Thursday, August 29, 2013

Of Love And Frogs

  A few blogs ago, I mentioned to you an incident in which I was challenged by my inner voice to look for a depiction of a sombrero and I found one exactly where I was told I would.  I started to open my eyes to the world around me which I had always just let pass me by without notice.  Well, since then, there has been a chain of depictions I've been challenged to find.  After the sombrero I was to look for a depiction of frogs.  My latest challenge is to find a starfish.  I'm told that the point is not to find the things I am looking for, the point is to look.  Seeing a frog or a starfish will do nothing to enhance my life, but looking for them everywhere I go will get me closer to living in the moment of now.  It also keeps me away from being focused on the negative feelings of fear and guilt.
  Guilt is something you feel about things from the past.  Fear is something you feel about things in the future.  Having a seeking, questioning attitude is something that keeps you firmly grounded in the present.  What's this?  Where's that?  Why did that happen?  I lost my questioning attitude a long time ago.  When I was in kindergarten, my teacher told the class to get into a line to go to lunch.  I had no idea what that meant.  I saw all the other kids go stand in an area so I went to stand with them.  When we were supposed to start moving forward, I had no idea which way was forward because to me it was just a bunch of children standing around.  The guy behind me got frustrated and shouted out, "Go, God!"  I started walking in the same direction that all the other kids were going in.  That night, when I was with my dad, I asked him what a line was.  He pulled out a piece of paper and a pencil and drew a line.  That was no help.
  In the second grade, a boy on the school bus said, "I can't wait until the day is through because tomorrow there's no school!"  I was completely dumbfounded.  I was even more amazed when his prediction came true.  To me, sometimes I went to school and sometimes I didn't.  There was absolutely no way to know when I would go and when I wouldn't.  This kid was magic!  I asked my mom how this kid knew we weren't going to school.  She told me, "Because it's the weekend."  That was no help.  Eventually, I just stopped asking questions.
  Anyway, another thing that my inner voice has pointed out to me recently is that I can use my hands in a very spiritual way.  I've always known that I have healing hands.  My mother had the same energy.  I've been told by several people that I should get into Reiki or acupressure or some other profession with my healing hands.  Anyway, I've been told that if I consciously put out my energy as highly as possible, it can reach everyone in the world at the same time.  This is another challenge to me.  How often will I care enough about healing the world that I will make a conscious choice to do something about it?  It's a symbolic question.  It's meant to pull me out of my selfish self-absorbed attitude and think about the people, animals and plants around me.  This is basically the same challenge as the seeking.  One challenge helps me notice the world, one helps me to care about it.
  If I keep sharpening my observational skills, giving healing and love to the world and living in the moment of now, all my imperfections will simply melt away.  My mantra is, "Love now."  That's what life is all about.  How can I give the highest amount of love at this moment?  It's like a chess game.  I need to know how all the pieces work in order to make the best moves.  Only then can I hope to win.  Up until now, I've only ever made use of my pawns.  It's time to realize the full power I have on my side.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Interviewing AR Wise

  This is one of my favorite zombie authors.  I'm so glad that he was willing to be interviewed by me.  I'm really looking forward to his new book which is coming out soon.  For now, you can read all about some of his other books and a little about his new book.


1. You write people so well.  That is one thing I love about writers like you, Joe McKinney and Brian Keene.  What, if anything, helps you to bring your characters to life?

  Well, for starters: Thanks! I appreciate the compliment. I have an odd relationship with my characters. I often times start writing them with a distinct personality in mind, and then often find myself altering the story because the characters have a mind of their own. It's never a bad thing when a writer has to stop and say, "I can't do that, because this character would never let that happen." I try to never allow a story to force characters into any situation that they otherwise wouldn't have found themselves in. Doing so leads to the old cliche where characters in horror stories have to do something stupid to lead them into trouble, and I've always hated that trope of the genre.

2. The first book of yours I read was 'Deadlocked'.  What inspired you to write that?

  I always wanted to be a writer, but never would've guessed that my first book would be a zombie apocalypse tale. I've always loved the genre, but felt that it was a tad overplayed. However, a friend of mine was vehemently against the glut of zombie media, and I felt like that was a challenge to write something even he would enjoy. At the same time, my mother was going through breast cancer, and writing Deadlocked was a way to simply shut out the outside world and forget about what was happening outside of those pages for a while.

3. Stephen King has his fictional city of Castle Rock, Maine.  Writers like you and William Esmont (Tucson), however have your stories take place in real cities.  Do you think that this creates any challenges in your writing?

  Well, the first Deadlocked book takes place in a fictional city (it's never named, but readers are told it's in Georgia) and then the story switches in books 5 - 8 to be in Colorado. After the apocalypse, it's not really an issue as to whether or not the locations are real because everything is alien at that point. Also, in my series 314, the town of Widowsfield is entirely fictional. However, my newest book (yet to be released), Daughter of Bathory, takes place in and around Boulder, Colorado, and I've found it's rather fun to include a city's character in the book. It adds a lot of realism to it.

4. Do you ever hope to have any of your stories turned into movies?

  I would love to see that happen, but I also dread the thought. I'm aware of how authors have very little control over movie adaptations of their novels, and it would pain me to see something I've done turned into tripe. I sure wouldn't mind cashing the check though!

5.  What are some of your favorite zombie stories and why?

  There are so many great zombie stories out there, and a ton of awesome new authors that are having fun in the genre. Authors like Joe McKinney, Mark Tufo, Chrissy Peebles, Kristen Middleton, DJ Molles, and many other have come to prominence with their zombie books. Everyone offers something unique, but I find myself drawn to stories about regular people dealing with the apocalypse. I'm not as enticed by survivalist fantasies and military-men style action adventures, although I'm not saying anything against that type of story either. I simply enjoy reading about characters that are caught off guard by an apocalypse.

6. What inspired you to write your '314' series?

  To be honest, I think 314 is a better example of where I want my writing career to go than Deadlocked is. I'll forever be indebted to Deadlocked and the zombie genre for getting my start, but I've always wanted to write books that can't be categorized as belonging to a specific genre. I wanted 314 to be different from anything anyone's read, and I believe I achieved it. And I was overwhelmed by the response it's received. I'd been afraid that 314 would be a blip on the radar, and that I'd have to go back to zombies again and again to sustain a living wage from my books, but 314 has sold more than Deadlocked ever did.

7. What contemporary zombie authors do you admire?

  Max Brooks comes immediately to mind. He's largely responsible for the recent tidal wave of interest in zombie literature, and his fame is well deserved. While World War Z is great, I think the Zombie Survival Guide might very well be one of my favorite zombie books of all time. It's not a story, but a serious look at how to survive an apocalypse with a wit and humor that is rare in the genre.

8. I hear that your new book, formerly known as 'Sex, Drugs and Dead Things' is coming out soon.  Is there anything you would like to say to your readers about it before it comes out?

  The new title is Daughter of Bathory. I initially set out to write a comedic horror tale, but it quickly evolved into something completely different, hence the title change. I think this novel continues the trend started with 314 for me, in that I'm trying to make sure readers know that when they pick up a novel by A.R. Wise, they're going to get something unlike anything else they've ever read. Daughter of Bathory will definitely achieve that goal!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Secure

  You know, I've heard people say things like, "Oh, look at that man wearing that pink shirt.  He must be really secure in his sexuality."  I don't like that.  Nobody looks at a gay man wearing a black shirt and says the same thing.  To me, this says something about both the man wearing the pink shirt and the commentator.  Now, if the man truly is "secure" with himself, I'm glad, but I've found that many people do things to prove their "security".  It's almost like a dare: Make fun of me, see what you get.
  Someone who is truly secure has no need to prove anything to anyone.  I came to that when my parents used to think I was being rebellious when I would dress certain ways or grow my hair long.  I thought to myself that rebellion has to do with a reaction to someone else.  It is you doing something because someone else tells you not to.  I was doing those things for my own reasons despite my parent's objections.  Their objections were incidental to my actions.  And it's not like I'm trying to say that I'm some model of security.
  Anyway, about security of sexuality.  My question is, what is that implying?  To me it shows a fear of appearing to be something that you're not.  If I was wearing a black and white striped shirt, would I be insecure about people thinking that I'm a zebra?  This attitude implies a negativity attached to the state of homosexuality.  It is generally a homophobic sentiment.  If people thought that gay people should be insecure about appearing to be heterosexual, that would also carry with it the implication of a negativity attached to being "straight".

Monday, August 19, 2013

Interviewing William Esmont

  Recently, I had the good fortune to meet up with William Esmont at a coffee shop and pick his brain.  I also had the pleasure of meeting his wife.  While sipping on some lemonade and asking my questions I typed away feverishly at my laptop trying to keep up with his spontaneous answers.  We shared several laughs and too soon it was over.  Well, now you too can enjoy this conversation.

1. How did you come up with the 'Elements of the Undead' concept?

  It came up because I was in the middle of a big move across country during the thick of the depression.  That's why it's so dark.  I was reading a lot of zombie books at the time.  I'd written my spy books, but I wanted to try my hand at a zombie book.  I wanted to make it a series with a common thread or theme, so I came up with the elements.  'Fire' was about the nuclear fallout.  'Air' was inspired by the feelings I got from the 9/11 attacks, especially the picture of a man jumping out of the building to his death.  I wanted to have that imagery in my story.  With 'Earth', I wanted to write about a road trip and introduce a younger character in Luke.  Each one came from different places and the last one will tie it all up, hopefully.

2. When I was in the Navy, I served on board the USS Wyoming, which showed up in your novel 'Fire'.  How did you choose that particular vessel for your story?

  I love the state of Wyoming.  I did a lot of research online and figured out where the various ships of the Navy were stationed.  I wanted to fictionalize it some.  I heard the phrase "We lost the bubble" and wanted to include that, but first I had to find out what it meant on board a submarine.

3. Stephen King has his fictional city of Castle Rock, Maine, while writers like you (Tucson) and Joe McKinney (San Antonio), have your stories take place in real cities.  Do you think that this creates any challenges in your writing?

  Yes.  I fictionalize certain elements.  Like I made Sabino Canyon into Scorpion Canyon.  It has confused some readers because of the fact that I use some real places.  Over time, my taste for using real places as opposed to fictional places has changed.  In book number four, I created an entirely new island in the Caribbean.  In book 1 I was new to Tucson and fascinated by it that's why a lot of it shows up in that book.

4. Do you ever hope to have any of your stories turned into movies?

  Absolutely!  I just recently had the first few books turned into audio books.  Hearing them dramatized definitely made me excited about the possibility of making them into movies.  They will soon be available at amazon.com and iTunes.  I can almost envision the character of Megan: Eliza Dushku.  I saw that show 'Dollhouse' and thought to myself, she has got to be Megan!

5. What are some of your favorite zombie stories and why?

  I like 'Area 187' by Eric R. Lowther.  I like that one because it's all set in Appalachia.  I've spent a lot of time there so I can identify with the sights and the sounds.  I like the old Romero stuff, that's a given.  I loved the remake of 'Dawn of the Dead'.  I love the stuff by ZA Recht.  I also love, love 'Mountain Man' by Keith Blackmore.  D.J. Molles has a series that's really good.  Those are kind of my favorite ones at the moment.  Oh, and I love 'The Walking Dead'!

6. Being a Tucson author, what different perspective do you think that gives you than say, someone writing from New York or L.A.?

  Wide open space.  I've lived all over the place: Europe, east coast, west coast, but I've always avoided the big cities.  I also pick up a little bit of the mix of cultures living near the border here.  The character of Cesar reflected what I wanted to write about that.

7. I hear that your new book, 'Ice' is coming out soon.  Is there anything you would like to say to your readers about it before it comes out?

  Be ready for a wild ride.  There's a lot of stuff.  I'll answer as many questions as I can and I'll give you some more questions.  I don't believe in clean endings.  I'm trying to coincide the release of 'Ice' with the new season of 'The Walking Dead'.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Interviewing David Wellington

  Zombie Evolution has been really lucky lately in that I've had the opportunity to interview some amazing filmmakers and authors.  I'll keep putting out more requests.  This week, I had the great fortune of being able to interview one of my favorite zombie authors, Dave Wellington.  His work was a huge inspiration to my own.  I hope this interview will help you want to read his books if you haven't already.  Here's the cover of one of his novels.
 
 
1. I love the spiritual aspect books like yours, Brian Keene's and Arthur M. Wyatt.  How did you come to take your zombie stories in that direction?

  It would have been very easy to blame the zombies on a virus, or on radiation from a Venus probe (that's actually the explanation given in Night of the Living Dead!).  But I've always approached stories with the attitude that I want to make them my own--give them my own particular twist.  As long as you keep the basic idea intact--the dead have risen and hunger for the living--it seems to work.  Once I had decided where the zombies came from, a fluctuation in the life force itself, things just sort of grew from there.

2. The first book of yours I read was 'Monster Island'.  What inspired you to write that?

  It started out as an image I had, maybe from a dream.  I had this idea in my head of an astronaut who came back to earth to find that everyone had been wiped out, and that if he ever took off his space suit he would die as well.  It was going to be a very melancholy science fiction short story.  Then a friend of mine suggested I should write it as a novel, and post it on his blog one chapter as a time.  I needed more of a plot for a full novel, so I started playing with the idea of what had happened to all the people.  The original image is still in the book, though it changed so much it's barely recognizable any more.

3. You've written about zombies and about vampires, but would you ever write a book pitting the two against each other?

  It's always tempting.  Another idea would be to have two of my heroines--Cheyenne Clark and Laura Caxton--team up.  Every time I try to develop that idea, though, I find I just end up cheapening both stories.  A lot of the impact of a monster story is that the monster is something unique, a fracture in reality.  If there are too many monsters, they just become like the elves or dwarves in fantasy--just different kinds of people, and they just aren't scary anymore.  Though that doesn't mean I'll never do it...

4. Do you ever hope to have any of your stories turned into movies?

  Well, of course I'd love it if that happened.  Any author would.  And I think my books would make great movies, if I say so myself.  I think it's going to happen eventually, but I have no idea when.

5. What are some of your favorite zombie stories (cinematic, episodic or literary) and why?

  I always love a good zombie movie.  28 Days Later is probably my favorite.  I grew up in Pittsburgh, where George Romero is a local hero, so I was exposed to Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead at a very young age, and they still get to me.

6. What helps you get into the mood to write some scary material?

  Oh, I never need to get in the mood.  It's there whenever I want to tap into it.  There's this idea that horror writers are scary people themselves, but it's actually the opposite that's more accurate--we get scared a lot, and we work through that by writing down what we're afraid of.  So I've always got plenty of material.

7. What contemporary zombie authors do you admire?

  Walter Greatshell keeps turning out really interesting stories, and Mira Grant really seems to get zombies in a wonderful, elemental way.

8. Do you have anything coming out soon that you would like to tell your readers about?
 
  I just released a thriller novel (with monsters!) called Chimera.  And I have a big zombie epic coming soon, called Positive!  Anyone who liked my zombie books is going to love this thing.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Interviewing Steve French

  I recently had the pleasure of interviewing zombie author, Steve French.  He wrote the novel, 'They Feed: Bloodborne', which is the first in a series and is available at amazon.com.  On a side note, Steve French designed the cover for both of my novels at amazon.com.  Here's the cover of Steve's book.

 
 1. What inspired you to write your first zombie novel?
 
  Short Answer: I’ve always been a fan of George Romero’s ‘of the Dead’ series and I thought the whole survival horror zombie story would work well in fiction novels just as well as they might in a movie.
 
  Long Answer: I’ve always been a fan of zombie movies. Not all of them, mind you, because there are a lot of stinkers out there. I think I saw my first zombie movie in my early teens and was both chilled by the idea and yet fascinated as well. In my early twenties, I decided I wanted to write a novel in style of the movies I was familiar with and I began writing ideas down about how a zombie outbreak might happen and I even wrote a chapter detailing how the outbreak began in a hospital. Sadly, the story didn’t take off; I was missing a whole lot more ideas about where to go with it and I was missing the characters I needed to tell the story.
 
  I’ve wanted to start a zombie novel for years, but still it was not coming to me. About a year ago, I wrote down a premise for a novel idea, but still I was not feeling a story blooming. After watching the 2009 movie ‘Carriers’ on Netflix it finally came to me. This movie was about four characters fleeing a viral pandemic while on a road trip to California. It’s not a bad movie; it had some interesting predicaments for the characters to face and focused on character development and survival. It was only missing one thing: zombies. I thought the movie really could have had zombies in it and perhaps been a whole lot better.

  So I borrowed the general premise and synopsis of the story as inspiration for the outline of my zombie novel and tweaked it to work around the ideas I already had. All of the characters were replaced with characters of my own creation. Kayla Gray was inspired by a real person I know and I decided she must be the main character and the storyline must revolve around her mission to rescue her children during the outbreak. Nina Taylor’s role was actually inspired by a zombie short story idea I had about a pizza delivery girl who would need to deliver a number of pizzas during a zombie outbreak. Turns out that I was able to write her short story into the novel and make it work with the rest of the ideas I had. With two characters created, I began writing and it took off from there. The rest of the cast of characters just happened to come to me as I was writing the rest of the story.

2. How did you come up with the science fiction inspired concept of the origins of the zombie virus?
 
  I knew that if I was ever going to write a zombie novel that I would need to find a way to explain how the outbreak could occur. I could have went Romero way and avoided the question all together, hinting at possible theories along the way, and never settling for one, but I wanted the root cause of the outbreak to be discovered by the characters at some point in my story. I’ve been thinking about ways a zombie outbreak could occur for years.
 
  The idea of the zombie outbreak being related to a virus was Resident Evil game inspired. I wanted to do something a little different and put a new spin on that idea, however, and recalled an article I had read in a magazine about fossilized alien bacteria being discovered on a meteorite found during an Arctic Expedition. I liked the idea that the virus was alien in origin, but I didn’t want to go way off subject with a whole Roswell Incident kind of premise, so the idea of the virus coming to Earth via meteorite was perfect and seemed to be a somewhat plausible idea. Basing the idea on fact felt like it added realism to the story, but here I had a problem because I want a virus related zombie outbreak and not a bacteria related zombie outbreak. With a little research, I learned that it is actually possible for bacteria to carry, but not transmit, a virus. VoilĂ ! I had my concept worked out, but the next problem was to figure out how that virus could be released. Easy enough to fix if some Government agency, working with scientists, bio-engineered the virus into what it needed to be.
 
3. I wasn't sure if some of the cities in 'They Feed: Bloodborne' were real or fictional. Stephen King writes in the fictional city of Castle Rock, Maine. Can you help me know if you primarily write in real settings or not?
 
  The answer is yes, or both, but it depends on the story I want to tell. All of the cities in They Feed are real cities and/or towns between Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado. Monument, Larkspur, and Castle Rock are all real towns here in Colorado and I have to wonder if Stephen King’s Castle Rock was somehow inspired by our Castle Rock.
 
  As for writing about fictional places, I do that too. My fiction novels ‘Sinister Presence’ and ‘A Dress In Red’ both take place in my fictional town of Misty Springs, Colorado.
 
4. Do you ever hope to have any of your stories turned into movies?
 
  Absolutely! I’d love to have a movie option offered on any of my books, but YES, I would be particularly happy if They Feed or any of the other zombie tales I plan to write could be made into movies.
 
5. Keeping in mind that many of the best zombie stories out there don't even involve zombies, but are stories of isolated groups of people who must overcome their own differences in order to work together to fight an outside threat.  What are some of your favorite zombie stories and why?
 
  Carriers (2009): Decent acting and decent storyline overcome a low budget epidemic survival tale. I liked this one because it is character driven and does not get distracted by nonsense.  Would ‘Enemy Mine’ count? I liked this science fiction Robinson Crusoe-esque tale about two ‘men’ isolated and trapped on a hostile planet and working together to survive while coming to terms with and resolving their differences.
 
6. What made you decide to put out the 'They Feed: Bloodborne Companion'?
 
  I wrote and released the companion with the intention to give it away free for promotional purposes and I did give it away free as many promotion days as KDP allows. I also thought some readers might be interested in the background behind the novel and its creation process and also to include a sample chapter from the book. Also, I had removed the prologue from They Feed because it was lengthy backfill and distracts a potential reader from getting immediately involved with the characters and action of the story. Still, it was part of the story so I did include it with the companion for those interested.
 
7. What contemporary zombie authors do you admire?
 
  I’ve been reading Rhiannon Frater and Eric A. Shelman.  I like Frater because her stories are character-driven and mostly revolve around group dynamics and how the characters struggle to survive and overcome obstacles by working together to survive. Her descriptions bring her stories to life.  Shelman’s stories, compared to Frater’s, are faster paced and are more action-driven, but character development and depth seems to take a back seat.  When writing They Feed, I combined both their methods and styles to deliver a storyline that was character driven and paced with breaks for action and zombie mayhem.
 
8. I hear that your new book, 'They Feed Book Two: Pathogen' is coming out soon. Is there anything you would like to say about it to your readers before it comes out?
 
  Pathogen is in the works, but slow going; first I was distracted by writing ‘A Dress In Red’ and now ‘Beacon Point.’ What I’d like to say is that, this being my first attempt at a series, that I wish I had better planned the overall story arc and storyline of the series. To make Bloodborne work, I had to kill off some characters that were meant to develop further into the series and I kind of wrapped up things with the main character, Kayla. Derek and Pamela both were meant to make it further. Derek was supposed to live long enough to develop a relationship with Pam, but I got tired of writing for Pamela because I felt like he was being dragged along. Originally I thought it would be ironic if she had her baby before being killed off to leave Kayla fostering a child from the affair. If I had done that, Kayla would have wanted to settle down. That also meant killing off her kids–which was her motivating factor for the first book. Now I’m working on a new drive for Kayla and working out what new characters I want to bring in to help make that happen. Pathogen will still include Nina, Stan, and Marshall.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fear of the Unknown

  I've been going through a lot lately.  Consequently, I've had some anxiety.  Here and there though, something comes along to shine a little light on my path.  This morning, while I was on my way to class, and I happened upon a tiny plastic sombrero.  No big deal, right?  True, but a voice in my head told me that I would see another depiction of a sombrero before I reached a certain street.  This made me start to become aware of my surroundings as I drove along.
  I had almost reached the aforementioned street without finding what I was looking for, but there was a Mexican restaurant on the corner of the street with a painting of a sombrero on the wall.  I started to feel better.  The voice then told me to look for a depiction of a frog.  I was told that I would see one before I got to class.  I never did, but I realized what was going on.  This was my way of giving myself a way to distract myself from my current circumstances.  But it wasn't just a distraction like television or something useless like that.  It was a way for me to increase awareness of my surroundings.  Up until then, I had been obsessing over my troubles and letting the world around me pass me by unnoticed.  Now, I was observing everything around me.
  Here's why I gave this blog posting the title that I did.  This revelation about the distraction, got me thinking about what it is that has been causing me so much anxiety lately.  It is the fear of the unknown.  My future is entirely in question and there is nothing that I am sure of anymore.  What came to me though, is the fact that it is only into the unknown that you can interject your creativity.  What can you create about something that is already known?
  I mean, look at movies and TV these days and how they're just rehashing shows and movies from the past.  How creative is that?  It is only in the face of the unknown that you can exercise free will.  Like Doc Brown said in 'Back to the Future III', "You're future hasn't been written yet.  So make it a good one."  'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' said, "There's no fate but what we make for ourselves."  We can only have hope in the unknown. What hope is there in the known?  It's either good or bad, but it's known already.  The unknown can be good or bad as we choose.  Therefore, I choose never to fear the future anymore, but instead to have hope.  Only through gathering my bearings concerning my surroundings in the moment of now, in the present, will I have the awareness of where I am so that I know where I can choose to go from there.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

No Space

  To add to the understanding of how believing in the separation of all people can cause misery, you must look at the fact that many people try to run and hide from their pain.  If you look at the source of your pain and realize that you are that object/person/place, then you will see that you cannot run from it.  The pain is coming from you from that perspective.  At this point you need only to face your fear/sadness/anger/regret/pain and realize than only in and of yourself do you have the power to get rid of it.
  You are a soul, just as all people are souls.  In the spiritual plane, there is no such thing as time or space.  Those are things that only exist in the physical plane.  So if you understand that there is no separation from you and your tormentor in ultimate reality, you will also recognize that there is no separation between you and whatever it is you keep searching for to give you joy.  You are the one and the other.  It is just a matter of which you choose to give to yourself at this moment.  Without the limitations of time and space, you can choose to instantly give yourself joy and there is nowhere you need to go to find it.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Separation Anxiety

  Lately I've been feeling very depressed and lonely, but I've figured out some things about myself that give me a light at the end of the tunnel.  As I may have mentioned before, I've recently been re-reading the 'Conversations With God' trilogy by Neale Donald Walsch.  I've also started re-reading his book, 'Friendship With God'  From amazon.com, I've picked up 'Mindfulness In Plain English' by Bhante Gunaratana and 'Stardust Dancing' by Paul Tobolowsky M.D.
  Neale is always talking about how we as humans are all one with each other, with God and with the universe.  The mindfulness book is about meditation and also talks about understanding your oneness with the universe.  Dr. Tobolowsky's (the brother of actor, Stephen) book talks about the miracle of life through the eyes of science.  It explains all the various elements and proper conditions that had to come together with the right timing to create humanity and other life on Earth.  All this leads me to an understanding that I am never alone.
  This loneliness I've been feeling lately is just an amplification of the loneliness I've felt all my life.  I've been living in the illusion of separation.  This has caused me to feel unwhole all my life.  The little red squiggly line under the word unwhole tells me that it's not really a word, but it perfectly describes how I feel.  My prayers have brought me to the realization that once I come to a place deep within myself in which I feel to the core of me that I am one with everything, all my problems will simply melt away and disappear.
  I guess that I keep separating myself from not only those around me, but the process of growth that I am in the middle of.  We are now in one of an infinite manifestations of perfection.  Awareness of this brings joy.  My separation from people causes me to victimize myself to them all the time.  If I lived as if I was the person in front of me, how could I victimize myself to him or her?  I am the cause of everything that is happening to me.  Reacting as a victim to it only shows my ignorance of my true power.  I am the author of my life.  The other day, I saw a series of parked trucks that had the word, "Extreme" painted on them.  They were parked in such a way that all I could see was "me, me, me".  I realized from that vision that in my separation, I am being very selfish in thinking of only myself in the way I do things.  Once I feel at one with everyone, then my concept of myself will have changed to where I will be thinking of everyone's needs all the time.  I've always looked to someone else to give me knowledge, wisdom, etc.  Knowing that I am everybody will make me see that only I can give myself wisdom.  All I will ever have is what I give to myself and that is all I've ever needed.