Trigger Warnings – This post has them

Trigger Warnings: Trauma & Death

Typically speaking I am not a person to put up trigger warnings about things but this is a time that I feel like it I should as this post is not light in any way and will be covering a very heavy subject and a very personal experience for me. So please be warned now if the warnings at the top did not turn you away that this post may not be an easy read and will be fairly dark.

Okay, I feel I have even enough of a chance anyone to turn back if they wish, and any who are still with me will not be upset with me for making a post of this nature.

I feel that the best place for me to start would be to say that I’ve never thought I truly feared death. I had a healthy survival instinct like any other human being and would fight for my life should it come to that and I didn’t go off and do death defying things either like cliff diving. (I’ve been rapelling but that is 100% safe if proper equipment is used and you are under the guidance of a well trained individual – but I digress.) However, I felt rather comfortable in my own demise, I didn’t know when it would come and I know I can’t prevent it. I also always took comfort in my own religious beliefs that when I die I go to a better place.

Some of these things have not changed in me. I know I can’t prevent my death. I also still firmly believe that when I die I go to a better place. Those things have not been shaken. Other things however, have. I have no sudden urge to go cliff diving but I have gained a bit of fear of death, and in some ways I think that’s what happens when you face it head on.

I admit I didn’t have a near death experience, nothing threatened my own life. I feel that if that were the case something different would have happened to me, but that is not the case here. Something very different happened to me and it has changed my view on things, I don’t know if it is forever but it is true of the interim.

I know I’m leading up here to tell why my view has changed, but at the same time it is not easy to come out and tell the story and say what happened. In some ways it is easier to verbalize and speak it aloud, but I think for me it becomes more real when I write it down. Part of me wants to be quick and say it outright and yet I find myself not wanting to write things. A certain denial to the truth. So maybe it is story time:

It was Friday morning and I was going into work as usual. I was tired but glad that the week was pretty much over. I drove in, and was running a little late as I hadn’t had breakfast, meaning I had to run downstairs to the Colonnade to buy something from the vending machine as very little is open at 3am, the start of my work shift. Being quick I went to my computer to sign in so that when start of shift rolled around I would be marked as present.

Walking in I can see the row of desks that contain my fell co-workers who I arrive two hours before me. It my habit to note if a desk is empty because if one is then I know the work day may very well be a rough one. Of course, an empty chair can me they are on break, but if the monitors are black it means they probably didn’t come in. I instantly thought ‘Oh no Amy is not in.’ But then I looked up at the board that tells us the status of each caller. If they are ready for a call, on a call or not ready. I saw that Amy was here today because she was on the board. I remember thinking ‘strange’ because it showed her not read for about an hour and a half. Still I dismissed it considering that she was supposed to be not ready as she was assigned to work emails instead of taking live calls, and I figured her computer screens were off as she went to the restroom for a bit longer than an average person which was nothing out of the ordinary either. So logged into my computer and rushed to get some food knowing that thing would be timed for me to be at my desk exactly on time.

With food in hand I stopped to get a cup of ice with a co-worker and friend Chris telling me “Your late! Your late!” in his teasing way. We have a good rapport and share a social group outside of work. I told him I wasn’t late and if I was I wouldn’t have stopped to get ice. He had figured as much but at the same time had to tease a little.

As I got my ice he mentioned. “Hey the guys would like you to check in on Amy, she’s been in the bathroom for a long while.”

I agreed but asked to set my things down at my desk as I was now juggling a wallet, food and a cup of ice. I walked to my desk got asked how Amy was by Terry who looked quite worried. I set my stuff down and checked to make sure I had my phone on me. It was an odd thing but there was a part of me that said there is a problem – a real one and I might need to take emergency action to help Amy.

So I walked to the bathroom, and pushed the door open noticing that the light was out. I didn’t question it too much as I’ve had that happen to me before where the automatic lights in the bathroom go out before I am finished using the bathroom. I don’t know how long the lights are set to stay on without movement in this bathroom but I accepted it and tentatively spoke Amy’s name as I rounded the corner ready to ask if she was okay and needed anything when I saw her face flat on the ground head sticking out of the handicap stall and the place smelling horrible.

Without a second thought I fled the scene as I knew she needed help and I couldn’t provide it. Amy is a larger woman and I knew I couldn’t turn her off her face. I called down the hall.

“Guy’s she’s passed out, face on the floor and I need help!”

Jack was quick to respond as an ex-military man recently back into civilian life. He tried to turn her over but couldn’t with the stall being closed and locked and I was trying to think of a way to get into the stall and unlock it. There was no way to crawl under as was my first thought as Amy was blocking all ways under the stall. And the panic and worry admittedly was mounting in me. Amy was so blue. I hadn’t seen someone as blue as she was, her face which was flat as a pancake against the floor told me she couldn’t be breathing an the blue also told me that. Not only was her face but but her arms were too.

Jack was able to use his nail to turn the lock to get the stall open. By that point Chris who is older and also ex-military came to help. However Chris is a very small and slight man and between him and Jack they weren’t able to do it.

“Go get Taylor!”

I rushed out. “Taylor they need your help – she on her face and blue!”

Taylor came rushing in as a tall burly guy and I watched as he and Jack pulled her out and turned her over. By that point Terry was calling 911 and Alex was running down to the security office to try and get help while Chris looked for a defibrillator per the command of Jack and I stood there panicked and not sure what to do.

Jack asked about CPR which Taylor knew how to do as did Jack. Talyor started compression’s and demanded paper towels which I grabbed as fast as I could. Jack used it to wipe Amy’s mouth and perform mouth to mouth. I remember thinking though my training which was too late for me to bring up that mouth to mouth was mute and compression’s were the key. Taylor was doing them too light and I always said something but Jack told him harder. “Don’t worry about hurting her” I said meekly. I knew sometimes you have to break and crack ribs with how hard you have to push, but I didn’t need to provide that information. I remember vividly how her body moved under the compression’s of the guys and knew they were far stronger than me to do things and I have not need to get involved as too many people would not help.

I stepped out to check on things and heard Terry on the phone and provided him with the information he needed to give 911 as he was checking in on things. Terry gave the information but was doubling over some going ‘Oh God’ as he saw what I saw which was a prone woman who was still blue in the face as two men tried to save her life.

I heard security coming and stepped out quickly to say where we were as the building could be a maze. I remember praying for a miracale becuase I knew that is what we needed and I remember pacing as I started to loose feeling in my fingers. I knew it was from the panic and I forced myself to keep things together.

In a lot of ways things became a blur as I check on things a bit, tried to figure out what I needed to do. Chris and Alex had moved back to the phones, as it was something to do and was a task that needed to be done. Our callers didn’t know what was going on and they needed help too. Then I saw that Taylor had a call on hold and I figured I needed to take care of that. I remember being surprised that the hold time was only 5 minutes when so much was going on.

I barely managed the phone call which the caller was very understanding that we had an emergency and I didn’t have very good focus. I finished the call and checked on things helping to guide paramedics to where they needed to be.

In some ways a lot of things became a blur as I was asked who found her and was asked for my information and then asked about next of kin which I didn’t know. I helped find her personal information from her purse. As things became less out of my control and I was needed less, I remember having the urge to wash my hands. I have never in my life needed to wash my hands as much as I needed to then. The police stopped me as they didn’t want me to leave as a detective would want to ask me questions and I explained how I wanted to go to the other restroom to wash my hands and then be in a near by hall to make a phone call. I knew if there was any way for me to calm down and process things I had to call and talk to someone and that person happened to be my mother as she is a person I know I can wake in the middle of the night.

I paced I tried to work and I watched for people who had questions. I knew I was on point for that as I was the one that found Amy, and I realized slowly that it wasn’t a matter of just finding Amy who could get medical care but Amy who was no longer and thus what I found wasn’t exactly Amy but a body.

Shock presided over things as I had to talk to a detective about things and watched as a building manager spoke with us and then our lead who presides over the entire department spoke with us.

In between the conversations, we all tried to keep occupied and busy doing work which was not easy as none of us had the ability to focus. I remember sitting there trying to focus and re-living the events of what I saw over and over again. I would catch a reprieve until the smell from the bathroom played on my nose. Smells don’t usually bother my but the smell here made me re-live things every time. I don’t know if it was physiological or real the smell but it got to be bad. It was such to the point that I didn’t want to go to the far bathroom myself. I was scared of going there alone and being ‘forgotten’ should the worst happen. I don’t blame the men for waiting for me the only other girl to check on Amy it was only natural but that meant that I was alone, and I didn’t like that. I also forced myself to down some food as I knew if I didn’t I would pass out, and the process of eating was difficult and a sheer force of will.

Eventually, several hours later we were released from work and I drove to my parents house because the last thing I wanted and needed to be was alone. I also knew that the last thing I wanted was sleep. I was scared of sleeping alone and I was scared of being alone and I was scared of sleep itself not because sleep can been seen as a type of death but because I was scared of what I might dream, and I was scared of dying alone and sleeping is in some ways a lonely activity. I stayed up for about 24 hours before I finally slept knowing I couldn’t physically function any more and knowing that if I were to sleep with people awake it had to be then.

Of course with that fear of sleep and bad dreams, it mounted up more as I got more fatigued and sleepy. It was an unending cycle of where the more I needed sleep the less I wanted it and the more it scared me. However, not that I’ve slept I am somewhat better, I am less scared, I feel I can be alone some but I know it will be a struggle to adjust to things, to be at work, to see Amy’s empty desk, to know where she died and pass that place daily. I already know I can’t use that bathroom and will never use that stall – I just can’t. I don’t believe in superstition or anything such to the point if you point to a spot and say a man died there I wouldn’t be phased by going to that spot but this, this is a little more real this wasn’t some random man or woman this was Amy a person I had gotten to know personally and worked with for about 3 months. It’s just too real and admittedly while it’s only been a day and I’m better adjusted the idea of being alone still scares me some.

*Please note that all names have been changed for purposes of privacy.

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DC Rebirth

As I have mentioned before I’m a bit of a comic book fan.  At lease I’m sure I’ve said it.  If not, there it is, I like comics.  As a fan of comics I’ve always found myself to be  DC girl, having grown up watching the Batman series that always intrigued me.  Sure I grew up watching X-men as well but I didn’t follow it as well or a closely as I did batman.  Something about the Dark Knight and his villains spoke to me and caught my attention.  I also grew up with Super man related stuff as well and enjoyed some of the cartoons with him liked the Lois and Clark TV series growing up as well and the classic Superman movies.  So can you blame me for being a DC girl?  I grew up on it even if I didn’t read it.

I didn’t get into comics until a few years back shortly before the new 52 came out.  I fell in love with the character of Tim Drake-Wayne, particularly with him as the Red Robin.  The Red Robin story arch was simply amazing and I ate it up and then loved talking with my friend who has written a different take on that story where Robin turns evil, which I love alternate takes, speculative fanfiction is like my morning breakfast and I eat it up, thus it adds to my love of Tim as I see the potential for all with him.  Anyway, before this post becomes a squee-fest of all things Tim Drake and why I love him, I’ll stop now and continue on.

Shortly after getting my hands on this story I looked toward the new 52 thinking it will be a great start for some great new comics!  I was vastly disappointed.  52 was a ‘reboot’ for newer fans like me to find an easy entry point into the story arch and world of DC comics. However it was the worst reboot ever!  I never read a lick of the new 52 because they messed everything up!

In this reboot they changed the crux of my favorite character Tim and made him less than what he was (even if the new costume was visually cool).  They messed with another character I loved which was Connor Kent aka Superboy.  (He was Tim’s best friend in the original and in the reboot they were a bit at odds with each other.)  They also stripped down a few other characters like Barbra Gordon who in the original story was bound to a wheel chair and could kick ass from said wheel chair and found a way to fight crime with such a limitation.  It was a beautiful piece of diversification and they stripped her of it.  There were many other issues that I had with the new 52 and thus I never read it.

Now we are shortly into DC rebirth, something I held my breath on.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it but I decided to take a chance because the crux of it is the world of 52 is ‘wrong’ and was created and set up by some evil villain.  I read the 0 issue that sets the story up and I LOVED it.  The idea is that with these changes love was stolen away (and it was).  It also introduced some really amazing story arcs as well that I won’t go about revealing for any who has yet to read the story.  It was gripping enough that it has caused me to pick up some of the new issues and get into the world of DC comics.  While some of what I read was disappointing in the sense that there was a lack of a story for me to really sink my teeth into others blew my mind!  (Like Superman.)

Now as I said earlier Tim Drake is my favorite character,  and I grew up on mostly Batman.  Thus Batman is my go to main super hero that I just love.  Conversely Superman has not been a character I am as fond of.  Superman after a time tends to bore me.  He’s too good and too perfect in a lot of ways.  Also he is really hard to challenge in a fight.  Still, I picked up the comics, and I am glad I did!

For me, the sign of a good story is one that I can’t put down, and one that I can’t let go of thinking about it non-stop for a good time after I do finally put it down.  This is the case with the Superman story arch! I am comping at the bit to read the next issue that isn’t out yet and waiting eagerly to make my friend read the story so we can rave about the story arc together!  The comics have added a level of intrigue that I just can’t resist! There is a lot of mystery involved as to who certain people are, there is a real challenge for Superman to face (albeit familiar challenge), and an added emotional element that makes this familiar challenge all the more gripping.  I’m sorry to be so vague and cryptic, but I would hate to spoil things for any new reader who wants to pick the story up, which I highly recommend!  Seriously go buy the comic and read it!

So needless to say, I am loving the DC comics Rebirth and will be reading more.  For those who will not go out and read these stories despite my urging I will be discussing the plot of the comics in my next blog post.  So look for that next week!

Resistance is Futile

“We are the Borg. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.” – Star Trek Next Generation

Okay now that I’ve gotten that geek moment out of me I must confess that this blog has little to do with Star Trek, the Borg or collective mentality.  Sorry to disappoint.   This entry does however have to do with Resistance being futile, and maybe a little bit of the Borg objective which is perfection just way less scary.

While, I’ve said I have opened my blog to include reviews of stories, I am not posting about that but a particular concept of writing.  I’ve been finding myself drawn back into that world which is a good thing.  However, the calling is not in the way I would have expected such as writing something new but rather editing.

Editing, as some of you may know is something I loath to do, it gets tedious, drives me nuts and makes me want to cry.  However the need for perfection, the unending need to improve upon that which is already written is impossible some times to resist.  I’ve received a few reviews on my fan fiction causing me to edit those pieces as well as other pieces that I have written.  I need to write new thing and yet what do I keep doing? Editing, or at least thinking about editing.

I feel like the stories are calling to me saying “Make us better you know you want to.  Prove that you are better than this, make the words magic.  You know that resistance is futile.”  In some ways the stories are right but at the same time I want to continue the story not be stuck in an unending editing cycle.

“A work of art is never finished.” – E.M. Foster

Goin’ Back to Hogwarts erm… well

Life has a way of carrying you away and taking you down unexpected paths.  Last I posted.  I proclaimed that I am published and I have learned that while it is a long hard road to publication that reaching the point of being published is only just scratching the surface, but that is a tale for another time.

Today, I kind of wanted to post an re-introduction to the world of blogging.  I’ve been thinking about coming back for a long time and not that the whirlwind of life has settled I figured I need to get back into a posting pattern.

So I’m “Goin’ Back to Hogwarts Blogging”  (Yes a blatant Team StarKid ripoff there.)  Yet instead of simply blogging about writing and the writing process I would like to expand my horizons a bit.  I want to talk about reading, writing and stories in general.  The reason why I do much of anything is for the story.  I love to tell stories, I love to watch, them play them read them so I want to expand to cover it all.  I may one week blog about a book, the next week about a video game and the next about something writing related.   I’ll kind of be going where the wind blows me now and I think my blog and my writing will benefit from it.

So I hope that those who started following me all those months back are still with me and ready for a fun time as we go:

Back to witches and wizards, and magical beasts
To goblins and ghosts and to magical feasts
It’s all that I love, and it’s all that I need
At WordPress, WordPress
I think I’m going back…

*Lyrics and title are from Team StarKid: Goin’ back to Hogwarts

The Long Road

So,  I have been out of the world of blogging for a while.  It was of course of my own choice.  If anyone was following me till I took my hiatus you know I was reaching a very dark point in my writing having very little faith in what I could do and could accomplish.  It was why I went back to fanfiction.

In going back to fanfiction I have made some lovely friends who have helped and encouraged me.  I got some wonderful feedback on my writing pointing out my flaws and my strengths.  It is something that helped me build my confidence back up.  Also while there in the community of fanfic I received an award.  “Free Advertising”  A place to put a banner for about 3000 impressions on a website that caters to several million people!  I wasn’t sure what to do with the space at first but realized this was a golden opportunity that I simply could not waste.

Knowing this, I buckled down tormented myself by working like a dog to get the edits done.  It was not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.  I cannot name how many times I wanted to quit and give up.  I know I questioned my sanity on many occasions.  I know I even ‘lost it’ at one point.  Fortunately I had some amazing people to help me out.   I wish to take the time to thank them individually including those who helped be int the early stages of my book but I feel this post would ramble on for a very very long time.  So instead I’ll just leave a quick thank you to the amazing beauties that are in my life who helped me make my dream possible and say that I plan to do a blog post about all of you in a week or so.

That said I would now like to introduce my novel which debuted today on Kindle.

 

Gilded Rose Cover

Inspiration

Words, they just start dripping falling down like rain, first one then another.  They keep coming in a deluge, before you know it a paragraph is written there in your mind, and you cannot wait to get out of traffic to start writing everything down.  The words, they tumble in your mind over and over again.  You have an idea, a paragraph that could be used one day, some where, some time.  It is something that will be written down, filed away and saved for later.

You press on the accelerator trying to get home that little bit faster.  The words play over and over in your head, so perfect and so beautiful that nothing else really matters aside from getting home to write them down.  As they play yet again, a character speaks up, ‘Those words are mine’.   The truth of it all hits you like a ton of lead.  The words are the character’s and you realize everything that brings them to be true for the character and just how important those words are.  You realize how they will be  used, how they will craft and form not only the life of that character but everyone else involved in his life.   You not only have the prefect paragraph, you have a character associated with it, and the start of a potentially wonderful story.    If and only if the words play right, but you know all you have to do is write them, so you do.  Ignoring dinner and hunger, you submit to the words and you write, you write till you can at least stop, albeit briefly, as the words they keep flowing.  As long as you seek them out there they are falling out onto the screen choppy and rough.  There are no commas, there are hardly the right number of periods.  It is possible you’ve said a particular word far too many times but it matters little as the words are on page, they work, they are right, and once cleaned they will be perfect, at least that is the hope.

And this, this is the life of a writer.  Or, at least it is a glimpse into my life.

Funny thing is, the inspiration all came from the red break lights of the cars in front of me on the highway the night before.  It was like the red blossomed in front of me, from one car to all cars and it was just visually striking.  It took me a moment to realize that those red lights meant something, and I needed to put on my breaks as well.   Afterwards, my mind wouldn’t let go of the line ‘Red blossomed before me’.  It wasn’t much till tonight where it morphed into another visual and those afore mentioned ‘perfect’ words.

“Red blossomed from her chest, it spilled over and filled her white shirt.  It took me a minute to realize that the red should not be there, and wasn’t something pleasant, as everything else in the day had been thus far. “

Why Survival Skills Are So Important For a Writer

I think this is something good to keep in mind.

A Writer's Path

Rock Climbing

by Ned Hickson

Over the years, my wife has gotten used to my (admittedly bad) habit of leaning over and whispering “expendable character” whenever I see someone who I know is going to die. I should clarify I only make these predictions while watching movies, and not, as a general rule, at the grocery store, in hospital waiting rooms or at family reunions. That’s because in movies, these types of characters are easy to spot.

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