I find myself feeling reflective and thoughtful as I sit here on a snowy mid-February day. It's had me thinking about some of the places I've been, things I've done, words I've written. Over and over, I keep coming back to a couple of poems I wrote many, many years ago and thought I might share them with you. So, with that in mind, here is the first. It tells a story and has always held special place for me...
by: Derick JM Summers
An angel falls from the heights of heaven,
And lands in the pits of hell.
His body is beaten and battered and bruised,
His wings to torn to tell.
His spirit is weak and timid and sore,
As he rises to his knees.
His head it spins, when it used to soar,
As his wounds continue to bleed.
An angel this day has fallen,
To our unfortunate hell.
What will become of this child of God?
It is far too soon to tell.
Our angel is given a body,
A machine of blood and flesh,
And from his birthing forward,
Our angel prays for death.
But death is not a service,
The lord above will allow.
Our angel has a job to do,
From which he cannot bow.
Our angel walks among the men,
In the depths of hell’s own streets,
To help them with their wanderings,
And to ease them in their sleep.
A service paid in time and love,
Is all the Lord requires.
A service paid in time and blood,
Is all the Lord desires.
Our angel’s past is sealed to him,
A door closed firm and tight.
But every door, no matter how strong,
May still let through some light.
Our angel has learned he once was more,
Though he felt it all along.
His body is just a shadow,
And his soul was once so strong.
Punished he stands amongst the men,
Apart and yet as one.
Wondering how much longer,
Until his debt is done.
And so our angel teaches,
He heals and he repairs.
He hides what makes him different,
He cannot stand the glares.
He tries to be more human,
To understand their pain.
But emotion overwhelms him.
Is all his work in vain?
Man is a confusing creature,
A cheater and a liar.
His emotions draw him left and right,
He can’t curb his own desires.
Our angel feels a power,
The human kept within,
And against his better judgement,
He has committed sins.
His power keeps him different,
His knowledge is a shield.
He sees the energy around,
Which once was his to wield.
As one, but always different,
No matter how hard he tries.
Our angel can’t force himself,
To believe the human’s lies.
Emotion excuses action,
At least in the human mind.
And when they’re sought for they’re deeds,
You should listen to them whine.
But humans have a spirit,
You could call a saving grace,
And trapping it in a body,
Seems such a horrific waste.
And so our angel teaches,
He helps the humans search,
And as they close upon the goal,
He begins to see their worth.
Their spirits touch his soul,
And warm him deep within.
And if a touch can feel this good,
Then what’s a little sin.
Are they becoming angels,
Or is he becoming man?
But does it really matter,
Who extends the hand.
Our angel is corrupted,
By the deeds that he has done.
But with each soul sent to heaven,
He knows that he has won.
The circle may be vicious,
And his life might seem unjust.
But God’s counsel is his own,
So our angel has to trust.
More to follow, not sure how much nostalgia I'll put here, but I think there are a couple more at least.
So the Campaign goes on. :-) The process is quite interesting. You prep the campaign, you sort out your rewards and figure out exactly how much money you need to bring your project to life. Then you film the video and do your best to look coherent as you express the passion you have within for the project you're working on... trust me when I say, that time in front of the video camera is not easy nor is it comfortable. When that's all done, you send the project in for approval and within a couple of days you're good to go. (Assuming you meet the requirements, which you should as you read them before you started.)
Then comes the hard part. This project will not sell itself they tell you. You have to start with your close community, you have to build the hype. Get it out there on FB, on Twitter, on whatever medium you can. Get your friends and family to lead the charge and help build the momentum. You need people to share your project, to get behind it and get it out there. So out the links and events go: 300+ friends here, a few dozen followers there. And, after all the work and effort you've put into the project, it's suddenly out of your control. And I mean seriously out of your control.
It's an eye opening process and opinions definitely vary as to the amount of involvement that one can reasonably expect. One outlook says "Hey, even if they can't afford to donate, it's a share, it's an invite. Not much to ask." A second opinion says "Well it all depends on the person, some people don't want to share such things or pester their friends - its just not done." The next opinion is somewhere between those two, and so on and so on. I have no idea where the right answer lies, assuming there is a right answer of course, so I sit back and watch this campaign develop and change.
I don't know what to expect and I'll hold off drawing any conclusions until the very end, but it should be an interesting social experiment to watch. For those who have donated, thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those who are planning to donate remember you can pledge as little as $1 - though more, obviously, will gain more rewards and make the journey easier. For those who are struggling with the $1; fair enough, if things are that tight please keep the money, you obviously need it more than I do - but do try and share the campaign or invite friends to the event (its open).
Thank you in advance for your time and interest in my project. :D I look forward to seeing where it ends up,
Check out my Kickstarter for:
Click to check it out.
Please feel free to share, donate and comment.
"The Axe's Edge" on Sale!
E-Copy now on Sale:
I will tell you what I see at night, when I close my eyes.
When the world is asleep and quiet, when darker energies preside.
I see inside my mind, a desolate scape of land.
With dark rocks reaching for the sky, as they rise up from the sand.
A sky of ruby red, with clouds as black as night.
That move across my vision, blocking out the light.
I turn in place and look around, seeking some way home.
But rock and sand are all there is, no exits become known.
I walk for miles and nothing changes, the landscape stays the same.
I call for help and beg forgiveness, but no relief ever came.
As I walk it dawns on me, I'm walking in my mind.
There are no exits from it, at least none I'll want to find.
I know that I create it, that it comes from deep within.
And I know I need to change it, perhaps that's where I begin.
Desolate and lonely are part of my own defence.
Self fulfilling prophecies I've nurtured in descent.
So now I know I need to change, and know it can be done.
The question now is how to change, it might not be much fun.
So I look at sand and rock, at clouds and ruby skies.
They represent reality, they represent my ties.
Changing will be painful, it will need both strength and time.
And I can't do it all alone, but seeking help is not a crime.
So that is what I'm asking, from those that love and care.
Understand I am trying and offer me a prayer.
For the last couple of weeks I haven't been my happy go-lucky self. It's been a combination of things; sick kid, sick me, lack of sleep, too much to do ... basically life. With all that, I've felt like I've been running around in circles and getting nothing done. I've been down on myself, down on my ability to write and down on my ability to keep this dream alive. I've allowed stress and worry to steal the last couple of weeks from me and I'm a little grumpy with myself for letting it happen.
Today was an eye opening day. First, I got enough sleep. Thank the gods for that wonderful endeavour, it really does make everything easier. (A little free advice - never short change the sleep you get.) After that, Louise and I picked my daughter up from her sleep over and the three of us went to the farmer's market. What a great bit of fun that was. We picked up a few things, I introduced my daughter to 'german prunes' and we found a wonderful place for sheep's milk cheese (www.milkhouse.ca if you wanna check them out). Now, I know some of you are likely mocking me for getting excited over such a simple outing but, it was a really great day. A yummy home-made dinner and some family time finished off a wonderfully simple family day.
This evening, feeling restless as I often do, I went down to my usual hang-out (Second Cup on Baseline - fyi incredible people working there) to do a bit of work on one of my books. And guess what, I did absolutely no work. I ended up chattering with people and surprise, surprise a new photography gig may have just fallen into my lap. And as it did, I was reminded of something I've known but seem to occasionally forget - the universe (or whatever you believe) really wants you to succeed at what you love. Have faith that if you do what you love and approach it in a positive and open manner, the universe will provide. I got reminded of that today and I feel a bit stupid for forgetting and letting the monsters called Stress and Worry get to me. It was a good day.
I've also decided that 2 1/2 months of solid work have been wonderful, but the time has come for a much needed vacation. So, I'm going to run away for few days and play, rejuvenate and hopefully come back refreshed, focused and ready to play.
P.S.: Thank you to all who read this blog, I'm not sure who you are or if there are any of you, but I like to think someone reads these musing. Please feel free to comment, I'd love to hear from you. :D
Through My Eyes:
I've been accused on occasion of spending too much time in my own head. Now, in some ways I think this is an absolutely stupid thing to say to an author. I mean seriously, I'm currently trying to make a living by telling the stories in my head... but in fairness I know that's not what they mean. So, I thought I might take a shot of explaining why and see if it makes any sense to anyone.
I sometimes feel that the world we live in is too mundane, that there should be more - more joy, more passion, more wonder. Let me try this again, my life is pretty good. Loving gf, incredible daughter, wonderful family - all the things that should spell contentment, but something is missing. Where's the magic? Where's the adventure?
I see the world differently than most - or so I've been told. My gf describes it as 'seeing the world with childlike wonder'. Let me try to explain - my gf loves games, silly songs, and generally all the fun of childhood - an adult who loves to play, basically. I do as well, but I also see the world in a totally different way. Where she sees the scaffolding next to a building, I see a playground for sprites and pixies. Where she sees people going about their business, I see elves, dwarves, trolls and gnomes hiding from sight.
As children we see a larger world. We see coloured lights around people, we sense the nature of people - both good and bad, we're certain that there are monsters under the bed and things lurking in the shadows. And then, we age, we are taught to put away childish thoughts and accept that none of those things exist. Why? Why do we take the magic away from our children? Personally, I think our world is desperately craving a little magic. I think that the popularity of a great number of movies, books and television is due to a desperate need for a little bit of adventure.
Amusing Aside - my lovely gf has just cautioned me to remember my brand and future endeavours. Translation: don't say anything too crazy. lol
Anyway, with that caution in mind and to wrap up this blog, I would like to suggest that everyone take a moment to look at the world through the eyes of a child. Take a minute to see it the way they do... you may find the adventure you crave. As for me, I will continue to tell my stories while I wait, with mounting impatience, for magic to return to the world. :D
Have you noticed...
Is it just me or has anybody else noticed that an awful lot of people seem to be really unhappy. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about people in foreign countries facing war, genocide and extreme poverty and hunger. Or even those closer to home enduring those same things (though I think the idea of people in first world countries facing those things will spark an entirely different rant - I mean, hunger and poverty in the supposedly advanced nations? Seriously?)
No, what I want to talk about here is the everyday people most of us get to encounter on a day-to-day basis. Have you ever stopped and looked at the expressions on most people's faces? I mean, seriously, they are not happy. I used to think that maybe I was simply catching them on a bad day. But, so many and all the time? The more I looked, the more I noticed that nearly everyone wore that same expression. A sort of neutral, funked-out apathy that suggested that life was something they were enduring and not something they were enjoying living.
Now, I'm sure they all had their reasons - bad job, economic situation, relationship, etc, - but if that was the case, why weren't they changing those things - and yes I know, sometimes you can't, but that doesn't account for everyone, does it? And, even if you can't change things immediately, what happened to accepting your current situation and working toward something better? There's something to be said for the idea that you get what you give. If you approach the world with a smile and a positive thought you might be pleasantly surprised when the world hands that back to you. And even if it doesn't, your own smile and joy will lighten the loads you're forced to carry.
I've heard it said that life is short and that life is fragile, but may I suggest that life is way too long to go through it miserable. If you're not finding some joy in your life, if you're not finding some reason to hop out of bed in the morning with a smile on your face and an excitement about the coming day, then I ask you, why not? Is there something you'd rather be doing? If so, how do you make that happen?
It sounds ridiculously cliche to say; follow your heart or follow your dreams. People roll their eyes at me whenever I suggest it. They say things like - I can't right now. My life is to complicated. It's not a good time. Or my personal favourite - Oh that's fine for you, I wish I could, but I have responsibilities. My response to these comments is generally the same: "Um, okay" and a small, sympathetic smile. But, lets set the record straight:
1. There is never a good time, so stop waiting for it. Sometimes you just have to live the change.
2. Not everyone chases their dream the same way. I was fortunate to be able to quit my job for a while to pursue it full time, but not everyone is in that boat. Sometimes the dream can be pursued while you do other things.
3. Kids are not an excuse not to follow your dream, they are a reason to embrace it. Parents are role-models for their children - both good and bad.
4. No one is going to hand you your dream. You need to live it. You need to work at it.
I'm at a loss here. What's going on? Do people think they don't deserve to be happy? Are people afraid to follow their dreams? I mean, everyone deserves to be happy. It's a state of mind and a wonderful endorphin rush. As for the fear, I'll let you in on a wonderful secret, the joy isn't in the attainment of the dream but in the pursuit of it. - Would I love to be a world famous author? Of course I would. But until that day arrives, I'm just happy to be telling my stories.
So, don't be surprised when you pass me on the street and you see the stupid grin that's taken up nearly perpetual residence on my face. I've never been happier and I hope I can soon welcome you to the club :D
Beginnings - my first blog
This is my first ever blog and I have to admit that the concept is kind of strange to me. The idea that anyone wants to read my musing and thoughts seems a little egotistical of me. :D But then again, I am an author and I'm comfy that at least some out there are reading my books. So who knows, maybe people like my thoughts.
For my first blog, I thought I might talk about this process. It's been a strange one, jumping both feet into the digital world and likely its been long in coming. I mean, I've had my books available on Amazon for a while now, it only makes sense that I take better advantage of all the tools at my disposal. As it stands, I've got the basics of a page ready to go and just have to hit the publish button. (If you're reading this, then it is likely safe to assume that I've gone and done just that.) I'm sure there will be many changes to the site over time as my learning curve improves, but you've got to start somewhere.
Its funny, cause that in itself is an interesting idea. 'You've got to start somewhere.' You really do. I mean I'm 41 years old and have quit my job as an Vision Centre Manager/Optician to pursue the crazy dream of being an author. I know I've had some successes already (my first book - 'The Hammer's Fall' is still doing well, while my second - 'The Axe's Edge' is building). But even so, it's a big step. Giving up that regular pay cheque and hoping that my art can sustain me. It's an incredibly scary feeling and, honestly, I was terrified before I did it.
May I just say, for the record, that it was the best decision I've ever made. Nothing has ever felt so right or filled me with so much joy. I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that I will never go back to the way things were. So, a little unsolicited advice - when you have a dream, chase it. It's just that simple.
My thoughts on writing, life and other randomness.