Shaman Story Chapter 7 – Sensing

Read Shaman Story Chapter 6 – Friends.

Shaman Story Chapter 7 – Sensing

Ascolta il gattina, Gio. Riesci a sentirlo camminare?” Listen to the kitty, Gio. Can you hear it walking?

A favorite game Grandpa plays with me. I close my eyes, pay attention to my ears. I clap my hands. “Yes, Buppa! I can hear it walking.”

Dove sta camminando, Gio?” Where is it walking?

I listen, my eyes shut tight. I cock my head, right ear up, left ear up, right ear up. “On Mrs. Gianelli’s fence. The one on the Caputo’s side.”

Grandpa smiles and kisses my head.

“Now look, Gio. Where is Grandma?”

It is hard not to hear. I cover my ears with my hands, open my eyes wide. “She’s talking with Piantedosi the baker, Buppa. She says — ”

“No listening. What’s she doing?”

“She’s getting bread for dinner.”

“Anything else?”

Grandma looks in the dessert cases. She points to ricciarelli, struffoli, and cannoli.

Grandpa licks his lips and pats his belly. “Yumm.”


David sits across from me. It is his day, his weekend. He’s travelled far for his training. Not far enough but he doesn’t know that yet.

I look up and to the right, away from him, My eyes focus and I smile. “Oh, Shannon’s talking with one of our neighbors. Our dogs are playing in the park.”

David watches me. His eyes flick to where I’m looking. There’s nothing there. “What are you looking at?”

I point where I’m looking. “Shannon and Debbie, Cowan and Boxer. They’re in the park. Cowan and Boxer are playing. Shannon and Debbie are sitting at the picnic table under the roof shelter.”


“Use your hands to taste, Gio. Don’t touch with your hands first. Send your hands. Make sure it’s safe.”

Grandpa teaches me to detect poisons, food turned bad, mushrooms, when milk will sour.

“Smell from here. Don’t go there. Not yet.”

“Okay, Buppa.”

“Walk with me in the forest. Tell me what we can eat.”

We never leave my room. I hear the forest floor, leaves and pine needles, long grasses pushed over as we walk. The evergreens greet me with the heavy scent of pine. The oaks roll some acorns in our path. A maple sends a little helicopter seed spiralling beside me.

Grandpa puts his hand on my shoulder. On my bed I see him pointing. “Do you see that, Gio?”

On a birch tree, at face level and clinging. A huge creature, cousin to Spider, bigger than any spider I’ve ever seen, and not familiar to me. Eight legs, not a spider, and blind.

“Walk slowly, Gio. It is telling us something. This is its land.”

Each step brings us closer. The wind brings scents of fox and deer. Crows fly overhead. Raven lands on an elm branch and squawks at Grandpa, “Be careful. Gio doesn’t know.”

Grandpa nods. “Thank you. Yes. I’m teaching him now.”

Crows caw at us. Raven hops from branch to branch, always over us, always a little ahead.

The creature grows smaller as we approach. Smaller and smaller.

Raven squawks, “Careful, Gio.”

We stand beside the birch. The creature is so small. I reach for it and Grandpa pulls my hand back.

“Safe passage for me and mine, Friend Tick?”

I hear a voice of “S”s. “Yesss. Sssafe passsage.”

“This is Tick’s land, Gio. Always ask before you go. And if Tick says “No,” then stay away.”

“Yes, Buppa.”

“Remember the smells, the sounds, the feels. Remember what you see, if it’s safe, remember the tastes.”

“Yes, Buppa.”

He rubs my head. “Let’s get home before Grandma knows we’re gone.”

I open my eyes. I’m on my bed. Grandpa is sitting next to me, looking at me, smiling.

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Shaman Story Chapter 6 – Friends

At one point the following was Chapter 6. It’ll still be in the finished novel, simply not sure where at this point. Enjoy

Read Shaman Story Chapter X – The Wild, The Shadows.

Shaman Story Chapter 6 – Friends

His last few years Grandpa and I traveled. Not far, though. I don’t remember it as “far.” He took me to meet his friends and we talked about what Grandpa was teaching me. They loved to have me show them. I made mistakes, most of them harmless. Others, not so harmless. I didn’t understand. Grandpa wanted me to learn and knew something I didn’t; he didn’t have much time left.

Hence taking me to his friends, knowing they’d take over, they’d continue teaching me when he passed. They were my training wheels.

Everything to them was joyful. Everything came with a laugh. And always with you, never at you. Never arguments, never disagreements. Never “do it this way” or “do it that way.” Their corrections took the form “It might work better this way” or “What happens if you do it that way?” Always the encouragement to find your own way to do it, to find your own path, and always happy to have you for a while on their path or take part in your path for a while.

Each visit dealt with a lesson. Grandpa often said “We need to see John. John knows about this.” or “We should go visit Running Water. She knows how to do this.” or “That’s something Chan does better than me. Let’s ask him to show you how it’s done.”

Grandpa knew he didn’t know it all. He had no problem admitting ignorance. He said not knowing is a great gift; if you know you don’t know, you can decide to learn. If you know you know, you’ve already decided not to learn. “Never be afraid and never be ashamed if you don’t know something, Gio. When you admit you don’t know, that’s when you learn.”

Each of them did the basics pretty much the same way. There’s some variation, but Lower-Center-Relax-Breathe is Lower-Center-Relax-Breathe is Lower-Center-Relax-Breathe. I thought there was one door and learned there are many. Some people always go through the same door to start and then there’s other doors on the other side. Some people go through their Childhood Door only when they need to. They find other doors to different places they need to go. Some people can control their doors so that one becomes many and many becomes one.

But you never let someone enter your door and you never follow someone through their door, even if they ask. You can, I’ve met some people who’ve done so. I’ve met some people who were pulled through someone else’s door. That’s a defense and usually used by the weak, those who don’t know more or other.

When it’s an accident, someone has to go find them. Hence Grandpa playing Hide-and-Seek with me.
Continue reading “Shaman Story Chapter 6 – Friends”

Shaman Story Chapter X – The Wild, The Shadows

[I mentioned in Shaman Story Chapter 5 – Lessons that chapter numbering would get wonky as Shaman Story is a work in progress. This week’s entry bears that out, as it comes before chapter 6 and after chapter 5. So far. I think.]

Read Shaman Story Chapter 5 – Lessons.

Shaman Story Chapter X – The Wild, The Shadows

Grandpa teaches me about Shadows. We walk through a forest and greet everyone we meet. “Hello, Tree! Hello, Ash! Hello, Ant! Hello, Spider!”

“Do you know who these are, Gio?”

“These are my friends.”

Grandpa smiles. “Yes, they are your friends. They are also Shadows.”


“Yes. Everything here is a shadow of what really is.”

“The tree is not a tree?”

“The tree,” he points, “Is not Tree.”

“It’s a maple.”

He laughs. “That maple tree is not Maple.”

I hear the emphasis in his words.

“In all things, there is one which is the first of that thing. Everything else is a shadow of that first.”

I watch a snail inching up a birch. “Where is Snail, then?”

“A place of such brilliance it casts it shadow so every other snail exists.”

“But where, Grandpa?”


A simple word. I hear the emphasis. Not where Grandma sits spinning threads, weaving, making me clothes. Some place other.

I put my hand by the snail. Its antennae tickle me. It waves them at me to see who I am. “Hello, Gio.”

“It knows who I am, Grandpa!”

“This is The Wild, Gio. Everything is known here. When you want to know something, go to The Wild. If there is an answer, you’ll find it.”

A raven comes. It flaps by the snail, snatching it in its beak, flying away.”

I cry.

“That is the way of The Wild, Gio.”

“That snail was my friend.”

“Is raven your friend?”

I sniffle. “Yes.”

“And the birch tree?”


“But sometimes we cut down a tree for firewood. We load up the truck and take it home.”

I am confused and answer slowly. “Yes.”

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Sabine Rossbach’s Happy Hour – 14 May 2020 Interview (wherein she waxes wonderfully about “Empty Sky”)

Sabine Rossbach is the wonderfully talented Luxembourg based actress and voiceover artist who’s blessing me with readings from my books. You can see the first one, a reading from my short story Cymodoce, here and on YouTube

You can hear the full interview on the ARA Happy Hour podcast which included several notables: Sandra Schmit, who started,

a journal entry by writer Jess Bauldry, a book promo and discussion with actress and voice talent Sabine Rossbach and a chat with author Jenna Liberatore, who shares a chapter in her new book.

And now, here’s Sabine!


Shaman Story Chapter 5 – Lessons

[Careful readers will notice the last listed chapter was numbered 3, this is numbered 5. The joys of a work-in-progress, I added a chapter after 1.]

Read Shaman Story Chapter 3 – Truth Like Wine

Shaman Story Chapter 5 – Lessons

Each day Grandpa and I practice. He never pushes me, never insists. Some days I want to play and he turns practicing into a game.

“Gio, you like Hide-and-Seek?”

He knows it is one of my favorites.

“I’m gonna hide and you come find me. Okay?”

Oh, yes. Very much yes.

He takes me to my room and lays me on my bed. “Close your eyes. No peeking.”

I scrunch my face and bury it in my pillow so I can’t see. “You can count to ten? Count to ten, then you come find me.”

Lower-Center-Relax-Breathe. The first lesson. Him, not me. I can feel it, feel him leave the room without him going anywhere. I’m still learning.

I count to ten. “Here I come, ready or not.”

I keep my eyes closed. I never leave my bed.

Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!