Month: October 2014

Something Different for Halloween

For years I pretended to be someone I wasn’t, on a daily basis. It was like a Trick or Treat or Hide and Seek all the time. There were several reasons for this: fear, shame, and guilt chief of them. A little over a decade ago, I said “no more.” I was determined to be myself, at all times. But staying true in a world that encourages hypocrisy and putting on a good face is hard, and I slipped backward into making sure everyone around me was comfortable. We’ve all done it. Then five years ago, I renewed my vow to be true to myself. And for a long while, I was. But recently, I’ve slipped backward again. So this year for Halloween, I’m taking off the mask, rather than putting one on. Call it a resolution if you will. Fear. I try to be a giving guy, concerned for the well-being of others, often at the cost of my own. Part of that is genuine kindness, but another part is fear that standing up for myself will offend others. Born out of the fear of being unpopular, or perceived as a jerk, this holds me back from sometimes just saying “no, this is my time.” Twice recently this has risen to the fore, causing resentment from me, and even comment from others. As of today the mask comes...

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I usually blog on Monday’s and take part in Monday blogs I didn’t yesterday, but I have the best excuse ever: Vacation. I know, writers don’t really get vacations, and in that way this one has been no exception. I’ve written, filed away ideas, and even answered some e-mail. Obsess much? No, not me! But I digress. This week has been one of the best for me in a long time. Recharge. There is nothing like a creative break to help you get back on track, especially when you know you are burning out. Not on writing, mind you, or on editing, which I love to do, especially for Tirgearr Publishing. They rock, in many ways. But the administrative side of writing, the interaction with other people, while endurable on one hand and mostly enjoyable on the other, both wear on my muse. So I needed just not to do them for a few days. I can only imagine that others are the same. Reset priorities. For the last six months I have found myself often running around, doing things that while good, take away from my overall business plan and mission. I found myself needing to decide, and quickly, what was important and what was a distraction, something built into my original ideas, but one I have not followed well. It’s time to reset that, and get back...

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The Dirge of Distraction

I try to be a helpful guy, sharing with others the things I have learned the hard way, so they do not have to experience the same pain I have. I hope it frees them to make mistakes of their own. But there are times when being helpful becomes a huge distraction, and I lose the focus that has driven me to this point. Distracted, I am no longer learning and progressing myself. So my ability to be truly helpful diminishes. Anyone else know what I mean? Recently, this Dirge of Distraction had risen in volume in my life,...

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Crossing Genres

This week, there was an excellent article in the New York Times with a brilliant explanation of religion. A similar piece aired on CBS Sunday Morning. Both pieces stated that religion is more about identity than a set of precepts everyone who ascribes to the religion adheres too. Muslims and Christians are Muslims and Christians because they identify themselves as such. We have no right to single out one radical group or another to tell them they are not “real.” Nor does one group have the right to vilify another, saying they are not true believers.  Interpretation of scripture in a number of textual, social, and cultural contexts can lead to any number of beliefs, equally justified, within any faith. This is the way genres work as well. Here’s the scenario: “What do you do?” “I’m an author.” “What kind of books do you write?” “Suspense/Thriller. Some horror.” “Oh. I read mostly _______.” Whatever the blank is filled with is likely not your genre. It’s also pretty likely that the potential reader standing in front of you actually does read something like your books, but has no idea what “genre” the books they read actually fall into. Genres are only real because an author declares they write in a certain one, and a reader states that is what they prefer to read. So bookstores and Amazon apply sweeping categories...

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The Hard Stuff

I sit down to write, Not a song, not a poem. Not a rock anthem to thrill the masses, please the DJ’s, or be the pick of the top 40 stations. Not a piece of poetry filled with rhythm and rhyme, with all the right accents, the correct emphasis on syllables and beats, but what does flow from my fingers like fire is the story… A story so personal and powerful that my fingers cannot dance across the keys fast enough. The words pile on top of one another, the dyslexic nature of my fingers betrays my ability to correct them. That will have to wait, because all that matters is the passion, the fear, the anger, the doubt, the uncertainty. I write to calm the storm of thoughts, the multitude of voices that surround me, the ones that say, “Yes, it did happen that way. The pain is real.” The pain is real. It did happen. The throbbing dulls with each word, the fear fades with each sentence, the doubt gives way to certainty with each paragraph. I am not a writer to please anyone, but to write the hard stuff, the things that scare me the most, so in the end my own soul will be healed. Share...

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