Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Drought

This could be fast approaching a record period of inactivity for me. I actually can't remember the last time I wrote anything besides these usually lame and inconspicuous blog posts. I'm wondering this morning if I should be worried about this dry spell. Should I fret over my lack of creativity, or more accurately my lack of desire to be creative? Should I force myself, discipline myself so that inspiration has an illuminated pathway down which to run?

Nah. It'll happen when it happens. I just can't write at the moment. Can't find the time and I don't want to find the time. I've got other things on my mind, and I'm through with beating myself up about what I should and shouldn't do.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Inspiration V Discipline

I'm reading (sounds just like yesterday's post) a book about marriage by an artist, named Thomas Kinkade, who uses numerous painting analogies to describe what he and his co author wife call the many loves of marriage. In the book, Kinkade speaks about inspiration and how as a family man, he cannot afford to just sit around and wait for it. He goes to work at 9am everyday and paints, whether he feels like it or not. He disciplines himself and maintains a routine to put himself in a position where inspiration may strike. He says it does.

As a fellow creative person, a writer, I have not had the same experience as Kinkade. I cannot discipline myself to write. I don't have time. I have a job and other commitments. I don't earn a living from writing.

How about you? Where do you stand in the inspiration versus discipline debate? Thomas Edison reportedly said that genius was only one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration. What's your view?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Skill of good writing

I'm currently reading Debris by Jo Anderton and I am loving it. I don't know whether it is set in the future or on some other world. I presume future but it doesn't matter. Some science fiction fantasy stories are literally and metaphorically off the planet, while others manage to maintain strong links with what is relateable. You'll have to wait for my review, which will be glowing, but one clever thing I noticed Anderton had done in Debris was to change the name for a few everyday things like money and days and weeks. Money, for example, is referred to to as 'kopacks'. This subtle change, I came to realize, had the effect of making the setting for the novel both strange and familiar at the same time. I think that's very clever.

Debris by Jo Anderton

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Get over it

In life, the hardest fight we will ever have is with our own feelings. 

Star Trek: The Next Generation is my favourite science fiction series, and Data (played by Brent Spiner) is my favourite character. Data is an android and consequently has no feelings, until his 'brother', Lore gives him an emotion chip. Switching on the chip is initially more than Data can handle due to the intensity of the emotions. His pleasure at being disgusted by a new drink he tries is humourous, but the paralysing terror he feels in a dangerous situation jeopardises his own safety and that of his Enterprise crew mates. He cannot control his feelings so he decides to deactivate the chip.

How good would it be to have an emotion chip which you could simply switch off? How many times have you been told to get over something, and been angered by the suggestion because it belittled your feelings, and because it made the erroneous assumption that you could merely flick a switch and the feelings would go away? If only it were that easy.

Data eventually learned to control his feelings, but not, as the Vulcans do, by suppressing them, and not by ignoring them, nor by deactivating his emotion chip whenever things became to much for him. Data mastered his feelings, both the pleasurable and the painful, and allowed them to enrich his life. As excruciating as they sometimes are, would you really want to be without your feelings? Would you really prefer to be heartless? Think of what you would miss out on...ecstasy, intimacy, warmth, love and joy.

A battle rages between our hearts and minds, between what we think and how we feel. This is the human experience.We must endure suffering to enjoy pleasure. We must spend some time in the dark to appreciate the light. We must know brokenness before embracing healing.

I would love to be able to flick a switch and shut down my feelings sometimes, but I can't. And so I fight on in the space between what is and what I want to be, between the way things are and they way they should be. Much of what happens to us is beyond our control, as are our feelings about what happens to us. We are not androids or Vulcans. We are fragile humans created in the image of a God who understands exactly what it means to truly suffer.


read more about Data
Top Ten Data episodes

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pretty Impressed

I finished the penultimate assignment of my Masters degree yesterday. Surprisingly, I powered through it despite a few false starts, and the previously mentioned army of distractions arrayed against me. The last one will be more difficult, but I have eight days to do it and I am already thinking beyond it to the joy of completion. How will I celebrate? Oh, I have a few ideas. (Smiley face)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Can't help hoping

I received an invitation to a literary awards ceremony. I have a short story under consideration for the award, and although I know all the entrants will have been invited, I couldn't help thrilling, yes thrilling in my heart when I received the invitation. I've won! I said to myself, I've won! Money and prestige. Now I am somebody. Now people will look for my books, and buy them, and read them and love them.

I'm such a hopeless romantic. The ceremony is a month away. You will forget all about it, but I won't. I just can't help hoping...how about you. Are a dreamer?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Naughty Boy

On the same day that I finished my friend adding campaign on Goodreads -the one in which I added all the people who had marked Ashmore Grief 'to read' and offered them a free copy in exchange for a review-the admin team at Goodreads sent me an email telling me that I was guilty of spamming and could I please refrain.

That means that some of the people to whom I sent a harmless little request based on the fact that they had indicated they were interested in reading Ashmore Grief, reported me. They dobbed me in. Complained about me. No free copies for them then!

To date a dozen people have accepted a free copy of Ashmore Grief, and I have received one 4 star review already. Was it worth being called a naughty boy? Yes.

Thumbs up to those who accepted. Two thumbs down to those who complained. When have you gotten into a trouble for something which you thought was unjustified?