Friday, June 24, 2016

Optimism vs. Pessimism

You guys know I'm a bit of a nerd ☺

I read R.A. Salvatore. That’s code for books about dungeons and dragons. Yeah, I said it. I may or may not have played some D&D back in the day (or last year).

Recently, my relational trauma group talked about Optimism vs. Pessimism and it made me think of one of my favorite sayings by one of my favorite characters, Montolio.

Montolio Debrouchee aka Mooshie (Ranger)

He said, “Those who aspire to less accomplish less. There can be no doubt. It is better, I think, to grab at the stars than to sit flustered because you know you cannot reach them. At least he who reaches will get a good stretch, a good view, and perhaps even a low hanging apple for his efforts.” 

Now that’s optimism! Woot! Woot!

Drittz (another favorite character of mine who happened to be in an emotionally bad place at the time) replied, “And perhaps also a low flying arrow fired by some unseen assailant.” 

Hello pessimism!

Worry not. Under Montolio’s tutelage and mentorship, Drizzt became an eternal optimist. Eventually. After much inner reflection.

I included the passage in case you wanted to read it. Salvatore has a knack for capturing both sides of the coin and for allowing the reader to feel Drizzt's turmoil right along with him.

For context, Guenhwyvar is a black panther and Montolio is blind.

Credit to: R.A. Salvatore, "Sojourn."

Starting from the left: Wulfgar, Drizzt, Bruenor Battlehammer (my true favorite character)


One night, beneath the moon’s silvery light, Drizzt and Montolio rested back in wooden chairs that the ranger had constructed high in the boughs of a large evergreen. The brightness of the waning moon, as it dipped and dodged behind fast moving, scattered clouds, enchanted the drow. 

Montolio couldn’t see the moon, of course, but the old ranger, with Guenhwyvar comfortably draped across his lap, enjoyed the brisk night no less. He rubbed a hand absently through the thick fur on Guenhwyvar’s muscled neck and listened to the many sound’s carried on the breeze, the chatter of a thousand creatures that the drow never even noticed, even though Drizzt’s hearing was superior to Montolio’s. Montolio chuckled every now and again, once when he heard a field mouse squealing angrily at an owl Hooter probably for interrupting its meal and forcing it to flee into its hole. 

Looking at the ranger and Guenhwyvar, so at ease and accepting of one another, Drizzt felt the pangs of friendship and guilt “Perhaps I should never have come,” he whispered, turning his gaze back to the moon. 

“Why?” Montolio asked quietly. “You do not like my food?” His smile disarmed Drizzt as the drow turned back to him somberly. 

“To the surface, I mean,” Drizzt explained, managing a laugh in spite of his melancholy. “Sometimes I think my choice a selfish act.” 

“Survival usually is,” Montolio replied. “I have felt that way myself on some occasions. I was once forced to drive my sword into a man’s heart. The harshness of the world brings great remorse, but mercifully it is a passing lament and certainly not one to carry into battle.” 

“How I wish it would pass,” Drizzt remarked, more to himself or to the moon than to Montolio. 

But the remark hit Montolio squarely. The closer he and Drizzt had become, the more the ranger shared Drizzt’s unknown burden. The drow was young by elf standards but 
was already world wise and skilled in battle beyond most professional soldiers. Undeniably one of 
Drizzt’s dark heritage would find barriers in an unaccepting surface world. By Montolio’s estimation, though, Drizzt should be able to get through these prejudices and live a long and prosperous life, given his considerable talents. What was it, Montolio wondered, that so burdens this elf? Drizzt suffered more than he smiled and punished himself more than he should. 

“Is yours an honest lament?” Montolio asked him. “Most are not, you know. Most self imposed burdens are founded on misperceptions. We at least we of sincere character always judge ourselves by stricter standards than we expect others to abide by. It is a curse, I suppose, or a blessing, depending on how one views it” He cast his sightless gaze Drizzt’s way. “Take it as a blessing, my friend, an inner calling that forces you to strive to unattainable heights.” 

“A frustrating blessing,” Drizzt replied casually. 

“Only when you do not pause to consider the advances that the striving has brought to you,” Montolio was quick to reply, as though he had expected the drow’s words. “Those who aspire to less accomplish less. There can be no doubt. It is better, I think, to grab at the stars than to sit flustered because you know you cannot reach them.” He shot Drizzt his typical wry smile. “At least he who reaches will get a good stretch, a good view, and perhaps even a low hanging apple for his effort!” 

“And perhaps also a low flying arrow fired by some unseen assailant” Drizzt remarked sourly. 


So, who are you? The optimist or the pessimist?

Have you read any of the Dark Elf books?


Note: There will be no post next Friday because I'll be back for the fun of the Insecure Writer's Support Group on July 6...see you then and have a Happy and Safe Fourth of July! Don't be this guy:

Jason Pierre Paul: blew up his hand with fireworks

Friday, June 17, 2016

To The Beach!

It’s the middle of June and I’m finally able to say I spent quality time at the beach. Not, “Hey, let’s run up to the beach for a minute before the next Nor’easter hits and it’s too freakin’ cold!” or “Let’s see if we can manage twenty minutes before the next rainstorm hits.” The weather here has just been terrible. And that makes this beach bum quite unhappy.

Or it did until this week. Finally, I got some time in the sun! The best part is that I’ve found this cool little spot that not too many of the locals know about so if you get there early, you can find not only a primo spot on the sand, but excellent parking too. Bonus!

The only downfall this visit were the flies. It was something I’ve never encountered to this extreme. Very bizarre. As we pulled in there people leaving and complaining about how many flies were buzzing around. I thought they were exaggerating. Nope.  If you stood still for too long, they landed. In the tens. Then they bit. So, we played in the water to keep them off. Win-win. We stayed cool and insect-free.

These guys did too. Smart puppies (they aren’t mine):

Neither are any of these homes:
 
This guy was chilling by our blanket:

 


On a side note: A big thank you to all of you bought and downloaded my book, Steps Along My Shore, last week. I apologize to those of you who ran into any glitches along the way. I’m definitely still learning the ropes.


I appreciate all of you and your reviews are most definitely welcome!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Steps Along My Shore - Book Release


Fear.

It can be immobilizing. Crippling. It can make my heart pound so hard I can feel it thud against my chest. It can make my mind fill with so much doubt I begin to second-guess my decisions.

Then the questions start to come:

Am I a good writer?

Can I handle the critiques?

Will people discover our true identities?

Is it worth the risk?

Can I truly help anyone?

After the butterflies that took flight in my stomach finally calmed down enough for me to think rationally again, I remember the whys of my journey down this path:

I’m not out to become a best-selling author.

I’m not seeking rave reviews and have tough-ish skin.

I did the best I could to remain anonymous.

It is absolutely worth the risk and Devin agrees with me.

I feel I can help not just one person but maybe even two…or ten…or more!

And so, I face my fears. I will not run.

I finally stopped editing my book. I stopped procrastinating. 

I accepted that there may be typos, dropped words, and goodness knows what other mistakes I made, but I know I did my best, my heart is in the right place, and Steps Along My Shore is finally ready to be released out into the world.

My baby is ready to walk on her own.
Steps Along My Shore on Kindle is for sale!
But, wait, you want paperback? CLICK HERE
OR
FREE on Kindle June 11-15, 2016

I couldn’t have done this without the help of my mentor, Bryan. My apologies to you now, Bryan…those typos that are in the final copy were not there when you read it. Those pages were added in long after you read it. Don’t blame him, folks.

Another round of thank you’s to Robyn and Donna. Your honest feedback helped me shape this final release into much better shape than when you first laid your eyes on it and for that I’m eternally grateful. I couldn’t have done it without you. Good critique partners are hard to find. I’m glad I had you both. I may need you next year for the sequel…keep your calendars open!

That’s it, folks. No tour. You won’t see me blog-hopping or see the book in your feed. I figure those who need the book will find it. As the saying goes, If God brings you to it, He’ll lead you through it.

Have you ever been so fearful you almost didn’t do something? How did you overcome it?



Friday, June 3, 2016

The Preacher On AMC

I don’t normally write reviews for television shows or movies because well, I’m kinda easy to please. I mean really, I watch reality television, so what can you expect, right? To my credit though, I watch reality TV knowing that it’s not real…well, some of it’s not real. Bryan, don’t crush my illusions completely, okay?

Because of this, I don’t think it’s exactly fair for me to proclaim that I’m any kind of expert when it comes to good writing. For instance, I absolutely loved The Grinder. I found the overstated humor to be hilarious, so of course it got cancelled. I also enjoyed the sci-fi cop drama Almost Human but that got the axe too. So let’s hope that me liking this series isn’t a bad omen:

The Preacher

Oh! My! Gosh!

I’ve watched the first episode twice. First with my husband, and then with my one of my kids. I liked it that much. It’s based on the comic book series Preacher, created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. I don’t want to give away too much so I’ll just quote the tagline from IMDB, “After a supernatural event at his church a preacher enlists the help of a vampire to find God.”

I had no idea that Seth Rogan was even involved in the series until I watched Talking Preacher (an after-show with Chris Hardwick) the next day. But it makes perfect sense because there was a touch of comedy to The Preacher that I found appealing. Dark humor, for sure, but still, I laughed at some very terrible things that happened during the episode.

It is very over the top, almost in a Tarantino sort of way. So if you’re not into that sort of thing, you won’t like this show at all. It’s also got quite a bit of violence along with crude humor so be warned. But the characters are amazing and I can't wait to get their back stories.


I’m looking forward to the second episode. Has anyone else seen it or are you planning to give it a try?