Countdown!

  
This is my big coffee cup. 

I’m definitely going to need it, because…

NaNoWriMo is in roughly twenty five and a half hours! It’s so unbelievable! Where did the time go? Where did the urge to plan go? Thankfully I’m using a flash fiction series as a basis for the novel, so I don’t need as detailed of plans as I would if it were a regular project, but still…. Thinking about its imminence is a little freaky. 

Be Kind To Yourself

  
This November I’m embarking on the 50,000 word quest again. It will be my eleventh time of participating in either a form of NaNoWriMo or JuNoWriMo. That means that upon completing the marathon in November and next April’s Camp NaNo, I’ll have spent a whole year of my life participating in writing marathons. While I’m very excited for this accomplishment, I realize that I need to jerk my perfectionism in check. 

The inner editor is what many writers call that nagging feeling of perfectionism as one is writing. It’s especially counterproductive in a marathon because the goal is to get a high word count in a short amount of time. Editing can wait, there will be many idle months of the year even when one writes ever April, June, July and November. Two thirds of the year is open for editing.

This month I encourage everyone, writers and non writers alike, to be kind to yourselves and celebrate those small victories. We don’t write 50,000 words in a day; at least I don’t. One doesn’t conquer a whole semester of college or learn a new language, musical instrument or whatever creative pursuit is in your lifestyle in one day. Be as patient with yourself as you would be to your best friend. Encourage yourself as you would encourage them. We are all works in progress and will be for the rest of our lives. So celebrate and enjoy the process. 

Another Day

He watches me with no expression as I lie on the kitchen floor and awkwardly  arch my back, trying to procure another breath. I feel I have no more energy to ask him to help me. The blank stare which he gives me shows his disinterest. Nothing more than an object to be watched, judged, denied, I crush another pill between my molars, praying for another day. 

If he could see what I could do, maybe he’d think twice about hurting me. If I could make him proud, he’d let me breathe again. He never would have made me stop. 

But he’s seen it many times, never pleased nor proud, certainly not affected. Nothing penetrates this shell. 

I writhe again. I didn’t think I could speak anymore, but somehow words are gurgling in my throat. Please, I plead. I need help. 

No. 

You – did this to me. I know I’m wasting precious air when it passes through my lips. Help me. Please. 

Another stimulant, another powdery pill and it doesn’t matter. But Someone wants me to live, to have another day. I let my thoughts drift in and out once there is nothing more to say, preparing myself for the welcoming arms of that same Someone. But deliverance comes in another way. Hours later, I am still alive and literally crawl to my bed, amazed to wake to a new dawn. 

After Closing

She sat at the piano in the half light. Thinking she was alone, she let her fingers glide over the keys as though they had a mind of their own, playing the song by reflex instead of thought. She remembered him with every stroke of the keys, expressed the melancholy which she fought to hide during the daylight hours with an aching sense of freedom. It was like a prayer rising to the heavens. What light there was had a starkness that made the observer immediately cold, chilled through by its purity and her tears. This is how the body remembers. The thought struck with such subtlety that it was hard for the watcher to recall it later, once the piano had stopped and he knew it was time for him to go unless he wished to be discovered. As he stepped out into the rainy night, he shook his head. I wrote that tune. 

Flying Home, Part XXI

Part XXI

The drive out to the house in the desert seemed like an eternity as Emily was a mix of emotions, rather like a teenage girl going to her first dance. For months she’d thought only of Julian. Now it was going to happen. It was really going to happen. She smiled shyly at the thought. 

When they arrived at the house, the blossoming garden caught Emily’s eye first. 

“Oh, Mary Jean,” she said, “thank you. It’s exactly as I remember it. There was no more talk of dreams by now.” Perhaps, Emily mused, it had been the other world that was the dream, making this the true reality all along. 

“You’re welcome. Enjoy!” Mary Jean gave her a big hug as she stepped out of the car. 

“May you be happy together,” Harry said as he shook Emily’s hand. 

“I can’t thank either of you enough,” Emily said she looked toward the house.

“Just enjoy being with Julian again,” Harry said. “That’s the best way that you can thank us. It makes everything we’ve done worthwhile. Go on, then.” 

Emily’s legs were shaking as she ascended the steps in front of the house. But when her hand closed around the doorknob, her nerves melted away. It was her house, her new life. She opened the door and came into the living room with eyes wide with anticipation. 

All of the sweetest music and most delicious scents from the light show could not match the exhilaration of seeing Julian exactly as he had been in her memory. He was dressed in this flying uniform, sitting in a relaxed pose in his favorite chair beside a crackling fire, reading a newspaper. 

The sound of her footfalls made him look up. “Emily!” He laid the newspaper aside and ran to her, lifting her in the air as he embraced her. “You’re a sight for sore eyes!” 

Through tears that had filled her eyes upon the sight of him, she smiled and even managed a laugh. “I can say the same about you. I guess I don’t need to ask you where you’ve been. I’m just glad you’re home – we’re home. I don’t want to ever be apart again! But that’s over now.” 

“Yes, it is,” he said. Julian brushed a loose strand of hair from her eyes. “We have only the future now. I’m so sorry that I disappeared.” 

“It wasn’t your fault,” she said. “I know you wanted to come home.” 

“I’ve been across the universe and I only wanted to be here,” Julian exclaimed. “It’s all I wanted.” 

“How lovely of Harry and Mary Jean to give us our happy ending.” Emily sighed with contentment. “But it’s really only beginning, right?” 

Julian nodded. “There are so many things I want to show you. And I will. After all, we have a lifetime to share.” 

The End

Flying Home, Part XX

Part XX

It was safe for Emily to go out that night and meet up with Leigh to watch what promised to be a very spectacular light show. Mary Jean and Harry had talked excitedly about their plans for finishing the gift to the town all afternoon. Despite Emily’s reluctance to ask how long it would take to complete the work, it seemed as if it would be a short project. 

“I can’t believe we’re coming this close to everything being done,” Leigh commented as they stood in the cool air of evening near the town square. “What does it feel like to remember the changes that the rest of us had forgotten?” 

Emily thought it over for a moment. “Bittersweet. It’s not that I miss those things, not really. Living here in what feels like a dreamland with Julian and you and the friends I’ve made since arriving in Arizona more than makes up for it. And I can come and go from the other parts of the country whenever I wish. So can you.” 

“Will it seem strange?” Leigh queried. 

“No, I don’t think so. This will always be home. Every time I’m away from it, I will eagerly anticipate coming back.” 

“What if you ever run into Wesley or Natasha when you’re on assignment?” 

“They won’t remember me,” Emily said with confidence that true safety can provide. “Their memories of anything here are gone. I’ll be fine.” 

They stopped talking when the first few colors appeared in the sky. Purple wisps that looked like smoke from a chimney suddenly rose into the air and elicited wonder from the crowd that had joined them on the square. Next came shoots of red and blue, yellow and pink. The unearthly music and pleasant scent followed. Emily breathed it in with gratefulness, knowing each plume of light or wafting scent brought her one more step closer to Julian. 

It felt as if the show went on for hours, but it probably took around thirty minutes. No one in the crowd except for Emily and Leigh knew that Harry and Mary Jean were responsible for the display. When Mary Jean approached them once it was all done, she looked at them with a twinkle in her eye. 

“Leigh, I think you’ll find that your house is back to the way it was before any of this sadness,” she said. “Emily, it’s time for you to see what I’ve done in your garden. I think you’ll find it to be very romantic, if you get my drift. Harry will drive you if you want to go now.” 

Emily suddenly felt very shy and stared down at her shoes. “Really? Do you think it’ll be ok? Will he be happy to see me?” 

“Of course he will. You’re all he’s thought about, remember?” 

Flying Home, XIX

Part XIX 

Emily’s reverie of reading was quickly interrupted by Harry’s footsteps coming in the front door. Mary Jean had not yet had time to go downtown and make her appearance to promote the normalcy of the day, and sounded very surprising to see her husband so soon.

“Harry! I didn’t know you be back so soon! Is everything all right?” Emily could hear the concern in Mary Jean’s voice. 

“Everything is fine,” Harry said. “In fact, better than fine. Where’s Emily?” 

“In the library. She seemed fascinated with it and I thought it best for her to distract herself during this awful waiting.”

“Go get her because I have great news,” Harry encouraged his wife. 

“Emily?” Mary Jean came into the library, where Emily was already looking up at the door with hopeful expectation. “Harry’s home and he says he has good news. Come with me!” The blonde was smiling from ear to ear.

“Good morning, Emily.” The bandleader looked triumphant. “I’ve taken care of everything with Wesley and Natasha. They’re in New York City as we speak with absolutely my memory of what happened here. I doubt they even know Aurora, Arizona exists.” 

“Really?” Emily finally let the impact of hearing something positive sink into her soul and give her real hope of seeing Julian again. 

“No one’s going to be after you anymore. Now we can finish our work and brung your husband back.” Harry didn’t seem capable of any expression other than a grin. 

“You don’t remember, but the house where you saw the lights actually belongs to you and Julian.” Mary Jean volunteered with a smile that matched her husband. “It’s now clear of Wesley and Natasha’s belongings and yours have been restored. As soon as he’s back, you can move right in.” 

“This is too good to be true,” Emily exclaimed. “Is it really happening? And what about Leigh?” 

“It’s happening,” Mary Jean answered. “And the house you’ve been living in is Leigh’s. She’ll be fine, sweetheart. All I need to do now is finish my work.” 

“How do you do that?” Emily asked.

“Come outside tonight,” Mary Jean said, “and I’ll show you. It will be similar to what you’ve already seen that night by your house, but this time we can complete everything.” 

“Where has Julian been?” 

“He’s been flying to places you can only imagine. He’s already visited our planet and galaxies no other human being has ever seen. We were able to keep his fuel tank from running out so he never needed to concern himself with that. There’s so much out there, Emily. Julian has stayed in the finest hotels the universe has to offer, more like what you call a resort on earth. But through all his adventures, he still thinks only of you.” 

“I wish we hadn’t been interrupted in the garden,” Emily said with a tone of regret.          

“Me, too,” Mary Jean reflected. “But soon all will be made right.”