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The Broncos won. This makes me happy, as both a native Coloradan and a lifelong fan of the team (I’m not the biggest fan, but I appreciate it when the Broncos win). Peyton Manning got another Super Bowl win, which makes me happy as well. When you’ve worked that hard for that long, it’s nice to have that achievement. I’d wanted him to have the same sort of finale to his career that John Elway did. Now he can.

The game was not a particularly spectacular one. There were some great moments, but for the most part, I didn’t feel like I was watching two of the top-rated teams in the NFL. I felt more like I was watching a lot of people who were too tired to keep doing this much longer. This happens when you’ve got defense-focused teams. Von Miller was at the top of his game, and deserved the MVP award. The Broncos played pretty much exactly as I expected them to. The Panthers, sadly, disappointed me. I was expecting more of a team with only one previous loss in the season. Still, I look forward to watching Cam Newton’s growth as a player, and hope for the best for him and his career.

Now for the rest of the Super Bowl-related things. The commercials and the half time show. The commercials in and of themselves mostly fell flat with me. I loved the sheep singing to Queen, though I question the need for a pickup with a stereo system in the bed, especially for ranching purposes (honestly, do you want to be loading feed and manure or what have you on top of your stereo equipment?). Coke did a great job with the Hulk/Ant-Man chase too. The half time show was amazing, with the exception of Coldplay. Bruno Mars? Great! Beyonce? Great! Coldplay? Eh.

Anyway, I return you to your non-sports-related content until the 2018 World Cup, unless the Broncos get back into the Super Bowl next year.

 

Today is World Cancer Day. It’s a day of spreading awareness. It’s a day about coming together to fight this together, to finally put an end to cancer.

I’ve lost more than my fair share of friends and family to cancer, folks. More than I’d like to count right now, from my preschool teacher to one of my oldest friends.

It’s not just seeing music artists and actors die before we’re ready to part with them, though that hurts too.

For me, it’s deeply personal. Today, I’m remembering all of my friends who fought cancer, and thinking of those who continue to fight. I love you all.

I have a snow day today.

I’m not sure how I feel about this, considering that I was only on the schedule for a substitute shift (meaning I don’t get paid).

Still, I intend to make the most of it. Right now, I’m finishing up Grant Morrison’s brilliant Multiversity and Claudia Gray’s Star Wars: Lost Stars. After that, maybe a quick revisiting of Gerard Way’s Umbrella Academy (because honestly, Séance is the best).

Sadly, I can’t watch a whole marathon of Doctor Who, because Netflix has currently pulled it from their streaming lineup. I mean, yes, I have the latest season on DVD from work, but still. It’s just not the same, and I really hope it comes back soon.

How do you like to spend your snow days?

Five years ago, I was a vastly different person.

Library Pirate

Okay, maybe not that different.

Five years ago, I hadn’t started in my current job. I was almost a year out of college, working part-time at Borders, and hoping desperately for a second job, because it was almost time to start repaying my student loans. Plus, rent, food, and other things that are sort of critical to life.

Borders was fun, but ended up being a dead end. The company went under less than a year after I started there. Even now, attempting to access their website redirects you to Barnes & Noble, once their chief competitor. I don’t regret it. I had some incredible experiences, and I learned why I hate working in a corporate retail environment (support your local indie bookshops, folks).

Since I was only working part-time, I needed some way to fill the void in my days. I’d always said that I wanted to write, and I’d been toying around with an idea for a novel. Someone I knew had recently started a blog of her own, and I decided it sounded like a fun experiment. I thought it would give me a place to brainstorm while leaving myself a little more open to the views of others.

Five years ago today, I published my first post on this site. I know this because wordpress showed me a little trophy icon and wished me a happy anniversary when I signed in today. Looking back now, I find it really hard to believe how quickly those five years flew by. It really was all me talking to myself in the first few months. Eventually, I started to find like-minded people. People like Sonia introduced me to monthly and weekly writing challenges, and I started to craft new microfiction pieces. My earliest posted one is here. Later, I’d add challenges by the folks at the sadly defunct Trifecta and the fiercely entertaining Chuck Wendig. I started to grow.

I got my first job at my library, a foot in the door. I met incredible people, and traveled to amazing places. I inspired others to start writing as well. I’ve developed a much better grasp of my own style. I’ve attemtped NaNoWriMo.

 

Now, five years later on, I’m still very much me, but I’m a better version of me. To those of you who are still here, thanks for sticking around. For those of you who are new, welcome. Let’s see what the next five years will hold for us all.

Last year, my posts on here dropped off dramatically. Between the ending of the Trifecta Writing Challenges in March of 2014 and taking on a larger number of substitute shifts at work, I lost a lot of my motivation and time to write. And it showed. Compare my 51 total posts in 2014 to my 12 total posts in 2015.

So far in 2016, I’ve written more than 2/3 of the number of posts I wrote last year, and I don’t intend to slow down again. Am I any less busy? No. Not by a long shot. But I’m getting better at balancing, and protecting my writing time. I’m seeking out new writing challenges and getting back into some like Chuck’s Terrible Minds Challenges.

It’s going to be a fun year. Thanks for sticking around.

I was sitting in bed, just getting ready to go to sleep when my girlfriend got up from her computer, said she’d be right back, and went out into the hallway. A couple minutes later, she walked back in and whispered that she had to show me something, so I pulled my boxers back on, unable to shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. Still, I took her hand and she led me into the dark hall, pulling me into the bathroom. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I saw her body there on the bathroom floor.

“The Immortal Question”

What would you do with immortality?
If you knew that you would never die?
Would you travel the world, see what
Wonders others only read about?
Follow the paths of your favorite
Writers, and eat at the same little Paris
Cafés that once hosted Hemingway?

Would time lose its meaning to you
If you found that you could never die?
Would the days and weeks and months
Years centuries blend together and
Cease to have an impact short of
Reminding you who you had loved and
Lost along that long way?

Who would you bring close to you,
Knowing you’d have to watch them die?
Would you choose lovers with caution,
Or give yourself over to the throes
Of passion over and over again? Would
You even try to remember them
After they were gone from your side?

What would you choose to be
If you believed that you would never die?
Would you walk the narrow way and
Strive to find a balance between evil
And good? Or would you hurl yourself
Headlong, choosing one side or
The other to prove that neither exist?

 

“Memorial”

I don’t know where they came up with the idea to commission that damn statue. It doesn’t even look like me. The hair’s all wrong. I never wore it in a braid in those days. It wasn’t even long enough.

I don’t think it’s necessary. I hate the idea of memorializing something that… violent, I guess. It’s kind of the antithesis (did I pronounce that right?) of everything we stood for.

Yeah, I suppose. At least he looks good. The sculptor nailed his eyes. I would’ve never thought they’d be able to capture the intensity. He was all fire and thunder, even then.

Did we? Some people would say that any action like the one we took is treason. Or was. It never really felt clear to me that we were doing the right thing. It wasn’t about right or wrong. It was about what needed to be done.

No, I don’t plan to stick around. Public events aren’t my thing. They never were. They were his. He was always the social one. It’s funny. He claimed he hated it, but he was always out there, smiling for the worlds to see. Always said that he could do it because he knew I was there with him, and now here I am, and he’s…

I’m okay. I just… I just need a minute.

No, I appreciate you. It’s rare for someone in your line of work to speak so frankly to me. I can’t tell you how I’ve responded to journalists asking about him, or me, or us, or what have you. Just something about you. Reminded me of him, I suppose. It made it easy to talk to you. So thank you. I wish you the best of luck.

You too. I hope things work out in your favor.

 

“Isn’t It?”

Eerie, isn’t it
The man whispered inside his
Own head. The way
The silence descends on a
Place like this.
Yes, quite,
The man whispered to
Himself. Nothing but the
Quiet hanging oppressively
Over our head.

Strange, isn’t it
The man whispered inside his
Own head. The way
So many people come and go
Without your notice.
Yes, quite,
The man whispered to
Himself. There should be
So many more
This time of night.

Odd, isn’t it
The man whispered inside his
Own head. The way
That no one else hears us but
You and me.
Yes, quite,
The man whispered to
Himself. But it’s better
Than having someone
Overhear your thoughts.

Fascinating, isn’t it
The man whispered inside his
Own head. The way
You can lose yourself in
Just the stillness.
Yes, quite,
The man whispered to
Himself. But it’s in
That stillness that I
Find my way.

 

Tucker came to live with my family in the summer of 2006. He was found on the side of the road with a small head injury, a stray who looked to have fallen from a passing vehicle, and my sister fell in love with him instantly. It wasn’t hard for her to convince Dad to bring the little orange tabby home.

Though he was ostensibly an outdoor cat, my sisters and I found every reason we could to keep in inside with us. We wanted him to be close to us, and he felt the same way. He would sit outside our back porch door meowing for someone to take pity on him, even on the nicest of summer evenings. I would bring him inside, letting him fall asleep in my bed, curled up against the back of my legs.

He was a smart cat, and took to small-town life fabulously. He didn’t have a litterbox in the house, so he would wake me up with a nip at my eyebrow or wrist so that I could let him out. If I wanted to go get the mail, or pick up a can of Mountain Dew at the local gas station, Tucker would walk with me, or ride on my shoulders, or in the hood of my sweatshirt. At the time, it was the closest I’d ever been to having a pet that was mine. We’d had other cats, dogs, rabbits, etc. but they all belonged either to the family or to one of my sisters. Tucker, though, was my responsibility.

I hated to leave him behind when I went to college. My parents and little sister would give me updates on him when I would call home. On my trips back to my parents’ house, he would be let back inside to spend time with me. During Christmas break, he would spend hours crawling around in the boxes I’d brought home from school.

In short, the little dude was one of my best friends during the years that he spent with us.

Five years ago, I recieved news that Tucker had died. It was a very sudden passing, and we suspect that his head injury as a kitten might have been an underlying cause. Whatever the reason, his death hit me very hard.

Today, I went looking for a writing prompt, and found one that talked about writing a story about an animal. I realized that today was the anniversary of Tucker’s death, and I knew I had to write a little piece about him. I started this blog a couple of weeks after he died, and never really acknowledged that loss here until now, when he’s been gone longer than he was actually with us. So here’s to you, little guy. I miss you like crazy.

Tucker

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