Monthly Archives: July 2011

Flawed Heroes

I believe that one of the worst moments for a child is the day they realize their parents are human, that they’re not perfect.  Suddenly this world that you seem to understand so perfectly is turned upside down.

Now this moment doesn’t have to be something incredibly traumatic, for myself it was something very small.  My father worked at a factory from 2pm-midnight and sometimes when he came home he would bring me candy.  Now he told me that he got it at work so as a kid I imagined this giant candy store in the middle of this old dusty factory.  I would ask him questions about this Wonka-Candy factory within a factory and he would tell stories that would leave me starry eyed.  It wasn’t until I went on a tour with him once that he admitted there wasn’t really a candy store within his work, he just liked how amazed I seem to be when he told this story.

The realization that my dad had a normal job and had lied to me caused my child-like mind to pause for a second.  From that point on I no longer believed him whole-heartily.  Again it was minor and I wasn’t mad but it caused me to question things from there on out. 🙂

My father was a great man, flawed, but great.  I remember playing cowboys and Indians with him until the sun set.  I remember running around the yard playing lazer tag until the lazer tag belts ran out of charge.  I can still remember trying to stay on his knee as we pretended it was a horse desperately trying to buck me off.  I can remember playing video games with him and every time he lost a life he would accuse the game of cheating.

I also remember the times that bring pain and disappointment.  I remember the fights he had with my mother when she questioned his fidelity.  I remember him being combative at work and having a hard time keeping a job.  I remember having to try and keep him together when my mom & sister passed despite the fact that I felt like I was falling apart.  I remember him failing to take care of himself and ending up in & out of the hospital.  I remember him in a wheel chair, not able to walk, and barely able to take care of himself until the day he passed.

So what does it all mean?  I’m still searching for the answer.  I am the person that I am today because of his example, because of what he taught me.  I watched as he opened the door for others, answered yes ma’am to ladies, and was always willing to help out a perfect stranger.  In the end I believe we have to take the good with the bad.  My father wasn’t perfect, but I hope I learned from his flaws, hopefully the same way he learned from his father’s flaws.

Even with all the bad I can still say that I am proud to have called him my father.  No matter what life holds for me if, at the end of the day, my (future) children can say the same thing about me, then he did his job.

The funny thing is that as a child the first story I heard that took me to a special place, that captured my imagination, and that placed a picture in my head so permanently that I can still remember what I thought it looked like today, was my father telling me about that magical candy store in the middle of an old dusty factory.

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On The Precipice Of Change

Some of you may have noticed that I have been a little quiet lately.  I know the usual excuse is the “Life Got In The Way” response, and that is definitely the one I will be throwing out.  You see my wife and I have been married for almost 5 years but we have been together for nearly 11 years (High School Sweet-hearts, cue the collective Awwwwwwww).  We have had our good and bad times.  We’ve had some great adventures (vacations) and some adventures that I would like to forget.  The one thing we haven’t had together is a child, but that is about to change.

About 3 weeks ago my wife visited me at work to inform me that it appears I will be a father.  Everything kind of went dark and I don’t really remember much directly after that.  I do remember attempting to be productive at work and failing miserably. 🙂

Now I’m 29 years old and by now most of my friends have already brought another life or two (or three or four) into the world.  My wife and I intentionally held off for various reasons ranging from her wanting to go back to school first, wanting to take another vacation together, and not wanting to have to pay for day care ever.  Yet I am a firm believer that what ever is supposed to happen will happen.

Just to be clear I do consider this to be great news!  Scary, but still great news.  I have enjoyed the “Just The Two Of Us” lifestyle that my wife and I have had all these years, but I am excited about opening a completely new chapter in our lives together.  I have been told of what awaits me in the months & years to follow, but in this case instead of reading or being told about the adventure I’m ready to take it on my own.

Also send money.

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Things That I Find Funny

My wife has told me on multiple occasions that I have a “peculiar” sense of humor.  When she isn’t in a good mood she puts it quite differently.  My point is that from time to time I am going to share with you something that has caused me to burst out laughing and quite possibly wet myself, but some of you might not find it even remotely amusing.  I apologize to those who do not understand.  For those of you who share my sense of humor please find professional help before it is too late.

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Why Do It If You Don’t Enjoy It?

I’ve only been blogging for a few months now, but there is something that I notice each and every time I go surfing for a few good blogs to read.  I usually stick to the Writing section of WordPress since that is what I am most interested in, and one thing I see quite a lot is people FORCING themselves to write.  Their blog will center around how they feel bad that they haven’t written as much as they like, or just can’t find the motivation to jump back into writing.  They may not go out and say it, but it really seems like they’re not having fun.  Which causes me to ask, why do it if you don’t enjoy it?

Now don’t get me wrong I understand where they are coming from.  For the longest time I would force myself to sit down and write a set amount of words a couple of times a week.  What I found is that I would literally dread the days I had picked out to do my writing.  I would sit there and struggle and would find myself checking to see if I had completed my quota of words.  Suddenly this thing that I had enjoyed so much had turned into a chore.

I’d like to think that the reason we decided to write is because we enjoy it.  We enjoy telling stories, we enjoy creating worlds, and we enjoy crafting interesting characters.  For myself the best writing I do is when I am in the “Zone”, I will sit there crank out several chapters and at the end feel not only a sense of accomplishment, but a sense that I just had a good time.  I truly believe in order to write something we are really proud of and want others to read we need to have fun doing it.  It may not always be easy but I think writing should be something you look forward to doing, not something you feel an obligation to do.

I will not step off my soapbox  😉

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The Writer Magazine Is Surprisingly Good

I recently subscribed to The Writer
and I will admit my expectations were quite low.  I was honestly just hoping for a magazine that would provide some decent advice on some writing techniques, or at the very least a good table decoration that would remind me to write.

When it arrived in the mail the first thing I noticed was that it was very slim, 58 pages including advertising, but when I opened it up I was pleasantly surprised.  It included reading suggestions, stories about how certain authors got started, author interviews, writing advice/suggestions, and contact information for publishers, agents, and various conferences.

My favorite part so far was an article about driving more traffic to your website and blog.  An hour after I implemented some of their ideas I can say that I have already broken my daily view count record!

With all that said I was able to get the subscription for less then $10 due to a special offer.  Last time I checked on Amazon it was around $29 for 12 issues.  With just one issue in hand I don’t know if I could recommend the magazine to others yet.  For what I’m interested in and attempting to accomplish, it was a steal for what I got it at, but I would have to ponder upon the $29/yr price tag.  With that said I am very much a cheap skate.  I’ll let you guys know later on if I’m still enjoying it and if anyone else has subscribed let me know what you think about it!

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Character Crushes

The great thing about books is that you are able to go inside the mind of the characters.  A movie or TV show is more superficial in the sense that you have the characters physical appearance and their basic personality but rarely really get to know them.  In a book you can read their thoughts, you are with them during their struggles and triumphs, you get to know them on some of the most deepest levels.  Because of this it is quite possible to develop a bit of a crush on a character.  I will be the first to admit I have had my fair share of character crushes.

The first character crush I remember having was Vada Sultenfuss in the book My Girl by Laurice Elehwany.  Most people may be more aware of the movie staring Macaulay Culkin.  As a young kid I identified with her feeling out of place and found her unique home-life intriguing.  Of course for those who know the story what she ends up going through made me what to jump into the book so I could be there for her.  A great story and even better character, who I am proud to admit I still have a crush on  🙂

Of course my crushes did not end once I “grew up”.  My most recent crush is on Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy.  Now this one can easily be seen as strange.  Lisbeth is a very complex character but what I loved about her is that she is an incredibly outwardly strong and capable individual who also happens to be extremely vulnerable.  To me individuals end up with this personality mix because of trauma they have had as a child.  You end up growing up quicker so you are more mature and capable, but still desire what all children desire, acceptance, protection, and love.  Not having that at a young age makes you desire it even more as an adult.  I found myself wanting to be there to protect her while also accepting she would probably also be protecting me

Alright now that I have thrown myself out there it’s your turn.  Do you have a character crush you are brave enough to admit to?


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The Journey Vs The Story; Or What Katherine Heigl And Avatar Have In Common

Real quick tell me what movie this is.  A quirky female is attempting to find her place in the world when she meets up with this guy she can’t stand.  Through a twist of fate they are forced together, fall in love, have to overcome an obstacle but end up together and happy ever after.  Alright what movie is that?  What do you mean that could be one of several hundred movies?  Alright what if I tell you it stars Katherine Heigl?  What do you mean that it could still be one of several dozen?  🙂  I am quite aware that this sounds like the plot line of every single romantic comedy, but that is kinda my point.  My wife loves romantic comedies but they all have the same basic plot lines and hit the same exact beats.  With that said I will admit that I actually enjoy some romantic comedies.  So how is it that I can enjoy watching basically the same exact movie over and over and over again?  Because there is a difference between the story and the journey.

The story is obviously what the book/movie/tv show is all about.  But the journey is the telling of how this all comes to be.  Take the movie Avatar for example.  Same basic story as Dances With Wolves don’t you think?  Yet the thing is I really don’t like Dances With Wolves, but Avatar?  I can watch me some Avatar.  You take the same basic story, change the setting, maybe change the order of a few plot points and BOOM, same story different journey.

To continue with my horrible analogies think of the story as the outside of a twinkie and the journey as the cream filling.  Sure the outside of a twinkie looks good enough and makes you interested in trying it out, but what if there isn’t any cream filling in the middle?  Do you know how dry that is going to be?  No amount of milk is going to make that any better!  That is going to be like eating a tube of sand that is covered in sand.  I’m sorry what were we talking about again?

The reason I bring this up is because I try to keep this in mind whenever I’m writing.  You can have the most amazing story in the world but if the journey is boring nobody is going to want to read it.  On the same hand you can have a very basic story but send readers on the most amazing journey they have ever been on.

Hopefully you all understand what I am rambling on about and get my point.  Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the most interesting or complex story in the world that isn’t all the matters.

This blog is brought to you by Hostess Twinkies tm

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