Recently I’ve felt like I am in the dark ages of my writing. It’s so incredibly frustrating because many of things I say I’m doing could end with the phrase, “but I’d rather be writing”. I have an insatiable need to write, and in these times of mothering an infant and a five year old, teaching full-time, and keeping a house in order I try, but I do hesitate. The beast of time is still my enemy. It usually takes me a good thirty minutes of uninterrupted silence to find my writing groove, and then if I get interrupted it is like waking a sleeping baby. That kind of time just isn’t in my life at the moment, so I must make do with whatever I can get on paper, even if it’s absolute crap.
So where are things? Mostly at a halt. I’m still working on the trilogy I’ve been working on since FOREVER (2009), but it’s my non-human baby and it’s one of those things I must finish. I will not stop until it is complete, it just may take me my entire existence to accomplish it. I’ve made the decision not to pursue publishing with that series. It’s kind of been my guinea pig as I have learned what being a writer is all about. I have other projects in my mind that hopefully I can send down the publishing road, but this series will remain my personal love affair.
So since I won’t be sharing the story with the entire world I thought I’d share pieces of it from time to time instead.
The excerpt below is actually from the last book in my trilogy (I’ve kind of been working on all three simultaneously). It’s from the perspective of the male character in my story, which is switched from the perspective of the rest of the series, which belongs to the female, Alexa. I’m not going to give a ton of background to what is going on (I do have a few people who have read the first book and know the characters…and I give some things away here). I guess the only thing I will mention is that it is of the young adult genre, it is a fantasy, and it’s called Brand New Eyes (the first book is Eyes of Emerald, the second book is Eyes of Onyx). Anyway, it’s just for fun, so….happy reading. Have a good weekend!
How does one accurately explain something that is soft yet hard? Not as jagged and grainy as earth stone, but slick and deadly like glacial ice; beautiful to behold with an outer shell so thick it seems impossible to melt. How does one explain something gentle yet fierce? Pained yet joyful? Something immortal, yet so incredibly human?
This is my Alexa.
I have very distinct memories of my father carving a longbow. I’d sit as a boy about the age of four watching him slowly and steadily strip away rough layers of yew skin until a pale honey flesh remained. Scrape…scrape…scrape. Clack…clack….clack. Over and over again. Once the tillering was complete, a long, hushed breath would enter his lungs forcing his broad chest to expand, and I’d puff up my own, pretending. He’d release that breath in one controlled stream as he’d pull on the ends of the bow, as if the air passing through his lips and the wood were one. Time and time again I remember sitting on my stool prickled with anxiety as the bow curved at my father’s hand, as if watching someone slowly blow up a cheap balloon knowing at any second it could pop. All at once the air I’d been holding would release as he’d snap the string into place at both ends of the bow. His eyes would meet mine as he’d kneel down, and he’d wrap his calloused palm around mine. Gently, purposefully he’d guide my chubby fingers over the lean, inverted M curve of his bow. “Here,” he’d say letting my index feel one stubby end, “and here,” feeling the other, “is where the tension is most concentrated. It is this tension, son, that will give the arrow the energy to slice through the air quicker than you can blink.”
In all honesty, I didn’t know what I’d find when I had decided to search for Alexa after leaving her so many years ago. I prepared myself for the unspeakable: that there would be nothing left to find. I forced myself to hope for her death because in actuality, it was easier than thinking of her as a living, breathing, suffering being. That fact I will take with me to the grave. But when I saw her again after sixteen years, my father’s bow came to mind: full of tension, yet so impossibly resilient.
Today as I watch her accept this strange life shift the restless guilt that I’ve managed to keep concealed for so long has finally begun to calm. It still beats me, but not like the raging sea it once was. Now it comes as flash floods, usually when I watch Alexa remembering her old life, or when she goes off alone to question her value. She swears her life lived as a human feels like a distant dream, but sometimes I catch her hand caress her forearms out of habit, remembering. It is in those times I feel helpless, selfish, sinful.
It’s been nine moons since Naois was released to the sea. It’s been six since Aleena healed all of our hearts by entering our world. That day, that revival, began a new chapter in all of our lives.
But today, it is just us, my Alexa and me. Today we ride.
Nowadays we ride together often. For her the motivation is peace and clarity of mind, but it is different for me, although she would argue that. We race, and I let her win. Ryu is fast, but he’s not as fast as she believes him to be; that is our little secret. I know that beast bears many of her secrets, which, admittedly I am a little jealous of. I sometimes wonder when he gazes my way with those black marble eyes just how much he knows about me.
She sits in front of me, her hair freed from its usual braided knot now bouncing against my chest. She is as soft and delicate as the blades of grass wisping in the wind. Today she wears something long and flowing, and much too wide around her small frame, in my opinion. I would normally protest, but it drapes comfortably around her legs making it easy to ride. The gauzy fabric bunches where my thighs meet hers and I pat it slightly with my hand, which somehow travels down to its hem. Her skin is warm and all too tempting for my greedy fingers. I can feel her react to my touch; she is so predictable. But I am a gentleman around this ancient black beast, so I resort my palm to her waist. My other hand brushes the bulk of her silky hair around one shoulder so I can lean near her ear. “Where are we going?” I ask, feeling her shudder slightly against me. I find it amusing that under my hand sits a killer more deadly than any arrow, yet a simple breath on her ear can crumble her to pieces.