Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas everyone! Wrote this bit of flash fic for all y'all. Fair warning, this was written on a plane and barely double checked. Enjoy!

The Task of Proving Chris Kringle
The NikMacPattyWak

‘Twas the night before Christmas in the Meinminger house, and nothing was stirring, not even Matty-Mouse.
     Demitra was leaned against the banister of the hollow doorway that connected the den to the kitchen. In the den, underneath the tree, bright presents of red and green and white lay in quaint little clumsy piles. The tree, while maybe not the most grand thing any eye ever beheld, looked inviting with its stringed lights casting a soft glow throughout the room. The smell of gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate hovered over the hardwood floors. It was a by-the-books Christmas, exactly the kind the Meinmingers enjoyed.
     Matty, her endearing younger brother (or so she repeatedly told herself) was lying belly done on the floor of the den. He had constructed something of a barricade out of a menagerie of blankets and pillows and stared intently at the fireplace, waiting for the man that would never show.
     “You saw me wrapping one of your gifts.” Demitra said, exasperated.
     “He’s real I tell you!” Matty exclaimed.
     “Enough of that.” Demitra dragged herself to towards Matty, slipping her hands around his waist. “Time for bed, buddy.”
     Matty squirmed against his older sister’s touch, wriggling away from her. Once he was out of her grasp he went straight for the foam nerf sword (awarded to him by Sir Uncle Hank late last October for surviving this perilous world for six years) and held it up to his adversary in a most bold and threatening way. Demitra narrowed her eyes and folded her arms, tapping her foot to a beat that resembled a war drum far too closely for Matty’s comfort.
     Matty flinched, but held his ground, true to his cause.
     “He’s real.” He said, his voice shaking ever-so-slightly. “I can prove it! I promise.”
     Demitra did not release Matty of her vile gaze, not at first, but at the sight of his resolve crumbled to his whims.
     She let her arms drop and dismissively waved a hand in Matty’s direction.
     “Knock yourself out then.” She said, slinking to her room. She had to work in four hours and didn’t have the energy to wrangle the kid back to his room. Rather than playing Mom tonight she decided she’d let Uncle Hank play Dad tomorrow.
     Once the door shut behind her, Matty (basking in the glow of his victory) resumed his post. He studied the fireplace with a mighty intensity, he dared not even blink in fear that the Jolly Saint would sneak past him with his tricksy magic.
It was true, he had witnessed his sister wrapping presents and sticking them under the tree. But she should be grateful he was the only one. Were someone else to encroach on Santa’s most sacred territory, they would be branded an imposter (and quite possibly, in Demitra’s case, a witch). But Matty had grace and understanding that went beyond others. He knew that Demitra had lost her magic sometime ago, sapped away by the dreaded depths of “the Walmart Warehouse”. That’s why she had taken Santa’s place, because she could no longer see the truth. She thought she must do the job of who she believed to be a ghost in his place, to appease Matty. And so, since he loved his sister so, he forgave her her transgressions. More than that, he took upon himself a task most formidable. Reminding her who she really was. He was sure that Santa could help. If she could just meet him, that would be a start.
     So he waited. And waited. And waited. Minutes turned to hours turned to what seemed like days (Matty could no longer tell). And Matty found himself face to face with the true challenge of his Quest, fighting his own eyelids. They drooped over his eyes, weighted down by some evil, unknown sorcery. He tried to overcome this fatal flaw of his. Slapping himself on the cheeks, taping his eyelids open, shaking his head as fast as he could.
     Alas, it was all for not. This was a battle Matty could not win. Sleep overcame him slowly, in a torturous fashion. And as he slid into that cursed land of slumber that dared steal him from his task, he swore that next year, he would finish his Quest. He would meet Santa, and save Demitra.
     As soon as Matty was fast asleep, there was a soft knocking on the roof above his head. Something like the sound of hooves.
     Then there was a thud at the bottom of the chimney.
     And the munching of some gingerbread cookies.
     And the organizing of some presents.
     But, of course, all this was lost on poor Matty.
     A jolly old man in a big round red suit stood above the boy for a moment, looking at his face in contemplation. Wiping crumbs from his beard, he quickly scribbled something on a piece of stationary left on the table next to a now vacant plate, stuffed it under the boy’s hand, and went on his way.

     Better luck next year, Sir Matty.

          -Merry Christmas

Friday, October 31, 2014

Believe it or not, NaNoWriMo is still on my mind...

If I know my fellow NaNo nerds (and I'm sure I do), then I know what you're all doing right now. You're going to Sam's Club to stock up on snacks for the month, you're saying goodbye to your loved ones, you're constructing contraptions that'll take care of your day-to-day for you (including eating bathing and sleeping). You're just now realizing that you don't want to write about zombies, you want to bunnies, so you're throwing out all of the prep work you've done up to this point and crunch-time outlining your bunny novel. All-in-all, you're putting the finishing touches on your NaNo preparations, and by the end of this sentence you've already scrapped your bunny idea and are now drafting the outline for your awesome new werewolf 5SOS fanfic.

If you'll allow me, I'd like to give you some advice. If we're both lucky, you'll come out of this experience with your novel front work in hand, your pets adequately fed, and no bloody corpses littering the ground you tread. (No promises on that last one.)

1) Outlining
Have I mentioned them before? No? Well, shame on me. To put it simply, OUTLINES ARE MY LIFE. I have extensively outlined every big project I've taken on and never ever regretted doing so. Have I strayed from my outlines? Heck. Yes. But they've always kept me focused. You'd be surprised how easy writing is when you know what your next step is. "But NikMac," I hear you say, "I write better when I'm spontaneous." I respect that, I really do. (No I don't.) But we're not taking just any old writing day. We're talking freaking NaNoWriMo. Let me be the first to tell you that if you don't know what it is you're writing, if you don't know how it ends, NANOWRIMO WILL EAT YOU. ALL FEAR THE GREAT AND POWERFUL NANOWRIMO.
Get that outline straightened out friend, lest you become a Scooby Snack.

2) Music
This one's not as necessary but it'll help in the long run. Plus, it's a much better way to pass the time waiting for midnight to hit then throwing things at you siblings/spouse/elderly parents. And it's fun. Start a soundtrack for that masterpiece of yours, try to find the vein of every scene you make. Who knows, you might know more about your piece because of it.
My personal preference, when it comes to writing, is lyricless playlists. And for that I recommend Lindsey Stirling, Sam Cushion, High Five Spaceship, and anything on (ocremix offers all their music for free, by the way.)

3) Take One Word At A Time
Get this in your head before you start, or else you might find yourself paralyzed at the keyboard. You are not writing a novel in a month. You are writing a novel like you anything else you would write, word by word. You're just trying to do so a little faster. It's okay if you don't hit your word count everyday, it's okay if at the end of it all you're short by a hundred words (give or take). It's even okay if you give up in the middle and don't end up finishing. What counts is what you take away from the try, not whether or not you succeed. So don't worry about things. Just sit down and write. Remember to have fun. ;)

What are some tips to share with your fellow NaNo-er's? Any sure-fire ways to come out of the Dreaded November alive?
'Til next time nerds.

Friday, October 24, 2014

If you have not already guessed it, I am participating in what is known as NaNoWriMo! (National Novel Writing Month). If you don't know what it is, I'm sick of explaining it so go to their freaking website.  Freaking go there now or else you're going to be really lost during this post. 

Everyone all good? On the same page? Great, let's move on. 

So, for some reason this year there's a lot of writing people saying they don't see the point in NaNoWriMo. They say that they like spending more time with their characters, don't see the point in writing something that'll clearly be a disaster of a first draft, so on and so forth. And while I can see the point they're trying to make, I think they're overlooking all the ways that writers can benefit from taking this challenge, regardless of whether they win or lose. 

Benefits of NaNoWriMo

Connecting to a Community of Writers
NaNoWriMo brings together writers far and wide, both hobbyists and professionals, so it's a great way to meet your fellow wordsmiths. During High School when I was just starting to get passionate about writing this was the first exposure to other writers. And, in the experience I've had, this is a very friendly environment to get started in writing. You can ask questions, get feedback, or simply reach out to other writers without judgment or condensation. Granted every corner of the internet has it's trolls but for the most part people will sincerely want to help. And that is because everyone, newbie to veteran is in the same boat when it comes to NaNoWriMo. And that boat is....MAJOR CRUNCH TIME. Which leads into my second benefit. 

Writing on Deadline

Now see, this doesn't feel like a benefit but bare with me. No matter what profession you shall go into someday, be it jamming on a Saskatoon or CEO of I'm Freaking Awesome Corp., chances are you're going to come up against a deadline or two along the way. And that's good, it's natural, it's a part of the circle of life. But deadlines are never met with much cheer or joy. In fact, many people don't know what to do with deadlines. Sometimes just the thought of something dangling above you like that is enough to paralyze. Well, here's an environment where you can practice you're deadline meeting with no consequences. Because who doesn't love perpetual crunch time in the middle of holiday season?

Extended Free Write
If we can all be honest with ourselves for a moment here, NaNoWriMo will produce one of the crappiest first drafts you've ever written. Again, this is okay because you write every word as if the whole dang thing was due tomorrow morning six am sharp. And sometimes the crappiest of first drafts produce the best final products, just because they give you so much to work with. There are many great, really terrific books that came out of NaNoWriMo. (Ex: My second most favorite book of all time The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and the brilliantly crafted Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.) But this I think for most people, this is just a great way to build up your writing stamina. It's a 30-day extreme free write! You're going to come out of this with writing abs of steel.

Feels Good
It's going to feel pretty freaking great when you finish your word count. No matter the quality of the dribble you've slaved over for the past thirty days you're going to feel dang great that you hung on as long as you did, that you finished it. Because I don't care if you're a rookie or if your name's on a best seller list, writing a novel in a month is freaking hard for anyone. While you're trying to do it, it feels impossible. But you did it, hang your head high man! Fifty-k in a month, J. K. Rowling can't touch this! 

50% Off of Scrivener
So this perk seems minor in the face of all the other benefits I've listed, but guys, I bought Scrivener for my NaNo this year and it's delicious. (*Side Note: Scrivener is a word processor made for creatives developed by software company Literature and Latte. It has templates for movie scripts, comic scripts, novels, etc. Its normal price is about forty dollars.) It's awesome when it comes to keeping all your notes in one place so you don't have to pop back and forth between windows and shift through endless documents just to find that one detail you needed for that one thing. And Scrivener loves NaNoWriMo. They offer an extended free trial during NaNoWriMo that begins in October and ends in December, you get twenty percent off for just signing up for NaNo and if you win you get fifty percent off!

Guys, do it for Scrivener.

That's all I've got for you for now. As you can tell, I'm gearing up for NaNo so that means that'll either I'll post the most I ever had in this month then I ever had in an attempt to escape from my monstrous NaNo, or I'll fall off the face of the earth for a month. Until then, what do you think? Is NaNo a challenge worthy of the best and the worst of us or is it a colossal waste of a month? 
'Til next time nerds.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hello Lovlies and welcome to the Looky Here!, the first in a series of posts where I explain why I think a medium that's perhaps underrated should recognized as a legitimized form of art or academia, and help to identify and correct the perceived stigma that hangs around it. In this post, I'll be discussing Video Games.

I know I'm at risk for sounding pretentious or hipster-ish when I talk about this, and maybe I'm fighting a war that's already been won, but from what I still experience with everyday interactions with people who don't play video games, and even some who do (or at least did), I think this is still something that needs to be said. And that's actually a good place to start.

My Experience
Already this is tilting more toward editorial then persuasion but I find it important to first define myself and where I stand in this topic before I move to why. I am, at best, a video game enthusiast. I play and I play often, I form complex opinions and inquires about the narrative and mechanics when I play, I use the experience I had playing to inspire and fuel my own creative output. I actively seek out opinions other then my own to better understand all the angles to approach a video game from, however lightly I participate in the discussion. And while I try to venture outside of my own preferences in terms of genre, there are still places I refuse to go simply because it counteracts my purpose of seeking entertainment (chief among them, FPS's and Sports Games). And when I finish a game that has a lot of depth and plenty to dissect, such as The Stanley Parable developed by Galactic Cafe and released late last 2013, I put down my controller and venture out into the world, eager to find someone to discuss this experience with. These people are few and far in between. When I go to my contemporaries, I find they judge the game against whatever standard template they perceive games should be rather then giving it the freedom to be what it tries to be. When I try to find books to read on the subject that truly explore the implications of video games and what can be done with them, I find it difficult. There not found on shelves at bookstores or libraries. I find there's a fundamental difference in when I ask my parents or friends (for any given holiday) for a video game rather then a book. To them, one is toy and one is a tool.

What Video Games Are-Introduction
Video games are a relatively new medium, not even a century old yet. They are something to appreciate and interact with. At the beginning they present a goal to fulfill and end when that goal is reached, in the simplest terms. In this medium, the emphasis is put on the journey rather then the reward. And, more often then not, they are made for entertainment. These are things everyone can agree on.

The Stigma
By and by the wall I usually find myself up against when it comes to video games is that they are childish and don't require much thought. They are seen as what they were originally intended for at their inception, a way to pass the time for people with the time to spend. Not inherently anything to be looked down upon (depending on who your talking too) but not anything to necessarily be respected either. You score the touch down, dance the dance, save the princess, not much more to it. At large the definition of video games is simple. And that's where the problem lies.

Yes, there are more video games then not that are intended for the use of children; and yes, at face value video games do not demand much thought outside of a given goal. But to ignore the potential of what the game offers is like to read the bible and only see it as a story. There is so much more to it then that! Just looking at what I specifically look for in a game, a seamless and unique combination of game play mechanics and narrative, you get the chance to explore into the mind of the developer, much like you would in a book or movie. Only the developer, in taking you into this world, surrenders a great amount of control over it in letting you explore on your own, make your own choices; giving you a chance to fail, succeed, or even deviate from your given task, gifting you with a certain amount of ownership over the game yourself. And recently great things have come from this relationship between developer and gamer. Now there are titles on the rise that are more aware that you, the gamer, are seeking to know more through the game and as such try to weave a message into the game play for you to decode. Off of the top of my head, I can think of two titles that do this and do this well. One, which I mentioned earlier The Stanley Parable (available on Steam), and two, Journey (available on PSN). Both of these games are meant to tease you with exactly what the developers are trying to get at and leave you to figure out the rest. Taking it at face value is not experiencing it as a whole. Other games that are much less "artsy-fartsy", such as The Last of Us (available for PS3) or Bioshock Infinite (available for PS3, PC, and Xbox 360) have engrossing narratives that invoke emotions and empathy just as a movie or TV show would, only to a much greater extent because in the game, you aren't just watching the character go through it, you are the character going through it.

What Video Games Are-The Conclusion
Video games are a platform of entertainment, but much like any other platform (art, literature, film) they do not stop there. Video games dare to make you think, let you explore, encourage you to make your own decisions. They pull you into someone else's shoes and let you act according to their situation rather then just speculate on how you would act. In video games we find a relationship between artist and viewer that can't be found in any other medium. And through this relationship there is endless potential. Yes, there are still games that are easily fit the definition that the populace shares, but there are also games that do so much more. There are games that can help your growth, whether it be academically, morally, or otherwise. And even with all I've discussed in this post I know I've only touched the surface of what games can do.

Stats of the Week
Song: Sunken Secrets (Dire, Dire Docks) by Fishy
Book: How To Do Things With Video Games by Ian Bogost
Word: Perspicacity
Quote: "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree, it will live it's whole life thinking it is stupid."
~Albert Einstien

Friday, July 25, 2014

Okay, first, can I just say? Sermon on the Mount. Read it. Right now. Do it. It's in the Bible. Matthew 5-7. Shows you how to live your life without being a butt. Don't kid yourself, you need that.

Alright then. So for a couple of month now my pastor has been working on sermons that go in depth and explain the meanings and applications of all that Jesus talks about when he's giving the Sermon on the Mount, and there was a couple of sections that we went over that particularly caught my eye. Open your Bibles kiddies because this week we're in Matthew 7:1-12. And for those of you without bibles at home, let me offer you this passage in the New International Version.

I. Love. These. Passages. Didn't realize how much until I listened to my pastor's interpretation of it, but it answered a prayer I didn't even know I was praying. Thing is, most people wouldn't see these two passages as being connected, but I call SHARKNADO on this one and saying that God is a GENIUS on how he put these to passages right next to each other.

*By the way, when I call SHARKNADO on something, I'm saying that that the main point flew over most people's head, like with how everyone thought that Sharknado was a crappy horror film and didn't see it as the brilliant sci-fi multiple-dimension time travel thriller that it really was. 

As a writer, I can't help but pay attention to how God set this up and what effect he was going for. (Or, at least, one of the effects.) And when I looked at that, the meaning became so much more clear to me. First, let's look at the two passages separately. In verses 1-6 we've got the "Judging Others" speech. Sparknotes version: Here Jesus is telling us to not judge others because what goes around comes around. He goes on to say that whether or not we're right in our judgement, we really don't have grounds to condemn others because, guess what, we're in the same boat. In fact, in verse 5 it's implied that the judging we do is part of what puts us there. (That's a bit more well explained in the sermons, which I'll have linked on the bottom of the post.) Verse 6 is a bit tricky because some will interpret that it means that we shouldn't give advice to those "unworthy" (pearls before swine and whatnot). But that's not what Jesus is getting at, it's not part of his MO. The way I see it, he's saying don't give advice to people who aren't asking, they'll resent you for it. Because think of it in literal terms. You bring a bunch of pearls to a zoo and start throwing them at some pigs. They're standing there like "Okay, these are shiny but what are we supposed to do, eat them or something?" But you don't speak pig so you just keep throwing the pearls at them and then they start to get annoyed like "HEY! I'M WALKING HERE!". You keep throwing them and then they crush the pearls and start charging at you like "STOP THROWING THESE FREAKING PEARLS AT ME BRO!" 
So that's verses 1-6, what about verses 7-12? Here's where it gets a tad more straight forward. In verses 7 and 8, Jesus tells you what to do and what will happen if you do it. Ask, get. Search, find. Knock, enter. The rest of the passage is for people who didn't believe him. He was all like "Oh, really? When you ask your dad for bread, did he give you a brick? Nope. Gave you some bread. Guess what, your dad is evil. (For now anyway, I'll get to the heaven bit later.) So, if your evil Daddy gave you bread, imagine what God would give you. Also, golden rule. Look it up, it's Prophets law."

So, how do these two passages connect? Well, first consider this. All over the bible you hear the same message, love don't hate, we're all in the same boat. Don't judge. But see, it tells us to do this without giving an alternative. After all, the bible also calls us to make judgements with the Holy Spirit and act accordingly. What's the difference? How do you judge without judging? Well, look at all us dummy-dum-dums because Jesus tells us exactly what to do right after he tells us not to judge. Ask. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, ask the parties involved if you can help, ask if what your doing is right and allow the possibility for an answer you may not want to hear. See, this is why I love the bible. It humbles us, and then when we're in the position to listen to the word it give it to us straight. Verses 1-6? That was the set up. Verses 7-8 was the solution. 

And guess what, this is a proven practice out there in the world of not-Christians. Look at indigogo, kickstarter, patron! All these websites with Artists asking for donations sincerely and in earnest. No judgement, no manipulation. Just a please help us make this thing. And a lot of the time they get over funded. Amanda Palmer, lead singer of the Dresden Dolls, does a great TED talk about crowd funding called The Art of Asking. Look it up sometime, it's great. (It is, how should I say, PG13, so proceed with caution.) 

And that, my friends, is how to judge without being judgemental. You don't. You ask.

Go check out my pastor's sermons on the subject, he does a lot better job explaining it then me. 
Launch the sermon player on my church's website and click on Here Comes The Judge and Can I Ask You A Question? The sermons are also available as a podcast on iTunes. Just search Windy City Community Church. 

Stats of the Week
SongYou Are More By Tenth Avenue North
Book: The Gospel Of Matthew
Word: Acumen
Quote: "Judging is not our role [because], it under values the other person and over values ourselves."
~Steve Story

Monday, July 7, 2014

I love adventure. My favorite genre is fantasy, my favorite video game is Legend of Zelda, most of what I write is about an adventure of some sort. I stake my claim in this and dare to call myself an adventurer, and I invite you to join me. I think that without adventure, life is worthless.

How can you be called an adventurer, NikMac? I hear you ask. You barely ever set foot outside of your apartment willingly. Forget that, you barely move from your couch. Seriously, when was the last time you washed your dishes? And your clothes for that matter? I worry about you...

Well, to answer your question, let me start by asking one of my own. What is an Adventurer?

1) An Adventurer is an Explorer. 
To adventure, you must explore. You must venture outside of your comfort zone to experience new and impossible things. Because of this, an adventurer is never done in the business of adventuring. There will always be that next mountain to climb, forest to wander, sinister cave to brave.

2) An Adventurer is Brave. 
This stipulation follows the first fairly well, because in order to leave your comfort zone, a certain amount of courage is a prerequisite. And by courage I mean the ability to overcome fear, not the lack of it. Those who lack fear make for poor adventurers, because to go on an adventure is to grow, and very few things stimulate growth like overcoming fear.

3) An Adventurer is Good-Willed.
To adventure is to grow, and to grow is to learn. To harbor malice or ill-intent in your heart is cancerous and produces a narrow mind, and narrow minds do not learn. On the other hand, good will towards others nurtures a spirit ready, willing, and hunger to learn anything it can. This does not necessarily make the adventurer a hero or a martyr. It simply means they are a person and not a poison.

Those are three of the main characteristics of adventurers. But how does this translate into the here and now? How can a couch potato such as yours truly be called an adventurer? And, of course, why be an adventurer to begin with?

Today the world seems so small. With TV and internet and all the great and ever-growing innovation of technology, there seem to be precious few pockets of the world left to explore. But while there is so little left of the physical plane to explore, there are infinite possibilities to explore outside of that. We as humans are made to be creatures of great ambition, and when we choose to peruse that ambition it takes us into that forest to wander, with so much to try and conquer. No matter how narrow your path seems it takes you to unexpected places with challenges to overcome and rewards to be had. If you asked me three years ago what I wanted to do for a living I would have told you writing books. If you asked me now I would tell you writing novels and comic books and for animation and video games with a little bit of producing and indie work on the side and maybe some voice acting if I ever had the chance. And even outside of my chosen passion I can tell you I've adventured. I've gone from being a textbook shut in to a more sociable introvert, I've dived deep into the word of God even in the times it's convicted me, I've gone to places where I know I'm not welcome to proclaim what I know. That is my claim to the title adventurer.

So that leads to the big questions. Why be an adventurer to begin with? And, with all I've said today, I think the better question is, why not? As I said earlier, we are creatures made for fulfilling great ambitions. And if we're not always striving to do that, then what's the point? Are we born to just stand in one place until we die, or do we move? Do we learn to crawl, walk, run, bike, drive, fly? The point of this life is to take that next step forward, the resting is saved for the next. So, not being an adventurer is to go against the nature of your soul, like not eating would go against the nature of your body. All that would be left afterwards would be to wither.

Stats of the Week:
Song: Zi-Zi's Journey by Lindsey Stirling
Book: Showdown by Ted Dekker
Word: Odyssey
Quote: "Fantasy remains a human right. We make in our own measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made; and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a maker."
~J.J.R. Tolkien

Thursday, July 3, 2014

(Psst! If you like what you see, all my comics come out a day earlier on my deviant art, along with some bonus sketches! Link here: And guess what? They come out even sooner on my facebook page. Link here: Okay, I'll let you get back to your Cheerios now. )

(P.S. Happy fourth of July sorta.)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

*Rebloging this over from my old blog because it was so gosh darn-diggidy popular. 

Okay, so maybe I'm making a bit of a leap here. The bible doesn't directly say AND GOD DECLARED THERE SHALL BE NO CANOODLING IN THE MAGIC PICTURE BOX OR THE MYSITCAL SOUND CUBE. (I mean, probably not. I don't know, maybe it's somewhere in Psalms.) But when you get to thinking about what Jesus's opinion is, can you actually tell yourself yeah, he'd be cool with it? Yeah, no. And you know what, I get where he's coming from. I so do.

1) Sex Has Been Ruined For Me (...The Hipster In Me Anyway)
I haven't even had sex yet and I'm so freaking over it. It's just so...mainstream. (Dun-dun- DUUUUUN!)
It's everywhere! It's on TV, movies, books, EVERYWHERE! It's really freaking sad that you can't escape it even if you wanted to and personally, it's sucked all of the discovery out of it for me. I feel like I've been robbed of half the excitement of my wedding night because I already know what's going to happen more or less. I mean, come on media, at least say spoiler alert.

2) Inflation (Nickles Used To Be Worth A Lot. So Did Sex.)
The fact that sex is everywhere cheapens the value of it so much. It used to be that you had to invest in the person you where engaged with, that you had to put in effort. Now that people feel they have the liberty to do whatever they want sex has been down graded to it's most basic physical pleasure. And that just sucks because God intended it to be so much more. He gave us a gift when he made sex a meaningful experience. He could have just left it at "procreate the species" like he did with animals and made it a chore but he wanted us to find joy in the act of bringing new life in this world and he wanted us to share a deeper bond with the person you choose to spend your life with. Well, so much for that. And not only that, but it makes it out that this cheap, meaningless exercise is worth so much more then it is. I mean, this knock off of intimacy is meant to be the reason for existence? MMMMMM, nope.

3) Cake Analogies (Death By Association)
This is probably one that's a bit personal, but sex has ruined cake for me. I don't know if you know this, but in college, all you ever talk about is sex. (And Doctor Who, which I'm cool with.) So one, I have nothing to talk about most of the time. And two, I know a lot of things I'd rather not know. But whenever I'm trying to vent my frustrations about this with my friends back home, there are always children in the room. And they look up at you with their little eyes that know nothing of the shame in the world and babies grow out of cribs for all they know. And none of us want to ruin their happy little minds so we tried to find a substitute word. And that word was...
I'm so sorry.
Because now, cake has been ruined for me just by being bound to all the horrific experiences I've had involving my far to blunt confrontations with sex in college, like watching a graphic film in order to study it or when someone in fiction writing is reading what is generously called soft porn. (They have a name for that at College, Art.) Now, when I think of cake, I think of that night when my roommates talked about all the sexual conquests they've had in their life and when they tried to give me advice about it. That's not a night I want to remember when I'm at my friend's sister's five year old birthday party.

4) Needless Distractions (Why Have A Relationship When Someone Else Can Have It For You?)
Speaking strictly from a storytelling point of view, having sex or a relationship in a story can be a crutch. Don't get me wrong, romance is a driving theme in life and without it none of us would be here, and I'd be lying if I said that my heart doesn't melt when I read a good romance. Heck, even when it's a minor plot point in a book, if it's done right then HECKS YEAH I SHIP IT. But let's keep in mind, the romance has to be well done. This means that it has to have significance and needs to be fully fleshed. What do I mean by this?
Well, for one, for it to have significance means that you can't just have it there to have it there. It can't ever be a last ditch effort, or part of some formula to make an instant success. When you force a relationship into a plot it only drags it down and damages it's credibility. If you want an example, go watch any movie that's out right now. In fact, I dare you to find a movie without at least one romance going on, main plot or back point.
Second, the romance needs to be fully fleshed. Hollywood will tell you that you're significant other only exists to jump in front of a bullet for you and to fulfill you physical needs. Everything else is a side note. This is a cheap thrill designed to get you to identify with a character by playing on what you hope you're girl/boyfriend or spouse will do for you. But see, that's not all that there is to a relationship. (I would know, I've never been in one.) First off, you're partner does not live for your convenience. They are indeed their own person as well. And again, contrary to what we see all to often, you and your partner do not become one symbiotic being. Yes, the affection you feel between you is intense and yes a lot of your being should coincide or compliment your "other half" but the two of you remain to very different being with very different problems and from that there will be conflict, real meaningful conflict where it results in real awkward pain and something difficult to work through rather then divorce or angry, cheap sex. When you see a romance that does this, you've seen a romance done right.
And I realize that this section is getting a bit ranty but while we're on this note I feel I have to say that not all stories need a romance. Sometimes the conflict already placed is significant enough that it doesn't need anything else or a character just isn't ready for that level of relationship or wouldn't necessarily encounter it in the setting they've been placed. Look at some Cartoony Greats; Spongebob, Tom and Jerry, Pokemon! (I realize that at some point all of these shows had a romance but they didn't shove it into the lime light and tried to force it to be something it's not.) I mean, when we live in a world where Cartoon Network can't seem to string along a couple of shows without some sort of love story, you know we're going overboard.

5) Comparisons (I Don't Have Anything Clever To Say Here...Yet.)
Much like not every story needs a relationship, not every person needs a relationship. Me, I'm eighteen and I've never even had my first kiss. If I were to go by the standards of today, (largely enforced by the media), this would be because I'm not good enough to have a boyfriend. Maybe it's because I don't fit a cookie cutter figure or because I'm not interesting enough or I'm just too just darn awkward to become a "completed set" and to be worthy of participating in "the ultimate pleasure". Once upon a time, I really believed all those things were true. About a year ago I realized that I didn't have a boyfriend because I didn't really want a boyfriend. I wanted exactly what TV told me I should want, someone who lived to make me look and feel better. And when I really thought about it, I liked being single. I wasn't ready for a relationship at that level. And besides, there were no guys around me that I could truly picture myself with, at all.
But here we've got all these people jumping into relationships for those very reasons, we've created a co-dependent society. People are impatient and aren't willing to wait to for the person they're truly meant to be with, no matter how long it will take, because they think that being a partner and a friend is overrated and just want to get down to the bottom line. We all think that we need that special someone and we need it now, or else we're not really living. And shouldn't we all be blessed that the media has found the meaning of life, sex. So we date and we marry the perfect body without considering the perfect soul, because, well that guy is married and this girl is happy and yada yada ya.

Point is, don't listen to or compare yourself to anything, fictional, lyrical, or otherwise. It never ends well.

Stats of the Week
Song: Let's Dance To Joy Division by The Wombats
Book: The Rook by Daniel O'Mally
Word: Selfie (Yeah, it's a word now. Look it up.)
Quote: "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

Monday, June 9, 2014

Not even my first post and I'm already sick of all the gaming references I've made. (Sigh.) Someday I'll get this blogging thing right.

Well, let's jump right in, shall we? Hiya! My name is Nikki (or NikMacPattyWak if you prefer) and without getting too much into it I'm actually coming out of another blog that I wrote under a pen name that I decided to give up for issues pertaining to my Faith. And while I'm on that subject, I am an Evangelical Christian and yes I am quite serious about it and yes I shall be talking about my Faith quite a bit so that's out there for anyone who feels it's relevant.

What else about me?


I write. I write a lot. So much, in fact, that they sent me to college for it! (Don't worry about who "they" is. Seriously.) And I write all types of stuff, my focus lying in children to young adult fiction and comic writing. Right now my two major projects are a middle-grade comic called Braxton's Guide to the Extraordinary and Beyond!, which can be loosely described as a marriage between Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide; and Ed Hutch, a young adult novel about a girl who has a dream about Jesus meeting her in a used car salesman office and a list of people who she must talk too. And who knows, maybe I'll post bits from those up. Or maybe I'll post some short stories. Or maybe I'll just keep talking. Because I like talking. Who doesn't? Talking is great.

Okay, that look in your eyes says that you want to be done with my nonsense so I shall let you go.

For now.

Stats of the Week
Song: So Long Self by MercyMe
Book: Showdown by Ted DeKker
Word: Glory
Quote: "We read to know we're not alone."
~William Nicholson, Shadowlands