Writing Fiction That is Believable

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A Writer's Path

by Katie McCoach

Imagine you are sitting amongst fellow writers in a workshop class or critique group. You’ve just finished reading your work and this group is providing constructive criticism. You are nervous, of course, we understand. This writing is a piece of you—anything you write is. This group understands that as well, and they are in the group the same reason you are—to develop their writing. That is why you are here, right? To make your writing stronger? To see how an audience responds?

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Two

The night before…

The food at the cafeteria was certainly not worth the walk in the cold, not even for procrastinating on a major project. Amy considered catching a bus to downtown from her dorm room instead, but she didn’t want to go alone.

“Cissie?” she asked the person on the other end of her cell phone. “You hungry?”

“Oh, yeah. Let me just grab my coat, Bats, and I’ll meet you. Where are we eating?” asked the melodious voice.

“I don’t know. Wanna try that new place on Main Street…the barbecue place?”

“Oh, I don’t think so. I’m wearing a new Vera Wang…” Cecilia said. Of course. Her beautiful, blonde, and incredibly rich friend would be. And Amy would be wearing her four year-old department store jeans. Go figure.

“Ok, then…sushi?” Amy practically groaned with boredom. She already knew the answer before the piercing sound of Cecilia’s happy squeal came through the receiver. They only ate sushi. Ever. Cecilia had a thing for fish. She wore shark teeth around her neck, she decorated everything she owned in a coral reef and aquarium motif and she apparently ate fish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Amy guessed everyone had their thing, but some people aren’t as good at hiding it. Cecilia didn’t even care to hide it. She flaunted it.

“See you in thirty, Bats,” said Cecilia and hung up.

The first time Amy had met Cecilia, she had no idea that the strikingly beautiful, shimmery girl with the blonde hair and grey-green eyes, who dressed like a Vogue model, would choose to sit next to her on the first day of Zoology, let alone strike up a conversation and invite her for coffee after class. Suddenly, without knowing how, Amy had become Cecilia’s best friend. The girl showered her with affection, gifts, concerts, advice, concern, and generally all the thing expected of a friendship that had been years in the making. But, this was only a few months. At first Amy didn’t know what to do. She usually had trouble making close friends, but she eventually just went along with it. She supposed she’d never know why Cecilia was attracted to her, or even why the girl insisted on calling her “Bats”. Once, Amy had asked, and her only answer was that Amy’s dark hair and habit of staying up late reminded her of a bat. Amy hated it, but whatever made Cecilia happy, Cecilia got. So Amy gave up trying to get rid of the nickname. So, she called her Cissie in return, which Cecilia hated. Hey, fair’s fair.

Amy hurried to the bus stop on purpose, wanting to beat Cecilia to the restaurant. She didn’t want to be stared at when her friend pulled up in the black limousine just to eat dinner. Amy didn’t like attention and she certainly didn’t want to bask in Cecilia’s white hot spotlight. At the Boxed Sashimi (one of those way-too-trendy places, where everything was decorated in squares or 3D cubes because the owners were overcome by their own cleverness) she chose a table in the back corner.

Amy didn’t even have to look up from her menu, which she most certainly had memorized by now, when Cecilia arrived. The sudden hush of the restaurant mixed with the change in the air of the room told her. Everyone had stopped talking to stare at Cecilia, as if the latest Hollywood A-lister had chosen their humble, little, box-themed restaurant. The only part of this Amy enjoyed was the inevitable little gasps of surprise as Her Majesty decided to sit at her table – the girl rockin’ the messy hair bun, oversized sweater, and jeans. She certainly wasn’t the debonair gentlemen or heiress they expected her to associate with.

“Darling, you know I can have Drummond come pick you up! You don’t have to ride on public transportation,” she said with disgust, as if she expected Amy to be carrying lice from her bus ride to the restaurant.

“Don’t mind,” Amy mumbled, brushing off the comment, “Is his name actually Drummond?”

“Don’t be daft, Bats. Our chauffeurs all go by their last names. I can’t exactly call him ‘Bobby’. Wouldn’t be proper…Oh, I’ll have my usual,” she told the starstruck waiter, “and aren’t you cute?”

Amy rolled her eyes, doubting seriously that the poor kid was even going to remembering her “usual”, since he probably couldn’t even remember his own name at this point.

“I’ll have saki and a couple of California rolls, please, “Amy said. The waiter nodded, still looking at Cecilia and nearly backed into another table as he was leaving.

“Okay, Bats,” Cecilia said, “I really want you to come with me after dinner to meet Mother. She’s been just dying to get her teeth on you because you’re really, like, my only friend outside of The Shiver.”

“The what?”

“The Shiver, ” Cecilia hesitated slightly, as if Cecilia had just caught her with her hand in a cookie jar. She recovered quickly. “Ummm…It’s what my family’s estate is called.”

“That’s a weird name for a house. You rich people are a bit off, aren’t you? Anyway, she’s likely to throw me out when she finds out I have never stepped foot inside anything fancier than the local mall. Or maybe that marble bank downtown. I live in a dorm room, probably filled with asbestos. My own mom lives alone in a two bedroom apartment. The only thing she does is the church choir and my only other family is her mother. She hates her cubicle job and she blames my absent dad for everything in her life, including me. Your mom will probably encourage you to find a more erudite playmate.”

“You’re so adorably straight-forward. So love that about you!” Cecilia said, as if telling it like it is only happens on other planets. “Mother already knows all that. Do you think we don’t talk? Seriously, come on. We’ll eat dinner, then we’ll go to Mother’s penthouse for tea. Only a few blocks from here.”

It took the whole meal and a whole lot of conversation before Amy was all out of excuses. She had no choice. Cecilia paid the bill (she never let Amy do it), and Amy found herself being escorted like a princess into the endless black cave of the limousine by Bobby Drummond as people on the street pointed and stared. So much for now wanting to be part of the spotlight.

What Cecilia wanted, Cecilia got.


Amy had never been in a limo before, and at the moment she didn’t see what the big fuss was. Just a bigger sedan with a fridge.

“Something to drink?” asked Cecilia.

“No, thanks,” Amy replied. “So, I can’t stay too late. I have lots of studying to do. And you know we have a project due Monday in Zoology, right?”

“Mine’s done already. Mother helped. I picked the bat, just for you! Did you know that a couple of types of bats feed on fish?”

“Nope. Did not know that,” said Amy. Why did everything go back to fish? “I picked the wolf. I know it’s cliché. Everyone picks things like wolves and horses. I’m not sure why. Just seemed cool at the time. Plus they’re gorgeous creatures. I haven’t even started the project yet. It’s what my whole day Sunday is going to be about. I’m surprised you didn’t pick the shark, since that’s your favorite animal.”

“Well, I already know all about sharks. It’s my everyday, isn’t it? I wanted to find out some things about you!”

“I’m not a bat, Cissie, and you’re not a shark,” Amy said. Cecilia made a face on hearing her unwelcome nickname.

“Well, of course you’re not! But, it was certainly easier to pick that in honor of my best friend! I’m so a Shark! Definitely my mother’s daughter! And you may as well be a Bat! You stay up all hours of the night! You might even have super hearing and bad eyesight!

“Nope. I am not fond of fruit…or cow blood, either, sorry!”

“Oh, come on, it’s fun to pretend!”

“What is your thing with animals…fetish or something?”

Just then, Drummond’s window rolled down. “We’ve arrived, Miss,” he said.

When she stepped out of the limo, Amy felt quite out of place. She found herself facing a large, stately looking apartment block downtown. The building came complete with a doorman and a front desk receptionist. Cecilia chattered about bat bone structures all the way up to the top floor penthouse. Amy felt like the elevator door opened just in time for her friend to avoid being punched in the head. Her ears were ringing with her friend’s voice. Everything seemed to end in an exclamation point when Cissie was talking. The elevator opened into a grand round marble foyer. And more damn fish.

The walls were covered with inset fish tanks, teeming with different types of aquatic plants and creatures, and all available space was decorated in mermaids and seashell reliefs. The fountain in the middle featured great white sharks spitting out oversized arcs of blue colored water. The lighting was so dim, that it felt like an aquarium exhibit. Amy was starting to see why Cecilia was obsessed. Apparently it was her mother and her decorator’s fault. Cecilia grew up surrounded by fake sea creatures. No wonder the poor thing had no sense of reality!

“Hello!” called a deep, feminine voice from the hall, “I’m Dr. Leena Brogan…so nice to finally meet Cecilia’s friend! I’ve heard so much about you, Amelia!”

“Hi, nice to meet you! It’s just Amy.” She smiled and shook Dr. Brogan’s perfectly manicured hand. It was ice cold. Leena Brogan was an older, more elegant version of her daughter. They had the same long white-blonde hair, the same pale skin, dancer’s frame, and murky, grey-green eyes, which were hidden behind expensive, etched, diamond glasses. Dr. Brogan’s tall heels, red fingers and lips, and flashing jewelry indicated a woman of power. She held the posture of a woman who never heard the word no.

“Certainly not! Amelia is such an elegant name…you really should think about using it. A beautiful name for potential such as you!”

Amy wasn’t sure what Dr. Brogan meant by “potential”, but apparently Cecilia’s quirky way of thinking was genetic. They had only just met. What would this woman know about Amy’s potential? So, she just smiled politely.

“You girls go on into the sitting room and I’ll be in shortly. I’ve got a quick call to make…won’t be a moment.” Mrs. Brogan rang a bell, and a maid entered as if she’d been waiting for a stage cue.

“Tea, special blend for our guest! And a dessert tray for the young ladies, please, Diane.”

“Yes, ma’am,” said the maid, smiling at Amy on her way out. Mrs. Brogan’s loud heels echoed down the opposite hall.

“This way…” said Cecilia, ushering through a large archway into the sitting room. The lighting was only slightly less dim than the foyer.

“So, do you like it? The penthouse is new. Mother’s stocks did really well, so she got us another place.”

“Exactly how many places do you have, Cissie?” asked Amy.

“Well, there’s the Brogan mansion we call The Shiver, which is out close to Glendower Lodge, and then there’s the cottage in Cornwall, the two beach houses in Florida and California, and now the penthouse.”

Amy couldn’t find any words to dignify such excess. So she just stood there with her mouth open. Cecilia giggled.

“Yes. Mother’s family is old money, and she’s got top clearance as a psychiatrist with the CIA. Mother says the penthouse will be signed over to me when I’m done with my MBA.”

“Must be nice…” Amy mumbled.

Diane entered with a large silver rolling serving cart. The tea and desserts were laid out on the coffee table in front of them. Diane poured Amy’s tea and handed her the cup.

“Thanks,” she said and took a sip. It tasted odd. Amy was willing to bet that the two dollar economy box of Lipton her mother favored would never be allowed across the threshold at at any of the Brogan “places”. This “special blend” must be an expensive, foreign tea. Amy scrunched her nose and just held the cup politely, not intending to drink any more. Cecilia took a long sip of hers, though, as if she’d never tasted anything so comforting.

“So, tell me about your parents, Amelia! I would love to meet them, too, one day,” said Leena Brogan, as she walked back into the room. Dr. Brogan sat down right next to Amy, so close that the scent of perfume, mixed with the aftertaste of the tea, put Amy on sensory overload. Dr. Brogan crossed her delicate ankles in ladylike fashion and took a demure sip.

“Drink up, Angel…it won’t stay warm!” she said.

Amy humored her and took another sip of the awful stuff. Dr. Brogan’s red lips smiled sweetly as she watched her guest.

“Not much to tell, Dr. Brogan,” she said, thinking that, last she knew, Cissie had already told her mother all about Amy’s life…hadn’t she?

“Oh, call me Leena, please!” She took off her classes and sat forward, patting Amy on the leg.

“Um…okay. Leena.” Amy said uncomfortably. “My mom and dad were never married. He left before I was born and my mom’s a paper pusher at a phone company. Nothing earth shattering.”

“What a shame about your father,” said Leena. “I bet you look like him, too? Sometimes girls favor their fathers in so many ways.”

Amy shifted in her seat, uncomfortable. She noticed the woman’s eyes. They were very dark and her pupils seemed very large. Were they always this intense, or was it the dim lighting or that they just looked different with the glasses off?

“I wouldn’t know,” she said. “I have no pictures of him.” Amy really wished Leena would talk about something else.

Tact was not something Cecilia ever worried about. Cecilia seemed to be the spitting image of her mother, both in looks and personality, so she guessed tact didn’t run in the family. But, something about Leena seemed more sinister. Amy brushed off the feeling. It was probably just because meeting a beautiful CIA psychiatrist was intimidating. Maybe turning off the psychoanalysis was hard if that’s what you do all day.

“Well, isn’t that a shame,” said Leena. “But your mother! I’m sure you think a phone company isn’t glamorous…and you would be right… but I definitely see in you that your mother must be beautiful. Cecilia tells me that you’re majoring in the Biological Sciences?”

“Yes. Ecology, actually. That’s how we ended up in Zoology together. She just needed a science elective, but I’m required to take it.”

“That’s a very noble field. Saving the Earth and all…” Leena said this in a slightly mocking way, as if a field like that couldn’t be taken seriously. “Maybe you could study the oceans. I hear that might pay well. You’re welcome to the beach houses anytime, Angel, if you ever need an ecosystem for study. Just call! Have you ever been to the beach? Drink up…here let me freshen your cup.”

Leena waited with the teapot raised, so Amy had no choice but to down the awful stuff and accept another hot steaming cup of it.

“Yes, ma’am. Several times. My interest, though, isn’t the beaches, it’s the woods.”

“Oh, well then you would be so much more comfortable over at the Lodge instead. Cecilia probably told you about our mansion over there? There’s a large river there, too, but also surrounded by woods.” Leena began a long explanation of the delights of Glendower Lodge and the riverside mansion downstream she and Cecilia called “The Shiver”. Amy was starting to feel a little sleepy. She had the urge to get up and run around the block.

“Leena, thanks for the tea. But, I really ought to get back to the dorm. I’m starting to get tired. It’s been a long day.”

“Oh, of course. But, you really must come by again, my Angel! Maybe we could do a weekend make-over. Your hair would be so lovely with highlights! Just because you’re into Ecology, doesn’t mean you can’t be elegant, right? The three of us could go get a manicure!” Cecilia groaned. Amy was starting to turn red. It was hard enough to be around the Brogans without feeling frumpy. But, now she was starting to feel quite inadequate and not a little bit pissed off. Cecilia practically threw her cup down and grabbed Amy’s hand to pull her off her chair.

“Mother, you’re wearing her out and you’re being rude. I like Amy’s clothes. I wouldn’t wear them, but she wouldn’t be my Bats otherwise. I’m going to call for Drummond to bring the car around and bring her home.”

“I can take the bus…” Amy started. She stood up and grabbed her bag.

“Nonsense,” said Leena, looking as if her feelings were hurt at the very suggestion. “That is not how we treat guests here. Drummond is at your disposal, wherever you need to go.” Amy noticed a chilly look pass from Leena to her daughter. Huh. So, they weren’t as chummy as Leena led on. Cecilia had relationship problems with her mother, too. She started toward the elevator.

She suddenly felt as if she couldn’t get out of the penthouse fast enough and she never wanted to see Dr. Leena Brogan or be called “angel” ever again. The woman radiated a fake warmth that acted like a tractor beam – you could struggle to get away, but you were held by her murky, strange eyes, her voice, and her power. She asked too many probing personal questions and she was pushy. Leena gave off the impression of cold iciness that could cut like a knife if she decided not to like you. She felt boxed in.

Amy was sure her spinning head would clear as soon as she stepped outside. But, it didn’t clear. Drummond had the door waiting open, but she could barely see it. Amy’s world was starting to blacken. Something was terribly wrong. She started to ask Drummond to take her to an emergency room, but her muscles wouldn’t work and her mouth wouldn’t either. The last thing she saw was the closing door and her friend, Cecilia, waving on the curb.


“Mr. Delano?” asked Bobby Drummond into his cell phone.

“Is the girl on her way?” answered the mysterious man on the other end.

“Dr. Brogan did her part. Where should I bring her?”

“To the Colony. There’ll be a man waiting by the Bat House entrance.”

“Very good, sir,” said Drummond.


Seth Delano turned and smiled triumphantly at Dr. Edmund Chancellor.

“We have her,” he said.

“Humpf. It remains to be seen if the Swan was right,” said the Englishman. He pulled his spectacles to the tip of his nose and fixed his straight eye over the rims and onto the Bat. He let his wandering eye rotate, knowing how much this intimidated Seth. The eye unnerved everyone. To the uninitiated it looked like a lazy eye, but as a Chameleon Temic, it meant that he could see and focus on more than the average person. He could see his enemy from one side while his other eye was busy on the other side. The glasses were just a disguise.

Dr. Chancellor was understandably skeptical. He was a scientist and, as a Chameleon, his natural need to stay hidden led him to distrust both the Swan, Zillah Hall, and his Bat employer, Seth. He was uncomfortable even being in the Colony at the Bat House at Greyfell, out in the grasses of the plains. He missed the more familiar woods of Glendower.

He knew he risked his family’s Proscription, which was the Temic version of excommunication, if they were caught even associating with Zillah or this project, but the Swan assured him that glory for Temics would come from his actions. They could hardly kick him out for that, he believed. He would be famous – honored. So, he’d put up with being shut up in a Bat Colony for the time being.

The Swan, Zillah was once the daughter of a Glendower mystic, but she was under Proscription by vote of the Synod Court for crimes committed by Zillah’s father. As a result, Zillah was unwelcomed in any Phatry, Proscribed for life. Restoration to a Phatry would only be allowed for valorous acts, and kidnapping was hardly valorous.

But, the promise of fame and glory, overrode Dr. Chancellor’s natural dislike for the mystical or Bats. He was a scientist and nothing irked him more than the mystical. He also hated being unable to hide from Zillah. A Chameleon could blend well into any environment, but she could see him, when others couldn’t, only adding to his dislike of her.

“Well, Zillah has no reason to lie to us and every reason to lie to them. After all she’s got no Phatry affiliation anymore. She says if she helps us, we can change the Temic and Solus worlds forever,” said Seth. “And she was right about Amelia even existing. She shouldn’t exist. But, she does. So, just do what I pay you for, huh? When she gets here, start testing. Drummond’s on his way with the girl now.”

“Think I’ll start with a psychological battery and then take some blood samples. I’d like to call in that CIA psychiatrist you work with,” suggested Dr. Chancellor.

“Okay. I’ll get Dr. Brogan to come in. But, I don’t expect the girl to cooperate. She’s already been drugged by the Brogans. Zillah says that she can’t know where she is or who I am for the events to unfold as she sees it. So, no matter what, you don’t tell her anything about me, Temics, or tell her where she is. You may need some persuasion to get her blood.”

“Persuasion?” the Chameleon snorted. “That’s what I’m good at. I can become very convincing, as you know.”

“Yes, I know,” said Seth.


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One


The full moon shone brightly through the thick pine trees and ferns of an ancient forest as the woman ran, her panting breath showing in the cold air. Despite the hot tears streaming down her face, she ran as silently as a doe, her soft boots making almost no noise on the leaves. She only paused occasionally behind a bush to listen to her surroundings. The dead, tortured faces of her husband and daughter welled anew in her memory every time she stopped. She had barely escaped with her own life from the attack on her village.

Suddenly, she stopped again in a small clearing and listened for the sounds of her pursuers once more. She could hear men’s voices yelling all around her in the distance. She realized she was surrounded and she would be in full view of her attackers at any moment. Death waited for her, only minutes away. She wiped the tears from her cheeks, grasped the rough bone knife by her side and looked around in wild desperation. Her heart seemed to pound through her chest and then come to a stop as she noticed a new threat – the dark silhouette of a large wolf at the edge of the clearing.

She thought, with despair, that she couldn’t possibly go on with such odds – the men with their spears in the dark and now the danger of being attacked by a wolf. At least she would go down fighting. The women of her tribe were strong. Even if she didn’t live until morning, she would meet her Grandmothers with pride and honor.

To the woman’s surprise, the silhouette of the wolf walked toward her in a casual way, as if there were no one coming from the trees around them to kill her. The woman had an unusual feeling that the wolf had been waiting for her, even expecting her. When she trotted into the moonlight of the clearing, the woman noticed that the wolf was beautiful and large for a female, with dark gray fur and bright orange eyes that shone in the gleaming starlight, and her underbelly bulged with pregnancy. The orange eyes were deep and held captive her own brown ones. They seemed to grow larger and larger until the sound of the pursuing men faded away, time stood still, and all the woman was aware of were those eyes and her own slowing heart, which began to beat in rhythm with the wolf’s.

“What do you wish for, Daughter?” said a deep, silky voice in her head. In surprise, the young woman thought that the wolf was speaking to her through those eyes. She realized with awe that the wolf was not a mortal one, but one of the Spirits.

“I wish to live long enough to avenge my husband and my daughter and defend my clan from these murderous savages. I want to be free!” said the woman, and she stood strong and proud. The wolf stepped to her side.

“You are strong and brave and I will help you if you wish.”

“You would do this? You are alone and with child!” exclaimed the woman. The wolf nudged the woman’s abdomen gently with her great nose.

“I appear to be so only because that is what you are. Alone and with child.”

The new revelation that she was pregnant left the woman momentarily dumbfounded and, for the first time tonight, she felt a glimmer of hope and joy. Her tribe and her husband’s noble blood would continue.

“But, we hunt wolves for fur and compete with them for food. Why would you wish to help me?”

“Even as you use our coats to warm yourselves, do we wolves not, in turn, take your weakest to feed our young? It is balance. But, you can choose to let us become more than just warmth. And we can go on the hunt together. It is part of the Deep Magic.” The wolf rose up on her back legs and placed her front paws on the woman’s shoulders. The woman was surprised to find that she could still stand. The wolf spirit was weightless.

“In exchange for helping you…will you and your sons and daughters honor the Wolf as your companion from now until the end of time?” asked the spirit.

“I will join with you, Noble Mother. I am humbled by your offer,” she replied. A sudden crash from the trees brought the woman out of her trance and she was again aware of the enemy growing closer. The battle cries were now almost to the clearing and her heart returned to its frantic rhythm, only now with the awareness that she must save her unborn child.

“I fear that we are out of time! Their spears are almost upon us!” said the woman, urgently. The wolf dropped down to all fours and her deep growl seemed to make the leaves shake on their branches.

“Let us now fight together, Sister, and may the Tribes never forget the Deep Magic and join with animal spirits. May your sons and daughters forever honor this bond!” The wolf ran to the edge of the tree line, and then, gaining momentum, ran back towards the woman and jumped at her as if to attack.

What the savages saw as they approached their target was a young woman and a wolf merge into one. As the wolf-woman turned to face them, the spirit’s orange eyes stared savagely from out of a human face, and she howled with a supernatural force that shook the leaves in the clearing. With the speed of the Wolf, the woman ran toward her would-be attackers like an animal goddess on the hunt, her long, now dark grey, hair flying behind her. She let out another battle cry as her two legs became four and her bone knife was discarded in favor of claws.

The savages fled in terror. They returned to their homeland, where the tales they told became campfire legends of demon people who could turn into animals. For a long time afterwards the Tribes lived in peace, free of enemies. The woman’s tribe became the Wolf Clan and honored the animal spirits for generations after.

***********

Lois awoke feeling energetic, like the wolf woman in her dream. Again. That was the third time this month. Weren’t recurring dreams supposed to tell you something? It took a minute to shake off the residual tingling wolf-ish sensation in her skin and realize that it was Saturday. She yawned and looked out the window, thinking about what she wanted to do. Maybe she would go grocery shopping. There was always that gym she could try. She intended to go. It was always on her to-do list, but somehow she just never seemed to make it. Maybe today she would.

Lois got out of bed, slid into her slippers and went into the kitchen. It was eight o’clock and the energy Lois had from chasing painted tribesmen in her dream was fading away fast, like the stars hours before. What she would give to keep even half of a quarter of that power surge she woke up with. She turned on the small kitchen TV and started her coffee to the sound of a news story about an unusual number of bat infestations in the city. Lois scoffed, reached into the refrigerator for the milk, and muttered, “Okay…” to herself. Why didn’t the news ever seem to show anything that actually counted as newsworthy? Wasn’t there a crime somewhere or a crooked politician they could interview?

She took the cereal from the top shelf of the pantry. Raisin Bran was her daughter’s favorite. Lois sighed heavily, shaking off the urge to call Amy. Eight in the morning was too early to call. Amy was probably either in class or sleeping off the night before. Besides, Amy wouldn’t want to talk. The conversation would just be filled with awkward reports about what was going on in each others’ lives and it would be ripe with uncomfortable, accusatory silences. If they tried to talk about anything real, they would yell until one hung up on the other. But, it had been months. The urge won.

Lois picked up the phone and dialed.

“Hello?” asked a young woman asked sleepily on the other end.

“Hey, it’s me,” said Lois. She paced and bit her nails through the awkward silence that followed.

“Hi,” said the other voice, suddenly stony.

“How are you?” Lois ventured.

“Fine,” countered Amy.

“I just thought I’d call. How’s school going?”

“Fine.”

“Okay, well, maybe I can drive up one day for dinner?” Lois offered. Another awkward silence.

“Why?”

“Well, we haven’t seen each other or spoken in forever, Amelia Sloane, and I want to see you. You’re my daughter and I want to see you. Why shouldn’t I?” Lois said, defensively.

“I’m just so busy, you know. With classes,” Amy said.

“You never want to me to visit. I think you might be hiding something” said Lois.

“Really, Mom? Why is everything the worst possible thing with you, huh?” Amy’s voice was rising. “I’m just busy!”

“Because you never want to talk, that’s why!” Lois said, her own voice getting louder.

“Maybe because you’re bitter. You don’t like me and you don’t approve of anything I do. So why now? I don’t want to see you because all you’re going to do is point out all my faults, make bitter excuses about your life, and then tell me I’m just like my dead-beat father. So, let’s get it over with right now, and then you won’t have to waste the gas money just to tell me in person!”

Lois’ temper rose to match her daughter’s, “You can’t just try to do this, can you? I’m the only one trying here! But you get uncomfortable, and you just run away. Your father -”

“– See?” Amy yelled, “This is what I mean! It’s my fault and I’m just like my dad. See ya, Mother.”

Click.

Lois hated herself. Her gut was boiling with the familiar anger and despair she felt after every phone call with her daughter. She wiped tears from her eyes with the back of her hand and reached into the cabinet for a coffee cup. Lois didn’t understand why her relationship with Amy was that bad. She’d never hurt her daughter or left her. Her father had already covered that. Lois, on the other hand, had given her everything she ever needed…worked three jobs, even! She was the only one Amy had ever needed to count on. They never needed anybody else. They were a team…her and Amy against the world.

And then… it was different. Lois couldn’t put her finger on it, but when teenage rebellion came, they hit a slope and just kept sliding. In no time at all, it wasn’t her and Amy against the world anymore. It was just Lois against the world. And Amy had joined the world.

The morning’s phone call ruined Lois’ positive outlook for the day, so she dropped the gym idea (for the millionth time) and did what she always did when she felt depressed. She alternated the next several hours between bad television and sleep. Another Saturday gone. The next morning, there would always be St. Francis de Sales.

Church was the only thing Lois still really looked forward to. It certainly wasn’t her boring, less than fufilling cubicle job at the phone company. She loved singing in the choir at St. Francis. The way the sound carried, bouncing and echoing majestically off the marble soothed her. It was her meditation. The sound of her voice in harmony with others took her away from her memories and she could forget she was Lois for a couple of hours. She wasn’t even Catholic, but she never told anyone because she was afraid to be kicked out of the choir. She still attended every week because her need for peace outweighed her fear of rejection.

**********

For every beast of the forest is mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is mine.” Old Father Palmer’s melodious Irish lilt reverberated across the vast marble nave of St. Francis. He continued, “This idea, from Psalms 50:10-11, for the folks who want to look it up, reminds us that God is the Great Mover and all things cannot operate apart from the will of God.”

Lois blinked at the pulpit in surprise. She had been lost in thought, unaware of the priest’s magnificent voice, until she had the uncanny impression he was talking only to her. She looked into his stern eyes as they fell directly on her and she felt the little hairs on the back of her neck as his eyes seemed to deepen. Her face felt as hot as if she’d been caught passing notes in class. Movement grabbed her attention and as she saw Ramona coming down the aisle on her right, Father Palmer’s voice receded back to its normal state. She waved at her friend, quickly forgetting the creepy moment. Lois shifted her belongings for her choir partner to sit down.

Ramona Charles was a very stylish woman. Lois thought of her as a kind of New Age hippie that forgot she left her twenties behind several years ago. Ramona was easy with kids and adults alike and was the sort of person you could hang out with over wine at home in your pj’s, watching Rainbow Brite cartoons with nostalgia. She had a great sense of humor and a cheery disposition that reminded Lois of the “sidekick best friend” role in romantic comedies. She generally seemed to have no faults at all and never said anything bad about anyone, that Lois could remember. Lois wished she could afford to be that relaxed. She probably never had a bad day her entire life, Lois thought. Ramona tossed her long, brown perfectly wavy hair and moved her homemade, woven purse off her shoulder so she could sit.

“Sermon running behind again? This new one loves to hear himself lecture. Ain’t that just like a monkey with a capital M?”, whispered Ramona as Lois took her seat. Lois nodded in amusement. She bypassed the monkey comment. Her singing buddy always had a strange way of seeing the world. “I like it when he talks, though. He has a nice voice…guess that’s necessary in his line of work, too”, Ramona noted, generously. Lois smiled and shook her head. Ramona just couldn’t stop herself from seeing every glass as half full! And probably with some kind of algae juice or free range coffee, or whatever it is that hippies drink. The priest at the pulpit was very passionate about what he was saying, and as Lois shifted around, pulling her own not-so-perfect mud brown hair out of her eyes and shimmying out of her purse and sweater to get comfortable, she suddenly found the priest looking directly at her again.

As Romans 8:21 says, ‘Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Therefore, my friends, let us remember that all of God’s creation deserves the love of the Lord and the compassion of humans. For if they travel together, their fate must also be together in the Lord. In Revelation 5:8 the Bible says that “all creatures recognize Jesus as the savior of the world and praise God right along with redeemed men.”

Lois got a sudden unexplainable chill. She turned to Ramona because she found she couldn’t look at the priest. But, Ramona was staring at him, hanging on his every word as if she could personally attest to his statement. Only a bucket of movie popcorn would have completed the picture.

“Oh, my god. That is so beautiful!” whispered Ramona, “What’s the matter, Lois?”

“Nothing. It’s just that he’s been looking directly at me and it’s making me uncomfortable. It’s almost like he is talking to me as if I’m the only one in here.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about it, sweetie. You know how it is with priests. It’s a Monkey authority thing!”

“Why do you always call him a monkey?” asked Lois.

“Because he is a typical Monkey…chatterbox!” was the reply. Ramona said it as if Lois had asked a question with an obvious answer like what color the sky was. Lois chose to drop the subject.

“Ramona, he’s the priest. That’s sort of his job. It’s almost over, anyway,” she said, ” So, how’s the booth coming?” Ramona sold her hand-woven goods both online and at a market out at the river, at Glendower Lodge.

“Oh, thanks for asking! You’re so sweet. It’s going great…this is the season for the warm and comfy, isn’t it? So everyone’s buying! My looms are smokin’ right now! Reminds me…” she said. She pulled out a package. “I have something for you. I woke up this morning and my very first though was that you might want one soon.”

“Oh, I don’t want to buy anything, Ramona…” Lois said, awkwardly.

“Like I would try to sell something to you in a church! I know full well you wouldn’t buy one for yourself, even if it only cost a dollar. I tried every sales trick I know on you for months after we met. You’re a hard sell. No, honey… I’m giving it to you.”

“Um…really? I was your first thought this morning?” Lois mumbled sarcastically. She would have sworn Ramona’s nights were way more romantic than her own. Lois pulled open the string on the brown paper packaging, and marveled at the craftsmanship of her own new brightly colored, loom-woven, oversized travel bag. It was true craftsmanship, even if the colors were a bit loud and the bag was too big for her tastes. She did like the charm on the zipper. It was like a pewter coin with a wolf on it. Her friend was definitely talented with a loom, even if she had the style sense of a circus clown.

“Thanks, Ramona! It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, but why would I need a bag soon? You know I don’t ever go anywhere.” It was true. The last time Lois passed the boundaries of the city was long before Amy was born, when her own mother went with her to the Grand Canyon. That was over twenty years ago. Lois didn’t even think she owned luggage anymore.

“Well, ya never know, do ya? Maybe you’ll come visit out at the Glendower Market one weekend and have enough purchases to fill up that bag!” she said with a wink, “I don’t know why I thought of you this morning, I just trust where the water takes me!” Another one of Ramona’s cryptic statements. Lois just shrugged and shook her head. She put her new bag away. Choir was starting.

**********

The silver moon hung in the heavens in a blanket of clouds. The cool wind rustled her grey fur as she wove a path through the deep forest. She turned her black nose to the moon to discern a scent. The scent of fear and worry. The scent of Magic and Spirit. And of urgency. The other wolves turned to her expectantly. They could sense it, too. The time had come.

**********

The ringing phone jolted Lois out of her dream. She looked at the clock by her bed. Who would be calling her at three A.M.? She felt around the bed for her phone in a sleepy haze and then gave the caller a half-audible mumble.

“Mom?” the voice on the other end said. Amy’s voice was hard to hear for the static, almost as if she was out of range. Lois was as awake as if someone had poured ice cold water down her back. Her stomach twisted.

“Amy?” she asked, “What’s wrong? Speak up, I can barely hear you.”

“Mom, I’m so scared. I’m sorry. I just don’t know who else to call!” Amy was crying in whispers, frightened, into the phone. The phone static was getting worse and Amy was breaking up.

“Honey, I can hardly understand what you’re saying… hang up with me and call the police, whatever it is! Are you in your dorm?” Lois was straining hard to hear.

“I can’t, Mom! I don’t know where I am…It’s so dark. So cold. Some kind of cave, I think. My phone’s almost dead and there’s almost no signal! Where am I supposed to tell the police to go?”

Lois tried to be the voice of reason. She yelled into the phone in a typical human futile attempt to be understood over the static.

“Okay. Honey, I don’t know where you are either. Amy? Are you there?”

“I don’t know if you can hear me, Mom, but I’m so scared and I want to come home! Can I come home?” Amy stopped as she was wracked with sobs.

“Amy, honey…it’s okay! It’s okay! Try to find something…anything that will tell me where you are!” Lois yelled, and then she realized that Amy couldn’t hear her and was talking out of hope and desperation that her mother could at least hear her.

I just needed to call someone and I’m sorry. And the last person I was with was Cissie’s…oh, my God. Mom!” Amy’s voice had changed from static whispering to static screaming, “Mommy!” The screaming receded and the phone made a loud noise. Had Amy dropped it?

“Amy! Oh, my God, Amelia! Who? Who is Cissie? Cissie’s what? Who’s there now? I’m coming for you!” Lois yelled at her phone, in hopes her daughter could still hear. But, the phone was silent. What was happening to Amy? Where was she? Lois paced her bedroom, unable to think. Her brain refused to process what just happened. How could she help? She didn’t know Amy’s habits, her friends, or her usual haunts. Why had Amy called her instead of a friend that was likely to know where she was?

**********

Lois left the police station fuming, still panicking. After endless recounting of events and paperwork, she was left with only promises to investigate and an instruction to go home and call if she thought of anything. Her rational mind knew the police couldn’t work faster than that and it wasn’t their fault she didn’t know anything about her own daughter besides her phone number and school name, and the name Cissie. Lois wasn’t even sure what Amy’s major was. But she wasn’t feeling very rational.

Guilt. Endless guilt. Guilt that she didn’t do more as a mother. And fear. Fear that she would never see her daughter again, and that it would be all her own fault. The anguish ripped at Lois’ soul like claws through flesh, so sharp that her stomach hurt. Unable to go home and told not to go to the dorm until the police had searched for evidence, she found herself on the steps of the one place she found comforting.

St. Francis de Sales. Why was she there? She made it into the back end of the pews before the empty church, devoid of the usual comforting sounds of the choir and congregation, made her feel lonelier than ever. She decided to go. This was stupid. She needed to go home and do as the police told her and try not to worry. They knew what they were doing. It was their job. She turned back towards the massive doors to the outside world.

“Lois Sloane, isn’t it?” a familiar Irish accent asked from behind. Lois turned back around quickly.

“Sorry, Father Palmer. I was just leaving,” she said quickly and turned to go.

“Why should ya be sorry?” the old priest asked with concern, walking toward her as fast as his cane would let him. The pain was evident to him through her tear stained face and strained, trembling voice. “Come, Lois, sit down with me a while!” He put his arm around her and led her to the nearest pew. “Now what could be troublin’ ya?”

“My daughter, Amy. She’s away at college, but she called me last night, in trouble. Something happened to her while we were on the phone and I don’t know where she is. She’s missing! Father, she could be hurt. She was scared and alone. The police are supposed to be getting back to me. I can’t go to work, or home. I’m so restless. I don’t actually know why I came here…so embarrassing,” Lois sobbed.

“Oh, now there, Lass,” said the priest. “It’ll be workin’ out at the end, you’ll see. And ya came to the right place. Firstly, there’s no better comfort in a crisis than our Lord God. Nothin’ embarrassing about comin’ to a church for help, is there? And secondly, this is a place ya always come to get away from it all, eh? Although, I am surprised to see ya outside o’ choir practice and on a Monday mornin’. You only come to church for the singin’.” She looked at him in shock.

“Yes, dearie. I know ya’ not Catholic,” he said with a chuckle and patted her knee.

“But, you never kicked me out?” Lois asked, wiping her nose.

“Why would anyone who calls themselves a servant of the Light do anythin’ o’ the sort? All are welcome in the house of God,” he said. “Any man or woman claimin’ to be of God kicks ya out, and ya better be runnin’ right quick anyways!”

“Father, what do I do? I mean, it’s great to have a talk, but it doesn’t help Amy. I can’t just sit and wait.”

“And ya shouldn’t wait. My advice is this: go find her. Start somewhere. Start with what ya do know. You know where she lays her head at night?” Lois nodded. Not really, but she was too embarrassed to admit to another person that she didn’t know where her daughter’s bed was.

“Good, then that’s a start, isn’t it? Get your friends and start lookin’. You’ll never know what you may find, the people and the circumstances the Light will bring into your life, the lessons you will learn. You also don’t know how much your friends will rally ’round ya.”

“I have no real friends,” she said disconsolately. “I’m alone and I’m so scared. And I gave up on God ages ago.”

“And ya should be scared. But, ya never learn anythin’ by hidin’ from the world. Go ‘n face it, lass. God only sends help if you accept help, and he isn’t givin’ up on you. God only patiently waits for you to decide and then to act. Remember, that tired old sayin’…God helps those who help themselves? The police only know her as another missing girl. But, to you, she’s everything. You are all that girl has in the world. And know one will care about finding her the way you will. Go get her back. And I’ll be givin’ ya step one. Find Ramona Charles.”

“Why?” Lois asked, surprised he didn’t say step one was to pray.

Why? Lois Sloane, ya don’t know the friends ya got right in front of ya! That Fish might be sellin’ her wares on the weekends, but every other day, she’s a social worker. She’ll be helpin’ ya, surely. She’ll know what you’ll be needin’ in your heart and she’ll know who to be askin’ for help! I stand by what I said. You don’t know the friends ya have and the friends you’ll be findin’, if you only open up.”

Fish? Lois wondered on her way out if that was an Irish way of talking. And if Ramona would be amused that the “monkey” thought of her as a fish…

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Back at it…

I have had a lot happen in my life and an unexpected long hiatus.  Here is my attempt to revitalize my Temic world through blogging. Temic society has never been far from my thoughts!

I am struggling with the writing process and all my characters are screaming at me because, believe me, I have no problems making them real. It’s the moving them around in chapter format that I have trouble with.

But, my adventures start again!  More to come…

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Writing is Hard Work…and I Love It!

Hello, World!

I promised myself I would get better at blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, an all things social media, but I’m bad at keeping that promise.

Because writing for Totem is WORK!

I’m on Chapter 6 now… not sure if they’re good, are going to stay in that order, or if they have plot holes that can swallow a galaxy. But, I’m proud of it.  I’ve learned a few things in the process.

1- When they say write every day, I learned that it’s only true for some people, and it’s really only just a good textbook scenario.  When I try to write every day, that’s when I get writer’s block. I learned that, if I step back for a few days, a sudden inspiration hits…usually while I’m doing something in which it would be completely inconvenient for me to write it down or put it in my phone.  Like when I’m changing a diaper, talking to a co-worker, or in the shower. After that inspiration hits, I get a flow of 2,000 words!

2- I’ve learned that characters have a definite mind of their own. I imagine this is why God might get so frustrated. I don’t even have omnipotence in my toolbox. Your creations are meant to do or say one thing, but you don’t know what they’re about to do next to counteract your hard-earned plans. Or they decide they have an addiction to energy drinks in the middle of your chapter and, suddenly, it’s what drives the next event. Yes, that happened. So, since Eddie likes energy drinks, it’s apparently going to have to be there the rest of the book. Thanks, Eddie.

3- Sometimes characters walk into your party uninvited and then refuse to leave. I have a sinister henchman that did that. But, I assume it’s within his character. Henchman don’t send RSVPs or ask to be a “plus 1” before they hurt you.

4- Sometimes a character will make you aware that they are a major character and the story’s whole premise wouldn’t make sense without them – even though they were a quirky side character to begin with. And then she ends up being the background decoration of most of the chapters. Sneaky, sneaky. But, she’s turning on to be my favorite character so far.

5- Finally, I’ve learned that when they say not to go back and rewrite until you’re done…loads of bull. I can’t help it. That’s how those black hole sized plot holes happen. I’ve had things change on me (I swear, it’s the characters doing it) in Chapter 5 that now make something in Chapter 2 irrelevant and I have to change it NOW or I’ll never keep it straight in my head. So much for “just write and go back and edit later”, right?

So, Chapter 6, and how many more to go? I’m sweating so hard I am surprised this endeavor hasn’t been a good weight loss regimen.  I also have new respect for George R. R. Martin. I know everyone wants him to get movin’ already, but I don’t have to keep up with a quarter of the people and viewpoints he has, and it’s taking me forever to get it straight! How he and J.K. Rowling ever did this without a staff of secretaries, I’ll never know. I just make my husband edit and read. That’s what he signed up for when he married me.

I really want to say that I’ll see you sometime this week or next, when I realize there’s a world out there, but trying to manage a fake world is just as hard as trying to run your real one!

So, until next time.

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What a difference some distance from writings makes…

It’s amazing.  With finishing the degree, I hadn’t touched my book (or this blog) until last week.

And in that time my book changed itself. Characters started changing on me and things feel evolved, almost as if the book’s been working behind the scenes so it didn’t waste any time while I couldn’t hang out. While I was writing heavy theoretical papers, Totem was living on while I wasn’t paying attention.

In that time, my protagonist’s daughter decided she wanted to be in her 20’s, not a teenager.  Fine with me.

A priest inserted himself in there.  He’s a Monkey Temic. Those chattering, maybe wise, tricksters….  So, now there’s a priest involved as a major character. Okay.

And then another “bad guy” joined the party, and now I feel like my head is getting beat up with two bad guys, one who’s evil and one who’s just very, very pathetic and misguided. He’s not evil, but he’s done too much evil. And is he redeemable?  Who knows?

I guess I’d better get moving before things change again.  But, if I had not taken this sabbatical from writing, would this have changed anyway? Or is it because I had time to second guess?

Who cares. At least no one messed with my favorite character. She’s still as awesome as ever!

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A Scary New Path

I’m back!

I haven’t posted in so long and I’m so happy to be able to concentrate on writing again! Well…on writing what I want to write!

I have been reading assigned books and working on academic paper after paper, leaving no room whatsoever for my fiction or blogging.

But on Saturday it will be official! I will have earned that well-deserved Master’s degree in English and I can put all my full time efforts into my short stories and blogs.  I can live and breathe Totem and its characters and back stories for as long as it takes and as much as I want to!

I turned in my last paper today.  It was 22 pages long. As I walked across campus after turning it in, I took a different route.  I guess a part of me felt sad, but another part wanted to embrace the change.  A lot is going to change now.  I have spent the last 32 years in some form of education, always beholden to deadlines and projects, grades and MLA format.  Now, I need to start the next era of life, where I am beholden to my imagination!  I can start living out of my head and transferring it to paper.

And I chose a different path because I wanted to mark the beginning of this new phase of life with a deliberate choice, unencumbered by anyone else’s expectations or needs. I walked back to my office building on my own terms.

I know that probably seems silly, but it meant a lot at that moment, to symbolically and literally take another path.

It will be a scary path.  I have been institutionalized to academia for so long, that I’m not sure what to expect in such an unstructured world.

Let’s see what happens, scary or not, and go where the world of Totem takes me!

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The Crow and The Butterfly, Part 3

Stuart’s mind had stayed consumed with thoughts of Issie all day. He halfheartedly filled an order, performed his inventory, and humored some tourists, but all he could think about was Issie.  It wasn’t really that she seemed to know he was Temic, but the coincidence of her appearing to be Korean and fixated on butterflies made him relive the memories of his past. The images of Hwa Ja and Haneul became his waking vision for the day.  The phone rang. Continue reading

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Bees and Wasps: Spiritual Evolution, Order and Productivity

I had weird dreams about bees and wasps last night. They were attacking my head.

For bees, “When we dream of bees it may be an indication that we are ready to communicate our spiritual gifts, or perhaps we should more clearly recognize the treasures that reside within us.”

For wasps, “Symbol of evolution, and control over our life circumstances. Symbol of order, organization as well as productivity and fertility.”

Animal Totems

Hmmm…that’s been a lot of my life lately. I’ve been thinking a lot about my health troubles, writing, the spiritual nature of what I’m writing, and the idea that you control your experience in all areas of your life. Literally everything.  Thanks, Spirit Science.

Spirit Science: The Secrets of how to Manifest Anything

I guess attacking my face is one way to get my attention. So glad it was just a dream, because I feel like those creatures would have given their little lives to send me that message if it was real.

Ugh…shivers. I don’t do wasps. All I can say is they’d better stay spiritual…

In other news, if you’ve been following The Crow and The Butterfly, please look forward to the final installment next week!

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Thailand’s an Inspiration in a World of Depression and Political Correctness

Hello all!

I know this is not Temic in nature.  Sorry! But, every once in a while something might hit me like a brick and then I just HAVE to share it.  I saw a video today that opened a can of worms, so here you go:

Our country is bombarded with depressing and horrific news media and our fantasy is covered in zombies, vampires, and the post-apocalyptic dystopia.

Even our news is about the worst things we can find and, if it’s not bad enough, it’s written to appear worse. Or even titled to appear positive, only to bring you to something unexpectedly depressing.

All of our “empowering” commercials are bombarded with criticism to the company that puts them out.  We have to try so hard to be PC. Being nice or diverse or just plain not sexist or racist has become PC. The country “slams” every move advertisers, celebrities, and companies make. If you’re not on board with whatever fad we’re on now, you get slammed. Your company loses business.

I’m not sure it’s possible anymore to get it right. For example, a commercial that advocates that natural female bodies are beautiful to combat the unhealthy skinny trend, and uses a diverse group of women, gets bashed because the African-American lady wasn’t black enough.  Really? People just can’t be pleased. Are we supposed to not notice people’s skin color in some settings, like in careers, acting,  and other things, but absolutely concentrate on noticing it for other things?  We have to notice skin color to make it appear like we don’t notice skin color?

How is anyone supposed to get that right? Weren’t we supposed to just be selling soap here?

How are we supposed to be naturally good, kind, diverse, non-racist people as a country if we have to keep putting on a fake front that we are? Just be good and kind. Simple as the man in this video does it.

If you read forums, even on supposedly positive pages, commenters’ first reaction is often to either not believe the story or possibly find the worst thing about it to comment on. Or somehow twist a cute kid video or a heart-warming graduation speech about life possibilities into a rant about Obama and how his Nazi Muslim far left baby-killing views are ruining the world because he’s the Anti-Christ.  Right. Because extremist beliefs have anything whatsoever to do with a four man rescue of a horse?

Even this video wasn’t immune to negativity.  I read one comment that took everything beautiful he was doing and still brought the topic back to money. He had to do all this with money. He was only generous because of money. And I beg to differ.  Pulling an old woman’s cart up on a curb had nothing to do with money and neither does watering a plant. Honestly, did the commenter watch the video at all? Why do people like that bother watching at all if what they want is to find the “gotcha” part of why this video can’t possibly be good?

Yes, he used money. He bought his own lunch and dipped into his wallet for bananas and to give to a little beggar girl several times. But, he shared his lunch with a dog. Does that only matter if it was free lunch? Does using money somehow diminish his kindness?

You use what you have.  You turn something that does cause trouble all over the world and you do differently with it. You do good.  While others are hoarding their money, talking about money, and concentrating on judging others about money, this commercial advocates that the feelings you get out of doing wonderful things with your money is more powerful and rewarding than being rich or buying things. You even see the guy hesitate about how much he has in his wallet and decides to do the right thing because he was faced with a choice. And, as I tell my kids, if you’re faced with a choice, always do the least selfish thing.

He had the money to give. But, not really. Look at the state of the man’s apartment in the video. He definitely could have used his money. But, other creatures were more important. And he didn’t just help with money. He conscientiously thought about others everyday. Plants, animals, and people and whatever it is that made them better. It might be money, but maybe it’s just a warm meal, some water, help every morning or just a nice gesture to you because I want you to know that I know you’re here and I also happen to know you like bananas.

If we want people to change or America to concentrate its efforts on uniting people instead of fighting each other on every detail…if we want to make it not only permissible, but expected, that we build a culture of service to others, we can change our country and our planets with simple acts like this, no matter who you are.

It’s the intentions that count.

Five Ads That Prove Thai Life Insurance Commercials Are The Saddest Commercials Ever | Junkee.

 

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