Posts Tagged With: life

Fate vs. Destiny

Do you believe in fate?

What about destiny?

Are these existential questions based in religious belief or a way of looking at the world to help understand that all encompassing question…

WHY?

Stubbed Toes by YiYo666 - Deviantart

Stubbed Toes by YiYo666 – Deviantart

Why did I stub my toe this morning?

Why did my wife leave me?

Why did I choose this career?

Why are we here?

Do you think it’s realistic to believe that had you not been fated to stub your toe this morning, you might have been hit by that car getting the paper at the end of the driveway?

Or is that just a lucky coincidence? But then, luck doesn’t exist either – does it?

Did you choose your destiny? You had too much wine last night and didn’t want to bend over to put your shoes on this morning and so through a series of personal choices you made, you set in motion the natural sequence of events leading to a sore foot instead of a trip to the hospital?

How much of what we do in life is purely coincidental? and how much do believe is preordained either by an external force/entity or simply our genetic make up? If you’d been able to hold your liquor, this morning’s toe-stubbing incident might have gone completely different… you might have even chose to walk the dog by cutting across the front yard whereby completely changing any notion of events set in motion…

This struggle with the idea of fate and destiny – the notion of what is true vs. what is imagined keeps us wondering, “What if…” and continually asking ourselves, “Why?” certain things happen to us.

Is there an all-encompassing answer or are we destined to wander through this life without a sense of purpose?

These ideas and more are touched on in my novel Time’s Tempest. Though Taya is an alien living on another world, she goes from believing in the concrete to asking that very question… Why?

Haven’t we all at some point?

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The Third Lost Chapter is now Available

The Platinum Hall Debacle – Time’s Tempest Lost Chapter 3 is now available for free download!

[The Gauntlet: Lost Chapter 1]     [A Probationary Effect: Lost Chapter 2]

The Platinum Hall Debacle - ebook cover - 850A contractor with the CTF demands a certain level of professionalism and respect. Taya’s newest employer doesn’t see a Contractor standing before him – he sees what he wants to: a little girl who isn’t worth his time. With a tight deadline for erecting the outdoor concert stage,  Taya challenges a growing prejudice as she risks her life and her livelihood.

Prejudice or Preconceived Notions

I’m sure you’ve faced this as some point on your personal life journey; being told:

“You’re too thin.”

“You’re too fat.”

“You’re too dark.”

“You’re too light.”

“You’re too weak.”

“You’re too meticulous.”

“You’re the wrong race.”

“You never finished high school.”

“You never went to graduate school.”

“You’re [fill int the blank] .”

We hit these walls in school, trying to get employment, entering new communities, and for various other reasons. My second summer working to find employment to help me save money for my second year at university brought this home for me on a personal level. I had signed up with various short term employment banks around the city when finally a job came available for which I qualified: A local older man needed help for a few days hauling paving stones around his yard in order to build a patio – general labour. I was fit and strong and ready to work. When I called to respond to the request for help, the guy basically said “no” outright. Not only was I a girl but he didn’t think I’d be strong enough to lift the pavers. Okay. I didn’t have the strength to lift heavy pavers over my head and dance a jig for him in his back yard, but I clearly thought I was strong enough to help otherwise I wouldn’t I have called.

Now, I doubt this guy considered his response as prejudiced. However, he clearly wanted a man with big muscles to come work for him. He wasn’t being sexist per-say, he probably thought he was simply being realistic. He didn’t think I was strong enough and didn’t want me to waste his time. When you’re desperate for work so that your money can be put toward something important in your life, that kind of off-hand slap in the face just ticks me off to no end.

What about you?

 

 

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Are Labels Truly Defining?

introvertsIn my book Time’s Tempest, Taya isn’t your average introvert/extrovert – those labels don’t accurately apply just as they don’t for many of us. The average individual will show signs of tendencies toward one label or the other but tends to be a mish-mash of both attributes.

How then do you categorize someone who is an extremest but doesn’t fit a standard label? Do people like that actually exist?

Yes.

This is where I typically shift to the nature vs. nurture debate and focus on how someone who might naturally be an extrovert shows greater signs of introvert-ism leaving that person in flux and never quite whole in their understanding of themselves and their world.

In my experience these individuals tend to either be walking time-bombs (ready to explode out of a protective shell) or come across as being scattered and maybe a bit psychotic (there is so much buzzing around in their head they find it difficult to concentrate and feel more than a little unstable).

extrovertsMy character, Taya, is the former rather than the latter. She’s built up walls around so many different aspects of herself that she’s become disjointed and single-minded. She’s literally picked up the shattered pieces of her childhood and closed them off from her waking conscious to the point of ignorance – ignorance of how they’ve impacted who she’s become and why her life followed that course in the first place.

She doesn’t ask questions… until she meets someone who encapsulates the person she might have become had the circumstances of her youth taken a dramatically different turn.

The hardest thing for someone who holds things in and builds mental walls is letting go of those safe-guards once they start to fall apart. The notions and personal realities we cling to can be just as illuminating as the forces that crept in to the cracks of our strong-holds.

While I cannot profess to have had a shattered youth to any degree of significance compared to so many children and scarred adults living in this world, I can say that what I did experience in my childhood impacted me in a similar way. Imagine never knowing you’re shy until the age of 12? or being on the receiving end of an emotional blow-out after too many picks and hammers have chiseled away at your carefully crafted walls?

That is a journey I have taken; a path I understand and a struggle I, too, am still working to fully overcome.

There is much of an author in every character she builds but the great ones shine brighter the more heart-wrenching their truths are.

~

Where do you fall in the spectrum of introverted/extroverted?

How would you weigh in on the nature vs. nurture debate?

Flickr/Creative Commons/Nguyen Vu Hung (vuhung)

Flickr/Creative Commons/Nguyen Vu Hung (vuhung)

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Starting from Scratch: Plotting the Journey

writingWithin the last 24 hours I have decided to move forward with the goal of publishing 3-4 books in the next 12-14 months. If I’m going to show the skeptics and myself that writing for a living is truly possible then this is an important first step.

So, how do I begin?

Well, I’m lucky enough to have a contract with a small publisher for my short sci-fi series The Chronicles of Xannia… book one will be launched Oct 1st, 2014 so that’s my official first book – the starting line in this race to prove my mettle. I all ready have half of the second book in a laughable first-draft state (but that’s better than nothing) and it’s fully plotted (pantsing is not my forte). This afternoon I finished the skeletal plotting for a new urban/fantasy duology of which I will be writing the first draft of book one for this November’s NANOWRIMO (national novel writing month).

That’s three books right there that could potentially be published by next spring, which just leaves me with that fourth one… will it be the 3rd book in The Chronicles of Xannia? or will it be the second and final book of the fantasy duology? Needless to say, like most writers I have a back list of potential books to write, all listed with some degree of plotting in two very well protected journals, so it’s not like I’ll be lacking any ideas for moving forward.

crumpled_paperBut that’s the hardest part, right? Moving forward. I’ve given myself a logically tangible goal for writing but only time will tell if I can actually make a good income doing this. Yet, there’s that dark spot in the back of my conscious that whispers when I least expect it, “What if you’re not good enough?”

Many of us face that doubt in our lives… for me it means the gain or loss of a new career – something I’ve dreamed about doing nearly my whole life. I can’t help but wonder what the consequences of failure might do to me? My tenacity? My spirit? My self-esteem?

I failed as a teacher – 10 years and no full-time position (they say it’s because of the market and timing and all that but other people were being hired for the jobs I was applying to, why not me?).

I failed as a journalist – I couldn’t even complete my diploma for college (I hated current events so much).

I failed in my goal to sing for Disney – with no support for such a ‘far fetched’ idea friends and family just smiles and shook their heads.

I failed as a theatre tech – I love the work but under pressure I tend to mess things up at the worst possible moments.

I have not gotten over any one of those failures and each one impacts me to a greater or lesser degree, but writing? That’s my soul we’re talking about now… if I fail at writing no one can claim it’s not because I didn’t try, and it scares me to contemplate which aspects of my life are most likely to hold me back, drag me down…

I’m plotting and scheming, scratching and clawing but in the end will there even be a ‘top’ to this mountain I’m so desperately trying to climb?

Will hope fail me too? It has before… still, I’ve all ready opened the door. It’s time to walk through.

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Dealing with Personal Faults

It is not easy for most people to admit they are wrong. I am a strange one when it comes to this concept. If I know nothing or almost nothing about what is being debated, I will hear someone out and then make a logical decision based on fact and proof. If what is being debated is something I am familiar with or know well, I will push to make my point heard and argue until I’ve convinced the other person that my point of view is the right one.

In that way, I’m a bit of a control freak.

at faultI have imbued my main character, Taya, with this trait in an attempt to view how I must be perceived by others – those who know me and expect this and those who don’t. She comes across as being kind of bitchy. At the same time, she convinces herself of the necessity of this trait in a world that tends to see her as “less than” the woman she is. She has had to fight tooth and nail to prove to the world that she matters and yet, the world is unable to see past her youthful exterior.

This was echoed in my own life when I moved in with my father at the age of 16. I didn’t know it at the time, but nothing I could have done would have pleased him, unless it was to treat his word as gospel and give up my independence. From the age of 6 I wanted to be a teacher (and the age of 9 an author). It stood to reason that I could write in the summer months and work during the school year. Just as I was filling out college application forms my father says to me, “Don’t expect me to pay for you to go to school to become a teacher. Find another profession.” My mother had no money to be able to help me, and I had saved very little working at a cafe that year. No self-respecting college was going to help me with a loan because my father made too much money (he was still a middle-income earner but in the upper bracket).

The only other thing I was interested in was writing. So I decided to try Broadcasting Journalism. Let’s just say that I found out fast that I could pass most of my classes with a mark in the low 80s with minimal effort, but I hated current events. I felt like a fraud surrounded by other students (my friends) who were desperate to have a career in Journalism and I was just going through the motions. This was not the right career for me.

My father’s response when I told him I wasn’t going to finish my diploma but go to university for teaching instead?

“You never finish anything you start.”

Then it dawned on me. He never attended any of my track meets in high school, he never supported my interest in archery (and I got a silver medal at a local competition), the only time he ever attended a theatrical production I was in was when I played a bit part in a musical in my final year (and he wondered why he even bothered coming)… are you seeing the pattern? I was. He knew nothing about me and yet he somehow got it in his head that I never finished anything I started.

When he looked at me, he saw my mother (not because I look like her, I actually have more of his features). I believe it had something to do with my mannerisms and my optimism because that’s where our similarities end. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother fiercely but the only role-model she played in my life was the “I’m never going to be like her” one. She never finished high school, she dated questionable men, she was a roamer, she wasn’t good with money… I learned how to live my life by being observant of her faults. One thing I could never fault her for though, was believing in me.

And that’s what my character, Taya, needed – someone to believe in her. For her it was an older-sister type character she met while working a job, but that kind of undeniable support does incredible thing for the spirit. No matter Taya’s need to be in control, her bitchy attitude, or the walls she’d built around her heart – someone finally understood her.

Don’t we all need that? Just one person to look past our faults and simply believe?

This I know and know well, and it is this driving force that I endowed Taya with to find out how both she, and I, might survive when that support disappears leaving us stranded.

Have you been there – when you’ve felt absolutely alone and yet you were supposedly surrounded by people who loved you?

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