The Awesome Abstract Art Used in My Twitter Timeline

Hello Dear Readers,

I’ve written a BOOK and it’s called PROPHET FROM THE MOON (THE MOON’S EDGE, #1)!

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I’m calm on the outside but my insides are EXCITED!

This book’s journey is five years long from conception to the final edits. You can read the description and first chapter HERE!  My pen name is Dasist Winter.

Because I want to people to read, rate, and comment on my book, I have to promote my baby on Twitter.

To do that, I picked abstract artwork from artists who inspired my imagination and ignited my desires to write.

I want to give them credit so here’s the list. Enjoy their work!

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Agnes Cecile

Thoughts on Cecile: I love the intensity radiating behind her eyes; almost gives me goosebumps. You know she’s been through shit, seen enough, and won’t let anyone stand in her way. This woman is a freaking powerhouse, ready to conquer the world. I want to write a story just for her.

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Unknown 1

Thoughts on Unknown 1: Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the artist behind this picture, but I put a link where you can find the image. Her purples eyes grabbed me instantly, and she’s simply beautiful. What’s her story? Hmmm.

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TheBoyofCheese 

Thoughts on BoyofCheese: I used to LOVE the color purple. When I say love, I mean I was obsessed with the color, buying purple clothes, accessories, and notebooks. Right now my favorite color is red, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate this beauty of a purple dream. What’s the sad story hidden in this girl’s eyes?

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Karol Bak

Thoughts on Bak: Welcome to a world of pure fantasy. This piece transported me to an epic land where magic reigns supreme and fearsome power awaits anyone brave enough to find it. She will definitely be a powerful character in whatever fantasy adventure I create.

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Unknown 2

Thoughts on Unknown 2: Here’s another piece with an unknown artist. I chose this one because it translates into pure bad-assery. Seriously.

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Januz Miralles

Thoughts on Miralles: The blacks and grays of this image soothe my soul. I feel like I’m floating amoung the clouds, undisturbed by the world raging around me.

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Gabriel Moreno

Thoughts on Moreno: Yes, child! Give me red  and orange all day. This woman’s hypnotizing gaze has me falling in love already. Do not mess with her heart!

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Ignacio Bazan Lazcano

Thoughts on Lazcano: Okay, so this isn’t abstract art but I ADORE this post-apocalyptic picture featuring two bad-ass women ready to ride the wastelands with their cool bikes. Yes, I was a big fan of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Also, this image is definitely happening in THE MOON’S EDGE #2.

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Cane Dojcilovic

Thoughts on Dojcilovic: I enjoy mash-ups of science fiction and fantasy and this artwork does it for me in an impressive way. Here, I get an android with super powers ready to take over all our minds if our hero/heroine doesn’t step in to stop it. I want to use her in a future WIP.

 

Which piece did you like and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Please be sure to head over to Amazon and read my BOOK for FREE on Amazon Unlimited!

Stay cool,

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Picture the Face of Freedom

Picture the face of freedom for one moment. Don’t give it a passing glance, but let’s carve out a piece of time for it in this life, this brief walk often burdened with sorrow, anger, and pain, this flickering flame bursting also with joy, laughter, and the love of family, friends, neighbors, even passing strangers.

Stare into freedom’s eyes and listen to what it has to say, to offer, to what it can show us, the most integral part of not only its survival, but also its triumph.

Freedom is waking up alive in the morning and moving through the start of the day without worrying whether we’ll return home alive after we’ve stepped out the door, gone to work or school, after we’ve completed our day. It’s embracing our loved ones without fearing for their lives, without thinking, “Will she come home? Will I have to claim his body? Will they be safe?”

Instead, our thoughts are full with the nuances of life, of what we need to accomplish, of where we need to go, of what we hope to realize for our loved ones and ourselves.

Freedom is reading and watching the news and seeing justice paid in full, of trusting the collective conscience of our fellow citizens, not only a faction. It’s everyone agreeing we must hold those in power responsible for the grievances and sufferings of our fellow neighbors, no matter how they identify.

It’s making sure there are concrete consequences for breaking that sacred trust, that unspoken pact among humans to do no harm, to be free and let others be free.

If we doubt our neighbor, if we fear or hate those who call the same country home, this planet home, we’re not free; we don’t know freedom.

Freedom is pursuing life without fear.

It’s not holding our stomach from hunger pains, or struggling to feed ourselves or loved ones. It’s not dying from lack of access to healthcare, or having nothing because we gave everything we had to stay alive one more day, only to realize this extra day holds no hope or purpose. It’s not being forced to make decisions detrimental to our well being or that of others, of people we love, in order to survive in a system, in a government determined to destroy us, in a government insistent on stalling our progress and that of our children and grandchildren. Freedom isn’t losing our human dignity because we had no one or nothing.

Freedom is receiving an education liberating our minds, instead of confining our hands.

Freedom is having one more chance even when we make minor mistakes. It’s restoration, not eternal damnation.

Freedom is knowing compassion and giving compassion.

We may think we have freedom if we enjoy the comforts of financial security, supportive family and friends, and shelter from the attacks thrown at our less privileged neighbors. Insulated from the cries of the outside world, from the cries coming from our own backyard, we move through life, deaf and blind, silent to the sufferings of our fellow citizens, or worse, defending those in power who oppress and harm them. Instead of placing our trust in our our fellow humans, we’ve placed your trust in the system, in the powers that have time and time again broken the sacred pact to protect, serve, and uplift.

And because those in power have not paid the high price of abusing that sacred human pact, we shake our heads in shock as the world deteriorates, as freedom wanders farther and farther away from humanity, as more and more people grow angry and restless, some resorting to atrocious acts of violence because that bill has not been paid, an amount counted not in dollars but in the bodies of innocents.

Picture the face of freedom. See it clearly. Grasp its possibilities. Hear what it offers. And know that we do not have freedom.

Because as long as the cries of our fellow woman, man, child, our fellow humans, rises to the skies unheard, without receiving justice long overdue, we will never know freedom.

We only have an illusion of it as our mind and soul is wracked with the guilt of our inaction. An illusion feeding on hopelessness, disdain for humanity, and a lack of vision. Feeding on lies manufactured by those in power. Feeding on our stubbornness to not stare freedom in the face and imagine a future where freedom is finally real in the lives of the people.

Picture the face of freedom. And know and believe it’s worth fighting for.

Patience or Waiting to Live?

“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”
― Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die

PATIENCE has been on my mind, its feelers rummaging through my brain, reminding me of its scalding presence in my life. I breathe its stinging fumes in the morning as I awaken and condemn the day before it has even started. My eyes open and I ask myself two obligatory questions, my passwords to re-entering the land of the living:

“Are you okay?”

“No.”

“When will you be okay?”

“I don’t know.”

Cranking all the levers in my mind, body, and soul to attempt interactions beyond mere existence, I wonder if I’m waiting for something good to happen before I can be “okay”.

Sometimes reality is like wading through waist deep Jell-O, the icky kind that reminds you of the gooey part of a skateboarder’s scraped knee. Encased in this blob of never-ending red, time becomes a hundred times slower, and each step I take gets me nowhere closer to my destination. I’m tempted to fall back into the Jell-O, allowing the jiggling clumps to fill my lungs and drown me. But my ambition is stronger than my pain and drags my tired feet forward.

Patience isn’t my friend. We wrestle, argue, and plot to kill each other while the other sleeps. I hate its life lessons because it’s oblivious to the millions of needles stabbing my spine. The pain steals my focus from whatever nugget of supernatural wisdom patience offers its victims. And yet, I endure it, letting it rule my life because without patience, I would be dead.

That’s our pact: I carry you on my back, and you keep me breathing to open my eyes to another day.

Patience isn’t waiting. But I wait anyway, stupidly, like a naïve teenager still checking the chimney for Santa Claus. Waiting is poison, the lesser, weaker form of patience, preying on crushed hearts too jittery and scared to succumb to the deep cuts of patience.

I wait for no one and nothing. I wait for everyone and everything. I wait, contradicting myself over and over, bumping my sound philosophies against my irrational fears. I’m a walking storm, full of tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis on the inside, but a fragile façade of calmness and forced cheeriness on the outside.

I wait, losing time in the present, forgetting to live, experiencing every cell in my body age, die, get replaced, repeat. Clouds race in maddening speed overhead; the sun and moon rise and set, circling like the braying horses on a merry-go-round. Life fast-forwards around me while I’m stuck trudging through nasty, red Jell-O.

Patience isn’t peace, but like patience, peace is a choice. Patience hurts. Peace doesn’t. When I run out of time, peace smothers my irrational fears, barring them from transforming into the debilitating lies posing as truths intent on ripping my sanity to shreds. Patience helps me bear the torture, allowing me to stay conscious for every sadistic twist and stab of the knife.

I hate patience, but without it, I could never be a writer, and writing is the lifeblood of my existence. So patience and I have been intricately linked since I started writing stories at eight. When I sit to work on a novel or a short story, more so a novel, I can’t rely on motivation and discipline alone. Something much more significant, much more profound and powerful, carries me from the first line to the final word, from one round of edits to the final round, from idea to creation. Hope, the child of patience.

Although I work hard to keep it at bay, I love hope. It’s a tiny gem, not worth a prolonged glance, but it has enough strength to pull more than 80,000 words from the stormy mess that’s my mind. I can’t harness the power of hope without accepting the pain of patience. Hope keeps me human while patience wards off the beast. There’s a difference. Trust me. I give up a million times in my head, wishing I could hang up the NO VACANCY sign on my body. Please look elsewhere to affirm your existence. So many things I want to say, but I can’t because I’m a highly functioning human being. It’s naïve, but hope seasons the bland tasks of operating through this life, through adulthood.

The dangerous side of patience is daydreaming, the enticing promises we whisper to ourselves, the melting of reality for the sweet core of fantasy. I live half my life in a daydream, setting my mind free and wild to conjure the most pleasurable experiences and adventures. I dance in my room and the kitchen to music only I can hear, to beats others would find too abrasive or weird. Everybody should dance no matter their ability; sometimes only our bodies can express the feelings overwhelming our hearts.

The fantasy is addictive, like sugar, cocaine. Feels good but will destroy the body and mind in time. Too bad it thrives best in the hardest swells of patience, in the moments when life’s the tightest, most constricting, most painful. Sometimes fantasy’s everything keeping me dancing. But it’s not hope. Fantasy is a big, beautiful diamond, yet useless, empty, a precursor to deep disillusionment, cynicism, and stubborn darkness. I indulge in fantasy while knowing its true face and lies. If I don’t rip my fingers away from its grip, no writing gets done because writing lives in the realm of reality.

I’m a creative so my whole life is patience. I hate it but my hands fit in all its curves and grooves in ways more intimate than an eager lover. I’m not patience’s slave nor its owner; we live organically as two separate entities bound until death—for as long as I plan to be a writer.

What’s your relationship with patience? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comment section below. And don’t forget to share if you liked this post.

Featured image: Aeonium by Russ Mills aka Byroglyphics. Purchase the image here. 

PITCHWARS PIMP MY BIO

Howdy! Welcome to my #PimpMyBio page for #PITCHWARS 2016. Woot woot! Writers from all over the world enter their works for a chance to win the help of a mentor. Why is that awesome? Because these amazing mentors whip a mentee’s manuscript into tip top form for the Agent Round. Hello? Awesome opportunity? You betcha! (I swear I’m not related to Sarah Palin). Anyway, learn more about it from the incredible Brenda Drake’s website here. Also, give some love to the other bios at Lana Pattinson’s how to page here.

ABOUT ME:

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G’day! >>>> My writing face. >_<

Call me Samantha. Born and raised in Boston, I attended a small Catholic school in Dorchester called St. Kevin’s. In third grade, I wrote a story about a bunny detective trying to save the world from an evil mastermind. My teacher, Ms. Bess, loved it and read it aloud to the whole class. My fellow classmates clapped and cheered, and thus began my lifelong journey of writing, books, and chasing dreams.

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I’ve failed countless times in publishing my stories, but I’ve never given up because writing is my world, my passion, my life—everything. I’m serious. Writing helped me survived high school, college, graduate school, and post-school life. Writing is how I survive every day. When I’m depressed, I write. When I’m happy, I write. When I’m excited, I write. I think you get the picture.

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With writing, I’m unstoppable, like a Shinkansen (high-speed train from Japan) rocketing to her dreams.

When I’m not swimming in books and writing, I’m Netflixing, playing story video games, teaching (my second love), traveling, and talking to my little brother about everything. He’s my hero. I’d do anything for him. My relationship with my brother is why I enjoy writing and reading stories with strong sibling relationships, biological or not. I’m also a big fan of stories with friendships, and I blame anime for that—we can do it, together! Ganbatte! (Japanese: Do your best!) *friendship hugs*

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This is my third time entering Pitchwars! YAY!

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOKS: His Dark Materials series, The Giver, Bridge to Terabithia, the Secret Garden, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and Narnia Chronicles. I also read a lot historical MG/YA fiction about the Civil Right movement and Holocaust in middle school. I always loved history as a kid. Still do sometimes.

ABOUT MY MS:

It’s five years ago. I’m in grad school in NYC, Columbia, studying sociology of education. One strange night, I have a horrible nightmare. I’m in a different body. My lips are sewn shut so I can only moan. My surroundings are a post-apocalyptic wasteland. I’m wandering around, scared as hell, and I find a small boy. A voice from nowhere says: protect him. The boy turns around and stares at me with these shining silver eyes. And then I wake up. Seriously. True story.

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What do I do? I jump to my computer and write out everything from the nightmare. I turn it into a story and get five pages. I stop there and eventually forget about it.

It’s last summer. I finished watching Mad Max: Fury Road, and I absolutely loved it! And for some strange reason, I’m reminded of this old story I started back in grad school. I get an incredible rush to write it, to finish the story. After three rewrites and revisions, I get the story down and a title: THE MOON’S EDGE.

So what’s it about?

Alyssira Beaulieu goes from high school senior to soldier when forced to survive in a post-apocalyptic Boston. She might have to cross a dangerous wasteland to retrieve a journal capable of dismantling the evil Moon Empire and thwarting their plans to sell Earth to an alien race. That is unless she chooses to fight an equally dangerous battle with her fellow soldiers instead.

WISHES: I would really love a potential mentor to help me with plotting and pacing, along with word economy and choice. I can be wordy sometimes, and it can be hard for me to catch that on my own. I’d also like help with whether my characters’ actions/reactions are logical. My brain works differently in what I think would be an appropriate response to some things.

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WHY YOU SHOULD PICK ME:

First: If you love sci-fi stories about queer kickass heroines who mess up big-time, heroines that are stubborn, frank, and humorous (some humor is important to me so let me know if I’m funny or not ^^), then you’ll enjoy MOON’S EDGE. Also, I have a great cast of supporting characters: love interests, friends, a hot dude who bakes pies, and a growing sibling relationship.

Group dynamics are really important to me in a story, so if you could help me improve that, I’d be forever grateful. Also, my story has a BIG fantastical element, so it’s more like SF/F. If you don’t mind or rather enjoy the two together in one story, then I think you’ll enjoy my manuscript.

 

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My story takes place in noir type cyberpunk city.

 

Second: I work hard. I’m not sensitive. I take critiques and use it to turn whatever I have into gold. With the right mentor, I know we can make gold. Rip me to shreds, and I’ll do everything I can to show you how much better I can be. I’m an Aries, we love challenges. MISSION: ACCEPTED.

 

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Proud to be an Aries. Go Team Valor!

Third: Despite all the passion, I’m really chill and love cracking jokes, even if they’re bad or corny. So if you have a good sense of humor, then let’s make bad jokes together. 😀

All right, let’s get this started!

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Featured image by Marek Okon @ Sci-fi Fantasy Horror

Warning: Inside the Mind of a Highly Functioning Depressive 1.0

Warning: Language

It’s 1:30 in the morning as I write this now with my mind unable to sleep thanks to the millions of thoughts flitting across my head at 240kmh (that’s 150mph for us non-metric folk).

I feel the pain of the world too easily with all the tragedies unfolding this year, this week, today, right now, threatening to tear my heart and mind apart. Hopelessness sets in along with my weakness and sense of powerlessness to change or stop the daily horrors. Forget our politicians. We’d have a better chance of asking a group of orangutans to draft new laws that could carry out lasting change.

I wish peace could be attainable for our planet, but it doesn’t feel like it will ever happen. Sometimes it feels like hate runs deeper than love. That violence is our code instead of helping and caring for our fellow neighbor. And that we would rather cheer for those who scream the loudest and throw verbal vomit the farthest.

But most of us are asking the same question: What the fuck is wrong with humanity?

It’s not like it’s anything new. Generally, humans have always sucked since the beginning. It’s just with the countless social media options of our modern society, we now have the wonderful pleasure of knowing exactly how much we suck, and this shit can be quite overwhelming.

I know we can’t have a perfect world, but could we at least have a world that can work on dialing down the shittiness factor of humanity, its greed, lust for hate, death, and destruction? What would it take? What would we have to do? How long would we be willing to wait for it to happen? Why am I thinking about these things? Why do I care so much when all I’m doing is exacerbating my depression with all of these thoughts?

And yet, I can’t escape them because it’s who I am; it’s pretty much engrained in my DNA to be heavily concerned about the state of the world and humanity. Lucky me.

I know there’s more good than bad out there. Unfortunately, our social media outlets have a high propensity for tragedies and crude humor and cats, always the damn freaking cats. Okay, can’t hate too much on the cats because those little bastards are too cute and entertaining. I mean, just look at this.

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Catroll! Yeah!

But to get back on track, we need more good news to help balance out the bad. We’re not that starved for sensationalism and horrors that we would throw away the stories of humans not being shitty for once and actually accomplishing pretty amazing feats to help others and make the world a lot less horrible.

Maybe I’m simply talking to the wind, and we’ve long resigned to our fate to stay the same and not evolve into better versions of ourselves. I know that isn’t the case, but it certainly does feel that way.

We can’t stay stagnant and keep hoping someone else will the do the dirty work for us. The social upheaval our world needs today won’t come from one charismatic, uplifiting leader, but from everyone coming together to wake up and yell a resounding, “Enough is enough.” And then going there to do something about it.

Anyway, what about you? What keeps your mind running at night if it does?

Stay amazing

Samantha

Being Alone and Lonely in Japan: An Introvert’s Perspective

 

Listen, you’ll need bottles of cheap wine, 500+ tracks of good music, some of it mindless like 2000s pop, a deeper appreciation for introversion, a good activity to speed up time—mine is writing (thank God or else I would’ve jumped in front of a Shinkansen already)—Netflix playing in the background, a quick dismissal of whatever qualms you’ve had about talking to yourself in public, your Kindle to tackle all that reading you’ve long neglected, and a big healthy dose of IDGAF anymore because it’s that serious.

Loneliness and being alone.

Two different concepts but living in a small town in Japan, I can no longer tell the difference.

Being alone is loving your own company because you think you’re the coolest even when you’re not, but it doesn’t matter. You must believe you’re the coolest if you’re going to get onboard with being alone.

You relish the silence that comes once you’ve entered your place after work. You don’t want to bang your head over the deafening sound of your endlessly rolling thoughts.

You can relax, stretch your limbs, get stuff done, eat ugly, forget the pants, and curse loudly at the stupidity of whatever show you’re watching. Sleep late or early. Read or waste time on YouTube videos or scrolling through Facebook.

No one is there to nag you. No one is there to ask you for any favors. No one is there to annoy you. No one is there to judge you.

No. One. Is. There.

Back home, I enjoyed being alone. But here in Japan, it’s a different story because I’m alone every day even when I’m with people, sometimes especially when I’m with people.

Back home, I’m not alone every day because when I’m over being alone, I can go ahead and be with people I love and enjoy talking with. I can take a break from being alone. I have a choice.

But here, six thousand plus miles away from people who like hugging (I’m a hugger; people aren’t huggers here), who can keep me engaged in a good conversation, and who have a strong connection with the real me, I can’t take a break from being alone. Guess what happens? My time alone eventually turns into the beast called loneliness.

Hold on tight because I’m about to drop some bombs about loneliness in Japan, especially when you live in a rural town where the most exciting thing is an earthquake tremor.

First, let me get this one simple thought out of the way: being lonely in Japan sucks.

Okay, now we can go ahead and hit the deeper points.

1.) Communication:

If I ever plan to live in a foreign country where the people don’t speak either French, English, or Spanish, I’ll make sure to be enrolled in real, not online, language classes. My Japanese ability is enough to get me by and fulfill essential needs: shopping, eating out, traveling, and banking.

But a person needs more to maintain a healthy mind. A person needs conversations that go beyond likes and dislikes and what you think about Japan or why you’re here.

After answering these questions multiple times, you don’t want to talk to anyone anymore. You instead end up talking to yourself since you’re under the impression that you’re the most interesting person you know.

Just kidding, of course. Maybe.

There have been times when I didn’t make any attempt to start a conversation because I knew it wouldn’t lead anywhere significant. I chose to stay quiet and only talk when spoken to.

As an introvert, keeping up a superficial conversation drains so much energy out of me. It augments my depression and feelings of loneliness. In fact, relief  spreads all over me when the conversation ends.

Of course, I talk with my family and friends back home and it helps a great deal, sometimes even saves my life. But nothing can match the simple joy of talking to someone in person, seeing each other’s eyes, smiles, funny grimaces, and feeling each other’s energies.

Here, I am no better than a talking doll with a string you can pull on her back. A doll’s probably more alive, though.

2.) Weekends:

In a previous post, I wrote about how Japan has been great for my writing in term of getting the words down. Why? Because my weekends consist mostly of drinking white wine, cleaning my apartment, and writing.

I’ve written more than I’ve ever had here. It’s the result of not having my weekends booked with the laughter and joy of family and friends. Instead, it’s me, the laptop, and a fiery passion to get work done.

Writing is great. I love it to death. You all know that already. But my sanity needs more than writing. In fact, too much writing has made me colder, more introverted (yes, that can be a bad thing; balance is key, people), and a tad more obsessed with writing itself, which I didn’t think was even possible considering how passionate I am already.

I’m sad to say that I’ve also lost a good chunk of interest in traveling to other cities here. Depression does that to you. Robs you of things you once enjoyed like traveling and exploring new places (thank goodness it hasn’t taken writing yet; the universe knows I’d end it if I lost that). So I prefer to stay in and write at my desk or sit in the corner of my favorite café in town and spend hours writing there.

Another culprit behind my not traveling so much is having to do it alone. This is hard for me to admit, but I don’t like traveling alone.

Kudos to those who can do it, but it’s not for me. I can live alone, no problem, but traveling alone pushes me further into my head and thoughts, which makes me talk out loud more than I’m comfortable with before I can check myself.

If I do have to travel alone, it needs to be in nature with a sparse sprinkling of folks. I can’t stay in crowded places or else I’ll suffocate. So it’s hard to explore a new city because those have lots of people, right? What can I do except run away back to my room where—spoiler alert—no people.

But if I’m with someone, my mind takes a break from the crowds and inner thoughts to focus on the person beside me. I feel better and can endure a trip for quite a long time. I become a happy traveler.

3.) Daily Life:

No. I don’t exist in my daily life. Reality doesn’t exist in my daily life. Nothing exists in my daily life. Monday morning through Friday night is known as THE VOID, the zenith of my loneliness. I escape it somewhat unscathed on Friday nights with lots of wine.

They say life is what you make it. Yeah, well, I’m hanging by my teeth on the highest ledge of the Burj Khalifa to make it through the rest of my stay here in Japan. But the key to surviving this great leviathan called loneliness is not giving in to it.

Never give in, just keep pushing and another day will come one after the other until it’s all over, and you can go back and ask yourself, “What the hell was I doing with my life then?”

Living. You were living and you keep doing it, except way smarter this time around.

So, what are your experiences with being alone and lonely? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Samantha

Feeding on Rejection, Criticism, and Reality Checks

This is how it goes. I submitted a short story to a horror magazine last month and received a response about four days later. Before I clicked open the email, I knew it’d be a rejection, and lo and behold, it was a rejection. I promptly dropped it into my Rejections Folder, bringing the count up to 63 big fat NOs from literary agents and magazines.

Now, some might say I brought the rejection to myself for calling it out. Negative. As a writer, I’ve learned to expect rejection 99% of the time and hope for a positive response 1% of the time. It’s not that I think I’m a shitty writer, or else I would’ve quit torturing myself years ago and slide into living a more normal and stable life like most people. You know, be happy.

But I can’t quit writing because a powerful spirit of creation possesses my body: I must write, create, or I die. I’m totally seriously. This is deeper than a calling. It’s like having a second heart. Kill it and my real heart will die soon after. Try to take it away from me and I’ll cut you off cold. Writing has been with me for twenty-one years. Guess who will win in a relationship? Yes, that’s right.

I live in a passionate hell of my own making: it burns, but the flames are never hot enough to destroy me. Sometimes the flames purify me before they go back to burning again. And so I keep writing and grinding hard to get my work published.

Each literary rejection I receive adds a layer of steel around my heart where now even the criticisms, both helpful and painful, I receive from people in situations unrelated to writing have a minuscule effect on me.

I used to be a highly sensitive person with a raging temper who would chew your head off if you offended me. My response to heated environments would turn me into a twister of dramatic outbursts, rushing to make a series of bad decisions based on my current emotional state. In short, I was a walking bomb of rage, ready to explode at the slightest mean poke.

When I received my first batch of rejections, I wanted to throw my laptop out the window and eat a carton of ice cream to heal my scorched soul. The second and third wave of rejections forced me to work harder to improve my craft, read, write more, edit, rinse and repeat. By the fourth and fifth wave, I knew and understood why I was rejected and simply worked on fixing that.

This is what goes through my head now when I receive a rejection:

Oh, I probably should’ve done this and that, or my style doesn’t suit their tastes. Ok, back at it to do some edits or find new people to submit.

I get a small prick in my chest, of course, because I’m human, but I’m no longer devastated or start cursing everything aside from that one obligatory ah, f**k. My hardened writer mindset propels me forward so I don’t stay stuck in a haze of self-pity or low self-esteem.

I don’t have time for that. There’s writing, editing, reading, and learning to be done, and I, unfortunately, don’t have an android version of myself to do it all. It can be hard and frustrating, but I’ve got to do it anyway.

They say writing to get published is a long waiting game, but for me, it’s also a race against myself. How can I be better than my old self in terms of writing speed, quality, word choice, characterization, pacing, tension, and making a reader laugh out loud or get teary-eyed?

The truth is that this race never ends. I’ve signed up for a lifetime journey of self-discovery, pushing my limits, and experiencing the amazing exhilaration of bringing worlds and characters to life.

All the negatives that come with writing—the self-isolation, neurosis, deadlines, rainstorm of rejections and critiques, and so on—can’t compete with the deep self-satisfaction, self-affirmation, and, definitely for my case, the pure thrill of creating.

Sometimes it’s beyond logic and reason, beyond getting published, beyond living forever in your books; it’s knowing exactly why you exist despite what everyone and everything believes and suggests.

And so it goes like this. I feed on rejections, the criticisms, and the occasional harsh reality checks. I don’t ignore them, though. That’s different and unwise. I use them as fertilizer to help my craft grow into a robust green garden full of vitality and beauty.

As a writer, creative, or any person pursuing a project with an insane passion, we can’t let the failures and defeats snuff us out from under the soles of their feet. We push back, get ourselves back up and running again, and seek to learn more. Always. Because what doesn’t kill us shouldn’t only make us stronger, it should make us smarter so that the same old shit doesn’t keep happening again.

And while rejections are important for growth, victories are still better. And that’s what I want. Victory.

What’s your experience with rejection or criticism? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Samantha

Featured Image credit: by Park Pyeongjun via totorrl0107 

 

For Those Who Refuse to Quit