Lost and Found

NOTE: This is a piece that I got published in the seventh volume of a magazine called The Atlas. You could pre-order it at the Barnes and Noble website, and eventually, the Amazon website. WARNING: Contains explicit content (none from me of course!)

I don’t force anybody to do anything, and maybe that was my greatest mistake when I allowed you to run away, never to look back and never to return. The eleven years of your life had been pressured by grief and separation. Your anguish of our father’s departure drove you to leave.
Your room, which used to be bright and reflect your once cheerful, once happy character, now feels gloomy and hollow. Your smashed guitar lies on the ground, your unread books are scattered across your unmade bed, and your special photograph of the whole family lies torn on your pillow. The part of the photo that had our father on it had been sheared off. I assumed you took it.
I didn’t encourage you to go, but I let you go. The seventeen years of my life, and the eleven years that I had known you should have been enough time for me to learn that an older sibling needs to watch out for his younger brother. And now that I’ve realized my mistake, I will leave and I will find you. I don’t care how long it takes. You deserve better than to be out there by yourself. I will find you, and I will bring you back, because as long as the two of us are together, even if our parents are not, we are still family. I may have not been the best brother to you, but you were the best brother to me.
Out in the country, there are not a lot of places for you to hide. My regret is that you had left an entire day ago, so I assume you had covered a lot of ground. But that’s not going to stop me. In my head, a fierce joy begins to bubble in my mind, because I feel that I’m going in the right direction. When I find you, I will wrap my arms around you and tell you how sorry I am for allowing you to leave. I will beg you for a new start, because I know that we can still be family together, even though our father is gone.
As I look out at the field ahead of me, I believed I saw a small, moving figure far off into the distance. My feet quickened their pace as I began to run towards the figure, which was hard to recognize from the distance I was at, but I believed it was you. I was already pleading to you before I got to you.

Where To Now Marvel?

I will confess that I haven’t ever seen The Incredible Hulk movie (though I saw the original HULK, which was awful), though I have seen Iron Man 2, Captain America, and Thor. I will admit I’m not a comic book fan, so these movies don’t quite appeal to me as well as they probably should. I just look at these as good superhero films, nothing really more. Thor was excellent, Captain America was good enough to ask for Christmas last year, and Iron Man 2 is a lot of fun, but then came The Avengers.

I’m not sure what happened. DON’T GET ME WRONG, I REALLY LIKED THE MOVIE, but it wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, or even the best superhero movie I’ve ever seen. I remember going to see it with my youth pastor and his kids, and whenever a fight scene would begin, the pastor’s youngest kid got really pumped up next to me while I was sitting there thinking: did we really need this? I’ve drawn a lot of comparisons with this film over two different things. One was character development, which sorely lacked in this film besides a small thing for Iron Man (Tony Stark), and then there was the action. I recently took this film and what I think is the best Narnia film Prince Caspian, and realized that there are a lot of differences. In the end, there was a big difference. I’m not going to go very in-depth with it, but if you watch those two films in a row, I’m sure you’ll see those differences too.

Every time I saw a fight scene in The Avengers, I kept thinking back to the fight scenes in the newer Red vs Blue fights (thinking from Seasons 8-10), and realizing that RvB still won. I found any fights with Black Widow to be quite impressive, and I think her and Agent Texas would get along very well. I believe that too many special effects made the fights look so fake and unbelievable. I thought the plot was confusing too, with a lot of loose ends that aren’t tied up in the end, which just shows that the action was given too much focus, even becoming a little too repetitive.

Anyway, that’s basically an Avengers review for you there, but I still really liked the movie. The word “fun” came to mind for me. It’s a good film if all you want to see is excellent special effects and engaging fight scenes, and yes, there is the fact that these are superheroes we’re watching. The cliffhanger ending however didn’t really get me pumped for what’s to come, I’m a little more pumped for The Hobbit this December right now. Hopefully Captain America 2 will expand on Cap’s personality in a way that they didn’t get to do in The Avengers. I also have high expectations for Thor: The Dark World next November.

Next Saturday, I will be posting a piece of mine called Lost and Found!

Public Reading

Unfortunately, I just have an announcement as a blog post this week. On August 8, at the Midwest Writers’ Center in Davenport, there will be a public party celebrating the release of The Atlas Volume 7 which is a collection of short stories and poems written by young writers, and I was fortunate to get a few of my own pieces in there. I will be publicly reading one of my pieces to everybody during the party. It’s on August 8 at 7 P.M. Hope you can come!

Messages from Entertainment

What are reasons why you like to go to the movies? Is it because you love seeing action and adventure? Are you interested in familiarizing yourself with fresh, new characters, and you’re interested in seeing where they end up? For you romance fans, is it your desire to see the boy and the girl lose each other and then find each other again later on? Or, do you desire to LEARN something new, to find what the film might be trying to teach you?

To tell you the truth, I look for it all. I want action, adventure, suspense, engaging characters, and a message in ALL of the movies I go to see, and if I don’t get a lot of that, it disappoints me (the latest Avengers movie was a very good film, but something was lacking in there). In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, you get to see characters display courage, bravery, loyalty, love, and honor. It’s these characteristics that allows the characters to push on and finish their quest to save Middle-Earth. In Star Wars, it’s a son’s love for his lost father (Darth Vader) that saves his father from the dark side. And as one more example, in Thor, our thunder god hero must overcome his arrogance and selfish behavior in order to be worthy of wielding the Hammer and possess the power of Thor.

So, with all that in mind, I’m going to display a message from one of the most unusual entertainment sources, and that is the web series Red vs Blue. Without spoiling too much, the series has a lot of little messages that has to do with negative traits such as revenge and betrayal, but also containing little, positive messages such as teamwork, and laying down your for someone else. But one of the biggest messages is letting go of something that you have been holding on to for too long, and it’s keeping you from finding peace. In this case, one of the characters loses someone he loved. The loved one becomes a personification of his memory of that person, and he pursues that memory so that he doesn’t lose it. But he realized that the longer he held onto the memory of someone who was really dead, the more it seemed to make him uptight, and irritated. Once he found the personification of the memory, he realized that trying to stick with someone who was dead wasn’t worth it, and he took action by letting go of that memory, finally finding peace in the process.

In conclusion, my question to you is: what things are you holding onto that you feel convicted by? Do you feel like God is telling you that it’s time to let go and move on? Is the thing you’re holding onto giving you peace, or is it always upsetting you, and never leaving you alone? Focusing on something all the time that’s not worth it can shift your focus away from what’s most important.

Deception Book Review

Quick note: For any of you who have read the three D books by Randy Alcorn, and you are wondering why haven’t posted a book review for Dominion, well that’s because I haven’t read it yet. I started on it at one point but never finished it and I had proceeded to Deception instead. I couldn’t tell ya if I will try reading Dominion again, we’ll see what happens.

Anyway, Deception by Randy Alcorn was an intriguing, mysterious, fun novel that was better than Deadline. One thing that made me weary about the previous novels is that Randy was trying too hard to make us know the journalism system centered around Jake Woods and Clarence Abernathy. Here, we finally get a break and get into something a little more exciting (at least in my own opinion). Here, we focus on Detective Ollie Chandler who’s not a journalist but a homicide detective, and we get to see more of Ollie’s personal thoughts, feelings, and beliefs more than the police system.

I loved the mystery where it was possible that Ollie could’ve been the murderer (to see if he was, you’ll have to find out yourself those of you who haven’t read it!). The twists are great too. There’s a lot of constant page-turning in this one, and I’m glad this one concentrated on the plot as much as it concentrated on the characters while in Deadline I felt that they didn’t concentrate on the plot near enough which made the suspense of the mystery die down for me a little bit. I love those ‘turncoat in our midst’ stories because you know that it could be ANYONE that we’ve been introduced to. Another problem in Deadline. The murderer turned out to be a character that we had barely been able to see a lot, but in this one, we know the person a lot (or do we?) 🙂

Anyway, the book was great. I’m dismayed that Randy didn’t make a fourth book, or will he? I’m not sure. This book was published in 2007, ten years after Dominion, so for all we know, maybe a fourth book will come out in 2017!

4/5 stars.

Who’s Your Myagi?

Hey everybody! Long time, no talk! Besides the book reviews that would come in once in a while, I haven’t posted a real blog post. So, recently at my youth group we talked about who our life leaders are. My youth pastor Ron asked the questions, who is your leader that supports you in your spiritual growth? Who is the one that you approach when things aren’t going well (God yes, but we’re talking about people), and who is the one that approaches YOU and asks you how things are going? These were good questions and I could actually name a few that I’m not ashamed of revealing. There are pretty much three. My youth pastor Ron, my Dad, and my Mom’s Dad. They have tutored and encouraged me so well that I will always have a place in my heart for them and I will always think of them.

Guys, I want to tell you that I’ve become so connected and so in love with the Quad Cities and their people and the people I know. I think my friends are great, the launch team members that come to my parents’ launch team meetings on Wednesdays are such wonderful people and if any of you guys are reading this now, I’m telling it to you now.

I wanted to slip that in here, but let me ask you a question that you don’t have to answer via comment if you don’t want to, but the question is this. Who is your physical “Myagi” (taken from the tutor’s name in the 80s Karate Kid)? Who supports and encourages you when you’re stumbling?

Jesus A Jedi? Never!!!

I know, I know, I’m a Star Wars geek, nerd, junkie, whatever! Anyway, I’ve been thinking though, and I even brought it up with my Dad and I settled on the fact that Jesus could never be a Jedi!

Okaaay, why you may ask?  Well it is true that the Jedi are the guardians of peace and justice in the SW galaxy as Mace Windu says in Attack of the Clones: ‘we’re keepers of the peace…”, and the Jedi fight for what’s right and protect the weak and all that type of obvious stuff.  Yes well, Jesus does those things too you may say.  But every SW nerd knows that the Jedi tries to avoid attachment.  Uh huh there’s the word.  There is the fact that we as teenagers try really hard not to get into really deep relationships with our boy/girlfriend and try hard just to stay as “friends” because of the consequences that may come if we dive in too deep, but Jedi avoid attachments period.

Can you guess by now that Jesus can NEVER do that?  Jesus can never be a Jedi because he would have to avoid attachment, and that’s one thing that Jesus just cannot do!  He loves us too much for that and He wants to have a relationship with us that that’s far better than just as simple friends.  With Jesus, we are one as the body of Christ and covered by the power of His great love.  His love for us is too furious and too strong to want to avoid attachment, (if you ask me, Jesus would probably get expelled from the Jedi Order on the first day).  He has all the qualities a Jedi has except avoiding attachment (plus He has no darkness in Him which is something Anakin had who disobeyed the rule of attachment as well).

Overall, if someone asked me if Jesus would make a great Jedi, I would say no because His love is too deep and too furious to avoid attachment.