Valentines Day: Bittersweet Jigsaw Pieces, Unite!

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Cut!

More than cards, candy, and flowers, Valentines Day is all about love. It’s about being with the one who you adore and would rather not live without.

However, the one you can’t truly live without is YOU. We put so much emphasis on giving our hearts to that special man or woman who makes ours beat just a little bit faster. That’s good, but even greater is the love of oneself. I’m not talking about the virtue of self-preservation, nor am I speaking of the arrogance that rides shotgun with selfishness. I’m referring to having the proper love and respect for yourself. That’s hard.

Some folks run around like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces. They are in search of someone else that can complete and make them feel whole. I am all for love. What I am not for is blindly going through life all broken up, hoping someone else will put you back together again. That’s ridiculous and leads to an unhealthy relationship. As Lynn Collins sings, “It takes two to make a thing go right / It takes two to make it outta sight!” I agree, but I also say that each part of that couple has to be a whole person.

I remember years ago, when George Benson’s “The Greatest Love of All” was getting a second go-round on the R&B and Pop charts with Whitney Houston on the mic. As with many things, the song caused controversy in the church, with some of the ministers misconstruing the meaning of the lyrics. I heard the song being rebuffed because it supposedly ran contrary to the Word and God’s love. Not knocking the Creator, nor the Good Book, but a healthy love for oneself is something as essential as it is different from what comes across many a pulpit. A person cannot properly love anyone or anything else without having a basic adoration for the one in the mirror.

So, whether you’re with the other person who makes your heart sing or not, love your–as Katt Williams would say–star player! That is to say, love yourself in a healthy, realistic way. Learn yourself and what limitations you have. Take stock in every talent, gift, and all you bring to the table. More than love, genuinely learn to like yourself. None of us trapped in this plane of existence has achieved perfection and life is fleeting, at best. Accept you and strive to expect only the best of yourself. This holiday, instead of tripping, slipping,  falling, stumbling, dipping, and going head over heels for someone else, start by being affectionate to yourself. That alone will provide the basis to be a better lover, husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister, and friend. A proper love and acceptance of yourself will even give you a better grasp on faith and spiritual things. Heck, it will make you a better PERSON. And that’s imperative.

Please share your heart, time, and attention with another. We all need that. Be as romantic as you can and as affectionate as you can stand. However, let that romance be a projection of what you feel about yourself. Otherwise, you’re just running around like that jigsaw puzzle, seeking completeness.

Almost Zombied the F*** Out

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Dead Assets (Black)

Writing my first novel, Dead Assets, seemed like a good idea at the time. In fact, it was. I penned the original, eponymous story, which eventually grew into a full-length book, on New Years Day, 2011. This was before I’d ever even heard of the awesome and, arguably, the best show on television, The Walking Dead, led the charge of flesh-eating ghouls. I initially enjoyed that I was counted in that seeming ever-growing number of horror writers, artists, and filmmakers.

Then, like the ever-inflating sphere from a snotty-nosed kid, the zombified bubble burst.

I looked up and the undead were EVERYWHERE. There were zombie walks and other events geared to lovers of cannibal corpses. When I would go to bookstores and on sites, I was bombarded by images of lumbering things that refused to die. I felt as if I’d been transported to a few years back, when bloodsuckers began sparkling…

The final, inevitable straw was when zombies got the YA treatment and a leading lady fell in love with a rotter… Of course, her father just didn’t understand why she was enamored with that boy. (NOTE: Having a daughter of my own, I could definitely empathize–whether alive or reanimated, fathers have a natural dislike for anyone their baby girls swoon over.)

Some folks blame the great George A. Romero for the popularization and bastardization of the subgenre. Say what you will, the man breathed life (pun intended) into a gazillion-dollar industry that spawned literature, video games and, of course, more movies about those who would rather consume than remain buried. I call the man a genius.

But, true to form, when something good comes along, the taboo becomes cool, then redefines trends, before there is a glut that goes POP (remember the days before Hip Hop became commercial? Colonel Sanders would roll over in his grave if he saw his animated effigy breakdancing while trying to sell chicken).

So, what does this mean for me? It means I’m going to find something else to write about besides throngs of the damned…for now, anyway. Maybe when zombies have overcome the terminal velocity that allows sitcoms featuring them, I’ll return to their ranks. In the meantime, I’m going to find other monsters and characters to develop, while anticipating the next satisfying episode of TWD.