Finding the good in everything and Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning

It’s Friday the 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day. The kids are out of school today and Monday for a long weekend. We’re home for those four days, with only a short-ish swim meet to break up the fun. And it’s too cold to send the girls outside.

This mix could add up to headaches, tears, clinched teeth, and yelling. But I’ve decided to take a different approach. I’m going to do with my natural inclination — optimism. Here’s my thoughts:

I get to spend four days with my girls. The hubs is pretty much working non-stop, so it’ll be me and the girls.

I can have the girl’s clean their rooms. They will hate it, but it needs to be done.

We can get laundry done and pack. We’re going to Arizona on Tuesday (yeah warmth!) and this gives us plenty of time to get ready. Plenty of time to clean, do laundry, and pack (as opposed to the normal running around at the last minute).

We have time to watch movies that we haven’t watched. Maybe play a game. Read together.

Most of all, this weekend I will remember how quickly these two are growing up, and relish the moments when they are stuck with me, inside our home. It sounds trite, but I will live in these moments, because these moments will soon be just memories. And I want good memories.

So, this long weekend I’m going to do my best to stave off cabin fever and watch my girls closely. At 11, Libby is close to those teen years, when no one wants their mother around: this weekend I will hug her as much as she lets me. Katy, at 10 going on 6, is still my baby, and loves climbing into my lap; so this weekend I will let her as much as humanly possible.

Life is short, and their childhood is even shorter, and growing closer to ending everyday.

This weekend I’m going to remember this, and hold onto it as tightly as possible.

And now, Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances.

  I love Neil Gaiman. He’s funny and imaginative, and his stories freak me out AND touch my soul. These are both good things.

That said, I’m not usually a lover of short stories. I know, I know, they have their highpoints–and a great short story, or novella, can leave the reader wanting more. I usually go for size, not sure if the short stories will have the substance I like.

But I cannot resist certain authors, Gaiman being one of them. And he hit it out of the park with Trigger Warning. All the stories were wonderful; short and sweet, told with both charm and darkness, the way only Gaiman can tell it.

The title is explained by Gaiman in the forward. Each story is supposed to invoke a ‘trigger warning’ in the reader, a sudden push of emotion and/or surprise in the tale.

I was sad to see that my advanced copy did not include “Black Dog,” a story of Shadow set after American Gods, one of my all time favorite novels. Eventually I’ll have to find “Black Dog.”

Anyway, some of my favorites in this anthology:

“Nothing O’Clock”–a Doctor Who story written for the 50th anniversary ( I LOVE Doctor Who).

“The Thing About Cassandra” — a funny, creepy story about a guy whose first girlfriend makes contact with his friends and family; the thing is, he made her up in high school.

“The Sleeper and The Spindle” — a creepy, very interesting retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

“Lunar Labyrinth” — a take on the mythological minotaur and his maze.

“A Calendar of Tales” — a very short, inventive tale for every month of the year.

All the stories were good. All invoked that ‘trigger warning,’ that gut punch that makes you suck in your breath in shock, horror, surprise, or glee. Gaiman does a great job forcing you to react.


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