From Dust With Love

From dust with love: it’s a letter my father wrote me. He first spoke the words with magic in every syllable, power in his breath. Then, he wrote them down, one finger in the dust tracing my form. Shaping me. Making me. A beautiful, beloved and blessed image of the divine fused with the most simple. Dust. It is the stuff we walk on without even thinking about it. We pick it up with broom and pan, throw it in the trash. We create it with the death of our own flesh. From dust we are formed. To dust we do return.

There is nothing special about dust. It is the least special thing around. It does not have skin colour, nationality, skills, or language. It just is. It hangs in the African air, blocking windpipes and Internet traffic, the very stuff we are made of working against us. It settles on kitchen tables as a thinly veiled reminder of our frailty. So easily wiped away. It works against the cleanliness of our lives, and men don’t even see it… or so I’ve been told. Perhaps it is simply that it is just too commonplace to deserve our attention—like you, like me, like all of us to somebody, at some time—or maybe we avoid it because we don’t want to face the harsh reality that we are nothing but a mess on the counter, bunnies hiding beneath the bed, and African air… suffocation. Dying.

When God sees dust he says, “I can work with that.” He sees the very thing that we don’t see. He sees the potential in every grain of sand, the castles hiding between toddler toes. He sees the muck, the stuff we try to wash away, the stuff we try to forget about, the ignored, the walked on, and says, “I can work with that.” He writes our names in the dust, with love.

Creation is something that I know a little bid about—creating something new with the most simple thing: words. It is a writer’s dream awakening beneath the finger tapping of the divine. But re-creation… that is something far more difficult. That is something that I don’t know very much about. That is something I have never been good at.

Dust gathers in the corners of my office where balls of paper meet, get caught in the forgotten spaces of my life. An unfinished story. A poem that just wasn’t quite working, a word that looked more like a jumble of letters than a language. I am in the process of writing three books right now, but really I am writing none of them. I form an idea, write it down until it runs out of steam—gets messy, a beautiful plot line turned into a pointless effort—and I hide it in the corners of my office space. Forgotten. Every once in a while I pick those stories up again, and I always start at the beginning. I can see the beauty of a story waiting to be told, the magic of the moment of first turning nothing into something, the magic of creation… but then I get to that place where I stopped, the spot where I didn’t have anything left to go on. The place where I left my cursor on the counter to gather dust. I get discouraged when I see dust. I get lost beneath mounds of misery. Because I have never been good at re-creation. I’m better at throwing things away.

Did you know that people used to mend their socks! What a novelty! We, as a society, used to know how to fix things, could push past the brokenness and see the beauty, the potential, in a thing of disrepair, in the forgotten. Now, all we see are memories, throw aways. We try to keep things moving as much as possible so that the dust won’t have time to settle. But it is us who too often settle, and dust is the only thing that has all the time in the world. It has been here since the beginning, and will be here in the end.

God is great at the things that we have forgotten. He is leading on a journey from dust with love, a journey of re-creation. We think that our sins are too great, or his power is too small, or his patience is too short, or our burden is too heavy. When we mess up we think,  “I’m worthless. I can’t do anything right.” All he sees is a chance to try again. He doesn’t reward our destination as much as our progress, and our process. He longs to pick up the broken. When we fall, we think we are going backwards, but he says, “let me lift you, carry you forward.” He picks up the dust and shapes it into something brand new, and writes our name in the dust with love.

Lights, Please

This time of year the sun doesn’t stick around. She plays with the clouds much of the day and much too early snuggles in tight beneath the blanket of night. Dawn arrives after cars have already puffed their morning warming rituals, and coffee drips before sun drops fall. This is the Christmas scene.

Every day in the month of December looks more like a desperate attempt to keep the lights on. Work days drag on, long hours come and go, and finally that bonus comes in that will pay for the coffee, the car, and the Christmas gifts. On the way home the radio plays its familiar joyous tunes, and lights sparkle from roof peeks to landings. We push back while darkness pushes in.

When I get home, my two-year-old daughter is waiting for me. With Christmas cookie icing colouring her lips like a pre-puberty make-up disaster she declares, “Daddy’s home!” Before I can even shake the snow from my boots, which seeks to hibernate in the cracked tread, she runs into the living room and says, “lights please.” I plug in the cord and we watch them sparkle, those colourful reminders of the light of the season hanging from darkened branches. At my house, the lights only come on once it’s dark out, which is far too early this time of year.

There is something about darkness and Christmas that go together. Santa always seems to head out on the darkest and coldest night of the year, that time when he can’t get his sleigh off the ground without Rudolph to guide him. I know, for myself, there have been time when I couldn’t get off the ground either. Those times when the paychecks don’t seem to agree with the bills. That moment when turkey dinner is ruined by smoke billowing from oven-door cracks. Those times when family gatherings are more about fighting than fellowship. Those times when family isn’t there at all—and if we’re honest, fighting with those we love is better than not seeing them at all. So we sit like little children staring out into the blizzard of our life wondering if Santa will even make it to our home this year.

At my house, we read the Christmas story before opening our presents. No, not the one with a flying sled and chimney weight-loss programs, but the message is much the same. The same dark night. The same tired and weary hearts. The same Christmas scene. As we sit by window sills, enraptured by the story, it isn’t the red glow of Rudolph’s nose that we look for. We are, instead, like wise men searching for a star, shepherds spotting angels, and like Mary and Joseph finding light in a darkened stable. Jesus, the light of the world, is born to a young couple at Christmas: a Christmas without family and friends around them. The only people there to witness the birth are strange and smelly folk.

The story resonates with me. It speaks to all of us, doesn’t it? Don’t we often feel like shepherds on some distant hill trying to keep our herd together: parents with an empty nest trying to hold onto the joy of the season even though our children, our own little herd, aren’t around us anymore. Maybe we see ourselves in the middle of nowhere. We are like wise men far from home padding through the desert with so many gifts to give and no one to give them to. We know we have the skills, but can’t seem to find a job. Perhaps we’ve just moved and can’t seem to find a way to plug into the community (feeling alone in the frozen desert of Northern Ontario). Perhaps we are Mary or Joseph with nothing but a leaky stable over our heads and no one seems to have any time or room for us.

There is something about darkness and Christmas that go together. But this is not where the story ends. There has never been a Santa without a Rudolph, never a shepherd without angels or wise men without a star, never a Mary without a Jesus, never a dark night without Christmas lights. My daughter knows this when we get home after a long day, the sun tucked under its covers. “Really dark,” she shivers as we go into the house. Then, “Lights, please.” She is enthralled with the star on top of our Christmas tree, and grabs hold of the hope sitting on my knee, listening to the Christmas story, waiting for the ‘happily ever after’ she knows will come before the book is closed. She knows this, and she is only two.

Whatever Christmas might look like today, there is always hope. Whatever we need saving from, there is always a saviour. It is when we face the deepest darkness that we see a great light. Might Jesus be that light for us this year. All we need is the faith of a child staring through the blizzard waiting for Daddy to get home. Faith enough to believe that when he walks through the door of our lives all we have to say is. “Daddy’s home!” and then run over to the darkest part of our life and say, “Lights, please.”

Tearing down our towers

building-blocks-1563961_1920“One. Two. Three.” She counts, one block at a time. The tower grows higher and higher.

I lay the foundations, a perfectly symmetrical square. The blocks meet in all the right places. It is perfection… until those little toddler hands give it a try. “One. Two. Three.” She counts. Each block is placed on the tower, and some actually complement the mighty frame which I built… but most of them add… creativity to it. No longer is the masterpiece a square, but a cockeyed leaning-tower-of-something.

It is easy to tell which parts I built and which ones she did. I frantically work to path the holes in the walls and keep the thing sturdy enough that it will withstand the next toddler assault without toppling over. “More blocks. More blocks, daddy.” These are the lyrics to the song in my heart, but soon the refrain is over and the bridge is out. The final chords strikes, an awkward finish.

“No more blocks. All done.” A pout smears her face as I say the words. I direct her attention to the empty bag which once held a mix of potential and the right dose of imagination. I feel the tears forming, great pregnant clouds behind eyelids.

“More blocks, daddy…”

“There are no more blocks,” I try to explain, “They are all on the tower. If we take it apart, we can have more blocks. Sometimes things have to be taken down before they can be built back up.”

My little girl follows suit, more than happy to destroy what we once so beautifully created. This part she has mastered. Me? I am struck by the words I just said. It seems we are all searching for the bigger tower, reaching for some sense of purpose so that we no longer have to work at life as if one day we will place that final block, sit back, and say, “I have arrived.” But this is when the tears fall. It is at these moments when we see the holes in our creation, the times when we were still new at this things called “life” and the mistakes we made along the way. The tower is never really finished.

If you’re anything like me, those unsymmetrical moments of confusion in your past cannot just be built on top of and forgotten. They will always be there, buried somewhere, bothering you. Not until we take apart what we thought was perfect do we find them again. There is always a way to improve our tower.

When playtime becomes philosophy and recess retrospection. This is the way of an artist’s mind. There is always a story to share, always a message behind our methods. Perhaps my little girl didn’t get it, just happy to be playing blocks with her dad, but do we truly get it either? Don’t we throw a fit when something stands in the way of the life we thought we were building? Don’t we rebel when someone says that we are putting the blocks of our life in the wrong direction and it will just make the tower shaky and unstable? Don’t we also struggle with those moments of deconstruction.

“Sometimes things have to be taken down before they can be built back up.” I so often reach those heights when I think that I have “arrived.” I can defend my point until I don’t even know what I’m fighting about. I can do a job–that should really take two people–like moving furniture all by myself (because I don’t need any help. I’ve figured it out.) I can back up my parenting style with logical reasoning, and my way of interpreting the Bible with enough “proof texts” to make my Bible College professor smile. I don’t like to take things apart, but oh the release I get when I finally give up, release those tears, and take the blocks off my tower.

Why does pride come before a fall? Pride won’t always “make” you fall, but sometimes it exposes the need. The fall doesn’t have to be hard and messy, it can be slow and voluntary–one block at a time.

As I go through the cycle of building blocks with my little girl and tearing those towers down again, I wonder how many towers I have held up too long when they should have fallen, how many questions I have refused to ask, how many blocks I don’t want to pull our and inspect because my whole life might come crashing down if I do. I don’t think I will ever stop building towers, but I hope that I won’t ever stop tearing them down either. I hope that I never settle for one tower so long that it destroys my whole world when someone starts to question the blocks on which my life stands. And, if I ever do, I hope that my little girl is around to help me do what I am not willing to do. She is already better at smashing towers than I ever was.

Amber Bridge Pre-order

Remember this old photo? It is my original half-done concept cover for Amber Bridge. Why, do you ask, am I talking about some silly looking photo that was created while half asleep and generally bored? It might be that Amber Bridge has a new cover, and it might be that this cover is the “official” cover. By “official” I mean it has a reason to have a cover, and that reason is that it is done! After writing and re-writing and squeezing it through multiple layering of editing, this little story is ready for consumption. True, it is no 5-course meal, but it also is no speck of sugar on your tongue. This little novelette is a snack to get you through those cravings. (Don’t ask me what cravings. This metaphor broke down a while ago.)

front-coverAmber bridge is set to officially release on July 7th. You can currently pre-order it on Smashwords and it will soon be available for pre-purchase on my local store. For more information about Amber Bridge, here is the official back-flap excerpt. “A man searches for the meaning of life: stuck in neutral between the green light of birth and final Red Light. Everyone has a choice: follow the amber lights along life’s bridge, or simply sit, watching them burn. What lies at the end of this bridges, that place where the amber lights meet? Where will the Amber Bridge take this man, his thoughts, and life?”

If you interested in any way, please don’t hesitate to pre-order this book for just $1, or you can hesitate, but only to wait for the book to be available at my local store. After that, hesitation is just mean. I have some little tags ready that say “I am a meanie” on them, and they will end up heading your way if you ignore my blatant self promotion!

(Edit: Amber Bridge now available for pre-purchase at my local store.)

PS: So, those tags I was telling you about. They really exist guys…

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Amber Bridge – Excerpt

Recently I have been working on a novella idea. I can now proudly say that I have completed the first draft of Amber Bridge: a psychological thriller philosophising about life stuck in neutral. It has been an interesting journey and a nice reprise while still working through my fantasy novel “Pawns of Time.” For lack of a better idea, I have decided to post an excerpt from the story for all of my lovely readers. Is your life like an Amber Bridge?

Original photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/runner310/167293027/

Embers, burning, burning, burning. Smoke, billowing in the night sky, desperately working to bring life into the shapeless black shadows. Below, the highway is almost dead, one odd car after the next — some crawling hopelessly, forward circling the drain of life, others racing like water trapped in a pressured pipe, seeking for spout’s escape — flying, or crawling, to some destination beyond the darkened horizon. Street lights cast fabled breath, life into the shadows — deceitful facades shining promises onto the tarmac, buzzing voices in the night whispering down life’s runway while cars pass, flying or crawling, reaching for the promises beyond those deceitful amber leads.

A man sucks in smoke, night air filtering through drug-soaked cigarette. Embers burn on its tip, one more fabled light casting promises, hope, into the dark. The ambers below are filled with life’s warnings — speed up or slow down for the lights? When will they turn red? — but the glowing smoke in this man’s hand has none to share. It glows hot against the crisp chill, like a final flame almost smothered by night’s coffin.

One long draw, one longer exhalation; the smoke swallows itself, slowly dying with each bright burning light, each smoke plume, each fire trying to break free of night’s chains.

The man squints, eyes strain to spot some light in the distance, that fabled story of old. Nothing but darkness speaks from that light-tunnel’s end below. The ambers draw closer, taunting left and right, dying on night’s horizon. That bridge seemingly leads into the void — one empty, black spot down the road. Some shamble, some race, but do any reach that light at tunnel’s end, that destination of life’s bridge? Or are the ambers coming together, a maw swallowing all in darkness, warning lights embraced for a final, endless, hopeless grave?

They say life flashes before your eyes, when death comes calling, when we reach that door at tunnel’s end, crack it open, let light spill onto the road. The man never sees those flashes, save for through windows when flying along the path — ambers buzzing, whizzing, whispers warning of the encroaching darkness.

Now, there is no flash of life as he pulls one final fag drag. The ember burns a smokey tip, burns his fingers, lips, but he holds it there. One final breath comes out, cold, attempting to add one parting message to the night, breathe meaning into his life: this bridge with no destination, no purpose beyond the constant warning ambers.

He lets it falls, watches that last ember burning, tumbling, dying. Slowly. Smoke curls from one red light among many yellow lies, swallowed by the black, disappearing on the road below. It lays there, broken, bleeding smoke, not at road’s end — no destination to be seen — but right there, in the middle, nothing but final darkness to follow.

That ember dies, no purpose left; those ambers die, unheard warnings.

The man jumps, breathing in smoke, breathing in death, breathing ambers and embers, but nothing green. No reason left to fly or crawl along the bridge of life toward… no destination. Some might have a desire to test the yellow, screaming through or crawling to a stop. Some might work for that end that never comes, all their life searching for a purpose beneath those winking lights. This man, has one light left to share. It lies on the pavement with his broken body, seeping, slowly, from worthless veins. Red.

Then black.

Just a Dream

Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28519734@N00/6181993069/

Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28519734@N00/6181993069/

Dreams, they start in darkness, spread from death to life like a match flicked. Fire shoots into our minds, leaving the emptiness of sleep behind, filling us with love, hate, horror, thrills, chills: emotions. Life.

But not real life. Just a dream.

Dreams can spur us on, cause us to press toward some distant goal, reach for that prize past the horizon. The question: is the goal — the prize — real, or just a fantasy wrought from night’s shifting flames?

At night, we can dream of sorrow, suffering, death. The scenes play over and over, horrific images flashing through our minds. Perhaps when we wake, floor-boards still creek, faucet dripping — less like water and more like blood-rain, and that face in the shadows…? It is real… right?

No. Not real. Just a dream.

Dreams are not always so. Some can be filled with mirth — joy to replace sorrow, love for suffering, and trading death for life. These are the dreams we hold close; as the match-flame dies, eyes awaken, heart cries, and we seek for sleep again. We blow on the embers of that match, the charcoal in our minds, willing the fantasy to go on — wishing it to never end; re-kindle that flame to replace the following day when we rise. Replace our life.

But no. It is not life. Just a dream.

Some dreams we wish to forget. Others, we cry when they forget us: when we wish to visit them again each night, but sleep plays a darker song, or a blank slate — no flickering match to fill the shadows. Instead, we live, chase dreams, and live some more.

The match dies. Flames fade. Some old fire is replaced with new, life (or dreams) from those embers. We must stoke the pit each night, squeeze life from those coals. It is hard, when the rains come, harder with flames speaking dark dreams, promising nothing but pain… and death.

But not the death of dreams.

Walk away. Let the flames die. Leave matches, untouched, forgotten in their box. Let the coals become a soup of death. But, if we want to come back, return from those wayward travels, the flames will hide between sheets of darkness, and when we sleep… dreams will not come.

What lies beyond my pit of flames? Fame? Fortune? Progress? Some semblance of normality? Will I blend in with the darkness out there on the fringes, or will I be swallowed by the cloud, never to return. And then, when the darkness has taken its last morsels from me, and I long for those brighter days — the days when I could dream, those days of matches and pillow clinging — will my match book be too wet for flames, or too lost in the dark? Will my hearth be cold, lifeless, impossible to stoke again. Will I find it in the dark?

No. That’s just a dream.

And so, I sit. The world passes, one success at a time. I glance at the stars above, briefly wishing for their glory… but no. I am not one of them. I do not belong in that darkness. Here, my flames might sputter, die beneath those who rain on me. Sometimes my fire is hot, too hot, and it hurts. Raging out of control… but going nowhere.

Progress? Riches? Or just a dream?

I am a dreamer, seeing art in my flames. No, my life is not easy. No, my fire is not strong. Yes, it often dies, runs out of fuel: left clawing at nothing, hoping to make something… out of nothing. But, that is what dreams do. That is what they are for. I would rather dream, and live, dream, and fail, dream, and dream again than walk away. Life without dreams is darkness without matches. Flames without the darkness? Dreams without life? Impossible. I am a dreamer. I stick by my little flame.

It is just a dream. But it is mine.

New Covert art and Title?

Glanderxefront

For those of you that follow me in all the places that I tend to frequent, (no, not to the stalkers that eye me from the shadows at night. Just nice stalkers please.) you will be well aware that I am hard at work with book one of my epic fantasy tale, originally called “Glanderxe.” During the current re-write, I have been playing around with different ideas in my head. To give me a break between scenes, I have been doing other equally important things for further along in the process, like seeking out a cover artist, looking for a good editor, oh, and also finally settling on the actual title of the book I have been writing for far too long. I cannot say that I have arrived at all (or any) conclusions concerning such generalities, but I have been having fun. If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t be doing it.

Here are some quick reveals concerning those processes. The above image says it all. As a writer, I should, and probably can, write 1,000 words to equal the image (as they say images are worth), but I believe that art should speak for itself. It is a preliminary concept cover that I designed last night with my limited knowledge of photo manipulation. I think that the title of the book will be “Pawns of Time” using the working title “Glanderxe” as the series title. (Yes, it will not just be one book, but a series of epic fantasy goodness.) “Pawns of Time” is the first “moment” in the much greater amount of Time it will take to pen the series. So, tada! Name reveal.

I am thinking of taking this cover art I designed and throwing it at a professional artist to give them a a flavour of what I am looking for. For now, all of you lovely readers get the flavour. Consider this a taste of what is to come, an app before the entre. If it leaves you hungry for more, I think that is okay. I am hungry for more too. On that note… back to writing!

Used book Revolution

Books HD

Here is something interesting. Over the Christmas season, I had the opportunity to not be in the middle of nowhere, visiting family and such. Taking myself out of the Northern wilderness in which I usually live, and driving south has many pros and cons. Seeing family (pro), long car rides (con… unless a good audiobook is loaded up 😉 ), cheaper groceries and gas (pro), having no power because of ice-storms (con)… and the list could go on. The pro/con that I find taking a particular amount of my attention has to do with (you guess it) books.

Alas, the pros must eventually come to an end. They say that all good things come to those who wait. Perhaps wade is an equally applicable word… wading through the many books available for my purchasing pleasure (and there is a lot of wading to find those nuggets of joy hidden within the stacks). How, you ask, could such a place have any cons? That is like saying there is pain in Heaven, is it not? Perhaps, but beneath the deceitful facade of perfection there is indeed a problem. This is a problem that every one of us can fix. Yes, we have all been empowered! The problem is this. All of the books were traditionally published.

Used book stores are great. I mean, come on, just walking into a giant open space filled with shelves and shelves of books just puts a skip in my step and my heart wants to beat faster than is medically safe. What a sight! What a feeling! Past all the mushy stuff, there are books. An entire wall labelled “Fantasy/Sci-fi” and a whole selection of beautiful hardback possibilities. There is even more than one shelf of horror books, a pro not oft seen. Here, I could spend hours, and only crack the cover of a few books before deciding, “A 500+ page hardback for only $5! Done!”

Imagine this, a place where used paperbacks and gently loved hardbacks are available from indie authors! With the digital age exploding, much tree-killing is falling by the way side, but some people still love physical books. Even if you love ebooks, all must admit: an ebook lacks that glorious freshly-printed or used-book scent. Such things are indeed integral to the reading experience.

“I have a dream,” said many famous people. I say the same thing, though am not truly famous. My dream is used bookstores filled with just as many self-published books as traditionally published… or maybe even more! And back to that empowering thing: if we all buy indie paper/hardbacks they might someday end up as previously loved editions on some such stacks as these. Perhaps we should all pick our favourite indie authors, buy ten copies of their paperback, and donate them to the local used book stores, thrift stores, friends, family, leave them “accidentally” somewhere in the mall. Yes, this is the path to the future, and we all can help make the world a better place, one book at a time. Perhaps someday, when I walk into a used book store, I might see my own self-published works there. Time has yet to reveal such things to me. 😉

Fantastic Currency

There are certain things in our culture that are often over-looked, being blindly thrown into books without considering the immersion factor. Culture is transient by nature, and as such, will change with time and location. I read a review one time that said the immersion factor of a fantasy novel (don’t remember which one) was thrown off (for them) when the author used distance terms – like miles, feet inches, metres – and time terms – hours, minutes, seconds – that did not fit the culture. This got me thinking about what we do culturally without thinking, and thus infect our fantasy worlds with.

Said review has a point, and I was even more invested in the idea when reading Thread Sliver by Leeland Arta. (Check out the book on Amazon and my review of it here). For this book, the author spent a lot of time and energy building the world in a way that allows for greater immersion, remembering to look after these finer points that many of us forget should possibly be different. There is an entire glossary in the back of Leeland’s book that delve into some of these details. The detail of choice today is money, or more properly, currency.

I am currently writing draft two of my epic fantasy novel, Glanderxe (and yes, I am even thinking of changing that book name completely for those interested in that detail). In my first draft I wanted to make cursing/swearing different because the words that we consider “inappropriate” or “vulgar” are culturally dictated. As I get more involved in the culture of the world I am creating, more intriguing cultural differences are coming to play. I have yet to define how the people of Glanderxe talk about time and distance, but in the rewrite of a scene today I dealt with currency.

What would it mean to you if someone gave you a fistful of gold? This phrase may mean something different to the people of Glanderxe. I have integrated hand anatomy into how they speak of money. Instead of giving someone a fist, as in punching them, you can give them a fistful of gold, consisting of four fingers and one thumb. As a writer, I find I am using my hands a lot (go figure) thus I notice them more than some people might. (Also, I’m crazy and notice silly things). Each finger has three “joints” or “parts” or “knuckles” (whatever the proper word is. This is not an anatomy lesson; it is about currency.) and a thumb has but two. Here are some currency thoughts that I have just implemented into round two of Glanderxe thus far.

1 fist = 4 fingers + 1 thumb (of gold)

1 finger = 3 joints

1 thumb = 2 joints

… Thus 1 fist = 12 joints

So… some currency ideas based on my hands (yes my hands, not yours. Don’t be taking the credit, now). I wonder what else this crazy brain of mine will come up with out of the blue. Too many more, and I may just have to give myself a fist full of gold.

What is art?

In a word: art is freedom. The freedom to think what we want to think, write what we want to write, paint what we want to paint. It is the connection of one thought, one emotion, one inspiration to the next, all holding hands to form a beautiful chain. Who can say where it begins? Who can say where it should end? Art is the freedom to be inspired, create from inspiration, and inspire in return.

Inspiration knows no bounds, no jail cells can hold it back. It ebbs and flows as desire and nature directs. Who can lock it in a box? Who can slap on a set of rules, regulations to keep it in place, to limit art? The world loves its rules, loves its laws, all those perfect boxes in a row, but art cannot fit in a box. We try to place it there, close the lid, seal it shut, but it slips between the cracks like strands from a steaming kettle. Force it down, seal it up, and soon that container will explode, like a frozen soda can, spilling contents from their shell: spilling art.

Art cannot be locked, controlled, told what to do. It is like a rebellious teenager, acting out simply because it can. You tell it “red doesn’t belong with blue,” and it makes purple. You tell it, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but they can’t make art,” and it creates another Stonehenge, an artist’s monument made of stone, defying those laws. You tell it, “never start a sentence with because.” Because you said that, it chooses to.

What is art? In a word: art is freedom.

Because of the nature of art, I do not believe in Copyright in its truest form, but instead use Creative Commons licensing. For this reason, the following disclaiming is in the credits section of my most recent release Dark Messages. I hope it inspires you: inspires you to create art.

This world is a place of inspiration. Licensing this work under a Creative Commons licence allows me (the author) to share the results of such inspiration freely while, at the same time, allowing you (the reader) to take hold of the magic of these words and shape them, mould them, and make them into something new. Inspiration should not be locked away. Art should not be restricted. Restrictions are rules, and rules go against the very nature of art itself. If you are inspired to create new art based on the existing words here-in, I allow it. No, I encourage it. Art is created on the building blocks of inspiration, and inspiration flourishes through its consumption. From inspiration, to art, to inspiration again, let us make the world a better place one book, one story, one phrase, and one word at a time.