Thanks to an exciting development and a fantastic friend, I have moved this blog to its own space at http://www.callmebliss.com – please go there to follow it for all new posts and Blisstopian information, as well as upcoming new functionality!
I’m taking part in a story Blog Hop, where four writers are each contributing a piece of a story over the course of four weeks!
Mine is Week 3/Part 3, so if you haven’t yet read the story up to this point, please do so before continuing.
Then continue on below, to Part 3 of Kalli’s Story.
All things considered, it was a pretty quick walk. Actually, it was a bit too quick for Kalli’s liking – she hadn’t gone back to the house since that day, and the closer she got, the more she realized how very, very much she didn’t want to. Her stomach twisted and clenched, her heart pounded like the now-silenced beat that had been thrumming through her earbuds when Jenae had ripped them from her ears. Her heavy boots slowed on the sidewalk, until Jenae stopped too, just at the corner of the block.
“What’s the hold up, Kalli?”
What could she tell her? I’m sorry, I’ve changed my mind, I’m not really in the mood to show you how Claire died, maybe we can go for a soda instead?
“Just… give me a second.”
She pulled her arm free and dropped to a knee, carefully unlacing and retying one boot and then the other, making sure they were firm. Solid. Protecting. She’d be fine – and there’d be no more questions, after.
Standing, Kalli grabbed Jenae’s arm, and all but pulled her into motion again, thudding quickly past the several first houses on the block, toward the victorian that squatted in between a pair of ranches that looked like twins on either side of it. There didn’t seem to have been anybody living in the house since the night Claire was there, and Kalli found herself dryly unsurprised. Although the grass looked mowed, and the bushes still looked trimmed. Even the paint, which had been old when she was here before, had an unexpected sense of freshness to it although spots of flaking here and there told her it definitely hadn’t been painted.
“So we were here, with Claire,” she said without preamble, her boots thudding hollowly upon the steps as she mounted the porch. “Jordan figured out that if we reached between the boards, we could pull the door open just enough for someone to get in. And they- we dared her to go in and stay inside by herself. Not all night, even, just for a little while.”
The new boards were there, just like Jenae said, and yet… there should have been another one, and it was missing. It made it so that Kalli was able to reach between to find the old, carved metal doorknob. It should have been cold to the touch, but it was warm, even here out of the sunlight, and Kalli swallowed hard as she turned it and pulled.
The door opened without resistance, thudding against the inside of the boards nailed across the thick old doorframe, and there was a spot where, if one were so inclined, one could worm in between the boards and slip in through that open door, into the dark foyer beyond.
“So she went in, and we were out here on the porch. And for a while we were just talking, and sometimes knocking on the boards over the windows – you know, to just scare her. I swear to god, Jenae, all we wanted to do was scare her!” Her voice went high and tight with that confession, and she couldn’t drag her eyes away from the dark foyer space.
“That doesn’t sound like that bad a dare,” Jenae pointed out from her shoulder, leaning in past Kalli to squint in at the darkness inside the open door. “Even though that was kind of mean… trying to scare her. But it sounds funny. What HAPPENED, Kalli?”
“She started knocking back. Except… on all the windows at once.”
Jenae’s head whipped around, staring wide-eyed at Kalli for a minute, and then she let out an exasperated laugh and shoved playfully at Kalli’s shoulder.
“You butthead! I really want to know what happened, and you drag me over here for this campfire story?”
Kalli started to protest, but grinning wryly Jenae was already grabbing onto the boards so she could hoist herself and swing her feet through, wriggling past the boards and door to become a shadow in the foyer, her feet thudding gently upon the boards.
“You want to tell me what REALLY happened in here?” she challenged. Kalli’s hand tightened on the doorknob.
I don’t get terribly easily offended.
I’m shockingly okay with people disagreeing with me on the internet. I like to talk about things when people disagree with me and vice versa. Sometimes I learn things. Sometimes they learn things. Sometimes I change my mind/opinion. Sometimes I don’t.
I just want you guys to know that I don’t expect you all to think the same as I do about everything. I don’t expect us to share all the same opinions. I actually have quite a few people circled whose active posts are their opinion on things which are in direct opposition to my own opinion – and I don’t block them or decircle them because we don’t agree. I read what they have to say.
I learn. I consider.
Sometimes I change my mind.
Sometimes I don’t.
But someone having a different opinion than my own is not a reason for me to get mad.
Someone looking at something differently than me is not inherently offensive.
I don’t get easily offended. I have sometimes ended up becoming friends with people attempting to troll me.
I am okay with you voicing your own non-agreeing opinion in response to my posts. I especially like if you do so respectfully, because just as I assume that people who disagree aren’t doing so with the intention of offending me, please know that my expressing of an opinion different than your own is not an attempt to offend you. What I write is a function of my life, my education, my personal context, my privilege.
I don’t get easily offended.
I welcome folks who will respectfully disagree with me.
I don’t try to offend people.
I will try to learn from you.
Sometimes I will change my mind.
Sometimes I won’t.
But that doesn’t mean that we need to fight about it.
We’re different – and that’s okay with me.
Yesterday was American Thanksgiving. I spent it in the company of a few of my many loved ones. I ate a lot of really tasty food, including sweet potato with marshmallow which my sons are calling Marshmallow Lasagna. I indulged in much win, and sipped cranberry liqueur. I ate apple pie and chocolate pie squished together and topped with whipped cream. I made a mocha with whipped cream.
Naturally I expected a bit of a jump in the scale this morning. In my wildest dreams it remained constant. What I did not expect, natch, is what happened – it dropped.
For the first time in five years, I am below 190.
Despite how much impact it has had on my self esteem, you probably won’t see me post about my weight much. There is far too much focus in my culture on weight and appearance, tying it to our worth as a person. I refuse to consciously contribute to that kind of superficial judgement.
Weight matters to me for health reasons, though. I take after the male line of my father’s side of the family. His father had a heart attack at 40, adult diabetes, and other health concerns. My father has diabetes. My maternal grandmother has diabetes.
I don’t feel that I’m sitting on a medical time bomb, but the hereditary factors are clearly there. Even at my highest weight my cholesterol has been great, but I had a brush with gestational diabetes while pregnant with my first son. Weight is acknowledged as a contributing factor to diabetes. So when you see me posting about this kind of thing, I want it to be clear that this is something that matters for my ongoing quality of life.
I have, without consciously trying to, lost thirty pounds since this time last year.
This morning I am somewhat puzzled – but greatly pleased.
Note: This post dates from 11/22, was lost (or so I thought) in a frustrating glitch, and has just been recovered from Drafts. Enjoy!)
The frost has come well and truly to Blisstopia.
The yard, still trying for greenery, is rimed with frost. Ice fae painted the car windows and danced upon the leaves. Stepping out of doors, the bare skin crawls under the cold, causing one to hunch, to try to cover more with the suddenly insufficient coat.
The car sputters, grinds, coming to hesitant life only after a few tries, and fingers that clutch the scraper to clear the windscreen scream for a hot cup around which to wrap. The smell of winter, damply crisp and heavy with the promise of snow, winnows into the nostrils, a taunt of what is to come.
But the sun creeps across the lawn, easing away the time to restore the greenery, beckoning to be played upon even just once more. The car warms, an oasis of heat with steaming hood.
And a warm cup is soon to be had.
My younger son, who is four and a half, piped up on the way home from dropping off his brother at school:
“When people die, mom, they leave their house behind! And they leave their blood behind, and the pipes their blood flows through too.”
“They do? And then what happens to them?”
“Their body gets digged way down, and their blood gets digged way down, and their bones get digged way down and buried.”
“That’s what happens to the body? What happens to what made them a person?”
“They hear a big *boom*!!! And they die. And their body gets buried, and they vibrate. Then they go into a story.”
“So when someone dies they leave their body behind, and vibrate, and become a story?”
“Yes mom. That is what happens when you die.”
“Thank you, sweetie.”
On the one hand, I am somewhat irked that WordPress had the temerity to go and create a first post for me without so much as a by-your-leave… on they other hand, it was titled “hello world”, which appeals to my tiny little inner programming geek. Consider yourself forgiven, WordPress – but you’re still on notice.
I was pondering just how to begin; first forays into a new communication medium are always somewhat intimidating to me. I like to begin as I mean to go on: bold! Insightful! Meaningful! It’s a lot of pressure to put on myself, and sometimes ends up hamstringing me.
This is the problem often encountered, not just by myself, when sitting down to write anything new. I’m a notebook addict. cheapo spiral-bound jobbies, gorgeous tooled leather journals, handmade rough-edge items with the spines stitched together by my own hand, I have them all. But for a long time, I would buy them, and carry them around along with a pen, and they would more often than not serve simply as props. Some of them, it took me years to ever write anything in them beyond my name on the inside of the cover. But I’m a writer! So what the hell is the problem?
The curse of the blank page – or in our delightful modern age, the curse of the blank screen. The unmarked white paper gleams menacingly. The cursor blinks in mockery. It’s a problem that pretty much any writer I have spoken to has dealt with at some time, though I’m sure our reasons for it differ. For me, it was what that whitespace represented. It’s blank, and ostensibly therefore nothing, right?
There’s a line in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog, “Even in the darkness every color can be found.” It’s much the same idea: in the whiteness of that unmarked page, of that untyped screen, I see the potential for anything and everything. It has not been written, and therefore what could be written there could be anything. It could be a brain-tweaking poem, a sweeping space epic, a political intrigue, a sensual bildungsroman fit to make a sociopath weep in empathy.
Or… it could be crap. A waste of ink, a waste of paper, a waste of electricity, screen time, writing time, and of a reader’s time. The fear that it would be this latter was nigh unto paralyzing to me for a long time. Fear is the mind-killer, fear is the little-death – and not the sort of little death with which I like to concern myself.
It was a professor who taught me how to face and move beyond this fear, though he didn’t realize it at the time. I took a few creative writing classes with Dr. Leslie, and he talked as freely with us about some of the projects he had in the works as he expected us to do with him. At one point, he was writing a series of short stories that all began in the same way: “Let me tell you a story about my girl, Sue.” Every story went off in a different direction from there, but each one started the same.
The idea stuck in my head a while, and burst forth one year as I was setting myself to begin the NaNoWriMo challenge. That particular year, I began my writing every day with the same six words. “Once a month, I visit him.” Every day I wrote a new piece of the same developing story, and every time it started with those words. Six little words, but the difference they made in breaking into my own writing was invaluable. They were already there for me. I had something to start with. No matter what was on my plate to write up that day, I didn’t need to worry about how to begin. The words were written, the page was marked, and I could carry on without worrying about my inane fear of sullying the potential of the page that lay before me.
This isn’t to say that I don’t sometimes struggle, or hate what I write even as I’m typing it out – but I’m making something, which therefore can get edited and fixed after the fact. I am not being ruled by my fear. My notebooks are not props; they are tools.
Hello, world. Let me tell you a little story about my writing,