Changes

So recently, a friend of mine, from Twirling in the Rain, reminded me that she had a blog, which, in turn, reminded me that I have a blog. It has not yet been a full year since my last post, so I don’t feel too bad. But anyway.

The impetus for this post is a poorly timed coffee, the insomnia brought on as a result, my very nature, and my whirling thoughts.

I’ve said before that I’m an all-or-nothing sort of person. Either my life is completely falling apart or it’s completely put together. Right now it’s on the “completely put together” end of the spectrum, which includes picking up the things I’ve neglected for way too long (i.e., my blog). But in putting my life back together, I feel as if I tried to take off running without realizing that I’ve had my feet tied down—like in a slapstick comedy where the hapless hero or bad guy falls flat on his face.

Many of my friends have experienced great changes of late. Several of them have gotten married. Several have started serious relationships. Others have become busy. These are the friends I would see regularly and had inadvertently filled my life with a kind of constancy and solidity that I didn’t know I depended on. While I’m happy for the changes in their lives, I’ve felt their absences keenly.

To distract myself from the apparent lack of change in my own life, I’ve undertaken a few.. endeavors.

There was the time I decided, once again, to watch the entirety of Stargate, SG-1. I got stuck on season 8, but I did get farther than I’ve gotten before.

Then there was the time I read almost 13 books (David Edding’s Belgariad and Malloreon, and half of Alison Croggon’s Naming series), totaling about 3000 pages, in less than 3 weeks. Alas, got stuck somewhere in the third book of the Naming (isn’t that the way of things?). But I will finish it, and probably soon.

And then there was the time I tried to watch everything having to do with Jackie Chan—oh, who am I kidding, I still am. If you’d like to get to my point, please skip this paragraph, because I’m going to have to go on about this man for a while. The man has written/directed/produced/starred in well over 200 films, starting from some time in the 60s. I’ve seen maybe 30 of these films (not currently counting any of the animated films). My chosen task is almost completely impossible, but very inspiring. He’s a hopeless perfectionist. When he entered the film industry as a stunt man, he quickly became determined to learn how to do every aspect of movie-making. He didn’t like how other editors worked, so he learned how to cut and edit film himself. Knowing that, it’s not really a surprise that he’d make all the stunts as real as they could be (by the way, if you’re watching a Jackie Chan movie from the 80s/early 90s, and they’re jumping through glass, it’s real glass, not sugar glass like in American films). In fact, he once broke his ankle in a stunt, went and got a cast, and filmed the rest of the movie with a rubber shoe on his foot to hide the cast. And HE SINGS. No. You don’t get it. He. Really. Sings. Did you know that? I certainly didn’t. Have you heard him sing “I’ll Make a Man out of You“? And this (for me) all started with a movie called Kung Fu Yoga, released this year (he was about 62 during filming), which is a movie that makes you ask “WHY?!” a lot. I mean, a lot. There’s a massive car chase scene in Dubai (I think?) in which Jackie “borrows” an SUV that just so happens to have a LION in the back. Yes, you read that right. Granted, it’s a CGI lion, but let’s allow for the willing suspension of disbelief here. WHY?! And then, right at the end of the movie, the heroes and villain join forces (after a good 5 minute fight) for a massive bollywood-style song and dance. There is no interim conversation that leads to this. It’s not even after a brief sequence of credits as an amusing anecdote. It’s just all-of-a-sudden there. WHY!? I have no idea, but I love it all the same. Well, I say it all started with Kung Fu Yoga. Anecdote time: a long time ago, when I was maybe 6 or 7, I was at Walmart with my mom, and little me found a Jackie Chan movie called Mr. Nice Guy in one of those $5 bins. Little me knew that her dad liked Jackie Chan, though she had no idea who he was, and she either convinced her mom (more likely) to buy it or bought it herself (unlikely) and gave it to her dad. Now, little me was quite horrified at her gift. Mr. Nice Guy wasn’t very nice at all because he kept having to hit people. My dad doesn’t remember this, though he does remember the movie, but I swear, this happened. That was the first Jackie Chan movie I ever saw. Ok, I think I’m done for now.

My endeavors have not been entirely fruitless. I’ve had several very good ideas for stories that I’m in the process of developing, one of which is a series (three novels and a prequel). While Jackie Chan isn’t a direct inspiration for these, he is an inspiration to look outside the box in developing them. Currently, I’ve got basic outlines for the prequel, first book, and half of the second. It’s nicknamed “Everything’s Better with Dragons,” for lack of a better name.

So why, in all of this, do I feel like the hapless hero, running away and finding himself handcuffed to a pole? Alas, my calling in life isn’t one of rapid successes. Writing is slow. Initial discovery of an idea is full of excitement. You WANT to find out where it will take you. But once you find out, you’re left with the arduous task of telling the story with all the initial wonder, long after that wonder is a cold and distant feeling.

And in a still small voice, God tells me, “You’ll grow where you’re planted.” The tree that’s constantly stretching its roots out of the nourishing soil never becomes a standing oak. At best, I’ll just wind up with a sore hand or a sore face. At worst, I’d wither and die in a place I do not belong. Now I’m mixing my metaphors.

Um.. I can’t remember where I was going with this. My mind is kind of fizzled by caffeine. I think I was going to end with something like, “Ok, God, I’ll grow here if you want me to.”

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