Publication Dreams

Being creative, being a writer is who I’ve always been.  As long as I COULD write, I’ve been writing. Novels, novellas, short stories.  I have a plethora of them, In the early to mid 1990s I began to see some success, having been been published sporadically in the small press.  Once you get a taste of that success it spurs you focus is on reaching for greater goals.

 

One of the questions that people ask is
Would you do what you’re doing if you didn’t reap abundance from it?

 

I’ve been writing for well over forty years.  So I guess the answer to that question is yes.  Abundance doesn’t always have to be financial however.  But I HAVE been writing without financial abundance for sometime now.  That’s all about to change. After years of doing my best to find a greater market for the writing I do, I have finally captured my leprechaun.  In November 2018, I will see two books get published simultaneously.

Fahrenheit Books, a Guilford Connecticut publisher is taking on my books.  One, a short story collection of dark fantasy is called:
Random Acts: Stories of Redemption

Click the above title to view it on Amazon.
Cover design by Chris Dobbins

 

This book is a collection of short stories I wrote in the late 1980s to mid 1990s.  The other book is essays on death and dying and my impression about what happens to us after we pass.  That book is titled:

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Off A Coat: Ruminations On The Infinite Soul

Click the above title to view it on Amazon.
Cover design by Chris Dobbins

 

To purchase each book, simply click the title link for each book.

This was originally scheduled to happen last year but as with all tentative publication dates it was delayed.  I’m so excited for this to happen. It’s been a long time coming and a lifelong dream. Isn’t it every writer’s goal to be published?  If not, then maybe you should reconsider writing. Robert Heinlein said it best with his rules of writing:
Rule One: You Must Write. …

Rule Two: Finish What You Start. …
Rule Three: You Must Refrain From Rewriting, Except to Editorial Order. …
Rule Four: You Must Put Your Story on the Market. …
Rule Five: You Must Keep it on the Market until it has Sold. …
Rule Six: Start Working on Something Else.

One of the most important factors that lead to this is that I didn’t give up, that I didn’t let anyone stand in my way.  There have been people in my life who have dissuaded me. Telling me:
No!  You can’t do that.  Telling me no is probably the greatest motivator someone can give me.  It provides the EXACT opposite of the original intent.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well! Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;
We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

Why Do You Write?

Uh oh!

Another column about writing?  Well it is part of who I am. Of all the questions I get the one that most fascinates me is:

Why do you write?

 

Image from:
Pixabay

 

That was an easier question to answer in my youth.  I wrote then to release stress. As with all with all school age students, I experienced my fair share of stress, from anxiety at school, to stress at home, to fitting in.

 

My personal writing schedule during my time living at home became extremely important to me and I made sure I gave myself time to write every night.  I usually worked best from seven to ten, typically after I finished any homework I had for the evening. There were times during the evenings I wrote, as I’ve mentioned here previously, that I would spend the entire three or four hour time period writing something and not even be aware that I wrote ANYTHING at ALL.  Being in the flow is an amazing experience, and I hope everyone can feel that at some point in their lives.

Everyone needs to release their stress, otherwise it will eat you from the inside out.  Writing helped me deal with life.  Some people turn to destructive behavior.  I turned CONstructive. It’s why my fiction turned dark:
Haunted Houses.
Vampires, werewolves, ghosts.

 

But even within that darkness, there turned a positive outcome.  I may have been dealing with emotional garbage, but I also understood that life would pivot, that it would get better.  All of my dark fiction had dark elements but EVERY ONE of my stories turned positive at their resolution. Which is how my life turned.  So even during my youth, I knew that even though life wasn’t easy at the time, I only had to hang on. In my youth, writing became my crutch.  I could feel myself circling the drain when I didn’t spend time writing. I was more volatile, more distressed. Writing kept me balanced. Another surprising aspect to my writing was that I could NEVER write from a male’s point of view.  

 

All of my fiction uses female protagonists.  I gave sincere efforts to use a male voice on many occasions, but always failed.  Probably the same reason I have more female friends.  So many times I started a short story using a male’s voice.  I’d get through a page or two and realize that I was simply going through the motions. I wasn’t enjoying the task.  I’d stop for a time and return later and try again. It just wasn’t working. So I’d scrap the couple of pages and start again using the female voice I became comfortable with.

 

My writing has changed from the time I spent at it in my youth.
Now?
Well, it has transitioned to short bursts.  A page or two for the most part. Blogging has become the writing I do now.  I still NEED to write, but not for the same reasons I wrote in my youth. Writing still smooths my edges, still alleviates my stress levels.  I still understand when I’m not spending enough time tapping on the keyboard. But now I write for other reasons then simply de-stressing. I write because it’s who I am.

 

I’m a writer.  And as I’ve said here on multiple occasions:
A writer writes.

 

You may as well ask me:
Why do you breathe?

Writing IS Breathing

Since I’ve been writing for as long as I could write, with the exception of a ten year period from 2000 to 2010, it became as imperative for me to write as it is to breath.  During that ten year period I lost the itch to write and surprisingly, I didn’t even miss it.  When the gift was given back to me, I decided that I would do everything in my power to make sure I didn’t lose the desire again.

 

Having deadlines now also provides me an impetus.  Which is another reason blogging is a valuable tool for any new writer.  Having deadlines will surely impress upon any artist the need to produce.  A blogger should be producing and publishing on the same day every week, I’ve said it here before as well that your readers come to rely on your columns to be consistent.  So for all of these reasons and more, writing has given me the gift of my voice. Even when I have a challenge speaking on occasion, I have my writing to show my intelligence.

Since I started this column today, discussing questions writers get, I think the one question that EVERY writer bristles at is:
Where do you get your ideas?  Am I right?

 

I keep returning to Wisdom and Life’s previous entries here only because I’ve written so many columns that there seems to be a topic for each subject I discuss.  

 

Be Happy!  Be Well! Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;
We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

Walking And Writing

Several writers I know are walkers.  
They walk to break writer’s block.
They walk to create inspiration

Walking Image from:
Pixabay
Writing Image from:
Pixabay

There is a host of data to suggest that walking helps writers break through any creative obstacles they may face

 

How does walking (away from something you’re working on) affect your writing?  When you’re away from your computer or your writing implement, you tend to let your mind wander and you’re not as focused on the task at hand:

Writing.

 

For myself, I’ve found that hiking in the woods contributes more to opening my muse than walking downtown.  I hear nothing in the woods or everything. What does that mean?

I don’t hear the hum of vehicles and people.
I don’t hear footsteps on concrete.
I don’t hear bikes whizzing by.

 

When I’m in the woods, there’s a different noise.
Birds chirping.
Tree frogs if you’re out at dusk.
Cicadas and crickets.

 

Walking/hiking clears your head.  It can be a source of meditation. And meditation can help when you’re working through a block.   Walking alone can sometimes be a benefit because you’re within your own thoughts, (thus providing the opportunity to meditate,) and you can walk at your own pace.  Solo walking also helps in the process of imagination, for it presents the opportunity of looking within for the challenge you’re facing, whether the challenge has to do with writing or something else.  Inspiration sometimes strikes when you’re alone and it’s better especially if you need to clear a logjam in your thought process. You certainly don’t want someone interfering by talking when all you want is silent introspection.  If you’re in this place, I would recommend avoiding the city/town and find a wooded trail to hike.

 

Walking with others, especially another writer can be helpful as well.  You can bounce ideas off each other and since you’re both of the same ilk, you can feed each other and hopefully, since you’re walking partners you understand when you need silence to consider a block and when you need to talk something through.  It even might be interesting to have a writer/walker group where you can set aside a specifically scheduled time to walk and discuss your writing needs. If this is something you’re considering, then you should set ground rules:
Treat the walk as you would any writer’s group
Anything discussed MUST be writing related.

 

So my advice:
If you’re struggling with working out a writing challenge, shut off your computer, shut off your brain and find a wooded trail.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well! Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;
We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

 

 

 

 

A Helping Hand Can Help You

When you see someone living something awful, a rocket of desire for their resolution shoots out of you. And then, if you start focusing upon their resolution, you’ll start feeling better right away. And now, you’re part of the current that is part of the solution.

Abraham-Hicks
May 7, 2018

 

Have you known this to happen?  If you’re in a low place and someone you know is in a lower place, see if reaching out to them and offering an ear, offering a hug, offering advice if they ask for it, you just may find yourself feeling better.

 

Image from:
Pixabay

 

One of my friends has told me repeatedly that she’d love to help me when she can clearly see that I’m in distress. She knows me so well that even when I THINK I’m hiding it well, she sees through the shade.  

 

One of my INFP personality traits is that I have a difficult time with sharing my challenges, EVEN with my closest friends and family. I’d rather help others deal with their own issues. I’m doing my best to overcome that, but after years of living that trait, it doesn’t come easy to stop doing so.  

 

I understand that by sharing our own challenges we show our vulnerability and that can deepen a relationship.  If we stay closed off, if we don’t share what is troubling us, our friends may look elsewhere for people who will.  If we long for an intimate relationship with another person, then:
–We have to learn to trust them.  
–We have to remove our own walls.

 

–Once we begin to show our vulnerabilities,
–Once we open our emotional wounds to those we trust or are trying to build trust with, we will find that relationship we have been searching for.

 

It won’t happen overnight.  However if you want to build commitment, if you want others to feel good about themselves when they are in distress, then it is important to let your own walls down.  Let others inside. Let them help you, because as Abraham-Hicks states above:
By helping someone else, you are also helping yourself.

 

The concentration is off your own challenges and onto someone else.  Thus you’re not dwelling on your own situation. Here’s a writing example for those who write:
Have you ever faced a situation where you’re blocked?  By moving to another project, whether it’s another writing project or some other creative endeavor you do on the side, your thought gets refocused on the new project, freeing you up.  Quite often by removing yourself from the block, you get unblocked because you’re no longer focused on that.

 

So my advice to those of you in the INFP personality who have a challenging time letting your guard down with your closest friends and family, think about how this affects THEM.  They may need to focus on something else while dealing with their own issues. Help them by letting them help you.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well! Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;
We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

A Writer Writes

Sort of a follow up to last week’s Creativity and Coping as today I discuss writing and how much it means to me.  Writing and creativity has helped me become the person I am today.

 

Anyone who knows me understands how important writing is to me. It was my first band aid when I felt emotionally drained and vulnerable. Before I wrote my two blogs, I was writing fiction, mostly short stories.

 

Image from:
Pixabay

I didn’t have the motivation to write short stories like I do now with my blogs. I could skip a week or more and not face any major repercussions. With my blogs, I MUST write every day in order to make sure that I stay on schedule for Mondays and Fridays. Having these websites really helps me.  Without them, I wouldn’t be writing as often as I am. Anyone looking for motivation to write should consider starting a blog, as it will keep you on task.

 

I’m not saying I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t have my blogs. You know what people say:
A writer writes

 

However, blogging has certainly helped me stay with the process. I’ll be honest. Of my two blogs, I sometimes find it difficult to write for Wisdom and Life. I sometimes have a hard time finding topics to discuss. I’ve been sharing for eight years and I don’t want to repeat myself. It’s why I took a hiatus last September for a month. Last May, I contemplated permanently shutting Wisdom and Life down.

 

I lost my oomph.
I lost my desire.

 

Taking that month off in September helped however. You may see me doing more of that year to year. I realize that some of you have come to rely on this blog. So as long as I can keep going without burning out I will. I’m feeling enthusiastic about continuing now and to be honest, I think if I DID shut down, I’d immediately regret doing so. When I feel like this in the future, instead of pulling the plug, I will take another hiatus and see how I feel.  If the time comes when I need to shut down, I will give everyone plenty of notice. I don’t see that happening anytime soon however.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well! Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;
We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

Creativity and Coping

I need creativity in my life to help me cope with life’s challenges.

 

Christopher Jennings Penders

 

Said by myself about a month ago to a frequent library patron.  I’ve always felt my creative output has helped me deal with emotional debris that flutters around me from time to time.  It’s why when I felt bullied, I retreated to my safe place:
In front of my computer writing my dark fantasy.  

 

Being creative helps me when I’m feeling low

 

Image from:
Pixabay

Why concentrate on dark fantasy?  Because I was in a dark period when I wrote fiction.  All that turmoil had to come out some way and writing was I chose to expel that energy.  It came out as dark fantasy.

 

As I said in Writing Saved My Life I can distinctly recall spending time in my bedroom writing for what I felt was a matter of minutes but realized hours had gone by when I looked back at the number of pages I’d written.  Being in the flow helped me cope.  When I’m feeling low, my creativity raises me up.  I’m sure my fellow writers and artists will agree.

 

The same can be said for being behind my camera.  Nothing makes me happier then when I’m in front of my computer, banging on my keys and watching the blank white screen fill with words, or being behind my camera scanning the horizon for that one scene.  It’s when I don’t spend time working creatively that my emotional life spirals out of control and I can become stressed more easily,

 

Being artistic helps many people cope with life’s challenges.  I’m grateful that I have the ability to cope using my art. Not everyone can release the stress in this way.  Not only do I release stress but I’m also fortunate that what I create can also help others.

 

What do you do to reduce your own negative energy?

 

Be Happy!  Be Well! Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;
We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

My Favorite Children’s Books

I’ve been a reader my entire life. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that reading as much as I did growing up helped my writing get to where it is today. Without reading, you’re not going to learn.

 

It’s why I mentioned Ray Bradbury’s quotes about libraries in an earlier column.  In one of the quotes, Bradbury said he is completely library educated.  Libraries and books are integral to everyone. My day job is at my local library.  Before I worked at my library I had the pleasure of working at RJ Julia Booksellers.  I’ve always loved the printed word, so much so that I’ve been writing longer than I’ve had a camera in my hand.  

 

These are my three favorite children’s books of all time:

Reading as a child helped me in many ways:
–Reading transported me to a safe place, just as writing did as I grew older.
–Reading was my friend, as I’ve been an introvert as long as I can recall.  Just click the previous link and you’ll see my columns at Wisdom and Life on introverts.
I’d rather curl up with a book or spend my alone time writing then being out with people i don’t know.

–Reading and writing have been my friends long before I had people friends.

 

 

 

I’m not saying any of this to garner sympathy.  I love the way I live.
–I love coming home and finding no one here.
–I love the freedom I have.  
The freedom to read when I want,
The freedom to write when I want.
The freedom to do what I want when I want.

 

So, I bet you’re wondering when I’m not only getting to the subject of today’s column, but what the column’s subject is.  Well, reading is the subject, more specifically, three of my favorite children’s books of all time:
Tuck Everlasting
A Wrinkle in Time
Charlotte’s Web

 

So do these books stand out to me?  The first two books have time as one of its major subjects. If you’re a long time reader of Wisdom and Life then you know I have an interest in the concept of time.

–That you can’t change anything without affecting everything else about your life.
–That time doesn’t really exist. That it’s simply a construct of humankind.

 

It’s why the first two books resonate so deeply with me. In Tuck Everlasting, there is the concept of aging and immortality. Sort of a retelling of Ponce De Leon and his search for the fountain of youth. I’ve sometimes considered the idea of immortality. Which is another reason why I connect with Tuck Everlasting. My writing will create the immortality I sometimes think about.

 

A Wrinkle In Time is another favorite. I’ve been fascinated by time and distortions in it for a long while.  I often find myself considering ACTUAL wrinkles and tears in the fabric of time itself. Which is why Madeleine L’Engle’s quintessential book has resonated with me.

 

And Charlotte’s Web?

That doesn’t fit in with the above two books at all you may believe. You’re right. However, Charlotte’s Web has long been a favorite, even before the Tuck Everlasting and A Wrinkle in Time.  Can’t really put a finger on why this particular book has been so deeply important. All I can say is that it is my favorite children’s book of all time.

 

What are your favorite children’s books?

 

Be Happy!  Be Well! Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;
We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

I Read a Book One Day

I read a book one day and my whole life changed.

Light The Dark:
Writers on Creativity, Inspiration,
and the Artistic Process

 

 

 

 

 

When someone asks me what I do, the first response is photographer. It should be writer THEN photographer.
I’ve been writing longer than I’ve had a camera in my hand; and I write more than I’m out with my camera. EVERY day as a matter of fact I’m at my computer tapping on my keyboard.

 

Light The Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process is the latest book I’m reading.  I’ve had a challenge finding any fiction to read recently, having borrowed several books from my library in the past six weeks or so.  No fiction has turned me on.  Nonfiction is where I find my inspiration now. Writing books have always been a favorite of mine, and this book along with several others have been an inspiration.  I highly recommend the two below:
Dancing on the Head of a Pen
Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life

 

Read my column that refers to Still Writing:
Writing Saved My Life

 

Reading and writing have been such an important aspect of my entire life.  I feel blessed that I followed my bliss and continued with my writing career even though roadblocks had been placed in my way.  Many people said:
No.  You can’t do that and expect to make a living.

 

So I went around the roadblocks and worked my way into the book field, working first at RJ Julia Booksellers, my local bookstore, then at The EC Scranton Library.  All the while I continued to write; first short stories then moving into blog content.  I let no one dissuade me.  In fact, as I may have said here previously, the BEST motivation anyone can give me is try telling me no.

 

And now, while I haven’t yet broken through and made a living writing, I DO have two books being published later this year.  So I will paraphrase the above quote:
Reading a book has changed my life for the better.

 

For without reading EVERYTHING, you can’t expect to accomplish ANYTHING!  Ray Bradbury I think said it best:
“I’m completely library educated. I’ve never been to college. I went down to the library when I was in grade school in Waukegan, and in high school in Los Angeles, and spent long days every summer in the library. I used to steal magazines from a store on Genesee Street, in Waukegan, and read them and then steal them back on the racks again. That way I took the print off with my eyeballs and stayed honest. I didn’t want to be a permanent thief, and I was very careful to wash my hands before I read them. But with the library, it’s like catnip, I suppose: you begin to run in circles because there’s so much to look at and read. And it’s far more fun than going to school, simply because you make up your own list and you don’t have to listen to anyone. When I would see some of the books my kids were forced to bring home and read by some of their teachers, and were graded on—well, what if you don’t like those books?”

 

And here’s another by Bradbury:
I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library, and it’s better than college. People should educate themselves – you can get a complete education for no money. At the end of 10 years, I had read every book in the library and I’d written a thousand stories.

 

So turn off your television and immerse yourself in the written word.  
Your brain will thank you.
Your eyes will thank you.
Your writing will thank you.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

Editing my Manuscript

I’ve been editing my manuscript:
Taking Off a Coat: Ruminations on Transitioning for the past couple of weeks.

Image from:
Pixabay
writing

Hence there will be no traditional column today.  I hope to have the final rough draft of my manuscript done by the middle of December.  I originally thought it would be complete at the end of the week. However, I need to have a BIT more time to go through the document and make sure that it is as complete as I can make it.  

 

My typical month long hiatus from Wisdom and Life is starting a couple of weeks earlier this year so I can devote more time to writing and editing my manuscript.  So, today’s column will be the last one until the middle of January 2017.

 

Be Happy! Be Well! Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

 

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

 

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying. For there truly is no end.

Leave Me Alone. I’m Writing!

Leave me alone. I’m writing.

Christopher Jennings Penders

 

My friend, Mike Allton inspired today’s column when he shared:
12 Things You Should Never Say To A Writer

 

Before I start this column, let me say, I’m aware that many of you may see the above quote and think:
Wow!  That’s kind of harsh.

Image from:
Pixabay
notebook:pen

Let me just say sometimes in order to create boundaries we need to be harsh.  To protect ourselves.

 

I’m sure writers everywhere have experienced interruptions with the person doing the interrupting saying something like:
Oh, you’re only writing and you can’t take a moment to talk?  Or something to that effect

 

It’s the only writing thing that disturbs me more than being interrupted because THAT ONE phrase trivializes what we do. It seems as if ALL artists are spoken to this way.

 

–Would you interrupt a lawyer in the middle of a trial?
–Would you interrupt a chef while they were cooking?
I think not?

 

Then why is it alright to do so to an artist?  Because art, ANY KIND of art is no longer taken seriously.  We consider it a hobby, something people do to pass the time; not as a vocation, not as something one does to get paid. This is also reflected in the world when someone asks if you can give your work away without compensation. There is an overall lack of respect for artists in general and I find it shameful that it still happens.  

 

Writers matter.  For without the written word, society would cease to exist. So the next time you consider interrupting a writer while they are working, AFTER they have already said as much (And YES. I said working) think about whether you would do the same to someone in another field.  It’s why when I write, I don’t answer my phone, or respond to texts or emails.  Most of my friends and family now understand that IF I don’t respond, it means that I’m working.  And on the off chance that I do pick up a ringing phone and say I’m writing and I can call back later, MOST people understand.  It took some conditioning to get the point across and yes there are STILL SOME times when I need to recondition.  For the most part however, people now respect me when I say I can call back later.  I even have an outgoing message on my phone that says I may be writing.

 

Anything we can do to get across the understanding that yes, for some of us, writing is much more than just a hobby.  

 

For me, writing was my first passion even before I picked up my first camera.  I’ve been writing since I COULD write.  So when someone, ANYONE disrespects my writing, they disrespect me.  

 

Am I the only one who feels this way?  Would love to hear from others in the comments below.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.