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Don’t Give Up…

Of all the games it could have been, I would never have expected it to be Pokémon. I expect this from Final Fantasy. I get twinges of it from DragonQuest. But Pokémon… it’s a kid’s game, and in the Mystery Dungeon spin-offs, that intended audience shows.

I’m a grown-ass woman. Old enough to not answer that question when people ask my age. Old enough that no one would blame me if I lied. I’m so far out of the intended audience that I’m surprised I can actually get into these things. But I can, and I do, because the games transcend their audience.

Case in point, me.

Don’t give up…

I’m a grown-ass woman who’s broken inside. You can’t see it, but I carry a weight that drives me into the ground more often than not, to the point that some days it’s all I can do to get out of bed. Depression, attention deficit, anxiety… and probably other conditions I don’t even know about yet, burdens I carry but don’t even have names to identify them.

Some days, just having to open my eyes in the morning nearly kills me with despair.

Don’t give up…

So I turn to games, and stories. I write and I try to imagine for a little bit what it could be like if I didn’t have to fight this endless battle. I’m tired. I’m weak. I’ll never win because there is no winning. Success is making it another day.

And in the back of my head, the burden I carry whispers things to me. Horrible things. Painful things. All my mistakes, all my weaknesses, everything I cannot do but I’m told that I should do them… all the ways I fall short of what “normal” people do. I hear it whispering, telling me to just give up already. I cannot win.

Don’t give up…

Which is why this game won’t let me go. Why this game has broken into my heart and settled in for life. Because whether they intended it or not, the creators made something that speaks to me, and to those like me, far more powerfully than it ever could to the intended audience. Because I have the burdens, and the scars, of a long battle that has no end. Because I know what it’s like to fight something that cannot be destroyed, only accepted.

And now I don’t just hear the voice of my burden, the voice of the illness that stands ready to take my life if I falter. Now I hear the voice of every Pokémon I’ve ever met through the games, every Pokémon I’ve ever trained through the hands of Trainer Characters. I hear them and through them I hear the voices of the friends I’ve made online.

Don’t give up…

And so I stumble back to my feet to strike again at the darkness that burdens me. And it’s because of a game, one I never expected this from. I won’t give up. I can’t give up. Because it’s not just a game to me.  Not anymore. Not since I became a Pokémon and stepped into the world of the Mystery Dungeons.

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On Writing, Fanfiction, and Me

I’ve been thinking a lot about fanfiction of late.  A post linked through a Facebook group that I follow pointed out some of the hazards of writers of fanfiction transitioning into the realm of Original Fiction and it’s caused something of a crisis in my mind and conscience.

You see, I write fanfiction.

I used to write more of it, to be honest.  When I discovered that it was, in fact, a Thing, I dove into writing fanfiction and offering it up on the Internet as fast as I could write.  Of course, I was in college at the time and the Internet was a very different thing back in the mid to late 90’s.  In point of fact, for the role playing game Changeling: the Dreaming, by White Wolf (this was the original version, not the later one), if a site was hosting fanfiction for the game, chances were, my story “Account of a Chrysalis” was on their list of works hosted.

I like to think that “Account of a Chrysalis” was the most popular fanfiction piece on the Internet at the time.  I may or may not be biased in that belief since not much remains of that early Internet.

The issue comes in when I make the transition to Original Fiction.

See, fanfiction, obviously, isn’t marketable in the same way that Original Fiction is.  It’s not valued the same way even though the very same skills are needed in order to write it.  Fanfiction is derivative and suspect, though that might be related to the fact that it’s been largely the writing form of women in the past decades instead of the, more respected, forms of fanfiction that were common long ago.  Let’s just say that Shakespeare could never find an original plot to save his life and the sheer mass of Biblical fanart floating around as the work of the Masters is astounding.

Still, a lot of my storytelling has its origin in fanfiction and that worries me.  I worry about the line between “inspired by” and “derived from”.  “Account of a Chrysalis” has yet to make the transition, but it’s sequel, “Cityscape” does, in fact, exist within the Grizzyverse under the name FaerieEarth: Ever Faithful and I hope one day to finish the edits on it so that I can make it publicly available and maybe sell some books.

Castellan Dreams, currently being made available here, also has it’s origin in fanfiction, though in the case of Castellan Dreams, it’s a much different situation.  Taking “Cityscape” into the realm of Original Fiction was a matter of reconfiguring the world on which it was set, the foundations for magic (which is something I still haven’t completed), and just rewriting to add a lot of detail and development.  The plot and the characters were already my own due to the nature of being formed from a role playing game.  The source material for Castellan Dreams, though, was a fanfiction tale called “A Traveler in a Strange World“, which was my retelling of Final Fantasy XII, with the addition of an original character, an old Mary Sue I’d had in the back of my mind since I was nineteen, Goldeneyes Dreamsail.

Taking that story into the realm of Original Fiction is a much bigger project.

In my own defense, though, I should note that the original text of “A Traveler in a Strange World” covered all the current material of Castellan Dreams, at least so far, within the first chapter and a half, maybe the first two or three chapters.  And the whole of the material I’m having to rework from the manuscript of 2007 to 2009 comprises maybe the first half dozen or so chapters.  And I wasn’t even halfway through my original outline when I set it aside.

In taking the tale into the realm of Original Fiction I had to rename and reconfigure the world and map, revise all the races, and rework the characters.  I also started to go into a LOT more detail of the development of the various threats.  It is now to the point that the relationship between Castellan Dreams and “A Traveler in a Strange World” is the same as the relationship between Final Fantasy XII and Star Wars. (Seriously.  Balthier = Han, Vaan = Luke, Basch = Obi Wan, Bahamut = Death Star, etc; just try and tell me that I’m wrong.)

I believe in fanfiction.  I love the feel of audience participation, the idea that a work can so affect someone that they feel the drive to be part of it, somehow.  I respect the fact that writing fanfiction, especially writing it well, involves all the skills of writing Original Fiction and then some, because some aspects are not of the fan writer’s creation.  Thus is the nature of the artform.

But I do worry about weaving in enough original development in altering a story.  Perhaps it is enough to realize that I worry because I care about the integrity of the craft.  And integrity matters to me.

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How Firm a Foundation, Really?

Growing up Mormon, I remember a song we used to sing. Our faith was based on the firm foundation of Divine Inspiration, upon a Bible and the teachings of modern day prophets sent by God to tell us what God wanted us to know, to tell us how to live our lives, where we were to find meaning and purpose, who we were and what we were supposed to be.

How firm is that foundation, really?

Untold millions of Christians, each and every day, live out their lives secure in teachings that predicate their entire existence upon the inerrancy of the Bible, upon the virtue of their teachers, upon the God-given nature of what they are told to be, what they are instructed to believe, what their purpose and meaning is supposed to be.

Is that really the Rock that Jesus told Peter to build his faith upon?

There are Christians who will openly say that if the Earth is not *exactly* six thousand years young, according to the calculations given to them by their specific preacher then the whole of the Bible is false and life, the universe, and everything is completely without meaning or purpose.

So how certain is a given person’s faith? How firm is the foundation upon which that person has built their house? Will it truly stand when the rains come and the winds blow and all the power of creation bears down upon it?

I can’t answer for everyone and I’m not even going to try. I can only answer for myself.

I have no preacher who stands up between me and Heaven to interpret Scripture for me. I do my own reading and interpreting, though there are some I listen to because they have researched things that I have not. I do not, though, view them as having any more “authority” than I do.

I no longer believe that the role of a Prophet is to stand up in leadership of anything. Prophets, I believe, are to be the “voice crying from the wilderness”, the ones keeping the leadership honest by reminding them of their failings and pointing out for the world to see when the Emperor has no clothes. I have no “divinely inspired” leadership to tell me what God intends for my life to be, or my purpose either.

I do not need for the Biblical Record to be a historically accurate description of the Creation of the world. The world exists. It had a beginning. If the Creation Story is just that, a story created by human beings to explain how we came into being and why things are messed the hell up, then I’m okay with that.

I call myself a Christian and I hold quite closely to the person of Jesus, the Divine Being who thought so highly of this world and the experience of living that he incarnated himself as the son of a woman who was betrothed to a man but not yet his wife, who came to Earth and reduced himself to the stature of one of his creations so that he could feel the wind on his face and the coolness of water running through his hands, who loved the marginalized and the oppressed so much that he allowed himself to be murdered by a government that was threatened by a message that the meek and the lowly are just as valuable to Heaven as they were, a message of empowerment to those who were disenfranchised…

I love my Jesus and I love the message of his story. I take his name upon myself in gladness because I want to be like Jesus, like the Jesus that I understand him to be. Lord knows I’m not perfect and I never will be. But I don’t have to be, either.

My faith is based on something far stronger than any human being.

As much as I love Jesus and I love his message, if it were revealed tomorrow that none of it was true, if incontrovertible proof was revealed that a cabal of men in the first century sat around and invented the whole of it out of their imaginations… what would I lose?

While Christians the world over would be losing their faith, their minds, their purpose and meaning to a very real despair, I would lose… precisely nothing. My faith doesn’t depend on a book being fact.

What matters to me is that this life, this existence, is fundamentally important and valuable and to be cherished. What matters to me is that the marginalized and oppressed have value and deserve to be lifted up, to be respected and accepted for no other reason than they are human beings and human beings are worthy of respect and acceptance.

The notion that something created out of human imagination informs and inspires me to be a better person tomorrow than I am today… is not something I find threatening in the least. I already know this feeling, this inspiration and I find it an old friend when I have nothing else in the darkness. It matters nothing to me if the Jesus I reached out to as a child in terror of Eternity swirling about my feet as a gaping maelstrom is simply a figment of someone’s imagination. I have reached out to figments of human imagination for decades now and been no worse for it.

The Creator God of Pokémon, who came down to tell all sentient beings to work together and to be friends while respecting individual gifts and abilities; a family of misfits on a Firefly-class spaceship just trying to survive in the skies that no one can take from them; wolf-blooded elves struggling to survive in a world that isn’t really their own and yet they made it their own all the same; a mad man in a blue box; all these give me hope and direction and connection to other human beings through a shared belief system informed by tales and experiences created out of the human imagination.

I lose nothing. My faith does not need the Bible to be accurate because I already know that the essence of the story it tells, the way human beings reach for the divine within and without themselves, the way I want to be a better person tomorrow than I am today… these things are True in every way that actually matters.

My faith is built on a foundation of Truth that transcends mere accuracy. I find it to be a very firm foundation to be certain.

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What Future is this?

So I’m not really very good at looking forward.  I will readily admit that in some ways, my ability to see things is rather desperately broken.  I look back and I see all the foul-ups and broken dreams and promises that I’d made to myself, all the ways that I fall so short of where I feel that I should be that it is just too damn painful to try to look forward at a future that I’m not sure I can believe in.

But it kinda startles the hell outta me when I realize that even if I don’t believe in myself, others do.

In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I had something of a crisis of faith.  I realized that I had no faith in myself, no faith in my ability to change.  I wrote up a whole long post about it, in fact, that never really saw the light of day because I wasn’t certain what to do with it.  There was no hope to be found in that work, no light at the end of that tunnel.

And yet… and yet the Magic, as Sara Crewe once said, was real.  The Magic that wouldn’t let the worst things ever quite happen.  Something beautiful happened in the wilderness of the Internet, something so completely unexpected and wondrous that it still makes my heart skip thinking about it.

I may not have any faith in myself, but I believe in others.  I believe in the drive that people have to want to help those they care about, those they know somehow.  I believe that people see so much pain and anguish around them that they are helpless to affect that when something comes up that they can help, they fall over themselves to do so.

It’s not that people don’t care anymore.  It’s that there’s so much wrong that people don’t know where to start and that helplessness eats away at them.  It shows up time and again.  People want to help, they just don’t know how anymore.

And it’s the most humbling experience in the world to realize that people really care that much for me.

Thanksgiving and Christmas, this past year, became my own celebration of a healing that has not yet occurred.  I am not yet out of this metaphorical winter of mine, but the promise of spring has been made.  The Magic is real.

And so I look forward into a year that I cannot see.  I don’t know what to hope for, what to resolve to accomplish, because I don’t know what, if anything I can truly manage when simply getting dressed is more than I can do most days.

A year ago I began the current revision of the Castellan Dreams tale.  I went back to the original, incomplete draft that I’d abandoned in 2009, when everything in my life began to fall apart around me, and decided to let the story go where it was going to go.  I’m stuck halfway through the third story arc and not even halfway through the original draft, but I’m making progress.

I finally went through and compiled the chapters of the first Story Arc into one document and I’m in the revision phase to take it to e-book.  It’s something that I’d like to do with all the Story Arcs as I’m able to complete them.  Eventually I want to see actual physical books and it might be that my best option is to self-publish through one of the many options available to writers because of the technological advances of the recent decades.

I don’t know that I’ll ever be “mainstream”, but I also don’t know that I really need to be, either.

So here’s a toast to 2015, may it be my best year yet, though that isn’t a real high bar to meet.

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Christmas is…

Christmas is because of the season.

Christmas is our cultural expression of an age old celebration, no matter what any given culture might call it.

Christmas is Light and Life and Love.

Christmas is standing up to the darkness and glaring back at it.  Humanity rising as a whole to tell the shadow that it has no victory, that the cold and the snow will not last forever.  It is the power of the human will looking death in the face and shouting that we will not go gently into an endless night, that Spring will come again.  The Seasons will turn and return and bring the Sun back into the skies and with that Light the life of growing things.

For the Christian who celebrates the birth of the Son of God in this season, that birth is all these things and more.  But belief in that birth is not necessary for Christmas.

The Season is the Reason that Christmas is.

So for all those dealing with the ravages of Winter, both literal and metaphorical, for all those of us who look forward to a healing that has not yet come, this is Our Season and Our Celebration.  Let us honor it with the love and support of those who wish us best, with gifts and all the sweet things we crave so much.

Come shout back at the night with me.

Christmas is.

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It’s changing us…

I love ElfQuest.

I’ve said it before and I’ll likely say it again.  Time and time again if I know my own tendency to repeat things ad infinitum.

I also have started reading through several blogs, following one post to another post to another site to another post like some long-term ongoing wikiwalk of trauma survivors and feminists and philosophers examining ideas that conventional Christian thought would rather label as heretical and simply ignore from that point on.  But some things refuse to be ignored.

Some of what I’m reading is causing me to look seriously at myself, at my own assumptions, and at how some of my characters are portrayed.  Both when they’re in the right and when they really aren’t.  Most of those scenes aren’t even written outside of a few scattered notebooks and some conversations with The Mysterious Co-Writer, but some of them have been typed up in Word Documents and are waiting inclusion in this timeline or that one.

Or simply remaining hidden in the backstory, mentioned only in passing.  Because not everything really needs to be shown in all the prurient detail.

In ElfQuest, of late, there’s a theme starting to be mentioned.  The presence of the Palace of the High Ones is causing the Elves to slowly change over time.  It even caused one creative individual to build a fan-poster for the series, using that line “It’s changing us…” as a metaphor for how ElfQuest has changed us, as fans.

And it has.  ElfQuest has changed us.  It’s changed me.  I credit ElfQuest with giving me the ability to understand that my views, my opinions, my Way, isn’t the only Way.  It’s right for me, but maybe not for everyone.

And even my Way can change as I encounter other ideas, other views, and incorporate them into my own.

What I’m reading now… it’s causing me to question some of the fundamental assumptions of my childhood.  I can see how some of those terrible, toxic ideas were passed on to me, even if not to the extreme of what I have read of other lives.  Even though I ended up on the light end of the spectrum of damage, the damage is still there.  There are things that I once took for granted that I no longer believe, and cannot bring myself to even accept any longer.

No one, for any reason, has a Divine Right to Rule over anyone else.  The very concept goes against what my Christian soul tells me of Christ, of His message and His purpose for living and for dying and for rising again.

I can no longer accept the idea that there is anything inherently wrong in loving another person, no matter their gender, no matter their identity.  Hatred is wrong.  Anger born of hatred is wrong.  Attitudes that dehumanize other people, make them objects to be owned or used at the will of someone other than themselves; these things are wrong.  These things are sin.  Loving someone and wishing to spend one’s life with the one held so dear to the heart?  Not so much.  Wishing the rights and privileges associated with the informed and consenting union of two or more lives into a single family unit?  Oh hell to the no.  There is no evil in that.

Unfortunately, the process is messy.  Change is confusing and painful and difficult.  It means that I’m probably going to make even those who like me sick of hearing about things over and over and over again until they simply want to puke and tell me to shut up already.  I’m odd when it comes to new ideas, new concepts, any sort of changes at all.  I’ll talk about it.  Maybe nudge it with my toe a bit.  It takes me forever to work up the courage to actually do something I haven’t done before.  It’s almost as painful a process as listening to me talk and talk and unendingly talk about some new concept that I’ve latched onto with all four feet.

I have to chew on things forever before they finally work their way into my system and I’m able to calm down and simply let them Be.

I still find it interesting that one of the central themes of ElfQuest is Change.  Doesn’t mean it’s easy, just that it’s necessary.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to working on my stories soon.  Still wrangling with some of the chapters in Story Arc Three for Castellan Dreams while simultaneously trying to figure out how to present all the other stories that exist within the larger universe of stories that comprise my creative efforts for the past twenty, twenty-five years or so.

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Discovering Things

I found some old friends again recently.

Life has a horrible tendency to get in the way of the relationships we care about most, particularly when those relationships exist solely through the fellowship and correspondence of the Internet.  I don’t make many friends In Real Life, but the ones I make through my participation online are no less real to me that anything I might find in this mundane existence.

They are my sisters; they are my family and my tribe.  Even if I am never able to meet them face to face, they matter to me.

And the fact that we all read the same comic book series helps.

I started reading ElfQuest back when I was in high school and I have been entranced by the world and what it says about how people can be different and yet equally valuable and valid at the same time.  Yes, Elves aren’t Humans.  But they don’t have to be.  And neither is really “better” than the other for being different.

When Suntop, as a mere five year old elf-child, said “I’ll be what I’ll be” it was a profoundly empowering moment, not just for him but for every reader who felt painfully pressured by this world and the expectations of those around us to be something that maybe we weren’t meant to be.  It was validation that being different wasn’t wrong; it wasn’t evil; it wasn’t some cosmic mistake perpetuated upon us by some force beyond our understanding or influence.

We, like Suntop, could be what we would be.  And that was alright.

ElfQuest allowed us to look at the assumptions of the world around us and understand that they were, in fact, assumptions and not cardinal truths.  That the circumstances of our births did not define us or our potential.  It’s a gift that I am still struggling to fully understand.

I’ve been somewhat active in the ElfQuest fandom online since… well, since there was one online, as I understand it.  I was a member of the listserv discussion group Equest-L back in the day, and joined the Scroll of Colors, the forum discussion group back when it was still unofficial.  The official discussion forum recently underwent a rather massive reincarnation of sorts and it’s bringing old members back in some cases while welcoming new members in.

So this is what is bringing me back into contact with some of the sisters that I’d lost contact with over the years for various reasons.  It’s not the only thing, but it’s one part of the cascade of reunions taking place.

There is a point to all this rambling, I promise, and it has to do with one of those sisters I’d lost contact with.  We called her Krwordgazer.  She, like me, was a writer and a storyteller within the fandom.  She, like me, was a Christian woman who felt something profoundly empowering in the elves and their outlook on life, even if she disagreed with some of the details.  But it’s like Kahvi said, in the stories, “differences make good sparks”.

Krwo was one of my first real “beta readers” back before I met the Mysterious Co-Writer.  She was my friend and my sister in a very real way.  We both came from backgrounds that were painful and difficult and we were struggling to find a sense of who we were intended to be in the face of what we were expected to be.  I have missed her presence in my life for a while now.

I mention this because I found her and at the same time I found the blog, Wordgazer’s Words, that she’s been writing for several years now and as I was reading through the posts there I found tears falling down my face because I agreed with her on so many points and I could see exactly what she was talking about.  I’m sure that there are things that we disagree on, but that’s because we’re different people and that’s okay.

She writes about Christianity and the socio-political aspects of it in relation to biblical teaching.  I write silly stories that are essentially soap operas that span time and space and alternate dimensions.  She’s still my sister, though, in all the ways that truly count and I am so glad to have her back in my life again.

So here’s a Wolfrider’s howl in honor of her and all that she is doing.  Because she’s my sister.  In Christ and in ElfQuest.

Ayooooooooooooh!

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Creative Integrity and Castellan Dreams

I am in a quandary.

On the one hand, the reversioning of Castellan Dreams is simply not progressing as I had hoped.  The story itself seems to be resisting me.  Or maybe it’s just my own inability to write as prolifically as I once had.  It has resisted me every time I have tried to take it back down to the beginning and rebuild it because of the changes that were taking place within character backstories.

On the other… attempting to recover the original manuscript, all 75 chapters of it (averaging 2800 words a chapter), creates potential issues regarding the conflict between what an author can write and what an audience can accept.

Ahhh, that sticky issue of Creative Integrity.  Where to draw the line between the sensibilities of your audience and being true to your artistic vision… and trying to unravel how much of that “artistic vision” is simply not helping the story progress.  Musical artists and songwriters sometimes cry out “Artistic Integrity!!” when asked to alter their lyrics for one purpose or another.  In some cases, I can understand the natural instinct to resist alteration.  “The Devil Went Down to Georgia“, by the Charlie Daniels Band, will always, to my mind, properly include the term “you son of a bitch!” rather than the  more mild “you son of a gun!”.  Additionally, I have great respect for Johnny Cash when he performed “Coming Down Sunday Morning” on live television and insisted on using the lines, as written by Kris Kristofferson, “wishing, Lord, that I was stoned”.

On the other hand, more recent examples make me wonder if maybe a little more restraint from artists would better serve their subjects, and their audiences.  “Sexy Chick” is an easier version for me to listen to than the original, “Sexy Bitch“.  Various other, “edited versions” seem, at least to me, to be just as effective and much easier on the ears than the arguably offensive original versions.

I’m not against sensitive subjects in art, not when they’re handled with care and they’re actually pertinent to the matter.  I grew up reading the comic ElfQuest, by Wendy and Richard Pini.  The elves in that universe are somewhat more free-spirited than could be portrayed in conventional comics, but they are what they are.  Elves are, as described by their creators, “omnisexual”, which is to say that they are capable of being attracted to either gender regardless of their own and they are quite unashamed of the fact that they don’t always embrace more human concepts of “fidelity” in terms of sexual exploits.  That said, the actual sex doesn’t take place “onscreen” so to speak and it’s actually fairly mild in terms of presentation.  There was one “orgy” that was handled with a great deal of discretion to my mind and a couple other situations with non-traditional, in the human sense, family units.

I was raised Mormon.  The idea of a person having more than one spouse was not alien to me, nor was it automatically considered evil.  Many Biblical patriarchs had more than one wife and though the records left within that document do great service to the idea that such a situation is difficult at best on a personal level, it was still presented as something that society, in that day and age, made work.

So the concept of “three-bonds”, or even the “four-bond” that was shown for two different family units, is something that my mind is going to automatically see as difficult but not impossible to manage, and which becomes more possible the further from a “human” mindset, bounded by jealousy and such, that a given character is.  And, as long as the emotional connection, the devotion and the commitment, is there, I’m not a stickler for ceremonies.

The problem comes in that I am fundamentally a romantic.  I write romantic stories, full of action and adventure and, most importantly, love and devotion.  Those sort of stories pretty well presume that you’re going to follow the traditional concept of a single pair bonding.  Romantic triangles are resolved by one of the options losing, or dying, or whatever.  The so-called Tenchi Solution isn’t really an option… or is it?

I don’t know.  I don’t know what I can get away with and what would be too much.  I don’t know where the line sits anymore because at the time that I initially relegated Castellan Dreams to the Round File of Doom I couldn’t handle it myself.  I was so used to censoring myself internally that I was incapable of being true to the characters, true to the consequences.

I’m not the same writer that I was, not anymore.  And my characters have changed over time, as have their stories.  Castellan Dreams, as I originally started writing it, is an excellent piece of fiction.  Arguably one of my best.  And I was barely halfway through the story at the time that I gave up.  I started writing it in 2007.  Two years of writing is invested in that tale and I have never truly been able to let it go.

So what do I do?  Do I go back to the story as I’d originally started to write it and just let the relationships fall where they may?  However many and convoluted as they might be?  Or do I try to push through on a reversioning that would be more acceptable to conventional minds?

Or is the choice already made and I’m just arguing with myself out of fear?  I pray I’m not making a mistake, but Galadriel isn’t her mother and a tale created for one character… never quite fits any other one.

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My Rotten Excuse for a Life

Okay… so I know that I rank very low on the scale of successful writers.  I’m arguably worse than that monstrosity that wrote “My Immortal” because THAT person at least has infamy.  If you don’t know what “My Immortal” is, first fall to your knees and thank whatever cosmic/deific being you prefer for sheltering you from that abomination.  Then, if you really must know, and are willing to sign a waiver that acknowledges that you are about to lose time which you will never get back, look up the title in just about any fanfiction database, in the Harry Potter section.

And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In any event, at least that monstrosity of a writer has infamy.  I can’t even shake this depression enough to finish Chapter Twelve of The Firebird’s Daughter.  I’m trying, but it’s taking a while.

I didn’t even participate in NaNoWriMo this past November.  At all.  Which I find incredibly shameful.  I’ve always participated in NaNo.

The fact of the matter is that the depression is getting worse and it’s sapping my ability to accomplish anything.  I look at all my unfinished projects and I just sit down and cry because I want so much to do something worthwhile and there’s simply too much to do.  I love my characters.  I love their stories.  I want so very much to share those stories and those characters with the world so that others can love them too that it’s a physical ache sometimes.

I’ve got so many stories on so many different worlds… I’ve got the adventures of the Firebird through all her incarnations; I’ve got the other Dreamsails as they wander the universe trying to make worlds better for having been there; I’ve even got a School setting to play with, where students from a number of worlds gather to study Magic and Battle… and that doesn’t even include my unfinished fanfiction pieces, some of which are pretty darn promising, even if I do say so myself.

The first version of The Firebird’s Daughter, where the tale was centered around the Firebird herself, managed to go seventy-five chapters and I wasn’t even a full halfway through my intended plot.  Here I am with a much better character arrangement for the tale and I can’t seem to get past Chapter Twelve… I know what needs to happen, in general terms, it’s just that writing it is a struggle.

So here’s to hoping.  I’ve got the Word document open for Chapter Twelve and I’m already to over a thousand words in it.  Maybe I’ll be able to get it done today.  Maybe.

I need more coffee.

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(Not) Working America

It’s not often that I feel that something I write is far more important than I am.  I’m not usually one to get involved in the whole pseudo-metaverse that is American Politics or Current Events.  I’m just not that kind of writer.  I’m a philosopher and a storyteller and, for all that I believe myself to be highly intelligent, I’m not one of the “great American minds” out there.

For one, I don’t have the contacts to be.  Which is part of the damn problem.

But here I go, trusting in the Great Equalizer, the Internet, and the ability to reach people I normally wouldn’t through the magic of word-of-fingertips.

This isn’t working, America.  None of it is.  Not the government, not the culture, not the society, none of it.  And it’s not working because none of us are actually valued as human beings anymore.  We’ve all been reduced to inhuman chattel through the most insidious, evil, and dehumanizing process known to man since the invention of slavery.

The Work Search Process.

No longer can a person support themselves and their family through the sweat of their brow and the willingness to actually work to produce a product, either by raising produce, raising animals, creating some useful thing with their own hands and the brilliance of their mind, or something else creative and unconventional.  There are no more “cash crops” and you can’t even raise anything without miles of regulations designed to strangle out all but the biggest of suppliers.  A single artisan, or even a team of them, can’t hope to compete with the mega-stores for cost and availability, for all that their products are better, stronger, and simply more aesthetically pleasing.

Not without a huge outlay of cost and who knows how many miles of red tape and regulation of their own.

All this is designed, infernally designed, to force the population into the most abominable slavery every conceived, Working For Someone Else.  And God help you if you’ve been unemployed for more than six months.  You have absolutely no value whatsoever even if there are jobs to be found.

Think about it.  You want to be independent.  You want to stand on your own feet so your parents aren’t controlling every facet of your life anymore.  So what do you have to do?  Go around town like a beggar Oliver pleading, “Please, sir, might I have a job?”  It’s a virtual auction block where more are passed on then are chosen.  So if you’re lucky, (incredibly so because you’re not likely to get paid enough to support yourself, much less anyone else), you surrender your freedom and your independence to depending on someone else for employment, for a paycheck, for the “opportunity” to be taken flagrant advantage of because they, employers, only want those who will give more than they get.  And the “good” employers, the ones who can pay a living wage and who actually value their employees as something more than chattel, are so rare as to be mythical.

And if you fight back for the respect that should be your due, even if you win, you’re a pariah and condemned to the Hell of the Do Not Hire list that holds the experienced but “too old”, the intelligent but “long-term unemployed”, and those with quirks that bosses would have to work around.

Because people are fundamentally lazy and the overseers don’t want to put more effort into controlling their slaves… I mean, the “workforce” than they absolutely have to.

Let’s be honest.  Growing a crop, raising animals, creating something useful… none of these are easy tasks.  They aren’t quick tasks.  And they’re all regulated out of the reach of the common man.  I could get into the whys of the whole damn thing, but I simply don’t care Why anymore.  I don’t give a damn anymore why this abomination exists.  I just want an end to it.  I want to be human again.  I want to have my God-given value back that exists in the very things that make me different from everyone else.

I’m a writer.  I’m a storyteller and I have been since I was six years old.  I’m a natural philosopher and I have insights that others don’t even realize are true until I say them.  I’m freaking brilliant at times, even if I do say so myself.  I’m excellent with charts and lists and organizing information.  I’m even better at pointing out how a given plan can go Horribly Wrong, which is a necessary ability if you’re wanting to avoid unnecessary costs and/or Unintended Consequences.  I have Major Depression and I have Attention Deficit.  I have issues in social settings and I can’t always interpret social signals correctly.  Sometimes I say inappropriate things and I can’t stop myself, don’t even realize what I’ve said until it’s said.  I’ve been unemployed for more than four years now and I can’t work in a conventional environment.

But because of the way things are, nothing that I can do outweighs what I cannot.  I’m not a cookie-cutter person.  I’m a human being, and I’m not the only one.

So what gives, America?  How can we justify just throwing away so many people?  This isn’t working, America.  This isn’t working at all and it needs to change, now.

Please, for the sake of all of us, I abase myself before you, the virtual community.  I beg you with tears in my eyes and concern for all of us in my heart.  Please, share these words with others.  Nothing will change if we don’t first realize that something has gone wrong in the first place.

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