2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Wow, my blog was visited by readers from 71 countries! That’s impressive. And while 1600  views may not be much compared to a lot of blogs, it’s pretty good considering how infrequently I posted and the total lack of any real blog posting schedule I had in 2012. Next year I will blog at least once a week, every week. Even if it’s just to drop by and say Hi, I’m still here, and share a pithy quote or two. Thanks to everyone who subscribed to, read, and shared my blog this year. I would especially like to thank the top referring sites: accordingtohoyt.com, condfw.org, otherwheregazette.com, steampunkis.org, and of course all my facebook friends. Also kudos to those who left the most comments : Brewed Bohemian, and Roll2Play, you are both wonderful to have as friends and fans of my blog and my stories.

This year is pretty much wrapped up, but I know next year is going to be great for writing, publishing stories, and life in general. I can feel it in my spirit, and in my bones. Here I come 2013!

For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see, Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Click here to see the complete report.

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Reflections on Love & Life or, This Time It’s Personal

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” -John Milton

I usually talk about my current writing works in progress here, but nothing has changed since my post last week, other than that I am making progress on my story which is tentatively titled, “Knocking on Heaven’s Gates” to be submitted to the anthology, Dreamers in Hell.
So today I’d like to share with my readers something a bit more on the personal side of my life. Something that I experienced yesterday that put a lot of things in perspective for me. I was helping my wife Sussie with a client photo shoot at the Dallas Arboretum. Something I have done many times before, so nothing unusual, or new really. But while I was watching her taking photos from behind her camera I had this sudden epiphany. Seeing her doing what she loves so much, made me realise just how much I really love her. When she has her camera in front of her eyes and she’s in “the zone” taking shots, she transforms into this being of creativity and freedom. It is  moments like that when I see the carefree, spirited, light-hearted woman who I met and married thirteen years ago who took a chance at love and a new life with this fool of a dreamer, poet, writer, with a moody temperament and dark soul.

Time and tide test the mettle of even the strongest relationship. We have had our rocky periods when we both thought the dream of a life together might come to an end. Things have been rough this year, with the stress  of financial hardships we’ve had to endure, Sussie getting her photography business off the ground, and me trying to get a writing career going while trying to do well at a new day job. So many changes happened this year, but change means your life is evolving, isn’t stuck in the mire of stagnation.  But we have persevered because of our committment that we made on that day we vowed troth to each other. Ever since we met each other we knew that our relationship went beyond this life and time. We were drawn together in this life, because we knew each other before, in another time, another place, another life. We sensed within each other that we were soul mates and were meant to be together, in the past, in this life, and in many more to come.

The rub of the whole issue however, is that I believe we can’t choose who we fall in love with.  It just happens, often when you least expect it to, and like getting on a roller coaster, you just have to hang on for the ride. And often the ones we fall in love with are not the most compatible person that we could be with, and yet, somehow it works. Also, the one you love the most is the one who will inevitably hurt you more than anyone else in your life. It seems to go with the territory. A relationship that is genuine, powerful and true is composed of both love and hate. At the end of the day you must decide if the love outweighed the hate. Some days the hate can be so heavy that you almost forget the love that is there deep down in your heart and soul. It is on those days that you give in to the feelings of bitterness, contempt, loathing, and anger and almost give up, throwing it all to the wind. But you carry on, because you hope the love will win out in the end. Sometimes you just have to step back outside of your situation and look upon it with new eyes, with new understanding and compassion for one another. This is what I have had to do. Love doesn’t come easy. Marriage, and any relationship for that matter, is a constant work in progress. Communication is the key to opening doors that sometimes get shut between you. I am not a good communicator, as I tend to keep too much of my true feelings and thoughts to myself. I am trying to change this aspect of my personality, but old habits die hard, and too many times I have continued to feed this monster of anger, doubt, depression, and loathing until it eats away at me, or explodes in a fit of fury. Often I feel like the darkness that dwells deep inside my heart and soul shouldn’t be let out into the light of the world, lest it reveal too much about who I am and what I feel.  I wasn’t always this stoic, and reserved. In my youth I would wear my emotions on my sleeve, expressing the love and the hate,  the anger and sadness. But people misunderstood, or perhaps understood too much. I hurt those around me and myself, often unintentionally, sometimes on purpose. So I built this armor around myself, gradually adding to it piece by piece until in enveloped me like a personal fortress. Few ever get inside, and even then, I don’t know if anyone has ever made me completely let my shield down since I have created it. My wife and my daughter have come the closest, as I let them in more than anyone else in my life.

Anyway. I really didn’t mean for this blog post to be such a downer. I don’t like unloading my problems or issues upon my friends. It’s just not my style. But I wanted to get this off my chest, and I’m really trying to learn how to talk about my feelings more. Maybe what’s bringing it out of me is this story I’m writing for Dreamers in Hell and the concepts that I am exploring within it: redemption, (or the lack thereof) self-centeredness, forgiveness, unconditional love, self-sacrifice, and self-realization. Also one of my characters is William James, famous philosopher, spiritualist and one of the founding fathers of modern psychology. Maybe he is pulling these feeling out of me, like I’m receiving psychotherapy from him through the method of trying to channel his mind and spirit to make the character more believable. I do tend to employ “method writing” by becoming a little like my characters when I’m writing a story.

And I don’t seem to express myself well unless I’m writing my thoughts out. That’s probably a big reason why my wife fell in love with me even though we were thousands of miles apart. We were communicating mostly by internet, sending emails and instant messages to each other before we had even met in person. I communicate better in the written form apparently. Plus, I wooed her with my poetry. What woman wouldn’t fall in love with a guy who wrote her love poems?

So in closing, let me just say that today I love my wife more than ever, and it took seeing her doing what she loves to reiterate just how special she is to me, and why we are meant to be together. We creative souls don’t always make for the easiest personalities to get along with one another, as the artistic tempermant lends itself to extremes. But like all great art, great relationships are founded on and cemented in powerful emotions, both of joy and sorrow, anger and happiness, love and hate. You just have to learn to balance them accordingly.

“It’s all the same — no good without evil, no balance…no maat. If we lose one, we lose the other. It’s just life, that’s all.” –Niko, from the story “Pillar of Fire” in “The Fish, the Fighters, and the Song-Girl: Sacred Band Tales Vol. 2”  by Janet Morris & Chris Morris, (c) 2012, Perseid Publishing.

 

I’m a work in progress, or procrastination inclination

“We gave the Future to the winds, and slumbered tranquilly in the Present, weaving the dull world around us into dreams.” ― Edgar Allan Poe, “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt”

So, as usual I am coming down to the wire on getting stories done. It’s not that I don’t love writing, it’s just that I have to get a certain amount of the story internalized before I feel that I can really get going with it. Some stories take longer in this process than others. Also I am notorious for procrastination. The other issue is that I have an attention span of a rabid goldfish.

Oh look a funny You Tube video. Oh look, thousands of them! Facebook notifications pending: 999,999. Did you see that squirrel? *Warning, your DVR is at maximum storage capacity*. Hey, a free ebook! And another one. And another one. Reading, reading, reading. Oh must find and listen to music online for this awesome band I just found out about. Hmmmm, cool blog by someone else, have to read that. Blogs about writing, blogs about travel to places I’ll probably never visit in real life, book review blogs,zombie world domination blog, blog about beer, coffee, poetry and flash fiction, etc, etc. And then theres…Oooooh shiny!

You get the idea. Er, what was I talking about? Oh yeah! Finishing writing stories so I can submit them to publishers before impending deadlines of doom. It is said that without pressure, we wouldn’t have diamonds. So it goes with me and writing. The closer to deadline I get, the better I seem to write. Maybe because I know I don’t have time to over think the story too much and just let the words flow from the depths of my soul through my fingers and into the keyboard. I will get the two stories done, for Dreamers in Hell and Terror by Gaslight,  it just freaks me out a little when I know I have X amount of time to write Y amount of story. I see some late night writing sessions in my near future. Plus I’ve been working on another story that just wouldn’t leave me alone  and insisted I write it, that I’ve been writing occasionally for several months. Sometimes these stories get in your head and won’t let you write anything else until you’re done with it.  Also It doesn’t particularly help that my day job suddenly decided they want me to take a certification test the third week in December that I have to do a lot of technical reading and studying for in order to pass. Such is my life.

“But, Larry,” you say. “Why are you writing your blog when you should be writing stories or studying for your test?”

Good question! Well I decided I wanted to make a commitment to publish a new blog post at least once a week, and Sunday is the only day I should have off despite my ever-changing schedule at the day job. Plus I made a pact with a zombie that we would motivate each other to blog once a week. You just don’t take these zombie pacts lightly. Plus, he’s a good friend and fellow author who has a story called “Scent of a Weapon” published in Rogues in Hell along with myself and many other Hellion authors. And we will both have stories in the forthcoming horror anthology, What Scares the Boogeyman. Here’s Zombie Zak’s blog where he is making plans for world domination, the pursuit of cookies, brains, and increasing his ever-growing food source…er, I mean fan base. 

In other news, I will be interviewed sometime in the next few weeks by someone who affectionately calls herself my “‘stalker fan” who I met at ConDFW earlier this year. She’s not really a creepy stalker, she’s actually quite a nice person, and a big promoter of my writing. JennM writes a blog titled Brewed Bohemian, that has everything from book reviews, poetry, flash fiction, writing contests, book clubs, coffee, beer, and a whole lot of other stuff. You should check it out, there is a lot of cool content there and she writes some really good poetry and flash fiction.

Along the lines of things that are not writing related, but really cool, is a band, Ien Oblique I discovered after hearing their music and an interview with the lead singer, Jared Lambert, on the radio show Mental Candy hosted by alternative model Joan V on TMV Cafe Wednesday nights at 10:00 PM CST. If you like techno, industrial, electronic type dance music then this band will be right up your proverbial alley. Also the lead singer has an amazing voice that reminds me of early David Bowie and also very similar to vocalist/musician Bobbi Style.

So I guess I’ll wrap up this week’s blog post and get back to writing stories and studying. Until next time, readers. I leave you with this pithy quote from yours truly:

 

“Alas, this mundane realm is never as fun as the one inside our minds. But we can endeavor to make it so.”

–Larry Atchley Jr