Lofty Expectations

My life is stranger than fiction. I lose a client and gain a client. The problem is that one client is not enough to pay the bills.

So, to gain some equilibrium, I am going to have to take a couple terms off from college to take HRM exams so I ca become certified. I was hoping that I could wait on this but since the last scare with the school’s financial dept.,  I am thinking that I will have to be working at something more substantial than a minimum wage level job in order to be able to hold any hope of actually making any headway.

I had hoped to gain enough work as a ghost and as an editor to keep things afloat, but my original client, the one who had been a mainstay. decided to go on a 50,000 page expedition (he wanted me to write 50,000 pages (?) because “content and number of pages are the key to sales”. While I believe that 50,000 actually meant number of words, he took it to mean 50,000 pages. I warned him that nobody would even WANT to download it, let alone read it…but he thought I was just raining on his parade.

I hope, upon hope, that he will come back…but who knows? In the meantime, I also hope to acquire more clients to meet with my needs. Still, certification would afford me a salaried job rather than a wage. And I am good at HRM.

At the same time, I have ideas going through my head. Not writing ideas, but business-related. Like flood control that doubles as sustainable energy+drinkable water. Or an idea on economic rejuvenation that takes the agricultural lifestyle of the area and turns it into a community based cooperative/collaborative effort to create both jobs and revenue for the area.

Unfortunately, these ideas are at a standstill while I await  answers.   As are the film projects I am trying to write proposals for.

Adding to this is new trouble from my mother. At the beginning of the year, I agreed to save money and buy her old car. When the college messed up on my financial aid, I ended up having to use the money I had already saved so that I could survive after missing out on last month’s stipend check.

Apparently, moms no longer understand how things that can go wrong sometimes DO go wrong. Oh,well. It’s just another Thursday.

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No FaceBook

In years past, at least the last six years, I have spent part of Thanksgiving on FaceBook. Not this year. Today, for me, is a day of peace, rest, and reflection as it should be for us all. We should hold our peace on all subjects that cause strife. We should rest from our battles. We should reflect upon exactly why this country was founded.

All too many of us forget that the Pilgrims, those purveyors of Puritanism, came to this land so that they might worship in the manner that they wished, without the meddling or the governments of Europe. We forget that the world at that time only allowed one to follow, without harassment, one of two “Christian” religions. The Catholic church and the Church of England suppressed all forms of Protestant beliefs, calling them-openly-heresy. Many sects were massacred on the continent without the privilege of a trial by jury simply because they were seen as heretical and the church thought that they needed to be stamped out. The Church of England, England’s answer to the Catholic Church in every way except its being run by the king, was no better toward Protestant churches…the Puritans included. Thus, they came to this continent for the sole purpose of freedom. This religious freedom, however, did not extend to all. It seems that all were free to worship as they pleased within the colonies as long as they worshiped as the Puritans did.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me back track a bit and delve a bit deeper into the motives of the king that allowed the move. After all, he had a reason, or a series of reasons, to allow the colonization.

Gold, timber, riches–these drove every European empire and England was no different. the more land the empire had, the richer it was esteemed to be. If that extra land just so happened to produce gold, silver, lumber or gems, then the empire was seen as being far richer than its neighbors. And so, the governors sent by England, and even the first governors chosen from the colonials, had a second objective: to seek riches and those things that would create those riches. Gold. Silver. Timber.

It seemed that the new colonies were rich in lumber, but not gold. Or silver. Or anything else that would make England richer than its neighbors.Not that lumber wouldn’t make the empire rich, but gold and precious metals and stones were far more valuable and far more sought after.

But the desires of the empire and the wishes of the new colonists took a back seat to sickness and starvation. Of course it was recorded that at least 1/4 to 1/3 died en route to the “New World” from disease and another 1/4 to 2/3 would die of illness and starvation once they landed…not to mention freezing to death that first winter. They had not planned ahead far enough to bring enough provisions for the first winter season or enough seeds to plant that first spring. They had only thought of one thing: The desire to worship as they wished. Beyond that desire, there had been nothing else.

In our modern age, we forget that had it not been for the natives, the colonies would have died off. Without the natives, this great country would not exist as the country it is today. Had there not been a feast to make peace between the colonists and the natives, Thanksgiving-as a holiday-would not exist. We take for granted the freedoms we now share. We preach our selfish vision of Christ to those around us, making our selfish expectations for others his expectations instead of giving of ourselves selflessly and without condition. We do not respect the beliefs of others, the lifestyles of others, the openness of others, the freedoms of others to believe and live as they desire. We see only our own selfish wants. Our own selfish religious desires. In essence, we see God in our image, not ourselves in His image. We have placed our own desire to believe freely above the desires of the entity we so desire to claim as our God and Savior.

We refuse to see life from the point of view of another, preferring to create the world in our own image and then press others into molds far too limited to be realistic or even true to what humanity should be. Instead, we prefer to see those around us as the infidel, the unbeliever, while we chase false gods and prophets because we like the message they give.

We have supplanted faith, replacing it with self-desire. We have rejected belief, replacing it with gluttony and greed. We have erased the spiritual lifestyle and created a religion that relies on physical icons, rites, and rituals-physical changes to herald spiritual changes-to prove that we are on the right path. But religion was not the intent of those who started spiritual movements. Christ did not intend for the path he exemplified to become a religion, nor did Mohammed or Krishna, Or even Buddha. All was meant to be a spiritual journey of slow imperceivable changes that would culminate in a  different person where the believer/follower was concerned. Instead, Christianity and Islam became physically oppressing caricatures of what they were supposed to be. They ceased to be ways of living and became religions that desired the eradication of everyone who refused to bend to their selfish wills. Neither deal with the will of God anymore.

But, again, I veer off subject. I suppose my point is that we waste too much time complaining that when Thanksgiving comes around, we no longer know exactly what we have to be thankful for. We treat it like a vacation when it should be a day of reflection. We tend to see it as another day we can use to push our agendas. Another day to wage the endless war we have engaged ourselves in, allowing ourselves to be separated from our fellow human beings because they are black or red or Mexican or Native American or Jew or Republican or Democrat or Muslim or gay or Trans or a sinner or whatever we see them as. We never see them as just another fellow traveler on the same path called life. We cannot seem to see that we no longer have to validate them with our personal views in order to accept them as a member of the human race. Because if we have to validate them, then we are actually trying to validate ourselves. In trying to validate ourselves, we realize that even we are not worthy of whatever mercy we are shown and thus cannot seem to find within ourselves an ounce of mercy or understanding to show another.

So, Today, reflect. More than that, go and relearn this country’s history and the history of the world. Learn about the times spoken about in your Bible and learn about the customs of the time…seeking out the customs of the surrounding nations. learn why the imagery is as it is and why the book is so hard for even theologians to understand. Learn to question what you were taught. Learn that the truth is not bound to just one source, but can be found everywhere in every form of teaching. Forget your pride and learn humility.

Moreover, find a little peace. Remove yourself from the battle for a little while. Step back and take a look from a different perspective. Rest from it all. Give yourself a little time to reboot. Tomorrow is a new day, even if you can’t see it as such. begin a process of change. Look in your own heart and find your own faults, choosing to work on those before you attack anyone else for the faults you perceive in them.

Finally, look inside yourself and reflect back on your life to see what you have to be thankful for. If you can’t find anything, then you have spent too much time focused on things you should not have been focused on such as the color of your neighbor’s skin, his place of origin, his beliefs, or his sexual orientation/[preference. Or perhaps you have focused on other nonessential idols such as gun rights or forcing your belief down the throats of all you come in contact with. Whatever consumes your heart is your god, therefore whatever consumes your heart consumes your mind and takes away any reason to be thankful, thus you become a slave to it. Free your mind.

 

 

Rievers

It amazes me that the word riever is not in the spellcheck dictionary. while I know that it is a bit arcane, there is actually a college whose mascot is-gasp-a riever! Their sports teams are known as the Iowa Western Rievers, for crying out loud.

What is a riever? A riever is a river pirate. they sail up and down rivers raiding trade along the river. But, of course, spellcheck has no mechanical clue that the word actually exists. Really? Really???

I thought they loaded every word in the dictionary, important or no, into the damn program. hmmm….

An Author’s Gripe

I remember reading an article where a “fan” of the fantasy genre stated that fantasy was getting too predictable. They complained about every fantasy novel or short story having the same plot devices such as prophecies, magic, a mission that the protagonist(s) had to perform, etc. and asked why fantasy writers couldn’t come up with anything original. I was irritated after reading the article and though ‘if they want a fantasy story without those elements, then why didn’t they try writing the story they wanted?’

Then I realized that those who gripe the loudest are the very ones who couldn’t write a fantasy story to save their lives. Yes, they can always point out what is wrong, in their opinion, with how a story is written.

Novel Idea # 1: Hey book critics: If you can’t stand the standard fantasy novel plots, why not come up with a few new plots, try to write a story around them, then submit them to see if they actually work?

I’ll bet you would find it isn’t half as easy to formulate a story if you removed the very elements that make fantasy what it is. Write a fantasy story without a central prophecy. Write it without magic or an element of mysticism. Take the quest out of it. Go ahead.

I’ll guarantee you that, by the time you are done, you will not have a fantasy story. You will have just a regular, bland, run-of-the-mill allegory with absolutely no point or direction.

Novel Idea # 2: Try to understand that fantasy is known as fantasy simply because the plots aren’t necessarily believable, realistic, or without magic or mysticism.

In fantasy, as with science fiction, there are only a handful of plots or plot devices. what good would sci-fi be without interstellar travel or something scientifically more advanced than modern day? The same goes with fantasy.  fantasy would not be the same if it wasn’t built around some long ago era or based on a world vaguely similar to our own, yet either less developed or more savage. It does not hold up without magic and or prophecy.

Think about it. What are key “concerns” in modern culture? Is it not our aversion to magic, even though we are drawn to it, and yet our obsessive fascination with prophecy–which,  in its own right, is still a form of perceived magic? In our own little way, we sate our desire for fantasy through our modern fixation with prophecy-both in a religious sense and a secular sense.

Novel Idea # 3: Fantasy is fantasy because it cannot be believed, not because it resembles reality.

Fantasy allows the reader to escape from reality, not relive it. It is designed, much like science fiction, to take the reader to other worlds and times, not to remind them of the world around them. It isn’t supposed to be believable. nor is it supposed to reflect reality in any way. It is fantasy simply because it is what all fantasize about: magic powers, mystic journeys, fulfilling a mission or a personal prophecy, etc. Why try to change it?

Novel Idea # 4: Finally, if you are that disgusted with, or hate fantasy that much, why not try another genre?

I will tell you, if you don’t like fantasy’s plot devices and themes, you will not like science fiction for all the same reasons. After all, both science fiction and fantasy rely on two or three different plot devices that have remained unchanged since they were created and every story seems somewhat predictable, if you have studied plots and plot devices.

Go read romance, erotica, Christian Fiction, horror, or detective novels. Oh, wait. All genres rely on three or four central plots/plot devices. it is just how writing is done. deal with the familiar and change as little about the formulation as possible.

In conclusion, I guess what I am trying to say is this: before you gripe about how a book is written, try writing one yourself as you would want it written so you can see whether it would work or not. Otherwise, don’t bitch. Authors write what they see in their minds, not according to what other believe it should be.

To the serious writer

Any serious writer avoids Wikipedia unless they have no other recourse. If they are collegiate writers (students as well as freelance writers/bloggers), they are told that Wikipedia is unacceptable as a source of information for any serious research paper. This means that, if you intend to write a blog, you should first seek other sources of information before falling back to Wikipedia.

Why? Well, this is simple. Wikipedia is an open site, meaning that anyone can get onto the site, publish any unverified/inaccurate information and it is not verified or even cited. It is also easily edited by anyone seeking to put their mark on the material contained there. Cited material can, and often is, incorrectly cited making it unreliable.

As an author, I  never rely on Wikipedia unless I cannot find material otherwise. But this is so rare, that Wiki is simply a starting point for sketching outlines and a source of the reference BOOKS I need to look for, not ever my main source. I often dig as deep as I can to find historical sites that contain much of the historical information I need. I double check all references before using them as well.

I dislike it when someone makes a reference to Wikipedia when replying to my replies on posts because it shows me two things:

  1. they do not want to take time to really dig for information, and
  2. they simply want to argue about something I have already fact-checked or LIVED through.

I do not have time to argue points. I do, however, ask that all aspiring authors/writers become acquainted with the fact that Wikipedia is NOT an acceptable source of information for any form of research or reference. If you’re going to write, find credible sources, like past articles from election years or actual biographical/autobiographical material such as memoirs and/or history books.

It’s Got Me Scratching My Head

So I was on my erotica blog (Harry’s World) and tried to reblog the only chapter of the last WIP I was working on there. I thought I had successfully done so when…the blog crashed. Was the shock of my return too much for it? Did something go horribly wrong?

I know that it has been a year since I actually visited the blog, not that it was intended, but shit. I should be able to make posts. I do, after all, tend to have long dry spells when it comes to writing and especially when it comes to writing erotica. but it shouldn’t cause a blog to crash when I decide to pick the genre back up again.

Whatever the problem, I will get to the bottom of it. I will write more about HH. I will bring his adventures to life. And I will publish them when I am through.

I now have inspiration. When one is single, it is only easy to bring to life a certain amount of his or her fantasies. But once you are married, you can suddenly bring in the sensations and the smells that go along with it all as well. You are finally able to paint pictures that the reader can touch, taste, hear, and smell. You can make it all seem so real, so sensual. You can give it depth through experience.

I am disappointed that I cannot get on the blog and do what I set out to do. Still, it just might be a glitch taking place today. Who Knows? I sure hope that the blog isn’t in WordPress jail. After all, it is an adult-only blog and I don’t always have time to check and make sure all the readers are adults. Of course there are adults that I wonder about their maturity level anyway, but still. I would like to continue Harry’s journey.

The trouble with family

It is amazing just how much an author puts into his or her stories. Past experiences, along with basic knowledge, makes up quite a bit of what goes into a character, a scene, or basis of the story. Strangely enough, these can be separated into sections. the darker side of those around the author become villains, just as the darker events turn into the most horrifying scenes. the lighter, then, becomes the protagonists and the “good” minor characters.

I have written a lot of what my family is into many of my characters. Depending on the mood or tone of a conversation, a character can be a positive one or a negative one. With me, the darkest side of my family experiences go into my horror or vampire fiction. the lighter side goes into my less dark stories. The tone of the atmosphere, socially, sometimes influences my flash fiction and even many of my short stories.

The problem with family is that they never realize where characters come from. Nor do they see fiction as a source of possible lessons on how they act and treat others. They simply feel that fiction is there to entertain. But wait.

Most religious writings are allegory. Allegories are FICTION. Whether it is based on factual events or not, an allegory still remains fiction. A piece of fiction meant to teach.

But what do allegories teach? That is the question. It depends on the allegory. If it is about war, it is about discipline. If it is about giving up one’s only child, it is about sacrifice. If it has to do with walking a path without proof, it is about having faith in your fellow human beings.

Most fiction, science fiction and fantasy especially, is allegory. Anything dealing with the future, or a battle between good and evil, is an allegory. Some adventure, action, crime, drama, romance, and horror also fits as allegory as well, depending on the actual unintended message (or, sometimes, the meaning that the writer meant) was.

I always intend each story to hold a warning, just as my influences did. I warn of what could happen, what will happen if a course of action is not averted, or or the consequence of trends. I also try to remind that history DOES matter. It DOES teach us where the pitfalls are. It also teaches us what will make the future better.