Time, Life, and Death

2014-02-17-20-10-53

Forgive my discursive proclivities, I’m a bit peculiar like that but I felt inclined to share a thought about the timing of life and death.

Before I continue, allow me to apologize for my extended absence as I have endured a rather tumultuous year that has included life-changing circumstances, writing a new novel, fielding rejections for other novels, releasing 3 more novels independently, continued revisions on another project…all while juggling a new job after being laid-off, a plethora of overtime hours to meet my financial obligations…made more difficult by a substantial pay cut, and maximizing visitation time with my children.

For the most part, I’m grateful for the love and support of my family, the presence of my children, and friendships that offer more than I could have ever hoped for as I re-emerge from the shadows of change and take another step towards realizing my dream.

Having said that, let us proceed.

I’m traveling back in time for a moment…you know, in Middle-Earth.

After successfully defending Helm’s Deep, while the company sleeps prior to our journey to Isengard, I’m taking a step back in time to where it all began for Mr Baggins.

Mr. Bilbo Baggins, to be precise… when Gandalf and a group of Dwarfs arrived at his door to sweep him away on the adventure that ultimately intertwined his fate with The Ring.

I should confess that I originally began reading The Hobbit several years ago, but for some reason, I just wasn’t feeling it, and each time I lingered into Middle-Earth, I set it aside to focus on my responsibilities and on my own writing. Yet now, I’m starting all over again and am thoroughly enjoying it!

Which brings me to my reason for this post.

Sometimes, when it comes to books, or movies, or food or beverage or friendships/relationships or even faith… there are instances when we’re just not feeling it, and in most cases, we never do.

But on a few rare occasions, we re-visit that book, that movie, that meal, that drink, that friendship or potential relationship or even that religion that we originally felt drawn to, but weren’t inclined to be open to the possibilities it offered us.

We cross paths again with these things and suddenly see them in a whole new light. We feel something that helps us understand why we were drawn to them in the first place.

In a universe filled with ambiguity, tis’ rare when an imagination, a book, a meal/beverage, palette, a man and a woman find that harmony, that happiness that they fall into naturally.

Nine years ago, I wasn’t much of a reader of fiction. Then I read one book…Harry Potter, and that changed everything for me because now it is rare to see a book escape my grasp, lest it escapes my wallet!!! 🙂

In conclusion…in life…the laws of physics, as we understand them, do not permit us to leap back and forth along the space/time continuum, to go back and do things differently. I dare say that’s for the best, because we might never learn anything if we could undo our past decisions.

So take life one-day-@-a-time, but make the most of each day, because: KAL HO NAA HO…Tomorrow is NOT promised!!!

Be open and receptive of what life brings you, and appreciate each moment, because it could have gone to someone else. Open a book, if you feel like it, and be okay with going back to it when tomorrow arrives. Be open to a new delicacy or beverage-so long as it’s prepared adequately for consumption-and entertain an interesting conversation with someone whom you feel a connection or chemistry with.

Make the most of your time, remember to say “I love you,” or “I am sorry,” and mean it!

Trust that what has been brought to you was done so because someone, somewhere, felt you were ready for it!!!

It’s never to late to fall into a novel, and go “back in time” to enjoy an adventure. It’s never too late to fall in Love and be happy. Experience life, because it’s the one thing that gives death any real meaning.

“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.” ~Isaac Asimov

Dream A Little Dream

2014-01-08-15-06-46

To find clarity, sometimes, you must close your eyes, cease from looking outward and instead search through the valleys of your soul.

That’s what I did.

I stepped off my virtual soapbox to reflect. It wasn’t something that I told myself I wanted to do or needed to do, I just did it because it felt right. You know, kind of like when you’ve had a long hard day you know there are projects that remain incomplete and need to be finished, but you can’t help lying down for a moment to close your eyes. You don’t tell yourself you want to sleep; you don’t acknowledge that you need to sleep but lying there on that comforter, your face against the coolness of your pillow simply feels right and you wander into the realm of dreams.

That’s what I did.

After hundreds of rejection letters, after countless revisions to my manuscripts, after reading and reading and reading and reading… I realized that I needed to get back to basics. I needed to do what felt right…I needed to lose myself in a dream.

That’s what I did.

Poetic is what I’ve always been, romantic is how I’ve often loved… creatively is how I conjured up the perfect storm of myth and imagination, but instead of waiting for the storm to pass, I danced in the rain.

I wrote. I wrote from the heart. I imagined the most beautiful tragedy and wandered through it with words…my emotions and my creativity as my guides. I was enchanted by the idea of the perfect passion, enraptured by the emotional high that is ignited by an infatuation, and then I wallowed in the misery where I often found comfort as a writer, as a poet.

They say that the heart has reasons for which reason cannot understand, and I did this for no reason, other than it simply felt right! These past few years felt like the best moments in my life to write the stories I have written.

Why?

Perhaps I was shedding the skin of my former self to undergo my own out-of-body experience and reconnect with the side of myself that initially inspired my writing twenty-seven years ago. Perhaps I needed to get back to what I know as a man in order to push beyond the boundaries of what I know as a writer, to elevate myself to another level.

I allowed my blood to boil then felt it rush into my heart, heated passion overwhelming my ability to love in order to break my own heart and bleed out my intensely romantic feelings. I thought not of style, or format…I didn’t concern myself with prose or punctuation. I simply indulged in the moment of sentimental fiction where my dreams came true and I found clarity.

As you may recall in my blog post titled: Inner Voice, I wrote: “The universe talks to you and you’ll hear what it’s saying if you’re willing to listen.” I mention this because here I am today, sharing with you my thoughts as I prepare to get back on the horse and pursue my dream. I stopped momentarily to read, and once again it feels as though the universe is talking to me!

Was it a coincidence that I went to the library and checked out the book, The Process of Writing Fiction: From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler, edited and with an introduction by Janet Burroway?

What are the odds that I find the following passage only minutes after I typed that “I found clarity”…?

Jane Burroway wrote the following words in the introduction to the book:

“…it is the imagination that must be a strong and supple instrument, ready to lead the reader through moment-by-moment sensual experience. And it is in the realm of the unconscious rather than that of technique or intellect that the writer seeks fictional truth.”

Here I am now, as the pages of winter turn towards spring. I am awake from that little nap, that beautiful dream and preparing to step through the threshold of another portal. One that will send me several centuries into the past where I will once again journey through another adventure, chasing destiny while fleeing from demons. Flying on a magic carpet from Mesopotamia to Ancient India traversing through wormholes into the outer regions of space.

I will write another story. I will live another life. I will invite you to fall in love with my imaginary friends and ask of you, only one thing. Dream a little dream with me.

“The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don’t know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened.” ~Unknown Author

Inspired Passion

 

2013-12-06-15-05-17

I know I’m not crazy!

People often ask me what inspired me to write my novels, and at the heart of the equation, the answer lies within the question. I was inspired!

One summer day, twelve years ago, the concept of a story first came to me as I sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic and gazed up at the heavens. Enormous, white clouds that resembled floating cities gleamed in the sunlight amid the bright blue sky. I can still recall the precise moment when I asked myself the all-important what if question: “What if aliens had indeed come to Earth during ancient times? What if they’ve been returning periodically ever since to check on our evolutionary progress?”

But then, the what if of all what ifs bubbled to the surface of my creative stew, the one that pretty much sealed the deal and spurned me on the journey that changed me as a writer. The decisive first step that contributed to my own evolution and spiritual growth came when I asked, “What if there was an element of truth in all of the worlds religions/mythologies? What if there was a way to piece together their most important moments, chronologically in order reveal the truth behind—not only—our forgotten past, but our place in the universe?”

When the ingredients of these what ifs began to melt into each other I realized that perhaps I could recount history with a twist. Here was my one chance to fuse together two topics that stirred my curious nature in ways nothing else did: religion and science, creation and evolution, the beginning and the end.

I’ve always believed in God (at least as far back as I can recall), however I’ve always felt there was more to our existence than what I had learned in Sunday school. What I’m trying to say is that I always knew there was more to the story!

Believe it or not, but based on the teachings from certain churches my mother had us attend when we were kids, I was under the impression that everyone who did not believe in Christ as their Lord and Savior was doomed to an “eternity in hell!”

Yes, you read that correctly.

I vividly recall being at the grocery story with my mother when I was thirteen and I suddenly thought about my baby brother (only a few weeks old at the time), and I said to my mother that we needed to get him baptized as soon as possible, that he needed to be “saved” to ensure that regardless of what happened to him, he’d be guaranteed a spot in heaven. I was genuinely afraid that he remained “unprotected” by the grace of God, but that was the “truth” that had been drilled into my mind. As I matured, I began to wonder about the numerous generations of humans that lived before the time of Christ and the many more that have lived since the first millennium, and I wondered whether they too were doomed to eternal damnation as believers of other faiths.

Then something happened. I eventually began to ask questions. My inner nature emerged and my curiosity got the best of me. I’d sit on my front lawn as a teenager and stare at the heavens. In the middle of August, the nights smelled of summer and the sounds of crickets echoed in the air. I’d connect the dots of the constellations and wondered, what else is out there? Are there other planets capable of sustaining life, as we know it? Could there in fact be life on those other planets and their moons? How close, or distant are they?

Concurrently, other questions rose to the surface of my consciousness. Questions that revolved around telepathy, telekinesis, ghosts, angels, demons, science fiction vs science fact, the spirit/soul hidden within us… the concept of heaven, hell, wizards/witches and how all of these things have somehow weaved together our vast history and our collective existence.

When I decided to piece together this jigsaw puzzle that is the human condition, I realized I had to do some research (a lot of it) and that’s where the real fun began.

My thirst for spiritual understanding, coupled with history as one of my favorite subjects I easily immersed myself in the oceans of our past. I swam through the pages of history, through volumes of ancient cultures and drowned myself in the depths of world mythologies/religions in a way I had no idea was humanly possible.

The deeper I delved, the further back in time I traveled, the more I learned, and suddenly, a story that was supposed to begin with the mythological themes of ancient Greece and Rome began to reach beyond the times of Egypt into the eras of Ancient India and Mesopotamia.

I certainly could have fed my curiosity sooner and with greater satisfaction had I taken up an interest in reading when I was younger, but I was a late bloomer when it came to appreciating the value of books.

Instead I had enjoyed the numerous documentaries on the Discovery and History channels. Though I continue to thoroughly appreciate the informative programs that fuel the speculation of what gnaws at our need-to-know, while carefully pulling back the veil of our secrets just enough to keep us guessing, at least now I am able to differentiate between the speculative fiction and the informative fact.

Still, my creative juices continue to be stirred, inspired, and seasoned with tiny bits of information I didn’t know, while I’m reminded of things that I already learned but had merely forgotten. And that is one of the things that has fueled my drive, the hope that readers will read my stories and say to themselves, “Wow, I did not know that!” or “I remember hearing something about that, but in the context of this story, it is awesome!”

I believe that will happen because as I researched the earliest accounts of human history that were inscribed on stone tablets that could be deemed “as-old-as-dirt,” I realized that most of what I learned in Sunday school was a burrowed past.

The story of Noah and the Great Flood essentially predates the Bible itself. The story of Moses placed in a basket along a great river of the ancient world (the Nile) to be discovered near a palace and raised by the royal family was a legend that had been around for generations as the story of Sargon the Great.

(An infant placed in a reed basket on a great river of the ancient world—the Euphrates—found by a gardener of the royal palace and raised within the palace walls). Coincidentally, they were both of Semitic origin and both altered the history of their peoples.

During my journey into the past—by way of history books and encyclopedias—I discovered that religions had existed long before the dawn of Christianity, and that much of the symbolism by way of images, traditions and events had also been borrowed. Additionally, it became clear that despite Christianity’s emergence as a prominent faith, the already established religions had a much greater understanding of our universe than we could have ever imagined.

When I approached priest after priest about the origins of God, I never received an answer that satisfied my curiosity. The idea that God “has always been,” did not suffice. Even at the tender age of ten. So imagine my enthusiasm when I began to piece together the jigsaw puzzle of human thought by way of gathered knowledge and teachings that dated back several centuries, millennia, even!

Some contradicted or mirrored others, most completely went against the grain of what I had been taught in Church, but there was a recurring theme that resonated among them all, besides the poetic descriptions of The Beginning. You name it, from the mythologies of Sumer, Egypt, China, Greece, Rome, Meso-America, the Celts, Native America, Polynesia, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and later Christianity/Islam by extension there in-fact was a beginning that inspired great storytelling!

A union of powerful and important entities: gods and goddesses, male and female, light and dark, water and wind, space and time…all of these wonderful legends (with the exception being the obvious) there was the understanding that everything was cyclical. The universe was born and reborn based on a timeline much greater than the concept of time we currently view the world. Instead of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, etc. these other traditions viewed the universe in terms of eons!

What I have found to be even more fascinating, thanks in part to my growing interest in physics, is how science has begun to help us unravel some of these hidden secrets, much in the same way that: Newton, Copernicus, Galileo, Giordano Bruno, Georges Lemaitre and Einstein have done in centuries past.

Side note: It is my understanding that the Catholic Church has yet to offer an official apology to Giordano Bruno after burning him at the stake for his “crimes against the Church,” of which included: the support of the Copernican theory that the Earth nor the Sun were at the center of the universe as had once been thought, adding to it that the stars we see at night are similar to our own sun, the plurality of worlds and the idea of an infinite universe, along with his approach to mathematics and his application of the spatial paradigms of geometry to language.

And yes, while his free-thinking did lead him to question the validity of Jesus as God, it is a shame that now, in an era where such a view is no longer considered “heresy” in the way it once was, it’s a shame that he remains condemned by a Church that claims forgiveness of all souls shall be decided upon by God.

Yet Galileo, who also supported Copernicus’ view of celestial objects and was also tried by the Inquisition, did receive—after 350 years—an official apology from the Vatican. Yet he was merely forced to recant and remained on house arrest for the rest of his days, not burned at the stake.

Hmm….

Regardless of the inner conflict that continues within me, I remain passionate about learning as much as I can, about achieving a greater understanding of the universe (or multiverse) in which we live, and about my place in the sea of space and time. This passion fills my soul with an enthusiasm to share what I have learned and the excitement spills over onto my keyboard and subsequently onto the pages of my stories!

I write because I am inspired: inspired to be more than I am, more than some would say I am meant to be. I am inspired because the memories of our ancestors have inspired us all to contemplate our place and our purpose. I write because my soul wants to do nothing else (save for being a good father).

Despite sometimes finding myself in the swamp of writers block, I tend to stumble upon a word, a sentence, or an important piece of information that reignites the flame of passion that burns in the hearth of my heart.

Am I taking a chance here, trying to merge science fiction with science fact, aliens with gods, demons with angels, wizards with wormholes, the physical with the metaphysical? You bet your sweet-@$$ I am, but it’s a chance I feel with every fiber of my being that I MUST take, because even when I felt the overwhelming burden of bottle-neck of information that once led me to consider giving up because perhaps I was taking on a project that was “too ambitious,” I realized I could not give up!

A voice screamed at me from the inner universe of my mind, perhaps it was the universe talking to me, telling me that I am destined to write these novels and complete each series that I have launched. A feeling tugged at my soul and guided me to my laptop, and the libraries, and gave me the energy to swim through the sea of scientific wonder and into the depths of human history.

Despite sometimes only getting four hours of sleep, and twelve hour shifts while trying to balance life and time with my children…I am unable to cease from formulating story ideas.

I LOVE IT!

I feel fortunate to have been chosen by God (or the universe) to be the one inspired to write my stories. I am filled with ideas and struggling to keep the candle of hope lit.

But something within fuels my ambition to be a part of something more, to leave my mark on this world and hopefully leave the world a better place than I was born into.

How many people can actually say that and sincerely mean it?

That doesn’t make me crazy, does it?

I’m not crazy. Truly, I’m not.

Well, maybe just a little. 😉

“Some people hear their own inner voices with great clarity and they live by what they hear. Such people become crazy…or they become legend.”

~Jim Harrison