To me, contests used to be near ulcer inducing. A nuclear war so explosive that even a simple raffle could knot my stomach worse than the old box of costume jewelry I pulled out of the garage during my plight to simplify my life through the disposal of things that were no longer serving me.
Over time, I resigned myself to watching contests from afar, hesitant to enter because of the fear of losing. I already allowed other people in my life to make me believe I was loser enough, I didn’t need an incorrect ticket number or an erroneous answer during trivia to cause me to feel worse–Just a portion of my power I have taken back throughout the years.
When I started writing a few years ago, I had a friend who was just a bit more than persistent about me entering some work into online creative writing contests. Okay, fine, to be honest, she could be best juxtaposed to a mall kiosk worker selling overpriced hand lotion.
But she wasn’t selling anything. She believed in me enough to send gentle “reminders” several times a day…consistently…for a week, maybe two…about entering certain writing contests.
Eventually, I caved. No, I didn’t purchase supposedly imported hand creams guaranteed to change my life in two minutes flat. With a shaky hand and elevated blood pressure, I hit “send” on the first submission of many to a writing contest.
What if the judges laughed at it? What if no one understands it–as many often don’t quite understand my writing style?
The possibilities that spun through my head were as relentless as traffic on 95 south at five ‘o clock on Friday evening.
BUT…But, there was hope.
I’m grateful for this experience because it led me to develop an completely new mindset of what failure is and what failure is not.
I was able to shift my mindset. Not placing in a contest isn’t losing if I’m putting everything I have into that piece.
In other words, when I am creating, I give all the energy, life, and creativity to that specific work. I have it edited and beta read. I adhere to ALL of the submission guidelines and check for easily-missed typos and errors.
The best pieces of my energy go into each and every piece of writing I submit–created, polished, and edited, to the absolute best of my ability so that when I push the “submit” button, I know, without a doubt, that I gave everything within my current skill set to that writing.
In the end, if the judges, if the world does not believe it suits them, I can shrug and say, “well, I gave all I possibly could.”
I started applying this to every part of my life. This, “give the very best that I can in the status quo of life.”
Admittedly, some days, that’s not very much, but it’s everything I have, and that’s good enough.
I wish we judged everything like that, especially during times like test taking. Is it really the “A” we’re so concerned about? The “coveted” Holy Grail known as the “honor roll”?
What if instead of pressing for specific grades we simply instilled into children that when the pencil goes down and that test paper is turned in, there was someone standing by the door and asking if there was anything they could’ve done better. If they say no with one hundred percent honesty, then no grade they could ever get would be a failure.
A lot of people, myself once included, need to change perceptions and ideas of what failure and losing is.
I believe we lose if we fail to give a project our all. And if that is the case, then maybe we should question whether we truly valued that or not. Maybe that’s an area in which reevaluation would serve us well.
Sometimes—oh, who am I kidding—most of the time, when you you make life choices that are fulfilling to you, there will be people in your life who feel “hurt” or “angry”.
See, it’s like before you are born or even while you’re still a baby, those individuals orchestrate their own idea of what your life path should be. Then, throughout your life, they do everything to support you as long as you emulate their projected version of you.
Now, sometimes this works out, and in rare instances once you embrace your true life path, those same people will be “gracious” about bending their projections of you to assist you in becoming the best version of yourself and embracing your life’s purpose.
More often than not, this is not the case. And when you find yourself unsupported by those in your life that should be there for you most, the primary thing you must realize is that their feelings have absolutely nothing to do with your actions and everything to do with places those people must heal within themselves.
People who truly care for and love you will make a choice to heal and also move forward in their lives. They will be happy for you.
However, when a person continues to live in a bitter headspace, that negativity remains stagnant—like a swamp riddled with mosquitos.
Does it ever make you stand around and wonder, “who’s life is it, anyway?”
Realize, a lot of things a person might say to you in that moment of toxicity come from your “failure” to meet the “criteria” that they have projected upon you—failing to fulfill in them what they have never been able to fulfill within themselves.
Those people can see their shortcomings in life, but rather than change them or find a way to heal or to become whole within themselves, they have to steal pieces of you. Yes, steal…at least, I consider it stealing because they are robbing from your life to piece together their own perception of failures in life.
Of course, failure in and of itself is all perspective…can you guess what tomorrow’s post will be about?
And second, revenge—if that person feels as though you have “wronged” them by acting out in your highest good and sense of purpose—they will retaliate with below the belt comments that are unfounded and can be hurtful.
This can come to a point of downright emotional, verbal, and sometimes physical abuse. Take note: Endure none of this! I know, easier said than done. Realize that their act of lashing out at you has absolutely nothing to do with you or your actions. They are simply expressing their own fear of aspects of themselves.
This is why it is so important to take a personal inventory when you feel threatened about a quality that you dislike in someone else.
At any rate, if someone is demeaning you don’t stand there and digest the negative energy they throw at you just because somehow they’ve made you feel that you deserve it. You don’t. You never did.
Never allow another person’s choice to remain bitter, full of fear, and unfulfilled hold you back from embracing the truest, most honest and rewarding version of yourself.
On a whim, I entered the NYC Midnight short story contest. Turns out, there were around 4,000 entries and only a little over 500 were selected to move on to round two.
“The Final Battle” ended up placing first in my heat. They assign you a genre, character, and subject.
Mine were: Drama, A child with dwarfism, and an escape. The maximum word count was 2,000.
While I wait for round two results, I thought it would be fun to post up my round one winning piece. Enjoy!
Gulgrom slowed his pace and fought with the underbrush. With each chirp of a cricket or croak of a frog, he advanced a single footstep forward. The fate of Melakrihn rested on him. A single deep breath and another tenth of an inch closer to King Chreighton, Gulgrom drew his sword. One more step and—
“No!” came a shout from Amareh, a centurion elder.
King Chreighton took a swift turn but was too late. Gulgrom’s sharp blade pressed into the king’s hefty chest. Not a second later, Gulgrom was being lifted into the air.
“Huzzah! Long live King Gulgrom! Ruler of the Scalandorian realm!” The chant, mixed with a multitude of cheers, filled the humid sky until it reached the stars.
After the crowd calmed, the Melakrihn clan surrounded Gulgrom. Addram, the most powerful elder, approached and placed his arm around Gulgrom. Addram raised his hand to quiet the rest of the members. “As you all know, the Scaladorian realm will be participating in Final Battle this year. Our dwarven clan has spent ages forming alliances within the realm. Be it known, on this eve of the sixth night of July, that Gulgrom has been betrothed to Cyrrith, princess of the elven clan, Amyyll. The joining ceremony commences on the tenth eve of April and shall surely solidify Scaladorian’s first win in Final Battle!”
Gulgrom’s heart flipped. Not only did he find himself responsible for the entire kingdom of Scaladoria, he was trusted with the heart of Princess Cyrrith. No one had a chance to notice the dreamy glaze that overcame Gulgrom’s eyes as the abrupt honk from down the road would’ve disturbed any opportunity to do so.
Gulgrom sighed and turned toward a gravel lot. He approached his mom’s car and snatched the handle, climbing inside.
“I told you not to slam the door, Kevin.”
Evelyn Hughes sighed and put the car in reverse before making her next announcement. “You know, Kev—”
“Gulgrom, Mom. When you speak of me as Kevin, it takes me out of character. Oh, and after tonight, it’s King Gulgrom.”
“Kev—I mean, Gulgrom, this is what I wanted to talk about. Dad and I think it’s great you have this hobby and all, but it’s time to start making friends in the real world, like that girl from the group…what’s her name? Meghan.”
Kevin shut down at ‘real world’. Did his mom mean the real world where Jared Ransin once set his Ninja Turtle lunch box on the highest shelf in homeroom? Or the ‘real world’ that deemed him as special needs? Like they couldn’t understand it, so they labeled it…that ‘real world?’ If so, Kevin much preferred the alternate reality where he was a hero, a king, and soon…a husband.
“Well, I ran into Meghan’s mom at the store. We think that since you two have so much in common, it’d be so fun if you met for shakes at Burger Bonanza.”
So much in common? Kevin snorted. What? A shared diagnosis of Achondroplasia?
“It’d be like a little date,” she giggled. “But, not really a date…you’re twelve. No dates.”
“No, mom. I don’t want or need a ‘little date’. As king, I am betrothed to Princess Cyrrith of the elven clan Amyyll.”
“Cyrrith…Cyrrith…” Evelyn’s mind searched to place a name with a face. “Wait…isn’t that Ruth Fenstauffer? She’s sixteen, isn’t she? A little old for you, don’t you think?”
“No, it’s princess Cyrrith, and she is one-hundred-and-eighty-four. I turned two-hundred last month.”
“Well, I think meeting up with Meghan and her mom would be good for you.”
Good for him? Or good for his mom? Good for her to know that her son could truly be “normal” and not some geeked-out-fantasy-nerd type? Kevin didn’t respond, and as soon as the car pulled into the two-car driveway, he jumped out before his mother could nag again about Meghan and secured himself in the basement to spend the rest of the evening spelling runes.
“This is exactly what I’m talking about, Ross! He stays up all night…spends all his time in this fantasy world and—”
“Dammit Evelyn! That is his world! It’s the world he succeeds in!” Ross Hughes straightened his tie and took a final sip of coffee.
“Where are you going?”
He nodded toward the door. “Work.”
“Sure! Run away.” Evelyn shrugged. “Run off to work where you can hide behind charts and graphs. Leave me here to deal with our son!”
Ross sat his briefcase down and relented. “What can I do to help?”
“Nothing. Go ahead; go to work.” Her right arm flailed toward the door and she turned and started rinsing dishes.
“Evie—” She didn’t acknowledge him as he grabbed the mahogany case and headed out the door to work.
Evelyn Hughes waited until she could no longer hear the engine of the red Honda in the driveway, then poured herself another cup of coffee. Before she could sit, the hallway toilet flushed. Evelyn walked to the door and stood, arms positioned in an impatient fold. Once it clicked open, she started the familiar lecture. “Do you know what time it is? Hmm? Do you? It’s half past nine! I already told you, one more time and this whole fantasy game thing is over. Do you hear me? Over! I’ve had quite enough. What am I going to tell principal Macey when she calls?”
“Mom, Final Battle begins in two weeks. Two. I only have fourteen days to upgrade weapons, redo uniforms, enhance defense, and spell enough runes. Now I’m in charge of the whole kingdom.”
Evelyn smacked her hand against her forehead. “I’ve had enough! Enough! When are you going to realize that all you’re doing is avoiding the world? This little game of yours…it isn’t life! You’re going to get hurt!”
“It is my life!”
“Just get your things. I swear to God, Kev. One more time and you’re out of the game.”
The ride to school was the type of deafening silence that made a guy wish his mom would just start rambling.
As they pulled up, the bell was ringing for second period—earth science. Kevin stepped out and rushed to the door. Even so, he still managed to arrive late for class.
“Glad you could join us, Mr. Hughes.” Mr. Jensen grabbed the roster to check Kevin as tardy. “Grab a Petri dish. Today we’re discussing mold fossils.”
Kevin turned to the shelf that held the dishes. The remaining ones rested at the top. His cheeks grew hot as he grabbed a stool and positioned it in front of the cabinet. Even on his tip-toes, he wasn’t able to reach high enough to grab one.
“Here, I’ll help.” Kevin relented and allowed Allison to step up and get a dish for him.
“Thanks,” he mumbled. She nodded and returned to her table.
He walked to his assigned seat. Even Allison needed a stool to reach the dishes. He glanced at her and she smiled. He turned back to the fossil in his dish—in a few years, she wouldn’t need a stool; he would. Kevin Hughes would always need a stool.
He swallowed and rewired his thoughts. Cyrrith was as powerful as she was beautiful; the eldest of three elven princesses. His heart sped at the thought of the betrothal. The enhanced magical abilities alone would be enough to prove the alliance an efficient brainchild of Addram.
Although he was aware the time spent at his desk in science class would be best used to strengthen Scalandorian’s battle plan, Kevin pulled a clean sheet of paper and began to write.
gold flecks of moon—
Moon. Would that be cliché? Would his words be worthy of such beauty? Moon what? Moonshine? No, that was a drink. He thought harder—moonbeam? No. Moon-sparkle? Cyrrith did spend time with unicorns. Sparkle might work, Kevin thought.
gold flecks of moon-sparkle.
That I might be—
Kevin glanced up for a second, just to consider what he “might be”. The room was empty. “Ah, Mr. Hughes. I see you’re back.” Mr. Jensen’s eyes narrowed. “The bell rang two minutes ago. You best be on your way to third period.”
Yay, third period—music class, with its never-ending symphony of up-down-up-down-up-down’s that wore on his back after the third or fourth time. Regardless, Kevin was not about to make a special request of staying seated for the duration. He grinned and tolerated the discomfort.
At the end of the school day, Kevin was surprised to see his dad at the pick-up line. “Dad?” He asked as he got in the car.
Ross chuckled. “She’s out with a friend. Probably having a girl’s day. ‘An escape,’ as she called it.” A moment passed. “Bud, you gotta be more responsible with getting up and ready for school.”
Kevin folded his arms and watched houses jog by the car window.
“Man, I get it,” Ross continued. “Back in my day…shoot…twelve-years-old, we’d sneak out of the house and walk down to this abandoned railroad track. It was haunted, we thought. So, Larry Morganheimer would sneak coffee, and we’d hang out all night trying to catch a ghost…still not sure how he got the coffee, though. So, I’m with you on this—but you’re driving Mom crazy. Can you work harder to get up in the morning and get to school?”
“Thanks, bud,” he said as he pulled into the drive. “You gonna be okay? I have another meeting.”
Once inside the house, Kevin sat at the kitchen table, determined to finish the poem.
gold flecks of moon-sparkle.
That I might be worthy,
to hold her hand beneath
the night’s sky.
Kevin released a pent-up breath. The poem wasn’t long, but he felt it offered a good representation of his feelings for his betrothed. Would Cyrrith feel the same? Sure, she’d often been kind to him. How could the poem not win her affection? The idea of reciting his writing to her over-filled his being so much so that he concocted a new idea.
As a king, he decided the best course of action would be to meet his lover outside her window—a few pebbles tapping the glass would be enough to gain her attention. Then, he could render his feelings beneath the field of stars. When she fell madly in love with him, his mom would have no choice but to accept his life. She would be forced to see Scalandoria was real and the only illusion was her perception of normal.
He folded the paper just in time for Evelyn to enter. “Kevin,” she acknowledged. “Homework done?”
“Yeah, Mom…umm, Mom—”
“Excuse me for a second.” She didn’t stop, just kept walking toward the master bedroom.
Kevin eyed her as she disappeared behind the door. Escape, indeed. He shook his head and exited to the basement to strategize attack plans for Final Battle until dinner.
“I expect lights out early tonight, Kevin,” Evelyn called after her son as he trotted down the stairs upon finishing the dishes. No answer.
Kevin waited through his parents’ conversations and a few late-night television programs before slipping on his beard and into his wide-legged trousers and boots. Then, he threw on his gambeson with buttons and slipped on a pair of gauntlets. Satisfied, he grabbed the handwritten poem and made a silent getaway.
Fortunately, Cyrrith lived a couple blocks over in the same neighborhood. He continued down the sidewalk, his stomach knotting a bit tighter with each lustful step. Before turning the corner, he nearly gave up and returned home, but no—he must continue one of the most significant quests he’d ever set out on. He was King Golgrum, dwarven warrior and rune master—nothing would change that.
On his way, he gathered a few loose pebbles and stored them in his satchel. His anxiety evolved into full-on panic when he approached the house. What window belonged to Princess Cyrrith? How would he figure it out? His conundrum was met with headlights coming around the corner and growing narrower in front of the house, Cyrrith’s house. Maybe it was her? Kevin was overcome with relief—she would exit the car and he’d know her room because she’d turn the lights on once she got up there. Problem solved.
Or not. Kevin’s forehead tightened as Addram got out of the driver’s seat and swung around to open the door for Cyrrith. Once she was out of the car, Kevin’s insides unthreaded as he watched the couple lean into one another for a lengthy kiss.
“I had a good time tonight. Thank you,” Cyrrith said.
Addram smiled. “I’m glad.”
Kevin shook his head. How could they betray him? His bride and the most respected dwarven elf caught up in an affair. He slowly backed up, not realizing the drop off. “Oh!” he cried out as he flew backward.
Addram was at his side. “Kevin…what are you doing here? And dressed up, too?”
Kevin’s chest heaved, and his voice shook. “No, the better question is, Addram, what are you doing here? With my future wife at that!”
“Dude, just call me Adam; that’s my real name. You know that. Kev—man, calm down. Ruth and I have been dating for a few months.”
“B-but…you set me up to marry her! This is treason!”
“In the game, Kev. In the game—that’s what it is, it’s just a game.”
Disillusioned, Kevin found himself at a loss for words. Nothing could save him from the torturous reality of his future wife’s betrayal—the poem cried as the paper twisted and crumpled in his hand. Should he challenge Addram to an evening duel? A better idea came to him. “Banished!” he yelled.
Ruth cocked her head. “Banished? As in kicked out of the game?”
Kevin’s cheeks grew hot. “Banished!”
Adam took a step toward him. “Dude, you can’t do that just because we’re dating.”
Kevin narrowed his eyes. “Watch me!”
“Dude, that’s fucked up. Hope you feel good about losing friends. Over what…some stupid game!”
Ruth put a hand on Adam’s shoulder. “It’s okay.” She turned to Kevin. “He can’t ban us from the game. We can appeal and get back in. He’ll probably be the one who gets kicked out.”
Kevin gulped the lump back down his throat while he studied the angry eyes of Ruth and Adam. Disgust—his heart felt as though it stopped beating, and his breath shortened. The wind snatched the poem from his hand like a cruel thief. Could he really be kicked out of the game?
Before the others could catch a glimpse from the single tear that slipped down his cheek, Kevin turned and stumbled down the sidewalk, disappearing as reality, whether perceived or not, often does. The dwarven king vanished into the uncertain darkness.
Other Confession: I’m a wee bit taken aback that I began a blog post with “Confession”. But, I did. So…
Growing up in the rural area of southwest Missouri, I spent a lot of summers watching the evening begin with a few stars speckled throughout the sky like a rainy day connect-the-dot game.
As the cadence of crickets crescendoed–along with ravenous mosquitos–the sparkling dots in the sky thickened. With hardly any lights to drown them out, layer after layer, appeared.
those glitter-drops of angelic magic beckoned to me–telling me secrets of peace and healing, promising me that everything, indeed, would someday work out to my highest good.
Often, I would lay in that empty lot next to my childhood home and ask the lighting bugs if they, too, were stars–tiny floating fairies or angels, coming to earth the promenade in the humid Midwestern night.
Those opalescent, brilliant hints of mystery were the source of healing, laughter, and positivity.
So, when I say I try too hard, I suppose it’s because sometimes–I won’t lie…most of the time I believe I don’t do enough. And it’s those times when I start to overdo it. I pay so much attention to others and trying to help them, that I neglect myself.
Essentially, I lose the balance between lending a hand and taking time to work on myself.
So what was the answer?
One night in meditation, I heard exactly what I needed to hear: The stars don’t try to be. They simply are.
In other words, stars don’t necessarily go out of their way. For eons, they have been beacons for healing, guidance, wisdom, and knowledge. They have inspired iconic paintings and caused words to stream like the embrace of eternal lovers.
And they have never, ever tried.
What I have learned from this on my journey is to simply shine from where I am. stop trying and just be. Just know that I am enough exactly the way I am–hell, who am I kidding? I am more than enough.
I am so much more than enough I am just a super-sparkly firework bowl of unicorn Lucky Charms, and that is spectacular!
For the longest time, I haven’t blogged. And I’m not sure if that’s a necessary statement if, perhaps, you’ve been reading articles from my blog or website. I can’t say for sure as to “why”. If you read my Facebook wall, I have plenty to say. Of that much, you are already aware.
The other day, a good writing buddy, Michael Sutch (I posted a link so that you’d click on it. Hint, Hint…) suggested I start a blog. But…but…I have one. So, here I am beginning, once again, to do just that–start blogging.
I grew up not hearing much about the term “inner-child” and if I did hear it, I didn’t hear it. Maybe it simply wasn’t a good time in my life for it to resonate. But once it did, layers of the past began revisiting me in physical representations of family I thought I’d cut ties with, situations motivated by intentions to bog me down by stirring up stress and fear, and my own personal responses to situations in everyday life that I hadn’t realized were sparked by my lack of interest in my inner-child.
Day by day, as I worked on each aspect of the situation–whether that work came by not feeding energy into the 3D manifestations brought on by family, cutting energetic cords and following through by also cutting those cords in the physical world, and changing my headspace when encountering other situations that would have normally angered me or stressed me out.
As I did these things, layers of old wounds began peeling off. The irony? Each time I thought that I was fully healed, I found an even deeper wound. What a journey?! What a time to take in a deep breath of gratitude and just know that I wouldn’t be given anything that I couldn’t handle.
I learned to trust, mostly in myself and in the Universe, and that, my friends, is an empowering thing to embrace!
Someday, I’ll break that story down a little more because, I’m telling you…it’s been quite a ride! But for now, my primary goal is to post about a dream I had a few nights ago.
I was taken to a room, and I was very aware. Was it the Akashic record? I can’t be certain because mine has always looked different from this particular vision. One of my guides was with me and pointed to a bookcase with shelves lined with pastel colored books–pinks, purples, greens, yellows, and blues.
The most prominent was a light pink book with a heart cut out on the front and lace sewn around it. When this guide communicated with me, he explained that each of the books in front of me held the answers to every question I could ever ask about my childhood, and believe me when I say…years ago, I had many questions. He went on to explain that each book held the Universal aspects of my difficult childhood, the reasons why, what I was there to learn…anything I could ever want clarified.
I took in the baby-powder smell and the glowing softness of each book. Then, I turned to him and responded that I actually had no more loose ends to tie up, no more questions. There was nothing more about my childhood that I felt was unresolved, or painful. And that moment, was so powerful for me…just WOW!
I woke up and took in all the details of that encounter. Was that it? The end of one journey?
I certainly feel like it is. I truly believe that when we no longer have points of confusion, fear, questions, or doubt that we, without a doubt, have healed.
There’s so much incredible light and truth in that experience. I’ve been spending a lot of time meditating on my gratitude for it.
“The leaves are all brown.” And no, I didn’t go off the deep-end–I didn’t misquote The Mamas & The Papas lyrics– I’m not that kinda girl…don’t you all know that by now? SMDH.
“What are you doing, then?”
I’m quoting little Megan in Matthew Brockmeyer’s debut novel “Kind Nepenthe” that takes place in Humboldt County, California–more specifically, in the dead center of marijuana country…oh, now I have your attention. Great!
Throughout his work, Brockmeyer leaves no stone unturned–metaphorically, that is, and this begins with the title itself and its tragic-beautiful tie-in to the novel. Allow me to save you a bit o’ Googling. Nepenthe is a mythical drug believed to erase sorrow and suffering.
You’re welcome, by the way.
From the first page, I couldn’t help but feel an unsettling presence that seemed to float along with me through the piece–one of the many aspects that made putting “Kind Nepenthe” down, next to impossible–that’s right, not even a tub of gas station nachos was enough to lure me away from the deep-rooted–no pun intended–okay, bad joke– evil that was about to take place, and no amount of therapy sessions would’ve ever prepared me for the ending. How did it end? Here’s the obligatory “Buy” link.
We meet Rebecca–a dreadlock sporting, vegan hippie type who, tired of society, wishes to raise her daughter, Megan, in a quiet setting where they can live off the land. Speaking of land? Matthew Brockmeyer has an impressive knowledge of horticulture so I had to ask him if his repertoire came from research or experience.
“Well, my wife is an herbalist and I am a permaculture designer. We live on a small farm/homestead. So, most of this knowledge did come first hand. I love the use of nature in literature, both as world building and as metaphor. In particular, John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy both use it to great effect. You can convey so much with descriptions of the natural world, from majestic and awe inspiring beauty, to a forlorn sense of dread and creepiness.”
Squeaky grocery cart wheels aside–okay, only McCarthy fans will get it…hmm–the “Creep” factor is ever-present. There’s this whole Stephen King vibe in the ‘recovering’ addict, Diesel who is struggling to rekindle a relationship with his son DJ in anticipation of becoming a grandfather–all the feels, right? Maybe. If what you’re feeling is an eerie vigilance. So much so, that if Cormac McCarthy and Stephen King had a love child, it might be “Kind Nepenthe”, and Thomas Hardy just may have Saturday visitation.
Everybody is watching for something– Calendula, Rebecca’s ‘hippie’ boyfriend, is watching the grow room, Rebecca’s watching for Coyote, the owner of the land, to return and pay them, and Diesel is watching his son DJ follow in his footsteps of drug addiction and domestic violence.
All the while… who is watching Megan?
Yikes… and double-yikes, because I’m saying…it’s the same land where Spider, the ghostly solitaire-playing creeper, buried dead bodies.
Back to the solitaire…I put the question to Brockmeyer–Would he play solitaire with a ghost? He wittingly points out the flaw in my question–smartass…yeesh.
Even so, here’s what he had to say:
“Well, it’s a one-person game, hence the name. That’s the thing about ghosts, their utter aloneness, separate from everything yet stuck there just the same. Would I play cards with a ghost? Sure. I’ll play cards with anyone or anything, I suppose. As long as they’re buying the drinks.”
Despite the sarcasm of the above answer, I still enjoyed “Kind Nepenthe”–for anyone who hasn’t already drawn that conclusion. What made the book real to me was the characters: the dichotomy of hippie culture meets that of gun-toting-good-‘ol-boy, makes for the perfect storm once the two enemies meet–literally a storm.
Who doesn’t know the lady who lives in a trailer, watches home shopping channels, and buys trinkets such as Christmas ornaments? The absent father struggling to clean up and reconnect with his son? The mother who wants to make a better life for her child?
When we sew evil into physical nature, we can’t help but reap that same darkness, and this is the perfect juxtaposition to the human element–when we’re ensnared by our own dreams, when they turn dark, and hold us captive, do we reap a bleak future?
Perhaps we do, and in that, we find that maybe it’s not the dead we should fear. Maybe we should be more afraid and aware of the rapid transition of our best intentions into malice and how that translates into our future.
Until next time, my friends. Thanks for reading, and if you’re still awake, feel free to leave comments.
NO! It’s author Linette Kasper’s debut YA fantasy novel “Daimon“! Linette may reside in Northern Virginia, but her I’m-gonna-love-you-forever-no-like-literally-forever-tale-of-romance-gone-dark type novel weaves its mysterious tale around the historic city of Richmond, Va.
Megan, our scrumptious and sometimes sarcastic, female protagonist is still coping with the loss of her mother when– in true Cinderella fashion– her dad decides it’s time to move on. That’s right– he’s ready to tie ye ‘ol knot again.
Moving on– it’s a good thing, right? “Onward and upward.” That’s what they say. Perhaps forward motion is optimal– well, that is if you’re not planning to marry a half-crazed psycho– Erin, remember to edit this and take that out– you can’t belittle the anti-social personality disorder community by comparing Megan’s stepmom to a psychopath.
When Megan’s crazy-bitch-ass stepmom, Vanessa decides to physically abuse her in public by slapping her at a bridal shop, Megan takes off. Who can blame the girl? And I’m not even going to start on the employee who kinda just watched and didn’t really do anything… you know… like telephone DSS. Did Kasper mean this as a sly critique of the social system in the United States? You be the judge… like maybe, literally… Megan’s dad, Jack, is a lawyer… Okay, not funny… moving on.
I don’t have the answer to that question, BUT I caught up with Linette and her crazy schedule to ask her, “If you put a dollar in a claw machine and it broke down, would say nothing or complain?”
Her answer? “Depends on if that means it’s broken or faulty. I may grumble to myself, but I’m not one to complain or make a scene, so I would chalk it up to not being meant to be and move on with my life. If the machine were broken, I would report it so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
So maybe the claw machine isn’t meant to be, but I know what is– “I know what is” can be read in one of those over-used-I’m-gonna-do-a-high-pitch-sing-song-voice type deals. When Megan takes off, she drives to the cemetery where her mom is buried, and it is there that she meets a dark figure in the night.
Who could it be? Does she live? Does she die? Did Vanessa follow her? Who is the mystery stranger?
“He was stunning, like an otherworldly being, with beguiling eyes that took me in as I was taking him in and bow lips that naturally turned at the corners into a slight smile. Tall and lean, he was dressed in khaki pants and a pinstripe shirt that opened to a fitted black t-shirt” (Daimon).
He had me at khaki pants– swoon. There’s just something about an ironed inseam that gets me every time kinda like the hot fudge melting the ice cream on my sundae…
Oh, book review– forgot. So, we know our mystery guest is a “he“, but who exactly is that?
Cue 1970’s jazzed out theme show song, lower psychedelic backdrop: “Meet David, he’s a mysterious hot n’ sexy dream boat whose hobbies include, lurking through cemeteries, cryptic dialogue that deflects any questions about himself, and being cryptic in general.”
That wasn’t a quote from the book, by the way.
So, who is David, really? Megan wants to know, I want to know, you are sitting on the edge of your seat right now– leaning in– because you want to know…
But, like any good novelist, Kasper doesn’t tell us right away, however I managed to garner a few answers out of her about what she’d do in a cemetery if she came upon a smokin’ hot stranger.
“I’d definitely be leery of him, keeping my distance until a I felt a little more comfortable. I’m not a social person and people are not apt to approach me, so I’d wonder if there’s an ulterior motive.” — Linette Kasper.
Ulterior motive would be the perfect time for me to introduce Brian, David’s scrumptious, frightening nugget of a roommate, along with Odette, Madeline, and the shy, quiet Cary.
I hesitate to spoil much about Brian, other than to say he’s got all the girls swooning– including Vanessa. The only one who’s uncomfortable seems to be Megan, but why? Could there be more to find out about Brian?
Yes, why yes there is… want to know what he’s up to?
Whatchya scared of? I don’t bite…
Now lean in!
If you want to know, read the book!
Got you, right? No?
Next, I bet you expect me to tell you that Megan is the melodramatic-loner type that lurks the high school and narrates her lack of friends–
but I’m not! Wow, you’re thinking… maybe this is exactly what “Twilight” should’ve been– no, not linking “Twilight”. I’m lazy and you can Google it.
Megan has friends– even if they fail to question her hanging out with strangers in cemeteries late at night. David’s hot, right? He can’t possibly he dangerous– the ever so bubbly Claire, sporty no-nonsense Erin, and the-boy-next-door-who-Megan-should’ve-ended-up-with-instead-of-some-spooky-cemetary-stranger-but-didn’t-and-now-the-reader-will-feel-sorry-for-him-through-the-whole-novel… oh, I was talking about Ben.
Ben? A love triangle, you say? Oh, the plot grows jucier and jucier and we haven’t even gotten through the first couple hundred pages.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where the hell is my coffee !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Immaculately edited and polished, “Daimon” is a five-hundred-ninety-four-page, action-packed, supernatural, thriller, mixed with a touch of chic-lit and sentimentality ATOMIC-BOMB and Kasper paints a superb photo.
“Daimon” is a must read for young adults and adults alike.
Until next time, folks! Thanks for reading my review and WRITE ON!
I’m back to the blog once more. Guess what that means…
I have gas station nachos?
More episodes of the Chronicles of Ashzaria?
You published your second full-length novel?
YES!… well, tomorrow. That’s right, August 22nd, I’ll be releasing the second installment of the ‘Sync’ Series, “Menoetius”. Finally!
I won’t lie– I’ve worked hard on the proofreading and editing phases to bring a smoother, better narrative into this action-packed series and I feel amazing about it.
What else have you done, Erin?
Well, I’m glad you asked…
Today I started a YouTube Writing Workshop that I intend to upload videos to on a weekly basis. I’m excited for this project because I get asked a lot of questions about my writing process, and I cannot wait to try to answer them.
You can find the video on my YouTube channel, but just in case, I’ll enter the link on this post, too.
Hmm… are the thumbnails the worst expressions? Who sits in the cubicle at YouTube Inc. and monitors these things?
Well, my next video will be in landscape mode… I’m a newbie, so give me a break.
For now, I’m out. Sorry for the short post. I will be writing more over the upcoming weeks/months. Yayyy….
In the mean time, check out my online shop for all the “Synchronicity” Fandom…