Saturday, January 31, 2015

WE ARE INFINITE Stories: Follow the Raven Part III



Greetings everyone and welcome to another installment of the WE ARE INFINITE stories and giveaway! I'm so grateful to be able to do this and to share stories that remind us all of connection and our intrinsic worth.

Now, before we dive into today's tale, let's have a quick refresher on what's happenin' 'round here:

1. Contest is simple: you send me (kelly.wyre@gmail.com) your INFINITE STORIES and I post 'em. I also promote them, so if you want to include a link to a novel you wrote, an etsy shop, or other such awesomeness, then by all means, include that in your entry! I want to share the love!

2. INFINITE STORIES are tales that remind us of connection: ghost stories, past lives, prophetic dreams, a moment that changed your life, how you found faith, how you found love, how you recovered from heartache, a friend who saved your life, a dog that meant the world, a cat that knew too much, a feeling that spared you or a loved one from pain, a feeling that hooked up a pair of friends for marriage, kids, and life. Anything and everything goes!

All the details about what I'm looking for and how to play are found HERE.

3. Each story enters you for the grand prize. What is it, you ask? Well it's Amazon cash, artwork, and a book!


4. Don't have a story you want to share? No problem! Sharing information about the contest also constitutes an entry for the grand prize! More details about that are right HERE.

5. More questions? Check out the FAQ or email me at kelly.wyre@gmail.com

And last but not least, don't forget to check out the always-accumulating-ever-impressive-oh-so-powerful WE ARE INFINITE STORIES INDEX, where all the contest entries will be linked for you to peruse anytime you need a reminder that you are never, ever alone!

NOW THEN!
Today's entry is one of mine. I love the chance to be publicly grateful for all the incredible ways the people in my life and the Universe at large has helped me out over the years.

I'll be posting my entries mixed in with others as the contest rolls on.

Deadline for all entries is FEBRUARY 8, 2015!

Much love, many thanks, and light and love to you and yours.


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Follow the Raven Part III


It's always a fascinating experience, being outside of one's comfort zone. Writing for L's art prompts put me so far afield that any given day you could find me meandering around left field, staring at the little butterflies, wondering what in the hell I was doing there.

I felt, in short, slightly strange. I wasn't sure why we were being "called" to do anything with this art project. I didn't know why L and his life scratched so hard at my brain and made my very soul itch like it had a rash, but that's how I found myself. And Raven was insistent that we stick to the plan and write the story, and so we did. I also wrote bad rap parodies, short stories that went directly to L's inbox, and L and I struck up a sort of awkward, if very kind, correspondence. October, November, and December went off without a hitch. Raven and I sent in our entries, shoutboxed that the story had been updated, and we carried on with our lives. We were clearly waiting for something, we just weren't sure at all what it would be.

Then in January of 2014, I hurt my neck. Badly.

And then the dreams began.

I'd like to blame the steady diet of Xanex and muscle relaxants (if you hurt your neck? Turns out it can turn you into a paranoid, twitchy individual), but the dreams harkened less to chemical influence and more to older days of yore when I was dreaming of certain college professors or family members and managing to learn about their state of existences via dream worlds.

The problem, of course, with dreaming of someone you barely know and getting knowledge which may or may not be true about a life you really don't know anything about is that it's virtually impossible to check your facts.

I won't even recount what I dreamed, because it still makes me feel like I'm playing poker without my aces. I wrote them all down in a dream journal, shaking my head at myself. I confessed them to Raven, who took them as a sign that we were on the right track, but what kind of track was it, exactly? The devil was I supposed to do with this maybe-sort-of-might-have-a-chance-in-Hades-of-being-accurate information?

I must have started and deleted a dozen emails. "Dear L., Hi there. Even though you don't know me very well, and we've never met and have nothing in common that I can tell, aside, perhaps, from an appreciation of the male form, I feel like I know you. I'm dreaming of you all the damned time, and I think the dreams might be telling me something, but I can't exactly confirm that without your input. So if you have time, say, next Tuesday, to sit down with a potentially completely insane fangirl and chat her up about what's going on in her drug-addled, injury-recovering head, I'd be ever so appreciative."

Right. Sure. Just hit send on that bad boy. I'm sure it'll go juuuuust fine.

It is to head-desk. A lot. Rinse. Repeat.

My consolation was two-fold: one, I wasn't the only person dreaming. Raven was having a fair share of dreams, too.

And the other piece of comfort was that the email friendship between L and myself was going fairly well. There was a night we exchanged random poetry. We recorded ourselves reading the poem in a Hell Fire Brimstone preacher style and sent one another the responses. I was high on pain meds, and I'm not sure what L's excuse was, but it was fun.

As I recovered, however, and time marched ever forward, I began to feel that the whole thing simply wasn't my business. I kept watching L's public posts become more personal and sad. I continued to have dreams full of comfort or finding some way to find peace or hope, but I couldn't bring myself to share what was going on in my head, as it made me feel crazy enough to have the dreams, much less tell them to the person they involved. I started thinking I was a silly moron who needed to back slowly and graciously out of this semi-celebrity's life.

Raven protested, and I dithered. We kept posting, but we kept other contact with L to a minimum. I watched from afar and read interviews in magazines. I think I was reading everything I could to try to find some sort of thread of purpose to it all. There were moments when it seemed like the reason behind all the circus was staring at me right in the face. Unfortunately, this happens to be my biggest blind spot.

One night I was in bed, and I read an interview between L and some ezine or another. The questions were unusual, which I liked, and one of them was, "What do you think about the afterlife?"

L's answer involved a book. As in, "My view can basically be expressed by the last three pages of The Hours." For some reason, this answer pinged the part of my brain associated with connection, signs, and the path.

I'd seen the movie with Merryl Streep, but I'd never read the book. Curious, I ordered a used copy off Amazon. It came, I read the entire thing, and while it was very, very good, it was seemingly lacking in otherworldly messages.

"I dunno," I said to Raven one night after I'd finished the book. "Maybe I'm just a raving idiot, but I was hoping for something..."

"More?" Raven asked.

"Yeah."

"Like a sign?"

"Something, I guess," I agreed with a sigh.

"Well, you don't know. Maybe it'll matter later."

"I doubt it," I said and sighed again, louder. "I can't keep going on like this. I feel so damned dumb. Not everything is a sign. I know this."

"Well, I don't know if I agree," said Raven. "The thing is, when you start to see the web of the world, you start to see how the tiniest part can change the big picture."

I didn't tell Raven, but I rolled my eyes. I had the book in my hands, and I was idly flipping through it, as though the pages would cough up a clue. "I get what you're saying. I do. But it's not all that—"

I don't even remember what else I was going to say because at that very moment, a bookmark fell out of the novel.

Understand I'd read the entire book and never encountered that bookmark. And it wasn't my bookmark at all. The best I can figure, the thing was tucked under one of the dust cover flaps and came free while I was flipping the pages.

Makes more sense than it suddenly appearing. Slightly. Maybe. We'll go with it.

"Holy..." I muttered.

"What?" Raven asked. "What happened? Did something happen?"

"I... there's a... I just found a..."

"GODDAMNIT TELL ME WHAT JUST HAPPENED."

The novel The Hours was published in 1998. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1999. That same year, 1999, a graphic novel called The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman also came out. I'm a huge fan of Gaiman's, and I thought I'd read everything he'd ever done.

But I'd never heard of The Dream Hunters. Which was, apparently, about a Raven... a Fox... and a Monk.

For those who don't know, foxes are sort of a thing with me. They always have been. It's one of my spirit animals. It was a nickname as a child, it's a critter often featured in tattoos of my characters and just in my stories in general, and so you can imagine how big my eyes were when I read the graphic novel's blurb and saw a Fox and a Raven featured prominently in the book.

"I think you should buy the book," Raven said, quietly awed.

"Already on it."

I bought a used copy of the graphic novel from a book warehouse in Indiana. It took a month to get to me, and when it finally did, I tore open the package and read the entire book sitting in the floor of my kitchen.

The story is based on a Japanese fable, if I understand correctly. A fox spirit and a badger spirit decide they want a warm home for the winter. The ideal spot is a mountain monastery run by a single monk. The fox and badger agree that whoever runs the monk off first gets the place as a winter home. Their tricks end up getting the monk in a heap of trouble with the Emperor, who wants the monk's head for a wrong the monk didn't commit. The badger runs off, and the fox feels responsible for the fate of the monk. She travels into the dream world and a raven takes her to speak to the Dream King. She trades her spirit for that of the monk's, essentially saving him. She goes into a deep sleep.

When the monk hears about what the fox did, he resolves to find her, as the monk strongly believes that his fate is his own. If he was meant to die, then no other creature should spare him, even if it was that creature's fault. He goes into the land of dreams. The raven leads the way again, and the monk finds the fox. They spend one night together, come to terms with what happened, and the fox returns to the living world while the monk stays and dies. It is said, the novel tells us, that in the space between lives, a fox spirit and a monk can often be seen walking hand-in-hand through a field of flowers.

It's a gorgeous book, and a perfect story, but I had trouble understanding what the hell it had to do with my current situation. Frustrated, I flipped through the pages checking for recently-invisible bookmarks. I didn't find any. I turned the book over in my hands, petting the cover, and I saw a stamp on the top of the back cover.

The stamp was from a library. A library that was a few blocks away from where L lived. I had bought a used library book from Indiana that came into my possession via a library in a different state entirely that just happened to be close to the person intrinsically caught up in this strange side road of my path.

I couldn't see it as a coincidence, but I couldn't see what I was supposed to do, either. So I did the thing that was starting to become pretty natural for me: I asked my Raven.

Who advised me, simply: "Maybe you're supposed to give the book to L."

"Oh sure," I said. "I'll get right on that."

As doubtful as I was on the ways, means, and timing, in the end, give the book to L was exactly what I did.

Unfortunately, he had to give it away.

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Much love & book journeys,
Kelly

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Kelly Wyre enjoys reading and writing all manner of fiction, ranging from horror to romance. She used to work in advertising but is now happily chained to her writing desk and laptop. She believes she's here to tell stories and to connect people with them. She's written several novels, novellas, and short stories and has no plans on stopping anytime soon.

Kelly relishes the soft and cuddly and the sharp and bloody with equal amounts of enthusiasm. She's a coffee addict, an avid movie lover, a chronic night owl, and she loves a good thunderstorm. Currently Kelly resides in the southeastern United States.

Now Available!

Meet Me at the Gates by Kelly Wyre

Outer Banks bookstore owner Hyacinth Silver Fox has a secret millennia in the making: her soul was magically entwined with another, and at night she dreams of every lifetime they've ever spent together. The rules of their magic are simple: Hydee always knows her lover, but he, or she, doesn't remember her. It's up to Hydee to find and make her soulmate see they are destined for each other, and this lifetime is no different, but there's one problem: her soulmate is Theo Monk, heartthrob actor and Hollywood's sometime-infamous badboy. Hydee's hope of reuniting is wearing thin, but she has no idea how dire the situation really is.

Because meanwhile in California, Theo Monk is losing his mind. Anxiety and paranoia rule his life, along with his on-again-off-again girlfriend and her entourage. When fear and frustration push him to an edge, Theo cuts and runs as far from his problems as he can without knowing Fate's giving him one last shot to unite with the only person who can help him. Hydee and Theo must save one another before hope runs out and Hydee's despair and Theo's fear keep them apart forever.


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Connect with Kelly
Twitter: @kelly_wyre


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