The Story Behind, ‘The Hill’

Laptop Writer 1Last week, I posted a short story I wrote called, ‘The Hill‘. The story of a girl living with in an abusive home, who befriends a young man living in the apartment building across the street. I thought I would share my thinking process and how I finally got to putting words down to create this little love story.

I had three main inspirations that lead me to create this story. So, in the order in which they influenced me. Here they are.

In my early twenties, I had a two bedroom apartment with a roommate. Because of my job and band, I preformed with at the time, I was always coming and going from my apartment at all odd hours of the day and night. I recall, quite vividly, times that I or my roommate and I, stood outside our apartment and could hear the physical acts of violence taking place in the house across the street. It would be so loud you could hear yelling and objects breaking. I remember saying to my roommate, “I am glad they don’t have kids.”

It was such an oddity for me to have experienced such a thing that the image of that house across the street and all the, What Ifs, in my mind at the time really stuck with me.

Over the years, I played with the idea of what if they kids. What would that be like for them. From that, the story really started to take shape.

In trying to develop the characters, I would say the Sidney Poitier movie, ‘A Patch of Blue‘ was a big help. The age difference between Gordon Ralfe (Sidney Poitier) and Selina (Elizabeth Hartman), along with all the conversations that take place between the two characters as they get to know each other through out the film was a huge influence on me. It really helped me develop the characters of Jack and Jill. Even thought I saw this movie way earlier in my life, I only found myself turning back to it after I decided there was a story here for me to write.

Lastly, the nursery rhyme, ‘Jack and Jill’. This hit me early on when I started actually writing. These characters needed names and the story really needed something to tie the whole thing together. I started thinking about how I wanted the story to end. Something sweet that implied hope. Jack and Jill just popped in my head as I thought about it. How the characters “took the exit and followed the ramp up to the top of the hill, where he pulled in the the restaurant’s parking lot.” enforces the whole rhyme.

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.

The first draft of the story and a bulk of the writing, I wrote in a web application called Write Box. Being able to change the background color to black and the text color to green really helps my Dyslexics eyes see what I am writing.

After the first draft was written, there were three subsequent drafts of edits and modifications, all done with Google Documents. Google Documents allowed me to share out the story to friends and people who’s opinions I trust when I am looking for feedback or advice.

That’s how I did it. I hope you enjoyed the story.

Wet Shaving

Safety Razor

Safety Razor

Shaving is something that has historically never been an enjoyable experience for me. Shaving cream always dried out my face and shavers like The Gillette MACH series of shavers dull to quickly and cost way to much to keep replacing the blades. But then I learned about  “Traditional” wet shaving.

Basically, a friend of mine turned me onto this guy on youtube who taught me how to shave like a man. In fact, my friend likes to say “he’s probably single-handedly taught half the internet to shave”. That’s how good we all think he is.

Earlier this year, I logged onto Amazon and picked up a traditional shaving brush and soap. I also picked up the Merkur Double Edge Razor. Also known as a safety razor. Your grandfather probably had one. The blades cost a fraction to replace compared to Gillette’s cartridges. The resulting shaving of using a safety razor while wet shaving is amazing. Closest shave of my life. Shaving is no longer a chore either. I actually look forward to doing it in the mornings.

My new found joy and enthusiasm in wet shaving has resulted in writing a post for the website, Sharpologist. Which is run by the same guy who made the youtube videos that have taught the internet how to shave. I hope you will all check out my post there and maybe learn about wet shaving while you’re at it.

iBooks Authoring and Me

ibooks authoringNot long ago Apple introduced a book authoring program called ‘iBooks Authoring’. Its an application that makes publishing books to the Apple iBooks store a whole lot easier. One of the reasons my book ALL THAT MATTERS was not published to the iBooks store was because of how difficult it was to do so. To solve this problem Apple has made an application that will make the whole process of publishing to their store easier.

When I checked out the application on the Mac App store the other day I saw loads of comments from people who have already used it publish their own books and that it was very easy.

But will I use it?

The answer is yes and no.

I will use ‘iBooks Authoring’ to post ALL THAT MATTERS so it will finally be available on the Apple iBooks store. I plan to do that as soon as I am done writing MIRROR IN TIME. While I have been writing my second book, I have been planing in the back of my head to hire a third party to code out the book for the Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and other e-book readers. Coding out the first book took up a lot of my time and I just assume put that in someone else’s hands who has more experience than me at doing it.

CISSP and Writing

CISSP logo

Since just before the start of the new year I have been studding to get my Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification. My goal is to be well versed in all the CISSP information and get certified within five months (hopefully sooner). I have been delving deep into giant study tomes on CISSP and taking several legal pads worth of notes in the process. I have learned a lot from reading this study information and I have also had a lot of ideas and principles I already knew reenforced. But in the end I still have to pass the test and I am just as nervous about that as anyone else in my shoes would be.

I have also been making time to keep working on my second book that I have recently titled ‘Mirror Through Time’. Several days a week after work I have been visiting the local library to get in a couple of hours of writing in. Because I am studying for my CISSP work has slowed down on my book, but not stopped. Not in the least. In fact, I have recently started the second draft of ‘Mirror Through Time’ and I am so excited to finish it and get some other eyes on it for feed back.

Happy New Years

I had a pretty amazing 2011 and I hope you did too. I would like to spend this blog post reviewing some of the amazing things that I have gotten to do and experienced over the last three hundred and sixty five days.

  • I Lost 30 Pounds!

2011 started off with a book, ‘The 4 Hour Body‘. This book had a huge impact on me. Because of this book I have lost thirty pounds and I have kept it off! This is amazing to me because my weight is something I have struggled with my whole life. Now, I don’t feel like I am struggling anymore. I feel like I have it all under control.

  • I Got Married!

As far as importance goes, my marriage should be the first thing on my list. But I have decided to do my 2011 list in chronological order rather than importance.

In April, I got married to my beautiful wife Hannah, and I can’t think of another person I would rather spend the rest of my life with. After being together for seven years we had an amazing wedding with our family and friends. We can’t thank everyone enough for showing up and supporting us on our special day. But please know we are thankful and grateful for each and every single one of you.

  • I Wrote My First Book

In 2011, I wrote ‘All That Matters’, my first book.  I wrote it and self-published it all in the same year. Its now available on Amazon.com and Barns & Noble. From start to finish creating this book was an amazing process that I have learned so much from. I am eagerly working on my second book which I hope to have out soon.

  • My Most popular Blog Post

In 2011 I wrote a blog post entitled ‘Ikea Comic Book Photo Frame Hack‘ which has become the most popular post on my blog. Its pretty impressive that something I wrote on how to display comic books cheaply has become the most popular post on my whole blog in less than a year.

  • 2012
2011 was an amazing year with memories I will carry with me forever. I have nothing but great hopes and dreams for 2012 and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Thank you all for taking the time out of your busy days to follow my little blog. I hope you have found it entertaining, if not useful. I wish you all lots of luck and happiness for the new year.