Love Today.

As Yesterday has passed away, releasing you dearly from her complexities and fray,

The wonderful memories will stay.

Let the bells of time ring on. Hear the beautiful song from the burials gong,

Freedom becomes you… if you don’t hold on.

Gone is the past. Hindsight, wistfulness is all that last.

Thoughts of negative, sour and illness… away cast for these, and mostly these,

Are what bind your greatness to avast.

Embrace this very moment. It is where you belong,

Yesterday, sacrificing herself lovingly for you to become,

More thoughtful, more peaceful, improved and at one.

Act now, forget, for she too will soon pass on,

Laid to rest, bells ring before tomorrow’s gong.

Don’t hold on,

Don’t lose one’s way,

Let it go, Love Today.

-Xander Panteli

Be the moral man. Lend hand and shoulder for those struggling with life demands.
Be the moral man. Take account honestly when botched becomes your plan.
Be the moral man. The variant hearts you clutch, love them, do not command.
Be the righteous man. Seed virtue and virtue forevermore throughout the barren lands.

-Xander Panteli

We all do it, and we all do it daily.

You have probably told a story already today without even knowing it.
We share gossip with friends, tell our families what we have done today or even daydream.
These are the beginnings of stories ready to be told by you.

Does this mean anything? Probably not, but it’s good to write. A very common question asked within the writing world is…

‘Where are you getting your ideas from?’

–asked by many

There is no real answer to this. But what I would like to say as an answer is, What are you doing that is not giving you ideas? Yes, answering a question with a question doesn’t always give you an answer, but it could help eliminate an unanswerable question. Does that even make sense?

I believe ideas for a story are so ingrained, you just need to let them out. When I write I don’t allow myself to think, I allow myself to flow. Whatever word is coming from my head to keyboard I let it come out, and I do this every time regardless of how crazy it sounds.

So the answer I’m trying to say is… LET IT HAPPEN!
But know this, with every fiction book, an element of non-fiction helps spur it on. Get yourself something that is real and then twist it, stretch it, pull it until it becomes fiction and BAM! You have just created a character, a scene or even the front cover of your story!

Here’s another example using Jack and Jill, who went up the hill to fetch water. Two children, going up a hill for water – seriously how simple is that? You have seen people walk up and down hills a million times before I bet and never thought anything of it – but let’s change up a little.
And how do we change that? By asking ourselves, ‘What if…?’

What if… Jack stood at the bottom of a hill looking up at the haunted wishing well, rumoured throughout the village.

What if… Jill noticed Jack was missing one night and knew where her brother would be. I’ve always said his curiosity would get the better of him, thought Jill.

What if… Jill was right?

Jack stood at the bottom of the hill, looking up at the well. He could hear Jill panting from one hundred meters behind him.
‘Don’t do it, Jack,’ she said.
Jack barely glanced back at her and instead began to climb the hill.
‘Damn it, Jack, we were told not to go up there.’ said Jill.
Jack stopped. He turned to his sister and held a hard stare.
‘Why are you even here?’ he asked, angry she had found him. ‘I told you never to follow me. Now you will get us both caught.’
A low growl rolled out of the well. Jack turned suddenly, Jill dared not to look, but couldn’t resist. A moon-grey mist swayed out from the well, coiling itself around the hanging bucket and pitched roof.
‘Is that supposed to happen?’ asked Jill, knowing the answer already.
‘That is why I am here.’ replied Jack. ‘Whatever you do, make sure you don’t scream.’ Jill nervously nodded silently. She took Jacks hand, squeezing it tight. Jack looked at his hand. Girls are such wimps, he thought.

They walked up together. Halfway up, Jill looked back. The outer forest glowed in the moonlight. The autumn dew which glazed the needles of the pine trees shone like a lake.
‘It’s cold,’ Jill said, who could now visibly see her every breath. But it was not the night which hosted the chill.
Jack ignored her. He questioned his courage as they got closer to the well. No, this is what young boys are supposed to do, he thought. We go to places we are told not to go and return with our tongues out blowing raspberries. The other boys won’t believe me though, but I will just come here again, with the gang next time. Yes, that is what I will do.
He felt Jill’s grip tighten. He looked at her face and thought he saw a ghost.
‘You look petrified,’ he said to her. ‘Go back home. This is boys stuff.’
‘You’re the only boy stupid enough to come here.’
‘And you are the only girl dumb enough.’ Simulationously they stuck their tongues out at each other.
They stood side by side, no more than three meters from the well. Everything was calm, perhaps too calm.
‘Told you there was nothing to be afraid of.’ said Jack.
The bucket on the well lightly swayed with a slight creak when it rocked. Jack and Jill looked at one another and took another step closer. The bucket then swung like the bell of a town crier.
A ghost-like figure screeched out of the depths within. Jacks eardrums burst in an instant, and Jill’s eyes leaked blood. Both stiff as a board, frozen in fear. Jills nails dug into Jack’s hand like an eagle.
A final shrill from the ghost caused Jack’s knees to buckle. He stumbled back and tumbled down the hill, Jill still attached followed after.
They were found the next morning with stone-white skin, both with broken skulls from the fall.
They were buried together, Jill still attached to Jack’s hand, as no one in the village had the strength to prise them apart.
Their tombstone read:-

Here lies Jack and Jill,
Who went up The Hill.

We can ALL tell a story of any sorts. Good, bad, long, short… can’t we? So why not tell one, and let that imagination fly.

And as always; thanks for reading.

…Is it really mightier than the sword?

We’ve all heard the quote before, right? In case you haven’t—

“The pen is mightier than the sword”

Edward Bulwer-Lytton 1839


But what does it mean?
Well, for me who has had the last thirty years or so to sit and think about it, which I have, I’ve developed my own understanding of the phrase.

Unlike today, I never had google at my disposal, (which I feel has destroyed many peoples ability to think, but that is another post in itself) to check what it meant or why it was said, but I had heard it. 

A pen, mightier than a sword? What a fun thing to think about.

Myself, and maybe many others, see it as a physical Vs mental battle. If you haven’t then please read on. Battle, however, may be a strong or even wrong word to use, but as I associate a physical sword with the physical harm it can cause. It’s hard for me not to see it this way.

So here’s my thinking…

A sword causes physical pain, whereas a pen (unless you’re James Bond) causes emotional distress. So this is how I get to my physical vs mental battle theory.

Taking that into account it is the reason why I say: –

A pen can orchestrate your life, whereas a sword will end it.
And a pen can cause your heart to sink where a sword will sink into your heart.
A pen can cause you to overthink whereas a sword can stop you thinking, literally.

So where am I going with all this?
Well, both battles are hard to deal with, but I believe the hardest between the struggles sway in favour of the pen, inflicting the most and worse kind of damage which to me is mental damage.

In a simple way to explain it without diluting the severity too much, my examples sound like this…

 Sword: You are at war, you fought well, but you were stabbed in the back (you know how that feels already) straight through the heart. You never saw it coming, and the wound is a mortal one. The suffering caused is physical.

Pen: You come home from work, there’s a note on the table. You open it and recognise your partners’ handwriting instantly. Wonder what this is?

 “I’m breaking up with you, I’ve blocked your number, don’t try to call me, I’ve moved on!”

Ouch, that would hurt, right? I would even go to say that is precisely how a sword through the heart would feel, I mean, you may have experienced how much it hurts being stabbed in the back before, and there was never a sword, knife or dagger present at that time of pain, was there? 

If you can see the difference between these two genuine incidents and give yourself time to think about it, you will know why the pen is such a big deal, yet it’s not dealt with seriously enough.

Our minds are like theatres, and our imaginations love to perform. Words allow the theatre to open the doors and pull the puppet’s strings. But allowing words this kind of access has a high price to pay, especially with how easily they are to throw around and even more so in recent years.

With the introduction of social media, we are throwing billions of words daily into the web for others to see and read.
Some combinations of these words are cries for help. Some are to make you laugh, others to make you think or to manipulate the way you think, and some are just there because we like to let the voice inside our heads be heard.

Whichever one it maybe they all in some way open the curtains to the theatre of our minds. Sometimes we have a full audience to share it with, but other times we are playing to rows of empty seats.

And that is how some of the mental damage can occur. Do we have the strength to get through it? And if so what will the impact be from the next mental hit we take? A boxer can sometimes take a blow to the head, but after a few? You’ve all seen it.

The reason I have also adopted a writing approach is that I think the pen and paper have been the most important inventions ever. The problem is, and will also be the problem is how we use it. If you seriously think about what it allows you to do, it is mind-blowing, literally. But that is another blog topic on its own which I will visit.

But, with the research today it points to 1-in-3 adults have, or will suffer from mental health issues with the scale closer to 1-in-2 than 1-in-4.
It’s alarming. And having spent the last 30 years mulling over this quote, I believe the pen is a big factor towards the mental struggles many face today.

So when you next combine a group of words, think about what it really means to say what you are about to say and how that combination will pull apart the stage curtains in the reader’s mind. This is why in my mind, the pen will always be mightier than the sword.

And, as always, thanks for reading.

So, how should I begin?
How I always do, write whatever words come to my head while staring at my keyboard because I still can’t touch type after all these years.

But what I want to talk about is my journey so far, learning what the industry calls “The Craft”.

For me, Craft is the perfect choice of word. You could easily slip witch in front of it. Why? Because at times, you feel possessed once involved crafting out of a story. I could say calling it witchcraft is okay because you don’t do anything evil, wicked or sinister – but I would be lying. I’ve sent many characters up a thorn riddled tree, pummelled them with stones, slid them back down into a crocodile pit but made them a better person for it. Such is the way of a heroes journey.

But more of my journey. The grind, is real.

Something I would like to debunk very early on is that being an author, whether it be published, self-published or in the making is easy and glamorous. Though being a writer is exciting, It’s frustrating, exhausting, soul-draining and demands your attention, all the time.

So why the heck am I doing it?

Well, here is one piece of advice that has stuck with me since taking my writing to the next step.

“Write a million words–the absolute best you can write, then throw it all away and bravely turn your back on what you have written. At that point, you’re ready to begin.”

David Eddings

The only part I do not agree with is throwing it away. I’m not that brave. But it is from my own experience this disagreement derives. If I was only allowed to give one piece of advice to a writer, other than to just write, as it goes hand-in-hand with writing a million words, It would be never to delete your work, no matter how cringe it is. I have found traces of gold and glitter in my most hideous of word combinations because once you start understanding the craft, you see life, even in dead things.

But to write one million words, I.Get.This!

I myself have written well over a million words in my time (long time). However, that doesn’t give me a golden ticket to success, or the privilege to say I can write better than you can. I have to write harder than ever and continue to do so because I am still learning… daily. However, It does remind me I have been doing something I genuinely love since a very young age;

To write.

Writing has helped me express myself in ways I couldn’t if conversing face to face. Though I do enjoy face-to-face combat, I still find it better to get my head cleared of the weird when I’m writing a story or spamming my thoughts endlessly. I am my only audience, judge and executioner – whatever the term is – and it also allows me to rethink and edit, whereas face-to-face, you don’t get that luxury. What you say is what you get, the first draft only I’m afraid, and as any writer would tell you, you don’t even share your first draft with your worst enemy; it’s torturous!

However, I am now at the stage where I want to share my stories with others and not just myself. I want others to know of my gruelling journey, self-doubting and struggling, and that’s on good days. But the voice inside my head wants to be heard, in the form of storytelling. I’m learning the craft! I’m crafting! I’m at one with craft.

So for now, I hope you have enjoyed reading this first sneak peek about myself. There will be plenty of others, but for now, this should suffice. I think in my next thought-to-keyboard-to-blog spam I will talk about why I love the quote:

“The pen is mightier than the sword.”

Edward Bulwer-Lytton

However, having a young family of four boys who are livelier than a box of crickets, my writing time, for now, is minimal. I have to weigh up time investment wisely, whether it is here on the website or thrashing at my novels and short stories. However, I always find time by sacrificing something I feel wastes time. I’d rather write one word a day than none. That way, in a week I will have a sentence, a paragraph in a month and perhaps a chapter in a year.

So until my next post and, as always…
Thanks for reading.