Currently residing in the Pacific Northwest, Greg blogs about his upcoming books in The Sy'Arrian Legacy Series. His posts also explore the creative process and what feeds our imaginations.

Creative Insight: Part Two

“The evolution of Insight is Creative Insight. Creative Insight is the difference between insight that is simply “actionable” and insight that sparks a creative epiphany. Creative Insight inspires effective messaging. It fosters intuitive thinking for new products and creative executions. It’s the difference between stagnant uncertainty and moving forward with confidence.”

On several occasions you have read my thoughts related to the focus of this blog. In the About section I even refer to occasional meanderings into the obscure. Consider what you are about to read a light trod down the path of the most resistance and an augmentation of what I mentioned in that specific section.

Before you ask, what does this have to do with creative insight, let me refer to a common sentiment, although overly used and broadly applied, I feel sums up my own personal excursion as a writer; it truly is about the journey and not the destination. There is some wonderful research out there detailing where this outlook originated I would suggest investigating if your interest is peaked.

When I initially created the concept of The Sy’Arrian Legacy at the age of 16, my intent was to focus on one book, a small amount of characters, retrieving an artifact of significant importance with little to no references towards politics and delving slightly into sexual components. Looking at it now 35 years later, I cannot believe how naïve my young mind had been. I think we all can agree the minute you put sentient beings in situations where conflict resolution and achieving a common goal are primary components, whether it be real or fictional; politics, sex and everything else in-between is natural progression.

Taking the summer off fresh out of high school, I joined the Air Force in September 1985 where my creative journey continued albeit in a somewhat skewed direction. From my perspective at the time, I thought a military career with a smidgen of writing on the side would fit perfectly. The one factor I neglected to consider was being a young gay man in an organization who viewed me strictly as a resource to be hurled at the enemy. When you combine those elements with one who had no idea how to handle budding emotions towards other young men, who had their own emotional problems, to say it was a disaster waiting to happen would be an understatement.

During my nine years of military service, I encountered one heartbreak after another, all the while not being able to talk to anyone about them. Gay witch hunts were widespread and numerous during those times with conjecture being the only prerequisite necessary for conviction. In retrospect, I directly caused my own suffering due to the barriers I had erected to keep me safe. I remember my mother telling me in her usually direct but caring way, “The problem, Greg, is you fall for their sob stories.” As a writer, the irony of her statement was not lost on me.

At the time of my self-inflicted angst, my writing was taking on a dichotomous tone all its own. Known back then under the title, The Dark Traveler, the Sonics were more spiritually based unlike the Sy’Arrians in The Cradle of Destiny who use logic and reason to guide their society. What never changed from one version to the other is a story with two primary components; forgiveness and love. Both were wonderful sentiments, but I was incapable of conceptualizing either one.

The sob stories were young men who were more fucked up than I and had joined the military for a variety of dysfunctional reasons. Some had been molested by family members, raped by a next-door neighbor while others came from draconian, patriarchal lead households where they were treated like something stuck to the bottom of a shoe. In an oddly twisted way, I felt by befriending them it would help in their healing process. The reality was it only exacerbated the issue.  

Many years after I left the military in 1994, illumination dawned, and the realization hit me right in the face. How could I possibly write a story about love and forgiveness or help anyone through their problems if I didn’t cultivate love and compassion within myself first.

It was then I put down my writing instruments and went on a six-year hiatus, where I read Zen Buddhism from Thich Nhat Hahn and The Five Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. This time frame marked some of my greatest epiphanies, reinvigorating my writing and providing a sense of purpose never experienced. The creative insights I unearthed are what lead to the successful completion of The Cradle of Destiny.

What were those insights, you ask? Stay tuned for a third entry in this series where I cite what and who helped me get to where I am now.

As always feel free to post your questions, comments or concerns. I will respond, if need be, when I able.


 Thich Nhat Hahn:

Don Miguel Ruiz:

Always About the Money

Creative Insight: Part One