Monday, October 31, 2011

A 2 Z: Xacwihlas (The Twining)

I wrote this story months ago as the third installment of fantasy stories of Kira's Saga. You can read "Kira's Challenge" here and "Lakira's Life" here, but this story is stand-alone enough that you don't need to read the others in order to understand it.

Xacwihlas ("The Twining")

Kira ran a hand down the softness of her gown, her heart soaring as high as the sky that mingled with the blue of her dress. Her little sister and mother fussed around her, but she did not hear their chatter, did not bother with their last-minute fluttering. For she was ready. Ready in her heart, where it mattered most.

Finally they let her free of the encumberments that held her away from him. Away from her love.

She stepped out of the hut. His eyes drew hers like magnets and she latched on. Her heart would burst any moment, exploding to send her careening in wild fragments to the sky, to the heaven that had created this match.

Her feet moved toward him. Faster, faster, she wanted to fly, but her sister traipsing before her forced Kira to slow. The child’s hands move delicately, dancing to music Kira did not hear; her heart sang a song of its own that filled her.

Yet the song was not a solo, for many other melodies flowed into it from around her. Her friend Sylan beamed, and ducked her head shyly toward her own young man. Pazayita’s baby gurgled and reached a chubby hand to brush the silky threads of rainbow colors that drifted about Kira’s head.

Mikot was waiting. Waiting, draped in a soft brown that matched his eyes. They would be the touching of sky and earth, and where they met the sun itself would explode in fiery glory of love. Together they would rise to march across time in a brief arch of history.

She stood before him and now had to open her ears. It was not hard, for her heart already beat in time to the melody of his voice.

“Te etqesia avon Tytagvan Xacwihlas, u tiiy ah.” His promise was beautiful, perfect. “The Creator has granted us union, so I pledge before Him that I will walk beside you through our life, though it bring plenty or famine, safety or danger, strength or weakness.”
Kira’s voice echoed his words, not lessening in the repetition, but strengthening with the union.

The family surrounded them, each holding a ribbon of color. They danced, weaving in and out to create a tent around the couple, formed of individual strands interconnected to form a whole.

Mikot reached out a hand and Kira met it, their fingers intertwining as they spoke in unison. “And so as blessed by the Creator, I will walk with you and only you, as long as breath shall fill my lungs, we shall be one.”

As always, check out more "X" posts in the "From A 2 Z 4 U & Me" meme starting on Tuesday at I'm curious to see what my creative friends come up with for this difficult letter!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A 2 Z: Wiley Update

My family moved this week, from a huge house in the country to a small house with a wonky floor plan in the city--not something we wanted, but here we are. We're still in the process of sorting through all the clutter in the old house. It seems rather endless, but we're making slow progress. The cold we're passing around the family isn't helping much.

Can you see the raccoon
print in the foreground?
The good news is that my oldest sister and her family are buying the country house, and the acreage will be perfect for her kids and the rabbits they raise. And while I miss the mountain and foothill view, I'm pleased that at least our new backyard looks into mostly trees with lots of songbirds. We even have raccoons, according to the muddy footprints on the patio door.

I'm enjoying the scenic drive to work, getting to cross the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge everyday, and the added beauty of the fall colors. The eight hours a week interpreting at a community college is just about the right amount for my body.

Other news is that I finally got referred to a real sleep study. It should get set up soon. The specialist wanted to know what my plan is if the study doesn't show anything. Ummm.... not sleep? And isn't that kind of crossing a bridge before we have to? I'm glad he has such confidence that the test will be helpful, ha. But hey, at least he ordered it. I'm praying they'll find something that will help us find a way for me to stay asleep long enough to actually get healing deep sleep.

I didn't meet my goal of having the next draft of Reaching Sky done before November so the next beta readers can look at it while I'm doing NaNoWriMo, but I am entering it in FaithWriters' Page Turner contest and continuing to look for a publisher or agent. I'm really excited about my next book, Voices of the Dark, too, and hoping my health will let me participate fully in NaNoWriMo. Check out my FaceBook author page to hear updates on the book during November.

Next week I'll be taking the written part of the National Interpreter Certification test. It's suppose to be fairly easy (unlike the performance part, which I plan to take in December) and will have questions about Deaf culture, disability laws, and interpreting techniques and ethics.

So, I guess that's the update for this youngest Wiley. :-) As always, find more "W" posts in the "From A 2 Z 4 U & Me" at Patty's blog, Ordinary Lives.

Oh, if you have a blog roll, feel free to add my button that Mari made for me. Just copy the html in the box and you'll get a button like this. Thanks!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A 2 Z: Voices of the Dark

Can you hear them? The voices echo from the darkness. Pleading. Sobs of young girls, crying for help. They call from the shadows, hidden right behind you. Locked in your neighbor's house. Abused by the people you rub shoulders with everyday. Used like a thing, void of worth.

They cry out, but no one notices. Life moves on around them, leaving them behind in forgotten brutality. We do not hear, do not pause to listen because we do not know they are there. They cry until they can cry no more, all hope, all goodness fled, drowned out by the dirtiness of the suppression smothering them.

Only if we cross paths, if it's our daughter who is stolen, only then do we take note. We listen, we hear them cry, but stand helpless. What can we do? How can one person stand against such a flood of evil? Is it too late? These children have their innocence stripped. They are old now, worn in a way no human should be. Old beyond our imaginings.

But one woman hears. Adria Kingston works as a trauma counselor and stumbled by chance across that line. Life, goodness, worth on one side; death, abuse, and horror on the other side. What can she do? Can she risk everything--her life, her new foster daughter, her innocence--to step across that line?

Once, years before, she'd faced that darkness. That time she'd run away, clapping a hand over her ears, her eyes, to drown out the silent call, the desperate pleading gaze. She had turned away once. Had almost forgotten.

But never again.

This time Adria will face the darkness and win. She'll reach a hand across the line. She will save a life, one girl at a time, and rebuild hope. Adria Kingston is listening to the voices of the dark.

Will you?


Voices of the Dark by Amy Michelle Wiley is coming soon to a bookshelf near you. To get involved today in the fight against human trafficking and sex slavery happening right here in the U.S. and around the world, check out Shared Hope International.

This is the book I'm preparing to write next month for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It's an idea I've had for ages enhanced with a new plot-line about human trafficking. Though the topic is very dark, I have ideas of how I will write it so it is powerful and suspenseful, but not too dark and not explicit at all.

As always, check out more "V" posts in the "From A 2 Z 4 U & Me" meme at Ordinary Lives.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A 2 Z: Unmatched

My friend and amazing writer, Jan Ackerson, has a flash fiction blog where she posts stories that are each exactly 100 words long. Last month she held a contest inviting people to take one of her stories or a character from a story and expand upon it. I used post 26 for mine. My original title was "Just Like You" but I decided this title would go with the story and make it fit this week's post. Here's my version:


By Amy Michelle Wiley

Her skin is a rich chocolate brown. She coos and waves a dark fist at me, her cheeks plumping, almost smiling.

He won’t get to see her first smile.

I look at her, really look for the first time since the funeral. She has his skin, his dark hair that will surely turn into a curly, tangled mess when it gets longer. And his eyes. Hers are still the dark blue of newborns, but I can tell already that they’ll darken. Will they ever hold the same expressions as his? Like that twinkling brightness he would get when I’d done something he found amusing, but didn’t dare laugh aloud at. Or the darkening that let me know he felt my pain, felt my hurt, whatever it might be.

What minor heartaches they were back then. Only weeks ago I had no idea what true pain was. Those twinges were nothing compared to the shattering blow I now know is possible.

I pick the baby up and hold her by the mirror. My face looks shockingly white. Even the dark circles under my eyes are pale compared to the newborn I cradle. She is so much of him. I should feel thankful, happy I have this constant part of the man I lost.

But something selfish in me wants to see myself, too. If I have only him in my thoughts I will drown, lost in the sea of grief. I need something that is both of us, mixed together, making perfection in a tiny bundle that is equally me.

Her face turns up, curious at the mirrored reflections, and I search her features, looking for something in her bone structure, in the shape of her nose, anything. My shoulders slump and I turn away, settling her into the stroller. We leave the house and the cold wind bites through my jacket, a chill seeping all the way to my bones.

I tuck the blanket more tightly around her and walk toward the subway station. My hands and feet move without me, leaving my heart—my soul—far behind.

Someone helps me close the stroller and stow it. I settle on the cold train bench, the baby’s body a warmth against my chest. I notice nothing until a voice breaks through. I look up, focus my eyes, and see a young girl watching me, her body straight and eyes alert.

“Hey.” She points toward us. “That baby looks just like you.”

The baby picture was photographed by Simon Gray and the stroller by Kriss Szkurlatowski .

As always, find more "U" posts in the "From A 2 Z 4 U & Me" meme at and feel free to jump in with your own blog.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A 2 Z: Terping your Thoughts... or "Life as an interpreter"

Note the solid, dark shirt. We have to
wear tops that contrast with our
hands so the signs can be seen clearly.

Okay, so I'm cheating a little on this letter, but we interpreters do nickname ourselves "terps" (and yes, we're aware that it sounds a lot like "twerp") so I thought I'd Take the opportunity to share a little about my job.

I'm a professional sign language interpreter. I work in college classrooms (but I am not a teacher or a teacher's aide and I don't know braille, just to get the common misunderstandings out of the way first thing). When there is a Deaf student in the class (not "hearing impaired," please), I interpret the lecture and any teacher or student comments into American Sign Language, and I voice into English any of the Deaf person's comments.

They say it takes about seven years to become fluent in a language. I've been playing around with signs since I was young. I studied ASL formally for about seven years, including training to be an interpreter for about four years, and since then have been interpreting professionally for 15 months.

The actual skill of interpreting is, perhaps, harder than it might seem at first thought, especially since sign language is silent and therefore often interpreted simultaneously. We have to hear the message, break it down into ideas/concepts, switch it into the grammar and syntax of the other language, make any cultural adjustments necessary, and produce the thought. All of this has to be done in seconds while still listening or watching to retain the next thing the person is saying. This is one well-known interpreting teacher's diagram of what all has to happen for an accurate interpretation:
Researchers have found that interpreting takes so much brain power that it's most accurate if a person only has to do it in twenty-minute segments. In most settings we work in teams with two interpreters so we can switch off every fifteen to twenty minutes. I find that my body is very happy about the breaks as well as my brain, given my physical limitations. We also have to juggle issues with location in the classroom so we can maintain a sight-line with the client but not block the hearing students from seeing the teacher or blackboard, hold information if our student is looking at notes or diagrams, deal with accents, etc.

Like my determined expression as I'm
showing a pig running away? hehe
ASL is a very visually expressive language.
Okay, I feel like I'm making this out to be the hardest job ever, haha. It's not that bad, though as a student, interpreting seemed impossibly difficult. Something like an idiom that took longer to figure out the meaning could completely derail me. But as I've gained experience I've found that yes, it's always hard work, but it's not so impossibly challenging anymore. And it's actually really, really fun! One hard part for me now is not getting to join the conversation myself, which those of you who know talkative me will find amusing. ;-)

I've always loved words and people and I find languages and cultures fascinating. Interpreting has proved to be the ideal job for me. I love it! It requires the presence and interaction of other humans and I get to use words all day--perfect. My physical limitations mean I can only work a few hours a day, so college interpreting works very well. I interpret about two classes each term and that time is spent alternating between resting (though still staying aware of what's happening so I can help my team if they need it) and gentle movements of signing.

I also volunteer interpret at my church and especially love interpreting music. It's like worshiping with my whole body. You can see a video of me signing "Blessed Be the Name" here.

Speaking of my "team" (another T word!), even though it's only one person, we still call our co-worker a "team" like it's a whole group of people. Funny. Another term is a "feed" which is when the interpreter misses some information and looks to their team to feed it to them.

That's my job in not so much of a nutshell.

As always, check out more "T" blogs in the "From A 2 Z 4 U & Me" meme here