In which I discuss being a Child of God, a Christ follower who fights depression,

who writes Spec Fic, makes photographic images, and is studying art and illustration,

who is a STEAM lover, math and computer tutor, and a 2A supporter.

About Me Header


About Me

About Me

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Study. Practice. Learn. Draw. Write. Live.

Gathering and uniting the Forces of STEAM with the Warriors of Spe C'f Iic.
Bringing understanding. Lighting the darkness. Defending mankind from ancient evil.

Art DRΣΔ7XΛZ Youtube Channel

My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me,
and horror hath overwhelmed me.
I will call upon God;
and the Lord shall save me.
Evening, and morning, and at noon,
will I pray, and cry aloud:
and he shall hear my voice.

Sometimes, way too often, I fail God, but He picks me up, cleans me off, and helps me to continue on the journey of living life and writing for Him.
My childhood home was Alaska, where I had a fair share of adventures, and misadventures, including surviving the largest recorded earthquake to hit the North American continent.
I attended college in Oregon, and currently reside in the Seattle area. Many of my Works in Progress take place in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
In 2nd grade I became an avid reader, and in 7th grade I began the struggle with myself, and God, of whether or not I wanted to accept the title "Writer."
Since JAN 2016 I've been taking Prozac and I use this blog as a way for me to get myself to work on self-assigned writing projects, a way to encourage myself to get on with the adventure of being a Spec Fic writer.
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the King; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. - Psalm 45:1 King James Version

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands. -Psalm 90:17

And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
To devise cunning works, … to work in all manner of workmanship.
… and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom,
that they may make all that I have commanded ... - Ex 31:3 King James Version

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. - Psalm 19:1 King James Version

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. - Psalm 33:6 King James Version

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. - Psalm 90:1-2

Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. - Nehemiah 9:6 King James Version

For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name. - Amos 4:13 King James Version

06 November 2016

BALANCE and CHANGE! Hanging On, Opening Up, Letting Go, Letting God, and Receiving His Blessings.

NOV 06, 2016
This post was scheduled for NOV 1, 2016.  My brother came by one week ago today, and in the spirit of the topic of this article, I needed to balance spending time with him, and trying to do "family stuff," verses sticking to my schedule to meet my self-imposed deadline.

With that said …

My September post went up as scheduled on September 01, and the next day I finished the post for October.  But I mangled the process to set up the publishing schedule and didn't get it published until October 02.

Since I finished the October post well ahead of time and had a large lead time for November's post, I wanted to get back to work on some Speculative Fiction, my werewolf and I were needing to get in some hunting, and I was hoping to start working on reviewing math at Khan Academy again. 

The Prozac and Thyroid Meds I've been on since January to treat my depression have suppressed my appetite and increased my metabolism, resulting in a loss of about 30 pounds at this point.  Now it's time to lose some more weight.  The weight of the anchors from the past that have been holding me down.

* * * * *


I guess I've been doing pretty well at blogging on a regular schedule.  To this point the schedule's been only once a month, sure, but at least I've kept at it since I posted Depression, Writers' Group Conferences and Board Positions, and Blogging Again June 15th. 

This marks 6 posts,  which is the most I've ever done in a single year so far, and is the longest time I've continued regularly scheduled postings.   However, I did get 9 posts up across DEC 2009 - FEB 2010 before failing to continue posting at least semi-regularly.

My next goal is to hit 10 regularly scheduled posts.  I also have the goal of perhaps posting twice a month, one post as I have been doing, and one post as a report on the monthly Northwest Christian Writers' Association meetings, although that may not happen until next September.  Before that though I want to build up a buffer again for getting out  posts.

It took me about 3½ months to build up a 2 month buffer for getting out posts, and I lost that lead when I got into a cleaning spree in the middle of September, a cleaning spree to declutter my room, my life, and my mind. 

As I start work on this blog article for November I have only 3 weeks to finish and stay on schedule and I must balance this decluttering I've started with writing my next post.

And drawing. 

I've been working on finding balance.  Balance between blogging and Spec Fic writing, balance between writing and drawing, balance between these right-brained, creative activities,

and left-brained, logical, analytical activities like math, computer programming, and science,

and getting ready to get back to work tutoring.

But also I had to balance other activities.

The cleaning spree started partly when I wanted more, and better balanced, light for my drawing.  This required being able to open the blinds on my window, blinds I'd not bothered to open in the last 4 years I've been here because I had collected too much junk which prevented the light from getting through to me.  But it was time to shine a little light on things, and I started throwing out the junk between me and the light I needed.

As changes happen they cause more changes to occur and I am trying to adapt to those changes, more specifically trying to instigate those changes and to use them as opportunities.  My moving the small pebbles  in front of the blinds started a landslide of cleaning and I continued throwing away more of the old junk I've accumulated, junk  that has become dusty anchors, anchors I've lugged around for far too long simply out of habit.

I have to balance out how much time I spend on decluttering with how much time I spend using the newly salvaged space.  I can't afford to get so focused on cleaning that I forget my goal is to eliminate distractions so I can stabilize my environment and concentrate on writing and drawing.  I certainly don't need eliminating distractions to become a distraction.

Balancing my writing and drawing time also includes being observant and intentional of how much time I spend  listening to Writing Excuses  podcasts, reading Writer's Digest blog articles and books, and watching  my YouTube playlist drawing  videos.  Gathering information from podcasts , blog articles and books, and videos is great, but I need to spend more time practicing what I am studying. 

Collecting information and taking notes only goes so far, and I won't get better until I apply the information. 

Getting better and finding balance includes not only making changes to my physical environment, but also making changes in my habits as well.

As I get rid of temporal possessions which I've mistakenly held close, it brings to mind needing to get rid of old habits I've held on to so dearly, old ways of doing things, and even eliminating entire activities that were distracting me from the things I needed to do to improve my mood.  The things which I held  that distracted me from writing, and now drawing.

As with throwing away the junk in my room I've been holding on to, some of the junk in my life has been easier to let go off than other stuff.  In order to make room in my life to receive God's blessings, in order to move forward, I am trying to open my hands and let go of the things that I've held so tight, so God can give me what He wants me to have, and so I can cling more tightly to Him.

How much of the junk in our lives do we accept because those we call (or called) "friend" expect it of us?  Because our family expect it of us, because that's the way they did things? Because that's the way it's always been done?

How much junk in our lives we hold on to was passed down from earlier generations?  How much junk do we hand down to the next generation, and how much junk do they pass down to the generation that follows them?  How many generations must inherit the previous generations' junk?  How much is it costing us to hold onto this stuff?  How much has it cost me?

Selling some of the stuff, as friends and family have told me I should have done, even if it may have had some small monetary value, would have cost me more than what few dollars I may have gotten out of it.  Continuing to hang on to anchors, hoping to still get some good use out of them, other than to be pulled down, is more a waste of energy and a repetition of the old habits I'm trying to break out of.  I simply need to get rid of this stuff so that it doesn't continue pulling me back down into the crab pot.

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

In the spirit of not always doing what I've always done, there is much I was going to try to include in this article that I had to leave out, now with my being delayed, there is even more.  The closer I got to finishing this post, the more difficult I found it to balance between "getting it perfect," vs getting it  finished.

I was attempting to balance getting this post finished on time, and saying what I felt I needed to say  with going too long, saying too much, and being late.

All I can do is all I can do, with this article, with my cleaning and decluttering my room, with letting go, and with Letting God.  And with doing what I can and leaving the results in God's hands.

Don't worry, I still have plenty of fodder for future posts.
1,000,000 words, 10,000 hours, 46 years, 7 months and counting worth.

Man going to writing conferences  can really be a pain.
And so can being a brother. But it was worth my being late on this post.

Until next time.

02 October 2016

Blogging, Conferences, Encouragement, Energy, Balance, and Therapy

I started back up on this blogging thing shortly after the NCWA 2016 Writers' Renewal Conference wrapped up in MAY, and then finally made my first recent post shortly after the last monthly meeting of the season in JUN.

Here it is OCT and we had our first meeting of the new year just shy of a fortnight after my SEP 1 post, and we will have our next meeting two days hence. 

After finishing Starving Artist for the AUG post I took some time off and worked on sorting my YouTube drawing video collection.  It took me about 2 weeks of on-again, off-again writing to finish up the SEP article, and then start this OCT article.  Even then I still continued to collect and organize even more drawing videos according to topic so I can better use the videos for future references as I continue this exploration of again trying to learn to draw. 

Finishing the SEP article early, and starting this article well ahead of time, encourages me to believe I can actually get a cache of articles stored up for future posts, rather than constantly struggling to get a post out by the first of each month, especially like the AUG Starving Artist post.  In fact I'm encouraged that I may be able to actually start working on my Spec Fic again soon.

I also get a lot of encouragement from my writing friends at NCWA by just being around them at our monthly meetings, and seeing other friends scattered across the internet, via Facebook, and seeing all their successes.

Several friends have won or been finalists in various contests.  The Realm Makers 2016 conference was JUL 28 - 30, and my NCWA friend Kim won the debut author award for her YA novel Into the Fire .

Oregon Christian Writers had their conference AUG 15-18, right after I started on this post, and NCWA friend Kathleen won Unpublished Historical Fiction for her book Children of the Revolution.  Also 2016 NCWA Writers' Renewal Conference speaker Ben Wolf won Published Children’s Book for his book I’d Punch a Lion in the Eye For You.

Congratulations to these three, and to all the other winners, and to my other friends who were finalists, and all the finalists.  Well done all.

Meeting new Spec Fic writing friends at the 2016 NCWA conference and was also a big encouragement to me.  Ben Wolf had mentioned that Realm Makers was wanting to do something on the west coast for their 5th year anniversary conference in 2017, and so all of us at the NCWA conference were hoping Realm Makers would be here in Seattle.  But alas, next year's Realm Makers conference is in Reno, NV., I have no idea how I'm going to make it, but sure would like to go and meet more of my online Spec Fic friends. 

It was around MAR, after about three months being on Prozac, when my blogging adventure was indirectly revitalized when I agreed to help out at the 2016 conference, which so greatly encouraged me to have made it through that experience.

It was that same time I also agreed to rejoin the board doing the AV support once again, the position I originally took on 7 years ago when I volunteered in SEP 2009.  The position I walked out of during the OCT of 2014 monthly meeting.  After that I took a year off from attending meetings, and took 2 years off from being on the board, after having done the AV / Tech support as a board member since Spring of 2012, and as early as SEP 2009 before it was a board position. 

It was only when our meetings moved out of Kirkland, to a more convenient location that I started attending again.  And on occasion they asked me to sub for the guy who was doing the AV stuff that year, which I suppose helped prep me to take on being in the position full-time again.  Right now though, at the end of AUG, as I write this, fighting my way through trying to get ready for the 1st meeting of the year in 12 days I  feel like an impostor.  I am hoping the energy from attending the conference will stay with me a bit longer, and help me as I try once again to organize my thoughts to get through making the Power Point slides for SEP's meeting, and that this blog will keep me headed in the "write" direction for getting things done.

Working on this blog, rejoining the board, my renewed interest in drawing, my Spec Fic writing, and my figuring out what to do with tutoring math and computer programming is requiring me to work out finding the right balance.

And in the spirit of balance, I have to balance out how long to make these posts, and I think we've come to the end of another installment.

Not only is writing this blog, getting posts out on a regular basis, even if only once a month at this point, and getting articles done ahead of time an encouragement, so are the comments you give me, both here on my posts, as well as on Facebook.  So thank you for reading and commenting.

01 September 2016

We Return to our Regularly Scheduled 2016 NCWA Writers' Renewal Conference After Action Report

After I got Starving Artist up on AUG 1 I kindda fell into a slump, writing that post drained me more than I expected, and for the next 5 days I let myself get distracted with watching and sorting drawing videos, and not doing any writing.  And even during the following week I was still not writing enough on this article. 

So then, where was I before I got interrupted by a writing assignment from Eric, my counselor?   Right, the 2016 NCWA Writers' Renewal.

I was saying I had made it to the 2016 Writer's Renewal Conference without turning around and calling Mindy and telling her I wasn't going to make it, and without leaving after I got there. 

It was a busy morning running around from room to room making sure workshop speakers' tech was working.  I ended up missing, or just plain skipping most Friday workshops.  I did get to Ben Wolf's workshop about writing Speculative Fiction.

While running around doing tech, and skipping workshops, I was visiting with Spec Fic writing friends, and we were talking about how we need a Facebook support group, since most of us are so spread out across the state, and cannot get together in person, except during the conference, and visiting once a year isn't enough.

And it's not always enough to hang out with other writers, even general fiction writers, because while writers are generally a misunderstood lot, non-fiction writer types often do not understand the act of writing fiction, and general fiction writers don't get writing Spec Fic, particularly in the so-called Christian publishing world - "Ewwww - 'Christian Fantasy' what's that all about?"  Apparently they never read Lewis' Narnia Chronicles.

So that's why, as I mentioned in Part 3 of Starving Artist, after Ben's "Making it Weird" workshop I went ahead and created a Facebook group for NCWA's Spec Fic Authors - come join us if you are a Spec Fic writing member of NCWA  It is a place where we can gather, at least virtually, and support one another, ask questions, whatever. 

Ben's workshop was also the genesis of the idea to create a new blog, called "Strange Realms - Spectacularly Redeemed,"  I intend it to be "A Place of Hope.  A Place of Light.  A Place of Healing.  A Place of Life."  The idea is to spectacularly redeem strange realms creation in our writing.  I want it to be a place where Christian Spec Fic authors can talk about why they write Spec Fic, what they write, and what they hope to accomplish with it, both what they hope to get out of it, and what they hope their readers get out of their Spec Fic.

And one thing led to another, and that is why I am thinking of also creating a Strange Realms - Spectacularly Redeemed Facebook group for those who would be interested.  It would be open to all Christian Spec Fic writers, and readers, whereas the  NCWA Spec Fic group is intended to be a smaller, local group, so if anyone wants to join, let me know, here in the comments or tag me in Facebook, I need one other member before Facebook will let me create a group (There cannot be only one).

The  2nd, and only other, workshop I went to was Ben Wolf's Realistic Combat for Writers.  After which I spoke up and said, "hey maybe I could do a workshop next year on Guns for Writers, since I like shooting and grew up around guns."  WHAT WAS I THINKING?  I gotta stop going to writing workshops while on drugs.  Well, we'll see when it comes time that they are looking for work shoppers for next year's conference, maybe I will have regained my sanity by then, and maybe those who heard me will have forgotten.

At the end of the conference they always give the attendees a chance to go up and talk, briefly, about what they got out of the conference.  I wasn't going to go up and say anything, but then I found myself in the front talking about having depression and walking out of the monthly meeting in OCT 2014, and almost not going to the conference this year.

Not only did I not plan on going up and speaking about my dealing with, and being treated for, depression, I certainly didn't have plans to start writing articles for this blog.  I figured it had pretty much died, and I was going to leave it dead and buried.  But then I found myself working on this blog, which meant putting down new words for a blog article, this blog article, for example, or it might mean reading, re-writing, editing, shuffling, and even deleting yesterday's words.

Writing these blog articles gives me more ideas for writing more articles to post.  Writing inspires me to keep writing. Blogging even inspires me with my Spec Fic writing I need to schedule into my day.

Not writing makes me want to keep not writing.

Writing begets writing.  Not writing begets not writing.  Like begets like.

I am a writer, therefore  I must write.

01 August 2016

What Does it Mean to be "A Starving Artist?" OR Why I Write Speculative Fiction.

Good Morning Campers.
We were going to interrupt our regular schedule for a special blog post.  My counselor, Eric, asked me to write an "essay" on what it would be like to be "A Starving Artist." Eric wanted this the next time we were to meet, which originally gave me
2 1/2 weeks for this project.  Sooooo my regularly scheduled blogging was going to be pre-empted for this project. 

But the morning of the appointment Eric called and said he had to cancel all of his appointments for that day.  So now the pre-empted schedule has been pre-empted.  And I will resume my regular posting schedule with this article, and Eric can read it next time we actually meet.  And I will use this next month to catch up on writing what I didn't focus on during the last 3 weeks.

I guess this will get me ready to have to take editorial redirection in my writing plans, as I have to shift from one project to another.

As I struggled to put down coherent thoughts, the first draft of this article, like most, if not all, had grown excessively long.  And even with what I've cut, it seems like it's still going to be longer than my earlier posts.

An artist is never finished with his work, he just finally has to abandon it.  So here we go. You've been warned. 

When Eric gave me this assignment, I knew it would take up the time I would normally spend writing blog articles, that's why I wanted to post this, to try to keep up on a schedule.  Sorry it's so long.

I considered breaking this into separate posts, but decided against it, since I was able to add the anchors to each part and link to those anchors below, to enable readers to break this into smaller chunks of reading, without having to search where they may have left off in their reading.


At this point, I suppose being a starving artist would be no worse than being on assistance for disability due to the depression I've been fighting.  Now that I'm on the Prozac, maybe I will start winning those battles, and get off assistance.

Hopefully the fact I've been writing more regularly is indicative that I am starting to win some of the battles.  Because at this point I'm thinking the starving artist thing is looking better and better.  Even though when I started writing in 7th grade I didn't want to be a starving artist.  Even though I still don't want to be just a starving artist.

What sparked this assignment from my counselor?

I suppose the assignment may stem from the fact I was telling Eric about the night when as I lay in bed I was thinking about all the various drawing videos I'd recently watched.

Or the assignment may have been due to the fact that I was talking to Eric so much about my writing, even this blog.

I started realizing I'm thinking differently about writing.
I used to say things like: "I started liking writing …," etc.
I now catch myself saying things like: "I started writing …," etc.
I recognized I was using the phrase " being a writer..," etc.,  while talking to Eric about being a writer, and then pointing out to him that I had noticed that.
I know these are small changes in wording, but to me they represent a big difference in how I look at my writing and at being a writer.

I may have also let slip that I've recently had the wild brained idea that I want to learn the sax, so I could play the blues.  However, if I could actually afford a sax, and lessons, I could afford to get a new camera, which I would do first.  And repair my 2-legged tripod.

At least drawing pencils and sketchbooks are fairly inexpensive.  And lessons on YouTube videos are free.  Free is good.

As I work on this assignment from Eric, I look back at the article "Reflections."  Again thoughts race through my mind, thoughts covering everything from childhood to recent events, regarding my experience with art, and I am having a very difficult time focusing on what to write.

Thoughts also race through my mind about this blogging I'm doing.  Thoughts about doing this writing assignment as an article to post.  Will it help me to write more?  Will it do my writing any good??  Will it do me any good?  Will I do anything with what I write??  Will any of you care?  Will there even be "any of you" by this point?  And what about all this drawing stuff? Where does it fit?  If you made it this far, congratulations.


What does it mean to be "A Starving Artist?"  Shoot, what does it mean to be an artist, period?

I suppose it means putting up with comments like "Art is just a hobby."  So says one "friend."  I think he includes writing in that statement, as well as my newly revived pursuit of drawing.  According to him I'm wasting my time.   I don't need that negativity. I believe his comment came during a discussion in which I told said friend about the drawing videos I'd mentioned to Eric - oops, and double oops.

This interest in drawing isn't something new. 

Recently I found some old drawing videos I had saved about 3 years ago.  I went back to YouTube to see what new videos the artists had put up.  I ended up not even watching the videos by those artists, as I found videos by other artists I liked better.

When I first started watching the videos I was just watching them for something educational to pass the time while taking a break from my writing.  And of course I had to mention both the writing efforts and the drawing videos to Eric.  I wasn't really engaged in the videos, as far as taking notes, etc., but soon I began to feel a reignited interest in drawing and dug out old drawing supplies that had lain forgotten, and gathering dust.

I found some old receipts in those forgotten and dusty supplies.  Some of the supplies are a dozen years old.  And some go back 2 decades to the drawing class I took in college for an elective.  This after being turned off from anything having to do with art in my high school art class - hmmmm, maybe why the supplies lay forgotten.  Also, at some point during the last 15 years, or so, I collected images to use as practice drawing subjects.  I also did still life setups to photograph and study for lighting and shadows.  After I started watching videos again I added more potential practice subjects to my collection.

Soon  after I started scribbling in one of my sketchbooks I became more actively engaged in paying attention to the videos, and started taking notes, rather than just passively listening.  This note taking was in the form of journaling in my sketch book, instead of jotting notes on scraps of paper, as I had done in the past, and then I would have to track down the scraps to do something with the notes.

Sometimes, I'm not able to focus enough to take notes, so I just watch to take a break from whatever else I am doing, like this blog article for Eric's writing assignment.  But eventually I go back to the other videos to continue taking notes.  Either way, I also I usually listen to 98.1 King FM  Classical Radio's Evergreen Channel  during the day to feed my creativity in general.

Beside finding videos on how to draw I also found videos on artists, and on being an artist.


Maybe being "A Starving Artist" means associating with other "Starving Artists," and living in an "Artist Community," whatever that means.  That would mean pure torture for me.  Maybe, it means, like some of them, signing up on Patreon or another crowd funding site like GoFundMe, and asking total strangers for help.

Maybe, like they discussed on Writing Excuses, it means suffering from Impostor Syndrome.  Or maybe it means really being an imposter.
There are so many "artists" I really don't want to be associated with.

Some of the videos I found was a bunch of TedX  "rah rah rah."  I don't do very well with "rah rah rah."

Other videos I found were along the lines of what to do or not to do as an artist, at least one was even aimed at "Starving Artists," others were Advice to Young Artists, and artists discussing their childhoods. 

A lot, or enough, of these "artists" look like burned out dopers.  So do some of those in the audience.
And, what they call "art," well….

A lot of people argue that art is a way to say something.
Yet others say things like "Art doesn't have to have meaning."
So what you are saying then has no meaning.

And then there was the statement "Art is only for the 'open-minded'." 
Really?  That doesn't seem to be very "open-minded."

Everybody seems to have an opinion, an untrained/uneducated opinion on what is "art."
Or they are over-educated and everybody oooos and ahhhhs over the so-called "artist," and thinks everything they say about art is so "deep."
No, it makes no sense, and you are afraid to say so.
Whereas, with math, there is a correct answer.

Hence my past reluctance, even continuing, even growing, reluctance as being seen as an "artist," starving, or not, and why I've stayed away from "art."

I do believe there is Absolute Truth, that there are things that are right and things that are wrong, regardless of what culture claims.  And I believe that true art reflects that these things are so.
And if you disagree, my truth is still valid, because if there is no Absolute Truth then my truth is just as valid as your truth, according to the logic that there is no Absolute Truth.  Therefore if I think what you call "art" is a pile of trash thrown against a wall, then you shouldn't be insulted.  After all my truth is my truth, and you say all truths are valid.  And … wait a minute.  Where is this all going?

Just like math having a correct answer, I believe there is true art, and there is, well, garbage.  "There is a certain sense in which art is its own justification. If art is good art, if it is true art, if it is beautiful art, then it is bearing witness to the Author of the good, the true, and the beautiful."  Our "impetus for producing … art is a desire for excellence. That desire stems from the … supreme example of excellence in all that is good and true and beautiful." - R.C. Sproul's teaching series about Recovering the Beauty of The Arts, and blog posts on The Christian and Art (Part One, Part Two, and Part Three).

That's why I write Speculative Fiction. 

Why, other than our own local Northwest Christian Writers' Association Facebook group, Realm Makers is one of the only groups I still follow, after almost totally disconnecting myself from Facebook, and I hope to be able to go to the Realm Makers conference one day soon .  (The 2016 conference just finished up, and the 2017 conference will be in Reno.)  Why I enjoy the Faith and Fantasy Alliance blog.

Why I am also in the middle of  creating a new blog, called "Strange Realms - Spectacularly Redeemed."  I intend it to provide Christian Speculative Fiction writers, and readers "A Place of Hope.  A Place of Light.  A Place of Healing.  A Place of Life." I intend for it to spectacularly redeem the creation of strange realms in speculative fiction as an art form. 


Why I am thinking of also creating a Strange Realms - Spectacularly Redeemed Facebook group for those who would be interested.  It would be open to all Christian Spec Fic writers, and readers, whereas the  NCWA Spec Fic group is intended to be a smaller, local group, so if anyone wants to join, let me know, here in the comments or tag me in Facebook.

So what does it mean to be "A Starving Artist?"  I still have no idea.

Maybe, just maybe, being "A Starving Artist" means being human, and letting friends know your needs, hopes, and dreams.  Great Scott.

Maybe it means being open and taking what was originally an assignment from my mental health counselor, and posting it as a rambling blog article (That's just crazy talk).  Maybe it means being where I am right now.  Maybe it means I'm heading in the right direction.

If I am going to be a writer, an author, an artist, an illustrator, a photographer, I will have to submit my work to someone to criticize and judge. 

I better start growing that extra layer of RINOTuff  ™  Skin now.  (I wonder if it comes in camo?)

01 July 2016

Blogging, NCWA, and My Friend Prozac

No sooner had I posted one blog article than I started the next one.  Or  Next Several.  I am writing a few extra articles to stay ahead of my planned schedule of posting once a month.

It will be easier to meet this self-imposed deadline without Facebook eating up my time, especially my writing time, since I unplugged it in January.  For the most part.  Except my writing groups.  More about that later.  Also, I found myself writing about unnecessary details in Depression, Writers' Group Conferences and Board Positions, and Blogging Again, so it got too long, and took too long to post.

In order to shorten the article and get it posted without more delay, I cut much of what I originally had to say and saved those notes in OneNote for future blog posts in which I could cover individual topics in more detail.  I also now use OneNote to collect thoughts I would have otherwise put on Facebook, which I can then expand  into fully developed blog articles.

When I first started getting treated for depression the doc put me on a higher dose  of Prozac for 6 weeks, but with the side-affects I asked her to lower the dosage.  After I got on the lower dosage the side-affects weren't so bad, and I was doing nicely and feeling better.  I know it won't be an instantaneous change, but more long and gradual.  Sometimes I still have bad days.  Sometimes I still have really bad days.

About 2 months on the Prozac, about 2 weeks on the lower dose, I wanted to help at the conference.  But when I  saw that we had moved the location, I decided I needed more time to think about whether or not I wanted to drive that far to volunteer.  Sometimes I still have bad days.
That was about the time Mindy called and asked me if I would be willing to come and try to help with doing the tech stuff at the conference.  And to return to the board as the Tech Coordinator.  And so I ended up agreeing to help at the conference, and to  return to the board.

Agreeing to help, and being able to help can be two different things.  I was extremely stressed getting to the conference, and several times on the way there I almost called Mindy and told her I wasn't going to be able to make it.   Sometimes I still  have really bad days.  Hence my initial reluctance about volunteering when I saw the venue had moved.  But we made it through without me walking out as I had done at our monthly meeting in October 2014.  Sometimes I have really, really bad days.

Blogging isn't just about sitting down and doing the writing.  There's also that little problem of developing a reader base, presenting a blog that people will want to read.  So 3 days after starting this post I started updating the look of the blog, besides working on several additional articles for future posts.

Well, I guess that's it for now dear reader.  I just hope I can keep up my planned monthly posting schedule, as this guy keeps staring out from my monitor, 

threatening me with 

if I don't write.

It's an effective incentive.  So please excuse me for now.  I have notes to turn into blog articles.  And I have Spec Fic to write.

15 June 2016

Depression, Writers' Group Conferences and Board Positions, and Blogging Again

The last monthly Northwest Christian Writers' Association meeting of the 2015 - 2016 season is done and over.  We will start back up in SEP - come and join us if you are able.  The Writers' Renewal of 2016 has come and gone.  The 2017 Conference is already scheduled and speakers and events being planned.

I worked on doing some tech stuff at this year's conference, after my friend Mindy, the president of NCWA the last two years, called and asked me if I would be willing to come and try to help out.  Between trying to do the tech stuff I made it to two workshops, both by Ben Wolf, one on Speculative Fiction, and one on realistic fight scenes in your work.  More on how those workshops inspired me later.

My depression had caught up to me in an ugly way in OCT of 2014, and I walked out of that meeting, and skipped going to meetings for that season.  I returned to the meetings in SEP 2015 when we changed locations for the second time in 2 years, but only helped with tech stuff occasionally.  When she asked me to help out at the conference, Mindy also asked me if I was ready, willing, and able to return to the board.  And so after a 2 year sabbatical  I have indeed returned as Tech Coordinator.

In JAN I started taking Prozac, as well as thyroid meds, as low thyroid can be related to depression.  Those who know me well say they can see an improvement, and I feel like I'm doing better.  I just have to be careful to not try to over do it and bite off more than I can handle as I get back into the swing of things. 

Being on the Prozac helped me to start feeling better enough to want to start helping out at NCWA again, and so I was able to agree to both help at the conference, and to return to the board.  The meds are also helping with me getting more motivation to do write again, including blogging, hence this new blog post.

Another part of why I started trying to work on this blog is because as part of getting back on the board, Mindy asked me for a head-shot and I sent her the head-shot I am now using.

She told me "Very funny.  If you're not careful I'll post that on Facebook."  People should be careful of what they threaten me with.

It is again my Facebook profile pic, as well as the pic for this blog, and also for my website, my NCWA profile, and all my other social media profiles.  I may change it again in the future, but have no current plans to do so.  As writers we are told to develop a platform.  Well, since I've often been told that my writing is "dark," I figure this is an appropriate pic, and some of my friends that also write Spec Fic have said that with what I write it is an appropriate pic.

So that is why my going around to all my social media sites and changing my profile pic to the above started me looking at blogging again.

Writing is like exercising.  When you get back into it, you want to be able to do all the "lifts" you know you should have been doing.  And yet you need to make sure to work out enough to be ready later to do the heavy lifting.  And now I have to be careful to not overdo it too soon after getting back into it after such a long break away from it.  So that's all for this post.  I have plenty of material I've made notes on, so hopefully I will be posting more regularly, at least for awhile.