Digging Deep for Courage

As I mentioned earlier, after finishing the monumental rewrite (nope, haven’t run out of hyperbole yet), I did find myself discouraged and down. And as I dug myself out of it with the bright light of a new story idea, I began to think of courage. Which led me to Justin Timberlake.

Yes, really.

Hold on, don’t run away. What I started thinking about was his courage. Now, I’m old enough to remember N’Sync, and as I got older, it felt almost a responsibility to discard what had been acceptable in high school for more “grown up” alternatives. And I remember watching some concert that was predominantly rock – it may have been a new year’s special – and one of Justin Timberlake’s first appearances as a solo artist. After heavy rock bands and full accompaniment, he came onto the stage only with a keyboard and alone, and started to sing. The audience at the event shrieked and booed him. People even booed him. They threw things at him, like drinks. And despite it all, he continued to play, until finally, either the song was over, or he left for his own safety. At the time, I was rather amused.

Today, I can only admire that kind of courage and tenacity. Because look at what it’s gained him? Today, he has a very successful career spanning not only music but also movies. In fact, I really like the characters he plays in movies, and he strikes me as a good or nice person (or maybe that’s just his image, but that’s what comes across).

And today, I admire him for his courage.

As we choose to embark on a career of creativity and art, whether it’s writing, painting, acting, singing, whatever, we face a pretty steep battle. And perhaps more so than when you pursue a more mainstream career, criticism can come fast and furious. It’s easy to doubt your ability, to doubt your dreams, or wonder if maybe you’re heading down the wrong path. Sometimes, it’s easier to give up than keep fighting, because it can feel like a battle, to keep creating, to stay positive despite all odds, despite the number of rejections, despite the light of hope quickly smothered by yet more rejection. But I’ve never actually had anyone throw something at me and endured the kind of attack Timberlake did. And yet he still kept singing.

I have to admire him for that kind of courage, and where he is somehow seems more deserved. And yes, I am very likely simplifying an exhausting journey of his career – which will continue to evolve and change throughout his lifetime as it does for all of us. So if I’m wrong about some of the facts, my sincere apologies, and instead, may we just admire that idea of courage if nothing else.

And above all else, keep singing your song, keep painting your vision, and keep writing your words. You’re an artist. That’s your job.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading, and hope you have a courage-filled week. 🙂

Zombies – Arggggh!

I hate zombies. I do not watch zombie movies. I do not read zombie books. And when my husband watches his beloved “Walking Dead,” I leave the room.

Know what my next book contains? Yep. Zombies.

Now, it is true that in some ways I may be a bit of a masochist. But I’ve been thinking about how we need to dig deep, and seeing as I despise zombies, it seemed suitable to examine it closely, and maybe have a bit of fun. I was considering why I think zombies are so scary, and why I dislike them so much.

  • because zombies seem plausible. Not necessarily the classic voodoo type of zombie (the origin of the term), but the scary what-if where apocalypse comes because someone / some government was arrogant enough to think they could control a terrifying super-virus or “bad guy prevention” plan, and instead, it destroys humanity.
  • the humanity of zombies. They are human, perhaps more so than other paranormal creatures like vampires or werewolves. While potentially those conditions could be passed on as well, you could have a separate species. No matter how you look at it, zombies start out human, and it leads me to wonder how much of their humanity remains. What if they are our friends? Our family? ARE they still that person? Is there anything left? How would you confront this?
  • ease of transmission of the condition. Yes, the few zombie films I have seen have probably convinced me of this, but also the fact that while my  husband coughs once, and he’s done, I am thereafter sick for two weeks. Therefore, I’m likely to be one of the first zombies.
  • loss of control over self and body. What happens to the person you were? Are you still trapped inside a rapidly rotting corpse? Usually the only sure way to kill zombies (never mind a host of other species), is to destroy the brain. Well, if the brain is in a human body, than the consciousness inhabiting that brain must still be the original person, right? How much awareness is there? Is it like a comatose person unable to act? Or perhaps the most ruthless, aggressive form of humanity we fight to hide beneath a veneer of civility?
  • the senseless and vicious destructive nature of zombies. Whether they’re after converting other humans or the stereo-typical brains, most zombies aren’t easily stopped, and keep coming and coming and coming. There is something terrifying about an enemy that is without any fear to exploit. No matter the size of our weapons, non-zombies will run and eventually fail because they are afraid. The zombies will just keep attacking.
  • they remain a walking reminder of our own mortality – and potentially, our own inevitable fate. While in modern times we prefer to distance ourselves from death and sterilize mortality, zombies are a walking (and vicious) reminder of our own potential, and perhaps, what we too will become, whether simply the dead, or undead, depending on the manner of transmission.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think? Do zombies scare you? What have I missed? Love to hear from you. 😉

Thanks for reading, and hope you have a terrific week. 🙂

Still Around and Kicking

I was so pleased with myself for sticking to the blog and publishing regularly … and then that all fell apart. Somehow or other, after finishing the Great Rewrite of Doom, instead of feeling like fireworks and celebration when it was finally complete, I mostly just wanted to curl up and hide. Ever have one of those weeks? When even good things somehow make you feel worse?

This led to the decision that I was taking a small “holiday” from writing, a week or so at most. Realistically, it may have been more like a small pity party for one (complete with moldy cupcakes!). Then there was the guilt for not writing, accompanied by guilt’s best friend, fear. Fear wondered if I was done writing, if I should just give up completely – or if I already had and just hadn’t admitted it. All the excitement I’d been saving up for starting a new story had withered and dropped off, and none of my current plot ideas fit or inspired me whatsoever.

And then last night happened.

And suddenly, I have a plot, and I have a book. And I’m so excited about it’s utter weirdness and writing it just to play and have fun, all those other goals bedamned, that I can hardly wait to start writing. I’m even thinking of starting NaNo, yes, even this late in the game because I’m so excited, I think that with this one, I could potentially reach the 50k by the end of the month.

Ever have that happen to you?

And if you’re in the middle of your own pity party, or maybe feeling a bit down on yourself: take heart. As much as the darkness seems complete at the moment, it isn’t. Just one of the downturns in that roller-coaster ride accompanied with creativity.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading, and hope you have a terrific week. 🙂