Monday, July 28, 2014

Guest Blog - A Cherry Blossom Bursting with Words

It's been a long time since I've written a blog post! I'm now halfway through my pregnancy with another baby GIRL! Claire Marie will be here before we know it! Kendal and Kylie still keep me busy every day, of course, but I've also started up my new candle business that has been keeping me VERY busy! And I love every minute of it! You can check out my store here: Jewelry In Candles. Yes-- there's really jewelry in the candles!! Trust me, they make the best gifts!

So, with my busy lifestyle, I was so thankful when my friend and fellow author, Morgan, agreed to write a guest post for me! So, without further ado, here's Miss Morgan Straughan Comnick to tell us how Japanese culture influences her writing. :)

A Cherry Blossom Bursting with Words
By: Morgan Straughan Comnick

Have you ever had that one show that opened your true self, changed your life, sparked an almost religious experience inside you?  I had a few medias form this path for me, each crafting a stepping stone that steadied my soul, formed a bond within me for life.  The catchy theme to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers still pulses through my blood, bringing me out of gloom, making me believe I can do help others. Pokemon makes me feel I am a champion, that as long as I have my loved ones by my side, I can achieve greatness.  Yu-gi-oh allowed me to find friendships in unlikely people, finding treasure in ones labeled unfairly, hiding in the shadows like myself, learn to be a team player. And then…there was Cardcaptor Sakura and my eyes were open. I saw the light and I heard angels singing.  I was exposed into a world called anime (Japanese animation), seeing the beautiful angles of Japan, this amazing, breathtaking nation and soon, Japanese graphic novels pushed their way into my life due to my anime interests. Manga fueled my soul, blending seamlessly into my creative nature.  A sakura blossom was born into my heart and its scent has graced everything I have done.
Manga, unlike American graphic novels (not to offend anyone), have such depth, such detail, such a beautiful complexity to it, but no matter how fantastical, how unbelievable the world is, there is a part that touches your heart, speaks to you, teaches you a lesson woven within its pages. I wanted to express this in my writing, share these feelings of growth with my readers.  Manga has taught me that love is pure, love is final, truthful, raw, powerful, right, worth so much pain and sacrifice.  We are all deep down super heroes and there are several sides to every story. Connections, relationships, good or bad, related by blood, spirit, or heart, run deep, all encompassing.  The fate of the world is threatened too often, something so critical as weak as fraying, thin, worn thread. All problems can start as a dim firefly, but with a snap of a finger, a blink of an eye, a chain of events, the earth can crumble under your feet.  Manga has made me more accepting, more caring, more open to love.  Manga has made me a better person.  This gift of insight is what I want to instill in my writing, a message, a connection, a hand, to my readers.
Manga dresses up the everyday too as well, making me go on mystical adventures right in my bedroom, curled under my blanket.  Lovely costumes, adorable school uniforms, pastry shops with cakes so cute you want to stare at them forever, shrines and festivals that make you tap your toes to unheard music!  School is so much more interesting in manga, even the chores. There’s bento lunch boxes that make your mouth water, boys who challenge each other to basketball games every other day, romances that make you melt into a puddle from saying awwww too much or a simple love confession makes your heart pitter-patter along with the character’s. Kisses are steamer, making the pages smoke with the passion like a hot springs.  And oh! The comedy cannot be overlooked! The slap-stick, the banter, balls to the head; it’s amazing these high school kids are ALIVE! For a girl like me who trips over invisible surfaces, this is a blessing foundation of knowledge! Manga tickles my funny bone, keeps me dreaming, keeps me youthful, its insanity allowing me to stay sane and enjoy my weird, clumsy, shy, silly nature with others who won’t judge.
So, with all this being said, why incorporate these cartoonish feelings into my novel works? Because what we are really searching for in a story is these things in entertainment form.  The manga-ka (manga artist) have the stunning pictures to help guide the reader into their thoughts. Words themselves, words alone, are harder to cast this magic on.  So, I take the kindness, the lessons, the joy manga has given me and pour it, sprinkle it, into my work.  When I image a love scene between a couple, I envision the warmth of rainbow bubbles, dreamy sparkles, starry, large eyes gazing into the face of their darling.  A simple school conversation is as jazzed as two guys fighting over a girl through a sports match to the finish, who are defying gravity, yet not.  When the world is over, there is always a hope, a glimmer, a twist that makes it work out or will at least shatter the reader in such a way it makes an atomic impact, being unforgettable.
Japanese culture is infused in everything I do now.  It was always meant to define me, make me shine, help me find happiness and it has never failed me. Why would I not share its gift of imagery, creativeness, and morals, with the world in my own way, with my writing style, blending East and West in a stew of satisfaction?
I owe my otaku (Japanese culture loving) nature my lifelong dedication; we are connected by a red string of fate that cannot be snipped.
The scent of cherry blossoms light my path, kissing every deed I do…I love them for it.
Sayonara minna-san.

About the Author:
Educator of young minds by day, super nerdy savior of justice and cute things by night, Morgan Straughan Comnick has a love for turning the normal into something special without losing its essence. Morgan draws from real life experiences and her ongoing imagination to spark her writing. In her spare time, she enjoys doing goofy voices, traveling to new worlds by turning pages, humming child-like songs, and forcing people to smile with her “bubbliness.” It is Morgan’s mission in life to spread the amazement of otaku/Japanese culture to the world and to stop bullying; she knows everyone shines brightly.

(All social medias are in blue cherry blossoms in the upper right hand corner)

Books include: “Spirit Vision,” “A Sweet, Little Dream” (a poetry/short story collection), and two short stories in “Recollection of Shared Days: Story of Celebration,” all through Paper Crane Books Press (

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