Yes…I now am writing Quadrilogy

I’m so very close, I can feel it in my finger tips, I know I am almost there!!!

I have said this so many times now that it’s starting to feel like a never ending process, but I swear I really am almost there this time. After talking it over with my Editor (Yes I have a REAL editor, I have an ASHLEY!) I realize that she is so right in telling me that my first novel is way too long. I knew it was, and I tried really hard to fix that little problem (little as in I had 168K words in my book and I had to figure out a way to bring it down to 100K….I failed miserably doing that).

My Editor recommended that I split the first book into two. After first I thought, “oh god, how can I possibly do that!?” Then, literally within the next five seconds I thought, “wow, my Editor is BRILLIANT!”

She is one hundred percent right. So, remember how I said about 5 months ago that I was sooooo close and that things were looking good. I was a little ahead of schedule, because this time I really think I am finally getting there. I split my first book into two and now have 12 chapters so far to work with. I have so much more room to explain the heavy behind the scenes details!! I have already added 4K words to the book and there is more to come. I literally am so very excited to get this gem out to my editor because I seriously feel that what I have is going to be something awesome. So, within about a week I went from having three books and one almost complete to having four books and two almost complete. I am feeling pretty damn good.

I am sticking the the title though, the first book of the series will be called:

THE PRAETORIANS

It has nothing to do with the roman empire though 🙂

Right now I am working on chapter 9 of 12 (though I have a feeling this might flesh out into about 17 chapters total by the time I am done) and have a little ways to go to make it more of a great first novel. I hope to share more with you about it soon, but for today I want to get through this chapter. Sometimes I get so carried away from the story that I forget I am supposed to be editing. That’s a good sign!

SS: Post Apocalyptic Winter

I can peg down the exact night you ruined me, the exact minute you destroyed the value of my own self-worth. I can tell you the second your words finally sank into my mind and I allowed them to fester into molding disgust. It was a seeded tumor, so small and finite that at first I ignored it, allowed it to lie. But then I nurtured the words, watered it, kept it thriving in the soil of my mind. I allowed the seed to grow into a tumor flowering it’s poisonous berries day after day. I nipped at the lush fruit like a starving child, I coddled the flowering thorns even though they cut me straight to the bone, I allowed the vines to wrap around my neck cutting off my desire to breath. You stunted my growth in one single night, and I carried the weight because it was all I knew how to do.

Everything up until that moment was the same, always easily the same. Weekend morning of laziness, we didn’t wake up until maybe noon. I yawn and ask, “what’s for breakfast,” but not because I hope you will actually cook breakfast with me, you never do.

“Wanna go down to the corner café?” I nod my head at your question like it was a new adventure even though it had happened almost every weekend since you moved into your own little dwelling. I would never complain about your place, I loved it the way I love a nice snug blanket on a chilly afternoon. Tightly comfortable, soothing enough, but still not enough cover.

Our days roll into one another, a stumbling storm unkempt and without ties. The blur of monotony picks up a steady hum and I forget why I am here, where I am supposed to belong. But I don’t walk away, I don’t turn around. No matter how lonely I feel, I crave the constant. The beat of your force keeps me hanging on tight because once I let go you won’t take me any further. I am here because you allow me to be, I stay because I have nowhere else to go.

The first time it was small though it shook me straight to the core. It wasn’t expected, and it came from around a corner hidden beneath the cover of harshness. Fast lights, quick songs, steady drinks and some stumbling steps. Suddenly you were screaming at me to leave you, go away and never come back. Excuses lashed at my skin like a 1920s tommy gun, BAP BAP BAP, ongoing until I couldn’t take the abuse any longer. I may have walked out but I didn’t let go, otherwise why else did you come find me?

The next morning was smiles, a soft stretching in my direction and those sharp blue eyes. “Hey there,” you whispered, and I smiled in the heat of your words encouraging a tradition that would shred me into pieces that no one would be able to mend. At first I was ok, I remained steady and buoyant, but slowly I started to drown gripping onto the hand so tight that was slowly pulling me beneath the surface.

One night I drove you to the store because you needed “things”, but you seemed so distance. I reached for you and brought the back of your hand to my lips. You jerked back from me like I kissed your skin with hot coals. “Don’t do that!” You snapped at me, but I didn’t get it. I stared at you open mouthed and uncertain of what I did wrong, because it was me that was in error, me that made you snap, and me that made you get angry. I apologized like I always did when these little things happened, uncertain of why but also positive I was to blame.

A month before I left is when you brought down the axe, the infamous words that would haunt me for years to come. There were no surprises to me, maybe I should have seen it coming, maybe I should have expected the fight. By the tenth beer maybe again I was to blame, I didn’t stop you like I knew I should, and I didn’t hesitate when you yanked me off my stool and said it was time to leave. Maybe I should have known, but I didn’t, maybe I should have shoved you out of the car like I promised I would, but I didn’t. Maybe I should have listened to the voice screaming inside my head but tonight, I pushed it all away, and I snuffed out the only fight I had left.

Your words burned like salt in my eyes, ripped like a tidal wave down my cheeks but you didn’t stop. You continued the attack until we reached oblivion. I couldn’t come in, I couldn’t stay, you were pushing me so hard that I had no choice but to leave, but I didn’t. I didn’t fight you, there was no way I could, but I didn’t leave. I stayed there and watched as you threw my things out your front door. I waited until your lights blinked out and walked straight into your room. I curled up next to you and let your arm wrap around my middle, so familiar and so stern. “I’m didn’t mean it,” you say softly. Before I can answer, you are already asleep.

I walked away eventually visually unscathed and whole, but beneath this surface I was a rolling wreck of terror. Commitment became the enemy and loneliness became the drug I steadily tried to quit. There is a torrent of faces that flicker through my mind, a rolling number of names, but they didn’t care enough to dig beneath the surface and release the monster within. Bruises can be covered, but shattered glass is noticed right from the start. You broke me that day, shattered the core of my passion, and trampled the hope of my future. I can’t blame you for the destruction I have laid waste on my path to my present, but I do know you set off the spark. I won’t say I did nothing wrong, I have more faults than I can count, more mistakes than I would ever admit to, and more lies than I could ever explain away. Your destruction laid waste over my life for years and years, relentless in its wake, torrential in its path of destruction. You started this, but I will be the one to end it.

It wasn’t a perfect day, in fact it was grey and gloomy outside but the cool current kissed my skin in such a perfect way. There was something about the electricity in the air, something about the way I couldn’t seem to keep a smile from my lips, something about the way I was finally able to breath deep. You see something happened that I never expected, something happened in my life that I don’t think I ever thought could be a reality. There was ice around me, an impenetrable winter that kept me  closed off and hidden from view. I thought the loneliness would kill me, perhaps snuff me out of pity. The knife of you had dug so deep, the pain of you gripped on so hard. But on my gloomy afternoon looking up into the greyish blue sky I realized that all my bruises had finally healed. That’s when everything changed.

I can feel the warm rays of Summer and the heat has never felt this good.

Literary Nuggets of Gold

I can’t consider myself an amazing writer. I just love to write, so I do. Sometimes I write a line that I think…ohhh that is so good. How did I come up with such a great line?! It sometimes just pops into my head the same way a poem does. I have a thought and then the verbal diarrhea just flows all over the paper. Great imagery, I love that line too.

It’s hard not to stop and reread those beautiful amazing quotes. They are perfection on the page, a literary genius wrapped up in the packaging of a novel. They can be hard to find, so much research, but these nuggets of golden words are completely worth it.

Right now I am reading “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn. It was recommended to me ages ago and I always meant to read it especially after I read “Gone Girl”. For some reason the title escaped me until I watched the trailer starring Charlise Theron and Nick Hoult. I am one of those avid readers that if a movie comes out that I want to see that was from a book, I must read the book before watching the movie. I have to. It’s a problem actually.

So I saw the trailer for this movie and I thought, “Holy crap I need to read that book!” I wasn’t even through the first page when I read the most perfect line ever.

I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.

I love golden nuggets like this, something that makes me read the line over and over and over again. It’s moments like these that I scream, somewhat silently because I am not a crazy person, that I LOVE READING SO DAMN MUCH!!!

What’s your favorite nugget of literary gold that you have read lately. I need more books on my to do list…..

At The Turn of the Tide…..

There are several life changing moments that happen in our lives that truly leave a mark on our memories. They form us, transform our future and deepen our understanding of what it means to be alive.

I’m writing this blog for several reasons today. Once, because it’s my birthday tomorrow and when I look back in reflection of where I was last year and where I am today I am completely astonished. My life has pulled a 180 and I don’t believe I could ever be happier than I am right now. Second, I have lost a few things along the way and even though it breaks my heart to see it go, I also see it as a step toward adulthood. A step toward a life with those I love and cherish the most. And third, because I am soon to be 29 and it makes you really think about where you are in your life when you hit that marker.

One year ago today I was on a camping trip with my family in Sequoia and Kings Canyon. It was absolutely wonderful and I had a blast, but there was a small amount of stressful weight on my shoulders that I tried really hard to hide while I was enjoying family time.

The day before I left on this trip, the guy I was dating told me that he no longer wanted to date me. Wasn’t sure I was what he wanted and completely freaked out over the pictures we took at a birthday party I had with some friends. I was actually ok with him not wanting to be with me, he wasn’t meant to be with me long term and we both knew that. However, the second he told me he no longer wanted to be with me it struck a cord of anxiousness. “Why does no one want to be with me?” This was the fourth guy that had told me this in the last two years and it was starting to become an annoying occurrence. And of course I started to question, is it me?

The entire vacation was going great until my actual birthday and my older brother (bless his wonderful, caring, loving heart!) started talking to me about finding a better job (To back track just a bit, at this point I had a job I absolutely hated at a facility in Hollywood that truly did not treat me very well. Even though I had a great boss, the facility didn’t give me a chance to shine at all no matter how hard I worked). It was a conversation I was tiring of because my mother, whom I love more than anything, also brought up this very same topic way more than I wanted to actually discuss it. I hated my job yes, and I was desperately looking for something else, but you can’t just change your life in a blink. I was working hard to change my stars (anyone catch that movie reference!?) but I still had to wait for life to happen and catch up to my hard work and desires. So this conversation with my brother and my mother didn’t go over so well. It ended with me crying, and yelling and feeling like a pathetic, single, piece of crap low life, with nothing to be proud of or call her own. After 4 years in LA I was seriously considering giving up and saying to hell with it all!

But….then things started to change. One week after my vacation my friends had a small pool party birthday and I saw Bear, whom I hadn’t seen in several months at that point. It was like a breath of fresh air to see him. He gave me a hug before he left and promised he would see me next week so we could catch up. It was the first time I truly smiled in a very very long time. Two weeks after my vacation I got a call from a friend inquiring about a possible job opening that they might have at a Local Post Film house. I said yes before I even knew the job title or the rate of pay, but luckily for me all of those details were exactly what I was looking for. Four weeks after my vacation I was starting as a DI Producer at a great post house in Santa Monica. Eight weeks after my vacation Bear and I decided to try dating again and confirmed that if it didn’t work out we could easily remain friends as we had done before.

Now a year later I still have a great job that I love and adore, Bear and I are stronger than ever, and I am moving towards an area of life that I never thought possible. Not only did I gain a wonderful job and an amazing boyfriend, I also get to enjoy his two wonderful kids, and his two best friends that are now also my really good friends. Some things just work out the way they are supposed to and you smile at your good fortune amazed that life could be so loving.

There are also moments of sadness though, I have lost a lot in this last year and not something I thought I would ever lose. If you have been reading any of my blogs recently you would know that my really good girl friend and I are no longer speaking. I won’t go into details though at some point I might need that release. For now I will leave it at we had a disagreement and believe two different sides of a very difficult argument. I don’t hate or dislike her now, in fact I will always love and cherish the time I had with her, but I realize that she has become a friend of my past and not someone I can carry with me into the future. Sometimes pain and hurt will do that to a person. I look back through my year of amazing happiness and I see this big black hole of sadness, all of it stemming around her. It aches to think of her no longer being in my life but it was her choice to push me out and now it is my choice to remain at this distance where I can continue to grow, be happy and live my life to the fullest.

I believe one of the hardest things in life is to choose to be happy. It’s not easy taking something difficult, something hard, and turning it into a positive. I look at life from an outside perspective though and I know that no matter what I get dealt with, I have the choice to be a happy person. Honestly at some points I wasn’t happy though, at some points in the past year I was downright depressed. I do think there is an internal choice though, there is an option to choose which way you want to live. For me, I choose to take the higher road and live my life with the people that care about me. I want to give love because those that love me show me theirs. I want to share my life and my stories with those that care to read and share with me. In the ups and downs throughout my life I realized over and over again that life is too short to be angry, and life is way to short to be resentful.

So the moral of my super long post here is:

J.R.R. Tolkien just gets it…..

JRRTolkien5 JRRTolkien7 JRRTolkien10JRRTolkien2

So I Dated a Narcissist….

There has been this word that slowly crept into my world and I never really thought about it until it affected me personally. This word that encapsulated an experience so well, this word that had it’s claws buried in my flesh, this word that caused years of pain and torment. Perhaps it’s not the word so much as it was the person acting out the word itself.

Narcissist.

I never thought much about it outside of claiming the fact that most narcissistic people are vain, annoying, and outright difficult to be around. It wasn’t until very recently that I realized I dated a narcissist and I completely failed at removing myself from the destruction to come. I never realized it at the time, never saw it for what it was, but I see it so clearly now. Even though I know I was in an emotionally abusive relationship, it never occurred to me that I was dating a narcissist.

Now a couple of things and events lead me to this strange and overly delayed realization, the first being my present boyfriend Bear. He is wonderful, caring, emotionally invested, and my absolute best friend. We have known each other for almost 4 years and truly get each other. He happened to date a narcissist before I met him, and it has been a constant struggle for him to deal with since. I never saw my past relationship like his, never made the connection until Bear found this great article going into detail about what a narcissist is (read here). It blew me away. Every bit of that article pointed fingers to my past relationship and it struck me straight through the chest. How did I never see this? How did I not understand what he was doing to me this whole time? I would never call my ex a horrible person, but he is not a great boyfriend for me and to be honest not that great of a friend most of the time.

I look back at how we started our relationship and all I can see is manipulation. Crude and cruel manipulation. I didn’t really want to go the direction he lead me in, but I followed because I was dazzled by the prince charming act he put on for me. It was nothing but fun, parties, outings, new friends, presents, glory and sparkle when we started dating. Then came the guilt, the twisting of words to make me feel less than, the pushing of my mind into the mold of who he wanted me to be. I didn’t see it as it was happening but he forced me to turn into someone and something that I wasn’t.

“They will often verbally attack another person using insults and put-downs to make them feel confused and disoriented so that others surrender easily and this keeps the illusion strong in the narcissist’s mind that they are the more powerful and significantly better person.” — elephantjournal.com

This line here struck a cord. I remember one night I told my ex that I was really excited to move to LA and his only reaction was, “You will never make it LA. Your artwork isn’t good enough anyways, no one will hire you. You should stay here where you are familiar and fit in.” It hurt to hear. Of course as an artist  you hear criticism, but not from you significant other and not so bluntly in terms of telling you that you are a horrible artist and will never make it. It hurt, and it bothered me, but I allowed him to do it and almost didn’t move to LA because of it. I allowed him to hurt me because I stayed, because I listened to his apologies the following morning and because I didn’t see the situation for what it was. I allowed this man to control me, and even though I consider myself a strong and independent person I was on a puppet string without a hope in the world to break free.

“A relationship with a narcissist can be emotionally distressing, feeling like a roller coaster going from one extreme to the next. When a narcissist is receiving all the attention then things will be great for them and they will be at their happiest, but as soon as this diminishes they will quickly manipulate the situation and may play the role of charmer, or even an aggressor.” –elephantjournal.com

I remember all the music venues we used to go to. I remember looking at him with such awe. He knew everyone, got along with everyone and had so many friends. I felt like I was the lucky one to be on his arm. It wasn’t until the alcohol sunk in, the night was over, and I was driving us home that the monster came out to get in a few low blows. The insults flew, the anger mounted with every word and I was a fly caught in the trap of emotional battery. I took it, every crude glance, every verbal punch, every single slap at my ego I took it all on the chin and then ducked my head and burrowed deeper into my hole of protection.

How did I never see this? I had a really good girl friend at the time who knew me before this ex, and knew me after we split. The one thing she told me was, “You look like a battered woman, but all of your wounds are on the inside and are really easy to hide. But I see it in your eyes. He’s broken you.” She told me that an entire year before I actually left my ex. That right there blows my mind. It was right in front of me…and I did nothing to stop it.

I wish I had known, I wish I could have seen what it was when it was happening to me. It took a very long time, and a lot of soul searching to find myself again after he broke me into pieces. I guarantee that if he reads this he will deny every word, and that’s fine, this blog isn’t for him it’s for you. If you are someone in the middle of a hurtful, broken, and crushing relationship or friendship please know that you are not alone. The first thing you need to do is get out. Don’t allow them to have the power anymore, strip it away from them and tell them NO MORE!

Leaving isn’t easy, it took me many many months to make him finally leave me alone but every second of that breaking away was worth it. Every small step toward distance will make you that much stronger. Eventually the claws will retract, the vicious words will no longer reach your ears, and eventually you will be so far away you will finally be able to see them for what they are. A sad broken person that uses others to make themselves feel better about their own misery.

Narsissim is a vicious cycle and we have to take it upon ourselves not to let the cycle continue. We all have bouts of narsissim, but it’s how you act and treat those around you that really matters. Don’t allow these succubi to destroy you, don’t let them suck out your soul. You are not alone, but you are the only that has the power to walk away from torture. I give you my knowledge in hopes you will see what I now see. You are worth so much more than the broken shell of life they are offering you.

If you walk on egg shells every day for fear of upsetting them, if you say certain things at certain times because you know they will turn on you if you don’t, if you make the effort to show everyone around you that they are truly wonderful, if you find yourself saying, “no really…’insert name here’…is a wonderful person and I love them a lot. You don’t know them like I do,” if you find yourself crying yet again because they said you weren’t enough, if you crawl into bed at night feeling as though you let them down but you aren’t sure why, if you give your love and they only take, if they poision friendships around you by being negative and hurtful spreading rumors and sometimes lies about those they swore they once loved, if you are making en excuse for them right now because someone on the internet is highlighting something you already knew to be true……if you feel any of this you might want to rethink your entire world. Don’t do what I did. Don’t stay longer than you should. Don’t let them take you soul. Don’t let them steal you away. You are important, and you are worth love and true affection. Gain back yourself, take back the power. I know you can. Do not let them win!