Sunday, March 25, 2007

Who Are You?

"Attaining inner simplicity is learning to live happily in the present moment. Keep in mind that life is a continuous succession of present moments."
Elaine St. James

As I watch the views for my blog grow, I find myself wondering who is reading my words. This entry isn't about me or my thoughts or my work. It's about you. We all have stories. Share a piece of yours, if you will.

I used to get a newspaper that had short clips of life moments featured for local readers. I loved that more than anything else in the paper. They contained the most truth. I would love to do a version of it here. Write one or two sentences that reflects something about who you are. Many of us are parents, grandparents, writers, managers, laborers, etc. but that doesn't give us a clue about "who" is behind the roles we play.

Who are you?

Post anonymously if you prefer (please keep it PG rated), but give me some idea about the inner soul of those reading these words. I am fascinated by people. You never know if something I read will wind up in a story in some way.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

live creatively free

To live creatively free, do what you know how to do now then 'act as if' you know how to do the rest."

How closely should art force itself to follow reality?

In many ways, art has to be more real than reality. Fiction has to make sense to readers. Life doesn't have to make sense. In fiction, each story has a beginning, a climax, and an ending where everything comes together in some kind of tidy manner. Life isn't so tidy. Things don't make that much sense in our real worlds. The problem comes when the two mix and mingle, such as in historical novels and movies.

300, the film starring Gerard Butler, an actor who is finally getting mainstream recognition after many years of being largely and unfairly ignored, is getting incredible reviews. The story of the few trying to overcome the many has echoes of so many situations we see on a daily basis that it has become irresistable to audiences. Let me say first that I have yet to see it. I will. It's actually one I would wait for the video since, although I love history, I don't watch many war movies of any kind. I do have plans to see it in the theater, though, simply to help support this actor and help push him further into mainstream view. I like that it doesn't have a bunch of huge names in it, also. The focus here seems to be the story line and acting ability instead of name-dropping. I have to appreciate that.

I did read one review of a history buff whose son (also a history buff) went to see it and came back complaining that it was historically inaccurate. I found myself on both sides of the issue. I also love history. I feel it's very important to understand history if we are to understand the present and future. However, I'm also a fiction writer and understand the basic elements stories have to have in order to pull and mesmerize audiences. The intended audience for such a film expects action and splendor and scenery (which kind of scenery may depend on gender) and without it, regardless of how historically accurate it might be, the reviews won't move it past the preview weekend.

The point of a movie, its main theme, is what an audience will remember if it's done well. Does the director's vision for what s/he wants the audience take home allow the right to artistically recreate history? Maybe. What is the point of knowing history? Remembering each detail or learning from its message? I tend to think it's the message that's important. Memorizing each date of each event in high school and college history classes seemed insane to me. They weren't going to be remembered past the test date. However, what I got from the story of it, I kept.

Movies are fiction, unless they are specifically labelled as documentaries. If they make us stop and think, then maybe we'll go do the research ourselves. If we don't research, then we at least get the main point of the story. There is not one historical novel, including those hailed as classics, that does not play with historical fact to make it work within the story. Does it invalidate the history? Of course not. Will it lead readers to do more research on the time period to get more actual facts? Not very often. Most readers and viewers want entertainment. If they can learn a fact or two along with it, that's great, but those who want non-fiction read non-fiction or watch documentaries instead.

By the way, it's hard to tell how much of what we learn in our history books is actual history, as well. It's all slanted by whoever is telling the tale and by the individual teachers injecting their personal opinions. History always has been. Are the facts actual facts? Were they fictionalized in the first place to make them more interesting? Possibly.

Nothing written or spoken is ever done without the viewpoint of the writer or speaker involved. Nothing heard is ever taken in without the viewpoint of the one doing the hearing mixing it with personal opinion. At least in fiction, we are saying outright, "This is not fact. This is a story of my own creation in which I mixed real things with non-real things with imagination with personal opinion with belief with wants with needs...." Will the reader still get something worthwhile out of it? Of course.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Walk In The Garden

"I try to live what I consider a poetic existence. That means I take responsibility for the air I breathe and the space I take up. I try to be immediate, to be totally present for all my work."
Maya Angelou

As any gardener knows, a simple walk in the garden is never simple. The beauty others see upon viewing the results of her work cannot compare to the thoughts of the gardener while walking along her flowers. She sees not only the hours of work already put in, but also the hours yet to come and the details she is not quite happy with that she wonders how to improve.

In a way, her garden is more beautiful to her than to anyone viewing it in passing. In another way, it can never be quite as beautiful as others see.

Other artists understand her. Painters visit an art gallery and see the work lying behind each piece. They listen to compliments of their own work and burke the thoughts of knowing what could have been done better. Dancers feel the pulling of muscles and strains and fatigue while watching other dancers while the audience sees only the grace and beauty.

Writing is the same. We hold our books in our hands and read reviews, thrilled to see when a reader 'gets' what we are trying to say behind the words, humbled at the request for a signature, and thankful for each sale. At the same time, we don't see only a pretty (or scary or mysterious) cover and many pages full of a story. We see hours upon end of writing and rewriting, editing and pondering, deleting and redoing; and we especially relive the questions that plague us through the whole process. Are we accomplishing the beauty that is in our minds well enough? Will we affect readers enough to make some difference in their worlds?

Our walks through our books are filled with these questions as well as with thoughts of what we want to do better the next time, what weeds we would like to pluck off the printed page to replace with a rose or sunflower or carnation.

In the meantime, we focus on marketing, on finding readers who may enjoy our stories and our characters.

Much of my winter has been spent focusing on marketing. My website now offers a press kit for bookstores, a special offer for reading groups, and a brand new newsletter to offer information on happenings with my writing and in the indie arts. I'm quite glad to announce a new arts feature, as well: An Interview With A Musician. You'll find the first, a chat with Johnny Roxx,renowned guitarist, posted on the indie arts page.

I would also like to publicly say thank you to the two fans who are running Myspace pages for my three main characters from Rehearsal. Liz and Jan, I can't thank you enough for your support and assistance.

You'll find the first three chapters of A Different Drummer in the characters' blogs, one in each blog, beginning here:
The prologue can be found on my site:

Spring has arrived, and with it, I am not only back to working in my flower garden, but also obsessive about furthering the second book of Rehearsal, entitled The Highest Aim. Does anyone know from which quote the title comes or the author of it?

Also with spring comes spring cleaning. As I'll be changing residences soon, I have been clearing out things I don't want to have to unpack and store in the new house. The fewer things to move the better, in most cases. So I am also going to start offering a "moving sale" on the copies of A Different Drummer I have in stock. I hope to publish The Highest Aim this fall and would like to make room to stock that one next.

Watch either Myspace ( or my newsletter ( for details.

Wishing you all a poetic existence,
LK Hunsaker