Posted in In Progress, Stories

Updated: The Library


I started work on a story based on a memory my mother had back in Scotland growing up. I’m not sure how many of you knew that or how much any of you know about mom’s childhood. To say the least, I took liberties with the plot, but the essence of how she felt about The Library is accurate. When she used to tell me about the place I always saw it as something magical and alive. I hope that this first, very rough, very ugly draft catches some of that.

I’ll go through it about a hundred times more before I give her the finished piece and get her feedback on where I can fix the character development, but even after she saw the first crack at it when I had much less written down, she still was blown away. My goal is to get this in her hand, proofed, printed and hopefully published by her next birthday.

For those of you who would like to read the work as it gets hammered into shape, here’s the link to the perma-page. Any time I update you’ll see the alert in my feed stream. I hope you like it.

https://kittyletters.wordpress.com/stories-snippets-and-in-progress/thelibrary/

Posted in Finished, Posts

The Importance of Being Honest with Myself: Motherhood


People lie constantly. It’s true! They lie about how long it takes them to get to work or get something done so they don’t look like slackers. They lie about where they’ve been so mom and/or dad don’t yell at them. They lie to law enforcement. “I swear I only had one beer, ossifer!” And they lie to the clergy. “I go to (church, temple, etc..) every day!”

We lie so much that we have different flavors of lies!

  • bold face
  • white
  • exaggerations
  • fabrications (made up shit)
  • deception
  • slander
  • gossip
  • omission

I feel like this last one is bullshit. If you don’t ask the right question you’re not going to get an answer. That’s for another blog post.

The person we probably lie most often to is the one we really shouldn’t – ourselves. I try not to lie to myself as much as possible and that can really suck, but most times it keeps me safe and prevents me from making choices that would upset the balance I’m trying to achieve in my life. So when people challenge the beliefs and truths that I hold close, I tend to get a little ruffled. It can range from mild annoyance to “I will cut you” depending on how close-held the belief is and how insistent the opposing party gets.

Which brings me to my point and why the title is what it is.

Those of you who are child-free may stop reading, unless you really want to keep yelling, “Preach on, sister!” You’re not my intended audience. You already get me. -internet fist bump-

Those of you who love to promote the joy of motherhood, grab a chair and sit with me for a moment.

I totally get it. Some of you have wanted to be a mom since you got your first doll while some of you came to the notion after you found your significant other and wanted that type of family. And that’s awesome! A lot of dads have the same life journey, and that’s great too. Planned, unplanned, accidental, or convinced, parents come in more than just 31 flavors and you’ll find most of them love or come to love the job.

I’m not part of that group. I never will be, and yet -mostly with the older crowd- I still get a reaction when the subject of whether I have kids comes up. The first follow-up question is usually, “why not?” Fair enough, but when I answer, no matter which of the dozens upon dozens of reasons I call on in the moment, I notice that the opposite party finds counter arguments to an otherwise closed discussion.

For example:

I said, “The timing wasn’t right for me.”

I was told, “It’s never right. You just have to lean in and go for it.”

Reality Check: At the time I heard this I had no job, no prospects, no savings and I was living with my mother. Yes, there is a right and a wrong time to make major life changing decisions and THAT WAS NOT THE TIME.

Another one:

I said, “We don’t have the money.”

I was told, “You’ll find it.”

Reality Check: My husband and I were in debt up to our ears and had little concept of how to work within a budget. Tossing a baby into the mix would have been financial nightmare fuel.

The most dismissive and patronizing example:

I said, “I don’t want kids.”

I was told, “You’ll change your mind.” “You’re still young.” “You don’t know what you want yet.” “Who is going to take care of you when you’re old?” “You’ll be lonely.”

Reality Check: I thought having kids was supposed to be a selfless thing? 15 years later I’m still happy with my choice.

Having and raising children is promoted, aggressively even, in our entertainment. I’m not surprised since the wedding and baby/child industries are multi-billion dollar affairs. There are a ton of comedies about sudden parents, incompetent parents, anxious to the point of silliness parents and so on and so forth; in the drama genre you’ll meet the devoted parents, in-crisis parents, single parents, and dealing with the death of a parent. Romantic comedies start with a wedding and having kids is always implied or discussed right then and there. It’s rare that media will produce romance stories of women or couples who choose to be child-free, which ignores an entire growing demographic of young people who are choosing not to have children.

In How I Met Your Mother, Robin Scherbatsky went through a hell of a time over that, the Ted Mosby obsession not withstanding. Kevin, the character she was engaged to, left her because having kids was that important to him. The writers could have gone a different route with that and explored a couple who was child-free, because even though Robin couldn’t have kids, she still didn’t want to raise any.

Women who are child-free or childless seem to be portrayed in the media as having a problem that needs to be fixed instead of being accepted the way they are. There is nothing wrong with these women. Those who are childless have their own challenges, but because -to my knowledge- I don’t have this life experience I don’t feel qualified talking about that part of womanhood. I’ll stick to what I know.

I get that people are well meaning, and that’s fine! Kindhearted people are always in short supply, but when the response to the “do you have kids” question sounds a lot like “I didn’t want them” the conversion should probably stop. If you are curious as to why someone would make that choice even if nature hadn’t interfered, ask to understand and not to respond. Child-free couples have talked about this far longer than the ten minute conversation you’re having with them. My husband and I had the talk for 10 years, going back and forth on pros, cons, and reality checks. We decided we wanted to be together as a family without children.

Notice I didn’t use the word family until right now. I believe that my husband and my two cats are my family. So are my brother, mother, in-laws, and extended family. I don’t classify a family as two adults and 2.5 children because it takes meaning away from those of us who are committed to building a life together but don’t want or can’t have children. Some states will still block gay couples from adopting children, but that doesn’t make them any less of a family.

I was honest with myself when I got engaged, which let me be honest with my husband about how I wanted my life to be. By doing so it prevented a lot of resentment and regret, because once those kids are on planet Earth it’s your duty to look after them and do whats best by them. They never asked to be here, so if you’re not sure you’re ready, it’s going to be an uphill battle and it’ll be the kids that lose in that game.

I was honest with myself when I weighed my limitations. I didn’t want that responsibility. It was just too much for me to face. I’ve also had many nights, even since being a little girl, where I was angry at not having a choice to be alive because it’s really hard sometimes! As awesome as it can be, life can be vicious, dangerous, and completely unfair. I looked at the world around me, at the people around me, at the challenges that my children would face and I decided against it.

I was honest with myself when I looked at my fears. The physical undertaking that is pregnancy is one of the most horrifying things I have ever seen and that’s not even taking into account the cultural bullshit that pregnant women put up with. Going to the doctor terrifies me beyond normal jitters or discomfort, to the point of fainting in the waiting room, in the exam room, getting blood drawn, and shaking with fear the few days before having to show for an appointment. Even with the most amazing problem free pregnancy, that baby has to get out of your body some way. I saw Alien. Fuck that shit.

Choosing to have children or not is a very personal choice, especially if it’s going to grow inside your body. Trying to talk someone into something like that is extremely invasive and none of anyone’s business except the person or couple. So here’s a chance to be honest with yourself, if you are a promoter of having children.

Why is it so important to you for someone else to have children?

Posted in Charlotte, Posts, Stories

Charlotte’s Cross: Prologue


Prologue

 

The deity of Tersus are both human and immortal. From greater to lesser, all gods live through the human experience and reincarnation cycle, but it wasn’t always so.

Long ago the Goddess of Life and the God of Death argued over who was the stronger essence. Life claimed she was the strongest because of all the beasts, plants, and insects that covered Tersus all thriving and growing side by side. Even the water, air, sun and earth helped them to dominate the planet. It was obvious that she was the dominate power since creation was self propagating. Death, however, pointed out that everything that lives needs to take something from a living thing. Animals ate other animals or plants. Plants feasted on the decay of the fallen and some even devoured bugs. Bugs ravaged both animal and plant in return. Then there was the humans. It seemed that for some nothing would stem their blood lust as they pillaged and murdered across the lands or killed each other one by one from the self defending to the truly depraved. This proved Death the victor since he could not be escaped.

The argument escalated quickly and before reason could catch up with them, the deity were at war. Not satisfied with their own strength or battlegrounds the fight spilled over into the realms of the other gods and goddesses, using these deity as weapons in their war and bathing Tersus in blood and savagery. The God of the Skies lost control of his realm as Death took over the power of storm and rained down fire and lightning felling many creatures. Life boosted the power of creation by stealing vitality from the Earth to sustain her vast armies, using far more of her water and nutrient than could be sustained. The God of Shadows lost his followers as his once comforting night that cradled his people was used to cloak Death’s many assassins, man, creature and plant alike. The Goddess of Love saw her children once joyful in their romances turned into mindless breeding beasts, taking what they wanted when they wanted and abandoning their children if it suited them. Earth, Sky, Shadow, Love and all the lesser deity derived from them were angered by the way they were being used but the first to fight back was Earth. It was on her body that the war was being waged and she could no longer stand to be buried under the weight of her dead children.

Older than the deity of Life and Death were the Fates, but to get to them the Goddess of Earth needed help. Shadow kept her hidden from those that would stop her. Sky guided her feet along the roads. Love gave her the courage to see her task through to the end. Finally Earth reached the Fates and told them of the War of Life and Death that had claimed so many lives in quantity and quality and the deity who were being used as pawns to further their cause. Though the Fates were powerful they could not utterly control the whims of Life and Death, but they could enforce consequences for their thoughtless actions, however the bargain came with a price which all the deity must pay.

The Fates promised the Earth Goddess that Life and Death would be cast into mortal bodies and be reborn again and again through human lives to earn back their god powers. Once regained, their deity form would have a finite amount of time in existence before being reborn in the body of humans to start the cycle over again, thus burdening them empathy for the lives they had such sway over and experiencing the struggle of those the played with as pawns. If they died in human form their essence would be transferred to another human fetus and the cycle would start again. This would hold true for every god and goddess no matter their power or place in the hierarchy. On behalf of all the deity the Goddess of Earth agreed to the terms. Though far from a perfect solution, the bargain brought a rhythm to Tersus that was tolerable to both deity and mortal alike and stemmed the chaos caused by the war. Life and Death, though immensely powerful, were locked into a dance rather than battle and their balancing act holds to this day.

But stalemates do not last forever.

Posted in Charlotte, Posts

Charlotte’s Cross mini scene


A scene I sketched out with all of the protagonists. Not sure if it will make final cut but it was a piece that was wandering my mind for a few days.

 

Renzi picked up Markus’ water skein and coaxed out the liquid within. It hovered just above his hands, soft and pliable, with a glow of warmth to it. He passed it to Charlotte seated on right. She scooped a small mound of dirt from the earth and melded it with Renzi’s water. Delicately she fashioned feathers, a beak and beady eyes from the clay. A sparrow. It rested in her hands, a close likeness to the real thing. Charlotte, pleased with her work, passed the clay bird to Valenara.

Markus watched in wonder as the marked ones worked. They said nothing and yet seemed to know what each person’s role was to be. Not even a look of spite passed from Valenara to Charlotte, as was typical of the two when they interacted.

Valenara stroked the clay bird’s chest and throat. A faint sound of bird song broke the midnight silence around the campfire even though the bird made no movement. She passed it to Dran who cradled it lovingly in the palms of her small hands. Golden light issues from where the bird rested in the little girl’s hands and it shook its head and chirped loud and strong.

Markus gasped and leaned forward as the feathery new bird was passed to Sky. He swallowed hard and hoped that the reckless lad would know how to be gentle with such a fragile being. To Markus’ surprise, Sky was very careful when he was offered the sparrow. He allowed it to perch in his index finger with its tiny sharp clawed feet. As it peep peeped at him, Sky blew softly at the bird ruffling its feathers and causing it to unfurl its little wings. With a shimmy and a fluff the bird took flight, hovering near Sky for a moment before flying off into the trees, lost to the twilight.

Charlotte said, “the circle is incomplete.”

Renzini sighed, “Yes. Without Trucido, this circle, and others, will never close.”

“Old stories will never end.” Valenara said

“And new ones can’t begin without the past to guide them,” said Dran

Sky stared at the ground, clenching his teeth. “I hate him. But I hate that we need him more.”

Nicodemus closed his eyes slowly. “He makes the straight line into a circle. By ending life he sustains the infinite dance of life”

None of them knew quiet how to respond. They say in solemn silence until the stars winked into view one by one and Luna made her climb into the sky, forcing a smile from Renzi’s lips.

Posted in In Progress, Pieces, Stories

Dream Catcher WIP


Prologue

Tamrind found himself standing in the middle of his bedroom in bare feet. Instead of the wooden floor he expected to feel, there was nothing, and yet that seemed as it should. He couldn’t remember how he got there or what he was listening for, but he knew there was something moving outside. He could sense it. Through the glass of the window he could see tiny green motes of light dancing to and fro. Fireflies drifted among the low branches of the rose bushes that grew under the sill. A shadow darted out from the thorns, disturbing the fireflies and scattering them about. It wasn’t one he had seen before. It shimmered.

When he turned away from the window his surroundings shifted from room to grassy field under a dusky sky. In the distance was a huge tree breaking up the horizon, reaching its branches skyward, and among the blades of grass were small darkened circles filled with firefly light, a greenish glow, leading him toward the lonely tree. His steps took him triple the distance than any normal footfall as he followed the luminous path. In moments he was looking up into the crown of branches at the champagne glass shaped leaves. Under his hands the bark felt soft to the touch, but there was no give under his fingers that one would expect. The fireflies wound around the tree spiraling upward from the ground into the overhead boughs, some of them dipping in an out of the leaves and shaking off bright blue drops of liquid.

Early summer was on the breeze lifting off the wildflowers and moss nestled in the cracks of the trunk, but Tamrind didn’t smell it. He just knew it was there.  The scape was soundless, not even the rustle of leaves in the night wind, gentle as it was. No one was to be found, but the vastness of the plains stretching in every direction with the champagne leaf tree the only thing to break up the monotony. Even the lighted path he followed from his room had vanished.

As he walked around the tree, tracing his hand along the bark and trying to avoid disturbing the little bugs, Tamrind came to a woven basket nestled among the roots. It was already half filled with acorns with a few scattered on the ground around it. He knelt down and reached for one of them. “Hey!” A voice from above backed at him. “Don’t touch those!”

Tamrind looked up into the boughs but count see anything but leaves and the inky sky peeking between them. “Uh, sorry?”

“You should be,” it sounded like a girl’s voice. “Those are mine. Go find your own.” He couldn’t see the girl, but he could see the branches shifting under her weight as she moved through the tree.

“Calm down. I wasn’t going to take them,” he said.

“Get out of my tree! What the hell is wrong with you?”

“I’m not—” He looked down at his feet and the ground far below, yelping as he scrambled to grab onto any branch within reach. “How did I get up here? What’s going on?” Tamrind’s face snapped around to hers. She was half his size, dark green curly hair cropped to her chin and sparkling in the low light, and she was dressed in what looked like cast off flower petals. “Who are—”

“I didn’t make this dream for you, human. Piss off!” she yelled. With both hands, the girl shoved him off the branch not giving Tamrind time to cry out. The pit of his stomach dropped hard before his world went black.

He opened his eyes with a start. Sunlight was streaming through his bedroom window warming up the pitcher of water on the nightstand next to his bed. Sheets were a tangled mess around his legs. It was just after dawn and the cloister clock would start to chime, calling everyone to the mess hall for breakfast. He rubbed his face with his hands and sighed. His head ached and his stomach felt tight for some reason. Another restless night and the morning didn’t promise to be any better. How many more nights would he have to endure sleepless, hopeless, dreamless.

The last thing he remembered was leaving a note on his rocking chair. He never expected an answer, because as far as he was concerned prayers were worthless. The gods had stopped listening years ago or maybe they never were in the first place. And yet, there was that little scrap of paper resting every night with one final plea, ‘Wake me if you’re out there…’

Posted in Finished, Published, Stories

Newly Published!: Moonlight Becomes him


My first short story, and first piece ever, was published by the amazing people at Torquere Press!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Moonlight-Becomes-Him-Alex-Younger-ebook/dp/B00GHMIS9U

Torquere: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=4054


Markus always admired his mentor, Nicodemus. Over his two years as an apprentice physician, Markus’ admiration has grown into something deeper, but he has never been brave enough to admit it. One summer evening, a ragged man comes to the clinic claiming he is cursed. During the treatment, chaos breaks loose as the patient attacks them. Fear of losing the man he loves makes Markus doubt his ability, but there’s no time for hesitation if he wants to save the badly-injured Nicodemus.

I’d love a rate and review on either of the sites that you chose to visit. I hope you like reading it as much as I liked writing it.