Sprinting Toward Sanity

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In the morning, the conversation of the night before seemed impossible. Will convinced herself that the whole scene was another delusional episode. She wondered — not for the first time — if she actually should see a psychiatrist. Perhaps a drug could make everything safe and normal.

Then again, as much as Will hated the hallucinations and nightmares, she feared a life of medicated normalcy. She was born for adventure — physically and mentally equipped to brave dangers and explore hidden depths.

She was nowhere near ready to end up in a small town popping pills and turning into one…


Sometimes oblivion is better than truth

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Though Stella drove them to the funeral, Will, Polly and Becky opted for the long walk home. Will appreciated the opportunity physical movement afforded to make a transition from the unreality of the cemetery back to whatever could be called regular about her life.

As she passed the stately frame houses with their kept lawns and neat flower beds — the occasional porch swinger raising a hand in greeting — she knew her visit soon must end. The town fit her worse than Polly’s dress, and without the excuse of a dying relative, she had no business being there.



And into the terror

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“We should have gone with your father, but I was too afraid.”

Will wanted to pull away, but Cora held her in her grip.

“His choice was impossible — betray his family or betray his world. Instead he chose death. He was courageous.” She looked her daughter in the eye. “And you’re just like him.”

Realization swept over Will, cutting through her anger, fear and guilt. It filled the void of her childhood grief like a landslide.

“You’re right, Mom,” she said. “I’m like him, but he didn’t give me courage — he gave me cowardice. I’ve been making a…


How deep will you sink if you let go?

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Had her mother not been dying, the visit would have been Will’s best homecoming ever. Although just nine, Becky exhibited a maturity that might have been disquieting in a more ordinary family, and she made an excellent companion on Will’s tramps in the wild. One morning, Will let her niece lead the way, and she chose an old, familiar route.

They crossed a wooden bridge and stepped onto a path leading into the trees. They walked in silence as the air grew dark and the path narrowed. …

There are no good options

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“If that ever happens to me, put a bullet in my head — you’d be doing me a favor.”

I’ve heard variations on that comment over the years, and I’ve entertained similar thoughts myself, I confess. Existing with a depleted stock of one’s marbles and the certainty that you’ll steadily lose more is bad enough. Knowing that your loved ones will be burdened with your care makes the outlook much more grim.

Perhaps you’ll be one of the easy ones. You’ll docilely submit to the routines of your care: diaper changing, cleansing, dressing, transferring from bed to chair, medicating, feeding…

The Darkest Eyes

Waking all the ghosts

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Polly pulled onto a long drive leading to a large white frame house, which bore its century-plus existence with stately grace. A porch wrapped around the structure, furnished with a swing, scattered chairs, tubs of geraniums and hanging pots of ivy. Wind chimes tinkled in a light breeze.

Nostalgia swept over Will like an illness. A girl was swinging on a tire hung from a maple tree whose silver-backed leaves glittered in the night. She wore an old-fashioned plaid dress, its bow coming loose in the back. For an instant, Will thought she was gazing through a time tunnel at…

The Darkest Eyes

Follow your path

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Will descended the stairs of the small plane and found herself under a lavish sunset. The Upper Peninsula airport that marked the end of her long flight was as different from the Chicago hub as a place where travelers landed could be.

The air felt cool and clean. Small craft were scattered hither and yon like a fleet of toys. A group of skydivers trotted across a grassy field toward a plane waiting anxiously on an airstrip to complete the day’s last haul. …

Daring to dream is part of living in the now

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I recently came across a poem on Facebook, “Christmas at Midlife” by Mary Anne Perrone, that struck me as lovely at first glance. Each line begins with “I am no longer waiting for… .” For example, “I am no longer waiting for a special occasion; I burn the best candles on ordinary days.” And “I am no longer waiting for the time to be right; the time is always now.” Accompanying the poem is a photo of a beautiful old woman, smiling knowingly in her wrinkled and disheveled glory.

The post resonated with me as an admonition to live in…

Doubt is underrated

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“Nothing is more precious than self-trust,” says the tag on the teabag. I’m instantly skeptical of “nothing” and “everything” pronouncements, so on that basis alone I’m pretty sure this is wrong. Seriously, nothing is more precious? I’m almost 100 percent sure something is more precious than self-trust. Believing that I should always trust myself seems a few short steps from narcissism.

Critical thinking isn’t something we should apply only to the external world. It’s equally useful as a tool to improve our deepest selves.

I trust myself now more than I have at other times in my life, so self-trust…


The clothes make — and unmake — the man.

(Source: Disney+ Press Release)

The first episode of season 2 of The Mandalorian is a little bit of High Noon mixed with a dash of The Magnificent Seven and a dollop of A Fistful of Dollars played out against a Tatooine landscape that feels more real than ever. What doesn’t feel real, still, after all these episodes, is the hero of the piece.

Pedro Pascal is a fine actor. He may have some of the same stuff as Gary Cooper, Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood. …

Mick Brady

Author of fantasy novel "The Darkest Eyes." Freelance writer and editor, blogger. Interests include politics, entertainment, women's issues and personal growth.

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