Posted in Uncategorized

Guest Author: Stacy Gleiss

Hello all,

Today we have a guest spot featuring author Stacy Gleiss, who has written an incredibly interesting book based on personal experiences. Here’s what she has to say about her work:

I live fully planted in the fertile soil of my native state; enjoying outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting and watching sunsets over Lake Michigan.  But I wasn’t always here. For many years my soul was elsewhere.  

I was born and raised in nowhere special. A rural Michigander, a real bumpkin whose feet were always black and leathery in the summer.  Culture to me was playing in the woods and streams…that is until a mysterious flyer about an exchange program appeared in our rural route mailbox. This little piece of paper brought a girl named Yuki to our house. The year was 1979 and she became my best friend whether she wanted to be or not.

This is how it all started for me. I was still in high school when I first traveled to Japan and it was mesmerizing. I had only known Japan from old encyclopedias and post war history films. Shoot, I thought Japan was all geisha and rickshaws! But when I got there I could not believe all of the technology, cute character goods like Hello Kitty…and culture up the ying yang! Everything seemed to have significance and meaning. Instantly I was hooked and set out to immerse myself and somehow become Japanese. And as
misfortune would have it, before even leaving Japan, I met a Japanese man who was more than willing to teach a naive American teen how to do things the proper way and two years from that day I married him. Unbeknownst to me he was in fact, a vile pedophile. This I would not realize until five years in.

While I was still a child really when I married, a free-spirited Michigan white pine-of-a-girl, I would be retrained to do just about everything the proper Japanese way and over the span of the next decade I regressed. I  became much smaller in mind…constantly worried about getting too old for him and doing things just so.

By the time I managed to break free from the wires that controlled my branches and the tiny pot that bound my roots, it was clear to many that I was not well. From that point my poor choices cost me nearly everything; but worst of all, it cost someone very important much more.

My book, The Six-Foot Bonsai, is my attempt at piecing together what occurred– what I saw, my warped thinking…and what, in the end, I had to admit about my ex, the culture I adored…and most of all myself.

6_ft_bonsai

“Hello. My name is Stacy and I’m a recovering Japanaholic”– a selfish person who binged on a culture because it suited me. For what should have been the sweetest years of my life I chased moon rabbits…the cute and clever Japan I fell in love with on my first 
trip.  I ignored precarious customs and norms thinking the good demons we invited in for the purpose of exorcising evil from our home would prevail and keep us safe.  But all along, the seed sowing monkey, my ex who controlled us, sat on his haunches and waited for his chance.  To the detriment of everything I chose my drug. 

“The Six-Foot Bonsai: A Soul Lost in the Land of the Rising Sun” is available through Amazon (Click title for link.)

Thesixfootbonsai blog https://thesixfootbonsai.com/

Stacy Gleiss – Author page https://www.facebook.com/thesixfootbonsai/

Stacy Gleiss LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/stacy-gleiss-a-k-a-the-six-foot-bonsai-582a857

Thesixfootbonsai Twitter https://mobile.twitter.com/thesixfootbonsa

Thanks for reading, everybody! Hope you enjoyed today’s author.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Importance of Plays

Plays are an important part of every writer’s TBR list. Not only do they constitute an enormously popular art form, but they can also be incredibly helpful for novelists who are trying to shape their new works.

Plays, in essence, must be simple. (Except maybe for Shaw’s, with the many paragraphs of exposition.) For the most part, though, there’s simply dialogue, along with basic stage directions.

juggler-1938714_1920

I think the author who shifts most seamlessly between his stories and plays is Anton Chekhov. He believed that simplicity was everything; that nothing should be too complicated. As a result, his stories and plays are effortless. It almost seems like he just breathed them onto the page.

In novels and stories, detail is important — but too many details are overwhelming. That’s why some people don’t like Dickens anymore. (And trust me — as someone who used to try to mimic his style, I’ve gotten some harsh criticism.)

Nowadays, and even back in the old day, people just liked things SIMPLE. Good, but simple. Hence the popularity of Chekhov. Alas, it never helped him to become anything but a poor country doctor — but people did love his work.

astrov_in_uncle_vanya_1899_stanislavski
Konstantin Stanislavski as Astrov in 1899 Moscow production of Uncle Vanya

Reading plays can help writers to understand how to get to the heart of the matter — how to get to the core of a scene, without boring your audience. They’re the perfect example of the combination of wit and brevity.

 

lady_windermeres_fan_1916_-_ad_1
When we say “wit” — who can we be thinking of but Oscar Wilde?

 

 

In a word, plays are a massively useful tool for both practiced and amateur authors. Think of them as a method by which to streamline your mode of thought.

 

20140701061552
I think Caligula is my favorite play. What’s yours?

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Oscar Wilde and the Concept of Literary Criticism

Oscar Wilde Was a Strange and Brilliant Man.

Whenever someone mentions Oscar Wilde, people usually think of one thing. He was gay. He was actually arrested for homosexual acts back in 1895 (yeah, they could arrest you for that back then). He was imprisoned for two years, and after his release, he only ever produced one significant piece of work: his poem, The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

 

oscar_wilde_prison_cell_reading_2016
Wilde’s cell in Reading Gaol (as it appears today)

 

It’s hard to say whether the abrupt ruination of his career was what made him stop writing. Maybe it was depression, or maybe it was just the fact that he had no more public to create masterpieces for. He was always adamant about the fact that he didn’t write to “please” the public. It’s my opinion that he wrote in an attempt to show them what his idea of a masterpiece was, and to try and get them to agree. He believed that the modern critics of the time should be “educated” – that they didn’t do their work properly, and that they missed the whole point of literary criticism.

“The moment criticism exercises any influence,” Wilde said in an interview with Gilbert Burgess (a contributor to The Sketch, a British illustrated newspaper), “it ceases to be criticism.”

 

cartoon-1297067_1280
“What do you think, Herbert?” — “Well, Charles, I think people should just buy my damned book and recognize it for the masterpiece it truly is.”

Modern critics could take a few pointers from Wilde. Criticism nowadays is usually just a scathing crap-slinging fest, with no real intuitive observation involved.

 

It was Wilde’s belief that the aim of criticism shouldn’t be the attempt to get someone to change their work. It should simply be an evaluation of the work that already exists – the feelings it inspired, the smells it made you smell, the colors it made you see.

 

shisha-1869750_1920
“Yeah, man — this is how reading that last book made me feel.”

 

What do you think? Do you think criticism (i.e., book, film and music reviews) should be made with the objective of making a work more perfect? Any time you point out a work’s shortcomings, you’re giving people the idea that you think something about the work should be changed. Is this constructive criticism – or is it subjective influence? Was Wilde’s idea of criticism too mild? Do you think he just didn’t like to be criticized?

It’s a topic with the potential for heated debate. Sort of like politics.

 

capitol-32309_1280
No caption required.

 

Posted in #ASMSG, #IARTG, independent authors, indie authors, informative, Uncategorized, writing

Re-Inventing Yourself as a Writer

I haven’t been blogging over the past couple months, but I intend to change that today. To start, I’d like to share a few of the things I’ve learned recently.

I think it’s fair to say that every writer who’s experienced commercial success has had to undertake the task, at least once, of “re-inventing” themselves. I came across a really neat writing resource today, called Bookfox, which is written by author John Fox.

Fox explains in his bio that he’s all too familiar with rejection slips. After he got enough of them, though, he started thinking to himself, maybe it wasn’t everyone else who was wrong. Maybe he really needed to work on his writing.

He undertook the earnest office of learning from his failures, and using his mistakes to improve his writing. Eventually, he started winning prizes for his work.

Click here to have a look at Bookfox. (It’s filled with lots of great resources.)

It took me a while to learn the truth: we’re really never at the peak of our success as writers. Maybe monetarily, but not creatively. With every week that passes, and every story that we write, our works grows, takes a more pronounced shape, and gains more vivid colors. It’s like a forever-climbing house of cards that never falls down.

In a word, if you’re not succeeding as a writer, take another look at your work. It may very well be that you just haven’t caught your break yet — but it may also be that you need some re-inventing. I know that was the case for me.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Project Launch: #BeautifulPsycho

For those of you who saw this project on Twitter or Facebook — I’m here to lay it down for you!

The nation’s kind of been in an uproar lately. The election left everyone confused and divided. But America’s about more than that — it’s about everything we already have, not what we wish we had.

So I’m officially launching a new project, hosted by my new indie publishing house LION & LAMB Publications. “Lion & Lamb” represents the duality that exists in everything. In God: the roaring lion with the blood of the lamb; in people, who are masses of conflicting light and shadow.

So this is the idea. Everyone in this world is a little bit psycho; but everyone is beautiful, too. In very different ways.

This is a shout-out for everyone to share your story. Even if it’s just a couple of words. Shout it out on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #BeautifulPsycho. I’ll be tossing ’em out as examples over the next few days.

#GiveElsaAGirlfriend was one of the more recent hashtag explosions. Let’s do the same for #BeautifulPsycho.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Lost Bible

Recently, I’ve been studying my Bible a bit. I even bought a fancy large-print one so that I don’t have to squint at those itsy-bitsy words.

For many people, the Bible is a touchy subject. It makes some people uncomfortable; and it makes some people so argumentative that you can’t get a word in edgewise. Some people don’t believe any of it; some people only believe some of it. It’s sort of like little Anne in The Others — you know, that ghost movie with Nicole Kidman? Little Anne didn’t believe God made the world in six days, and she didn’t believe that Noah got all those animals onto one boat.

Some people, on the other hand, regard every written word in the Bible as complete spiritual truth. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, but personally, I take every word with a grain of salt. God didn’t write the Bible. Men did. First, His prophets in the Old Testament; and then, Jesus’s disciples in the New Testament. My favorite parts of the Bible are Jesus’s words, because I believe that His disciples would have recorded them with great diligence and care. I believe we read it pretty much exactly as He said it.

However, as with every ancient text, there are scholars and historians who question certain things. For example, modern scholars don’t believe that the Promised Land of Israel and Judah was peopled by the followers of Moses. Instead, they claim that its inhabitants were never switched out, one group for another. They simply say that the inhabitants of Israel and Judah adopted the God of Moses.

It would be easy to try and pick a side, and give what we call an “educated opinion” on the subject. If some people felt that they didn’t completely understand what happened, their world would seem shaken.

But I don’t take that approach. I don’t know exactly what happened after Moses led the Jews out of Egypt. I don’t know who the ancestors of the modern Israelites were. How can we pretend to understand? It doesn’t much matter who your ancestors were, if you don’t even believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

Because that, you know, is the founding basis of the Bible. There were four major prophets in the Old Testament, and twelve minor ones, all of whom predicted the coming of Christ. So, even before He came, the Bible was about Jesus.

Modern scholars claim that, once upon a time, there were even more books that proclaimed Jesus as the savior of the world. The most famous of the “lost gospels” are those of Peter, Mary Magdalene, and Judas. But the gospel of Peter, for example, is apparently much different than the other gospels. It may be older, and it shows a “gnostic” tendency.

Gnosticism is a word from ancient Greek, which is applied to many old religions, simply meaning “knowledge.” It shuns the material world, and embraces the spiritual world. But so far as Christianity goes, the gnostic approach was considered heresy, since gnostics believed that their salvation relied on a “secret knowledge” from Christ. All they had to do was know the secret, which God gave them. And salvation was theirs.

Actually, this is very similar to my own view of Christianity. I believe that the Bible is a very useful tool; but true knowledge, and true conviction, is delivered straight to your heart. You don’t need a Bible for it, although reading it can help to strengthen you, both physically and mentally.

It may be that there are an ocean of missing Bible books out there, written by men and women whose beliefs about Jesus didn’t quite match up with those of the Church. Most Christians disagree, claiming that every book God intended to be present in the Bible did end up there.

I believe that the world is a mystery. The only mystery God ever revealed is that Jesus was His son, sent to save mankind, and that one day He’ll return for His people.

All the other mysteries will have to wait until later.

(Featured image: Jesus Christ holding a Bible which reads, “Ego sum via veritas et vita.” Translation from Latin: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”)