Category Archives: Meridian’s Shadow

We Are Not Our Scars

I met a man who had been injured in the Korean War. One of his legs had been badly damaged, and he walked with a cane, twisting his body awkwardly with every step. I asked him what it was like to be scarred for life. He told me that he was lucky. That got my attention. In fact, it was the last thing I expected him to say. The man told me that he felt lucky because his scars were on the outside. He understood what had happened to him. He had learned to live with them. “Most people’s scars,” he said, “are on the inside where nobody sees them.”

The man was right. Even the most beautiful woman or handsome man carries scars. They come with living. Things happen to us that we don’t understand. We feel guilty for something that occurred a long time ago, or we misinterpret a thoughtless comment made by someone important to us. Some of us hold secrets and are full of fear because of what might happen if society ever found out the truth we carry inside. Some scars are born of fear. Some of us have been hurt, letting down our guard with people or institutions we thought we could trust. And then there are parents who, for whatever reason, seared defining messages into our psyches. You get the idea. You know what I mean, because you have scars, too.

One of the reasons I wrote my first book, Meridian’s Shadow, was to explore what people do with their scars. The opening scene tells the story of my main character, Hunter Logan, cutting his finger in front of some boys he wanted to impress. That story happened to me. My right index finger carries the little scar, reminding me of that day.

The overarching message of my book, and this blog, is that we do not have to be the sum total of our scars. They need not define us. Some of my characters are debilitated by what they have done or what has happened to them. Others lose their way, following self-destructive paths. Still others are broken by their scars, but learn to avoid the shadows the scars can cast over their lives.

Every day I have to remind myself that I am not my scars. My parents were human, but they left marks on my life. I cannot be defined by my parents’ weaknesses. I once trusted close friends, who I later learned were using our relationship to betray me. I cannot be defined by my friends, no matter how good or bad they are. I spent a majority of my professional life serving an institution that discarded me. I cannot allow my personal worth to be determined by any institution. I struggle with diabetes, massive doses of insulin bloating my big-boned body until all I see is an old fat guy in the mirror. I cannot allow myself to be defined by my illness, or my size.

I struggle with these things. They are the sack of rocks I carry with me. However, on a good day, I know they are not who I am.

When we are young, our families tell us who we are. Later, when we leave the homes of our parents, life takes a whack at us, and we learn more lessons about ourselves. All these experiences are precursors to our truly defining moments. We are not necessarily who our family says we are. We are not a foregone conclusion of the scrapes and bruises of life, of the misinformation and projections of people we meet. Our defining moments need not be when bad things happen to us, but when we decide how we will respond to our scars.

I don’t claim to have any quick answers, but I am learning to see the boundary between what has happened to me, and the person I truly am. I wish you well, as you listen to the scars in your life, and encourage us all to listen to the inner, whispering voice that reminds us, against all odds, who we really are.

Moore later…

Books with Maps and Floorplans

     When I was a boy, I consumed juvenile fiction. One of my favorites was the Rick Brant series. Rick was a perpetual high school kid who lived on Spindrift Island off the New Jersey coast. His father lead a group of scientists and Rick and his pals travelled the world, getting into all kinds of trouble. I loved it!

     Each book had a frontispiece showing an artist’s snapshot of one of the action scenes. I drank in every detail of the picture, comparing it to my mental image of the story world. Sometimes books would have a series of illustrations interspersed with the story. I loved the visual handles. They enhanced my experience. In retrospect, it was old school multimedia. The prose engaged my mind on one level, while the sketches operated on another.

     My parents had a multi-volume world atlas in our living room bookcase. It was really cool. It divided the world by geographic region and offered street maps for all the major cities of the world. When one of my favorite characters went somewhere, I would grab the atlas for that part of the world and try to follow the action. I’d have my book in one hand and the atlas in the other. Sometimes the author used ficticious streets, but when I could actually put my finger on the map where my characters were hiding from their enemy, it was sublime.

     When I wrote my science fiction novel Meridian’s Shadow, I created five floorplans/maps to go along with the text. I confess that I still enjoy having a map by my side (or MapQuest on my PC) when I read a good yarn. As a writer, the floorplans of moon bases and offworld settlements helped me craft the story. I hope they enhance the reading experience for those who step into the worlds I have created.

     Moore later…

     Check out my SciFi adventure, Meridian’s Shadow!

Why I Care About Meridian’s Shadow

     I was writing a screenplay about 25 years ago when I met Kate Sloan. Kate was a middle aged woman who lived on the moon. She was tough and fair. She worked around hard-boiled space pioneers. Shortly after meeting Kate, I ran into Sprite Logan. She was a young woman who had a mysterious past. She had great inner strength and was kind of sexy. She was who Kate might have been in her youth.

     The screenplay didn’t go anywhere, but the characters stayed with me. They lingered in the recesses of my imagination, waiting for the right day to reappear. That happened about three years ago. I was on a business trip with my wife and was sitting at my computer in our hotel room. I had watched a couple of NASA astronauts performing an EVA on the International Space Station. I wondered about what it would be like to float in space without the bulky spacesuits. I wondered about the possibilities of nanotechnology and what could lead to a person having skin that could protect them in vacuum and dangerous thermal environments.

     Sprite Logan jumped out of my memory and waved her hand. “It’s me!” she shouted. I agreed. I envisioned a story that you will discover in an upcoming novel “Second Skin” which I will be releasing toward the end of 2012. You can read a brief description of the plot here. I realized that there had to be a book that would teach me, and anyone else who is interested, how Sprite got her second skin. Meridian’s Shadow is that book.

     During the two years it took to write Meridian’s Shadow, I met a whole group of characters who had been waiting for me to tell their story. I resolved to give them each a novel. These are imaginary people, but they carry immense burdens. Some of them have had to grow up too fast. Some of them lost physical beauty. Some were abused and channelled their hate in very destructive directions. Some were orphaned and manipulated. One character is a failed evangelist who had to come to terms with the reality of life. And of course, there’s Kate Sloan who reappeared shortly after Sprite took my hand and became the heroic bartender/tavern owner who serves as a mother figure to some of the toughest men and women in the universe. She has her secrets and sorrows, too.

     I really care about these people. I want to know what happens to them. I want to worry about them and feel my breath taken away by their struggles and their triumphs. That is why I am writing the Meridian’s Shadow series.

     This blog is on the series’ website. If you navigate over to the home page, you will find plot descriptions for all the the upcoming books. I sincerely hope your interest is piqued by these people. You can find echoes of your story in them. And if you will let them in, they will entertain you and remind you of why you read and why you are alive. That’s what they are doing for me.

     Moore later…

Check out Meridian’s Shadow, the first book in the Meridian’s Shadow series.