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Showing posts from March, 2014

Finding the Darkness

One thing that I did not expect as I entered into writing was the darkness. At various times in my life the darkness has taken on different forms, but it remains a dark time. A time where I cannot seem to find the path, the end, or even companionship. Out of the three, the companionship is the hardest for me to do without.

Some of the darkness was very much like being in a cave where I couldn't see the end; other times it was more like the photograph above: cold, barren and still. Other times, the darkness lay before me, and I dared not enter into it. Through it all, darkness remained constant.

Writers come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. For an introvert writer, the lonely stretches are welcome respites; for an extrovert writer they can be nigh on destructive. We adjust to it differently because of our natures, but acknowledging the existence is paramount.

Loneliness Some of the darkest times remain with me, and will remain with me throughout my life. While in colleg…

They're Richer Down There

Over the past year, I have been on a journey not so much of self-discovery, but of trying to find the path. I know who I am, what I want to do, and what God has gifted me for in this life, but the where and the how are the larger issues.

As a writer and artist, I know those two elements of my life are constants. To not write, to not create are paramount to a jail sentence. I can go a few days from both, but a longer hiatus begins to wear on me in ways I cannot ascertain.

Location has become the biggest obstacle in my mind - where I am located seems to be less conducive to my particular branch of art, so I started looking for other locations. One such place was New Orleans. I like jazz, good food, and warmth. I speak a little French (yes, I realize that Cajun and Parisian French aren't the same dialect). I could do without the hurricanes and humidity, but I could always return home for summer breaks. Right? So I applied for a few jobs down that way ... and had nothing.

While I w…

Woven Written Bands

I've been working on a few bits and bobs along the way, and sometimes it seems that I hit a snag, but snags are always a good thing to hit. Thomas Edison said after creating a light bulb after many failures that he "did not fail, but learned a hundred ways not to create a light bulb."

Over the past year or so, I've been working on inkle weaving, specifically writing on the bands. I've had some good luck, and I've had some bad luck. All in all, it's been fun.

As you can see above, my first attempt at woven words was for my Black Iris bag. It turned out well, all things considered, but the ends seemed a little off since I didn't stop the pattern from beginning.

Recently, I've returned to weaving words, and the attempt included the writing of Azure Maris.

Some of you might recognize these as the bookmarks given to the first twenty who purchase the first books in my two series. As you can tell, I improved a little bit on my weaving skills, but the …

Author Talk Tonight

Ignoring Happiness

Last Thursday, I focused on writers and story endings. Today, I'm focusing on the church and story endings. Is it an odd topic? Nope, not really.

Over the course of my thirty-odd years of life, I can think of only a handful of times in which I seriously contemplated throwing a book across the room. The first was with the Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper. The ending did not meet my expectations, and I was ticked.

More recently, I read a book called Blood from Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani in which the main character faces some serious struggles. She is poor then becomes rich, and gives it all away to become poor again. At first, the ending annoyed me: I wanted her to have a better life, but as I thought about the story and the character, I realized she did have a better life.
Cotton Candy and Steak Most of us want happy endings for ourselves, our loved ones and in the stories we read. We want to finish a novel and be content with everything being right in the world …

Writers Challenge

Most reading my blog realize that I grew up Baptist, but have recently left the denomination for the local Free Methodist church. At my new church, I'm involved with the drama department, and have written my first play for them (I'll tell you more about the play in later weeks).

The director of the plays made a comment about most Christian plays: they have to have a happy ending. The lost get saved; the sick are healed; the marriages are restored. There is always a good defined ending to these plays because people want those sort of endings. For example, at my former church, I wrote a skit where I purposefully left the ending unresolved. When I showed it to the assistant pastor, he wanted me to write the ending in such a way that people knew what happened.

He completely missed the point of the play, and the very point I wanted to offer: we don't always know what will happen, we just need to follow Christ. It was one of those moments in which I realized just how complacen…

Azure Lights Update

Well, look at what arrived in the mail yesterday:
My copies of Azure Lights arrived, and the pre-orders were sent out. Well, the ones that live a little way away from me were sent out. I have a few more to deliver on Sunday.

It'll take me a few days to get over the whole "Look - it's my book!" part of the experience ... then again, maybe not. It's always cool to have a new book in my hands, and since I remember the hard days, it's a relief to have something else that I can show people.

Yes, to a point, having a copy of my published book is an accomplishment ... and affirmation that what I'm doing matters.

In other news, I found a new use for my inkle loom: bracelets!

This a portion of the band that says Azure Maris. Below is a photograph of the chain:

I think it turned out quite well for my first attempt at this. I ended up using ribbon fasteners for the ends of the band. On my wrist, the band goes around easily, but I added the chain in case someone nee…

Why the Struggle Matters

Over the past couple weeks, I've focused on what still needs to be done in the Church concerning women. The older I grow, and the more I talk with people, I realize that many of the struggles I faced growing up, and continued to face until recently, have been unusual. Many orthodox churches have accepted the position of women in churches. Unfortunately, these churches are not in the many-headed Baptist denomination, which is by far the most populist denomination in America currently.
Conservative Baptists According to the Christian Post (article here), the Southern Baptist Convention is the largest denomination in the US currently. I found another post claims the Catholic church is actually larger than the Southern Baptist, but the list on the Christian Post limits it to the Protestant churches.

Understand that not all Baptists are Southern Baptists, and many Baptists are not a part of an organization such as the Southern Baptist Convention. Another such group would be the Gener…

Azure Maris and Shamrocks of Stone Offer

This weekend (beginning today, Friday, March 7) Azure Maris and Shamrocks of Stone are offered for $30 through the website.

You can have signed copies of the first book to my two series. Shipping is included in the price, but beginning Monday, a $5 shipping charge will be added.

The first twenty who order will also receive a handwoven bookmark, created by yours truly.

Shamrocks of Stone is currently heading to the printing process, so they will be ready to ship by mid-April. Once everything ships, I will announce it through here, Facebook, Twitter and Google +.

To order Azure Maris and Shamrocks of Stone, go to the Buy Now button on the top right hand side (above my photograph and below the header).

Writers Read

I had a great conversation yesterday with a man who works to connect churches with not-for-profits. We were talking about books we read, and I joked that I didn't read.

Of course I read - the first Saturday of every month I review a book; I read several other fiction authors both because I enjoy their novels and because it's a way to learn from well-known writers. I read articles and poetry; editorials and blogs. I like reading plays as well as watching them. Short stories depend on my mood, but a good novella can be a quick hit to the word addiction.

The sad, but honest truth is I'm addicted to words: long words, short words, new words, old words. It doesn't matter if it is in Roman script, Greek, Sanskrit or Japanese - it's the words I like. Now, since I don't actually understand Greek, Sanskrit or Japanese I need them translated, but the look of the word intrigues me as well. The later probably has more to do with my artistic nature, though.

Words point us…

Unmarried with No Children

Conservative Christianity has an idol called marriage and family. When you take a look around the average church, you'll see a lot of programs for children, parents, marriages and teens. You'll have ladies' teas, men's adventures, youth groups and youth retreats.
For the average single church member, there is little support. If you're single with children, you might be able to find a place, but it might depend on if you were widowed, divorced or single.

To put this into perspective, I'll show you my crazy experience about a year ago at a friend's bridal shower. The woman who gave the devotional (they're Baptists, there's always a devotional) had mentioned a great concept that I believed, but could never put into words. One of her friends had married a little later in life, but had said that she did not want to marry until she reached the point when she could do more for God with her husband than she could alone. Until then, why bother?

The next d…

Book Review - Wild Women

Just a little announcement before we begin: It's March! I thought March would never come with its warmth ... oh wait, it's still cold, and the forecasters say no warmth until close to mid-March.

Still, it is March, and there is reason to hope.

Today's First of the Month Book Review is a book called Wild Women by Autumn Stephens. I picked the book up at my local library for some research, and found it highly informative and entertaining.

The focus of the book is on women who broke the Victorian mold in one way or another. Well-known women include Calamity Jane, Amelia Bloomer and Susan B Anthony. Others include women who broke laws for a reason like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. Sprinkled throughout are the other stories of women who seduced, lied, cheated, excelled in business or education, or simply lived lives of adventure in an age where women were expected to be content at home.

I never heard of the majority of the women in these pages. Some I knew about, but…