An Empty House

You can see them everywhere, in certain towns and cities.

The houses that were caught when mortgages failed and never resold.

The houses that were owned and unused, home to dust and fires.

The houses that were abandoned, when the land became too much, and were slowly reclaimed by the forest around them.

There is something poignant and frightening about an empty house.

In the ones that are still whole, there is a feeling of a life paused, held still on a caught breath.

Of a dream waiting and fading, underneath the unwavering march of years.

I write these houses into my stories.

They are not always houses.

But the stories we tell are only corners of much larger, breathing worlds.

Their shells visible in passing.

Their vitality flashing and slowly decaying in the corner of my words.

Sometimes I turn to them directly, fascinated by their passage.

There is power in the forgotten.

There is power in a moss-covered doorstep, leading nowhere.

IMG_0352A pathway to nowhere

In addition to writing blog posts with empty houses, I have also written a fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor. It is available here.


On the Rocks

The first step isn’t the hardest.

When I look up at the jagged and uneven footing ahead of me, the first step is cautious, but well-prepared.

It is the six hundredth step, the one thousand and twenty-third step, when my concentration is blown and all I want to do is reach solid ground.

It is the split-second lack of focus, somewhere unremarkably in the middle, that results in an unforgiving fall.

In my stories, I think sometimes of the danger of exhaustion.

When someone has been facing trials for so long that their legs are weak and their minds are dull, that is when the disaster truly settles.

It is interesting to trace the roots of success or failure to the reaction to a single rock, somewhere in the middle of a thousand other rocks.

Success is not the careful planning at the beginning or the adrenaline-fueled charge at the end.

Success is the slight slip in the middle, corrected with patient focus, as your hands reach for the next surface.

IMG_0531A better way to handle rocks

Not With A Bang

These are the ways we fail.

A forgotten conversation, a moment of hesitation, a focus divided.

We see the grand failures, clouds of ash and haunted eyes.

But we forget, both in stories and life, how it is the small missteps that ripple outwards to larger waves, greater tragedy.

I think of the split-second before I hit the ground.

I believe in the power of small failures.

When I write, I think of how those small moments add and subtract, weaving the background radiation of our lives.

Still, I remember also the moment after the fall.

When we rise, broken but proud, and take the small steps to move us forward.

IMG_5568A small misstep