Dreams are the damnedest things. They ain't quite real, but nonetheless, are a part of us. I believe dreams are our subconscious' way of telling us something. Elusive by nature, what our dreams mean is anybody's guess.
The other night I had this dream. Nothing as grandiose as that of Martin Luther King, but it got me thinking. Like that tune that keeps playing, over and over, in your head all day long, I can't get this dream out of my head, and I don't know why. Usually, I don't remember my dreams. So, when my dreams dog me, I take heed. As a writer, it seems natural to work it through with the written word.
A gal in a tight-knit, tight-fitting, black dress was the focal point of the dream. Although the dress showed-off her lady bits, in all their glory, I didn't focus on her curvaceousness. The tight-knit part was what struck me. Maybe, deep down, that's how I know I have joined the ranks of The Olds. My thirty year old self would be kicking my ass, right now, for that oversight, if he could. Good thing, time travel isn't a real thing. Or is it? Machines have been acting mighty funny and showing signs of having minds of their own. Of late, my microwave has been causing the circuit-breaker to trip at the most inopportune times, but, as usual, I digress.
This tight-knit thing, what can it mean? Many families say they are tight-knit. When you get a close-up picture of those, you find that to be a mistaken notion. Sad, but true.
That caused me to think about the family I created with my wife, bless her good-hearted spirit. We interact on pretty much a daily basis with our daughter, grand-baby, and son-in-law. Narry a day passes, without some important interaction with one another. Much to the chagrin of my son-in-law, there are no secrets from one another in our family unit. If that's not tight-knit, I don't know what is. Dreams do bring the darnedest things to mind.
As a writer, tight-knit has another connotation. I view each story I write as a piece of a greater tapestry. They form a bigger story than my original intention. I just haven't discovered what that might be yet, but I am positive, someday I will know the rest of the story!
By no means, do I believe my experience as a writer to be unique. I'm sure, all of the great writers, who came before me, have been taken for a ride by their work. That is the nature of the written word, and what makes writing so fascinating. Like machines(which are on the rise), words have lives of their own. Writers are merely the curators of those lives, which are chafing at the bit for expression.
Are my stories tight-knit enough? Will the words I've laboriously committed, first, to paper, and then, into my computer, be able to fully express the unintended story? I just don't know, but second-guessing yourself is the nature of being a writer. You are never quite sure whether the words you choose are the right ones. You keep tilting at the proverbial windmill, in the hope of getting closer to right. Something inside of you won't allow you to stop doing that thing you do. I suppose that will be the case until Death knocks on my door to tell me I just ate a can of spoiled salmon, and my expiration date has come to pass. Hopefully, that occurs before the machines take over, but with my luck...
Words are the threads of any story. That's why I refer to my work as a tapestry. It seems apt, as comparisons go. Each story fits somewhere, somehow, into this tapestry I'm creating. If I'm on the right path, my threads will be found to be tight enough. If not, I probably won't be alive to realize that oversight of mine. One-hundred-fifty stories is a tall order, by any measure, but what a helluva tapestry they will make!
Now that you know all about The Knit, believe it, or not, I have other matters on my plate in need of attention. Good night, good luck, and remember to always wear your shades because the sun never sets on the cool!
Without a shadow of a doubt, this is my favorite season of the year. What's not to like about it? The days are short, and the nights are long. Everything's discounted in just about every store. There's pretty lights in just about every direction you look, and the music, oh, the music. Christmas music is both peppy and jolly. Add outlandish decorations to the mix, and you have what should be the makings of a holly, jolly season!
As you might surmise, the grinches of the world baffle me to no end. For instance, I have this one friend, who just hates the whole nine yards about the holiday, from the shopping to the music, and everything in between. He does everything to register his intense dislike for the season, but run around yelling, "Noise, noise, noise!"
If you can imagine this(because I have a hard time doing so), he does all he can do to get his wife to agree to take their Christmas tree down on Christmas night. His pleas begin pretty much right after their kids go back to their homes with the grandchildren. The strangest thing about the whole deal is, oftentimes his wife agrees with his cockeyed plan. Hating Christmas to that degree is something I will never understand. Even contemplating such an opinion is a downer, and definitely the opposite of the spirit of the season, which admittedly, I do embrace in an extreme manner.
This friend of mine gets annoyed when he comes over to my house during January and my tree is still up and lit. I'm a firm believer in keeping my tree up, so long as the needles of it are still clinging on for their very lives. One year, my tree lasted until St. Patty's Day. Who am I kidding? If my wife would let me, I'd keep the decorations up all year long. When my wife started going out with me, she was surprised to discover my tree still set up in May, and still, with some needles on the poor thing. You can never have too much Christmas!
What is it about Christmas that fires my engine? Well, it's the jolliness, which is definitely infectious. Even the most curmudgeonly(is this even a word, hmm), of curmudgeons, from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, walk around with wide smiles spread across their faces. Although the stores are filled to the brim with shoppers, most everyone is in a great mood. It certainly is the most wonderful time of the year, and I wholeheartedly agree with Elvis. If everyday were like Christmas, what a wonderful world it would be!
This past weekend my family had their annual get-together. The gathering took place at a restaurant in one of those event rooms, most likely invented by restaurant owners to segregate the type of customers from regular folk who, you might assume would scare away normal people. The type of room definitely invented with my family in mind.
Generally, separating my family from the rest of the restaurant patrons is a good idea. One never knows what sort of outburst might occur when my family is in the same space at the same time. Many years feel like the worst of the worst outtakes from those holiday movies. You know, the kind of flicks where everything that can go wrong, as far from okay as the imagination will allow. The kind of outtakes I'm talking about are the sort that end up on the cutting-room floor because some producer felt the scenes went beyond what any audience would ever believe. Well, think of those situations, go further out into The pale, well-beyond The Lights, and maybe, you've conjured the proper image of one of my family's typical gatherings.
Some years, the get-togethers feel more like a gathering of immortals, all vying to be the last one standing, rather than a Christmas celebration, but this year was surprisingly different. No fights broke out, no centerpieces were thrown at anyone, no trees were set on fire, and nobody went to the hospital. It was a relatively, peaceful event. Imagine that!
Everyone, including myself, behaved themselves and acted like adults. Nobody came close to resembling redheaded stepchildren being unleashed upon the world by some evil genius. I think the magic sauce that altered the usual family dynamic was my grandbaby, but who knows? Maybe my family is like a broken clock, and this year was the one year, in which, it was right. Nah, I believe my grandbaby made all the difference.
Everyone took turns holding my grand baby, who ate up all of the attention. She was passed around the table, as if she were the greatest gift of all, which, by the way, I believe her to be. A good time was had by all, especially by the one who really matters, my sweet grandbaby, Little Zee!
I suppose I should get back to editing my current work-in-progress, so, good night, good luck, and remember the most important thing: Oi to the world and everybody wins!
Letters dance across my mindscape like sugar plums gyrating by themselves at a ballroom dance. They are all looking for partners to be delivered from their lonely state of existence. A sense of purpose is what moves them. They just don't know what that might be, so they search for something, anything, to fulfill their wildest dreams of becoming more than a singular utterance, lone weirdos, twirling frantically on the floor.
As these sugar plums bounce, twirl, jump, and bop across the ballroom floor, they are all seeking the attraction of other loners. Many of them link arms to try something new, and lo and behold, begin to do more harmonious whirling, a jitterbug or a jive. They had started to express something, but will those passions transform them into stories? Will the energetic couples be able to turn their movements into something glorious and able to withstand the test of time?
Some tales are automatically glorious, like a sensual tango or a mouthwatering, fruit pie. Others are more like a graceful waltz or a delightful plum pudding, not so brilliant or mind-blowing, but still, a far cry from just being okay. Then there are those stories, for whatever reason, never pop or develop past their dissonant beginnings and end up in the trash bin, separated into lone utterances, once more. It is a marvel to think it all began within the mindscape as The Dance of The Sugar Plums. Through it all, there comes a time when every writer asks: What is this thing I do?
You may think the answer to that question is complex and would come with some convoluted and wordy explanation. I don't know how other authors view how they do their craft, but in my case, the answer is simple and can be explained in two words. Simply put, I create!
Writing is a process, which has many steps. Once a story comes to life, there's the editing, formatting, and finally, the marketing of the finished tales. The common thread for each part of the writing process is creation.
No matter where any particular story is along its path from the mental, drawing board of my mind to being sold, creativity is the required element. When problems crop up, I troubleshoot the issue and craft an innovative solution. If anyone tells you, selling books is not an imaginative task, that person has never had to create Tweet after Tweet that touch people to such a degree that gets those folks to take action and buy their work.
In many ways, once the proverbial ink has dried, my work has just begun. For me, writing stories comes easy. At any given moment, hundreds of tales thunder across my mind. All I have to do, is find the time to get my thoughts into a tangible format. Getting the world to know my stories exist, that's the hard part and the rub of it all!
I write dark, fantasy stories that can be read as stand-alones, but they also go together to form a tapestry, so much greater than the individual tales. My mind leans toward the complex, but I've managed to simplify the complexity, so my musings can be served up in bite-sized morsels. The same holds true for every other piece of the writing puzzle. Anyway, that's how I view this thing I do.
Every writer has to find his or her own way of cutting through the noise. Hundreds, if not thousands, of stories are uploaded by hopeful writers to Amazon every day. Now, that's not counting the upteen millions of tales already being sold on the site. Yes, cutting through the noise is the apt term for it. To accomplish that Herculean task, every ounce of creativity the artist can muster is required, which brings me to my last point.
I view myself, not as an author, but as an artist, whose medium is words. My canvases are my pads of paper, which are ultimately transcribed into my computer for eventual publication. I say artist because it's broader than being a mere author. Anybody can write. Only the artist creates something out of thin air. I like to think I do just that with a panache like no other.
And now, you know the rest of the story behind this thing I do. In closing, I hope all of you have a safe and jolly season. However you may choose to celebrate the holidays, don't let the bright lights keep you from doing your own Dance of Deliverance underneath the moon within the ever-increasing darkness, as the days get shorter and shorter!