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.

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.

 

 

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.

The New Year

The New Year

With the New Year looming large, I look back. Before me lies uncharted territory. Behind me lies a year that has shown me that I no longer have anything in common with those I went to school with. I can no longer relate.

When we were in school, we were all optimistic. We all thought that we would never change. We thought that we would remain as we were forever. And some of us has. OK. All have, to a point.

But most have changed, transforming into people I no longer know. My once best friend, for instance. My last contact with him was less than a month ago. Then he went off radar, shortly after calling me names because I refuse to hate. I refuse to even listen to hate.

But that isn’t the end. In the time between then and now, I have had to unfollow many whom I once called friend. Not that I wanted to, but they have fallen victim to the hysteria that has engulfed the nation. Fear. Hate. Ignorance. Greed.

In a time when war is a path to riches for a few, I stand alone in their way. I am as hated as the imagined, fabricated enemies. I am misunderstood as I battle to get the truth out. No one wants to hear the truth.

They say that knowledge is power. But the knowledge I hold, I would rather not know. I can see things. Where this country is headed. What is bound to happen. I guess it is a little bit of a blessing, and a bit of a curse.

But it is a gift that all science fiction writers share without knowing it. Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke only began to realize this before they died, as did George Orwell. Perhaps H. G. Wells also guessed this through his writing of the “Time Machine”, who knows. I know that this sounds strange, but it is true. We actually see what the future might hold. Some stories scare the hell out of us. Others, well, they hold hope.

I know. You’re thinking I am crazy. But stop to think just how many things have come to pass that were brought to light in science fiction. Cell phones. Laptops. Space travel. And who knows what else has been found that we don’t know about.

And yet, the consumer is blissfully unaware of it all. They just assume that we are making discoveries independently of any other source. Guess again. It has all been thought of before. There truly isn’t anything new under the sun.

Forgive me if I am rambling. I have a lot going through my mind. So many things have changed over just two years. So many warnings of things to come. So many clues as to what’ll happen next. Or what might happen next, if things continue in the direction they are going.

Remember how, when you were a youth, you promised yourselves you would never be like your parents? Remember reaching that point in your life where you realized that you had become just like them both?

That is where I differ from the rest. I am like my mother, yet still differ from her. But I am nothing like my father. I can’t stand Puritanical religious dogma. It is too confining. Too hypocritical. Lacking faith. Lacking spirit.

Dogma expects physical change, not spiritual. Dogma demands strict adherence to rules and rites that have lost their meaning over time in the hearts of those who whip themselves to death spiritually following them. And the rites? Also meaningless.

No, I don’t mean that they have no meaning. They have just lost meaning to those who physically struggle to follow or participate in them. This renders them useless. As does the newest misdirection used by revivalist charlatans of preaching wealth through prayer, followed by spiels and ravings on how to hate your neighbor based on color or creed.

Oh, yes. We live in the age of greed, all the while preaching about following “Biblical Laws”. Really? Do they not read their Bibles? Wealth is preached against. (Far easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man into the gates of heaven) Yes, welcome to the age of the rise of the Beast. And it isn’t what they believe it to be. No, it isn’t a single man, but the anti-Christ is. Oh, yes, I do know my Bible. A little better than some would like, but I know it.

The gods they worship are not the Lord, nor is it God in heaven. It never has been.

Greed. Also known as money. This is their chief deity. It drives their every move. It invades their dreams, their motives, their very dealings with their fellow man. If you do not have money, they do not like you. They ignore you. You know nothing in their eyes, and they will be the first to tell you as they take away your house, car, and job…as well as your family.

Ignorance. Oh, how ignorance seems to be a blissful lord of the heart. It keeps you from having to face the truth, no matter whether it will save your life or not. Not one of them, those who preach “Bible says, Bible says, Bible says” ever crack the book, and yet they wave it around like some magic talisman. Really? I could quote verses that’ll strip their piety away and show them for what they are. But I won’t. OK, just one” “They praise me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”…no, two: “Then he will look at those on his left hand and say ‘I know you not for I was hungry and you did not feed me, I was naked and you did not clothe me; I was sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ and they shall say ‘Lord, when did we see you thus and not do unto you?’ And he will answer unto them ‘so much as you refused to do unto one of these, so have you refused to do unto me.’ Amazing how far they have strayed from the reality of their “Holy” book. They don’t even believe in the words it contains, or the sacrifice of their professed Lord and savior. If they did, they would not hate. They would not refuse asylum to refugees. They wouldn’t be fighting over whether they should help the poor and destitute. Hell. They wouldn’t refuse to pay a livable wage. And they wouldn’t continually crucify their Lord with the expectations they place upon the world around them.

Fear. Oh, what a ruthless god. It is one step closer to hate. Once mixed with ignorance, its own parent, it spawns hate. The root of all war and miscommunication.

Hate. The god that is produced by the incestuous union of ignorance and fear. It causes no end of trouble and disaster. It turns friends into enemies, allies into foes.

Guns. The second graven idol. A means to an end. An evil with no conscience. Cold. Emotionless. Useless unless put into the hands of the ignorantly fearful who hate anything not like themselves. Or the insane who care nothing for those they gun down. And yet, it seems that guns have replaced God and Christ in the hearts of all pseudo-Christians.

Biblical Law. Hmmmm. This god is an eerie identical triplet to the Judaic and Sharia Laws, which accompany the other two Abrahamic religions (I refuse to call them as they originated, faiths’ because their modern equivalent is no longer a faith. they no longer rely on the person making spiritual changes within themselves to spawn changes around them and have begun demanding conformity in those around for the comfort of the religious.)

War. Oh, Ares, if you had only known that another religion would find you irresistible, would you have ever left in the first place? (Sarcasm should not be lost on you with that last statement. It wasn’t meant to be taken literal.) This god marches along with greed/money. For a minority, this god helps them acquire the other.

Power. Oh, to be like God. Hell. Oh, to be God. This is their thought. Let’s control others. Why? Because we can. Because we have the power to. The money to. Never mind that we should be concerned about those we are enslaving, to hell with human rights of any kind. To hell with freedoms given and inherent in all. Man is here to be used. Right?

Wrong. True power is not controlling others. It isn’t telling them what to believe. It isn’t spreading your gods out to cause mayhem amongst your fellow countrymen. True power is the knowledge that we are all here to help one another. We are all the same, no matter what our differences.

True power is having the knowledge that you could kill someone, but having compassion enough to let them live. In other words, true power comes from doing good and having mercy upon all. It is knowing when to exercise your authority and also knowing when not to. It is a balance. Something lacking in the majority of our elected representatives. It is definitely lacking in most of the candidates running for President. Most are running for the prestige, the glory, and the money. Those that aren’t? Well, most are just running for their own selfish reasons. I can only find one who isn’t.

And I find this sad. And alarming. What is even more alarming is that the people are gullible enough to believe all their messages. Except the one who is truly for them.

Why do I make this claim? Take a look at who actually pays for the campaigns. Not one of the favorites, those who are actually of either side, are actually financed by the general public. They are funded by a handful of extremely rich men. Men who can buy representation out from under the people. Only one has refused contributions from these men.

I say no names, but I think you know who I am speaking of. Yet, he is a dark horse. Someone who has had to cross into a party he really doesn’t belong to in order to run a serious campaign. He has refused to be bought. I admire him for this.

Of course, this also sets me at odds with all I have known. All my past friends. All my family. It has shown me where I should be and it isn’t where I am. It isn’t associating with the people I once associated with. Perhaps it isn’t even in this country, who knows?

The hate. The greed. The hysteria rampant in the streets. The religious fervor that is whipping the masses into a rabid mob against everything that is different from themselves. Everything that has begun to show through the illusions, everything that is coming through the cracks in the façade.

So now, I am facing changes. I have outgrown my current job, but that is OK. I have another waiting for me. Of course, I have already begun at that new job. I just haven’t received pay.

I am at a cross roads, one where I must choose to either let go of those from my past or let go of what may be my future. All I know is that I can no longer stay here where I am. If I am to grow, I must make some changes in my life. I must move forward or go back. I cannot stay where I am.

So in this New Year, I must make decisions. Do I remain scared to grasp the future? Or do I walk away from the past?

I have many changes planned for this year. Some will throw a lot of people off. Others will be no surprise. And the rest, well, they might just push me beyond being just another struggling published author to being a successfully published author.

Tirade # 1

I am really getting pissed with KDP. I have received a damn email TWICE stating that they “have noticed, in their review that material included in the book Long Cold Winter is widely available on the web. I have already removed it from Wattpad, so that cannot be the source anymore. I know it cannot be from this blog because I posted the chapters of both “Faust” and “Jesus Saves” here along with many of the short stories from my last collection. I am tired of the crap. If they can’t do their checking and just pass the damn book, I will just not issue it as an ebook. fuck ’em. I am not messing with them anymore.

I have had a day in hell today. I do not want to continue it. I no longer give a crap whether I have a dryer, it can go to the junkyard for all I care. I no longer want to deal with the repairman or my mother not wanting to be open to the idea that, yes, it COULD be the connection at the fuse box downstairs. I am tired of being asked to do things and then being treated as if I didn’t do my job. I am tired of being expected to relay messages and then being ignored because everyone else knows oh so much more than I.

If I seem like I am venting a little more than usual, I am. I have just had my fill of things for the day. Mom just doesn’t seem to understand that I can’t just get up at no 8 AM and make calls to the repairman anymore. I work NIGHTS. Well, until Thursday, anyway. then I have two day shifts. When, other than Saturday, am I going to have time to wait for the repairman to get here?

OOps…Again…

Well, thanks to the debacle of my mother not listening to me the first time, they still think that the problem lays in the dryer. I hate being the one who has to relay messages because I am never listened to closely and since I am younger, I seem to have less merit. WTF?!?

I am seriously thinking that if she wants me to do the “set up a time for the dryer to be fixed” again, I will insist on her being here so the repair man can tell her what he told me, then there will be no more questions as to what and why things don’t work.

In other news, I have just begun publishing on Long Cold Winter. it should be up for sale in the next few days.