Hair Trigger

“Earl, help me carry this table to the house. Been sitting out here for days now. I’m going to take it for the living room.”

Her voice was a knell to his ear. He begrudged her every syllable she spoke; every raspy breath she took between sentences. Her wheedling instantaneously made his fingers curl, as if around her fat fleshy wattle.

“Did you hear me Earl?”

Even a deaf-mute could hear you bitch, Earl snarled silently, his upper lip rising in a disgusted curl. He was not facing her, of course. He was walking behind. Always behind that jiggling fat arse and runny panty hose. She never had to turn back to look and see if he was following. She knew he always would be.

“Earl.”

The name was a warning.

“Yes Marge,” he mumbled and hunkered down to take the table onto his wide shoulders. He struggled to balance the wood while taking steps on his shortened maligned leg, walking a few shaky steps before gaining his composure and continuing to walk behind Lady Jell-o Junk.

“Wasn’t it such a nice find Earl?” Marge asked. “It’ll look mighty fine in the corner under the bird-cage. Maybe put some nice flowers on it in a vase and spruce the place up a bit. Maybe some yellow Daisies.”

Earl hated yellow but he heard the pleased tone of her voice and grunted a rough “yes ma’am”. Step, draaaaag, scuffle. Step, draaaaag, scuffle. He’d gotten used to his awkward gait by now. Normally he carried groceries home or slaved behind Marge so she wouldn’t look like an idiot talking to herself all the time. People gave them a wide berth anyway so it’s not like they would care but Marge was insecure like that. And she liked having power over him. Malicious bitch.
There was a pause when Marge stopped and pulled her red beaded purse off her shoulder. Earl stumbled to a halt and held his breath, his mood plummeting like a glacier falling into icy water. She made a show of it, slowly pulling back the zipper and jiggling it around purposefully, peering inside. If Earl could sweat, he would be and she knew it. His arms shook while he held the table on his shoulders but he dare not let her know he was uncomfortable in any way. That would only encourage her.
Marge reached inside the bag and slowly pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a fancy silver cased lighter. Earl let out a slow breath of relief, quiet so she couldn’t hear. He looked at the ground just behind Marge’s scuffed blue sandals and made sure not to get too close. She lit up, enjoyed the first suck of nicotine, and blew the smoke to the side so it might blow in Earl’s face. He saw her lip curl into a smile before she turned around.
They continued walking.

They would have to be fake flowers, he thought, focusing on the side-walk and clenching the table legs tightly. Nothing alive could reside in the same house as Marge. She killed everything. The cage had been empty for a decade or more and was rusted through in some spots. The birds sitting on the perches inside were fake too, though the daft broad still gave them fresh food and water every day. Better than what Earl got.

Step, draaaaag, scuffle. Step draaaaag, scuffle. Five more steps. There’s the dilapidated white picket fence bordering the hell he called home. Marge tried to get him to fix it for her years but he didn’t know how and had only managed to rip holes in it before she stopped his fun. Oh Marge hadn’t liked that at all. Earl had been punished harshly for that one. She didn’t let him do any house repairs after that. Step, draaaag, scuffle. Two more steps and the house was in view.

The ugly faded pink house with the dirt yard and the falling apart rain gutters. No grass. No trees. Not even the stray cats were dumb enough to wander into Marge’s yard, despite the food she left out in bowls on the porch. The screen door screeched viciously, a warning in case Earl every decided to be stupid and run away again. The back door was padlocked form the outside. His room was down in the basement. Too hot in the summer and ice cold in the winter. Nothing in there but walls and a moldy mattress.
How he hated that house. It was everything that represented Marge and he would burn it in an instant if given half a chance.

There was a long ear piercing squeak as Marge opened the gate (even though there were several holes they could have walked through instead). She didn’t bother holding the door open for him and the splintered wood snapped back onto his deformed leg with a bang. He cursed and wiggled around a bit to re-adjust the table.

“Hurry up Earl.”

He was too far behind and she sensed it. Stepdraaaaagscuffle! The brick path laid to the door was uneven and had bricks missing in places. Empty flower pots lined either side full of dirt and cob webs. He had grown used to this path by now and navigated with ease. He always hoped Marge might get her fat foot stuck in one of them and twist her ankle. The imagined sound of her squealing and crying like a stuck pig made Earl smile cruelly. Step draaaag scuffle. Ahh yes, to have the tables turned! To watch from up high while the pasty worm of a woman reached out, drooling, crying, begging for help and he, Earl, doing nothing—

“Earl, be careful here. There’s that step–”

Too late.
WHAM! CRUNNNCCHHHHHH! The extra weight of the table had caused him to misjudge the way he would ascend the steps. His crooked foot had slipped from the landing and he fell backwards. Briefly he was satisfied with the sound of splintering wood and probably would have relished it more if the beaded bag didn’t swing into view again. His eyes grew with fear.

“I’m–I’m sorry Ma’am! My foot and the table was heavy–Please–”

“Earl, you clumsy fool.”

She didn’t even hesitate.The gun came out and her chubby finger had yanked back the trigger before Earl could think another thought.

Marge shook her head and dropped her stub of a cigarette beside the puddle of sticky blood by her foot.

“Waste of a perfectly good table.”

The large woman grunted and hauled herself up the three stairs to her porch where she checked the kitty food bowls and sighed.

“No visitors today. Wonder if I should change the food again. They seem to like fish better.”

Marge took her time to go inside and fix herself a pitcher of sweet iced tea before coming back outside to the gore of her front yard and contemplating it. She flicked a piece of fluffy blonde hair out of her eyes and her pink flamingo printed mumu billowed like a parachute around her as she plunked herself into one of two chairs intact on the porch.

“Taking your sweet time aren’t you?” she called out to the red splatters.

Nothing happened.

“I’ll blow off the other leg if you don’t hurry it up. You got a yard to clean up mister.”

There was a twitch. Pink gloss smeared lips pursed in satisfaction as a hairy peach bulge started to protrude from the jagged neck.

“Merhuadijb!”

“Earl don’t talk with your mouth full. It’s rude.”

The peachy balloon of flesh inflated more, hollowing out and growing two hateful blue eyes, popping out a nose. Two nostrils curved outward and twin holes appeared beside them.

“I don’t like doing this to you Earl,” Marge said with a regretful wheeze. “You’re just a such a darn clutz!”

“Marge you bitch,” came Earl’s muffled reply.

“What was that Earl?”

Marge’s paint chipped nail rain over the zipper of the red beaded bag and Earl swallowed his next words.

“Sorry ma’am. I’m such a damn clutz.”

“Watch your language Earl. Are you done then?”

Earl felt around his neck, the skin knitting together into one smooth swath again. His right ear popped out of his head and formed into a half oval.

“Nearly.”

“Good. Now pick up what’s left of my table and clean your mess. The neighbors might come by. We can only hope.”

Blood wasn’t a new thing at Marge’s place. She used to blow off Earl’s head for fun for the kids when they stopped by. They laughed and were grossed out and thought Marge was cool. She gave them store-bought cookies and took some of the dumber ones inside with her for an “extra special treat”. She didn’t tell them THEY were the treat. She was even fatter back then and always smelled of spices. The soup pot was always on. And there were always store bought cookies.

Nothing alive went near Marge’s house anymore. But she waited. She was patient. Earl hated her but a zombie had little control when someone else was the one holding the gun.

 

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A real life letter to a Fictional man

Gaelyn was my very first fully formed creation and has been with me for half my life. He is the bar to which all other male characters are held. Every now and then, I talk to him as if he’s real, like right now. (I’m perfectly sober.)

A different take on how the last two weeks of my life have been rather than word vomiting it all out in a boring blog entry.

My Dearest Gaelyn, 

How are you doing?  It’s been awhile since I’ve written. Sorry for that. I’m sure you’ve probably noticed and silently berated me from your office. But you know me after all. You know I can get distracted. And I’m writing now! 

I was going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year actually. It was a tentative thing at first because i wasn’t sure I could juggle work and writing with domestic life. I was going to flesh out a new story idea, to which I only had the beginning conceptualized. I was hoping inspiration would come while I pantsed the rest of the story. My main goal was to just write a little every day; try to make it a habit again. 

I ended up writing only 300 words in the first week. 

Why? Well I can tell you with absolute certainty it wasn’t because of procrastination. Nope, not this time! 

“Remember, remember the 5th of November.”

I had to have emergency sublingual surgery for an abscess blocking my airway. I was in the ER twice in two days and in the hospital recovering for three days. I had a drain tube in my neck for a week and couldn’t open my jaw wider than a straw would allow. 

Yep. I was proud how calm I stayed throughout the whole thing. I even signed the trach consent form without even a shudder of unease. 

I was lucky they didn’t have to trach me. It was the first thing I asked when the nurses were waking me up after the surgery. They got the breathing tube down my throat, thank gawd. And I was out cold for the whole thing. I had a brief worry that I would be one of those people where I was awake during the operation. But no! I took three deep breaths from an oxygen mask and suddenly I was out cold for about three hours. 

I can’t help but think that if you were here you’d be asking me all sorts of medical questions I couldn’t possible answer. I love your curiosity though. Honestly it was pretty gross, having puss and blood leaking out of a tube and dribbling onto my neck. It smelled vile when they changed the dressing. The smell alone would stop me dead on the Pre-Med track. I don’t know why you want to do this kind of work. Bleck! 

I think I’ll have scars from the tape rape too. What a sensitive place to repeatedly rip super sticky tape off of! Guh >_< Of course I’ll have a real scar and a knob of scar tissue that hopefully won’t end up being a problem later. 

I lost 7 pounds in the hospital too. Apparently having a clear liquid diet for four days does that kind of thing. So there’s a bonus there too. Only another 35 to go. 

You know what was strange about my recovery? I had four different people come into my room and not a one of them brought me a book or a notepad to write in. I watched TV the whole time. 

Blasphemy right?! No music, no books, no words. Not even a coloring book! I would never say it out loud but it kind of annoyed me that my family couldn’t even do this small thing for me. I mean, I’m lucky they were even able to make it over to see, considering how busy everybody is. But yeah. No books. I did watch both Thor movies and Ant Man, which was better than I thought it would be. I got to be a girl and watch some wedding shows (to which I rolled my eyes and felt infinitely wiser than the blushing brides, having been married ten years and been jaded by it). 

And then finally I was home. Weak as hell, in pain, but in my own comfortable home surrounded by words and music and fresh air. My cat wouldn’t come near me until I showered. I didn’t blame her. I reeked of blood and death. 

It’s amazing how indoor plumbing and a hot shower can revive a person’s spirit, isn’t it?

Then life returned to normal. I had to walk my kids to school with a bandage taped to my neck hiding my disgusting tube. I had to make dinner for the husband who worked all day. I had to do laundry because nobody but me knows how to do it apparently. I got frustrated by how weak I was, having to lay down after only half an hour of chores. Everything I tried to eat or drink tasted like a salt lick so I suffered with jell-o and Popsicles for a few more days and had to have my antibiotics broken in half because my neck was still swollen. 

I almost wished I was back in the hospital to be honest.

Having all that time to think while resting though had me turning back to my novels. It made me realize that I haven’t listened to my ipod in weeks. I haven’t written in my blog in a month or more and it made me realize I haven’t thought about YOU in a long while. My Gaelyn, the man who launched a thousand ideas for me. 

I really missed you. 

I know I was supposed to be focusing on my new NaNo book and I did! I got a rough outline in. I even bounced some ideas off the husband. But I didn’t listen to the Faustus playlist. It’s angsty and serious and intense. After my week, I really didn’t want to listen to Seether and Theory of a Deadman and Shine Down. I needed something gentler. I listened to something familiar and comforting. I listened to yours. 

Ahhh Gaelyn, you’ve waited so patiently for me to write your story. It’s been written for years in my head but as it is, it’s crap. You deserve better than what I’ve settled on for you. You’re such a pivotal part in the series after all and you’re my favorite. I always come back to you. 

I don’t know why, after 16 years, I still haven’t written down your story. Maybe because it grows with me and changes and I like it that way. I like putting my experiences into you and Merry and Bryce; to make you more in-depth characters. You deserve my best, even if no one else ever sees your story. I want it to be right. 

So have some more patience with me, okay? I have some things I need to work through but I won’t give up on you. Not after two decades or seven or ten. You are the one that stays because you never forget your first. I have to make you proud Gaelyn. 

I will make you proud one day. 

You’re never far from my thoughts, my friend. I’m still here. 

Ever grateful,

     Jessica

A taste of the real world: Chew and Swallow

I am not my own boss anymore.

That’s probably the suckiest thing about working retail again. I can’t decide my pace or what projects to work on. There’s always pressure to go faster and do better if I want to keep the job. I have 6 bosses. But I can’t complain. I have to keep my mouth shut and not say what I honestly feel about where I work and the people I work with. There’s no secrecy. Bitching about co-workers and bosses to other co workers and bosses will eventually make it down the grape-vine. The bitchee will find out.

First lesson: Co-workers are not friends. They WILL nark on you. (Also, I am secretly a sour puss bitch.Who knew?)

Cuz this is the real world folks, where I am just a functioning body and corporate doesn’t care. Neither do your bosses. Get the f*&king work DONE.

How I’m turning that into a POSITIVE: Learning to deal with different types of personalities makes me stop and observe people more. Some people can take sass with a grain of salt and some get concern, even offended.

Next suckiest thing is the communication misinformation that runs rampant with major chain stores. Communication is KEY in retail. GOOD* communication. Everyone has to be more or less on the same page and any disagreements about it should be handled immediately, in a calm and professional manner. (Rather than my typical “This is complete SHIT” blurted-out honesty.) My family has spoiled me by not correcting my sardonic sass. They love me regardless. Corporate, not so much.

Second lesson: Not everyone can understand or appreciate my humor so ZIP IT.

How I’m turning that into a POSITIVE: Being silent and listening will make me more approachable and less likely to be noticed by the higher ups. It also reminds me to be patient and humble, something I think has slowly been slipping from my personality of late.

Next suckiest thing is how SLOOWWWWWWWWW I am at my job!! It’s embarrassing! I haven’t worked in ten years and it shows. I’m more blind now than I was as a teenager (I actually require glasses for my job) and my brain doesn’t work quite as fast. Hard core reality check right there. I’m getting OLD. Some of the managers are sympathetic of this fact, which I appreciate. Others are not. They attempt to give me tips and tricks to increase my speed and…yeah no. It just doesn’t compute. I say “okay” and continue doing things my way. But that makes me “uncoachable” apparently.

So I get dinged and sent to the principle’s office.

My entire attitude about it (which they’ve been able to clearly see) is “Let me do my F&*KING job and leave me alone!” All these interruptions and conversations break my concentration and I lose my rhythm. But I can’t say that. When they talk to me about how off-putting I am when it comes to advice and teaching moments, I have to be a broken record and a dancing monkey. Which makes me raise my hackles. Do NOT tell me how to do the job I’m already doing!

Well…

Third lesson: Constructive criticism is a thing. It’s not nit-picking. They do really want to help (in most cases).

How I’m turning it into a POSITIVE: I hate people telling me how to do my job. HATE IT. HOWEVER, I will learn to bite my tongue and put suggestions to use in case they really are helpful. I really don’t know everything and I must be adaptable to change.

Overall, I see this as training for being a published writer. I’m not going to be to everybody’s taste and I need to find a way to accept that with grace. Hey that rhymes! How sublime!

(See? It really does always come back around to writing ;D )

I WILL become my own boss some day and write exclusively. And I WILL combat criticism with professionalism. Every experience is a lesson. Only YOU can decide what to take from it.

Good luck with life y’all.

Quickie #2 If at first you don’t succeed…

PROMPT: Why do you think some people are successful in life and others are not?

I think it depends on the amount of DRIVE and DISCIPLINE a person has to succeed. Some people can focus on a goal and try for it single-mindedly. They never give up. They take the hits and still keep going. These people want to be better than mediocre; better than their parents were maybe. They are the leaders and trend setters and rebels that press always forward, whether their goal is CEO of a conglomerate or the scientist who makes a break through with Cancer treatment.

Drive makes a difference.

But also discipline.

Something early on in their childhood set them on a course for success. Maybe it was stern parenting or a challenging school teacher. It could be enrollment into sports or music lessons. Something that required the child to focus and get through the hard stuff. Maybe it was curiosity or a real talent for being GOOD at a particular thing. Whatever it was, these special people realized that it was hard work that was always going to get them where they wanted to go so they developed a drive.

Not everyone has this quality though. Some people are fine with mediocre. They’re fine having just enough. It could be a financially poor situation that taught them to be grateful with “just enough” or a godly devotion to work on being spiritual rather than materialistic. Or it could be straight up laziness. Or entitlement; everything was given to them so they never had to work for what they wanted.

Yes, all people have dreams and goals but they may not have the will to reach for them. When one way fails they may not see any other way around or don’t have the energy to research other options. They may not even know WHAT opportunities are out there for them. It could genuinely be a lack of knowledge or resources.

I do believe that drive and discipline can be learned/taught however, for those willing to do the work. It won’t be easy at all. Changing a fundamental part of your being, even for the better, is HARD. But you have to ask yourself, is it worth it to finally know what your dreams taste like in your reality?

Quickie #1 Love/Hate Story

PROMPT: Write a quick love story. It MUST end badly. 

Girl 1, quiet, creative and meek, is sitting at her desk at school day dreaming about kissing girl 2, a sassy, bold and smart-mouthed rebel. Girl 1 is a photographer for the year book and has free license to stalk girl 2 through a lens.

One day girl 2 ambushes girl 1 and kisses her. When asked why, girl 2 replied, “Because I could see you wanted to but were too chicken shit to try.”

Girl 2 started to talk to girl 1 more and they snuck kisses in empty class rooms and bathroom stalls. Girl 1 found she quite liked kissing girl 2 and they slowly came together, a small and lovely romance budding.

And then a news article came out in the school paper with a picture of them kissing as a headliner and a piece underneath it about LGBTQ. There was an immediate back lash. The school was divided Pro and Con. Girl 1 was devastated about the article and she hid in the bathroom like a frightened 6 year old, crying hysterically. Girl 2 came in, having an opposite reaction. She was pissed and ready to get revenge. She wanted girl 1 to stand up for them, to fight for what she wanted, to throw their relationship into the teeth of the criticizers.

Girl 1 couldn’t do it. She didn’t like the spotlight; she never did. It was why she was always behind the camera instead of in front of it. Girl 2 slammed a fist onto the bathroom door.

“Do you love me?” she demanded.

Girl 1 was quiet for a moment. Girl 2 repeated the question, louder.

“I don’t know.”

Three whispered words destroyed them. Girl 2 stormed out. Girl 1 ditches school for the first time ever and walks home in tears. She doesn’t come to school for three days. When she comes back, she finds her locker is graffitied and she’s been ostracized by her “friends”. She’s slowly pushed out from the year book club. Girl 2 tries to hang out and make it so that nothing is wrong but girl 1 is so embarrassed she can’t stand being around anymore. Girl 2 brings drama wherever she goes now and all girl 1 wants now is peace.

They end their romance before it ever really began.

Girl 2 moves on quickly, hurt by the rebuff and goes on a dating spree while girl 1 slowly begins to find a new set of friends; ones that have been burnt before for being “different”. The true rebels. They set up a plan to get back at the haters. A slow burning anger sets into girl 1 and she does indeed get her revenge against the author of the article using logic and legalities. One last hurrah as a nod to her relationship with the vibrant girl she loved. Girl 1 fought back, in her own way.

Abuse of the first amendment: A tale of love/hate

But any curiosity girl 1 had was stomped out for good and she never did talk to girl 2 again.

The Shine has worn off but there’s a glimmer of….something

Corporate america sucks. Or just corporate.

It’s been ten long years but I remember this now.

Money grubbing lunatics. Paying their workers a pittance to do back breaking labor and expecting results at twice the speed a machine PLUS doing everyone else’s job as well at the drop of a hat. Why do the butt-scratching monkies in the “big chair” get such a huge chunk of change when we–THE WORKERS!!!– make it for them by selling their products?

…….Can you tell the shine has worn off my new book seller job? It only took three months and it’s not even the crazy season yet. Sorry I’m not a robot, management. Why don’t we trade for awhile and see if you can do three carts in 4 hours, hmmmmmm??????? I swear it’s like working on a U-boat. Everyone had to be ready to pick up slack if someone falls. Geezus.

Well I’m not here to be a negative Nancy, although I could rant for days about everything wrong at my store. I want to talk about something more…practical?……more….positive? Some sort of “P” word, instead. It’s something that I don’t usually notice is a thing until I’m faced with such bad days and it’s a thing I am so grateful for. I don’t know how I cultivated it but I’ve learned to rely on it to get me through.

It’s the ability to turn every experience I have into a story. And I truly think this is a mark of a true writer.

Just like a dancer can choreograph to any music or a painter can see the brush strokes and colors to create a scene in their minds eye. Taking anything and everything in real life and being able to bring it back around to the thing you truly love in your heart of hearts…..that is true artistry. That’s PASSION.

Yes, I’ve had a bad day and it sucks. HOWEVER, I know that I’m going to use the injustice and indignance I feel and funnel it into a story someday. Several probably. Some angsty pre-teen or crochety old man waving his cane will be the vessel of my outrage. As I write the words, I’ll let the memory fill me up. I’ll close my eyes and remember how frustrated I felt and how the hot tears slipped down my cheeks. The horror of crying at work. The unfairness of being told I’m not doing well at my job. The miscommunication between management and their workers.

“It’s nothing personal. It’s just business.”

F%^& you it’s not personal!! I’m making is personal! And you all shall be immortalized as catalysts for my angst! May your sins be printed forever on the pages that come from me! You will not keep me down!!!!!

So thank you Barnes, for allowing me to experience how it feels to be helpless and criticized. Middle school is flooding back to me all over.

And I’m so so sorry to my co-worker for spilling my word vomit on her. I added my burden to her already sagging shoulders >.< I promise, some chocolate cookies are going to be baked for you.

All Magic comes with a Price, Dearie.

Sometimes I want to be a kid again.

Okay, ALL the time I want to be a kid again. Everything was Magic.

To them, everything has the potential to be a game and all they had to worry about was playing it. Imagination abounds morning, noon and night and they don’t give a rat’s ass who looks on while they battle dragons or fret over princes rescuing them. Only the adventure matters.

As adults, we lose this magic. Real life interrupts the adventure and evil villains like Bills and Work appear to shackle us with eternal slavitude. (Seriously Disney, make a Bills and Work Villain. Make kids NEVER want to grow up!) Thankfully, we have at least one saving grace, besides questionably healthful drinks like whiskey and coffee.

Yep. BOOKS. (Surprise, surprise 😉 )

Anyone can be an arm-chair traveler! We can sleuth as Sherlock and spelunker with a sexy tour guide in our mind, make dinner, pay bills, and come back to the adventure whenever we’re able. We can visit France, eat pan au chocolat, sip une tea citron and water the garden at the same time. Probably the only bonus to being an adult. We’ve learned to multitask. Reading is a wonderful escape from reality and a piece of recaptured childhood.

There’s something about being a kid that is so magical and carefree. But parts of it really should stay as magical memories. The neighbor girl that you played with and moved away (that you later found out became a crack whore). That trip to Disneyland where you only remembered Mr. Toad’s wild ride (and not getting lost in the mirror maze and screaming your head off till someone rescued you), or going to watch a movie with your parents on a SCHOOL NIGHT (then getting sick later from the popcorn and red vines).

As an avid writer and reader, I can extend this concept to books as well. Books that really should have stayed in my childhood out of self-preservation.

A few years ago I started to re-collect all the books I’d read as a child. The ones teacher’s used to read to us in class and book series I read that I enjoyed. I was so excited to have them again and share them with my own kids. I felt it was important to preserve these friends of mine and even re-read a few to refresh my memory.

This was a mistake.

It came with a price. Cuz all Magic does, right Rumple?

The price was that my standards have risen.

Children are fairly easy to please. The bad guys are conquered and the hero wins. The guy gets the girl in the end. The lost puppy finds his way home. Throw in a little action and some kissy scenes and most of the demographic is happy.

We ENJOYED these stories so much. The simplicity of knowing everything will be alright in the end and that there was always another adventure waiting for us on the book shelf.

Not really so satisfying as an adult. Adults require puzzles and challenges and angst. Something a little more meaty than a kissing scene or a skirmish. We need characters that don’t have all the answers immediately after they come up against a problem and that are multi-faceted enough to seem genuine. Adult readers demand more than children or Young Adult books often give.

But it’s still nice to have the memories. Tread softly with childhood my friends. Preserve them like a rare first edition tome.

Alright! Moving on!

So we’ve covered the reader part of this great magical tragedy. What about the WRITER part of it?

Ahhhh yes let’s flip this problem around on the authors.

How many times have you browsed book shelves and found a series you liked so much that binge read all of them in a week? The author held your attention the entire time and you became so engrossed in the plot you missed several meals and held your pee till the very last second? More than a few I bet. You’ve raved about these books to friends and family and wished the writer would come out with more but they don’t.

Well alright. You move on and you shelve the series under “Most Beloved” in your mind. You might re-read them over the years, like visiting good friends and discover some things you never knew or had forgotten. Your opinions might change and characters that were once your favorite may be knocked off their pedestal in favor of the funny side kick or “one-liner Bob”. You still wish there were more books to enjoy, that you didn’t have to quit the adventure so soon.

What happens when the WRITER wishes this?

…..this is where it becomes tricky my friends. And this is where my heart feels so well–disheartened.

So a writer really enjoyed penning the series you raved about. It was well-rounded, poignant, action packed and maybe even won an award. They sweat, toiled, cried and bled and spun straw into solid gold. Probably thousands of dollars worth of gold. Once they finished the series, they sat back and smiled and got through the book hangover with a good long vacation and maybe a book tour a little later.

Jump forward ten years.

They have several more books or series under their belt now. They may or may not have been more successful with them. They may or may not have won awards or had more tours. Sitting in their grand houses in their special writing room, they look around, trying to drum up some inspiration.

Hmm….What next?

Then something catches their eye. It’s THAT series. YOUR series. HMMMM. There was a lot of potential in that series huh? Things seemed to come together so well and there were a lot of things they meant to do with it. Characters they wanted to flesh out with a side story or two or maybe an origin story. And there was the one villain that didn’t quite fit into the first part of the series but maybe with some tweaking—

I honestly don’t know WHY this happens. Really. IT’S A TRAGEDY!!!!!!

I’m going to be truthful and say that I have NEVER come across a book series that has had a successful return to life.

NEVER.

They all were zombiefied versions of an author that was ten years younger, had a different mindset and different circumstances. I feel like when writers try to resuscitate a long dead series that they’re looking at their tux or dress from prom and confidently thinking they can slip back into it with ease, ten years later. “Nothing much has changed! I’m still as fit as ever!”

Guuhhhh. Seeing fat authors in skinny jeans is something you can never un-read. Trust me. It ruins everything and it taints your previous enjoyment of the beloved book series.

They don’t notice that particular brand of  magic is gone and the price that has been paid is that they have become a different author. 

I made my bestie Owen swear an oath to me. He had to swear to me that when I become successful author and in a decade I even THINK about trying to add on to a series I’ve written, he has to flog me until the idea passes. This is how passionately I believe that once dead, keep dead.

There ARE exceptions of course but this is where tricky comes in.

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is one such exception. I say this because the book isn’t about Harry, Draco, Hermione and Ron. It’s about their KIDS. They’re parents in this book and have minimal parts to play. Books written within the same WORLD I think have more success with resuscitation. Genuine “It LIIVVESSSSSS!!!” Frankenstein moments. If someone were to make a continuation of the Narnia series for instance or the Dark Crystal series with only peripheral mentions of characters past, that’s acceptable. (Sorry I can only think of fantasy examples. It is my genre after all.)

Also tricky is when a reader first comes to the series and is able to re-read through the entire old and new halves of it in one go. It may not affect them at all and they simply cannot see anything wrong with the skinny jeans. But to me, it’s like binge watching all the Star Wars. ALL of them. 1 through 7. (Or is it 8 now? I’m losing track.) There are huge glaring differences that CGI and flashy tech simply cannot dazzle me enough to forget.

I’ve learned to be wary when it comes to books from my past. Childhood should be preserved. You should be a kid again of course; just do it the adult way. Don’t try to recapture what you had because you’ll pay the price. It’s not worth it, believe me. I’m writing this blog post to pass on what I’ve learned to you and to my future self. You can agree or disagree. We’re human and have opinions and free will. I’d welcome a comment about your opinions if you feel obliged!

—————DON’T DO IT!!!!!!!! FUTURE JESS, DO. NOT. DO. IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!—————-

😀 Have a pleasant experience my friends and followers. Tread carefully.