Writing Prompt: New Invention

What’s something you would like to see invented that would make your life easier?

To all you writers, tinkers, and theorists out there: have you ever had a moment where you had the perfect phrasing for a story, essay, or any other project of yours and yet you couldn’t get that phrasing down because you didn’t have a pen, paper, journal, phone, or any other device to copy that phrasing upon? And when you finally get the chance to write it down, its stolen from your mind like a thief in the night? How many perfect scenes or character descriptions have you lost just because you couldn’t write it down fast enough? Well, you’ve no need to lose any more, my friends, because writers, I have GOOD NEWS for you!

All of us here at Mind’s Hallway Industries have a developed what we’re proudly calling: the Writer’s Buddy 3000. If you’re comfortable wearing earbuds, you’ll enjoy the Writer’s Buddy! You just need to slip it on your ear and start the creative processes in your mind! The Writer’s Buddy connects to your personal laptop or other device and while you’re daydreaming away, it will transcribe your thoughts onto a Word Document! You could write your story, essay, or other work wherever you are! Writing has never been easier!

What’s more is that the Writer’s Buddy 3000 is also waterproof! So, you could wear it in the shower–where you do your best thinking–and all those creative thoughts of yours will be recorded on your own computer! No more of your amazing work would be washed down the drain!

For safety reasons, the Writer’s Buddy 3000 only connects to one computer and it’s entirely hack proof! The Writer’s Buddy also does not have a self storage so none of your thoughts will remain on it. Meaning, if you ever lose it or it gets stolen, no one will be able to steal your work! (Mind’s Hallway industries is not responsible for the theft of devices connected to any Writer’s Buddy 3000s).

So if you’re tired of thinking of the perfect wording for your project and then losing it by the time you get the chance to write it down, you need the Writer’s Buddy 3000! Supplies are limited so order yours TODAY!

*Disclaimer: The Writer’s Buddy 3000 and Mind’s Hallway Industries are fictional creations and do not actually exist (as awesome as it would be if they did). Best of luck to all you writers out there who come up with the perfect phrasing and struggle to remember it word for word by the time you can write it down. You’re not alone.

What Do You See in a Storm?

A couple weeks ago, I had the honor of watching a storm on the horizon while I drove to work. It was dark enough that morning that I didn’t even realize it was a storm until lightning flashed through the clouds. Now, I LOVE storms. I love the pouring rain, the ground-quaking thunder, the dark of the sky, but most of all: the lightning. I love watching lightning and not just their flash, but seeing the actual bolt itself. And I saw a ton of those on that drive to work and it really fired me up for the morning.

For those of you keeping up with my blog, you know that my drive to work includes this little woodsy road where the streetlights don’t reach. That stormy morning, I was really looking forward to getting to that road and seeing the bolts light up the dark. Yes, the trees would probably block my view, but I knew it had to be so cool to be on that dark road with no streetlights, car lights (except for mine of course), or any other light taking away the brightness of the lightning. My prayer was to see just one bolt while on that dark and hilly road and you know what? I got to see TWO.

The first one flashed before I even got to the hills and it looked so good! The edges of the bolt were perfectly defined by the darkness of the sky and the black of the nightly trees framed it like a perfect photoshop. I wanted to paint it!! And I still do (but I’ve never been good at painting lightning. I’ll have to give it another try someday). I was just so thankful that morning that I got to see for an instant, a lightning bolt in the middle of the darkness. And then the second one flashed.

The second one was much bigger than the first! I was just reaching the top of the first hill on that eastbound road, so I got a beautiful picture of the taller, second hill, covered in shadow, and leading up to a fractured lightning bolt between the thick of the trees. It took my breath away.

As I was climbing that second hill, I got to thinking about my old post Reach for the Sunrise. In that post, I talk about climbing this very same hill toward the beauty of the dawn, but that dark morning, I was driving toward a storm. It got me thinking that maybe I could write a post about this? About driving toward a storm and come up with a fun metaphor to make me sound “enlightened” or whatever word you want to use. But if you really think about it, who wants to drive toward a storm? Storms are dangerous! Strong winds from one could turn into a tornado. Rain could turn into floods and lightning could kill you in a flash. So why would anyone drive toward a storm?

Now, I know there are storm chasers out there. People get paid to put their lives in danger, and if you’re like me, you just have a fascination for storms, but still wouldn’t drive into one unless I had too. I think most of us wouldn’t drive toward a storm unless we had too to get where we’re going.

That got me thinking even further. Yes, I was driving toward the storm, but it wasn’t the storm I was focusing on. I was watching for the lightning, the light in the darkness. Everyone goes through storms in life whether literal storms or metaphorical ones. So when you go through a storm in life, what are you looking for? Are you looking for the end of the storm just to get out of it? Are you staring at the rain and hoping you don’t drown? Are you cowering from the thunder or dodging lightning strikes?

It’s hard to be calm during a storm, but if you’re not, you have a harder time making it out. Everyone looks for different things to guide them through, so what are you looking for? Are you like me and you’re looking for that light in the darkness to show the way whether its sunlight or lightning? Are you even trying to make it through your storm? I hope you are, because no one deserves to be stuck in the pouring down rain.

Whether you’re stuck in a literal storm or not, I hope you try to find the beauty in it like I did with the lightning on my morning drive. Storms may be dangerous, but you can’t let them scare you. So, the next time you go through a storm, I dare you to take a good look around and decide what you’re going to see: the darkness or the light?

Nothing Scarier…

All through childhood and even today, one of my favorite sayings is that “nothing is scarier than a blank piece of paper.” Now, I should probably add on “for a writer” at the beginning or end of it because let’s be real, there are some incredibly scary things out there (like ticks…and other bugs).

So, when it comes to a writer, or any artist, a blank page or blank canvas can be pretty scary. You can sit down to write or draw or paint etc. And, if you’re like me, you just find yourself staring at the page. If you know what you want to write or draw, great! That’s half the battle. But then you gotta figure out how are you going to start? Start with a description? Start with some facts? If you don’t know what you want to write or draw and you’re like me, you just kinda sit there staring at the page and eventually the page wins.

Same goes for journals. I know I’m not the only one who has a thousand journals and yet most of them haven’t anything written in them. One of my favorite journals is a leather bound one I got years ago. And yet, I have written nothing in it. My first thought was “oh, I’ll write a story that goes with the design on the cover!” but then I worry that the story won’t be good enough. I think I should just use it for my thoughts–it is a journal after all–but it just too pretty for my thoughts, so it sits in my desk with nothing inside because I can’t decide what’s good enough to write in it. Someday I’ll write something, we’ll just have to wait and see what pops into my head.

So, blank pages are scary and pretty journals deserve more than just basic thoughts. But my favorite part of a blank page and a blank journal is all the possibilities. They’re endless. You could write a report, a story, a memoir, a poem, gibberish, anything! Same goes for drawing. You could paint puppies, or doodle drawbridges, make maps, copy artwork or sketch star systems. It’s just a matter of what do you want to do?

Now, as endless as the possibilities are, it’s also pretty daunting. What if you mess up? What if it’s all wrong? What if you lose your train of thought or accidentally damage the paper or canvas? You want some friendly advice for when those thoughts start to creep up?

Shut up.

Just shut those thoughts right up because they’re only holding you back. Just start writing or drawing and if you screw up? There’s more paper. Just think of all those tv and movie scenes where someone is trying to write the right thing, but they keep crumpling up the paper and tossing it into the waste basket. The important thing is that you’re trying. Practice makes perfect after all.

So don’t let the scariness of a piece of paper stop you. Put your pencil, pen, paintbrush, or fingers on the keyboard and go! Don’t think about it until you edit. Start writing right now!

Finch Among Starlings

Do you ever feel out of place? Like you don’t belong in a crowd of people? Or a group of friends? Or even your own family? Be assured that you’re not the only one.

I’m an introvert. I’m the quiet one, the one who won’t speak up unless you talk to me first. Kinda like a finch. I’ve heard finches are some of the quietest birds in the world. They still have a song, but you don’t hear it as often. Then, you have the other end of the spectrum. I have a bunch of starlings that live around my house and they’re noisy. You’ll always know when they show up. And I guarantee that if you put a finch among them, you’d have to look real hard to find it.

Lately, I’ve been feeling very out of place like a finch among starlings. I get together with my loud and extroverted family and I’m the awkward one just sitting at the counter. At work, I’m the quiet one who doesn’t quite get all the jokes my coworkers tell. I’m also the one who lives under a rock, so it’s hard to get into conversations when I have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. Then, there’s my online group of friends. We don’t know each other’s real names, but we’ve been talking and roleplaying for over 10 years. I’m the one who got us all together by starting the roleplay, but more often than not, that’s all I feel like I am. I try to get into conversations and write fanfics for my characters on there, but more and more I just feel ignored.

Maybe you have a group of friends, coworkers, or even family that you feel like you don’t belong too. It’s so frustrating, right? Especially if you’re an introvert. Everyone around you has all the boldness to say what’s on their mind and they’ll even have the guts to talk over you to make sure they’re heard. And, if you’re like me, you let them. You let them talk and say what’s on their mind, you be kind and listen because you hope they would do the same in return, but they don’t, or someone else barges into the conversation before you even get to finish and the topic changes so what you wanted to say is forgotten. To go a little further, maybe you give your heart to people, do something for them when they ask. You try to encourage them when they’re down. They appreciate everything you do and maybe they’ll listen to your encouragement, but when you need something done. When you need that encouragement, where are they?

I know there’s some people out there who have the mentality of “what do I get out of it?” They won’t do anything for anyone else unless they get something out of it. That’s kinda selfish, right? I mean, yeah, some people would say that’s smart, you don’t want people walking all over you, but what ever happened to the goodness of the heart? To selfLESSness?

I have to be honest. There’s a lot that I want to scream into this post. I mean, I had a pretty terrible day–some things were piling up and to top it off I found a tick on my side! Those of you who know me know how much that freaks me out. The way I’m feeling right now, I just want to complain. I want to complain about being a finch among starlings. How I asked for favors from some people, put my faith in some people, and got nothing in return. I want to complain about all the rejections I’ve been getting when I know my book is good, and I want to complain about the type of person I am and how easily a tiny tick could make me fall apart (although, it wasn’t that tiny…it was about the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil, so the stupid thing was huge!).

Even finches have bad days though. I mean, not everyone can be bright and encouraging all the time. Candles do burn out. That’s where selflessness can come in and save the day. One act. One encouraging word can change someone’s whole day. You don’t know what anyone’s going through. You don’t see what they don’t want you to see. You don’t see them running to the bathroom at work to hide their tears when they just heard bad news. You don’t see how they find a quiet spot to get away. You don’t see the scars on their thighs from wounds they inflicted themselves. Or the trouble behind the mask on their face. People always smile and say they’re fine, because it’s too uncomfortable to be NOT fine. Everyone says their fine because that’s the answer everyone wants to hear. If you’re not fine, then you’re not handling life right.

When did fine become the new normal? Fine sucks. Whenever I hear some say they’re fine, I admit, I have my doubts. One of the perks of being a finch is that you pay more attention to the subtle things people do. How often does someone look you in the eye? What are they doing with their hands? Are they tense? How’s their respiratory rate? Quick? Deep? Are they shrugging things off? Being distant? I need to asking “How are you” twice when I notice these things, because sometimes people need you to ask multiple times before they’re honest. I’m guilty of it.

We’ve let saying “I’m fine” become a habit. The words comes out before you can even stop yourself and though you think you should take it back, you decide not too because the other person has already accepted it. I’m even guilty of fighting back the second question. Someone will ask: “How are you?” And the automatic: “I’m fine!” comes out. They’ll lean in: “Are you sure?” and for a second that feels like weeks, my mind is fighting the battle of whether or not I should tell the truth. The truth doesn’t always win though. The truth is too messy and other people don’t need to be included in my problems. No one needs to see that I’m not fine. So, I smile and I shrug and I say: “Yeah! I’m great.”

This post has completely derailed from what I originally intended it to be about, but its content is still important–I think. I triple-dog-dare you to tell the truth the next time someone asks “How are you?” And I dare you to stop using the word “fine.” If you truly are doing alright, then pick a different word so people can believe it. Also dare you to ask beyond the “How are you?” We’re all stuck in this life together, finches and starlings. Might as well look out for each other and make selflessness the new normal.

Zombies and the Witch

I don’t know about you, but I can get some pretty vivid dreams while laying in bed at night. I think they’re pretty cool, exciting, and adventurous. Some of them I’ve even written down because they’d make great novels someday. If you don’t mind, I would love to share one pretty vivid and actiony dream I had back when I was in college. I still remember it. I’ve told the story of it enough times that it’s stayed with me. I’m sure I could turn it into a novel, but zombies were never my thing, and I think you all would get a kick out this tale now instead of having to wait however many years for it to get written and published. Some say dreams come from what you experience throughout the day. Well, the only way I can explain this dream is that my old roommate and I used to play a lot of video games.

Imagine, if you will, a desolate city. The zombie apocalypse has occurred and there aren’t too many of us left. Cars sit abandoned on the side of roads, buildings are broken into, shattered glass covers the sidewalks, and “people” are lingering about moaning, groaning, and hungry for brains. My roommate and I hadn’t seen anyone that didn’t want to eat us for months and we’d grown reliant on each other. We were restocking supplies by looting an abandoned lab when all of a sudden we come across two guys who didn’t want to suck our brains out. They seemed pretty fit and were clearly surviving well, but before we could chitchat, a wave of zombies invaded the lab–I blame the guys for luring them to us. We fought back. There were two entrances to the lab and between the four of us we were able to cover them. We killed a few zombies and thought we were in the clear for a bit. My roommate was still covering the door the two of us were holding while I went to pack up the rest of the supplies, but as for the two guys who joined us? They got a little TOO relaxed.

Another wave of zombies hit us and they hit us hard. I saw one of the guys go down as the mindless monsters came barging in through their door. My roommate and I took cover behind different desks. We knew we had to fight back, but we needed a chance to get weapons again. She got clever and used chemicals found in the lab to fight back. I don’t know my chemicals that well, so I just grabbed the first bludgeoning item I could find…which turned out to be a femur.

Think about it, you’re in the middle of a zombie attack and while you’re in a lab full of potentially dangerous equipment, you decide to use the femur of a rotting skeleton you found under a desk as a weapon. Not my proudest moment, but you know what? It worked out. The femur was still in pretty good shape and I smashed the head of it into the heads of many zombies. We killed them all and found a lull period in between the waves. There was no discussion, we needed to get out of here. The two guys with us miraculously survived and though they weren’t very helpful, I suggested we team up. Four heads are better than two, right? Plus, I thought my roommate and I could do a better job at keeping them alive than they could at keeping themselves alive. They decided they didn’t want to team up and they left us immediately after the zombie attack was over. My roommate and I shrugged it off and we wished them best. I returned the femur back to the skeleton and we headed out.

The streets were empty of zombies and people. Nothing but abandoned vehicles, trash blowing through the streets, and useless blinking spotlights lined the city. Our plan was to get into the country. Get out of the city where less zombies paraded at night. We were trying to decide on a car. We had our pick of anything on the street. No. We didn’t know how to hotwire one, but abandoned vehicles come with abandoned keys.

The vehicle we chose was a big, red semi-truck. I didn’t think it was a good idea. Neither of us have experience driving something that big. Plus, it was a stick shift–which my roommate can’t drive. My truck is stick, so I could potentially drive this giant semi-truck, but I didn’t want push my luck. Yet, my roommate convinced me. This semi had an extended cab we could hunker down in and we could store things in the trailer attached to it (which I don’t even know if we looked to see what was in there in the first place). Next thing I know, I’m driving this big ol’ truck out of the city and I’m having a blast running over every zombie we came across.

Eventually, we make it to the country. Wide, green plains with one lane highways and the bright, shining sun overhead. When it gets dark, we park the truck under an overpass, sleep, and move on the next day. We didn’t have a destination in mind, we enjoyed the freedom of the open road, filled up gas when we needed too and kept on trucking.

In the middle of nowhere (and I literally mean nowhere), we find this giant antique-style mansion. This massive house just sitting on a wide open plain. Nothing around it except the highway which has no cars except for my semi. Seeing no harm, my roommate and I decide to go explore it. We’re in the zombie apocalypse, so it’s likely that no one is home and the worst that could happen is we walk right into a mansion full of zombies.

What we found was something MUCH worse.

The mansion was fascinating! There were a bunch of antiques in it that had to be worth thousands of dollars if not more. We explored it carefully, the porch creaked, the furnishings were elegant and fit for English royalty, and there were no zombies. Much to our surprise, there were no zombies! We determined that this place was a safe spot to hang out for a bit, so we started to relax. We’re fawning over the antiques we found and going from room to room to see what we might be useful to take with us when we suddenly saw HER at the end of the hall.

It was like in one of those horror movies where the jump scare gets you. The camera is focused on the main characters and suddenly it flashes to the end of a long, dark hallway and the flickering lights reveal the monster at the end. Except our monster was a woman and from the moment I saw her, I had a deep sense of dread in my gut. Even though I had never seen her before, I knew what she was. She was a witch.

She was beautiful for a witch. Not your typical old hag with warts on her pointed nose and wrinkly eyes. No. Our witch was tall and skinny. She looked as if someone had taken Cruella DeVil and blended her with Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. She gave us a pleasant smile. That kind where you know she’s up to no good, but she faking it so well that you’re second guessing yourself. My roommate hesitated, but I didn’t. I grabbed my friend’s arm and bolted out of there. We’re flying down staircases, heading for the front door and I hear the witch laugh behind us. It scared the living daylights out of me and I was cursing myself because I should’ve known better than to trespass on some strange, giant mansion in the middle of literal nowhere! My roommate had gotten ahead of me and the front door was in our sights when I suddenly felt heavy. My steps slowed and exhaustion hit me so hard that I was struggling to remain on my feet. My roommate made it out and didn’t realize I fell to my knees when my feet couldn’t support my weight anymore. I knew the witch had cast some sort of spell and I knew I couldn’t resist it as much as I wanted too. I was trying to crawl my way out. I fought with every haggard breath, dragged myself on my elbows! Yet, the front door drew no closer and my roommate didn’t return. My head hit the carpet. I was too tired to continue and I knew I didn’t have a choice in the matter. The witch’s red high heels crossed in front of my vision before I blacked out.

I woke up in a log cabin of some sort, like one of those buildings from the 1850s. I was laying on a cot made out of straw and animal fur and I might as well have been wearing Little House on the Prairie. You know, one of those old, heavy farm gowns from the 1850s? I didn’t wake up alone. Someone was watching over me, obviously waiting for me to wake. It should’ve been strange to see him, but I treated it like an every day occurrence. I woke up to a Khajit watching over me (a Khajit is a catfolk from the Elder Scrolls Game series). He had white fur with black lynx markings and his name was Purple (weird, right?). He was very kind and I immediately considered him a friend. He told me that I was now in a compound, protected by the outside world (zombies). He said the compound was created by the one they gratefully serve and honor: the witch.

That should’ve had bells and whistles going off in my head that I was in some sort of prison camp, but it didn’t. Instead, I smiled back at Purple and agreed with him! I told him I owed the witch my life because she saved me! It still makes my skin crawl to this day to think that I had a dream where I went from running from an obviously evil witch to believing she somehow saved my life (but you gotta admit, this is like good story material here)!

Purple told me that everyone in the compound had a role and I had one as well. He showed me around and the compound was basically a village from the 1850s with towering log walls surrounding it to “protect us from the outside world.” Everyone in the village was happy and content within their roles. It like everyone was Joo Dee from Avatar; the Last Airbender, and I was now one of them–content and okay with being a part of the witch’s little compound. Purple showed me what my role was. I was to work with him in the grain mill. We worked well together and the days were all the same: wake up before sunrise, head to the mill, go to bed at sunset. Everything was predictable. Everyone did the same thing everyday, ate the same thing, and pretty much said the same thing like we were all NPCs (non-playable characters) from a video game. Well, one evening, while Purple and I were working, Purple got called away for a reason I never learned. I was left alone in the mill and something invaded the clockwork of the day to day.

I was minding my business and grinding grain when I heard the wall creak. Now, the grain mill is make out of wood like everything else in this compound, so creaky buildings isn’t unnatural, but this one was. It was long and hesitant as if someone was trying not to make the wall creak. I turn my head to find a modern-looking girl slowly pushing open one of the wall panels. When she saw me, she flushed with relief and a bright smile spread her lips. “I finally found you!” she exclaimed quietly. Purple started coming back, so she had to hide back in the wall panel. “Don’t worry,” she whispered. “I’m going to get you out. Don’t trust anyone!”

I asked Purple about her, but he was genuinely confused at what I was talking about. He didn’t look like he believed me when I said I saw the girl, and I didn’t blame him. Everyone knew everyone in the compound and the only people in here were who the witch brought in. Which had me thinking that the girl somehow snuck in.

I couldn’t shake the unease brought on by the girl’s words. Back at Purple and mine’s cabin, I thought it over. I had a sinking feeling that she was an enemy of the witch we so faithfully served and revered. That should’ve made her my enemy as well, but I felt no ill toward the girl. I kept thinking about what the girl looked like. She was in a rag-tag t-shirt and jeans, her hair in a low ponytail and mud and blood(?) streaked on her face. There was something familiar about that. She looked like a fighter…a survivor…and she was looking for me…?

The realization clicked in my brain so fast and so hard that I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. That girl was my roommate! And I remembered seeing her flee out the door as we were running away from…from the witch.

A cold sense of dread layered upon my skin. I remembered everything! The zombie fight. The semi-truck. The witch’s mansion. I finally understood what happened to me after I blacked out. I had been brainwashed by the witch and Purple and everyone else in this compound was under the exact same influence. I considered Purple a friend, so I wanted to save him, but I knew I needed to find my roommate and formulate a plan. I wanted to make the witch pay by tearing down her entire scheme and freeing the compound–I wouldn’t mind killing her in the process either. The next day, I would find my roommate and whatever allies I could get. A world with zombies was dangerous enough without a witch brainwashing everyone who was left.

Unfortunately, this was the part where my dream ended. I like to think that my roommate and I defeated the witch and freed the compound, but it wasn’t a reoccurring dream, nor one that continued the next night. If I wanted too, I could type up an ending, finish the story my subconscious so graciously gave me, but there are other stories I’d rather write, and I thought you would enjoy the pondering of a story with no ending. You can decide how ends. Maybe I was able to escape and my roommate and I drove our semi-truck through the walls of the compound? Or we headed back to the witch’s mansion and discovered those antiques were actually magical artifacts and we used them again her? Or maybe something completely new occurred like we found a bunker of non-brainwashed people to help us? Maybe we tamed zombies and used them against the witch? The story is yours to decide. It’s definitely something to think about. I just hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Morning in the Pines

A humble, wooden bench sitting in the woods.
It leans from age and the stress of the weather,
but it won’t fall. Its as strong as ever.
A path runs beside it, so muddy and murky,
that no one comes near it, for their shoes will get dirty.
Even forgotten, the bench is not alone,
for the nature around it reminds that it’s home.

The singing birds say all is good.
Cardinals chirp, a scarlet red.
While the titmouse buzzes out of bed.
A flock of juncos flitter about,
With the morning nigh, no one could pout.
Through the trees, they dance and fly.
Every one of them at home in the peak of the sky.

A breeze bustles the great limbs of the pines.
Light paints their needles in different shades of green,
after a long winter both frigid and mean.
The sweet pine scent is given with a yawn,
to greet the cool watercolors of dawn.
Throughout the day, they’ll be quite proud,
to give shade to every sweating brow.

Insects buzz on flowers to dine,
on tangy nectar so soft and sweet.
Every bee knows its their favorite treat.
Spiders’ webs drift through the air
like thin strains of silver hair.
A small detail in the thick of the forest,
Life goes on in joyous chorus.

A humble wooden bench sitting in the woods.
The singing birds say all is good.
A breeze bustles the great limbs of the pines.
Insects buzz on flowers to dine.
What a morning to be alive,
sitting back in the thick of the pines.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter weekend to everyone!
May your days be bright and full of joy!
May you spend time with family and enjoy the little things!
May you find new beginnings and have many victories!
May you be blessed with faith, hope, and love,
And all your favorite candy!

May God bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you!
May you have a happy Easter and many beautiful sunrises ahead!

Amen!

Shadows Dance

Shadows dance with the quiet soft breeze.
No boundaries to hold them, every one free.
In deeper depths, the shades grow dark.
Creeping into the cracks of the heart.
Only one fear keeps them at bay,
only one thing keeps the monsters away.
When the darkness grows strong
and it sings its enticing song.
When your head screams to run and your heart is undone.
Your legs are bound through there are no chains.
Nothing seems to stop the long black train.
“Run! Flee!” Dear wisdom does scream.
The dark is no ally to have on your team.
The enticing song, you hear it play.
It wraps you tight to draw you away.
Away from wisdom, away from thought strife.
It takes you and pulls you away from the light.

Writing Prompt: Caught in the Rain

Include the following in your story: Las Vegas, radiology, etch, funeral, textile, sweep, muslin, wholesale, wildlife, English.

A terrible day made worse by the rain. Piper let out a heavy sigh. Rain rolled down her neck as she stood at the bus stop. Her clothes were soaked and she shivered from the cold. She wasn’t supposed to be hit by the rain this morning. She was supposed to be at the airport, flying off with the girls to Las Vegas for a weekend of reckless relaxation. Yet, she was standing in the rain and the girls she thought were her friends had left without her.

Piper wiped her cheek on the sleeve of her muslin sweater, her tears masking in the rain. She blamed yesterday for all of this, because yesterday was when it started. She was giving a presentation in her English class when she suddenly felt dizzy. She lost her breath in the middle of her main point and she passed out. When she woke up, she was in the hospital and the doctor gave her the results of a radiology report. It all involved one word that no one likes to hear: cancer.

Piper called her friends first, but received nothing except excuses for having to hang up. She didn’t have the heart to call her parents, but she wished more than anything that she could call her grandmother. They had been close. Her grandmother made the sweater she wore now. It had an etch of all of Piper’s favorite wildlife…and now it was getting ruined in the rain. Piper glared up at the sky and the rain fueled her tears. Her grandmother had passed years ago. Her last words to Piper were to live a full life of joy, but now she might not get a full life at all.

The thought of her funeral leaked into her mind. Who would come? Certainly not her friends. Her parents would be here, maybe her brother, but…who else? Piper turned her head to the ground and tightened her arms around herself to collect as much warmth as she could. Maybe a small family funeral for her was for the best? She should start planning it now. Likely, the cancer would kill her before this bus ever showed up!

Another shiver coursed her spine and Piper briefly thought about going to the wholesale store a few buildings down. At least there she could get a textile sweater or something to keep herself warm. She’d be able to see the bus stop from the store’s windows and wait there. Yet, she didn’t have the heart to move. She just felt heavy, miserable, and alone. The perfect feeling for a rainy day as relentless as this. Another sweep of shivers coursed Piper’s body. She felt like curling up into a ball and cursing the cancer in her body. Cursing her friends for abandoning her. She just felt like cursing.

It got her thinking of the first time she ever said a curse word. It was in front of her grandmother and it had come out by accident. Piper had gotten so hurt about something, but she couldn’t remember what that something was. While her parents gasped in horror at her word choice, Piper’s grandmother had taken her hand and told her that instead of using such foul language, there was a better way to express her frustration. It had been raining that day too and her grandmother had taken her outside to the biggest puddle they could find. She stomped in it. Water splashed everywhere and soaked both Piper and her grandmother. They both splashed in the water until Piper’s frustration turned into squeals of joy. They were soaked to the bone that day, but warmed by the love in their hearts. Her grandmother told her that day that rainy days weren’t for weeping. They were for learning how to dance through the pain.

Piper glanced down at the puddle forming at her feet. A prick of guilt poked her heart. She wasn’t following the life her grandmother wanted her to have at all. She just didn’t feel like dancing in the rain. Surely, her grandmother would understand that the hurt she felt was too much for a dance to cure. Piper tapped her foot in the water, watching the way the ripples coursed through the puddle. She tapped her foot again to make the ripples a little bigger. Then, again when water drops flew off her shoe to start more ripples in a different area. Sniffling a little, Piper swept her foot through the puddle, moving the water that it rolled down the sidewalk right to the little river that led to the gutter. There was a lot more water in that little river and it was likely going faster than the bus that refused to show up.

Piper jumped into it. With both feet she stopped into that little river and splashed water back up toward the rain. A breath she didn’t know she was holding escaped her throat. It felt good to splash in the water. The forgiving, unbothered, and carefree water.

Again and again, Piper kept splash and stomping until she was more soaked than the ocean floor. Laughs broke from her throat as she spun and twirled in the rain, kicking up the water to make it fly like magic in the wind. She didn’t even notice the bus finally pulled up.

The bus driver didn’t say anything when she finally saw him. He just held the doors to the bus open and stared at her like she was losing her mind. Piper only laughed and the new lightness in her heart left her uncaring of what the bus driver thought. Her friends had abandoned her, she was alone, and she was dying, but that didn’t mean she still couldn’t live a full life like her grandmother wanted. Piper waved to the bus driver and then turned down the street. She didn’t need the bus. She’d walk home, splash in the puddles, and dance in the rain.

Favorite Villain

Everyone has their favorite villain. Be it from a book, a movie, a show, a video game. Maybe you have multiple favorite villains? Different categories that your favorite villains fall into? Favorite Marvel villain. Favorite Disney Villain. Favorite misguided villain. Storybook villain. Cartoon Villain. Or a simple favorite villain that just wants to see the world burn. There are millions of villains out there from the stories that have been created. So, it would be no surprise if you had multiple favorite villains, but what if you had to narrow it down to just one? Who would you pick?

For the writers out there, you can’t pick your own villain. Yes. I love to hate the villain in my novel, but I’m not going to use this post to try and plug you into wanting to read it. I’ll probably share a post later down the road about my villain, but not this time. If I had to choose my top favorite villain from all the shows and stories out there (excluding mine), I would pick…

Ganondorf Dragmire.

Or Ganon, or just Ganondorf, whichever name you want to use. He’s the main villain from the Legend of Zelda video game series. Now, if you read my post Your Top Genre and Why? You’ll know that I grew up with the Legend of Zelda series. So, I’m quite bias towards it. I grew up watching my brothers defeat Ganondorf and then defeating him myself. He starts off in Ocarina of Time (OoT) as this Gerudo King blessed with the Triforce of Power and he wants to take over Hyrule and command the power of the complete Triforce, but as more games came out, he developed. Skyward Sword revealed that he’s the reincarnation of the series’ primal god of evil: Demise. In Windwaker, it’s revealed that Ganondorf wanted to take over Hyrule in OoT because he was jealous of the land (he grew up in a barren desert while Hyrule was flourishing, so anyone could understand his coveting).

Yet, my favorite version of Ganondorf has got to be from Twilight Princess. This game happens after Ocarina of Time where the hero thwarts Ganondorf’s takeover before it even gets to happen (there’s a lot of timelines and its confusing, and I’m not going to go into too much detail). So, Ganondorf is executed before he even does anything wrong. Yet, Ganondorf still wields the Triforce of Power. It spares him from execution and he’s able to fight back. In the end, Ganondorf gets banished to a place called the Twilight Realm. He’s there for a long time and while he’s there, he plots his revenge, uses pawns to get back to the world of light and ultimately takes over Hyrule Castle. If he can defeat the hero charged with stopping him, he wins the kingdom (which, spoiler: he doesn’t win).

I guess I like the idea of a bad guy getting thwarted by a kid before he even gets the chance to be in the wrong. Then, he comes back with an even bigger vengeance. He’s more calm and methodical in Twilight Princess, manipulating and arrogant even. Not to mention, the boss fight against him is just fun.

Now, Ganondorf is who I would pick for my favorite villain, but what about you? Have you ever given thought to it? Without picking your own characters, who’s your favorite villain?