The Perks of Being a Substitute Person

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My entire life has been a never-ending quest for real conversation. The people I like talking to the most are capable of truly talking to me. Conversation is valuable to me. I like to talk. I like to share ideas. I like to have random conversations. Some of the happiest times in my life were four hour phone calls with occasional kindred spirits, who enjoyed perusing as many different topics and going deeper into all of them. Oftentimes, those people were my “writing buddies.” Once, when working on a vampire novella with a friend, we stayed up super late on the phone discussing different elements of our ideas, coming up with new possibilities, divulging the secrets of the individual research we had done, and laughing. I was excited to talk to her. I couldn’t wait to do it again. In those carefree summer days, we had all the time in the world to exchange a flurry of e-mails. One a day, at the very least – sometimes, three or four.

That relationship, as all of them do, eventually faded. Our passion burned out. Our lives went in different directions. Our interests changed. Yet, those discussions forever cemented her in my mind as the person I could discuss all manner of vampire-related things with. To this day, when feeling a burning need to talk about anything relating to the blood-drinking undead, for a split second I think, “Gee, I wish could call…” Continue reading

Finding Where I Belong

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Have you ever had your life turn upside-down, and you came staggering out the other side, thinking, what just happened? Suddenly, your entire perspective shifts and you see the truth about yourself.

That happened to me this week. I’m not sure what started it. Something triggered my thinking about when I was a kid. Enthusiastic, bombastic, attention-seeking, and a chatterbox. That led to me thinking about myself as an adult. I’m outspoken. I’m opinionated. I’m drawn to other people (and fictional characters) that do the same. It dawned on me that… I like attention. I like being around people. Leave me alone too long, and I plummet into navel-gazing depression. Could I be an extrovert? Continue reading

Write What You Love

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I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since age eleven. It just occurred to me one day that books don’t magically turn up on shelves; people write them. So, I started writing and have never stopped. I have not gone more than three days without working on a book in the twenty years since. Some people choose a life purpose, and that’s mine. Even at a young age as a writer, I was headed for speculative fiction… and didn’t know it. Many of even my more serious early novels had elements of “magic” in them.

Over the years, I’ve tried writing different things… mysteries, historical fiction, fairy tales… and I found that trying to remember and stick to dates and historical events was tiresome. You can’t (or, at least, I don’t think you should) change history, no matter how much you want to. See, if I was in the history rewriting business, I’d have Katharine of Aragon run away with Thomas More before she ever married Henry. But, since I’m not Philippa Gregory, I can’t write “serious novels” without being sincere to the truth. So… why write serious novels in the first place? Continue reading

Movies This ENFP Loves: The Patriot

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Some movies get so much right that I can forget what they get wrong. This is the case with The Patriot. Every Independence Day, I watch it – usually alone, because no one else in the family can “take it.” My reasons for doing so are both out of appreciation for the film itself, and to remind me of the cost of my freedom. Even though the events and characters are fictional, they are loosely based on actual individuals from the Revolution. If nothing else, it reminds me that the noise I hear on the 4th of July is fireworks… for the Patriots, it was cannon fire.

Loving this movie as much as I do, I also realize that it is enormously controversial, primarily in its depiction of the English. Now, I am not one of those inclined to lump everyone on the opposing side of conflict into “evil” territory, but the Revolution had its share of barbaric behavior on both sides (including Francis Rawdon-Hastings writing that, ‘The fair nymphs of this isle are in wonderful tribulation… a girl cannot step into the bushes to pluck a rose without running the most imminent risk of being ravished, and they are so little accustomed to these vigorous methods that they don’t bear them with proper resignation, and of consequence we have the most entertaining courtsmartial every day’”). So, to head off potential arguments – the British might not have been “all bad” as shown here through Tavington, but some of them weren’t very nice either, so having a fictional villain as awful as Tavington is not as grievous an insult as some might think. Continue reading

The Facts of the Reformation

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Every time I re-watch The Tudors, various thoughts swirl around in my head: how much I hate Henry VIII, how much compassion I have for his wives, and my anguish over how the Reformation was “enforced” in England. People talk about it as if it was a great moment in history. Protestants especially think it carries significance. I have heard Anne Boleyn praised for being the catalyst that introduced the “true” faith to England. That shocks me most of all, that we want to credit an adulterous relationship with spreading Christianity. The end doesn’t justify the means, even if the end is good. Unfortunately, the end of this movement was just as bad as the immorality that spread it. Continue reading

Manipulation & Deception: When NFJs Go Bad

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I read something recently that stuck with me: “the cruelest things I have ever heard said in an argument came from the mouths of NFJs.”

Ours is a reputation for sweetness and light. If you read an online profile about us, it paints us as rare and completely harmless. That is not the case, because no human being is harmless; we are all capable of great evil. Online profiles do not delve into our deeper sin nature, and the natural abilities that equip us with the power to hurt others in ways other types can only imagine, because so few of us blatantly abuse our gifts. The darkness is there. We may not act on it, but we are no more saintly than any other type … and if we do choose to give in to our darker instincts, we are much more manipulative about it and thus, have a greater potential for evil than many other types.

Every type has a typical brand of evil, but the NFJ has a particular strain of cruelty to its methods. Manipulative evil looks so innocent on the surface that the victim doesn’t realize what it is, until it is too late… until they have surrendered completely to the belief that this person loves them, and thus, opened themselves up emotionally for utter destruction. Because we are so good at reading other people and anticipating their needs, we also have an incredible ability to know just what to say and when, to hurt them the worst. Whether or not we give in to this impulse relies on our moral beliefs and strength of character… but it’s still there. We have, at all times, the ability to destroy others, but fortunately, we rarely use it. Continue reading