Monday, August 29, 2016

Flash Fiction: Reflections of Persuasion

Silhouettes danced across the bedroom wall reflecting in the glass as Laura settled on her seat in front of the mirror. She glanced with curiosity at how the light assailing the room from the window danced across the smooth pane surface, cascading in an array of fractured radiance. The light poured through drawn lavender curtains that gently billowed through the crisp morning air, of which its moisture refused to caress her skin.

She gestured her hands, watching herself as she rearranged the contents of her dressing mirror in an officious fashion. These were the moments of memories which were longingly seared upon her conscience in thoughtful contemplation about her existence. Laura studied her bright pensive cerulean eyes as they gleamed of optimism blended with melancholy. If the mirror were porous, perhaps she could reach through to cradle her own dimpled chin with reassurance. Her lips quivered unintentionally around thoughts of isolation.

Her life was nothing more than reactionary at this point as she absentmindedly began the motion of brushing her shoulder-length blond hair. She stared off in the distance longing to feel the soft stroke of the brush across her numb scalp, to experience the comfort of fluid repetitive vibration emanated with each downward motion.

Laura dared to glance by way of the mirror before her at the cracks surrounding the pearlescent opal painted door with the long, curled brass handle and matching rustic style hinges across the room behind her. The unfathomable darkness of the void beyond light’s reach ebbed at the crevices, beckoning her to return to its unfeeling solace.

A gentle rapping at the door in the mirror startled her from her reverie. She spun around involuntarily to hear her voice echo behind her, “Yes?”

“Milady, your car has arrived.”

Her heart faltered feeling the front of herself fading, forced to stare at that cursed door. Fixed in place, Laura remained motionless as the response came, “Thank you, Brandon. I’ll be there shortly.”

Swinging back to face the mirror, she could see her pale cheeks were flushed as blood rushed back into them. She glanced back over her face once more, scratching numbly at the side of her sloped nose to remove a fine piece of lint. A sigh escaped her lips, the warm air collected on the mirror’s surface in a fine mist, distorting her view.

Laura rose quickly, consciously trying to resist the pull away from the mirror toward the door. She turned to see the brass handle on the foreboding door had become distorted from the mist on the mirror disrupting the flow of the light. She walked briskly across the room reaching for the askew door handle. The darkness licked at the fissures surrounding the frame.

In one fluid motion, Laura opened the door to the abyss to walk through and involuntarily slammed it closed behind her. In a fleeting moment, she blended with the darkness knowing she would vanish until the proper Laura returned to the room with the mirror to tend to her appearance.

The reflection of Laura was once again swallowed by oblivion.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Flash Fiction: A Creature of Habit

Like many people, Henry was a man devoted to his daily routine, albeit his patterns were not commonplace. The 66-year-old retiree started each day with three cups of coffee from a local café. Three teaspoons of sugar for each cup, each cup stirred three times.

When he left the café to return home, he waited to hold the door open for three people before leaving the building. Henry circled his car to examine it three times before getting into the driver’s seat. He tested the ignition three times before being satisfied the car would run properly.

On his way home one day, like every other, he passed his driveway to circle the block three times. People he once worked with considered his routines foolish, but his eccentricities afforded him the highest safety record in the history of the factory. Henry kept the same vigilant eye on his surroundings within the neighborhood, always looking for suspicious activity.

“Nothing out of place,” Henry said out loud with a satisfied nod. He completed his first pass around the block, “Another uneventful morning.”

Since his retirement three years ago, he settled into his new daily routine. On his second pass around the block, he admired the neighbors’ manicured lawns while contemplating back to that fateful day 33 years ago. Pronounced dead at the scene, he miraculously recovered 33 minutes later. The doctors suggested the paramedics made a misdiagnosis at the factory because no one could come back after being gone that long. Henry knew he had glimpsed the patterns of the universe and his triple routines have kept him safe so he never allowed himself to believe the doctors’ explanations.

He approached the midway point on his second pass on the route and noticed on the side street a car was rapidly accelerating toward the intersection. Henry checked the speedometer to ensure he maintained his 33 mph speed. An unsuspecting traveler was coming toward Henry from the opposite direction. He cleared the intersection, then flashed his lights three times to warn the unwary driver.

A crash erupted behind him as the runaway driver sideswiped the car he tried to warn. From his rear-view mirror, Henry watched in horror as the two cars spun around, debris flying everywhere, blocking the entire intersection. Before he made his right turn to start his third pass, a young man staggered out of the runaway car.  Blood poured from his forehead as he drifted aimlessly.

Henry trembled uncontrollably. Not only had he witnessed a terrible tragedy, but he also needed to complete his third pass. His routines had always kept him safe so he simply could not abandon them. Tears streamed from his eyes when he considered someone may have died and yet he maintained his course. He abhorred leaving the scene of an accident. but decided he'd stop after his third pass.

Passing his driveway a third time, a cloud of black smoke reached toward the sky in the direction of the accident. He clutched at the cell phone resting in the passenger seat to make a call when he finished his final pass.

Henry turned back again onto the street with the accident and was surprised a police car had arrived. Relief flooded him before he realized the entire street was blocked off by the cars in the accident and the squad car. There was no way for him to navigate the intersection to complete his third pass.

“No! No! No!” Henry exclaimed, looking to the merging side street. A utility pole and concrete barrier blocked his passage on the sidewalk to circumvent the accident scene on the left.

“Please, please, please,” he begged, scanning the right side of the street.

The neighbor’s large oak tree made it impossible to bypass the accident on the right side. There was no way through the intersection which meant he wouldn’t be able to complete his third pass. He sighed with relief to see the doors opened on the vehicles and no one was inside them. All passengers were clear of the wreckage in the intersection.

Usually, Henry planned for stops like red lights and stop signs during his commutes. He had a firm rule to not stop for other cars even if that meant swinging into a parking lot of a business to bypass traffic. Besides, there was generally no problems because his trips were made in the mid-morning hours with little to no traffic issues.

He hoped the officer would notice him approaching the intersection. If the officer were to flag him to stop, it would fit within Henry’s routine rules, however the officer’s back was turned from him. He honked his horn three times on the approach, distracted the policewoman held the young man with blood on his face by the shoulders to examine him.

Out of time, out of street and out of options, Henry opened and then closed his eyes three times, closing them securely on the third. He couldn’t deviate from the routine without consequence, so Henry braced himself for impact.


“Sir! This man is awake and moving!” a panicked paramedic shouted to the ambulance driver.

“That’s not possible,” the ambulance driver replied. “The coroner pronounced him dead at the scene 33 minutes ago.”

Henry opened his eyes as the paramedic’s shocked face emerged upon opening the body bag. “Two down, one to go,” Henry declared. “The third time’s a charm.”

Friday, December 11, 2015

Words are a Form of Conjecture

A word is a word, but the understanding of a word both depends on the speaker, as well as the listener. Both have a responsibility to contribute to the atmosphere of any given conversation.

As a writer, I can take any word and put it into any context to make it either offensive or supportive in nature.

In the past, it was the listener's responsibility to understand the speaker based on the contexture in which a word or phrase was used, given the speaker's implied intent.

Today, we live in a world where the speaker is responsible for interpreting how the listener will interpret the conveyed meaning. The listener has the right to dissect the speakers words out of the spoken context and imply a meaning of their own without having to explain their intentional misunderstanding of what was said in order to change the conversation in the direction from how it was intended to be considered. The listener today has the right to hijack the words of the speaker and intentionally skew them to reflect on the speaker any discernment the listener intends.

This fundamental concept is exactly why you are afraid of who you may offend with what you may say and it is backward and wrong. A listener should be held accountable for their intentional misunderstanding.

Still, that doesn't stop the speaker from being responsible for their implied meaning even if the meaning was intended to be benign in the spirit it was given.

Mark Twain is the perfect example. In his time, his attitude may have reflected the majority opinion of the culture. He may have had racist points of view given the society he lived in.

But NO ONE can deny the fact that his work, "Huckleberry Finn" outlined a disparity in an ethnically divided society and advanced the conversation of equality to a degree. His work was considered inflammatory against the status quo.

And yet today, we allow people of low intelligence, low education and absolutely no critical thinking skill to hijack a valuable part of the dialogue for equal rights by belittling the speaker's contribution simply because of a single word he used in a dialogue that was intended to stun its original audience into seeing their flaws. He wanted the people of his time to wake up and see how obtuse they were.

But those of us with critical thinking skills and have informed opinions are afraid to correct these individuals with no critical thinkings skills because we know we are not only responsible for what we say as a rebuttal, but we are also responsible for how these low thinking, uneducated individuals from ALL corners of our society and global culture can and WILL intentionally misinterpret our rebuttals to tear down the voice of reason through character assassination.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Life of Purpose and Meaning

Consider, if you will, that our choices guide the direction of our lives, and yet when we look at the experiences that shaped us, whether victory or tragedy, it feels like it was meant to happen that way to get us to the point in our lives where we are presently.

I have always taken an interest in exploring these philosophical concepts.  Are our lives one of our own making?  Are we predestined to a fate we cannot avoid?  What is the point of having free will?

My struggles with these concepts began very early in my life.  By the time I was five-years-old, I had already dealt with my parents divorcing when I was two, my father had remarried twice leaving me to feel I had been replaced twice, I had been kidnapped by my father from my mother and I had been sexually assaulted twice.  I suffered from serious abandonment issues and when I went to church, I heard the resounding message that Jesus loved me loud and clear.  It is easy enough to indoctrinate a child with religious tenants, but in my emotionally vulnerable psychological state, my beliefs became my salvation, but also one of my greatest obstacles.

I understood that we were free to accept or reject Jesus as the savior as a religious concept of free will, but I was also indoctrinated to believe that God had given me a purpose and through that purpose I would do God's will.  I also saw example upon example of people saying "it's God's will" when something bad would happen.

Like any other human being, I made mistakes, but always tried to keep myself within the guidelines of my personal beliefs in God.  I firmly believed I would be shown the way and God would open doors of opportunities in my life so I could do his will.  I had a worrisome personality, fretting with every decision I had to make, constantly praying for guidance.

The result was inaction in my life.  As I stood by waiting for solutions and signs, I remained immobile.  Sure, I had dreams and aspirations, but I did not set clear goals for myself well until I reached adulthood.  When I had a crisis of faith, I became truly lost without any sense of direction and a future that overwhelmed me with uncertainty.

Lucky for me, I had always been a bookworm and I enjoyed reading.  I began researching, studying and learning what I could.  I spent a considerable amount of my time trying to understand human behavior and other spiritual concepts.  I searched for answers.  One of my emerging passions was science.

Theoretical scientists who have studied quantum mechanics have proven to collation between Space Time and Causality, which basically says the Universe exists in all points and is all happening at once, so our futures already exist and are happening.  On the surface, this would leave one to falsely believe that their choices and actions have already been predetermined, so it would seem moot to believe you have the power to dictate your own future.  These theorems are only one piece of the puzzle because you also have to consider quantum entanglement and the uncertainty principle

Intrigued by what I learned, I focused on examining myself closely, trying to understand my own behavior and what level of control I had over my life.  My wife and children challenged my way of thinking as I tried to avoid making the same mistakes as my parents.  Keep in mind, I am not bashing spiritual concepts here because I truly believe my childhood faith afforded me a measure of peace and shaped me into the man I am today.  I try to be kind and compassionate, as well as fair and empathic to the suffering of others, but if I had simply been a product of my childhood misfortunes, I don't believe I would be who I am today.

Since I have loved writing since I was 12-years-old and I was also a big fan of fantasy stories, I decided to explore the idea of Fate vs Free Will in my first novel, Heir of the Blood King.  Essentially, I developed a fantasy world filled with mythical creatures and magic, which leaves the imagination open to many possibilities, but then I implemented the idea that everyone who lived in my world was predestined at birth.  I then inserted a character who for some reason or another was left out and was born without a fate.  Pondering the storylines over the eight book outlines that I planned, I began to truly understand how powerful the concept of free will is.

I've always been one to hold myself accountable for my actions, never placing the burden of my failures onto what may have been preordained in my life, however I did not take actions after experiencing a failure usually because I took it as a sign that I was not intended to take that route.  It was not in God's plan or else I would have succeeded.

What I discovered was that our successes and failures shape who we are.  We are a collection of our experiences and if you remove any of those experiences, no matter how insignificant they may seem, you will change in some form or manner.  Let me give you an example.  I am an avid chocoholic.  I love chocolate and I can turn any conversation into a declaration of how much I love it. What if I had been ill the very first time I had chocolate and what if it had made me sick.  It could have created an aversion to chocolate that could have affected me for the rest of my life.  I can honestly say that I would not be the same person if I didn't love chocolate.  That's how much of an influence it has over me.

So the reason all these experiences that make up your path feel so much like they were meant to happen is because it is all of these factors, these stimuli that shaped who you are right now.  A year from now, you will not be the same person you are today.  We are a constantly changing image of ourselves.  In fact, when you look in a mirror, you are not looking at yourself.  You are looking at a version of yourself about one billionth of second in the past because that's how long it takes for your reflection to bounce back to your eye.

When you understand that your fate is in your own hands and your choices matter, you claim the power of your free will to act.  When you exercise this free will, it becomes a purpose.  It is not for me nor anyone else in this world to tell you what that purpose is.  No one can possibly know your mind more than you do because as I have already said, you are a collection of all of your experiences and interactions.  You can know someone's one mind better than anyone else and if you spend a week apart, there are things that could happen within that week that will change the person you knew.  Luckily in most situations, events are rarely that dramatic.  People change over time in much the way the flow of water slowly reshapes rocks.  One simple truth that will always hold true is that everything changes.  This is one of the reasons people move in and out of our lives.

For me, I chose to make my purpose writing because I enjoy it so much.  I feel that the more I write, the better I get at it.  I have an active imagination and writing provides a powerful creative outlet.  You may seek your purpose in something else.  Anything that you choose to do on purpose is the course your life will take.  If you choose to do nothing, do not do like I did and ask why nothing ever seemed to happen.  This is the surest way to lose control of your life because as I said, we are a product of all of our experiences.  The world will move on around you.  Seize your opportunities, take hold of your dreams.

Where there is the will, there is a way.  This is how we give our lives meaning.  Once you find your purpose, you can align your goals towards that purpose and surround yourself with people who can understand and possibly share your vision.  I made my purpose writing.  I give my work meaning by exploring concepts like free will, teamwork, friendship and loyalty.  I explore ideas about the minds of bullies so others can share the knowledge of what I have discovered for myself.  This has brought a level of happiness into my life that I had never before imagined.

So find your purpose and give your life meaning.  If you want to make your purpose playing video games, set goals for yourself. With opportunities today like Twitch, you can make a living and possibly more.  If a charity weighs heavy on your heart, you can find a way to use your purpose to game to bring awareness or even donations to that charity.  You will have true meaning.

If you struggle with your purpose, don't give up.  Keep trying and find different ways to succeed.  Learn, discover, research, change plans.  You will learn more from your failures than you ever will from your successes.  People who truly succeed in life never quit because it is too hard and they never blame fate for their failures.  Get up, brush yourself off and take your destiny into your own hands...



Friday, September 25, 2015

Grammar: The Writer's Greatest Misconception

One of the greatest struggles a new writer faces is how self-critical they are of their own work. They get a brilliant idea and passionately pound the keys of their keyboard, working in a frenzy.  Once the initial adrenaline rush of inspiration wears off, they proudly kick back and read their manuscript.

Their hearts become shattered.  They see misspelled words, wrong words used and improper grammar in every other sentence.  The writer begins to have doubts about their abilities and their self-worth.  The writing is crap.

This is a natural part of the cycle of writing.  Ernest Hemmingway once said, "The first draft of anything is crap."  He actually used another word besides "crap", but I'm trying to keep my blog G/PG whenever I can.

A writer doesn't need grammar.  We have many talented editors, educators, students and everyday folk who have amazing literary skills and know how to format a sentence properly.  They also know how to catch bad writing habits and more.

What the literary world needs are innovative ideas and imagination.  We need writers to take us into new worlds and new adventures, opening our eyes and expanding our understanding of our place in the universe.  Ideas do not require good grammar to deliver themselves.  That's what an editor is for.  To see your idea and to know how to shape your idea into a story.

The greatest tool of a writer is their voice.  An author's voice isn't changed by an editor correcting a word if the voice is strong.  Focus on your voice as a writer.  What is your style?  For instance, I like to focus on miniscule detail because I like to think of my voice as a paintbrush painting a picture.  The trick my editor taught me was how I can go into exact detail without damaging the pace of my story.  An editor is the YANG voice to your YIN!

So write.  Then write some more.  You can then start self-editing once your first draft is done and correct what you know is wrong.  Move sentences, rearrange paragraphs and do the best you can.  Get a professional editor and request them to look over your work.  Accept their wisdom and knowledge.  An editor doesn't want to kill your masterpiece.  They want to help you avoid the pitfall mistakes that many published writers have made.

The more you write, the more you self-edit and the more you work with editors, the better you will become at Grammar.  Remember, your ideas are what we need.  Write!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lessons Learned: The Hard Way

Life is really too short.  You can dwell on this or that.  If it makes you happy, then good for you.

One of the most difficult challenges I have faced in life is not always being able to see when I was wrong about something.  I try to be honest with myself, but sometimes that doesn't always work.  So if you are losing sleep, and something is taking away your ability to live your life, then you have a problem.

I have an issue I have struggled with this year and I have finally done what I needed to do.  I've said my peace.  I've accepted my responsibility and I'm moving on.  My children are the top priority in my life and their smiles offer rewards beyond compare.  I have a loving and supporting wife and I stand on my own two feet without depending on the graciousness of my friends or family.  I have doors of opportunity open to me and there are many ways I can explore my horizons.  I realized that I'm capable of turning in any direction that I choose.  There is no course of action that I'm locked into.


Sometimes it is better to just make your point & move on. If you try too hard and if you are wrong, you might overplay your hand.

Friday, September 18, 2015

One Thousand Books and Counting

I want to humbly give my readers my deepest appreciation.  Today, I surpassed 1000 PAID DOWNLOADS on Amazon with my debut novel!

Thank you for your support and for telling your friends about my little story!