Still at it

I’m nearing the end of Jasmine, and it hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. I have had to delete a whole chapter, and a few scenes were eliminated or rewritten entirely, but on the whole, it’s been a fairly quick rewrite.

I have asked a friend of mine to read it for me and give me her input. I have to know if the story works, and if there’s anything that needs to be tweaked, rewritten, or deleted. I want to know if the characters are believable. I need to know if it’s a good book or not. I don’t want to waste time on a dud.

If I hear good news, I’ll move on to looking for someone to proofread the book. My real issue will be cost. I’m just a poor boy, after all, but I don’t want someone cheap who doesn’t do a good job. I need someone with reasonable rates, preferably with some experience and recommendations.

Then I’ll need someone to do the covers for me. I have absolutely no experience in making covers. What’s more, I have no artistic abilities. I’ll have to find someone at some point. I guess I can ask around. I’m sure someone can point me in the right direction.

Until then, however, I’ll tinker with Jasmine, maybe eventually settle on a permanent name for it. It was Unseen Obsession at one point, but I hated that name. Maybe someone can help me with that, too.

Day One

WritingI started reading a book. See? Already working on that resolution list. Should have put take more naps on that list because I immediately fell asleep. Not because of the book, mind you. It’s just a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I’ve been needing to catch up on my sleep. Can’t wait for bedtime!

I’m slowly filling up the bookshelves I built. I keep buying more books, and unpacking the boxes that have been stored away for years. I think I need to build another set of shelves. I have the materials. I’ll just have to draw up the plans and start cutting! Then I’ll have to buy more books. It’s a vicious cycle.

Back to the book I’m reading, I finally started to read Identity by Christa Yelich-Koth, and the subject of my next book review. I’m only a few months late. If you know me, you know how hectic it’s been the past few months. But now everything is beginning to settle down, life is getting back to normal, and work is returning to its usual routine. I’ll have to time to read, time to write, time to live a normal life.

I also have a ton of books that need reading. I seem to buy books, but I haven’t read most of them. I bought two more, ordered a third from Amazon, and I have a gift card to Barnes & Noble that is begging to be spent. I think I’ll use that to buy myself that new copy of The Lord of the Rings. I wore out my old copy.

I have a lot to do this year, and I’m looking forward to it. Have a happy 2017, and I hope you keep reading.


My promise for 2017

writewhatscaresyouAnother year has come and gone. On a personal level, this year has been the best year so far. I’ve let a lot of my anger and bitterness go. I’ve accepted some hard truths about myself. I’ve opened myself up more than I ever have. I’ve discovered that I’m capable of loving and being loved. I’ve discovered that I am able to be happy.

However, this year has not been so good as far as my writing. I’m just not taking the time to do it like I should. Work has completely taken over everything, especially these past few months. I’ve taken on more responsibilities, and in turn, it has diminished the amount of time I have to simply sit down and write. When I have the time, I’m so exhausted that I end up vegging out in front of my laptop and while away watching videos on YouTube. I love Grav3yardgirl, in case you’re wondering.

I haven’t worked on anything other than my NaNoWriMo novel, which is no where near complete. I’ve written a lot in the way of short stories, but my blog has been neglected. I haven’t done any book reviews since February, and I promised someone I’d do one. I promise to get to it in January.

My blog is suffering. I don’t receive the number of views I was getting in previous years, mainly because I’m not writing. I don’t write much because I’m busy on a personal journey, one that I chronicle elsewhere, but not ready to share with you. It’s deeply personal, one of self-discovery and acceptance, but there is still a ways for me to go before I’ll share it here.

As for reading, I’m not reading as much anymore. I miss it. I miss sitting down and losing myself within a story, of tagging along for the journey, wondering where the author intends to take me. I miss letting my imagination run wild as I picture in my mind, the action written before me, translating words into action.

So, for my 2017 resolutions, this is what I resolve:

  1. Read more
  2. Blog at least twice a week
  3. Set aside time to write on my works in progress
  4. Love more and hate less
  5. Forgive and let go any lingering resentments
  6. Exercise my body as much as my mind
  7. Learn something new
  8. Travel as much as I can
  9. Learn to live and embrace what life has to offer
  10. Be happy

This is what I resolve. I want to improve my life, to find love, to find happiness. I want to get back to following my dreams of becoming a writer. I want to explore who I am, what I am, to write about my life. There’s a lot to do this next year. 2016 has brought me closer to the person I’m supposed to be. I can’t wait to see where 2017 takes me.

Happy New Year to all my readers, and keep reading!

Short Story: The Storyteller

Glenda listened as her great-granddaughter Emily spoke excitedly about her latest accomplishment, securing the movie rights to a book she never heard of before. That was her thing, the reason she woke up in the morning, the reason she went to work as a lawyer for a movie studio. She loved the thrill of competition, thrived in it, excelled in an industry more concerned for making money than for its workers. She reveled in making obscure writers famous, at having that immediate financial impact to make their lives that much better.

Glenda’s granddaughter rolled her eyes, and Glenda struggled not to do the same. At almost a hundred years old, she had lived a long life, though not necessarily a fulfilling one. There wasn’t anything she felt particularly excited about. She did what needed to be done, what she had to do in order to keep her family alive. There was no joy in it, no reward other than a meager meal most nights, and sometimes having to go without in order to feed her children.

She felt a twinge of jealousy whenever her great-granddaughter came over to visit, regaling her with tales of the celebrities she met, the places she visited, the life she led. It wasn’t for the fact that she rubbed elbows with the rich and famous that Glenda felt jealous. No, she envied that feeling of purpose and excitement, the feeling most people never felt in their entire lives. She envied her great-granddaughter, though she didn’t want to dampen that excitement by being bitter like her granddaughter, Emily’s mother was.

On that particular trip, Emily invited her to go to the bookstore with her. “I hear there’s another book people are buzzing about,” Emily confided in Glenda. “I need to read it and see if it’s worth pursuing.”

Glenda agreed and listened as Emily went on about another book, another movie being made, and another author becoming a little better off than they had been before. When they arrived at the bookstore, they saw a group of kids in the children’s section, looking sad that their reader hadn’t showed up, again. “Kind of sad, don’t you think?” Emily said, glancing in their direction. “I remember you bringing me here as a kid to listen to Storytime during the summer. It’s what got me interested in books in the first place. It’s why I do what I do now, help bring stories to life for another audience.”

Emily walked away, lost in the aisles of books, searching for who knew what, when a child caught Glenda’s attention. A boy, or maybe it was a girl, emaciated and bald, crumpled in a wheelchair, tears falling down their face. Glenda didn’t know why she did it, the compulsion to step forward beyond her conscious thought, but Glenda put her hand on the employee’s arm and asked, “Is there not a reader for the children?”

“No,” the employee replied sadly. “Third time this month. It’s difficult to find someone to read. If we can’t find anyone soon, we’ll have to shut down Storytime for good.”

“I could do it,” Glenda volunteered, surprised at having put herself forward.

“Could you?” The employee looked hopeful. “You would be a godsend, especially for Sarah,” she pointed at the young girl in the wheelchair. “Cancer,” she informed Glenda, “final stages. Probably only has a few weeks left.”

“I’d love to,” Glenda said, her eyes trained on the young girl, her own heart bursting with emotion for the moribund child.

“It’s strictly voluntary,” the employee said. “I wish we could pay someone, but we don’t have the funds for it. Used to be that the library hired someone to read, but they stopped funding it years ago. That’s why we have difficulty finding anyone to read.”

“That’s okay, deary,” Glenda said, taking the book from the employee’s hand. “I could do with getting out of the house every now and again.

Glenda sat in an armchair under the paper tree on the wall. The children that had begun to drift away noticed the new reader sitting down and opening the book and ran back with gleeful shouts and laughs, excited to have someone read to them. Sarah, looking sick and frail, looked up with an intensity that shook Glenda, seeing a life in her that yearned to escape the prison of her body, even if only through the stories told to her by a stranger.

Emily was shocked to see her great-grandmother sitting in the middle of a semi-circle, with children listening with rapt attention as she brought a story to life. Emily listened as well, the images coming to life in her mind’s eye, amazed that so old a woman could inject a mere child’s book with such life as to almost make it real.

That was the first time Glenda sat in the reader’s chair at the bookstore, and she fell in love with it. For the first time in her nearly one century of living, she had found something truly her own, something that excited her. She began planning her next Storytime, reading the next book the store gave her to read, learning the nuances, practicing until she could act out the story for her readers.

No one appreciated it more than young Sarah. She came to life during the weekly readings. Emily made it a point to join Glenda as often as she could, transfixed by the magic the simple act of reading could conjure. Storytime grew until a new sponsor came forward to fund the it, though the sponsor refused to be named. Glenda suspected it was Emily, but she would evade the question when asked with a sly smile.

Always in front, sat Sarah, and Glenda read to her, her hand usually on her knee or Sarah’s hand clasped in her own. Glenda could not let the children down, especially Sarah, whose cancer had gone into remission, and who had grown stronger with each successive week.

And then she was gone. Glenda noticed and learned that Sarah had taken a turn for the worse. Glenda found out where Sarah was at, and began volunteering to read at the Children’s Hospital as well. Even after Sarah had passed away, after listening to one final story, Glenda pressed on, reading at both the hospital and the bookstore, knowing that this was what she was meant to do, grateful at having found her place in the world.

And she continued for years, celebrating her 1ooth birthday with the children who would never even make it to their next, their joy infectious. She read stories of knights and princesses, dragons and aliens, of good and evil, life and love. She poured herself into each book, even as her own life began to fail. “They deserve an escape,” she protested whenever someone would suggest she give up her volunteer work. Even as her body faltered, her voice was strong, bringing life to new stories and new characters.

One day, after her 101st, Glenda sat in the middle of the room, surrounded by her children, “mine,” she thought with pride. They all came, sensing perhaps that this was the last time she would grace them with her presence, though she didn’t know it at the time. She began to read, and she looked up to see a child, healthy and happy at the back of the room.

Glenda continued to read, wondering why the girl looked so familiar, or why the other kids beside her looked familiar as well. It was only after she was done reading, after the hugs and the kisses from her children that she realized who they were. Standing out in front stood Sarah, the glow from her soul palpable. “We’ve come to bring you home, Nanna” Sarah said, offering Glenda her hand.

Glenda reached up and felt the aches and the pains fall off of her. She turned to see herself sleeping peacefully in the chair, the book resting on her lap. Then she felt Sarah tug on hand and knew it was time to go. Without a backwards glance, Glenda walked with Sarah, and the other children she saw pass away. They led her home.

Short Stories

Next story – My curse
Previous story – My count

I write…

WritingI write. I write because no one cares to listen to what say. I write to purge the angst from my soul, to liberate myself from the weight that threatens to burden me beyond endurance. I write because I have something to say, a piece of me that I want to share. I write because I must.

I wish I could say that I don’t care if anyone reads what I write, but that would be a lie. I want to be read, I want for people to glimpse into that part of me, the part that I keep hidden, protected from a cold, uncaring world. I have this light that I want shone across the great expanse, but people shun it, closing their own windows, leaving me wondering what the point of this futility is.

I write, but I don’t know why I bother. To share with everyone only to be ignored is the worst rejection from a lifetime of rejection. I suppose it’s my curse to bear, and I try to bear it stoically, but sometimes the pain bursts from me unawares, before I even have a chance to shore up my defenses. Then I feel ashamed of my own weakness, but that’s the price of being human, of needing someone to accept up for who we are.

I’m a writer, and I’m a bag of paradoxes and contradictions. I’m flippant and sarcastic, but also earnest and sincere. I’m hopeful and optimistic, but broken down by experience to the point where only my pessimism is allowed to show. I want to be liked, but I’m afraid of putting myself out there, to be rejected and hated. I want to love, but love comes with the inherent risk of being brokenhearted, and I don’t know if I can survive another heartbreak.

So I hide behind my keyboard, exploring the human condition from which I separate myself. I explore love and hate, hope and despair, life and death, from the safe, ignoble distance of my imagination, but at what cost? Have I lost something of my humanity?

I write, but am I worth reading. I wonder but have no answer, and who is there who has one for me, and would I listen even if there were?