Thursday, November 2, 2017

Victim of the Game

I haven't been writing over the last few weeks because I've had some issues outside my immediate family. Not my issues, but issues that affect someone I love very much, therefore, affecting me. It's kinda hard to write a love story when you're watching someone else's fall apart.
As I've struggled over the past few days to wrap my brain around other people's behaviors, (remember, I study people as a hobby) I find that the deeper I delve into this, the more sick at heart I've become. For her. For any woman after her who falls for the game she's found herself an unwilling participant to.

I wish I could help. I wish I could make her understand that bad relationships and toxic people are a waste of time and effort. I wish I could make her see she deserves so much better than what she's signed herself up for. I wish I could give her the strength to hold her head up and walk away knowing she's making the right decision for herself and her children. But these are revelations she'll have to uncover on her own.

While I do believe that all human beings to some extent share some narcissistic as well as some sociopathic tendencies (we call them quirks), I also believe that the vast majority of us balance those things out with healthy, functional behavior, or even unhealthy, dysfunctional coping mechanisms for that matter, that keep us from preying on others who are just looking to live a normal existence as we ourselves are. In the words of the Mad Hatter, "We're all a little mad here." But there's a difference between a little bit of quirky, fun, ego-driven madness and a Sam's Club sized container of nuts.
Unfortunately, she fell for that bulk item and is getting drowned in his sea of crazy saltiness.

Normally, I try really hard not to judge anyone. I've done my own share of dirt. I am FAR from perfect. My moral compass does not point due North at all times. Because I know myself as well as I do, I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt before I decide (for myself, regardless of anyone else's opinion) if I want to associate with someone in any way, shape or form. Because like I said... there's fun crazy and then there's 'someday I'm going to seriously snap and cause everyone around me bodily harm' crazy. Sadly, I believe the person my family member loves falls into that second category and those people are the hardest ones in the world to love as well as to get over because their naturally charismatic aura keeps those red flags hidden until suddenly they're not. When that happens, you find yourself wearing your heart out on someone who will never appreciate or reciprocate your efforts and you're left wondering what's so wrong with you that they can't love you back.

A few things I've learned over my 42 years on this planet is...
1. You can't fix crazy
2. You can't make someone love you
3. Sometimes, you can't help who you love.

I can't fault her for the times she's held out hope the man she loves is going to change because we always want to look for the best in those we give our hearts to. Especially when kids are involved. But I do wish she could see that she can't fix him. That he's the one who's unlovable, rather than her. And that this image she has of herself these days isn't a true one. It's one he's put in her head to keep her contained, compliant and afraid.

He's a predator. He's an expert at baiting and trapping. He doesn't care about the emotional condition or even the physical condition of those he leaves in his wake. She's beautiful. She's sweet. She's good hearted and she's kind. She's no match for him because likely he's been this way since he realized he could and has experience at building someone up just to tear them down. She doesn't see it because her brain isn't twisted like his. She doesn't understand that it makes him feel powerful to know he can inspire such abiding love in a woman before he destroys her life. He can cast her out and draw her back time and time again because he hooked her so well in the beginning so that all she wants is him. She can't see that he also thrives on her fear. Fear of him, of what he could do to her- physically, mentally, emotionally- and fear of what her future might be like without him, because if he's right (and she always wonders in the back of her mind if he is), then maybe the best she'll ever be able to do is him. But he's not right and she's so much more worthy of love than he.

She goes back time after time, not because she's stupid, either, but because he preys on her capacity to love and her's is deep, as well as wide when it comes to him. It's all forgiving and it's all consuming. He looks for that, exploits it and he devours it. He chips away at her soul in the meantime, letting her know she's not pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, good enough for a guy like him. He preys on every insecurity she has, knowing them well because he's lived with her long enough to see them all. He tells her she's weak and worthless without him. He accuses her and belittles her in front of their friends and family because his narcissistic tendencies need to feel the pity of others, to be seen as the victim in all of this madness. He needs them to see that his wife (in his opinion) fell short of what he expected her to be. Putting her "flaws" on display for all to see gives him the liberty to act out while feeling justified in his behavior through violent alcoholic rages, infidelities, and deprivation of things she might need as simple as food or diapers for their children. In his circle of family and friends, you'll find those who are staunch believers in what he says because he's that charming, that convincing. They believe what he says and they also take it upon themselves to criticize and beat down the woman he put on trial for them. You might read what I'm saying and think I'm doing the same thing on her behalf, but I'm not. I saw first-hand what he's like and I wish I could unsee it for the benefit of my own heart and mind.

He's a classic, textbook abuser. You know the kind... They're the ones who say, "Why do you make me hurt you?" before they commence to beating your ass. And what's bad about this, aside from the obvious, is he's already dragged her so far down in her self esteem and self worth that she begins to believe that backhand to the nose really was her fault. It becomes justified because after years of hearing every minute detail of who she is and how she is, being picked apart time and again, is it any wonder why he hits her? She wants to hurt herself too, because he's made her believe that she deserves pain. Self inflicted or otherwise.

I pray for her. Every night when I go to bed and every morning when I get up. I pray for her strength and for her to receive clarity. She's out and she's safe but the battle isn't over, Now comes the attorneys and the accusations and she's going to need every ounce of will power not to cave into his threats or the fear of a future without him. She's going to have to be strong not only for herself, but for her kids. I'm proud of her. I believe in her but more than that, I want her to believe in herself. I want her to honestly believe that while it might not feel like it right now, she's going to be OK.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Songs in the Key of Life

A while ago, I wrote a blog talking about inspiration and where it comes from and how for me, sometimes it develops from the strangest places. While that's definitely true and it can come from nothing more than a simple overheard conversation between two people, I receive some of my book ideas from music.

Diesel is out and it's doing really well, for which I'm happy but that doesn't mean momentum has slowed or stopped on my other projects. (And let's face it, it usually does cause I can be L-A-Z-Y.) An upcoming, nearly finished manuscript is awaiting edits, while I'm halfway through the rough draft on a new one. For the moment this halfway project is called "Songs in the Key of Life" and I'll tell you why.

There's a few reasons why that title keeps circling my brain in regards to this particular soon to be book. The first is Stevie Wonder. His album Songs In the Key of Life was released in September 1975 on the actual day I was born. Pretty cool, but what makes it even cooler is the songs on that album were some of my all time favorites BEFORE I even knew when it hit the market. There was just something about it that called to me in the lyrics and of course, anyone who knows me, knows I'm also a sucker for funk and piano music.

That said, the second is Eric Church. I wasn't much of a Church fan when he debuted however long ago it was. I don't remember the year but  I can remember watching the CMA's with my parents and family the night he gave a performance of "Drink in My Hand." Between the ball cap, the aviators and the red solo cup, it just seemed a little too in keeping with the other country music circulating out there, like Luke Bryan, who I also wasn't originally a fan of either because of the same CMA awards where he performed "Shake it for Me", with all those scantily clad women dancing back up. Before you think I'm throwing down on either of these guys, or the women in LB's performance that night, you need to know I'm not. That's not where I'm going with this; not even close. I might be straight, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate a nice booty on a chick.... Anyway-

Music has always been a key part of my life and at one time, it was more important than writing ever was or could have been. For as long as I can remember, before I was writing stories, I wrote songs. In high school I sang with a girl in her father's band and we had a chance to go somewhere with it, but she chose a guy over the music and that was that. Back then, I didn't have the confidence in myself to go it alone and then well, a guy happened to me, too. Later on, after my daughter was born, maybe a year or so, I had the opportunity to sing with another band who seemed to be on the up and coming. But after a few practices, I quickly realized they were more interested in trashing their wives and their livers (guilty of abusing my own liver, so totally not judging them for that) than they were seriously playing music. Throughout the years, I had other opportunities with other bands that fell through and eventually, I decided maybe the music path wasn't one I was meant to travel. But that doesn't mean I quit loving it, appreciating it or taking it seriously, which brings me back to Eric Church.

In my opinion back then, when I watched him perform for the very first time, my initial thought was, "Here we go, another guy writing for a niche market just to get radio play." So I rolled my eyes and changed the station any time his music came on. I'll be fair in admitting, after watching him that one and only time on the CMA's, I never gave him a chance again until a few years ago.

I was riding in my then (now scrapped) old truck when I heard Record Year for the first time. I had no idea who sang it, but I'm a lyrics person and the words of that song grabbed a hold of me the way none have in a long time. Since it was on the radio, I couldn't rewind it, so I spent the majority of the rest of my drive scanning radio stations to find it again. A few days later, I was cleaning, had my phone hooked up to Pandora and I heard it again. I dropped the mop I was holding before running to look at the display to see who the artist was. I gave a sorta groan when I realized it was Eric Church, but the song once again grabbed me, so I kept listening. And listening... and listening... and listening. Soon, I decided I had to check out some of his other music just to see if by some chance, Record Year was a fluke hit. I mean, it's happened. There's maybe one Taylor Swift song I like, but she lost me before and after it, so I'm just sayin'. It wasn't like that with Record Year. Because of this particular song, I discovered a whole other world of song writing with his music; a world I've since come to love and appreciate the genius that is wholly Church.

While Kill A Word might make me weepy and there are plenty others I love, too, Record Year remained my favorite of his because not only did it reference Stevie's Songs in the Key of life album (you had me at hello, with that one, Eric), but it also referenced other artists as well. Ones I'd loved my entire life, like New Grass Revival.

I have decidedly eclectic taste in music to put it mildly and when I say that, I mean it. Like I said, I'm a lyrics person. Tupac's Dear Mama will sit right next to Bill Wither's Ain't No Sunshine, which sits next to Garth Brooks' When There's No One Around before falling right into Jackson Browne or Jim Croce. And Lord help me, how I love some Jerry Lee Lewis. Especially when he does gospel and since I'm a Pagan, that should say something about how much I love Jerry. The point is, I could sit here all day and name off those people who turned my head with their song writing ability, but I'll spare you. Suffice it to say the genius in Record Year's lyrics had my head turning around like Linda Blair's in the Exorcist. Yeah, for me, it was that good.

I think we can all relate to finding a coping mechanism when our hearts get broken and that's what this song is all about. Falling back on music when you feel like you've lost everything and rediscovering those parts of yourself, which fell to the wayside before said heartbreak occurred. For me, music is where I've always gone for consolation. It's never failed me; even if it was nothing more than standing in the kitchen belting out Sam Cooke because shit just went awry and I needed to release some pent up frustration. Because music is my method of madness when I'm hurt or angry (that'll get you an earful of NWA at my house) and I have found myself in the position more than once where alcohol went hand in hand with listening to it, Record Year rang true for me. Probably more true than any other song I can think of.

As I continued to listen to those lyrics though, a story began to play out in my head. Unlike Diesel which just kind of organically wrote itself from some unknown place, this new project, "Songs in the Key of Life" was inspired completely by Eric Church's writing ability. I'm not positive I'll keep the title but for now, that's what I'm calling it. I'm pretty excited about it and I hope (fingers crossed) it keeps developing the way it's been so I can eventually share it with you readers. Until then, check out Record Year's Lyrics.

As always, thanks for reading my brain vomit. <3
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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Dude, You Have No Idea...

I was having a conversation with my guy the other day and he asked how Diesel was doing on the market.
"Pretty well, actually."
"That's good. You working on anything else?"
I cut my eyes at him and think, "No, motherfucker... I'm just hanging out at the computer all day long, typing random shit onto blank pages. I have 481 pages of alphabetic squabble. Would you like to read it?" 
"Yes. I've got one completed manuscript I'm currently editing and then three others in various forms of progress," I answered instead.
He shakes his head and laughs before saying, "That's kind of scary, Lori."
"What is?" I ask.
"That you have that much shit in your head."
I laughed, but just kinda looked off, not meeting his eyes. "Dude, you have no idea."

And he doesn't. Most people don't.

I can't speak for all writers because I know some who have the whole outline and formatting the pre-story down to a science. They can't really write without plotting every detail out until the end. Only when they've done that, do they actually start the writing process and begin the character development.
I admit, it's a nicer, neater way to do things. It keeps their brains organized and reminds them to stay on track when it comes to development of scenes, etc. I get it.

I get it, but I can't do it. I've tried. My method of madness, because of all the shit in my head, is to just get it out and get it down. It might take two years to wade through 350 pages of rambling, removing or adding relevant content, tweaking characters or scenes, but for me, it's the only way to work. I don't even know how the story is going to end until suddenly it does. Mentally, as I'm writing, I'm turning pages, just like a reader does, to see where the story goes. The closest comparison I can make in terms of what I do to anything else is by saying I'm constantly ad libbing when it comes to story-lines. I never know from one day to the next the direction whatever I'm writing might take.

Often, my characters are completely developed long before the story is. So it's like having a person living in your brain, who's just kinda hanging out, waiting for you decide what to do with them or decide where you're going to put them. And then you have to decide who to put them with, because you've got this whole other crowd of characters also hanging out, waiting on you to pick them also. It's a little bit like choosing a team for dodgeball. The weakest characters get chosen last or sometimes not at all because you're waiting to see if they'll grow or develop further on down the road, becoming stronger players in their own right.

I've said before that writers are bipolar in nature because of the amount of dialog that runs rampant through our heads, along with the fact that we can actually see the description of the person who's speaking said dialog (hence a character is born). But what happens when, like me, you've got three separate books in the works and a dialog of characters for each one?
I'll tell you what happens. It gets loud and it gets crowded.
Real people wonder why I space out while they're talking... It's not because I don't validate your existence or think what you have to say is important. It's because at the moment you're talking to me, 10 other imaginary people usually are too and they're shouting at me to give them their individuality even down to a tiny birthmark on their foot. 

I realize this makes me sound a little crazy, (because I am... you have to be nuts to choose to do this profession full time. Nuts and ok with being poor), but the plain truth is, sometimes the character's voices in my head are way louder than the voice of the person standing directly in front of me. Depending on what the real conversation is, sometimes those fake voices are way more interesting and fun, too.

As always, thank you for reading and venturing a little bit into my head with me. <3

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Twitter: @LucyMagilicutt2

Friday, September 15, 2017

I need a nap...

Indie publishing is no joke and it's not for the faint of heart. Several years ago I decided to go the Independent Publishing route because when it comes to my writing, I'm a little bit of a control freak.

I'm also a 'seek no absolution' type of person. If I fail, I want it to be on my terms and no one else's. Because I'm human like anyone else, I don't want to give myself the opportunity to blame anyone for said failure. Not a publisher, not a marketing
agent, no one. Succeed or horribly fail, it's all on me. It keeps me honest and I need that reality check sometimes.

All that said, Indie publishing is exhausting. It's countless hours of writing, re-writing, editing, re-writing again, in a cycle that takes someone like me *cough- procrastinator -cough* about a year if all goes well. Sometimes five, if life gets in the way.

Diesel is by far my most favorite project to date and while, yeah, it did write itself, it wasn't all a cake walk. You can love something like crazy but after months and months of looking at that one thing... you start to hate it.

I can't tell you how many times my hand has hovered over the 'delete' key because I was just over it. I was tired of looking at it, tired of thinking about it, and just tired period. The writing and the editing is only half of it, though.

Once all that is done, then you've got cover design, which includes HOURS of searching for just the right thing or at least something semi-perfect that will work with the old ass design program you're working off of because you're broke and can't afford the upgrades. After that, if you haven't already torn your hair out, the formatting might finish the year long journey into madness for you. Oh, and my least favorite part... the wait. Waiting for the uploads, waiting for the downloads... waiting for approvals and then waiting to see which way your sales rank is going to go after the product goes live.

For the last two weeks, I've worked almost non-stop wrapping up Diesel. Up at 6:45-7 a.m. and not stopping until the words are blurry and my brain is on fire. But, today, all of that work was suddenly finished on that project and I found it hard to turn my babies (the characters in Diesel) over to the reader. It's a little like sending your children out in the world for the first time. You're terrified people are going to be cruel and hate them. You're hoping that you've made them likable, caring, independent and funny, but what if you haven't? What if everyone else thinks your kid is an asshole?

Once I got the OK to post the live links, I had a minute of panic as all these thoughts ran through my head.
What if people hate this book?
What if it sucks?
What if it sells zero copies beyond what my family and a few friends buy?
I didn't have these worries with either of the Bimini Books or with Texan. I got the projects done, uploaded and didn't stress one way or the other.
Taking a time out today to think about it, I realized my anxiety was based more on the fact that because this is in my opinion, the best book I've ever written, it became important for me that others think the same. I gave myself a pep-talk and also the reminder that I don't write to get rich and I don't write for success. I write because all of my life, I've had these stories in my head and I'm twisted enough to want to share them with the world.
After I calmed down, I realized I'm probably just tired and should take a nap.

As always, thanks for reading!
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Twitter: @LucyMagilicutt2

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Where is the Love?

I have a natural born tendency to get a little militant at times but I'm really more of a lover than a fighter. I've never been afraid of a fight and I won't back down if I think I'm right, no matter how big or how "important" a person might be. I've never been one to take "one for the team" either if that taking isn't going to work for the greater good and is taken just to assuage someone's ego. I don't give two shits about an ego, yours or mine.

I'm known for having a dualistic view point on a lot of things also. I'm a Libra and my very nature is gray areas and balance. It takes a lot to piss me off and it takes even more than that to make me lose sleep because I do honestly believe that for the most part, all things will work themselves out in the manner they're meant to.
But lately... man. I've spent the better part of this year in a state of "WHAT THE FUCK"...
More than I actually like people, I understand them, even the ones I don't agree with or identify with. I'm pretty good at picking through the reasons a person does one thing or another and sometimes I'm wrong, but a lot of times, I'm not.
I cannot for the life of me, wrap my head around the shit that is going on in the world today; things that are so senseless, so pointless, especially over the past few weeks, and it makes me literally want to collectively pimp slap the majority of humanity.
I don't consider myself all that intelligent so I kinda expect if I'm able to see through the bullshit, most anyone else should be able to, also. But apparently not.
So let's break it down in "Lori Terms" which translates to the easiest way possible and I hope no one has to pee, because we're gonna be here for a while.

1. Your political affiliation does not give you license to be a dick... whether you're right wing, left wing, or middle feather on the back of the bird.

Right-Wingers: You don't get to treat gays, blacks, Mexicans, the lower class or anyone else with disrespect just because you're a Conservative and/or Christian. Every form of life deserves respect and compassion. The baby you don't want that left-winger to abort is gonna need food and a place to live once it's born. To get said food, left-winger needs a livable wage. You can't be against abortions AND birth control at the same time because humans are sexual creatures with the need to procreate hardwired into their DNA. Waiting until marriage to have sex doesn't make a person any more financially able to care for a child given that today's wages barely allow for rent, let alone food. I'm not saying hand out freebies like it's an all-you-can-eat buffet at a wedding reception, but you can't cut the arms off a person and then tell them they have to tie their shoelaces.
Left-Wingers: You don't get to treat Conservative Christians like they're a threat to life as we all know it, just because you're on the left side of things. You aren't entitled to shit (none of us are) and I don't care what race you are, what orientation you are or what gender you used to be, are now or are planning to become... not every white person or Christian is your enemy and it's a goddamn sad day when a Pagan (yeah, me) has to explain this shit to grown ass adults. Also, not every Conservative Republican is rich or white.
You should NOT be entitled to welfare unless you're willing to put in the work to help yourself while others are helping you. And by work, I mean... get jobs... get TWO jobs, if you have to. People are more inclined to give when they see you're making an effort on your own behalf. Having children (and I have family who have done this) in order to increase your welfare amount is NOT A CAREER and it's not ok. Abortion isn't a viable method of birth control and free bleeding should NEVER be a thing. Even the ancient humans stuffed moss up there to stem the flow. You DO have to pay those student loans just like the rest of the population and if you'd stop taking courses like Gender Studies or Wicca, you might actually find a job that pays over minimum wage. Get your shit together.
If you're here as a LEGAL immigrant, you have my FULL support and I will back you to the "nth" degree on whatever you need to make your life here better as long as you're also willing to put in the work like everyone else has to.
If you're here ILLEGALLY... start your process. As long as you're working toward legality, I have no beef with you at all, but get it done because no man can ever claim loyalty to two countries. Pick one and stay there. As long as you're refusing to commit to this country because you don't want to let the old one go, I refuse to believe I'm obligated to commit to you as well. Pay cash for your doctors visits like people such as myself have to do because I can't afford insurance either. Make it work like I've had to make shit work for the last 23 years.

To the respective sides: All either of your sides are doing is impeding progress and a peaceful coexistence in a world that doesn't have to really give a monkey's left testicle what your opinions are or what offends you. Instead of whining about one another, how about you agree to disagree and work to find a middle ground for compromise? After all, that's what the hell we elect officials for. We've spent the last 60 years letting said officials sit on their collective asses in government offices collecting tax dollars for doing jobs they're failing at. Why are they failing? Because WE STOPPED MAKING SURE THE WORK WAS GETTING DONE. We got too wrapped up in debt and television to bother looking over their shoulders. We stopped holding our Sheriffs, our City and County officials, our Representatives, our Senators, our Governors and Congressmen accountable. Everyone wants to throw shade on whatever President is in office, but what have any of us done to ensure the work has been done correctly before it reaches that level? Have we communicated effectively, respectively to our own local and state leaders? I doubt it. What happened to town hall meetings and watchdog committees? We elect these people and then turn them loose because we're too lazy to maintain an open forum of communication with them. Grow the fuck up. All of you. What's happening in the world today isn't any President's problem. It's OUR problem. WE created it by turning our heads the other way and letting our "leaders" run amuck.  It's OUR fault. It's the fault of the person who can't see beyond the next episode of the latest hit television show. It's the fault of the person who says, "That's what I elected so and so for." No. See... that person is an EMPLOYEE.  Sometimes employees need micromanaged and if ever there was a time for that, the time is now. This is OUR GOVERNMENT. This is OUR COUNTRY. It's supposed to work FOR US and it would if we got our thumbs out of our asses, put down the Starbucks, stop looking for things we find offensive and start working together to get into the real issues.

2. If you're not going to eat it, don't KILL it.
I grew up in a hunting and fishing family. My mother's childhood food source was venison, rabbit, squirrel, and whatever else they could trap or shoot. She's the best hunter/tracker I know and my dad comes in a close second after her. One thing both of my parents instilled in all three of their children was if you're not going to eat it, don't shoot it. It's sad that I find this relevant to society today.
I like guns. I grew up with them, I own them, I can shoot them. I'm a fan of the 2nd Amendment and I do believe guns serve many purposes; that said, unless you're target shooting, find yourself in a life or death situation, or bringing home food to feed your family, keep that hooker in its holster. Shooting someone isn't a quick solution to any problem. In fact, I'm sure most people would agree that whatever satisfaction a person might have felt when they maliciously pulled that trigger to shoot another human being was quickly stamped out once the orange jumpsuits, trials and seeing the disappointment on your mother's face becomes a reality. I'm sure every parent wants to believe their child is intelligent, whether they truly are or not. You just made your mother look like a liar to the world because you just proved you're stupid, not to mention took someone else's child from them.
Same goes for cars, which suddenly people have decided, "fuck a gun, I'm gonna run this entire crowd over..." Not sure where this thought process originated from...
I remember riding with my uncle when he hit and killed a deer. He got out of the truck, saw it was dead and loaded it into the bed saying something about not letting the meat go to waste. As sad as I was about that deer, I respected him for not letting it die in vain.
Sometimes you can't help but hit an animal with your vehicle, but if you're deliberately turning said car into a crowd with the intention of harming or ending life, you can't eat that body... Well, I mean you could but that would be another matter entirely as far as mental issues go.... the point is, why bother? What have you gained?
I don't know exactly what state of mind a person has to be in to decide that running people over is a GREAT idea, but I'm pretty sure the repercussions are about the same as shooting someone to death. No one thinks you're a hero and you've disappointed your mother because you've just proved what a fucking moron you are, also.

3. Hitler is NOT a hero.
Look, I have a fascination with the historical era of WWII. I watch documentaries on it, read books about it but never, not one time have I been like, "you know... that Hitler guy... man, he was great."
No. No, he wasn't. You can spin it six ways to Sunday about what a brilliant military strategist he was and how yes, he did bring Germany out of bankruptcy before he went ten shades of crazy, but once you start identifying with the rationale that killing 6 million men, women and children was actually a win for the white race and not the atrocity it was; you're the one who needs to be eradicated because never has the death of SIX MILLION people been a good idea. If you think it is, the problem is you and sometimes you can't fix stupid or crazy.
Walking around with Arian tattoos or swastikas doesn't make you look cool. You look like moron. You're not celebrating your heritage because Hitler's dislike for Jews had nothing to do with heritage or pure lineage. He was actually more of a follower than a leader. (
And those swastikas? Stolen from other cultures. (  )

4. Anthropology...
Whether you're a creationist or an evolutionist, you can't deny that God or Science or even Aliens, created the first humans in Africa. This has been proven. We all retain micro-remanants of that ancient DNA. ( here's where anthropology comes in... When the first humans were created, evolved or plunked down on earth in South-Central Africa, we began to migrate. Some of us stayed in that hot, toasty region with the sun burning like the fires of ten thousand hells and developed a large quantity of melanin in our skins to combat the damaging effects of the arid climate. Others went farther south and became darker still.
Some of us went north and our melanin decreased, turning a sandy brown. Others went east, their skin lightening to a yellower tone. The further from our origin land we traveled the more our skin tone changed. (
It's why today when you have a DNA test done by Ancestry or another venue, you'll find surprising indicators for Asia, Africa, etc; though you might have thought you were as pure as driven snow in your race. News flash pumpkin... none of us are pure. Just because you have blonde hair, fair skin and blue eyes, doesn't mean somewhere down the line you aren't mixed with another race. Regardless of how we came to be on this planet, we all started out as a common race. So for every race you hate, you're hating an aspect of self, which is not only dumb, it's counterproductive to your cause because you can no longer view yourself as superior if you're just as muddled as the rest of us.

5. The Right to Peaceful Assembly...
I don't believe in infringing on anyone's rights. Not their First Amendment, Second Amendment, or any other number pertaining to that document but I do believe that when grown ups can't act like grown ups and instead start acting like overgrown children who have the legal right to bear arms, there might be a problem and it's time to take the toys away because clearly we can't play nice. We always have to resort to some bullshit and one group or another always falls for the tricks of the other. Every. Single. Time.
What does rioting get you? Nothing. What does standing around hoisting tiki torches get you? Nothing. You invalidate your causes by your own idiotic idea that the only way to get a point across is to do it with violence.
I marched against Monsanto in one of the largest protests the state has ever seen. I'm proud of that. Before people think I'm putting GMO foods above racial issues, I'm not, but that day, I saw some overly passionate (and that's putting it nicely) people who seemed to be just kinda waiting to get a little rowdy. Fortunately, there were enough sane protestors that kept the ones teetering on the brink, in line. It was peaceful protest and at the end of the day, everyone got to go home to their families and our point was made.
I don't understand why this is so hard for any group to understand. You get so much more with reason and rationality than you do with screaming and violence. So the fuck what if an opposing group shows up and protests on the other side of the street. Let them. They have the same right as you do. Stay on your side of the fence unless you're going to meet to discuss a productive non-violent way to over come the issues. Clearly the other way hasn't solved anything, has it? And for the love of whatever God you worship... leave the fucking weapons at home. Everyone deserves to be heard and everyone deserves to go home. It's not rocket science.

6. Leave the Gay Community Alone, Already...
The word "faggot" is about as outdated as my shoe collection. Jesus Christ on a piece of toast.. stop using it already. It's cool if you don't approve of the gay lifestyle, but guess what? Your approval isn't necessary. Why? Because this is America. Calling other people "faggot" doesn't do anything but show your ignorance. Spouting religious scripture at them isn't a mind-changer either. Gays have been around since the beginning of humanity and they're here to stay. Let me say this one more time.... Gay is here to stay. Personally, I'm happy about that. I'm not gay, but if my gay friends or their gay friends want to beautify downtown ATL with bright primary colors and take better care of the parks and neighborhoods than any community before them ever has, I'm all for it. I love my city and my city has become better because of the Gay Community.
As far as gay marriage goes, I support anyone's right to legally tie themselves to a person who will potentially make them miserable or unbelievably happy for the rest of their lives. Life is a crap shoot and you can't help who you love. If you're lucky enough to find a person whose socks and underwear you don't mind picking up from the floor... BESIDE the laundry basket on a permanent basis... more power to you. I do weddings, call me.

7. Be the Change You Want to See...
I'm not a peace, love and light type of person, but I do believe in the power of kindness, compassion and thinking before you speak. I do believe that every human deserves respect and to be treated how we'd like ourselves to be treated. Hate is a learned behavior and like any skill that you gain through practice, you can lose it if you stop using it. We should probably work hard to lose hate. It's done us no good thus far.
We've all done shit we're not proud of but the difference between growth and stagnation in a human is recognizing our flaws and failures and doing the best we can to be better than we were the day before. Kinder. Not just to others, but ourselves as well.
I will literally talk to anyone. I don't care if they're white, black, Asian, Latino, gay, straight, trans, pans... what the fuck ever... because I'm no better than anyone else and I love a good conversation.
I'm not better than the Mexican guy who I stood beside me on the boat a few weeks ago. We spoke, we drank a few beers together, we understood one another. I was honored that he wanted to hang out with our group; that he saw beyond those barriers too and decided flip them the bird. To that guy and his beautiful wife and two kids, y'all were one of the best parts of my vacation.
To the absolutely gorgeous same sex couple we hung out with, listening to great music and drinking shitty Bud Light; I smile every single time I think of you both and I am so glad I met you.
To the old white homeless guy who walked around emptying overflowing garbage cans and picking up trash, who also sat with me for a few hours and didn't ask for anything but my time and attention; every time I think of you, I think of your generosity, your caring demeanor and the way you didn't wait for others to step forward before making the choice to clean up a dirty area.

To the bigot at the hotel  in Tennessee a few years ago who wouldn't let his daughter swim in the same pool as the two black children; karma is a bitch and I hope it comes in the form of a daughter who grows up to realize love has no color or gender, you racist jackass.

Be kind. Be nice. Be good. Do good things. It's pretty simple.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Guys vs. Romance: Horror, Ignore or Abhor

There are few things in my opinion sexier than a well-read, educated man, specifically if it's Dolph Lundgren doing the reading, shirtless... next to me. I couldn't find a picture of that so I chose the next best one. (It's my blog... I do what I want...)

You'd be surprised how many men scrunch up their faces in alternating expressions of disgust or horror when they find out I write romance novels. Most automatically assume I write "smut" or "porn" and just about all consider that genre "trashy". I could and probably should argue their point in defense of the months (years, if you count the first Bimini book) that go into writing those pages but I'm not much for trying to beat my opinion into anyone's head (I'm lazy that way), so I  let it go and have accepted the average man appears to rather have a hot iron laid on his penis than read a romance novel or at the very least, admit to reading one. Sounds extreme but those facial expressions I spoke about in the sentence above are also pretty in keeping with such torture...
If I had a dollar for every time I've heard that I must have a filthy mind in order to write what I do, I could probably afford to solely write for a living. Sadly, neither my writing nor predicting what someone's husband or significant other is going to say about said writing, pays well. Story of my life.

At a family event a few weeks ago, one of my cousins and I were having a book discussion. She was interested in what inspired me to write Bimini: The Romance and Bimini: Blood on the Sand, as well as Texan. The conversation progressed onward as to why men seem to have an aversion to romance novels. She'd been trying to get her long-time boyfriend to read a few and was a little frustrated that he refused. I responded with, "Meh, guys don't like to read romance. They think it emasculates them."
Her counter-response got me thinking. She said, "But why though? Men are always saying they have no idea what women want and here you have novels like Fifty Shades of Grey that have pretty much laid it out in detail. Pick up a book and learn something!"

Right on, cousin... right on.

Most of my friends are guys and I've spent my life primarily around men. Some are readers, most are not. Of those ones who do read, they generally gravitate towards Science Fiction, Horror, or Crime genres and I'm not knocking any of those categories- I like them myself. I own three copies of Lonesome Dove because I love the book so much. If one copy goes missing, I want to have a back up and then of course, in the event that it's a serial issue of Lonesome Dove going M.I.A., I've got a back up for the back up. 
On my shelves, you'll find every type of book from Herbalism to Andy Rooney's autobiography. I don't throw books away, I've never met one I hated, though I've liked some less than others, and I'll literally read just about anything, including tech manuals. For the most part though, on my shelves, you'll find a large collection of romance because though I'm a fan of Clive Cussler, Robin Cook, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz; sometimes, nothing feeds the soul like a love story. As much of a tomboy as I might be, I can readily admit that I love LOVE. It's been a source of hilarity to a lot of my guy friends over the years and I'm not ashamed that I like romance novels. But apparently, if you're a guy, it's category of literature you should stay far, far away from and I wonder why?

Is it the stereo-typical idea that men aren't supposed like anything romantic openly or publicly and at same time maintain their masculinity? Or the idea that they might just have to revise their idea that women really aren't so complicated after all? Well, no more complicated than any other human. I bring that up because after all, we're talking about point of views written from a woman's perspective and it's a little hard for a writer not to project his or her preferences into certain POVs or character traits, correct?  Or is it really that "Women's Fiction" makes their guts feel all squirmy and points out a few places where they might be able to make some improvements or changes in the way they conduct or maintain their connections with their chosen partner? No one likes to hear "you're doing it wrong... read Chapter 20, page 198 for instruction..." Talk about a mood killer. But if men did take upon themselves to do as my cousin suggested and research these books; maybe he could teach his woman a thing or three also? And there's also a difference between a guy who just hasn't thought to read 'chick lit' and a guy who thinks it's below him to investigate.
The world is cruel enough already and for someone like me who has seen far too often just how cruel it can be, I think we'd all benefit from a little softness; male and female alike. So, yeah, the idea that men shouldn't or 'won't' read romance novels, does sorta annoy me because of it being so very stereo-typical. I also think perpetuates the notion that a romantic or attentive man is somehow less of a man. FALSE.

Romance is about time and attention. It's about recognizing a need in the other person and working hard to meet it. Some of the authors of these books do a fantastic job in conveying how important it is to touch, to listen and to really see the person you're not with. Not just look at them, but see them; beyond their face and the things they show the rest of the world because when you do, that's where the love is. When there's nothing left to hide and all the ego is gone out of the picture, love lives there. Those same authors also work hard to send a message that it's not all about the male doing the work and will happily put the responsibility of the relationship on the female as well. You know, 'cause life is that way. So for me, it makes for more realistic reading.

 Still though, I was curious about why men tend to genuinely abhor or at the very least ignore the romance genre. And because my particular brand of curiosity will nag the bejeezus out of me once it latches on to something, I decided to ask a long-time male friend what his thoughts were on the subject. While I won't publish his name because he works in a public service job, I'm grateful that he was willing to fill out the mini-questionnaire I sent him. I chose him because of his openly affectionate disposition and his attention to the females in his life. He's a romantic, but he's also pretty masculine, which I think makes for a perfect balance. 

1. When you have time to read, what genre do you generally gravitate
towards and why?  History...I find history so interesting, and understanding history helps me make solid decisions in my everyday life.

2. Have you ever read anything in the romance genre? If yes, what? If no, why not?  Does Penthouse Forum count?  JK.  I guess the answer is no.  As a guy, I've never considered reading a romance novel.

3. Would you ever consider reading anything in the romance genre
without prompting from your spouse/partner/SO?  Yes.  I think as I get older and more mature, I can see myself diving into a romance novel.

4. In YOUR opinion, why is that genre so popular among females?  I think most males fail when it comes to satisfying women (on all fronts).  Through romance novels, females can live vicariously through the words.

5. Do you feel that by reading this genre that men in general could
gain a better understanding of what females want out of
relationships/sex?  Absolutely!!!

6. Do you feel that the standards set in romance novels for the male
counterpart are out of reach or impossible for the average guy to
achieve?  No.  A little work never killed anyone.

7. As a male, if you were to read a romance novel, what would you choose (I gave options of categories):  I would pick Military and Second Chance.
8. If asked by your spouse/partner/SO, would you read a romance novel?  Yes

9.. Would you be open to trying anything specific she pointed out in said book?  Hell Yeah

10. Why do you feel that men tend to stigmatize the romance genre?  Peer pressure from their dumbass Bros.

I think my buddy makes some good points, especially his answers for questions 3, 4, and 6.

At a certain point we all stop looking for lust and start to focus on love. We want to explore the avenue more, rather than just run down it at a breakneck speed, getting to other side as quickly as possible like we did when we were younger. As we mature and grow, it becomes more about taking a leisurely stroll and seeing what you discover, not just about yourself, but about your partner.
In my own opinion, well-written romance novels showcase the complexities that make up the vital relationships we humans are hardwired through DNA to develop with one another. It's less about appearance and really more about chemistry on a molecular level. It's taking the science of human behavior and biology and layering it with the little every day things that cause a relationship to move from a chemical reaction (lust) into love.

As writers of this genre, we want to connect with our audience. We want you to experience those first flutterings of chemistry between our leading lady and her chosen guy, but we also want you to see them as ordinary, every day people. Fallible, imperfect, human. It's not just men falling short when it comes to holding up their end of the relationship. Woman can and are guilty of that, as well. It takes two to make it and often times, it takes two to break it. Partner relationships do take work.  It's one of the hardest jobs you'll ever have, even beyond parenting. It's not like parental love. You know, you have these kids, and even on bad days when they're being assholes, you still love them. With a partner, every morning when you wake up, you have to make a choice to stay with that person; to be present and to do what it takes to make things work if you love them enough. Taking the good with the bad is a choice. And even still, sometimes, no matter how much you love a person, no matter how much work you do, it still fails- especially when the other partner isn't as invested in the relationship. But for sure, it won't work if you just let it sit idle while you're both respectively doing other things rather than paying attention to each other.

Romance writers in particular, study love and relationships as well as the people who are involved in them. We're often real-life experts on unrequited love stories, second chance love stories and the angsty "I love so-and-so but it'd never work out" stories, which of course as writers, we make it work anyway because what's the point of reading romance if there's no 'happily ever after'?
Most of us attempt to write our characters from a realistic standpoint these days. We write about characters struggling with PTSD or child abuse issues. We write about relevant issues that affect us or people we know; cancer, sex trafficking, drug addiction, poverty...  Not just because we want to call attention to these things and the struggle they contain, but because in today's society, these are things that regular people encounter and relate to. It also adds to character or storyline depth.
Once upon a time, in the romance world, if you wanted your work published, it had to fit a certain standard and that standard didn't include social issues. The women had to be kind, in distress, petite or tall, but never overweight. The men had to be brusque, overly masculine, with bulging body parts and "piercing eyes". That old format also dictated that the couple fall in love immediately with minimal complications except for a villain or two thrown in the mix. Those lead characters were a little hard for some of us to relate to. I mean... I'm not "tall and willowy with sweeping chestnut curls..." I'm 4'll. My lanky, board-straight hair gives mute testament to the fact that there is literally no ethnicity in my genetic makeup and I'm shaped like the Goddess I worship (round). I fall horribly short- no pun intended- when compared to the old format for romantic heroines. So for me, a lot of the lead females weren't remotely relatable. It's not that those books don't have merit. I cut my proverbial teeth on them in seventh grade and still own some of the ones that were my favorites back then.
And if you're looking at romance novels from the aspect of what they used to be even twenty years ago, rather than what they've evolved into today, then yeah, I can see why men would be turned off by that genre. I have a hard time going back and reading those old books because now the characters seem pithy and a little impossible to connect with.
But like anything else, things have changed. In today's market, the formats have changed and there are some ladies who are shaped just like me as the leading character. The writing styles have also changed and so have a lot of the points of views. The female characters aren't so helpless or so easily won over. We also like our book boyfriends to be something akin to what you'd find today. Slightly insecure, a little dysfunctional... you know, like the rest of us. Just a guy trying to cope with his own baggage while helping his girl juggle hers.

To be fair, however, I have to point out that while male readers of romance might be few and far between, male authors have begun to jump on the romance train. Writers such as Lucian Bane and Chance Carter are paving the way in making it OK for males to take the genre leap, both as storytellers and readers. I'm hoping it's a trend that continues because in a genre that has been traditionally all women since women were allowed to publish books, the storylines have gone a little pat. It's pretty cool to pick up my favorite kind of book and have the POV be from a legit male's perspective. Perhaps if the male romance market becomes successful, we can really begin to learn what both respective sexes want from a relationship instead of expecting one gender or the other to do all the work.

Sometimes you really DO need to read the directions and some romance authors give damn good ones.

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Or you can find me on Twitter: @LucyMagilicutt2

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

When the Projects Start to Bottleneck...

I don't think I've ever been able to say this in my life at all, but since Thanksgiving, I've actually completed two other manuscripts and have 40K words down on a third one. I'm the worlds worst when it comes to distraction and/or procrastination. Aside from that, I also abhor the editing process, which is kinda funny because I was in that field of work for a long time. I hated it then, I hate it now.
I'm all about fun, (always have been and likely always will be) and writing to me is fun. It gives me an opportunity to open my mind and let my imagination create people, places and scenarios that are entertaining to my brain and hopefully entertaining to others, as well.

I've been heard to say- even regarding any jobs I've had- "If it's fun, I'm all in. Once it stops being fun, I'm all out." I've lived this practice almost to perfection, except I stayed in newspaper long after it stopped being fun and became a detriment to my health, because you know... I'm chubby, I like to eat and food costs money.

As much as I detest editing, my love of writing has never lagged because well.... it's fun. Though once I'm finished with the creation part of a writing project, I can honestly say I'm tempted sometimes to just to scrap it because I know what's gonna come next. Re-reads (ugh), re-writes (meh), grammatical corrections (kill me now), sentence restructuring (torture me and then kill me) and then once all that's done, I'll let someone else read it, have them any errors or inconsistencies they've found and the entire editing process (I'd rather have my nails pulled from my fingers and red hot bamboo shards laid over the exposed nailbeds) starts all over.  For every ounce of joy I get out of writing, I experience an equal amount of dread for the editing process.

I do know people who love and enjoy the editing process (I often question their sanity on other things, also) and I wish I could be that enthusiastic when it comes to cleaning up my work, but no matter how much I try to hype myself up for it, I just can't.

So, here Diesel sits, needing more editing after I've already been over it for what feels like 50 times since it was finished after Thanksgiving. My second manuscript (no name chosen just yet) sits completed, but no editing done yet whatsoever. I'm trying really hard to find the wherewithal to get down to business on it, but so far, there is none to be found.

And while, yeah, I'm a little ashamed to say I've neglected my duties in this regard; I'm also kinda pleased at myself for actually having TWO finished projects and a third in the works at the same time. This has literally never happened. It used to take me a few years to get one done. We take our progress where we find it, I guess.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

To Everything There Is A Season...

Spring is my most favorite time of year. Call it the Pagan in me, but I love to witness the rebirth of the Earth after a long dreary winter and to celebrate new growth that comes along with it. Few things are more exciting to me than watching seedlings I planted the year before emerge from the ground once the temperatures warm up.
But, this Spring has been a little different. My grandson was born on April 14 and I've felt more reverent than usual over the gift of life and all it brings, All that said, this Spring has also made me reflect on how seasons aren't just part of the yearly cycle of the earth. Seasons are a part of our internal lives as well. Just as the Earth changes every quarter, so too, do we.
We are born, we grow, we change, we die, only to be reborn again and while, yes, I do mean this in a metaphorical sense, I also mean it literally as well.
Our lives and the situations or circumstances that encompass them are temporary at best and maybe that's why I take such joy in the birth or rebirth of living things as well as ideas or projects. I love watching seeds that were planted with such bright hopes come to fruition, even if they've had to lay dormant longer than we humans thought necessary at the time they were planted. I try to look at that longer than usual waiting period as those seeds gathering more and more strength before bursting through the soil because maybe, just maybe their time here might be a little more challenging than the ones that sprouted up easily and effortless and they'll need whatever reserves they gained during their time under ground in order for them to get through it (bad things happen to good people). It's also those long awaited seeds that outlast the others. Their time in the darkness having made them stronger and more resilient to adversity. I cheer for those seeds who made it against the odds. I've always been a fan of the underdog, because I've always been one myself.

I'm not a fan of the Winter months. I don't enjoy the cold, the damp, or even snow, but Winter does serve as a reminder for me to be patient. It reminds me that though something has gone dormant or appears to be dead, there's always hope for Spring and if not this Spring, then perhaps next. While Winter does remind me to have patience (something I'm still struggling to learn), I also look at that time of year as the "Grieving Season"; the time to mourn the loss of that which won't return in the same form I knew it as before. I allow myself to consider the ways the presence of that being whether it's an animal, a plant, or a person- changed me through out my time in its company. What lessons did I learn from it? Am I better because of it or better without it? As the Grieving Season nears the end of its natural cycle, I find that each time I'm a little bit more capable of letting go with love and saying goodbye with gratitude for the lessons I've learned; but that doesn't mean I like it. I don't enjoy any aspect of it, but I do accept the necessity of that season, not just Earth-wise, but also human-wise. Grief deepens us, changes us and molds us. It teaches us better than anything else can to take the love and the joy wherever we can find it, even if it's just for a few moments because honestly, life as a whole can be entirely too short.

I spent a lot of my life living in the Grieving Season, too afraid to even hope for Spring, for that rebirth or regeneration out of fear I'd fall right back into the depth of Winter, but the last 15 years have taught me that nothing lasts forever, not even sadness. Yes, I still feel my losses, somedays more acutely than others, but the truth of it is, eventually life does have a way of forcing you back into the seasonal rotation. So, while right now, everything looks bleak and dark, eventually, the sun will come back out and your world will green back up. That sun might not be AS bright or the grass AS green as it was before you experienced your Grieving Season, but you'll find an appreciation that you can even see the new growth at all.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Why I WILL be seeing The Shack

Everyone loves a good inspirational movie. You know the kind... the ones that make you forget, even just for a little while about a bad situation or gives you hope that all is not lost in life or humanity.

In 1993, I lost my brother to an illness. Up until that point, I'd always had a hardcore belief in God and the Bible, but the years following his death left me with a lot of questions and a lot of anger, which had me raging more than I'd like to admit at our Supreme Creator.

In 1998 on my birthday, the movie What Dreams May Come was released. Five years into my grief and anger at a God who would take a happy, oh-so-health-conscious, good hearted man away from a world that desperately needed more people like him, the last thing I wanted to do was watch a movie about the human experience of death, grief and the afterlife. At that point, I already considered myself way too much of an expert on those things and not in a helpful or constructive way.
A friend at the time who went to see it, stated during the entire length of the film, she couldn't get me out of her head and she felt that it was something I really needed to watch. So, I went even though I didn't think anything could make much of a difference in my life at that point.

I'm not a soft-hearted, sentimental, cry-at-movies type of person (though moving headlong into menapause has actually made me more weepy now than I've ever been) but throughout the entire 1 hour and 56 minutes, I found myself in tears because I understood what Robin Williams and Annabella Sciorra's characters felt so intimately it was like watching two different versions of myself on the screen. Watching them go through the stages of grief, the surrender, the anger, the feeling everything is lost and you're profoundly alone in that sorrow, even though there are others right there in the same house who are going through the same emotions you are, the feeling of being unable to go on and the guilt you feel when you do have to start moving on.... But also, the rage when you look around at the outside world and hate them for being able to function when you can't.

As I watched, the message of the movie began to make itself known... Love overcomes everything, even death and love is the one thing we can take with us when we cross over. It also shows us that love transforms the human spirit in ways that nothing else can and how sometimes even when we think something is lost, it's actually right in front of us, we just have to believe enough to see it and to touch it.

I left the movie theater that night an emotional wreck. I cried more in the following days than I had in the five years since my brother had died and I understood because I could never fully let myself grieve his loss before, I now finally had to. I attribute that movie in part to the huge spiritual healing that took place within myself later on and eventually led me to the path and the life I have today. A life that understands the importance of love, compassion, giving and acceptance. A life that understands its fluidity and complexity as well as appreciates its cycles- even the painful ones.

I tell you that to tell you this:
I watched the previews of The Shack before even knowing it was a critically acclaimed book and my first thought was how I hoped it would be as beautiful a representation of love and finding the will to go on for others as What Dreams May Come was for me. It also appeared to be well-done with graphics and story-line.

A little while ago, one of my very best friends and closest companions sent me a blog from Christian book critic Tim Challies about The Shack after we'd both expressed a desire to see the movie. The title of said blog post was "Why I Won't Be Seeing (or Reviewing) The Shack". (

I read it with an open mind though it was clear that the author didn't write it with one. In fact, the blog was so steeped in the fear-based teaching and narrow-minded views that I've come to abhor and loathe that it actually made my stomach turn.

Look, I get it.... people want to cling to outdated ideas and thoughts on all kind of things including religion. I'm no different. I resisted getting a brand new vehicle even when I knew my truck had been fixed to the point it couldn't be fixed any longer. My old truck suited me. It had carried me half way across the country and back unfailingly and almost seemed to be an extension of my "self". It didn't run well when others drove it, but seemed to run fine when I did, but maybe I was deluding myself or in denial that it had issues or that it was so old and it was time to move on. Who knows but the point is, I clung to it because it was comforting to me and seemed so safe when I drove it.

I get that the Bible has been a corner stone of faith and a security blanket for most of society as a whole for centuries. Governments were built and ruined upon it, houses were united or divided because of it, wars have been raged as well as ended over it. Really, I get it. I get the historical and social impact those pages have had on humanity but it never fails to frighten me to the core when an overzealous religious follower starts spouting fear-based rhetoric while most likely living their own hypocritical existence.

Tim says he won't review or watch the movie because the second commandment forbids any representation of God in any form. And to watch the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit represented on film was sinful. He states, "I am far more sure that watching and reviewing The Shack would be an unwise and even sinful spiritual decision." He goes on to list multiple, biblical inspired reasons why it's bad and even at one point seems to rant a little bit at the indignity of the book and the film. The only thing he didn't list and I was honestly surprised- was his objection that God was portrayed by a woman (Octavia Spencer).

To him, I say: That's cool, Tim. You're certainly entitled to your opinion and since I strongly believe in freedom of religion as well as freedom of speech, I can even get behind the rationalization of why you wouldn't want to subject yourself to something you believe is a contradiction of your beliefs. I'll even go as far to say if your right to belief and practice were challenged, I'd defend it. Because it's yours and you have a right to it. But you don't really have a right to forcefully try to sway others to the same side.

All of my life I've been drawn to, fascinated and studied various aspects of religion. In my early years, I'd have told you I was Christian. Today, because of my studies (not necessarily my practices) I identify as Pagan, which means a person who believes and worships anything outside the realm of accepted main world religious beliefs and practice.

I've dissected, picked apart, turned around and upended religious texts, most known and some so obscure you have to scour and scrounge for the information. As a result, my beliefs have changed widely since those days when I identified as a Christian. That said, I do wholly believe in a Supreme Deity or Creator (as I call it) and I enjoy exploring thoughts and opinions on what Something or Someone of that magnitude means not only to myself, but to others as well. What I don't enjoy is forced indoctrination, again on myself or others, especially when it appears to be done with little to no outside study to support claims or any regard to the fact that media in all forms is a way of life in this day and age. It'd be nearly impossible to watch, listen to or research (you're not supposed to question, right?) anything if you're going to go down the list of things the Bible forbids and adhere to that code in the day to day.
This applies to all manner of things:
1. Do you make your woman live outside of your presence during her menstrual cycle?
2. Do you like pig?
3. Are you willing to sell your daughter into marriage to her rapist?
4. If your neighbor buys a big, beautiful 72 inch flat-screen, do you covet it?
5. Since men aren't supposed to ejaculate outside of a woman's body or waste their seed in any way, ever... (See where I'm going here?)
6. Do you like lobster, crab and shrimp?
7. Do you really want to marry or bring into your house, your brother's wife if he dies? Would your wife be OK with that?

Just curious.

I've said it before and I'll say it again... Practice. What. You. Preach. The shirt in your profile picture is obviously a denim and lycra blend.

I hope once you realize you're wearing blended clothing, you burn that shirt in shame for going against Leviticus, because that'd be about as in keeping with telling people not to watch a movie because it gives a sinful human representation of Divinity, benign and loving though that representation may be.

The fact of the matter is that a large part of the Old Testament, specifically Genesis and Exodus, outside of the Do's and Don'ts and commandments (which were actually taken from the Egyptian Book of the Dead), was borrowed from the Sumerian Creation Texts (SCT) which predate the Bible by 2500 years and is the oldest known written account. (Remember, the Sumerians were the first humans to use a written language.) The Enuma Elish, aka The Epic of Creation explains that while there was one supreme deity, there were also hundreds of other lesser gods as well. This might explain why in Genesis it says "man was created in OUR image" rather than "in MY (a singular God) image".

The creation texts also go on to say that in order for man to be created, one god had to be sacrificed and his blood was mixed with the clay of the earth to become the first human whom today, we refer to as "Adam", though in the SCT, the first man was named Adapa (See Mesopotamia Story of the Fall of Man). There are parallels drawn between Adapa and Adam, though clearly Genesis took some liberties in the story as all retellings often do. So, to put that part in perspective... if we were created in ONE god's image and that god had to die to create us then wouldn't we technically be worshipping a dead god?
To go even further, Sumerian Liturgies (compiled by Stephen Langdon) as well as the SCT, speak that the supreme god of what later became our Old Testament and the god of the New Testament are actually two different beings as there was a war in Heaven over the dominance of humanity and who had the right of ownership so to speak of mankind.

If you believe these ancient texts and I'm not entirely sure that I do in totality, it'd make sense of the changes between part one (Old Testament) and part two (New Testament) in "God's" personality... you know, going from a wrathful, vengeful and admittedly jealous god, to a benevolent, loving and more temperate version.
Then again if God is omni-potent as well as omni-present as Tim points out in his blog, I guess God can also have a change of mind or attitude as well as maintain his right as Tim also said, "to remain invisible".
Although, myself personally, don't see God as invisible. I think God is represented in every thing and everyone around us that breathes with the flow of life. We humans, in my opinion are a direct manifestation of God; so are the flowers, the trees, the neighbor's cats and so on. It's my job as a worshipper of that entity to appreciate and respect all aspects of IT in all ITs various forms. I think (and I don't know for sure) that God would hate the idea of never being seen or appreciated for all the beauty that Being has been capable of creating. Everything around us is God-like if we open our eyes wide enough to see the divinity within it.

It may seem as if I'm being disrespectful, but honestly, that's not my intention. My intention is to point out that Tim's belief in the second commandment as reason enough not to see this movie might be just a tad hypocritical as well as full of conjecture.

God is represented in Exodus when he appeared to Moses as a burning bush and then represented in the latest movie based on that book of the Bible as both a burning bush and a young boy. Did Tim boycott that as well? I mean, I'm NOT a Christian Bale fan, but even I watched Exodus: God and Kings because again, I genuinely do love religion and have no bias against any particular one. A good story is a good story (insert shrugging shoulders here). I also watched the original Ten Commandments with Charleston Heston for exactly same the reason, years ago. Well, that and I AM a fan of Heston.

And even though I don't practice Christianity, movies like the Passion of the Christ and Jesus of Nazareth are beautifully told, heart-wrenching stories that appeal to my humanity as well as my compassionate side when it comes to the torture Jesus sustained at the hands of narrow-minded, ignorant masses. I don't have to be Christian or identify as one to want to throw myself over his body and take the whipping for him. I don't celebrate Easter, but I do watch those movies when they come on to a point it's more traditional for me than an Easter Bunny. In this day and age where visual media is legitimately a huge part of our lives, the best way to pull someone closer to an idea or concept of God, would be to have a human representation of that entity. Let's face it, very few people have the time or the inclination to sit down and read the Bible from cover to cover, let alone absorb the meanings or the content of its passages, but they will sit down for two hours and watch a movie.

I'd never dream of telling my fellow Pagans or anyone else for that matter, not to watch those movies because I believe that aside from some historical significance, the Bible is one big book of plagiarism. Whether it is, or it isn't, that's not really my place to say. I might say, "I won't watch the movie because..." but I wouldn't say, "YOU shouldn't watch it because...."

Furthermore, based on Tim's statement that any representation in human form of the Holy Trinity is sinful, that means that churches should remove stained glass windows depicting the Son and my grandma was wrong for having that beautiful picture of Jesus on her wall. And since people use the crucifix or cross as symbols of their faith, having those on your person, praying on it or to it as you call out to God or whomever, would also classify as sinful... Right? Correct me if I'm wrong or taking Tim's blog out of context. Seriously, feel free.

It's not that I take exception with the idea that Tim or anyone else might actually believe this, it's more to the point that I take exception with the idea that Tim attempts to make the reader feel ashamed for their interest in a movie based on his opinions and the second commandment. Tim appears to want others to feed into the fear of sin and damnation over a movie... Come on, man... really? Unfortunately, there are people out there who are too lazy to do their own homework and will allow themselves to be spoon-fed someone else's interpretation and take it as gospel. Literally. I guess Tim might also have an issue with words like Free Will... or Free Thinking...

Maybe this movie holds a message that some grieving parent needs to hear in order to find their peace through the anger and pain of loss? Perhaps seeing those Divine representations portrayed as compassionate humans will lead the viewer back to a sense of faith they might have lost and desperately need to regain in order to move forward with their lives? Why would anyone want to discourage another from viewing our Supreme Creator in a loving and understanding light? Perhaps that's the most perplexing thing of all for me. I really just don't understand where Tim was coming from and what Tim was really trying to get at, because I'm fairly certain he (like everyone else) falls short of following every codicil and commandment in the Bible as well.

There are so many other things out in the world today we can legitimately view as sinful rather than put that mantle on the shoulders of a movie. War, disease, homelessness, famine, child pornography, sex trafficking to name a few. Just sayin'. Tim's a good writer. He seems to be articulate, I just wish he'd use his powers for the positive rather than spreading fire and brimstone over a fictitious storyline.

And I'm sorry, but that blog post puts me in mind of those men who have sex with their wives through a sheet and then berates the woman for making him fornicate because her devil vagina wove a spell of lust around him.

I don't claim to know God, but I do believe in my heart of hearts that He/She/It wouldn't mind a representation of Self being displayed if it meant that a person who had lost their way previously, finds grace and hope in said image. I don't think the Creator really cares how we come into the light of Christ Consciousness as long as we eventually get there.