The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Ten

*St. Clare Manor* Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artists.

*St. Clare Manor*
Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artists.

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Ten

It was then that Eric St. Clare entered the little sitting room bearing a tray laden with hot tea and little sandwiches. Neither his countenance or movement betrayed any modicum of distress as he made his way into the room and sat the tray on a low table before his womenfolk, but Amalee saw the aching pain in his carefully schooled gaze as he took in her wasted form. He said nothing, but handed her a cup of steaming tea with a hand that shook only slightly. She thanked him with a wordless nod, which he returned solemnly. She did not know how to begin again, how to say what must be said and neither did he, but the love in his eyes was enough for now. But his stoicism shattered completely upon seeing the tears still shimmering in Madeline’s wide corn-flower eyes.

Without a moment’s hesitation Eric strode to where Maddie sat, pulled her to her feet, and wrapped her in his strong arms. He whispered to her softly, cradling her to his chest as he ran a hand through her hair soothingly, and she allowed herself to finally give way to the barrage of tears that had been choking her for so long. She convulsed with the force of her grief as the terror, disgust, and disbelief flooded over her anew. In that moment, she would have surely broken were it not for Eric’s arms around her, lending her his strength.

With his back to his wife, only Amalee was witness to the anguish tearing across his handsome features. He bore the look of a brother broken by grief, but determined to be strong for his sisters. His eyes found hers and she knew he longed to pull her into the embrace as well, to wrest away her sadness and wrap her in the love they all bore one another, but understood somehow that this was not what Amalee wanted or needed just yet. But still, there was an intensity in Eric’s eyes that left Amalee certain that he would blame himself always for the hurt and damage done to his wife’s friends, to the women he considered his sisters. She shook her head almost imperceptibly. No, she thought, willing him to hear her. You protected Joona. She was yours to protect.

He closed his glassy sea-blue eyes and took a deep, steadying breath. His hand still stroked Maddie’s golden hair soothingly, and when he again opened his eyes, he appeared calmer, more in charge of his turbulent emotions. Amalee hoped he somehow understood her. She would not have his soul scarred by this tragic turn of events.

“I just,” Maddie sniffled, feeling truly safe for the first time in so many months. “I could not…”

“Ah Love, I know. I know,” Eric murmured, shifting so that he could see his wife’s face. He motioned towards the floor above them and Joona nodded with a loving smile. “You are exhausted Madeline, you should rest awhile. I’ve a room with a delightful view of the ships,” he said, leading her from the sitting room towards a long, elegant staircase. Amalee watched them depart, Maddie’s soft form supported by Eric’s resilient one, and wished her friend a restful, undreaming sleep.

Prayers For Florida State

 

FSU

I woke to horrible news this morning my lovelies, a gunman opened fire in Strozier Library at FSU early this morning, injuring three students and frightening countless others. A gunman on my beloved campus, a place I hold so dearly in my heart and so prominently in my memories, a place I felt so safe once I allowed myself to. A gunman…it’s every student’s nightmare.

When I was at Florida State I remember hearing about other campuses coming under attack, there were quite a few and every time such news broke it sent fear galloping up my spine. I’d always pray that such a thing never happened at FSU, that we would be safe, but I worried. So I studied each room I was in to find multiple exits should something happen and I need to flee, it was a safety game, something I picked up from my father who was an former Marine and Police Officer. He taught me self defense and boxing, the art of intellectual arguing, and thankfully, how to find the exit and as many as I could for as many different situations I could think of. Call it paranoia, call it preparedness, but I played the Safety Game and thanked all that was holy that I never had to make use of those exits.

But still even after all of that, it just doesn’t make sense to me, it doesn’t seem right or real. Florida State was my home for my college years, I lived on campus in a dorm very near the library and practically lived in the library itself as an English Major and a History Minor. I always joked about setting up a cot in the Annex, and if you didn’t know where I was, just go search the top two floors of Strozier and you’d be sure to find me. I knew every nook and cranny of the upper levels, delving into books, studying quietly, or just wandering around. I met friends in the lobby, wrote papers, learned that my favorite coffee is a Iced Café Mocha with real milk from the Starbucks in the first floor, flirted, stressed, laughed, ate, and experienced so much life there in that beautiful library. It was the center of my beautiful home.

FSU

It’s been years now but FSU is still my home in my heart and it terrifies me that this has happened to a place I love so very much, to people trying to better their lives as they search for themselves and their place in the world. I feel so violated…so angry, and so very very scared. My home has come under attack and I wonder if it will ever be the same, if those students, both injured and unharmed, will ever be the same. How many of them will have nightmares about this for the next few days, months, or years? How many of them will be too afraid to go out and have fun exploring our campus? How many of them will think of the library with terror instead of the love I felt for it? The security for FSU is already amazing, we are one of the safest schools and that’s one of the reasons I chose FSU over UF when my acceptance letters arrived. But what new measures will be put into place now? How will we ensure this never happens again but still allow for the openness of our grounds? I don’t know. How can we fix this…can it ever truly be fixed? I just don’t know.

But what I do know is this: my heart goes out to my fellow Seminoles, I send you all my love and my prayers. I know how strong you are and I know you will ensure that life goes on at Florida State. You will not let fear take our home away from you. So be strong my Noles, hold your heads up with pride and know that YOU are amazing people and the world loves you and we are here for you. But above all: be safe my FSU lovelies and remember: WE ARE THE GARNET AND GOLD NATION!!!

 

It’s All In The Details: Balancing Big And Little Scenes

TA-DA! Doesn’t my blog look lovelier than ever?! It’s so fresh, so exciting, so very in and now…and so very very the same! It seems white (utter blankness) is calming, to me anyway; I tried uploading different backgrounds and headers but to no avail, it just made everything look crowded and distracting and that just doesn’t work for me. I cannot write or read when my eyes don’t know what to settle on; so for now I’m keeping things calm, like a little oasis of tranquility, with little paper umbrella’s in your drinks and all. So let’s kick back, relax and get this thing started!

Writing a novel of any genre is a long process; between planning, research, writing, getting stuck, writing, finding anything ANYTHING with chocolate in it in the house, and writing some more, let’s just say it’s a time-consuming lifestyle (unless you are one of those writers who can get an entire novel out in like three weeks, which personally I think is highly indicative of you being an alien sent this planet to make the rest of us look bad). Suffice it to say, (aliens aside) writing is fraught with frustration, especially when all you can think about is THAT BIG SCENE coming up or at the end of the novel. It drives you insane, it consumes you, it’s all you can think about…finally being able to write that pivotal moment that will MAKE your story and make people remember you. It’s like a siren call, luring you into daydreaming about it instead of writing where you’re at, which leads to aggravation because you are nowhere near that scene and what you’re writing now doesn’t feel as important. It must not be important then, right?

Wrong.

Everything you write is important: every moment, every description, every scene, every minor plot twist and moment of character development. It’s the little things, the details, which draw readers in, making them care enough to feel anything when they finally reach THAT moment. If readers do not care about the characters at the beginning, the middle, or three-quarters in, chances are they are not going to care at the end when that climactic scene finally arrives, no matter how awesome or descriptive the writing has suddenly become. As a writer, it is your job to tell someone else’s story and part of that means finding someone to take the time to read and understand it, which can only truly happen if readers bond with the characters and genuinely care about them suffering through the obstacles placed in their path. This bonding comes largely from the details, the ‘little moments’. From the very first word onward, however long it takes to reach THAT scene, is where you must work your hardest, because it’s here that you have to make someone begin to love, worry, and care about someone beyond themselves. So, that pivotal scene in your novel…it happens a lot sooner than you think and in a moment that you probably did not intend it to. The climax is still important, but so are the details leading up to it.

So plan ahead and write accordingly.

If you want a reader to experience despair in the climactic moment in the middle/near end of a story, you must give them some sort of happiness before that. If you want them to feel safe, they need to have been frightened at some point. Give the readers the opportunity and time to experience one emotion fully so that when you take it away later they feel the loss of it and can truly grieve what was taken. Your novel’s climax might be terrifying or heart-breaking, but it will only be so if, in those unexciting-to-write moments, you’ve detailed your character experiencing the opposite. No one can feel hate if they’ve never felt love, or experience fear if they have never known the warmth of safety. Balance your details, your big moments and little ones and know that both are important to the overall impact of the story you as a writer are trying to tell.

In the end, you want something from the reader: a reaction. And likewise the reader wants something from you: a reason to react. Give readers the opportunity to react by providing them a reason to. Give them the little moments – the details and descriptions – so that when the big moments arrive they understand what’s at stake.