Xeno Hemlock


What the Achievement of a Dream Taught Me About Friendship

My name is NOT Herbert Novelli but I (also) have a confession to make: I killed my friends and it thrilled me. Well, I meant that metaphorically not literally. See, when you become hellbent on making your dreams come true, inevitable changes come to you like a giant tsunami to wash you into a new person. Say goodbye to old mindset, beliefs, priorities, and even relationships. Break them. Trash them. Kill them.

My road to becoming an official novelist wasn't as pure as I hoped it would be. Blood is in my hands for killing silly friendships that ate time better spent in pursuing my goals. Blood is in my hands for killing toxic friendships that poisoned my mind and hindered me from evolving as a human being. Blood is in my hands for killing outdated friendships I no longer had commonality with but was just keeping afloat because of the relationship's age. Blood, blood, blood. Blah, blah, blah. You get the story by now.

In short, I paid a price to bring I Killed My Friends and It Thrilled Me to life. That included the exchange of parties, alcohol, and sometimes coffee for characters, plot twists, and chapters; a little solitary sacrifice to achieve a goal. During my self-declared exile, the idea of independence became stronger in my reframed mind that I discounted my friends to show me any support.

There is a paradox in pursuing our dreams. Other people can relate to the pursuit because they have their own dreams they want to achieve in their lives too. Yet at the same time, they REALLY can not relate. Dreams are so personal to each of us, our hearts can only house one - our own. The best other people can give to our dreams is the support from an outsider's perspective. They can cheer us on but never share the burden. They see the crystal tower but can never set foot inside. 

In my life, I've had my fair share of being on the receiving end of abandonment by people. As I realized it in my journey of penning my novel, I set a mantra:  "No expectation, no disappointment." People come and go in our lives. It's a truth some of us, me included, have a difficult time accepting.

Let's fast forward the story to three years later. My novel's about to be birthed. Herbert and friends were ready to be let loose to the whole wide world. Mr. Hemlock, so close to achieving a milestone, still did not believe in self-entitlement. Despite the public display of my writing career, there was very few "How's your book?" and "How's your writing?" that came my way from people I care about. But that was okay. I had prepared myself to most of the things that could cause my spirit to break.

But the universe has a funny way of giving us hope, of pulling us up from drowning in the ocean and into a boat headed to a paradisal island. It sometimes throws a bucket of a million colors to our black and white world, like a friendly fan living thousand miles away confessing your writing touched their inner daemon, like a twin flame encounter to bring back the spark to your beautiful soul. You see, the people I didn't expect to support my writing career did so. They bought my book even if I didn't ask them to. For an author, the best way to show them support is by buying their work. Boy, was I so surprised? You freaking bet. But this is not the sucker punch of the story. It follows next.

People know our name, what we look like, our favorite type of music, whether we cuss or not, and even whether we cuss covertly or out loud (a lot). But our dreams, the fire burning deep in the core of our soul that defines our existence, not everybody gets the chance to know them. Among those who know, not everyone will care enough to touch the fire. Only a few do.

For me, my friends buying my book wasn't just dollars going back to my pocket. It was the appreciation and acceptance of who I truly am. It felt like talking to somebody while their eyes strip you off everything to see your core. I suppose that's what "getting to know you" is really all about.

The people in our lives have their own dreams to fulfill. I taught myself quite some time ago to try and never hold against somebody their lack of support to my journey. Even I myself admit that my gung-ho-ness to my vision has made me indifferent to other people's lives. 

And that is why my friends' unexpected support to my writing career became a monumental surprise. That's what the release of my novel, the achievement of a dream, taught me about friendship. When friends go that extra effort to touch your fire, they are keepers. They have crossed the line from being a friend to A FRIEND. You'll never look the same way at them again.


I Killed My Friends and It Thrilled Me


Herbert Novelli lives an ordinary life. Breakfast. Work. Lunch. Work. Gym. Dinner. Sleep. Plus the occasional get together with his long-time friends who entered adulthood together with him in Cinnabar City.

An unannounced visit to his apartment one ordinary night brings his ex-girlfriend Gina Watson. After leaving him with a vague letter and a broken heart in their old home town Verona, Gina’s unexpected appearance is the last thing Herbert expects to happen.

Gina hands Herbert an invitation to her wedding with another man as a strange peace offering. Herbert accepts it, a show of his willingness to bury the hatchet.

But Death has a funny way of doing his job in the city. Sometimes he makes a grand fanfare of his arrival. Other times, he comes unannounced with a wedding invitation on hand.