Fantasy Writing: Magic

The fantasy genre has many qualities about it that completely enthrall me. Among these qualities, one stands out above the rest: MAGIC.

Magic presents us with a variety of themes and feelings that thrill us. Mystical, mysterious, marvelous, and mischievous, magic presents us with a menagerie of majesty. Magic can create meaningful connections between characters, or unleash mayhem upon the world. It’s incredible. With a flick of a wand, spells can turn rats into water goblets. Muttering a binding can link one source of heat to another. Speaking the true name of something can give you power over it. Ingesting certain metals can give you special abilities. Magic presents us with the ability to do the impossible, while also giving us the burden of power. It’s a fantastic thing that brings a whole new level of complexity to a story.

So what about you? How do you use magic? Is it an elaborate system of do’s, don’ts, and rituals? Is it a simple, soft system or a complicated, hard magic? What is your favorite thing about magic? Comment below. I want to know.

ALSO, YOU SHOULD CHECK THIS OUT! I was made a moderator on this subreddit that’s devoted to magic systems. I’m trying to come up with new ideas for it. Right now, it’s just a place to post about your magic system, but I’m trying to figure out what else I can do with it. Magic-building activities or games, perhaps. Any ideas are appreciated. Go create a reddit account and post about your magic system. We want to hear about it! ūüėÄ

Love you all. Thanks for reading.

Week Recap!

What’s up, my lovely readers? How has your week been? Me? Oh, you know. I quit my job. Put a pause on a friendship. Just the normal stuff.

So at the start of this week (March 23rd), I handed in my two week notice at my current job. My boss is sad to see me go and says I am definitely eligible for rehire, should I need or want to come back. I’m very happy to be leaving on such good terms. One day after that¬†the panic set in. What have I done? I left a stable job for virtually nothing; I had no real prospects in the works. This had to be a mistake. No. No it couldn’t be a mistake. I felt so sure of myself. I needed to leave. I couldn’t stay stagnant any longer.

Maybe the stress got to me, despite my positive attitude. I started another fight with a close friend of mine. He and I get along extremely well when we’re both happy, but if either one of us is in a bad place, we fight like our lives depend on it. It’s childish, but unavoidable. Before any of you say “but if you were more mature, you wouldn’t have this issue” I want to take a good, long look at yourself. I’m sure there are people who have the power to get under your skin no matter how hard you try and resist. If you’re perfect, please share your secret because I’m as imperfect as it gets. Needless to say, the fight carried over to the next day after we went our separate ways and I realized that this was extremely unfair to him and to me. I told him I needed a break and that hopefully we can still be friends. We ended our conversation with “I love you, no matter what” and haven’t spoken since. I mean it’s been less then a week, but it feels like forever.

After detaching myself from any kind of outside influence, I sat down and really thought about my future. Where was I headed? The roads were sprawled out before me and I could traverse any of them. I could go back to my job, out to other similar jobs, stick with my blogging and YouTubing and hope something happened, or any combination therein. But something hit me that hadn’t even occurred to me before: check those Facebook groups I’m a part of. I posted on a couple of these Facebook groups (all of which are dedicated to filmmaking in Arizona) that I was looking for an internship.

20 minutes later, I was offered an internship to work as a production assistant on an upcoming horror film called Carnitas Taco. I’m also going to be casting director and the director’s personal assistant. Carnitas Taco is a feature film that will go beyond regular internet popularity and end up in theaters and on either Showtime Stream or Netflix. Can you imagine?! Four days after putting in my notice, I was offered an internship for something I love more than¬†breathing! It’s so exciting! I’m doing what I love, what I’ve dreamed of doing for years! Sure, I’m not making any money yet, but I’m networking.

THE POWER OF NETWORKING!

Life is changing. I’m moving up in the world, marching forward, and following my heart. I couldn’t be happier. Thanks for reading, guys. You’re all amazing and I’m so happy you’re in my life.

Dream big!

I did it.

It’s official. I handed my two weeks to my boss yesterday. My last day is April 6th. I feel so relieved and so nervous. Where do I go from here? Who do I want to be? These questions haunt me and excite me. I’ll keep you guys posted. Love you all.

FILMMAKING: The Color of Hunger

In 2013, I had a concept for a horror film about a group of people plagued by spirits that were metaphysical manifestations of their sins and addictions. By 2014, I had a writer, a cast, and a small crew all willing to donate their precious time to help make my film. It’s been a long, arduous journey. Murphy’s Law has never played a bigger role in my life than it has this last year. From having to find a new location, misinforming a cast member about his role, and running out of money to being stopped in the middle of a shot by a real-life producer, watching horror films together, and working with¬†some of the most talented people in the state of Arizona, I have experienced it all. I’m amateur, certainly. But I have learned more about myself, about my friends, and about my dreams in this last year than I have in my whole life.

I want to be a filmmaker. What does that mean? I myself am not entirely sure. I’m attempting to learn more about the industry and make connections. I’d love to get a job in the costume department or an internship on set or a chance to watch as people edit their films. I’m interested in learning every single aspect of movie-making. If you guys know anyone out there who could connect me to such opportunities, feel free to let me know. ūüėČ

Olivia Romero, played by Jenna McKenna.
Olivia Romero, played by Jenna McKenna. Olivia must fight to overcome her heroin addiction, lest the darkness take her.

The Color of Hunger is a dark drama film that will (hopefully) serve as the progenitor for an 18 episode horror web series. In this film, we explore the torments of a young drug addict on the road to recovery. Not only does she have to face real-life adversity, but she is haunted by a demonic force that’s hellbent on consuming her through her addiction.

There are several flaws in this film. What can I say? It was my first attempt. We had little-to-no money. Murphy’s Law. Etc.

That said, this is a freaking AMAZING movie! The actors are great, the writing was solid, the premise was cool, the story itself was well-constructed, and it was a blast to work on. I’m very proud of it and the work we’ve put into it. I can see how it can be done better, but I can also see how epic it already is. I can’t wait to share it with all of you. We’re currently in post production, so it won’t be too long now.

Olivia and Candice (Skyler Shelly) have a heart to heart about the troubles in Olivia's life. But Candice is anything but a true friend.
Olivia and Candice (Skyler Shelly) have a heart to heart about the troubles in Olivia’s life. But Candice is anything but a true friend.

Thank you all for reading and I hope to share more with you as¬†we go along. For more details, check out our Facebook Page and don’t forget to Like, Follow, and Share with your friends! Your support is incredible. I’m so grateful for all of you who read and post on my blog.

Remember, if you’re going to dream, dream¬†BIG!

How to Feel Grateful, Even When You’re Not.

Over the first few months of the year, I’ve been mentally falling apart. That’s what tends to happen when you have no plan, no idea where you’re going, and under 60 days to decide all of that. Stress and anxiety destroyed me and I reverted to a version of myself that I neither like, nor am happy I ever had. But in this last week, I was brought back to joy by techniques I learned a few years ago. It’s funny how going back to the basics is so important. I suppose that’s why they teach you those first.

I’m going to list a few steps I’ve taken to correct my behavior and my attitude. Hopefully, if you find yourself in a spot of bother, these things will work for you.

Step 1: Stop

Stop whatever it is you’re doing. Really stop. If you’re doing homework, put the pencil down. If you’re driving, pull over. If you’re eating, swallow first and¬†then¬†stop. If you’ve been sitting, stand. If you’ve been standing, sit. I want you to literally stop whatever it is you’re doing for 17 seconds. It may help to put on a piece of uplifting music.

Step 2: Examination

Are you stopped for 17 seconds? Good! Now the un-fun part starts. Look at yourself. Look at what you’re doing. Look at your mood, your behavior, your mannerisms. Look at your posture, look at your facial expression, look at breathing. If you are not happy, if you are not in a good state of mind, then¬†these things will be wrong. I guarantee that these things will look and feel the way you do, emotionally. You feel angry, you’ll look (your version of) angry. You feel sad, you’ll look (your version of) sad. I say your version because sometimes people hide their feelings from others. This also hides feelings from themselves, disconnecting the feel-er to their own emotional state. Stop all of this, and¬†close your eyes.

Step 3: Let Go

LET IT GO!¬†LET IT GO! CAN’T HOLD IT BACK ANYMORE! There is joy inside of you. It’s there. Don’t think that you’re a joyless creature. Within the human mind, we are capable of all things. With that in mind, let go of all the crap that you are carrying right now. Let go of the anger, the sadness, the stress. This is one of the hardest things to do, but don’t stop.

Step 4: Say Thank You!

You wouldn’t believe how powerful this is. You don’t necessarily have to feel gratitude yet. Just having let go of the crap from the previous step, and choosing to allow yourself to feel gratitude, even if it’s not there, opens you up. Say “Thank you”. Who are you thanking? Well, you can thank God, thank the Universe, Spirit, Fairy Godmother, your parents, your friends, your family, your significant other, or yourself. What are you saying thank you for? It doesn’t matter. Just say thank you and mean it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Start off by saying this twenty times and you’ll start to feel an energy shift. If you feel nothing, go back to step 3 and try again. Repeat these steps until you feel genuine gratitude.

Step 5: Write everything down

You’re now feeling gratitude, or starting to feel gratitude. Keep chanting Thank You! Grab a pen (not a pencil) and some paper. Get specific with your thanking and write it all down. “I am so grateful that I can write this down.” “Thank you for letting me change my attitude.” “I’m so grateful that I am free from my own self-afflictions.” List EVERYTHING you feel in a positive connotation. Instead of saying “I’m so grateful that I don’t have to deal with a crappy coworker anymore” write “I’m so grateful that my job has a better work environment.” This is critical. Gratitude doesn’t work if you’re snarky or sarcastic about it. You must focus on pure, positive reinforcement. You will be astounded at the difference it makes.

Step 6: Smile

As you do these steps, remember to smile genuinely. Physically adjusting yourself to allow that happiness into your life will make it easier for you to feel gratitude. Fix your posture, smile, breath deeper, be deliberate in your mannerisms. When you breathe, breathe in joy. When you stand or sit up straight, imagine your spirit becoming aligned with the universe as your spine does with your body. When you smile, every ounce of pain is shredded before your eyes. You will begin to feel a powerful shift in your body. Tilt your head towards the sky in awe, or towards the ground in reverence. Feel.

Remember that attitude is a choice. Whether you’re going to have a good day or a bad day is entirely up to you, not the circumstances you’re in. I know you have it in you to be powerful creators of your own lives, of your own destinies. Be strong, be brave. Be unafraid to challenge your old habits and stand up for your happiness. Be grateful. Be wise. And follow your feet. They know where to go. Trust yourself and your inner joy. I have so much more to say, but I want you to go right now and try this out. Try it out and comment on how it made you feel. Comment. Like. Share.

You guys are amazing and I cannot thank you enough for your time and your attention. It’s incredible. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Remember, if you’re going to dream, dream¬†BIG!

30 of the Best Jokes You’ll Ever Read

How many times were you promised a good joke, but it never came? Well, I’m about to share some with you. If you laugh, subscribe to my blog. There’s plenty more where that came from. If you have jokes of your own, leave a comment! ūüėÄ

  1. What do noisy peppers do?
    They get jalapeno business!
  2. A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel hanging out of his pants. The bartender looks and says “hey, you have a steering wheel hanging out of your pants!”
    The pirate says “Arrg, It’s driving me nuts!”
  3. Why does Snoop Dog carry an umbrella?
    Fo’ drizzle.
  4. Why does Peter Pan always fly around?
    Because he never lands.
    (That joke never gets old)
  5. You can always trust massage parlors because…
    They always have your back!
  6. Did you hear about those new corduroy pillows?
    They’re making headlines.
  7. Two men walk into a bar.
    The third man ducks.
  8. Why did the hipster burn his tongue on his coffee?
    Because he drank it before it was cool.
  9. The restaurant on the moon is okay.
    Great food, but no atmosphere.
  10. I used to be addicted to the Hokey-Pokey, but then I turned myself around.
Bad Joke Eel is waiting for you to get it.
Bad Joke Eel is waiting for you to get it.

Eh? Ehh?! Not doing it for you? Maybe you’ve got an anti-joke thing going on. Don’t worry. I got a few of those too.

  1. What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back?
    A stick.
  2. What do you call a black man on the moon?
    An astronaut.
    (You racist)
  3. Why did the boy drop his ice cream?
    Because he was hit by a bus.
  4. How do you confuse a blonde?
    Paint yourself green and throw forks at her.
  5. A horse walks into a bar.
    Several people get up and leave due to the potential danger of the situation.
  6. A baby seal walks into a club.
    It was tragic.
  7. What would George Washington do if he were alive today?
    Scream and scratch at the top of his coffin.
  8. What did Batman say to Robin before they got in the batmobile?
    Get in the Batmobile, Robin.
  9. What’s red and bad for your teeth?
    A brick.
  10. Knock Knock?
    Who’s there?
    Dave.
    Dave who?
    Dave proceeds to break into tears because his grandmother’s Alzheimer’s has progressed to the point where she can no longer remember him.
Anti-joke chicken doesn't mess around.
Anti-Joke Chicken doesn’t mess around.

Last last one reminded me of knock knock jokes. I used to hear some great ones as a kid, but truth be told, they were my least favorite kind of joke growing up. So hears some other jokes that are totally unrelated.

  1. Two muffins are sitting in an oven.
    The first one says: “Boy, it’s hot in here.”
    The second one says: “HOLY ****! A TALKING MUFFIN!
  2. How many narcissists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    One. He stands still and the world revolves around him.
  3. What did the black guy, the Asian guy, and the Latino guy all have in common?
    Believe it or not, they all loved cantaloupe.
  4. What do you call a psychic dwarf who just escaped from prison?
    Small medium at large!
  5. A sandwich walks into a bar.
    The bartender says “Hey! We don’t serve food here!”
  6. Two cannibals are eating a clown.
    One turns to the other and says “Does this taste funny to you?”
  7. I’m from the government and I’m here to help.
  8. What’s black, white, and red all over?
    Two nuns in a chainsaw fight.
  9. Why are they called “hemorrhoids”?
    Because “asteroids” was taken.
  10. What do you call a fly with no wings?
    A walk.

So there you go. I hope this brighten up your day a bit.

True Christianity

Today was an amazing day. However, at the last hour, I got a rather disturbing notification. A friend of mine manages a candy store in a neighboring city. It’s a fairly large corporation and is packed with every kind of candy you can imagine. Willy Wonka would be jealous. Among the many treats and candy-themed memorabilia are gag sweets and joke candies. Among those¬†was a “marijuana breath spray.” It is very clearly meant to be a joke. First, the price is too cheap for it to be real marijuana. Second, it’s illegal to sell here in Arizona. Third, it says on the packaging that it isn’t real marijuana.

I should put a disclaimer that while I don’t smoke it, I don’t mind so much if other people do. To me, it’s like alcohol: a tool that muddles the mind and slows the senses. It’s not a toxic waste dump. It’s not crystal meth. It’s not going to spread like a virus from the smoker to the “helpless victims” on the same bus. It’s weed. Big deal. Now, that being said, I also don’t have a problem with people who think aforementioned things. I won’t have a problem if you think that smoking marijuana is wrong. I won’t care if you think that it is a danger to your children and to society. I won’t judge you if you think that it’s a sin to use God’s plants in such a way. However, there is something else that bothers me.

I hate when self-proclaimed disciples of Christ use His name to spew slander at organizations that support the use of marijuana. First off, this candy store wasn’t even supporting anything. They had a gag candy. I might also point out they had some very hilarious fake poop chocolates. Doesn’t mean they think kids should go around eating poop! When a leader – a true, passionate leader – uses his/her influence over the masses to not only A) tell an outright lie, and B) publicly bash any establishment, said leader is abusing his/her power.

To be less vague, here’s the story:

A religious fanatic walked into a candy store and found this fake marijuana breath spray. He whips out his smart phone and proceeds to record himself while spinning around, careful to get an entire view of the candy store. He introduced the store, gave it’s name and location, and then held up the fake spray and loudly said “They are selling marijuana to kids!” He then proclaimed that this was affront on the communities children. He then urged all of his followers (which are in the range of millions), to spam his… sorry… OUR outrage (because clearly he speaks for us all) to the store’s public Facebook profile, their corporate office, and their in-store phones. Within the next few minutes, the store was alight with rage from concerned parents, anti-marijuana activities, and community officials. The News swooped in and said they’d be arriving in the morning to cover the story.

I am totally okay with you having an opinion. I am totally okay with you having an opinion that is entirely different from my own. I honestly don’t care. If you hate it that bad, fine. That’s totally fine. Boycott it. Keep your children from the store. I think it’s excessive and a little silly, but fine. That’s okay. That’s¬†totally okay.

But how¬†dare you claim to be a disciple of Christ and set the dogs on anyone or anything like that? How dare you call yourself a follower of Christ? When, in any record, did Christ waltz into an establishment and go “Hey! This place is evil! Everyone, destroy it! DESTROY IT, MY FAITHFUL SHEEP!”? Some of you who haven’t studied the bible thoroughly might point out when Christ entered the temple of His Father and saw the merchants there. He cast them all out. That temple was a house of God, not a shopping mall. So don’t go INTO A SHOPPING MALL and THROW STONES AT THE CORPORATION.

What this person did, as a human being, was totally inappropriate. You can be passionate and fight for your cause. That’s okay. But you march into a store, high and mighty, and say “DESTROY THIS DEVIL’S HOUSE, MY SHEEP!” and you instantly lose all credibility as a respectable human being. But worse than that, you soil your name. And if you bear Christ’s name – Christ, who was perfect – then you damn well better live up to it.

To the anti-religion people out there looking at this going “See? THIS is what I was talking about…” know that you aren’t wrong here. But religion, true religion, isn’t about power, or throwing stones. It’s about bringing people closer to God, to their bliss, to their truth.

To the religious people out there, I’m so sorry you are being dragged down by this moron. You are good people, with good hearts and good intentions. So please, for your sake, and the sake of your children, live up to your good intentions. Don’t let people like this man hurt your name, your religions name, or Christ’s name.

I strive to live up to the good name of Christ, in my own way. I may not follow all of His teachings to the letter, but I take His second most important commandment to heart: Love thy neighbor as yourself. Love is the most powerful thing in the world. We must love one another, love each other, and love even our enemies.

To the man who blatantly misused his influence under Christ’s banner, shame on you. To ALL to preach hate and rage under the name of Christ, shame on you. Nevertheless, I still love you. I may not respect you, but we are all Children of God. We are all members of the Human race. We are all in this life together, forever. Let us love one another, tolerate each other’s mistakes, and teach the future generations of this world that hate only creates more hate. As Yoda, the wise (albeit fictitious) councilor once said: “hate leads to suffering.” Suffer no more. Let go of hate. And let’s all build a better world together.

Love is all we need.

Thanks for reading. I love you all, from the deepest parts of my heart. Remember: if you’re going to dream, dream¬†BIG!

How to Travel

The Staff of Tay!
The Staff of Tay!

While adventuring in the land of Washington, my dear sister and I did many-a-thing. Fly, drive, photograph, feast, cry, laugh, poop, the whole nine yards. It became apparent to me that, while she and I have lots of fun, we rarely have plans. SO I’m going to share with you some ideas on how to travel.

Step 1: Know where you’re going

Or don’t, really. I mean, we rarely do. We usually pick a direction and just drive until we decide to turn back around. While we don’t know the place we’re heading, we do know where and why we’re going. We’re adventuring! We’re exploring for ourselves that which has been explored by others. We take our own paths and while they aren’t often the most travel, or could lead you into the city of Portland only to turn around and leave again, they are¬†ours. We know where we are going. We are going on an adventure.

IMG_3662

Step 2: Be open to new experiences

You have no idea what lies ahead. You can plan your trip down to the most minute detail, but there’s no guarantee you will do everything on your checklist. What if your car breaks down? What if you left your cash at home? What if you have to poop on the side of a road named after a European people? No matter what you do, or what happens to you, being open to the experience can be liberating, fun, and even life-changing.

IMG_3664

Step 3: Go!

Believe it or not, this is the hardest step for some people. “I really want to go to England.” “I really want to climb the Himalayas.” “I really want to go scuba diving.” And we say “Okay, cool! When?” And they go “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe when I’m better off.” That’s the worst attitude you could ever have. Plan a date and time and set aside some money. Network with people who can help you travel. Join forums, websites, community groups, partnerships, anything that gets you up and moving. The only thing keeping you from your destination, from your journey is YOU.

IMG_3771

Step 4: Document EVERYTHING

Bring a camera. Can’t afford one? Cool. I can’t either. Bring a journal. Hate writing? I can’t understand that. Bring a sketch book. Can’t draw? No biggie. Collect souvenirs. Can’t pay for them? Pick up a freaking rock from all the places you travel to. Put them all in a jar when you get home along with your plane ticket or receipt from somewhere you went while traveling and you’ll be amazed at how cool of a decoration it is. Never forget what you do, how you felt. Travels are meant to inspire, to heal, to provide perspective.

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Step 5: Return home

This is the hardest step, but you can’t stay in paradise forever. Not because you have responsibilities waiting for you at home, but because if you stay, paradise will lose its touch. Don’t be afraid of the journey back. And remember, you can always leave again.

IMG_4080

Thank you for reading. Remember: if you’re going to dream, dream¬†BIG!

3 Unusual Ways to Waste Time

When you’re in need of a good, relaxing break from work, school, or life, you have to find something else to do. Naturally, the appropriate thing to do would be to do something productive. Exercise, cleaning, cooking, budgeting, anything. But there are times where you’ve¬†just had¬†enough. So what do you do then?

Nothing? Nothing. Do nothing.

Okay, so that’s the worst advice ever. So let’s try something else. Let’s try something better.

Number One: Run away!

Too dramatic? Well, tone it down a bit. Hop in your car, on your bike, in your shoes, and go somewhere. Doesn’t matter if it’s far. Doesn’t matter if you have money. Just go. Personally, I like to put on my running shoes and walk down the canal behind my house. It leads me to a perfect bench that looks out over a field. I’ll take a picture of it next time I go down there. If I don’t do that, I hop in my car and pick a direction and drive until I get bored. If that’s not good enough, I actually leave the city. I’ve done this a few times; farthest I’ve gone is out into the middle of the desert. It’s been nice.

Number Two: Purge!

It’s nice to get rid of crap. Write some stuff you hate on a piece of paper and then burn it outside (DO NOT ATTEMPT UNLESS YOU’RE AT LEAST 18). Take those tattered clothes and throw ’em out. Grab those nasty, spoiling fruits and throw them out. Maybe, if you feel the need, puke. You know? Just get rid of something. Even if you have to sit down, meditate, and unhinged those things in your past that are weighing you down. Get rid of things. De-clutter yourself. Remember: this isn’t “cleaning”. This is purging. Somehow that makes it easier to do.

Number Three: Nap!

I hate naps. I hate sleeping in the middle of the day. It throws me off. BUT, if I go ahead and take an hour to just decompress and sleep off the blah of exhaustion, it makes everything else better. So lay down on something soft. Take a few deep breaths. Set an alarm. And then conk out. Sleep…. Sleeeeeep…

Sleep well, dream big. Etc.

My Job and I

It’s never a good idea to talk about your job in a less-than-positive way on the internet. Perhaps I do so because I want advice, but I’m too prideful to directly ask for it.

I am a retail associate at a fairly large corporation that has stores dotting the United States. The retail industry isn’t hard to get into. You have to have a mostly-working body and be brain-dead and you can land any starting position you can think of. I’ve been doing this ever since I was 18. Five years. What have these five years amounted to career-wise? What have I gained?

Nothing, actually. I mean, I can slap these five years on a resume to help ensure getting yet another entry-level position somewhere else, but that’s about it. Recently I was contacted by several different people working for Vemma and it was rather interesting, but I know my personality. I know I¬†could make it big with their company and probably end up financially independent in less than a year. But doing so requires a lot of effort for something I don’t necessarily have a passion for.

All I know is this: I cannot continue at the job I’m at and expect to be financially independent or emotionally secure. I want to take a risk¬†and “be my own man” and so on. I am not sure what to do or where to go. I haven’t any savings left. My job doesn’t cover my bills and expenses and I drained my savings trying to support myself. The only reason I’m not homeless is because I’m living with my parents. Woot. I’m not okay where I’m at. I need to move forward. I need to move up.

During this time of thought, I remembered watching The Secret. I have to change my perspective, change my attitude, change my everything. The path I set myself on is not going to give me what I want. So I think it’s time I left this road. But where do I go from here? How do I change? Who should I surround myself with? What actions do I need to take? What habits do I need to build? These questions are rumbling around in my head. I’m scared. I’m excited. I can make these changes, I just need guidance.