I look into your eyes, and see a peace I shall never know. The journey I took led me to your path. It’s a matter of choice whether I reach out and you take my hand. My clothes are weathered, but my heart isn’t calloused over. There’s just so much at stake.
This is not about love, because I don’t love you. And this isn’t about lust, because I do not look upon you with such an animal desire. It’s about my sanity, and how your smile and your words pull from to the surface after I’ve let myself drown.
One day, I may know the fields of your dreams, of your peace. Perhaps one day, I should know the touch of your skin and the taste of your tears. And one day, I shall know whisper of your secrets and the echo of your bliss. Until that day, I continue on. Seeking what I may never find.
In the not too distant past, I wrote about a small fenced-in, Texas city called Gospel which played host to several military families after an incident that stole the lives of several children. Now don’t get up and Google that shit as I can assure you that you’ll find nothing on the matter. Since writing that entry, several video games and half-assed written stories have covered a similar plot outline. I suppose it was only a matter of time before somebody connected the fungus and zombie apocalypse to make a quick buck (though, in the matter of video games, the stories are actually, you know, good). Still, with NaNoWriMo on the horizon, old characters shamble out of the woodwork, moaning for me to tell their stories. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I don’t partake in NaNoWriMo, or take on long projects.
It’s a funny matter, though. Every time I pick up Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, my mind always revisits Gospel, Texas and the epidemic that swept through the hospital ward, killing several children and adults twenty-one and under. I think about the military officials stationed there, and how they quarantined the hospital. And I think about the fire that broke out and spread quickly, killing all those trapped within. I think about the families of those children who never received on iota of explanation from the government, the CDC, or the World Health Organization. I remember that years after the fact, the military presence, as well as, the medical teams stationed there remain in Gospel like phantoms in the night. And with the border fence erected around the river, Gospel, Texas is a city trapped from the outside world.
I think about all this, and I wish I could just sit at home for a month and just write about it. But homeboy has to work and get the bills paid.
In Other News
Halloween is creeping up, and this year Jeanna and I agreed that Shaun’s costume would be Shaun (as in Shaun of the Dead). I purchased him a plain white polo shirt after giving up hope that we’d find a dual-pocket, short-sleeved, button-up shirt. Along with fabric transfer paper (by Avery, and I don’t recommend EVER buying it), I created pockets (one with a red ink stain) and his Foree Electric name tag, which I kindly borrowed from here. While the pockets worked (sorta) the name tag didn’t. Upset because now the shirt has a jacked-up name tag forever painted above his fake pocket, I racked my brain on what measures to take to solve the problem. Lo and behold, I remember I have adhesive spray which makes pretty much anything into a sticker. I dug through items at work (it’s not exactly stealing if we’re not using them, is it?) and found a rectangle pin. At home, I printed (for like the umpteenth time) the Foree Electric name tag, cut it out, applied the adhesive spray, and applied it to the pin. I taped down the edges because the spray wasn’t catching and pinned it to the shirt he’ll be wearing for the next two days (as tomorrow—being Wednesday in non-WordPress time—is out “Halloween” puppet show at work).
I went to work with the fake blood, which, to my utter annoyance, proved my mother right. While Shaun’s shirt will be stained with the blood, I advised Jeanna not to apply any on his skin as it will stain. The blood is non-toxic and edible (it tastes of chocolate), and you can find the recipe here.
I’m uncertain what Jeanna’s dressing up as, but I’m sure it’ll be sexy and leave me longing for her nice. Me? Well, considering that I work with children, I can’t be scary or anything fun (boo on you!), so I decided on a down played zombie I found on Spoonful. Though, whether I’ll be willing to wake up to actually apply the make-up (which should only take five minutes, according to the title of the post) is up in the air as anything that disrupts my morning routine is looked upon with scorn. I’ll apply a bit of blood after work if I do wind up dressing up.
“You always attract the crazy ones,” my love life summed up in one precise sentence. The sort of people who happen to love me, do so like a Meekakitty-Selena-Gomez music video. They’ve got sanity romantic tastes on a psychotic budget.
I plead no innocence on their “quirks.” If anything, I’m the one who pushes the button that sets them off because messing with people’s lives is what I do. And one of these days, it’ll backfire on me and you’ll read about me in the Sunday paper, tucked in the corner: “Human remains found.” The article will run at short length. No one will remember my name.
Jeanna attests that she’s the sanest of the crazies. At least she admits to her ways without having anyone holding up a mirror. However, she isn’t the sanest person on my love list. While she is the sanest ex-girlfriend, there is another person at the top of list of sanest girl unfortunate enough to love me. I never kiss and tell, though. She knows who she is, anyway.
Warning flags have waved and I still I haven’t broken it off when I know I should. And while she’s annoying me to tears, there I am. Standing right in front of it. Ignoring the DO NOT PRESS sign. Watch me hit the cray button, y’all. If I vanish, she killed me.
I’m a book addict. I buy books even when I’m not without anything to read. This coming Wednesday, Monica and I will hang out before my shift at the library (for puppet show reasons, every last Wednesday of the month I work the evening shift). This usually means a visit to Barnes and Noble. And I can feel the itch. Last week, going against my wishes, I purchased the follow up to Shannon Messenger’s Keeper of the Lost Cities, Exile. Last night, after feeling lower than sludge, I bought the first season of The Walking Dead on DVD (being 50% off plus my 10% membership discount plus my 15% off coupon). I spend my feelings, though it brings me more joy to spend for others than myself (usually the guilt gets to me). That said, I purchased Shaun six t-shirts.
I took one of my composition books off the shelf and started jotting down ideas for my NaNoWriMo project. All I’ll say is that it’s a love story without a tragic ending that I’m known for. Swearing will probably be kept to a minimum, and it will throw two strangers on an adventure that will change the course of their history. Well, that’s what I’m aiming for but usually my stories get away from me.
While this funk of ennui I find myself in isn’t helping, it’s not deterring me from seeing this through. Maybe not 50k words (which is the measure of success for the website and movement, but I find it utter bullshit for pretentious neophytes and should-never-have-beens). Even if I have to sit at my computer for longer periods until I’m over-saturated from every love story cliche from the brat pack to Taylor Swift, I will make sure that this project is completed so that I can torture a few of my friends with it. I most definitely will push the cray button on this shit.
New books came into the department yesterday so, of course, I sat at the desk and leafed through a few of them. A few caught my attention, but it was David Almond’s Mouse Bird Snake Wolf caught my eye. Now there are a few Almond books on the shelves already, but nothing that ever interested me enough to sneak a peek. So maybe it was Dave McLean’s illustrations that pulled at my attention, but I assure you it was the writing that kept me glued.
Creation myths have always been my favorite topics because it stirs the author’s and reader’s imagination (Atheist note: I just don’t regard them as science). David Almond constructs a beautiful, yet incomplete, world where children’s imagination holds the same power of the slumbering gods, reminding us that we’re all creationists (in the simple sense of imagination, mind you). And like all imagination, we can create the wonderful and awesome and the deeply dark and disturbing. And let us never forget that is us that inspire gods, not the other way around.
And what images spark from Dave McKean’s imagination. His depictions of the world and the creatures created by the children leave the reader enraptured.
This beautiful, yet chilling, book deserves a spot in your children’s bedtime story shelf as it is a delight for both adult and child.
About the book (inside flap):
The gods have created a world—they’ve made mountains, forests, and seas; people and beasts—and now their days are fat with tea and cake, mutual admiration, and long naps in the clouds. But the world has curious gaps in it, and Harry, Sue, and Little Ben set out to fill them. They conjure a mousy thing, a chirpy thing, and a twisty legless thing. As each creature takes its place in the living world, the children’s ideas grow bolder until the power of their visions proves greater and more dangerous than they, or the gods, could ever have imagined. It is possible to unmake what’s been made?
Enter the world as dazzling as it is familiar in an original creation tale conjured by master storyteller David Almond and visionary artist Dave McKean.
Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David Almond with illustrations by Dave McKean
Candlewick, 14 May 2013
Mouse Bird Snake Wolf is available in hardcover with a paperback edition released in January 2014. You can pick up a copy at Amazon (Hardback/Paperback) or Barnes and Noble (Hardback).
It seems everyone’s trying to write the next Harry Potter, which I guess is better than everyone trying to write the next Twilight…oh wait. While I don’t like Harry Potter (breathe, it’s okay) or books in the same vein (it’s not my type of fantasy), I picked up Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger in hopes to find a book that I could suggest for the International Book Discussion we’re having at the library next March. While I’d rather suggest Rump, the paperback edition is slated for an April release.
The book follows the same format as Potter-esque books: Sophie Foster is different from most 12-year-olds. For starters, she’s a senior in high school who was offered a spot at an ivy league university. She can also hear people’s thoughts. All this changes one day when she meets Fitz. Like her, Fitz is different. In fact, he’s an elf. And he reveals to Sophie that she’s one, too. An opportunity of a lifetime is offered, she can give up her life as human and live among the elves and other fairy tale creatures in the Lost Cities. Of course, this begins the chain reaction that reveals all the secrets that hide within her head.
Now, I gave this a four-star review on GoodReads to make up for my bias. There are some things I found rather bothersome with the book. Shannon Messenger doesn’t avoid clichés like the plague. It’s the first lesson we learn in creative writing, avoid clichés. Or reinvent them. Her writing dragged at times, even though the story didn’t slow in pace. And several times throughout the book, I wondered if she was searching for her voice. There are few other things I disliked but I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I’ll bottom them for another day.
Now, don’t think this book bad. The story, while familiar, is great. The reader is sucked in with its fast pace. And with Sophie, there isn’t a dull moment. The love triangle (there’s always a love triangle these days) is present, but I wonder if it’ll be a quadrangle later on. It’s also not a central plot, which makes the book easier to digest. And while I disregarded it as a potential suggestion for the book discussion, I have to say that I’m fighting the urge to purchase the next book. So it’s made it onto my suggestion pile.
About the book (back cover):
Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She is a Telepath, and has a unique ability to hear the thoughts of everyone around her—something that she’s never known how to explain, and has made her and outcast, even in her own family.
But everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s somewhere she does belong, and staying where she is will put her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from her own.
Sophie has new rules and skills to learn, and not everyone is thrilled with her “homecoming.” There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory, secrets that other people desperately want.
Would even kill for…
Keeper of the Lost Cities
by Shannon Messenger
Aladdin, Reprint edition (6 August 2013)
Keeper of the Lost Cities is a perfect read for any child between the ages of 8-12, or any adult who’s a child at heart. You can pick up a copy at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. An e-book edition is available for Kindle and Nook.