Escaping Darkness


No Way Out

Gloom enveloped Boron as his eyes fell upon the entrance to the mine. Working there was the curse of being a lowly Dwarf, each generation banished to a life of servitude, digging up precious metals and gems to make the grossly rich Dwarven lords even richer. He dragged his feet, feeling the weight of the pickaxe over his shoulder and the steel helmet on his head, forcing his main of bushy yellow hair over his ears, muffling the sounds around him. He found himself wishing, as he often did, that he could see any other part of the world of Aêvum beyond this mine.

His mind wandered away with the tales that he heard occasionally in the tavern after work. Tales of the other great races, the Natiōns, the Mau, the Canís, and the Lunís. He’d heard there were even more peoples and creatures in the world, but he knew little of what they were like, and he longed to find out. The Dwarves, who called themselves the Althyda, were not fond of the other folk in Aêvum.

There had been many wars since the Stórr Bifask, The Great Migration, a time of upheaval that had happened around 11,500 years ago. The Althyda had had the most number of brutal wars with the Natiōns, or the HarFúinn as they called them, basically meaning The Tall and Rotten. They were beautiful to see, tall and slender with satin skin and pointed ears, but they treated all others like lowly vermin. Their slave ships would sometimes dock in the town of Thromr, and they were always insulting when they addressed anyone they came in contact with.

The Mau, or the Köttr as they were called here, was another race that had been at odds with the Althyda, but not nearly to the same degree as the HarFúinn. They were a proud race of six-foot-tall cats. They walked on two legs, had nine lives that allowed them to live nearly a thousand years, and they were wicked in a fight. He had never met one, but he had seen a Köttr once when he had been at the docks as a ship had prepared to set sail.

Those that he had not seen were the Canís and the Lunís. The Canís, a race of people that looked much like jackals, known here as the Hundr, had been forced into servitude by the HarFúinn following the Stórr Bifask. Their homeland had become an uninhabitable desert, and as they fled to find a new home, the HarFúinn had begun to capture them and sell them into slavery. This was but another reason to dislike the HarFúinn. Boron had often felt sympathy for the Hundr when he heard of their woes, reflecting on his own forced servitude in this hellish place of rock and stone by the sea.

The Lunís, known here as the Ulfr, were a race of shapeshifters that traveled Aêvum as traders, but their homeland of Lunam was far to the south, on the other side of Aêvum from Wotan, the home of the Althyda. This distance and the dangerous seas between them prevented much trade between the Althyda and the Ulfr. They were said to be a fascinating people, able to shift at will from the form of a person to the form of a great wolf and were rumored to be the keepers of the ancient magic of the moons.

As he approached the tunnel, his thoughts returned to his surroundings. The opening of the mine was in a crevice of dark granite, jagged and menacing in the long shadows of the morning. He paused and turned to look behind him at the mountainside before he had to leave the fresh, crisp daylight behind. Between the towering walls of the crevice, he could just make out the tips of evergreen trees and the lush valley that sat protected at the base of the mountains, a shining river winding through it, the waters glittering in the first light of the day. He took a deep breath of the mountain air, wanting to smell the freshness of the forest, but the musty stench from the mine permeated the surrounding breeze. Boron’s weariness of this place and all that it represented filled his mind again, causing him to struggle against the despair rising in his chest.

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Why Tool?

I have been a fan of the band Tool since I was in middle school, back in 2003. It’s funny, the events surrounding my introduction and evolution of fandom were less than pleasant, but it doesn’t matter, because I have yet to find a band, including Maynard or otherwise, that can truly compare. I watch as the world discovers what I have known all along. That Tool has true power in their music. 

“So why, pray tell, do people like yourself love Tool so much?” you might ask.

I cannot say for everyone else, but for myself, I know exactly. We live in a world that is so messed up, that a writer like me would struggle to come up with a world as chaotic. Our reality is truly stranger than fiction. Tool is like a Vaccine, injecting us with a version of our surroundings that is mixed together just right so that we can survive the full force of reality. 

“Bless this Immunity” indeed.

I am an extremely empathetic person. It makes the world even more difficult to process, so I turn to writing. Yet, writing in itself is not enough. We all need things outside of ourselves to help us cope with what we have to face. Some are truly unable to cope and choose to go to sleep. I cannot. 

Sleeping is for fools and sheep. I will not be one of the counted bodies. I watch all of these monkeys, fighting over life, prayer, love. Until they die over polarizing words. Tool speaks to the soul about reality, reminding us that we all watch vicariously through technological devices, as others die, all while we live out our lives. We struggle in our world to fit the pieces back together, even as we watch them all fall away. 

Tool reminds me of what I must face in order to fix a broken world and helps me understand that it’s ok that I sometimes want to watch it all be washed away by nature. I’ve learned how to swim. They helped teach me how. I hope to pass the lesson on in my own way. After all, we have reached a humbling river, and the only way we’ll be able to cross it is if we join together. 

Our world is dying, our country has a maniac at the helm, and it’s time we threw him overboard. I am watching the weather change, and I have adjusted for turbulence. I am sober to the reality of it all and ready to face what is in store, or at least as ready as one can be for the end of the world. None of this outcome was my decision, but I’m calling the shots now. I’m not alone either. The age of the Indigo Children has arrived. We are ready to move to the rhythm of the moon and tides, we have no need for the old empire anymore. We are ready to live a life based on wine, song, food, and fire. 

I have spent enough time watching as those in power make empty promises and point fingers at myself and all those who have been forced to remain in their shadows for far too long. I am ready to find what I have been hiding in my own shadow. I am ready to feel the changes coming from beneath the scabs of my past. 

This is what Tool has taught me. Some of the lessons did happen to come from the bands A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer, but Tool hits home 100%. They showed me my soul, laying it bare and naked before my eyes in a way I had never seen before, and they have continued to do so, with nothing but their amazing rhythms, riffs, rhymes, and refrain. 

They don’t waste time making music about what they like to wear, how cool their car is, their money, or their house. Even the music they write that is about the same things as other artists depicts a deeper meaning. They don’t bother with the surface. The surface is a facade, fake. The surface is what we all use to make it look like we have it together, that we know what we’re doing. 

Even as I attest to the knowledge that their music has given me about myself and my goals, the thing it has taught me the most is that I am flawed. I know little, and I must respect that fact. I am but a speck on a speck in a speck floating through an endless void that has no care or knowledge of me. Or does it? I don’t know, because I am far too small to know, as are all of you. 

But that is not a bad thing. See, once you truly face that reality, it is so much easier to face everything else. The liars, the death, the injustice, the approaching Armageddon. All of it. It’s funny that even as we have so little time, we must still be patient. We must keep reminding ourselves of it. Life is a shitshow, but that doesn’t mean that you have to add to the grudge that everyone wears like a crown, always yelling about what they will not tolerate, sinking deeper, instead of choosing to let it go and allowing themselves to be humble. Learn from it, leave behind the insanity, and change the results.

Learn to let go and move on, because if you can’t face reality, it is going to wash you away. Are you going to stand around and be a dumbfounded dipshit, or are you going to change the trajectory of the comet that is headed for your future? I don’t know about you, but I am sick of this bullshit three-ring circus sideshow. 

I am ready to push the envelope. I am done separating my body from my mind, done with the overthinking. There are infinite possibilities if you only follow the spiral, reach out and embrace the random, and stop overanalyzing. 

Everything I am saying in this is entirely Tool, with a sprinkling from Maynard James Keenan’s other bands. These are not my words, I am simply sharing what they said in a different medium. If you agree and you have never listened to their music before, perhaps you should. They are not simply musicians. They are philosophers, forcing us to see the world as it is. 

I hope that I can be even a little like them, feeling inspired, witness the beauty, with my feet firmly on the ground. One thing is absolutely for certain. I have lost myself between their sound, and their music has opened me wide to suck in whatever will bewilder me. 

Every life is a gamble, facing impossible odds, terrible truths, and debilitating pain. Yet it also contains such beauty, and I choose to work towards preserving whatever bit of it that I can, and I choose to live life to the fullest as I do so. I’m not sure how well I could have done that without the music of Tool in my life. 

I may have indeed become one of the ticks and leeches, or someone could have already read my eulogy.

I’ll never know, because I was blessed to be reminded of the bright and endless light of nature, of life itself. This light that they showed me, this reminder of what is truly holy, resuscitates me, even when I feel completely hopeless. 

That is why I love Tool, and I am sure that many fans would feel the same. Perhaps it’s time you joined us in the magic. It isn’t perfect, but it’s refreshing when you listen to the truth. Inoculate yourself against the fear.

“Bless this Immunity.”


Happy Listening

-Lillian E. M. Garza


Musical references:


Fear Inoculum – Tool

Counting Bodies Like Sheep – A Perfect Circle

Right in Two – Tool

Vicarious – Tool

Schism – Tool

Ænema – Tool

The Humbling River – Puscifer

Man Overboard – Puscifer

Indigo Children – Puscifer

Disposition – Tool

Sober – Tool

46&2 – Tool

The Patient – Tool

The Grudge – Tool

Lateralus – Tool

Ticks and Leeches – Tool

Eulogy – Tool

Reflection – Tool

‘Sins of Greed: A Tale of Two Fools’ By C. Tarradell

‘Sins of Greed: A Tale of Two Fools’ by C. Tarradell

Review by Lillian E. M. Garza

5 Stars

Fantasy is a vast genre, filled with endless possibilities. If someone asked me to name every fantasy book ever written, I would laugh in their face. It is a truly impossible task. The genre is incredibly saturated, with the endless number of authors working tirelessly towards the dream of becoming the next Rowling or Tolkien. In such a quarry, it can be difficult to find the gems. Gems like ‘Sins of Greed’.

I had such a wonderful time reading this book. In fact, it helped me through a difficult time. I was about halfway through reading this sensational story when a wildfire broke out just north of my home. I was out of town at the time, and though it was obvious after two days that the firefighters were getting it under control, the fire line came within a mile or so from my house, and my husband was home alone. Needless to say, I needed a distraction. 

Enter ‘Sins of Greed’, truly an epic Tale of Two Fools, brilliantly woven and crafted to immerse you into the vast world of Olvion, and the politically turbulent country of Lurinlia. This book is perfect for anyone who loves fantasy. Boasting magic, mystery, suspense, a simmering revolution, a powerful pantheon, a war on the horizon, and a number of magical creatures. With something new to discover around every corner, ‘Sins of Greed’ builds up fast-paced intensity, leaving you begging for more. 

I am a fan, and I cannot wait to read the next in the series. If you enjoy fantasy and adventure, this is a book for you. 

Facing Our Reality

What Can We Do to Stop Climate Change?


It’s the question we are all asking ourselves. How can I, as one person, save this world? We are all simply, one person, after all, wondering “What is my role in all this?”

I’ve only taken a few college courses, I’m an energetic mother, writing when I can to make money, and preparing to re-enter the job market. Things are rough. Everywhere. I look and I see it all, writhing through day to day life like some kind of demented animal from a horror movie. It moves so silently and slow. When I picture it, I see an oil blob monster, oozing into every crevice of our world some way or another.

I think of this often. My life has loosely revolved around recycling. My father worked for a recycling company when I was a little girl. Some of my earliest memories are of riding around in his recycling truck that looked much like a ups truck, tall, brown and monolithic. Things felt hopeful then, even though it had its scary moments. Then that recycling company disappeared. I remember it well. In fact, I could show you exactly where it was, but I realized, I’ve been avoiding the place subconsciously.

I’ve been thinking a lot on that place recently. It was rough around the edges, but a good company.
That was a long time ago now, and I’m beginning to realize how much has changed here at home. I mean, even the feeling or energy of my home is different.

I’m sure you’re feeling this too. All of us, around the world, are now having to deal with things that are big, that feel beyond our control. I’m no expert, but I have my own ideas. I try to find ways through things like YouTube tutorials, learning about how to reuse the stuff around me. I feel guilty now, every day I go to pick up food for my family, or when we need to purchase new clothes and shoes. I have to remind myself that everyone has to do these things, and the corporations are the ones that need to make huge changes to their packaging and production. Still, I want to do more.

I think that much of the answer is in thrift shops, and there are also ways you can improve upon what you find there. We are constantly surrounded by clutter, it’s amazing how it grows, and we tend to chose to throw it away, because it’s easier than finding another use for it. I feel we are in a time where we all must make that choice, and decide to readjust our lives, our businesses, and even how we give to one another.

So many things run through my mind, ever since I realized what the U.N. climate report was saying. Part of me has been struggling with the feeling of mourning ever since. When I was a child, it felt like we were so close, within grasp of making the required changes. What happened?

I’ve gotten to thinking about the possibilities in a town like mine. We have an array of artists and independent businesses. They help the city thrive, bringing in tourism and generating revenue. I’m scared because many of the businesses that have been here for ages are going bankrupt, or hanging on by the skin of their teeth. The buildings have gotten bigger, the summers have gotten hotter, and the artists and businesses we love and depend on struggle to keep the town afloat.

An idea struck me recently. Our city could hold competitions for artists, where they could showcase art, completely constructed from garbage taken out of the local dump. Lowell Observatory (the famous place where the “dwarf” planet Pluto was discovered) could hold science fairs for children and adults to have a number of categorized competitions, the main requirement being to create new things using trash from our landfill. How wonderful would that be? This is something that I have even considered contacting the National Science Foundation about. Imagine every city across the United States, holding science and art festivals entirely dedicated to reusing trash!

The current recyclers here are a bit of a joke. They under bid the company my dad worked for, and the company died not long after. I know some of the people who were a part of it. I see them around town sometimes, and time has been rough on many of them, but still, we hang in there. Because we’re from the West, where everything is always a bit rough around the edges. We’ve faced hard things before, and even if the people are different, I still see us trying.

I would love to talk to people like Coral Evans, our lovely mayor, and our city council members, but I feel as if anything I could bring to a meeting would be nothing but empty words, dismissed with a simple “Thank you for your comments, Mrs. Garza.” I don’t understand the nuances of the political system. Not well enough to make a proposal for city events, but I want to watch these ideas happen here.

I’ve begun holding onto plastic and glass bottles, and I’m working to make things with them that could be sold or given as gifts, in an attempt to prevent myself from buying something else I don’t need. That’s what you have to do between chasing those big roles in your life, because ultimately, all that we do is for family.

Love is the adaptation that brought mammals out of the shadows, and into domanence on this planet. Love has empowered us for millennia to shape or reality because we literally choose to hold the future in our hands when we love. Love is our promise to keep going, even if it burns inside. It causes us to do things we otherwise might not imagine doing.

Here is my own answer to what I do to combat climate change. Support my local businesses, reuse and recycle EVERYTHING that I can, and spend time with my husband and daughter’s, learning how to face this together.
That’s what family does, we face things together. Even when we are apart, we’re always there for each other in thought. The people you truly care about are your foundation. Learn what you can from them, teach them anything they may not know, and listen to each other’s ideas.

Those are the things that make us humans special. Our ability to look at our surroundings and imagine the possibilities. What more does a gardener do, but plan the topographic nature of a yards terrain to create some kind of balanced ecosystem?

Learn what you can about things you can do at home with your family, reusing and recycling what you have in ways that amaze you once you’re done.

I can imagine the world we can build. I can see it, even though I struggled for a while, and still do after knowing that we have only eleven years to change our trajectory. It’s a whole new kind of tall order for all of us, but I believe we can do it.

Hopefully, things like recycling competitions will become a thing soon, everywhere. We need innovative ideas, and we all have a mountain of cleaning to do, but there is worth in the resource of trash. The landfill is the next Gold Rush, and I can feel the shift that will lead to a new era in business, where a business builds together in our communities more, the way that they used to.

It isn’t far off. We can overcome what we are facing, if we face it head on, together. ❤️

Spring Blooms


Welcome to all of you!

Summer is swiftly approaching! I am excitedly preparing to begin work in my garden. My husband and I have already bought several plants that we’ve been devotedly caring for indoors, and a great number of seeds that we are antsy to plant. First, we must wait, tapping our toes in anticipation for the nights to grow warmer, and the winds to abate.

Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.” – Lewis Grizzard

Spring in Northern Arizona is always accompanied by a blustery announcement. The winds make the trees dance, and our houses creak as they blow in the spring rains to cleans and awaken the landscape. It is an electric time of year, as you hear the birds twittering in the trees, which are budding with anticipation of their own. It may not be my absolute favorite time of year, but it is truly magical none the less.


Here at my home, the winds have finally begun to taper some, and the nights are growing warmer. Enough for some of the first flowers to bloom, and I can’t help but become giddy with excitement as the first colors of spring emerge. These butter yellow columbines just opened up, welcoming the spring sunshine, and sipping on the lovely afternoon showers.

I hope wherever you are, this spring has been as magical as mine, and whether it has or not, I hope that it gives way to a summer of fun, family, success, and positive growth with a healthy harvest!


Enjoy the Awakening!

-Lillian E. M. Garza

“Finding Paraíso” Now Available!

Finding Paraíso is now available for purchase on! A book trailer is currently in production, and its release date is to be announced. The writing of this story has been quite a journey for me, and yet I feel sure that it is barely the beginning of my own story. The characters have captivated me and brought a richness to my world that I feel sure it’d been lacking. The world of Aêvum, and all of the subsequent worlds attached to it have been building in my mind for over fifteen years, but the creation of the story of Finding Paraíso and the characters that bring it to life was what I feel made the world itself finally begin to truly come alive.

I am in the thick of a learning period. Discovering how to edit together footage, build websites, mix music, sell stories, and start companies. Writing itself is easy for me, almost as easy as breathing. The stories flow through my mind, day and night, but the structures with which I need to share those stories are incredibly complex and difficult to navigate. It’s a wonder that I have managed to figure any of it out, but such is life. Endless learning on the go, as you balance work with family, and self. I know that this story is something powerful, and as it grows in popularity, I am excited to witness the feedback and discussions that will stem from it. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

-Lillian E. M. Garza