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December 2016

Justifying My Witchcraft

After a recent article on a celebrity practicing real witchcraft, I felt it necessary to post this. I am a person of Faith. I do not believe I should “practice magic” or “speak to the dead” as my God commanded me not to. However, I write fantasy in such a manner as practically praising witchery. How is this so? Let me explain.

My fantasy falls in line with stereotypical fantasy witches, Harry Potter if you like, things that are not real. Real witches do not ride brooms. Real witches do not have magic wands and cannot call out a spell and turn someone into a mushroom. Real witches do sacrifice living beings of various types. They do carve and/or write or draw symbols and spells into the floor or other objects. They chant. They pray. Many are nature “worshipers” if you will. My fantasy witches, at least the good ones, don’t do any of this. (OK, there was that one scene where Anya used the blood of Avaline, but she didn’t kill Avaline.)

I make every last thing up in my stories. In fact, I go out of my way to make stuff up. Gramwhats? I googled the name and several variations to make sure it didn’t match anything. I tried very hard to invent spell names and even character names (to a degree) that were not already in use. Not only did I do this for originality, but for the simple fact that my books are fantasy, not reality.

I love the Harry Potter world, but not all magic is equal. For example, I will not watch Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Why? Because Asteroth is mentioned several times in Scripture as a pagan deity, obviously to avoid. Yet the characters of this Disney movie are in search of the “star of Asteroth” to do their bidding.

I go so far as to leave religion out of my stories (at least the fantasy ones) altogether. This is also for fantasy’s sake. If I put God in there, I can’t have a lot of what happens. God is real, fantasy is not, so I can’t mix the two into a believable story in my mind. The same goes for science-fiction. Brief mentions of morality and God are OK (to me), but any more than that, and it brings me back out into reality where I start thinking too logically, ruining the whole story. I do not leave God out of my story simply to include a larger reading audience (although that does make it easier) I do it for other reasons as well. It’s a sign of respect to my God, not a sign of neglect.

I have total respect and understanding of anyone who disagrees with what I have written and therefore will not read it due to religious obligations. But. I wanted to make it absolutely clear how far out of my way I go to make sure it is not real witchcraft and just fun and games.

Happy GYFFAGOYD!!

What is GYFFAGOYD? Gyffagoyd (pronounced gif-a-goid) is the most awesome day ever. Why? Because it has no custom affiliation, no date affiliation, and no religious affiliation. It stands for:

Give

Your

Friends and

Family

A

Gift

Once a

Year

Day

(Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to single space on this blog.) Pick a day-ANY day! and give your friend something that day. It can be all your friends and family, or just one. It doesn’t matter. It’s up to you. Anytime of the year. Period. And the really cool part about this? Your gift recipient can’t feel guilty! That’s right! Let’s say you gave them a gift, and they don’t have one handy.  They can give you your GYFFAGOYD present anytime they want, for that year. GYFFAGOYD presents can be random, planned, surprise-you name it!

There’s just one rule. And it is absolutely required. Absolutely no regular date, custom, or religion can ever be associated with it. EVER!!!

How did this start?

Well, we’re Messianic Jews…in a Christmas world. Celebrating Christmas goes against our religion. But our friends and family kept giving us gifts. So then we felt obligated to reciprocate. But we weren’t going to go against our God. Ugh! So…we made up GYFFAGOYD. Now, when it comes time that my friends and family expect something from us, I wish them a happy gyffagoyd, and give them a gyffagoyd present. They love it! And you will too.

Again, NO AFFILIATIONS ALLOWED!!! Ever. Period.

Happy gyffagyod!!

My Worst Writing Ever

It probably isn’t my worst writing ever, but it sure felt like it. I did something new today. I have a writers’ group that meets once a month. This time, I needed help with the first chapter of The Cupolian series book 3. It was off, but I didn’t know how to fix it.

Someone had offered for us to try an exercise of having someone other than the author read our works. No sentence, in the history of man, has ever caused so much panic in a room. Faces flushed, gasps echoed. The thought, the very idea, was so terrible, so heart wrenching… But today, I did just that. I handed my work, work I knew was wrong, over to someone else to read. Out loud. In front of others.

She mispronounced every name but one. I let that go, but that might have actually helped. By her mispronunciation, I was able to see my book from an outsider’s perspective, as though I was hearing the work of someone else. And it wasn’t that painful, just terribly, terribly shameful. I was mortified! I didn’t want these people to think I was that bad! But I was.

I’m trying to look at this correctly. Point for me for the bravery I displayed in what I did. Point that I recognized what was wrong when she read it, and most importantly, that I didn’t think the work was well written. What if I had thought that was good? It made me afraid. Does this mean the rest of my work is that terrible? The knowledge that I thought it terrible is what I’m having to hold onto to keep my sanity at the moment.

I came home to read it again to myself, just to make sure I didn’t think it was better when I read it than when she did. Nope. Still terrible. That’s good!

But how do I fix it? If I start on it now, while it’s fresh, I may spend forever on one chapter, rewriting and rewriting, never actually finishing the rest of the book. But if I wait until I finish the rough and go back, what I think I should do, I may forget the moment, the feeling I have right now, and I may not edit it as well as I could if I did it now. Ugh! Then again, if I finish the rough first, and I’m hoping this is what happens, I may become inspired and know a new chapter for #1 instead of the one it has now.

I’m still so embarrassed. But I’m not going to quit. I wanted to. I wanted to say, “Why am I doing this? I’m terrible!” But I’m not going to. This too shall pass. I did a brave thing today, and I grew as a writer because of it. I’m proud of me.

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