Living Life #12 “Can You Hear It?”

( a collection of independent vignettes)

Can you hear it?

At first, it sounds like the release of a long held breath. The kind where there are no bills in the mail, all of the work is done for the day, and everyone is home where they belong. Relief. The feeling floods you and makes the world safe. Then, when it breathes in, you turn your attention to it. Though not always because you wanted to. Sometimes it pulls at your mind so much it gives you no choice. Don’t be alarmed… all within a certain radius sense its pull. The air it carries is infused with its own special magic.

And the sight itself is beautiful.

The water has a pattern that plays over and over. It’s hypnotizing… and endless. Breathing out and coming forward, and breathing in and pulling back. It will play this game forever… and after it captures your eyes for longer than a glance you will want to play too.

It helps if it’s hot outside but that isn’t always necessary for some. On occasion even when the wind blows frost, I’ve witnessed the most steadfast soul become drowned in just the allure of the waves.

With each step closer the sand molds to your feet and again that safe feeling returns. Each grain wants you there, and each step sinks your heels deeper and deeper into the warmth of the ground.

It doesn’t matter that by the time you reach the end of the path your arches are burning because the water is right there kissing the fire away. A reward for making the long trek across the desert to say hello.

Back and forth, teasing you and bringing that relief again and again. Why bother with the game, when the ocean whispers to you just come a little closer and we never have to part.

Can you hear it?

Just a few more steps and now the water has a hold on your ankles. It feels like ice cream on a parched throat, a shower after playing in the mud, a fan blowing in your face. Safe. Oh so safe.

It isn’t until it’s caressing your waist that you hesitate. Some don’t even realize that they have gone that far out. It’s from feeling the pulse of the wind across the water, it’s from the crushing blue color of the sky and the sea meeting, it’s from dodging the waves that never stop coming.

Maybe this is too far.

The ocean is at its strongest by the time you reach this point. Everywhere you turn there’s water and the last time you checked there was no oxygen down there. Something rough scrapes against your heel and you jump moving a little bit deeper to get away. It was probably a sea shell.

I’m sure it was.

But the last part to this play is when the ocean’s breath no longer sounds like a sigh. Listen.

Now, it’s screaming. The realization hits you fast. The water moves by itself. It has no alligience to me. Or you. It does what it wants, and right now it is holding you in its hand. The feeling of safety drains from your body like sand down a hourglass as the next wave smashes into your mouth. A bitter taste of salt and seaweed. It’s this moment that you realize you could die.

Just come a little closer and we never have to part…

The tune never changes. Even though your feelings have. So you stand stuck trapped in what was once such a beautiful thing and, though your pounding heart will now say otherwise, it still is…

Can you hear the breath of the ocean? And if you do…

Are you strong enough to beat its game?

Living Life #11 “Solid Land”

(a collection of vignettes)

I bet I could catch him if I tried.

Like a goldfish in a mass of sharks I was trapped. With one arm pinned behind me and my other thrust forward with the paper in my hand I had to find a way to swim through. To my detriment though this wasn’t an ocean of water, but of concrete and business suits.

“Excuse meeeee.” I tried, squirming from under one elbow to another. The heat wasn’t helping anything. Beads of sweat were collecting at my temples and no matter how many times I ducked or swiveled I couldn’t escape the throng. There wasn’t time for this. I would need a different approach. “MOVE.” Well. That was more effective. “Please.”

A gangly guy with slipping glasses and a goatee moved immediately and the bald headed man in the pinstripe suit raised an eyebrow but to his credit knew when to follow an order. Even when it came from the mouth of a short girl with a ponytail of frizz. Couldn’t be helped.

A car horn blew by and between one breath and the next the mad dash of traffic running parallel to me dwindled to a trickle. No. Not yet. Just as my feet reached the corner of the street the crosswalk signal turned red.

“No.” I said out loud. Stretching in my sneakers, my eyes scanned ahead. Past the skyscrapers and coffee cups there was an endless sea of people, but there was just one fish I needed to catch… there. Just past the hot dog stand, right in front of the entrance to the park was the navy blue baseball cap.

I took a step forward. That’s when the horn hit me loud and clear. Right in front of my face the blur of a taxi rushed past, and I teetered back to the curb. That was close. The rest of the traffic stampeded past in front of me and the herd behind pushed like hammerheads testing the confines of the cage, but I kept my eyes locked on that cap just until it rounded the corner of the next block. The breath left my lungs.

The crosswalk light lit up. Deep breath in. I bolted, as did the rest of them. Being at the front of the pack was easier than being trapped in the middle. In no time at all, I distanced myself and took up the next challenge of weaving through the others floating along the street. The elderly couple I swung around shouted at my back, but I just crushed the paper tighter in my hand. The mother of three I was sure didn’t even see me breeze by, but her kid in the stroller giggled when I jumped over his fallen toy. After some awkward eye contact with the hot dog guy, his white shirt stained in unflattering spats of red and yellow, I whipped to the next corner and turned right. I stopped short.

The avenue was near empty. There was no sign of the cap.

With my heart pounding in my chest, my hand crunched to a fist at my side and my face wearing a defeated expression… I had lost him.

The paper crinkled. In my pursuit it had turned into a mess of wrinkles and creases. The once pretty note, no longer looked as pristine as it did when it had accidentally fallen out of his backpack and then against my ankle, blown back by the wind.

Do you ever feel alone
even when the whole world
is pressing against your sides?
(The water pressure
pulling you down.)

Why hadn’t I opened my mouth sooner? As soon as the damned thing had touched my skin, why didn’t I open my mouth when you were only a few yards away? Because… as soon as my eyes caught the words on the page I had to finish reading it.

Do you know
how the words you say
no one seems to understand?
(Speaking goldfish
in a tank full of sharks.)

The edges unfurled in my hands, the pen lines running slick with my own sweat and disappointment. The letters, all loose and flowing like water down a stream, trailed into marks on my fingers.

To what end
would you go
to find the answer
you need?
(How far down
into the sea
would you swim?)

This poem wasn’t mine to keep. But nor could I throw it away. That would just seem wrong. If I hadn’t read the whole thing would I have even gone this far to give it back to you? Probably not… but it didn’t matter now.

And what if
when you arrived…

I looked down the avenue once again.

you were still left dumb.

Every new face that appeared around the corners, and hopping out of cars looked the same to me…because none of them were wearing navy blue baseball caps. To no one I muttered, “You didn’t even finish it.”

It was easy to move when there wasn’t a crowd around you, and I got to the concrete wall easily enough but an unsettled feeling tugged at my stomach. After all the trouble, I had come up short. Pulling a pen from my purse I flattened the paper against the building then paused. Then I put the pen down, letting my own curving scrawl drift onto the page.

I don’t now how long I was standing there after I finished, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. After being so focused before, my head felt dazed when I looked up into a pair of navy blue eyes. He gave a nervous smile, and gestured to the paper still flat against my palms.

“Excuse me but…” and he let the sentence hang. But that was probably my fault. Saucer wide, my eyes zeroed in on the cap and I’m sure I must have looked like an idiot but…

“This is yours!” I whipped the paper toward him, quick and self conscious. “Here, thank God. I wanted to give this back. You dropped it.” I took a deep breath and a step back. His eyes roved over the sheet and now I was feeling embarrassed. Maybe best just to go. Another step back, but then my mouth got the better of me. “Sorry, I thought I lost you so I…”

“You finished it.”

To the surface
you’d float
spitting water from your chest.
And think maybe this won’t
turn out for the best.

“Well… I…” Cue the nervous laughter. “You can just cross it out.”

Until the air flows back
into your lungs
and out reaches a hand
to haul you back to solid land.

His eyes scanned the page again and with a quick shake of his head he said, “No. No.” I watched the cap shake side to side, it was too embarrassing to look at his eyes. It had been stupid of me in the first place. It was uncalled for to finish his work, rash to chase after a stranger, and luckless that I had decided to walk home today.

Realizing the answer
wasn’t going to come
when you called.

“It works.” he finished, dumbfounded. Wait, what? Did I hear that correctly? Rewind. His eyes met mine. They were a tad more noticeable, up close, than his hat. “Thanks.”

It needed
to find
you.

“Oh… you’re welcome.”

Snapshot 6/30/19 // S-U-M-M-E-R

Currently listening: “Señorita”– Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello
Currently reading: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
Currently watching: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Currently playing: Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories

I love summer. I love summer. I love summer. The waves brushing against my feet at the beach, the sweetness of catching mint ice cream before it melts, the hours and hours of endless daylight… and the fireworks lighting up the clearest nights. I know I’m a happier person in the summer but maybe I’m just biased because my birthday is coming up. Did I mention I love summer?

This summer I plan on:

  • Taking advantage of as many swimming opportunities as I can (I don’t have a pool but luckily all my friends do!)
  • Getting to the beach as much as I can (so many things have been happening recently that there hasn’t been enough time or energy to get out to the ocean but I’ll be damned if I don’t get to go this week)
  • Finishing the first draft of my WIP (it takes place in the summer and around the beach so now is the perfect time to get it done!)
  • Having fun and going out of my comfort zone (life’s too short to not enjoy it, so this summer I’m going to try to push myself to try some new things)

I’ve been pretty distracted these past few weeks since my last Snapshot piece, a lot of stuff has been going on… almost like a dark cloud has been over my family but I’m praying (and knowing!) July is going to be so much better than June was. I’m almost finished with Descendent of the Crane. Usually I take my time reading so I can savor the story more although this month I have been all over the place busy but I’m loving this book and NEED TO FINISH IT.

Also my TBR pile is steadily increasing… here’s a taste:

And that isn’t even a dent into THAT stack but these are the books that I’ll most likely pick up soon! I’ve been hearing great things about all of them. 🙂 American Gods I have been dying to read since I started the show and SoC I need to reread so I can be fully prepared for all the badassery that is Crooked Kingdom (FINALLY).

As for the writing schedule I’ll still be posting a little Living Life vignette every week, a Snapshot post every month, any poetry that comes to mind as well as any tag posts or anything else I feel the need to write about!

On a sidenote here are some links to some of my posts since the last Snapshot update if you are in need of reading material:

Also here are some great posts I enjoyed reading this month from some amazing bloggers:

Do you have any goals for this summer? I’d love to talk in the comments!

Till next time,


Living Life #10 ( a collection of vignettes)

“Jump”

“I would rather not.” Aly shifted from one foot to the other, and in the process took another step back. The edge was still too close for comfort.

Peter gave a bland smile. His mouth was a straight line across his face except for the slightly tipped corners. If it wasn’t for those the rest of his expression wouldn’t count as a happy look at all. It was the face that he only wore when things were not going his way… yet. Aly took another poignant step back.

“It’s not going to bite.”

Aly raised her eyes from the frigid swamp. “You can’t promise that.”

“I can promise that.” Peter, on the other side, took a step closer so that his toes were dangling off the edge. “Pools don’t bite.”

“Water does.” she huffed, tapping a toe in and pulling it out just as fast. It felt like ice, especially when the pavement under her soles felt like fire. Refreshing ice but freezing nonetheless. Aly swallowed slowly. The water was so clear she could see straight to the bottom except for where her own face stared back up at her. The reflection was frowning. Jerking her head away, she looked to the other end of the pool. The steps seemed much more promising as an entrance.

Peter’s voice was a threat. “Don’t even think about it.”

“It would be a lot easier…” she trailed off.

“But”Peter moved another precarious inch closer so the edge kissed the arches of his heels. “a lot less fun.” He mirrored her across the pool slinging his arms across his chest, and then drawled “What promise did you make to me again?” Damn him.

“It was a mutual promise.” she muttered, knowing she was in the wrong but still trying to procrastinate.

Then he said it, the real problem that she was trying to avoid bringing up.

“We only have one more summer Aly…” There it was. As if dragging out the first trip into the pool in months would prevent him from leaving.

Peter ran a hand through his hair, pushing down the brown waves the humidity had given him. A gesture she had seen him do a million times, and now once more. When he was gone, would she miss that? Would she forget all these little things when he wasn’t there to remind her of them every day? Arching his brows in her direction, Aly realized belatedly he was waiting for her to speak.

“And we promised to spend it together.” She was running out of time. “Having fun.”

“With no regrets.” he finished. “If you can’t even jump into the pool with me, there is no way you are going to survive what I have planned for next week.” He held his hand out.

Aly’s mouth went a bit dry. “Okay.” She stuck her own arm out unquestioningly, mirroring him this time. Being brave enough to jump into the pool first was easy compared to the bravery she would have to have next summer, without her best friend. “I’m ready.” Liar.

“On the count of three grab my hand.” The corners of his mouth touched his eyes. It was his real smile, all teeth and crooked to the side. “One.”

Aly braced her legs and took a deep breath, “Two.”

Then finally together they both shouted, “Three!”

They locked hands.

But in the next breath the water rose to meet them, or rather they fell to meet it and lost their grips. It didn’t bite. Peter had kept that promise, like all the others though the years. Aly had to be sure to keep hers too.

Especially the other she had made to herself.

Gasping for air, she blinked the water from her eyes and found him staring at her. “Task 1 complete.” he laughed, slicking back the hair from his face. She spit pool water at him in response just before he ducked back under.

Aly forced herself to look away. The bottom of the pool was just as clear as before and also, just like before, her reflection was frowning. By summer’s end she would fall out of love with Peter. Just as she promised herself.

Living Life # 9 (a collection of vignettes)

“Undone”

Something was watching me. My breath caught in the back of my throat and I froze.

It was a nagging feeling, the type that says the oven’s on or the door’s unlocked. Not exactly the concrete creep of a touch to the shoulder but, for the fourth time today, I felt it. I wasn’t alone. 

First weaving through the high grass as I crested the hill, next meandering over the small bridge near the lake, and then sitting on the porch outside my front door. It was there, in all those places. And it was here, right now… this peculiar feeling. The best explanation I could give would be that it felt as if all my personal, private expressions were being noted. How earlier the way my arms had swung like reeds in the wind at my sides, or how my eyes had floated down to the water to catch something sparkling, or even when one of my boots tripped over the other and I tried to walk it off like it never happened. And I had been alone. Supposedly. Until in the next breath after each of those actions I suddenly became undone.

Each and every time, I turned. At the hill all I saw was the swell and buckle of the land beyond, the lake’s water had held still as if trapped in a glass and even though I heard the door creak on the porch it was held firmly shut just as I had left it. This time I determined would be different. It would be futile to turn, so I wouldn’t. Instead I would let whatever it was come to me. 

I released my long held breath and bushed it off as if I hadn’t noticed anything at all. I placed my hands firmly on my hips and looked off to the trees ahead trying to focus. The longer I stared though the more the feeling grew. Maybe I had made a mistake. 

In the tangle of the trees that marked the entrance to the forest, I could spy not a thing out of place. There was no wind so the leaves were still and the clouds above cast the shadows long and deep beyond the trunks. There was not a hint of movement. Trying to focus on anything else I strained to hear the birds but no songs touched my ears. My nails dug a bit deeper into my hips and I tried to tell myself maybe it was going to rain and that’s all the silence was. A calm before the storm. Instead, my heart insisted on not listening to this drivel. It pounded to its own rushed beat that even my own lies couldn’t stop. The truth it hammered again and again was this. There was nothing in the forest… but there was almost certainly something behind me. 

A ghost of a touch breezed by the back of my left thigh. I stayed still. The trees filled my eyes. Look to the trees, look to the trees. But maybe I couldn’t see the forest I was trapped in for those trees. No. Don’t think like that. Choose the high road. That wasn’t real.  

A trace of a tingle across my elbow. Look. No. Don’t. Look to the sky instead and try to tell one cloud from another, even though the imminent rain would make that impossible. 

A curl of breath against my neck. Too warm to be from the lungs of the nonexistent wind. My heart stuttered releasing my own breath from its cage and I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned.

The porch, the lake, the hills against a gray sky were all in sight… and someone was there. But still… they were the only thing I couldn’t see.

Living Life #8 (a collection of vignettes)

“Starved”

Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry. If your slumped shoulders are falling to the ground, if your empty head is spinning in aching circles, if your heavy heart is painting the world in black and white that means you have already waited too long.

If only I had a will to take my own advice!

Walking through those double wide doors, my senses exploded. Everywhere in sight was the nourishment that my body was so desperately craving. Out front were the staples, basic necessities to every health conscious person. My feet flew to them as if wearing winged sandals, not my ratty black sneakers with the frayed laces, and picked up the first to touch my hand. Of course, immediately going for heavy stuff.

Hardy and filled to the brim with adventure, The Odyssey I quickly tucked to my chest. Whenever my shoulders slumped too far I could heft it up to remember that a long and difficult journey is made with the ending in mind. It would be the perfect breakfast to get me through the rest of the day.

From there it wasn’t hard to spot lunch. Moving further into the stomach of the store I found just the right thing to feed my head with twists and turns, and break it out of its mindless rut. I plucked Descendant of the Crane between my fingers. That would distract me to help keep down all the bad thoughts and still the hunger pains.

Now the last. Dinner would be the most challenging meal. It would have to be nutritious and well balanced, something with good flavor and peppered with light to get me through the night. I wandered, I searched and so many things looked quite good but not quite right.

Until… with a off handed glance what did catch my eye was Howl’s Moving Castle and I picked it up with a cry. Finally, finally one to turn all those blacks and whites to green and blue and a red so bright. Something to give the world color again and help my heart sleep through the night!

I took my food to the counter and as the cashier rung up my order I realized with a start, I only had $2 on me and no debit card. In my haste to feel better I overlooked that important thing. Learn from my mistake, so you don’t stray from your diet. You have to be well fed to keep your spirit up, your head clear and your heart shining bright. Otherwise you’ll overlook things then need to run home burning more calories in two trips instead of one. Ugh.

BookCon 2019 Happened

So… I went to BookCon. This was my second time going. My first time was back in 2017 and let’s just say I was not ready for it two years ago.

This time, I WAS READY.

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It was crowded, which I expected from reading about others’ experiences from previous years and from my own experience in 2017. We didn’t arrive crazy early, getting on line at about 8:45 AM (when the doors open 10 AM), but there was already a pretty hefty line ahead of us. And of course when the gates finally opened, there was a mad dash.

I only had two tentative goals going into BookCon and if I didn’t get either of them I wasn’t going to be crushed. I was really looking forward to the experience, being around all my fellow book lovers and basically just breathing the same air as some of my all time favorite authors/heroes. I did not get a ticket to see Erin Morgenstern and get an ARC of The Starless Sea but I DID get a ticket to see Joan He and get her autograph for Descendant of the Crane!!!!!!!!! I was very lucky. I’m still reeling from the experience hours later and probably still will be reeling for the rest of the week (or maybe my life). ❤ ❤

She was so sweet and just gave off all the good person vibes. When I went up to see her she said “Sorry, I’m so flustered!” and me being the hot mess that I am was wildly fluttering my hands and saying “No, I’m the one that’s flustered!” I told her that I’m an aspiring author and also got to take a picture with her. Also side note, she has the most beautiful signature ever!!!!

I attended Cassandra Clare’s panel too with David Canfield as the moderator. That was another amazing experience. My favorite trilogy of all time is The Infernal Devices. I must have read that series six times, and that is A LOT for me. Usually, I don’t read a book more than once unless its one of my favorites. A reader asked her which of her characters she relates to the most and her answer was Simon and Tessa. What I took away from her panel especially was her advice to aspiring authors. There were two very specific things. 1) Read everything. 2) Write every day. Even if it’s only a sentence.

There was a lot of interesting booths at BookCon. Books everywhere so therefore I was in HEAVEN. I scored a lot of swag. Bookmarks, pins, stickers and I even got an envelope from one of the Scythes! I also bought myself a GoT Arya tee because I couldn’t resist. Not today. 🙂 My friend was even lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and got the last ticket for Crush by Svetlana Chmakova at the Yen Press booth.

Wandering around there were plenty of authors to see even if I couldn’t meet them. I saw Erin Morgenstern signing ARCs of The Starless Sea, RenĂ©e Ahdieh taking pics with fans, Stephanie Garber eating breakfast and Victoria Aveyard’s back. So, winning.

But believe it or not my most favorite part was right before we were about to leave. I knew there was going to be a meet up with Susan Dennard at one of the Starbucks but was a little pressed for time because I had to catch a bus. At first I didn’t see her because like I said earlier it was HELLA CROWDED but I didn’t give up and spotted her!!! There were only a few people left on the line to get their books signed so I got to see her real quick before I had to go!!!! GAHHH IT WAS AMAAAAAAZING!!! I said “Sorry, I have to run and catch a bus!” and she was so kind and said “Sorry you had to wait!” Then I said “No, I’m just so glad I got to see you!!!!!” I also thanked her for writing her newsletter. It has been one of the most helpful insights for me on this journey of mine to be a writer. I said, “Thank you for being so open and so honest.”

To which she replied, “Are you a writer?” And I nodded. Then, she added “Writing is hard.” I agreed. But then she said something I’ll never forget, “Write on.” She even wrote it near her signature in my copy of Truthwitch which I was able to bring with me. MY EMOTIONS WERE PEAKED!! I WAS SO HAPPY!!

BUT THEN IT GOT BETTER.

I’m not sure if I asked for one or she offered but I got to hug her! And then she asked if I wanted a pic and I was like “I get two hugs??!!” like a happy little girl lol. My inner child was out. So I got to hug her again for the second time before the pic was taken and then a third when the picture was actually taken!!!! It was funny and one of the best experiences ever. She is so great and sweet and all the feels. Good person vibes all over the place!!

So needless to say this year’s BookCon rocked!!!!! I WAS SO READY.

Now, to go back to business and write on.

P.S. Have any of you ever been to BookCon or any other convention or author signing? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!