A Dark Chest of Wonders

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Month: July, 2014

55 Brilliant Louis C.K. Quotes That Will Make You Laugh And Think

Philosophy: Now with swears!

Thought Catalog

Louis C.K. is often compared to Woody Allen (whose new movie he’s even starring in), but to me, C.K. is this generation’s George Carlin, a savagely funny comedian who isn’t afraid to touch on real issues. Carlin was something of a people’s philosopher, who just happened to swear a lot, and C.K. has touched on issues ranging from politics, environmentalism, consumption, race, class, education and masturbation, one of his personal favorite subjects. He’s also just about the only male comedian I know who deals with sexual assault well. Louis C.K. just gets it.

David ShankboneDavid Shankbone

Here’s 55 of his greatest quotes, presented in no particular order.

1. You’ll be fine. You’re 25. Feeling [unsure] and lost is part of your path. Don’t avoid it. See what those feelings are showing you and use it. Take a breath. You’ll be okay. Even if you don’t feel okay all the time.
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Intermission

At some point in your life, you will realize that you don’t want to do what you love. At some point in your life, you will realize that you are lost, that you feel like you have no purpose. It is not a mid-life crisis or a low point, it is a fact of life. There will be a point and time when you stand at the crossroads of your tragic time on the past road, and you can’t bear to look back, because you’ll be even more lost. Sometimes, your feet are going to be wary, you’re going to be worn and tired, and you’re gong to be ready to collapse.

Sometimes, you need to collapse to build back up again. 

A lot of you all reading this, if you’re actually reading this, know that I have had a short, short journey in writing. I began writing 6 years ago in the 4th grade when I first, actually ‘discovered’ writing. From the moment that I put pen to paper for the first time, I knew that it’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, to some degree at least. But, in those 6 years, many things have changed: I have grown up, matured, I know more than I did then (but I’m still an idiot), and most of all, I’ve simply changed. Some days I feel like I could write War and Peace, other days I feel like I’m worse than the worst book in the world (Twilight is better than my fiction now probably). Most of all, I have hit more than my fair share of low points. Such low points that, I often find myself at the crossroads. I’ll look to the left, and I’ll look to the right. I’ll look forward. I will consider. Where shall I go, where shall I go? 

This time, I really don’t know. 

Every other time, I just kept walking forward, but that’s because I felt like I could see the clear cut path, I felt like I knew that this mountain would turn into a valley at some point, or I knew that it was just going to be miles and miles of plains with no woods. But now, the path is obscure and foggy, and I don’t know how I’ll get through. I’m lost out here in the wild, and there’s nothing left in my pack. I feel like I’m done for. I think this is the time, for every writer must have one I suppose, where you must truly take a break. I’ve taken ‘breaks’ before, but I always returned shortly after. But, now, I truly need to take a break. 

My grammar is horrendous, I have no ideas, and I’m at a loss for words for the first time in my life. I don’t know how I’ve made it this far, but I think that it may be time to stop. I’m taking a break. An intermission between acts. I need a vacation from the thing that has long been my vacation. I encourage everyone to take a break, a vacation, every now and then, maybe you’ll be more sure of yourself than I am. 

The Landscape of Literature: A Comment

Ah, another comment that was just too long to be posted on the actual website, so I’m posting it here. This is a comment in response to this article about John Green and the YA-internet revolution that he has helped in part to herald in to the literary world.

THE COMMENT

Firstly, I’ve started to recognize that YA as a genre is silly, not the books themselves to clarify. I do not have a rage against it, or a grievance against it (well, somewhat of a grievance), rather I just don’t feel like it should be a genre that we distinguish certain books by. Something that I have found about YA is that, while many of them have great stories or plots, they are written in a lackluster fashion that is almost lazy in many cases, and often times you will see the same stylistic setting turned on for most every YA book. Despite my passionate love for The Hunger Games, it would be wrong of me to say that it was written brilliantly, when in fact it was actually simplistic writing done well. A lot of YA books have fallen into this mantra of writing simplistically, and often times it works, but just as often, it leaves us with a book that will fade into the folds of time before many of us have grown too old. 

 One of the reasons for this is simply because publishers have started a new revolution for themselves in that, they no longer look for the best quality of writing, rather they look at the quantity that can be sold of that writing. One such example of this is the latest dystopian ‘epic’ the Divergent Trilogy by the aforementioned Veronica Roth. I have read all of Roth’s books up this point, and after the phenomenal flop that was Allegiant, I realized just how badly the series actually was. I also recently read her Four which was no better, and did very little to set apart Tobias from Tris, or even enhance his character: it could have been a redeeming, Joycean tale similar to Dubliners, in that we can truly see and feel Tobias’s maturity grow, instead it was a very stagnant and almost underwhelming little book, and I am glad that it will be the final story for the Divergent World (at least for now, as many YA writers have always noted when they finish a series, “I’m not completely shutting the door,” which is great, but is sounds much more like a thing that tells publishers, “I’m willing to write more for bigger royalties.” 

 Not all writers are like this, but one that sticks out prominently is Cassandra Cla(i)re, who originally intended for her Mortal Instruments series to be a trilogy, but for whatever reason decided to attach another trilogy (that was hastily, lazily, and poorly written) for absolutely no reason. Her original intentions- which would have proved more fruitful and much better than her second thoughts- were to have written a manga (I believe) series centering around Simon’s days as a vampire. The sequel trilogy, while focusing much more on Simon, ended up becoming an excuse for Clare to both earn more profits, flaunt her disastrous writing abilities, and also just show how easily it is to become successful even when your work is not up to par with your sales. I do not mean for this to be an attack on Clare herself, but when such things are so obvious, it’s hard not to point them out. For a time, I have seen Clare’s work as a television show akin to Supernatural, Buffy, or any other cable network phenom. Now, the network gave Clare a pilot season just to see how it could catch on to the audience, and they liked it, so they gave her 2 more seasons. They said that’ll be all they wanted, and Clare agreed. But, when the network started to see amazing ratings for the show, they started to take Clare to the side and say, “We want more of this: a lot more of this,” and they opened a briefcase full of brilliant, shimmering cash out to her and she took it an ran. And so became the Shadowhunter World that she has created which is very much a conglomeration of many more popular supernatural books, shows, and movies (this is most obvious in City of Heavenly Fire, in which she channels J.K. Rowling multiple times, and not even in homage, but rather in concealed plagiarism. Take for instance the scene in which Clary and Jace go into the sword shop in Alicante, and Clary is basically told, “The sword chose you,” I could not help but laugh at this scene, for I was prepared to read, “The wielder does not choose the sword, the sword chooses the wielder,”. There is a distinct difference between being inspired by a writer and basically taking their scenes from their books and transforming them into your own. It’s wrong) 

To move on, the landscape of literature has changed so drastically at the turn of the century, I’m almost beginning to believe that a writer no longer has to put in effort to write decent fiction that will in fact stand a great deal of time (To Kill A Mockingbird comes to mind, as it is the perfect example of a book that in today’s times, would be considered Middle Grade-YA simply because the main character happens to be a child, yet the book is written incredibly brilliantly with elements of both fantasy and startling realism that are so compelling that it is no wonder it is commonly considered one of the finest written books of the last century), rather it will come down to a) how many copies can you sell b) did your book get turned into a movie franchise yet c) what is your online presence, and d) do you plan on writing companions, sequels, prequels, and selling massive tons of merchandise? The literary world has always been a very competitive business, but the always shifting landscape of the 21st Century is one that is the most dangerous to try and cross. Every other day, you’re hearing about a new YA adaptation or this YA becoming the next Hunger Games, Twilight, or now The Fault in Our Stars. There was even humorous speculation that the next generation would be about cancer around every corner (quite possibly cancer patients fighting a battle to the death, while a war between vampire rages and one of the cancer patients happens to be a vampire as well; or some other strange and marketable plot line). 

 The revolution of Self-Publishing has help to aid this transformation literature: Hugh Howely became one of the biggest authors in self-publishing because of his Wool series, and has sense been taken up by a publisher who shares the massive royalties that he receives for his books. With this kind of business, writers are having become more creative in their approach as to how they will get their book read. For a long time, it had been my dream to write books and simply share them with people, but as I grew older and matured, I realized that it is not that simple. The colors black and white, sides good and evil, and shades of light and dark are much more ambiguous than they appear. In these days when anyone can be published- even my previous 12 year old self- no matter the content or the literary merit of their writing, the competition in the market grows. We all know that some competition is healthy, but too much of it can be lethal. 

 Like the Game of Thrones, you either win or you die: many of us have died, some of us have been playing for a very long time, and very few of us have won. There are multifaceted characters (the writers, publishers, agents, readers, even the damn dog) who will do anything to win in this game- to ascend to a throne that may well not be rightfully theirs- and sometimes even those who win still my brandish their sword and armies in order to make sure that no one takes their throne. The slow genocide of the old writer dies as the new emerges from the bloodshed of such a battle, we begin to see the end of the generational writer (J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, Lee, arguably Martin, King, and others) and the birth of writers such as those YA writers who simply write for the moment and not for the time. 

 But still, one cannot be totally sure how the future will look, for as Daenerys Targareyen said in A Game of Thrones, “When I look back, I am lost.” When I look to the past, it is unfathomable to me how some books have succeeded while others have failed, and as I look forward even, I cannot be sure which birds will fly and which will be shot down out of the sky. Harry Potter has survived for some years now, but it is a recent ending and the writer has mostly since moved on from it (aside from her few teases she has made). Our generation is one of social media, technology, and innovation. Every other month it’s the new iPhone, the new laptop, the new show, the new, the new, the new whatever. One of the things that I have learned about people, humans in general, is that we all share a common goal: we would all like to be remembered beyond our deaths. 

 Many of us have done nothing exciting in our lives, or we have steadily done something that has bore no fruit, but we still dream of doing something worth remembering. Any man who is satisfied with his life being forgotten shortly after the end of it is no man at all. Many of us are willing to do the extreme to be remembered: a man will rob a bank and get away with it for as long as he can before the cops finally find him just so that he can have some life after his death; Eric and Dylan dreamed of a Spielberg film of their massacre; many of my very own characters have dreams of marching on Washington or being the peacemaker, even if it means doing ‘evil’. This is how our world works, and as for literature, it seems that it follows. Literature, for a long time, was divided between the book and its author (the author themselves have to learn to take criticism for their work and not themselves for they were completely different entities), but these days, more and more, writers must be engaged with the social world their work has become apart of as they are in creating the worlds within those books. If this chapter in literature is marked down, as it likely will be, John Green will be written there in those words, but possibly not ultimately for his work, but in fact for his following. George R.R. Martin would have been remembered with and without his show, but one cannot ignore the fact that his immortality was propelled, ensured even, by the HBO show. 

My final toll is that, the future will hold what the future shall hold. The slow procession of writers and readers will merge, as I see it, and this may not be a bad thing for it interconnects us more than ever, but what will come of it in the literature itself cannot be foreseen. Will this generations To Kill A Mockingbird, 1984, Fahrenheit 451,  and other works be that of YA literature, due not totally in part because of their writing, but simply because of their writing? As always said, only time will tell us.

 

Eight tips on using dialogue tags

Very, very informative and helpful, sure is going to save me a lot of stress later I must say, and I think that any future readers will be happy as well. Didn’t realize I was doing so many things wrong; you win this match Crow.

Ylva Publishing

1038123_people_seriesIn our last post on writing tips, we gave general advice on how to write good dialogue. Today, we want to blog about so-called dialogue tags.

A dialogue tag is a verb such as “said” or “asked.” The function of a dialogue tag is to let the reader know who’s speaking. If used correctly, dialogue tags are a good thing because they avoid confusion, so here’s some advice on how to use dialogue tags:

1) Avoid “creative” dialogue tags

Some writers become overly creative when it comes to dialogue tags. They seem to think that “said” is boring, so they use a plethora of tags such as whined, admitted, yelled, grumbled, etc. Please don’t do that.

“Said” and “asked” (and the occasional “shouted” or “whispered”) are actually the best verbs to use in a dialogue tag. Readers’ minds skip over it, while other tags pull the readers’ attention away from the dialogue and become a…

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Key to Prolific: The Subject That Shall Not Be Named…

Gra-a-a-a-ammar 

I would like to warn anyone first and foremost if I come off as harsh or brash in this post, I’m not in the best of moods at the moment, but I still would like to be as informative as possible despite my grievances and angers. Anyhow, today I decided I should talk about the one thing that many of us fear and hate: Grammar. He’s the big kid from the rich family who dosen’t associate well with the common folk. He has his own private playground, a special class just for him, and an entourage that goes to the bathroom with him.  Grammar can be a big douche, but secretly at night he cries in bed because despite all of his riches, he has no friends other than his lonesome, ill mind. Grammar is a person that all writers should learn to become friends witch, because while he can be quite aggravating, he still can benefit you in ways you could never imagine. He’s rich, you must remember that: he could be the one paying your bills for the next ten years, the person who finally get’s you that part in the movie or TV show you’ve been wanting to be in for a long time. Grammar is the gateway to success in the writing world. 

Speaking anecdotally, my writing has been heavily ridiculed my entire life because of my appalling grammar. No one has outright said that my grammar was that bad, but people can be highly indicative of what they mean by simply implying things with diction. Today was a very bad day for me because of the works that I have been truly most proud of was called out for it’s grammar. This made me decide that I was sick of people calling me out, not because my writing was bad or my ideas stupid, but simply because they couldn’t get over a misplaced apostrophe or comma that may not necessarily disrupt the flow of my work, but just because they cannot look past simple flaws and read the story for what it is rather than how it looks. Anyhow, I have 30 dollars to spend and I’ll be going to Half Price Books tomorrow and purchasing grammar books so that way I’ll stomp on the faces of those people who have stomped on mine for the past few years, and yes I’m a bit bitter, but soon when I have my book as number one on a bestseller list of some kind I will be spitting fire, you betcha! 

If you don’t want to be as bitter as I am, I think that it is a valuable and fruitful endeavor for every writer to invest in some kind of grammar guide and grammar books. The literary world has been very particular and punctuated about how they want shit done: no misplaced commas, no misused words, no misplaced apostrophes. If you ever have dreams of seeing your work in print, you better get your shit together and get your grammar right. 90% of average book buyers will read your work regardless of how well your grammar is because their grammar is limited to what they need to know in order to write a well written email or response letter, but nothing more: the average reader is not going to take apart your syntax or punctuation and look in awe over how wonderful it is, if anything they are going to gawk at your beautiful wordplay and powerful ideas, but I’m ranting now. Any respectable agent or publisher will not even look past the first sentence of your book if you have a misplaced comma because that single comma will be the red flag that your writing is shit. It’s a cruel and harsh would out there, and if you want to survive, you better start learning the difference between your and you’re fast. Otherwise, as the old saying goes: GTFO. 

A Punch to the Gut

This is not my typical, mostly positive post guys, if there is anyone reading this still, rather I’m feeling terribly down but it gave me inspiration to write and to give advice I suppose (if you want the advice, skip to the very end, I think that’s just all about you’ll want to stand, plus it epitomizes the mood of this lonesome song).

I knew that I was a bad writer all along. I just didn’t want to admit it to myself. 

I do not often receive criticism for my work because, like a shop on main street overshadowed by Wal-Mart, it always go unnoticed. I have published two works of fiction in the past 2 years: The Maze Games and The Place Beyond the Courtyard: Violence. The Maze Games I know full and well is a terrible novel that I don’t think anyone deserves to have to sit through. The Place Beyond the Courtyard, on the other hand, is what I like to think of as one of my best works to date (aside from a short story I wrote for the Texas Book Festival, praying, even though I don’t believe, that it wins), yet: people only purchased it when it went on sale for free. No one left a review for it. Today, it was tossed at me again that my grammar sucks, and that in truth, I know nothing about the writing process at all. If anything, all the things I’ve told you guys over the past few months might as well be regurgitated bullshit, hogwash and nothing more, because if I was a true writer, I would be able to take a little criticism, and I have before for an unpublished work that was mostly well received, but I’ve been rejected by every agent I’ve queried (I may start querying again, you guys don’t comment, so I don’t know if I should ask if you know how to find more agents).

Anyhow, I’ve sent my writing through a couple of people; most never finish it or get past the first chapter, and maybe it’s not from lack of interest, but because they’re trying to gain something themselves. I have never had a genuine beta reader. I’m incredibly thankful that my English teacher helped me with my short story for the Texas Book Fair because that little story really helped my Voice and my writing and we have so much faith in it that if we don’t win we’d march down to Austin and ask them specifically why it didn’t win and then tell them why it should have. But, no one seems to have ever been interested in my writing, and the odds seem to be working against me: I’m a kid whose just about to enter High School, I have no other hobbies aside from writing, yesterday was the first day this entire summer someone has asked me to do something with them, I spend most of my time alone, and I’m far from handsome or fit. I’m a loser above all else I guess, and while writing has always been a consultation for me (it still is, a couple of weeks ago I wrote two poems that really helped me stop feeling so down, and this post is starting to perk me up some, but not a lot), that never meant that I was good at it.

The reason I started writing is because there was once a writer who said something like, “If there is a story out there that you want to read but isn’t written, then you need to write it,” and Stephen King said, “Have you ever read a book and said, ‘This really sucks’? You then say, ‘I could do better,'” I always wanted to write the stories that I have never been able to find out there: in my early years a mega action packed adventure that was written for fun called the Maze Games, a story in a truly gruesome world that is the epitome of dystopia called the Place Beyond the Courtyard. Stories that I never found, or maybe I just didn’t look hard enough, but there was never a person who had written like Poe or Dostoevsky (my icons) in a dystopian world and I always thought that their descriptive writing and beauty was perfect for my work, so I infused them into my voice, and all I get is more silence, ‘For there is more silence in the world than there is food, water, power, or even life itself; silence is the almighty force, the God of the Universe, though not many of us choose to believe in him for the fact that he is silent, and he will not answer our prayers’ a quote from the Place Beyond the Courtyard that my English teacher called the moment when he said, ‘Wow, this kid can write’ and ever sense he had been pushing me to write something just as great, to make a statement that truly makes my writing worth it. I doubt anyone has ever read those words other than my English teacher and I. 

I once wrote for enjoyment. I don’t know what I do know, but I don’t think I’m enjoying it so much as I want to. Am I writing for money, really? Am I writing for golden recognition? Am I writing just because it’s what I’ve always done? 

“Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.”– Christopher Hitchens 

Maybe it’s time that I simply rejoined the readership and put my Voice to rest because it’s of ill use, it’s strained and I’m screaming at the top of my lungs but there is no one in the parlor listening. 

“From childhood’s hour, all that I have loved, I have loved alone,” Edgar Allan Poe 

The moral of the story, children, is: get criticism as often as you can, because the man who is always criticized will forever be stronger than the man who never is, for the man who is will smile when someone tells him his teeth are jagged; the other man will kill himself. 

Be strong, write on, and fly high

 

Harry Styles Fan Fiction Author Anna Todd Secures Six-Figure Deal For Publishing ‘After’

Harry Styles Fan Fiction Author Anna Todd Secures Six-Figure Deal For Publishing ‘After’.

This is an impromptu rant. I cannot believe this is happening again. Seriously, what is wrong with publishing houses? What happened to the days when you sat down and you wrote about original, compelling characters with incredible and vast settings that you come up with in your head? What happened to the days of spending months and months trying to find an agent, an editor, and subsequently a publishing house for something that you worked hard to craft? I have never been more pissed off about fanfiction, because it never really bothered me, I just never saw the appeal, I never understood how you could write about something that is not yours and then put it up, but I allowed it to pass. But when fanfiction writers are getting six figure deals, sometimes seven figure deals if you happen to be in the right situation for their trash, yes I’m seriously calling it trash because that’s what it is, it is not literature, it is fanfiction tripe and it will never mean anything to the literary world and I do not condone it, and I hope that no one ever writes fanfiction of my work, because I will scold it and I will most definitely make sure that I will find a way not to affiliate with my work. I believe that stories have the power to inspire people, people have the power to inspire people, but come up with your own people and stories! E.L. James has no right being as famous as she is, in truth Cassandra Clare–oops I meant Cassandra Claire as her original pen name went, because they did not formulate their worlds on their own, they simply took and ripped. E.L. James is a lot worse than Clare, but Clare is a lazy and idiotic writer who leaves gaping plot holes and terribly characters running all about her books. I am sick of it really, because while personally have not written the most decent fiction to be published by a major publishing house, I still believe that my fiction is well written enough to possibly be accepted, what is more though, all of you writers who are reading this have probably worked three times, four times, ten times as hard as I have to churn out thousands of words, get through tough times, and actually create fiction that matters and that should be published, deserves to be published, it is you all who deserve the six figure advances, you shouldn’t have to grovel and pay hundreds of dollars just to  get your book noticed, it should not be this hard for those amazing writers out there, far better than I, who have not even been heard of by a publishing house, and I’m sorry that I am being blatantly harsh, aggressive, and most of all scathing, but I cannot contain my anger at this article. We should be praising these fanfiction writers, because in my opinion, they are not real writers. What annoys me most of all is that, the publisher is going to change the names of the characters and call it a brand new story: what  bullshit! I’m absolutely redlivid right now, but I think I’m cooler now because you all have read this story. I wish the best of luck to Anna Todd, and I hope that she gets fat and happy as she rolls around in her staggering royalty checks, and I hope she lives a happy life as she makes millions!

 

Stay strong, fly high, and write on my ravens

Time Enough At Last

I love The Twilight Zone, honestly, I think that it is truly one of those great shows that come around an stick around only once in a while, and no matter how many times you watch it, you never stop being shocked by it. There is an episode in the first season of The Twilight Zone called ‘Time Enough At Last’ in which a bookish man is pretty much exiled from reading books as his bitter wife confiscates them from him, and at work he spends his time trying to read, but his boss even restricts him from doing this, so he has no time to read. The bookish man, before being banished from reading at this counter at his banking job, would go down to the vault at lunch and he would read to his hearts content. When he does this one day, an H-Bomb drops on America and he is the sole survivor because of his habits for reading. For most of the episode, he is depressed and sad, because yes he has all the food and water he could ever want, but he is lonely and he truly realizes that it is not a dream, and he is truly the last man in the world. Then he finds a gun and he contemplates suicide, but suddenly out of the corner of his eye he sees the Library! He rejoices and runs up the steps to collect the books, and he is just happy as a junebug in June! He creates stacks for all the books he’s going to read each month, and one of the last things he says before the episode takes a dramatic turn, is ‘Finally, time enough at last,’ as he sits next to a giant befallen clock. Then, he sees a book lying on the ground, bends over to pick it up, and: his glasses fall and break. 

 

WHAT THE ABSOLUTE FUCK. 

I was truly heartbroken, I don’t know why I believed that there was going to be a happy ending, but I was truly just shaken by that, by the fact that at last he had just what he wanted, time enough at last to read all the books he wanted, to finally do the thing that he was forbidden to do, and then it’s just taken away fro him like a bully stomping on a small boy’s toys, and honestly, I thought it was crueler than anything that had ever happened on Game of Thrones, because just how can you do that to the poor guy! Maybe it’s my sympathy for people who read and books, and maybe it’s because of the writer in me, but I just loved and hated that ending, so very bitter sweet. 

But the question that I pose to ask you today is, if you had time enough at last to write all you wanted, all day long, and you didn’t have to work (and you had a house and everything provided to you), how much time would you actually spend writing? Would you even write at all? A perpetual summer in which there is nothing stopping you at all…becoming a full time writer. But, in present day as you work your other job, if you had time enough, would you? Would having all that time actually make writing less fun? Would knowing that you could just work on it all day be boring because the satisfaction is gone?

I can speak to this experience because this summer, I have amped up my word count from a meager 2,500 words a day to 6,000 on a given story, and literally, I’m baffled. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I have absolutely no friends who want to hang out with me, or the fact that I have such terrible social anxiety that I can’t make new ones, but sitting in the house all day has actually paid off. 

The Fourth

A short post, a short toast. Coke, beer, and fireworks glitter on the dark surface of a lake at night, and all the stars are dark in the face of the spectacular, flaming palms that sprout up in the sky in a brilliant banner of red, white, and blue; Springsteen is the best, hell yes, and the ghosts of centuries past dance to the sound of music unknown to them, celebrating a victory long ago won, but still celebrated as though it had only happened earlier that day. Happy Fourth.

 

 

Bread and Breadcrumbs

Recently, I received my first and second quarterly report for my book The Maze Games, which was published almost 2 years ago next March. The quarterly report is basically telling me how much I made for this quarter and this is how many copies I sold. Historically, I have not gotten a very large paycheck for my work: 10 or 11 dollars at most, but this quarter, I got 25 dollars. I know, I know, so much money. I realize that 25 dollars in the context of today’s economy and such is not a lot of money, but you won’t believe how happy it made me to see that I had sold 25 dollars (when the publisher has taken their share) worth of my book! A lot of people would see this as an incredible sign of failure, but I don’t because, if I made 25 this quarter versus the historical 10 dollars, then I think that’s a call for celebration, because that means that I have done something to improve my sales and while I don’t have fan mail coming at me at all hours of the day and I’m not crossing the country on some book tour, my words have reached a couple of more people, and I can be happy about that because in the history of my career as I writer, I have never given a damn about how much money I make, I was always wondering how many people were reading my books, I wanted to know how many more people I connected with, and that is because I do not write because I want to make money, I write because I love to write. Like Stephen King, I could never imagine doing anything else with my life, and I would be lost without writing. Just last week, writing got me through a little rough patch between my mother and I. 

I was once very depressed, and often times when my parents would yell at me or we would have a screaming match, I would feel so incredibly bad that I would start abusing myself: punching myself in the face and banging my head against walls and hard objects (I was never keen on cutting myself) and pulling at my hair because I just hated myself for all the things that were said to me because they were all true in the moment, but then I would get calm enough to stop and I would begin to write, and last week I wrote two poems that relieved and alleviated the hurt so much I was astonished, because nothing else would have made me feel so well, and nothing ever had. That is why I like to write and read, because it takes the hurt away and it gives me escape, and this is why we read books I think as well, because we need a place to go that’s not outside, but in our minds: we need to go see some old friends, go talk to Dumbledore or hang out with Scout, Jem, and Dill for a little while before we come back to reality, that’s the real joy in it all. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, for all of you who have self published books or just books in general that are published, and you get an unappealing check, don’t feel down about it: be happy. Is it more than last week? Is it less than last week? If it is more than last week, rejoice because that means your a little bit more famous than before, and if they didn’t, don’t feel bad, because as long as you’re happy with still writing and you know that you have more material coming soon, then be happy, and think about this way: at least you still sold something. There are a lot of people who will sell nothing that they created in their entire lives, and look at you: you sold something! You actually did, you’re one step further towards that goal that you have been dreaming of since the day that you started writing. You’re one step closed to being on that talk show, you’re one step closer to going to that massive book signing, you’re one step closer to buying that new laptop you’ve been wanting so you can write even faster! The key to being a successful writer is that, you must take everything in stride. You cannot become upset over one little thing or one failure, you have to smile about it and say, ‘At least I did something,’ instead of glowering and believing that you have done nothing. You have to be satisfied with the breadcrumbs that you find, because you’ve been starving, and even small things like this make you full, and just know that the next time around or the next book, you’ll be eating bigger crumbs and bigger crumbs, and soon you’ll find the loaf of bread in the rain. 

Hope you guys enjoyed, be strong and fly high my ravens!