“Hauser Wows Students at Davis-Townsend Middle School!”

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IF that headline sounds particularly self-indulgent and egregiously egotistical – you’re right, it is.  But, it’s also accurate, and absolutely deliberate.  Last week I gave two more hour long local lectures for 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students at Davis Townsend Middle School in Lexington, NC.  The class size was bumped up 8x larger than the students at Westchester (200 this time), and I had to give two lectures back to back in the gymnasium, one for 2nd/3rd, and then 4th/5th.  As before, the presentation was primarily about Book 1 of the Tales from the NoWhere & NeverWhen – Wisp the Wayfinder – but the core idea of the lecture was to engage the students and talk about the Creative Process.

I had a lot of fans that day, they all seemed to really enjoy it. The younger students especially were WOWed by the scary pictures in the Powerpoint. Some even asked to see them again once the presentation was over!  We concluded with a lengthy Q&A and then lunch with 14 students who had been chosen to have lunch with the presenter – Me!

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Oh, and HERE is the picture that elicited more gasps than any other, from my favorite childhood film, Clash of the Titans (1981)

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Maybe you’re wondering, what the heck does Medusa have to do with Wisp the Wayfinder the faery?  Well, directly, nothing at all.  The presentation was primarily about Creative Inspiration and Imagination, and where it comes from.  For me, Greek mythology was a HUGE part of my early reading agenda, and this movie is one in particular that has always stood out.

 

 

A Peek into Wisp, Puck and Nobb

So, I am in the process of editing the sequel to Wisp; the title is Puck the Pathwinder.  The original draft of this story was written 2 years ago, the same as the others in the trilogy. The original Wisp story was only 3000 words, really just intended as a children’s book, but my editor at Dragon Scale encouraged me to expand it to meet the lengths of the two sequels, which were much longer.  Well, long as far as middle grade books go, not long in terms of an adult fantasy novel.

Wisp Book 1 turned out longer than expected, and now the sequels are expanding some too as the story grows in new directions.  I’m not so much “writing” these stories as just unearthing them, and I don’t really know how much content is there until I get all the dirt cleared off, metaphorically speaking.

Now, I always liked the first Wisp story, don’t get me wrong, but it was originally intended as a standalone book.  The concept for the sequels of Puck and Nobb didn’t come until later, and now I have had to go back and rewrite Book 1 to mesh better with Books 2 & 3 so they are a cohesive trilogy.  Book 2 and Book 3 were already conjoined at the hip, so that wasn’t so much of a problem.

But adding so much content to Book 1 has created a natural overflow of characters and plot into Book 2, and this will also spill into Book 3.   If you have read Book 1, I can say that all of the boglin characters are completely new.  The scene with the ogre is greatly expanded, and the ending of the book is different.

As a single story over a three book arc, I think it functions pretty well.  The sequels get darker and more action oriented, but that’s just I myself would like to read, and I guess as a writer, I have to write what entertains myself first and just hopes it works for others too!

The Ocean – a poem

 

Original Poem “Ocean”
written by Charlie Morris

Adapted and rewritten
by JM Hauser

“The Ocean”

“Goddess cupped Her breath in aery hand
and I, lone Ocean, swelled and swam
below that breath of God on- high,
and I, the Ocean, met Her mid-sky,
reaching up to sweetly meet it,
our palms touching, to briskly greet it…


….and through this effort…
I was Wave.

I was Wave and felt the call of Moon!
Of white-capped rollers on shore soon,
and how I loved that lush liquidity,
this ancient rite of pure lucidity,
pausing at the shore’s crashing edge,
and then I burst  upon that sandbar hedge,
a roaring force of my own momentum,
pouring forth to a new dimension…

….and through this effort…
I was Surf.

I became many, many frothing bubbles
and we were urgent, tossing troubles
of sand and shells and salt and tide.
We all danced together on this ride

under Moon, giving birth
on this living, loving Earth.

We bubbles eventually lay there dreaming
knowing nothing, we had no meaning.

What was left of me dissolved like foam,

sank into sand, sank down alone

but then water crashed harsh o’er me

pulled me back, back to the sea,

back to the ocean, exposing beach,
distanced from my watery reach.
 

Then Moon smiled again and I rolled into Wave.
Goddess cupped Her breath, I swelled, I swayed,

amid aery mist, cloud and wind,
and then I fell,  I begin again.”

END

Daily Musing – The Art of a Story

I found this on Imgur today, just a random posting from someone.  I don’t know what it is, or who did it, or what it is even about, but it tells a story, the kind of story I would personally like to RETELL and find out how it got to this point.

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Scared of Clowns?

How about now???

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Oh, Pennywise, you never fail to show up at the most inopportune times….

Daily Musing – What to Write About When You’re Not Writing (III)

Horror-on-the-Orient-ExpressI’ll try to tag to the previous WtWAWYNW entries  for consistency and easier reference.  My “Whatawowinew”.  Or however you want to pronounce that weird acronym. So I put it on my other blog but I want to mentioned it here too – I’ve been looking over the 7th edition Call of Cthulhu rules and I’m really liking them.  Now gaming can be escapism or a creative outlet or a waste of time or a fun social gathering, sometimes all at once.  It really depends on how much time you invest in it.  And what it ultimately means to your emotional well being.  That said, the nature of Call of Cthulhu is by default one of ghastly horror, grisly doom, and confronting indescribable entities from other dimensions that want to feast on your soul.  So fun stuff. Regardless, it is an immensely cool world to play in, one that I have delved into many times over the years, swam around in its yuckiness and eventually climbed back out and showered (metaphorically). The new 7th edition of the game promises more of the same, and it looks really fun to play, and now in full horrific color to boot.

There’s a new adventure out for it as well, Horror on the Orient Express, no less than a 9 lb. boxed set that could club someone to death it’s so heavy.  If I WERE to run Cthulhu again, this is the adventure I would pick up.  It looks to be chock full of handouts, clues, a timeline, and more convoluted red herrings than you could possibly imagine.  And red herrings in Call of Cthulhu are fun. Instead of THIS thing driving your character insane, it might THIS completely unrelated thing instead. Which brings me back to the point I brought up earlier – what does gaming mean to me?  Is it pure escapism, a way to waste time instead of doing something more productive, or is it a built-in creative outlet or is it a dedicated social mechanism for getting together with friends?   I guess for me it’s all of the above.   It’s definitely a form of storytelling, cooperate storytelling, but from experience, it can ultimately be a waste of time pumping that much creative juice into a project that only about 5 other people on the world will care about.

That kind of creative devotion can write entire novels and crap like that, which ya know, can be a career and make you money, both of which are really neato things. So ultimately, like anything else, moderation is the key.  Finding a balance between how much time you invest in a hobby like this is important.  Too little and the game suffers from lack of preparation; too much and you’re investing all your time into something that not many people will care about;  just right is just right, the Sweet Spot.  That horrible, horrible, terrifying and madness-inducing sweet spot of Sanity-draining terror that the game is famous for. I love it.

Daily Musing – What To Write About When You’re Not Writing (II)

Quotation-Samuel-Taylor-Coleridge-style-language-poetry-expression-order-best-Meetville-Quotes-203709This could become a series of blog posts.  This topic. What to write about when you’re not writing, just so I can BE writing and have something to write about.  Self fulfilling prophecy or something like that.  Anyway, I’m still poking along with a number of different stories and projects.  Poking is an apt word because it denotes “slowness” and “lack of forward progression.”  I wish my word choice there included “light speed” or “raging”  or “spectacularly” but I’m going to stick with poking for right now.  Next week maybe I’ll have another update and I can insert a more interesting word.

I’m always curious about where writing inspiration comes from.  You see many successful authors churn out ludicrous amounts of material every year, year after year after year.  Don’t they ever get writer’s block for months at time like all of us others?   Maybe not.

I’m reminded of an article called “BLOCKED” from The New Yorker that I read one time about the famous poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge when he was going through a period of horrible writer’s block:

Yesterday was my Birth Day,” Coleridge wrote in his notebook in 1804, when he was thirty-two. “So completely has a whole year passed, with scarcely the fruits of a month.—O Sorrow and Shame. . . . I have done nothing!” It was true. Most of the poems for which he is remembered were written when he was in his mid-twenties. After that, any ambitious writing project inspired in him what he called “an indefinite indescribable Terror,” and he wasted much of the rest of his life on opium addiction. How could he have done this? Why didn’t he pull himself together? A friend asked him the same question. “You bid me rouse myself,” he replied. “Go, bid a man paralytic in both arms rub them briskly together, and that will cure him. Alas! (he would reply) that I cannot move my arms is my complaint.”

Now, that’s some depressing crap right there.

In fact, the first time I read that article I think I was about the exact same age as Coleridge – 32.   Anyway, the whole Article, “Blocked”, is an excellent essay on the phenomenon of writer’s block.  But my point here is not necessarily “block” as “writer’s slump” where you have to push through invisible walls that slow or impede your output rather than being solid, impenetrable obstacles.  Would Coleridge have fared better if he had internet access and a blog? I don’t know.  Maybe.

And seriously, I’ve wondered at times if I’m a reincarnation of Coleridge, if one believes in such things.  Obviously I do, but I’m not trying to convince or change anyone’s mind about anything. Choose to believe whatever you want, but to quote a super wise man, the Buddah:

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

But a quick internet search turns this up as well (click on the picture):

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YEAH, on second thought, Samuel Taylor Coleridge would have had a f****** blast with the Internet.

Daily Musing – What to Write About When You’re Not Writing

writersblockI hate writing slumps.  I absolutely 100% hate them.  I don’t understand them for one thing, and I can’t see them coming until they’re already here, and I can’t see them going until they’re already gone. Does that make sense? Maybe not, it’s still early in the morning and this is stream of consciousness typing away with a caffeine buzz.  Anyway, I’ve not been writing much recently in my preferred manner of “stories or novels” although I have plenty to do.  Lots of stories, and maybe that’s part of the problem, the enormity of a project freezes me to inactivity rather than invigorating me to action.  And maybe it has to do with my frame of mind and attitude and emotional well-being. Sometimes negative thoughts like to torture me on a regular basis.

So that has left me with the enormous problem of how to fill my time with creative outlets so I don’t go kinda batty. Roleplaying games and creating stories and rules for those are one outlet, but I’ve spent so many years doing that, and while I know from experience that it is a massive time filler, and fun, ultimately very few people actually care.  I feel like my time and energy would be better suited to entertaining thousands or millions of people instead of just five or ten.

But back to my original premise – What To Write About When You’re Not Writing?  Well, there’s blogging like this, which is a borderline form of journaling + venting + bitching.  I guess if I actually had a fan base interested in this page it would be fun to read their feedback and answer comments, hell, I could make a career of doing just that and love it.  I could try and peck away at a story, but I know it just wouldn’t go anywhere.  My brain is filled with something like dirty cotton candy and the creative ideas just don’t flow.  I mean that special kind of FLOW, you writers out there know the Flow, when you’re so in the zone and time falls away and you’re working on something massively difficult but FUN and you know you’re doing it well.  Very little in the world is more satisfying than that except for great sex.  Or great drugs.  I guess the endorphin rush is the end result and what people crave, but there’s healthy vs. unhealthy ways of achieving it.

So What To Write About When You’re Not Writing?   That sounds like the title of a Self Help book,I have to admit.  Maybe I’ll write it one day!  You, know, instead of just blogging about writing it.

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