Objects in Motion, Objects at Rest

…I wonder if I’ve used this title before.

*Shrug* Oh well.

Well, things are moving occupation-wise. Honestly, there’s so much moving I’m having trouble keeping track of it. Wheels within wheels and all that. Of course, I don’t have much in the way of specifics. Whenever I get to the point where I can share details, I promise to let you all know. But right now, everything is all in preliminary stages, so nothing to talk about really.

My writing is going so-so. I started a new fragment today called “Pathways in the Dark.” It’s just an allegory of my own personal struggles over the last few months. Frankly, I don’t think it’ll ever see the light of day. But it was somewhat cathartic.

Not nearly as cathartic as reading Equestria Daily’s followup to this weeks MLP:FiM episode “Twilight Time.” I was laughing hysterically (and silently since I was in the break room) to it. It felt good to simply enjoy reading something and laugh about something.

Sadly, my emotional state is extremely chaotic now. One of the issues of fighting depression…it’s a constant battle. And when you’re least expecting it, it can jump on your back and dig its claws in hard.

Laura has been helping a lot though. Last night we got to watch Frozen. We just sat with one another and enjoyed it. And wow, I was impressed. Probably the most songs I’ve ever heard in a Disney movie…especially loved the conversation into song bits. Those were great. But my favorite scene? Elsa raising her ice castle…though honestly castle seems like a pale word for what she created. That was when I realized “holy crap, this girl has got some crazy level of power.” Reminded me why I like fantasy so much.

Can I also say that it’s great we have two strong female leads for once? And that Disney is WAY too fond of killing off parents in order for character development? Seriously guys, there are other ways.

I wish I had something really cool and deep to share with you. I know my post the last few weeks have been somewhat sparse. I still haven’t figured out how to balance everything with work…and to balance the two girls alone when I’m not at work. I never realized how much of a challenge that was going to be. I don’t know why…I guessed I just remembered things different when it was just Caitlyn. Or maybe it was that it was just Caitlyn.

Well, I wrote everything above this on my last 15 minute break at work. Now I’m at home. It’s been…rough for me. The panic attacks have been severe. Very severe. It’s extremely difficult to keep going. Thankfully, the medication I recently took helped…though it’s strong. To the point of numbness.

I…I don’t have anything else. I feel like I should. But…there’s…well I simply don’t have anything.

Here’s another fun PMV. Why? Because I like them. And it’s my blog.

I’m going to take a break now.

Good luck and have fun,

-rks

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A Mixed Bag

This week has…you guessed it…been a bit of a mixed bag.

I’m starting to actually make some progress with “Steam and Magic,” but it is slow, very slow. The frustration and depression have pretty much sapped my creativity to the point where I have next to nothing. However, during the course of the week, I’ve found some inspiration in these short beginnings I’ve called “Fragments.”

A fragment is a lot like it sounds. It’s usually a beginning of a story. Something random. Depending on my mood, something often combat related. I might post a few of them later. I might turn them into short stories or even novels someday. Not really sure what I’m going to do with them. I’ve even made a little progress just today with Steam and Magic itself.

I’ve spent some time plotting out the overarching story of Steam and Magic, but I’m concerned I’m not getting enough of it really into beginning. I’m already 107,000 words into the story and I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s really at stake in these novels. However, that is something I can “fix in post.” So I’m pushing myself forward.

The OC Inklings is also going pretty well. I’m getting some great feedback for my own work and I think everyone else is really enjoying it too.

I have some possible help coming in the whole work thing. Some generous individuals have offered to come to my aid. I’m hoping that good things will come of it, but at the moment, I’m keeping things on the down-low.

Let’s see…what else?

Oh, Laura and I had a pretty good Valentine’s Day, which was actually done on the 15th, Laura’s birthday. After leaving Tali and Caitlyn with the wonderful babysitter Chelsey, who used to watch Caitlyn when she was much smaller, we headed out to this great little Italian place named Maggiano’s. After an excellent dinner there, we headed over to the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa to for the Valentine’s Day Special starring Matthew Morrison, or better known as Will Schuester, the optimistic and charming teacher on “Glee.”

We started with a good old symphony orchestra from our seats in the nosebleed section (I actually had vertigo when we first got up there!). And the songs played were:

Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah (this was freaking great, adventurous sounding too!)
Love is a Many Splendored Thing
All the Things You Are
Someone to Watch over Me (Very sweet)
Suite from Father of the Bride (Beautiful, especially the way the wedding march was woven into the piece)
Stuermisch in lieb und taenze, op. 393 – “Tempestuous in love and dance”

But the real treat was Morrison himself. He was hysterical and brilliantly talented. He did all sorts of things such as “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Luck be a Lady Tonight” and the excellent “It Don’t Mean a Thing.” Laura and I both loved it. It was a spectacular performance, even though we were way up in the rafters. He ended the night with “Sway with Me,” “Singing in the Rain” and finally did a duet version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with a student from his former school (which was wonderful.).

In the end, it was a very good night, something that I think Laura and I both needed desperately. Some time to actually enjoy ourselves together without juggling two children.

There’s not a lot else to tell right now. I’m sorry, but it’s been one of those weeks. I’ve been fighting panic attacks and depression a lot of the time and that’s made things hard on my writing. Thankfully, I’m on the path to getting help.

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying/fighting the whole Skyrim mod thing. I’ve probably gone just a bit nutty with the level of Mods, forcing me to get various managers and such to work them out. It’s a huge challenge, but since it’s something new and deals a bit with programming, I don’t mind as much.

And now, just for fun, I’m going to post a Fragment called “Dungeon Fight”

The blade clattered to the cold stone at our dancing feet. The iridescent runes vanished on impact, casting half of the decrepit room into darkness. I followed up with a two handed strike at the creature’s head. The Raket slapped away the blow with one of its iron claws as if I was a child.

The second blow I didn’t even see coming, but it sent me flying across the room and into a musty, half-rotted bookshelf. Bits of moth-eaten leather and paper cascaded around me as the creature roared in defiance.

I didn’t hesitate, instantly taking advantage of the pause. I slammed my right open palm into the ground and the blast of shadow propelled me to my feet. It would take a moment for the nightglove to recharge, but I didn’t waste the time. I gripped my main hand blade, a twin of the one on the other side of the room and rushed the feral Raket.

Bulging muscles under thick greasy fur tensed as I swung my weapon at its neck. All four of its eyes tracked the movement, but it still wasn’t ready for the feint. It swung, but I was a hair quicker, twisting the arc of my blow away from the neck and down toward the legs in a great sweep. The thing hadn’t been ready for such an odd attack and screamed as Gemheart’s icy edge bit into muscle and sinew.

I rolled with the swing, creating a great gash that forced the creature to stumble and took a moment to grab my fallen blade. As soon as my hand closed around the hilt, I felt the nightglove connect with the ebony heart built into the crosshilt and the runes sprang to life again, pushing back the darkness.

I popped my neck and fell into the Esar stance, holding each blade out in front of me, swinging them around in my hands to keep the creature focused on the right thing.

It turned and bellowed, favoring its right leg. I eyed the glowing keystone around its neck. It was the last piece I needed to open the great gantry beyond the ancient library.

It came at me flailing, maddened by the gash in its leg. I dodged left, using a half pulse of shadow from my left nightglove. It wasn’t much, just enough to get me clear of those claws and to land a double slice across the monster’s side. Blood dripped from the wounds when the beast crashed into the thick lichen-covered stone.

I pressed the attack and struck hard with Gemheart, slamming the blade into the creature’s shoulder. It howled in agony and backhanded me, but I saw it coming and infused a shadow-grip, using the weapon buried in the Raket’s side to keep me there.

I was quicker this time, using both blades to cut the tendons above the feet. The earsplitting shriek deafened me, but it didn’t stop me.

And finally, for my own entertainment above anything else, it’s time for a PMV.

That’s it for this week folks.

Good luck and have fun.

-rks

Tests of Balance

Work’s been hard the last few days. Can’t really give specifics. I rambled on for a while about it while being all vague, but it just was a jumble of nonsense. I got so annoyed, I decided to restart this post. Yeah, I got that annoyed with the ramble.

So let’s talk about what’s going on other than work, shall we?

The Michael Morones story has gotten pretty big, huh? You’ve probably seen it in mainstream media. Can I just say that I’m proud to be part of the “first responders” group for this poor child? And I’m proud of my community for it. The Bronies are awesome. I’m no longer a closet Brony in the slightest and this was the event that changed it for me. Please, take a moment to consider donating if you haven’t.

Writing

I’m letting “Beyond the Waterfall” sit for a time. A friend of mine who’s a professional editor is taking a look at it and I don’t really want to move forward until I see her thoughts. I’ve never had a full professional edit, though. I’m a bit scared, but I know this is part of the experience in being an author.

Soon, I plan to go back in there and fix the issues with the critiques and such.

“What Lies Beyond Steam and Magic,” the latest novel in the “Crafters of Taylin” series cracked 100,000 words this week. In fact, I had a great whirlwind sprint of 3492 words the other day. That was awesome…and was totally thrilling too. I haven’t had a surge like that in what feels like months. Just the story flowing through my fingertips as if it was already written and all I was doing was copying it from the manuscript in my head. It was wonderful.

I recently finished an ebook called “21 Reasons You Think You Don’t Have Time to Write” which was recommended through my favorite writing podcast “Writing Excuses.” It’s nice and short. And it’s ironically targeted directly at writing parents, which seemed pretty effective. Not quite the age of Caitlyn and Talissa, but still good nonetheless. And there’s one important thing that I forgot: you rarely get a full 2 hour stretch. It’s much more common to get 20 minutes here and there. But that’s still time to use as writing. You can still do it. I remember that I won NaNoWriMo three years doing my writing primarily on my 50 minute lunch and 2 15 minute breaks.

Life

I’ll admit right now that I’m struggling. I’m struggling with my new purpose of family and writing. You see, I do suffer from depression. Writing helps most of the time…and helping others helps too. But I have a lot of trouble keeping those good thoughts in my head. My emotions tend to be extremely overpowering, to the point where I can’t think about anything else. I’m struggling with my writing…especially with both Laura and I at work. If one girl is asleep, the other is awake and needs attention. I find little time to myself…for writing or for simply recharging.

I’ve thought about cutting out video games from my life for a time…but I suspect that would be a bad idea. Gaming is one of my true releases. I can really lose myself in them. But I do need to stop gaming for hours on end and writing for only 30 minutes. That just needs to stop.

The road before me is going to be a hard one. And I don’t think I realized how hard until today.

At the moment, I’m trying to focus on the joy I can get in the moments I can. It’s hard work. Very hard work. My Little Pony is helping. As is the cooing smiles of Talissa and the squeezy hugs of Caitlyn. Even Laura is somehow giving me comfort even after battling the two girls all day.

I don’t really have a powerful end to this blog. The last two blogs have been this big things…focusing on the plight of a poor boy that still needs our help. And in the face of his struggles and trials…

I won’t let myself mentally think about what it would be like in his parents shoes. I can’t. I love my girls to death. And if someone hurt them…

So I’m focusing on what Michael would have wanted instead. Otherwise…it would likely destroy me.

Heh…

This is probably one of my more…rambling posts, eh?

So let’s just call it for the night. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. And hopefully good things will be happening and I can talk about them next week.

So let’s finish with my favorite way to finish: a Pony Music Video.

This one is freaking awesome. Seriously…the effects are utterly amazing. The sheer genius of this community never ceases to amaze me.

I’ve been actually watching this almost every morning before work to try and get my spirits up. And it’s been working. 🙂

Good luck and have fun everyone.

-rks

Proud to be a Brony

I wanted to update you on the progress of Michael Morones’s Recovery Fund.

On January 30th, between the time I started my post and finished my post, the fund to cover Michael’s medical expenses had gone from $17,000ish to over $18,000.

Today?

Today the fund stands at $31,985.

$31,985 raised by 1,053 people in 5 days.

This astounds me. It’s simply mind-blowing. Sometimes, I doubt that there is much good in the world. You turn on the news and it’s nothing but pain and suffering. Wars, deaths, shootings, insanity, corruption… I was once in an advertising class where the teacher showed us the two greatest things to help advertising: sex and death. And to me, there’s been a lot of death lately.

And the worst part? It’s become part of pop culture.

I decided to check out this week’s Neilsen Ratings for Prime Broadcast TV.

Number Two is NCIS.

Number Seven is NCIS: Los Angeles

Number Eight is Criminal Minds.

Number Ten is CSI.

( I’ll behave myself and not rant about reality TV here, which held two spots in the list)

These are not uplifting shows. These are not shows about tolerance or friendship or kindness or love. These are shows often about what the worst of humanity does and how the various law enforcement agencies fight against it. Now maybe there’s some sense of comfort in seeing the legal process work. But I have to ask, is that what we should be focusing on?

And when I see this…

It makes me even prouder to be a Brony. Because it actually means something. It’s moved beyond just a fan thing. It’s a community. I’ll admit that I’m a fairly silent member of that community. I don’t go to cons or participate much in forums. I listen to the music, have way too much Pony fan art in my screensaver selection and buy the products that I really like and probably own just a few too many Pony shirts, but that’s it. In truth, I’m a bit afraid of trying a social situation with them. But that’s because of my own innate shyness (believe it or not).

But occasionally, I’ll be walking through a mall or something and get a brohoof from another random guy. And that’s when I smile and I know I’m not alone.

What’s the point of all this?

When I first decided to become a Brony (and yes, it was a conscious decision), it was because I knew I had to conquer the demon of fear. The demon of social disapproval. Just a few minutes ago, I was telling people in my break room about the Michael Morones fund and how Bronies have come to this poor child’s aid. A year ago, that couldn’t have happened. I wasn’t capable of it.

And while many of them have made silly comments about Bronies before…none of them did today. I don’t know if what I said will actually matter. But you know what? I want to go through life as trying to change the world around me. I want to leave the world a little better than the way I found it. I’m only one person. And while I know one person can change the course of history, I don’t see myself as one of those people.

I see myself as just someone who wants to help the people around him. I’ll often do it in foolish, stumbling ways, sticking my foot in my mouth and making an idiot out of myself. But I’m going to keep trying.

And that’s what my writing is all about. I’m not writing to make money. I’m not writing for fame or glory.

I write because I love to tell stories. And I want to share those stories with those around me. That’s it.

Would I like to be able to make a living off writing? Yes. And that’s why it’s my 5 year goal. But if I can give one person some joy through my words, then I’ve done what I’ve meant to do. If I can touch more, that’s just bonus.

This sounds rather silly. In fact, when I posted The Power of Communities, I doubted it would do much. I didn’t think it would get much attention. I even posted it again on Facebook, just hoping that at least one person might look to donate and help this poor child.

And then last night…a miracle happened. Something that shocked me. Something that shook me to the core. Something that told me my words were not useless. That they did matter. At least to one person.

A member of Michael’s own family. 

I have no idea how this person found my blog. With the enormous amount of donations and well-wishes, I have no clue how I could have gotten through to one of them. Granted, I had posted twice on Facebook and I did donate through Facebook…but still…considering the amount of visitors my page gets on a daily basis…

I don’t know. But I was so humbled by this woman’s comment. To be totally honest, I can’t even put the emotions I’m feeling into any sort of coherent statement. I don’t understand how I feel…but I know it’s powerful.

So, I’m going to post this. Not for me. But to show the power of the Brony community that I am so proud to be a member of.

Thank you so much for this wonderful post. Michael is a wonderful, sweet, intelligent and compassionate little boy. My son is his step-brother. My son happens to be autistic, and Michael…oh, the way he would protect him, and love him, and treat him just the same way he treated his own flesh-and-blood brothers…he’s just an amazing inspirational kid all around. Thank you for sharing your story on bullying. What was once regarded as a “rite of passage” as we transitioned from childhood to adolesence, has now become a full-fledged war with the internet being used as the prime weapon. The Brony Community has rallied around Michael, protecting him just as fiercely as Michael protects his own brothers. The Michael Morones Recovery Fund has reached nearly $27,000. That’s $9000 raised in just 2 days since you blogged on January 30. To put it simply: Bronies…you guys are what friendship and magic are all about. On behalf of the Morones and Suttle Families, thank you. God Bless all of you. – Stacy Suttle

So while the world may seem in flames…everything coming apart at the seams…political drama, wars, death, chaos and mayhem…

It might be a little cheesy, but I’m reminded of a line from a movie. It’s a movie that Laura and I watch every Christmas Eve while eating my homemade chicken fried rice. And it’s still one of my favorites. “Love Actually.”

It’s actually the first line in the movie, spoken by Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister of England.

And somehow…it seems suitable:

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.

So I ask you…what do you want your message to be? Do you want to be the bully who spews hate and ridicule to make yourself feel more powerful? To crush those around you because you don’t understand them? To drive them into a spiral of self-hatred and depression?

Or do you want to give a message of love? Kindness? Loyalty? Laughter? Generosity? Honesty? 

Do you want to be able to do true magic?

Because there’s nothing more magical than touching someone’s heart.

That’s why I write. And it’s why I’m a Brony.

What about you?

Good night folks.

Good luck and have fun.

(And by the way, the fund is now at $32,125. Amazing, isn’t it?)

-rks