Conversations I never thought I’d have

bald eagle head

“You found what? Where?” Photo by Darrell Gough on Pexels.com

As any mom of boys can tell you, you occasionally have some very strange conversations with them. Here’s a recent one I had with my son, Cricket, about something he found in the yard.

Cricket: “Mom! We found a black and white glob of something while we were creature adventuring. You should come and see it.”

My boys love the show Wild Kratts. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an excellent show all about animals and their habitats. You can learn more about the Kratt brothers here.

Me: “Okay, I’ll be there in a minute.”

*thirty seconds later*

Cricket: “Mom, come on! It’s been five minutes already!”

Me: “I’ll. Be. There. In. A. Minute.”

Cricket: *sigh* “Okay.”

*sixty seconds later*

I venture across the yard to where Cricket is sitting, staring intently at a clump of grass. “Okay, Cricket, what’d you find?”

He looks up from the grass. “Well, we found a black and white glob of something while we were creature adventuring, and I don’t even know what the glob is.”

“Where is it?”

Cricket points. “Right here.”

I stoop to inspect the glob. “That’s dry bird poop, honey. At least, I think it’s dry. Don’t touch it.”

Cricket sighs. “I know, I know, don’t touch nature’s stuff.”

I smile. “No, don’t touch poop. Don’t touch bird poop, cat poop, dog poop, bear poop, elephant poop, your poop…any poop. Don’t touch poop!”

What is it with boys and poop? And why is Don’t touch poop a thing that needs saying?

(c) 2018. All rights reserved.

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Wild Places

I long for the wild places,
Unsullied by man,
And far from the bright blinking
Arc at the edge of the land.

I long for the wild places
And the freedom to be
Unbordered, unbounded,
Unbridled, and free.

Instead I am trapped
In a red ring of power,
Far from the meadows
And fields full of flowers,

Far from the places
I long so to see,
And far from the me
I feel I should be.

I long for the wild places
I’m not sure still exist.
I hate that I feel like
I’m no more than grist

For a mill that consumes
Every last thing in sight,
Every bulb, every stem,
Every petal of white.

I long for the wild places,
And I’ll go there someday,
Even if it means bribing
A cowboy to take me away.

(c) 2018. All rights reserved.

I sing the wind…

*taps mic*

*glances round*

Hello? Is this thing on?

Oh, good! It’s been far too long, hasn’t it? I can’t remember the last time I’ve gone…um…*checks calendar*…four and a half months without a single post. But school’s out for summer (cue Alice Cooper), and I am ready for the break. And what better way to kick off summer than with a book review?

I’ve read a ton in the last nine months. Some I enjoyed, some not so much, but today I want to talk about Windsinger by A.F.E. Smith. It’s the third book in her Darkhaven series, and it’s been sitting on my phone just begging to be read for an entirely unforgivable length of time. I don’t even know what happened; it arrived last year, but for the first time ever, reading held no joy for me, so in my phone it sat.

What’s it about? Glad you asked!

Ayla Nightshade prepares to meet with the Kardise ambassador to sign a treaty between Mirrorvale and Sol Kardis. However, negotiations are halted as the ambassador is discovered dead in his chambers, poisoned by the same bottle of taransey he and Ayla had shared the night before.

Ayla has been framed for murder and the peace between two kingdoms is at stake. Tomas Caraway and his Helmsmen must rush to prove her innocence before war destroys all they have fought for.

Along the way they discover the plans for a Parovian airship, the Windsinger, which reveal a chamber designed for a special cargo: a living one.

Together Ayla and Tomas set out to uncover their real enemies – a search that will lead them closer to home than they ever anticipated.

If you’ve read the first two books, you won’t want to miss this one, as it brings back a load of interesting characters and throws a whole new set of challenges at them. After slogging through a semester of Milton, this was a refreshing adventure that I couldn’t put down. It was brilliantly well-written, and I loved seeing how Ayla and Tomas’s relationship had grown, how Ayla herself had grown. The love they have for each other is evident, and a joy to see.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is about that love:

‘Anyone can hate,’ Caraway said. ‘It’s love that requires courage.’

But it’s not just about Tomas’s love for Ayla and their children, it’s about love for Mirrorvale as well, and really, it applies to us as well. There is so much hate in the world, and most of it’s senseless, much as in this book. If we can all remember that love is more powerful, and try to show it more in our daily lives, perhaps the world will become the better place we’d all long to see. This book is a wonderful reminder that love can accomplish anything.

In short, if you haven’t read this book, or the others, you definitely should. Pick up a copy at HarperCollins, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or anywhere that fine books are sold, and let me know what you think! After all, nothing cures a book hangover like a great discussion. 🙂

Have you read the Darkhaven novels? What did you think?

(c) 2018. All rights reserved.

On thinking

I think in other people’s words. I think in movie lines and song lyrics and passages from books. Sometimes, I even think in advertising slogans. Often, I think in sound bytes.

Why?

It’s quite simple, really. Thinking in someone else’s words is so much easier than thinking in my own. Thinking in other people’s words is safer, less painful. It keeps me from having to dig deep, from having to face uncomfortable possibilities.

Thinking in other people’s words keeps me from really getting to know myself. And therein lies the problem.

If I never dig deep enough to find out who I am, do I really exist? If  I think in other people’s words, am I a real person, or simply a copy of a thousand other selves? A clone?

To think in other people’s thoughts is to blend into the background, to be an indistinguishable part of the whole. I contain multitudes, but I don’t stand out from them.

Sometimes it’s necessary to stand out, to stand on one’s own. But by thinking in someone else’s thoughts, I keep myself chained to a pole, unable to stand on my own.

I am a sapling in a biosphere, immune to the wind…until the transparent sphere falls away. Then I will fall, for my roots are shallow and weak.

I think in other people’s thoughts, but I really ought to stop. My own thoughts have value and meaning, and it’s time I recognized that fact. It’s time I came up with a few thoughts of my own.

If I want to leave my mark on the world, I won’t be able to rely on other people’s thoughts.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Deep Thoughts

What do you say when fear rules your thoughts? When you’re afraid to ask a question because you’re afraid you won’t like the answer, how do begin a dialogue?

Nothing. You say nothing.

What do you say when the conversation’s over? When all the laughing stops, how do you get it started once again?

Nothing. You say nothing. Because sometimes, you can’t.

What do you say when you fear to know the truth? When you’re afraid that the lies your brain tells are true, how do you separate reality from falsehood?

Nothing. You say nothing.

How do you put fear in its place when it looms so large beside you, behind you, before you?

I really, really, really wish I knew.

I live in fear. I think I always have. There’s so much in this world to fear, after all – rejection, failure, acceptance, success. I fear to know the truth; I fear to know the lie. I fear the lie is true and truth a lie.

I fear. I fear. I fear.

I dream, I hope, I long for things I know I’ll never have, and all in an attempt to subvert the fear, to free my heart and mind. Living in fear is exhausting and wreaks havoc on your mind and body. I no longer want to live in fear, but I have no idea how to put it all behind me.

Fake it till you make it has not always worked well for me.

I try to be positive, so I want to end this on a high note, but I don’t know that there is one. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again is rather a cliché at this point, but perhaps that’s what I need to do. Just keep on trying.

Just keep on swimming.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Dream World

A lake of fire gleams
In the west, a warm end to
The remains of day.

The eastern sky is
A pastel rainbow, capped by
A gleaming full moon.

In light or in gloom,
In cold or in warmth,  nature
Inspires my dreams.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Golden Coup

Nothing gold can stay, says Frost,
And surely he would know.
For if the gold had not been lost,
He would have told us so.

Nothing gold can stay – it’s true.
But maybe if we try,
We can execute a coup
And turn that truth to lie.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Brain dump

They move in the mist,
Creatures of old-time myths.

***

She clung to the cup.
Her frigid fingers curled round the paper,
Desperate to draw
The last ounce of warmth
From the lukewarm liquid sloshing inside
As she scurried from building to building
In the bitter fall rain.

***

I want to be the next Great American Novelist.
I want to write great litrashure.
“You’re a great writer. You just have to find your story.”

***

I’ve been writing in fits and starts for three months now. In a burst of inspiration, I jot down the brilliance (because let’s face it – when you’re a writer and the spirit moves you, it (whatever it may be) is always brilliant) that comes into my head like medieval grace. But then, hours or days or sometimes weeks later, when I return to it, the grace is gone, and I can no longer remember where I was going with what I had written.

Not having finished anything is starting to really irritate me. The only things I’ve managed to finish writing have been for class assignments, and those were only finished with much wailing and gnashing of teeth as the deadline approached (and occasionally, as it whooshed by).

I imagine it’s going to get worse before it gets better, what with taking more classes next semester than I did this semester, and I suppose I’m going to have to accept that fact. I wish I hadn’t been so dumb the first time I did college. I wish I hadn’t let fear of failure rule my life. I was afraid I’d never make new friends, I was afraid my relationship would wither and die and I’d be all alone in the great big world, a little girl playing at being a grown-up. I think I was also afraid of success and sabotaged myself before I had the chance to succeed.

They say hindsight is 20/20, and they’re definitely right, but I wish I hadn’t always had to do things the hard way. Hopefully I won’t continue to always do things the hard way.

College in your thirties is definitely hard, especially when there are so many things you want to do that you can’t because you have a family and a job and so many things that require your attention. College in my twenties would have been so much simpler. Even if I still couldn’t have done all the things I wanted to do, at least the demands on my time were fewer.

Thank goodness, I guess, that I’m a self-directed learner.

Also, thank goodness for caffeine. Because without it, there is no way I’d have made it through this semester and no way I could make it through the upcoming ones.

All glory to caffeine! 😀

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Picture Perfect

Practice your ballerina hands, the email said, without much clarification on how to do that.

I looked down at my hands. They were frying pan hands, and the Teflon was peeling.

Practice pointing your toes like a ballerina, the email said. But I’m no ballerina, and all my practice was futile.

Practice smiling genuinely, the email said. At last, something I could do! But when I looked in the mirror, all I could see was the ruby nightmare that framed my face and glittered beneath the bright white vanity lights.

So much for that idea, I thought.

I took a deep breath and tried again. This time, instead of imagining…