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Everyone Has a Story by Layla Dorine

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As an author, I spend a great deal of time thinking about the stories in my head, the characters and their worlds, and I have to admit that being yanked from that space and out into the real world can be particularly jarring. The worlds in my mind are safe spaces. No one judges the twists and turns. No one tells me they aren’t right or that’s not realistic. It’s a place where anything is possible, where what-ifs are encouraged and there are no maybes, only endless potential.

If only the real world could be the same way.

In my travels, I come across people from all walks of life, buses are awesome for that. I’ve sat talking to a woman who’d packed all of her things into suitcases and was headed to the coast to start a new life because so she was so done with family drama. I’ve enjoyed smoke break conversations with a priest who believed the messages of most churches had been distorted over the years, to the point where so many preached everything else but love. I’ve talked with ex-cons on the way home from prison, a guy from Maine who spent thirty minutes telling us all how to pick up out the perfect lobster, and a woman who said she’d seen every state, and now that her kids were grown, was seeing her favorite states again.

I’ve laughed with them, ate with them, swapped tales, talked about the places we’ve been and the things we’d seen, the goods and the bads of cities and towns all across this country, and I’ve learned in my travels that everyone, every single, solitary person in the world around me, has a story, even if they choose never to share it with the rest of us.

Sometimes I find myself thinking of all the reasons someone might not share. Not just their personal stories, but their creative endeavors.  Many times it’s shyness, but more often than not, it’s been my experience that people don’t share because sometime in the past they tried and the result made them second guess ever doing it again.  When I think of that, it reminds me of something one of my first writing instructors put at the top of the worksheets she handed out before every creative writing exercise.

“Don’t kill babies.”

Seriously, think about it, that’s what a brand new story is, it’s an baby. It’s an idea still in the infancy stages, and you wouldn’t walk up to baby and say, “holy crap, you’re slow, you’re ugly, why can’t you walk yet! Oh my god, what’s that smell, you stink.” And yet, people think nothing of talking over others when they attempt to share, putting down their contributions to a conversation, or the work that they have put into crafting or creating something.

When have we become a society of individuals so quick to point out the negatives that we are effectively shutting each other down before we ever take the chance to learn who someone is, what they are about, and what contributions they have to make?

It doesn’t hurt to be happy for someone else, to celebrate with them in their joys and successes, to cry with them and help pick them up when they fall. Societies, tribes, used to be built on that. “It takes a village,” the older generation used to say, and I truly believe that could be tied into anything. Our society was one of teachers and apprentices, mentors and groups whose sole purpose was to elevate all members.

Yet now, more than ever, we seem to have evolved into a society of individuals with our faces stuck to screens and snarky, cutting comments dripping from our lips. We don’t praise, we tear down, we silence, we criticize, we hold our knowledge and our expertise close, refusing to share it, misguided in our beliefs that we are indispensable if we horde all of that wisdom to ourselves. We get ahead by stepping on others, by making sure they feel inferior and are too afraid to strive for something better for themselves.

We silence stories.

We silence bright lights who have so much to share, and it’s a sad, sad thing because in doing so, we lose the diversity that having so many voices allows us.

This world around us is a vast and beautiful place, with a rich history that was once passed down through oral traditions, the storefront storytellers in their rockers, the elders around the campfire talking of years past, the front porch filled with relations sharing the history of their generation and the ones who came before.

And yet now, fewer and fewer are listening. The circles, the porches and storefronts that were once packed with people are down to one or two curious ears. The rest are too busy, to self-important, to dismissive of those older folks as having outdated thoughts and ideas.

It’s called wisdom, and it’s a shame so many are missing it, because those stories are truly amazing, if you can get one who’s been ignored far too many times to take the chance on opening up and sharing.

Sometimes I find myself wondering why, in a computerized era when the machines are supposedly making so many things easier for us, we don’t have the time to listen to others, share ideas, learn about each other and come together as tribes and communities caring about one another and uplifting all of those involved.

Or are we just interested in sharing ideas only with those who will agree with us, afraid of a little debate, or of learning that the way we have gone about doing something or thought about something, might not be the only way to go about it. Hell it might not even be the BEST way to go about it, but in this world, we have all become so afraid of being wrong that the very idea that we are not right or that we might have made a mistake puts us on the defensive, and instead of learning, we deflect, and once again, find another way of shutting down someone else’s words.

The shit part of it is, stories used to be one of the preferred methods of teaching, especially when it came to morals, common sense, problem solving, and so much more. Now, people have all the time in the world for their tablets, iPhones, and smart devices and little time to hear what others are saying to them, and even less time to listen.

Because there is a big difference between hearing what someone is sharing with you, and listening to the message they are trying to convey.

I hope we will all begin to listen to the stories other wish to share with us and make opportunities for that sharing to take place. I hope we can all remember how to encourage and not tear down, work together rather than maintain our status as individuals drifting along with no anchor, because those anchors were never meant to weigh us down, but rather, tether us to those who know the stories of those who shaped and molded us, and that’s an important thing to maintain.

Our stories are about more than the characters in our heads, they are the lives we’ve lead, the experiences we’ve had, the knowledge we’ve acquired and the failures we’ve piled up along the way because there is no greater learning experience than being faced with something going wrong.

Think of the stories we could share if we all took part in righting those wrongs together.


Tagline: When the vision you fear just might be the least of your worries

Serpent’s Kiss Blurb

While searching for their missing sibling, Zaiden and his sister, Kaandhal come across the last pure blooded psy-clairvoyant of their kind. Unfortunately for them, Darian has no idea what he truly is and isn’t much interested in learning, or in helping them locate their brother, Zxex.

A bounty hunter by trade, who’s been all but banished from his family due to his visions, Darian’s a bit cynical about his ability to be of any assistance to them. Never-the-less, Zaiden brings him back to their home Rhumba, where Darian discovers that very little is what it seems.

With plots unfolding all around them and discoveries about his own heritage leaving Darian reeling, he is left with the choice of whether to embrace who and what he is, or spend every moment with them a prisoner on the fringes of their society.

Add in a pesky little bond that only seems to grow the more time he and Zaiden spend together, and several factions looking to gain possession of him and Darian is left wondering if his visions just might be the least of his troubles.

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About the Author

Layla Dorine lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.

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