Inner Story

When I first started pitching my book to various literary agents, the most common question they asked was why is my main character so against unification, the joining of the seven provinces in my story. Like many things in life, I didn’t know the real answer. The actual story, however, did know it.

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I watched a documentary on Netflix called AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY. Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist who helped design the Bird's Nest featured in the Beijing Olympics. He uses social media and art to inspire protests against the Chinese government. The thing about China is that freedom of speech is not a basic freedom like it is here. And to inspire any level of protest there would only result in one end.

An interviewer asked him why he’s so fearless compared to other people. His response: I’m so fearful that’s not fearless. I’m more fearful than other people maybe…then because I act more brave because I know the danger’s really there. If you don’t act, the danger becomes stronger.

That hit me like a brick wall that swung through the humid jungles of South China. That’s an absurd sentence, but Weiwei's answer completely encompasses why my main character fights against totalitarianism than just rolling over and joining an enemy that seemed too strong.

Your claws woman!

Your claws woman!

And the actual story, the character, knew this without me consciously having to know. I can see the words, sentences and dialogue where he states this, just not in those exact words. Otherwise I’d know how to answer the question.

Now, I’m not here proclaiming my genius, nor am I proclaiming anything about me. There are two things going on here that I can see. One; stories choose us, the storytellers. Somehow we become the experts to those stories because we were chosen, and two; if we don’t tell it, if we do not follow that path given to us, we will in some way suffer.

We become the experts. What the hell does that mean? That doesn’t mean we as writers don’t need to do the research. We do when needed. We are the experts because somehow in some divine way we were given insights or the true meaning behind the stories we tell. In NIGHTFALL, if a person wanted to read for pure fun without wanting to know anything more than just the superficial stuff—the rollercoaster ride, the adventure—that’s fine. But if that person was curious enough, the hidden meaning behind the whole story and what drives every character in NIGHTFALL could be revealed to him or her, and they may learn something about themselves. In that sense, there are two basic layers to NIGHTFALL. Obviously, I can’t control whether the reader delves deeper or not. It’s their choice, and I wouldn’t want that control anyways.

I think you need a Tic Tac

I think you need a Tic Tac

I do believe, as people, we have gifts that we were given to give to the world. Huh? I do think we were put here for that reason. Every scientist and philosopher is trying to answer that question, and they can’t because the answer is different for every one of us. As far as I can tell at this moment, I was supposed to write the 7th Province series. Others were put here to teach lessons to their children, students, sections of society, the world. But if we don’t follow our paths, then what happens? Suffering. Whether it’s within that person who didn’t follow their path, or the people the gift wasn’t given to, I’m not sure. Something goes missing, then maybe it’ll fall onto another human to give that gift.

I was asked what my main character’s passion was. I didn’t know. For a long time I didn’t know. A few years after completing the first draft of NIGHTFALL, I figured it out. And the amazing thing was it was in the writing. I just didn’t see it.

Honestly Express Yourself

One of the things you don’t do is drink Diet Coke at night. Because it may keep you up. Feeling a bit alone, I surfed the late night cable channels. I’ve come across one of my rising favorites, the History Channel.  They showed a documentary called How Bruce Lee Changed the World. It shows how Bruce Lee changed the world.

See myadventurewhen I visited his grave site

Obviously, he changed the film industry greatly with his action films. He introduced martial arts to America. He helped changed philosophy. He broke the rules of classical martial arts, taught that the study of multiple martial arts was important, giving rise to the now popular MMA (mixed martial arts). The biggest promoter, UFC, gives him credit as the first MMA. He’s definitely influenced my book in more ways than I realize.

The cool thing about this Bruce Lee documentary, there have been many, is they’ve taken a look at popular culture and credit the Little Dragon for his influence.

Bret Ratner, director of Rush Hour, used the music composer from Enter the Dragon to compose the music for his first movie. The hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan was deeply influenced by Bruce Lee and Hong Kong action films. Their first album sampled music from those movies, and aptly named their album Enter the Wu-Tang. Marketing companies still use Bruce Lee today to increase their brand. If you search for “Bruce Lee” and “ping-pong”, you’ll see the most current example. Bodybuilders today marvel at his muscular definition. Most action films can find their heritage to any of his films. And many more.

Bruce Lee was important to me because he was Chinese. I’m not being ethnocentric. What most people don’t realize is Bruce Lee had a difficult time becoming a leading man in Hollywood back in the day for one reason only.

He was Chinese.

He could’ve been Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, or any Asian descent. His slanty eyes presented a problem. Bruce Lee encountered a lot of resistance, despite his deep connections in Hollywood’s elite.

So what kept him going?

He knew this was his path. He knew where his passions lie. In his words, “...honestly express yourself...” Follow your heart and treasures beyond your dreams will come.

If he were to teach one thing, it’s this.

The greatest mystery in life is finding what it is you’re passionate about. So many have settled down for the mundane job because it pays the bills.  It's one thing to have a day job.  It's important to have a 'night' job. For those who’ve found it, and know it is their truth, then you have succeeded where most have not. And I’ll paraphrase from the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: It’s never too late to start, it’s ok to start over, but the most important thing is to do. Break the rules if you have to, as Bruce Lee has, as long as it furthers your art, your passion. Just do it. Do it. Do.