Here, we’re introduced to the prestigious King Mark of Tintagel. Morgan interrupts his annual conference, begging the king to send an emissary north to rescue Gawain. While King Mark is sympathetic, there’s one person who stands in Morgan’s way.
23-year-old Tristan is the Champion of Cornwall, the strongest fighter in the kingdom and an unspoken big brother to the youngsters. In Tristan’s own words, “I’ll not risk the lives of my men based on the whims of a mistempered brat playing at alchemy!”
Of course, Tristan should have known better. As if Morgan’s about to accept “no” for an answer.
Chapter 2 – The Lion of Dumnonia by Rock Kitaro
“Aria” by Susumu Hirasawa –
“YOU, SIR, ARE A COWARD!”
“I DARE YOU TO SAY THAT AGAIN!”
“EVERYONE SIT DOWN! NOW!”
“YOU CAN’T REASON WITH THESE MEN! THEY’RE NO BETTER THAN ANTS WITHOUT A CAUSE!”
“I GOT YOUR CAUSE!”
All class and decorum went out the window hours ago. Spit flew from beards and bugling eyes looked like they were about to pop out of their skulls. Ambassadors from over thirty volatile kingdoms had convened at Tintagel Castle. It was the final week of August. For eight years, this “Council of Gold Clovers” congregated in an annual attempt to resolve differences with diplomacy. With the honorable King Mark presiding, the initiative was supposed to spark hope for a greater future.
However, as of late, the council had turned into nothing less than a competition of who could talk the loudest. Empty words and false promises were passed out like playing cards in a pub. Their resolutions were always unrealistic and there was a running joke that the only reason why people kept coming back was to gorge themselves on the food.
The throne room was large enough to shelter an army of 2,000, yet for some reason it felt congested. Over 150 disgruntled knights, barons, and chancellors had broken from their assigned tables and were now separated in conspiring huddles as if anarchy was in the works.
The day started with everyone dressed in their second-best suits, but by noon, they all looked like sweaty peasants from having stripped off their outer garments. Collars and capes of all colors were discarded like dismantled decorations. Spilt wine lined cracks of the floor. Daggers were driven through tables. It was as if a tornado had ripped through the room and the look on King Mark’s face was priceless.
Mark, the King of Tintagel, just sat there on his gold throne with his head held up by his fists. The black banners hanging above his dais displayed the sigil of fifteen gold coins in an upside-down triangle.
Four knights in full metal armor stood behind the king with their hands resting on the pommel of massive swords. Sixteen servants waited in the wings, ready to tend to the king’s every need. Unfortunately, what the king really needed was some sense of civility, not these animals looking to exert their dominance.
In spite of his position and the veneration bestowed upon him, King Mark’s appearance was far from impressive. He was nearing fifty, shorter than most with a potbelly, bristly hair, and a thick black beard that concealed whether he was smiling or not. Perhaps King Mark’s most endearing feature was his sympathetic gray eyes. He was relatively soft-spoken and hardly yelled, even on the battlefield.
To his left was an empty chair reserved for his wife. However, the queen passed away decades ago and King Mark had yet to remarry. The chair to his right was occupied by the Lord Chamberlain, Sir Cador, a no-nonsense taskmaster. Cador was also Duchess Igraine’s cousin by blood and a strict but doting father to the sixteen-year-old Constantine.
The bickering was unbecoming but everyone knew the topic of discussion would produce such reactions. The main grievance on the tip of everyone’s tongue was the ceaseless terror by the Hibernians.
Unlike Britannia, which was fractious and split with a myriad of formidable warlords, Hibernia was a singular powerhouse of unified clans just beyond the Celtic Sea. It was home to some of the deadliest warriors the world has ever seen. She was a seafaring nation, ruled by a matriarch whose fame and reputation was almost revered and worshiped as the pharaohs of old.
Her name was Iseult, Queen of Hibernia. She benefited from the division and strife amongst the British, fighting for the kingdoms that paid the most. In her web of lies, Iseult orchestrated a number of political murders and framed rival generals, effectively pitting them against each other like pawns on a chessboard. The blood money was steady revenue that made Queen Iseult one of the wealthiest women in the world. She’d promise loyalty and discretion but at heart, the Hibernians were loyal only to Hibernia.
During Iseult’s near thirty-year reign, Cornwall has remained Hibernia’s main rival. Back in the day, King Mark had some powerful allies on his side. Big names like High King Uther, Duke Gorlois, King Leodegrance and even the sorcerer Merlin. But due to a series of unfortunate events, Duke Gorlois was murdered, Uther died, Merlin parted ways, and Leodegrance had to defend own kingdom against legions from an usurping King Vortigern.
Hoping to capitalize on the chaos, Queen Iseult launched a massive siege upon Tintagel Castle. King Mark prevailed in his defense but it cost him dearly. Two thirds of his army was devastated and thousands of villagers loss their homes in the crossfire.
That was nearly sixteen years ago. Queen Iseult’s hatred never faded. Systematically, she’d send hunters across the sea to kidnap sons and daughters from indiscriminate villages. They were brought back to Hibernia and forced to slave labor.
Bereaved parents fell to their hands and knees begging the courts to do something, anything to bring back their children. It was a reoccurring nightmare. To date, all sixteen rescue attempts were crushed at sea. The one vessel that managed to reach Hibernia’s shores fell prey to a massacre that was so barbaric it was omitted from the scrolls.
Thus, the Council of Gold Clovers debated. They argued. They pointed fingers and accused one another of cowardice.
“Are your knights not brave enough?”
“Where’s your courage?”
“Where were you when my daughter was swept off in the night!?”
“I dare you to say that again!”
“You sir, have no class!”
“To hell with you and your antiquated, highborn sensibilities!”
“Let’s see your tongue wag after I’ve split it with my ax!”
“I have five arrows thirsting for your blood!”
“Don’t tempt me!”
“LET’S HAVE IT!”
It was all the same with no end in sight. Duke Guinea slammed his fist on the table every time he felt someone was “missing the point.” The loud bang caused Sir Cador’s shoulders to jerk forward like a pit bull on a leash. King Mark would notice and smirk. The mild amusement was about the only perk King Mark derived from the meetings.
An unexpected knock began to crawl over the overlapping conversations. Initially, no one heard it but its persistence began to annoy the competing speakers. The double doors croaked open.
To the king, Morgan was a sight for sore eyes. As soon as he spotted her in that cotton pink dress he was immediately filled with joy. The cluster of old men glowered down at her as she weaved her way to the throne. She wanted to present herself as a young lady should, humble and modest. But no matter what, she couldn’t stop herself grimacing at the nauseating stench of wine and sweat.
Morgan le Fay has a vision. In the middle of a storm, she sees Gawain shackled and bound aboard a slave ship. At last, he’s coming back to Britannia. It’s been four years since she lost him and now she wants him back. But what can a teenage brat known for her mischief do? Who will believe her after all the craps she’s pulled in the past?
PVRIS – Chandelier (Sia Cover)
Chapter 1 – The Vision By Rock Kitaro
“It feels like I’m sinking. There’s a swarm of bees in my stomach. The trickle in my ear is nauseating and for some reason these stupid flashes of light blur the lines every time I come close to making something out. Honestly… It’s all beginning to get very aggravating.”
A tempest unleashed hell over the vast turbulent seas. It should have been pitch black, but blinding cracks of lightning stretched as veins for miles. Gale force winds howled like demented ghosts over the abyss. Stone-black waves with white crests moved like snowcapped mountains swaying in restless aim. Torrential rains made visibility poor and the dark clouds appeared to be getting closer and closer as if to smother the earth in her sleep.
It was madness to be caught in such hazard, and yet, there! Cruising down the valley of two massive waves was a single frigate carrying the fate of over seventy souls.
A brave crew of twelve wrestled with the riggings. A bearded captain and his second-mate manned the rudder from the wheel deck. They were approaching the Isle of Man, a massive iceberg of an island responsible for more shipwrecks than serpents or sorcery. Navigating through the veils of heavy rain in the middle of the night should have been next to impossible. Yet, there they were.
Prayers whispered below deck as teeth rattled and toes curled. Deafening blasts of thunder kept everyone wide awake. No one wanted to be asleep should the ship capsize or ram against any number of protruding rocks that breached the surface like siege defenses. Falling overboard or being swept out to sea spelled instant death. It didn’t matter if they held hands or clung to floating chunks of wood. In this deluge, drowning was inevitable.
There was royalty on board, a princess accompanied by three of her maidens. Oddly enough, while the maidens trembled with trepidation, the princess remained poised with a hardened sense of determination. She wasn’t about to let herself drown. Even if the ship did sink, there wasn’t a single doubt in her mind that she’d find some way to survive. It’d make for a good story and maybe even convince her people that she was more than just some dainty little girl.
Out in the main hold, disgruntled soldiers with broad shoulders and thick beards sat with their backs against the wall. They spat and grumbled all sorts of blasphemies, begging for the worst to be over. Cold water leaked through the cracks, extinguishing all hopes of lighting fires. It was so dark that they could barely see the hands before their eyes. Tormented horses neighed as they struggled to break free. Someone needed to calm them down but no one was willing to risk getting crushed.
And there, past the horses, past the sacks of grain, and gold, and shields, and armor…was a single slave, shackled and chained upside down to the ceiling as if he posed a formidable threat to his masters. Every time the ship jerked, his shoulders would bang against the wooden hull, causing him to wince with intense pain but he never screamed. Nor did he cry out for mercy or ask for help. He was so young, but strong and full of pride that he kept buried deep down inside.
This young slave was dressed like a soldier but marked by a patch of mustard brushed across the chest of his tunic. After slamming against the hull once more, the slave finally opened his eyes. His long hair was brown and curly like that of a Saxon. His skin was olive as if he hailed from the Italian peninsula but those eyes… In his eyes she saw a myriad of herbal hues, mostly jade with a burst of auburn.
Water dripped to his face but the young man didn’t blink. He peered through the cracks, slowly hypnotized by rolling clouds that made it seem as if the ship was already submerged. Lightning struck. He saw it and immediately felt the boom of thunder rattling his core, detonating a migraine he tried so desperately to shake.
It was then that hopelessness crept in. Whatever dignity or confidence once engrained in this young man had deteriorated to the point that he could only think of one thing, one person, a single source of bliss that carried him far away from the pain and sadness. As his jaw slacked and the cool air tickled his parched throat, the young man whispered.
“The Literary Tempest and Combative Seas” A Stage in the Sky Update by Rock Kitaro Date January 23, 2017
DNA ft. Suzanne Vega – “Tom’s Diner – Long Version”
If this is your first time here allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rock Kitaro. I’m an author specializing in the themes of revenge, rivalry, and rebellion. However, I’m thinking about adding romance to that list because “love” is almost always the main source of motivation for my characters. They just don’t know it. Neither do I.
I haven’t reached my goal of signing with a traditional publishing house yet, but I will. And when I make the best-sellers list you can look back on this piece as a proof of perseverance. I hope it encourages others who are coming up to plan on running the marathon, don’t quit after the sprint.
Allow me to begin by saying that the reason why I’ve exercised restraint in posting so much this past year was because I thought it would be prudent to say as little as possible. Ever since I was 23, I’ve committed myself to succeeding as an author in the publishing industry.
I’ve sacrificed weekends, holidays, vacations, money, and heart-felt relationships to get this far and I don’t want to ruin it by shooting myself in the foot. I thought that being an artist meant freedom and liberty through self-expression, but that’s a problem if your opinions aren’t welcomed by those whom you need to progress in this industry.
It’d be one thing if I was a non-fiction writer in which my platform was built upon provocative opinions as if that’s exactly what you were going to pay for with my books. However, I am a fiction novelist. I have to present myself to agents and publishers as someone worthy of investment. Allow me to explain.
“Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan” – popularized by John F. Kennedy
They say that silence is a sign of consent. I don’t think so. I believe that a wise man knows when to exercise patience, bide his time, and strike when the time is right. At present, the scene is chaotic. The waters are rough. Those who sail these seas are bound to get lost, stranded, or shipwrecked. Some have made it though. Some because they had head start. Others, because they don’t mind riding the waves created by the first adventures. And there are those who have emerged because they’re that damn good, far better than myself. Like, Roshani Chokshi. Her writing is ridiculously beautiful. And that’s alright. That’s okay.
With so many every day bravely joining the fray, I can’t help but wonder if my patience is really a sign of cowardice. As I get older I see my peers entering the next stages of their life while I continue on this road I’ve been traveling for seven long arduous years. Then, I think of the scene from HBO’s “Rome” where a young Octavian says, “The graveyard is full of middling swordsman. Best not to a swordsman at all than a middling swordsman.”
When I started self-publishing in 2011, I had no idea what I was up against. I didn’t think of trends or what was in-demand for the market. I simply wrote what I wanted in my own voice with the hopes that others would like it too. I had no idea about the highly selective nature of agents or publishers. I assumed that if you created a great, original story and show them something new, you’re in.
I won’t go so far as to say I was naïve, but I will say there’s more to it than that. It appears that after the success of books-turned-movies franchises like “The Hunger Games,” “Twilight,” and the “Maze Runner” everyone and their mothers have flocked to the publishing industry with the next best idea.
In 2012, when I self-published“The Three Kings of Ybor,”my e-books were just seven of 300,000 published that year on Amazon Kindle. I predict the number has only increased over the years as Hollywood continues to blast trailers that start with that deep husky voice saying, “Based on the best-selling novel.”
This isn’t a complaint. To realize what you’re up against and state it clearly shouldn’t be considered complaining. It makes things difficult but not impossible. In fact, it only makes the reward of success that much sweeter. If Lord Byron’s climb to success was but a hill on the beach, then mines will be to the top of Mount Everest. And beneath my feet will be the millions of books published by those shipwrecked, stranded, and lost.
But still…just as one wouldn’t climb Everest in the middle of winter, it’s best not to join the arena when destruction and obscurity is certain and swift. Until then its best that I build my ships, fortify its defenses and stock up for a voyage in which I might not reach land for many years. And build, I have.
By the end of 2015, I finished my flagship masterpiece called, “The Pierce Syndicate.” I promoted it to Literary Agents for a just a little over a month. This isn’t nearly enough time for me to call it a viable campaign, but something happened to me.
I confess, I became doubtful. Not because my story wasn’t ridiculously awesome but because “The Pierce Syndicate” is a huge project, well over 46 chapters and separated in two volumes. I put myself in the shoes of an editor at a traditional publishing house and asked “why would I take a chance on such a big project from a new author?”
The answer is, I wouldn’t. Not without recommendation. Especially these days where the entertainment industry leans heavily towards pop culture, an area I don’t like to be associated with.
Thankfully, God took pity on me. In the depths of my doubt, I honestly feel that the greatest creator noticed me standing alone under that single lamppost in the night’s freezing rain. He saw me look up to the sky and ask him, “What should I do?”
I think he smiled. Because in the span of a three-day weekend I dreamt of a new story in its complete entirety. I couldn’t believe it. The entire story, beginning, middle, and end just hit me like an epiphany. If that’s not a blessing, I don’t know what is.
In February of 2016 I set about writing “The Slave Quarters,” a crime mystery featuring my characterCloud Beaudry and his bundle of sunshine, the conniving ghost Maggie. I’m afraid of writing the plot here because it’s never been done and I don’t it to be stolen. But the coolest thing about this story isn’t even the plot. It’s the first-person narrative in which you’re put in the shoes of a very manipulative (for a good cause), misanthropic detective who’s chalk full of hidden agendas and ulterior motives. I think that’s what makes him so human though. Because I believe almost everyone has ulterior motives. The only difference between Cloud Beaudry and most people is that he’s aware of it. It’s very entertaining, just wait and see.
The “Slave Quarters” took me only three months to write from beginning to end and it was the coolest thing about 2016 by far. I enjoyed it so much. I’ve never been on a cruise. I’ve never been to Disney World. But if I had to pick between a cruise, Disney World, or spending three months writing that book, I’d gladly choose writing the book. Because I am able to travel through time and space. I smell, hear, and see things that don’t exist, that haven’t happened. My ability is that good. Articulating it is always what I have room to improve on.
By July 2016, I started querying it to Literary Agents. This was a campaign that lasted from July till the end of October. And while I know this is a process that every author has to go through, it wasn’t enough for me. The period of July through October is four months. To spend four months of my life just mailing query letters and receiving rejection after rejection (which is to be expected) would drive me insane. I needed to keep creating, keep writing, keep building more ships! I needed more cowbell!
Thus…by the end of July and after reading the “wish-list” of over 100 literary agents who clearly want strong female protagonists or stories centered around women as the main character, I revisited a dream project that I conceived back in 2009. Lol, again, this is an original story that hasn’t been done and the last thing I want is for someone to read this and steal my characters, thus ruining a genre that I’m hoping to resurrect.
I will say that the title is called “The Knights With No Lords”. The main character is a strong female protagonist, but if you know me, then you know I’m a practitioner of the Byronic model. My characters struggle with a sense of what’s right and wrong, mainly because their dark selfish desires are obstructed by the knowledge of what’s good and decent.
I confess, “The Knights With No Lords,” is probably the toughest project I’ve ever worked on because the female lead is seventeen. I already told you about my imagination. Sometimes I have to go places I don’t want to go in order to write emotional dialogue that feels true. When it comes to the romance, I drew on my own personal experiences. While frustrating, it’s also funny as hell. There’s always some virtue or personal conflict preventing me from being with the woman I want. Again, not pleasant, but still entertaining nonetheless. It’s led to thoughts like this:
“If good girls fall for the bad guys, then who do the bad girls fall for?”
I’ve presented that question to a friend of mine and he said, “nope. The bad girls still fall for the bad guys.”
Haha, I don’t know. Either way, “The Knights With No Lords” explores the idea. I’ve finished it just before Christmas and I’m now in the process of editing it. I’ve even enlisted one of my closest friends to help on that endeavor. By April, I plan to have it copyrighted to start sending it to query agents.
We’ll see if my female protagonist is good enough to win the hearts of those agents. And I do feel a little sad in saying that. Part of me acknowledges that I wrote this book for agents more so than the reader. But maybe that’s what I needed to do all along. Either way, I won’t stop building my ships. My android and thumbdrive is full of premises and projects just screaming to be developed. It’s all a matter of patience, diligence, and perseverance.
That’s the main thing I wanted to share with you. I haven’t been posting on this website in a long while because, as you can see, I’ve been a busy man. And I know there are producers and agents who would say, “But still. You gotta keep giving people something. You have to keep your online presence known.”
And to that point I won’t say I that disagree…but more so I just have a greater deal of self-respect for my work. I’ve come a long way from launching vessels that wind up lost at sea. Twitter and Facebook may have been a viable marketing platform in the past, but now it’s
oversaturated with peddlers of their products.
If you tout your own work it doesn’t have the same strength as someone else saying on their feed, “You gotta check out this author!”
In my seven-year journey I’ve been through the trials and errors. I’ve marketed myself through social media for at least two years and you need money to advertise and draw customers to your books. You really do have to spend money to make money and I’ve racked up a debt. I’ve done crowd-funding campaigns. I’ve reached out to my family and friends. I’ve contributed to other blogs, supported other authors, and made myself a part of writer communities.
Again, these aren’t complaints. Football players practice in the sweltering heat to prepare for Sunday. Olympians train and sacrifice so much just for one summer to reach gold. Singers and actors exercise discipline and practice for their roles. If you make up your mind to do something and fully commit yourself to it, you’re going to have to work hard and it won’t happen overnight unless of course you know someone or wore born into money.
There have been so many times I’ve thought about quitting. The pressures of life, commercialism, societal expectations, familial responsibilities, devotion to God, intimate relationships, and the tense corporate ladder that I’m expected to climb. It’s like they’re all a bunch of Apaches firing arrows at me as I ride my steed with no cover in sight.
If you were to ask why am I trying so hard…because there are a multitude of authors who have succeeded and maintained healthy relationships with spouses, children, and cool circle of friends. They’ve attained that proverbial balance that people keep telling me about. So why can’t I?
The easy answer is that I’m just different. I wrote another article about that so I won’t get into it. I will tell you there’s a quote from Pres. Theo Roosevelt that resonates deeply with me. He wrote: “Dark care rarely sits behind the rider whose pace is fast enough.”
Pres. Roosevelt wrote this after his first wife and his mother died in the same night. To cope with the pain, he ventured into the Wild West and kept himself busy with the rigors of frontier life.
I dare not compare my pain to Roosevelt, but there is pain in my heart. That’s why I can’t even go on vacation for more than three days before the angst surfaces. I wonder if this is the case with other workaholics. For me, keeping my mind focused on a story or project keeps my mind from wondering about old flames. It’s morphine to regret, loneliness, and despair.
I recently told one of my exes, someone who’s still one of my best friends, that I see her face everyday. I know that sounds creepy by today’s standards, but she understood and was touched. And I wasn’t lying. When I think about my exes, or enemies, or failures and embarrassment, the emotions rush over as if it’s happening all over again.
Oddly enough, this doesn’t work so well with the positives for some strange reason. For the positives, I have to seek in the real world what I’ve done and remind myself of how far I’ve come, or those who do support and love me. I’m not sure why I’m like this. But it doesn’t matter.
At this point, I’d like to point out that I’m not a miserable person. In spite of all the pitiful sad stuff I just told you, I really do like the man I’ve become. I’m tall, strong, caring, and generous. The few friends who have stuck with me over the years, I treat like jewelry because they are rare and extremely valuable. I laugh at just about everything and I have a strong relationship with Jehovah our heavenly father. I started reading the bible from start to finish about a year and a half ago and I’ve just started 1st Timothy.
Also! I’ve taken up boxing. It’s tough but I enjoy it. If you scroll down, you’ll read one of my essays about how I used to weigh 378lbs. Now I’m down to 215. I can run, jump, and fight like a son of a gun. So don’t pity me. I have my scars just like everyone else but I wear them like a champion! Not to mention, God’s blessed me with the ability to turn my negatives into a positives. Even when I step into the boxing gym, depleted and fatigued from the work-out the night before, all I need to is think about certain group of people and I’m Mike Tyson in his prime if only for an hour.
It’s like my life is a steamroller. To keep going I have to chuck coal into the furnace. With all the times I’ve stumbled and fallen down, my fuel supply if infinite. I have no doubt that I really am going to live life till the wheels fall off. But still…I plan to live life my way, seeking first the kingdom of God. We can’t all be party animals and thrill-seekers. Not all men are in it for the thrill of the chase. Some of us like to stay put and build.
There’s one other subject I’d like to discuss. It’s about Facebook and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying what I’m about to say.
Facebook has become a platform of pictures and political correctness. In 2016, I’ve posted hundreds of thought-provoking questions and theories that get little to no interaction. But let someone post a picture of their vacation, their material things, their visage (as if we forgot what they looked like yesterday) then people flocked to that with likes and comments.
People say, “You shouldn’t expect praise or likes or…”
All of that’s bullshit. Why post anything if not with the hopes that someone in this expanded universe would see it? There’s nothing wrong with admitting you hope people will like what you put out, and what’s worse than people not liking it, is people completely ignoring it. And as an artist, I refuse to rehash old gems once I’m published as if I just thought of something new, when in reality, I’ve had it for years. For that matter, I’ve decided on my 30th birthday to stop posting on Facebook. I’ve decided to stop scrolling down Facebook to see what my friends and family are up to. And dude, I’m telling you…it’s done wonders for my health.
If you try it, you’ll find yourself washed with that nostalgic freedom, to a magical time where you only found out what people were up to when they friggin told you. Ignorance is a bliss! A magical bliss where you can walk to work and smile at other humans without worrying how they feel about some stupid current event/fad/trend/movement.
It really was one of the best decisions of my life and I’m lovin every minute of it. So while everyone is riled up on a daily basis about what’s going on in Washington DC, New York, or Los Angeles, I sand down the rails of my ships and check the hulls for leaks. I smile knowing that I’m drawing closer to God and wait patiently till the day that I cast off.
“But Rock. What if that day never comes? What if the seas stay rough and only continue to get worse? Don’t you think you’re wasting time? You’re going to waste your life waiting forever. There will never be a perfect time. You need to just go for it!”
I smirk, wipe the sweat from my forehead, and peer outward to those dark stormy clouds.
“You might be right. Knowing me, at some point, I am going to say fuck it and just go for it. Maybe I am wasting time building all these ships that might never see the open seas. My ambition isn’t so dulled that I’m contempt with having these magnificent pieces linger away despite the immense pleasure I’ve derived in constructing them. I guess that’s what you should look out for.”
“In the thick of the chaos as ships become tangled with ships, and cannons blare, and the torrential downpour becomes so heavy that you can barely see the light of day, look out that you’re not caught in the way of my formidable fleet. At least you’ll be able to hear me coming. I have a tendency to laugh out loud when I’m scared out of my mind.”
I confess. Sometimes when I start a new chapter, an overwhelming fear grips me and prevents me from moving forward. I know people get tired of me talking about being a writer, as if I’m bragging about some gift that no one else possesses. But it’s more than that. It’s like setting sail across the Atlantic at a time when people still believed that there was an end to the world. It’s like crawling to a tunnel to get to the other side with no light to guide you.
It’s that kind of fear. Today, I literally stared at a blank page for over half an hour. I know what I wanted to say, what I wanted to convey, but how? Sometimes I think I get so bombarded with my predecessors and this obsession to surpass them that I think it erodes my own God given ability. My own voice. My brutal honest, that incorrigible honesty that lands me in more trouble than I care to recall.
I can’t say that it’s all courage and bravery, because even when I finish the chapter, the fear still lingers. But it’s different. It’s no longer a debilitating fear, but an exhilarating one. It’s about commitment. There’s no aborting it when your life or livelihood is on the line. You have to see it through to completion. You have to follow your path or at the very least go as far as you can without knocking on death’s front doors. And since the fear isn’t going away, you just learn to embrace it like a comrade or companion.
I guess what I’m trying to say is…that without this fear, none of what I’m doing would be fun.
An Obvious Flaw with Democracy – A Romanticist Point of View Date- Jan 21st 2016 By Rock Kitaro
NOTE – Stage in the Sky is not a political blog, nor does Rock Kitaro pretend to be an expert in political science. These are just the opinions of a Romanticist philosopher based on what’s observed.
As much as I try, I cannot ignore the news. Its so obvious, the agenda of each news outlet. Fox News absolutely hates Hillary Clinton. CNN abhors Trump while putting Clinton on a pedal stool. And the general public supports Trump behind closed doors, according to his polls, while the popular opinion seems to be in favor of Bernie Sanders. Feel the Bern, they say.
America is divided, as it’s always been. Only in times of a common enemy do we stand together like our favorite heroes. Some examples of this are The American Revolution after the oppression of Great Britain, WWII after Pearl Harbor, and most recently the Iraq War after 9/11. But on social issues, economic issues, and issues relating to nationalism and religion…we differ.
And that’s alright. Such is a democracy and its good that everyone’s coming up with their own opinions…or do they?
This election, like the last one, touts a certain presidential candidate as a racist, bigot, who hates specific groups of people the same way they said Mitt Romney was launching a war on women.
What I believe is happening is that the news, Hollywood, and everyone in a position to influence a following are culprits with perpetrating a narrative, a conclusion, or in some cases a fiction in which the masses mindlessly swallow it up and regurgitate. Just today, I was checking my facebook messages when, in the side scroll, I see Kerry Washington and a number of celebrities calling for people to “Stop Hate Dump Trump.” Of course when I clicked on the link to see if Washington or the other celebrities had a solution by supporting another candidate other than Trump, there was none to be found.
This is a problem when it comes to Democracy…
The problem with Ms. Kerry Washington’s campaign is the same problem I had with Samuel L Jackson’s commercials in the 2012 elections where he shouted “Wake Up” in favor of voting against Romney. I believe these are forms of manipulation or propaganda, quite similar to the popular kids in school promoting some fad and calling others lame if they don’t jump on board.
It would be one thing if the general public took their campaigns for what it is, that being their own personal opinion. However, in our society, people are afraid to be alone. If there isn’t a “popular” celebrity promoting an opposing opinion to the likes of Ms. Washington’s…people may feel like they’re alone on an island in their own thoughts. So they abandon those thoughts and join in with the crowd just like that.
Another problem with democracy is that in today’s society, you’ll be hard pressed to find people who both love democracy and have a strong sense of national pride. It may be just me, but I get the feeling that people these days care very little about the collective community, but focus more about themselves as an individual when they choose to vote.
Well Rock…People have a right to their opinion. Democracy succeeds because people have a right to let their opinions be known. If you don’t like Democracy…what system of government would you propose? Are you a communist? Gasps! Are you a communist, Rock?
Hahaha. No. I’m not a communist. To be honest, I don’t know much about any alternative types of government. So you know what I’m going to do? EDUCATE MYSELF! It’s as I always say, the best part about being alive is self-improvement. Thus, I adjusted my glasses, drank some ice water, turned on some Nujubes, and dove into research.
First thing I wanted know was whether or not I’m alone in thinking there’s something wrong with the picture of Democracy. My friends at Wikipedia helped me out. Yes, I used Wikipedia. Give me alternative resources and I’ll take consideration to amend my thoughts because unlike many, I adjust my views based on what I learn. Here are some excerpts I found.
“The 20th-century Italian thinkers Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca (independently) argued that democracy was illusory, and served only to mask the reality of elite rule. Indeed, they argued that elite oligarchy is the unbendable law of human nature, due largely to the apathy and division of the masses (as opposed to the drive, initiative and unity of the elites), and that democratic institutions would do no more than shift the exercise of power from oppression to manipulation.”
Hmm…Manipulation. You don’t say.
In the essay “Federalist No. 10” by James Madison, he contended that republics “were superior to democracies because republics safeguarded against the tyranny of the majority.” After Shay’s Rebellion in 1787, Madison openly argued that government ought to “protect the minority of the opulent against the majority” and that unchecked, democratic communities were subject to “the turbulency and weakness of unruly passions”.
While I agree with James Madison’s essay, because it in fact has come to fruition the way citizens vote for representatives who then vote for laws, it seems to be human nature for people to come together to create a majority…you know. Like a gang. Not to mention, senators and congressmen can keep running till their heart’s content. It may just be the folly of congregations that this will always be the case. A popular and unpopular…
I just came across an opposition to Madison’s article that I’d like to share with you. According to Garry Willis’s “Explaining America” he argued that Madison’s framework does not necessarily enhance the protections of minorities or ensure the common good. Instead, Wills claims: “Minorities can make use of dispersed and staggered governmental machinery to clog, delay, slow down, hamper, and obstruct the majority. What Madison prevents is not faction, but action. What he protects is not the common good but delay as such”.
I can’t retort Willis’s thoughts on the matter, however, I will say that I failed to come across a solution. It sounded as if Willis’s position was just to shoot down Madison’s idea without offering a solution himself. Maybe he has offered a solution and I just couldn’t find it. If he didn’t, I hate that. Yeah, I get that pointing out flaws in an idea can help stave off from bigger problems the solution has the potential to create…but give us your grand idea as well. Bring something to the table. Again, it brings me back to Ms Kerry Washington’s campaign of “Don’t vote for Trump” while at the same time refraining from publicizing who to vote for in his stead. I wonder what campaign they’ll come up for Cruz if he gets the Republican nomination, but I digress.
Also, I want to point out that when I say “Majority,” I’m not necessarily talking about a race as I’ve found on many articles that broached the subject. For me, the majority refers to popular opinion and the mob mentality that seems to dominate our airways, social media, and cultural census.
It brings me back to a facebook post where I asked if it’s true that “There is no right or wrong, only popular opinion.” People responded that it’s not true. They said there is a right and wrong and its defined by the Bible. The problem is that more and more it seems like the majority of America is turning away from religion and the word of the Bible.
Thus, one could argue that Christians are increasingly becoming the “Minority”. Of course, I could be wrong. It could be that the United States is still dominated by Christians who have been dubbed, I think pejoratively, “The Silent Majority” or simply “Conservative Christians.”
Finally, I’d like to bring Plato to the forefront as I’ve come across and article in which he lists the top five forms of government from best to worst. It goes
In Plato’s Aristocratic State Plato idealizes is composed of three caste-like parts: t
The ruling class, made up of the aforementioned philosophers-kings (who are otherwise identified as having souls of gold);
The auxiliaries of the ruling caste, made up of soldiers (whose souls are made up of silver), and whose job in the state is to force on the majority the order established by the philosophers. T
The majority of the people (souls of either bronze or iron), who in contrast to the first two classes are allowed to own property and produce goods for themselves, but are also obliged to sustain with their own activities their rulers’ — who are forbidden from owning property in order to preclude that the policies they undertake be tainted by personal interests.
Essentially it stresses the importance of education, for leaders to be selfless and upright individuals. Two qualities, you’d be hard press to identify in our politicians today.
Plato states that “Wealth, fame, and power are just shadows of the Good and provide only hollow and fleeting satisfaction. It is only the knowledge of the Good in itself that gives man enduring and real happiness. Thus, the philosopher who is exposed to metaphysical contemplation is not tempted to abuse his power in his pursuit of material goods, and his state policies are therefore dedicated to establishing only the Good in the state, not his personal interests.”
When talking about democracy, Plato goes on to say, “Oligarchy then degenerates into democracy where freedom is the supreme good but freedom is also slavery. The democratic man is the son of the oligarchic man. Unlike his father, the democratic man is consumed with unnecessary desires. Plato describes necessary desires as desires that we have out of instinct or desires that we have in order to survive.
Unnecessary desires are desires we can teach ourselves to resist such as the desire for riches. The democratic man takes great interest in all the things he can buy with his money. He does whatever he wants whenever he wants to do it. His life has no order or priority.”
I’ll end my essay on that note. I really like the idea of Plato’s Aristocracy, but at the same time, something tells me there’s more to it than what I just read. My thoughts are not cemented and I’m open to discussion if you have any thoughts on the matter. I suppose I mainly wrote this essay to convey my frustrations of living in a society where the media’s manipulation is so freaking obvious…and when I read the comments on published articles, it feels like the manipulation is only obvious to me.
That’s a dangerous sentiment with deep-thinkers such as myself. Because my interpretation of “crazy” is exactly that, when reason and logic only makes sense to yourself.
Most played song during the creation. – Piano Guys “Moonlight Sonata” –
Around this time last year…I came to a crossroad where I presented myself with two options to take in life. I could have gone to Afghanistan to work for a private contracting company and made a lot of money, obviously from hazard pay. My second option was to stay in Tampa, Florida and commit myself to finishing a novel that I’ve been outlining for two years.
After writing my first novel, “The Three Kings of Ybor,” I knew how difficult this task would be. The difficulty, mostly coming from the fact that I knew I’d have to isolate myself. As difficult as isolation is to myself, its even more difficult when you have to explain yourself to people why you can’t hang out with them or visit. They look at you like you’re weird and hit you with cliché lines like “tomorrow isn’t promised and we may never get the chance to see you again.” They’re of course oblivious to the fact that I’ve considered this when I was weighing my options.
Two circumstances happened that aided in my decision. The first was the sudden emergence of ISIS that heightened tensions in the Middle East. The second was the amount of vacation days my current company finally provided. With the vacation days I was afforded, I knew I’d be ten times more productive on consecutive days off. Its takes time to fully enter one world from another.
Thus, I took the path of finishing a novel that I’d already written six chapters to. It’s called “The Pierce Syndicate.” Here’s what I’ve accomplished.
This is the Pierce Syndicate Synopsis:
In the year 2210…Three years after the Kennedy St. Massacre, the imperial government has taken notice of the lawlessness and organized crime that infests the largest city in the American Empire. Major Gideon Rose of the Sedona Unit has been dispatched to infiltrate the syndicate with permission to eliminate the worst offenders. He soon finds out the bloody way that this is easier said than done.
Tampa Bay has become a powder keg of rival clans, genetically enhanced enforcers and corrupt corporate figures with their own horde of bulletproof cyborgs. In a volatile world where the various criminal factions control nearly every aspect of commerce, all enterprises are taxed and governed by the board of directors of the Pierce Corporation with CEO Isaac Pierce serving as the head of the syndicate.
The criminal empire Isaac has worked so hard to build hangs in the balance as his health begins to deteriorate. This sign of weakness is just what his enemies and disloyal allies have been waiting for. If that’s not bad enough, the cutthroat Eliza Christie is still using August the 18th as a vigilante militia to wreak havoc on syndicate affiliates in a devastating war of attrition. Despite having an ambitious heir apparent who’s eager and waiting to take over the Pierce operations, all eyes are settled on Isaac’s more popular and feared nephew, Braden Pierce, the syndicate’s most prolific assassin.
Contrary to all of the hype, Braden is actually a calm, respectful, scholar who only comes out of his shell in the heat of intense combat. The fragile peace and stability that’s kept the clans from going at each other’s throats over the years goes up in flames when someone tries to kill millionaire socialite, Alma Monteiro. Aside from being one of the most beloved philanthropic figures the world has ever seen Alma is also Braden’s sole love interest.
Thus, Braden is placed in the middle of a bloody power struggle where he’s forced to choose between leading figures in a splintered syndicate and protecting the ones he loves. In this action-packed epic that spans three months, the body count racks up as eccentric billionaire, a rogue mob boss, and dangerous fugitive comes out of hiding, all with their own agendas to replace the Pierce Syndicate.
I knew I was committing my entire 28th year of life to finishing this book. I accepted it, embraced it. And I tell you…it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I’ve cried so many times through out the year from pressure, through personal failures, and tragedies I’ve witnessed in the book and outside of it. I’ve fallen to depression and daydreamed about how this world would be without me. With my other books, it wasn’t so difficult because I had already written the outline and scripts for them years before I started working two jobs. I was more or less translating a piece of work from one medium to another.
But with the Pierce Syndicate…for nearly an entire year half of my mind was in one world, the other in this one. Every waking moment where someone didn’t demand my attention, I was in the shoes of another character. When I walked the halls in a mood, I wasn’t angry or sad…but I had taken on the persona of one of my characters and hadn’t snapped back to reality yet. I felt exposed and possessed. I did wonder from time to time whether I was going insane. On my best days was when I was conflicted the most. It was usually after I attained a bit of knowledge that made me feel superior over my peers, yet battled myself to hide that superiority and appear meek and humble. It made me question whether or not simply thinking of a bad deed was just as bad as acting on it. It was so silly. But its what I had to do.
And throughout such agony and ecstasy, I created this 669-page masterpiece. On August 3rd when I finished…hahaha! I know it sounds crazy, but I really did imagine myself getting off a train at Grand Central Station. It’s like I’ve been gone for so long and I’ve finally come back. I know its hard to believe how much of an impact this story will have on the world. Perhaps…by reading me declare it, every fiber of your being will deny its greatness. I’m sure you’re thinking that I should probably keep my high opinion to myself and let the readers decide…but modesty in regard to my work has never been one of my talents.
On August 3rd when I finished…hahaha! I know it sounds crazy, but I really did imagine myself getting off a train at Grand Central Station. It’s like I’ve been gone for so long and I’ve finally come back. I know its hard to believe how much of an impact this story will have on the world. Perhaps…by reading me declare it, every fiber of your being will deny its greatness. I’m sure you’re thinking that I should probably keep my high opinion to myself and let the readers decide…but modesty in regard to my work has never been one of my talents.
What I learned this past year…
Everyone is blessed in his or her own way. No one on earth has everything. Even a man born rich will lack the sensation of starting with nothing and building himself up. I know when I share my literary accomplishments it might seem like I’m bragging, but that’s only because I’m probably the only one doing what I’ve done. If you knew a lot of writers who were posting about their written accomplishments… it wouldn’t seem like I was bragging. It would seem normal.
Think about it. I don’t post selfies of concerts and events I’ve gone to. I don’t even hang out with friends nor do I have a girlfriend who I can post photos of. I’m sure you do. And I’m sure your friends do. So it’s normal. It doesn’t seem like they’re bragging or boasting, does it?
The truth is I’m deprived of what so many are blessed with, and yet it seems people still…let me put it this way. A girl once told me that I complimented myself so much that there’s no need for her to do so. That truly made me feel sorry.
My accomplishments don’t come with trophies. I don’t have spectators for my triumphs. My creations won’t pay off for years to come, but it will pay off. Of that I have no doubt. I can’t doubt myself because doubt is venomous to me. Being an author, I don’t enjoy the luxury of instant gratification that other jobs have. If a farmer plants seeds, he reaps the harvest in a matter of months. Most jobs of a 40-hour work week enjoy the reward of a paycheck once or twice a month. But as an Author…and a single/unmarried author at that…I won’t see the fruits of my labor for years.
All I have to go on is my passion and confidence. These might seem like strong qualities, but if anything, this past year has taught me how fragile I really am. I had no choice but to remove myself from anything and anyone who could be perceived as a threat to that passion and confidence. Cynicism, skepticism, and opposing expectations about what I should be doing with my life are all threats. If it sounds like I’m being sensitive…you’re right. I am extremely sensitive in the textbook definition of the word. Nothing escapes my gaze. Your choice of words, your expressions, your enthusiasm or lack there of…I receive it all. My mind focuses more on the “why” than the “what”? I wish I could ignore it but I can’t. Accepting it is the best way I can hold my head up and smile.
The reason why I’m writing this is to reach out to you. My friends, family and associates. I can’t blame you for not comprehending if I don’t at least try to explain why I’m so odd. I want you to know that if I go out of my way to avoid you, to avoid speaking with you r to avoid making eye contact with you…its not out of hate, but the love I bear thee. It’s because I care too much about what you think. Seems I was deprived of the ability to “brush it off the shoulder” when it comes to those I want to impress. Unbeknownst to these coveted ones, their opinions can create obstacles, obstacles that take time and a great deal of mental effort for me to get over. That time is precious to me, time that I could be spending creating, building, progressing.
Eliza Christie – Age 23, Commander of August the 18th.
Eliza’s theme music – Baby Metal – “Headbanger” –
You know those teen movies where the main character is the cute and innocent girl attending a new school where she finds a rude awakening in dealing with a group of rude and mean-spirited popular girls? You know how that group of rude and mean-spirited popular girls always has a ring leader? Well…Eliza Christie used to be that ring-leader. She doesn’t ask for equality or respect, she doesn’t even demand it. She walks with this powerful emanating confidence that makes you think that she simply knows everyone else is inferior. There’s a reason for this.
Eliza Christie is the sole daughter of a Det. Emile Christie. Since her mother died when she was too young to remember, Det. Christie raised her like she was one of the guys in his unit on the police force. Since the time she could walk, she’s interacted with hard-nosed detectives, speaking their language, talking back to them and cursing up a storm when her father wasn’t looking. When other kids were playing games and watching cartoons, Eliza was absorbing the hard gritty reality of the world by listening to their grim and bloody narratives. She was an anomaly, not bothered by photos of dead bodies or rape victims. The detectives in return, treated her like she was on their level. They didn’t worry about hurting her feelings or even pushing her out of the way, she welcomed it and gave as good as she got.
When she was in middle school, she got in a brutal fight with a few high school girls and messed them up pretty badly. This began a stint of bouncing from alternative schools in which she dominated each one, even leading a riot at the age of 13. By the time she got to high school, she was considered more popular than the actual celebrities attending her school. Everyone bowed down to her. The slightest disrespect was dealt with through bullying, embarrassment or ostracism. It wasn’t until she was fifteen that her life was flipped over.
One night, while she was in bed, she heard a scuffle taking place in the living room. Reluctant at first, she entered the living room to see an assassin standing with a bloody samurai sword in hand. Her father, Det. Christie was slouching on the floor with his back against the trophy case. His chest was sliced wide open as if he had just taken a diagonal cut from a battle ax. A splatter of blood came upward and stretched across the ceiling suggesting that his killer was trained, that the attack was a rising backhand cut.
Turns out, the killer was also a fifteen year old, a teenager named Braden Pierce known in the criminal underworld as a rising star. Det. Emile Christie was conducting his own private investigation on billionaire CEO of the Pierce Conglomerate, Isaac Pierce. According to Det. Christie’s notes, he suspected that all of the Tampa crime families were ruled and answered to Isaac Pierce, making Isaac Pierce the head of a supposed crime syndicate. Allegedly, Braden Pierce is Isaac Pierce’s nephew, which was why he’s later given the moniker, “The Godfather’s Sword.”
Witnessing the murder of her father by a teenager no older than herself changed Eliza Christie. From that day forward, her list of enemies elevated from rival teen pop princesses and backstabbing boyfriends to experienced assassin Braden Pierce and everyone associated with him. She conceals her identity and adopts the name fans on social media give her, the Jaguar.
Within the stretch of eight years, Eliza Christie has grown from that spiteful little brat to a brutal headstrong warrior. She’s received proper instructions; she adopted her own philosophy on what’s right and wrong. And she’s acquired her own unit of masked ex-military and off-duty law enforcement officers to disrupt and take on the Tampa families. They call themselves “August the 18th.” Everyone in her command has either lost a friend or loved one to the Pierce Syndicate.
Eliza Christie has gone through numerous hells in the form of betrayal, heartbreak, the loss of more loved ones, and being beaten to the brink of death. And throughout all of that, she still keeps going. Her soldiers would lay down their lives for her cause, fully aware that her ideals are selfish and hypocritical. They do this because Eliza Christie doesn’t just talk about taking action, she makes it happen. She puts herself on the front line and stands toe to toe with the strongest, the most biogenetically enhanced, the most dangerous figures in the criminal underworld and she never backs down. The thought of making a mistake in the field doesn’t enter her mind, because in the heat of combat, her way is the right way.
And when it’s all said and done, and the Jaguar takes off her mask from a night of hunting, Eliza Christie is still a mess of emotions, self-doubt, and impulsiveness. Only her childhood friend Aida Jannazzo can keep her centered…and Aida risks her life to do it. Seriously. In my upcoming novel, towards the end of the book, Aida confronts Eliza about all of the stupid selfish decisions she’s making and Eliza gets so mad that she rushes for Aida. The problem is, Eliza is bedridden in the hospital, in a body cast from a previous battle. But she’s so mad at Aida that she literally falls out of her bed to get to her. Aida doesn’t even try to run, she just continues to yell at her for being stupid while Eliza is struggling to get her as if Aida is the surface and Eliza is struggling for air. I know that sounds silly, but when you read it, and how intense they both are, you’ll literally be spitting with laughter. Because even though Eliza is powerful and important and oh-so strong…she’s still human. And she’s still a college student. College students are immature, yo.
Eliza Christie is a character I created six years ago in 2009. I speak of her as if she’s a real person because…I’m sorry. I don’t know why I do. I know it sounds crazy to say, “she’s real to me” but that is how I feel. Even on December 17th, I remember it as her birthday. I whisper to myself, “Happy birthday, Eliza.”
Every time I think about her, I smile. I see her green eyes shimmering like emeralds on display, her long wavy blonde hair blowing in the wind. I see her draping bangs doing a terrible job of hiding that natural spite and resentment embedded in her default bitch-face expression.
She’s a hypocrite, a walking contradiction. She’s aware of this and just doesn’t care. In an attempt to find some sense of happiness in a world where she constantly feels like a high school senior forced to walk amongst 5th graders, she’s come to terms with the fact that she’s selfish and simply stopped coming up with reasons to try and justify herself.
The happiness she seeks, the happiness that continues to elude her is the brand of romanticists. It’s a calm uplifting sensation that no one else can give or buy for her. It’s shedding of the chains that bind her to world that prevents her from flying. It’s an inner peace that simmers the internal furnace of outrage and allows her to smile, to laugh, to hope, to believe.
You see, Eliza Christie isn’t the type of person who just accepts things they way they are. She isn’t a woman who likes to depend on anyone, but she’s wise enough to know that she can’t do it all alone. She doesn’t pretend to have all the right answers and even when she makes a decision, she changes her mind based on what’s observed. Her frustrations are comical. Her disrespect towards authority figures gets worst with each confrontation. Her formidable spirit can’t be defeated. No matter how old she gets, she will always in so many ways remain a fierce tyrant in which men will bow down before her.
Her father figure, Angel Gazi, always tells her, “Eliza. Stop trying to take on the world! You can only do what you can!”
And She shouts back with, “Yeah, but that’s the thing. There’s nothing I can’t do!”
That cliché saying of how easy things are for beautiful people doesn’t apply to the resentful Eliza Christie. She’s only twenty-three but she expects herself to behave with the commanding presence of a fifty-year-old general. From her stunning physique and eye-catching fashion sense, no one could ever tell that she harbors this deep grudge towards the general public and capitalism. And perhaps what’s even more deceptive is the fact that the person she struggles with more than anyone is herself.
Is she aware of her feelings? Absolutely not. Impulsive and headstrong, she doesn’t take the time to reflect on her actions until things have gone too far, like the death of a loved one, or an incident she could have avoided if she simply exercised patience and consideration. Even then, guilt has to fight to enter her subconscious. When it does, it’s like a powder keg just erupted in her heart. She spirals out of control and lashes out violently, destructively.
Despite the serious intensity of the challenges she’s faced with…there’s always this childish playful immaturity that surfaces when she should project an air of professionalism. Even in the face of death she’s always finding something stupid to say in which the only person who finds it hilarious is her.
There’s this deep gravitational effect she has on people due to her exuding confidence and courage, the way she seems to absolutely have no fear. It’s like her brain with deprived of comprehending the commons fears of heights, guns, getting fired, getting a failing grade, rejections, her well-being or her safety. That’s why its difficult for her to empathize with the victim mentality. It’s not that she’s being insensitive, but more like she simply doesn’t understand. And when she doesn’t understand, she becomes angry. The urge to stand up and do something about it can’t be contained.
I go where I’m needed. I stay where I’m wanted. Life’s too short. This was me in March of 2009. 340lbs. And determined to better myself.
Rock Kitaro – Age 22 –
Starting in 2007 at the age of 20, I weighed a maximum of 378lbs,
I signed up with Anytime Fitness. Going to the gym at 1am where there was no one else in the gym but me, I was able to work out without feeling the pressure of being watched. Without the feeling of being watched, it didn’t matter how ugly or grotesque I looked…I hustled. I sweat. It hurt. But I pressed on.
My motivation was my dream of growing up to be famous and marry the most beautiful girl in the world. They say, its what’s on the inside that counts, but from my appearance, I can testify that being a glutton showed on the outside. I aimed to change all of that. I used what I’ve always used to push ahead. I drove on anger and animosity, the thoughts of everyone being against me, is what made me smile. I know that’s weird, but its how I operated.
For four years, with the encouragement of a few friends along the way, I kept up the hustle. I started out on the bike for 45 minutes, five days a week. Gradually, I stepped up to the treadmill when I found out that working the treadmill burned more calories than the bike. I started out at 45 minutes. But whenever I got comfortable… I increased the difficulty.
I increased the speed. I increased the steep incline. I increased the amount of weights I could push. I pushed myself to try the exercises that I once could not to when I was so overweight. I stopped drinking sodas. eating so many carbs before I went to bed. I reduced my portion sizes. I counted my daily calorie intake and found healthy substitutes for what I once indulged on.
I started out like this…
2007 – Age 20
To working out to this –
Trimming down to this –
And by the time I turned 24…I abstained from taking new pictures.
I began to see the changes, but didn’t want to buy new clothes and reveal my new body, otherwise it would be difficult for me to notice any changes. I’d be discouraged. Moreover, the people around me wouldn’t tell a difference. And yeah, impressing the people around me is important to me. So I kept wearing the size 48 pants, the 3XL shirts to hide or conceal the changes.
So finally. In August of 2012…I turned twenty-five. Went shopping and tried on new clothes that actually fit me. It was an amazing feeling to know where I’ve come from. To now see me in this. I was in JC Pennys…
I had my photographer friend take pictures of the new me and it shocked my friends and family.
After four years of hard work and discipline. I dropped from 378lbs to an ideal 230lbs.
This August I’ll be 29 years old. It’s been three years since I’ve reached my goal and I’ve managed to keep it off. My dad told me recently, “Rock. If you don’t have a kid until you in your 30s, then you might not be able to play basketball with him.”
I laughed at the thought. With my memory and ability to jump back in time on dime, I know there’s no way I’ll ever go back to the way I was. For the rest of my life, I’ll always be in athletic condition. Because that’s the beautiful thing about life. That no matter what, there’s always room for improvement. Till the day I die, I’ll never stop doing just that.
For nearly three years, I’ve had a reoccurring dream of an epic choreographed battle for one of my main characters. His name is Braden Pierce, the godfather’s nephew and one of the most dangerous swordsmen in the syndicate. For nearly three years, I’ve built up the circumstances, the motives, the purpose that drives Braden into a spectacularly violent battle against the best mercenaries an ego-centric, sadistic billionaire can buy.
Finally…after already completing 31 chapters, churning out over 400 pages…Tomorrow I begin “Chapter 32 – The Berserk Tribute”. The title named in honor of the “Berserk” anime I watched back in 2005.
Finally I get to put my dreams to paper. This is weird, right? To dream of the same violence for so long. But its not the violence that I find beautiful…its the martial arts. Its the choreography and how all of the pieces of the puzzle fit together to the groove metal soundtrack in my head. It’s over a hundred cause-and-effect action sequences that blend together like the circuits in a rocket ship. It’s the emotion, the anger, the hidden desire, an explosion of freedom that’s conveyed through brute force and unrestraint action.
Tomorrow I aim to create the most detailed (graphic) action sequence ever written for a novel. And before you judge my guilty pleasure, I ask that you just stay tune for the release of the novel and decide for yourself whether certain nefarious characters had it coming.
The following are raw unedited thoughts from yours truly. Read at your own discretion.
Sometimes I wonder…vainly of course. if Jesus Christ was like me in his twenties. Bearing the pressures of expectancies of family, toiling and committing himself to his craft that was carpentry and fish…all the while resisting destructive impulses and fighting off the waves of crashing temptation of fornication and immorality and drunkenness, and covetousness and acts of violent revenge against perpetual offenders.
Why did it take him till the age of 30 to get baptized? Could it be that he himself understood himself, and recognized that he knew he was not ready to commit himself to that path. I wonder if he too, saw the hypocrisy of other clergy-men and proselytizers who led double lives and promised himself that he wouldn’t become one of them.
I wonder if he too, saw the flaws of boxing himself into one religion when he knew better than most that the way others were worshiping Jehovah, while it may have been earnest and in good intentions, were overall daunting and diminishing to the souls, the different hearts that needed a different approach when it came to them approaching and praying to God.
I say different hearts, because more and more, I’m beginning to believe that not all hearts are the same. Is there a study of hearts? Like the study of psychology, and I realize that my use of “hearts” if figurative and thus, vague and intangible and essentially non-existant. But it’s the feeling we all have, and not everyone feels the same. And I think that’s okay.
For instance, my life is saturated with men and women who don’t know I exist, but they are in my world because I have learned of them, either through news articles or random research. Even those who do know I exist, often and understandably presume that I hate them just because they annoy me. But it’s not hate. My annoyance with them is based on the lives they lead, and I care because I love them.
The love I bear for them, is incomprehensible by many of my peers because they either don’t believe it or can’t understand it. I weep for families I’ve never had the pleasure to make their acquaintance. My heart is girdled in chains when I hear of victims. My skin peels and crackles into embers when I hear of children sold into slavery, their lives ruined and tainted by the selfishness of adults who care nothing or see nothing beyond a certain point like spiders.
The more I see…the more my heart cries and begs for wickedness to be washed away sooner than later. I sometimes lament being born at all and then slap myself for thinking I’m any better than they who I cry for. Why has such a walking contradiction such as myself been allowed to exist? The strength I continually prayed for has been given to me, and with it I keep walking. But for how long? I wonder, if that’s why I crave purity and innocence for my company.
“Surround yourself with like-minded individuals” they say…
I won’t go so far as to say that’s impossible. But I will say that I’m tired of looking. I am the lone wolf who talks to everyone. I judge everyone as everyone judges everyone. To call me judgmental is to declare yourself judgmental. There’s nothing wrong with it. To accept oneself, the essence of romanticism and inner peace and happiness and an honest unbridled and naked self to present yourself in your prayers…what’s the point of it all if we continue to deny what’s right in front of us. The obvious truths we ignore for the sake of…fitting in?