Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Voices in My Head

Life is hard.

In amidst of everything Robin Williams related, I feel compelled to say something. While the loss of any human, famous or not, inspired or not, hilarious or not, is, for lack of a better word, sad, the more painful point here isn't as obvious.

Having struggled with my own demons for many years, I know how dark the corner of your mind can feel. When you want to scream, but your voice is silent. When you want to reach, but your hands are frozen. Depression is a huge manipulator that will twist your reality into either
a) making you believe things are worse than they are, and/or
b) making others believe you've got it all together when you effing don't.

A smile doesn't mean life's grand. A joke doesn't equate to a happy existence. More times than not, it's the funny ones, the ones who sacrifice their pain to make others smile, who are hurting more than you could ever know.

Suicide is a complicated beast. It's not black and white. If you've been depressed, you know how quickly those voices in your head can escalate. All over the web are organizations and people telling you to reach out, to call the suicide hotline, to tell a friend, to talk about it, like my fav, TWLOHA.

But the truth is, we just don't.

It took me well into adulthood to be honest with myself about depression, self-harm, substance abuse, and suicidal tendencies, and even longer to start talking about them openly. In fact, it wasn't until my 1st pregnancy postpartum my OB/GYN put me on suicide watch. It started to really sink in there was a definitive dysfunction with the chemical make-up in my brain that was beyond my control, despite my best intentions and efforts to get "better." Things would ebb and flow in bi-polar-like states, all while mimicking a completely normal person in the outside world. Throw in two miscarriages that depleted me, mounting financial woes, and rocky relationships and you've got a recipe for suicide.

It has taken years, but I know now what makes me hurt, breaks me open, kills me inside. I'm more aware of who to befriend, who to open up to, what to show the world, and most importantly:

How to love myself in spite of myself.

However.

What's bothering me about this recent suicide isn't that his struggle was so real for so many years. It's that even if he had reached out through therapy, rehab, etc., it wasn't enough. When you're in that dark place, you don't have the state of mind to ask for help, and even if you did, who really cares enough to be a friend? Who will sit with you and keep watch, make sure you make it to the next day, the next week, be there for you until you can find your footing?

The problem is, sometimes you just never find it.

And sometimes enough is never enough which is why we turn to alternative vices to self-soothe. There are holes in our souls that, we aim to fill. And despite looking high and low, in every crack house and holy house in the world, sometimes the void doesn't lessen. It doesn't make Robin, or anyone else struggling a bad person, or an unholy person, or even a person doomed to an inevitable death.

It just makes him a real person, with a real pain, that couldn't be mended.

If you're feeling helpless, wondering how to help someone in your life, let me tell you a few things.
1) A hug helps. A really long one is even better. You know what? Just don't let go.
2) You can say "it's going to be okay," but we might not believe you. Don't stop.
3) Don't sugarcoat. Be honest. Tell them life is hard. It's glorious. It's painful. It's beautiful. The struggles are what makes them beautiful and the good times that much better.
4) Be a real friend. Let them open up to you and--get this--DON'T DISAPPEAR.
5) Shut your mouth and just listen. This isn't about you.
6) Don't write them off. The worst thing you can do, despite anything a person suffering says or does, is to give up on them. Don't ever let them feel like they're all alone in the world because that's what's already going on in their head.

If you or someone you know is going through something similar, please, email me at ANY TIME.

candace ganger [at] yahoo [dot] com

I don't have all the answers but I do have a crapload of life lived in these 32 years and even moreso, I know the struggle and I am here for you. Everyone needs someone. You don't want to reach out? I know it's hard. It's REALLY hard. Probably the hardest thing you'll ever do. But if you don't, the alternative is something I can't process. There IS hope. There IS another day.

You can also read about my girl, Jenny's (aka The Bloggess) struggle HERE. She gets it.

<3
Candyland. OUT.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Who'z Got the Ballz?

Wow.

So you know I've dropped a lot of ballz in my life but blogging is one I've not only dropped but abandoned in a cornfield and left for dead. APOLOGIES, MY SWEETS.

It's a new day and all that shizz so why am I here? I have an offer you can't refuse. Well, you might, but please don't. The time in my writing career has come to break away from ghosting (award-winning, best-selling, ya know!) to really focus on a book with my name on it, yes? And how would you like your name on it, too? Yes?

The scoop: I'm outlining a YA thriller trilogy (think Jason Bourne/Jack Bauer + Firestarter) that is bigger than little, old me. I feel with the right co-writer, this could be massive. In fact, I already have a few agents pawing at me to get it written but time is a beeeooottch and there's only one me with two hands and one brain and thousands of ideas and WHOA that's too much math.

With that said, if you want to "audition," email me for more details at:

candace ganger [at] yahoo [dot] com

Oh, and PASS THIS ON. KThanks. Have a donutty/doughnutty day.

<3 

Candyland. OUT.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2014

Way back when I started on the path to publication, before I knew I could somewhat string words together to make books and pretty-sounding things, my belief in "the process" was at its highest level. You know the one. It's full of hope (full of something), and dreams of what could be. You imagine your book on the front display at the bookstore and signing autographs and hanging out in coffee shops with the likes of Stephen King while you discuss plot twists and character flaws, all while laughing at all the "others" who won't make the full journey. Because it's hard and they'll quit. But this is about something else. This is about all the things no one will say. And why it sucks so hard.

If you'll remember waaaaaayyyy back, I wrote a book that was a winner of the Teenfire/Sourcebooks writing competition. Before that book, I didn't know who I was as a writer. Sure, I'd made some money from it, but nothing major. That contest gave me validation. That what I was doing was right. The announcement fell between a mile-high stack of rejections and my loss of faith in myself, so the timing couldn't have been better.

But it wasn't enough.

I revised the crap out of that book, re-queried, and sat on the silence. For months. One agent took a keen interest in my writing and unofficially helped me shape the book into something solid. It was happening. Someone FINALLY believed enough in my writing to take a real chance. She offered representation, sent pages and pages of notes along with the contract and gave me a reason to believe. In myself. In dreams. In good things happening to those who work hard enough.

After months of re-writing [what is still] my favorite love story of all time, I submitted all things book-ish to my agent. I loved saying that, too. MY AGENT. I said it every chance I got because I earned it. Just as all of you with agents say it, it made my tongue tingle with anticipation for what the future may hold.

And then she disappeared.

Literally. She left all her clients in the dust. No explanation. No apology. NOTHING. And that's exactly what I felt like when I had no response all those months of calling and emailing. NOTHING.

I stopped writing altogether because it hurt too much. Over a hundred rejections, multiple re-writes, and although most could agree they loved "my voice," only one agent took a chance on me. And she was gone.

It was nearly a year before I came across a freelance writing/editing website to make some money and gradually pick up the pieces of my writing heart. It was hard. I kind of hated it. I wanted, so badly, for my book to make it. That story and I had been through SO MUCH together. And even still, I *know* I have something there. It hasn't garnered the attention it has for no reason. But it doesn't matter...

Every now and then, I still re-query my baby. But the truth is, agents don't know what they want, regardless of what they say. Even when they think they do, and they have what they're asking for in their hands, it's not guaranteed they'll love it. I received a rejection SIX MONTHS after sending a requested full. It came out of nowhere. It doesn't matter that in the years' prior, I've written books for best-selling authors or that I'm a writer with a real voice. It doesn't matter that I would re-write until my fingers fall off to see my book on a shelf. I kept telling myself 'if I had time, I'd write one of the other books I have notebooks full of outlines for.'

That's what everyone says: Move on. Write another book. Keep going.

So while you're querying, stop and think about all the rules we're supposed to abide by and in 2014, decide to break them. Do things YOUR way. Don't let all the nonsense get into your head. Don't read about all the cool stuff Author A is doing. Focus on you. I swear. This is the year I write another book.

In my own name.

<3

Candyland. OUT.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Finding Good Teachers: A Guest Post!

Hey, friends! Although I've been busy, I've not forgotten you. However, today's guest post is brought to you by my new friend Solomon. Today's random topic: Teaching! If you want to contribute to Candlyland with a random topic while I'm on hiatus, shoot me an email at candaceganger[at]yahoo[dot]com. +Enjoy! Oh, and I miss the crap out of you! 

We send our kids off to school with the assumption that they'll acquire the knowledge and skills they'll need to finish 12th grade and move on into the world. We all know who the teachers are that our kids like and we have a general sense of the competence of individual teachers. Many of us, however, don't give much thought to how much we really rely on these educators.

A good teacher isn't only someone who imparts data to the students but one who inspires the kids, excites them about learning, and creates an atmosphere that motivates the students to want to learn more.

A good teacher encourages the students to take responsibility for their own learning and provides them with skills and tools that will allow them to become independent learners.

A good teacher shows each student that they genuinely cares about him and his life. A child's school grades shouldn't determine her potential for success in life and the teacher should impart that message consistently, throughout all classroom successes and failures.

A good teacher constantly builds a child's self-confidence in words, deeds and actions.   

We have many ways to show our educators that we appreciate their work. Involvement in the school and in the classroom is one alternative. When a parent cares enough to volunteer for the school and, perhaps, even give some time in the classroom, it notifies the teacher that the parent supports the school and appreciates the work that the teacher puts into the lesson plans and their implementation.

A number of national organizations have created teacher recognition awards to enthuse teaching professionals and show them that the community recognizes their efforts. Teacher awards such as the Pearson Teaching Awards, the Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award, the Lowell Milken Educators Awards and the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards not only grant recognition to specific teachers  but also provide educators with the realization that the community distinguishes excellent work and acknowledges an excellent educator's influence on his or her students.

We should all be asking ourselves the question, "what have we done for our child's teachers lately?"

~Candyland+Guest. OUT.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why Clumpy Dumpers is a TERRIBLE Band Name + Why Kelly Polark Rocks

Dudes. It's a special day. 
Today I'm playing band manager to celebrate the release of my girl Kelly Polark's ABC's of rock 'n' roll picture book, ROCKABET: CLASSIC EDITION. If I could choose any band members from any bands to form the best band ever, these would be my rockin' picks (though, I'm sure you already know my answers):

Band Name: Thursday Night Scum...obviously (see profile)

First Gig: Location: Ryan Gosling's Garage. Next to the ab roller. In between his abs.

Lead vocals: Bert. Duh. (The Used)

Lead guitarist: Jimmy Page (Zepppppp)

Bass guitarist: BR80. Duh. (New Medicine)

Drums: Longineu Parsons. Because I like his groove. (Yellowcard)

ROCKABET: CLASSIC EDITION can be purchased online at Amazon or at select bookstores. Hardcover books will be available at various online retailers and stores in October.

Kelly Polark is also the author of BIG SISTER, BABY BROTHER and the upcoming HOLD THE MUSTARD! from Meegenius. Come visit her on Facebook and Twitter! Check out her website and celebrity book recommendation site, Book Recs of the Rock and Famous. She's only like theeeeee coolest at getting celebs to gush about their current reads. Also: She hearts New Medicine, so, enough said.


Who would you choose for your supergroup and why?

Here's a band name generator to create your killer band name! Hopefully it's not something like "Dirt Sweat" or Clumpy Dumpers" or "Moist Moisters"<----ewwww.

<3
Candyland. OUT.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Use Grammarly's Plagiarism Checker Because Jailhouse Stripes Make Me Look Beefy

Guys!

How the heck are ya? Me, you know. Just raising two miniature versions of myself + running in (and winning in) almost every race that's within a 20-mile radius + trying to remember why I walk into a room at any given moment because my brain cells have started evaporating since the 1st pregnancy. Seriously. I wore lip gloss all day and couldn't remember a single time I put it on. And that time I changed my t-shirt twice?? Yeah. I wasn't invited to that party.

Pretty soon, this blog will undergo a makeover because my interests have shifted so it only seems fitting. Please don't break-up with me. Just because I'll look different, doesn't mean we can't still be together. I'll still love you. Forever and ever. Anywho, it's been too long since I've talked about nothing. And I guess this post is no different.

First topic: Candyland Runs!
Not only have I run a half marathon, am training for a full, and race in as many 5 and 10ks as I can, since February of this year, I've officially cut 7:44 off my 5k time and am now winning my age category in most races. I still have a ways to go, but progress is progress. Also, wearing medals makes me feel like a hero. I like to pretend I just saved a house full of kittehs. I wear it when I eat ice cream and when my offspring detest me. It's possible I wear it while I dance alone, too, but I can't confirm or deny that.
 So then there's this little big guy. Baby S is not really a baby anymore. In fact, he's a super-sized Barbie. If you tell him different, he won't invite you over for tiny Barbie muffins and he'll throw a handful of Barbie shoes at your head.Trust me.
 Well, then there's Offspring #1 and the infectiously sweet relationship she has with Baby S. As you can tell, they love every second together and never fight at all. They also think I'm the best mom ever and they're never mad at me. In fact, Offspring #1 thinks I'm a hero, and not just because of my medals.
 Well...she *meant* to write hero, anyway...
I think this pretty much sums up life right about now. I actually sat down to finish up an outline of a new book I've been wanting to work on but [insert lame excuses]. I dream about writing and still feel that pinch in my gut every time I go to the book store because I still dream about having one of my babies hanging out there someday. Of course when it happens, I hope I actually remember it and I don't black out writing all those weirdly erotic scenes with Deadliest Catch's Sig Hansen + Chef Bobby Flay.

If you're in the writing trenches right now, consider giving this cool thing called Grammarly a try. I've used it before and it's awesome. The Plagiarism Checker is a must, even for blogs and resumes and whatnot. I'm sure you'd hate to write the next best-selling vampire book with a main character who sucks, only to find out it's already been written. Am I right?

So what are YOU working on? What's going with YOU? Fill me in so I can forget about it in 47 minutes and then wonder why no one responded to the post I never published. Or did I? Meh...

CandylandOUT.

Monday, June 17, 2013

She did whaaaa?

Oh, hey. There you are. I've been looking everywhere for you. Honestly. Are you still there? I mean, I sort of disappeared so I'm guessing you've moved onto other witty, good looking, thoughtful blogs. I don't blame you. I don't deserve you. We had a good thing going and then POOF. Just in case you've been counting the seconds for my return, let me tell you what I've been up to.

  • I trained and ran a half marathon. I'll start full training in the fall.
  • I spilled water inside my laptop and have been reduced to the iPad and phone to connect. It blows.
  • Baby S is a strapping, young lad who, until just recently, referred to me as Baa Baa. Like the sound a sheep makes. Also, he doesn't let me out of his sight. Makes it hard to blog. And pee. And procreate. Not that we do that. I'm a good girl, Mom.
  • Offspring #1 just finished Kindergarten and is now in karate 3 nights a week. Though, no matter how many things I give her to do, I've yet to discover the remedy for the constant cries of boredom. I'm thinking of handing her the keys to the car so she can go hang wither homies. Curfew is 5 pm.
  • I've signed on as a part of the Bully team to make a difference in our schools. For those of you who haven't seen the documentary by Lee Hirsch, do yourself a favor and rent it or come to my community screening at Covington Middle School on Sunday, August 4th. I'm not having much luck on either the RSVP end or the fundraising end so your support is appreciated. I'm only one person and apparently my voice is very quiet by the results I'm getting. Guess I just need to be louder. The hubs should be able to offer advice on how to rattle the walls with a whisper. Geesh.
  • I miss me some BR80. He moved to Ghana. To be a do-gooder. Yeah. Not over it.
  • I had an ovary removed because a tumor was growing in it. Ya'll know all the trouble I had with miscarriages and the pregnancy with Baby S, so this shouldn't have surprised me. I'd love to link to some of those posts but this a-hole iPad makes it too much work. Blerg.
  • As for the elephant in the blog, I have TEMPORARILY stopped writing. I had some success ghostwriting and getting paid by others but I wish. I had time to be happy/miserable writing My own shizz again. I have notes and starts of things but no effing time. Someday, you will find my book on the shelf. Truth.
  • I'm tired. I want to sleep.
I miss you. I can't say when I'll turn because I HATE TYPING ON THE IPAD. If you see typos, that is why. If you ever think of me, feel free to email, BookFace me, or text/call. Lenny Lee, I'm talking to you. 

Hugs. Hearts. Berts. BR80s.

Candyland. Out.
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