Relaxation’s for Chumps

Do you feel that tingle in the back of your head? That's stress urging you forward.

February 28, 2011

Stress is good.

It’s good in the same way sadness and joy and sugar are also good for you. I’m in the middle of editing, rewriting, and finishing extra stories for Charcoal Streets. At the same time, I’m working at a job that’s suffering major cuts. I know others are worse off that I am. Some people don’t even have a job.

I could simplify everything and just take a full-time job I hated, make the money I need to not stress over my finances, and put this whole writing thing on hold until things got better.

No.


stress by ~rock7 on deviantART

Things are never easy. If things go well, that’s fine. I’ll take the break, but only if I know I’ve done a good job. You can’t really relax unless you have something else you should be doing. If you know you’re being irresponsible, then you can actually have fun.

The protests in Wisconsin, the revolutions cascading across the Middle East, and the growing sense of something impending here in America have everyone on edge. Whether you’re listening to Beck’s apocalyptic rants, Maddow going after her anti-gay detractors, or not even watching the news because it’s depressing, there has to be an element of stress in your life.

Embrace that stress.

No, I’m serious. There are some days that I’ll sit here, eyes bleary, and I’ll get a glass of water, walk around, have a drink, do anything to clear my mind for a few minutes. When I sit back down, adrenalin grips me and I feel as though I’ve cheated, as though I should not leave this chair until I finish editing or writing what I need to work on. I feel as though I’ve been unfaithful to the story.


The Writer II by ~against-the-stars on deviantART

Then I try and make it the best story it can possibly be and everything’s better. That stress pushes me forward, but it’s like running a furnace on dynamite. It could go off at any moment. Harnessing that anger, that stress, and all those things that make you want to go out and choke every bully and creditor you’ve ever met can fuel you. Writing, running, and doing what you need to do are all great physical activities, but that stress can push you along.

I’ve actually come to loathe being too relaxed. I need a bit of stress. And yes, I know too much stress is dangerous. So’s too much relaxation. You don’t work out and actually lose energy.

Embrace those inner demons. They build fires…


Stress Relief Kit by ~o07dirtyankles on deviantART

And now, to get us all going with a few mid-work breaks we shouldn’t be taking, some links.

  • Anyone need an invisibility crystal? Well, scientists have devised a way to cloak small objects. It looks like we’re getting closer and closer to every peeping Tom’s dream tech..
  • Do you long for the days of old NES games? Check out this free old-school RPG you can play online and share with friends. I’ll get to it as soon as I find a moment to break.
  • To all those weed lovers out there, soon you’ll be able to buy all your tools and supplies (sans weed) in the first ever Wal-Mart of weed.
  • And finally, to make your Monday just a little brighter, here are some of the greatest (and most painful) fails of the last month. The best one has to be the idiot who tries to jump over some stairs at 0:35. I honestly watched those four seconds over and over again for a good half hour. See you Wednesday, and keep sharing links!

5 Things Every Artist Needs

You know you're about to sell your soul, right?

February 25, 2011

Do you want to be an artist? That can mean so many things. Maybe you want to sketch on the weekends. Maybe you want to make a living in graphic design. Some people dream of writing a best-selling, critically acclaimed novel…

Well, guess what?

Talent and connections mean crap if you want to be an artist. Do you want to create something the world’s never seen before? I don’t care if you use acrylic or a camera. Every artist, every one, needs five basic things.


Art by ~MazeFall on deviantART

5) Budgeting Skills

If you’re serious about making it as an artist, be prepared to tighten your belt. A full-time job is nice and pays the bills, but if you’re willing to risk it all, be ready to take something less. Tutoring, classes at the local college, plasma donations, or anything at all that helps pay the bills and gives you the time to work is preferred to a 7 AM to 8 PM job. That kind of schedule is a killer on its own and you’re liable to burn out in just a month if you try to jam everything in.

Don’t be ashamed to taking a less time-consuming job, even if it means you make less. I can’t stress enough how much this is a FULL commitment and is probably an optional part of this list. If you have the drive to see it through until you finish that book or that series of paintings, this is the best thing you can do if you can manage it.


Fyuvix’s Workspace by =fyuvix on deviantART

4) Workspace

Plenty of writers and writing teachers (myself included) believe that you should be able to write or paint or draw no matter where you are. Don’t have your favorite camera? Use a disposable. Computer’s on the fritz? Pen and paper work just fine.

Well… that’s fine if you have no choice, but if you’re going to devote hours of your time per day to something, you need a space that’s your own.

It doesn’t even have to be a full room. It could be the kitchen table, but make the space personal. Listen to music. Have a few books with poems, artwork, or photographs handy if you need a little reference or inspiration. Make sure you’re comfortable.

Do anything and everything so the space is a place you wish to revisit over and over again. Take control.


Cooking by ~annafilip on deviantART

3) Cooking Skills

Thing you’re going to eat at fancy restaurants or sip coffee with likeminded misanthropes in some trendy coffee bar? Think again, Sparky.

Creating art takes time. I’m talking real time. Hours a day, months or even years at a time. While you may go out once in a while, you’re not getting your meals from a restaurant on a daily basis unless you have the cash handy and saved up. Likewise, don’t count on instant meals. Those things have so much salt in them that you’ll shoot your system before you can finish your masterpiece.

Learn to make the best of pasta, vegetables, chicken, and fish. Of course, there are other foods you can use, but make sure you get enough to keep you going.


Food critic by ~LilyanWilbury on deviantART

2) Two Critics

Orson Scott Card once wrote that every writer needs two critics: one who never lies and one who piles on nothing but praise.

Find someone who will shower you with praise. That someone could be a spouse, partner, child, whatever. Just find someone who will point out the great things about your work. The important thing, though, is to not pile on false praise. Find someone who will see the true good points in your work.

And the other critic? It should be someone who wants to kill you just to watch you die.

Seriously. Find someone who will find the most minute errors in your work, everything from a wayward piece of dust to a misplaced comma.

You want both because hearing the positive critic will make you receptive to the negative critic. You’ll find the mistakes in your work and not feel down because, well… you found the mistakes in your work.

There are two types of artists: those who cry at criticism and those who say they don’t cry at criticism.


Seven Virtues-Patience by ~AnimeFreak8755 on deviantART

1) Patience

Good work takes time. I won’t pretend I fully understand when a work is done. Frank Herbert once wrote that in the Dune universe, Arrakis taught the philosophy of the knife: you cut away until a work was complete.

Learn this basic trait. At some point, you’re no longer editing or honing your craft. You’re stalling.

Now to get to work.


struggling artist by ~OhBrightBlack on deviantART

Now that I’ve ruined art, let’s get some happy links to cheer you up.

  • I don’t like Apple products. I’ll admit that part of it comes from not being comfortable using them on a daily basis, but they’re just so… black box. But what if Apple made other things in life?
  • Okay, I’m a carnivore and know that meet comes from animals that must be killed… but do you really need a bullet that could take down a battle tank?! Look, if you need a gun that shoots an anti-tank round and you use it to hunt ducks, you’re about as hung as a Ken doll.
  • And finally, in what I can only describe as the greatest pice of television footage ever, Justin Beiber is shot and killed on CSI. Enjoy.

Stand With Your Teachers

...unless they have to teach Intelligent Design

February 23, 2011

It’s a common belief that more people are afraid of public speaking than they are of death, and so goes the joke that at a funeral, most people would rather be in the coffin than behind the pulpit.

Now imagine that not just public speaking, but the future of two dozen lives, are part of your job description. Imagine knowing that whatever social life you had left will be gone. Grades, lessons, and readings are your new high. Analysis, lectures, and helping to mold the next generation are the only things you’ll do throughout the week for most of the year.

It’s a wonderful life if you love to teach… but it’s a job not everyone can do.

Before I get to the Wisconsin protests, a word on educating…

Teaching is not babysitting. Don’t ever make the mistake of saying that. I won’t claim there aren’t bad teachers. Of course there are. I’ve worked with some and was taught by others, but the primary purpose of a teacher is to impart knowledge. A teacher should serve as a supplementary educator to the parents who instill the primary lessons at home and help with the academics.


baby-sitter by ~angelo5HDR on deviantART

And teachers are grossly underpaid.

As one brave soul on Facebook pointed out, even if you paid teachers a babysitter’s salary, they’d still make $280,000, and yet it actually comes out to closer to $50,000.

Babysitters? How many babysitters educate your children in a dozen different subjects? The educational system needs work, but that’s no reason to turn on the educators whose hands are tied by current regulations. When I applied to UISD, I was flat-out asked if I had a problem implementing No Child Left Behind. Oh, I had a big problem. I learned and graduated in spite of it, not because of it.

The teachers and other union workers in Wisconsin are trying to get the right to bargain for their salaries and benefits. Unions have a messy history, but to dismiss the very idea of unions is just like dismissing the idea of teachers because there are a few bad ones. Saying you had a bad experience with a bad union, therefore all unions are bad, is like hitting an illegal immigrant with no driver’s license, then blaming immigration reform instead of the fact that you have no insurance.

Okay, maybe that last one’s a stretch, but you get the point.


. Budget Proposal Protest 3 . by ~wa-el on deviantART

While people on the Right have been demonizing these protestors as everything from members of the Islamic-Communist-Socialist-Boogeyman Caliphate to common thugs, there is one thing we can all agree on.

While we are entitled to our own informed opinion, no one is entitled to made-up facts.

Let’s go over a few things. These cuts are not part of some plan to balance the budget. There is no evidence that union member has an effect on the state’s budget. Politicians who want to destroy the unions have said pretty much the same thing.

There are a lot of professions that make less than they should, but for right now, I’m standing up for the teachers.

This is for every teacher that’s been blamed because a child didn’t pass due to laziness.

This is for every teacher that’s stayed up late trying to figure out how to communicate a lesson.

This is for every teacher that remembers the frustration of being a student.

This is for every throbbing foot, tired eye, and hoarse voice.

Teachers are heroes. If you can read, add, or even know how to play dodge ball, thank a teacher. And stand with the Wisconsin protesters.


Protest by ~Bart-vd-hout on deviantART

Let’s get some links out there to get that taste out of your mouth.

  • Peach and Zelda catch up in an out-of-the-way bistro and the ensuing conversation is… very telling.
  • And finally, Garfunkle and Oates show us how to properly react to a party being filled with d-bags. Enjoy, and I’ll see you Friday

Blasphemy in the Name of Tolerance

They go together like chocolate and peanut butter.

February 21, 2011

Remember that Jesus taught us to shun the non-believers and turn a blind eye to their plight.

Or something like that. It seems a church in Alexandria, Virginia has opened its doors to local Muslims who need a place to gather and pray. This act of charity, two religions working together, is apparently too much for Fox News, and Mike Huckabee was quite vocal in his disgust to this arrangement between Christians and Muslims.

Got all that? How dare these Christians lend their church, a building dedicated to God, to the “antithesis” of Christianity? Islam is, after all, a religion that calls unbelievers “infidels” and stands for everything Christianity does not believe in.

Of course, anyone who has even a cursory understand of both faiths knows that they are much more similar than many conservatives, on both sides, would like to admit.

There are the major differences, of course. Islam proclaims Muhammad as God’s prophet and Christians believe Jesus was the Messiah and God’s son on Earth. Obviously, that’s going to be a big difference. Both religions have wackos hell-bent on genocide and death. Both sides have moderates who are people who wish to practice their faith in peace.

A lot of the complaints on the message boards stem from one major gripe: Would a mosque open its doors to Jews or Christians? Would Saudi Arabia open its doors to a Christian church and allow worship at Mecca?


hideaway of mecca by ~rvidys on deviantART

Uhm, no. Saudi Arabia would very likely not allow Christian worship at Mecca… but that’s the point, isn’t it? Let’s say you’re a Christian. I’d like for you to point to the section in the Bible that instructs you to only show compassion and charity to someone who has done something for you. If you think that perhaps the commands to help those who need help are outdated or do not apply in this case, let me ask you something else.

Have we let Muslims built mosques in our country without accusing them of trying to spread terrorism? The Park51 project comes to mind, as do other instances where we’ve denied Muslims the chance to build their places of worship in peace. So I ask you again…

Have we let Muslims build their houses of worship in America?

The answer, I’m sure is obvious, is yes we have, but the Islamaphobia that’s spread over the country can have very negative effects. If a church wishes to open its doors and allow Muslims to pray, is that not the individual church’s choice? Is that not a way to show support for our brothers and sisters? If the members of the church are fine with their building being loaned in this manner, is that not the congregation’s call?


Church Tower by ~WhisperInTheDark666 on deviantART

Huckabee went on and on about how a building constructed to worship in one faith cannot be used by people of other faiths. That’s funny because I’m pretty sure there are non-denominational churches. Chapels in hospitals and other places welcome people of all faiths, too.

“But Entropy Echo,” I can hear you say, “that’s not the same! Those are places for Christians, not for people of other religions!”

How many Catholics do you think would welcome Protestants to worship in a Catholic church? How many Mormons would welcome Methodists into their sanctuaries? Even within Christianity, there are schisms, so it’s easy to see why letting Muslims use a Christian church for their worship services sounds so outlandish.

But I repeat, what is the harm? Are the Christian members of the congregation any less Christian? A church is a private building, and if those who own and maintain it, along with the congregation wish to lend it for another use, what’s the harm? Huckabee made a slippery slope comparison that people might start lending churches for things like pornography viewings (he made it clear he wasn’t trying to compare Islam to porn, although I’m curious as to why he thinks both are so equally outlandish).


Pray Away Porn by ~AsaGreen on deviantART

Oh, and one more thing about Huckabee’s rant.

He says that if a congregation needs a place to worship, they can rent a room at a hotel or something similar. That implies that it is the people who use the space, not the space itself, that is important. He even says so himself, then backtracks when he claims that the building is already dedicated so it cannot house any other kind of worship.

It’s a building, people. Though not in the apocrypha, the Gospel of Saint Thomas contains some interesting sayings attributed to Jesus, and some of the more humanistic takes on religion I’ve ever seen from Christianity.

Verse 14: [W]hat goes into your mouth will not defile you; rather, it’s what comes out of your mouth that will defile you.”

Verse 77: Jesus said, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained.
Split a piece of wood; I am there.
Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.”

If the building is just that, a building, and the important thing is the character of the people who go there, then it does nothing to allow Muslims to pray in a Christian church. Instead, it builds community and fellowship between two religions. It opens up the possibility for an exchange of ideas and helps heal the rifts being created by bigotry.

But I guess that’s too much to ask for when it comes to religious tolerance. After all, Jesus only helped those who already did things for him, right?


SOAR by ~UinBoss on deviantART

And now for some feel-good links.

  • Some people would like to build a statue to Robocop, Detroit’s most famous cyborg, but the city is a little iffy about the idea.
  • And finally, it seems even superheroes need a little help finding that special someone. Check out this video for Super Harmony, the only dating service that caters to today’s modern superhero. Take care, and I’ll see you all Wednesday

Justin Beiber Kills an Abortion Doctor

It's a fine line in South Dakota, it seems.

February 16, 2011

I was actually having an okay week. My computer’s still busted but should be fixed soon. I gave a pretty good class this afternoon. Most importantly, I had a wonderful weekend with my fiancé that included a home-cooked anniversary dinner and a great game of D&D with titans, devils, and giant things that go squish. And, of course, the revenant got whored out because his player wasn’t here.

And I was all ready to unload on Beck for the Egypt hysteria, ready to peel back his conspiracy theories and mock him as is my right.

Then, it seems, South Dakota decided to jump the psycho-fuck train and legalize premeditated murder.


BPLM Pro-Choice Protest 5 by *MetalShadowOverlord on deviantART

Yes, they did. If the bill under consideration passes, it will be legal to kill abortion providers. The people who propose the bill defend it, saying it’s designed to save lives. It adds to the list of reasons for “justifiable homicide” and now makes it possible to kill to defend a fetus.

Whatever you may think of abortion, whether you believe in a woman’s right to choose or believe abortion is immoral, there is one thing both sides have to agree on.

Abortion, under current US law, is legal.

Proponents of the bill have been using examples of fetuses in dangerous situations and how this bill will help protect them by giving people the option of using deadly force to prevent abortions even if the mother requests it, but here’s the thing…

ABORTION IS LEGAL.

Until that changes, this new law, whatever its intent, is not just illogical, but invalid.


nonsense 3 by ~AnaWolff on deviantART

One of the arguments being put forth is that this new law is not meant to target abortion providers. Instead, they say, this is about adding protection. Suppose, one example goes, that a boyfriend, upon finding out his ex is pregnant with his child, beats said ex-girlfriend to induce a miscarriage. Now, the ex or a bystander can use deadly force. See, it saves lives!

…Do I really have to spell out the redundancy here?

There are already laws in place that allow for that. There is, of course, THE MOTHER to consider. Can we use deadly force to protect the mother from this imaginary boyfriend? The big concern is that people will be able to use this law to target abortion providers and clinics under the guise that the violence will save lives. It’s well within the scope of the new law. Abortion clinics and doctors already face threats and many have been killed over the last few years.

If someone kills an abortion doctor under the pretext of saving lives, what’s to prevent a judge in South Dakota from not buying the “justifiable homicide” defense? Do you mean to tell me that I could kill someone for performing a legal act? Are there any other legal acts you’d like to make justifiable because you believe they cause harm?

Can mosques still be built in South Dakota? Beck keeps telling me the Muslims are coming to take over, so I’m just preventing a coming war.

What about atheists? Everyone knows they’re a bang of moral degenerates. Let’s hunt them before they infect our children and infringe on our First Amendment rights to push our religion onto the courts!

How about we just get rid of anyone we think is an illegal immigrant? they take jobs, cost money, and according to Fox, they’re going to brown America. We’ll just line up along the border with our rifles with the Minutemen and shoot them like ducks.


abortion by ~marsmar on deviantART

The Right has NOTHING to stand on when they cry out about the right to life that every fetus has. If they believe that life is as precious as they scream, they should lobby for full health coverage of every child in the country. They should push for more money to research new drugs and medicines. They should pack the donation boxes and adopt children who have no parents.

…But that would require work and money. People have a right to life, it seems, as it long as it doesn’t costs conservatives anything.


pRO choice by ~Punky88 on deviantART

And to clean your brain of that series of horrifying thoughts, here are some links make of happy.

  • Looks like we might be gaining a planet. Scientists are looking for a proposed planet named Tyche which, had Pluto not been bumped, could have been the tenth planet. Some are skeptical about Tyche’s existence, but I for one would be happy to welcome a new system of moons and a new location to explore in the future.
  • To my gringo brothers and sisters, on behalf of Mexico, please… leave our tacos alone. They are a traditional food with history and are deeply ingrained in our culture. Don’t cheapen them like a five-dollar hooker.
  • “Baba Yetu,” from the game Civilization IV, made history by becoming the first video game song to win a Grammy. Now if we could only get a decent script for a video game movie to win an Oscar, we could rule the world!
  • And finally, if you’re gay or bisexual and have ever had to “explain” yourself, here’s a humorous look at what those kinds of questions would sound like if straight people had to answer them. See you Friday!

Learning How to Spell 6: Music Soothes the Beast

February 14, 2010

You are about to enter another dimension... of SOUND!

Writer’s block is the kick of the junk that keeps pressing down harder after the initial hit.

Many writers have different cures for it. Mario Martinez, a collegue, suggests a stiff drink and some James Brown. Other authors take walks or exercise or just do anything else to get their minds off writing.

Personally, I think these are all great options. Who couldn’t use a little James Brown to funk up their mojo?

However, there’s something I believe works better than all of these if you’re determined to keep writing no matter how much your eyes bleed.

Music.

Think about it. We associate music with almost every part of our lives. A friend of mine quoted “Name” by the Goo Goo Dolls and I was instantly reminded of middle school computer class where I would put my headphones on and listen to the Dizzy Up the Girl album while I worked. Whenever I hear songs from Nine Inch Nails’ Year Zero, I’m instantly taken back to my time in Washington DC as I walked around the Capitol on my lunch break and thought of all the hypocrisy I saw on a daily basis. Joy Division brings to mind the first time I read James O’Barr’s The Crow back in college.

I have entire playlists for different projects. I have one for Charcoal Streets and various other ones for different projects. One playlist is even for planning Dungeons and Dragons games.

And it’s not just about finding music that references whatever you’re trying to do. And it’s not about looking for lyrics to match. Let’s go over a few examples, shall we?


Don’t let the music escape by *JacobRM on deviantART

Charcoal Streets

It would be easy to just put a bunch of music specifically from the border. I could get country and cumbias and call it a day. After all, that’s the music commonly heard around here, but it wouldn’t be music that matches the tone of the piece. For example, in “Call the Baptist,” I used Joy Division’s “Disorder.”

The lyrics, I felt, match Father Flores’ moral dilemma, but I also wanted a song that harkened back to 80’s punk and rebellion, highlighting Flores’ unorthodox style.

For Carmen, I figure she’s more of a traditional girl, a real native, so I play a cover of “O Death” whenever I try to picture her mannerisms. The song is a little country, but it’s also a modern take on an old Western classic. The lyrics fit her beautifully, I think, since she really is the embodiment of Death in Via Rosa: uncaring, callous, and cold. That being said, the people she targets may be drug dealers, pimps, and killers, and she is still murdering people, and sometimes that comes back to haunt her.

Dungeons and Dragons

Amateur Dungeon Masters might instantly go for movie soundtracks from films like Gladiator, Lord of the Rings, or similar movies.

In truth, doing so really misses the opportunity to play with expectations.

Aside from music by Nox Arcana, Midnight Syndicate, X-Ray Dog, and Immediate Music, I like to play some modern pieces for battle sequences. Bands like Demon Hunter, Otep, and Disturbed have the heavy rock to compliment a fast-paced fight while bands such as Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Lacuna Coil have combinations of rock and strings that not only sound epic, but very fantasy-oriented.

For example, there is a recurring villain, a renegade elven paladin named Keyleth Greymoon, who always presents a challenge to the players. I have one particular piece of music I play whenever they fight her. It’s “I60 BPM,” By Hans Zimmer. The combination of chorus and bells invokes the mystery and grace this enemy uses to her advantage whenever my players fight her. The song goes between extremes, one moment ethereal and the next moment hard and fast, just like her movements through the battlefield.

Endeavors

I have a series of science fiction short stories that I’d like to start writing again once I finish Charcoal Streets in a few months. The series is called Endeavors and covers humanity’s future history over the next thousand years. Some stories are set in the very near future while the longer pieces are set in the 32nd century.

My first impulse was to make a playlist with electronic and classical music to show the contrasts in society.

That lasted about ten minutes.

Right now, the playlist has everything from Chevelle to Credence Clearwater Revival. The stories focus on people who will leave Earth and explore space. They’re not the crew of the Enterprise, but neither are they brigands and space pirates. They’re scientists, pilots, real people who have real problems. A few classical pieces remain, but for the most part, the soundtrack has few electronic pieces and instead spreads out over a very wide range of music.

The one piece that I always listen to when I want to get inspired, though, is Pink Floyd’s “High Hopes.” The main point in the stories is that you can’t run away from what you’ve done. No matter where you go, you’ll find yourself. The song’s got the kind of build up and mood I want to create with this SF collection.

Remember that writing is not just about the words on the page. Inspiration comes from everywhere. That’s why I wrote that you need a notebook at all times. Write a song you hear that evokes unique images. Make a note to look up a word you heard that seems alien but could benefit you.

Learn to embrace all your senses and you’ll become more than just a writer. You’ll become a storyteller.


Music by ~mrsnikkisixx on deviantART

And now for some links to get your week started!

  • Arthur C. Clarke is one of my favorite authors. in fact, he’s the writer that helped me decide I too wanted to write, and now here is perhaps his shortest story, dug up from the archives. It’s quote striking.  Additionally, it’s a great example of flash fiction.
  • And finally, during our weekly D&D game, someone bough ChocoVine, a chocolate-infused red wine mocked during Ellen. Curiosity beat us to it and we tried it out. The music in the background is what I had on as we played D&D. The reactions are real and… just watch.

Violet and Marigolds

Death brings a clarity to the world that few events ever match.

Weddings entice us with the future. Graduations place is somewhere between lives. A birth is merely the beginning of a longer adventure.

But death…

Death ends things.


Marigold by ~Steelpiano on deviantART

At least, that’s my first reaction whenever someone I know passes away. Two days ago, a coworker passed away. Details floated around the internet and through phone calls. No one really knew what to say or how this occurred. People wondered how this could have happened, what it all meant, and how shocked they were that many of them had just seen her a few days or hours before.

…Why?

I’ve never understood the shock people experience when they hear someone died and their first reaction is “I just saw this her.”

Other favorites at times like this include, “I took a class with her.”

“I knew her!”

Years ago, I realized that funerals and weddings were never about the people in front. A funeral, especially, is not about the person who’s gone. Death is about everyone else. It’s about the people who are left. As I listen to people mourn Violet, I don’t learn about her. I learn more about the people who knew her, however fleetingly, and how they react to the world.


still life3 by ~Taliny on deviantART

I once heard someone say, after hearing a friend had died, “Why does this always happen to me?”

It’s not about us. We don’t pay our respects to people by remembering what we did to them or with them.

We pay our respects by remembering the things they left us.

I remember Violet. She was always perky and talkative. Whenever I entered the longue at work, I’d notice the way she always seemed to be smiling and just talking with others. That camaraderie, that sense of friendship and life, is what is gone with her. I, for my part, wish I’d spent more time with her. People closer to her than I have already made it clear that a good person is gone from the world, and that’s always a tragedy.

Death is a chance to show how honorable we are by speaking well of the departed, but it should really be a chance to remember them, not to show how well we knew them, but because those memories and feelings they gave us are the one thing we can always hold on to.

Photographs fade and we forget jokes, but the friendship and love we feel for others is eternal.

Goodbye, Violet.

You left us too soon, but you did much in that time.

Sleep well, young one.


Marigold fireworks by ~joshersaurusrex on deviantART