Obama, Crichton & My Birthday

I normally don’t write something too personal, I find that those that do end up sounding too pretentious. But on November 4, 2008 three significant things happened.

On this date I hit a milestone – I turned 30. I thought turning 30 would somehow change me, affect me in some way, but it didn’t. I can’t say I feel more mature or even wiser. But for some strange reason I feel more pro ud, proud enough to tell people I’m 30. In fact, being thirty is not that bad, it’s not the end of the world, I mean, Mark Twain published his first short story, Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog when he was 30. And Danish novelist Hans Christian Andersen published his book of fairy tales when he was 30. I have published a novel bu t hopefully like them I can keep writing and perhaps publish many more.


I’m not American but just seeing Barack Obama elected President of the United States was overwhelming. I’m not going to spend too much time on how significant this was, millions have done a far better job of this, but I will say this is not only great for the United States but also for the entire world. Obama is the son of a white Kansas mother and a black Kenyan father. He was raised in Asia and has a half-Indonesian sister. His middle name is Middle Eastern. He is all of us. Only time will tell whether he lives up to all our hopes and dreams, but this is a step in the right direction.


I was shocked to hear the death of author Michael Crichton. In my teens I was introduced to his books by my brother. I remember reading them and being completely immersed in his world, whether they be about alien viruses or the 19th century gold heist in London. There was something about them; they were both ambitious and entertaining. He made science digestible! What made him stand out amongst all the great writers was that he wasn’t afraid to write a different kind book: Jurassic Park (dinosaurs), Timeline (time travel), Prey (nanotechnology), Rising Sun (Japanese/American relations) and so on. His books were controversial, yes, but at least they made us think. I can’t tell you how excited I would get just hearing that he was coming out with a new book. Just the thought of what other worlds or journeys he would take us on gave me goose bumps.

Michael Crichton inspired me to become a writer and for that I am forever indebted to him.

Soundtracks (Part 1)

Music plays a big role in writing, at least it does for me. It helps set the mood and spurs the muse into action. I tried writing with the radio playing in the background but the DJs kept interrupting my thoughts. I tried playing CDs but found the lyrics distracting. Then I tried playing movie soundtracks and found that this not only inspired my writing but also helped me stay in the ‘writing zone’.

(I’m not a music writer so my comments are not indented to be a professional review but merely my take on these wonderful soundtracks)

The following soundtracks, including some of my favorite tracks, were instrumental in writing my first novel, R.A.C.E.

Gladiator by Hans Zimmer

Track(s): The Battle, Elysium, The Might of Rome, Honor Him, and Now We are Free

What can I say about this soundtrack? It has everything. From the pounding and inspiring track, The Battle, to the peaceful and soulful track, Elysium, containing the melodic voice of Lisa Gerrard. This soundtrack is grand and personal.

Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers by Howard Shore

Tracks(s): Evenstar, Forth Eorlingas, Riders of Rohan, Samwise the Brave

Enya sings in Evenstar and being a fan of hers I was thoroughly enchanted by the track. The track, Riders of Rohan, is both majestic and has a feel of urgency. The rest of the soundtrack reminds you of a world that is not ours, but is magical and far, far away.

Road to Perdition by Thomas Newman

Track(s): Road to Chicago, Road to Perdition

The soundtrack is propelled by the sound of the piano and violin. It evokes the atmosphere and feel of the 1930s. The track, Road to Perdition, is heart wrenching and powerful.

Braveheart by James Horner

Tracks(s): The Love of a Princess, Freedom/the Execution/Bannockburn, End Credits

The scores are mixed with bagpipes, flutes, and drums. The soundtrack goes from powerful to reflective. It has an incredible choir chorus that is both sad and empowering.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark by John Williams

Track(s): The Raiders March

The Raiders March track is distinct and universally recognized by an Indy fan. For those who have never heard of it, it has drums, cymbals, trumpets; the entire London Pop Orchestra, the same orchestra that did Star Wars. When The Raiders March starts up a chill of excitement goes up my spine. What more can I say?

Why Write?


I have always wondered about this…why do I write? And I think this question relates to who reads today anyways?

Times are changing. There’s the vast internet, the good old television, the hot video games, the expansive DVDs with hours of extras, there is so much out there to occupy our time, so who would spend the time to sit alone and be immersed in the written word?

As a writer you always battle with this last question, because it has a great impact in what you do. If no one read than what is the point of writing. No one will appreciate all the hard work you, as the writer, has done. Then the second question is even if someone did read would they enjoy reading your work?

Writers spend countless hours sitting behind a blank computer screen or a blank piece of paper, hoping, fearing, that what comes out of their mind is nothing short of readable. They know they have a story, even if it’s only vague, and they want to share this story with the rest of the world.

I have battled this too. There were oh-so-many times where I had quit, sworn to whatever is holy that I would never write again, only to find myself back in front of the blank screen. Why do I torture myself?

I think the answer is simple: as writers, we know, that the story lurking in the back of our subconscious is good and must be told, even if it isn’t, by the time we put it on paper it will be. We think, through our sheer determination we will transform that thought into something tangible. It is then that we will be praised as geniuses, deemed society’s moral compass, or even heroes to have written something that no one had to courage to write.

When I started out I struggled with this, what if something I write is not good. What if it is not worth the piece of paper it is written on, meaning who would want to publish it?

These kinds of thoughts can cripple a young or new writer. There is just too much doubt that lingers when one is working on his/her craft.

Then one day I read something that kind of gave me solace. I think of this whenever the doubt creeps back into my subconscious. I read it years ago and I can’t seem to find out who said it, but with all due respect to the author, I’ll paraphrase:

“No one is going to miss a book that’s not written.”

So there, if you have a story that’s worth telling and you don’t tell it then we’ll never have the opportunity to appreciate it.