Category Archives: Writing

For My Friend Karen

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The chrysalis of the idea for this story came to me the week after Karen told us on Facebook that she only had a few weeks left to live. This was the story I mentioned when I wrote the blog post on the day she died. I knew the story was in there, waiting to be written, but I’d been putting it off since before Thanksgiving, as though that would somehow make the whole thing less real or postpone the inevitable.

It wasn’t until the day we were driving down to attend her memorial service that I realized how I needed to write this thing, and I swear I heard Karen laugh.

See, I have this thing about books.

I love them.

But also, because I write [and am generally competent at it] I have Very Strong Opinions about how it should be done. Specifically, I loathe [as in, white-hot passionate hatred] anything written in First Person Present Tense. If you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, it’s how I’m writing right now. Instead of writing, “She placed the cup on the table,” you write, “I place the cup on the table.”

For the most part, anything longer than a blog post written in First Person Present Tense strikes me as pretentious and annoying. It always feels like someone is doing a creative writing assignment because almost nobody writes in it.

I hate it enough that it’s quite possible I told Karen about it more than once, but specifically, I remember once when we were talking books during one of our ‘parking lot chats’ and she recommended that I read The Hunger Games. I had avoided the books because I’d heard that they were written in the dreaded First Person Present Tense, and I’m pretty sure I waxed poetic [read: Raved Like a Lunatic] about it after she suggested them.

Karen gave me a look, laughed at my crazy, and said something like, “Trust me. You’ll like them.”

And she was right.

So as we were driving down on the day of her life celebration, I was thinking about the story I needed to write and was trying to figure out why I still couldn’t get it out, and I realized it was because I had to write the thing in First Person Present Tense.

I suspect Steve thought I was losing it, because I rolled my eyes and laughed out loud for no apparent reason just as we were driving by KCI.

But it fit, and not just because Karen totally would have laughed at me.

Having said all that, this is fiction and totally made up, but I love the idea that something like this could happen. At the very least, I hope it isn’t completely outside the realm of possibility.

I wish I’d have gotten it done before she was gone. I suspect she would have gotten a kick out of having a story [albeit an entirely fiction one] written about her.

I also like to think she would have thought it didn’t suck. 🙂

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So we’re all in heaven, and even though heaven is outside the confines of time and space, the only way to tell what happens there, is to do it in chronological order, and of necessity, I’m gonna use Earth’s time so it’ll make some sense to my very limited intellect [FYI, writing a scene from within time and space and setting it outside time and space is considerably taxing to my fragile human brain].

I’m standing there with some of the people I’ll be entering earth’s time with, and Jesus, who is handing out lifetime assignments, starts a rundown of one of the lives in our region and decade.

“Okay, people, gather around. We’re working on mid 1970s, Midwest here. I’ve gotten some of you your assignments, but I’ve got a few more that need to be filled. Have a look at this one, and we’ll see if we’ve got any volunteers.”

The souls gather around and watch as the Life unfolds before them. They laugh and watch as the child grows up as the baby and the only girl in a huge family, full of love and music. We mist up as we watch her bring forth three new Lives and settle into her Purpose.

I already know where I’ll be spending my time on earth, but I’ve been watching visions of these lifetimes unfold because I’m nosy, and I want a heads up of the people I’m gonna be spending some time with on earth.

So I’m watching this one unfold, and I see that we do intersect about two decades into our lives. I start looking around to see which soul will step up and volunteer for this lifetime. I hope it’s someone I already like, because from the looks of things, we’re going to be spending several years seeing each other at least once a week, and for most of that time, three or four times a week!

I glance back just in time to watch the end of this lifetime, which comes far too soon. I stare in shock as Jesus looks around and says, “Who will do it? Who will go live this Life and bring about this Purpose for us?”

A small, Son-Bright Soul steps forward, and says, “I’ll go. Send me.”

Christ’s eyes light up with joy as he says, “I thought you might, Karen.”

I watch as the souls who don’t yet have assignments step back and wait for the next life to be revealed, and the souls who have already returned from earth surge forward and offer Karen love and support and congratulations on finding the right fit for her soul’s needs.

I step over to the place where I know Karen spends a lot of her time and wait for the opportunity to speak to her in semi-privacy. She finally makes her way over to me, grins, and gives me a look like she knows what I’m getting ready to say.

“Are you sure about this?”

“Definitely. It’s exactly what I want.”

“But the end…did you see it? You don’t even get to be 40. How is that what you want?”

“It’s not the end that I want, it’s the middle. Look at this.”

Karen shows me scenes from her life, plays for me some of the amazing music her family makes together, shows me the births of her kids, and I begin to understand why she couldn’t say no to this life she’s chosen.

Then she laughs when she realizes that at one point, Steve and I play couple’s tennis with her and Chris.

I look on in horror as my earthly body flails around like a land-locked Albatross and swear it’s never gonna happen. Karen throws her head back and laughs. “No way am I missing THAT! Look how much fun we’re having!” I squint a little and move my head in time to my ridiculous paroxysms, trying to see the expression on my own face as I’m thrashing and flapping around like a blue footed booby in full-on mating dance, and I realize, she’s right. There’s pure, unadulterated joy right there in my eyes.

Unbelievable.

Then she gets serious for a minute.

“Look, Shelbi. The ending sucks, there’s no doubt about it, but this life, this family and these friends. They’re the ones that called to me. My soul needs them, and I can’t refuse them just because I don’t get to stay as long as I’d like.”

She gives me a hug and goes to say hi to the people who will be the primary players in her life, and I stand and watch her go.

An arm wraps around my shoulders, and a Voice says, “What’s up, baby sister?”

“It’s not fair.”

“It almost never is.”

“But cancer? That just sucks.”

He holds up a hand, and I see the silvery scar from the nail that pierced it so long ago, “If it’s any consolation, even I didn’t get out of dying, and my death sucked pretty bad, too.”

“Oh sure. Play the Savior Card.”

He throws his head back and laughs. “You know, you’re really lucky we don’t actually do the lightning bolt thing.”

I crack a smile. “You’d never smite me anyway. I’m A Breath of Fresh, Irreverent Air.”

“Well, there’s that.” He rolls his eyes.

“I want to show you something.” He waves his hand over the vision of Karen’s life, and I watch as the lights of our souls begin to glow. I watch as she’s born, and the brightness of her spirit radiates out and touches everyone close to her.

“Look at what happens to you when she’s around.” And my slightly dimmer soul gets a little brighter when she enters my life.

“See, that happens with everyone.” And sure enough, each soul-light gets a little brighter as she enters their lives.

“Now watch this.”

I watch in silent awe as Karen’s soul leaves the confines of her body and her true brilliance blots out the sun for an instant. As I watch, it seems that her spirit spreads to infinity and then becomes a brilliant pinpoint of light again as she ascends into the arms of Heaven.

I see my own soul and the souls of those of us who love her shatter into a million pieces as the news of her passing into eternity reaches us.

It spreads out like a nuclear blast, and tears fall as I realize that this isn’t just a vision of someone else’s experiences. My own soul breaks from across the state when I hear the news, and this is after years of not spending a lot of time together.

Ripples of light and pain and grief spread across the landscape of the spiritual realm, and I see a pale string of light begin to form connections between my soul and the spirits of people I’ve never met before.

We are united in grief, but also in our love for Karen, and it strikes me anew that even in the earthly illusion of our separateness, I am united as one with everyone else who carries Karen’s fingerprints on their soul.

But then, as I watch us gather together to celebrate her life, I notice a strange, gossamer web that seems to connect us all in our grief and grow brighter as we relive our love for Karen. It’s the web of Karen’s memory, the fingerprint of her soul, left on each of our hearts.

I watch as we all go home that night and continue the healing process that began as we celebrated her life together. Jesus waves his hand and we zoom in on my own healing process, and I notice that as I start to come back together, my soul light is a little brighter than it was before, almost as if a part of Karen’s radiance lives inside of me. And the web of connection that she leaves grows stronger as we heal, even though our paths won’t necessarily intersect again on earth.

“Even when she’s gone from earth, she’ll still be with you.”

“But it hurts. I don’t know if I can take it. And what about everyone else? What about her family? I’m just part of the outer circle and I can’t breathe. How are they going to survive losing her?”

Tears fall as I look up from the vision in front of me, but before the lights fade, I look around me at the thousands of fellow souls getting ready to make the trek to earth, and I see the web of connection between my own spirit and all of the people she will touch on earth, and for an instant, I recognize them, and I know their stories, and I also realize that I will never meet very many of them during my earthly lifetime.

Our earthly lives only intersect in our love for Karen, and I’m sad for a moment because I won’t know them personally. The beauty of these souls touched by Karen’s life takes my breath away, and I feel deprived for a second, even though I know that our time on earth is a brief flash of light in all that is. When we return to our real home, we will be whole again and remember all of it.

I know this is True, and yet I try to memorize their faces, hoping beyond hope that I will remember them, even though I know that’s not how this thing works.

Then the lights fade, and Jesus nudges me on the shoulder.

“It’s almost time for you to get going, kiddo. You ready?”

I stare into his eyes, filled with wonder at the gift he’s just given me. I close my eyes and savor the fading feeling of Oneness and connection with the thousands of people whose lives Karen will touch, and my heart aches with love and sorrow, and suddenly I know that even if I could, I wouldn’t give up knowing her on earth for anything.

I take a deep breath and say, “Let’s do this.”

Jesus gazes at me with what looks just a little bit like pride, and he hugs me and says, “Hey. When they ask, go play tennis. You won’t regret it.”

I laugh and roll my eyes and hug him back, I feel a strange stirring in my soul that I can’t quite define, but I figure it’ll make sense eventually.

As I head toward the stairs that will take me to earth, I feel my memories begin to fade. My breath stops, and Jesus is beside me again.

“This happens with everyone. It’s no big deal. You’ll remember what you need when you need it, and you don’t need to worry about the rest, okay?”

“But what if I never remember the important stuff? How am I going to live my purpose if I can’t take it with me?”

Jesus grabs my shoulders and holds me at arm’s length, “Seriously? Do you doubt my ability to call you into your purpose without giving you a cheat sheet?”

“No. But I doubt my ability to hear it. You KNOW how I am!”

Jesus laughs and says, “Yup. You’re exactly the way I want you. Now go. You’ve got some work to do.”

I give him one last squeeze and turn to go, and I hear a voice behind me yell,

“Hey, Shelbi!”

I turn and see Karen, glowing as brilliantly as any soul could. She’s waving and laughing and she says to me, “Tell everyone I’ll save them a spot, and I’ll see them soon!”

I feel the stirring in my soul again, and my eyes fill with tears as I nod and whisper, “Okay.”

~~~

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Musings… Which turned into an illustration…

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I was thinking about Shaya last night. She’s almost ten, and a pretty good little artist. She’s not a prodigy, but on a scale of one to ten, compared to other ten year olds’ artwork, she’s probably a six or seven. I was thinking, though, that if I slapped a frame on her picture and took it to a museum and hung it up next to, say, the Mona Lisa, or some other artistic master’s painting, her picture would look very amateur and childish.

Because she is still a child, no one would ever think to compare her current artwork to a master’s painting, but if Shaya were to compare her own painting to a master’s, she would likely feel very inferior. When I feel inferior, I tend to give up. But Shaya is a better person than me, and she fights to improve, and works hard to get where she wants to be.

Let’s say that Shaya decided that she wanted her artwork to be in a museum someday, what should she do to accomplish that goal? I think there are several necessary things to improving in anything, but the first possible step would be to begin to study the work of the artistic masters. Maybe she would gravitate toward a certain artistic period, possibly one specific artist, and begin to study that one thing/artist in particular.

If she could manage it, in addition to reading books about her chosen artist, she would probably want to go see actual paintings in museums, so she could study the brush strokes up close. She would also read about general artistic techniques, and maybe even contact the artist, or if her chosen master is dead, someone who paints like him/her to learn specifics about their painting technique [one example of a living artist might be Thomas Kinkade. He has a way of painting that is unique, so she would need to learn the mechanics of how he gets the paint to reflect the light like that].If she could manage to meet with someone who can paint like her chosen artist [or the master himself], then she might be able to take lessons from the person, and that’s a boon to anyone looking to imitate a master, because you can actually watch him work.You probably already know where I’m going with this, but I hope you’ll continue to indulge me a little.

The catch here is obvious. She can study and read and watch for years and she will never grow in her actual painting ability unless she practices what she’s learning. It is only through watching and physically imitating the master’s brush strokes that she will ever be able to paint like her chosen painter.

By the same token, if she wants to paint like Michelangelo, but only exposes herself to Picasso, she’s going to end up painting like Picasso, even though she wants to imitate Michelangelo. You can’t imitate one master while living with the other.

Also, she can’t be a perfect imitation when she first starts out. To become as good as the master [or close to it] it takes watching others who are like him, learning from them, and imitating what they do, and it takes studying the master himself to see how he did it. You gotta have some self-discipline and practice, or you will always only be a wannabe, and fall short of the goal.

Let’s say Shaya studies her chosen master for years, and gets a phone call one day from a museum. She finds out that she’s being granted the privilege of hanging some of her work next to the master’s in that museum. Included with that honor, she actually gets to meet the master himself, to talk to him, and he is going to see her work.

If she’s prepared herself, learned from others who imitate his work, been self-disciplined and studied and practiced like crazy in those years, that’s all going to be obvious in her artwork. Even if she’s not quite up to his standards, she can stand tall, because she knows she’s given it all she’s got, and more than likely, he’s going to be pleased with her.

But let’s say that she hasn’t practiced, but only thought about it for all of those years, and she gets the same call from the museum. Her master artist is coming to town, and she’s invited to show some of her work, right next to his, and she’s going to meet the master himself. She’s probably a little nervous, but thinks, “Well, I’ve been studying all these years, I should be able to whip something out, no problem.”

She tries, but her hands are clumsy, and she blots paint all over the canvas, and finds that in spite of all her studying, her actual work is much the same as it was when she was ten. It’s impossible for her to get out of the showing at the museum. She’s going to have to face him, even though she isn’t ready.

She goes to the museum and is mortally ashamed of herself. She can’t look the master in the eyes, because she knows she isn’t worthy, and hasn’t even tried to be. It’s then that she finds out that the master himself had heard of her years before, and knew that she was studying him and his work. He tells her that he himself would have helped her, if she had but asked. Now it’s too late, though. The years were wasted, and her work is going to be hanging in the museum, right next to his, and she’s never going to be able to forget that when the master came, she wasn’t ready.

Well, anyway, Shaya doesn’t want to be an artist, as far as I know, but I had fun writing this. Hope you liked it.

Man, does this shit ever go away?!?

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I am still not feeling very well.  I got sick on Thursday [I think] so I guess it’s only been three days, but damn!  I should be over this by now.  I’m not throwing up or anything, but I’m having to be very careful what I eat.  Still doing pretty much the BRAT diet [Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast] because everything else makes me feel questionable in my tummy.

Steve’s kinda feeling the same way, so I guess I’m not alone, but I’m used to getting over GI illnesses within a day or two.  Still whining, I know.  Okay I’ll stop now [for this post :P].

I’ve been thinking about writing.  Which is not exactly the same as writing, but this is kind of profound for me.  I’ve decided that I want to write stories that are purely for entertainment.  If anything profound or life-changing ever comes from something I write, I want it to be completely unintentional on my part.

That sounds weird, maybe, but I’ve been putting this invisible [and completely ridiculous] pressure on myself to write something ‘worthwhile’  and worthwhile in my mind has always meant something wise, or profound, or something that would change people’s lives… and you know what?  I think maybe I was an idiot for wanting that. 

I think [for myself, at least]maybe it would be better and more ‘worthwhile’ to write stories that just entertain people for a bit.  Yeah.  I like that.  In fact, I think I want to write stories that entertain me for a bit while I write ’em.

Hmm.  I like it a lot!

I feel free somehow.

Revise, Edit, Rinse, Repeat

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So like I said, the story I wrote the other day is like nothing I’ve ever written before.  But I’m revising it anyway.  This is kind of like my ‘test’ I guess.  I know I can blog like a fiend, but in all honesty, I’ve never written anything that’s publishable, and I’m beginning to wonder if I’m one of those people who wants to write, but will never be able to actually do it.

This is a test.  I don’t like the story because it’s depressing, but I like the story in the sense that if it were well written, it would be completely awesome.  I know it’s not well written right now.  It’s more of a synopsis or outline than an actual story, and I’m okay with that. For now.

The trick is to see if I have what it takes to make it as good as I see it in my head, because in my head, it’s a story that is beautiful and haunting, even if it is morbid and depressing as hell.  It has that much potential, I just don’t know if I have that much talent.

In a way, I’m excited to be revising it and trying to make it live up to my vision.  I’m tired of being a dreamer.  I think it’s time to put all I have into this and see if there’s any real talent in here.  If there is, great.  I’ll continue to hone my craft.  If it turns out that I just don’t have what it takes, then I’ll continue to write as a hobby [or when I get depressed] and I’ll continue to blog, but I won’t have this invisible pressure on me to become published.

Can I really figure this out with just one story?  I dunno.  I guess I’ll have to send the thing off to whatever short story markets there are out there and see what other people think.  I’m not giving up if it doesn’t get published, but what I want to know from this is, do I have any freaking potential?  Is there any talent for words that can really be developed, or am I like the piano teacher in Amadeus, who dreams of being a master, but will never have what it takes to achieve that goal?

My kids want candy.  So I have to go.

So I’m working on Holly Lisle’s Writer’s Block Course

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And damn.  She’s made me cry twice already with visualizations of conversations with my muse. So at one point, there was an exercise where I just needed to sit and write, basically to have a conversation with my muse and figure out what the fuck she’s thinking, ’cause I want to write funny, fantasy stuff, and she seems to want to write morbid, depressing, horrible stuff and it kinda bums me out.

But anyway, in the interest of showing you what I’m going through here, I’m posting my conversation with my muse, and the very short story that came at the end.  The story isn’t edited at all except for typos and grammar, and it’s written from a four year old’s perspective [so, you know, if it sounds like a four year old wrote it, it’s because she DID!]

Want the truth?  I hate the story.  Hate everything about it. It’s my least favorite form of fiction, least favorite topic, and I’m bitter that I wrote it in a way.

On the other hand… it’s the very first time I’ve ever EVER embraced the darkness within me and written what’s in there.  Which is why I’m posting it, because it represents a MASSIVE victory.

Okay, so here goes [I’ll mark my muse’s statements with “M” and my stuff with “S”]:

[s]I’m scared of fiction. I’m scared of letting go and letting my muse take over completely because the stuff that’s in me is so freaking dark, and I hate dark shit.

I don’t like where we’re going, oh muse y one. Why won’t you tell me something funny? Is it me?
What story do you really want to write? Which genre? What length? What subject matter? What life? Which themes? What story do you want to tell? Why? When can we start? How does it start? Is there any humor in it?

[m]Yes, but not much. Humor isn’t what we need to write right now.

[s]Then what is.

[m]mPain. Hurt. There’s a lot in there that we need to purge. Vindictiveness. The sins of your soul, Shelbi. If we’re going to have therapy and fun at the same time, you’re going to have to face your worst fears and write the fuckers down.

Write them down, Shelbi
Now.
[s]Losing a child. Losing my husband to death. Having my kids grow up and be bad people.
Wait, that’s it?
[m]Nope. What are the rest of them?
[s]Being hated. Having people think I’m stupid, worthless, a failure. Having people think I’m a freak.
Standing out in a crowd. Not being recognized in a crowd.

[m]What else?
Fears.

[s]That I’m really a bad person. Irretrievably so. That if I write evil stuff, people will think I’m possessed.
[m]Are you?
[s]No.
I have the living God within me, that isn’t even possible.
[m]Then fuck ‘em.
[s]Hey, you are funny!
[m]Well, yeah, but we’re still not there yet.
Fears.
Fears. Come on, Shelbi. There’s more in there.
[s]That people will read what I write and hate it, and therefore hate me, too.
[m]You’re kind of wrapped up in what other people think of you, aren’t you?
Think that’s a problem, kid?
[s]Yeah. It paralyzes me.
[m]So why does it matter so much?
*thinking*
[s]I don’t know.
[m]Not an answer. Try again.
Why does it matter to you what people think of you.
[s]Because if they hate me, they are proving me right.
Because I still hate me, too. I need constant appreciation and affirmation from others because deep down, my biggest fear is that I’m right about me, and I am only average.

[m]What????
Average? WTF?!?!
[s]I don’t hate me; I’m just afraid of never being famous. Or never being recognized as anything ‘special’.
[m]Is it really about being famous? Is that all writing is to you?
[s]No. But I want to be famous somehow…
[m]But why?
[s]Because I want to be special.
[m]Why?
Why does it freaking matter?
Again with caring too much what people think of you…
Don’t you know that ‘average’ is a lie? Everyone is different. Similar but different. You have a gift in your writing. You have me, and I’m awesome as hell. God gave this to you so you could have fun while bringing him some glory. You love writing, so write.
Even if you never get published [yeah, right… HA! I’m awesome, so you don’t need to worry about that one, okay.] Anyway, even if you never get published, God gave you this gift and expects you to use it.
This is your ‘get out of the boat’ moment, Shelbi. Will you have the faith you need to trust God, and trust me, and write what comes?
Even the evil stuff you will write is okay by God. It’s real, even if it isn’t pretty, it’s part of you, part of this world, and by writing it down, you can exorcise it. Bring it out into the light and see what’s really there. Then let go of it and move on to writing something else.
The humor and love and joy are there, too, and it will shine through the darkness, because that is true too, and it is from God.

So.
Are you ready to start?
*deep breath*
[s]Yes.

What story do you want to write? I’ll write anything. It doesn’t matter what it is, I will write it. I will write whatever you tell me to. We will write masterpieces together.
Let’s get started, okay?

[m]Good deal, kid. Let’s go!

Short story written immediately after above conversation:

A small child sits alone, playing in the dirt. She has an old doll in her hands, and she’s wearing nothing but underwear and a raggedy shirt. She has dirty hair, and her shins are lined in bruises. Her feet are caked with days’ worth of dirt. She doesn’t make a noise as she plays, but her eyes are alight with a dreamy expression. She holds the doll up, and to her, it isn’t a ragged, third or fourth hand doll, she is a fairy princess, and she is coming to rescue the little girl soon.

Mary’s mother is upstairs, with an ‘uncle’ of Mary’s. Mama goes to sleep sometimes, and it’s hard for Mary to wake her up. Mary has three brothers and a sister, but they were taken away. Mary is four. One of her brothers was six when they left, the rest were younger than she is.
Two of the boys were born at the same time, when Mary was two. The baby Sarah was born last year.
Mary didn’t know why she was the only one left at home, but now she plays alone.
Sometimes it’s hard for Mary to find food. She eats dry cereal out of the box most days, and sometimes mama will get bread and peanut butter.
Mary’s mama used to be the most beautiful mama in the world. She had long brown hair, and Mary used to like to wrap her fingers up in it. It was so soft and Mary felt safe when her mama’s hair fell over her face like a blanket.
Mama had a beautiful smile, and her skin was smooth and soft to touch. Now there are spots on mama’s face, and her smile looks mean.
Mary is scared of mama, especially since Joshua left. Joshie used to make sure Mary was fed. But it was Joshie who called the lady that came and got them. But the lady forgot Mary, and Mary was all alone.
A slow drizzle begins to fall on Mary’s head, but she keeps playing. She knows she can’t get into her mama’s house anyway, and she doesn’t really want to. She’s been in there when mama has an uncle before, and it was scary.
Her uncle had been naked, which Mary thought was yucky, but he had hit Mary’s mama until she fell asleep. Mary ran and hid in a closet, Joshie had taken the twins and baby Sarah down stairs and outside. While she was hiding, the lady had come to get Joshie, the twins, and baby Sarah, and left Mary alone.
Mary’s uncle comes out the door while the drizzle falls, and Mary shivers and plays with her dolly. He looks at Mary, but Mary is making herself too small to see. Mary sees the uncle out of the corner of her eye. He stands there for a long time, and then gets in his car and leaves.
Mary goes up stairs, soaked from head to toe and shivering. Mama is shaking. Mary doesn’t like the smell in the room, but she’s too cold to care, and goes inside anyway.
Mama sees Mary, and comes across the room. Mary reaches up for her mama, hoping mama will help her get warm. Mama is bleeding and crying, and scratching her arms. She picks Mary up, turns, and starts running across the room.

Mama is running toward the big window, and when she gets there, she doesn’t slow down. Mary hears the glass break, and then something warm and hot is on her shoulder and arm.
Mama holds Mary tight as she and her mama fall, and then everything goes black.

~~Yeah, so I hate it.  Every bit of it.  But I did it.  I wrote some fiction for the first time in months, and it sucks, but it’s mine!

Starting Over

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So.  Here’s my life these days.  I’m preparing myself and the kids for school, me for college night classes, them for elementary school.

I’m going to do the night classes because they will enable me to stay at home with Michaela during the day, and still start my education working toward becoming a nurse practitioner.

It’s a strange thing, really, but with the realization and confidence that I really can do anything I set my mind to, I know I can also achieve my dreams… you know the ones.

Now some might mention the fact that I can’t become an Olympic gymnast at this late date, but the beautiful thing is, I don’t want to, so we’re good, you know?

I’m starting over with my dream of writing, though.  By that I mean that I’m in the throes [which are magnificent fun, by the way] of creating the world in which my characters live.  It’s occurred to me that part of my inability to finish a novel has been due to the fact that my world building has been nil.

Which means that once I get started, I lose steam because I don’t know enough about the world in which they live to have them continue to do cool stuff.  That sucks.  So I’ve got a couple of characters, one in particular, who I like a really lot.  I’ve resurrected him [I don’t know his name yet, but he’ll tell me that soon enough] and it turns out he has some friends I didn’t know about before.

Their world has magic in it, of course.  In all honesty, I can’t really imagine a world that doesn’t have some kind of magic in it.  I think it must be hardwired into my brain that people simply must have supernatural abilities.

There are also magical creatures, which is kind of depressing for me since I know next to nothing about mythical creatures.  It means lots of research for me, and lots of imagining, which of course is so not fun for me, what with me being the most even headed, pragmatic person who ever lived!  Bwahahaahaa.

I’m also working on building a language from scratch, and I’m afraid that there are going to have to be two fairly well-formed languages in this story, so it is some work, but I’m up for it.

The dream of writing kind of lost its luster after I realized just how much work it was going to be.  If there are any writers out there reading this, feel free to laugh your ass off, I’ll wait.

Still waiting….

Okay, welcome back!  So yeah, it’s a lot of work.  And I guess I always knew that, but I’d hoped it would be effortless for me [don’t take it personally, it’s not that I thought I would be better than anyone else, and that the stories of blood on the keyboards wouldn’t apply to me. I always hope everything will be effortless… but it never is.  Go figure].

But, hard work doesn’t scare me like it used to.  I’m actually looking forward to it now.  I think sometimes work is its own reward, and I’m learning to do the work just for the sake of working… that’s way too many ‘works’ in a sentence, eh? Oh well.

I’m having a blast creating words and creatures, taking ideas from a mythology book I got today and molding them to fit my world.  The language thing is actually fun, too.  It’s going to get very involved before it’s all over with, but I think it’s cool as hell.

So here I go!  Weeeeeee!!!