About Me

Syndal

Writer, Dreamer, Soon-to-be Author

Hello!

First, how are you? How’s your day been? How’s life?

I’m excited that you’re here and you’re still reading. I haven’t bored you yet–or you’re so bored that anything will do. Either works.

A little bit about me:

My name is Syndal. I was born in upstate New York, moved to New Hampshire, Connecticut, and then settled in Florida when I was six. When I was eight, my parents had had enough of city living and bought a farm “in the boonies”, as they say, on a thin dirt road in the middle of an “underground river”, which in Florida is a fancy word for a swamp. That’s right, folks, it’s a river. A river of muck that looks deceptively dry but slides up and over the edges of your rubber boots that come to your knobby eight-year-old knees. But it’s a river.

See, in Florida, we don’t have any large bodies of freshwater to call our own, so we give swamps fancy names like “underground river”. Our lakes are comparable to Buck Pond in the Adirondacks. But they are lakes, we insist.

But enough about water in Florida. Let’s talk farms. My parents bought a small farm–10 acres–and we battled thorny blackberries and the aforementioned mud to fence in the 5+ acres of it that were part of the underground river. I’m not sure I was much help as an eight year old. I probably spent more time scrounging for the plumpest berries while my two older brothers and sister helped pull the fence taunt and my dad secured the staples. I probably fell into muddy pits hidden in the thick underbrush. I probably got an armful and a cheekful of blackberry stickers that, for anyone touching my arm, made my skin feel like fiberglass. I probably cried and wailed and slowed down the whole proceeding quite nicely. Yea, I was an annoying little runt.

No matter. After months of hard labor in the heavy heat of a Florida summer, the fence was up. It was marvelous. It was sturdy. The wires were tight. The staples were straight. Well done, children. Well done, mom and dad.

That was in 2000, the driest year in Florida since 1931. Each summer after that first one, the underground river became more and more an over-ground river, until only the tips of the fenceposts were visible above the surface. Sometimes we would take the canoe out ( before it developed two holes about the size and distance between as the two prongs of the claw on the back of a hammer ) and pretend we were gator hunting. But my parents’ dream of using the swamp as an extra field for the goats and cows had died.

And so it goes.

Life on the farm, though, went on. My dad had always dreamt of having a farm, and my mom loved animals. So we had a nice mismatch of utilitarian critters like chickens, cows, pigs, and goats, along with animals that really have no use other than to suck your purse dry such as guineas, peacocks, every stray dog that came around, every stray cat and her kittens that came around, rabbits, gerbils, snakes, mice to feed to the snakes, horses, donkeys, and… I feel like I’m missing something. I must be missing something. Ah yes, add to that list turkeys, ducks, geese, and swans. You can take liberties with how you categorize those birds. My fingers are starting to hurt just from typing the damn list. But really, you get the picture.

Now throw into that mix six kids, who were little different than animals, ranging from four to fourteen years old. I’m talking humans now, not goats, and I’m gonna need you to keep up.

Did I mention those kids were homeschooled (not the goats, we loaded them–the goats–onto the school bus every morning and only the male with the black floppy ears got a detention once, and that only for chewing his cud in class, causing the teacher to believe he was chewing gum, which, of course, is against the rules)? Well they were. They spent about an hour each day doing school work, a few hours a week at the local library, and the rest of their waking hours running barefoot through swamp and across pastures, and down the dusty lane. They would hide in the deep cuts on either side of the road left after the rain and beam dirt bombs at passing cars, screaming “Die Germans!” (I apologize to any Germans reading this. Please note that these children were just about raised in a barn, and that most of them have somehow grown up to be reasonably well-functioning adults with open perspectives. But I am writing about the children.) They would dash to the 400 acre ranch a quarter mile down the road and, slipping through the metal gate, brave ant mounds and prickly pears (wait, where were their shoes? This wouldn’t be a problem if they were wearing shoes) to swim in the lake half a mile into the second pasture where the cows cooled off during the summer. Never mind that the cows would also drop turds in that water; the children liked to drink it because it was sweet. Never mind that gators lived in those bodies of water; the children would swim to the very middle, where their feet couldn’t reach the bottom and slick, flat weeds left red welts on their legs. Never mind that there was no one within a half a mile to call to should they need help; the children would dive under to explore the murky mysteries hidden below.

Looking back, I’m thinking Damn, glad we didn’t get an amoeba to the brain. What are the odds, you might ask? Well, it happened once to some poor kid (not a goat) in a lake about ten miles from my parents’ farm, and that makes the odds greater than nothing.

I’ve skipped a whole lot of background and only reached my tenth birthday and now I’m questioning my initial expectations of what this About Me was going to be about. Well, me. But, alas, I suppose I can save some details for later.

So, as they say–you know, the people who used VHS–those old motherf*&kers say, let’s fast forward.

Angsty teen fights eating disorder rebels against parents suicidal thoughts fights with parents runs track argues with parents plays the violin poorly yells at parents runs cross country defies parents graduates high school (homeschool) earns Associates same year attends UCF earns an A- in discrete mathematics switches major to English Lit earns a couple of B+s well played angsty teen breaks up with first boyfriend heals broken heart with hot sex graduates from UCF goes to China learns Mandarin teaches English makes friends has a lot of sex drinks a lot of booze smokes a lot of cigarettes makes a lot of bad choices comes out as gay (not one of the bad choices) meets an abusive man gets pregnant comes back to States teaches English has baby girl loves being a mom goes BACK to school for computer science resumes chasing age-old writing dream…

Please tell me you didn’t–hold on, gotta catch my breath; that was a lot–please tell me you didn’t click that button, right? Cause, it’s fake. It goes no where. Well, I suppose you know that now.

Regardless, now you have a very full, very clear picture of who I am. There should be absolutely no question in your mind. None. Trust me, all humans are inherently simplistic, flat characters, and if you take their lives one paragraph at a time, it’s a trivial thing to know them. To understand their motivations.

I’m so glad you’re here. I’d love to hear from you, as well.

What I Do
  • Nothing, mostly, and everything, all at once
  • Write
  • Read
  • Cook
  • Engineering stuff