Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

MWSA promo by Better Book Videos

Link to a video spot by hubby. If you're an author & you need a book video or promo spot, e-mail me.

MWSA Promo -- http://bit.ly/126UwI

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Writing and Emotion

Cats. Fire. Nature. Michael Jackson. Cinema. Music. Ghosts. Metaphysics.

What do all of these have in common? These all have evoked an emotional response in me over the past several weeks. In my mind, I've written quite a few blogs, essays or articles about these subjects -- and more. The way my thought process goes, I see, hear, smell, taste something and, invariably, that sensory experience connects to emotions/thoughts and then I'm led on a near-constant journey where the original stimuli branches out and connects to hundreds -- or even thousands -- of other stimuli. It's a never-ending process. And if you aren't a writer, artist, musician or other creative individual, I'm quite sure it could drive you stark raving mad.

Deep down, I'm undeniably an emotional person. Even overly sensitive. People who don't know me well may never guess that since I sometimes come off as stand-offish, distant, detached or blunt, but the truth is that I often display those behaviors because that's my shell of protection. It's a way to avoid getting hurt or used. The layers of shell have built up over decades of being fooled, manipulated and used by people I thought had my best interests in mind, but who didn't. Nonetheless, if you crack and pick off the shell, you'd find a soft inner core that, unless kept in check, reacts to anything and everything through the conduit of emotion. Television news is horrible for me to watch because it doesn't take much to tug on those wispy emotional threads that dangle so precariously inside my heart and soul.

When someone dies, whether I knew them as a person or not, I feel it like a deep, stabbing pain of sadness and regret for a life lost. Rationally, I believe the essence of life, personality and intelligence doesn't end when your physical body dies; after all, I'm a paranormal investigator and founder of a well-known paranormal investigation group in my hometown. Given our personal brushes with paranormal encounters, electronic voice phenomena and videotaped anomalies, I can say with conviction that I do believe that we survive after our corporeal, bodily form has passed. However, even though I believe that, I still mourn when someone passes -- especially when it was a tragic and unexpected surprise. This covers losses of people who were known or unknown to me, as well as celebrities and average people.

The loss of children hit me especially hard, most pointedly in the case of missing and/or exploited children who've been snatched from their homes or off the streets from strangers who turn out to be monstrous murderers. I can't understand people could commit such a heinous, cruel and horrible crimes against such innocent beings. Such cold, heartless and evil acts are beyond my comprehension. As a mother of two wonderful children, I cannot possibly imagine the agonizing sense of loss and unequivocal pain and suffering families of these missing/murdered children have to go through. If you have a heart and a soul of ANY kind, how could you conceive of such an outrageous black act? Then again, criminals such as those must have empty, black souls. Such, to me, is evil incarnate and resident here on earth.

Horror films featuring paranormal phenomena aren't really horror to me; it's the shocking acts of human beings -- living human beings -- that qualify most as horror to me. As I've said quite often, I'm less afraid of the dead or undead than I am of the living. The true embodiment of evil is the sick, twisted, living human who's lurking out there on the streets (or in your own home), not those souls who've passed on to another plane of existence and who are simply trying to get your attention or making their presences known to the living (if they're able to). More on this at another time.

Celebrity deaths elicit the usual sadness in me as does the death of an average person. However, the deaths of Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson affected me in ways I hadn't expected. The curious thing is that, even though I respected the artistic talents of both men, I can't say I was a fanatic or hard-core fan of either of them. When Heath died, I called my husband on the phone and was sobbing so hard I could barely speak. Likewise, when I read Michael Jackson had died, I began bawling like a child. I never owned any Heath Ledger movies and I never owned any Michael Jackson albums in my life. I enjoyed Heath's movies and Michael's movies, but my response to their deaths would lead you to believe I'd been a hardcore fan of both. The sting of Heath's death lessened with time, but Michael Jackson's has hit me harder than I imagined -- ever. What was it, I wondered? I sat for hours watching MJ videos, listening to MJ songs, viewing MJ interviews. What was going on?

There were two emotional points going on for me, I figured. The first had to do with accidental and/or unexpected death. The type of death that knocks the wind out of you and leaves you gasping in utter shock. I felt the same way with David Carradine's death, but only after I discovered the cause of his death. These deaths reminded me of how I felt after the accidental death of my first husband in 2001. It was sudden, shocking, unexpected, mind-jarring, incomprehensible. My world -- and my life -- changed forever. I was given a second, different life in the process. Unfortunately, coping with the remnants and ghosts of that first life still lurk like torturous wraiths in the corridors of my soul.

I think it's the combination of sudden and accidental that gets to me the most, probably because it dredges up a huge maelstrom of painful emotion and memories that I have tried, over and over, to leave behind. Each time I read or hear about a tragic, sudden death, the ghosts of my past come back to haunt me. I keep trying to escape the specters of my past, but in doing so I've ignored the fact that you can't really ever do that. You have to make peace with your painful past -- and death itself -- before you can truly move on. I'm still at war and still fighting a battle of epic proportions. I long for complete and total resolution, but so far it's eluded me. I'm at 75 percent, but that last 25 percent is a real tough bitch.

Yes, it doesn't take much to bring tears to my eyes or elicit a lump in my throat. I won't fish because I can't stand to put worms on hooks because of the pain the worms will go through. Yes, I'm a sensitive bleeding heart in a huge way. Animal shelters break my heart because I don't want to leave ANY of the animals there. I can't take them all home, but if I had the power to find all of them homes, I would. Two of my cats I adopted from the shelter. Both of them are black cats, and black cats tend to be abused and abandoned in larger proportions, usually because people think they are evil or they believe that owning them portends of bad things happening to the owner. Pure bunk!

There are countless experiences and subjects that send me over the end into the abyss of deep emotion. This can be both good and bad. It's good in that, as a writer, you must be able to feel and to connect with the feelings of the world and its other inhabitants. It's fortunate because those emotions fuel your muse to write about those subjects, and writing about those subjects can serve as a catalyst for change, or at the least, meaningful dialogue.

The other side of the coin is that emotion, at least for me, can be crippling. If I give into it too much, then I find myself paralyzed and depressed. Once I've reached that stage, I am unable to write until I regain my center and composure. There are things I know I can and should write about, but I am unable to because of the overwhelming emotional connection I have to those subjects. And yet, I know I need to write about them -- not merely for myself, but for others who are dealing with the same issues and/or past events. There is catharsis in writing about such things, but the danger lies in of teetering back into a chasm of despondency.

Where does one find the balance? It does no good to eradicate emotion -- and really, can one do that at all? Emotion, for me, is an integral part of the writing process. I never write about anything unless I can generate emotion about it, whether it's joy, anger, surprise, disgust or [fill in the blank]. If a subject doesn't engender a sense of emotion in me of some sort, then I don't want to bother. But how does one taste of emotion, dip one's proverbial toe in it and swim in its waters without drowning? How does one write with emotion without risking going off the edge and into the painful abyss? I don't have the answer. Yet. Perhaps you do.

Because I am a scribe and a communicator, I have no choice but to keep writing. Because I am a human being, and one with a heart and a soul, I have no choice but to keep feeling and emoting about life, people, things, subjects. I suppose in the end I should consider myself lucky in that many people do not have an outlet for their overwhelming emotions, but I do. It's a gamble as to whether or not I'll be overcome when I'm writing about those emotions connected with an idea or subject, but for now that's a chance I have to take. Let's hope I can keep from drowning in them.

Official pollster and also attending Military Writers Society Of America (MWSA) conference in Orlando, FL

Hello there, scribes!

Great news! I've been asked to be a pollster for the MWSA People's Choice Award Contest for the Military Writers Society Of America (MWSA). Winners will perform their work at the MWSA Conference in Orlando, FL this October.

Go here to read about the contest and learn how to submit your entry:

In addition, Paul and I will be traveling to Orlando, FL to attend the conference from October 9-11. We'll be staying at the Westin Imagine Orlando. ;-) Paul will be the official videographer for the event.

For more information on the Military Writers Society Of America (MWSA) and the conference, visit: http://www.militarywriters.com