To Overcome

I couldn’t see, so I listened instead. My eyes roamed the darkness, willing it to give; but my mind was not strong enough to overcome the despair that overwhelmed me. So I sat there, I don’t know for how long. There were simple thoughts in my head. Where am I? Who am I? So simple, and yet, they are the hardest questions imaginable. I became numb in my solitude. There was no one to answer my calls, answer my questions, even if I had thought to ask.

I couldn’t see the answers, couldn’t ask the questions, so I listened instead. I listened to the sounds of rushing thoughts, so many they were a roaring waterfall on a crisp autumn day, pouring and pouring. I held myself, rocked myself gently, a sharp contrast to the tumultuous mind. Blown over by the sheer amount of things that were crammed into every nook and cranny of the cupboard space, covering me in oppressive, thick blackness, filling my lungs and seeping into my pores with every breath.

It was then that I saw it. The light. A slight glimmer; so faint that I wasn’t sure that it wasn’t my imagination. I lifted my hands towards it, and hit a wall. I beat against the wall, not believing what I was seeing. A hard, loud CRACK. The glimmer grew. I clawed at it, desparate for release. My fingers were numb and cracked; there was something slick that I was sure was blood, but I didn’t care. I tore away at the wall until, finally, I could stick a hand through. The light felt amazing. An arm then. A space large enough to crawl through.

I looked back, and it was the greatest mistake I ever made. Doubt cluttered my mind. This darkness, it was safe. Insecurity and pain weren’t seen here, only felt; that somehow numbed me. But then I felt the light, warm on my pale skin. I did not want to be cold anymore. I didn’t want to be numb anymore. I wanted to feel. I wanted to taste. I wanted to see.

I didn’t know how long I had been in darkness, but I knew that there was no turning back.

The first (incredibly late) post of 2014.

I’m doing this for myself.

I’m finding ways of manifesting positive energy – I can only hope that it will work.

My writing has faltered.

My soul feels…. incomplete.

I’ve found that this space has become a bit of a downer when it comes to personal posts; that is not what I want. I am, and have always been, an optimistic person. I am more than my failures. I am more than my disappointments. I am more than this.

I’m not happy where I am right now. I can’t help but feel like I need more to change where I am – I need more opportunities, more training, more money, more peace of mind. And then I’m disgusted with myself, because I want to be in a place where I’m happy with what I have. I realize that these are all things that I can change – I can make opportunities for myself. I can enroll myself in training to help myself out. I can take advantage of what my body can  do, and I can make it better.

It’s so empowering, that phrase. I can. 

This is not a very long post. But this is my state of mind right now. All of this is from the bottom of my heart, the depths of my soul.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2014. We can.

xoxo

Shiny Bit Of Prose, No. 2

His fingers were visible as they wrapped around the paper cup. He didn’t notice the steam rising from the coffee – black, two sugars – favoring, instead the people passing by, their faces huddled into their scarves. His face, as I watched, grew wistful in a painful sort of way, and he rested his chin in one gloved palm. I wondered what he was remembering. A family, more likely than not. A wife and child; he didn’t look like the type to trust himself to more than one. A lover perhaps? Or maybe his parents, who may have walked him along this very same street in this very same town. He didn’t hold himself like a foreigner. He fit in too well.

His grey wool overcoat, once of high quality, was shabby, well worn. The patch on his left elbow matched the faded red-orange of his gloves. His scarf was a different color scheme altogether, made up of purples and teals.

Hazel eyes gazed out of a fairly young face. There were laugh lines around those same eyes and wide mouth with thin lips. Together with the faint grey in his light brown hair around his temples and the stubble on his jaw, it painted a picture of a very tired man. I wondered if it made people sympathize with him more.

It’s Almost Not Enough.

Hi, there!

I know – long time, no blog.

There’s a couple of reasons for that.

My life has been going through some changes. These changes are both good, and bad.

I ended my four-and-a-half year relationship in June. I say “I”, though we both decided it was for the best at this point in our lives. It feels incredibly awkward to write about it. It was something that I had been thinking about for a while. I wasn’t sure where we were going – I know where everyone expected, where we expected to go – and I didn’t know if it was what I really wanted. What I really needed.

I am also at a bit of an impasse with my job. I love what I do – I am a bookseller, it gives me very intense happiness to keep bookstores relevant. However, I find myself aching for….well, more. I want to pursue teaching in another country, but because of my fairly recent promotion (as of July), I don’t want to leave this just yet.

Blue skies, mountains... I kind of like it here.

Blue skies, mountains… I kind of like it here.

I am also very conflicted about where I am living. I miss my family. They are 2500 miles away. Being in Ohio and being in California are two very different existences. I am not quite sure that I fit in here? To be completely honest, though, I am not sure that I fit in in Ohio either. Despite leaving my family, I left Ohio easily enough. I am starting to build a little bit of a life for myself in California. But besides work and friends, there’s nothing really keeping me here, either.

As you can tell, this past year has been nothing but emotional ups and downs. It’s been a bit stifling, creatively. I’m slowly working myself out of it, but it’s been hard, and it’s really only thanks to the support of my family and friends that it’s working out.

I will try to get back into blogging, but until I figure out what direction I want to take my corner of the Internet, I can’t guarantee anything just yet. But stay tuned. Something will be done.

xoxo

A Brief Message From a Fellow Human Being.

Hello Friend.

What do you dream of doing? What is your contribution to the world? Are you an artist? A chef? A fellow blogger? A stay-at-home parent? An activist? A dragon-rider? A fortune teller? A philanthropist? A traveler? A writer? Where do you fit in on this little, gorgeous blue -and-green marble that we call home?

At some point in my admittedly short life, I wanted to be all of the above. All at once. I had, and still have, a very active imagination. (Still hoping for dragons.)

Dragons are teh awesome. I'm such a nerd.

Dragons are teh awesome. I’m such a nerd.

I am a total noob (newbie, for those not of the nerd mindset) at the whole “life” thing. The adult world? Pfft. I have a B.A. in History. Most of my time is spent up in the clouds.

By day, I work in a bookstore. In my so-called “down time” – which I have plenty of, and find it increasingly harder to cope with – I write.

I observe, and I listen. I write. I want to get into the minds of others. I believe in “life articulation” — storytelling. I believe in taking responsibility, and taking action. I have incredible dreams. Dreams for me, and dreams for you.

My dreams? I dream of a life well-lived. An uninhibited, provocative, obsessed, crazy, wonder-filled, no-holding-back kind of life. I want to be a guide, to help others live a life worth living.

I’m working on a historical fantasy novel. I’ve always been in love the the genre. I’m a storyteller. I’m a knitter. I’m a tea enthusiast. A culture fanatic. A die-hard beginner yogi.

And, dear friend, I love you.

I dream for you. I want you to be a dreamer. Be an ambassador for freedom. Be an advocate for life. Love your dream. Chase it. Do it. We’re all rooting for you.

I don’t know everything, but I can guarantee that it will be one hell of a journey. Hope to see you on it.

xoxo

Artwork by the fantastic AllaD8 on DeviantArt

Shiny Bit o’ Prose No. 1

So, as my about page states…. about me (ha!), I write. Currently as a hobby. Wanting to make it a career.

What it doesn’t say, though, is that I’m writing a novel.

And what I’m about to do is super nerve-wracking. But in a good way?

tumblr_static_writing450

I’m putting up bits of my novel. Unedited, seen by no-one other than myself (until now). It won’t be the entire thing – just pieces here and there, to give you a taste of what I’m doing. No real context, nothing. I might put up a synopsis later, but since I’m still writing it, I have all creative rights to change it however the characters deem fit. The length will also vary; this first one is very short, just a part of a scene.

So – Shiny Bit O’Prose I

“It shouldn’t mean anything to you, little one,” the elf began, brushing his hair from his face in a frustrated gesture. “That is a portrait of my late mother, may she be at peace.”

Emma looked at him, confused, and then back at the painting. The woman, no, Elf, was so familiar to her. The hair, the way she held herself, even the nose. Emma couldn’t place it, but she knew that she had seen her somewhere before, and it was going to bother her until she placed it.

“Cyril! There you are. Father is looking for….” the second Elf trailed off as he stared at the pair. His eyes shifted to the portrait, then back to Emma. He let out a curse in a language that Emma didn’t understand, but made Cyril look at him sharply.

“Was that really necessary, brother? Why is Father looking for me?”

“He wants to talk about the situation with the Giants. You were the one up there with them, so you are the one with the information. However, he is going to want to see her. Who are you?”

“My name is Emma. Emma Grey. And I would just like to get back home, please.”

“Who is your kin, child?”

“I beg your pardon?”

The unknown Elf sighed. “Your kin, child, your kin! Your father? Mother? What family do you belong to?”

“I just told you, my surname is Grey. My father is Alexander. I hail from Nottinghamshire, in England. If you would be so kind as to point me in that direction, I would be forever grateful.”

Now Cyril’s calculating face was turned to her. He frowned, and then turned back to his brother.

“Dae.” It was all he needed to say, apparently, as his brother turned to him. They stared at each other for a few minutes before each nodded. Emma had wondered at the possibility of twins communicating silently, but had never before seen it in action. She was jostled from her admiration as Cyril grabbed her arm.

“Come. Father will want to see you.”

She couldn’t tear herself away as she was marched down the grand staircase and down corridors until they reached their destination.  

And that’s all she wrote. For now. Thoughts are always appreciated, darlings.

Also, does anyone have any good recommendations for books on Victorian England? If so, leave them (along with your thoughts) in the comments.

xoxo

Image via The Writers Helpers

In Which Serious Spiritual Business is Discussed. Or, Rather, an Article.

Holy Long Post of Serious-ness, Batman!! Things just got real in here. Weeeirrrd.

(I’m not-so-secretly trying out different ways to say that in front of my computer screen. Yeah, I’m a dork.)

But I won’t lie to you.

I am not an atheist. At one time I thought, perhaps, that I could be, but I’m not. I don’t think that science can explain everything. On the other hand, I don’t believe that one higher, magical being created every. single. thing, and is stalking us in our everyday lives to make sure that we teach our kids not to lie and make them believe that if they say a few words then everything will be okay. I was raised Roman Catholic; organized religion for me, now, is a bit of a turn-off.

In plain language, I am a skeptic, and haven’t quite decided where I fall on the spectrum just yet.

This article , written by Harry Stottle, is a piece of work. Stottle is an atheist, and his writing this article strikes me very much as a move Neil Gaiman or Steven Moffat might make. Just enough to make it seem real, but on the whole a piece of fiction. Or is it?

It is bruising for a skeptic, because it simply gives us more to think about. If we thought we were finally getting somewhere in our beliefs, this article simply adds more fuel to our fire of constant thinking and analyzing.

What’s interesting, though, is that Stottle still claims atheism as his belief system:

“Well, I’ll explain as we go along, but basically he convinced me by having all,
and I do mean ALL, the answers. Every question I flung at him he batted
back with a plausible and satisfactory answer. In the end, it was easier to
accept that he was god than otherwise.

Which is odd, because I’m still an atheist and we even agree on that!”

The thing is, it’s hard to accept that something like this really happened. And that is where you have to take the leap of faith, so to speak. Short of tracking Stottle down and putting him through a lie detector test, there is nothing that can be done to prove it. Even if he wasn’t lying, he couldn’t actually prove the existence of the man that he talked to. Of “god”.

Not all is lost, however. It is an interesting article to think about, so let’s do that.

As a cynic, I found myself automatically questioning the article. What is the point of publishing this supposed conversation? Is Stottle trying to send a message; one in morality perhaps? Is he just another scholar putting his predictions for the future out there? Is he just trying to philosophize on what God might be like, if he actually did exist? Did this conversation even happen? Did Stottle just have a really fabulous conversation with someone who was well-versed in science fiction? Or maybe he did have a conversation with an actual higher being. He was slightly skeptical of it as well, as he should be.

Some humor (as a woman)

Some humor (as a woman), and my reaction to a lot of things.

As a skeptical spiritualist, however, I found myself nodding my head slightly and saying, “okay, this makes sense”. God (using the same term as the article) is an older brother figure. He’s the one protecting you when you need it the most when you’re little, but for the most part he’s busy playing with the big kids and doesn’t pay much attention to you unless you do something awesome – like invent flying machines. He disdains anything that isn’t “cool” (organized religion), but is the one saying that if he can’t mess with you, then no-one else can (i.e., getting rid of the dinosaurs). I also tend to believe that we are not the only ones in the universe, and I think that whatever is out there is simply waiting for us to catch up.

What’s fascinating to me, in any case, is the amount of detail that went into recording this ‘conversation’. Unless Stottle has an eidetic memory (ala Sheldon of the Big Bang Theory fame), then it is a little hard to believe that he could remember every single detail of this conversation if he did not record it. For example, when Stottle asks about the significance of humans in the vast realm of the universe (implying that the race of humans as a whole is about the equivalent to the average Joe), “god” replies with the following:

“‘a little less. Level One, the level your species has reached, begins with the invention of the flying machine. The next level is achieved when a species is no longer dominated by or dependent upon it’s own primary – your Sun. They are able to prosper away from their own, or indeed any other, stellar system. Humanity is only just into the flying machine phase, so as you can imagine, on that scale, the human race is somewhat near the bottom of the level one pack’”

Now, any good journalist knows the value of detail when interviewing. Some do it with recordings. Some do it with shorthand, taking notes the whole while. Observation is key when conducting an interview. A spontaneous conversation with a deity (or The Deity, as Stottle is reminded) does not seem to fall into the realm of planned, prepared interviews and as Stottle is a computer programmer by trade, it does not seem likely that he was prepared for such a thing.

I’m willing to give Stottle the benefit of the doubt based on my own skepticism, because what was explained made sense to me, given my own beliefs and doubts. However, I’m more willing to fall on the cynical side of things for now, and regard this article as a piece of fiction. It would make a wonderful episode of Doctor Who, or Sherlock.

Right, time to flex those thinking muscles, kids. What do you think? Are you particularly religious, and does this seem utterly blasphemous to you? Are you a complete atheist, and the idea of attaining godhood completely unlikely? Are you a skeptic, like me, and willing to see both sides before coming to a conclusion? Do you think he’s trying to prove a point? What are your thoughts on the possibilities revealed through Stottle’s conversation with “god”?

Read the article, and then let me know your thoughts in your comments. I – literally – can NOT wait to hear from you.

xoxo

Picture via Ladies Who Do Skepticism

New Year, New Rut?

strikingtruths_change

Dear Self:

So Happy New Year! Time for a fresh, new start, right?

Or, if you’re like the rest of the world, time for a fresh new rut. You want to complete your resolutions, those lofty goals that you set at the beginning of the year when you were still slightly tipsy from your night at the bar (and the pie and coffee afterwards didn’t quite sober you up); now that you’re a couple weeks in, however, you’ve started to back down. Back off. Doubt yourself.

Well, stop it. Stop it right now.

You want to write. You want to get published. You want to finally lose weight so that when you go back home to visit, your family and friends will be like, “California’s treating you nicely”. You want to be able to support yourself so that you can stop depending on others. You want to do things for yourself and not feel guilty.

What’s stopping you? Oh, yeah, that’s right: you.

What you need is a swift kick in the ass, a cup of strong, black, no-nonsense coffee, and a couple of miles on the treadmill. You need a rainy day with no commitments, and a goal of 500 words every time you sit down. You need a couple of hours to apply for those writing gigs so that you have experience under your belt when you apply for that long-awaited “big-girl” job. You need an hour of yoga, a bit of meditation, and a punching bag do de-stress.

You need to finally take down that Christmas tree. Because it’s been 3 weeks since Christmas, and you spent it by yourself anyway, so you can probably stop admiring the damn thing and move on.

You need to shape up, or ship out. Because at the end of the day, the only one you’re disappointing is yourself, and 2013 is more than that.

2013 is a new beginning. You are a survivor of apocalypses. You are a well-tuned ear on a good head, which happens to be on a broad set of shoulders on a strong heart. You are a beautiful creature, and a product of 3.5 billion years of evolutionary greatness. 2013 is about you. It’s not about finally finishing college; you did that. It’s not about surviving the food service industry so that your customer service skills will be exemplary; you’ve got that covered. It’s about finally, FINALLY, finding out where you’re going in life, so that you can get going. You started discovering that at Alexandra Franzen’s workshop last month. So keep that up. Self-discovery is not a one-time thing.

I hope that you come back and read this. I hope that you use this mindset every time you start being a Debbie Downer; the world is full of those, and we need some more Betty Whites and Kick-Ass Katy’s to make this world better. So make it better. Make it beautiful. And above all, never forget who you are, and where you came from. Because you’re awesome, and the world needs to know.

Love,

Katy

Photo via Striking Truths