Everything you know about magic…

“Everything you know about magic is wrong,” wheezed Qu’a’ka, her mottled feathers bristling with distaste at the sight of her pupils.  Her black eyes darted to one student who dared raise his hand, speaking before he had even been acknowledged.

“Wait, we’ve spent weeks learning the harmony between elements,” his impetuousness earned him a rap on the head with her long pointing stick.

“Silence, Yellow Hair!” the previous instructor’s derogatory term for Scion had caught on and now no one called him anything else.  The boy rubbed the small knot the stick had raised as Qu’a’ka continued.  “As your stupid human fellow noted, you have spent weeks learning the harmony and balance that must exist between the five elements and with that knowledge, you must now learn that it is wrong.”

[Long and kind of rambly, just writing as ideas come to me…]

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Flash of insight.

I think better in the shower.  (stop laughing)

I don’t know if its the warmth of the water, the droning of the droplets against my skin, or just the fact that for a few precious moments (okay, okay, 15-20 minutes) I am utterly alone.  No electronics, no mini-me, no wifey.  Just my thoughts and I.

I’m going to ramble about magic, xenophobia, prejudice and slavery a little.  Yeah, it might get a little weird…

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December IWSG

Insecurity.  Every person must face their own private fears and doubts; for creative people this seems to be with every stroke of the brush, line of text or ringing note.  My own private hell is full of insecurity and every project I’ve undertaken has been, to one extent or another, an exercise in fighting past it.

As someone who grew up hearing more “You can do better” more often than, “Good job” I’ve often wondered where I might be now instead of where I am, a pointless exercise in what-if.  I understand, now, my father’s intent… to make me constantly strive to do better, but that doesn’t mean that the way he went about it didn’t leave lasting scars on my psyche.

Take for example when he heard about my writing ambitions, something I’d carefully kept from him for the better part of ten years.  I’ve been writing off an on since before college, though it was because of the encouragement of a particular instructor that I began to write more regularly.  I finished my first novel (all 120,000 terribly unedited pages of it) in something like a year, no mean feat for someone carrying a full course-load, working part-time and also involved in multiple other projects. My second novel took considerably longer and the many short stories I’ve written as well as the many hundreds of thousands of words of role-playing words since then.  I’ve written (and produced) over a dozen plays, all of which were well-received, with regular requests for my input on others…

But my father’s condescending “You should just give up on this writing thing,” almost destroyed me.  An utterly crushing blow that left me quite literally at the brink of just deleting everything I’d ever written, burning every piece of art I’d ever created… it amplified my ever-present insecurity and it took years for me to shake it.  I don’t think I really shook the worst of that until my wife gave birth to my son.  There was something so perfect, so fragile, so… amazing.  Something I had a hand in creating.  Having a child of my own gave me impetus to create funny and beautiful things for him to look at and play with and since I’ve written more, painted more and dreamed more than ever before.

Still the nagging doubts whisper in my ear, the mad cackle of doubt mocking me from behind the hand over its mouth.  Taunting my every word, every stroke of my brush. I drown it out as best I can… until my son looks at something I’m working on and in his tiny voice says, “Great job Daddy!”

Then doubt is silent.

Tell me, dear readers… what silences your doubts?

Can you give as well as you take?

Criticism. Not everyone can take it but depending on what it’s about, I’ve gotten good at it. After all, I grew up in a house with nothing BUT criticism, so for me it became quite the norm.  When it is something I know I am good at or right about though, that’s a bit harder.

That being said, I’ve avoiding putting my written work out for critique because I know my writing skills are rusty. The average person (that is the people I am usually around) think I am a ‘wordsmith’ and have told me so. I regularly am called upon to draft communiques for my employer and that is an unofficial function of my daily job.  Be that as it may, I feel my skills pale in comparison to others, especially in story-telling.  Go back and read “The Hobbit” some time if you want a lesson on story-telling.  I can picture Tolkien sitting back in a large, comfortable leather chair with some choice drink in hand telling his family a story around a dim fireplace.

THAT is the kind of storyteller I want to be, seemingly effortless and causal with a depth and richness that makes the room around you fade from existence as you read.

My work, on the other hand, has been compared to a technical manual.  Let me tell you, that stung more than a little, though it was an unintentional compliment. My first major had been Education.  My second Professional Technical Writing and Rhetoric. My third is nothing close to those two and is in the Information Technology field.  In any case, I have shown my work to a few close friends with responses ranging from, “Oh, dragons!” to “It reads like an instruction manual”. It just goes to show that no two people will have the same view of your work and that all viewpoints can have some merit. 

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Buccaneer Blogfest Day Two!

Why the heck am I doing this? (Day Two)

A day late (and a ten-spot short) here is my post on why I started blogging…

I’ve been writing online for roughly ten years. I still have my original livejournal account and until recently posted everything there.  However, the more I looked back at my posts I saw mostly unproductive rambling and complaining.  I grabbed this blog (dmrodriguez.wordpress.com) back in 2008 and started to post here, but eventually I abandoned it and went back to LJ, where all of my online writing friends were (since none of them cared to abandon that platform).  As time passed, less and less of my friends were online any more and slowly my LJ feed went from a torrent to a dribble.  It was time.

This blog is an attempt to consolidate my online ‘presence’ as it were, pulling my writing from LJ and my art from DeviantArt and linking to my Twitter feed all in one place.  Thus… making it easier than ever for people to stalk me.

My initial goal was to post something every day, but as you can tell, I haven’t been able to maintain that schedule.  My new goal is to post twice a week (thrice during BBF) since come August I’ll be back in school (AAS in Network Security).  I’m really looking forward to next week’s BBF prompts as well as going around other participant’s blogs.  I’ll be skipping out on tomorrow’s prompt (interview) since every question I would have asked someone was covered over the last few days.

Also, I’m trying to not get too attached to this blog because WordPress has been twitchy and very annoying.  It ate a lengthy, completed post and has several odd glitches (like the quick post form glitching out) and quirks.  So, dear readers… do you have another platform you’d recommend that isn’t WordPress?

Buccaneer Blogfest Intro!

I was out for several days and neglected to prepare a post ahead of time for the Buccaneer Blogfest, a chance to get connected to the writing community.

The first prompt was: (July 9) Introduction: Tell us a little bit about you and your blog. Post the sign up linky for this blogfest in your post. Include your other social media links so we can follow.

Thankfully, I’m only a day behind… so let’s do this.

I’m me.  Husband, Father, Nerd, Gamer.  I try and keep things in that particular order, with varying degrees of success.  My blog is about my writing, my art and random thoughts I have related to how I see the world (I talk a little bit about it in “Growing Up Whitespanic“).

I’ve been making up and telling stories for the majority of my life (also known as lying) and I’ve been writing them down since middle school.  Most of those are thankfully lost though a thread of one of those ideas still exists in my current writing (the struggle to maintain the Balance between Light and Dark).  I have been doing a lot of world-building over the years, heavily influenced by my love of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Anne McCaffrey.  Other influences include Square Enix’s Final Fantasy video game series (7,8 and 10 hold a special place in my heart), The Matrix Trilogy of movies and the original Star Wars trilogy.  I love epic battles between good and evil, but also love the idea of the heroes of my stories being just one small part in a greater battle.  For example, in one of my books the hero’s entire struggle ends and very little seems to change.  However his struggle serves the purpose of providing an environment for a ‘key’ person to grow up in and provide the future a chance at having a great leader.  There is a person weaving these stories together, a common thread who binds the various stories together into one plan.

As far as art is concerned, I started getting into art because of fight.  A fight with my band teacher.  In class.   The next day, I was placed into Art.  Two months before the end of the school-year.  That instructor, Mr. Parra,  did his level best to bring me up to speed with a crash course in art… and I’ve been hooked ever since.  My work tends to be stylized and unfortunately I still suck at figure drawing!  Most of my work is for personal enjoyment though I have been commissioned by family for some larger pieces.

I tend to ramble somewhat and usually it is some fragment of a short story thread that has wormed its way into my brain.  My blog is an outlet for my thoughts, for ideas that refuse to die, for thoughts that buzz around inside of my skull until I think I might lose what little mind I have…

Welcome, to the Ramblings of a Madman.  Mind your step.

Questions? Comments? Hate-mail?  You can reach me at via twitter (linked on the right of my blog), via email at d.m.rodriguez at gmail dot com, or just comment below!

Note: WordPress hates javascript so the code for Buccaneer Blog Fest doesn’t work properly.  Please visit Jessa Russo’s site for more info on Buccaneer Blog Fest!