Sometimes, a phrase will just come to me. Often it's a line from a song, or just something I've heard in conversation that stands out to me. It could be movie line. Wherever the inspiration comes from, it's a lead in to a story.
More often than not, that catchy phrase turns into nothing. On the rare occasion it become a novel. More often than that, but still somewhat rare, is the development of that line into a short story.
Short stories are a lot of fun to write. I tend to keep mine to around 1,000 words. I like them short and to the point. The best part about a short story - to me - is that it is a snap shot taken from a larger story. I can start the story right in the middle of the action and can make the choice to end the story right in the middle of the action. I don't have to "wrap it up neatly." Novels leave some unanswered questions but short stories leave many. If you ask the question afterwards, "What was that?" after reading one of my short stories, I've done my job.
Now, this story bothered me. If you want to criticize someone for drawing a name out of a hat, that's one thing (it may have happened that the person she drew out of the hat was the once she let go, but that's hard to believe). I felt like the story was getting to a deeper point. Shakira mentioned that she "prayed about it." To me, that's what the "outrage" was all about. She prayed about her decision. What is wrong with prayer and since when did it become something to be mocked and scorned?
People talk about separation of church and state. People want faith to be private and not out in public. And those people have the freedom of speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution to voice that opinion.
But here is where it gets interesting...the United States Constitution never says anything about separation of church and state. That phrase comes from a 1802 Thomas Jefferson letter as his interpretation of "prohibit the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion." How is a public confession of faith a law establishing religion?
I digress (but not much).
The First Amendment also gives us "free exercise of religion." So why are people "outraged" that Shakira would pray about her decision? Why can't people pray in public without being criticized and being sued because someone was "offended"? NOTE TO THE OFFENDED: As you exercise your First Amendment right, I think I'll join you in exercising mine. If you don't want to pray, don't pray, but why are you infringing on my right to pray in public?
I know...I'm a nut job, a right wing radical, someone who clearly is not of a more progressive mindset. But keep this in mind. The next time you get in a life-changing bind, to whom are you going to get on your knees and pray? Maybe the "state" can help you.
Wow! How time flies. I was looking back through my blog and saw that it had been two months since I last posted anything. Two months! I was certain it a been a month, but two?
Over the past two months, I've reworked my latest novel several times. It took some time to get it right. When I'm writing a novel, my first step is the title. To me that's the most important part. After the title, the story seems to flow to me. Right after that, I'll create the book trailer which helps me visual the direction that the novel will take (of course this changes, even as I'm writing). I've learned to keep the comments in the book trailer vague - only using a few key phrases. Check out the book trailer for my latest novel "Secrets of the Dead" here - http://youtu.be/TF_nig_YVas
What will I be doing over the next two months? Be sure to check for the first three chapters of "Secrets of the Dead." Plus, I expect more timely blog posts.
I watched the movie "Warrior" last night. You know how you know when a movie is really good? When you are still thinking about the movie the next day.
What a complex, emotional film! I won't give away too much of the plot, but it involved mixed martial arts (that alone was enough to make me want to watch). Nick Nolte was the recovering alchoholic father who was trying to get back into good graces with his estranged sons. The two sons had nothing to do with their father - whatever he did in their past (and it never went into too many specific details) must have been awful.
In the end, the two sons enter a MMA tournament for a $5 million winner-take-all prize and end up fighting each other in the final bout. One brother wants to reconcile with his angry brother. The other brother - Tom Hardy - is so angry that he refuses to tap out even when his brother dislocates his shoulder in a submission move.
Speaking of Tom Hardy, what an excellent actor. The more I see of him, the more I believe Christoper Nolan is genius as a movie maker. Hardy was also in Nolan's "Inception" which cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt and who I believe to be the best actor of my generation, Leonardo DiCaprio. Hardy, Gordon-Levitt, and DiCaprio, in my opinion define great movie making. Great actors who do what they do without a lot of fanfair.
When I am an old man, I expect to hear (if I can still hear at that age) those three men mentioned among the legends.
It's very strange for me to see all of the winter weather happening across the country. I just saw some photos from New Hampshire where there was quite a snow storm. But here today, in South Carolina, we came close to wearing short sleeve shirts. The weather today was in the low 60's and it felt great. I was outside talking to a neighbor and with the sun shining on where we were standing, I can almost say it was warm.
A strange twist to the warm weather today - I went to a hockey game this evening. One would think that minor league hockey in South Carolina would be a bit of an oddity. But the nearly full house at the arena tonight didn't think so. So, I guess to answer the question, "What do people in the South do during the winter months?" We stand outside in the warm sunlight and then go to hockey games.
Blogger of the Year? Well, I won't be winning that any time soon. It is very difficult to keep up with a blog weekly, let alone some of these writers who can put out a decent article a day. Outside of people who do if for a living, how does one find the time?
As an author who also works a full time job to pay the bills, I feel like any spare time I have should be spent writing my books. Not that I don't enjoy writing blog entries, but I just don't have that many hours in my day. I do well to do two or three blog posts a month in addition to everything else I'm trying to do to promote myself as an author - plus have time to write so that when I am asked, I can actually produce something that someone else would want to buy.
I won't be winning Blogger of the Year any time soon. But I still enjoy sharing what little I do blog about.
Well, it's a new year. What are my thoughts? What are my resolutions? None and neither.
Perhaps I'm an Ebenezer Scrooge of the new year. To me - just another day. It's great and all that we get a fresh start, but shouldn't one live every day as if it is a fresh start? A new day of self-learning, of making the word better.
So what will I be doing today? Same thing as yesterday (I mean last year).
I titled this "An Expected Journey" in that I watched "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" last night. The title reflects that there was no doubt I was going to see this movie. In fact the "journey" to the theater was quite "expected."
WOW! What a great movie. The Lord of the Rings films were fantastic. The first of the three Hobbit movies equals if not passes those movies. What made it so great to me is that "The Hobbit" as a book is much, much shorter than "The Lord of the Rings." So the movie shoud be shorter as well, right? No. Instead the movie focuses on the characters. Not that The Lord of the Rings movies didn't, but there is much less action in the book version of "The Hobbit." Therefore, in order to fill three two hour and forty-five minute movies, there has to be some filler. That filler is the characters.
The dwarves were great. The reason they were so enjoyable to watch is that the dwarves were not like the dwarves you traditionally think of. They looked and acted like men, but still had dwarvish characteristics that were laid out in the book.
At the end of the movie, it was kind of surprising that they didn't get very far. That is a testament to the writing of the screenplay and the characters they developed. Brilliant movie!
There are many things for which the South is known. Some good, some bad. Overall, not a bad place to live and raise kids. People are polite and still say, "yes, ma'am" and "yes, sir." Being a gentleman is something men here still strive to be. But one thing the South is not known for is snow.
I know we have mountains here and those mountains get snow. But what about when you're on the coastal side of the mountains? South Carolina is known for sweet tea and old coastal homes, but certainly not snow.
As I sit here in mid-December, it is dark outside now, but just a few hours ago it was sixty degrees. Sixty degrees in December - one week before Christmas! I shouldn't complain but I'm going to. Can't the warm weather come back in January?
How about a White Christmas?