Sunday, 31 August 2014

Fractures & Fish

I'm telling you now, I'm not sure what the fish are for. Warning given.

I hang out on the nanowrimo forums a lot, which, if anyone other than myself is reading this, you probably already know. Occasionally, I see threads on race and sexuality and so forth and it makes me thoughtful. Now I'll admit I've become a little bit of a dinosaur in my attitudes, and I don't really understand a lot of the new branches of sexuality. The reality for me is that after a time, someone is wearing just another shade of red. And that's fine, if that's the shade they like, that's all good.

With race, on the other hand, I often see a slightly different tack. While with sexuality people's attitudes seem to be a bit more along the lines of "consider including this", which they maybe have to take because there are lots of people like me who probably shouldn't write about something they can't quite understand, with race, people seem to me to be a little more forceful.

And I'm not sure I agree with that.

I feel like the instant you start to say to someone that they should be writing something in some way, you're missing the point. The idea isn't to compel or shame people into writing a specific way, it's to simply put more tools on the table, add ingredients to the mix, have more options at the store.

I must admit, I often write white characters in my stories and I'm all right with that. I'm generally pretty bad at describing my characters overall, and their descriptions tend to be more along the lines of "once mentioned, never revisited" when it comes to things like skin colour. It just doesn't come up very often, and I think that's fine, too.

People seem to have slightly forceful attitudes to writing race, and really, I just don't see it. Writing race shouldn't be a war, it's nothing like the real battles people face out there in the world. That's a different field altogether and I don't think the two should be confused. I'd rather think it's more about adding colours to the palette of people's dreams.

Race shouldn't be a demand, it should be a gentle interjection with...well, more colours to paint that sky with.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Introversion & Extraversion

It's strange sometimes the things that pop into your head. The parallels that you make. The ideas that manifest while you're minding your own business.

I was doing the latter when I was struck by a thought that was both ridiculous to entertain but also intriguing. Having the opportunity for much solitude recently, I wondered if the diminishing household was perhaps contributing to my lack of success writing.

It was not my thought that if more persons were present I would magically find myself writing, but more along the idea that I generate energy the more full the atmosphere. Growing up in a household teeming with people, I was always used to there being noise and movement around me. Now that same place runs under half complement if not less, and I think that somewhat disturbs me. It's too quiet, too isolating and I don't really enjoy that very much.

It makes me wonder quite thoroughly; is the energy of my writing intrinsically wrapped up in my social circumstances? Am I experiencing a sustained low-tide because of a lack of that critical energy? Do people with more introverted natures find themselves more empowered to write during solitude?

It's a fringe question at best. I know better than most that my writing is down to me, and if I want to make it happen I have to make it happen. But it does intrigue me. It makes me wonder if I might become more prolific if successful, simply because of the social engagements it may bring. It helps me think that maybe, just maybe, this slow paced writing isn't solely down to my issues or not wanting it enough, but rather that I alone am generating the energy to write and thus it's taking much more.

Such a strange calling, writing is. An activity where you have to separate yourself from others in order to get it done, but where you need the interaction, the exposure to situations and people, the change of environment and thought, to do it effectively.

I wish I could get a handle on it.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Correction; Excerpt

That last post was a bit dire, and I just wanted to point out I'm not really that down. Thought I might post one of my favourite scenes from Elemental that probably won't get into the final cut. At least not how it is. For reference, they're almost in the shadow of a burning tower.

Keruni looked at Seric. “What I want to know is how you know so much about this.”
“Because...” Seric hesitated, then the words seem to pour out of him. “I was there when he was killed.”
Keruni's eyebrows shot up. “What were you doing there?” She asked in surprise.
Seric scratched at his cheek with one finger, then blushed. “Trying to steal a fragment of philosopher's stone for someone.”
Keruni reddened slightly, then touched his arm. “I never did thank you.” She frowned. “Actually that's not accurate, you never told me! And then you wrote yourself out of my life.” She punched his arm lightly.
“There was never any point.” Seric said quietly. “I failed. You didn't need to see me to know.”
Keruni shook her head. “You know I wouldn't have blamed you. It was a lonely time, I could have used a friend.”
“You never lacked friends.” Seric said reproachfully. “Besides, you knew where I was.”
“And so we went around and around, like gladiators in the sand. You felt guilty all this time and I never knew why you left.” Keruni's voice was incredulous, then it softened. “Maybe it's time to change that.” She murmured. “Your hair has come undone again, do you have that ring I gave you for it?” She asked gently, running her fingers through his tangled and singed locks.
“Is this really the time, Ker? This isn't exactly the most pleasant of places, at least not any more.” Seric fingered the beaten silver ring anxiously.
“All the better, I feel like it could use some new memories, and the best time to start is when the wounds are fresh.” Keruni gazed into his eyes, her own seeming as clear and stark as the night. “If you don't want me to do this, don't give it to me.” She said simply.
For a moment Keruni thought he wouldn't, as his hand twitched toward his pocket and his eyes lowered. “I'm more broken than you know.” Seric told her hesitantly.
“But not so different, I think.” Keruni's face took on a luminous cast as she smiled.
Slowly Seric's hand came up and he placed the ring against her awaiting palm. “I just wanted you to know, there are things I haven't told you.”
“Tell me when they become important.” Keruni whispered, as she lifted her arms up to his hair and, with infinite tenderness, pulled the dark strands into a ponytail. “Tell me anything you want.” She breathed as her lips met his in a deep kiss that somehow seemed hungry. Seric's mind spun as a lifetime of restrained emotion flowed out of him at once and his arms encircled Keruni as much to hold her close as to hold him up, as he fervently returned the kiss.
It felt as though the kiss lasted forever, but eventually it was over and with a little sigh Keruni let him go. “I could get used to that.” She told him with a mischievous smile.
“I hope I never do.” Seric said shakily.
Keruni clapped him on the chest. “You're not supposed to be charming right now, Sair, you're supposed to be breathless and grateful.”
“Oh I am.” He murmured, a glint coming into his eyes. “But you're not nearly as breathless as I want you.” Seric tightened his arms around her possessively as he leant in to kiss her passionately. This time, the world didn't spin, it exploded.
“You're good at this.” Keruni told him with a smile as they caught their breath. “You must have had lots of practice.”
Seric shook his head. “Not really, for some reason I was never that interested.” He looked away embarrassedly then mumbled something.
“I didn't quite hear that.” Keruni said, tilting her head.
“I said, I never wanted to kiss anyone else.” Seric huffed, going red-faced.
“I did!” Keruni laughed as she ran a finger up his chest, then she sighed. “But not any more.”

Reflections in a Murky Pool

Today's been harder than it has a right to be. I haven't done anything constructive and the evening in particular has been a pretty low tide. I know I should have just gone to bed, but I don't feel like it.

It's probably not a great idea but I think about her a lot. Trying to figure out if I'll ever find someone as good, and whether I really love her. I thought so, but when she needed me to I couldn't step up, which would seem to indicate otherwise. I think maybe I really do need to fix myself before I get involved with anyone else, and while I was trying to do that...

I guess it didn't go so well.

Now I don't have very much at all. I said goodbye to the person who filled these last few years with happiness and I still have little to nothing achieved with my life. No job, no book, no friends nearby.

Sometimes I get the feeling that I'm living outside of life. And I feel like maybe if a miracle occurs maybe one day I'll have everything I want. Maybe I'll be in a position to help my friends, pay off my debts, and really...I don't know. Live again, maybe. Have fun and do things with actual people.

I'm getting on now. I really can't ignore that I'm no longer in my twenties, and with these recent events I'm starting to run out of steam. It's not that I have things to complain about, it's just that...enough is enough. I want to get busy livin'.

In a way it's a shame that power's in my hands, since it seems like all I know how to do is squander it.


Well, there is some good news. I did manage to get the opening scene/prologue for Elemental sorted, in my head at least. Some of that's down on paper, but I'm just glad I finally got inspired by that part of the story. The most important part now is to try to maintain the actual 'feel' of the scene, because when I thought it, I felt the layout of that land too, and the feeling opened up a whole new avenue of thought.

Is that a strange way to describe it? What I mean is it gave me the feeling of a different book within what I had written, which is more or less what I was looking for. I might need to re-read a few David Gemmell books to recapture the mindset though.

Friday, 22 August 2014

How I Saw The Fall

I do not understand the universe.

This makes me glad because I have a tendency to think I have it all figured out. And while, hey, I might know a few things, that idea that I've got a handle on it all somewhat disgusts me. Especially for someone in my position. I haven't walked the length and breadth of this world, so why would I have all the answers? Surely there are so many more ideas and viewpoints and startling discoveries out there, simply in the way we think, that I can't afford to close those doors just yet. Even if I am older, I can't afford myself that luxury if I want to keep growing.

I'll have to get a thicker, more stubborn, doorstop.

What I really wanted to talk about though was writing. Or creating. Or simply trying to speak out in the world.

One of the things that proves to be a major stumbling block for most of us (myself included), is that we miss the middle. We're inspired and encouraged by people that we deem great and admirable, and we start something hoping that one day, we too, can be just like those people.

We're often told that it's the journey that matters, not the destination, but a subtle truth is that it's easiest to reflect on the journey once you're at your destination. After all, you can see where you've been.

And really, we want to become our own version of great as soon as possible. Oh we might not want praise or fame or money, or we might simply tell ourselves that, but the truth is we know that all those things bring with them what we want. An audience.

The thing is, most people get dissuaded from their pursuit somewhere between starting off and getting there. We don't bother starting if we can't get to that critical mass, and you never really look at something that you've done and think it was useless. Even if the work was worthless in the end, the building of the work was useful. Even if you hate it, the fact that you created did something that you somehow know was good. There was a subtle shifting inside. You contributed. You achieved.

The real problem is with the middle.

The middle is this vast, sparse wasteland where we struggle to travel between our voices reaching no one, and reaching everyone. People give up in droves at this point. They give up because they haven't found their message, or they haven't found their medium, or they don't believe in themselves, or they don't think it's worth the time, or they don't think the message is important, or they don't think anyone will listen, or for numerous other reasons.

They give up because of the isolation.

They give up because it's hard.

Writing, creating, or simply talking isn't hard. I am a firm believer in this. People say that they are, but I'm not afraid to say I disagree. When I write I channel energy and life through my mind and body and soul, and my hands print that down as words. Words that, if I'm doing it well, will be understood without complication by the reader.

No, what I think is really difficult is the middle. And this, coincidentally, is why I know I don't understand the universe and why I'm happy not to, at least not yet.

Because the middle has meaning. The middle is powerful. The middle is more important than the beginning or the end.

It's such a strange idea when we live in a world that is measured by accomplishments. We know that when we achieve people tick off a box in their heads and listen a little more attentively. Or heck, just listen.

And then we get to speak.

Because when we started, we would speak and no one would really take our words to heart. Or maybe it would reach a few but not many, and that doesn't really change the world. When someone half the globe away picks up your creation and praises it, or even picks it apart, the important thing you know is that it's reaching people. The underlying message you wanted to send, or thing you wanted to say, somehow imbedded in your work.

Because that's how you were inspired to begin with.

They say you don't get something for nothing, and that anything worth doing takes effort. But therein lies something I want to put a spotlight on:

The middle is damn hard.

So what are its secrets?

I don't know the answer. I do know with some things, simply standing is the most important thing. But I don't know if the middle is any different. I've been in the middle of that wasteland many times, in many facets of my life, and I've laid down and died. I could even feel it happening. I could feel myself shrinking, becoming less, giving up and falling apart. I could tell myself everything in the world and it wouldn't matter, because secretly I would know. In my heart of hearts I had another chance and I gave up.

There's been too much of that in my life, from my most recent love life to my distant past and all the hurdles I failed to leap through academically. From my self and all I know I've shut away and kept hidden, the box tightening and growing smaller as time goes by.

I've been stuck in the middle so often I pass my own sign posts. So often that now it occurs to me to really have a look around. To try to understand not why the journey is important, but why the middle is the most worthwhile. To understand the rewards I should notice as I take each step, climb up brick by brick, dodging pitfalls and dodgy hand holds as I go.

Perhaps it is merely that - when you climb, you look towards the sky, and you can see the ground far below. It is at that point you are actually the most inspired and alive because you know where you are going and where you've been. Once you get to your destination you only know where you've been, when you start you only know where you're going.

When you're in the middle you have everything to gain and everything to lose.

I really think there's a secret hidden within that, a metaphor for life staring me in the face. What makes it the most important thing, hard enough to take the most time and test the hardiest of souls? The point where a few people listen but not enough, never enough. Where you are inspiring, but only to a few. Where you are entertaining or enlightening, but only to a few.

Where you matter, but only to a few.

It's 4:50am and I still can't get it.

I have so much to learn. So much more to grow. Perhaps one day I can really appreciate the struggle over the goal, but until that day I'll keep one thing in my heart.

I will climb.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Breach'd; The Unexplored Tales

She had almost walked by, almost but not quite. There was something about the way he sat on that low stone wall that made her pause, as if he had captured a moment, and held it within his vision.

Abruptly, he held up a finger. It was almost as if he could sense her presence but couldn't risk taking his eyes off the moment for fear of losing it.

She sat down on the wall, next to this strange person that had managed to stop time and peered intently along the narrow street where his gaze lingered. Perhaps she too could enter this mysterious world.

He still held up his finger, but slowly it curled back towards the rest and his hand lowered. She could feel his tension, though. A palpable excitement that exuded off of him and raised the hairs along her neck in anticipation. It felt like she was standing on the edge of a cliff and slowly, so slowly, the rock was giving way beneath her.

A minute or perhaps ten passed, she really couldn't tell. It was the middle of the day and they sat outside a pub, but nothing moved that she could see, and her hearing had narrowed to a fine pinpoint, almost like a tendril, that strained across the path in front of her.

A leaf wafted across the road in the distance and she watched its path with lazy indulgence. Perhaps there was nothing after all, she thought, blinking away the haze.

Just then, she heard it. A soft, though sharp, intake of breath from beside her, and she turned to see his hands clutching his knees so hard the knuckles had whitened. She lifted her gaze back along the street, her eyes seeming to catch on the crevices and cracks between the paving stones and wanting to settle, not continue.

She was breathless and sweating by the time she had caught up to the end. The exertion of fighting against the force had all but bested her, but she was stubborn and hardheaded and no ephemeral barrier would stand in her way. The leaf flowed across the path again.

And then it stopped.

Her eyes went wide, and unbidden she found her hand being clutched tightly by someone. It was warm and comforting - a lifeline in a turbulent world, a hurricane, a tornado, a tidal wave, and she grasped it just as hard as it held her.

For the world had just been shattered.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Interlude; dim days and dulled thoughts

There are some very, very strange things going through my mind. Half-thoughts and whispers scattering across my consciousness to disrupt and confuse my soul. My mind teases and twists at me, drops of salty tears sending ripples across the fractured surface.

Sometimes I wonder if it would have been better to point out; "I'm doing this because I love you", but then I feel that might have been almost all the time. Still it might have helped her understand just how far away from all that was familiar had I been.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Post Snippet; Forests and other wonders...

Depression is pretty much the score for school, I feel. It's probably one of the more natural things in today's world, simply because of all the pressures, changes, and the fact that people aren't often nice to one another at that age, and you just have to let it go. The world lets it go because it's somehow normal. It's really not.

Being depressed is like being in a desert. It's not a physical challenge so much as a mental one, and that makes it all the more difficult. You get told about actual people being in real deserts and reminded about how many good things you have in the world. After all, what do people have to be depressed about when they have a home, family, heat, computers...

I mean, nothing really, except for the idea that you may have no worth in the world and that your life doesn't matter.

That the world doesn't need you.

Which actually is a remarkable idea in and of itself. If you take a look around, so many people act as if everything is fine and yet if you look at the world...what's fine about it? The world actually needs you more than ever. It needs people who care, so much so that society will try to crush that out of you while you're still young. It needs people who want to make a difference so much because there are so many people out there who won't invest in hope, simply because they can't bear to see another dream die.

If you look around, there are more people who would rather argue against a good idea, rather than back it. Because inside their heart of hearts, they live inside the real desolation that yes, the world will never change, and yes, they are okay with that. Nothing will ever get better and that's okay.

That's why, in the desert of depression, you can actually feel happy. The sun is beating down on you like a hammer, and yet, it's still shining. Where there's sun, there's hope - because there's you. And you already know what you can do to change things. You know where to find water, and there are already some seeds in your pocket. It might take a while, it might take your whole life and then some, but if by the time you leave you're knee deep in trees, well, that's really something.

Depression is sometimes a chemical imbalance. Sometimes it's environmental factors and psychological issues ganging up on you. Sometimes it's just stress. But I feel that at least once in a life,
depression is realising you're standing in a desert and realising somewhere inside yourself that you can either accept it, or you can accept what will be the most difficult thing you've ever done and start planting.

Because you'd rather live in a forest.