Fleeting Moments

I read a blog today of a lady’s unexpected health problem and the fear she is now experiencing.  I understand completely her fears, not knowing the answer is the most difficult part.  One can deal with a diagnosis, good or bad, we can move on, make plans and get busy living with the time we have left.  In 2008, I came down with the flu really bad.  So bad I developed vertigo.  I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t see, and I couldn’t type.  The latter issue being the worst because it was smack dab in the beginning of tax season.  My livelihood depended upon being able to crunch numbers and place them in tax software.  When the vertigo didn’t cease I had to go through all the tests including a CT scan to determine the presence of tumors.  This is when mortal fear sets in and you realize you just might be seeing your life flash before you.  Luckily for me, after a few more tests, it was determined a nerve from my ear to my brain was irreparably damaged and the only course of action was to retrain my brain with exercises for the eyes to takeover the equilibrium mechanism. After 8 months of therapy, my equilibrium was restored.  I’m one of the lucky ones, or maybe my prayers were answered, just not in the time I expected them to be. I believe in the power of prayer, I’ve seen its power for others and for myself, more than once.

One of my clients, an orthopedic surgeon in the same town, had a similar issue but it attacked his central nervous system and he lost the majority of his motor functions.  He lost his ability to work and was burdened by a daily expensive cocktail of drugs to make life bearable.

It was about that time that the economy took another dive.  This being the fourth one in my adult life.  It is moments such as these that you reconsider life as you know it.  Those things we’ve chased only to be outrun, or run over by them.  Time is all I have and its quantity is unknown.  When desires and people waste that time, it takes your mind to a new realm.  A realm where life is not taken for granted, and that money and social acceptance are unworthy goals.  This year my wife and I went to Hawaii, the island of Kauai.  For those of you who are spiritual, a visit to Hawaii is a blessing to all your senses.

We took a drive to Kalalau lookout.  That day the Pacific and the sky were one color, as though eternity stood before me.  I felt as though I was in the presence of God.  It was at that moment all my anxieties of the future were released.

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On our last day of discovery we took a dinner cruise where we stood at sea level looking back up 4,000 feet at the point I described above.  There I had the same reaction – blissfully awed and at peace, with the sound of rushing water providing a calming rhythm.  I was brought back to a time 34 years ago when I climbed the 8,000 foot summit of Guadalupe Peak in Texas, where I sat down alone and viewed west Texas and Mexico to the south, with only the sound of wind and the sights of earth and sky as my companion.  I also recall that same peace, only to forget it later from the demands of family and career over the next three decades.  How did it go by so quickly?

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So what is my point?  We search our entire lives for seemingly unattainable goals.  You reach a salary point, and then you want more. Then in the flash of a second you can be forced into a sober analysis of the path you were taking.  You step back and look at all the trinkets you’ve obtained made from the resources of this remarkable planet, realizing none of it truly was what you wanted, but thought were supposed to have. We plunge ourselves into ultimate driving machines with ultimate debt, and even reconstruct our own bodies to cheat mortality.  But as it has been said wisely, “He who dies with the most toys, is still dead.”

My health issue was a moment of rebirth, the answer that all my 2-year and 5-year plans were absolutely absurd. So I am selling everything I own and looking to live the remaining years more on the minimalist side, down-sizing to what a man and wife really need – basic shelter and the environment to rejuvenate our body and soul.  For me it is not about the quantity of my life, but the quality.  When I stood at the Kalalau lookout, I was at peace with myself and if God truly wanted to take me, I was ready.  We live in an age where belief in the unseen is mocked.   My trials and tribulations have only made my faith stronger and I am unashamed of admitting it.  It lead me to write my mythological trilogy and the upcoming series to complete my mythology of good and evil, faith, and the simple things of life we take for granted, such as the sounds and sights of creation, and the peace  a moment spent alone in that surrounding can bring.

Being Original in an Unoriginal Age

Satan

When I read Paradise Lost  for the first time I was blown away by Milton’s originality to the fall of man story. I continue to be fascinated by Dante’s Inferno and concept of the underworld  and of course, everything in Tolkien’s world.

As I begin the fifth story of my nineteen story mythology, I laugh at all the movies that are soon to be released like “Batman XXII,” or “The incredibly, incredible Spiderman.”  Appears to me that people no longer want anything original because they might be disappointed, so they stick to the unoriginal and play it safe. I read all the time where editors and publishers literally trounce certain writer’s works, yet still publish them anyway if the consuming consumers buy and demand more.

Let me be frank. I publish this blog to bring attention to the stories I have written. I am bored of the same stories rebooted with more current special effects.  There are few stories that catch my attention these days, so I had to write my own.  Whether anyone wants to join me in my imaginary journey is up to them. Those that have, want more, so I am now putting my writing cap on turbo.  I want to finish this writing journey in my lifetime.

My fifth story is the second story of a series of nine chronicles that supplement the epic trilogy I wrote from years 2000 to 2010.  The readers asked me, “How did the nine heavenly worlds fall?” Being original is always on my mind.  What have I not seen or read in my entire lifetime?  What twists and turns can I inject to make a story attractive to the reader?  In books four and five I explore the concepts of heroines.  My wife, who is the initial editor of my stories has said the fourth book will touch a woman’s heart.  She cried at the ending, which was my intent.  She was also surprised at the originality of how I am approaching the writing of the the chronicles.

To keep my own attention, each story must outperform the one before it.  Each one must lay the ground work that effects not only the full understanding of the trilogy, but effects the subsequent stories and leaves the reader recalling something they read before. When completed, this mythology will become a series that readers will review over and over to catch the subtle hints as though they were on an exploration or a hunt – a hunt for clues and knowledge.

Each one will come with new characters and plots.  Central to the chronicles is the exploration into the seven deadly sins or vices (evil) into the fall of nine heavenly worlds and the seven virtues (good) which apply to the heroes and heroines.  If you didn’t know what they are, here is list:

Lust (Vice) and Chastity (Virtue)

Gluttony (Vice) and Temperance (Virtue)

Greed (Vice) and Charity (Virtue)

Sloth (Vice) and Diligence (Virtue)

Wrath (Vice) and Patience (Virtue)

Envy (Vice) and Kindness (Virtue)

Pride (Vice) and Humility (Virtue)

In other words, an exploration into humanity in a mythological setting.  You might ask, what is original in that? The originality to the story comes to basic questions of life – why are we here and what is our purpose?  Is life merely a test?  What will our purpose be in the afterlife?  Why must heroes and heroines die?  Why must there be pain and suffering?  Will good ever triumph over evil?  Be prepared for thought provoking and fast paced entertaining action stories.  Most of all this mythology covers the topics of love of people, family, the environment and of things unseen.

Come join me on an original epic journey through the seven ages of Allivar.

A Review of Les Miserables

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I have seen two movie versions of Les Miserables.  One with Liam Neeson and the other with Hugh Jackman.  Both versions provide a moving story based on the book, which I have yet to read. The most recent one, a musical, I have to admit annoyed me at times with the constant singing instead of some normal dialogue.  However, what I enjoyed immensely about the musical, more than the movie, is the ending.

In this day and age people vilify anything associated with God and Faith.  I am a man of faith.  I am just not a man of religious institutions. My relationship with my maker is a direct and private one.  I want my daily walk and talk to be the testimony of my faith.  To do all that I can while living to help those around me and to reach for self perfection, of which, I’ll never obtain.  I recently watched and was equally moved with Life of Pi.  I hope more stories with spiritual themes are made.  These are the ones I enjoy immensely.

I took this snippet from Wikipedia, which explains Hugo’s structure of the story.

The book which the reader has before him at this moment is, from one end to the other, in its entirety and details … a progress from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsehood to truth, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from corruption to life; from bestiality to duty, from hell to heaven, from nothingness to God. The starting point: matter, destination: the soul. The hydra at the beginning, the angel at the end.

One of the most powerful statements in the lyrics to the songs was contained in the finale.

To love another person is to see the face of god.

I was deeply moved with the ending scene of Valjean passing on to be with the dead and just, and to stand united as one.  In the movie with Liam Neeson, Cosette merely fled to London, and Valjean walked away.  I assume because those involved with that version would rather leave out the reference to redemption and salvation.  Because of that exclusion, I prefer the musical version.  Anne Hathaway’s singing of I dreamed a dream as the character Fantine is obviously a tear-jerker. Hugh Jackman gave a much more emotional touch to Valjean’s character, than did Liam Neeson.  I was also touched by the character of  Éponine, excluded from the Neeson version. I will at some point in the very near future find time to read the book and catch all that Hugo embedded into the story.  I still struggle understanding Javert, but I prefer Geoffrey Rush’s acting over Russell Crowe’s.

In my trilogy, The Chosen One of Allivar, the story is primarily concerned with evil, redemption and resurrection. Although completely fictional, set in an epic high fantasy, the story confronts the basic themes of the human struggle. There is no reference to any organized religion or Jesus Christ.  In my story, Glyneth, the mother of Terrian and Telluria, had been a prostitute and was judged harshly by her son Terrian.  In the final battle, Glyneth stands with her son and daughter, knowing death is upon them all, she makes the following statement to him and he discovers his mother had not given his sister over to prostitution,

“I know you do not understand that. Sometimes mothers have to do the unspeakable for their children. I wish I had other choices. Please accept me now, for I offer my body a second time with the hope that through some wonder you both can live.”

She kissed her son and turned to the direction the enemy would appear. Deep inside Terrian finally understood the sacrifice of dignity his mother had made for him and his sister. He forgave her and begged the Lord to forgive her as well.

Here, a mother is willing to sacrifice not only once, but twice, for she so loved her children more than herself. Here, the meaning of loving another allows us to see the face of God rings powerful. There is also another section where a mother sacrifices in a different and even more heart-wrenching manner. How my story ends should be equally as touching for a  reader. Many of the classic stories in history have a basic theme of justice, sacrifice and redemption. We may not understand the ways of our maker, but we learn that it is only our maker who knows the soul and can grant redemption.

Les Miserables will forever be etched into my mind as one the greatest stories of history past, present and future.  If you enjoyed Les Miserables, give my trilogy a try and stay loyal to the very end.  Do not prejudge it, it may pleasantly surprise you.

Empathy for a Creator

Unseen

Empathy, sometimes a forgotten word in this self centered world, were sympathy and apathy are more common.   Here’s the definition for the sake of this post,

The power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person’s feelings.

Recently I posted a thought on my Facebook  page regarding the power of creation that we experience as mortals:

“When you hold an infant in your arms for the very first time, you feel the awesome power and the love of creation. Never allow that sensation to escape your mind, for one day, without warning, and from all your efforts to protect from shared wisdom, you might lose that which you created through the corruptible forces of the world. Should that moment ever happen, have empathy for the creator of that world, no matter which you choose to believe in, for the loss that creator had to endure for the fall of the mortal family. Hug and kiss someone dear to you today.”

As I have mentioned many times before, my trilogy, The Chosen One of Allivar, has many underlying themes topical to our current time in history and allegorically relevant.  In my years on this world I have seen many changes, none as rapid as the loss of the prospect that we were created by an unseen power.  Scientific theory has replaced faith in anything other than oneself, yet science has not advanced the manner in which we treat one another.  For once, imagine being a creator of earth, what would you do?  Would you hold on in the expectation that mortals would one day see the light and finally seek peace? Would you wipe out all humans from their actions?  Would you allow demons to continue their quest with the corruption and destruction of that which you created? How long could you take being cursed by your own creations?  What test of faith would you give mortals?

My trilogy is an epic fantasy adventure and a mythology.  It is not Christian fiction.  However, it is influenced by Christian and other stories of faith.  Yes it deals with creation and the viewpoint of the fictional creator – the Unseen, the Lord of Light and Life. The first nine chapters of Rise of the Fallen may give the impression it is biblical, but this was done solely to create familiarity and nothing more of the creation story, the fall of immortals and the birth of evil.  To create a credible story I engaged in much research, including the understanding of the hierarchy of Angels and the classification of Demons. From this research I created my own classifications and gave them entirely new names. I scoured for banned stories to improve my understanding of ancient people’s view of their world.  Like J.R.R. Tolkien, I wanted my very own mythology, so I created one.  The type of story I wanted to read.

One of my family friends who is now 79 years old and a devout Christian stated he hoped one day a story would be told where one is wrapped in the full armor of God.  Funny he should say that, because part of the story plot involves this very concept.  What he was referring to was a passage from the Bible in Ephesians:

The Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Many people today believe the Bible is no more than a myth and literature.  No matter your beliefs, the Bible is one of the most fascinating reads you will ever undertake.  As a writer, you must experience different viewpoints to enhance your story. However, the main premise of my story came from the Jewish story of the siege of Masada. Some of the story is influenced by the Bhagavad Gita and many, many other sources including pagan mythologies.   The hero of the story Arimar, has been given powerful gifts by the Unseen, including the shield of faith, derived specifically from this passage in the Bible. It is from this passage that the title of the final story, Last Stand of the Living, was derived.  I can guarantee my friend, that in the end all the powers of good and evil collide, with a surprising and thought provoking ending.

In the ten years of writing this trilogy (2000 – 2010), I poured many of my various beliefs, opinions and philosophical thoughts into the story.  Today, many people want simple and entertaining reads, yet very few can recall the detail of the story they had just read.  I am slow reader, when I find a good story, it is engrained into my memory.  I like to think and have all my senses evoked.  In my opinion, too many modern stories are short of story and too quick on sensory stimulation. My story will challenge you, only if you are ready to be challenged.  It will certainly entertain you, once the foundation of the creation story has been read and understood. I have embedded clues and hints that will keep you guessing maybe for the rest of your life. In the end, you should be touched emotionally and philosophically if you can have empathy for a creator of worlds.

Are you ready to challenged?

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The Ultimate Super Trilogy Book Trailer

I admit fully that my trilogy, “The Chosen One of Allivar” was inspired by “The Lord of the Rings”, “The Hobbit” and “The Silmarillion”.  Put all three of these stories together and you can dream for the remainder of your lifetime.  When I completed writing my trilogy I went into the process of creating the digital advertising including book trailers.  I had placed on a to-do list to eventually combine the book trailers into a single “super” book trailer.  This was due in part to the super trilogy movie trailer of “The Lord of the Rings”.

Although I don’t have millions of bucks to pour into production, the goal of my trilogy book trailer is still to draw attention and excitement to the story.  To accomplish this I need powerful wording, some moving imagery and music.  “The Lord of the Rings” super trailer brings us back to the story again and again.  It recalls our feelings for the characters we read about as children, studied in college and watched on the big screen.

It is my hope that some day my trilogy will grace the silver screen too.  I recall observing people who attended all the movies and their reactions. Many tried to hold back tears and crying, they cheered, they shouted “no” when a beloved character found death or pain, they whimpered, and eventually stood and clapped.  They never wanted it to end and even remained seated until the very last credit rolled by.

Even though “The Lord of the Rings” is a fantasy story, it still holds truths of being mortal and the need to live in a free and pure world, where people will reconcile their differences and come to the aid of their fellow man.  I admit as a man, the Charge of the Rohirrim was my most emotional scene.  Comrades knowing they will not see another sunrise, yet rushing into battle to death for the right cause is very moving.

In the final story of my trilogy, “Last Stand of the Living”, characters you have grown to love and found a emotional connection with will also be tested in battle.  When writing the battles scenes, I wanted to exceed the emotions that “The Lord of the Rings” brought to me and other film watchers.  All I need is for people to read the stories and let me know if I succeeded in my attempt.

So take a look at “The Lord of the Rings” super trailer above.  Read my trilogy and watch my super trailer over and over again to reconnect emotionally with a fantasy story that holds many truths.