Posts Tagged ‘amwriting’

I just had to stop today and dream a little bit.

A passion project of mine, has and always will be, the team of superheroes I created in high school. It’s a project that is always on the periphery of my mind. It’s something very near and dear to me. I’m a superhero guy. I’m a comic book nerd, through and through. In fact, the Midnight Defenders series began as an idea for a comic book, to happen in the same world as the Enemas. That’s the title of the group. The Enemas.

Their origins debut in the Gulf War. The early stories take place in the 90s. In fact, I have 20 years of backstory for the Enemas, as well as a dozen or so other superhero teams that exist in their world. That’s a LOT. Keeping that much confined only to the periphery of my mind is no small feat. It wants to be front and center. It begs me in my sleep to tell the story. So, for a small glimmer of relief from the demons in my head, here’s just a snippet of things to come:

The Enemas
Platoon 439 of the US Army was stationed in Iraq during the Gulf War. Captain Jacob Tartar, nicknamed Captain Enema, due to the nearly-fabled tale of the enemy camp shitting themselves when they saw him coming. That only happened once, and it wasn’t the entire camp, just most of them. Subsequently, his platoon earned the nickname, The Enemas.

When Tartar’s commanding officer and surrogate father-figure, General Alexander, becomes a POW, Tartar and his men go AWOL, defying direct orders, to rescue the general. However, what they find in the desert nearly cost them their lives.

Officially, Captain Tartar and his men were KIA. They had military funerals for their families. Unofficially, ten soldiers survived, and they were the first subjects of a top-secret military program called Project: Darkseed.

In the world of the Enemas, superheroes were a reality, though they had been disbanded and outlawed after the Cold War. In the 90s, no such heroes existed, and the greatest legacy heroes, like The Amazingness, went back home to his planet. The rest, just fell off the grid.

The US Government, hearing rumblings that other countries were undergoing operations to bring back people with abilities, using them as an army of super soldiers, as a weapon more powerful and with fewer casualties than nuclear warheads, gathered the greatest minds they could recruit to come up with their own program. Darkseed was spearheaded by Doctor Vladimir Craighorne, and it was designed to bring to light a person’s inner strengths that had “been germinating in the darkness of the human soul.”

Of the ten soldiers, only one died during the process. With only one confirmed success, the other eight were given new identities, new memories, and sent back into the world to live normal lives, although being closely monitored. The first to develop abilities and called back to Darkseed were:

-Captain Enema – Jacob Tartar, forcefields and energy blasts
-The Caped Avenger – Linus Maguire, random useless abilities, such as running in slow motion, changing his hair, and pulling mashed potatoes from his pants
-Meridian – Sarah Foster, telekinesis, limited telepathy
-Kodiak – Charlie Anderson, super strength, invulnerability, and increased senses

They joined the first success, Scanner – Aaron Takeshi, whose computer-brain abilities made any new memory implants impossible to stick. Together, they search for the other four Darkseed soldiers who have mysteriously gone dark, and tackle other threats along the way. All while trying to remember what really happened that day in the desert and what the US Government and the mysterious Falcon Gyre aren’t at liberty to tell them.

I have the scripts for the first ten issues written. I have many more outlined. I have plans for a dozen or more story arcs, each containing multiple issues. Eventually, I have it mapped out in my head to become an entire Universe of superheroes. But the journey of a thousand heroes begins with the first one.

Captain Enema.

I pray you’ll meet him soon.

The other day, I told my eight-year-old that I hope he finds something, anything, a passion that he will make sacrifices for. He’s in second grade, and if there’s any indication of that now, it won’t involve math. He’s asking to play drums, so maybe, but baseball, basketball, and tae kwon do didn’t take.

My daughter is twelve. She’s not the perfect example of what I want for my kids, but I see glimmers of it developing. Just this last year, she started in piano lessons, and she’s somewhat of a natural. I don’t want to use the word prodigy. Our neighbor showed her a piece and she memorized it within a few minutes. My brother was in town for Thanksgiving and taught her the Star Wars theme. She’s very musically inclined, and I hope her passion for it drives her into great and terrible things, musically, but as of now, she has to be told to practice. I’d love to tell her to shut up, I’m trying to sleep. It’s been five hours now. Give the ivory time to rest.

Truth be told, my kids would rather lie around all day playing video games and watching TV than do anything with their lives. And it’s not even good video games. It’s Minecraft. If you want to build something, go build something. We literally have a basement full of Lego bricks.

I want that for my kids because that’s what I want for myself. I struggled for years in high school and college, and then out of college while I bounced around from employer to employer trying to find my place. I wanted something to engage me. I fought my passion and dreams for a long time, waiting around, praying that God would deliver me into some magic destiny he had for me. I woke up one day, frustrated, fed-up, that my prayers weren’t being answered the way I wanted them to, working a job that was getting me nowhere.

It’s a strange thing to believe in the Bible and to try to apply it to your life and to still operate with just a blind faith that things will happen on a random whim. Then I read James 2:19, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” Faith without works is dead. I can believe all day long for the life I want, but it won’t fill my bowl with ice cream.

I’m an independent writer. I’m not published by a major house. I’ve got my stories, and I’m making them come to life with little more than my passions and talents. And those passions have spurned me along to teach myself basic HTML, Photoshop, and several other programs that I would otherwise not care about just to be able to format .MOBI and .EPUB files. I have to stay driven because otherwise, my passion and dreams lie stagnant. And what happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or does it explode?

My dad, for my entire life, (until recently) has been self-employed. If he woke up everyday and went to work, rain or shine, snow or drought, and he put in ten, twelve hour days. And not sitting behind a desk somewhere. He was an artist, a landscaper, a contractor. He did hard labor, and I know, because as a lad, I was forced to do it, too. Sure, I hated it at the time, but it was character building. It inspired me. To this day, I think back on the life my dad chose and I draw huge inspiration from him. He blazed a trail. That takes not only faith, but courage, determination, a bit of stubbornness.

I’m not going to lie, it’s hard at times. There are days where the house is quiet, my wife and kids are asleep, it’s cold, and I’m exhausted, but it’s only 10PM, and I could still squeeze out a page or two. Sacrifices for passion. I’d rather play video games, too. I play good games, like The Legend of Zelda. Action and puzzles, exploration, a plot. I don’t have the time I want to play games, though, because if I sit around playing games, who writes my books and tells my tales? My daughter got me this game for Christmas, 2013. I’m almost at the end. Just a few more months, maybe.

One of the biggest things that keeps me going is a random song. Airplanes by B.O.B. Not the radio edit. The version with Eminem. I’ve always loved Eminem’s music. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine. His part at the end of that song is poetic in it’s profanity, but it’s the highest, simplest truth.

Talking about a hypothetical version of himself, he says, “Pretend he procrastinated, had no motivation
Pretend he just made excuses that were so paper thin they could blow away with the wind.” Here’s a guy, love him or leave him, that picked himself up by his bootstraps, who came from a trailer in crime-ridden Detroit, and changed his stars. He could easily have become another victim of the economic hardships Michigan continues to endure. He could have easily made one excuse after another why not to do what he did, but instead, he sacrificed. He made a few wise decisions, a few chance meetings, and now he’s iconic. He’s a legend in the music industry. He’s the best rapper out there, white or black, because his beats are crazy and his lyrical precision and timing are spot on. In the song, he goes on to say, “He’s gon’ have a hard time explaining to Hailie and Lainie these food stamps and this WIC shit. Cause he never risked shit he hoped and he wished it but it didn’t fall in his lap so he ain’t even here.”

We can make whatever excuses we want to tell ourselves that we aren’t good enough, that we shouldn’t try, but at the end of the day, what will we tell our children that will make them proud of the life we’ve given them? That’s what keeps me going. I love doing what I do. It makes me incredibly happy and proud to publish books. Thank God for the technology and the companies out there today that allow people like me to take a story that may not exactly be commercial gold and share it anyway.

I love what I do, but on the days that I don’t feel like doing it, I push forward anyway, because I want my kids to know that I didn’t miss my chances. I want them to be inspired, and I want them to find their passions so that one day, they can make sacrifices and find their rewards.