Featured

First WIP of 2022. “There’ll Be Bluebirds”.

I’m so excited to announce my first full project of the year!

I’m hoping for it to be a short novella or full novel (we’ll see what happens and how the story wishes to be told as I go along), and I have a feeling that it’s going to be one of my favorite stories to tell.

As I’ve learned about myself recently, I TRULY enjoy writing stories set in past decades, sometimes decades before I was even a thought. I truly believe that is my niche. I have my most fun as a creative doing the research and learning about the past while piecing together a world and story worth exploring through the eyes of a Millennial.

With that said, I’m so happy and excited to make a quick introduction of “There’ll Be Bluebirds”. I’m sure most of us are familiar with the myth or idea that the bluebird is a signifier of overall happiness and/or hope, of faith in the future and what may come.

While this may not be the final title for this work in process, happiness (or finding happiness) is what I intend to be the overall theme of the story.

Set in post war 1940s, an African American soldier finds himself in a town he’s never lived, trying to navigate a new life with unfamiliar yet friendly individuals. In one of those individuals, he feels a sense of peace and familiarity but neither of them has a full understanding of why. (this is NOT a full synopsis, just what I have for now).

I intend for this to be a bit of a drama and romance, but I have this tendency to blend multiple genres, so I’m not truly sure how to define it just yet. I can only say, as long as this idea has been in my head and the way it won’t go away, it is a story that I am meant to tell and it will come straight from my heart.

I will share the first few snippets or chapters here, with the full story being posted on my Wattpad.

I cannot wait to share, cannot wait for you all to meet these characters. With the growing ideas and the way I’m shaping them, I just know you’ll love them as much as I do.

xoxo, Cortney!

Let’s Stay Connected (Click The Sites Below To Follow)

Twitter, Twitter 2

Facebook

Instagram

Featured

It’s Our Anniversary!

Do you know what today is?!

That’s right, MyPenWritesNice is officially 5 years old today. FIVE! It’s so hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I not only started something big, to me, but I have kept it going in spite of the many obstacles life has thrown my way.

I’ve seen growth, not only with this site and those of you who have stuck with me since day one (and those who have joined along the way) but also growth in myself as an artist.

As someone who is hyper critical of themself, I’ve found in starting and trying my best to maintain this website that making this move was just what I needed to teach myself to have patience AND trust in myself and my talents.

I can’t begin to thank everyone that has read, liked, commented, shared, or even just clicked around the site in curiosity. The engagement from different countries is what continues to surprise me, and I can only hope that my words have touched and/or resonated with readers in all of these amazing places in some way or another.

To celebrate a bit, I thought we’d take a trip down memory lane with a few of my favorite stories that I’ve posted over our first five years. Check them out below.

As always happy reading, thank you so much, and I appreciate you all very much!

  1. A Friend In Need (by Cortney Joseph)The very FIRST short story I shared via MPWN.
  2. So The Myth Goes [“Prayer Lake” Intro] by Cortney JosephMy very first attempt at writing horror.
  3. A Life To Remember : Prologue by Cortney JosephA look into one of my favorite types of stories to write (period/era pieces)
  4. A Place In The Sun (Intro) by YoLana CrocketOne of the very first stories shared by a fellow writer/friend in support of MPWN.
  5. A Meeting In Secret (‘Batiste’ Novel Snippet) by Cortney Joseph One of my favorite shorts/snippets to share when I’m promoting the site!

Have a read, leave me your thoughts, and I look forward to how we’ll grow within year five!

xoxo, Cortney.

Let’s Stay Connected (Click The Sites Below To Follow)

Twitter, Twitter 2

Facebook

Instagram

Featured

NEW SERIES INTRODUCTION

So, lately I’ve been toying with the idea of what I should do until I finally regain my personal time (it’s so close!) and focus on what is supposed to be my official debut novel. The idea was that I’d be completely done by now and I’d be releasing it on my brother’s birthday, as a special dedication to him, as he was my reason for everything I was trying to do.

Unfortunately, I’ve been working (and mostly overtime) during the entirety of the Pika-Pikachu (pandemic) and I just haven’t had the time to give it the love and care that it deserves. BELIEVE ME, Fly Girl is coming … just not in 2021.

In the meantime, I brought up the idea of a three mini-novel series to a dear friend of mine and the idea to revisit a story I never completed hit me. The entire novel I speak of centered around three sisters and I was trying to tell their personal stories within one book. Truthfully, it was great, but it wasn’t working out the way I wanted so I set it aside.

I’ve considered breaking down that novel, giving each sister their own short series. And, to build my audience and consistency back up (it’s happening soon, I’m so excited!), I was thinking I could share their stories here.

Now, I have shared a snippet or two from that novel before, and I will link it/them below.

Snippet 1

Snippet 2

Both snippets feature two of the three sisters, and give just a little detail into what each of them were dealing with. I’ve fallen completely in love with the idea of them again and want to pick it back up to get myself going again.

Naturally, as with most of my stories and novels, I don’t have a name for the complete series or the individual mini-novels, but of course I will update when I come up with something. Or, perhaps, you can share any ideas you have for titles in the comment section (I’d greatly appreciate it).

For a little help, the sisters are currently named April, May, and June. I don’t see myself changing that little detail, but I may later on down the line. Ideas for titles are still very much welcomed.

Again, I cannot stress how excited I am to be regaining time to myself AND time to focus on my passion and what I love the most; writing.

It has been a very bumpy road, and these past two years I haven’t been completely sure if this was still my purpose. It is, and I can’t wait to bring those of you who have been enjoying and supporting the site some brand new content.

Of course, I’m shooting to begin semi-regular posting mid-late December, but if not then I’ll sprinkle a few things here and there and in 2022, we’re coming in swinging for the fifth anniversary of MPWN!

As always, to those who read and like my posts, thank you so much. I would like to leave a gentle reminder that I am a writer that seeks feedback via comments, so I’d truly love to hear from you all a lot more. I welcome it all, love as well as constructive criticism.

If you would like to keep up with me, in the meantime, outside of the site, you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Click the highlighted links, follow and let’s chat sometime.

As always, happy reading and if you’re a writer too, I’m sending lots of creativity dust your way.

xoxo, Cortney!

Featured

Closing Out The Year With A Bang, or Attempting To.

So, we all know by now that I have a bit of trouble with consistency. Be it because of life and it’s obstacles, or just the fact that I sometimes lose sight of myself and my gifts; I am forever talking about how I want to refocus and pull it together.

Though I haven’t fully gotten the results that I initially hoped for when I began MyPenWritesNice, I’ve grown to love this site and I am extremely proud of this investment (the website as a whole) that I’ve made in myself and my talent.

With that being said, a consistent struggle that plays into my consistency is that I never know what I want to do or what direction I should go in. Naturally, I feel that I should reach out for a bit of advice because I value greatly any and all advice and commentary that I receive.

I’ve been getting reads and likes when I’ve uploaded lately, but I’m missing out on comments and feedback. So, I would like to use this post to reach out for that, and gauge an idea of what you guys would like to read from me.

Any particular genre you think I should try or you think my style of writing might fit into?

Also, I want to post heavily in December. A great opportunity has come that may allow me a bit more time to finally focus and get back into my writing bag heavily. Would you guys be interested in a countdown to Christmas type of series? Where I post a certain number days in a row with Christmas and Holiday themed shorts?

Lastly, I’m looking to expand my site a bit by sharing the work of other authors who, like me, have a small following and may want to reach a new audience. I always say that my following isn’t massive, but I’ve noticed that my readers are a very consistent group and always come through when I make my way back with new work (I appreciate you!).

Would you like your work showcased in my Writer’s Spotlight section? If so, leave me a link to your work or shoot me a message.

Please, please, as I get back into sharing my poems and stories, leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments. I value both the good and bad, and feel it is essential for my growth!

Connect with me via twitter : CoceauxPuff & MyPenWritesNice

Instagram : MyPenWritesNice

Facebook : Cortney J

And, if you’ve ever enjoyed any of my works, and you feel it to do so, please donate towards all future projects coming from MyPenWritesNice

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Have a wonderful day, and happy reading and writing!

xoxo, Cortney.

Featured

Let’s Get Connected.

So, while working on new things and trying to figure out new ways to promote myself and my work in 2021, I decided to dabble into areas I might not have considered before. And, while I’m sharing mine, I’d love to follow and connect with you as well so please share where I can find you all.

1. Tiktok : @ coceauxpuff

Where you’ll be able to hear snippets of all poetry, and assuming I get good at the app… Short scenes from my stories and novels played out.

2. YouTube : I can be found at both Just Cortney which is meant to be a vlog channel, and SpokenByCort which is a channel that deals with all things WRITING, my published works, and MyPenWritesNice.

3. Twitter : @ MyPenWritesNice (author page), & Coceauxpuff (personal page)

4. Facebook : Cortney J.

5. Instagram : MyPenWritesNice

Again, I would love to connect with you all, so be sure to hit those links, follow… subscribe… add, etc. And let me know where I can do the same for you.

Featured

Let’s Celebrate!

Anniversaries come but once a year, and for MyPenWritesNice, a very special one has arrived.

In the words of the legendary Tony Toni Tone, “do you know what today iiiiisssss?”

 

That’s right! Today marks the official third anniversary of MyPenWritesNice.com! The site began when Cortney decided it was time to set some of her fears aside and share her beautiful gift with the world. To date there have been over a thousand visitors and thousands of views across multiple countries and I am more than confident that there is more to come!

It is her hope that those who have followed and fresh readers will stick along for the continuing journey. It’s going to be a great one.

 

To celebrate MyPenWritesNice’s third anniversary, Cortney has asked that everyone take a trip throughout the site and take a new look at some or all of your old favorites. PLEASE share your favorite short stories and poems with your friends and family, via social media, and be sure to tag her on twitter @MyPenWritesNice and @WrittenByCort, you can also find and follower her on instagram @MyPenWritesNice.

Be sure to leave comments, share how her work has made you feel, and let us know what you’re looking forward to in 2020!

 

Happy Anniversary and Happy Reading!

 

Featured

“Dreams Of You” by Cortney Joseph

We were beneath the tree beside our house.

Me in my little pink corvette, you in your yellow prowler.

 

We were talking big smack, passing licks and clowning around.

Racing each other up and down the street until the sun went down.

 

Then you stood, and you smiled.

Your hands rose, you began to wave goodbye.

 

Tears fell and I prepared my plea for you to stay,

You smiled and said “Sister, you did great. Sister, you’ll be fine.”

 

In an instant you faded,

And I awoke,

Happy for the dream of a last moment,

Yet saddened there’ll be no more real.

 

 

 

Dedicated to : Sandy De’Marcus Joseph

December 1, 1993 – December 18, 2019

I’ll love you always, Baby Boy.

 

80794063_2874187262614449_9126103341271613440_n80326246_2868578363175339_282531843608150016_n79884457_2867277173305458_4762518307720921088_n

Featured

Work In Progress, #1 (An Update)

So,

I’ve finally reminded myself that I’ve been doing a little too much playing around. And by ‘playing around’, I mean not putting my talent to use. Doubting myself entirely too much. And just being plain old LAZY.

I’ve been telling myself that I have to stop using these sad and depressed moods of mine (though valid, to me) as an excuse to make excuses and give up on the thing I love most.

Writing.

 

Let’s be honest; no matter how hard I fight or how many times I say I’m quitting (which is about a hundred times a day); the talent, the ideas, and the big goals and dreams I have for myself aren’t going anywhere.

It’s taking a lot longer than I anticipated (nearly twenty years now since I first picked up a pen by choice — nearly ten since I’ve been publishing my work and promoting on my own), but it’s NOT going anywhere.

 

By this point in 2019, I’d promised myself that I would have published my first OFFICIAL novel. My first one that I won’t have to remove from online because of some sort of theft or other scandal again (I pray no one does me dirty again).

It hasn’t happened. And while there have been many obstacles, many incidents that took away my focus from my tasks, a great deal of NO RESULT OR PRODUCT is my own fault.

I’ve decided tonight, September 19, 2019 that I am pushing all doubt, fears, and more aside. I am ready to work on, complete, and publish my novel. I feel I need to be seen beyond my poetry and short stories, and I can’t do that if I keep on holding myself back.

Now, originally, my official debut novel was to be Fly Girl, I even released a snippet of the intended intro. However, I’ve developed very harsh feelings towards that novel (as well as other works of mine that could very well be published), and I have the feeling that I just need to attempt something FRESH.

Who knows, that may change in the middle of me writing whatever I’m going to start tonight, who knows I may even publish the new novel AND Fly Girl. I just know that I need to get down to business and produce the quality work that so many believe I can deliver. I also MUST believe that I can deliver that quality work as well. And for once, I believe. I’m ready.

 

 

 

With all that being said; I’m not sure how long it will take me to write and publish. But this will be the official announcement of SOMETHING coming, and I think along the way I will post updates of sorts. This may include written posts here on MyPenWritesNice, as well as video updates on my youtube channel Just Cortney. May even toss in a few new poems over on my poetry channel as well, SpokenByCort. So, be sure to hit the subscribe button on those channels and be on the look out!

 

Now, I would also like to make mention that all of this is being done independently. While I gladly use my own funds for any and everything that I do when I self-publish any of my works, lately that has become a bit difficult as I have other responsibilities to take care of first.

For the first time in all of the years I have been working alone; I have begun accepting donations and contributions that will go towards any publishing, shipping, payment of artists other than myself (as I love to support the hard work of others, as many have supported me over the years).

As I have not found a service (that I like) that I can tie in with the MyPenWritesNice site; I have two ways of accepting donations if anyone reading and supporting feels the desire to contribute. Any and all amounts are GREATLY appreciated.

The first, is my CashApp; $cdeshaye

And the second is my PayPal; MyPenWritesNice

 

 

Lastly; I want to end this post with a HUGE thank you to everyone that has been in my corner in some way or another. Especially when I am feeling down or being extremely hard on myself. I can’t begin to explain how your words of support and encouragement have pulled me out of many many moments when I felt like throwing in the towel. I think all that I am about to mention know me well enough to constantly, even when it annoys them, remind me why I shouldn’t and can’t give up on myself or my dreams.

So, thank you to my father and stepmother, brother and sister, my aunts and uncles, and many cousins who cut no corners and offer up every solution in the world (going WAY out of their way) so long as it means I’m comfortable and continuing with my goals. For reminding me with those rough yet gentle talks that only greatness lies within me, that greatness is all that we, as a family, exude. Your love and support carries me high, and I am so very proud to be a Johnson because of you all.

To my aunt Stella for staying ON me about the words that I speak and the great weight that they hold. For being my shoulder to cry on, my listening ear, and intertwining your own growth, wisdom, and lessons you are continuously learning into the things you tell me to lift me back up when I’ve hit my lowest. Only you have seen me that way, and only you have the exact words to bring me back right where I need to be mentally and spiritually. I love you beyond all of the words that could ever slip past my fingertips.

To my grandmother, Catherine, for always being prepared to buy the many MANY works I always talk about working on but never publish or have ready for sale. If ever I create some sort of guardian angel in a future novel or short, please believe she’ll be the sweetest and most loving because she’ll be modeled after you.

My uncle Solomon for being one of my biggest cheerleaders. Your loving words of encouragement and support mean EVERYTHING to me! I cherish them greatly, and hope that I always make you proud with my future endeavors.

To my dear, closest friends; I think I’ve told you all in some way or another how much you, your friendship, and your support means to me. But it never hurts to make it known again and again. Kirsten and Coty (my very best friends), Jae, De’Leon, Moyet, Tangella, Yo’Lana, Sage (even when we’re not talking), Nita (my favorite author that I know personally), Bronnie, Lareesa, COOP!, Sheryl, and Jalen. Glyn, Leshae, Ayana, Izzy (thank y’all especially for being the level headed ‘Temptations’ to my irrational –doubting myself so terribly — ‘David Ruffin’. I know I aggravate y’all, but I thank you all for understanding why I was the way I’m leaving behind).

And, once more to those who have stumbled across my site and have stuck around to read any and/or everything I’ve ever posted over the last two and a half years; THANK YOU. Because you are ALL what motivates me to come back and keep this thing going as well.

 

See you all in a while with an update on how this new W.I.P. is going. I know it’s going to be great, and I can not wait to share it!

 

xoxo, Cortney.

 

 

Featured

What’s Next? Publishing Again!

So, my #ShortStoryAugust challenge came to a bit of an abrupt end a few days ago, but I wasn’t certain if I was completely done.

No, I’m not going to try and make up and post for the missing days or try to finish out the month. With work and other things occurring, I simply don’t have the time.

However, what I am considering is doing a short story collection featuring a select number of the stories I’ve shared during the challenge, as well as a few that have been sitting on the site for some time now and a new one or two.

 

Where do you all come in?

My hope is that you would all be so kind as to take a vote as to which of my favorites you enjoyed as well. I can admit, I’m never satisfied with everything I write, but I think I got a good one or two tossed in.

I would gladly appreciate those of you who have enjoyed anything I’ve shared over the last two years, to take a vote on the ones I’ve selected for possible inclusion in what I consider to be my next big project. For a refresher on certain shorts, you can find the links below the poll. I have left the option for multiple votes open, simply because I want to get as many votes as I can before I begin working on the collection, so feel free to vote as many times as you’d like for your choice. Happy reading, and thanks for all the support thus far!

 

 

A Friend In Need (by Cortney Joseph)

Love Is Blind (by Cortney Joseph)

Keep You Home (by Cortney Joseph)

Silly Wasn’t I by Cortney Joseph #ShortStoryAugust

Maybe I Deserve by Cortney Joseph #ShortStoryAugust

As If We Never Met by Cortney Joseph #ShortStoryAugust

 

 

 

Featured

#ShortStoryAugust 2019 Is Here!

Today is officially August first, and a challenge I presented at the beginning of July has now begun!

For anyone interested in participating with me, please check out the original #SSA post, and find out how to make sure your wonderful works are seen and how they can be shared by me.

My audience isn’t that large yet, but I do have some really wonderful frequent readers and I am sure they’ll appreciate great art from others.

 

Hope to see many more than myself participating. And if you are, happy writing!

 

xoxo, Cortney

Featured

Short Story August? Anyone Interested?

Hi!

 

So, to get back into the habit of writing, and writing OFTEN, I was considering taking the time this summer to write and post a NEW short story every day for the month of August.

Yep, that’s 31 short stories in a single month! I personally consider this to be a challenge because it has become so easy for me to become sidetracked, to lose focus, or to simply not have the energy to grab a pen or sit in front of my keyboard and do what truly brings me joy. Life happens, of course, but lately it’s had a way of taking me way down and it interferes in the worst way with my dream and talent.

I would like to challenge myself, and I would love it very much if a few others opted to join in the challenge with me.

 

If interested, please leave a comment letting me know you’re joining in on #ShortStoryAugust. Let me know where you’ll be sharing your posts so that I can share them to the audience that I have, and so that we can get a system of encouragement going for our fellow writers. Where can we follow one another?

You can find me on Twitter, at either WrittenByCort or MyPenWritesNice, and on Instagram at WrittenByCort.

Hope to get a few of you in on the challenge. Happy writing!

Featured

Fly Girl by Cortney Joseph [Novel Snippet]

The following is a snippet/intro for my upcoming novel, Fly Girl. Please feel free to share your thoughts/opinions, as I am in the editing stages and looking for any and all feedback as I work to piece together the final version.

 

_______________

 

Prelude: Interview With Broken Idols

 

2010:

 

“Major success. At the height of it all, you were one of the bestselling acts. Among the elite of the late nineties and beginning of the early two-thousands, with multi-platinum selling albums, sold out national and international tours. You’ve won several of the recording industry’s top awards as a group and within your solo endeavors. Certainly, there were more albums, tours, and endorsements in the works. All planned to further the success of Fly Girl. And then, you were done after seven short years. What happened?”

 

As she sat among the very women she’d grown up watching, adoring and admiring, wishing she too could have lived such a glamourous life, Andrea Harper asked the same question of all four members of Fly Girl. The interview was exclusive, highly coveted by some of the day’s top entertainment journalists. Per their request, she spoke to each woman separately, trying to gather why they couldn’t bare to be in the same room, even for a few short hours.

It had been a little over two years since any of them had been out in the spotlight, and even longer since any of them took to doing interviews that would include talks of a part of the past that they felt had dragged them all down in one way or another. And much longer since one half of the group had spoken to the other half.

Though they were all within the same age range, it was quite clear what the years of the stress and pressure to be to be perfect, trying to appease everyone around them had done to them. Their façades cracked, years added to their once youthful faces.

Troy; the youngest member of the group, often deemed the lead singer, sat comfortably in her chair. If you were to look at her; her sweet disposition, the smile she always wore whether happy or sad would give the appearance that all was quite well in her life. After all, once Fly Girl split, it was said that she’d be the one to leave the entire ordeal unscathed, destined for solo stardom whether she wanted it that way or not. If you were to look past that smile, and down towards where her right arm rested, you’d see a cane resting next to her chair, waiting to be used if she chose to stand. Only twenty-five, the rest of her life had already been mapped out as a lifetime of medications to manage pain and spasms that came and went as they pleased.

Torii; Troy’s older sister, bore a different struggle. Though she’d initially been happy to end matters with Fly Girl, it came with expectations she soon realized she couldn’t and didn’t want to live up to. She too had been set up to have solo success following the group’s disbandment, and for a time she’d found it. And then, it became about matching Fly Girl’s success, living up to all that fans and critics believed her sister was and could have been. Comparisons and demands became too much. A young wife and mother, she decided quickly that a quiet life back home in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee was what she wanted and needed most.

Leann; the oldest, who at one point had been the most sensible and a bit of a mother figure for the other girls, had taken the worst fall from grace. Trying to raise herself and a younger sibling after leaving New Orleans, Louisiana; she felt there were nothing but good times ahead when she’d been selected as the lone rapper of Fly Girl. A once in a lifetime opportunity that came with perks and benefits far beyond her wildest dreams; she was certain there was no way she’d go back to her old life. She wouldn’t trade her new success and joy for anything. However, it had never been easy out running personal demons and as she’d often feared, they’d caught up to her when she least expected.

Ava; the second oldest, had found freedom outside of her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She’d quickly swapped control over her life from one bad influence to another, only hoping for the best in each new situation she placed herself in. Singing had become an escape, though she was often told that she was not good enough, that she would never make it far in life with her foolish dreams. She’d proved so many people wrong, including her parents; and the last thing she’d wanted was the disbandment of the group that had brought her so much happiness and success. The last thing she’d ever do was admit that she had a huge hand in the group’s downfall as well as her own.

 

As Andrea asked them all the same question again, they all gave their honest answers and opinions. There was no image to keep up any longer. No one standing behind them, coaching them on what to say through a tiny mic and special ear pieces as a part of media training.

Leann looked down at her hands. “What happened? Egos, favoritism, underhanded dealings with a lot of snakes. A lot of sleeping around, as far as I know, with producers and label executives.”

“On whose part?”

Leann smiled. “Not mine, though almost all of those perverts tried.”

“Is that all you feel caused the downfall of Fly Girl?”

“That’s the majority of it.” She shrugged, growing hot within the small room they occupied. Removing her jacket, Leann spoke lowly. “I’ve always felt that the people who discovered,” she stopped. “scratch that. The people who put us together and packaged us as a complete group of four knew exactly what their intentions were. See, Fly Girl wasn’t supposed to be successful. One hit, sure. Two, a fluke or pure luck. We weren’t supposed to have more than one album. It was supposed to be Fly Girl, Fly Girl ends, then Introducing Troy Mercier. If Torii happened to get a deal out of it, then that would have been great for her. As for Ava and me; we were just backup, and barely that. I might have gotten features here and there on whoever was the big rap star at the time, but my time was always limited.” Leann sat up straight in her chair after draping her jacket over her legs. “I just wish they had told us that shit from the get-go. The fallout wouldn’t have been so bad. Wouldn’t have hurt as much.”

During her interview Torii sat quietly, holding on to her newborn as she took a few minutes to think about her answer. No, she wasn’t going to be politically correct, but she didn’t want to come off rude or hateful in her tone either. Fly Girl had become such a touchy subject in such a short amount of time. Anytime she or her sister spoke out it became some type of issue and she didn’t want or need any more drama between herself and Leann or Ava.

“Egos. One big, one non-existent, two so small that it could be considered naivety.”

“You believe egos are necessary, or unnecessary?”

“If you believe you are the greatest, doing all the work when there’s three other people in the group, on top of a hundred more working behind the scenes to make you look good, and a million more supporting you and keeping you on top, but you’re failing to give credit or thanks; it’s unnecessary. If you think you’ve made it so far without God, whatever God you serve, then yes, your ego is unnecessary. It’s okay to feel yourself, it’s okay to know you’re great.” Torii paused for a moment, trying to collect her thoughts. “When I say so small that it was basically naivety, it was two individuals giving thanks and credit to everyone, except for themselves sometimes; failing to recognize how big the part they played was. When I say one was non-existent, it was an individual giving credit to no one, including their self, except for the person who was dragging them down. When I say one was big; couldn’t tell that individual anything. It was all them, all the time. They could do no wrong in their own eyes when they were messing up everything.”

“Anything else you believe played a role in the ending of Fly Girl?”

Torii nodded her head. “Management. Whispering in ears, saying one thing to one girl, saying something else to another girl. Happened every day, from the very beginning to the very end. Fly Girl was a ticking bomb waiting to go off, simply because too few people had our best interests at heart. I don’t believe we were supposed to make it, but when we did, and the money came rolling in…” Torii smiled a little, clearing her throat as she readjusted her baby in her arms.

“And was there really favoritism?”

“Not that I knew of at the time. I guess a lot of people like to feel that way because I married within the industry, and within the immediate circle that surrounded us. My husband’s an artist and producer as well. What they fail to realize is that he was also a part of a group, the male group that debuted with Fly Girl. He never produced for Fly Girl, never even worked with Fly Girl unless we toured together or popped up in each other’s music videos. He and I did one duet, while we were in our respective groups, produced by someone far larger than he was at the time. So the sleeping around for leads or better produced tracks for the solo songs we did for each album,” Andrea nodded. “if it happened, it wasn’t me.”

 

Able to make her interview once she was assured that none of the other group members were in the building, Ava also took her time to give an answer. So used to being ignored or never given the chance to answer for herself, she was unsure if she wanted to keep it to a minimum or speak out fully. Doing so once before had landed her in hot water, and she was uncertain if she wanted to go down that road again.

Then again, knowing her former groupmates as well as she felt she did; she knew that at least one of them, if not all, would attempt to make her look bad in one way or another.

“What do I believe happened that led to our disbanding?”

“Yes.”

Ava ran her fingers through her hair. “It was never meant to last. They just dragged it out while creating more tension, lies, and pain. As I’d been told, I was the weakest singer. Soon enough, everybody ganged up on me, telling me that as often as they could. For my end of the damage, I gave up, stopped caring about the group as time went on.”

“But as far as the internal issues between the four of you; the constant fighting that fans heard about after it was all over. Who or what is to blame for that?”

“Everyone. Egos, pride and a whole lot of bullshit. We acted as if we loved one other, played like we were a real family, but I honestly believe there was never any type of love. Not genuine love, not from the other girls.” Old feelings began to surface, anger and venom dripped through her words. “Drugs and alcohol, immaturity, issues with management and theft. A LOT of sleeping around.”

“Are you guilty of any of that?”

“Yes, but I won’t say what just yet. I will say; it was half of a group effort to keep ourselves together while struggling to work with one another. It was a full group effort in tearing ourselves down. They just like to throw the blame at one person. It was all of us.”

Troy arrived last. She was the member Andrea had the most trouble tracking down. For the most part, she wanted nothing else to do with Fly Girl. It simply wasn’t worth it, not for her, to stress and make herself and her health worse over something that never should have even began. If she could have forgotten that Fly Girl even happened, she would have.

“What happened to cause the end? Same stuff that happens in most girl groups; cattiness. But, I’m sure all four of us can agree on egos.”

“Yes, that’s the number one reason from all of you.”

Troy nodded her head, sighing as she tried to sit comfortably in her chair. “Management telling us all one thing while doing another. Telling two of us that there was a guaranteed future while promising the other two nothing but a trip back to their hometown. Constant threats of being kicked out and replaced if things weren’t done the way management wanted. Jealousy. There are claims of favoritism, but really it was acts of greed and lies being fed to turn the outcome of the group into the wrong person’s favor. There was sleeping around, but the rumors of who was doing the sleeping around have always been false.”

“The rumors that someone slept with producers and writers for leads?”

“Tuh, it never took the promise of leads for that particular person to sleep around, they just did it and let the world believe bullshit to make them feel better about their self. I suppose.”

Andrea nodded, extremely curious as to who fit the exact descriptions of the incidents each member spoke of. “Anything else happen?”

“Mismanagement of money, lots and lots of theft. Internal issues between the four of us; a lot of ignorance, immaturity, and pettiness. Dishonesty, disloyalty. Lack of trust. Bad company and circles that some of us surrounded ourselves with.” Troy paused, looking at Andrea. “Drug abuse, physical and mental abuse, illnesses, and personal issues that others didn’t or chose not to understand because it wasn’t happening to them. Most importantly, and what a lot of people don’t realize,” Troy stopped and cleared her throat. “we were four teenagers, the youngest being thirteen when selected. Two of whom were placed with complete strangers and expected to bond within the time space of a week. Two of whom came from places where they didn’t have social skills, didn’t know anything about socializing because they’d always felt alone anyway. You’ve got siblings in the group, so two automatically feel as if it’s them against the siblings, as well as them against the world and everyone else. You’ve got two, unbeknownst to them early on, being put up on a pedestal and instructed to act as if everything is all good. We were impressionable, could be told anything and we would have believed it if we were too tired to do a little extra research or a little extra reading into contracts we were told to sign. Most times, we were too tired. Most times we were assured that we didn’t even need to read, and we went with that because we trusted the adults that handled us. Extremely naive teenagers, so naive that we were damn near dumb. We were still discovering who we were, we could have easily been molded in any way and fashion they chose if there were no parents or adult family members with us.”

“And were your parents around?”

Troy shook her head. “Not on the tours or in the studios or anywhere outside of Tennessee, Louisiana, and Arizona where we came from. We had one adult that truly cared and everybody else knew how to pretend enough to keep us comfortable and safe, they knew how to gain our trust.”

“While gaining your trust, did they try to change you all immediately?”

“I can’t speak for the other members; but I know those people went through hell and high-water trying to change how I saw myself, what I did, and what I said. And how I acted with my sister and the others. I didn’t see it that way then, but they tried to pit me against everybody early on, I just never had it in me to turn my back on anyone, especially my sister. They went through hell trying to force and pressure me into things I knew weren’t right. And yeah, some I went along with because I had this great fear, at the time, of being kicked out. Being told I’ll never sing again; we were all told that. Imagine hearing I can end your career now, forever when you’re that young. Imagine hearing that when all you know how to do is sing and dance, or rap and dance.” Troy chuckled at the thought of all she’d heard in her young life, shaking her head at how foolish she’d been to believe most of it. “It’s some mess thrown in from all of us, I’m certain; and I believe to an extent that we’re all to blame. Certain things can be excused because of circumstances, but some can never be excused or forgiven.”

 

Andrea nodded, leaning forward in her seat. “I’m going to ask you one final question. The same I’ve asked Torii, Leann, and Ava.”

“Okay.”

“We hear of old groups reuniting nowadays for award shows, small tours, and even a few because they missed one another. Do you ever see Fly Girl reuniting in the future? Could you see yourself working with any of them again?”

“I still work with Torii. That’s my sister, always will be and the disbandment of a packaged group won’t change that.”

“Okay, in terms of Fly Girl, including Leann and Ava. Is there a future for Fly Girl?”

“Probably. Would I join in, or want to join in?” Andrea nodded, waiting for Troy’s answer. “Nope. Some things are better left broken. And if someone were to try and fix it one day, it would take a major miracle.”

“Such as?”

Troy smiled before grabbing her cane, taking her time as she stood up. “We’d have to be in the same room without wanting to kill one another. Or, in my case, I’d have to see them and want to wish the best for them and mean it. That sounds mean but,” She lifted her cane “this was wished on me, so I can’t really feel anything positive for Leann or Ava. I haven’t made it that far past my anger yet.”

And with that Troy left, kicking off what Andrea was certain would be the very last Fly Girl interview. While she was glad she’d gotten the interview, and that she still had a few days left with them to get all the information she’d need, she was left a bit heartbroken and discouraged. She’d heard countless times about groups falling out, but never this badly. They’d all answered that question the same; a resounding NO to any type of reunion.

Andrea was now unsure of what she was getting herself into by penning the official Fly Girl biography. Perhaps it would be better to leave their memories as just that; memories. But as a longtime fan, and one of the many fans who held out hope for some type of explanation or resolution, her curiosity about the ins and outs of the group kept her mind on the prize. There was just one small glimmer of hope she would hold going into this task. Helping to heal the group by getting them to speak honestly. There had to be some good to come from this.

“Pretty Brown” by Cortney Joseph #YoungCortWrote

As a little girl,

I would sit and wonder why I couldn’t be … better

Lighter skin, straighter hair.

Pretty in the eyes of an ugly society

In my eyes …

The kinks of my hair and the tone of my skin were hindering

And praise of the “Pretty Red” only showed that my brown skin was nothing to be proud of

TV showed no one like me, no one for me to see and say “that’s what beauty is”

Videos and magazines soon made the complex worse…

Make up and photo-shop showing that “flaws” and “imperfections” could be hidden and …

Cleaned up. Dark skin made as light as they saw fit.

And I would sit and cry, and wonder, and pray, and hope that someday I would be lighter, with straighter hair

Pretty in the eyes of this ugly society

I didn’t understand that my brown skin was just the same as the light skinned girls everyone said were prettier than I

And I didn’t understand that they felt the same sense of despair and shame that I felt

Being told that they weren’t perfect or pretty enough either.

It took years for me to understand that we are all the same, all black …

High yellow with short hair, Light Skinned with long hair, Dark Brown with no hair, or Black As Night with nappy hair…

We’re all the same.

Born into this world to do something great, not dwell on the differences in the way God made us.

I love my pretty brown skin. Love yours.

“Whispers Through Heaven” by Cortney Joseph #YoungCortWrote

Mind if I sit here for just a moment? I wanna … talk to you, for just a while.

I know it’s been a while, I know I never visit.

I just…. I find it so hard to accept, understand. I can’t comprehend why we have to talk this way.

Why I have to send whispers through Heaven.

See, it’s been some years and I’ve been shedding tears, wondering what we’d be like if you were here.

If I could hold you near and tell you all that I do; all that I go through in hopes of making you proud.

I hope that you’re proud.

How have you been? Is it nice there? Do you miss me?

Silly questions I know, forgive me. I just wonder these things. Not knowing hurts sometimes.

I’m still shedding tears, trying to make it through without breaking down… never letting on

That I long for just a single touch.

I imagine your voice, soft and low telling me there’s no need to cry, but I cry anyway

Just imagining how it’d feel to hear you say “don’t cry Baby.”

You’d probably say stay positive, push forward…

And I try, wishing you were here to share in what success I do find…

It sometimes brings me back down, brings me back to that place in my mind that wants to cry and hide.

Makes me mad that I have to whisper through Heaven just to give you this letter, just to say …

I need you.

Couldn’t you have stayed? Couldn’t we have had more time, more moments? I need you.

Silly and selfish of me, I know. Forgive me, I shouldn’t question these things.

I just wonder what it’d feel like to be in the comfort of your arms again.

To dream and wake up and see you standing there; I need you.

I need a hug, a small embrace … just a little moment, some reassurance that you hear me

And you need me too. That you miss me too.

Here come the tears again, I’ll let them fall on this paper.

They’ll be my kisses on this letter that I’m whispering through Heaven.

I know you’ll get it, just as I know God’s got you.                                               

I’ll keep dreaming, waiting for that assurance. Wishing for one last moment.

One last kiss, one last hug … a gentle breeze across my shoulder, your touch…

I miss you.

“Hope Someday” by Cortney Joseph #YoungCortWrote

It often feels as though your back is to the wall

There’s no one to help, no one who cares to TRY and understand

“Why can’t you control him?” “If it was my child, she’d be dealt with appropriately”…

Please, tell me what’s appropriate enough for a child who lacks understanding,

Not by choice, it’s NOT their fault.

Forgive me for seeming as though I’m at my wits end…

Please forgive me for “enjoying” the silent stares and whispers of adults WHO think they know enough about my life to THINK I’m not a good enough parent.

Ha, could you handle it?

Wondering if your child will scream and shout because you tried to exchange something they love for something you think and hope they would like?

Could you break apart a wheel chair, day in and day out… or… take the unintentional beatings while adjusting leg braces?

Could you handle the cries of a child afraid to make YOU cry, but still unable to hold back their own emotions when they just can’t get their way?

Financial struggles, fears of being called unfit… sometimes unable to follow your own dreams, because their needs are just THAT much more important than your own.

What if you felt as though all you could do was lie awake late at night, hoping and wishing for solutions… and treatments, and help, and love, and SUPPORT that just may never come?

You don’t understand.

See… to you, the screaming and yelling is all because they live in a home where the parents and siblings are just too care free.

“We let our child cry it out.” “We believe in letting them express their selves in whatever way they see fit.”

As though I didn’t take into consideration that a simple visit to the doctor’s office could turn into nurses being hit with tiny toys.

As though I didn’t take into consideration that a single isle in the grocery store just may be torn apart if I don’t keep my eye on my child every single second I’m there…

I consider it all…

Just like I consider that there may be people who would take into consideration that maybe… just maybe, a person like me is doing all that I can to make things OKAY.

No, it’s not okay.

It’s easy for one to sit there with smug looks and side eyes and misinterpret my actions based on shit they REFUSE to TRY and understand.

No, this wasn’t written and it’s damn sure not spoken for pity…

It was written and it’s spoken for those who DO understand. Those who go through the pain with no help.

Those who get the looks, the whispers… Those at their wits end. Those who do manage to cope better than others.

The mothers, the fathers, the sisters, the brothers.

I understand.

We’re not alone. There is hope. Someday, it will be okay.

“Losing Me” by Cortney Joseph #YoungCortWrote

Ever felt the walls caving in

The whole world drops down on your shoulders…

Stress takes over and your mind imagines everything that’s wrong.

Nothing you do is right. And the closer you get to “perfection”…

The more you lose your sanity.

Ever felt the need to run

The need to hide, escape the pain that seems to find you regardless

Because the further you run from your “imperfections”…

The less you THINK your heart will break.

No one ever knows how it really feels…

And I can’t talk about it.

“Drink & F*ck” by Cortney Joseph #YoungCortWrote

I sit here, in tears as I stare into your eyes,

Thinking about our predicament.

 

Every other day I say I’m done,

But we drink and we fuck, and we’re back in love all over again.

You love it so I love it, and I accept it and I condone it.

 

It’s like He made you just to argue with me, and we break up temporarily just to come back together

And argue all over again.

You love me and then you hate me,

You think I’m beautiful and then you berate me.

Break me down as you build yourself up,

Giving the same old excuses day after day if I find the audacity to say find someone else to play

 

I walk away and you pull me back, I push away and you push me against the wall.

You kiss me and I taste the wine on your tongue…

We drink and we fuck then we’re in love all over again.

 

 All over again.

 

I say I can’t take this and your hands are all over me,

Touching the places you know grow weak…

I slap you so we fuss. You curse, I curse…

Every other line is fuck you, I’m through

But when I turn to walk away, you pull me into an embrace and stare into my eyes

Yours, pleading for forgiveness as your hands work their way into my panties…

And I’ve lost again.

 

That’s how we love is all you say, and I go along

I’ve got nothing to say.

I hate you, but I love you. Can’t stand you, but I need you.

So we drink and fuck … and I’m still in love with you.

 

 And all of your bullshit too.

Old Finds

So, I haven’t been doing as much writing as I hoped to do. And that’s okay.

More importantly, to me, I’ve been working at not beating myself up for not cranking out content (especially content I don’t love) and I’ve been doing very well with that.

However, I have come across a few old works of mine. Specifically, POETRY.

If you didn’t know, I’ve been writing since I was 10 years old, and it all began with an English teacher being kind enough to tell me I was decent at it. I recall that very first poem, and trust me when I say she was being polite, loll.

I, however, took that and ran and I’ve been writing ever since.

To get the site going again, until new works do come along, I thought I’d share some of those early poems over the next couple of days.

I’ll begin tomorrow, and they’ll all be shared with the hashtag #YoungCortWrote at the end. Let me say this now … PUH-LEASE don’t judge young me. I was feeling my way around with words, and while some may not be great, a lot of good came throughout and over the last 20+ years.

As always, I thank those of you who have stuck with me and my inconsistency over the last 5 years, the support means the world to me. And welcome to all who have followed me recently! I hope you’ve enjoyed any of the reads you’ve stumbled across and I hope you enjoy what’s to come.

xoxo, Cort!

I Don’t Want To Do Wrong by Cortney Joseph

There was an uneasy silence that filled the dimly lit living room, tension as thick as the smoke that trailed from lips of a man that should have been reveling in the joys of returning home.

Turmoil and distress should have been a distant thought, left behind in the barren and burned fields of a country on the other side of the world. Those woes separated from the ones he’d walked away from just a few short years before.

He should have been celebrating, starting anew with what health and mobility he’d been able to retain. Safe in the company of family and friends. Safe in the arms of the woman that’d stood beside him through it all, making great sacrifices of her own.

But, with a now empty home, and no one to intrude or interrupt the things that needed to be said; what semblance of peace he thought he’d felt upon his return had faded.

Soft static from the record player that rested across the room made it known that the record they’d thrown on had come to an end, prompting the lady of the house to stand. Nervously, she rubbed her hands down the front of her apron, taking slow steps.

“Anything particular you wanna hear? Anybody you weren’t able to hear overseas?” He shook his head, advising that she’d been making great choices all evening, to go with whatever she liked most. Soon, the soulful sounds of Gladys Knight & The Pips filled the small space. It did nothing to cut the tension.

Toying at the curls she wore, Lisa said what they both were thinking. “Coming back didn’t feel as great as it should have, huh?”

“No, not at all.”

“I saw the way you were staring all night, Gregory. And there’s this one particular type of glare you’ve tossed my way a few times. Almost as if the sight of me sickens you now.”

Putting out his cigarette in the ashtray that rested on the coffee table before him, Gregory took a long moment before he responded. “You’re as beautiful as the day I left Lisa. Prettiest thing I’ve seen in years.”

“I don’t mean in that regard.”

It’d been pounded into Lisa’s head from day one by the elder women and wives in their small community. He ain’t here, but keep yourself up for that man. He’s gonna want something pretty to look at when he comes back from all of that ugly. On that front, she was not worried, not that looks could keep a man anyway.

“I don’t know what look you mean then, Dear. If it’s because I haven’t smiled much, right now that’s just something I can’t help.”

He’d smiled more than enough. Perhaps, for Lisa, there wasn’t a way she’d be able to explain it. She’d try anyhow. “It’s as if you’re here, you’re home, but you’re not with me, not your heart.” And if she had to take it a step further, it felt as if he’d been looking at her and envisioning someone else’s face.

Gregory let out a deep sigh. “I guess I can imagine that look now, kind of like the ones you were giving, not at me but over my shoulder.” And while he couldn’t pinpoint which man it was, he felt that someone who’d entered their home tonight had in some way captured his wife’s affections.

Up until this point, Lisa had not turned to face her husband, ashamed of all the thoughts that ran through her head. She felt foolish. How could she, in a roundabout way, accuse him of cheating when she felt she’d done the same.

“I guess the only thing to do is figure out how far things have gone.”

She looked at him then, tears filling her eyes. “And if one of us has gone too far?”

“Can either of us really be mad? Could we really have expected anything different?” He didn’t, though he did hope to come home and they’d both act as if nothing happened, as if nothing had changed.

Everything had changed, and drastically.

No doubt, it was the standards women were held to that made Lisa feel more guilt than she probably should have, but she decided to go first. To get it all off of her chest.

It had only been within the last year and a half, about the same amount of time since she’d last heard from Gregory before his return. Correspondence between the two of them ending in a series of angry letters, with her last few going unanswered, and she’d begun to think he didn’t care to keep trying at such a great distance.

She’d settled with herself to just remain patient and wait, for a telegram… a call… anything. Nothing came. And then one day, into the diner where she’d been working to support herself walked a fast-talking salesman that didn’t seem to mind flirting back and forth with a soldier’s wife.

It was a bit of playful bantering, a bit of attention that she didn’t realize she’d missed and craved. It began with his daily visits, her constant refusals to entertain the ideas of a date or anything more. And then one night, angry at the thought of what Gregory might be doing a world away, she agreed to one little date.

It won’t hurt, and it didn’t. And neither did any of the others that followed. The salesman was attentive, doting, respectful. He made her feel alive, made her feel wanted and loved. And while he had no qualms or shame in admitting he was head over heels in love with Lisa, he respected that she could not fully make a life with him without proper closure. He said he’d wait for her, no matter how long it took, and he was doing just that. There’d been nothing more than stolen kisses here and there, fireside cuddles on the nights sadness occupied her emotions, and endless love letters and poems.

And while Gregory probably thought this man was in their home tonight, he was not. But Lisa wished he were. The comfort she wished for now was not from her husband, but from the other man.

For Gregory, it’d begun long before the angry letters back and forth between he and Lisa. Some drunken nights that he’d initially felt regret over. Something to satisfy the urges he felt from time to time in the different places he found himself. And then came one woman in particular. A nurse that had come to his aid within the last few moments of his time at war. Someone that offered much needed comfort, compassion. Someone that offered relief and refuge from the darkness surrounding them. Someone that offered a new sense of peace, a type of joy he hadn’t felt since the early days of his youth.

Originally, he’d settled with himself that he would return home, admit his faults and pray that Lisa would forgive him. Pray that they could work through their problems and move forward to repair their marriage. After all, they’d said for better or worse, and both agreed that divorce would never be an option.

But just like Lisa and her salesman, there’d been tender moments between Gregory and his nurse that he wouldn’t be able to shake no matter the distance. And while there weren’t as many as the ones Lisa had experienced in her new love, Gregory knew that this nurse had taken residence in his heart and she wasn’t letting go. She too had decided to wait, however long it took.

“Do you love him?”

Lisa nodded slowly. “Very much. And I still love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore. I don’t think I have been for a long time.”

Gregory looked into Lisa’s eyes, offering a bit of reassurance in a smile. “I feel like we could have resolved this a lot sooner if I hadn’t been an ass and replied to one of those last letters, huh?”

“I think I let that be the sign to let go a little, I just didn’t think I’d be in the right if I went off and did what my heart wanted. Felt wrong.”

“Everything feels so wrong, but when the heart wants what it wants-“

“Do you love her?”

Gregory looked into his wife’s eyes, making his admission. “And at first, I thought to just stay over there. But like you, I didn’t think that’d be right. Not to just leave you hanging on and waiting around for nothing.”

Taking a few steps forward, Lisa did something she never thought she would. Removing her wedding band, she placed it on the table beside Gregory’s ashtray. “Maybe these second chances at love will treat us both better.”

“I hope so.”

Excusing herself, Lisa headed towards her bedroom to pack a few things. In the morning she’d be gone, starting over.

Let’s Stay Connected (Click The Sites Below To Follow)

Twitter, Twitter 2

Facebook

Instagram

Wattpad

“Untitled 3/26/22” by Cortney Joseph

In my dreams,

I have searched far and wide,

For the sight of you,

Just once more, for a moment more.

For the chance to talk,

For the chance to hold you close,

To express my gratitude, give thanks

For the time I had,

To be in your presence

To have been loved by you.

Let’s Stay Connected (Click The Sites Below To Follow)

Twitter, Twitter 2

Facebook

Instagram

Wattpad

a little random.

There have been so many things on my heart and mind as of late.

So much that it’s starting to make a bit of sense as to why I’ve been feeling so stuck and stagnant.

I hold on to so much fear and doubt, while simultaneously holding on to this idea that I have to follow and live this dream for someone else and not just myself.

Initially, in December of 2019 I thought I could quit my dreams and talent that God gave me because my reason for following them and trying to succeed was gone.

That was it, who else was there to do it for, right?

Then I realized that in my grief and anguish, God was tapping me on my shoulder telling me I wasn’t done. Nowhere near that.

Okay, cool.

So if I’m not done, why is it and has it still been so difficult over two years later? What am I holding on to mentally that’s blocking me from giving my all and doing my best at this gift I’ve been given?

As of today, I still don’t know.

But right here, in this post, I release whatever it is.

I let it go, and I’m moving forward… for me.