Category Archives: stories

That time my cats tried to save me from a Weeping Angel

It’s finals week for me. I’ve been working on projects and papers for the last few weeks, like you do when you’re a Ph.D. student. But today I hit a wall with my writing. The ideas were swirling in my head but refusing to cohere. So I decided that I would pull out my yoga mat and do a little bit of exercise to get my brain re-centered. (It’s remarkable how difficult it is for me to fit exercise in when I’m reading and writing, but that’s probably a different musing.)

So I had just finished my 20 minutes going through some basic moves to stretch out my legs and get the blood flowing faster through my brain. My cats had been very curious during my whole routine, especially during Savasana (the corpse pose), when they wandered all over me while I was laying down, and the final Half-Lotus, when they tried using my knees as scratching posts so that I would pay attention to them. Except I didn’t pay attention to them fast enough, apparently.

Just as I was getting up to put my mat away and head back to writing, I felt pine needles brush against me. Which was weird, since I had intentionally left enough space between me and out Christmas tree to avoid such an annoying sensation. And then my brain processed the crash and cracking of plastic breaking.

See, it is Christmas time. My sister brought home a pine tree earlier in the week in an effort to make out apartment more seasonal and smell outdoorsy. We bought new lights for this year (1 string of TARDIS lights; 1 string of small pearl lights). We even, finally, have a tree topper. And this is where I decided that the the cats were trying to be helpful, and not simply being cats making an attempt on my life.

Atop our tree is a Weeping Angel.

It has its eyes covered, but it’s still a little creepy. I mean, they always have their eyes covered – until they don’t and they’re sending you back in time. But it’s funny to both of us, so there it sits.

When the tree came down, the angel popped off and ended up sitting next to me. Staring away from me, but I would be lying if I didn’t have that thought for second that it had come to life. But it is plastic, and not stone, and survived the tumble with a crack towards its hem. Aside from that, the angel remained like me – unscathed.

Luckily, because it’s finals time, we haven’t completely decorated the tree. I don’t think it would’ve been as easy to get up surrounded by broken ornaments. But all’s well that ends well, and this time the ending is fine. The cats were trying to save me, and they didn’t end up inadvertently killing me in the process. Yay!

So now it’s back to the final pieces of the final projects. I think the exercise and then the excitement should help carry me through to the end.
Our Christmas tree :) (still needs ornaments, but pretty fun as is)

The Middle

Revisits don't always go as plannedI realized today that I’m in a new story. I’m lost and confused and feel like I’ve missed some important piece of information. This means that I’m in the middle of it, which is a place to start from if you can’t keep it together enough to recognize the beginning when it happens.

But the middle is actually my favorite place to start, because you don’t have to worry as much about the annoying set-up and character building. I just want to keep going and pick up the essentials on the fly. Not that the world-building isn’t important, The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones would be significantly less awesome if the time to create the world was skipped. But when it comes to my life and stories, I get bored with the set-up as I look for the next action scene. Continue reading The Middle

Grad School

Studying Math
Not what I'm applying for, but you get the idea...

So I’m applying for PhD programs, because I love school. A large percentage of my friends headed back to school this fall, resulting in more than a little jealousy, which is how I knew it was time to get over my hang ups an start applying.

I’ve conquered my first hurdle  — The GRE.

Now I’m faced with the annoyingly tedious, almost overwhelmingly so, task of completing the applications for the schools I would like to attend. Which isn’t as bad as 1am makes it feel.

So I’m researching the programs, finding out the due dates, emailing God and everybody — basically spending the best Wednesday night ever. Though the search through J.C. Hutchins‘ archive to remember how I’d discovered one of the schools on my list was fun.

Hurdle 2 should be mostly dominated before the end of the week. Which will begin Hurdle 3 — the waiting.

I’m not currently emotionally prepared to contemplate the final hurdles. But I will keep posting here, because why wouldn’t I?


I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. I continually knock on a door knowing the lack of response will only chip another piece off my heart. Yet, despite the pain, I find myself on this doorstep once more.

The wisteria is a nice touch, screening my small concrete square. He must have paid quite a bit to get full-grown wisteria in the brief interlude I didn’t stand here. I do appreciate that my desperation, or stupidity, or stubbornness, or insanity, or whatever ties me to this small spot is no longer on display for all who pass by.

I tried to leave forever once. Walk clean away without looking back on the square of suffering that has defined my life for the last slice of forever. The thought of not having the pain of chipping bits of my heart off was almost as terrifying as the idea of having to learn to live with the constant pain of a piecemeal heart.

My feet paused in fear and my head turned – I looked back and lost all resolve to keep my feet from walking their familiar path back to this square.

So now I find myself back in my small square of self-imposed servitude to a love that will never reciprocate. Because the pain that has become a part of my essence and existence comforts me. Trying to find a new place and way of life would damage my heart more than fully accepting the reality I have chosen. I have put my roots down here and leaving would be more painful than the constant chipping.

The only comfort I would wish is a location with less rain; it could be quite pleasant to stand here in the sun. But the raindrops that cover the ground most afternoons are particularly refreshing, and the animals that scurry around are almost endearing. I would rather like to be inside with him and not out here slicing my heart to oblivion, but I know this square marks the boundaries of our interaction. As long as I can stay in my tranquil square, my self-scarred heart can endure anything.

The Weight of Light

Vlad hesitated; his hand hovering mid-air, an inch before Ameel’s face. The solitary tear silently sliding from the corner of her sea-grey eye contained her heart and his fears. A crystalline distillation of their brief relationship poised at the edge of an eternal moment.

Closing the distance would define their connection.

Withdrawing would erase all they had.

His breath slowed as he watched the tear shimmer down her cheek. Vlad felt Ameel’s pull on him and wondered what affect their attraction would have. A vague hope of their connection drawing them into a closer orbit echoed on the edge of his heart. The shout of fear their gravity would resonate and throw them apart crashed through his head.

Ameel perched on the edge of her seat, statuesque. Her stillness, a marked counterpoint to the cacophony of Vlad’s head, betrayed nothing.

In perfect silence and grace, the immense light droplet slid from Ameel’s chin.

Jennifer Hudock’s Dark Journeys Collection

I can’t remember how I came across Jennifer Hudock’s work online, but I’m glad I did.

Her stories are interesting to read with intriguing character development. She has podcasted Goblin Market which you can listen to free on her website. But it’s her newest project that has me really excited for her work.

She has started self-publishing a collection of her short stories, Dark Journeys, in ereader formats. Each story in the collection is released individually, with previews on her website. So you can check it out and pick the story up at or And the best part of the deal is that most of the stories are only 99 cents with none of them being more than $2.

Jennifer Hudock is taking online writing and publishing into her own hands and in new directions. She’s made the cover art and excerpt available so that people like me can blog about it and share the fantastic. And so I am covering it here; I love watching what new ideas she and her fiance/fellow podcaster/author, James Melzer.

So here is the newest story in the collection, and it’s actually a 2-for-1 deal. If you like Jennifer Hudock’s work, you should let her know!

I know it’s stupid, but I wish I had a backpack full of brains instead of a week’s supply of granola and dried fruit. Unfortunately when you’re packing for a big hike, the last thing you really worry about is how you’re going to fend off the walking dead. I’m more or less convinced that a backpack full of brains would be a good distraction, allowing me to climb down from this tree while they were feasting and run away.

So far, the tree has been a pretty safe haven. The dead aren’t smart enough to climb trees; they’re clumsy. These last two hours though, their focus seems to have gotten sharper, and I know it’s because I’m the only meal within a ten mile radius. And that is where the brains would come in handy. I’d only need to throw one or two of them and then watch them all stumble after it like broken dogs fighting over a bone.

Instead of brains though, I have granola bars and banana chips and enough water to choke a horse in the desert. I don’t even have a gun, and even if I did, I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to use it. I’m just a girl, and before you say, “Well I guess that was your first mistake,” I’ll have you know that I survived the first attack. I swung my way through a wave of hungry, dead campers while my boyfriend Keith was overwhelmed and torn limb from limb like a Thanksgiving turkey at a homeless shelter.

The last thing I heard him say was, “Run, Laura! Run!” That second “run” was wet, and it gurgled in his throat like hair in a clogged drain.
I didn’t ask questions. With a heavy branch in my hand, I picked up my feet and booked outta there Olympic-gold-medal-track-runner-style.

Keith’s garbled screams echoed off the canyons, and I ran until I couldn’t hear them anymore. By the time I stopped to catch my breath and shed a couple of tears, I was lost.

When we were attacked, we had already hiked about two days from the state park parking lot. Silly me left Keith in charge of both the compass and the GPS, which meant I was more or less screwed, and I wasn’t going back for either one. I didn’t even realize just how badly I was screwed until I circled back around the same rock formation the fifth time, stifling my own screams of frustration.

That was then I saw them. There were five of them staggering toward me in dusty clothes, their gore-crusted mouths gaping, innards strewn like gutted trout. Three of them were pretty badly decomposed from the smell of them, and the other two looked more like recent victims. Possibly even victims of the rotting corpses leading the way.

For a second I was scared that Keith was right behind them, but so far there’s been no sign of him.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Disneyland line story

Back in October, several of my friends and I were at Disneyland on a weekend. If you haven’t been to Disneyland on an October weekend in the last few years, you need to know that these are busy times for Disneyland. They have the park decked out for fall and Halloween, and they have special Tick-or-Treat with the Disney characters for little kids. This makes it one of the times of the year that everyone seems to show up at the park. All these people make for very long lines for the big rides.

Knowing all of this, my friends and I still decided to brave Disneyland. Having a group makes the insane crowds more bearable. Sanity in numbers.

We went for 2 reasons: the special Halloween fireworks and Space Mountain. And we had a blast.

The line for Space Mountain was somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 hours, which would have been miserable alone. But since we were together, we came up with ways to pass the time that entertained us. I would like to think that we also succeeded in entertaining the people around us in line, but, realistically, we probably only managed to annoy those who could hear us.

Since we had quite a bit of time on our hands, we opted to write the story round-robin, one word at a time. There were no other rules than each person had to provide the next word. The story ended up nearly coherent and completely ridiculous. But it was fun to make, and an interesting demonstration of the way that authors/editors/readers blend together. I’ve pasted the story below as written for you to read now that you have the context. And I made sure to get permission from all the authors. Enjoy!

Once in time there was a frog prince reigning he jumped carelessly into oncomming yaks whereunto he laughed uncontrollably annoyingly and became a terrible terrorist. Therefore, he exploded all up and everywhere splattered himself. The next morninging, marigold awoke astonished at all the carnage within her soup when suddenly jersten frog alarmingly fell into space cows flailing controllably. Then udders were climbing nowhere important untill bloody cows quiantly uttered “moooo.” The flawless marigold imploded colorfully! Remarkably this was never uncommon within jerstins dreams? But, convincingly nobody knew that marigold was nonexistent. Shehulk bore us septuplets while singing. Names: Chester Albert Fairfield, Willingtonsworth Saint, Flubber, Cauliflower jones, Xanadu Zee Willber, Colon, Supercalifragilisticsexpealladocious (the) Halifax Shitzbergger. Moreover, several safely committed flowers to the insanitorium.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Twilight books

Ok, so first off, there will probably be spoilers in this post. If you don’t want to know anything about the series, know that I enjoyed the story and stop reading.

So I got the books for Christmas. I opened them Christmas morning, and I started reading them around 6pm that night. I finished the first book about 3 am, started book 2 around 8am the 26th, finished book 3 around 2am the night of the 26th, and finished book 4 (and thereby the series) on Sat., 27 Dec.  Yes, I had nothing better to do. And I also wanted to read books 2 & 3 in one day because I thought it would be a fun goal. I also liked the story as a whole.

We’ll start with positives. I liked that Bella was very rational and yet still emotional. This might also be because I find myself reflected in her character. What I especially like is that she just goes with the crazy in her life. Vampires? Were-wolves? No problem! Sweet, what are we having for dinner? I like that kind of approach to life. I like the love and connection between Bella & Edward. I LOVE Alice & Jasper. I wish that they were around so much more. I would love to know more about them and hear about them before they met up with each other and the Cullens.

So what I didn’t care for so much in this story will take more time because I feel the need to explain why I don’t care about these parts. So here goes…

I don’t like that Edward requires Bella to marry him. I can kind of see where that fits with Edward’s character since he was born in the beginning of the 20th century and that would be something that would be part of his cultural upbringing. But he’s a freaking vampire who wonders about his soul! And I really don’t see how that fits with his character. It feels forced.

And speaking of Edward, I feel like his character is the one that I don’t know very well. I understand Bella; I understand Alice; I even understand Jasper and Rosalie! I don’t understand Edward as well as I would like for a major character. Why does he really want to marry Bella? Why does he get along with Alice so much better than Rosalie? Why didn’t he find someone to bond with earlier? What did he do during his rebellion? What were his parents like? How was he brought up? Why is he always smirking?

But really what I don’t like about the story is that it ends too happy. I know that Americans tend to really like happy endings, but this ending is close to perfect for them. Everyone we care about survives, and she doesn’t really loose anything. She even figures out how to become even more intimate with Edward by figuring out how to let him see her mind! Life doesn’t happen that way! It only works to perpetuate the fallacy of the happily ever after. The ending to the series in Breaking Dawn is the exact reason that people keep their kids from reading fairy tales because it sets up unreasonable expectations. And maybe I don’t like this overly happy ending because I’m slightly morbid, whatever; I think it’s over the top.

All-in-all I do like the story as a whole. I like a good vampire story, and this series develops the mythology of vampires in some interesting ways. If you read through this whole post, you’ll probably understand more about me than the books, but who knows…maybe you’ll see what I’m talking about.


Ok, so to begin with, I haven’t read the books yet (I’m getting them soon, but I needed to stay focused on my work through the end of the semester), and I might have spoilers from the movie.

So I went and saw Twilight tonight, and while I still want to read the book, I felt very lost and confused. I felt like I did when I watched the fourth Harry Potter movie, except that I had read that book, so I could feel in the details. So I guess what I’m saying is I felt like what I assume people who hadn’t read the books felt like – very lost and confused. This was definitely a movie whose intended audience was readers of the series. Elements of the story seemed to be taken for granted, and the character development seemed to jump from stage to stage in rather large bounds. I’m sure all of that will make more sense once I finally get to read the books, but for now it was a little disconcerting. We got to the pivotal moment in Bella’s character development for this book, and I felt as though I had been side-swiped because I didn’t see where it came from.

And all of this is without comment on the acting.

I’m not entirely sure when we shifted to the “act like you would in real life” but I don’t care for it. The characters were supposed to be in high school, so I prepared for awkward moments. I did not prepare for excruciatingly long awkward sections. Especially since most of the awkwardness was communicated through the slight twitches in the actors’ faces. And the cinematography leaned heavily on the artistic side, which is fine, except when the same movement was repeated for the 50th time.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I’m looking forward to reading the books because I felt like I just heard a dis-jointed re-telling of the story by a young uber-fan of the series, so I want to see what really happened. I’m also interested in what the movie makers left out from the books. I love a good vampire story, so I am interested to see how the author plays with our ideas of vampire and our conceptions that go along with those.

“We Are Wizards”

The Christian Science Monitor has a blog post from Marjorie Kehe about a new documentary on the world of Harry Potter fans called “We Are Wizards.” She says in the introduction:

When it comes to Harry Potter enthusiasts, it’s a wacky world out there. Parents, of course, want their kids to learn to love to read. But could it really be a good thing for anyone to obsess over any books the way some young readers do over Harry Potter? This is a question you may find yourself asking as you watch “We Are Wizards,” Josh Koury’s documentary film released in theaters last week about some of Harry Potter’s more, well, let’s say “dedicated” fans.

I’ll be honest – I’m excited for this. I enjoy documentaries, and I have found that the ones that follow people who are completely devoted to fantasy worlds are fantastic. I hope it’s as good as “Trekkies” because that will only make the Harry Potter fan-world even better, especially for Harry Potter scholars.