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TBT: Some Old Ramblings

writers block


Okay, I have something to say. I just don’t know what it is yet, but I’m sure there is something waiting to come out. Something has been waiting for years to come out.

Oh, where is my muse? Where is the magic that used to be in my words, dancing on the pages? I used to see them in my mind and feel them form into ideas. There was always a poem in my head or a story waiting for a chance to spill out from my pen. But for so long now, there has been nothing. How can I call myself a writer when I don’t write?

Start small. Description. Like the constant humming and croaking of a million different night creatures in my back yard… getting louder as they find their places, my writing will reveal itself.

My cat with the twitchy nose and freckled face can be my muse. Start small. Start with the movement of her radar ears, which spasm at each noise in the darkness. She cranes her neck to see what only her imagination knows for sure is there. Her back ripples as I touch her softly with just one fingertip. I softly trace the line on the back of her head that separates the two color blocks of black and coppery-brown.  She turns to look at me with ears pointing straight up, as alert as soldiers on watch. Her pupils almost fill the space of her eyes, searching for the source of a new noise. She gingerly licks her paw and smooths it over her ear and spotted face. She always looks as though she has missed a spot, or twenty. She doesn’t mind. Contentedly, she settles down for yet another nap.


TBT: Words are Life

Cleaning our home office has yielded the discovery of many treasures, such as this poem. I had long forgotten its existence, but when I found it, I remembered the point when I came to the epiphany that in neglecting my writing, I had neglected a part of who I am. It’s not always easy to find time to write, and the world around me often leaves me unable to sneak in even a few sentences, but I need it as often as I can. I need words.


wrought with anger,

dripping with tears,

pure intensity.


The salvage of me.

And who am I?

Don’t you see?


I am Frankenstein’s creation…

dead pieces melded together.

Now bring me to life!


A perversion of self,

no longer who I used to be.

Now bring me to life!


Can I again use words

to find my inner self?

Can words bring me back to life?


My soul has no voice.

My heart bereft of inspiration.

I need the words…life.


Terri L. Harper

Copyright 2005

words poem

TBT: The Ocean 9-18-97

I found some old scraps of writing and journal writing from my past as I sorted through a cluttered cabinet in the office desk the other day.

When I lived in Virginia Beach and attended Old Dominion University…

It would be hard not to fall in love with the ocean: the soft, salty air, the sound of the lapping waves, and the beauty.

I sit here, watching it in the dark. It gets closer with each wave, each inky, black wave. And the orange moon just shines down in one zig-zagging stripe that seems to leap off the edge of the horizon.

This is my dream…writing on the beach. I never thought it would happen so soon. It’s not quite how I expected it to be, but I’m loving it anyway.

If everything else in my life seems difficult now, at least I have this. The beach is my sanctuary. It doesn’t love or hate. The ocean just breathes. With each breath is takes, it heaves another wave…and each wave is perfect. I am lost in this wondrous creation’s ferociousness, yet awed by its sparkling charm.


Throw Back Thursday: Sinister Eyes

A Throw Back Thursday poem from 1994, when I believe I was a high school junior.  I once attempted to translate this into Spanish for a class assignment, but I cannot find that and it was probably all wrong anyway.

Retrieved from

Retrieved from

Sinister Eyes

There once was a man

with sinister eyes

that could pierce your body through


He lived in the darkness

in his own little world,

but longed for something more


There came a day

when this sinister man

knew Death was at his door


He tried to fight back,

but could not succeed,

then collapsed from an awful disease


Now his sinister eyes

are tightly shut,

his arms folded over his chest.


It is hard to believe

such a misfortunate man

could have such a tranquil rest.


Terree L. Klaes copyright 1994

Throw Back Thursday: Broken

I’ve been enjoying the embarrassing old pictures people are posting on Instagram and Facebook every Thursday, and I’ve even participated a bit.  Then I thought, “What’s more embarrassing than old big hair pictures of myself?  Stuff I wrote back in the day. So, in that vein I believe I will begin Throw Back Thursdays on my blog every few weeks.


It used to be a tool,

and every beat was good.

So many beats for you.

I always thought it would last,

and beat a billion more

strong beats for you.

Now it is broken up.

My heart no longer pounds

any beats at all.

It is broken and destroyed,

shattered and crushed,

and no more beats are left.

I wish it could beat again,

but it’s too broken to care,

and too hurt to even try.

Why must it all end?

This broken tool is dead.

It will never beat again.

Copyright 1995

A Title-less Chapter from my Sequel in Progress

I’m almost finished writing the sequel to my Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages, and I feel like sharing a teaser today.  If you were a student anywhere around the time I was, enjoy the nostalgia.  Otherwise you might need to Google stuff.  I’m hoping to have my follow-up ready to release by mid-May.  Enjoy and spread the word:

The phone rang only one more time that night, and it was Adrienne.  Feeling defeated, I hadn’t even bothered to rush to the phone and just lay on my vermilion carpet, staring at the Spirograph-looking design on my ceiling until my mom yelled that Adrienne was on the phone for me.  I shuffled across the hall and all the way around my parents’ bed (normally I would have flung myself right onto it, grabbing the phone while I landed) to pick up the phone.  “Ok, Mom.  Hang up. I’ve got it,” I yelled then put my ear to the phone, not saying a word until I heard my mom’s line click.  “Hey, Adrienne.  Are you back to the world of the living?”

“Not quite.  I feel a bit like the undead.  I think there was a point where I almost went into the light, but my future husband Kurt Cobain called me back.”

“Are you coming to school tomorrow?”

“Probably not.  I also still look like the undead.  I was calling to give you my locker combo so you could grab a few things for me.”

“Adrienne Pierce!  You’re not going to do homework, are you?”  Adrienne was smart, but she was mostly lazy and she didn’t usually care enough to bring home work.

“I might.  I know I’m going to be really behind.  You know, if I can pass my tests and quizzes, I should be mostly ok, but I probably couldn’t do that right now.  I do want to actually pass.”

“Wow.  High school has changed you.  You’re growing up right before my eyes,” I feigned the whole choked up and crying thing.

“Yes, Master Drew.  I learned from you.”

“Ah, very good, young Grasshopper.”

“Anything non-academic I need to know about? Mom said you stopped by the other evening while I was all out of it.  Usually you just call, so I figured it might be a biggish deal.”

“Uhh…” I hesitated, embarrassed.

“Drew.  It’s me.  What’s up?”

“I don’t know.  I’m stupid.”

“I need a story to corroborate this claim.”

I told her everything, sparing not a single detail in the process, but I did it in record time because I just wanted it to be over.  And then I paused to give her time to consider.

“So he hasn’t called?”


“Well, you’ll see him tomorrow.”

“I know!  What do I say?  I wish you were going to be there so I wouldn’t have to face him alone.  I made such a fool of myself.”

“Maybe.  Maybe not.  You’ll find out tomorrow.”

“That’s your wisdom for me?”  I asked incredulously.

“It’s all I got.  Undead, remember?”

“Oh, all right,” I whimpered.  “I need you feeling better.  I’m a disaster on my own.  I need my wing-girl.”

“I’ll be flying next week.  Just get my books and drop them off tomorrow.  I need socialization with someone outside my family or I’m going to have to drink Windex or something.”

“Will do.  See you tomorrow afternoon, if I survive.”

“You will.”

And I did, though I was only bodily present in each of my other classes that day.  Ms. Finch noticed right away, but we were fortunately given time after our vocabulary quiz to either write in our journals or read a book.  I reread the same page of Petals on the Wind about a hundred times.   Why did V.C. Andrews find it necessary for every member of the Dollanganger family to have a name beginning with a C?  I thought I’d sorted it out in the first book, but now I was getting the characters blurred and thinking about how my name, Danny’s name, and Dustin’s name all began with a D.  Of course, we weren’t nearly as twisted as that incestuous brood, but it did make my mind wander. She reminded us that our journals were due on Monday.

By photography, I was ready to face Dustin, no matter what.  The uncertainty clouded everything else.  I arrived with a smile on my face, which faded as the warning bell sounded, and disappeared completely when the final bell rang without any sign of Dustin.  Then relief spread though my entire being.  This explained it.  He was sick, or some horrible thing had happened to a family member and he was unable to attend school or call me last night.  The circumstances were entirely out of his control.

I expressed this theory to Adrienne as I dropped off her books that afternoon and we watched Paula Abdul and Keanu Reeves in her Rebel Without a Cause style video for “Rush Rush.”  Somehow we found her to be an acceptable pop artist, and we both drooled over Keanu, just as we had while watching him bring down surfer bank robbers in Point Break.

“Yeah, that makes sense,” she coughed out and then blew her nose.

“Man, you’re still sick.”

“Actually, I feel much better.  What are the dress-up days for next week?”

“You’re suddenly feeling the need to express your school spirit for Homecoming?”

“I like a chance to wear weird stuff.”  Adrienne had never really needed an excuse to do so before, but it would be easier if it was sanctioned.

“Uh, let me see,” I said as I opened my own bookbag.  I had come straight to Adrienne’s after getting off the bus and had walked with Emily.  At some point earlier in the week I had shoved the Homecoming flyer into the bottom of my front pocket of my hunter green Jansport.  At least four pieces of paper were uncrumpled in the process before I found it, straightening out the creases on the edge of Adrienne’s coffee table.  “All right.  Monday is pajama day.”

“Done.  Got that for sure,” she replied.  “Next.”

“Tuesday is crazy hat day.”  I paused, but Adrienne didn’t add any commentary that time, so I moved down the list.  “Wednesday is cross dress day.  No.  Wait.  They had to change it.  Apparently some parents complained because some of the senior guys were planning to wear miniskirts or something.”  We both looked each at each other and laughed.

“So what are we doing instead?”

“Uh, I can’t remember.  They announced it today during photography, but my mind was elsewhere.”

“Inside out and backwards day!”  Emily shouted from the kitchen.

“How do you even know that, Emily.  You’re in middle school,” Adrienne called back, annoyed.

“I hear stuff,” was her simple reply as she walked in front of us with a brownie to get to their bedroom.

“Hey!  Where’s my brownie?” we both asked in unison.

“I think they’re in the kitchen,” Emily said as she shut the door behind her.

Assuming we were both too lazy to make our way to the kitchen for brownies, I continued with the list.  “Thursday is blast from the past day.”

“Cool!  We are totally going to raid my grandma’s closet this weekend.”

“And Friday is spirit day.  School colors and stuff like that.”

“Yeah, I’m not doing that.  I don’t own maroon outside of gym class, and I don’t really wear it then either.”

“Same here.  I better go now though.  I came straight here and Mom will worry I missed the bus.  I’ll see you tomorrow if you feel better.”

“Cool.  Later.”

(Obviously you should consider this as Copyrighted material and not try to pass any of it off as yours)

An Update on the Ordinary

As Dustin walked us toward the door, he caught me gently by the hand, letting Adrienne walk out ahead.  “I couldn’t find the mistletoe, and I couldn’t afford to get you a gift, so I hope this is ok,” he said as he leaned in and gave me a quick, soft kiss on my lips. His hand let mine go, he smiled, his beautiful dark eye showing more of the green flecks than normal, and wished me a Merry Christmas.  I turned and walked into the wall.  -Excerpt from Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl’s yet untitled sequel

Since my blog tends to be all over the place, as I pick up new followers, I guess I should reiterate from time to time that I am an author… with an actual book.

“Oh, yeah?  What’s it called and what is it about?” is a common question (yeah, I know that if we disected this there are actually three questions).

So, here’s the blurb for Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages:

Set in the time while the ‘80s were fading into the ‘90s and the poofiness of hair and shoulder pads was soon to deflate, this coming of age story retells the experiences of Drew Hotchner, an “extraordinarily ordinary” girl, through her possibly wiser and more honest adult self. Drew struggles not only with the unavoidable awkwardness of being in middle school, but also with having to start over again her entire social world after experiencing the culture shock of moving across the country from California to Virginia.

Through Drew’s humorous adventures in trespassing, accidental theft, school dances, and throwing punches at her best friend, she must finally learn who she really is. And if you can admit you are also extraordinarily ordinary, just as Drew claims to be, that we all just want to know who we really are, and that sometimes we surprise ourselves along the way, this might be the book for you.

Now for some other reminders and updates.  My book is currently available in three online locations.

Still available on kindle, but now also in print at Amazon.

CreateSpace has the book in print.

I recently added my book to the many indie works of Smashwords.  They even allowed me to have an official author interview page.  Answering those questions was fun and it makes me feel special.

I think I’m going to figure out a way to offer signed copies of my book, which can be an issue when my book is print on demand.  I’ll work out the kinks and give out that info when the time comes.

Oh, AND I am still building likes for my Facebook author page.  Come join and share with your friends.

I’m still working on my sequel for Drew’s freshman year and I’m about halfway through it too.  The problem with fiction is that it can sometimes take on a life of its own and it’s taking me longer to write this than I had originally anticipated, and one really cannot rush art.


Something I have NOT done in years is write poetry.  I enjoy prose more, but I used to write poetry almost exclusively.  Here’s one I always liked.


I’d like to free the night

And walk on the ocean

I’d like to touch the rain

As it drips from the sky

I’d like to hear a whisper

Carried off in the wind

I’d like to see the air

Resting all around me

I’d like to smell the moon

As it sails through the night

I’d like to taste the sun

Setting slowly at sea

I’d like to pick a yellow rose

And never let it die

I’d like to feel you with me

When you can’t be by my side

-Terree L. Klaes-


How Do You Like Me Now?

I am now officially on the verge of fame or infamy.

I finished writing my first book two years ago.  Then I worked on editing it and researched publishing it (sort of).  The world of publishing is so confusing these days and I was overwhelmed, so I really didn’t do much at all, but sat on the book for two years.  Fear of the unknown and rejection kept my book buried in the files of my computer.

No more of that.  I yanked that proverbial bull by its horns and I self published the darn book yesterday!  Was that the right move?  Who knows.  I could have searched years for an agent and still had to figure out how to self promote it with no guarantee that anybody would buy it.  Electronic publishing seems to be the wave of the future, and so I published it with kindle direct publishing through Amazon.  When I checked this morning, I’d already had two people buy it (and my I don’t think my mom even knows it’s up there yet)!

Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages is really geared towards preteen readers, but if you grew up in the 80’s/90’s cusp, enjoy sarcasm and humor, give it a read.  It’s fiction based on my middle school reality, but in case you knew me then, very few characters are actually modeled after anyone specific, and I love making stuff up or exaggerating it.  That’s storytelling.

Curious?  You can check it out here and even read the first 10% for free.  If you like it, buy it, read it, and tell your friends all about it.  And just in case you’re thinking, “I don’t own a kindle, so forget it!” you can download a free kindle app for your Mac, your PC, or pretty much anything that’s an i or “smart”.

Happy reading, and please let me know what you think.  You can also “like” my author page on Facebook at Terri Klaes Harper (the author page).

My Toolbox has been Empty

In a twist of irony, I recently rediscovered a book I began reading but misplaced somewhere years ago (and with only about an eighth of it left to read). I started my career of teaching about then and I didn’t have time for reading anything like that anymore, so it got shoved in a drawer of my nightstand.  Here comes the part that makes that ironic. On the back cover of the book, Stephen King’s writing memoir On Writing, it reads, “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.”

See the irony now?

My true dream since ninth grade was to be a writer.  My English teacher discovered I had this talent which had previously just been something I did because it was fun, with no realization that I was any good at it.  After all, I suffered from the common ailment of adolescence, low self-esteem.  Once I had my teacher’s push and support for writing, I became passionate about it.  And my parents encouraged me.  Everyone around me encouraged me, so I kept it up… until college, when I no longer had time because I was working the low end of full-time hours and taking a full-time load of classes, all while maintaining steady A’s and B’s.  My deep down dream was to be a famous and rich writer, but the realist inside of me knew money for writers was hard to come by and I would need a day job.

My “day job” then invaded every moment of my life, leaving me in exhaustion in the tiny bits of “free time” I could muster.  About all I ever seem to have energy for after a day of teaching, planning, communicating with parents, grading work, and on and on, is crashing on the couch to mindlessly watch television.  So, even reading is something I find I have little time for, unless it’s something I’m reading to teach in class or all too often horrendously written student papers (also, I tend to just fall asleep when I try to read-pathetic). According to the above quote, I have no tools for writing, which I guess is all right since I don’t have the time for it anyway.


That’s right, I just wrote a stand alone “Grrr!” and I’m not ashamed.  I am, however, ashamed that I let my dream die.  But perhaps it isn’t completely dead.  I’m trying to shock it back to life. That’s the purpose of doing this blog.  It forces me to write something, anything really (this is more obvious if you’ve read the random and often unrelated posts I’ve been writing).

It took me two summers to write my book.  And it has taken me two more summers to get the nerve to do anything with it.  I will be self-publishing it soon (mostly waiting on my cover art), and I will see if the interest deems the book worthy of a sequel and go from there.

I recently shared that my desire, and what I feel is my calling, is to work with survivors of human trafficking, and now I’m writing that my dream is writing.  I must seem scattered.  Truthfully, I want to work as an abolitionist and help restore those who have suffered at the cruel hand of slavery, but I also feel my ability and passion in writing can work the other end of the problem, which is awareness.  Somehow I can fuse these dreams together.  But I must make time to read, to write, and to research my next moves all while I work my day job, which will begin again in about a month. This school year will be challenging, but my hope is that I will be able to actually set off on my true life’s mission in about a year from now as I use this time to prepare.

For now, I’ll continue my blogging, and I’ll read as much as I can, including finishing On Writing.