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Posts Tagged ‘Rise of the Dark Sprite’

I’ve been blessed with an abundance of gifts. Creativity and a general intelligence have led me to excel in writing and music and speaking and business and oh so much more. I’ve always felt a little guilty for those gifts because I can’t possibly put them all to use at the same time. I feel the pressure every day to pour myself out and, even when I do, I still have a talent or two that didn’t get used. By not using my gifts I assumed I was putting them on the shelf to accumulate dust or being the man who received one talent and buried it (see Matthew 25:14-30) instead of doing something useful that would earn his master interest. But I’m wondering now if I’ve been looking at things upside-down.

For the last fifteen months music, in the form of worship leading, has taken precedence over writing (as evidenced by the postponed release of Rise of the Dark Sprite). Five weeks ago, I set down the guitar. I’ve set down a lot of things lately–but more on that another time.

It was a hard decision, perhaps one of the hardest of my life. Worship leading fulfilled so many parts of me, satisfying deep needs to minister to others and to celebrate the goodness of God. I miss it profoundly. In the five weeks since I said goodbye to my church I haven’t touched my guitar, either out of a deep sadness or a perpetual busyness. Probably a combination of the two. And, yes, I have been feeling a little guilty for not sharing my gifts as a musician and worship leader with a church who needs it.

But then I got to thinking…

What if my talents are like a deck-building game? Bear with me here. We’re nerds in this family. We save the world from super-villains over the holidays; hit every premiere weekend for Marvel movies; own the extended version of anything involving Middle Earth; and planned our vacation around seeing the new Star Wars move in IMAX. So it should come as no surprise to you that we delved right into a deck-building game based on The Fellowship of the Ring. The purpose of the game is to buy cards, worth abilities and victory points, that then go into your deck. Each round you deal yourself five cards, use them, and put them away to be re-dealt later. One round I’ll be wielding Legolas Greenleaf’s bow like a young Katniss Everdeen and the next I’ll have moved into defensive position with Boromir’s shield. I get five, usually awesome, cards per turn and it is up to me to put them to good use.

Now, back to my point. Perhaps my life is like a deck of cards. Each year I add a few new weapons to my arsenal (maybe a new passion for the banjo–that would be cool), and deal myself out a hand of talents. In 2015, the focus was worship leading and a new job. In 2016, I hope my focus will be writing and healing (surprise, surprise, when you have Lyme’s disease apparently you can’t work 80 hours a week). It’s not that I’m letting my God-given talent for song-writing and worship leading go to waste this year. It’s that He has handed me different cards. If I put them to waste, shame on me. But if I spend 2016 playing a great game with Legolas’ bow and choose not to pine for Boromir’s shield, then I think I will have done well.

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I made it to 1:11 PM today without any caffeine. This is a feat of epic proportions. And, all by itself, it might be worthy of a blog post. But since you were probably anticipating something with a bit more substance, I shall try to add words to this post. The caffeine hasn’t sunk in yet. Bear with me.

I’m officially caught up at my desk at the law firm. I’ve dabbled around editing the first three chapters of Rise of the Dark Sprite. And ideas for future books are nibbling at the corners of my consciousness, taunting me with their sweetness while giving no hint as to their substance. All in all, I feel–just a hint–more like myself. Although, that could have something to do with the love recently given by my niece.

Baby Evelyn held onto her mother’s hands today and walked with great determination and sweetness towards me. Sister Kate and I both watched in amazement at her new prowess. And it made this aunt feel very loved.

As for this moment… a little introvert time. Josh Garrels, Starbucks’ coffee (yay!), and writing. Yes. I’m in for a good couple of hours.

Blog Bonus Feature: My health hasn’t weathered all the travel of the last few weeks very well, but I’ve decided to embrace whatever this summer season brings. The adventure will be worth the exhaustion. My advice to you: Stop and smell the roses. Even if they make you sneeze.

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I’ve lived somewhere else lately, on the border between Xsardis’ illuminescent forest and a place called the 17th Realm. Both have their own kind of a magic and, I admit, I have liked my fictional reality better than the real reality around me. Not that real reality is any too shabby. Life is brimming with potential. It’s just that, the potential… well, it alarms me.

Weeks of the final push on not one but two novels (yes, that’s right. I finished another one last weekend–just five days after bidding farewell to Rise of the Dark Sprite) have necessitated a blissful break from social engagements or even checking my email. And, while I thoroughly enjoyed this creatively-mandated repose, I can’t help but feel terribly, terribly behind. So I’m back to checking my email and blogging and banking and accomplishing little and big tasks alike. I’ve got a solitary day in which I am able to work before I pack up for a long weekend in Florida to celebrate my cousin’s graduation. Florida. Sunshine. (Why, yes, it did snow last weekend on the family farm.)

Meanwhile, I’m trying to descend slowly from the mountaintop of creativity, energy, and enthusiasm that led to so much writing. (Over the week, I set a personal word count record of well-more than fifty thousand words.) After five novels, I’m pretty used to this process (including post-novel depression which is, sadly, quite real). My mind knows better than to keep spinning, trying to improve characters and clarify plots. On the other hand, my creativity–and its mighty muses–are not so sure they are ready for a break. The result? With no other outlet for the imagination, creativity strikes my dreams and makes them… strange. Like last night’s, in which I escaped a war-zone only to be dragged across the border into a cult. It was not awesome.

(Blog Bonus Feature: If no one has warned you, fellow writer, about the vividness of your dreams and their ability to grip you long past the alarm clock’s interruption, consider this your warning. Also note that the same prowess that allows you to craft realistic characters can alter your loved ones’ personalities in the dreams until they utterly terrify or excite you.)

But I digress.

Life. It’s full of potential that manages to thrill and scare me simultaneously. But what kind of adventure would life be if it didn’t? Any good roller coaster has to cause your mind to waver on the border between certainty of your demise and certainty that you will fly. As for me, I plan to fly.

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