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July 2019

How to Get Started Writing

I recently gave an interview to the Crossville Chronicle where I was asked the familiar question, “What do you recommend to people starting out writing?”. Here’s the answer I should have given.

“Discover if you should be writing.”

If writing a single book, short story, blog post, poem, doesn’t change you as a person forever, walk away. As I sit here and type this out, I feel the flow of emotion run through my arms and into my keyboard as a needed release of energy. When I write poetry, when I blog about my day, when I type out a paragraph in a story, when I release a story trapped in my head, I am free.

Have you ever watched a true artist perform? A singer sing, especially in the studio/while writing the song? Their eyes close, their body gyrates and jerks. Emotions contort their skeletons in obscure ways. This is how I write. I smile, I laugh, I cry, I cringe. Words leave my fingertips and enter the keys of my keyboard, in the same way music flows from a pianists hands. Creativity is a living being, jailed within an artist’s body, and if we don’t find a way to release it, it will kill us from within.

If you are not experiencing these things. If you are not waking up with story ideas. If you are not driving down the road, obsessing about a plot unfolding. If you are not allowing a burning beast to travel from your soul to a piece of paper, you are not a writer.

No, I’m not saying you’re not an artist. I’m not saying you’re not creative. Maybe you need to be a musician, a vocalist, a painter, a sculptor. Maybe you will be a leader in medical science. But please, stop writing. It’s a waste of your time. Instead of discovering what you should be doing, you’re chasing a prey you will never catch.

So, how do you start writing? Ask yourself, should you be writing.

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No More Privilege

I remember reading a story in elementary school I thought ridiculous. Who on Earth would think the way this story was written? And yet, I see my society growing closer to that way every day.

The story revolved around two dancers and a middle-aged couple. The dancers were a young woman and man who danced very, very well. The young lady was also very attractive. The middle-aged couple was a woman of average intelligence and the man of above average intelligence.

The dancing couple were forced to wear heavy weights so they couldn’t jump higher than the average dancers. The girl was forced to wear a mask so she wouldn’t be more beautiful than what was considered the norm.

The man in the married couple had an implant which pinged his brain every minute or so, preventing him from having deep thoughts, preventing him from being “smarter than average”.

We live in a society where anyone with better grades and a better job or lifestyle are called privileged, bad, favored, unfair. No, it’s not fair. Life’s not fair. I have a higher IQ than normal. I have a passion for writing. I work a deadend job in a terrible place that sucks the souls of its employees. I’m doing what I can to get out, but I still won’t be doing what I love for a living, writing, acting, singing, things like that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the best singer, and I don’t want to get back into acting, but writing? I’d jump on that moving train barefoot. But under no circumstances whatsoever do I sit back and say, “You shouldn’t have a better life than me. It’s not fair!” Why? Because I’m not a five-year old.

Oh, I used to think that, when I was more immature and silly, but not anymore. I help others down on their luck and study those more successful than I.

I had a conversation with a few people who thought anyone going to a private school was clearly “privileged”. That private schools, quite frankly, shouldn’t exist. That if your school didn’t have starving children with a crappy homelife, well it just wasn’t worth going to! Seriously? You want children to be hungry and have no parents? For the record, most people don’t send their children to private schools to avoid “dirty” children, they send them to get a better education, which they do get. I have both taught and attended private schools, and trust me, the education there is better. If you don’t like the schools, don’t send your kids there. Bam. Problem solved.

So please, stop blaming rich people, smart people, talented people, people with better networks than you for your life. I would never ask a person more beautiful or more talented than I to wear a mask or be crippled so as to never outshine me. That is both petty and ridiculous. Life may not seem fair right now, but requiring those of “privilege” to step down, to make less money, to live differently than how they can afford, isn’t fair either. And trying to make them feel guilty for having a better life than “average” is wrong. Stop.

Sodom and Gomorrah in Prophecy

I’m sure this post will get a lot of hateful comments. I may even lose subscribers, but I’ll let you in on a secret. I don’t care. However, I will stick to the facts and not share opinions strictly to keep from sparking too much fire.

Prophecy states the end will be like Sodom and Gomorrah. Everyone, at least most everyone, associates that with homosexuality. But homosexuality wasn’t the biggest deal with Sodom and Gomorrah.

The Book of Yashar is mentioned in Joshua and Samuel of Scripture, possibly more. A copy of it can be found here. But I always recommend you find a copy that works for you. (Personally I don’t enjoy 40 pages of preface, but maybe you do??) Anyway, it goes into detail on Sodom and Gomorrah.

For example, did you know it was illegal to give a traveler food? Bear in mind the distances between cities were several days minimum, in a desert. Most wouldn’t survive without food and water, especially water. So S&G set up a torturous system where they would give a traveler copious amounts of gold when they arrived, but made it illegal to sell them any food. One of Lot’s daughters was killed for giving a starving man bread and keeping him alive. S&G had four beds set up on the road for travelers. If you slept in the bed, the locals were allowed to rape you, to death.

Another example is when Eliezer was hit with a stone, causing his forehead to bleed. The attacker demanded his money for “ridding him of his bad blood”. See, the law there was, if you hit someone, they pay you for your services. Uh huh. Eliezer got out of it by throwing a stone at the judge and saying to apply the money the judge now owed him to the other guy.

This example brings us to today. A guy breaks into a store to steal, falls and breaks his leg, sues the store and wins. Sounds a lot like the stone situation to me. Or how about the recent Australian story where a guy saved a girl from being killed, and some of the population want him punished for harming the girl’s attacker?

S&G had a LOT of problems. They were vile, selfish, lawless, hateful, dangerous towns I would NOT want to visit, let alone live in. So when you read prophecy, like when you read any Scripture, try to understand the culture at the time. If you tell an isolated Ukrainian child you’re going to take them to a wonderful place like Disney World, they’re not going to understand. Explain Disney to them, and they will. We can’t look at this prophecy based on the tiny bit of verse of Lot. We have to look at what S&G were really like, and then we’ll realize, it’s not just homosexuality, it’s a lot more.

Magiquest in Mason, OH

We recently visited another Magiquest, the one in Mason, OH. I took my dad’s Gopro, but sadly haven’t been able to figure out how to access the files. You have to download and use an app or something. Anyway, while he spends the next decade working on that, I will say the water park was nice, not great, nice. And the one thing keeping it from being amazing was the lack of an adequate signalling system.

Most water parks, at least modern ones, have a signalling system of some sort, be it a monitor to watch the bottom, a person at the bottom giving a thumbs up when it’s safe, or little green and red lights at the top to tell the sliders to go. In fact Dollywood’s Splash Country has just the lights and they will tell you, “When it turns green go.” But here, at Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, OH, they have one attendant with four slides. He will go to one slide, set it up, very very slowly, let them go, wait, mosey, wait some more, set up the next one. It took FOREVER to get on a slide because the attendants were sooooooo slooooooowwwww, and they were being slow on purpose because for all I could tell, there were no signalling devices.

That being said, the lazy river was nice, and the slides were nice, I just wish I got the enjoy the slides more.

But let’s be honest, I was there for Magiquest. Aren’t I always? Pretty much everything was the same as my previous posts save two. The first is that Shadowquest had two screens down, making several of the quests impossible, causing you to have to go to the shop and get those specific quests marked as “done” by their little computer. The second was the most frustrating, Remember Compassquest? Remember that one quest, I think the last one, that causes you to visit every single podium in a specific order? Yeah, this location randomizes that quest. It’s impossible. No, seriously, especially since this location was in even worse shape than the Magiquest locations no longer considered pet projects by the main company. (Still irked about that because they RUINED a wonderful culture and several businesses, and they did it on purpose, kind of like walmart, but I digress.) I was running through all five hallways in all three stories, sweating. I was in great shape at the time, running and working out regularly, and my son and I both tried to do it, racing each other, at times when it was as sparsely populated as possible. Still no. I wound up having the merchant have the computer say I did it.

That was far from the only glitch. One poor child had tried to finish the fairy quest so many times she was almost in tears. I came up and tried to help her, it still didn’t want to work. I think it could have been her wand, but a LOT of people were having trouble there, more so than any location I’ve ever been to. Shadowquest was so bad, it had to be rebooted for me to finish it.

Now, despite all the glitches, and there were a LOT of glitches, Marcus and I wound up getting the top 10 for several leaderboards: runes collected, gold collected, points for the month, etc. I haven’t included all of them so as not to bore you, but here are a couple (I’m Stormy, he was Sniper).

So, my main reason for writing this was to tell you that particular level of Compassquest is randomized at this location. Don’t bother with the list. And although this wasn’t part of the original post, I’m going to add, we’re pretty much done with Great Wolf Lodges. We may visit a Magiquest location if we travel there, but as far as the walmart versions known as Great Wolf? Not anymore. We’ll stick to the good stuff.

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