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Bards and Scribes: The Druid – Guest Blog from Jesse Teller

Jesse TellerJesse Teller is mentally disabled. He suffers from PTSD from an abusive childhood. He is bipolar, suffers from daily to hourly hallucinations, and has DID (multiple personality disorder).

He has been a member of the self-published fantasy community for four and a half years now, has published fourteen books, with plans to publish countless more.

Jesse Teller is not a sane man. He has been declared mentally unfit and is a certified madman. This blog series is a glimpse into the way he sees a small handful of his peers and a look into his own mind. This is an excerpt from the third volume of his autobiography yet to be published.

The Druid

The Druid walks the world cloaked in a robe of pain. Her body is constantly wracked with agony and she wears it every minute of her life. She cannot disrobe when she sleeps and slumbers in pain. She cannot disrobe as she parents and smiles through the searing of her body. She is a bastion of strength in a world that fights to break her. But no one can break The Druid, and as the self-published fantasy world watches in awe, she creates beauty everywhere she goes and with everything she does.

With a staff of thorns in her grip, she treads softly through her mystical garden. It is home to plants no one has heard of. Holds vegetables that bear odd colors and exotic flavors. Her orchard is of coffee and lemon and her tomatoes come in masses the size of a man’s heart and carry tastes that cannot be found in other lands but her own. All flora is known to her and mastered. All foods and fruits come to her beckon from the ground as she walks.

Tomatoes by Sarah Chorn

And when she walks the forest of her imagination, the trees whisper of characters, the ground sings the song of plot, and the wind and the rain flows the prose she writes. The Druid is a creature of magic and tribulation, and all speak her name in reverence and awe. All turn to her for wisdom. In her power and her grace, she is generous. In her ease she settles the fears of other writers. She is inspiration for all, a bar set high for others to reach.

The Druid came to me in a time of my greatest need, and her gentle hand and ferocious mind took chaos from Teardrop Road and Normal Street, volumes one and two of my autobiography, when I was lost in their wilds and horrified by their truths.

Legends of the Exiles (cover)The Druid had a health crisis and her review blog had promised to read Legends of the Exiles. A kind word from her and the book would be made. Her reach is wide and her opinion powerful, and I was ecstatic when I found out she was interested in my work. She had heard rumor of my books and was ready to weigh its merit. I was confident she would love the piece. I waited for her judgment with bated breath.

But her health crisis wracked her mind so much with fear and impending doom that she could not read critically. She was searching for a book she would not have to review just to keep her mind off her pain, her fear, and her possible doom.

I saw need in her and I told her to read Exiles and not to review it. Take what strength she could from it, for I believed its powerful female characters might see her through.

She wrote one update while she was reading. She said, “Jesse Teller is blowing my mind.”

This came at a time of darkness for me when doubt was having its way with hope and I was near to breaking. She had saved me while in her pain with a kind sentiment of admiration. I began to watch her, talk to her, and from a distance I waited until I could enter her life and be a friend to her.

When Teardrop was done and I was about to dive into the intensity of Normal Street, I was looking for an editor. I did not know if Teardrop was destined for traditional publishing or self-publishing, but I knew if I did decide to submit the book to agents and publishers I wanted to have as clean a manuscript as possible.

Her rates were not cheap, but I had been sent to her from a source I trusted, and by this time I trusted her.

My first call was to The Judge. She is an editor, and I knew her. She is good, very good, and she was a friend. She had read parts of the story in a writer’s group we shared, and I trusted her.

When I called on her, she said, “You don’t want me on this project. You are looking for The Druid. See if she will look at it. See if she wants to work on this. She is perfect for you. She is what you need.”

Garlic Chives by Sarah Chorn

When I reached out, she offered to edit the first ten pages for free to display her work and to see if we would be a good fit. I told her I don’t need to see a sample of her work, I just wanted her to see what she was getting into.

I sent her the chapters “In View of the Dead” and “The Coming of Shadow.” My first kiss in a haunted hotel, and the moment of discovery of my alters.

“You’re throwing her in the deep end right away,” my wife said.

“I need her to see what she is getting into. I need her to see that this is not a joke. I will judge her interest by her reaction. I need her to want this book.”

It was a day of interminable waiting before she got back to me. “I want this project. This is intense. I want in. We can negotiate price. I can be flexible. I can meet any deadline you want me to. This is a thing I want to be a part of.”

I would not negotiate price. I believe that everyone in the writing industry deserves to be paid every cent of their rate. So, I sent her the document and waited.

Not long after she had it, she came to me with a personal heartbreaking story of her past. She needed a confessor; she needed a friend. She was haunted by a moment in time and needed to talk to a person who had known pain. She spoke, and through her words, our story really began.

Marjoram by Sarah Chorn

As the project progressed, Smear Lord of Ire reached out to her. She recognized him instantly. She spoke to him with respect and courtesy, and he asked her what she thought of his tale and his life. She was awed by it and spoke with respect to him as he told her of things he had told only his wife, and he prepared her for what was coming in the book.

A few moments later she heard the voice of Shadow. He needed to talk to this chick who had a hold of his story and let her know a few things. She laughed, thought his obscenity hilarious, and though he came to fight, her love for him was too great to fight back.

See, as she walks the world of this series with thorn staff in hand, she embraces every alter talked about. She becomes friends with them before she meets them. She cries for them as the story of their burning hits her, and she loves them before she talks to them.

Servant used to have a garden. It was huge and he cared for it for months. It was his main chore. He would kneel and pick weeds as he sang Bonnie Tyler to his plants. He saved what money he could to buy seeds and in his joy, he had planted lettuce. Lettuce is not common in backyard gardens and though his plant was small, he pictured the bologna and cheese sandwich he would make with it, and the taste of his lettuce he had cared for so well and so diligently.

Lettuce by Sarah Chorn

But he took a trip to Waynesville that summer with Tigress and Lioness, and while he was gone his parents did not care for his garden. They mowed over it. When he came home, everything he loved was gone. His work, his love, his life had been destroyed and again Servant had nothing.

He spoke to The Druid about it and wept. Said he wasn’t a gardener anymore, but he had been at one time. He used to have dirt under his fingernails. And he used to sing.

She comforted him when he cried, and her soft words healed him a bit. “You will always be a gardener. You are one of us. Will be for life, whether you have a plant or not.” They talked about his great dream of owning and caring for a bonsai tree one day, then exchanged internet pictures and talked about how beautiful they were. She told him that plant was in his future. And Servant was healed a bit.

Seraphina's Lament (cover)In her work, she is daring. Seraphina’s Lament break hearts around the world. It is hailed as a dark and twisted gorgeous piece of fiction that blows the mind of everyone who reads it and inspires those readers. Of Honey and Wildfires came out to a roaring audience.

One reader sat with her tablet on her lap at eleven fifty-five staring in wait as the preorder kicked in. She read it immediately all the way through the night and in the morning wrote a review of such beauty and devotion that it made The Druid and Smear cry. The love of her readers is mythic.

She has healed family rifts with her work. She has blown audiences away with her breathtaking prose, and through it all she hurts. Through it all, she weeds the flaws out of her clients’ manuscripts, and she writes her next masterpiece.

The Druid is a writer of miracles. Of heartache and pain. She crosses borders and pushes boundaries. Everyone in the community knows her name. And everyone stands with awe and watches as she shows us how to do our jobs with humility and the magic she is known for.

On her desk right now is “Hollow Man,” the first book of Normal Street. It will make her cry. It will infuriate her. And she will weed out its mars and build up its strengths.

The Druid is of magic and mists.

The Druid is my friend.

The Druid is my secret weapon.

Poppies by Sarah Chorn

Title image by Sarah Chorn.

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