Don’t Think TOO Much . . . (It’s Dangerous, You Know)

Posted in The Random Zone on November 22, 2013 by Johnnie Cougar

Hello again readers, I apologize for being stuck in the den for another long winter, it seems. Life is busy being full and exciting at the moment, but I promise to try harder. Starting . . . Now.

 

I was lying in bed last night watching the Doctor travel through time and space, saving the universe time and time again alongside his faithful companion, when something occurred to me: Why do we enjoy watching TV, reading stories, and simply getting involved with people who essentially don’t exist? You know what I’m talking about, don’t pretend that you don’t. I know I’m not the only one who lost part of my sanity when Dumbledore died.

 

But why?

 

The easy answer would be to say that it was because the writing was fantastic, we grew up with him as Harry did, and he was the best headmaster that Hogwarts had ever known. But is that the whole truth? Why is it so easy for us to sit back and watch a fake someone live their lives, make their decisions, love their lovers, despise their mistakes, and triumph in their successes? I believe, (or at least it makes sense in the confines of my wonderfully colorful imagination), that we enjoy doing this because it’s easy.

 

In or own lives, when we have relationships – be it a friendship, a partnership, a marriage, a family, or what have you – we are required to participate. We are required to receive and to give. When we read books or watch television, it is much simpler to sit back and let the character give to us. We can observe and judge them without fear of being judged in return. We are free to care for and love them without reservation, because they are unable to reject or leave us.

 

In the end, it is the ultimate security, and therefore, some of our greatest pleasures. So thank you artists, for giving us the pleasure to escape all of our own faults and fears, for allowing us to maybe learn a little about ourselves, and of course, for creating the characters that we learn to love beyond their faults. (Despite the fact that they aren’t exactly real).  🙂 

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Only If You’re Ready (And I’m Not Entirely Sure I Am)

Posted in Stories, The Random Zone on June 20, 2013 by Johnnie Cougar

Hello again readers! I am in fact, alive and in one piece as I return from the dark and damp depths of Hell, (though you may be more familiar with the term “writers block”). And, in my shame, I have somewhat retreated into myself for what feels like an absolute eternity. BUT FEAR NOT! For I have, as previously stated, returned, and I have not come empty handed. Yes, you read right, I come bearing gifts!

You see, for the past few years, the last of my adolescence, I have been working on a novel. It has been so many things, and has brought so many things, to me. I’ve had my bad days, my good days, my days when I don’t even want to roll over in bed to see what time it is, my days when the kids have drove me up the metaphorical wall with insanity, my days when it seems as though everything is just peachy (though those days have been few and far between), and my days when writing is absolutely the last thing I want to do. But, through all of those days, this story has been somewhere on my mind.

This one is special, folks.

I bring you to a world that lives hidden within our own, a world that is so dark and foul that even those who thrive in it wish to be thrown from it indefinitely. A war has erupted inside this world, and has raged on for centuries with no hope of ending. Two enemies fight over what neither of them knows is a completely different endgame, yet, in a sense, it is all the same: an end to the darkness.

And now I bring you a girl. A very unusual girl, unbeknownst to her. I bring you her most unusual family, a family that, while living on one side of the darkness, gives hope to finally bringing light to the surface. Now, changes are undergone, lines are being crossed that no one knew existed, and the entire way of life for these dark creatures is about to shift in a big way.

Is the hunt finally over?

Will this be the end they have all longed so desperately for?

But most importantly . . . Are you ready? 

 

You are most patient, readers. And I thank you for it. I truly hope you are all as excited as I am. Let’s get back on the hunt together, as we get #readyforREBECCA

Half of 100 Different Variations of the Dull Color Between Black & White

Posted in The Random Zone on January 8, 2013 by Johnnie Cougar

While coming to a close on a very intriguing new series I have been working on, it came to my attention that there are many people out there who find this particular style of writing inappropriate. Continuing to read, I quickly understood why, though I disagree entirely. But that got me wondering: why is it so inappropriate to put on paper one of the biggest aspects of culture anymore? What makes it so taboo to read about something that most of us probably talk and/or think about on a daily basis? Why are people so against the artistic expression of any one author just because the genre of writing is “wrong?”

And then there came the discussions about not only reading the darn book, but reading it in . . . PUBLIC. *gasp!* I mean, seriously, what world are we living in anymore? Honestly, I’m confused. I thought this was the world where we have more and more teenage mothers walking around, unattached and uncaring. I thought this was the world where we value things instead of people. I thought this was the world that idolizes sex and sleeping around instead of consistency and commitment. I thought this was the world where we put dark, disgusting things on a pedestal and worshipped them instead of hanging our heads in shame as we once might have.

Wait . . . We do? You’re kidding?!

Then riddle me this Batman: WHY IN THE WORLD ARE PEOPLE IN SUCH A TIZZY OVER THIS COLORFUL PIECE OF FICTION???!!!!!

I personally, find the books enthralling. They are a very descriptive and full of the almost-real-life-fantasy that makes them easy to love and get lost in. I mean really, let’s be honest, don’t we all have that special place we like to pretend we might be one day? At least this story is within the realm of reality. It makes you think. Maybe you’ve been in a relationship for awhile and you find yourself saying, ” I remember when we used to do those things. Where did that go?” Or maybe it opens your mind to something you’ve never heard about before.

Put simply, it’s a close-to-reality romance with dark but true life issues, that will captivate you from beginning to end. And truthfully, I don’t see what the big deal is. If you do, please . . . enlighten me.

Almost Two Chapters Down!

Posted in The Random Zone on December 7, 2012 by Johnnie Cougar

Hello again bloggers! Johnnie here with EXCELLENT news from the pen & paper (or in my case, laptop) frontier! The beginning of the week was big for me, and I sincerely apologize for not sharing it with all of you. I’m not sure if what I experienced was a typical thing for people in my line of work, or if it was just me. (It was probably just me, it’s ALWAYS just me). You see, I had an epiphany of epic proportions. The way that I write, the way I’ve always done it, is simply write when I feel like it, when inspiration comes to me, and just let my fingers do the walking across the keyboard. That usually works out pretty well for me. So, sometimes, actually, ALL the time really, I never write things in order. Never has anything I’ve ever done ran in any sort of logical order. I have a whole folder full of at least twenty different random pieces of the same story I have been working on for at least a year and a half. I never felt the need to try and make it go on order, or force myself to start from the beginning. That just didn’t feel right. And, I thought that if it was meant to be and I could just wrtie enough pieces, one day I would simply be able to put all the pieces together in a way that seemed logical and it would become a story.

But things don’t always go the way we plan. And for that, I am grateful.

Anyway . . . Back to my epiphany. At the beginning of the week, an idea hit me so hard I thought for sure that someone had been standing behind me and hit me upside the head with a ping pong paddle. And there it was. A way to start the story in a way that was suspenseful, captivating, and most importantly, natural. So I set off to work, typing frantically like my life depended on it, and after 30 of the craziest minutes, I had at least six pages of rock solid story telling. It felt AMAZING, and now I can’t stop.

Chapter two, entitled “Flood,” is well under way, and I’m excited for everyone to hear what’s coming next! Stick with me everyone, ’cause this cougar is ready to hunt!

A Long Time Ago . . .

Posted in The Random Zone on November 20, 2012 by Johnnie Cougar

In a galaxy not so far away, I sat at my little purple laptop, my head in my hands, and simply stared at the glowing screen, willing the words to come out.

But . . . they don’t.

Sometimes, as much as I want them to or wish they would, the words do not simply materialize on the screen. No, they rely on me and my imagination, something that is very well known to be just as fragile and illusive as a soap bubble on a windy summer afternoon.

And that is why it has been what feels like an eternity since I have sat down to write absolutely anything. Forgive me, bloggers. Words just don’t seem to work in my favor anymore, so it may be awhile still before I can get anything wrote out, much less anything decent. But stick with me, readers, and if anyone has any ideas on “memory jogging” if you will, then feel free to send them my way!

I look forward to writing again, (and I hope you do too).

😉

Johnnie

Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Candlestick . . .

Posted in The Random Zone on October 26, 2012 by Johnnie Cougar

Alrighty writers, let’s be honest, our worst enemy can be summed up with two of the scariest words in the English language: WRITER’S BLOCK. Whew. Okay, now that we’ve got that off of our chests, let’s go ahead and be honest again. Ready? Here goes: IT HAPPENS TO ALL OF US.

Who? Me? No!

Well . . . Yeah, okay, me.

It’s true, it happens to all of us in some form or another. I know personally, I get stuck the most when I simply haven’t wrote for awhile and everything feels a little stale. Now, make no mistake, I never forget my storyline, my plot, my conflict, the scenes, or my characters. Dear Lord, not my characters! Those select few that are priveleged enough to be called so are forever stored in my memory like stone, completely infallible and unwavering. Some might think me a bit touched, because once created, these special people are, well, just that. People. They become so real to me that I speak of them as though I’ve known each and every one of them my entire life. “Oh no! Mr. Smith wouldn’t do that! He’s far too noble and much too much a gentlemen!”

But, I digress . . .

No, I don’t really forget much pertaining to the things I write, it’s more like I forget how to write after a certain period of time. You see, writing is a lot like sports. (No really, it is.) And you have to keep those muscles “warm,” you must constantly stretch and flex those muscles, or they freeze. Thus, you forget. That’s when you might read your own words and find yourself saying aloud, “how awful! Who wrote this?! I mean seriously!” No? That’s just me? Really?

Okay, so we’re not all ready to be brutally honest with ourselves yet. Don’t worry.

I’ll wait.

Anyway, I’m not too proud to admit that the dreaded “block” has been happening more often than not to me lately, and I’ve found that the more it happens, the longer it takes for me to warm up and get my muscles stretched out again. They’re like rubber bands anymore. If not pulled tight consistantly, they just snap right back. Fortunately, I’ve come up with a new (to me) way to combat these sore muscles. Here’s a CLUE . . .

First, tear up a plain piece of paper into a bunch, (and I do mean a BUNCH), of little pieces. Next, take a few minutes to write down the names of all your main characters on some of the pieces and place them in a pile together, then set that pile aside. Repeat this action for main places in your story, and then once more with types of scenes to write. (i.e. love scene, fight scene, death scene, etc.) Now you’ve got the makings to begin the most fun game of “Clue” ever.

You can most definitely do this by yourself, but I found it a ton of fun to do it with someone who knows my stories nearly as well as I do. Namely, my husband. It made it more fun for me, because I got to share the joke when I pulled out of a box that I should write a love scene between two related women. My husband as well, found this to be extremely humorous to put it mildly. 😉

Now, no one is saying that whatever you write must be set in stone. That would really just sap all the fun right out of this new game. No, I envisioned this to be more of a warm-up, a stretch for my sore muscles, and that’s exactly what it turned out to be. It made me smile. It made me laugh. But, more importantly, it made me think. And that is something I greatly enjoy doing. Because, for me, thinking opens up brand new worlds that you, as the reader, get to glimpse from time to time.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the view. 🙂

The Only Thing To Fear

Posted in The Random Zone on October 19, 2012 by Johnnie Cougar

In the dictionary, fear is defined as “something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension.” We all have things that we fear, things that we are afraid of, but recently, I got to thinking, (and sometimes, actually, quite frequently that can be dangerous), what do I fear? Well there’s a laundry list of things waiting to be checked off; the dark, heights, falling, spiders, paper cuts, and the odd Sesame Street character that my children seem to LOVE for reasons I will never understand. But . . . what do I really fear? What sends my heart beating like helicopter blades? What puts my stomach in knots with just a thought? And what makes tears form at the back of my eyes when those fears become reality?

Pain.

Failure.

But first and foremost, and the one I am choosing to focus on for the time being: Haters.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this modern slang term, urbandictionary.com refers to it as a “person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success.  So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.” At first, this may seem like something extremely silly to be afraid of. Why worry about a person who has nothing better to do than sit around and tell people how awful they are out of sheer jealousy? Then again, maybe it is something to be worried about. After all, no matter what you do in life, I would like to hope that we would put our heart in something we enjoy doing. And, if someone is going to do nothing but tear down something that we believe in, something we have put our soul into, then, shouldn’t we be a little afraid?

Well, I’m not here to say either yes or no, because, truthfully, I’m not sure I myself even know the answer yet. Of course I worry about the people who will only find the faults in me and in my work that I have put so much of my effort, time, and heart into creating, but, is there something even bigger to fear from these people who refuse to see past all of my “wrongs?”

Yes.

I feel like writing, whether for fun or as a career, truly is a window into the author’s soul. And when someone reads the words, they’re reading a much bigger message hidden between the lines, a message about the person who puts those words on paper. But when you’re jealous, when you’re a “hater,” you don’t get that message. When you’re a hater all you see is the wrong. When you’re a hater, all you care about is tearing someone down. When you’re a hater . . . you lose.

So yes, like many other people, most of whom are probably too afraid to admit it, I AM afraid of the haters. I’m afriad that no matter what I do, that no matter how hard I try or how much my words mean, all the haters will do is what they do best. HATE. How do I convey my message to people who refuse to accept it? How do I let someone I’ve never met judge me on what they think is viable ground? How do I rise above this fear?

conquer [kong-ker]  

     -verb

to be victiorious; make conquests; GAIN THE VICTORY