Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I met Superman last weekend. True story.

I also met Princess Leia, Obi Wan Kenobi, Daenerys Targaryen, Batman, and The Joker (actually several of these). This list is by no means exhaustive of all of the characters I met. Just in case you're wondering, I didn't wake up in Fantasia, and no, I wasn't having a bad trip...I was at the Baltimore Comic-Con.

Nerds unite! It was really a blast. I'm actually now thinking about writing in Steve Rodgers when I vote during the next Presidential election. We need Captain America, you know? I've got his cabinet all lined up, too. Tony Stark could be Secretary of Defense. Matt Murdock for Attorney General. I'd say Bruce Banner for Press Secretary for the simple fact that it would give me a sick amusement to watch him rage out during a press conference, but that might not go over well. Instead, he gets to be Secretary of Energy.

I think I'm onto something here.

Back in High School, being a nerd wasn't nearly as fun.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Today I feel inspired. And exhausted.

Although writing is my first true love and life-long passion,  by day, I work as a therapist in a community mental health center. This is not only the job I have to pay the rent...I also really love it.

Today we had an art show for our clients who participate in the program. Each of the artists was able to display and/or sell their own unique works of art. I was amazed at how talented these individuals are. The show went well overall. I purchased a painting called "Lost." When speaking with the artist, she said that she painted this as a representation of one of her most frighting experiences. However, when I look at it it, I feel a sense of peaceful melancholy. I can imagine walking through a forest near sunset in late autumn, dried leaves crunching under my feet and the sting of cool air on my cheeks.

In so many ways, art transforms us. It transports us to another time, another place, another life. While the artist might intend to communicate fear and loneliness, the audience might perceive peace and connectedness. Neither is right, neither is wrong. It simply is.

There is such beauty in that.

I have no talent for drawing or painting or sculpture. I love words. I love knowledge. I am intensely curious about the world and the people and places in it. This is where my love of writing begins: with the question of "What if?"  That is also, in part, why I love being a therapist too. What if our lives really could be made better? What would happen if I made this choice over that choice? What would have happened to me if I had been born in another location, to another family, in another socioeconomic status? How would I have been different? Would I still be me? Am I the sum total of my experiences...or is who I am predetermined by an unknown, unseen, all-powerful force?

I love these questions. They get me going like just about nothing else can. When writing, these questions inspire my imagination and my mind takes flight. When I'm in a counseling session, these questions increase empathy and make me work really hard to help my client through their issues so that they can come out better on the other side.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

I have been sequel writing. Sequelling? I don't think that's a word. My debut novel, A Secret and a Kiss, follows the story of Carter Ellis, the youngest of the Ellis brothers. I included a lot of his history and really tried to humanize the characters. My current work-in-progress is the story of the eldest brother, Warner, who is a tormented soul. In this post, I'm going to include a sneak peak. Here goes:

                A scream of pain and fear pierced the stillness of the night. Footsteps scurried across the room to the bed where the woman lay covered in sweat, panting, straining against her burden. A cloth was pressed to her brow to wipe away the moisture that was streaming towards her eyes. Nothing would take away her terror.
                Warner Ellis stood by the window in the study, on the ground floor of the house, below the bedroom where his wife fought for her life, looking out at the lightning that flashed in the distance. A distant portent to the storm that lay ahead for his wife who lay dying from childbirth in the rooms above him. In his hand, he held a snifter of brandy barely touched. He poured it thinking the burn of the amber brew would quiet the ghosts that whispered in his ear.
                He had lived this night before.
                Nearly thirty years had passed since he heard these screams, save for in his dreams. As a young lad of six he was woken in the darkness of night as his mother struggled to bring her youngest child into this world. He stayed in bed as long as he could bear, praying for silence and the end of her pain. He had cursed himself a thousand times for not being more clear with his request to his maker. The silence that followed would change his life forever.
                Young Warner heard the sound of his father’s footsteps rushing up the stairs. The woman attending his mother tried to stay his father, but Joshua Ellis would not be kept from the woman he loved. He heard the panicked tone of his father’s voice, but would never know the words that were said. His mother was beyond comprehension by then, so far into her labors was she in that moment. She groaned, she cried out in the night.
                Silence, followed by hushed voices. Warner crawled out of his bed and padded slowly down the hallway. The door to his parent’s chamber was ajar. Warner pushed it open enough to poke his head around the edge of the doorway.
                His mother was lying in bed, the bed sheets covered in blood. Her face was sunken, the blue vessels under her skin standing in stark contrast to the paleness of her skin. Her dark hair was tangled and stringy, her hand limply held that of her husband, who knelt beside her bed with tears streaming down his face.
                “Joshua, you have a beautiful son.”
                “My wife…save my wife,” Joshua had said. “Martha, stay with me, love.”
                Warner heard the rattle begin in her lungs as she struggled to draw breath. He heard the denial slip from his father’s lips as he fought to keep her spirit within her body. He saw the blood spread even further across the expanse of the bed and smelled the sweet metallic scent of it fill the room. Behind him, he heard the soft crying of his baby brother.
                “Joshua,” Martha said in a whisper. “His name is Carter. Love him, anyway.”

I'm thinking I'm off to a fairly good start.