I remembered from the visit.

By that time, I walked up the guts to go into the tattoo shop that I passed in fear (I did extensive research on who had the best reviews)expecting to get another ear piercing (or tattoo, shhhh) but came out with my nose pierced.

I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone I really wanted a nose ring but I’ve wanted one for a long time, and I’m glad I did it. I was fearful for the pain I was anticipating, but it was so quick it didn’t really hurt at all. However, I did pass out for a second—I lost color in my face, had to drink several tiny cups of water, had a wet towel on my head, and then, a few minutes later I was fine. (I do this after an initial shock of something like this, so I warned the lady.) 

 Me wearing Leoma’s “Mozart” parrot shirt.

Afterwards, I walked back down town looking at some more shops, then to Ford’s Garage and had some food. This is where I found an amazing beer, banana bread beer. Yum!

 

    

 this is a really pretty ring I found but didn’t purchase.

TREAT # 3

Then, it was time. I saw the play To Kill a Mockingbird. Between reading the book when I was in school and watching the movie, I had forgotten some of the details, so I had so many feelings going through my soul at the very end.

    

Older Scout was the narrator telling the story, and when it was time for the actors to act it out—she would stand there and just watch her past unraveling. Everything about TKaM from the acting to the scene design—all of it was amazingly done. Seeing this as a play and seeing a play in the Rep Theatre were both dreams of mine that I was able to check off my list.

It was one of the best (if not THE best) Valentine’s I’ve ever had.

Wednesday, February 15th

From Monday’s traffic to Tuesday’s busy day, I was just so exhausted that I didn’t do anything that day but watch Lifetime movies, relax and pack up.

Thursday, February 16th

I get out of my Airbnb at a reasonable time, and hit the lovely Miami traffic, all the way to Marlin’s Park where I rode a bus to the main boat show site. I realized my badge was at the YMB, so I went there, spent very little time at that location, and headed back only to find out I needed to purchase a ticket for the main location. So I pretty much lost a day between all of the bus riding.

I was hangry at that point, so I went through downtown—and major traffic shock—I ended up just finding a Publix with a NORMAL parking lot and I got some food. Headed to my 2nd Airbnb place to check in and stayed put for the rest of the evening.

 This was on the wall in the room.

That Airbnb room was simple yet elegant. The bed was so cozy it hugged me. The house was super quiet with not really a lot of things in it except for the power of positive and happy music vibes (the owners are musicians, of which, I did not get to meet). They had a small bookshelf of books in their kitchen and I sat down to read a few of them. One of the books was a poetry book O Miami, here are a few favorites out of there:

 “I wish I’d even seen more Spanglish in the poems.”

Friday, February 17th

Just like Valentine’s day, this was an EPIC-ammmaazing Day. Got picked up by my Canadian friend Graham, went to Bayshore to ride the water taxi which ended up being a large yacht, had an amazing time looking around, met up with several people, and we ended the night having a banana daiquiri at Bayshore while listening to live music. You can read full details about my highlights from the boat show and see photos on boatshowgirl.com.

Saturday, February 18th

I leave Miami and head towards Naples where I bought a ticket to see AMADEUS!

I have been obsessed/in love with Mozart’s music ever since I was in 7th grade sooooo yeah, being able to see this play live—another dream come true. Amazingly well done. Simple set, all talent. Starts out with Salieri in a weird voice as an old man telling the story then he transforms back into a younger Salieri kind of looking back telling the story, then goes back and fourth. Mozart and Salieri were both spot-on with casting. I love the vulgarity of the play, and there were a lot of hilarious moments. I’m glad to have seen some of the funnier movie scenes in this play, as well.

 

I must mention: I sat next to some of the most annoying audience members ever. The lady next to me kept falling asleep and snoring then her and her dad would cough and cough—enough to make me want to find somewhere to take a shower real quick. During act 2 a lady in front of them got so pissed that she got up, yelled “IF YOU ARE SICK WHY IN THE HELL DID YOU COME HERE? YOU SHOULD BE IN THE HOSPITAL!!” and she stomped out one side and came in another to sit on the opposite side. Yes. The mom/dad/adult child sitting next to me had so many manners. *eye roll 

Headed further south after the show was over, and went to Cape Coral to see some jazz. Only stayed for about an hour, then I was back on the road again towards home. (I only have video of the jazz so I will eventually post those along with all photos on Facebook.) 

Sunday, February 19th

Overall, I checked off so many dreams of mine that I feel that I need to start a ‘dreams’ tab on my main website. I did a lot of soul-searching as well, and being near the water once again, well, that helped so much too since my soul’s connection is there. I am—after all—soulfully connected and my heart is anchored down like treasure in the bottom of the Sea.

So, of course, I am home and life resumes… I have so many important decisions to be making in the next few weeks and life-changing ones at that. I am refreshed and ready get focused once again.

An Ode to Modi (the blog entry + poem)

Normally I would wait until after the play is over to write something up, but I feel as if I need to do it right now–at this exact moment–as my feelings are very present.

I don’t know if it’s because of the way we have three stages set up, or that it’s at the Gulfport Player’s home base, or that it’s a different kind of play (about art with nudity and language and just different), or that we almost break a 4th wall in there somewhere, but my gawd, I am so glad that I ended up working this backstage!!!

There is just something magical about Modigliani being performed at GP’s Backstage theatre. I just can’t express it enough.

I’ll be truthful here–I’m very much into art but I’ve never really been into artists, per se. I know what I like when I see it, but I couldn’t really name some artists if my life depended on it. But I can appreciate the hell out of a play about an artist that I didn’t really know much about, if anything. It’s almost like watching one of those old PBS TV shows a looooooong long super long time ago about composers when I was very much into music. And, I LOVED THOSE! So much! Which isn’t a surprise when I say I love a good play about an artist!

We artists (painters, writers, creative folk, etc) we go through lots of crazy things and crazy feelings and chaos and just everything in the world to become good, to become something, to get noticed, to live life the way we want to before life just takes over and all the craziness ensues. This is exactly this play, regardless if it really happened or not–this is how it usually ends up. And the person ends up going half batshit crazy right before something magical happens that they get noticed, or they’re noticed after they’re dead. Unfortunately. It is the life of the artist.

I took in watching from the audience’s point of view a few nights–before I had to be backstage–and the liveliness of the play (and the characters being put to life by our wonderful actors) is just pure magic. I just can’t say it enough. I love the three stages set up, and being so close to the audience. When I sat in the audience, I sat in the front row and I felt like I was a friend to the characters, or I was someone at the park just watching all of this happen.

Pure crazy, I say! I don’t want to say what happens in the play because I want to encourage EVERYONE to come out to the Backdoor Theatre in Gulfport and see this…

THURS, FRI, SAT @ 8PM AND SUNDAY AT 2PM. Tickets $18 online, $20 at the door.

SEE YOU THERE!

Oh, and a poem:

An Ode to Modi
by Karen Maeby © 2.1.17

chaos ensues
at the rupture of color—
thin lines, thick lines, painting, sculpting. 

a sick individual’s soul
dies within his own art,
as he never lets a bottle leave his hand.

an apron:
finding the need to be draped around
his neck, her neck, someones.

his friend:
withholding a chicken
to squeeze a little art out of his cheeks.

he’s no longer suited
to be the one who represents
and he sets himself up for—

truth be told
in the midnight hour of two a.m.
a song bursts out in flames.

emotions emerge from the dinner
where a proper gentleman sits,
interrupted by the king.

art is art is art!
but his—it takes an eternity—
to only be bought to be replaced.

she packs her bag
and leaves,
blowing his last candle out.

chaos ensues
leaving him to nothing
but himself, a masterpiece within.