Like a breath of ethereal frost, he materialized from the mist, beneath the tree she so often frequented. There, he stood with his back turned to her—an unassuming, unimposing figure not much older than she. She’d seen him there repeatedly, though still a vague visage among others unnamed and unknown, drifting in and out amid the regular gatherings under the tree’s wide, sheltering branches.

Now, he’d come into sharp focus.

And she couldn’t look away.

She strode through the grass and through the bustle of others, over to where a small circle of young ones sat listening to him, behind a wooden chessboard with ebony and ivory pieces. She paused to listen, too, unwilling to interrupt. Though the words themselves meant little, this figure once ambiguous to her delivered them with a kindness and a subtle grace, imparted his skill and knowledge through a calm confidence and an affability laced with a wry humor.

They all enjoyed his instruction—

—igniting in her a spark of intrigue. How had she not noticed him before?

Eventually, the young ones dispersed—running off to other activities hidden elsewhere in the shadows of the sheltering tree—and he began to take his leave from the chessboard. She stepped forth—directly into his path.


He stopped short. Blinked.


“Seen you here before,” she said. “Many times.”

He gave a nod. “Been here for a while,” he replied.

“Oh?” She cocked her head. “How long?”

He shrugged. “Ages.”

“Well”—she smiled—“I’m glad. It’s nice to see familiar faces at the places you go to. You know: constants. Thank you.”

He blinked again, then stuck out his hand. “Charm.” His voice matched his name—smooth, polite.

“Hope.” She shook his hand.

For a quiet moment, Charm scrutinized her, then asked, “Hope, do you play chess?”

Hope grinned, boldly stepped up to the chessboard, and moved forth a single, ivory pawn.

“Yes.” She turned toward Charm. “And I’ll see you next time.”


As an editor, I abhor repetition—stuff that repeats over and over and over and over and over and . . . you get the point. All of it gets insanely annoying.

Say it through narrative? Don’t repeat it through character dialogue. Say it through character dialogue? Don’t repeat it through narrative. And especially don’t repeat it through dialogue, and then through narrative, and then again through exposition . . . unless you’re the Lemony Snicket type who drives home an inane point in a hilarious way through eye-rolling redundancy. Once a point is raised, let it go and let stew in the reader’s mind.

In other words: Don’t beat a dead horse with the same stupid pool noodle.

Same thing in real life. I can’t stand hearing the same news report told fifteen different ways during fifteen consecutive hours. Or the same commercials in my face. Phones ringing. Dogs constantly barking, barking, barking, barking, in the same manner. Or young kids (as truly adorable as they are) saying the same thing over and over and over and over and over and . . . you get the point. All of it gets insanely annoying.

Strangely, though, repetition doesn’t bother me in two very distinct ways: one is through music, and the other is through . . . well, I’ll touch upon that in a bit.

You see, humans are hardwired to perceive patterns. After all, it was essential to our survival, and music is a shared thing amongst human beings as a whole. Music speaks to all types of people on different emotional levels, therefore creating bonds between individuals and groups, which adds to the cement of our societal ways of thinking, doing, creating, living, and cooperating.

In other words: The more cohesive the society, the more “in collective tune,” the more apt the individuals in it will survive, thrive, and propagate.

See? Survival essentials.

Now, the other way repetition doesn’t bother me is through individual word emphasis.

Take this sentence, for example (compliments of my daughter): Sophie threw her brother off the cliff.

Writing it time and again –

Sofie threw her brother off the cliff
Sofie threw her brother off the cliff
Sofie threw her brother off the cliff
Sofie threw her brother off the cliff
Sofie threw her brother off the cliff

– all of it gets insanely annoying. Like phones ringing, or dogs constantly barking in the same manner, or young kids saying the same thing over and over and over and over and over and . . . you get the point.

But! . . . add emphasis on different words each time:

1) Sofie threw her brother off the cliff.
2) Sofie threw her brother off the cliff.
3) Sofie threw her brother off the cliff
4) Sofie threw her brother off the cliff
5) Sofie threw her brother off the cliff
6) Sofie threw her brother off the cliff
7) Sofie threw her brother off the cliff

. . . ahh . . . different emphasis on different words lend variety, even when repeated over and over and over and over and over and . . . you get the point.

Now, barring the fact that sadistic Sofie seems to really hate her brother:

First: it was Sofie, and no one else, who threw her brother off the cliff.
Second: Sofie threw, rather than kicked, shoved, bumped, knocked, or whatever other relevant verb, her brother off the cliff.
Third: it was Sofie’s brother, and no one else, whom Sofie threw off the cliff.
Fourth: it was Sofie’s brother, and not her sister, her uncle, her aunt, her mother, her father, etc., whom Sofie threw off the cliff.
Fifth: it was off the cliff Sofie threw her brother, not under the cliff, across the cliff, through the cliff, beside the cliff, etc.
Sixth: it was the cliff, one particular cliff, that Sofie threw her brother off.
Seventh: it was the cliff, and nothing but the cliff, that Sofie threw her brother off.

So yeah, I know this totally has nothing to do with archery, but it was fun to babble on about.

Hey, at least I didn’t repeat this post over and over and over and over and over and . . . you get the point. Because I’m sure all of it would get insanely annoying.


“It’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”

Most people are familiar with this phrase, but what does it really mean? And what, essentially, is love?

Love is an abstract concept that comes in many forms:

love for a significant other
love for family
love for God/one’s spirituality
love for pets
love for mankind
love for country
love for nature, hobbies, etc.
love for friends

. . . and all of these feel so different from one another: Love for your spouse feels different from love for your children, which feels different from love for God, love for your pets, love for mankind, country, nature . . . and of course, love for friends.

Grasping these can be difficult. Explaining them, even more so.

I’d like to touch upon one: love for friends.

To me, love for friends means caring about them—concern for their well-being, their lives; sharing in their experiences, good or bad; being there when they need someone; sticking by them, come what may.

Sounds great, right?


Well . . . as a woman, I face one enormous difficulty: Guys are my main friends. And I like it that way, for various reasons.

At face value, this doesn’t seem too bad. Friends are friends, regardless of gender, correct? Societally speaking, however, this throws girls/women a crappy curve ball that I’ve been fighting with for many years.

So often I hear: “Men and women can’t be friends.” Reasons? One or the other will eventually want something more out of the relationship, consequently breaking hearts; or something might happen between them that will destroy the friendship or throw a monkey wrench into their primary relationships.

Honestly, I say: Not necessarily true.

Have I been attracted to guys I’ve been friends with? Of course. I’m not dead, and neither are they. Being of opposite genders, sure, sexual tension within men-women friendships is inevitable. Sometimes.

But! . . . it really all comes down to how you handle it.

You see, I value the platonic nature of my friendships with guys, respect them and their significant others—and my husband’s own feelings!—so much more than I’m willing to cave into any base drives I might possess.

Maybe it comes with maturity. Maybe it come with the types of guys I hang out with. Maybe I just want to kick that damn-stupid phrase square in the teeth, with a scoff and a sneer and a “screw you” attitude.

Who knows?

Point is, I’m a woman who likes being friends with guys. Which puts me in the position of loving them . . . as friends.

Love for friends—again, personally—means truly caring about them, and whereas society shrieks: “Oh, my God! There must be something going on between them! They hang out too much, talk too much, spend too much time together!! Shit, I mean, did you see them buy coffee for one another?! There’s got to be something going on—in secret!!” . . .

. . . I say: “Mind your own damn business. Have you not cared for those you’ve grown close to? Wanted to share with them your experiences, your thoughts, your ideas? Wanted to buy them coffee just because they were your friend and you appreciated their help/companionship/friendship? Liked them because of who they were—their personality, their mindset, their intrinsic nature, their intelligence—not because of what gender they were?”

To truly love a friend is to truly care about them, and to ultimately truly want what’s best for them.

Not for you. For them.

And love teaches you this.

Love makes you feel. Helps you grow. Allows you to understand it’s all right to form special bonds—with acceptable boundaries—in the face of contrary opinion . . . and that it’s all right to let them go.

So this phrase: “It’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all,” speaks volumes.

Forming a platonic bond, and then losing that bond—completely or partially—is a rich teaching experience.

Yes, I’d bonded, loved, felt, experienced, shared my various thoughts with another I’d grown close to and had considered one of my best friends . . . and all of without this, I never would have built memories with him that I’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Indeed, platonic love for friends has taught me that I’m alive.

And being alive is a good thing.


Word of the week: skeuomorphs -- design elements that, today, are merely ornamental, even though they'd originally had a purpose. (Yay, for the return of the word of the week!!)

Life is weird.

One minute you’re zipping along on the super-fast happy-track toward what you believe are your ultimate goals, a stupid grin upon your face, hands waving in the air in ecstatic celebration, when—SCREEEEEEEEEECH, CRASH-TINKLE-CRASH-SMASH-RUMBLE-BOOM-TINKLE-CRASH, SCREEECH, SCREEEEEEECH, ZIP-ZOOOOOM-VROOOM-VROOOOM-VROOOOOM. . . . [insert Doppler effect]

Without your express permission, life pulls a severe one-eighty (flipping over numerous times before defiantly righting itself [←yes, the non-onomatopoeic version]), hurtling you off-course and into the scary semi-darkness of the untested and unknown, with you white-knuckled and screaming your head off, heart hammering, eyes bugging out.

With no idea where you’re headed, you immediately dig in your heels to stop the wild-and-crazy ride, only to discover that life has you in a firm, full-body choke hold—and it’s ten-thousand-million-billion times stronger than you are. So you squeeze your eyes shut instead and let life whirl and twirl and zip you through a tangled stringy mess of spider-webby things, a frigid wind whipping at your hair, stinging your reddening cheeks until . . . 


Yes. Small and dim and distant, but it nonetheless glows a gentle pink through your closed lids.

Curious, you slowly, slowly, slowwwwwly open your eyes and . . .

There, within this ever-strengthening rose-colored light sit: new goals, new experiences—new and interesting things to partake of!


Excitement floods through you and you wriggle in happiness (remember, life has you in a full-body choke hold still), when all at once, (because life, of course, has not slowed down—at all—mutinous creature that it is) as you stare goggle-eyed at everything, you promptly—CRASH-BANG-SMASH-CRASH! . . . careen head-first into everything.



Stuff goes flying everywhere—PING-SPROING-TWANG!—in all possible and possibly impossible directions, including into, over, under, and through various dark, curtainy folds of dark matter strewn throughout the multiverse—

>>Damn, you made a mess!<<

—and you come to an abrupt and strangely convoluted halt. Possibly upside down.
Soon, though, the dust settles, and as you blink away blurry tears of—pain? joy? fascination? bewilderment?—you view your shiny new goals beneath a soft light of appreciation.

Then you start to giggle.

Yes. Life has taken you here—wherever “here” is—and now you are as wonderfully distracted as a prey-driven pup in a meadow full of squirrels—


—and you are so ready and willing to dive into these new experiences, to reach these new goals with a renewed vigor and a sparkling light in your soul.

Right. Thus and so ends my overly dramatic explanation of my unexpected journey from writer to archer, from introvert to ambivert, from kennel worker to sports instructor.

Did I write? Yes. Will I still? Yes. Probably.

Was I an introvert? Yes. Am I still? Probably not.

Was I a kennel worker? Yes, for thirteen years. Am I still? No. Never again.

No. Life has now handed me a bow and some arrows, plus a fancy new job with a fabulous co-instructor and friend.

“Go forth, wild huntress,” life’s telling me, “and slay that which stands between you and success.”

Hm. “Go forth.” “Slay.” “That which.”

Yeah . . . see? Told you.

Life is weird.

And I’m a titanium-winged butterfly, finally emerged from the chrysalis of my caterpillar stage.