Monday, February 20, 2012


As we were driving through the falling snow Saturday, I was fascinated by the snow. Coming from a sunny area, I haven't had a chance to observe this phenomenon in detail. You see, the snow doesn't fall down, or left, or right like you'd expect it to.

No, it hurls itself bodily at the car, intent upon dashing itself to pieces on the windshield. Moments before it collides head-on with the fast-moving windshield, the wind currents snatch it from the jaws of death and sweep it up and over the car.

Protected from the danger of being crushed against the windshield, the snow flew onward, no doubt to test its luck against the next car, and I realized that this reckless abandonment to fate was part of what James A. Owen was talking about.

"Our lives are nothing but a series of choices,
and you'll always have a chance to choose."
~James A. Owen

I know I've already mentioned James A. Owen's keynote address, but I have to tell you, it was awe-inspiring. It was the only Life, The Universe, and Everything panel I took notes on, because he kept saying things that struck me so deeply that I had to write them down.

I've scattered them throughout this blog post and I'll probably keep using them in the future. He said that our lives are made up of the choices we make, even the little ones, and that the accumulation of all these choices is what makes us ourselves.

He talked about the major choices that made up his life - when he was barely 14, how he went to Comic-Con and published his own comic, how he went to Ireland and rediscovered that he was meant to be a comic book artist in the middle of a comic industry collapse, how he broke his drawing fingers and ignored all of the doctors saying he'd never draw again, how he turned down ninety-five thousand dollars that he needed desperately because the publisher wouldn't give his work what it he believed it needed to succeed.

They weren't easy decisions to make, but because he made them, they affected his entire life. Each of us faces these decisions, and our actions when we reach the critical point shape the story of our lives.

"The secret of drawing:
1, making lines on paper.
2, choosing where they go."
~James A. Owen

As he was talking, I realized something he wasn't even trying to tell us. In storytelling, there is a particular kind of person who, just by being there, changes things. Their actions, however small or insignificant, affect the entire story. They draw people to them, and they change the fabric of reality just by existing.

Except James isn't a catalyst because he was born that way - he warps the world around him because he believes in himself so strongly that the world can't help but believe in him in return. His life changes the world, because he believes it will, and he's not unique in this. I could be a catalyst, if I wanted. The snow is a type and shadow of a catalyst, totally committing itself to one course of action and just believing that things will be okay.

"Drawing Out the Dragons:
A Meditation on Art, Destiny,
and the Power of Choice"
~James A. Owen

As a side-note, his book Drawing Out the Dragons, which forms the basis of the address he gave, is being offered for free for the rest of the week. It was originally only available for 24 hours, but because of the overwhelming response from his fans, he made it available for a full seven days.

If you fill in your name and email address, he'll send you a download link with all three ebook files - epub (for Nooks), mobi (for Kindles) and pdf (for the rest of us). I highly recommend downloading it if you haven't already.

“I am here to say one of the most important things
one human being can say to another - I believe in you.
There is magic in the world, and I can show you where it is.
And I will not let you fall.”
~James A. Owen

I'll close this post with one more example. I meant to cover all of LTUE in one shot, but now I realize it will take way more time to tell. Friday evening there was a mass signing by many of the authors, and one author who stood out to me was Paul Genesse. He had a table in the center of the room, and he had one blurb for his first book, The Golden Cord. It went like this:

"Some bonds can never be broken.
A hero is forced to leave the woman he loves,
give up all hope of survival,
as he is forced to guide his most hated enemies
on a suicidal journey to the lair of the dragon king."
~Paul Genesse

Nothing special, right? Wrong. I overheard this blurb three times that evening, and every single time it was utterly compelling. He invests such passion into it, such fervent power, that as you listen, you can't help but be drawn in. He looks you straight in the eyes and pours out his heart and soul in a single sentence. Even though the words themselves might not be incredibly unique, you can tell he believes in them, and you believe in them too, because he does.

"If you really want to do something, no one can stop you.
If you really don't want to do something, no one can help you."
~James A. Owen

Before I left the conference Saturday, I sought him out and asked him to tell me the blurb for his book, one more time. Partly so I could remember it for you, my readers, and partly for the sheer glory of listening to it one more time. I can't even begin to describe it.

Despite the fact that I had heard it three times already, it just got more and more compelling each time I heard it. I was drawn in, fascinated, awestruck. I want to buy his book and get him to sign it so I can hear it again. I want to find his website and follow his blog and like his Facebook page.

~James A. Owen

I want a blurb like that for my book. I want to believe in Arden so much, you can't help but believe in her as well. What do you believe in?

Update: Paul mentioned me on his blog! Good luck guessing which one is me.


  1. AWESOME!!! The last sentence reminds me of this song:
    "I believe in the power i feel! It's changing my heart, and I know that it's real. I'm finding myself! I know who I am and what I can be. 'Cause I believe in the power within us. You've got to believe! You've got to BELIEVE! 'Cause I believe!" -Jericho Road :)
    Remember: you are amazing! And I love you forever and always.

    1. Cool, thanks! That's an awesome song! <3

    2. Yes it is! I should make you listen to it sometime :)

  2. That is fantastic! Everyone is capable of becoming more than we think, we can help others around us by making the best choices. Thanks for the heads up on the free book download. I loaded it to my iPad.

    1. Thanks Erica! I hope you enjoy the book, it should be well worth your time.