Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Man With Eyes Like My Father

His name was David and his eyes were the same color as my father’s. Blue with a hint of gray, the color of machines and hard work and oil that got trapped beneath your fingernails. During the day, he lived on the corner of Main and Bristol. No one knew where he lived in the evenings. Some quiet alley or corner behind a restaurant. All I know is that there must have been a roof or an overhang of some kind because I asked him once, where do you go when it rains. He had smiled and said he had a safe place, a dry place. But when the rains got fierce one winter, one very cold winter for Southern California, I noticed that he looked more tired every day, like he’d been fighting that rain all night long.

I brought him coffee and burritos and warm socks. Once I gave him a rain slicker that could double as a blanket. But it was never enough and I knew it.

My heart ached whenever I saw him on the corner, legs tucked below him, useless and dead, his wheelchair pulled beneath the awning where people waited to catch the bus. He never begged for money or held up a sign, will work for food. He just waited beside people who had someplace to go, and someone to spend time with.

His eyes would haunt me at night. My father’s eyes in a crippled body. All alone and forgotten. I wished I had the courage to ask him, where is your family, why are you alone.

Instead I brought him bottles of water and In-N-Out burgers.

I worried about him when it was cold outside and when it was hot. Maybe he was someone’s father and they didn’t know where he was. Maybe he’d had a fight with his only son and now they’d never talk to each other again.

My husband and I went on vacation one year, out of state, and we were gone for a week. When we came back, David was gone.

There was no one to ask, where is he, is he safe, did he move or did he die. To everyone else he had been invisible and unwanted.

To me, he had been a man with eyes like my father.

A man who disappeared with the wind. And the corner of Main and Bristol is now empty and lonely, because he is gone.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Love Is ...

At the end of crazy, frustrating day—that also happened to be interspersed with wonderful, beautiful things—I decided to make something lovely to share with you.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Five Stages of Writing a Book

Below are the Five Stages I go through when I write a book:

1. I really want to reach 50 pages. Really. Really. Really.

2. It's never a REAL book until I reach 100 pages.

3. What was I thinking?? I'll NEVER get 200 pages done. Who invented the middle of a book? They should be flogged and driven out of Dodge.

4. I have to write the END now? But what's supposed to happen? Didn't I write notes about this, I had to have written some notes...where did I put those notes...wait, didn't I write the ending already? I KNOW I wrote the ending, but what file did I put it in?

5. It's over. It's OVER??? *sobbing, flailing, laughing, then more crying*

NOTE: I am currently in Stage Number Three: What. Was. I. Thinking.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Five Books That Took My Breath Away in 2012

Once in blue moon a book comes along that takes my breath away, compels me to read it, astonishes me with its brilliance and makes me wish that I had written it. In 2012, five books came along that impacted me like this. They are:

Wow. This book was flawless. I adored the contrast between the peaceful existence found within an Amish community and the horror of what was happening to the rest of the world. Laura’s book grabbed me from the first page and wouldn’t let me go. Even months after reading this story, I am still thinking about it.

IRONSKIN by Tina Connolly
From page one, I was immediately immersed in another world, where Fey and humans lived side by side, and captured by Tina Connolly’s lovely prose. I was also enchanted by the fact that this was a retelling of Jane Eyre, one of my favorite books.

THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater
This book felt timeless, like an instant classic. It could have been written 25 years ago or 25 years in the future. Maggie built a world that was both familiar and alien, and every bit of it was believable. I’d never heard of water horses before, so the legends were all new and wonderful, and expertly woven into the fabric of the story.

ENCLAVE by Ann Aquirre
This book really amazed and surprised me. On the surface, it read like another post-apocalyptic YA—which I love. But it was so much more. Layers upon layers of deeper meaning surfaced throughout the book, always adding to the story and the complexity of the characters and the world where they lived. The love story was one of the best I’ve ever read and if I say too much more, I might be giving away spoilers. [Note: This book was published in 2011, but I read it in 2012.]

ASHES by Ilsa Bick
A wonderful example of how horror and literary fiction can be combined. Ilsa’s lovely prose often switched gears to describe gruesome details, but it was always done flawlessly. She made me believe the terrible things that were happening and she made me root for the main character’s survival. [Note: This book was also published in 2011, but I read it in 2012.]