Hidden Advice in Like Herding the Wind Weird, birdlike flying machines. Tall, wiry aliens with phenomenal strength and speed … but no stamina. Dart pistols that can knock a man down in seconds. On the face of it, Like Herding the Wind is a science fiction tale set in the Texas coastal town of Las Palomas in 1965.
… but is it just that? Not hardly. The Eshuvani, for all their differences, are so very human in many others. They and the humans they are working with encounter many common phenomena that we all endure at some time.
The greatest hurdle the characters have to overcome is grief, and they deal with it in their own ways with varying degrees of success.
There are many reasons to grieve. Death of someone important is only one cause. We also grieve for major changes or absences. How we deal with grief can help us through the grieving process or leave us stuck in a mentally bad place for a long time. There isn’t just one right way, but there are some definitely wrong ways.
Some useful ways to handle grief:
1. Talk it out. Find someone you can trust, someone who will really listen without giving you all the cheesy platitudes and lame “reassurances.” Talk out what you feel and be honest with yourself and the person you choose as your counselor. This isn’t the time to worry about saying the wrong thing. Even feelings of blaming yourself or someone else are normal.
2. Write it out. Some people, like me, don’t do well talking out feelings. It just doesn’t work. The spoken word fails. Writing, though. I can write out even the most severe feelings with total honesty. What do you do with it when you’ve written it all? That’s up to you. I’ve shared the result with someone else. I’ve burned the result in the fireplace. I’ve shredded it into tiny pieces and thrown it away. Whatever you want to do.
3. Distract yourself. If the feelings are overwhelming, you may need to get a little distance from them before you’re ready to process them in another useful way. As long as distraction doesn’t become avoidance, giving yourself some distance is okay. Engage in a hobby, go for a walk, watch a goofy movie, read a book, play hokey computer games, or do something else that gets your brain off the problem for a while.
What not to do:
1. Avoid it. There’s a difference between distracting yourself to get a little distance before you deal with the grief and totally avoiding it. Distraction is a temporary thing. Avoidance will eventually catch up to you. The subconscious mind will keep cranking on the problem even as you try to shove it out of your conscious thoughts.
2. Denial. Pretending the cause of grief never occurred can also be bad news. Some people go through very elaborate steps to act as if the event never occurred. That might feel better, but in the end more harm is done than good.
3. Putting on a brave face or acting depressed when you’re really not. Not everyone shows or feels grief the same way. Sometimes people are pressured to put on a brave face, usually to benefit someone else. Others are accused of not caring about the situation unless there is an extreme show of emotion. Both are deleterious.
In Like Herding the Wind, different characters handle their grief, or try to. Some succeed better than others. Amaya has to learn how to handle the loss of her partner before an Eshuvani criminal takes his revenge on her beloved urushalon.
Like Herding the Wind will release on January 15, 2016 in paperback and ebook. It’s currently available for preorder