Tag Archive: why write.


                                       “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
― Roald Dahl

Because life isn’t a journey, for every journey ends and when it ends, we go on. There are no do-overs and second chances come as rare as a flower blooming in the dead of winter, but we learn and carry on. Sometimes we’re heavier from the burdens we take on and carry with us; sometimes we become lighter by sharing our burdens with those closest to us. Sometimes we complain and feel that our burdens are too much, but the weight isn’t what matters, what matters is that we carry it. Because the world turns and turns and we with it, plans fall apart, things change, scars fade, but the memory, the memories always remain and sometimes there’s a moment that hovers and settles for but a moment, leaving us forever and in-explicitly changed in the most unexpected of ways, ways we never thought or felt before. And it’s then that our dreams take over and it’s there I see you and it seems that wherever I go, I find you, you’re there, my luck, my fate, my fortune, my life, my blessing and my curse. But it’s not all about you, or where in the stars your destiny lies, it’s about the here and now and what you find in the hidden depths of your soul, it’s where we go from here, as the ashes of what was and what might have been finally settle down around us, leaving us forever transformed, this is it, this is the now and it’s when you finally decide where you’re going to go from here.

You see we’re born with this light burning brightly within us all and sometimes the light flickers and goes out and we have to rage against the dying of the light, doing all we can to keep it aglow, fanning the soft, warm embers to make the those internal fires grow. So I’m writing to those who haven’t yet lost that irreplaceable spark, whose life may have, or is being made miserable because they think no one wants, loves or believes in them. They don’t know that those people always doing the telling are wrong, because they lost their way and forgotten about the light which burns so brightly against the night showing them the way and that makes them jealous of the light we still have casting away the shadows of despair, regret, and bitterness that would otherwise ruin our perfectly good and happy little lives. And I want to help those people find what makes them special and if you can’t see that, then you’re also wrong, just like my mother. So why don’t you go ahead and write this down and let me show you what one person in a million can really do, let me prove that they’re wrong and your dreams are worth fighting for, you’re worth fighting for and you’re good enough, even when you believe you’ll never be. Because you already are, you’re already good enough; you’re perfect because you’re you and you’re here now.

I spent a lifetime trying to be someone else’s idea of perfect, bending myself to the will of others, molding myself like soft clay found in a riverbank, with no one but me to thank. I use to try so hard to be what someone else wanted me to be, even though it was slowly killing me, with everyone always looking at m and believing they knew me, seeing whatever they wanted to see. I was the geek who never had the courage to talk to you, the loser who never could get a break, the wannabe trying so hard just to be notice and be one of you, the jerk who kept pushing you away out of fear you’ll get too close, the coward who pretended I didn’t like you because “the cool” kids didn’t and I didn’t want to risk being associated with the likes of you, I was the creep who wanted so desperately for you to notice me, but whenever I would speak the words would come out all wrong, twisted and forever lost upon my tongue. but always hoping it’ll be enough to get you see through my charade and see through to the real me, wanting, needing you to just give me a chance or just push me in the right direction. Because I was the nerd who was always lost in a book and I was never one of the herds, because I never wanted to think about going home, I was the one who everyone always left alone. I was the introvert, wishing I could just convert and not be so afraid to show you that part of me that only a few ever got to see, I wanted to be an extrovert. But I wasn’t, I was the dweeb all the bullies would seek, perceiving me as being nothing more than weak, when in reality I was just unique.

I was all these things and more, never telling anyone how I would smile and joke, while inside I was always mess, fighting a private war in the confines of my own adolescent mind, struggling just to get by. Spending countless days sitting in class, quietly debating suicide or wishing I could just turn from all of this and run away. With all my words never being enough and feeling so frustrated all I wanted to do was scream and cuss.

But that was before, before I found my way, before I rediscovered my faith and found God, or he found me and without ever realizing it, he had become guide. He led me to a girl who eyes were like the sunrise, who saved my wretched life and helped me rediscover my lost faith. She affected me more profoundly and in more ways than my words could ever say. But since that day we met in the library, I know I’ve been left forever changed and I’ll always carry a part of her in my heart, my shooting star, my best friend, when went away and had went so very far away.

So I know what you’re thinking, you think you already know me, you think I’ll stand up here today and just tell you my name, then I’ll share with you my story, a story you probably won’t believe, because you believe you know the truth and you believe that there is none, because to you it’s been forgotten and you may even believe that the truth is even a lie. But you’d be wrong, because the truth is real and the truth is still absolute, even when it’s cold and cruel and more painful than any lie.

So take it from me, no matter where life takes you, too big cities, to small towns, you’ll inevitably come across small minds. There will be people who think that they’re better than you. People who think that material things, physical beauty and popularity automatically make them better, and a more worthwhile human being. But they’re wrong and I’d like to tell you that none of these things really matter unless you have the strength of character, integrity and a sense of pride about yourself. To fight the hardest battles, to make the greater sacrifice, like walking away from your truest love, knowing she’ll never see you the same as you do her, no matter how badly you wished you could. It means being her friend to the very end and ignoring how much it hurts, because she makes you a better human being, challenging your imagination and intellect.

So if you are ever so lucky to have any one of these things, don’t ever give them up, don’t ever change and don’t ever sell out. Because beauty fades and popularity never lasts and not even gold can stay, it’s like the changing of the seasons, leaves will always change and fall away all the time. Life ebbs and flows, changing all the time, inexplicitly, in the most amazing and unexpected ways, ways you never thought, imagined or believed possible.


So when you meet a person for the first time, please don’t judge them by their station in life, or the situation they’re in, give them a chance to show you who they really are, because who knows… that person just might end up saving your life, and becoming your very best friend…But that’s my story and what is now a part of me. For my friends come from different walks of life, each and every one of us were as different from each other as night is from day, I grew up the outcast with no real friends, but I met a jock, a goth, a genius, a band geek, a choir boy and a real rock-N-roller. We were all from different social circles and clicks, who found ourselves converging on this random path called life, becoming the closest of friends, becoming brothers and closer than family. Of course we didn’t always get along, most of us started out, hating, despising, or disliking each other for one reason or another, but somehow we found a commonality and it ensnared us so completely and enigmatically, pulling us together despite the fascist tides of discrimination and hatred a friendship like ours can sometimes breed. We came together on a random day in the middle of spring and discovered we had more in common than we had first believed. The result made us all a little stronger and wiser in ways we never thought possible. I still remember the day when I felt it, a unique sense of magic blossoming that day on the bus as he spoke excitedly about meeting up and hanging out later that day at Steven’s after school, when true friendship blossomed from the most unlikely of people who formed an even more unlikely bond, one that survived long distance and the ever changing tides of time.

 Life is filled with change and people change all the time, but they never say how much. So I could stand up here today and tell you my name is Joshua A. Cooper, I can tell you I’m a dreamer, an avid reader and a speaker who struggles to say the words that he means and this is me, finally coming clean and telling you that I love, even as I wonder what it means, I have days where I feel like I’m coming apart at the seams and days that are more incredible than anything I could possibly hope for or dream. So you may or may not believe the words I have to say, because you don’t know me, but still life goes on and on, filled with endless possibilities, with its various risks, pleasures and consequences, making us question our time here and what we do with the time we are given and how precious little of it we have left. It’s how we let our circumstances shape and mold us into who we are, making me who I am, making me the person the Lord has always meant for me to be, which is just me and it’s incredibly freeing to simply be yourself and not what everyone else wants you to be.

 

“Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.”
― Nora Roberts

Why I write.

-Sometimes, we must journey through an eternity of darkness and pain in order to find our true selves.”-J Cooper

Seriously, writing is hard, and I am occasionally crazy and sometimes I can be a bit spacey. I can normally be found staring into space, talking to myself, or acting out elaborate scenes almost as if I’m choreographing an epic play. Because sometimes I kind of am. When it comes to my writing, I tend to skip making your basic outline, and web, instead I simply begin writing little mini chapters, or (type being the more opportune word or if you simply want to be a jerk about it and call be a typist) I sometimes skip around and write summaries or even chapters I’ve already played out and planned in my head. So I guess you can say I’m a very unconventional writer.

Although before I even begin writing I often create character bios, background, making an entire history to shape and mold the characters I write about. Each character has his or her mini story, so before I even begin to write, I already have my characters in place, their motivations and reasons why they are the way they are. I often imagine what it would be like to be each one of my characters, or simply be the casual observer, passing my characters by along the street.

Then I usually tell myself my writing sucks and no one would ever read my crap. (It’s always good to keep a realistic grasp of the situation.) But I always dive into the story regardless, knowing that the characters have taken on a life of their own and want their stories to be heard, stories that need to be explored.

Once I’ve written or typed (if you still want to be a jerk and call me a typist) the equivalent of 30-40 pages, I usually read, or skim over it for mistakes, revisions before I feel comfortable enough to let someone else read it, at which point I become a twelve year boy, who just passed a note to a pretty girl in class, because I get all giddy with anticipation to hear their feedback, thoughts and to talk to them about my story. Because I love feedback both the positive and the negative, because I can always correct the negative and the good always assures me I’m on the right track.

But I write almost every day, including when I’m on vacation. Sometimes for ten minutes, sometimes for 2 hours, sometimes for 12 hours; most often something rational and in-between. I don’t have a daily quota. I just write however much I write, and my plan is always changeable. I don’t force myself to write if it’s not working. I try not to check email or do other distracting things, but I don’t succeed very often, and that’s okay, because small rests and distractions are part of the process and help get those brain juices flowing.

My ideas tend to start with characters in my head who are having a conversation– usually arguments, or find themselves being tested, be it their faith, relationships, their dreams, or just their lives. Although most of my stories come from my dreams, where I often become more of a passenger in someone else’s body, witnessing their triumphs, their failures, their victories and their defeats, and  I’m always there with them along their journey. But then I listen to my characters, they’re so angry sometimes, or sad, so introspective and they all talk to me, like ghosts from another life who wants their stories to be heard and I can’t disappoint them. They want the world to know who they are and why, to know what their fighting for, and what it is they want. There’s everything from hate and vengeance, to redemption and salvation, all the way to stories of all-encompassing and all powerful love. More importantly however these characters want to live!

And so it all starts to come together.

Characters, relationships, and feelings come first. Then the setting, plot, and so on, till the story begins forming, coming together and much like Frankenstein’s monster, begins taking on a life of its own, writing itself at that point. Which is also usually when my fingers struggle to keep up with everything flowing and racing to get out of my brain and there are parts of the plot I don’t know until I get to them in the book itself, and (breath) it’s then they happen and even I get surprised and feel the suspense building, and the relief…or sometimes the disappointment in the resolution. Because not every story can end well, or even on a high note. Some and the very best stories are often wrought with tragedy and pain, but more importantly growth.

My characters are similarly elusive. A conversation I’m writing may veer off course or get out of hand; I can intend a character to say something, but it doesn’t mean he or she will. Instead my characters often surprise me. And then I realize I was wrong about who it was they were, or I realized my character had been growing this whole time and I adjust my perceptions and stand aside as my characters grow, mature, or sometimes regress and withdraw.

What else can I tell you about my writing process?

I sit in an armchair.

I spend a lot of time staring into space.

I talk to myself….a lot

I make playlist for whatever story I’m writing and call it my soundtrack.

I count the glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling.

I act out scenes to see and feel how they would play out, by imagining I’m them and every other character in the scene and thrust myself into their situation, studying every scenario and going over every outcome I can imagine. This sometimes even leads me to me writing a brief side story explaining the minor or supporting characters motives as well as telling their story as a whole.

I walk from the living room to the bedroom in search of something specific and by the time I get there I’ve forgotten what I was looking for and then I remind myself to break myself of the control the TV has over me and I try to sketch, or doodle something I see in my head until I forget whatever the heck it is that I’m doing, before I finally crack my knuckles and dive back into my writing.

When people knock on the door, I hide. When my phone rings, I yell, “Oh, who in the blazes is bothering me now?!” and don’t answer. But always check to see if they left me a nice little message.

Or when I’m stuck on a piece I call up a trusted friend explain a scene to them and ask for their thoughts, then throw out everything they say and come up with something completely different and new as I thank them for all their help and support right before hanging up on them in mid-sentence.

When I go for walks in the neighborhood I carry my Ipad and can often be seen exclaiming in triumph or scowling or laughing maniacally as I type frenziedly on it’s lovely keyboard before screaming out with vengeance, “Damn you autocorrect!” as I raise my fist to the heavens and shake it vigorlessly towards the sky.

Sometimes I worry that the house is going to burn down. This is why I keep my notebook in a fireproof, waterproof safe and have invested a small fortune in USB drives, portable hard drives, which I have scattered all over my house and place them inside my lovely safe. So when I go on vacation, I leave the key on top of the safe with a note for robbers asking them to please open the safe before deciding to steal it, because if they’d only open it, they’d see a picture of me, with a note pleading to them not to steal it, for I am a lowly writer and I will one day write a story that changes the world, because people will read again! And if they steal from me, I will find them and forever immortalize them in my next book, giving them every character flaw known to man, also explaining that I’m most likely broke and don’t keep any useful banking info on my computer, so there’s nothing really worth stealing anyway.

Before I had a fireproof, waterproof safe, I kept my notebook in a padded carrying case, which never left my side. Then Stephen King had told me that sometimes you’re too close and you just have to back away from your writing for a while– sometimes a long while and sometimes even longer than that. Things are a lot clearer after you’ve had some distance. Much like an ex-girlfriend who no matter how hard you tried making things work, the relationship simply falls apart and can’t be saved. But also like the rare ex, when she calls you up after a period of eleven months you begin to discover her all over again and remember why you had fallen in love with her in the first place. Which I’ll remind you, can cause a whole mess of other problems. But I digress…

I worry constantly about whatever book I’m currently writing. I worry about the wording, I worry about the themes, the plot as a whole, whether the characters seem to others the way they seem to me, whether the book is getting too long, whether my protagonist is likable, whether my fantasy world is consistent, whether I’ll be able to hold everything together, whether there’s even anything worth holding. There is never a moment when I don’t have something to worry about. I have learned however that this is just what it feels like to write a book. Most of the time, I can keep it from bothering me. You get good at ignoring the voices. Or giving them the attention that’s best for them: listening to them and laughing and giving them a hug, and saying, “Yes, I know you’re worried. It’s okay. Let’s go watch a pretty sunset and oh, let’s go get us a nice strawberry smoothie!”

I take my writing way too seriously. I can’t help it. I love it so much and writing is my life. Without I doubt I would have ever survived craziness of it all.

And writing is a strange activity, but humans are weird, right? A writer is an extreme type of a human being, we tend to over analyze everything, although we seem very good at reading people and noticing subtle plot changes, which by no means do we ever like it when it happens. I for one love and embrace change, while I also hate and fear change as well. But that’s just me and I’m a writer and writers are a little eccentric, a little weird and we’re all complex souls and I’m no exception. Because I also find that everything has its own soundtrack and whenever I write a new story I can be often be found making a playlist to coincide with my story, which helps me get into tune with my story and even helps with some much needed inspiration at times, and helps block out all the white noise after a long and arduous day of maintaining one’s sanity at their day job, along with all the little nuances that come with having a personal life.

So this is why I write and I hope I hadn’t bore you much, for I did try to be humorous because writing is supposed to be fun and should have some personality, and I think we can all agree that (Good) writing should inspire some kind of feeling, hope, love, fear, excitement or leaving you feel simply inspired.

-J Cooper.