RSS

Tag Archives: Family

Story Mines: Dreams and Family Lore

Story Mines: Dreams and Family Lore

Dreams and family history are two rich story mines. Below are a couple examples from my life:

This morning, shortly before waking, I had a long and detailed dream about my old job. There were new faces and new ideas, and none of the rookies seemed unsettled to see me, but started telling me what was going on, whose idea was whose, what worked, what didn’t, and why.

However, before I could meet the new employees or reach the new workspace (a shiny new and bright concession stand, one of many places I oversaw in the old job), I had to pass people with whom I used to work. They didn’t greet me or smile, but immediately began complaining about my absence. They were sarcastic, passive-aggressive, unhappy.

When I tried to leave that little conclave of depression and blame, they followed me, still complaining, still muttering. None of them, however, set foot into the bright, new workspace.

I turned around from admiring the new setup and speaking with the smart, young assistant manager, and looked out the open door to where the conclave gathered in the dark. They shot ugly looks, quieted but never stopped muttering.

That’s when I woke.

That’s also when I was reminded that 1) those burdens are no longer mine to bear, and 2) vision and gratitude turn on the lights.

(originally written March 1, 2014)

———-

Most of my social media connections know what I think about racism, the pernicious, persistent misnomer that’s not about race — we’re all the human race, there is no other — and all about skin color and ethnicity: Racism ends when we let it end. When skin color and ethnic origins are simply allowed to be, without the assumption or the weight of something ugly attached.

I don’t tend to make ethnicity a big deal in my stories. People are who they are, who they decide to be, who their actions lead them to become, and sometimes their origins have an impact on that.

The Deer Place“, however, directly addresses racism, and mixes elements from family lore and my father’s childhood. He recalls being called a “dirty Indian” and other names when he was young. He also had a special place on the mountain where he met the deer, and one day he discovered where they went.

(originally written February 28, 2015)

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Character Shapes Story

Recently finished viewing an Asian 21-ep revenge series, hoping for something more like The Count of Monte Cristo or City Hunter, but ending up with Shakespearean soap-opera. I nearly didn’t finish it. However, I wanted to see if the story would remain true to itself, and it mostly did. The fatal flaws necessary for a tragedy were present in most of the characters, and justice — of a kind — was meted out.

Shown but never stated: All the evil could have been avoided if the abusive father/husband had been in better control of his words and actions and had loved his wife.

Even though he was falsely accused of murdering an employee, the abusive character set in motion events that would boomerang thirty years later.

Below are the order of events (although not the order of revelation in the story):

1) although innocent of the alleged crimes, the husband was abusive and distrusting;
2) while she was kicked out of the house, the wife sought solace elsewhere and had a secret son she never acknowledged, but who grew up to take his revenge on her;
3) she tries to cover the truth by harming an employee, and he and his wife die;
4) the dead employee’s eldest daughter grows up in hardship and seeks revenge;
5) as adults, the secret son and the vengeful daughter meet and plot against the abusive man’s family;
6) amid their plotting, they become lovers, and yet the secret son allows the vengeful daughter to marry his innocent, unwitting half-brother — and that’s not yet the full measure of twistedness, because there’s more conning and thieving and murderousness to come.

Viewers had to suspend a great deal of reality, too, because the half-brother — thought to be killed in a fire (started by his wife) — comes back after extensive plastic surgery and sets himself up as a prosperous Korean-American businessman so he can revenge himself on her and take back the businesses and the properties she has finagled away from his family. (Oh, the soap opera!)

But what sorta saved this story is the ending: Although there was much back-and-forth one-upmanship regarding secrets and evidence of crimes, eventually the characters came to see the full measure of what their revenge and lies had wrought.

Had the father not been abusive, had the mother simply told the truth, had the young victims gone to the police rather than trying to solve it themselves…

In the end, watching from a distance as his half-brother (now accepted into the family) places flowers on the grave of the vengeful daughter, her husband — no longer unwitting or innocent — muses on what would have happened if everyone had stopped striving, had stopped hitting back, and had let God handle the matter of justice.

If they had been wiser, more patient, more forgiving, kinder, stronger, there would have been no story.

At least not that story.

Instead, it might have been about how a woman and her son survive and thrive away from the abuser. It might have been how a husband and wife come to terms with their wrongdoings and make amends or learn how to live with a new normal. It could have been about a son who grows up so fearful of becoming like his father that he never stands up for himself lest be become an abuser, and must learn there is a proper time to fight back. It could have been the redemptive story of a man who hits rock-bottom, losing everyone and everything he loved because he wouldn’t control his words or his fists, but then realizing he was the maker of his own darkness and climbing back toward the light.

It could have been any kind of story but revenge.

But character shapes story.

What kind of life are you writing? What choices are you making? What motivates you? What — and whom — do you love, fear, hate? Where, ultimately, will your story end?


The television series referenced above, in case you would like to watch it despite the spoilers:

Temptation of an Angel (2009 series)

Temptation of an Angel (2009)

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Poetry Giveaway

poetry-anthology-coversalt-flats-and-moon

It’s a short volume — less than seventy pages — but it spans two or three decades’ worth of poems inspired by the author’s life, relationships, troubles, daydreams, and family.

And she’s giving away signed paperback copies to five winners of a Goodreads giveaway:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Laughing at the Moon by Elizabeth Easter

Laughing at the Moon

by Elizabeth Easter

Giveaway ends March 31, 2016.

 

 

UPDATE (April 5, 2016):
The giveaway is ended, and the winners are chosen! They are from Italy, Ireland, England, and the United States. Congratulations to all!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What’s Your Filter?

Two or more people can look at the same object at the same time, and although they are seeing the same thing, they are not perceiving it the same way.

The filters of experience, prejudice, understanding, philosophy, religion, age, appreciation, comfort or discomfort, good day or bad — all color the way we see the world.

Below are several versions of a photo of the statue of the grieving Christ outside the Oklahoma City National Memorial, commemorating the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Building. Each image is affected by various filters imposed by photo editing software — each filter is overlaid the others, until the image underneath is far different from the original.

Christ (c2015, KB)

Christ (c2015, KB)

Christ in black and white (c2015, KB)

Christ in black and white (c2015, KB)

Christ in black and white, with blue duo-tone (c2015, KB)

Christ in black and white, with blue duo-tone (c2015, KB)

Christ in black and white, with blue duo-tone, overlaid with a filter to make it appear as if taken circa 1960 (c2015, KB)

Christ in black and white, with blue duo-tone, overlaid with a filter to make it appear as if taken circa 1960 (c2015, KB)

Christ in black and white, with blue duo-tone, 1960s, and Cinemascope effects (c2015, KB)

Christ in black and white, with blue duo-tone, 1960s, and Cinemascope effects (c2015, KB)

See how unexpected interferences or cooperations change what the viewer perceives?

The order matters, as well. If trauma colors our world at a young age, we will view it through a different filter than we might if that same trouble arrived when we were older.

Below, black-and-white and Cinemascope effects were applied in different orders. When the movie effect was applied first, then the monochrome, the image looks crisp. However, when the order was reversed, the image takes on a sepia cast.

Christ in color, as if filmed in Cinemascope (c2015, KB)

Christ in color, as if filmed in Cinemascope (c2015, KB)

Christ in Cinemascope with the color removed (c2015, KB)

Christ in Cinemascope with the color removed (c2015, KB)

Christ in black and white, then "Cinemascoped" (c2015, KB)

Christ in black and white, then “Cinemascoped” (c2015, KB)

Is there something in life you’re not seeing clearly?

Are there colors you think you’re perceiving, but your friends, colleagues, loved ones — or perfect strangers on social media —  do not view?

Before we impugn one another’s intelligence, reputations, abilities, etcetera, it might be wise to step back and consider the filters through which we — and they — view the world.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Sad and Terrible Truth

A Sad and Terrible Truth

When I first read last summer about the stomach-turning sexual crimes committed by two famous authors — and how fans and fellow writers excused those crimes and silenced the victims — I was repulsed beyond words. (Read more in The Guardian, and at a SFF writer’s blog.)

Now, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Walter Breen‘s daughter, Moira Greyland, has told her story in her own words. (Read it here.) She is forthright, does not excuse her parents’ behavior, and makes no apologies– nor should she. I applaud Moira’s strength and honesty.

I attempted reading MZB’s books, because other writers kept recommending it, but I could never get past the beginning paragraphs, or — at the most — a page or two. So I was never a fan. However, since she was a respected writer, and since she helped found the Society for Creative Anachronism, I was rocked back on my heels by those initial articles.

The recent kerfuffle over the Hugo Awards stands in stark contrast: In the past, Bradley and Breem were enabled and, even if temporarily shunned, remained esteemed despite their crimes; however, some modern writers who are of a particular political, social, or religious bent have appeared to be shunted aside because they’re “incorrect” in their views.

No, I am neither making a statement about the Hugos nor inviting debate. I’m simply making a connection / contrast between incidents, decades apart, that have occurred within the literary community.

Despite its difficult revelations about child molestation and the far-reaching and often tragic effects on victims, Moira Greyland’s post is well worth the reading, and reminds us that talent does not excuse crime or abuse.

3^re-edited

SCA event – Beltane (c2013, KB)

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Books For Sale, Books For Sale!

Books For Sale, Books For Sale!

As is common with editors and book reviewers, I have several books that are proofs / galleys (bound copies of uncorrected books before they are officially published and made available to the public).

However, I also have three published copies of each of these novels — pristine condition, never read, purchased to sell or give away at a book-related event — and I need to sell them ASAP, if at all possible.

Their prices have dropped a little since they were first published, so I’ll take a loss, but I’d rather they weren’t sitting forlorn on my shelf, but being read by folks who appreciate good writing and interesting stories.

Purple Moon1) Purple Moon by Tessa Emily Hall

On Amazon, the book is $11.84 + $3.99 s/h = $15.83, but I’ll send it to you for $13 flat.

Selena’s life isn’t turning out to be the fairy tale she imagined as a kid.

That hope seemed to vanish long ago when her dad kicked her and her mom out of the house. This summer might finally hold the chance of a new beginning for Selena … but having to live with her snobby cousin in Lake Lure, NC while waiting for her mom to get out of rehab wasn’t how Selena was planning on spending her summer. She soon begins to wonder why she committed to give up her “bad habits” for this.

Things don’t seem too bad, though. Especially when Selena gains the attention of the cute neighbor next door. But when her best friend back home in Brooklyn desperately needs her, a secret that’s been hidden from Selena for years is revealed, and when she becomes a target for one of her cousin’s nasty pranks, she finds herself having to face the scars from her past and the memories that come along with them. Will she follow her mom’s example in running away, or trust that God still has a fairy tale life written just for her?

Fatal Transaction2) Fatal Transaction by W. Richard Lawrence

Amazon is offering the book at $11.00 + $3.99 s/h = $14.99. I’ll send it to you for $12.00.

Sara, an expert computer hacker, knows better than to trust anyone certainly not the powerful and crooked business mogul for whom she works. But there is no future for the life of a thief. Determined to find a way out, Sara devises a scheme to double-cross her employer and steal millions through one final fatal transaction.

Desperate and on the run, she finds temporary sanctuary with the mysterious Derry Conway. As the FBI closes in and her former associates seek revenge, Sara tries to escape but finds all avenues blocked. Trapped, she sees only one road out Derry must take the fall and pay for her crimes. But will it work? Is her freedom more important than the life of an innocent man? Or will Sara make the ultimate sacrifice to save those she cares about?

If you’re interested in either or both of these books, send me a private message on Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail. Include your name and mailing address. Payment can be made via check or PayPal. Once the transaction is complete, I will mail the book(s) of your choice.

Many thanks, and happy reading!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Converse

Converse

Someone says Y, so he must be Z.
Another person believes A, so she must be B.
Someone else reads W, so he must be X.
Yet another person listens to C, and therefore must be D.

Sometimes, knowing certain details about others can be quite revealing, perhaps more than those people intend. However, when we use only those particular details to build entire profiles and think we know people as a result, we delude ourselves. We live in prejudiced assumptions and narrow-minded ignorance.

People are so multi-dimensional that sometimes we don’t even know ourselves. We hold contradictory thoughts or beliefs. We say one thing and do another. We ride motorcycles but prefer classical music. We appear to be so outgoing that we’d be the life of the party but what we really prefer is a quite cuppa and silence. We speak little, but — dude! — can we dance.

The speaker in this morning’s service said something so simple that it was profound: “Relationship is found in conversation.”

So, talk to someone. Ask questions. Listen.

Put aside hair-trigger or knee-jerk responses and listen. After all, this isn’t about you.

You may not agree with that person, but you will learn.

And, in the process, you might gain a friend.

Young Love copyright Keanan Brand

Young Love
copyright Keanan Brand

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 28, 2014 in Journeys, Life, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday Drives

a view of the Three Sisters across a ranch outside Sisters, Oregon (c2013, KB)

a view of the Three Sisters across a ranch outside Sisters, Oregon (c2013, KB)

Reminiscing with Bubba about “gentle Sunday drives” with our parents, and the life lessons we learned as a result:

1) Orienteering — Dad often insisted he was turning onto the proper road, but we learned to develop a keen sense of direction so that we might actually arrive at our intended destination.

2) Pioneering — Dad just knew that an indentation was indication of ruts and therefore a proper road, but it was most likely just a low spot in the ground, as we discovered after several bumpy rides across country.

3) Engineering — Our Datsun B-210 being high-centered on a rock in the middle of one of those pioneer roads gave us a perfect opportunity to study the function of a fulcrum, and how difficult it can be to dislodge a well-balanced vehicle from said fulcrum.

4) Telling time creatively — Dad’s shortcuts gave rise to “two hours in to a half-hour trip” and a skittishness whenever someone dared mention how much time we’d save if we just took such-and-such shortcut.

Good times.

northern Nevada (c2013, KB)

northern Nevada (c2013, KB)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 2, 2014 in Characters, Family, Journeys, Life, Photography, Stories

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

“The Eye of Sauron”

The family and I wandered down to Bricktown yesterday to visit Myriad Botanical Gardens, and nearby stood a tower we know well as “the Eye of Sauron”.

c2014, Keanan Brand

c2014, Keanan Brand

Surrounded by other structures — including the Crystal Bridge, a massive greenhouse suspended over water — the tower looks like the backdrop for a science fiction film.

IMG_0945^edited

c2014, Keanan Brand

c2014, Keanan Brand

c2014, Keanan Brand

c2014, Keanan Brand

c2014, Keanan Brand

A landmark to help orient one while traversing downtown Oklahoma City, the tower can look sinister when lit at night, and the triangular top roughly mimics the fiery eye of the mystical villain from The Lord of the Rings. However, yesterday afternoon, it’s reflected light imparted an otherworldy glow to the park-like setting.

c2014, Keanan Brand

c2014, Keanan Brand

c2014, Keanan Brand

c2014, Keanan Brand

The above photo is unenhanced, unedited. I like it, though it doesn’t convey what our eyes saw. The one below is closer, but still misses the mark. But that’s what imagination’s for, eh?

c2014, Keanan Brand

c2014, Keanan Brand

 

More photos to come.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Warden and the Wolf King

Where should most stories begin?
At the beginning, of course.
Unless they begin at the end.
And that’s where I joined the excellent Wingfeather Saga — at the end.

The Warden and the Wolf King is the fourth and final book in singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson‘s richly-illustrated and fast-moving fantasy series.However, had I not known there were three other books, were those books beyond my reach, I would still think this book a rewarding, fun adventure. I was never lost, never bored, and laughed much.

Today — Monday, July 21 — is my birthday, and there have been activities and family matters since Friday, so this CSFF Blog Tour sneaked up on me. I’ll return tomorrow with something substantial to say. Meanwhile, please visit the other stops on the blog tour to read other reviews of The Wingfeather Saga, a delight for all ages:

The Warden and Wolf KingBeckie Burnham
Pauline Creeden
Vicky DealSharingAunt
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,