Good morning peeps!
I decided not to title today’s post because there is just so much to cover. Also, it’s going to be both happy and sad – nothing horrible.
I guess I’ll start with the most recent thing and go backward. That way, we can get through the ‘bad’ and finish off with the good.
As many of you know, I’m part of a couple writing groups on Facebook. At least two of them are closed groups, one because it’s a paid membership, and the other because that’s how the author wanted it. Anyways, a regular contributor to the group posted an article. This article talks about a well-known writer who passed away. The writer is a Pulitzer prize winning reporter named Alex Tizon and the article talked about how they were going to ask his permission to publish something in specific. But before they could do that, he had passed away. The article was published anyways. Mr. Tizon’s final piece was something he worked on for about 5 years, and it just so happens that because he passed away, that this long article ended up being a tribute to his work. And that final piece is heartbreaking. In case you are wondering before I continue about this topic, THIS is the editor note and here is the final article of Alex Tizon. Be prepared to be sad… Just saying.
If you wish the coles notes version of the story it’s the next paragraph. The one that follows is just my thoughts about it.
Alex’s family was ‘gifted’ a woman they named “Lola” to be a servant, or in our terms, a slave. He did not know how she fit into the family dynamic until he was 11 years old. His father was able to get a job in America allowing them to move from their home country. They brought Lola with them. Because Lola was able to move to America on account of the work visa for Alex’s father, she could do so. Unfortunately, once the dad left the job, she was supposed to be sent back to the Philipines because she wasn’t actually part of the family according to immigration. Suffice it to say, when Lola wanted to visit her family after that, her status had since expired. Not only would a trip home mean she might not be allowed back but doing so would risk deporting Alex’s whole family because they lied to immigration. Over time, Alex’s parents both passed away and Lola became Alex’s. Due to the fact that Alex had stuck up for Lola, once they learned the truth, his wife and he paid her an allowance so that she could be her own person. They never asked anything of her but she did it anyways. It was the only thing that she knew how to do. Over time, she learned to somewhat adapt. She watched TV whenever she wished and even taught herself to read English! At one point, Alex and his wife asked Lola if she wanted to visit her home. Once she indicated that she did, they purchased her a ticket. The Philipines was nothing like she remembered and many of her family had already passed on. So she returned to America. Up until that point, she had taught herself to garden which was something she returned to. Lola was a free woman. But one day while cooking in the kitchen, she had a heart attack and died. This happened when Alex was out running errands. It was a shocking blow to Alex and his wife because they were not prepared for it. Lola was 86 years old and had tragically died on the same day as his mother had but many years later. And Alex, the kind soul that he was, had Lola cremated so that he could bring her ashes back home. There is a passage that struck me:
Lola made it to 86. I can still see her on the gurney. I remember looking at the medics standing above this brown woman no bigger than a child and thinking that they had no idea of the life she had lived. She’d had none of the self-serving ambition that drives most of us, and her willingness to give up everything for the people around her won her our love and utter loyalty. She’s become a hallowed figure in my extended family.
All of that is a much shortened version of the sort of person Alex Tizon was, and it’s no shock that he wrote for The Atlantic. Reading through that final piece illustrates what we as writers hope to achieve with our own works. The whole purpose of being a writer is to tell stories like no one else can, evoke specific emotion, and allow people to think about the world we live in. Alex lived in America with a woman who grew up being a slave, when this very idea was meant to be abolished long ago. The fact that slavery still exists in the world is heartbreaking, despite it being the only thing that those people know. It made me step back and think. And tear. And wonder what Lola, a Filipino born woman, could have achieved in her life.
Many of you might not know, but a friend of mine spent a few years learning Tagalog – the primary language of the Philippines. Since I helped him put together flashcards, I understand a little bit of Tagalog. He can speak full sentences and understands the syntax where I just helped him figure out simple words. The moment I saw some of the statements, I knew automatically that it was Tagalog.
Anyways, in case any of you have forgotten, there is a world outside of North America which doesn’t have the same laws or ideas about life. People tend to forget that. Some of it isn’t pretty. Some of it is amazing. And some of it provokes thought. While I may not have ever known Alex Tizon or Lola, I feel as though I better understand the situation in their family. As a result, I have tremendous respect for them both. /end sad talk
Now to brighter things!
Over the weekend I was at Comic Con, both as a regular guest and as a staff member. I have to thank Cliff for being an awesome boss and a much larger thanks to Morris. Not only did he drive me to the event on most days, but he trained me on what needed to be done, and was fun to hang out with. I owe that man 😀 Anyways, he’ll be pleased to know that I did actually do the announcements on Sunday. I also dealt with a few weird things which were solved fairly easily, and I networked with some amazing people. After all of it, I hope that I can be staff again – for the full weekend. I love being mobile, problem solving, and directing people to what they are looking for. Most people were wonderful, and I even had a chance to sit in on two very important panels. One discussed partnerships on Twitch and the other was how to keep yourself safe online. What’s funny about that was that I met the panelist for internet security beforehand. I had given him my email so that he could send the pictures of us before the panel happened! Then I questioned myself for having done that… Even funnier was the fact that he was dressed as TRON. Best. Costume pick. Ever. In light of that, his name is Terry Cutler, and he’s an ethical hacker. Here is his page. I suggest you check it out.
This weekend I volunteer again and I can’t wait 😀 It’s going to be a good time because this particular event I’ve never been to before. More on that after the event… I’ll let you know what I thought of it. Mwahahaha!
And the last great news for the week is that I finally strugglebussed my way through Chapter 3. As you know I double kidnapped my protagonist, then had followed up with a particular person saving Agnus. Once I deleted the section with the first kidnapping, the rest of the chapter was fairly simple to fix. It then became a matter of time devoted to working on my manuscript. This flub up was weeks in the fixing, hence my excitement. At this point, I only have three more chapters to edit through and I’m done. (Btw, each ‘Chapter’ currently has about 8 scenes which are about 2k words or more. Those scenes will be altered to be ‘real’ chapters. Agnus the Beast will end up being about 40 chapters or so which sounds about right. It seems fairly average that chapters are about 2k words… And for Fantasy, sometimes that’s longer.)
After I get this all edited then I can finish up my Video Gaming book. I’ve found some more articles to reference in the piece. This book is going to be epic actually…. More on that later 😀
I’ll leave you with a picture from Comic Con. If you have a blog with awesome pictures, let me know! I like to help promote people 😀
Until next time peeps!