Climbing Walls

man climbing wall

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Photo Credit: Ciara Darren

Location: Osaka Castle, Osaka, Japan

Posted in Daring, history, Identity, Life, People | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

If You Give a Person a Special Person, they’re probably going to need…

So, after Valentine’s Day….

I’ve been on the advise-offering end of relationship conversations for years, I think, because I can listen very well, for hours, especially if I’m sipping vodka. That, and I keep a leprechaun in my basement, making me luck. Knyght and I have been together for ten years now. That leprechaun is worthy ever bit of his salt. He works hard!

Anyway, even at the bottom of the fourth drink of the night, most people don’t actually want advise, but rather a listening ear. Keep that in mind. I’ll get back to it. So, mostly, I just listen. Or tell people what they’ve already told me they know they need to do.

Now that that’s out of the way,  let’s read a bedtime story!

If you give a someone a someone else….they might want to keep them.

And, if they want to keep that someone else

…they’re going to need to COMMUNICATE!

There is nothing more important to staying in a relationship and staying happy than communicating. Not just any communication will do. This is not Princess Bride. I’m with the girl in the movie on this one. Saying “As you wish”, doesn’t necessarily tell anyone that you love them. You need to SAY IT! Let’s go gentle on real life and stay with fictional characters to help illustrate.

I had the idea for this post really late at night and sat on the floor next to the bed typing. Knyght was playing video games after a long day. I craned by head back and said, “Knyght, what couple in fiction communicates like us?”

He thought for a second and said, “Sherlock and Watson, from BBC.”

“You’re Sherlock, right?”

“Yep.”

He went back to his video game. Right now, as I finish this post, he’s watching Deadpool with my best friend in the theaters. I may have orchestrated that…shush.

Sherlock often presents Watson issues and enjoys displaying his brainpower to Watson. Watson grounds Sherlock in the realm of common human emotions and reactions that operate outside the realm of logic. They talk…all the time. Even if it’s Sherlock shrieking on his violin and Watson snorting through his nose and bouncing on his toes with his hands in his pockets. The eye contact, the twitch of an eyebrow, the nervous hand twitches. It’s why we love to watch the two of them together in the latest BBC serials and it’s also one of the reasons that long term pairings last in the real world. You don’t need to be equal across the board, but you do need to communicate and negotiate across the inequalities.

If someone is communicating with another someone, they going to need TIME. This isn’t Sleeping Beauty. No one wakes up and falls into long term bliss. Short term, perhaps, but not decades of committed peace and happiness. And the communication has to extend throughout the time. Think of Amy Pond and Rory. They talked and shouted and waved fingers in each others faces, but they were communicating, bit by bit, over the decades. They didn’t actually get together until they were doing that. Remember that scene when Amy tells Rory he’s gay? Also, saying “It’s you, stupid,” will probably not work for most people. Ok, it MIGHT work. It’s all in the delivery and the timing.

Just for because it’s too precious not to share…again. 

And if someone is going to spend time with someone else,  they’ll need a little MUTUAL ADMIRATION.  Not worship! Just respect, is enough. According to science, contempt is one of the best sign of future divorce or breakups. Two couples that come to mind in TV of that last decade that last through the years are Gwen Cooper and Rhys Williams in Torchwood, Delenn and John Sheriden in Babylon 5. Especially Delenn and John went way out of their way to understand each other. What are some of your favorite long term couples?

And if they’re going to go on enjoying mutual admiration and having it last…make sure it’s backed up by some AUTHENTICITY. I mean, even Mr. and Mrs. Smith couldn’t lie to each other all their lives and that was their job, right? Has anyone else watched that movie three or more times? Or is it just me?

There, that’s it. I’m all Valentine’s Day’ed out. Falling in love has to be one of the more painful things you can do in your life, fair warning. It’s a lot of work! Real work. And Communication. 

But so worth it….

DSC_0363_2

So chow down on the chocolate, hamburgers, toss off some wine or soda, because we all have some calories to burn. I mean, if you give a mouse….you get the idea. Anyway, back to that listening ear, here’s mine. Leave notes in the comments. What are your favorite long term couples? What makes them work? What annoys you about relationships in fiction? Or you wish you could see more of?

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Image/Gif and Video Credits: 
youtube video of Amy and Rory: Pteryx Videos
Youtube video of Mouse story: Films by IsItModern?
Mr and Mrs Smith gif: https://media4.giphy.com/media/RKHYOURtu0L3a/200.gif
Photo of couple: owned by author

And mad respect to Laura Numeroff for writing “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” 

Posted in Fiction, Life, People, Relationships, Relationships in Fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Shrines of History, Politics, and Wonder – a.k.a. Museums

Museums throw open the doors to the past, the future, and the facts and opinions we might never otherwise come in contact with. Recently, Knyght and I visit The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. We meant to stay just a few hours and actually were there for over six hours, even though it was our third visit. In honor of the occasion and the cold nature of February in the north, I’ve compiled ten of my favorite museums in the world.

This list will change as I continue traveling but here it is as it stands now. I’ve enjoyed all but three of these places multiple times. Sanxingdui would be on the multiple list, but it’s too far from my regular travels. So, in no particular order, here they are.

The Field Museum of Natural History

The exhibits change frequently and the standard exhibits are amazing.  Sue the T-rex and multiple other actual fossils reside here. You can literally walk until your Fit-bit is happy and your feet want to fall off and still find new things to entrance you. They’ve built the preserved remains of an Egyptian mummy burial chamber into the the museums structure, so you can literally descend inside of it, as you would where it was originally placed.

The Metropolitan Museum

There’s really no words to sum this place up, other than I could keep going back again and again to this place. There is one hall that houses an entire ancient Egyptian temple with reflection pools completing it. The Napoleon wars have left scribblings on the walls, along with the original inscriptions. And halls extend on forevver. If there’s something you’re interested in, from ancient instruments and original pianofortes to impressionists, you can find it here, in abundance. Be prepared to get lost.

The Art Institute in Chicago

This is another large museum of brilliant pieces. Walking through this place is like flipping through an art history textbook at school but much better. The range is entertaining, from historical satirical comics to Rembrandt’s “Old Man with a Gold Chain”, it’s here on display. Knyght and I wish there was more Middle Eastern and Arabian culture artifacts, as what they had was beautiful but limited. There’s a definite European and U.S.A. focus on the collections. That seems par for the course for U.S. museums, however. The African selection was several sizes larger than the Arabian and quite interesting.

The Asian Art Museum in Seattle

This is not the largest museum but it is so earnest and the pieces are fascinating. They have works from all over Eastern and Southeast Asia, as well as India. I’ve gone back several times, even after living in Asia. You can easily spend several hours here and leave quite satisfied. It also grants one a beautiful view of the Puget Sound and the coastline of Seattle.

Yushukan Museum in Toky0 

The Yasukuni Shrine in the same complex as this museum is a lighting rod of international political tension. One does not have to visit the shrine however, to visit the museum. One can easily walk past the religious sector, past a Kabuki stage and approach the modern looking glass doors above.

I consider this museum as part of a set in my particular experience. I’ve visited museums in four different countries covering the first half of the 20th century and each country, namely the U.S., China, South Korea, and Japan. Each tells a different story. I enjoyed the Japanese memory as a compliment to the other three version of the three events. The truth, I’m certain, falls somewhere between the political narratives. The museum is tasteful and less in your face than the military museum in Beijing. Anyone with the ability to even mildly display their own personal viewpoint can definitely enjoy this reserve of artifacts and timelines. Some of the historical period pieces like the samurai warrior regalia is downright amazing and gorgeous.

Sanxingdui Art Museum

This is my favorite museum in China. Unfortunately, I was rushed through it as part of a tour. I’d love to go back but alas, it’s all the way in Chengdu. This museum though, underscores for me, the hypocrisy of the current political narrative coming from Beijing of a cohesive Chinese empire stretching back 5,000 years and though, not directly stated, claiming sovereignty over the entire current land mass of China today. Chinese culture is ancient, but it’s also much more diverse than often given credit in the political narrative. Museums, are inherently statements of identity and politics and this one tries to walk the political line less than others, at least when I visited it.

This museum is based on the artifacts of a fairly recent discovering in Sichuan of a culture radically different from people in China today. The culture is Bronze Age and has been linked to the Shu dynasty – the Shu dynasty ended around 316 B.C.E. – in Chinese historical records in part because of the protruding eye motifs found in many of the figurines at the dig. It is very different, just based on the objects, from any other museum I visited in this country.

National Museum of Korea

Like the museums in Japan and China above, this museum is all about identity and political narrative, starting with it’s name, The National Museum of Korea, instead of the national museum of South Korea. Inside, the placards are in several languages, including English. The political statements are very strong and the pride of Korean heritage as a separate and distinct even in the world history is very apparent but the displays are so educational and creative, that I very much enjoyed my dose of politics with my history. Probably the funniest moment was when I visited the traveling Greek and Roman history display that was passing through and saw a clay pot depicting a nobleman about to enjoy his young slave in a carnal fashion. The English caption for the piece was quite blunt. It read, “Getting it in”. I was both horrified and laughing in my sleeve, because it was a Sunday and I was surrounded by at least a dozen kids and their parents who were visiting after church. Culture clash or class! There was a dash of humor like that in many places, at least in the English translations.

Fort Ross

I haven’t been here in years but this site left a large impression on me and made the world feel much smaller. It’s in Sonoma County, in California, on the coast. Originally, it was a trading post set up by Russians who came down from Russian colonies in Alaska. I didn’t know before I visited this place that the Russians made an early grab attempt on California! Sometimes, Americans seem to feel that we were predestined to spread from sea to sea, but the honest truth of history is we were fortunate and there were many other’s in the running. There was plenty to see and run around inside of, imagining we were over a hundred years in the past. Great for kids or getting out.

The National Air and Space Museum

The first airplane in the world is here. Need I say more? Ok, one more hint: go on January 1st. My brother and I got here when it opened on the first day of the year and the place was empty. We were the only ones in the place for at least thirty minutes and had most displays to ourselves for the day. It’s simply amazing and a monument to human ingenuity, not just American’s but others around the world who have contributed to flight.

National Museum of Natural History

This place is simply huge and amazing. The gem collection is likely as close as I will ever come to enjoying some of those beautiful pieces of stones. The crystals were simply stunning and beautifully set out. And the food is good. Out of all the Smithsonian museums, I think this place was the best for grabbing decent provender and taking a seat when your feet protest too much.

Please tell me what your favorite museums are and trade advice in the comments below! If you want more details on any of this, just ask. I love talking about travel and history and international politics, just keep it clean and respectful.

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Image credits: all photos in this post came from https://en.wikipedia.org.

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Breath of Fire

Words and Pictures - Fleeting Breath

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Dancing With Our Fear

When I was a young, my father played this song on the boombox called “Live Like You Were Dying”. I didn’t get. I didn’t want to live thinking about death. I was already scared enough about hell. I’d listened to enough sermons to know that the afterlife was just waiting for me on the other side of nasty car crash. But like most children, I didn’t really believe in death and I certainly didn’t want to walk around acting like I was about prepare my bed six feet under. As long as it wasn’t quite a reality, I ignored it. Even so, I enjoyed the song. And I went about my merry way, cautiously avoiding nasty car crashes by yelling at my mom when crazy drivers swerved into her lane. See, there’s a reason to call front seat.

When I was thirteen, my family went hiking in the Olympic Mountains on the Mount Ellinor Trail. It’s gorgeous landscape. If you’ve every had the pleasure to visit the area, I heartily encourage you to at least drive through the place, especially up to Hurricane Ridge.

By Gregg M. Erickson (talk · contribs) (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

A bit before the top of the peak, I was left behind. It was understandable. I had been running around cliff edges on mountains up and down the West Coast since I could walk. They had every confidence in my ability to follow a trail. My parents took me to Half Dome before I was out of the backpack and my mom scaled it while pregnant with my sister. (She didn’t know she was pregnant but she did shortly after!) But that day, I was still recovering from a cold that had gone into my lungs. I wasn’t breathing well.

Reality became very confusing. There are large black out periods in my memory. It was high elevation and I wasn’t getting the oxygen that my body or my brain needed. I lost the trail. It happens to the best of us. We do everything we can, but some part of the equation isn’t working. In the moment, we don’t always know why.

I remember violent movement, sliding on rocks and then some part of our wonderful human physiology kicked in because I was suddenly very awake and aware looking down at pure, open space. I had my arms spread wide on either side of me and my fingers buried by the nails in dust and crumbling stone by it wasn’t going to be enough. With my belly down in shale, every time I moved, I slid closer to the edge of nothing. It had been a windy day. Until that moment, I had been cold. No longer. Such things didn’t matter. I was terrified. And I was alone.

We’ve all been there, that moment, when you scream because you truly need help and no one one answers. I could hear the others, but with the wind and the rock, they couldn’t hear me. I decided the end had come. Shale and I had a long, respectful history. Eventually, it was going to drop me over the edge. There was nothing to hang on to. I remember raising my head and seeing a panorama very similar to what is pictured above. It was beautiful. More than beautiful. It was going to be the last thing I saw. The words of Tim McGraw’s song were suddenly wisdom. The moment after the worst happens is not harder. Once it’s done and it can’t be changed, the fear is gone.

Literally, fear vanished.

We spend so much time worrying about what could be happening, what could go wrong. It’s so very, very hard to turn off the voices in our head telling us that this might happen or that might happen. We stare so hard at potentially miserable future versions of our existence that we miss what’s around us. I am so guilty of this. I worry about paying off student loans, of keeping tabs on family members and hoping they’re doing well. I worry about getting sick with cancer and not having health care. I worry about being a good friend and eating preservatives and what my niece is finding to put in her mouth off the floor.

Frankly, the inside of my head, if I’m not careful, would sound something like these cats do.

 

There’s never been time, when all those yowling cat noises in my head turned off because I walked away from what I was scare of. Not even once. The only way to shut them up…is to go over the edge and accept.

I remember falling off the side of the cliff. The physical evidence says I didn’t. My memory begs to differ. I suppose our imagination are that strong. In the memory that didn’t happen, I fell backwards and saw the sky, framed by the mountain peaks and felt the air beating my back as I dropped through it. The colors were clear and strong. Time moved slowly. The world was very quiet.

And very beautiful.

And then I was on the shale again and not scared. The worst had already happened.

I’ve heard that samurai in ancient Japan pondered their own deaths and all the ways they could die so that when they reached the battlefield, they would have already made their peace, experienced the fear and moved past it. I remember getting my rejection letter from the university I really wanted to attend. I knew, before I opened it, what it would say, because it was a slender envelope instead of a large package. And in that moment, it was over. I’d already pondered imagined, felt the fear, and made my peace with the outcome. The need to open the envelope, once I saw it, did not exist.

Someday, the worst is going to happen. Someday, I’m going to fall over a cliff and I’m going to die, be that cliff old age, disease, an earthquake or a traffic accident. Do I want to continue living, a thousands time yes! This is an amazing world, tortured and twisted as some pieces of it are. It’s dangerous, glorious, mundane and wondrous. It has angry cat videos and coffee and musicians like Lindsey Sterling and bands like Within Temptations.

If we worry every moment about the little things or even the big catastrophes, we’re going to miss the point of being alive. So I’m going to jump over that edge, regularly. We need the terror. There’s nothing like surmounting true fear for making us feel like we’re alive. Why else would we ride roller coasters!

The moment I truly accepted falling off the edge of the cliff, I calmed. I already felt like I had gone over the edge. I didn’t scream anymore. My mental state shifted. I’m certain medical professionals could tell you more of what was happening. But in the silence, I saw a stone that I would have sworn had not been there before. It didn’t move when I touched it. I grabbed it and dragged myself up on my stomach and back to solid ground. Was that piece of rock there before. In all likelihood yes, perhaps the shale was covering it. I don’t know. Could I have found it before? No. Why? I was staring straight at the fear of falling so completely that I couldn’t see anything else. I couldn’t see the way out.

I hope you live like you were dying. Those moments when I thought it was over, were absolutely breath taking. There was no time for regret, no putting off appreciation of each little bit of awareness of life. And those hours afterwards, as I walked off the mountain, those hours will go down in my life as some of the happiest. I was in love. The cold wind meant nothing. I handed my jacket to someone else who was complaining. Bickering siblings and less lunch than planned for meant nothing. I was alive! I could still FEEL the cold. I could still BE hungry.

It’s not something that lasts forever. Eventually, what most of us refer to as “real life” gets back in our focus again and the mundane takes over. And most of the time, we don’t have the opportunity to face our eventual demise and get to walk away to remember the lessons. When we do, it’s a gift. One of my brothers recently called up another brother and said “Dude, I’m alive.” He’d bounced off/ducked around a car who ran a red light. It was a celebration. Better than a birthday.

It’s not just the fear of dying that we have to face. It’s a loss of a job, a relationship, a situation we hold as part of our security. Now and again, we have to go over the edge, just to hit the reset button on our perspectives. We have to stand there and face the fear and walk through it. It’s worth it, I swear. It’s terrifying and risky and ultimately, life affirming. Sometimes going over the edge comes with a price, a life changing price, even when it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes you don’t know if it’s the right thing to do, but as you’re falling, you’re alive, really, truly, alive.

I’d rather be alive for one short moment then part of the walking dead for a hundred years. What about you? Have you ever gone over the edge? Is there an edge you need to face?

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What do Assassin’s Creed and Taking a Phone Call Have in Common?

 

Words and Pictures - Give Me Freedom or Give me DeathFreedom is precious. And before you think I’m going to jump on the bandwagon of one U.S. presidential candidate or another, no, that’s not what this is about. Let’s get personal, not political.

It’s a complicated idea, freedom. People bat around the word, mix it with other words: freedom of religion, freedom of choice, financial freedom, and the list goes on. There’s also freedom, day to day, inside our heads. Keeping it appears to require a lifetime of dedication to the practice of awareness and decisive decision making. Life is essentially a battered checker board of choices and power exchanges. Will you take the cubicle job and the additional money instead of the bartending gig on the coast of Australia and the ability to wear sandals everyday? Will you go into debt and get a college education or teach yourself programming on the side and work your way in sideways on a startup? Do you want to be tied to the keyboard practicing Chopin three hours a day for the opportunity and freedom of performing later in the grand concert halls of the world? Will you walk away from Friday night binges and bank your cash for a trip to Ankor Wat? Or do you want to hang out with your best friends in the world and don’t need to see beyond your town, because what you have right here is just perfect?

This is on my bucket list to see.

The trades, these choices between opportunities and freedoms, you know it doesn’t come with a guarantee. You make calculated choices. You hope for the best. If you can, you have a backup plan.

Coming back to the U.S. this year, I felt like I had been given the gift of seeing my own culture and society with fresh eyes. One of the things I saw were freedom pitfalls. I’ll give you my top five, as I see it at the moment.

#1. Bigger and More Outfitted Living Spaces 

A beautiful house is something to admire. I’ve certainly enjoyed watching shows like Property Brothers now and again, or House Hunters. But once you have a house and you’ve filled that house up, you’re not going anywhere quickly, at least not without a huge loss, and you’re tied to that thirty year mortgage, if you’re a typical house owner. Do we need that extra thousand feet of space? Does it fit the long terms values? Do you want to heat that space? Do you want to pay to replace that much carpet every ten years? Or paint it!

#2. College is THE way to go. 

This myth is one I wish I could kick over a very high ledge and watch is fall screaming into a white water river. Not everyone needs to go to college. Not everyone should. In Chicago, you can become a police officer and make over $70k a year without a college degree. You can get a nursing education in two years from a dedicated school and skip two years of fees at a liberal arts college. Plumbing is an honorable and much needed profession. One member of my family is extremely successful utilizing a high school education and hours of self study and industry certifications in IT. There are options other than college. Unfortunately, it does appear that many communities and families are not prepared to support that and grant respect to those who choose not follow the “college road”. I am speaking as someone who has a college degree but support and work closely with many who do not have one and so respect their brains, talents and freedom from student loans. Student debt is a major freedom killer. But I shall stop ranting.

#3. You need THIS. 

Whatever the “this” might be today. The new graphic T-shirt, the new iPhone, the new flatscreen TV. Seriously, do you need it? Is it worth what you’re going to have to give up? Can you buy healthy food that means you’re going to be around in thirty years to enjoy being alive? Is the four hundred dollar purse worth it? Did you decide that or was it something else? Downsizing processions and “needs” is incredible for promoting mental freedom. I’ll personally vouch for it!

#4. Everyone’s watching “It”. 

I’m so guilty of this one, in my own head space. Thankfully I have so much on my goal plate these days that I can’t give in often. But the latest movie, TV show, sit-com, whatever it may be, those are hours and hours of our time. It’s really tempting to watch, just so you can join in conversation with friends and strangers and that’s part of building community, having a shared experience but if your time is slipping away into alternative realities and your own story isn’t getting played out, it may have gone to far. Your friends can switch to talking about True Blood over Walking Dead with you if you haven’t caught up.

#5. Other people’s drama. 

This one requires compassion and diplomacy. You want to be a good friend. And your friend has a problem. There’s no solution but you invite him or her talk it out. Once, twice, three times….. It’s burning up the minutes on your phone and the stress rating on your blood pressure. Then another friend calls, and another and your family has an incident. But you have to be a good friend, daughter, fill in the blank. Believe me, I KNOW this one. I have seven younger siblings and stay connected to a wide range of people I adore. Shop carefully for your drama. Schedule it in. Take breathers. Don’t loose sight of the goal. I remind myself if I let someone burn me out in the short term, when things get truly ugly, I won’t have the reserves to cope and help when they really need it. Sometimes, you have to jump in with both feet and take care of something and burn up the credit card and your heart. There are legitimate reasons for this. I’ve done this, without regret. And I will do it again. But the small stuff builds up. Sometimes, you have to kindly text back, “Are you ok? I’m at work.” And move on unless someone’s in the hospital. Most of the time, people don’t mean to be a bother and it’s on us to tell someone they are being a bother, or that we have a deadline, or that you just got off the phone with your friend who’s going through a divorce and unless you’re going to pour a White Russian, you can’t take anymore. Best friends often ask. “Are you up for listening?” This is a sign of a mature, good friend. And you can put limits on it. “Yes, I have ten minutes. Tell me about it.” And then get off the phone in ten minutes.

So there’s my short list. What’s yours?

Does this bring anything in particular to mind? Does your freedom look like someone else’s freedom? Would you do it again? Is there anything you would go back and tell yourself, five, ten, fifteen, fifty years ago?

Can't take it with us, can we?

Can’t take it with us, can we?

 

Photo Credits: 
Assassin’s Creed Image: http://cdn.supersoluce.com/file/docs/docid_4f71a36e8f152f5d660125e5/elemid_4ee9f9ea0a2fe94d0e000014/assassin-s-creed-iii.jpg
Ankor Wat: http://whc.unesco.org/uploads/thumbs/site_0668_0067-750-0-20151104115852.jpg
Final photo: Owned by author.

 

 

 

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Published – The TERMS Series Episode III: Terms of Denouncement

Terms of Denouncement CoverThe wait is over. Do you want to read about backs against the wall, questions of loyalty, passion, love, identity? Terms of Denouncement, the third episode of the TERMS series is now alive and kicking like a newborn on Amazon. The story however, is not newborn. This one tried to tear out my heart, made my editors cuss and would most definitely have gotten me burned at the stake in certain time periods or in certain places. And it’s the book I’ve been waiting to write every since the first one in the series. My cover artist literally doused things in kerosene and he’s hoping the next cover will be as exciting.

This is the story where Jarvis starts to take off the gloves, Telos proves to everyone what he is really made of and Lazarous steps out into the light and reminds us that he IS a dragon.

For those of you who enjoy my books, have fun, go read! And for those who follow this blog for things other than books, like life, all I can say is, three months, three books published. Goal achieved and coffee abused. Liberally. Cheers!

As promised, the next book out will be Pegasus King, slated for March. Again, cover artist, model and I have to work out details. The fourth book in the TERMS series is scheduled for August of this year.

As for now, I have a a warm blooded, very real, very present man who requires some conversation from me when I’m not talking about other men, creatures, queens, or evil villains. And he deserves it. So I shall take my leave, for tonight and see everyone again tomorrow.

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Pegasus King

There has been a lot messages and email lately, asking about Pegasus King. Honestly, I’ve been surprised and very humbled by all of it. I had no idea that so many people were still interested after all this time in Kaden, Andros, and Hilel. My muse has sat up and taken note.

 

I do not own this glorious picture. Please go check out DeviantRoze on Deviant Art. She does amazing work. Click the image to go to her page.

 

Pegasus King has not been abandoned. There was some extenuating circumstances and I had difficulty writing for a long time, namely for the time period I disappeared behind the Chinese Firewall. Pegasus King, the first part, was written while I was in Japan. The rough draft came out in 33 days while I was barely walking after getting injured. Afterwards, I simply was not able to match the intensity I felt was needed to do justice to the story. I picked up writing Terms because at the time, it was a shorter, smaller story that I could write in my off hours and squirreled away moments in the middle of the night. Obviously, I should stop fooling myself about writing anything short and sweet. Terms has blossomed far beyond my original plans and created its own set of wonderful problems for my muse and me.

Back to Pegasus. This is the plan. Pegasus King is being published professionally, or republished for those who have already it when is was being posted weekly. The tentative date is for late March or early April. My cover artist and I are working out when he can meet with my model for the cover photography. I have been passing chapters to my editor for a professional edit since last year. Meanwhile, starting February, I will be finishing the second book. The working title is Pegasus Reign and it will pick up exactly where Pegasus King stopped. It’s unlikely that I will be able to finish, edit, and publish Pegasus Reign before mid-May, although I’d like to. These books are significantly longer than the episodes in the TERMS series.

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with a song that I’ve been using to inspire me lately. The visuals are from the BBC series Merlin. I love the show Merlin so much. Even when the only way to watch it was in three minutes segments on Youtube, I still managed to get through three seasons. Seasons 4 and up are still on my watch list for when I’ve finished Supernatural. (All TV watching has gone on hold until TERMS Episode II is published.) I’ve had to keep myself away from the fanfiction, because this series is begging for it. The song is “Mercy” by Hurts. I think there’s probably a passage in everything that my muse offers up that could use this song as its theme.

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My Cover Artist Loves Kerosene

Can you tell? So, with a week to go to the end of January, we have this gorgeous cover for Episode 3 – Terms of Denouncement.

I could not be more thrilled. Baring “Acts of Nature” – I’m just superstitious enough with the weather lately to cross my fingers and listen to my Irish side for a moment – Terms of Denouncement will be up for purchase on Amazon on January 30th or 31st, depending on where you fall around the dateline. Unlike Telos and Jarvis, I DON’T have a dragon on my side!

Terms of Denouncement Cover

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Show, Don’t Tell: Advice Not Just for Storytelling

More than a year ago, I wrote a post “Modern Myths: The Active Audience, Imagination, and Why I Love Fanvids”.  There, I explained a bit about why I enjoy watching fan made music videos and the art that goes into crafting them. One of my favorite fanvid editors of all time is Pteryx. I follow her via email updates and recently I saw this video below, pop up in my inbox.

Go ahead, watch. There aren’t any spoilers in it, as far as I could see, and I watched it several times.

This video really summed up my own 2015.

Here’s how Pteryx commented on it herself. “After all we’ve been through this year, whatever comes next I kinda feel ready for it. Okay, let’s be honest. No one expected this mash-up, even me. Fulfillment of this mission seemed to be impossible, but here it is. It was a long tough year for me without you, my friends. 2015 was a year of challenges and our future is predetermined by how we coped with them. So here are 3 themes of 2015: Future, Struggle, Home. We all fight for our future to finally get home.” 

For me, this video, and many of the fantastical shows that provided clips for the piece, are literally, the explanation of our lives. We use myth to understand ourselves. We always have, as humanity, from the Chinese centering their palaces along the cosmic center lines reflecting their ideal of heaven, to the Norse legends of greed, family, and trickery. Sometimes, we have believed our legends and sometimes we haven’t. But we still use them to explain a world that so often, cannot be summed up in mere words.

We could use mere words. I could say, grief is not easily surmounted. How much of a visceral reaction do you feel?

Some? A little? A passing flinch?

But what if I wrote this?

“The fifth year I couldn’t search for you. The world was full of blood and death. I couldn’t hear your voice. It was lost, in the storms, in the burn of ash. Somewhere in hell, my gods all died….I drank to the cry of woman singing for the angels who fall first. I heard the screams of the unforgiven. My fate was clear as blood on snow by the time the voices on the speakers were screaming about passion and greed.

“Did I sing again?” Nigel whispered. 

“In time,” Siddhartha answered. She drank from her glass. “I was in Germany… a man began to chant the Lord’s Prayer against a counterpoint of hypocrisy. Your voice whispered with his until it was all I heard. I heard the faith and the irony, the cries of the world against the faith of the man’s voice, against your voice. I bought the CD, just so I could break it. I threw the dusty pieces in the river but I couldn’t lose your voice in my head.”

– Excerpt from my short story Siddhartha

Now that is grief. And more. Perhaps a mixture of guilt or something else. It is left to the mind of the reader, reflecting back their own experience.  Like when I watch the video above and see my own 2015 in the same captured evocation of Pteryx’s own year.

Show. Don’t tell. That goes for writing. For living. For building a relationships. Even, perhaps, for understanding ourselves.

Here is it, in another art form.

 

 

Posted in Identity, Music, Mythology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments