A Holiday Bow; A New Year’s Scribblesaurus Rex

“I do not hesitate to maintain that what we are conscious of is constructed out of what we are not conscious of–that our whole knowledge, in fact, is made up of the unknown and incognisable.” ~Sir William Hamilton, Lectures on Metaphysics

Now the holidays can truly begin. Thank you, world. You’re truly filled with lovely people!

‘Tis the season. Saturnalia or Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Festivus or what you will–as the year draws to a close, the world gives itself to party, to merriment and reflection, wonder and hope of the days to come. It’s an interesting time of the year, to be sure.

After today, I’m probably going to be disappearing until after those holidays. It’s nothing personal, I assure you: to all those that have given your support, be it through likes, engagement, or the mere honor of a read-through, I cannot express enough my gratitude. You are the reason I write (you know, my own sanity and status as a scribblesaurus rex aside). You are the reason I shall continue to write, even when things descend into darkness and the stars dare to hide within.

I will be back after the New Year. And it is a time for which I can join the world in saying I am eager.

This year has had its ups and downs. My heart has swelled to new limits, been tested incontrovertibly through words both written and uttered, and I have grown–grown far from the creature I have spent too long thinking I would always become. Milestone: Depression was battled, and thanks to the help I had always denied, was beaten with a stick into its corner. I came out with another book. And next year, I hope to emerge with a third. I have returned to Michigan. Climbed mountains. Met new friends that have taught me new things about that aspect of life–and, truly, about myself.

I have invested in my own growth, and I sincerely hope you have all taken a moment this year to do the same. Just as I hope you will take these last days of the year to dwell on all that you could still do.

See you soon. Don’t forget my characters and I; we’ll be back before you know it.

(P.S. If you really want to help someone out this year, might I recommend a fellow writer’s efforts to that end? D.A. Adams is currently running a collection from now until the end of the month to aid a family in financial need. And you yourself will get some fine literature out of the arrangement. Even if you can’t give, it’s worth spreading the word. Food for thought!)

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The Gift of Words

Signs the friends and family know me well:

Aw, shucks.

The easy route would have been ye olde classic Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift cards, but this just goes to show they understand the beast that is writer in my heart. The character naming sourcebook is particularly fun, as it will now cut down significantly on my website hopping – while telling me all this little nameophile could need to know about names throughout various languages. And one can always use an update to their Writer’s Market.

Time to figure out who the new kids on the block are this year…

Merry Christmas, everyone!

 

The Music of Life

Photo by Chris Galford.

This time of year always gets me to thinking. On life. On death. On family and friends. Toss in a little bit of “purpose” in there to boot, and we have a veritable medley of late nights ahead. This year’s kicked it into overdrive, though—far from home, far from what I know, first book out there, struggling to make sense of it all. But tomorrow, I head home. Amidst snow and ice and the sodden flight of the night, I head back to Michigan for the holidays.

And the mind cranes toward the whimsical.

There is a certain music to life. It is in the air. In a lover’s eyes. Reverberating in our own delicate touches upon the world. Even when you inevitably ask the bleary-eyed teenage neighbors to turn down the racket, and the bass fades into nothing, the music of existence still resounds. Sometimes it’s just a whisper. But sometimes, it is a veritable symphony.

The real wonder, I find, is trying to puzzle out the notes. We can identify the chords as they come, but putting them all together can be more of a puzzle than a tune—for while there might seem some pattern in a series of certain moments, it is gone in the next. This might frustrate some. In fact, I know it does. Yet I can’t help but find it beautiful. Wondrous, even.

Close your eyes. Breathe it in. Senseless wonder—is that you?

Soulful artist Grace Kelly. Photo by Chris Galford.

So often we try to attach purpose to everything we do. In fact, I dare say it’s a human imperative. We are so distraught if we cannot master “the tune,” drumming up a performance to put all our ancestors to shame. Yet I must say there is a certain freedom in realizing it doesn’t all have to make sense. We don’t always need a purpose—that is merely a construction, to add some unidentifiable quality of “worth” to life.

You know what is truly priceless? A sunset. Drink that vision in. Crisp mountain air. Feel it on your skin. The smile of that like-minded soul just across the room. Let the sensation pool inside you, and stir that heart to motion.

Now try to do it without calling me a hippy. Thank you.

Life does not always need to have purpose. It is a chaotic tune, often enough—a jazz-like echo through which each and every one of us grind along. Sometimes, all life is—truly—is the simplest of moments, where we can stop and breathe and hear it all stirring around us.

I think if we could find more moments to just…stop, we would all be a little saner for it. But then, maybe that’s the writer in me talking. And I don’t think anyone would ever accuse him of being the sanest man in any room.

(P.S. Almost forgot to let you all know—this week and this week only, e-book versions of The Hollow March are on holiday sale if you purchase through Smashwords. At just 99 cents, it’s perfect for a virtual stocking stuffer for that fantasy lover in your life—because nothing says Merry Christmas like the ring of steel and magic.

See that? Now you know what I meant when I said the writer in me’s not the sanest lad in the room!)

Merry Christmas!

A Christmas greeting and well-wishes from all of us at One Stop Poetry! May all the season treat you well, and find you right, as we wind our way through these wonderful holidays, and into a New Year.

And featuring, “Christmas Bells,” a Poem by the famous Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882):

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’”


Homeless Holidays

Too often this time of year, it is habit and standard to think of those closest to our hearts, those we love and cherish and hold above all others. We think of those presents we wish to give them, the smiles on their faces. We think of the cheer on their faces and let it become the holiday, and that is beautiful, and good.

But in that process, we often forget the others – those people that do not have the luxury of that cheer. This is not a wholesale judgment of others, for I recognize the tendency in myself as well – it is only natural, but we must force ourselves to face reality, to turn our minds and our hearts beyond our own.

To that note, for this Christmas Eve I grant a more solemn contribution to the season, the reality of the above:

Carolers sing out,

cheer static smothers cardboard

hides the ringing cups.

This season, just remember, as you are opening gifts and trading smiles with those you care about, that there are others, much less fortunate than we, who will not experience that joy. There are those with naught but memories of these things, and some that have never gotten to experience that holiday joy…please, keep them in your thoughts as well.

Plastic Wreaths

Standing among the plastic wreaths he

searches desperately for life denied

but the rows stretch on into

foreboding; the synthetic

green grows into a maze,

amazing, and he sees the

clerk smiling at him–

no consolation in

the shrubbery

creeping to

Imperfection.