//snippets of 90% sarcasm

But do I really post anything other than sarcastic snippets? Ever?

During my semi-hiatus, I was busy writing. I hadn’t realized it until I hit 140k in The Dying of the Light yesterday and it hit me – oh. Little by little, I HAVE been writing. Huh. [Remember the running joke I mentioned a few months ago where every 10k that gets added to the novel, I see if the gang is together? Eh…they’re still not together. The gang is basically a conspiracy theory at this point working on it, however. Ever closer. And yes – the goal is still to finish this novel before NaNoWriMo.] That being said, it’s been a while since I’ve posted any snippets, and I hope you enjoy.

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He entered the area again with caution, crouching on one knee and drawing his knife from his belt. He inserted the knife into the ground and lifted the blade. It struck nothing but dirt; he placed his knee where the knife had been and once again inserted the blade into the ground. Slowly, foot by foot, he made a clear path toward the Captain.

Tsuchigumo did not speak to him until he was within ten feet of him. Then, in a near-growl, he asked, “Do you think you can disobey my order just because I can’t move?”

Shi straightened and saluted. “Yes, Captain.”


Short notice,” was his only remark as he tucked the knives into the front of his belt and looked at Mustang. “Distraction ready?”

Mustang’s half-smile was tired but set. “I do a pretty mean howler monkey imitation.”

Shi grinned. “I guess beggars can’t be choosers.”

Mustang raised an eyebrow. “Do you have a better idea?”

“Even if I did, I probably wouldn’t tell you. I’m looking forward to your method.”


The cries from the mercenaries were muffled; Shi’s left ear was pressed against Tsuchigumo’s back, his arm covering his other, but one thing he knew – the mine hadn’t exploded.

“Don’t tell me you were standing on a dud the whole time just to be dramatic, Captain,” he muttered, glancing over his shoulder. A warning gunshot rang out, and he heard the bullet hiss over his head.

“Well,” grunted Tsuchigumo, “not intentionally.”


There was nothing behind him except the open door, and the turned again, moving his finger to the trigger.

“The acoustics in here,” the female voice continued, “are perfect for yodeling.”


“Give me your gun.”

“And why would I do that?”

“So I can see if three bullets are missing from the magazine.”

Hiro turned away from her, tucking the gun back in his belt. “They’re in the locker room.”

“The bullets?”

“The fugitives.”

“You didn’t shoot them?”

“No, Riza, I didn’t shoot them.”

Silence stretched long and thin. Then Riza said, “I honestly thought you would have.”


The red scales on Hiro’s paper-white skin blurred together in Saizou’s vision, spilling off Hiro’s body, dripping into the floor. The red swallowed everything whole.


“You’re in a good mood,” said Saizou offhandedly, attempting to collect his thoughts, to find something that made sense, something worth saying.

“Not dying usually puts me in a good mood.”


“You think I don’t know you hated me when I first took command?”

“Hate’s a strong word, captain.”

“Are you saying you didn’t?”

A brief half-smile curved Shi’s mouth. “No. It wasn’t just me, though, give the rest of the men some credit. We all hated you.”


Shi nudged his shoulder. “So are you going to get an eye patch like the Prince-Regent’s poisoner?”

Saizou snorted. “Not likely.”

“Matching’s hardly a cardinal sin. Maybe you can spark a trend.”

“I want to spark a rebellion, not a trend.”

Shi eyed Saizou gravely. “Captain,” he said without a trace of humor, “you should embroider that on a pillow.”

//sunday, 5:13 pm.

It’s been nineteen days since my last blog post. This number seems huge to me – almost three weeks? I didn’t quite expect that. It’s not because I haven’t had anything to say – it’s just I seem to be rediscovering how to say things. Every once in a while – well, it’s usually an annual thing – I go through a re-adjustment. Usually this re-adjustment takes a couple months and something changes – my writing improves, my art improves, my self improves. This year is different. This year I’ve been readjusting since March. October is nearly here. I’ve been readjusting for nearly seven months. I read stories of people readjusting for large things – illnesses, deaths, new jobs. But I rarely hear of people taking seven months to adjust to…nothing, really. It’s strange, how life can feel chaotic in the midst of calm; how my mind and heart can be thrashing in turmoil even though there is nothing new to upset them.

It’s something of a comfort, to be able to look back on life since March and see a trail of things that help this odd upheaval make sense. It’s been one thing after another in some ways – and not everything is large or heavy, but after a while even the smallest stones, when stacked on top of one another, create a lot of weight.

Sunday is my hermit day. Most people who know me would argue that I’m already 90% hermit (and they’d be right, on most days) but Sunday is the day I eschew social media. It’s the day where I don’t communicate with anyone outside of my house, and for most of the day, I communicate only with myself. I do what I haven’t done the rest of the week – I sketch, I read, I watch a movie or two. I keep to myself. I pray.

Today has been large mugs of black coffee (as usual) and Death Note movies. I’ve sketched several sheets in a sketchbook rapidly running out of room (it feels like I just bought this sketchbook, honestly) and I’ve read half of the latest issue of Bella Grace. Usually it’s an article that speaks to me, but this time around it wasn’t an article – it was one phrase, a quote from the order of St. Benedict.

‘Always we begin again.’

The second I read this quote I wanted it tattooed on my skin as a constant reminder. I wanted it tattooed because in four words, it managed to sum up the essence of everything I try to learn, year to year and day to day.

It’s something I’ve always had a hard time articulating. In fact, I’m not much good at articulating anything unless I can write it down. If I have a pen and paper, or fingers and a keyboard, I can say anything (usually). It’s the brain-to-mouth function that doesn’t work very well – and unfortunately, my default response to ‘how are you’ is ‘I’m fine!’

And usually I am fine. But ‘I’m fine’ is a very paltry phrase. It doesn’t say much, if anything. It says please don’t worry about me, don’t speak to me, nothing new to report. So while I usually mean it – I am fine – what people understand is not what I mean.

Change tends to give me a melancholy air, or sometimes a downright bleak one. People think I’m sad or angry when really, I have ‘begun again’ and don’t know where I am, or how I feel, or what I think. Somebody asks me how I am, or if I’m okay, and all I can say is ‘I’m fine,’ because I won’t be able to give a full, unabridged response until I’ve figured the new beginning out. I don’t think this is a bad thing – the bad thing is my difficulty engaging in the world around me during times of change. I’m more comfortable in my own head. I’m more comfortable observing and not speaking. I’m more comfortable staying inside rather than going out – but sometimes it reaches a point where I realize my inspiration is running on zero. The things that inspire me most are stories – books, songs, movies, shows. Good stories, stories that teach me how to tell my own stories. But I’m inspired by other things, too – by new sights and sounds and smells, by brief interactions with strangers, by singing at the top of my lungs in the car with my mother driving and my sister in the back seat.

I show favoritism to my inspiration, and eventually, certain aspects of my inspiration will run dry. I’m realizing more and more that in order to remain connected during these renewals, these new beginnings, I need to make an effort. I have a tendency to drift whenever I’m in upheaval, and the problem with drifting is that often it becomes so relaxing that I forget to swim. And when I forget to swim, I sink.

I haven’t sunk, but I have been drifting, off and on, since March. And so I’m embracing St. Benedict’s mantra – always, I begin again. And I will begin again as many times as I need to, over the course of my life. And I will readjust and change and shift and keep myself pointed in the right direction, and I will correct my course if I have to and drift now and then when I’m where I want to be, and if the tide rises, I will rise along with it.

I will face each new beginning with excitement, because each new beginning is a new road to endless opportunities, choices, and adventures.

I can’t always choose which door opens, but I can choose to hold my head high and step through without hesitation to face the new beginning, no matter what it looks like.

//walking on water

Confession: I was scared to publish my last post. Even as I wrote it, I wondered if I’d be able to actually put it on my blog. What if people thought I was betraying them somehow? What if, ironically, everyone suddenly thought I was dishonest? My two closest friends mentioned in the last post discussed it with me after it was finished.

Lauren told me that she didn’t feel there’s as big of a discrepancy between myself/my personal as I feel there is. She says she still sees that in me, but rather it’s the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and I go much farther down than what most people see. That was comforting, but then she added something that clarified most of my struggle in a single point: I act like an extrovert online when I am, in fact, deeply introverted. Therefore, it’s natural that people will treat me like an extrovert, even when they mentally know I’m not. The wall I mentioned in the last post is not, in fact, as big as I thought it was – if indeed it exists at all. What I perceived as a wall might just very well be one part of a whole.

Arielle told me she does see the discrepancies in myself/my persona, but she agreed they’re mainly discrepancies caused by acting like an extrovert, and by going along with extroverted behavior even when I’m tired or don’t feel like it – for the sake of public image.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m getting real tired of image here, folks.

The good thing is, I’m not as off-base as I thought I was. I can read everyone but myself, but that’s what friends and family are for, right? The last post – and this one – are the result of weeks, if not months, of prayer, questioning, and wondering what on earth I’m doing and if I’m doing anything right at all. In addition to her remarks about public image, Arielle ‘took me aside’ and reminded me of something. She reminded me that last year, I was stripped back down to the foundation of myself, and that everything I felt I knew and trusted was gone. I began to question and doubt things I had always been certain of, and I’m still doing it. To be honest, I don’t know if I’ll ever stop doing it. I’d like to think that one day I’ll be completely healed and filled with trust and certainty again – but that isn’t the point.

For a while now account of Peter walking on water has been cropping up when I least expect it. A week ago I told Arielle that I must be supposed to learn something from it, but I couldn’t tell what it was.

Tonight as I spoke with her, she suddenly said, “Love, I think I’ve found your walking on water connection.” She continued, “Peter ASKED if he could walk on the water. HE WANTED TO DO IT.  He wanted to step out in faith.  And when he did, he walked as long as he kept his eyes forward, on Jesus.  Once he looked down, at the water below him, when he stopped to think about how impossible the feat was, that’s when he started to sink. You’ve been feeling pressured to be this persona, to be someone who isn’t really you, but now that you know and can accept that it IS a facet of you, but it’s just ONE facet, you’re ready to move forward.  And correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out if you really do understand it now and whether this move forward BEING YOURSELF is actually the right path or not. It’s your water,” she finished. “You know a fuller life awaits you, you know that there is a place of BALANCE. That even if it takes you months or years, you’ll eventually taste it. You’re ready to walk on water.”

Walking on water doesn’t look the same for everyone. For me, it looks like taking a deep breath and attempting to find myself – right where I left it. It may mean going silent for a day. It may mean ignoring messages from people I care about because I can’t deal with them at the moment. It may mean allowing myself to be tired when I’m tired. It may mean reminding people that I’m not an extrovert, and I need silence. Or it may mean a full day where I speak with everyone and hold a dozen conversations at once, although I doubt those days will be often.

The over-arching thing this semi-hiatus has taught me is that I like it. I like how much quieter it is, and how much less pressure it places on me. So will I just live life semi-hiatus? I don’t think so. I’ll take life one day at a time, and if one day needs to be semi-hiatus, I’ll take it. (Sundays are already total hiatus, and I highly recommend that to anyone feeling particularly stressed or in need of a break. I don’t go on Facebook, I don’t respond to emails, I don’t do anything pressurizing.)

So that’s what putting one foot on the sea looks like for me, right now. It looks like one day at a time. And most days, I think, that’s all it really is for any of us. One foot in front of the other, and always toward the one with outstretched hands.

//thoughts on balance + honesty

I realized, soon into my semi-hiatus, that I wasn’t taking a break from the internet so much as my internet persona. The experiment has shed light on several areas of personal interest to me, but one of the most prevalent things the semi-hiatus has shown me is how little people actually know me. Even those I have known for years have shown, as I stepped away from my perceived ‘image,’ that they know a vague idea of me but do not actually, in fact, know who I am.

And this is largely nobody’s fault but mine, if indeed it is a ‘fault.’ I’ve been blogging since I was thirteen – through some of my most formative years, and while I wouldn’t trade that for anything, the experience has given me a kind of ‘split personality,’ a division between myself and my internet alter-ego. As I grew older, I developed a sense of responsibility toward maintaining my persona, and respecting the boundary between my real self and my perceived self. This is a tricky thing, as I earnestly try to be as genuine as possible in both areas. It’s asking a paradox of myself, and this paradox places a wall between myself and most other people.

For the most part, this is okay with me. I’m not the kind of person who can handle more than a few extremely close friends (read: two). Even those I count as my good friends know very little about me. Occasionally people express interest in becoming close with me, and my automatic response is ‘Sure!’ but I’ve discovered that’s not actually what I want. It leads to spreading myself far too thin, and I simply can’t maintain that level of personal intimacy with many people.

People make statements about knowing me well, and each time I feel a slight pang of guilt, because I’ve allowed them to think it’s true. It doesn’t happen intentionally. I never wake up with the thought, ‘Today I’m going to think they really know who I am while actually keeping myself from them.’ It simply happens, because I have created a persona outside of myself. I enjoy having this persona for on very simple reason: I often receive messages from people telling me how encouraging or uplifting that persona is to them. It helps people. I help people, or I brighten their day, or I give them something to think about. It’s what I do. But it is not always who I am.

My persona enjoys attention and is always up for a conversation with anyone. My persona is pretty pictures or dolled-up selfies, sketches or funny anecdotes from the day. People assume I’m extroverted, a social butterfly.

Me? I hate being the center of attention. I’ve been going through a little-to-no makeup phase during my semi-hiatus, which means selfies are much less forthcoming. My life is not all funny anecdotes – and while I laugh often, I also cry often. I have a huge sense of humor, but wrapped inside that sense of humor is a grave and serious person that many people don’t see, because I don’t let many people see it. I’m intensely introverted and spend more time reading history or behavioral psychology than I do reading fiction.

This separation of my two selves is something I’ve given much thought to over the past month, and I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. The line, however, tends to grow so blurred occasionally that I’m not sure where I stop and my persona begins, and during my ‘time away’ I’m slowly re-building that line so I can take care of them both without the stress of confusion and self-identity theft. I’m re-learning not to let my persona rob me of myself, and I’m realizing I need to do this at least once a year, possibly twice. Extracting one from the other has proven borderline excruciating and has kept me up nights, attempting to untangle the knots I’ve accidentally created.

Can I be genuine without showing all of myself? I think so. Can I upkeep a persona that is me, but only part of me? I think so. And I’m okay with that – in fact, should I ever achieve a fluid balance between the two, I will be extremely happy. But for now, I will continue to strive for honesty and balance, and I would like you to know that I care about you. Me. Myself. I care about you, but I cannot be all of myself with you.

So here’s to balance, honesty, and a continual reach for the two.

//”It’s just fiction.”

This phrase has troubled me greatly since I was old enough to grasp the lie of it. I recall vividly the first time someone said this – my youth group leader, calling books ‘amoral’ and comparing them to a table.

AMORAL

  • lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something

“You could throw it at someone’s head and that would be bad, but a book is just a book.”

This, said by the same woman who was attempting to teach me that ideas and thoughts could change us and then the world. Without even realizing it, she had stripped herself of all credit in my eyes. She was teaching us from a ‘book,’ but she failed to realize the irony in what she said. I had been frustrated with her before, but I was now incensed. I was only fourteen, and I had only been seriously writing for a little more than a year. Writing – the belief and knowledge that words could plant ideas, could promote hope, could condemn evil, could make people better – that was important to me. It still is. In fact, rather than deterring me from my desire to write, my youth leader fueled that desire.

Books changed my life and continue to do so. Books shaped who I am. There was nothing amoral about the way Middle-Earth taught me about bravery and honor. There was nothing amoral about the way Narnia taught me courage and faith. There was nothing amoral about the way fairy tales and fables and myths taught me to stick to my beliefs, carry on when afraid, and fight back against evil with wit and valor. Books forged my soul, and you cannot tell me ‘it’s just fiction,’ as if fiction were a quick breeze here and gone. “As amoral as a table?” Tell that to Tolkien, Lewis, Chesterton, Augustine, Plato. Tell it to any philosopher.

“It’s just fiction” is an excuse. It’s an excuse made by parents so they don’t feel the need to oversee what their children are embracing. It’s an excuse made by readers who want to read literary trash without guilt, and – worst of all, in my belief – it’s an excuse made by authors to justify their own lack of conviction. Why? Because ‘it’s just fiction’ removes any and all responsibility from the author. If it’s ‘just fiction,’ then there’s no point, nothing to teach or uphold, and they have free reign to write whatever they please, consequences be hanged.

I’m not saying I never feel the urge to write something simply because I want to write it. But I’ve been guilty of many things in twenty-two years, and I’ll be guilty of many more, but may it never be said that I, as a reader but especially as an author, took the easy way out under the banner of ‘it’s just fiction.’