Category Archives: Articles

The Importance Of Family – A Lesson Each Has Taught Me

IMG_3919Our families define who we are whether we like it or not. My family plays a major role in my life and I am endlessly grateful for it. Although my cousins and aunts and uncles have contributed just as much, my family is so large I could only focus on the direct lines to myself.

Here is a lesson each one has taught me:

My Mother – Our lives are one big canvas. The more colours you add, the more unique the painting becomes. Not everyone will buy a “unique” painting, but the ones who do will find more meaning in each stroke than the painter had ever known. Cherish your colours, marry your collector.

My Father – No man ever broke from the crowd by working for someone else. You must pave your own road to walk on if you want to stand out. Take this path whether the road is paved with gold, or with dirt. We all desire to stand out, the only thing stopping us is our own fear of failure.

My Sister – Sometimes if you look at a simple thing a bit differently, it makes you hilarious. This also applies to success. If we look at the small things everyone takes for granted, we can see a piece of life that is virtually invisible. Taking advantage of these things and use them for your own gain.

My Brother – Competition is best used not against each other, but together against the world. Take on the world as a team, and the world is sure to lose.

My G.G. – Appearance only matters to those who do not affect your life. The age of your mind is the age of your body. Surround yourself with those who love you, and in them, you will live forever. After all, true beauty is how you live, knowing that there is an end.

My Grandma – No matter what happens in your family, they will still be your family. Accept them for who they are and you will have a happy, healthy life. Show them hospitality, and they will grow closer than one could hope for.

My Papa – Other than your children, your significant other is the most important person in your life. They will keep you grounded, pick you up when you fall, love you when you are at your lowest. Sometimes it may be hard, but the key to happiness: Listen to your wife.

My Granny – Love has no boundaries. It can exist in life, and in death. The people that we love make us who we are, and we should all be grateful for that.

My Grampy – There is no room among men for those who question themselves. A real man is one who knows he is not perfect, but never stops bettering himself.

Special Mention: My Dog – There is always room for something else to care about in ones life. Love is reciprocal. I love my dog, she loves me. This should be applied to people too, but we find that hard sometimes because they have their own opinions.

Happy arting,

Isaac Olajos

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The Writers Mantra – A Creation of My Own

DSCF6432There is a mantra that I thought up years ago when I first became interested in writing. It is short, simple, and true to anyone who finds power in words. I encourage you to share/reblog this to see if it is true to all writers, for my reach as a blogger is very slim at this point in time. I hope you find meaning in it, among other things I write:

Give Me a Picture,
And I will give you a thousand words.
Give me a Word,
And I will recreate the World in its likeness.

-Isaac Olajos

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6 Life Lessons From My Father – Happy Birthday

IMG_2250Throughout life you are bombarded with life lessons, most of them are garbage (to be kind). Ones you can always count on are those your family gives you. Yeah they require a bit of self interpreting sometimes, but they are always rooted in the best of intentions. Some of the most valuable lessons that have shaped me as a man are those from my father. In lue of his birthday, I thought I would share some:

1 – Be a Man.

Yeah it’s cliche, but not in the way you would think. I come from a long line of manly men. My grandfather would saw casts off in his bathtub to play hockey, run out and race cars, build everything with his bare hands. Even when it came to the “not so manly things,” they would be as manly as it gets. My grandfather cried a few times. Once when we bought him a giant BBQ, and always during the national anthem. That is being a true man, and my father passed this down to me first hand. He taught me to hunt, to never run away from my problems and face them head on, to always keep my word, to be loyal to family and friends. My father showed me that no matter how many physical things you do, being a man boils down to how you deal with everyday occurrences in life. Doing this with courage, honour, and discipline makes the man.

2 – No One Ever Broke From the Crowd Working For Someone Else.

No one ever became a millionaire by working for someone else. This is what my dad taught me. If you want to succeed and I mean really succeed, you must create something that is your own. It’s a huge risk, but if you work hard, have people you trust behind you, and are bred with a hint of intelligence and creativity you can succeed on your own. Even if you make a mediocre salary, working for yourself is always more rewarding than being a drone in someones army who has already mastered this skill.

3 – Love What You Do.

Again a total cliche but this is a fact few people realize. We have far too many doctors hating their career, which makes for far too many terrible doctors. The only way you can find a fulfilling life is if you love what you do. If you don’t how will you ever live with yourself when you’ve been in the same hole for 40 years? Even if you have a career you don’t love, do something you love as a hobby. A life without passions is not a life I wish on anyone.

4 – Blood Trumps All.

You would think this is the italian in me talking and partially it is. Yet one thing i have learned from my father is blood trumps all. No matter how many bridges you burn, if you love your family they will always have your back. My family is incredibly close and i think keeping them close was and still is a driver of my success. When I achieve, I do not do so for myself but to make my family proud. My dad showed me that your family is an extension of yourself, and without them you are not a whole.

5 – Get Outside.

Hunt, fish, hike, swim, camp. Get outside. I mean really get outside. Once in every persons life they should venture into the woods where you cannot hear a car, see a house, find a friend. Go out by yourself and get in touch with nature. My dad introduced me to this part of my hobby and it is one of the most rewarding I have. Being outside is like meditating. You hear nothing but yourself and you realize how loud the secluded world can become.

On top of this, everyone who chooses to eat meat should hunt once. It sounds barbaric to some but it really makes you realize the hidden world where your burger comes from. When you have to practice your skills in order take the life of an innocent animal, then skin it, prepare its meat, and eat it, you really gain a sense of oneness with the natural world. You also learn to appreciate that burger infinitely more.

6 – There Will Always Be More, But Seek It Till You Die.

You will never be the best there is, but never stop trying. The world is bigger than any man can handle, but never stop exploring. There is more to learn than our inefficient minds can compile, yet never stop compiling. These are some mantras my dad has taught me. I don’t deny the possibility of being the richest, or the smartest, or the best. Yet the probability is slim. The only way a great man is made, is when he accepts he will never achieve greatness, yet indefinitely pursues it.

Happy Birthday Dad,

Isaac Olajos

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5 Tips to Writing Better Poetry – A Mediocre Poets Guide

IMG_00000407Recently, I’ve read too many poems that are lacking the feel that a proper excerpt should have. I’m not claiming to be a very good writer, far from it in fact. Yet I feel that through reading others poems and personal trial and error, I have found some of the major problems with most new writers.

Here are 5 tips on how to write a better poem:

1-Stray From the normal Rhyme Scheme.

Far too many new authors write all of their poetry with the same simple rhyme scheme. This isn’t a huge issue, but if the wording is weak it can begin to feel as if you are reading a Dr Suess book. To create better emotion in your poetry you should think of a rhyme scheme that is unique and mirrors the emotion you intend to convey. Sometimes abandoning rhyme’s all together provides the most powerful message, as it comes directly from your mind, without having to modify your thoughts to adhere to an arbitrary rule.

2-Keep A Rhythm, Simple or Complex.

To add on to the rhyme scheme idea, those with the simple patterns tend to have lyrical rhythm down to a T. Yet those who realize rhymes aren’t necessary in modern poetry tend to jumble their words into one long train of thought. To create a more powerful reading experience, break your poem up into different stanzas. Coaxing the reader into following a rhythm of your words while reading. This helps emphasize certain lines and specific words, allowing the reader to find a more powerful message.

3-Stop Disturbing People.

I understand that poetry is largely based upon personal emotion, but it also must be pleasurable to read even when conveying dark thoughts. Too often do I see poorly written poems about gore and abuse and other dark topics that rely on shock value to convey emotion. This is acceptable at points, but when an entire body of work is based on shocking people into feeling it becomes a burden to read and your audience dissipates quickly. Try using metaphors or wording things less literally to get your point across.

4-Don’t Search for Obscure Words to Make you Sound More Intelligent.

This is one of the worst crimes you can commit. Using long obscure words in your poetry simply to display your literary superiority is confusing to the average reader. I would much rather see a poem that uses a word that all readers can understand than one that halts the rhythm of the poem so that the reader can google what that strange synonym means. Simplicity is often the best route.

5-Try new styles.

Finally, get out of your comfort zone. People always say do one thing really well but in literature, you must do many different things and combine them to succeed. Playing with different styles can help you determine what you enjoy, as well as give you another outlook on the style you use. Innovation comes from exploration. So go ahead, show the world something new.

Happy arting,

Isaac Olajos

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5 Ways to Create a Better Character – The Non Obvious Way

IMG_2772One of the most difficult things in writing is building a character. Especially one that is able to encourage readers to experience every emotion you intended to evoke. Everyone will tell you the basics: Give them a personality, obsessions, vices, ideals, passions. Yet no one will really explain how to bring these traits seamlessly to life.

Here are 5 suggestions on how to unify all of the elements you put into a character seamlessly:

1-Base them upon someone you know… Lavishly:

The first step for those who cannot tie a character together is to create their essence. Base the character upon someone you know, or a combination of people… with some artistic liberty. Although this may seem easy, we have to remember that we are telling a story. Unless you are friends with the Dos Equis man, it is safe to say your companions are probably quite normal. A great character cannot be normal. Their flaws must be hidden, their obsessions must be exaggerated.

2-Create your ideal self:

   If you lack the observational skills, or social interactions to effectively base a character on people that you know; your best bet is to make the protagonist  yourself. Let me rephrase that: Make the protagonist your ideal self. Make sure your character does not react in the way that you normally would, but in the way that you wish you could. Embellish your morals, fears, and passions. Make them a constant fuel for your character and it will come to life.

3-Normal, yet divine:

You must maintain your characters equilibrium between reality and tale. It is important to spark the readers intrigue in the character, giving them aspects a normal human would not have. In this, it is also important to emphasize just how human the character is. Without this, the reader will not be able to connect on a personal level to your creation. Your character must be a celebrity: Human enough to connect with, yet far enough from reach to spark intrigue.

4-Contradict personality with actions:

This has to be my favourite tool. Though your characters personality must be vital, making the story and their actions contradict their traits leaves a spot of mystery for the reader to wonder. The best example of this is from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971). When Willy first appears from the factory limping with a cane, everyone goes silent. They are taken aback by the normality of this fabled man. His cane then gets stuck and he proceeds to fall, roll, then spring youthfully onto his feet to the applause of the crowd. Gene Wilder (Willy Wonka) refused to do the movie unless this scene was added. His reasoning? “Because from that point on, no one will know if I am lying or telling the truth.” This use of the characters actions is vital to keep the reader guessing, but remember not to overdue it, which will disconnect your reader.

5-Finally, allow the character to grow. For better or worse:

I know most people who write have an immoveable ideal of their character rooted in their imagination. It is important that we take this ideal and crush it. We do not go day to day thinking the same or acting the same, neither should your character. It is important for the events of the book to change the characters personality in little, yet significant ways. This could effect the readers view of them, how they deal with the climax of the plot, or even how they react towards other characters in the book. I know this is a somewhat obvious tip, but I see far too many people who ignore it because they have already created their never changing protagonist in their mind, and are stone set on their creation.

Happy arting,

Isaac Olajos

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5 Steps To Being Creative – In Writing, Living, Or Any Other Art

IMG_2721       If there’s one thing that attending university has taught me, it’s that the world is painfully uncreative. The majority of people I know think linearly. They have no idea how to create something new and exciting. Straying from what they were taught feels uncomfortable and is rarely done. The problem is intelligence doesn’t demand creativity, because we can have the capacity to remember everything someone tells us and regurgitate it. Unfortunately, innovation requires both. That is why so few people have so much of our wealth, because they know how to influence their thought into creating something useful and different.

I have created a few tips that work for me, on how to expand your creativity or find it if it is not already there:

1- Take Time to Observe.

      Observation is one of the strongest ways to spark your creativity. Most of us go day to day, blocking out the world around us by focusing on where we are going, what we have to do, and how little time is left. In reality, we just need to slow down. Stop for a minute. When you take a walk to work or school think of nothing but what is around you in that moment. Let your destination be a passive thought. Engage your senses in your walk, how does it feel? How do you feel? What can you hear, smell, see? All of these practices will allow you to become more in tune with your thought process, as well as the world around you.

2- Bad Ideas are Like Kindling. 

I can’t count the number of times someone thought my idea was terrible, or impossible, or just plain abnormal. Because of this, I cant count the number of times I’ve abandoned a thought in fear of its failed outcome. This has to be one of my biggest regrets. I have learned now that every idea spawns a better one. Even the ideas that fail give you a lesson to learn by, or material to improve upon. If we do not accept that we may fail, we can never succeed. If we do not risk failure, we will never know the raw potential of our ideas.

Creativity comes from those who do not abandon seemingly ‘bad’ ideas, but expand them into useable fragments of something good. For every 1000 bad ideas, there may be one with potential, but the other thousand are the missing pieces to making our one idea a success. The option of expanding ideas we view as ‘bad’ allows us to mirror life in our art, for nothing we do is ever predictable. So we must think in the same way we live: not predicting the outcome, but giving it our all to succeed.

3- Be Uncomfortable.

This is the single hardest thing for people to do, yet the most rewarding. Everyone always tells you to live life to your fullest, yet we all live in a secluded box. Even those who are constantly social and living the high life are generally creatures of habit. Especially the (kill me for saying this) “YOLO” ‘ers. In fact, they are the worst.

To become more creative, we need to challenge ourselves to experience new things. To place ourselves in situations that make us feel like we shouldn’t be there, and tough it out. This lets us experience not only our inner workings, but broaden the way we observe the world. Immersing ourselves in different culture, events, locations, people, or even just critiquing the taste of a beer that we have never heard of. Experiencing (*and observing*) new things are what allows our thoughts to cascade into innovative ideas, without it we will just reword our previous thoughts and convince ourselves they are unique.

4- Make it Personal.

Ever had a moment that burns in your memory, no matter how hard you try to forget it? Or maybe think of the happiest moment you can remember, the one that you turn to for a smile? These experiences in life are key to our creative thought. We look for ways to forget the bad and embrace the good, but there is an equilibrium that we must keep in order to think innovatively.

When you work, base some of your ideas off of these experiences: How did you feel? How would you change it? How would you recreate it? Walk through these moments in your mind to reach that innovation associated with important memories. Find a moment that means a great deal to you and base your creation from the experiences and feelings it invokes. These moments are gifts for an artist, if you can properly channel them.

5- Get Emotional.

The final, most important piece of advice I have is to get emotional when you work. Did you ever need to rant about somthing because it made you angry? or cry, or laugh, or scream? Emotion ties into everything we do. No great feat was every completed without emotion, no love story without the authors own passion. Try to change the way you respond to intense emotion, and channel that energy in your art. Paint while you are angry, write when you are lonely, compose a masterpiece when you realize that breathing another day is profound.

Creativity can come from many places, but the greatest is when you realize that the world is unfathomably complex, and you find a place within yourself that mirrors that complexity and awe.

Happy arting,

Isaac Olajos

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A Note About My Writing – Isaac Olajos

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There are many types of writers out there, yet I still I find they can be lumped into two categories: Those who swear by theory and structure, and those who simply write. I have no problems with either, and both can be phenomenal or terrible depending on skill. I for one am one who just writes. I will not go out of my way to insert specific rhetorical devices, abide by certain structures or formats, and sometimes even grammar check (I like commas too much).

If someone reads my work and says, “hey, your structure is terrible”, all I can say is “how do you know, it’s ‘my’ structure.” On that note, any ways to improve my writing are welcomed as long as you take from it what I want you to take: the thoughts words inspire.

My goals for this blog are to provide a place for myself, and others to share their writing. As well as have a place and read what others create. Also, as I cannot stress enough, take something positive from the words on here.

I have always been an avid reader and writer. My first clue was when everyone my age was learning to read Dr. Suess’ “Hop on Pop” (which is a great children’s read) I was beginning the “Inkspell” series. I went on to write haikus about the beauty of nature and all of its adversaries in grade four while everyone else was writing about how batman smells.

On that note, you will find songs, formal essays (usually for school), narrative, short stories, poems, and eventually a book by myself. They are all original works, and the pictures attached to any of my publications are ones I have taken myself. Feel free to comment on anything, as well as paraphrase my work, because I would love to see the meaning people take from it.

Overall, I am not particularity crisp, but I have my moments. Enjoy what you read, and if you enjoy it enough, leave a mark! As I always say, if I can inspire just one person to create something of value to them, I have done what should be done.

Happy reading, happy writing.

Isaac Olajos

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