Friday, November 1, 2013

Kauai: Smooth Sailing


Blogging is tough to do on the road. I'm using the mobile app for Google Blogger to create this post, so I apologize in advance for any grammatical errors or visual yuckiness due to the limitations in using this platform.

Kauai has been amazing. We're two days in and Kyle and I have a lot to explore. We arrived early yesterday, eagerly awaiting the next six days in heavenly paradise. The moment we landed and stepped off the plane, Kyle marveled at the scenery and said, "I just want to paint!" I laughed said a heartfelt "aww". It is certainly inspiring to be here in Kauai. There is so much beauty before you it's hard not to have that immediate jaw-dropping reaction. 

The first day went by quickly as we spent most of the time getting our bearings and acclimating to our hotel and visitng nearby locales, mostly south Kauai like Poipu and Old Town Koloa. We had a big excursion the next day, going on a catamaran tour to Na Pali and snorkeling, and so we strategized about how we would handle our biggest fear. Sharks. I suggested the following: 

1. Don't be the slowest swimmer in the group
2. Make like a log (you know, lie there and float)
3. Then I decided making like poop would be better. Everyone swims away from poop

A bottle of champaign and whiskey later, it became the evenings' ongoing joke. Make like poop. Suddenly, I'm making like poop all the time, and every other variation you can think of. We're heading back to the room after an evening in the spa and I've got to make like "a" poop the second we're back in the room. I swear I'm twenty-eight. Most days.

I'm happy to say that I didn't have to make like poop, or employ any other shark escape strategy during today's snorkeling adventure. I did however, nearly hurl my entire breakfast over the side of the boat. I managed to make it the bathroom in time to discreetly express just how seasick I was. I blame it on the saltwater. I gulped a few times on accident, because you know: fins, snorkeling gear, and a life-jacket just weren't enough to prevent me from maybe drowning. So there I sat for the next three hours trying to escape the inescapable feeling of losing (my mind?) all the pretzels and the can of soda I'd drank trying to settle my stomach. I sat at the back of the boat where all the sick ones were advised to stay. Except I was the only one. Kyle kept me company but I was pissed. I couldn't get over why I was the only one sick. I grumbled at Kyle, asking, "Seriously? No one else is sick?? Lame." I gave the bouncing seven year old kid who was smiling all un-seasick-like snapping photos with his mom, enjoying his sandwich while I sat there completely immobilized else my breakfast, pineapple, and saltwater filled with fish poop would come back up. And to top it off, I scraped my knee on the boat and didn't realize I had been snorkeling in the open waters with a bloody leg...No amount of making like poop would've saved me from a shark. 

Overall, the excursion was a blast. Sad to say I've verified that I am not secretly a mermaid. Maybe more like a mini whale...

We had dinner at the Oasis Beach Restaurant. It was some of the best food we've ever had! 

Also, happy to announce that the faculty at Big Sur Writing Workshop have reviewed my writing submission for Violet Storm and notified me that I've been accepted into the workshop in December. Woohoo! 

More adventures to come, we'll keep you posted. Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween! We miss you! 

Weather has been amazing here! 

We decided to go with Capt. Andy's for the catamaran tour to Na Pali

Time for a dip. I bought a Nikon Coolpix P330 for this trip - almost the quality of a DSLR but super compact, and got a DiCAPac case to make it waterproof.

Pre-seasick...or not 

A brief glimpse of our view of the incredible Na Pali coast. Did you know that they filmed Jurassic Park, and parts of Pirates of the Carribean here (among other movies!)?

 We got to see bottle nose dolphins and spinner (?) dolphins! We stumbled into three different pods. This photo is from the largest pod, with over twenty dolphins. We saw a few baby dolphins too!

I'm trying to scare the chickens...

They're everywhere...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

This is Going to take a While. Hang in there.

"It has ambition to be good, but it's not quite that good. But your taste...your taste is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you're making is kind of a disappointment to you...The most important thing you can do is [to] do more work...[and] Fight your way through that." ~ Ira Glass
I hate missing deadlines. Like REALLY, absolutely, freaking hate missing deadlines. So I almost never do (insert triumphant smile). The only times I have is when I've tried reaching personal writing deadlines (insert arms crossed, pouty frown). Mostly because they were unrealistic. And really, aggressively tight. It took me a long time to realize that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't rush the creative process, and that no amount of desire, fervent or otherwise, will get my work to where I wish it could be and at the quality I expect.

Time. I need time.

I started writing novels when I was twenty-two. The day that I decided I wanted to be a writer was the day I felt like I had finally found my purpose. Boy, do I miss those days of being a hopeless dreamer. There was no dream that was impossible, including becoming the next best-seller with movie deals, action figures, and t-shirts. Naivete and a swelling ego had me believing so much in myself that I refused to acknowledge that I had so much more work to do, so much more learning still ahead of me. That's when the rejection letters started coming in--and man, did I get a whopping gulp of the bittersweet taste of reality. Rejection after rejection from literary agents humbled me, forced me to look at the craft of writing with a new level of respect and appreciation. I spent the next several years working on developing myself as a writer, learning more about the industry, and soaking in everything and anything that could help me improve. I'm really glad I didn't quit. Those rejection letters taught me something about myself: that I'm motivated by accomplishment and not by pride.

Sometimes doubt creeps in. Too long has it been since I've lost myself in creating new worlds, and it makes me wonder if this is the life I still want for myself. I'm at one of the most painful parts of this journey, the true test of what makes one a novelist and not just a dreamer: editing. Dear God, the editing. Makes my flight or fight response kick in just thinking about it. We writers love to create. But it's the painstaking process of editing chapter by chapter, concept, mini-plots, even characters...yuck. I'd rather sell my kidney. 

Editing my nearly finished novel, Violet Storm, has become this monstrous unending task. Editing for what feels like the thousandth time just makes me want to drink, a lot, and curl into a tight little ball while I watch the entire fourth season of Vampire Diaries until I fall asleep dreaming of vampires and everyone I love dying. Seriously, it happened last night. Not the drinking, but the nightmare. *shivers*


I think you get how much I love editing. Which is about as much as I love the smell of other people's body odor, clammy hands, dog poop, and ketchup stains. Honestly, it feels and sounds more painful than it should be because Violet Storm has been three years in the making, from concept to typing those lovely words, "The End." Three years. Three. So I have to finish because just thinking about being so close and not getting it published makes me want to cry into my pillow and eat too much chocolate.

And yet, despite the length of time and the hundreds of hours already put into this novel, my "taste" tells me that VS isn't ready yet. Close. But not quite there.

Below is a really great video by Ira Glass on the Creative Process. Pretty inspiring.

Here's what one of my favorite authors, Brent Weeks, says about the gap Ira mentions: 
"There’s just going to be a disconnect for a long time between what you want to create and what you’re capable of creating. This gap closes over time, but it never disappears, because as your skills grow, at least if you’re an ambitious artist, so will your ambitions. Very few artists, if they’re honest with you – which can be rare, because all artists know they have to market themselves — very few artists are perfectly happy with what they create. It always falls short of what was in your head."
I understand that there needs to be a balance with meeting your own expectations and what is just downright, goddamn good enough. I hope I know it when I see it. Preferably before I go into a chocolate-induced coma and suffocate in my pillow.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fear is the Absence of Love

My morning ritual is pretty simple. My alarm goes off, I roll around for a bit, covering my ears with my pillow and making horrible petulant crying sounds because I really, really don't want to get up. When I'm done cursing the hour, I reach for my phone, check my emails. And because I'm curious about any and all types of news, guess what I scroll through? Yep, Facebook. For me, it's a great source for finding the most diverse, and sometimes world impacting news. From sports, to crime, to personal life changes. People want to share what's going in the world and in their personal lives, and I'm open to reading about it. Stories feed my creative mind.

Last week, someone posted about the nature of fearlessness and began delving into what they believed to be it's true meaning. They opened with the concept of darkness.

"Darkness isn't anything but the absence of light. Fear can be seen as the same thing. It's the absence of love." 

So they said. I had to think about this for a bit. I wasn't sure I necessarily agreed, though the idea of it is quite poetic. One can even say romantic.

They added:
"So I don't have to overcome the fear, battle the fear, be brave, and feel the fear and do it anyway. If enough love comes in, there is no more fear. Fear wasn't anything to begin with but the absence of love."

Ahh...And suddenly, it became more interesting.

As a writer, and when it comes to writing and wishing to become a published novelist, I've found myself in periods of my life faced with absolute fear. But I've also been in periods without even a moment of it entering my mind or my heart. Like I had this shield that was impenetrable because I knew with absolute certainty that this was my path. I can admit that at those times when I was blazing away page after page, writing as if I were possessed, I was in a phase of my life filled with so much love and a depthless amount of support that fear was just this small sensation that only people lacking in confidence experienced. My darkest hours were undoubtedly this past year, when I became intimately acquainted with Fear. I realized then just how not-so-small it was, and exactly just how powerful it could be. So powerful, it had the strength to incapacitate. It can make you question everything--especially yourself, and every belief you ever held that was right and true in this world. 

Why does that matter, you might ask. 

I've been struggling with what I've deemed to be a block. Not just a block, but a damn Wall of China that no matter what I did, I couldn't do as every writer suggested and "Sit down and just f*cking write." It matters because I am a writer. And when I'm not writing or building a story, I truly feel lost. It's an odd feeling. One I'm not sure I can describe justly. I simply feel incomplete. Like I am no longer able to do the one thing I was born on this earth to do. And I feared that I had lost this passion, this talent, this drive...forever. Who was I then? Who was I supposed to be if not a writer? 

And so enters love. Love for myself and love from others--new and old. And with it a true breath of life I felt like I'd been holding, despairing as I watched the darkened sky from beneath the surface of the ocean, never knowing when and if I would ever breathe quite the same way again. 

Because of that love, the wall that I'd been banging my head against, has finally begun to lift. Words are flowing from my fingers like they were always meant to be instruments of creation. 

Currently, I'm working on the final touches of Violet Storm. NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, begins in November and I hope to make greater progress on White as Snow. The ultimate goal however, is to get VS ready for a writer's conference so I can pitch the manuscript to an agent, and decide from there whether to pursue the traditional publishing route or if self-publishing would be best for me. 

I'll also be working on a video/documentary project with a good friend, Anthony Lew. Super excited for this! It'll be focusing on VS from concept to completed manuscript. Anthony and I hope to get started this month. And no promises, but Kyle says he might work on some illustrations for VS (he recently painted Ash in From the Ashes check it out via hyperlink). Always excited to see your work, Kyle! You are so talented. :)

With that, thank you as always for visiting! It's such a blessing to able to share these adventures with you all.

Photo by Anthony Lew

Friday, August 2, 2013

Happiness Inside

The title of this blog came from the coconut water I drink at work. It promises happiness in a large aluminum can. It's a pretty big promise.

Or maybe not.

It's Friday, which means it's doughnut day in the office. As I did my Firebird pose on my yoga mat this morning and grumbled through the breathing exercises, I told myself that I wouldn't have any doughnuts. It wouldn't be hard not to. Considering I've been working here for almost a year and maybe partook in Friday doughnuts twice in all that time.

So I walked into the office, enjoying a delicious chocolate shake to supplement the short yoga "workout" I did (in quotes because I don't know if lying down on a yoga mat, and maybe flopping around a little, counts as a workout). Nope, definitely not having a doughnut, I thought confidently. After all, the doughnuts were in a completely different building a block away. Easy.

Half an hour later. I'm obsessed with doughnuts. I mean, I can't get these damn doughnuts out of my head. I decide to just walk over and see what doughnuts they might have. I mean, maybe they might have doughnuts that are gluten-free...sugar-free...calorie free. Whatever. Maybe someone invented doughnuts made of clouds and just never told me.

I barely remember selecting a variety of donuts. What I do remember is opening my to-go box full of doughnuts and realizing, holy shit, you grabbed four doughnuts? My colleagues weren't in yet, and I started hoping people would come in soon so I could share. I mean, damn, I grabbed a to-go box for doughnuts. Who does that? I couldn't grab a napkin and decide that one would be just fine? I guess my subconscious was feeling pretty rebellious. 

I'm happy to say that I ate only two. Unless you count the doughnut holes, which I don't. So I guess if you count by pieces, I had something closer to six. Whatever. I had dipped the doughnuts in my coffee, licked my fingers, my lips, and giggled from the taste of sugar coating my tongue and teeth. When the short moment of bliss was over I kept my smile. Take that, I said to my inner self. Nobody tells Anna she can't have doughnuts.

Every day I hear interesting stories, and I'm awakened to the intricacies of the lives of the people I'm surrounded by. My colleagues, my friends, my own family. I look at myself and see all that makes me a complex human being. All the inner dialogue, the inner conflict, and minute by minute battles. Do this. Eat that. Don't do this. Definitely don't eat that. Sometimes all these thoughts, rules, limitations, what-have-you, do nothing but make us miserable.

Happiness is inside a can of coconut water. It's in a bite or maybe several bites of doughnuts. Happiness is living without so many damn rules. Happiness is loving yourself for all that you are. Happiness is feeding yourself, enriching your mind, challenging your body, leaping over the line of your comfort zone, and everything in between and beyond. I hate working out. I do it because I like to eat, and because I eat as much as a full-grown man and have to burn off the excess calories. So I don't deprive myself of doughnuts, and I don't get pissed if I black out and wake up from a doughnut-induced coma. I laugh at my silliness, at the silliness of others, and I realize that finding happiness is truly as simple as that. It doesn't have to always be something grand--some monumental moment that makes you cry with joy. It's in the little things.

Hope you had a moment today where you had the chance to find happiness, especially in the simplest of things. If not, the day's not over yet. Go grab a box of doughnuts on your way home tonight. :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Road Trip: Santa Barbara

Hey, hey!

I'm finally in Santa Barbara, still wrapped up in a towel after a long shower. I'm trying to hide from the sun, or rather the heat of the sun. It's hot! Hot! HOT out here!

En route from SLO this morning, I got caught in godawful traffic. Not uncommon in my neck of the woods, but this was a different experience altogether.

I was a scant fourteen miles away from my destination, driving down 101 when everything and everyone came to a halting stop. I'm not talking about a few seconds, hell, even a few minutes. The whole scene took almost an hour. I was perhaps ten cars back from the accident. It wasn't good. It couldn't be good, I figured. Myself, and a long procession of hundreds of cars sat under the midday heat, cooking on the asphalt and in our cars that had become a proverbial oven. People were out of there cars, walking up and down the road, passing by my window, trying to catch a glimpse of the reason why not a single car was moving.

From what I could gather, a big rig had jack-knifed and scattered its parts all across the highway. And folks were having a hard time getting the truck off the narrow two lane road. And there was nothing we could do about it. I was nosy enough to get my camera, walk up as far as I dared to go and take photos of what I could. The rest of the time, I sat in my car, turning it on every once in a while, letting my face and neck cool under the fans of the AC when the heat became so unbearable it was hard to breathe. I cursed my toddler-sized bladder. I cursed the sun. I cursed my laziness for not having tinted my windows years ago. When I decided to let it all go, I started to think about things. Things I hadn't thought about in a long time.

I was in a pretty bad car accident several years ago. At this point, I can only remember snapshots, as if parts of the film reel are missing. I remember the impact, two to be exact. My airbag never deployed, and when the car finally stopped spinning, I was left facing the busy oncoming traffic of 880 in San Leandro. I remember people helping me out of the car. I remember murmuring, whimpering almost, because I was in such deep shock, my body couldn't operate in any sort of logical manner. I took a strangers hand, people were busy on their phones calling 911. An ambulance and a firetruck came. A fireman came to me, and I felt this surge of relief. Like everything was going to be all better. He saw the desperation in my eyes, the desire to be ensured that everything was okay. Even to this day, I remember his expression. A mixture of sympathy, compassion, and determination. I didn't want any medical support. He calmly had me sign a waiver, and as I stood there grasping the pen he'd given me, I suddenly noticed how badly my hand was shaking. Shaking so hard I couldn't even sign my name. I looked up at him. "I'm sorry," I whispered faintly. His lips pursed, and he gave me that look again. "You're going to be just fine," he said, and then he smiled. "Someone was looking out for you." He looked behind me where my car sat. It was totaled, and I'd walked out of it without a single scratch.

As I sat there in my car today, I hoped for the same for whoever it was that was up there. That they were walking around, just fine. That someone had been looking out for them too...

Here are a few pictures from last night and earlier today. I plan on heading down the bustling State Street, and taking photos of the setting Santa Barbara sun.

Drive safe out there. Miss you all...


Can't see much of what's happening, but this was just the start of a long hour.

More cars came...
So many cars behind me!

I crept up closer and closer, only able to catch glimpses...

This is what I manage to catch, as the wreckage was cleared from the road.
The Mission, Santa Barbara. The guy at the lobby recommended I check it out, if I like "old stuff." I laughed and said yes. He got a more serious look in his eyes. And I added just as soberly, "Not that much...". 

I love visiting Botanical Gardens. I've seen gardens all over the world, and I love them! The one here in Santa Barbara is probably my least favorite. But it was interesting to see.

Go figure I wanted to be in the Redwoods...shaded by the large trees, reminding me so much of home.

There was a live Tea session happening in the Japanese Garden.

Found this know, I'm not sure I was supposed to be allowed up here...

Shade, shade, SHADE!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Road Trip: Pismo Beach

Hey guys!

I just wanted to start off by saying thank you for your support! Especially to those who are following the adventure on Facebook. :)

I'm on day two of this mini-road trip and to be honest, it feels a hell of a lot longer. Last night's hotel was great. Up until my neighbors checked-in. It's not their fault. Not really. I mean the walls were paper thin, and they were...excited to be in the romantic city of Monterey. Yay... 

Suffice it to say, it sucked that I had to lay there for a better part of the night thinking, "That must be nice...They sound like they're having fun." The walls shook a couple times, some interesting, eyebrow-raising moans and a climactic moment later, and it was over. Maybe a ten minute break, and they went at it again.

I started counting fingers on my hand for how many months it had been since the last time I had, know...and I was well into the second hand. TMI? I won't apologize. My neighbors sure didn't apologize. *sniff* I felt a lot like Josh Hartnett in 40 Days & 40 Nights. 

I guess I could've gone for a walk, a cold shower, or sang out loud. But I was too exhausted, and I wanted nothing more than to rap my knuckles on the wall just as soon as they finished, so they would realize that they had an unwilling audience for their not-so-private sexy-time.

It wasn't even the worst part. I could've forgiven the near rabbit-like marathon they were having. The worst part was that after their fun-fest they fell straight to sleep. How do I know? Because the man snored like a bear. Painful. That's it. That's all I can say.


Onto some fun. I've been asked what's it like to travel alone. Well, it depends on the person. Me? I think I'm loads of fun. I laugh a lot. Sure, it's to myself...but I have whole conversations that go on up there that happen in the quiet of my mind, and other times, out loud. Funny things just flit through my head. Like for instance, I was standing at the pier when I thought, "I need to find a cafe and get some writing done; did I book that hotel? God I'm hungry. Again!" look down notice my legs and add, "Don't forget to shave."

I'm now in Pismo Beach, and after a quick nap, I decided to head down to the beach. Before I left, I had on my bathing suit, passed by the mirror, flinched, and then decided to do myself a favor and put on my gym clothes instead. I made a mental note of where the gym was at the hotel, and put an alarm on my phone labeled, "Someone switched your bathing suits..."

With that, I'll say goodnight! Here are a few of the things I saw along the way! 

Lover's Point, Monterey, CA

I was chasing the sunset, driving along the coast--Pacific Grove, Monterey, CA

Love the color of a setting sun obscured by the clouds where the blush of the fading light peeks out from the sky.

Had breakfast this morning at the famous Red House Cafe!
It was hard to decide on what to get. It was between the Nutella stuffed panini's or the above, Cinnamon Raisin Brioche w/ orange marmalade, strawberries, and marshmallow cream...

Julia Pfieffer's point, Big Sur, CA

Julia Pfieffer's point, Big Sur, CA

It took me twice as long to get to SLO because I kept stopping to take in the view. But that's what this trip was all about. Learning how to dawdle...

Finally! I made it to Pismo Beach
Bored? Me? Nope. I find ways to entertain myself...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Road Trip: Monterey, CA

Hello readers!

I'm embarking on another solo trip--a much needed writers retreat. This time I'm taking a road trip down to SoCal and taking the scenic drive down Highway 1.

First stop on this four day road trip is Monterey, CA.

My mom calls me on the drive. I have so much to tell her! But first, I let her talk for ten minutes with barely a pause for breath, because let's be honest, nine times out of ten when my mom calls it's not a therapy session...for me at least.

Finally, I interrupt with, "Hey mom, so...I'm going on a road trip!"
Mom: "Oh yeah? When? Where?"
Me: " Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and L.A. I'm going to meet up with Princess." (Princess is a childhood, family friend, not to be mistaken with the Disney Princesses. Cus' that would just make me sound crazy...)
Mom: "Oh that's good! When are you going?" she repeats, shouting over the noise of the car.

I'm on the windy roads of route 17 leading me to Santa Cruz which is making my heart dance like I'm running a marathon loaded up on sugar. With my mom shouting on the speakerphone, I'm more than a little tense.

So I shout back, "Now! I'm driving now. I'm going by myself. So anyway, if you don't hear from me, you can text me or call me. You know...make sure I'm still alive."
She laughs. "That's good, anak,"she says. (anak means "my child" in tagalog) "But you'll be just fine. You always are."

I smile at the last. My family and my friends are no longer surprised by my random, spontaneous solo trips. I'll never forget being twenty-three and announcing to everyone that I was going to Greece for two myself. I know now, it's a little odd. I don't know many others who go on vacation by themselves. I guess I've never really seen it as going alone, because I was willing and happy to go with myself. :) I don't feel that it has anything to do with bravery. Honestly, I think it's pretty common for writers to be so comfortable in solitude, and to seek it out as often as possible. I've got too much of an adventurous spirit, not to be deterred exploring the world because I don't have a companion who can take the journey with me. 

So here I am, on my first stop of the trek. Sitting in a quaint cafe in Pacific Grove, called Crema. I love it for the fact that I have the option to drink. Liquor that is. You case coffee isn't enough to lure my jerk-muse back.

Sunset is at 8:30pm and I plan on settling somewhere on the beach to catch a glimpse of it. 

My goal for this trip is to get the chance to recharge, hunt down my muse, and get his ass back to work. Here are some photos I've taken so far. (More to come!)

Today's Road Trip Tunes provided by:
~Imagine Dragons
~Matt Kearney
~Alex Clare
~Mumford & Sons

I was torn between spending time writing here at The Works, or at Crema. Decided on Crema because I figure I could use liquor to lure my muse back.

Quaint. That about defines this place.

Lighthouse Street is lined with beautiful old Victorians.

So festive.

So bummed that this store was closed! :(

Crema is a multi-story cafe and wine bar. I decided to sit right on the other side of this window.

Add caption

More seating at Crema

Wish me luck! I'll see you soon! :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Completely Poetic: The Color of Despair

The River Siene
Paris, France 2011

Completely Poetic: The Color of Despair

Despair is the color of blood seeping into the cracks of wet cement
It is the sound of a thousand birds falling from the sky
The color of the darkest clouds rumbling across a moonless night
Despair is the smell of flowers decaying in the other room
The whisper of lonely sobs finding your lungs in the dark
It is the choking sound one makes in the height of fear
It is the color
It is the color...
It is the color of a world never kissed by the light of a sun

...but oh
Where there is despair so too exists hope

Hope is the color of lips stretched into a secret smile
It is the smell of peppermint tracing the endless lines of smooth skin
Hope is the blaze of a cluster of spirited stars
It is the chilled taste of ice melting between tongues
Hope is the crush of the longest embrace
The flutter of a thousand butterflies rising to meet the early morning sun
It is the giggle after a stolen kiss
It is the color
It is the color...
It is the color of a world where joy is music made of restless hearts colliding


Monday, May 13, 2013

Completely Poetic: A Letter to the Universe

Lands End - San Francisco

Several years ago, I started two separate series called Completely Fictitious and Completely Poetic. It helped me keep my writing sharp when I couldn't find the motivation or enthusiasm to work on my novels. I've decided to pick the series back up again, considering that my muse has run off on me...

Completely Fictitious is more of a whimsical, comedic series, whereas Completely Poetic has darker undertones. 

The pieces typically reflect my current mood. Enjoy :)



Completely Poetic: A Letter to the Universe

Dear Universe, 

It has become necessary for me to tell you that you are a cruel, cruel bitch. 

In the days past, you have stripped me bare, unmercifully, until I have become nothing but a wisp of a memory of my old self. 

You have taken from me everything that defines me: my words--my gift--my only passion, my most trusted companion, and lastly, you have taken from me the only face I recognize. You've replaced it with something unfamiliar. These eyes...they stare back at me with disgust, reflecting a pain so deep and so sharp, it hurts to hold her gaze. 

I hear you laughing. Echoless. Tones as cold as ice. My jaw aches from the anger no longer held in check. 

I hate you. 

No. I wish to hate you. Except in the cracks of my hardened soul, I hear your voice, seeping into my bones, urging me to release my innocence. You whisper your desire to bless me with the gift of wisdom, in the only way my pure heart can learn: and that is to be cut, limb from limb, until I can no longer ignore the missing pieces once covered in denial and hope. You wish to teach me the value of being no one. Of being nothing in this world.  

And yet, you tell me not to lose faith. That all that has been done, is but a test. That my will must first be broken in order to be mended into something greater.

I don't understand.  

My knees ache from having fallen. Too high, I once stood.
 My neck strains from bowing down in defeat. 

I laugh. The sound hinting of hysteria, disguising the vain acceptance of my reality. 

You win. 

~Your Servant