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This close encounter to the heartland, through the madness...

These fragments I have shored against my ruins

Subtle demise the legitimate cry
27 October 1981
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In the seventh turning hour,
Will the victims shadow fall?
Should the irony grow hungry?
With the victory and all they sought for...
We were one among the fence;
One among the fence...

-Coheed and Cambria, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3

I am a professionally-trained opera singer, a published writer, a lover of academia, a former model, a mother to the most wonderful three-year-old son on the planet, and a wife to an incredible husband. I've been there, done that, and feel as though I've seen it all. Chances are, everything I've experienced in my life has or will end up in a novel or in song lyrics.

Right now, I'm dealing with a bunch of stuff, but aren't we all? Invasive thyroid cancer has changed my life, but it's taught me a lot about what to do with these remaining days. I have about three dozen chronic health conditions that cause physical and mental pain, but those don't define me. I define me - a chaotic, social, intellectual, creative, thinking-outside-the-box ENFP who is happy to be awake at two in the morning discussing everything from literature to music theory to politics.

But my friends (on LJ and FB) paint a flattering (and loving, and often hilarious) picture of me, too. Here are their words:

*Mandi is in much better shape than our government. - impoetry

*Cirque du Soleil was going to do a show about you, but only you are talented enough to play every role. - impoetry

*One who deserves not to be on a fence, but to have her name up in lights. She's lit the way for everyone who has known her. - howlin_wolf_66

*She is one of the most complex people I have ever known, if a person can ever truly be known, but [she's] well worth the effort to discover. - beldar

*Mandi loves, deeply and often without regard for her own heart. - dangerpudding

*You're a kind, generous person. I'm proud to know you. - sammason

*Mandi has as many facets as a ruby, without the human rights abuse. - funnel101

*Mandi is a heroine from classical literature. No matter what the author decides to throw at her, she always comes back stronger. - thedreamscape

*Mandi is CLASSY AS FUCK and is made of Old Sport and Leo's Tears. - thedreamscape

*Mandi is like every agate and jasper stone known so far, full of patterns and individual magic and intense exclusivity while easily shining through the crowd... no matter how much damage she endures, she continues to exist and become stronger and more powerful. - brightlotusmoon

*She's hot. Am I allowed to say that? She's hot. Oh, and she is smart, so, killer combo. - TBB

*Mandi is that person I've never met, but more fun than most people I have. Talking to her brightens my day, and makes my heart soar... like a weasel, through a woodchipper. - KHU

*You are the reason I kept singing and acting after high school. You guided me so much, and every time I hear your voice, I am taken to another time and place. Your talent and precision is beyond measure. - RKS

*Mandi is like a time lord bouncing through her own timeline looking for a secret to a better future for her family. - CFQ

*I see you in a world of your own where [you] create a woman who will not be defeated by mental, physical, or ethereal means. You are your own person and people flock to you because they desire to be around your muse. You are here to inspire us and make us not forget real art. - ESC

*Your deep eyes speak volumes of wisdom, beauty, and truth. - MJS

*The [LJ Idol] entry that so tore you apart was the finest example I have ever seen of combining non-fiction with the art of writing. I understand how feeling all of that again would have been so devastating. But your writing of it was a thing of heartbreak and beauty. I'm still in awe of it. The artistic structure of that story, the unfolding of its unexpected parts, the way in which the meaning of the opening is revealed later in the story... combined with your beautiful use of language, those are all really solid examples of craftsmanship in telling a good story and telling it stunningly well. - halfshellvenus

*Our Mandi: The bravest woman I know. - spiralflames

I am fortunate to have a lot of love in my life. That is what it all comes down to in the end.

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

-T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

With the quickness strike out for the less of us doubt-
Mercy of the man who put the pen in our mouth.
Word write us well, signed, "Forgiveness for sale"
I'm through being full
Of all the might you want killed.
The fiction will see the real,
The answer will question still...

-Coheed and Cambria, The Willing Well I: Fuel For the Feeding End
10 years, a perfect circle, academia, advocacy, after midnight project, alex, alternative, american idiot, animal welfare, astronomy, attempting to interpret madness, auden, babies, baseball, basketball, battlestar galactica, bdsm, being shilo, bipolar disorder, blue october, books, borderline personality disorder, carmen, cats, celiac disease, cfids, children of the fence, claudio sanchez, coffee, coheed & cambria, coheed and cambria, concerts, corsets, cosplay, costumes, david draiman, death metal, depersonalization, depression, dissociative identity disorder, disturbed, donnie darko, dragonflies, dream theater, dreams, dredg, dyeing my hair, editing, eliot, environmental studies, erotica, fibromyalgia, good apollo, goth culture, green, green day, grunge, guitar, halloween, hard rock, harry potter, hashimoto's, hoodies, iksse3, indie, individuality, industrial, james, jekyll and hyde, johnny, karaoke, leather, led zeppelin, les mis, lightning, live bands, local bands, long hair, lupus, madeleine, mania, massage, mental illness, metal, modeling, moulin rouge, movies, multiple personality disorder, multiple sclerosis, muse, music, musical theatre, musicals, my kid, mythology, nirvana, pagan, paganism, pandora, parenting, photography, piano, piercings, pigtails, poetry, psychology, psychopharmacology, punk, punk music, punk rock, reading, repo! the genetic opera, rheumatoid arthritis, rock, rock opera, rockin' out, root 66 root beer, ruby, sci fi, second stage turbine blade, sex, shabutie, shilo, singing, snape, spain, storage containers, storms, subs, suicide girls, t.s. eliot, tattoos, terrance zdunich, the devil's carnival, the great gatsby, the moon, the o's, thunder, thunderstorms, thyroid cancer, toby, tolkien, traveling, trying to sew, wine, writing, yeats