Gabrielle's Journal Series:  Flames

by Murphy

Do not own them. You know who does! This is number ten in the Journal Series. Thank you to my beta team: Becky Lovall, Sam Ruskin, LJ Maas. Deb! Love Ya! This is to all the flamers out there!! Ex-Guards!! You are the best! Poem one by Charles Swindoll --Poem two by Dorothy Law Neite

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than dinars, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skills. It will make or break a business... a temple... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude that we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so, it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.

Journal Entry:

Hello. I am one tired bard today so this entry will be somewhat brief.  You are now looking at the new Grand Champion Bard of Athens.  Xena was nice enough to make time and let me come to the competition. She usually hates coming to these things because of all the people, but she knew I really wanted to do it.

Things were going well and I was so nervous. Going against twenty other bards made it a tad daunting. What made things worse was the fact that I was announced as the Bard from Potidaea. I tried my hardest to hide behind my wife, but like the pain in my ass, that she can be at times, she thought it was funny to push me out in the open. I shall have revenge on a certain warrior of mine. Maybe it was revenge enough for her to sit in the stands for hours listening to story after story. Then again, she slept through most of it. 

The competition was tough. Men and women from all over Greece come to this in hopes to be number one. For first place, you get a scroll and twenty dinars. Xena and I can really use those dinars. Winter is coming up and I want to be in a comfortable room and with a roaring fire. 

Some of the contestants performed poetry, others, stories. When it was my turn, the butterflies in my stomach felt more like stampeding centaurs. I told the story about the great Warrior Princess taking on Goliath, which is always a winner.  Then I went into the tale about the Warrior Princess on Cecrops Ship, that one always knocks them dead. My wife was awake for my turn because one, she has an ego the size of Olympus and two, she knows I would kill her if it were otherwise. After my applause died down there were still two more to go, much to Xena’s dismay.

The only down side to the day was the last contestant. She was young and untrained, but the story she performed was very good. What upset me was the bunch of morons in the stands that were heckling her. Nothing gets my hackles raised faster than meeting these kinds of people. You know the type. Angry with life and Gods help you if you are happy. They will do everything in their power to bring you to their level of stupidity.

I wonder if these fools that think they know it all, would have the guts to write something? Then, get up in front of a group of people and bare their soul?  What these judgmental fools do not know or even care to see, is how many of these tales are life experiences. It is so magical to have a person take you on a journey. Some stories help the person to heal, or just give you an idea that they are here. You live through these adventures, these tales to find the person’s very soul. How can you shun or criticize this? What gives these people a right to tell a person that they cannot express themselves? What gives them the right to judge?

If they just took the time out, they would have heard the tale of her grandmother. She just passed away and the girl needed to heal. She wrote about the kindness that her grandmother had. They would sit and quilt while she would tell tales about when she was young and what life was like. No one was listening to that, they were too petty. A story goes far beyond form and technique. She just needs someone to teach her. The stories will improve with time. It is that way with all of us. The young woman was very close to her grandmother and wanted to tell tales like the ones she had. Her grandmother did not have any training, just a gift; I believe the same of this woman. She just needs to have someone believe in her. That makes all the difference, to know someone out there has faith in you.

When I first started I lacked a lot, but with Xena having faith in me and by letting me go to school, I learned. Criticizing does nothing other than destroying a person’s will. I am afraid this woman will never tell a tale again. One good thing about this is that my tall, dark, and deadly murmured something to them and they got very quiet. The woman finished her tale and walked off. It made my jaw clench when I saw the tears in her eyes. This makes me so mad and I could tell Xena was mad also. So I am going to do as my wife did for me, let this young woman know that I have faith in her.

I went to speak with her for a bit before they announced the winner. Her name was Cassy and she was from Corinth. I told her that I have friends at the academy and I could get her in there. She is rough but with some encouragement she can be a damn fine bard, and not to lose faith. I also told her that in time her skin would toughen some. It will hurt, just not as bad. As my warrior says, "Life is too short to sweat the assholes of the world."

Then we heard the announcement of the winner. Yes, I am number one! OK, I have a slight ego. I went up to retrieve my award and dinars, and there standing and whistling was one happy wife.

Now, she knows me. I made a speech, telling them that I could not accept the award and I gave it to Cassy. I also said that if the hecklers pulled the crap out of their ears and grew a brain, they would see that she performed one fine story. Now I think this falls into the category where I always find trouble. Before I knew it four men were charging me. It didn’t last long, especially with Warrior Princess there. They also forget I might be the Bard from Potidaea, but I am also the Amazon Queen with a big stick, and the ability to kick some ass when needed.

After the mess Xena and I walked Cassy to the Academy thank the Gods they had room left for her. She was nice enough to split the dinars with us, so my butt will be warm for half the winter. Today was a really good day. I say that we truly worked toward the greater good. We helped someone keep their will and their faith.

"Gabrielle?" I look up to see my beautiful wife in bed waiting...naked. Gulp!

"Have I told you how proud I am of you?" All I could do was nod my head.

"Good, now I want to show you." Ummmmmmm. Gods, the way the fire dances off her body.

"I’ll be right there." I had a huge, eager smile. Gods, what was I writing about?

Well I am very tired and it is bedtime. Today I am thankful for everything! Looking back at my naked wife. Oh yeah!

Until tomorrow,  

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child learns to feel shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
He a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.

Read Journal Entry #11 "A Day With Joxer"

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