Beauty.

In case you haven’t heard me bubbling about it over the last couple of weeks… I finally finished the first rough draft of my book: Beauty.
I had originally thought it would be a short story that I could potentially share over the internet, a glorified blog post. I soon realized that this story had a lot more pages than I felt comfortable sharing over the web, or because of it’s personal message to me, sharing it at all.

‘Beauty’ isn’t just any story. It’s basically a metaphor for what I’ve struggled with my entire life. A couple of years ago I overcame some huge obstacles dealing with low self esteem and self-worth.
For the first time in my life I felt beautiful. I no longer considered beautiful as being able look in the mirror and wink at the attractive face/body staring back. I no longer compared myself to others or constantly downed myself in my mind.

That’s when I started this book. I knew what it was like to be that girl, who was beautiful in more ways than one but never saw it. I wanted to challenge the reader to examine what they thought beauty meant in a completely non-confrontational way. So I used symbolism. I wedged the inner thoughts of my journey into the story of a girl and a boy, both in search for something beautiful.

In a sense, this book mimics certain aspects of my life for the past couple of years.
Without spilling my guts all over my keyboard, I will now give a small insight as to why this book is so special to me.
I wrote the original relationship between the two main characters out of sheer emotional release from the reality of something similar in my own life. I guess you could call it wishful thinking. Then, as the characters discover, I came to realize that what I was searching for wasn’t love or success or my future, I was searching for self-worth. Even after I had come so far, I still didn’t know what I was truly worth.

I’m not sure why it took me over 2.5 years to finish this novel. For a long time I knew exactly what I wanted to write, only I could never make myself sit down and write it. I was stuck half way through the story, with no motivation to finish.
During this hiatus, the reality I drew my inspiration from sent me through a few puke rides at a carnival. I receded to a place I didn’t want to go anymore, all the while trying to judge my own self-worth again. It took one last shovel full of mistakes before I hit rock bottom.

I was finally over it.

So I picked up the pen (or computer) again. This time writing with resolve instead of longing. I was able to finish it with the correct thoughts in my head, with the true meaning of beauty coursing it’s way through my veins.

The plot of the book turns out the way I had always wished it had, but I struggled invariably for quite sometime on whether it should follow along with the reality it was inspired from or not. I chose to stick to the plan, purely because I felt it needed to.
And like the magnificent assumption in the movie ‘Becoming Jane’, Jane Austen wrote happy endings for her characters because she would never come to one. Just because this particular ending didn’t happen didn’t mean a happy ending wasn’t deserved by the people whose lives I created on paper.

I wanted to leave you with something from my book, because it’s cruel to talk about it so much and never have let you take a peak.

“Beauty is witnessing the endless sky transition from a bright glow through hues of sunset and into darkness speckled with tiny pinholes of light. Beauty is creation. Creation of art, creation of memories. Beauty is destruction. Destruction of pride, destruction of self. Beauty is finding the very thing you were looking for right in front of your eyes. Beauty is gazing into the eyes of the one you love as they walk towards you, down a path of redemption and commitment. Beauty is anticipation, endeavor, and passion. But most of all, Beauty is love.”

The Dance With Death.

“Keep your vision all-inclusive, never allowing it to lock on any one thing…look everywhere at once, see nothing to the exclusion of all else—don’t allow the enemy to direct your vision, or you will see what he wishes you to see. He will then come at you as you become bewildered, looking for his attack, and you will lose.
Instead, your vision must open to all there is, never settling, even when cutting. Know your enemy’s moves by instinct, not waiting to see them. To dance with death meant to know the enemy’s sword and its speed without waiting to see it. Dancing with death meant being one with the enemy, without looking fixedly, so that you could kill him. Dancing with death meant being committed to killing, committed with your heart and soul.”

– Terry Goodkind, Temple of the Winds

This passage comes in the context of a warrior in battle. A warrior whose only objective is to eliminate the threat. To obliterate the enemy at all costs.

As my life unfolds, I find that I possess the power to read into things way too much. This is sometimes detrimental, but other times is useful for seeing symbolism and metaphor where there is only normality. To find minute distinction in the hopelessly ordinary. Revealing the nuance in the prose if you will. 😉

Once again, I find myself sucked into another one of Terry Goodkind’s genius stories involving Richard Cypher and the Sword of Truth. And, once again, I recognize the spiritual undertones of it all.

[WARNING: The following text contains extreme nerdiness.]

In order to understand it fully, you must understand the way the sword works in the story. The Sword of Truth is a sword of magic. It’s used in it’s ideal purpose only by the noble and true of heart, warriors who are not corrupt, not selfish. It possesses the knowledge, feelings, and abilities the previous owners sustained. When the sword is used, the person gripping the hilt at once becomes one with the ancestors of the sword, using the same power those before him used. That power is his for the taking.
Richard calls this summoning of power, this art of war, ‘The dance with death’ … as it mimics dancing in footwork, and results in the impending reaping of life.

So it is in the spiritual realm.

As disciples of Christ, we already own this ‘sword’. In a previous blog, “I Just Want to be a Woods Guide.”, I explained that the sword is a symbol of the word of God, the bible (Hebrews 4:12). I also mentioned how accepting the title of ‘disciple’ opened the gateway into the power that the sword gives. Richard gains power through the sword itself, as we do with the words of God to guide us through life. He also gains power through the ancestors before him, who wielded this very sword. Those ancestors to us are not only the prophets and disciples accounted in the bible, but also those generations before us, who blazed a trail into the world we know today. We are given power by their heritage, by their strength. (Acts 1:8)

By this we know that we are fully equipped to fight the enemy. We have the power necessary to obliterate any obstacle and overcome any trial.
With power comes skill. Skills that we learn on the battle field, skills we learn through heritage.

That’s what the quote is all about. It’s advice for the warrior on how to kill.
I’ll break it down for ya.

“Keep your vision all-inclusive, never allowing it to lock on any one thing…look everywhere at once, see nothing to the exclusion of all else.”
When fighting the enemy, our first instinct is to focus on them. But when we focus too hard on the enemy we get tunnel vision, and can miss more foes on either side or even solutions to the problem. One of Richard’s favorite quotes is: “Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the solution.”

“Don’t allow the enemy to direct your vision, or you will see what he wishes you to see. He will then come at you as you become bewildered, looking for his attack, and you will lose.”
When we are focused so much on the enemy and the problem at hand, we are focusing on the exact thing Satan wants us to focus on: Him. And when we’re focused on him, we aren’t focused on God. We lose sight and direction from who we’re fighting for. Before we know it, we’re so lost in Satan’s will that we become confused and disoriented, primed and ready for yet another attack.

“Instead, your vision must open to all there is, never settling, even when cutting.”
Even when we gain ground against the enemy, it’s easy to have ourselves a little victory march and forget what’s going on. This line means to never stop anticipating the next move. If you allow yourself to freeze on even the smallest gain, it could be detrimental to yourself and those around you (Nehemiah 4). To never settle is to never become desensitized.

“Know your enemy’s moves by instinct, not waiting to see them. To dance with death meant to know the enemy’s sword and its speed without waiting to see it. Dancing with death meant being one with the enemy, without looking fixedly, so that you could kill him.”
To fight the adversary is to know the adversary. In battle we are to move by instinct, and that instinct is based in knowledge received from past experiences and by what the word of God tells us. Because we are equipped with the knowledge of the enemy, we shouldn’t have to wait for his attack in order to fight back. We know which route sin could take to get to us, and what level of attack it will be. It is up to us to be ready for the attack we know will undoubtedly come. The quote calls it ‘being one with the enemy, without looking fixedly’ … This reiterates the previous advice to not put your focus where the enemy wants it, but to keep enough focus about the enemy in order to predict his next move.

“Dancing with death meant being committed to killing, committed with your heart and soul.”
Bottom line: If you aren’t fully committed to fighting against, and ultimately destroying, the sin in your life, you will succumb to the the wiles of fleshly desire and find yourself defeated. You must be committed to the fight with your heart and soul. (Mark 12:30)

— — —

Are you ready for the dance with death?

Lie.

Lie.
A story about a guy named Leslie.
He’s caught up in a world of lies. He’s been lied to his whole life.
So he lies to get ahead in life. And He lies to get out of life.
He lies to everyone around him. And he lies to himself.
What will it take to free him from the lies? To free him from himself?

— — —

I think God has allowed me to catch on to something here. In a previous post I told you about the title of the next book I’m going to write, entitled: “Broke”, using a play on words about a girl named Brooke.
This one popped in my head today, As I was doing exactly the same thing I was doing when the last one came to me… I was sitting in church listening to a sermon.
I’m convinced that this is going to be a series of books that can be used to be enjoyed by and to help young people. They’re spiritual, yet not in a traditional way. I really want these books to make people think and help them with issues I know they’ve all faced… The same issues I’ve faced and continue to face.