Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nothing Serious This Week

“Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want … ? It’s the hardest thing in the world–to do what we want.” ~ Ayn Rand
... Just a link to a fun new web series. Look quick, because Act I is up now, Acts II and III are going up July 17 and 19, and it's only up till the 20th. Although I'm sure it will be back in some other form. This is what happens when a storytelling genius like Joss Whedon turns his talents toward evil.
I'm heading for I-Tunes to download a copy!
Then I'm headed for California for a two week vacation with my daughter!
UPDATE! The DHSAB site has crashed due to even higher volume of traffic than expected. It's being moved to a new server and should be available soon at

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What Have You Done Lately?

“It's choice--not chance--that determines your destiny.” ~ Jean Nidetch

“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” ~ J.K. Rowling

“There are always two choices. Two paths to take. One is easy. And its only reward is that it's easy.” ~ Unknown

"If you ask people what they've always wanted to do, most people haven't done it. That breaks my heart.” ~ Angelina Jolie

First: The book with my short story, "A Voice for Ivy" is now available for purchase or download from Wildcat Books at http://stores.lulu.com/wildcatbooks . LEGENDS OF THE GOLDEN AGE VOL I has comics reprints about two characters from the Golden Age of Comics, the early 1940s. Daredevil and the Black Terror are now in the public domain, so its legal to publish new stories with them. I tried to write some fight scenes in the style of the old comics, but I can't seem to resist adding some sort of a social issue to what I write. Daredevil was mute, so I figured a theme about Freedom of Speech was nicely ironic. I made it more so by having the hero faced with supporting free speech for someone whose cause he disagrees with.

Another book I worked on is also being published in paper form, although it has been available online http://scifi-world-eng.info/ for a few years. NEBULAR is a future history of the human race in space by a German group, and I help with the translations to English. Basically I try to turn the literal translations into something more like the way real people talk, and make the action flow more smoothly to American readers.

To more important things...

I just saw the movie WANTED with Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman, two of my favorite actors. The plot involves people born with special abilities to focus their minds so that they can curve bullets in flight and perform impossible fighting manuvers. They form a group of assassins, but assassins who kill people who will commit some great evil.

I was expecting a fast-moving action flick with little or no message, but I was wrong. The message, as delivered by Morgan Freeman's character Sloan, is key to this blog's whole thread about why myths, folklore and fiction are necessary. In fact, it's part of the message that I never addressed and one I need to apply to myself as well.

Stories like King Arthur, Cinderella, Tarzan, Superman, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer all have, as I've said, one thing in common. They tell us what we need to hear, that we may seem to be drab everyday mortals, we are all more than we know. We can seize the sword in the stone, inspire true love, leap over tall buildings, work magic, slay the evil Empire, dragons and vampires with the power we have hidden within us.

What I didn't say is, we have to decide to do so.

Sloan tells Wesley, "It is a choice, Wesley, that each of us must face: to remain ordinary, pathetic, beat-down, coasting through a miserable existence, like sheep herded by fate, or you can take control of your own destiny and join us, releasing the caged wolf you have inside."

Stories aren't meant only to be lulling, reassuring daydreams that we flee into after a hard day's reality. Fantasy stories are called "escape reading," but that's not the reason why. They aren't an alternative to real life, they are the key to unlocking the magic in us. We have the power to actually escape from mundane life but we have to choose to use it.

We have to choose our destiny.

As Wesley (excuse his French) puts in in the end:

"Six weeks ago I was ordinary and pathetic, just like you. Who am I now? Account manager? Assassin? Just another tool who was mind fucked into killing his father. I am all of these. I am none of these. Who am I now? This is not me fulfilling my destiny. This not me following in my fathers footsteps. This is definitely not me saving the world... This is me taking control, from Sloan, from the fraternity, from Janis, billing reports, ergonomic keyboards, from cheating girlfriends and sack of shit best friends. This is me taking back control of my life. What the fuck have you done lately?"