Tag Archives: #HoldOntoTheLight

Happy Halloween Weekend!

I have a #Halloween guest post today over at: http://afstewartblog.blogspot.ca/2016/10/halloween-week-killer-clowns.html

I’m honored to be able to contribute to the newly released :

We Are Not This: Carolina Writers for Equality anthology

Now available on Amazon from Falstaff Books: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M5FVA7A

Featuring stories from  A.J Hartley, John Hartness, Jay Requard, David Childers, Edmund Schubert, Stuart Jaffe, Tamsin SilverNicole Kurtz, Joanne Spataro, Natania Barron, Faith Naff, Theresa Glover, Calandra Usher, Edmund Schubert, Teresa Frohock, Jake Bible, Tamsin Silver, Caryn Studham Sutorus, Trevor Curtis, and many more!

Proceeds from this anthology go to support Time Out Youth, Queen City Theatre Company, and Equality NC.

The #HoldOnToTheLight campaign is ongoing.

I’ve been honored to contribute  with over a hundred other authors writing about #MentalHealth, #PTSD, and #Depression. Please check out the web page.

And finally,

Check out more of our authors in this year’s October Frights Blog Tour! Now that book 3 is out, and Spirits of the Season and Gnomebody’s business are in paperback, some lucky person on my mailing list will will a full autographed set. Sign up today!

To celebrate, my Halloween story, “Spirits of the Season” will be free the entire month of October here! Use code Oct2016.

A Longbow Initiative Story
A Longbow Initiative Story

Even more, use code Scare2016 and get a 25% discount on everything!

 

And check out more of my fellow authors in this year’s tour!

 Loading InLinkz ...

Why we love Halloween, the fourth turning

Continued from the third act…
So back to the original question. What is it we love about Halloween?
To me, it’s simple.
It’s a celebration of life that lets us thumb our noses at our mortality.
According to the latest in psychology, there are four core emotions. The first three; Anger, Sadness, and Fear are all negative. They embody the face of the holiday going back through time.
What is the fourth?
Happiness. Joy.
Every single day, we put on the masks we show our families, our friends, our co-workers. Deep down, every one of us has some little part we refuse to share with the world for fear of it being taken or broken.
As kids, we got to run free, oblivious to the dangers of the world around us. Even Superman was vulnerable to Kryptonite. We had no such weaknesses.
Unless you fell down and skinned a knee.
As adults, we live in a world driven more by fear every day, even though at least in North America, the statistics show we are safer than ever before. Yes, there are problems. Difficult ones.
And this is why Halloween is such a beautiful holiday.
It reminds us we are all mortal.
Under the implied threat of trick-or-treat, we give gifts to friends, family, and complete strangers who show up at our door.
We get to express our creativity, making and wearing costumes that let us put on a different face, even if but for a little while.
We get to take on “safe” fear in haunted houses and scary movies.
And it all feeds our primordial instincts to survive by letting us vent so many stresses in a safe way.
Halloween connects us to our ancestors, our family, and our friends who are no longer with us, and reminds us they are only as far away as a thought. We can choose which memories to call up, and the emotions it invokes.
So this Halloween, get dressed up, and be what scares you the most. And revel in it!

And to wrap up the #OctoberFrights week, I have a special little story for you tomorrow!

Check out more of our authors in this year’s October Frights Blog Tour! Now that book 3 is out, and Spirits of the Season and Gnomebody’s business are in paperback, some lucky person on my mailing list will will a full autographed set. Sign up today!

To celebrate, my Halloween story, “Spirits of the Season” will be free the entire month of October here! Use code Oct2016.

A Longbow Initiative Story
A Longbow Initiative Story

Even more, use code Scare2016 and get a 25% discount on everything!

And check out more of my fellow authors in this year’s tour!

 Loading InLinkz ...

For others, this can be too much to handle. For those who have survived real horrors. I’ve been honored to contribute to the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign with over a hundred other authors writing about #MentalHealth, #PTSD, and #Depression. Please check out the web page.

Why we love Halloween Part Deux

In the first part, Why we love Halloween Part I I talked a little about the physiological side.

Now the psychological side.

Growing up in the 70’s, I remember kids still flooding the streets, going from house to house trick-or-treating, and coming home just in time for the Charlie Brown special. Like everything else, today we try to organize it all. Churches and organizations host small haunted houses and trunk-or-treats in the parking lot. Every year, we can count on one batch of kids to stop by the house.

But what does it all mean?

Historically, many cultures celebrate this time of year, though not necessarily on the same day, and call it Samhain, Salween, Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Hop Tu Naa, shuma sashti and the list goes on. They all circle around the same idea. The Day of the Dead. The night the veils between the land of the living and those who have crossed over become the thinnest. In some of these cultures, it also represented the new year.

In history, the practice of dressing up the kids, and sometimes the adults as evil spirits was done in this tradition, so that if you were to cross paths with something wicked that night, they would mistake you as a fellow demon or spirit, and let you pass on your way. The days have become shorter, and we creep towards the longest night of the year. The weather tends to have that balance of warm and cool. The harvest has ended, and at the back of our minds, we all know that Winter is Coming, with or without John Snow.

We take this time to face that which we fear most, and remember those who are no longer with us, knowing some of us will be crossing over and joining with our ancestors sooner than later in the harshness of the winter. We also mock death in a way, knowing sooner or later, it does come for all of us. So we take this time to commune with those no longer with us, and pray they are in a better place.

By dressing the kids up today, it’s now a way of celebrating life. Sure, there’s plenty of vampires and ghouls roaming the streets, but there’s also princesses and super heroes too. Here to protect the rest of us from those things that go bump in the night. We get to live through watching the kids have fun, eat too much sugar, and express who they want to be for the moment.

Onto the Third Act...

Check out more of our authors in this year’s October Frights Blog Tour! Now that book 3 is out, and Spirits of the Season and Gnomebody’s business are in paperback, some lucky person on my mailing list will will a full autographed set. Sign up today!

To celebrate, my Halloween story, “Spirits of the Season” will be free the entire month of October here! Use code Oct2016.

A Longbow Initiative Story
A Longbow Initiative Story

Even more, use code Scare2016 and get a 25% discount on everything!

And check out more of my fellow authors in this year’s tour!

 Loading InLinkz ...

For others, this can be too much to handle. For those who have survived real horrors. I’ve been honored to contribute to the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign with over a hundred other authors writing about #MentalHealth, #PTSD, and #Depression. Please check out the web page.

October Frights – Why we love Halloween Part 1

For October Frights this year, I ask the question, why do we love Halloween?

Today I ask, why do some people love to be scared?

We all know one, or sometimes have been one. The junior  adrenaline junkie.

I’m not talking about jumping out of a plane, climbing a rock face, or driving at 200 miles an hour.  It’s everyone else. The person who wants the rush from a roller coaster.  Sitting in a darkened theater watching the latest slasher film. Reading The Raven by candlelight.

Your heart begins to race. Your palms sweat.  It gets a little harder to breathe as the anticipation builds.

If you’re lost in the woods and its starting to snow, you know you’re in trouble.

If instead, you stand at the doorway to the local haunted house with a date… well then, open the floodgates and let the adrenaline, endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and the rest of our body’s chemical cocktail flow.

We love the rush that comes from the old primordial fear, the tools that helped us survive in the past.  Today, when we can experience this is a safe environment, it makes us feel alive.

Continued in Part Deux.

Check out more of our authors in this year’s October Frights Blog Tour!  Now that book 3 is out, and Spirits of the Season and Gnomebody’s business are in paperback, some lucky person on my mailing list will will a full autographed set. Sign up today!

To celebrate, my Halloween story, “Spirits of the Season” will be free the entire month of October here! Use code Oct2016.

A Longbow Initiative Story
A Longbow Initiative Story

Even more, use code Scare2016 and get a 25% discount on everything!

And check out more of my fellow authors in this year’s tour!

 Loading InLinkz ...

For others, this can be too much to handle.  For those who have survived real horrors. I’ve been honored to contribute to the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign with over a hundred other authors writing about #MentalHealth, #PTSD, and #Depression. Please check out the web page.

‪#‎holdontothelight‬‪

holdontothelight

 

I write this on the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11. I remember that morning all too well. I was supposed to be on site, but had a short week to volunteer for an event that weekend, so I had stayed home. I had a small TV in my office in the house, that I rarely turned on.

I’d scheduled myself a pretty light week, and flipped on the news for background noise a couple of minutes before 9 AM that morning, and the first cameras were reaching the Trade Towers. I sent messages to a few people in the office as we serviced several companies in the area around the towers, and activated some of our internal business continuity processes.

Like so many people, I was locked on the news, and saw the second plane hit. At first, I thought someone had found footage of the first crash, but no. It was the second hit, live.

I’d lived in Charlotte for less than a year at that time, but being a financial center, business around town began evacuating downtown except for critical personnel. It didn’t affect me as I didn’t work except out of my house when I moved here, as I was on the road most of the time, but it was all over the local news.

Before long, we had cleared out most of our offices as soon as we realized the United States was under attack. People were traumatized.

As I reflect on that day, and every day since, I look at where we are. We are still a nation existing in fear. We are in a fifteen year old global war with no end in sight. We entrust huge bureaucracies to keep us “safe” by treating every single one of us as a criminal.

And that’s before we get to our own personal lives.

I have had many friends in military service come back from their second, third, fourth deployments or more. So many of them show the signs of stress, of PTSD.

I then look at the people I know who have never been deployed. The friends I have going through the stresses of life – Illness, divorce, unemployment, trauma and so much more. I’ve had my issues with depression. With stress. With no longer giving a damn. I’ve always been able to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other.

Unfortunately I have enough friends that can’t get that far. Friends for whom the burden holds them down. Or in some cases pushes them to a permanent solution. I just work every day to make sure I don’t let myself go down that path.

I think all of this has built to lead us to where we are now. We are a wounded and traumatized nation. We have had economic upheaval, riots in the streets, extreme fear and mistrust of our political and law enforcement institutions, and we barely trust our neighbor any more. We have emptied our packs of the tools that helped us thrive to load them with the burdens and stresses of the world.

It is no wonder so many of us live on the edge of paralysis.

I write all of this not to push you over the edge, but to say it’s time to get your shit together. Me too.

It’s easy to say, but hard as hell to do.

It can be easy to live in our pain, to revel in it, cherish it, and nurture it. When you do, you are building a time bomb that will take you with it when it goes off.  You’re feeding that inner demon a buffet. It may be fast, or it could be slow, but either way it’s destructive. Nothing good can come of it. And at some point, even your closest loved ones either run away to protect themselves, or get sucked in and go down with you. I sometimes wonder if we nationally aren’t bathing in our collective pain.

It’s time for us to all own up to our problems, and work on them. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were you. You are made up of all of your experiences – good and bad, ecstasy and trauma. Just like me, and everyone else.  Learning to deal with your problems and accept your traumas in life take time. It takes having help.

Sometimes it’s a beer and wings. Sometimes that help comes in the form of calling a friend at 2 AM, and talking your problems through. Sometimes it comes in the form of a therapist or other professional.

Life won’t always be easy. Sometimes it down right sucks. Just don’t try to do it alone.

The other morning, I was having a hell of a time getting motivated, and something popped up in my Facebook feed.

 

These mountains you are carrying, you were only meant to climb. – Najwa Zebian

 

Since the first time I ever saw this, it seems to appear as a mantra for me when I need it. For me, it reminds me to drop all of the bullshit that weighs me down, and there’s plenty I carry with me every day. And as long as you put one foot in front of the other going upwards, you’re getting closer to the top.

I believe we all have a possible point of greatness, which few of us will ever fully realize. I also don’t believe there is an apex, just peaks we can reach to discover there is a taller mountain next. Like a mountain climber, you never can succeed alone. There are always sherpas (mentors) to guide you along parts of the path and help carry the burden. You travel with other climbers who can pick you up when you slip, and you do the same for them.

We have to help ourselves first to help those around us.

I sometimes have to remind myself that I’m up for the journey, and there’s still an occasional hurricane even when you’re just hanging out on the beach. Grab a surfboard, ride the storm surge, and have your lifeguards for the times you wipe out. And be ready, when you have a friend in need.

More contributors can be found by following ##‎holdontothelight‬‪ and through:

DisquietingVisions.com

MagicalWords.net

AscendantKingdoms.com.

-Jim

Resources:

 The National Center for PTSD

Anxiety and Depression Society of America

 

#HoldOntoTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Home for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

To find out more about #HoldOntoTheLight, find a list of participating authors, or reach a media contact, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/276745236033627/.