Books, Computers, Publishing, Technology, Uncategorized, Writing

How Dying Changed My Life

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On May 4, 1995 I died seven times. That’s what the surgical notes revealed. I might not know any of that except my health insurance required that I obtain the full transcript and forward it to them – so that they could later tell me what they considered unnecessary and therefore were not going to cover. But that’s another story for another blog.

Shortly after returning home to Connecticut from a trip to Florida to visit my parents, I came down with the symptoms of what I believed to be the flu. After running a high fever for an entire weekend, my wife insisted I see my doctor. Since I had been diagnosed with a heart murmur my primary care physician was a cardiologist. After doing some blood work I was admitted to the hospital for treatment of a both a strep and a staph infection in my blood. It was the beginning of a month long ordeal.

The blood borne infection pretty much destroyed my mitral valve requiring open heart surgery to replace it and repair a fistula – a hole inside my heart between the ventricles. The procedure took seventeen hours to complete and, as previously stated, I died seven times before finally being revived.

As an aside, if you can prevent the need for open heart surgery by exercise and eating properly, do so. It’s no fun waking up in a recovery room with cotton mouth from being on with the distinct sensation of a four-ton boulder resting on your lungs.

I survived, of course. It sucked spending my 39th birthday in a cardiac care ward but it was preferable to how things  turned out otherwise, had my wife not insisted I go to the doctor.

What changed in my life from before to after the surgery was my general outlook on life. I was a workaholic retail manager, pretty much married to my job. Prior to the illness I believed I was on the fast track to being promoted to general store manager and all the time I spent away form my family was more than justified because of how much I was being compensated in stock options and such. I was going to wealthy, after all. After a month in the hospital and three months of recovery, my status at work changed – though not officially.

I was still a salaried manager. While I was on medical leave I was compensated with regular checks, same as if I was working. Despite having to fight with my health insurance to cover my hospitalization and treatment, all but $7000 of the nearly $130,000 in bills was eventually paid. It could have been a lot worse. But, even after returning to work without any medical restrictions, every time someone from upper management came to visit my store, the first thing they asked me about was my health. Over time, it became clear they were never going to promote me into a higher stress position. And I’m certain they thought they had my best interests at heart.

Still, there were other changes as well, mostly with my relationships with my kids who I had all but ignored for the eight years I had been working as a retail manager. I valued my time at home and spent it with my son and two daughters. However, something else happened while I was sick. I had vivid dreams that lingered well after my recovery.

Although I had been playing at writing for some time – one and off since junior high school, really – I had never taken it all that seriously. I suppose that in the back of my mind I thought about publishing a book one day. I’d finished a manuscript at one point during college and considered submitting it to publishers. I’m glad I didn’t because it really sucked. At the time I thought it was an achievement, though. And maybe it was in a sense. I mean, after that I knew I could write something of considerable length and complexity. Afterwards, while I was military, I served as unit historian and wrote and published an award winning 400+ page unit history. So, I knew I had it in me to publish things. It was just I’d never done anything with my fiction stories.

I submitted a few things of a technical nature to computer technology periodicals. Some things were posted online. I had become a self-taught computer technician and some people sought my advice on things.

Before the illness I had begun digitizing the material I had composed on typewritten pages. I continued doing that while recovering from the surgery. So I had a few hundred pages of stuff formatted so that I could edit and revise with my computer serving as a word processor. But even after I returned to work I set aside at least three or four hours a day for writing and/or revising. In the process those fever generated vivid dreams I had carried around in my head since the illness began to erupt onto the virtual pages of  my computer screen.

Those hours were stolen from my wife, of course. Nightly she would ask me when I was coming to bed. She never understood the obsession that I’d developed and eventually it ended our relationship.

I can’t say whether I’d been a writer had I never fallen ill in the Spring of 1995. I have had the writing bug for most of my life. But I doubt I would have ever finished One Over X, my first novel. You see, I was comfortable with a practical life founded on going to work every day. I made enough money that it was easy to forego pursuing any dreams left over from my youth. I never envisioned how much my life could change, or that I would eventually become a author.

Books, Editing, Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing

Ironing Out the Wrinkles in a Plot

In some ways publishing Fried Windows in May of last year created a few paradoxes for the main character Brent. WARNING: If you haven’t read the book, you might want to before continuing on. I’m about to reveal some things about the plot.

There are some relationships Brent and characters in my other novels, particularly Andy Hunter, Terry Harper, Lee Anders Johnston and Caroline Henderson from One Over X (two of six books published) and The Power of X (as yet unpublished). There is also a loose connection between the mother  in Becoming Thuperman and Terry Harper – as they attended high school together. Brent meets Terry Harper while he attends Purdue University where the latter is pursuing aa doctorate in applied physics and eventually becomes a professor before taking a tenured position at the University of Texas.

Brent and Lee Anders Johnston hale from neighboring towns in rural Ohio. Both were musicians in their teen years. Brent actually played bass for a brief while in a band that Lee led. Lee was best friends with the lead guitar from Brent’s garage band – which is how they met. Ironically, as they were both the sons of farmers, their fathers knew one another, though not very well.

After the disintegration of Brent’s garage band over an issue about performing a Rock Opera Brent wrote for his senior English project – a piece on Beowulf – Brent and Lee perform an acoustic set at the Christmas party of a friend of Brent. It is the last time Brent and Lee perform together for nearly twenty years, though the two of them conspired during their connection to compose a few songs that will end up reuniting them in later years – and reinvigorating Lee’s career as a professional musician.

Lee departs Rock as his vehicle of musical  expression and begins playing Blues with a couple of musicians while he attends Purdue University – where he studies Engineering and meets Terry Harper, his professor of physics. In Lee’s Junior year at Purdue his folks sell their farm in Ohio and retire to Texas. Lee transfers to the University of Texas. The following year, Terry Harper is offered a tenured position at UT, based on his recently published best seller on astral physics the university. And, so Lee and Terry reconnect at UT and the Lee changes his major to physics.

While in Austin and immersed in the vibrant artistic community, Lee joins a country band called Faction. At a bar in Austin he meets Caroline Henderson, the daughter of Joseph Henderson, CEO of HENCO. They share a few dates before establishing a relationship.

When Lee is offered a research job in Colorado, three of the original members of the band follow him there. They form the nucleus of a new Faction that lands a recording contract. Lee and Caroline have a long distance relationship until she completes college.

To pursue his musical career,  Lee quits his job and accompanies the band to Memphis where they record their first album.  Then, against her father’s protests, Caroline joins Lee and goes on tour with Faction, actually performing with the band as a background singer.

So, where is Andy Hunter is all this? Anyone who has read One Over X, knows that both Andy and Lee have a relationship in another version of reality, where both work for Henco. Lee works at a product assembly facility while Andy is a coder for the instructions loaded into the devices the company makes. The company’s CEO is Caroline Henderson who took up the reins when her father, Joseph Henderson passed away – never knowing she is to the Andy who was born of an unwed mother who used to work for the Hendersons.

In the other world, the one where Caroline and Andy grew up as siblings, Andy studies applied physics at UT Austin and becomes enamored with Dr. Harper to the point that he begins writing a boot about him. In the process he attempts to create a device based on Harper’s hypotheses that can cancel out the effects of the electromagnetic fields of the Earth – theoretically opening portals to every other dimension.

The powers that be – as in the Universal Powers That Be – are not amused with Andy’s devise of how it throws a significant distortion into the over all matrix of fabricated reality – the shell they created as the distracting illusion of life. With it Andy can, pretty much, go wherever he wants – as long at he knows his destination. Therein lies the rub.  Andy knows that the device can do but doesn’t understand it’s potential. And in the process of exploring it he becomes genetically altered to be more like an extraterrestrial ancestor of humanity than a man.

Brent is a transplanted straddler, born into the world to correct the problems Andy will eventually cause. He gets sidetracked with his own issues and adventures but, moreover, he is intended to defeat Andy’s modification to the design. Brent is naturally drawn toward the people he needs to connect with in order to fix things. Yet he is uncooperative in dealing directly with any of his new found friends.  As a result, Andy changes many things both for Earth and Anter’x, a directly connect world – via wormholes – on the other side of the galaxy. There the wolfcats thrive – for a while anyway, along with a primordial ancestor of humanity called the Hovdin and a race called Sabatin that enslaved the Hovdin for a time.

In The Attributes, a two book set that I wrote a while back, all the timelines and plot lines are resolved. Imagine that! Me crop 2

 

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Fried Windows Anniversaries

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There are a lot of three year anniversaries going on for me. One that recently past was February 22, the day I left retail management. The next is the day I quit drinking alcohol, which is March 13, next Friday. The following day was when I wrote a poem about being a kid and going to a carnival. I posted that to FanStory on the same day. The following day I began writing the first draft of a short story that would evolve into the first two chapters of Fried Windows.

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Three years ago was a period of transition and adjustment in many ways. It was a necessary break with my past and my previous career. One can play at writing and pretend to be an author but there is always a point of no return, isn’t there? There is the defining moment when the hobby that becomes an habit transcends everything else you do. Then it is your profession and all else takes a back seat to it. At least that is how it happened for me.

Certainly an writer can write without becoming an author. It was a formative stage that I went through. I suppose it could have been much shorter had I ever admitted to myself that writing was pretty much the only thing I have ever wanted to do with my life. Everything else I did was an interruption or a means of self denial. It is far easier to be something else than to admit to being a writer. Still writers will always write, finding some way to exorcise the demons.

When I don’t write it is a refusal to submit to the urge. I tend to have bizarre dreams. Some might call them nightmares, but, believe me, when I used to have nightmares they were much worse. I have not had a true nightmare – one of those wake up with terror in cold sweat experiences – in over thirty-three years. The last was in the afternoon of the twenty-fifth birthday.

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I’m not sure why I haven’t had nightmares since, except that I know how to wake up within a dream. It was something that, like Brent Woods in Fried Windows, I learned from my inner self. I wake up within a nightmare before it gets too bad, I guess. The foolishness ends, at any rate, and I move on to discovering other sleep-induced delusions. What I have learned, though, is that if I write a lot or at least regularly the strangeness of my dreams emerges into the stories and I do not suffer the experiences in my sleep. There’s a balance to be struck, of course.

Lately I’ve been working so much and writing so little that I have returned to having strange and vivid dreams. I’m sure some of those will find their ways into my writing. You see, I have recurring dreams. Some of related to other dreams and over time they connect into one another. It’s almost like my sleeping mind is piecing together a story and telling it to me before i actually sit down and write it. Granted, some of the stories are silly and after considering them I don’t bother with writing them, but certain elements of the dreams may wind up woven into this or that story. Other times the dreams are informative or illustrative of the complexities of what I perceive around me in my waking times. The other night I had one about the current corruption in national politics and how major corporations control our elected officials. No news there, really, just an understanding of how it works in a way I’d never considered quick so clearly as in my dream.

In dreams each of us is the star performer. I think that is why in some ways writing in first person is more cathartic for me. However, I used to write in third person omniscient all the time and that still tends to me my comfort style. In fact Fried Windows was an experiment for me, writing a series of first person short stories. The novel emerged from that process. Later on I wrote Becoming Thuperman, which is also told in first person. I have several other projects with he same style and authors voice, though none of them are finished at this time.

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When I posted to FanStory the drafts of the individual chapters of Fried Windows they were presented as installments over a thirty day period. As I have said before I fleshed out the nucleus of the story idea in a month. It was another year, in April 2013, before I compiled all the pieces into a novel format and another month, toward the end of May 2013, before I submitted it to my publisher as a manuscript. In June 2013 I signed a contract for publishing the book. And in May 2014 Fried Windows was released.

So, you see there are many anniversaries coming up for Fried Windows. Sometime later this year, the book will complete its exclusive period and be offered on multiple platforms. I’ll also be doing some signings and personal appearances in Orlando and central Florida to promote both Fried Windows and the other books I have coming out this year and next.

#Writing #Publishing #Dreams #FriedWindows #BecomingThuperman

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For the Love of the Dream

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Growing up on a farm in Ohio, two miles from nowhere in a time when TV meant three or sometimes four broadcast channels, depending on the weather, I didn’t know how exceptional my life was. Like other kids I fantasized about growing up and, depending on whim and whatever was current in the news, I wanted to be a police officer, fire fighter, soldier, astronaut, cowboy or superhero. Sometimes, depending on the season, I wanted to be sports star as well.

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Now, in Ohio if you loved football and basketball as much as I did as a kid you were probably a Buckeyes fan. Because I was fairly tall for my age, come winter time, I dreamed of being the dominating center of the basketball team. That was after n entire fall of  pretending to be the star quarterback. But com springtime it was all about baseball and I was determined to be the ace pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds.

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My dad always told me that I could be anything I wanted to be, right?

When I was old enough I played little league baseball, figuring that was the place to start. Trouble was that I was afraid of being bit in the face with the ball. It’s pretty hard catching a ball with eyes close and head turned away.In other words, I wasn’t all that good. I could occasionally hit the ball, though. And so the coach played me from me to time. The trouble with baseball is that besides hitting you have to do something else. Wanting to be a pitcher didn’t quite work out for me because I couldn’t seem to throw straight and even if I got the ball into he general vicinity of home place and the catch could mange to knock it down, when he threw it back to me it was a toss up whether or not I could actually catch it.  Anyway, the coach stuck me in right field which is, as every kid knows, where the worst player on the team usually ends up.

I never really gave up on becoming a pitcher though. I kept practicing, throwing a ball at a tree in the yard. I’d say poor tree, except usually I didn’t hit it so the tree and especially its bark were pretty safe. I got in pretty good shape though from chasing after my errant throws.

Around the time I was ten my family moved to a new house on a farm my father had recently purchased. The house set on a hill an so the back all of the basement was almost completely exposed, giving me a huge target at which to throw a rubber baseball. Even I could hit a whole wall, right? Using some chalk I drew a box on the wall to represent the strike zone. I worked on getting my pitches to hit the wall in that square. After a lot of tries, usually I could do it.

After three years of practicing and having my sister, whose bedroom was directly above my target, complaining about waking her up first thing on a lay summer morning, I was good enough to believe I stood a chance at making my high school;’s team. Anyway, I was determined to try out. Pitchers and catchers reported out a couple of weeks earlier than everyone else, though everyone wanting to be on the team was welcome to come to practice to work on physical conditioning. I was actually pretty good – just not good enough to make the team. But that didn’t diminish my love for the sport. However, it did resign me to the reality that I probably wasn’t going to ever make it into the Majors let alone start for the Reds.

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Kids dream big because that is what they do best. Everyday is a new adventure in a world of infinite possibilities. Most of us don’t achieve our wildest dreams, though. As we mature we realize we aren’t strong, fast or tall enough to be sports heroes. And so we wind up settling for something more grounded, better suited to our particular sets of limitations. Of course, our shortcomings are rooted in self-imge and what we have allowed other to convince us is our truth. I firmly believe that determination to overcome something trumps anything. There are countless examples of those who beat the odds and accomplish great things despite the barriers other have imposed. A lot of our inabilities come from what and whom we permit to control us. Sometimes its better not to know what’s possible until you’ve already learned how to do the impossible.

You see, the majority is satisfied to commiserate, consoling each other about their failures and how the odds are stacked against everyone. Misery loves needs a lot company and fortunately there are a lot of miserable people out there. Still a few succeed despite all he nay sayer in their lives  Some are gifted, perhaps, talented in some way that makes doing this thing or that easier. But for most who succeed the secret stems from their refusal to fail – or deny failure the ability to define the future. They pick themselves up, dust themselves off, learn whatever lesson there is to be learned from their miscues and they move on about becoming successful.

A few of us retain the ability to dream and carry it forward into adult life. Sometimes that creates problems for us, though. You see, dreamers are not highly regarded in places where practicality reigns supreme like the business world. Many of those who never lose the ability to dream become artists, musicians and writers. We live out our fantasies vicariously through the pictures we draw, the figures we sculpt, the lyrics we pen and scores we compose or the characters we create to play out all the “what ifs” left over from our childhoods. We experience the contrived reality of our dreams vicariously through the magic of our creativity.

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And so, in my mind it was possible for a couple of eight year olds, a boy and a girl, who are best friends, to become the star pitchers on their little league team while learning about having superhero powers. Throw in a supposed haunted house, a vicious dog, and strange old man and his scary spinster sister who everyone in town thinks is a witch, season it with a lot of riding around on bicycles, playing int he park and exploring wildly vivid imaginations and you have the essence of what Becoming Thuperman, one of my soon to be released books, is all about.

#BecomingThuperman #Dreams #Sports #GrowingUp #Writing

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Driving in Reverse

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Who would’ve guessed it, the source of wisdom is not always where one expects to find it. There was a lesson to be learned in the courtesy mobility cart at work. You know the ones. They help shoppers with disabilities navigate the floors and aisles of a large store. Well, the one in my store goes faster in reverse than it does going forward. And always before that seemed odd to me. You’d think threes far more danger of running into someone going backwards. But who am I to question the design, right?

Then this morning I read a tweet from someone who expressed a piece of the truth. It said that sometimes you have to go backwards so you can get ahead. I made the connection. Perhaps it’s because I had just awakened from the sort of dream state that engenders self-enlightenment. I don’t know. But I have always believed that dreams send me messages. Whether I want to pay attention or not, listen or ignore, is left to me.

There’s a recurring character in my books. You read a lot about him because he’s my alter ego. He’s that guy I have, at times, always wished I could have been and yet, at other times I’ve been glad I didn’t turn out like him. Writers have characters like that. They allow us to explore possibilities on our journey to expose the truths within us. Well, mine is named Brent.

His last name is Woods, a name chosen for good reason. I was writing about a forest in a fantasy tale that was  tentatively called Dammerwald at that time. It eventually became The Wolfcat Chronicles. Since I was looking for an alter ego kind of name it seemed appropriate because a woods when I was growing up was the wooded area behind my house and I experienced a lot of fantastic adventures there from which some of my writing draws.

Anyway, that’s where Brent’s connection to The Wolfcat Chronicles lies and that’s how everything else began.

In one of the books I’ve written about Brent he says something that startled me. That happens for a writer pretty much anytime a kernel of the truth, seemingly by accident, emerges of it own volition. It’s like you type by sense of smell, instinct or whatever. And what you get is an unintended revelation. Brent said to me, and the other character to whom he happened to be conversing, “If you want to know the truth; here it is. Life is not about me, it’s about you. If you want to be successful, that’s all you need to know.”

When a character in a story tells you, as a writer or a reader, something like that, if you are paying attention you experience a wow moment. That’s when the tickles happen internally and those trigger the hackles, which on people are the tiny hairs on the backs of our necks. Those hairs raise in autonomic response to experiencing a piece of the truth. That’s how you know something is good.

Brent goes on at some length to explain to the other character, Lana, what he means. After making a statement like that usually a character has to explain it just in case the reader glossed over the remark and didn’t fully experience or benefit from the wow effect. But in this case, the wow happened to fit exactly into 140 characters. So it has been Twitter-approved as well. So, it must be the truth, right?

What Brent explained to Lana is the difference between true success and false success. True success is measured in terms well-beyond wealth or power. It comes from appraising the benefit others derive from knowing you and the influence you have upon them. A person who is truly successful can’t exactly measure his or her success because, by it nature, it is something others have to determine.

False success is the anthesis, of course. It is all about me and not about you. It is selfish and self-destructive. For a brief period everything seems to work well. Fame, wealth, power come because of self-focused determination that leads to apparent success. But the acquisition of the trappings of success corrupts the individual who does not possess the correct mental state for handling the benefits. And so, the trappings become a trap, a snare from which the pseudo-successful cannot escape, tethered to the corruption of the world around him or her and which he or she cannot be extricated. The trap destroys the the falsely successful.

That is why people who do not understand the truth crash and burn, their success flames out and proves fleeting. Unless the formerly false successful arrive at the enlightened moment, understanding that what made him or her successful previously were the people around him or her, failure continues.

You see, in the book about Brent and Lana, Brent is a writer. I know it’s a stretch of the imagination for a writer, me, to have an alter ego who is a writer. But it happens Brent and I are and have always been pretty close. So, whatever. Anyway, Lana is hired to edit one of Brent’s books about wolfcats and in the course of reading the story and living in his house, which is haunted mansion, she learns that Brent, who is – as a writer – at least partially nuts by anyone else’s standards, knows a lot of secrets about how the world works. She presses him. She believes in him and his art and wants to make him successful. But Brent explains to her that the real story he has to tell others is about her and not him.

Lana happens to be the alter ego of a character in Brent’s story. She’s his muse, if you will. She is the real world incarnation of a wolfcat. His story, then, was only ever for her benefit. Finding meaning from the strange life she has endured he helps her pull all the pieces together and learn about her destiny.

It all goes back to the truth, or at least the part of it, that seems antithetical at first. Going forward sometimes requires going backwards – or having that sort of outlook on life. One may find the truth from exposing the lies. That’s one of the examples Brent gives in the course telling the story. He shows Lana a path to the truth but allows that discovery to become a personal event, because that is the only way it will last. He cannot tell anyone the truth because each person needs to discover is or her relationship with the world. How it happens comes in many ways but most often it is through the expression of art in its many and various forms.

Brent, as an artistic sort, gravitates toward other artists. From my experience that is how it happens in life. Artists feed one another’s creative souls. Why wouldn’t we enjoy one another’s company? Artists tend to know other artists and understand the art if not the person. We naturally feel comfortable connecting with the creative aspect of the nature surrounding us. When Brent tells Lana the truth about success he hopes to explain why he is not concerned with becoming famous as a by product of producing his art. He says that success is not a goal or a destination but instead a process that is measured in another’s terms.

#success #failure #TheWolfcatChronicles #BrentWoods #truth #enlightenment #dreams #messages

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Dreams Don’t Die Unless You Let Them

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It was an overreaction, I suppose. But first thing in the morning, a time when you might just be as optimistic as you will ever be for the entire day, I read a post on Facebook. All of it was fine, about the light of stars arriving when in fact the star died long ago. That’s the nature of the universe. But then, at the end the premise was made that like the stars I dreams die as well. I beg to differ.

Maybe dreamers die, or at least they appear to die. Their dreams live on. Dreams contain within them the means of achieving of immortality, if that’s what’s desired. You see people die. Like the universe and stars that is part of our nature. There is a brief span for each thing. Whether it is a few minutes, a few millennia or millions of years, nothing lasts except the  elemental matter from which all things are derived. Isn’t it odd that matter comes from the death of some stars? So without a star perishing somewhere in the cosmos billions of years ago all the stuff of which you and I consist would not exist. That’s science.

Me, I believe a lot of strange things but one of the enduring, beliefs is consistent with everything else regardless how strange it might seem to others. People are born to dream. Those who allow dreams to die within them make that choice. It is sad and unnecessary, but it is part of believing the illusions others set before us. We are expected at some point to cave in to the mounting pressures of practicality. We set aside our dreams promising, perhaps, to come back to them when we have the time. All too often time expires. The dream is still there, though, just unreeled. The dreamer dies but the dream never does.

Not everyone is radical in their perspective. I understand that. For thirty or more years I played the games others set before me. Participating int he practical life, enslaved to a clock, allowing others to tell me when to be somewhere and also what I needed to do in order to earn the pittance I’d agreed to work for. That is real life, right? I opted for that in lieu of chasing the dream of being a musician or a writer. And now that I’m on the backside of the adventure that has been my life, I see the error in that kind of thinking. It wasn’t an either/or choice. I should haven never set aside the dream. Look at all the time I wasted being practical when instead I could have pursued the dream.

Now, I hear you. You have obligations. You settle down, have a family and everything that goes with that. That’s what life is about – well, some of what life is about. But I propose that life is also about the adventure, learning, growing and dreaming. If that is not included in your adventure, then life becomes bankrupt as you die well before getting the chance to return to your dreams.

What prevents you from realizing your dreams is not your obligations to others or the necessity of survival. Sometimes it is as simples deciding to take a chance and just go for it.   Yes, you might fail. But you might succeed and I’ll bet the odds of success are better than the chance at winning the lottery – and it costs nothing except for making the choice and sticking to it until you reach your dream’s destination.

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There is a sacred event that happens when an artist has produced a tangible artifact for posterity – in the case of a writer, something printed on pages. Holding an actual book in one’s hands, seeing one’s name on it, reading one’s own words in print that others, strangers even, will read is both sobering and humbling. It is the culmination of a process that at inception is a crazy idea that turns into a dream. And a few months or years later you can hold the evidence of the dream in your hands.

No, thats not why writers write. But it is a worthwhile experience that only writers can have the moment the writer feels like he or she is an author.

I never stopped writing, by the way. Really it was more that I doubted anyone would want to read my silly stories. Still, I continued to write them because, well… as every writer will tell you, you don’t have much of a choice. If you are a writer you will write. The reason I was in my mid 40’s before publishing my first book was a matter of deciding not to listen to everyone else. I knew how hard it is to become published. I went through the rejection. But at some point I figured out that when a publisher says ‘no’ really it means ‘not yet’. Either my timing was bad or the manuscript wasn’t ready Either way it wasn’t that the dream of publishing a book was wrong. It just wasn’t the right time.

Fried Windows is about dreams and never giving up on them. It is not my first publication and I’m determined that it won;t be my last. It is different than what came before it. What comes next will continue to be unique. It is a beginning point set int he middle of the main character’s life and there are many more stories about him and in which he participates as a supporting character.

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#writing #dreams #ambitions #author #writers #publishing #FriedWindows

Buy Fried Windows here: http://tinyurl.com/o4hd2kq

 

 

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Wrestling With the Inspiration to Write

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Sometimes, I dream and when I wake I remember. Immediately upon waking I used to jot those down those things I dreamed lest I forget them until I realized the ones worth keeping and turning into stories tend to be the ones I remembered despite whatever the reality of the waking world throws at me. The best dreams, the ones that make the best stories of all, are those I dream many times, and sometimes while I’m still awake.

The problem with dreams and dreamers is that neither are accepted as part of the adult world, yet it is the dreams of dreamers that bring change to the mundane world around us. As I see it, there are a couple of wrong assumptions out there that are the source of the confusion. They are truisms that aren’t really true, at least not as they are traditionally applied. Both have their origins well before their or even the prior century. One is British and the other is American.

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The British one comes from Kipling’s famous poem, about dreaming and not making dreams your master. Not being controlled by one’s dreams will make you grown-up. There is a lot of truth in this one that conceals the lie – which is always the flaw in accepted truths. It is not about dreaming or even choosing which dreams you will follow. What is intended to be taken front he poem is that we choose to be adult and in doing so we set aside our childlike innocence and belief in dreams. Although this is absolutely true if one wants to behave as a responsible adult, it also conveys why responsibility hinders one’s creativity, distancing us from our dreams and inspiration. Pursuing practicality, very often, is the reason we do not realize our creative potential. We listen to others and their conventional wisdom in lieu of what we know, deep inside of us, that is our true destination.

The second conventional wisdom is a saying taught to us in school: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. The saying originated in the 18th century, in colonial America and maybe other places as well. It is attributed to a school teacher in the early 19th Century who wrote it into a lesson plan that was widely used. His intentions were good, challenging students to no give up in the process of learning. It’s  the fundamental concept is flawed. You see, telling someone to try establishing trial as good enough for a goal and that even in the face of failure, trying remains good enough. That is why people give the excuse, “But I tried” for each instance of failure.  It’s crazy to try and continue to try because doing something the wrong way will never lead to success. The seemingly harmless saying to engage students to never give up sews the very seeds of accepting effort as good enough in lieu of success.

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A classic demonstration of this fallacy of trying is challenging someone to try to do something simple. They will, invariably, fail to try by actually doing. You see, as adults  we skip over the word specific instruction to merely ‘try’ in that challenge because we hear the  stated goal. Fro example, drop your keys on the floor and then challenge someone to try picking them up for you. When they hand your keys back to you, they have failed to try by succeeding in doing. Success comes when you fail to try anymore and simply decide to do things.

Believing these misleading truisms defeats the process of acquiring natural inspiration. The artist inside every child dies a little bit each time he or she deviates away from their dreams. Whenever challenged to adopt something of the adult world, distance is created between the child and the innocent belief in infinite possibilities. The few who emerge from the process of maturation with the creative connection in tact have been allowed to dream and pursue inspiration in all its various forms. The connection, though strained by the challenges of conforming to what adults call reality, has not be severed. Those who choose to suppress their creative impulses are rarely satisfied with their lives. The substitute other things, acquiring material evidence of success by society’s definitions. But in the background of their routine lives there is a longing to return to childhood, finding a way back to the idyllic simplicity of waking up each morning with he only objective being to enjoy everything about life.

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Writers, like other artistic types, can reconnect with the inner child. They can draw inspiration from those parts of the world that practical, adult-minded people overlook.  Whole most people  do not have the time to appreciate the value of life and living it to be happy, those who can connect to the childlike dreamer inside can be happy in the process of expressing his or her creativity. While everyone else suffers in various degrees of misery, someone who pursues life as the adventure it is intended will find fulfillment.

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