Bucket List Item #1

When you are faced with terminal cancer, one of the things that you inevitably end up doing is evaluating the things you want to do before you die. I was fortunate enough that my family accommodated one of my last wishes by planning a family trip to Disney this last May, where I was able to meet some of my friends from all over the world whom I met playing FFXIV. Since that trip, I managed to find my small notebook filled with various other bucket list items, and there is one item that wish to start/complete, but it requires help from those I care about.

People know that I am a giant book nerd, and I feel that books are telling of the people who read them. I’m always open to reading new genres and recommended books, and a while back I decided that I want to start a collection of books that is reflective of the people in my life. Here is where you come in.

I would like to have a copy of your favorite book, with a handwritten message inside from you. Your message can be why you enjoy the book or your favorite quote, or whatever you feel you’d like to say. I have no expectations when it comes to genre or quality. It can be whatever you choose, a children’s book, the Bible, a used copy, etc. I would just like to get started collecting these books that are pieces of the people who I’ve met along this journey of life. And yes, I will read them. After all, between treatments and my inability to work at the moment, I have oodles of time.

So, if you feel so inclined to add to my collection, feel free to give/mail me your book. Don’t forget to inscribe the book with something from you! ❤

Thank you in advance,

Holly Marie

Mailing Address:

Holly Marie Anderson

4240 N. 100th Avenue

Phoenix, AZ 85037

Chapter III

Skull Valley, La Noscea, 1568

Vyne glanced up and down several times, looking between the strange terrain around her–vibrant formations of crystal and rock with senseless, clashing textures and colors assaulting her eyesight and making her cringe–back down to the map clutched in her gloved hands. She had studied and read plenty of maps, but actually following one was something entirely new. She had rarely been far from home, and even then she usually had her parents or an escort of some variety to accompany her.

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Chapter I

The Valentyne Manor, East Shroud, 1561

The door slowly shoved open, a pair of wide, purple eyes the color of amethyst peeking in through the crack a few ilms wide, a button nose set beneath them, and under it a pair of soft lips. Through the small opening she could only see a forearm and a hand covered in bright white scales clutching a pen, busied without writing upon a parchment spread out across the desk. Just a little more… She pushed the door open a little wider, cringing as a loud creak broke the near silence, drowning out the sound of pen scratching over paper. Had he heard? The hand suddenly halted in its writing, and there was a pause before a voice calmly answered.

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The Scars of Battle

It was a pretty lazy, uneventful day for me. I’ve been dealing with a horrible headache since Sunday. Honestly, it’s rather frustrating that no matter what I do or what remedies or medications I try, the pain doesn’t ease up. I’ve take Tylenol, ibuprofen, Excedrin, and the Vicodin I was prescribed. I’ve slept, made sure I’ve been eating regularly and healthy. I tried my essential oils, had Mosha massage my neck and head, used my head cold pack, and throughout all these things, I’ve pleaded and prayed to God. For whatever reason, I’ve not received any type of relief from the pain. As a result, I’ve been completely unproductive since Sunday.

Oddly enough, I experienced a moment of relief, not from the physical pain but a mental moment of relief, from one of the most unlikely places: a fictional world called Eorzea, the setting of my favorite game.I’ve been playing FFXIV for about two years now. It’s been such an experience, and my life has changed in so many ways since I started playing. I’ve made long-lasting friendships with other gamers through this particular game. Looking at how close I’ve become to some of them, I simply cannot imagine my life without them. They’ve gone beyond strangers behind fictional characters and become an integral part of my day-to-day life. Despite the distance between us, we are close, and they are genuine people. They care for me just as I care for them, and I’m grateful for all the times that they’ve been there for me.

This may sound silly to most, but in-game there is the ability to purchase housing. It’s something I always aspired to do, but I was never able to do so because of availability and pricing. However, today, I was able to purchase an apartment. Then the fun began: decorating.

I ended up bankrupting my character’s bank account (a little less than $2 million) in one day by purchasing and furnishing my place, but it was worth it. I’m sure you’re probably wondering what this has to do with my real life struggles, and here’s why it matters: it made me happy, happy enough to momentarily place my physical pain at the back of my mind.

I know that in the scheme of reality, this game doesn’t matter, and some would even call it a waste of time, but this game allows me to escape my daunting reality, however briefly, and experience a world where there is no cancer and wounds can be healed by others instantaneously. I’m able to spend time with my friends, create and modify my character and surroundings and partake in a mesmerizing story. So call me crazy, laugh at me, or roll your eyes, but I had a grand ol’ time today in my fictional world.

I was slightly disappointed in the size of my apartment at first (there are no size options when you purchase your place), but after I started furnishing it, it became my space, and my love for it grew. The cherry on top was when one of my previously mentioned in-game friends presented me with a housewarming gifts: an orchestrion and an armoire.

I have been wanting an Orchestrion for such a long time because there is one song that I am obsessed with called The Scars of Battle but you can only hear it in a specific dungeon. But now, with this Orchestrion, I can listen to the song whenever I want!

I tell you, it’s the little things in life that make me happy. ❤️