Because we must write to save the world!

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Today was a very busy day for me.

I woke up at 7am and worked my morning job till 5pm. Then I got off and rushed home in time to sit at the table and scarf down an amazing meal with my wife and two kids. It actually looked amazing and the smell that filled my nostrils, as I crashed through the front door of my house with work bag in hand, instantly made me salivate. As for taste, I don’t know, I had to literally open my mouth and throat, set the plate inside and run to the restroom to toss some deodorant on, shower myself with aftershave (not to get rid of a smell but blend the nastiness of work with the clean irish scent, and hope for something normal out of it.

Then off to my daughters dance class, which ended in enough time to rush to church at 7pm, so the kids wouldn’t miss out on a prize for bringing their bibles four weeks in a roll. Soon as church is over at 8:30pm, I take the kids home (wife is already at work at the hospital now) give them a bed time snack, read a story, hugs, kisses, prayer, one last glass of water, one last…no two last kisses..9:20pm they are down, I only missed their bed time by 40 minutes. YES!

I take a shower, make a pot of coffee, clean up the left over dinner and kitchen, sit down on the couch and watch the news- ok, who am I kidding,  watch the sci-fi channel for 10 minutes to un-wind – whoops, open my eyes, it’s now 2:15am…darn, I fell asleep. And now I’m too tired to get up and right because my alarm will go off in 4 and a half hours, to get me ready for another episode of the same thing, just tweeked  a little.

The next day, while I was at work, (in between meetings) a buddy of mine came in, and wanted to see if I could grab lunch with with. I thought about it, and decided that I needed a break from reality, so I went to lunch with him (I figured I would just tell my boss that I fell asleep on the toilet…strange enough who’d make it up, right?)

At lunch, I told my friend about the craziness of my life.

“Why the hell do you write?” he said.

“Wha” I started to say before my diet Pepsi came through my nose and dripped on my shirt.

“Writing” he continued “no way, I’d do it.  If you stopped writing do you realize that you’d have time to sleep?”

NOW right here I want to stop. Nothing else matters but the question that got my nostrils stinging:

” Why the hell do you write!”

I know why I write. I write because I am a writer. Because I must. Because I can not fathom the thought of putting down the pen. Because I refuse to stop being a day dreamer. Money, or not money, I will work two jobs to support my family if I must, but I’ll not stop doing what I was born to do.

What about you?

Why do you scratch down your stories, poems, articles on that wrinkled up small pad of paper in your back pocket, or purse. Why do you stay up strange hours pounding the key board?

A few nights ago I had a dream that we were in the distant future, and there were NO writers, no books, just computers to speak literature to us. Nothing new. Can you imagine living in a world without literature? Living in a world were there is no written word.

When I woke up I thought about why ‘the hell’ I do it. I have to tell you the truth: I am scared to death of a world without creativity, without art, without poetry.

All artists are in the business of expressing the beauty of the human mind and the awe and wonder of the planet we live in.  And in these times fear, war, injustice, hunger, pain, and terror, there is more a reason for us to stay awake all night, scratching away on our tattered note pads on lunch breaks, sneaking a minute here and there to switch our work computer over to our WIP (work in progress) on Word.

I say the world needs a Creative revolution. A re-birth of creativity. A fresh look at the written word. I say write, write, write until you can not write anymore. Send your scribblings everywhere, to as many people as possible. Let everyone see that the writers are not going to fade away, but we will help forge a future that demands literacy and creativity as a diet for every human.

I sent a collection of sci-fi short stories I wrote, to a friend of mine who runs an orphanage in Thailand, and another to a buddy that leads a missions team in Uganda. They translated them to the kids and watched them listen intensely, (momentarily forgetting their hunger) I sent poetry to friends in the military who are in Iraq, and to a brother on a submarine for the next 8 months. He sent me an e-mail telling me that they have passed through the whole sub.

People want to escape. We offer that ability. We are the guides for time travel, we are the doors to alternate realities. Write, write, write.

Why should you write?

You should write as if you know that you are saving the world.

Samthewriter

Taste Something New- The Literary Buffet

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“We have always found the Irish to be odd,

they refuse to be English

Winston Churchill”

I love this quote. Partly because I am half Irish blood, and half because I think Churchill made some of the funniest, simple, and profound statements.

What does this statement have to do with writing?

A few years ago I while flipping through the channels, I was captured by this statement, “Everyone has some measure of prejudice.” I stopped for a moment to listen to this lady try and convince everyone of their inability to be non-prejudice. Soon I just laughed at the fact that she was referring to like and dislike. “Check this out,” she said, as if about to reveal some great, deep truth, “this young man told me, before the show that he did not like creamer in his coffee, because, ‘I like my coffee to be manly’, see that is a form of prejudice.”

I watched for about ten more minutes only to discover that I have some deep issues of prejudice-ism. Yea, my intolerance goes very far and includes: buttermilk, tomatoes, radishes, fried okra, cheap toilet paper, crotchless underwear, and much more.

All joking aside

Most of my life growing up in a Christian home, (nothing wrong with Christian homes, I am a Christian and hope I am creating a wonderful experience for my wife and kids in my Christian home) I was not allowed to read or listen to anything that was not bluntly and boldly Christian. I liked Jerry B. Jenkins, but I did not like the fact that he was my only option, “He is better and more wholesome than that evil Steven King. You’d never see those two guys socializing with each other, never!” my mother once said to me.

As my passion for writing began to increase my hunger for literature began to become harder and harder to satisfy. I started to visit libraries more, but I was afraid to pick up anything ‘secular’ for fear that the ground would open and swallow me alive, or lightening burst over my head.

I quickly discovered that I was raised to be prejudice towards most of the arts. One day, years later, I was home by myself watching the sci-fi channel, and I saw the Green Mile, edited for television (of course J). I loved the movie and wanted to find it at the local bookstore. When I finally got my hands on it, and discovered that it was a novel of short stories, I started burning through it like it was a juicy steak and I had not eaten for months.

I sat in the bookstore, laughing out loud, commenting, and just being stupidly absorbed, in that novel.

Then is happened

I took a moment to turn it over and see who this amazing author was and holy crap, it was Stephan King – basically I knew I had lost my soul. He was a master of horror, a messenger of evil, the King of kill, and …totally brilliant.

In that moment I found myself at a catastrophic intersection in my life. That day I put the book down. Later, however, I came to the conclusion that literature is an art, It is beautiful, and I can not believe that this wonderful beauty was not in some way a gift to man, by God. Call it God, the spirit of creativity, the muse, whatever- it is incredible.

As writers, we must write, but we must also read. So many creative minds work hard to wordsmith a literary masterpiece that we will miss, if we get hung up on silly rules (which count for nothing where eternity is concerned). If we allow our personal prejudices to create a wall, we can still be writers, but we limit our creativity.

I am not saying that we should all write horror, or mystery, or sci-fi, or whatever other genre there is out there, but in reading what you love (no matter who write it) and tasting other writers and genres, we discover writing techniques, new and amazing ways to describe a moment, and tips for plot that we may never find if we refuse to crack a few covers out side of our circle of preference.

I encourage you. Dom’t compromise your writing convictions, but feel free to explore the literary world. Be mature, not dictated by a specific taste. Believe me, once you just experiment and try new authors, you will find a lot of stuff you hate, but you will also connect with and discover a wonderfully wide expanse of beautifully crafted lands.

Feel free to browse the fields of sci-fi, or the hills of fiction-lit, the valleys of mystery and horror. Taste the refreshing waters of poetry, and climb the mountains of spiritual encouragement. If you have never read a ‘secular short story’ get your hands on some Ray Bradbury, Poe, or even Richard Matteson. If you have never read a spiritually encouraging story; grab some C.S. Lewis or Joan Anderson.

Try it all out.

kingjenkinsToday I picked up the Writer’s Digest, and to my astonishment, guess who is on the cover? You guessed it, Steven King & Jerry B. Jenkins… together. Come to find out, they both really enjoyed and knew each others work. Steven was a fan of Jerry’s Left Behind Series, and Jerry was a huge fan of Steven’s Green Mile, and The Stand. These Goliaths of the writing world met and found that they could fully enjoy each other. Sure King said that he did not personally believe that the world would end like the book of revelation says it will, and Jenkins feels a little uncomfortable with some of the more horrific work of the horror King, but they could agree upon one unmovable foundation,  writing is art, and it is a gift from God.

Let the English be English and the Irish be Irish. Taste it all, try something new. We writers stand before an international literary buffet. Grab a few plates, stuff yourself. It won’t all go to your hips, but it just might fill your head, with something wonderful.

SamTheWriter

Signing off

The Poetry of Existance

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My boy Josiah, sitting in front of a sweet picture of of forest.


“For the first time  I noticed trees and flowers. I learned  names: Russian Olive, elm, oak, peony, geranium, petunia, marigold. Details  mattered. Cracks on the sidewalks, broken glass, worn stop signs, everything spoke to me. Rock, leaf, car. I rode rushes of thought with my cheap pen. I gripped a spiral notebook.

“Poetry, I whispered, poetry”

– Natalie Goldberg/ from essay ‘How Poetry Saved My Life

Life is poetic

I would not be wrong to say that life is poetry in motion.

This month has been a great month for me. I have been able to stare into the mirror and see myself through eyes challenged to see the motion of poetry being the fluid of moment by moment life. Although the personal challenge I made of myself was to read a poem and write a poem everyday (And the two poems could not be one in the

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same), the journey has been a journey into self-realization.

When you look at the world as a poet, you have no choice but to open your mind and thought process to the possibility that everything happens for a reason and, be it good reasons or bad reasons, there are a multitude of lessons, like parables, in every action and reaction, and each paints its own living artwork for display.

As a poet, you challenge yourself to listen to the world, to open your ears -those unseen story catchers – and get quiet enough to hear and catch the stories of humanity, and the mysteries of the ‘whys’ and ‘how-comes’ of mankind’s hardest issues.
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When you open up to the spirit of poetry, and step into the literary rivers of its motion, you can understand and see the beauty of life, and appreciate all its expressions of true art.

14600249Since this is National Poetry Month, I chose to celebrate with other poets, like Natalie Goldberg in her collection of poems, Top of My Lungs, Eugene Gloria, Drivers at the Short-Time Motel, Stephen Dunn’s, Different Hours(winner of the Pulitzer Prize), Billy Collins, Sailing Alone Around the Room, the young and amazing 51vjcgkdjrl_sl500_aa240_Eireann Corrigan, You Remind Me of You, and one of my personal favorite poets, the insanely wonderful Gregory Orr, Concerning The Book That Is The Body Of The Beloved, and How Beautiful the Beloved.

Sitting at my favorite coffee shop with book in one hand and Venti Americano (with a half inch cream and six 14596474splenda) in the other, I take my time and savor every poem. As I sit there finding pleasure in the the poems I’ve devoured and anticipating the joy of the next between my lips, pressed by my coffee stained teeth, turning page after page with my tongue I clear out of my mind anything that would hinder my ability to catch every word and letter breathed from the poets mouths and minds. 51hmfdqta8l_sl500_aa240_

It would be easy to swallow books whole, and then suffer from a bad stomach ache, like the 16 0z steak I put away Monday night with three bites, which eats at my guts now as I write. I do not remember what that meat tasted like, though my wife took hours to perfect it, to my own shame. So I force myself to take my time with the poem, careful not loose the meaning, so I do not forget the flavors, months from now.

The art of poetry, the poetry of art: life in action, poetry in motion, can add wonder, purpose, pleasure, and a sence of humanities creativity to each day, if we choose to take the time to allow it to change us. And it will change us, if we allow it to. I have answered the Muses’ call to put on the specitcals of the Artist, and see what it reveals.
Some poets write about the hard times they experienced growing up in a war torn country, some write about the beauty of nature, the pleasure of love and sex, or the wonder of innocents. I read a few poems yesterday from a book of poems that spoke out against the war. A few books over on the same shelf I read a poem about the freedom that comes with the blood of those who fight for it. Poetry speaks out through all humanity. It has no one special cause, but to promote life.

Poetry speaks in many languages, through all races; by both heroes and villains, the wealthy and poor, tyrants, terrorists, and freedom fighters. We are all brothers in humanity, and at times poetry and the spirit of creativity (the Muse, or God, or Passion) moves upon us and forces the best and worst of us to crack open, like the walls of a broken over filled dam, and create something beautiful.
There are still a few days in National Poetry Month left to challenge yourself to join the celebration of poets and artists. Challenge yourself this month to put on the same spectacles and see what the creative powers of art reveals.

Even if you miss it (National Poetry Month), the truth, the passion, the art, the love, the spirit, the poetry – never stops. The river never ceasing to flow. The artists never stop the celebration – hop in.

I’ll see you there.