“Again” by Cortney Joseph

It was all in the way you touched me,

Cold, displeased with the surface each fingertip grazed.

I tensed, thinking I’d prepared myself for what had become the usual,

a tense prelude to the darkness that shone itself in your eyes as you pulled away,

hand raised to the heavens, striking with force that knocked me backward.

Again, and again though we’d both said agreed there’d never be another moment such as this.

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Memory Lane by YoLana Crocket

It’d been a while since I’d step foot in this place.

It’d held so many bad memories, brought to mind all the tears I’d cried the instant my soles touched the tile. Brought an aching to my heart that I could hardly explain to anyone once I’d manage to free myself of it’s hold. With each stride the grip grew tighter around my soul.

I’d been told that sometimes closure can’t come without reopening old wounds, and I’ve never been sure of how true or untrue that might be. Surely wasn’t sure if I wanted to bother with finding out, not even for the purpose of ‘healing’.

The walls were now baren, stripped of the smiling faces and colorful scenery. Free of lovers embracing, free of babies and all the spaces that brought about unbridled joy and happiness.

The white walls now a stained yellow, years of neglect and decay settled in with a stale stench that reminded me of the old wooden homes occupied and owned by the elders in my youth. I hadn’t thought about it in years, and yet, in an instant I missed the simplicity of it all.

It became quite funny, for only a moment, how the thought of childhood could bring back both fleeting excitement and everlasting grief.

Into each room I meandered, taking mental note of every missing patch, every creaking board, every tear that fell when a memory came dashing before my eyes.

I felt every emotion possible, and nothing all at once.

I felt caged once more, and prayed for total freedom to follow.

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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.

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Investments (in self & others) and Excitement (for the future).

I am truly looking forward to the new year.

Though I have still had many trying moments in 2021, I can honestly say that this past month alone has given me so much hope and restored my excitement for my future. So, if you guys didn’t catch it, Christmas day I posted a new short story. It is the very first NEW work I’ve written in two years!! Happy is an understatement of how I felt upon completion. And though it is certainly not one of my best (in my humble opinion), I’m thrilled with it because I know now that I haven’t lost my gift. She’s back and it starts with the simple little post below.

Merry X-Mas, Baby.

Naturally, along with getting back into writing, I’ve decided and reminded myself that I also need to get back into reading. As someone who loves to learn new things and new techniques and styles, I’ve been feeling that a lot of my problem is that I haven’t kept up with reading any of the genres that I’m attempting to write in, if that makes sense.

2020 I was supposed to get back into reading and I can honestly say that between January of that year and today, I’ve read a total of …. three books, if that.

So, since I’ll be diving back into that, I’ve also decided to tie that into a new section of my site that I’ll be including in 2022, and that is an artist/writer’s spotlight. As I told family, I want to help others the way the I wasn’t able to have or find help when I first started, even with a smaller platform. You never know who you’ll reach and who you can help others reach, right?

I’ll be ordering books soon, with the first two on my list being by a fellow writer within my family, and a book I’ve been wanting to add to my collection by Stephanie Ascough (who has been a wonderful supporter of my site this past year), but I will also be looking for lots more. So, if you’re an author and have a book you’d like read and featured, please feel free to reach out with details on where I can grab a copy via CortneyJ@mypenwritesnice.com

That’s it for now, a quick update of sorts. I’m shooting to have a story for New Years Eve or New Years Day. We shall see how that goes.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope this holiday season has been amazing and blessed for you. I just want to thank anyone who has stuck with MPWN for being here and reading along. I can’t wait to bring new greatness in 2022, and we’ll be celebrating FIVE years of MyPenWritesNice! Do me a favor, in the comments let me know what you’ve enjoyed or loved about the site most over the time we’ve shared, I’d love to know.

If I don’t make a mini post before then, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Merry X-Mas, Baby. by Cortney Joseph

Kayla stared closely at the paper resting loosely between her fingertips, in complete disbelief. Tears welled within the ducts of her eyes, threatening to spill as an unconcerned gaze fell upon her. Her unstead hands trembled with each word she read.

What was this, and why had it crept into ruin what she intended to be the best season of her life.

Words seemed to fail, would not materialize in time for her to express the sudden pain and anguish that surged through her heart. “What the hell is this, Ty?”

“Just what it says Kayla. You’re an intelligent woman, I would hate to have to spell it out to you.” Tyava, whom Kayla had spent the past ten years of her life with, stepped forward. It seemed her words flowed with ease, as if she’d had adequate time to collect her thoughts and make all necessary plans to execute this moment.

It was then that Kayla began to recall the subtle differences around their home. Things she’d noticed but thought nothing of. Tyava had been coming home later and later, or not at all. She assumed to avoid the arguments that had begun to plague their marriage as of late. Little by little items that belonged to Tyava had gone missing, things she thought simply might need to be replaced. The space in her closet, growing barren with each week that passed. Fewer and fewer words spoken between the two as the days passed, their outings together down to none. There had been no affection, no chemistry, no interest in keeping appearances.

Suddenly the joyfulness of the holiday tunes that surrounded them, an attempt to set a different mood, sickened Kayla. She felt her knees begin to weaken, felt herself falling off a cloud it seemed she’d been keeping herself on in hopes that this would never be her reality.

Kayla scoffed, angered. “And there was no other time you could have done this?” Truly, what time would have been good to suggest or announce one’s desire to divorce?

Tyava could only shrug her shoulders, failing to understand where these sudden feelings her wife displayed were being pulled from. All throughout the years they shared, not a single conversation about feelings, thoughts, emotions, or ideas could be expressed without Tyava’s being pushed aside or disregarded. She might not have played the traditionally feminine role within their relationship, but she had them too and she’d grown tired of being made to feel small or insignificant when she gave more than her ‘better’ half.

“So what am I supposed to do, just accept that you’re leaving me and look a fool?”

“Yeah. You know, looking the fool isn’t so bad, I’ve been doing it since we got together. I’ve thought about this long and hard Kayla, and while I will probably always love you, I just can’t do this anymore.”

“Marriage is a lifetime commitment, Ty. I gave and sacrificed everything to be with you! You can’t just leave me like this.”

The tear-filled words of supposed anguish that followed did nothing to stir Tyava, not like they would have months or even weeks before. “Merry Christmas Kayla, I wish you a very blessed new year and a happy life.”

Without another word, blocking out the sounds of her enraged wife, Tyava walked away without the hopes that she’d find peace and joy within the newest season of life alone.

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Songs To Write To (Holiday Edition)

I have to admit that these past few years, the holidays have not been my favorite times of the year and it’s been a bit hard to get festive in any fashion. Typically around this time, I write a Christmas story or novel of some sort, and I haven’t done that for at least three years now.

While I’m still figuring out my time, and getting settled into a new job (yay!), I figured I’d at least attempt to write something (no promise that it will be shared ’cause I simply may not finish). However, like most instances with me, I need music to write and inspire me. Figured I’d get a little festive with a Christmas playlist of my own, and I hope that it helps to inspire other writers as well.

There’s a little something for us all, new renditions (a bit of Trapmas vibes as well as the standards) along with some of our favorite classics. As I hear many say, it’s not officially Christmas until you hear The Temptations sing “IN MY MIND”. 😂🤣

My Winter Wonderland playlist for 2021 is below. Happy Listening, Happy Writing, and most importantly Happy Holidays to you and yours!

xoxo, Cortney.

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“Untitled” (12/11/21) by Cortney Joseph

I’ll put you away,

tucked closely to my heart,

to stay protected for eternity,

to feel within on days I’m lonely.

— Cortney J.

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Songs To Write To #5

Not sure if I’m the only writer who feels they thrive with period pieces, or settings in the past, but that’s my thing. And most often I like to write to music from whatever time period or era I choose.

As a 90s baby/kid, I think I can say with confidence that we had some good vibes, and some of the best songs. Here are six of my favorites.

Enjoy and Happy Writing!!

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!

Comin’ Down (My Life Intro – Unfinished Novel Snippet) by Cortney Joseph

Very faintly, I could hear music around me. It was that New Jack that always pumped from the speakers of boom boxes, that dope vibe that I was glad made it’s way into the nineties. This one song though, I’d never heard. Didn’t know the rapper but I definitely knew the singer on the hook.

“Turn that up.”

“Brooklyn, if you don’t shut your drunk ass up. Ain’t nobody turning shit up for you. You don’t run nothing in this damn house.”

It actually took me a minute to open my eyes, a real struggle since I’m sure I’ve been passed out for a good chunk of the day. With my hands over my head, stretched out on this couch that feels like it has more springs than cushion, I took one deep breath and inhaled. Immediately my nose started burning so I know I either threw up at some point, or my nose bled during this binge I’ve been on. I think it’s been four days, maybe five. “Fuck you Bubb, I said turn that shit up!”

“Druggie ass bitch, since when do you listen to political hip-hop anyway?” He killed the noise his fat ass was making and turned it up. Eyes open, I squinted until they adjusted to the bright lights of the room and I looked around.

The friends that I’d come with were gone, I was half naked, and it was nothing but niggas spread about the room. Same shit, every day.

“Alright, alright, Baton Rouge, that was the new jam from Laquan featuring Ricky Bell and it’s called Now’s The B Turn. That’s a hot one, sounds like it was recorded for the summer, but still a dope hit nonetheless. Be sure you pick up his album Notes Of A Native Son on the 11th of September, from what I hear it’s supposed to be an instant classic. And of course, you know that I will be giving away a couple of free copies on release day. Keep it tuned in to KQXL-FM, 106.3. It’s ya boy Corey B, and we’ll be right back.”

I stood up, stumbling as I tried to keep my balance while I looked around for the biker shorts and crop top I’d worn. I was also searching for my Adidas but I know Bubb’s big, ugly ass got those hidden somewhere just so I won’t leave. This nigga swears up and down that holding my shoes hostage will make me drop to my knees and beg for them or suck him off in exchange. Psh, not this bitch.

A druggie, a bit of a hoe, sure, but a bitch ain’t that damn desperate. Not behind some shoes my main nigga can replace. “Stupid bastard, made me miss the rest of the song. Where the fuck is my clothes and shoes?”

“I don’t know what you leavin’ for? You coming right back as soon as you cop another hundred from that dumb nigga you with, and you gon’ be right here smokin’ it away with me.”

“First of all, even on my highest day, I wouldn’t buy a motherfucking bag, rock, or anything else from you. Enough for you to fuck around and lace my shit? Nigga no. I come here with my own shit, and the only time I come is when I’m with Bonita hoe ass. That’s who you need to worry about sucking that tiny ass dick.”

“You want it Brooklyn, and you know it.”

“I’d rather be hooked on heroine. Gimme my shit so I can leave!”

I felt something hit my face, my shirt and shorts and it took everything in me not to fly my little ass across the room at this dude named Tyrone. “Get the fuck out, bucket head ass bitch.”

“Shut yo ass up before I let all your boys know you got fucked by a tranny.” His eyes bugged and I covered my mouth as I smirked. “Oops. My bad.”

Before I could say anything else, and get my ass beat in the process, I left, only stopping in the hallway to put my clothes on. I’ll just have to walk home barefoot again.

Like I said, same thing, everyday.

What should have been a thirty minute walk took me an hour and by the time I finally make it home, I didn’t even want to go inside. Instead, I took another twenty-five minutes and walked all the way to my mama’s.

She’s gonna bitch and complain but I know that she’ll get me back into a better state by the time I really sober up.

I walked through her door and not even a second later  I could hear her loud and booming voice. “Strung out again, ain’t you?”

I’d waste my time by lying to her again, but there’s no point in that. I don’t even hide the fact that I do drugs from her anymore. “Yeah, but I’m still not prostituting.”

“Tuh, as if the life you live isn’t pretty damn close to that.”

I shrugged before plopping down on her couch, rubbing my sore feet. “Get your funky ass up off of my clean couch!”

“Damn Mama, can’t I just rest for a minute? My feet hurt, I had to walk here.”

“You’ve been in a house full of drugs, probably having orgies with multiple men and women, and I don’t need none of that filth resting and stinking up my furniture. I don’t even have my good plastic down.”

I shook my head and stood up, pulling at the ends of my stringy and matted red hair. “Just look at you Brooklyn; skinny, sick, face looking all gaunt. You’re the first black woman I’ve seen look so damn pale, you don’t even look like my pretty little brown baby anymore. Girl, you look like you could die any day now.”

I’d like to say that comment hurt me, but I’ve heard it so much over the last three years and the fact that she feels I’m gonna die soon doesn’t even bother me anymore. “You know what they say Mama, we’re not guaranteed days on this Earth. Every time I take a hit or snort a line or inject myself, I feel like it’s my time to die.”

“Why would you put yourself through that type of thing?”

I looked at her for a minute. I know my eyes are bloodshot red, maybe still a little glossy, and I know that it pains her to see the darkness in them. My bright brown eyes have been as black as my heart for years and every time she looks in them, she bursts out in tears. Mama won’t hug me anymore though, won’t comfort me, or let me know that everything will be okay. She never tells me that I can make it through my addictions anymore.

She knows I won’t, and don’t want to.

“I’m just over life. I’m tired of my life and I don’t want to live it anymore.”

I just wish that I could tell her why.