March 29, 2017

"In the thick of it"

   Quite a while ago, someone asked me what I wanted to do with my life. At the time, I thought that it'd be pretty great to play video games all the time and read some books. After a short excursion out into the world to find this ideal job, I discovered that, alas, it did not exist.

   Now, I sit here in a comfy chair in front of a reasonable desk, typing out word after word on a small keyboard used with my iPad. Funny how life goes in directions you didn't know you were ready for, isn't it.

   Used to be, if I had to type out a few dozen words for an assignment or a letter, it was as if someone asked me to try walking on my hands down to the mailbox and use my feet to carry the envelopes back. It was never that I hated it, or I was incapable, it just seemed insurmountable to discover anything worth saying.

   And now I've created a monster. I can't seem to shut up. I'm writing short stories, anthology stories, serial stories, and actual freaking brooks.


   Seriously: actual freaking books.

   I don't get it. Why did it take till now when I am, um...older than some... to finally discover that words are my friends. I love them. Just the other week, I wrote over 3,000 words in a little over 2 hours.


   Even I don't believe that can be done and I'm the one who did it! The truly freaky thing about it, too....I could do it again.

   If the mood struck, and it does without a lot of warning, I could write that level again, and again, and again.

   At my current age, people don't ask me what I want to do with my life. Which is truly sad, because now I do know. Now, I have no doubts whatsoever as to what I want to do.

   I want to write lots of words.

   I want to write stories that take people somewhere they have never been.

   I want to present characters unlike any they've known before.

   I want to bring imagination and wonder to any reader who takes a chance and picks up my work.

   This is what I want...

   ...and play video games.

May 31, 2017

"Rejection Check List"

   From the beginning of this idea to be a writer of words that hopefully others will be willing to read, I knew one irrefutable truth:

   "There will be rejections."

   When I first heard about this idea that the life of a writer was to face lots of possible rejections, I'll admit, I was terrified. I'm a mediator at heart, never wanting to see one side feel worse than the other and always aiming for fairness. But the truth is, there is nothing in fairness to a rejection.

   Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think as rejections as unfair, either. They are neither. They simply are a statement of finality of the conversation. Because, at the heart of it, this is what writing is: a conversation. Just so happens that my side is verbose and the reader side is left to decide how to respond. But the rejection is a response.

   Recently, I was in the running for a submitted short story for an anthology. It was a unique anthology and I thought I put my best foot forward for it. Turns out, after a few months waiting, the other side didn't want to take up their side of the conversation.

   In the middle of this, though, something else has happened. My audience got a little wider. Through some word-of-mouth and some helpful friends, I gained a few more subscribers and followers on social media. I started to get some good feedback and reviews of work that was already out there. In the middle of waiting to hear about an ultimate rejection, I was given some acceptance. Now I have a few more involved in the conversation.

   This leads me to think that the helpful phrase being repeated as a mantra - "There will be rejections" - should actually have an addendum attached. It should be stated that you will be rejected, but you will also be simultaneously accepted. Maybe not in a one-to-one manner, but it will be there.

   So, go ahead, send out your stuff, see who is out there. You will get a rejection. You will get an acceptance. Either way, you are holding up your end of the conversation and that is all anyone can hope for when it comes to this work of passion we align ourselves towards.

   I'll add this anthology rejection to my list. I promise I won't let it be the last one.


My Musings

This is where I share some of the trials, foibles, blunders, minimal successes, and inordinate joy of the writing and creativity process. 

February 8, 2017

"It's been a while"

**This Musing was taken from the latest issue of Serial Segments Newsletter. Felt it was better than anything else I could put here right now.**

   I'm not going to lie, this issue was a tough one for me to send out.
   Not because of the story segments (those are going swimmingly), but because of my motivation. You see, I like to place more than a little of myself into these newsletters. From this section I playfully refer to as "Musings," on down to the trivia, tips, thanks and more. Nothing is random and everything is planned. Yet, this one was a struggle because I quite simply didn't have the energy to do anything with it.
   As I'm sure it is well known to most, I am not one of the few who is happy about our current political leadership. This is not just another "down with 45" disappointment, it is across the board. From the Senate to Congress to Cabinet members to those in the Justice and Military departments. We are seeing an unprecedented level of people in leadership flat-out ignoring the will and voice of the majority of the population. I find this distressing.
   I love this country. I am a tried and true patriot. My unsuccessful entrance to military service did not dampen my love, respect, and appreciation of those who serve.
   This, however, is not that country I do, and have loved. We are seeing divisions that are leaving scars. Seeing prejudice and bigotry ruling over compassion and empathy. Greed beating hospitality. Love of power triumphing over love of people. Some are even saying we are too late to fix some of these and more are falling. Again, not the examples of the country I love.
   That being said, I don't agree we are lost. I don't agree we are down and out. I don't agree we are without recourse and correction.
   This is what is taking my energy. This is what is taking my motivation. I am trying to fight the apathy and depression of those who think we are beaten. I am trying to fight the oppression of those who think they can speak over me. I am trying to fight the fatigue and wear of constantly raising my shield against the slings and arrows of those hoping to take me down.
   So, here I am. Taking the strength of those standing next to me and channeling it into something better. Something creative. Something (hopefully) fun, goofy, and informative. Something that shows I am not down. I am not out.
   I'm asking permission now to borrow from a very recent (as of this morning) trending call to arms that is empowering in its simplicity and amazing in its depth and breadth of meaning.
   "Nevertheless, she persisted."
   I want this to be an anthem we shout.

   Now, if you will excuse me, I have a book to write.