I’m a full time writer! well sort of

I am Writing

For the next two weeks, I’m a full time writer. I’ve taken vacation from my day job, since the judge is out of town and I don’t have to worry about missing court hearings or finding coverage it is the best time for me to take vacation as well. Of course, I will have a rather large pile on my desk and I’m will be walking back into four trials in four weeks, but you gotta get it when you can.

Over the weekend, I went shopping and cleaned house so that I wouldn’t have to worry about those two things during the week and I could focus on writing. I also decided that I would need a schedule or some sort of structure to my day otherwise I would just waste away unfocused and accomplishing little.

My goal is to finish the first draft of my epic fantasy novel, Syrain’s Marrow, by January 1, 2015. Given that this is my primary goal, I knew that I needed to dedicate a significant amount of my day to working on that manuscript.

I’m also editing my memoir, Fighting for a Chance to Dream, which has been sitting since the end of April trying to be forgotten. Thus, this would be my secondary goal. Finally, because I like three’s and a triangle is the strongest shape, decided I would work on the outline for my serial novel, A Vigil for Justice, as my third goal.

The schedule I’ve worked out is that I will spend four to five hours working on Syrain’s Marrow each day. I will spend one hour editing Fighting for a Chance to Dream and one hour on the outline for A Vigil for Justice.

This shouldn’t be too difficult, so long as I fight the urge to check Twitter, email, Pinterest, Facebook, and Goodreads.Right. Hmmmm. Okay. How do I deal with that urge? Yeah I put it into the schedule too. One hour for social media.

I’m a morning person, so I’m out of bed by 6:00 am at the latest every day. From there, I head out to swim, bike or run depending on the day and voila the rest of the day can be dedicated to writing and taking care of my boys.

The house is eerily quiet other than my fingers on the keyboard, the blowing of the swamp cooler, and occasional barking of beasty little dogs needing to go out into the sun.

“Boys,” I call into the empty house. Oh yeah, Sky went camping with his grandparents for the week and Jazz, well he’s seventeen, has a social life, and this is after all the last week of summer vacation.

I happily wish Jazz a great day and tell him not to worry I will have an excellent time. He is a bit disturbed by the fact that I am perfectly content to spend my vacation alone, but for the voices in my head.

Define Yourself

girl with arms raised

Many people put their dreams and goals off for the right time.  You hear these and similar words all the time.

“I’ll do it when my kids are grown.”

“When I retire, I’ll have time to work on my dreams and goals.”

“Once I’m stable in my job, I’ll have time.”

Life won’t wait for you to decide your dreams and goals are important. It keeps right on going day in and day out, despite what you are doing. One day, it will be gone, and you will be left standing in the void wondering, what if..?

What if I broke my goal down into something I could do once a week or once a month to get me closer to achieving it?

What if I could find 15-20 minutes a day to work on my goal?

I’m asked all the time, how I am able to be a single mom, full-time attorney, ultrarunner, and writer.  Here’s my answer:  I can do it because it’s important to me. I can do it because everything else is dropped like a dirty diaper.

You have to be willing to sacrifice. You have to delve deep and find what is important to you and who you want to be for yourself and the world.

You have to leave behind people who don’t support your efforts at achieving your dreams. Sometimes that means cutting them off completely or regulating them to a small role in your life. Chasing your dreams is hard work. Don’t drag unnecessary weight with you.

It comes down to that question we all began to answer the moment we drew our first breath, who am I? We exerted our independence as toddlers and again as teenagers trying to define who we were separate from those around us.

As we become adults, we become caught up in society’s grey dream as automatons. We color within the lines laid before us by others. We paint by the numbers.  We wait for the right time and the right place to escape into our dream.  If you don’t work toward your dreams, you will be paid to work toward someone else’s. Why is theirs more important than yours?

It is not what we do that defines who we are. It is the why we do it that defines us. Decide your dream is achievable, conquer all obstacles, and jump through any hoop, even if it has burst into flames.

Writing Space and First Drafts

I am Writing

Over the last few weeks, I have been thinking about making a space for me to write at home. Up until now, I have just sat at either the living room table or the kitchen table. This arrangement requires me to pack up all my writing gear and move it from place to place. It also means my writing doesn’t have a home.  In my home, I have a room called an office in the basement. No one uses the “office” for anything but a library. A library is important don’t get me wrong. In fact, it’s necessary at my home. There are bookshelves along each wall, and most of my books can be found there.

I’ve tried writing in the “office,” but it never works well. My dogs need in and out of the house to go see their friends, sniff the strange spots in the yard, feel the warmth of the sun on their fur, and all the other stuff dogs do. The coffee maker is upstairs. My children are upstairs. You would think that being downstairs away from the children would help me focus, but it doesn’t. They actually come and interrupt me more when I am downstairs where they can’t see what I am working on.

I realized that this had to change if I was going to make writing a priority. So, I created a space in my bedroom, which is on the main floor, where I can write. I have all of my books on the craft, pens, pencils, notebooks, laptop, children, dogs, and coffee within easy reach and supervision.  I can open the window allowing in the sun, birdsong, and the summer breeze.

Sky, my youngest son who is thirteen, came in and sat on my left while I wrote. He didn’t interrupt. He just watched. The dogs curled up with one another on blanket on my right. Jazz, my oldest son who is 17, popped in and asked questions and let me know what he was planning for the day.

My writing space is not fancy, but it’s mine and it communicates to me and everyone else that writing is important to me. Having a space also preps your brain to get into its creative mode. If you always sit in the same spot to write, when you sit down the creative juices start flowing. With children, my writing time is scattered between all my other responsibilities as a single mom. Having a space always ready and waiting is important because if I have to take the time to set up each time I have five minutes to write, the book will never get finished.

I finished the outline of my fantasy novel tentatively titled Syrain’s Marrow early last week, a whopping 33 pages. It took a few more days to cut and paste it all into yWriter. I had Thursday off work last week because in Utah, Thursday was a holiday, Pioneer Day, commemorating the day Utah decided being a state was more important than bigamy being an acceptable practice.

I took Friday off work to start my first draft and frankly, I needed a break after a busy on call week the week before. I was also able to spend some extra time with Sky.

So far, I have found my outline to be immensely helpful in maintaining my focus and keeping the words flowing. I believe the biggest complaint about outlining is that it is too restrictive. I haven’t found that to be the case.  Since I have scene after scene already outlined I see plot holes much easier. I also notice when I drop a character and never pick them back up again. It is easy to go back and find something I referenced in a prior scene because I can look at my outline and know, approximately, where it is. The outline also helps me maintain consistency with my details and the voices of my characters.

I have yet to become stuck wondering what should come next. The words just flow. I know it will still be a shity first draft, and they always are, but it will be a completed first draft, and that’s what matters.

The Death of a Dream

dream death

The death of a dream is the worst imaginable type of death. Death in any form is awful, but to watch someone’s dreams struggle for breath, fall to its knees clutching at its heart, to never rise again is the most traumatic experience this life has to offer.

Dreams are crushed everyday throughout the world. War, poverty, family violence, drugs, and many other more mild things you would not suspect gobble up dreams with careless abandon.

Dreams are precious. They are the essence of our soul. Without them, we are nothing. Our dreams define who we are and who we may become. If a person could trade in dreams, they would be the richest person in the world.

Dreams cannot be sheltered or hidden away, but they do have to be protected because they can be lost or stolen, and once gone fighting to get them back is a battle easily lost.

A dream can be lost when a person becomes caught up in the desire for money and power. They forget all about the thing that made their heart sing and dance. The forgotten dream lies upon the ground becoming buried beneath dirt, laundry, diapers, and bills.

A lost dream can be found. Once you realize you have misplaced your dream, an extensive search should begin immediately. The longer you are without your dream, the more soul will leak out of your body. Call upon friends and family, form a search party, and bring in the bloodhounds. Spare no expense. Without your dream, you will wither away.

A dream is stolen when a person perpetrates a trauma against another. The victim’s dreams are ripped out of their soul, and it leaves them consumed by pain and suffering.

A stolen dream can be reclaimed, but it leaves a gaping hole in the center of your chest. The separation is debilitating, and reinforcements are critical. Dust off the chainmail, and strap on the battle-axe. Call your dragon, Pegasus, phoenix, griffin or any other fantastical creature you rely upon during times of immense crisis.

A dream dies when it is forgotten or starved by its owner. Separation by loss or theft for an extended period of time will also result in death.

You can tell when someone’s dream has died. The glimmer of light in their eyes is gone. They walk in the dark going through the motions of their life. Nothing drives them. Nothing moves them to action. They resent others who have thriving dreams. It is difficult not to stop, stare, and try to help these empty vessels, but if you spend too much time with them, they often siphon your dream’s energy trying to resurrect their own. Dead is dead, and there ain’t no coming back.

Dreams feed on thoughts, beliefs, faith, and love. Never let your trough become empty and continuously fill the troughs of those around you. A waterfall fills the pools below it until they are overflowing, and then another waterfall is born to replenish yet another pool farther along the path.

The best protection for a dream is visibility and sharing. It is hard to forget what has been etched, into your skin and that is where you should wear your dream. Each morning we rise and wrap our bodies with clothing and each morning we should wrap our heart in our dream. When you share your dream with another, they may take it up as their own assisting you along the journey. Find a mentor who can be a mirror reflecting your dream back to you. If one cannot be found, find someone who will hold you accountable for progress toward achieving what feeds your soul.

Is there no hope for those who have buried their dead dreams? There is always hope. Roaming among the average and hidden by a veil of normalcy are dream architects. Like an underground spring that never runs dry, they pour forth the food of dreams. An architect will provide the plans for a dream, but the dreamer must gather the supplies and begin construction on their own.

Dream huge, without limit and restraint. Share your dreams with the world. Devise plans for the walking dead, just in case construction is ready to begin.

Courage and Empathy of Writers

antagonist love

It is my theory that writers have a deeper understanding of human motivation and behavior than others in the general population. They may not have the expert terminology of a neurologist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, but their comprehension of what goes on in our heads is significant.

In order to write three-dimensional characters, writers must become students of human behavior. We need to be able to show how a victim of a rape would respond to police and their own thoughts. We need to show how a child would react when their orange balloon is popped by a dead bird falling from the sky.

We may have experienced a few or similar situations to what we put our characters in, but I certainly hope that most of us have not had to live through the torture we exact upon our characters.

Pushing, pulling, and fractured the prior life of a character moves beneath the surface of the story.  Writers understand that experiences and present circumstances motivate actions and thoughts. As we discover our character’s backstory and their present role in our novel, we know that these flow into and around one another.

People in the real world are no different. The difficulty in predicting their behavior and decisions is that we don’t know their backstory and we may not have a full understanding of the present circumstances and pressures from the environment, which will influence the ultimate outcome.

I wonder, are writers more empathetic and accepting of other people’s faults because they know even the most heinous villain could change if they were presented with the right “plot points” in their life?

Writers are also more courageous than your average Joe on the street. They look into the eyes of the worst types of people and still love them on a deep level. You cannot effectively communicate who your antagonist is if you don’t love them, and the reader will be unable to suspend their disbelief regarding the antagonist’s motivation, decisions, and actions.

Not only do writers stare pure evil and insanity in the face, they also destroy what is pure and innocent in the world. Some writers may not want to admit to loving their antagonist, sometimes not even to themselves. No one wants others to cast judgment upon them for the devilry committed by a character.

Just because you understand and empathize with your character doesn’t mean that you are evil or would commit any acts committed by your characters. We all have evil, awful, destructive, lustful thoughts.  Anyone who says they don’t, is lying. Writers are just brave enough to put them out there for the world to see.

Perhaps, writers are less likely to commit heinous acts because they have expressed them rather than holding them in and bottling them up.

WTF is an Author Platform?

book-platform-graphic

A few years ago, I was asking this  question. Had I known then what I know now, I would have been focusing more on building my platform and a little less on writing my manuscript.

Writers write, but if they don’t have a platform they don’t publish or sell the book that they have spent so much blood, sweat, and tears getting on paper. Because of my other commitments (single parent, day job, ultrarunning), it took me two years to get my first manuscript written and ready to be send to a professional editor. During those two years, I didn’t understand what a platform was or how to go about building one.

The importance of a platform didn’t really sink in until six months ago. Then I made some excuses about how I didn’t have time to write and build a platform. Now, I am trying to achieve the balance of building a platform and writing. At this point, my time is about 50/50 on these two tasks because I’m behind. Once you have your platform built you can ease back on it and let it grow of its own accord. Initially, it does take a lot of time because you are just getting it going. If you put the work in upfront then it will take off and you don’t have to put forth the same effort if you do not want to.

What is a platform? A platform is an audience, followers, fans, or readers. People, other than your parents, who want to read what you have written. People buy books because they are recommended by friends, reviewers, or some other form of media. Occasionally, people do pick up a random book in the bookstore or from Amazon read the back and buy it.

Readers have to know that you exist or they cannot buy your book no matter how amazing and life altering it will be for them. You can self-publish the book and wait for people to find it, decide to buy your book, read it, and then decide if they want to tell others about it or write a review of your book. I don’t recommend going this route. You will likely end up in some dark depression staring at computer screen displaying your book on amazon with zero reviews and zero sales (okay two sales your mom and dad).

There are superstars out there, who have been able to get huge sales despite no one knowing who they are, but I’m not relying on the idea that I’m a superstar and neither should you.

How do you build a platform?  Social media such as Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook are the best way to build a platform. Pick two or three primary social media sites that you enjoy interacting on and build your empire with them. It’s important to pick the ones you like to use. If you don’t enjoy it, your dedication will falter and you will stop updating them. It needs to be something you can dedicate some time to each day at least 30-60 minutes.

The numbers slowly go up as you find other people who are interested in the same things you are. You want to use social media to build relationships not to advertise. Connect with people. Readers buy books and remain loyal to an author they have a connection with. Your numbers are not going to grow to thousands overnight. It is going to take six months to a year to get some decent numbers going. So relax.

The best advice I have heard about how to use social media is to create connections to others and provide useful information. Its fine to post what you are doing every once in a while, but if you do this all the time, the only people who will follow you are your friends and family.

In my opinion, having a blog is the absolute best way to build a platform. People get to know you on a deeper level when you blog (connection). Choose your topic wisely, because it has to be one that you can maintain over a long time. We are talking years here. It needs to be broad enough that you don’t feel restricted and contained. Choose something you are passionate about.  It doesn’t matter what it is, other people are passionate or interested in the same thing.

The topic is likely to change a little from when you first start blogging and that is fine.  Your style and topic will develop and grow as you realize what your readers like to read. Consistency is also important. You need to post on your blog at least once a week, but daily can be a bit much for busy people. Personally, I find multiple posts during the day overwhelming and sometimes I will unfollow the blogger.

You won’t have many followers/readers for your blog during the first few months, but numbers grow exponentially. You have to hang in there for the long haul. A great way to get other people to follow your blog is to follow and comment on other blogs on related topics. This again goes back to making a connection and being useful.

You don’t have to be famous or have a book published to start building your platform. You need to start building it sooner rather than later.

Even writers planning to publish traditionally, should build a platform. Most agents and publishers will google your name when you send in your query letter. If they don’t find anything, they are probably not going to agree to take on your book no matter how awesome and life changing it is.

Other ways to build your platform include: podcasts and youtube videos.

In fiction, we find ourselvs.

child reading

Writing for me is a release. I often wonder how I ever got along in life without it, but then I realize it’s always been there in one form, or another. As a teen, I kept a journal and wrote poetry trying to express those overwhelming emotional upheavals that seemed to continually crash upon me like tidal waves over the sandy coast. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also kept a journal and written stories on and off.

I write to share my experiences and my perspective on the world and life. I don’t believe my perspective is better or worse than anyone else’s, but it is uniquely mine. I do believe that trying to understand other’s experience is one of the greatest gifts we can give to another human being.

Knowing that others out there who have dealt with the same thoughts and circumstances gives us a sense of not being alone in this unforgiving and harsh world. Knowing that someone is willing to take the time to at least try to understand lets us know that we have value and worth even if we don’t’ see it at the time.

Both fiction and non-fiction writing allows readers into the author’s world. Even in academic writing, the author cannot help infusing the writing with a piece of their soul through the words that they choose. They breathe life into the pages with the rhythm and cadence of the words.

I enjoy writing non-fiction, but for me there is a limit to what I can write about as a non-fiction writer. As a fiction writer, there are no limits. The world is mine for the making.

Non-fiction’s value and place in the world is clear and easy for anyone to see. Sharing knowledge and experience has immeasurable value to us all. Fiction’s value is equally precious, even if there are some who do not recognize or appreciate it.

Fiction allows the reader to pursue dreams and goals they never thought possible. It allows the reader to see through another set of eyes. It gives expression to the pieces of our souls we hide and protect from the rest of the world. Fiction allows readers to maintain a firm grip on wonder and hope within the real world.

When I get lost in the pages of a book, I’ve become a part of the story. I’ve identified completely with a character. We are one. Together we face challenges and fail. Together we face challenges and conquer. We never really part ways, even when I’ve set the book on my nightstand or slipped it into my bag. Sure, I know I’m not in never never land any longer, but I will always have a sense of strength, courage, and hope to draw upon in my own life.

What about dark stories that plunge the reader into the depths of hell and never fully brings them back? I love these stories most of all. How in the world does a reader draw a sense of wonder and hope from that, you ask.

It makes them feel less alone in the world. The darkness in the book resonates with an equally dark piece of their experience.  It also makes the real world appear so much brighter and radiant once you’ve looked hell in the eyes.

Pantsing or Outlining Your Novel

outlining-165 Structuring-Your-Novel

When I first began writing my memoir, Fighting for a Chance to Dream, I wrote in a haphazard style. Whichever memory popped into my head, I typed into my laptop. This would then bring another memory to the surface, and I would diligently type it up. The result, drumroll please, was a freaking train wreck. I gave this first draft to two of my friends to read, (yes I am still begging for forgiveness). They both came back saying it was a great story of course. This is the reason you have to find beta readers who do not love you. I was unable to write for several months due to some chaos in my personal life, and when I picked up my first draft to read, I realized what a mess it was.

I restructured, edited, added, and subtracted scenes for another six months before giving it out to another round of friends to read. While they read, I continued to rewrite and edit. This was silly. When they came back with changes, I had already made those changes. I was definitely jumping the gun. I put my memoir away and began working on another book.

My second book, Go Big or Go Home, began with an outline of bullet points, which worked fine for a non-fiction book on a topic I am passionate about (running). It has yet to be finished because there are a few running events I would like to complete before publishing it. It also needs a thorough edit and revision.

Following the running book, I began writing a fiction novel while at the same time continuing to edit Fighting for a Chance to Dream. By this time, I had read a few books about structure, plot, dialogue, suspense, and conflict. I had heard the terms Pantser(writing by the seat of your pants) and Outline people. Pantsing made sense to me. The creative juices could just flow onto the page unrestrained by anything.

I hit 25,000 words and didn’t know where to go. My characters stared at me blankly. Sometimes they ran in circles singing, “This is the song that never ends. Yes, it goes on and on my friends. Some people started singing it not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it just because this is the song that never ends.”

I considered just dropping the book into the recycle bin on my desktop, but I had started listening to K.M. Weiland’s Wordplay podcasts and decided to give outlining a try. I bought her book Outlining Your Novel, Map Your Way to Success, it was the miracle I was looking for. While reading the book, ideas jumped into my head. I had to keep a notebook right next to me, so I could jot down the plot and structure ideas as they sprang into my mind.

I knew I had to redo many things in the book. I knew I had to combine characters and reconsider my POV characters. I was going to have to go back to square one. But, I was thrilled about starting over. Some scenes will be salvaged, but many will lovingly be placed in the deleted scene folder.

To start my outline, I wrote my story out long hand. Whatever came to my head, I wrote down. There are tangents and questions laced in among character description, setting description, theme, and plot. I wrote the story from my protagonist’s perspective. Then I wrote it from the other minor character’s perspectives.

I’ve gone through the notebooks and highlighted usable complete ideas in yellow, character and backstory in orange, subplots are in green, and ideas that need more development are in pink. I wrote scene ideas on index cards. I am now in the process of typing up an extended outline, scene by scene. I should complete it within the next week.

Yes, it is a million pages long, but I’m no longer stuck, my characters are speaking to me like never before. I am excited to get working on the first draft again.

I found Outlining your Novel Map Your way to Success so helpful that I’m now reading K.M. Weiland’s book Structuring Your Novel Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story.

I’ve listened to all of her past podcasts, and I’m going through her video episodes on Youtube. I follow K.M. Weiland on Facebook and Pinterest. I feel like a stalker! I tweet her prior episodes and mention her in most of them. (She probably thinks I’m a stalker at this point).

I have read other author’s books on the craft, of course, and will continue to read them. I have a bunch on my kindle and bookshelves (all recommended by K.M. Weiland muhahaha!) just kidding, well sort of.

Bottom line is if you are just starting out on your writing journey find someone who teaches the craft of writing that you resonate with and be a stalker of their material.

K.M. Weiland has a new book on the craft coming out on August 1, 2014, the Annotated Jane Eyre. She also has her fiction books Behold the Dawn, A Man Called Outlaw, and Dreamlander.

You can buy K.M.Weiland’s books and stalk her on her webpage here.

Flash Fiction Friday: Frostfire World

frostfire

The ice gods had forsaken the Mirawraith people. They sent the burning sickness among them scorching their young from the inside. Their small blue hued bodies twisted with the flames that licked at their muscles and organs as it fed on their internal frost. It devoured whole generations. The Elder Mother of the tribe warned the people not to turn from the old ways, but Kipland’s father, the chief had grand new ideas.

The Mirawraith were people of the cold. Frost clung to their essence. Kip had survived the burning sickness as a child, but was forever marked with crimson eyes and hair. She was one of the few. Most of the others fell in battle due to her father’s continued arrogance. The people dropped to their knees begging the ice gods for forgiveness, but it was too late. Chief Amun had gone too far by declaring himself equal to the gods.

Enormous fireballs rained from the sky. Searing yellow bolts of lightning lashed at Amun’s people. Those not burned from within were burned from without. With blackened, cracked, and oozing flesh the Mirawraith fled to the foot of the mountains.

That was ages ago, now Kip, one of last of her kind, struggled to free her foot from the two feet of crystalline snow. Her foot broke through the frozen outer crust with the transfer of her weight and dropped to the ground beneath. She forced her cracking determination to continue putting one foot in front of another.

Her breath came in heavy huffs turning to ice just past her sapphire lips. Snowflakes formed on her eyelashes and brows. Icicles hung in her crimson dreadlocked hair. She pulled a gray course fur cloak tighter around her shoulders. The elements of ice and fire were at war within her. Her fingers contorted with a searing internal fire. She grimaced and bit her lip.

A blue and purple marbled glacier loomed above her. The black and gray clouds rolled overhead like thick suffocating smoke. She wrapped one hand protectively around her swollen belly. It’s nearly time for this little one to break free and join the Mirawraith people.

She could feel the fire of his essence warming her from within. Her heart skipped a beat, knowing that his fire would be her undoing if he did not come soon. Kip leaned into the pressing wind stinging her face, and took another step. The leather harness around her shoulder tightened preventing another step. She looked behind her. Her eyes followed the rope to a small sled piled with food and furs. A mound of shaved snow bared the path of the runners of the sled.

She gripped the rope with her hands. Clenching her teeth, she pulled hard and pressed her right shoulder against the leather harness. The sled was jostled free. A low growl emanated from the furs. A moist black nose and emerald eyes peered out from under the pile.

“We’re nearly there Hailstorm,” Kip called to the obsidian wolfhound nestled in the warmth and safety of the sled. She couldn’t leave her behind, and there was no way Hailstorm’s broken ribs had healed enough for her to make this journey on foot.

The orange and yellow light of the sun sliced through the storm above for a second. Kip turns her ruby eyes from its burning light. The child’s body within her own twisted and caused a ripple to course through her stretched muscles. She must hurry.

They had tried to come to the life-giving cave a week ago, before the descent of the arctic winds from the north. Hailstorm had pulled Kip out of the path of an avalanche only to be swept away by the cascading ice and rock. Their survival was a gift from the gods. Hailstorm was her only companion now, and nothing could make Kip go on without her.

Hailstorm would have to be the one to gather meat for the months they would spend within the cave after the baby came. The cold intensified the child’s strange unnatural warmth. Kip was at home in this frozen land. Her child would not be. She had not figured out how she would manage to reconcile their differences, but they had not killed one another during the time they have shared her body.

A crackling rumble pushed through the night air as she stepped through the unseen veil at the mouth of the cave. The warmth of the life within her made her own body rebel against its frozen nature. She had made it just in time.

Quartz crystal of every hue clung to the walls and ceiling of the cave. A deep green moss covered the ground. The fur cloak fell from her shoulders revealing her sapphire skin, which was bare other than the deerskin camisole and loincloth she wore. She stepped into the turquoise spring at the back of the grotto. Walking into it depths, the muscles in her legs relaxed in the cold clear waters. Pins and needles clawed at her skin as the blood began to bring the inner heat to her skin. The vigor of the child within her made her wonder how she would ever provide for him.

The center of her body contracted sending shards of pain through her back. She let out a low moan and pulled her knees toward her chest. Squeezing her eyes closed hard, she exhaled through pursed lips and then let her breath go in a gust.

Small eyes like molten gold peered up at Kip, and a high-pitched wail escaped the child’s throat. Swirls of golden hair were plastered against his pale sapphire skin. Kip’s cold blue lips curled into a crooked grin and she pressed them to his warm skin.

Frostfire’s birth was proof the gods had not abandoned the Mirawraith, at least not her. His birth wove the elements into one. He gave them a reason to reclaim their lives and become great once again.

Refuse to be Confined

glass

Throwing rocks in a glass house has always been frowned upon, but what if the glass walls were constructed to keep you from reaching the rest of the world, or the world from reaching you?

I say throw the rocks! Throw anything and everything you can get your hands on. Bust out the machine gun and blow torch if you must.

Life is not fair. People are selfish. Pain and suffering are inevitable. We build walls around ourselves, so that we don’t have to hurt and suffer. Sometimes the world that locks us inside, because no one wants to be contaminated by who we are or what we represent.

We watch the world from inside our safe space. We plant our self-serving gardens. We close the blinds when something happens to our neighbor that doesn’t jive with our perception of the world.  If it’s too hot, we turn on the AC. If it’s too cold, we crank up the heat.  We wave to our family and friends who live in their adjacent glass houses, thankful that we are free of their contamination.

Trunks stuffed full of dirty little secrets line at least one wall in our houses. Our demons live in the bunkers we’ve constructed beneath our feet.

Rose-colored glass is a popular, as is concave and convex. See the world in bright yellow or calming blues, if you wish. Enjoy a constant sunrise or the dark of night. It’s your house, and you may build it to filter the world out as you see fit. Greenhouses are on the rise.

It all seems lovely, so why would anyone encourage rock throwing? Because I refuse to be confined by myself or others.

Of course, breaking the glass means shards will cascade upon our heads, and shrapnel will fly from every direction.  We’re not going to come out of this without lacerations and permanent scars. We may be dismembered, blinded, and disfigured.

It will be beautiful to see the light fractured among the storm of glass.

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