About Me

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A working professional and Mom,a want-to-be full time writer and modern day Alice in Wonderland who's always "A Little Mad Here"...

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Cracks in the Foundation

Some days I am surprised by the hurt that still resides inside me.  One minute I am going about my life, living it as best I can.  Then I am blindsided by something small that cracks the veneer. I am caught off guard when the most innocuous comment rips off the tiniest corner of my heart and causes me to bleed that toxin of disappointment and resentment again...that ripe, black cocktail I thought I had finally drained.

Days like this I wonder if our wounded places ever really heal?  We tell ourselves that we have overcome, we have risen above the trespasses against us.  We have constructed a life we live in truth and we can no longer be dragged under the pain of our past. Then, you find out its all still inside you, like something insidious crouching in the corners of your soul.  In that moment, you understand that damage can never be undone, only built upon.  It will always be with you, forever weakening your foundation.

I spent a lot of time traveling in Mexico when I was younger. I visited all the typical tourist places and a few that were decidedly more off the beaten path.  It was the churches that made the most impact on me. I learned that many of Mexico's churches, from the extravagant, gold-trimmed cathedrals to the rustic village chapels, were built on top of indigenous temple and ruins. When missionaries moved across Mexico and began to convert the native tribes and nations, it was common for the new churches to be built directly on top of the tribal holy sites.  It was as if these  missionaries felt they could best eradicate the old deities and pagan beliefs by driving them into the ground.  They thought that by burying them under the shiny new promises of their christian churches and their new, benevolent God, they would cease to exist for the people.

It always struck me these missionaries, bent on converting the people to the new faith, failed to see what they were really doing.  Instead of re-writing the narrative, maybe they were instead, forever trapping the past in the foundations of the future.  In one place, far off the typical tour, one old church's foundation had begun to crumble and the earth had begun yield to the corners of the old pyramid lying underneath.  In one section of the church, the ancient bricks had even been driven up through the floorboards. It struck me that those ruins were not gone, those gods and beliefs, not forgotten. It was all still there, residing under the feet of the believers.  The old gods might all just be waiting, bidding their time to be excavated and brought back again.

It is days like these that I think about those old ruins.   I feel like that sometimes, like that church.  I feel like my shiny life with all its promises and personal gains and achievements, might have just been built on an old temple of wounds.  I wonder if it is there still, just waiting, and slowly poisoning my foundation one tiny, black crack at a time.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Riding with the Wind...

As a parent, there are a few of those milestone moments you know are coming down the pike. Some of them are terrifying to contemplate, like the onset of puberty and all those awkward talks you just know are waiting in the wings. Then there are those moments you look forward to with sweet contentment, like the day the training wheels come off their bike and they learn to ride.

You think you know how it will go. There will be a few bumps and bruises but they will turn their  little faces to you, ready to sop up all your sage advice and guidance.  You will encourage and empower them and they will be determined and grateful. Then comes the reward, watching them glide away from you, the wind at their backs and their gleeful voices singing your praises for delivering them to this amazing new world. You have been their guide, their teacher, their hero. It will have been an amazing parenting win.

When I pulled my daughter's bike out of the garage, I fully expected the experience to live up to my expectations. I eagerly waited for her to don her helmet and knee pads. I was so sure that this would be the Rockwell-esque version of the milestone I had dreamt about. 

Here is how it actually went down...

As it turns out, my daughter would have been content to operate her bike with training wheels until she was ready to trade it in for a car.  Needless to say, she took to the task of learning with barely contained resentment, barking at me each time she wobbled or got banged on the knee by the pedals. If I tried holding her seat, I was doing it wrong. If I tried giving her advice or encouragement, she frowned and snapped at me.  Several times she broke into frustrated tears and more than once, I had to walk away from her as she bristled with child rage and hit me with a litany of excuses.  The seat was too high, too hard, too crooked. I was holding her wrong. The driveway was to uneven. We finally decided to take a break. She abandoned the bike and her helmet in a heap by the garage and I went inside to nurse my disappointment.

It was several weeks later before we tried again. The day was the perfect harbinger of an early Spring with a cloudless cerulean sky above our heads and a warming sun on our backs. This time I had reinforcements, my husband took a break from the yard work to lend a hand. I warned him she was liable to be difficult, even a little mean as she struggled hard to master something she believed she should just "get right out of the box". Even with my warnings, he was surprised at the level of open hostility she directed toward the lesson, and us, as her repeated attempts to gain her balance met failure again and again.  I could see the collapse of her confidence in her bowed head and welling eyes. My requests for "one more try", were met with deep frowns and groans but we knew we could not let her quit. As everything threatened to collapse, we decided to try another approach.

This time we took it to the street, at least the straight strip of pavement consisting of 100 feet between our neighbor's mailboxes. The roadway was level and the path open wide in front of her, no turns or inclines. We told her to get her feet in position and just get moving forward.  We encouraged her to keep going, even if she had to take her foot off the pedal once or twice along the way.

After a few wobbly attempts, she managed to stay upright and pedal for about seven feet. I saw the first smile break at the corners of her mouth and the glimmer in her sea change eyes that signaled the return of a little of her confidence.  She had done it, just for a few seconds, but it had been enough. I watched her rally then, engaging all her young grit and determination.  She immediately dropped the attitude and began to really listen to our advice and encouragement. After a few moments, she was managing to go almost the full span between mailboxes, pedaling and maintain her balance and at last, she was really smiling.

The last pass she made she cheekily told me to "watch out" in case she ran me down. Then, just like I told her she would, she was doing it, riding a bike on her own.  Just as suddenly, we were those celebrating parents from a Hallmark movie or sappy commercial, bouncing on our toes and clapping in the middle of our street.  Watching her riding away from me, the wind at her back, knowing she was smiling under that helmet and feeling accomplished... I had my milestone moment at last.  It might not have come to me the way I imagined but when it came it was no less sweet.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Ordinary, Everday Love

What of the ordinary, everyday love?  Does it have a place in the Hallmark-tainted landscape of Valentine’s Day?

If you are like me, you can spend literally hours pouring over glossy, glitter embossed cards that drip with romantic musings and passionate declarations that seem overdone and impractically over the top. Truth is, this is a holiday that seems to be more for the young and newly minted kind of love, that “first three months of can’t get enough of each other” kind of love.

 I get it though…that kind of love is sexy and passionate, all red and pulsing with promise. That kind of love moves some serious chocolate.  That kind of love fuels lingerie sales and fancy, overpriced plated dinners.

Still…every day, 365 days of the year, all over the world, there are people quiet living in other kinds of love that don’t get the attention worthy of a glitzy holiday. Where are the cards that represent the kind of love that settles in after years spent together, after raising children?  The kind of love that binds partners and knits families together to weather all that life asks us to bear?  I need cards that celebrate the everyday, mundane things that show me I am loved and appreciated.  I need words that express my devotion despite disappointment and my simple joy in sharing life with someone that I love and,  frankly, that I tolerate above any other human being on the planet.  I need a Hallmark card that says, “Yup I would absolutely still choose you, choose this messy beautiful life with you, over and over again.”

Admittedly, that does not sound romantic. It would not make most people swoon. It would not fill even one red and pink stained aisle at Target.  But, that is the truth. It is sincere and it is heartfelt. It is practical and it is sustainable. It is the lifeblood of any solid marriage or long term relationship and the foundation for any family that endures.

I would love to have spontaneity and passion all the time, but I am also blissfully happy to find out someone else has changed the toilet paper roll or done the dishes to surprise me. I would enjoy date nights out under the stars but I also crave those quiet nights by the fire, when we are all tangled together under blankets watching a movie. Sometimes it is the moments when he randomly laces his fingers through mine while we are driving, or takes a few more minutes to cover me with the comforter before he leaves for work that move me so much more deeply than those heated moments of our youth. I love that he loves me when things are good, and loves me harder and more fiercely when they are not.  It may not make for a flashy card but it a blessing I am thankful for each and every day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

All Things Horse-y

30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT January 28th
I had a different prompt in mind for today, but decided as it’s the last Monday of January, we all needed a little pick-me-up.
Write about something happy in your life! What’s happened recently that made you smile? What’s the last thing you laughed at?

In order to fully appreciate this post, I'll have to divulge something about my personal life. I am very close to my sister but and also very different from her. We refer to ourselves as "city mouse" and "country mouse". My sister lives on a 9 acre horse farm with a menagerie that includes goats, horses, cats and dogs - so you can guess which one of us is "city mouse". I frequently joke that I have nightmares of waking up in her life, in some freaky Friday scenario that suddenly finds me running her doggie daycare and boarding business - something I would be ill equipped to do with my wardrobe of heels and pencil skirts. Notably, she says the same exact thing about my life. Until recently, I had no cause to explore my sister's rural and rustic lifestyle. I was content not to ever know the true identity of the substances she ends each day covered with. Then, my sister launched "operation Jaden" and everything changed.

I'm not sure why my sister waited until my daughter was eight to begin her crusade. It might have had something to do with us moving closer, a mere seven minutes from her new horse property. It might have just been that she had bided her time with her only niece long enough. Whatever the reason, last summer she gifted my daughter three weeks of horse camp and subsequently opened her eyes and her heart to the world of horses. My country mouse sister threw the gates to her world of fur and hooves open wide and my daughter marched through, dragging her mom (with her entirely inappropriate barn footwear) with her. Suddenly they were a secret society of two, planning and plotting for a future strewn with horsey things, weekly riding lessons among them. Just as suddenly, I was a barn mom, which meant I was fully engaged in many, many things I had zero experience with. My daughter attacked her learning curve with gusto and passion while I, accepted my fate with as much dignity as I could muster. I bought myself muck boots and dug in, trying to seem anything but completely out of my element.

Here is the thing...and the real meat of the prompt...I've discovered that I like it. I've learned enough to know my way around the barn now. Her Tuesday evening lesson is time I actually look forward to spending with my daughter. I love watching her, acknowledging that she does seem to have the natural ability as a rider that my little sister always had. She is developing confidence and a real appreciation for the mental and physical challenges of riding. She adores my sister too, and I love the connection they share. I love that in so many ways, my sister has become my daughter's hero. It makes my heart happy to watch them together.

It isn't just about my daughter though.

Over the last year, I've grown to love this part of my sister's life, this part we share with her. I love the horses, their dark eyes reflecting something back about us all. I have an appreciation for the ones that work hard, take care of their riders despite having their own limitations. There is a special kind of grace about being with them, these massive animals who outweigh our fragile human bodies yet trust us to guide them and to care for them. There is an exchange of trust that is connected to something in our souls and it moves and fascinates me.

It brings me a kind of peace...the smell of the barn, the wide open sky above the paddocks, the pounding of my daughter's mount in a rolling canter. I enjoy the moments of tacking Sonny up before the lesson with her, sneaking him peppermints to keep him cooperative in the colder weather when he feels his years more. I love visiting my sister's own horses, and the trio of Friesian babies that currently reside with her - each of them mini black beauties that are all spunk and fire.

We had the task of feeding her horses while she was away on her honeymoon and I grew to love the walk out to their pasture to drop their hay and grain in those late October afternoons. They would see us coming, their beautiful heads raised, expectant and welcoming of the meal and the petting session we were about to bestow on them. Again, there is a peace it brings me - similar in the way I used to feel slipping beneath the waves in my dive gear. Similar but different, because I am more then an observer in this world. This world demands my tactile engagement in a way scuba diving did not. Horses want that emotional and physical connection, those touches and words whispered in their soft, flicking ears. I can see why people have horses, there is a quiet magic to them that brings a certain kind of solace in its wake. Being with a horse is like a balm on those ragged parts of our soul.

Recently we were bringing Sonny out of the lesson ring and paused to clean the dirt from his shoes. Since she was stepped on early in the year, this task is one my daughter continues to be leery of. It usually falls to me to "show" her again how to get it done without getting her feet crunched. I've gotten pretty confident about it now, I've come to know how best to get Sonny to bend his leg up so I can clear out the clumps quickly. I was demonstrating for my daughter again...how you have to lean close against him, keeping your feet parallel to his. You have to reach down and grab his foot, easing him with your body weight, to life the leg and keep his body in balance. I must have been demonstrating it with an air of authority because I heard her trainer exclaiming, "wow Mom, look at you!", as she walked up behind us.

I honestly-to-God swelled with pride in that moment. I felt myself smiling. Because, here is the truth, straight from a city mouse's mouth...I like the way I've managed to learn this stuff. I like the fact that I now own muck boots and can rock a head lamp with pride. I like that I know how to tack up a horse and that I go home smelling like them. I love that I can slip in mud or horse poop and not care which one it actually is. I love that I know how to help my daughter zip up her half chaps or that I even know what half chaps are! I love this little bit of country mouse I found in me now. I love it...a lot. It makes me happy in a way I never would have expected.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Age 9 - A Whirling Dervish Delight

This month my daughter turns nine. In keeping with tradition, and in my ongoing effort to temper the bittersweet forward march of time, I like to author at least one blog wholly devoted to marking the milestone of her birthday. If I am to leave her anything of real value when I am gone, it will be this ongoing testimony of an immensely proud mamma who was fully invested in her journey and loved her in every second and with every fiber of my being.

This past year has been filled with trials..from the sheer physicality of moving twice this summer, to our ever increasing battles over her hair and clothes, to combating her near obsession with online games and YouTube. We have started most of the mornings in this fresh New Year with an argument about one thing or another. I have lost my mind over her stomping feet, exaggerated eye rolls and disgruntled faces. It seems we endlessly debate why leggings are not appropriate winter attire. We battle. Sometimes it gets loud and the dogs, sensing an epic throw down is looming, take off to hide upstairs until the storm passes.

Still, before our turn comes up in the drop-off line, we manage to sort it out. Regardless of how angry she may be, she still shoulders her backpack and leans in for a kiss before throwing open the door. These days I find it is more about finding victories in the delightful surprises then consistently winning arguments with her. Eventually she listens to me…and besides, there are so many delightful surprises…

She is becoming her own person and that person is most definitely not a mini version of me. She is entirely something new and improved, a hybrid of both her parents with a balance of our features and various traits blending together in this beautiful new way – along with things that seem unique to her.

She is athletic and competitive in a way neither one of us ever were. She is drawn to things that challenge both her body and her mind at once, like obstacle courses and horse-back riding. I can see her mind working as she puts her body through the physical paces, concentration is as evident on her face as enjoyment is. She has become more fearless in this environment, trepidation giving way to a growing confidence. I can see pride blooming there as well, in that telling Mona Lisa smile when her instructor cries out, “Yes, Good Girl!”, the moment she achieves the perfect posture or executes the perfect transition or canter.

Music continues to be something she is drawn too. She pushes back on practicing piano but once she sits down and begins to coach the notes from her instrument, I can see her lose herself. She started ukulele lessons in school recently, and she has really taken to it. She talks a blue streak about chords and likes to play me the YouTube tutorials they use in class. She has asked for her own ukulele for her birthday this year and I look forward to hearing her strumming away on those chords.

Like mine, her taste in music is highly varied. She has a wide scope of what she likes. For now, she gets by on my playlist but makes the occasional request for me supplement it with a new song she has discovered. For the most part, I enjoy her selections. They reflect someone who listens with a critical ear and harbors a true appreciation for musical composition, regardless of the genre. The other day on one of our drives, “Under Pressure” came on the radio. I immediately turned it up and began singing along, as one simply has to do in appreciation for genius collaboration of David Bowie and Freddy Mercury. I glanced at my daughter in the rear view and was simultaneously shocked and elated to find she was also singing along in the back of the car. She caught my eyes, and smiled back at me. It was a moment of kindred connection, one of those delightful surprises.

At her core, she is still that child that loves to snuggle. She still prefers to fall asleep between us. Even when she goes to bed in her own room, we find her wrapped about us come morning, one leg or arm draped over us and her hair falling in sheets across our faces. The “I love you’s” still come unsolicited, though not as frequently as they once did. She will still take my hand in a parking lot or store. Randomly, during a movie or in the throngs of deep sleep, I will sometimes suddenly feel the slip of her hand – her long fingers lacing up with mine. These are the moments I treasure most.

She is magical in so many ways these days. Even in her stubborn fury, her green eyes flash and pierce with a mysterious loveliness. Her heart-shaped face has changed so much, it is hard to find a trace of my own features there anymore. I see a version of her teenage father in her lanky silhouette but she has a grace to her movements and a flavor to her beauty that must hail from more distant ancestors.

As she turns nine, our girl is still more reserved and quiet than most girls her age. She still holds herself back, but less so. Her confidence is growing and she engages more freely with those people she feels most comfortable with. She readily chimes in on phone calls with my sister or responds with unchecked giggles at her new uncle’s antics and teasing. She tells stories and jokes. She asks for things she wants and responds to questions from adults without my prompting her to answer. She will occasionally surprise me by breaking into nutty dancing in the aisle of home depot or quoting “Napoleon Dynamite” with a deadpan accuracy. She still likes slime, unfortunately, but has showed a renewed interest in things like painting and her pottery wheel. She is creative but draws more pleasure from exploring the mediums than by finishing the final pieces. Our daughter has an explorer’s heart.

At nine, she is our whirling dervish, our musical student, our budding equestrian. She is warm and loving. She is intelligent and she is kind. She will not back down from an argument but she won’t hold a grudge. You may wait half a lifetime for an apology but when one finally comes it will arrive accompanied by a fierce hug and kiss and a throaty, heart-melting, “I’m sorry Mamma.” And it is absolutely no surprise that life with her is simply delightful.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Tactile Pleasures of Reading and There will Always be Laundry

"Blogging Circle of Friends "
DAY 2236: January 2, 2019
Prompt: My grandmother always said that what you did on New Year's day you would be doing for the rest of the year. What did you accomplish on New Years day? Will you be doing it the rest of the year?

Laundry...that is what I spent my New Year day doing...and most certainly what I will be doing for the rest of the year and all the years of my life to come. There will always be laundry...oodles of mismatched socks, soiled doggie diapers, changes of barely worn clothes discarded by my fickle daughter and sodden towels left on the floors and draped over the backs of chairs. There will always be damp swimsuits and grass-stained jeans. There will always be grease covered sweatshirts and hairy, smelly doggie beds. It will never end for me. I know this with a rare certainty. For the most part, I embrace the chore. There is something satisfying from turning a heap of dirty, soiled garments into a fresh, crisply folded pile of clean clothes and towels. I feel accomplished once the various laundry baskets are emptied and all the cleaned laundry is put away again. No matter that the baskets don't stay empty, or that the dirty cast offs sometimes fall just short of the basket's wide, easily accessible maw. This is my task to bear, mostly because entrusting it to another member of my household would certainly spell disaster; like the time my visiting mother-in-law managed to shrink all three of my pairs of maternity pants, or the time I found my husband had folded and put away an entire load of laundry that was still damp. *Smirk*

So yes, this New Years..and all on those blessed ones to come...there will be laundry.

"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 1843 January 2, 2019
Prompt: "Open a volume and next comes fragrance: fresh, green and inky if it's new or a bit dusty and aged like a grandfather's cozy den" Which do you like better, new books or old books?

This is a tough call. I have always loved the texture and smell of old books. Near my new home there is place called the Book Barn that has a seemingly endless series of rooms and outbuildings filled with books. Some of them are very old volumes, their covers mottled with mold. I love looking at those books, imagining all the hands they've traded to and from over the years. Then there is a this inherent joy with cracking the spine of a new book, that fresh ink smell and the crispness of pages not yet thumbed through. I love being the first person to take a new book out of the library. It feels like a secret privilege of sorts. I have never wanted an e-reader for these reasons, there is something so tactility satisfying about reading physical books that you loss with those electronic devices.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Five Remarkable Books

30-Day Blogging Challenge - Oct 17th
Share a list of your top 5 favorite books and give us a short blurb on each.

I have to start off by stating that these five are in no particular order. I have always loved to read and over the years, I have found that these five books have stayed with me the most among the hundreds I have digested over the years.

"Salem's Lot" was Stephen King's 2nd published novel and though I read most of his work, this early novel has never been unseated as my favorite. The novel takes place in Jerusalem, Maine. Writer Ben Mears returns to his hometown to discover that the townspeople are being systematically turned into vampires. It is wonderfully campy, borrowing on all those original, "bump in the night" fears from one's nightmare landscape. King's descriptive prowess is on full display here, making even the most predictable scenes read with razor edge tension. It is a classic good verses evil story that pits faith and conviction against fear and corruption.

“You have forgotten the doctrine of your own church, is it not so? The cross… the bread and wine… the confessional… only symbols. Without faith, the cross is only wood, the bread baked wheat, the wine sour grapes.” Barlow, Salem's Lot

Jim Lynch's "The Highest Tide" is an almost complete departure from my first choice. It tells the store of Miles O' Malley, a thirteen year old boy who battles insomnia by searching the tidal flats of Puget Sound for exotic sea specimens to sell. It is at the same time, about so much more. This is a coming of age story, set against the backdrop of a boy who finds a mysterious creature on the beach at night. At the same time Miles is making his discoveries, he is also dealing with the fear of his parent's impending divorce and a man-sized crush on the girl next door. At all times this book is sweet and sensitive but packs a really meaningful and engaging story. Lynch's descriptive phrasing is broadly appealing, especially for those who appreciate the ocean and its creatures.

"A feisty entourage of purple shore crabs scurried alongside the snail, their oversized pinchers drawn like Uzis. I thought about grabbing the moon snail, but I knew that even after it squeezed inside its shell like some contortionist stunt, it would still hog too much room in my pack. So I noted where it was and moved on until I saw the blue flash. It wasn't truly flashing, but with moonlight bouncing off it that was the effect. I steadied my headlamp and closed in on a starfish that radiated blue, as if it had just been pulled from a kiln. But it wasn't just the color that jarred me. Its two lower legs clung strangely together in line with its top leg and perpendicular to its two side legs, making it stand out in the black mud like a blue crucifix." Miles, The Highest Tide

"Of Love and Other Demons" by the amazing Colombia author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is the book that made me fall in love with words. Marquez's prose is so breathtaking beautiful, I can only imagine how much more compelling it would read in his native Spanish. The story is about a young girl, Sierva Maria, who is bitten by a rabid dog. She is sent to a monastery to presumably live out her days in isolation. She meets and begans a relationship with a young cleric there named Father Cayetano Delaura. It is a tormented love story that is ripe with beautiful anguish.

And without giving his panic an opportunity, he unburdened himself of the dark truth that did not permit him to live. He confessed that every moment was filled with thoughts of her, that everything he ate and drank tasted of her, that she was his life, always and everywhere, as only God had the right and power to be, and that the supreme joy of his heart would be to die with her. He continued to speak without looking at her, with the same fluidity and passion as when he recited poetry, until it seemed to him that Sierva MarĂ­a was sleeping. But she was awake, her eyes, like those of a startled deer, fixed on him. She almost did not dare to ask:
"And now?"
"And now nothing," he said. "It is enough for me that you know."

Peter Straub was another author I discovered at an early age. His novel "Ghost Story", was the first book that really scared me. It kept me up at night, literally. There is such an amazing story that kicks off with four men discussing the one tragic night and horrific mistake they all have in common. It is a tale that travels through decades with characters that climb right out the page and sit, waiting for you in the dark corners of your room. Both this movie, and Salem's Lot were made into movies...and neither film came anywhere close to being as good as these books were. Aptly titled, Ghost Story, this is the one you will compare all others too.
From its ominous opening line, it grabs on and doesn't let go.

“What was the worst thing you've ever done?
I won't tell you that, but I'll tell you the worst thing that ever happened to me...the most dreadful thing...” Peter Straub, Ghost Story

My final entry to my top five is one of my favorite authors...James Lee Burke. While I have read all of his novels, "Tin Roof Blowdown" was my first introduction to this master storyteller. No writer can transport me to places better than Burke. His descriptive powers, in my opinion, are unrivaled. His characters are teeming with life and vitality. This particular novel kicks off with a shooting of two looters in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. This wasn't the first book to feature his recurring characters or the setting of Southern Lousiana, but it endeared Dave Robicheaux and his buddy Clet Pursell to me forever after. Burke has expertly crafted their characters and over the years, has given them lives that you can almost swear must exist outside the pages of his books. I repeated find myself reading a paragraph over just to more fully appreciate the care in which he has described a particular place or feeling. He is an absolute master of the craft.

"MY WORST DREAMS have always contained images of brown water and fields of elephant grass and the downdraft of helicopter blades. The dreams are in color but they contain no sound, not of drowned voices in the river or the explosions under the hooches in the village we burned or the thropping of the Jolly Green and the gunships coming low and flat across the canopy, like insects pasted against a molten sun." Dave Robicheaux, Tin Roof Blowdown.

There are so many other books that come close to making the cut that I can recommend. Like, Sara Gruen's "Water for Elephants", "Horns" by Joe Hill, anything by Greg Iles...If you loved the show Stranger Things, I would highly recommend you check out, "Summer of Night" by Dan Simmons. I could go on but this entry is already pretty long and I surely must have lost most of my readers by now...