Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Magic of Friendships

Friends. We all have them. I hope you have many. Maybe you have one or two lifelong friends that have been with you from birth until whatever age you are at the time you read this. We all have grade school friends. Neighborhood pals. High school friends. College buddies. Friends we work with, go to church with, go to the gym with. Like I said, I hope you have many friendships in your life. Life is a pretty sad circus without them.

But sometimes, if you are lucky, you become part of a group of friends that goes beyond the typical. A circle of friends that, from the outside may seem inexplicable and even downright outrageous. But from the inside, from the core of this group of mismatched travelers, it is nothing but pure magic. I was and still am a part of one of these groups of the best kind of friends. The truest of friends because, at the center of it all, was the unspoken understanding that we were all brought together though we can't explain how or why. It just was. And that was only the start of the "magick". We were and are and ever will be the Zoo Crew.

Where did the nicknames come from? I would like to take credit for them, but they just were. And they are more our true names than our given ones in my opinion. QZ and The One. Duck and Demon. Boo and Spike. Wings and Songman.  Eight mismatched pairings if ever there were ones. But somehow when we became friends my junior year in high school, our friendship took on a life of its own. We transcended the status quo and social rankings of high school. We infected the entire class of 1991. We were untouchable. The "magick" had found us, and we embraced it. We had adventures and parties and life was golden. And believe me or not, but it still is.

We are spread across the country, but get together still whenever possible. We are not eight anymore, unfortunately. One of us walked down a dark trail and lost his way. But he is still with us in spirit, and for two of us, he still lives forever in the stories we create. 

My best friend is Jay Taylor. He is the author of  The Rise of Majick and blogger at The Fiction Hole. He is amazingly gifted and I am so proud of him. I got the copy of the book he sent me from California today. Jay has always been the fearless believer who pushes me when I get hesitant. Jay tells me I am a natural with "majick". I know it is true, but I sometimes doubt myself. Jay feels he has to work harder at it, the "majick", but he always believes in it. And that is what makes him a natural at it, I tell him. We have inspired and cheered each other on in our creative endeavors. The stories we tinkered with in high school continue to influence everything we write. And our friendships as well.

These friendships heavily influence the characters in my current WIP, "One Running." This is the story that had its beginnings in high school, and has been shaped by experience and time until the moment when, just like our friendships, the "majick'  found it. And I fully intend to embrace it. Life is golden. It truly is.

Zoo Crew Forever.

R.I.P. Spike

Keep believing things into existence. Keep making dazzles.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dreamwalking Wednesday- Dream Houses

Last night I dreamed I was visiting a very unique home. It was part of a complex of similar apartments. The one I was visiting was #16.

The entrance to the apartments were ivory crests of concrete in the shape of waves, and you walked underneath them like a surfer would ride a pipeline towards the dark hardwood door. The steps leading up to the entrance were lined with black wrought-iron railing.

Once inside, the apartment opened up to a modern living space with warm earth tones: rich browns and vibrant oranges ordained the artwork and rugs of the small but cozy living room. The interesting thing about the living room was that there were two bathtubs open and adjacent to the space. A large ivory claw-foot tub faced outward and led the eye to the rest of the apartment, while a smaller stainless steel tub hugged an out-jutting wall. There were bath toys around this tub, and the white wall it nestled against was adorned with a mosaic of colored tiles in the shape of a shark.

A walkway led from the living room to a concrete table exactly like the ones you find at parks and recreation areas. The kitchen was off to the right of the table, small but inviting. Yellow and orange hues dressed the smooth cabinets and reflected off the black-tile floor. Stainless steel pots and pans hung over a small island in the middle, interspersed with colorful plastic serving utensils that made the arrangement look like  a modernistic floral display. Soft lighting filtered throughout the entire space.

Several concrete steps led down from in front of the table into a recreation space or den. One dark leather couch framed the back wall and faced an enormous flat-screen television hung on the opposite wall. The lighting was dimmer in this room, but the interesting aspect of this space was the trio of rounded seats that seemed to be poured from concrete and molded straight into the floor. The tops of these mushroom seats were covered with the same tiles as the shark from the living room. They looked like small Halloween ghosts wearing stained glass beanies.

Why am I sharing this with you? The main reason is that I find dreams fascinating and take great stock in what they have to say, more so than most I would think. Is this space somewhere I will visit someday? What is the significance of the number 16, if anything? What about the shark mosaic? Is there a hint there? Looking back on the dream, I have noticed the entire apartment points to an island theme- the wave entrance, the shark mosaic. The strange seats in the den could very well be artistic visions of some coral reef.

Another reason is that I'm wondering how many of you dream in color? Is this an attribute most creative people share? What hues permeate your dream-scape?

Finally, I think as creative souls we all have our dream-spaces. Places where we go to dream and work our craft, and places we visit that only our internal vision lets us see. And everyone has a dream home, a place they would love to live someday. Me? It would be a tropical tree house with a high-hanging hammock from which to write...and dream from.What is your dream home? Whatever it is, I hope you find it someday!
Until then, keep dreaming, my friends!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Tentacled Mind

Every artist has a special kind of mind. A reaching mind. A searching mind. A mind that catches the subtle hints of intrigue within the guises of the mundane. Whether your craft involves visual artwork or literary wordplay, you have experienced this mind. You may call it your muse, or perhaps your inspiration. Some people may label it the creative process, random thinking, or acute eccentricity. Others may even go so far as to say it is some manageable level of an unquiet mind, a focused mania if you will. Call it what you want, just know that it is there, and if you are a creative soul, you have it. I call it the Tentacled Mind.

You never know when the Tentacled Mind will reach out, or where it will reach into. But it is always searching for the magic that most of the world overlooks. It looks constantly without sleeping for the thin places where worlds shimmer and the what-could-be's sometimes walk through. It takes note of the floating leaf that others pass by because it sees the creature, invisible to most, that is carrying it on a non-existent wind. It causes you to look foolish as you blankly stare off into space while talking to a co-worker. They don't see what you do. The world is brighter in your mind's eye, and you are transfixed by the prismatic reflections of the possibilities you have been shown. The knowledge that what you will soon create is only a shimmer away is both frightening and freeing. And create you must. The Tentacled Mind will rarley let you rest once it has grabbed onto some wonder and dangled it before your eyes.