Categories
Creative Writing

The Color of Life

White hairs began to appear

At just eight years old.

My aunt, adorned with fiery red curls

Gasped as she spotted the strand

That stuck out against the deep

Soil brown hair that I had

Always had my entire life.

“You’re getting old!” She laughed,

Though cackle would’ve better

Suited it – that’s what Dad always said.

I never feared growing old until

That day, because not it was too 

Close for comfort. I cried, hurling myself

Into the burnt tan couch in the living room,

Yelling “I’m going to die!”

That is all it meant to me to grow-up: 

To have my own life, to raise others,

To grow old, to die.

That’s all life was. And I hadn’t even lived

The first part yet. 

The white hair was the first sign that I realized

My Nana was old – lying in a hospital bed and 

Looking up at my family, saying goodbye.

It was the color of Granny Charlene’s skin when we moved 

Away and she died the next spring. 

But it was also the color of snow, fallen fresh from the

Graying skies. It was the color of the wedding dress

My Aunt wore when she met the love of her life, 

Eighteen years after the first wedding.

White wasn’t an evil color. 

Life was.

Categories
Writing Updates

The Creative’s Corner #3

It’s official – I am done with all of my finals. All of my essays, tests, homework assignments, and even tutoring – all done until the first week of February. Granted, I am still working on my capstone – but that will be ongoing until the end of Spring 2021.

This has given me time to sit down and do what I enjoy doing – read. In the past two days, I have read I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Ian Reid and Farewell, Earth’s Bliss by D. G. Compton. Reid’s book was phenomenal – my best friend Mikaela had been recommending it to me for a year and I finally had time to sit down and read it (on top of the fact that it was assigned to me to read). The ending was confusing at first, but I talked it through with her afterwards and it all started to make sense. If you have any time at all, sit down and read I’m Thinking of Ending Things – not only is Reid an incredible author and story teller, but he creates a haunting double storyline that a read cannot get enough of. I rated it 4/5 stars.

Farewell, Earth’s Bliss was fine – I don’t have any strong opinions in favor of this story. It was published in 1966, which makes sense to the crude and honestly upsetting language that is used through the book. Personally, I feel that the character of Jacob was used strictly as the butt of a joke as well referred to in derogatory terms by Simon, who I will call a bully. I didn’t feel attached to any of the characters or even to the plot itself (did it have a plot? I’m not sure, still), so I rated it 2.5/5 stars – my lowest rating of the year so far. Maybe if I read this in 1966 I would’ve enjoyed it more, but the language has not aged well into modern times, and ultimately I was left blindsided by the racist and sexist remarks made throughout the book.

One of the best things about my capstone is that I am assigned not only books to read, but TV shows and movies to watch as well. Recently, besides finishing the first season of Twin Peaks, I have been watching The Twilight Zone and working my way through the 27 episodes that my professor picked out. I had never watched this show before, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually enjoyed watching it. There were some episodes that I couldn’t fully watch – one of them being “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” because of my fear of airplanes. However, even with that being said, it is facinating to see how they filmed the episodes back then. My favorite episodes so far have been:

  • Third from the Sun
  • The Obsolete Man
  • The Eye of the Beholder
  • The After Hours
  • People are Alike all Over

Next up on my list of things to watch is the Netflix movie adaptation of I’m Thinking of Ending Things which I’m excited to see. Other than that, I have to catch up/finish watching The Mandalorian season 2 as I haven’t had time to watch any episodes since my semester got so busy.

It is strange to have so much time now. I only just found out that tutoring was over for the semester yesterday, so besides my RA obligations I have no plans as to how I will spend the rest of my time at school. I don’t move out until Saturday afternoon, which means I guess I have more time than ever to catch up on whatever work I need to do.

I’ll be back later in the week with more content!

Much love,

C.E. Egan

Categories
Writing Updates

The Creative’s Corner #2

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve all had a fabulous week, and are ready for some recovery time. What is something that went really well this week? What is something that you’re grateful for? I’d love to know in the comments below.

Next week is my last week of classes before finals – woohoo! This semester has felt like that longest one so far, so I’m eternally grateful that it is almost over. However, I know this next week will be the most stressful for me. I am challenging myself to complete all of my finals and coursework by December 11th. I am doing this because the last week of school, finals week, I have to stay on campus since I work as a Resident Assistant. This is the time where I want to focus on my writing, as well as get some reading done. My professor is having me read and watch I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Ian Reid, so I know that I will need to have the time to do so. The 12th-18th will be my week of editing and working on new pieces.

I submitted “4:30AM” to my capstone professor, and I got some great feedback on it. I’m going to edit it, as well as expand, and this introspective piece is going to be going into my final portfolio for my senior capstone. I didn’t know how I felt about the piece as I wrote it, so it was wonderful to get to talk through it with someone else! I’ve found writing to be a lonely process for me lately, and this class has allowed me to talk about my work and revise it.

Writing is lonely for me because I don’t often talk about my work with others. In the past, I have received constructive criticism that was not spoken of as such, but was phrased more that my writing was not good, and this has kept me from sharing a lot of my work. I can take this feedback, but more often than not it has come off as a critique of not my writing, but me. I had vivid memories of professors telling me that my work ‘doesn’t make sense’ and that I would need to change a majority of what I’ve already done. Or, in some cases, I’ve had peers read my work and tell me that I should give up. This process has been lonely because I don’t share much with anyone.

However, I finally have two people in my life that love listening to me talk about my work. Just yesterday, I was out with one of these friends and we ended up talking about fanfiction and what we thought made it good. I told my friend about one I wrote/have been writing, and to my surprise she absoluely loved it. Little moments like that remind me that I can write great things, and that the people who want to see me succeed in writing will give me critiques directed at my work, not at me.

That’s all I have for my newsletter of the week. Thank you again for supporting me, and I’ll be posting another short story again soon.

Much love,

C.E. Egan

Categories
Creative Writing

4:30 AM

It’s early enough to know that I shouldn’t be awake. There is no light aside from the grocery store night light plugged in by the doorway – casting a comforting orange hue onto the dark purple-painted walls. If I turn my head, the charging light of my lap top will shine in my eyes – the same orange color – and distract the mind from falling back asleep.

There is no particular reason that I should be asleep much like the house surrounding. Quiet wooden floors and plush white carpeting do not creak nor muffle the sound of steps – everything is as quiet as it should be at 4:30AM.

I sit up in bed, using the bottom of my palms to rub stars into the closed eyes they rested upon. The black faded once again as I rose from bed and moved into the hallway. A similar light is cast over the banister of the stairs that leads down into the dark abyss of the first floor just across from the canary red bathroom that I share with my older brother.

The door is half shut and remains that way. Turning the faucet on, I turn it to cold water and splash it on my face, leaned over the white Coca-Cola stained basin. It drips from my face back down the drain as I pick up the wool green towel crumpled up on the opposite side of the counter. I look at the person in the mirror before me as I pull the cloth away from my eyes.

It is hard imagining being the same person that has experienced their own fair share of trauma and life experiences as the girl who stands in front of a half-lit mirror wearing llama pajama pants and her fathers oversized t-shirt.

This was the same girl that had stood here numerous times before, face flush from the cold water resting on the surface, thinking the same exact thoughts over and over again. I had stood here nearly every day for 10 years – 11 in July – and each time my eyes locked with the light blue ones reflected back at me, I knew that this girl and this moment would just be repeated again. Not knowing what would be coming next, what life would be like exactly one year from now.

I don’t live there anymore. I am there visiting for the holidays and staying the night. I can hear my fathers voice down in the living room laughing at the Minions movie on TV, my mother’s fingers typing on the mechanical keyboard in front of her work laptop. My brother, still, is screaming at Call of Duty on the PS5 he plays in the room across the hall from mine. I wash my face and then sit at the top of the black carpeted stairs, listening to the sounds of the life I grew up with crawling over the walls of the house.

I still live at home, taking classes virtually from my desk beside the bed I sleep in every night. This is just another event that started the year before – waking up at 4:30AM every other day for no reason other than to get out of bed – and continues to haunt my nights. I haven’t slept through the night in weeks, waking up at least 5 or 6 times between the fall and the rise. I return to bed after closing the bathroom door, dreading my Spanish class that will test all of my knowledge at 9:30.

I haven’t fallen asleep yet – rather stayed up working on a project that I knew I should’ve started sooner but left until the last minute as always. I am at page 6 of 10 and if I take this one break I’ll be able to finish by 6AM and submit it. Whether it’s good or not – it will be submitted and I will rest, ignoring the rest of my assignments for a later date as I catch up on the much needed sleep.

Or maybe this is the last time that I look into the mirror. This is the last time that I can think back on all of the experiences of the girl staring back at me – the last time I can daydream about what could be coming next. The house could be sold in two months – the family could move and I would not be looking at the same mirror I did at 10 years old when the first gaze into it occurred, never thinking that she’d make it this far.

I drop my gaze and continue to pat myself dry. Leaving the towel in the same balled up position, I step out of the bathroom and close the door behind me. I decide that I don’t want to look into the mirror anymore tonight and I return to my imprint in bed. With the blankets lying over my frame, I shut my eyes and hug the extra pillow to the right. These thoughts will be left for another night – another 4:30AM.

Categories
Writing Updates

The Creative’s Corner #1

Hello again, friends! Its been a hot minute since the last time I posted on here! I’m here to catch up with you all, and update everyone on what’s going on with me – my writing life and my academic life (I’m a college student, after all).

A mental health check in – Covid19 has been on everyone’s minds for months and I want to give you all a space to relax. Take a moment here to do the following:

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Relax your jaw.
  3. Relax your eyebrows.
  4. Take another deep breath.
  5. Look around you. Name 3 things that you can see.
  6. Name 2 things you can hear.
  7. Name 1 thing you can touch.
  8. Take another deep breath.

If you haven’t yet, get up and stretch your legs. Drink some water and eat something healthy. Or, eat something your brain needs. Whether that be an apple or chocolate – eat it. You deserve it.

With that relaxation in mind, I hope you’re all doing well and that everything is going as good as it can. Though things are repetitive and lonely right now – you deserve a pat on a back for how far you’ve come and how hard you’ve worked. I’m proud of you.

I haven’t been doing the best at taking care of my mental health, so even typing these reminders has been helpful for me. I hope they were helpful for you too.

As some of you may know, I am a junior in college currently. My life has been swamped with school work, reading, tutoring, and trying my best to have fun with friends. I’m working on my senior capstone currently (yes, a year early – it’s so I can do my internship next year) which entails a lot of reading. The professor I’m working with has given me some awesome recommendations though. I wouldn’t of been able to read the following without his input: The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K Le Guin, Ubik by Philip K Dick, The Tombs of Autuan by Ursula K Le Guin, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Rocannon’s World by Ursula K Le Guin, and other titles that I have not even begun to read. If you can’t tell, I love Le Guin and her work – she writes the genres that I’ve always been interested in and she has written one of my favorite short stories to date: “The Ones who Walk Away from Omelas.”

My goal for this capstone, which is a year long, is to create a portfolio of different kinds of pieces so that I can apply to grad school or even a PHD program after I graduate from my undergrad program. Lots of things are happening – grad school panic is real.

Classes are heavy reading based as well, though I’m only taking one English class. I have lots of history reading that I have to do as well as ethics work – philosophy has been a challenge, but I’m learning and have done pretty well in the class. I work as a writing tutor at my school and everyday I’m booked with other peers to help them with their papers. That is exceptionally draining at times – but I am also a Resident Assistant on campus and thus have the stress of that on my shoulders.

However, on top of all these things, I have been able to read what I want and I’ve been able to write more. I will be talking about all of this in a later post, but as it is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – I set out on the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I am proud to say that I hit my goal on November 14th! Thus came my next challenge – finishing the entire novel by the end of the month. And, on November 24th, I finished the first draft – clocking in a total of 70,500 words.

The Astrologist officially has a first draft! As crappy as it may be, it is a draft, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself. This is one of the first times I’ve completed a first draft of anything I’ve written, and I have been relatively emotional about it.

As I said, I’m going to talk more about NaNoWriMo and my process and struggles with working on the project as a full time college student and employee of the college. But, I haven’t given up writing at all: sometimes, I have to push off writing to focus on the more important things in life. I’m working to have a schedule of writing something every single day.

In closing, thank you all for the support that you’ve given me in my absence. I’m going to post more on here as I am coming down to the last 3 weeks of school and so I will have much more time to read and write. Is there anything you want for content in particular? I’m going to write some book reviews for the works that I read for my capstone (as listed above) as well as books I’ve read for pleasure. Is there anything else you’d like to see? Let me know in the comments!

Much love,

C. E. Egan

Categories
Writing Updates

Writing Update 9/7

This post isn’t going to be very long, as I haven’t had much time to write lately. I moved back to college last week, and I officially start classes tomorrow. I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to get prepared for that, as well as tackling all of this while in a global pandemic. I work as a Resident Assistant, so I have also been learning different protocols, as well as learning about a plethora of different topics. It was overwhelming at times, but as this is my second year as an RA – I was prepared to handle these things.

I did find time to read Elevation by Stephen King. Overall, I thought the story was interesting. I found Deirdre and Missy to be one dimensional however, as it seemed that their only traits being shown were that they were lesbians (‘lesbeans’ as a child in the text says). I didn’t know what the story was focusing around either – the race, the restaurant owned by Deirdre and Missy, Scott’s mysterious illness, or some other twist that was yet to be thrown at the reader. Scott was definitely the most developed character by far, as he was the narrator. I am glad I read Elevation, but it is about 3/5 stars for me.

Now, onto the writing. I haven’t been able to bring myself to write much of anything lately (though I suppose this post counts). It isn’t that I don’t have the inspiration, but I am lacking motivation. I have been recovering from a back sprain that I have to go to PT for, and on top of that the transition from home to school has been a whirlwind. Whenever I have a break, I find myself wanting to curl up in bed and hide from reality. However, I have been trying to work on The Astrologist more – meaning I’ve written about another page or so. I have also been editing my play Blue Ends so that has been taking up time.

I am hoping to finish the second chapter of The Astrologist before the end of the week. It is mainly filler, but it is important as a cutaway from the first chapter. I want to get into the flow of the main story line as soon as possible, but I am trying to defeat writers block/lack of motivation at the same time.

Posting may be lack, but I will always come back to the blog. I’m going to try and post at least once a week until I get readjusted with school and attending college in a time of COVID-19.

Thank you for all of your understanding.

Categories
Writing Updates

Writing Update (8/13)

Hello everyone! It’s been awhile since I wrote personally to update on writing. The past few weeks have been pretty busy for me – I was working nearly 40 hours a week and on top of that also trying to get out of my reading slump (more on that to come soon). But, as of yesterday I have been filled to the brim with inspiration.

I have almost been exclusively working on The Astrologist for the past week. Especially yesterday, where I spent two hours researching Irish mythology and most likely four hours just trying to plot things out. I also have been working on characters and their motivations, and as of yesterday I have a handful of characters that I am thrilled with. I can’t wait for everyone to read about them soon.

I would also like to take a moment to thank two of my best friends, Miki and Mikaela, for dealing with my craziness that happened yesterday (8/12). When I’m trying to brainstorm ideas, I need to talk through them with someone. Both of these wonderful people allowed me to talk at them for upwards of an hour (on separate occasions) about the story: from the tiniest detail to the biggest plot points. Thanks to them, I can safely say I have a basic plot outline for The Astrologist.

Something interesting that I’ve learned about myself this week is that I actually prefer to do my plotting/outlining in a sketch book. I have always written everything down on google docs or even just in the notes app of my phone, but as I was creating a map I realized I loved the feeling of being able to control the formatting of outlining on paper. Does anyone else feel the same way? Preferring to outline on paper than online? I am able to see my progress better on paper because I can’t just delete it, it’s still there and I have to think about all these old ideas.

Besides The Astrologist, I have been trying to catch up on reading. I am currently reading The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, who is one of my favorite authors, and I am loving the book. I usually fly through books in one sitting, but this time I am taking my time. The Starless Sea is set up with smaller books inside of it, so I have been reading one book (or section) at a time. I adore Morgenstern’s writing and her storytelling, and this is helping me savor every moment of the book.

That’s all I have for an update as of today. You will be seeing more of these as I work through a first draft of The Astrologist. I also want to thank you guys for 45 followers! Thank you for making my writing dreams a reality.

All the best,

C.E. Egan

Categories
Creative Writing

TA: The Dream

This piece is a continuation of The Astrologist. You can read that piece at the link!

I couldn’t help but arrive early.

I sat on the bench across the street from the town home that the address has sent me too. It was nicer than I had expected it to be – and I expected a lot from the red brick home. The windows were bigger than any of the one’s at The Two Lantern Inn. The time read 2:40 PM on my watch and regret filled my mind. What if he isn’t helpful at all? What if he thinks these dreams are crazy? I mean, to me he seems pretty crazy, so he better not think some silly nightmare is even more crazy. 

Why was I so worried? So what if he thought I was crazy? I hadn’t cared what he thought of me before that moment – I shouldn’t be so concerned with how he feels about me after I tell him about the dream. So what if he couldn’t help me?

Well, I would be out of options if that were the case. Who else could I tell?

Would Evon even be ready if I walked up and knocked on the door? 

I found my feet leading me to the crosswalk and I felt my stomach drop. 

The front door was solid wood. I didn’t know what kind, but it was the kind that screamed ‘if you try and kick me in you’re going to break your ankle’. At least, that’s how I would describe it. Not to mention in the corner of the thin strips of glass was a ADT sticker. So, if you did attempt to break in, you’d break not only your ankle but you would get cuffed. Not a fun combo.

With a chime of the doorbell I felt the need to sprint down the road and forget that this ever actually happened. I could avoid Evon – never go to Newbury Street again and just buy myself ice cream at CVS like all of the other broke college students. I could still get Ben & Jerry’s there at least.

The door opened just as I was about to turn around. But it wasn’t Evon at the door. It was a girl – with beautiful black hair braided back. I wish that I went to sleep away camp with her. We had different hairtypes, but damn. I noticed her bright blue eyes second and how it contrasted her black skin.

“Yeah? Can I help you?” she asked, blowing a bubble of pink gum.

Star struck, it took me a moment to respond. “Is Evon home?”

The bubble popped. “Oh, you’re the girl meeting up with him?” She stepped aside and opened the door wider. “I’m his sister. I’m Emilia.”

The inside of the house was more impressive than the outside – I barely listened as I stepped inside. “Hayden.”

“He’s upstairs. You’ll know which room is his – trust me.” Emilia popped another bubble, and with that she was gone. I wish I had dreams that looked like her.

I followed the slim black carpet up the iron railed stairs, feeling incredibly out of place. But, Emilia was right. I could only guess that Evon’s room was the door covered with a map of constellations. It looked hand-painted and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. 

I knocked on the door. There were footsteps and the sound of papers sliding across the floor. I blinked, but waited. Evon opened the door a few moments after and said “Oh, hey. Emilia let you in? Sorry, I was distracted.”

“It’s fine. I didn’t know you had a sister, anyways.” I replied, glancing around his room over his shoulder.

“Yeah, I do. She’s like 5 years younger though. Come on in.”

Every ounce of attraction I had for her fled my body as I stepped into the room. 5 years? No way. 

I knew Evon was eccentric – yet his room still shocked me. There were posters on the wall of artists I had never heard of, large prints from photographers with names that sounded like I was talking with food in my mouth. The walls were navy and white with gray curtains hung along the windows in the back of the room. The rug was black and gray and spanned across a majority of the sleek wooden floors. He had hand painted bookshelves lining the wall across from his bed filled head to toe with books of different sizes. The smallest shelf was empty, books littered across the floor in front of it. He had a hanging chair across the room that was shaped like a bamboo egg. 

Evon must’ve noticed my staring, because over my shoulder he said “You can sit in it if you want. It’s super comfy.”

I pulled off my sweatshirt and walked over to the chair, plopping down in it and feeling the chair sway with my weight. There were shoes scattered across the floor next to his bed and I couldn’t tell if they had pairs or if he just wore whatever two shoes he wanted. 

Evon kicked the shoes under the bed and sat down. “So, I’ve been doing a little research on dream interpretation. I have a bunch of books.” He pointed towards a broken bookshelf, where books laid scattered on the floor.

“I take it a ‘bunch of books’ broke that shelf.” I smirked.

“Yeah… Mom wants me to donate some of my collection. She says I ‘have too many books.’ I don’t agree.”

“I’ve never seen someone with a personal collection that big.” I gestured to the wall filled with books as if he couldn’t see it himself.

“You’re not hanging out with the right people then,” Evon laughed. He stood up from the bed and picked up the books from the floor. He dropped them onto the bed and spread them out in front of him. “I have some books about common dreams and their meanings, and books about symbols in dreams.” Looking at me, he asked “I think it would be helpful if you shared with me the dream, and then I’ll be able to tell you more. Maybe one of these books will be more helpful than the others.”

It only then occured to me that I would have to tell him about the dream. I would have to tell him about my mother. I felt a lump in my throat that I had tried to swallow down. “Right. The dream…”

Evon sat down criss cross on his bed in front of the books. “You don’t have to tell me the whole thing, just the parts you’re comfortable with.” He hesitated, “But, I think telling me the whole thing will be more helpful. The margin of error is much smaller.”

“Okay,” I sighed. “I have one request.”

Evon nodded.

“You can’t tell anyone what I tell you.”

He raised an eyebrow, but said after a moment “I won’t tell anyone, Hayden.”

It felt strange hearing him say my name. It shouldn’t of been surprising, but I couldn’t remember a time where he had actually said it before this moment. 

“Alright.” I took a breath, shut my eyes, and let my branded memories do the talking.

***

How did it feel?

The garden is dead. All around my feet lie the wilted pumpkin vines, and their decaying bodies not far behind. The squash planter is over grown with weeds and the only way I know it’s squash is that the label is torn just above the name. 

I step over the vines and walk towards the gray gate across from me. I don’t know how I got here but I don’t want to be there. I feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. I don’t belong in the garden. I’m trespassing. 

The gate is cold as my hand rests on the top – the metal is rusting but I don’t mind. When the gate swings open, before me I see a path curving through an oak forest. It is worn down to dirt, but the lines are sharp. There are no weeds at the edge of the path. As I begin to walk through the path, I hear the gate creak closed behind me. There is no wind.

The path feels endless. I feel trapped in the forest – there is no way to know where I’m headed, and I don’t know where I came from. I am wandering blindly. The fear of trespassing still lingers in my mind.

I hear a rustling beside me. When I turn, sitting before me is a brown rat. As my eyes set on its – it turns and runs back into the bushes. It’s tail is nearly three times the length of it’s body and I cannot help but watch as it slithers into the bush behind it. 

Back on the path, I hear the sound of children laughing. I can’t tell how many there are, but I know I do not want to disturb them. Maybe it isn’t actually children, but perhaps a predator calling for its prey. 

Perhaps that is me.

The laughter gets closer. Without a second thought, I continue towards the sound. The trees break, and before me is a city. The feeling of oak trees towering around me is replaced with steel skyscrapers. This is more familiar, yet I still don’t know where I am. 

I walk underneath the street lamps in search of the laughing children. I hope that’s what it is, anyways. 

It doesn’t take long to come across a small fenced in park. There is a small jungle gym and a swing set. Sitting on the ground between are 4 children – a girl and three boys. They don’t have faces. I don’t know where the laughter is coming from – but it’s coming from them.

As I watch them, the children play a game. Their hands are intertwined with one another. The girl, stationed at the end of the chain, takes a step and skips towards the boy, who turns behind the other two and follows a similar action. The children do this until they’re all skipping and sliding in a whirlpool. The last boy chases the girl. To catch the other, a hand must be placed in between their shoulder blades. I watch as the girl catches the boy in front of her and the boy before him. The last boy is the only prey left. He moves swiftly in a circle, trying to get behind the girl. She laughs, an echo that stays in my mind long after the dream is over. The girl places her hand on his back – she has won. 

That’s when they turn to look at me. They see me watching their game. The girl walks over to me and holds out her hand as an invitation. I make the same mistake each time I dream – I take her hand. 

They invite me to join their game. Now, I stand at the other end of the line. The game starts over, and I find myself skipping and sliding at the center. Almost like clockwork, the girl and I are the last two. She seems to set the rules, and always wins. I don’t want to lose. 

I try to keep her in the corner of my eye, but she’s sneaky. I feel her presence behind me. I turn to face her, and her hand lands at the center of my chest.

That’s when a blood curdling scream fills the streets. It comes from my lungs, as I feel a coolness spread across my body. The girl does not move, and she does not take her hand off of my chest.  She watches me with her eyeless gaze. 

I feel my fingers lock in place as the bitter chill reaches my extremities. I do not break my gaze from her as the cold trails up my spine and covers my eyes. I wasn’t told one of the rules of the game.

Never turn around.

In the darkness, I hear a voice. “You don’t belong,” she says, and I feel a finger run through my hair at my neck, “You don’t belong here. Come home.”

“I don’t know where home is,” I tell her. “Home is gone.”

“Why?” Her voice is familiar. 

“Home left me.” I feel my throat tighten – a hand gripping the back of my neck.

“Come home,” the voice repeats to me.

“Where is home?” I ask as the grip gets tighter.

“Find the pathway home,” she says, and I feel her hand release my neck. 

I gasp for air.

She grips my shoulder and snaps my neck.

I wake up.

***

I opened my eyes and sat up a bit, hugging my knees up to my chest. Leaving out the detail of the woman’s voice being my mothers didn’t seem important. I figured telling him that it was familiar was enough.

“How often have you had this dream, Hayden?” Evon asked after a few moments of silence.

“This one specifically happens… probably three times a week.” I rubbed the back of my neck, feeling a lingering pain at the base. 

“Do you dream every night?”

“Yes. But I have a few other dreams… sometimes they are random. You know, like a normal person,” I laughed at my attempt to joke. 

Evon looked at me for a few moments, “We have a lot to unpack in that dream…”

“You think?” I leaned back against the cushion and gave myself enough momentum to swing slightly. 

He stood up and turned to his books, picking and choosing out of the pile. He put some back on the floor and was left eventually with two books on his bed. 

“These are going to be the most helpful,” Evon said, “I hope at least.”

I peaked out of my chair and saw one of the titles: 12,000 Dreams Interpreted. 

Evon sat down on the floor and leaned against his bed, opening up that book and said “This may take awhile. I may need you to repeat some parts.”

I nodded and fiddled with the string on my hoodie. I tried to get comfortable, knowing I would be there longer than I ever intended to be.

Categories
Writing Updates

Writing Update (7/26)

I feel like I haven’t posted on here in a long time, but I know it’s probably been about a week. It’s been difficult for me to find the time to sit down and post due to my work schedule and other circumstances out of my control. I thought this would be a good time to give you all an update as to where my writing is at!

First and foremost, my unnamed novel. Jaelyn’s story is something that I have been thinking about a lot. I haven’t sat down and worked on it, though. Since I forced so much energy into it for so long, I have found it more difficult to work on. Has anyone else experienced this? I don’t have writer’s block, as I know how the story is supposed to go – but I just do not have any motivation to sit down and work on editing as well as perfecting the final scenes.

I’ve also stumbled into the problem of wanting to rewrite the story. When I first started writing about Jaelyn, I wanted it to be about how stepping into the spotlight so suddenly can change a lot about how a person acts. Now, I want to keep that ideal – but I want to include the idea that in her society, people assume a lot about where you come from – Jaelyn is one of the first people to step up and start to change that (whether she wants too or not). If that’s the case, though, I need to rewrite major sections of the story. I knew I would have to rewrite a new draft eventually, but it seems like a huge time commitment. There are characters that need to be developed.

One thing I think I would benefit from with this is being able to bounce ideas off of someone. I have a handful of people in my life that are also writers, but other than that I feel as though I’m stuck only bouncing ideas off of myself. My goal with Jaelyn’s story is to start working on character wants/desires. This way I can think about the plot of the story and also make the characters more concrete.

Second is The Astrologist. I loved writing the piece that I did. However, I realized that I need to do a ton of research in order to represent what I want to correctly within the story. So, I have this story on hold while I read up on the following topics: dream interpretation, astrology, zodiacs, crystals, and psychic readings. All of these topics are incredibly important and major playing roles throughout the story. I don’t want to fake my way through it.

This has given me time to think about my characters though. At first, I only knew that Hayden and Evon were going to be the main players of the story. I had a few minor characters – including Miss Tabitha Hall and Emilia DuPont – but I wanted to have some more to work with. Since Hayden’s life after her mother is such a blur, I have been able to put characters in that area and have them become involved later in the story. One of these characters is now Marigold Honeywell – who I cannot wait to write more about and share her character with you all.

Lastly, my small writing pieces. I include this as my character studies, poetry, small writing pieces, and anything else that I’m forgetting to mention regarding my writing. This part I think has been the easiest for me to work. Every night before I go to bed, I journal some of the feelings I had throughout the day into poetry. I write about a page or so (roughly 3 stanzas 4 lines each) of poetry and have a small booklet. I haven’t decided if I want to share that on here yet, but I have been writing poetry and working on my craft.

I want to post more short creative pieces, but I have a difficult time writing about anything small because I want to make it bigger. One thing I was thinking about doing was writing short stories about other characters within the worlds I have created. One example of this is Jaelyn’s story. I am thinking about writing a piece highlighting Dr. Evelyn Snow’s journey into becoming the world-renowned scientist that she is in their world today. Or even just writing a piece about the Pickers and what they’re lives are like, as you don’t see much of it through Jaelyn’s perspective. I think not only will this provide content and help my writing skills, but also help develop their world even more.

I am trying to get back into my posting schedule, so for right now expect roughly 2 posts a week. I know before I was providing 3 – and I’m working towards continuing that number, but with everything going on in my life and in the world – it’s difficult to set aside the time.

Thank you all for your unconditional support and I cannot wait to share more of my work with you all. I appreciate every one of you.

Categories
Creative Writing

Amaris

I am finally back from my small hiatus from my blog. All will be explained in another post, however I thought I would share this old piece with you all. Amaris, though I haven’t written her in some time, is one of my favorite characters I have ever created. I think this piece, the first introduction to her character, shows something important about her: where her priorities lie. Enjoy!

In the late hours of the night, the first riot began. 

At first, it was quiet. The wind blew sand through the dark alleyways and shook the shutters outside of the homes of the people. The Julenne castle stood ominously over the entire city, the bright lights inside casting faint ones onto the grounds all around the village, which had ignited the passion of the rioters.

When the first light when on in the tallest building, everyone else woke up with it. People were exiting their homes during the dark hours, unallowed by King Alexander, and began to shout. 

Amaris woke up a few minutes into the beginning of the riot. Her vision was hazy as she stood from her bed to the cold floor. Her head throbbed from the shouting – which she hadn’t realized was shouting yet, for waking from a deep sleep left her in a blinded state.

Her hands reached for the shutters, which kept the bitter air outside, but she felt she needed to have the air hit her face to wake her.

When the shutters opened, she was hit with the air, but also, the swarm of hundreds below her home, all gathered in the city center with torchlights, their cries echoing through the foreboding night.

The man at the center, standing on the statue platform, was screaming out curses to the King.

“Are we going to let this man control when we can and cannot be outside of our homes? Are we going to let him walk all over us as if we’re nothing? He continues to raise taxes, taking our hard-earned money from us and our children, so his child can be a spoiled brat! Are we going to let this keep happening?”

He was screaming, the sweat beading from his forehead was trickling down his face. His words were fueled by rage, the steam from his screams exiting his lungs at an alarming rate. His voice was fading fast, but he kept going. 

“He makes us work harder, while he’s sitting on his ass with no intention of doing any work himself! Our fishermen are dying from exhaustion! If we keep working, emptying our waters, we won’t have any fish left to sell! He keeps us indoors during the ‘dark hours’! What the hell is he keeping from us?”

Amaris quickly pulled the shutters closed, but it didn’t drown out the man’s yells, and the cheering that came from the crowd.

In bare feet, she pulled her cloak over her thin, freezing body, and ran out the door. The crowd stood right outside, pressed up against the wooden frame. She shoved her way through the men and women, all cheering for the man at the center.

The walls of the mob were closing in around her as she pushed between the people blocking her. She dug her nails into their sides to press past them, ever so slowly sliding closer to the center. Amaris could still hear the man shouting, getting louder with every word he spoke. 

His voice was heavy, scratching in his passionate words to the people around him. The spit produced from him was beginning to freeze to his white beard, but he didn’t notice. He kept screaming, kept the rage burning in the people’s hearts, and made sure that they would be heard by the monarchy that never heard a voice but their own. 

Amaris approached him cautiously, knowing that in his passion he wouldn’t cool well.

She reached up to him and took hold of the end of his cloak, looking up towards him with golden eyes. Her voice was calm, but loud amongst the protesters screaming around them.

“You need to come back inside, Father.”

He looked down towards her, his words faded to silence when he saw her. The protesters were loud, but none noticed when he stopped. They continued their cries, hoping that they’d be heard.

“Amaris, what are you doing out here,” His voice had calmed. She ignited a sense of duty to him, to make sure that she was safe. He reached down towards her, taking hold of her wrists, “It’s late, you need to go back to the house, a girl like you shouldn’t be out here – you’ll get hurt.”

“You don’t want me to get hurt, I don’t want you to get hurt. Please, Father, come back to the house…” She pleaded to him. 

The way she spoke made him believe they were the only two in the crowd. 

“I won’t get hurt, Amaris. Now go back inside.”

“Father. I can’t do that. Please, come inside…”

He looked down towards his daughter for a moment and almost broke for her. 

Almost.

“Amaris, you need to go back into the house. Now. Your mother would not be happy to know that you’re out here-” He interrupted himself, looking into her silver eyes and taking tight hold of her hand, “Please, Amaris.”

Amaris reluctantly agreed, looking around the chaos surrounding them, “Please promise me that you won’t get hurt..” 

“I cannot promise anything, but I will try my best, darling..” He placed a kiss atop her raven head, then relinquished the hold on her wrist and hand.

Amaris obeyed her Father, sinking back into the crowd. It did not take long for her to hear his roars above the crowd and the praise that followed behind. 

She had always questioned him on why he insisted on leading the riots. Amaris knew that he would get hurt one day. She always feared the day that he wouldn’t come home. She wanted to stay with him, to make sure that no harm would come to him. But Amaris returned to her home despite her wish to stay with her father.