Saras Travels: Part Four

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Last Night In Banff

He takes off his Billabong hoodie and gives it to me.

“This is my gift to you. It always gave me good luck.”

It smells like him and I hold it close to me. “It smells nice,” I say.

I am almost shocked that he has just given me his favourite hoodie. I hug him and then we walk outside of the convenience store toward the bus station.

“I have this song in my head,“ he says.

“Which one?” I ask.

He sings, “Save the night, fight the break of dawn. Come tomorrow, tomorrow I’ll be gone.“

We sing a bit of the song together.

It is just past midnight and the air is cool when we arrive at the empty bus station on the outskirts of Banff.

“So, that was Banff for you,” he says.

I look to the mountains, now silhouetted by the darkness. The half-moon hangs in the sky between two peaks. Banff is so beautiful, it has been my home for nearly one year, but it is him who I cannot stop looking at. Such intensity glows from his hazel eyes. Even the surreal mountainous background cannot compare with them. This moment in time is more intense than anything I have experienced before. My last night in Banff; my last night with him.

Maybe all anyone needs is a fresh perspective from a new friend or a lover – from a fellow traveller, perhaps. He saved me from a terrible bout of depression and he reminded me of what an exciting life I had ahead of me.

We hold one another and kiss.

“Your eyes,” I sigh.

“Your eyes,” he says back, entranced by mine as well.

My stomach feels as though it is in knots as the time draws near for the bus to arrive. And it does, slowly pulling into the parking lot.

“Oh my God, oh my God,” I say. I panic. “I feel like this is literally my future coming to take me away.”

He looks at me intently. “This chapter has ended for you and you are beginning a new, exciting one.”

We hug. I savour having him close. It still feels unreal that we are about to part ways forever for all I know.

“I will always smile when I think of this time,” he says.

“Me too. I really will,” I say. Always.

I hold his face, studying his features. They are wise and childlike all at once.

“Good-bye,” I say.

“See you,” he says.

“Yes, see you,” I repeat hopefully.

He gives me my black shoulder bag that he had been carrying. I want to touch him one last time, so I take his hand and I hold it, slowly backing away toward the bus until we are no longer touching. His eyes are red now. I look at this amazing person who helped me find my way, who carried me to the other side of Banff.

He turns around to walk away and I feel my heart sink. I watch him for a few seconds, unwilling to let him out of my sight until I must.

Then, I shakily walk to the bus driver to give him my bags. I step onto the dark Greyhound and cry.

Sara’s Travels: Part Three

Banff

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I spent eleven months in Banff. Out of all of the places I have been, I love Banff the most with its wealth of cafes, selection of quaint little restaurants, nature trails, dance clubs, and even the medical facilities are amazing. It’s surrounded by mountains and wildlife, but the town is full of things to do.
It was both an amazing and detrimental time of my life. I began my time in Banff as a volunteer worker at a hostel, where working four hours per day got me a free bed and access to the kitchen, which often had a small supply of free food. I wrote about my experience about going broke while travelling, and it happened here. I met some amazing people at my time at the hostel and ended up making friends whom I can now visit in Germany, Nova Scotia, and England. The pub crawls were epic and I discovered an easy hike up Tunnel Mountain thanks to one of the Australian hostel guides. I even spent my birthday there, and my one German friend made me pancakes with Nutella for breakfast. I think one of the coolest experiences about staying at a hostel for a few weeks is that you literally are part of a small family, which consists of so many different cultures. I remember writing in a room full of my hostel mates and not minding it a bit. There’s just something relaxed and inspiring about backpackers.
Once I could no longer stand having absolutely no money, I finally caved in and got a job at the hotel across the road as a housekeeper. I whined one week prior to that saying, “I don’t want to clean rooms all day. Blah!” But I had already missed prime hiring season, so jobs were limited and this hotel actually needed workers, so I spoke with the manager and he hired me on the spot. I had a rough go with the various employees passing through – some stayed for two months, while others stayed for the entire time. Unlike my hostel mates, my coworkers and I didn’t seem to flow so well when it came to living together. My idea of balance is being to write at least five nights per week, leaving about two nights open for socializing, but I was in a staff house full of extroverts, many of which were away from home for the first time. They only seemed to like me when I was in the mood to drink with them.
I got pretty down several times, knowing I was unable to rent my own place due to a combination of poor spending habits and a low hourly wage. By April, I became quite reclusive after yet another falling out with one of my coworkers whom I was sure I would hit it off with. Then, one day I worked with one of the new German boys and we hit it off rather quickly. He asked me to come out with his friend and one of the other girls we worked with to a steak place. It ended up being a really delicious meal and the four of us went to Tim Hortons and talked for a couple of more hours. I felt like I finally belonged somewhere, being able to feel at ease with these people.
As much as I got along with my new friends, I was at my wit’s end with housekeeping. I put in my two weeks’ notice and then got a job as an ice cream scooper. On my last night in the hotel staff accommodation, kind German boy and I had an intensive conversation that lasted into the early morning. I remember how happy I felt connecting with him as the rain fell and morning arrived. For the following month, he and I saw one another as often as we could. I could laugh with him, act silly, and also tell him my darkest thoughts and most terrible concerns. He listened to me when no one else would.
My last month in Banff was the best time that I ever had. He told me that he and his friend almost made the decision to go to the Maritime Provinces rather than out to western Canada, and he believed that the reason why they changed their mind was because he and I were meant to have a special time together. I think that I believe that, too.

Eve and Adam, A Project Nearly Complete

My newest short story, Eve and Adam, is something that I have been writing for just over one year. I promise you that it will not be a romance, as that would betray my usual writing style. ;)

The short story began on my third day in the rocky mountains while working at the Delta Lodge in Kananaskis. The new scenery, the travel, and the song called “Miracle Cure” by Seawolf helped the story line flow. I actually published the first draft of it on this blog, but have since edited and added more to it. My sister is already designing the book cover, which makes me very excited and it feels like it is really coming together!

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It is a story about two young misfits. Eve is from a cult village while Adam is from a small town with Southern Baptist roots. While innocent, Eve has a strange mind frame that is just as dangerous as Adam’s suicidal ideations. Their paths cross just a moment before Adam slits his wrists deep enough to kill himself.

Eve and Adam’s opening paragraphs:

Floating circles of red, yellow, and green rose above the long grass and I dropped the knife. Blinking, I sat up on my knees, wondering whether I was dreaming or already dead. The colourful spheres had an owner. A slender girl skipped toward me, holding a cluster of helium balloons with one hand. Her giddy gait, flowing brown skirt, and wide smile mocked my fatal intentions.
Blood smeared the sharp blade in the dewy grass. I stood and slid my reddened hands into my pockets, cringing at how she would react at the sight of a random man sprouting out of nowhere. The girl waved at me. Apparently seeing a weirdo on the top of the rise was normal to her.

I am in the phase of seeking out beta readers before hiring an editor. If anyone is interested in giving this short story a read (It is at 26 pages right now) then I would be very grateful to you. I really want to get it right and this story is so important to me. I want every reader to feel the heart, emotion, and pain that I felt as I wrote these characters and their circumstances into being.

Please let me know if you are interested in giving me a critique – it can be as simple as “Great book, but work on this…” to a very detailed analysis. I want as much honesty and candor as possible before I show it to an editor.

Thank you, my amazing blogger friends!

Sara’s Travels: Part Two

Fort McMurray Fail; Canmore’s Beauty

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My summer in Canmore working as a room attendant (Aka Housekeeper) at the Radisson Hotel had its ups and downs, as nearly every point in my life. Though I had my best Canada Day ever there. We had a game of volleyball at our staff accommodation and then drank. I had this epic conversation about Bob Dylan and other 1960s musicians with some guys before we all went to the fireworks. To follow, a smaller group of us went to play pool at one of the pubs, and I didn’t go to bed until after 5:00 AM because I got into a conversation about some of life’s mysteries with the Czech houseman.
If you ever want to see a true mountain town, you ought to pay Canmore a visit. Every building has to follow a specific code where it cannot be too high and it has to be made out of wood. So, everything looks so quaint.
I suppose I could have stayed a little longer, because I left some really cool people, but I was feeling that drive to move forward again. Mr. Cool Czech guy tried to convince me to stay a little longer, but my comeback was, “Yeah, but you’re leaving in a month…” He didn’t like that comment, but it was true.
People will give you silly reasons why you shouldn’t go where you want to go, or why shouldn’t do what you want to do, but in the end, they will usually end up doing their own thing regardless, so always make your needs the priority. I needed another adventure. It wasn’t that I wanted to leave the Rockies… in fact, I was having this feeling of dread at the thought of being away from them.
My big, bright plan was to meet up with my friend Mandy who was working in Fort McMurray – a place famed for its ugliness, grizzly men, and oil money. I was not going there with the intention of staying long. My friend and I had spoken over the phone a couple of times while I worked in Kananaskis and we messaged a lot when I was in Canmore. She said that she was managing a hamburger and French fries truck and that she and I could take it and then travel around Canada – including Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatchewan, and even Toronto. A great way to make some money and see different parts of the country. She said that I could come stay with her and her roomie until I saved some money, and then we would set off on our summer adventure. Her exact words: “It will be fun to have a few girls hanging out up here!”
I had often entertained the idea of running away with a carnival crew, being such a misfit for so long, and then this opportunity came. I was star struck with idea of living so free-spirited.
After a nearly nine hour bus ride, I was dropped off at the Fort Mac bus terminal. I texted my friend so she could pick me up. I waited outside and noticed her right away – in the passenger seat of a great big pickup truck being driven by a tough-looking forty-something man. She ran out and we hugged. Getting into the truck, I learned that this man was the friend and roommate she had been talking about. Not a fellow twenty or thirty-something girl as I had been led to believe, but I shrugged. Whatever, right?
Well… this guy seemed to talk and act like he was the boss of us and it gave me a red flag right away, but I focused on Mandy. We talked all about how life had been for the past year or so and then tough guy pulled in to the driveway of a medium-sized house.
We walked in and ate some sandwiches while she and tough guy gave me the low down about the house rules, the job, and pay scheme. Apparently, Mandy and I would not be in charge of this fast food truck at all. It was owned and managed by tough guy and his buddy, who happened to be Mandy’s boyfriend. Again, not a big deal on the surface, but it was not exactly what I had in mind.
I found out then that we would be working in Fort Mac for most of the summer, since there would be an influx of workers who were mainly men and we’d get so many more tips there than at a family themed festival or carnival. I did not like this deal at all, but I took it all in and just commented politely. After all, they had offered their home to me and had given me a job – despite the fact that it was nothing like what Mandy had said.
She showed me up to “my room” which was actually tough guy’s room, and all of his things and furniture were still in there. He would lend it out to me “temporarily” and then he said that we could all “work something out.” Mandy kept saying things that hinted I should try getting together with tough guy, which made me very uncomfortable.
With a sigh, I just turned on my laptop to see if I could message my parents and sister for some advice, but there was no wifi or Internet at the house. I found tough guy and asked him nicely when they might get wifi, and he rolled his eyes and said, “We’re working on it okay?”
I already felt trapped in a soon to be bad situation and I texted my friend from Toronto about the situation since I wasn’t in the mood for a freak out from my family. She warned me to stay alert and I left it at that. I came back downstairs to hang out with Mandy and tough guy, and when he left to go grab something from the kitchen, she leaned close to me and whispered, “I want you to be very careful about what you say about jail and criminals, because both he and my boyfriend have done some time.”
My wide eyes annoyed her. “They’re good guys. Just don’t bring stuff like that up so that they don’t get annoyed.”
“Okay,” I nodded.
Now I was scared, but I shook it off for the time being, knowing I could formulate an escape plan once I was alone in “my room”. I asked her about how she met her boyfriend. Her voice and expression hardened as she told me about their less than poetic romance.
“He scares me a bit. I met him when I was with another guy and he’s pretty protective over me. Both of them are, actually. They’ll watch out for us and take us into town whenever we please. You just have to watch that you act cool, like give off an Angelina Jolie vibe. They don’t have a lot of tolerance for girlie laughter and stuff like that.”
“Well, I like to laugh.”
“Don’t worry too much, you’ll see what I mean when you meet my man.”
I was exhausted and asked if it was okay if I went to bed. She understood and we said goodnight. Tough guy went up with me to grab some of his stuff from his room and then said, “Sweet dreams.” It was then that I noticed that there was no lock on my door. I texted my friend from Toronto after shutting the door and she sort of freaked out.
“Climb out of the window and then call your parents! You have to get out of there!” she texted.
I almost did, but then took a deep breath. They would either hear me or see me and who knows what would happen if they knew I was trying to get out of there. I stressed, but I told myself to sleep there for the night and then ask to go to Starbucks for wifi in the morning.
The next day, I got ready and calmly walked downstairs. Mandy was still fast asleep, so it was just tough guy and Mandy’s dog sitting on the couch. Her dog ran over to me and stood her ground between me and him, growling as he stood to walk up to me.
“Shut up, stupid thing,” he muttered.
“I was just off to go use the wifi at Starbucks. See you in a few?” I said.
“Oh I can drive you.”
“I like to walk, so that’s okay.”
“You sure? I’ll just grab my keys now. I want to take care of you girls.”
No. Just no.
On the drive to Starbucks, we drove past an abandoned subdivision that strangely appeared almost brand new.
“I built those a couple of years ago,” he said. “But some of them caved in. The city shut down the whole subdivision and I went to jail because of the safety hazard I caused.”
“Oh wow….”
“Yeah. By the way, you’re pretty independent just walking out the door to go out like that. Just so you know, I’m always here to give you a ride. There’s some streets you’ll want to avoid walking down here. It’s Fort McMurray.”
“Great thanks for the offer.”
“If you want a nicer job than the hamburger flipping thing, I can hook you up with something much better.”
We drove by Fort Mac’s only strip club. “I’ve done some work for them in the past, and my friend is actually the owner.”
”Oh.”
Wait… what? I don’t want to know if his statements were related or not.
Elation filled my veins when I saw the Starbucks. It was like an oasis of culture amidst the city’s ugliness. He dropped me off after insisting that I give him my number so he could reach me in case I couldn’t reach him.
Alone at last, I messaged my parents about what had happened and they agreed to wire me money since I had spent all of my funds to get there and put down one month of rent. Without their help, I was literally stranded. I was so afraid that they would demand I come home, but I lied and told them that I had a job lined up in Banff so that seemed to build their trust in my own capabilities.
They wired me the money and I migrated to the McDonald’s down the road in case tough guy came looking for me. I booked a hotel room for the night, scheduled a bus ride out of Fort Mac that would take me to Banff the next day, and then I crashed. I texted Mandy apologizing for my disappearing act, and gave her my reasons for leaving. I asked her if she wanted to leave with me, since there was still time, but she began denying everything she said about being afraid of her boyfriend and that I was overreacting. Maybe I was, but all I did know was that I had to get out of there. She never forgave me for that, but I will be honest and say that I can’t really blame her.
Within twenty-four hours, I was passing through Canmore again on the way to Banff where I would need to scramble to look for a new job. I cried tears of relief to be back in my beloved Rockies. For the first time since I left my hometown, I felt like I was home.

Sara’s Travels: Part One

My Journey From A Small City Rut to The Rocky Mountains

The year of 2013 began as an anxious-ridden world for me. Though my new year’s eve was lovely and fun, it could not paint over the deep rut that I had fallen into. I spent the last night of 2012 with my sister, my two cousins, and a couple of new friends. It was honestly one of the most perfect new year’s eves I could have hoped for. We had an all-girl pre-teen themed party – we ate candy, played games, watched movies, had a glass of bubbly or two, and then went for an invigorating walk to see the fireworks which ended up being hidden by the trees and the tops of the buildings because we left a few minutes too late. Oops!

We all had a good laugh. When you find humour in the unexpected, magic can happen. :)

New year’s day was the reality check for me. I already knew that I was at the lowest point of my life when I was forced to move back in with my parents a few months prior – and I was still there with no job, no savings, and no real plan. I felt so lost. My last job had been telemarketing for $12 per hour.

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Yup. I was once that “bitch” interrupting you at dinner time. Sorry.

Oh, those telemarketing days did a number on me and my creativity. The job location itself was in an industrial part of my city. I started work in the afternoon and it took two buses for me to get there and back home again. Those cold, dark waits at the bus stop in the rough end of town pricked at my sanity’s threshold. Even with my favourite music playing on my ipod, I couldn’t shake that awful feeling of entrapment. I was stuck.

When music can no longer begin to erase hopelessness, you know there’s an issue.

Moving right along…

I needed to leave. Even an increase in modeling gigs with my agency did little to help me feel satisfied or adventurous. The shows were few and far between and they were not enough to make a living on. Maybe if I had of stuck to it for another year, I might have got a big break, but I may have also missed out on travelling. The thought of going somewhere cool trumped the glamour and elite-ness that you could get through modeling. Needless to say, I was over the whole high maintenance city girl thing.

Just before spring arrived, I applied for hospitality jobs everywhere, realising that the hospitality diploma I used to deem as worthless was actually my ticket out of the rut.

I did a telephone interview for the Delta Lodge in Kanaskis and aced it. That call back from the department manager was like a visit from my own Obi-Wan Kenobi. It was my way out from all that was familiar and depressing and stifling. My parents (Probably seeing how restless and irritable I had become) paid for my plane ticket to Calgary, Alberta. I will be forever grateful to them for that.

My head was literally spinning. My sister and I took pictures on her Mac Book, as was our custom ever couple of years. That last good-bye to my sister the night before my flight felt so strange. How do you say good-bye to the person that means the most to you? All you can really do is smile, hug, and say “Good night.” And that was what we did.

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My dad took me to the airport and we had one last breakfast together at Tim Hortons. We hugged and told one another, “I love you.” I walked into the area that only ticket holders could go through and it hit me that I was really leaving! I looked back and my dad was still watching me through the glass barrier. It made me cry. He was there, cheering me on, waiting until that last moment where I disappeared around the corner to wait for the plane to take me across the country.

In a time span of just five hours, I went from my home city to Calgary and I was shuttled to the hotel in Kananaskis. My eyes watered at the sight of those rocky mountains, which I had seen for the very first time in my life. The first person to greet me at the hotel was my new supervisor. He showed me around the lodge, spa, and staff accommodation and then quizzed about where to go and what to do if such and such happened, etc. and I just gave him a blank stare. I wanted to say, “I just got here! Give me break.” but I just smiled and asked him to remind me.

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Oh, but the mountains and the view. No feeling will ever be the same as the one that I felt as I hiked down the foothill to the valley after my supervisor let me go explore. I stood on the rocks by the river, smiling. I was free. London was far away and I was instead surrounded by the most breathtaking nature I had ever seen. I had never felt so alive.

I often sat on this small cliff that overlooked the valley and sang, looking down at the water or up at the fog-covered mountain tops with misty eyes. My inspiration had finally met its catalyst.

Alas, my position as a spa concierge was far more difficult than I would have imagined. My introverted disposition in combination with a surge in my imagination made it quite difficult to grasp all of the differing duties at work, which included dealing with customers. My anxiety levels spiked when I was not outside and I told my manager that I couldn’t do it anymore. He went into shrink mode, sweet-hearted as he was, and asked me what was causing me the most anxiety. I pointed right away at the cash register and said, “That thing!”

He hugged it and told me that it is just there to help. Then, he went over in detail all of the various interactions I would have to know. This was the moment that I realized that I really had something wrong with me. There is soft, nature-inspired spa music playing, sun is shining down on the pool water, there are only two customers receiving skin treatments, and I was standing there on the brink of freaking out. My manager said not to give up on the job and he seemed to really believe in me, so I gave it another try.

I was not very keen on meeting new people at that point in my life; I was determined to stay single and stay focused on writing my books. Delta had a lot of staff living on the premises and I found it terribly overwhelming. I guess it’s because I came out there to re-charge, write, and explore.

Sometimes, people just need to be alone.

My room mate was a sweetheart and she always asked me to go drinking with everyone, but I declined until one evening I thought it would be nice to actually have a nice time. I had only been drunk once before, so I got way too drunk again and blew off this guy that all the girls thought was “oh so hot” and charming. I just thought he was a rich, workaholic jerk who just wanted to get laid. Apparently when I thought the line, “I don’t want to… you know… force myself on you or anything” was terrible, my coworkers thought I was being too uptight. One of them actually swooned and said that she wished someone would have said that about her.

Um, okay.

After that, I reverted back to my reclusive nature. I started jogging outside and then I would dip my feet in the cold water of the creek afterwards. Those Rockies surrounding me were so therapeutic, but the job at the spa was taking its toll on me – as was the pressure to start to fit in with the people that I lived with.

Some of my coworkers were becoming frustrated with my absent-mindedness and they began being nasty toward me.My manager and I often worked the night shifts together. I am terrible with small talk, so when we did talk it was always about heavier topics like the Pope or humanistic death quotes or politics or Game of Thrones characters. I enjoyed those conversations, but I could tell that he could only stand them for so long and then he would retreat back to his computer a few feet away, flashing me the strangest looks every so often. I don’t know if that was in my head or if he was actually unnerved by my strange presence, but it started to weigh on me.

I applied for another job in Canmore – a small town close by. I got another phone interview with them and I accepted the job offer right away. Sadly, I couldn’t find the courage to tell my manager that I was leaving. I felt so bad, but I had this mental block or something that made me incapable of doing it. He ordered me pasta with seafood one evening after I told him about an unfortunate event in my room the other evening and I was so moved by the kind gesture that I decided I would have to just sneak away instead of admit that I was leaving. On the morning that I was to move to Canmore, I called for a cab to pick me up at 6:00 AM.

That morning, I left Kananaskis forever.

It was wrong of me and I felt terrible for doing it. In tears, I called him once I arrived to Canmore. When he answered, he said that he hoped I would never do something like that again because there are ramifications – not just for me, but for the coworkers that I leave behind. I had created quite the mess just so I could escape from my own discomfort… and I just closed the door on the first person that I had met in Alberta. I said sorry again and he told me that he hoped I would have fun in Canmore. Then, he hung up.

Lesson learned.

Dear readers and bloggers, have you ever been guilty of running away from problems? Do you love to travel? Where have you travelled?

Fantasia’s Gateway

The four-year-old girl’s closet is eerie compared to the other ones in the house. Her name is Sara, but she wonders if she should be called something else when the strange creatures in her closet talk to her. Her parents tell her that cartoons are make believe and that toys cannot come to life, but the star that comes in through her window delights her with its smiles and bouncing around the room. It is real.

The characters who live in the closet are feisty, though. Sometimes Sara is not in the mood to speak with them and she hopes that they will go away, yet there are many days when she wants to crawl into the dark shadows of the small storage area in her room and talk to the living, breathing things that shouldn’t be there, but are.

She gets out of her bed, even though it should be nap time, and she walks over to the closet, listening. They always like to talk to her when her mother wants her to be sleeping, but she is bored with closing her eyes.

“Are you there today?” Sara whispers.

No answer.

Dejected, Sara crawls inside of the closet and waits for them. She is careful to be quiet so that her mother cannot hear that she is awake.

“Psst. Anyone in here?” she whispers again.

“Yes,” hisses one of the familiar voices.

Excited, Sara searches around until she sees the yellow teddy bear sitting on a ledge that was not there a moment ago.

“Who are you?” Sara asks.

“You know. I also like to live in your bathroom. Is that okay?”

“Yes,” Sara nods quickly. “Stay where you want. I like you!”

“If you like me so much, then will you promise to never stop believing in me, and in the others that come by?”

“I promise.”

The bear disappears.

“Hello?”

Annoyed, she jumps out of the closet and searches all over the room. “Where did you go?”

The only movement she sees is her own in the mirror’s reflection. She glares at her post-toddler chubby cheeks and scary frown, wondering if she chased them away because she looks mean.

Sara will never see the strange creatures again, but what she does see are the figments of her own imagination – when she swings on the swings, runs or skips around the yard, or even lays in her bed – she can imagine whatever she wishes, because it will appear. But she will always wonder who those colorful strangers were, and why they left.

Writing In Banff And Soon, In The Wilderness of B.C.

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(Source: Me)

My last few days in this thriving little mountain city have been very productive for my writing. I finished editing/adding to one of my short stories I started just over one year ago. I finally went to that little café and the large windows, quaint atmosphere, and mellow customers turned out to be the perfect setting. If only I had discovered it months ago, but alas, there’s a time and place for nearly everything.

Tonight, I am leaving the place I have called home for nearly one year, and some good people, to take a long bus ride to northern B.C. It will be my first time ever in the province, and though I have longed to see the Pacific Ocean for quite some time, I do look forward to some natural solitude and a change of pace at the wilderness lodge I will be working at for two and a half months. I plan to do a lot of writing on my off time, along with some hiking and exploring of course. I think it will be great, and hopefully it will feel like a retreat.

Banff, Alberta has been an excellent place for inspiration as well, but I suppose it’s correct to say that I have outgrown it. I’ll never forget how much I loved it when I first started living here, though, the mountains surrounding a fun little town where I have met so many interesting people. It’s hard to move on in some ways, I’ll be honest.

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(Source: Me)

I am going to miss Banff, but the change of location will be good for me and my writing, I think. More travel is always exciting, and I’m looking forward to the scenic view and chance to write a lot on the day-long bus ride.

Time & Life

On opposite couches they sat. Talking about everything as the movie droned on in the background. It was her last evening living at the house. Tomorrow she would be staying in a hostel and working at a new job.
“You are not alone,” he said.
After a while, he went to her sofa to show her a picture. The time passed so quickly as they lost track of time, entranced by one another.
Early in the morning, they held one another as the rain fell. The dimness and the soft pattering created a calming mood that matched their own and a wonderful setting for the moment in time where two people become closer. Maybe he was right. Maybe she wouldn’t feel so alone, after all.

Flash Fiction Withdrawal & My Novel

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There is something about writing in the style of flash fiction that awakens my creativity and aids my writing process. I was doing so well on my novel, the story line and characters were flowing so well, but then I reached a stand still around page 130. This seems to be the case with almost all of my longer works – which are not even considered full length novels by any means. I have always wondered if I am better suited to write novellas and short stories. I think it is probably true. But I am still going to finish my novel. It will be challenging, and a lot of work, but the story and characters mean so much to me that I couldn’t leave it hanging. I will see it through to the end, and I will start scheduling time in my days to work on it exclusively.

As a reward for finishing at least 1,000 words for my novel each day, I will write some flash fiction. As an extra source of motivation, I will blog about my progress with the novel. I really am excited to dive into it again.


What writing projects and goals are you working on this month?

Happy writing!

Z Is For Zoetic

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He took a deep breath while scrubbing his bloody hands. His clothes were caked in blood, and flies encircled the barrels full of severed arms and legs. After wrestling terrified men to the operating table and slicing through flesh and bone for ten hours, he needed water.

“You there!” he shouted at one of his assistants. “Dump those fucking limbs into the water.”

The screams had turned into groans, but he could tolerate the latter far better. The rest of their wounded still lay on the battlefield, waiting for the wagons to bring them back to the camp.

Waiting to be subject to weary surgeon hands.

Among the filthy, agonized faces, he had not seen the young foot soldier that had spoken to him days before the battle. The lad, who was named Jonathan Greene, asked him so many questions about advances in medicine and surgery. The world’s new, bright individuals were being hacked apart as the weeks dragged on.

He found one of the lieutenants and asked for Greene.

“I have not seen him,” the older man answered grimly.

Doctor Hill signalled for the driver of the next empty horse-drawn cart to stop.

“I will help you collect the wounded.” He had wanted to say “mutilated”, but he hadn’t had the energy.

Away from the camp of horrors, cool wind kissed his face. It felt almost unnatural for him to be sitting down. He winced when the farm horse carried them over the hill toward the sea of helpless soldiers. Fog seeped over the bodies whose uniforms were damp and bloody, as though nature were embarrassed by the human cruelty and felt the need to cover the casualties.

The cart halted and the surgeon jumped off. He stared into the pale faces of the dead. A pained whisper came from his left. “Help…”

He stopped to pick up a man and then carried him over to the cart. Yet another one in need of an amputation. Somewhere, Greene laid alone, likely dead and cold. Gone forever, without the honour a good-bye. Or he would be alive and wishing for death.

“Doctor…”

A soldier appearing to be around Greene’s age attempted to sit up, only to cry out from the exertion and fall back. The doctor went to him. The boy’s torso had been ripped open so badly that some of his intestines poked through the wound. No chance of him surviving.

Doctor Hill took the soldier’s icy hand. “God be with you, son.”

He stood and walked away in search of someone that he could help and became overwhelmed by the thickness of the mists and by death’s stench.