Tis the season for a lot of stressful things, let’s be honest. But also let’s be honest about it being a season where we reflect on the new, good stuff. Once we’ve hobbled over the holes in our souls over lost loved ones, both dead and alive, over stimulus and noise of December, and triggering scenarios, we inevitably find ourselves believing in new chapters. Take a deep breath and acknowledge all of the possibilities— I encourage you to examine what you do have going for you, and how those things will grow bigger in the new year. Or maybe just remain steady.
“Ok, where’s this coming from, Elaina?” “I’ll tell you, Elaina,” said Elaina.
The past few years have been extremely transitional for me, and I imagine for many of us—pandemic aftermath (emotional, intellectual, soul-wise, goal-wise). Friendships fade, some lost completely, careers changing, and new ones found—dropped into our laps by the glittering cosmos. A chance to reinvent who we are in the world. A chance to not be defined by our past, but also be proud of our scars.
Personally, I shape-shifted from special education teacher and part time writer to introverted full-time writer Empress with a few other magic-filled pots simmering on the stove. I also very sloppily transitioned from having a built-in, ready-to-go social life, to books being my only sure-fire way to socialize via the fictional characters on the page.
In 2022, I thank my lucky Aquarian stars above for—
the indie publishing pot full of spectacular editors and fellow authors who push and prod, and make me feel seen. There’s the teaching-adults-to-write pot, where I’ve aligned with humans who share the same weirdness, worries, and wants. There’s the professional-from-home pot (whoa, I just realized I sound like I’m talking about an assortment of weed, but I am not changing it to pan or cauldron since it’s legal now) where I gather books like a squirrel and analyze them to death and love every minute of it. For a paycheck, nonetheless!
For all these new experiences, I am grateful. I no longer work for free. I no longer work til my eyes glaze over, then cry because I’m all alone in the weirdness. I have found a forest of friends, dreaming along side me, imagining how we can re-design the forest that feels wrong and unjust. Oh yes—and my WIDE-open third eye which allows me to read tarot and give people messages from the other side. Gifts have arrived on my doorstep, scurried across my kitchen table, and made their cozy place into my heart. Thank you to all- you know who know who you are. We have lunch sometimes, we email, we text, we talk on the phone like it’s 1992.
I hope you can make your own list in your mind, while taking a quiet walk under the moon and stars this winter. There’s always something new coming down the sidewalk, and it’s worth the wait.
For the loss that still aches in your hearts, and probably always will—cry if you have to. Lean into it. Sometimes I go for a run, then sob during my cool down, and I have no shame about it.
Love the one you’re with. Xoxoxox Happy Holidays. See you in 2023. Preorder my YA novel if you like, then enjoy a song I found and can’t stop listening to.
Black Licorice Pre-order: https://inkedingray.com
Cover of a Leonard Cohen by PJ Harvey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-41VN_fOFg
Enjoy two EXTREMELY beautiful pieces by two teenagers who submitted to PEAR this month.
PEAR is designed to showcase young voices.
Submissions are open for January—to all teens who want a voice.
The Whisper Woods
By Mal, age 13
Welcome to the whisper woods. Talk all you want. Your
ranting is our pleasure. Your secret is safe with us. We won’t tell a
soul. Our lips are zipped, unless we feel like talking. We will talk
and talk while everyone listens. Everyone listens and you’ll find
out. It’ll circle back to you. A never ending cycle of trust and
betrayal. But don’t be alarmed. We have good intentions. Our
branches reach out and comfort you. Distract your poor soul.
You’ll get all fed up. Your secrets are exposed. And you’ll find
some new trees to put your trust in.
By E. Rose, age 13
When it started, I was a completed puzzle- but you weren’t. I felt your pain and sorrow, your misery you could not escape. You were a puzzle with missing pieces, so I gave some of mine to you. I lost more and more pieces as you gained more and more. I trusted you with my secrets, intertwined in those pieces. Until I took the fall for you- I lost everything, just to make you happy. And what did you do? You flaunted those secrets and pieces around that I trusted you with. I was left an incomplete puzzle that day.