Category Archives: Random Things

Lamentations on Creativity in the Modern World

Creativity comes from a wilder place inside us. We can access it when we go outside and rediscover the nature of ourselves. It takes hold of us when we travel, when the entire world–even something as insignificant as a convenience store–is new and different. It swells to the forefront of our minds just as we’re about to go to sleep, preparing us as we leave reality and tumble headlong into dreamland.

Our lives aren’t built around these inspirational moments in the modern world. We get up too early, rush around too quickly in the morning, and drive too fast to work. Our employers claim they want us to be creative problem-solvers, but it can only be within their own parameters. Lunch provides little escape as we drudge through cafeteria lines or wait impatiently in clogged drive-thrus to grab the same old meal. After clocking out–not a minute too early or too late–we do it all in reverse so that we can come home to a to-do list far longer than the evening.

Our weekends are booked months in advance as we attend the ball games, practices, concerts, and meetings of our children whome we’re programming to be just as busy as we are. The demands of Perfect Parenthood require that we cook and clean and work full time and love and cherish and indulge and discipline and throw a few crafts in there for good measure.

Family gatherings, yard work, shopping trips, and home improvements gobble up the last few hours after arguing over who’s been getting more done. We take a pill to go to bed and another to get up in the morning, shoving ourselves through a daily grind that even if it varies never truly changes.

The coronavirus pandemic doesn’t make this any easier. It has only added the tasks of making/buying/cleaning masks, exploring new ways to safely get groceries, shopping far in advance in case of postal delays, and figuring out how we’re supposed to do remote learning for our children while also filling all the roles listed above.

By the time we have a few moments to ourselves, we’re too tired to pursue the creative or adventurous pursuits we’ve been dreaming of.

Where and when, then, are we to find the time to explore that other part of ourselves?

* * *

Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Filed under On Writing, Random Things

Dear Internet

Dear Internet,

Most of the time, I adore you. When my kids come home with common core math worksheets and I don’t know how to help them, I’m utterly grateful to you. When there’s one line of a song stuck in my head and I don’t know the rest (nor the title or artist) you come to my rescue. And Netflix! Do I need to say more, or just catch up on every single episode of Star Trek ever?


But there are times I can’t help but despise you. You who brought my kids the opportunity to say, “Hey, Mom! Watch this YouTube video!” You, who wasn’t happy enough being on a computer, but who had to be a part of every phone, TV, and every other electronic device so that people can never just disconnect from the world. You, who makes life hard for old people even though they just want to make a call, dammit! You, who makes it impossible for a kid in junior high to fit in unless she has all the social media apps even though her mom is mean and horrible and won’t let her have them because there are Bad People out there.

eye roll

But you did bring me cat videos, so I guess that’s okay.


Love and kisses,



Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.


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Filed under Family, Parenting, Random Things

What are Facebook Memories doing to our Actual Memories?

I’m the first to admit that I adore the “On This Day” stuff from Facebook.  I love that it brings up all my posts from that day in previous years.  I get to admire my adorable children all over again, remember funny things they said that I had forgotten about, and of course see lots of pictures of my dogs. 

I’ve even fallen into the trap of feeling like I need to post good things that I’ll enjoy seeing again one, two, or five years down the road.  Yep, they saw me coming a mile away.  I’ll be using Facebook until I die.

Unfortunately, I also remember lots of things that I didn’t want to remember or that really weren’t all that memorable in the first place.  Who cares if I burnt the lasagna on November 17 of 2010?  Well, I’m sure I cared that night, but I really don’t anymore.

What this makes me wonder is if this is affecting how I remember things from my past.  When I think about my childhood, it’s this series of bright images with a lot of emotions mixed in, lots of sunshine at the edges, and some really intense colors.  My Facebook memories are only colored by what I posted.  I feel like I’m remembering these things as posts instead of actual events.

And then of course there’s the fact that not everything was recorded on social media.  Unlike some people (and you know who you are) I don’t post every single tiny detail of my life.  I’m not just talking about having a great sandwich but the ups and downs of relationships.  It seems that the events I remember happening in my adult life (even once I had FB) that I did NOT turn into statuses are inherently clearer than those that I DID post.  I can put myself back in those times and really feel what was going on inside me at the moment.  The imagery, if you will, is much more intense.  Does these mean I’m only posting inane stuff that I don’t mind sharing with the world instead of posting what really matters to me?

I also have to wonder if I’ll forget things that happened in real life because I’m relying on Facebook to remember them for me.  I can be pretty terrible at remembering to go to the post office or make an important phone call, and that has nothing to do with social media. 

Am I being affected by screen time?  Is it dulling my senses to real life?  What about my kids?  What will their childhood memories be like?  Let me know what you think.


Filed under Random Things

What Netflix has Done to Me, or The Summer without Satellite

As an adult, I’ve never been much of a TV watcher.  Sure, I like to find something to entertain myself while I’m eating lunch, but in general I feel like watching TV is too unproductive.  When I did watch a program, I usually found myself on the edge of my seat, but not because the show was suspenseful.  No, I was waiting for the next commercial, when I would hop up and commence a hyper-speed cleaning session in the living room.  Why?  Because watching commercials is such a big fat waste of time, even worse than watching the shows themselves.  If I wasn’t doing commercial cleaning, I was busy in some other way.  I would cross-stitch during comedies, paint my nails during the news, or blog during ball games.

This makes me sound like I’ve got adult ADHD, doesn’t it?

No, the truth is just that I hadn’t found much that made me feel it was worth wasting my time for.  Even during all those DVR’d episodes of Once Upon a Time, I held my finger on the fast forward button in anticipation of the ads.

Then we decided to suspend our satellite service for the summer.  (There’s a tongue twister for you!).  The kids were mostly watching Netflix and  the satellite channels were only showing reruns for the billionth time, so why pay the $100+ per month?

Even though we’d had Netflix for forever, I never bothered clicking over to it and using it.  Why?  Well, because I’m not much of a TV person, right?  But that is swiftly changing.  My next book is going to involve time travel, so I decided I needed to watch shows and movies that revolved around that theme as well.  First up was Continuum.  I’d never even heard of the show, but it turns out that a story about a policewoman who accidentally travels back in time and has to use her knowledge of history to prevent crimes makes for a darn good story.  There were a few good movies, some other series that I tried out and got bored with.

Then.  Came.  Doctor Who.

I know, I know.  How on earth could I not have watched this show before?  How did I not check into this fantastic series earlier in my life?  How can I not have been a Whovian all this time?


Well, I don’t know.  Perhaps it’s because I spent my childhood as a Trekkie (not convention-level Trekkie, just enjoyed the show and had a huge crush on Will Wheaton) and thought I was done with sci-fi for awhile.  Perhaps I figured I could never love any time travel story that didn’t start with the words “Back to the Future” (still huge on those movies, by the way).  Perhaps I should just claim ignorance.

But it’s all changed now.  I’m only in the second season, but I’m completely hooked.  My latest fish is named The Doctor.  I have a huge crush on a TARDIS teapot I found at Barnes and Noble.  I have a feeling this is only the beginning…

And it’s all your fault Netflix!

(Oh, crap.  Now I found Sherlock.  And Torchwood.)

What’s your favorite thing to watch on Netflix?


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Filed under Random Things, Uncategorized