Living on the Inside

A long time ago I fell in love. Not sure when, or with what, but the emotional impact was immediate and everlasting. How everlasting? Over forty years and still going strong. Have I got your curiosity piqued? I have mine and I know the answer. Yes, I am this weird in real life. What am I talking about? Reading of course. I’d have to be pretty pervy to have been in a relationship for almost as long as I’ve been alive or an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. Whatever the case, I have always had a book either in my hand or close by since way before I could read one. I still have one handy if you want to know the truth.

I firmly believe that early love of books led to me being freakishly introverted. Hey, because when your best friends are fictional characters, introverted is the least of your problems. As a sickly kid, playing for the most part wasn’t embraced by my over-protective mother, so I had to experience things through the adventures in my books. Thought I did, at least. Later on I came out of that shell. Came out as much as I am able to exit my hole inside myself.

That last bit wasn’t meant to elicit sympathy. It is simply a statement of fact. Here’s the kicker. Once you’ve become an introvert, completely trusting the world to be ‘real’ isn’t going to happen. The world is the thing that sent you inside in the first place. Most of us are functioning members of society. We go to work. We show up with smiles, and seem ‘there’. Thing is, most of the time, we’re somewhere else when we’re standing right in front of you. Some of us genuinely need professional help. Heck we all probably do, but for some of us, we channel that mystical inside into worlds never before seen by mortal man or woman. I know those psychiatric types might have something to say about that statement but think on this. Without us weird out-of-our-head imagainaunts, you wouldn’t have Middle Earth, Narnia, or any number of other worlds that teach our hearts to believe in hope and magic.

I was and am one of those inside thinkers. Giving yourself totally to a world that gives pain and suffering is such a scary proposition, I honestly can’t see why anyone would want to do it. Then I remember, that world also gives love, comfort, hugs, and so many things of beauty that giving in to the need to disappear inside falls away. It might lurk and wait for an opportunity to come back out to pull us inside ourselves. That’s its job. Our job is to decide to say screw it, and give our love and faith to the world.

Artistic types are good at giving their inside to the world. How many of us listen to a song over and over because it says the things our minds are too afraid to say out loud. We look at paintings or works of art that do the same things. Books, poems, movies, even television shows, give us views into ourselves that we might otherwise miss without someone else showing us the way.

As a writer, I consider it my job to help others see that way. I live inside and rarely do I venture out. Thanks to my family, especially my beautiful wife Jenn, and the wonderful group of friends God continues to grow around me I can walk in the sunshine. More importantly, through my stories I can help others to make that same walk with me. That brings me more joy than I can express in words. As wonderful as inside can be, it’s a dark lonely place that just closes up around you. I still find myself there from time to time. Luckily, as I said, I got people who love me and won’t let me stay there for long.

I know I’m rambling but hopefully in my ramble I’ve come to the point. Writers unleash their inner selves through our stories and books. As magical as those worlds might seem, never forget how lonely the act of writing those stories can be. We might draw inspiration from the world around us, but the world inside us is where all the living really takes place. So, next time you see a writer mumbling to himself, or herself as the case may be, just be grateful they don’t have a laptop handy. Who knows where you might wake up if the power of that writer’s inside is strong enough to make our world as real as their world is to them.

Scary thought, huh?

Well don’t dwell on it too much, just enjoy the magic in my stories and who knows? Maybe one day they will be real. I’ll settle for a SyFy television series. Why be greedy about it?

Til next week, Happy Reading!

Jmo

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2016, I’m back.

It’s been awhile.

I’m not going to lie to you. That is entirely my fault. Quite frankly, I lost it. Not sure what it is, but I definitely left it in the parking lot. It is kind of painful to even think about, let alone purge from my system in this very public format. That said, I feel that is exactly what I need to do to free myself from its hold over me. Or, I could just be narcissistic and need your validation. Either way, here goes.

When I started doing this, I thought I’d know how to begin, but sitting here staring at the screen it’s all blocking up. Kind of sums up my 2015, so why shouldn’t my blog about it go the same way. Seriously though, I’m not writing this to seek your sympathy. I honestly do need to unburden myself of all this garbage that held me down last year. Part of me is hoping that in the process I might help someone else overcome the same stuff I’ve battled.

Where to begin?

2015 will forever be the year my mortality came crashing home. I began the year going to a funeral for a cousin. Not the best way to kick off a New Year. Sadly, my cousin wouldn’t be the only funeral on my plate for the year. It seemed like every three weeks I got news family or friends had passed away. Some pretty rough ones drove me to my knees over the course of the year. I can’t go into them all because I’m afraid it would take all night and my tears might short out my computer.

Still, a couple bear memorializing. My first writing partner, Deb Durham, passed away in a tragic car accident as she tried to help out a friend. Deb taught me so much about what it means to be a writer. She helped me by setting me on the path to become the writer I am today. So, even when my heart wanted to give up and hide under my bed, I didn’t. I just couldn’t, because when I write, a part of her will forever be out in the universe for all to see. What I wouldn’t give to hear her call me Goober one more time with her Texas twang.

Secondly, my good friend and comic book dealer, Clint Thomas passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Aside from feeding my comic addiction, Clint had long been a supportive friend, who would stock my books whenever I had a few to sell. He graciously became a sounding board on occasion, and a character in one of my books. We shared a love not only for comics but for the books we grew up reading. Those books inspired the stories of mine you have read and will continue to enjoy. Clint, himself, inspired so much more. He inspired me to become a writer by pushing me to be one. Clint, one day we will see each other again, and I can’t wait to hear the stories we will share.

Lastly, a week before Christmas, the world lost a shining smile that is warming heaven above. Linda Collins is the sister of my adopted sister of the heart, Susan White, who inspired the character Waterfall Woman in my Love Bites and Bite Marks novels. Linda soon became as close to me as a sister, and became a character in Bite Marks 2.  Now, the rest of my Vampire series will be dedicated to her memory. Because heaven got an angel in her, but she will forever be a muse my heart can’t deny.

I am certain that you can understand the sorrow that weighed heavy upon me. Losing one person is heart wrenching but losing nearly twelve in a year’s time would be enough to drive anyone to their knees. Trust me, I spent a good time on my knees asking why. The answer I got made perfect sense. Because we are all given a time to be born, a time to grow, a time shine, a time to live, and a time to die. But, as long as we keep love around us, our flesh may fade, but our hearts remain in those we leave behind. Sadly, this in no way takes away the pain of loss those of us left behind must deal with. That’s how I spent 2015. Dealing.

Some of that dealing was handling pain. For years I’ve suffered from neuropathy caused by a ruptured disk in my neck and from a birth defect I didn’t even know I had until ten years ago, Arnold Chiari Malformation. For those of you who have never heard of the condition, it is when the tonsils of the brain hang from the base of the skull. As you get older the condition gets worse, and is highlighted by migraines, and numbness in arms and legs. Some other nastier things happen but if you’re interested, I’ll try and remember to leave a link at the bottom, because sadly, this condition goes undiagnosed until it’s too late. A result of this, I am on more meds than I like to admit to being on. A side effect of all these meds is side effects. As my body adapted to the meds, I had been on, I had to adjust to higher doses or new meds altogether. If any of you have ever been on meds, you know they do strange and evil things that they aren’t meant to do.

Part of these side effects stopped my brain from talking to my creativity and hands. I spent a lot of restless nights staring at my laptop with words exploding in my head, but couldn’t get those words out. It drove me insane to see the movie playing but not being able to share the wonder of it with anyone. As 2016 bloomed on the horizon, my doctor and I seemed to have found a balance that is working for my creativity. I’m still not 100% but I’m getting there. Like a wise man or woman once said, anything worth having is worth fighting for. Last year a big part of me gave up. I won’t lie about it. I crawled into my hole and died. This year, I want to live.

I might have lost a lot of good people last year, but God has given me some more, not to replace them, but to complement their impact on my lives. Victor Nunely is just one. He hosts the weekly Comic Hero show on YouTube. Great stuff. Definitely check him out, if you have time. Sabrina Ruffin helped inspire a new character and book series that I hope to explore when I get caught up with my other series that fell to the side of the road last year. Lastly, Claire Chandler recently took over Clint’s Comics and is a hoot. She has made me laugh, and I can see a character with her name all over it. Along with these new voices, I have my old friends and my dear family to keep me on my toes. Let’s not forget God, who never let’s me wander from His defining love.

The point of this ramble is I’m back and if you’ll have me, I plan to be here for as long as you’ll let me come into your lives. Stock up on Oreos, the sugar free ones because apparently I’m a diabetic, too. Told you last year was a rough one, but this year…this year is going to be awesome.

Those links I promised

The Arnold Chiari Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/ArnoldChiari-malformation/119461628102885?fref=ts

Victor Nunely’s Comic Hero Channel on You Tube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etacPTgZwlk&feature=youtu.be

Claire Chandler, Clint’s Comics, because I need comics.

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010923228017

 

Til next time,

Happy Reading!