In today’s episode, Cullen figures out how to get around San Francisco, and he meets a new, albeit strange, friend and all his cats! Fa-bu-lous!
Stay tuned after the chapter for the Author Notes, where I reveal tidbits of our inspiration, process, journey, and some very big mistakes and lessons we learned along the way. You can also read them beneath the audio player below.
Here we see Rowan and Cullen travel to San Francisco in search of Fiana. It’s interesting to see such a huge city through the eyes of Rowan, who is always only known the forest and has been surrounded by nature. Rowan could not have fathomed anything like what he saw in San Francisco. He couldn’t feel his connection to the earth because everything has been paved over. All he felt his death, nothingness.
Here we also see that Rowan had been blocking the bulk of his emotions, especially his grief and anguish at his plight: his entire family and friends—and even the world as he knew it, dead for hundreds of years.
Although I wrote this in 2008, I had not yet experienced quite that level of grief, but the traumatic events between 2010 and 2013 certainly had me experience grief had a profound level. So much that it took me about eight years to even start to emerge from it.
Grief is something people avoid at all costs. When others are grieving, most people don’t know what to say. They either avoid the person in pain because of this or they resort to platitudes, which I have found is worse than saying nothing at all. Struggling with PTSD and the resulting depression and anxiety for so much of my life, I do know what it feels to struggle with the darkness and have learned to embrace and accept the pain while it’s there. Because fighting against it only prolongs it.
The same is with grief. The pain is so great it’s difficult to face, but if you try to run from it, one merely gets more exhausted. It bowls you over anyway. I liken it to running from the waves in the ocean. If, on the other hand, you turn and dive into the wave, you get through it much faster. I found the same with grief. Feel the agony and all its intensity, did you will see that it passes. Grief comes in waves for a reason, as it gives your brain and heart time to heal, one wave at a time.
Cullen also must rely on himself instead of the only adult present: Rowan. He was smart enough to find a library and check the Internet.
I also give some social commentary on the houseless people on the streets of San Francisco. I’ve visited San Francisco so many times, but it never ceases to amaze me the sheer number of houseless people on every street, around every corner. There are several houseless people in Portland as well, but nothing I have ever seen is as bad as San Francisco.
I have never personally been to the library in San Francisco, so I relied on pictures on the Internet to describe the exterior and interior of this quite beautiful library. One day I will have to visit. It made me laugh that Cullen found directions on MapQuest! I had forgotten that even existed, boy does that date this book.
On the way to “The Green Man,” Cullen runs into a rather cheerful homeless man who turns out to be our very own Moody Marlin. I chuckled at all the cats surrounding him.
Moody’s favorite thing to say is Fa-Bu-Lous! There’s a great story behind this. Great, and sad, and wonderful all at the same time. This was when I was working as a producer representative at the Cannes film market. I was an independent filmmaker, as I have alluded to in previous notes, and I was there to not only find distribution for my own films but for other independent filmmakers as well. At the time, I was also working as an assistant to a rather narcissistic ex-swimsuit model who had her own production company. She locked me out of the flat we had rented because I quit after her partner suggested I put a bag over my head and take off my shirt in order to attract customers at the market. It was the last straw of a string of abuse from him and her both. She wouldn’t even let me in the flat to get my suitcase.
My best friend at the time was staying with us, but he had much more loyalty to this narcissistic ex-model he had just met a few days earlier, mostly because he was interested in her, than to his best friend of three years: me. He stayed in the flat, while he arranged me to stay with his friend down in Nice. This kind man took me in for a few days and was a wonderful host. Since I was a vegetarian, we ordered what he called a “garden pizza“ and he still teases me about it to this day.
He showed me around his flat and pointed out music and other things that he enjoyed, and to everything he would say “it is fa-bu-lous.” I got such enjoyment out of his kindness and quirks, that I immortalized him and his fa-bu-lous in my character Moody Marlin.
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