The Creative Person’s Guide To An Integrated Energy Field

 

vincent-van-zalinge-38360

One thing that my friend Bryan found out when he started working seriously on acting was that his personal life, and his internal emotional mechanisms, kept interfering massively with his creative choices.

How Did His Personal Life Interfere?

The first time I worked with Bryan, he was developing a monologue for a class assignment. I think the monologue (if I remember correctly) was from the perspective of a man confronting his wife about an affair.

Beginning Acting

We, Bryan and I, were sitting under a set of university stairs. He was a teenager on the verge of adulthood, and I was a bristling-with-eagerness new TA. As we alternated between working the monologue and discussing his acting process, the following observations occurred to me:

  1. Bryan’s mental life had long ago outstripped his emotional life.
  2. Bryan’s father had shaped his views of women in a manner that distorted his potential creative process
  3. Though I could create a bridge between my knowledge and Bryan’s abilities, thereby increasing his present skill, his own internal mechanisms were currently incapable of retaining the improvement.

What Happened To Bryan?

I taught Bryan for about a year and a half, and directed him in several small productions. He, being tall, dark, and the possessor of effective and brooding eyes, was then seized upon by a corrupt professor, and put into a more prestigious production, where he promptly lost his head and fell completely out of touch with genuine creativity.

Ah, Politics, and the Seduction of Flattery

If I could go back in time right now, and sit again with Bryan under the university stairs, I would not make any kind of bridge between my abilities and his talent. I could transform him, for any number of minutes, into a seemingly-advanced actor. I have the ability and the know-how to crutch up any receptive body into apparent genius for a moment or two, long enough for the delivery of a monologue.

But experience, and the wisdom of failure, has shown me the ultimate futility of such assistance. If I could go back in time, to the beginning of Bryan’s acting journey, this is what I would do:

  1. I would unearth his emotional life, and guide him into articulating his primal state of being.
  2. I would guide Bryan into an understanding of distorted child development, and isolate the moment when he deviated from healthy growth and integration.
  3. I would abandon Bryan to his own skill, and allow him to act from the place of the last cohesion of his integrated self.

What Does That Mean?

It is possible, and exceedingly common, for a person to halt in some area of their development and integration as a human being. For example, many grown adults secretly carry the emotional sophistication of a child, and they compensate for stalled development by an overdeveloped intellectualism. Big words cover young feelings, as it were.

Where’s My Guide To An Integrated Energy Field?

Try this brief experiment. Your subconscious is much more aware than you might give it credit for being; if you pose pertinent questions, and keep an open spirit to the answers that your mind will immediately supply, you can learn much about your total integrative qualities.

Answer these questions in your own mind, and keep fear and self-hatred to a minimum in the process:

  1. At what age did you last feel complete peace and wholeness through your body?
  2. What moment ended that sensation of wholeness?
  3. Imagine your intellectual self (words, thinking, reflective ability, and self-awareness), your emotional self (surges of feeling in your center, images and colors that flow through you), and your intuitive self (your ability to picture the future, or predict outcomes from actions or possible scenarios) as being three separate beings within you. Look at each of these three selves, and ask yourself, how old is my intellectual self? My emotional self? And how old is my intuitive self?

When you have answered these questions, you may have found that there is a disturbing disparity between the ages of your internal parts of self.

A wide gap, or stalled development in one or more of the areas of internal selfhood, or firmly-established boundaries between elements of the self, will create enormous and unavoidable disruption in the creative process.

What Do I Do With This Information?

When you gain perspective on the current status of your inherent parts of self, you also gain power over your future. The ideal, in the human performative instrument, is holistic integration of the energy field; this integration is achieved through matching the development of each area, and through the removal of permanent barriers between the parts of self.

If your emotive self is stuck around the age of four, and your intellectual self is thirty-six, your creative work will be dry, like an empty husk. It may be painstakingly beautiful and technically accomplished, but it will not bring genuine joy or a sense of unity and sharing to your audience.

If you are emotionally sophisticated, having developed normally in that part to the age of forty-two, but your intuitive capacity was stalled at the age of two, your creative work will appear dead to your audience. There will be no magic or danger in the execution of your powers.

A melding of the parts of self, and a unity, a harmony between the stages of development, will lead to creative performance that intoxicates and enlivens the reader.

You’re reading Victor Poole. I wrote a series of books that will integrate your disparate parts of self as you read. Wednesday is really fun to say like this: Wed-NEZ-day.

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Here’s What I’m Working On Right Now

I finished The Second Queen, which is a book about Claire and her magical doings in Caldhart. Also, that story I said I was writing about Paul a few days ago turned out well; I may turn it into a novel (or three).

Here is a snippet of the cover for said potential book (about Paul).

Tenebris small

I’m being secretive about the title, because I like it so much.

I’m still working on the rough version of Claire’s cover. I’ll show that in a few days, when it’s come together more.

The Lousy, Smashing Trick That Kedar’s Family Used On Him When He Was Fourteen

Kedar and Ajalia are major characters in The Eastern Slave Series. Here is what happened to Kedar when he was a kid:

Ajalia

Ajalia ran away from home when she was a child, because her father abandoned the family and her mother tried to sell her to raise some cash.

Ajalia Left Behind Her Mother And Brother, Who Are Both Stinkers

Ajalia stole a red horse from a nearby field, and rode north towards a major trade road. She was picked up by some men traveling there, and became a slave in the barbarous west marshes.

Violence, Blood, And Depravity (Off-Screen; You’re Welcome)

She freed herself with a great deal of trouble and violence, was recaptured, and ran away again, meaning to get as far as the East, where slaves were treated better.

Ajalia Was Branded, Twice

When she was a little older, she managed to get herself sold into Kedar’s house. The Eastern trading houses no longer operated under a monarchy, but Kedar was descended from the great Eastern kings. Most people in the East did what he said, and he was very rich.

Ajalia ingratiated herself quickly to her new master, and ascended through the ranks of slaves to become Kedar’s favorite slave

The Eastern Slaves Have Strict Ranks

Kedar’s family, when he was a child, was disturbed to find that he was a genuinely good person, and planned to free the family slaves when he came of age and took possession of the estate.

Here’s That Pilfering Trick They Used

An ugly thing happens when an entire family piles on a child to get their way; the piled-upon child becomes very still, and unsure of himself (or herself, as the case may be). And this happened to Kedar; when he revealed his sensible plan of dividing the vast family lands into plots, and freeing the hordes of slaves, his grandmother and father had a serious meeting, and then spoke separately to all the adults in the family.

They all went to work on Kedar, and their purpose was direct and simple: he was to agree with them that it was right and good to own slaves, and to profit from the labor of the live family chattel.

“It is our way of life,” Kedar’s aunt told him over the silk-spinning.

“They are helpless, and we protect them,” his grandfather told him as they rode to the mountain orchards.

“Many people cannot provide for themselves, and we have a duty to feed and guide those lesser than ourselves,” his father told him over a late dinner.

And Then, Capitulation

Kedar, alas, was a very young man at this stage, and the unanimity of his family overwhelmed him. He could not deny that the slaves were proud to belong to his house, and that, when he looked at the slaves in other lands and cities, his own were vibrant, well-fed, and independent. They could marry freely, or at any rate with hardly any restraints, and their private stockpiles of cash were admirable.

Before six months had passed from the moment of Kedar’s revealing his altruistic intentions, the desire to do right by so many people had withered and twisted into a hunger to gain the approval of those in his immediate circle.

Kedar Gives In

Kedar told his father and mother, together, that he had learned better, and that he would maintain the family lands just as they had always been. His mother cried tears of joy, and his father showered presents upon the lad. Kedar, though he felt at last enveloped in the praise and approbation of his family, felt ever after a whisper of doubt in his heart.

He stuffed this whisper away, and learned to ignore it entirely, until the young Ajalia joined his house. Something about the girl slave awakened the niggling doubt in Kedar’s center, and made him lie awake at night, ruminating on the justice of his wealth and power.

He repeated to himself the things his parents and relatives had said to him, again and again, but still there remained in his heart the shadow of a doubt, and the curl of dissatisfaction.

Surely, Kedar thought, there is some purer way to live, and some way to find peace in my soul.

To find out what happens between Kedar and Ajalia, you’ll have to read the books.

You’re reading Victor Poole. I write energetically-whole fiction that nourishes your soul and integrates your energy field. Wednesday is the perfect day to meet Lasa, who is not what she appears to be.

Different. Better. More.

The Complaining McBitcherson’s Guide to Shifting Priorities

 

I was telling a coworker once about how my dad wanted to sleep with me (my father has secret and pathetic dreams of being a pimp), and the guy, who wanted to go into medicine but was working fast-food while he was in school, stared at me with the strangest expression on his face.

Victor, Where Is Your Personal Filter?!

I couldn’t tell if he was appreciating his not-so-dysfunctional life, or if he was trying to figure out why I looked so normal (look at me! I’m the poster child for resiliency!).

No Really, I Am

Then he got sort of sober, and put his knife down (because kitchen, you know), and said, “Victor, you’re a good person.”

Well, Thanks, Awesome Co-worker!

I adopted a couple of twenty-somethings (they were near my age at the time), and made sure they weren’t going to do anything supremely stupid while they were transitioning into I-don’t-live-with-my-abuser-anymore mode. I count the one kid as a win, because I got him through his suicidal phase (he’s got emotional tools now, so I think he’ll be fine–severely emotionally blocked, but not dead), and the other kid is at least aware now of the extent of the interpersonal abuse, which is sort of progress.

Silly Victor, You’re Too Young To Adopt People!

I don’t think I’m ever going to have friends (aside from my gold-star spouse), because the people who have been misused as extensively as I have are too screwed up to have friends. I stopped having a social life a few years ago, because I was spending so much time fixing other people’s dysfunctional patterns of relating to others that I never got around to looking at my own.

Bah! You Hypocrite!

I’m really good at fixing people. Ah, the sweet hubris of youth, right? But I am.

Whatever You Say, Victor

I have a closeted abusive uncle (he married a religious woman and pumped kids out like a pneumatic factory of squishable humans) who has a doctorate. I remember being at some large gathering (before I was old enough to cut the fuckers off) and hearing him talk about how professional graduate degrees are like a holding tank for age, because no one wants to listen to a squeaking eighteen-year-old prodigy diagnose their life ills.

What Do You Mean, Closeted?

I used to feel sorry for my siblings (because they’re all too dumb to realize they should get out); then I got older, and they turned out badly, and married equally-miserable abusers. They are, altogether, a miserably-enmeshed group of psychos.

You’re Really Judgmental, Victor Poole

I turned out well (and married a good person), but I’m tired. Fuckety McFuckerson, but I’m tired.

You Are Swearing A Lot Today, Aren’t You?

All of this to say, I may or may not be writing regularly on my blog while I sort out my own life ills. I am giving myself permission to miss blogging days. If you get a deep hankering for more of me, I wrote the series about Ajalia for just such a time. (Because I’m so damn tasty, I know.)

You’re reading a blog by Victor Poole. There are beautiful trees and interesting animals in these fantasy books. Tuesday is a remarkably-apt day to pick up Harder Than Rocks.

The Clever Way To Write Scenes That Hooks Attention (From Page One)

Everyone and their mother wants to know how to get people reading right away. The myth is that you have to hook people from the blurb, and then get them so pumped up from the opening paragraph that they are basically impelled against their own self-interest to purchase your book because you’ve turned them into a reader-zombie who has to eat your story or die.

That’s the idea often promulgated in “HOW TO SELL A GAZILLION BOOKS!” articles and courses, anyway.

But That Doesn’t Work

Because readers, unless they are seriously abusing mind-altering substances, are not zombies, and most of them have some volition when it comes to spending their own money. Treating readers like cattle or sheep which you must prod with tantalizing carrots or other such-like treats at the trough of literature is a short-term solution, and usually blows up in your face (because humans are pretty good judges of when they’re being treated like animals).

How To Build Effective Hooks

A good hook presents the reader with a scenario that they already want to buy. Many, many readers want to experience what we may call the Goldilocks experience; just enough, and no more. Readers, in general, don’t want the most literary piece of literature ever composed by the hand of man; they don’t usually care if the writing is the cleanest prose that was ever scrubbed by the brush of judicious editing, and most of them don’t care if your writing is the most original idea every to originate in the brain of writer-kind.

Well, What Does The Reader Want?

To be seen, to be heard, and to have friends. To feel the same, and to feel a little bit different. To fit in, and to be apart, just a little. To have a home, and a family. To believe in something greater than themselves, and to experience a reality that is purer, stronger, better than their own.

How Does All That Translate Into A Hook?

When you go to purchase a car, what are you really looking for? Unless you are a collector with very deep pockets, you are looking for a vehicle that can adequately and reliably perform a task. The task is some species of transport. Some people are looking for a truck that can haul things, and some people are looking for a vehicle that can transport fifteen bodies. Some people are looking for a commuter vehicle that is steady and fuel-efficient. These different types of needs can, for our purposes, be translated into different genres.

Genre Hooks

Each genre has a specific set of promises, or deliverables that are expected by consumers of that genre. Romance writers, for example, will talk about the reader’s expectation for a happy ever after ending, and mystery readers, in general, expect a well-plotted and gradually-built murder. When you know your genre, familiarize yourself with the experience promised, in general, by that type of story.

Example

 

A Science-Fiction Hook:

Vince twisted the cap from his transformative juice bottle, and guzzled down his morning’s allotment of gravity. The sizzle of the molecules, as they gradually passed into his system, made his muscles seem to pull separately down against his bones. He breathed hard through his nose, and rotated his jaw. Today was the day he’d get through the breezeway of the ship; he’d been planning for months, and today was it. If he failed, he’d be pushed out with the other convicts to the moon base, where the miners had an expected lifespan of twenty years.

He wasn’t going to die in a moon base; he’d promised himself that. He was going to find a way into the crew of the J. Havenclad, and then he was going to steal a personal craft.

What Are The Promises In This Scene?

We see a space setting, a renegade ne’er-do-well facing stacked odds, and strange but slightly-plausible technology. Plus, there is the threat of death, and a clearly pass-fail adventure looming on the near horizon.

If you’re working in genre fiction, examine the promises inherent in your area, and incorporate them into your opening scenes.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books are here. Monday is not the day on which Caleb rips a star out of the sky.

The Superannuated Guide To Originality For Writers Who Recycle

 

There is a lot to be said for stealing; Shakespeare did it, and artists and singers make most of their material from scraps they take and alter beyond recognition. Cue the outcry on how all the really good people live in a cave and only make things that are totally un-influenced by any other human ever!

Oh Sweet Summer Child, Welcome To The Hive-Mind

Once you really begin to work in a consistent capacity, ideas become, well, more obviously delineated. You become aware of the way characters, plot turns, and emotional discoveries are generally similar, and your choices become more informed.

I Have No Idea What You’re Blithering About, Victor Poole

When you have the time, sit down with about twenty Wodehouse novels. Read them all. Then come back and tell me all about the young man who begins a new job, the elderly man henpecked by his wife/sister/aunt, and the obnoxious child who smokes on the sly.

P.G. Wodehouse Wrote Original Stories About Boys’ Schools

If you go backwards, past the comic novels and the adventures of Blandings Castle (and, of course, Wooster and Jeeves), you will encounter a wonderful world of boarding school novels that are both original and easily neglected.

But Original Is Better, You Fool!

I could walk you through a list of Shakespeare thefts, but for the sake of brevity, I will get to the point, which is this:

Originality often lies in exposing previously-obscured folds in common experiences.

Examples

Meh Writing:

Nana had no cheese in the fridge, but she had a five-gallon bucket of mint ice cream in the freezer, and she hoarded it carefully for her grandchildren. She did not eat much herself, Nana, and Pops preferred things that way. He was gradually starving her down, and when she lost her mind, he helped her up and down the steps with a cozy smile on his face.

Nana’s insanity made life very easy for Pops; the family was sympathetic to the helpless old couple, and he could set Nana up in front of the television for hours while he tinkered over his crossword.

He made her sit with him, while he worked, because she had started to dream dangerous dreams, and sometimes she thought she was in someone else’s home. He never had anything to say to her anymore, now that she was not sure of who he was, or of her surroundings.

Sparkly Writing:

Nana’s blue-white hair bobbed, and her yellowed teeth glistened as she stared out the living-room window. She was not supposed to be in this room; it was the company room, and had sat empty for years now, ever since Garret, the last one, had moved in with his wife. Garret had hidden his pills under that edge of that carpet, right before he had been taken in for evaluation. Nana could not remember if that was before or after he had moved out, though she knew that Garret’s wife had been shouting and red-faced for a long time after that.

Nana padded cautiously over the thick carpet, and laid her hand over the rim of the couch, where she had sat with her first baby daughter, or her second. She couldn’t remember. Maybe she had sat here with both.

A door slammed far away in the house, and Nana padded swiftly, with the cunning of a spider, into the hall, and to her room. She would be in her bed like an obedient doll when Pops came in.

Where’s My Superannuated Guide, Victor?!

Realize that execution and grounded perspective bring originality. Peel back the curtain on genuine pain, and realize that people are generally aware of what they are doing (even if they say they aren’t). Ignore all advice, guides (superannuated or otherwise), rules, and embrace failure, because that’s where most of the good writing happens. And lastly, realize that your unique inner world is the most original and sustainable source you can draw from.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books are here. If it wasn’t a Friday, it would be some other day, but every day is a good day to pick up My Name Is Caleb; I Am Dead.

Cover Upgrades! Huzzah! (And The Best Review Ever!)

Slave from the East all covers

My books can be purchased through links here. Now they are beautiful on the inside AND the outside. Your personal trainer says that reading The Slave from the East will motivate you to work out better on Thursdays.

(And I just got my first 2-star review! Which I’m actually pretty happy about, because it is intentionally a book that under-wows until the last four installments. Ha ha! I am so full of myself, and I love it. Happy Thursday, internet-dwellers! I’m winning at life!)