Monday, August 26, 2013

Primum Lector (aka Alpha Reader)

In case I forgot to tell you (I did, I did, I left you hanging, I'm so sorry!), I went with only one Alpha for the first read of Peace Makers. It is rough and ragged, and lacking in too many areas, so I opted to trust just one for now. His the Sententious Vaunter is the first blog I followed (other than mine), and he was one of my first Blogger friends. Our ages and political leanings are vastly far apart, but as writers and citizens of the world, we click.

I know enough about Andrew to know that, like me, he has a vision for our world that seeps in to his writing. He is an idealist with a healthy dose of realism, and prone to fatalism if truth be told. He grabs life with a gusto I long to emulate. I recall a poignant short story he entered in a contest way back when: about a man who met "the One" over drinks. Recently, while globe-trotting** on summer vacation (from his position as an English teacher in Seoul) Andrew asked Heather to marry him and she said yes. Congratulations you two!

As for my manuscript and my Alpha? They will remeet soon. In the zealousness to trim this, that and the other, and 'git 'er done' I cut the seventeen page prologue to a few paragraphs, then hacked up the first chapter. Later I realized I'd ripped its heart out.

So I'm putting the old girl back together. It'll be off to you soon, Andrew. Are you ready?

~ Olivia J. Herrell 
** Andrew has a knack for relating the details (and pics) of his travels, so if you're considering visiting a country (or just want to tiptoe through it in the playground of your mind), check him out at the Sententious Vaunter

Sunday, August 25, 2013

On Letting Go

The assignment? Write a letter to the girl who torpedoed me last year with her SUV, to write the damn thing and burn it. The order came on Wednesday, yet here I sit, on Saturday night, the task as-yet undone. I've begun it in my head, something like this:

Dear stupid bitch who effed up my life, (not really, that magically appeared when I started typing)

A year has passed since the day you hit me, the trauma that keeps on 'giving'.

I still can't believe you rear-ended me, in my two day-old Benz, nor worse, the insane way that you did it. When I tell the story, I get a dumbfounded look, and the typical reply of:

"You what?"

Eyebrows raised in still-astonished (and disgusted) agreement, I will repeat the bizarre, "I was hit from behind while driving down the road doing the speed limit."

"YOU WERE WHAT?" unfailingly comes the screech.

Yes, really. I was driving the speed limit, minding my own business, happy and satisfied, humming. After five months of arduous searching, I was finally in the perfect car. Then you happened along, barreling down the road (with a child in your belly no less!) not looking at where your 'missile' was headed. You endangered our lives, and for what? Were you texting? Reaching for something? Digging in your purse? 

Whatever you were doing, girl, damn you. Just. Damn you. You certainly damned me.

Do you understand that what you did was careless? It was dangerous, and negligent, and all sorts of stupid. You hurt me, and likely hurt you and your unborn baby. Does your jaw and face ache so deeply that you can't eat or think? Do you hobble from hip pain? Do your hands go numb when you're driving?

Do you think about the woman (ME!) that you hurt?

A less-enlightened me would say: I hate you and wish you harm. Yet how can I despise you, without despising me? I can't and I don't, though my body still carries the pain, and the poker-hot sear of anger.

I only hope that you learned a lesson and will never again endanger another life. This is my prayer. For you. And for me. May we be healed of any and all injuries - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual - that were sustained as a result of that ill-fated whack/attack.

Finally, may this letter mark the turning point from which I/we walk forward free: of restriction and pain, anger and blame, invisibility and unimportance and any remnants left nagging or undone.

Bygones.

And so it is. It is done. Thank you, God.

I will burn this letter, yes. But not in to obscurity. In to infamy. On my blog. For the record. For prosperity. But most of all, for the healing. Mine. Hers. And anyone else's who might happen along here and need it.

Let it go, dear body. Let the bitter, venomous outrage drain away, Master psyche. Let it go. To nothingness. And beyond. Let it go. It is gone.

In place is the memory of calm. And reason. And the deep, strong will to heal.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Sunday, August 18, 2013

No More Boxes

Another round of deaths have torn through my life: a cousin, once-close, and a friend, once a close party-buddy. We all ran in the same circle, lifetimes ago.

A third, his wife, passed sooner, when I was in California, a full seven years ago. In typing this now, I realize she departed the same year as my mother and step-father. The year my life fell apart.

In the midst of all this, I sit in my latest tomb, petrifying.

I am lost in a world that doesn't fit me, one I left thirty years ago, out-grown, even then. There is charm, but also an underbelly of stagnation, a community unwilling to let go of its past.

I go about my days, seeing patients, talking to friends and family, writing in a journal about things that don't matter. Extraneous observations. Nothing vital or earth-shaking. The same fluff and dross, day upon day.

I miss the diversity of big city living, the melting-pot of thinkers from around the world. I feel locked in a box. Once more.

Wherever I go, another box awaits, a line of code that keeps me scrambling through The Land of Empty Boxes. Each is distinctive, attractive and different from the last. Until it isn't. Restrictive, smothering, dead zones, all. Boxes. Nothing more.

If I must be at the mercy of a universal code, give me circles bubbling from the Master's Source.

No more boxes.

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