Remembering Memorial Day

Tomorrow being Memorial Day, I thought I’d focus not on myself or any of my usual ramblings and focus on just how important tomorrow is. Tomorrow we don’t celebrate freedom, we sadly remember the cost of freedom.

Bear that in mind, as you cook out tomorrow with your family, or just spend some quiet time alone. Your God given right to do those two things was bought and paid for, not by some congressional vote, but by the lives of men and women just like me, just like you.

Those brave people put their lives on the line so I can type away night after night. So, I can go to work in the morning. So, I can worship however I want. So, I can buy comic books, or just in general be me. They did it so you can be you, too. It isn’t some selective thing. No, every single day, men and women go into places most of us wouldn’t go on a dare or for a million bucks. Why? Because, they believe with their whole being that sometimes you have to think about someone other than yourself and fight not just for what you believe in, but for what other people believe in. To me that makes our troops, our friends next door in some cases, greater than any superhero. Greater than any buffed up action hero on TV or in the movies. Greater than any character I could ever hope to write.

This week I’ve seen news stories about how pitifully these men and women have been treated, not by some foreign government but by the very organizations put in place by our government to care for them once they come home. We as a nation, as a united people, owe these heroic men and women. We owe it to them to care for them, as much as they care for our individual freedoms.

Sorry if I appear to be on a soapbox, but if you truly believe in something with your whole heart, you damned well better pull that soapbox out and stand on it. Our armed forces bleed and die so we can have this right. So exercise it for something worthwhile. Support them for being brave enough to do what you can’t.

I never served, but I have had family and friends who did. That in no right makes me anything other than someone who cares. It doesn’t make me an expert on the subject. Still, I can voice my opinion. Again, a right I owe our troops for. They put their money where their mouth is, and step up no matter the risks. That my friends is the technical definition of brave in my book.

This is why I feel so strongly about this subject. When we lose a soldier, we don’t lose a single life. No, we see entire families forever changed. Husbands don’t come home. Wives don’t come home. Parents spend the rest of their lives mourning a child they’ll never see again. Children go through life without a mother or father. All they have is the knowledge their parent died a hero. That may sound satisfying and uplifting, but I bet they’d much rather have a dad to play catch with, or a mom to tuck them in at night.

Memorial Day isn’t just a day to be off work and veg. It’s a day to remember the USA is here today because someone fought and at times died so we could be free. While we’re remembering, let’s remember those souls who come home forever changed by what they’ve seen and done to buy that freedom. War changes people. It isn’t just the body that can die. Sometimes it’s a person’s spirit, who they were and can never be again. Think on that, when you see a person who has come home from active duty. Take time to consider the toll it’s taken on them. Most importantly, respect them for doing it.

I know this isn’t what you’ve come to expect from me, but at times, you must shout about what is right. Not whisper. Not mumble because you’re afraid you might offend someone, but damned well shout, and speak your mind. Today, I do that and while I’m at it, say thank you to the families of these men and women who served this country with valor and honor so I can have that right.

Okay, I’ve had my say. Before I close out this non-giggle Giggle, I ask one favor from you. Tomorrow while you’re doing whatever you’re doing, stop and bow your head and pray not only for those who have already paid the ultimate price, but for a future where no one ever has to pay it again.

Thank you in advance.

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Jmo’s Every Once in a While Poetry Corner.

Last week I wanted to be an artist. Still do by the way, but along the journey to get to be 45 years of old, I happened along poetry. Yeah, I dabble in a little bit of everything. Or, I can’t decided what to do with my spare time. Take your pick. Anyway, something about the emotional investment involved with writing poetry excites me. Most of the time you’re laying yourself bare for all to see. Other times you’re just being a self serving twit. Least, I am, but what is writing if not having fun once in awhile. Today, I decided to showcase two different ends of my spectrum of poems.

This first one I wrote after watching one of my nieces playing in the yard. Something about how happy she looked captured a moment in time for me and I just in turn had to put the snapshot down on paper. Yes, this was back in the old days before fancy laptops. We actually had to use ragged notebooks and ink pens to create wonderful ideas. I still work that way, in case anyone is interested.

Well, here goes.

Silent musings,

The whisper of a child plotting forever in an instant.

Her voice, the joy found in the coming of the day.

The monsters locked away until the birth of night.

She runs free among the swaying grass.

Youth a radiant crown perched high upon her head.

Laughter, the song that announces her arrival.

She plays.

Princess for the day.

Rainbow fairies her playmates, she dances upon air.

A swirling ribbon of happiness her bestest friend.

She sees the promise of butterflies and knows no sadness.

Dreaming visions into the sky of princes,

riding upon golden beams of sunshine coming to whisk her away.

Her eyes wide with joy,

Christmas born anew each day.

She feels the dawn and is its sister.

To see her is to behold the divine truth,

that life is beautiful

and so is she.

 

This second one is the self serving bit. I had absorbed Dante’s Inferno before writing this, along with some heavy Lovecraft reading on the side, but I wanted to create a world in poetry. A world of darkness where the evil of this world had form and substance. Ideals became stunted reality. You get the idea. Insanity. Whatever the reason, Nevermore was born. There are more, and they do get better.

 

The nevermore thing

awoke from a dream

of death and suicide, 

and decided that life

was worth living

for one more second

before crawling back

into his insanity

to scream out

another day

into the world

before the dreams of consequence

took hold and wiped Ragnarok

across the head of creation,

leaving Damascus

to contemplate the

bellybutton lint

floating across the

Dark Horizon

that crowns the brow of

Nevermore

unto day.

 

That’s it for this week. It’s been awhile since I wrote this next bit, but I think today’s blog deserves it.

Another insane missive from Jmo.

Oh and happy reading!

Serving Two Masters

Sometimes we think we know who we are, only to discover we’re not that person at all. What do I mean? Well, I’ve said this before but I began my dreams early. Only I never dreamed of becoming a writer. I honestly think I knew I wanted to be an artist before I could speak. For most of my life, I wanted to be an artist. My hand just naturally doodled. Ideas, pictures would pop into my head and the overwhelming urge to take my synaptic impulses and put them on paper or canvas defined the image of how I saw myself.

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I loved the process of taking an idea and gradually taking that mental mural and making it come to life. To bleed color into it. To make my reality everyone else’s reality through a visual medium. From an early age I had been drawn to comic books. I loved the mixture of story and pictures. I wanted nothing more than to be part of that world. So naturally, all I did for the longest time was draw comics. At first I loved crafting stories with the superheroes I had been reading. Over time, I started creating my own heroes, my own stories. It was all I could see myself doing.

 

As I reached High School, my world broadened. My art teacher introduced me to new concepts. I started growing up, not only as a person but as an artist. Sure, I still read comics and drew them, but I started exploring artists outside comic books. I’d always known who Michelangelo was and still mark him as one of my earliest influences. But, in the fever of self discovery, I found more artists to soak up. Warhol, Ruebens, among others. More than expanding my view of what I loved to do, I started exploring what I could do. I painted. I discovered inside myself a love of wildlife drawing. I did drawings of eagles, tigers, lions. I think I felt moved by the savage majesty of predators. They were so beautiful, yet that beauty masked something deadly and primal. Yeah, but I still drew comics.

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College introduced me to something I had gotten only an inkling of in High School. There were other people who thought like I did. My friends, because I can think of them no other way, and I exchanged ideas, techniques, and our own views on art and how to create it. I had literally found heaven on earth. I also found new masters to blow my mind. Goya to this day moves me in a way I only thought Michelangelo could. Michelangelo presented the ideal of what humanity could be. Goya presented humanity as it was, raw and flawed. The sight of both artists’ body of work never stops bringing tears to my eyes because they both represent the different ends of the promise of humanity.

 

Graduation brought a new reality crashing down on me. As much as I loved to create, being an artist does not pay back student loans. It barely gave job satisfaction some days. As the promise of my youth slowly faded behind me, I found myself drawing less and less. Disillusioned, I let painting became a non-thing I used to do. Finally, it was something I just didn’t do at all.

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So ended me knowing who I was.

 

Then, my wife pushed me to write. She had already been a writer and was published. So, I became a writer, and had a new concept of who I was. I wasn’t an artist. I was a writer. I told myself the old adage — you can’t serve two masters. Art? Writing? Well, I certainly didn’t have to drag out a bunch of crap to write, or put it back up. My wife liked that part the best. Yep, I’m a slob. So, art slowly faded and became something I did when pushed to do a commission, or I got bored and doodled to pass the time.

 

Last year, something unexpected happened. I got inspired. Not to write, but to really paint. At the time, I convinced myself it was just doodles with paint. Something bright and colorful for my coming grandson’s room. That was partly true, but that old obsessive disorder came crashing back. I had to get the image out of my head. So, I did. I couldn’t write, because all I wanted to do was paint. There was that old two masters thing again.

 

Finished with not one but two paintings for my little big man’s room, I eased back into writing, but the NEED to paint never left me. I knew if I kept ignoring it, the desire would burn me up inside.

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But, could I serve two masters? I had to find the balance of the two. I knew as much as I loved writing, I couldn’t live without painting and drawing. Doing without it for the last seven years had been like living with part of me dead inside. So for the last three weeks, I’ve sought to discover how to juggle the two. Crazy, but I think I did. Along with some of my older art work, here’s part of my discovering balance in my creative life. It’s just a work in progress so give me some time to get my groove back.

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So, now I’m a functioning split creative personality. The week belongs to writing. The weekend belongs solely to painting. I’m not saying I’m any good, but I’m getting there. The point this blog is trying to get me to make is this. Reality doesn’t define who you are. You don’t even define who you are. Nope, it’s so much more philosophical and downright weird. Hey, I am all about weird, so I’m rolling with it. Your dreams define who you are. When you stop dreaming, that’s when you become nothing more than a clog in the system.

 

That said, here’s my invitation to you. No, here is my challenge to you.

 

Dream and become something, anything! Most importantly, let that something be happy.

 

 

KR Jordan in the House!

First off, this ain’t J. Morgan. He’s off having a writer’s block type nervous breakdown. About time. I was about tired of him ripping off our lives for his books. Get a life, man! And, leave ours alone. So, if this ain’t him, who is it? Well, you’re lucky today. You’ve got the one and only Francesca Mauvais, the star of Bite the Neck that Loves You. Don’t know me? Well, go read the freaking book. I’m not here to give you my life story. In fact, I don’t want to be here at all. Only reason I am is the others ran faster than me.

 

So, I’m going to treat myself by introducing you to my favorite author. No, it’s not Jmo. We’re still renegotiating my cut of Bite Marks. No, today we are going to sit back and chat with none other than K.R. Jordan, author of such gems as Riftglade and Leela, among others. ImageSo sit back and let’s have some fun. Oh, and ignore the screams coming from the closet. I’m sure once he realizes he’s not coming out until I get my thirty-five percent he’ll stop squalling like a baby.

 

Franki: KR come on in. Sit in the comfy chair and tell my readers about yourself. Oh, and feel free to eat some of those yummy Double Stuf Oreos on the table there beside you.

 

Jmo: Noooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

KR: Mmmm! Thank you! It’s lucky I have this tall glass of ice cold milk to dip them in! *frenzied CookieMonster-like eating sounds* Oh, I declare. I don’t know what got into me! I must have been hungrier than I thought. Okay, now, let’s see. I’m from the Gulf Coast of Texas where I divide my time between family, work, writing and friends. I keep myself busy on the Ladies Auxilliary, STAT team, and in Youth Ministry. On the weekends, nine times out of ten you will find me out at the lake either fishing or writing.  

 

FraImagenki: Wow, gotta admit I’m bit of a fangirl when it comes to your books.

Leela totally blew me away. So, I just gotta know. Will we be seeing more from that series any time soon?

 

KR: Actually, yes. Her story is not an easy one and is far from complete but she is anxious to share it with the world. I’m entitling it Twelve Truths.

 

Franki: Can’t freaking wait! Your books seem to have such a rich history behind the worlds and the characters. It’s like you’ve been living with them forever. I know you probably get asked this a lot, but where do your ideas come from?

 

KR: This is the thing. My characters are partly inspired by stories my mom would tell me when I was a child. Mostly the point of the stories were to make sure us kids came in for supper on time. Well, very early on I realized that I am the type of person that sees the best in people. In my heart, I believe there are redeeming qualities in everyone. So it’s like these characters want to explain themselves, their behavior.  

 

Franki: Like I said, it’s like you’ve lived inside your books for forever. How long have you been a writer? Not just published, but known you’re a writer and wanted nothing more than to write?

 

KR: When I was about 12 years old our teacher assigned us the task of writing a story. Mine was the best and was published in the cityImagenewspaper under “Creative Corner”. I never had confidence in my abilities as a writer and I struggle with that confidence even today.

 

Franki: Don’t ever doubt yourself, baby! You’re awesome. With so many great stories already under your belt, where do you see yourself as an author going next? I mean, what would you love to write that you haven’t tackled yet?

 

KR: Here recently, a story has been dancing at the edge of my mind but not completely solidified yet. Psycho-thriller maybe?

 

Franki: Oohhhh! Sounds cool. As an author, how much of yourself do you think goes into your characters?

 

KR: I think as we mature, there are sides to us that we put at the very far edges of our memories. Things we can’t face yet. Memories we hardly remember because we’ve hidden them so deeply. Well, I realized that my writing is healing me.

 

Jmo: Ask her something crazy?

 

Franki: Shut it, author boy. I got this.

That’s awesome that your writing is doing that for you. Never stop!

Alright, since he technically owns this blog, I guess I better do what Jmo says. KR, if you could, I don’t know, be any superhero in the world, which one would you be? That good enough geek?

 

Jmo: Yes!

 

KR: Hit Girl without the potty mouth!

 

Franki: LOL! Love me some Hit Girl! Well, I guess that’s it for today. I’ve got to let Jmo out of the closet before he overflows that 2 liter Coke bottle. So before I do that, let the readers know where they can find out more about you and your fabulous books. Supply any links that’ll help them jump into the worlds you have created. That’s right people, I want you buying some books here. Believe me the last thing you want is a Vampiric Vampire Slayer showing up at the foot of your bed demanding answers.

 

KR: Awesome! Hear that folks, Franki will come getcha! But, to avoid that vamipiric goddess, just visit my Amazon author page it lists all of my published work:

 

http://www.amazon.com/K.R.-Jordan/e/B008ZUP3EA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_5

 

Yolanda, co-written with J.T. Lewis, Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/yolanda-jt-lewis/1115454580?ean=2940016705958

 

Blue Fire Heat, mini anthology: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blue-fire-heat-scott-prussing/1112199066?ean=2940015015973

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Franki: Thanks for stopping by KR. It’s been a blast. Until next time, folks!

 

Jmo: Someone, please help me. I can’t feel my toes!