Archive for the ‘Illinois Times’ Tag

I’ve Made It

I am the newest health and wellness writer for

I’ve had two articles go live on the site. Below are the links:

I have gradually been building my writing business, Codemo Writing Services, which is a full-service freelance writing and web design firm.

I am also a regular contributor to Springfield Business Journal and Illinois Times.

Fiction has taken a backseat to building my freelance writing business and building traffic on my newest blog,



I have lost my voice. On March 2, I was hit by lightning while walking across a parking lot. As a result, because of extensive nerve and muscle damage, I no longer have full use of my right hand. I am typing this post left-handed. It is a rather slow and tedious process.

There was severe weather in the area. We were having a full-out thunderstorm with driving rain. I had my umbrella up. At one point, there was a simultaneous thunder boom and lightning flash. Part of the lightning stroke arced over and hit my umbrella, what is called a side flash. I smelled something burning, felt an electric shock in my right hand (the one holding the umbrella handle) and saw sparks shoot out the handle of the umbrella. My first thought was: “Did I just get hit by lightning?” Other than a damaged hand and a singed umbrella, I was otherwise unhurt. I’m fairly lucky.

I am adjusting to a one-handed life. I’m reminded of an old Mash episode where Major Charles Winchester operates on a young soldier and has to amputate his right hand. When the soldier wakes up, he lashes out at Winchester for cutting off his hand. It turns out the soldier is a concert pianist. I feel a little like that soldier.

I am a writer by trade. My life has been on hold this past month. Other than for a story submission to NPRs Three Minute Fiction contest, I have not done any writing. I have deadlines and commitments. I have an article to write for the Illinois Times. I have various writing projects I want to pursue. I have spent the past month bemoaning the loss of my voice.

Just like the soldier in the Mash episode, I have to adjust. As Major Winchester gave the soldier piano scores for the left hand, friends have offered me voice alternatives such as Dragon. I have been resistant to change but am finding I need to open myself to it. I still have a voice. I just need to learn new ways of expressing it.

It feels as though I’ve been granted a new lease on life. This event has marked a turning point in my life. My life has been steered in a new direction. Full of my new-found knowledge about lightning, I am putting together a lightning presentation. I am working on storytelling programs. In fact, I will be telling spider stories for students in the young naturalist program at Lincoln Memorial Garden.

Most importantly, I have realized writing is what I want to pursue. It is what I am. I was happiest while pursuing a freelancing career last year until the work dried up. I was let go from the temp job I was working because I am under medical restrictions. I don’t want to put myself in that position again. I want to be responsible for my own income, not fattening someone else’s pockets.

I recently purchased the May issue of Shambhala Sun. The lead story is about embracing change. I am a Buddhist. A major tenant in Buddhist philosophy is the concept of impermanence. Everything changes. Nothing lasts. By embracing impermanence, recognizing that change is an inevitable, painful part of life, it allows one to come to terms with change. Rather than finding change frightening, one can find within it peace and understanding. With that understanding, one progresses along the path to enlightenment.

Change. It’s a big part of my life right now. According to my hand specialist, it may take up to six months for the nerve damage in my right hand to fully heal, if it ever does. Nerves grow at the rate of one inch per month. We won’t know the full extent of the muscle damage until the nerves heal.

There is a lesson here for me. Nothing happens without reason. I just have to be open to it and accept it.

Let Me Introduce Myself

I am a writer.

 As a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had a ready answer: “I want to be a writer.” It is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be.

 I have been writing since I was five years old and could hold a pencil in my hand. I still remember one of the first pieces of dialogue I ever wrote: Let’s join Mrs. Jones in the delivery room as she gives birth. Alright, so it’s not “dialogue.” I was six or seven years old at the time. I was taking the first baby steps on the road to the writer I am today.

 While other kids were outside playing, I was typing away on an old manual typewriter. From my earliest imitations of Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So” stories and the “Exorcist,” I have been learning the craft. Along the way, I have accumulated a roomful of rejection slips from such notable publications as Twilight Zone magazine. I’ve always aimed high, even as a child.

 I have started and stopped, stopped and started, started and stopped along this journey. Over the intervening years, I have collected college degrees in legal studies (Sangamon State University class of 1991) and anthropology (Illinois State University class of 2009). I worked as a journalist for The Hillsboro Journal for ten years. I’ve held a variety of mundane jobs including: administrative assistant, title examiner trainee, polysomnography technician, account representative and retail store clerk.

 I always come back to writing. In my current incarnation as a freelancer, I have written for The Illinois Times and the State Journal-Register; written and edited newsletters and brochures for clients; and written content for internet sites.

 I am returning to my beginnings. Let’s travel the road together, shall we.