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You all are a bunch of bookworms!

A friend made that comment to me recently, and I had to laugh because it was true. My friends are all talented writers or artists in their own right. We are in different stages; some are published, some are in the midst of writing, some are hidden writers, and others are just beginning to awaken their inner writer. There was something intrinsically unique to growing up in our close knit social setting.

I remember growing up. My mother ran childcare as a favor for a friend, so two of my best friends were over every week for fun and adventure. For years, we ran wild, limited only by our own imagination, and with six acres of land which included dark woods, flowering fields, babbling brooks, and colorful gardens, there was nothing we could not conceive. Many hours were spent in creative abandon, many days chasing the sun and the stars.

There is something magical when people–no matter the age–come together with minds full of ideas. I remember nights seated around our kitchen table just eating cookies and shooting the breeze. Sometimes we were rolling in laughter over stories and tall tales we spouted to each other. How many wild ideas had we conceived on those nights? How many world problems had we solved?

Because we did that, too. We weren’t just kids all the time, we discussed every relevant problem under the sun. We practiced our opinions in the safety of friendship, we learned how to bend our ideals and allow ourselves to be open minded. We didn’t all agree, even for how close we were, there were still differences of opinions. The kitchen table was an open floor format for anyone to speak up, even if they wanted to be utterly ridiculous to change the subject. That was cool, too. We didn’t get hung up about problems, we let the conversation take its natural course.

We’re all grown up now and, like I said, maturing into accomplished authors. We don’t get to spend nearly as much time together. Some of us are getting married, some in serious dating relationships. A few people have been added to ‘The Collection’–as we often call it–and others have left for grand adventures. We’ve moved out of the Blue Castle with its acres of dragon-infested, fairy-spotted, danger-lurking territory and the kitchen table setting has changed, but when we get together, the story is the same as always. I suppose that’s the gift of a childhood friendship. We don’t feel the need to “grow up”, we have always included the relevant matters, and we can still talk nonsense with all the seriousness of the world.

***

Books have always been a passion of mine. I loved to read. My friends loved to read. My parents didn’t let us fill our days with television and video games, so we read a lot. I ate up fantasy fiction books mostly and sprinkled in a few biographies, classics, and horse books. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen were my heroes, I think I read every one of their books before realizing it was basically the same story repeated…

One girl meets boy, some drama, girl gets boy, other girl surprisingly gets a boy too. The End.

When I could comprehend the language, I bit into science fiction genres to feed my addiction to Star Wars and Trek. I consider myself well versed, but am humble enough to admit I missed a lot of what some people consider to be essential reads. I’m also honest enough to say certain books never even interested me.

Little House on the Prairie? Let’s be real. I was too busy chasing outlaws with Zane Gray and Louis L’Amour. I’ll wager my Chick Bowdrie Texas Ranger to your Laura Ingalls any day.

But I’m not here to debate essential reads with anyone. We all have our own flavor in books, and I feel we should respect each other in that regard. You may refer a book, but you may not condemn or scoff a person for choosing not to read. Not on my blog, at any rate.

Tallyho, friends

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Fanny T Crispin

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Raw

Gardens – Real and Imaginary

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Spring has arrived. The memory of winter is melting into the forgotten realms. It is this time of year that I feel the most creative. I get out and dig my hands deep into the soil, sow tiny seed pods, and let the water from the hose run down my arms. The sun is warm and not yet hot. Strong winds fill the trees and rustle unfurling leaves with an impatience I myself feel during this season. I impatiently await sprouting flowers, I hover over wet soil for green shoots, and I keep myself from picking at weeds-or-could-they-be-flowers? plants.

My flower garden is small. Because of my impatience and visionary expectations, it is mostly filled with figurines. Mushrooms, pinwheels, gnomes, fairies, and–yes–even a garden wizard I found on clearance one autumn day last year. Although, clearance or not, I was going to own that wizard. I see strange plants coming up and can’t identify them. This frustrates me to no end. I keep checking and re-checking them for signs of familiarity, but there are none. I want to pluck them out, but I refrain, because they might be the very thing I intended.

Although, most likely, they might be weeds.

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It’s this spring time season that turns my thoughts to the imaginary. I dream of fairies, watch them flutter in my peripheral, and longingly stare at the landscape to catch a glimpse. As a child, I fanciful named myself a female Peter Pan (he was played by a woman all those years), and that same refusal to age bred within my spirit. I’m still a twelve year old child. Sure, I work three jobs, pay bills, and can drink alcoholic beverages when it strikes my fancy, also coffee, but when I lay my head down at night, listening to the lull of leaves brushing against my pirate ship tree house, I return to my youth.

I account this to the reason that I write young adult books. I never cared to even read adult fiction. It’s surprisingly different from YA and I found it doesn’t capture my attention. I read books that I can fly through, ones that set my spirit free. In like manner, I write the books that inspire my inner Pan. Life is too short for serious stories.

I’ve had people judge me accusingly for not reading certain books–“classics”, or other worthy works of literature. The truth is, I hate it when people force their interests on me. I try very hard not to do it to them, because they might not be capable of appreciating my same ideals. With some cases, they just might not have time! In like manner, it’s difficult for me to enjoy a work of literature when it is being shoved in my face. With that being said, please, share you book loves! But respect my decision if I choose not to read them. One book will not a life-long friendship make, and neither will it tear asunder a preexisting relationship.

So when it comes to the books I’ve written, you really won’t find me harping on them too much. Within my writerly circle, yes of course I’ll want to expound on the latest plot or character development, but so do we all. I won’t beg you to read my books, or tell you how amazing I think they are. Your time is valuable to you, I want you to read a book for your own interest, on your own time, so that you’re able to enjoy it. And if you love the book, if my words made you laugh, or shiver in excitement, if your imagination ran wild even for a moment, than that’s all I need to hear. What makes you happy, makes me happy. Because that’s how the world was meant to be–putting others before thine own self.

In the words of Ellen Degeneres, “Be kind to one another” and Dream Big!

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Fanny T Crispin

Raw

Not Complaining

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You know when you start to post that status or that blog and all you do is complain and you know you’re complaining, but you’re going to post that status or that blog anyway? I try not to do that. One negative thread leads to another. It’s a thorny path. With no roses. I almost had a moment like that. I was writing up a storm and it was depressing. I was tired of writing that. I realized I like reading uplifting blogs, not depressing ones. How much more would I enjoy writing uplifting blogs?

***

I’m still figuring life out. I’m a young author, I still have to work two jobs. I’ve only been blogging for a few years and recently took it seriously. I’m learning and growing.

But on the topic of being young, all you single people out there who relate to the above picture, raise your hand. Yeah. That’s what I thought. Doesn’t it drive you crazy when people accuse you of being single? What if you simply don’t have time for a needy companion and you’re totally okay with it? Who are they to say you should be something you’re not? I look at the couples around me and, I gotta tell you, it looks like a lot of work. And I’m not a domestic girl either, I’m an artistic soul (which is a nice way of saying I am messy and eat ready bake pizzas on paper plates way too often).

All this to say, I’m okay with my singleness. That doesn’t mean I don’t get lonely or wish I could snuggle up in big, safe arms, I’m not saying that. But I’m happy. I’m happy when I go home and can visit with myself. I’m happy when I look at my schedule and don’t have to worry about making special time. I’m happy with and by myself. So after years of struggling and heartache and nights of loneliness and finally, finally being content with my life, why would I want to change that?

Concerned individuals, please, I don’t need a man to define myself. I already know who I am in Christ!

Free bird.

Settling. That’s a scary word. Have I settled? Sometimes I think so, sometimes the religious world says you should be making big, scary changes. It says you should dump your life and become a vagabond giving the gospel in some jungle somewhere across the world. Which is legit, I guess. It is the great commission, after all. But what if my jungle is right where I’m at?

I recently watched the new Avengers movie The Age of Ultron, which was amazing, and I turned that post-amazing excitement toward reevaluating my life. Movies that make me stretch my imagination remind me there is a spiritual battle all around us, in a plain of existence we can’t always see. So on the way home from the theatre, I was listening to KLove on the radio and Francis Anfuso came on with his snippet of inspiration. This is what I like to consider as God-moments. While I was questioning my Christianity and fruits of the spirit, Anfuso said this,

There are three questions each of us ask ourselves everyday: Am I enough? Do I have enough? Have I done enough?

Am I enough? Is fed by our insecurities, and can only be answered when we receive our Creator’s approval. Do I have enough? Is fueled by our fear of tomorrow, and our insatiable appetites. And lastly, have I done enough or not done enough? Is stirred by the guilt of unachievable ambitions. The truth is, when God is enough for me, I realize I am enough for Him, I have enough in Him, and I don’t have to do enough to please Him. He’s already pleased.

Fanny T Crispin

Raw

Break Downs in the Raw

I had my first melt down at work last week. A full year in the month and I managed to hold out this long. I survived the Christmas season, I survived nights of angry, unhappy, and vengeful people. I don’t normally post about my miserable experiences in retail, but this story must be told.

I went into work feeling good. It was going to be a good day. In fact, it was a good day. I was in full humor and ahead of schedule for my closing duties. So what made this incident so special? It was the last hour. One could say this woman tipped the scale, but it would be more accurate to say she kicked it over and then stomped on it for good measure. At that point, I just stopped caring–about her, about retail, about chores or customers or the last hour dragging by like a lame sea lion. I got her out of my line, and I made it. As soon as she was gone, I couldn’t hold it together any longer, but it wasn’t like I could run off to an empty aisle to compose myself. No, I had a whole rush of last-minuters to contend with. Now this is why I hate retail–no one noticed. I have been deathly ill, I have been falling asleep on my feet, I have been in shaking in pain, and now I have been in the middle of an emotional melt down, and no one noticed a damn thing even though they had front row seats to me falling apart. Well, one woman noticed.

I finally got to the last customer. I’m wiping my eyes on my sleeves and trying to sound cheerful and pleasant, because the show must go on. This little Hispanic woman lays her items on my counter. I ring them up. I go through my standard speel. She starts to pay for the items. But then she stops and says to me,

Oh, you have allergies?

… … …

“Yep,” I told her. “I have terrible allergies.” Damn, awful allergies. Every damn day. 

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Fanny T Crispin