I wrote a fanfiction. And it’s really good.

I blame 2020. So in a way, I guess I should thank 2020 for being such a miserable year it froze my creative juices in my veins so that the only way I could continue writing at all was to take up a study of haiku and try to figure out why some 5-7-5 poems are better than others.

Until Boku No Hero Academia, that is.

My daughter introduced me to it. More to the point, I found out she’d been watching anime and reacted like any sensible parent would and demanded she watch it with me. I have a bit of a prejudice against anime and manga due to the way it portrays women. I found some of that in BNHA (a.k.a., My Hero Academia, based on the manga by Kohei Horikoshi), but nothing I felt would scar my beautiful, confident, intelligent daughter.

I did think the anime could use a stronger female character or two, preferably on the hero and not the villain side.

I was pretty sure I could create one.

In mid-July I did exactly that. And then I started writing her story. Then I posted it on a fanfiction site. It’s now up to 22 chapters (I’ve been posting one a day, serial-like), has almost 700 hits, 22 kudos, six subscribers, and one reader who comments every single day. I’m kind of proud of that. It might be the most successful thing I’ve ever written.

After I wrote about ten chapters of it, I came clean with my daughter. She was shocked and, I think, happy. She asked if she could read it. I gave her the link because I’ve rated it “Teen and Up” on the site, and I know it’s okay for her.

She said it was really good.

I asked if it was weird that I wrote it.

She pointed out that most fanfiction is written by kids, so my readers are probably kids and probably think I am, too.

Oh jeez.

That is a little weird.

And still, I know I’m going to finish this story because I can’t not. It’s been pure fun to write. I love the universe, the characters (Kohei Horikoshi’s and mine), and how it’s brought me back to reading the comic books I borrowed from my older brother’s room when I was a kid. He always had the best ones. Richie Rich, Spider-Man, The Micronauts (remember Baron Karza, anyone?), and so many others. I loved those comics.

And I’m not going to apologize for writing a fanfiction based on an anime based on a manga. After all, it’s better than sitting frozen in horror watching our world flame out.

And besides, it inspired my beautiful daughter to draw me this:

My OC (that’s Original Character) from my fanfiction.

I am not going to post a link to my fanfiction because I don’t want to lead any children to my romances. If any of you do find this, my romances are not child friendly. I would refer you to my Shelley Gee account for middle grade children’s books. Possibly my semi-YA Weeds and Flowers. But none of these are set in a universe with heroes and villains and would probably be a disappointment. Sorry? On the other hand, if you know me and want to read the fanfiction to see if it’s really all that, let me know.

Haiku quest continues…

A few more of my better ones.

#14

Wind and rain lover’s

Knuckles brushing over cheek

Gentle but solid

#15

Rain beats the leaves down

Rushes on the ground to pool

Over the tree’s roots

#16

Inspiration comes

After storm falls on our heads

Umbrella is nice

#17

Irrational want

Desire what can never be

Love has no place here

#20

This excellent trip

Will end eventually

What happens then, love?

#21

Restless sleep tonight

The moon flows full over trees

Inviting rambles

#23

Why sleep in the night?

Fight circadian rhythms—

Living time is dear.

#24

Read haiku poem

Prepare for inspiration

Bursting with longing

#27

I love the rain sounds

On the glass paneled windows

Safe in my bookstore

#29

Summer evening

Alien ratchets and song

Wish I weren’t alone

#31

Scarlet cardinal

Takes flight, leaves the rest of us

Behind, bound to earth

#32

Late blooming flower

Pure and alone on the bush

I guess you forgot

#33

Bizarre masked people

Eating at sidewalk cafes

Through open zippers

#34

Can’t really decide

If surroundings are muted

Or are you just bright

#35

Reality runs

After me, chases, leaps and

Follows my retreat

Late blooming gardenia. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: Dragon Hunter

Dragon Hunter

By Michelle Garren Flye

Crows call Mom! in midnight voices

But I ignore them, though they could be right

I’ve never done a DNA test

A cowboy in flipflops

I take to the street, hunting dragons

Elusive, strange, wonderful beasts

Slice through the air on wings of glass

Cut my cheek

That will leave a brave mark

But I fired first

It’s captured behind my lens

And I march on

Poem: Aging Grace

Aging Grace

By Michelle Garren Flye

How is it that nature ages in grace?

How does the flower hold its charm?

Why does the gardenia smell as nice

When age has yellowed its form?

When the rose drops its petals

It reveals its splendid heart.

The darkened magnolia settles

To death with a very gentle art.

Oh why cannot we learn nature’s ways

Of passing quietly one season or four?

Instead we count and number the days

As if we are keeping score.

I hope we learn this skill as we grow older,

So in the end, we know how to be golder.

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Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: Rain and Shine (for Chris)

Rain and Shine

By Michelle Garren Flye

When did it rain?

I never heard thunder

Or wind or raindrops.

When did they fall?

It must have happened

Behind the scenes

While we were busy

Doing something else.

Something important.

Raising kids, living life,

Paying bills…surviving.

I didn’t know it rained.

Just like so many other

Things have happened

In the background.

It’s funny how you start:

Focused on each other,

Certain nothing will change.

But then it does.

Work and family and life

All change you.

And rain falls unnoticed

Until you see the puddles,

And then you notice the wet

And open an umbrella.

Only then do I see

A gardenia has bloomed.

Sometime in the night

It burst from the bud

In pure and splendid beauty.

Would it have bloomed

If the rain hadn’t come?

If we’d watched all day

In the sun, would it appear?

I don’t even know if it matters.

Drops of rain cling to the petals,

Magnifiying a single ray of sun.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: Wheee! (Happy birthday to my daughter)

Wheee!

By Michelle Garren Flye

You test the top of the slide

And yell, “It’s slippery, Mommy!”

At first I think you’re scared to try,

But next thing I hear is “Wheee!”

I know how right you are.

Time is slippery, too, I think.

Each second echoes in my heart

But they pass within a wink.

My child, you’re growing too fast—

I know soon you’ll need to be free.

I feel I’m watching you slip past

And all I hear is “Wheee!”

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: Wisdom of the Baby Bird

Wisdom of the Baby Bird

By Michelle Garren Flye

Like an eagle or hawk soaring

We want to leap into the sky!

We don’t know what waits;

We just know we want to fly.

Hawks dive onto their prey,

Seagulls wheel above the sea,

Eagles may drift along drafts

Our senses cannot perceive.

Maybe turn our eyes instead

To the baby bird in the nest.

Standing precariously on the edge—

He’s waiting, not taking a rest.

Take a leap of faith—oh yes, let’s do!

But only when the time is right.

Stretch the wings out first—

Take a short practice flight.

Only then will we grow stronger,

Only then will we avoid a plunge

Headfirst into a maelstrom

Of dangers we cannot dodge.

Juvenile owl waiting the right moment to fly. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye
Pissed Mama Osprey. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem 24 (National Poetry Month): When We Return to “Normal”

Everything feels wrong now, and it seems that everyone is trying to quantify it and box it up and make it what they’ve always known. “Don’t judge people if you see them not wearing a mask or taking their kids out or trying to go back to work—you don’t know what they’re going through,” say some. This is true. But it does not escape my sense of fairness that some of these people are the same ones who are quick to judge those who take their families and flee from death and poverty in other countries. Don’t judge them, either. You don’t know what they’ve gone through.

We all want to go back to “normal”, but I don’t think we’re ever going to get back there from here. We’ll go back to some semblance of day-to-day life, but I believe what scifi writers have been warning us about—that some event would come along eventually that would change us forever—has finally happened. Where we go from here is really up to us. We can remain politically divided with half of us in denial about our doom and the other half constantly lecturing about it—or we can unite and fight for survival. I pray we opt to find the best in all of us when we declare victory over this virus…and return to “normal”.

When We Return to “Normal:

By Michelle Garren Flye

“I like that lady’s mask, Mommy.”

The little boy doesn’t wear a mask.

His face bare, he points at me.

Why is he here, I’d love to ask?

But life now is far from easy;

You can’t judge or take to task

Those whose differences you see.

Maybe we will remember this lesson

When we can declare our battle won.

When the world returns to “normal”

And we look each other in the face again

We may remember we are all mortal

And not judge each other by colors of skin.

Maybe we will recall we’re all one world

And where we come from is not our sin.

Maybe this can be done because it’s natural

When we survive a crisis with our fellow man.

Yes, let’s look at each other and see only “us”

When we stand on the battlefield victorious.

Like a flower conquering concrete, we will survive. It’s where we go from there that matters. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem 23 (National Poetry Month): Stay

Inspired by the juvenile owl I saw perched next to his nest in my backyard while his parents chased away the hawks that saw him as prey. As well as my own experiences letting go

Stay

By Michelle Garren Flye

I know the wild world calls—

You want to spread your wings;

But, stay, a little longer, dear.

Put off your springtime flings.

Trust me when I say to you

I remember feeling that way—

Like I’d burst if I didn’t leave

To dance on the wind and play.

But stay, a little longer, dear;

There’s no need for you to rush.

There are dangers you don’t know

That all your dreams may crush.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem 21 (National Poetry Month): Waiting in the Wings

This morning it occurred to me that the whole world is really “waiting in the wings” if, as Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage.” Of course, that made me realize how much I miss the theater. “My” theater, one of my happy places, is being renovated during this unscheduled downtime, and I’m thrilled for the possibilities. I’m also a bit worried because I don’t know when we’ll be able to get another production on the stage, even though we do plan to. But plans don’t mean much right now, do they? Will our cue ever come? While we wait, though…

Waiting in the Wings

By Michelle Garren Flye

We’re waiting in the wings,

Listening for our cue.

It’s dark while the lead sings—

Only one spotlight will do.

The scene goes on forever…

It’ll never be our turn!

The ensemble is just extra,

Of little to no concern.

Oh but when the time comes

We’ll burst upon the stage

With light and color and costumes

The audience to engage!

We’ll flit about the floor,

Dance steps we memorize.

No one will dare snore

When our chorus arrives.

But now we wait in silence

Hoping we’re in tune.

We give each other guidance:

Our cue will come soon.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye