“I have too many flaws to be perfect, but I have too many blessings to be ungrateful”

(Quote taken from ziglar.com)

I’m still here.  I won’t apologize for my absence this time because, well, I just won’t.  It’s been another hectic few months and too many ups and a lot of downs that it does not good to muse on.  In the past week, though, a fantastic milestone has been reach and Battysgirls and I are officially at the 300 page mark in the book.  The better part of that is the fact that they are 300 USABLE pages!!!

We are finally at a point where I can see an end to Book 1 and it’s an end we are both excited about, at least I think both of us are ;-)  So, in honor of the apex of this hill being within sight, (no surprise here) I’m going to post a playlist that makes me feel the hell that we’ve put each of these characters through so far followed by a few songs that hint at their endings.










Iris and Daniel:


“Time May Change Me, But I Can’t Trace Time”

I searched the word changes on Bing and Google in an attempt to ignore my inability to figure out the next part of a scene that I’m writing and the top 4 hits (using 4 because Google only had that many) were amusing to me.

Bing: Definition, Parental Control, Hair Salon, and Black Sabbath

Google: Definition, Global Activism, One Direction, and Oil Changes

The 5th hit on Bing was more what I was thinking about when I chose that word- David Bowie.  I know that I’ve spent many hours of contemplation on this subject, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately and who better to illustrate this than Ziggy Stardust himself/herself/itself?

There are frequent posts on Facebook with sayings like, “If you’re not willing to change, don’t expect your life to either” or “Change is inevitable, progress is optional”.  Ok, so that second one is just one that I know, but the rest are too long to put into a post.  It’s a lost of positive affirmations about moving forward and how to inspire yourself and others.  This may say more about the people that I know than the world, though I can’t say that’s a bad thing.  I feel good thinking that I associate (even if it’s only electronically) with people who are trying to better themselves some way.

Initially I did some really deep thinking on this when I lost my job in DC and had to figure out what my next step would be.  That was in no way fun, it was ego crushing, and I don’t care what anyone says- it was not liberating.  I spent months in a funk trying to convince myself that I wasn’t a failure with the support of some incredible women.  Sorry men, I just couldn’t find an incredibly supportive guy to lean on- nothing personal ;-)  Long story short- it sucked.

Out of this personal turmoil came “the idea”.  I needed to escape the reality of suckiness and determined that the one thing I can do that I have never felt like a complete failure at is write.  The novel has been a work in progress since then and has morphed and twisted into something that, even as a first draft, Mrs. Batty and I should be extremely proud of.  This past December, around my birthday also known as when I start to feel like I’ve accomplished nothing in my life every year, I became determine to finish book 1 of this story (yes, it’s morphed to a multi-book story) by December of this year.  I’ll be turning 35 and just feel as though I need to push myself to shit or get off the pot with something.  If it isn’t going to be finishing this book, then it needs to be focusing on my other career.

Back to the changes.  All of these positive affirmations and saying are actually quite nice to see, but they are really reminding me of all of the personal changes that I know that I need to make and have been putting off.  I work too much still and ignore my personal life.  I have terrible taste in men and find the single most unavailable ones to convince myself that I should take a shot at (utterly masochistic of me) in some sort of sick self-fulfilling prophecy.  My list of real life friends is slowly shrinking and I’ve not tended to finding ways to meet new people, so isolation is an issue and I still can’t figure out if it’s intentional or inadvertent.

But- I can’t help thinking that this is just temporary.  I knew what I was taking on when I set my heart to writing a novel, while working a minimum of 50 hours a week.  Both jobs are creatively draining and I also find myself doing the internal pep talk of “just do it!  stop procrastinating and just do it!” much more than I used to.

I recently sent a copy of the unfinished manuscript to someone that I’ve formed a wonderful work relationship with and she’s absolutely salivating for the finished work.  This is encouraging and now I need to figure out what changes I have to make in order to keep the forward momentum going.  My resolve is still there.  Come hell or high water- this book will be ready to send out by the end of the year, it’s just that the path to this is not so clear in my mind.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes about change:


– Mahatma Ghandi

Have We Met Before?

A light breeze turned the pages of her notebook as she gazed into the distance, lost in the jumble of images floating through her head.  It had been months since she was able to make the trip to her favorite cafe with her notebook, pen, and imagination, but that most crucial imaginative element seemed to be eluding her at the moment.  The only things that she could think about were reports and emails and all of the many tasks that she could be doing to get ahead in the office and a silent, sickening feeling was settling in the pit of her stomach.

With a resigned sigh, she gently tossed the pen onto the notebook and leaned back in the chair to take a sip of her coffee.  The cafe wasn’t the most hip place to be; strictly corporate, truth be told.  The people watching was descent, however, and it didn’t require an incredible drive on her part.  That being said, it was not uncommon for her to be the only 30 something in the place.  Setting her coffee back onto the table, she picked the pen back up and continued her aimless gazing at the blank page on the table.

The door chimed and she looked up from her contemplation to see a man coming through the door, a warm smile on his face as he called out a greeting to the other young man behind the counter.  It was like watching a scene out of a John Hughes movie, with the super popular guy walking into the room in slow motion.  Before she even realized that she’d been staring, he had already caught her eyes.  The heat crept up her face very quickly and she’d never been more thankful that her foundation was extremely good at covering up the red of her embarrassment.  A sly smile lifted one corner of his mouth and with a wink, the man made his way toward the back of the cafe where a small group of people were waiting for him.  Once his back was turned, she let her head fall to her notebook and let out the breath that she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.

What the hell was wrong with her?!  He wasn’t exactly smoking-hot-male-model material, but she hadn’t been able to look away.  There’d been a moment of recognition and she couldn’t place his face.  Try as she might to get back to her writing, the woman found herself glancing toward the group and the man who was conveniently facing her.  Did she recognize him from the cafe?  He obviously seemed to know the staff well, but was he a regular?

She looked back over toward the group once more and again, he caught her eyes and the two of them just stared.  He knew that she was watching him and she knew that she was busted.  Frozen for what felt like an hour, she looked back down to her notebook and began to write.  Still no story ideas flowing so her composition was a grocery list.  After that the woman didn’t dare look over at him again.  She didn’t particularly feel like having them ask her to leave for making the customers uncomfortable.  Once the grocery list was completed, a fresh cup of coffee was in order.  She got up from her table and made her way to the counter.  As the guy behind the counter handed her the full mug, she steeled her nerves and blurted out her question.

“So, who is the guy that came in earlier- a friend of yours or just a regular?”  Her delivery was sufficiently neutral, but the man still gave her that knowing look that all people have when you mine them for information about anyone of the opposite sex.

“He’s a regular.  That whole groupp, they come in every weekend for a few hours, why do you ask?”

“No reason, he just looked familiar.” she replied and returned to her table.

When she settled back in to the seat disappointment hit square in the chest as she realized that the boisterous group of people had all left along with her chance of working up the nerve to go and talk to him.  The little angry voice in her head began it’s chastising for being a scardie cat and letting yet another moment get away.  This was the point at which she reminded her inner voice that there was a reason that she was in her thirties and single to which the voice responded that she shouldn’t forget that she also had three cats and would be getting a rocking chair and shot gun for her birthday.

There were no stories flowing from her mind, pen, or any other useful instrument at all, so she sat there with her cooling coffee, doodling eyes in the margins of the notebook.  She’d been so absorbed in her own inner monologue that the approaching figure made her jump when he got to the table.  He hadn’t left after all.

“Hi.” She said and immediately began choking on her coffee.

“Hi.” he replied, “you ok?”  She still couldn’t speak so she gave him a weak thumbs up. “Sorry to bother you, but I kind of noticed you staring at us back there and this may sound stupid, but, have we met before?”

“I’m not sure, but you look really familiar.  I’m sorry to have stared, it’s not a habit, promise.” she said.

“You can stare all you’d like,” he replied with the same half smile he’d given her earlier, “May I sit?”

Her heart was now beating faster and she was sure that her inability to respond was clearly plastered all over her face, “Sure.” she managed to croak out.

“Don’t worry, it’s just a cup of coffee.”  he said, sitting across from her and somehow those words untied the nervous knot in the pit of her stomach and she finally smiled back at him.

The King of Swords

She lit the five votive candles in front of her and positioned them around the edge of a black place-mat sized piece of velvet.  A large deck of cards sat to her left, an intricate design of twisting ivy and pentacles winking with the flicker of candle light, and Alana inhaled deeply, then closed her eyes to center.  The cards were her last chance, her only hope.  She cupped the deck between her hands and held them in a silent prayer.

“Goddess show me the path that I need to walk,” and she began to shuffle.  Once, Twice, a third time, Alana fanned the deck after each round until she did not feel the need to continue.  They had their answer and she took another deep breath before dealing.

As always, the first card representing her was the Queen of Pentacles, which told her that she had at least connected with the deck, she then proceeded to deal out the remaining 9 cards.  Number two, number three, the air grew heavy as though a rain storm were approaching on a very hot day and she felt the hairs on her neck stand up.  Cards four and five went down and she could feel the electric charge building- this was definitely NOT how her Tarot readings normally went.  As she set card number six into place, that card which represented the near future, Alana felt herself jump with the movement of a shadow in the corner of her eye.  Turning quickly to see what was there, she sat facing an empty and darkening room as the sun was nearly fully set.  Her hands firmly planted on the table in front of her to stop them from trembling, she took another deep breath, centered, and continued her reading.

Cards seven, eight and nine went down with nothing more than a slight flicker of flame from the tea lights, but she paused as she reached for the tenth.  The moment that her fingers had connected with the card, she’d felt a burst as though a damn had broken and energy was rushing inside her toward the finger tips touching the final outcome of her reading.  Slowly, Alana brought the card over to its position on the right side of the table and flipped it over.  She was staring at the King of Swords, the card of a powerful man with great determination.  The rush of energy finally overtook her and the room went dark as she lost consciousness, falling forward on the table still clutching the King.

All that she could hear was the soft sound of running water and a breeze rustling through the trees.  The air felt soft and she vaguely asked herself if air could in fact feel soft before dismissing the question.  Through her closed eyes the sun fell upon her face, warming it deliciously while she lay upon the softest grass she’d ever felt.  A slow realization was coming to her that this was not a safe place to lay around, but she had never been so contented and was loath to move.  The rustle of leaves and footsteps shook her out of her reverie and she sat up too quickly, her head pounding with blood flowing out.

A shimmering figure appeared on the pathway and grew more solid with every step toward the clearing and an immense white granite throne.  It was a man, he was wearing a black suit with a black knit shirt, and she could tell that the hair was dark, but his face was still a blur.  The image slowly went from analogue to high-definition as he continued on his way toward the throne and as he strode, she saw the light glint off of the steel of a sword.  She gasped loudly and he turned to look at her, his expression stony and uninterested.  Could he truly be the King of Swords?

“Your Majesty,” Alana says with a hesitant curtsy, “May I have an audience?”

“I will grant your request, but know that everything comes with a price,” he replied imperiously.

“What kind of price?”  The pressure on the back of her neck flared up again and she began to doubt that this place had anything to do with the Goddess.

“The ring, young Alana, where is the ring?” The stony face was now animated with a dark glare directly at her.  She stumbled back and fell to the ground.  Of course this was about the ring!

“I don’t know who sent you, but this is kidnapping, technically,…” she trailed off and he rose, sword drawn and picking up speed as he charged toward where she lay on the grass.  Alana did the only thing that she could think of as she pulled her Athame out of her pocket and drove the blade directly into the palm of her hand.  The pain shot up her arm and as she rolled to her side.  The clearing and the trees and the entire fantasy world melted around her until all that was left was the darkened dining room and her hand bleeding all over her favorite deck of Tarot cards.

“Shit!” she hissed, looking at the wounded hand, “I hate damned hospitals.”

After thoroughly wrapping her hand in paper towels and plastic wrap she went to her bedroom and retrieved a fire safe from underneath the bed.  There was a solid inch of important papers in it, but after a minutes rifling she found it- the ring.  Her grandmothers ring, the last piece of an extremely powerful Crone and Alana was not going to let it out of her sight.  If her mother or whomever wanted this signet, then they would have to pry it out of her cold dead hand.  She took a long silver necklace and slid the ring onto it before picking up her car keys to drive to the emergency room.


On Being Famous

Let me preface anything said here with the acknowledgement that I myself am in no way, shape, or form famous.  I am but a blip on the radar (if I even show up) of the fame monster.  That being said, I have a LOT of famous friends, in my own head that is.  Some of you may be able to identify with having an incredibly active inner dialogue that is both irritating and enriching in its own rights and I, like many, have a constant stream of conversation going on inside of my own mind.

Maybe due to the fact that I have a pretty active imagination or maybe due to some form of isolation (still not sure which) I find myself having conversations with the people in my life that take place solely in my mind.  The fact that I may be admitting to some form of weird mental illness is not lost on me, but I don’t think that this is the case.  Have you ever re-played a moment in your mind to try and figure out how you could have acted differently or said something else to make it better, or less embarrassing, or even to simply have changed the outcome to what you’d intended to have happen from the get-go?  It’s like a scene in a movie where the main character is the socially awkward geek who takes the bully out in their own fantasy world.  So, in that context, I guess so long as I don’t act on the majority of it, my sanity is still in tact!

More recently, I’ve found this happening with famous figures.  Let me clarify that I find fame to be oddly detestable.  The fact that fame and infamy are notches on a belt that tell us we’ve succeeded is clear, but the invasion of ones personal space is a ghastly proposition in my book.  The fact that millions of people feel that they have the right to any and all details of your private life that they can find or that because you’re famous, it becomes acceptable to insult and make fun of a person is just absurd.

So, I find myself imagining what a conversation with famous people would be like, outside of the context of their fame.  Sitting around the dinner table and asking them how their day was and hearing the laundry list of mundane responses about trips to the bank, the grocery store, etc…. Ok- so maybe my imagination is just as boring as I am, but I have to contemplate whether fame is in itself actually mundane.

Follow me on this- if your entire life is being watched as it is with the people that we see in the tabloids every day, then how do you do any of these simple tasks without provoking a litany of stories about how you’ve begun a secret affair with the bank teller?  I realize that there are many celebrities who welcome the attention, but I can’t believe that this applies to more than a small percentage of them.

And this is my rational for why I don’t think that I want to meet any of the people that I do follow in the media.  Yes, there is hypocrisy in what I’m saying.  How can I contribute to the media onslaught by reading the crap that they publish and my only answer is, how can you not?  Coverage of celebrities is a ridiculously large portion of what we see on TV and in magazines.  My personal tastes lean toward CNN and the Economist, but each of these media outlets still have profiles of entrepreneurs and actors and singers, which are tasteful, but still qualify as invasive.

If I had the chance to meet any of the people whose careers interest me, will it be a disappointment?  Remember that we are all human and we all have to do our laundry.  By that rational, would I respect them as much if I found out that they hire a maid to do their laundry for them?  Ok, so I’m delving into class-ism, but I hope that you get my point.  There are so many contests running on the radio station this month that involve getting to spend time with a band or an actor and I cannot bring myself to enter them because I know that someone else would get much more out of it than I would.

Maybe my issue is that I know I would want more than I have any right to ask someone who is doing a meet and greet for fans because I have very little interest in their public persona that isn’t academic (i.e.- how does that contribute to the marketing plan) and isn’t that kind of request MUCH more invasive?

So, I limit myself to the imaginary conversations that take place as I’m brushing my teeth or ironing my shirts.  I will let all of the celebrities know that you are very intelligent and wise in my own head- you always provide awesome advise and chastise me when I’m just being a hater :-)


Monday Ear Worm

Happy Monday to all you crazy kids Googling Decaying Buildings! I’m feeling so very Top 40 right now, but I do think that there are still a few fun ones in here that have been blowing up my stereo and sticking into my head like a Charleston Chew left in the front seat of a hundred degree car.  Enjoy!