#BeQuotable…Day 17….Quotes About Challenge

Image
Image Credit: James O'Brien

Image Credit: James O’Brien

“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.”
Shannon L. Alder

The Greatest Challenges that any of us have to overcome is the little boxes that society tries to place us in. For me, it was ADD, Small Town, Woman, Same Sex Attraction, Heathen, and Deviant (to name a few). These are the labels I wear around and people want to typecast me based on these facts about myself. Each presents its own set of challenges and obstacles that I must cross in order to be included in a society, who clearly rejects me. I like this quote because it, essentially, gives us the answer to overcoming these challenges….do not allow yourself to be defined by the box but rather define your existence based on your view from the box. It’s a beautiful sentiment and great motivational words to live by.

 

Spark of Creativity…

Standard

imbolc

Imbolc is coming, soon. It’s my favorite of the fire sabbats. Last year, we made Brigit’s crosses, lit candles in every room and did a home cleansing, and I shared a lovely story with the kids about keeping the heart fire burning. This year is different.

I’m different. 

For those of you who are not familiar with Imbolc, it is a festival in preparation of the coming Spring and Summer. The legends tell us that the mother is nurturing the child of light and bringing him forth, creating hope for the coming seasons. The traditions of the holiday center around making preparations for the light. So, we clean (think of Spring Cleaning), organize, cleanse and sing songs of hope and light. To think of it scientifically, it is a celebration of the sun growing in strength (in the Northern Hemisphere).

I find myself, this year, going through the process mentally more so than I did in years past. I’m finding the urge to organize, not only my physical surroundings, but my work environment and thoughts as well.

As a writer, I’m more inclined to make lists and schedules. I find myself energized with creativity and vigor toward the projects I’m working on. I look outside and count the days when I can set outside and write while the kids enjoy the warmth of the Spring sun. I feel the hope in the possibility that the book I’m writing on will be the one…the one that gets noticed.

Then again, it could be because we always tend to think that (why else would we be putting so much time and energy into it)?

I find myself shedding away the darkness of the winter, the darkness of my separation, and the darkness of my thoughts. I allow myself to step into the mindset that everything in my life is getting brighter…everything is getting better.

Perhaps this is why spirituality and tradition are important (no matter which way you choose to acknowledge it). Maybe we simply need a reminder to slow down and listen to the turning of the seasons; the turning of the wheel of life. Maybe we need a reason to feel hope…a reason to slow down and reorganize and re energize ourselves.

After all, there has to be a reason that the legends and traditions of our ancestors remained, long after they faded away. I always find it interesting when I learn that someone who has no connection with Paganism takes part in traditions which were spawned from the faith (such as Spring Cleaning, or “broom standing”). It reminds me just how similar we all are, despite our differences. It reminds me that, whether we acknowledge it or not, we all beat to the tune of the same drum. It reminds me that the foundation of faith really is science, even if that’s an unpopular opinion.

Maybe we take it too seriously. Sometimes we get caught up in the myth and legend that we forget the purpose of it all. Sometimes we get tied up in dogma and judgement and we lose sight of the connections we share. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter to me the names and faces as much as it does the meaning behind the actions.

This sentiment is expressed by the Order of Bards and Druids regarding Imbolc. The website reads:

 

 This Feast is known by many names to many people, for the Truth is reflected from many mirrors. It has been celebrated as Februa and Candlemas. Our ancestors called it by names long forgotten, and our children will call it by names as yet unconceived.

It doesn’t matter if you believe or not, Spring is coming. Light will return and we will move forward in our lives. As for me, I take this time to organize my life and give thanks for the return of light (both within and without). I use this time to spark my creativity and drive me forward…knowing this is the year…this is MY year.

Yule Blessings and Celebrating Endings…

Video

I’ve decided not to post a long Yule post. There’s a lot of that out there and my mind is so focused on my novel that I’m not sure if I can unravel it at this moment. I’ve borrowed this lovely video from Youtube to send out Yule blessings to all my friends and followers who will be celebrating today.

So to you all, I say: Happy Yule! May the Light of the Winter warm your heart and lead you to peace in the coming year. As we move through the darkest day of the year, we are reminded that light will return and nourish us all. Blessings to all beings.

With that, I will also note that the last day in Darkness Within is December 21st, 2013. As the darkness of the year impedes upon us in reality, the first chapter in Awen’s story is ending. It’s bittersweet, to reach the end of a novel. It’s satisfying and terrifying at the same time.

I miss my characters, my plots, my conflicts and resolutions…but I’m proud that it’s complete. It’s more than a string of thoughts and events. It’s profound in story and resolution. It’s a benchmark in my life as I move forward with my career as a writer but the true test is in how readers react to it.

I’m excited about publishing, while being terrified about how it will be received. Still, I move forward with hope and joy. I close one chapter of Awen’s life and open another. I feel the kindling of excitement and joy as I begin to write Light Without, the story of the light half of the year.

I always see the Winter Solstice as more than just the shortest day of the year. Afterwards, the days begin lengthening and I begin to find hope in the return of the sun. It is my wish that this is echoed in my journey as an author and in moving forward, I will fill myself with the light of Spring. As I celebrate Yule, I also celebrate the ending of Darkness Within…may both endings be filled with the promise of hope.

If you want to know more about Darkness Within, visit my “Books” page or visit my Goodreads page. It will be available to buy on January 1st. I will post links later as to where and how you can do this.

Pushing the Envelope…perhaps too far…

Standard

After my blog post last night about what’s been going on in my life, I felt a weight had been lifted and was able to actually meet my word goal for the day. I’m up to 36,000 words now and have much more written on paper that I need to work into the story and transpose into my novel. My story is more complete now and has a beginning and end. I’m working on some of the middle parts and basically building on the existing plot and themes of the novel. As I work on the themes, I find that it’s coming out a lot more overtly religious than I originally intended.

I’ve purposely written in archetypes from various different religions. This was originally intended to be a whisper within the novel and I never meant for the religious overtones to intertwine too much with the actual story. As it turns out, Characters have their own mind and, lately, they seem to want me to make them take part in religious debate. I’m stuck somewhere between allowing the idea to manifest and separating myself from it completely.

I guess some of the themes already push the envelope enough. My character uses magick and talks about how she feels condemned for it…she talks about seeing the divine in nature a lot…yet, she attends traditional church services. Furthermore, I’ve built a character completely around the Druid archetypes and allowed her to discover that her mother was a witch…she’s looking into the occult with trepidation because she’s been warned about the dangers within her entire life…and because using her powers has, in fact, caused problems in her life already…she moves through the wheel of the year, denoting the changes in the energy around her (although this is never overtly revealed, just hinted at with strategic placement of dates throughout).

Now, my Druid archetype is pulling me toward a discussion about religion with her boyfriend in which he explains how more mainstream religions and obscure ones are very similar. It’s a discussion which (on a personal level), I think needs to occur; both in my novel and in society as a whole. The segmentation between different faith paths is unnatural and not conducive to tolerance by anybody’s terms.

However, I do not want my novel to be dismissed by publishers and agents because it pushes the envelope too far. It’s not about the money or my career but because I think there is a good message behind the story. The question is, is the YA Fiction or Contemporary Fiction world ready for a novel with these themes? How far is too far?