literature

Sometimes Heartache Is The Best Medicine 

So this week it was back to reality after seven days in the Caribbean. I could say I am sad and depressed to come back to my normal life but that would be untrue. My life excites me, especially what lies ahead. Originally my plan was to get tons of work done on my novel during this trip to St. Thomas but I didn't. Honestly, I didn't add one word to it. The only writing I got done were a few poems here and there and social media posts. You know what? Typically this would leave me filled with extreme guilt but not this time, relaxation and fun is exactly what I needed.

Burning the candle at both ends for the past few years as an author-prenuer with a day job has caused my writing career to grow significantly but it's also taken a toll. The price I’ve paid willingly and it was very much worth it, I have no regrets. Basking in the warm Caribbean sun and floating in its pristine turquoise waters was a realignment for my soul and I needed it badly. After the trip I feel recharged and ready for what's next. What comes next for me is setting and achieving some pretty awesome goals. One of those goals is beginning to consciously realign my life to make way for even more writing, more growth, and more travel.

What I’ve found is writers are always working, even if it’s subconsciously. When we’re not writing we’re usually taking mental notes about nearly everyone and everything that crosses our path. While I was in St. Thomas I met many interesting and a few wonderful souls. I also had some true growth experiences. The wonderful souls were strangers at first but we parted as friends. When this happens you’re enriched because, in a way, these people's stories and experiences become your own.

We met a young couple from San Diego, she was a competitive swimmer and he was a personal trainer. Then there was a man from Romania and his wife. He had immigrated to the US when he was nineteen and almost died during a failed attempt to escape Communist Romania in the mid-eighties before the Berlin wall fell. He suffered abuse at the hands of nuns who taught at the school he went to as a child, and corrupt Romanian police and military officers later in life. Against those odds he still went on to immigrate to America and build a successful construction business. During a brief chat over a delicious breakfast he told me two or three ways to immobilize an attacker with my bare hands.

The last and most profound of the connections we made was with our AirBNB host, Lecia (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3139209?s=p6pABAhB). She taught in in St. Thomas for decades and retired but is still very involved in the community. She cares deeply about the children of the island and their future, she also cares about the environment. Her home is almost completely self-sustaining, she eats a plant-based diet and drives an electric car (which is charged by her solar panels.) Even better, through very smart decisions and hard work she’s built a life that gives her freedom to do what makes her happy. This entrepreneurial path is the one I’m walking on now and I need to surround myself with these kinds of people and soak up their wisdom.

I've always loved travel but didn’t fully understand why. I’ve always been fascinated by new people, places, and experiences. Exploration runs deep in the DNA of humanity. I think our ancestors found out long ago that seeking new places and new experiences make us better and stronger, they deepen our knowledge of both ourselves and of the Universe. Growth doesn't come from doing more of the same things. Yes, ordinary life hands us its share of lessons but when we're traveling those lessons are condensed in significantly higher doses over a shorter period of time.

I came back from this trip feeling inspired and prepared to take more chances. Dreams have their place but I’m tired of dreaming. I want to make more of a conscious effort to build the framework that will bring about the birth of Eric version 2.0. (or is it version 3.0?)

I’ve learned many things through my two plus decades of struggle as a writer. Dreams only provide a temporary respite from a life that is less than ideal. For dreams to work they must be paired with smart decisions, follow through, and lots of hard work. Over the next few months I’m going to be shuffling many of the priorities in my life around to make more room for writing (of course) and travel.

I’ve learned during the St. Thomas trip that travel isn’t as much a luxury as it is a necessary element in my life equation. Now that I'm back into my weekly routine of being rushed and pressed for time my heart literally aches when I look at the pictures from our trip and recall the freedom we felt. I’m going to use that heartache as a motivator. From now on I’m going to be budgeting for travel just as though it was healthcare coverage or groceries, in my opinion it’s just as important.

I’m honored that so many of you wonderful souls are here with me to take part in my journey. I’m excited to see what the coming months will bring for us all. I promise you, the second novel, Truth Is Stranger, will be completed soon come Hades or rising tides.

~Eric Vance Walton~

The Drum

I still remember the sky was a deep sapphire that afternoon when the dead drone of the drum began,

their coffers were far from empty but they were still hungry for power and dollars, their only Gods

not a hint of regret laid across the lips of lady liberty but it did her people, they are good people, mostly, simple people

the propaganda machine had spewed its stinking filth for years leaving us so numb we were willing to believe anything, but this time was different

divisions were melting away, our world was shrinking and people were thinking, yearning badly for a lasting peace so the powers that be brought us only war

after all it's never been their sons or daughters who get the blood on their hands, only the simple people are sent to inflict the wounds and collect the scars that will cause hate and pain to rip through generations, like a tsunami

our deepest level of trouble were the false flags of fear, their hypnotic switches causing one to doubt what they know to be true

 

in their hearts, this is all they need, easy belief of these kinds of lies have always been the weeds in our garden

but the peace has always been there within us, we see the shine of it from the corners of our eyes deep down like a gold nugget flashing, nestled in the smooth rock of the river bed

to uncover it, we need

less logic and more ramble but we must learn this quickly

before our world lies

smoldering in shambles,

this time there will be no second chances, no Phoenix rising, not this time

through all of this they failed to realize that this is just the sort of thing that turns peaceful souls into revolutionaries,

our righteous and beautiful voices

may just shout them down in unison, most of us, we are just

simple people after all,

simple folks who want the chance to succeed or fail, fill our lungs with clean fresh air, and slay our demons one by one, have ourselves a bit of fun

but in the distance I hear the dreaded drum, the dead drone of the drum.

War Drum

~Eric Vance Walton~

 

A Writer's Life

Shaky with apprehensions, poorer this year than the last,

existing in the place between

what will be and what has passed

 

it’s an author’s life for me

I have given the benefit of every doubt,

and during fevers of eloquence,

found myself electrified absolutely

by the lightning bolt of muse

 

this current flowing through me,

greater than any currency

it has given me friends that span oceans wide

there are no borders here, no blind pride

we are bound by our love of words,

and have found an all embracing tenderness

that shows us

there should be no other way.

 

~Eric Vance Walton~

Alarm Clock Dawn

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Focus is hazed 

as wing-tip 

dreams come calling


softly, persistently 

those starched seams of 

material obsession


trite expressions 

that seem to echo 

so endlessly


I've left it all behind, this time, 

left it all behind in my mind


the alarm clock dawn methodical 

in its wringing, starving, stealing time 

so stealthily that you hardly notice 

until one day you wake up faded, 

to a jaded, gaunt and hungry hue


I've left it all behind, this time,

left it all behind in my mind


So this is how it feels to be free? 

To be set adrift like some Coltrane riff 

when need's an endless song


can't tell you where I'll be tomorrow 

I may be drawn back into the yawn 

of the alarm clock dawn,


balance is my only hope 

to end up somewhere 

in the middle.


~Eric Vance Walton~

Unbroken

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The world has grown up around usleaving us with our memories and the beauty of broken things, dusty relics of the time we knew

even the sky is different now but yet we cast the same shadows and these shadows still stretch as we walk away from the sun

the crowd grows younger each year but I feel a warmth that only wisdom brings to have weathered all the winds life has blown and still be able to smile...to find joy means, today, I've won. I am not broken

These years have taught me to feast on the marrow of life to wring out the glistening drops of happiness and not trouble myself with the trivial,

the day's events slither, they are shallow and fickle sometimes difficult to grasp they do not even know themselves

in the end all that matters is the sum of the words written on the pages of our book of life and their unique and personal truths.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Join The Indie Publishing Revolution!

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We're in the middle of a publishing revolution. Publishing houses no longer hold all of the keys to success as a writer. The world is changing. Every writer has a chance to be part of the new publishing world. This book is not about publishing contracts and million dollar book deals. This book is about creating a life as a writer. One Word at a Time is a deeply personal guide to success as a writer. In this book I share my hard-won lessons about creating and sustaining the writer's life. If you want a practical and personal guide to success as a writer, this book is for you.  Available now for Kindle and in paperback. One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way as an Indie Author

Rush Hour Train

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Happiness is an empty rush hour train only the scent of the past remains and stains of a crushed Cheeto on a vacant seat, a crumpled can of pop and graffiti covered shops that rush by, unbroken

Happiness is an empty rush hour train a subtle sway to hush the pain as life's maelstrom briefly slows its swirl the fringes of my soul begin an upward curl, a smile

Muse strikes, a welcome distraction from mortality pulls me back from the edge of never to maybe...just wait and see please save me from obscurity

Happiness is an empty rush hour train the pause I prayed for spared me again from being life's prey sweet Muse diffuses the illusion, and I return to the conclusion that I spell out the meaning of my existence, one word at a time.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Too Simple To See

Time is cruelin that there are not enough minutes in a lifetime to learn all there is to know

the best of our years are spent sifting through the bullshit, the fluff, the liars, and the takers until one great day our hearts reveal to us what it is that truly matters

even if our eyes witness the truth of only one sunset there would be immeasurable worth in all of the struggle and pain

there is such beauty in this world if only it weren't too simple to see.

~Eric Vance Walton~

The History of the Chapbook

In preparation for the launch of my handmade poetry chapbook for Valentine's Day I've been researching the history of them. I'm glad I took the time to do this because there was much I didn't know about them. Hundreds of years ago chapbooks played an integral part in the spreading of literacy. For my first chapbook project I'm partnering with artist Kristi Casey to craft a truly one-of-a-kind book that will harken back to the chapbooks of 16th century Europe.

This will contain 21 original poems, will be a very limited print. Each copy in the series will be numbered and autographed. More details will be posted as the project progresses!

In This Business Of Writing, One Opportunity Leads to Another

I'm excited to share my newest article with Freelance Writing magazine! Consider freelancing and see your opportunities as a writer grow exponentially. CLICK HERE to read the article. 

Memories Of The Sun

Smothered...in this deep winter bleakness as the sun walks away from us, an ancient journey to be traveled once again

but I will hold fast in my memory the days when it seemed close enough to pull from the sky and whisper to

I remember each moment it warmed us and the wondrous twilight when we squinted as it danced broad along the water's edge

these memories of the sun, they will offer me solace through the gathering darkness as we patiently await the lushness of the equinox with a certain feigned indifference that fools no one.

~Eric Vance Walton~

My Autumn Muse

Thoughts thunder through me,

twisted magic,

minus metrics creating absolute

unbridled hope,

static pops,

air electric I am immersed

in the fathoms

of my muse during

these fall days I wring the darkness,

words drip slowly

and freely like syrup

and to my soul

they taste just as sweet. ~Eric Vance Walton~

Why Is It So Easy?

Life can be extremely difficult. Life can also be magical and wondrous. When your eyes are opened to the deeper meaning of events unfolding around you in this physical world you begin to experience more of the latter. This great Universe is an interactive web of energy that has a way of giving you exactly what you need at the precise moment you need it. As a practicer of meditation and yoga for nearly twenty years I've learned a few things but most importantly I've realized I have much more to learn. A couple things I HAVE learned are:

1. None of us are given preference when it comes to these receiving these gifts of guidance and windows of opportunity. Certain people are just more aware of what's going on and recognize them when they occur; and

2. We are awesomely powerful beings and the quality of our thoughts dictate the quality of our life experience. Our thoughts, consciously or subconsciously, draw to us certain events and circumstances.

The great problem is most people (myself included) don't always remember they have the power to change their lives through something as simple as changing their mindset. This is so simple that, at first, seems like nonsense. Most times our lives have been like a rudderless ship drifting aimlessly in the current for so long that we're used to not being able to steer. We've become accustomed to reacting to life events instead of being proactive and taking control of them. Even after opening yourself up to the idea that this could be possible and then seeing it work first-hand it's still so easy to forget that we can do it.

Luckily, we have many tools to help us in our journey to begin to actively steer our lives towards our destinies. One awesomely powerful tool is the gift of affirmation. I was recently reminded of this from a massage therapist that my wife and I met. She explained that an affirmation is so much more powerful if it's framed into the form of a question. Questions have a way of focusing the energy of our minds like a laser beam and gets much better results than mere statements.

You can use these affirmations for anything you want to change or attain in your life. For example:

"Why is it so easy for me to be successful?"

"Why is it so easy for me to be happy?"

"Why is it so easy for me to be healthy?"

"Why is it so easy for me to make friends?"

These are just general examples but the beauty of these affirmations are their simplicity and flexibility. You can adapt this tool to pretty much any situation. Go ahead, give it a try! Really, what do you have to lose? I don't know about you but I could use a little more "easy" in my life.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Eric Vance Walton invites you to follow his unfolding story by “liking” his Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/EricVanceWaltonAuthor for updates and promotions on his current and upcoming projects.

Download a free preview of Eric’s new book One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way as an Indie Author, here: http://www.authorspublish.com/press/sample/

The Decade of Distraction

There’s no denying that the combination of social media and mobile devices are transforming us. The next time you’re in a public place, take notice of how many people are staring zombie-like at their mobile devices, totally oblivious to the world that is unfolding around them. Technology is advancing at such a fast pace that we haven’t had the time necessary to adapt to it from an evolutionary perspective. Science is showing that our brains are being rewired by this technology. We’re becoming less able to focus, self-absorbed, and more @ssholish than ever before. It seems like there's a massive emptiness in people’s hearts and they try to fill this void with material things. It seems we’re more connected to the world but less connected to those people in our lives who really matter. So many people are becoming more interested in recording our lives on social media than living it.

People, used to the relative anonymity of the internet are becoming increasingly brash in both their online as well as face-to-face interactions. This behavior is epidemic and stretches across all age and socioeconomic boundaries. There’s nothing more sad to me that watching a table of people in a restaurant staring at their smart phones instead of enjoying one another’s conversation and company. Life moves swiftly and there’s nothing worse than the sting of regret.

It wouldn’t surprise me if this time in history is eventually coined, “the decade of distraction.” I get it, there’s a lot to be fed up with these days and it’s mighty tempting to search for a mindless escape. The problem lies in how bad things will get if people become completely distracted and no longer are willing to actively participate in the real world.

I like the convenience of my iPhone as much as the next person and social media has completely transformed my writing career. Technology can be an amazing gift if used to our advantage and in moderation. We clearly haven’t found this happy medium, we’re drunk with it. It seems each day this world is becoming more like the dystopian society in my novel Alarm Clock Dawn and it scares the hell out of me.

Some days it takes immense strength and patience to be decent to people and engaged in this world but let me tell you why it’s worth it to make every effort. We’d never know it from watching the nightly news but this world is still a beautiful place and it’s full of interesting and incredible people. History shows us repeatedly how disastrous things happen when society becomes distracted. There’s still much this world has to teach us if we only look up from our phones long enough to pay attention.

~Eric Vance Walton~

How I Spent My Summer

I was busy this summer.  I'm thrilled to announce my first traditionally published book One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way as an Indie Author.  My soul is in this book, it contains hard won knowledge attained from 20 years in the writing business. Please click on the attached link below to download your FREE PREVIEW of the book before it's released to the public in mid-October. Also, feel free to share this link with anyone you know who is interested in writing. Thanks for your support! Link to download the exclusive preview:

http://www.authorspublish.com/press/sample/

Losing Our Humanity

We hear it all the time...there's no stopping change. We've been led to believe that you must either learn to be flexible and operate within ever changing parameters or be rendered obsolete. This doesn't mean you always have to like it or it's the best thing for all parties concerned. In the last 50 years technology has thrust change upon us time and time again. One profession that is queued up to take a huge hit is that of the taxi driver. In America, car services like Uber and Lyft are the more immediate threats to the traditional taxi cab by offering what most would consider a better experience at about 20% less cost. The death blow for the whole taxi industry will be delivered by a bulbous little car that looks like it's smiling. Google's pod-like self driving car is expected to be on the roads in every major city within the next 10 years and for the taxi industry it will be disastrous.

Just think how nice it will be to pay a monthly subscription fee and have access to a car to meet you within minutes of wherever you are. You'll be able to read the a book, browse Facebook (safely and legally), take selfies, or even enjoy a power nap while being driven to your destination. There will be obvious benefits to the elderly and it will be great for those who've had a few too many drinks and need to catch a ride home. Sure, this technology will provide convenience but like many of our recent technological advances I think it’s bound to make life far less interesting.

My wife and I live in a upper Midwestern city that’s so spread out we need to own cars to get around. The only time I have a chance to ride in a taxi is on the way to the airport which amounts to a couple of times a year. Still I’ve acquired a long list of interesting memories from these rides in a taxi. There must be something about the anonymity of the encounter that makes some taxi drivers willing to reveal deeply personal things that they normally wouldn’t.

I remember one frigid February morning, my wife and I were heading to the airport to catch a dreadfully early flight. The cab arrived at our door and standing next to it was a gruff man who appeared to be in his sixties with about two days of gray stubble on his face. We said good morning and he only grunted. We told him we needed to go to the main terminal of MSP. He said nothing but radiated this immense irritation. As the cab pulled away from the curb he clicked on the radio and the station played nothing but 70's love songs all the way to the airport. We think we saw a small tear spill out from his eye during Hall and Oates', "Baby Come Back". As he was getting our luggage out of the trunk we handed him a pretty sizable tip, his face lit up in one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen and he politely said, "Thank you." It was a complete transformation.

On another occasion, again on the way to the airport, a taxi driver of about the same advanced age came to pick us up. He was eager to talk and seemed like an average grandfatherly type. We chatted it up for a few miles and he told us about how he got into the profession. Shortly after he asked if we'd mind listening to the radio and we obliged. We were fully expecting light rock or oldies but no, he prefered to listen to something much different, gansta rap. We felt as if we were in a movie scene. The cab driver's head was bobbing rhythmically to the beat. He told us later that his stepdaughter was a local rapper and he was introduced to the music this way. Again, an experience that totally blew away preconceptions.

On a trip to Chicago we were picked up by cabbie in his mid-thirties. He was already seasoned, you could tell. In our short ride to a Bucktown restaurant he told us all of the exciting moments of his career including the exploits of a few national celebrities and local politicians who he had driven. No detail was spared. All I can say is I hope he embellished. If not, then the world is even more twisted than I imagine it to be.

I have more taxi stories but I’ll save them for another time. The point is we’re about to lose this. In just a few years this experience of getting into a car with a stranger that you’ll likely never see again will be gone forever. Yes, the experience is awkward and it’s uncomfortable at first but in the end you walk away with a memory that enriches your life and maybe just make you rethink a stereotype. It opens you up to new possibilities.

Change for the sake of change isn’t always a great thing. As a species we must progress beyond this honeymoon phase we have with technology. We’re transfixed. It’s a love affair and we’re mad about the newest, the fastest, the best. We must learn to have the foresight and the courage to think deeply about how change really impacts us and make appropriate decisions accordingly. One thing is for sure, little by little we’re losing our humanity. When you consider our traits sometimes this isn’t a bad thing but let’s be careful not to lose the good.

~Eric Vance Walton~