It is few and far between that we as individuals are touched with a moment that changes us as human beings. For many years I have been writing fantasy, and I love it. I wish to continue creating worlds of the fantastic, otherworldly and profound. But there is definitely something to be said of the tragic and heroic realism that our species experiences and pushes through on a daily basis.
We struggle through hardship, monetary, medical and else wise… Stretching our capabilities and attempting to do what we feel is impossible. We must remember, always, where we come from, the United States, a land and a home full of infinite possibilities.
I feel honored to be a part of what it means to be an individual blessed with the freedoms that living in this country allows… freedom of speech and creativity. And as such, I wish to provide you with a smile and perhaps, an occasional tear.
My life has been recently touched by hardships such as illness and the absence of a family member fighting for our freedom. I am thankful to say, that time is near over, as my warrior brother is on his way home to our beautiful country. And as an individual, in humble honor and celebration of our freedoms, I offer you a taste of the drive behind such artistic endeavors…
I am calling this piece… For the adoration of writing… an offering of friends…
"There are places between the shadows, worlds within the printed page. There are things that live beyond the grasp of conscious thought, things both wretched and beautiful, horrible and fantastic." — C. D. Bennett
No matter how many times I read this, I will never forget the first time. I felt like a sharp cold pen had been used on my very soul and it sent me crashing deep into a world...my world. I love it when a couple of lines written on a page send me to the edge and back. It makes me chase the written word and I become intoxicated by the very thought of the world that is created.
The love of the written word is like a drug. A single thought can turn into miles across the ocean or a night in bed with someone you love. They are the very essence of my soul; I breathe them in everyday just to live.
When I read this by my friend, the first thing that crept across the squeaky wooden floors of my mind was, 'You must be talking to me.'
My heroes aren't the people who are rich and famous. They are the ones who aren't afraid to tattoo my soul with the words they write. The shadows between the pages are the undiscovered worlds and minds of the person who writes them.
Writing is a glimpse into the deepest essence of the writer. For that I thank you, the soon to be discovered writer or the one who is already sitting on my nightstand. Thank you for giving me my fix. I can already feel the beating of my heart and see the new world I want to create.
Thievery of my soul began
Across the widened expanse of time
A secret pleading discovery
Within a book of song and rhyme
Your eyes a looking glass of fear
The color of the sky
I look upon their languid gaze
As you go soaring by
How much longer will you leave me here
Disguised as wafting need
Limbs desiring to grow and stretch
Out from a fertile seed
On paper spill my heart and soul
My deepest desires expose
My life held in your timid fingers
Show them so they know
This morning after my swim, as I floated and stared up at a sky so pure blue-gray that its solid, monotonous color was the only thing in my line of vision save for those little floater things (you know, the little paramecium that slip along the periphery of things, viscous, scientific and strange), a line came to me that I knew would likely be the last line of the novella I am working on, if, in fact, the novella ever comes to full fruition. And, trust me, it may, or may not.
That, and a conversation last evening with my dear friend Evelyn's husband, the gorgeous and gregarious (if slightly giddy ;)) Karlito, got me thinking again about where my stories come from -- my beginnings and middles and ends -- and how differently I seem to write than many of my friends who (enviably) write from well-formed ideas reduced to detailed outlines, their chapters and plot (oh dear god when will I EVER learn to plot?) mapped out before them in bulleted, organized glory.
I write with no such bulleted, organized glory.
For example, evolution of The Pull of Gravity: I read an article about this guy, see, and something about him intrigued me and I found myself wondering what his real life might be like. How what he had done (set out to walk across America to lose weight, in this case) would affect his marriage and, more importantly to me, his children, his family.
Here. This is a real photo of him walking:
He became the first central character driving the story, except that I knew that the story would be told from his son's perspective (I do not remember if the real guy has a son).
The second thing that happened was, as I was thinking vaguely about the story, my younger son spiked a fever, which brought the first line of the book to me, and the few lines that followed:
"A fever was what started everything. That, and the water tower, and the cherry cola. Well, also, Dad and his condition, and Mom being in Philadelphia and all."
Nothing else about the story had come to me yet. But I just started writing, and eventually a story unfolded.
Little known fact (nearly forgotten by me): the first working title of the book in my computer files was Fat Man Walking -- a far cry from Steinbeck, The Scoot, and the Pull of Gravity, now just The Pull of Gravity, eh?
Anyway, this is how I write, despite that all I had in this case was a character or two, some lines that appealed to me, and my own desire and intrigue. Lord knows how I got here from there.
For example, evolution of Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me:
The title came to me one morning as I woke up. Nothing but that title. There was a reason that Kerouac was on my brain, and I was ruminating on my next YA, but other than that, and the sudden realization that somehow butterflies were also to be involved, I had little else when I set the manuscript in motion. How the rest unfolded remains a mystery to me.
For example, evolution of Frankie Sky:
The first line, "The first time I see Frankie Schyler, he’s diving into the deep end of the Lawrenceville Country Club pool," came to me together with an image of a small boy, angelic looking, diving confidently into a swimming pool surrounded by onlookers, appearing to swim sort of miraculously, then drowning instead. I was in the pool, underwater, when the image came to me.
All of my stories are like this -- springing from bits and pieces, vague ideas, images that pull at me, call to me while I swim, or drive, or sleep. I suspect this is not the best way to write, and worse, I suspect it is why, while my writing is repeatedly praised, editors continue to struggle with my stories, my plotting, the way things unfold in my novels, over and over again.
Perhaps it is not the best way to write, but so far, it's the only way I know how.
We write for our souls
We write out of hope
We write through the pain
the emptiness, the loneliness
We write to save ourselves
For our souls
The Moon has always been a source of strength and inspiration for me, and I suppose it could even be said that it has become my Muse when times were at their darkest, though in the beginning of my writing career, I was seldom granted such graces. Writing became my only outlet to survive in a world in which I truly felt alone. I conjured dreams of madness and horror, using my new-found medium to fight back in my own way. I never would have survived without it, I know that now. It was a dark road, and it would've been so much easier to give up and fall apart. It was never pity I sought or even acceptance, it was merely understanding. Even this, I learned, was a lot to ask, and for many years I wondered if I even had the strength to go on. But against all my critics and despite my own demons, I survived.
Every writer has a story to tell. It's not a profession you take on lightly, and for many of us the Muse's first gift is pain. For anyone merely starting along this path, it may be years until you find peace with your gifts. The important thing is to never give in to doubt, be it from others or your own misguided fears. It won't be easy, but as they say, nothing worth having ever is. There will be darkness, and there will be light, but we must never lose who we are to the changing shades around us.
We're all a little crazy. Let's face it, a "normal" person would never commit to this kind of life. So many people are content with just milling through life with nothing to say and even less to offer, braying to no end about the state of their world, but too timid to do anything about it. It's sad really. As writers we must find that Muse within ourselves to reach higher than that, to shout louder and write boldly. The world has enough sheep. A writer really only has two paths to choose: are you a shepherd, or a wolf?
Sugary sweet the passage flows
Rainbow dancing ribbon curls
Bubblegum floating miniature worlds
Spiral lollipop adventures unfurl
Silky smooth like chocolate streams
Licorice ropes they twirl and bend
The dialogue found within my dreams
Creating sprinkled worlds of pretend
Join me down melted ice cream rivers
Whipped cream clouds gaze from above
From within my Sweet Tart heart to give
Is a decadent treat of marshmallow love.