Friday, March 7, 2014

Spending Time with My Precious Little Boy

I had taken a sabbactical from my writing to focus on my Japanese studies. I hate to say that I had not focused as much as I wanted, but I am better than I was before. That said, I want to focus this post on a special time that I had with my son in January. We had finished spending a few days with my inlaws during the New Year's holiday. I wanted to give my wife a break because she had been very busy during our visit to her parents' home. I decided that my son, Shouhei, and I would visit the Niigata Prefectural Art Museum, in Nagaoka, to see a special exhibit about the Japanese tokusatsu (special effects) movies of the nineteen sixties and seventies. Shouhei and I took the Shinkansen from Niigata to Nagaoka. (It only took around fifteen to twenty minutes). Shouhei loved this part because it was his first time to ride the Shinkansen. And he is a big lover of trains. We took a bus from Nagaoka station to the museum. I loved the exhibit because it had many original models and props from the old Godzilla and Gamera movies that I loved as a child. Shouhei wanted to touch the models. It was difficult to keep his little hands off of things, but we had a good time. I will admit that it was stressful and a big challenge to keep my active little boy from touching things, but I really just enjoyed having "guy time" with him. It was good to share something that I loved with him and he liked it too. My advice to many busy fathers: a great way to spend time with Your children is to spend time sharing something that you love with them. It helps build a strong bond with them. They may not remember all that they did, but they will always remember that they spent time with daddy. That is something that is sorely lacking the world over.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Interview with Grace Bridges

As some of you may know, I have been participating in a microfiction project called Avenir Eclectia. It is about the descendents of a generation starship and their struggles to survive in very unforgiving environments.

I asked the creator of the project, Grace Bridges, to answer a few questions about Avenir.

1. What does "Avenir Eclectia" mean? Where did you get the name from? Why did you choose it?

I knew I wanted something completely unique and I liked the idea of a double word. Avenir was easy - it's French for future, and also the model of my brother's car, though that was more of a coincidence. Avenir is the name of the original generation ship that made the journey across space to found the colony. Eclectia is the name of the colony proper, on the planet, called thus because of the wide and "eclectic" variety of people needed to make it work. As things turned out, the Avenir remained in orbit, was expanded, and over a hundred thousand people still live there, so that the colony is effectively divided in two, yet bearing the double name.


2. What inspired the initial design and setting for the Avenir Eclectia universe, e.g., particular books, authors, experiences, or specific real world landscapes?

I wanted to have something for everyone. Space for the sci-fi writers. Mysterious ocean angels and giant beetles for the fantasy. Demons and cataclysms for the horror writers. Everyone should have a place where they are comfortable; to think, yes, I am at home in that setting. The specifics grew from that as I considered initially some of the people I wanted on board.



3. Why did you choose to do this as a microfiction project versus as a novel in chapters?

Microfiction is easy to write. Easy to finish and easy to publish. It is also very well suited to the collaboration of many authors. Their threads weave among each other, touching and crossing, yet individual. This is what makes it fun for everyone to be involved. If it were a novel, I think I would have had to write it all by myself!



4. What lead you to open this project up to other authors? I tend to think of authors as being very protective of their worlds. I imagined that it was not easy to do this.

The world of Avenir Eclectia was created specifically to be shared in this way. So in that sense there was nothing to be protective of. We built up the entire world together, as we wrote one tiny story at a time. I have plenty of other worlds of my own to retreat into - this one was intended to be created by us all working together.



5. After several months of managing this project, what have been the joys and disappointments of doing a shared universe project?

I am constantly amazed that so many people are enthusiastic contributors. Since starting up last March, we've posted three stories a week and never come close to running out. In fact, we now have several months' backlog! But never fear - new contributors, and any who have been absent for a while, are always pulled to the front of the list. It's been a fountain of creativity and I love to see what people have done with the very sparse ideas I set forth in the beginning. The storyworld is now very rich and varied, with its own culture and history.
My only hardship is the constant administration to do with reading submissions, asking for tweaks, maintaining the site and all the indexes, post tags, etc. But I do it gladly.


6. What can we expect from Avenir Eclectia in the future?

When we have collected enough stories, there will be a special edition anthology from Splashdown Books containing the stories to date. But not all - a few of our authors want to withhold their threads from the anthology and create novel-length works of their own. I also have a vague idea for a novel of my own, but I have a lot of other projects before I could think about writing it. I may in fact look for a collaborator to help with that.

Also coming up very soon is a CD and MP3 release of the Avenir Eclectia soundtracks composed by Michael L. Rogers. This is very exciting for us!

Grace, thanks for the answers.

In case anyone is curious about Grace's other pursuits, check the small press that she started called Splashdown Books. There is a great selection of Sci-Fi and fantasy to keep you entertained--inspired--for many, many eons.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mental Time Travel

If you are like me, you spend too much time thinking about mistakes that you had made in the past. I am willing to bet that you, like me, also imagine that if you were offered a time machine, you would go start correcting every mistake that you could.

But we must remember that God uses everything--including our past mistakes--to make us more like Jesus. If you prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit, He will show you many times when failures were blessings in disguise. For example, I was only able to go on the missions trip where I first met my wife because I was fired from a job a month before. God closed one door and opened another.

Please note that not all past failures are blessings. We can remember that there are plenty of past mistakes that we caused by our own stupidity and disobedience to what we know the Lord wanted us to do. These resulted in lost blessings that can never be retrieved. We must repent of these past mistakes and move in the Holy Spirit. God can work out everything for good if we give ALL of our past completely to Him (Romans 8:28).

So, get focused on what needs to be done today. Jesus said that the troubles and challenges of today (Matthew 6:34) are more than enough to keep us occupied without having to take the Tardis down the past mistake wormhole.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Promotion" Is Up

My new Avenir Eclectia story "Promotion" was posted on the site last week. Shouhei gets an unexpected surprise when he reaches Sheba.

"Thanksgiving" Is Up

My new story for Avenir Eclectia "Thanksgiving" was posted on the shttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifite on July 8. Shouhei learns that even bad situations can lead to important life lessons.

Friday, June 10, 2011

"Assignment" Is Up at Avenir Eclectia

The new Shouhei Fiko story "Assignment" is up at Avenir Eclectia.
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Here is the address: http://www.avenireclectia.com/2011/06/assignment.html

Please read and enjoy.

"Graduation" Posted on Avenir Eclectia

My first child, Shouhei, was born on February 15 of this year. So I thought what better way to immortalize him than to make him a character in an SF story.

The character of Shouhei Fiko will be part of the microfiction project Avenir Eclectia by Splashdown Books
Here is the link to the first story "Graduation": http://www.avenireclectia.com/2011/05/graduation.html

Please visit, read, and enjoy. There is more to come.