Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hard Things

I've been reading "Do Hard Things." by Alex and Brett Harris. It's meant for a teen audience, but the lessons it provides hold true for every age group.

One of the book's points struck me the other day. It was something I hadn't really ever thought about before, though it may be fairly obvious to some of you.

How many excuses do we make on a given day? How many times to we say "Well, I'm just not gifted in that way," or "I could never do this because (insert reason here)."

I've made a lot of them. I didn't try as hard as I should have in my math classes because I said, "I'm not a math person." I haven't had anything major published yet because I keep telling myself that no one wants to read what I have to say.
Sometimes I don't work out when I say I'm going to, because I'm "just too tired."
The list goes on.

Those excuses build up a thick wall that often keeps us from ever attempting the things we aspire to or know we must accomplish. They should be dismantled.

What if we fail? What if we really can't do what we've convinced ourselves we can't?
That's another excuse. No failure is complete. Each time we fail and get back up, we grow "muscle." If we never allow for the possibility of failure, we never get better in the areas we need to grow in.

If this message resonates with you, you can find the book here:

I highly recommend it.


Sunday, July 26, 2009


I've felt kind of weird the past couple of days, and I don't know why.
There's been a strange sense of foreboding, like a vicious surprise is waiting just around the corner.

I certainly hope not, but if it comes, I pray I'll have the strength to face it with dignity.

Of course, I could be completely off-base. I know enough not to fully trust my feelings. Still, this foreboding has me nervous and a little moody. To the outside world, I just look tired, but there's definitely a deeper reason behind my malaise than a simple lack of sleep.

Lord, please have mercy.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

The White Knight

I've decided to devote this post to a question that has been rolling around in my head for a little while. I think it is a good question, and one that needs to be answered.

Where have all the good characters gone?

By good, I don't mean well-constructed. There are plenty of those. I mean good as in "good vs. evil."

It seems to me that the modern era has, to a great degree, left the idea of goodness in the dust. It is viewed as a cliche, because today's audiences have been jaded into thinking that such goodness is not actually attainable.

Gone is the true hero, the character who does what is right, who overcomes evil both within himself and without. He has been replaced by the antihero, the bad boy who embraces his flaws and strives for an end that justifies the often nefarious means by which he achieves it. That is a great shame.

Antiheroes are interesting, don't get me wrong. I must admit to myself that I have often been fascinated by their complex motivations and intriguing personality flaws. The draw of the antihero is, of course, relatability. In the antihero we recognize parts of ourselves, and that is an asset to any storyteller.

But there is a certain quality a white knight possesses that an antihero does not, a purity that the audience should long to aspire to. That quality is in short supply today. Instead, we have V, Wolverine, and Sam & Dean Winchester. Well-constructed characters all. Works of art, even. But only "good" in the sense that they are protagonists.

Allow me to clarify something at this juncture. When I speak of the white knight, I do not speak of a character that is completely, perfectly good. This extreme is responsible for the categorization of the white knight as a cliche. I speak of a character that, while flawed, is cognizant of his flaws and actively pursues the right thing. I can't think of many who fit that description.

The time has long passed for some new, real heroes to enter the scene. Guess I'd better start writing, huh?

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The Institute for Circular Reasoning by Peter Semple is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.