Dad’s are Muses? Who knew?

Dad’s are there to inspire.

Read that again. I want to make sure it sinks in good and deep. I’m not saying it to be funny or to give myself an elevated position as a dad myself. I am simply stating a simple and undeniable fact. Before anyone tries to dispute me, give me a chance to make my case. Even by not being there, a father inspires his children by his actions. Whether death has ripped him from their lives or he’s just an asshat who has no business being anyone’s father, he has inspired his children to become the adults they will eventually grow into being. That’s for good and bad, people. So any guys out there, pay close attention to what I typed. If you believe you’re a better influence by not being in your children’s life, you just taught them that men have no other responsibility than being a piece-of-crap sperm donor.

Okay, my soapbox is done, because that isn’t what this blog is about. I just happened to hit a sour note and felt like saying something that so obviously needed to be said — even though it should NEVER HAVE TO BE said. Sadly for our society, it does.

If that isn’t what this blog is about, what is?

It’s about my dad, the greatest man I know. When I say a dad is there to inspire, I speak from experience. My dad gave his four sons and now his daughter the inspiration of being a role model each of us have aspired to become to our children and now for some of us our grandchildren. The first and foremost thing he taught us is that loving your kids supersedes everything else short of loving God in your life. It’s that love that defines every single memory I have of my father. I include those from today. My dad loves me, and it is the one thing I’ve never felt the need to question.  His every action reflects his love for all his children and grandchildren. Out of all the things I’ve learned by osmosis from being in his shadow, loving my family, and extended family is the greatest thing I’ve taken from him. Sometimes, that love isn’t easy.  Sometimes it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but it’s always the greatest thing I’ll ever do.

My dad taught me that anything worth having is worth working to hold. This ranges from earthly things to education. You name it. You have to work to get it. As a kid I saw my dad leave before daylight only to drag in way after the sun came down to put a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs. He’d do this seven days a week for months at a time. One of my earliest memories is coming downstairs and sitting in his lap so we could watch Bugs Bunny together on one rare Saturday he was off. That taught me that memories are big extravagant things. They’re moments captured in time, and it’s up to us to hold them inside us for all time.

Like I said to start this, dads are there to inspire us. He should be our first hero. Before Superman, Batman, or Luke Skywalker, our dads should be the standard all those other guys must strive to be. My Dad might not be able to leap a building in a single bound, but growing up I sure thought he could. That’s how it should be. I wish all kids had a dad like mine.

Maybe not exactly like mine, but the perfect dad for them. My dad taught me more than how to work for what I want, and how to pray to God for those things working won’t get. That’s a dad’s job. All kids are born with the best and worst of two parents. I’m sure I have a lot of his habits that irritate me. It’s  probably why they irritate me. But, I also have the best parts of him. The parts he showed me while sitting on his lap, or working beside me on my old PoS car. Over the years my dad gradually became my best friend. The man I turn to for all the answers, even when he doesn’t have them. Again, that’s how it should be. I pray my daughter sees enough of him inside me to have learned some of the lessons I imparted without meaning to. Some of those influences aren’t that great, but thankfully some are. When I see her with my grandson, I know she learned the valuable ones. The same ones I learned from my dad. Love your kids totally and with every fiber of your being, even when they are behaving like shits.

Just to tie all this into writing and literature, which as a writer I think I should do at some point. When I look back on my childhood, I always see me and Dad reading together. He, more than anyone, gave me a love for reading that encompassed everything from the Old West to the pulp heroes like Conan, and John Carter of Mars to books about World War II. I even remember him writing on his own book, so writing isn’t just something that popped up out of nowhere. It comes to me naturally.

On this Father’s Day, I want to thank my dad for making me not only the man I am today but the person I am still becoming. I want to thank him for the butt whuppings I deserved, and those he slipped in just because. Believe me, I deserved more than I got. I want to thank him for the shootouts at the Old West corrals and for the stars I flew to in my mind. While I’m there, for the wild jungles and swinging through the trees. Most of all, I want to thank him for the love he never stops showing and for teaching me that showing love doesn’t make you less of a man. It makes you a man worthy to be called a Dad.

 

Til next week, Happy Father’s Day to all you dads. Be an inspiration to not only your children but to all the kids who see you as an example of what a man should be.

Happy Reading!

Believe! Writers’ Commandment #1

Last week we talked about ‘So, you wanna be a writer?’. This week, I thought it only a natural progression to say, ‘So, I’m a writer?’, which should be closely followed by, ‘What the fudge now?’. That’s a question I tend to ask myself more times than I care to admit to myself or anyone. At times writing is the easiest thing in the world to do. I mean, the imagination just flows out of you and paints the video across the page. Then there’s the other times. The times when your brain, imagination, and the ends of your fingers are at World War III with each other. That’s when a ‘writer’ is most likely to become a ‘reader’. Before we get too far into this blog, I’m going to spell out my intent.

So, you wanna be a writer? Never give up on you!
A good many people have asked me, ‘What is the most important thing you need to have to be a writer?’. What I wrote up there is it. Huh? Confidence in yourself. Do I need to spell it out for you? Apparently I do, or I think I need to spell it out. Either way, here goes.

 

I’m going to start out clichéd but that doesn’t make it any less true. If anything, it gives total validation to my statement. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? Can you answer that? Does your answer begin with the word Yes? If you said yes to those last two without using the word but anywhere in the answer, I think you’re well on your way to becoming a writer. It’s up to you to become an author. We discussed that last week, so let’s not get sidetracked. That’s what Facebook is for.

It is so easy to listen to friends tell you how great you are. It’s even easier when experts tell you you’re great. Thing is, if you don’t believe it– right there in your heart–when those same people become indifferent or just stop talking all you have is that doubting voice in your heart telling you how you weren’t that good to begin with. Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. When you hit that point, you’re not an author, writer or reader. You’re someone who’s not sure who exactly they are. At this point you can do the easy thing and just give up, and tell people years later about how for a little while you were a writer but grew out of it. Yeah, you can do that and forever live with that dull ache of all the imaginary worlds that will never be told. The heroes and heroines inside you will never go forth and become role models for whoever reads their stories. How easy does that sound? Knowing you have lives inside you that will never be lived all because you believed in things but never yourself.

OR!

You can struggle to find that part inside you that unlocks the imagination “YOU” are forcing down to some deep pit. Because you are the only one who stands between you and becoming the writer you always dreamed of being. Believe in yourself. Believe that all the awesome you wish you had DOES reside within your heart. Let it out and become a vision for others either through your writing or by telling this similar story about how hard it was to write but you didn’t give in. You believed in yourself and let others do the same. Become a hero or heroine to someone who thinks they’re all alone in these feelings. They’re not. At times we all feel unworthy or empty inside. Sometimes that might even be the case, but you shouldn’t let that voice dictate your life or your dreams.
I’m going to say something right now that might sound crazy but I’m going to say it anyway. I believe in you. I have never met you and most likely I never will, in person at least, but I believe that you hold inside you the ability to make others live lives in worlds only you can create. I believe you can spark the wonder of true love, knights going forth to battle, wizards waging wars against evil untold, spaceships flying into the void of space and coming back with races we’ve never even considered possible, and most importantly I believe you can do whatever you want.

Why?

Because I have friends who believed enough in me to never let me give up. Every time I wanted to walk away or hide, they were there telling me to trust in myself. I know I said up there only you can believe in yourself. That’s true, but you shouldn’t stop listening to the people who love you while you search inside yourself for your own confidence. Just accept yourself first then walk out among the masses and say here is my story. Come along for the ride and let’s see what’s over that next hill.

Take that ride.

Me? I’m still going on my own journey. Maybe, sometime soon we’ll meet again and tell our stories over the campfires of our dreams. Until then, Happy Reading, and never stop believing in yourself.

Jmo

Writers, Go Figure…

So you wanna be a writer?

I think this is a question every would-be author should be asked before they jump into the ocean with the rest of us would-be authors, are authors, and best-selling authors. Why? Well, not to be mean for one thing, but to save some hurt feelings and manic depression if you really want to get down to it. Let’s sit back, well you sit back, and I’ll try to explain what I mean. Seeing as how this IS my blog you had to see that coming. You did stop by to read what I have to say after all. If you stopped by as an accidental Goggle search please free to continue on your way.

No hard feelings but understand you will be discussed in my next therapy session and by therapy session I mean when I talk to the guy in the parking lot of McDonald’s cleaning my windshield while I wait for my McGriddle. Like I can afford therapy. I’m an author. I can’t even afford a McGriddle.

Now, back to this Blog business.

Being a writer is totally different from being an author. An author gets paid. A writer writes because they need to write like they need to breathe. Now, before I hear an outcry of shock and rage, let me elaborate. Writing is something a person does instinctively. The need to express themselves is so overwhelming they write on anything — napkins, notebooks, their palms, literally anything in the rush to get the things out of their head and out into the world. It’s only as time goes by that this need evolves into the idea that somehow they can make money from doing something they love. Let me stop here and say this thought is great and all, but let’s be honest with ourselves. Making money is not as easy as it sounds and should never be the sole reason for doing something. When it is, you’re doomed either to failure or to becoming a heartless robot. Do it because you love it and let monetary gain be secondary in your reasoning.

Even once the concept of making money enters the picture you’re still just a writer. Writing needs a lot of things attached to it before Author enters the picture and a lot more things have to happen before Best-Selling Author is attached to your name. Luck for one thing. Don’t think I’m jaded or being negative about the process. I’m not. Luck is the fundamental element in any success whether it be in writing, or music or art. Why? Because talent and skill does not always equate to success. Most of the artists you know by name, Rembrandt and Van Gogh just to name two rarely made money from painting. They died poor and let’s face it more than a little crazy. Even fame isn’t monetary success. If fame and fortune are your sole reasons for writing, I feel sorry for you. That in no way means you won’t be famous one day. It just means I think you’ll be missing the emotional thrill of doing something that completes you on levels money and fame can’t begin to do. So the first thing you need to ask yourself is why are you doing this? Depending on the stability of your psyche in relation to your answer please continue on your chosen path.

So what does it take to become an author? I’m really not sure if I can answer that question. There are just too many variables in play to answer it. Again, I’m going with luck. Why? Surely, hard work and talent will get you where you’re going in your chosen profession. You’d think that, but I know way too many amazing writers who bowed out, not because of lack of talent, but because of lack of opportunity to get noticed. I’m not saying to fold up your laptop and quit before you even get started. Just do what you do because you love it and not for the reason of getting rich. I got sidetracked by gauging my success on sales and not readers reached. Trust me it’s not a backroad you want to go down.

Write because you love to write. Success is based on individual lives touched and not how often your checkbook is touched. The true value of being an Author is that. Over the past 10 years I have become richer not in cash earned but in lives earned. I’ve gained friends by meeting fellow writers and learning my craft from their influence, them picking me up, my failures, and from editors beating knowledge through my thick skull. I’ve become enriched by meeting fellow readers who have become family to my heart. They have guided me in both my writing and my personal life. Lastly, I have become a better man from succeeding in failing. Yeah, from failing. Because when you realize you’re not God’s gift to the world, you see the world as God’s gift to you. That world consists of His gifts to us, our talents, our family, and our friends. I, and a lot of my fellow authors, use those skills to bring joy to our friends and in the process we make more friends and for some blessed few we become family.

So, here’s to my fellow aspiring writers. May we one day become authors and call the world our family. Until then, let’s write like there’s no tomorrow, and read like the world is make believe. Me? I’ve been living in Middle Earth for so long, I have no clue what the real world even looks like.

Until next time, Happy Reading! And watch out for Orcs.

Jmo

Rediscovery

This past week has been a bit of normal except for an upper respiratory infection that has kept me on sicky poo lock down. Not really. Being an adult, sick is just a state of mind that doesn’t prevent things like work and yard work. Though I have avoided the crap out of yard work with the exception of taking the trash cans to the road on garbage day. Still, being sick puts a damper on the creative juices to the point I’ve managed to avoid writing almost all together. But, is that necessarily a bad thing? During the heat of the not writing moment, I would have screamed a resounding yes.
Toward the end of this cold–hope it is at least–I have different thoughts on the subject. Sick is a chance to take a mental slow down and rest. Personally for me, I only tend to get sick when I’ve been pushing myself and haven’t given my body the rest it needs. Quite honestly, I don’t give my body or spirit a lot of things they need. Then again, does any of us really? Don’t bother to answer. We all know the answer, so let’s not bother to lie to one another.
I’m writing. Not as much or as fast as I would like, but I am putting word to page. At the moment, I think that’s the important thing. The whole process of freeing the story from the locked recesses of your mind, I mean. Once upon a time, it was the easiest thing in the world for me to do. I could just as easily watch my books unfold in my head and let them wash out onto the screen. Age and medication has made the process a bit more complicated but I am in no way ready to fold my notebook in half and toss it in the back of the closet.
I know of late my missives have had a maudlin flavor, and for that I refuse to apologize. I am documenting my crawl from the darkness. To deny how I truly feel would be to deny this path. I am not hiding who I am or my emotional descent into whatever. I want someone to read this and say, I’ve been there and totally get it. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. Not totally me, but close enough I can see myself when I look into the mirror. You’re welcome to take a gander. Whether or not you appreciate the experiences etched in my face and soul is entirely up to you. I am not asking for sympathy or pity with these blogs. I’m asking you to look at yourself and make certain the things I write about aren’t glaring back in your mirror. It’s too easy to miss that something is wrong. Too easy to write it off as just another bad day, or that everyone has these moods every once in a while. Because, before you know it that one bad day is a crappy month and rapidly becoming a year eating at your last nerve. I’ve been there and it isn’t a very pretty place to call home.
The thing is we need to fall on our knees. We need to lose our way and get stuck up against walls. If everything came easy, there would be no struggle, no reason to strive to become better than we are. This is our moment of discovery. Maybe, rediscovery is the better way of looking at the situation. I’ll fully admit before this wall, I’d pretty much run out of juice. Nearly 25 stories and I had become stagnant and bored. The problem wasn’t that I couldn’t see the end of the story. No the probable WAS I could see the entirety of what was to come. There were no secrets left to uncover. There was no mystery. Nearly, a year and a half later I’m still in that pocket of finding me, but I’m getting closer to finding out who I am with 47 years under my belt.
As the words once again begin to flow, I’m excited at what’s coming out. I feel matured in what I have to say. Not a hundred percent grown-up, but not all boy either. I never want to grow out of who I was on the journey to becoming the refined me, burned bright in the fires of tribulation I’m going through. No, growing up should be an ongoing extension of you. You should never have to sacrifice parts of yourself in the becoming. If you do, you aren’t being honest to yourself, your craft, or to anyone you meet.
So I’m going to sign off here because this honesty is a bit unsettling. As an author I like to deal in fiction laced with honesty. Total truth is a tad too much for me to put out there, but then again, in the heart of fiction there is only truth to be laid bare. It is up to the reader to find you among the lies we call fiction. So I invite you to see me among the masks and tell me if you can see my journey or do I still have a lot more growing up left to do?
Good night my friends, and as always Happy Reading,
Jmo.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my many Moms

I have truly been blessed to have many mothers over the years. I know that sounds weird but it’s nonetheless true. Being someone’s mom isn’t always about birth and blood. Sometimes it’s about simply expressing unconditional love and being a positive influence on someone’s life. In this, I have truly been lucky. No, not lucky. Blessed, like I said before. I don’t believe in luck, but I do believe God gives you the things in life you truly need and if that thing is love, then my life is a miracle above all others. Truly, anytime you have love come into your life for any period of time, you are enveloped in a miracle.

Throughout my life, I’ve had that. Most of the time I didn’t really appreciate it, but then again what kid does? We’re a selfish lot until basically we die. Sometimes though, we mature to the point where we see that we are the person we are thanks to the love of some very special people.  Me, I can look back and see four amazing women who started me down this path to being the man I am today. My mom of course, who gave me so much of who I am inside, be it good or bad. Still that’s what it’s all about, balancing the good against the bad and learning to accept ourselves for who we are. I am my mother’s son, but I am also myself in spite of who I came from. Please don’t think that statement in any way is a slam against my mother. I love her dearly and she did the best she could, but I’m more than the genetic makeup she and my father gave me. I am the product of the nurturing of my environment balanced with that slice of Ancestry dot com.

The first influences on anyone’s life is our family. Mine is seriously matriarchal to say the least. I come from a family of strong independent women, who had to be strong to live through wars, death, and hardships most Americans will never experience in this technological world we live in. Their strength got passed down to their children and ultimately to us, their grandchildren. Before I move any further I’m going to say this in all honesty. My daughter and grandson are worse off because they had limited or no contact with my grandmothers. My grandmothers were heroines and pillars of strength and love within our family and the days we lost them, our lives became poorer. So, I can very easily say my first two mothers outside my real mom were these amazing women, who taught me the value of reading, education, and the strength that can only come from family. The same can be said of my Aunt Peggy, who helped fuel my desire and addiction to reading. To this day, she inspires me to read and never stop learning. You probably have her to thank for my ability to write. Blame her, or whatever. I leave that up to you.

I know it might be stereotyping but the South is full of strong women. It’s like we breed them from the high iron content in the soil or something. However you wish to view it, I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by these type of women through my life. My Aunt Evelyn and Aunt Doris are another example of why when a woman says don’t wash that kitty, don’t wash that kitty. My butt still burns from that whooping I got forty some odd years ago, but I digress.

Family weren’t the only influences I had growing up. Mrs. Williams, my third grade teacher, would be the next ”mom” to come into my life. She stood all of four foot if she stood an inch, but she taught me a love of learning and knowing things that go on to this day. As I entered Junior High, I got two new moms, Mrs. Merle Peirce who taught me Gifted Computer Science and Veronica Tappin who taught Gifted Humanities. Both women in their own right instilled in me a love of Science and Magic. Mrs. Pierce showed me there were no mysteries that we couldn’t unravel if we simply analyzed them to their core parts. Mrs. Tappin showed me magic existed in the world. In our rich history of humanity, magic constantly showed itself in the minds and imaginations of us the world’s children. If you have spent any time within my books, you can see the fruits of those ideals grown into a reality all their own. Thanks, to both these beautiful and smart women for giving me such a wonderful gift. Someday I hope I can pay this forward so their legacy can go on forever.

Entering High School, I found myself once again blessed, this time in the form of Mrs. Andrews. She truly became my mom, as she did to so many kids who passed through her class. Her son Sam was also a classmate of mine through high school. I think that created a bond with those of us who shared her class. Many times we spent our free time sitting in her classroom discussing whatever. During our time under her guidance, she further instilled the desire for learning and more importantly the belief that no matter what adversity came our way we could overcome it because we were stronger and smarter than we gave ourselves credit for being. Why? Because if she believed in us, it had to be true. Even as I grew older and doubt fueled me on to failure, I remembered back to her words, and fought out of the funk to do the ”impossible” or the impossible that my brain said would be a hurdle. The world is truly a sadder place without her, but she lives on in the hearts of ‘her’ kids as they inspire new generations of children to believe in themselves and the impossible only they can do.

That’s the thing. The beauty and wisdom of these women does not fade upon their deaths. I have lost some of my ‘mothers’ over the years, but whatever sadness my soul aches with their passing is forgotten in their memories living inside me. The valuable life lessons they beat through my thick skull are still there, and they continue to make me someone greater than I could have been if left to my own devices. God still places moms in my life to guide me through the worst part of my maturing. I thank Him every day for them. I am weak but the people He puts in my life makes me stronger and clichéd as it sounds, makes me a much better man.

Before I wrap this up, I want to thank a couple more people. They aren’t exactly moms but they are my contemporaries and constantly teach me to stretch my limits, give me comfort and give me love. Lynne Connolly thank you so much for your constant belief in me and the music talks. Alysha Ellis, thanks for being you and understanding sometimes that all it takes is some weird British geek speak to make things better. Lastly but in no way least, Paisley Kirkpatrick, thanks for simply being you. Love you more than words can say. Thank you for the fruitcake and truly making me a better man than I ever would have been without you in my life.

As I sign off, I want each of you to consider those other moms who have stumbled into your lives and your heart. Say a thank you or a prayer for them. Whether you notice them or not, they are a great part of your lives and the reason you are you. That alone makes them awesome and worthy of the love they share and deserve in return.

Until next time,

Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Reading,

Jmo!

New Mes and all that.

You probably noticed that I took a break last weekend. No blog was just the tip of the iceberg where last weekend is considered. No, I don’t mean a reality based reenactment of the Hangover. Being an author is a consuming vocation. Your mind is so constantly turned inward to the imaginary worlds of your books that it’s hard to remember there might actually be a real world out there. Honestly, most of the time we don’t want to remember it’s there. Books, whether we’re writing them or reading them, are our ways to escape from our ‘real’ world. But sometimes, we have to venture out into that harsh reality for our own good. At least that’s what my family tells me.

Last weekend was one of those times. Only my family didn’t force me out of the nest. I went willingly. Apparently when I wasn’t looking, I developed some friends. Strange thing about friends that live close enough to be parts of your life outside a messenger window or Facebook status, they can convince you to leave your house. I know! If I’d known all that, I’d have kept to myself and ordered crap off Amazon exclusively. Oh well. What’s done is done.

That sounds funny and all, but for a long time, my life existed via my family and internet windows. I was fine with that. Really I was. Last year helped convince me, making friends led to sadness and woe. Why? Losing people sucks. Being who I am, I started retreating inside myself to the point where even simple communication became a hard thing to accomplish. Writing? Forget it.

Most writers want you to think that writing is a solitary sport. Something that can only be done when you block out the rest of the world and let yours be the only one that matters. For the most part that is true, but you have to allow outside stimulus to have some part in your existence. Work and the grocery store does not make a life. They make a sad and pathetic way to spend an excellent life. For a writer, it makes for a life without inspiration. For a normal human being, it makes for a life without meaning. Sadly it can also mean a life about to end tragically. For some people, it amounts to a life that never truly began. Maybe that is the true origin story of some authors, lives that never truly began. I hope not, but you never know.

Like I was saying, sometimes we get locked into our own agoraphobia. I’m avoiding the word rut but there it is. Ruts happen and if we let them, they take over every aspect of our lives. And that’s where friends outside of windows come in handy. Friends force you to step outside your comfort zone. They make you basically live your life instead of simply walking dead through it. For the last couple of years walking dead is the only way I can explain my life. Is it still walking dead? In some ways, but isn’t everyone’s life a bit zombie with intermittent happiness to make us go through one more moment to get to the next.

Back in January I did something different. I actively made friends.  Okay, not actively, but it happened without me trying. I mean it wasn’t just one friend. I made a few. This is totally strange for me, because I am the most introverted extrovert you’ll ever meet. It’s not that I dislike people, I just like to like people in small numbers. The point I’m working toward is letting one of these amazing people come into my life at a time. A couple had already been in my life, but I took the time to really get to know them. In the midst of meeting people, and becoming friends with said people, I started to see past the darkness of what my life had become. This might sound selfish to you, but they became my inspiration. I know using people to fuel your imagination is iffy morally, but it works.

People evolve you. They make you become more than you can be alone. They truly make you a better you. My friends have done that for me. They’ve allowed me to come out of my shell. I know it’s hard to believe I have a shell, but we all build them. It’s how we survive. Maybe shell isn’t the right word. Mask seems a better use of the vocabulary. However you wish to describe the situation, I can see myself becoming a functioning member of society because of their influence. Okay, we are talking about people that would hang out with me, so maybe functioning is stretching things a bit.

Let’s say this instead. My friends are making me a happier member of society. Along the way, they are introducing me to a me I’ve never met before, and that’s pretty cool. Who knows what kind of writer that might make me before things are done? Going to be interesting to see. I humbly invite you all along for the ride.

Til next week,

Happy reading!

Jmo.

Rebirth to a New Start… Or some such.

For me Easter has always been a holiday about rebirth and new starts. It has also been a special day for me because of my faith in Jesus and the beginning of my love affair with ‘The Ten Commandments’. That in turn led to my love affair with Egyptian history. Okay, if you want to get right down to it, Easter is what solidified my faith period. Christmas is nice but commercialized up the ying yang, even back when I was a kid. It was more about presents than Christ. Easter though offered true magic. The magic of a risen Savior. I know it might sound profoundly weird, but this gave me the heart to believe in magic. Not real magic, but the kind of magic that’s part of the human condition being able to overcome just about anything.

Imagination is a fickle thing. This fickleness has been the subject of a lot of my blogs of late. I’d be lying if I said my writing is going smoothly. A nice combination of medication and life has been making creating anything a pain in the butt. That said, I got nothing. Writing at first was a fast-paced process that gave me a much needed release of the darkness lurking behind my smiling face. It truly was a demon release type of thing. Now, it feels like the demons have taken over the project. It probably comes from keeping those demons locked up for so long.

I’ve always heard comedians have a dark side the likes that no one can ever believe. As someone who writes romantic comedies, I can tell you it’s true. Why? Comedians laugh because we see the world as it truly exists around us. We feel the pain deep inside those we love and call friends. Ultimately, we take that pain and misery into ourselves. In the midst of sucking all that knowledge in, we transform it into something others can handle. Small doses of reality sprinkled with laughter. See, we can laugh at pain if it’s masked as comedy. Slapstick reality.

Those of us who write comedy have a divine purpose. We make the world safe for others to enjoy. We paint smiles over misery. We create laughter from the tears of others. We bring comfort to the people desperately needing to escape the lives they live, even if it’s only for a moment, a brief grasp at happiness. I’m not saying all comedians are insane bipolar sacks of misery, but some are. Just check out the death rate of comedians. It lends credence to the theory. Not saying it’s a road I plan to go down, but I’ve walked down some dark paths before coming into the light.

But, this blog is about rebirth and new starts. Or, at least it began that way. So let’s stick to that topic.

As I venture forth into 2016, I look at what I’ve done and question it all. I don’t question its worth. I don’t see it as wasted efforts or anything. I just question if that was the path I was meant to walk. Obviously I walked it and walked it pretty well for the most part. I made it this far relatively sane and mostly alive. That has to count for something.

But, what does it mean? This rebirth business, I mean. Where am I going? Honestly, I don’t know. My guts are so twisted up, I barely know what’s hunger, knowledge, or gas anymore. This is the thing that matters most, or it does to me. I’m not ready to give up. Sometimes this confusion hurts worse than a knife in the chest, but I refuse to let it consume me. Instead, I’m letting it define the man I will be when I come striding through the crap that’s piling up around me.

Why struggle when giving up is so much easier?

I might fall to my knees. If I do, I won’t stay down and die. No, I will gladly stay on my knees and ask for the help of the only person who can lift me out of this path of wrong choices. Okay, remember I mentioned that today is Easter – I talked about it way back at the beginning. Well, right now I might not see the reason for this walk through the desert, but God has a plan. I firmly believe that, otherwise I WOULD have given up a long time ago. So when I can work through this fire, I’ll have a story to tell.

And that story will be me. You, as the reader, will have to figure out which parts are real and which parts are made up to protect the names of the innocent. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda – you know the usual BS that people hide to protect the person behind the mask. Well, my mask is slipping and when it finally falls, I hope I’m half the man I hope I’ll be. Isn’t that all any of us can ask of this journey we call life?

Til next time,

Happy Reading and don’t let your new start slip away,

Jmo