Poor Unfortunate Soul

Passion: a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept

I’m beginning to wonder if Passion isn’t a unicorn.

Or maybe a natural talent. Like, some of us have it and others don’t.

I don’t know if it’s cultivated at a young age; being the lucky kid that has parents that expose you to different kinds of things so you can have a chance to find out what you really like to do. Or merely liking something and being curious enough to stick with it and nurture it.

Maybe I’m thinking about the definition too acutely. Maybe I think passion is supposed to be a zealot-like, all-consuming devotion, like those people who give up all worldly possessions and dedicate their life to saving the rain forest.

Either way, I have zero passion in my life. I LIKE writing. I LOVE reading. I really want to lose weight and become a healthier person. I don’t have any strong desire to fight for any charity or injustice. I don’t really care about saving animals going extinct (although I wish it hadn’t come to that in the first place). Laziness beat all these out. Work? Pfffft! Oh, and forgetfulness helps. My short-term memory is shot to hell.

I’m a little jealous of these artists that can bang out books every year or clothing lines every season or produce awe-inspiring paintings for top-notch galleries. What drives you people? It it the love of creation? Is it the memory of a grandparent whose words inspired strength and resolve? Is it the illness of a sibling living life to the fullest while they can?

Why don’t I have this? Did something stunt me as a child and block some fundamental necessity to cultivate passion? Is it a personality flaw? Can it be fixed?

I was never disciplined enough as a child to stick with much of anything, except school and books. I wasn’t interested in anything enough to pursue it wholeheartedly but I was interested in everything. Clothing design. Drawing. Baking. Embroidery. Interior design. Quilting. Guitar. Choir. Calligraphy. Clay sculpting. Mixed Media Arts.

Jack of all trades, master of none.

Can one LEARN to be passionate or is “disciplined” as good as it’s going to get for me? Maybe I have to get through one to have the other? Is it depression submerging me in doubt and I just can’t see clearly? Maybe I haven’t found that ONE THING that fires me up and makes me happy to be awake every morning.

I thought for a second just now that I don’t take pride in anything and that was my problem.

Some people take pride in their homes. How clean they are and how nicely decorated. Some people take pride in their work. Some take pride in raising their families or being a devout (Fill in the blank ______ ).

None of those really apply to me. I’m happy to be able to do these things with some modicum of competence but eh. That’s life. What I do take pride in though, is making things well. Trying a new recipe and it turning out delicious. Seeing something on Pinterest, copying it and making it better than I’d hoped. Being given a task and having the person who gave it be pleased with my accomplishment. Making pretty things for people and getting nothing back.

I take pride in being generous and kind. I take pride in being able to create beautiful, quality things. I take pride in making people happy.

Still doesn’t help me with my writing though. Really, it’s somewhat of a distraction, making all these pretty things. Not complaining. Just saying. Cuz it always comes back to writing.

I thought for sure Writing books was my Thing; my passion; the thing I HAVE to do every day or I feel anxious and shitty and half a human being. Turns out I can go MONTHS without writing a single word! That’s not passion. Is it? I certainly think about writing a lot. I have conversations with my characters out loud sometimes. I write scenes in my head. I funnel my emotions into different scenarios. I make music play lists to guide me through the stories. I think about all the things I SHOULD be doing like character bios and plot lines and back story.

Thinking is good. At least the desire isn’t completely gone.

It seems writing won’t give up on me. Maybe it’s a stubborn as I am, waiting for me to get a grip. As it stands, it’s literally dragging me face down across the glass-strewn ground that is my life, walking determinedly forward. My wrist aches, my heart is dead, all I want to do is sleep and yet…it’s still there. So I ask:

Can Passion merely be the thing one comes BACK to?

Are there levels of passion out there? Some gently simmering for longevity and others blazing strong like the sun for a short until a project is done and then fizzling out? When can I have some? Share the wealth!

For reals I know that to be an author it takes work and time and experience. And practice. And planning (which I’m rubbish at). That Maya Angelou quote never seems to be far from my brain as a reminder:

“When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come’.”

So it comes down to forcing my fingers to move until passion/inspiration/motivation strikes? What a sad existence I have at the moment. But I know that eventually, after my first book is published and I look back, it’ll all have been worth it.

But still…damn. A little heavenly light can shine on me any time now. I’d appreciate the boost ❤

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SQUIRREL! Errant thoughts of a writer who is blocked

I can’t move my fingers.

They are reluctant to obey me.

My brain refuses to churn out any sort of ideas and words simply won’t come. Playlists don’t work. Word sprints don’t work.

Nothing will come.

________________________

“What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me?”

I sing this randomly during the day. It was from a hulu commercial and got stuck in my head. I sang it once in my high school choir. I think I blocked out the memory because it wasn’t until I got to the chorus that I even remembered I had.

Darn Ear Worms. But at least it was something good, right?

_____________

I have a shameful secret.

I’ve read 11 books in two months.

That’s not shameful though. What IS shameful is that I’ve read them on my Kindle. My brand new Kindle that I swore up and down I would never own.

The Kindle that saves space and trees and has free books I can save to my account on Prime and Good Reads. The Kindle that has page-free convenience, which also means hands-free, which means snacking and reading at the same time.

The Kindle I bought a special leather cover for that was made to look like a book.

It was blue. Dark blue. A color I don’t normally gravitate to. Beauty and the Beast blue.

__________________

I don’t know if I could ever live in a Tiny House with my family. If I was by myself  or with a partner then yes. If we could travel together then definitely yes. I could see myself in a Gypsy Caravan.

I have too much stuff. Too many clothes. Too many crafts.

No that’s not true about the crafts.

But the stuff, yes.

I either want a big sprawling house with four bedrooms and a large, lush yard or a Tiny House. $430K or $30K.

Man I wish I could afford either. Instead I’m in government housing in southern California.

_____________________________

I like looking at Wedding Dresses. So many fabrics and styles. Ugly, beautiful, intricate and plain.

Somebody dreamed those up. They took the images from their heads and put it on paper and then sewed it into a dress. The completion of an artist’s dream and the pinnacle of a bride’s dream.

I like looking at women in wedding dresses. No matter what they look like or where they came from, they all share the same shining hope. They have the sparkle of a woman in love, dressing up in the most beautiful outfit she’ll ever own, to walk toward the partner she wants to spend the rest of her life.

Every lady deserves to feel like the star of the show; a modern day princess, at least for one day (although it really needs to be more).

Even if most wedding receptions suck unless you have thousands of dollars to spend.

Weddings. Guh.

________________

I am so grateful for my cat. I’m glad I didn’t get a dog.

She’s brought so much joy and tranquility to my home. She’s affectionate and hilarious and protective. She loves music and having her shoulder blades scratched and she doesn’t mind so much when I pet her belly anymore. She doesn’t even mind when I call her Fat Girl. Winter was good to her.

(Thanks mom, for the extra food!)

When I call her, she comes and maow’s at me, blinking up at me with her yellow-green eyes.

She knows where home is and she doesn’t let any other cat near. Or dog for that matter. Unless she doesn’t have a choice.

She loves her collar. She won’t let me take it off to change it.

Sometimes she’ll sit at my feet when I’m at the computer and reach up with her claws and hook into my thighs until I rub her head. And keep rubbing until she can’t hold on anymore. My skin has permanent claw pricks. I’ve gotten used to the sting.

I get slow blinks and I am often a snuggle partner when we read together on the bed. She sleeps between my husband and I find myself pressed up against the wall in the morning to give her maximum room.

She loves new blankets more than anything, especially quilts. Fresh out of the laundry and folded as thick as they can get is preferred.

___________________________________

Sometimes I miss being in choir.

I couldn’t read a lick of music. I just knew when a dot was higher on the line, my voice needed to go higher.

I could match pitch though. As long as there were others to match with.

Never did I ever try out for a solo.

I liked being part of a group, working toward the same goal. I liked the music and the way my body felt after singing.

Like it was vibrating.

Like a bell.

I still want to punch my high school choir teacher in the face. Or maybe in the throat. What an asshole. Chipmunk man.

I’ve sadly lost my singing voice to age, child birthing and obesity.

I tried a karaoke game with my kids and I couldn’t even get through 5 songs without my vocal chords seizing up.

I’m sad I’m an alto/tenor now. I miss my soaring soprano voice.

Sharp Edged Snow (#10)

A piercing scream had me sitting bolt upright from a dead sleep, smashing my forehead on the top bunk support beams. Tears pricked my eyes as I stumbled out of bed and made for the door. I kicked toys out of my way, avoiding the Barbie shoes and Lego pieces with experienced steps.

“Gabby! What happened?” I yelled into the empty hall way.”Is Fritz okay? Where’s the baby?”

“Sasha it’s SNOWING! Come here!”

I could hear Fritz singing loudly and baby Jeanne laughing, probably at his goofy faces.

So the shriek was of delight, not fear. My stomach unclenched a bit and I detoured to the bathroom to look at the faint black and blue egg rounding on my head. It bled a little and I slapped a band-aid on it. I’d be the butt of all the unicorn jokes for the next week. Sometimes siblings sucked.

I huffed at my reflection, hazel eyes and curly dark brown hair I threatened to cut off every other week. But Mama liked my long hair so I kept it. I grabbed a hair tie and wove it into a braid while I traveled through the maze of hallways in Grandfather’s mansion. Having lived there for most of my life I didn’t really notice the priceless paintings hanging on the walls or the museum quality vases and statuettes on pedestals anymore. We lived in his ancestral home, passed down from Bromser Grandfather to Bromser  Son since it had been built. The accumulation of wealth was staggering when you thought about it all at once but I was a teenager. What did I care for art and dusty books when there was TV and Kindles?

I did notice the gaping holes in the floor where workers were replacing the plumbing and the buckets of plaster surrounded by smoothers and scrapers for the crumbling ceiling. Three out of the six bathrooms were in disarray, being re-tiled and caulked. There were paint chips and furniture catalogs sitting on boxes in corners.  There were hazards everywhere, thanks to Mama and Grandfather.

They had a crazy idea to turn the Bromser estate into a hotel or a bed and breakfast or something, which meant it needed updating. For me, it meant hazards to keep the younger kids away from and summer break would be spent painting and shopping. Ugh.

Down one flight of steps, two flights and I walked into the main foyer. The excitement got louder and I followed it into the informal living room where we spent a large majority of the day since that was where the big screen TV and computer was.

“Sash! Can we go out? There’s so much of it. The ground is nearly covered!” Gabby, the second youngest, looked at me with wide hopeful eyes that looked just like mine and she dragged me to the large window. She gave me a second glance and a little frown. “What happened to your head?” I ignored the question and peered outside. There was indeed a large swath of white covering the lawn. For a moment I swelled with excitement. Snow! We’ve never ever gotten snow this late in Spring!

“I bet I can beat you in a snow ball fight, Unicorn brain,” Fritz said, grinning at me. I rolled my eyes. So predictable. He carried baby Jeanne who slapped the window and drooled, making baby sounds of excitement. I scoffed at his bet, turning my nose up at his ginger hair. He was Grandfather’s “mini-me”, the only one in the family with orange hair now that Papa had passed on.

“Like you ever have, Carrot head. You can’t beat the Queen of Diamonds.”

My nickname on the softball field. I was a beast at sports, on my way to getting a full scholarship to my top choice university. Fritz rasberried me, knowing it was true so he couldn’t say anything. “Besides, there’s not even enough yet to make a ball. A snow pebble maybe.”

“It’s still coming down. I bet we could build a snow man by dinner time.”

I took baby Jeanne away from him and wiped her slobbery mouth with her bib. She patted my cheeks, asking for “outside”.

“You’re making a lot of bets you can’t win Fritz.”

“Saasshhhhhaaaaaaaa! Let’s goooooooooo!” Gabby whined.

I stared out at the falling snow. Yeah there was no way we were missing that.

“Alright,” I relented. “Go get shoes and a jacket.”

“Yaayyyyyy!”

My siblings tore off to get ready and I found some pants and shoes for the baby, who kept insisting for “outside” and struggling against my efforts to clothe her. I stepped into a pair of Mama’s Uggs, too big still but I was too lazy to walk back upstairs. I shrugged on a flannel of Grandfathers from the coat closet and we waited for the others by the window. The wind changed direction and started blowing the snow across our porch. I frowned down at it as a few pieces swept across the wood. Since when did snow have sharp corners? And it looked kind of dirty. More yellowish than pure white.

I looked up and saw that the sky was bright blue–no clouds in sight. When did snow ever fall without clouds? That was impossible. I saw a formation of planes roaring away in the distance when I looked farther across the sky. We never saw that many planes out here either.

I cracked open the window, expecting a chilly breeze against my skin. Warm scented wind curled around me and I began to suspect something was very wrong. When Fritz and Gabby came tearing back downstairs and tried to pull open the door I stopped them with a fearful shout.

They looked at me and scowled.

“What gives Sasha?” Fritz said, annoyed.

“It’s not snow,” I whispered and I pointed out the window. “Look down.”

Fritz huffed over to me and shoved me out of the way, looking at the porch. He looked back at me with his eyebrows raised, a stupid expression on his face.

“It has EDGES, dummy! And there’s black specks on it. What has sharp edges and black specks?”

Gabby pressed her face to the window.

“Books?”

“Books,” I agreed. “Those are book pages.”

“But why?”

I took Jeanne away from the window, which made her squawk in protest and I went to the computer, jiggling the mouse to wake up the screen. I saw Fritz creep toward the door and I picked up the nearest object and threw it at him. A book.

“OW SASHA!”

“You idiot! Don’t go out there!”

His freckled face turned red and he rubbed the spot where the book hit him; square in the shoulder, where I’d aimed.

“You’re the idiot! It’s just paper.”

“And what if it’s coated in anthrax or something Fritz? What if it has the bubonic plague wiped all over it or the avian bird flu, huh?”

He crossed his arms and slouched against the wall, once again beaten by his older sister. Gabby came over to me, solemn faced. We waited for the home screen to pop up and I pinned Jeanne’s hands away from the keyboard long enough to type into google “world news”. The first article to pop up was written in bold letters “GOVERNMENT BANS BOOKS”.

“Oh my god,” I whispered and clicked on the link.

I read the article silently, scrolling slowly through the extensive article. Words like “terrorism” and “anarchy” and “control” pierced me and my jaw went slack. A yawning scream started inside my head the longer I read and my stomach clenched with nausea. This was so much worse than I initially thought.

“What?” Fritz asked, coming out of his pity party long enough to realize I wasn’t paying attention to him at all.

“They’re banning books,” I said, barely able to get the words out.

He scoffed and my hackles raised instantly.

“So what? Books are dumb. Whatever we need we can get on the internet.”

I set Jeanne down on the floor and I stood, my back to Fritz so I wouldn’t feel the need to punch his stupid face.

“It’s because of people like YOU that this even happened,” I growled. “You’d believe anything the government tells you. The internet doesn’t always boast the truth. The only true source of knowledge is books.”

“Hey I had nothing–”

“It’s not about BOOKS though!” I barked. “It’s about the government taking away our freedom of speech. They’re superseding the Constitution, taking away what makes America, America and stomping all over it. If there’s no line they can’t cross, they’ll take everything over and they just crossed that line. We’ll become a dictatorship.”

“Oh yeah okay–” His voice was dripping with so much sarcasm  I could have strangled him with it. “How do you even know what you’re reading is true if the internet lies?”

“It’s right there on our front lawn! They’re trying to control the flow of information and suppress the truth of the people. They want to do our thinking for us so we don’t question them anymore. They’ll say it’s for our own good but they just want to make us subservient sheep.”

I gave Fritz a hateful glare. “For those of you who don’t know what that means, it means slavery.”

He didn’t move or say anything. He just stared at his scuffed sneakers. I stormed over to one of Grandfather’s book shelves and pulled out a worn copy of Aesop’s Fables. I waved it at Fritz.

“This was your favorite bed time story book as a kid,” I said. “It had beautiful illustrations you would stare at while Mama read you the story and you would talk about what the stories meant. They were teaching you and giving you memories. This is a learning tool but also history passed down from generation to generation. The stories of our ancestors.”

I pulled another one out, a Frederic Nietzsche tome.

“This guy had a voice, an opinion. People idolize him for his knowledge and his truth, for being different and not being afraid to say what he saw. The government hated him and the people loved him and now they want him to disappear. What will happen when Frederic is gone; when no one remembers his truths?”

Fritz didn’t have an answer for me. Either he was too stupid to understand what was really going on or he was sulking about me being right. Again. Either way, it pissed me off.

“They’re going to destroy all the books. History. Fiction. Philosophy. Manga.”

There was a pregnant pause. I knew Fritz loved his manga. It was probably the only thing that he read and the only thing that would have bothered him about this take over.

“It’s a hostile take over, guys. And it’s only going to be the first step.”

There was so much more roiling inside me; so many more things I needed to say out loud. My siblings didn’t get it. It wouldn’t become real to them until the soldiers broke down the door and took all the books outside and burned them. It wouldn’t be real until it was too late. I wondered with an inward scoff if my Kindle account had already been wiped.

“I want Mama,” Gabby whispered, her lip wobbling at my harsh tones. She was carrying baby Jeanne, clinging to her like she would a stuffed animal, afraid to let go. Jeanne was still insisting for “outside.”

“I do too Gabby. Lets go call her while our stupid brother stays here like an angry little kid.”

“Shut up Sasha,” he grumbled and crossed his arms.

When I passed him on the way to the kitchen, I flicked his forehead in annoyance.

“Wake up, dummy. This is real life, not a movie.”

Quickie #15 Unending Books

PROMPT: What book or book series did you wish would continue when you were done reading it? 

Oh gawd. Really?

Try asking an astronomer which stars he/she wished would last forever and you’d get an easier response.

This is a double edged sword for me actually. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

I can be obvious and say “Harry Potter”. Yes I feel you rolling your eyes at me but I genuinely want it to! The “Cursed Child” play gave us a glimpse into the life after and I hunger for more. How does Albus deal with having a famous father and being in a different house? Does Rose Weasley-Granger exceed her mother’s accomplishments? Do the three heroes get back together for more adventures in their adulthood? I would read Harry Potter forever. I’m re-reading it for the third time since it finished and I watch the movies every year. Have a marathon.

Heck yes. Solid choice for me.

There are other series that I would also read forever like “Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus” by Rick Riordan and Isobel Byrd’s “Circle of Three.” It’s harder for me to think of individual books I’d like to continue but one of them is Mary Brown’s “The Unexpected Dragon.” It was a good solid fantasy read but the ending left me wanting so much more! Another one is “Good Night Mr. Tom” by Michelle Magorian and “Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher” by the infamous Bruce Coville.

Now here’s the other side of the coin.

There are MANY more series in my mouth I wished would continue. I would have begged for the books every christmas and birthday. Garth Nix “Abhorsen” series. Elizabeth Haydon’s “Symphony of Ages”. L.J. Smith’s “Night world” series. Juliet Mariller’s “Sevenwater” series. These are beloved series that I will push on people should they ask for a good fantasy story.

……….And then they DID continue them.

Oh gawd. Really?

It’s like trying to write a really intense action scene or a creepy thriller scene and you’re in a certain mood. You’re in the zone and your fingers are flying over the keyboard. Then for some reason or another, you stop in the middle and have to come back to it in a totally different mood. You can re-read what you’ve written and try to pick up the threads to continue weaving the scene but it’s not the same. Not as intense or quite the same tone.

This is what continuing a book series is like after a decade. Not quite the same magic as before. Not the same tone. Not even the same story really.

This was a promise I made to myself when I started to seriously write. I would NEVER come back to a series after it had been finished. Even if I have J.K. Rowling success with it, I refuse to go back (even though I contradict myself and wish SHE would continue her series, lol.)

So yeah. Some series are better being kept whole and perfect in a memory and I think because of this, I generally prefer to keep books as they are. When they end, they end. My wishes for more have left me disappointed.

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

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.

The Happiest Place on Earth is NOT Disneyland

So.

This post is going to be a little more personal than usual but it eventually will end up about writing. Long story short, there’s been several deaths in the family, several births, very large and painful secrets divulged, there’s been separations and divorces, my husband lost his job and I had to find one after 10 years of not working.

It’s not a complaint-fest I swear! It’s a bit of a story actually. Surprise, surprise 😉

When my husband lost his job it was right around the same time I was looking for my own employment. His employer hadn’t been paying the workers on time and that sent up a huge red flag that something was going down. The kids were older and I knew we all could handle me getting a part-time job now. Plus, it was going to be necessary.

So I went online and did the whole “job recruiter” thing. I sent out half a dozen applications a day and waited anxiously. Target called me right away for an interview and I was excited. Not to work there but about being called back. This was easy! I trotted myself down there and waited on a bench with two other beefy guys. Haaaaa…

I did everything wrong apparently. I wore jeans to the interview for one. I was so far out of the game I didn’t realize that was taboo. I was a mom for Christ sake, looking for a stocking job! Who needed to be fancy?! I was too honest in my interview and said the wrong kinds of things. Like, “What is one quality your employer would say you need to work on?” and I replied with “Speed. I’m a perfectionist so I go slow and do things right.”

*FACE PALM*

They trap you with those questions, I swear! What is the LEAST BAD thing you can say about yourself that won’t impact your job performance? Seriously. And being a perfectionist isn’t bad! Ugghhh. Needless to say I didn’t get called back. I’ve been much less inclined to shop there suddenly. Hmm. Back to the apps.

Now, I don’t know how it is for you lovely people out there in WordPress Land but there has always been a job or two that I’ve ALWAYS wanted. I don’t aim high for employment so it’s not like I wanted to be a CEO or anything. I’m perfectly happy working in retail (a rare trait, might I add.) One of those jobs I had before I got pregnant with my first daughter. I wanted to work at a craft store. Michael’s hired me and I stayed there until a week before my kid was born. I was never able to go back since I got pregnant again right after my first was born. But I got to live one of my “dream” jobs!

It was wonderful! I helped kids with their art projects and I helped a young couple memorialize their deceased babies in a beautiful ceremony with reminder bracelets. I knew alllll the tips and tricks for the artsy things and I could whip out a full custom frame job in an hour if need be. I felt energized by helping people and my bubbly personality made their shopping experience better. No grumpy employee here! It was a mutualistic happy relationship I had with Michael’s. 

I did apply there first, actually. My mom works there now and my cousin worked there for many years off and on. I knew the managers by name and many of the employees knew ME because I practically lived there, shopping for one crafty project or another. It would still be a good job for me and I knew I would benefit the company.

However.

There was one “Unicorn Job” I’ve wanted since I was 18. I applied every year and always seemed to just miss the cut off. I was there almost every day of the summer in middle and high school. It was my salvation away from an abusive step father.

Can you guess that it might be? If one half of me is crafts, then the other half iiiiisssssss……??????

C’mon you can guess! I made a blog specifically for this kind of thing!

Nothing? Not a clue?

Alright, fine. I’ll tell you.

My unicorn job is Barnes and Nobles. It was and is MY happiest Place on Earth. Screw you Disneyland with your long lines and screaming kids. *shudder*

Yep! All those lovely dead trees printed with stories and facts and information. MMMM!!!!!! I knew I would be a good fit in there too if I could just get my foot in the door. I am well-read and I’m a pleasant and helpful soul. So once more, with a hope and a prayer, I tried one last time. I filled out the application and sent it in. Then I waited three agonizing days before taking my mama’s advice and going there to show my face. She always said it was better to go and let your physical presence be known to potential employers. It showed initiative.

Well. I was terrified. My interview went so badly with Target I got tongue-tied when I saw the store manager. My mind went blank. This was my unicorn job! I had to keep it together! I fumbled my way through introductions and could barely spit out what I came to ask. I was shaking and near tears. I was a mess.

She took pity on me, thankfully. I think my trembling chihuahua bit softened her and she arranged to have me contact her assistant manager to set up an interview. I walked out of the store, zombie-like, and stood by my car, in shock.

Did…did that just happen? Was that my foot going into the proverbial door of my dream job? OMG. OMG! I threw my arms up and screamed “YES!”

Well, I’m happy to inform you I am the newest part-time employee at Barnes and Nobles. YES! I did it! I didn’t get the book seller position I wanted BUT I got something much better suited for me. I joined the work force, which is basically stocking shelves and organizing, my two favorite things to do to books besides read them. I get to see all the newest titles pass through my hands and glean information here and there about what publishers are pushing out these days. My Good Reads account is slowly starting to fill up.

I did it. I can hardly believe it. I got my Unicorn job! I’m very slow, which is bad but that’ll improve with time. The holiday season is right around the corner and I need to be fully cognizant of the shelves before the crazy season begins. I adore all my co workers, who are welcoming and generous with me and my incessant questions. My managers are equal parts firm and funny. It is literally, everything I wanted.

I’m humbled working there too. I’m only a month in but so many things have been brought to my attention that I know I need to work on. For one thing, I have a poor diet of books in my library. Or rather, a very fantasy rich diet. Trying to recommend my personal selection of books to guests makes me feel like a toddler handing the “Good Night Moon” book to an adult. I need to get some meaty selections on my shelves! Some current events or some mysteries at least. I have all of my mother’s Lee Child books and picked up nary a one to read. So I’ll be working on that. 30% employee discount might help 😀

Another thing that has humbled me is looking at all the successful authors that have made it to the shelves. There are hundreds of thousands of authors at BnN. They’re the ones that have done the hard work and bled all over their manuscripts to make their dream come true. They WANTED it. They didn’t give up. What kind of writer am I to stop when the going gets tough? A punk ass one, that what.

I know that paper books are somewhat of a dying market. E-books are convenient, cheaper, environmentally friendly blah blah blah….I still don’t own a nook or a kindle or whatever. But I have a job at a book store. And I want to be traditionally published. I can only feel that me getting the job at Barnes and Nobles is a step in the right direction. I get up front information about what kind of genre and books each publisher is looking for. I can jump on trends and I can find endless inspiration on the shelves.

I am a blessed person. For all the shit I’ve been going through since the beginning of the year, I’m grateful I can still find blessings and my eyes are still opened to them. I’m excited for this new chapter in my life, even if juggling everything has been difficult. I’ve dropped a few balls but they’ll be in the air again. Once such ball has been my blog. I’ll be getting back into it again. I need to.

I’ve managed to manifest my dream retail job into my life so I can do the same with my truest and biggest dream as well.

I WILL be published. I WILL!

Take care everyone. Don’t give up. Find the blessings ❤