Wax on Wax off – the Lo-Lo down

wax

My very first concert was the New Kids on the Block. I was totally into them. I had the shirts, cups, the dolls, and pretty much everything else.

I remember I went away for a week with friends and my grandparents were in Vegas. When they came back they said, “While we were in Vegas we got the NKB’s to sign an autograph for you!”

Now. We all know they simply went to a store and picked up an autographed cup. But as a kid I totally bought it. My grandmother lied, to my face, down to the clothes they were wearing. I then ran to school and told everyone, ignoring those with obvious knowledge of my “story”. They were just haters!

It was one of the most exciting things of that year. I remember being the coolest kid ever for a total of one day when the sorry kids that believed me began asking me questions about it, I’d roll my eyes and shrug like it was my secret to keep and the NKB’s might be at my party next week too but you know…they could get busy cause they’re famous.

NKB4

You might think how awful it was for my grandparents to lie to me, but I totally think it rocks.

It’s the spice of life, kids. It’s Santa on a Mid-May Wednesday.

People make up stuff or color it in all the time. Sometimes stretching the truth is fun.

Don’t think so?

Well then stop watching TV, or reading books. What many entertainers do is take a real happenstance and stretch it. Yup. Go read some blogs, “Well that scene actually happened to me…only, it wasn’t with flying elephants.”

I recently got blogged into “Why I write” by the wonderful and talented Christina Rozelle

It’s been explained pretty accurately by others already. I’m a thinker, a ponderer, always have been.

But since most every “why I write” reason has been covered, instead, I thought I’d make mine about “Why I continue to write”.

This is important for me because I’ve given up a few times. Yup. Or had GIGANTIC gaps in between.

If you think I haven’t gotten nasty rejection letters, or reviews of my work, and then packed in my quill and said what’s done-is-done about a million times, then, put on a strait-jacket, my friend, because it’s getting a little loony in here.

Some things I’ve posted about writing:

“A writer has to mitigate the doubt dumped daily on their heads.”

“Of course failure is an option…I’m a writer!”

And

Writing is a vanity that can only be afforded by being damned good.”

More times than not I’m not: “damned good”, even perhaps, I have been: “peculiarly bad”. There are only a few beats on that path to writerdom that make me smile and say, “Ah, yes. Now this part I liked.”

I have to keep a barf bag handy for occasions where I read my old works. “What was I thinking!” bursts from my lips like I have self-review turrets.

I’m my worst critic.

What bothers me is the highs and lows, and how I sometimes let my writing achievements or lack-there-of affect my everyday life. I want to slap myself when it happens because it’s completely useless to stress about things that are out of my control.

Like when Elsa had those magical ice-shooting powers. (I have a toddler) The more they tried to “control” it, the more she exploded with icicles from her fingies.

elsa2

The “accolade” aspect is unhelpful to us, because the art is supposed to be where I’m at already and not the other way around. It shouldn’t be a destination, but part of my journey that I scribble down along the way. Like some road poet noting characters only because they were people he wanted to remember rather than, oh this is gonna be the best seller of the century!

*uses ice magic against said thoughts*

You may not feel like writing is anything more than craft, but I aim to set a mood with my words, and this causes a lot of problems for the “craft” part. When I see wood and a hammer in my head, my word-mood turns carpenter, which might make things a bit…wooden. (sorry bad joke)

I want my prose to drop the reader from their perch straight into the storm that is my brain cells. I want them to try to beat me up after reading, or shake my hand, or pat my back whilst beating me up, or something along those lines because great art does that to me.

I usually throw a book with a great ending across the room.

Or I write a ravenous review of how I loved it but but but but, please fix me and write another!

As far as my own work, I don’t want them to say, “Nice structure.”

Pfft. Structure…? STRUCTURE! BAH! “Mittens are nice!” (Friends reference there for those of you…never mind)

I don’t want to set art up on the podium for a gold medal and then try to achieve that.

I’m not the only one who follows this logic either. Even going for gold can be a bit deceptive.

Recently, I watched gold medalist Gabriel Douglas’ documentary/reenactment of her life on Netflix. If you get the chance, see it.

Gymnastics is the epitome of discipline. There’s no one sport that forces body parts so intricately and demandingly. Your core has to be solid. You have to be able to run and lift. You yoga to remain elastic, but also stay hard as a rock. Then you have to be mentally stable, ready to compete in that moment at your peak—no full hour long game of chance or team sports going on here.

AND you also have to do all of this by the Olympic clock. You outgrow it after that clock stops ticking. Tick tock tick tock, little gymnasts all over the country are watching the calender years in advance. In some countries there are toddlers being primed. (weird countries but…)

Are you starting to feel like writing is easy compared? Good. You should.

In the documentary her coach said something epic about one of her skills. It was on the bars where she was having trouble and he said, “You are not releasing the bar and grabbing another. You are the bar. You are the skill.”

And that is so true.

I know this is a Miyagi moment, wax on-wax off. But in sports, psychology is HUGELY important.
And guess what? Writing is the same, yo.

miyagi2

When I competed as an equestrian, and I plan on it again, I always knew that I brought everything from my life to that point with me into the ring. In that ride, that certain movement represented my state of mind, my training, my past, and dictated my future.

The test movement was me. It was not some outside thing because I’d done it enough times correctly to know I had it in here. (taps chest) Finding it was the secret.

The test asked me questions. That was its job. Was I calm? Was I fierce? Was I nervous? Was I second guessing? Was I ready?

I was.
It was.
We were.

Art is exactly like this. Your art is you. It is not simply a distant thing floating on a tether,

YOU ALREADY HAVE IT INSIDE.

Wait.

That’s kind of important.

Say it with me.

MY ART IS ALREADY INSIDE OF ME.

Down side time.

When I shred the dialogue, and when I have a para missing in rhythm, the story, characterization, descriptive….. It’s painful. Because it’s me. Because it’s my past in there, my today on those certain days. And, it dictates my future. Not specifically, no, but it’s definitely a part of the fabric of my forward momentum in life.

Big stuff.

Scary stuff.

So why continue to write?

Because there’s good news too!

Gabby’s coach also said “Gymnastics is music”.

I wrote this almost exactly into my entire novel Gods of Anthem. The idea that life is an orchestra. You will see it spread out through an entire story, but it’s there, hidden, and the idea is a good one, I think.

Gymnastics is rhythm and flow with a final crescendo.

This is what art is to me, and why I continue to do it. Because the melody is here inside of me, and, though I make mistakes, it keeps flowing and wanting to be given shape.

My words, the novel, it has rhythm, not always accurate, but I see it there, each one I do gets better, flows more, peaks in the right spots.

But I’ve still got so many more songs to give. So much more chemistry to create.

So much more art to find.

I’m just writing until I reach the crescendo, friends.

L

Blank Document Braveheart > Pen to page. Think of the children.

braveheart-3

“It is our wits that make us men.” Braveheart

I was supposed to get on here and rant about characterizations, or even tell one of my stories since I have a good one.. but.

I’m in one of those moods again.

When I started this whole gig I didn’t call myself a writer. Even after being published the few times, I only dabbled. The label “Author” brings to mind the likes of Stephen King and not yours truly so I stuck with mumbling, “I write sometimes, yeah, sorta, no big deal.” And I still do.

Often times, I look in the mirror and ask myself questions. What? I get the best advice from that chatterbox on the other side. She is smarmy but talks long enough that eventually she says something of value.

My question: Why do I do this?

If I am a barely there writerish person who is not serious about it all then why put the pen to pad?

My mirror gal sat up a little straighter, dipped her quill a few times and said, Why not?

Now don’t get all soft on me. I’m not one of those people who gets all emotional about my writing (sniff). But if I were… Here is what I would say.

(Blurry story time with music)

The younger Logan walks into a bar. She spots a muscular mail man across the room.. Wait, nope, that’s the other blog. (backspace backspace backspace) Ok this Logan, the younger version who’s penned a few stories. She doesn’t think much of them, but her drunken Aunt raves about her talent and offers to pose for her cover.

Let’s look at the list so far: One slasher story, one guy murdering prostitutes after having them pretend to be his dead wife, and oh yes, the druggies who abducted a little girl, and the druggies who are stuck in a cabin, a few other stories that are even weirder, more druggies. (titters and shoves old pages beneath her keyboard)

She’d posted one of these onto an old site Logan prowled in her early writing debut. Checked back every once in a while for reviews… or that is to say every three seconds until comments popped up.

DING! She got one on the hook! Hurrah and the comments go:
“Hey there, Logan. Loved this, so interesting blah blah blah”

Her reply: “Thanks! Hermperderb I’m so flattered, omgerd.”

And then he said this: “Its three am here in Bagdad…”

___

And then, right then, it dawned on me—not at all. I answered back some kind of “ok thanks” and moved on never knowing how that one review planted a little seed in my barely writerish mind.

Over the years I’ve spoken about this art to people from all over the world, even having to use a translator a few times. And it all didn’t hit me until recently.

When I put a story onto the page, and it goes from here (taps my head) and through my hands onto the keyboard, it fills up the empty space on that little blinky white page, and it floats away from me into the universe.

It looks so ordinary. I look so ordinary. Just me and my fingers tapping away like a fat little pigeon (Mama from the train reference there).

And it’s alive.

“Every man dies, not every man truly lives.” Braveheart

It stretches its little legs and runs. Sometimes a little closer to home than I’d like but no matter the story makes its own way in the world.

So this dude overseas, tired, hungry, maybe even in a bad mood and for one moment, just one single teeny bit of time, maybe just maybe, I could give him an escape. My story lit his place on the other side of the planet. Glowing like a beacon, Read me!

What if I could make him smile or cheer on my hero? What if I could make him intrigued so that his stress and cares melted.. even for a while, away.

What about a gal fresh off a divorce, funeral, tax appointment right around my block? What if one of my jokes made her giggle at my silly character or shake her head ruefully at their argument? What about the guy who had stroke or put his dog to sleep? What if he clicked on my story next and thought my character had such an uplifting outlook, a fighting spirit, that against all odds he or she could really put it to this thing called life and so, so could he.

I found out my words were like a handshake. They stretched like a long arm across the continent, the seas, and firmly pressed into the palms of a perfect stranger.

They said “How you doin?” Ok for real though some of our stories are more like twerking in their kitchen, but either way it’s you. YOU! Not here. THERE! And them. For a while. That reader is all yours.

If you reach them in the sick ward, in the throes of anxiety, depression, joy, exhaustion, hyper, young, old, white, black, green, and pink.

You. Are. Part. of their world. For a short time…

AND…

That’s not just writing folks.

That’s freaking Braveheart.

L

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