Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Knight

Ride, ride, errant knight
with sword and steed
and belly full
of bread and mead.

Ride, ride noble knight
with sword and steed
to spread the word
and noble creed.

Ride, ride errant knight
Strike out vile and greed
Travel still farther
Vanquish evil deeds.

Ride, ride noble knight
with sword and steed,
gallop full speed
to defeat the seed
of earthbane and fiend.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

On Love

Last week, some of my friend broke my heart in individual confidences of loneliness and hopelessness. They opened their ribs and showed me their atrophied or mutilated hearts, and I wasn't sure how to treat such a severe wound to the human being. When the ache of the hurting heart hammers between the ears, one becomes temporarily deaf to the muffled words of caring friends.

I was glad to know they'd come to me, though. I have not known such pain in years, but my friends ask me. I think my best friends ask me because they knew I was "that girl" in elementary, middle, and most of high school -- the one that people said "Ew, only Barbara would ever date you" or leave love notes in my locker with some poor soul's number on it knowing I'd desperately call it, hoping, maybe, that my own shriveled heart could know peace. My, though, how the ugly duckling blossoms!

I spent a lot of my youth with older folks. I didn't care for the bullies that swarmed the schools and playgrounds. I liked to talk to the special education teachers during recess in elementary school, and I played chess with the college kids and teachers in middle school. I went to every English Festival with Mrs. Kovach and drove her nuts with every spare second she had. When we moved to New York, I did more of the same, because I knew I was still the underdog. I volunteered at the hospital and made some friends. Mostly, I just wanted to enjoy sidewalks and flowers.

A sagely woman at the hospital told me the most important thing I've ever heard about love. Our acquaintance at the emergency room reception desk was recently, disastrously divorced. He was tired of the usual coaxes and was failing every blind date his friends had set him on. The sagely woman told him:

"Love is like a car accident, Dave. You can never see it coming."

I could feel the words sinking, but our friend and I were incredulous. This woman had been married for thirty years to a man that was sitting at home, building a library and fixing up the house for his wife and him to enjoy. Then again, anecdotal evidence is the weakest of all cases. I shrugged and helped more folks find room numbers and friends.

See, though, love is like a car accident. If you're trying to do everything you can to keep yourself out of an accident, you're going to be okay. You check both ways three times at the stop sign. You wait just a second at the green light to make sure that cheetah coming at you stops at the red. You keep distractions at an absolute minimum and you check your tires. Nothing is going to catch you by surprise today, old sport. You're going to get to your destination without a trouble.

It's when you have a plan, a thought, an obsession that preoccupies you, a single idea that won't let your mind keep your guard up, that you don't take that extra second at the light. That's the moment that some mad idiot comes slamming into your life and paralyzes it, and you can't seem to stand up right. Your life is changed forever. You didn't see it coming. You certainly didn't ask for this mess. But it's here, and it's not going away.

I have yet to find a more appropriate metaphor for love. Car accidents are scary. I've been in enough of them to know I never want that to happen again. I've yet to find a better metaphor, though, for the suddenness, the vulnerability of those involved, the casualness of the events leading up to such an event. It's these big and little things that make this singular idea so immortal in our entertainment and desires. Love is so 10,000 years ago and yet strange beyond belief even as we explore distant planets and decode the human genome.

I believe in love at first sight. I'm a fantasy writer -- of course you know I believe in it. But I didn't believe in it until I was caught suddenly and powerfully by surprise one October day after a horrid breakup. I thought I'd prepared myself against all surprises, and I was wrong, and here I am. Everything has changed, but that's okay. Change is okay.

One day I'm going to write about the day Alex and I fell in love at second sight. That will be after some short stories finally get posted up here.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Soul

The soul is a feathered thing
residing in a golden cage
the body.

It must be fed with gentle hands
and watered with aqua vitae

Sometimes it dips its warm head
into its water dish
and dances about
shaking the droplets from
its soft feathers.

Rarely does it jump about
eager to leave its cage
and we must coo and whisper
and we must nourish and play
until it is calm again.

When the cage door opens
the feathered thing hesitates
only for a second
before it learns
how to fly again.

And it flies and flies
until it is wounded and tired
and must find another golden cage
to rest in.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Summer's coming, and that means I'll finally have some time to write. Yay! This semester has been pretty rough, but nothing will compare to last semester (domestic animal biology AND organic chemistry?!) Please be patient.

I am in the process of submitting to some writing contests. One is a competition for crime-writing, which I've always wanted to give a try. Some are creative nonfiction. Some are literary fiction. A couple are fantasy short story. I'm expanding my horizons. Mostly I'm trying to get publishing credits so literary agents will feel more comfortable trusting me and maybe (hopefully) ask for a full manuscript (soon).

Oh, and I submitted Crimson Promises to a very few agents. Of course, it wasn't until the manuscript was on its way to New York that I learned that I had to print it on the most expensive paper I could find. Gr. Not that the paper I used was cheap (it was the good stuff the grocery store had!) but it wasn't the 100-bright Hammermill 30-lb/500sheets stuff I NOW have. Quite heartbreaking.

Hopefully the agents will see past this error and fall in love with Justin anyway. The more I have to practice these query letters, the more I love Justin, and I didn't think I could love him any more. I think that's the most important thing I learned in this year's ENGL 2810 -- that a foolish character is the most sympathetic one. My mentor told me she loved Justin because he was stupid at times but noble, and that he was sympathetic because he was so lively. Hopefully the agents will love this lovesick, loyal young man and want to see how his tale pans out.

Anyway! I am not going to post these short stories I'm cooking until at least late Fall when the contests are over. I have thought them over and drafted them, and I would like some reviews. In the meantime, I have thought of a new story that I will probably start posting here. It's my style -- adventure, love, magic, fantasy world. It kind of fits into the Promises world, but not really.

If I have no luck with Crimson Promises (and I worry, of course) I am going to finish Anatha's Light and Inner Secrets. People loved Inner Secrets. Maybe I should work on it next. I don't know.

Oh, and poetry will go here, but you all know I'm not a big poet. I mostly use it to stretch those creative muscles. I'm a long-distance writer. These sprints kill me.

Why haven't I been posting my writing circle pieces? 1) because they are a little bit personal and I'm not ready to post them... quite yet 2) because the one I do want to post isn't finished yet. And that will be the first thing I post here when I run like an ostrich in the Savannah off of this campus in 13 days, 7 hours. That, and Seth the Mage. I really like Seth and I'd like to finish his tale soon.