In this post: Two fun graphics about how life works, a peek at my past website themes, and a fun quiz to help you identify which mythical creature you are!
It's been a crazy year. In 2018, I celebrated my one-year wedding anniversary with my Dragon, started writing a seven-book epic fantasy series, got diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder that involves non-epileptic seizures (among a host of other symptoms), started a new job and lost it due to the aforementioned disorder, and toured the western United States in an incredible five-week trip.
I've learned a lot about myself and about the stories in me that must be told.
By the end of 2018, I was not the same person who I had been just a year previously. And the stories that burned in me were deeper, fiercer, and brighter. I needed a platform to share those stories that matched their vibrancy.
But my journey to this place has not been linear. Observe yonder explanatory graphics:
(See how many Lord of the Rings nods you can catch in that second graphic.)
Does this pathway look familiar to you? I've done more loop-de-loops than I care to count as I tried to figure out exactly what path I am meant to take on this journey. (You can read all about my story here.)
This journey is not unique to me. If you've been following Havok Magazine, an awesome ezine for lovers of flash fiction, you know they haven't had the easy stairs-to-glory experience. There was a time they almost did not make it. But, like the phoenix of their logo, they've been reborn and their mission and stories are more fantastic than ever. And theirs is just one story among many.
We all have a curlicue story. What's important is what we do with it, and what sort of people we become because of it.
Starting My Curlicue Journey
My first blog, started in 2012, looked like this:
I was pretty proud of my YM seal and the parchment texture, but the problem was that tagline: "What is true? What is real?" As author Janeen Ippolito observes: A good tagline invites your reader into your passion, your purpose, and your perspective as an author. And my tagline didn't advertise speculative fiction.
People come to science fiction and fantasy for something outside of the ordinary, something beyond reality. (<<<Tweet this!)
Although every story has a core of truth to it, the beauty of fiction is that it lets the truth speak for itself, instead of preaching it. (<<<Tweet this!)
So talking about truth and reality, even though both are a valid part of speculative fiction, wasn't the trick.
Well, I was a newbie at this whole gig so I revised my website. Again. And again. Each time, I was looking for that perfect way to tell readers at a glance that I loved fantasy and science fiction as much as they did, and I was excited to share the richness of life with them through my stories.
The Beauty of New Beginnings
In case you do not know this already, I married a Dragon. And in the course of that marvelous adventure, I realized: I am a Phoenix.
I've been a Phoenix for years, but I did not know it.
People have told me that they see fire in me, a consuming passion that won't be dissuaded.
With all my chronic health issues, it would be easy to stay down, but I just can't quit on having a radiant and purposeful life. I know there is more than physical pain and constant exhaustion, and I'm not going to stop chasing it.
I've had a lot of cherished dreams die in devastating flame, only to be transformed, bigger and brighter than I ever dreamed possible.
All the ashes of my old efforts, all the brightness of new beginnings, all the unquenchable fire in my soul that drove me to tell the story, tell the story, tell the story, until new stories sprang up like campfires over a vast dark plain...
It all meant something.
I could look back on it and think about that crazy curlicue of my life and feel like a failure.
Or I could notice that every stop along the way was a birth of life, and that the woman reborn from those ashes was greater and stronger than the one who had come before her. (<<Tweet this!)
Words set fire to the world. Maybe those words offer the comfort of a candle. Maybe they're the life-giving warmth of fire in midwinter. Maybe they're the flame that purifies raw ore into precious metal. And maybe they're the means of bringing life from death.
Those are the kinds of words that I aim to write, and the kind of fire that I want to bring to those who love Story.
As soon as I knew my own story, I knew how to connect with others and their stories.
What creature are you?
You should know that you are something incredible too. Maybe you are a Dragon. Maybe you are a Phoenix like me. Maybe you're something else entirely, and the element that you bring to others is just as powerful as fire.
In honor of my new fire-themed website, I want to help you find your mythical creature! Take my quiz to find out which one you are and what unique strengths you bring to your work and relationships.
If you're on my email list, you should check your inbox for an email with a code for 19% off any ebook or paperback I offer through my website, just for being on this journey with me to 2019!
If you like something I wrote here, you are free to share/quote it with credit and a link back to the original page on my website.