Saturday, 31 March 2012

Death Always Turns Looking Eyes Inwards

Article first published as Death Always Turns Looking Eyes Inwards on Blogcritics.

Fabrice Muamba’s collapse in a FA Cup match between Bolton Wanderers Football Club and Tottenham Football Club on March 17, 2012 made headlines around the world. The Bolton midfielder, 23 years old, had a cardiac arrest about 40 minutes into the match, crumbling in a heap.

It is not the first time a player collapsed on the pitch, as soccer fans will remember Marc Vivien Foe, Bobsan Elejiko, and Goran Tunjic, who all died while kicking football. But for every death, we can also remember footballers who survived this phenomenon like Kanu Nwankwo, Fadiga, etc. Happily, Fabric Muamba can count himself among the latter as he is presently reported to be recuperating, though still in intensive care.

My fascination with Fabrice Muamba’s issue was not the heart problem itself but the reaction it generated in England. For days, including today, I continually read and watched weird messages of support and solidarity that left me scratching my head in wonder and fascination.

For a conservative and secular country where public, explicit religious expressions are frowned upon, I was taken aback when words like “God” and “prayers” flooded the tabloids and TV. I wondered where all the strange speeches were coming from? Pray? To who?

On the other hand, there were a few folks who told stories of how Muamba is a fighter – how he fought and overcame all odds to play football in Britain as a son of a Congolese refugee, and how he smiles and always had a compliment for everybody. As days crept by, Fabrice Muamba deeds were achieving a near-legendary status as a result of his near-death experience.

Alas, there are some who think all these kinds of remarks and behaviour over a person that is not even dead is ridiculous and has gone too long. Manchester United FC fanzine Red Issue will be selling their latest issue at tonight's game with Fulham and it spots a controversial cover that has already sent tongues wagging on Twitter. The Red Issue editor is adamant that there is nothing wrong with the front page and that its contents are aimed at people with fake sentiments. He said: "You see it more and more. Whenever celebrities become unstuck it's a big issue while there are people being killed in Syria and Afghanistan who are not worth a mention."

Read more: http://blogcritics.org/sports/article/death-always-turns-looking-eyes-inwards/#ixzz1qd1UByiH

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Book Review - A Small Free Kiss in the Dark

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Publisher: Templar
ISBN: 9781848770270
Published Date: Sun 01st May 2011
Format: Paperback

Glenda Millard, the author of “A Small Free Kiss in the Dark”, said the background for her book was from an article she read about Freegans (meaning: people who survive on what other people waste).

“From there my thoughts progressed to wondering what life would be like for a young homeless boy,” she said.

The protagonist, Skip, is a boy in survival mode during a war. He leaves school with minimum personal effects from his home and goes out into the streets, seeking to avoid death and hoping for a better life.

Shortly after Skip flees home and school, he meets Billy, a middle-age man. They form a friendship, eating and living together in an abandoned library. Unusual for a refugee of war, Skip still nurtures a dream of becoming an artist. This drive even makes him to steal books from the library...shortly before enemy soldiers bomb the building.

Skip and Billy’s journey lead them to meet companions like Max, a child looking for his mother. They also meet Red, a teenage mother with a sick baby. Between trying to find food for Red’s baby, avoiding soldiers, and looking for Max’s mother, the odd group try to learn from one another and survive, making use of what’s available to them.

The book, A Small Free Kiss in the Dark, tries to expose the difficulties of living through wartime, especially through a boy’s perspective. Much information is hidden regarding the nature of the war - sometimes we forget a war is going on, thinking Skip and his friends are just running away. However, the writer does a fine job of painting a picture of lack and the struggle for survival among war victims.




A Small Free Kiss in the Dark: Glenda Millard: Books

ISBN: 1848770278
ISBN-13: 9781848770270


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Halo 4–Master Chief is Back.

I am a fan of the Halo franchise, because of the intriguing gameplay and more importantly, because of its interesting backstory. Few console games combine good story line with engaging play… which Halo manages to do.

Bungie announced in 2010 that Halo 3 was its final game, and that all Halo games in the future will be made by 343 Industries. As expected 343i recently made an announcement about the making of Halo 4. This announcement had me interested, especially as the studio said Halo 4 will come with some specific features.

Firstly, Master Chief’s humanity and back story, which until noimagew had only been shown in comics and books will be delved into in a deeper way for Halo 4. Also, 343i has indicated that the level of threat that Master Chief faces will be upgraded. As a writer, I will be happy to see how Master Chief’s background will be weaved into the game campaign (note: there is also some rumours about Cortana taking center stage in the new game).

Part of the additions to Halo 4 will bean armour remake to make it look more realistic and a change in the hud-view  for comfortable gaming. Also the old battle rifle (the one that shoots in bursts) in Halo and Halo 2 is being brought back. Moreover, there are new player locations for multiplayers and about 100 new tracks being recorded for the game to give it a more cinematic feel.

With all these fantastic features coming with Halo 4, Christmas seems a long time away for few.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Free Audiobook: A Tale of Three Kings (G. Edwards)

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Author
Gene Edwards

Narrator
Paul Michael

Runtime
2.25 Hrs. - Unabridged

Publisher
christianaudio Hovel

According to ChristianAudio: “This modern classic will bring light, clarity, and comfort to the broken-hearted. Many Christians have experienced pain, loss, and heartache at the hands of other believers. To those believers, this compelling story offers comfort, healing and hope. Christian leaders and directors of religious movements throughout the world have recommended this simple, powerful, and beautiful story to their members and staff. You will want to join these other people who have been profoundly touched by this incomparable story. This tale by Gene Edwards is based on the biblical figures of David, Saul, and Absalom.”

This audiobook can be downloaded on ChristianAudio regardless of where you live. This means there is no restriction to download. However, you need to register first.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Groping for a Light Switch

Human nature drives man to seek something deeper, some meaning. For without it we have no purpose and no hope. With only this as evidence, how can there not be a Creator?  :Benchmark-Jnr

Some say that the greatest knowledge of all is “knowing one’s self”. “Who are you?” is alleged to be one of the key questions of life. But I doubt if the answer to that question can be entirely found in a single day or a year. The question of who we are is a long exhausting equation we must solve to find peace and fully function in this world.

I am a slow-learner and like to think things through - I doubt if I can put that on my CV, though. This is because I love to think of myself as witty, knowledgeable, driven, and sharp. Books, TV, and movies have taught me that witty, active, and knowledgeable people make it to the “top”. Laid-back people don’t. Meek people don’t. Slow learners don’t. Everyone acts the part of the smart, even if they aren’t. We pretend and weasel our way through life, being what we think we ought to be.

Everyone has an opinion of what Mr. A has to do to “make” it. And what Mr. B mustn’t do to “make” it. Because of our know-all nature, the demands we place on ourselves equals torture. The expectation to be the best makes us liars and taskmasters, not as much to other people as to ourselves.

I really do want to “make it”, whatever “it” is. I want to be successful, not exceedingly rich - I can’t handle much money as it drives me to sleeplessness. I want to be fulfilled. I want to find my path. I want to be the best Dad, husband, and man for my family. I want to be close to God. I want to be the best neighbour and friend. But I want to achieve this living within my own skin, using my methods, setting my rules, walking my path. This is going to be difficult, though. I presume it will be like groping for a light switch in a strange dark hall…a hall you just entered for the first time.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Writers Speak on their Craft

Writer Wordart

Writer Wordart (Photo credit: secretagent007)

I compiled almost all of the quotations below about five years ago (that was before I started any serious writing). Most of these tips are from scraps of newspapers, old dusty books, and the likes. Unfortunately, when I was compiling most of these quotes, I didn’t write the names of the writers who wrote them (I knew no better then). In any case, the instructions below are written or spoken by experienced writers. I hope these words help guide someone… as they guided me.

· A book, whether fact or fiction, must be honest above all, and after that, it must communicate, grip, entrance someone else. Otherwise, it has no reason to exist beyond feeding the author’s self-indulgence and vanity. It takes not one but two people to make a book: the writer and the reader.

· A novel should be an expression of your private, honest, and unique self; honest but not undisciplined. Expression must be conveyed in narrative that will interest and entertain.

· Almost all mediocre writers share two qualities – they’re vague and they’re half-hearted. This is not intentional, of course. Perhaps they want to be safe. Perhaps the fears of making mistakes or saying something socially unacceptable and so choose a vague, comfortable half-truth. A writer should be sensitive to readers’ reaction; however, the writer’s first job is to create stimulating ideas for the reader to consider. You cannot do that timidly. - M. G. Bauman

· Art is a human activity consisting of this, that man consciously by mean of external signs, hands on to others, feeling he has lived through, so that others are infected by these feelings and also experience them. - Tolstoy

· Art is the only serious thing in the world. And the artist is the only person who is never serious. - O. Wilde

· Creativity is upset by analysis. If you attempt to write a story with parts of your mind pulling and worrying about whether you’re doing it to the “proper rules” or if you’re haunted by learning critics like Mr. and Mrs. Lewis breathing over your shoulders, the chances are that your mind will block. You won’t be able to write anything at all. At best, it will spoil the sweep and faith in your story that is essential if you’re going to write it.

· Creators produce because of that urge within them that forces them to exteriorize their personality. It is an accident if what they produce has beauty; that is seldom their special aim. Their aim is to disembarrass their souls of the burdens that oppress them, and they use the means, their pens, their paints, their day, for which they have by nature a facility.

· Great artists are those who impose their particular illusions on humanity and who see “astonishingness of the most obvious thing.”

· Henry James spoke of the writers’ “power to guess the unseen from the seen, to trace the implications of things, to judge the whole piece by the pattern, the condition of feeling life in general so completely that you are well on your way to any particular corner of it.”

· I don’t care for philosopher in books. They are always bores. A novel should be an experience and convey an emotional truth rather than an argument.

· If you begin your novel, for example, with a quarrel between a husband and wife at the breakfast table, I think you should decide whose viewpoint to take and keep to it throughout the chapter. e.g. if you choose the wife, you can describe her thoughts and feelings, but not her husband’s.

· It’s not only a question of the artistes looking into himself but also of his looking into others with the experience he has of himself. He writes with sympathy because he feels that the other man is like him. - Georgus Simenon

· Make you main characters your friends – if you love them, there is more chance of your readers doing the same.

· Real art depends first on feeling.

· The author must know his countryside, whether real or imaginary, like his hand... - R.L. Stevenson

· The stuff of a man’s writing is the stuff of his life.

· Too many beginners seem to wish to be writer rather than to write. But there is no such thin as an Instant Author. A successful writing career usually takes years of hard solitary apprenticeship.

· Wallace highlighted what is not only an important but fascinating aspect of the job: “my interest is in people and the hidden things in their lives....My instinct is to take what’s never shown on the surface and bring it to the surface. That’s what makes a novel...

· What a life mine has been! – half-educated, almost wholly neglected or left to myself stuffing my head with most nonsensical trash and undervalued for a time by most of my companions. - Sir Walter Scott

· When you take up your pen to write a novel, you move into a new arena. There is a constant change of scene and atmosphere and there is development of character, not only for the people in your book but for yourself. You must plunge fearlessly into that new world, see it, smell it, feel it. Hence, the importance of a theme that involves you – even to the point of obsession.

 

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