Last night, I approved the proof copy for my latest book of "Trinity and the Sad Child." This is the third book in the series of Trinity the Troublemaker. This story will also be available in my collected works edition that I am currently working on. I'm truly excited to have these projects in the works and to present the collected volume for my devoted readers.
Once the collected volume is released, I will be giving Trinity a break so that I can focus on other unrelated projects in my writing. These stories are more grownup in their theme and plot. Definitely nothing I would recommend for young children, but nothing I am deliberately trying to make too graphic for them. I don't write my stories for demographics and marketing, I write them because I can think of a plot with a compelling story to be told. An adventure to be shared, or an issue to provoke thinking in others. Frequently, I write on a given topic because I am constantly challenging myself to write in unfamiliar terms to take myself out of my comfort zone.
I used to write essays in college concerning social topics and criminal justice issues. However, I was also a part of writing in a creative writing class with the teach I wrote a dedication to in "Trinity and the Sick Kids," by the name of Brian Kirby. When I took my first class with him, it was an introduction to documentary films. Weekly we wrote a response to a film he would show us and then assign other papers as he saw fit.
To me, Brian Kirby is the definitive "thinking man" of today. He is an educator who challenges others and doesn't allow his students to merely slide by. He's the kind of educator that our society needs more of to turn out truly smart and intelligent people. Because of him, I honestly felt challenged to write well. Challenged when I took his classes, and challenged today to bring forth a story worthy of his class.
Not everyone appreciates a man like this. We all know someone who likes to take the path of least resistance. A life lived with minimum effort for maximum benefit. Which is a fine sort of life I guess if you never want to achieve anything great. Although, on the other side of the coin I can understand people who adopt this kind of life. People trying their best to pay their bills and raise their families. They can have the good and happy life of their choosing, and by no means do I condemn such people because they live their lives from a practical standpoint.
I hope no one takes my comments above as a reflection on their own lives and I certainly don't want to alienate any of my readers. I don't despise someone for living their life like this. On the contrary, I am saddened by it. I feel as though they have lost the ambition that drives them to pursue their dreams. The zeal for life that makes them strive for personal satisfaction of doing something that defies everyday monotony and doing something that people will talk about with admiration.
Whether it is writing, mountain climbing, scuba diving, community leadership, or volunteering I would love to see people who feel that their lives mean more than merely settling down and paying bills. People who will strive to make a mark and show how special they can be in what they've done. You don't owe anyone for deeds of excellence or greatness, you deserve the pleasure and the satisfaction of doing those things. You might just surprise yourself when your own hidden talents are revealed.
The Importance of Losing
When I was twenty four years old, I applied to become a police officer in my home town. I had physically trained and studied things that I thought would be important and ask police officers for any inside tips that I might be able to put to use. The hiring process was a long and drawn out affair between all the tests and interviews. Over the course of a three or four month span, it all came down to the psychological testing.
I didn't pass the test because I was crazy. I didn't pass because the psychiatrist thought I wasn't cut out for the job. They believed that I wasn't assertive enough, that my moral compass was too good to be true, and I was even told that I was not obnoxious enough.
That failure still stings sometimes because I thought it was what I was meant to do. Four years later, I tried again with another city. However, failing once was enough to make the department decide not to try wasting any money on my examinations to try hiring me. Not only did I fail, but it was like I was marked.
I resigned myself to the fact that I would never be a cop, but that also didn't mean that I couldn't do good things as well. Back at that time, I worked at a casino and I was in the surveillance team. Regularly I had to seek out thieves or determine the truth of a given matter. I was even privileged to occasionally discover evidence that cleared someone of an accusation. That was my favorite thing to do, because it meant that if not for me then someone or a whole department wasn't pre-emptively cleared out under suspicion of theft or wrongdoing.
After a couple more years of working, I decided that I should return to college and complete my bachelor's degree. I'd hoped that acquiring it would open me up to new opportunities and give me a chance to do even more of what I loved, helping people. I love helping people with the gifts that I have been granted. An intellectual thrill from providing a solution or comfort by thinking out the problem. I was really good at investigations, but I also have a good ear for conversation.
I still haven't found a job where I feel like I belong. By the time I had published my first book, I had been out of work for nearly two years. I had to do something finally, and with the encouragement of my friends I took the leap with story writing. Maybe my stories don't solve anything, but maybe through happy tales of adventure and overcoming obstacles it will give someone hope.
People think I am funny for collecting trinkets that represent my failures. It's not from a sense or some need to punish myself. I want to remain humble and avoid being arrogant. I want to remember that even if I had succeeded at what I tried, that it still might not have been what I was meant to do. However, I believe that my failures have served to shed light on my road to success. It's a path I continue to walk because success isn't a stopping point, it's an everlasting desire. I have never been defeated by failure, I've been given a lesson from each time that I have failed. Although it is not always clear to me at the time, I think that lesson is simply put: "Not here, keep going and you will find it."
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
I'm a man with many fears. Admitting it is nothing to be afraid of because I tie up no pride in myself to the point of trying to play myself off as perfect. It's an ordinary thing to be afraid because the human body has its own built in flaws and weaknesses and is vulnerable to several kinds of injury. So is also, the human psyche.
A lot of fear exists in our minds, but it is no less real. How others perceive us is almost more important to us than how we perceive ourselves. Acting on that fear might drive someone to try harder to gain the approval of others and modify oneself to extraordinary efforts to conform to the group mentality.
That manner of behavior isn't facing fear, instead it is the act of surrendering to fear. Such a person may well one day come to the conclusion that while they have been so busy doing so much for others that they don't even know their self very well at all. Loss of identity by not trying to define one in the first place and going with the flow like a dead fish.
That example wasn't meant to be as long as it turned out to be, but it must have needed to be said. Otherwise, it would not have come out of my mind. So, therefore I think and therefore it is.
My personal fears could be along those lines with the sense of stage fright that I have. Getting up and speaking in front of crowds and being the center of attention has never been easy for me. However, when I began to write my books with the full intent of publishing them I came to a realization.
I realized that the fame and attention that I had shunned for all of my life before was now something I would have to reach out for. I am a brand and my stories are my product. My face has to be behind what I am trying to sell, otherwise it won't be worth buying. My fear was trying to draw attention to myself and I consider myself a very meek person.
I don't allow my fear to rule me, nor have I surrendered to it. I wouldn't say that I have conquered my fear, but I would say that I have defied it. With my website, my efforts to raise my brand awareness, and submitting query letters to publishers and literary agents I am now in a position where I am seen and judged for who I am.
As a Christian, I strive to remain humble and a good example of how I believe a person who accepts that label should act. While retaining my own sense of individuality. Being humble is something I do for myself because I don't want to raise high expectations. I don't want to be disappointed by big dreams and suffer from feeling unable to measure up. Aside from that, I am not a greedy person. Just making a living would be enough for me.
Another fear I think people have is to be deprived. To have to do without something. Not having enough, or ever having enough. That might be a fear I have conquered because I have had less than I have now and I survived well. I'm grateful for my blessings and I want to work hard to keep them.
At the same time, I also want to reach people with the written word. Beyond my image or anything else, I want people to hear my ideas and come up with some of their own. I want my thoughts to provoke thoughts and the things I have to say I want them to inspire friendship and kinship with each other. Instead of fighting to compete with each other, I would like for us all to have a common goal to bring our different talents and resources together to overcome a challenge.
Maybe we won't conquer the fear of the worlds problems, but we can do a lot to defy that fear. Wouldn't that be something?
I have returned!
I am back to the world wide web. It's so good to return to my website and to re-connect with my loyal readers and followers. So much has happened during my absence that it may take a little while to recount it all.
First, I have finished moving into my new home. (New to me, but it was built awhile back and fairly well kept and updated.) I have an expanded work space to continue working on my stories and I have new tools for my artwork that should help me to bring out something higher quality in the following days and weeks.
Before I moved in to this wonderful house, I built an enclosure for my cats so they could get the experience of being outside without having to cope with the dangers that they can get into. My neighbor has two large dogs in his back yard. I'm not sure of their temperament to other animals, but I will err on the side of caution as I would if they were children of my very own. I'm neither married or dating, and I have not run the risk in engaging in the act of making children in any way. So, my cats are basically like my children.
I "celebrated" my thirty fifth birthday during the time I was away. I used quotation marks because I don't celebrate birthdays as much anymore. At my age, it's not really an occasion to celebrate. Just merely observe.
My one gift is a drafting board easel. This is a special space I can use to work on the cover art for my Trinity books. This series is the only one that I will do the art for because my artistic skill is passable for the third grade level. So, right around the age of my target audience. As for other stories in the future, I will be turning to a professional artist and graphic designer of whom I have been friends for several years with. However, I won't use his services for free. I must pay him, and to do that I will need money.
If you're interested in seeing what's next on the horizon, you can help it happen. By purchasing books in the Trinity series and telling your friends with kids about the stories I have written. The more I get will roll back into my projects and I will be able to bring you some literature that you will not want to put down.
So I appeal to the compulsive readers and registered bibliophiles. (I think I just made up a term.) Read or recommend so I can produce my stories and share my entertainment with the world. You're a part of it, if you're reading this then you can help me continue my work. And I remind you that 15% of the royalties I receive from the sale of the Trinity series goes to support the Ark of Hope for Children.
Further updates will follow. Thank you friends, it's good to be back.