Necessary

NECESSARY

I think I’ll write a poem that speaks epic truth, tonight
It doesn’t matter if you tend to lean left or lean right
Politics aren’t helping us, the gap is greater in-between
We need to stop fixating on whose King or who is Queen

We need to shift the focus to what matters, that’s for real
We need to stop the spinning and start breaking culture’s wheel
Martin wasn’t joking when he wrote that brilliant line
The story’s great, sure, but a grander message lies behind

Nothing’s stronger than a thread that’s woven one and all
But if you try to weave it on your own you’ll sadly fall
History has proven this, it’s not news to anyone
The ink in this here pen I wield weighs more than your big gun

Every life we live is shaped by minds that can run free
And if we came together just imagine what could be
Forgiveness, empathy, this is what we need
And we ever grasp these things our whole planet will be freed

Fire doesn’t put out fire, its ego you should bury
Someone had to say it, right? These words are necessary.

Support

It’s so funny

To me, at least

Each time I see

A friend succeed

As others shout

He’s a sell out!

In a negative outburst

Real friends agree

And true family

Support you, see

Help climb that tree

They do not doubt

What you’re about

They help you charge headfirst

It’s easy to see

The irony

For if you feed

In jealously

As people go

I’ll let you know

My friend, you are the worst

Toe in the Water 

It looks so cold 

This water, bold

As evening reaches crest 

And yet I know

Aft icy blow

The warmth will be abreast 

Is it so hard?

Why do I guard?

No logic can be found 

Just jump right in

But wait! I grin 

I will! The next time round

I promise, then

I’ll dive right in

I know the shock is short

Okay, let’s go!

Hang on! Go slow

No wait, I must abort

I must prepare 

And get some air

For easy, it is not

To take the leap

It looks so steep 

One chance is all you’ve got

This life’s not long

So sing your song

Leave worry in the past

For when you’re old 

You’ll wish you’d told

Yourself to have a blast 

Don’t be the one

To miss the fun

Make every second count

As fortune faves

The bold in waves 

The risk worth all amount 

Your life is yours 

Not boring chores

This, please understand 

It starts with you

That water, blue

Don’t waste away in sand

Just take a toe

And dip it slow 

The cold will soon feel hotter 

The time is here

No more “next year”

It starts with toe in water

Monster in a Mansion

As we sit here, looking

Across the plains, the sea

One looks at the other

And the other looks at me

He says “Hey,

My goodness gracious,

That lady needs a room”

She says “I know,

She surely needs one

This weathers looking gloom”

And as I sit observing

The clouds, they start to rain

The lady pulls her pockets

Naught a penny to her name

Frowning, I sadly watch her

How helpless she must be

To try and find a shelter

That will take her in for free

Then my dreary gaze shifts

To the hill beyond the tree

As the Monster in the Mansion

Stands on his balcony

As he looks upon her

She says “I’ll give you all I’ve got

Please save me from this weather

I ask not for a lot”

Laughing, loudly scoffing

The Monster tilts its head

“Why give my hard earned money?

You should get a job, instead”

Ironically, I’m thinking

As this lady begs and crawls

That the Monster made his fortune

Off of peasants, so he calls

I sigh and cry, just watching

This Monster; not a care

And realize how disheartening

That this life is so unfair

Mission

The focus settles, nestles in

I sit here waiting, lights are dim 

And though I know what must be done 

I always feel that loaded gun 

The push to work, this call to act

For naught fulfills a ghost’s contract

Forever now, forever then,

Armed with paper, bladed pen

No fear of future, charge ahead

No time for doubt, remorse or dread

The task is clear, the goal I know

As light fights through this dark window

Two years have passed, as I attest

Since fire sparked, ignited quest  

To do the things that needed done

To tell the Lord – Thy Kingdom come.

How the World Should Work

For far too long I’ve waited

And put off this vital task

No more shall I lay dormant

It’s time to shed this timid mask

The road ahead, its daunting

Just where does one begin?

It matters not, get started 

As complacency’s a sin

The goal is set, if only

Our path was just as clear

Uncertainty’s foreboding 

We must march ahead, no fear 

The battle may be bloody

Perhaps some won’t survive

But die for cause, so noble

And keep your memory, alive

From deepest soul, I mean this

To all who read this text 

This is not to entertain you

It’s to usher in what’s next 

Earth needs our help, its falling 

While its evil casts a smirk

But mark these words, we’ll change it

We’ll show them How the World Should Work

Go…

My head’s above the water

That drowning feeling, gone

A year point five has passed

The dark before the dawn

I know its up to me now,

To act, to make her proud

No longer shall I question

Why the pain was ere allowed

Instead my eyes shall focus

On this path that’s clear ahead

And journey down the trail

Where nary a foot hath tread

For loss lasts but a moment

The shock, the pain it sends

Yet those we loved would tell us

To heal and make amends

What words would ‘scape her lips?

Is there encouragement today?

I know she’d want me happy

I know just what she’d say

Go! Be the one we spoke of

Go! Live the life you dreamed

For one day all shall gather

Our love, will be redeemed

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wall

I think its time

For far too long

Neglect I have

This useful blog

 

A journal it is

Its purpose, clear

Therapist, counselor

My shelter from fear

 

For only this place

Can I share the “real”

And only here

Can I truly feel

 

For when I walk

Outside this door

The world shall greet me

That endless bore

 

For reasons unknown

Sad truth will befall

That fake is the norm

Currency for all

 

One day it will change

One day this won’t be

A time will arrive

When I can be “me”

 

And you can be “you”

Coalesce shall we all

But ’till that day comes

Get back…to the wall

 

 

 

 

 

Love Life

I bet you’re all like me

And you really couldn’t care

About the fame and fortune

You just wish that life was fair
So one day I decided

To quit The System, Inc.

And go off all alone

So I could ponder and could think
I learned a lot about me

‘Twas so much I didn’t know

If you truly want to know “you”

Just get up and leave the “show”
Regret shall never taunt me

My purpose fine’ly found

Contribute to this world

Spreading smiles all around

No longer can I sit here

Watching terrifying news

Somebody’s got to fix it

There’s don’ts and then there’s do’s
So that’s the basic story

How my writing came to be

One day I hope this changes

And our lives are truly free
Arduous it may be

This road I have ahead

Surrender’s not an option

I’ll fight until I’m dead
So many people ask me

Who cares? Why do you fight?

My answer, friend, is simple

My mother raised me right
We all know that we struggle

There’s no point in hiding so

Just embrace collective hardship

And all the stress, let go
Be happy. Love. Remember,

Our time on Earth goes fast

So make it worth your while

And create an epic past

Another Awesome Day @ the Cube

Phew. Well, today freakin’ ruled!

Days like today are the best – those one of a million types that you look back on as you nestle into bed and think “dang…I wish they could all be like that.”

BEHOLD!! The Cube.

They’re the kind that make you really appreciate this ball of chaos on which we occupy. The ones that make you forget the stresses and obligations of daily living and instead let you focus on the good and the great. The stuff we should actually focus on – gnome saying?

Truthfully, this was something I’ve been looking forward to since my first visit several months ago (the recap of which can be found here: Pushing Boundaries: My Day at iCube). To spare you an unnecessarily verbose description of why I was so excited, I recommend you read that post. Basically I got to spend all day screwing around with super expensive virtual reality stuff, among other toys that any nerd would die to get their hands on. Read on for the deets of today (I’ll pause so you can get caught up on the aforementioned post).

The team at iCube most certainly inspire.

The main thing that made today so much better than my first visit was the added bonus of bringing a close friend, Johnny. Incidentally, now that I think about it, he’s someone that many of my readers are already e-acquainted with (I refer to none other than infamous Johnny the Slick-Handed). So to most accurately place you into my mindset, imagine the value of attending something, anything, with a good pal. It results in a profoundly different interaction – not only for the event itself, but when also considering the small things like the hour-long conversations both to and from said event. For lack of a better description, it simply elevates the entire experience. Couple this with the fact that our tour-guide was not only a friend, but one of the most down-to-Earth, smartest people I know (Mack Lunn) and that’s just a formula for…well, fun. Rhyme not intended.

The day began with an incredible bacon-burger-filled lunch at Spanky’s, a local joint located on the campus of TN Technological Institute in good ole Cookeville, TN. Johnny, Mack, and myself were joined by two painfully beautiful she-geniuses, Tara and Brooklyn – who, I should add, also work at iCube. Evidently the place excels at hiring super-intelligent, motivated human beings; something indicative of any organization which winds up being enormously successful.

Before I forget – and this has absolutely nothing to do with anything – one thing I’d be remiss not to mention that happened during lunch: the literal tear inducing moment of sharing a short video of a poor, trapped sheep being rescued only to be accidentally tossed down a mountain. You’re probably thinking that sounds sadistic and evil, but I assure you it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. After all, I’m like…90% sure…the sheep ended up just fine (stop and watch this video immediately). Again, totally irrelevant to this post, but something I found so funny that I simply had to sprinkle in here. Blame Johnny for showing it to me on the ride up.

It gets no more immersive than stepping into virtual reality.

Anyway! Let’s get back on point. More important than TumbleSheep, lunch produced some extremely stimulating conversation – not a surprise considering the company. My favorite thing about highly intellectual environments is the conversation, which always proves to be thought-provoking and relevant. Not to mention that Spanky’s is the absolute business if you want a decent burg in Cookeville.

After lunch, Mack led us back to iCube, where I wanted Johnny to try out the same stuff I got to enjoy during my first visit. So, armed with all things VR, Mack strapped him into an Oculus Rift and let him immerse himself in the digital, virtually realistic universe we’ve all read so much about. The post I referenced earlier alludes to much of these applications/games, but one thing I want to mention that most definitely separates today from last time: FREAKIN STAR WARS!!

Sorry, let me adjust myself before my visibly aroused scribbles create an awkward environment for us both.

Who, me?  Not much…just using my LIGHT SABER! Whatchu up to?

Yes, you read that correctly. They have finally developed a game that allows us lessor humans to step into the shoes of a real life, force-slinging, saber-wielding Jedi who can block FRICKIN’ LASER BEAMS. I kid you not. So Johnny, being the guinea pig of the day, was able to enjoy this as I sat there taking pictures for this very post – silently dying a little on the inside wishing this had come out when I was younger. Kids these days get to have all the fun, right? Whatever. They can take their iPads and their fake online girlfriends and…ahem. Moving on!

After awhile of fiddling with VR, we again (for me) stepped into the craaaazy-expensive “VisBox”, which is this huge platform/dark arena where you put on some goofy goggle and walk around in a real 3-D, immersive environment. My last post described an application catered towards hospitals, where diabetic patients can waltz around in their hearts/arteries, truly visualizing what’s going on in their bodies if they don’t follow the doc’s instructions. Again, Johnny was the “player”. We also showed him the other applications that the Vis Box offers, such as a super cool app where you can walk around the old Quake video game’s map. You know the one I’m talking about – that old FPS game where we all learned to shoot people. Not this sissy COD junk that the nerds of today are used to. In any case, I imagine the Vis Box is always one of iCube’s crown jewels that has a lot of impact and wow-value for the folks who aren’t familiar with their work.

Where the magic happens.

After the VB, Mack took us through the studio, showing us where the (seemingly literal) magic happens. Imagine a video game studio, but sprinkled with students, Oculus Rift headsets, and a bunch of dry-erase board with hieroglyphics…only the hieroglyphics are actually just stuff that English-speaking people who are smarter than me understand and not actually a foreign language.

If you understand this, stop reading this and go design some stuff.

Following the studio, the final part of our tour began, which was a quick look at the things they do in terms of 3D printing. This time, unlike my last, there was actually one printer that was actively printing something. This was really cool to see, since earlier I didn’t have the chance to see something manifest out of what seemed like thin air (these things are nuts if you haven’t watched videos or anything on them). In fact, the sheer thought of “printing” objects still sort of boggles my mind, but alas – that is literally the world we now live in. Get used to it, I suppose.

Since we mentioned light sabers and all…

All in all, I’ll wrap up with by reiterating how much I appreciate Mack and days like today. Many thanks to all the folks at iCube for creating such an inexplicably incredible venture that I eagerly hope to read about as time moves forward. I genuinely expect some revolutionary things coming from them and theirs in the future.

A future which, as iCube clearly indicates, is blindingly approaching with lightning-fast swiftness.

Thanks again Mack!!!! You da man.

For more information on iCube and the amazing work they do, please visit their website at http://www.ttuicube.com/

The Meaning of Life

There are times that we quit

We wrestle, and fit

As we call our hard lives but a strife

We get caught in the past

Or get told we won’t last 

And we wish for a bullet or knife 

My friends, let it go

Just take this life slow

Remember one thing, most of all

Our time here is short

The sole thing of import 

To get up, if ever you fall

This rule isn’t hard

Your heart, it will guard 

As it shines a bright light in the dark

Your friends will, at length 

Take notice, this strength

And they’ll join you as journeys embark

You’ll go a long way 

As you smile and play

It rubs off, as others will too

This shouldn’t sound strange 

As we all know that change

Will happen, when starting with you

Mr. Puggle Fish

Quietly swimming, all alone

Through a sea of madness and blue

A tiny creature sighs to itself

And wishes it’s dreams would come true
“What’s wrong?” You might ask

“What makes this fish sad?”

“Oh why does this creature feel blue?”

It’s simple, my friend

This fish is alone

Just one, out looking for two
Struggling, searching, with tears in its eyes

The creature has only one wish

To someday be whole, to one day be loved

To find it a Miss Puggle Fish
“How sad!” You will say

“This cannot be so!”

“We must find a two to his one”

You’re right, I would add

So what do we do?

Oh what can be did or be done?
Well while he was swimming, just darting about

Our Puggle swam into a girl

Who stopped on the spot, and lovingly thought

“He’s cute, let’s give him a whirl”
“At last!” We all cheer

The fish has found love

He’s filled that small void in his soul

Alas, all my friends

This Puggle Fish tale

Illuminates life’s greatest goal

Life Flitters By

But Mom! 

Says the little girl, pouting about 

To the woman, 

Who feels left than thirteen

‘Twas Tom!

The girl cries, as she wrestles and shouts

Pulling hair 

As she’s acting so mean

Have I grown?

Asks the mother, all riddled and scared

To herself,

For yesterday seems

Like she was 

Just the poor little girl in this poem 

Who’s pulling 

Her hair while she screams. 

On the Eve: 10

Queen Jocasta – Sovereign Ruler of the West

Lies.

They plague our souls, causing us to act in ways of which we never believed ourselves capable. Yet we often cling to these falsities; desiring the reality we’ve fabricated over the painful truth that is life. Ignorance is bliss, they say. Perhaps there is some validity to the sentiment. But willful ignorance? There is no greater atrocity.

I have been deceived. All these years, lied to. Ulric, who, as Jordain’s Hand, was only charged with protecting the crown, came to me years ago with that crushing dispatch. News that the love of my life had been unfaithful, and intended to replace me as Queen with the Vice-Regent, Elaine. I believed him.

Last night I was greeted by an emissary who represented my former husband and King. Ulric’s journal, cataloguing his sadistic, manipulative thoughts, was presented to me. I was told Jordain has spent all these years tirelessly searching for anything to clear his name and prove his loyalty to me. After all this time, his efforts finally produced this journal. This, evil, disgusting journal that revealed everything he did was a lie.

Jordain’s actions, in light of this, have illustrated precisely the man I so fiercely loved. The sting of the irony is a dagger in my heart. He never shed his honor. He agreed to let me govern the Western lands. He conceded to my terms those many years ago, rather than waging a war that would cost the lives of thousands. And he did so knowing that my revolt was grounded in deceit. Despite his attempts to convince me otherwise, I refused to believe him. I believed Ulric’s fabricated tale of my husband’s infidelity. The enormity of my regret regarding this is inexplicable.

Tomorrow, we shall ride and face Jordain once again. My armies are not aware of the information this emissary has revealed. Tomorrow, all shall be unveiled.

On the eve of what will become a day fabled for ages, my mind is at ease.

There is no provider of solace equal to that of the unabridged truth.

Reflecting on the Greats: Drew Karpyshyn

For my second entry in this series, I’ve decided to highlight someone who has had a particular impact on me in terms of inventiveness and imagination. Many of you will likely raise an eyebrow when you see the name of this writer. Yet many of you, particularly those versed in the realm of science fiction, will nod and smile in appreciation of the writer to whom I am tipping a cap.

As so many others in my generation, my recollection of my life involves a series of great stories portrayed in the form of video games. My kin were raised to the liking of Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Crash Bandicoot, the list goes on. For me, personally, I always gravitated toward RPGs when it came to my video gaming habits. I suppose, subconsciously, I’ve always had a writer’s heart – as the story was first and foremost the thing that captivated me in my digital endeavors. Call of Duty is fun for awhile, but for me, I need a the intellectual stimulation of a well-written story to hold my attention for longer than a round or two of TDM.

It is for this reason that I’ve chosen to take a knee in honor of Mr. Karpyshyn. For any that are unfamiliar with him, he was a primary writer behind such behemoths as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur’s Gate, and (most importantly for me), the Mass Effect Series. In fact, his work on Mass Effect stemmed into several novels, elaborating on the vastly complex and beautifully-hashed-out science fiction work of art.

If you find time to look into his work, I strongly suggest you do so. The environments he achieves, the motifs that are conveyed, and the sheer quality of his writing is awe-inspiring. As a budding writer myself, I’m compelled to send my deepest appreciation for those such as him for setting such a high bar to which I can aspire.

Brock Keckler: Full Interview

Millennials Making a Difference: Brock Keckler

What is a general description and title of what you do? 

I am the Marketing Director for the Edwards Porter Group Wealth Management. We do financial planning, investment strategies, retirement, 401k plans, life insurance, and estate planning.  My job is to help my firm be the premier financial institution in Wilson County.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Helping people with their financial future. Everyone has to start somewhere and its awesome to make an impact in people’s lives.

What things do you do/have you done to benefit the community?  

I am leading the MJYP [Mt. Juliet Young Professionals]. The Edwards Porter Group is extremely involved with local networking groups and events. We are always open to helping the community in any way.

What made you decide to chair the MJYP?

Joining this firm in my hometown, I wanted to find an additional avenue to help the city. The Young Professional population is growing exponentially in MJ and I want to be someone who gets them connected within the community. MJ is a special place to me and my family, so I want to do my part to help it succeed. As the city gets bigger, this group could be best professionals group in the mid-state.

What events does the MJYP have planned for 2017?

We have speakers lined up for the entire year along with some local tours and social events to promote networking. One thing we are focusing on is getting together at all of the local restaurants for some social time to get to know people outside of the business setting. New people and new connections are the foundation to our city and we look forward to all of the events we have planned for the year!

As always, I like to find out the “why” behind the “what”. Why do you enjoy the aforementioned career choices/extracurricular activities?

I worked for several years for a big corporation and I have seen what it takes to grow a business, and having the opportunity to grow an amazing  local company, in the city I grew up in, is a dream come true. I work with lifelong friendships, to people that just moved here, and I get to share my MJ experience with them. I enjoy playing golf, Basketball in our local rec leagues, and running the trails in providence.  My wife, Michelle, and I are expecting our first son, Carson, in the Spring.  We spend a lot of time at the local events and restaurants. We look forward to raising our family in Mj and helping this community flourish.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, please check out some of my other work at How the World Should Work

On the Eve: 6

King Jordain

She knows exactly where my heart lies. Buried deep within that sheath of angst, she knows the truth.

She knows I cannot raise my blade to her. This foolhardy campaign is fueled by her insatiable desire for revenge; her misguided malfeasance. Yet reality continues to elude her. The entirety of her army’s morale rests upon the simple assertion that I, King Jordain, committed the treacherous act for which I was accused. Why choose now to invade – does she wish to reunite East with West? Her accusations, ones which she herself believed to be true, were the very catalyst that ripped these lands apart to begin with.

And now, here I sit with the watchful eye above penetrating my soul. On my honor, woman, nothing occurred between the vice-regent and myself those many years ago. This divisive plot was a meticulously crafted story by that scum of a Hand, Ulric. The same Hand who deceived her, my Queen, for all these years. Slicing his throat was the greatest gift our God could ever bestow upon me, and for that I am eternally grateful.

We will hold these lands. God willing, we will reunite.  Jocasta shall at last hear the truth.

I Want to Play a Game

I’d like to try a thought experiment.

This might be weird; but just bear with me. You’ll need to pay very close attention to the things you’re about to read. More importantly, you’ll need to truly, truly, visualize and imagine what I’m going to say.

I want you to imagine yourself plugging your ears. Sound strange? Well it shouldn’t, because if you did it right you wouldn’t be able to hear it. Your ears are plugged, remember? Step one, imagine all the sound around you is gone. 

Step two. Think of the smells you’re experiencing. Then, imagine them going away. Close your nostrils if it helps. You can no longer smell.

Three. Cut your tongue out. Not literally! But imagine it disappearing into the same realm your other senses have traveled to. You can taste no more.

Four. You no longer feel anything. Your sense of touch is gone. Poof. Out the door. No more feel.

And last. Five. If you did it right, the only thing you have left….is this. You can see. You can read the words you’re reading right this very moment.

Now – close your eyes. Nothing. You should see, hear, smell, taste, feel….nothing. You should be nothing.

Okay, experiment over! If I had to guess, you’re probably thinking I’m a freaking nutcase right now. I, however, would say no; this is a thought process that has plagued me from the first time I considered it. I really, really want to know if there’s life after death. And no, I don’t want a feelgood story to make myself sleep better at night. I want to actually consider what really happens when we die. 

The above exercise is what I think about. Why don’t I remember anything before I was born? Seriously. Doesn’t this seem sort of obvious? When I was created, I gained the ability, through biological synapses and impulses that I won’t ever understand, to perceive reality. I was given hands, eyes, a nose, tongue, and so on to then be able to process the stimuli that is the universe. 

And you know what? When I’m dead, I bet I lose that ability to sense things. I bet I go right back to the blackness that was before I was born.

Now. Please. If there exists an individual who can tell me, in any logical manner why I should think otherwise, I’m begging you to do so. Because I’m going to be one hundred percent, completely real here: that scares the shit out of me. Wanna know why I quit insurance and write now? Well, here’s why folks. It doesn’t get any more real than this. I honestly believe that when I’m dead, that’s it. I don’t get another go around. So each and every second of my life, I want to make meaningful. And the worst part about this, believe me – the part that hurts the most, is thinking about Mom. That she may not be out there anymore. And that’s why I’m so torn, because the easy thing would be to say yeah of course she’s still there and so on. I really, really, can’t stand thinking this way. 

So. In summation. If someone can give me a rational, real explanation other than “faith” or “you just have to believe” or anything, please for the love of the ironic god I’m trying to find, tell me. 

That is all.

Reflecting on the Greats: George RR Martin

I’ve decided to start a new blog series to fill idle time when writers block attacks. I plan to write short entries to pay homage to the authors/writers which I look up to and who have influenced me in one way or another. I’d like to focus mainly on particular attributes of each, highlighting the obvious as well as the subtle in an effort to outline why I think they’ve elevated above their peers.

My first tribute is going to be on an individual we all know (unless you’ve lived under a rock or haven’t turned on a television in the past five years): George RR Martin, acclaimed author and creator of the enormously popular series A Song of Ice and Fire. Better known, of course, as Game of Thrones.

As many know, Martin was a lesser known writer until GoT dominate the headlines. This is the first thing I’d like to note which warrants respect. His dedication and love for the craft allowed him to persevere through countless efforts at making himself known, finally paying off at a level very few can ever dream of. This, I believe, is an attribute so few have, and even fewer maintain throughout life. It is one that certainly warrants respect from anyone who knows how difficult it is to stand out in one of the most competitive fields one can aspire to.

The second thing I want to mention, and one which absolutely boggles my mind if I’m being honest, is the sheer complexity of his stories. I’m not talking complex plot lines here, either. This dude has got to have what I can only imagine is one of the most absurd brainstorming sessions imaginable. I don’t think you need to be a writer to understand and appreciate the level of detail he consistently achieves.

Another thing I’d like to commend for Martin actually has nothing to do with writing. As we all know, any time you rise to the apex of your career, people tend to consider more than just your work. When one garners the world’s attention, the individual is taken into account as often as their creations. Martin’s personality, in my opinion, is an appropriate for someone of his stature. He doesn’t have an overly inflated ego, he’s down to Earth, and he’s maintained a playful demeanor. Case in point – just the other day I saw a picture of him wearing a T-Shirt he had made. On it was a quote: “Be nice to me or Tyrion’s next!” Now come on…that’s pretty funny. These kinds of things make me respect him not only for his creative genius, but for his character as well – which I would argue is just as important.

I’ll stop here for now. The only negative thing I can think of in regard to Martin is the freaking wait for the next installments. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware how long these things take to outline, write, and edit – but he’s pushing it in my opinion (and that’s the consensus among his fan-base if you don’t follow him). Its to the point now where its a running joke, in fact. I suppose he’s earned the right to take as much time as he damn well pleases, though, so I digress.

In any case, that’s my general take on someone who will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the greatest writers of our time. I can only aspire to someday obtain a mere fraction of the cultural significance he’s so rightfully earned.

Here’s to you, Mr. Martin. Oh…and please don’t kill Tyrion.

Love & Loss

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Adalasia: First Entry

July, 1943. Sicily.

I hope I see him again.

It’s amazing how different things are, amidst the bombings and the shells and the shouting. A week ago I was making pies. Prepping soups upstairs in my father’s shop. My days were filled with that of cheer and joy. Now I find myself coddled in a corner, hiding in a dusty cellar.Trembling at the sound of footsteps approaching in fear that the invaders will find me.

They say this town is important for the supply lines. It seems to change hands every day, Allies by morning and Axis by night. I don’t know how to keep up.  The only knowledge of whats going on in the world is obtained through my inquiries during the requests handed to me by whoever happens to be occupying us on a given day. Today it is the Germans. They want rations, which we are able to supply as one of the only bakeries on this block. Tomorrow, for all I know it will be another from the US 7th.

There was a man, yesterday, who I truly hope returns. He was unlike the others. Usually the men offer chocolate or some sort of postcard of an American actress. But this one…he approached me directly, took my hand and looked at me straight in my eyes. Without pause, he told me he was sorry for the pain around me. He told me he was sorry that there were people in this world who could cause such atrocities to happen, and that we, at that moment, were stuck in a window of helplessness. He told me that he felt the pain with me. That he understood exactly what struggle I was going through. That he regretted every time he pulled the trigger, because he knew he was taking a life. A life that was raised somewhere else. By someone else. Someone who he would never know. I could see how much it hurt him.

He told me his name was Adam. And that he would find me, if God allowed, when this was over.

Adam: First Entry

July, 1943. Sicily.

I wonder if Father is proud of me.

He always told me I would grow to accomplish great things one day. Yet here I lay, cold and cramped in a cot hardly fit for a prisoner.

When I joined the US 7th, they told us we were undertaking one of the most important missions in history. That we were putting an end to the tyranny and devasting effects of Hitler’s Nazi regime. And while I still stand behind that sentiment, I find myself conflicted.

The things I have witnessed are unimaginable. The harsh realities of war are something one can never fully comprehend until they are experienced first hand. Loving sons stricken from their families. Kind fathers called to duty to fight for a cause with which they may not even agree. Why? Why must we occupy a world which holds such little regard for love and generosity?

It pains me to consider these things. I continue to fight, because the grander cause is one I believe in. Yet a profound agony courses through me every time I take a life. It plagues my mind as I lay here, trying to sleep so I can briefly escape this world of ours. Dreams provide my only solace.

There was one glimmer of happiness today, though, in the midst of this despair. My unit overtook a small portion of Sicily, and I was ordered to obtain food from a local bakery. As I entered, I found myself enamored by the beauty of the shopkeepers daughter. I could sense her pain, as she must have stood helplessly watching as the day’s battle ensued. I held her for a moment as I introduced myself, cherishing her embrace. For a short moment, we were two strangers sharing unspoken feelings of hope and compassion. Her name was Adalasia.

I hope I see her again.

Adalasia: Second Entry

July, 1943. Sicily.

He was here again today. Adam, the handsome soldier from the US 7th. I can still see his blonde hair, the sparkle, shimmering as the setting sun’s light reflects off his golden locks. He came into the shop today and asked for bread. His unit was most hurried, as there seemed to be another objective that was being sought after. It seems they are advancing further into the city.
But we were able to speak today. He had time to engage me in conversation. At first, he teased me that my English was broken, but he then put his hands on mine and smiled, telling me my words were as beautiful as the glimmer in my eyes. He gave me a bar of chocolate, laughing as he did so, saying it was cliche.

He told me that coming to our shop was the highlight of his day, and that he would do anything he could to be assigned to this particular task. Because he wanted to see me. He wanted to experience the same feeling he had the time before, when he held me and forgot about the terror surrounding him.

It was a powerful feeling, when he stood and grasped me. It was as if he was channeling his pain into our embodiment. I felt his love.

Please return, Adam.

 

Adam: Second Entry

July, 1943. Sicily.

I can’t wait to see her again.

Adalasia. Such a beautiful name. The dry spots on her hands told me that she’s willing to take on the burden of work. The city had a food cart stocked to try and provide help to the needy, and she was the first to volunteer her service. She cares about  people, I can tell. I watch her as her eyes follow the children of her house, playing and having fun. The smile that takes over her face as she sees how happy they truly are, without a care in the world.

And then the siren rings.

The piercing tone changes everything. The kids playing on the floor scatter to the underground cellar door. A door that will lead them underground, into a dark, cramped room where these feelings of love and happiness are absent. A room that houses the same fear, desperation, and hopelessness I’ve seen in the towns before.

These people. They’re innocent. They don’t deserve this.

A day must come that changes things. Good people have no place living like this. I wish there was more I could do.

I long to see her again. Adalasia, I mean. For the first time since landing in this Hell, I have found something which can actually coax a smile out of me.

I believe I shall “accidentally” find myself around the bakery tomorrow.

Adalasia: Third Entry

August, 1943. Sicily.

He might be the greatest man I will ever know.

Adam came by today. It wasn’t to see me, though. Not this time. He said he came because the Germans were expected to attack tonight, and he knew he would be launching artillery in this area. So he came to do everything he could to barricade father’s building. Then he showed us the proper places to hide when the fighting began. We are so very thankful to have someone care for our protection.

Before he left, I walked with him outside for a goodbye kiss. He stopped me at the door, firmly holding my waist as he looked at me with that bright hair and shimmering smile. He said that he would never let harm befall me. He said he would protect me that night, no matter what. That he would make sure the bombs landed far away. He promised to direct them away from us with his shelling.

And he did. He did exactly what he promised he would do. This was the first battle that hasn’t shaken this house.

All because of this Adam…a deeper love I will never find.

Adam: Third Entry

August, 1943. Sicily.

I do not know what to think.

I cannot decide what my disposition is to these Germans. We have been taught that they are all evil. That they are all terrible, horrid people who deserve nothing more than the iron fist of American judgment.

And yet, I am conflicted. Is it true? Is this entire army of Nazis truly evil? Or does good dwell amidst their ranks? Are there good men? Men who would pick up someone when they’re down? Men who love their mothers and children with all their heart, and truly want what’s best for their families?

These questions occupy the empty space in my mind, filling it with wonder and doubt. What is the truth? How can I be expected to blindly take the life of another human being without knowing their character? I cannot find reason to make sense of this.

Adalasia. She is my only release from this madness. Her innocence. Her beauty. Her kindness. It overwhelms me with emotion. She has a hold on my heart which I fear cannot be released. The subconscious, sublime cohesiveness that we share has taught me the true meaning of love. I love her. And I will do anything to shield her from this horrific world we have created.

This war has taught me one vastly important thing. There is no greater calling than to protect the people you love.

Adalasia: Fourth Entry

August, 1943. Sicily.

I know not what to say.

My mind is clouded by constant fears of the atrocities my love is forced to endure. The perpetual horror that he may never return.

I want to join his ranks. I want to fight the Germans with him. It sounds silly for me, a mere baker’s daughter, desiring to join the fight. Yet it is so. The message must be sent, my love. Let me fight with you.

Please, Adam…I can help.

Adam: Fourth Entry

August, 1943. Sicily.

My dearest Adalasia. How I love that girl.

Yesterday, I returned to her shop. She and I have grown quite enamored with each other. It is a deep love that we share. The kind that words struggle to describe. I’ve always wondered if I would ever fall in love, as I have put great thought into the topic. I find that love takes many different forms. There is, of course, the initial, shallow love. That which we feel by instinct. Some might call it simple attraction. And then there is the grander love that most spend their entire lives searching for. The one that causes us to wed, to have children, to enjoy life, and to be happy. The one that gives you meaning.

But then…then there is an even deeper, profoundly unique love. A love found only in times such as these. A love so visceral that it transcends outward description. The only way to comprehend it would be to feel the sensation. The kind of love that manifests when a grenade is thrown into a room, and your first instinct is to jump on it. That’s when you really know you love someone.

For that is what happened today. The Germans launched a small counter-attack this afternoon to take a portion of the city, the bastards. As Adalasia and I were having lunch in the apartment above her father’s bakery, I found myself caught at the front end of their assault. Captain said no one saw it coming. None of us did.

A pair of them came into the bakery. They must have seen my helmet on the post outside and decided they would take me by surprise. I would have never seen them had she not been standing by the window. Upon hearing them ascending the stairs, I fired a few shots through the wall. I missed. The cowards threw the blasted potato masher into the room close to Adalasia as they hid behind the stairwell. The two of us looked to her feet in horror, locking eyes in a brief moment that seems now like a blur. I don’t remember what went through my head, if anything. I jumped to cover it after shoving her onto the nearby mattress, and for my eternal gratitude to God it didn’t detonate. It was as if my body wasn’t under my own control, and some mysterious force had compelled me to sacrifice myself to spare her life. We were saved by some of my squad, who were having coffee across the street. It was the most horrifying twenty-three seconds I’ve ever experienced.

I did not realize until this evening the magnitude of what that action meant. We all say we would die for love. Now, I know. My deepest consciousness sought first to protect her.

The truest, most genuine love there can be. That’s the energy I share with Adalasia.

We share an iron love forged on the anvils of war.

Adalasia: Fifth Entry

September, 1943. Sicily.

My attempts to join the fray went unheeded. Father said I was crazy for suggesting such a thing. He says the passions of a baker’s daughter aren’t strong enough for war.

Adam makes it a point to make sure the bakery is well-guarded and equipped for whatever may come through. Or whoever, I should say. The chocolate he brings is always fresh. I adore him for the little things he does for me. We took a walk yesterday, through the market square and over to the theater.There was a play taking place about the American soldiers leaving their homes to come fight the war. Adam and I stood there, motionless, watching the actors and actresses pretend to feel the pain of loss. We did not condemn them. Instead, we applauded their efforts, because we knew that they were going through the very same struggle as we. They have lost loved ones, as we all have.

The pain of losing friends. The pain of losing family. The impact of which I cannot convey. Not through mere words. It must be felt to truly understand. Why must we continue to battle? Why? Will a day without hatred, without malice, without violence ever dawn? I so deeply long for peace, and happiness.

Happiness more so than anything. Oh Adam, how much I love you.

Adam: Fifth Entry

September, 1943. Sicily.

They’re coming.

We don’t know when, but we know. The Germans are launching a massive counter offensive. We’ve been expecting this for weeks, as it’s crucial that we maintain control of the supply lines. Sicily is too valuable a target, and we should have known they would defend it to the very last man.

Our intelligence officer has intercepted a telegram that we are to be assaulted in the coming days.

My time in this war has given me so much perspective. Some of the things I’ve seen are nightmarishly horrific. Seeing the atrocious ways a human being can treat another human being when under the guise of war is the most terrifying observation I’ve had. This isn’t a world that anyone deserves. I feel the heaviest weight on my heart when I see a little girl be saved from debris, only to find her parents dead from shelling. I feel the weight of the farmers who are being forced to provide rations to the Nazis against their will.

It hurts to think about these things. I must protect Adalasia. That’s the only thing I can hold on to in this world of chaos. She gives me purpose. I love her for that. And for so much more.

Why am I fighting this war? That was a question searing in my head for the longest time. But now I know. I’m fighting this war to preserve the short glimmers of happiness that my Adalasia provides. It’s what were all fighting for.To be happy. Life…the battle that shall never end until it ends.

I love her so much.

Adalasia: Last Entry

September, 1943. Sicily.

I cannot do this.

I can’t. I’m so afraid. They’re here. The Germans. They’re retaking the city. They’ve launched an overwhelming counter offensive to regain control of Sicily. I’m so scared. I don’t know what to do. My God please help me. Please, I’m begging you. I can hear the gunshots outside. I can hear the footsteps of the German soldiers. Oh my God please don’t let them find me. God, if you’re there, please, don’t let them find me. I do not want to die. I cannot fathom parting from this world without him.

Underneath the register. Hiding. That’s where I am. Please find me Adam. Please. Make them go away. I can’t do this. This cannot be the last night I see. Adam, please help me. Where are you? Please help me. I love you, Adam. I love you more than anything.

Oh my God. They’re coming in.

Adam: Last Entry

My dearest Adalasia.

You changed the world for me. There are so many things I want to write to adequately explain how important you are. But my words would never do it justice. I found myself when I met you. You were the most important piece of my life. I love you. More than anything in this God Forsaken world, I love you.

I’m bleeding, my love. There isn’t much pain. I was shot running toward the bakery when I heard the German attack. I fear I won’t survive, Adalasia. My body rests upon a small hill of broken cobblestone. You know the hill I speak of. The one where we chased the rabbit that day, until it slyly hopped under the cover of these stones. These very stones. I suppose this is a fitting place to die, as I am reliving that day right now as I write this.

I’m dying, my love. This I know.

I beg this: whatever unfortunate soldier finds my body; please deliver this parchment to my Adalasia. She lives at the bakery, just East down the road. Please. Axis, or ally. I beg you from the depths of my soul. Give this letter to my love so she knows how much she meant to me.

She changed my life. She breathed meaning into the emptiness that for so long defined me.

Adalasia. I love you so, so much. Please don’t forget me. You are my everything, and if there is another side to this life, I will turn this universe upside down until I find you.

Remember me, my love…and find happiness. For us.