Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Goals

I made a personal goal to have 35,000 words by the end of this month.  I have a lot written out in my composition book.  Four 1,000-word drafts, and a little more.  They're part of a different part of the story that I wanted to add to this first half of the book.  Once I have this first part figured out, I'll work on the second part.

Since what's written in the composition book is a rough draft, it's not too far-fetched of me to think that I've only a few hundred words from reaching my goal.  Usually, what gets added to the computer is longer than what's in the rough draft.

Not last night, but the three nights before then, I spent the time right before bedtime writing.  I would try to do 1,000 words in a day.  Usually, I wrote a paragraph or two during the day, but the majority of the draft would be written that night.

Last night, well, I had school this morning and I was too tired.  I finished my 1,000 words earlier today.  I started on another draft, but I was in too bad a mood to continue writing.  I wrote all right.  Not for my story, though.  I made a vent fest.  That's enough writing for one night.

I'm going to have to add everything to the Word Document.  I'm typing it out and then adding it in, but anyway...

I'm going to be busy tomorrow.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Writer's Bible Verse and The Where-To-Turn Section

Okay, the Writer's Bible Verse isn't in every Bible.  One translation out of the billions and billions of translations has it worded like this:


Proverbs 15:31 (NLT) If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.

I have two quote books.  This was in one of them under "Criticism."  The words "constructive criticism" stick out at you, don't they?  I saw this the first time just thought about how applicable it was.

Of course, the verse means every part of your life, but since I consider myself a writer, well, yeah.  You get where I'm going with this.

I have this little crimson, Celtic-Cross decorated, Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB).  In 11th & 12th grade, I was teased because some kid thought it looked like a Quran.  It's a Holy, well-used, red-letter edition Bible.

*Not a picture of my Bible, picture courtesy of Amazon.com.  But that's the one I have.

I've had it for several years and the Where to Turn Section knocks me out.  Not only is it very...how do I put this, in what sounds like a Everything Guide book.  I'm serious.  The word choice is that informal and that hip with the lingo.  Seriously.  Well, I guess if the Bible speaks to you, it's going to speak to you in your own language.

There's one Where-To-Turn that really knocked me out the first time I saw it.

"When you are bored...Psalm 103...726"

I'm serious.  That's really there.  If you look up Psalm 103, it's a praise and count-your-blessings psalm.  Of course I looked it up.  I had to know what they recommended for when you were bored.

Another of my favorites was:

"When you need to get your head on right...Philippians 4:8...1430"

My brain processed it saying, "When you need a good kick in the pants."  I can't figure out a good, formal, gobbeldygook for it, though.  Okay, it's not funny like "When you're bored" but the word choice just didn't...I don't know.  It wound up being one of my favorite verses though. 

"When you are tempted to look out only for #1...Luke12:13-21...1262" 

There are plenty of overbearing, "you're a dirty selfish sinner" mean ways to put that.  The verses is the story of the man who stored all his riches on earth and he died that night. 

Nothing can convince me God doesn't have a sense of humor, which is a whole nother blogpost.  It's a pleasant thought thinking that the people who set these Bibles up must have one too and can put it in how we speak nowadays.  I wondered if they thought/knew people would get a kick out of their word choice.

Good night, and God bless...you're going to go check those verses, aren't you?  Or going see what you're Where-To-Turn section, if your Bible has one, has in it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reasons We Write...And Why We Don't

Monday, I think, I printed out 111 pages of my unfinished novel.  I had reached what I hoped was a good stopping point.  My mother just so happened to find out.  She wants to read my story.

I have just a  little issue with that.

May 21, 2008, the Short Stories Newsletter from Writing.Com states the second top reason writers don't write: 


2. But what if my Mom reads my work?  I write Erotica. There, I've said it out loud. I'd probably shrivel up and die if my Mom ever read my Erotic tale, which is why I had it published under a pen name. You can't worry about someone else's opinions of the kind of writing you do, or you'll never start writing.

For the record, I don't write Erotica, never even tried.  I write fantasy, and my mother is not overly fond of that genre.  She and my sister primarily read romances.  I love romance too, even have a romantic comedy in progress because I love watching those and reading them is just as fun, but my favorite genre remains fantasy.  It's what got me reading after all.

So, when she told me she wanted to read it...well...The "bad idea" siren went off in my head.  Luckily for both my mom and myself, I've come to terms with the fact that she'll be reading it over the weekend.  I told my mom she could see it after I'd taken the red pen to it.  I'm hoping the red marks don't confuse her too much...There's so many...


Now for my "Why" Lists:
Why I Write:
1-Because if I don't, I'm a mean you-know-what.  (Ask anyone who was around me when I took that hiatus in tenth grade.)
2-These characters are giving me a story to tell.  (Why I began writing in the first place.)
3-I want to share a new spiritual idea and hopefully get some feedback and opinions.
4-Something funny happened and maybe it'll make other people laugh too.
5-If it's my diary, I just need a vent fest.

Why I Don't Write:
1-I've written an entire blogpost.  But when it came time to actually post it, I just clicked out of it.  It was too personal and I didn't want it all over the internet.  (Well, that was writing, it just didn't exist anymore.)
2-I've got writer's block.
3-I'm not reading anything so my literary juices are depleted.  I can't write if I'm not reading a good book.  I need literary stimulation.
4-The downside to reading is that I don't WANT to write and just finish out the book I started.  I can't even think about writing.
5-I have no idea what to write about, or if I do, I don't have enough to say to finish it out, so I don't.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Because I Just Love To Laugh At Myself...

My mother made us all go to church today.  I'd never been to a Methodist service before, so it was interesting.  Anyway, my dad and I needed to fill out a visitor card (My mom had been there plenty of times for Bible Studies.  She wasn't a visitor, technically.  My little brother, Vin, is too young to do that sort of thing.)  We sat in the very last pew.

I leaned over on the pew's cushion to get another visitor card.  I lost my balance and rolled off the pew.  My parents saw and while they didn't laugh, I could tell they wanted to.  Them and the people in the pew in front of us. 

After my little demonstration of clumsiness, I enjoyed the service, for the most part.  The preaching was probably the best part.  I didn't know the hymns they sang, so...yeah.

That's not the pew, but it's this sort.  The pews in this church had cushions that had been thrown onto the hard wooden bench.  My cushion kept slipping.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Opening Lines & Bars

Think back to your favorite song.  Do you think your eyes light up when you hear those first opening bars of music?

Most people know I'm a country music fanatic.  One of my favorite songs is "My Maria"* by Brooks & Dunn.  I love those first opening bars of music.  (I think that's why it's one of my favorites, actually.)  It's really upbeat and it's just a few notes.  Those few notes go a long way.

As far as opening lines go...

"Well, I love her/but I love to fish." - "I'm Gonna Miss Her"* by Brad Paisley <--One of my favorite opening lines to a song.

Okay, let's go to books now before I launch into all my favorite country songs.  Or songs of other genres for that matter.

*Neither of those YouTube links go to the official videos.  The official videos have advertisements.

In your favorite book, is the opening line your favorite part?  Or even the first scene?  An opening hook can make or break a book for me whether or not I'll read it.  Since books speak for themselves, here's some best-sellers/well-known classics' openings that I was able to pull from my bookshelf:

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." - (like you honestly don't recognize this passage but it's from:) Genesis 1:1, the Bible (best-selling, classic, life-manual...)


"When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton." -(Again, do I really need to put where this one's from?) The Fellowship of the Ring, by J. R. R. Tolkien, (classic, best-seller)

"Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance that was never lightened by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow lovable." -Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson (classic)

"Taran wanted to make a sword; but Coll, charged with the practical side of his education, decided on horseshoes." -The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander (first book of a best-selling series, may be considered a children's classic)

As a reader, some of my favorite books have these lines that just suck you into the story. Now, all of those may or may not be well-known works, but I tried to stick to the classics on my own 'read' bookshelves.

Some of my personal favorite openings that may or may not be well-known:

"Linderwall was a large kingdom, just east of the Mountains of Morning, where philosophers were highly respected and the number five was fashionable. The climate was unremarkable. The knights kept their armor brightly polished mainly for show--it had been centuries since a dragon had come this far east. There was the usual periodic problems with royal children and uninvited fairy godmothers, but they were always the sort of thing that could be cleared up by finding the proper prince or princess to marry the unfortunate child a few years later. All in all, Linderwall was a very prosperous and pleasant place.

"Cimorene hated it." -Dealing with Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede (beginning of a bestselling children's series)
"'You, my lord, are a rake and a rogue. A scoundrel.'" -The Wedding Bargain, by Victoria Alexander (NYT Bestseller)

"I saw Byzantium in a dream, and knew that I would die there." -Byzantium, by Stephen R. Lawhead (I don't think this book was a best-seller, but SRL has others that were. This one just so happens to be my favorite standalone.

Well, lovers of books and reading, those are some opening lines that others or I thought were great.  How can you not love a book that begins like some of those do?

Friday, September 17, 2010

When Writing Is Therapeutic...And When It Isn't

Last night, I was in a particularly bad mood.  I'm one of those nighttime depressees.  Come daylight, I'm fine.  I cried and I didn't try fighting it.  {this is NOT easy for me to admit.  I hate crying, especially when I'm caught, but I needed the example} I knew I'd feel better once I was done.  And I did feel better.  At least a little.  After that, I got my notebook from off the floor, turned to a new page, and started writing.  It's a new poem, on my WDC.  "The Hunter."  It's not about what was wrong, not entirely anyway, but it was something I had been wanting to write.

I felt truly, deeply cleansed when I was finished.  It's short, and it was scattered.  When I created the item on WDC, I put the stanzas in the order I wanted them.


My best writer friend, Lacey, writes when she's in a bad mood and in need of therapy.  After a few sessions, she feels better.  Writing has proven therapeutic for many.


But what about when it has the opposite effect?



Back in July, when I first started the current draft, something odd happened.  It was a conversation between Naren (our protagonist) and Alandra (the antagonist).  Naren was annoyed.  Incredibly annoyed.  I started getting annoyed.  I was thinking, "Why doesn't Naren just kill her now and get it over with?"


Whoa.  Back up!  I was getting annoyed at what I was writing?  In hindsight, it makes sense.  I've cried (oh, dang, I'm just admitting to it a lot tonight, aren't I?) several times when I was writing.  Just ask my friend, Amanda.  She's caught me crying while I was writing!  When my characters were happy, I was happy.  When they were sad, so was I.  When they were angry, I was angry.  When they didn't know how to feel, neither did I.


I don't know if this is necessarily a good thing, though.  Yes, it's good that I can get under my characters' skins, but is it good for my feelings to be affected as well?  I'm supposed to feel better after a good write, not like I want to kill someone.


But I'm certain I'm not the only one.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

That Dreaded Peer Review

As you know, English Composition is exactly what it sounds like:  Compositions in the English language.  English, the hardest language to master.  English, the official language of the United States.


My English professor insists on taking us by the hand and doing this first essay step by step.  Most of us have been writing essays for years.  We don't like the slow pace, but we're not in any position to argue with a newspaper columnist.


Well, the few things that we have turned in, he's read aloud to the class.  Fortunately, he never named the writer.  Usually, the writer revealed herself.  (mostly girls did this)  Surprisingly, I did not reveal myself.  But I sit at the back of the class and no one makes an effort to turn around and look at me.


Today, we had to do a peer review.

"Peer review: n, evaluation of a person's work or performance by a group of people in the same occupation, profession, or industry."

I hate them.  I picked a lame topic and some student from my class got to read my lameness.  Luckily for me, the guy in front of me got my paper and he didn't mark it up all that much.  I also got to see what he was doing.  The paper I got was a girl's from across the room.

When I told my mother about the peer review, all she said was, "We'll, you're used to that."

It bothered me a little, but I didn't argue with her.  It was true, but it wasn't pleasant.



*definition taken from Dictionary.com

Monday, September 13, 2010

THE 25,000!

Earlier this morning, I reached 25,000 words on my fantasy novel, Black Sight.

My goal is 100,000 words, double the size of a NaNoWriMo novel.  Do I have to get 100,000?  Not really.  If I can get the story across in 80-90,000 words, I'd settle for that.  But my little word count meter (yeah, I'm that dorky) that I fill in every 5,000 words goes up to 100,000. 

You've heard me talk about Naren before. (see previous posts if you haven't)  He's the protagonist in the story.

Here's a quick 2-sentence summary of the novel so you have an idea of what it's about and you'll be able to sleep tonight and not wondering what this is about:

Naren isn't so much an unlikely hero, as he is reluctant.  He doesn't have dreams of honor and glory, even though everyone knows he'd be really good at being a hero, which is why his witch of a great-aunt blackmails him into helping her.

Kamra, Naren, and Maros were my first characters once writing became my hobby.  That ^ was not the plotline nor was Alandra (our antagonist) the villian.  Kamra was the original central character, but Naren has more that could be at stake, thus, he stole the show.  That, and I did a background check on Naren and his background is WAY more interesting.  There's way more about Naren than Kamra and I wrote most of those when Kamra WAS the central character.

I'm one fourth of the way there! I'm halfway halfway there!

Self-Esteem & The Strong Heroine

September 11, 2010 (<--Date I wrote it, didn't post it here that day)
 J. C. Verdin


Well, the title says a lot, doesn't it?


Most girls have looked in the mirror and has been completely disappointed with what they see. Or looked at pictures of themselves and hated them. You looked fine in the mirror, but that camera does seem to add ten pounds or blow up that zit or whatever.


We've already discussed the evils of mirrors, haven't we?


I've got a new theory: Anything that produces an image is bad. Maybe we'd be a lot happier if we couldn't see ourselves.


I have a love-hate relationship with myself. Sometimes, I'm like, "You know what, God made me a writer. That alone makes me awesome." I look in the mirror sometimes and go, "Wow. My cousin was right when she said I didn't need make-up. I am pretty without it! Take that, you losers who need make-up!" (Maybe it's not a good idea to put people down in self-esteem article.)


Other times, it's "I need a tune-up as bad as [my adorable car] Christine does." Or when I started college, my biggest fear, other than College Algebra, was whether or not I'd make new friends or if I'd fit in. I talk fast and a lot of people can't understand me. Or I'm just plain weird and I get teased.


Other than the writing part and my self-esteem issues, I am "an adjusted human being." I believe in God and that Jesus is the Way, Truth, and the Light; heaven and hell. I am attending college and majoring in English, chasing my writing dream so I can make something of myself. Why would I have self-esteem issues?


Everyone has things about themselves that they don't like, that they would change if they could. A lot of women and teenage girls have weight issues. (I'm struggling with this myself and this is where those mirror issues come in.) It's one thing to want to be healthy and live a long time, even though you'll die eventually. But just because some airbrushed chick on the cover of Seventeen or Glamour or People is flawless doesn't mean you have to be. You already got something on her: You're REAL. She's not.


I attended an Expressive Arts camp last summer. One of the teachers who did graphic design showed us a before and after picture. He lightened this girl's hair, took out her freckles, made her boobs bigger, and gave her that perfectly angular face--all on a computer. He showed this with two different pictures, one was an almost full short, the other was just a face. Neither of those women were ugly in the "before" picture.

Since you've already been been told the "fearfully and wonderfully made" Bible verse I won't say it again. But I will tell you this: Of all the people I have seen in my life (and that's a lot, since I people watch) I have NEVER seen an ugly person. I've seen drop-dead sexy guys and plain old John Does. I've seen girls that I wished that I looked like and others that were about like me.

But never have I seen anyone that was hard to look at just because of a physical appearance. Now, if I knew a handsome or plain person and I didn't like their personality, that's a different story. I don't like looking at those. There's this one guy I know. He's not the most gorgeous guy I've seen, but he's not ugly. But he said something smart-alecky to me on our first meeting and that was it! I didn't like him. We're friends now, and I use that term loosely.

Is my point made? Ladies and ladies, you are beautiful just the way you are. Single ladies, if a man doesn't have time to tell you this, then you don't have the time for him. If you've never heard that before YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Goodnight and God bless.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kai's Eternity 3

Thoughts on "The Snow Queen," part 3
September 7, 2010
J. C. Verdin



At last we are at the seventh part of my favorite tale by Hans Christian Andersen.


"Little Kai was blue--indeed, almost black--from the cold; but he did not feel it, for the Snow Queen had kissed all feeling of coldness out of him, and his heart had almost turned into a lump of ice. He sat arranging and rearranging pieces of ice into patterns. He called this the Game of Reason; and because of the splinters in his eyes, he thought that what he was doing was of great importance, although it was no different than playing with wooden blocks, which he had done when he could hardly talk.


"He wanted to put the pieces of ice together in such a way that they formed a certain word, but he could not remember exactly what that word was. The word that he could not remember was "eternity." The Snow Queen had told him that if he could place the pieces in ice so that they spelled the word, then he would be his own master and she would give him the whole world and a new pair of skatesl but, however much he tried, he couldn't do it."


The Snow Queen leaves Kai just as Gerda arrives.


"But Kai sat still and stiff and cold; then little Gerda cried and her tears fell on Kai's breast. The warmth penetrated to his heart and melted both the ice and the glass splinter in it....


"Kai burst into tears and wept so much that the grains of glass in his eyes were washed away. Now he remembered her and shouted joyfully: "Gerda! Sweet little Gerda, where have you been so long? And where have I been?" Kai looked about him. "How cold it is, how empty and how huge!" And he held onto Gerda, who was so happy that she was both laughing and crying at the same time. It was so blessed, so happy a moment that even the pieces of ice felt it and started to dance; and when they grew tired they lay down and formed exactly the word for which the Snow Queen had promised Kai the whold world and a new pair of skates.


"....Now the Snow Queen could return, for the right to his freedom was written in brilliant pieces of ice.


"Soon they were walking up the worn steps of the staircase to the old Grandmother's apartment. Nothing inside it had changed. The clock said: "Tick-tack..." and the wheels moved. But as they stepped through the doorway they realized that they had grown up: they were no longer children.


"The roses were blooming in the wooden boxes and the window was open. There were the little stools they used to sit on. Still holding each other's hands, they sat down, and all memory of the Snow Queen and it's hollow splendor disappeared. The Grandmother sat in the warm sunshine, reading aloud from her Bibe: "Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of Heaven as a little child shall not enter therein."


"Kai and Gerda looked into each other's eye and they understood the words from the psalm:


Our roses bloom and fade away,
Our infant Lord abides alway.
May we be blessed his face to see
And ever little children be.


"There they sat, the two of them, grown ups and yet in their hearts children, and it was summer: a warm glorious summer day!


A lot happens in the seventh part. You've read it for yourself. I wanted to talk about two things in this last part, but I can't remember the first. (Hey, vents are supposed to be honest.) So, I'll focus on the second.


"Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of Heaven as a little child shall not enter therein." is a paraphrase of a well-known Bible verse. (Matthew 18:3). I think the translator just translated it straight from the Danish and didn't bother with a well-known translation. If you ever figure out the translation he used, please tell me. Hint: It's NOT King James Version. I checked.


1-In Bible times, children were the least of these. They were the bottom of the totem pole. God just loves to humble us, doesn't He?


2-Children have a sense of trust that we need to emulate. They trust their daddy or mommy to take care of them no matter what.


3-Children a sense of wonder that we lose when we grow older. Storms are explained away by science. Scary images on TV are just stage make-up and special effects. Nothing amazes us anymore. (We've talked about this before, haven't we?)


4-Children are sinners in need of a savior.  People are, by their very nature, sinners. From the moment we are born till we take our last breath. Some of us can add the prefix 'saved' to that term, but we're still sinners. Being saved doesn't make you perfect nor does it mean you'll stop sinning. You'll fall short of the glory of God millions of times this side of eternity.


In essence, "The Snow Queen" is about being a child and childlike faith. (If you read the entire story, you'll know that.) While some of the other parts inspire other thoughts, which is a good thing, children, like all fairy tales, are the star role.


It's been a great three days. Good night and God bless.


*All quotes from "The Snow Queen" are taken from Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories, Translated from the Danish by Erik Christian Haugaard, published 1983 by Anchor Books

Gerda's Love 2

Thoughts on "The Snow Queen", part 2 September 6, 2010
J. C. Verdin



We left off last night with the devil and his broken mirror, what it does, and all that. Well, that's only the first part. Our victim, a little boy named Kai, and our heroine, a little girl named Gerda, are introduced in the second part. And here's what happened:
"One afternoon as Kai and Gerda sat looking at a picture book with animals and flowers in it--it was exactly five o'clock, for the bells in the church tower had just struck the hour--Kai said, 'Ouch, ouch! Something pricked my heart!' And then again, 'Ouch, something sharp is in my eye.'
"The little girl put her arms around his neck and looked into his eyes but there was nothing to be seen. Still, it hurt and little Gerda cried out of sympathy.
"'I think it is gone now," said Kai. But he was wrong, two of the splinters from the devil's mirror had hit him: one his entered his heart and the other his eyes....But the pain, that would disappear."
Kai loses interest in the simplicity of life. He made fun of people, including Gerda. But she still played with him.


And then Kai is taken by the Snow Queen. Winter passes and there is no sign of him. When spring comes, Gerda puts on her new red shoes, shoes Kai had never seen, and walks down to the river to ask it a question.


When she asks the river if it had taken him, she bargains her new red shoes. She throws them into the river and the river returns them.


Thinking she hadn't thrown them far enough, she gets into a boat and tosses the shoes again. The boat wasn't fastened to the shore and she was off!


Eventually, the boat washed ashore, near an old woman's home. The old woman knew magic and made her rose bushes disappear. Gerda wouldn't see them and she wouldn't remember Kai and she wouldn't run away.


Needless to say, this plan didn't work.


Gerda goes through a lot of trouble looking for Kai. After she escapes the old witch, she meets a two crows, a prince and princess, a band of robbers, a Finnish woman, and a Lapp woman. Even though Kai was mean to her, she still loved him enough to look for him. Once the river took her away, did she try to return home? No. Her only thought was, "Maybe the river will lead me to him."


How many people do you know would go through all that? Who comes to mind first?


I seem to like talking about Jesus' sacrifice, because His comes to mind first. He came to Earth, died for us all, even though we spite Him, even though some of us hate Him, even though some of us don't even believe in Him, He came and died.


I talked about that reckless love God has for us last night. Well, seeking and saving what was lost was Jesus' purpose here on earth.


Gerda loses her best friend emotionally, then physically, and goes find him. What an example for all of us. There was nothing special about her, other than her love. But perhaps there was.


Coming soon, the last part of "The Snow Queen." And we find out what happens with Kai and Gerda. Good evening and God bless.


*All quotes from "The Snow Queen" are taken from Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories, Translated from the Danish by Erik Christian Haugaard, published 1983 by Anchor Books

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Devil's Mirror 1

Thoughts on The Snow Queen, possibly a part 1

September 5, 2010
J. C. Verdin

I'm a big fan of Hans Christian Andersen. My favorite story by him is "The Snow Queen." Which, that's supposed to be the next traditional animation film by Disney (2013). I can't wait if they don't botch it up.

I don't know how Disney will do the first part. In my translation (Translator Erik Christian Haugaard), it goes like this:

"Once upon a time there was a troll, the most evil troll of them all; he was called the devil. One day, he was particularly pleased with himself, for he had invented a mirror which had the strange power of being able to make anything good or beautiful that it reflected appear horrid; and all that was evil and worthless seem attractive and worth while...."

Several paragraphs later, after all the trolls had a chance to poke fun at the world through the mirror's reflection, it reads:

"At last they decided to fly up to heaven to poke fun at the angels and God Himself. All together they carried the mirror, and flew up higher and higher. The nearer they came to heaven, the harder the mirror laughed, so that the trolls could barely hold onto it; still, they flew higher and higher: upward toward God and the angels, then the mirror shook so violently from laughter that they lost their grasp; it fell and broke into hundreds of millions of billions and some odd pieces. It was then that it really caused trouble, much more than it ever had before. Some of the splinters were as tiny as grains of sand and just as light, so that they were spread by the winds all over the world. When a sliver like that entered someone's eye it stayed there; and the person, forever after, would see the world distorted, and only be able to see the faults, and not the virtues, of everyone around him, since even the tiniest fragment contained all the evil qualities of the whole mirror. If a splinter should enter someone's heart--oh, that was the most terrible of all!--that heart would turn to ice."

There's seven parts to this fairy tale, but I'll give you the rest another time. I wanted to talk specifically about that mirror and the first part.

The devil deceives us. Circumstances in life take away our innocence and we view things in a cynical manner. The simple beauty of things don't appear beautiful anymore. We can't see past people's outer exteriors. Our hearts freeze over.

Let me tell you something about ice: it melts. Or, to put the more well-known terminolgy, when hurt people build up walls.

Well, folks, anything human-made can end. When people form those walls around their hearts, even if they don't mean to, they miss spots. And if we find that spot, we leave it, because it's so small, we don't think anything can ever fit through it. Or maybe some of us will want something to try to get through.

Well, love is flexible and unconditional. It will squeeze through that hole. It may not be comfortable, but love will find a way.

Some of you know already that I read Brennan Manning's The Ragamuffin Gospel. It's a powerful book. In one of his songs, Rich Mullins, who was influenced by Brennan Manning, describes, "a reckless, raging fury, that they call the love of God." Reckless and raging, hm? Sounds scarier than any natural storm considering it's God we're talking about.

I live in South Mississippi, not very far from what's considered the Gulf Coast. While my house was barely damaged, I know plenty of people who lost everything for Hurricane Katrina or for Hurricane Rita, which struck what Katrina missed, more or less.

Well, folks, if a physical hurricane can devastate entire regions, how much stronger is that raging fury? Reckless fury? How many more walls can that tear down?

"The Snow Queen", as I said, is my favorite story by Hans Christian Andersen. There's more to this story and people's frozen hearts, and I'll try to get that to you soon.

Goodbye for now and God bless.

*All quotes from "The Snow Queen" are taken from Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories, Translated from the Danish by Erik Christian Haugaard, published 1983 by Anchor Books
The last thought: Today makes a year since I started this VP Set 3 with "Pack Rat's Anonymous." In there, I jokingly said, "Next week, we'll talk about procrastination!" That was a year ago, folks. I'll try, but as I've proven to you and to myself, I can procrastinate. Let's see if I ever do anything on the next 7 stories...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pulling A Naren, part 2

I've written maybe 40 words in the last 24 hours.  I'm pulling a Naren all right.  I don't feel like writing and I haven't been.  (Naren, you are a really bad influence.)  I was better off being me and not making any promises to myself or others.  I just haven't decided on something to say, I guess.

I spent the weekend with my GPort buddy.  It was really nice to get away.  I brought a notebook that I barely wrote in and my newest Stephen R. Lawhead book.  Stephen R. Lawhead is my favorite author.  Favorite, you hear me?

Soon, you should be seeing a review of The Skin Map.  Dum duh duh duh!  I am trying to improve my reviewing skills.

So, I haven't been writing.  But there is something that I am itching to write about.  I'll post it as soon as I get everything straight and figure out how to explain this to you.  Until then, I'll be like Naren and shut up till I have something to say.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pulling a Naren

My protagonist Naren Aerys (pronounced NAR - IN AIR - EES) is very straight-forward.  He'll talk, but he usually says what he needs to and just shuts up.  And if he doesn't feel like saying anything, he won't.  It is with very great effort that he carries a conversation.

I haven't been working on that story lately.  And there's another story as well that I haven't been working on that I need to be.

Writing.Com, of which I have been an active member for three years, celebrated its tenth birthday September 1st.  The website is having all sorts of contests, giveaways, and other stuff to party up this significant occasion.

I am participating in two contests, both of which change daily.  I usually don't do that.  I may have won one writing contest, and that was because nobody else entered.  Unpleasant...

I am making myself write and participate.  Out of the four stories I've written, there's only been one that I thought even had a chance of winning.  I have till 11:59 Eastern Time to turn out two more stories.

I know it must be really weird for me to be forcing myself.  But I've decided that I want to be a writer and I want to be it full time.  I HAVE to write.  Even when I don't feel like it.  Even when it doesn't seem like I should be writing.

I'm pulling a Naren.  With great effort, I am turning out some words.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The New Name

No, a new blog did NOT pop into your dashboard magically.  I renamed 'Just Some Thoughts.'  In case you haven't noticed, my URL is a bunch of numbers.  Well, it was my lunch number from 7th-10th grade.  If you've been following my blog, you know that I graduated recently.  I wasn't using that number anymore.  Well, I just remembered it and it's still easy for me to remember.