Just keep swimming, I guess

Okay, so sometimes life is like drowning…only different…
Hear me out.

It’s like you start out not knowing how to swim, but then someone shows you or you figure it out, and for a while you get it.

And then you don’t, but you can sort of tread water.
And then the waves happen and it pulls you away from everything you knew was around you and you get sort of lost.

So you tread water and you try and get your bearings and maybe you figure out that swimming thing again for awhile..

But then sometimes you don’t…
Then you are drowning, and you can’t quite get your head above water. You can see people around you, some of them are in the same position that you are and some are treading water, some are doing laps around you…hell, some of them have found boats and even yachts. Those bastards…

Still drowning, and sometimes people notice, so they yell words of encouragement at you and they say they will pray for you and they tell you that they just KNOW you will figure this swimming thing out and everything will be okay, but no one realizes that what you need is for someone to just reach out long enough for you to catch your breath before you go under for good. You just need a moment to breathe, to feel the breeze, to feel warmth…

Somewhere there are life preservers, you’ve seen them but you can’t always find one that someone isn’t already in need of, so you just have to keep trying.

You keep kicking your legs and maybe you get your head above water, but sometimes…you don’t. Sometimes you can’t by yourself, and that’s okay…and it’s also not.

Some people are in the boats, and sometimes they reach out and they pull in the people who are drowning, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes people who are drowning try to save someone else who is drowning and they either both sink or they take turns carrying each other until they can both swim.

You don’t ever have to reach out. But if you can, if you can give someone that moment, that crucial moment, it’s beautiful.

If you are drowning, all you can do is keep trying until there is nothing left in you that can try…

This may have just been a very convoluted and ridiculous way to say “just keep swimming”.

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Hello again

Hello any and all who may or may not have stuck around!

I am back. I think..

 

Why did I leave? In short, I left because I felt overwhelmed. There was a lot going on in my life (that has definitely NOT changed). I doubt I will post often, or really about anything of consequence, but here I am.

We’ll see how this goes.

Activism Vs. Reactivism….how much do you really care?

There are many people who consider themselves activists. They subscribe to newsletters, they share links on social media, and occasionally bring up topics to their peers.

There are also people who do these things, and they donate their time or money, they instigate change and discussions and put forth new ideas. They live, breathe, and exist for the desire for a better world, and not just for them, but for everyone.

I am highlighting a key difference here. The difference between an activism and reactivism.

Activism is great, it can help to bring change where we need it, when we need it.

What is reactivism? That’s when you only hear about something after the fact, and then say you are for or against it. It’s when you follow the story but don’t do anything about it. You react to whether or not there is change, but you don’t try to get it.

There are a number of problems, all over the world, some you care about…and maybe some you don’t. But, I am willing to bet that there are a number of causes that you believe in, for one reason or another. So, read the articles, educate yourself, and then do something about it. Don’t wait for change to happen, make it happen.

Activist or reactivist….which one are you?

It finally happened!

It finally happened!

I am not going to post a really long blog about why I support what I do, or why you should. I am just going to say this:

I am so completely proud and excited today! Marriage equality is HERE!!!! ❤

Congratulations to everyone who is now able to marry who they love LEGALLY!

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Sifting through the brain of R.F Whittaker

Hello all! I am quite excited to report that today’s blog post is an interview! I asked a newly acquired friend, and wonderfully dark and twisted author, to allow me to dig through his brain a bit. He said yes, and thus, here we are.

Now, without further babble from me, I give you the interview with R. F. Whittaker.

  1. Where are you from and where are you located now?

I was born and raised in Birmingham, England, and I now live in Boston, Lincolnshire.

 

  1. What would you say is your primary inspiration?

My son is by far my greatest inspiration. I don’t know if I would be as driven to succeed in my work if I didn’t have my boy to nurture and teach along the way. He is the driving force behind my strong work ethic.

 

  1. Who are your literary heroes?

I don’t particularly have a ‘literary hero’ though growing up I enjoyed reading the likes of Roald Dahl and J. R. R. Tolkien. I wouldn’t say that these authors defined me as a writer as I am their polar opposite in terms of genre. I love the humour in the works of Dahl, whilst his adult fiction has a nice touch of the dark side, although not as strong as me. And then you have the sheer class of Tolkien, a man educated to the highest level in literature and history; so it is no wonder that he was able to create such a vast world in which I could escape from the troubles of my teenage years.

 

  1. Are you currently reading anything interesting?

This year I am studying pre-war (WWII) legends of short horror fiction. So far I’ve collected the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, E. F. Benson, M. R. James, Guy De Maupassant, Sheridan Le Fanu and Ambrose Bierce. The collection grows every month and not a day passes where I don’t read at least one short story. This is not so much as a means of improving my own work, but to gain an understanding of what has already been done by the best from another age, and generally to unwind with some bloody good fiction.

 

  1. Do you have a favourite book? What is it?

Homer’s Iliad. There are many interpretations of the tale by different scholars, but you cannot go wrong with any of them. It is a brilliant story and if you’re a fan of gratuitous violence and gore and have never read The Iliad, then you need to get on it and discover the original master storyteller.

 

  1. What are your thoughts on the evolution of the horror genre?

That’s an interesting question. As an historian (I have a degree in history) as well as an author of fiction, I could write an entire book covering the evolution of the horror genre. For as long as mankind has walked the earth, there have been bards to tell the tales of religion, war and mythology. Every ancient culture has its own unique forms of mythology and folklore concerning monsters, deities and everything supernatural. These tales began as spoken verse at camp fires and anywhere that humans congregated in numbers, and as time passed, horror, along with every other genre, was transferred to the page as technology improved and civilisation advanced.

From what I have seen of the popular authors of the 19th and early 20th centuries, their stories are focused, by in large, around the nobility. This is because in that time education was mainly available to the wealthy members of society and this was the audience for whom the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker were aiming. Horror literature tended to focus upon the supernatural and the paranormal, rather than the excessive gore you see in today’s literature (Marquis de Sade was the exception, albeit in the 18th century). Time passed by, educational institutions were made available to the wider population, and in turn the working classes gained access as well as contributed to literature. As a result, the narrative became less excessive in class and we saw the emergence of minimal expression, where the author, rather than beat around the bush, gets straight to the point and paints a clearer picture in the mind of the reader.

Then you have the 20th century. There were two World Wars and with them came real horror on a scale never before seen, and the survivors returned from these wars traumatised. With such trauma on an epic scale, the horror genre flourished both on the page and on the silver screen. Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun, a tale concerning a soldier of The Great War who is injured in a trench shelling to such an extent that he is left a prisoner in his own body, has to be one of the most disturbing and upsetting stories I have ever read.

During the Cold War years we saw the emergence of Stephen King who has become the Coca Cola of the horror genre (Dean Koontz is Pepsi, bless him), dominating the industry and inspiring writers and movies alike to this very day. Now we live in the digital age and anyone can download a document to Kindle and Smashwords etc. People are no longer afraid to send their manuscripts to publishers, preferring to use digital, self-publishing platforms, and now the reader is overawed by the choices of literature available to them, from tame stories concerning the paranormal to gore-fests concerning madmen and femme fatales, and for the less than the price of a can of Coke.

  1. What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a series of novellas and novelettes sub-titled Surreal Creatures. At this moment in time the series includes Vampire, Werewolf and Spider. I’m not going to reveal what is next in line and so on as they are a surprise. However I will mention that I am experimenting with creatures of different cultures from around the globe, some popular, others lesser known, and there will be many more to come before the end of 2015.

 

  1. What are your plans for future works?

2015 is all about Surreal Creatures. I plan to write some longer works in 2016. What I will produce is not yet sealed in concrete; however I would like to return to non-supernatural horror. I also have something in mind that will take me away from horror for a few months, though I won’t spill the beans just yet as it’s another surprise and I might change my mind before 2016. Also, I’m thinking about writing another anthology to succeed Daemonia and Disturbing. If you enjoyed my previous anthologies then this one will be right up your street.

 

  1. What helps you focus on your writing?

Complete silence. I cannot concentrate on my work in a noisy surrounding, so if my family is home, I shut myself away in my bedroom, switch off my phone and get writing. Of course, the work isn’t just done on the page. I’m constantly daydreaming, my mind is filled with ideas that will keep me busy for years to come and as a result, I struggle to sleep over any period of time.

 

  1. What would be your best advice for anyone who wants to get into writing as a career path?

Daydream, read and write every day. Kindle has made it easier for you, so don’t worry about sending manuscripts to publishers and getting rejected (I have never even attempted to contact a publisher). However don’t expect to make a fortune or a living in the beginning as there are literally hundreds of thousands of authors using Kindle and Smashwords and it is very difficult to get your foot in the door. Don’t be deterred by the competition; you just have to find and build your own audience and it takes time, so start with friends and family. Expect praise and harsh criticism alike as you cannot please everyone. Publishing is easy, writing is difficult and selling is a brain splitting headache, so prepare yourself for a rollercoaster ride that might never end.

 

  1. Do you believe that anyone can write, or do you believe that it is more of a calling for certain people?

Anyone can write, though some are more talented than others. Unfortunately, as it is so easy to self-publish in this day and age, there is a flood of bad writers out there. Now some people might argue that I am one of the aforementioned and that is fair enough as I am the first to admit that I’m not perfect. It takes years of practice and hard work to become really good at writing and not everyone has the endurance and willpower to succeed. Even people who are naturally talented at writing have to work hard and learn from their mistakes.

 

  1. Where can people go to purchase your work?

My work is exclusive to Amazon Kindle. All of my titles can be found on my author page which is http://amazon.com/author/rfwhittaker and http://amazon.co.uk/author/rfwhittaker

 

  1. How can people reach out to you (social media and such)?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter. Just type in R F Whittaker and you will find me.

 

  1. Anything else you would like to add?

If you like your horror dark, twisted, disturbing, with a hint of the utterly sickening, and are not familiar with my work, then don’t be afraid to give my books a read. You might enjoy it. And to anybody who has already downloaded my work – Thank you.

*****

I would now like to add a thank you to R.F Whittaker for allowing me to pick your brain!

This interview was conducted via the sending of documents online. Had it been conducted in person, I would have asked many more questions. 🙂

Until next time ❤

Insomnia, creativity, and overhauling everything

I am having one of those nights. You know, the nights when you know you are tired and sleep sounds amazing but you just can’t get your brain to shut the hell up? Yeah, one of those.

I wonder if it would help to threaten to stab my brain with a pencil? Yeah, probably not, but anyway…

There is a silver lining, if I really want to see it…and believe me, I do. The beautiful thing about insomnia, and sleep deprivation in general, is that I get really interesting ideas when I am tired.

So, that is what I am doing, sitting here and writing things down. I decided blogging might be a good idea, as I keep putting it on the back burner. I’ve been busy with life things and art stuff.

I am currently working on multiple projects, least of which is a massive overhaul of my art content. I am trying to create a vast number of new pieces before Autumn. A sizable chunk of my inventory was accidentally lost, so I will be retiring a few of my older pieces once the copies run out (feel free to shout out to find out which ones before I create a post specifically about that). Additionally, I really wanted to focus on trying to pinpoint an artistic style that I am most comfortable with.

I have been all over the map with my art for quite a while now, drawing just about anything in varying styles. While yes, this is a good thing because it opens the door to a wider variety of possibilities and commission opportunities, it doesn’t really allow for growth in my “niche”.

There are styles that some people prefer, but I want to focus more on what I prefer, at least for now. Obviously, I will still take commissions, and there will be some variety, but there will be more of what I really want to create.

If you haven’t seen my latest round of art pieces, I will link to my art page so you can get caught up. I am pretty excited for things to come and where this road will take me.

My next confirmed event is in October, and I will definitely talk more about that as it draws nearer.

Links:

http://www.facebook.com/JustDuckyDesign (art page)

@JustDucky_13 (twitter)

http://www.sheisfiercehq.com (an amazing site that I contribute to, you should check it out)

Until next time ❤TPhoto_01690

In case you missed it

Hello all!

Recently, I started writing for She Is Fierce! I have one article up now and am currently working on my second one. If you are unfamiliar with She Is Fierce, you should check it out.

I thought I would go ahead and put a link to my article here for anyone that missed it. I will make sure to post again once my second article goes up.

This first article talks about fear. If you follow me on facebook or twitter, you may have seen it already. I am not going to talk about the upcoming article yet, because spoilers.

Question of the moment! How do YOU handle fear? As always, feel free to leave a comment below or email me.

Link to article on She Is Fierce!: http://sheisfiercehq.com/femspiration/fear-my-best-frenemy/

Follow She Is Fierce on Twitter! @SheIsFierceHQ

Follow me on Twitter @JustDucky_13

Until next time! ❤