Friday, October 5, 2012

GenCon

GenCon this year was wonderful! I'll write a more detailed update later and place it [here], but for now I will say that I had a great show! I sold enough books to buy next year's booth. I'll be in Artist's Alley next time, so come see me!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

the story behind

It seems that every day I learn a new way in which a writer (or artist) views the world as apposed to everyone else. A large difference is this: everything has a story. Everything.

You see a man walking down the street drinking coffee with a vexed expression on his face. Most would glance at him and his presence wouldn’t even register in the forefront of their mind, or he would be dismissed immediately afterwards. For a writer, there is a story behind that man.

He’s walking brusquely because he’s trying to distance himself from the café that has been the latest in a series of unfortunate experiences. The coffee is good, but the wait and the prices expend time, energy, and finances he never need worry about until lately. The strain of the waning economy has not only caused him to rethink his morning ritual of the visit to his favorite café, but it has also robbed him of the enjoyment he used to take from his simple cup of Joe.

His thoughts are inward, knitting his brow as the unobservant world passes him by. Now, walking the short distance to his job, sipping the satisfying sweet and bitter draught that used to add a spring to his step, he contemplates how necessary this simple indulgence is to his continued existence. It’s not as important as new socks, or another ream of fresh printing paper, surely. But would giving up the simple pleasure of his morning coffee be just the loss of an unnecessary expenditure? Of course not. It would be one more highlight gone from his day, one more sacrifice among many. So he stubbornly indulges in this tiny luxury, though the pleasure has been robbed from it by that ever-mounting awareness of the impending doom of his financial security.

Before you ask, yes. Every day is like this. Everything has a story. Every mysterious smile a coworker hides behind their work... every whisper exchanged between two people walking too near... everything. Everything has a story and I can’t help but imagine what it is.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

the hard decision

They always say to 'follow your heart', as if it were the easiest course in the world. The trouble is, your heart doesn't always favor the gently sloping hill; in fact, it usually chooses the steepest, most harrowing course you can imagine. For a while my heart has been yearning to break away from something that has held me down and back for quite some time. I've refrained because I would be letting a friend down, and I keep telling myself that I want to see it through. But... it's been three years now with no end in sight and no less than another year to hold out. Even then, there are no guarantees with this particular venture.

So my hard decision is: follow my heart, or continue following a dream that is no longer my own.

For many days I've weight the scales of this choice, what I lose, what I gain. But it always circles back to the fact that the one losing the most is my friend. What I have trouble accepting is what portion of that can be laid upon me, and the honest truth is none of it. I came in with nothing, gained little, and leave with the same. My friend has born the weight of this venture from the start, and that is where the weight remains with or without me.

But the freedom is so sweet, so enticing. A huge burden of stress, time, and what may soon grow into resentment would disappear like a morning mist burned away by the sun.

I know that I promised nothing from the beginning and gave everything I could. I know that each day I shoulder this yolk, it weighs down my heart and soul and makes me weary in ways I didn't know I could be. I know I will be less and less help as time waxes while my eyes are cast elsewhere.

I know my heart has already made the decision, and the longer I wait the more sick I will become with it. Sometimes good things must end to make way for better.

Friday, January 13, 2012

first and foremost from within

It is strange to watch your priorities and motivations rearranging themselves. I have been reading a lot of books lately that fit squarely into the "self-improvement" genre. I am not one to let others tell me how to live or how to think, and I am certainly not in need of someone to hold me up and point me in the right direction. But my curiosity regarding these novels and my great affinity for what they have to say has made me realize that I was searching for something, yearning for something I found lacking within myself.

One doesn't always know when they are unhappy, but in this case I was certain of it. I felt hopeless, alone, and overwhelmed both by my own ambitions and by what many would consider aggressive bad luck. Those who know me would describe me as amiable, quick to laugh, and full of energy. Those who know me best, also know that I suffer dark bouts of depression and uncertainty with greater frequency than I would have ever let the rest of the world see.

I was looking for a solution for my doubt and unhappiness, and turned my attention to the inspiring words of others. I picked up "Simple Abundance" by Sarah Ban Breathnach a little over a year ago from my sister's coffee table and read the day's entry. I had poured my heart out to my sister and wept just moments before and was seeking a distraction while she was busy with a task. I believe with a fair amount of skepticism in kismet and destiny, and I have been certain of few things in my life as much as I am certain that I was meant to read that entry in that very moment. Whatever power you believe in, be it God, a sentient universe, or karma... I was meant to read that page.

I borrowed the book from my sister and later acquired my own copy along with many of Sarah's other works. It is hard to describe the emotions I felt that day, as if a switch had been flipped in my core from off to on. Sarah didn't have the answer I was looking for, not all of it anyway, but she revealed the path to me. She opened my eyes to the inspiration and motivation that can be found in "self-help" section of the library. As with 'luck' and 'destiny', I read many of these books with a healthy dose of skepticism. Reading others' ideals on how to find contentment and personal worth allowed me to scrutinize how I viewed myself with a new light.

It was during this exploration of self, both on how I thought and on how I reacted to the world around me, that I discovered the source of much of my discontent. My own thought patterns and emotions were poison, bad habits given too much power through repetition. I was literally my own enemy. Happiness comes first and foremost from within in spite of what lies outside one's self. I have great bounty in my life, friends that care for deeply for me, family whom I adore, a safe home in which to live, clean water and air, plentiful and delicious foods, and a culture in which I could find all the answers I needed with a computer and a library card. I only had to open my eyes and witness what I had and realize that happiness was mine if I was willing to claim it.

I continue to read books directed at improving one's self and one's life, gleaning pieces of wisdom from every other page to incorporate into the major discovery I made. With each book and article I read, I find new ways in which to examine myself and my thoughts and new avenues to explore on my journey to self-appreciation and contentment. Meanwhile, the many things that seemed so important before have lost their power over me and new motivations have taken their place. Every move I make now is a positive step toward my ultimate goal of lasting and meaningful happiness.

Thanks, Sarah.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

laugh until you cry

Sometimes life sucks. You can sugar coat and silver line all you want, sometimes life just sucks. I can attest from personal experience that even the best of intentions are not always taken as they were intended, and even the most positive of attitudes can turn bitter at the flip of a switch. You frequently don't get what you want, and sometimes don't get what you need, and you will find times that you feel that the whole world is against you.

My remedy: laughter. You can complain that the old adage "laughter is the best medicine" is old and cliche, but you can't say it doesn't work. At least... not without trying it first. What never fails to make you laugh? What website, jokes, or videos always crack you up no matter how many times you view them? Have them on speed-dial. Have them set up so it would take only seconds to bring them up. When you are your most upset, most angry, most depressed... put on what makes you laugh. Apply liberally.

I have a folder on my harddrive labeled "Laugh, damnit", and it is full of screenshots of my favorite jokes, images, and cute cat pictures. I cycle through the folder with Windows Image Viewer until I'm chuckling. Then I get myself something I enjoy, like a chocolate shake or my kitty, and read more until I'm laughing so hard my sides hurt.

You'll be amazed how quickly your day can turn around if you give yourself just a few minutes to laugh until you cry.

Friday, January 6, 2012

a dream is a wish your heart makes

Something about that high, sweet, and inspiring song from Disney's Pinocchio always made me feel as though I could whisper my deepest desires into the endless night and the stars would carry it away into forever. A sigh, a tear, and a smile. Dreams, the great wishes of the heart, had finally been given a voice to a young and impressionable artist and writer. Needles to say, I instantly became a Disney fan, measuring my live by the melodic tones of so many classic fairytales breathed into life by the magical kingdom. I pined with Ariel, grieved with Simba, and danced with the mushrooms.

As a child I believed with all of my heart that Jiminy had it right, but somehow the message got lost somewhere between learning to solve for an unknown and discovering the trials of responsibility. It is so easy to forget how wise a pure spirit is, like that of a child. How simplicity can open the mind, heart, and soul. Twenty years later, I finally remember what I knew as a little girl.

You can whisper your heart's wishes into the sky and if you listen with all you are, you can hear the stars' reply.

Follow This Blog by Email!