Ten random factoids about Anthony:
1. I have bad eyes that surgeons repaired over the course of three eye operations. I am thankful it worked, but there are some of my childhood I can’t remember, at all, because of not being able to see and being in pain. With glasses, my eyes are fine now.
2. My first kiss was at a Girl Scout dance. I was a Boy Scout. The cute girl I danced with had no intention of talking. She dragged me to a dark corner and smooched me. Ho-Boy, that was awesome. When I asked for her name, she responded with more smooches. I never saw her again.
3. I took ten years of wine classes, and then developed an allergy to about 90% if the wine on the market. That sucked.
4. I met my wife at work. She was the cutie-pie new hire playing volleyball. She introduced me to her friend saying we should go out. About six months of this everyone realized all the wrong people were going out with the wrong people. And here we are.
5. After my parents divorced when I was a teen, I was homeless for a while. That really sucked.
6. I watched Mt. St. Helens blow up from 28 miles away. We were so close, the sound wave went over our heads and I only heard it after it had circled the Earth. I got sick from the over-pressurization. That really sucked too. I still have nightmares, sometimes.
7. I have a speech problem and an associated learning disability. I spent a long time in therapy, which corrected most of the problems. In many ways, English is like a second language to me.
8. My love of books came from Victoria, my first girlfriend. I was an avid reader before then, but Victoria introduced me to so many good books, it was awesome.
9. I grew up in Battle Ground, WA, named for a battle that never took place. That still cracks me up.
10. I lived in India for six weeks. Other than the getting sick part, it was awesome.
This is where Sasha lives.
Sasha is rich.
Sasha is beautiful.
Sasha is powerful.
Sasha is, quite simply, a bad-ass. Below is the ground floor to her pad. Anybody (i.e., the PCs) that wants to crash her party, is going to be in for a slugfest. There will be blood. And stuff blowing up. “Stuff” being your friends.
To give you an idea how decadent Sasha is, the upper floor of her manor home is her bedroom:
And to provide scale, here is a miniature. This is someone who broke into Sasha’s manor home. Right now, her name is Lunch:
Merry Christmas to you and your own.
Hugs and Kisses,
As the year ends, this has been an amazing journey for me as a writer. I’ve learned so much. I pulled up my very first novel and looked at it. It was as if another person wrote it. On drugs. With one hand. Upside down. There may have even been drool. Electronic drool. If my laptop could speak its mind, I think the words about that first book would have been “durp drup durp.”
There are things about me that I keep close to my heart. I’ve hinted here and there, and while I don’t keep secrets, I’ve also pointed out that sometimes knowledge is a burden. That wasn’t a hint to back off. It was an attempt not to contaminate you.
Yet, this year, that heart is heavy for many writers. In some ways, my empathy comes full circle. I know first hand that some journeys are steps where your own shadow is your only company. I’ve learned since joining the interweb tubes club that it’s best to simply offer a kind word. No one wants to hear that sorrows are relative even if that is the universal truth that lends perspective and change. These are things that simply don’t convey because I am not sitting across the table looking into your eyes and sharing your burdens.
So what does that have to do with writing?
Ah, you see my friends, writing is a skill for honing, practicing and developing. Writing from the depths of your core, however, requires something altogether different. This year, I not so much grew my writing talent as I’ve grown as a person. I’ve come to terms with some of my own little slices of bleak.
Sometimes, understanding is a block.
Don’t come to grips with whatever.
Write it out.
Don’t delve deep into the mind of your own psyche.
Write it out.
Don’t reach out for empathy and a sympathetic ear.
Write it out.
Write it out. Write it out. Write it out. This is what flows in our blood. This is who we are. The blank page deserves honesty. If, at the end of the last page of the last chapter, you’ve bled and cried, then so be it.
Sometimes the only connection is the literary connection. The void, sometimes, can only be filled with words.
The house smells so wonderful.
My penchant for Scrooge-like feelings during the holiday season has slowly been replaced by warm memories of my children’s joy for the season. For young boys, yes, Christmas is a lot about presents. If you are a good parent, if you could overcome the bombastic rampant commercialism, there is an underlying simplicity about the season that can pull at the heart like no other time.
This morning Thing Two came in while I was getting dressed, wanting to know if we could go get Thing One’s Christmas present tonight. How cute is that? I’ll tell you how cute it is, it is a bit of the ultra-cuteness.
Yes there are the presents. But then there is the smell of the tree. The gingerbread house. The decorating. The Christmas cookies. The story of Christmas. Grandpa and Nanna. Daddy’s Christmas Day roast. Santa. The music. The warm fireplace and the happy dog.
Long after those presents are gone, the memories of our close family during this time will linger on. One day my sons will be walking in one of the great national forests around here, and after the morning rain, smell the fresh scent of grand firs. And it will smell like Christmas.
And that will be magical, always magical, even in the dead of summer, it will be Christmas magic.
(repost from 2008)
When my grandpa died it was the end of my world. Literally, that man was the only thing keeping our family together, without his moral compass it was the clichéd downward spiral of the American fractured family. I saw it coming like a train wreck, powerless to stop it because I was just a boy.
Above that, Grandpa was my father figure. He loved me fiercely. You’re not supposed to have favorites, but I was his favorite. Maybe it was because I was the first grand-baby. And I think it pissed him off to no end that my natural father abandoned my mother, and me, before I was even born. He was also fascinated by my personality. One time he told me, “I like you, Tony. You think before you talk. I don’t even do that, so I guess that means the Good Lord does smile on our family sometimes!”
Then he gave me a taste of his tobacco pipe and I ran to the bathroom and threw up.
When he died from one stroke too many, I was so devastated I crossed that “need to cry” boundary into “numb.” I literally could not cry, and I couldn’t even see beyond my grief to feel guilty about it.
When my first child was born, they handed me the baby because The Wife Unit was so out of it. The birth did not go well and they had to deliver the baby by Cesarean. Then it was just me and the baby.
When a baby is born after the initial “waa waa waa!” they become alert and quiet because their little baby bodies are flush with the hormones that run around during birth. My first-born son would not stop staring at my face. In that one perfect moment, that one little baby-faced moment, I wished Grandpa was there to see his little, beautiful face. Looky here Grandpa. He looks just like us. You and me. Look what we did. Look.
That’s when I cried.
Rarely one sees it in a couple, two people sitting together, maybe at dinner, maybe at a coffee shop. They are holding hands across the table, fingers intertwined as if letting go one would spin away forever and be lost unto the endless void.
There is a certain fierceness in the type of love this couple shares, one not experienced by lessor mortals. Look into their eyes and behind those windows to the soul lies an honesty both terrible and beautiful to behold. These two people have experienced pain and lost and heartache. Grief seeps from their pores like sweat and their shadows’ name is loneliness.
Sometimes a soul is so dark it can only be seen by another of its like. For those, it is a beacon like no other, a pulsar that flashes to the heartbeat of life. This brightness attracts others who understand. When they meet it is beyond a kindred spirit. Each knows what the other is feeling, always. They swim in the same current, wondering why the churning waters never quite pull them completely under.
They will always hold hands. Always. He traded his stick-shift sports car for an automatic so he could clasp her hand when he drives. In the bedroom, when they make love, always with at least one sweaty hand clasped with another.
Never let me go is unsaid, because those words are akin to a desire to breathe. Like a heartbeat, it happens no matter what, and when it fails, they die.