Terra Kuu

I confess, I play Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) with my brother and a couple friends. I’m that person in the party that always considers the story and every variables involved. I’m also the person who creates the most detailed backstory for my character. Unfortunately, those backstories sometimes aren’t explored since a group will disband or we move on to a different campaign. Long story short: I need to stop making such detailed backstories (but I’m a writer, I can’t help it). I thought I would share one of those backstories with you:

               Terra Kuu the Catfolk was born third of four siblings in the Tribe of Shadowed Woods. Her older brothers were Kuulet and Mallowin and her youngest brother was Suo. At birth, she and her siblings were struck with a terrible illness that took Suo’s life and stole much of Terra Kuu’s kithood. Kuulet was the first to overcome the illness just months after receiving it. He grew out of it stronger and the tribe recognized him as one who would be a brave warrior and protector. At an early age he became one of the sub-chieftains. Mallowin overcame the illness a year after his birth and grew to become a respected healer within the tribe.

               Over-eager to serve the tribe like her brothers, Terra Kuu frequently ignored the orders of her tribe’s healers to stay resting. She would leave camp and attempt to hunt or gather plants–anything to feel useful–but each time she left, her illness overcame her and wipe out her energy. If it hadn’t been for the patrols finding her, she would’ve perished. She was scolded for her foolishness and a guard was placed on her at all times.

               As the years went by, the tribe began to fear the illness Terra Kuu was wrought with as it took the life of Terra Kuu’s mother. Terra Kuu was moved to isolation and for some time her only contact was the tribe’s healer: Hanhi. During this time, Terra Kuu grew bitter toward her brothers and her tribe. From her isolation, she could watch how Kuulet was growing into a skilled and powerful warrior and how Mallowin grew in wisdom and knowledge as he pursued the path of a healer. She couldn’t help but feel forgotten, that her brothers wanted nothing to do with her.

               Terra Kuu’s only friend was her father: Tuhka Rock. During the night, while the tribe slept, Tuhka Rock would sneak Terra Kuu out of the camp and show her the territory, show her skills that the tribe had been known for, but he never pushed her so far that her illness would overcome her again. It was during these nights, Terra Kuu grew stronger and they dared to hope that she would overcome her illness. Yet, one fateful night, Terra Kuu and her father were attacked. Terra Kuu never saw their attacker. Her father sensed it first and ushered her to flee. She ran until her illness brought coughs to her lungs. So, she hid in the hollow of a tree and waited for her father to find her. Terra Kuu waited until the morning’s light breached the trees before venturing out to find her father. She found his body slaughtered.

               Terra Kuu screamed with grief. Her father and only friend was now dead and she had no clue as who or what killed him. Revenge seized her heart. She took an amulet that her father always wore and left her tribe in search of her father’s killer. Yet, she had nothing to go on. There were to tracks, there was no scent, there was nothing but her father’s slaughtered body and Terra Kuu feared that her tribe would think she was the one who murdered him. The only solace she had was knowing that the tribe would give Tuhka Rock the funeral he deserved.

               Having only known the territory of her tribe, Terra Kuu was overwhelmed by the world. She learned much and grew to love the life of an adventurer. Yet, she was wary of everything and everyone she came across, knowing that anything could be her father’s killer. Eventually, Terra Kuu came across a caravan of traveling Kitsune who owned the skills of the ninja. Intrigued by her story and personal mission, the Kitsune welcomed Terra Kuu as a part of their caravan. They taught her the ways of the ninja as well as the Kitsune delight in mischief and trickery. One night, they led her to a small town that was the home of a magic welder. The magic wielder promised that if the caravan eliminated his competition in another village, he would heal Terra Kuu of her illness once and for all. Since the mission mostly benefitted her, Terra Kuu took the lead. In a few short weeks, she was healed and she could hardly believe it.

               Terra Kuu traveled with the caravan for less than a year and she grew to trust in their loyalty and friendship, however everything changed the night they betrayed her.

               Terra Kuu was returning to their campsite after a nightly hunt and the Kitsune immediately attacked her. They chased her from the campsite and threatened her life should she ever return. Terra Kuu escaped with a sole wound across her muzzle that forever scars her face. Confused and hurt by the actions of the caravan, Terra Kuu silently returned to the campsite the next morning…only to find the Kitsune slaughtered and there was no trace of what killed them.

               Angered and grieved, Terra Kuu burned the bodies of the Kitsune. Her mind was set that whoever or whatever killed them was also the same thing that murdered her father. So, she traveled alone, avoiding bonds of friendship in order to be protected from the hurt and pain of loss and betrayal. As she traveled, she searched for any indication that her mystery murderer could be close by, but there was no word of any mysterious deaths or actions of any kind.

               Eventually, Terra Kuu found herself sailing toward an island kingdom in the company of a human rogue that also spoke the language of her people. Intrigued by him, she joined him in his travels and soon found herself a part of the adventurous group called the A-team.

This is Terra’s story all the way up to the point she joined the A-team which is the name my D&D group decided to call our band of adventures. Unfortunately, the group disbanded before Terra Kuu could find her father’s killer. It’s fun to consider what might have been though.

Crystals in the Cold

When’s the last time you stopped and looked at something so small, you have to really peer at it just to see its details? I did that a couple weeks ago. Where I live, we’ve dealt with temperatures below freezing for over a week and even below zero for a few days (Fahrenheit, not Celsius).

The day I’m talking about actually got above zero, but that didn’t mean my old man (truck) wanted to work that day. I didn’t make it to my job. Took all day for the battery to warm up enough just so I could go get gas so I could–hopefully–make it to work the next day. Well, I get outside and it’s snowing (been snowing all day). My truck is in the yard (we had to move it out of the driveway so my family could get their vehicles out). Snow is stacked up around it and of course it’s cold. With how much I don’t like cold, it was safe to say I wasn’t in the best of moods.

I manage to get going and make it to the stoplight leading out of my neighborhood. It’s red, so I stop and when I try to get going again, I kill my truck (its a stick shift, btw). There are cars behind me, so I’m silently praying that my old man will start up again, because I do NOT want to be blocking the road. After two tries, we’re up and going again (yay!). I’m hoping for a quick and easy ride to the gas station and back, but no…every stoplight on my way there turns red. I didn’t kill my truck at any of those other lights, but the anxiety at the thought of being stranded in the middle of the street? Not fun.

Finally, I make it to the gas station and stand out in the cold, feeding my truck. The snow is still falling and they’re the kind of flakes you can actually see, not the fleeting, glittery specks that flick past your nose like dust. Quite a few of them land on the dark windows of my truck and I couldn’t help but take a closer look.

We’ve all made snowflakes out of paper as kids, drawn them on something, created a media image, etc. etc. etc. But, I want to ask: when’s the last time you took a closer look at a real snowflake? They’re beautiful. I’ve always heard growing up that no two snowflakes are alike. I’m not sure that’s proven, but that’s a cool concept. That something so fleeting and so small as a snowflake is as unique as the billions of people on this planet. The flakes I saw reminded me of stars and that was my favorite thing about them. I’m tempted to see if I could paint something where snowflakes and stars could be interchangeable–if that makes any sense.

I felt a lot better after I stopped to admire the detail of tiny snowflakes and I was actually thankful I hit every red light on my way home. It allowed me more time to enjoy the little crystals that fell on my windows. Since then, I’ve tried to see what other tiny details have I been missing in everyday occurrences. Like the woven design of a piece of thread or the patterns in a bird’s feathers. Maybe even the way veins spread through a leaf or how gravel dapples different colors upon the ground?

My point is that there’s wonder even in the tiniest of details. I hope that next time it snows (hopefully it won’t be for a while, I like warm weather), you take a closer look at the little crystals falling from the sky. There’s beauty there if you take the time to see it.

Cheetah’s Sprint

Hidden in the African Savanna a spotted cat stalks; waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. When the young gazelle has strayed too far from its mother, when the old or sick warthog falls too far behind, or when the prey is just close enough you can catch it in a heartbeat the cheetah attacks. Pushing off with tremendous force, every muscle trained and ready, in less than a second the cat reaches high speeds. As it runs it extends each leg with prefect rhythm, stretching its non-retractable claws to grip the ground and send it soaring at its prey, flying as its paws hardly touch the ground. The cheetah’s long tail streams out behind it keeping its balance and allowing the great cat to turn on a moment’s notice. When it’s time for the kill the cheetah takes a mighty leap with its back legs and tackles it’s enemy with its front claws. Right away the cheetah goes for the throat not giving its prey a moment to fight back. The fastest animal on Earth, the mighty cheetah, with speeds racing up to seventy miles an hour, you don’t see this cat until its teeth meet your neck.

This was a writing assignment I did in 2013. I chose to do it over my favorite animal: the elegant cheetah. It’s just a descriptive paragraph of a quick event, portraying every action of movement. Feel free to give it a try.

Fly the Seas

To be the king of the sea
See in the dark depths below
Fly the currents under the ocean

Pass the shark, the piranha, the octopus
Avoid the danger as you glide
To be the king of the sea

The water’s bright, open, and free
The air above tricky and distrusting
Fly the currents under the ocean

Safe and sound in the deep water
Say hello to turtles, dolphins, and starfish
To be the king of the sea

Ride the waves that crash the lands
Pull over the ships that dare cross your waters
Fly the currents of the ocean

Calm still water draw those who thirst
Grant passage to the needy
To be the king of the sea
Fly the currents of the ocean

One Word

Why is it that one word from even a complete stranger has the power to ruin your whole day?

I participated in #SFFpit. For those of you who don’t know what it is: it’s a Twitter event where wannabe authors can pitch their novel to agents. It’s a little bit of a desperate shout into the void, but it can be fun at the same time. All you do is type up a tweet length pitch of your sci-fi/fantasy manuscript, tweet it with the hashtag SFFpit, and hope for the best. You can tweet once every hour for each project. The goal is to gain likes from agents or publishers. If they like your post, that means they want you to query them and you have a shot of getting represented or published. It’s preferred that only agents and publishers like posts. Otherwise, you get the author’s hopes up. If you want to show support for a pitch, retweet or comment, but don’t like.

Why do I bring this up? Well, reading through the instructions of #SFFpit, it sounds easy enough, but it isn’t. You can’t fit a lot into a tweet, so you REALLY have to simplify your work in a way that sounds appealing to everyone. When you have so much packed into a novel like I do, it’s REALLY hard to do (and all the authors say “Amen!”). It took me a while, but I came up with a pitch that I was actually pretty proud of. This is it:

A son of an alchemist is hand-picked as the apprentice to the kingdom’s only mage and is given no reason as to why. When Darkness threatens the land, he must find an ancient artifact to save his loved ones from evil’s corruption.

That was the simplest way I could describe my book without dumbing it down to any cliché. I thought it sounded mysterious. I thought it did a good job hinting at the fact that my book has more too it than those two sentences portrayed. So, with high hopes, I shared that tweet all over Twitter and quite a few people supported me by retweeting and one guy retweeted that it sounded mysterious! That sounded like a victory to me!

Then, came the one word from one random stranger. I scrolled through my notifications, hoping to see a like by agents, but instead, I see someone’s comment on my pitch. One word that has got to be one of my top least favorite words:

Weak

Talk about a shot to the heart. I was appalled, taken aback, shocked, astounded, and every other word in the thesaurus. I lost focus on what I was supposed to be doing that day. You see, all my experiences on Twitter had been encouraging because the writing community is awesome. Then, that stranger comes in and criticizes my work in the worst possible way. Just one word. Nothing else. I worked hard to come up with that pitch! I wanted to get angry. I stalked the guy’s profile and I honestly wasn’t impressed. He didn’t look like a guy that should be taken seriously. I almost responded with a snarky (rude) comment, but I quickly remembered that agents would be seeing this stuff too and that made me panic. What would an agent think if they saw someone commenting “weak” on my post? Would it make them change their minds about liking it? I tried to delete it, but all I could do was hide the comment and I’m not even sure if that hides it from everybody. Then, I made the spiteful and childish decision to block the dude. I hope you understand: this guy’s “weak” comment was the first bad feedback I’ve ever gotten when it comes to promoting my novel on Twitter. I like to think I handled it well enough?

Yet, blocking the dude and hiding his comment didn’t get that word out of my head. The damage was done. I started fretting that maybe the dude was right? Maybe my post is weak? Looking back at it now, it…sadly is. I mean, it’s a trope, right? Common kid is chosen for greatness and has to save the world. Welcome to nearly every YA story out there. You’re probably thinking of three of them right now as you read this or maybe you’re thinking of your own story? My point: a lot of stories follow the same plot line. It’s how we mix it up that makes them special and that’s what I didn’t include in my pitch.

So, I started rewriting it. In query letters, I’ve been told you focus on your main character, get the agent attached to your main character. So, I tried that approach and ended up with this:

The unwanted son of a commoner dreams of proving himself and he gets his shot when Darkness finds an ancient artifact that could destroy the kingdom. If he can steal it, he’d be a hero, but his mistakes place it right in enemy hands. All he loves will perish if he can’t correct his error.

Better, right? Well, I didn’t like it. Still don’t like. Yeah, it kinda ups the stakes more. A poor kid wants to be noticed and his attempt to get noticed ends up putting the entire world in peril. It’s still kind of a common trope if you think about it. Yet, what I don’t like about it is that it doesn’t sound like my story. That doesn’t sound like my main character to me. He’s not a thief. He doesn’t break rules. Yeah, he’s desperate to prove himself, but he wants to do it the right way. I posted that little pitch on Twitter and I didn’t receive any likes from agents, so I decided to reword it again. I decided that my main character might be a little too trope-y for a Twitter pitch so, let’s focus on what the title of my novel aims directly at: the artifact.

A lot of stories have artifacts in them: Lord of the Rings, King Arthur, Sword of Shannara, even the Never-Ending Story has one. Point is: lots of great stories have a “find the artifact and save the world” vibe or even “destroy the artifact and save the world” vibe. Yet, what makes these stories unique is how different the artifacts are from each other or the world these artifacts are placed in. You could have two artifacts that are the exact same in two different stories, but the characters and settings are complete different which allows both stories to be one of a kind.

So, what makes my artifact special and how do I pitch it without spoiling the story? Well, I know how special my artifact is. I don’t think there’s a story out there that has anything like it. I’ve reread the scenes in my novel its involved in so many times because of how much I love it. The tricky part is pitching it. So, that same #SFFpit day, I came up with this:

An ancient artifact forgotten by history holds the fate of the world. When evil finds it, a commoner turned mage must retrieve it. If he can’t control his power and the power of the artifact, this whole world could be swallowed by Darkness.

That sounds pretty cool, right? Forgotten by history means that no one knows this artifact exists and suddenly it’s in the hands of evil. Now, this poor commoner turned mage has to go get it and he has no idea what he’s up against. No idea what this artifact can do, but the fate of the world depends on him getting it back. I’m pretty proud of this new pitch. I plan on using it in future pitch events. I’d love to tell you that this new pitch got a couple agent likes, but…I can’t say if it would’ve or not. You see, I typed this up, posted it on Twitter for the last two hours of the event and it was after the event that a kind gentleman–with pity probably typing his every word–informs me that I used the wrong hashtag. Instead of #SFFpit, I typed #SSFpit. So, agents following the event hashtag would not have been able to see my post…

Long story short: my first #SFFpit did not meet my expectations.

BUT! There was still a victory in the day. “Weak” comment guy forced me to take a good, hard look at my pitch and instead of pouting and crying over a bad review, I’m proud to say I rose above it. Made my pitch better. I mean, if you think about it. One word from a random stranger can only ruin your day if you let it. You can turn it into the building blocks for improvement. You just have to remember to never give up. Especially when you want something as badly as I do.

Moving forward, I used my new pitch in the Twitter #mockpit event. It’s an event where you can post your pitch and other writers will give you feedback on it and you’re encouraged to give feedback on other pitches as well. I got some decent feedback and some good advice. I was warned that my summary–though interesting–was pretty vague and I was encouraged to use my main character’s name. Honestly, that’s hard for me. I’m SUPER protective of my story and my characters so just throwing their names out there is scary. I haven’t even included their names on this website. Yet, when you think about it, there are a thousands of people trying to get published and we’re all throwing our character’s names out there. Some people have super unique names that I would be worried about anyone copying or stealing, but my main character? His name isn’t very unique. It’s actually a bit common if you think about it, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Since it’s common, do I really have to worry about someone stealing it? I mean, there’s a lot of people with this name and a lot of people have the same name in real life, so what does it matter?

Now, this new advice told me to focus back on my main character, describe this evil a little more and why my main character has to struggle to control his own power. In giving me this advice, the person made assumptions on my book (and that’s a rant for another day), and she wasn’t right in those assumptions, so I tweeked my pitch again the best I could. This is what I came up with:

Justin is a commoner chosen as the apprentice to the land’s only mage. It’s great, until monsters find an artifact lost to history. To prove himself, Justin disobeys orders & pursues the artifact…only to send it to a Dark being who wants to control the world.

Now, #Mockpit allows you to post three revisions of your pitch. So, I posted this one on Twitter. However, because there are so many people trying to get recognition by others and not a lot of people providing feedback, my pitch was overlooked. I only received a single like from someone. But that’s better than nothing.

Thinking over it all, it’s funny how one word can lead to so much growth. I’m happy with where my pitch is at and I plan on using it in future events. As for you, whatever you face, whatever words get thrown your way, I hope you use them to your advantage. Words have a lot of power to them, but you get to decide what kind of power.

Writing Prompt: Future Diary

Write a diary entry, dated ten years into the future.

2/09/2031

I had a great day. I did a book signing for the third trilogy in my series. There were so many people who showed up, I almost cried. Mom couldn’t make it this time, she didn’t want to fly all the way to New York, but she’ll be there when we get closer to home. You won’t believe who showed up today, though. An old roleplay buddy! We met for the first time today though we’ve known each other for over twenty years! I didn’t even know it was her. She said she recognized certain things in my novel that reminded her of our old roleplay. She’s the first one to recognize that stuff and I can’t believe we finally met. I took her out to lunch after the signing. I’m so glad she’s doing good. We have plans to meet up again.

I almost can’t believe I have three trilogies out with my series. It’s hard to believe that ten years ago I never thought this would be possible. I had only one novel completed and was struggling to just get representation for it! Now, look at me. I’m a published author, my series is a hit, and I have plenty more stories to tell. I praise God for this. I know I wouldn’t have been able to make it here without him. I remember all those nights I cried for this and now here I am. Guess I should’ve trusted his plan more. It’s funny, if you think about it. All this started because I got upset when my favorite character died in a novel I read in high school. I still haven’t finished that book. It’s hard to find, but I am grateful for it. I’d much rather be sharing my stories, my daydreams to the world than working at…well, working at a vet clinic. I do love animals, but my mind needs to be able to fly and it can’t do that if I’m worrying about medicines all the time.

I should head to bed. I’ve got a busy day tomorrow and I have to get up early to squeeze in some writing time. I made it.

2/09/2021
If you’re going to dream, dream big.

Writing Prompt: The Middle

Writing about the middle of something, anything!

Have you read the middle of my book? Probably not, but–not to toot my own horn–it’s pretty good!

A journey begins after a crimson dawn. One young man itching for a shot to prove himself, to make up for his by-standing. He faces his first real challenged and…well…isn’t very helpful. He gets credit for trying though, right? He’s trying SO hard to prove he’s not useless, to prove that the people’s faith isn’t in vain. I mean, he’s been told all his life to get out of the house. Go be someone else’s problem. Get away before you make a mess. You’re not wanted here. So, when he’s given the shot to be someone, he’s gonna take it! But he keeps making mistakes. Every shot to prove himself winds up slipping through his grasp. All he did was stand by, this other person saved the day first, and he couldn’t even stop them from taking what he needed.

Everything on this journey will be new to him and he’ll never admit that he’s scared to do it alone. At every mistake, he gets back up. He keeps trying again and again. Not because his pride is on the line (or perhaps he’s just too stubborn to stay down), but because his loved ones need him to succeed. So, the middle is the start and he heads off at full gallop.

Skeletons in the Closet

A lot of people out there have hobbies of collecting things. Maybe its some sort of card? Pokemon cards, baseball cards, Magic cards? Maybe you collect bottle caps? Bobbleheads? Snow globes? Hats? Or something else. Some collections, society wouldn’t define as weird like some of the things I’ve already listed. Other things we might keep in the dark so that no one judges us for it. We hide them in the closet and only pull them out when no one is around to waggle their fingers at us. Well, allow me to go out on a limb and share my skeleton in the closet. And I literally mean skeleton. My weird collecting habit is that I collect skulls and bones.

Relax. They all belong to animals.

This might be a surprise to some of you. “What? The animal lover collects animal skulls?!” You can blame my anatomy classes. Skulls and bones in general are just fascinating. They’re the foundation of an animal’s features–a person’s features–or maybe I’ve just seen the TV show BONES one too many times. I know there are places out there where you can purchase animal bones, but that’s not what makes the collecting fun to me. I collect skulls that I find–which means I don’t have a lot, but that’s okay.

My first skull was given to me by a friend of my mom’s. I was little and they told me it was a cow skull because they knew it would upset me if they told me what it really was. Fast forward to high school and I realized it was a deer skull. My mom’s friends didn’t have the heart to tell me they shot poor Bambi, but they gave me his skull anyway…I still have it.

I found my second skull in college. It was laying by the manure pit at the dairy unit I worked at. It’s a sad little story because the skull belonged to a cat, a ginger one to be more specific. I found its bones scattered in one area, a coyote must have gotten to it. I gathered up most of the bones I could, but decided to just keep the skull. Now, I knew it was a ginger cat because the skull was still half covered in dried ginger fur. Yes. I tore the fur off. I soaked the skull in Ajax and bleach for a couple days before it ended up on my shelf. We actually use it for Halloween decoration when that time of year comes around.

My next skull was found when I worked at the zoo. One of the keepers gave me a tour of the abandoned exhibits and in one of the old keeper areas, I found a skeleton with a skull still intact. It had been down there a long time. There was nothing left of it but bones and the teeth were even falling out. I believe it belongs to a opossum. I didn’t want to look like this weird collector of skulls in front of my coworker, so I was reluctant in taking it. When she reassured me that she has a couple bones at her place, I scooped up the skull, we disinfected it back at one of the main buildings and when I got home, I glued the teeth back inside it. I didn’t do the best of jobs, but it’s still holding together.

Next skull is actually from a whole skeleton. My brother found a petrified mouse in our walls when he was redoing the basement. He saved it for me. He didn’t know if I wanted to keep the whole mouse or just the head and since the whole thing was still intact, I kept all of it. We disinfected it and I found a fixative to keep it together. He’s still kinda cute.

When my brothers were redoing my mom’s back deck, they discovered a tiny set of bones in the siding of the house. At first, we thought it belonged to a baby bird. We thought that bird built a nest in the wall, but then it got sealed up. The bones are so fragile and thin that your breath can move the skull across a table. Taking a closer look at them, though, they belong to a rodent. The skull isn’t in the best of the shape, but the spinal cord they found with it still has all the ribs attached. I keep them in a small cup to keep them protected.

One of my more recent skulls I found in my own backyard. A squirrel died under our shed and after a while of stinking up the place, something finally dragged it out. Being the only person not bothered by dead animals in my household, I was sent to clean it up. It was halfway decomposed and the skull was still intact. I couldn’t help it. I took the skull off, finished skinning it, and bleached it for a couple days. He’s not in the best of shape, but he still looks good.

My most recent find sadly didn’t come with a skull. Some animal must have bit the head off, but the skull isn’t actually the main feature of this animal. I found a dead turtle–still decomposing. It still has some flesh that needs cleaned off of it, but I can’t wait to see the bones underneath and the shell already looks really cool.

If you haven’t stopped reading by now, you’re probably thinking that I’m so weird or troubled in some way for collecting the bones of animals I’ve found dead. I don’t collect all of them. At my family’s Lake Condo, I found a dead deer along a trail–ribs, pelvis, legs, the like. I first spotted the ribs and when you’re alone on a woodsy trail and you’ve seen too many crime shows, your first thought is that you just found a human body. After the initial start, I slowed down to actually determine what these bones belonged too. The pelvis indicated an animal of sort and then I spotted the legs. Hooves. Fur. Yeah. It was a deer. I was down there for a while investigating it. I wanted to know how it died. I wanted to know what all was still intact. It was picked pretty clean by animals and yes, the skull was still intact, but I was not about to explain to my family why I was coming back to the condo with the dirty skull of a dead deer. I took pictures instead and the only member of my family that would even look at them was my brother. So, I don’t collected ALL the skulls I find.

Now, reading through this, you might be thinking of your weird collection or fascination. Its okay to be fascinated by the weird. That just means you’re seeing beauty in something that no one else does. I see beauty in the bones I collect. There’s craftsmanship in each one of them. Complexity and uniqueness. It’s one a way to appreciate life. And just think. These are just animal bones. Imagine the craftsmanship put into your bones. The complexity, the uniqueness. You’re alive with your own body that has its own quirks and features. You used to be two cells becoming one–no skeleton, no organs, just a one-of-a-kind cell multiplying to grow. Now, who knows how many cells you have. You have a skeleton, organs, and a chance to experience the world. So, a lesson from skeletons in the closet: life is just fascinating.

Tion

Did you hear that sudden motion?
A loud screech and scratch at the door?
It’s the monster that hungers for flesh.
Who’s face is hideous and fangs are huge.
All who faced him met extinction.

Did you see the lightning flash black?
The dark auras that rim his hands?
His eyes are deathly red.
His horns short and low.
The blood wall keeps you from coming back.

Did you know of the beam of light?
The bright flash that lit the valley?
They say a boy faced that monster.
Fought for justice alongside his partner.
Everyone should know the tale of that night

Did you remember the battle’s ending cry?
The names of the children that did survive?
Through the storm they fought the beast
That flash of light finally brought peace.
Now sleep once more under the starry sky
And remember that legends allow us to fly.

Written Fall 2013

Did You Miss It?

Did you see the daisies turn their heads to the sunlight this morning?
Watch the blue birds sore across the morning sky?
Did you kiss a child good morning?
Or war against the world with your bad mood?

Is your early fight for the coffee? Are you a zombie, groaning and slugging on, without it?
Do you rush off to work ignoring the hearts around you? Are you the center of the universe?
Did you acknowledge the old man frosted and begging on the street corner?
Could he be an angel in disguise?

How do you work in your workplace?
Are you the top notch or the lowest on the totem pole?
Do you greet everyone kindly or rush by clinging to that coffee coldly?
Have you ever helped those who needed it or only focused on your own work?

How do you treat the end of the day, as the sun sinks below the horizon?
Do you pass out on the couch or get busier again by cleaning?
Do you greet your family happily or have you no family to return to?
Is it all about what you want to do now that you’re not paid?

What time do you go to bed? What do you do before you go?
Do you watch the negative news? Sit out on your deck under stars?
Do you kiss the world goodnight? Look forward to another day?
Or do you grumble and groan on what tomorrow may bring?

Hidden beauty lies in front of our eyes,
Of the world and all it holds,
What was your focus throughout the day?
Did you miss it?