Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Way I Am

This song hits me in the gut.

I know that sounds weird. It's such a lovely song, really. The thing is, it's not so much the song that packs the punch, or even the words. It's a memory behind it. About a year ago, I sent this to a friend. No matter how much I try to pretend, there was motivation behind it. Mostly because I loved him (and still do). Also because it was a rough time in my life and I needed someone to play with me, distract me and remind me that I wasn't as awful as I felt. He was, without a doubt, there for me. He always had the best answers to my questions. And he possessed a unique way of petting my fears down and making the road seem less alone.

At times, it's hard to think about the past, especially key moments.

Emotions aren't a bad thing - no matter if I was raised to believe they are. I know in my heart they are what separates me from the cyborgs. Sometimes, I get lost. Lonely. Sad. And, though it doesn't happen often, I do cry. A few tears shed here and there are a reminder that I've had hurdles to leap over and, once or twice, I missed and didn't exactly clear them. But, in those moments, I picked myself up. Maybe not right away, but I did manage to get back onto my feet and dust myself off. I'd be lying if I said I did it alone. My friend helped me.

It was nice feeling someone understood me and took me for who I am. Back then, it was what I needed and wanted. Except, there is a problem with someone loving you for you. In order for this to happen, you must show them all of yourself. And sometimes that backfires, which can cause sorrow. I've always had trouble letting people in and when I do I often panic and pull away. It's because I feel vulnerable. Exposed. Truthfully, these things make me feel weak. Something I don't like to feel.

Simply put, it's hard when someone you thought 'got' you fails to understand and leaves you behind. Talk about the ultimate rejection. But then, it's harder still when someone you thought you 'got' turns out to be someone different. The fact is, we all evolve and change and shift over time, with or without other people trying to influence it. Change isn't a bad thing, but it can make people seem further away than they actually are. It's difficult for others to keep up. To change with you. And sometimes it's impossible to see the person you used to be. Sometimes all we want to do is forget the person we used to be. But we can't. Because it's who we were, and, no matter how much we change, a key component of who we are.

Sometimes we try so hard to be the person our loved ones want us to be and we hide away little parts of ourselves. Key parts of ourselves. Or we try desperately to become the person we want to be, before we're ready. We want to forget, let go, move on and we want to take everyone we ever loved with us. No one shall be left behind. Except, that's not how it works. People come and go from our lives.

In so many ways, I am the same girl who sent him that song. Except, I'm not so broken, lost or unhappy. As for him, he's the same person too, even though he's changed as well. There was a time when our paths felt so close, but there's been a fork in the road. He's gone one way. And I another. But for me, he's still with me. Because of what he showed me, what he gave me, he will always be inside me. And, even though he might not recognize it, I will always be inside of him.

The funny thing about paths? We don't really know where ours will end up. It might be here, or there, or on the other side of the world. Who knows how long I will exist for? And who I will fall in and out of touch with? All I know is, if our fork draws back together, I hope he will take me the way I am, and I will take him the way he his. For the sake of friendship and love.

And as for emotions. They aren't as wrong as they feel. I'm only human. So, why fight them?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Future Is A Marshmallow

In my last blog, the one right before this one, I wrote the line "The future is a marshmallow."

A very sweet friend on Facebook, Hazel, took note of this line and said it was another 'classic Tyson-ism'. That made me happy. It makes me happy to know people actually see the things I write and take the time to let me know they read/like/appreciate them. It also thrills me to bits that I even have Tyson-isms at all.

In passing, I mentioned how I want a shirt with the saying 'the future is a marshmallow' on it. Well, today, she posted this for me on Facebook:

I cannot tell you how happy this little drawing made me. First off, someone took the time to draw this for me. Secondly, I'm wearing a 'the future's a marshmallow' shirt. And third, look how thin I am. All jokes to the side, this gave me a laugh and left me feeling elated all day.

It reminded me of the time when Bonnie made me this:

Or when my friend Jennifer's daughter made me this for my birthday:

And I sat back and thought, wow, I have some pretty cool people in my crazy virtual life.

Sometimes it's hard putting myself out into the world. The blogs and vlogs are designed in a way where I maintain my honesty, with myself and everyone who reads them. For the most part, I do them to order my thoughts, so I don't go mad and start eating my hair (would that be vegan?), but on occasion I am reminded that I'm not shouting into nothingness. Most of the time, that reminder comes from a good place and is very rewarding. At times, it comes from a bad place, a barbed comment, an insult, a dislike or campaign of ugly. This isn't as rewarding, but it comes with the territory.

We often let the negative things in and allow them to needle us. Yesterday, I found dwelling over a woman who mocked the way I speak, not the plethora of shares I received on my vlog about Human Rights. Or the messages and kind words people were saying to me. It's the human condition. To allow the bad to outweigh the good, even when the good is ten times more prominent.

From this day forth, I say negativity be damned. There's no point in it. We shall let it go with the understanding that it is part of life, but it has no place in our hearts. I say it is time to relish the good things. Dwell in the positive. After all, I'm lucky. And I thank you all for the time, energy, comments, shares, likes, and laughs you have given me.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Truth Shall Make You Mad

Last night, I was talking to my brother about some changes I've been going through. No, not menopause. Life changes or, more accurately, changes in the way I think. For a short spell, I experienced this intense moment of happiness (November), followed by forlorn loneliness (January) that nearly gutted me. Then, I let go, and this eerie calm has taken root inside me (March). It's an odd sensation, and not one I can explain without sounding like my cheese has slipped off my cracker. (I stole that line from a friend.)

Back to the conversation I had with my brother. In order to understand, you need to know my brother has a bit of a shady past. He isn't a bad person, but he has done bad things. I won't go into detail, but his past is something he struggles with on a daily basis. Of course, that's not unique to him. A lot of us are conflicted characters, dwelling on what we have done, mulling and brooding over the hurt we've caused, or the hurt which has been inflicted on us. To be honest, a vast majority of us spend a lot of time living in the past, unable to confront and let go of what we've done, while still clinging to it.

Here is the one simple truth: we cannot change our past.

It's done. We don't have time machines. Doc Brown isn't going to lone us a DeLorean to travel back to the future. Besides, we've all seen enough science-fiction to know we shouldn't tamper with the past because it will mess everything up. I think Marty McFly all taught us that one.

And yet, even though we cannot change it, we let out past dictate our futures. 

This is what stumps me. There's a line in a Ray Lamontagne song, Empty, where he says, "Well, I looked my demons in the eyes, laid bare my chest and said, Do your best, destroy me. You see, I've been to hell and back so many times I must admit it kind of bores me." There is a truthfulness in his words that knocks my breath from me. He talks of what so many of us do. We let our past steer our futures and allow old hurts, pain, strife and negativity derail us from the things we love, the happiness we can have, the peace waiting for us. Sometimes we pull ourselves out from under the crushing layer of human emotion and it's like we are seeing for the first time. Except, we allow it to pile back on us when things get hard. And it's tough moving under that blanket of doubt, fear, worry, loneliness and disappointments.  

The thing is, the future is a marshmallow. Okay, okay. Not in a roasting over a fire pit kind of way, but the flexible, smooshy way. The future is ours to control. It is something we can mould and shape. Sure, we can't change what we have done, but we can control how we move forward. As some of you know, I'm all about the love. I believe it is only with love that we can move forward.

Of course, this can be complicated because it can take a long time to get to this place. First, we need to love ourselves before we can love others. Secondly, we need to understand love and give before we can receive. And, we need unconditional love for all, which comes with letting go of expectations, wants and all the false things we've been taught.

People are possessive because it's how we have been raised. We always draw the line between what is ours and what is someone else's. This is my home. That is yours. This is my food. That is yours. Except, to me, nothing is mine because everything is ours. All right, that's a bit heady, but it ties into what I have been thinking, which is the idea of oneness.

Not too long ago I posted a video clip where Neil DeGrasse Tyson talks about how the same atoms that comprise life on earth, that make us up, can be traced back to the same ones that started the Universe. That whole idea, that the stars are a part of us, we are a part of them, and we are part of each other is one I completely embrace. It's why we need to care. It's why we need to love everything. Everyone.

And it is why I am never alone.

All these thoughts aren't new. People have been experiencing these feelings and ideas for years, centuries even. Many of these components can be found in other religions and practices. And I find it in music and books all the time. They weren't even new to my brother, except for him to hear me talk so freely about things he'd been thinking about for years shocked him. Because it's odd to have someone pluck your thoughts and ideas right out of your head and put them into words.

Near the end of the conversation, he said something that took me by surprise. As we talked about other dimensions and quantum physics, he told me I should be careful. He feared the questions I was asking, the thoughts cartwheeling through my head, had the ability to make me go crazy. A lot of the things we were talking about aligned with Buddhism and he told me it is not recommended for weak minds to delve into Buddhist practices and teachings because there is a chance it can break them.

It made me think of a quote from one of my favourite writers, and people, Aldous Huxley.

"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad." 

And then I thought, how close am I to losing my mind?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Using Real Life

Most writers are familiar with the saying: Write what you know. It's tossed around all the time, almost religiously, really. While there does need to be some knowledge behind what we write, especially to make feelings and motivations authentic, I think it's impossible to know everything, no matter how many people call you a know-it-all. For example, if you're writing a novel about demons and angels, which happens to be ever-so popular right now, there isn't any way you can know what a demon or angel is thinking, what heaven is like or how it feels to have wings sprout on your back. Sure, you can imagine it, if you're creative enough, but you don't know.

That said, if you're writing a book about Gabriel, the Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God, then you better do some research. You want to get his basic details right. I mean, you don't want to come across as an uninformed sloth to your readers. There really is no excuse for laziness and, as any writer can tell you, penning a novel requires a certain amount of research. It's why authors have seven tabs open on their browser when they're writing a book. Okay, okay, two of those are Facebook and Twitter.

From my experience, people don't just decide to write about something they have no clue about. The truth is, we often create stories based off things that interest us, things we care about. Which leads me into what I want to talk about today. We draw from our own experiences. And, in truth, we draw from other people's experiences.

See, this is where I get a little bit lost. What isn't clear to me is how much of our own lives we can filter into our novels, and how much of other people's? I suppose what I am asking is, how much is too much? And where do we draw the line? Of course, I'm not an utter fool, I know enough to at least change the names.

But, all jokes aside, I've been thinking about this lately because I have an idea for a book that touches on a few things very personal to me. And, while they are in fact my experiences, they are also someone else's. Now, I don't plan on writing out our interactions verbatim. Actually, I don't plan on writing them out at all. It isn't the actual events I will be using, but the feelings, thoughts and motivations behind them. Still, I've been mulling over whether or not it is appropriate to use real life in our work.

While on one hand, I think it's inevitable. After all, we are inspired by the people around us and the things we witness. I also think it's a bit rude to do so. Then again, memoirs are very popular and, even though they are one person's account of their life, they also shed light on all the players in that person's life. What's the difference then? You can write a story about your life, detailing events from the people's lives around you, and call it a memoir, so why not base your novel off real life occurrences and call it fiction?

In some ways, writing about real things makes it more authentic. Then again, you're less likely to alter the scene or story because you think it has to be one certain way.

Here's the thing, I've known a few writers who have put specific moments from other people's lives into their book. And a couple of them have been very private and revealing, to the point where, if the person read the book, they'd know it was their very personal moments. Yes, a couple of these writers have informed the others involved, in an effort to give them a heads up, but one or two have simply gone ahead and done it without warning the person, or asking permission.

It's sort of a conundrum from where I sit. In some ways, it feels like plagiarising someone's life. I mean, it's important to take into consideration our friends, family, lovers, both present and past, and their feelings. In the end, it all comes down to respect and affording other people the same consideration you yourself would like. If we think they'd be upset, pissed off or annoyed over something we wrote, then we probably shouldn't put it in a novel that could potentially become a best seller. (A girl can dream)

So, in conclusion, drawing from real life cannot be avoided, but we should do it respectfully.

Oh, and if we don't know something but want to write about it, research. If no other reason than to appear less numpty-ish.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

For The Love Of Einstein

Most people know Einstein for his theory of general relativity, or, simply put, E=MC2. Because of this breakthrough, he is regarded as the father of modern physics, and one of the most intelligent beings in human history. But this theoretical physicist was so much more than a mathematician and scientist. He was more than his theory of relativity, in my opinion.

Other things the man did, simply leave me in awe. For example, his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect would later be the stepping stones for establishing quantum theory within physics. He spent a lot of his time dealing with the problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which eventually led to his explanations of particle theory and motion of molecules. His success spans form his early work with Brownian Motion, in 1905, through to his answer to why the sky is blue in 1911 and on to 1916 with his general theory of relativity. I mean, these are things I can barely comprehend let alone imagine thinking up myself.

Anyway, today is Pi day. March 14th. It also happens to be Einstein's birthday, which means people the world over are celebrating the birth of this genius, which I think is wonderful. Except, I've noticed some people seem to think that Pi, or 3.14, is actually Einstein's invention. This is not true. Pi pre-dates Einstein, and by more than just a couple years.

First, a little bit about Pi, and then we'll get back to Albert.

Pi is not only the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet, but the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Meaning, it doesn't matter how big your bloody circle is, you're going to come up with Pi, which is roughly 3.14. In reality, Pi goes on forever because it is an irrational number, so the digits never end, or, more accurately, they don't repeat in any known way. So, who came up with it? Well, ancient civilizations knew about this fixed ratio circumference to diameter thing a long time ago, but it was the Greeks who refined the process and it is Archimedes who is credited with the first theoretical calculation of Pi. 

Okay, so, maybe that isn't all that interesting to you, but it needed to be said. For informational purposes, of course. Regardless, Einstein didn't come up with Pi. Now, if this is news to you, perhaps you're all befuddled. You might be wondering why today is celebrated as Pi Day and not just Einstein's birthday. 

Well, that's simple. 

Our little friend Pi, or this awesome symbol π, often appears in mathematical equations which describe the fundamental principles of the Universe. And what is the most famous, popular and awesome equation about the Universe? The theory of relativity. And who invented the theory of relativity? 

That's right. Albert Einstein. See how it all ties together in a pretty package with a beautiful bow?

Some might think it is coincidence that this genius was born on March 14th and that he later went on to utilize Pi in his most ground breaking works. But, I don't think so. I think it was a sign he was on the right path. Every day, there are little notes and clues around us, letting us know if we are on the right journey. And, as hippy dippy as it sounds, this to me was a sign. Einstein was only fulfilling his destiny. Or something like that.

Now, as it goes, not a lot of people know much about Einstein, other than the fact that he was brilliant. They don't know that he loved to sail, a sea-faring creature after my own heart, he played the violin, or that he never wore socks. But, I think, one of the most endearing facts about this man is his love for music. One of his statements that completely enamours me is, "I get most joy in life out of music." Well, I've probably spoken those words a hundred times in my lifetime. 

The truth is, he was a simple man, quoted as saying, "A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?" And it is the truthfulness in the words he's spoken that sing to me. Another example of his wisdom is, "Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools." As someone who often struggles to phrase what she thinks, I find his honesty and simplicity mind boggling. It is these little sayings that allow us a glimpse into the person Einstein was, beyond his mathematical prowess, into his heart. The man is well worth our thoughts today. Or, everyday, really. 

On that note, I will leave you with my favourite quote by the father of modern physics: 

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. 

Ah, a romantic. Who doesn't love that? 

Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

There I Am

Posting on someone else's blog.

Well, not just someone else. Jane Alexander.

This beautiful woman asked me to do a guest post on her blog. Don't ask me why. I'm not too sure. I can only assume it's because her cheese has slipped off her cracker. Kidding. Of course.

Regardless, I jumped at the chance and you can find it here. 

Please feel free to stop on over and comment, share, retweet, subscribe to her blog.

Now, a bit about Jane.

As of late, I've been mulling existence. Not just my life, but our lives and the Earth and what exactly my path is. It's still confusing at times, but with the help of other people I've allowed myself to fall into line of where I'm supposed to be and relax.

Jane is one of those people who often posts blogs that completely align with what I'm thinking about. Where I'm at. And where I want to be.

I was reading this article about thoughts. How as soon as we think a thought, it's put forth into the world and someone else picks it up. If this is real, I swear Jane often picks up my thoughts and vice versa. That said, she's a woman I admire greatly and I'm honoured to be featured on her blog.

Go check it out. Again, you'll find it here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Most Astounding Fact

I saw this almost two weeks ago, but I can't get it out of my head.

It aligns with so much of what I've been thinking about.

And Neil DeGrasse Tyson always just leaves me speechless.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Words Will Never Hurt Me

Growing up, I became familiar with the phrase "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." It's something my parents told me when I complained about being called names at school or by my siblings. This sort of became my mantra as I worked my way through elementary and then high school. Yes, I got called a lot of names. No, they didn't bounce off of me and stick to the other person.

The truth is, words do hurt. More than anyone is letting on.

As a writer, words are my life. And I understand how important they are. Also, I understand the power behind them. The pen is mightier than the sword didn't become a popular saying by chance. It's truth. Anyone who puts as much time into writing and crafting and creating as I do, recognizes how words can affect other people. They can render someone speechless, make them angry, cause them grief, bring a smile to their face and completely devastate them. Words can repel a person. Words can bring someone closer.

In this day and age, with blogs and emails, Facebook and Twitter, we are so careless with our words. We say things off the cuff. Comment without thought. Plaster our opinion wall to wall. Press send with rereading. Everything is open for discussion, comment, and interpretation. We live in this world where we are comfortable saying what's on our minds, what's in our hearts and often we do it without reservation, not taking into consideration how it influences or feels to the people around us. And, when something is said that hurts or causes concern, we rebuff with "it's only the Internet". This is something I agree and disagree with.

Yes, it is only the Internet. But that doesn't mean it isn't real. To some, it isn't. It's a playground where they can stomp about and do as they please, without consequences. To many, it's people they can walk away from without a second thought. For others, it is a world they put a lot of time and energy into. It is a place where they can express themselves. It is people who they care about, who they would be devastated if something bad happened to them.

Up until the last couple of years, I doubted whether you could connect with people over the Internet, whether you could honestly develop friends, or fall in love. In the three years I've been trouncing around, building my virtual world, I have been proven wrong. Words proved me wrong.

It is through words that I have allowed myself to open up to the possibility of friendships, love, companionship. And, as I move through my day-to-day, I watch people interact in a fashion that is both awing and frustrating. It is both beautiful and ugly. There are so many words being posted daily and, when I see the choice of words, how people phrase things, and what they opt to put out into the world, it confuses me. Because I wonder if people know how strong words are. How important they are. How they can change the very fabric of someone's being.

I've heard so many words in the last year. Some of the emails I've received have been simply gorgeous, while others gutting, and the things written to me have left me breathless and, at times, confounded. Words have been said that I don't understand, because I don't know how they apply to me, and things have been written that I can't believe anyone would ever write to me. Disbelief accompanies a lot of words thrown my way. Good and bad. And when I think about the words, what they've done, how they have affected me, I am both happy and sad. Because I am both pleased and hurt.

Unlike some other people, I choose my words carefully these days. I put a lot of thought into what I write. Why I write. If it's a comment on someone's status, an email, a message, or blog, I think about what I'm saying. And what it says to the world. In the past, I haven't. And I know I've hurt people. I know I've given the wrong impression. Most horrifyingly, I know I've given the right impression of the wicked parts of my heart. But as I grow and learn, I am more selective of what I say. Of the words I use. Because I understand how important they are.

They aren't only important to the people we direct them to, but the others who bear witness to what we write. And they are important to ourselves. It is the words we share that paint the picture of who we are in this crazy corner of the internetsnacks. It is how we phrase things. What we say. And who we say them to that is important. The truth is, we are our words. People take them literally. They take them to heart. They carry them with them. And, rather foolishly on my part, I take them as truth, even when they probably shouldn't be. It's true, we cannot control how  people interpret our words, we cannot stop them from taking them the wrong way, but it is our job to deliver them in a way that makes it as clear as possible what we mean.

Our words are an extension of ourselves. If we hurl them at someone out of anger, it can work as a slap across the face. If we slip them into an email unthinkingly, a romantic tagline underneath our signature, it can flutter even the darkest heart. If we make a point to tell someone we love them, it might change the way they go about their day. And if we tell the truth, open ourselves up, we run the risk of the person taking flight. At the end of the day, words do hurt. And not always just the bad ones. The good ones can as well. It is with this thought in mind, that I select my words.

So often I see discussions degrade into name calling. What a travesty this is. It depresses me when someone intentionally uses words to hurt. It's sad when a person cannot use the full spectrum of language and are incapable of articulating what they mean without an eff-word or an insult. Have we not evolved past calling someone ugly? Or stupid? Or tagging a 'moron' onto an end of a statement? It seems so callous. Juvenile. And ever-lasting.

After all, sticks and stones may leave bruises, but words remain forever.

Except, there is one thing that lingers behind longer than any word. Nothing. Sometimes a lack of words can be the most hurtful. A hesitant pause, most baffling. Complete disregard, most damaging. Being quiet can be the ultimate screw you, without even trying. The message sent, so clear. And it can also be powerful. A reminder you are listening. Confirmation you care.

Sure, words speak volumes, but silence trumps everything.

Choose your words carefully. And your silences even more so.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Use The Buddy System

When most of us were little, we learned about the buddy system. This was to protect us from 'stranger danger', or from being left behind on field trips. The truth is, it isn't an ideology only for young kids. Even though we don't give it a lot of thought, we've adopted this unique and effective system into our day-to-day lives. Whether it's dieting, taking a class, walking home at night, or going to the bathroom at the bar, we usually have a 'buddy' accompanying us, offering support, a laugh, verbal banter or, at the very least, tissue when you're stranded in a stall with an empty roll and nothing to wipe with.

The thing is, it's nice to have someone to lean on. Rely on. Work with. And offer up as bait if, and when, you're knee deep in a zombie attack.

Personally, I think it is crucial to have a buddy system in place, especially when it comes to our writing worlds. Yep, this is a blog about writing, not about people who want to lure you into their van with candy and a promise of a better tomorrow.

As awesome as a writing community is, it can be very damaging. Yes, you heard me. The thing we covet so much, people who understand and appreciate the work we put into our stories, can actually be detrimental to our success. Which is why I say: seek out a buddy. Not only because it's nice to know someone always has your back, but because of time, energy and dedication.

Here's what I've been thinking:

1. There is a false sense of community that is found in numbers. Having five hundred followers on twitter doesn't mean you have support. Neither does having three hundred friends on Facebook. Out of all these people, there are only a couple who will offer up the motivation and understanding you need to keep going. Not to mention read your 275000 word sci-fi novel about the planet Glothal. To put it simply, you don't have time to support all of your five hundred followers on Twitter and, this might sting a bit, they don't have the time to support you.

This is where a the buddy system comes in handy. Instead of feeling like you're tweeting your sorrows into the intersnack ether, you will be dedicating your time to one person. And, in theory, that person will be dedicated to you.

2. The social communities, while nice and fun, also are a distraction from the work that needs to be done. More than anything else, I hear writers joking about how much time they spend on social networking sites where they should be writing, editing, querying or tending to their children. Do not let your writing community make you unproductive.

Once again, the buddy-system kiboshes this problem, because, instead of trying to attend to the throngs of people who are posting in your feed, you're dedicating your time to one or two people. Your buddy will be the first person to tell you to get off Facebook and get to work. Trust me. Mine hounds me all the time.

3. We tend to forget this is a business. When we're out there, basking in the attention of our followers/fans/friends, we have this tendency to forget about professionalism. We get a bad review, we tweet it. We get rejected, we snark the agent off on our Facebook. We are verbally obtuse when it comes to our opinions and often overlook the importance of actually thinking before we speak (press enter). The internet is a huge place, but it has eyes. And Google likes to cache things. All of us know, it isn't unheard of for agents, publishers or other authors to run your name through a search engine to find out a little bit more about you. Sure, your writing community might think your outspoken, no-holds-barred, I just don't give a f*ck attitude is cute, other people might not.

The other night I was participating in the WritersRoad chat on Twitter and Heather McCorkle said something I thought was positively genius:

"My motto is, never say anything anywhere that you wouldn't want to see on the evening news." 

A simple thought, really, but one I'd like to see more people, not just writers, take into consideration. When you want to vent, curse, complain and moan, go to your buddy, preferably through email, Skype or MSN. They will be able to offer you a shoulder, a hanky, some chocolate and maybe a little bit of perspective.

Ah, perspective. There it is. Probably the single most important factor to the buddy system.

As a buddy, it is our job to be honest, while still maintaining the caring, supportive and giving nature our partners need. Honesty is something you do not get from writing communities. People are, essentially, a bit coy when it comes to telling the truth, especially if the other person is already down in the dumps. Except, honesty and truthfulness is needed. Some random person on Twitter might shout out, "Screw that agent, it's their loss. They obviously have no taste. Your book is amazing." And while that might give you a fleeting moment of triumph and an "I knew it" feeling, it won't keep you warm at night. What you need is someone to read over the bad review, rejection, editing notes, book, WIP, or short story and tell you the truth, whether or not a fraction of it might be valid.

Don't get me wrong. I love my writing community. It gives me a lot of things, but I have been utilizing the buddy system for some time now and, I have to say, it's been fairly successful. I am not saying stop investing time and energy into the friendships you've cultivated on-line. Nor am I saying stop building your cult, er...following. All I am suggesting is for you to go forth and fund a buddy or two.

If not for any other reason than to keep you safe against 'stranger danger'.

I mean, for crying out loud, if it's good enough for the army, it should be good enough for us writers.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Charlie Sheen

Not to beat a dead horse, but this blog is about Charlie Sheen.

Yes, I already did a vlog on my odd little crush on him last week, but does that mean the man shouldn't have a little bit more love?

Oh, before we continue. Let me take a moment here to encourage you to watch my quirky little videos. Also, try subscribing to my channel on YouTube. I'm building a following. Or so I like to tell myself.

Actually, funny story, on Facebook today, I changed my status to "I'm not building a following, I am perfecting my cult". Of course, this was a joke. For there will be no chicken sacrificing or Kool-Aid drinking. I promise.

Anyways, off subject.

My friend Noelle sent me a link to a new commercial Charlie Sheen is in. When I watched it, I giggled. Mostly because, he's poking fun at himself. I love a man who can take a joke and doesn't mind being the butt end of one. That said, in my vlog, which you should have watched by now, I stated Charlie's best acting role was in Platoon. Why is this funny or note-worthy?

Well, it goes hand-in-hand with the commercial. I'm only posting it here for a laugh. I like to amuse the masses. And by masses, I mean my followers. And by my followers, I mean you.


Friday, March 2, 2012

The Excitement

Few things get me really excited. I mean knee bouncing, heart thumping, biting lip excited. The excitement you felt as a child on Christmas morning or when you went on vacation somewhere amazing. As adults, it seems as though our exiting moments grow up. Our first car, home, or dog. Getting married and having a baby. We tend to overlook the small things that get us excited.

Five of the small things that get me excited are:

Great music.
Zombie movies.
Road trips.
Amusement parks.

Of course, there are other things that get me all riled up, but they aren't appropriate to post in this space. And the five listed above are ones I've carried with me from childhood straight through my teens and into my adulthood.

Except, there is one thing that ranks higher than everything else.

A new idea for a book.

It always hits when I least expect it. And often doesn't give warning. Most of the time it comes at a inconvenient time, when I'm in the middle of another novel or trying to get a short story finished for someone. Still, the excitement is hard to ignore. I can't shut the idea out. It wants to be heard.

My brain starts to turn it over. At the same time, my heart begins to entertain the possibilities. Where is this going to go, how are we going to get there, who will it involve, how long will it take. It's like the beginning of a new relationship. I don't want to appear too zealous, so I play it cool, but my hands are clammy and I can't eat or sleep. All I can think about is what might come of the small idea planted in my brain.

So, I water it, to see if it will grow.

Regardless of what kind of idea it is, romance, young adult, fantasy, or something completely different, it takes me away from everything else. I can't concentrate on the other projects at hand. It's impossible to edit. My mind starts to ask questions. The characters start to make themselves known. They start talking. And, if the idea is right and the characters are loud enough, scenes start popping into my head.

It's this excitement that tells me I am a writer. That my hobby is the right one. I can't sit still. I don't want to think about anything else. While running, working, bathing, eating, and even sleeping, I dwell on the story, picking it apart and putting it back together again.

The truth is, some of these ideas go away. Sometimes I can't develop them enough. Or I lose interest. At times the characters stop talking. Or I realize the story isn't all that original. It's the way the creative process works for me. Out of my control, really.

If I could write every novel/idea/story down I would. But I'd also be buried under a mountain of manuscripts. Most of them not very good. Some of them down right terrible.  

All I can say is, the moment the idea pops into my head, I am knocked off my feet. The surge of excitement that follows is enough to reassure me that this is what I am supposed to be doing. The what-ifs are endless. And I get a pure shot of hope. Nothing can beat that feeling. Not even a piece of cake.

Oh, what I wanted to tell you. I got a new idea for a book this week and have been floating around ever since. I'm waiting to see if the voices come clearer before I make the decision to give it a go. This is the part I love the best. Waiting to see what the story has to tell me. Trying to figure out if I'm going to take the leap or let it go.

And what about all the ideas I have let go of? Well, I like to think that they are projected back into the world and continue their travels until they find the writer who will do them justice. Or maybe I just have an overactive imagination.