Oldie but goodie: Conan

My friend lent me some of his books as we were chatting about different styles of writing and how I’m exploring them. He’s been reading fantasy since he was a kid. Among his favorites are the Conan stories. I’m loving them. Finished the first book, but it’s honestly a bit of a collection of shorter stories, sort of like Sherlock Holmes. I believe they were written for one of those fantasy/science fiction magazines that used to contain a collection of shorter stories. It means that each story is compact and exciting.

Conan is a fantastic character. Reckless, young, strong and more than a bit self centered he is like an ancient cowboy roaming the world and taking what he wants. It is fun to read them now having watched Conan films staring Arnold Schwarzenegger and even played the recently released video game MMO created around those stories.

As a writer it’s great to read them to get a sense of what worked at the time and get a feel for a different style and purpose. I’m looking forward to reading even more and honing my own skill. Until then, cheers!

The Magic of Words

One of my sons has been oddly interested in how language began. He’s asked me a few times over the last week and each time we’ve had an interesting conversation about it. Of course, we don’t exactly know do we? Did we start out making random sounds, grunts or groans that eventually correlated with various objects? Then somehow advanced to develop verbs, adjectives, pronouns, proper nouns? Language is complex. Language is dynamic. But regardless, it is truly remarkable. Language sets us apart from other organisms in this world and is probably our greatest tool or weapons.

Imagine that mere words can motivate entire nations of people to war. Just forming sounds in a particular manner can inspire mass groups and move them emotionally to anger or joy or determination. Words have lifted people from despair or lowered them there depending on their usage. Word are magical.

So it is when writing. Each and every word choice makes a difference. Each one affects the reader differently. Each one has power. Together they can be forged into something tremendous. That can make magic.

This reminds me to review the words I choose. I should look at all of them as part of a greater magic of language and each has value but some mix better with others to form a unique magic that can enchant the reader and enhance the experience for her.

Now excuse me while I go and make some more magic. Cheers.

The Catalogue

All books available by Phillip Brunnengraeber

Join the adventure today! 

The Sureshot Series:

The Sureshot Rises

Sureshot the Assassin

Sureshot the King (Coming soon) 

The Monster in the Woods (A Sureshot Short Story)

Goblin Brothers Series:

Goblins Episode 1: Born in Blood 

Goblins Episode 2: Family

Goblins Episode 3: Blood, Bone , Spirit

Nonfiction: 

This is Crazy: Finding Who you are and What you Want

When Darkness Falls

Warmth of friendship and love drifted peacefully through the air
The world was free and open and we could live without care

That bullets would rain down and bombs would rip life from us
Stealing away life, stealing away peace and stealing away trust

Some chose to burn the thin curtains that shield our kind eyes
From the horrors of the world filled with death, disease, flies

Our illusion was shattered like a mirror reflecting our beauty
And death was brought to us as if it was their duty

To smash to pieces the fine statues of liberty and freedom
Breaking the hearts of hundreds of innocent victims

And the ones who love them who may never hold them again
Or hear the soft words of “I love you” with joy spoken

Instead sirens screamed out deep into the night
And we held on to each other, not in love, but in fright

Quickly we offer our own freedom and liberty for security and safety
But as Franklin said we receive neither the safety we want but lost liberty

Like the great terror brought to the streets of Paris long before
The guillotine erected in the center of Paris may fall once more

If we frightened specks of nothingness demand action and guarantee
That no harm with come to the lives we cling to feebly

And cower under the covers while spiting hate akin to the hate that killed
Never finding a solution but pouring more into the hateful cup over filled

Until more blood is spilt and more hatred built and more bile coughed
On the streets, in the neighborhood, in the churches and mosques

When darkness falls and fear takes hold there is not end to the madness
Hatred and violence in the name of safety only create more darkness

Only by standing brave and tall in face of hateful words and angry eyes
Can we last until morning and enjoy the bright rays of the sunrise

Mark Twain’s House

I had the opportunity today to visit Mark Twain’s home in Hartford Connecticut and it was such a blessing. He is one of my top three authors (Twain, Orwell, Steinbeck) and the House is beautiful. seeing the rooms where he wrote some of my favorite books and touching the banister that he touched was a magical experience for me. It felt like I could feel his creative spirit and imagine his mindset as he crafted brilliant words that spoke to me. He’s an inspiration and a hero to me and I am thrilled I got the experience.

Retreat

A few things need to come together for me to do my best work. Like anything I suppose, writing takes several elements in order for it to go well. It helps to feed myself, be well rested, limit distractions and have a plan. It helps if I am feeling good emotionally as well. Another important element is environmental.

When I committed myself to daily writing with ambitious goals, I began writing downstairs with the kids around so I could keep track of them. That was a huge mistake. They never stop talking to me and they continuously break my concentration. It’s frustrating. I love them and want to answer all their questions and love it when they show me the things they’re excited about, but I can’t look over every five minutes to see the Lego thing they build or listen to them explain every round of fortnite they played and stay in the zone in order to write. I had to make a change.

I moved upstairs into the spare room and now I can sit there and really crank out some words. I hit my optimal zone regularly now and get far more done than I was downstairs. Now they only come up when there is something really important to tell me, like they won the round of fortnite or they just wanted a hug and to tell me they love me. I can manage that.

It is also great to change up the environment to something a little more inspiring or relaxing. I personally love being a little closer to the natural world and a nice retreat away from things helps eliminate some of the worldly distractions that can get in my way. A couple weeks ago I took a trip for an entire weekend of playing dungeons and dragons (yes I’m that kind of nerd) and the house we rented was in the gold mining mountains of Northern California. I loved it. Even in the midst of drinking, laughing and gaming, I was able to do some writing in the calm mornings.

Now I’m in rural Connecticut surrounded by trees and my keyboard, notepad and iPad are all set ready for me to crank out a few thousand words. Something about being near the same trees that shaded Mark Twain have me feeling very nostalgic. So I highly recommend a retreat if your looking for inspiration or maybe even just some rest. It will be good for your spirit.

Here’s to great writing! Cheers!