CR Guardian

Guild of Four

Doris Mizell

I attended my grandmother's funeral recently. We're pretty sure she asked God for the Royals to win the World Series. 

The church her service was held in had a quilt on every pew. She had a passion for creation, channeling most of that energy into quilting. Every winter, my wife and I snuggle under our quilt while watching the fire crackle in the hearth.


Honestly, Grandma’s story is one that should encourage all parents to pass on their creativity. Her mother sat her down at a sewing machine when she was eight and Doris never stopped crafting.  In her lifetime, she made 160 unique quilts and 150 colorful comforters! I guarantee she's adding to that number in heaven and often imagine angels sitting on the clouds wrapped in her creations.

She passed her artistic nature on to my father and he wasted no time passing it on to his sons. We don't quilt, but every brother of mine has his toe dipped in one form of creativity or another.


With all her prowess in the art form of quilting, Grandma’s greatest achievement was raising seven children: Roberta, Carolyn, Bob, Lester, Raymond (my father), Connie, and Patty. When she passed, she had 17 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and 9 great-great-grandchildren. Her quilts will warm generations to come.

Grandma was an extremely spiritual woman with pride in the family she created. Her faith and determination paved the foundation upon which our lives are built. She was one of the strongest, most unyieldingly stubborn women I've ever known. No Christmas will pass without us imagining her laugh upon the wind; no Thanksgiving without the warm memory of her quilt's embrace; no birthday without the thought of cards holding the two dollar bills she gave us when we stood waist high. She will be missed and forever loved for all she did for our family.

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Be at peace and keep writing. You can only get better.

~ CR Guardian

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David Wolverton/Farland

I’ll start off by saying I’m nervous about this post. I’ve wanted to do a Creative Shout-out in David Farland's honor since my first post And So It Begins, but thought I should get the hang of posting first. I want so badly to capture in words what I’ve gained from this man. Second only to my family, David Farland is the reason I want to write professionally. He is, by his own definition, a “Fantasy Author, Writing Instructor, Videogame Designer, Movie Producer, and otherwise unemployable.” He does what he loves—and what he loves is to write, create, and teach others to do the same.

I’d written all my life, but did so only to strip the crazy from my head and nail it to paper. Then, several years ago, my brother Jordan said, “You need to read this. You will not regret it.” He handed me The Sum of All Men, the first book ofThe Runelords series. By chapter three, I was hooked. By the time I readBrotherhood of the Wolf, the second in the series, I felt the desire to let others read my chaos. By book three, Wizardborn, I wanted desperately to write something that could inspire others the way David’s books inspired me. So, when I heard he had courses where he taught small groups in person, I jumped at the chance to learn from him.

In my recent post titled Goals, I said the following:

“Keep testing the mountain until it gives way to your struggle. You must defeat it to stand triumphant at its peak, peering down at those too scared to try. Hold out your hand to help those who follow. Bring them up to stand at your side.”

That statement is largely inspired by David’s generosity and faith in others. I learned so much from his Writer’s Workshops. The greatest thing I took away was written in my notes from the fourth day of class: Keep struggling for the struggle is worth it. Help others along the way. You will only be rewarded for it. I don't remember how he said it exactly, so I'm paraphrasing, but the wisdom is there. David went to college to become a doctor, but was lured down a separate path by his passion to write. He traded his scalpel for a pen, proving it is no less surgical when removing cancer-plaguing works submitted by students from across the globe.

If you’re not already following him on Twitter and Facebook, you should. He has weekly Writing Tips aptly named "Kick in the Pants." I’ve said before that “a kick is what many of us need, especially for those so confident they're blind to their own mistakes.” Trust me. David Farland is a master of waking you up!

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Be at peace and keep writing. You can only get better.

~ CR Guardian

Artwork for this and the thumbnail. Buy the series! As Jordan said. "You will not regret it!"

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Priscilla Mizell

This post goes out to the most talented person I know.

Follow her on twitter: @PriscillaMizell Visit her website of illustrations: priscillamizell.com

Follow her on twitter: @PriscillaMizell

Visit her website of illustrations: priscillamizell.com

On June 11th, 2015, we celebrated 10 years together!

A lot of what I had to say about our relationship when it comes to our craft is in my Artistic Partners Writer's Rant post. Priscilla's anniversary post pretty much sums up the rest. She's amazing, mysterious, and the best thing that has ever happened to me.

With that said, let me now gush about how lovely her art is!

 

My absolute favorite of her pieces is, of course, the one she created for me for our 10-year anniversary!

When Priscilla and I were in college, she asked me what field she should focus on. The only reason a person asks this question is because they're amazing at damn near everything. With her, that is the case. She'll sit at a piano and play an original piece, allowing her emotions to dance across ivory. If she picks up a brush, the environment hums with anticipation as paint nears canvas. When her fingers start tapping at keys, reality shifts and she disappears into a world only a fool would pull her out of. Everything she places her arms around/time in/mind on becomes treasure. She is absolutely wonderful and that's something I'd say whether we were together or not.

She's a writer as well, but it's hard to show that before a work is published. She's let me read her novel though, so y'all can suck it. Honestly, though, I cannot wait for everyone else to hold her book in their hands and experience the brilliance I'm showered with every day. 


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Be at peace and keep writing. You can only get better.

~ CR Guardian


Priscilla's Twitter Feed Below: 


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Tim York

Tim York is a singer/songwriter from Kansas City. We worked together in the inventory closet at Cellular Sales. When he finally convinced me to come to one of his shows, I was blown away by his stage presence. If you put Tim behind a microphone and place a guitar in his hands, he transforms into a whole other person. The music possesses him and the world all around dissolves. 

In March, we went to his acoustic set at the Homegrown Buzz Showcase and he's only gotten better, as any artist should. A taste of his music can be found at ReverbNation .

Note: This is the first time I'm doing a Q&A to reflect the assassins in my book. Please tell me if you like the questions or have any you'd add or take away.

Interview

Me: What would your assassin tag be?

Tim: "Yorkshire" is kind of my official nickname.

Me: What is your weapon of choice and/or preferred way to assassinate?

Tim: Hahaha, I like that. Guitar string around the throat would definitely do the job.

Me: Fitting! You can afford to live anywhere on an assassin's pay. What part of the world would you live?

Tim: Spain. Never been but the weather is always nice there and they have good food.

Me: Truth! That, and you would fit right in.

Tim: Haha, yes . . . minus the fact that I don't know any Spanish . . . 

Me: What's your dream vehicle when not chasing down your targets?

Tim: One of those old Dodge Challengers. Super dark green (looks black from far away) and in pristine condition of course.

Me: Would you tell your wife you're an assassin or have it be the big secret she'll never know about?

Tim: I would probably not tell my wife for awhile. Just leave it kind of a mystery, but joke that I'm an assassin because that would be a funny "joke" . . . little does she know I really am an assassin. Considering the fact that she is probably a "church-goer," she would probably be upset about it when she actually does find out, but won't be able to leave me in light of her being an understanding person. And that she loves me too much, haha.

Me: I hope you find her! Thanks for being the first to answer my crazy questions!


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Be at peace and keep writing. You can only get better.

~ CR Guardian

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Mizells Rising

My little brothers David and Jacob are not so little anymore. They're graduating from Fort Hays State University with their BFAs and invited us to  SEMBLANT, their class's Graphic Design Exhibition in the Moss-Thorns Gallery of Art. All the art was phenomenal, but I found the pieces by my brothers to be the best. (Granted, I might be a tad bit biased.)

I'll shut up and let the art speak for itself . . .

Click on the pictures below to advance through the carousels.

 

DAVID MIZELL

 

JACOB MIZELL

 

They're amazing. I could not be more proud of what David and Jacob have accomplished. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for them!


On top of getting to see their wonderful work, the whole family was in one place to celebrate. We had a blast.

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Be at peace and keep writing. You can only get better.

~ CR Guardian

 

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Dan Santat

Dan Santat: Winner of the 2015 Randolph Caldecott Medal!

Dan Santat: Winner of the 2015 Randolph Caldecott Medal!

Dan Santat . . .

Where do I begin? The man is unbelievably creative. Yesterday he was recognized for his brilliance by the 2015 Caldecott Award Selection Committee. Chair Dr. Junko Yokota had this to say: “Santat makes the unimaginable, imaginable.”

Santat was awarded the Randolph Caldecott Medal for his book The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. If you haven’t read it yet, do! It’s an adorable adventure about an even more adorable imaginary friend who sets out to find an unimaginary child to pair with. I’ve known Santat would get a Caldecott since my wife bought me the book Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World), written by Mac Barnett. (I’d go off about how amazing Mac Barnett is as well, but that would require an entirely different post!)

My first encounter with Santat’s work was watching Disney Channel's The Replacements, a hysterical cartoon he created. The show unravels around two adopted children who have a “FleemCo” phone which allows them to call in replacements for the people in their lives. Todd is a troublemaker who often replaces anyone demanding he do extra work, while Riley replaces authority figures she believes are unjust. Their adopted parents are quite interesting as well: the mother a spy, the father a stuntman. All together, the characters make for an amusing, chaotic mix.

What I admire most about Santat is his appreciation for others and his honesty. 

On his Twitter and tumblr (humorously named A SLOW GROWING MASS OF TANGIBLE THOUGHTS), he often acknowledges those who reach out to him. When a mother sent him a picture of a homemade Beekle she’d made for her child, he excitedly posted her creation online.

Santat is honest about the struggles of being an artist. In one of his posts, he writes:

“Part of the problem of being surrounded by exceptionally talented people is that you always feel like what you’re doing isn't good enough. You always feel like you’re trying to keep up, and you work harder until you reach your limit. I think I've reached my limit. And it breaks my heart.

“I blame myself. I curse my body for not keeping up with my brain. There are days when I slack off. There are days that I’m too tired, or I don’t feel inspired, and I don’t feel like I get anything done.

“I’m 39 and I feel tired. This year has made me evaluate a lot of things about how I've lived my life so far. I've been sprinting throughout this long marathon of life and I’m tired. I need to slow down. I need to let life take me where I am destined to go rather than constantly fighting the current. Every fiber of my being wants to keep sprinting . . . but I have to accept that I am only human.”

I have to dedicate this post to my wife Priscilla for introducing me to this titan of creativity. I am forever thankful for her guiding hand to good literature!

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Be at peace and keep writing. You can only get better.

~ CR Guardian

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Neil Gaiman

Photo by KimberlyButler (2005)

Photo by KimberlyButler (2005)

I know a lot of people think that Neil Gaiman doesn't need a shout-out. He's huge. One of the greatest, in my opinion. But I'm going to write about him anyway because the man is a genius. He's not only found his mark in novels, but in graphic novels, theater, and film too. Him being so well rounded is why I want to publish my work. I have so many ideas that I hope will change the way we read as a society, many brought on by watching this man's career expand.

Listen to interviews he's had. He is one of the most down-to-earth, honest human beings you'll ever hear speak. Even with all of his success, even if he is far more prolific than the rest of us combined, he's one of us. He started a magazine with his friends when he was 16, for heaven's sake. If people weren't aware that he'd become a famous author at that point, then I don't know of any greater hints he could have provided. Short of traveling into the past to smack people upside the head with a copy of American Gods, that is.

My wife and I finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane recently. Absolutely breathtaking. Especially since it started as a tale to help his wife Amanda Palmer understand him more deeply. I'd say it worked. They are madly in love. In a recent blog post, she called him a "weirdo" in such a loving way. It reminded me of my wife and things she's said of me. My favorite line from the interview is as follows: 

"We’re in an endless dance with ourselves, each other, and the internet, and the moves are strange, and new, and they change. They need updating, they expire and crack and re-arrange."

Followed later by another line that reminds me of my own marriage:

"Congratulations, Neil Gaiman , you've met your troublesome match, and i’m so glad i married your ass."

The only way Neil and Amanda don't remind me of my wife and me is they have an open marriage. That can end badly for so many, but for them it's working out. When asked if it was going well on a Reddit forum, they stated:

"It's good. So far, it's really good. We're very aware of each other, and we would not allow another relationship to imperil what we have. We talk. And talk. And talk. And hug a lot. And talk some more. And then do whatever needs to be done in the real world."

Two of the greatest quotes that I live by are from this man.

“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.” 

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes...you're Doing Something.”

He's amazing and not just because he's a beekeeper! I'll put it this way; Anybody who favors the torn-in-half manananggal over the sparkling vampires is a friend of mine!

Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)

Be at peace and keep writing. You can only get better.

~ CR Guardian

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