SWFF- Flower Girl

SWFF- Flower Girl

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Waiting

           I stand alone in this empty house, abandoned not so long ago, or have centuries past? Dust lines the wood now, and the lovely tile floors. The chandelier sways when a gentle breeze comes through, though it no longer lights anything. It used too. Oh yes, years ago this house swelled with life. Laughter bounced along the rose pattered wallpaper, now faded and pealing. Naked feet ran down the hallways, as restless children sunk around past their bedtime.

            I was one of those children. I wondered what happened to the others? Did Rose become a doctor, or Richard ever marry Louiesa? Little Celia, my own sister, wanted to act in plays; our parents might have crushed that dream, after I crushed there’s.

            I drift up the stairs towards my old room. The arched-shaped window was still cracked, the hairline fractures letting in broken light. Spiders made homes in the corner. Well, at least someone still enjoyed the house.

            My room is the only one left intact, a ghost of the past lingering in an empty house. The bed still made, my favorite dolly watches me with dull glass eyes. Her hair looks frightful, and her dress has worn down to the bare threads. She out to have been given away, another child could have loved her then.

            There! My shoes! My little lacy Sunday shoes sat ready just beneath my bed. I’d like to wear then now, but I can’t. I haven’t anywhere to go.

            “Hello? Is there anybody here?”

            Oh! How they vex me!

            People always wander into the house now, asking the silliest questions and disturbing my rest. “Knock once for yes and twice for no.” “Can you show yourself?” “Give us a sign of your presence.” I have heard them all. Curse them for bothering me!

            I run up to the attic, careful not to slam the door. I don’t want to excite them.

            The first time people came such hope filled me. I desperately and frantically asked about my family, but they didn’t seem to hear me. I finally started screaming. “Hello!” I said. “Can you hear me?” They all got rather animated then, and started asking me such foolish question while refusing to answer mine. When they asked, “Do you know you’re dead?” I felt so offended I ran to the attic and slammed the door behind me.

            Now I’ve learned that slamming the door only encourages them. Different people come now, off and on. They always carry these strange boxes and such they want me to talk into. Preposterous. I never answer anymore. I just want to speak to my family, but they never come.

            I settle down on the floor and wait. These invaders tended to leave after the sun came up. Stupid children, just like me, running around at night instead of normal hours, as my mother called it.

            I pick at the lace ends of my white church dress. Why did my parents never take me? One moment they readied to leave, and the next everyone left. They abandoned me, just like this house, and simple never returned.

            I should have seen Rose and Richard later that day. As my favorite cousins, I looked forward to that with much joy. They never came either, not them or Celia. They just left me all alone.

            I kick the floor in frustration, and hear excited gaps below. “Did you hear that!” they ask each other.

            Wonderful.

            This wasn’t fair. Celia started the fight, so why should I be punished? She called me a name, so I shoved her and she shoved me back. My head hit the window and I felt something crack. My neck or head? I’m not sure, but it certainly didn’t qualify total desertion.

            No matter, when I woke everyone else had vanished.

            I hear the sound of a car pulling away, gravel crushed under rocks.

            At least they’re leaving. I emerge from the attic and head back down stairs. I find the front door and walk out onto the porch. My hand rests on a column as I watch the road. I’m looking for my family. They’ll return, I’m sure. I just have to keep waiting.

The Call of the Sea

She held onto his fingers with the tips of her own, unwilling to let go, unwilling to hold on. The soft morning breeze played with his dark hair. He wore the look of a young man caught between two loves. Who am I to make him choose?

            The sea called him. Waves sang his name in a hush of foam kissing the shore. The salt on his skin invigorated him. He only felt steady with the water beneath him.

She hated the ocean. It took her father when she was seven, and she never forgave it. That grey mass of never ending motion was a monster, ready to pull another victim beneath its waves.

Yet they loved each other. She could remember playing in the schoolyard, holding hands after church, and stealing kisses in the apple orchard. A half of her whole, could she live without him?

Her fingers tightened. His gaze met hers, a question in his eyes. He, quiet unfairly, gave her the choice. “Should I leave on the Rosemary? The First Mate offered me a job. Do you want me to stay? I’ll stay for you.”

He came to her island town as an orphan. His father never cared, as he put it, and his mother went to God. The island took care of him until he became a man. Work became scarce, since he only knew the sea, but he stayed for her, for their future. A marriage for love, not prospects, he proposed. No one imagined she choose that, until she met him.

She could never live a sea life with him. As a proper lady, she wanted a home and children, to stay on this island and be buried in her family lot. He loved traveling and wanted to follow the paths of the sea. Could he be happy with the life I want?

            She searched his face and found the sea in his grey-blue eyes.

She pulled her hand away. “Will you ever return?”

Confusion and pain flickered across his face. “Do you want me to?”

She smiled and nearly took his hand again. “If the sea ever quiets in your heart, come back to me.”

“My dear, what of you? What if it takes me twenty years to tire of the sea? I can’t expect you to wait forever.”

“No, you can’t. But today, my heart is yours.”

He reached out and brushed his fingers against her cheek. “Until tomorrow then.” He turned and walked away. The morning mist enveloped him, turning his body into a shadow, than swallowing even that.

She watched, feeling heavy and free. A single tear fell down her face.

The sun peaked into the sky, turning the world pink. She looked up and smiled. “Tomorrow then.”

It’s late and I should probably be sleeping but . . .

. . . I decided to write the post.

I hate introductions! 

I don’t mean introduction characters in a book (I actually enjoy the “how do I start this book” question); I mean introducing myself. You know those small little bios about people you see all the time. Well, I have to write one because I’m trying out self-publishing, right.

It’s. Worse. Than. A. Query. Letter. (not really, but I’m ranting about bios right now).

Why do I have a personal grudge against mini bios? Because they seem so fake, so unsubstantial, so pointless.

Here:

Ariel Pakizer, a 20 year-old college student who is proud of her Irish and Native American roots, has been writing novels since she was nine years old–she’s always known what she wanted to do. She writes because her characters, “don’t give her a choice” and wouldn’t want to do anything else.Wolf and horse lover, when she isn’t writing, Ariel is usually taking pictures, wasting her time on the internet, or drawing, rather badly. She always has music playing, and has an obsession with candles and characters. A huge Lord of the Rings fan, she mainly enjoys Fantasy stories but will read anything gripping or character driven. 

How painful was that to read? It was painful to write (its also probably terrible because it’s what o-clock in the morning?). No one cares that I like horses. Lots of people like horses. No on cares I like music because, doesn’t everyone? This isn’t “me” this is a small little, “Hey, look how well I fit the ‘author’ stereotype and half of America” Maybe it’s me, but this just seems so surface and really fake. To me, it feels pretentious. It like I believes everyone cares about the fact I take pictures for fun. I’m sure you don’t. I’m not someone famous, or someone whose opinions “matters”, so does anyone really give two hoots about character obsession? Probably not.

Okay, it makes me more “relatable”, maybe. It opens a window into me, but it’s not really me. You can’t know me from that. And, as writer, it isn’t about me. It’s about the characters, the stories, the worlds, not me. That’s why in books the author bios are at the end, right? People want to read the book, not about the person who wrote it.

I don’t know. I’m tired and might delete this blog in the morning. I don’t like these mini bio things, and its even worse for online classes. So some people might want to know the person behind the novel. Great. If that’s your thing, I have nothing against that. But those, “tell me about yourself!” assignments in class make me want to scream. That’s a whole new lever of “no one cares”. We all just want the easiest grade we’ll get in the class. Maybe taking so many online classes created this aversion to these things.

I’m going to go read now (and I’m still looking for self-publishing advice!)

Self-Publishing: Advice Wanted (yes, come and brag!)

Yep. I am diving into the world of trying to publish your own book. I haven’t by any means given up on “traditional” publishing. I’m querying one of my books like mad right now. I’ve gotten a few rejections letters (which to me is great because that means they thought it was good enough to respond, right? One of them even liked the work but didn’t want a book in that genre right now, which isn’t bad news at all), but you only need one yes. I don’t want my story floating around a hundred inboxes at once. While I’ve got the query letter done (for now), I’m still working on that synopsis. You may be surprised about how many agents want one of those (as if query letters weren’t evil enough!!)

Anyways, I’m drowning in information overload right now. I feel ready to short-circuit and start twitching on the floor. There’s a lot of options for self publishing, and I was wondering if anyone advice? Horror/success stories? I’d love to hear them. You can read all the articles online you want but the people, people who have actually done this, probably give better advice. Or any contacts would be great too. It’s not what you know but who you know, yes?

I’m thinking I want it available in e-book format and in print (one of those print them as their ordered type things though). I looked at dog ear Publishing, but even that is so expensive! As a college student, I just don’t have $1,000 plus dollars to fork over if this isn’t the right way to go.

I also know everyone says not to design your own cover, but man, I can’t afford that either right now. Besides, I’m pretty handy with photoshop, my mom is a fantastic artists, and my dad’s a marketer. If I pitched them an idea (which I have one, simple, graphic, relevant, works in genre, and will fit well on a postage-stamp size) that I think will work well. We’ll see.

Best thing is I got this great internship  with an online magazine that ends with publishing a book. They usually go for “how to” type books, but they were letting to give my novel a try. So I’ve got them behind me on this, which should be a big, big help. I mean, the magazine gets about 15,000 hits a month and growing.

I also finished another story today (yes!) and it ended up being about 160,000 words (yikes!) it should have been longer but I really tried to condense about the last third of the novel. It is a Fantasy, so it can be a little longer. I’ll need my beta readers to tell me if it moved too fast, but obviously not yet. I already know about 3 scenes that need to be added and I never let anyone read my stuff until I’ve read it over with a fine-tooth comb.

But . . . any and all advice is more than welcome, even “DON’T DO THIS” stuff.

Oh, and I’m happy to share this whole process with anyone if you’re also floating around in the “I’m trying to get self-published” sea. One great thing about authors is that there’s always room for more of us. No competition here, just love and mutual understanding.