Monthly Archives: July 2013

How to judge a book

Ever listen to a group of book snobs argue over how 1984 was better than The Outsiders? This post explains how you should look at and compare books and if you liked my Thoughts on Music post chances are you will appreciate this man’s view on books! Enjoy ~thelionwriter

Cristian Mihai

book_judgeBy its cover, of course. Well, not quite.

Tonight’s post is more about judging a book after you read it. Strictly speaking, there are no bad books. If just one person genuinely likes your story, just for the story itself, not because that person owes you money, then your book is good. And the difference between books lies in the number of people who like that book. That doesn’t necessarily make bestsellers the best books in the world.

The thing is, there isn’t a best book in the world, there isn’t a greatest writer. No one can give you this title, and no one will ever be unanimously considered to be the best writer ever.

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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


Music Is Infinite

Crowd“Yes ladies and gentlemen tonight I won’t be accompanied by my regular associates.” Rachel’s eyes scan the crowd. “But I’d like you all to meet my friend Bill, he will be playing guitar tonight, we have a few amps on stage and enough equipment for a full band, so far it’s me and Bill-“ Dylan’s yell cuts Rachel short, “I’m here! I used to play bass all the time in high school!” An optimistically drunk Dylan stumbles towards the stage spilling his last bit of beer on the way. Matt meanwhile has already grabbed a handful of sticks and rushes to the stage.

Before Dylan and Bill finish plugging their instruments Matt is behind the drumkit on stage. “What songs do yall know!?” The four look at each other for the first time realizing that they might not be prepared for this. Rachel bites her tongue. Bill scratches his head beneath his hat.

Both Matt and Dylan count out a beat in a whisper, “It’s a song called Velvet. You said you know it? Let’s make it in eight. Can you start it? Are you even sober enough to play?” Dylan snarls in response and turns up his volume. As Bill steps back towards his amp one of the bartenders seizes the moment to grab the microphone off the stage. “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Oncidium Alliance!”

The above is an excerpt  from a story inspired by my experiences in my band Oncidium Alliance. I came up with this idea to add an extra story aspect to our performances and have us dress up as the characters from The Oncidium Alliance, alas the project has since fallen through but I thought it’d be cool to post the story especially for those who have been to our shows or heard about us. I’ve also decided to post my Thoughts on Music prose and an old essay I wrote on Led Zeppelin since I felt like the topics went well together. Enjoy!


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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Music, Writings


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You Are Now Entering…

twilightzoneI love the feeling you get at the end of a Twilight Zone episode. It’s the “what the hell just happened” type of feeling. My favorite episodes were the ones that intensified this mind-boggling sensation, leaving viewers to wonder whether or not the dummy was alive, to wonder whether the man’s guilty conscience or a possessed car was his doom, to wonder if the convict deserved to be in hell, or simply just to wonder. About a year ago, I wrote an homage to Rod Serling’s writing style inspired by a trip I took to Hawaii. Writing stories with characters whose minds turn against them is always a challenge, especially when it comes to giving not only the character’s speech but also his thoughts life. After finishing the story, I didn’t feel that the Twilight Zone effect had been completely established there. Unfortunately, I set the piece aside to work on other projects. Recently I pulled the short story out of my documents and decided I’d tweak it until it felt more like watching the Twilight Zone. Writing in those silent but deliberate scenes.  Patiently escalating the chaos in the protagonist’s mind until it manifested itself physically. And particularly, painting the character as a victim of his own cruel karma. Though it took longer than I hoped, my short story “Just a Beautiful Stone” is now up and ready.

I also posted my poem “Being Equal.” And while Jamie Soonback learns his lesson the hard way, the protagonists in this narrative learn theirs all while safely inside a box.   This poem, which focuses on equality through the perspective of four turtles, is the foundation for the children’s book me and my friend Evan Beck are currently working on. We hope to have the illustrated and written book completed by the end of this summer. Enjoy this short-sample now!


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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Metaphysical Phenomenon, Writings


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Love Is All You Need

Nervously, I gulped down a mouthful of water, “Pardon?” I choked midway through the question and felt myself  start to lose all the confidence I had been building up forhand holding this lunch. Her grandfather looked at me from across the table again with a genuine smile on his face, “I said, we’d love to have you over this weekend for the wedding if you’re up to it.” My hands lay flat on my knees,  my legs bounced up and down under the intense pressure of the moment, “Um…” Before I could finish my most-likely-empty statement, she slid her hand into mine and squeezed gently. My heart sighed for a quick second and suddenly the activity in the busy pizza parlor seemed to slow dramatically. A strange sensation similar to a waking limb passed through my body and if I had measured it then I’m positive my breathing would have read slightly quicker than usual.  Though I was sure we had held hands before, this was the first time I could remember her being the one to start it. Glancing over to my left and seeing her stare quietly back the way she almost always did, I began to daydream about how incredible a full weekend with this girl would be. Her iridescent hair glowed for an instant, matching her heavenly blue eyes in brightness, giving her the appearance of an angel. How could anything dealing with her ever go wrong? I regained myself, “Well, I’m not sure what I have planned this weekend but if I can I’d love to go.” Feeling her hand on mine underneath the table, I let a thin smile pass through my lips.

Though I never did get to go to that wedding, this particular scene is something I felt most people could understand. The jitters of knowing someone you like might like you back. Have you ever experienced something like this? In the spirit of spring and its gorgeous weather, I thought May 1st would be the perfect day to put up my different interpretations of infatuation, attraction, and love.

For those who find themselves disgusted with romance, I suggest reading the humorous poem “This Man” or the stinging “Someone in Your Head.” The poem “Whatever It Is” encourages romantic love, while “Lions on the Plains” and “This Makes Absolutely No Sense” are both old love poems I wrote to girls I know. I’ve also posted my prose, “Thoughts on Love” for anyone who is interested in what I believe true love (in any sense, not strictly romantic) entails. Remember readers, all you need is love.


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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Sometimes life gets frustrating. It’s hard to remain calm under the stress of work, school, family, friends, or whatever else the day can bring. innerpeaceA year ago I wrote a short story, “The Hillside Casita,” about the stresses of everyday weighing down on a middle-aged man- who turns to his wise father for some inner peace. This piece was largely inspired by the lessons my own family has taught me over the years and the type of experiences I grew up with as a Mexican-American. It was also largely influenced by my love for the book Sidartha by Hermann Hesse which has helped me through alot of stressful times in high school and college. Because alot of the types of lessons given by Manuel in this story are related to my Catholic faith, I decided my other religious poem “Ducks to Swans” would go well with it. While this poem pokes more fun at religion than Manuel ever would, I felt that the common theme of believing in something bigger than yourself is relatable to most if not everybody.
For those curious about my personal beliefs: The pieces I post here may reflect the beliefs I was raised with but it should be understood that I do not agree with the decisions, regulations, laws, traditions, customs, or any particular prejudice associated with that of my church.  It’d be safe to say any of my pieces with religious aspects should be read with an open mind- take the truths behind the lessons and teachings rather than the specifics of the religion itself. Afterall Nirvana, Heaven, and Jannat are all just different versions of inner peace.


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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Metaphysical Phenomenon, Writings


Sunday Bike Ride

A Sunday bike ride around the neighborhood right before dusk is one of the most enchanting experiences. People are out and about but obviously winding ride The anxiousness of the weekday duties, errand-running, and routine life are all but drained out of everyone. While Monday may only be a few hours away, for this brief moment in the week everyone seems to have forgotten. Wind rushes through your hair and ruffles your shirt over and over and over again. Dark golden sunlight struggles to reach the pavement around you as it realizes its time is almost up. Cars pass by slowly as if with no destination or sense of time. You and your bike, even if surrounded by all these things, are actually all alone. Alone and at peace.

But have you ever had a painful experience on a bike? I recently put up my prose “Pedal Forward” which is exactly that experience. Yesterday I had time to post another poem about an intense struggle in my life called “Things I Need Know.” I thought these two pieces go hand in hand considering they both deal with the idea of overcoming an obstacle. Hopefully these pieces can help those readers who have just fallen off their bike and are looking forward to getting up. Enjoy!


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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Writings


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The Purpose of Dreaming

I am a deep sleeper. Most of the time when my alarm goes off or someone tries to casually wake me up, dream mirrorI won’t even react. I’ve slept through people slapping me, shaking me, writing on me, and at least three alarms going off at once. Though this is sometimes the cause of my laziness or sleepiness early in the morning, I feel as if I choose to keep sleeping for the sake of the dreams I have. In my head I’m convinced every single dream has a very specific meaning behind it. If there is a certain lesson or insight I’d like to gain about myself or any situation in my life, I try and focus my thoughts towards that revelation before going to sleep.  Then, using all of my analytical skills I will usually try to decipher the true meaning of my dreams by taking notice of certain images that are repeated, phrases that are emphasized, and the overall environment or feel of the dream. The more images, themes, and motifs I am able to pick up on the better my understanding of what the dream was trying to tell me. And though I haven’t bought one yet, I know there are several dream books out there that can tell you what each archetype in your dream means.

People are known to have dreams that actually end up being predictions for events in their lives (i.e. dejavu), reveal their true subconscious desires to themselves, or puts them face to face with their fears. Recently, a friend of mine told me he believes that dreams are just memories from our past lives that our soul begs us to relive again, even if its only during sleep. Scientifically, dreams are an effect of reaching our Rapid Eye Movement (R.E.M.) phase in sleep- the point where our body from the neck down becomes paralyzed, our eyes move rapidly back and forth beneath our eyelids, and the chemical known as Dimethyltryptamine or DMT is released into our brains, forcing us to imagine things with our eyes closed (i.e. dreaming).

But in reality, us humans know very little about why we dream or what the true purpose of dreaming might be. Whether or not I know the purpose of dreaming, my dreams have given me great story ideas over the years and inspired me to keep a dream journal as of late. Because of this, I’ve started picking up on those emphasized images more, hearing those repetitive phrases more often, and ultimately deciphering the unique code of each dream quicker. Having some crazy dreams? Maybe you should do the same.



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