Isadora lunged forward, thrusting the sword into the chained vampire for what seemed like the hundredth time. He cried out in agony, and she watched indifferently as his skin knitted itself back together within seconds. Looking back and forth between the two restrained guards, she found herself wishing their race didn’t heal quite so quickly. It was terribly difficult to get satisfactory torture results when dealing with immortals.
This is becoming tedious, she thought sadly. They couldn’t carry out a simple death order, and now they can’t even keep me entertained. Ah, well…everything outlives its usefulness, I suppose.
“You are no longer serve any purpose for me,” she told her prisoners. Gregor opened his mouth to protest, but Isadora whirled around with the sword, beheading both of them in one swing.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said, addressing the head that was now rolling across the stone floor. “Were you going to say something? No? Alright then.”
Dropping the bloodied sword to the ground with a clatter, she turned to her new set of guards.
“Clean up this filth, and then draw me a bath. I need to soak away this stress.”
Inspired by the example made of their predecessors, they scurried to obey, leaving Isadora to pout in the great oak chair at the head of her rooms.
Why does everyone fail me? First that sniveling Hunter, and then my own guards! What does a girl have to do to get good minions?
As she was imagining all the wonderful ways she would torture Rolf and his family when she found them, her new sentries entered the rooms and announced that her bath had been readied.
Isadora sauntered out the side door to the washroom and her gilded tub, pausing to give each of them a lingering kiss on the cheek.
“Thank you, loves. Now go on back to…well…whatever it is that you do when you’re not serving me. I will ring if the need arises.”
Bowing low, they turned and exited the room, and Isadora was again alone with her thoughts and the sumptuous feel of warm water on bare skin. Closing her eyes as she laid back against the edge of the tub, she reached out with her mind, attempting to eavesdrop on her four little rogues. Locating them easily – and clucking her tongue at their folly of leaving their minds open – she wormed her way into their conversation as she lounged.
Absently she listened to Dimitri, Tannis and Aurelius plotting their futile insurrection, but quickly found it boring. Searching again, she came to Elspeth, lying on the bed and sobbing.
What’s this? Isadora thought with delight.
Our little newling is upset? She grinned wide. How tragic.
Probing into Elspeth’s thoughts, she quickly surmised the cause of her tears.
The gypsy girl? She’s in love with a Hunter? Oh, that’s rich. I knew she was stupid, but this?
She laughed as she sunk lower into the bath, reveling in Elspeth’s heartache and finding it the perfect balm to calm her nerves. A wicked idea popped into her head then, and her eyes flew open at the sheer genius of it.
Oh, yes, Isadora thought with excitement, this is just too easy…
It’s nothing personal. Clean houses just wig me out. I’m always wondering…can I touch this? Can I sit here? Is this for show or to actually use? Like those little towels people hang up this time of year – you know, the ones with the appliqués on them? Why would anyone do this to an item meant to soak up moisture? And once you have successfully dried your hands, you feel obligated to fold it back just so in order to display said cutesy appliqué appropriately. It’s insanity. But I digress. Let’s return to the point, shall we?
For those of you out there who have children and manage to keep a clean house, I applaud you. Mostly because you scare the hell out of me, and I don’t want to offend you, lest I have some horrible dust-rag accident while sleeping. But as much as I admire your efforts, don’t expect me to come over anytime soon. Or ever. My children would turn your house upside down before you could say "Nanny 911". And don’t expect me to invite you over, either. If you are concerned enough about the condition of your house that you find it necessary to trail after your little ones and pick up every little dropsy (or even worse – have successfully trained them to do it), I am relatively sure your head would explode upon entering my home. Not that I live in a pigsty, or anything approximating it. But by the heavens…I have children! Messy, drawing-on-the-walls, what-the-hell-did-you-just-wipe-on-my-couch, don’t-eat-that-you-have-no-idea-how-old-it-is-and-what-were-you-doing-under-the-bed-in-the-first-place children. And that’s how it should be, in my opinion.
Children are visceral, primal creatures. And while I can understand the need to instill a sense of general tidiness in them, eventually you have to pick your battles. Well, maybe you don’t, little Martha Stewart-esque reader. But I do.
Is it a big deal if my son decides to see how long half of a peanut butter sandwich will stick to the wall before falling off? Yes, yes it is. Because eventually one of the animals will smell/see it there, and commence tearing the wall to pieces trying to reach it. Now, if he sticks it where the dog can reach, I might be persuaded to ignore it. (Side note – never, ever, ever have small children without at least one dog. You have no idea how much work it will save you. You’re welcome.)
Is it a big deal if my daughter draws a stick figure of herself on her doorframe and writes her name under it? No, I don’t think it is. It’s cute, it’s an artistic expression, and I only allow them access to washable markers. What do you think I am, stupid?
Yes, you could write your own name in the dust on my shelves more often than I would like. (If you do, please just refrain from dating it. Thank you, The Management.). But that is not what I see as important. My children are crazy, funny, creative, interesting little individuals. I would rather enjoy the chaos of a sheet tent collapsing all over my living room and trapping at least three animals underneath with us and all the dollies that were invited to the tea party. (Note: Be sure to stop at the entrance of the tent to get your stamp before proceeding to the party. My daughter is quite firm on this.)
Does it matter in the grand scheme of things whether or not their clothes are picked up, or their shoes put in just the right place, or my home is always show-ready? No, no it does not. What matters is that when people walk in my door, they feel relaxed, at ease, at home, and do not completely freak out if their kid drops spaghetti all over my floor. That’s what the dogs are for, anyway. And that is what is important to me. A sense of comfort, of welcoming, no matter where they come from or who they are. A place of rest, with no judgment or comparisons of best housekeeping tips.
In the immortal words of my friend who visits with her two kids often, “You know, your house always makes me feel better about my own.”
Elspeth tried to rehearse what she would say to this Wise Woman as she walked toward the edge of the village.
Hello, there! Beautiful night, isn’t it? I was wondering if you might be able to help me. It’s nothing much really…I just need something to kill the oldest vampire in existence. Have anything for that?
She shook her head in frustration. There had to be a better way to approach it.
As she thought, a little cottage came into view, right on the tree-lined border surrounding the hamlet. There was a wooden fence painted in bright colors, and the space in front of the dwelling was overflowing with all manner of plants, flowers and herbs.
Well, this must be the place.
Elspeth moved tentatively through the garden and up to the entrance. Intricate carvings covered the door – cryptic symbols, moons and stars, half moons, strange depictions of flora she did not recognize, and beautiful swirls intertwined throughout. She lifted her hand to knock, but the door opened before she had the chance.
‘Crone’ was the only word Elspeth could think of to describe the woman in the doorway. Her face was a collection of leathery wrinkles, and her posture was stooped with age. But her eyes were a warm, sparkling brown, and they twinkled with bemused wisdom.
“Hello Elspeth,” the hedgewitch croaked. “I’ve been expecting you.”
I think, perhaps, I have overdone it a bit with my encouragement of the children’s supernatural outlook on life. I wanted to raise kids that see faeries instead of fireflies, that exclaim on our walks, “Look mama! The trees are dancing with the wind! Do you think they have special tree music?” And I have those things, and am grateful for them.
Both children regularly came outside to say hello to the fairies/fireflies during the summer when they were most prolific. And my son is constantly finding things that he is convinced were left by elves or gnomes, and is a firm believer in the old adage that it is the gnomes that steal one of your socks when it’s laundry day.
When they are having nightmares, they ask for holy water and sage to cleanse their rooms, and like to waft it around themselves, mixing traditional prayers with protection chants and pleas to their guardian angels.
They even have their own little amethyst and rutilated quartz that they cleansed on their own and sleep with under their pillows. Or pillow pets, as it were (commercialism is still alive and well in my house). And my five-year-old daughter knows to use apophyllite to intensify the energy of other crystals to “pick out the best rock” at the metaphysical store.
So I have raised these children with a healthy dose of respect for all religions, a vehement respect for nature and her gifts, and a conglomeration of many different viewpoints that make up our own eclectic beliefs.
But now, however, it seems to have taken on a life of its own and extended into areas I never would have expected. I should have seen this coming. Let me expound…
I spent the better part of the night before last searching for a blanket named Cindy. Yes, you read that right – the blanket’s name is Cindy. How in the world did my daughter decide this is its name? Well, she asked it, of course.
This is a patchwork blanket made by a relative that is somewhat of a comfort object for my kid. Therefore, the fact that Cindy was AWOL at bedtime became a bit of an emergency. Especially since I had several episodes of Ghost Hunters to watch, and there was no hope of that until the children were sleeping. Self-absorbed, remember?
Were there a National Blanket Guard, I would have called them. Were there a Scotland Yard of Covers, I would have sent up smoke signals from the roof of my house. But sadly, the efforts of recovery were left to my partner and I, who are apparently woefully inept at locating magical blankets named Cindy.
We searched high and low, with my little girl trailing behind in a tizzy, declaring an absolute inability to sleep without this item, and her brother watching the whole thing from the couch, rolling his eyes as if to say derisively, “Psh, kids.” Of course, the eye-rolling was done whilst wrapped in his own requisite blanket, so its affect was somewhat diminished.
Having searched the entire house from top to bottom, there was no Cindy to be found. At this point my darling daughter looked at me like I was a complete idiot and asked me, “Mama, why don’t you just call her?”
I admit I was confused. I was unaware Cindy had procured a phone in her absence.
“What do you mean ‘call her’?” I asked this sweet child who was cutting drastically into my DVR time.
She rolled her eyes at me (notice a pattern yet?) and said in her best teenage-girl voice, “Mom, you know! Call her like Aladdin did, and she’ll just float back into my room!”
Now I am faced with a dilemma. Do I tell her this is utter nonsense, ruin the open-mindedness and fantastical nature I have worked so hard to build in her, and settle down peacefully to my TV shows? Or do I call out loud to a blanket named Cindy, and ask it – her, excuse me – to please return to us now?
My partner was no help at all at this point. She simply looked at me, shrugged, and said what she always says when the girl pulls diva-like things such as this.
“I’ve got the boy.”
My poor daughter is in tears at this point, and I am right behind her.
“I can’t sleep without Cindy!” she moans, flinging herself across the bed in her best dramatic display.
I find myself actually hoping against hope that upon my calling out to this blanket, it will, in fact, float through the door, and I can get to the safety of my couch and my remote. So I do it. That’s right – I stand in the middle of the room and call out to Cindy, the wayward blanket, to please come to us and help the child sleep. The child is frantic, watching the doorway with anticipation. I am frantic as well, because I know in my heart of hearts there is no blanket forthcoming, and I don’t know how I’m ever going to calm my daughter enough to get to sleep without bringing all her hard-won supernatural awareness crashing down around us.
After several minutes of paging the missing party, I give up, looking down at my sweet little girl, expecting to see her tear-stained face give way to a full-fledged tantrum. That is not what meets my eyes, however. Instead, I see a half-asleep, dreamy-faced angel, lying underneath the blankie that I crocheted for her last year.
Shocked at this development, I leaned down and told my child in the most sympathetic voice I could muster, “I’m sorry honey. Cindy doesn’t seem to be answering.”
“That’s okay, mama,” she responds drowsily. “She’s probably sleeping. And I’m really tired. Can you turn off the light?”
I look at my partner, who just shrugs again, points at herself, mouths the word "boy", and flips the switch.
Today I am not writing to entertain, but to educate. Not to be funny, but to facilitate understanding and compassion. There are thousands of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth in America, and sadly…there are fewer of them than there were only weeks ago.
The recent epidemic of LGBT teen suicides is both shocking and heartbreaking. One has to wonder why, when we have come so far as a nation (albeit with miles to go still), did these children think that death was their only option?
Some will say it was just typical youth, being overdramatic and attention-starved, trying to make a statement and not realizing the ‘forever’ consequences, and that it has only made headlines because they are gay. To those people I would say you have not been paying attention.
A 2009 study by Dr. Caitlyn Ryan of the San Francisco State University showed that LGBT teens who were rejected by their families for simply being themselves were 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide. 8.4 times. And this is a year ago, before this new rash of incidents and ignorance engulfed our media.
This has risen disturbingly from the 1999 study done by Dr. Robert Garafalo of Harvard Medical School, which stated that suicide attempts of LGBT teens were 3 times more likely than those of heterosexual teens.
I am not dismissing the horror of heterosexual teen suicides, or trying to push that issue to the wayside. But looking at the trends in today’s society, and seeing that there has been an over 5 point jump in the incidence of LGBT suicides, anyone can see that there is a problem, and that problem needs to be addressed. Now.
Try and remember your middle school and high school days. Looking at it from an adult’s perspective, you can see how childish and short-sighted we all were, living in that little microcosm of society. But if you can put yourself back there, you will recall how it seemed that your life would end with every friend’s betrayal, with every breakup, with every bad report card. But it didn’t. For anyone reading this, we got past it, got through it, and made a life for ourselves devoid of that near-sighted drama. But these children who have taken their own lives do not get that chance.
They will never know what it is to find someone who loves you enough to share the rest of their lives with you. To hold their child, rock them to sleep at night, commiserate with their partner over having to do 3rd grade math again. They will never be able to grow into themselves and serve as a voice in the community for rights, or fairness, or education. And it is because of ignorance, plain and simple. And I say it stops now.
Talk to your children, talk to your neighbors. Understand the difference between tolerance and hate; between believing in the right to a ‘lifestyle’, and being actively supportive of it.
You do not have to like what we are. We are not asking for your approval. We are only asking that you allow us to live our lives the way we believe is right, and to see that we are mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and husbands and wives and partners and lovers and neighbors and PTA members and soccer moms and human beings. And children.
We do not all of a sudden ‘turn’ this way as we get older. We may become more aware as we age, but most of us would tell you that looking back we knew something was different. These children who have chosen death were the bravest of us all – they knew what they were, and they didn’t try to hide it. And it cost them their lives.
Enough with the hate. Enough with the judgment. If you don’t like gay people, then don’t be gay. But leave those who are alone to live their lives the best they can. Talk to your children about bullying, talk to them about the repercussions of spouting rhetoric at their gay classmates that they, in all likelihood, don’t even understand and are just repeating. There is an awesome YouTube video out right now that addresses the issue of “choosing” to be gay. The link is here, and I think you should watch it and discuss it with your friends and family. Whether or not you agree with what it is saying, it brings up an interesting point.
And to that end, learn to watch your own mouths. Even a seemingly innocent joke can push an eavesdropping emotional teenager over the edge, and any kind of nonchalance about LGBT issues can send the wrong message to your own children. And I am not saying we have to be serious all the time. Gay people make fun of themselves quite often. Hey, we’re funny, and we do stupid stuff like everyone else. But now is not the time for off-color humor – too much is at stake. No life is worth losing over someone else’s ignorance. Ever.
We need to grow a generation that sees what lies inside of us all is the same color, the same orientation, the same human-ness, and that it needs to be respected, regardless of what package it is presented in. Educate yourselves; educate your children, your neighbors, your family and friends. Help them to cultivate a spirit of compassion. They may not understand or support what LGBT students are going through, but they can always choose to just say nothing at all, and let them go on with their lives.
Because that is the goal here – to let them go on living, not dangling from a tree or overdosing on pills. We want them to grow up and out of high school, to form loving partnerships and circles of friends and family who support them, to become contributing members of society and continue the cycle of education and awareness.
Please, talk to your kids, talk to your students, talk to your friends and family. There is a saying on many LGBT campaigns that has always put it best to me:
“Be careful who you hate, it just might be someone you love.”
You can never know what someone is struggling with, you can never know what kind of battle they are facing within themselves. So let us be a compassionate and educated people, allowing all to live a full and purposeful life. That is a goal we can all achieve, if we only take the time to reach for it.
**If you know of an at-risk LGBT teen, please tell them to call The Trevor Project. It is a 24 hour rescue hotline for suicide prevention. 1-866-4-U-Trevor (1-866-488-7386)**
Okay, I don’t know how many of you actually use the US Mail anymore to send packages. Frankly I don’t care, either. This story is about me, after all. Writers – we’re all self-absorbed. It’s in our DNA.
So as I was saying, today I needed to mail a package to some friends of mine. They are starting their foray into the metaphysical, and being that they live somewhere right outside BFE, TX, there is sadly no metaphysical shop near them. I have heard, however, that there are quite a few cows. But I digress.
I spent the morning traversing my favorite shops, Silver Pyramid and The Labyrinth, enjoying the energy around me and gathering all the necessary items. Well, what I thought were the necessary items. They weren’t here to say one way or the other. And again, this is about me. You think you’d learn.
Packing up these wonderfully decadent little pieces of paraphernalia in a Wal-Mart sack (don’t judge), I marched into the post office in search of a box for my treasure. After locating said box and a horrendously overpriced roll of packing tape, I went to work.
I can’t be sure, but I think I frightened off one old woman, two bearded men, and a teenager as they watched me pack. The old woman and the bearded men I could understand. This is the bible belt, after all. But the teenager? With the piercings and the all-black clothes and the Adam Lambert eyeliner? Really?
So let me paint this picture for you…here is this chick that looks like your average soccer mom, who just arrived in her red minivan (again – don’t judge), carrying a quite normal looking Wal-Mart bag. She then proceeds to remove charcoals, drams of oil, bagged herbs, a sage stick, a journal, and some rocks, which she is lovingly packing so as to avoid breakage.
What about this makes people uncomfortable? Is it that I seem so normal, and then out comes the witchy-looking stuff? Or is it just the stuff itself? Of course, it could have been the tiny little iron cauldron that went in last. The world may never know.
What I do know is that they walked around me whilst I was packing, giving me quite a wide berth and quite a few what-the-hell stares. Between them and my children, I’m beginning to get a complex.
Anyway, I taped up the box and waited patiently behind these people who were most likely thinking about stakes and fire until the underpaid, terribly bored postal worker said that magical word.
Grateful to be almost done with this little adventure, we went through the normal addressing and such until he came to that all-important question.
“Are there any liquids or harmful substances in this package?”
Now, I want to pause here, little readers, and ask what seems like a very stupid question. Has anyone ever answered ‘yes’ to this? Do terrorists regularly look at the postal worker and say, “Aw, man! Yeah, you got me. There’s a bomb in there. Thought I might get away with it this time, but you guys are just too good!” I mean, seriously.
But this honest little author, what does she say? I’ll tell you. I said, in the sweetest, most soccer-mommy voice I could, “Well, there is a dram of oil in there.” Hey, I had no desire to get arrested if they found it and I hadn’t told them. I have a book to finish, people.
Stopping what had been (up until then) a by-the-book transaction, the postal worker looked at me over his little bifocals with much the same expression as his customers had, and replied in his best whatchu-talkin-bout-willis voice.
“A dram of oil.” At this point I’m getting nervous. Can you send oil in the mail?
“What kind of oil?”
Now I’m panicking. Do I tell him? Should I just say motor oil, or fish oil, or olive oil? What if those are ingredients for a bomb? Damn this middle-class upbringing! I decided to be honest.
He looked at me as if a third boob had suddenly popped out of my forehead. No, that’s wrong. That would have been a friendlier look. But you get the idea.
“Protection from what?”
The solemn postal worker asked this as if he were truly interested, but having watched a plethora of true crime shows, I didn’t fall for it. I looked him straight in the eyes, and lied my ass off.
“I have no idea,” I replied, shrugging. “That’s just what it said on the bottle. My friend wanted me to mail it to her. People can be so strange, you know?”
He stared so hard I was pretty sure my face was about to burst into flames, but he either bought it or he was just too bored to care. I’m betting on the latter, truthfully. And then the package was off, without further ado.
So there you have it – my little adventure for today. And if you’re reading this, you know who you are, and the package is on its way, loves. Sorry I had to lie about you, but it was necessary to save my own skin.
Children are evil. No, seriously, hear me out. Put that phone down, little readers – there’s no need to call CPS. I still love the little buggers. It’s not like I would try to sell them on the street to gypsies or anything. They’d give ‘em back anyway.
Okay, okay…maybe evil is too strong a word. We’ll settle on ‘children are honest’. Honesty is a close cousin of evil. They have lunch at least once a week.
I have an 8 year old and a 5 year old. Now, my 8 year old has Aspergers, so he has a mild excuse for his cruelty. But his sister? She’s just downright bad. And I’m not talking about normal, flush-the-action-figure-down-the-toilet-to-the-tune-of-$130 kind of bad. Oh, no. It’s much worse than that. They have become my own personal self-esteem deflators.
To wit – at our last Thanksgiving dinner, whilst surrounded by all those twice-a-year relatives I don’t really care for (the feeling is mutual, trust me), trying desperately to figure out an exit strategy, my darling, beautiful, adorable little daughter looked at me with the sweetest smile and said (rather loudly) “Mama, you’re fat!” She then fell into a fit of giggles while the rest of the family shifted uncomfortably in their assigned seats.
Now, I am not a supermodel, little readers. Far from it. But neither am I Jabba the Hut. I prefer the term “Voluptuous Goddess”. It speaks to my greatness, so I’m cool with it. Besides, my partner prefers me a little fluffy, and I prefer not to weigh and measure the amount of salad I eat – or raw cookie dough, if we’re being honest – so it works.
The beauty of this moment was not in the terrified looks of my uptight relatives at her remark, but instead in the fact that my training of said child had apparently took. I grinned at her and replied, “That’s right honey. And how did mommy get this way?” With that same beatific smile, she answered, “Because of me and my brother!” She got an extra slice of pie.
In another installment of much the same story, my son had become fixated on the term “junk in the trunk.” Now, as I have mentioned, this is the child with Aspergers. So when he becomes fixated on something, it’s a permanent part of his repertoire for at least a few months. One fine summer day in Texas, when the temperature was somewhere near 450 degrees in the shade, I was moseying around the house in a t-shirt and undies. I’m sure there are thousands of you gasping right now at my choice of attire in front of my children, but with all due politeness, unless you have suffered through three months of triple-digit heat and $600 electric bills, you may stuff it. Politely, of course. I am a Southern woman, after all.
Anyway, as I made my way across the living room, my son screams out “Hey mama! You’ve got junk in your trunk!” Being used to a child that has no real ability to read social clues and/or exhibit proper social behavior, I laughed it off, and told him he was right. Just then, that darling little pixie of mine came dancing into the living room from the kitchen, complete with fairy wand and wings. No, seriously. She was dressed up as Tinkerbell. You know, because it was Tuesday. She smiled that smile that lets me know something terrible is about to exit her little mouth and said “Yeah. You’ve got junk in your legs too, mama.”
While I am pondering which boarding school might be able to keep her the longest, my partner walks in from the back of the house. She had heard the whole thing. (My children’s inside voices are much like the general population’s outside voices.) Lovingly, she guided both children to the couch and counseled them in complete seriousness.
“You guys,” she said, “you need to understand something. The only thing you ever tell a woman – ever – even if she’s covered in warts and boils and hairy moles – is that she’s beautiful. Understand?” They nodded solemnly, and I was moved that she would try to instill that kind of compassion in them. That was until she leaned in closer and whispered, “Anything else could get you killed.”
Ah, well. Such is life. At least I know that while she may not always think it (although she swears she does), she will always be there to lie to me and tell me I am beautiful. Because I’ll let you in on a secret, little readers – all women, thick or thin or in-between – we don’t want the truth. Even if we say we do. We’re lying. Get over it.
We want you to look at our cellulite, our didn’t-have-time-to-wash-it-today hair, our no-make-up face, our stretch marks, and tell us that we are the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. And to do it with a straight face. You might want to practice in the mirror first. As previously mentioned, failure could be fatal.
So while I have resigned myself to the fact that my children will be brutally (and loudly) honest with me for at least the next few years, I also have the comfort that comes with the “I love you’s”, the “you’re the best mommy’s” and the like. And then there’s my personal favorite, spoken once again by my little girl while we were cuddling at bedtime.
“Mama, I love all your squishy parts. You’re the softest mama in the world.”
To this day I don’t know if that was a compliment or an insult. Kids. Whatcha gonna do?
My characters have done it again. They keep running off with my story, changing it into something I had no intention of it being. I cannot begin to describe the weirdness of having a story that you are authoring being hijacked by the imaginary people you have created. It is surreal, at best.
I tried. I tried to finish out a chapter that I had so carefully outlined and fleshed out on paper to keep the ball rolling. But before I knew what was happening, those little scamps grabbed my storyline and took the hell off.
“Wait!” I cried. “Not that way! This way! Over here – like we planned! Guys! Come back!”
But it was no use. Their giggling little selves had made off with my plot yet again.
So I tried to work the deviation into the stream of the story. I’m the author of this thing after all, right? And I’ll be damned if they didn’t laugh in my face and re-double their efforts.
In the immortal words of my author friend Kait Nolan - “But…but…”
It was too late. They had control.
And let me tell you another thing, I write adult paranormal romance. So all kinds of weird shite can manifest when you’re not looking…sometimes when you are. I have been absolutely appalled at some of these characters’ behavior, and I find myself switching into mommy-mode.
“Absolutely not. We are not going there. You cannot behave that way and expect people to read you. That is just so wrong. Naughty, naughty characters!”
At this point I can only assume they commune with my children as well when my head is turned, because their only reaction was to stick out their little imaginary tongues and keep going.
So like a plump marshmallow over a campfire, this thing has just kept growing in exponential proportions, splatting its sweet sticky goodness all over my plotline.
Mmm…I think I taste a trilogy.
In other news, I started following a hilarious blogger named Rob. You can find his page here. I’m not sure if I did it because he made me laugh, or he made me feel slightly less embarrassed of my own non-linear insanity. Either way you should check it out. And send flowers to his girlfriend. I don’t know the woman, but damn. She deserves flowers.
And now I’m off to try and clean up the sugary goo that has coalesced on my beloved story. Wish me luck!
Hey guys...just wanted to let everyone know that my first published work, Of Fate and Fire, is now available for purchase in the Paramourtal anthology. Follow the link below to be one of the first to buy it! The book will also be out on Amazon in around 14 business days, but if you purchase it from the CreateSpace site in the link, we get more royalties. Have pity on the starving artist, huh? LOL
My kid has ADD. To be more specific, ADHD. Which means not only can he not focus on his schoolwork (or brushing his teeth...eating his dinner...completing a sentence) he also physically cannot sit still for longer than 0.5 seconds. Unless, of course, he’s reading a book about space or watching Discovery channel. He comes from a long, proud line of dorks.
We’ve tried the medication thing, we’ve tried the therapy touchy-feely thing, we’ve tried natural remedies and diet modification, and still if he’s left alone he will run around in aimless circles for pure enjoyment’s sake.
In fact, last night as I was writing on my porch, he was supposed to be in his room doing his homework. I could see him through the back window (although at first he was unaware of this) and his door was shut, so I know he wasn’t performing for his sister, either.
For a full five minutes I watched in complete astonishment as he directed a concert with his pencil, made ‘airplane arms’ and flew around his room, drummed on his desk with said pencil and an eraser, made funny faces at himself in the reflection from the window, and turned around backwards in his chair to ride it like a horsey.
After a very long week of teacher/counselor/diagnostician conferences, sitting in class with him every morning to help get him on track (try writing paranormal romance surrounded by 7-year-olds sometime…it’s no cake walk), and various other school-related issues, I truly did not know whether to laugh or cry at this behavior.
On the one hand, it truly disturbs me that he cannot – cannot – force himself to focus. I know he wants to be a good student, and I know he wants to make his very sweet, very capable, very tired teacher happy. But he honestly has no control over his little body, and I want desperately to find a way to help him.
Yet as I sat there watching his performance last night, I began to wonder if maybe we should all be a little more like him. He is so enthralled with the beauty of the current moment, that the idea of responsibilities and chores go right out the window. The happiness he feels at zooming around the room is so complete that his little brain just forgets there is anything else. A chair-horsey becomes his reality, and the huge smile on his face tells me that while there might be some kind of chemical short-circuit going on in his head, his little spirit is completely intact and functioning beautifully.
What if we all had a little bit of that in us? What if we took a moment to just stop and fly around the room? Aside from possibly getting fired, would it really hurt anything? We would not cease to be responsible, upstanding adults if we relished the thought of a tent made of sheets or a pencil-led concerto. In fact, it could very well make us better human beings.
We’re still searching for the answer for my son, because no matter how much I want to nurture that beautiful, creative, spontaneous spirit, he will have to learn at some point to balance it out at least a little bit if he is to function in today’s society. That makes me kind of sad, to be honest, but it’s the way things are.
So while I’m looking for a way to help him learn to control and better distribute his fantastic natural gifts, I am also looking for a way to help myself let go and honor my own more often.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make some airplane arms.
So I found a pop-tart in my couch this morning. I would like to say it is an uncommon occurrence for me to find food in there, or that I only found a few crumbs on the cushions, but both of those would be a blatant lie.
As it was, during the innocent fluffing of the couch pillows, I saw the sugary offending party peeking out at me in its entirety from in between them. Resisting the urge to scream at my two lovely children (who would subsequently blame each other or the dog, in any case), I removed said pop-tart and disposed of it properly...by giving it to the dog, of course. It was only afterward that it occurred to me this could have been her plan all along.
I tried to think back to my childhood, and whether I would have ever even considered stuffing a pop-tart in my mother's couch. I must say the answer was a resounding 'no'. Everything in my mother’s house was clean, organized and sanitized. It wasn’t a sterile environment by any means, but if you spilled grape kool-aid on the carpet you weren’t going to just walk over it and go back to playing. That kind of thing. Not that anyone has ever done that in my house. Really... *ahem*
Stopping to look around at the condition of my home, I realized that contrary to what is supposedly an unavoidable outcome, I had not turned into my mother. And in this case, that was not necessarily a good thing. Papers covered basically every flat surface in sight; toys littered the floor in a trail from the children’s rooms to the living room. Both sides of the sink – yes, both sides – held dirty dishes that I was still waiting for the kitchen fairy to take care of, and three dirty-laundry bins taunted me from less than four feet away.
How did I let this happen? I am a writer, a stay-at-home mother, and both my children are in school for the better part of the day. My partner works regular hours, so it’s not as if she’s underfoot and preventing me from being Supermom. So what gives?
Granted, I wrote almost 10,000 words on my story this week, but at what cost? How could I ever expect my children to realize that putting a pop-tart in the couch was not a good idea, when all they see is disorder and chaos around them?
“Ah,” said my inner self to…well, myself. “But didn’t you play lots of board games this week? Didn’t you watch your five-year-old’s dollies put on a show twice in a row? And weren’t you at the kitchen table for over two hours helping your son with his homework? Besides, the kitchen wouldn’t be a mess if you weren’t so concerned with feeding them real food, and cooking every night. Is that really such a bad thing?” Myself decided that it was, indeed, not a bad thing.
Maybe a perfectly clean house is not the measure of a good mom, after all. Maybe it’s the smiles on my children’s faces, and realizing that they are really, truly happy little human beings. I decided right then and there I would not even mention the couch incident to them. It was no longer what truly mattered.
Just as I was feeling really good about my laid back approach to motherhood, and patting myself on the back for not overreacting to something as simple as breakfast-food misconduct, my partner walked into the living room. Giving me a hug and a quick peck on the cheek, she walked toward the kitchen for a snack.
“By the way,” she said offhandedly, “I was eating pop-tarts on the couch last night and I think I lost one somewhere. You might want to check the cushions.”