Parts Unknown

Today I was gut-punched by news of the apparent suicide of Anthony Bourdain. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his television work where he managed to be tough, thoughtful, sarcastic, and compassionate all at the same time. He was a true citizen of the world, a great storyteller, and a force to behold in his mission to show the common humanity of peoples and cultures around the globe.

In the end, his personal demons caught up with him and, tragically, took him away from us far too soon.

In battles with my own demons, I have seen the precipice that Bourdain fell from today. I have walked to the edge and, in the end, with the support of professionals and friends, walked away. There are many calls today online for those that are suffering at this level to get help and reach out. This is well and good, but the problem is that, too often, folks on the edge have passed the point where they feel that they can reach out. They feel alone and too far away from the help they need. That’s why it’s equally important for those around them to reach out, reach through the veil of circular thoughts and crushing sadness, and reach those that they love.

If you see someone in your life drawing away, approaching that precipice alone, you have to reach out and hold their hand, try to bring them back. Even if you’re wrong and they aren’t that far down the darkened path, you will have made a connection and proven that you care and that they are important enough to make the effort.

Please, reach out. Make that connection. It can save a life.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US): 1-800-273-8255

Suicide Hotline (UK): 0-8457-90-90-90

Advertisements
Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

For the Love of Country

 

I’ve always had a strange relationship with patriotism.

On the one hand, I love my country. I appreciate the ideals on which it was founded and struggle of those, throughout history, who have lived and died to ensure that this country lived up to those ideals. It hasn’t always been successful…there are some dark chapters to that history. But the ideals are sound and the struggle is true.

On the other hand, I’ve always been uncomfortable with ostentatious displays of patriotism. To me, patriotism is a private thing, a matter of the heart and mind, an impetus to action, not a glorious display. People who wear their patriotism on their sleeve instantly earn my suspicion and skepticism. My gut wonders if they play the game of “more patriotic than thou.” Flag pins, giant flags waving on people’s lawns, patriotic slogans–all of these tend to ring false to me. They are empty vessels, sham pots meant to hold patriotism that are mistaken for being the thing itself.

Too often, I see people mistaking such displays for actual patriotism. Singing the national anthem is not patriotic; protecting the rights of citizens to choose whether or not they participate in it is. Waving a flag is not patriotic; ensuring that citizens are able to express themselves politically in whatever way they see fit is. Wearing a flag pin on your lapel is not patriotic; principled dissent that holds your country to account is.

Patriotism, like any act of love, necessitates action. It is not a game of who sings the loudest or waves the biggest flag. It is getting involved in what makes this country work. It is standing behind the country when it is doing what is right and protesting when it is doing what is wrong. To love the country, you do not turn a blind eye to its problems but seek solutions. It is not assuming that America is great in and of itself, but truly getting out there and doing the work to ensure that it is. American exceptionalism is a myth–the country is only exceptional as long as we the people work to make it so.

Today we honor those that fell in service to this country. Their sacrifices are worth remembering. No amount of flag waving or sloganeering can compare to the ultimate sacrifice for love of country. Make their sacrifice worth it. Make the country better. Hold it accountable to its ideals.

Perform acts of patriotism, don’t just act patriotic.

Posted in Ramblings, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Close…But No Cigar

giphySo I got word from the nice folks at Writers of the Future…my story did not make it into the top three. But it was officially a Finalist in the contest for the first quarter, which is still pretty damn cool considering how many entries from around the world they get and the status of the judges they have. Here’s a link to their blog post announcing the winners and my finalist status:

https://www.writersofthefuture.com/writers-of-the-future-contest-1st-quarter-2018-winners/

Congratulations to the winners and thank you, WOTF, for the accolade. It is truly an honor to have made it as far as I did.

Posted in Announcements and News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“That’s Mr. Writers of the Future Finalist to you…”

leglampawardSo…I just got some good news. The story I workshopped at FenCon last year is now a FINALIST in the Writers of the Future contest! That means it beat out thousands of other stories from around the world and is now in the top 8 to be voted on for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. I’m very excited! I can’t say what story it was because the judges may see my post and be influenced, but this is very cool!

I had had a story make Honorable Mention in the contest a few years ago–which is an honor. But this…this is pretty sweet. I’ll keep you posted!

 

Posted in Announcements and News | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Horizon and the Darkness

So 2017 is done and what a long strange trip its been. Looking back, it has been a curious year.

Writing wise, it has not been my most productive. I have mostly been concentrating on my role-playing game output. Still being creative, but not in a traditional “writer” sense. I did, however, attend a really nice writer’s workshop at FenCon that really inspired me and I dusted off a story that wasn’t working and I think made it better. It’s currently being shopped around. I also got to meet Cat Rambo–a great editor/writer (and, it turns out, RPG-er). So that was pretty cool. I tried to do NaNoWriMo–for about a week. Oh well…

Reading-wise–this year was a bust. I haven’t read anything. Which is bad. I definitely need to fix that. Too much time on social media, not enough time absorbing words.

Real-life wise–I have been much more politically active. I have contacted my representatives on a variety of issues and have contributed to a number of causes. I live in a state that is traditionally contrary to my beliefs, so I don’t know how much good my calls into the darkness have done, but I try.

I also feel like this year I’ve gotten a real handle on my depression. I’m no longer in therapy and I feel like I can control my down times much more. I still have them, to be sure, but they don’t control me as much as before. Which is good.

Hobby-wise, this has been a boon year. I have gamemastered so many games and have even done a charity event and plan on doing more conventions in the next year.

2018 looks to be a good year. I look forward to more gaming. I hope to write more, but we’ll see. I’m not going to force it. I definitely look forward to reading more. No matter what, I’m looking forward, not back. I’m seizing the future, not dwelling on the past. It’s all about the horizon, not the darkness behind me.

 

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment