POW: The hard part of fitting in

Recently someone told me I take this too seriously,  that I post too much stuff, work too hard on new material. Perhaps they are right. Perhaps in this new and still very uncharted waters I foolishly try to overcompensate the lack of my experience by doing more, always more. I push myself to the extreme, because when in that rare occurrence when I invest myself I always go to the far extreme, writing till early hours on the new book, preparing new materials for the site and getting the lack of sleep and energy for it after I push myself to the breaking point just to be sometimes disappointed by the lack of even response. When did I start to do things for the occasional like? I forgot the very essence of writing, the one rule, THE rule… don’t write for people, write for yourself. But not saying in some kind of manner that I am not enjoying my writing or that I do not agree with my written words. No! I am merely saying is it OK to push yourself to that ledge just because we feel or tend to think we would be more happier if we immediately “make it”? Why is it that we push that burden of stress on our back that we have to be cemented in a new endeavour as soon as we set sail in it? Is it just fear? Or perhaps is it more? Fear of failure? Perhaps… Or our own shame that we won’t be just good enough as we would like. Perhaps I tend to do things bit more extremely just because I feel like if I don’t do all at once, push myself to the max, I won’t be good. But in the process of burning out I feel like losing the one unique strain every writer leaves in his work that makes it special.

The one in the friend group

Ever been that one person in the friend group who just want to talk about writing and books? And when you do they look at your like OK weirdo don’t be boring and they immediately switch the topic? Damn I need some new mates… But all jokes aside I love them, but there are instant moments of hate, especially when they introduce me to new people. Mind you I am an introvert, true and true, but what makes the situation more difficult is when they say something in the line of “Yea, he is writing stuff…” Whoever was introduced to someone as any form of a writer you know the question that comes after. “Nice, so what do you write about?” No one, and I mean no one, in their sane mind is standing there while you narrate your whole WIP. They expect a quick summary of two sentences where you have to jam in the twist, total character motivation and growth, getting them hooked in right in those two minutes. Honestly when put in that situation I feel like I am live querying. If they don’t think I am weird by that point they will when I start blabbering about my work for a hour.

All fantasy based on real life?

One of the things I heard and a thing I am told a lot is that the fantasy I write Is based on real life. Then is it fantasy at all? Sure my mates recognise themselves in some aspects of my work, be it in a character I described (and killed off early) or be it in a plot that is very similar to something that occurred in our life. But let’s be honest, every work, be it even a fragment of it, is based on us, on our life, it is the unique piece of us that we put in our work that makes it unique, that makes it distinctively different from other authors.

I feel like no one is listening

Like I pointed out last week, I am beginning to feel like no one is out there. True, the introvert in me always pulled the brakes on most of things I want to post or reply to people. Ever saw someone’s post, thought of a funny reply, wrote it and just stood there watching the words you typed and thought “Did I really think this would be funny?” And like most of my replies it ends up being deleted. So just so you know there were many funny and witty  responses you were deprived of. But even when I get the courage to post something, ask a thing or trying to be witty, all I get is well… crickets. I swear you can feel the empty space of vacuum that fills the silence when I try to reach out. OK perhaps I am overreacting a bit, but you have to admit it, that sometimes most of us haven’t thought that writing would be about these things. Reaching out to an audience that isn’t mostly there, promoting your work that a lot of people won’t even see. Whoever said that writing a book would be the easiest part really was onto something. It just makes you doubt, about you, about your own ability and I would lie if I said I don’t have moments thinking of giving up. It’s one thing creating your own world and characters and an other facing the real one.

Writing a book is the easiest part of it…

Still out here

I am trying. Like most of you I assume. I know, we all have problems to face, battles to fight and you think your struggle is unique and special, as no one feels like you, but when you look more closely and see that there are million people who feel like you do, it takes away a bit from your own battle as now you know the fight you face is not that special. Bit in that shattering realisation you gain strength, knowledge that you ain’t alone. I am still trying, still fighting the notion of giving up, just wishing my words don’t end up in the emptiness of the void, wishing that at least the only response I get ain’t the echo of my own voice. Still somehow here,

Harry.

Hope yearning

Sleeples night,
My soul lies awake,
Remembering mistakes,
Hope yearning…
But it’s not the past sins that keep my mind up,
But the eternal question that binds the suffering,
Is happiness deserved by all?

Live, die, repeat announcement ( Thank you for the 500 views!)

The Word Den reached 500 views! Thank you all for it! Just recently I have been taking this blog more seriously and I promise the best is yet to come! My book “The Lonesome Road” is coming next year, and while I slowly (but surely) work on the next, I am also working hard on the blog.

New schedule

I will try to post at least three times a week here. Posts will be published on Monday, Thursday and Saturday (I hope, maybe sometimes not on those days, but definitely three a week at least!). I will try to maintain the schedule and you can expect poetry (once or twice a week), perhaps something new (I will try, have few “good ideas” I wanna give a shot) and something I want to announce today. One of the posts will be my project that I named “Live, die, repeat”, something I was working on for a while but had put on hold due certain circumstances (my inconclusive mind started 5 damn WIP so I disregarded everything else)

In the upcoming weeks I’ll be releasing “Live, die, repeat” A culmination of several short stories. Starting with this Saturday, 15th of May, first part of the first story will be out.

Ymir’s legacy

First story, called Ymir’s legacy will follow a band of Vikings, who on a path to the new western lands, are whipped away from course, getting in a massive storm that destroyed all of their ships and let only the five of them alive. As they arrive in a barren land of ice and snow, they will have to move forward, investigate an unknown and strange city, discovering the dreadful and dreary secrets it holds.

It is a new approach, but I feel confident i can manage few projects at the same time. So stay tuned for Saturday and get into a new journey. Follow the Word Den and all of my socials! ( links are on the main site, just click the icons!)

Thank you for the 500 views! Here’s for much more!

“Last Viking of Norway” now available on Amazon

Here it is! It is finally out. My literary debut. I have to admit for someone who is doing this for the first time ever, the self publishing process proved to be more complicated and way more stressful that I anticipated. And I did anticipate blood, tears and all that… But after all I can proudly say that it is out! https://www.amazon.com/Last-Viking-Norway-Harisson-Shaws-ebook/dp/B08FGBPYNV/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=last+viking+of+norway&qid=1597231891&sr=8-1

I tried to do just by a lot of things. I was always admirer of history, lover of myths and legends. And creating this one, I only hope I haven’t failed. To all who give this book a chance I just want to say thank you. Go in with an open mind, a free heart and a light soul. Know this book is not perfect, not revolutionary. It is just a tale of a young man, who like most of us, is trying to find his place and purpose under the endless sky of destiny. Understand him, even if it might prove difficult at times. Was his mindset right all along, or was the war he waged unjustified? That is up to you to decide… All I can ask is for you to try and understand, that even if he didn’t want to, he was pushed to make a decision, to save his people at the price of his own life.

https://www.amazon.com/Last-Viking-Norway-Harisson-Shaws-ebook/dp/B08FGBPYNV/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=last+viking+of+norway&qid=1597231891&sr=8-1

“Last Viking of Norway”, out tomorrow on Amazon

Just one day left and I am excited, nervous and fighting the lack of sleep. I know perhaps it might not be well received, I keep thinking perhaps no one will even read it, and the few ones that do will hate it. So to everyone who had crossed this path before, you know all too well the fear and doubt that comes crawling in behind your mind, making you wonder why even publish? Even faced with that serious question and even more severe doubt, I fondly remember an advice I got not so long ago from a fellow author. With everyone getting published, some not even being satisfying, you have to ask yourself in that moment of a doubt, why not me? Even if you fail, it is the experience and practice that makes you perfect, and transfer that whole experience into your next manuscript, and you will only keep getting better. You can’t please all, but at least be pleased by yourself and with what you have achieved.

In advance, I would like to thank you all. For your support, your advices, for everything. I am only starting to embark into this world, but I have more to offer, more to do, and I feel inspired to keep on going. And even if most or some don’t enjoy what I wrote, I know I am proud of my first book.

I will bring you a story about honor, about legends and myths that are lost to most in this modern world, but still there are some who cling to them, preserving and honoring the stories told. Stories of heroes, wars and monsters. There are still people who hold honor dear, wanting to maintain its true virtues. But corruption of greed and power can make the strongest of us turn on our friends, brothers and neighbors. If you had an opportunity to redeem those you call brothers, would you take it? Even if it would mean your end? Are there still people who value the life of the collective over their own? Or perhaps like the myths of the old, those are things of the past?

The hardest war we can fight in is the one inside of our own soul, mind. Where our heart is filled with sorrow, rage and anger, pulling to one side, it will make us stand at a crossroad, making us decide. Do we fight for our own gain? Or we understand there are thing bigger then our self? Do we transcend over that greed or we sink further down, accepting it?

“The inner wars, and the outer ones, go on while I pray and struggle; sometimes in the middle of a dark night of the soul I wonder how they became my wars to fight. And then I hear a voice that says, “Why not me?” ― Judy Collins, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music

Heroes to us all

The train ran fast through the thick mountain mist, cutting it like a knife with its bright lights that were the only thing visible in the veil that enveloped the high peaks. And what a feeling it was. You couldn’t see anything in front of your eyes, no matter how hard you tried. The front headlights of the locomotive were far ahead, and as you sat in the back, looking through the window, all you could recognize was the occasional flake that the wind blew, so it would get stuck among the rest on the window, creating a snow like puddle on it. And even if it stuck, it wouldn’t last that long, as the trained moved against the wind that would like a brush, sweep away all on its skin. The night made it difficult to see, even to those who knew the path of the tracks. You can focus all you want, have the best eyes of a beast, but all you will find is the cleanliness of the fresh snow that was still and unsoiled by humanity, resting on the near by peaks and backs of the strong mountain cliffs. But that image was familiar to him. But not as before. Before when he was going home, he would look out, and see the same picture of the snow, the rabbits that run away trying to swim in the white dust of it which proven to be high, running from the wolfs and foxes that hunted them.

And when the beast would carry that rabbit between its teeth, he would see a hunter, not a beast, he would see life that would be fed to his younglings, not just a dead rabbit. He would see the cycle or life and death, a hunter that hunted because he must, not because he could. What man saw the nature clear and true, now saw only his own reflection in the glass, facing the person that now stood in place where he stood, once a proud warrior, son of his father, now just an echo of thoughts, slurred and incoherent words that melt with the hum of the rails pulling the train behind, an invisible hand testing its resolve to prove the true worth as not all can run this path to the once unreachable mountain, that gave birth to such legends and warriors that even after generations were still remembered, always in dreams and songs, never forgotten.

The only sound between his thoughts and the train scraping the rust from the metal rails, was Nicklaus and his snoring. Somehow it seemed like in certain moments was above all sounds, as if the bear was doing it on purpose. But it didn’t bothered him, not a bit. Nicklaus offered to accompany him, or if you want to put it to words as he said, “You can say no, but then i would had to knock you out.” He was ever so lucky to have a friend like Nicklaus, and as he would often say, they are more than friends, they are brothers, family. Somehow he pitied Nicklaus, he know how difficult it was to find words to comfort, to find acts that would even come close to fill the gap between the anger and sadness he felt. But if one thing Nicklaus wouldn’t let him forget, was that they were family, that he wasn’t alone.

But as he sat back down in his seat, across his very musically gifted friend, he fell to the memories of his village, the houses that pulled from the bottom of the little lake building up as you climb. His house was at the very top, just bellow the lowest mountain, that like a little sibling, walked in front its bigger brothers, who were in some distance, being divided by acres of wood. In the middle of as you went down the steps, the center square resided. What matter of festivals, parties and celebrations were to be held, were so on the main square. But at the day, it was a market, for the locals sold their goods, fresh fish and meat, and occasional trinkets.

The frozen lake at the bottom once fed the entire village, now serves as a hobby to many drunken men to sit at the middle, drink while the midday sun burns the skin, so they can say to the wives it was not the ale that left the red marks. Sure when a life compared from a city one to his village would say the tale of two ways, one he was born in, a life of hunt, stories and glory, and the other was the life he looked in the city, of knowledge, of a new chance and forging his own path. His grandfather taught him to appreciate both, to take them as a learning curve that was his life. And he did. He took them as a whole parts, not judging or denying a single part of each, as he was taught to search of glory in all. Yea, to fight, and to see glory in all he did. Seek a good wife, may she keep you warm. A good ale to keep you happy. And a good friend that you have that ale and a song to share.

And all what he was taught he tried to do, to obey and even write his own ways. And he often thought at the old man, his words, stories and crazy ideas he had. He laughed and taught him to laugh. But there were moments when he would look in the point on the wall, that was not present in the plane of reality or that would shut all around him, making him the only living soul there. He would often catch those looks in the deep and endless nothing, often calling his name, that would require a few tries to get his attention. And he knew, the old man wondered off in his stories, the craziness that grandmother endured was his still wishes of glory, that call his heart couldn’t deny, not completely. He often wondered, would he go and seek glory, if he wasn’t his grandfather, a husband, a leader, a friend…

And when she died, they put her in the hole. And now he is gone. No glory, just as much it could be in a still heart. Heart, no a battle, not a scar… Heart was his end. But still he was a hero, he was a warrior, and that was the question that in this night begged to be fought, that answer he asked to find before he did anything, as he wanted to repay a last wish that was not asked. But who would allow such a thing, as they now have pyres for their lost ones, not for their fallen ones. Now they pray to none, but their dead still are laid in the ground. Even if the people never let the old ways to be forgotten, the gods and heroes of the past are kept in the present, but still out of disinterest or out of lack of honor that came from death in slumber, they just kept burying their loved ones.

“No battles, no more good deaths, now pyres are for the ones that moved away, no more pyres for the ones that died…”, he heard the old mans voice calling on to him as he looked away through the neatly laid snow, trying too figure out where he was. Somehow his thought became distant, alien, and same as before when he saw battles of his dreams play right there in front of him, he now saw his Grandfather, as he sat down next to him, on that log, in the night of the pyre, where the women with the blond light hair danced round the flames, seducing him with her blue clear eyes, making her moves call him to dance and grab her and hold her tight with a passionate kiss he desired so strongly. But he sat down next to his old man, next to his grandfather, who decided to be alone, sit in front of the flames and just watch. And as he told him the words that haunted him, he remembers something he forgot. Eyes. The old mans eyes as he told him how the flames are only for the lost ones, and that the ones who die get the same treatment as the rest of the world. Perhaps it was not the sadness his eyes spoke of the equality we had like the rest, as he thought before. No, it wasn’t the idiotic notion which he had, that his grandfather was sad that night that the authenticity of the way of life they had was invaded by the outside world. The stupid thought he had, knowing his grandfather too well, now feeling like he betrayed him, but in hindsight he realized that the fear of asking about his father made him oblivious to the old man’s eyes, eyes who suffered as he said about the end and how it differed. His father sought glory, his grandfather wanted it, but grandma kept him in one place, reminded him of the duty he had towards her, him and the village. And dad lost his anchor to this world, as mother passed away, so did the already thin lines between the worlds his old man walked and was often lost in. Is this the curse of the men in his family? To search for glory, but never able to realize how far it is in reality as they are destined to always search for it, walk the unknown planes until they ether die or finally find it. But what happens to the ones like his grandpa? The ones who are forced to stay, shove that feeling of wanting, that desire to search and go out, pull it deep inside and deny its calling no matter how hard it feels your heart tugging like its going to be torn through your chest, while your blood boils with the rage of doing nothing, and no matter how hard you try to do anything to kill your time, to fill the life you have with things, that feeling of not belonging, the hurt and pain your heart will feel as you deny its wish to go forth, will never go away. And as he remembers his grandfathers eyes from that night, he understood. He understood his suffering and his sacrifice, as he knew that he betrayed his heart, even tho it loved the wife he had, the son he raised and the village he took care of, the pain he felt was never lost.

Was that his destiny as well? To dwell on things he didn’t do? As he suffers watching in the distance and asks why did his life went this way and why is not out looking for his own glory? Is it all about this, settling for less while the fear of going outside and searching for it clashes with the need you feel to not dwell on one spot, but rather search for meaning and glory despite the crippling despair that the thought of venturing off can provide.

Last Viking of Norway coming on Amazon 8th of August, 2020

Upcoming book: Last Viking of Norway, out 8th of August on Amazon

I am proud to present my debut in the literary world with my first book called “Last Viking of Norway”. Yesterday I posted a small part from it and I want to thank all for the good reception I received . As many of you who have several books under your belt know, the fear of publishing your first book is tremendous, weights heavy over you, almost wanting to crush you. So again I am thankful for all of your encouragement. What I found the hardest in this process was answering a simple question, that somehow was the first thing everyone asked. What is the book about? So few days before it is out on Amazon, I’ll try to answer that question.

Destiny. It is what binds is, connects us, it is what burdens us. As soon as we draw our first breath, entering this crazy and twisted world, we are burdened by one thing, finding a purpose. Old Vikings believed that their life is completely in the hands of destiny, from the moment of birth to the last breath they take, everything is planed. With that premonition they lost all fear, as what would they be afraid of when they have no say so in the next step. Our story starts with an unnamed boy, who came to Oslo, studying. But he wasn’t born there. He was raised in a remote village to the north, a place untouched by modern times, were old Viking tradition and stories still matter. But he is lost. Suddenly all he does feels unworthy, like all he does makes no difference. That boy is in pain, as he suffered a loss. His grandfather has passed away, his last living relative. A man he held so dear, a man who he considered a father. He wasn’t there to say his farewell, so now he needs to pick himself up, and face the fact that his father is gone and needs a burial. But the boy feels indebted. The old man was a warrior. Does he really deserve to be thrown in to the ground? Or perhaps he deserves the ultimate honor, of entering Valhalla? But no one is burned anymore. Like the old man said no more pyres for the fallen, as there is no more wars to fight in. But the young man knows that you can either deny the path destiny offers or embrace it. So he will do what he must, he will return to the village, face the elders and honor his fallen father, no matter the cost. Inspired by “Catcher in the rye”, “Perks of being a wallflower” and “Imaginary Friend”, “Last Viking of Norway” puts the perspective in the hands of a young adult, Ragnar, who asks the hard questions that even the adults are afraid of. It’s is a story about destiny and how loud can one man’s actions be. That after all, even the oldest of us, can’t see the errors of our ways, one man can be enough to redeem all. But then again if we take the path destiny offers, should we be afraid of the outcome of that path?

To many “The last Viking of Norway” is a tale of destiny and the question it often presents to us. The question of the story we leave after we are long gone. Be it glory, be it suffering, the echoes of the whispers we leave can ether shake throughout history or be silenced by one word. With our story we can inspire generations or warn them, to heed our steps we took that brought us to our despair. But this story, Ragnar’s story, does not just belong to him. He selflessly bows himself to the elements, to destiny herself, to offer a tale that will be told for years to come. A story of one man who dared to prove he was worthy, against the feeble hearts of men who dared to corrupt. Despite the heavy flow of the river he found himself in, he swam against it, against men who were older and thought with age comes wisdom, honor and respect, as if those were mere things that can be owned and bought. His story belongs to his people, all people, to never forget its hardship, the price it may take, but the story that the path to it entails, as on it we must prove our own worth, make our own honor and tell our own tale. And it is up to us how our story will be told. But the question of this tale perhaps is a more selfish one. Perhaps it is not the matter how others will tell our story even after we are gone, as they say history is written by the victor, or better yet to the ones who are left breathing after we pass. Perhaps the more important task is how we view our own story, as who is better to know the pain, the suffering and joy we endured, but ourselves. It is tale of a young man who goes against his elders, the ones many looked up to lead them. But our protagonist, Ragnar, sees their corruption, the betrayal of the old ways they hold so dear. Even if the truth was that they honor tradition and the past as it sees fit with the power they hold, no one would believe Ragnar, just a mere boy who dares to slander older and more experienced than himself . A son to a father who tried the same, bringing shame to the whole family. But the family name still holds value to his people, thanks to his Grandfather, who led them, helped them and was one of them. But after his grandfather passes away, Ragnar is faced with a choice to honor him, not as a man, but a true Viking. Which meant giving him a proper funeral in their old way. Even if the village held to the old traditions, Viking funerals were forbidden, as they were reserved for only the ones that fell in battle, not people like his Grandfather who died from natural causes. Still Ragnar feels in debt to a man who raised him and to who all looked up, seeing a true warrior. For that he is willing to go against the elders, who hold the power unchallenged. But honoring the old man was not the only thing that haunted the young Ragnar. When he last saw him, Grandfather confessed that his father was obsessed by a legend that even wasn’t told to Ragnar, a legend of a lone and lost warrior, the last Viking, who will be summoned by only the most worthy of his blood, to lead his people back to the age of glory, an age that Ragnar’s father, just like him, thought his people long forgot. His father got lost in that legend, which somehow made its way deep into Ragnar’s mind, making him follow the path to find the lost warrior and redeem his people. Just like Salinger’s Holden, Ragnar sees the world differently than the adults that live above him. He despises their power over all, as he sees the corrupt ways it led them too. Unlike Holden, Ragnar does not let pride or adolescent cockiness cloud his intention. He was raised on old stories of gods and heroes, filled with honor and glory, he understands the burden destiny provides, accepting the duty of bringing the long lost forgotten glory to his people. But even with that high dose of understanding, Ragnar is filled with rage towards the elders, the adults in his world and their blindness to things so obvious. But there are things higher than Ragnar, higher then the elders, his father or his grandfather. No matter what the price is, he is ready to pay it, to endure all the hardship, as the actions of one man can still matter, can still be enough to redeem them all. Because they are Norse, they endure.

Inspired by J.D Salinger and Stephen Chbosky, “Last Viking of Norway” tells the story of a young adult who navigates his way in the adult world. But unlike “Catcher in the rye” or “Perks of being a wallflower”, “Last Viking of Norway” puts its corner stone on tradition, obligation and honor. Unlike Holden or Charlie, Ragnar is raised on premonition of honor and the fruits his actions bring. From childhood, he is raised as a Viking, under strict discipline and strong definition of honor and its important meaning. But the similarity to the two of them is that even if Ragnar is raised in different conditions, he like them tries his best to navigate life in his surroundings. The story asks questions do the young really see problems that the adults deny and can they make a difference, even if as the adults put it, they are merely children. It is a story about obligation, honor, about how important is one man towards many and how hard or important is to honor the old ways, the past, as it comes clashing with the way we live today.

“Last Viking of Norway” out on Amazon on Saturday, 8th of August, 2020.

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