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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 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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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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Whology: Theological Parallels in Doctor Who

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If you are a fan of British Science Fiction then you are more than likely heard the sound of a high-powered spaceship within an old-fashioned Police Box.  You have also accepted the moniker Whovian and wear it like a fez or bowtie.

If you have no idea what I am talking about I will fill you in.  I am talking about the television show, Doctor Who. The show involves a time traveling alien who takes a human companion with him along travels throughout history and multiple dimensions. 

One of the main features of the protagonist is that he regenerates into a new person every few seasons. This event makes him more than one person and at certain times,  more than one doctor can exist at the same time. I started thinking about my own belief systems as a Christian.  I am like most Christians believe in a three-fold God,  consisting of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.  It is hard to understand how this can be true but I think Doctor Who may have given me a glance to how it is possible.  If we can conceive even of a being who is one person and has one personality and is also a completely different person and has a different personality, how much more complex is a God who is one person and two others at the same time . 

What I like the best about The Doctor are his clever and humorous ways to solve problems like his ability to defeat armies with a screwdriver (albeit a sonic one but a screwdriver nonetheless). It reminds me when Jesus, who needs to pay a census tax tells Peter to go catch a fish and open his mouth and he will find the payment. (Matt. 17:27)

With the discovery of two new planets we learn our universe is bigger than we thought.  What we thought was impossible is possible that is why I love Science Fiction, it holds the virtue of possibility.  This is helpful when a new discovery happens like when we find two new planets and we learn our universe and the world around us is smaller than we thought. In scripture we are taught that A whole universe, galaxy, and solar system glorifies God. (Psalms 19:1)  What if we find this event looks something like this?

If you are a fan of British Science Fiction then you are more than likely heard the sound of a high-powered spaceship within an old fashioned police box.  You have also accepted the moniker Whovian and wear it like a fez or bowtie.

If you have no idea what I am talking about I will fill you in.  I am talking about the television show, Doctor Who. The show involves a time traveling alien who takes a human companion with him along travels throughout history and multiple dimensions. 

One of the main features of the protagonist is that he regenerates into a new person every few seasons. This event makes him more than one person and at certain times,  more than one doctor can exist at the same time. I started thinking about my own belief systems as a Christian.  I am like most Christians believe in a three-fold God,  consisting of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.  It is hard to understand how this can be true but I think Doctor Who may have given me a glance to how it is possible.  If we can conceive even of a being who is one person and has one personality and is also a completely different person and has a different personality, how much more complex is a God who is one person and two others at the same time . 

What I like the best about The Doctor are his clever and humorous ways to solve problems like his ability to defeat armies with a screwdriver (albeit a sonic one but a screwdriver nonetheless). It reminds me when Jesus, who needs to pay a census tax tells Peter to go catch a fish and open his mouth and he will find the payment. (Matt. 17:27)

With the discovery of two new planets we learn our universe is bigger than we thought.  What we thought was impossible is possible that is why I love Science Fiction, it holds the virtue of possibility.  This is helpful when a new discovery happens like when we find two new planets and we learn our universe and the world around us is smaller than we thought. In scripture we are taught that A whole universe, galaxy, and solar system glorifies God. (Psalms 19:1)  What if we find this event looks something like this?

I am not saying we will find alien cats on the day of Resurrection but I do believe God will restore not only our world but all worlds. After they are restored Heaven will be infused into our universe and we will see a new Heaven and a new Earth. Even though it is fictional, maybe in this show we are seeing small glimpses of what that is actually like.

I am not saying we will find alien cats on the day of Resurrection but I do believe God will restore not only our world but all worlds. After they are restored Heaven will be infused into our universe and we will see a new Heaven and a new Earth. Even though it is fictional, maybe in this show we are seeing small glimpses of what that is actually like.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2015 in Writing

 

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