Chapter Three: Need a new reason to be

I stared at the bright green numbers. They flickered back at me in the form of 3:07. I stopped sleeping through the night the week before my mom died. I was starting to sense it coming, and that’s when losing her truly began to rip me open. I only dreamt of her. Every single one forced me to open my eyes, only to realize it was a dream. My night’s usually consisted of me falling in out of sleep, jumping into reality only to fall back into the dream.

I was losing grip on everything I was.

Flashes of my mom’s wavy hair and her wide, warm smile played on a reckless repeat in my head. I sat up on the edge of the bed. My purple flannel sheets were bunched up and tossed against the wall. The smells that lingered in my room were a mix of vanilla and cinnamon. My sweat-soaked turquoise hair stuck to my forehead and cheeks. The room was freezing, but my body couldn’t have been any warmer.
I dragged myself from my bed to my yellow cushioned desk chair. I flipped on the computer as I grabbed my sticker-covered water bottle. The bright glow of the screen burned my eyes with its initial flash, taking my room from complete darkness to a chamber cast in a soft glow. The empty application for the travel photography internship stared back at me. Pete said he found it, but I knew it was Evie. I knew she wanted to help me, but I couldn’t bare it, not at that time. It was painful to breathe, and even harder to swallow.
My mom’s faded voice said, “Well, are you going to fill it out?”
I shrugged but said nothing. I always tried at first not to talk back when I heard her. I wasn’t sure what it meant, or even what I wanted it to mean. I was terrified that I was losing my mind, but even more so of losing my voice. I wrapped my hand around the silver bird pendant that hung around her neck my whole life.
My stomach twisted to make room for the expanding holes in my chest. An angry and toxic breath forced itself out between my lips as my finger bitterly x-ed out the browser window. A picture of a four-year-old me wrapped around my young mother’s leg was there to greet me the moment the browser disappeared.
Damn.
What was I doing to myself? I quickly quit out of the photo gallery, grabbed the small tin box, and headed straight for the window.

The only thing I liked about Joan’s house was the bedroom window. It opened where both parts of the roof dipped down and touched, making sitting on the roof totally possible. I had discovered it the first time Glen moved Brian and me in. My emotions were dumping out of me at an alarming rate. I needed something to hold on to, somewhere for me to collect the pieces of myself.
I place a thinly rolled joint to my lips and lit it. Thick, harsh smoke poured into my lungs, my mind loosened as my eyes focused on the starless sky picturing the twinkling beacons as if they were there in sight.

***

My eyes were fixed on the cream-colored dashboard. Every single time I was in Glen’s car I experienced overwhelming urges to cover the spotless interior of the BMW in thick mud. Everything that sucked about Glen the car encapsulated: vain, selfish, and out of whack priorities. Electronic music filled the car to a point no one could talk to each other. I had nothing to say to Glen but enjoyed talking to Brian. He was a good kid. It made my stomach twist that he had to go through his life without the world’s greatest mom. I used to be jealous that he had the standard aged mom and a dad, who lived together in a substantial house. My version of our mother was sixteen when she had me, and I never met my father. She raised me as she worked full time and put herself through school. We moved to different apartments yearly. Now, I see I had it better after all. I had her. He doesn’t, plus he had to live with Glen’s new family, where in a little less than two years I wouldn’t have to deal with that. I fantasized about running away. I was beginning to think I wouldn’t hesitate so much if I had someone to go with.
The music turns down as the car slowed. “Well, Brain this is your stop. You are taking the bus home.”
I looked back at Brian’s bright blue eyes and freckled face and saw mom. He looked so much like her. He even had her pointed chin. Now the expression on his face was mostly sad.
“Have a good day, buddy,” I said tousling his hair.
“Yeah, not likely.”
“Same here,” I smiled at him.
He tossed a broken smile back. Brian pulled a book from his backpack as he climbed out of the car without saying a word to his dad. I watched as Brian wandered toward his classroom door. He sat as far from the other kids as he could manage. He tucked his khaki covered knees in his chest keeping his words on the pages of the book.
My heart sunk to my feet. These were the moments where I wished I had magical powers, where I hoped that someone or some option would appear, so that some how I could fix his life. It wasn’t fair. It will never will be truly okay again. Tears began to pull at my eyelids.
“Damn minivan is taking up both exit lanes,” Glen cursed under his breath.
“Brian doesn’t talk to any of the kids.”
“Well, the kid reads too much. He only had one friend at the old school.” Glen said this as his beady eyes stared out the driver’s side window.
“Well, then maybe you shouldn’t have moved him.”
“Private school is better.”
“There is enough change. A new house, school, and sibling was unnecessary to add. Losing his mom was enough.”
“It’s not my fault she had cancer. You are always acting like I did that her.” His words come and burn my face.
I shake my head and look out of the window. Not at Brain but the sky instead. My heart started pounding in my chest.
“Calm down, sweetie. Don’t let him get to you,” my mom’s whispered version of her voice trailed in my brain as if she was standing behind me.
“Why did you marry him?” I asked out loud without thinking. The moment the words left my mouth, dread and panic coated my muscles. I glanced over at Glen, who’s attention was focused on the white van unloading snacks and poster board. He didn’t hear me. Glen slammed his fist on the horn.
A middle-aged woman with a blond bob turned her head and glared at us.
“You’re such an asshole,” I muttered.
“Well, no one is asking you to stay,” Glen snapped, as he peeled around the van and sped off. The music was blasting again. I allowed myself to sink into the heated, leather seat and feel sorry for myself.
I needed to do something. I needed something to hold on to. The nearly identical houses blurred into a mix of white and gray. Juvenile trees with bare branches lined the sidewalks equal distances apart. Nothing stood out as special or unique.
Glen’s quick breaking turned my stomach over multiple times, so as I was climbing out of his car hoping my bag’s zipper was scratching the paint, I felt like I was going to throw up at any minute.
“The bus home after,” Glen spat at me.
“Got it,” I spat back as I slammed the door closed.
“Easy!” He yelled through the tinted windows.
The sounds of Glen’s tires squealed sounded off behind me as I reluctantly walked toward the crumbling building.
Once the obnoxious sounds of his car dissipated, it made room for a symphony of coins and other items dumping onto the cement parking lot.
“Dammit!” A voice howled in a cracked voice.
I couldn’t help but be curious. My hand naturally found the camera in my pocket. My fingertips grazed the cool metal button.
“I hate everything!” The same voice called out.
Bright red hair caught my attention. After taking a few steps closer, and drained my neck around a sad, dying tree in a planter, I saw it was Molly from group. Her canvas bag was split open, leaving the contents of her purse scattered all over the cracked cement. The door to her SUV was thrown wide open, her hair in messy disarray.
Without planning or considering it, I said, “You can borrow my bag.”
Molly found me. Her eyes were red and swollen. She pulled her bottom lip into her mouth.
“I have enough space. Two compartments.”
“That’s okay. I’m gonna put it all in the glove compartment.” She pushed a sigh through her lips as she ran her hands through her hair. “I can’t deal with this place today.”
“I’ll help you pick it up,” I mumbled as I walked nervously up to her. My heart pounded in my chest as I pushed myself outside my comfort level.
She flashed me a wide smile, “Thank you. That’s nice.” Tears were fresh in her eyes.
“Sure, it delays me going through those stupid doors.” I said into my chest.
“Well, don’t go today.”
I picked up purple sparkly lip gloss and a lighter.
“I’m not going,” Molly continued, “You can put those in the glove box.”
I nodded and awkwardly walked over to the car, “We can’t just skip.”
“Why not? We were both signed up for that bullshit program. Ya know what that means we have in common?” Molly raised one of her mismatched eyebrows with a cock of her hip.
“What?”
“The adults in our lives have given up.” Her smiled widened. She was beginning to look less sad, and I felt like I had something to do with, which brought on the rarely felt pride.
“That’s true.”
“Let’s go down the shore. Nice long drive followed by a view that reminds us we are small and insignificant.”
“That’s sounds awesome.” My feet began to tingle, urging me to go this time.
“Sweet, let’s do it.”
“I can’t.”
“Why?”
“We could be gone for longer than five hours. I just got a dog, and I don’t want my guardians to have a reason to give her away.”
Molly’s lips flattened into a straight line. The redness of her eyes was starting to fade.
“Okay, how about the mall? Food and looking at cute things?”
I should go to the group. I shouldn’t make things worse. But, as these thoughts circled through my mind my mother’s voice found its way through, “Go be a teen. It’ll be good for you.” I allowed my eyes to close for a minute. Her warm smile and encouraging eyes found me. I could picture every time she’d widen her eyes in a way that was encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone.
“Yeah,” I said surprising myself, “Let’s go to the mall.”

 

Copyright 2016 Jayme Beddingfield

*Note: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to anyone is entirely coincidental.

This week’s podcast episode is live!

Hey, guys! I’m super excited about this episode. I have best-selling author, advocate, and social media consultant, Rachel Thompson, talk about her incredible journey from corporate America, to a social media business owner of ‘Bad RedHead Media’ and author, to an advocate and director of Booktrope’s Gravity Imprint.

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https://soundcloud.com/jayme-beddingfield/e5-strength-perseverance-and-honesty-with-rachel-thompson

What the heck is work life balance?

It is has become abundantly clear that maintaining a work-life balance wasn’t something I have been focusing on. The majority of my thoughts and actions have only been surrounding my career. Word count, outlines, social media presence, blog posts, articles, this character, and that arc have made up the major roads of my pondering leaving everything else to float around the bubble I was unknowingly creating around myself.
This past fall I made a conscious decision to pour myself into work partly to achieve my goals, because it was the plan to transition to working full time, and partly as a way to cope with grief I didn’t really feel like I could deal with head on.
As a result of working too much, and not enjoying my family and down time nearly enough meant I wasn’t managing my own limits in the slightest. I was running myself on empty.

“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”
― Mark Twain

Realizing there is a problem is the first step to fixing it, but solving the problem is something else entirely.
Everyone has flaws, some of my stars are stubbornness and impatience. Now my stubbornness has proven to be helpful a good part of the time I don’t think I’d be this far without it, honestly.
I always operated under the rule of thumb that if I was told not to do it, it was probably worth doing.
I knew by the third grade that I loved books more than anything in the world. Discovering stories became my obsession. I read whatever I could get my hands on and wrote stories of strong kids overcoming impossible problems. My head was planted firmly in the clouds—still is. I believe it’s partly because of my personality. I’m a dreamer, and my mind is often far from my body. Something I see I’ve passed down to my son. But, another side of that it was how I was able to cope with the chaotic environment I was growing up in.
I struggled a lot through school, especially in math. Summer school and teachers who thought I wasn’t trying, eventually made the whole coscept of school stressful even though I absolutely loved to learn. But, writing stories, creating characters and worlds was always something that came naturally to me. That being said, making a living doing anything else was something I just never considered an option.
I can’t say I’m very varied. When my hobbies of reading and writing turned into what I did for a living, I never counted for no longer knowing how to have down time.
What can I do?
Well, like I said a few paragraphs above being aware of the problem defiantly helps, but it isn’t the entire party.
My need to allow myself to rest a bit became apparent this Saturday when I was so tired I was in tears at the thought of doing anything at all. So, that night I didn’t let myself work…and, I wanted to climb out of my skin.

“Determination becomes an obsession and then it becomes all the matters.” -Jeremy Irvine

It’s not a secret. I talk to you guys about it all the time. I’m aiming at some height hooks, and I only achieve those goals with a lot of work.

Does that mean I need to constantly keep moving until I reach my goals?
No, it doesn’t work like, not at all. There is no one big moment. There are only a collection of small moments that build on each other. At least, that’s my current theory.

What the heck does a work-life balance look like?

I’m not sure. But, I think it starts with taking lunches, and dinners, and weekends. My thoughts are also weighing on the fact that trusting myself and my abilities will go a long way.

Chapter Two: Dreamers can play chess

I rapped my fist against the daylight basement window that was one of six I would use to get in and out of Pete’s room—but, that only worked when they weren’t locked. Bare branches poked at my shoulders. My torso was almost completely flat against the cold ground. Matilda stood very happily over my head wagging her tail. Layers of dirt bordered her front haunches and neck. A bath was going to be a necessary next step.

Footsteps and a shadow got closer to the window. Matilda let out a very soft bark. Pete slid open the window. His bright blue eyes are always the first thing anyone could notice about Pete. His wide lazy grin was the next. “Hey, what’s up?”

“Why are the windows locked?”

“To avoid break-ins,” he offered. His voice a constant low raspy drawl that wrapped around his sarcastic comments. “My mom’s been watching too much news.” Then there was the instant guilty expression that I always got anytime anyone mentioned their mothers. Shrugging it off would continuously add to my overwhelming urge to scream.

“Can you unlock the back door?”

“The front door works too.”

“Is anyone else home?” Of course, I’m only asking if his mom is home. It is just the two of them.

“Yeah, she’s making dinner. Shouldn’t you be with Glen?”

“I couldn’t remember. I don’t want to track mud through the house.”

“Why are you muddy?”

“Matilda got me muddy.” I felt a smile form on my face which didn’t happen all that much these days.

Pete smiled back. “Who is Matilda?”

“My new dog.”

“What?”

“Just let me in around the back,” my voice raised in volume.

“Okay, okay.” Pete slammed the window closed, and I shimmied myself out of the bushes. Matilda was wiggling with the wags of her tail as she did the same. Her wide brown eyes looked at me with more kindness that I’m used to seeing. I instantly loved her with my entire heart.

We walked down along the side of the house. If I reached out both of my arms I would be able to touch Pete’s house as well as Mr. Costello’s—like I mentioned earlier, everything is cramped and overlapping. I felt like a rat in a cage; some people seemed not to notice or mind that congested and suffocated casualties of Northern New Jersey, but it made me crazy. I felt like I had a limited amount of time before it consumed me entirely rendering ever leaving impossible. My left foot was almost always twitching with anticipation. I had to get out.

Matilda heeled naturally. Her fur grazed my leg as we walked into Pete’s postage-stamp-sized yard—something all homes in this area had in common. My pant leg was slowly collecting an accumulating amount of dirt as it passed from Matilda’s coat to me. I wasn’t sure if she was well trained or just thankful to have a friend.

Pete and I lived a solid five-minute walk apart, but we used have touching back yards. We had been friends since we were seven since my mom and I moved into the house. Our moms became best friends first. I didn’t feel like Pete was like my brother, he’s definitely a friend. Pete had his band and a constant influx of girls, but he always kept me by his side, kept me close. I was the robin to his batman.

Just as I stepped onto the two-step stoop, Pete swung open the back door. His dyed jet black hair hung over his face. An eyebrow, lip, and nose piercing only added to the prettiness of his face, which I knew for a fact was the opposite of his goals. Pete did everything he could to make himself look tough, but he only added to his female fan base and solidified the fact that their band ‘Goat’s Gin’ was the most popular band in the local scene, which was like the shopping malls, were quite large and varied.

Pete’s eyes were drawn in surprised amusement. “What’s with the dog El?” —Only Pete called me El.

“I took her. She was tied to a street sign. It’s freezing, and clearly she wasn’t be taken care of. I couldn’t just leave her there,” I said this to him as I scratched Matilda’s hand.

“She’s got sweet eyes,” Pete said shrugging. He knelt down, “Hey pup,”

Matilda wagged her tail.

“What does Glen say?”

“Can I use your bathtub?”

“El.”

“Please. I’ll clean up. You know that.”

“Okay, fine but you need to listen to this song I’ve been working on,” Pete said this as he tucked some of his hair behind his heavily pierced ear.

“Deal.” I nod as I gently pushed past him. I patted my leg, “Come on Matilda.”

“And she’s already trained.” Pete shook his head lovingly my way.

“I don’t know. We get each other.”

Pete laughed as he closed the door. “My mom knows you are avoiding her. She gets it. She isn’t mad.” His voice was softer than before. Whatever Pete did, he was always careful with me.

“I feel bad,” my voice cracked. I forced out a stale and panic breath as I made my way into the bathroom off of Pete’s room. The whole basement both the finished and unfinished part were all Pete’s. The laundry at the base of the stars was pretty much the only thing that brought Evie down. In the far corner near his bed was the bands practice spot. The walls were stabled with foam egg crates. Ever since Glen sold my mom’s house and moved in with Joan, Pete’s room was the closest I got to feeling at home.

“We get it.”

“I barely get it.” I turned the faucet to lukewarm and plugged the tub with the same sweep of my fingers, a motion my hands had performed with this very tub countless times. Pete had me to thank for his never fading black hair. “All I know is sometimes my mom’s absence is a film that covers everything in a different color, which sucks but it is tolerable—but, sometimes it screams really loud. It’s hard not to imagine her right beside your mom, ya know, because…

“…They were always together,” Pete finished.

I pushed out a heavy sigh, “Do you have any food I can give her? Treats will help, I think.”

“I have some beef jerky,” his face brighten at the thought.

“That would be totally perfect.”

Pete disappeared and repaired in the doorway of his back and white bathroom in a matter of seconds. “Kill it,” he said pushing the whole bag at me. “Can you I play the song while you bathe her?” Pete slid both hands into his pockets as his mouth screeched out in a flashy grin that I doubt many could say no to. “It’s a ballad.”

“Let’s give it a try.”

“Okay, I have it get it ready.” Pete, now suddenly flustered disappeared from site gain. The sound of drawers opening and closing dance around in the distance followed by some muffled cursing. Pete wanted to be a musical sensation. Not just a well-paid musician, but the next big thing. Rolling Stone Magazine and the Rock in Roll Hall of Fame. Pete had more dreams and ambitions shoved into his brain than most crowds of hundreds. It was nice to be near. I believed in him one hundred percent. Pete would become a sensation because he won’t stop until he achieves it.

I gave Matilda a treat, “Good girl, Matilda.”

I scooped her and put her in the water. Her body tensed. I repeated soothing words as I gave her treats. She started to calm down as I rubbed the soap into her weathered coat.

“Alright, I mostly have my shit together.” Pete was now in the doorway with his acoustic guitar in hand and a pick between his teeth. I took the pick from his mouth. “That’s sweet,” Pete said, his words wrapped inside his smile. He motioned his chin at Matilda, who had her chin rested on the edge of the tub.

“Yeah, she’s awesome.” I felt as though Matilda had always been mine.

“Do you think Glen will let you keep her?”

“He doesn’t have a choice.”

“You should live here,” Pete said for the hundredth time. Every time his words shattered me into pieces.

“Glen legally adopted me when Brain was born. Being an asshole doesn’t rank on CHS’s priorities. ”

“Would he make a stink about you leaving?”

“I dunno. This group they are sending to me is bullshit.”

Pete sighed.

“Play me the song.” I cup water onto Matilda’s back. Her brown coat was, at least, four shades lighter as the dirt washed away.

Pete cleared his throat, bowed his head, and closed his eyes. His long fingers moved across the cords. A sweet melody filled the small space between us.

“My eyes are closed. The face surrounds.

Help

Me

I can’t breathe.” Pete’s raspy voice turned to whiney tone when he sang that made everything he said sound angsty, which work with his lyrics because they were all about love, sex, and falling apart. A few were about me.

“Hey!” Evie’s mothering zone tunneled down the stairwell. “Is Elliot downstairs?”
My stomach punched me in the throat.
Pete sighed as he pulled himself out of his song. “Maybe.”

“Well, either way, give her a heads up that Glen is pissed off that she didn’t wait for him. He was going to take her out to dinner.”

“He was late as shit,” I cut it. “I bet he forget.”

“Elliot, did you bring a dog into my house?”

“Maybe.”
I closed my eyes. My mom’s eyes narrowed at me for not using manners.

“Clean up, and get to Glen’s before you make your life even harder for yourself.” Her mothering both stung and had the effect of a warm blanket.

“And, please take the dog with you. No dogs Peter,” Evie tacked on before disappearing from the top of the stairs.

“Here, I’ll help you.” Pete left the doorway and came back with free hands.

“Thanks.”

“Try not to get into too much trouble. I need you to take pictures for Saturday’s night show.”

“I’ll be there, either way, Peter, come on.”

He laughed as he tossed a blue towel at me. “Dry off that dog, would ya?”

***

The moment I would get anywhere near the house my stomach’s queasiness shot through my entire body locking my muscles into webs of panic.

I hated it. The sense of mom wasn’t anywhere near this house, which was the apply for Glen, that much I understood.

Glen’s silver BMW sat flawless in the narrow driveway. The house was perfectly coordinated on the inside and out. It added to my need to scream. It added a glaring spotlight to how different my life is now.

I also hated that.

Picture ants crawling up your legs by the dozens. That’s what it felt like when I’d think about it.
I glanced down at Matilda, who was shiny and soft now. She was looking at me waiting for a cue of some kind. There was a tiny bit of white fur bunched together under her chin. Panic hit. The idea of not winning the fight of keeping her enter my wind like a drunk bull. My stomach started dancing around. Then that whisper of my own would tell me just to leave. It was happening more and more. At first, the whispers of leaving were quickly followed my mom’s voice telling me to knock it off. My mind’s version of her tells me that less. I can’t figure out if that means anything at all.

I sucked in a deep breath as I stepped onto the white-painted porch steps. The exact moment my foot landed on the small, thoroughly clean porch, the front door swung open. A perfectly groomed and perfectly panicked Glen slammed his way out of the deck. “It that god damn dog, Elliot?” His voice was loud and more rigid than an accent piece of wood.

“I got her cleaned up at Pete’s. She was dirty and followed me. I also love her.”

“I need a dog to worry about like a need another hole in my head.” His square jaw snapped shut with his last word.

I pushed out a breath.

“I’m assuming you were at Pete’s instead of waiting for me to take you to dinner. Weekly dinners is something I do for you.”

“Well, stop doing them. I hate them.” I crossed my arms. Looking at him made me want to explode. He openly cheated on my mom while she died. The physical reaction of disgust I have every time he opens his mouth is more than I can take. He knew, of course, that I knew everything. Mom and I didn’t keep secrets from each other. I knew he was ashamed, but he still got married a month after my mom died while we were in Atlantic City for the weekend—now, that is truly more than I could take.

Glen looked at me and saw all of his failures.

His light green eyes study me carefully. I was able to read truly what he was thinking, but my guess was that he was trying to figure out how he was going to handle it. He was running a quick check of all possibilities trying to weigh which affected him the least.

“Elliot! You got a dog!?” Brain’s small, high pitched voice burst from the living room window, quickly followed by a run. In a matter of seconds, Brain was thought eh door and arms around Matilda. “This is Matilda. She’s here to help us with a Christmas spirit,” My words came out as a shameless smirk played with my lips. “Checkmate,” I muttered to myself but loud enough that there was no way Glen didn’t hear me.

“Matilda, like the one in mom’s favorite book?” Brian asked. His face was completely buried in her fur.

“That’s right, buddy.”

“You’re the best sister in the whole, entire world.” Brian celebrated as he soaked in all of the glory that was Matilda.

“This doesn’t become my problem at all!” Glen said throwing his arms up. He turns around and storms back in the house.

“He’s mad again Ellie,” Brian said. There were only two people who called me Ellie. Now there is just one. “You have to stop breaking the rules. Joan said you are gonna get yourself put in jail.”

“Joan doesn’t know anything. You know that.” I ruffled the brown mop on his head. I didn’t want Brain to see that I was fuming. What does Joan need to be saying anything to my kid brother? Why would she worry him like that?

“Yeah, I know.”

I looked up from him hugging Matilda to find Joan with her perfectly smooth bob, clutching tightly to Amelia. Her chubby face split into a grin. She squealed, “Pup!” She said. “My pup!” Amelia slid down Joan’s silver exercise leggings.

“I don’t know how much I can take,” Joan told me with a completely flat tone.

“Me either,” I replied. I crossed and met her eyes straight on.

Joan sighed. I felt bad that I hated her, she was involved with a mess of a situation. I didn’t envy her having me to deal with me. At the same time, she sucked and so did the fact that she married Glen before the grass grew on my mother’s grave. Joan turned away and walked deeper into the house, leaving Amelia to climb all over Matilda.

I smiled.

Chapter Three will be posted next Friday! Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear what you think.

Copyright 2016 Jayme Beddingfield

*Note: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to anyone is entirely coincidental.

star trails

“Can you see it?” His voice lingered, encompassing Talia. The warrior’s whisper speaks once every seventeen years to only one from the all three of mountain villages.
“I can,” Talia sings proudly, her voice a melody of hope. She closes her eyes. Warm blood splatters across her face from a bristled brush and the hand of the chief.
The surrounding crowd is silent, but the passion coursing from their war-scared bodies deafens the stars.
Their neighboring wolf pack howls on the mountain ridges. Talia’s eyes open. Her purple and black hair waves the wind. Her full mouth spreads in a proud grin as she stands up. Talia draws her sword from the fire.
“I will lead you fearlessly to victory. One by one we’ll take all eight of the Dead tribes. The nature touched will own that lands again.”
Howls of victory, of hope, and of ignorance mix with the wind’s clutches alongside the howls.
A new era has risen.

 

*This is a very small piece to a very large project I’m working on. There will be much more to come here.

Enjoy your Tuesday.

TWD: Frustrated as fan but understand as a writer

Okay, so the highly anticipated sixth season finale of The Walking Dead aired last night, and I’m both frustrated by the ending, but also knew I would be. Let’s not forget the farm or Terminus. We have to wait for our answers and power through our characters dying. It’s The Walking Dead.

For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, know there are spoilers below.

Okay, you have been warned…

I’m not sure what I wanted last night’s episode to be, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I was left wanting more, which of course was done by the creators on purpose. I won’t even begin to pretend to understand I can even come close to knowing what it’s like to write a hit television show, but I do know what it is like to write a series in a harsh setting. It isn’t easy, and character development can be tricky. Add that to a zombie-filled world, where people are expected to die. The death of characters are never taken lightly, and needed for realistic reasons but also for character development.

Season 6 has been one of the best seasons so far in my opinion, especially the last half. The B season was action packed from the first episode (which had one of the most gut-twisting death scenes on the show) until the week before the finale. Every episode gave me everything I went into wanting (aside from Daryl getting shot), but there was plenty of action, and our heroes seemed unstoppable as they plowed through some of Negan’s people.
Clearly they aren’t.

The entire finale was slow paced compared to the rest of the B season episodes. We weren’t reintroduced to Daryl’s group until the end. We followed two very slow moving but anxiety building story lines. One was Carol and Morgan’s journey trying to figure out death and killing and what it all means. While Morgan followed Carol around, ultimately saving her life, Rick and some of the others were trying to get Maggie to a doctor. That didn’t happen. Blocked road after blocked road finally made the group go by foot with Maggie on a stretcher until they were surrounded in the woods by Negan and hundreds of Saviors. It ended with Negan killing someone, but we don’t know who.
Some of us can assume it is the same as in the comic, but I’m not sure.
Was I frustrated?
Yes.
Do I understand?
Yes.
I’m not sure why people are saying that this episode was the last straw for them, and now they’re done with the show. I think some of the reviews are a little harsh. Maybe, they weren’t really fans to begin with, maybe their frustrations were too high, or maybe they are just mad.
Even though the episode wasn’t all that action packed, and clearly building up to what is going to be a very stressful season 7, it was still good.
As a writer, I think about how I’d handle some of the choices in plot and characters. It’s not easy, and the writers of The Walking Dead have a lot to juggle and a lot to think about it.
Do they know who is going to die in the Season 7 opener?
Maybe.
I was just editing the last few chapters of  ‘The Immesley Powerful’ which is book 2 of The Ruby Dawson Saga, a series I plan on writing for awhile. It is hard to know where to give my readers something to hold onto, and when to let them wait and wonder.
What do you guys think?
I’d love to hear what your thoughts on this season and the finale. Comment below!