Heart of the Matter

†††† Whatever we do in life, doing it only halfway never gets us far.† When we put out effort and give it our all, the effort shows in the end result.† Those times when we reach out and take a chance, placing our hearts out there to be ripped to shreds Ė those are the times when our work excels.† Those are the times when our work gets notice.

†††† We must be willing to place our deepest darkest parts out there in our writing, for all to see.† We cannot be shy, not if we want our words to gain notice.† We have to be brave.† We have to be strong.† We have to accept that someone will look at what we have stated and say that we must be insane, or worse delusional.† But, we must be willing to accept that some people will think poorly of us.† Yet, when we reveal those deep secrets we might just discover that others are right there with us.

†††† Reaching the inner demons, turning them out on paper, exposing them to the light of day, this gains a readerís attention.† Many a reader suffers from those same doubts, those same fears, and even those same thoughts.† Iíve seen this idea taken along a lot of paths, some sexual.† Personally, I donít care to hear about someoneís flaccid penis when I am reading a story about James and Gillianís relationship.† Yet, if that particular part of the anatomy plays a significant role in the relationship, maybe we need to be shocked by the visual.† However, in every such piece I have ever read, I could see no reason for throwing this information in, short of trying to shock the reader.† For me the picture is disgusting, not intriguing, not brave, its simply gross and inappropriate.

†††† You want to shock me, do it by having your character intentionally step in front of a tank waving a flag of peace with the full expectation that he will likely die.† Or better yet, put me in the mind of the soldier who drives the tank for the Communist Army, who is leading a line of tanks who decides to stop rather than running the man over.†

†††† The 1989 film clip of the man with the flag who single handedly halts the tank division by putting himself into harms way, is amazing to me.† He is a person I would like to know.† His willingness to sacrifice himself on the hope that the tank driver would not have it in himself to kill a fellow citizen, was truly reaching for the stars.† And he not only reached them, he pulled them down from the sky with that one act. †That man, nicknamed Tank Man became bigger than life in that exchange.† This is a character I want to read about.† How did he find himself there at that particular moment and what prompted him to take such risks?

†††† We cannot be timid in our writing.† We have to be willing to take chances.† We have to be willing to put two lonely cowboys in a small tent and end up having a sexual encounter. †But if you do that, please have it as a natural outcrop of a series of situations, not by simply throwing it in my face like a cold bucket of water.†

†††† So go out there and write something cutting edge, something that makes your own body and mind want to revolt.† Take a chance.† It might just turn out to be the impetus you need to reach the next level.†

Challenge 12

†††† Come up with an improbable coupling of people who end up in a sexual relationship.† An example of such a pair might be a Catholic Nun and a Muslim man or a North Korean Officer and a South Korean worker in a factory on the northern side of the border.† You can use these or something else.† Show me how they got together.† What barriers real or imagined stand in their way?† What is the risk if they get caught?† (For this exercise it should be a huge risk.)