Liebster Award

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Finally after all the running around with the demands of days and so on I finally get to have a sit down to do this.

Getting this award was a very pleasant surprise indeed. I always was curious about it, but I never thought I would get nominated, and so soon as well I might add.

Thank you so much http://thebrixtonhousewife.com/ for the nomination. I am humbled and honoured.

For those who get nominated, please do check out her blog. It is a wonderfully written blog that has words that are charismatic, drawing the passer-by in. If writing was a handcraft of threads and trinkets, she has made a beautiful tapestry with her hand (or fingers as it is typing on a keyboard).


 

The Liebster award is aimed at bringing the blogging community together.  It is awarded to blogs that have supported new and aspiring bloggers with the hopes of gaining further insights into the blogging community.  As this award aims to support and promote blog pages the rules are as follows:

  1. The nominated user must provide a link back to the person who nominated them.
  2. Provide 11 personal facts .
  3. Answer the  11 nominator questions. 
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers that have inspired you and ask them 11 nominator questions.

11 facts about myself :

1. I spend a lot of time, if not busy with the demands of the day, contemplating – figuring out connections that bind us all in the tangled web that is the human condition. There’s something rather interesting and thrilling about deciphering the living world around us.

2. I believe in divinity, and that everything that happens, happens for a reason. All part of a bigger plan. The question isn’t about being in shock at something that happens to you, good or bad. It’s about asking why it happened. And realising how the pieces fall together down the road – realising that if it had happened any other way, that which you seek or which you need to seek, wouldn’t be able to fall into your hands.

3. To add on to number 2, I’m not tied to any faith. But I have been exposed to a lot of it, as in I have practiced quite a couple (this has a far more deeper history behind it which I shall not go into detail). And this exposure has shown me that faith, despite differing practices and views, has practically the same moral compass. So I can never understand people who fight in the name of faith. Love man people. Why the hate?

4. I am an FMA (Filipino Martial Arts) practitioner, still a grasshopper though. A lot of hopping before I reach the top.

5. I believe that chivalry is not dead and in the world today, we need it more than ever. A code of honour and conduct among men.

6. I’m a hopeless romantic and a believer that a woman’s heart is a gift akin to something shining in a chest that only the divines can give. It is precious and should not be taken for granted. It’s the treasure that lies within the holy sanctum of a woman’s body which in itself is a temple that has to be respected.

7. For some reason, I’ve always loved English. It was my strongest subject in my schooling days. I have written many stories and poetry pieces, although during those infant-writer years, with lack of experience and a matured eye, the stories had little impact or weight. But as they say, learning is a life-long journey and I’m still on that road walking.

8. I enjoy writing my thoughts out, not only to share and practice my writing techniques, but to also provoke thought amongst readers. If I managed to do so I’m glad because hey, mission accomplished.

9. Above everything else in a person, I value a person with honesty and integrity. I am fortunate to have come across a couple of good souls, both in person and online (you know who you are :)).

10. I would love to travel to many places if ever I got the opportunity. Travelling to me is about the experience. It’s about trying to dive into the culture so much and then later come back home with a profound feeling as though you’re seeing it for the first time (in the words of T.S. Eliot). It’s about the travel being able to change the glasses you look through to perceive your world as you know it.

11. I used to hate history, but I now enjoy it. As with my hobby of connecting things I enjoy seeing the connections of the past to the present and learning why things are the way they are today. There’s always a reason for everything that happens.

(I realise that coming up with 11 facts about myself from the top of my head is kind of hard – akin to trying to net a piece of thread amongst wild ocean waves)


My answers for http://thebrixtonhousewife.com/

1) Why do you blog?
To practice my writing skills and share thoughts that hopefully can provoke the reader to start contemplating and observe their world in a different light.

2) Which political personality has most inspired you?
I’m not really into politics but I have to lift my hat to some of them. Barrack Obama has this certain kind of charisma that just captivates me. Margaret Thatcher has my respect for personally thanking the British SAS for the Iranian Embassy incident. Any person, let alone a politician, who gives acknowledgement and credit to the men and women who give their lives so others can live peacefully deserves my respect. I could go on but I’ll leave it at that for now.

3) Snowy mountains or golden beaches?
Snowy mountains (for now) because I’ve never experienced snow. Beaches are too common. Unless of course it’s a romantic getaway.

4) Red lipstick or high heels?
Lipstick. Only because heels hurt and they are a hazard for the bone structure. I would not want a woman to have to go through hurt just to impress me.

5) If you could choose any superpower which one would it be?
The Force…use the Force.

6) Money, Power or Respect?
Respect. Money and power corrupts. Respect on the other hand, and I mean proper true respect, is the result of sacrifices and a dedication to duty, integrity and chivalry. A person I respect has my loyalty to him or her.

7) What makes you special?
I guess the ability to think rather deeply and have a way with words. Other than that, I like to do impressions 😀

8) If you could live anywhere in the world where would you choose?
New Zealand. Because it’s peaceful. Or somewhere serene. I lived a chaotic life. The only thing I want is peace.

9) If you could go back in time what would be the one thing you would change?
To find a cure for my mother’s disease. To have her in my life again.

10) What is your favourite saying?
God, no matter what happens, I believe in You. You know what’s best for me. Everything is in Your plan.

11) If your best friend were to use 3 words to describe you, what would they be?
Loyal, deep and scary when angry.


My nominations are :

1. http://litadoolan.net/

2. http://grabyourmind.com/

3. http://viewsplash.wordpress.com/

4. http://yijianfong.wordpress.com/

5. http://cephiericism.wordpress.com/

6. http://thepublicblogger.com/

7. http://charliecastor.com/

8. http://idbora.wordpress.com/

9. http://alifemoment.wordpress.com/

10. http://leagueofmentalmen.wordpress.com/

11. http://neverstationary.wordpress.com/


My questions :

1. Why do you blog or write?

2. Where you would you go to observe a sunset?

3. What do you think society today in general lacks?

4. If you were to travel where would you go to?

5. Do you think money can solve all problems?

6. Are you interested in politics?

7. When you travel, what is the biggest reason for doing so? Culture? Cuisine? Relaxation?

8. Do you have any pets?

9. Favourite ice cream flavour?

10. Do you believe in the supernatural?

11. If you were to meet up with a fellow blogger, where would your ideal location be?


 

Good luck and have fun 🙂

 

Martial and Tactical Muse : Reality vs Perception, Combat Realities Talk

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Occasionally, I give in to the little voice in my head telling me to pick up the kitchen knives and start practicing.

Now for those who don’t know me, panic not. I’m an FMA (Philipino Martial Arts) practitioner and anybody who practices FMAs in their many styles, forms and systems know that blades are as much in our veins as the blood that courses through them. It becomes second nature to us and we look at blades almost like toys / tools for us to manipulate.

So please put the phone down. No need for the cops… ^_^”

I have had thoughts in regards to live combat situations these few days (actually, make that most of the time). But it was not until I practiced my angles, slashes and thrusts with the kitchen knives today that it got the ball running for me to type it out.

Having a live blade in hand (well two actually, I was practicing dual blades) I realised how slow I went. I realised how careful I became, how nervous I was. My hairs were on end. I kind of realised that kitchen knives are ginormous.

Care has to be observed while attempting blade manipulations, executing your perfect angels so as not to cut yourself while creating a hard-to-penetrate shield of cutty-cutty, slashy-slashy and thrusty-thrusty.


 

 

“When we train, we are not training with sticks. We are training with real blades in mind. The sticks represent machetes. That’s why your form and angles must be perfect.”

“We are training for blade fighting, not stick fighting. But we train with sticks because if we used live blades now when you are just starting you’ll be missing limbs and fingers by the end of the day.”

– my instructor –


 

 

As I went on practicing with live blades it got me thinking about the realities of combat in general.

I think for many who are uninitiated in the martial ways, one’s only base of reference for combat are online videos, video games and movies. It’s easy to see how people get amazed by the moves shown.

Mind you, online videos performed by martial artists may serve as references, but remember that there are nuances within the videos that those who don’t have training can’t see. And those small details of body mechanics, positioning, angles, techniques, footwork and such are the important things that a student must be able to catch. And that requires a dedicated teacher and mentor to guide them with and point out. So please attend your classes so that an instructor / master can teach you what you need to know most. 😀

In regards to movies, the characters with his / her flashy moves tells the untrained that when a real fight happens their moves work.

Well, there’s a basis for those moves. Yes, they were choreographed by martial artists. But one must know that these moves are made more flashy so that in camera language terms, they look more attractive on the cinema screen. More often than not, flashy moves serve very poorly in real-life combat. But people (those who aren’t trained) tend to actually take such moves as properly executed moves. And above all, the most dangerous of all, most of said people go into the mindset that they become invincible if they did those moves.

Reality is very different and it bites…really hard.

Human beings are the one of the most vulnerable designs in nature. We are such fragile bags of meat and bone. Many don’t know the magnitude of damage that can be inflicted upon the body.

I was approached by a friend who was curious about the system I practiced. And it shocked me at the level of ignorance she had to just how much damage can be inflicted to the human body, at how much danger is truly present in a real altercation.

I worry for women who aren’t trained, especially my sister. There’s a very real danger to the possibility of freezing when they are first struck or assaulted. The panic overwhelming renders them unable to think or react – an open window for the barrage of follow-up strikes.

The ability to not freeze is something that must be trained. Training in the martial way isn’t only about the physical but also the mental. Believe me, even I froze when I first started training and had my first sparring session.

The thing is, you’re only as good as your training is. The more realistic your training, the more you grasp the huge magnitude of the realities of combat.

I train in conditions where I wear no protective gear. Sticks and training knives flying around, all that keeps me from getting hit is footwork. I’ve got hit in many places when I first started. But the hurt is good. No I’m no sadist, but it’s a reminder of where my mistakes are in terms of displacing myself from harm, and of how much damage can be done. Take note that I get bruises from strikes going at 20-30% power from a rattan stick. That is damage right there.


 

 

“Before you learn to hurt others, you must learn to get hurt first. That way you will know restraint as you are aware just how much damage you can do.”

– famous martial arts saying –


 

 

I have been fortunate to not have sustained serious injuries during my training. Mainly because the mantra of the FMA system I practice is to employ footwork and avoid getting hit. The whole idea is that you want to be mobile, not a standing meat shield available to be struck, especially by a weapon. You may take hits from fists and kicks, but you sure as hell can’t take hits from blades.

I’ve also come across moments when someone talks about executing locks and chokes and the like. As in, just going into doing the locks alone. But really though, the reality on the other hand is different. Attempting to lock an arm or disarming an opponent who is actually resisting is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Let’s not even go to the territory where the opponent is skilled and trained.


 

 

“Imagine yourself at the ATM and suddenly someone attacks you. This lock is something you do when the situation is right. Or if by some chance, the stars are all aligned, and the hand is there for you to grab and execute. This is something that is good for you to know, but can only be done when the opening is there. More often than not you have to create that opening first.”

– a senior in my class, referring to a lock technique he showed me –


 

 

Locks are something that you add on to your arsenal. But you don’t train locks and execute them the way you do in drills and the step-by-step.

Oh no, it’s not to say that it’s impossible. But you have to add in several more tactical steps before that. The concept is called ‘resetting’.

There are many ‘reset’ tactics, which I won’t go into detail. Basically resetting involves moves that take the mind and focus of the opponent off their point of focus and redirect it somewhere else.

So to execute an arm lock to a arm that is resisting, ask why is there resistance?

It’s because the person resisting has focus on the arm to stop you from having your way with it. So redirect that focus elsewhere via a reset. A simple example is striking the head. The pain or state of being stun from the strike resets the focus. If it doesn’t work, do it a couple more times.

Or…you could execute locks to a resistant target using other tactics as well like riding the energy instead of resisting it. There are also feints and baiting / feeding.

Regardless of the method used, the basic concept lies that in reality, a person will be resisting your advances. It’s not so easy and straight forward as movies or video games tend to depict it.

Reality is very different from an untrained / inexperienced perception.

I’m not saying that I’m highly skilled. Far from it. I’m still a grasshopper in this path of metamorphosis to a skilled master. But training conditions and sparring that is as realistic a simulation as possible helps me realise just how reality is.

And that is good. It helps my skill as a practitioner and warrior improve but more than anything, above everything else…

It’s a humbling experience…

It proves just how real is one’s mortality. And how easy it is to lose your life in the fray of chaos that happens during combat. A weapon’s presence is no joke. Even empty hands employed correctly is lethal.

There’s another example of false perception – that a weapon is something not to be taken seriously. Movies portray a weapon not being something serious. That the hero / heroine can take a hit or so from a bullet or strike from an edged / impact weapon with very little damage. Or that it is easy to actually take the weapon from the wielder.

I was hearing a story the other day from a fellow martial artist who has an uncle in law enforcement. Thus the uncle has a firearm with him. During the time of this story told, this martial artist was a wee young kid, about 8 years of age.

The uncle had placed the firearm on the table for a short while to go to the kitchen. At that time, martial art kid came in and saw the firearm, and out of ignorance held it and was pointing it around. When the uncle came back, he saw the kid with firearm and within a split second had the kid’s arm pinned on his back, held down and disarmed. The kid was so shocked. It happened so fast he didn’t even know what had happened.

That’s just how serious the situation was, the risk involved could mean life or death. So trained are these enforcers that upon sight of any weapon they go into auto mode and instinctively go into control and disarming techniques without even stopping to think.

One can’t fathom enough just how much thought goes into the training for law enforcers especially in urban areas. Not only do they have to disarm the weapon and disable it with techniques that ensure their safety, but they also have to do so as effectively to reduce collateral damage. A stray bullet does not discriminate between age or gender. Anybody can get hit by a stray bullet. Imagine then, being a cop, having to protect your own life and others. You got to hand it to the men and women out there in the field who put their lives to protect us.

A weapon is like a calling card that has “I want your life” printed on it. After all, the human body can only inflict so much damage. The weapon acts as a force multiplier. The increase in damage potential and reach is nothing to be taken lightly or for granted.

With the realities of combat being so gritty, I could never really understand the bravado and egos flying around people who learn the martial ways and think they are invincible and great. That having said knowledge allows them to step over others who aren’t educated as them.

I think more than anything, and paradoxically enough, learning these techniques taught me to value life even more. I know how much power I have in my hands with such knowledge and with it, the responsibility to use it appropriately and only when needed. I learn the ways to improve my health, protect my life and those around me whom I care and love.

Although frankly speaking, and this is reality being a bitch again, if I were walking with someone untrained and we were suddenly accosted by a group of people, I would be at a disadvantage. Because now not only do I have to worry about my safety, but I have to employ my knowledge to protect another who has no knowledge or training. I suddenly have extra baggage to worry about.

How do I solve this problem then? There are two ways to go about it. One easy and one hard.

The hard way is to execute preemptive strikes and tactics. Quick first strikes. Jabs. Make-shift body shields using the opponent created by positioning. Some very crafty footwork definitely. Any weapon at hand to even out the playing field will be used.

It isn’t going to be a walk in the park. Try sparring in 3-on-1 situations and you’ll just see how hard it gets. It’s hard enough if you’re unarmed against multiple unarmed opponents. It gets worse if they are armed and you’re not. A weapon makes a very big difference. Basically, you’re in for a rough time.

And what about the easy way?

Oh simple.

RUN! Run like there’s no tomorrow! (well there won’t be a tomorrow if the worst case scenario happens right? >_<)


 

 

“Sifu. I would like to ask you, how do you fight against 10 people?”

“Fight against 10 people? Simple! You run!”

– Ip Man answering a student’s question in one of the movies depicting him –


 

 

 

“What happens if you’re sitting in the park on a bench, and suddenly you see a person approaching you with a machete. How do you protect yourself against him when you have no weapons?”

“If you’re sitting on a bench and you see a person coming towards you with a machete, then you deserve to die.”

– an FMA instructor –

P.S. :
For those who don’t get this one, the basic message is that if you can see the threat approaching, you shouldn’t be there at all.


 

 

 

Understanding reality is key. Avoid terrible situations knowing that consequences are nasty if one takes them lightly.

Train em’ legs! Learn to run! 😀
Fight only if you have to. There’s no prize for winning a fight that involves your life and the life of those you love. Stay safe everyone.

Philosophical Muse : The Deeper Need

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This was actually an entry for the Weekly Writing Challenge : Great Expectations. And my entries for the challenges go to the other blog.

But I kind of felt that it’s philosophical nature deserved to be here as well in Haven MindMuses.

So I shall post the link to it here.

http://haventales.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/weekly-writing-challenge-great-expectations-the-deeper-need/

Blinded by the Peaceful Soldiers

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Beautifully said, wonderfully written – these words dance within the stage that is the thought bubbles of those who read it.
It’s a symphony the mind should take heed and observe. Notice the intricacies of the hidden message these words are trying to portray within their performance on our screen.
Apologies for being poetic but your writing technique is inspiring and a lesson for my writing hands (or typing fingers). And your message couldn’t be any clearer on what is important and needed in our society today.

Philosophical Muse : The Right Key to the Lock of Pure Connection

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As I was walking today in a shopping mall with my dad and stepmom, I couldn’t help but notice how my dad was talking and she was listening. I was behind them as they walked ahead. My dad had always been one to talk a lot.

It was a weekday and as such the shopping mall was filled with people who were either on leave, were free or the elderly. I’ve noticed that, my own folks aside, the other couples I passed by, both young and old; they too were walking while in conversation.

It kind of got me smiling as I watched these couples (my own folks included), lost in their own world, communicating with their own lingo and language.

Sometimes, I can’t help but think, even for all the nasty history in my life caused by my dad and stepmom, that things are right the way they are.

It’s not to say that I condone the actions they have committed. Far from it. It’s just…I tend to let my compassion get the better of me. All I want is some peace in the family. And I think at the end of the day, my biological mother raised me up to be a forgiving, compassionate and above all, responsible son. The responsibility to care for my father, for all the crap he has done, overwrites the negative sentiments I have towards him (that’s not to say that I don’t have moments when I want to strangle him out of frustration – yes, he is a difficult man to handle believe me).

But seeing the scene before me, my thoughts started to go into gear.

I think at the end of the day, above everything else, above all material possessions and gains, we just don’t really want to be alone.

Whether one is in a form of relationship (long term, married, friends and etc) or single (whether available or not available), the feeling of isolation is one that is painful.

Let’s shift to those in relationships. I feel the most important aspect of this connection is communication. Be it friendship or a serious relationship, the key is the sense of companionship between individuals. I guess it’s all about having someone who can share your experiences, can walk the path of your life with you, or both of you share the same bearing and heading towards somewhere. It’s about sharing. There’s a flow of thoughts and feelings when we find that someone or many ones who we can click and get along with.

Maybe it’s because in nature we are dynamic creatures. Humans are social creatures, but look at the sense of social and you realise that ‘social’ is an element of the human condition that provides an avenue for dynamism of our being to happen, whether it be emotions or thoughts.

Stagnation kills us. We are a constantly evolving species, growing in ways we may or may not notice. Our minds and physical being needs that sort of ‘flow’ from interaction. A to and fro. A give and receive.

If a person’s life is a life filled with events that go one way, I think it becomes a road to mind rot. There needs to be a form of feedback for us to act upon. Even a wall gives us feedback. Talking to it creates an echo that returns to us. Hitting it, well you get the picture.

But this isn’t limited to just those in relationships. Even singles find their solace, in their case not from someone else, but by focusing their mind on something. Whether it be a hobby, or gaming, or sports, or meditation, prayer, etc…

Perhaps dementia and the crazies are just a state of mind (physical defects resulting from an accident or birth aside). The mind is still there but due to it being stagnant for so long, it tries to revitalise itself by perhaps creating another world. When you think about it, people with such a state are actually normal. They just perhaps perceive the world differently, living in a world only they can experience, a place others outside in reality can’t visit.

As the saying goes – “lost in their own world”. The vessel of the soul steered towards a different direction. Their minds have taken them to another journey disconnected from reality. Who’s to say we aren’t in a dementia dimension ourselves? We may never know, creepy and scary as it sounds.

The mind works in mysterious ways. Monks or those of faith who are celibate, turn to meditation and prayers instead. They aim for an attainment of a higher state of mind. These act as a focal point for their mind. There in itself is a form of interaction that keeps the mind river flowing.

Yes they don’t have the human feedback that most of us who do not follow in their ways do, but we shouldn’t separate ourselves from them. It’s just a matter of perspective as far as human interactions go. One is to a human, another is to the mind. There’s still a back and forth going on.

The soul is the driver of the body vessel, and it’s responsible for filling the mental petrol/gas for the mind. We as humans are constantly interacting with something and we need that.

Preventing our mind from a stagnation of flow of input and output is key.

Having said that, returning to those who are in relationships, I guess the key is who we decide to share our time and lives with. Observing the couples, I got to thinking. Happiness I feel is having someone who you can talk to, who you can give your thoughts and heart and have it returned to you.

At the end of the day we are human beings, a species of sophistication that has evolved above primal animal instincts and developed a mental faculty for thinking. I feel the most important key is that in a relationship, it isn’t about the physical gratifications the body can offer, but instead a deeper connection.

Sexual union isn’t about stimulating the nerve endings on the respective genitalia, but about the abstract. The union of souls, emotions and inner being and soul melded into one. It’s the physical manifestation of trust, to give oneself to another willingly.

I’ve observed that when one gives in to just the carnal pleasures alone, after some time one reaches a point of emptiness of the heart. It’s strange really how we as complex creatures, a complex species that rose in the pyramid above beasts, have such a weakness amidst our greatest strength.

There comes a longing for something real, something true, something pure and lasting. Not something of a fleeting nature, something that becomes a ‘disposable’ sort of thing. I think the emptiness is us feeling sick inside, not our physical being but our soul; when we treat another individual as an object rather than another human being, treating another as just something that doesn’t give us feedback just to satisfy the primal screams within us. Even the primal calling has a deeper voice seeking something deeper. That thing is what we call intimacy, which in the end is still a manifestation of the abstract concept called trust.

It’s about attaining that connection, a deeper emotional one. A theory goes that the feel-good of a physical connection is a reward that drives the body because of our innate instincts to procreate and continue the survival of the species. True that. But I feel too that while that is reward for the physical, the feeling of completeness from intimacy is reward for the mind and soul.

Whether it’s a serious relationship that has gone to the next base (aka another level on the sexual scale) or just plain friendship, to have someone there to return your voice with theirs, or a smile…to know that someone is there for you to interact with, that’s the beauty of it. Finding a partner in life, it’s about the communication in its many forms (speech, gestures, touch, etc).

If it’s only about physical gratification, it just ends up being unfulfilling. At the end of the day, one will continue to seek that comfort that the soul and mind requires. That’s where cheating happens. And it hits the parties both ways. One is the perpetrator and the other the victim. The hurt from betrayal is nasty.

There are many beautiful people in the world, whether male or female or crossovers or converts. I on my side have had many crushes in my life. But if the person can’t even hold a conversation then I can’t see something that is long term.

And don’t get me wrong. It’s not about finding a chatty person. It’s about finding someone you can open up to. That person may not be a talkative person, but if he or she can have the type of communication with you that opens your mind taps and let the flow happen, if he or she is the treasure chest to which your heart may be kept safe, the bowl to which your thoughts are allowed to swirl freely, I believe that you’ve hit gold.

The Taxi

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The Taxi

I’m attempting a pingback, so if this doesn’t work, do correct me if i’m wrong >_<

It is something of a rough bump in the journey of life when such a thing happens.

It leaves a void that is hard to fill in. The things we do to take our mind off it eases that journey to healing. But that legacy left behind, that bond and memory. That is something that might be forgotten over time but never gone.

But it’s a sign of how strong that connection was with your mother. It’s a sign that until today, she still lives in you.

Immortality isn’t living forever, but remaining within the walls of memory, in the inner holy sanctum that is one’s heart.

I have been through such a lost as well and I must say that even until today, many years apart just means that many years of rowing your boat down the river of life away from the shores. The shores of safety are still in view, just a distance away.

But I believe that what’s remaining is her legacy. A new mission left behind, and that is to be the child that she has raised and wanted you to be. To follow in her footsteps, the very steps that inspired you and others who knew her and what made her a great person. =)

On Writing Strong Female Characters (Make Them Human)

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Nicely said
A great treasure fills my bag of writing skills.
A noteworthy post

Corsets, Cutlasses, & Candlesticks

harkavagrant Couldn’t resist. Copyright Kate Beaton at Hark! A Vagrant.

I have a lot of thoughts about how to write strong female characters, but first I wanted to address the idea of “strong.” For female characters, strength tends to be equated with physical prowess. Think of “strong female characters”, and most people will immediately list the Buffys and the Xenas, because they are warrior women with superior fighting skills. But in creating strong female characters, it’s also important to look beyond the physical. The Sansa Starks of fiction are not any less strong than the Arya Starks just because they can’t pick up a sword and slay their enemies. There are the Felicity Smoaks of the world who find strength in their intelligence, and the Cersei Lannisters who use manipulation and cunning to drive their enemies to their knees.

To quote Neil Gaiman on this subject:

The glory of Buffy is…

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