A List of Words I Can’t Use in my Writing Class

Regular
Standard
Normal
Common
Traditional
Expected
Minority” as defined “I was among the minority” (as a white man in a class of non-white women)
Soul” as defined “it has soul,” i.e. It has character, depth, spirit. I am the wrong skin color to use this word.
Native American (even though we are referring to tribes that identify themselves as such)
Indian (even though we were referring to one of Indiana’s Native cultures that explicitly identifies as such), but can use Native Indian
Generalized as defined “I feel generalized” – because I can’t.
Marginalized as defined “I feel marginalized” – because I can’t.

I feel trapped and oddly policed. lol As if I’m being shoved into a blanket statement narration of who I am and what I’ve been through in my life. Continue reading

Personal Life Update: Graduation, Grad School, and Humor (but not mine)

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Cthulhu Flower needs a hug.

I’m going to try and continue writing in this, consistently, until I finish my studies at UIS.

I have four research projects, 10+ pages each. I have been running crazy for over a month. In many ways, time moves so slow. So very slow: only a month? In many other ways, my life passes me by. Thirty three years old. I won’t go down the list my mother has engrained in my head since I was a child. The shadow CV, as Bella calls it. The things I should have done. The things I could have done. The things I didn’t do. Couldn’t, under circumstances. I’m in a place of processing, revisiting old experiences, old lessons in my large book of life.
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Snapshot: Day in the Life

Woke in dusty-nosed haze, wondering why some days I wake with energy and grace, others with a pile of sticks for bones and a cord of low burning wood in my chest: heavy and can’t remove without trailer. Browsed Facebook for a moment with Kickstart my guide, found too much Trump, and too much fake, and not enough real. Thought about my (fake) book, book of fiction, literary but real enough.

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Being the Sponge

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Couldn’t find a flashy sponge pic, but this sums up the idea in a nature-centric way.

To those who still read, I apologize for the spontaneous nature of this blog. I’ve spent three years working a job where I couldn’t write the way I’d like. It’s difficult to explain, especially since I battled it the whole time. My closest friends will attest to my struggle, the way I work my words. I’ve been out of work for a month now, and I’m only just beginning to wake up.

I have six or so blogs currently planned, most of which deal with the college courses I’m currently enrolled in: A Lit course on Mythology (Homer’s Odyssey read alongside James Joyce’s Ulysses), and an Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries business course, which has provided so much insight and information even I have just begun to realize the impact of this class. I’m the only lib arts guy there; the rest are financing, accounting, business. I am uniquely unqualified to be in that class, yet I’m looked at as a de facto leader of the class (for several reasons, which I will go into later).

But more than those things, I’m realizing why my previous job kept me from being able to write. I scratched the surface while working, especially since I took stress leave two years ago, and found myself in my work during that time. But given how much has changed since I seriously worked on my novels–the latest file being accessed two years ago–I’m looking at this journey with an analytical mind. Perhaps not scientific. I’m not so great at the hypothesis-to-testing ratio. But given it’s research into me, I really have nothing, and no one, else to compare it to.

In the dregs of my job, my closest friend gave me a book to read. In fact, she gave me the first two chapters. The title of the book is How to Write a Lot, and it focused on academics-based writing for professionals with a hectic schedule. It was beautiful. It helped. It provided momentary focus on how to write. Write words. Thoughts. Research and learn and develop ideas.

And it would work well for someone who writes blogs, for instance, about their jobs. Or who have jobs on writing blogs. Or whatever. I’m sure it would work well for most novelists, as well. In time, if I sacrificed enough, and if enough aspects of my life were regulated, safe-feeling, and stable, I could be proficient at writing.

In that circumstance, I could not be the writer I used to be. This is my thesis (liberal arts guys don’t go for hypotheses. We abbreviate that shit down). Until I shrugged the mantle of that job, I could never be that writer. That writer is a writer of words, of creative thoughts, of secondary needs. That writer creates structured, nice, fine things. That writer is a writer of sure. I’ll write that.

That writer writes from the inside, looking out. From a castle with plate metal gates. Stationary. Focused. Dedicated to something else. Where writing is a side project and doing is the focus.

That writer isn’t a sponge.

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It Might be Time for a Reboot

This is a writing blog. I haven’t written (much) in the past few years, so this blog has fallen by the wayside. And I’m about to pick it back up. It only makes sense that I don’t load a new pic for the post, since it’s a writing blog and not a mullet (Business in the front. Party in the back). I want it all to be a party, and bangs would just look emo.

I’ll start by greasing my rusty writing hinges; Hello, World! I’m ready to shaaare myself again!

The primary focus for this blog is professional updates on how I understand writing to be, in all its forms: literary and artistic reviews, updates on my work, and helpful hints along the way. I grew away from this professional blog due to (excuses) and now that I’m able to focus more on the often complex and changing needs of novel writing, I can also step back into this place.

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Warm Shadow

I love my family. I love my extended family. We’re a big mis-mash of various layers of screwed up, as I’m sure most families are, under the surface. I love my cousin.

Two days ago he posted a note on Facebook, laying out his life choices, his decisions up to this point in his life, toasted to the great things he’d done, and at 22, took his life on the 20th of January.

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My Brand of Fantasy Magic

…isn’t really fantasy at all. Magical realism, perhaps?

I recently re-watched Constantine (starring The Man of One Face: Keanu Reeves), where the protagonist spends his life fighting to keep the balance between heaven and hell via magical relics, know-how, and insight into traveling to hell and back. He’s dark, brooding, quippy, and so self-destructive he’s dying of lung cancer. It’s a delve into what I consider magical realism: people, many people, believe wholeheartedly that the ability exists (even if it’s only for one person) to… insert random miracle here. Be it travel through hell, talk to the dead, turn water to wine, transform into a totem-animal, talk to rocks, converse with ancestors long dead, see auras, dowse, possess another person/animal.

A lot of people don’t. And that’s cool. A lot of people pursue religion as a form of self-government, so instead of spending the time to understand themselves, they look to religion: “This is bad (according to the Book), so I won’t do it.” It also kills multiple birds by creating a community of similar-thinking people, which reinforces the feeling of “this is right.” Which is cool. That’s what certain governmental bodies do. And we’re governed by many circles, be it personal, family, friends, religion, spiritual (separate from religion), communal, work, local, federal, world. And that’s just what I pulled off the top. This is a digression and I’ll stop it now. I’m trying to show how this also holds its own forms of power: any single one of these bubbles could specify “this is bad” and a person follow it simply because, well, someone says to. Even the “personal” circle. Which in itself is a form of mind control.

I had a simple purpose when I began writing twelve years ago: have fun, connect with people, share my thoughts. It’s still the same purpose, albeit a little evolved. My thoughts developed into something a little stronger: magic is real. Some magic is real. Not all. Magic Missiles and two hundred foot orc giants with enchanted tree trunks for armor isn’t. Science keeps trying to say it has all the answers worth knowing (while people touting Science as the new religion also try to say, like a marijuana enthusiast, Science has ALL the answers), but it doesn’t. Neil deGrasse Tyson recently said, “That’s what’s so great about science. You don’t have to believe in it for it to be true. It exists without your permission.”

Mostly.

I know enough about Science to know the importance of “observable” and “human fallacy.” I’ve been reading about human beings having more than five senses. More like nine. Pressure, balance to name two. It really doesn’t matter how often Science revises what truths it accepts as fact. What matters is it’s always changing in its definition, always updating its databases.

Next, to define science into two subcategories: hard science (physics for one) and soft science (psychology for two). I know too many well-meaning Science worshippers who put it all together. Soft sciences, the stuff our thoughts are made of, the stuff of our dreaming, of our extra-sensories, of our deeper knowledge, of our abstract pattern recognitions, is very wide open and mostly unexplored, despite the 100 or so years we’ve had to study it. Why? Unobservable. Or, difficult to observe. Assumptions based on calculations and patterns of tests.

Magic is a soft science. In fact, eventually, all that “magic” will fall into some sub-sub category of either a sense or quirk of one or two chromosomes in some errant mutative family line (or, you know, something a person develops through meditation and a proven set of practices). Since our realities are subjected to the extent of our senses, there is nothing–absolutely nothing–to say I can’t dream another person’s dreams, for example. Or travel a place constructed wholly of peoples’ thoughts, over time, like a great big living world placed overtop our own. Or fight constructs of modern religion with sheer self-certainty alone.

We all give off energy. That’s a fact. We exist because of it. Byproducts of processes going in in our bodies. We can’t see it. We assume the effect of said energy release is negligible to our surroundings simply because, since we can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

I find a new awakening going on, in this culture. In this society. A long, long time ago, during the time of the birthing religions (200 BC to, say, 1000 AD), the understanding exploded of a second, third, and perhaps even fourth sublayer above the Real. This is the stuff of the new old religions. It is the backbone. Now that religion is failing so many people of this time of “Scientific Certainty,” they’re turning to Science and Atheism. Which is cool. They do their thing. As long as they aren’t killing in the name of Neil deGrasse Tyson, it’s all gravy.

The New Reformation, I guess, comes. Or a Second Enlightenment. I’m only sorry I don’t get to know it fully.

So the magic I use in my writing comes from a deep place, a sub-tonal to the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the Gitas, and the Books of the Dead, and whatever else. It comes from a constructed place–a governing place similar to those I listed–where the reality is multi-faceted, science is currently too short-sighted to involve itself, and energy talks with the voice of long-dead preachers. The magic I use is energy, plain and pure, built up on the shoulder-plates of imaginative thinkers and socio-pariahs like Einstein and Twain and Jung who, in another century (or life), would be heralded as prophets or even gods.

My brand of fantasy magic comes from the coupling of intelligent thought and passionate realization, of fever dreams and deep stillness. My brand of magic is the extent of the human condition, of spirituality that exists for itself, of ripe power sieved through governing filters. And that’s just in the reality.

In my writing, it collects the results of What Ifs and runs tests until the pattern is undeniable in its repetition.

Sorry. Magic is a lot of things. For me, it must stem from reality. It must stem from science and its branches are religion. Its fruits are you and I, the readers and writers, and it’s more than simply an axe-like tool. It’s a whole undiscovered place, like a continent with slightly different rules. It’s a way of breathing. It’s a way of bleeding. It’s a way of interaction.

It’s so. Fucking. Sexy.