Books I have to Read…

So I’m sitting in my living room with my friend and he asks, “Why do you write fantasy?”  I shrugged my shoulders.  I thought a minute and I guess, so far, fantasy picked me.  Although my book isn’t pure fantasy (it’s really a mix of all kinds of genres – romance, thriller, horror, chick lit, adventure) it does seem to lend itself to fantasy most of all.  Curious, I looked over to my rather small bookshelf and noticed all the books currently waiting (patiently) to be read.  There isn’t a lot of fantasy there, but my mind does like to travel that route.  The what if route… then I thought about those people who have those enormous libraries and fill them with the books they think  are important… then you wonder when you see it, have they read any of these?  The answer is usually no, but I have read quite a few of mine… most are tucked away in boxes in my storage unit (I live in a small place… not enough room for books… well, the number of books I own) so currently I have the ones I am looking forward to reading in the home.

Every writer has different advice to other writers.  The constants are make yourself sit down and write, it’s a job, treat it as such.  Excellent advice.  The other is to read… all the time, again, excellent advice.  I am currently reading The Boys From Brazil.  One of my all time favorite movies and now, I’m reading the book… it’s excellent by the way.  After that, I believe The Alienist by Caleb Carr, or The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks or… Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie.  There are about 100 books on that shelf (as you can see below) so I guess I better get to reading, after all, it can only improve my writing.  So you get to reading too… 🙂  I guess you already are…

My Hero… my dad…

Ten days ago I walked into my dad’s house.  He was in his chair, napping as he does, but something told me he wasn’t just asleep.  I called out to him and said “Hey, Daddy, wake up, I’m here.”  But he didn’t move, so I called again, but nothing.  Then I  touched his cold hand and the back of his neck, tears running down my face as I yelled for him to wake up, but he didn’t.  I sat down next to him and sobbed, my hands shaking until I had the presence of mind to call for help.   The rest of the day was surreal and it didn’t help that it took hours for them to come and get him, because he looked like he was asleep.  I kept looking over at him and waiting for him to wake up, with that groggy look on his face, and then smile at me for catching him napping… but that never happened. He was gone.


Over the last ten hazy, sad, tear and laughter filled days, I’ve been remembering my life.  My daddy was my best friend, the first person I went to when I needed help and advice.  I talked to him almost everyday.  As the days go on, I realize that I haven’t talked to him since that last Thursday.  Joking and laughing about nothing in particular.  That’s the hardest part.  I can’t hear his voice, or hug him goodnight, or hear his laughter.  It hurts when I think about what I’ve lost.

When I was twelve-years-old, I was going to bed and my dad started to cry and he said “When we go to sleep, I really need to hear ‘I love you’, it’s really important.”  From that night on, I never ended a conversation or went to sleep without telling him that I loved him.  I was blessed to have him for eleven years longer than I should have, after strokes and congestive heart failure and I was blessed to be able to care for him last year, when he needed me most.  That was one of the best and scariest times of my life and I treasure it.

I’m not sad that he has gone on to be free of the body that had stopped letting him live the amazing life he had lived, or that he’s off on the next great adventure.  I’m sad for me.  Mourning isn’t about them being gone, it’s about us being left behind.  It’s not like I’m ready to go yet, but I’m still sad for me and for the children I have yet to mother, who will only know him through my stories like I knew his mother.

A day doesn’t go by that I can’t hear his words in my head about whatever is affecting me, always good advice, always with love.  I remember going bear hunting in the back yard at night (which never happened, because Pat would never go outside), Bigfoot hunting in the park (that time I wouldn’t go and Pat ran maniacally into the woods, totally unafraid), watching the Legend of Boggy Creek, learning to box (no, I do not hit like a girl, you better look out for my right cross), coaching my soccer team, my basketball team, having to stop taking me to my swim meets because I was more interested in seeing my daddy then diving first, hearing “Suck it up!” every time I got hurt (it made me stronger), learning about the magic of Monty Python, going to see Caddyshack and ET, being tickled till I couldn’t breathe, telling him he forgot to cook the meat when he gave a three-year-old Steak Tar Tar, then listing to him bitch as he made a burger out of $30 a lb gound steak, watching him dance with my mom when they still loved each other, going to USC football games and tailgating, watching Football at Highbury and drinking in Pubs, scaring the French kids at St. Paul’s (I actually scared them, dad just laughed), dancing with him at my wedding, sharing a love of SyFy channel movies, hanging in Vegas, going to breakfast at 2am… there are so many more and I think some I’ve forgotten that my brother and sister will remind me of in the years to come.

I have been so unbelievably lucky to have been the daughter of Michael Dearing and to have been his friend.  I hope you are happy and free, off exploring whatever the universe has in store for you next and know that wherever you are and whatever you do, not a minute goes by that you are not in my mind, my heart and my soul.  I love you, daddy… it’s been ten days.   I miss you.  I love you.  Always.

Dad and Shan 1968

The Lake

There’s a picture I keep on my desk at work.  It’s a lake, covered in mist, surrounded by trees, and the point of view is from the shore which is green and lush with a pier jutting out into the water with an Adirondack chair at the end and a bench off to the side.  It’s so serene and inviting.  But I never end up going there.  I never take time to find this lake… or one like it, even though I wish I could go there.

Do I really want to go there?  You would think that if I did, I would find it and book a visit… but I don’t.  Why?  I wish I knew.  Maybe if I did go, I wouldn’t come back.  Maybe I would move there because I loved it so much.  Maybe I’m afraid of loving something too much, because if I lose it, it’s hurts that much more… but what if I stop loving it.  Maybe I don’t go because I’m afraid I won’t love it anymore… maybe I’m afraid something will happen to make me hate it.

That’s happened to actors or musicians I love.  They do something mean and ruin it all.   By mean, I’m talking about those people who are rude and just mean to their fans.  I’m not sure I really like meeting people I admire, because really, I don’t know them.  I admire them for their work, not who they are as people, because I know nothing about who they really are and for that matter, how they are.  In my mind, they’re cool, but it’s an illusion, I know that.  It’s disappointing when someone who you like turns out to be a jackass, but it’s devastating when you really love what they do.  For me, it ends.  Everything I loved is over, because it’s hard for me to separate how they treated someone (or me) and their craft.

Oops, that was kind of off the mark so getting back on track… maybe it’s just not what you expected.  Maybe you feel the love that you used to have, but it’s changed.  It’s not the place that it once was and now you wonder, “Where can I go if not that lake?”  I guess I know the answer… when I’m ready, I’ll find a new place to go… maybe I’ll love it and maybe I’ll hate it, but either way, it’s a new experience.  Letting go of the past and moving into the future is always such a sad and scary thought… here I am standing on the edge of the cliff again.  Maybe there’s a lake at the bottom.


Cheating… hmm…

I was reading another blog a little while ago and the author was talking about the little talked about reasons why men cheat.  At the end, everyone had something to comment about.   The agreeing with the author, the chastising, the offering of other reasons… and yet none of them seemed to (1) mention that just as many women cheat and (2) why people are so devastated by cheating.

1. Yes… women cheat.  I’ve had women friends who cheated on their boyfriends and husbands, and girlfriends and wives.  There are always different reasons.  They felt neglected because he/she was never home or never listened, they weren’t in love with their partners anymore, there was no passion, he/ she was cheating on her… the list goes on forever and there is always an excuse. One commentator on the other blog got it right in one respect, they do it because they can.  Yes, there are repercussions and consequences, but in many cases, most people want to get caught. Yep, you heard me, they want to get caught.  Why?  Because there are problems in the relationship and the cheating is a symptom.   Getting caught brings it to the surface.  Now of course this isn’t true in all cases… sometimes sex is an outlet and nothing more… sometimes they just want to cheat, male or female, they want to step out… thus bringing us to…

2. The real reason that cheating is so devastating to the non-cheater.  It’s simple really… it’s the lying.  Lies.  The whole act of cheating is a calculated, self-indulgent lie.  A one night stand is bad enough.  The cheater has to cover his or her whereabouts for an evening, working late, car accident, friend needed me… and the trusting partner believes.  There it is… the trusting partner.  It’s bad enough when you cheat once, but then there is the affair.  Yeah, the affair is worse.  Why?  Because now, it’s time and money and emotion.  The onc time lie has become symptomatic and huge and continuous.

Lots of people say it’s the sex.  I don’t think it is… sure, you’re concerned because maybe they weren’t safe.  That’ s possible, but look deeper and I bet you see where the pain really is… it’s in the lie.  This person who is supposed to always be truthful with you has been systematically lying, for whatever reason.  That’s why it’s so hard to get trust back… because of the lies.  Right after the lies, it’s the rejection.  Why wasn’t I enough?  Why didn’t you love me like that?

There is no magic fix to this because some people will always cheat… but maybe we can try to look at it for what it could be… the symptom to a greater problem.  Take a look and see what it might be… maybe you can fix it, maybe you can’t.

Have I been cheated on?  Not that I know of, I don’t believe so, but you never know for sure.  But I do know that if I was ever cheated on and learned about it, it would be the lie that hurt the most.

A New Year

I was looking at an old picture not ten minutes ago.  It’s one of myself and my brother and sister taken in 1978, I think.  We were ten, eight and five, respectively.  We are all super imposed over one another… my profile on top, then my brother slightly turned and then my sister straight forward on the bottom… very themed… our 70’s hairdos, same turtle neck shirts… I remember my mom being so specific with the photographer about what she wanted, after all, it was our Christmas card that year.

I remember seeing it and hating the way I looked.  My nose was huge, I hated my hair, I was fat.  Funny thing is, now I look at it and think I’m beautiful.  I see how my sister and brother have changed.  The structure of their faces, their hair color, etc., but it’s still them.  They are still beautiful.  They are still full of life.  I think about our lives and how they’ve changed.  We aren’t much different really, still silly, funny, crazy… definitely crazy.  As my sister says,  “Dearings put the FUN in dysFUNctional.”

The one thing that hasn’t changed is how close we are.  We may not talk everyday, or hang out all the time, but I know they are always with me.  In the things I say and do, the stories I tell, or how something reminds me of them every day.  I get to see them about once a month for birthdays and holidays and it’s always the best time.

This photo reminds me of some of the best and worst times of my life, but I remember the best times.  Running around in the summer irrigation, chasing the dogs when they got out of the back yard, Fourth of July parties and pool hopping, spending the weekends swimming and watching TV, eating watermelon outside (so you didn’t make a mess), drinking from the hose, playing Kill the Carrier until Mike Abretske got pissed at his brother Joe, a fight, then the game was over because Mike would run home crying, grapefruit wars, walking for hours on Halloween, sleep overs, haunted houses, the red Christmas Tree, the Christmas tree rebellion, Boomer, Tom Ling, making a concoction, polka dot pizza, the Vectrex gaming system, KISS… I guess I could go on forever.

I hadn’t looked at this picture in quite some time and hadn’t realized how much I missed seeing it.  I may not have appreciated it then, but now… it’s one of my favorites.