Embracing Shadow: Step 1

Last installment, you discovered that you are a very complex holograph of personalities.  You also learned that Shadows are fragmented pieces of your holograph—blocked energies that will express through your subconscious if you don’t pay attention. Since you can’t banish or destroy energy, you’ll have to find another way to get your Shadows to toe the party-line.

Having dealt with my own shadows over the last 20 years and having experienced the darkest expression of Shadow (which can be likened to Possession), I feel I may speak with confidence on the subject. One thing that these experiences have taught me is:

You are what you believe.

Everything you think, whether conscious or not, weaves into your reality, but the thoughts that carry emotion pack the biggest punch. The thoughts you feel are your beliefs. To change either the thought or the feeling changes the belief. Changing the belief changes your reality.

With this pearl of wisdom comes an even scarier understanding that you are responsible for your own reality. Since you have the power to change what you believe, holding your Shadows prisoner by denying them voices to effect change becomes an indefensible act of self-sabotage. You are miserable (in some ways) because you choose to do nothing about it. Of course this is all part of being human, but I thought I should point out that as adults, we’re the authors of our own horror stories.

Now if you need serious therapy or have horrific experiences in your life journey, meeting your Shadows without the guidance of a qualified therapeutic professional is strongly discouraged. I am not a qualified therapeutic professional. I’m more a fellow traveler who has seen enough and done enough to share her experiences and understandings with like-minded individuals.

So, that caveat expressed, let’s get started with an exercise.

I want you to make a list. This is the negative bucket-list where you write down the worst things you can remember about yourself. Example: I remember one time in band camp, I kissed this boy. Three years later, after having people rag me about this kiss, which for the life of me I couldn’t remember and denied vehemently, I remembered it in all its earth-shattering horror. And it hadn’t been horrible because of the boy:  he was very sweet if a little forward. What had been horrible was that I had run my mouth without any consideration of what was coming out of it. Then my Shadow had deleted the event from my hard drive!  Shadows are sneaky. Luckily, she had forgotten to empty the Recycle Bin.

That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. One of my Shadows is a motor-mouth; I’ve come to an understanding with her. These days she has safe people to chat with and we’ve even made it a game to see how long she can keep her counsel, even with the safe people. Otherwise, she’s a great conversationalist and she’s getting really good at shutting up. I’m so proud of her!

So if you’re a motor mouth and it’s ruining your peace of mind, put it on your list. Other negative top-of-the-listers could be inappropriate and rampant sarcasm or the overwhelming need to be in a relationship despite the “winners” you’ve picked in the past.

That’s my list (XD), what’s yours?

Next: Embracing Shadow Step 2a

Call for Interaction

Call for Interaction.

I’m looking for ideas from my fellow writers. Come visit my blog and get a dose of magickal living to boot. Your comments and questions might open a whole new avenue of exploration in my project. Hold me accountable! (Because I am a complete procrastinator.)

Anatomy of the Shadow

This is a continuation from the Call for Interaction post. Please click here if you missed the beginning.

Excellent! Whatever you wrote is correct. Why? Because magickal people understand that you are the creator of your own universe. No one else has your perspective, your experiences, or your shadows. What you wrote, if you played fair, is a reflection of your truth.

So let’s get a few basic principles under your belt about the psyche and why shadows, plural on purpose, may be sabotaging your efforts to be magickal.

1. You are multiple personalities.

In no way am I suggesting that you’re crazy. Think about who you are with your best friend and then think about who you are with your supervisor or a client you don’t know very well. You have faces, or masks, that you wear with different people and each of them are You. Some of these faces you like better than others. Some faces are so unpleasant that you try not to let them out into public at all.

What makes you different from Sybil?[1] Sybil’s consciousness was so fragmented, she had a total of sixteen different known personalities that manifested. You have that many personalities in you if not more, but they are so well integrated that you only sense the shift as the people in your environment change. These personalities help us to adapt, and when well integrated they form a holographic personality that you know as You.

2. A Shadow is a fragmented part of your holographic personality.

Have you ever heard of shamanism?[2] Shamans are people who achieve altered states of awareness to interact with the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is a structured place (i.e. there are worlds and levels of existence) that receives the knowledge, experiences, and awareness of all creation. Humans access this collective unconscious through their subconscious minds either in dreams or using shamanistic techniques.[3]

Some shamanic traditions practice what is known as soul retrieval. This technique is used to achieve psychological integration. The shaman enters an altered state of consciousness, searches for the missing fragment of the person’s soul, and when he finds it, he tries to lure the soul back home. That missing fragment is a Shadow.

3. Shadows are the flip-side of a desirable trait.

For example, vigilance is a very desirable trait for a soldier to possess, even to the point of ever-present suspicion, especially in combat situations because that vigilance increases the soldier’s odds of survival. But such intense vigilance can develop into a paranoia that is expressed in non-combat situations. Paranoia is often an obstacle to intimacy and can destroy a person’s peace of mind.

4. Shadows are blocked energies desiring expression.

Shadows are not alien beings that must be destroyed before they take over planet Earth. They are energies within your psyche that have helped you cope with less than pleasant circumstances. Often, the energy becomes a Shadow because the circumstances have changed and your psyche hasn’t quite gotten the message yet that the threat has passed. For example, Mr. Wrong, who always put you on the defensive with snide little comments wrapped up in innocuous statements, has been replaced by Mr. Right. Unfortunately, the pattern of searching for Mr. Wrong’s nasty pill of a put-down in Mr. Right’s genuine compliments just might drive the good guy away.

Shadows can express themselves in many ways, often without you realizing what’s happening. Magickal people know to look to their environments because what happens on the outside often reflects what’s happening on the inside. The same situations keep coming up: All your co-workers think you’re an arrogant [insert insult of choice] and it’s affecting your ability to get a promotion. You keep having to extricate yourself from Fatal Attraction relationships because, “She really seemed nice at first.” You keep reliving your source relationship with your mother (or father) with the women (or men) in your life.

Whether you like it or not, that Shadow is going to express itself. The goal is to direct the form of expression it takes.

5. Energy transforms but it does not go away.

In fact, the whole reason why you have a Shadow to begin with is because you tried to send this energy away and ignore it. You can’t banish or eradicate a Shadow.

Shadows are blocked energies and the only way to effectively deal with them is to absorb and transform them. People can argue with me all they want and tell me I’m full of hornswaggle because they’ve banished shadows and blah, blah, blah. Fine, but it is imperative that you, magickal person in training, understand one thing about energy:

All the Power that ever was or will be is here now.[4]

This means that all the energy that ever was or will be is here now, so deal with it. Stop hiding your head in the sand and look your Shadow right in the eye.

Next post: Embracing Shadow Step 1

[1] Sybil is a book about a woman with multiple personalities. This book illustrates a classic example of the dissociative mental illness.

[2] The Foundation for Shamanic Studies was founded by Michael Harner, a well-known and credible expert on the practice of shamanism. You can find good information about shamanism at this site and in his book The Way of the Shaman.

[3] Sometimes altered states of awareness are reached through the use of drugs, but the shamanic training to earn control over the experience is so long and intense that the practice is discouraged in many magickal communities.

[4] The Pattern of the Trestleboard. Courtesy of B.O.T.A.

Call for Interaction

Blogs require multiple posts to be successful, so I’m soliciting your input into the process. I need you to hold me, a writer/procrastinator extraordinaire, accountable for producing exceptional, and ultimately useful, product. You’ll also help me shake a serious case of the holiday blues.

Here’s the plan:

You, the audience and co-creators of all things bloggable, shall submit questions to me about Magickal Living. Now don’t worry if you don’t know anything about the aforementioned theme. There are no stupid questions. And if you do know what it’s about, erudite and snarky questions are equally welcome. Please make me laugh, make me think, and extricate me from the coma (comma?) that has become my life.

This is also your opportunity to bring your blog to my attention because if I like your question, I’m going to visit your blog. I’m going to post and friend you on Facebook and invite you to my LinkedIn as well. You have been forewarned.

In the meantime, here’s a li’l something to get your juices rolling.

Anatomy of the Shadow

I’m sure you’ve read about the Shadow Self in one psychology book or another, but how do magickal people view this prickly psychological construct?  I like to have a coffee clatch, imaginary of course but it works for me. Another magickal genius has board meetings, which is congruent with his high-powered lifestyle as an executive. My musician son prefers to audition his shadows and, if possible, hold a jam session.

So what is the Shadow Self? Take this moment to write down what you think a Shadow Self is. Write down some grist for your mill about this bogey (wo-)man of the psyche. Let it flow. Don’t worry about how it might read because you want to communicate with your subconscious mind. That means free-form, stream of consciousness. I’ll give you about fifteen minutes.

When you are done, click here.

Hocus Pocus?

A “published” writer since the tender age of 12, IO KIRKWOOD’S fantasy short stories have graced the pages of many a school literary magazine. She set aside her dreams of writing to raise a family but the fever never quite left.

Io’s genre runs towards dark, urban and ultimately pagan fantasy. As one of the co-founders of Clan Bradan, an eclectic Feri trad, her world view infuses the alternate historical worlds she creates.

Io is also working on a non-fiction book, The Art of Magickal Living, in which she brings a unique perspective to why and how “Hocus Pocus,” also known as Magick, works despite the materialism and atheism of our modern world.

As an avid reader, Io believes that her desire to create the written word should be informed by the needs of her potential readers. She is working on a number of fiction and non-fiction projects and wants your input.

Visit here often to see what Io has up her sleeve and you may have a hand in her next creation.

100 Questions: Laney Brennan

Mandatory Questions

1. What about you is heroic?

I don’t compromise my principles even when it would be easier to do so.

2. What about you is social? What do you like about people?

People are interesting and I enjoy finding out what makes them tick. It appeals to my analytical mind.

3. Of what benefit could you be to the current group?

I’m a team player. I look for the win-win situation.

4. Why would you choose to join the current group?

MFM is a great magazine. The content is superlative, they operate on a social media business model, and my colleagues are awesome for the most part.

5. Invent an adventure/plot that your character would actively undertake (as opposed to just tagging along)?

I get assigned all these crappy local gigs, basically a demotion, and instead of whining about it (like DeWitless would do), I make it into a proposal that promises national success.

Personal Questions

1. What is your real, birth name? What name do you use?

Elaine Constance Brennan but my byline is Lane Brennan. The music industry is still very male-dominated, though that is changing, and Lane sounds androgynous.

2. Do you have a nickname? What is it, and where did you get it?

Laney is my nickname from when I was little. Lanesy is what Pao calls me. I have no idea why, but he seems to like the way it sounds.

3. What do you look like? (Include height, weight, hair, eyes, skin, apparent age, and distinguishing features)

I’m tall, a hair over 5’9″ and 158 pounds <cringes>. My hair is dark and in the sun, it has deep red highlights. It’s very wavy and thick. My eyes are a clear brown, like good whiskey with just a hint of gold. I freckle so I stay out of the sun to keep my skin clear and use a lightener with my moisturizer. I’m very pale. I look younger than I am and I get carded still. Sometimes my height works in my favor to make me look older. I lucked out and got the Brennan nose, which is small and upturned. The Monza nose is very Italian and would have looked strange on me. I did get my uncle’s broad, high forehead with a pronounced widows peak, but I have a strong jaw and a rounded chin to balance it out. I got the Monza mouth too. It’s wide and has full, shapely lips that I’ve been told are very distracting to men. I try not to draw attention to my mouth, but I smile without even thinking about it. I think I have a nice smile with white, even teeth (thanks for those braces, Uncle Drew).

4. How do you dress most of the time?

I like to wear snug, bootleg jeans with either knee boots or ankle boots (no heel), a well cut top, a fitted jacket if needed, and very understated jewelry. I wear minimal make up: eye liner, mascara, selective concealer and light powder.

5. How do you “dress up?”

If I must, I will wear a skirt and heels (very low). I love jackets and have many of them. I like pretty tops with just a touch of lace, sparkle, or embellishment.

6. How do you “dress down?”

Yoga pants, a tee shirt, and a hoodie (if needed) with sneakers. I don’t wear shorts or bikinis.

7. What do you wear when you go to sleep?

Flannel pants and a camisole. I will wear shorts to bed in the summer.

8. Do you wear any jewelry?

Small gold hoops, a gold Namaste pendant, and a gold watch.

9. In your opinion, what is your best feature?

My hair is amazing even though it can get a little wild. It’s very long and thick and I love the color, especially when the sun streaks it. When it’s wet or blown straight, my hair reaches all the way down to my elbows. When it air dries, it will curl up to just below my shoulders. I wear it up a lot but people stare when I wear it down, which makes me uncomfortable.

10. What’s your real birth date?


11. Where do you live? Describe it: Is it messy, neat, avant-garde, sparse, etc.?

I live in an apartment three blocks from the MFM office. I haven’t personalized it because I’m rarely there. Its neat, sparse and tiny. The neighbors are great. It’s an older place, and though it’s been refurbished, it has its maintenance issues.

12. Do you own a car? Describe it.

I own a pre-owned Subaru BaHa. It’s a little truck and I mean little. It’s sun yellow with white, black and grey trim. It has grey leather seats and a manual transmission. I keep her neat and clean.

13. What is your most prized mundane possession? Why do you value it so much?

My tablet. It goes everywhere with me. Everything I do is on this tablet. It connects me to the Internet and to work and to the whole world.

14. What one word best describes you?

Organized. I always have a plan.

Familial Questions

1. What was your family like?

Dysfunctional, just like everyone else’s <laughs>.

Uncle Drew was more a father to me than my dad. He was certainly around more and he paid for my college and my braces and other luxuries. He’s always been there for me. Even when he was on the road with some super band or another (he’s toured with or recorded drum tracks for so many big names I can’t keep track), he would call me at least once a week to check in and that was when I was a kid. After Mom died, he moved to Boulder to be close to me. I talk to him almost every day and have dinner with him once a week when he’s in town, which has been more often lately.

2. Who was your father, and what was he like?

My dad, Jackie Brennan, left when I was six. He’s married to the man he left Mom to be with. I don’t talk to him but Janelle does. He’s never cared for me much. I always got the feeling that he tolerated me and sometimes I wonder if he is really my biological father.

3. Who was your mother, and what was she like?

My mom, Constance (Monza) Brennan was present, but only in body. She worked to put a roof over our heads and made sure we had what we needed to be comfortable, but she was very removed emotionally from my life. She died of heart failure when I was 21 and Janelle was 18.

4. What was your parents marriage like? Were they married? Did they remain married?

My parents separated when I was six. I never heard them argue. I think that my mom loved my dad to an unhealthy point. She never got over him leaving. He remarried a man and lives out in San Francisco somewhere.

5. What were your siblings names? What were they like?

Janelle disappeared after Mom died and didn’t pop up until about two years ago as Tantra. Uncle Drew knew where she was, but I had no clue and don’t know why she has an issue with me. She was always a little drama queen and I think her bad behavior (drinking, carrying on with boys, sneaking out at night, smoking, cutting class) just wore Mom out.

6. What’s the worst thing one of your siblings ever did to you? What’s the worst thing you’ve done to one of your siblings?

Janelle was always winding Mom up and then would leave and I’d have to deal with the mess. She didn’t bother with other people much. Her misdemeanors stemmed from thoughtlessness and selfishness. I plain don’t like her as a person, but she’s my sister so I always giver her the benefit of the doubt.

7. When’s the last time you saw any member of your family? Where are they now?

I haven’t seen Janelle since I ran into her two years ago at a show her band, HeKaTe, played at.

8. Did you ever meet any other family members? Who were they? What did you think of them?

I don’t know any relatives from my father’s side. My mom’s side of the family is Uncle Drew and some second cousins here and there that I may have met at one family reunion or another.

Childhood Questions

1. What is your first memory?

My first memory was when Uncle Drew brought a woman to dinner at my Mom’s house. I was maybe three and the woman was very beautiful. She had dark red hair like mine but it was sleek and shiny. Her eyes were the color of peridots, a very clear green and she had very delicate features and the creamiest white skin. She was tall and wore very stylish clothes and heels. She was the same height as Uncle Drew in her heels. She had brought me a gift. It was a set of cloisonné nesting dolls that depicted various animals in brilliant colors. Mom had disapproved, declaring it an inappropriate gift for a toddler. I didn’t see the gift again until I was going through the estate and I have it sitting on my nightstand.

2. What was your favorite toy?

My bike. I loved going everywhere. I used to live in Eugene, OR until I went to college in Boulder, CO. Eugene is still a small town but for a kid, a bike was freedom.

3. What was your favorite game?

I love to play pool. I’m lethal on the felt, a real shark. Uncle Drew and I still play a game now and then.

4. Any non-family member adults stick out in your mind? Who were they, and how did you know them? Why do they stick out?

Birchman’s mom, Freya, was so cool. She came from a creative family and was always encouraging Birchman and me to do different things. She would set up canvases and let us paint. She had us make up stories and she loved to play Dungeons and Dragons. She was a brutal Dungeon Master. Whew. When Birchman and I started dating, she was convinced we would get married and even today, I call her now and then just to get a woman’s perspective.

5. Who was your best friend when you were growing up?

Llars Birchmund, aka “Birchman,” lived right down the street from me and I’ve known him since I can remember. He was this white-haired, gray-eyed kid that all the girls adored, except for me. Even back then, I wasn’t having anything to do with love or boys. Of course, this meant I was the girl he wanted. Our love for metal music and my connection with rock god Drew Monza had him hanging out at my house all the time. He has four older brothers. Three of them are local musicians with day jobs and one is a well-known stand up comic with a lot of drug problems.

Birchman was my first and only boyfriend, the guy who took my virginity, and the first and only to break my heart. He left me when we turned 18 to follow his dream to become an extreme metal musician. He’s doing okay. We still talk and meet up when we can, but he hasn’t pushed through the glass ceiling of fame yet. He’s my friend with fringe benefits now.

6. What is your fondest, childhood memory?

When I met James Hetfield because he came to my mom’s house for dinner to meet up with Uncle Drew. What a cool dude. He still says ‘hi’ to me through Uncle Drew and has invited me to interview him a couple of times. I’ve declined telling him that I wanted to do this on my own. I gave him Pao’s contact info and of course, Pao capitalized on it immediately. The interviews (2 so far) were amazing. Pao’s just an awesome writer.

7. What is your worst childhood memory?

The way my mom looked the day my dad left. She was paper thin and so listless. I was only six at the time, but I was afraid even then that she would commit suicide. I forced her to engage with me. I kept at it until she started to respond. She used to be so alive and full of laughter. She became a different person and never quite recovered. The fear I felt that day has shaped how I view so many things.

Adolescent Questions

1. How old were you when you went on your first date?  Did Birchman and I really date? We went everywhere together and did everything together. I’ve seen every incarnation of his band career from when he first started playing guitar and singing. He’s very talented. I knew all his hopes, fears and dreams when we were teenagers. I loved him. I still love him, but I’ve known him forever and I know he isn’t the one.

2. It is common for one’s view of authority to develop in their adolescent years. What is your view of authority, and what event most affected it?

I appreciate authority. I understand why rules are in place. I also know how to break the rules without pissing off the authorities. I wasn’t concerned about obeying so much as avoiding conflict. I wasn’t restricted as much as Janelle but I think it was because I didn’t go out of my way to do the exact opposite of what was asked.

3. What were you like in high school? What “clique” did you best fit in with?

I didn’t have a clique. I was friends with everyone and so was Birchman. Eugene isn’t a big place so we had to get along or life would have been miserable. We were a couple from like the middle of Sophomore year forward. I didn’t mind sports but it wasn’t something I was crazy about. I liked art classes, music (which I sucked at), and English. People considered me smart and I got good grades: As and Bs.

4. What were your high school goals?

When I realized I was good at writing (I won a couple of high school level writing contests) and that I sucked at music, I decided I would get a degree in Fine Arts.

5. Who was your idol when you were growing up? Who did you first fantasize about in your life?

I didn’t really have to fantasize. I could meet whoever I wanted because Uncle Drew is just so well-connected. I guess he was my idol. When he was gone, I would miss him and imagine him coming home, preferably without one of his lady birds, and spending time with me.

6. What is your favorite memory from adolescence?

When Uncle Drew was doing some production work for GodSmack and Birchman and I got to visit him at the studio. I met Robbie Merrill and Tony Rombola. They were really nice and Tony called me beautiful. You should have seen Birchman’s face <makes bug-eyed face of shock and laughs>.

7. What is your worst memory from adolescence?

A girl from the neighborhood had a party for her birthday right before school started. She invited all the good looking boys she could and all the really popular girls, and then she invited me. It was a pool party, if you can imagine such a thing in the Pacific Northwest, and I tried my hand at wearing a bikini. All the girls made fun of me because I was so skinny and tall. I had no breasts or hips to speak of at the time. The guys didn’t join in but they looked at me like I was some kind of freak. Needless to say, I haven’t worn a bikini since.

Occupational Questions

1. Do you have a job? What is it? Do you like it? If no job, where does your money come from?

I am a metal music journalist for Metal Fusion Magazine and it’s the best job ever. I can see and meet any band I want, that’s how awesome this magazine is. I get to go on the road. I see all kinds of amazing venues. I meet so many interesting people and that press pass just makes it happen. I get to work with my best friend, Pao, too. I have my own office. It’s not much but it has the best view of the Rocky Mountains. One day, I would love to have my own magazine and be an Editor-in-Chief.

2. What is your boss or employer like?

I guess Pao was my boss until Erik Van Camp snatched the Editor-in-Chief position from him. MFM did Pao a disservice because we wouldn’t have needed an EIC if Pao hadn’t put MFM on the map. He’s a ruthless promoter. I don’t think Van Camp could promote his way out of a wet paper bag.

3. What are your co-workers like? Do you get along with them? Any in particular? Which ones don’t you get along with?

Well, there’s Paolo Avola, MFM’s senior field correspondent and the former front man for Straif until he had to get nodes removed from his vocals from all that rough singing. (see below)

Then there’s Chely Carvallo, who is this amazingly beautiful Spanish woman from Britian. She’s a total steam punk maven and has all the proper Victorian manners and diction to go with it. She’s our receptionist but she’s also the copy editor. She is a grammar Nazi, let me tell you. I like her, but I haven’t had much success with having female friends so I’m guarded. I get the feeling she’d like to be better friends but I also think she’s in love with Pao and that she’s just trying to get into my good graces because of him.

I rarely see the other correspondents but the one who gets on my nerves with regularity is DeWitt Mackleton, a former Rolling Stone reporter who just can’t let go of his delusions of grandeur. I mean he was a staff reporter so it wasn’t a big deal, but he demands preferential treatment and is a sexist pig who believes women should still be homemakers. I call him DeWitless behind his back and Pao thinks it’s too funny.

Finally, there’s Erik Van Camp. (see below)

4. What is something you had to learn that you hated?

I had to learn how to put my insecurities aside and just ask for what I wanted. In this business, you have to be assertive. I tend to obsess about what other people think about me. Do they think I’m a good person? Do they think I’m annoying? Pao keeps telling me it’s none of my business what other people think of me. Of course, he’s phenomenal at asking for what he wants. His ego is indestructible. I’m learning from him and it works more often than not. I’m becoming more confident.

5. Do you tend to save or spend your money? Why?

Ha-ha, Pao calls me Scrooge. How’s that for an answer? I like to make my money go as far as possible. I save up for the best quality in everything but I keep my needs to a minimum. I have a nice nest egg for buying a house and a retirement fund. I like to plan. Everything.

Likes & Dislikes Questions

1. What hobbies do you have?

I am a complete fan girl with an alternate online identity and social media presence @duperfangirl. I write a blog about meeting all my favorite musicians, the memorabilia I collect, and the pictures I’ve taken. I’m an amateur photographer. I’m not amazing but I’m told I have a good eye.

2. Who is your closest mundane friend? Describe them and how you relate to them.

Paolo Avola is my best friend. I know, people say that men and women can’t be friends, but I’m the exception. I mean, I wouldn’t mind getting closer to Pao but it’s not on my To Do list, you know? We get each other and we accept each other as is. I don’t think he gets that much from women because he is smoking hot. He’s got that pagan, bad-boy thing going with yummy tattoos and piercings and eyes so blue, they’re like lasers. He’s Sicilian, like born there and immigrated to Baltimore when he was a teenager, and he has the Mediterranean coloring with olive skin and jet black hair. He has a funny accent, part Sicily and part Dundalk and from what I hear, he has a terrible temper and a reputation to back it up.

3. Who is your worst mundane enemy? Describe them and why you don’t get along.

Erik Van Camp. We do not get along, because I wrote what I considered to be a balanced and fair review of his only solo effort. He’s formerly the guitarist of Hell Hath Fury and he is a virtuoso. He can play bass and sing too. He’s also an excellent writer, so I’m not sure what happened on this solo album but it was a bomb. He hates me for this and Pao is convinced that Van Camp is out for blood. I think Pao’s right but Erik has to be the most gorgeous man I’ve ever set eyes on. I tend to go for guys with long, dark hair, like Teemu Mäntysaari from Wintersun or Peter Steele (RIP, I wish you were still blessing this earth with your presence) from Type O Negative. There’s a sinister aura, something completely pagan about dark haired guys, but I digress. See, Erik is this Danish blond with cheekbones that could draw blood, a blade of a nose, and angles meant for the camera. He has the tattoos and a piercing or two. What saves him from looking like a cadaver are these eyes a blue so deep they are almost purple and a mouth made for sin. Too bad the package is all that’s pretty about him. All the other correspondents and Chely say he’s a nice guy. Pao is indifferent to him, but I think he’s a jerk. A tall, gorgeous jerk who makes my senses go haywire whenever he’s around.

4. What bands do you like? Do you even pay attention?

I love extreme metal. My favorite metal band is Type O Negative. That’s goth or doom metal depending on who you ask and it’s so sad that they won’t be making music anymore. Peter Steele passed away from heart failure on April 14, 2010. He was the lead singer, composer and bassist for the band so he was a key element to their sound. He was older than my uncle but man, he was super hot. I really like men with long dark hair. And he was tall, 6’6″ so I would have felt absolutely tiny next to him <sighs>. And the sinister aura just gets me all hot and bothered.

5. What tape or CD hasn’t left your player since your purchased it? Why?

Believe it or not, I’m listening to Plague’s Epic Fail. This is Birchman’s band, and I think he’s finally got it. This album will bust your chops. It’s thrash metal and my heart beat gets all screwed up when I listen to it. LOUD of course.

6. What song is “your song?” Why?

“Choke You Out” by Plague is my song right now. That’s how Van Camp makes me feel.

7. What’s been your favorite movie of all time?

Ha-ha, “The Little Mermaid.” Ariel is awesome and a red head. She also can’t tell the Prince how she feels with her voice gone. Sometimes I feel like that.

8. Read any good books? What were they?

I’m reading this book called Emotional Alchemy. It’s dense reading, about schemas and stuff, but it has a Buddhist ethos that I like. I’ve considered becoming a Buddhist.

9. What do you watch on the Television?

When I can watch T.V., I like crime shows like CSI or Law and Order. I also like Big Bang Theory. I guess I’m a nerd.

10. When it comes to mundane politics, do you care? If so, which way do you tend to vote? If not, why don’t you care?

I have no political affiliations. I think the party system is the reason why our country is going to hell in a hand basket, pardon my French.

11. What type of places do you hang out in with your mundane friends?

Coffee shops and brew pubs. Holy Joe’s, Where Coffee is God, is one of my favorite places but I like West End Tavern too. All within walking distance.

12. What type of places do you hang out in with your normal friends?

13. What annoys you more than anything else?

Hypocrisy and a misplaced sense of entitlement.

14. What would be the perfect gift for you?

A gift certificate to Absolute Vinyl Records. I collect imports on vinyl. It’s one of the few non-digital luxuries I allow myself.

15. What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?

There’s this window in my office and it looks right out on the Rocky Mountains. I’ve seen them in every light imaginable but when that rare lightening storm comes, wow. It’s majestic, terrifying, and sinister in the most beautiful way.

16. What time of day is your favorite?

Dusk and the night. I swear, I’m not a vampire <laughs>.

17. What kind of weather is your favorite?

I love how sunny it is here even though I’m not a big fan of the sun. It’s a different quality than anywhere else, almost as if the sun is closer, purer and happier. Which is great because I went from a place that barely gets any sun (and I love rain almost as much as Colorado sunshine) to a place that gets sun more than 250 days of the year.

18. What is your favorite food? What is your least favorite food?

I love Indian food, especially Saag Gosht. It’s lamb in a spinach yogurt sauce. Oh my god it is so good on basmati rice and with some Naan. Then I’ll have a Mango Lassi for desert. Good stuff. I don’t like liver. Yuk!

19. What is your favorite drink? (Coffee, Coke, Juice, Beer, Wine, etc.)

It’s a toss up between a caramel macchiato or a good microbrew, preferably an IPA.

20. What’s your favorite animal? Why?

Ferrets – they’re secretive, curious, and delightfully sneaky. They’re awfully cute too but still super cool.

21. Do you have any pets? Do you want any pets? What kind?

No pets. I travel too much. If I did, I’d get a ferret even though they can be smelly.

22. What do you find most relaxing? (Not as in stress relief, but as something that actually calms you down.)

Cleaning <shakes head>. If I’m freaking out, I need to put things in order even if what’s a mess can’t be touched.

23. What habit that others have annoys you most?

Repeating themselves because I don’t respond right away. That drives me nuts. Give me some time to respond, please. I like to consider my words.

24. What kind of things embarrass you? Why?

Having people point out how tall I am. People staring. I’m already a red head which makes people stare and ask stupid questions. Then I stand up and I become a freak because I’m tall. People are idiots.

25. What don’t you like about yourself?

I’m always self-conscious about my height. I fret over other people’s opinions too much. I crush way too easily and it can be somewhat obsessive. I like this the least about myself because it scares me. I’m too much like my mother.

26. How would you like to look?

If I could be little, you know, petite, I would much prefer it. I’ve been called Boudicca, Amazon, Giantess (I kid you not), and Ogre <rolls eyes>. Maybe a little thinner. My back side is definitely extra-wide and no number of squats has made a dent in that.

Sex & Intimacy Questions

1. Would you consider yourself straight, gay, bi, or something else? Why?

Totally hetero and I knew since the age of five. I had a crush on the lifeguard at this pool we went to while on vacation. He rescued me from the deep end of the pool and I was in love.

2. Who was the first person you had sex with? When did it happen? What was it like? How well did it go?

Birchman was my first and only. We were 16 and it was funny and sweet and terribly awkward. We were both virgins, which surprised me because he’d dated a few girls before me. He is a gentle and considerate lover. I’d like to think I taught him everything he knows.

3. Have you ever had a same-sex experience? Who with, what was it like, and how did it go? Ugh, no. I don’t know how two women could do that but then a lesbian probably finds what I do disgusting too. To each her own, I say.

4. What is your deepest, most well-hidden sexual fantasy? Would you ever try it? <blushes> I’m not going to tell you that.

5. What was the wildest thing you’ve ever done, sexually? Who was it with and when did it happen? Um, well, Birchman isn’t that imaginative with me. I think the wildest we’ve done is in the back seat of his Sentra.

6. Is there any sexual activity that you enjoy and/or practice regularly that can be considered non-standard? (Bondage, Fantasy Play, etc.) Why do you like it? Um, this is getting really awkward. I have fantasies but they’re usually romantic.

7. Is there any sexual activity that you will not, under any circumstances, do?

<laughs nervously> Is this really necessary?

8. Do you currently have a lover? What is their name, and what is your relationship like? What are they like? Why are you attracted to them? Birchman, when he blows into town. We’re friends with fringe benefits. I’m comfortable with him and he tells me I’m beautiful. I don’t know, I’ve known him forever and he gets the job done (gosh, that sounds horrible).

9. What is the perfect romantic date?

Okay, this is more my speed. It’s not the location or the activity that matters. I want to go on a date where I feel like I’m the only woman in the room for the guy I’m with. I want him to touch my hand, my shoulder, and to lean in close so he can whisper in my ear. We could be eating chicken hot dogs at a tail-gate party for all I care, but if he’s doing the whispering and gentle touching, I’m toast.

10. Describe the perfect romantic partner for you.

He has to have an element of danger to him, something that only I can tame. Maybe a temper that hides a sensitive and passionate nature. He has to be creative, possibly tortured though he’s fighting hard to overcome his pain, and of course, he has to ring my bell attraction wise. He has to put me first just like I’d put him first. I would prefer he love me more than I love him so that I could feel safe in handing him any piece of my heart.

11. Do you ever want to get married and have children? When do you see this happening?

I’m single. I don’t know if I want to be married. I don’t know if I’ll ever be in a relationship at this rate. I would like to have children at some point but that would require a man’s involvement. Don’t get me wrong, I love men. I just don’t want to be dependent on a man for anything. Having a child would make that near impossible. Birchman and I have an agreement. If neither of us finds a mate by age 35, we’ll get married and have kids. I’m okay with that. I’ve traveled enough and will get around enough that if I don’t find Mr. Right by 35, I probably won’t and better Birchman than anyone else (though if Pao ever expresses interest beyond wanting to bang me until my eyeballs roll out of my head, I would consider it because I am definitely interested in his smoldering sensuality and wicked humor).

12. What is more important – sex or intimacy? Why?

Definitely intimacy. Sexuality has been diminished by our society. It’s like fast food, kind of pre-packaged and super-sized. Intimacy is like a gourmet dinner.

13. What was your most recent relationship like? Who was it with? (Does not need to be sexual, merely romantic.)

The only guy I’ve known is Birchman and I think we all know it’s the last resort. Even he knows it. Sometimes I catch him looking at me and it makes me think that maybe he’s way more invested than he would ever want me to know.

14. What’s the worst thing you’ve done to someone you loved?

I told my mom I hated her when I was sixteen because she restricted me after she found out I was spending the night at Birchman’s. Of course Freya had gotten me on the pill because Birchman tells his mom EVERYTHING. Sometimes I wish Freya was my mom. I think I said that too. Since I think I was the only reason why my mom managed to live as long as she did, that was like stabbing her a thousand times in the heart with a rusty fork. I never, ever said anything like that to my mom again.

Drug & Alcohol Questions

1. How old were you when you first got drunk? What was the experience like?  Did anything good come out of it? Did anything bad come out of it? Actually the first time I got drunk was when I first had sex, so 16. Not really drunk but certainly tipsy. It made things easier and we laughed a lot. I do love Birchman. He’s a great guy, funny and sweet. It wouldn’t be a hardship at all to marry him. We’ve been friends for years and will be for life so it wouldn’t change anything.

2. Do you drink on any kind of regular basis?

I like to have a pint of something new and untried at the local Brew pub.

3. What kind of alcohol do you prefer?

Beer, good microbrews and preferably unpasteurized (pasteurization causes gas and I don’t care if it comes on the up elevator or the down elevator, it’s not attractive).

4. Have you ever tried any other kind of “mood altering” substance? Which one(s)? What did you think of each?

No. I don’t like any of that stuff. I don’t like to take cold medicine <laughs>.

5. What do you think of drugs and alcohol? Are there any people should not do? Why or why not?

I’ve seen a few things out on the road that I don’t agree with. Moderation is my motto. I’m not in any position to tell someone what they should or could do much less what not to do but if they make it my problem, I’m going to steer clear.

Morality Questions

1. What one act in your past are you most ashamed of? What one act in your past are you most proud of?

Most ashamed: When I told my mom I hated her. I still wish I could take those words back.

Most proud: When Birchman left to find his fortune, I was proud of the fact that I didn’t fall apart. I could have. Back then, I loved him with everything I had, but he broke that.

2. Have you ever been in an argument before? Over what, with who, and who won?

I don’t argue much but when I do, I’m usually all fired up. I don’t shout, but I can be downright nasty with what I say. I go for the jugular. If I bother to fight, I usually win because it’s something I feel strongly about. Birchman, Uncle Drew, Janelle, and Pao will vouch for me. I guess I only argue with people I care about.

3. Have you ever been in a physical fight before? Over what, with who, and who won?

Once. In high school. This girl named Tanya. I don’t know what she was thinking but she kept hanging all over Birchman at parties. She was a petite, pretty girl and had a thing for musicians. Birchman was the only one she couldn’t have and I guess that drove her nuts. I had to put my foot down even though Birchman was very firm with her. I whooped her good.

4. What do you feel most strongly about?

Respect. People need to respect each other, no matter where you come from or where you’ve been.

5. What do you pretend to feel strongly about, just to impress people?

It’s not that I pretend to feel strongly about a Vegan lifestyle, I’m just not there yet. I like meat too much but I do try to eat leaner meats. I enjoy yoga and working out. I believe if you don’t use it, you lose it. So, I engage in conversations with Vegans to get ideas and it’s not to impress, it’s just to get better but I might tell a white lie or two so that I don’t have to deal with their censure. I’ve noticed that people who follow such restrictive patterns have a tendency to use it as a superiority platform.

6. What trait do you find most admirable, and how often do you find it?

Authenticity. I can deal with someone having a less than admirable trait as long as they are honest about it, know why they do it, and are active in transforming it. Heaven knows I’m not perfect and I would like to be accepted as an authentic work in progress.

7. Is there anything you think should not be incorporated into the media or art (sex, violence, greed, etc.,)? If so, what and why, and if not, why not?

Again, I’m in no place to tell someone what they should or shouldn’t do, but if the subject of the media or art is not participating with consent or can’t give consent due to their age or immaturity, then I will speak up.

8. Do you have any feelings in general that you are disturbed by? What are they? Why do they disturb you?

I have an overdeveloped sense of anticipation. I used to expect the worst and maybe I still do but I try and put a more optimistic face on it. So I tell myself that I hope for the best but I’m prepared for the worst.

I also worry too much about what other people think. It drives me nuts. I can work myself into a real froth over some perceived idiocy I’ve committed but I’ve learned to do nothing. If I screwed up, I’ll find out soon enough but usually, I’ve dramatized the whole event beyond the pale. Seriously, I’ve learned that people are often too self-involved to care what I think so why should I care what they think?

9. What is your religious view of things? What religion, if any, do you call your own?

I was raised Catholic but there were just too many discrepancies for me to feel comfortable to remain a Catholic. I like Buddhist philosophy, specifically tantric but it’s not about sex like most people think. That kind of tantric practice is very specialized though if I had the right partner, I wouldn’t mind experimenting. I will read from Osho’s Book of Secrets and practice the exercises in there. It helps you get around your ego to find the true “self.” It’s a practice of “no-mind.”

10. Do you think the future is hopeful? Why?

My dreams can be pretty scary. I dream of blood and a dystopian future. Always I’m leading people away from the horror. I can’t say that this is a premonition. Maybe it’s already happening. I’ve been reading about human trafficking and it just makes me ill. That’s a kind of hell, don’t you think? If we can overcome this basic disrespect for other humans, I think the future would be hopeful.

11. Is an ounce of prevention really worth a pound of cure? Which is more valuable? Why do you feel this way?

I used to think prevention was more valuable but it depends on what you’re trying to prevent. I’m still figuring this out. I miss out on a lot by being overcautious.

12. What’s the worst thing that can be done to another person? Why?

Viewing others as objects. It is the root of all evil. When you make someone else the “other” it gives you license to commit horrific acts against them. You deny them compassion and humanity.

13. What’s the worst thing you could actually do to someone you hated?

Ignore them, but I do that to people who hate me. Like my sister or Erik Van Camp. I don’t have time for hate. It’s a life stealing activity. If my sister came to me and told me why she was so upset, I’d work it out with her. If Van Camp was just honest about why he was so angry we could work it out. Life is too short and unpredictable to hate.

14. Are you a better leader or follower? Why do you think that? If you think the whole leader-follower archetype is a crock of sh!t, say so, and explain why?

I think it’s crap, yes. I think it sets up a hierarchy of sheep. I’m independent. I can be a leader when I need to be and I can work to support someone who is leading just as easily. It depends on who holds the vision. Each person has unique talents and should be nurtured and supported to give their best to a group effort.

15. What is your responsibility to the world, if any? Why do you think that?

To be as aware of how I affect the world as my limited senses allow. I’ve discovered that the more aware I am, the less harm I’m likely to cause.

16. Do you think redemption is possible? If so, can anyone be redeemed, or are there only certain circumstances that can be? If not, why do you think nothing can redeem itself?

Redemption is a personal process. I think it’s possible, but I don’t have direct experience of it so I guess I’m not sure. I don’t think I’ve fallen into such despair or such self-loathing that I would require redemption in that way. I don’t believe in original sin in the same way Christians do, but I do think that we are spirit that has “fallen” into matter. My idea of redemption is to live in awareness and I know I don’t do that all the time, but I try and I get better each time. Is that redemption? I don’t know.

17. Is it okay for you to cry? When was the last time you cried?

I hate crying. The last time I cried was when Birchman left. I didn’t even cry for my mom, though I was very sad. Her death didn’t surprise me, I guess. Birchman’s defection surprised me. I don’t like unpleasant surprises.

18. What do you think is wrong with MOST people, overall?

They are self-centered and out for number one. Everything is about them. I really despise this ego-centric society but I like individual people in it and give everyone a fair shake.

Post-Supernatural Awareness Questions

1. When did you go through whatever made you supernatural? What was it like (in your opinion)?

2. What do you think now of being supernatural? Is it cool, or have you been screwed?

3. Do you have a mentor? Who are they? How did you become their student?

4. Do you have any magical items? Where did you get them?

5. What do you think of the other denizens of the World of Darkness? Why for each? (If you haven’t met something, do you think it exists, and if it does, is that bad or good?)

6. Think of a major event that happened during your training/initiation. What was it?

7. What is something you had to learn during your training that you hated? Why did you hate it?

Miscellaneous Questions

1. What is the thing that has frightened you most? Do you think there is anything out there that’s scarier than that? What do you think that would be?

I was mugged once. The feel of the gun pressed against the side of my head was the worst thing ever. The only thing worse is rape <shudders>.

2. Has anyone or anything you’ve ever cared about died? How did you feel about it? What happened?

My mom. It was the most depressing thing that has ever happened to me. She died of heart failure, literally. I think my father leaving just broke her.

3. What was the worst injury you’ve ever received? How did it happen?

I broke my pinky trying to learn bass guitar. Don’t ask. Somehow I got my right pinky caught in the strings and I broke before the string could.

4. How ticklish are you? Where are you ticklish?

Don’t tell anyone, especially Pao, but I am super ticklish, especially around my ribs. Birchman knows but I hurt him enough the last time that he won’t go there.

5. What is your current long term goal?

To either be an Editor-in-Chief of my own magazine or to head a record label – Metal of course.

6. What is your current short term goal?

Survive Erik Van Camp’s plans for revenge <shakes head>.

7. Do you have any bad habits? If so, what are they, and do you plan to get rid of them?

I have plenty of bad habits. I have a tendency to laugh when crying would be more appropriate. Since the only alternative is crying, well I don’t see that changing any time soon.

8. If you were a mundane person, what would you do with your life? What occupation would you want, and how would you spend all your time?

9. What time period do you wish you had lived in? Why? (Looking at this as an attempt to change history doesn’t count.) What appeals to you about this era? I wouldn’t have minded being an aristocrat during Regency England say 1814. It was so civilized and the Industrial Revolution was gathering steam. I love the fashion and the ton and the manners. I guess that’s why Chely fascinates me.

10. How private of a person are you? Why?

I don’t talk about my family with my co-workers (Pao’s the exception) or my past. Pao knows a lot about me, but he ‘s learned not to discuss me with others. I was kind of surprise because I slapped Pao hard enough to bust his lip when it came to light that he had told Dewitt that Birchman was my boyfriend. So I’m very private because I’m not normally a violent person.

11. If you were to gain an obscenely large sum of money (via an inhertiance, a lawsuit, a lottery, or anything else) what would you do with it?

Ha-ha, start my own record label and run a magazine out of it.

12. What would you wish for if you found a genie?

See number 11.

13. What do you do when you are bored?

I don’t get bored. I read, I write, I work out, and I’m always on the go. Life is meant to be lived.

14. What is the most frightening potential handicap or disfigurement you can conceive of? What makes it so frightening?

Quadriplegia scares the living daylights out of me. That would be too awful to bear. How did Christopher Reeves survive such a thing? He was truly a man-of-steel. I think that would break my spirit.

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “100 Questions: Laney Brennan” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

Character Profile: Laney Brennan

NAME: Elaine Constance Brennan      AGE: 27 years

HEIGHT: 5′ 9″                                              WEIGHT: 158 lbs

BIRTH DATE: September 4                   HAIR: deep auburn, curly, long

EYES: whiskey brown                                BIRTHPLACE: Portland, OR

OTHER FACIAL FEATURES/OTHER APPEARANCE DETAILS: her mouth is a bit too large for her face and she has an upturned nose, her skin freckles easily

DRESS (Style, colors): She blends feminine charm with masculine comfort

DESCRIPTION OF HOME: Spartan, very orderly, small apartment

DOMINANT CHARACTER TRAIT: courageous, she goes after what she wants even though it scares her silly, she sticks up for her friends, she admits when she’s wrong and takes responsibility for her mistakes

SECONDARY CHARACTER TRAIT: tender-hearted, she doesn’t let men get too close, she thinks this is her greatest weakness, her feelings are easily hurt and she can become downright nasty

BEST FRIEND: Paolo Avola, Laney gets along better with men

OTHER FRIENDS: Chely Cavallaro, one of her only female friends and only because Pao is good friends with Chely too; Llars Birchmund is her only ex-boyfriend/lover and they are still friends with fringe benefits

ENEMIES and WHY: Erik Van Camp because he hates her for writing a fair if less than flattering review of his solo project. Tantra, her sister, for reasons only Tantra knows.

FAMILY: She knows Drew Monza as her uncle. She is very close to him. He is her only surviving parent figure. Janelle “Jan” Brennan, who operates under the stage name of Tantra, is her sister.

What kind of person is character with others (name persons and describe interaction):

With Pao, she jokes and is relaxed to some degree.

With Chely she is familiar but still guarded.

With Uncle Drew she is a girl and mostly relaxed.

With Birchman, she is a little less guarded than she is with Pao but she harbors resentment about the way he left her to follow his dream to be a rock star (he’s still working on that).

With Tantra, she is courteous and very guarded. They are estranged. She isn’t sure why Tantra is so angry with her and when she finds out, she’s surprised.

With Van Camp, she is so guarded that she only speaks when spoken too.

Sees self as: ordinary, too tall, too awkward, and too fat; she admires the talents of others and doesn’t recognize her own unless Pao or Birchman rubs her nose in it

Is seen by others as: reserved, gracious, and always a lady. Pao tries to get under her skin because he wants her to open up more. Chely wants to be closer friends but her own British reserve gets in the way.

Sense of humor: dry and compassionate

Temper: slow to anger but when she hits that threshold, it’s hard to pull back; she has certain buttons that will throw her into a temper but she isn’t always aware of what they are and her anger bothers her

Basic nature: conscientious, loyal, and intelligent

Ambitions: to be Editor-in-Chief of her own magazine or to run her own record label – metal of course

Educational background: Laney has a degree in Creative Writing & Literature from Naropa University. She’s been taking business classes from the Community College of Denver also.

Work experience: Laney was a copy/technical writer for Summit Medical, a national medical equipment supplier located in Aurora, CO (E. Colfax Ave near the University of Colorado Hospital). She held this job from the summer she graduated college to three years ago when she joined MFM.

Philosophy of life: she’s trying her best to have a good relationship with herself. She doesn’t want to be like her mother, who loved Laney’s father so much that his desertion slowly killed her. She is not a woman who NEEDS a man.

Habits: Laney is OCD to a noticeable degree. She straightens her environment to soothe unsettled emotions and exert a sense of control over the events in her life if not actual order. She has a routine and gets cranky when it’s interrupted.

Talents (when character looks good): Laney is the best friend you could have when you’re in a bind. She just knows what to say and what to do. She’s also a phenomenal writer who knows just the right turn of phrase to make transparent the most opaque of subjects.

Hobbies/past times: Laney collects band memorabilia, she’s addicted to social media, enjoys coffee shops and brew pubs, and she’s writing her Uncle’s biography.

Choice of entertainments: Metal shows, Renaissance fairs, Fantasy cons, and street festivals – she likes crowds because she can get lost in them.

What trait will make this character come alive?: Her fierceness – she’s kind and approachable but she’s a lioness when roused

Why is this character likeable? She knows how to laugh at herself

Why is character this loveable? She does what is right, even when it isn’t the easiest path


(responses in his/her own voice)

OCCUPATION: I am a metal music journalist and it’s the best job ever. I can see and meet any band I want, that’s how awesome this magazine is. I get to go on the road. I see all kinds of amazing venues. I meet so many interesting people and that press pass just makes it happen. I get to work with my best friend, Pao, too. I have my own office. It’s not much but it has the best view of the Rocky Mountains. One day, I would love to have my own magazine and be an Editor-in-Chief. If not that, then I’d like to have my own record label.

CURRENT HOME: I live in an apartment in Boulder, Colorado. It’s okay but it’s not a permanent home. The best thing about my apartment is its location to work (I can walk even in winter). The worst thing about it is the size – the closet is tiny. Things that I enjoy about my place – my neighbors are quiet but friendly, it’s safe, and it’s clean (no pests). Annoying things about my place – the kitchen and bathrooms are tiny, lack of storage, and there are problems with the pipes and electrical, especially in the winter.

MARITAL STATUS: I’m single. I don’t know if I want to be married. I don’t know if I’ll ever be in a relationship at this rate.

CHILDREN: I would like to have children at some point but that would require a man’s involvement. Don’t get me wrong, I love men. I just don’t want to be dependent on a man for anything. Having a child would make that near impossible.

FAVORITE PIG OUT FOOD: I love Indian food, especially Saag Gosht. It’s lamb in a spinach yogurt sauce. Oh my god, it is so good on basmati rice and with some Naan. Then I’ll have a Mango Lassi for desert. Good stuff.

FAVORITE PERFORMER/AUTHOR/SPORTSMAN ETC: I love extreme metal. My favorite metal band is Type O Negative. That’s goth or doom metal depending on who you ask and it’s so sad that they won’t be making music anymore. Peter Steele passed away from heart failure on April 14, 2010 (don’t laugh, but I celebrate his “dead” day and his birthday, which was January 4, 1962). He was the lead singer, composer and bassist for the band so he was a key element to their sound. He was a few years older than my uncle but man, he was super hot. I really like men with long, dark hair. And he was tall, 6’6″ so I would have felt absolutely tiny next to him <sighs>. And the sinister aura just gets me all hot and bothered.

EVERY NEW YEAR’S I RESOLVE TO: learn how to play the bass guitar and I fail miserably. I have no musical talent what so ever. You would think with my Uncle Drew and Janelle both being in the music industry that I would have some clue. I have an ear that works like an auto-tuner and a metronome combined, but I can’t seem to go beyond the appreciation of music, so I write about it.

NOBODY KNOWS I AM: a complete fan girl with a total alternate online identity and social media presence @duperfangirl. I write a blog about meeting all my favorite musicians, the memorabilia I collect, and the pictures I’ve taken. I’m an amateur photographer. I’m not amazing but I’m told I have a good eye.

I WISH I COULD STOP: obsessing over every nuance of what people say or do and how this reflects on their opinion of me. Pao tells me it’s none of my business what other people think about me. It stresses me out too.

I’M A SUCKER FOR: Caramel macchiato from Holy Joe’s. That’s the way to approach me when I’m testy.

THE WORST PART OF MY LIFE IS: that my father left, my mother died and I’m estranged from my little sister for reasons only she knows. It gets even worse when Erik Van Camp becomes my boss and threatens my job. He goes out of his way to make me miserable. And it doesn’t stop there. Things go from bad to worse so make sure you read the book.

I WANT TO TEACH MY CHILDREN THAT: the only people who are always there for you are your family so make sure you let them know how much you love them.

A GOOD TIME FOR ME IS: a metal show where I know the bands, can hang out after the show, and there’s good micro-beer on tap.

THE WORST ADVICE THAT MY MOTHER GAVE ME WAS: find a good man and settle down. With my father (who abandoned her) and my uncle (who dates a different woman every week) as male role models, I’m not sure I’m wired to pick a man who wants to settle down. There is no way I’ll wind up like my mother.

I THOUGHT I WAS GROWN UP WHEN: my mother died.

WHEN I FEEL SORRY FOR MYSELF I: indulge in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and read a trashy romance.

NOBODY WOULD BELIEVE ME IF THEY SAW ME: wearing a skirt and heels. I will if required but the skirt makes me feel exposed and the heels make me feel like Godzilla.

MY FRIENDS LIKE ME BECAUSE: I’m down-to-earth, discrete, and loyal.

MY PET PEEVE IS: hypocrisy. If you’re going to hold a position or require others to do something, be prepared to defend the position and to do the required something.

MY MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT: My fan-girl blog has over a ten thousand followers and receives significant traffic. I have thousands of followers on FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, Soundcloud, Spotify, and Google.

I CAN DIE HAPPY WHEN: I’ve earned Editor In Chief.

I’D REALLY RATHER: go on tour as a roadie for an up-and-upcoming metal band, especially in Europe, and write their blog and handle their social media. That would be so epic.

MY MOST HUMBLING EXPERIENCE WAS: when my father left us for another man! Of course, this will be eclipsed by finding out how dysfunctional my family really is!

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Character Profile: Laney Brennan” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

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