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My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Strange The Dreamer is a rare, precious gem. Every word is a part of a stunning masterpiece of one of the most unique, imaginative stories I’ve ever read. Get swept away in a magical fairy tale filled with romance, monsters, myths, friendship, betrayal, and the most fascinating flawed heroes and heroines. Be prepared to savor it, then crave the next book the second you reach the last page.
Strange The Dreamer is a work of wonder, one that will leave you breathlessly awed by the incredible imagination and storytelling skills of the brilliant Laini Taylor.
Don’t miss it!
I received an ARC of Strange The Dreamer from Little Brown!
View all my reviews
here’s the book for YOU!!! Pixies Did It: Website: Facebook: Twitter: Book Videos: Book Trailer: Amazon Buy Link
Stressing over the mess? Discover YOUR personal organizing style—and stay organized forever! Organization isn’t one-size-fits-all. Different people need different solutions. Fortunately, Katie and Kelly McMenamin—the organizing gurus behind PixiesDidIt!®—have found the key to making organization stick, with strategies that work for every personality.
Whether you’re OCD or a little less fastidious, Katie and Kelly will help you discover your organizational style, using unconventional approaches or sticking to what already works. Along with personality-based solutions for every space in your home, they offer advice on solving strife between different “PixieTypes.” So you can keep the stuff you love . . . and the peace!
Katie and Kelly
Katie McMenamin and Kelly McMenamin are sisters, professional organizers, personality-type experts, and founders of PixieDidIt! Their business is an outgrowth of buttoned-up hedge fund analyst Kelly spending 30-odd years trying and failing to get her messy older sister Katie, a writer, to be more organized. Countless fights ensued until they had an idea: What if there is more than one way to organize? Today, they spend the bulk of their time organizing for clients, writing for their website, and giving talks on how to organize according to your personality type. Kelly lives in NYC with her husband and three sons and Katie lives in their hometown, the Land of Champions, aka Cleveland, OH, with her husband and three daughters.
1. Knowing who you are is the key to organization mainly because if you’re pretending to be someone else, it’s hard to remember where that pretend person put something!
2. Change is hard, so be honest about organizing tasks. People who never hang up their coats in a closet, probably never will; get a coat rack and call it a day.
3. Perfect isn’t real. Magazine perfection is styled by a professional whose job it is to make everything perfection for the millisecond it takes to snap a photo.
4. No shame, no blame! You liking clear, spotless surfaces doesn’t make you OCD (it’s not a personality disorder), it’s your personality type.
5. Later Box It. When you can’t part with a useless item, store it away in a box and revisit that box in a few months (a year), whatever you missed keep, whatever you forgot … dude, let it go.
6. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Change is hard (see #2!) so if storing TP right next to the toilet works for you, do it, but for heaven’s sake try to make it look nice—unless you live alone on Antarctica then who cares.
7. Organizing at its core is about retrieval. Period. Can you easily find and get things when you need them. Everything else is an argument about aesthetics.
8. One-step solutions are golden. Hanging up your coat is a five-step process whereas popping it on a hook is one-step. Light bulb (at least it was for us!)
9. Be loud & proud. So, you write important To Do’s on your hand in a pinch. Who cares? Don’t apologize, defend it and tell any scolds where they can go.
10. There’s no best way to organize—just the best one for you!
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The balance of good and evil has been left in the hands of a thirteen year old…
Since the beginning of time, Karmanic matter worked silently and unassisted keeping good and evil in balance, until growing greed in the world meant Karma couldn’t keep up. As World War I rages, the secret Karmanic Sovereign Legion works behind the scenes to help Karma.
A suspicious train accident and an odd stone-shaped object that belonged to his father thrust Cole McCarthy and two schoolmates into the middle of this battle to keep dark forces in check.
With only the powerful stone, a letter, and grandfatherly Norm to guide them, the trio must unravel clues and tap into unknown strengths to discover who Cole’s father really was and keep themselves and those they love safe.
Includes chapter 1 of book 2 in the Karmanic Sovereign Legion series!
N.J. Donner is the author of the new Karmanic Sovereign Legion books. N.J. loves to explore. The world fascinates him and he wants to figure out why and how things work, including Karma.
College adventures took N.J. far from his small Nebraska hometown to the southern hemisphere and the inner city. This was the beginning of his wanderlust and today he loves to travel with his wife, Amanda, and their three children.
N.J. became the first person to graduate with a minor in international affairs from Nebraska Wesleyan University and spent the years right out of college building a successful steel company.
How a character was named?
Most of the character names are based on my family. They are the names that I have come to love over the years, so it helped me build the persona and connect with each character as the story unfolded.
The three main characters, Cole, Sophie and Britten are based and named after my kids.
What inspired a scene?
Norm and Diesel (his black lab) walking around trying to delay the day’s inevitable work. I have seen this play out for years almost every morning at my steel business. I have heard the saying “getting lined out” (getting the day planned) more times than I can count.
How the idea for the book came to be?
It started with a dream. It had the basics about trains and the ability for people to slide or transport themselves between them. My over-active daydreaming brain took over from there with questions of who, when, where, and what if. The idea of Karma was always in the back of my mind as the story unfolded.
If there was a place or a person who was influential in some way.
Norm. (One of the names I did change) is based on a real person. He is one of those people who has nor wants anything. He’s an odd person with a rough exterior, but extremely kindhearted. Most people in the real world don’t give the Norms a chance. I just hope everyone gets to meet someone like him.
After reading The Blue Moon Narthex, you’ll understand why I would need to research the finest animal hair in the world for a tool of the Bahjani. I had to research where the term “once in a blue moon” came from. I also had to research the speeds of bullets and arrows for comparison on some of the tools that are made by the Techies and tested by the Testers.
Anything readers wouldn’t know based about the book just from picking it up.
The world and network of the KSL is much bigger than only Coreseum. The adventures Cole, Sophie, and Britten get swept into during the next book take them across the globe. Watch for The Kin Larsi Agenda, book two of the of the Karmanic Sovereign Legion Series.
2/6: Swoony Boys Podcast – Review
2/7: Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Q&A
2/8: Kara the Redhead – Spotlight
2/9: Young Adult Rocks – Review
2/10: books are love – Top 10
2/13: Such A Novel Idea – Q&A
2/14: Book Stacks Amber – Excerpt
2/15: Books Buying Beauty – Review
2/16: Red House Books – Guest Post
2/17: Basic Book Blog – Review
2/20: The Irish Banana Review – Review
2/21: Lisa’s Loves – World Building
2/22: Pondering the Prose – Review
2/23: Who RU Blog – Novel Secrets
2/24: The Plot Bunny – Review
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How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? A new novel in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.
For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.
Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.
Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.
What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?
In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.
Ellen Hopkins is the New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Triangles, Tilt, and Collateral. She lives in Carson City, Nevada, with her husband and son. Hopkin’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest pages get thousands of hits from teens who claim Hopkins is the “only one who understands me”, and she can be visited at ellenhopkins.com.
Like most of you here, books are my life. Reading is a passion, but writing is the biggest part of me. Balance is my greatest challenge, as I love my family, friends, animals and home, but also love traveling to meet my readers. Hope I meet many of you soon!
The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins
THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWN is filled with emotional punches, and it’s impossible not to be deeply effected by them in the best way. This story is brilliantly woven into a slow revelation of personal as well as sexual identity. Themes of friendship, love, loyalty, teen pregnancy, and family are key elements. Who am I? Who loves me? What does it mean to be loved? What IS love?
Abuse also comes into play, explored and revealed so that the victim comes to realize what she thought of as love was really anger, control, hate.
——Deep breath. This book. So much emotion. So many powerful messages. So important.
Once again, Ellen Hopkins pens characters who feel so real, it take imagination to believe that they don’t really exist, that you’re reading about them in a novel, not a journal of their life. Ariel is at the center of this story and readers will feel her confusion, her attraction, her sense of loyalty, friendships, love, fear. Her father is a despicable person. I have so many emotions wrapped up with him that I may need to amend this review later as I process my emotions.
From Monica to Zelda to Gabe to Hillary, I love each of these secondary characters for different reasons. Each one has a very special role in Ariel’s lives. They change her profoundly. You need to read this novel to understand each one’s impact.
And then there’s Maya’s story—at first separate, but then it converges into Ariel’s. PAINFUL! POWERFUL! DEEPLY MOVING! Sad. But then again, HOPEFUL.
Ellen Hopkins never shirks away from the tough topics. Be prepared to think. I highly, highly recommend this novel and all of her novels.
1/23: Such A Novel Idea – Review
1/24: Megnificent Books – Character Closet
1/25: Who R U Blog – Review
1/26: Wandering Bark Books – Playlist
1/27: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes – Review
1/30: The Irish Banana Review – Fast 5
1/31: Actin’ Up With Books – Review
2/1: Red House Books – Top 10
2/2: The Book Return – Review
2/3: Bookiemoki – Q&A
Every year, Lucy waits eagerly for the arrival of the “snowbirds,” the Old Order Amish who come trundling into Florida on buses from the north, bringing Lucy’s best friend Alice, with whom she’s spent every winter she can remember. This winter is different. At sixteen, Alice is in the middle of “Rumspringa,” a season in which Amish teens try out forbidden temptations, in order to get them out of their system. Lucy is part of a different sect, in which teens aren’t allowed such bold experimentation, and she’s fighting to keep up as Alice races from one wild party to the next. Then, one night after just such a party, Alice vanishes. Wracked by guilt, Lucy knows that she should have been watching out for Alice, but instead, she was kissing Faron, an Older Order boy shunned by his society. Now, Lucy plunges into a search for her best friend–while also hiding her own secret, which could put her in even more danger.
CRISSA-JEAN CHAPPELL (crissajeanchappell.com) was born in Miami and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her debut young adult novel,Total Constant Order, is a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age and a VOYA Perfect Ten. Chappell’s second novel, Narc, is currently optioned for film. More Than Good Enough is her most recent novel, which Kirkus calls “compelling and emotionally nuanced.” Chappell holds a PhD and MFA from the University of Miami. She has taught creative writing and cinema studies for more than ten years.
1/16: The Fake Steph – Looks from Books
1/17: Owl Always Be Reading – Review
1/18: Who RU Blog – Novel Secrets
1/19: Pretty Deadly Reviews – Review
1/20: The Irish Banana Review – Fast 5
1/21: Bookhounds YA – Review
SNOWBIRDS behind the scenes from crissachappell on Vimeo.
Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.
Gone is her mom’s attention and cooking and parent-teacher conferences. Gone is her sister’s trust ever since she’s been dazzled by the cameras and new-found infamy. Gone is her privacy. Gone is the whole family’s dignity as ATN twists their words and makes a public mockery of their lives on Life and Death. But most of all, Jackie fears that one day very soon her father will just be . . . gone. Armed only with her ingenuity and the power of the internet, Jackie is determined to end the show and reclaim all of their lives, even in death.
I dropped out of NYU film school in the mid 80s to play guitar and write songs for Woofing Cookies. We were a punk-pop four piece — think R.E.M. meets the Ramones — that toured up and down the East Coast, and had two singles and one full-length LP on Midnight Records.
The band broke up in 1987 and I followed my other passion, books. I’ve worked in the book industry ever since. And, of course, I write. And I write, And I write, write, write.
My first novel, The Scar Boys — it’s labeled as Young Adult, but I’ve never really liked labels — published January 2014. It is, not surprisingly, a rock and roll coming of age story. No vampires or dystopian future, just a messed up boy and his guitar. (I have nothing against vampires or dystopian futures. I loved The Passage, The Hunger Games, and The Road.)
Scar Girl, the continuation of The Scar Boys’ story.
I live in Connecticut with my super awesome wife Kristen, and our six year old son Charlie, and three and a half year old son, Luke, and I spend my days working at a small book industry non profit.
One of the things people find most surprising about the process of getting published is that the publisher, not the author, chooses the title of the book. Not to say we authors don’t have titles for our manuscripts; we do. But publishers reject those titles as often as they accept them.
The original title for Life in a Fishbowl was House of Stone. It referred to Jackie’s family and the house in which they lived, the setting for most of the book. It was also a play on words, making the point that the love that held the family together was made of stone. I liked it. I really, really liked it.
“Yeah, okay,” my editor said, “but no.”
“Because no one will buy a book called House of Stone. Especially teens.”
“What do you mean? They buy The Catcher in the Rye. And Catch-22. Hey wait, maybe I should put catch in the title.”
“How about “Catching Stones?”
You get the idea.
While authors know how to write books, it is the folks who work in the publishing house that know how to sell books. You have to trust their expertise when it comes to things like titles, and I do.
After my plea to give House of Stone one final chance fell on deaf ears, my editor sent me several lists of choices. This was one of them:
LIFE OFF FOCUS
THE TERMINATION SHOCK
LIFE FOR SALE
THE MEMORY EATER
REZZING IN THE HOUSE OF STONE
LIFE IN THE FISHBOWL
THE WEAK-KNEED AND THE WOBBLY
THE STONE COLD TRUTH
My eye immediately zeroed in on Life in the Fishbowl, and not just because it was such a good fit for the book. It also had personal meaning to me.
When I was younger, I played guitar in a punk-pop band called Woofing Cookies. (If you like punk and stories about music, see my first book, The Scar Boys. But I digress.) After putting out two 45 RPM singles, Woofing Cookies was signed to record a full-length LP on a small label out of New York City by the name of Midnight Records.
I forget exactly how it happened, but I think the label rejected the working title for our record. Just like publishers, music labels, or at least this music label, have final say over album titles. To come up with something quick, we thought it would be funny if we each chose one word at random, and Horse Gum Tortilla Shoes, was born. (You can still find copies on eBay.)
What was the working title the label rejected? Have you guessed it? Are you ready?
Of course, it was Life in a Fishbowl.
Eerie coincidence? Fate? Or maybe my editor is a creepy stalker who somehow knew this obscure and arcane piece of knowledge about my life. I don’t know. Whatever the reason, I was ecstatic and I was on board. And, of course, any lingering fondness for House of Stone as a title evaporated when I saw the cover for the book. (I really, really love the Life in a Fishbowl cover. Thank you designers Jessie Gang and Donna Mark!)
So let this be a lesson to younger writers. Don’t obsess over the title of your book, because honestly, they’re probably just going to change it anyway. And you know what? That’s okay.
GIVEAWAY: 1 copy of LIFE IN A FISHBOWL (US/Canada)
Charlotte survived four long years as a prisoner in the attic of her kidnapper, sustained only by dreams of her loving family. The chance to escape suddenly arrives, and Charlotte fights her way to freedom. But an answered prayer turns into heartbreak. Losing her has torn her family apart. Her parents have divorced: Dad’s a glutton for fame, Mom drinks too much, and Charlotte’s twin is a zoned-out druggie. Her father wants Charlotte write a book and go on a lecture tour, and her mom wants to keep her safe, a virtual prisoner in her own home. But Charlotte is obsessed with the other girl who was kidnapped, who never got a second chance at life–the girl who nobody but Charlotte believes really existed. Until she can get justice for that girl, even if she has to do it on her own, whatever the danger, Charlotte will never be free.
LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Indiebound
Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.
Today Clara is a RITA© Award-winning author of dark fiction for young adults. Her super-romantic psychic thriller series, Run To You, was named an RT Magazine Editors Pick for Best Books of 2014, and Run to You Book One: Deception So Deadly, is the winner of the prestigious 2015 RITA© Award for Best First Book.
Clara’s latest release is Aftermath, a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines YA contemporary in the tradition of Roomand The Lovely Bones. Aftermath is on Goodreads’ list of Most Popular Books Published in November 2016, and Young Adult Books Central declared it a Top Ten Book of 2016.
Clara’s favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.
Aftermath by Clara Kensie
FYI: There’s a Goodreads giveaway going on now for 3 annotated copies of AFTERMATH! https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh…
This book!!! It’s powerful, emotional, gripping, hard-to-put-down with lots of twists and turns you won’t predict. AFTERMATH will leave the reader thinking about these characters and the choices they made. How well do you know your community? How well do you know your brother? What would make a “seemingly normal” person kidnap a young girl and hold her prisoner? What happens afterward?
I read this book in a day. Three weeks later, I’m still thinking about this family—how each one found different ways of coping with the kidnapping and everything that came from that. The choices they made, the before and after. Human beings can endure a lot, but this…it’s a parent’s worst nightmare. Yet through the journey, readers will find hope. It’s a lifeline we all need.
Beautifully written, I still have images of the cage, the house, the school, and “home” in my head. Scenes will stay with you and there are moments that will make you gasp and may even bring you to tears. Have some tissues ready, just in case, but whatever you do, don’t miss AFTERMATH! It’s a must-read.
1/2: The Irish Banana Review – Review
1/3: Bibliobuli YA – 2 Truths & A Lie Post
1/4: Swoony Boys Podcast – Character Interview
1/5: Novel Ink – Review
1/6: Fiction Fare – Q&A
1/7: Actin’ Up With Books – Review
1/8: The Story Sanctuary – Review
1/9: Who R U Blog – Review
1/10: Lisa’s Loves – Dream Cast
1/11: Gabriella M Reads – Q&A
1/12: Novelgossip – Review
1/13: Such A Novel Idea – Playlist
1: A “Do It Double” Aftermath tote bag from Blu Bear Bazaar (photos attached). Inspired by Aftermath‘s message to “Do it double, because some can’t do it at all,” Blu Bear Bazaar designed beautiful artwork for it and printed it on tote bags and throw pillows. Blu Bear Bazaar is generously donating a portion of all Aftermath product proceeds to RAINN and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Click here for more information.
2: Choice of TWO books from Clara’s collection of YA novels. Clara will give the winner a list of the YA novels in her collection, and the winner can pick two. Some of the books are signed by the author.
*US/CAN for the above prizes. If the winner is international, the prize will be substituted by a book from Book Depository up to $18.00, winner’s choice.
Good luck, and happy reading!!!
A holiday tradition in Emerson’s family is everyone receives a book. Essentially, that’s the only “physical” gift they will get. Their big gift is a family activity, like a road trip to the caves of Kentucky or a trip to Memphis to see the Civil Rights Museum or a trip to Chicago to explore museums.
My mini-challenge is: What book would you give as a holiday gift and why?
Extra entry: If you chose to pass on other holiday gifts, and instead decide to take a road trip within reasonable distance of your home (so it’s affordable) where would you take a few days off to spend quality time with your loved one(s)?
International: A copy of HELLO? from The Book Depository
Does your elf love books? Well, guess what! Some of my favorite author-friends have banded together to giveaway a $175 e-gift card to Barnes & Noble.
Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter.
Would you like to find out more about the authors behind this giveaway? Jingle on over to their websites.
Jennifer Anne Davis
Jennifer M. Eaton
***Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter!***
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
1. Promotion Description: The ‘$175 Barnes & Noble Giftcard’ (“Sweepstakes”) begins on 11/28/2016 at 07:00 AM (Pacific Time (US & Canada)) and ends on 12/13/2016 at 08:00 AM (Pacific Time (US & Canada)) (the “Promotion Period”). By participating in the Sweepstakes, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of Jennifer Bardsley (“Sponsor”), which shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Entries and the overall administration of the giveaway. Entrants should look solely to Sponsor with any questions, comments or problems related to the Sweepstakes.
2. Eligibility: Open to legal residents of who are or older. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, distributors, retailers, sales representatives, advertising and promotion agencies and each of their respective officers, directors and employees (collectively, the “Promotion Entities”), and members of their immediate families and/or persons living in the same household as such persons, are ineligible to enter the Sweepstakes or win a prize.
3. Winner Selection: The winner of the Sweepstakes will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible Entries received throughout the Promotion Period. The random drawing will be conducted by 48 hours by Sponsor or its designated representatives, whose decisions are final. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible Entries received. Winner will be notified by email at the email address provided in the Entry Information on or about 48 hours after the random drawing. Potential winner must accept a prize by email as directed by Sponsor within 48 hours of notification. Any winner notification not responded to or returned as undeliverable may result in prize forfeiture. The potential prize winner may be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and release of liability, and a Publicity Release (collectively “the Prize Claim Documents”). No substitution or transfer of a prize is permitted except by Sponsor.
– 1 (#) winner(s) will receive [(1) $175 Barnes & Noble e Gift Card ] (approximate retail value or “ARV”: $175 USD)
Only one prize per person and per household will be awarded. Gift cards and gift certificates are subject to the terms and conditions of the issuer. Prizes cannot be transferred, redeemed for cash or substituted by winner. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole and absolute discretion to award a substitute prize of equal or greater value if a prize described in these Official Rules is unavailable or cannot be awarded, in whole or in part, for any reason. The ARV of the prize represents Sponsor’s good faith determination. That determination is final and binding and cannot be appealed. If the actual value of the prize turns out to be less than the stated ARV, the difference will not be awarded in cash. Sponsor makes no representation or warranty concerning the appearance, safety or performance of any prize awarded. Restrictions, conditions, and limitations may apply. Sponsor will not replace any lost or stolen prize items.
A note from Liza Wiemer: A little over a year ago, I met Cheyenne at a high school where I gave some workshops connected to my YA novel, Hello?. Last week, she shared this poem with me. It’s powerful, insightful, meaningful and I have no doubt, many can relate to this beautiful, heartfelt poem. The moment I read it, I knew Cheyenne’s words needed to be read by others. It’s a privilege to share AN EMOTIONAL WAIT on my blog.
White birch trees line the path so bright
Their bark glints sliver in evening light
Silent winds rustle whispering leaves
Autumn says goodbye and the land grieves.
As I stumble upon this educational lane
My hopes and dreams I try to retain
But winter is bleak and this road is harsh
Like lilly’s struggling in an overgrown marsh.
I trudge on..my troubles never far from mind
Shadows cling under my eyes and I pray
That the next curve in my life be kind.
Valleys so deep, their dark and dank
My mind is threatening to overtake
I hurry on, determined to fight this one mistake.
This road is lonely
The trees are thick
but up ahead…is that a break?
I hurry ahead…I am so alone..
This road I am on is not well known.
Look! The trees are disappearing
Up ahead…snow capped mountains!
I should be glad that I leave that forest
But the road uphill..sigh..
Will the journey be kind?
I am lost in thought as I taste the air
Bitter cold winds…lost in despair
Where are those that said they would always be here?
The road leads on, all I can do is follow
And hope my mind will survive this sorrow.
Up this mountain with it’s stealing winds
I’m reminded of my many sins.
My troubles are great as I grow weary
I look about, as the weather grows dreary.
The pack on my back that I have carried
Are all my troubles that I should have buried.
Sitting down, I look around
This path I walk is overgrown.
I look at my pack, the one I hate,
And wonder at its emotional weight.
I reach in and discard one thought
The weight is less…
is it all for naught?
Just as I round the very next bend
There stands one of my very best friends.
Where were you in the dark forest gloom?
My friend says nothing but points to an empty classroom.
Warmth and kindness beckons me
I rest my shoulders and rub my knee.
My friend says nothing, she looks haggard as well.
This road less traveled has been sheer hell.
We sit silently lost in thought
The lessons we’ve learned, the ones we’ve been taught.
My pack, so heavy sits by the door
And I wonder what is in it that I’ve been fighting for,
My back is rested
My feet less sore
It’s time to move on, there is more.
My friend looks up,
A smile…nothing more..I see her pack
My faith restored.
The mountain top is close at hand
And I am reminded why life is so grand.
The sun is shining, the winds not so harsh..
My friend was there..when I needed her most.
I adjust my pack and I trudge on
I know not what I will come upon.
As I walk, the sun soon sets
And leaves me in shadows that I’d rather forget.
A river ahead..it’s waters so deep
With stones so sharp
They cut my feet.
Why! I cry in utter despair.
I have come upon my Junior year…
I stand in swirling black waters
The current is strong
My reserve falters.
My pack of troubles is taking on water
I can’t breath…I must make it lighter!
I reach into the waterlogged pack,
And draw out a memory, the tears I fight back.
I drop it into the watery depths far below
The waves toss it to and fro.
I watch it sink out of sight
Suddenly I laugh at my ridiculous plight.
The river seems calmer, serene almost
Not as wide, gliding like a ghost.
I quickly make it to the other side
I look back at my path and smile with pride.
I have made it through valleys and forests so dark,
I have climbed mountains so steep.
And forged rivers too deep
I let my mind wander to my friend so kind,
Her pack so large
Is she so far behind?
She has not yet made it to the river’s edge
I can see the path clearly etched
Will she conquer her fear as I?
Or will the bleak waters
Steal her mind?
I must trudge on for this path is less traveled
There are not many whose minds unravels.
It’s lonely here, but peaceful to
Here I can be me, and you can be you.
I have rested too long,
It is time that I’ve gone..
I pick up my pack and turn towards the sun…
my path less traveled is far from done.
I walk in meadows with birds in flight
Flowers and their fragrance, senses delight.
My pack is lighter, my troubles less heavy
The air is thin, my path less scary…
I reflect on my struggle
The pack I carry
I lower my head…truly humble
Those that said they would be there
They said my problems they would bare,
My confidants I confined
They have not come I’ve been defrauded..
Where are they now
On my path less traveled?
No…they took their leave when I fell into shadow.
I look up and see the sands ahead
A desert so vast
It fills me with dread.
My pack I drag through dunes alone
I have reached my end
I can go no more
Like on the mountain top long before.
I drop my pack
I leave it behind
All these troubles that have corrupted my mind.
There I lie
With the sand as my bed
I wonder at length is this the end?
My road less traveled has disappeared
Much like my friends…my greatest fear.
I raise my hand to shield my eyes
The sun is so hot
Yet, I cannot rise
When I awoke I looked about
No stranger, no friend but there was my pack
But how could this be
How has it found its way back to me?
The air is clouded with a heavy mist
Dark and unforgiving
The silence persists
With trepidation I glance at my pack
I shiver at its bulk, I don’t want it back!
Slowly I reach
And pull it near
This road less traveled wasn’t my only fear
I look around again and to my surprise
The stranger that led me here was by my side
They motioned for me to open my pack
Just a shadow in the dark that could see through the black
No! I shout, I won’t carry it anymore!
But the stranger stood fast,
Taunting me to explore.
I looked down at my feet and counted my toes
This stranger wasn’t leaving
This path held more.
So I opened the pack that I did carry
The one my friends said they’d help me bury.
The very same pack with all the despair
The tears and scars that I had hidden in there
I expected to see the razor blades that cut so deep
The words that were flung used to beat
The tossed inside shards of glass
Broken pieces of my past.
A silent scream, a tear I shed
I gasp for air as I shake
The stranger spoke
the words so dear
my best friend’s voice said so clear..
“Though my troubles were heavy,
I picked up your pack, though my soul was weary
and took your troubles and held them closely.
All those times throughout those years
where you felt alone
and shed those tears
when friends were cruel
and the stakes were high
when you wanted to quit
or just “get by”
Those days when you thought you’d lose your head
when darkness threatened and you wished for death.
When shadows taunted
and your dreams were haunted,
you stuck it all into this pack
and carried this load on your aching back.
keep the memories and see life through
because I lost the fight when I carried it for you.”
What did you learn?
Nobody can carry you, you must carry yourself.