This morning while walking the dog I was so engrossed in mentally blocking a scene from my newest dystopian project that I failed to see a muddy pothole in the road directly in front of me. While Henry neatly avoided the gap, I caught my toe on the edge and nearly face planted in the middle of the road.
Such is my life, always.
I wish I could tell you that this morning was an isolated incident, but it wasn’t. My husband and I went into Boston two weekends ago and I spent the majority of the time excitedly giving him the literary tour of my new novel.
“Oh, and here is where Shea’s car first breaks down in the middle of Union Street.”
“Oh, and here is the pub where she takes shelter from the herd of zombies.”
“And if you look to your left, that’s where I’m thinking about having the herd corner her at Fenway…” (Oh, like you all haven’t at least entertained the idea of having to escape a sudden onslaught of zombies in those impossibly tiny seats. We all know we spend our time marking the exit points in case of sudden apocalypse.)
Anyway, he politely tolerated my chatter for an hour or so before pausing outside an ice cream shop to remind me that my characters aren’t ACTUAL people. Looking suddenly alarmed, he added, “You do know that, right?”
Whatever, Jeff. Like Dumbledore once told Harry:
Just because things are happening in your head, it doesn’t mean they aren’t real.
(By the way, you guys totally know he’s reading this at work and shouting DUMBLEDORE IS ALSO A FICTIONAL CHARACTER at his computer screen.)
All this to say, I am always in writing mode. Even when I don’t need to be. I forgot my moleskin notebook during our trip to California, and I spent the entire trip frantically jotting things down on the hotel notepads and shoving them into my purse. I was so stressed out over the whole thing that I started thinking I might actually have a problem. I know a lot of my friends and colleagues who also write (either part time, as a hobby, or for a living) are the same way. Ideas come in cursory snatches and fleeting snapshots, and if they aren’t jotted down right away, they become lost.
My head, as they say, is in the clouds. The woman in the grocery store who caught me furiously scribbling on the back of a coupon can probably attest to this, especially since she had to ask me three separate times to please step out of the way so she could reach the soy milk.
So, too, could my poor parents, who apparently spent the duration of my childhood being told, “Please don’t talk to me, I’m having my special thoughts.” (Yeesh, what a brat little Kelly was)
I guess I’ll continue to be an easily distracted person who falls into potholes and knocks down display cases at the mall and leaves a general trail of disasters in her wake.
And I’m okay with that.
Zombies in Fenway park are much more exciting than regular old baseball anyway.
Here’s some more Second Death tidbits for those of you keeping track
Thanks for sticking with me, and happy reading!
When he was born, he filled his lungs and tasted the sharp, sweet air of life. He was called the Woken, and he was given a number.
He was meant to be cold, hard, fast. He was bred to kill. To slaughter with both eyes open, steady fingers gripping at cool, merciless steel. He was Woken to destroy.
He is destined to die.
They are more animal than man, this soldier and his unit. They act on command. They breathe for a purpose. In and out, the thudding organs beneath their bones exist only to pump blood through their veins. Behind their eyes, there is nothing but black, interminable instinct. There is no room for fear. There is no hidden corner for remorse to blossom, shivering and uncertain.
He is not supposed to think like this, he is told. Thinking is forbidden. All forms of reflection are prohibited. They sleep, they wake, they kill. That is all that is written in their creed. That is all that they were made to do.
And yet last night he stared down at the blood on his hands—red and shining and wet—and his fingers trembled.
Miriam says it wasn’t always like this. She tells me that the world was different once—that the sun was dimmer and the ocean was deeper and the gnarled trees that grow in the greenhouse put their knotted roots down deep into the cracked and bleeding earth outside the walls. She says that, in spite of what we’ve been told, the seven sins of mankind aren’t what killed the world. It was much more black and white than that. It was the government. It was war. Needless, endless war.
It’s treason, the things Miriam says. It’s against the rules to speak out against the Second Life that was given to us in the Revival. But her mind is slipping with age. Her memory twists and turns down hidden pathways, opening doors that were meant to stay locked. She says things she doesn’t mean—things she can’t possibly understand.
I can’t let myself believe what Miriam tells me. I can’t afford to think that things were ever better than they are now. I think they were worse, once upon a time. I know that things were much, much worse in the world before than they are now. There’s proof of the damage done everywhere I look—proof of the deep scars that the seven misbehaviors of man left upon this earth.
And yet, somewhere deep within me, I believe every word of what she is saying. I believe that the secrets and the lies go deeper than I can possibly imagine.
I believe that there is more to my world than meets the eye.
I believe, but I won’t say a word. To speak out—to ask questions—could mean a fate worse than death.
And I desperately want to live.