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March 15, 2010

May the 4th be with you…

This was the response I received this week from an English friend of mine after I’d informed him of the publication date for PLAY DEAD. I was a little taken aback by the response. Aside from being enviably witty (nobody tops those Brits when it comes to enviable wit), his reply happened to be rather coincidental. Last month my lovely wife Victoria (another quick-witted Brit) surprised me with the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift – one that exemplified the romantic passion of our decade-long, ever-hot-and-steamy courtship. It was the complete Star Wars Saga on DVD.

Did I marry well, or what?
You better believe it.

To say that I was thrilled by this token of undying love would be an understatement. Aside from being a huge fan of the Star Wars films as a child, the opportunity to revisit them now has taken on an even deeper meaning because I’ve been able to introduce them to my six-year-old son Raff, and relive the first-viewing experience through his eyes.

The timeless lessons presented in the films about good and evil, friendship and loyalty, the notion that Wookies have feelings too, are hitting home with even more ‘force’ now that I’m raising my own little Jedi-in-training. I’m sure my wife could do without the living room light-saber duels my son and I have been engaging in of late, but at least they’re serving a higher purpose, which is to keep the boy from crossing to the dark side in this young and impressionable stage he’s in. (That excuse isn’t working yet, by the way, but I’m hoping my wife will eventually come around).

There has also been another unforeseen consequence to my recent Star Wars viewings: I believe they have helped my writing. As I am currently deep in the trenches, pounding the keyboard to get Book Two finished on deadline, I’ve found myself channeling my inner-Skywalker to get through the difficult days at my desk. This has become a necessity seeing as, here lately, they’ve all been difficult.

But I’ve come to realize that I’m not alone on my Book Two journey. Just the other day I looked up from my computer screen and realized to my horror that I’d been working on the same paragraph for three hours. Luckily, about the time I reached up to pull out hair-clump number four, a strange thing happened: Obi Wan Kenobi spoke to me.

‘Let go, Ryan.’ He said. ‘Trust your feelings…’

Now before you go thinking that I might have already lost the plot in my fledgling career as a writer, let me assure you that I’m only channeling my inner-Skywalker…not my inner-Hemingway. I’ve yet to crack open the Jack Daniel's at my desk and indulge myself to the point that I’m hearing the voices of Jedi masters in my head (unless I’m writing newsletters, that is). All I can say is that good ole Obi Wan’s words of wisdom really did enter my head in my darkest writing hour, and they really did have an effect. In fact, even Yoda dropped by that day to offer a few tidbits of Jedi wisdom in that insightful backward-speaking way of his: Not an illiterate moron, you are. Actually do this, you can.

Okay, maybe I really have lost the plot, but I’ll be darned if those Jedi Master voices didn’t kick-start that Dark Side demon known as the blinking curser that day. In letting go and trusting my feelings, I quit thinking, kept typing, and somehow finished the paragraph.

And the chapter.
And had a pretty good night’s sleep because of it.

So my advice to you all: hit the sofa, grab your kid, pop the Star Wars Saga into the DVD player, and tap the vein of your own inner-Skywalker. See what happens. It just might help you weather a storm or two.

And speaking of weather and storms…

Being a native Texan, I have a fondness for warm weather. Actually, that’s putting it too ‘mildly’. I have a deep love for scorching temperatures. Playing three hard sets of tennis in mid-July, on a court registering 120 degrees, is my idea of perfect bliss. This is unfortunate seeing as I now live in New York City, where I have been forced to endure one of the most brutal winters in recent memory. The only good to come of this decidedly inclement season, it that there really hasn’t been anything else to do, other than sit in my grumpy-den (my wife’s name for my office) and pound away on Book Two.

Also, the foul weather has allowed me the opportunity to get this website set up, and do everything I can to get my ducks in a row for the upcoming publication of PLAY DEAD. I’m in uncharted waters for sure, but they are exciting waters to sail, and I’m grateful that a couple year’s work will finally come to fruition in the form of a real-life book on a real-life shelf.

Setting up this website has been an exciting journey in and of itself, and I thank you for visiting. I, of course, hope that you’ll be in the bookstores soon to pick up a copy of PLAY DEAD. And I hope that if you like it, you’ll tell a friend.

By now it’s probably obvious that I’m a big film fan, but my life (and this website) is primarily about my first love – books – a subject about which I will no doubt have plenty of things to discuss in the newsletters to come. Until then, I’ll be sure to keep you up to date on what’s going on in my galaxy, and I hope you’ll do the same.

And remember:
May the 4th be with you…

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