I’m thrilled to announce that Shadow Mountain Publishing has picked up one of my novels for publication in the fall of 2012! It’s very exciting to work with a team that is as experienced and hard working as they are. Previous authors Shadow Mountain has published include James Dashner, Brandon Mull, and Orson Scott Card.
The title can’t be announced for a few months, but I’ll try and slip a sketch or two onto my blog when I can;)
If there is such a thing as “Selective Attention Disorder” or “Primitive Hunter Focus” times infinity, I’m quite sure that I have it. Combined with my penchant for daydreaming, it makes it fairly difficult to be aware of whatever is happening around me.
My roommate, a friend, and I were walking down the street one day and my friend suddenly said, “Oh, wow.” My roommate then looked up and said, “Oh… w.o.w.”
I, not understanding what was going on, looked around with my amazing selective-focus abilities and saw…nothing.
Not wanting to look stupid, I affirmatively stated, “Oh, wow.”
My roommate looked at me. “You have no idea what is going on, do you?”
He knew me quite well at this point.
He took my hand and pointed my finger to where a flashing ambulance, firetruck, and police car surrounded an SUV which, in the act of wrecking itself on a curb, had flung itself into the air and landed against a tree.
To me, the meaning of life is choice. We are standing in a garden full of both beautiful flowers and mosquito-infested quagmires. About each of our necks is draped an hourglass, the sand of which flows out so slowly it is barely perceptible. In the center of the garden is a well-crafted stone table, and on the stone table sits a goblet of the most bitter, poisonous, and murderous nectar one could ever imagine. You can tell by the smell of it that one drop will put you in so much pain you will no longer have the strength to walk through the flower beds and quagmires, and you literally cannot imagine what will happen if you drink it all. It seems completely logical to ignore the goblet and go off exploring, however, on the stone table there are words engraved which read, “I am the life of the gardener. Drink me all, or you will die.” Some who are trying to drink the nectar down claim to see more and more footprints of the gardener as they go, but you cannot see the footprints yourself. They claim to see, hear, and smell things that are both far more pleasant and more terrible than anything you are still seeing, but you ask them to show you these traces of the gardener and, though they point and point, you see only the same grass that you saw before. So, they point back to the goblet and say its the only way.
The meaning of life is choice: Will we believe, or will we not?
Will we drink? Will we take the risk of the self-killing nectar, bearing only a vague promise that if we drink of it, we will not die? Will something different happen to us when the hourglass runs out that would not have happened had we not drank?
Or, will we not drink? Will we run around the meadows and quagmires exploring as we please until the time in our hourglass runs out and find out what happens then? Is the vague warning of the gardener’s goblet, “…or you will die,” a lie?
This is a story I’m writing, just for fun and to take my mind off the larger project I’m working on.
We spoke about “Truth and Storytelling,” the heart of it all.
“Every good story is about a person (hero) who has to give up what he wants in order to become a part of something greater than himself. When he gives up all that he has, he finds out afterwards that what he gets back in return, and what he is then capable of bringing to others, is Joy within himself and an ability to sacrifice himself for others (Compassion).
If we want to tell stories that have magnitude and power, we have to be willing to do what our heroes must also. Choosing to build upon Truth (or as Madeline L’Engle named it, “The Rock that is Higher“) is one of the most crucial decisions every storyteller must make. It requires that each artist become a hero in his or her own heart–and that is a difficult and life-long process.”
(The lecture has been 100% revised since last I presented it.)
The students at BYU were incredibly sagacious and it’s wonderful to see the new talent going out into the industry.
The following are my presentation notes from the lecture, followed by two downloadable pdf’s: one is the lecture notes in pdf format, the other is a list of resources for those who are pursuing the course of visual storytelling.
I hope you enjoy them. If you are interested in having me come to your writing or storytelling conference, class, workshop, etc., please contact me.