Friday, December 30, 2011

Freelancing: Fiction and Reality

I was experiencing a dream in fiction, then I discovered the ultimate reality of my dream. Let me explain. These past two weeks I dedicated myself to the editing and partial rewriting of my novel The Masterless Apprentice. I arrived home from college late at night. I hugged my parents, talked a little bit, and then went to bed. The next morning, a Saturday, my alarm went off at 6:30AM. I got up, showered, dressed, and grabbed a breakfast of bagels and Shredded Wheat. Precisely at 7:00AM, after checking my e-mail, I got to work on my novel.

I started at page thirty because I had done some editing while at college. Two hundred and ninety pages left to go before the 31st of this month. That was my goal and I have beaten my goal by two days! For a while, those first few days, I was living my dream. I was living, working all day, as a writer and making progress at it. I wrote several short stories, a book review, a devotional, and made good progress on the editing during those few days. I worked 7AM to 5PM. My watchwords were dedication and quick meals.

I was in paradise for those days. Then came the holidays and my demise. I transferred from my fictional dream of what freelancing is like to my probable reality. I liken it to being a young, single freelance writer and being a married freelance writer. My probable reality is the married freelancer with kids and parties to help with.  Instead of 7 through 5 solid writing, my days became something more like 7 to 10 writing, do some housekeeping, 11  to 12 write, 1:00PM to 3:00PM write after having lunch with family, 3:00 to 5:00 PM watch children. I did a lot of catch-up work late at night.

My fiction world faded last Wednesday. Ever since then I've been living in what I imagine my probable reality. I am sure I would have failed my goal if I had given up on my watchword, dedication. During the second week of probable reality I stopped writing short stories, only did one book review, and dedicated my every writing hour and spare time to editing my novel. Yesterday, the 29th, I finished the editing process. I then went back through my comments and rewrote parts that needed rewriting. The novel still needs some work, but I feel that it has improved greatly since the beginning of these two weeks.

Honestly, there were times where my motivation sunk to a terrible low. These were painful times when dedication became as a rope covered in ice, by which I hung with one sore hand. I clung on though, I clung on for my life. Sometimes that is all the writer can do when it comes to editing and rewriting. Laying the words out unto the paper (or computer document) is relatively easy in comparison to the final editing and rewriting process in which we polish our work. At least, this is my opinion about such differences in difficulty levels.  If you have a different view, please, let me now.

Sincerely,
Joshua A. Spotts

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Subconscious Experience #2

Christmas is gone. It has passed by once again. I am not too sad, it will come again next year. Christmas seems to be an eternal celebration. At least, it is a very reliable one. The reliability of Christmas reminds me of how I rely on my savior, Jesus Christ. I rely on the fact that Christmas will come again in the same way I rely on the fact that Christ has saved me from my sins. I wish I could spend this entire blog post speculating on Christmas, but I promised to continue my considerations from the last post. I, Joshua A. Spotts, do not break my promises. At least, I sincerely try not to. ;) But I am a fallen human.

Here goes. In my last post I discussed a writer's sense of color and their symbolic meaning. The attributes put forth in this post will be less specific and easily applicable to the dedicated reader. But all writers are readers, aren't we?

Born writers enjoy reading and discussing books with their friends. I know that I saw deeper into the books than any of my friends and have a knack for analyzing a book's positives and negatives. I can also see deeper into the characters and predict what is going to happen much more easily than my friends, with the exception of one, who is a writer himself. This attribute applies to movies as well. My friend Nathan Sturgis, an expert at predicting things and a fellow writer, has cemented this observation in my mind.

Born writers have an active imagination even when grown out of childhood. This is one of the traits that places me particularly at the knife's edge of some people's patience. I tend to drift off in my thoughts if the current things happening around me aren't strong enough to keep my mind anchored down. Sometimes I even give myself away to a character that has been on my mind.


There a vast treasure chests full of peculiarities and traits of born writers. I cannot even began to examine all of them, so I have placed before you the three most common attributes within this post and the last. Many of the peculiarities of born writers are personal and scattered. Yet there are many more that unite us all. Indeed, I attended a writer's conference once and found it so very easy to talk to the people there. We all had one connection, we were writers. Sure, we wrote in different genres, different styles, but we were all brave warriors. We writers must be brave to occupy this career of ours!






Friday, December 23, 2011

Subconscious Existence #1

Let's not deny it, writing is a gift. There are certain people who are born writers. Then there are those who choose to become writers and, given enough training, practice and perseverance, they can do so. I am not advocating whether or not people who aren't born writers should become writers or not. I am not saying that born writers are better than people who work really hard to become writers. I am simply saying that the ability to write is a gift and certain people have what I like to call "A Writer's Mind." {reference to title, eh? ;)} 

Here I want to concentrate on the subconscious existent of the born writer, untrained as he may be. I will use a story to illustrate one of the attributes of a born writer.

When I was younger I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I did not realize all the vast areas to be a writer in. I was set on being a novelist, but I was not very good. I could describe a scene, but I could not make the readers feel what I wanted them to feel. In truth, looking back, I despise what I was. Yet being that made me what I am today. And I am a much, much better writer today. Well, I'm rabbit trailing again. It is time to slap myself upside the head and get on to the story.

I entered the house and frowned. It seemed bright and cozy enough, but something told me otherwise. The blood red couches and the black carpet and walls made me feel something. I could not place it. A black and grey picture of a child in the rain hung on the wall above the black entertainment cabinet. Above the red couches hung a picture of a stone street. On it stood a man and woman. Rain rushed down from above, splashing off an umbrella as the woman pulled the man towards her. The entire picture was black and white except for her lips, they were bright red.

Moving on into the kitchen I was confronted by bright red appliances and black marble counter tops. I was amazed at the wife's obsession with those colors. But I was even more amazed at the indescribable feeling in my gut while I sat in that red and black house. I knew I used those colors to bring a sense of foreboding into a scene, but foreboding was all I knew they provided. Ultimately my feeling about that house of those colors was right. The relationship broke and died. It caused great pain.

A few years later I was told that red symbolized pain and black symbolized death. I had discovered this beforehand, but the memories of that house flooded back into my mind afresh. Now I'm not saying anyone with a black and red interior for their house is going to get a divorce, but I am saying there was something in her character that made her obsession with those colors pop out at me. As a writer I analyze everything, most of the time subconsciously. It was my subconscious that was warning me of the relationship in that house and its ultimate end. The ability to understand color symbolism and use it effectively, to show and to know, is one of the subconscious traits of a born writer. By subconscious I mean without the writer having to concentrate and bring the thoughts to the foreground of the mind.

I shall continue considering these traits of the born writer next week. For now, may you all have a very merry Christmas!

Sincerely,
Joshua A. Spotts




Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Guestblogging

The internet is a massive community. The more someone interacts with it, the more they get from it. Guest-blogs work in much the same way. In the basic scheme of blogging, guest-bloggers are fellow bloggers that you invite to write a blog post on your blog. It is a mutually benefiting thing. The guest-blogger gets exposure to new people and the host-blogger, not only is he freed from having to write a blog post, he often times gets some exposure to the guest-blogger's readers as well. Another benefit for the host-blogger is the fact that the guest post is likely to be very good, seeing as the guest-blogger wants to attract attention.

With all this being said, I want to announce to you, my dear readers, that I have written a guest post! It is a very interesting post. I was able to use an illustration I had always wanted to. So, if you will take a look at it I would be very appreciative. http://jrnova.blogspot.com/2011/12/guest-post-joshua-spotts.html

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Schedule an Edit

6:30 AM. The red numbers on my alarm clock declare. I stare at it for a moment as the perpetual beeping progresses up in volume. I don't see the numbers at that time in the morning. All I see is a red blur. I slip on my glasses and the world becomes solid and shapely once again. I see new numbers, 6:35. My finger seems to switch of the alarm by itself as I sit up in bed.

Stark reality slapped me as I got out of bed and felt the icy floor beneath my bare feet. I curled my toes inward, raising myself on them, to avoid full contact with the sheet of ice that made up my floor. At least, that's what it felt like so early in the morning. I wondered if I was still sleeping, but this feeling was too familiar, as if it had happened several times recently, for it to be one of my dreams. As I put on my slippers I knew this sharp world to be reality because, fortunate me, I received a present from the floor. A sliver.

Well, 'tis the season of giving, I thought as I pulled the sliver out. Heading downstairs my mom caught me, not literally of course. I'm not that clumsy. She asked me to get my little sister up. I knew it wasn't seven yet; I had time. However, getting a little girl up and ready for school takes a lot more time than I had anticipated. By the time I got back here to my desk, it was 7:30 AM. I was a half hour late.

Welcome to my Christmas break! It turns out I get up earlier on break than in school. You see, I dedicated the hours 7AM to 5PM as editing/rewriting/writing time. Most of that time is used editing my novel The Masterless Apprentice.  I plan to have the novel through two edits by the end of this break. I also plan to write two short stories, one under 1200 words and the other above 1500 words, by the 31st. These were my goals coming into this break and they will be my completed goals heading out.

Sometimes I have to take breaks to help my parents with the kids. For example, today I am going to drive my little brother to his Basketball practice and back. But, nevertheless, setting the time frame of 7AM-5PM for my writing day (often I'm working later too) has helped my make great headway toward my goals. I force myself to bed at 11 each night so I can be, at least, moderately rested for the next day. Tomorrow morning I'll wake up at 6:30 again, but hopefully this morning's process will not repeat itself. Maybe it would be a good idea just to sleep here at my desk.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The god Writer's Block

I'm feeling funny, perhaps someone is tickling me. One moment. Oh, I guess not. So, Writer's Block. Yep, I just capitalized it. Why? Well, to some writers It is a god. It controls them and frustrates them, yet they worship it. They cannot be free of it, but they use it willingly as an excuse. I know how it feels. I have experienced the ice block your brain becomes when there is no inspiration to provide heat. So, in fear of that cold pain, you turned to the god Writer's Block. I know why you did it. I, too, fell prey to that fiendish demon of our invention. Writer's Block is an excuse of the weak. Be strong, fellow writers, conquer that demon. Keep writing, it is the only way to destroy Writer's Block. But, for your amusement, I have compiled a list of things that people try or that I have just invented. It is for you to judge which are which.

1. Pace, like a lion! There is nothing like walking in circles to get the old ice block melting. Friction does that right? Admittedly, I do this while I am writing, but NOT while I have told myself I am a victim of Writer's Block. It just doesn't work if you keep dwelling on the Block.

2. Stop sitting at the desk and staring at the screen. Get up! Go and watch a movie then come back. Sometimes this has worked for me, but only when I need to mull over an idea. Once again, it will not work if you continue to worship Writer's Block.

3. Stand two thumbtacks upright on your desk and hover your wrists over them while you concentrate on your computer screen. In this way, if you give up, a sharp prod will remind you to keep staring. Just keep concentrating, eventually you will overcome your own mental block...that you put there...that you are maintaining....let me know how that works out.

Well, that was a short list, but I think I got my point across. The only real way to stop worshiping the god Writer's Block is to develop the mental attitude required to just discard the excuse of Writer's Block and just get on with writing. Who cares if the first draft comes out terribly, at least it came out, at least you have progress! Sit in your seat, stop complaining about the Block, and get to writing. You can edit later, comrades, just keep writing!

P.S. Any other methods of dispelling writer's block? Perhaps an argument for a working cure? A method of motivation? Please, let me know your stories. Post in the comments section or e-mail me at author_josh@yahoo.com

Sincerely,
Joshua A. Spotts

Keep on writing!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Final Chicken

For this week's Cleverfiction.com weekly challenge I decided to write something different than I normally would. It was an interesting experience. I formed the entire story from my head, I never experienced anything like it, yet there is a strange connection. I think the connection grows from my being its creator. Ah, well, enough speculations. I'll let you read the story for yourself and decide whether I am any good at this different genre (modern-day, slight romance, bullies, and a bit of funny).

 
The Final Chicken
By Joshua A. Spotts (Final/Stare/Elated)
           
Ben Bean glanced around the corner. They were there. He pressed his back tight up to the wall, so tight that he felt the indents between the linoleum tiles. He inhaled the pungent mix of cologne, sweat, perfume, and shampoo. A football player and a cheerleader, how original, he thought. He almost choked on powerful scent, but he stopped himself from coughing. He heard their footsteps approaching. It was time to run.
          
   
His sneakers squeaked as he bolted from his hiding place. He heard their gruff shouts. They were giving chase. The hallway seemed to shake with their pounding feet. The sneakers squeaked again as Ben made a sharp turn to the right. He dodged into a bathroom. The door swung shut. The picture of a stick figure is a dress smiled at Ben’s pursuers as they barged into the boys’ bathroom.
           
Glad it’s after hours. Ben thought as he unlatched the narrow window close to the ceiling. He grabbed the outside ledge and pulled himself up from the sink where he had stood. He tumbled face first toward the ground. He flipped and landed on his feet like a cat. One hand went deep into the dirt and he brushed it off on his pants. As Ben mounted the bus he saw the bullies rush from the school. “Get back here, you chicken!”
            
The bus pulled away and headed up the street. I may be a chicken, Ben thought, but I’m still alive. He eased his skinny frame into the torn, vinyl bus seat. His heart’s pace slowed. It no longer ran a marathon. It rested, but Ben knew it could not rest for long. Tomorrow they would chase him again and he would escape again; at least, he hoped he would.
           
The next day crept in much as it always did for Ben. His alarm screeched in his ears and his eyes snapped open, welcoming his mind back to consciousness with the picture of his little sister standing above him with a syrup container. “Emily!”
             
She giggled and rushed from his room. Ben felt the cold panels of the wooden floor beneath his feet as he stumbled over to the closet mirror. He saw a reflection of himself, the zombie version that is. He ran a numb hand through his hair. He patted it down and stumbled down the stairs, following the scent of his mother’s waffle iron. He rounded the corner, elated that she was not making her infamous blueberry waffles. Those were the ones she always burned.
            
 The bus came at the exact same time as it did every day. So far, so good, Ben thought as he sat in his seat. But something was different that day. There, in his seat, right beside him, sat a girl. He had to glance at her twice before he fully realized that she was a girl. She did not dress in the same promiscuous way as the other girls. Her hair was pulled into the gentle pony-tail, brown and long. Ben could not help but stare at her.
           
“Excuse me,” Ben choked on his words, coughing into his sleeve.
            
 “Pardon,” she turned towards him, as if noticing him for the first time.
             
“I said, ‘excuse me,’ but I do not remember ever seeing you on this bus before.”
             
“You haven’t.” A twinkle vanished from her eye the instant it appeared. “I am Claire, Claire O’Carie that is.”
             
“I am Ben Bean.”
           
“It is a pleasure to meet you.”
             
“I am sure, gah.” Ben slapped his forehead. “I didn’t mean to say that.”
           
Claire chuckled, it wasn’t high-pitched, but it wasn’t disturbingly deep either. In fact, it was perfect. “You are funny, Ben.”
           
“I try.” Ben blushed and turned away. “You’re new to the school then?”
           
“Yes.”
            
 “Would you like to be shown around today?” Ben knew he might be involving her in his own war, but he didn’t realize it until the words escaped.
             
“That would be wonderful. How generous of you,” Claire declared.
            
 Isn’t it? Ben mused. 

He exited the bus before her, glanced both ways and then, in a bold move, grabbed her hand. Before she could object he pulled her into the school. She jerked her hand from him, but felt a small tingle in her heart. She reprimanded him. “What do you think you were doing?”
            
 “I don’t know what I’m doing currently.” Ben told her. The sincerity in his eyes informed her that she needn’t worry about his strange behavior. After all, there is a story behind everything.
             
The couple made it through most of the classes that day. Claire laughed several times at Ben’s witty comments and Ben felt calmer around her. He stopped glancing over his shoulder. He was at peace. He had broken every line of his personal security that had once governed his existence. He did not know it, but he was about to break the final line.
             
When the classes ended that day, Ben stepped from the classroom. Claire grabbed his hand, entwining her fingers with his. They were there. They stood before them. The bullies had ambushed Ben, something that would not have happened before. “Hello, chicken! Why don’t you run?”
             
“I am done running. This is the final line I am drawing. It is here that I will stand.” Ben quoted from one of his own poems. He squeezed Claire’s hand. It gave him courage and purpose. It gave him a reason to stand up for himself and break that final line he had established.
             
The head bully gave Ben a hard shove. It sent him stumbling back, but he did not fall. Claire upheld him. Ben Bean squared his shoulders and gripped her hand. The bullies slapped him around a bit, but he stayed upright, Claire was behind him. The head bully spoke. “Come on guys, this isn’t any fun anymore.”
           
His minions followed him away and Ben Bean and Claire O’Carie lived on in peace.  
           
           
           
           


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Headaches and Paragraphs

Oh, the tragedy! Alas, forsooth, and all that mumbo-jumbo! I forgot to post yesterday. I feel as though I am eternally shamed. I have failed my readers and I apologize from the very entirety of my soul. With all that said, I'll move onward to today's topic: paragraphs.

Remember when you were in that English course in High School or College? Remember that massive compilation of tiny print classics. For the writers, I am sure that you enjoyed the classics or, at least, recognized the art in them. You all know that feeling of dread when you cracked open that dumbbell-weighted volume and saw a massive block of text spanning two whole pages.

In their book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Browne and King warn writers to "be on the lookout for paragraphs that run more than, say, a half-page in length." Our purpose as writers not only entails giving the reader pleasure, but teaching him something as well. How can we teach the readers anything if they only open to page one before closing our book and leaving with a headache? The answer in each and every one of your heads is simply, "we can't!" So, fellow writers, look out for those long paragraphs.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tech Black Out

Last night at approximately 10:30pm the internet at Taylor University slowed way down. Some websites wouldn't even load. Youtube videos were interrupted. Hulu made people mad. Gmail became equivalent to Snail-mail. It seemed that in those darkest of technological hours Facebook was the only thing that worked, but only slightly. I was amazed at the reactions. It was as if the world had imploded. It is amazing how much people rely on something they take for granted and then, when it is gone, they feel that it is owed them.


As a Christian, I find it sad when I reflect on the reality of this with my fellow Christ-followers. I have seen a growing amount of passive Christianity. I must admit that I too am guilty of this at times. The gift of God in His son Jesus Christ's death is an amazing reality that we take for granted and overlook. At times even, we feel that He owes it to us! I cannot express how ludicrously terrible this feeling is. The gift of Christ is freely given and freely received, but it is NOT to be undervalued and we are NOT owed it. A gift is not a debt.





Friday, December 2, 2011

Home, sweet or sad? 'Tis still home.

It is good to be home. My brother and sister are here along with my aunt and uncle. My Grandma was also here for awhile. It is amazing how my family can gather so quickly, interact, and go our separate ways still bound by love's tie. I appreciate my family. I apologize that this blog post isn't as deep or profound or interesting as some of my others, but I spent most of my day in school, traveling, and then spending time with my family.

In brief, I want to say that my family is a wonderful source for writing material because we are not always happy-dory, we have our sad moments, our wrong choices. We are, however, still a family and will always remain as such. Think about what you can be thankful for about your family as we transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas, both seasons should be about thanksgiving and, if you think about it, both seasons are about giving. There will be more on that come Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Stranger Dream


 I wrote this raw version in an hour. Enjoy!
The Stranger Dream
By Joshua A. Spotts (grateful/stranded/dream)
            Albert Mersault was a man of the darkness. His shadow was never seen. In the sunlight everything seemed as an image in a broken mirror. He clung to the thick darkness of the night, cowering in the darkness of the earth in the day. He walked silently with footsteps softer than a cat’s. He was master of the night. No one heard or saw him. He moved and did as he pleased until they arrived.
            The gas lamps were bearable. In fact, Albert liked them. They flickered and were familiar. They assisted him when the moon and the stars cut through the night ceiling for he hid in the shadows they caused. Those shadows were lighter and then darker, ever in a constant state of change. He enjoyed the effect this produced. If anyone glimpsed him there they would only see an illusion. They would dismiss his presence to the deception of their own eyes.  This was all before they came.
            They cut through his home. That wonderful darkness he embraced and which had embraced him. It was no longer safe. Those horrid beams of brilliant illumination bit through all he held dear. A spear of pure hate caught him full in the chest. He blinked at the dazzling light for a moment before he heard their voices. They had found him. Those silver badged varmints with their beams of light.
            Albert ran. He ran with all the purpose in him. He scaled a nearby fire escape. It didn’t creak and groan beneath his light weight. At first, he thought they wouldn’t hear him and they didn’t. The lights, they found him. He winced in their cruel illumination. He felt utterly naked, even swathed in dark robes like he was.
            “Climb, boys, we have him now! Circle ‘round.”
            The pursued player of the shadows fled across rooftops and the men with their illuminating beams chased after. Hate swelled in his chest, combining with his fear of the light. He glimpsed out across the skyline and glanced the reddening cloud. He cursed the light and dived through an open window. He moved silently through the room. A sleeping child rolled over in the corner. Down the hall, he slid down a banister and out the front door. As he left the building he heard the crash of furniture, curses of men, and the crying of the frightened child, then there were hands on him. Those long-fingered claws drug him to the ground as the sun rose in the sky. Albert Mersault screamed his hatred to the world.
            “He’s a thing of passion, be cautious.”
            “I think I can handle myself, captain.” 
            Albert huddled in a shadow behind one of the parapets. A man dressed as a prince emerged unto the tower roof. He held a sword in one hand and a club in the other. Albert hissed at him. The man towered over Albert. “Tell me what you heard.”
            Albert Mersault shrunk deeper into the shadow, fearing the light. A heavy, gloved hand pulled him out into the center of the tower. The hand slapped him to the left then backhanded him to the right. Blood trickled down Albert’s chin. He held his eyes closed. He sat in a humiliated, pathetic heap at the man’s feet. The club came down and he remained motionless, sprawled out upon the tower top, fully exposed to the hated light. “Tell me, fool. Or I will kill you like I killed your family.”
            “I do not fear death.”
            “Then live an eternity in the light,” the man stormed off the roof, his crooked nose held high. Albert chuckled, had he actually offended the man’s pride? Two men with the silver badges emerged unto the roof. They had clippers and needles and thread. They laughed as they sowed Albert’s eyelids to his eyebrows. His entire world shattered like an image in a mirror. He saw the pyramid symbol on the shining badges and cursed under his breath as they beat him with rods. He was stranded on that tower all day and the sun burnt his eyes out.
            Louie Mersault awoke with a start. What a horrible dream. He leapt out of bed and stared around. The red numbers on his alarm clock read 3:23. They gleamed through the darkness. He could still see! Louie sighed. That dream had been so real. The light turned on and there, in the doorway, stood a tall man with a shining badge. The pyramid and eye boldly declared who the man was. The Illuminati had finally come for him. The man spoke, his voice like tires on gravel, “what did he hear?”

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Meat and Dessert Editing

Recently, while I was talking with a fellow Professional Writer, Katie Irons, she mentioned a particularly interesting illustration concerning editing. She told me that editing should be like polishing off a dinner plate. You start with the meaty parts first and finish with the dessert. This illustration stuck in my mind and now I am outpouring my thoughts on it.

I thoroughly agree with her. The "meaty parts" of her illustration concerns the first draft edit, which I am currently going through on a book of mine. The first draft edit is a run through to make sure everything fits. It is a test that the story is properly filled out and constructed. I have strayed from the method of first draft editing, though. I have added a scene and am struggling to tie it into the next. I believe that I should just make a note of that page and the issue therein and then move on. In this way, I can complete the entire first draft and then look at my list of details to fix for the desert part of my editing process.

Think about it. The dessert is often the most detailed part in a meal and it is typically reserved till the end. This is the same way with the finite details and the scene insertions and/or reworkings of editing. I believe that grammar falls under this section of the edit. There are so many details to grammar that if I looked for every grammatical error in the first draft it would take a really long time.

Overall, I believe the first part of an edit, the "meaty parts," should go quickly so that I can enjoy the dessert...okay, so maybe I won't enjoy it. I will enjoy the fact that it will be the last part of my self-editing process and that, dear reader, is sweet enough.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Peculiarities Part 2

Aye, that is me, standing out there in the rain. In this blog I am going to confess two more peculiarities that apply to me as a writer. The first is my compulsion that drives me outside in shorts to feel the weather fully upon my naked torso. (gasp, I used the word naked!) Sometimes, while I write and when it is stormy outside I feel an urge to rush into the weather. I stand out there, becoming one with the character in my head. After this strange ritual I hurry back to my laptop and pound out a scene involving what I just felt. I am quite sure I look rather strange while doing this. But, how would I know how to describe something if I had never experienced it?

In the past, I have spent hours outside in a jacket and jeans, during the winter, to feel the pain of a character who is lost in a frozen wasteland without adequate supplies. I can imagine magnificent things, like dragons, but to experience an encounter with one would be truly wonderful. I can imagine hours-long sword fights, but to experience one. To feel the tremendous fatigue. I can imagine the calming, magical touch of a fairy, but to experience it in our world today? Perhaps there is something wrong with my mind. Are these the normal urges of a person? 

The second peculiarity may not be as strange as the first. I have a tendency to spend entire days around my house with a cape around my shoulders and a sword at my waste. I have worn capes and tunics into public places. I didn't feel ashamed or even wonder why people were staring at me. In fact, I felt proud. I enjoyed throwing something shocking into their monotonous lives. Another time I wore a grey wig for an entire day for no particular reason at all.

And thus concludes my four prominent peculiarities. I feel that most of these come from my writer's mind. I could keep going with these confessions, but I do not believe that is necessary. I could mention that I carry around a pocket notebook that I use to, as I call it, "steal people's souls." I will consider explaining this habit of mine to you, dear reader. We shall see come Tuesday.  


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Peculiarities Part 1

There are voices in my head. I am a writer, of course there are voices in my head! Those ideas and characters, all struggling for my attention. Sometimes they is a pain, but at other times I enjoy them. They keep me company into the long night hours. They emerge in midday as I pound away at my keyboard. I stop typing, rise, and begin to act out the scene I was writing. My roommate, a math major, has been genuinely disturbed by these voices as he plays his life-sucking Facebook games. I cannot keep them in. The creative voices must be expressed! The creative voices are the peculiarities commonly exhibited in the writer. Here are two REALLY common ones:

One: There are times that I just start talking to myself. I do it in public. I do it in private. I don't always act out the scenes I am considering, but I have talked through entire pages worth of dialogue between two or more characters while walking back from the Dining Commons. I am entirely conscious of the world around me, but I am also entirely conscious of the world in my mind. Luckily, there has only been a few times when they've clashed.

Two: I have a disorder. I call it ORAU disorder (Obsessive Random Accent Usage.) I slip into accents, commonly Scottish or Irish ones, randomly during conversation. I also use accents when answering questions. For example, the lady at the checkout asks me, "do you want a receipt?"

"Aye," I answered. My Mom had to tell the cashier that I was saying "yes" in Scottish. I mean, what has the world come to? How have we reached such a deprived stage in our existence where the cashier at Wal-Mart doesn't know what "aye" means? It's preposterous! There are times when I purposely use accents while talking. A writer friend once dared me to speak in a Scottish accent for a week. I did it. Most of the time, however, I do not intend to use an accent and I just slip into it. I have talked to some other writers and they experience generally the same thing. Some writers need a trigger (someone else speaking an accent or a thought connected with an accent), others are more like me and just slip into the accents.

And now, dear reader, you know my dark, secret disorder. Have a good week. Part 2 will be released on Friday. 




Friday, November 18, 2011

An Adventure in Class

This afternoon I attended my Expository Writing class with my awesome professor Dr. Aaron J. Housholder. In this class we were given a list of writing prompts. We could choose one or several and merge them. I chose, according to my peculiarities, two prompts. One was "confusion," the other was "the voices in my head." I flipped open my writing journal and starting scribbling along with my quickly dulling pencil. I let the prompts pull my thoughts out and unto that lined paper. We had thirty minutes to write. Thus, after a lengthy introduction, I present to you A Dream of Confusion, a short work by Joshua A. Spotts.
Disclaimer: This is not fully edited and for that I apologize.

It is the fourth year in the month of Tuesday.
So the voices tell me.

Sweat drips from my brow. It splashes off the iron face plate of my helmet. I feel the salty moisture burning my eyes, but I dare not close them. My limbs are sore. The sword in my hand trembles as I struggle to hold it out before me. The armor that rests on my shoulders drags me down. I am tired.

It is now the eight month in the year of Friday.
So the voices tell me.

My feet are like the ice all around me. The bitter wind tears at my sweet, healthy flesh. My hair is hardened by the cold and my nose hosts icicles. The sword in my hand is rigid, but my shoulders shake uncontrollably. The armor that I bear is like the surface of a frozen winter lake and I am trapped beneath. I grow weary.

It is now the day of year in the third month.
So the voices tell me.

The rain falls in torrents. The feel of those droplets on my bare arms reminds me of the waterfalls of my home. I watch as the rain dances on the shivering sword. The armor I wear restricts the pleasure of the rain. My mind is tired. My left side is numb. My right side is weary. I drop the sword and the creatures of the night come faster than the rain falls.

It is now the seventh day of the sixth month and the voices say, "wake up!"


(I plan to create my own list of prompts and then give myself thirty minutes to write up a story on one or two, just like I did for this story. I believe it will make a great exercise for quick writing. Another short story exercise can be found at www.cleverfiction.com)

I hope you enjoyed this strange story and I apologize for posting this blog so late today, but it is still Friday, is it not? 


















Monday, November 14, 2011

The Wind is God's Breath


            I am fourteen days into November. It has been a busy month. I have no regrets about making it busier by dedicating myself to National Novel Writing Month, because I have gained a great novel idea. I have failed miserably at this dedication. My school work grabbed me by the throat as I already struggled to keep up with my NaNoWriMo goals and it threw me down. Last week was terrible. Assignments weighed down upon my back. One night I wandered outside, leaving my writing on my desk. My soul was weighted down by my troubles. I sought solitude and I found it, partially.
            I walked outside in my shorts and t-shirt. The wind caressed my body. The wet grass kissed my bare feet. I sat beneath a pine tree and allowed its scent to invade my nostrils. I welcomed the sweet scent. The wind continued to move around me. The trees danced in their places. I saw my breath as steam in the night air. I was alone. I had found solitude. I had also found something else.
            I found that I am never alone through the wind on that night as I sat there and cried. My tears were taken away by the wind, along with my burdens.  God is in the wind. Indeed, the wind is God’s breath for it animates all things. I can say from experience that God used the wind to animate my soul that night. The wind showed me God’s presence is everywhere. He upholds and relieves me when I am tired and weak. Praise God for His all-encompassing presence.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tuesday and Friday

Dear reader, (wow, that's a standardized blog start...though you really are dear to me, no kidding.)
In the interests of increasing my personal focus and discipline, I have decided to publish a blog post every Friday and Tuesday. These specific publishing dates will force me to prepare the blog post a few days beforehand and thus, hopefully, give you better material to read.
I feel that discipline goes hand in hand with revealing how dedicated a writer is to his career. These self-imposed "deadlines" will force me to be dedicated to you, my readers. My teacher, esteemed writer Dr. Hensley, once told me, "the good writer always meets or beats his deadline." This is my goal. Keep me to it, dear reader.

Sincerely,
Joshua A. Spotts

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

To Divorce a Gem

To Divorce a Gem
Joshua A. Spotts
             
            Silvia Coldspoon was a strange woman. She wore multi-colored bathrobes that dragged along the ground as she walked. A nightcap lingered awkwardly atop her head. Inside her house, atop her lush blue carpets, she walked barefoot. Her toenails were bright pink.
In public, her approach was always announced by her flip-flops whether it was winter, summer, spring, or fall. She wore black trench coats that were far too short for her gangly frame whenever she went to or from work. All in all, her appearance was either seedy or silly, depending on the lighting around her.  Yet this strange character had a golden heart.
Miss Coldspoon, she had been Mrs. Whithernarrow once, in fact, throughout her entire life, she had been Mrs. Swatchz, Mrs. Dunhow, and Mrs. Stuart; anyway, she owned an ice cream parlor. Every single one of her former husbands had died. You may think that the sorrow from these deaths forced her to revert back to her maiden name. You are wrong. She changed to her maiden name when she opened her baby, Coldspoon’s Ice Cream Parlor.
She was known around town, not only for her vast host of oddities, but for her constant smile. That and her ability to spit gum from her mouth into a trashcan with perfect accuracy. Her parlor quickly became the chief social gathering place in town. It was open from six in the morning—she sold coffee as well—to eleven at night. During that entire day, Silvia meandered around among the customers and talked with them or sat in her office writing children’s stories while her few employers manned the parlor. She found her work delightful.
“Goodbye, Jess, enjoy your date. Jack…he’s a fine man.” Silvia hugged her employee in the doorway.
“Thank you for letting me off work early, Miss Coldspoon. This means allot to me.”
Silvia smiled as Jessica hurried across small town street and got into Jack’s parent’s minivan. They were such a happy couple and yet they had nothing. All of Jessica’s earnings were going toward college and Jack was helping pay off his family’s debts with the money he earned from his laborious construction job. Silvia knew these sorts of details about everyone in town, but she was not a gossip.
She returned to the counter and started to polish it. She ran a finger across the laminated oak. It was smooth and pleasing to the touch. The bell above the door rang. Silvia glanced up at the Coca-Cola clock above the shake machine. It was 12:01AM. She assumed that it must be Ernie coming in from his shift at the local packing plant. Before she even turned around her assumption was disproven. Instead of Ernie’s heavy tread she heard the gentle tap of high heels upon the tile floor. “Becky?
“Yes,” a soft-voiced answered.
Silvia turned around and approached the woman. She brushed tears from Becky’s cheeks. She switched the sign on the door from “open” to “sorry, we’re closed” as she guided Becky to a nearby booth. “Sit down, Becky. I’ll get you some tea and then we can talk.”
“No,” Becky spoke up and then hung her head. “No tea, please.”
“Come now,” Silvia placed her fist on a hip. “It’s on the house.”
“No, but thank you,” Becky answered.
“Alright,” Silvia slid into the seat across from Becky. “What’s the matter, darling?”
“It’s Mike and I,” Becky savagely swiped away her flowing tears.
“Shush, dear, shush.” Silvia reached across the table and grabbed Becky’s hands. “Let them flow, let them flow.” 
“Mike,” here Becky dropped her head into her hands. Her shoulders heaved with deep sobs. “He’s filed for a divorce. We go to court in the morning. He says he’s restless. I asked him what was wrong with me and he said ‘nothing!’ I just can’t believe it. We were so happy. Am I too fat? Have I been too emotional? What is wrong with me?”
Silvia rose and sat beside Becky. She wrapped her in a motherly embrace. “There is nothing wrong with you. You are perfect just the way you are. The fault is Mike’s. He is a fool for leaving such a gem as you. Now, shush, shush.”
Becky cried in Silvia’s arms until one o’clock. She raised her head from Silvia’s tear drenched shoulder and said, “thank you.”
“Come stay at my place for tonight, dear.” Silvia helped the shaking Becky into her coat. “I’ll go with you to the judge in the morning.”
So, Silvia closed up and drove home with Becky in the passenger’s seat. They passed the crooked-branched maple tree where Becky had contemplated hanging herself when she first entered Coldspoon’s Ice Cream Parlor. Silvia Coldspoon looked over, placed a hand on Becky’s knee and said. “Whenever you need me I will be there for you.”
A single tear of happiness wandered down Becky’s cheek.

                 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Does it Matter?


           The rain hit the car windshield and scattered in a million directions. Puddles had invaded the low spots of the road. Teeth rattled together as the faithful car carried its occupants along that washed-out country highway. Chocolate mud stained the car’s brown fenders. The windshield wipers swung methodically, fighting against the eternal rain. A young man leaned forward at the steering-wheel. His hands gripped it as his eyes narrowed, trying to cut through that watery assault of nature.
            A red octagon appeared ahead and to his right. His foot found the brake paddle. He felt the vibration of the anti-lock brakes as the car struggled to a stop. Looking left, though he could not see through the rain, he knew an old Victorian home awaited him. He knew it would be filled with light and the smell of burning wood would once again drift into his nostrils. He knew a plate of cookies, warm and perfect, awaited him on the kitchen counter. He could almost taste them.
            Taking his foot of the brake, the young man let the car lurch forward. He jerked the steering-wheel left. His father’s grey head lolled to one side, but the snoring never ceased. Gravel ground beneath the car’s wheels as the young man turned into the driveway beside the old house. He parked the Buick in the garage. Grabbing all his bundles, he stood for a while before his dad shot out of sleep, “why’d you stop? Oh, we’re home.”
            A wall of rain confronted them as they stood inside the doorway. As soon as they stepped out into the storm, umbrellas held overhead, the wind changed. The rain shot through the night at a near-horizontal angle. The pair, father and son, made a mad rush across the open yard to the front door.
            The son wrapped his knuckles against the rough, wood door. The cast iron handle clicked as the latch was loosed on the inside. The door swung open and warmth embraced the son. His mother wrapped him in her arms. “Welcome home, son.”
            “Thanks, mom.” The young man wrapped his gangly arms around her. A smile was on his face and in his heart. He felt as though his mother’s love warmed him more than the gentle wood heat drifting up through the ornate iron vents in the floor. The door was shut and the rain banished to fall in lonely exile.
            The smell of the thanksgiving turkey in the oven filled the kitchen as the young man meandered through it to deposit his baggage in his bedroom. Cookies were stacked like corporate towers on a cooling rack by the stove. Little feet rushed around a corner. A curly, brown haired bundle of energy charged at the young man. “Andy!”
            “Hello, little buddy!” The young man, Andrew, scooped his little brother up into his arms. Those plump arms wrapped around his throat. That head nestled against his neck. Andrew held his little brother out before him and stared into those deep brown eyes. He saw a flash of light out of the corner of his eye and he set down the little fellow. In the back of his mind he heard his mother scolding his little buddy for being out of bed.
            He knelt down and peeked around the corner. Big, blue eyes stared at him. They were shy at first, then recognition filled them and Mae, his little sister, through herself at him. The light from the kitchen played in her golden hair as he grabbed her up and held her close. He kissed her gently on the forehead and then led her to bed, where he prayed over her and wished her a good night sleep. She snuggled into the covers with a smile on her face as he left the room.
            Laughter filled the air as Andrew embraced his elder brother and his wife. His mom passed out cookies and milk. As the family sat around the fireplace with smiles upon their faces, primarily due to the wonderful cookies, Andrew’s father called for their attention. The room fell silent. They all knew the look on his face. A fan whirred somewhere in the house. He spoke, “as you know, we’ve been having some tests done concerning Mae.”
            The family nodded. The mother’s smile vanished and a frown replaced it. Tears gathered and spilled down her cheeks. The father spoke again, his voice trembling. “Today your mother and I received the test results. The doctors have placed her only a few points of retarded. So, when she can’t spell her name or asks the same questions over and over…”
            Andrew’s mom broke into deep sobs. His father rose and walked over to his wife, those strong arms encircled her, and a large hand brought her head to his chest. Tears moistened his white shirt. “You will all need to be patient with her. It is likely that she will never graduate from high school.”
            “How can this be?” Andrew’s mother asked. “Were we too old?”
            “No, no, honey, the doctor said it was nothing we did to make this happen.”
            Freely, the tears flowed, though the sobbing slowed. Andrew’s brother and his wife bowed their heads. Andrew joined them in prayer, placing his hand on his father’s back. He could feel the heaving of that muscled back as his father wept freely.
            They all returned to their seats and Andrew’s father said, “we just wanted you to know.”
            Andrew leaned forward and with his deep voice spoke, “I do not see how this matters. Does it change who she is? It does not make her any less my sister.”
            His mother looked at him with her teary brown eyes. A smile was born on her face.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Perfection, Flaws, and Character


Pouring rain, the feel of your lover's soft lips on your wet cheek, the sensation vibrating through the air at that simple brush of flesh on flesh, yeah, I've never been one for romance novels. This past week I read one. It was one of the best books I’ve ever read. If you’re interested, the book is by Jenny B. Jones, it is called There You’ll Find Me.
A particular quote struck me as I was reading it. This quote lodged itself in my mind and, though I have written it down, I can’t get it out. So, once more, I shall commit it to paper (on the web…) A peculiar nun named Sister Maria told the main character that “music is never perfect. It has flaws, it has character.”
Through the few days that have passed since I found this quote, I have come to the realization that it applies to writing as well. Writing is never perfect. It has flaws, it has character. No matter how hard the writer tries, his work is never perfect. But, it is those flaws, those imperfections that make his writing unique. Writers, do not concern yourselves with perfection. Concern yourselves instead with character, with developing your own style.
Sister Maria’s quote applies to life as well, perhaps that shall be the next post.
Keep writing my friends,
~Joshua A. Spotts

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Writing Tree

            On a blustery day a man sat beneath a tree. In one hand he held a feather pen and in the other he grasped a stack of paper. As he sat, pondering, he would laugh. A passerby, hearing the curious laugh, stopped to inquire; “Good sir, what are you doing beneath this tree with a feather pen, a stack of papers, and such a ridiculous laugh?”
            “I am writing a book, good man. This laugh though, it gives me endless trouble. You see, laughter makes hard things difficult to consider, oh, me! oh, my!”
            “May I humbly suggest a solution to your problem, good sir?”
            “By all means, yes,” answered the man beneath the tree.
            “Well, good sir, it seems that every time you do some thinking you are tickling yourself with your feather pen.” The stranger left.
            The man beneath the tree fashioned himself a pen from a twig and continued his work. He placed every page he wrote to his right. Another passerby stopped and watched the man labor for a while. Finally he asked, “Hullo, sir! What are you doing with that twig pen, a stack of paper, and no finished pages?”
            “I am writing a book, good man, but every time I finish a page the wind steals my work away and I must begin again.”
            “May I make a slight suggestion, sir?”
            “By all means, do so!”
            “It seems to me that if you were to place your finished pages beneath a rock the wind could not steal them away.”
            “Thank you, good man,” and the man continued his writing, placing his finished pages beneath a rock.
            Within a short while the sound of bagpipes filled the blustery air. The piper came marching along the trail and his song stopped abruptly when he saw the man beneath the tree. His march continued for a few thudding steps before he turned about and asked. “What are you doing?”
            “I am writing a book, good man, with this twig pen, stack of papers, and my finished work beneath this rock.” The man beneath the tree beamed with pride.
            The piper chuckled and adjusted his purple hat to sit more nobly upon his balding brow. He spoke, “I fear you are not.”
            The befuddled man inquired, “how so?”
            “You simply have no ink, daft sir.” 

By: Joshua A. Spotts 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Focus, no pride

Recently I wrote a short story in fifteen minutes for a writing class. I thought it was admittedly clever, but terrible as well. When I read it aloud in class my teacher said that he had been brought into the setting. There was a pause after the story ended, the class sat in shock. After a few long seconds they realized the hilariousness of the main character's predicament. Apparently it was good. I thought it sucked after I had read it out loud. 
This class period made me realize, once again, that the writer does not think of their own works as amazing. It also forces me to realize that I am not writing for myself, but for my readers. If it moves them in any way, or if they simply enjoy it, I am glad and have accomplished something with my writing. I hope I will never grow so prideful as to discard the reader. This would be the bane of my career, it would be the death of any true writer.
           

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Rewards of a Writer

In my last blog I promised to explore the rewards of a writer. So, while at a writer's conference this weekend, I talked to the venerable Doctor Dennis Hensley about it. Unfortunately, our conversation was cut short because the session started. It did help me organize my thoughts on the matter though. Furthermore, I have talked with several other writers tonight on the matter and they have helped me further.
The reward of the writer is not money or fame. For example, Doc Hensley and one of his writer friends were talking. They joked back in forth in sarcasm.  "Why did we take this job, Dennis?"
"Oh, it must have been for the money!"
"Well, if not that, then surely the fame."
The writer who aims for such things is in for disappointment. They will never achieve the true rewards of the writer. It is probably one of twenty writers who ever gain a fortune through their writing. That is, without writing and saving all their life.
The rewards of the writer are strange. They are feelings-based, not material based. They are the feeling of fulfillment, glorious accomplishment! Michelangelo put so much effort into his sculptures that he literally put his blood into his work. After completing the David his hands were scarred, calloused, and bleeding. This is the effort good writers place into their work. The comparison of the editor's red pen to a knife and the marks on the manuscript to blood is very accurate. To finish a project that we have placed our entire beings into is an amazing feeling of fulfillment.
Another reward is a sense of happiness the Christian writer finds when their writing is published. They are happy that God is being glorified through their work. This is a noble purpose.
In truth, I believe the writer cannot obtain these rewards to the fullest if he is not writing to glorify God. The ability to write is a gift from God and therefore the rewards are much greater when used for him. Not the material rewards, though perhaps they will be, but the feeling rewards. That glorious happiness and sense of accomplishment!
Sincerely, dear reader, consider your purpose. Do you seek money or do you seek to glorify God?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sweet Victory

There is a certain feeling of joy, sorrow, and worry when a writer finishes a manuscript. This is the way I feel right now. Aye, I have finished a manuscript, at least, the first draft of a manuscript. It is important to make this distinction because of the vast process involved between the first draft and the manuscript that is published. There is self-editing, then re-editing, it helps to read the manuscript out loud multiple times, and then, of course, finding a publisher who is willing to invest in me.
There is a vast amount of work ahead of me, but I am ready for it. Writing is not an easy job. Indeed, it is not a job, it is a calling. It is a difficult calling, but a rewarding one. Not in fame or fortune...more on that later.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Library and the Writer

When I have a dozen things to do in a few days I try to avoid libraries. Wait, what?!? Don't writers love books? Yes, they do. My particular problem is that when I am busy I will go into a library with the intention to accomplish something without the distractions of my dorm cubical that is called a room, surrounded by all those books the temptation is just too great. I see a book across from my chair on pagan religions, I see another book in a side isle of Irish Poetry. Basically, I don't get anything done if I sit in the library among all those books. If I use a study room it is fine, but if those books are within sight, if I can smell their delicious pages, if I can imagine the limitless volumes of knowledge stored on those shelves...ah, nothing gets done...ever. When I am busy the library is my nemesis.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Driuna and the Dragon

Driuna and the Dragon
A Short Story by Joshua A. Spotts

    In a deep and long valley there was a village that was not as it appeared. The precise rows of houses, the brilliantly laid roads, the lovingly arranged gardens, and the gilding upon every door, all these things were masks. Even the people, those gorgeous boys and girls with their perfect bodies, were masks. Deep down, the soul of the town, underneath those perfect masks, was rotten. The people, constantly searching for imperfection, were blinded to themselves and each other. And so the hate and disgust of the entire village was turned upon one girl. All spurned her.
    This wretch was named Driuna. She was, however, labeled by all the others as the "Plain Lass."  She spent her days begging for food, which gave the townsfolk amusement. They cast pieces of moldy bread from their ornate windows and laughed as she groveled in the mud for those rare morsels. When passing her on the street those perfectly formed people would kick her to one side.
Driuna, patient behind her pallor, allowed them their amusement as she grew strong in knowledge, stronger even than those who called themselves wise in distant lands. At night she left the city and wandered about in the woods, examining and gaining knowledge of all sorts of plants, befriending the animals. She loved being surrounded by all those green crowned trees while dangling her feet in clear, blue water.   
    It was a stormy day when, high above the village, flashes of lightning and fire flared across the darkened sky. Driuna watched with mild amusement as the lightening crackled horizontally across the dark amidst plumes of fire. All the townsfolk fled inside. Driuna was left outside in that pouring, rushing rain, but she really did not mind it. A great blast of fire burned the darkness and single bolt of lightning careened slowly down into the woods. There its light died. The fire vanished over the northern mountains.
    Rising from her meager bench, her one possession, Driuna crept from the town boundaries, hurrying into the woods. The storm was clearing quickly overhead and the curious townsfolk came out, they began to blame and curse Driuna for the storm, which had caused several buildings to become ash. Driuna paid no attention to their shouts, feeling the storm-kissed wind blow through her brown hair and across her skin. Running through the woods a laugh broke free, she loved the woods; she loved existence after the beautiful terror of a storm. She watched all the life around her and her laugh was considered beautiful by the host of creatures she had befriended.
    The woods held its breath as she approached the scarred place where the lightning had fallen. The trees were scorched and a crater was carved from what was once a gentle green bed of peaceful grass. Chaos had intruded upon the tranquil complexity of Driuna’s wood. That which she found in the chaos-formed crater was terrible and beautiful at the same time. It was a silver scaled dragon, a thing hated by all humans, when it should be loved, for its beauty is far greater than many things. Blood ran from a large wound in its underbelly. Driuna returned into the forest and gather mounds of herbs, she boiled some in a nearby hot spring and crushed others between rocks. Slipping down into the pit she began to apply the mixtures she had made, the dragon awoke and snarled. Driuna continued her work. The magnificent creature felt her care and trusted her.
    In three days the dragon was healed and she pulled herself from the crater with Driuna on her back. Driuna got off and stood before the creature. The eyes of the magnificent creature observed its tiny healer. "I thank you for your deed. I am in your debt. If there is anything you want, take it now."
Druida stood for a while, silent. Not even the woods creaked, no animal called out, no bird sang, everything waited on her answer. She had the power to obliterate the entire village which had been so cruel to her. She held the lives, nay, even the beauty of those people in her scarred, thorn-pricked hands. The wind swirled about her, awaiting her decision. The dragon did not move a muscle. It was as if time had stopped as she pondered whether or not to exact revenge. She realized that true beauty was not external but internal. She realized that beneath her plain, base body, there was a heart and a soul that were exceedingly beautiful. She looked up into the dragon's eyes and said. "No, I need nothing."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Division

I have been considering deeper things since being brought into this group of writers here at Taylor. The similarity that rose to sight among us right off has now drawn back, revealing the differences among us. Each of these differences, I realize makes each of us what we are, it makes each of us a writer. If we were completely similar we would be a boring collective. We would all write exactly, we would not be writers. We would be a writer. The differences make us all what we are and the similarities unite us. This is a glorious thing.
       There is one problem I have observed among us. It shows that not all writers' look out for others or at least seek to encourage them. It is the problem that one writer, who admittedly is smarter than many of us, acts like he wants to help and then offers advice that is not insightful and only proves to confuse. It seems that he does this on purpose. I do not know why. As writer's we all share a common goal, successful communication, and should help each other achieve that goal. This means that when another writer or even a non-writer asks a question concerning their writing we should be willing to help, even through constructive criticism, but it must be constructive. In no way should we make each other feel stupid for asking a question or insignificant. We are called to be writers, let us help each other. If not by the writer's bond, then by the bond we share as Christians! 
     

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Round Table of Writers

Writers are an odd breed. Sure, there are people out there who will talk about books. Who enjoy books. But writers are a class to themselves. They go deeper. There is a passion when they talk about their favorite author or when they proclaim how much they disliked a book. Now, take a six of these writers and stick them at a round table. This is what happened tonight in Taylor University's Dining Commons, though this group of six accidentally sat away from the majority of the writing majors. 
They discuss, they laugh, they disagree, but they do not get angry at each other, or seek to make mockery of one another. They all now the travails of writing. They all fear the red ink of editors. They all celebrate each others'  success while competing in the same market. These are writers. We are writers. I am a writer!
Such fellowship is a wonderful thing!!

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