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!

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.

Saying Goodbye for Now…

Sometime back around 1981 — at least that date sounds familiar. Anyway, I fell in love. Not with a woman though I’m sure a girl did occupy my thoughts, because quite frankly, I still go weak in the knees at the sight of blue plaid skirts and white button up shirts. It’s a Catholic thing, so don’t try to understand it. Back to what I was saying. I fell in love.

Fell in love with a voice. Yes, it’s possible, so don’t even try to fight  with me over this. Riding home from school, our bus had a radio that pumped out the local station Rock 102. The song that blared sent all the teenagers into fits of Karaoke, way before we knew what that was. The song was Little Red Corvette and I was hooked. That day started a forty year love affair that will probably follow me to my grave.

I can’t really say why the song captured me the way it did. Maybe it was the sexual rebellion the song sparked within me. It could have been the music itself speaking to me on a primal level, or the melodic lyrics that said so many things my brain hadn’t yet fully understood. Whatever the case, Prince Rodgers Nelson became my musical Jedi Master that day. By the time Purple Rain came out at the movies, I’d picked up his back stock of albums and had already conceived several plans to sneak into this R rated slice of heaven. I am pretty certain back then the only reason I clung to my Prince love was his glorification of sex and the dropping of the F Bomb. Teenagers. Go figure?

Then again to be perfectly honest, I had already developed a deep and abiding love for Rhythm and Blues from my parents. Dad loved old school rock in the form of Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Big Joe Turner, not to mention Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson. Mom was all 70s funk. Earth Wind and Fire, Ohio Players and the Commodores. Man, I can’t even begin to name all the musical influences I had growing up. It’s no small wonder that when I began to mature in my musical tastes I’d develop strong and definite opinions of my choices.

Looking back I can honestly say Prince was more of a rebellious streak for me. Prince taught me many things on my road to being who I am. Creatively he taught me to take chances. He showed me the value of never accepting good enough and to always push whatever envelope I found myself fitting into. At the time I probably didn’t see him as a mentor. I just saw him as the soundtrack to my life. Purple Rain defined my 80s. Diamond and Pearls my 90s. Musicology my 2000s. I’m still trying to nail down which album is summing up my 20tweens but I’m sure it’ll come to me sooner or later. The point is, Prince is the godfather of my painting and writing for so many reasons he should get a co-writing credit on my books.

But, I don’t think I can stop with just letting him take the blame for my imagination running wild. It would so belittle the impact he had on my growth as a human being. I always find it strange that people assume something about a person based on their color and geographic location. It never occurred to me to hate someone based on either of those things. Being a douchebag gets you on the list automatically. Prince helped cement my view on accepting others based solely on who they are. I have met many people over the years and adopted them fully into my heart. When I see them, I don’t see color. I don’t see religion or lack of the topic. I don’t even see political affiliation or sexual orientation. I see a person who completes my life in some mysterious way that I can’t explain nor see a need to even try. They are, and the fact that they are makes me happy. Not sure that sole credit for the belief rests with Prince, but I’m giving him partial credit. The rest I’m giving to Jesus for giving me a heart open to loving without condition.

This past week and a half has given me a lot to think about. That is often the way when you lose someone close to you. I know I have never met Prince except in my dreams, but he has been a real part of my life nonetheless. Losing him so suddenly like this has left an empty spot I struggle to fill. Not with another person, but with the memories of his music and the times in my life he was with me through the songs he wrote. I think along the way we are given people who influence us whether they know the impact they have on us or not. These people help shape the people we ultimately become. If you think about it that way, maybe the old adage is true. Live the values you speak, because your life is a roadmap for others to follow. I for one don’t want to be the one paving the road to hell for someone else. I have enough trouble keeping myself off that road without worrying about anyone else’s path.

So, as I say goodbye to Prince, I want to express rather inadequately the thanks I wish I could have given him personally in life. Since sadly that option is no longer open to me, I will live my life as he had. A living example of using the talents God gave me to their fullest and giving the world an example worthy of the man who showed me that Purple Rain is not just a song, it’s an ideal to live by.

I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain

Jmo wishing you all

Happy Reading and a life full of that laughter.prince

Jmo the Unauthorized Authorized Autobiography: The Conclusion for now.

So here we are again discovering who J. Morgan is, or rather how I got to become J. Morgan, author and sometimes insane dude at the comic book store. For the past two weeks, I’ve talked about the things that inspired me as a young child and put me on the road to becoming an author. Though, inspiration without two very important things won’t get you very far. I think it’s time for us to go back to 1980. Come on it won’t hurt too much. Bell bottoms were still lingering around, but hair metal had yet to come into being. The second British Invasion hadn’t yet reached us, and I had been put into an insidious institution that did much to change my thinking about the universe, Catholic School.

It wasn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be. Sure, the nuns were scary but gave me many of the concepts I still cultivate today. Some of those ideas have percolated into the books I’ve written and many that will come. But, I wouldn’t call that the most important thing to come out of my education. If I had to point to one thing as a game changer, it would be having  Mrs. Ferschoff as my sixth grade English teacher. On a side note, years later I was able to thank her for being an early influence in my life. Okay, let’s move on to the why she helped me along this path to being a writer. At the time, I booed along with the rest of the class when she told us we’d be writing in daily journals. Who wanted to spend quality TV time writing down junk in some notebook? Apparently I did. She told us we could write about anything we wanted. What we did that day. Our dreams. Our hopes. Fictional stories. Whatever. The point was to express ourselves in words. She wouldn’t even count grammar mistakes against us. Hope my editor takes note of that revolutionary idea. So, I found myself writing elaborate stories involving invading Smurfs, ancient elves, Smokey and the Bandit and the all-time favorite at the time, The Dukes of Hazard. I can’t say any of these stories were any good, but I got stars and chuckles from her when she read them. I wish I  still had that journal. Like all the things from youth, it got tossed in fits of my trying to avoid hoarderdom.

The next few years passed with that spark lying dormant as I rushed into puberty, and knowledge of girls filled what few synapses still fired regularly. Then, writing again crept into my collective consciousness. My high school English teacher, Mrs. Bailey, thought it would be fun to do some creative writing. Haikus, poetry of the worst nature consumed my nightly sinking into the dreaded homework. Poetry was for girls, or so I thought. When Mrs. Bailey began talking about some of my favorite musicians being poets, my outlook changed. As did my approach to listening to music. Jim Morrison was definitely a poet. You could hear it in the music of the Doors. Bob Dylan was a consummate poet. So, maybe there was something to this poetry business. I began writing loose fitted ideas down and forming them into poems and discovered I liked the process of doing it. Again, I won’t admit to them being especially good or well written but I liked doing it. Let me say this, all these poems were being composed without the threat of homework hanging over my head.

Our last assignment in creative writing was a short story. I pulled out all the stops to really impress her with my imagination. Unfortunately, this short story does still exist, but it shall never see the light of day. You can thank me later.

College was all about becoming an artist. Then one day close to registration I had to pick out an English elective to round out my requirements. In process of finding the easiest one to pull up my GPA, I saw something listed that blew my mind, Science Fiction as Literature. I rushed to sign up because a class this awesome sounding had to fill up quick. I succeeded in getting in and could hardly wait for next semester to get here. When it did, the class was everything I had hoped it would be, and dare I say more. Dr. Mc Guinness introduced me more to new authors and stories. He taught me the true purpose of school. It wasn’t, and isn’t, to teach you to read, write, and do math. Its purpose is to educate your mind to the concept of thinking. Don’t accept ideas you get from teachers and books. No work out for yourself the truth you find. Does it hold up to investigation? Does it ring true? The older I get, the more I see every day the truth in what I learned in his class. Ideas we held as truth back in the 90s aren’t true now. There aren’t nine planets in our solar system. History isn’t always how we see it today. Millions of little truths change as we as humanity learn more about the world we live in. I think out of everything I ever gleamed from my seventeen plus years in school, realizing the need to think for myself is the greatest thing any person could discover for themselves.

Other teachers reeducated my thinking. Another English professor Dr. Loomis continued to give me wonder in unravelling the hidden meanings behind some authors’ works. She gave me a love for Nathaniel Hawthorne that still amazes me when I reread one of his stories. Horror as Literature, another Dr. McGuiness class, continued my love of Hawthorne. I did take a creative writing class, but can’t remember the professor’s name, but I did like the class, but it was the above professors who I mark as the greatest influences on how I would later approach writing.

When the time came for me to actually pick up a computer and begin writing, I had only one influence that mattered, my wife Jenna. So much of who I am today comes from her loving me and me loving her. My daughter Morgan inspires a lot of my characters in little ways. The friends I’ve made since becoming a published writer have not only inspired my stories and its characters but they’ve helped teach me the mechanics of being a writer. They are much too many to list here and I wouldn’t dare to try(,) afraid I’d leave one of them out.

As I draw this who is J. Morgan diatribe to a close, I hope you take one thing away from it. Writers don’t become authors overnight. It is a long process of experience, inspiration, and determination. It isn’t a road walked alone. It is a life lived with love, pain and some tragedy involved. To truly express yourself in words upon a page or screen, you must first live and fully understand your world around you. Then, decide for yourself if escaping from your world and running to the one in your head will be a ride others will want to take with you. If you can honestly say yes, then begin writing and I can’t wait to see what your worlds are like.

That’s it for this week. Now, if you’ll kindly excuse me, I’ll go back to being a sick whiny man and annoying my wife with questions like, “Do you think I have fever?”.

Bye folks, and as always Happy Reading,

Jmo

Jmo the Authorized Unauthorized Biography: Part Two

Last week I began the journey of how I became a writer. To recap. I got sick. I read a lot and became a geek. See pretty easy. But, we all know it’s more complicated than that. Writing is all about experiencing things, or in some cases wanting to experience things. That’s where reading comes in handy, but we’re jumping ahead of the story.

So, let’s backtrack to 1977. Bellbottoms were all the rage, as were sideburns, disco, and several other things I still try to forget. To state it as delicately as possible, my mother dressed me funny, and I went as fat Elvis for Halloween. There, my childhood horrors are all laid bare for you to imagine and snicker at.

1977 is important for a lot of reasons. I turned 8 for one thing. America turned 201 and in May of 1977 my life was forever changed! I know that is pretty shocking to hear someone say but it is nonetheless true as my wife and family can attest to. As the year began no one could foresee that not only my life but countless others would be sidetracked by something as insidious as a motion picture. If they had, I doubt they would have let it be shown in theaters.

To backtrack a bit in the auspices of adding flavor to the story, I had already developed some small love for Science Fiction. Planet of the Apes had instilled a love of the futuristic what-could-be in me. Well, it was about to be blown away by one simple phrase…

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…

Yep, you guessed it. Star Wars. I am not saying it suddenly turned me into an author. Things like that don’t happen in a second or even in a few years. What Star Wars did though was fuel my imagination. At the time, I had no idea there would be a second or even third movie. That left me only one recourse to find out what happened next. I made up stories. That summer I think I flew the Millennium Falcon from one end of the galaxy to the next. Okay, I flew Vader’s Tie Fighter from one end to the next. Bad guys get all the cool toys and I wanted me a Tie Fighter so bad I could taste it. I had already been playing around with making up stories but now I had a purpose. To take over the universe.

My imagination didn’t stop there. The 70’s brought me another true love. The Three Musketeers came on TV on Sunday night and I was spellbound. Michael York and Oliver Reed instantly became my heroes. I wanted a sword, a big floppy hat, and boots that would have made Puss jealous. On one of my many trips to the local library I found the book and spent many hours in France. As a result, when not saving the, or enslaving, the galaxy rather, I was fighting the Cardinal and saving fair damsels in distress. That my friends is what I call a lot of overactive imagination at work.

Fortunately, I had a lot to spare. Good thing too, because my trifecta of greatest loves was about to stumble into my life. On yet another trip to the library, yeah, I was one exciting kid, I saw this strange book. It was white with like this ring thingie in the middle with strange writing all around it. That wasn’t the weirdest thing. No, it had a giant eye in the center of the ring. Drawn to it, I picked it up and flipped through the first few pages. It opened with a birthday party of all things. While my grandmother found some books of her own, I began reading. There were strange things called Hobbits who lived in a place called the Shire. There was even a wizard who made the best fireworks. Now, I liked wizards and fireworks. My grandmother came back to pick me up but it was too late. I was on a quest. To Mordor! With the Fellowship of the Ring. Btw, I would go on to own this book and the others. In fact I own probably around three or more copies of it for some weird reason.

I was no writer yet, but hey I was only nine. All my stories took place in my head, but what stories they were. I think the point I’m trying to make in a rambling sort of way is that you can’t be a writer unless you have great inspiration early in life. I’m not saying Star Wars and Lord of the Rings work for everyone, because we’re all made different. What appeals to me, isn’t necessarily going to jazz up the guy or girl next door. It’s all about finding something that you love and makes you happy when you read it, or watch it. That’s what inspiration is all about. It’s not what someone else says you should love. Nope, love is personal and should never be dictated to you or forced upon you by popular vote.

I really can’t tell you why these three things impacted me so strongly, just that they did. As I’ve grown older, I’d fallen in love with other genres, but none of them resonated with me like these have. I can ride a horse and travel out west and get submerged in the story as it unfolds. I can even get locked in a haunted house and scream my head off until I’m able to rip open ‘The End’ waiting for me on the last page. Since you probably know already, I write Romance novels, you know I can fall in love with the idea of falling in love between the pages of a good book. Reading is about, for me at least, falling into love each time you open a book. Doesn’t matter the book, it’s all about the ‘escapist’ emotional connection you feel from the first word of the first paragraph that lasts until the last breathless word of the last page.

Through becoming a writer, I’ve discovered the art of fiction is the same way. Unless you fall into love with the first word you write and keep that love growing to the last page, it shows. I hate to say it but I don’t always succeed in accomplishing that. The hardest thing about writing is staying in ‘love’. Life drives creativity totally away at times. Heck, even the story will present problems you hadn’t envisioned when you start out. Sometimes, gasp!, you’re just plain wrong about what your own story should be about. Just because you love something, it doesn’t automatically mean you understand the complexities of it. Otherwise men and women wouldn’t be two different species most of the time. Okay, all of the time, but you get the point.

First loves are always the strongest loves of all. You remember your first kiss but rarely the tenth or so. When writing, it’s up to you to keep that love alive not only for yourself but for your readers. That might be the hardest thing of all to do. This brick wall, if you hit it, shouldn’t discourage you from writing. It’s the point where honesty comes in. you have to be honest enough with yourself to say this honestly isn’t working and you need to step back until it does work. Forcing it will bring you some honesty you really don’t want. It comes in the form of the greatest and worst thing an author has to face, the voice of their readers. Trust me, you would rather wait for a story to work than to discover it doesn’t in the court of public opinion.

Okay, that’s it for this episode of Jmo revealed. Stay tuned until next week, as we get to the unusual education of said me. It sounds more exciting than it is, but the point is to get you to come back and read more. So, there’ll be explosions, international spies, alien abductions with prerequisite anal probes, and shiver, nuns!

A Flight of Fancy or two

I’ve never been much of a writer who has a lot of focus. Focus and me have an unspoken agreement to disagree on when I should and shouldn’t write. Mainly, we disagree about most of things going on in my life. Now, I’ve got a lot of focus when it comes to my addictive personality disorder. That sounds a whole lot better than I got a bad case of OCD. Which I probably do, but I’m too skeered to go to an actual doctor for a diagnosis. Instead, I trust my wife’s opinion on the subject. She’s usually always right. Well, she is if you believe her. I kind of have to. She had it written into the wedding vows.

 

Writing is all about flights of fancy. Imagination demands fuel to ignite the things lurking in our heads. As a writer spends more time in their craft, imagination isn’t the problem. We’re still basically kids hiding under the covers, wondering what lurks in the darkness beyond our beds. But, as we get on in years, we discover the darkness only hides the same stuff that the light shines on. The road outside our doors only leads to Wal-Mart. Well, it leads to jobs too, but Wal-Mart pretty much covers the reason we have jobs. You can feel free to insert your own chain department store of choice. It’s all the same. Imagination gives way to reality all too often.

 

With the sole exception of forced reading at school, reading is all about escape. I know I’ve probably been harping on this subject lately in these musings, but life demands we escape from it from time to time. Whether it’s in a good book, or just a vacation, our minds need to explore new things, new settings. Sure, a trip to the beach or a snow covered slope would be nice. More than nice, it’d be freaking awesome.

 

Unfortunately as those of us of the grown-up persuasion knows all too well, vacations are hard things to come by, and heaven knows sometimes we need a mini vacation in the middle of the work week. Since transporter technology hasn’t been perfected yet, we have a few limited options. Books, Television, Video Games, or a movie, just to name a few. Breaking out the Star Wars action figures is always an option, too, but the wife gives me funny looks when I do that.

 

Honestly, I myself like to dabble in all of the above, but reading has always been my first love. That might have something to do with coming from the generation who lived with only three channels on the TV, if you don’t count PBS, which only came in if you held the antenna a certain way and had plenty of aluminum foil on hand. We also didn’t have DVD players, so if you wanted to see a movie you had to go to the theater to watch one. That left a lot of room for a kid’s imagination to run wild.

 

This is where I fast forward to the here and now. Remember when I started rambling, the subject of flights of fancy were mentioned? Good, was afraid I’d lost you there for a minute. In this day and age, our imaginations are bombarded with imagery, input, and who knows what else to the point that our minds become numb to what amazing things they can well imagine. Why should we force our minds to create anything? There’s enough people doing it for us. We can sit back and let them do all the work. Admit it, seventy-five percent of the time we are more than happy to let them. Now, we get to the point where we discover what separates readers from writers.

 

Writers can’t sit back and read without thinking of the worlds living inside our heads. We can’t read without wanting to share those worlds with others. I can’t really answer why we all have our own worlds eating a hole through our skulls. I can’t even say why out of all the people who’ve been born throughout the history of mankind, authors never seem to duplicate the worlds of other authors.

 

Maybe, I can. Humanity is made up of people with different origins, different stories that make up who they are. Who we are. And, it is those experiences that come full circle and become the stories we as authors eventually put to paper. I like to think every one of us has a story inside us dying to come out. We’re all authors in our own right. Some of us make up stories, and others live their stories every day of their lives. A lucky few get to write the stories they live.

 

So far, I’m the make up story kind of guy, but I also have a story I’m living. Whether it’s book worthy or not, I’m not sure. But, it is the story nearly every human lives. It is one of dreams of youth. The uncertainty of a coming-of-age young man. It is one of pain and loss. It is the story of adventure and stupidity. But, most of all it full of love. The love of my God. The love and warmth of my family in who I always find home. It is the love of my wife and soul mate. The love of my daughter, and the overwhelming love I feel for my first grandchild, who can make me smile in my darkest hours just by me thinking about him.

 

With all that love, it’s no wonder I write Romance Novels. Because what is the story of mankind, but the search for love to fill the emptiness of our lives and make us complete. So I guess I am living my stories. Before I leave you to live some more of it, I’d like to assure you in spite of my books, I’m not a vampire, witch, or even a werewolf, though I am quite hairy. Who knows? Maybe I am a werewolf. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? A Romance writing werewolf with a Southern accent. Didn’t I already write that?

 

Oh well, wishing you all a great week, and more importantly wishing you a life worthy of being a best selling story.