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Warm Strangers: The Friendship Between Writers and Readers

I think of creative people as hermits.  We go off to a room or some other remote location and  spend a few hours repeating the same repetition and hope that we can somehow achieve masterpieces or the best words we can if we are more realistic.

The first human contact we have after we click publish or send is when a reader comes along and reads our work, we jump up and down because that is one more person that didn’t read it before. Someone took some time to actually read work from an unknown writer.

A writer forms friendships with people whom they have never met by marking our stories, dreams,  and desires on paper or a computer screen and this process shows us as at our most vulnerable.  It sets up an intimacy only the Writer and Reader know.

In the old days when I started writing I hide myself as a writer.  I convinced myself that my words weren’t good or I would be embarrassed when someone would see then berate them.  These insecurities don’t disappear and sometimes I wonder if they might still happen.  The only good lesson I learned about this is the fact that I’m not alone. Like any relationship the work may be rejected and the writer may be left heartbroken from the evaluation but if the writer chose not to send the pages out in the world they would grow old and dusty on the shelf,  never to be seen by the world, never fulfilling their purpose.

The truth is not writing is a far worse fate.  The reader never sees the possibilities locked inside the human head and the heart.  The writer doesn’t learn about people whether or not they are actual or fictional characters and the reader never sees the fruits of that labor. 

People who write join a community of human beings who see reality as what it can be, might be,  or ought to be, instead of what it is. Writers are an interesting group of people. Every writer is a hiding show-off.  We love words and their magic.  Everyday we see blank pages and decide words should be on them. We hope the world will become a more fantastical place because our words exist– even if it is only for today.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Life, Writing

 

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The Flames Of Origin: A Song of Antiquor

The following poem is part of a collection set in the far away Relm of Antiquor.  If you are unfamiliar with poems from far away lands many depict battles and have characters who are unusual or fantastic.  If you wish to sing it like in olden days you will need to find an appropriate tune because one wasn’t provided.

Without anything further,  Here is The Flames of Origin:

On the mountain side under the clouds
Lived a warrior people tall and proud
Whose screech were heard all around.

They had large wings, talons, and eagle eyes They were filled with pride
over what should be theirs, far and wide.

Their captors lived in the sea and in old times
Defeated the chaos beyond the tides
Overpowering them with their teeth and poisonous spines.

They owned treasure and kingdoms fine,
Their power extended to the mountain line.

Cloth and metal was cut and ropes were strung
The old war the Aviamen sung.

The Sea Kings slept in their reefs
For they felt safe in their keep.

The Aviamen had a long journey from the tops
They also needed fuel at every stop.

They saw The Great Highlands recorded in
The Ancient Tomes.

They stopped in The Dark Forest to see the shining elves
to seek help to repair their sails.

They flew towards the coast
Where they saw creatures as clear as ghosts.
As they roamed around silence was kept,
Although a moan was heard like a mother who wept.

Argus The Grand, whose feathers aged from tan now to grey was only in his span,
decided it was time to go. 
If they didn’t they would be taken by the crying souls.

A fortnight later, they made it to the sea
Just one more day then they’d be free.

The airships rose to strike,
The enemy within their sights.

Bombs were dropped many in a line,
They lit up the night sky.

Luan, The Ocean General, ordered the ships to
flank left
to avoid  certain death. 

Cannon fire rose underneath and all arms struck.

The sky glowed with embers,
It was the brightest night anyone remembers.

She looked down at the adding cost
Both sides were bleeding with all the lives lost.

She landed among the fallen,  Cinda The Blaze, 
She saw the dead-end gaze.
She lit the ground ablaze, burning the whole earth,
Both sides saw the others worth.

Was it the end? Were they all gone?
Neither would sing a victory song.

The blood they saw had been burnt
And in its place the ground began to turn.
The soil changed to blackened soot
And saplings began taking root.

Dirt became Hills and later mountains tall
So high one could see over all.

The Sea rushed in and pulled the soot away
Because new ground was to stay. 
The clouds began to soar
It was clear a new country was born.

What to call this new home?
They named the land, Antiquor.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Poetry, Short Fiction, Writing

 

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The Lent Connection: Reflections of disconnecting with Social Media

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The opening scene of Holy week depicts a scene where Jesus, an unlikely king, is riding a donkey into a city as a new symbol of hope.  Sometimes Hope doesn’t look like what or who we wanted. It looks inadequate at first but it is what is needed.

I think hope exists in the times when I am the most hopeless.  I whine when life gets too overwhelming and I  start to become angry when a small thing doesn’t go our way or we will try to spite someone who has it better than we do and we know that if they were my friend this wouldn’t be the case.

Regardless of my lousy attitude and or actions I know there is Love, which treats most of our ailments.  It may only look like a small amount but we are given more than we are aware and it is pretty potent. 

We live in a world that it is easier to observe than it is to love.  The internet gives us insight to the lives of not only famous people but our acquaintances, friends, and family members that has never been available in the rest of history.  I found myself knowing a lot about people I know through a news feed but never really connecting with them or myself due to the distraction social media had become. After this realization I made an important decision: I decided to give up social media as a vice for Lent (full disclosure: I didn’t include Sundays because in the early Church they were considered feast days so I would log on those days but not very long). I did this because I felt like was only accessing a representation of people’s lives.  While it is great to update people on the internet, it is hard to see who a person really is on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and even more so to know who they are and by extension, to love them.

I generally use these networks to post what I have written or created to share with others.  As a writer, I like when someone has seen what I have written and enjoys it. It is like a dancer receiving applause  after giving a performance.  The reader doesn’t see the missteps and falls from the previous drafts.

It is nice but in my case it was at the point where I was hoping and anticipating the praise too much.  I was afraid to write what I really felt and create the projects I wanted to make.  The acknowledgement was addicting and I was numb when it was silent or when no one saw the piece I posted online after I spent so much time working on it.  I was miserable and I forgot creating was more important than accolades. Fulfillment never comes from the comments other people make.  It serves as a good push to keep going forward but not to sustain the pace long term.

I learned how to be brave as a writer and an artist. It is important to stand by your work even if it isn’t perfect or if no one notices it.  I have also grown closer to My creator and I understand him more because of this experience.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2015 in Writing

 

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“Old Blue Eyes” Poem

I wrote a poem that deals with the feelings of Love and lust. I think it is a good conversation to have and especially about how both really affect us. I am encouraged  this is a conversation that is talked through  in churches  and in many other places.

                   Old Blue Eyes

Your eyes marked, edges dry,
The clock glaring twelve thirty-five. 
Lying in bed the deed is done
Every time it’s less fun.

“Just one last time”, you said,
“It will be quick”.
The lump swells in your throat
and you feel sick.

What you called love was fake,
It existed in a life that was falsely made.

You and she are bound,
Two lost souls searching to be found
Blinding each other at a fast pace
Chasing after tails in a losing race.

In the old days people saw her innocent blue eyes
Before she was trapped by a world full of lies.

It’s ok in your mind you can flirt
In this game so perverse
Because after all, no one really gets hurt.

                               

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2015 in Poetry, Writing

 

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Superman Earth One.aac

Scrawlcast: Superman Earth One
In this week’s episode we will be looking at the Superman Earth One Origin Story.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2015 in Podcast

 

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Ashes, Phoenixes, and Lent

Whenever I think of ashes I think of Mount Vesuvius raining ashes over Pompeii. Every Ash Wednesday unearths and reveal the Lent season. Ashes are signs of rebirth as illustrated in the mythological Phoenix. 

I decided to start the renewal with early morning prayer even though mornings and I don’t get along but it is the best time because it is before the hungry wolves try to bite you.  In between yawns was  getting out the words to all of the Psalms and making sure my eyes didn’t shut.

I decided to give up social media for Lent.  I noticed that Looking into the screen before it is turned off it has a distorted look of your reflection.  Your eyes can glaze over and you have a distorted view of the reality around you. It is like viewing our lives in a warped mirror.

Another aspect of  this season is that it forces a new routine that is more structured and disciplined.  When I was younger I associated both discipline and routine with drudgery and boredom. The truth is that Discipline is required for creativity to exist. I’ve read about writers and artists whose lives were so simple and routine that it allowed them to grow into amazing people and as a byproduct they wrote beautiful words and painted Awe inspiring pictures. 

If you are on this journey towards Easter with me I hope it is meaningful and adds new stories within the best story.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2015 in Life, Writing

 

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The Problem With Disney Princes And The Rest Of Mankind

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Credit: http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/291/c/0/official_disney_princes_by_nuts4books9-d4d9jcq.jpg

This past weekend was valentines weekend had its own resurgence of male characters. This included Billy Crystal from when Harry met Sally.  Liam Neeson from Love Actually. I think it is easier to look at characters as people it is easier to differentiate between real male traits and stereotypical traits.

If we look at the stereotypes of male characters we see that they are a little less intelligent than the average person. They are driven by passions and this is shown by an overriding desire for sex.  This portrays men strictly in the sense of function: we are no more than a penis attached to the secondary organs that keep us alive.  The truth is men are deeper and more complex.  We are passionate sometimes so much that it is difficult to express our emotions.  We aren’t guilty of “showing our sensitive side”,  we are sensitive.

If we look at  stereotypes of the fantasy genres in early Disney films. Most of them don’t even have names. They exist to help fulfill the fantasy of true love for the Princess and as a plot device for her to have an over optimistic love interest.  Snow White and Sleeping Beauty’s princes only appear twice in the films and one of those appearances is a dream-like sequence.  Disney Princes are always able to solve any crisis from slaying the main villain to coming up with the best lyrics and melody on the spot. 

Sometimes women get the notion that men exist to be changed into these stereotypically ideal characters.  All she needs to do is scrub out his imperfections.  If he is too tough,  make him gentle.  If he is gentle, make him tougher.  The good news in real life that it is not a spouse’s job to change the other spouse.  In a narrative it must come mostly from the plot or an outside element. In real life it must come from outside the persons too.  As a Christian I believe Jesus has a large role but our stories also play a role in shaping our character.
I hope that we as storytellers portray men as characters to show them as people so men can be seen as more than just a gender.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2015 in Writing

 

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