Oh, Barbra

As I arrived to work this morning, “Guilty” by Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb was on my radio (don’t ask). I had zillions of profound thoughts because of this song and as I put my car in park, and of course—2.5 hours later—I don’t remember any of it. Maybe by the time I’m done with this ramble I will remember, though it’s probably best if you and I don’t hold our breath on that. Probably best if I don’t hold my breath on anything no matter how good at it I have become, but that’s another post for another time.

For the past three mornings, I’ve immediately woken up from some extremely emotionally intense dreams. Maybe more than three mornings, now that I think about it, though the last three have been immediately before my alarm has gone off, so there’s been no cool down time for my brain. There has been anger, frustration, screaming, choking on sobs; heartache like a thick, wide blade right in my chest…You name it. Yet none of the scenarios dreamt really fit much with my current life. Unfortunately, I’m still left with a very real headache that feels like a knot in the entire right side of my head and down the back of my neck. I have the nerves of a hopped-up heroin addict in need of a fix, and I’m exhausted. Like, close my eyes for more than two seconds and I’ll be dead to the world, exhausted. I have no idea what’s happening here, what is causing this, or how to make it stop. Sound like anxiety? Maybe. Or maybe someone kicked my scales without my realizing it, and you all know how much I loathe that. Maybe a bunch of other things, but I’ll be damned if I know what they are. I’m not a fan of mystery, despite the fact that I write it. That’s only ever acceptable because I usually start at the end—I know the answer before the question is even posed. And that’s another thing: Maybe I’m not asking the right questions. Oooh, guessing games. Of those, I am also not a fan. I’m chalking up that connection as another, “Heather, thanks for playing, but you lose: as usual.” I’m just going to eat a huge piece of cake that is sitting next to me as I write this and so what if I cry my tears of frustration all over it? If it were chocolate and caramel, it would be salted for sure, and I hear that’s really en vogue.

It’s so easy to sit here feeling one way, and to mentally beat the hell out of myself the next—“Heather, get a grip already!”—but have no idea what is even left to grip. Unsettled, indeed. I’m a good one for recognizing when a situation is all wrong and formulating a plan to get myself out of it into safer pastures. Not having any clue as to the first move, or how to survive in the meantime as I wait for the first move (Because TIME usually plays a huge part in it and I have zero control over that) does slow up this sort of escape process. I have a two-year plan: it entails a lot of things that I can’t yet even touch. That leaves going minute to minute in the interim, and they are very long minutes.

The bottom line to this is that I have to let this sensation pass, and every minute of it that I have to endure while I wait, is torture. There are no meds for this that won’t damage my creative process—that won’t completely kill my beautiful imaginings that are also responsible for making life less than as I’d like it to be in every respect. As much as I would love for the nightmares to go away, I cannot afford to lose my dreams—day dreams, night dreams, any of my dreams. It is the air I breathe. The stories are my blood. If I also had the love of my missing True other half, I’d need nothing more for a pulse.

All this written out and I’ve yet to remember why the song from earlier roused the hornets’ nest of thoughts. Maybe it had something to do with the line: “You’ve battled on, with the love you’re living on…” Yes, I think that was it. And yes: I have. It hasn’t been much to go on—way too sparse for way too long. In my human biology class, we were just learning about Respiration and Fermentation in regard to the creation of ATP (energy for cells—without it, they die). When respiration can’t happen, fermentation does, but it’s not meant to last long term. In fact, the body gives you severe pain when you’ve used up the burst of energy given in this manner. Kind of like getting a sharp pain in your side when you’re running, and your endurance is non-existent. The pain happens because you’re supposed to STOP. If you keep pressing, you start to kill things inside of you—cells die. Eventually, you die. Well, I’ve been fermenting with what output is accepted, and what even tinier input of love I’ve received for too long and it hurts, but I don’t know how to stop. I don’t want to stop. That doesn’t bode well for me, now does it?

Forced Awakening

Last night I had a dream that has stuck with me all day today. I almost always remember my dreams, but they usually let go of me at some point during the day, even though some details usually remain. This one has continued to cling and it has carried with it a very heavy, melancholic sensation. I’m not exactly sure why that is, considering that by the time it came to an end, things were seemingly okay. Perhaps it’s because there were parallel stories going on: one resolved and one didn’t.

The greater of the two: I was outside during daylight hours and happened upon a bunch of cocoons hanging on a few plants. Most of them were starting to open and butterflies were emerging. I recognized monarchs and there were a few caterpillars of the same persuasion getting ready to chrysalis nearby. All of these were easily 2 or 3 times normal size. I wasn’t out there alone–someone who was “brotherly”, but not one of my brothers, plucked a half opened cocoon from a branch and started peeling it open further. I was protesting and crying that he shouldn’t do that, that he was going to hurt it. He ended up tearing off one of its wings and then tossed it all onto the ground before walking away. I picked it all up and took it into the house to carefully finish opening the damaged cocoon. It was a luna moth (not surprising, considering that “Staged” is still heavily in my thoughts), about the size of a sparrow. Indeed, one wing was completely torn off. I begged my younger brother (a real one this time) to help me repair this lovely, traumatized creature. I held it on my finger while he carefully ran threads of superglue onto the moth’s wing base, and I reattached the wing. There was no telling if it was going to survive the damage. I transferred it to a dowel or chopstick or something and let it rest. At one point, I checked it and by the way its legs were drawn in, I feared that it had died. Lo and behold, the repaired wing gave a flap and it was still with us. I kept it near, and may have awoken before I had a chance to let it free.

The second thread: There was some gentleman, whose company I suppose I was keeping, hanging around, who kept trying to speak with me. By no fault of my own, it didn’t happen and he left the scene. I didn’t recognize him by face or otherwise, nor for the fact that I got the impression that his name was George. I don’t think I even know anyone named George, and definitely no one who resembles him. After the repairing of the luna moth, I happened to look at my phone (and cell phones are as about as realistic in a dream as ice cream is…yuck: Styrofoam), and there was a message inviting me to see a movie. It was my last chance. I realized that I had wanted that chance, but I was about 2 hours too late. Any attempt to call the number from where the message had come was impossible. Figuring out how to even use the phone was impossible. There was a thick wave of devastation over everything from that point on, and I don’t now know why. A stranger and a missed opportunity–in a dream. Such things shouldn’t matter to me. If that is, in truth, my subconscious speaking of other near strangers–but those in my waking life–let me miss not a single opportunity, because that would be distressing beyond measure, and accepting would matter to me beyond words. That said, may he not miss, either.

For some reason, this song–this version–reminds me of him…

Dearest muse: Have you any idea…?

And perhaps some more completion (aka Rewrite)

I guess it isn’t fair to say that “Staged” has undergone a rewrite. It hasn’t. Some heavy editing, yes. I came across four parts in my many read throughs this week where things were too closely repeated (two different themes, twice. Are we getting into math here??). Even though one of my editors looked it over and didn’t mention them, they still didn’t sit right with me–the ending flew with her, by the way. I think today’s work on it has set things fairly straight. I will, of course, read it Again tomorrow and/or Sunday just to be sure it is as ready and final as I can possibly make it. I hit a snag in revealing too much, in playing on perceptions of my muse and even some rather blunt expression. None of it is bad–it’s all extremely good, in fact. I just have a fear of being presumptuous and having that translate in an unwanted sort of way when read. I will just say upfront that there’s only one opinion of this story that will ever matter to me and mine comes second. It is not unstressful, wanting to please a muse as deeply as I do, especially one who is so very dear and I can put no logical reason to it. The planets aligned, or energies matched up, or something. I have no answers, no explanations. I cherish it and those are all the words I have for it–everything else is between him and me. I feel honored and grateful. I’ll probably keep saying that, too.

Back to what I was saying…”Staged” is much closer to full completion, much closer to being ready to go into TDC. My goal is to get it there by the end of next weekend at the latest. On that note, Felix has all of the images needed to illustrate this one. I also received the final drawing for “Wanted”. “Secret”, “Part’n’er” and “Trystan” should be coming along soon. The cover design has also been discussed, so perhaps the book’s release won’t be too much later than initially planned. I can only imagine what it will be like to hold this one: Book Baby 17. Probably pretty damn exciting and I’m looking forward to it for countless reasons. Not the least of which is immortalization of so many amazing and beautiful things.

Coming soon!

Progress and Completion

This is the second morning in a row that I’ve been able to start my day out on my balcony. Both days have been overcast and cool and pretty much perfect for letting my thoughts wander. This may have contributed (along with the very large spiders–one writing and two striped garden variety–and the influence of my beloved muse) in getting “Staged” done. It was finished fairly easily last night. I’m unsure about the ending and may alter it a bit, as it took a really hard, Hitchcock kind of twist and I’m concerned that it has introduced too much of an element of humor. Dark humor, but humor nonetheless. I’ve sent it off to one of my editors to see what she thinks so it’s a matter of waiting at this point. This leads me to getting on to the next story… There’s a part of me that isn’t ready to move on–I don’t want to let go of the beauty of what I’m sharing with this muse. In reality, I don’t have to let go–there are connections that go beyond the influence and inspiration of this story, not to mention that he is part of a novel in progress and that has quite a bit of work left on it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’d just prefer he be as permanent in my life as possible…

I have sewing that I need to get to today, if I still expect to be a part of the Grimm’s Harvest photo shoot next month. The sewing piece of it shouldn’t be terribly complicated, but it will involve embroidery toward the end, and there’s no telling how long that will take for me to complete.

I’m still so far from really being awake right now…Pausing in this just might be for the best. More to come…

In Dreams

Early mornings seem to be my ideal time for dreaming. Shortly before my first alarm goes off to be specific, which means that I start waking up just as they are getting interesting. Gods, do I ever hate that.

What I recall of this morning’s dream had something to do with kittens–a lot of them. They had some kind of agenda going on, they were gathering en masse, and a few had some non-traditional coloring (sky blue, for instance). A few adult cats were roaming about as well and I think I carried one to its meeting place. It had good manners and said thank you, or maybe it was just happy with my service to its needs.

A part of me thinks this feline brigade might have been there as a protective unit as well, because once they were all occupied in a little cave of sorts, I was under sudden pursuit of some guy, barely recognizable to me while I’m awake, though still familiar when I close my eyes. I put up a good fight, I escaped, I ran. But damn if he wasn’t just as fast and clever. No amount of carnival or Italian market pathway dreamscape was enough to shake him. I surrendered when I was cornered in a deli, more or less up against a cold case, and he was somewhat merciful–at least, he wasn’t violent. I “shouldn’t have run. It would have been better not to have run”.  So I was caught. My bindings were lavender colored Tyvek wristbands (I seriously need to get “Staged” finished…) with a Y-shaped network of chain attached to them. For whatever reason, my captor shackled us together. I was beyond running. I had surrendered. I had no ideas left for any kind of escape at that point–he had won and the shared restraints were unnecessary, I thought.

A lot of walking followed that moment of brief respite. When we stopped somewhere out in a desert or wasteland of some kind, a man and woman were also there with another woman–their prisoner. They were ruthless. They unchained her from themselves and shoved her into a shallow pool of clear water with harmless looking sand at its bottom. It was quicksand and it sucked her in just enough to keep her head below the water. We all watched her drown. “That could be you,” my captor told me just after the other man removed the shackles and chains from his victim. He stood there, holding those newly removed chains and looked at my captor as he spoke to me instead: “That should be you.”

In retrospect, I feel like I made a challenging retort, but it’s possible that I only spoke and kept the words in my mind. We left the area with the couple heading off on their own and leaving me to wonder what was to be my fate. I don’t think I really cared, and only just as my first alarm was getting ready to go off, I felt the blunt needling of Stockholm Syndrome dancing around somewhere inside of my thoughts. I got the sense that I wasn’t the only one who was questioning the situation, but those soft lavender bands never came off.


Last night, in the middle of doing homework for my Human Biology class, the ending to “Staged” came together. It figures–having nothing to do with domains on down to species, or cellular structures or function (or does it?)–finally getting that piece to the puzzle now that the semester is dominating most of my life, well that is just typical. Not only that, but the story is threatening a complete rewrite. I’m not sure what exactly that will entail or what will be altered, but in regards to the post I made yesterday, the demographics of the original idea have shifted. It’s a hard compromise to ease it back into something that won’t spin off into months and months more of working on it (ie. a novel): I don’t have months and months. As it is, the energy being put toward this story feels farther and farther away and I’m feeling distressed about that. I can understand that over time it might happen–never so quickly as this.  As far as timing to get the story done, in whatever capacity, my saving grace in this moment is that there are still five illustrations (including the one for this story) and the cover to be done. That should at least buy me some time to figure out what is going on and what will be the best course for this story to take.

In the meantime, all other muses have grown quiet. I can’t say I’m surprised by this–school. Things are about to grow pretty dark, but I’ll keep trying to navigate through it, with or without the light.

To The Grave: Lesson Learned, For The Last Time

By now, everyone knows how much I like to talk about muses and my muses, and that really is the truth. The majority of them (character influencing) have been unreachable, intangible people. There have been several that were/are people I know, and for the most part I keep that knowledge to myself. The first time I told someone, he was cool with it. He still is and he’s a friend of mine. We don’t talk much, hardly see each other, but it’s always a pleasant experience when we do–he also loved the book he was in. In his case, he was strictly a character muse. The second time I told someone (also a character muse), it turned into a completely psychotic and frankly, Terrifying, event for me. It involved having to block him from social media, which was a real disappointment. After that, I vowed never tell anyone about their influence, inspiration and involvement in one of my stories ever again, even though I got a good reaction the first time. Even though it eats away at me that I can’t share what I consider to be something pretty damn amazing with the person who most deserves to hear it.

Of course, sometimes my mouth gets ahead of me, and this most recent time is an example of that. This time, it wasn’t only a character or just the story that was affected–it was both and two characters in two different stories, at that. I have never, in all of my writing life, had something so perfectly beautiful, immediate, or intense happen to me or my work. Anyone who has been paying attention to any of these posts over the years, or knows me in real life, knows that I wake up each day for my writing; that I am as compelled to create as I am to breathe. Without this, I truly feel that I have nothing, because everyone and everything else seems to move on without much warning, or even consideration that I might want to go along. I have no such thing as “home”. Writing is “home” to me. To have someone with whom I’ve crossed paths have this sort of effect for both the character(s) and story is a once in a lifetime thing. Truthfully: not just on my writing and I’d be a total liar to say that, in this case, something deeper didn’t also get tapped. Considering that I am actually quite hard to reach on a deeper and lasting level: This just Doesn’t Ever Happen. In this very moment, I’m questioning whether it actually did happen…I say this because I shared these sentiments with this muse, and I believed it was well and sincerely received.

For about five days.

I have learned that people don’t like to be told they inspire me. They say they do, and maybe they just change their mind. Maybe they think it becomes a responsibility (it isn’t) and then don’t want it anymore. It could be that it’s something really easy to forget, just like any other compliment. Whatever the case, I am feeling a pretty heavy weight in my heart that says the honor of this gift in my head/heart/soul, had an expiration date. It meant more to me, just as it always does.

I doubt I’m explaining this very well at all. I feel lost and, yes: utterly distressed. I’ve considered not finishing the story even though it’s so close to being done, even despite the detriment it will cause me to let it go.

What the hell happened??? What has this done to me??? Who was this person, Really???  I’ve never even had a lover–to whom I gave my entire heart, who straight up abandoned or even ghosted me–effect me like this. Someone shot an arrow this time and it struck hard and irretrievably deep. The barbs are so sunken and clenched in such a bite on all that I am, that I can’t even reality check my way out of this. Under normal circumstances, if someone met me just over a week ago and things shifted from ethereally warm and friendly to something inexplicably tepid at best (as seemed to be our last interaction), I would be able to just shrug it off and move on. Muses are replaceable–usually. But this is unshruggable. This is not a normal circumstance. Again, I ask:


I’m scouring my memory of our too few interactions to try and figure out how I might have given the wrong impression, overstepped bounds–Under-stepped bounds; gave too much of the right impression; gave insult, created unidentified trouble–anything to chalk this up as karmic backlash, because at this point, I have no other explanation. Under other circumstances, I would probably ignore all that too, but something in all this requires a resolution. Maybe it wasn’t an arrow–maybe it was a harpoon dart, and it has pinned me--all of me…mind, soul, heart…–to the wall of an endless cliff of WTF confusion. Now I’m just hanging here, waiting for the kraken to pull me off of it, harpoon and all, and swallow me up just so this will pass. Excuse the dramatics, but I think what I’m feeling right now warrants a few colorful metaphors. Trust me: it’s not nearly as painful for you.

It’s possible that I have, through unacknowledged wishful thinking, read too deeply and in several respects. I’m hardly patient, though I try to be, and that doesn’t help either. Shifts in other people’s moods are not my responsibility, but actions are louder than words and as that is a lesson my last relationship seared into me repeatedly, it’s one I’ll never forget. Until I have clarification otherwise, I will be unable to help thinking I had a hand in this change and I wish I could have the chance to repair that. It means enough to me that I would do whatever it takes. Situations matter to me, people matter to me: I care. But rarely am I affected like this, and in comparing this musing to all others, I’m not sure I ever have been–not like this, and not in any other kind of circumstance either. I care to a devastating degree this time and I can’t explain any of it beyond the words I’ve posted here…

I will write his story. I will continue working on the other project that he has also touched, even knowing that all I can do is try to hold fast to the snapshot of what of him inspired all of that, and me. As my life lessons never seem to be truly painless, and this is proving to be a crowning example, I know now that–no matter what comes to pass–I will never again reveal the identities of my muses, least of all to them.

A “Secret” Midday Post

As I stated at the very bottom of my last post (beneath the picture of my empty pen), I gave in and started working on “Staged”. As of last night when I succumbed to bedtime, I had eight pages done. So far today–five more. I’m finding I cannot write nearly quickly enough to keep up with my thoughts, though I’m certainly trying to! I am curious to know how much more I will get done this evening. I hope to break twenty pages (at least) by the time I return to the cirque tomorrow night. I suppose it would put some validation on my requests to be able to say, “Yeah–I’m 20(+) pages into it already.” Not that I have to justify myself, though I imagine not many people walk into a venue claiming, “I’m writing a story about this”. At least, not many who would make that claim and actually mean it or carry it out. It’s nice to know that, for all that I make up, the part about writing a story is true and made up in a completely different way.


Needless to say, I’m really excited about this story for so many reasons. It’s not with every piece that I get to be IN the setting, or around my real life muses. It’s such an incredible honor that I will probably mention it again. It’s hard not to be gracious about it as well and I hope that I remember to express that at every opportunity.  I recognize the rarity of the situation, and that is pretty big as well. I think I get more out of it–I have the chance to (hopefully!) think of all the right questions to ask while the answers are so close at hand, and I would certainly be a fool not to take advantage of that!

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A Rare Specimen

Despite what I said in my last post about needing a photograph of two of my muses, I’m actually lousy at taking pictures. I get caught up in moments and just forget all about capturing images–that’s why I don’t have an Instagram account and probably never will. In the case of the muse photo that I’m going to attempt to get on Friday evening… Ah, to what astronomical lengths I am willing to go to appease my muses and fulfill my passion!…it’s necessary.

This image below, however, is definitely a rare catch. Not what you’re seeing, but the fact that I photo-documented it. It’s my last Fine Point Pilot Precise V7, blue. That’s actually a cause for mourning because it’s the kind of pen I use to do all of my story writing with–and they are hard to find unless I order them from Amazon or go to the black market or something (just kidding on that second part…although…) I am also mentioning this because I only JUST started using this pen about a week ago. That is the entirety of “Papercuts” and a chunk of “Cradled”. It’s a nice gauge of progress anyhow. There you go. Maybe the next image will be a little more thrilling.

PS: I caved to the tidal wave–“Staged” has begun.

Yep: Again

It’s just past six in the morning and I should be working on “Cradled” right now, but “Staged” (the most recent story idea to come to mind) is chewing right through my gray matter, trying to get out. It’s not a bad thing, except that I need to finish “Cradled” (and really, “Amateur” as well) before I start it. As it is, the energy of this one has taken such a hold that I can hardly think about anything else. Driving has been completely on autopilot to the point that I forgot my purse at work yesterday (which had my notebook in it, or else I would have left it until my return today) and had to drive back for it–two hours wasted on driving when I could have been finishing up “Cradled”. Thankfully, I still got “Papercuts” done last night. But “Staged”…

It has been a few months since I’ve had a muse so enrapturing that I have felt consumed by it/him/her. In this case, a him. The funny thing about this one is that it isn’t the person who initially prompted the idea in the first place, but the one who I actually got to speak with about the story. That whole idea of keeping the “I’m putting you in my story” to myself? Yeah, I totally blew that on Sunday evening when I actually garnered enough courage to open my mouth about it. For one of the very few times, it has had a fortunate outcome and no “weirdness” has resulted. Instead, I feel creatively bound to this person and, not only is he the real driving force to “Staged”, but he has also found a part in a book/screenplay I started a few years ago. I have a feeling that these two pieces of writing will not be the only ones he helps me breathe life into. I wish there was some way to repay people when they do this for me–so far, there isn’t. It’s a gift beyond anything else that exists. I’ve yet to experience anything that tops it–by tangible means or otherwise. The only thing that can begin to even come close to what it brings to me is being in love, and even that may be only a close second…I feel like I’m going to burst–like a new universe has just been created inside of me and it’s expanding with every new moment. Nothing else does that for me. I am so indebted right now that it’s almost painful. Almost.

It’s funny to me how other muses have come along and experiences have been similar. This time it has been–more. More what? I can’t say, but it’s intense. It is heartbreaking to think that I’ll probably never cross paths with this person again. Life is funny though. I can’t guarantee that I will never get to stand in his presence and revel in that, along with those fleeting seconds that carry it. I only know that if I ever do, it will probably change my world all over again. Indebted, indeed, and I’d have it no other way.