Quell the Quest

Do you ever find a snippet of an old draft of a story, or a poem, unsigned, long forgotten, and catch yourself wondering who the author was, only to realize, with a tiny electric thrill of shock, that you wrote it? How does that make you feel? Are you pleasantly surprised, or do you practice dunking crumpled balls of paper in the circular file?

I’m often pleasantly surprised. I do, sometimes, wonder, “What the heck was I thinking when I wrote that?” But for the most part, old writings are better than I thought they were, when I was in the throes of writing them.

Quell the Quest was last year’s admission of exhausted defeat.

Quell the urge to fight against the hours;
Relent, give in, admit defeat – move on.
Such is life, and there are worthier pursuits –
Truer aims, more meaningful challenges
Ubiquitous —
Vanquish those.
Waste not one precious moment
Xerescaping the page. Say to what grows in imagination,
Yes!” Embrace the strange, exotic, foreign fruit – wring out its
Zest for Life, and live.


This year, in looking for a “Q” word, I remembered the first line of this poem. After Googling, I had to laugh – a search brought me full circle to my own blog. I wrote it.

My friend Rowan recently sent me several files full of my writings from 1991. In addition to a few poems, there were snippets of a collaborative story thread from the Writers’ Ink RoundTable, on GEnie. Unfortunately, she didn’t have anyone else’s posts – just mine. It was interesting to look back on the writer that I was then, and I’d suggest that if such an opportunity presents itself to you, you read without judgment. Just acknowledge it and move forward.

Here’s a sample – just a random excerpt from a longer forum thread (and remember, there are random bits from other contributors that are missing, here). Imagine an interdimensional bar with assorted savory snacks and unsavory characters:

Everyone is momentarily distracted by the entrance of Romzie, the most
magnificent lobster they’ve ever drooled over, and Ems, a rather dashing
shrimp, as shrimps go. They seem to know Frondalin which, for some strange
reason, doesn’t surprise Jessiebelle in the least.

Jennifer looks over at Jessiebelle and shakes her head. “Nope, no sign of
Moose Man up there, either, but,” she adds, “I’d suggest you have those ducts
cleaned sometime.” She shudders and turns her attention back to Rob and Sir

Rhiannon returns to the table with a Manhattan. Jessiebelle snatches it from
her hand and downs it in one swift gulp. Rune’s eyes grow wide as
transdimensional portals, but she says nothing.

Roland takes a long swig of his Spiced Rum and glances over at Jessiebelle.
“What’s up, Sweetie?” She raises one eyebrow and continues to pout. “Brrrr,”
says Roland. “You look kinda…cold.” He offers her a silver-grey cloak.

Jessiebelle takes the heavy cloak, thinking as she hefts its full weight that
it must be lined with mail, and slings it over her shoulders, knocking Pepi
off balance as he waddles up behind her bearing another round of drinks.

“What the hell?” cries Rhiannon.

Roland mutters something under his breath. Rune now looks as if she’s about
hit sensory overload as she grabs for Roland’s Spiced Rum and downs a more-
than-healthy swig herself.

“What?” asks Jessie, rather too calmly.

“Jess, I hate to say this,” Rhia begins, then stops, her eyes travelling back
and forth between Jessiebelle and Roland.

“What?” cries Jessie, growing impatient. She reaches out for her drink and
suddenly notices she’s invisible. Roland smiles sheepishly.

“Like it?” he asks.

Jessie chuckles nervously and removes the cloak, tossing it on Roland’s lap.
She looks back at herself. An ear-piercing scream draws all the patrons’ eyes
toward Roland’s table. “Roland, you #$%^ *$&@ mage!!”

Roland flips frantically through his spell book as Rhiannon dissolves in a
hysterical fit of laughter. Rune and the other patrons simply stare,
horrified, wondering if they’ve seen the last of Jessiebelle….

Still fuming, Jessiebelle gets up and walks over to the bar. Still invisible,
no one notices her. She begins to think this may have its advantages.
Experimenting with her newfound lack of form, Jessie begins to phase into the
physical forms of others, seeing the world through their eyes.

The first is Emilio. He is aware only of a strange warmth as Jessie slips,
invisible, into his 299 lb. bulk. A dizzying lethargy overcomes Jessie as she
tries to adjust to the weight change. As Emilio wipes down the bar, fleeting
images pass through her mind, the faces of those whose pictures hang on the
wall behind the bar, known only as legends to those who come here now. He
sets out pretzels and a jar of pickled eggs, hoping for their return.

Jessie phases out, testing her newfound abilities on the others, one by one.
It is too personal, too intimate, to be amusing for long.

Vampire is the most interesting and frightening being to try this on. As
Jessie phases into her form, she feels the incredible hunger, the barely
reined-in need to feed. Jessiebelle gasps, and a slight shudder passes
through Vampire’s body. She is also the only one who is consciously aware of
Jessie’s presence there. “You play a dangerous game, Jessiebelle,” thinks

Don’t ask – I don’t remember what any of that was about.


Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/hollyjahangiri. For more information on her children's books, please visit http://jahangiri.us/books.
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4 thoughts on “Quell the Quest”

  1. Another writer I know has dipped into his box of short stories written long ago and published a few on his blog and at least one through Kindle. He agrees that his older efforts were not too bad. I’m taking a look in that box of old treasures too. It’s surprising how much stuff I wrote and then forgot about.
    Patricia Stoltey recently posted…Random Thoughts on My Writing LifeMy Profile

  2. Oh yes, there are many times, when I find stuff of mine filed in boxes I haven’t looked into in decades, and I read it and I think Wow! what happened to her. She could have been a contender!

    Too much of it is not even on computer, but just hard copies of typed written pages. That’s OLD.

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