God help the girl // this year

in many ways, for many of us (most of us), 2016 has been a downright awful year. 
i agree. 

this has been a hard year to blog through; recording it would probably have been important, but in many ways, getting through each day was my priority.

within this last year, i lost a grandmother that i hadn't known until months before her death. it shouldn't have been as grievous as it was, except that within the few months that i got to know her, i also was allowed to finally bond.

i watched my brother go from being in a happy and blissful courtship with a girl that my family positively adored, to watching our families break and the bond between both the couple and our families shatter.  it was sad. it felt avoidable. but it happened.

celebrities have died. a dear family member is quite likely dying. acquaintances have died. i had to leave a job i loved and thrived in. and oh, by the way, of my childhood group of friends, can you guess who is the last to be neither married nor engaged? if you guessed me, bingo.

but you know, this whole year hasn't been awful. sure, there were awful bits, but there were downright good parts too.

i :: i thrived in my skin. early this year (or late last year) i had made a post about accepting myself. the funny thing is, even when you accept who you are, there is always so much more you can find to love within yourself. i learned who i am, and learned that i can be so much more. then i became more.

ii :: i mentioned the job that i loved, but it was so much more.  it stretched me, and made me stop testing foreign waters with only my toes. it taught me that i would never do anything if i didn't cannonball dive into it. also i learned how to hold an adult-ish phone conversation without totally displaying an error message. i loved my coworkers, and still dearly miss them. but i am glad, so very glad, that i got to know them.

iii :: i came to my knees and submitted. it truly was a 'cold and broken hallelujah.' oh how glorious it was to kneel and sob and reach out and have heavenly hands grab you. i used to have a lot of worries and uncertainties. no more.

iiii :: i found home in a small southern town. i've never truly felt like i belonged in a place until this place. i have a wandering soul, but if it ever needs a place to roost here in the south, that is where it will be.

iiiii :: my grandmother. i hadn't seen her since i was....five, or younger. we had no bond and no relationship. but then she got sick, and i am forever grateful that in her time of need, we were able to show her the forgiveness we ourselves had been given. i am thankful that even while my time with her was short (and rocky at first -- forgiving is easy. forgetting and trusting? not so much), it was a good time. i learned that we shared interests, and having her in our lives brought other distanced family members into our life as well. in the end, her death reunited a separated family.

so while this year had blights, it had many positive elements as well, and for those, i am thankful.
but it was packed, it was full of sadness and happiness; of rush and exhausted tranquility. 
i meant to get back into blogging during 2016, but i think i picked the worst possible year to return myself to this sphere.
so, this is me, trying to restart (again).

i miss blogging, i miss having a place to pen out my thoughts, and i miss my audience. i want to return.

if all goes well, i would like to have a new post once a week. at least. this will take some work at the start, as i am rusty and out of practice. (encouragement is much appreciated...lol).
but i want to do this. i think i am ready to do this. further, i am desperately excited to do this.
so, lets do this thing.

i will see all of you in 2017; aka: the year we all hope is better than the last.

( explaining the title: God Help The Girl, by Belle and Sebastian, has been my sort of go-to song throughout 2016, especially the first set of verses: 

 "There is no way I'm looking for a boyfriend
There is no way I'm looking for a scene
I need to save some dough
I'm a working girl, you know
I'll fend attention off; I keep to myself"

so, it felt appropriate to make the title thus. )

 all photos taken from here.


Beautiful People: Gondian

A hand rested on his shoulder, and Jasper felt Gondian slip into the space at Jasper’s left, the familiar creak of leather from whenever Gondian moved accenting the kneeling of the bodyguard. “The advisors are holding a meeting with the Eden” Gondian whispered, his voice masked by the cries of Helen and funeral chant from the other woman in the room. Jasper nodded, not daring to uncover his face. 
- To Selcouth

It is long time that Gondian be featured here on my blog. Of all the characters I have ever written or planned to write, Gondian makes it on the list of my top five.

He's also absolutely gorgeous too.  Cut me to pieces with those cheekbones because
they have already killed me. yum. also that sneer warms my soul.
The art is the skilled talent of Mirriam, who drew Gondian for my art commission.

To Selcouth is a novel that originally started out as a fantasy-spun story of Moses and Ramses; then it become complex and was birthed into it's own right.

The character who I thought would represent Ramses (Gondian) became the clear Moses of the story and the original Moses (Jasper) was indeed the Ramses.
"Let my people go," became the cry of the novel, but the person speaking it was not the one I had originally planned or pictured.

In his own right, Gondian is a hero and very much an anti-hero and, to some degree, an almost-villain.  He betrays the woman he loves and the brother of his soul, but only because he believes they endanger his people and while he knows he is going down a dark, wrongful path...he cannot let his people be cursed and hated any longer as the trod-upon minority of strangers.

I love Gondian, if you haven't noticed. 

Sky at Further Up and Further In and Cait at Paper Fury have this perfect monthly link-up called "Beautiful People" and its really great because you can just talk about your characters and answer provided questions (usually they are themed. but not always) and its basically a lot of fun. Please join in.  There's really no cons to this.

What is their first childhood memory? 

 He was three, and he remembers seeing a tree for the first time.  He was in the back of a merchant's wagon, and woke up when the air cooled as the wagon passed through the barrier that bordered the desert.  Gondian rubbed his eyes and crawled out of the sand-caked wrappings they had found him in and moved to look better and that's when he saw the trees, the grass and water that ran like a snake above the earth.  He had no idea where he'd come from or where he was going...just that green was the most beautiful color he had ever seen.

What were their best and worst childhood experiences? 

 Best was practically his whole childhood until he was ten. Gondian's adoptive parents adored him, he was inseparably close to the youngest of the King's sons and he did not have a care in the world.  And then the sand came. At first, he thought it was a nightmare, dripping off the sides of his bed, filling his room as if it wanted to suffocate him.  It did not help that when he begged it to leave...it did. He realized he was a monster that night and the rest of his life turned sour as he tried to protect himself from that monster and hide it from his family. 

 What was their childhood home like? 

Very cozy and full of plants.  When he arrived on the back of a merchant's cart, the first person who stopped treating him like an oddity was the palace gardener and his wife.  That night, Gondian went home with them and never thought differently of it. They were his parents and their home was full of love and plants and always smelled like warm bread.  They lived in a tiny cabin on the edge of the palace walls, surrounded by cool grass and more love than Gondian could bear.  Gondian left to live in the barracks shortly after the sand found him, as he realized that just being around his father's plants killed them. 

What’s something that scared them as child? 

Well the sand scared him, and still scares him half to death.He isn't really all that afraid of the secret getting out...but he is afraid of Jasper finding out.  He knows that once Jasper realizes that Gondian is a monster, their friendship will change and will never be the same.  Gondian desperately fears never being normal even though he knows he cannot be an ordinary bodyguard any longer.

Who did they look up to most? 

Tough one.  He looks up to Jasper, as Jasper is so rooted in doing what he thinks  is right and Gondian envies Jasper's niave trust in the world.  Gondian looks up to Arany and respects how unswayed she is and he looks up to Alem.  In many ways, Alem is Gondian's guardian angel.  He soothed him when the sands came and explained it in ways that young-Gondian could understand.  But Gondian knows he shouldn't love Alem like he does. He knows Alem isn't pure and his intentions are bitter...but like a loyal dog who was trained by a strong master's hand...Gondian still idolizes Alem.

Favorite and least favorite childhood foods? 

 Gondian loves his mother's brothy beef stew with the bread that she baked fresh each day dipped into the bowl. She frequently jokes that it was the sheer amount of stew that he ate as a child that made him grow so big and strong; "thats the only explanation as to how the skinny, scrawny dark-haired thing that we brought home has become a man who now stands like a tree!"  His least favorite foods are anything with tomatoes in them.  He wont touch tomatoes.

 If they had their childhood again, would they change anything? 

He'd change not telling Jasper about the sand sooner.  He honestly doesn't think he'd take away his sand, but he would have told Jasper about it before it became as big a secret as it is now.  He wouldn't have trusted Alem and he would have never obeyed Alem.

What kind of child were they? Curious? Wild? Quiet? Devious? 

Quiet, curious and watchful.  Jasper is the talkative one, but Gondian could sit in a corner as a child and those in the room would forget he was there, as he'd be so quiet and intent on watching everyone without disturbing anyone. 

What was their relationship to their parents and siblings like? 

He is an only child.  Gondian's adoptive parents had multiple pregnancies, but suffered heartbreak after heartbreak until they decided that enough was enough.  Then they found Gondian and both knew, instinctively, that he needed them. 
In turn, Gondian adores them.  He cherishes his parents and would do anything to protect them. His biggest regret about the sands is that it destroys all greenery and his father lives to see tiny buds push through the earth.  They wanted Gondian to take after his father and become the next gardener...Gondian pushed to enter into the royal guard instead. They accepted his choice, but a part of them truly wishes he'd have taken the path that kept him close to them. In many ways, Jasper is the brother he never had.

What did they want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become? 

He also wanted to be a gardener.  He loves green.  Gondian loves tiny, delicate flowers, trimmed shrubs and the smell of warm soil and blooming green. When he realized that his presence and touch kills plants, however, he entered the royal guard and was assigned to be Jasper's bodyguard.  Gondian doesn't complain, as he honestly believes Jasper would have somehow died without Gondian watching out for him.  Jasper isn't very good at making good choices and not irritating the wrong people.  Also...Alem won't dare kill Jasper as long as Gondian is at his side.

Until he mentioned a companion, Arany hadn’t even noticed the darker, silent figure behind him. If the redhead was a gem, than the other man was a shadow. Despite the fact that he stood in full sunlight, an orb of dark seemed to swirl around him, and keep her from fully seeing him. 
- To Selcouth 

Did you get a small sampling of why I adore Gondian so much? He's dreamy, complex, tortured and holding secrets.  Also he only ever wears leather (because his race gets random golden tattoos over their bodies and its the sure-fire way to spot them.  If Jasper saw the tattoos, he'd immediately know. If anyone say the tattoos, they'd know. The tattoos stretch from around his collarbones, travel down his chest, torso, and end at about his hips and they also go to about half way down his arms).

Gondian makes some pretty bad choices and pretty much learns that every secret, no matter how deeply buried, has a way of coming out.  but who can really blame him? I mean, if my best friend was saying, "I'm going to kill all of Race X," I'd probably hide that I was Race X too.

Does any of my readers take part in Beautiful People? Let me know, as I'd love to read your posts!


wild child running bare foot

i lived a childhood among the treetops and running barefoot with wolf packs of my own creation.

tucked in bed late at night, i watched the window and the shadows on the other side of the shutters and thought that, maybe, if i closed my eyes tight enough and wished hard enough...maybe peter pan would come.

i pet pencil to paper, wrote stories of fox of frogs and hedgehogs. they were carefree and wild; just as i wanted to be.

there were no problems back then. sweet childhood hid the ugliness of a world that was poised to hurt and damage tender souls as they pushed from their beds like bits of greenery from the earth.

 i did not wonder if i would end up alone; i had my storybooks, i had my stuffed animals that i pretended were orphans under my care, i had my bike which was, in my mind, a horse and i had myself and my family.
what else was there to want?

i did not play as a bride at a wedding. i played like a pioneer woman, alone in the prairie as she defended her homestead from wolves, indians and men (all of which were portrayed by my brothers).

i never could run very fast or very far but when your barefeet hit the warm summer ground, you can imagine that you run as a deer beside a rushing river.  feet turn to hooves, you form ears that dart at the slightest sound. you forget that you are a girl and not a wild animal.

i liked huckleberry finn better than i liked tom sawyer.  huck was wild and had adventures bigger and better than tom did, in my mind.  black beauty was the name of every single one of my fictional steeds and i yearned to bury my nose in the shimmering black coat of the horse that belonged in my heart as he did on pages as ink.

i was sensible. but deep in my soul, i knew that animals could talk. there was a secret language that only the very talent could hear. 

 childhood faded away and turned into a delicate in-between.  limbs grew gangly, wild turned to tears and confusion.  i stopped running barefoot. i stopped believing in peter pan. i stopped wishing for things i knew i could not have.

things not of this world were put in a box along with the toys and burnt-hemmed skirts i had outgrown.

i had my first crush; a boy whose younger sister was a friend. my reaction to these new feelings was to ignore him and pretend he did not exist; i panicked.
he is married now.
now i begin to wonder if i will be alone.
the prospect is not as cheery as it once seemed.
every child has a wild thing inside of it.
im glad that mine had a good run between wild blueberry bushes, pine straw forest floors and imaginary worlds where talking animals and peter pan were more than stories.