Character Rescue

“Oh, come on, there’s gotta be something,” I let out a sigh and flip another page in my fifteenth notebook. “All this good writing and I can’t come up with an idea.” The next page is blank. End of the notebook. I toss it on the pile beside me and shuffle through the bookshelf to find another.

“I really should organize this.” Next notebook I pull is completely empty. The cover’s really pretty though. Wonder what I saving it for? “Alright, empty journals, notebooks, and notepads go on the far right.”

I pull another notebook. Everything in it pertains to my novels. “I should read this over again.” I squint at one of the titles in the middle of the notebook. This one must be pretty old because I don’t include that scene anymore. I sigh. I need to clump everything together in one notebook. “Everything pertaining to my novel goes on the far left.”

I grab another spiral. It’s a sketchbook. One I used for high school. Next to it is a sketchbook I bring to family gatherings. “Oh, look. An empty pastel pad.” I sigh as I pull out the sketchpad and the black paper notebook beside it. “These should be going in the studio.” I set them down beside me and fumble a frown. “Well, good. I’m organizing, but I still don’t have an idea.”

With another sigh, I lean back and stare around my room. Pastel drawings on the wall. Gaming figures on the shelf. A giant poster I made of my novel. Magic here. Dreams there. “I already did a post about that,” I mutter at a drawing of me. I spot my “Believe in the Magic” sign. “And I did one of that.” I groan. “Why am I coming up empty?!” I roll my eyes. “Probably because I’ve done over 200 webposts already.”

I get up and pace the room, my notebooks still scattered on the floor. “It’s Christmas Time. I should do something about that, but what can I do that I haven’t already done? I did Christmas movies. I did Christmas Carols. I did blessings and stories, and poems too!”

I plop down at my desk and stare at my computer. “I could try a prompt? See what’s on my old flashdrive? I could write a story? But what would have good conflict and plot?” I groan again and lay my head on my wrist beany thing. “Maybe this webpost should be a throw away? Not a lot of people are gonna read it anyway. It doesn’t have to be good quality, right?” Yet, in my head, I know I’m wrong. Everything needs to be good quality. How else would people take me seriously? “Two years I’ve been doing this. I’m trying my best.” I look up at my computer. The purple screen, waiting for words. “This site is supposed to support my novel. Guess I haven’t done that well, lately.”

My novel. It’s been on the backburner since I’m waiting on an editor. I should be working on the sequel. Reconnecting with my characters. “But I’m terrified,” I whisper. “I think the story’s great, but that’s my bias opinion. What if it’s really all wrong? What if I have to rewrite it…AGAIN?!”

I sigh again and an old scene creeps into my mind. One I cut ages ago. A character in conflict–God bless him. I love him. He’s leaned on a mantle, staring at flames. Nothing, at all, is going his way. He has one dream. One hope. One goal. And, it feels like everything’s out of control. The dream is the furthest it’s ever been and nothing good can come around the bend. Yet, in comes a friend, understanding his plight. He sits with and talks with him all night. Finally, a question passes his lips, something to my beloved get a grip. “Tell me, my friend, I know it’s late, but for this dream: how long are you willing to wait?” My beloved does sigh quite externally. He lifts his head and says. “I’d wait all through eternity.”

I sit at my computer, smiling to myself. “This webpost will be something else.”

Favorite Type of Christmas Tree

Happy December everyone! Tis the holiday season and my favorite holiday, Christmas, is right around the corner! You can definitely tell it’s the season with the stores lining up those Christmas trees in the aisles and these days there’s all different kinds. You’ve got tall trees, skinny trees, pink trees, green trees, black trees, and many more. Seeing all the different kinds made me wonder about people’s favorite type of Christmas tree. So what about you?

To start with a Christmas tree, you have to pick your tree. Tall, skinny, short, pink, white, blue, green, or real. I, personally, like the traditional green trees. Real or fake, I like the natural look. Then, you gotta decorate it. You can use tinsel, garland, lights, what kind of ornaments are you going to use? What’s your tree topper?

I know there’s a lot of premade Christmas trees out there. The ornaments, lights, and garland are already on it. Everything matches with pretty bulbs and it can fit perfectly into the theme of your house. Those are the fancy Christmas trees, and if I’m being honest, those are my least favorite.

My favorite Christmas trees are the home-made ones. You know, the kind that tells a story. The tree itself doesn’t matter. It could be old, new, fake, real. What’s important is the ornaments that go on it. These are the ornaments that a child makes in school. Baby’s first Christmas or beloved pet. The ornaments from that one pastor whom you miss and wish the best. The ornaments that grandpa made or that one bell ornament that doesn’t go on the tree until everyone has a chance to ring it. This is a tree that isn’t perfect or store bought. Maybe all the ornaments are on one side because that’s where your niece could reach. Or all the fragile ones go high up so the cat doesn’t knock them off. Maybe you have an ornament that’s just a piece of paper because it’s a picture of an ornament that got destroyed by a pet?

My favorite Christmas trees are the imperfect ones. Not the kind you see in holiday magazines, but the ones that tell a family’s story. These trees are unique. There’s no other trees like them in the world.

I don’t mean to hark on the matching, perfect Christmas trees you see in the magazines. Some people prefer them and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just wanted to share my perspective. My Christmas tree happiness. So this holiday season–if you haven’t already put your tree up–I hope you’ll take a look at your Christmas tree and wonder about the story behind it.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

End of November

Can you believe it’s already the last day of November? There’s only one month left of 2022. I don’t know about you, but I’m actually kinda sad to see it go. After 2020 and 2021, I would say 2022’s been a good year for me. I hope it’s been a good year for you too.

Instead of focusing on whether or not you completed your New Year’s resolution for 2022, why don’t we just focus on the happy moments? I want to do something I did last year. You may remember my post: “Where Has the Year Gone?” I wrote it last year around this time and I dared everyone to write their happy moments for 2021. Well, I want to dare you to do again for 2022. What’s one thing you did each month that made you happy or brightened your spirit in some way? It can be something big or something small. It can be something simple or complex. It could be a bunch of little things added together or a moment where you just felt peaceful. I’m going to share my happy moments below. If you think of some things, feel free to share here on my website, Twitter, or Facebook posts. Let’s remember the good times of 2022 as we head into its final month.

Nikki’s 2022

  • January: Started off the year at Grandma’s Christmas. Played a lot of Pokemon Brilliant Diamond throughout the month.
  • February: Found a new favorite game in Pokemon Legends; Arceus. Trained my favorite dog at the animal shelter how to do all the fun tricks in our agility park!
  • March: Quit a job I was miserable at!!! Huge shoutout to my mom for supporting me through all the insanity. Love you, mom. Also, get back into writing my novel!
  • April: Receive two job offers. Found out my dog doesn’t have cancer–Yay!
  • May: Start a Seasonal Zookeeper position at my zoo! Interview for a permanent part-time position.
  • June: Offered the permanent part-time position! Johnny Depp wins his trial! Feed chimpanzees and hippos for the first time! Diekemper Lake week!
  • July: Get checked off on our hippo routine. Feed more chimps. Share a birthday with our hippo. Finish chapter edits on my novel!
  • August: My DND group ends our campaign in an epic fashion. We begin a new campaign a week later. I start training our hippos at the zoo.
  • September: I get checked off on chimp identifications and beat Pokemon Legends; Arceus! Also, feeling encouraged about my readthrough edits for my novel.
  • October: Renaissance festival! Work on a new draft of my novel’s sequel. Halloween!
  • November: I start training chimpanzees! Beat Pokemon Legends; Arceus postgame! Start learning an aviary routine at the zoo and got to watch CHEETAH training! New game Pokemon Violet comes out. Thanksgiving! Hire an editor for feedback on the first part of my novel.
  • December: CHRISTMAS

Well, those are some of my highlights. When I look back at this year, it started off pretty crummy. I was at a job I hated and that effected a lot of other areas in my life as well: my writing, my relationships. I was quite the depressed person no one wanted to be around. I didn’t think things would get better. But, come May, I got a job at my local zoo, then a month later, I was given a permanent position there. Now, I have the amazing opportunity to live the adventure that is being a zookeeper. I feed hippos and train chimps. I give lemurs belly scratches and get to be around my favorite animal: the cheetah. I’m working a job outside of four, suffocating concrete walls, and I still have time to work on my novel. Things really turned around career wise for me this year and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Maybe your year has ended up like mine? Maybe you’ve had a victory, and if so, please share it! If you haven’t had a victory this year. If you’re still waiting for things to turn around one way or another. I hope you’ll find encouragement in my story and the stories of others. Situations can change in just a few months. Maybe it won’t be this year for you. Maybe it’ll be in 2023? Whenever it happens. I hope you’ll take the time to look back and appreciate all you’ve been given.

Happy end of November everyone. May the end of your 2022 be happy and bright.

A Pokemon Tale

Story based off of “Pokemon Violet” by Nintendo Gamefreak

Name: Moon And
Date: 11/24/2022
Class: Languages

First Day Introductory Essay

My name is Moon And. Yes. My last name is And. You’d think I’d get bullied because of it, but everyone knows better than to bully the And family…at least in Kanto anyway. I just moved to Paldea. My family’s originally from Kanto, but my mom got a teaching job here at the Uva Academy–she’s going to be my math teacher (how embarrassing!) So, we packed up and moved. We haven’t even finished unpacking the house, but I’m gonna be brave. This new region means new adventures and I’ll face them like a dragon.

One thing you need to know about my family is that we’re the top dragon tamers in Kanto. Everyone back home knew the name And. My mom has a Goodra that worked alongside her at the top school in Kanto. My older brother has a Dragonite that even rivals Champion Lance’s, and my oldest brother has a Haxorus that helps construct cities. Everyone in my family has a different species of dragon, and they’re all super strong!

Then there’s me. The baby sister who has to live up to her family’s name.

I’m gonna do it, though. I’m finally old enough to start training my own pokemon, my own dragon. I was worried I would have to find my dragon on my own, but as I was walking out the door this morning, my family surprised me with my own dragon: a newly hatched noibat! He’s perfect! We’re going to grow and become strong together! The two of us, taking on Victory Road, and becoming the top Pokemon Champion in Paldea! We’ll be the ones to make the And family known throughout the region, and I can’t wait!

As long as we survive math class, of course.

Thanksgiving Blessing

Thanksgiving is tomorrow
I pray that you’re not stressed
Or, at all, filled with sorrow
But you remember that you’re blessed

An overlooked holiday
Full of turkey and more
And whatever game that plays
Where we anxiously watch the score

May it be a sweet reminder
Of all things you hold dear
May the world be a little kinder
And less full of fear

May you enjoy the chance to cook
And not let pressure put you down
Who cares if it’s overcooked
We’re celebrating family that’s in town

So to every family,
Big, little, new, and old
Have a happy Thanksgiving
May you’ve loved ones to hold

Thankful

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! It’s that time of year where we appreciate everything we’re thankful for. Although, if you ask me, shouldn’t that be everyday?

I enjoy Thanksgiving, and this is not a post where I hark on people for only being thankful one season a year. I’m glad we have Thanksgiving to remind us to be thankful even when times get tough. Because, sometimes it’s hard to be thankful. Especially when you get one of those days where everything just goes wrong. People remind you to be thankful, but you’re in a sour mood and don’t want to be. You just want the day to be over. As relatable as that is. I want to challenge everyone to be thankful even when you want to be bitter. Because, at the end of the day, we can always find at least three things to be thankful for.

I want to propose an exercise I heard about over the radio. At the end of each day, you write down three things you’re thankful for. Could be your job, kids, the nice weather. Just three things. You could keep them in a notebook and then when you get to the days where everything goes wrong, you have a Little Book of Thanks to help you remember all blessings you’ve been given.

What’s more, is that I dare you to be specific with your thankfulness. On the bad days, take a look at what’s bothering you and find a new perspective. Like this:

“I’m thankful for the drafty windows because that means I have a roof over my head.”
“I’m thankful for the sleepless nights with my newborn because that means I’m a parent.”
“I’m thankful for my pestering brother who’s there for me when I’m down.”
“I’m thankful for the bills because that means I have a car, insurance, and housing.”
“I’m thankful for my mistakes because they’re what helps me grow.”

So, this Thanksgiving season, I dare you to focus on what you’re thankful for. Start that little Book of Thanks and keep it going after the season’s done. I think you’ll find it as a great way to brighten your darkest days and bring a new perspective on life.

Mwezi Hu; The Death House pt. 3

I have to cover my nose from how badly the stench of death rots the air. The hidden staircase we found in the attic led downward into darkness. It extends deeper than my party and I expect, and the stone walls that welcome us fill me with dread. We’re under the ground, that much my nose tells me. Vyke and I lead the way and our first turn down the stony corridors lead us to a crypt. I read the name and it confirms my heaviness. This is a family crypt belonging to the ones we saw in the house’s painting. Rose’s and Thorn’s parents are dead.

While Vyke, Vayne, Bree, and I continue on, Blue Onesie lingers in the hall of coffins. I try to give him th benefit of the doubt that he won’t cause trouble, but it’s hard. The crypt opens up to a room with a table and chairs. Small alcoves containing bedrolls are off to the side. Vayne and Bree watch the doorways while Vyke and I investigate the alcoves. Vyke lets out a sigh as he looks one bedroll over. “Who do you think these belong too?”

“Not the family, that’s for sure.” I crouch down beside one of the bedrolls and take a few sniffs. It smells of smoke, herbs, and flesh. The scent leads toward the doorway Bree is keeping an eye on. Vyke’s giving me a weirded out look and I frown at him. “This bedroll was recently used. My best estimate is that its owner left it last night.”

“So they could still be down here.” Vayne walks over. Blue Onesie is coming in through the doorway she was guarding. The lizard shakes her head. “I don’t like the feel of this.”

“Me neither,” I admit. It doesn’t makes sense for some Strahd person to invite us to his castle and yet the first thing we come to is this haunted house. “I’m not sure we’ll find any answers here and I’d rather not stumble into anything that would get ourselves killed.”

“We have to keep going.” Vyke gives me a firm look. “We have to help Rose and Thorn. Their spirits don’t deserve to be trapped here.” Vayne and Bree nod in agreement.

I take a deep breath. “Fine. We’ll keep going for the kids.” I turn to Blue Onesie. “Did you find anything?”

He shrugs. “Eh. Found a bunch of moths. Oh, and dear ol’ dad’s not in his coffin.”

The rest of us stare at him. I exchange an uneasy look with Vyke. “You opened the coffin?”

Blue Onesie nods.

“Riiiight…” I take a deep breath and try to tame my anger with this elf. “Because opening a coffin is the first thing you should do while exploring a haunted crypt.”

Blue Onesie perks up. “Exactly!”

Vyke and I both palm our faces. Vayne growls quite menacingly at Blue Onesie. “I’m going to keep a better eye on you.”

“Let’s keep going.” I turn my back to Blue Onesie and point to the doorway opposite from the one we entered. “The people living down here headed that way last.”

Vyke takes the lead and we keep going. The corridors aren’t long. We round another bend and enter a larger room with pillars holding it up. Five outcroppings branch off of it and a different doorway leads to another hall.

“Well,” Bree taps her chin as she looks around. “Five outcroppings, five of us. Everyone pick one, and we’ll…” When she trails off, the rest of us look at her. She’s frowning around the room. “Where did the guy in the onesie go?”

“Curse him!” Vayne snaps. She glares down the hall we just came from. “I bet he doubled back to the coffins. If he gets us killed because he’s messing with things he shouldn’t–”

“We’ll deal with it,” Vyke cuts her off with a sigh. He heads over to one of the alcoves. “Looks like there’s more people living down here than we thought.”

I walk over to a different alcove and frown at the wooden bed sitting within. No people so far, which was a good sign. From the scent of things, they headed further into the crypt like the ones in the room before. Before I step back to the others, I catch sight of a corner under the bed. I smirk. It’s a chest. It’s locked until my morning star breaks it open. Three mossy gemstones lay inside on fine, black cloth. They look rather expensive, so I help myself.

When I leave the alcove, the others are exploring a few of the others. I walk into the one that should’ve been Blue Onesie’s if he was here. Like the first one, there’s a bed and a chest. I break the lock off this chest too and what lays inside has me sucking in my breath. A gleaming short sword made of silver rests within the chest. I can feel its aura immediately. It’s pure silver, no doubt about it. I glance back toward the others. They’re all distracted by their finds in the other room. I don’t trust them all yet, and we’ve still no rhyme or reason why we’re here, and if the people we’re following all have swords like this…

I can’t risk this weapon being used against me. I take the black cloth I found and gingerly wrap the hilt. Thankfully, there’s a leather sheath under the sword so I can safely carry the weapon. I make sure the cloth on the hilt is secure before leaving the alcove.

“You found a sword?” Vyke raises his eyebrows at the new weapon on my side. He comes closer to inspect the weapon and his red eyes glow brighter. “Is that made of silver?”

I shrug. “Yeah.”

“Why did you wrap the handle?”

“Wanted to keep it pretty.”

He raises his eyebrow at me, but doesn’t press the issue. Vayne convinces us to continue on. She and Vyke take the lead and we enter more stony corridors. To keep the air light, Vyke tries to discuss my new weapon further. I dodge a lot of his questions.

“BOO!”

From around the corner of a corridor, Blue Onesie jumps out with his hands raised like he’s mimicking some sort of ghoul. I roll my eyes and exchange a look of annoyance with Vayne and Bree. Vyke, on the other hand, nearly jumps out of his skin. He whips around and immediately summons his sword to point at Blue Onesie’s throat. “You idiot!” Vyke shouts. “I could’ve killed you!”

Blue Onesie leans back with laughter. “Oh, you should’ve seen the look on your face!”

“What are you doing?” I shove between Vyke and Blue Onesie so Vyke can’t go off on the elf. “Are you trying to get yourself killed? You shouldn’t be wandering off and starting who knows what trouble!”

“Relax.” Blue Onesie shrugs. “I was just getting more familiar with the dead. I found all the coffins of the parents. Turns out who I thought was dear ol’ dad was some other relative. Mom and dad of the family are safely in their coffins. They’re nothing but bones.”

Vayne swishes her tail in unease. “So, they’ve been dead a while. I figured what happened in the house happened recently.”

I nod in agreement. “The nursemaid was freshly killed. I found her body in a trunk.”

“Then, what about the kids?” Bree’s expression falls grave. “If their parents were dead a while and the nursemaid killed recently…”

Vyke tightens his fists. “We need to find their bodies.”

“I might have already.” Blue Onesie actually uses a serious tone for once. He motions down the corridor. “I found Rose’s and Thorn’s coffins too.”

Vyke’s sword rises back to Blue Onesie’s neck. “You didn’t–”

“Calm down!” Blue Onesie raises his hands. “I didn’t open them, but their names are clear on the side of the coffins.”

I shake my head. “This doesn’t make any sense. The parents have been dead a long time. The kids have been dead long enough to have their own coffins, but the nursemaid was freshly killed?”

“Maybe she was on vacation for a while and came back?” Blue Onesie shrugs. “She could’ve been killed by whoever took up this house after the family’s deaths.”

Doubt lines my lips. I glance at Vyke. I know he isn’t going to like my suggestion. “I want to see the kids’ bodies.”

Vyke lets out a long sigh. “I know…I do to.”

To the Happy Couples

To the happy couples
Married spring, summer, winter, and fall
May your union bring you joy
To last through it all

All the trials and the pain
and the times of uncertainty
All the sorrow and the rage
And boring days of normalcy

To those on anniversaries
Or just getting married
May your days be full of certainty
and all your lives be merry

May you be an unstoppable team
Bonded by God’s sacred love
May you fulfill every dream
and be as peaceful as a dove

May you trust in each other
And be vulnerable
Be tender lovers
With each other’s hands to hold

So congratulations to those uniting today
And all the ones who’ve come a long way
May you have your partner in all of your troubles
And forever be a happy couple

Premeditated Murder

I want to beat up expectations
I want to pummel social norms
Drag pressure down an alley and leave all it’s garments torn

Let me bloody my fists
on the idea of success
Tear the checklist of society
that asks where’s the wedding dress?

You amount to nothing
if you can’t make it on your own
I’ll be the first to murder that cruel and shameful tone

Chase the money, big houses, and that 401k
Happiness isn’t enough
Which is what they all say

But I’ll take my knife and stab it through the heart
The idea you’re nothing unless you can start
Start a business, start a job, get that health insurance
Anything to receive the world’s assurance

You matter. You’re something
Keep moving forward
But if you stop, remember:
you’re a coward

Know your dreams while you’re young
Chase them all your life!
Remember to never think twice

Don’t doubt, don’t stumble, don’t be afraid
None of that’s allowed these days

But call me the Ripper
I’ve a knife in my hand
I’ll slice up the pressure
Dice it to sand!

I’ll cut and slash and kill all the thoughts
Of society thinking I’m nothing but lost

I’m not successful
I don’t have a husband
I’m chasing a dream that might amount to nothin’

But its my life. My path
A passion I seek
I don’t care if you think I’m weak

I’ll ignore your doubts
I know there’s a Way
All my dreams will come true someday

So take your expectations
Your pressure and scoffs
And all the ugly rumors you cough

Let them bleed out
Spill their lifeblood all over
I’m done looking over my shoulder

So call me guilty of first degree murder
but I’m done appealing to society’s pressure

Today is Blah

Today is blah
I think it’s the weather
Or maybe my tight bra
I don’t care. Whichever.

I don’t want to do anything
I don’t want to get up
Don’t care what the day brings
There’s not enough coffee in my cup

Such a gloomy day with all the blah feels
A chilly day, so let’s be real.
I’m staying at home. Staying in bed.
Until this blah gets out of my head.

I’ll check out Netflix or maybe Disney+
Something to help soothe this rutt
The day is a waste. Not productive at all
But you know what? I don’t care. It’s fall.

Winter is coming and I hate the cold
It makes me feel sluggish, muggish, and…old
So, until summer comes and spring rounds the bend
I’m hiding at home until winter does end.

Today is blah
Summer’s sunshine is gone
but I’ve got my blankets
And the cocoa’s almost done.

So, go ahead, winter.
Come and howl
Blow your ice splinters
Be on the prowl

I’ll be bundled in a warm blanket cocoon
Sipping hot cocoa and watching movies til noon

The day may be blah
But I don’t care.
I took off my bra
And I’m bundled in my chair