Two years on, I’m still “Playing God”

It has been exactly two years since my book “Playing God” was published – and over that time, since writing the stories within, I have been thinking a lot about The Man in Black/The Man in White who is the protagonist of the book and the stories that I wrote.

I will admit that when I first began writing the character of “The Man in Black” in the first story of the collection I did not entirely know who he was, what he was, nor where he came from – however, the more stories that I wrote the more I discovered who he was, what he was, and where he came from, and when I was touched by the hand of inspiration and I found out who he was/what he was everything just fell into place and that realization echoed through and influenced every story that features him.

It’s weird, but I discover something new about the protagonist of the stories and the book I wrote every day – things that I must have included subconsciously while I was writing them – and when I think about who the “Man in Black” is and who he used to be before the stories that I told of him are set, I realize how much of his hidden identity/who he used to be continues to inspire everything that he does, the acts that he chooses to take, and the interactions that he has with the other characters of the stories… an identity that he is trying to run away from and be the antithesis of.

I have come to think of the seven stories of “Playing God” as three act plays, of a sort – something that was not initially intended, but something that delights me was the final outcome by accident… or was it? In any case, “Playing God” is and always will be a special book to me and one that includes so much of me within its pages and within the main protagonist. So, I just want to say a Happy 2nd Birthday to my book “Playing God”and happy birthday to “The Man In Black” who inspired me so much.

I drew this sketch back in February in anticipation for the two year anniversary of the publication of my book “Playing God” and it is essentially a brainstorm of things that the “Man in Black” might have had racing through his head at any given moment of every one of the seven stories within the collection that he features.

Writing all the stories of “Playing God”was a journey of discovery for me just as it was for the “Man in Black/Man in White” whom I wrote about, and I will always think of those stories and that character fondly, and perhaps one day I will find another tale to tell about the mercurious “Man in Black” who looks like David Bowie but who is not David Bowie.

-Mark

“We Can Be Heroes”

“The Man In Black” from my book ‘Playing God’ just dropped me a line and wanted me to tell everybody what he always says to me and what he always reminds me: Stay safe! Stay positive! Stay hopeful! And, of course, always be like David Bowie and remember “We can be heroes”… and I really do hope and pray that with the help and the support of everyone – both medical professionals and everybody on Earth – we can all get through this crisis and all help to beat the Coronavirus by working together and by supporting one another. Take care, my friends! Be a hero in any way that you can! 😊🌠

My Poem “My Hero”

Family has always meant
everything to my Dad
and my Dad will always mean
everything to our family…
my Dad is the heart of our family,
the one that we take
all of our strength, our love,
and our inspiration from,
and he means more to all of us
than could ever be expressed…
my Dad has often had to suffer
the scars of all the battles
that he has found himself drawn into –
both physical and emotional;
however, my Dad has never given up,
my Dad has always put
everyone else’s thoughts, feelings,
and needs before his own,
and my Dad has always been there
for his children when they
needed him the most…
my Dad is such a phenomenal
role-model, a beacon hope,
and his natural blue eyes
and his magnetic smile
is always reason enough
to smile in return and believe
that even the darkest of days
can be turned around with a ray
of sunshine in the form
of someone selfless and special…
the gift that is my Dad
is the one that I have been blessed
to have in my life all my life,
and I would not be anything
without the super-human man
who will forever be an inspiration
to me in so many ways:
the one who first taught me
the meaning of working hard
for whatever it is that you desire,
and the one who daily shows me
that nothing is ever impossible,
because my Dad –
David William George Hastings –
is and always will be my hero.

My Poem “The Hero’s Journey”

It occurs to me that since I
first began writing poetry
that I have been on my own version
of “The Hero’s Journey”…
perhaps I have been on
my “Hero’s Journey” since I was a child –
or, more likely, like most people
who find themselves called
to seek out adventure,
my childhood was just the preparation
that I needed to learn and to grow
before I knew what I had to do,
why I had to do it,
and where I needed to go.

My call to adventure was one of love –
and when I discovered the book
that I would come to consider
as the poetic version of a “holy text”
that was when I felt like I crossed
a threshold into a new world
where I could see patterns
and poetry all around me
and I felt truly transformed
and able to walk through doors
that I was unable to do so before.

When I first started upon
the path of the poet,
and wearing the guise
of the Poet of the Sphere,
along the way I found myself
drawn to people and inspired
by mentors and muses
who opened my eyes to things
that challenged the way
that I perceived the world around me
and I was tempted down dead ends
that would ultimately lead me to a downfall.

After my fall I found myself
within a dark and deep abyss
of my own making –
however, eventually, I was able
to pick myself up off the ground
and like the embodiment of
a mythological phoenix
rising from a fire
I felt as if I had been reborn,
and yet again I found myself
walking down a path of transformation
in order to find myself,
which was followed by
moments of revelation
that lead me to atone
for the actions that I had taken
that had lead me to emotional ruin.

Over time I was given the gift
of love from a goddess
and I was forgiven, and then I returned
from the underworld of the unknown
to the land of light where I would
rekindle the love that gives
meaning to everything that I do –
and so the cycle began again,
and again – however each time always
distinctly different in some way –
and after every new revolution
was completed I always found myself
sitting down, alone, writing,
contemplating and attempting
to interpret in verse the revelations
and the phases that combine
to make the tapestry of
my own version of
“The Hero’s Journey”.

“Let’s Dance…”

β€˜Playing God’ out now on Amazon

Seven stories… Seven perspectives… Seven experiences… One Man in Black, one Man in White… Seven morality tales of one immortal… Rebel, Hero, Friend, Fan, Father, Son. Playing God takes you on a journey that connects a hero of myth with a modern day hero of music.

You can get a copy of my new book, Playing God, below: