Sometimes it’s good

Moon rising in evening skyI write all the time

I don’t mean all the blabbery on social media.  I’m talking real writing — at least by my definition of “real”.

Stories.  I stopped writing them a long time ago but now I do again.  Why?  Don’t know.  I write the occasional poem.  I’m no poet, believe me.  I journal and have done so since I was a kid.  I wrote my first novel-length manuscript nearly 40 years ago and nowadays I’ve always got a novel in the works.  Two at this time, with a third that I’m poking at.  I write scenes for what I’m working on or for no reason at all.  I jot down ideas about character motivation.  Sometimes I just spew words that have to come out and because I don’t know what I’ll do with them I email them to myself and then forget about them.  In November I commit to NaNoWriMo and drive myself crazy keeping up.  I wake up in the night and record my dreams.  I scribble phrases, sentences, paragraphs, scenes on scraps of paper or I text them to myself.

It’s kind of embarrassing, actually.

I mean, if I was a published author — which I am not, having just today received yet another story rejection — what I write would be Important.  It’d be MeaningfulSignificant.  It would Matter.

But I’m just another wannabe writer.  Um. By wannabe I don’t mean I’ve never been paid to write, since that’s how I earned my living for the past two decades. I mean I want to get paid for writing what I want to write, and for me that’s fiction.  In other words, I don’t want to write about what’s out there but what’s in here.  In me.

So yeah. I have this burning desire to be paid for writing what I want to write, not what somebody else wishes they could write but they can’t so they hire me to do it.

I want to make stuff up.  To transform possibilities into reality by writing them. That’s a kind of magic that has always attracted me.

I love writing.  Good thing, because I have to do it.

I love writing but I have to do it?  Hah!  That’s kind of like saying I love being high and oh, by the way, I’ll go into withdrawal without that drug or drink.  Ahem.  So what.  I have nothing against drugs or alcohol (but remember — don’t drink and drive, my friends).

I love writing.  I love the process and challenge of making a direct connection between the inside of my head and the outside not-me world.  I seek to capture the words that express precisely what’s percolating in my brain.  I call it flavor — the fullness of what I’m trying to convey.  Not just description but the wholeness of it.  When it’s good it’s as close to psychic sharing as I can get.  That quality of writing gives me the shivers.

It’s a kind of magic, that, and I love letting that power flow through me.

But whoa — just like a drug addict  I need more.  I can’t just write in the dark.  I can’t just write for me.  I’m compelled to wreck the sublime joy of capturing my inner imaginings by exposing the writing — and myself — to the world.  As scary as it is, I have to risk it.

Because oh yeah, I need the audience.  I crave applause.  I want outside validation that my writing is doing what I want it to do.

I wanna get paid

And there’s the rub, isn’t it?  I want to get paid for what I create — in today’s world, payment being the functional mark of approval.  So it’s not just about writing for myself, is it?  I have to write stuff other people want to read.

Do I write for me or do I write for you?

Obviously… the answer is yes.

 

PS You can become a patron of mine, yes you can!  A buck a month will get ‘er done!

 

Expect a miracle

Expect a Miracle 2018 Lif Strand photo Miracles are magical things.

Magic is miraculous.  Magic, miracle, samey-same. You might not think so but yes, it’s true.

First, let me explain the photo to the left. I clipped it to my desktop computer long enough ago that there are fly spots on it and I had to wipe off the dust so I wouldn’t be even more embarrassed when you saw it. I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise that housekeeping is not my forte. Not only is the note still there — still crooked like it has been for years — but so is the computer, which kicked the bucket some time ago.

Every so often I look at it (the note, not the computer) and I remind myself to not just see the words but to remember the reason I put it there and why I’ve left it there to collect dust and fly spots all this time. I need the mental jog because it’s easy for me to read advice, to agree with it, to want it to be meaningful in my life, and then to somehow not take it in, not make it mine.

But this one I’ve worked at.  Expect a miracle has come to mean everything to me. It has changed my life. It’s amazing. It’s like magic.

I started writing about magic in 2012, though I’ve been thinking about it, yearning for it, all my life. The blog started out as mostly fan homage to guitarist Jimmy Page, but I quickly realized that the best music really can be a kind of magic. So then I began to explore what exactly that would mean. I eventually compiled my posts about magic into a book, Mage Music: Writings on Magick and Creativity*, and then moved on with my life, wondering when I could personally do the magic I wanted to.  And not by accident, either, but when I wanted to do it.

Really, if I could do magic, that would be a miracle, wouldn’t it?

Now look:  By magic I don’t mean sleight of hand, illusion, stage tricks. I don’t mean the occult, either. I mean changing reality.

Changing reality.  Purposefully doing so. Oh yeah, definitely magic.

I knew that expecting is part of the deal, because doubt is a killer when it comes to creativity, and magic, and miracles. But I kept forgetting to expect. That’s why the note, but it didn’t do any good to just read the words.

I had to swallow them into my heart, digest them so they nourished my soul. And that was not so easy.

Part of the problem was that I didn’t understand how to properly expect, or what miracles would actually look like. But gradually, it snuck up on me. What doing magic was about. About what miracles were like.

Some of them have been like this:

Chamisa (rabbit brush)  2018 Lif Strand photo

Chamisa (rabbit brush)  2018 Lif Strand photo

Bee on Russian sage  2018 Lif Strand photo

Bee on Russian sage 2018 Lif Strand photo

Verbena    2018 Lif Strand photo

Verbena 2018 Lif Strand photo

Russian thistle     2018 Lif Strand photo

Russian thistle 2018 Lif Strand photo

Pretty yellow flowers   2018 Lif Strand photo

Pretty yellow flowers 2018 Lif Strand photo

Fairy grass  2018 Lif Strand photo

Fairy grass**  2018 Lif Strand photo

And this:

Peaches nearly dried enough    2018 Lif Strand photo

Peaches nearly dry   2018 Lif Strand photo

Okay, I bet you’re a little confused.  Sure, the flowers are pretty and wowza, look how those peaches have come along. But what’s so miraculous about that? Show me the magic!

That’s just it, my friend. My magic isn’t out there, it’s in here. It’s not about me changing the outside — your reality or the reality of the plants or critters or the environment — it’s about me changing me. Why should I change your reality or anything else’s, anyway? That’s for each of you to do for yourselves, if you will. What you do doesn’t change my reality.

And that’s the miracle for me, that I internalized what had previously been words, mere logic, present only in the conscious mind. I not only made the concept mine, I made it me.  I changed my own reality.

I came to know that the magic is all around me because all around me is me.  It’s all my choice, to love what I have. Or not. My choice.

The miracle is that these things in my life — the flowers, the peaches, the sunsets, everything in my life — they don’t just give me pleasure, they are my pleasure.  They are not mine — separate from me — but rather are me.

You want magic? It turns out that to love what I have brings more of what I love. The magic is already there. The miracle is only in finally choosing it.

Proper expecting is not waiting for something in the future.  It is the experiencing of the miracles around me right now that paves the way for more miracles to come.  It is the understanding that the miracle is my choice.

Is it easy?  No.
Do I stay in the miracle zone all the time?  No.
Am I flippin’ crazy?  Maybe yes, maybe no.

So what. I’m happy.

Here.  Have a moon.

Moonrise on the cusp of Autumn 2018 Lif Strand photo

                   Moonrise on the cusp of Autumn                    2018 Lif Strand photo

 

 

 

* The book is currently out of print but available for Kindle
** Also, far as I know there’s no such thing as fairy grass.  But it looks like fairy grass to me.

Still coming to a bookstore near you…

Last May I wrote on my Mage Music blog about a book I’ve been wrestling with since 2009, Evolution Device.   It is vaguely inspired by Jimmy Page — but it’s absolutely not about him at all, as you will see when you read the book.

I had hoped to get at least a digital version online before now, or preferably find a publisher, but that hasn’t happened.  What happened instead was a professional editor.

Bwahahahaha!  Read more

One of the book covers I dreamed up.