Wheeling Away

“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life…
”’Time Of Your Life’, Green Day.

 

        Children are always in moving. From the moment they are born, they are in constant motion. I vividly remember bringing my first day alone with my young daughter, our first day home from the hospital.

 

        She was in her stroller at the end of the couch from me (her bassinet was in the room with her exhausted mother), and she made one of those little cooing, squeaking baby noises. Then, all the enormity of being responsible for a new life rolled on me in an instant, and I thought, “how in the hell am I going to care for this kid!?”

 

        And it’s not like each kid comes out of the womb with a custom toe tag that says, “This one is an artist. This one is smart and mouthy, and will never eat anything green. Oh, and they’ll wreck the car at 16.”

 

  A few short years after that, and this time it’s the inevitable bicycle. On the bike, she was equally undeterred. She wobbled and crashed after a short distance, but escaped with dirty clothes and superficial scrapes. Further, she was undeterred. She stood up, set her jaw in a miniature version of her mother’s, and got back on. A second attempt, and, still a little wobbly, a little unsure, she took off, wheeling away. Mostly sideways, rather than forward, but onward she went.

 

   It wasn’t until I took off the training wheels on her bicycle that I realized that she was in motion away from me. Thinking back, I realized It had started as soon as she learned how to crawl, and then surf the furniture, standing, walking on rubber knees, taking bobbling steps. Once she could move, she was unstoppable, constantly exploring her environment. And now, years later on the bike, she was free on two wheels, moving her away, farther, faster.

 

  Away to new friends. Steadily advancing class years, full of new experiences, both good and bad. The equally inevitable car. But always Out. Forward. Away.

 

  It would be easy to draw that analogy out to now, to make the predictable conclusion and say that, after a wobbly journey, she spread her wings and flew. But that wouldn’t be true. She’s well prepared for this. She never really wobbled (or if she did, she handled it like a pro and I never knew it). She’s been working, buying her own food, supporting herself. She’s smart, tough, competent, and as prepared as anyone her age can be. She will be absolutely fine.

 

  If anyone is struggling, it’s her mother and I. As I write this, there are boxes and bags and piles of clothing scattered all over the house. There are weird holes in our house, and thus our life, where another person used to be – or will be. There are holes in cupboards, on counters, the fridge, where she once was. To say nothing of her room – empty of its possessions and stripped of the life and vibrancy of the person which once made the walls and paint and wood come alive.

 

        If life is like a puzzle, my house is full of the pieces of her life.

 

  Moving day came, and once again I was following her car, away towards her new life, a van full of her things, as she guided us for the first time, towards the new house, city, and life she had chosen for herself.

 

  We were met by her new roommate and they happily began setting up where all the things were to be unloaded. And after a few hours, it was complete. We spent a happy dinner with her and her roomie, and then it came time to leave. On the ride home I tried not to think too much about how empty the van was. And later at home, just how suddenly quiet and big and empty the house felt. We began to explore our new life as an only couple again, 25 years after we first started.

 

  It has not been easy. Her mother, very close to the departure date, turned to me tearfully and said, “She grew inside me for nine months, and I’m losing her. And in losing her, I’m losing a piece of me. And that piece of me is going away.”

 

        I didn’t know what to say. But in the face of our grief, I had to say something. Helplessly, I groped for something, anything. I used the first emotion fueled thought string that popped into my head.

 

       ”We’re giving her a bunch of our stuff. Pots, pans, plates, dishes, towels. Everything we give her, to start her new life, is a piece of home she’s taking with her. And since she is parts of both of us, she’ll never be truly away from us.”

 

        And with that, I’d accidentally stumbled upon it. Children might always be moving away, but it’s never really away in a direct line. It’s more like an orbit. Depending on the child and your relationship, the orbit is nearer or farther away from you, the sun. And just as all suns die, so do we. And as we do, our children eventually become stars themselves, with spouses, friends, and partners to orbit around them.

 

        And so the cycle continues. Parenting is all about doing your best with limited information. The sheer weight of being completely responsible for a baby human, that I helped make, made me a bit panicky, but in the end, bumps and all, I figured out how to make it work for me.  As of this writing, It has been 8,808 days of trying to figure it out. It will be an unknown number of days of continuing to figure it out.

 

  So traveling away, while painful, is necessary, as they establish their particular orbit around a new sun.

 

  It is our joy, and our grief, to first form them, and then set them free.

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Wheeling Away

Time and Memories

Tonight is a night when the veil is thin;
And the glittering eyes of the wolves of regret
Prowl the edges of the firelight of memory.
And out beyond the safety of the firelight
Dance the ghosts of paths not taken,
Where with mocking silvered mirrors
they show the futures that could have been.
And the weight of rushing years suddenly weighs heavily upon you,
and you realize that time is a brutal illusion and truth all at once;
And the ghosts offer honeyed cups of sweet regret;
And with no real choice you refuse them, for your sanity.
So they taunt you, and pluck at the threads of the skein of life until
one by one, those you love leave you, until there is nothing more than the two of you once more.
And you hope that that will be enough for a hard and uncertain future.

Time and Memories

Blood for Blood update! And a contest!

So, it’s been a minute. Part time writers are at the mercy of life, and life’s been a bi…challenging for the last year. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. So far, the first bits of the second chapter have revolved around character development of Liv – and it’s gotten really dark. We’ll see where that takes us. I’ve provided an unedited section below as a teaser.

Good news, I’ve got enough done, I’m aiming at a Christmas release for this next chapter. And as a reward, I’ll be bundling the two chapters, the first for free, when you buy the second. So please, share far and wide when the time comes. depending on the amount of shares, one or some lucky sharers will get them BOTH for free!

“Goldport was a long way, figuratively and literally, from Duke Osric’s hold, Hravnsheim, site of the Den that Liv’s guild had been burned from in Cooper’s Folly. Goldport lay long
along a gulf, indolently curved around the bay, like two lovers spooning, capped with a gleaming
white sand beach. Cooper’s Folly had been cramped and stuck in the gap between three
mountains, hemmed in by brooding beech and pine forests. Goldport was warm and languid,
caressed by silky white sand beaches, thanks to a southern ocean current and more convivial
clime; Copper’s Folly was cold and wet and sullen thanks to higher elevation and its northern
latitude. It’s people were olive skinned, with dark hair and slightly almond shaped eyes, and
since so much of its year was the kind of oppressive, paralyzing heat that pressed into you
like a weight, it’s people were not concerned with exact time keeping, while keeping strictly
to afternoon naps, and light and sheer clothing of the finest cottons and silks that
scandalized the more conservative Northerners of Hravnsheim. Finally, the one thing that
Goldport was, was rich. This was the thing that drew Liv back, thought the thought of
returning to her home town puckered her stomach with distaste.

Thanks to the accidents of geography that blessed Goldport with its fine climate and the best
harbor on this side of the continent, it was made richer with the discovery that nearly every
variety of otherwise rare spice and their products would grow, or could be made to grow there. Frankincense, Myrrh, Olives, Saffron, all had been carefully cultivated in the soil
around the city. It grew so rich, that one of its other informal names, the City of Ivory, came
into being because it was said that everyone was so rich that they could all afford to sleep on
beds made from it. Certainly some of them did, but she knew it was a well-worn lie. There
were some, many even, rich enough for ivory beds. But she knew that those tales were mostly
well-loved lies given to separate the stupid and unlucky from their money.

The varied splendors and riches of Goldport were lost on Liv. Too much pain and darkness
had been caused there in her childhood to ever be rinsed away by all the warmth and sun.
The woman she was born as, died there as a child in the flesh markets of the Streets of Silk.
As her horse clop-clopped slowly towards the Pleasure Gate under the leaden heat, she was
unable to resist being drawn back to old thoughts she had thought well buried.”

Blood for Blood update! And a contest!

New developments

The next chapter of Blood for Blood is proving difficult to write. It’s a transitional scene, where I need to write some character development as a set up to my next bit of action. It is not coming clearly or easily.

In other news, I had an epiphany while thinking about the next story I’m working on, the-yet-to-be-named classic steampunk story. I was trying to think of naming conventions for not only Victorian characters, but also their ships. Then it hit me – duh, the ships are characters.

New developments