I was in denial for weeks.
I kept trying to pretend
everything was okay,
that I was all right
but I was lying to myself
and to those around me
who could see through
my façade because
they knew me so well.
Never very far under
the surface of my skin,
I could feel the anger
burning through all of me.
I was furious with the world
and at the way my story
was unfolding, the lack
of control that I had
over my own body.
I would look up
at the ceiling at night
and imagined that
I could see the stars.
Thoughts kept running
around in my head
and I would make
bargains with myself,
with a higher power.
I would promise to be kinder
because I had not been kind enough.
I would promise to give more
of myself to others
because I had not given enough.
I would promise to be more.
just more if it would bring
and ending to my plight.
Nothing happened. I remained
on the same path,
the same plight within my skin.
I would look at myself
in the mirror
and I swore that I could see
the disease that resided
within me, and that filled me
with a flood of water
that seemed never to end.
The dark forest called to me,
its leaves whispering
during the night.
It was only when I began
to burst into tears at random moments
that I realized I was depressed.
The dark forest was growing
stronger, the leaves more visible
with each passing day.
I looked at those leaves,
the trees that I knew so well
and I knew that I wanted
that I wanted to tell
a different kind of story.
I needed to take control
of how the pages were turned.
I felt a soft breeze
ripple over my skin
when I had that thought.
I decided that I would not fight,
that whatever happened
would happen anyways.
I had a choice and I chose
to accept the way my path
was full of rocks and cliff edges.
I had gotten past those roadblocks.
before and each time I was able
to move past one,
I learned something about myself.
This time, I knew that
the journey would be
full of light of darkness,
the choice was mine
to make. I would have to
take things one step
at a time and I wondered
what this journey
would teach me.
I’m thrilled that Artificial Divide is out now!
It’s an anthology of short stories written by blind and visually impaired authors and each story is told with blind or visually impaired people as the protagonist. It’s a very powerful own voices anthology and I’m so honoured to have a short story included within it.
My short story in the anthology is called The Blood Trees. My multiple sclerosis sometimes causes temporary blindness where things are blurry or unclear. It happens a lot in the evenings when my body is tired or I am suffering from fatigue. I wanted to write about that and also about the depression that I went through when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The Blood Trees was the result.
Here’s a bit about the anthology:
Step into a world of rogue screen readers, Braille in fantasy worlds, a friend meeting an acquaintance after several years, and more.
This #OwnVoices anthology features fiction by Blind and visually impaired authors showing readers how they thrive, hurt, get revenge, outsmart bullies, or go on epic adventures. Artificial Divide is an own-voices story collection that captures the many layers of Blindness and, for once, puts visually impaired protagonists in the driver’s seat, letting us glimpse their lives.
When we think about it, we’re not really divided.
You can get your copy at all book sellers or find it online at the following places:
I hope you enjoy the book and all the wonderful stories contained within.
I’m so excited!
My new novel Beyond the Stone is out now from Renaissance Press! I’m so thrilled for all of you to be able to read this book!
I wanted to write something different and when I sat down to write Beyond the Stone, I had no idea what that would be, but I knew that it would be set in a dystopian future where magic had come out in the open. As the story took shape, I fell in love with Bane, the supernatural who is trying to figure out who he is and Jackson, the mortal who already knows.
As the world began to take shape around Bane and Jackson, Eliza, Madison and Myko, I was curious on how the world was taking shape and Bane’s position within it. I wanted to tell his story and take a deep look at the magic it held. A multitude of magical races began to take shape with this dark world as their playground.
I wanted to write about what it was like to find love as a disabled man and take a look at the story of a man who had difficulty with loving himself because of his disability.
Over the coming days, there will be more information about the world and the people that live within the Clocktower series. I hope you enjoy the first venture into this world and have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.
Here’s a bit about the book:
After a schism renders the world unrecognizable, Magic comes out into the open.
Bane is a Supernatural who works for the Clocktower, the organization that is supposed to protect mortals from themselves. Jackson is able to teleport long distances and is also a clairvoyant, something that no mortal should be able to do. That’s the least of their troubles, however. Sparks fly when they meet, even if relationships between mortals and Supernaturals are frowned upon.
When they learn that the Clocktower is keeping mortals and Supernaturals prisoner, Bane knows that they will have to go against the Clocktower in order to break them free… but will they break themselves in the process?
Get your copy of Beyond the Stone at your favourite book seller, but here are a few links just in case you need them:
I do hope you enjoy this tale as Bane tries to find himself. If you do read it, please review it online. Every review helps! Check out the awesome trailer below!
After the schism, magic came out into the open. Bane protects the mortals from magic…but who will protect Bane from himself?
I’ve been here before.
The mountain looms in front of me
and I can see the jagged rocks,
the outcropping of edges and crevices,
rockfaces that hold challenges
that I have yet to face.
I stand before the mountain,
awed by its size,
fearful of the journey ahead of me.
From the top of the mountain,
a flow of water slides
down the rockface,
finding a path through a terrain
that has not been kind to me.
I marvel at how the flow of my emotions
have found a path so easily
within the rocks of the mountain
when I must struggle to find my way.
I stare upwards and the sun glints
off of the rockface
and I have to shield my eyes.
Looking at the mountain,
I feel a sense of determination
run through me and I wonder
if that emotion is reflected
in the flow of water
coming down from the mountain.
I watch as an eagle flies
in the blue sky above me and,
for a moment,
I can see myself standing on top
of this mountain, so much like
all the other rock faces
that I’ve had to climb before.
I know that eventually I
will reach the top
of this mountain, too.
I’ve got this, I think.
I’ve done this before
and I will do this again.
I reach forward
and let the flow of water
run over my fingers
and listen to what it
has to tell me.
This was my submission to the CBC Non-Fiction Prize this year. I didn’t make it to the longlist, but that’s okay. That means that I get to share it with all of you. I chose to write about my brother this year, a topic I hadn’t attempted before. I hope you enjoy it.
I have not spoken to my brother for twenty-four years.
I’ve often thought about what I’d like to say over the years that have passed. Those conversations have ranged from angry outbursts to pleading. The truth is, I don’t know what I’d say to him after all this time. It’s not like we can have a relationship of any substance.
Yet, there still feels like there is this part of me somewhere out there in the world that I can’t touch or hold. A part of me that’s missing. Sometimes, I look at myself in the mirror and, though I can’t see it, there is a hole where a piece used to sit. I can hear the wind whistling through it.
We are identical mirror image twins. Our fingerprints are the same, but they swirl in different directions. My cowlick was on the right side of my head, his on the left. I’m right-handed and he is a southpaw. When I was in pain, he felt it and when my brother hurt, the pain felt like it was my own. My mother says that for a time in our youth, we had our own language. I’d like to think part of that language remains and that I’ve heard it on the edge of my dreams, vowels and consonants shaped into words.
As we grew older, we began to show our differences. He was into all kinds of sports; it didn’t matter which kind. He excelled at football, hockey and baseball. I didn’t know my way around any kind of field and couldn’t throw a baseball to save my life. I found my comfort in words and in dramatic arts. I could happily spend my entire lunch period in the library. By the time high school came around, we ran in different circles. We became strangers to each other.
Like a lot of kids, we were also pushed apart because of our father. We were twins, so he expected us to do the same in school. When report card time came, my father would place both cards side by side and judge us based on those marks. When I got a higher mark in English or art, my brother was called stupid and dumb. When I got lower marks in sports or physical education, I was called weak and a cripple.
I can’t pinpoint the moment that we started to dislike each other. He went from being my best friend, someone with whom I shared a language, to somebody I didn’t know. Often, I tried to recall the language that we used to speak, but like a lot of things between us, it remined lost to me. He began to be someone that I would turn away from instead of turning towards.
We took our anger out on each other. At one point during a fight, I slashed my brothers left hand wide open. During another altercation, he broke the pinkie finger on my right hand. We were destructive towards one another. We were both so angry at ourselves and we didn’t know any other way to express our feelings, so desperate to be individuals instead of a pair. We left our marks on each other, both internal and external.
Over time, my brother and I began to move further and further apart from each other. I took solace in school and writing, he took joy in getting into trouble. While I kept trying for good grades, my brother got into trouble and on occasion he got arrested. We were both trying in our own way to get noticed; we wanted to be seen. I tried to hide behind the visage of the good twin while he took joy in being the bad twin. More and more, time chipped away at the bond between us.
There had been a small creek that ran between us the moment our father pitted us against one another and over time, it had widened to a lake. Now it is a swiftly moving ocean. Whenever I looked at my brother, I could hear the sound of water.
We came together again when he briefly left home. He welcomed me as the link to the family that he still loved. I would be able to ride across the ocean between us and find my way to him. All I had to do was climb the mountain and look inside myself to find the small grain of light that still existed and connected us. For a few months, it felt like I had my old brother back, the one who had been my friend and confidant.
All too soon, the family took him back and when he came home, I lost him to the waves again. Things went back to the way they were, and the roar of water became deafening. Life would continue as it was for only a moment longer, however I didn’t know that it would be my turn to leave.
Just as my brother went home to find a piece of himself that had been taken away, I left home so that I could find a piece of myself that I was missing. I knew that when I left, I would not be able to see my family again. I had hope that my brother would come to find me, that he would try to find a path over the water like I did for him, however the words from my brother stopped and the wind carried only the whisper of silence to me.
I would send words to my brother across this ocean between us. I tried sending poems across the water, little bits of journaling; memories of the past that came to me in my dreams. I tried for years to evoke some kind of a reaction, hoped for some kind of response, but all it did was hurt me when the only reply I got was the sound of water.
Lately, because of the state of the world, that missing piece of me that is my brother has been a loud whisper in the back of my mind. I can hear the wind from time to time and it catches me off guard. I feel even further from him that I did before, the ocean having grown to a sea of unfathomable blueness.
And yet, for all that longing to speak to him, I wonder what I would say. Would I tell him what’s happened in my life over the twenty-four years we haven’t spoken? Would I regale him with everything that I have done? I’d like to think he’d be proud to be my brother as I am proud to be his. I’ve come to realize that you can love someone even if they are no longer in your life. I have been sending that love to him for years.
When I look out at the ocean that sits between us, I can see everything I’ve ever sent to him over the years, every word or trinket, every memory I’ve had of him. They fill the ocean and when the moonlight hits them, it looks as if the water is filled with stars.
Whenever I hear the sound of water, I think of him.