In honor of the most popular thing I’ll have ever written (and that’s not saying much) turning TEN FREAKING YEARS OLD, let’s celebrate with an embarrassing story from today, of all days Black Friday.
So, as you aught to know by now, I do, in fact, work retail as my primary job. I will never and shall never name the RETAIL ESTABLISHMENT where I earn my bread. There are things you will never know about me, and that’s not one because it’s not hard to figure out. ANYWAY…
Of course today is what used to be known as the biggest shopping day of the year. To be honest, it was absolutely, ridiculously, insane, three years ago. But the panini press happened and we all know how that went.
So, at RETAIL ESTABLISHMENT Black Friday is a dulled down event spread out over multiple days throughout the month of November. They first started changing aspects of it because people started getting hurt fighting over cheap and cheaply made towels and washcloths. But then the world was hit by, it was struck by The ‘Rona.
Today, the actual Friday in question was a very VERY mild shadow of what it used to be. The Store was busy, but not insanely so, there were not wall to wall people, and honestly the deals weren’t that amazing.
I was myself at one point working on some merchandise maintenance, and had to take a secure item to the registers. As I was doing so, I decided I needed to leave my portable printing device in a secure location so as to protect it from being picked up by co-worker thieves who don’t like to hunt for their own equipment.
So I did something I assumed was going to be a great idea.
Some need to know information: as one often sees in all retail locations, we have many large cardboard displays called “PDQs”. My research tells me those letters stand for “pretty darn quick” or “product displayed quickly” which are both kind of hilarious and accurate.
I have often thought that the people who design these doodads absolutely earn every dime they get because I’ve seen some seriously clever PDQs.
Back to the story, I looked around and saw a perfume giftset PDQ and thought, that’s a PERFECT a place to hide my printer. It had a little top on it that the printer could sit right down in.
So, moving right along, a customer’s perfume in hand, I gently tossed my printer into its tiny hiding place.
Have you ever done something and expected the sound of it happening to occur and it took a split second longer to make the sound? Well, I didn’t immediately hear the printer thump onto what I assumed was a sturdy cardboard platform. I did, however, hear, a split second later, a thump like the sound of a printer that had traveled the length of essentially a cardboard rectangle prism only to thunk onto a hard plastic pallet.
The full height of this PDQ display is roughly four feet. I’m not good with measurements. But it would be entirely too difficult to reach by hand. So, without missing a beat, I continued to the register area of the store, took (what I now remember was) Guess Men’s Body Spray up and placed it behind the register.
Between the happening of the incident, walking up to the front, and back, I contemplated how I would manage to retrieve the printer. Despite knowing at least two very tall co-workers who would help, I knew I’d rather risk death than embarrassment and a friendly joshing from either of them.
Of course the only solution was absolutely fantastic and honestly I’m proud of myself for thinking of it. i kneeled in the floor. And removed items out of my way, a few perfume gift sets (I think it was “Lucky You” ironically). I whipped out my technically “illegal” in the store box cutter, and then proceeded to poorly cut a trap door in what was, in fact, a hollow PDQ. My yeeted printer was sitting comfortably right there. I reached in and rescued it from us cardboard well of despair.
Unless some cheeky TURD happened by and decides to look back at the security cameras to see what the heck happened, I’m clear of any nonsense.
Now, I would have been significantly more embarrassing by my own sheer stupidity in the moment had I not been having stomach issues all day. I also didn’t let myself think of anything but a solution, and not how completely bonkers and probably hilarious it would have looked, had someone been recording me, and witnessed my momentary pause when I realized what had actually happened.
Of course this embarrassment is much healthier for me than the constant feeling of embarrassment that I have when I think I’ve said something that makes me sound dumb. Of course, that’s because I think everyone already thinks I’m dumb anyway.
And now it’s time for something different. No idea why this is the topic I chose for tonight’s post, but something told me it’s a good time.
In case you didn’t know, almost five years ago, I lost my mother. I’ve spoken about it before, in multiple occasions, and I don’t ever plan to stop. I have grieved for her every single day since the day we lost her. And I will continue to, just at varying levels.
Grief is both a simple yet complicated thing. Losing someone you love, no matter who they were to you, can hurt. And you can lose someone in different ways, and I don’t mean “how they die”. A life can not even end for you to grieve.
But no matter what you are grieving, your hurt and heartbreak is not less than anyone else’s.
Grief is simple in that you expect to hurt when you lose someone. It comes with the territory. And you know that you are going to hurt.
But everyone grieves in their own way. There are stages of grief. There are different ways of coping with it.
All death is tragic. And my mom did not die in a violent or terrifying way. She was sick, and declined over time, and then rapidly. But we knew it was coming, there was a point at which we knew we could not prolong her life. She wouldn’t have wanted us to, I don’t think.
So I think that’s what helped me to begin the grieving process, even though it had crept upon me days and weeks and months beforehand. Of course there will always be the “what ifs”. But in the end, well, it is what it is. I’ll always ask the rhetorical questions, knowing better than to expect an answer. But I’ve managed to drag myself past the potholes of bargaining and begging and breakdowns. Probably. Mostly.
But it also helped me that I was there with her, in her last hours and moments. I couldn’t leave her and that got me through it, a little better, I think. If she’d been “there” enough she would have made me leave. She’d always said she didn’t want people to watch her die. But I think that was more for everyone else than for her. She’d always, in her roundabout way, said she needed me when she was sick.
My heart is telling me to tell you that grief is splendid. Why? Why is grief splendid? Is it because, if you are grieving, it is because you loved? And love is even more splendid. If I hadn’t loved my mother, and I loved her because she showed me what love was, and how to love as a mother, then I wouldn’t have grieved.
But sometimes I think, she wouldn’t want to look down on me and see me grieving. But then I think, she’d know that she was loved, by pretty much all who knew her, and we grieve because we love her.
But people grieve more than just people they lost. Grief is complicated in that way. You can grieve for something you’ve never had. Mourning the loss of a possibility.
This is embarrassing but I grieved when I didn’t get a job I wanted badly. I went through the stages like it was a living thing ripped from me. Especially anger. But then I was angry then, so.
Grieve. Grieve all you need too. Grieve in whatever safe (and legal) way you need too. Withholding that necessity from yourself can be damaging. You don’t have to scream and cry and wail. You don’t have to break things and become self-destructive. People don’t even have to witness it. You grieve in a way that helps you through.
For a long time I would talk to her. I’d look up at the stars and I’d talk to her. I’d say what I needed to say, and it wasn’t always things I needed to tell her just things I needed to verbalize into the void. I’ve prayed to her too. I still talk to her sometimes, not as much now. I still need her just not in the way I used too.
It’s good to grieve, within reason. People can grieve themselves to death, and we don’t need more death. If you are grieving and you’re struggling, talk to someone. You don’t have to grieve alone.
I try to remember when I am grieving it’s because I’ve loved someone fiercely enough for their disappearance from my life has turned it upside down.
Losing my mom, who I love dearly (I don’t like the past tense because she might not be here but I can still love her) was like flipping a boat in a turbulent ocean. I was capsized. I began to take on water like sieve. I was full of holes that only she could fill. Because I loved her so, not having her over took me.
But, while there will always be a scar, broken hearts can heal. It’ll still hurt and there will always be an ache in that scar that just won’t fade. It got easier. Mostly because I knew she wouldn’t want me to be sad, but also because I knew that despite hers being over, I still had a life to live. One she gave me. And there was a life I made that needed me too.
It’s a hard pill to swallow but grief is something we will all have to deal with and knowing that grief is because love, grieving is splendid. I’ll carry my momma’s love around and try to give it out like wildflower seeds on the wind in spring. I may or may not have my own little breakdown in the privacy of my own home or cab of my truck. And that’s ok too.
I’ll think of her every single day, I just don’t cry every single day anymore. I smile sometimes too.
No one is gonna know if I don’t make a post every single day. They’re just not. I mean, besides me. And at this point I don’t know if I’d care either. I’m not here to prove anyone else wrong about whether I can or can not. I’m not even out to prove myself wrong.
As far as I know everyone on earth is absolutely rooting for me to succeed and, despite my own self doubt I can pretend to pretend to believe that. Pretending, for me, is not hard, so long as I don’t have to show proof of my work.
Pretending, however, to be a good, consistent writer requires proof of work. Like an angry high school math teacher who hates their job but knows they’ve been doing it too long for a career change, readers require you to show your work. Evidence that supports your claim to be good at writing.
A scientist cannot be permitted to present a hypothesis as true to a board without providing evidence of such. I imagine they’d be carted out of the building like the movies: two ogres of men carrying him out by his armpits like a child, tossing his file box full of desk decor on top of him.
He’d grumble about this and that, picking up his Funko Pops (the modern day troll doll) and stapler that actually was company property and then shake his fist at the cold concrete building that cares not, while shouting, “You’ll rue the day!” Then he’d shuffle away, grumbling.
Wait. Is that how evil villains are born? Did I just write an evil scientist villain origin story?
What’s my evil villain origin story?
Well, it’d have to start with retail. That is after all, my day job. Honestly if you didn’t know that have you even been reading my posts? No, you haven’t no one has. Back to my Evil Origin Story.
Perhaps a customer finally makes me angry enough to do something terrible?
Yes, but. Someone makes me angry, and I go home and blog about it, doing my usual “save to drafts” thing. The next day, the customer is DEAD. Eerily similar to the way in which I wrote it. Even better, they don’t die, but everything happens almost exactly the way it does in the post. But if the post goes public, they die!
But in order to make sure it was my post, I post another, and it works. But does it only work to death? Or can it be used for good? But the problem lies in that, perhaps I only use it for evil… ON PURPOSE.
I seriously just wanted to write on PORPOISE. You know. For laughs.
Anyway, the point is, no one is gonna know if I don’t post every day. They just won’t, same with how I know they won’t know that I cheated on one post, expect that I told on myself. Twice.
No one will know because no one reads my posts. Reading is too much work these days, what with short form video providing hours of mind numbing entertainment to the masses. That includes me, I’m not judging, I’m projecting.
Believe me, if I could make people love me through my Tiktok I would. Would probably not, I don’t like a lot of attention. I want to succeed at all this nonsense, but I don’t want it like that.
If I don’t just lay around in my bed all day tomorrow I’ll EAT MY HAT.
Did I do that right?
Anyway, this is me doing the third post in a row. If we’re being technical, I cheated. I could have sworn I hit publish in yesterday’s post. But when I opened up the app, it was still in drafts. I was falling asleep when I finished it. But I cheated and gave it yesterday’s post date.
Anyway, it’s not like I work for some major news outlet that I could get in big trouble with for fudging the numbers. I’m just little old me.
But I have confidence that I can succeed at posting every single day. It just might not be quality.
Here’s what might come to you this month.
(By “this month” I mean the next 30 days or so, not by the end of November. I’m not that confident)
Holiday History: Thanksgiving: Yes I know I flubbed up in the Halloween one. I had it scheduled to publish, thinking I would be forced inspired to complete before publish. But I forgot about it and it auto-pub’d incomplete. I realized it when someone LIKED THE POST and I unpublished it. Like, it was poorly written, and I was mid-depressive episode, my dude! Anyway, Thanksgiving is a juicy one and I’m not referring to the Turkey!
Possible PFN short story: I haven’t worked on it in a week, but it’s there, in the back of my mind.
More drawing challenges???
More “flying by the seat of my pants???
To be honest I’m going keep going with my trademark ABSOLUTELY BONKERS “content” until someone forces me to stop. And even then they’ll have to drag the internet away from my clammy clutches.
The current block in place on the Pretend Fantasy Novel happens to be the basis of the entire thing.
That being the prophecy.
While I have the gist of the prophecy written, my brain won’t let me go any further until I get it fancied up. Like, she’s gotta sound good.
Here are a few things, off the top of my head, that I’d like to do or have in place before I feel confident in writing.
The Prophecy: the actual prophecy, preferably in a poetic or lyrical form. I want it to sound like it needs to be interpreted, not like it’s been translated already
The Background: The Who, What, When, Where, and How of it. I want to answer all the questions about it.
Lore: I want to write some backstory. Some lore for the world of Arynthel. This would include the prophecy and other aspects of the story.
Character Development: while I already have the main character (and her trusty sidekick) chosen and living rent-free in my already cluttered noggin, there are more characters to create.
In an effort to trigger my brain into manufacturing something besides absolute nonsense and depressive episodes, I began writing a bit of an “origin story”. Actually it feels kinda Frodo/Gollem possessed by the Ring-esq. But it’s helping develops ideas in my head.
I’m not promising anything (we all know how that goes) but I hope to have it finished soon. Once it is finished it will be shared for your free-to-read pleasure. I don’t want to tease the story and make anyone want more and I don’t want to leave anyone hanging with no news.
So I make no promises.
I’ve just been going through some things that are all problems I mostly blow out of proportion in my own head making it worse for everyone around me.
Also coming soon maybe: I’m gonna start doing this thing where I use a random generator to draw an object.
The first one (ignore the ads) is going to be a sunflower. I’m going to be using the art app Procreate to draw it on my iPad. I’d love to improve my artsy fartsy skills and get better at using an app I spent money on. Haven’t decided if it’ll be a video or not yet.
A Poorly timed free balling NOPE spitballing session.
I got it into my head that I needed to write work on #Pretend Fantasy Novel. I’ve had bits and pieces of the first chapter stuck in my head for months. Yes, I know I’ve been “working” on it for ages, but you know me. But like a silly little dreamer I got it in my head to try and put things down.
So I randomly generated some names for some characters that were in the scene and started laying down some lines. Well, I got to a part that needed more than just a random generator.
The main plot of PFN (titles are hard) is “to prevent the world from ending a number of artifacts of some kind must be collected and taken to a predetermined location”.
I have added my own spin and, hopefully no spoilers, there’s a prophecy that if “shards” of a thing are not collected and brought together, the world will end. Hold up there’s a whole post. BRB. BMB: The Prophecy. Ok I’m sorry that was a Birthday Month Blogs post where I fell asleep sitting up.
That particular version of the prophecy had a lot of placeholders. The the gist of it is:
The end of times shall be nigh with the dying of the lambs, the rotting of fruit upon the vine, and the spoiling of water in pots.
BUT where it’s unfinished is the actual names of things. So here’s me spitballing ideas into the universe. The Prophecy continues…
Unless the Shards of the fire Crystal from the sky are brought together in The Tomb of Aryn before the setting of the sun on the final day of Harvest, the Earth shall shatter.
Like I said freeNO spitballing. Rolling ideas around in my head to come up with something good. Now, there are a few things in both bits of the passages of the Prophecy that might need explanation.
“Shards”: I heard the word somewhere and liked it? I thought it would make a good name for a thing.
“Aryn”: despite the fact that my head keeps thinking it sounds too much like one of my boss’ name *shudders 🤮😂*, it too came from a random generator.
And it was so absolutely similar to the name of the place the novel will take place: Arynthel. That was chosen by the group members as well. It was one of multiple made up using letters from names of the people involved in the creation of PFN.
All I will say about “Aryn” is that I plan on adding Lore to the world of Artnthel, and obviously Aryn (a woman) will be part of it. Not my boss. He’s not cool like that. (In the very unlikely chance he’ll read any of this, he’d probably laugh at me lol.)
The “Fire Crystal from the Sky” I literally made up on the toilet on the spot.
Like I said, the kinks are still being worked out. I want to eventually (before publication) write the whole prophecy in poetic verse form, and make it sound cooler tbh. And I feel like my title is gonna come from the prophecy.
The next couple days are gonna be me working on the prophecy and title, and I would like to start writing in earnest in November. Possibly spend a week on PFN and a week on The Silent Secret, alternating between the two. I think I’ll keep a running weekly word found for both WIPs and post them here.
Twenty-years ago in Black Pine, at a local beach celebration, high school senior, cheerleading captain Haley Sullivan went missing. The incident put a shadow over the entire graduating class and town.
Now, just in time for their high school reunion, those she was closest to in school all received postcards, all reading “Have you forgotten about Haley.”
Lucy Sawyer, childhood friend of Haley, received her post card, and decided it’s time to return home, and maybe find out whose keeping the secret, of what happened to Haley.
I came up with the idea for this story during a time when a close relative was very ill. We were passing through a state park with old fashioned motels, run down from disuse, nestled deep in tall trees growing for perhaps a hundred years on the side of a mountain.
Back in the days when family style road trips to see landmarks and local attractions were the go-to vacation, small downs like these were probably popular and thriving. Now the internet exists and if you wanna see a natural bridge or cave system, you can Google it. So the towns, and people in them, lost money as interest waned. These places went from destinations to “just passing through”.
On a trip through the mountains, I started thinking about this, and as I tend to do, wondered what kind of stories someone could tell. And this Black Pines was born.
The idea for the actual store legit came from *drumroll* random generators. I wanted to write a novel entirely with random generators. While it’s been a few years since the idea was created, I know that character names and other aspects came entirely from generators. Including the title. The premise from the story came from the title and bits and pieces of other generators.
The Silent Secret will be my first premium only story. It will be available chapter by chapter on the premium page here. It will ONLY be available via premium.
Premium is currently set at $10 a year, which is pretty reasonable, I think. While subscription is currently open, I won’t be posting any premium content for a while so don’t worry about subscribing right away! It will be announced when it will be posted.
FYI: Creating a (free) WordPress account is required to subscribe.
I’m also working on some promotional material, including a mock newspaper article. This material will be free to read.
WIP/Works in Progress
I currently have multiple works in progress (WIPs) on my docket, including Halloween History, the Choose You’re Adventure Story (which needs a title), and Pretend Fantasy Novel. I hope to have something to share soon!
Right around a year ago, I tried to start something I called “Choose Your Adventure”. You know those old books where at the end of a section it said “go to page 77 for this or page 56 for this” and it would alter the plot?
Well, I tried to do that with polls. I started with a prewritten portion of the story and there would be a poll to decide what I wrote next. It lasted about two polls before I lost my will to live write because no one was interested (probably because I was inconsistent).
Well, I decided that I needed to potentially overwhelm myself once more with a third mini project (in addition to PFN and 2nd Story). This will be my Halloween, though not super creepy, story for the month of October.
I’m thinking of it as a palate cleanser for when I’m feeling brain fried while focusing on the main events. So in an act of good faith, below you’ll find what was already written on the Choose Your Adventure Story, plus a little fresh that hadn’t been shared yet! Enjoy and keep your eyes open for the redux!