Why I Enjoy Biographies So Much

What is your favorite type of book and why?

My favorite types of book to read are biographies.

Why? Because if someone whether living or dead has done something worthy of being remembered in the form of a biography then I want to know why. I’m reading a biography on Vincent Van Gogh right now. He was a famous painter, this I already knew. But what was his life like? I knew he dealt with Mental Illness and lost an ear somehow. But what were his formative years like? Who did he know? Whom did he love during his time on Earth.

These are the types of questions that surround the lives of every great man and woman in history. They were not born in a vacuum. Some may have been child prodigies like Mozart, but most were not born into greatness. So what were the circumstances of their lives. What made them great? I wonder whether scientists will one day discover some gene that can be flipped on in ordinary men and women that can somehow enable them to become great. I’ve heard stories about men and women undergoing some sort of trauma like a lightning strike and then suddenly being world class artists. I’m too lazy to look up the term but it was something to do with savants. But imagine if scientists one day found the gene behind such sudden savants and were able to switch it on from birth. I wonder how that hasn’t happened already. Would the world be able to handle a few million more Van Goghs? He was a terrific artist in retrospect, but his family considered him a drain and a disgrace while he lived.

I suppose a lot of this comes from another non-fiction book I’m reading called The Future of the Mind. It talks about the possibility of activating a smart gene. But I’ll leave that tangent alone.

I guess I just enjoy biographies because they enable me to see what is possible. I’ve read enough to know that almost every one of the greats had their own unique path to said greatness.

So I ask again, what is your favorite type of book to read and why?

God Bless

About that Social Rejection Article I Just Reblogged

Those of you who know me for years know both that I am a writer and that I only really committed to writing after a diagnosis of Schizophrenia. Prior to that downward spiral in 2007, I was in a career and well on my way to big things at my university. After the diagnosis, I knew ever early on that there would be a lot of fear and social isolation. I was diagnosed at 25 and at that time I had written a few short stories, but little else. These early stories showed promise, but were little more than a hobby. After the diagnosis it was five long years before I wrote a word. I spent them trying to piece my life back together. Most of the time I just lived day to day trying to show my family that I wasn’t a danger to them. And it was certainly a fight to do so considering what other people with this illness continued to do. Fighting to destigmatize a mental illness can be a very hard and very steep uphill climb. But beginning when I was 30 I picked up pencil and paper again and began to write books.

I’ve written about what books I write and what stories I write elsewhere. You can even read such a short story on this site. The point is that the article I saw tonight really touched me. I experienced great isolation and rejection not because of anything I did to deserve it, but because people hear ‘mental illness’ and become very scared. So it is hard to make and keep friends. The internet makes that a bit easier I suppose, but I’m not online all that much except for wordpress and email.

Now do I have the creative genius of a van gogh like in the article? I don’t know. I figure it takes years to decades of consistent hard work to merit that term. I’ve been at it for four years and have yet to be published. All I know is that I have a drive to create and I devote each and every day to figuring out ways to bettering myself so that I can continue to create. This is what I am called to do. That’s the truth and I take the Holy Spirit very seriously.

I guess to wrap this up I’ll just say that I lament the fact that there are people out there around the world who dedicate themselves to destroying things. I dedicate my life to creating things. It is easier to destroy, but it is far more rewarding to create. I’ve said this before on Xanga, but if I was presented with a time machine and told I could go back in time and magically wipe out the onset of my mental illness and continue on the path I was on, I don’t believe I would change anything. Sure it sucks being the outcast at times, but the rewards that come from creating things that are completely new and unique…well they’re pretty big.

God Bless and God be with the people in Nepal,

Biographyguy(Dan)

Genius

I heard this quote last night on C-Span.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

-Albert Einstein

I like this quote. I think all it takes for anyone to realize their potential is to find their niche in life and then work at it.

I’m doing this in my writing. How are you trying to realize your potential?

In the last year

Hey Everyone,

It’s been nearly a year since I last logged onto WordPress. The layout has changed and I’m not sure what to do or where to go to find the community page anymore. But I did find some pages of old friends(if they still consider me a friend I don’t know), and let them know I’m alive and asked them what they are up to these days.

As for me, for those who may remember I began writing books in late 2011. I wrote a little over 60,000 words for a book called The Light Warriors, which was fan-fiction of mine that was pasted onto the bare bones of the old Nintendo game Final Fantasy. When my Uncle died in March of 2013 I put aside the fan-fiction and felt the call to become a pastor. So I dedicated myself to that calling and for months I wrote very little(and when I did it was just journaling a bit).

Well I read a certain passage from a biography on the great Christian thinker C.S. Lewis about why he wrote fiction, and it touched me and when I prayed about why he wrote and asked if that was why I should write the answer was a resounding yes. That was pretty awesome.

This was last August. Ever since that day I have written with great passion, enthusiasm, and energy. When I first began writing The Light Warriors, I wrote only every other week or so depending on my mood. I also always had this feeling that I was supposed to be doing something else(the ministry). After realizing that my ministry would be communicated through my writing, I’ve felt such a release that has led to genuine happiness.

I started writing a pair of books that were not fan-fiction in August. I finished one of them(which wasn’t terribly long) on December 31st of last year. The other I still write in from time to time, but most of my time is taken up by two other books I began in January. Yes, I have three books being written at once. I take two weeks to write in one(which means I write two chapters), and then I’m ready to switch to another. This second one takes about two weeks to write a chapter. And in the odd days where I know I only have one day left before the weekend rest, that is when I write in the book that is still going on from last August. It only takes a day to write a chapter in it.

And that is what I’m up to right now. I’m having fun. And I’ve been offline for a year, but I felt the Lord’s call last night that I was needed back online. I don’t know why, but perhaps I can serve a purpose beyond the eventual publishing of my books.

Thanks for reading and God Bless,

Dan(either Shadowrunner81 or Biographyguy)

P.S. Yes I still read lots of biographies.

iJuan (Short Story) by Biographyguy Part 4

            “What about you, Bob? Don’t you want to be saved?”

            “All I want is to know where my next drink is coming from. Perhaps if I get lucky I can sneak some booze out of the liquor store farther up Main Street. No Juan, my plans do not look much past the here and now. In many ways I am like the leaders and citizens I just condemned.”  

            The pair sat in silence for a few moments, each apparently pondering the words of the other. Juan refused to believe that all but the children of this world were hopeless. He watched the sidewalk as a man and woman walked towards each other. In a matter of seconds they collided, each knocking the other back a few steps. “Jerk,” said the woman. “Reinitialize college testing app.” “Screw you, lady. Reinitialize game app.”

            “Excuse me, sir?” Juan said as he got up. Bob just watched from his step.

            The man stopped and looked in his direction. “Boy, you’re wearing one ugly costume. It’s still months ‘til Halloween. iContact, initialize camera app.” In a few seconds a flash appeared. Juan blinked all four of his eyes. “Thanks for the picture, buddy. iContact, Initialize social media app and post picture one. Close social media app. Reinitialize game app.”

            “Sir, could I please talk to you?”

            “What is it? iContact, send text to Judy: ‘Bigfoot found near Main Street’.”

            “I’m not a bigfoot. I’m here to save you from destruction taking place in a thousand years from a cosmic event.”

            “iContact, initialize police emergency app. Text: ’Crazy man in bigfoot suit needs locked up’.” With that he roared with laughter and walked on.

            “You see, Juan,” said Bob. “They’re too hopeless to believe what their iContacts don’t tell them.”

            “I just don’t believe it.”

            “I didn’t believe it either at first. It was a gradual decline, but a decline it was.”

            Juan spoke to himself, “I now see that there is a far more urgent crisis at hand than a cosmic event.”

            “Eh, what is that?”

            “Bob, this world is dying.”

            “Yes, you said that.”

            “You must help me. If we don’t save the children now before they get their iContacts, this world will meet a fate far worse than destruction at the hands of a cosmic event. If we don’t do something right now this world will be dead in a matter of years, not a millennium. There are things far worse than death, and to be enslaved to a living hell is one of them. Come with me.”

            “iContacts or no iContacts, they will notice when their children are missing. Don’t you think?”

            “I’m not sure, Bob. That’s what worries me. Take my hand.”

            Reeking Bob took one last look at his customary step and reached out his hand. “Take me, Juan. I will go with you.”

            “You know this world. Where do we start?”

            “That depends on whether you want the poor kids or the rich kids.”

             Juan smiled and put his hand on Bob’s shoulder. “My Father and I welcome all the little children of Earth.” Bob smiled and the pair made for the restaurant where Juan first appeared. “You’ve never traveled by portal, have you?”

            “I don’t even know what that is.”

            “You’ll like it. Come on, let’s go see my Father and begin our work.”

iJuan (Short Story) by Biographyguy Part 3

            “Bah, they won’t help you. I, on the other hand, am the President of Mars.”

            “You are drunk.”

            “They say I’m drunk. They also say I’m nuts. Want to know what I think? I think they are the crazy ones. Them and their fancy gadgets. If I hear the word initialize one more time I’ll…”

            “What does initialize mean?”

            “That’s what they do with their iContacts. They are computers that they put on their eyes like contact lenses. To be without them is to be an alien to the world these days.”

            “I had no idea humanity had advanced so far.”

            “Advanced you say? I call them primitive. I wonder just how many of these fools would get lost in their own backyard without their precious gadgets. Advanced? Ha.”

            “What do your leaders have to say about the situation?” Juan inquired.

            “Oh they are quite sure the human race is devolving. That presents less opposition to their pet projects designed only to line their pockets. Oh sure, most of these people think that they are successful when they upgrade their iContacts, but oh ho no. The only successful ones are those whom convinced the masses to get iContacts in the first place.”

            “I need to talk to your leaders about this. Where can I find them?”

            “Have a seat and talk to me and I’ll tell you where to go after. It’s not every day that I get to talk to someone like you.”

            Juan sat down on the steps beside Reeking Bob. He propped up his hind leg to keep himself steady.

            “That’s some trick. Were you born that way, friend?” inquired Bob.

            “No I wasn’t. This is what my Father thought would help me blend in here. Perhaps this is his idea of a joke?”

            “I like your Father then.”

            “That’s good. He’s why I’m here. Are you sure you want to hear what I have to say?”

            Bob took a drink, set the bottle down, stretched his arms wide and said, “I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”

            “My Father is something of a scientist. He told me some news that will affect this planet. I came to tell your leaders that a cosmic event could occur, and I am here to save as many as possible. If it does happen, it will not be for many years, but the evacuation is to begin soon. Your leaders will be the ones to decide who goes first.”

            Bob ran his fingers through his hair. “That’s quite the bit of news there. How long do we have exactly until this ‘cosmic event’ forms?”

            “Just a thousand years. As you can see it is urgent that the evacuation begin soon.”

            “A thousand years? Look Juan, time may work different where you come from. People here don’t live much past 100 at the most. Besides, the fools in charge of this place don’t look past the next election. Even were you lucky enough to have a so-called leader believe you they would only save those whom would ensure they stay in power.”

            “Then who do you think I should save?”

            “I say save everyone whom can still think for themselves. I assume you are telepathic or something right? Read people’s minds to figure out if they can be saved.”

            “I’m not exactly telepathic, Bob. I was sent to save as many people as possible. How many do you suppose still have the ability to think?”

            “None of the bozos with the iContacts, that’s for sure. I would start with the youngest whose minds have not been polluted, yet.”

            “So I should save the children then.”

            “Yes, the children. They are the only reason why I’m still here, Juan. It is because of the hope surrounding each new generation that I hold onto the hope for the future.”

iJuan (Short Story) by Biographyguy Part 2

  (I apologize in advance if you already got this part, it didn’t show up on my WordPress reader for some reason)         

           With an effort, Juan began to walk out from under the doorway of the restaurant to the sidewalk in front. He knew now that as soon as a car or pedestrian passed by he would be noticed, captured and later examined. How am I supposed to make contact when I look so conspicuous?

            He stepped onto the sidewalk with these concerns in mind and was almost run over by a pedestrian. “Watch it, pal. Reinitialize music app.” “Excuse me, ma’am,” said Juan to the jogger heading south. Juan turned to walk north and stopped. “She didn’t say anything about my appearance.”

            His long legs took him past a street sign that said Main Street. After a few minutes he was looking at a sign for a grocery. He looked inside the windows to see fruits and vegetables for sale. A car zoomed by as he stood there looking in the window and he again noticed that no cars were stopping to allow the passengers or drivers to gawk. “Perhaps they think I am in a costume? They have sports teams in all likelihood so they could be assuming I am a local mascot.”

            “Outta the way, buddy,” said another pedestrian to Juan after bumping him aside. He appeared to be in a hurry as he carried a backpack under his arm and was walking briskly. “Reinitialize sports app.” “What does that mean?” But Juan received no answer. “What a strange place.”

            He looked back inside the grocery window and saw a woman browsing the fruits and vegetables on the opposite side. He figured that she must be able to see him as he could see her. He extended his eastward arm and tapped the window. The woman gave no response. He leaned in and put his face next to the window as he was now frustrated with his inability to get noticed. “Ma’am, could you take me to your leader?” Still there was no response.

            “Umph,” went Juan when someone bumped into him yet again. “Quit hogging the sidewalk. And get a shave. Reinitialize social media app.” “Excuse me, sir?” Please?” But the man was already out of hearing range. Juan just watched as he turned east onto a different street.

            Dejected and alone, Juan continued to make his way north past where the social media man had turned. He even felt brave enough now to cross a busy street despite his initial fears of being spotted. As Juan crossed, a car narrowly missed him and when he looked he noticed no one was driving. Despite his knowledge that cars required a driver, this car only appeared to have a passenger. “So there are driverless cars? Fascinating,” Juan said aloud.

            After he crossed the road he scratched his head and looked around at this foreign world and said, “I don’t understand. No one notices me? No one notices each other? Is everything here automated now? What happened?”

            “You look like you’re searching for intelligent life or my name isn’t Reeking Bob,” said a man sitting on the corner steps of an apartment building.

            “You can see me?”

            “Of course I can see you. Don’t worry about these other fools. No one sees anything around here they don’t want to see. Nope, they don’t see anything at all.”

            “What do you see?”

            “You go first, my friend.”

            “I see raggedy clothes, some kind of bottle wrapped in a brown bag, matted hair and an unshaven face.”

            “You forgot my shoes.”

            “What shoes?”

            “Ha. Exactly. Now I’ll tell you what I see.” Bob looked him up and down. “You’re an alien. I’m right, aren’t I? Now, you know my name, what do I call you?”

            “I am Juan. I’m here to speak with your leaders.”

iJuan (Short Story) by Biographyguy Part 1

            “Father, are you sure this is what humans look like?”

            “You’re going to have to trust me on this, Juan.”

            “I seem to remember them having two of everything. And use my real name, not that Earth name you chose.”

            “For now your name is Juan. Here, don’t forget your hat.”

            Juan looked at himself in the mirror. He was seven feet tall with an arm protruding from all sides of his body. He looked at the reddish brown hair covering his body and wondered why he remembered things so differently from the last time he visited Earth. Did humans really have four eyes and four ears as well as four arms and legs? Juan simply shrugged and put on his bowler hat.

            “Come on, son. Get in the portal. You have a schedule to keep.”

            Juan stepped onto the green platform in the middle of the room and looked around. He rarely used the portal room anymore, and so it was as if it was his first time seeing the various screens depicting the various planets in this solar system. He watched as his father pressed one of the screens to bring Earth into view and located the designated country. Juan looked at all of the countries that existed now that did not exist the last time he was sent to Earth. I’m here to talk to all of them, Juan thought to himself.

            “The portal is fully charged. Until I see you again, Son…”

            Juan felt the electricity jolt through his unfamiliar body and watched as the interior of the portal room disappeared and was soon replaced by the interior of an Earth building. Inside this new building were a great many tables and chairs. Three fourths of the building’s walls were made up of windows which showed cars and buses driving by on an apparently busy street. “Welcome to Subplots, can I take your order?” said a voice from behind. Juan spun around and saw a long counter on top of which was a pair of cash registers. At the moment, only one of them had a person taking orders, and she wasn’t facing him. Once he saw the menus on the wall behind the counter, Juan’s suspicions were confirmed. Of all the places to portalize, Father chose a fast food restaurant, Juan thought to himself. He sighed and exited the restaurant.

            In addition to the cars and buses seen earlier, there were buildings all around. Most showed a certain polish indicating they were well kept. “I’m in a city,” Juan declared aloud. This was so unlike the world he had known in the past. It was then that he glanced at the people. “Oh dear, they have two arms. Oh no, two legs as well.” By the time he noticed the two eyes and two ears, Juan was ducking under the doorway to the restaurant. “They are also shorter and not nearly so hairy. Now what do I do?” Juan whispered. “What’s the phrase they use here? Sore thumb, that’s it. I’m going to stick out like a sore thumb. I also have to put on more clothes than just this bowler hat.”