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I Write

I write because it frees me.

Because it heals me.

Because it eases my heart,

… my mind, and my soul.

I write because it’s who I am.

A writer, an author

– a lover of history and its mysteries,

and a lover of people’s uniqueness.

I don’t want to be rich or famous.

I don’t write to one day be a celebrity.

I write to clear the whirlwind in my head.

Some days the breeze is gentle.

Some days it is a hurricane.

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Today is National Tattoo Day, which of course is freaking AWESOME… because I’m an ink freak. I guess it goes hand in hand with the piercings, but we’re not discussing those.

I got my first tattoo when I was like 14 from some idiot – thread and needle style. There isn’t much to discuss, I was a rebellious teenager and my best friend and I got nicknames tatted on our arms. I don’t know how long it was before my parents saw it and freaked out, maybe a year or so. When I was 19, I had it covered up professionally with a small celestial design in pastel colors. At this point, it needs a touch up because the years have not been very good to it, and it has faded quite a bit.

My next tattoo was about a year later. A close friend from high school and I got matching tribals across our lower backs before she moved two states away. They have a heart motif and mine reads ‘Aphrodite’ while hers says ‘Venus’ – and although they now fit into the ‘tramp stamp’ category, they were done before the fad really hit.

I didn’t get another tattoo for several years, but then I had both of my shoulder blades done within a year of each other. I have a woman’s face/rose/butterfly design on my right shoulder blade. The woman is supposed to represent the mother spirit. Butterflies represent change and growth, and there is one for each of my boys. The color of the rose means I am proud of you. The tattoo was very personal and is one of my favorites. On my left shoulder blade I have a tribal angel/bible verse. Never mind that the angel has horns, I think it’s just a personal representation of my inner demons. Besides, every angel has a little devil in her eyes.

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On my right forearm, from wrist to elbow, I have a ribbon/feather/bird design with a verse. This is my cancer ribbon blended with a raven feather quill that turns into small black birds in flight. The verse reads ‘Write your own destiny!’ in a typewriter font.

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On my left forearm is my most recent tattoo, and another depiction of me as a writer/author (it is also another one of my favorite tats). Done in black and grey, I have an old fashioned typewriter with a tree branch growing out of it. There is a raven perched on that branch, representing me. Signifying my writing, you’ll find the first two lines of my poem ‘Bliss’ written on the paper feeding out of the typewriter.

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Currently, I have plans to update my first tattoo (the celestial design), a sleeve for my right arm, a design for my right leg – hip to knee, phrases for around both ankles, the back of my left calf, a small image for the back of my neck, and at least two more with questionable placement. You can check in with me in a year or two and see where things are at, since my artist is incredibly busy and I have to schedule each appointment with him several months in advance. If that wasn’t the case, I’d probably be in sitting in his chair every few weeks.

 

In addition, my love of body art has trickled down to my offspring. My oldest son, Calvin, has a memorial tattoo for his great-grandfather on his right forearm and a Disney inspired tattoo on his left shoulder for his newborn son. My next oldest, Dustin, has a tree of life pairing that covers both of his forearms – wrist to elbow – and is currently planning something to cover both of his calves. He’s been undecided for a while though, so it might be a bit before his next appointment while the rest of our family sits back collecting new ink. My son, Austin, who turns 18 in October, even has plans to get his first tattoo. I guess you could say the ink is in our blood since our artist is family too.

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So, here’s to my inked brothers and sisters. Be unique, be you, and keep making the world a more beautiful place with the art you wear every day.

Much respect.

~ Raven

#tattooedandemployed

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Well, well, well… we’ve finally come to the first Sunday in June, which of course is National Moonshine Day. So, live a little and drink a little Shine.

I happen to be unable to drink today, even in celebration, because I’m working. Of course, I’m working tomorrow too. However, I have every other weekend off and Moonshine is a regular part of my Friday nights when those weekends roll around (as the top pictures show). My friends and I happen to love ‘Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine. We use the Cherry Moonshine as shooters on a regular basis. Amen for cherries soaked in shine and stored in mason jars.

I recommend checking out their website for some of the best Moonshine Recipes around!

C’mon… Live a little, drink some shine.

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Fahrvergnügen: Driving Pleasure

On May 28, 1937 the Nazi party (then, under the control of Adolf Hitler) formed a new, state-owned automobile company entitled Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens (roughly translated to mean The society to create the German car). Later in the year, the company’s name was simplified to Volkswagenwerk which roughly translates to The people’s car company.

Volkswagen’s first headquarters and automobile factory was located in Wolfsburg, Germany. The company’s initial objective was to build military vehicles in preparation for Hitler’s European invasion plans, as well as the mass production of small and inexpensive – yet equally fast – automobiles to be sold to the general public. Additionally, Hitler was building a network of highways, called autobahns, all across the country for the public to drive their new Volkswagens on.

Hitler contracted with Ferdinand Porsche, an Austrian automotive engineer, to provide the designs for the vehicles that Volkswagen would produce, and the very first Volkswagen – the KdF Wagen (Kraft-durch-Freude, translated to mean Strength through Joy) – was displayed at the 1939 Berlin Motor Show. However, when World War II began later that same year, production at the Wolfsburg factory was halted… and by the time the war ended the plant was in ruins. Nevertheless, the Allies rebuilt and revived the Volkswagen Motor Corporation, knowing that the German auto industry would be important to the economy and recovery of the country following the war.

From 1942 – 1944, Volkswagen massed produced the Schwimmwagen for its military personnel. This amphibious military jeep was used by all personnel, and was only 4-wheel drive in first gear. Later, from 1968 – 1983 Volkswagen manufactured just shy of 91,000 of their Type 181 (LHD) and 182 (RHD) jeep/dune buggy hybrids, a modified version of the Schwimmwagen, for the public market… selling them as the Thing in the U.S., the Safari in Mexico, and the Trekker in the U.K.

Initially, U.S. sales were diminutive compared to that of the rest of the world, mainly because of the company’s original connections to Hitler. However, an advertising campaign that ran in 1959 dubbed the KdF Wagen “The Beetle” – using the tagline “Think Small” – and that seemed to trigger some public interest, ultimately making Volkswagen the top selling import over the next few years.

The German government sold sixty percent of the company’s stock to the public in 1960, making the company no longer a nationally owned corporation, and within twelve years there had been more the fifteen million VW Bugs produced. In 1998, Volkswagen redesign the Beetle, dubbing it The New Beetle, while still producing the original KdF Wagen model until 2003. The very last Original Beetle rolled off the production lines In July 2003. In the 1970’s Volkswagen introduced new, spottier models – such as the Rabbit and the Golf.

  • In 1969, Volkswagen merged a few small subsidiaries to form the current Audi – which is where the four ringed logo is derived from.
  • In 1990, SEAT, S.A. became the first non-German subsidiary fully owned by The Volkswagen Group.
  • Between 1991 – 1995 Volkswagen steadily purchased interest in Škoda automobilová a.s., until they owned Škoda Auto outright.
  • In 1998, Volkswagen acquired Bentley, Bugatti, and Lamborghini. Although Volkswagen technically owns Rolls-Royce and Bentley, purchasing them both at the same time, they do not own the license to use the Rolls-Royce trademark.
  • In 2008, Volkswagen purchased controlling interest in Scania AB. However, they have owned the entire company outright since 2015.
  • In 2009, Volkswagen became the parent company to Porsche and purchased stock interest in Suzuki.
  • In 2012, Volkswagen bought out Ducati (under Lamborghini) and MAN SE (under Volkswagen).

 

I have driven Volkswagens, and standards in particular, almost exclusively for nearly twenty years. I currently drive a 5-speed, black, 2004, Jetta GLS (2.slow)… but, the Thing is actually my dream car – as odd as that might sound for someone like me. The VW slogan “I Bleed Blue” runs deep and true in my family. My eldest son, who is 22 and a new father, currently drives a 5-speed, white, 2007 Rabbit (the second Rabbit he’s owned) and my 19-year-old is presently shopping for his first car – his first Volkswagen. Even my new grandson has a Volkswagen, a little red Bug… walker. I guess you can say it’s in our blood, and by nature we start the VDub Love early.

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Dracula

Dracula

On this day in 1897, Bram Stoker first released his novel Dracula. While this was not the first written work of its kind, it set into motion the vampire phenomenon of popular culture we know today. Of Stoker’s seventeen novels, it is also his most famous work.

Dracula did well upon its release, but after Stoker’s death in 1912 is when it really took on its legendary status. In the 20’s the novel was adapted into a Broadway play and then into the first feature length film starring Bela Lugosi – which is where the seductive vampire was truly born. From there, vampires became erotic lovers… dark creatures we feared, but also longed for at the same time. Thus, giving birth to the vampires created by Ann Rice, Stephenie Meyer, Charlaine Harris, John Ajvide Lindqvist, and so many others.

By far, my favorite vampire novel will always be Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu – but there is no mistaking the power behind Bram Stokers Dracula.

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I’ve been MIA for a while. Life gets that way for all of us, doesn’t it?

 

The truth is, on top of everything else in life that can get in the way and slow us down – like kids, work, and everyday chores – I was in treatment for cancer too. It’s a little overwhelming a times, and it slows everything down. It can take priority over everything else, if you let it, and it definitely takes up a lot of space on your plate.

 

I don’t want this blog to be a dower. It’s just meant to be an explanation of why I haven’t been posting as frequently for so long.

 

The truth is, I’m much better now and I’m reprioritizing things in my life. Which means my writing is back in the forefront of things. I appreciate all of you who have hung on and stuck around, supporting me through the low times. It means a lot – even those of you who didn’t know why I wasn’t blogging or putting out as much new material.

 

All I can say now is, thank you. I appreciate it… every day. I sincerely hope you will like what comes next.

 

With love and appreciation,

~ Raven

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Who Are You?

For the final assignment of my New Media: Writing/Publishing course I created a PowerPoint presentation to share a message about who I am as a writer. I’m including it here for all of you as well. I hope you enjoy it.

RavenHawkPP

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