Feather – A Beautiful Journey

If there is any positive to take out of this year, it’s that there is a growing awareness on mental health. I’ve seen people who never took mental health seriously before in their lives finally acknowledge it for the first time. Often times this is because their own health has been on a serious decline through this, the undeniably worst year in a long, long time.

So in these rough times, people are looking for anything no matter how small to give them a little joy, hope, or just a reprieve from the sadness around us. Speaking personally, the summer months saw my worst state of mind in my life, and while I have been okay lately, depression rarely stays away. Enter: Feather the video game.

I pre-ordered Feather just days before its October Release. I bought it because it looked like a peaceful game that I can relax to. For one reason or another, I hadn’t played it until 2 nights ago and it has impacted my life in a way I never thought a video game could.

I immediately found myself soaring through the skies of this tranquil island. No enemies to be found, no objectives, nothing you were supposed to be doing. I was just flying around as a pretty bird, chirping when I saw another bird. But I didn’t realize that the other birds flying around were also other people.

So here I was at 3am on a Monday night, listening to the game’s incredibly calming soundtrack flying around. And I was perfectly content to just do that. At times I would perch up on the edge of a tower, sitting for moments and looking for another bird. Soon, a bird landed next to me and spoke in bird language. I didn’t know this person, I didn’t know their story and they didn’t know mine. And although we had no real means of communicating, I imagined them saying “Hello, I hope you’re doing okay in these hard times.” And with my bird sounds back, I wanted to say the same. We sat there for maybe 30 seconds or a minute, before one of us flew off, and explored more.

Today I found a bird that seemed extremely excited to see me. They kept circling back, talking to me and then flying off. I decided they were telling me to follow them. Moments later we were soaring deep underground in this elaborate cave system. Soon enough, I saw what they were doing. They did want me to follow them. They had led me to a portal underground that would take us to a new island, one that I didn’t know existed. (Video of the journey with this friendly stranger)

We lost each other quickly after going to the new island, but I was overwhelmed with the peace and beauty that this game had to offer. Suddenly, other people didn’t give me anxiety. We didn’t argue about politics or masks, or about petty things that people are jaded about. We were birds flying around, enjoying the beauty around us.

When To Give Up On Your Forever Work-In-Progress Novel

For many obvious reasons, this year has been garbage, but let’s talk specifically writing. Story time:

I have had this book I’ve been working on for around 5 years. I’ve never spent more than 15 months on a novel, so the work I called While The Tide Rolled In was something special to me; frustratingly special. I wrote it in completion in the first year or so and then intensive editing began. As I went through it looking for grammatical errors and areas that needed more description, I realized much bigger problems with it. There were major flaws within the storyline. There were characters that entered the story and then never appeared again. There were characters I no longer liked. There were scenes I hated. I began to understand the work that lay in front of me, it was no longer the usual hill of revisions, it was a mountain I wasn’t prepared for.

“It was no longer the usual hill of revisions, it was a mountain I wasn’t prepared for.”

So I printed a test copy in order to read it like a book. It helped me critique my own work as if it were someone else’s novel. And boy did I hate so much of it. But not all of it. I was able to see the beauty of what I set out to achieve. The honeymoon phase of our relationship was over and what was left was a relationship in shambles that needed so much work.

Sooner rather than later, I began to put off any work on the novel. When I would think about working on it, I’d get a rush of frustration and anxiety. It didn’t help that I had planned on this work to get me out of the self publishing game and maybe actually make a name for myself. That pressure buried me into a state of contempt for the book I used to love.

I had some options in front of me. Rewrite the entire book, that was undeniably the best option in terms of putting out the best possible product. I could continue to nitpick so many parts and have the novel be parts older draft, parts newer. I did the latter for a while because it seemed like a less daunting task. However I soon realized the specific voice I wrote in then, was not the one I wrote during the original draft.

So I tried to restart. I hit CTRL-N on Microsoft Word and began with a fresh blank document. Spoiler: It didn’t work.

So much time had gone by that I found myself out of love with the story and its characters. It was horrible when I realized this. The actual thought of giving the story up was one I wasn’t familiar with and I hated it. Especially after so much time, so much work and effort; how could I give up? Writers were never supposed to give up were they?

I fought with this feeling for months. I didn’t touch the forever work in progress that my novel was. I spoke with other writers about it. Some of them had experience with this, others hadn’t. But the most appealing advice I was given was to let it go.

“Tell yourself it’s over. Close the document and tell yourself the book isn’t meant to be finished,” a friend said.

And I did. I told myself ‘this book will never be published. It will never be read by anyone but myself. It will never truly complete. When I did this, I was surprised to find myself feeling very okay. It was freeing to not be burdened by the thought of finishing it. Because even still there were two things that could happen: First, this renewed feeling could give me new life and vigor to maybe try again with it, or lastly, be actually done with it. It would just take believing that I would never open that document again.

Nearly a year later, I have never opened the document again and I’m okay with it. I’ve flirted with other stories, but I’m taking my time. Even though While The Tide Rolled In will never be read by anyone – and that does suck to think about sometimes, I still grew as a writer.

Your work doesn’t need to be finished or published in order for you to progress into the next place you’re supposed to be.

I’m not telling you to give up. But if you find yourself at constant war with a piece of work and that mountain isn’t giving way, maybe allow yourself the ability to not only take a break, but to walk away and not come back and write something even better.

Love Songs For the Lonely

I’m not really sure how to go about this post because part of it is simple shameless self promotion, yet another part is trying to work out what’s going on in my head. And why anyone would want to read either is a mystery to me, but if you are, thank you dearly.

While I set my book writing to the side, I’ve focused on writing music. I put out an album in November 2016, however half those songs were songs I wrote over 10 years of my life. The music I write now is a bit different. They still are love songs, but I’m writing from the outside. Before it felt like I was on the inside of love, closely seeking it. But at this stage in my life, love is beginning to seem like an idea, a concept, something I’m far from. I’m within distance to see it, but without possession of it. Minor Gatsby reference there, never a bad idea to refer to writers infinitely better than you..

So I’m not sure where I’m going with this, part of me says not to even post this. I will however, because I’ve neglected this site for so long. So shameless promotion, I have a new song out in preparation for the new album that’s coming soon.

 

Lost In The Fray

It’s been way, way too long since I’ve written anything at all, and I apologize. Here’s something to make up for lost time, lyrics for a song I’m working on. 

I’m sifting through day and night 

Disappointment creeps in the fight 

Try to find the meaning in 

This life of mine, can I ever win 
Lost in the world, where are you? 

Turn the corner, there’s nothing there 

Lost in myself, where am I? 

Turn the page and discover it’s blank 
Looking for love like a vagrants meal 

The more I search, the less I feel 

My faith is strong, this I know 

But I’m holding my breath for the final blow 

Writing Through Adversity 

Hey everyone! It’s been a long time but I am still alive. I’d like to talk about something that’s been a big part of my life recently. Writing through adversity. 

What keeps you from writing, from focusing on your thoughts and you passion? Mine is right in front of me… 

Yup, you got it. I’m a truck driver traveling the country 6 days out of the week. Everyone has something, or many things keeping them from writing. In this, you have two choices: throw away what’s keeping you bound, or write through it. 

If your kids are keeping you from writing, I’d hardly ask you to remove them from the picture, but find a way to write through it. A writer is not a person who has X number of published books, articles, or blog posts. A writer isn’t a person with a studio and a desk for all their writing endeavors. A writer is a person who writes. So if you call yourself a writer, write. 

Writing through hard times makes you a stronger and more thoughtful person, and a better writer than someone who has no struggle to write. 

What are the struggles you’re writing through? 

She Was, She Is, She Will Be

I am undoubtedly sorry for this because despite my every attempt to be true, fierce, and honest, I as the writer of this short trivial piece, will fail you.

When she came into view and sat down in my car, the feeling that said I was right where I was supposed to be washed in and around me and brought a smile to my heart that only mirrored slightly on my face. I hoped that she felt the same.

I could go on about the specifics of the night but for you, the reader, it doesn’t matter. What I want to tell you is how beautiful she was, how beautiful she is. Even though it’s been some time since I’ve seen her, every strain of thought somehow winds itself back to her.

I could tell you in every cliché how perfect she was. I could say that her imperfections were perfect for me. I loved maybe a subtle scar on her face, or a birthmark. She could have had a tattoo visible somewhere on her that she regretted. And we laughed when she told me the story of how it came to be.

But this has nothing to do with loving imperfections. It has nothing to do with perfections either. It has everything to do with her. What was her, what is her, and what she will be. I thought of everything I don’t know about her. Every moment in her life from the time she crawled on floors to learning to tie a shoe, to learning to drive a car has changed her into who she is now in front of me. Every exchange, conversation and action affected her and made her into who she was underneath. And although this can be said about anyone, even myself, it was her that somehow walked into that place at the exact time that our paths would cross.

They say there are chemicals in your brain that trigger the feelings of love and lust. And I don’t argue that at all, I’m sure it’s all true. But how does that lessen the impact of someone who makes those chemicals rage inside your mind?

I told you at the start that I would fail you as a writer. And true to my word, I have. I’ve set out to describe the one you love. The one I love. The one, maybe, I will love. But songwriters, poets, and artists will always fail trying to pin down love because it’s only when you can understand, explain, and define something, it loses significance and meaning. I can’t explain love, I will never understand it, and I will flail in attempts to define it. We can only give examples in fiction.

But when I look at her, when I was there in her presence, laughing and sharing stories, I’d like to think that for one fleeting moment that passed by so quickly, I saw love. She was, she is, she will be.IMAG0037.jpg

Shadow & Soul For Your Demonic Pleasures

My new book, Shadow & Soul is available to buy now on Amazon! 

But you may be asking yourself, why would I buy some stranger’s book about demons and other carnivalistic things? 

Well I’m glad you asked… 

A monster was born out of a family massacre in 1886. Flash forward to modern times, this monster has set its eyes on a teenage girl, but for a reason that remains to be seen. 

Do you like Insidious, The Conjuring, or Sinister? Wouldn’t you like to read a book that plays on the fear of your own imagination? It’s not what’s in the details, it’s what’s left to your mind’s wandering imagination. 

Yes it’s a sequel to Infernous, but you don’t need to read the first one to understand this one, although it might not be a bad idea to pick that up as well. 

Thanks for reading! 

Shadow & Soul Out Now! 

Scaring Parents With Demons 

What a weekend it was at the Red Lion Street Fair. Accompanied by two other authors, Andy Craven and Ryan Griffin, we sold more books than we ever had before; Ryan sold out of his book. 

But let’s get to parents who hate educating their children and people who hate getting asked what kind of books they like to read… 

One of the first things we’d ask people passing through the fair was what kind of books they like – that or just bellowing “LOCAL AUTHORS, WE WRITE ‘EM, YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO READ ‘EM, JUST BUY ‘EM!” 

So moving on, we would ask people, and the responses were a little on the unexpected side. In-between the normal replies, we received some interesting rage. 

One father walked up to his 12ish year old daughter who had been looking at our books and yelled, “No more books in the house!” It wasn’t lighthearted, it wasn’t joking, the guy was pissed. Yanks his daughter’s arm away, and they’re gone. I just had to look at Andy and Ryan and we all kind of simultaneously asked each other, “what just happened?” 

I could see this reaction, even if it was extreme to a video game or something. But a book?? When I have a kid, if they want a book, I’m getting them a damn book because I don’t want my kid to hate reading and never read one book after school is out. 

So we moved on… And asked more people the all important question. We were told what we could do to ourselves when we asked certain people, and we replied that we had that genre, we made people laugh and smile. 

A surprising amount of people yelled at us with animosity that they couldn’t read, as if we were mocking them. So we just went on, selling books, and I was scaring parents. 

My banner was undoubtedly working, a giant 5 foot of the demon Beleth from my Infernous trilogy. Teenagers held my book in front of their parents asking if they could get it, and the very second they gazed upon the demonic horror, they blurted, “No! Put that back!” 

It was amusing, but thankfully the banner drew in more sales than it lost. 

It was a great time, Andy took to the street and began selling the idea of a book to people in a carnie type way… 

Thanks for reading 

Why Catfish & The Bottlemen Might Be The Best Band In A Long, Long Time

Go back two years with me to 2014. A strangely named band emerges from seemingly out of nowhere with a humorous album artwork. Their name: Catfish And The Bottlemen. With such a title, what would they sound like?

Their debut album The Balcony released a long 7 years after the band originally formed and caused waves among music listeners. This isn’t an article about a band who didn’t make it but deserved it, it’s an article on a band that made it and stayed there – all deservedly so.

The Balcony had so many singles I thought they had used the entire album up. Each song told a story of love in light-hearted and sometimes funny ways. Every 3-4 minutes the listener is treated upon a mini-movie that lyricist and singer Ryan “Van” McCann has created. The songs are relatable.

Their new album The Ride came out on May 27 and I had my doubts. When a band puts out an incendiary debut effort, the term “sophomore slump” was born for examples like this. At the very least, bands can almost never top it, so it’s disappointing on some level. Well, despite reservations and worries, Catfish have put out something that stands with their debut in a triumphant fashion.

The differences with this album is noticeable mostly with the lyrical content. While there are the same fun songs like “Soundcheck,” “7,” and “Oxygen,” the album features a more angsty mood that triggers a different reaction. The top and prime example of this is “Red.”

As clever as ever with his words, Van sings lines like “Does he take you the Liquid Rooms after work/Just to unwind you but then goes and makes it worse/Can he do what I do for you?/I’ve not stopped thinking this shit since I come away.” The song has an infectious chorus of anger but don’t let it discourage you from listening to it. It still has that “!!” factor that makes Catfish what they are.

The last song is one to remember as well as it’s probably the heaviest we’ve seen from them. In addition, the album closes in the same way their former did – mid beat and cuts out. I’m not sure why they do it, it can be a little frustrating because I feel like we’re missing the latter part of each closing song, but either way – The Outside proves Catfish & The Bottlemen are here to stay and will to continue to produce music that should be the soundtrack of every experience in life.

Check them out,

Zac Zinn

Infernous II: Shadow & Soul

Chapter II of the Infernous trilogy has been delayed just a tad. The reason for this is I’m halfway across the country in school to get my CDL license. You got that right, writer turned trucker.
So the expected release for chapter two has gone from summer to late summer/fall. It may even be better if it’s timed around Halloween.
But rest assured, it’s coming.

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