Victories

Michael Ray King 300dpiWaking up.

Brushing teeth.

Making bed.

Shower.

Getting dressed.

Fixing breakfast.

Am I alone here? Does anyone else need to clutch something that’s a forward step? Anything positive no matter how tiny?

This morning, my determination level felt at an all-time low. My motivation, starved of whatever fuel makes it go, flat-lined in my heart. My day crumbled in front of my very internal eyes for no apparent reason. Heck, I own all the reasons in the world to forge ahead.

I decided I needed a victory. A victory at hand, easily won in its simplicity and its time requirement. Notching each one I could conjure, I mentally checked them off as I completed them. I woke up. (check) Brushed my teeth. (check) Made my bed. (check)

At this point, I felt the slight whisper of motivation stirring. I felt a ripple of accomplishment. What the heck? These simple tasks? I’m either checking into the funny farm, or possibly something important bestowed itself on me.

I showered. (check) I got dressed. (check) I fixed breakfast. (check)

Ok. Now I’m thinking I’m going to accomplish something this day. I worked on getting Inspired Mic promotion out on Facebook. I contacted Inspired Mic folk who still need to do a couple things so the event runs well. I’m in forward motion.

Again, am I just a writing nut case? Is my creative self so messed up that I can’t motivate myself with the Beverly Hills red carpet event I recently attended? I mean, hey, that was a pretty big deal.

Ah. The letdown. The after-the-event doldrums must have hit me. But, curiously, I sense motivating myself off the small, nearly insignificant aspects of life may be more a long-term answer to remaining motivated, than gearing up for large events.

Don’t get me wrong. The Inspired Mic and the red carpet in Hollywood are way cool. They should be major motivators, but I’ve found these larger, way larger, than yourself events do not necessarily deliver motivation. Often, they may engender fear. Paralysis. Retreat.

Book projects may look this way as well. I’m in the middle of two at this time. Three, actually, now that I think of it. These things, although grand and exciting in their own right, easily suck all the motivational air out of you. All the drive. All the confidence. Overwhelm becomes the demon monster you must slay to move forward. No matter how many times you go through it, you still fight. Fight. Fight.

What if? What if motivation primers reveal themselves in simple, quick, easy to accomplish tasks. Haven’t I heard this from gurus, family, friends, and a host of others throughout my life? Why have I not listened? Why have I not employed simple solutions to the daunting tasks lined up in my horizon?

I suppose I make the larger tasks more than they actually are, at least in my mind. Is this part of the self-limiting aspect of my personality? Most definitely. Will I be able to motivate myself by “priming” myself each day?

The action worked today. No reason to believe it won’t tomorrow. I’m going to give it a shot. I write these silly musings because I know I’m not the only one here on earth struggling with these types of issues, btw…

Categories: General Post | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Opportunities

Hidden Valley: Game On Red Carpet Event Beverly Hills CA

Hidden Valley: Game On Red Carpet Event Beverly Hills CA July 17, 2016

Each of us own ‘points of decision’ where we define our lives for good or ill. Often we miss the good out of fear. Often we find the ill out of fear. Many times we never realize we even made a decision.

Recently, I wrestled with the decision to go to Beverly Hills for a red carpet release for the Jon Morgan Woodward book “Hidden Valley: Game On.” “Game On” is Book 2 of the Hidden Valley series. My company, MRK Publishing, published both books.

On the surface, the decision appears a ‘no-brainer’, right? Hollywood. Actors, actresses, directors, agents, red carpet. Once I looked at the expense, the time away from my work, the logistics of both, and a number of other factors, I nearly declined the invite.

For me, the introduction of fear became more the deciding factor. We hear about Hollywood red carpets. We hear about things that go on. We think we know based on all this second hand information. Once I began to fear the trip and being around people I did not know, Hollywoodites, and how the heck I would fit in, I knew I was going. Why? Because fear means challenge. Fear means there’s something there you need to face. Fear means you’re stepping out of your comfort zone.

I read and hear a lot about success emanating just outside our comfort zones. I’m inundated by gurus stating we must challenge ourselves by stepping into our destiny and out of our spheres of protection. Intellectually I’ve known this to be true for years. Emotionally and on an action basis, I used to be reluctant to step into risk. Even though I truly step out of my comfort zones regularly, the steps often seem more timid than assertive. Hopefully I’m done with that. I’m hoping, if this writing is reaching you at a critical stage of your development, that you too will learn to step boldly into your future by getting uncomfortable in your fears.

I hear a lot about fears dissipating when confronted. Yes. Yes. Yes. No matter what I say, you will not believe me until you do it. I won’t go into the specifics of my personal fears with respect to this red carpet event because your fears will be defined by who you are, and we are two different people. Instead, allow me to toss some fun your way from my experience.

Michele and I left Palm Coast at 5:30am Thursday, July 14th. We had a connecting flight in Atlanta, then on to Los Angeles. I had booked an Airbnb house owned by Frank and Colleen in Northridge CA, 19 miles north of the event location on North Beverly Hills Drive in downtown Beverly Hills. We would come to find that the red carpet location was right around the corner from Tiffany’s and other fine shops on Rodeo Drive. Pretty cool, eh? (Michele even purchased a gorgeous jacket from a store on Rodeo Drive on Saturday).

We spent Friday and Saturday sightseeing. We visited Pepperdine University, Malibu, Zuma Beach (we both got sunburned. You’d think we’d know better living in FL! lol!), and Rodeo Drive. We enjoyed our Airbnb visit tremendously. Our hosts provided a fine home and it was FAR less expensive than the Motel 6 option we almost booked.

The event itself exceeded my expectations. The event opened with camera flashes galore as the slated cast for the proposed movie “Hidden Valley” paraded across the carpet. Actors and actresses posed solo and with each other. They also goofed with the werewolf.

Werewolf? Yes. There be werewolves in this book series and there will be serious werewolves in the movie. Michele and I got a kick out of all the hubbub. Then things really got real for us.

Denise O’Brien of Dome Entertainment called me up on the carpet for pics and an “on the carpet interview.” You must understand. I am an award-winning author. I’m a publisher. I also run The Inspired Mic event in Palm Coast. I must say, stepping into all those cameras and an interview with Denise O’Brien blew me away. What a blast!

I got to pose with Jennifer Day, an actress in a weekly TV series in LA as well as recording artist whose third album (yes, I still call them albums…) was just released. I posed with Jon Morgan Woodward and director John Buelcher. A parade of others came and went, and I’ll have to look at all the pics to remember who all I got to be in pictures with. Suffice it to say, I had a ball.

A quick interjection on fear here. Normally in my life, I would have been mortified and antsy about stepping into a limelight such as this. My ‘evolution’ through fear has brought me to this point. Michele, my rock and my anchor was with me. I felt at ease. I felt comfortable. I felt welcomed by these upbeat Hollywoodites. I was able to live within my own skin. I felt confident. I even wondered at one point why I ever considered fear at all. That’s the way confronting fears works, at least for me.

Back to the carpet. Denise O’Brien must be one of the finest PR people in the world. She has a way of injecting positive energy into everything and everyone. I’ve run my Inspired Mic for nearly four years now, and I know when I see someone who can make things happen at an event. Denise interviewed nearly everyone this night. She has a way of disarming you and getting you caught up in the moment. She interviewed Ola Ray (whom I remember vividly from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video and her groundbreaking centerfold in Playboy back in the day), John Buelcher, Jennifer Day, Jon Morgan Woodward, and a long line of other celebrities and not so celebrities (like myself, lol!).

While Denise handled interviews the celebration continued in the main area with Dakota Hines playing piano in accompaniment to singer Laci Kay. The two performed admirably together with Dakota’s first public performance well done. Author of the “Hidden Valley” series Jon Morgan Woodward spoke about getting together a team of people to help get this project moving. He thanked many who have assisted thus far. Jon’s sincerity came through quite clearly.

I would be remiss not to mention Pierre Patrick of the Jerry Pace Agency and his crucial role in helping assemble this event. Pierre brought in many people from the agency and did a ton of behind the scenes work to make sure this event came off well. Michele and I had the pleasure of dining with Pierre and Jon Friday evening before the event. Pierre, not only a hilarious conversationalist, is also very well connected in Beverly Hills. He set us at ease, and he deserves a ton of credit for the work he did.

The five hour event became a whir of excitement to be remembered, hopefully not only in pictures and video interviews, but in books and movies to come. I believe most everyone knows a movie is a huge undertaking. There must be a lot of people involved, a lot of teamwork initiated, and a lot of desire and motivation to see the project through. The details of how to do all this is beyond me. What I do know, however, is that in order to pull something off of this magnitude, a driving force is required, a team is required, and perseverance is required. I witnessed these things in action at the Hidden Valley: Game On red carpet.

Opportunities. I would never have stepped into this particular opportunity to be a part of something far bigger than myself, without fear. Without stepping out of my comfort zone, challenging the fear, confronting it, and discovering the fear to be far less than a paper tiger. I stepped boldly into moving forward. In fact, I bought my tux rather than renting one because I plan to do this many more times, and I purchased the tux BEFORE I paid for my trip.

Confidence is conceived in the throes of battling fear. Confidence is born in the action of stepping into your ‘higher’ self. Confidence is emboldened when you realize you were meant to be there all along. I know you hear this, as I have, over and over and over. Your best destiny lies just outside your comfort zones. Get uncomfortable. Step into your potential. Potential means nothing without action. Nothing.

I don’t care if you’re writing, acting, painting, sculpting, or any other creative endeavor. Step into your fears, confront them, and take advantage of the opportunities which come from such action. I take exception to the “False Evidence Appearing Real” acronym for FEAR. I believe the evidence to be real based on experiences from your past.

Yet, there comes a decision point where you decide to define yourself from your past experiences which deliver your fears, or you step into uncomfortable-land, face them, and grow. Fear will hold you back. Courage will move you forward. There is no such thing as courage without fear. Courage is born in the midst of fear. Draw on it. Feed it with action. Realize your opportunities, and see just how far you may go toward your dreams.

Jon Morgan Woodward and the assemblage of all the folks supporting his movie project and books are doing it. I am as well. You should too. Step into your future and take advantage of the opportunities which come from stepping out of your comfort zones.

Find pics from the Hidden Valley: Game On Red Carpet at Bob Delgadillo Events Photographer – check out his page for all the photos!

The following are some of the photos from Bob Delgadillo

 

 

Me, Jennifer Day, and Me and Jennifer Day Logo Shot 2 Logo Shot 1 Jon, Denise, Me, Michele

 

 

 

 

Categories: General Post | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Writing is Sanity, By the Way…

Where is life?
Mind-numbing truth?
Answers to unanswerable questions?
Where is sanity?

When did we (humans) lose the ability to know truth? I don’t know we ever owned this ability. Truth: the true or actual state of a matter. Have you ever been dissatisfied with words and their definitions?

The definition waters get muddied when you search out abstracts and concepts. Love can mean so many things. A zero score in tennis to strong affection for another. Yet the ultimate definition appears to fall individualistically to each human being. So many versions. My view of a sick version of love may be other peoples’ rapture.

Truth stands, as a word, an abstract concept which reaps many interpretations. Ultimate Truth, should you wish to pursue that line of definition, appears to have a multitude of definitions as well. Religions all tout their embodiment of truth. The zealots who go out proclaiming truth, their brand, believe fundamentally in what utters forth from their mouths. They live for truth. They die for truth.

Yet, the obvious conclusion remains that none own The Truth. The divisions within their own ranks belie the fact of flawed vision and understanding. I’ve heard conversations where various ownerships of truth get compared. Do the Buddhists possess more truth than Muslims or Christians? Spiritualists? What about all the splintered outtakes of those groups? The mind-boggling “truth” stands apparent – they don’t know.

Ok, off into the land of religion is not the point here. The point becomes quickly that “truth” lies in the eyes of the beholder. Oh, the screaming and gnashing of religion howls in the background of this statement. The atheists are no better. At first they would champion such a statement until it’s revealed they own no more truth than the world’s religions.

So what are we looking at here? Truth and love and many other concepts created by man with word labels hold nebulous definitions which 7.5 billion people cannot agree upon. Generally, you find relational allies, and people group together often and tout their supreme knowledge, yet I’ve never met the human being who wields the scepter of ultimate knowledge, truth, or love.

Many “claim” this knowledge, but I “know” they do not possess such a thing. How may I “know” this? Because my personal “truth” and “life” tells me so. Truth becomes a hope to so many. They “hope” they’re right. Deep down, they “hope” their answer is not strewn with folly. And good for them…at least for their lives and their perspectives. Personally, hoping in something not completely true lends itself to all sorts of questions and problems and frustrations for me.

I’m now steering away from religion. This does not mean I do not “believe” in things, but simply that religion only teaches conformity, rote repetition, and hollow chocolate bunny truths. They’re sweet to contemplate, but fall empty upon inspection. Religion, all of them, strive for conformity to doctrine rather than exploration. Rooted in bloody pasts, without definitive agreement in the present, they forge into the future with nothing.

Writing calls for an internal exploration of personal truth, love, hate, passion, desire, etc. The list of intangibles, conceptual thoughts, and abstracts runs off into what appears to be infinity. A writer must step forth with his/her “truth” at whatever moment in time they possess this nebulous thing.

One of my observations with respect to writing, or any creative endeavor for that matter, follows the thought that without a deep investment in the translation of personal concepts into letters, which form words, which attempt, however weakly, to capture truth in their symbol-driven lasso, will never own power without that indefinable “inner truth or passion” fueling the process. A writer must hold fast to something. A writer must cling to a belief strong enough to see to fruition their “hope” of grasping, and conveying, something of value.

What am I doing here? Wrestling with words to convey deep-seated reservations about what I observe teeming around me. This world collapses as quickly as it expands, with ideas, concepts, truths, passions, and a host of other wacky things bandied about in a frenetic dance toward oblivion. There appears no end to our fighting over concepts which we truly can never agree upon.

One of the fears of this writer roots itself in a patch of creative confusion, a chaos where the real possibility of mental collapse or dried up creativity could happen. A fear of not finding the muster to step back into the writing fray with anything but fluff. A realization that “my” truth remains specifically with me, and may but resonate with others, and possibly only a few.

I work with writers all the time who struggle to tell their story. I wonder at this, just as I wonder at my own struggles with the same situation. Wacky, huh? A coach/teacher who struggles with the very thing he coaches/teaches. The problem here runs the lines of “personal truth.”

My personal truth presents itself as a struggle to write what, deep down, I desire to express. So many filters clog the passageways to this inner depth. So many fears of backlash and so many questions as to the ‘worth’ or ‘value’ of my words on others. When I travel that mind-road, I’m doomed and I know it. When a writer worries about what others might think, say, or judge about their words, he/she is toast.

One of my favorite books, The Four Agreements, addresses on of my personal weaknesses. The Third Agreement is: “do not make assumptions.” My inner heart sings to the tune of this book and this third agreement. I identify my “assuming” what others will think, say or feel about my writing as a hindrance to my level of writing success.

As writers, I feel we need to place ourselves into vulnerability. We desire to impact others with out truths, our words, our concepts, our creations. What holds so many of us back I personally identify as the issue the Third Agreement addresses. We assume the worst.Most writers are like this. We live with emotional baggage.

Ok, so likely, most people live with emotional baggage. But writers work on expressing some form of their inner self which exposes portions of this inner turmoil. I began this writing with what was supposed to be the beginning of a poem. Second line, I make use the phrase “mind-numbing truth.”

I search myself for truth. I see confusion. I see turmoil. I see questions. I see a chaotic mess. But again, the words fail, because I just used the word “see” in the preceding sentences. This “seeing” goes much further than the word implies. I feel confusion. I feel turmoil. I feel questions. I feel a chaotic mess.

Again, the word falls short. I am confusion. I am turmoil. I am a question. I am a chaotic mess. I pat myself on the back that I can even admit this, yet in the overall scheme of things, even that caveat to myself is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

One of my issues as a writer shifts to this: I rebel against confusion. I rebel against turmoil. I rebel against the question. I rebel against the chaotic mess of my mind…and I shut down. Then, that magic moment when I do the following, at least I feel the connection to some remnant of truth, some aspect of knowledge. This happens when I embrace confusion, embrace turmoil, embrace the question, and especially when I embrace my chaotic self.

Writing your passion tends to be counter-intuitive, at least from my “personal truth” perspective. Embracing your baggage, diving into your weakness, reveling in your failing, spiraling-out-of-control-world- and-life-view, and giving yourself over to the words which flow your heart and soul, delivers the release you seek as a writer. Crazy thing is, next week, next month, next year, next decade, I may read these words and wish I’d held them close or I may wish I’d never uttered them through my fingertips.

If you’ve made it this far through this post, maybe I’m not as bonkers as I feel. Maybe there exist others who resonate with these abstract thoughts and feelings and motivations and desires. I learned, at least four years ago, that my writing struggles own kinship with many other writers. Of course, those fears of no one reading this far, having bailed out on the nutcase long ago means one of two things to me as a writer.

One: I’m a hack and should hang up my pencils, shake my head at my stupidity, and move on with my life. Am I the only writer who sometimes (maybe more often) crawls around on the dirty floor with these thoughts?

Two: I wrote this piece for me – my present and future self – a snapshot of where I’m at, where I’m headed, and noting a familiar, well-worn line in the sand, so I may perpetuate my heart’s desire to continue writing my words, which struggle to represent my truth to a world who will never completely agree with me, but at least some will hear they are not alone.

My belief, my truth, about writing, is that a writer should – even must – write for themselves first. By doing so, you may just help someone else who searches just like you…

Writing is sanity, by the way…

 

Categories: Writing A Book | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ― Anton Chekhov

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“One of the dumbest things you were ever taught was to write what you know. Because what you know is usually dull. Remember when you first wanted to be a writer? Eight or ten years old, reading about thin-lipped heroes flying over mysterious viny jungles toward untold wonders? That’s what you wanted to write about, about what you didn’t know. So. What mysterious time and place don’t we know?” [Remember This: Write What You Don’t Know (New York Times Book Review, December 31, 1989)]” ― Ken Kesey

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“How many things can I do without?” ― Socrates, Momentos

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Margaret Atwood “For me the experience of writing is really an experience of losing control.… I think it’s very much like dreaming or like surfing. You go out there and wait for a wave, and when it comes it takes you somewhere and you don’t know where it’ll go.” ― Margaret Atwood

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“Poetry is the wailing of a broken heart―the etched sorrows of despairing souls. These artful words are an exclamation in rare colors expressed noiselessly on parchment. Poetry is the unheard cry of a flower, wilting. It is a humble, lucent tear shed with meaning. It is the lovely portrayal of ugliness and the bitter edge of sweet. Poetry speaks to the spirit by piercing understanding. It interprets all senseless truths―beauty, love, emotion―into sensible scrawl. Poetry is vague affirmation and bewildering clarification. Like the most poignant of emotions, we understand the essence but cannot adequately do it verbal justice, crippled by inherently weak tongues. A spiritual soothsayer, poetry is the closest thing to expression of feelings unutterable.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich, Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year

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“If we were to understand how important it is to say something and say it well, maybe we wouldn’t write a single word, but that would be tragic.” ― Dejan Stojanovic, The Sun Watches the Sun

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“If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another.” ― John Steinbeck

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