Looking To My Heart

“Look into your own heart. Unless I’m crazy, right now a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I’m crazy, you’re no closer to taking action than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow. You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.”
– 
Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art”

I have stories in my heart screaming to be told. I imagine everyone else does as well. Maybe it is the written word, like me, or maybe a painting, a song, a business, an adventure. There is this aching inside of me that longs to be set free but there is a barrier up, this “Resistance” uses all the tricks it can to keep me docile, keep me safe, keep me unfulfilled, keep me average.

So, what can I do? How can I fight?

Well first, that story must stop just circling around my mind and I must translate it to words. I don’t know how the story begins or ends, I don’t know who all the characters are (or even who the protagonist is), that hasn’t been made clear to me yet… but I trust it will in time. The only thing that is really somewhat clear is the world I want to build. So here is the basic idea of the world I want to build.

I want to explore a fantasy “D&D” style world that is grounded in science. Humanity has conquered nearly everything and has started exploring the stars. They are immortal, can travel instantaneously, can alter space and time and matter, but on one world something goes wrong. Maybe they face a species with similar technology or a rare natural occurrence erases their advancements or something else entirely that I haven’t figured out yet.

Regardless, thousands of years pass and a subset of the human population grows and evolves in this world with other species. The technology partially remains, as does the DNA of their ancestors, and it continues to grow and evolve and adapt even if the source of the technology is lost to time. These super-human powers are magic to the intelligent life on the planet because they have forgotten their history.

I haven’t worked out all the kinks (obviously), but this world will be populated by the “classic” species like elves, dwarves, humans, etc. who are all either ancestor of the humans who landed or the species that originally inhabited the planet. They have the power to transport or control the physical world through technological artifacts and long-dormant genes that occasionally show themselves.  Gods and goddesses exist as the inhabitants of space stations stuck in orbit around the planet. Each station has a different power set and the inhabitants have different personalities, maybe one has gone insane from immortality and isolation.

So, that’s the basic idea. I need to more formally identify the different species, magic, and gods, as well as the scientific principles that make their powers possible. As Arthur Clark said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” And I’d like to find away to make all sorts of magic out of technology.

Do you have a question or comment for me? Feel free to use the links below. There is literally nothing that is off-limits (as you will probably notice if you read through the on my AMA page). You can also email me if you want a personal response and I won’t post anything publicly if you want privacy.

Sarahah: pneiger.sarahah.com
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Email: pjneiger@gmail.com

Oh, and if you get some value out of this I’m always accepting tips and my book is available via the Amazon link below on Kindle and paperback.
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The Magic of Music

The power of music to stir memories in me occasionally catches me off guard. A song can pop up on Spotify and my mind is transported back in time and my imagination swirls around foggy images of the past and potential futures that will never occur (at least not in this reality but almost certainly in a parallel universe). These memories are almost always focused on a person and the relationship I had with them.

Sometimes, the person or relationship was a relatively minor character in my story. For example, anytime I hear “Kryptonite” by Three Doors Down I think of a girl I had a crush on in high school. I don’t remember her name, I may have never known her name, I just know she listened to that song and I found her attractive. I wouldn’t be able to recognize her in a yearbook but she was important. In my mind she is superhuman, she is an archetype for my hormonal love that burned hot, quickly, and often throughout my adolescence. That song brings her to mind and her memory brings me back to my high school worries that I’d never find love or that I’d never be found attractive. It was also a time when I saw beauty in every girl I saw and fantasies of marriage and raising kids with them all bounced around my mind when I should have been paying attention to my teachers.

Sometimes, the person or relationship was an incredibly major part of my life. Whenever I hear a Dropkick Murphy’s song I think of a woman I loved in college. She was my first, real, adult mature love that could have become a lifelong relationship. With the exception of my current partner, my connection to her was stronger than any other and I still love her. A quiet sadness comes around when I think of her because I think about what could have been. We were compatible, the sex was great, and we helped each other grow… but the timing wasn’t right and our lives were on different paths. To stay together would have required compromise which would have lead to resentment and a bitter breakup. Instead, we parted ways and the sadness I sometimes feel always turns into optimism. Our relationship ending was an important lesson to me, that there is no “one and only” and that true love is not reserved for one person. We can love many, be happy with many, and it is better to stay true to who you are than compromise out of fear that you won’t find someone else.

Music is a beautiful art form that swirls inside of me and allows me to think about and digest my own life. It brings about random periods of reflection that likely wouldn’t occur without it. I try to continue to listen to new music and explore new genres, but I also try to stay true to my past and listen to the music that was important during different phases of my life. Whether it is the Beach Boys, Garth Brooks, dc Talk, Green Day, Saves The Day, Flogging Molly, Social Distortion, Flobots, William Elliot Whitmore, Bad Religion, Kid Rock, Kesha, Krewella or the Top Hits from each decade of my life, music is an important part of my existence and my mental health. Without it, I would have a much more difficult time dealing with and healing from my past.

Week 1: The Two Biggest Secrets to Success

This is part of my weekly project at self-improvement by following the battle plan found in “Forward Tilt: An Almanac for Personal Growth.” This book is incredibly valuable and only $0.99 on Kindle.

This week’s lesson (practice? guideline? challenge?) focuses on the two most important factors in creating possibility in your life: creating value and signaling the value you created. This lesson comes at an important time for me. I just completed my first book and have been struggling with advertising it. I feel like I’m bragging if I talk about it more than just the original post, but maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should put more effort into advertising what I created and am proud of.

So, in answer to this week’s challenge, I am going to work on cultivating a professional outlet for my creations. I will also be writing daily fiction and putting it on my blog (my first creative love is fiction writing). Like Steven Pressfield discusses in “The War of Art”, in order to overcome Resistance we need to be a professional. I am a professional writer and I should act like it.

My rough plan looks like this:

Monday – Research advertising options Facebook and such
Tuesday – Create a professional page on Facebook, set up a Twitter account, update LinkdIn
Wednesday – Website Complete
Thursday – Set up Podcast
Friday – Wrap up loose ends or work on other stuff that came to mind this week