Torchlight

I think I managed to not even mention on my blog, that my new book was published last month. Well done, V.

Anyway, book four in the Legacy Series; Torchlight, is out now! Check out the e-book on Amazon;

Drawn across the universe by a mysterious light, Lace leads his siblings headfirst into a conflict with the Lightbringer and her army, as she aims to take over the universe.

As book four in the Legacy series, Torchlight introduces the child born to Naim and Willkataga, a witch who rivals Lace in magical ability, but who furthermore possesses the psychic abilities of Islaeen’s bloodline.

Lines are drawn across space and time, as Lace is slowly guided by the Hand of Fate, unable to escape fighting.

I have the paperback out as well, so here they are, all four of them;

Link to the paperback;

http://www.lulu.com/shop/veronica-merlin/torchlight-the-legacy-series/paperback/product-23358708.html

Yes, my camera died during Gishwhes, so this is a cellphone shot. Works pretty well, though… Don’t let me have a lamp like this… I will do stupid pictures, just because I can. Even without photoshop or a camera…

The Starstone Series;

My three other books; (yes, thats a Rainbow Dash.)

I haven’t written a lot lately. I still look at my books and wonder how I managed to write all this. To create worlds like these ones. How I am ever going to end the last book in the Legacy Series. Which is probably why I am not writing much. I don’t want them to end.

Oh, and not forgetting Noel’s poetry collection, by the way. I still love that one, and I usually include it when I take pictures of my own books…

I love the difference in our covers. It perfectly displays the difference in how we write and think. We should pick up that book we are writing together again… I loved how she would challenge me. Sometimes it is just so hard to find time for everything.

 

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Posted in The Legacy, The Starstone | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Silver Lining

I had this weird kind of day at the beginning of the week. I was home alone because of the boyfriend’s new job, so I went to the stable at 6 am and fed the kiddos, before I went to the gym at 7. I know, obsessive much? Sure. But this particular gym was actually not too far from the church where my childhood friend was buried, and for some reason, I decided to go see her that day, for the first time since the funeral.

It has been 12 years, and I have come up with a thousand excuses not to go back to that grave over the years, but I just felt numb that day. Calm. Like nothing could get to me. I was alone. Once the horses and the gym was done, I had the rest of the day off. Why not go?

It was pouring down rain, and in the past, I have used that as an excuse not to go, because I only have my scooter, and I will be soaked to the bone before I get there, but on this day, it kind of felt right. I was not supposed to go to her grave in sunlight. It was supposed to rain. Also, the rain might keep people away, ensuring that I’d be alone at the graveside.

I haven’t seen her grave since the funeral. Back then, everything was covered in snow, and during the last 12 years, a lot has changed at the grave yard. Still, I knew just where to find her. As much as I was crying when we buried her, I clearly still picked up on where it was.

I’m not sure how you are supposed to feel, sitting by a tombstone in the pouring rain, staring at a cold rock, with the name of someone who meant the world to you, knowing that underneath the ground, her body is decaying. I have no idea how people deal with that.

I have been told, by a lot of my friends over the years, that if I would just go to her grave, and say goodbye, I’d feel better.

I have no idea how people do that.

How do you say goodbye? The truth is, I never got to say goodbye, and it will always be too late now. I can come by her grave every single day from now on and until I die, and I will never get to say goodbye. And I will never accept that she was so alone that she saw no future for her, at all. I will never forgive me, for failing her like that.

I know that I am not recovering, because I don’t want to. I feel like I have no right to. She is not going to get better, is she? Why should I?

Still, it did feel kind of peaceful, sitting by her grave in the pouring rain and I am probably coming back someday, even if I am not sure why.

Later in the day, as I was working on the cover art for my new book, I got a call from the guy that owns my stable, saying “I’m not home, but my wife just called and said the horses has run away. Do you want her number?”

No. I’m on my way.

I was so calm. It was almost scary. I just got my scooter out and drove.

Usually, in the past when the kiddos has run off, (horses do that once in a while,) I’ve been terrified, imagining all kinds of scenarios, where they have ended up on the roof of a car, dying, and killing the driver, and you name it, I’ve imagined it a thousand times over on my way to the stable in situations like this.

I didn’t feel a thing as I parked my scooter and went around to pick up some halters from my locker, finding one of my gates opened and yes, the pasture horribly empty.

Okay, so this is how today is turning out. I am hunting horses. Again.

I’ve done that so many times, with my own or other people’s horses, over the years, but still. This is my babies, I love them more than anything. How was I not terrified?

The woman who owned my stable called me and said that she was with 4 other girls and that they had found tracks and was following them over the fields. I started walking in the direction they told me and while I was in the middle of no where, one of the local farmers called me.

“Hey, are you missing 5 horses?”

“Yes?”

“I have them.”

I never fail to be amazed by how people step up in situations like this. Turns out, my gang had been kind of terrified to be away from home, and they had wandered out of the open gate, spooking each other out of the drive way, until they reached the road, where they had turned, and tried to go back to their pasture, unable to find a way back through the fence. In the end, they had run along the fields, and had ended up 3 km away from home, luckily with a girl who has horses of her own, so she had put a halter on the “small and fat one” thinking that it might be the easiest one to handle, and while leading Tardis into an empty pasture of hers, the others had followed.

Well, she got one thing right. Tardis was the right horse to pick, since the is the Beta mare. Where she goes, the others go. As for being small and fat… That usually means hot temper and strong character but never mind… My babies were safe and all I had to worry about was getting them home again.

Within 10 minutes, I was met by 6 girls from local farms, including the woman who owns my place, (who know nothing of how to handle horses and is pretty scared of them,) and we set out to walk them home. One of them even volunteered to handle Marble, even though I told her that she was prone to throwing hissyfits.

I got to handle Ablaze, which was probably for the best, since he might be 4 years old, but he is not tame and not used to being walked on the road, or led by a halter. Saleem and Marble took the lead, Tardis and Ablaze was in the middle, (keeping Ablaze shielded from cars) and Apocalipse walked behind us. The lady who owns my stable said that she could walk him, and even though she was clearly terrified, she womaned up and walked Apocalipse, (the biggest horse on my pasture) all the way home.

Apocalipse is usually not that easy to handle, to be honest. When ever I have been walking him on the road, he has spooked over cars, jumped around like the ground was lava and in general acted very much like a drama queen, but he took one look at this little human and I could just see him deciding that he liked her and that he was going to help her out.

He was an angel, all the way home, making very sure not to scare her, reminding me so much of his mother. Amalia was like that too. As much as she would try to kill me if we disagreed on something, just as careful was she with children or nervous humans. He sure has her spirits.

I was so proud of all 5 of them, but Apocalipse most of all. This was a very stressful situation for them, being away from home, all of them covered in sweat, and having to trust and follow some humans they did not know, because I could only be there to lead one of them.

Once we did get home, they all flocked around me and I spent almost an hour, hugging them, because they just wouldn’t let me out of their sights. As much as they were able to walk home with another human, they clearly still needed me to tell them that everything was alright in the end.

I got them settled in though, and I was able to make them go eat hay, rather than hang over me, which led me to the most important question of the day; how did the gate open?

It has two locks on it, one top and one bottom. The top lock, they might be able to push open if they use the gate for scratching their necks or something, but the bottom… No way they could open that one. It had to have been opened by hand. I couldn’t even force it closed again. (Back to the gym, weak little human…)

It turned out that the children that lives at the stable had had a friend visiting and while the children know not to enter the horses pasture, this friend had done so, because she “knew horses.” She had opened the gate, and had been unable to close it again, except for the top lock. And well, by accident, the horses must have opened that one…

I wasn’t even angry. Fuck it, really. Nothing happened. They all came home safe and sound, and no cars were killed. Truth be told, I was relieved.

Children do stupid things, because they don’t think of the consequences. She thought the gate was closed, and that the bottom lock was unimportant. She knows now, not to do that again. This is a much, much better scenario than what I was imagining.

When I found my gate opened, I was terrified that someone, some stranger, had opened it. That, I cannot fight. Strangers, doing things like that, I cannot keep my horses safe from that.

One of the stables I ran in the past, had a problem with someone cutting our fence down two, three times a week. How do you fight that? How do you stop that? The fence was electrified, he brought isolated cutters to do it, specifically to let the horses out on the road. That is such a hopeless situation to be in, I don’t have words for it, and just imagining that someone would have opened my gate, was terrible.

So, I told the owners of my stable not to be angry at the kid. Really. We are good. No harm done.

And then I realized that I had signed up for going to zumba in the evening, and since my gym has a  policy of not allowing you to resign from classes two hours before the classes start, I was already late.

Great. While walking home, Ablaze and I had spooked over a car, and I had torn a ligament in my pelvic. I was pretty much unable to place any weight on my left leg, but since I had this strange day where I didn’t care much about anything, I went to zumba anyway. And I actually made it through the hour, mostly by mirroring the choreographies. Turns out, this instructor has most of his jumps on the left leg, so it was pretty easy to just do it on the right instead and I am clearly so terrible at zumba in general that he didn’t even notice. Fantastic.

I spent the rest of the evening sitting on the gym floor with some of the others, after zumba, wondering if it was going to hit me at some point. I could have lost everything that mattered to me, in the blink of an eye today, with all 5 of my horses running away. How was I not reacting? How was I not telling the others, in dramatic detail, what had happened? Because they wouldn’t care? Because I keep things to myself, so much that I don’t even care?

Because sometimes you care too much? So much, in fact, so you detach yourself in order to keep going?

Anyway, we nailed the gates shut now, so my pasture can’t be opened anymore. Hopefully I’ll never need to get those horses out of that pasture, ever again. Hopefully, they will stay put and no other kids will think they “got this.”

And finding them waiting for me the next day, I will say, was the best feeling ever.

Apocalipse and Saleem has hardly left the main house since they came home.

Tardis and Marble has become really good friends and are even able to share the “girls house” now.

That only took them 5 years. Maybe this little trip was good for them. Brought them closer to each other somehow.

Everything has a silver lining, I guess. You just have to want to look for it to find it.

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Slutwalk

I’ve always been struggling with gender roles, and mostly I grew up making sure to never wear a dress, to never cry when I fell and scraped my knees, and to not flinch when the ghetto boys pulled a knife on me. I moved on to the equestrian world and found some weird role there, competing in show jumping and later on, training dangerous horses. I have spent 15 years of my life, waking up every morning, knowing that one small mistake and today would be my last day.

Every stable I ever worked at, I divided the women instantly, between those who hated me and those who followed me. No matter how much I tried to keep a low profile, I always ended up being the one to fix the electric fence at 6 am in the middle of a blizzard, while almost unable to see because I had a concussion and probably one hand in a cast. It never bothered me. Nothing could get to me, really. I was the tough kid.

At the same time, I was the little, skinny, blonde girl. The one thing that could always tear me down, was the way men treat me.

Most men think it is okay to pick me up, because “I’m so skinny.” I will never understand that kind of reasoning. I don’t go around looking at small men and think, “oh let me sling him over my shoulder, and he should be flattered, and smile.” Why is it that women just have to take it as a complainant when a man can carry her? How about asking my fucking permission before touching me?

The weird thing is, if strangers touch me, I’ll probably defend myself, I have never felt threatened while being out at night alone. And my friends know not to treat me like a girl. But those people, who I either work with, or come into contact with on a regular basis, who I feel that I have to be polite too, those are the ones who so easily violate me and I… do nothing.

What does it even mean, to “treat me like a girl?”

For me, it means that I have been called sexy, beautiful, barbie, you name it. For me, it means that people think they can slap my ass, or whistle when I bend over, because you know, its hot.

Take a compliment, bitch.

In truth, none of that is complimenting me. It is simply degrading me, reducing everything I am, to a sexual object. I can have all the talent and skill in the world, and none of it matter the second someone calls me sexy. Then, I’m just a piece of meat in their eyes.

The worst thing is, that most men who do that, really, really believe that they are being super nice, and they have no mean intentions. This is simply our culture. This is how we treat women. Like we are only worth something if we are sexually alluring. And we should be grateful when someone thinks that we are.

I have been single for a huge part of my life. I have run into a great number of “great guys,” who I should really “give a chance,” you know. Even women tell each other that. Why not? He is a good guy.

You think men tell each other that? “You should give that girl a chance, because she is a good girl, even though you have no mental of sexual interest in her? But she likes you, you should be flattered. Don’t turn her down without going on at least one date with her, that’s just cruel.”

No?

Why do women have to fake interest? Because we should be grateful when someone likes us?

I have tried to tell the people in my life, to never treat me in a way, they wouldn’t treat a man. It’s really simple. If you are the kind of guy who calls other men beautiful, you can call me beautiful as well. But if you wouldn’t say it, or do it, to a man, don’t think you have the right to do it to me.

It is amazing how difficult people find that rule. Equality, much?

That is what equality is to me. To not be singled out, to not have my skills overwritten by my body, and to not be treated like… a woman.

One of my newer friends called me beautiful the other day. I instantly spun on him and told him not to call me that. And then I spent the rest of the day feeling guilty about snapping at him, because, you know. It was a compliment. Wasn’t it? Chill, Veronica.

I even ended up texting him and apologizing. What the fuck is wrong with me? How is it so deeply engraved in the female upbringing that we cannot even stand up for ourselves without saying sorry afterwards?

He did have the perfect response though, to be fair. He replied that he meant that I was beautiful on the inside, and I actually think that it was true. So maybe I did overreact. But if I did, it’s because I’ve spent 35 years, being a little blonde girl, in a mans world and even when I shave my head or don’t wash my clothes for weeks, (yes, I’ve had those periods as well,) nothing seems to change.

I was at Slutwalk yesterday, which is a yearly event, started by women (but including all genders,) who do not think that victim blaming or rape culture is acceptable. I know that my problems with being touched and spoken to this way is nothing compared to actually being raped, and listening to these girls tell a public forum about what happened to them, I was super impressed. It takes a special kind of bravery to stand up for yourself and tell the world that “I did not deserve what happened to me,” even if the police let their rapists go. Some of them were even told not to accuse the poor guy of rape, because that was not a nice thing to do.

Statistically, every other woman in Denmark as been raped or has suffered some kind of violent sexual assault.

Let’s take a moment to let that resonate.

Every other.

Most of it goes unreported, and those who do report it suffer through the police asking them if they were drunk, if they flirted, if they talked to the guy earlier in the evening…

As if any of that gave him the right to rape them later. And usually, the courts say that it did. Usually the rapist is not convicted, because the girl wore a short shirt.

You know, asked for it, right?

This is 2017. Tell me about equality. Women are still here, for men, aren’t we?

I have a lot of friends who has been raped. I know that none of them reported it. We keep it quiet, we cry about it in the dark, and maybe we tell a friend sometime, when we really need to put words on the pain. This is how we were raised.

Because on some level, our courts support rape. Support men’s right to a woman’s body.

Because on some level, our body is not our own.

Isn’t that just horrible?

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Chance

There was so many things I never said to you.

I wish I was the kind of person who could have hugged you more, or told you that I love you. Now I’ll never get the chance to.

I wish I could have broken out of my own prison, before it was too late for us. I wish you could have known how special you were. I wish I had been braver; I should have stood up for you. Now I’ll never get the chance to.

I chose not to see you, just like everybody else. I let myself be blinded by your smile, your beauty and your talent. How you lit up the room around you.

Perhaps I could not have saved you, maybe it was bound to end this way, but I’ll always know, I didn’t try. I’ll always know, I walked away. Who was I to think I could have made a difference anyway?

I wish I could have told you, how much we depended on you. How shattered we would be to lose you. Now I’ll never get the chance to.

I wish I could be angry, that you took that choice away from me. I wish I could move past you, and forgive myself for failing you. I wish I could un-see the shadow behind your eyes, and convince myself I didn’t know.

I wish I could have figured out, how to be the friend you needed.

Now, I’ll never get the chance to.

You are beautiful, like a star, but this world has seen a thousand stars, and only one of you. 

Posted in Poetry/ Songs /Art | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Copenhagen Pride

I convinced one of my friends to go with me to Copenhagen Pride this year. At first she was all “hell no, I’m too shy,” but before I knew it, she was really into it and planning when and how and where, so all I had to do was sit back and follow her.

That turned out to be a good thing, because I gotta admit, so soon after Gishwhes, I am kind of reaching my “people” limit. I can feel my head imploding every time I have to deal with people these days, and I will probably have to disappear for a while at some point, to reset me. You know, well… I’ve done that before. Anyway. The point is, I would not have gone to pride if it hadn’t been for my friend.

With the recent terror attacks, I did consider the risk of going as well. What if some jackass were to drive a car through the crowd? What if I was kissing my horses goodbye for the last time that morning?

And I knew, the second I thought that, that this was why I was going. Because fuck you world, I will not live my life in fear. If I do, those who hate me have already won. I guess I found that one thing I will still fight for. My right to be exactly who I am.

I will say, there was a lot of police at the parade, and I mean a LOT. The open space where the show was, after the parade, was almost completely blocked off by armed cars. I don’t think a lot of people noticed though. I look at the strangest things. Also, I always had a problem with authorities, so it felt kind of strange that the police was there, protecting me all of a sudden…

I do feel ambivalent about the whole thing, to be honest. The police, the parade, the show. I know I am in an over thinking things kind of mode these days, but still.

Okay, so the parade was super great. I love seeing the people spending an entire day walking the streets of Copenhagen, dressed up and having fun.

I loved seeing how many political parties were there, (even if some of them felt kind of forced,) and how many sponsored wagons showed up.

I know that support is a good thing, and that companies and political parties openly supporting LGBT rights is good, but there is still a part of me that feels that they are just riding the latest trend. “It’s hip, these days, to support the gays. Let’s do it, this one week a year, right?”

I don’t know. Shut up, Veronica. It was great. Don’t question everything.

Loved this girl, BTW…

We walked with the parade for a while, and my friend actually said that she was up for going next year, either for our political party, or Amnesty International. I think that could be pretty cool, and also give us a reason to be there, other than to just be on display as part of a freak show.

Like I said, I feel sorta strange about the parade. I love how people get to dress up and do whatever the fuck they want for a day, but I am not sure I love how they, we, are displayed as animals in a circus, with tons of people staring and taking pictures. Me, with my Rainbow Dash hair, I had almost every photographer we came by, take a picture of me, and I don’t mind. Knock yourself out, really.

But… The whole point of this LGBT rights thing is… That we are just people, right? No matter who we love or how we dress, we are humans, like everyone else. Right?

I even heard one of the girls tell one of the guys that on this one day, he wasn’t a freak, and this was how it should be everyday, right?

I know that she meant well, but I could feel myself dying inside when she said it, because… Is that how he sees himself? As a freak?

Isn’t the parade kind of feeding that notion, then? I don’t know. I guess I’m an expert at finding negative sides to everything. Never mind. Moving on. Maybe.

Now, the girl I went with, was one of the girls from my Gishwhes team. We actually don’t know each other that well. We have met like, 4 times, for Gishwhes, and other than that, we have only talked to each other on twitter, even though we live pretty close to each other.

We met one of the zumba instructors from my gym, and his friend, on the train station on the way to Copenhagen, and ended up tagging along with them, meeting one of the girls from his zumba class and her friend, once we got there.

My Gishwhes buddy met up with another SPN friend at the parade, and I even convinced my sister to join us for a brief moment, since she lives in Copenhagen. All in all, I spent most of the day hanging out with 7 people, none of whom I really know at all. (My sestra and I have met maybe 10 times tops. Long story.)

I guess its pretty easy to take these kinds of pictures, and don’t get me wrong, I like all these guys, and it was super great going with them, sharing this moment in history with them, and it didn’t hit me until my friend said to me that “you know everybody!”

But I…. Don’t? I don’t know any of you, really? And I am choosing that, aren’t I? I could have asked anyone to go with me to pride, why did I pick a girl I’ve met 4 times?

Because I knew she would have fun and that she wouldn’t go unless I asked her? Maybe. Because I wanted to get to know her better? Perhaps. Because I feel safe, when people don’t know me?

………….

I guess sometimes you have to look at your own reflection in an empty train, late at night and wonder about the choices you make.

And the truth is, the very few people who do know me, or at least, know me better than these guys, would not have gone to pride with me, because they have kids by now, and grown up lives, and here I am… Taking pictures of people taking selfies at pride… On my cell phone, because my camera died, so I don’t even have the “photographer” excuse.

Gotta love his shirt, right? Although that horse looks pretty much like Ablaze… 😛

And the best part of the trip was still when a little girl on the train recognized my hair and called me Rainbow Dash. That’s right, I’m never growing up. My Little Ponies rock.

Just accept your weird, Veronica. That is what Pride is all about, isn’t it?

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Gishwhes 2017 Team Dandelions

I almost wrote a thousand posts during Gishwhes, about how amazing my team was, but I never quite found the time, because whenever I thought I had half an hour to sit down and write, it turned out I was wrong, and I had to cover something in glitter or theater blood instead. But, here goes, at long last.

I was lucky enough to have a super engaged team this year, all of them amazingly creative and bold, which made it super inspiring to be their team captain. I got to meet 14 people, some of who I knew a little, some I didn’t know at all, (except for brief twitter encounters,) and a few I have known for a while. But even those I knew a little better than the others, showed me new sides of themselves.

Let me start with our group shot. We had to pretend to be abducted by aliens, and displayed in their zoo. So we had to take a zoo picture of ourselves, and write a word describing what made us special. I have to say, that was a tough one. Why would anyone want to display me in their zoo? For my brilliant mind? I think not. I even asked about it on face book, and found that people were very hesitant to answer. Only after I took the picture, did one of my friends (almost) call me a mutant. He was clearly afraid of offending me, but I was kicking myself for not putting that on the sign, the second he said that… Anyway, I felt my team wondering how to solve the task, and since I needed a picture from all of them before the week was over, I figured I’d do something wild and make them seem less crazy.

It worked like a charm. They all jumped on it and I got the best alien zoo group picture I could have dreamed off. Team Dandelions, everyone;

I was super happy to see my long-time-online friend, Jen, sign up for my team this year, and watching her and her kid(s) participate has made me smile more than she will ever know. They have never watched a single episode of Supernatural and they had no idea who Misha was, but they were super ready to be crazy with me.

Since this was the last Gishwhes (as-we-know-it,) I knew that we had to do the Kale headdress. It may sound silly, but kale has been a huge part of Gishwhes, and when no one signed up for doing it, I did. I could not imagine our team not doing the kale item this year.

It turned out to be very difficult to find kale in Denmark this time of year, though. Every shop I went to, had it chopped up and frozen, but I needed a whole leaf. In the end I asked, desperately, online if anyone could get their hands on a leaf of kale. Jen stepped up and promised to look. She lives in the US, so chances were that she might succeed, where I had failed.

(Side note. The things I ended up asking for, online… Anyone know what to use instead of huge quantities of lube? Anyone have a bee costume? Or a donkey I can borrow? How about a Chupacabra I can adopt? No? How about a Wonder Woman outfit?)

As luck would have it, one of my danish team mates found a glorious leaf of kale and I forced my cat to play a part in my Egyptian inspired headdress. Around the same time as I took the picture, Jen wrote and said that she had found some kale as well. I was jumping for joy, because that meant we could both do it.

I have known Jen for 7 years, and never met her. We have followed each other’s lives through our blogs for so long, she feels like one of my best buddies by now. So I am more than happy to start this years Gishwhes post with our kale art picture;

She even had a matching cat, so here we are, continents apart, but united through gishwhes and kale.

Another thing I adored about this years hunt was watching one of my more shy friends play with me. She was so ON this game, so brave, so ready to be crazy, her happiness alone has made me smile all week. We had her daughter dress up as a wood nymph and play flute in an elevator; (because Misha…)

 

She solved a ton of tasks on her own, and even wrote the description on some of them while uploading them herself, which is huge, because she always seem to think that she can’t write in English. So just watching her do that, had me silently firing my Pinkie Pie Party canon.

And when I asked for help to do the tree hugger item, she instantly volunteered her entire family.

One of the girls from the team I was on last year, who signed up again this year, drove a long way for this, so I figured that since she did that, we should do something more than just hug a tree. I mean, we have been gishing together for two years and she had a two hour drive to meet us, it felt a little anticlimactic to have her do that and be done in two seconds, so I asked if they were up for doing the Vampire vs Zombie World War II with nerf guns as well. They all said yes, and my shy friend managed to destroy clothes for her and her kids, and be the most awesome zombies, in the middle of a public forest.

My uncle joined us for this event, as well. I met him last year, having been estranged from my fathers side of the family all my life. I think he mostly signed up for Gishwhes to get to know me, but I was very impressed by how into it he actually was. He did a lot of great items on his own as well, and I gotta say, he made a good zombie, considering that my friends kids kept shooting him instead of the vamps. You know what they say… Friendly fire… Isn’t…

Anyway, here goes;

You will notice that we did not have any nerf guns and we will probably lose points over that, but I couldn’t care less. We had so much fun using soft guns, super soakers and even a plastic cross bow, and the whole point of Gishwhes is exactly this. Pushing the limits for what you are willing and able to do, and having tons of fun while doing it.

I just love how into it the kids were as well. The little girl in the dress is usually super shy and quiet, but she kept acting her part and she had such a great time. I loved seeing that. And she kept tripping over my uncle, forgetting that he wasn’t exactly buried, only covered in leaves…

And yes, the vamps were greatly outnumbered, so we lost in the end. I had actually convinced one more of my friends to play with us, but he couldn’t make it at the last second. I totally blame our loss on that… One more man and we would have so gotten those zombies…

I have to share the “Chucks Vamps” outtake, of Signe, Vivi and me. Having been gishing together two years in a row now, they feel like family, even if we only met Vivi this once.

Of course, Signe and I got married last year, so I guess she is family… 😛 Which made this our anniversary, and when the other team captains started talking about spamming Misha with pictures of us eating without utensils, (according to this years commandments,) Signe and I instantly knew we had to do a Lady and Tramp shot.

We had a lot of trouble finding the cover for the table, until I accidentally asked one of my Disney nerd friends if she would come by and be the photographer, because my boyfriend was conveniently stuck at work all week, and she had the perfect set up for the shoot. Noted. If I ever need anything Disney, I’ll just ask her. So, Lady and the Tramp, vegan style.

You may have noticed that my head is shaved by now. Yeah. That was another item. Shave Gishwhes into the back of your head or into thick chest hair. My shy friend instantly said she would do it, she even asked her husband if we could borrow his chest, but he was not playing, (buuuh) so, well… I kind of thought it could be fun.

It worked out pretty well and her daughter was kind enough to kill me afterwards… I will say, I have explained Gishwhes to so many people by now, I am getting a little sick of it. But is has been a fun experiment to see how people react. Some ask, some ignores it, some have to touch it, and some laugh.

Anyway, sticking to my uncle for a second, I was going over the item list at the end of the hunt, wondering what else I could pull off at the last minute, and I picked up on the “bond with your Chupacabra” item. As much as I relate to being called a mutant, I relate even more to being a monster, so I texted him and asked if I could eat him? He instantly said yes.

By then, my trusted Canon Eos had died a horrible death to glitter and blood, so we had to do the pictures on my phone. *Sob, my camera*

But my uncle and his wife and their youngest daughter came by. We had actually talked about feeding the child to the Chupacabra, as a bonding moment, but when she saw her strange new cousin, (remember we met last year,) covered in purple lipstick, she was so not playing. Clearly some kids are raised to be monsters and some aren’t… This one was not, so we decided that a nice bonding moment could be going on a road trip. Right?

This is hands down, the best family photo I have. Anyone willing to do this with me, and have this look on his face, is a superstar.

I feel like I have been photo shopping all week. I know I can do that easily, so when no one else picked up on those items, I did. Like, Stormtroopers for peace…

And the “My daughter saw a moon fairy last night. Take a picture of one, using long exposure time and movable lights,” item. I am a photographer, that was the kind of item I could do in two seconds. (No Photoshop involved.)

That’s a lie. I think I had the shutter speed at at least 35 seconds… Still…

And then I realized that one of the girls from my team had picked up on the item, and was having so much fun shooting pictures this way, that I instantly asked if she wanted to do it. Watching her, it felt like she was rediscovering what art and creation was, by doing this. She was so happy and so inspired. Exactly what Gishwhes is all about. Rediscovering your creative sides.

This was not being creative for me. This was work. I’ve been doing this for years. Her pictures was something new, something fragile and exploring. I loved seeing that.

When I posted my picture, after the hunt, she said that it was better than hers. I will say this again. NO, it is not. It is just different. Art depends on the eyes that see. And for me, my picture was technically good, because I understand my (RIP) camera, but hers were art, because they were pure creation.

I, of course, managed to get My Little Ponies into Gishwhes this year. Wup wup. I did an item that said that I should hand paint little rocks with optimistic messages on them and leave them places where people would need a “pick me up.” I loved the metal purple so much that I had to make a matching pony.

I know, spending a whole evening, putting hair on a pony, during Gishwhes, when it was not an item, was kind of a waste of time, but it felt right for me. I’ll have this pony with me for the rest of my life, reminding me of the last Gishwhes.

And then there was the “what do your toys get up to while you sleep” item. Well… My ponies sure don’t like the doll… And not my fault they cooked the kale…

The escape room drove me insane. First of all, I kept wasting time, clicking on the porn.. I mean, the fan art. *Cough* And I kept buying kale and the pokeball… Even when I realized that I had to NOT do that, and when I understood that I AM A WRASSE, I saw no way out. I am so happy they left the page up after Gishwhes closed, and I got to actually escape. It would have gnawed at me forever, having failed that.

There was an animal yoga item as well. One of my team members did a great job at that with a chicken and a pig, and I truly applaud her patience and commitment. I just had to try with Tardis. Again, this is not new for me, I have been training horses like this all my life. Touching them, making them trust me to crawl on them like this, so they would not kill their owners when I handed them back. I have done this with every single one of the horses I have ever worked with in my life, except… Except the 5 I have now. They are hardly broken in. Tardis was ridden a little, last year, before she was diagnosed with Cushings. Since then, I have not done much with any of them.

I had to try, though. This was what I was good at, once upon a time. This used to be who I am.

I love this pony, and her son. I can’t believe she let me do that. She is amazing. And you will notice how she looks at my shoes. She hates that they are white. That is actually why I don’t take them off. She would have spooked over that…

During Gishwhes, I quit playing Pokemon Go, even though this week was the week of my team’s legendary bird. I quit Dragon Mania Legends. It’s even been days since I opened the My Little Pony game. Something inside me changed. Maybe I got sick of seeing the world through the screen of my phone. I don’t know. I just know that even now, I don’t feel like going back. I have loved these games, but I really don’t care anymore. So what if I don’t get Zapdos, or activate my pony gem stores every 3 hours? Is that really what my life is about?

As much as I have loved watching my team break the boundaries for what they dared to do, and discover the arts of creation, or just simply have fun, I guess I learned a lot too.

I loved being the team captain. I loved not sleeping (much) for a week, always stepping in with positive comments and ideas. I loved everything about this years Gishwhes, and once again, my team was amazing.

If that makes me a mutant, or a monster, or simply a ring leader of crazy, then so be it. I will forever be grateful to Misha for letting us have Gishwhes. I would not have been without it. And I will keep my fingers crossed that he will create something else for us. This is the best week of the year. I am counting on you, Misha. Don’t let us down. We need you, to remember who we are, or who we want to be.

Thank you. Just, thank you.

Don’t let this be the last sunset on this amazing thing that is Gishwhes. Let it rise again, somehow. Please.

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Friendship Is Magic

So, I was poke-hunting today, with one of my oldest friends and her daughter. FYI, I am a horrible person to have around your kid. Even if I try my very best, I will keep using phrases like “I’m so screwed,” or “fuck off” all the time. The second I say it, I realize how wrong that is of me, since my friend is trying to teach her daughter not to, but oh my… I guess I should clean up my act in general. Hanging with a kid really makes you see yourself in a new light.

Also, I am pretty dangerous to play Pokemon Go with, because I forget to look up when I cross the street, or to stop at red lights… Again, not the best thing to learn a kid. Sometimes I have no idea why my friend lets me hang around her daughter.

But, that is not what this post is about. No, I guess it is about friendship. It is such a weird thing. I guess it really is magic…

As we were driving home today, we spoke off a house on the road, where a family was murdered back in the 1970ties, by an ax murderer who was never found. As we were both slightly enthralled by the story of the house, we instantly agreed that we would not want to live there. And not because we were afraid of some maniac with an ax.

No, we both thought of the vengeful spirits in that house.

That is one of those funny moments, where you look at your friend and think, “she is just as crazy as me,” and somehow you realize why she is your best buddy. Not because she lets me hang around her kid, or because we have known each other for 20 years, or because we play music and pokemon together. Not because she is the one I can call late at night and ask to sew me a costume for gishwhes, or because she always respected that my horses were my babies. No, this one is my friend because we just think alike.

I don’t come across a lot of those moments, usually I keep people at a distance somewhat, but this was absolutely a moment for me, that defines who we are and why we have stuck with each other for 20 years.

I guess that was the one good thing that came out of my brief time in the school system. I got to know her. Even if it took me 20 years to realize just how special she is to me, and why. It is the funniest things that suddenly makes you see things clearly.

And maybe I should tell her, instead of writing about her here, but that is not who I am, and hell… she knows.

Damn it, Veronica, don’t say hell. Or damn it.

Damn it. I’ll go away now.

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