Star

The chords of the guitar sounded, the lights came on, and he came onstage. She watched from the crowd, wishing she could have the stationary, movie-like experience of being as if absolutely alone. But there were people pressing close on all sides and the crowd surged forward and she was born along with it as everyone pushed closer to the barrier. There was an elbow in her ribs and someone was stepping on her foot. She didn’t care, even though the physical pain was reducing her ecstasy.

But there was still a leap in her stomach as she saw him open his mouth wide and begin to sing into the microphone. His voice was almost lost amid the crash of drums, the hum of the bass and the distorted guitar. The speakers were right above her on the right and the sound was too loud to register in her ears properly. She focused instead on the sight of him, the way he moved, the way his chest heaved as he belted out the notes and the beads of sweat that appeared on his brow as the hot spotlights lit him up brilliantly.

The crowd seemed to make a wrong move, and suddenly everyone was falling, falling, falling back. She fell, the point of the falling triangle, and felt body after body crash down on her. She didn’t scream. She didn’t yell. As the breath was knocked out of her and her eyes blackened, she saw his image in front of her, the way he’d been looking right at her for a moment there. He’d seen her. That was all that mattered.

Letter to the Author

I am a great and loyal fan of many writers: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Tamora Pierce, Jacqueline Carey, Kate Elliot, Libba Bray, Sarah Dessen… the list goes on and on. These are authors who are living and writing and creating today. These are authors whose books I can look forward to, whose careers I can actively follow (what with the wonders of the online community these days). I treat these people with as much reverence as I treat my favorite bands – more so, perhaps, because their fame is often less materially rewarding and their renown is limited to the community who enjoy their particular genre; meaning my respect for them and awe of them grows because of the difficulties they face in pursuing their chosen careers.

I’ve met Neil Gaiman. He was a darling, and managed not to seem the least bit bored during the two signings of his in which I participated. He is an incredible public speaker. He is extremely popular, though, and I have never felt the urge to write to him. So, also, with many other of the authors I love.

I wrote to Jacqueline Carey though. I wrote of my passion for her books and my admiration for both her literary style and her imagination, for her beautifully-wrought characters and her intricate plots. She wrote back. She really did. It was a while after I had written, but she did write back.

Which is why, I suppose, I’ve been struggling for days with trying to find the perfect wording for a second letter – this time to Tamora Pierce. I grew up on her books – I own every single one of them, and there are many, believe me. The smell of the pages of those well-thumbed novels of hers bring back memories from countless instances, and I’ve read and reread her books endlessly. I hope that once I find the words to write to her properly, she’ll respond. I shouldn’t expect it, but I can’t help but hope.

It’s overwhelming, sometimes, to love and admire people with such creative minds and incredible determination. But it’s often inspiring too.

Surreal

My mind is blank.

My mind is blank.

My mind is blank.

But out of the darkness, or perhaps the blinding whiteness, that is the blankness of my mind, I settle on an odd image – it is the image of a desert. Endless dunes of sand, a warm night breeze ruffling the sands around my ankles – but the sky, the sky is what my blank mind focuses on. The sky which is full of a myriad stars, thousands upon thousands of them twinkling in every direction which my eyes can focus on. The stars are spread out every which way, the thick band of the milky way shining brightly through the middle, and the moon’s brightness taking away a patch of stars as it outshines them. So many of those stars don’t exist anymore.

I feel like I should want to be the Little Prince, fallen out of the sky and managing not to worry about my fate. I wish I could worry only about wanting a sheep and a glass cover for my rose, and a snake to bite me and take me back home. I feel like there would be something peaceful about saving someone and bringing him to a well and then leaving him forever, with only the memory of laughter to make the stars bright to him.

My mind is blank.

My mind is blank.

My mind is blank.