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The Goats in the Storm

The world is in upheaval. Everywhere things are being pushed to the extreme. I live in the U.S., and we’re seeing things now that we haven’t seen, maybe ever. My family, my wife, my two sons, have been in lock down since March 10. We leave our house for very few reasons. And in this time of tribulation, what we have is each other.

When you build a career like mine, when you have a mad plan, there are certain pillars that keep things aloft. If I’m not talking about the loving support of people I have in my life, then here are a few of them: I have steady, reliable publication dates. I have a constant, calm walk towards my finish line. A computer I can rely on. A comfortable chair. I have two dogs in my office every time I write. And I have the Goats of Breastion.

You may know what the Goats of Breastion are. Some of you I’ve met at live events, and we have stood and talked and laughed about my goat song. Some of you have been friends or followers of mine on Facebook, and have seen posts about the Goats of Breastion. And a very small few of you have actually been there when we sang and performed it.

I remember when we were planning the first goat party. I had just finished writing the epic drinking song, and I was really curious, mostly how crazy my friends were. But also, if the thing would work. If it was as fun as I thought it was. If it was as wild as I imagined it could be. And I remember when the final chorus had been sung, the final strum of the guitar was still humming in the air, and the last of the pounding of the drums had quieted, the first thing to break the dawning silence was our drummer looking over at me and saying, “So this is an annual thing, right?”

It became something I could count on. At some point in the year, I was going to gather a bunch of wild, fun-loving souls together and we would sing about 60 delicious goats. It’s actually 58, but don’t tell anybody. We had this party twice, both times in April, and we had decided this year we were going to do it in the summer, because there were people in our lives who wanted to plan a vacation around the event and come celebrate for the first time. But this summer we were locked in a house. This summer, the world was in chaos outside our door. This summer, all the Tellers had was each other.

With so much going on, the goats were not happening. I kept waiting for the tide to break, for things to get normal again. But a few weeks ago, we realized it would be a long time before the storm outside our door quieted, before the tempest finally came to rest.

So, I have a pillar that’s needed by me to get my work done. I have a family I can count on who are 100% invested in my work and my world, and who are looking for joy in a tough situation.

We had no rhythm guitar. We had no banjo. We had only the mugs that could be found under our roof. And we had no experienced drummer. But what we did have was a dedication to the world, a budding enthusiastic drummer, a teenager who was doing his best to hide how excited he was and how much fun he was having, and we had a bass guitar.

Bekah pounded out the rhythm of the song armed only with a tambourine. The tune was thumped out on acoustic bass by a bassist who was not very experienced and not very good at what he was doing. But years ago, when the first goat party came to a cheerful rest, our drummer, one of my best friends, had said, “So, this is an annual thing, right?”

We sang. We laughed. My wife and I drank beer. My sons drank soda. There were a considerable amount of bathroom breaks, but there always are, and the Third Annual Festival of Goats did happen. The wilds and the chaos of the world outside did not stop the celebration of the world within our home. It was a small celebration. It was a night we all needed. And it is in the history books of my world. We had a crowd at the first two, and the third was a family event.

Next summer I plan on renting a conference room in some unwitting hotel and with conga, a bass, a weathered rhythm guitar, a few handheld percussion instruments, and the loving support of some of the fans of my world, we will turn that mundane conference room into a barbarian drinking hall. And for one night, we will all be Ragoth of the mountain. The barbarian drinking song about goats will be sung. We will have the Fourth. But for now, I am content in knowing that when the Teller family needed a light, and when I needed to rest on one of the pillars of my process, the goats were there.

Black Friday

On the day after Thanksgiving that we all call Black Friday, I am making my Manhunters omnibus 99¢. Do not look for it at 4 o’clock on Thanksgiving, because I have a family and I can’t be in my warehouse selling books Thanksgiving Day when my family is still celebrating. So I’ll see you on Black Friday. Come find The Manhunters and go hunt bad guys.  

The Silent War of the Sour Eye

Download this free ebook available exclusively through my newsletter. This short story collection includes "The Banshee," "The Slave," "The Gilded Mares," and "Son of the Demontser."



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Jesse Teller, 2443 S. Ventura Ave., Springfield, MO  65804 USA

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