This phrase was coined by English playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton, but the concept can be traced back to the ancients - to men like Greek playwright Euripides, understood to have said that "the tongue is mightier than the blade," and Assyrian sage Ahiqar, who said that "the word is mightier than the sword."
Any of us who have ever found ourselves captivated by a good book, movie, play, etc., understand the power of words and stories to transcend immediate realities. This transcendent ability of words and stories can provide the welcome relief of escapism, certainly, but even more than that, it can offer us tools with which to cope with those realities - and challenge us to be our best selves as we face them. How many times have the faith of Lucy Pevensie; the humility and strength of Aragorn; the courage and perseverance of Harry Potter; the intelligence of Mary Russell; the discipline and diligence of Keladry of Mindelan; the clarity and determination of Puddleglum; Meg Murray's willingness to push past her limitations to do what had to be done... how many times have these things made me yearn to be better than I am?
That is what I always want to have in mind when I pick up a pen or sit down at my keyboard... as I walk the dusty road we all have to travel along, I want to offer my fellow wayfarers the sustenance, the strength, and the courage needed to walk on, and to walk well, that I have taken from the stories I have read.
I currently have three writing projects in hand.
The Ruler's Mark
...as of 19 September, 2015
The re-write I told you about last year is still in progress. After many months of largely sitting fallow, I have had a few very productive weeks and have now re-written 216 pages. I probably have at least that many again before I'm done, but progress is progress and I'm grateful for it.
...as of 15 November, 2014
The first is the novel that was conceived in a moment of existential angst during my sophomore year of college. I'm calling it The Ruler's Mark, and it's presently in the process of a MASSIVE re-write. I've already torn out the first hundred pages or so and rewritten them from the ground up. Most of the time I have no idea whether or not I'm doing good work, and I guess I don't know now either, but I do know that whatever else might be said about the rewrite, it is miles better than the previous version. Only 230 pages left to do that to, which means that at the pace I'm going now, I should have a completed manuscript by approximately the year 2050. Just kidding. ...kind of. My current goal is to have the manuscript done and placed with an agent by the end of 2015. This will require me to A) finish the rewrite, and B) query agents. Part A is slow and painstaking, but it's work I love. Part B is, and always has been, profoundly difficult and draining for me. We'll see what happens.
The second project is available for your perusal now: At the Top of my Lungs is a blog about life, art, relationships, and other worthwhile things. It's a place where I try to put words to some of my own struggles and questions - both because I benefit from the exercise of wrestling those things into words, and in the hopes that someone else might read those paragraphs and hear someone saying, me too. You're not alone.
...as of 15 November, 2014
The third project is hard to describe. It started out with a picture in my head of a frightened servant finding the king asleep on a chaise in a cold room and covering him with his own cloak. It changes direction every time I work on it, it seems. For a while I wrote straight through from the beginning, but recently scenes have been coming to me that will have to come much later, if they come at all, and I don't know yet how to get there from here. It's kind of like having one edge of a puzzle put together and then little clouds of connected pieces floating somewhere off to the side, and for all I know the little clouds may in fact belong to a completely different puzzle. But I have fallen completely in love with at least one of the characters.
Be sure to watch this space for developments, and Join the Mailing List to receive email updates.