What It Took To Realize & Voodoo went through some professional editing and rearranging. They are now one book titled, What It Took, and it is available on Amazon for Kindle and Paperback, or order a signed copy off of my website.
A poem a day
Keeps the demons at bay
Allows the muse to play
Changes the sky from gray
When I asked where we were going, Mr. Prent replied, “Let’s get out of this town; drive out of the city, just… get away from these crowds of students and teachers…” And witnesses.
“I like the sound of that.”
So we went on a long drive. No destination in sight. Maybe Mr. Prent got the feeling too. He has somewhere- he didn’t know where yet, that he had to go.
I must have fallen asleep at some point, because I woke in the passenger seat, but Mr. Prent was laying in the bed of his truck, staring into the stars. I climbed out, realizing we were in a cemetery. Of all places to go, I wondered, why there?
Not that I cared. I am the picnic in the cemetery kind of gal. But she strongly advised against it- like everything else- and suggested I find more “appropriate” interests.
I wonder if she would have found this appropriate.
I didn’t say anything. Mr. Prent just looked so far away; deep in some other world. Instead, I laid there next to him. The cool metal sent chills up my spine and I shivered in the warm autumn night. Wordlessly, he wrapped his arm around my shoulders and I layed my head on his chest. His cologne reminded me of a cool ocean breeze that swallows you whole… his scent is still in my hair.
I’m not sure how long we laid like that for. I started off counting seconds in his heartbeats. One, two, three, fo-ur, fivesix, seven, eight, nine, tah-en. But doing that only made me sleepy. I didn’t want to sleep. I wanted to hold this moment in the now and have it last forever.
I should know better than anyone, nothing lasts forever. Especially not happiness. I was happy once-upon-a-time. When I had parents- real ones- but it was so long ago it feels like a dream. Or a nightmare.
I guess he knows about this too. It was the cemetery where both his father and brother were buried. A robbery gone wrong. Mr. Prent was in college. His mother was grocery shopping. To come home and see her son and husband askew on the kitchen floor. I could just imagine her walking into the house, wondering why the door was already open. She’s talking to them- not knowing they can’t hear- going on about a great special she got at the market. Then she sees them. The blood. And bags fall out of her hands in slow-motion… It’s all a little too familiar.
Dark clouds in my head
Rain cascades over my ribs
Salty and acidic
Eroding my bones
I am broken
so far gone lost.
I thought this would be a good poem for Wildest Dreams. A little side project I am working on. Read part of it here, a picture-it & write inspiration!
“What?” I cried.
“New York City! For the weekend! Aren’t you excited?” She began to bounce up and down.
“Why?” I asked.
“Well, I’ve got a few jobs there this weekend, and there’s this big party tomorrow night…” She slowly trailed off.
I shook my head. “Tupaia,” I whined. “You know I don’t do parties. The last time I went, everyone laughed at me.” The thought of it pushed tears up through the back of my eyes. I couldn’t dance, and when I tried I hit someone in the face. Everyone stared at me, leering, laughing, and pointing. As if that wasn’t enough, they started making fun of the way I looked, the way I was dressed. My ribs began to suffocate my heart, which began to beat wildly trying to escape like a caged bird.
She jumped over my luggage and wrapped her arms around me. “I know, but it’ll be different this time. You don’t have to dance, and it’s a masquerade ball! Masks; no one will even know it’s you!”
Doubt gripped my throat. I continued to shake my head.
“I promise you, it won’t be like last time.” Her sapphire eyes pleaded with me. They were soft, childish, and naive; even though Tupaia was older than a few eras.
She squealed, jumping with me still wrapped in her arms.
This is going to be a disaster.
We arrived in New York City around noon the next day. As soon as we arrived in the “Big Apple” we dumped our luggage in our hotel suite. The suite was four rooms big and lavished in all shades pink. Light screens hung at the windows which presented us with a front-row view to time square. The streets were busy with buses and taxis. With people on foot or bikes. The buildings reached endlessly at the sky where music videos and ads played on them. The bedrooms were just as big and elegant as the rest of the suite. My bed was all round and covered in equally circular, silky blankets and pillows.
After ditching our luggage we fled to get ready for the ball. Tupaia wore a long elegant sapphire gown that complimented her soft defined curves and matched her eyes. Her wavy brown hair was wrapped up in a bun, and she wore a peacock feathered mask upon her face. She was stunning, as usual.
Tupaia had “her people” dress me in an emerald mermaid dress with a blue sequined mask that almost looked like scales, and my red hair flowed down my back. They all gasped, exclaiming, “She looks like Ariel!”
I grimaced. I was always jealous of Ariel; she had a father, loving sisters, and married her prince charming. She was beautiful and everyone loved her. She was everything I wished I could be.
Tupaia grabbed my hand, “You look like a model.”
As soon as we entered the facility where the party was being held, Tupaia went on her way to make a good impression with various modeling agencies and photographers. I went to the back of the club, where I sat alone for most of the night. The club was dark and gray. People were scattered everywhere dancing with strangers, mingling by the bar with blue lights and drinks in their hands. I was out of place.
I was surprised when the song, “Voodoo” blared through the speakers since I hadn’t heard it until a few days ago. But that was not the weirdest part of the night. No, the unusual thing was after the song had just ended, when a hand was held out in front of me. “Dance with me.” I looked up at a boy dressed all in black, with a black hat which covered his hair and a black mask covering most of his face, but his sunray eyes, curvy mouth, and soft chin.
I looked around for someone else that he could be talking to.
I looked up into his golden eyes, and for some reason I could not say no. I took his hand in mine and let him lead me out into the middle of the dance floor. “Resistance” by Muse began to pound through the speakers. He pulled me close against his soft chest. “Follow my lead,” he whispered into my ear. His voice was a little higher pitched than I imagined, but still comforting somehow. My heart threatened to break through my chest as he began to glide us across the dance floor. The lead singer’s voice sang into my ear “Is our secret safe tonight and are we out of sight?” The tempo began to pick up, as he twirled me around, and around. Everything became blurry, but his golden eyes that my gaze had become fixed on.
“You’re beautiful,” he breathed into my mouth.
I lost my breath. As the words, “Love is our resistance. They’ll keep us apart and they won’t to stop breaking us down. Hold me, our lips must always be sealed,” poured from the speakers our lips began to draw close to each other, like negative and positive attraction between magnets. When our lips were practically grazing, he drew away to lift me above him, and spin me in the air. He slowly brought me down as the song drew to an end and another song began. Our eyes were locked into one another’s, and for that moment, the world had faded away.
I heard the light sound of someone clapping, and I was pulled out of the spell I was under. I looked around to see that people had gathered and began to clap. They smiled and pointed, whispering to their friends. I fell back through memories, and all of a sudden I was at my last party, where everyone was laughing at me. I had to get away.
I pushed past the mystery boy’s shoulder, a wave of his vanilla scent followed after me along with his cry, “Wait!”
I sprinted through the doors and into the brisk NYC’s February air. The sidewalks were lined with slush, and the roads were busy with taxis, but I didn’t care as I ran across the streets, through the slush, while cars honked at me. I could hear his voice distantly crying, “Where are you going?”
I didn’t, I couldn’t stop until I was in my hotel suite. I flung myself onto the king’s size bed and cried myself to sleep.
In the morning, I woke to Tupaia sitting on the edge of the bed, stroking my hair. “I heard about what happened last night,” she said. “Everyone thought you and that boy were fantastic!”
I buried my face into the silky pillow.
“So why’d you run out?”
A tear burned its way through my right eye. “They were all lookin’ at me…”
“They thought you were amazing, Morgan!” She exclaimed.
I tore my face from the pillow, and looked up at her. Her hair fell over her shoulders like a waterfall, and in her silver silk pajamas, she looked like a goddess. “There was somethin’ about him,” I told her, “that made me forget everyone was there.”
She smiled, and her eyes grew distant. “I’ve felt like that before.” I wondered when. Tupaia hardly ever talked about what her life was like before she took me in. “It must be love,” she said at last.
I fell into the pillow. Love? With a guy I don’t know? I didn’t even know his name, how could I love him? And what about Leroy? I stared at Tupaia contemplating how it would be possible to love someone you only met once. “I’ll probably never see him again,” I sighed.
Tupaia laid down next to me, and held me in her arms like she use to do when I was young. “You never know. Things have a funny way of working themselves out.”
I bummed around the suite watching re-runs of H2O, my favorite TV show, while Tupaia went to her modeling jobs. I watched, for about the millionth time as three girls, unlikely to become so close, had no choice after they are transformed into mermaids with powers over water. I fantasized that I was one of those girls, instead of who I was. I didn’t even have powers.
I imagined how great it would be if my life were like the TV show. Being surrounded by friends who knew and accepted my secret, being able to lean on them when things were tough… Would I ever gain friends like that? I wondered. Doubtful.
That afternoon I drove the thirteen and a half hour drive back to Folly alone. Tupaia had scored more modeling jobs in the city from the ball Saturday night, so I decided to go home on my own to get ready for school the next day. The white lines on the thru-way melted away. All I could see was the mystery boy’s golden eyes. The whole way home, I smelled vanilla. I’ll never see him again.
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I’ve never seen green so dark
On a tree two-stories tall
Catching the rain as it falls.
I look through a window
Like a TV screen
And everything feels fake
I hadn’t read a book in so long I forgot why I love reading them (and just as importantly, writing them!). It’s about losing yourself in another world, a different time, someone else’s inside, messed-up life. It’s about leaping into the rabbit hole.
My reading cycle slowly began to sputter back to life over the Christmas Holiday when I picked up David Levithan’s Every Day. The book called to me from the display of a second floor Barnes & Noble. It was a gravitational pull that lead me to “What Teens Are Reading”. There was something about this paperback. The pale yellow cover or the lettering. All I knew is I had to have it. Like a sponge; I soaked half of this book up in a comfy oversized arm chair in the lounge part of the Pittsford Barnes & Noble. The mere idea of this character- someone who woke up in a new body everyday, was interesting, but it was the objective thoughts on racism, genderism, and love that had me so intrigued. The was a subtle message that was so well placed, so well said, I finished the book in awe. It was a moment where you step back, begin a slow-clap, and tip your hat saying, “Well done.”
Since that book I had been hungry for something more. Some other book to blow my mind.
While I have a few in progress, I really hadn’t found the one that would kick-start my book frenzy. Until, of course, Splinter.
Again, I’m at Barnes & Nobles, wandering through the Teen section when it catches my eye. The glowing green vines that frame the cover, blond hair shaping her small face as her big blue eye makes contact with mine.
I’ve seen this cover before.
I pick up the book and as I suspect, I had seen it on Nathalia Sullen’s website when I was checking her out as a potential cover designer for What It Took To Realize & Voodoo. This was one of the covers that made me send that initial email.
I buy it. The second one too.
And finally, I have found the book I’ve been looking for. The one to ignite that little flame in the back of my brain that flickers as it chants: Must read. Must read.
Then it all clicks. Reading. The solution to my pressing anxiety and headaches of frustration and unhappiness that cloak me at work. Read.
Now, when I tell you I have books spread out everywhere, I do mean everywhere. From Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings in the bathroom (you know… for bathroom-ly things…), to A Blue So Dark in the livingroom, Splintered at the bedside, and Coyote Blue by the hilarious Christopher Moore propped open next to my computer at work for some sly entertainment.
Maybe books are consuming my life… Or maybe they’re just the thing I need right now to keep my sanity through my own rollercoaster.
Here I am again. I think this is even the same parking space I used yesterday… No, I was over one space. Staring into the tree’ skinny and twisted spine. The thin dark green leaves popping out at me. But it all feels like a dream. And I wish, instead of seeing through the thicket to the field of brown dead grass, there was a lush forest. Somewhere I could wonder. Fine a suitable bolder to sit on and eat my lunch. Feel the wind, hear the rustle of leaves, just to be at peace.
Instead I eat lunch in my car. I can’t bare to go back inside. I don’t want anyone to see me cry. I suppose I am being foolish when I should be thankful. I practically begged for this job afterall. But I’m not happy here. This isn’t what I want. I should be grateful for all the useful skills I am learning that I can translate right into marketing for my book. But… God… I am just so miserable! How does anyone do it? How does he do it? Work somewhere you’re just so unhappy? I should be used to it I suppose; or maybe my tolerance has warn thin.
“You’ll never be happy with your job.”
Is this true? Is there really nothing out there that I could like? Am I doomed to become a zombie answering telephones, “Thank you for calling… How can I help you?” Wandering through life with a gray overcast and slaving away at a job I hate all day to slave away working towards (what feels like) a hopeless dream by night?
It’s like… No matter what I do, or where I go, I am out of place. I look around at work and everyone seems to genuinely enjoy what they do. Even when they’re stressed you can just tell they are happy. I want that. I’ve only come close. The only thing that makes me happy is writing. But writing doesn’t pay the bills.
I should be happy. I work at a publishing company- a truly great company! It’s like I’m living the dream… I just don’t know whose dream it is…
Just got home. 10 minutes earlier than a normal day, 10 minutes later than a good day.
God, Mondays suck.
I pick up the phone from the cup holder, preparing to text Kyle and let him know I’m home, but I am distracted by an article I was dying to read. Something about how writers kill off their characters. I thought about it, every book I have outlined, rough chapters scribbled on paper, all in my desk in the bedroom; in every story I kill someone. Then I’m thinking about Disney movies and how Mom pointed out that someone dies in every one (usually a parent).
Taylor Swift’s “All You Had To Do Was Stay” is still pumping through the Sable’s speakers. I open the door so I don’t look like one of those people who just listen to music in their car, the bass thumping away.
The wind whips through the open door and I hear it. The humming. A chill runs deep up my spine. I’m almost afraid to look, but I do. It’s a girl, a pretty ordinary looking girl. She is wearing a gray and black zipped jacket, with the hood down. Her brown hair is back with a thick, obnoxiously bright orange hair band. But it’s too thick to be a hair band, more like a sweatband. And I watch her for a moment. She just keeps walking, head down, humming. Her hum still makes me shake. For a second, I’m convinced it’s not even her. The ominous sound is all around me like a tornado.
I get inside and lock the door without looking back.