Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chapter 60: The Story That Has No Name. Yet.

Please be careful not to trip over the typos and bad story telling and quick pace. It's an uber rough draft. Thank you and please enjoy!

Chapter 1: They’re Destroying Our City!

“Send all the elfin sorcerers up north. Take an army of footmen to the northwest and follow that up with the knights and priests to the north east.” An explosion from the south alerted the master as cries rang out from the left and the sound of crackling fire erupted louder. “Where are my workers? Send them to fix that! We cannot let the enemy behind our walls.”
The army moved out as instructed as she looked around in a panic to find the workers.
“They’re destroying our city!” the mayor cried out again.
“Defend yourselves!” she cried, calling all workers to take up an ax and act as a militia. That would only work for a little while.
“The army is under attack!” an elf called out to her.
She looked up. The elfin army was being slaughtered by undead warriors from the north. “No!” she cried. “Save the elfin forest before the undead take it,” she commanded her knights. It would take several minutes for the knight army to reach the elves in time. It would never work. She’d have to invoke the ancient words. The only way to ensure her elves would not be killed was to do the ultimate sin. They had to have immortality.
The cries of her villagers was deafening as she stalled, her hand poised to make the spell. Her city was lost. Her army was only safe for now. All she had left was the elfin forest. She could not let it fall to the undead.
“Love never dies,” she whispered the incantation as her fingers moved, spelling out the words. A chorus rang out and cymbals clanged. A white light shot up around her army and engulfed it in little twinkles and stars.
“Cheat enabled,” it read on her chat bar. Then “Clare, U cheated!!!” from her opposing team.
Clare smiled and pulled her large headphones off and slicked the microphone back into place. With the noise gone, her invincible army slaughtered the undead before the same cheat could be used by her opponent.
“Victory!” scrolled across her screen in a matter of seconds. She put the headphones back on and accepted the chat request from username lordalfred89.
“Hey, my lady, you cheated and then cut me off!” His voice was pouty and angry. “I thought we were supposed to uphold our rules. No cell phones, no internet searches, and no cheating for six months. What’s up? Changed your mind?”
“I couldn’t let my elves die, Al,” she said. “That forest was the last thing I had. You destroyed my city and Max took over my castle yesterday. I’m practically sunk.”
“Sorry you have to lose at your own game.” He did sound sorry. “But that’s how it goes. Besides, I still have to face Stella and the others. No one is easy to beat in this little shindig you put together. Why couldn’t you recruit a bunch of newbies?”
She laughed and took a sip of her grape juice. “Too hard for you, Al? Think of it as growing pains.”
“You’re a pain alright. I’ve got sweat on my glasses!”
“Ahem, Al?”
“Never confess to breaking out in a sweat over a game.”
“This from the girl who cried when her favorite warrior went to the dark side in the last expansion? Ha, I don’t think so.”
“I’m saving and quitting. Are we all still on for this weekend?”
“Yeah, we have a lot to discuss at the meeting.” Al’s voice had dropped down a few octaves in excitement. “Can we ad midterms to the list to discuss? I mean, these ones really count.”
Clare smiled at the worry in his voice. “Of course. Stella asked me that too.” She watched her home screen as the animated rain fell on the flag of her people, the mouse hovering over the exit button. “Hey Al?”
“Senior makes us sound old. We’re not old, right?”
“Claredy-cat, we’re only eighteen. Still kids.” His voice had perked up again. His did that whenever hers went down. It was why they were best friends. He was always supportive to her when she was not.
“Nah, we’re not. We’re adults now. We have to grow up and stuff. I mean, can we even play this game and have our weekends after high school?”
“Save it for the meeting,” Al said in a final tone. “I have to clean out the litter boxes for my mom before my dad gets home.”
“You have them too as I remember.”
“You know, we’re the only kids on this block—us and Stella and the others—who have chores?”
Al smiled over the microphone. “We’re awesome for it.”
“See you later then.”
She pushed out from the computer table and rolled the keyboard closed. The temptation to open up her favorite social media sites crept up on her like a flea. She had the itch but had sworn a pact with the others not to use it. She had been grounded from her cell phone for using up all the minutes and her friends, wonderful warriors that they were, had sworn off using theirs until she had hers back.
“When one of us suffers, we all do,” Al had said when they all turned off the phones. It had all been very touching but the parents of the not-grounded friends had been furious about the safety issues of not having a phone until they explained the human benefits of not talking and using the phone all the time.
Going up the stairs, she was greeted by the smell of her mother cooking some cheap Italian food. The scent of red sauce from the jar was strongest even over the out-of-the-bag garlic bread. Must have been really old. She entered the kitchen to see her mom, frowning intensely over some bills, unaware of the boiling pasta.
“Uh, mom? Can I go across the street to Stella’s? I’ll be right back to help with the rest of dinner.”
“Mmm,” was the only reply. She was in a mood and that needed avoiding.
“Okay, I’ll be right back.”
Slipping on her flip-flops, she jogged across the street in her jeans and dark red camisole without a second thought. Stella’s mom, Mrs. Hart, had been in the garden as usual. Newly planted hydrangeas were meticulously lined up on either side of the door and every weed was torn up and all the soil tilled to perfection.
“Pink this year,” Mrs. Hart said as she came out of the house in gardening gloves and an arm load of asdfghjk. “I don’t suppose you can talk Stella into wearing any, can you?”
“The powers of forcing pink on strong-will women is beyond me.” Clare laughed but Mrs. Hart was not amused.
Taking the front steps two at a time, Clare went inside and straight up to her friend’s room. She knocked once on the door then opened it without a reply. Stella’s room was a disjointed attempt on her mother’s part to keep her “normal to society” and Stella’s sadly humble attempts to show off her individuality. The walls were white but the bookshelves were black. The ceiling fan was a hideously swirly white thing but draping purple lights hung on all the walls. Her wardrobe was just as discombobulated.
Stella sat hunched over her laptop, black fingernails stroking the keys as she commanded her own armies across virtual planes. Her hair was long and un-dyed out of respect for her mother but her clothes were, not quite loud, but definitely an attempted at the dark subculture she yearned to be a part of.
“Al tells me you cheated,” she said, her black coated eyes not missing a move on the screen. “I would have too, don’t worry.”
She sat up after exiting the match. “Max whined the whole time we were playing. He didn’t even try to beat me. I hate him for that.”
“No, you hate him for being able to wear and decorate as he pleases and his parents don’t stop him.” Clare took her seat in her favorite chair of Stella’s: a big black velvet covered bean bag. Stella had made the cover herself when her mom had brought back a big teal colored bean bag and placed it in her room while she was at school.
“True, but look at it this way.” She put on her narrow black rimmed glasses. “He says that he brings home good grades, is respectful, kind, and helps out a lot at home and his parents let him do as he wants because they see what a good kid he is. Now, I do the same thing. But still, I get no slack.”
“You’re a girl?” Clare offered knowing full well the tirade she was going to get back.
“That shouldn’t matter in this case!” Stella exclaimed and leaped up to tidy her room. Everything had to be just right. The curtains had to fall a certain way, the desk objects had to be straight. “I’m safe. I never stay out late. I don’t do anything!”
“Okay, calm down, I’ve heard this all before. Can we talk business for a second?”
Stella flopped onto her red and gold bed with purple pillow cases and moaned.
“Thanks. So, meeting this weekend? Are you free?”
“You know I am. I claimed I can’t work on Sundays due to religious obligations.”
“Right. So we need to set up this semester’s laws and boundaries. Do you still want to play the sorceress? Because Al said he may have a female friend coming in from another clan from Arizona or something. She’s moving here and is a hard core larper.”
Stella raised her arms above her head from where she laid and said in a dramatic voice and accent, “I will kill her to keep my place as magic master and rule with her blood in my river.”
“Oh, okay, so that’s a no.”
Stella shot up and smiled. “How do you know she plays female roles?” They’re eyes met and they burst out laughing.
“You are desperate for someone to play Count Graph, aren’t you?” Clare giggled. “You’ve had a crush on that imagined character for as long as I can remember.”
Stella pretended to swoon on to the floor, tossing her long hair elegantly. “Ugh, I long for my count,” she gasped, clasping her heart. “I need him to go on living!”
Clare stood up and walked to the door. “Tell Max to come at eleven then. We’ll get lunch after.”
“Wait!” Stella stood up, her count forgotten. “Can we talk about school? I know it’s forbidden to speak of the outside world at meetings, but…”
Clare sighed. “I know. I told Al that you asked me that last week. We all have a lot say on that point. See you Saturday then. Full dress?”
“My new costume isn’t done. I ran out of money.”
“Wear the old one?”
“I will do as I must.” Stella was always so dramatic.

After a quiet and awkward dinner with her dad coming home late, her mom in bad spirits, and her younger brothers fighting like rats over the food, Clare went to her room. She turned off all the lights and ignited her dozen electric candles. After spilling a red candle all over the carpet she was not allowed to burning anything anymore. The soft glow of the electric ones was not as romantic as real ones but it had to do. Glancing around at her many posters, play swords, maps, and ships in bottles she suddenly understood Stella and Al’s fears. They weren’t kids any more. When she had had to get a job she was excited to spend money on more DVDs, music that inspired her role playing, and accessories to accent every costume and fantasy decorations for her walls. But that had never happened. When she drove the car to work and school, it suddenly needed gas and she had to pay for it. When the oil went out, she had to pay for the change. Before she knew it, she was fighting to save money for one season of her favorite show.
She down on her bed and continued to gaze around her sacred sanctum. How much of it would change when she left for college? How much would she change?
Pulling the yearbook out from under her bed, she flipped to the pages she had marked. No one had said very nice things about her or her friends. She was the most normal of them all. She had written for the school paper, volunteered for the drama club once, and done a few other after school projects. They used a bad picture of her though.
Stella had many rude comments written in about her. Max had more. Mostly from the boys on the sports teams as usual. Clare didn’t care one way or another about Stella and Max’s style choices. What she cared about was how they were treated based on outside appearance.
Al was the only one with mostly positive reviews. Voted “Cutest geek of the junior class” and at the same time “Most likely to be the forty year old virgin”.
“Stupid people,” was all she muttered. The newest edition to their circle of friends was a larger boy named Jeff who could do almost anything with a computer. He had moved to their school too late to be in the year book and finished out the year as a home schooler. He was shy and quiet, but Clare had liked him right away for his technical powers.
She tossed the book aside and fell back on her bed to look up at her ceiling where her glow in the dark stars were just starting to appear in the dim light. The only constellation she had taken the time to make was Draco and he was right above her.
“What am I supposed to tell them?” she asked her dragon. “It’s like they don’t know I’m just as scared as them to be eighteen. Help me?”
Without so much as changing she drifted off to sleep, making plans her head of what to present to her fellow role players that weekend. Much to her disappointment, she did not dream.

The weekend came with typical end of summer weather for the Midwest. The skies began to turn greyer earlier even after promising sunrises and clear mornings. The humidity stuck around and still made it so that Clare’s hair couldn’t be styled in any other way than a braid and bandanna around her head. She put on her brown leggings, tall boots and green dress which she had slit all the way up the front of the skirt and back in order to ride horses better. After lacing up her corset and strapping her short sword to her waist, she took her magical staff and left the house where her dad was arguing with her brothers.
Across the street, Stella’s car was already gone. She got into her own old Mustang and pulled out of the drive way gratefully.
“Please don’t let the sun out,” she begged the clouds above as the sun winked at her. The Mustang was broken in more ways than one, but the worst was that it had no working cooling system. Or heating. She wasn’t a complainer, but being sweltering in the body binder around her was not how she wanted to conduct business in the park.
She drove a few miles then pulled up to tiny number twelve; a small, aging town home where Max and his family tried to make do with what they had. Clare used to honk the horn to get Max to come out but since the arrival of his newest youngest sister that was not an option. She tripped out of her car, her sword catching the seat belt, and walked as quietly up to the door as she could. Max’s mom was never happy to see her son leave with a horde of costumed kids.
Knocking as quietly as possible she hoped Max could hear. Not ten seconds later a baby’s angry cry erupted from inside. Then she heard stomping, rushing feet come down the stairs just behind the wall. Max flung the door open looking as if he were running for his life.
“Run,” he breathed and took her hand and dashed back to the Mustang.
As they pulled out, Max tossed a whole army duffle bag of supplies into the back seat. He inhaled deeply and then let out a massive, long sigh. He smiled over at Clare.
“I see you finished the robe of darkness,” she said. “That only took a year.”
“Had to save up for the silver thread. See?” He proudly pointed to the seams in the long, trench coat-like tunic he was wearing. “And I added a pointed hood.” He pulled it over his shoulder like a long braid. “And it’s form fitting.”
“Okay there, fashion man.” She laughed. “Guess our dark elf has to be the one to take the burden of good looks. Did you get your ears fixed?”
“Yeah, it cost everything I had saved up though. Those things are expensive.”
“But can’t afford a hair cut?” she teased. “Shoulder length.”
“And still growing. I know, my mom bugs me about it too. Says I’d save more money if I wasn’t dying it crazy colors and…stuff.”
Clare smirked sideways at him. “And stuff? You wear more makeup than Stella sometimes.”
“Clare, look out!”
Both of them were jerked forward into the dash board as Clare jammed the breaks harder than she ever had before. Clasping her hand to her throbbing head she looked up and grabbed Max’s arm panting.
“Are you okay? I’m so sorry, that sign came out of nowhere!”
Max’s eyes were streaming tears and his head was bleeding. He put his hand over hers and pointed to in front of them. Ahead was a large orange sign that said the road ahead would be closed starting Sunday and wouldn’t reopen until November.
“For construction?” Max sniffed. “That’s the nature reserve. And the state park.”
Then a large man in an orange vest and yellow hat came out of the trees toward them. He was chewing a chilly dog in one hand and holding a “slow” sign in the other. Clare rolled down the window.
“You were going awful fast there, miss,” chilly dog man said.
“I didn’t see the sign. We drive down here a lot,” she added trying to sound apologetic. “What’s going on?”
The man motioned to all the immediate trees and the field next to it. “All this was bought up by an oil company from Texas. Going to put in office buildings. Construction starts in a few days but the park is closing Sunday.”
“That’s tomorrow though!” Max exclaimed. “We live here.”
The man frowned. “Say what?”
“No, no, what he means is we pay to rent this place out a few times a month. We’ve paid for the weekend. We use the camp site up the hill for our group.” He had to understand.
“Uh-hu,” he chuckled, taking a large, dribbly bite of his chilly dog. He eyed her clothes then Max’s. “Listen kids, when school starts again you won’t even miss this place. You look like seniors. Now be good little seniors, do your business today then be on your way.”
“Drive,” Max ordered but Clare was already shifting into gear. They sped away.
When they reached the parking lot they put on their packs and hiked up the hill to where the others were already waiting. Stella had taken charge and seen to it that the great hall (the largest shelter in the camp site) was already laid out with a table cloth and goblets for everyone. Al had set up the tents too. Clare dumped her stuff in the human tent and met the others at the round table in the shelter. Jeff, Al, Stella, Max and Clare all stood around the table.
“Everyone,” Al rubbed his hands together happily. “Before we depart into our world, I’d like to introduce you all to the new head of the barbarian clan Alice.”
From out of the women’s rest room stepped a short girl in loose leather and animal furs. Necklaces made of claws and teeth were layered around her neck and wrists. Her hair was long and ratty. On her back was a shiny broad sword. Stella elbowed Max as his eyes were fixed on her midriff.
“Hi,” Clare said. “I’m really happy the barbarians decided to join Sun Age. We’ve known about you for a while but weren’t sure how you played with others.”
Alice smiled and removed her sword to take her seat. “Thanks! We wanted to join too but again, same problem. We thought that after you accepted the dark elves maybe you’d be more open to… different people.”
“I’m different,” Jeff mumbled. He had elected to be the Mayor of Sun Age and not participate in the fighting and spell casting.
“You’re special,” Clare said. “Okay then, can we get started? We have a lot to discuss.”

They all looked in to each other’s eyes. Silence fell for a moment then Jeff declared, “Begin!”
“Good people of Sun Age,” Clare said in a booming voice that filled the great hall. “We have gathered here because we are about to enter into a most trying time of life. A time many people like us do not survive. As the founder of Sun Age it is my duty to see to it that every man, elf and mage is taken care of. I have appointed Lord Jeffrey Righteousheart  to take the minutes and make sure we stay on topic. Lord Jeffrey, what is the first order of business, if you please?”
Jeffrey pushed his spectacles more securely onto his nose and read down the parchment. “First, Sir Alfred Firehearth wishes to announce the arrival of Lady Alicia of the barbarian clan. But seeing as how we’ve already done that, perhaps Lady Alicia has a few words of her own?”
Lady Alicia stood up; her short stature was suddenly unnoticeable. She was powerful and her face was wise. “We the barbarians are concerned about the use of magical instruments in the civilian area. Many of our people do not abide by the laws of no mystical talking boxes during town hours. Do you have any suggestions as to how to enforce these laws? I understand everyone on the council of Sun Age has taken an oath to avoid the use of such magic.”
“In deed,” Sir Alfred answered her. “On behalf of our founder Madam Clarissa, we have taken an oath to follow in her suffering so as to avoid disrespectful judgments on her unhappiness. Should the barbarians wish to pay homage to the great lady, then bid them not use that magic only during town hours. They need not give it up all together when in the other world.”
“A wise piece of advice,” Madame Clarissa added. “Thank you, Sir Alfred. Next?”
“The bestowing of the title ‘senior’ to all persons of age at the Institute of Fog,” Lord Jeffrey said.
“Alas, we are all prisoners there in the other world,” Stella sighed. “It is called Fog because of how it clouds and distorts one’s thinking,” she explained to Lady Alicia. “The gods forbid a child should learn how to think. They are much more easily controlled when told what to think instead.”
“Now, now, Maid Stella,” Sir Alfred smiled cautiously. “Let us not bring such politics into the great hall. This is sacred ground.”
Everyone nodded and pounded their goblets onto the table.
“This is the time where we all must band together stronger,” Maximus said, speaking at last. “I know I am the one who suffers the most on account of my feeble courage. But dark elves are never accepted anywhere.”
“You have been among us,” Madame Clarissa said. “And you always will be.”
Sir Alfred spoke, “It is true though. Maximus has been the target of titans for many years. I will be the first to confess that I have not lept to his aid. I fear them as well.”
“Perhaps you could visit the white witch for healing?” Stella smiled at Max. She was adorned in her old white costume and long wig. She had painted her face pale but her lips and around her eyes were black. “I am the healer. The user of good magic. I think our powers would mesh well, dark elf.”
Everyone laughed at the subtleties in her voice.
“I may have some aid for you as well,” Lady Alicia spoke up. “None near as powerful or as exciting as the one our white which offers you though. Within the barbarian tribe is a man who can match the titans in strength. He has saved me from thieves before in the other world.”
“Is he also a prisoner at the Institution of Fog?” Maximus inquired.
“Indeed he is. You may not know of him though. I shall make introductions in the other world when the time comes.”
“Thank you, my lady,” Maximus said, bowing his head.
The servant came around and refilled everyone’s goblet and stoked the fire to keep it light. The great hall could be a gloomy place without the blazing fire. They all drank in silence for a moment.
“If I may,” Madame Clarissa said at length. “I have an urgent matter to speak of. Something Maximus and I discovered on the way up here.”
“The guard at the gate?” Lord Jeffrey inquired.
“Indeed. You met him as well?”
“Yes, though less violently then our Maximus did. You should at least wipe away the blood, my friend.”
“That was my doing,” Madame Clarissa said. “I did not see the guard. But what are we to do? They cannot take our town. This has been out city of solitude. It has been out land for years and now it is under attack!”
All eyes were on her with awe. They all felt the same way about Sun Age but were not sure how to fight the enemy that was at the gates.
“They will close our gates tomorrow unless we can stop them,” she pleaded. “What can we do? Lord Jeffrey, any ideas? I cannot stand to see this land go.”
Lord Jeffrey took his spectacles off in thought. His frown was deep and sincere.
Stella spoke up first. “Must we fight? This is our last year at the Institution. What have we got after that? University? Work as common people?”
“Give up?” Maximus gaped. “Let what we have here go without a fight? Is that the kind of witch you are?”
Stella glared at him then. “Do not anger me, dark elf.”
“Hold!” Sir Alfred called out. “Peace among you two! These quarrels will not aid us. We cannot let them even begin. Madame Clarissa, do you have a plan?”
She stood before them, regal and tall, but not a hope in her heart. “I know not as of now. I am sorry. But I do know I will not give this place up. What we have created here is more than something for us. We have a history here. We have fought and bled for each other here. We have stories to tell. Magic has happened here. Foes have been concord. Sun Age is my home. It means more to me than I can tell you. It is not just land from the hill to the river. This is also the home to animals and to nature. Does that mean nothing?”
No one spoke or moved. Each noble among them was thinking back to his or her past in Sun Age. What Madame Clarissa had said was true. This world needed to be protected.
Lord Jeffrey stood up. “So let it be written in the book of Ages that on this day a threat was made to the land of Sun Age and the council, from all corners of the land, acknowledged it and will place it in the front of their thoughts as we embark on this most perilous journey of ‘senior’.”
“And to those who have commoners work and must keep at it,” Lady Alicia spoke up. “May the gods bless you and grant you the patience of a thousand mothers!”
They all laughed and clapped. Then, raising their goblets high, with one voice they cried out: “To a rising sun!” and drank deeply, their voice echoing off the walls of the great hall and up into the marble ceiling.

Chapter 2: The Institution of Fog                    



Monday, June 17, 2013

Chapter 59: The Adult Child

Gothic Charm School book cover
The amazing Jillian Venters tried to give baby bats and other gothlings hope when she said her book “Gothic Charm School” that one good trick to getting your parents to except you is to be a good kid. Straight As (if you can) obedient, respectful, polite, creative, no drugs or alcohol. All that good stuff that I do naturally. And that other kids could do if they really wanted to. Good advice, Auntie Jillian. That should do the trick. What parent wouldn’t be happy to have THAT kid?
In season 7 of “Supernatural” the adorable lesbian Charlie said that to be who she wanted to be she had to be “indispensable” or something of the sort. Make it so that people need you. So she could be free to wear the clothes she wanted, like the nerdy things she did, and be open about stuff. Good plan, Charlie, got you a good job, friends, and you were happy.
Sadly, in a family of eleven, you are not indispensable. There are eight other kids who could do your job. And they all want the love and acceptance that you are trying desperately to get. Being an A-student is also just the norm in a large, homeschooled family. If you are a B-student there is something wrong with you. C-student and you need to quit social life (when have I had one of those??) and your job and just study. And still somehow magically pay for school. Oh, and have I mentioned how expensive your car insurance is? And your cell phone bill? You can at least pay for that! 
Charlie from Supernatural Season 7
Being respectful and polite to a fatal degree (even when being reamed by upset authority) is also normal and expected in day to day life. And let’s not even mention drugs and alcohol at this point. I cannot imagine what my parents would say if I came home high or intoxicated. Maybe the expectations wouldn’t be so freaking high if I had been a worse child. If we all had. Damn, why were we such good kids? Because my parents believed in discipline and we learned really fast to behave.
So all those wonderful theories and ideas from Charlie and Auntie Jillian are out the window. So what’s a goth-writer to do?
And that’s my point here. This is not about clothes. Yes, I am fashion obsessed when it comes to MY clothes (when I want to be. As I write this I am in my yoga pants and a shirt that I haven’t washed in 4 days) and I want to wear what I want. Like every other person in the world including my mother. I hate her sense of fashion. I would NEVER wear it. She buys more clothes in a year than I have in six. Which is a good point, to my gothy brethren: you want those gothy clothes? Buy them yourself. Know that when you get older though and have to pay for other things, that won’t be so easy.
The point is not just clothes and makeup (which I also love and haven’t worn in months). The point is that I cannot write either. Or draw or paint. The fear of my parents, their expectations, the guilt they instilled in me, the lack of support has blocked me. I can’t write because I think “Oh, yikes, what if mom read that violent scene?” (or that sexy scene!). One time I asked mom to proof read “Generations” my fantasy manuscript. Big mistake. I was traumatized when I got it back because of the comments she had written about my descriptions and my characters. Even where I am now, I can say safely that it was not constructive criticism. And I love that stuff. I eat it up!
What kind of a psychology study could this be? It has something to do with being a miserable twenty-three year old child. I am trapped in my parent’s house. “Run away” some morons once told me (well, several morons over the course of about seven years). No thanks. I could resort to prostitution and a strip club but I’d rather not. Lesser of two evils. The last thing I want to be is one of those over-done, over-written, crack whore stories that the “indie” and teen kids love.
“So you’re choosing to stay, you cannot complain”. It’s true. And I’m not. I’m writing about what is happening so I can make sense of it in my own head. The French word essayer is where we get our word “essay”. It means “to try”. Not “a paper you write in college”. This is an essay about being a goth, writer, adult child in a parent’s home.
I can hear the dreams of gothlings and baby bats everywhere who were going to be good kids and indispensable shattering and crashing twenty stories below. I’m sorry kids, I don’t know what to tell you. For me, I’m giving up right now. I’m wearing hideous, boring clothes (my dad still asked my mom when she was going to get me “decent” clothes when I was wearing a red t-shirt and jeans. What?) working as hard as I can at home, helping out, and trying to be respectful. Let me tell you, being respectful when you’re twenty-three and not getting any back is hard. Weather the storm, my friends.
Remember that scene from the movie version of “Master and Commander”? Willy is out on the broken rigging in the storm off the cape. It’s freezing and Jack knows this man has helped him win his prize when Willy gave him that model of the Acheron. And yet that rigging is acting as an anchor in the freezing water and the whole ship will go down unless it’s cut loose. Jack cuts it away and Willy drowns. His friends even have to help chop the offending rope. What I love about Jack Aubrey in the books (which I am reading with great joy) and the movie, is how strongly he can make a decision. The books make all the jokes about “navy discipline” real to me. Sometimes, we have to cut things loose just to survive. Fortunately, surviving is what I’m really good at. I’m a pirate that way. Take what I can, when I can. I give back more than a pirate (I’m talking POTC kind of pirate here), but that’s the other side of the coin.
So there it is, friends. Sometimes, your best isn’t good enough. I am not good enough. I have a 3.5 gpa at a university level. I got that while holding three jobs. To pay for the things I needed. I do not drink a lot. I have never done drugs. I work at home a lot to help out my massive family. I do errands for my mom. I drive the kids to classes and help them with school at home. I am polite. And somehow, I am healthy and in shape. And somehow… that is not good enough to let me wear a black and red dress with black lace and dark eye makeup. I’m at a loss, bats. 
It’s like giving up. But this ship (me?) will sink if I don’t cut something loose. Putting up with stifling your creativity and preferences for two or three more years won’t kill me. Sure, it may delay my writing career, but I’m not getting support and encouragement for that from ANYONE any way. I will be even more unhappy and the depression will sink in, but who cares? I need this ship to sail.
Years from now if I ever get famous enough for people to go digging for my sparse set of writings:
A college kid assisting an old professor looks down at my blog and laughs a little.
“Check this out, Doc,” he says, handing the printed blog to his superior.
“I’ll be damned,” the professor says, looking down his nose and through the lenses of his glasses. “What a post to write on such a date.”
“Day after Father’s Day,” the assistant muses. “Boy, she must have been a joy to have around.”