Free Book Giveaway!

Hello fellow bloggers.  I am hosting a book giveaway and one (1) lucky person will be running off with a free copy of Elizabeth Kostova’s, The Historian!  

All you have to do to enter is sign up for my newsletter.  Easy, right?  The newsletter is published once a month with updates on my novel and the ins and outs of querying an agent as well as some of my own personal history.

We will also be hosting a free book giveaway each month!  Yay books!  

If you are reading this on a computer the link to the newsletter should be on your left where it says, “Join the Olive Branch”

On tablets and phones you will need to drop the menu down.  

Thank you for all your support and continued readership!  

Framboise’s Story ~ A Story from 10 Words

For those of you unfamiliar with the series: A Story from 10 Words, please check my about page for details.

This weeks submission gave me these words to work from:

10 words: unknowingly, sailor, night, trinkets, sapphire, drastic, luminescent, loon, velocity, circular / Genre: slasher / Song: I Was Young When I Left Home by Bob Dylan

And this is the story I produced from it.  This week does not have an accent, but I would like to pay homage to the Silent Hill video game series for my inspiration on the setting.  I hope you enjoy it!

*Images are not owned by the author and are used without permission.  Any and all lyrics contained within that reference the song submitted were not done so with intent to plagiarise*

 


 

She awoke to a nightmare.

Blood ran from the walls of her room like sap down the tree of death and all around the smell of murder began to accost her.  A sudden and unrelenting need to flee took hold of her and she bolted from the room without a second thought.  Her bare feet slipped and slid through a mucus like substance she could guess at, but refused to look down to confirm.  Putting one hand to her nose and mouth to shut out the smell of putrefaction while also keeping her desire to vomit down, she grasped at the door handle that led from her room only to have it shoot out of her grasp.

Momentum carried her forward and she collided with the door, causing it to burst into a cloud of rot and filth.  She landed on her side just beyond the frame of the door and slid nearly ten feet through what she now knew for a fact was a mixture of blood, entrails and excrement.

Cursing and in a state of wild panic she leapt back to her feet.  She could feel the filth she had fell into coating her arm and her back, but she could not afford to focus on that.  She had to escape.  That was the only thought that continued to repeat in her mind like it was being beaten from a drum.

Run.  Escape.  Run.  Escape.  

She blinked back the fear and started to look around.  She was outside.  How had she gotten outside?  She turned back to the doorway and saw that her room was now a cube floating in space.  Above it hovered a large bowl that was overflowing with gore, and a large skull hung just above the bowl with bright sapphire eyes and a savage grin.  The blood that spilled over the edges of the bowl and coated her room was pouring forth from the skull’s gaping mouth.  She could not fight back the feeling in her stomach any longer and she added to the stench with her own vomit.

This was hell.

Just then a tinkling sound reached her ears and she spun back the other direction.  She was faced with an impossibly large, luminescent moon.  It shined down from the night sky like a diamond lying on a sheet of onyx, lighting up everything about her.  She took in her surroundings and her heart began to pound.  Sweat ran down her face in streams and all the muscles in her fingers began to twitch.

This can’t be real.  This has to be a dream

She was staring at a run down carnival.  The lights blinked on an off and the rides moved slowly about their business as if they had been waiting just for her.  Strange music tinkled from music boxes but they had the sound of being hundreds of years out of repair.  All the notes were off, either too high or too low, and a scratching sound ran underneath it all, almost like a record player that was being jostled.  The lights were wrong too, some had burnt out and others were impossibly bright.  Rust caked everything and the smell of caramel and sugar blended in with the ferric scents that had filled her nose previously.  All of this did nothing to help her fight off her nausea.

Going forward meant walking into the carnival.  Going back meant going into a pool of blood. Where the hell does one go when one has nothing but death to choose from?  She chose the carnival.  She would come to regret that decision rather soon.

Stepping onto the midway she looked to her left and right.  There were games and attractions offering prizes.  Many were just the usual shiny trinkets that one takes home from the carnival but others were not.  She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw a dart throwing game.  It offered a large teddy bear dressed in a sailor’s uniform as a prize.  That was not what shocked her.  In place of balloons were human hearts.  Human hearts that were still pumping blood all over the board they were pinned to.

Wake up.  Please, God, wake up.  

“Ah, you want to go home so soon?  But you just got here!”

The manic voice comes from behind her and she knows better than to look.  Everyone with half a mind would know what is back there.  Trapped in a nightmare like this, could it be anything other than a clown?  Is there any place more fitting than this for one such as he to exist.  Still, she spins and comes face to face with the loon.

He is tall and lanky, face covered in paint, but it is the drastic contrast between his head and the rest of his body that leaves her in stunned silence.  He is naked save for a lace neckpiece and all his parts are mismatched, purple, bloated, and stitched together with puss leaking out of him from a hundred different places.  His face is pristinely painted and a huge smile spreads across it but the haphazardly stitched together body is what truly terrifies her.

Why?  Why am I seeing this?  Why… why… why….WHY!?  

“Now, now,” he says with a smile that only the truly insane can muster, “you are hurting my feelings!”  He laughs, forcing yellow fluid to ooze out of the stitches covering his body, and she fights off the desire to soil herself.

Run, damn you!  Run!

She runs.  Turning her back on the clown, she heads deeper into the nightmare.  She bolts past a ferris wheel that looks like a roasting spit with a fire blazing beneath it and carousels with flayed human beings bobbing up and down with horses sitting on their backs.  She goes past a whack-a-mole game that features real live moles and actual hammers and finds herself unknowingly headed toward the house of mirrors.

No, no, no.  That is a terrible idea. 

She slows to think and then hears a circular saw fire up behind her and she knows who wields it.

No choice.  No fucking choice. 

She enters the house of mirrors and knows she has been corralled here, led like cattle, and that the butcher is only a few steps behind.  She twists and turns, hearing his sick laughter behind her and a new thought comes cascading into her brain.

You can’t outrun him.  He’ll catch you.  You have to fight him.  Kill him.

She stops and faces a million versions of herself reflected in the mirrors – some short, some tall, some thin, and some fat.  The question is, is there a killer amongst them?  Of all the versions of her, can she find one strong enough to face this nightmare? She hears him coming and a calm comes over her.  I have to face it.

“The itsy bitsy Popet ran in a frantic fit,” the clown sang, his voice high and impossibly happy.  “Down came the happy man to slice her all to bits.  Out came the hack saw to make her into mince meat, and the itsy bitsy Popet was gobbled up hands and feet.”

She waits, knowing the demon will not make this easy.  She has nothing to fight with, but this is her nightmare.  She will think of something or die trying.

The clown comes smashing through the mirrors in a shower of glass, his perfectly painted face smiling for all the world like death was a pleasant afternoon stroll.  The circular saw spits out smoke from behind it as he swings it down toward her head.  She dives forward, just under his arching swing and rolls toward the other side.  Her shoulders and back are cut up from the broken glass and an idea strikes her.  She glances around and finds what she needs, waiting for her attacker to come back.

“Now, Popet, it isn’t nice to run from your Uncle Smiley.  Come on over and give us a kiss, bitch,” he says, his voice high and bright.

He raises the circular saw over his head and she lunges right at him, driving a large piece of glass right under his chin and into the back of his throat.  Blood cakes her hand and she knows she has cut herself deep, but the velocity of the blood now gushing from the clown’s neck tells her he is hurt much worse.

She leaps back and watches as the clown falls to his back.  His body twitches and blood continues to sputter from his wound for several moments.  She draws breath in heavy, shaking gasps as her fingers continue to twitch.  She can feel blood running down the fingers of her right hand and knows she will need to dress the wound if she does not want to get an infection.  This thought alone drives her to a manic laughter.  This entire nightmare is one never-ending infection.

A slow clicking sound begins to register in her ears and she turns to face a man in a brown suit with a bowler hat and a half smoked cigar hanging from his mouth.  His amber skin and golden eyes tells her this man is far more dangerous than the clown could ever have hoped to be.  She begins looking around for another piece of glass when bowler hat shook his head slowly.

“I ain’t your enemy, girlie.  So don’t bother.  I come to send you home.”

She looks at him in disbelief.  How could he send her out of her own nightmare?  The man steps closer and she realises that she cannot raise her arms.  She is paralysed.

“It’s time to pawn that watch and chain, little missy.”  He places a warm hand over her eyes.  “Now, go on home.”


 

Sitting up bolt right in her bed she looks left and right for signs of blood and finds only the room she has always known.  She takes a deep breath and steadies herself.  A laugh escapes her lips, sad and relieved at the same time, and she wipes a cold sweat from her brow.

It was just a dream

Then she holds her right hand in front of her face and finds a long scar running down her palm.

In the distance she can hear Bob Dylan singing as a shiver runs down her spine.

I don’t like it in the wind
Wanna go back home again
But I can’t go home thisaway
Thisaway, Lord Lord Lord
And I can’t go home thisaway” 

The voice of the bronze man fills her ears and she begins to tremble.

“You done well, Popet, but you ain’t done yet.  No, no.  You ain’t done yet.”

She lets out a scream known only to the damned.  The nightmare was not over.

It had only just begun.


 

If you would like your own story, please feel free to contact me with 10 words, a theme (it can be a genre, favourite movie or book) and a song and I will write you a story as well.  They are posted every Sunday.  

Next Sunday (7th February) will be Lauren’s Story.  Look forward to it please!

Blogger Recognition Award & One Lovely Blog

I had the double honour of being nominated for two awards in two days by the lovely people of the blogging world (or should I say, blogosphere?)

As someone who has learned in my month of blogging how essential the element of reading and supporting other blogs is, these awards come as a very special honour.  I have elected to post on both awards in one blog (a tactic I learned form another blogger this month) in order to keep from putting one before the other or to repeat myself in any way.

I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog award by The Runaway Palate and I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks for the nomination.  I was attracted to her blog from near the beginning of my journey into blogging due in no small part to her obvious experience in writing, but also a love of food and interesting travel stories.  Being a fellow occupant of the Asian continent myself I saw some common ground and I felt that her experience as a journalist was something I could learn from and appreciate.  I can say that from the time I clicked ‘follow’ on her blog, I have not been disappointed.

Dutch Goes the Photo! nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award and I am flattered to be recognised by a blogger with such a keen eye with the camera.  As a creative mind I find myself more and more drawn to other artists who blog.  I like to see what other creative minds are creating and the pictures and stories that go along with them I find on this site are very inspiring.  The whole work on the Yoga Tree on this site is wonderful.  I may have to use that tree in my writing someday.


one-lovely-blog

One Lovely Blog rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated your blog
  2. Say something about that person or blog, and include a link to the lovely blog on your post.
  3. Display the award on your post
  4. Tell the world seven things about yourself
  5. Nominate another seven blogs for the award

So, seven things about myself.  Here we go:

  1. I am fluent in Japanese, my wife is Japanese, and my daughter (who is 4) only speaks Japanese with any real efficiency (although she can say, “No thank you!” in perfect English.  I am the embodiment of the 80’s song, “I think I’m turning Japanese”
  2. Every novel I have begun to write was based off of a character created from a friend or close acquaintance.  People I love or admire are the inspiration behind my writing.
  3. The story I wish I had written the most is Alice in Wonderland.  The idea of everything being what it isn’t is just so perfect.  It encompasses the essence of childhood imagination perfectly.
  4. I am a sucker for anything crunchy.  That is why I love apples.  It isn’t the taste, it’s the crunch.
  5. I grew up in Southern California but I have lived in Colorado, and Texas.  I lived in more houses than I had years in my life by the time I was 20.  No, my dad wasn’t in the military, he was in sports marketing.
  6. I am a preschool teacher.
  7. I majored in history and wrote an 100+ page honours thesis for which I won a cash award and highest honours from UCLA.  It was about the Japanese emperor and his status as a divinity after WWII.

bloggerrec_award

Blogger Recognition Award rules:

Rule 1: Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
Rule 2: Provide a link to the award creator
Rule 3: Attach the award to your post
Rule 4: Nominate fifteen other bloggers, excluding yourself and the person who nominated you
Rule 5: Write a brief story of how you started your blog
Rule 6: A piece or two of advice to new bloggers
Rule 7: Comment on the blogs you have named here to let them know you have nominated them


 

A brief story of how I started blogging?

Well, I started my blog one month ago (about mid-December) to expand my writing platform.  That sounds really selfish and business like but it’s true.  I am a novelist who is working on polishing my first completed work to submit to agents and have been told that having a platform would aid in that battle.

That being said, engaging in the process changed what my blog has become.  I learned through the engagement and community aspect of blogging that this blog and the entire essence of blogging is to give back.  The more you give the more you grow, and the more you grow the more you find that blogging is about inspiring other creative people to create and this in turn adds fuel to your own creative fire.

Blogging is reciprocal and it has been a great experience for me.

All I have ever wanted was to have people read the things that I wrote so I could feel like all the strange things bouncing around in my head had a purpose.  All it took was for one person to say they enjoyed my writing for me to want to write more.  If this blog achieves nothing else, it has served its purpose in that one interaction.  Thank you all for your input and feedback over the last month!  It has encouraged me to keep typing, and maybe someday it will lead to me finally achieving my dream.


 

My one piece of advice to other bloggers:

If you have read my post on blogging you will know what is coming next.  My advice is to read other blogs.  Comment on other blogs.  Find blogs similar to yours, especially successful ones, and try to learn how they became so.  Successful blogging is about interacting.  If you have a blog it’s because you want someone to read or look at what you are creating.  If you want that to happen you have to be willing and able to read and look at what others are creating.  If you want people to comment on your work, comment on theirs.  If you want more, give more.  Blogging is a community and you have to engage in the community aspect if you want to be successful and grow your blog.


 

One award asked for 7 nominations and other other asked for 15.  I am going to shoot for the middle and go with 10.  These ten blogs are blogs I read often and appreciate the work that they make.  I will link back to one of their posts that I genuinely enjoyed so you can see what about them I liked so much.

  1. Vasa and Ypres – as a fellow creative writer I really appreciate her literary style.  The story is very engaging and her prose is wonderful.
  2. leet_g33k – As a fellow lover of scifi/fantasy, I really enjoy his sarcastic wit.  Reminds me of Adams a bit.
  3. Beilin Ye – Again, another fellow creative writer with great sarcastic wit.  Still waiting for the follow up to this one 🙂
  4. Girlygeekgirl – One of my favourite bloggers.  We see eye to eye on a lot of things… just not our favourite NFL teams.
  5. The Caffeinated Writer – Another fellow writer who muses in a way that I like, which is rare indeed.  Sorry, just gave you a heap more awards to deal with 🙂
  6. The Dog Rules – A fellow animal lover and a person who knows how to tie life lessons into the love of animals and the interaction us humans have with  our pets.
  7. Elan Mudrow – I don’t like poetry.  That I rush to read every post by this blog is a testament, in my eyes, to how good it is.  It’s mainly long poems and they are fantastic!
  8. Only 100 Words – The stories are very compact and the punch this writer manages to get in with so few words is amazing.  Love your work.
  9. A Narcissist Writes Letters, To Himself – If you ever need a good laugh, this is the place to find one.  I am still smiling after reading this post again.
  10. Girl at a Desk – Another writer who has a great sarcastic wit.

 

Thank you again to both The Runaway Palate and Dutch Goes the Photo! for your nominations.  Recognition from two great blogs such as yours is a real honour and I am truly flattered!


 

*I will get to commenting on your blogs this week but I can’t get to you all right now.  I hope the pingbacks show up so you know I love you 🙂 *

Star Wars Episodes : A Battle Royale

This week’s Battle Royale will be between the episodes of Star Wars. Which one is best? Which one is worst? How fast can we all agree that Jar-Jar was the only redeemable thing about the entire series?

c68e5a46199e6917cb955a8163cb859e165ea492bbd5744f9643b9fde1f0eb11

Unfortunately your original poster has now been replaced as he was justifiably struck by lightning.

There are several factors that go into how and why each episode wins or loses and I will give you my reason for one side of it in five points (ie: Why such-and-such episode lost, or why such-and-such episode won, but not both. Eventually all 7 will get their blurb as we go along)

Disagree? I would love to hear your opinions as well. That’s what the comment box down there is for!

This Battle Royale will be fought king of the hill style. That said, enough with the preliminaries, let’s get ready to rumble!

Episode I: The Phantom Menace star_wars_episode_i___the_phantom_menace_by_1darthvader-d6ieq34

vs. Episode II: Attack of the Clonesstar_wars_episode_ii___attack_of_the_clones_by_1darthvader-d6h1rtx

Why Episode II Lost:

1. Anakin Skywalker was a whiny b*$#%.

Anakin whined incessantly throughout the whole movie about how people were holding him back and that he was stronger and better than anyone.  He shouldn’t have been whining, he should have been boiling angry, he should have been, “is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a b*$^h?” angry.  Think of how much better those lines would have been if he had half whispered them through clenched teeth.  “In a lot of ways, I am better than them.”  Not screaming or throwing a tantrum, but litteraly fuming.  Instead he was like, “mom threw away my favorite One Direction T-shirt! I hate that whore!”picture-71-1024x640

2. A love story with characters who have no chemistry.

They were animals and Anakin slaughtered them all like animals… and then Padme hugs him. Really? He didn’t have a single redeemable trait throughout the entire movie but Padme has to say how she loves him, because that is the way the story is written. It’s totally unbelievable. Why would you love him? What is there to love about him? They were trying to go for the loveable cocky dick perhaps, but Anakin will never be Han Solo. He was just an immature jerk.  Both Anakin and Padme were completely wooden characters going through motions that were quite obviously dictated.  It did not feel inevitable.  For the fans, do you remember how inevitable it felt right before Han Solo kissed Leia the first time?  Your whole thought process is, “fight it all you want girlie, you love him.  We all do.  It’s okay.”  In Attack, as soon as Padme says, “I love you,” to Anakin my first reaction, in the theater, was to blurt out loud, “Why??”  There is no answer to that, don’t even try.  If you can’t read all the parts of the following picture, please click here.  It’s a perfect representation of this point.

pqjgunx

3. Obi Wan the bumbling idiot & his more powerful apprentice.

Obi-Wan was played up as a clumsy doofus that can’t hold his own without Anakin around. They get into happy banter about how Anakin has to constantly save Obi Wan’s life.  Why?  As a writer I can tell you what has been told to me a hundred times, don’t dump info like that – PROVE IT.  Prove that Anakin is better, and not by just flying his little ship and jumping off of stuff.  But then when they do try and do it at the end all they succeed in doing is make the defeat of Anakin by Obi Wan in the following episode implausible.  tumblr_lzmtv8kshs1qfkrgao2_1280

Obi Wan also has difficulty fighting Jengo Fett. Why? Because Jengo Fett needed a backstory.   Why? Because too many fan boys decided that Boba Fett was uber cool. So now stupid ass Jengo Fett becomes a HUGE part of the narrative and he has to be super badass. So badass that he can take on a Jedi? No. Shut up. Then he forced Mace Windu off that balcony like he’s the Bounty Hunter version of Doc Holiday. Again, shut up. Does anyone remember how Boba Fett died? He was knocked off Jaba’s shuttle by a half blind Han Solo… who wasn’t even intending to hit him… as Han was shouting his name. Boba Fett looked cool, but he was not some great bounty hunter ninja pirate.

gohk92wtec

4. Yoda fighting with a lightsaber.

Yoda is in CG now. Why? So he can have the most unnecessary lightsaber fight of all time. That whole scene was just stupid. At the end he goes back to limping with his walking stick? Really? Horrible. Just, horrible. Yoda should have been similar to a mage in an RPG. His force ability should have been off the chart. If he was going to fight, it should have been a huge magic battle a la Voldemort v. Dumbledore. And let’s not forget the line, “around the survivors, a perimeter create.” Ugh.13738b36a2b3c0d2357548ce647dabfa

5. Destruction of the Jedi mystique.

Then we have the epic Jedi slaughter fest at the hands of an army of droids and oversized wasps with guns. So, all these lives lost to prove, what? That the Jedis are not nearly as powerful as everyone assumed. Fun.star_wars_ii_attack_of_the_clones_meme_by_amagydragon25-d83we39

6. In the end, it’s all Jar-Jar’s fault.

Jar-Jar ends up being the foil that puts the Palpatine in power. Great story telling there, use the stereotype character you made that stands for stupidity to kick off the undoing of the entire republic. That needed to be a bigger moment and involved a plot line grander than, ‘We need someone stupid enough to do this. Jar-Jar!’

3oq6ef

 

Episode II, you are the weakest link.  Goodbye.


A new Battle Royale! will be published each friday.  Next week I will be pitting Episode I of Star Wars up against Episode III.  The movies will duke it out until we have crowned a king of the mountain.  As always, I appreciate any comments or feedback… especially if you disagree with my point of view.  Let’s hash it out, bro!

Of Selfies & Narcissism

**I do not own any of the pictures used in this post.**

Advances in technology have changed the face of the world drastically over the past 20 years.  I am 36 years old and when I was in high school the most advanced piece of equipment I had was a pager and our computer at home had AOL dial up.  Remember that annoying telephone dial sound?  And heaven forbid someone pick up the house phone while you were trying to connect to the internet.

Now there are multiple computers in every home and we all live on high speed internet.  There is a smart phone in every hand, a tablet in every bag, and a kindle to replace your gaudy bookshelves.  Pretty soon The Sims will replace your actual family members and conversation with fleshy humans will be obsolete!  Yay!

selfie

OMG.  Hot.

This post will not delve into all the finer points of the rise in technology, but one minor aspect that has come along with it — the selfie.

One definition I found that I feel sums it all up came from Urban Dictionary.com:

A picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace or any other sort of social networking website. You can usually see the person’s arm holding out the camera in which case you can clearly tell that this person does not have any friends to take pictures of them so they resort to Myspace to find internet friends and post pictures of themselves, taken by themselves. A selfie is usually accompanied by a kissy face or the individual looking in a direction that is not towards the camera.

The rise in the number of “selfies” spreading like wildfire across the internet makes me a bit nauseous and it got me thinking recently.  Here is what I came to:

1. The ratio of women to men is pretty skewed.

I used the almighty Google to back my claim in this regard.  I typed in the word ‘selfie’ and then counted out the first 100 pictures.  There were 112 faces in those pictures and 73% of them were female.  22% were male.  A staggering 2% were Woody from Toy Story.  Figure THAT out.

What does this mean?  I think the reality that physical image weighs more heavily on females than it does on males is not a question in this day and age.  Some smart, attractive women have also used this craze to get themselves paid quite well because there is a whole gaggle of stupid males out there who will constantly stare at pretty women on the internet like slobbering neanderthals.

2. Selfies have given rise to the god awful facial expression known as “Duck Lips.”

Have you seen this face?  Urban Dictionary provided me with another invaluable definition once again:  image

Where one’s lips look like a duck’s bill(beak). Most ** make kissing faces while they take endless pictures of themselves and post them at various places on the internet. They think it looks really cool, but they actually look like an ugly a** duck. It looks really AWFUL, and makes me want to destroy the internet because so many people are doing it.
Guy1: Yo did you see her myspace? 
Guy2: Yeah! She looks like a real ** with those duck lips!

I know there are plenty of people out there mocking the face now, as it rightly should be, and good on you, but there are honest to goodness people who believe this face is hot.  Like,”you know you wanna f*%$ me,” hot.  I am here to tell you that, no… no, you are not.  Stop pursing your lips like a pouting baby before someone comes along and pulls them off your face because you are no longer mature enough to use them properly.  Ugh.  The sad thing is that Duck Lips are now being replaced by another horrid thing called Fish Gape.  Will the insanity never end?

3.  The world is antisocial enough as it is.  Do we need one more excuse not to talk to actual people?

One of my largest gripes with selfies is that they are taken in one of two settings: in one’s own home, quite obviously in one’s room or… even stranger… one’s bathroom (seriously, what the hell with that?)  or in a massively public place near a landmark or monument type structure.

In regards to the first instance, I will tackle that in point 4.

The second instance however is just sad.  Many times you can actually see other human beings in the background of people’s selfies.  Is it really so trendy to take the picture yourself now that you can’t just stop and say, “excuse me, but do you mind taking a picture for me?”  How many times have you asked someone that question?  How many times have you been asked?  Why are we actively seeking every reason in the world to not interact with other human beings?  It’s not a hard question to ask and it’s a request that the majority of people would be happy to do, but we are passing it up to take subpar pictures in order to be trendy.

girl-rome-selfie-shutterstock_152914343

Look at all those people at the Colosseum… JK! Look at ME, damn it!

I don’t get it.  I really don’t.  It’s like the people who go to Starbucks together to study and spend the entire time instant messaging each other through their computers.  TALK, damn you!  Are other people really that scary?

4. When did narcissism become sexy?

Selfies are a form of ego masturbation in my opinion.  Looking at the picture above do you think the girl wants you to focus on the colosseum… or her, “I’m so cute!” face?  Go with B.  It’s sure fire.

For that matter, take a look at the majority of selfies that are taken.  What seems to be their main purpose?  For you to look at that person’s marvellous face, and only that.  To bask in the glory.  I was always taught growing up not to spend too much time looking in the mirror because no one likes vanity.  Now vanity has become a typical mode of self promotion.  When did the world become okay with such blatant self love?

I will temper this by saying that this comes from a man with a headshot on his about page.  This is a picture of me all prettied up and one could argue that such a photograph is also vain in its own right.  I would counter this by saying I only paid for and produced that picture at the request of my writing mentor who claimed that all real writing professionals need one.  I had a reason for my picture and made sure I found someone else to hold the camera.  If you are obsessed with taking selfies, do you ever stop and wonder why you love to take pictures of yourself so much?  I think you might not like the answer if you can be honest about it.

5.  The only thing more ridiculous than the selfie is the selfie stick.

This… just this:

pretty brunette making selfie with a stick

Now you can get a wide angle of my kissy wissy face.  Vomit.

It wasn’t bad enough that people were obsessed with looking at pictures of themselves and their total lack of actual friends (as opposed to their 2,000,000 Facebook friends), but now we had to give them a stick to produce a wider angle?  Seeing people using these things always makes me sad for society.

 

I actually saw someone once trying to set up this perfect shot of themselves and the struggle was quite fierce.  I walked over and offered to take the picture for them and they looked at me like I was speaking alien.  Do you not realise how much money I spent on this stick? their face seemed to say.  They had bought the stick and now they were going to use it.  Never mind that the help of a real live human would have ended their struggle with the perfect shot much quicker, the point was that they didn’t want me interfering and the purchasing of said stick had guaranteed them of harassment free picture taking at any time and from any spot.

It made me sad that such simple interactions are now becoming obsolete because so much of our young society is antisocial and vain.  They don’t want to talk to you, they want to text you.  They don’t want to visit with you, they want to Skype you.  They don’t want a picture with you, they want you to like their selfie on Facebook.

Who knows, maybe in another 10 years we won’t even have to leave the house and we’ll have cameras going 24/7 in our homes to catch us from any sexy angle we choose.  I pray to the gods I don’t live to see it.

What do you think about selfies?  Do you take them?  What is your reason for doing so if you do?  Where do you take them?  I hope I am not alone in my hatred of them.  Happy blogging all!

Othersiders: Arts of the Necromancer – Pt. 8

*Image courtesy of weekinweird.com*

Evelyn strode into Raith’s Miscellany, Oddities and Curiosity Shoppe with her shoulders back and her eyes straight ahead.  Finian followed behind her with his hands stuffed firmly into the pockets of his jeans, his shoulders hunched and his eyes darting all over the place.  Every step the two friends took along their journey only firmed Evelyn’s resolve while simultaneously chipping away at Finian’s.  Still, as much as he wished to run for the hills, Finian would never abandon Evelyn.  Even if following her was a non stop dance with danger. 

Raith’s shop gave every indication of being as horrible as Alice King’s home had been, and the place was strange to say the least.  There were marble busts of people with bulging eyes and outstretched tongues — like they were being hung at the moment of creation.  There were rats, spiders, and bats swimming about in glass jars, dead animals that had been stuffed and hung from the walls, glass balls, tarot cards, hundreds of ticking clocks —all set to different times, an entire shelf of left sided clothing: shoes, gloves, socks, and all of it was covered in a thin film of dust.  There was a large section of magic objects and talismans from all over the world, and so much bric a brac was strewn about on the floors and the shelves that it was impossible to focus on any one thing before your eyes became distracted by another thing.  Walking through the shop itself was also a task in careful stepping so as not to knock something over or step on the merchandise.

Evelyn blew past it all without even seeing it.  She wanted to speak with Raith about necromancy.  She had read all she could on the subject, learning that necromancy was a kind of magic and one often associated with communicating with the dead.  In Evelyn’s mind that meant this man knew ways of speaking with people who had passed into another world.  She did not believe in an afterlife, as much as she believed in spirits and ghosts, but reading about necromancy flipped a switch in her mind.  It was not the dead these necromancers were speaking to, but the people who had been taken over to the other side by the spirits, like those that had stolen away her brother and Finian’s family.  Raith had the answers she needed.

Finian peeled off when Evelyn reached the main counter.  She slammed her hand down on the service bell and Finian began browsing, trying to look for all the world like he had not come in with her.  Evelyn’s tendency to go on the attack from the get go made Finian a bit nervous. 

Evelyn made to slam her hand down on the bell again when a tall man with a lean face and angular features reached his thin hand out and grabbed Evelyn by the wrist.

“I heard you the first time, girl,” said the shop keeper in a slow, smooth voice that gave the impression he had sung the words.  The man was of medium height but his presence was enormous.  Staring coldly into Evelyn’s eyes with his white blonde hair hanging down to frame his face, his pale skin and ice blue eyes amplified by his all white suit and his delicate features, she could not help but feel that the man was beautiful in a way that men should not be.  

Finian stood puzzling, how he keeps those clothes as immaculately white as they are in this shop is magic in and of itself.  He tried to fight off the feeling that they had just come face to face with an angel but could not quite get past it. 

“Is there something I can help you with?” the shop keeper asked.

Evelyn did not respond for several moments.  She was lost in the trance of the shop keeper’s beauty and Finian had to cough several times before she was able to shake herself free.

“Yes,” she began, returning to herself in a flash.  “We were sent here by a woman named Alice King.  She said that you could teach us about necromancy.” 

The shop keeper smiled a faint smile and clasped his pale hands before his breast. 

“I am not sure what that is to mean, but I can promise you that I know nothing about necromancy.” 

Finian was ready to take his word for it if it meant getting out of that shop.  He was walking past a row of bottled insects when a scorpion lunged at him from inside its liquid prison. Finian jumped, letting out a high pitched squeak, and fell into a pile of books.  There was several moments of ruckus as Finian broke various objects in an attempt to stay erect, only to fall back into the shelf housing the scorpion. 

The shop keeper’s smile broadened a bit but he never took his piercing eyes off of Evelyn. 

“You are Raith, aren’t you?” Evelyn asked.

“I am,” he said in a low whisper. 

Finian managed to raise himself off the floor and began trying to piece things back together.

“We’re good over here, nothing broken.  Well, nothing of mine broken.  This, uh… hey!  Is this a magic eight ball?” Finian shook it and then read the result, mumbling a string of obscenities under his breath.  Luckily no one was listening to him.

“Then you’re the man I’m looking for.  Alice King told us you wouldn’t want to help.”

“I am afraid I do not know any Alice King,” Raith said, with a slight shrug of his shoulders.

“Yes, you do.  You also know about the arts of the necromancer and you’re going to help us.”

Evelyn placed both hands on the counter and drew her eyebrows down.  The muscles in her arms tensed and she flexed her jaw.  She was not going to be brushed aside. 

Raith licked his lips slowly and then held his hands out in mock surrender.

“I am a seller of odd things, this much is true, and many times I have been mistaken for something I am not.  This Alice King of yours would not be the first to have erred.”

“Hey,” Finian broke in again, “is this a picture of Ozzy Osborne?  Ah, no, that’s Lindsey Lohan.  Sorry.” 

“That is a portrait of Nikola Tesla, my young friend, and can be had for a very reasonable price.”

“Yeah,” Finian said, running his fingers through his rust coloured hair, “I think I might have bought enough already.”

“The broken items are of no consequence.  I can sell them just as easily now as before you entered.” 

Finian cocked an eyebrow at Raith and began looking around him at the mess he had made.  Then he took another look at the rest of the shop and realised that a man who ran a shop like this would probably prefer his items broken up a bit.

Raith turned back to Evelyn to find that she had not moved an inch or taken her eyes off Raith for a moment.  He sighed and reached for the telephone at his side.  He held the receiver end out to her and said in a voice that betrayed the underlying threat.

“I must ask you to leave.  You have come in to my shop seeking wares I do not sell, your friend has destroyed my merchandise, and this line of questioning is beginning to border upon harassment.  If you are unwilling to go I will have no choice but to phone the authorities.”

“You said the broken things didn’t matter!” Evelyn shouted.

“My willingness to forgive your friend’s accident has been altered by your stubbornness.  If you will consent to leave I shall let bygones be bygones.  If you insist on staying I will seek full remuneration.” 

Finian started stumbling about and there was a mad shuffle behind Evelyn.  Raith was denying her just like Alice King told Finian he would.  Evelyn bit her bottom lip and growled deep in her throat.  He had what she needed and he was not going to give it to her.  If Finian had only been able to keep his feet she would still have room to pressure him, but that option was off the table the moment Finian did what he always did, fumble around and mess things up.

He came up behind Evelyn and pulled on her arm. 

“We’ll go, gladly.  So sorry again for everything.  We wish you a wonderful selling venture here and I know now where I will be coming when my dryer eats a sock.”

Finian pried Evelyn from the the counter and she tore her arm from his grasp.  She struck the door hard on their way out and Finian was certain the glass would shatter.  Luckily it held but Finian had to jog to keep up with Evelyn’s furious pace.  Her face was bright red and her mouth was pursed.  Finian had mucked up her chance to learn something from Raith and she was going to blow up at him at any moment.  Finian knew he had to make things right quick if he did not want her to hate him. 

Finian placed his hand on Evelyn’s shoulder and she spun on him with lightning flashing in her eyes.  She could have burned a whole forest down with all the hate radiating off of her.  She shoved her pointer finger in Finian’s face and sucked in a deep breath but was stopped short.  Finian was holding up a book, a really old, worn out book and the title cooled her rage in an instant.  Evelyn stared at the book for a long moment and then laughed.  She shook her head and then crushed Finian to her chest.  Finian tensed and his face flushed.  It was a rare occasion that he earned physical contact. 

“Every time I start to doubt you, you find a way to prove that my first instincts about you were totally right,” Evelyn said into Finian’s ear.  Evelyn’s breath was hot on his neck and the strength of her embrace was incredible.  Finian stood frozen in place, too cowardly to reciprocate the hug and too weak to fight it off.

Evelyn finally pulled away and Finian realised he had been holding his breath.  Looking at the book, Evelyn smiled. 

The History and Practice of Necromancy,” she whispered.  “Finn, you are my hero.” 

“Well, I’d love to say I broke all his crap on purpose, but the truth is I just sort of fell into that book.  Literally.” 

Evelyn’s smile broadened and she clapped Finian on the shoulder. 

“Let’s go see what Raith was hiding from us.” 

All it took was that one sentence to reignite all the nerves in Finian’s stomach.  He was certain that he would be the first teenager to die of ulcers, but how could he say no to Evelyn?  She would step in front of a moving train for him, he was certain of it.  So, whatever the danger, they were in it together. 

At least he told himself that.


The Othersiders is a weekly ongoing series that will be published every Wednesday.  Please look forward to next week’s edition where Finian and Evelyn learn their first bit of necromancy.

Rachel’s Story – A Story from 10 Words

This is a very special edition of A Story from 10 Words.  Rachel is a friend I met at UCLA who asked me one day to write her a story.  That simple prompting led to the first novel I ever completed.  Rachel serves as the inspiration for the main character of that story (the prologue for which you can find here.)  She is a wonderful girl and a good friend.  I don’t know why her characters end up violent and scary.  I honestly don’t.  Though she didn’t help her cause with the words she submitted.  So, without further ado, Rachel’s Story.


These were the 10 words I was given: blood, guts, hoops, fruition, amaranth, coffee, eagles, company, chip, naked

The theme was: East of Eden, Steinbeck

And the song was: Iris-Goo goo dolls

Here is the story I made from it:


“I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. . . . Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil. . . . There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill?”

― John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Sitting in a pool of one’s own blood and guts is as good a time as any to ponder life’s mistakes. 

The sun breaks through white lace curtains to accost my face and dust particles dance before my eyes like fairies.  My nose is filled with the ferric scent of spent life and I can feel all the lies I’ve told myself coming to fruition.  For good or ill, it ends here.

Running my hand down my cold, naked body the days and miles of hard living flash through my mind in black and white.  My skin is sweat slick and hardened from labours beyond count but I refuse to bemoan my suffering.  There is no honour in hardship nor call for self-glorification.  I had suffered of my own doing and I shall bear it in the same silent manner through which I earned it. 

Heavy boots strike hard wood and I hear my clock ticking.  My hands reach down between my legs and I feel the pool building up.  A life was ripped from me only moments before and now fate is coming to claim a second.  I’ll be damned if I take it lying down. 

Pushing myself into a sitting position, hair clinging to my haggard face, the bed shrieks out in protest.  Smoke fills my nose from a billowing fire made of blood red bricks.  One at a time, that was how it was built, and, like my own life, it came to house a blazing inferno.  Now here I am, left with only the blood running down my legs to keep me company, and I feel a hot fury creeping up inside of me like flames slowly eating wood. 

Placing my feet on the cold hardwood floor it saps the heat from my body and I fight off a shiver that rattles my spine.  I only have so many steps left and I have to make them count.  The chips are down and it’s time to cash in.  Have I overplayed my hand, or underplayed it?  Have I sold myself short?  These are the questions only a dying person asks themselves and I am not going to die.  This fool of a man thought he plucked himself a rose when in fact he had laid his hands on amaranth.  I am the undying and I won’t be had so easily. 

The door creaks open and I can feel his eyes on me like cold death.  Feral and hateful, he wants that last inch and I won’t give it.  He’s going to have to come and take it.  I come face to face with a mirror and have to marvel at what stares back.  A bloated heliotrope wreak conveying all the beatings one woman will take to live a lie. 

He’s talking now, his voice is cold and hard like his fist, telling me to get back in bed.  Smoke and stale coffee waft into the room along with a heavy violence in the form of a man who uses words like I love you as an accusation.  I have been guilty and I let his curse damn me.  But now I hear the screams of new life and the answer is suddenly so clear.  Why couldn’t I see it before?

“I’ve been lying down for too long.” 

My voice is small and far away, like talking to myself at the bottom of a pool.  I know he hears me but I doubt whether I spoke the words or just felt them.  Either way, it doesn’t matter. 

He’s furious and stomping over to me.  He thinks this is going to end the same way it always has.  He thinks nothing has changed.  When he was striking me I had no one to blame buy myself — sometimes you have to bleed just to know you’re alive.  The moment he pried that life from me though I became responsible for more than my own suffering.  The game has changed.

“Did you hear me?”

He’s shouting.  He places his hand on my shoulder to turn me toward him, to look into his hateful face and I can’t be happier to oblige.  It’s time to rise, time to fly with the eagles.

He never thought to look at what I was holding in my hands.

I put the barrel of the shotgun just under his chin and he only has a moment to register what will come next.  The snarl is gone.  All the hate and violence he’s unleashed is reduced to a simpering child.  But he only has a moment.  By the time he could think to defend himself I have relieved him of the obligation. 

“I want you to know who I am,” I say, hoping my words will follow him to hell. 

His last thoughts are spread out in chunks all across the room and the blowback cakes my body in gore to match what’s coating my thighs.  I drop the gun to the floor and the doctor comes rushing into the room.  He looks at me and I know what he sees — a veritable pinwheel of carnage.

“What have you done?” He gasps.

“What I had to.  I jumped through his hoops, bent and twisted myself in the vain attempt at being perfect, but no more.  There are those that will say what I’ve done was evil, but that’s the prerogative of man — to judge the right and wrong of a life they haven’t lived.  It’s only I that have to bear the burden of this choice and my conscience is clear.  I haven’t done ill this day and I don’t have to be perfect anymore. ” 

Looking down at my blood stained hands I can’t help but feel free.    

“I don’t have to be perfect, so now maybe I can be good.” 

*Several lines were borrowed from the works of John Steinbeck and The Goo Goo Dolls.  I did that to honour the submission with no intention to plagiarise* 


If you would like your own story, please feel free to contact me with 10 words, a theme (it can be a genre, favourite movie or book) and a song and I will write you a story as well.  They are posted every Sunday.  

Next Sunday (31st January) will be Framboise’s Story.  Look forward to it please!

Othersiders: Arts of the Necromancer Pt.7

Finian was shouting at three people. 

Well, two people and whatever the thing could be called that continued hurling things in his direction.  He was imploring Evelyn to wake up, demanding Alice King put the lid back on whatever insanity they had cut loose, and cursing the being throwing objects at his head with the force and precision of a professional pitcher.

Alice King for her part was fighting to do what Finian asked, but it was much harder than he presumed.  Her green eyes flashed with electricity and her leathery skin was pulled taunt over her skeleton as she began waving her hand back and forth before her.  Then she closed her eyes and her hair blew back from her shoulders.  The room filled with electricity and the hairs all over Finian’s body began to stand on end. 

Alice King brought her hand to a stop on her throat and she spoke in a deep, grave voice.

“Vishuddha.” 

The tips of her fingers began to glow blue and a painful stillness weighted Finian to the ground.  He tried to stand, to fight the force that threatened to crush him, but it was pointless.

Alice King’s eyes flared open and she spoke again.

“Manipura,” she said, and the blue light that flowed down her hand mixed with yellow.  “Sahasrara.”  As she spoke the last words a violet light erupted from the crown of Alice King’s head.  She took her hand from her throat and drew a triangle in the air, repeating the three words again and a wall of blue light exploded out from the centre of where she had drawn. 

The ruckus and insanity of only a few moments before came to an abrupt stop and the objects ceased to fly.  Alice King turned to Finian and he was certain she would kill him where he sat.  He was in the midst of praying internally that witches did not truly boil their victims alive whilst cackling madly about their pretty little dinner morsels when the old woman’s face sagged and she began to shake her head slowly.

“You’ve not idea what you’re getting yourself into, do you?  You know nothing and yet you come barging in here and almost get yourself claimed before you know what is at stake.” 

She crouched down and placed her old hands on Evelyn’s temple.  Alice King began to mumble or chant something softly and Evelyn stirred. 

“Look, Wynona Witchy Pants, I know full well what is at stake here,” Finian lied, “and I would suggest you take your hands off my friend before I have to show you a thing or two about magic.  Think you’re the only one around here that knows about conjuring and whatnot?  Think again.  Now step back before I have to drop the bibbidy bobbidy boom on you.” 

Finian was feeling more panicked than he had been in quite some time.  He was staring some kind of magician or sorceress in the face and praying to all the gods he did not believe in that mind reading was not one of her strong suits.  Turned out it was not, but it did not need to be for her to see right through Finian.

“Boy, save your threats and chest thumping for the young ladies who still have it in them to swoon.  I am too old to be impressed by such things.” 

Finian opened his mouth to speak and the old woman held up a shaking finger to stop him.

“Furthermore, we haven’t the time.  You must take this girl and leave this place.  What I have done will keep the creature back for a while but when it breaks through I need you to be gone.  It will drag you both over and the bounty price will be well more than I can pay.”

“What the hell are you talking about lady!  I don’t understand what you just said!”

Finian had decided to give up all pretext of being in control of the situation.  If she was not in the mood to kill him he needed answers. 

“This is exactly my point, young man.  You don’t have the first clue as to what you’re doing.  Yet, you’ve come this far so I shall tell you what I’ve learned and how I learned it.” 

Finian’s eyes were wide and his palms were drenched in sweat.  He clutched Evelyn’s unconscious hands in his own, shaking them involuntarily, and his heart hung on every word that came from Alice King’s mouth.

“You must seek out Raith and learn the arts, the arts of the necromancer.” 

“Arts of the what? And wraith as in a kind of ghost?  After today I don’t think I want to go hunting any wraiths.”

“No,” Alice King shouted, a vein in her neck bulging forth to accost Finian. “Raith is a man.  You must find him and learn of the triangle.  He can teach you.  He will shun you at first, fein ignorance, but he knows more than he lets on.  He tried to fool me, to trap me as I have trapped the one he sent for me, but his knowledge can be used against him.” 

Finian’s mind was spinning.  There was a man named Raith and he knew about art, that much Finian had down.  He could draw triangles, or knew about triangles, or was a triangle.  All the words and meanings became an explosion of colour in Finian’s mind.  Everything blended with everything else and it left him with nothing but a rainbow of nonsense.

“Where can I find this Raith?”

Alice King smiled like a Jack-o-Lantern, all teeth and wickedness.

“If you are strong enough to find me, you will find him.  Now go!” she shouted, “before the other gets loose and you leave me with three times the trouble I had when this day started.” 

“What am I going to do with her, she’s out like a light?  And what about your son?  What happened to him?” Finian asked, the thought coming back to him as his brain was reeling through all the information he had gathered that day.

All the features of Alice King’s withered face drew together and she snarled. 

“Let me worry about my son, you just worry about yourself, boy.” 


Finian knew in that instant that asking any further about Alice King’s son would lead him to a place he did not want to go.  He turned back to find Evelyn struggling to sit up and prying her now drenched hand from his.  She worked her fingers to get feeling back after Finian had been crushing it and she looked from Finian to Alice King with darting eyes. 

“What happened?” 

“Your boyfriend can explain later, get out.” 

Evelyn made to protest but Alice King proved that she was nowhere near as feeble as she appeared.  She grabbed Evelyn up by her lapels and threw her bodily from the house.  Evelyn stumbled on the front porch steps and Finian came rushing out after her.  The door slammed behind them and Evelyn turned to Finian for answers he did not have.

“What the hell was that, Finian?  What happened in there?”

“I’ll explain later.  We need to get out of here, right now.” 

Finian turned on his heels and bolted from Alice King’s front lawn at a run.  Evelyn caught up to him quickly and the two friends ran the entire way back to the train station. 

forest_spirit_by_narandel-d632zj7

Of Disneyland & Memory

IMG_2571

*Not all images belong to me.  For what I borrowed, thank you.  For what I didn’t, I’m sorry.* 

Disneyland is a polarising place.  For those that love it, it’s a magical obsession.  For those that hate it, it’s an overpriced land of extravagance. 

I am of the former persuasion. 

Having just returned from a two day, three night trip to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea I will submit the things I learned from my trip to The Happiest Place on Earth. 

Did you really pay 20 dollars for that? 

0520wall20of20hatsOne of the most amazing things about Disneyland is that they sell the most ridiculously overpriced novelty items, items that cannot be used without some level of embarrassment on the days following a Disneyland trip, and people buy them up like crack.  I saw endless items that were obnoxious to the point of being an eyesore but countless people dropped nearly 40 dollars for them.  I cannot remember a time in my life  that I saw a person wearing their ‘special’ Disney purchase outside of the park.  So you spent all that money on something you would love intensely for one day?  It’s like people become drunk on the Disneyland experience and cannot fathom their life outside the park.  Buying a bright orange Tigger hat complete with tail is not only normal, but expected.  They must wake up the next day feeling like an alcoholic, take one look at that ridiculous purchase and think, as many of us have at one point or another, “I am never going to drink again as long as I LIVE!”

This attraction brought to you by Tampax, for when you are riding your own Splash Mountain.

japan20900I understand how business and promotion works.  I am not, contrary to how this post will end, 4 years old.  It was still sad to see that every ride now has a sponsor.  I don’t know that the LA or Florida Disneyland’s are like this, but the Japanese Disneyland had a sponsor for every ride.  It was VERY subtle and you really had to be looking to see it, but when you got to the main sign for any ride, there it was.  “Space Mountain” and under it: brought to you by Coca Cola.  It made me think of Fight Club.  “When deep space exploration ramps up, it’ll be the corporations that name everything, the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks.”  

Disney at night is my personal heaven.

IMG_2710Disneyland during the day is always a bit congested and can feel really hectic.  When the sun sets and the lights come on it is a world of quiet tranquility.  This is an odd statement seeing as how there are roaring rollercoasters and shouting people just like during the daytime, but the night just seems more peaceful.  The night also brings on the light parade, the fireworks (in the current case it’s a projection mapping show too.)  The night time is when Disney becomes truly magical.

Disneyland engages all 5 senses like very few things can.

tumblr_m74w38a4x51ragq9ko1_500People who had one home they grew up in their whole life talk about how that place brings them back to being a child.  I had many homes, so I don’t know what that feels like.  I think it feels something like going to Disneyland for me.  Why?  Because Disney is amazing at engaging all five senses.  The magic kingdom layout is almost identical no matter which park you go to, thus the sights are familiar and comforting.  Then there is the lingering smell of caramel and the tastes of the  candies, the sounds of all the familiar jingles, even the feel of the railing, the faux wood they use in the lines for many rides, is the same.  I was half a world away from the place of my birth but, if only for a moment, I was back home.  Looking at the ride attendants in their familiar costumes and listening to all the songs and jingles I have heard so many times, I could have been back in California.  It was an amazing feeling.

Going with a 4 year old is like going with a schizophrenic

301054_429772953724432_2061724935_nTaking my daughter for her first trip to Disneyland was sensory overload for her.  She wanted to do everything, all at once, RIGHT NOW!  She wanted to buy everything in every store.  She wanted to touch everything.  She wanted to ride all the rides at once.  Except the ones that went into a dark place, those could go blow, until she got used to the idea, then she wanted to ride again.  NO, she was not going to GET OFF the ride.  She was going to ride it again, thank you. Daddy, tell that stupid person we aren’t getting off!  I was dealing with a person broken by joy.  But still…

Going with a 4 year old is pure magic

IMG_2748As insane as my daughter made the Disney trip I cannot image going without her now.  Her reaction to everything brought back the magic so many of us lose the older we get.  That is what Disney brings out in me, and it brought it out in my daughter as well.  The look on her face when she laid eyes on THE Mickey Mouse was akin to looking at the combination of a person who has just come face to face with God and a teenage girl who is kissed by her idol crush.  There was screaming, there was crying, there was twitching, and there was the idiotic smile only the truly joyous could possibly conjure.  Everything about Disneyland made her smile.  Watching the light parade with her brought me back to being 4.  All of it was amazing.  It’s a parade of lit up floats but to her it was 100% magic.  I could see it in her eyes.  My heart was full to burst with the joy she was radiating. 


I learned a lot this trip.  The joy and freedom my daughter felt being at Disneyland reminded me why I love it so much.  It is also the very reason why so many people buy the stupid Tigger hats.  Because Disneyland is a place where you are supposed to just be happy.  It’s a place where you are allowed to be 4 as well, even if you’re 90.  No one judges because we are all in it together.  It’s a huge playground and the age requirement is 4.  You can’t be older to ride that ride.  So we buy our stupid hats and we breathe in the sweet smell, hum all the silly jingles and wave like idiots at Mickey when he waves at us… or even when he can’t see us.  It is a place of unparalleled freedom and happiness.  As adults we resent the prices and the crowds, we curse the lines and get frustrated at how stupid some people are.  In the end, if you choose to focus on these things, you may well come to hate Disneyland.  For me, I will never be able to see anything but the joy and nostalgia it holds for me.  I picture myself as an old man, sitting with my grandchildren watching the light parade that I watched as a child and remembering that there will always be a place, if only for a day, I can be a kid again. 

When our trip came to an end I was carrying my daughter to the train.  She was strung out from two days of the ultimate high and ready for sleep, but then she saw a huge picture of Mickey Mouse waving goodbye to everyone, saying, “Come Back Soon!”  The fuse was ignited one last time and, screaming Mickey’s name in my ear, my daughter let the magic erupt one final time.  I couldn’t help but smile like a big, dumb idiot.  She waved at Mickey with all her four year old might and shouted, “Mickey, bye bye!  Thank you, Mickey!  Let’s play again!”  Knowing then that her time at Disneyland was really over, she buried her face in my shoulder and cried. 

So did I.

Thank you, Mickey, for everything. 

My Very Own Monkey

I’ve created a Mailchimp account to help support my *aspirations* as a writer!icon-mailchimp-mobile

This is totally shameless, and as a person who vehemently slammed shameless self promotion I know I am being my own worst enemy right now, but I would love to have anyone interested in my writing sign up for my newsletter!

I promise I won’t send more than one a month and I will make sure to give something away with it!

To kick it off I think I am going to do a book giveaway, so if you would like to sign up for my newsletter I will put you into the pot for the first one.  Make sure to list three books you would be interested in receiving for your prize and I will announce what book I chose when the giveaway starts.

The link to the newsletter is on my sidebar, just below my menu buttons (where it says: Join The Olive Branch)

Thank you so much for the support.  I honestly and truly do love you all!  Yes, even you 😉