Wave Goodbye

I’m sitting at my laptop shaking. I’m in tears. I am debilitated with a sudden, horrible, all-consuming grief. I’m trying to sob quietly, because it’s almost 2:30 in the morning and Trevor has to work in the morning.

But there’s nothing quiet about this. My heart is screaming.  My mind is wailing and reeling, grasping for a reality that can’t possibly be this.

I’m sitting here, in the relative dark, sobbing my eyes out, in my Chris Cornell concert t-shirt, listening to every song the man ever had a hand in.

Because he’s gone. Chris Cornell, aged 52 (younger than my dad!) has died.

I don’t really have any more words than that. I just… I loved him so much. His music saw me through so many stages of my life. My aunt’s death, my move to Oregon, my wedding. All my favorite shirts are from his concerts. So many memories attached to this glorious, creative, and immensely talented man and his music. All my favorite karaoke songs!

So much of his music, of his art and wonder, has coiled itself up into my life and I didn’t realize it until now. Now, so many cherished moments are so, so, sad.

And I’m in disbelief. I just saw him in November! He just tweeted 8 hours ago about how excited he was to play his next show! He was so alive…

This blog is named after a lyric in Say Hello 2 Heaven! It’s tattooed on my skin!  I carry him with me, everywhere I go.

And now every single song aches…

I know that eventually, I’ll be able to listen to his music and it will help me through all these emotions, but right now every note of his voice, every guitar solo, is just pure pain. Pure Mourning. No Euphoria in it yet…

 

And then I scroll through tumblr and facebook, and I see all these people who feel the same as me. They grew up listening to his music. First Soundgarden, singing all the words to Black Hole Sun, before I could ever hope to understand them or appreciate their grace.

And then my Junior High and High School years, worshiping the funky, grungy vibes of Audioslave, to the point that I still consider them my all-time favorite band. The shirt I stole from my mom in the seventh grade is one I still wear on a weekly basis, and it shows. It’s grey, instead of black, the logo is faded and cracked, and the collar is fraying. But it’s my favorite shirt that I own.

And then my early college days, trying to connect to something I’d thought I’d lost, so I found the Temple of the Dog CD used, and played it on repeat. And then my aunt died unexpectedly and Say Hello 2 Heaven was the song that helped me through. It’s the song I named this blog from. It’s the song I have inked in my skin.

And then, my wedding. We danced to his cover of Led Zeppelin’s Thank You. It’s been one of my favorite songs, and hearing Chris perform it just brought it from the otherworldly realms of Robert Plant and gave it this humanity that just suited starting your life with your best friend.

I first saw Chris in Arizona, with my mom as a joint birthday present. It was the original Songbook tour, the one I got this shirt at, and it was this magical evening of time travel via an acoustic guitar and his voice.

Then, I saw Soundgarden in Portland the first winter I moved to Oregon. My mom flew up and we went together. And it was… mind-blowing. I danced. I sang. I screamed.  For a little while, I was certain I had transcended, especially when they played Tighter & Tighter. Hearing that song live, singing and dancing to it,  I was more than what lives in this skin. And it sounds crazy but I don’t know how else to describe how Chris Cornell at his best makes me feel.

Shadow face
Blowing smoke and talking wind
Lost my grip
Fell too far to start again
A sudden snake
Found my shape and tells the world
Remember this
Remember everything is just black
Or burning sun
And I hope it’s a sweet ride
Sleep tight for me
Sleep tight for me I’m gone
Warm and sweet
Swinging from a windows ledge
Tight and deep
One last sin before I’m dead
A sucking holy wind
Will take me from this bed tonight
And bloody wits
Another hits me and I have to say goodbye
And I hope it’s a sweet ride
Here for me tonight
‘Cause I feel I’m going
Feel I’m slowing down

And then,  just in November, we went and saw Temple of the Dog in Seattle, on their final night of their tour. It was an amazing experience, one we almost didn’t do because it was so expensive. And while I thought it was worth it on the drive home at 4 in the morning, now I KNOW it was worth it. It was the last time I’d ever hear him sing live again…

And every single song just takes on new meaning now. My world view has shifted. As ridiculous as it might seem, as much as I’m trying to tell myself to calm down, he’s “just a celebrity” I know that’s bullshit.

He’s not just a celebrity. He was Chris fucking Cornell, and he was my all time favorite artist. He was the soundtrack of my life 50% of the time. He’s on every playlist, at every karaoke jam session. He is the artist I turn to when I don’t know how to feel.

The others, I know what I’m looking for, I know what they offer. Snow Patrol is love. AFI is angst. Night Riots is a little of both. Halsey is there for a good time, but you might want to forget about it later. Linkin Park, System of a Down, Korn, they’re all there for anger.

But, Chris Cornell is there for when I’m not sure who I am at the moment. When I need some words that go beyond their purest meaning and have this symbiotic relationship with the music that surrounds them to become something more.

Even one of my favorite holidays is connected to him! Every year I try and “light a roman candle and hold it in my hand,” just in honor of that song!

Because Chris Cornell, in every iteration, has interwoven himself into the fabric of who I am. Temple of the Dog. Soundgarden. Audioslave. Chris Cornell. Forever.

I am so heartbroken. And I know that this grief is nothing in comparison to that of his family and bandmates. I know. And I know that I am not unique in my loss. It has been expressed by thousands already, and as the morning creeps up on us, more and more will know.

I guess… It’s time for me to go to bed. Or lay on the floor of my office in the dark, listening to his entire catalog until I can figure out how the hell I’m supposed to function tomorrow.

Chris Cornell

How do I say goodbye to this man in a way that can ever actually express what a HUGE impact he’s had on my life? How could I ever pay homage to someone so unarguably beautiful and talented? How do I cope with the fact that the vast majority of the music I love and live by is now dripping in tangible grief?

fell on black days.gif

I don’t think I can ever write words I will find acceptable. They don’t exist. But, until they do:

Goodbye Chris. You were my rock n’ roll soulmate. I felt like your words and your music were part of my soul. I promise, some day I will lay a dozen white roses on your grave.

Love,

The girl sobbing in her oldest Concert T-shirt, listening to your voice, no matter how much it hurts.

Wait… I Wrote How Much?

Hi guys!

I just wanted to stop by and share something pretty incredible with you.

So, remember when I said I was reading and writing a ton of fanfiction? Well, that trend continued through the month of April. I’m pretty sure I just wrote more words in a month than I ever have before.

As of 4/30/17, I wrote a total of 31,113 words. Of fanfiction. Jesus Christ. That is a TON of writing, the most I’ve ever done in so short a time. I’m simultaneously impressed and disgusted/disappointed. Why haven’t I pumped out so many words for my own original content?

Granted, fanfic is “easier” since there’s very little world-building or slogging through early character development. That’s mostly done by the time you get your hands on the content.  I mean, you should still have those things, but the amount of discovering and fleshing out are considerably less. Which is the vast majority of work I’ve been doing on From the Quorum.

So, in a way, this has been a nice exercise. One that  I have no plans of stopping anytime soon. I’ve got another 3 chapters (at least) to write for this particular story, a oneshot (i.e. short story) outlined, and then another full fic planned after that.

But, if I can keep up this pace, that means I should be able to fall back into my own original works once Mass Effect lets me go. Right? That’s what I’m telling myself, anyways.

Saturday was the release party for the third issue of The Audient Void, and it was awesome. There is some really great fiction and poetry in this issue, and the artwork is fantastic as always. The event coincided with Independent Bookstore Day, which meant there were a lot of people there who might not have attended otherwise, and there were snacks and extra special merchandise on hand.

Oh! There was also a cool marionette show, with an original play by Adam Bolivar, that was really quite entertaining!Jack o lantern

But, my favorite part of the event (aside from the customary after party) was that I thought up a new story while I was there. Just a short story, and I won’t go into details about it here, but I hope to write it this year and submit it to the A.V.

We’ll see where I’m at in a few months. If I’m still writing at the pace I am now, I have no doubt I’ll get everything done that I set out to this year, even with this detour. Remember, I planned to fall off the face of the Earth for about two months after  Andromeda came out, so I’m still on schedule.

Anyway, just wanted to share with you all that I am a writing machine these days, even if it’s just fanfic.

See you around,

 

BZ

Well, Hello There!

Hi Blogland,

Huh. It feels kind of weird to be back. I’m still not promising anything, or even pretending I’m back in any sort of routine. I’m not. I still play Mass Effect just about every day, and I’m reading (and writing) way more fanfiction than I ought to.

But, I thought about From the Quorum for the first time in a month the other day. I call that progress. I also felt a pang of guilt/longing for The Steel Armada. We’re getting there.

The whole point of this was to keep me from falling into the spiral of guilt that I normally feel when I hyper-focus on something. When I start feeling guilty for doing things that I enjoy, I tend to further procrastinate the tasks I’ve sacrificed in order to hyper-focus in the first place.

Right now, I tell myself that writing fanfiction is better than not writing at all. And since I’ve put over 6k words into this one fic just in April, I’d say that’s damn good.

Also, The Audient Void #3 is out! Get you one! Available at the Book Bin in downtown Salem, or online at their Facebook page.

My reading has seriously slowed, but a steady stream of fanfiction keeps me going. I fully intend to pick things back up sometime in May. I promise. Pinky swear. All that good stuff.

Also, I wanted to mention that I’ve applied for another full time position with the library. I know better than to assume anything at this point, but I’ve learned a lot in the last 9ish months since my last interview with the city, and I have a lot more confidence in myself than I did even four months ago. Keep your fingers crossed for me just the same, huh?

Thanks for sticking with me through this gaming fog. The fact that I’ve come up for air is promising. I look forward to talking at you all on a regular basis again soon.

 

BZ

Goals Summary wk 11

Hi all,

Gonna keep this brief. I think. I wanted to let you know that  I’ve been using the Windows laptop exclusively now for about a month. I like it. I’m acclimating, and in general it’s much more reliable than my poor, ancient Macbook. It was the right decision to transfer over.

Last week’s goals were extremely straightforward. Publish two blog posts, and write the Mass Effect Fanfic.

Well,  I didn’t publish two posts, but I wrote over 3,000 words of fic. Plus another 1500 tonight. So that’s going well. I’ve had a few views, multiple follows, and one review so far, which feels really good for only two chapters.

I just posted chapter 3 tonight, so we’ll see how that goes. If you’re interested here’s a link. However, keep in mind that this is fanfiction. It’s barely edited, and not very indicative of my original work. I own nothing in it, it is purely my imagination running wild in a world I love. It’s how I’ve coped with the waiting for Andromeda.

Which is here TOMORROW!!!!! So long world, I’ll see you again in a few weeks/months, depending on how obsessed I become with it. Therefore, I will not be setting any goals for next week, unless you count “not leaving the house until Sunday”.

Until then Blogland,

BZ

Goals Summary wk 10

Hi Blogland,

Just wanted to let you know that I am still here. If you’re following me on Goodreads, then you know that I haven’t read anything at all in the last week. All my spare time is spent researching Mass Effect Andromeda before the EA Early Access opens on Thursday, and playing The Witcher 3 to keep my hands and mind busy.

Geralt

Sorry, Geralt. It’s not you, it’s me.

I did manage to edit a chapter of The Steel Armada last week, so at least there’s that.

And I took the dog on his first hike! We went to Silver Falls State Park, and though it was packed, we had a great time. The dog definitely has a lot to learn, and we need to work on socializing him with other dogs and more people. He gets a little too excited. But, we had fun with good friends on one of the nicest days Oregon has seen in months.

Simons first hike

Just a girl and her Doggo

But, the edits and the hike were the only thing I accomplished last week. And this week I get my hands on the first 10 hours of Mass Effect Andromeda. I’m not even going to kid myself with any sort of goals.

… Although, I was challenged to write a bit of Mass Effect fanfiction. A coworker suggested that I write a piece about a Krogan pastry chef who falls in love with his Salarian coworker. If you’re not into the series, that sentence won’t mean anything to you, but it made me laugh so hard that I’m committed to writing it now. Maybe I’ll do that this week to tide me over once I’m locked out of the Early Access.

I promise, if it turns out worth a damn I’ll post it on ff.net, and link it here.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I haven’t completely forgotten you yet. But, expect that next Monday will be my last post for awhile, as I’ll be living in the Andromeda galaxy come Tuesday.

Until then, Blogland.

 

BZ

Goals Summary Wk 9

Hi All,

I’m gonna keep this brief because my mind is anywhere but here. Tomorrow is the two week mark for the Mass Effect Andromeda release. I am an anxious, impatient, salivating mess. All I can seem to to do is re-watch videos I already have memorized, listen to soundtracks and songs that are reminiscent of space, and my attention span for anything else is just non-existent.

Mass_Effect_Andromeda_cover

Even the cover has me itching to play!

It’s going to be a rough month here at the blog. Probably a rough April too.

So, last week I wanted to:

  • Write chapter 13 of From the  Quorum
    • Done! Finished it up Monday night with 2,992 word sprint.
  • Read The Six-Gun Tarot
    • Not even close. Haven’t even broken 100 pages yet, which is a shame because it’s actually REALLY good so far. Again, no attention span at all.
  • Publish 2 blog posts
    • Done! Last weeks goals post, a general “How’s the Blog Doing?” post, and the book review for The Paper Magician.
  • Continue The Steel Armada edits
    • Done! I’m either on chapter 16 or 17 now, so this area of my life is going very well.

So, last week could have been much worse, and I’m proud of the work I managed to get done.

This week I’m going to be a bit more realistic, because I know myself, and I’m hyper-focusing really hard on gaming, and Mass Effect in particular.

  • Write 1,000 words of From the Quorum
  • Read 200 pages of The Six-Gun Tarot
  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Continue The Steal  Armada edits

I’m still doubtful that I’ll read that much, but I don’t want to abandon the book. It really is good. But, in my desperation for wonderful, immersive gameplay,  I’ve finished my millionth play through of the original Mass Effect Trilogy, and have picked up The Witcher III just so I can have something to do.

Because I am suffocating without Andromeda. Suffocating. Drowning in lack of gameplay. Like, yes, I love the Dragon Age series, and I’ve played the ever-loving shit out of those games. But, not like I’ve played Mass Effect. I have Mass Effect tattoos. I’ve played the original trilogy five times. I have Mass Effect jewelry, t-shirts, hoodies, and jackets. Hell, I even have Mass Effect socks, and I’m wearing them right now! I have multiple figurines and comics and novels. I’m an avid reader of terrible Mass Effect fan fiction (Dragon Age fics too, for that matter).

This is my all time favorite gaming franchise, and today marks the 5 year anniversary of Mass Effect 3‘s release. I’ve been waiting five years for Andromeda, and now that it’s so close, I’m physically suffering without it.

So, just be prepared for my presence here to dwindle, if not die off completely in the coming months. I swear I will try my damnedest to hold myself accountable and post, but don’t be surprised if I vanish for awhile.

Until Thursday, Blogland.

 

BZ

Book Review – The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Good evening Blogland!

Sorry this is so late, but I procrastinated by talking with out of town family for hours today. Then I helped walk Trevor through some stretches before he got into his workout today. So, here I am ready to talk all about our book club meeting and The Paper Magician.

Last night the book club congregated at Taproot, our favorite local bar with healthy eats and a very laid-back atmosphere. Towards the back of thetaproot building there’s a nook I refer to as the Book  Nook, where the owner (who also was the Officiant at my wedding) put up a ton of shelves with old hardback books from library rummage sales. Coupled with the worn, comfortable couches and custom wood coffee and end tables, it’s the perfect spot to meet.

And everyone showed up! Those of you following along these last couple years know that it’s a rare meeting when everyone’s in attendance and everyone read the book. I was really excited last night.

But, I’m even more excited because everyone was really thrilled with The Paper Magician.

This is the part where  I tell you that there are spoilers ahead. You were warned.

The book is set in the late 1800s, just outside of London. Ceony Twill has just graduated from The Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, in half the time, only to have her hopes crushed. She wanted to be a Smelter, a magician who deals in metal, but instead will be a Folder- a magician bonded to Paper. Print

It’s important to note that once a magician has bonded with their element, all other forms of magic are unavailable to them

While Ceony never really reveals why she wanted to desperately to be a Smelter, she is crushed when she’s delivered to the home of Mg. Emery Thane, who is to be her mentor for the next 2-6 years.

And though he’s younger than she imagined, and attractive in a thin, nerdy way, she’s an absolute brat her first day with him. He knew that Folding was not what she wanted, and he did his damnedest to show her the wonders of Folding, all prepared before her arrival. Paper snowflakes, cut and painstakingly Folded, and then imbued with a chill all of their own. An entire garden of paper tulips, blooming in the wind. Paper birds flitting about the house, and Jonto, a paper skeleton capable of simple butler-esque tasks.

Oh! And, on the second day, after seeing her stroking a small dog collar mournfully, Thane stayed up all night to fold her a small paper dog, who she names Fennel. He’s the size of a terrier, and has all the anatomy of a dog, Folded in complicated patterns and links. That gesture made me cry pretty good.

And so Ceony starts her studies. But, just as she’s coming around to her lot in life, prepping meals and memorizing her Folds, Emery’s ex-wife shows up and rips his heart of his chest. Literally. She’s what’s known as an Excisioner, a magician who manipulates human flesh. It’s a forbidden practice, and one Ceony knows nothing pretty much nothing about.

Ceony’s quick thinking saves the Magician, but only temporarily. A paper heart, no matter how well Folded (her’s wasn’t) can only last so long. So she sets out, against the Magician Councils orders, to retrieve Emery’s heart and save his life.

Using some advanced magic left behind by Thane, Ceony is able to track Lira (the ex-wife) to a secluded cave on the coast, and there she has the  Magician’s heart in a ceremonial bowl of his own blood.

Unsure of how else to get the heart back, Ceony uses her small pistol on the woman, only to find that the Excisioner was able to manipulate her flesh into spitting the bullet out.

This woman means business. But so does Ceony, because she was starting to fall for Emery. And she refused to go home without his heart.

Lira worked some dark magic that sends Ceony into Emery Thane’s heart, and there she’s on the run, fleeing through the chambers of his still beating heart to try and escape the evil woman, as well as find a way out.

pagesofadventure_jynettetigner_oilpaint

Fanart entered in a competition, Pages of Adventure by Jynette Tigner

Ceony learns a lot about Thane as she travels through his heart. Each chamber has a different theme to the memories. Good memories, bad memories, hopes, and fears are all presented, and Ceony must maneuver through them to find a way out.

I don’t want to give too much away, because I really liked this portion of the book. What a crazy cool way to develop a character, by literally taking a stroll through his heart!

I didn’t expect to enjoy this book so much, especially since it’s so short, only 213 pages. The world building is thin, and the clubbers had some questions in that regard, same as I did. Are Magicians a public fact? How much do magicians earn? How many are there? These kinds of things. We wanted more!

But, ultimately, this story is about Ceony and Emery, and establishing the magic, which is all done very well. The book club agreed, all of them eager to read on to the next books. I already have the rest of the trilogy on the Library Book table, waiting for me to finish up with The Six-Gun Tarot.

So, I very much recommend this book. It’s whimsical, romantic, and cute, but also has some darkness to it that keeps it from being too sappy. You can tell it’s Holmberg’s first novel, but I have every confidence that things get ironed out as she continues to tell Ceony’s story. As it is, I did enjoy the dialogue and the prose very much, and I will admit that I would read aloud to myself in British accents, because I’m a nerd like that.

Don’t worry, only my dog was subjected to it. I was otherwise very much alone.

Anyway, I hope you all give The Paper Magician a shot. It was a ton of fun, and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Until next time, Blogland.

 

BZ