Archive | July 2012

The Family Setting

I have spent the last few days enjoying a little time with my family.  The teenagers are starting to find more and more freedom until they will be eventually on their own.  That is a few years from now, but I like to think that we are getting the message across as to what is important and where their values will be. In a way, I am quite please with them and do not really look forward to losing them to the world.  I like to tease that I have plans for their rooms, but I will miss them more than I like to admit.

This brings me to a simple thought on the idea of family. As people on the planet Earth, we are filled with the many standards of what defines a family and what it means. Of course, the structure is usually built around a foundation of two people. They are the root of the family setting. In days past, the acceptable family was a father and mother who each saw to different duties in the house. The father played the part of the bread winner, while the mother saw to the home and childcare as necessary. This status quo family has been evolving in the recent fashion as our progressive society looks to find more and more freedoms that fit into the lifestyles of individuals.

I have been very fascinated by one side feeling a threat to the ideal family values being posed by people who have non-traditional lifestyles. I use such phrasing to make it understandable that this is the mainstream view of society, but I am a strong believer that we are each responsible for our lives. Our open minds will learn from past mistakes. My question is the redefining of family settings.  We can no longer turn to the cookie-cutter family with a father and mother who fill roles.  Do we have a need to restructure our family values to understand more of the world and those from different backgrounds?

The answer is simple.  We need to break this oppressive status quo in all areas especially the family unit. Its purpose is to prepare children for their lives in the world and ready them with the foundations of beliefs that are their choice. Traditions and customs are part of the molding, but we must leave them open to the liberality and cognizance of their minds.  This is not something that only a husband and wife can teach.  It is something that should be ideal for any married couple, single parent, or same-sex couple. Establishing this core value is the family value that I endorse and encourage in my family.  It has opened my children to extraordinary events and insights into the world around them.

For some, this might be old news, but for me, this has been a great turn in comparison to my own upbringing.  I believe that this is the reason that I often fight for the ideals of a progressive thought style.  It is very exciting to have each of my children grow into adults who will be able to make solid judgments that are not filled with the heavy baggage that often closes the mind to new ways of thinking. I can honestly say that they are becoming free of intolerance and ignorance.

With that said, I believe that we all should take time to reevaluate ourselves and remember that we are all still from the same family…the human race. Allow evolution to proceed and crawl from the bog of archaic ways that suffocate our minds.  Open it up and fill it with what is needed to make the world better.

One more to go and I will be hitting a goal that I set long ago.  My fiftieth post is on its way.

crudus animus

Advertisements

A Real Character

In a quest to create something that is entertaining in written form, the characters that drive a plot need to be engaging with the audience. Perhaps it is a common trait shared or a familiar way of thinking and solving the problems. The character becomes the window into the storyteller’s mind as the tale is told. This becomes the voice of the writer as the story moves along. It may not be a first person voice all the time, but the narrative does unfold around this particular character. Instinctively, the author dips into this pool and allows the character choose the path that each takes. Strong characters will become fascinatingly independent. However, here is the question: what elements must be addressed in order to make this possible? How does an author make a character?

As with any new skill or self-taught talent, turning to information on techniques is the first step. The numerous sources of information on the Internet can provide a vast pool to choose from. One of the common techniques is to create the traits of the character with a questionnaire. Favorite color and hobbies might be included, but the focus is on the personal features and simple background. This particular aid helped with the very simple foundation of the character.

Building on this, the construction of the character moves to a stage where the simple traits are fleshed out with a few descriptions of the personality and a little history.  This is a framework to enhance with further details of the background history for the character. Perhaps the veteran cop grew up in a rough neighborhood and had some friends who ended up on the other side of the law. The torn loyalties to his old friends and his duty as a law officer can play upon his life.  The stretch of the features can create a vast range of emotions and personality reactions.

Once the structure begins to take on the weight of a fleshed-out history, it is time to test the waters with this newly minted character and his personality in a few short paragraphs with a small obstacle to test him. The thinking of the character is governed by his past and his present. Soon, he is creating a future without the author actually knowing what will happen next. A curious energy will take over the character if the story is good enough. Nothing fulfills the character’s existence more than the challenges and struggles. Finding success in lieu of these gives the character life.

This brings the character element to the story framework and readies for the plot. Now most techniques involve what is called a character sketch which can help this process from the beginning, but I believe that should be the last piece. With the traits set, the history constructed, and the personality formed, the character sketch is a technique similar to the short story test, but it is mainly a reflection of the character at the start of the larger story. It is the jump-off point for the fiction and frames all the elements in a few pages.

As an author sits to begin, the techniques are varied, but the results come from the correct elements. It is not always the course for every writer and it would be interesting to listen to the different ways that authors create. For the moment, these techniques will have to work to produce the proper cast for the story. What does matter is that characters find a story and the plot evolves into a life of its own.

crudus animus

My First Award

For today’s blog, I am going to celebrate a great deal of the day. It was a very good day in my personal life with some good news on the home front. Not to mention my geek-out moment with the last blog’s comment section (Scott Sigler’s comment was a wow for me), I have had a very week so far. I am truly becoming a believer in the community that is around me and it has inspired me to move forward. With that said, today, I was nominated for an award: One Lovely Blog Award. The following is the posting pertaining to it.

lovely-blogger-award

The rules of receiving this award are:

Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post.

Share 7 things about yourself.

Nominate 15 or so bloggers you admire.

Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know.

Thanks:

I would first like to thank Miss Zari at http://travelculturefood.wordpress.com/ for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award.!!

7 Things About Me:

  1. I have three children: Daughter, Son, and Daughter.
  2. There is a large, four-legged beast in my house. (Spouse’s Great Dane)
  3. My favorite actor is Val Kilmer.
  4. My favorite musician is Sting.
  5. I love to paint with oils.
  6. I have a passion for the study of Greco-Roman world.
  7. I have a passion for the study of Western religious history.

Nominate 15 Bloggers (In No Particular Order):

  1. http://invisiblemikey.wordpress.com/
  2. http://renardmoreau.wordpress.com/
  3. http://ladyromp.com/
  4. http://musesmag.wordpress.com/
  5. http://candidconcourse.wordpress.com/
  6. http://clotildajamcracker.wordpress.com/
  7. http://vinnylanni.wordpress.com/
  8. http://tafacoryideas.wordpress.com/
  9. http://liberatedway.com/
  10. http://rowanwphillips.wordpress.com/
  11. http://dubitodeus.wordpress.com/
  12. http://graygoosegosling.wordpress.com/
  13. http://cloudchronicler.net/
  14. http://spilledcookies.com/
  15. http://ihavesomethingtoadd.wordpress.com/

For today, I am thankful for all of this.  Until next time…

crudus animus

The Spark in the Night

As a nerd, I have officially been a little behind on some of the most recent television shows. I have turned my attention to fiction writing and the upcoming science fiction and fantasy novels that will be coming out. Usually, I am quite excited about this time of the year with conventions going on and new products being unveiled, but nothing has excited me.  I am growing a little curious about an author named Scott Sigler who has been writing for several years and approached the business from a new direction. He started by writing his stories and reading them through free podcasts. Each episode was a chapter and wraps up the novel after about twenty or so episodes. His universe is called the Sigler-verse and I am interested to try it out. What is also unique is the basis of actually science in his stories. He prides himself on that very fact.

Another author that has been writing for some time is George R.R. Martin and his Game of Thrones.  I know that it has been turned into the HBO show, but I am about to set about reading it for the first time. I am not sure how I feel about it. Mostly, I hesitate because I feel that, as a fan of Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time, I might be a traitor. However, I could just be crazy.  Fan or not, I will be reading that series soon.

Now, I was stating that I am behind on many things. The last few years of life have been too busy for me to enjoy things.  I am catching up in a big way. I am a bit ashamed that I only recently finished watching Battlestar Galactica.  I was not sure about a reboot as I was a huge fan of the original.  My spouse borrowed the first season and we were hooked. All the seasons were intoxicating and enticing to watch further.  I was eager to watch more and more. In watching it, I started to consider a couple of things.

The first thing was the brutal reality that this small group of people had to live in. I watched the intensity rise with each episode and no one was safe from the harshness of the journey. The main characters were extraordinary and tormented souls. From the leaders to the personnel characters, these main stories gave the overall plot depth and brittle nerves waiting to shatter. I was very pleased with each episode and wept when some of my favorites were lost.  I can only hope to bring that intensity to my own writing. My motto is that no one is safe and there is no happy ending.

Secondly, I was truly thrown off by the element of music playing such a crucial part to the series. Usually in a television show, you expect music to be the tempo of the episodes, but the music became part of the show’s actually plotline and the show’s dénouement. When it was done, I sat back and wondered if that kind of element could be included in my writing.  I am no musician but the thought that music is a universal constant intrigues me.

With that said, I have returned to my writing with the excitement that the world will influence me more and more.  I only hope that I find some way to complete a story before I am gone.  I am well on my way and this place is helping with that goal.

crudus animus

A Warm-up

The week has been complete with the return of my children from their vacation. It was a great trip for them and left them eager to return home before school starts again. They have about a week before it starts. For some, it may be early, but the school system in Arizona is year around. They have a two month break for summer and a month off in December.  Their break was fulfilling and they are ready to get started again.

This leaves me with a chance to turn my eyes back to the topics that I wish to write about. This blog has been an exploration of my thoughts and questions for the world. Recently, I have taken some time to read and replenish a few of my tanks. As I have mentioned before, I am a nerd with a great amount of interest in many things. As a scholar, I have noted that I enjoy reading through various works of Antiquity and religious histories.

So with this blog, I am going to present a curious idea that came to my mind a few days ago. Many of us like to touch upon our interests and we express our philosophies for life in general.  I have taken a few days over the last few months to establish what my fundamental thoughts are on religion and science. I have even attempted to show a few points on the historicity of Jesus Christ. I have tossed out a few thoughts on the topics of politics including women and gay rights in the United States. All this has led me to a moment when I ask myself if I have a solid argument.

At first, I was left with a hollow feeling that perhaps I was foolish in my thinking.  I mean, how could I say something that would change a mind or cause one to consider a different opinion? Was I truly making a difference?

I remembered that it did not matter and I was ready to move on.  I did not start this blog to write and change a generation from the destructive path that some feel our society is on.  I wanted to scratch a few words on the wall and allow the Internet to absorb part of me. So, with that thought, I am back to work on my thoughts and hope to be a little more prolific in the next few days. Also, I have attracted my 50th follower, so I am excited. Thanks for reading.

crudus animus

Touched By the Music

First, I would like to mark this post with a slight celebration of my four-month anniversary. To some, it might be like an un-birthday, but it is an important milestone for me.  Thanks to all that follow.

The music of the world takes on a life of its own once it is given to a new set of ears. Each person finds a personal message in the notes and sounds of instruments. Whether it is an intoxicating piece from Mozart or a vivid recording of a modern pop artist, individuals come to understand and identify with the music. Some find a composition that grinds over their nerves while another bonds with the same music. It may be preference, but there is a possibility a trait or feeling in the music connects with the person in a deeper, emotional way.

Most identify a piece of music that is tied to events in their lives. The sounds of a wedding reception renew the romance of a married couple. A shared song creates the same emotions in a pair of people. Those experiences bind emotions together without effort and are never forgotten, even if the couple parts way and find newer experiences.

For the individual, music can mark the points in life that are high and low points. The first time a teen faces a breakup, inevitably, the sounds of a song or piece of music is heard around every corner. The sadness of the parting may only come one side, but it is tied to the music of the experience. The low points connect with slow, thoughtful sounds that reflect the emotions of the person. Nothing is greater than the challenge faced by someone dwelling in this kind of depression and music can hold a person there.

However, it is often music that pulls a person free from this depression and lifts one to the highest peaks. Finding inspirations in the music can be difficult for one that is so focused on the valley, but raising the gaze to the summit will find that light.  The music again plays over and over in the mind until it can raise the spirits and help one make that crucial turn.  Nothing is more exciting than the energy from this kind of music.

Religious hymnals tend to take a place in both categories. There are those that create a somber moment where an individual must face the challenges of the world and remember the making of that world. The sounds of supplication bring humility and penance to those that feel the guilt of the soul.  While other hymnals are spiritually uplifting with the purpose to raise the voices of the worshippers to the powers of the sky and heavens, they intend to praise the powers and invigorate the fellowship in the ritual.  The repetitive chants of the lyrics give the minds a moment to focus their energies on the ritual at hand.

We each have our way with the music around us. These sounds connect with us and we are formed and shaped by them. Personally, I find most music to be invigorating it the way that it was intended to be. Classical sounds from the masters bring me the images of days long lost to us.  Jazz brings a rhythm to my soul that makes it dance without me moving. I have come to realize that some of it is well known to my soul even it is the first time for my ears.

This brings me to the idea of being shaped by the music of my life. As a child of the eighties, I have seen the birth of synthesized pop music, but it is not all part of me. I have great favorites from the sixties and seventies, but none of it will hold more to my experience than music of Sting.

His music, even during his Police days, has spoken directly to me.  When I was in those down times, his lyrics comforted and lifted me.  I did not need to feel the depression because I knew that I had the inspiration to climb back into the light. I do not find this will ever piece that he has produced, but with his constant exploration of styles, I have connected with it at different points in my life. All this makes it easy to place his music at the top of my list every time.

crudus animus

The Saga Continues…

As a member of the nerd community, one of the largest events for the summer is about to take place in the city of San Diego.  Comic-con International in San Diego has grown over the last decade into a convention for all the nerds and geeks interested in the hobby of comic books.  With that, it has exploded with the move of that genre of stories into the motion picture and television industries. This one convention has become a starting point for the display of upcoming movies and teaser trailers for thousands of fanatics to get a first look.  For these fans, this is the center of their year and the anticipation grows in the weeks before.

This year, something different took place before the convention. It is called Course of the Force.  It is a lightsaber relay from Santa Monica to San Diego that was created by a venture between Lucasfilm and a growing company called Nerdist Industries. Nerdist Industries functions as a nexus of nerd culture on the Internet. These two groups have come together in support something more than just the convention. They are using Comic-con to raise money for a worthy cause.  It is the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The relay alone has already raised enough money for the charity to make over a thousand wishes. The relay is just the beginning. There are various shows and events along the route of the relay including a concert at the end of the race. They are also holding an eBay auction for a variety of collectibles including Star Wars items that are signed. It is a great way to include the fans and allow them all to raise money for a charity that helps children.

All of this is important to note because it is recognized that there are some on the Internet who have come to see the convention as a breakaway from its original purpose for comic books.  To them, it has come to be a commercialized event for the movie industry to show off their product. I tend to disagree as this is a convention environment for people with like minds to gather and share an experience that will never be forgotten by the nerd community. I will admit that it has grown and many of the panels show off the television and movie products, but it is the fact that this convention helps to celebrate something that most might have scoffed at before. Nerds love all kinds of things, even the by-products of comic books.

I hope that all will take a chance to check it out online at least. The website is courseoftheforce.com. Enjoy the fun as much as you can and as much as you want. A whole new world has opened with this direction and nerds can find a way to make the world a better place.

In the end, I believe that this charity relay is a step in the right direction. It will bring attention to the community of nerds and connect them to those outside their world. We are not all just the cliché nerd hiding away from the world. It is time to celebrate for fans of comic books and the offspring of those great stories.

crudus animus

%d bloggers like this: