Here is the first podcast episode of my brand new podcast Sith Empire Radio! In this one, me and my co-host Race discuss The Clone Wars Season Five, kicking it off with the premiere Revival! Enjoy! Audio quality for my friend will be fixed in future episodes.
NOTE: This is a piece I submitted to the River Cities’ Reader to participate in a Short-Fiction Contest they were having. I was supposed to select three or four different prompts, and this was the result. I won second prize in the contest, and I’m pretty sure my piece is in their newest issue (#814). So, without further ado, here it is:
My friends may not see it, but there is a soft side in me despite my abhorrent behavior. I had risked my reputation with my friends by letting her go. I never saw her again, but I’ll always remember that face. The one with a look of sheer terror, yet unspeakable beauty. Those soft, blue eyes would never gaze upon me again. I long to see that face and those eyes again, but I never got another chance. My anger was taken out on everybody else at the banks that I robbed, and the innocents that I mugged, never giving myself a moment to hesitate, or to reconsider.
My days became bitter as I became obsessed with the thought of her. My pistol eventually became horrendous to look upon, and I couldn’t stand to be with my friends anymore, who insisted on following their own dark desires. I will never forget that face, the way she looked when I threatened her for the belongings she had with her, and how it pained me like a knife driven into my heart. My friends became distant, and I eventually left them for good, never to participate in their repulsive deeds again. I never saw her again, but I always thanked her inside for jolting me back into a life that was free of fear, even when I was found and arrested, and this time, I didn’t fight back.
This is a poem of mine that got published in The Atlas Volume 7. It is my only other piece, but hey, I’m still happy!
It’s been three years
You’re still gone
The memories are still strong
Like a blazing fire
Now just a thought
Now a missing light
In my dark life
Your dazzling eyes
Your gentle hands
Now frail and still
With your glaring absence
The memory is the only thing
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.
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!
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!
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.
When I think about Star Wars, I think about Jedi and Sith with their awesome lightsabers. I think about X-wings and TIE fighters in space battling each other. When I think about Star Wars, I’ve never thought about zombies.
And yet, here it is. A Star Wars book about Imperial zombies. This book creates a very intriguing setting and storyline, but does it live up to its potential? For me, the answer is yes and no.
This book takes place between the movies Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. An army from the Galactic Empire is taking a prison ship called Purge to a prison planet. The barge is a prison for the most dangerous criminals in the galaxy. Unexpectedly, the barge breaks down, and it just so happens that there’s a derelict Star Destroyer nearby that is seemingly abandoned. A crew of ten boards the ship to scavenge for parts, but only five of the scavengers come back, returning with them a disastrous disease that infects everybody, save a handful of survivors, on board. The disease eventually kills everybody, and the survivors board the Star Destroyer, only to find out that’s not a very good idea. Everybody that died from the disease rises as an army of the undead.
First of all, if the book was trying to scare me, it failed. I found Joe Schrieber’s other Star Wars book Red Harvest giving me more chills than this one. The build-up was clever, but not exciting. One thing you need to know is that even though this book LOOKS like it’s supposed to be about zombies, they don’t come in at least until a little after the halfway point of this book. Even then, I found the events BEFORE the zombies to be a little more thrilling.
The characters are either decently written to very poorly written. Kale and Trig Longo are two brothers imprisoned on the prison barge. Kale, being the older brother, has a love for his little brother Trig, but these feelings are rubbed in your face a little too much. I admire a character’s trait being revealed through the character’s actions rather than his words. The words outweigh the actions here in a way that’s almost embarrassing, and makes the character feel like he’s fibbing.
Despite the horror, does this book still feel like Star Wars? Probably less so than Red Harvest. The only things in this book that earns it the title Star Wars is that the Empire is involved, there’s a Star Destroyer, and there are two familiar characters in this book that doesn’t do much anyway. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant twist since I wasn’t really caring for the other characters anyway.