Untitled 30 Million

Untitled 30 Million

A consuming mist
A lonely peak
A Dragon waits
An aging heart sleeps
In the emptiness
There is peace
In loving things
A soul is weak
Locked in darkness
On the other side
Hiding from death
An immortal denies life.

Sarah WaterRaven

(c)WaterRaven 2012. All Rights Reserved.
Death, immortality, magickal beasts, and concepts of more to this universe; these are subjects I continuously come back to and explore in my poetry, artwork and stories. More recently I explore them in a short story I am publishing, A Story of Iolite. I plan on publishing it right after I send my manuscript, Detective Docherty and the Vampire’s Mirror to my lovely editor, Amanda <3. While that is getting edited, I’ll be working on a cover image for Iolite and polishing up the story for e publishing.
dragon sketch book

Dragon tribal-art design I did on the cover of one of my sketchbook/journals and the origin of the the name “Iolite.” I name all my journals.

I was lucky enough to have Amanda and a friend of mine, short science-fiction author, James Bambury, take a look at Iolite . So far feedback is good, but I’ve recently had some mixed-reviews from beta-readers that I have been mulling over. While I think editing and beta-readers are important, I also know you cannot please everyone and the story must always remain your own. So! We shall see what I do with it ;)

I’m considering posting half of it on Wattpad for free, e publishing through Amazon and Smashwords, and making a hard copy to sell at conventions. Wattpad is an app for free or mostly free e books, short stories, and poetry. I’ve tried the app off and on. I unfortunately don’t have any time for reading because I figure if I have any time to read, I should be writing, so I’ve read a quarter of a story on the app one time, months ago… A lot of other people seem to like it, though I am suspicious more authors use it for an advertising medium than readers do for reading. Not unlike other authors, I’ve posted several chapters of my first book free in the hopes the reader will then purchase the book to finish the story. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing if there is a correlation between reads on Wattpad and purchases from Amazon and Smashwords.
The idea for publishing a hard copy of the short story came to me by way of my fellow author, Jen Frankel. She always has a great table set up at conventions and more recently I noticed she had small booklets for sale with short stories for a couple of bucks. I thought that was a great way to not only give more to your readers, but to do something with your short stories that weren’t apart of a larger volume, say a collection of short stories to complete a larger book.
Once I am completely happy with A Story of Iolite and the cover art is finished, I’ll explore publication options. Like I said, ultimately I’d like it to be available on Amazon and Smashwords etc for 99 cents and to mimic Jen’s design and sell it in person as a small booklet for a couple of dollars.
It wasn’t until after I finished editing the story that I realized how close this older poem was to Iolite’s primary imagery and concepts, however it still remains to be its own entity. I hope you enjoyed it.
Toodles,
WaterRaven

Thank you!

Pffffft!

Wow! Thank you to all the new followers for following this blog. I greatly appreciate your eyes and ears. Here’s to new blog posts and growing together!

And in celebration, I’d like to share a drawing of a unicorn stabbing a vampire:

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Oh, and an owl playing with its stuffed animal, because awwww XD

Owl with toy 2

I use to work with animals ;)

Thank you again!

WaterRaven

A Memory

A Memory

Something inside of me died today
it was a mirror of myself
and though it saddens me I’ve lost it
it created room for something else.

My grief can only last so long
and I can shed so many tears
but as I die I live again,
I’m growing through these years.

Something inside of me died today
but I kept a part with me
I could not bare to leave it
and it became a memory.

Sarah WaterRaven

(c)WaterRaven 2012. All Rights Reserved.

 

A little while ago musician Doug Callowhill from Dundas, Ontario, wrote me to ask if he could use my poem A Memory for song lyrics. After discussing what he wished to do with it and clearing up any legal mumbo-jumbo, I decided that yes he could! While the song isn’t my particular genre of music, I am extremely happy that something I wrote touched someone so deeply they made music out of it.

I uploaded the song to Soundcloud and wanted to share. Hope you like it. Music by Doug Callowhill, vocals by Amy Brown, and written by Sarah WaterRaven.

 

Rather than explain my intention for the meaning of the poem, I’d love for readers to take their own meaning from it.

Take Care–

WaterRaven

Mania

It is amazing how much time I spend sitting in front of this screen trying to come up with clever titles and openings for this blog– the kinds of things artists and authors waste their time on… Speaking of wasting timIMG_4638[1]e, my five readers, you’ve probably been wondering where the hell I’ve been. Busy, geeze, back off ;)

I recently attended Genrecon in Guelph and an art-fest hosted by Lift the City in Mississauga back in October, but more recently I’ve been focused on finishing my second novel. I figure if I have time to update this blog, I really should be writing my book. However, if anything is true of our age, it’s that if you want to keep followers, you need to update your social media. A great blog I periodically follow called Rainy of the Dark posted an article once on

Two Sarahs on the Tumblr and Fandom panel. I'm keeping things professional.

Two Sarahs on the Tumblr and Fandom panel. I’m keeping things professional.

updating your social media. It was a how-to on breaking down updates into a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule. The simpler medias like Twitter and Pinterest can be updated daily, while short form blogs like Tumblr should be updated weekly. It suggested updating blogs weekly a
nd monthly, however I sadly have yet to master this recipe of success. But today is your lucky day, five readers, I am posting an update!

First, Genrecon. Awesome time. Genrecon has not disappointed in the last two years I have attended. This year I saw some incredible cosplayers and attended some of the best panels I’ve had the privilege of being on since I started out as a panelist. Genrecon is large enough to make the trip more than worth it as a fan, panelist, and dealer, but small enough to allow personal connections, networking, and the development of friendships. I highly

Adding new followers to Tumblr and getting ready for nap time

Adding new followers to Tumblr and getting ready for nap time

recommend it for any fellow geeks, readers, and cosplayers in Guelph and the Great Toronto Area. While various conventions tend to focus on film/T.V., writing and reading, comics, or video games, Genrecon seems to say, “To hell with it, let’s do it all!”

This year I sat on panels discussing Tumblr and Fandom, Archer, Game of Thrones, and Canadian Content in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and much more. It was a pretty long list and a seriously busy weekend. I hosted an entire panel by myself actually, hahaha…aaaaaah. What a surprise that was! Ironically (or perhaps not) it was a panel called “Surviving as an Artist.” While I am definitely surviving as an artist, I would not say I am yet thriving. DSC_0466So, for this panel I lead an open discussion on what types of artists we had in the room (writers, musicians, graphic artists etc) and what successes and failures they’ve had. We talked a lot about social media, about where to start and stop when it came to free or discounted prices for promotional art, and about networking, because all of those

things have presented me with great opportunities and growth as an artist.

While I loved my fandom panels, especially Game of Thrones (Sadly there were some disappointed fans because I was unable to bring Faolan), I have to say one of my favourites was my last panel on Canadian Content in Science Fiction and Fantasy, not only because I got to sit on a panel with Elizabeth Hirst and Timothy Carter, but

Yep. Surviving as an artist on a panel by myself.

Yep. Surviving as an artist on a panel by myself.

also because it was great to bash Canadian Grit Lit, discuss how closed-minded the mainstream Canadian publishers can be, and explore how truly diverse Canada is and how diverse it’s literature could be. I really felt a connection between Scifi and Fantasy readers and writers on that panel and was sad to realize that most Fantasy and Scifi readers have to attend conventions in Canada in order to buy material they are interested in. Even Charles de Lint, one of my favourite authors, an inspiration, and celebrated Canadian author, is published with American publishing houses (although double-checking his site, I have noticed his later works are published with Canadian publishers as well).

Of course the big news from the convention is that not only did I  reveal the new cover of Detective Docherty and the Vampire’s Mirror, but I readDSC_0478

from it as well. I had a great turn out with new fans and old and was lucky enough to not only have family there, but my friend Stuart attended and recorded my reading. It’s really exciting to see my fan-base grow, but even more-so exciting to know that I am getting closer to finishing my second novel and getting it to my readers. Publishing the first book was incredible and surreal, but the three years I’ve spent struggling to finish this second book are going to make its publication even more of a triumph.  I cannot wait to have a copy of Detective Docherty and the Vampire’s Mirror in my hands.

Needless to say, I consider Genrecon a huge success for networking, connecting to readers, and especially for learning. After the convention Joshua and I realized that I really need a table at events. Lucky for me he is willing to man the table while I attend panels, which was part of the initial set back to

Detective Docherty and the Vampire's Mirror Cover Image

Detective Docherty and the Vampire’s Mirror Cover Image

having a table in previous years. Not to mention the inability to afford a table… haha… but again, thanks to Joshua, I can now afford it. Actually, I did mention at the Surviving as an Artist panel that having a supportive partner is especially helpful to any artist’s success *hem* Love you, Sweetie ;)
Let’s be real though, having one lonely novel on a table does not a successful table make, so Joshua and I got to brainstorming. We decided I need more merchandise to draw people in and make the events more lucrative. Thanks to some friends of mine, I’ll now be able to sell prints of my artwork at conventions and will also be publishing a short story, along with my second book, to help fill in that empty space at my table. Over the years I have DSC_0487collected some odds and ends that I like to have as decoration at my readings and feel they not only help to draw listeners in, but help readers connect to the world I’ve created. Between the new merchandise and decorations, Josh and I feel we’ll have a pretty sweet display for upcoming conventions in 2015.

Thanks to An Tran, co author of Bath Salts, Josh and I got to try out part of our new display at an art-fest in Mississauga. Sadly the art-fest didn’t see many customers, however Josh and I still had a great time connecting to other authors are artists. We have a list of new conventions to attend and a lot of planning ahead of us thanks to the people we’ve met at both events. I have to say, Sushi after the event was my favourite. I look forward to more events and good times with my new fave local authors.

IMG_4675[1]Last on the list of mania is that I was approached by a local musician who requested permission to be able to use one of my poems as lyrics for a song he has written. So far everything seems pretty good and we are discussing details concerning credit and possible royalties. I’m pretty excited. I don’t care so much about money, but more so that my poem touched someone and will be getting out there to connect with more people in a different medium.

More on that subject in my next post. In the mean time, for those of you who haven’t heard it, below is my reading from Detective Docherty and the Vampire’s Mirror. Enjoy.

WaterRaven

Piracy

piracy

Great news everyone (Five Readers), I am officially famous enough to be pirated! Yes, it’s true. By some mysterious mistake in typing in my own web address I’m an idiot I managed to find a website (Hosted by WordPress no less!) that is offering my book for free for download.

Here’s the link:

 http://taychartmobu2006cookslearuwebc.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/detective-docherty-and-the-demons-tears-sarah-waterraven/

Don’t click it if you don’t want to, below I have provided a wonderful print screen of the page.

I tested the file out and it came back unsafe, so I can’t say for certain whether this is a “legit” piracy (haha…) site or just a way to spread viruses and spyware.  ScamAdvisor.com has more information on Books.clicksomewhere.com  if you are a fellow author facing the same problem.

Here’s a link to send a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice if your content is also being advertised through WordPress for illegal download:

http://automattic.com/dmca-notice/

piracyprintscreenMy thoughts: Wow and Wtf!?! On the one hand: look at those ratings! I have an 8.7 out of 10 AND I’ve had an insane amount of downloads. On the other hand, it took me two years to write, re-write, edit, and format the manuscript, create the cover art, and finally print the book, not to mention the 4 years of promotion I’ve done since it’s publication, so to see so many downloads and such great ratings from people who aren’t even buying it ($3.99 Canadian) to acknowledge that I brought it into existence is heartbreaking. We (Five Readers) must consider as well that the ratings and downloads could be false advertisement. Although I would like to mention, having worked at a software company (who’s name we cannot speak of) that had a movie downloading sofware that was questionably legal, I know that “customers” used the rating system and voting system regularly.

What is even more upsetting is that I have a grand total of 5 ratings and 4 reviews on Amazon.com, 2 on Barnes and Noble, and a whopping zero reviews on Indigo.ca, and let us not forget the meager 9 ratings and 4 reviews on GoodReads… According to those websites my novel is hardly seeing any action at all. There are so many things I want to know, like: Is this real? Are these ratings from actual human beings and where are they? How can I connect to these readers? I don’t want to yell at them or slap them on the wrist, I want to know what they think about my book and I hope they want to read the second.

While the piracy has been oddly encouraging and discouraging, what has been great is the support I am receiving from readers that have quickly become friends. Thanks to Craft Kitten and Chaos Adventurer we are taking further action to get my book off the Books.clicksomewhere website. Their help and support through this has given me a lot of hope for Dective Docherty, Ares, and Alexandria. Because of people like them, I am encouraged everyday to keep this story going.

Thank you again to Craft Kitten and Chaos Adventurer, and a big thank you as well to my family, friends, and readers who have given me the means and hope to keep this dream alive and let it grow. Piracy is going to happen no matter what you do, but it’s the true fans and honest readers that keep me going. Thanks everyone.

Lastly, bad pirate animation because I can and because it makes me lol :

- WaterRaven

On a later note: I would like to add that I do know what it’s like to be in dire straights (Hurricane) and that when it comes between a couple dollars for food or necessities and an eBook, people are going to choose food. I also know how hard it is to live without the things that give you joy, so while I am hurt that some of my readers are illegally downloading my material, a part of me understands. I am hoping that with the publication of my second novel in 2015 that I’ll be able to do more promotional sales to allow readers better access to my books.

Genrecon

genrecon

Ooooo. Aaaahhh.

So! I’m gearing up for this years Genrecon! Unce-unce-unce. Con time bebeh!

What can you expect?

Absolutely nothing. The second book is not done. Just kidding. Seriously though, it’s not done, BUT I will be reading from the second book and revealing the new cover for Detective Docherty and the Vampire’s Mirror (DDVM) at Genrecon in Guelph this October 17-19. I think it’ll be sexeh once I finish it. The new book will be published in January/February of the new year. The two worst retail months EVER, but I am eager to publish it and the new year is the soonest it will be ready.

My hope is that readers with gift cards and new e-readers from the holidays will want to buy it. YEAH! Optimism :D If I don’t hit major sales the first couple of months DDVM is out, I wont be too concerned. The real goal is to have the book ready for Ad-Astra 2015 with the intention of having a table with both books, prints, and possible samples of the audiobook*.

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Get back to work!

It’s been a tough couple of years, but thanks to major support from my boyfriend, friends, and family, I am able to once again publish and promote. I would also like to say a HUGE thank you to Genrecon for not only inviting me back this year, but for promoting me as a guest and author (Check out my page!). While I have dreams of attending commercial run cons such as Fanexpo and Comicon, it’s the fan-run conventions that really help Self-Publishers like myself to network and connect to readers. SF Contario was my first convention and the reason that I have made the connections I have today. I am really looking forward to Genrecon this fall and many more conventions to come!

See you at the Con!

~WaterRaven

 

A Cinderella Story

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Camping out with my stuff, waiting for the moving truck once again.

I’d like to preface this with the need to express myself. I wrote this so I could purge myself of the guilt and questioning and come finally to my happy ending. During the months that the following events occurred I questioned myself constantly. Why? Why was this happening again? What was I doing wrong? Why couldn’t I get this right? Again I was in a place that didn’t want me and again I had a job that I hated. Why was I in this loop of failure? I would sit and think of ways that I could make things work with my roommates and even my job. I would go over and over each scenario and try to come up with new ways to keep the peace and make others happy until one day my friend and counsellor said to me, “What about your happiness? Maybe the problem isn’t you.”

It struck a cord. The thought hadn’t occurred to me. I had been bending over backwards to make others happy and the only thing I was accomplishing was making myself miserable.

It’s one thing to help others, to be there for good friends and family, but it’s quite another to be at the end of someone else’s leash. In today’s world I hear a lot of “I” and “Me” and very few “We,” and for years now I’ve been striving to better my relationships with my friends and family. I wasn’t born with a large window, I always had a small one, one that I looked through and saw only what I was doing and what I wanted. I would stare off and into a long tunnel that lead to my dreams. For years now I’ve been broadening it, but this time around I had to learn there is still a place for “I” and “Me.”

sad FaolanSeveral months ago it became abundantly clear that I was once again in life-trouble. I became all too aware that Faolan and I were no longer welcome in the house. The feeling was sadly familiar. I do not know exactly when the scales-tipped out of our favour in my roommate’s mind and heart, but once they did it was obvious. It was and is a shame. My roommate took me in when no one else would and now I would consider myself blessed if I never heard from her again.

I cannot say for certaint what the exact problem was, but I think I can sum up some key issues:

1) We both have very different ideas about the proper care and safety of animal companions

2) We did not agree on what exactly the amount of rent I was paying her each month entitled me to

3) In her mind, she owned the house, which meant I had little say in it despite the fact I paid to live there

4) In my opinion, her priority in life is gain: what she can gain in work or financially from someone else. The night she wrote a letter asking me to move out, she called my mother and sold skincare products to her. Aside from selling products to my mom, she no longer considered me a financial benefit.

At the start of everything I did my best to put aside the fact that I was not permitted to have too much of my stuff out in the house. The first night in the new place, I started unpacking a box of my stuff that I hadn’t seen in a year and she snapped at me saying. “First we unpack my things and then if we have room for yours, we’ll unpack yours.” We never did have room for mine. My desk lived outside my room, as did my couch and TV only because they couldn’t fit in it. The majority of my belongings sat in boxes in the basement. I slowly pulled out my art supplies as I began working on art and writing again, but I believe the slow increase of my stuff may have been part of the problem. Sadly, what belongings I did have out were being ruined by her cats and the dogs she brought in for sitting. In a way, I guess it was a good thing I didn’t have everything out.

While I am happy to help out with chores and upkeep, I was surprised to come home one day and find a cleaning schedule on a calendar with my name on it. Listed on the calender were days that I was expected to clean and what I was cleaning. I will go ahead and admit that I do not like being told what to do. Had she sat down and talked to me about it and worked a schedule out with me, things would have been completely different, but clearly I was now subject to a dictatorship. I broached her on the subject once when we got a third roommate, saying that I thought sweeping three times a week was a bit much– that was not well received.

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My artwork at the time really reflects my struggle. Featured is part of a watercolour scene where a unicorn loses its innocence stabbing a life-sucking vampire, sacrificing a part of itself for the greater good.

I did my best to put these things aside. I did not like them, but I was trying to compromise and in all honesty, I was grateful to her for having taken me in those many months before. I have a sad feeling that part of the reason she was able to control me for so long was because she knew I had nowhere else to go.

The dog sitting is what pushed me over the edge and caused me to speak up, even then, it took me a while. I was caught in this cycle of “she did me a huge favour,” but as my friend said later, “When does it end?”. Originally I was unemployed and at home looking for work full-time, so when she was “dog sitting” that meant I was home with the dogs all day, making sure they ate, had water, and went out while she was at work. I would clean up after their mess and put up with their barking all day and all night. I did not ask her for a penny of the money she was receiving for the dogs I was sitting. When I went to work part-time, I was still home more often than she was and still had to put up with the barking and cleaning up after them. In addition, when she went on trips I watched her dog for free and fed and cleaned up after her cats when she went to her boyfriend’s (they puked and crapped on the floor regularly).

Originally I bit my tongue, but when the dogs she was bringing home posed a threat to my dog, I had to put my foot down. Faolan is my life and my reason for getting up every morning. I was not going to stand by while she put his life in danger. Considering my roommate was incapable of keeping her own dog in the yard (I cannot count the # of times I had to go out and find that dog, upset and terrified she had been hit by a car) and knowing how careless my roommate was with the dogs she was sitting (she took a freshly spayed female Rottweiler two hours away. It got out of her mother’s backyard while she went off with her friends, causing the poor dog’s stitched belly to swell and possibly scar), there was absolutely no way I was going to trust her with Faolan.

If the owners only knew the danger she had put their dogs in. There are times that I wish I had documented everything and presented it to the vet clinic where she worked because she was not only risking the dogs, but jeopardizing herself and the clinic she worked for. I would NEVER take a dog that I was sitting away from the home it was expected to be in. I would also never bring a dog home into a stressful environment where it might be attacked or would get into a fight with another dog.

Faolan is a wonderful dog, but he does not always get along with others. Because of this I take precautions when taking him anywhere. I do not take him to off-leash parks or heavily populated areas. I do my best to be a responsible dog owner. We live in a world where a pregnant female dog, tied up in her own backyard, can be called aggressive and put down because the neighbours let their kid wander into her backyard unattended and was bitten.

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Faolan used to love the daycare, but sometimes 20+ dogs was too much.

All these things considered, I asked my roommate to produce a waiver for each dog owner to sign before she brought them into the house. She was none-too-pleased. I never saw this waiver and the first dog she had in the house after our discussion was an intact, male, bulldog-mix. I asked if they signed a waiver and she said no because it’s her friend’s dog. Two intact male dogs under one roof is stupid. I don’t think you have to be a vet tech, trainer, or even an enthusiast to know that. I did my best to keep the dogs separated, but even with both my roommate, myself, and her boyfriend at the house, the dog she was sitting got out and went after Faolan. Luckily, Faolan listened to me while I pulled the smaller dog off of him. If Faolan had responded that little guy didn’t have a chance. I was bitten by the dog multiple times. Do you think my roommate gave a shit? No. Not at all. She and her boyfriend were drunk or high or both. She never told the owner.

When my roommate told me she was bringing a 100lb labour-doodle into the house, I had to act. I sat down with her and politely asked her not to. I explained how this particular dog had attacked Faolan previously and though nothing serious had happened before, it was too much of a risk.   She.   was.   pissed.   She told me it was “all about me” and said it was manageable and I was overreacting, but she had demonstrated time and again that I could not trust her.

Yellow Dog Program

Having an insecure dog, I am a huge supporter of this initiative

I then suggested she take the dog to her boyfriend’s house for a week, that way she could get the money for sitting and I could go to work without worrying about Faolan. Unfortunately she felt I was telling her to leave her own home, which only made her angrier. She was not hearing me out at all. What mattered was the money and her not having to leave the couch. It’s interesting to note how she didn’t want to inconvenience her boyfriend with the dog at his house all week, but had never given a thought to how it would effect me. Surprisingly she agreed to keep the dog at her boyfriend’s– though she changed her mind at the end of the week. I had no choice but to get Faolan out of the house for a couple of days.

Everything plummeted off a cliff-side after that.

I knew our friendship was over when I messaged her telling her I almost went to the ER. She never messaged back to see what happened or ask how I was. She barely spoke to me after our talk. I remember looking at the kitchen counter every morning, expecting an eviction notice. Eventually she would hand me one herself right beside it.

At this time a third roommate had moved in. My roommate had approached me a couple months earlier asking me if I knew anyone who would be interested in moving in with us. She wanted more help with the mortgage. I tried to get a friend to move in, but I think he was too smart for it. Undeterred, my roommate got on facebook and asked another friend of mine instead. He was a friend from high school and had sadly been picked on most of his life. I was one of the few people who had been nice to him. Later he was diagnosed with various behavioural/mental disorders which helped explain some of his odd behaviour, but that never mattered to me. I always accepted him for who he was. I use to drive him to the store and to the Dr’s to help him out. There was a time when he called me his best friend.

He was living in an apartment complex that catered to his needs and my roommate was asking him to leave that comfort zone. I told them both that I thought it was a bad idea. Considering how things were going with my roommate and I, I did not feel she would be understanding of his disabilities. He moved in anyway and despite the fact that I had been his friend, assisted him when I could, and even helped him move in, I lost his friendship as well.

Sadly, due to jealousy over my new relationship he sided with my original roommate and went out of his way to hurt myself and my boyfriend. He wore headphones whenever my boyfriend was in the house and went as far as sleeping in the backyard when he was over. When no one else was around he took to yelling at me.

As if all this were not enough, throughout these months I had been in and out of Dr’s offices and ERs. I had several chest infections and asthma attacks. While my roommate thought it necessary to sweep three times a week, she did not seem to think that she needed more than one litter box for three cats and only changed it ONCE every SEVEN days.  On top of that we lived in a red-zone for air quality. We were literally next to the parking lot of a factory. We shared a fence with it.

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Most days I couldn’t get out of bed

I had asked to have the vents and ducts checked or cleaned, but that was a no-go, she didn’t want to spend the money. In addition, she didn’t like paying for the air conditioning. Despite my fixed rate of $500 a month, she would cut corners to save. Keep in mind I didn’t do laundry at the house because the machine would tear my clothes and I didn’t use the cable or PVR or whatever it was. I wasn’t using a lot of what I was paying for and I had offered to help pay to have the air ducts cleaned.

I couldn’t win either way. Air conditioning or no, I was either over-heated, sweating and struggling to breath in my bed at night or having bronchial spasms from whatever crap was circulating in the house on the rare occasion we did turn the AC on.

I remember crying in the dark, wondering if I was going to make it to morning, wondering– of all the stupid things–if I was going to make it to work because I had to feed Faolan… and then one day, a hand reached out for me in the dark. It caressed my cheek and soothed me and told me I wasn’t alone.

I look back now and marvel at how through all of it I found love. Though really, Joshua found me. We met over coffee. He was running late, so I waited at a table for him. Joshua turned the corner and I’ll remember the smile on his face for the rest of my life. As it spread across his lips, it spread across my heart. I had never seen a smile more genuine or beautiful.

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Only now I look at this picture and see the storm behind us and the light ahead, lighting up our faces as we took this photo.

I knew that moment was different and significant. I held on to it for as long as I could. From that point on we were inseparable. In all of that misery, fear, and worry, we had stolen moments. Moments where we’d lay in bed and giggle or we’d take off to the beach or forest, stealing ourselves away from the city and taking Faolan with us. Even though I had asthma attacks and even though most of the time I struggled to hike or swim, we did it anyway.

I knew I loved him on our second date. He took me to the drive-in in his truck. He blew up an air mattress, I brought blankets and pillows and we snuggled up to Faolan and watched the big screen under the stars. I fell asleep hugging his chest. When I woke, I knew I would love him forever.

In the following months he would run for my inhaler when I couldn’t get it and take care of Faolan while I was at work. Josh took me to dinner and walked barefoot on the beach with me. He reminded me of how precious and beautiful life is. The day my roommate handed me a letter asking me to leave, he told me I would be all right because I was going to live with him. He told me we were going to have a beautiful life together, full of love and laugher. I cried. I cried because I had never had anyone love or take care of me the way he did and because I couldn’t believe I didn’t have to be afraid any more. I sat quietly in my room a long time afterwards, hugging the pillow where he had slept previously and thanking the Goddess for this incredible person. I thought to myself: Dear great mother, if I get only one thing in life, please let it be him.

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The mists in the sunrise this morning

So, here I am. Living in country. I wake up to beautiful sunrises over trees and farm fields instead of rooftops and smoke-stacks. Before we turn in each night, we watch the sunset or the moonrise and no one else is watching us.The only sounds are birds and crickets or maybe the crow of a rooster or the rumble of a tractor engine, but I welcome those sounds over car horns and trains any day.

I had stopped dreaming a long time ago. I shut out visions of farm land, chicken coops, and gardens, I even started to let my thoughts of a second book slip away while I struggled to put food on the table and keep a roof over Faolan and I’s heads. For a long time I was short sighted, only thinking of the day ahead. How? How do I do it? And then Joshua came and he told me to dream again and for the first time in a long time, I did.  Thank you, Joshua. I love you. I would do it all over again if it meant I could be with you.

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