Why Hold Back Your Heart?

I had a friend who broke up with her boyfriend of around three years. When they first started dating she held back her fears from him, though they were many. I told her to just break up with him. It was a waste of time. As time went, it sounded like she told him more and more, like she was willing to get past the issues, and I nodded in approval and said good job. More often than not love is not so much compatibility as the willingness to communicate and work things out.

Two weeks ago she informed me she was dumping him. I blinked in mild astonishment, she informed me he hadn’t taken a single word of advice to heart (though there were countless, and I knew from the get go he would never 100% hit her mark), and she had an old flame come back into her life who did hit all the marks. Why do we always need someone better to show up before we are willing to part ways with someone who isn’t right, and often is impeding our development? But that’s another topic.

She informed me yesterday she was never comfortable enough to share everything with her ex. She always held back. This astonished because my friend is a bundle of emotional energy, and I have no idea how she contained it. People can sense that. Significant others and people in general know when there is something you are holding back. When you hold back, they become skittish and sometimes hold back, and everyone in general is put in a bad way.

People often tell me to guard my heart. I wear it on my sleeve and in most cases, unless I think it will blow over on its own accord, I air what I think or feel. Life is too short. Love is too precious. I will pick to have my heart crushed because I was too open than to lose the one I loved because I didn’t say anything.

What baffles me more is how often someone who closes up will say, “Well it wasn’t meant to work.” No. You held back and expected someone to love you when you didn’t let them know you. You didn’t let it work.

I told my friend this, and she understood. I also told her the man she’s getting back together with is simply a better fit for her anyway, as he is way more emotionally open and demanding than her ex, which is something she requires. Hopefully she will be open with this guy, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem.

As for me, I will tuck away the heart, up the sleeve, until I meet someone I’m willing to show it to. And then I’ll accidentally bleed all over them like I always do and they’ll either prove a vampire and stick around, or they’ll flee in terror. I’m okay with this. Fuels the writing either way.

One Week

A week from today I’m in Guatemala. I’m excited. Tomorrow we get blessed at service. I’m nervous about that. I don’t like going in front of large crowds.

Today I cleaned my bathroom. It was terrifying. And then I was lazy as I came down from sniffing bleach. At first I couldn’t figure out why I felt so horrible, snd suddenly I’m thinking I’ve sprayed everything in bleach. Decisions were made.

I’ve also been lazy in my writing. I just haven’t been doing it and I need to get out of that funk. I’m just really tired and depression has been taking a slight foothold. Maybe tomorrow.


A light bulb clicked Saturday. This is how I work. I do not gradually learn as information is provided. It is continuously provided, it stacks on a scale, and eventually it all just clicks and I understand. It was something I’ve been anxious about for a while, and it just all clicked. It was like God said, “This is why I wanted you to be patient, and now I’m going to slap you upside the head and it’ll all make sense.”

Not only did a light bulb click on a long standing issue, but I went to a men’s group meeting for church, and it went well. Unfortunately mostly what I could say was, “You’ll get it when you see it.” People always have all these plans, they want to tell you how to do it, but it’s like, “Bro, I’ve been on the other side of the forest. I’ve seen what we have to get through and what we are looking forward to. I just can’t tell you exactly what it is. What I can tell you is if you take my hand, it will be worth it.” So many people don’t want to take the hand. So many want to step back and say, “But these are my plans.” Your plans will not work in this forest. It’s cool to watch, cool to see the perspective, and cool to understand.

I’ve been running regularly. A couple nights I thought I’d pass for whatever excuse. Within twenty minutes I had on my running shoes and I was out the door. Last night’s run went incredibly well and was absolutely beautiful. It led to the poem yesterday. It doesn’t feel like my gut is any smaller, but I can tell there’s a slight shift in it. It doesn’t quite billow around the edges like it did. As for the running, I can run about twice as far as my first run. I’m still going the same distance, but every time I’m walking less. Soon I’ll think about conquering the second stretch of the bike trail.

Aside from a few of my own pitfalls I’m struggling with, I’ve just felt really close to God this week. It’s been an intense week, I go to Guatemala a week from Saturday, and I feel things aren’t going to get less intense for a long time to come. Life is good. Life is blessed.

Into The Darkness

I ran under the gaze of Nocturne sleep walking into her bosom.
Street lights and headlights lit the way as I stepped swiftly, aggressively,
Until my legs ached, and with the heat of blood and exertion stretched easily.
Into the darkness I ran as I met with the path, Luna lacking in the sky
Though the ancient lights were above me playing guide and inspiration
Urging me on with every screaming muscle, every ragged breath. But I went faster and farther than ever before.

I crossed under the bridge, experienced darkness until the lamp of sojourners
Lit my way, dispelling the illusion of the rocks and river, the chariots cruising overhead.
Then I know the darkness awaited me again, one covered by verdant trees,
Ominous and looming overhead, choking out the ancient lights, daring me to try
My mettle against their maw.

But I am a Titan. I am a Guardian. I am a Light. My mantra held me as I stepped
Towards the wood. But there was a veil when I looked down the path, between the trees,
My vision played tricks and illusions consumed me. It said there was a net, that I could not pass,
That Nocturne forbade me from crossing the threshold, and I chanted louder, with every wheezing breath:
I am a Light. I am a Light. I am a Light. And I crossed,
And my footsteps rang true, though my eyes filled me with fear.

Then I was through, half my run behind me, the gullet passed through with mind in tact,
And my mind said it was good, and my legs said I can still run, and my lungs said I could still breathe.
Back on the street, the world filled with man’s light, pushing away the
Fear of the unknown abyss on the peripheral, I knew I could run. I knew I was blessed.
There God held me in his arms and held off the cold, and filled my lungs with life,
I breathed for the first time, and there was joy in wind touched cheeks.
I am a Light, and I will travel into the Darkness, and I will come out victorious.

Runner High

So I ran again today. I wasn’t going to because I ate disgusting things for lunch and felt funky. Then I decided I was going to run. And I did.

It’s day two. Just day two. I ran a ridiculous amount. I ran far better than Monday. My lungs burned as they expanded. My legs ached. My knee hurt. My vision tunneled. My gut rebelled. I ran.

I ran past the cute girl with the adorable dog. I ran past the adorable couple with the dog. I was passed by a lot of people. On bikes. Running. Walking because I got something lodged in my shoe.

I returned home, dying. I didn’t sweat because it was too cold. I took off my Last Light shirt, the shirt that made me think, “I’m a Guardian. I’m a Titan,” the entire run. I jumped in the shower. I ate. I ate more than I should have, but at least it was lean, healthy, clean.

As I started to relax, as the shower and the food kicked in, my mind exploded. I did push ups. I bounced up and down. I wrote. I read. I lived. Oh how I lived because of the life giving exhilaration of running.

I bothered the crap out of my friends because I feel like a puppy without training. Aside from using the toilet. I totally do not go on the floor.

Oh how I hurt, how my calves are sore, how my lungs still suffer, how my head swoons, my breaths are ragged, and I am alive. I feel alive.

I miss this. But I also hurt. I hurt so so bad. Which usually makes me sleep so so good.

Why a strong protagonist female matters – The Sound of the Stones debut

The below post was written by Beth Hammond, a writing buddy and a talented artist. It was supposed to be posted Sunday, but life happens and I forget things. She had a book recently release, which is below, so please check it out. There are plenty of links in the below post to bring you to her website or book page.

Beth Hammond

Give me a strong woman protagonist, one that doesn’t sit around lamenting about the tragedies that befall her. Can she be sad once in a while, frustrated, weak? Yes, but please don’t take me on a journey with a woman who wallows in self-doubt, who spends the entire book incessantly needing reassurance and clamoring for a man’s attention. *Slaps the female character that bases self worth on a man’s opinion*

Give me a woman protagonist I can relate to, one who isn’t the most graceful, beautiful woman that ever walked the earth. Can she be beautiful? Yes, but don’t dwell on her beauty, elevating it as the first thing every other character notices.

E.g. “She had the grace of a willow. Hair like gold glittered in the sun as it draped around her heart-shaped face. Her eyes shone like emeralds and her lips made even the sweetest berry envious for their pink fullness.” <- *Gags and sings, “camp town ladies sing that song, doo-dah, doo-dah” to remove that visual* I wrote that sappy quote just now. It hurt. It hurt so bad that I momentarily lost the ability to distinguish audio vs. visual stimulation.  See?

Give me a woman protagonist whose inner dialogue reflects moxie. I like a little sarcasm in my coffee thank you very much. Does she need to be harsh and cynical at all times? No. That would get boring and certainly doesn’t reflect the woman’s mind, the one’s I know anyway. Let me clarify just a bit lest you think I mean a woman protagonist needs to be a loud mouth. Quiet woman can be strong as well. It is often in the still silence that strength is borne. <- Oh, I like that Beth. *Glares at screen* Yes, I talk to myself. And yes, I can feel you silently judging me.

Give me a woman protagonist…who is real. Real women are strong even if at times they are weak. Now there’s a brilliant statement Beth. Contradiction much? They are fierce, intelligent, sarcastic, defiant. They are complex humans capable of greatness. It is through the multi-facets of women’s personalities that great female characters come to life.

“Don’t write what you think will sell. Write what you want to read.” – Beth Hammond

Ok Beth, why on earth did you just quote yourself? Well, I’ll tell me why. Because that quote embodies the reason I wrote “The Sound of the Stones”. I wanted to read a fantasy that had romance but didn’t use it as the main focus. I wanted to read a fantasy with a main female character that felt real. I wanted to read a fantasy that had humor sprinkled in as a spice to liven up the darkness. This is that book:

The Sound of the Stones

beth hammond tallThe ancient book about the past holds the future. Frankie is the key. She doesn’t remember stopping at the used bookstore, but there she stands as if drawn by an unseen force. Anticipation wraps around her like a cocoon. When she opens the door, the wind nudges her through, and expectancy turns to purpose. The man inside, and the book he offers, changes everything. Unusual things happen when she begins to read:

In a time long forgotten, people are held captive by half human creatures. Ashra holds a secret close to her heart, and must discover the purpose of her gift before the oppressed human race is destroyed. An unlikely ally comes to her aid. Strangers bring her a message from a far off land. Ashra and her band of misfits set off in search of answers. Together, they find love, uncover mysteries from the past, face ever-present danger, and hone powers they never knew they had.

Frankie and Ashra are separated by millennia, by fiction and reality, but in the end the barrier shatters.

“The set of her jaw said angry, and her eyes spoke of fear. But behind the fear, pulsing from within and reflected in the way she held her shoulders, lived strength.” – The Sound of the Stones


If you have made it this far into the post, I thank you. Bless your heart for letting me prattle on about what I want. I really hope you want it too. If you want perfection, I’m not your girl. If you want a sappy love story, move along and I wish you well. But if you’re looking for a fantasy that tells a tale reminiscent of classics like “The Never Ending Story” then we might be twins. Wait, what color shirt are you wearing?

Oh, and one more thing, if ridiculous humor thrown in at the most awkward moments makes you roll your eyes, don’t read this book. You’re welcome.

The real bethBeth Hammond is an author/illustrator who writes anything from YA fantasy to children’s picture books. She is a wife, mother, and lover of life. Her early years were spent serving in the military, middle years spent raising babies, and figuring out her place in the world. Her later years are yet to come, and filled with hopes and endless dreams. She spends her days creating worlds through words and illustration.


Updates 9/28/2015

It’s 6:41. I’ve been up since 5. I did the whole, lay there for half an hour and finally go. I’m up. Moon was still beautiful. As it was setting, it became massive. This is a good start to the day.

So while I have over an hour before actual work begins, I’m going to update the site. You’ll be able to find the anthology I’m part of on here, I’m updating the Paul R Davis section, and I’m going to do stuff. No, that’s likely it. I’m also going to update Volden. Not as far as giving it a new post, but at the very least I’ll be updating some of the “about” information.

It’s funny how we can go six months without updating, and it’s like, “That’s inaccurate, that happened already, that will never happen, I must have been drunk during that declaration, I’m not even sure what that was a reference to.”

Also! For those of you unaware, last night was the blood moon, or harvest moon, or as some like to call it, the super-harvest-blood moon. Some also said, “That’s no moon!” I liked it. Twitter was blowing up last night while I laid in the grass looking up. Every once in a while an inquisitive neighbor kid would say, “What’s he doing?” I would tell them about the blood moon, they’d look at me funny, and they’d go inside.

Yesterday was just a really good day. I feel I’m through the miasma, I found what I needed, and I’m set to go. So now to go. Instead of spending all Sunday playing Destiny.