Friday, August 18, 2017

Keats and the Kindred Fear

John Keats is one of my favorite poets, in part because I know the ache in his poetry is tied to the brief urgency of his life. His father died in a horse-riding accident when he was only eight, and later his mother and younger brother died of tuberculosis. He also caught the disease and died at the young age of twenty-five. Yet what he accomplished still dazzles the minds of starry-eyed English majors everywhere.

But beyond the lust for life, there is also a very familiar fear threading some of his lines; the fear of failure, of never finishing, of a blank emptiness haunting Keats as his time comes to a swift close:

When I have fears that I may cease to be

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,
 Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

I would dare to say that every writer has known this same, kindred fear at some point. Somehow, knowing that Keats felt that yawning pit of despair but still inked his way out gives me courage to keep on inking on. I've lived almost nine years longer than Keats so far, and I want to make each precious additional year on this spinning marble count for something. But like love and fame, I will sink one day, too, along with everyone else. I just hope I can catch a few of those "huge cloudy symbols of a high romance" first and pin them to a page, no matter how ephemeral. For in the end, aren't all the people we know, and the stories we've heard, a "fair creature of an hour"? Time doesn't let us keep them. So we reach for each other, so we share tales, passing hearts and ink likes sparks in the dark that would be nothingness.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hitting the Halfway Mark

Cue the confetti . . .

I'm halfway done with my current WIP!

I honestly never feel like I am going to finish a novel. I lose the vision too easily, I give up as the character and plot flaws pile into mountains. I actually have four unfinished novels totaling about 500 pages that I abandoned. And then I have 2 practice novels and 2 unpublished novels on top of everything else. So why do I bother slogging along? What keeps me going?

Good question. Many answers.

*Wisdom from fortune cookies! Seriously, this is deep stuff:

"It takes guts to get out of the ruts."

"The dream is within you."

*MUSIC. Shut up and listen. Then get your muse on.

*My peeps. Can't emphasize the importance of nurturing your relationships with friends and family enough. As an inky introvert, wallowing in despair comes naturally. A good friend will kick your brain back into gear and/or distract you with their awesomeness until the story bug bites again.

*Flexercise. Take a walk, engage in some form of (in my case, most moderate!) exercise, and chill with the tree babble. The leaves are saying far more interesting things than you or me. But don't take my word for it.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Golden in the Dark draft

Just for fun, I am publishing the very first book I ever wrote, Golden in the Dark, for free on Wattpad. New chapters coming every Friday. Art drawn by the fabulous Lyvia Alaida Martínez Álvarez, my very talented neighbor from my good old college days!

Lorelei wakes up in a hospital on a war-shattered world and discovers that she bears an uncanny resemblance to an alien that lived there nine centuries before. Too bad she's lost her last fifteen years of memory and can't remember if she is Kyrtannid, the so-called "Angel of Genara." Worse, she has extrasensory abilities that are now considered criminal. When Lorelei is forced into weaving illusions of Kyrtannid around herself to quell rioters and stop child slavers, rumors spread across the planet that the Angel of Genara has returned. Tikosian, her best friend and technowizard extraordinaire, tries to help Lorelei lay low until they can jet off-world on his almost but never-quite-finished hoverboard. But after becoming entangled in a plot to assassinate a royal lady, Lorelei must decide whether to remain an outsider, or to use her abilities to save the future of an interstellar government that just might decide to kill her.
Lorelei Redelven, Mind Hacker 

Tikosian Mandelorrus, Technowizard Extraordinaire

Sketch Art of:
Lorelei, Tiko, Keexa
and Lady Cilinisa Vannon