Tough Questions

“How are you doing?”

That question never created such a vacuum of indecisiveness as it did just then. I’m fine, but I’m not fine.

I’m a wreck, but holding myself together pretty good. I’m teetering on an edge, so precariously balanced I feel the tension throughout my body. It’s tight. I can continue as I am holding everything together or at any given moment fall apart into uncontrolled weeping.

My grandmother is dead. Not two months ago, we discovered she had cancer. Over the weekend, she was admitted into the hospital with a severe infection the doctors couldn’t bring under control. All her organs began failing rapidly.

I understand sudden death. A crash, a gunshot, the ones that go quickly. It hits you – and hard. Then they’re gone. When you witness the decline, the symptoms, the steady steps of a body failing, it looks so different. It hits different. What do they feel in those final moments? Their body is fighting to survive, keeping everything strung on a frayed thread as they lie there in a comatose state.

She opened her eyes. I didn’t know if it was just the body losing control or if she was really there. She couldn’t speak. But something was wrong. I felt it and I felt I knew what it was too.

“Getting tired of sleeping on that side, Grams? Don’t worry. I’ll ask the nurse to shift you. You’re doing so well. Go back to sleep.”

It was time for her morphine. Pain brought her back to Earth, back to her useless body. The Hospice care aids said she would recognize our voices and touch, but only the family’s. So maybe Grandma was more connected to Earth than we realized. Maybe she was in a difference space – a sort of loading platform with her train peeling off a mournful sound in the distance. She was just waiting to say her last goodbyes.

And she was waiting for Mom – her daughter.

And waiting to get comfortable one last time.

I stood in the hallway with Mom while the nurses shifted Grandma and got her into a mostly upright position. We entered the room. Grandma’s eyes were wide open. I approached to see if she was alert, but these eyes were empty.

Then she looked at Mom. And died.

I never thought death bothered me too much. I have my faith and my God and all that. I guess I’m just angry because we thought we had more time with her. We made plans. She had her health and an active lifestyle. Then, in two months, she was gone.

The trouble with humans is we think we have time.

This has been,


Books and Affiliated, Raw

Be Your Own Hero

It’s pretty evident in my writing. The heroine always needs someone to help her defeat the villain. She builds a team throughout the story, so she’s not doing the journey alone.

Which is fine. Everyone needs a team backing them up. But the reality is, this was a direct correlation to my psyche at the time. I wasn’t strong enough to fight my battles. My heroines betrayed my own weaknesses.

It took challenging myself in my job and gaining confidence in my career to prove that my MC could do the same. I interviewed tough. I got my sh** together. I show cased my accomplishments without reservation. It’s true the old saying that a writer needs to become the person they need to be to write the book they need to write. I’m finally the person I need to be to write empowered female characters. I finally feel empowered in my own story.

And you should be empowered in your story. After all, you’re a hero, not a passing placeholder. Live like a hero.

This has been,


Poetry, Raw


I once had a dream
That was so dark
A Titan came
To poison the Earth,
Hitler drove
A big black hearse,
And I was trapped
In this damned verse.

I once had a dream
That was so black
The devil himself
Said to send it back.
Mecha monsters
Blue and red
Battled over Earth
And to the death.

In this dream
A slice of yellow cake,
An evil scientist,
And a ride I’ll never take.
I watched the planet
Spreading black,
The Titan and
His staff of death.

He looked at me
And I at him.
This was the end.

This has been,


PS: A slice of yellow cake??? What, was I hungry or something?


Why Are You Here?

I once met up with a fellow writer during my early publishing years. We connected at a local meet-and-greet. We traded books as was familiar with these sorts of events and the conversation continued into email – so old-time, I know. We proposed a time and place. I came equipped with my positive reviews of his book, prepared to discuss and praise.

I’m not sure why he was there.

It didn’t take me long to realize all he wanted to talk about were his own ideas and aspirations.

He must not have had many writer friends, because the bookish communities develop a type of code of conduct. You learn not to tout yourself over much and to be a sounding board when necessary. There’s common respect among persons even across genres and age groups.

I’ve learned to file these encounters away politely and move along. There are so many more intriguing persons to devote my time to. And trust me, I do not mind one bit that you would like to tell me about yourself. I love to listen.

Just don’t be a narc.

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin


All Things Good and Mortal

Life isn’t fair.

But love and joy and a lifetime of memories are good.

No one can know themselves until they are faced with mortality. I’m not talking about one’s personal mortality. I think most of us are braver than we realize.

I’m talking about the mortality of the people closest to us. We know death is cause and effect. We understand the cycle of life and the inevitability at the end of existence. But when faced with reality is the moment we come to know just what we are made of.

And we fight this ridiculous battle. When IS it time to let go? How much time do we feel we deserve at the end of it all? Is it selfish to hold on? Is it as scary as it seems to go? What does the end look like? Does it hurt? What really lies on the other side?

I was born and raised in an unassuming modern Christian home. We didn’t use labels. My Lutheran family decided we were Lutheran. My Catholic family decided we were Catholic. But we really weren’t either. We just lived this faith thing like it was fact. I suppose most of the time we took it for granted. We got some good theology along the way and some bad theology, too – which simply means to say, we’re very not perfect.

But growing up with faith for a better afterlife brings comfort. The only thing I do question is what will it be like, not whether it will be there or not. I accept that a lot of loved ones have ended up there – hopeful more than I realize. I wasn’t terribly concerned with grief.

Until the call came for my last, living grandparent.

Is it harder because I understand I’ll never get to pop up for a lunch visit again on this Earth? Does it hurt more because I feel the stretch of time and it seems like an eternity without her? Or is it simply that I’ve had more time to love her than my other grands and therefore more love to lose?

Something will take us all. This is natural progression. It’s also a blessing. Sin keeps us from God and the only way to be whole with Him again is through death. This isn’t a worship of death and decay, but a hope of redemption once corrupt nature takes its course. Faith doesn’t make it any easier to bear loss. It just offers hope.

And hope is a wonderful thing.

This has been,