Jeremy J. Jones – Stranded in Thought

July 25, 2009

Passion

Filed under: Thoughts — Jeremy @ 5:34 pm

Passion is amazing. Never let it get away from you. That can be difficult, but it’s important to surround yourself with positive influences to keep reminding you of it, in case you lose it due to interferences.

Along those lines, I’ve just spent the better part of a day catching up on David Farland‘s “Daily Kick In the Pants” e-mails. To do that, I had to read forty-one of his messages in a row. You might say my backside is in excruciating pain from all those kicks. But it was good to do, and that, among other things, has really fired me up again. I’m very happy about that.

Near the end of David’s mail from this morning, he mentions a friend who was tragically struck by a car a few weeks ago and died. He had taken one of David’s seminars ten years ago, and had always wanted to stop working and write his novel, but never did it. That really got my attention.

In the wake of the death of Michael Jackson, I realized that the main reason I want to write is to entertain people. A good story is definitely the best way to do that. Not to mention that I also get a charge out of playing around in fictive worlds and seeing where my mind goes. Michael Jackson arguably was (and will remain) one the best, if not the best, entertainers in history. He had his issues of course, as we all do, but he ultimately dedicated himself to entertaining the world. That’s a lofty goal, but I want to make my mark in at least some small shadow of that.

Interestingly, I’ve only completed one longer story in my life. I’ve written many poems and short stories, and I have three novels working (none of which have I dedicated sufficient time to finish). But I finished one story, the first one I ever tried to write. It was the summer of 1985, when I was approaching my thirteenth birthday.

That summer, having completed the sixth grade, my younger brother, Jason, and I stayed with our mother at her apartment, which was in a grey building that looked more like a motel than an apartment complex, and it didn’t attract the best clientele; I distinctly recall one of the most frightening experiences of my youth in that apartment, at the hands of the son of one of my mother’s best friends.

But probably the nicest thing about this place was the courtyard out front, away from the road, which was a dead-end in a less-than-urban area of downtown Salem, Oregon, which is saying something, if you’ve never been to Salem. (Though, I encourage everyone to go; it’s a beautiful city, and I’ll never forget waking up to clear summer skies with Mt. Hood on the horizon.) This courtyard had a couple of trees, grass, and a picnic table. Within a couple of days, I decided that I wanted to write a book, so I borrowed my mother’s typewriter and started writing.

By the way, Mom, if you still have that typewriter, it’s rather nostalgic for me. I’d be more than happy to take it off your hands.

So I wrote, all day, every day, for a few of weeks, until I finished a story. If I remember right, it was about sixty-five pages, single-spaced. Not bad for a first effort. I even went so far as to identify publishers – in Salem – via the phonebook, and actually call them to find out how to publish a book. Don’t forget that I was twelve at the time. Of course, none of the publishers in Salem handled novels, which I sadly found out. I hit a big wall, and I quit. But that’s acceptable to me, because the story was absolutely awful. It was a horrible combination of Dune and Star Trek. Really embarassing in hindsight. But I probably could salvage it today, if I had it. Around eighteen, I threw it out, having “wisely” decided that writing was silly. Biggest mistake of my life.

However, I chalk that up to a lesson in following probably the one guiding philosophy of my life. Some might think it silly, but it’s from George Lucas, or Yoda, specifically. Every time I hear myself thinking “I’ll try,” my mind automatically follows it with: “No. Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.”

I know that when I fail, it’s almost invariably because I tried instead of doing. When I “do”, I succeed. I might have hardships and seemingly insurmountable difficulties, but I succeed.

So that brings me back to the lesson brought back to my attention by David Farland. Life is very short. Too short to spend doing things I hate, and not doing things I love. I want to be a person whose last thoughts are that I did everything that I wanted to do. Unfortunately, the older and more educated I get, the longer that list becomes. That means I must work harder, faster, and smarter to accomplish all my goals. But I’ll never get there by waiting or by trying. I can only realize my goals by doing.

Passion is perhaps the most powerful tool in our personal reportoire. It is bubbling up within me as I write this; I can feel it. It is critical that we each find our passion and harness it. If we do so, we can accomplish anything. And the good thing is that there are far more of us with a passion for good than with a passion for evil.

Find your passion, channel it until it burns within you, and do.

 


Copyright © 2009 Jeremy J. Jones


 

July 23, 2009

Learning by Discovery

Filed under: Non-Fiction,Opinion,Thoughts — Jeremy @ 3:49 pm

I had one of the most interesting experiences of my life today. I learned the name of a best-selling author, Joseph Finder. I’d never heard of him before (I’m behind the curve in the literary world, but coming up as quickly as I can). But that’s not the point.

What shocked me is how I learned of him. It wasn’t from a bookstore, or Amazon, nor did I see him on any of his television interviews in the last month.

I learned of him today because he started following me on Twitter.

I’ve had a lot of new followers this week, thanks to Lorenzo, The American Poet, of Crowned With Laurels. He listed me – and many others – in a recommendation to his followers, and we all started connecting. Things took off from there. My number of followers increased more than threefold, and most likely through one of those links, Mr. Finder found me. (I’ve yet to ask him, but I will.)

It’s fascinating how small the world is becoming via tools like Twitter. Not only was I introduced to a best-selling author, whose new book I will buy based on his pitch, but he was introduced to me.

Simply incredible. As we all get closer together, I can’t help but wonder what it all might mean.

It makes ideas swirl in my head, so I can see myself taking Finder’s advice and “just [writing] the damned book already”.

July 21, 2009

Getting My Head Working Again

Filed under: Fiction,Thoughts — Jeremy @ 11:13 am

After a very stressful move and the burdens that go with that, I am finally getting myself straightened out.

I am being spoken to by one Mr. Ben Compton, though one wouldn’t necessarily refer to him as a “Mr.”.

I’m not sure I like him very much. We’ll see.

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