I’ve been a little at loose ends here recently. I finished a project (well, sort of, it was my fanfiction), and I’m experiencing what a friend calls “post publication blues” (thanks for that, Tracie!). It’s a real thing, I think, when you are writing so hard on a project (I finished 58,000+ words in less than 30 days), and suddenly it’s done. And you want to go on to the next project but suddenly…your creative fire is burning low…
So I’ve turned to poetry until I can get myself geared up for one of my next projects (one of which was actually inspired by my fanfiction journey and is definitely quite different from anything I’ve ever attempted before).
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.
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:
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.
Seriously, I’m kind of happy to be done with the poem-a-day challenge. Writing poetry—everyday, anyway—gives you a new respect for Emily Dickinson. Not appreciation. Respect. There is a difference! I’ve always appreciated Dickinson, but the volume of poetry she wrote is something I now respect. It’s hard to write a poem every day.
But on to other things. It’s May Day! Let’s celebrate spring in spite of quarantine. What better way than by anticipating my upcoming new book? This is my new romance novel that takes place, of all places, on a cruise ship. Lol, right? If you can stop laughing long enough, though, take into account that I began writing this novel three years ago after I went on a cruise to Alaska. It was an amazing, truly magical experience, and to me, there is nothing so romantic as the sea. So, if you can clear the tears of laughter from your eyes, here’s the cover and a brief excerpt.
“Do you want me to leave?” He turned his hand over in hers so he could curl his fingers around hers.
“I think it would be best. Yes.”
“I will then.” He dropped his hand from hers, but then he leaned forward and kissed her, very quickly and softly, on the lips. “I’ve got plenty to do and you don’t need me here. I won’t see you again before your show tonight, though, so I want you to think about one thing for me.”
She wasn’t sure she could think about anything else but how his lips felt on hers and how much she wanted to repeat that experience. “What?”
“Have you ever once worried about what would happen if this thing doesn’t work out? Or have you just wondered what will happen if it does?”
His words gave her a jolt as she recognized the truth in them. She hadn’t thought about what it would be like to be stuck working on a ship with a man she’d attempted to date, perhaps to see him start another relationship with someone else. Not even once had that occurred to her. Why wasn’t she worried about that?
Because it won’t happen. I feel it. If we let this thing get started between us, it’s not going to stop. And maybe that’s what I’m scared of.
He stepped away from her, his eyes still locked on hers. He nodded. “Neither have I.”
From Magic at Sea by Michelle Garren Flye
So go celebrate May Day with cake, dancing (even if it’s solitary, dance anyway) and singing. If you have a May Pole, decorate it. Smell some flowers. Enjoy life a little. We all deserve it.
A walk after rain is often enlightening. A walk after rain in the spring never fails to bring to mind e.e. cummings. A walk after rain while thinking of e.e. cummings will either bring inspiration…or make you feel like a dullard. I’ve had it both ways, but I still like to try.
April 9, 2020
Inspiration After the Storm
By Michelle Garren Flye
This is my favorite part.
After the storm,
When the world comes back to life.
The birds sing their
I walk quiet
Through the mud-
Cummings warned me about.
Careful. Feel it?
For the words
For the waiting photo
But all I see is the mess after the storm.
Leaves and branches
My dog stops to watch as a bird bathes in a puddle—
It’s so tempting to think everything’s fine. The kids are home from school, sure, but that’s happened before. They always go back. Downtown is mostly empty and the restaurants are all closed but hey, that happens whenever we get half an inch of snow or ice. And yeah, people are having to cancel dream vacations and the stock market is tanking, and nobody is going to parties or play dates or visiting grandparents…no, everything’s not fine.
Eventually it will be, though. We’ll pick up the pieces, but I think we’ll pick up a few other things at the same time. A new appreciation for a hug from a friend, for instance. Less reluctance to get up and take the kids to school in the morning. A newfound faith in life and whatever power has helped us get through it all.
Yes, eventually it will be all right again.
All Right Again
By Michelle Garren Flye
When we pick up the pieces again, what will find there?
Can we put them together the way they were,
Or will it become something wholly new?
For some will be missing, little pieces torn away.
Lost in the big picture of our new normalcy.
What will it be like, this mishmash of bits?
When we turn it shiny side up, will enough be left?