Absence Explained – Terrible Excuses Included

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I have been missing from the blog0sphere  for nearly a month.  That is not like me, I know.  Two weeks, sure, when I get busy.  But a month?  And tweeting has taken a major hit as well.  I want to start out by saying – sorry.  Unless you could care less that I’ve been gone, or haven’t noticed, then it’s business as usual.

I feel a little life update is in order to explain that month away.  First, a date is set for myself and the Scottish fiance to become the newlyweds. Hurray!  We were trying to go about this the best way possible, which meant immigration paperwork before a wedding so we don’t get penalized later.  The process has been long and hard, and a lot of waiting, but we are sort of nearing an end.  Well, one end.  Marrying someone from another country basically means there will be no end to your paperwork. We actually found out about a month ago, which means the recent weeks have been filled with wedding planning.

Another hurdle in my life was my participation in a writing contest, thrown by the amazing Carol Lynch Williams and Ann Dee Ellis over at Throwing Up Words.  The prize is 5 pages read by an agent (I am on the Play at Home side), and it involves weekly challenges that must be completed within a ridiculously short time period, and then voted on towards the end of the week.  That has consumed by Mondays through Wednesdays for several weeks now. (Last week I won for the week! It was a dystopian challenge and my entry is below).

Last weekend, my family and I traveled to San Antonio to watch my brother graduate from Air Force Basic Training (AFBMT).  It didn’t really affect my reading other than the fact that I cannot read in the car without getting motion sick.  I just wanted a space to brag that he was an Honor Graduate (top 10% of that graduating class), his flight (group) was a Warrior Flight (had to score over 170), the Honor Flight (top scoring flight), and they achieved Academic Excellence (highest academic scores).  His next step is technical school, and he will actually graduate two days before the wedding, which means my entire family will be there after all!  Ok, bragging over.  The resultant car ride did afford me the opportunity to watch season one ofDownton Abbey in its entirety.  Holy cow that’s a good show.

I suppose those are all of the excuses I can come up with for the moment.  I do promise to be a bit better about blogging more often, even if it is not quite as often as I would like.  Seriously, someone pay me money to read and review books already.

As promised, here is my dystopian entry for the writing contest:

Cold.  The world is always cold.

Some would say it is my fault the world is cold.  You see, it is not cold for everyone.  It is cold for those, like me, who disobey.  We are put outside to work as punishment for misbehaving.

I am always outside, always chopping the frozen trees, gathering ice, or trying to catch the few animals that remain above ground.  We do not need the trees for fuel, because we have other forms of energy below.  We do not need to gather ice, as we can make it below.  Animals are bred below for food, and those that we catch are never eaten.  Our punishments are practices in futility.

My crime is always speech.  I am outspoken, and that is not allowed.  Being outspoken is what created the ice age.  Being outspoken is not living as one with your fellows below the ground.  Being outspoken will cause you to stand outside in the cold that creates a silence like death.  Being outspoken means you are alone except for others who have done wrong.

I stand a few feet away, staring at the entrance to Below that is hidden amongst the ice trees.  It looks like a round slab of stone, resting on the ground, but even through the fog my breath creates I can see the flaws in its supposed natural design.

In my punishment, I have seen stones, real stones, and they are not like these.  They are rough and jagged, with an imperfection that is beautiful.  I am like those stones.  I am imperfect.  I am rough.  I am not a clone like most Below.  I even gave myself a name, not a number.  In my head, I am Fria.  Not 3542.

I turn my back to the entrance and walk, ice crunching under my feet.  The steam my breath creates floats in front of me, guiding me to my usual spot where I wait out the six hours of my punishment.

But today, someone is already in my place.  I know it is that boy.  The boy who angered me into being outspoken.  I hate that boy.


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