Sunday, February 28, 2010

Second Thoughts . . .

After posting the last three entries I have been feeling some regret at the direction being taken. I suspect that a blog is not the proper venue for fiction. Not for me. Not at this time anyway. Not yet.

I am considering a move to delete the 'fictional' entries and re-write them then store them for future use as compositional 'notes' to be used later in a fuller more conventional form, such as a 'short-story' or as scenes from within a novel of some kind. Or a screen-play, or something else altogether.

But I am not sure yet.

Just thinking about it.

Higher Power, Scene 2

Going To Work

-- Content Deleted by Author --

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Higher Power, Scene 1

-- Content Deleted by Author --

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ask And Ye Shall Receive

In the closing lines of yesterday's entry I declared my intention to attempt to honestly describe some of the instances wherein I believe something other than my ordinary, everyday self intervened to steer the course of my life in a different and better direction.

By that I mean, of course, stressful times in which some 'higher power' stepped-in (at my impassioned behest) and assumed an over-riding control of my actions.

But I found that doing so in a factual-memoir form is too terribly frightening and is much more difficult to report with stark honesty than I had anticipated.

So, I then decided to take a friend's earlier advice and present those essential truths in fictional form, announcing that the story is merely based on actual events.

Here is what came of that . . .

Brief Story Plan


(Main-Character-Name) at the age of nearly 40 finds himself isolated from family, friendless, dejected, depressed, alone, and apparently approaching an attempted suicide. (Show, don't tell)

(Name) prepares (how? be specific) for his evening-shift (where?) of mind-numbing and physically exhausting, unskilled labor. (Which is?)

(Name) suffers emotionally, (retreats into solitude) despair deepens, premature escape from life looks better and better, seems the 'only' solution.

Finally at the absolute nadir, (Name) calls out to the universe, imploring someone, anyone, any thing for help.

And is answered by a strong presence
from somewhere deep within himself.





(Name) stands up straighter, walks more briskly onward past all the formerly threatening landmarks until he reaches the work-place and perseveres throughout the long work-period in the sure knowledge that someone, some...Thing, some Fierce and Powerful being that is both a part of himself and yet somehow separate from his 'self' is protectively hovering over him, watching out for him with mighty muscles and nearly-invincible weapons -- keeping at bay the ever-present hordes of snarling attackers that inhabit the menacing world -- and is holding the entire legion of horrendous enemies at bay.

And that is the initial idea for a fictional
story of true Belief and Faith the size
of a single mustard seed molecule.

To be continued . . .

Thursday, February 25, 2010

. . . Who Art In Heaven?

Michelangelo's Creation Of Adam

Much of my reading is concerned with the opposing philosophies of Theism and Atheism. There are excellent essays written by seemingly serious thinkers on both sides. Some of them conclude that GOD most definitely exists. Others declare that HE does not. And still others eschew conventional theology while proposing the existence of some undefined HIGHER POWER.

Well, as for me, after seventy years of searching, reading, and quiet contemplation, I have come to believe in that higher power. But not in a God that is vitally concerned with humanity.

More accurately, I believe in the possibility and even the probability of the existence within this vast universe of an entity that is superior to mankind. Or even multiple races of superior and probably undetectable entities. Undetectable because of our lack of sensory organs necessary for such detection and our lack of imaginative powers necessary for even conceiving of such alien (forces?) beings.

Additionally, I believe that we (members of the human race) are probably no more than mere meaningless biological animals that instinctively believe ourselves as having 'importance' or even 'meaning' of some sort.

Although I have honestly tried, I have never been able to believe in the "God" presented to us by organized religious institutions. Their various dogmas are easily recognized when examined dispassionately as being nothing more than a mish-mosh of childish fairy-tales, magical mumbo-jumbo, and fear-inspired superstitious nonsense.

The *higher power* in which I believe is some unknown and perhaps unknowable force that somehow bends the straight line of my rigidly-ruled life into a new (better) direction that I could not accomplish by exertion of my own will alone.

I have experienced this mysterious helper more than once in my life.

To name but two . . .

When I stopped smoking cigarettes (instantly) after 30 years of tobacco addiction.

and . . .

When I stopped drinking (instantly) after many years of alcohol addiction.

There were more.

In the next few days I will attempt to honestly describe some of those times.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Art (?) Of Communication

After reading the following sentence [reportedly] written by Judith Butler, I was momentarily stunned.

"The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power."

Since I had recently admitted to the many readers of this blog (ha ha) that I recognize myself as being a dunderhead, I was not surprised that my immediate reaction after reading that sentence was: "Huh."

I had no idea what I had just read, so I
re-read the sentence...but still knew not what I had read.

After a third fruitless perusal, I abandoned any further attempt. Some readers would probably pursue the matter, studying and contemplating and applying much extended mental exertion to puzzling out the author's intended meaning.

Not I.

And I vowed again to do my best to always compose simple, direct, and understandable sentences and paragraphs in my future writings. So that particular complicatedly-composed sentence did prove itself to be of some value to me.

For, you see, writing (in my opinion) should be an effective form of communication, a method of passing one's individual instructions, ideas, or concepts from the writer to the reader. Not a celebration of the writer.

What is gained by disguising or otherwise concealing the intended meaning of a communication? The creation of Art?

Okay . . .

Here is a recently discovered, long-forgotten picture that brings back some achingly personal memories.

Jackie Curtis

Sigh . . .

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Congress No Longer Knows How To Govern

The more I read about politics, governance, and other associated fol-de-rol the more confused I become. It's as if all the rhetoric and the jargon and the intellectual malarkey are conspiring to convince me that I am a common dunce, a dunderhead, a know-nothing.

The Economist states: Incumbents running in clean elections average six and a bit years in office; in rigged votes, 16 years. "Well, duh," says Duncan Green, head of research at Oxfam, a British charity. Fair enough, it is obvious--but ten extra years may be more than expected.

Here is a link to The full report

After reading that report, I no longer think I am a dunderhead.

I know that I am.

Ah . . . to hell with it.

Democracy is the art of
running the circus from
The Monkey Cage

--H.L. Mencken

Monday, February 22, 2010

Home Is Where The . . .

I am still sorting miscellaneous articles. Some to discard. Some to save.

Instead of writing down my thoughts today I am dedicating the greatest share of my time to physical activities such as sorting all the rest of my loose, shoebox-contained, family pictures and packing for shipment all the old (and shockingly heavy) photo albums. Sadly, these parcels cannot be shipped using Media-Mail as were my books, and they will be expensive to mail out.

So be it . . .

I'd better got to it now instead of sitting here thinking (and writing) about it.

Only about a month remains before the big move away from Florida to a New and Better Place.

I'll probably be back into writing mode tomorrow.

"My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends --
It gives a lovely light."

--Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Lazy Sunday Morning

While reading a particularly boring book review I stumbled over the word "debuted" and thought immediately that this was an extremely ugly word indeed. But that was because of my strictly American (self)-education which at first instructed me to pronounce the word "de-BUTT-ed" instead of the correct pronunciation, which is "DAY-byood" of course

That bit of revelatory trivia will no doubt provoke disdainful laugher from the more classically-trained non-Americans, from the ever-present intellectual snobs, and most especially from the French. But when writing in this blog, honesty is always my elusive goal, which demands that I openly reveal (and not intentionally disguise) my many inherent defects.

Oh my goodness . . . I do not feel like writing today.

Well, no, that's not exactly true. I DO feel like writing, but I do NOT feel like searching for interesting topics to write ABOUT. Doesn't it irritate you to when reading along and you suddenly encounter words printed in UPPER CASE, to merely provide emphasis?

It certainly irritates ME.

I should not stoop to such ridiculous affectations.


Yesterday (Feb. 20, 2010)
The Old Grey Poet reported that in 7843 days he will be 92 years old. Since John and I were born in the same year, me a couple months before he, this means that in 7843 days I too will be 92 years (plus a couple months) old.

Fascinating . . .

There is a wintry photo the Saint Joseph's College skyline that I especially like for some unknown reason. I first saw it posted at:

Rensselaer Adventures

Why I like it is a mystery. Perhaps it's a work of art.

Or maybe it strikes a note of nostalgia in my psyche.

Today I have vowed to skip watching those ridiculous Sunday Morning News shows, and instead I am enjoying Easy Listening music on Jones Radio (WJAX) while I sit here at the computer and read and write and muse upon the humanly-created mysteries of life.

And for some reason I feel uncharacteristically relaxed. I do believe that my blood pressure is relatively normal this morning.

Ah well . . .

"God created man, but I could do better."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

From Simplicity to Complexity and Back

While sorting through an old cardboard accordion file containing a mix of hoarded trash and treasure I found a yellowed and tattered copy of The Pueblo Chieftain (Pueblo Colorado) dated May 1, 1939 -- published only eighteen days before the date of my birth. On the front page, below the fold, I read:

So much for the opinion of a Chicago politician.

An ad in the same newspaper
How unbelievable is that? Huh?

I read in The Writer's Almnac that Amy Tan began her career by writing business manuals and speeches for executives. She felt pressured to write under an American-sounding pseudonym, so she chose May Brown -- she rearranged Amy to get May, and Brown is a synonym of Tan.

I found that seemingly innocuous little factoid to be of monumental interest. (Which probably reveals more about me than I intended)

At Language Log I read: John D. Muccigrosso wrote to point out something that's obvious in retrospect, namely that all those pages that say "This page intentionally left blank" are thereby not, in fact, left blank.

I found that to be amusing enough to read on, and did so for more more than an hour. Language Log's revelations fascinate me to no end, much more I'm sure than is probably healthy for me.

Speaking of amusing subjects, they literally abound on the Internet (or 'the web', or the 'blogosphere', or whatever)

For example:

There is a cute little strip published Monday, February 15, 2010 in Sheldon Comicsthat I enjoyed. Check it out. In case you missed that link, the actual URL is:

Strange how a phrase will sometimes announce itself within even a restless roving mind and mysteriously lodge itself therein. Such as:

. . . a hunger for sophistication . . .

The above is just a note for me to remember that I liked the blog in which I found the little sticky-mote phrase:

I have recently been spending a lot of time reading and little time writing. And today's skeletal entry illustrates that fact, doesn't it?

Oh well . . .

Friday, February 19, 2010

Death, Taxes, etc.


Yuck . . .

How I despise those repetitively featured same-old faces of government officials I see on the TV. Time after time after time. The very sound of their professionally rehearsed oily-smooth voices on the radio brings a silent but ugly animal snarl to my lips.

That's my reaction to the media-borne representations of the existing thinly-disguised rule of Big Brother. The radio and television news departments spew forth daily a plethora of electronically transmitted public revelations and reminders of the workings of big government as they applaud this government's supposedly-paternal authority over the child-like dumb masses. Never-ending is this human struggle to gain and retain its Dominance Of Power.

But . . .

A new opposition website http;// opened its virtual doors yesterday.

It is an experiment that some believe could have profound repercussions for American life. Or it might (and probably will) fall flat. Who knows?

The opening paragraph of the website's "About Us" section states:

The first-ever Online Tax Revolt, a free, interactive march on Washington was launched using state of the art technology. Concerned Americans can have a voice on tax policy, culminating on April 15 with events in Washington, D.C."

This brand-new website will allow anyone who wishes to simply log in, select an avatar, and then follow the progress of this selected cyber-stand-in creature as it joins its group and marches toward Washington D.C. where an actual, real-time rally will be held on April 15, 2010.

The best of all worlds. You, a pissed-off citizen, can become an active, vocal, protesting marcher against the elitists oppressor, all those arrogant, stuck-up, rich-ass politician thugs...and you won't have to do a thing except sit at your computer and follow your avatar's progress on Google-Earth, and you don't even have to do that if you'd rather not. You can just follow the news as the media report on it.

Death And Taxes. The Inevitables.

There is a reason why I believe that elimination of the Income Tax and instituting The Fair Tax (or any other National Sales Tax) is a bad idea. Stated simply, my objection is that the Fair Tax if enacted into law would eventually become an 'additional' tax, because 'concerned' lawmakers will absolutely reinstate the present-day Income Tax (and still keep the Fair Tax) as soon as they can find a way to do it. And the public will then be paying double the present-day amount of taxes.

Politicians and Lawmakers are ALL unscrupulous manipulators. Such is the intuitive opinion of The Many.

Ah well . . .

Sandi drove me to the post office yesterday and I mailed out six boxes of books, 45 pounds in weight, and $30 was the total Media Mail fee. Not bad. They were the books I absolutely could not leave behind. I will be trying to sell the rest of the books that are still resting on my big shelf in a couple of weeks when I have my big yard sale.

I will be leaving Florida near the end of March and I still have not separated and packaged for shipping all of my "To Be Saved" photographs from those in my growing "Dispose Of These" pile.

Procrastination abides with me always.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What's An Electric Sheep?

Since I had nothing about which I felt compelled to write yesterday, I wrote nothing. I sat in front of the TV and watched old reruns of long-ago memorized sitcoms: The West Wing, The Sopranos, Bewitched, Cheers, Becker, and the like.

And I felt guilt-ridden all the day long and into the night about not having written anything in the blog. Which is damnably stupid since so few readers follow my blog entries. There are only two who report that they are 'faithful' readers and a couple more occasional visitors that I am aware of.

And that makes perfect sense. After all, it is not deathless prose I am creating each morning. It is no more than random bits of petty prattle. I know that. And yet I persevere.

I wonder why?

Last night I slept from 10 till 3:30 then read for a half-hour from

Huckleberry Finn

before slipping back into a restless doze. And I had a dream. Not really much of a dream. It consisted of only a single scene, one in which I and my foreman labored together in the shipping department of a manufacturing plant.

We were using electric drills and long fat screws to close up a large wooden crate. Only the two of us were aware of the additional piece of equipment that had been activated and placed within the heavily shielded crate.

We finished and the crate was then loaded into an eighteen-wheeled semi-truck that would haul it to a waiting 'container' which would then be loaded onto a rusting but still seaworthy ship soon to be bound for a foreign land.

The foreman turned to me, smiled, wiped his oily hands on a clean rag, and said, "You're fired."

Two heavily-muscled workers with often broken noses and cauliflower-ears appeared to escort me to the office. And that's when I woke up.

I seldom remember my dreams. I remember this one, though. Don't know why.

A friend, Anthony V. Toscano, informed me that he has begun a blogspot blog. I read his first entry a few minutes ago. It can be found at Spilled Beans and I recommend it to you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Men Are Men, Women Are Women

There are certain expressions that consistently evade my comprehension, and the most elusive of these seems to be "a zero-sum game" -- a term whose definition I am always forced to look up whenever I encounter it.

The Free Dictionary defines zero-sum as: "Of or relating to a situation in which a gain is offset by an equal loss."

I am not saying that the term is necessarily pretentious and misleading (although I suspect that it probably is) but merely that I just cannot retain its somewhat frivolous-sounding connotation.

What brought on that micro-rantlet? It was a short essay I just finished reading a few minutes ago at the website, Science Fiction & Fantasy Novelists, a piece titled:Emasculation Not Required by Marie Brennan, published February 16, 2010.

I was going to express my opinion of her thoughts and elaborate a bit, adding my own feelings about the relative quality of the published writings of women as opposed to those of men.

But I really don't feel like writing anything this morning.

Don't feel like thinking this morning.

Don't feel very well.


Maybe tomorrow . . .

Monday, February 15, 2010

No Title Needed

Every morning I read a series of blogs and web-publications. One of them is The Writers' Almanck which features a new poem each day and presents also a compelling set of facts regarding poets and writers whose anniversary of their birth is that day. I find it of great interest.

The first birthday notice offered by this site on Monday February 15, 2010 stated: "It's the birthday of the Father of Modern Science, Galileo Galilei, born in Pisa, Italy (1564). It was Copernicus who suggested that it was the sun, and not the Earth, that was at the center of the universe."

Something about that statement bothered me and I thought about it for a time, then I realized that the writer had probably meant to say that the sun, and not the Earth, was at the center of the "solar system" -- not the center of the universe.

Being the busybody that I am, I searched for an email address with which to address my assumption to the writer, but none was listed.

I am doing my best to ignore my distress at being thwarted in my attempt to right a wrong and to just forget about it. After all, it's a petty thing. But letting go is not an easy thing for me to do.

I may have a follow-up at a later date.

Some blogs I follow are written by the very young. Here is a statement lifted from one of them, a blog by a YA Vampire-Story writer: "I need to start playing the lottery, because my job is never going to get me where I want to be in life..."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Always On My Mind

While sorting through my horde (hoard?) of old pictures I found myself assailed by some stinging pangs of regret, especially as I lingered over photos of my married life -- pictures of my two former wives -- images from my first marriage of fourteen years and the second one of twenty years.

The regret stemmed for my recollection of the many thoughtless and undeserved hurts I so cruelly and unnecessarily inflicted on those two fine ladies. I think of those times often. And the older I get the more intense become the feelings.

Elvis sang of such remorse . . .

Sigh . . .

I take notes . . . constantly. Not all of them result in fruitful action but occasionally a thought will strike a particularly emotional note and I compose (sketchily in my mind) a description of what happened or at least what I think happened back then.

And that has stimulated me to consider writing a kind of 'Memoir' (But not a 'traditional' one fer God's sake) and I think I'll do so, at least I intend to work up a list of remembered events from the early years, even if merely an 'idea-skeleton' to be fleshed out later.

One real problem while doing this will be to maintain honesty as much as possible. Whenever I have in the past tried to depict a factual event there was always the tendency to prevaricate and to exaggerate or 'whitewash' actual actions of the people (especially myself) that are being remembered.


I have always thought that prevaricate means to tell a lie. But prevaricate does not mean merely 'to blatantly present an untruth.

According to one dictionary prevaricate means. "To stray from or evade the truth; equivocate."

Another dictionary defines prevaricate as: "To speak falsely or misleadingly; deliberately misstate or create an incorrect impression."

And the definition of quintessential is, "the perfect example of..."

To make an unfamiliar English word one's own, one should use the unfamiliar word or words in a newly composed meaningful sentence. Therefore:

"The quintessential product of the conventional memoir is boredom and the quintessential ingredient of boredom is prevarication."

The paying market for an honestly rendered memoir is probably quite small. There are always writing contests, though. And personal website journals. And blogs.

Sigh . . .

Friday, February 12, 2010

Out With The Old, In With The New

There was a young girl's Body Found in a park less than a mile from my home. Then for most of the evening a helicopter was cruising over my rooftop and back and forth across the neighborhood. Searching for some perpetrator who'd been seen in the region and reported by some civic-minded citizen.

That's not the first time, either. I've started to get used to the sound of that copter clamoring overhead. Crime, crime, crime. It's rampant in Jacksonville, FL no matter what trend the accumulated statistics might be allowed (by political manipulators) to indicate.

Yesterday morning I thought that it should be easy to get some serious novel writing done that day. Nothing else appealed to me at all. Didn't much want to do anything, especially anything physical. I figured that I would just paste my butt to the chair and pound away at the keys.

Things did not turn out that way though. About all I got accomplished was that I sorted and packaged for shipment most of my old photo albums and all those loose pictures from the past scattered about in lidless shoe boxes and tucked away in old faded manila envelopes.

Well . . . no, I did achieve one other thing. In a sudden fit of miniature melancholia (some sort of emotional reaction to a trivial bit of microscopic rage I suppose) I threw out all my old original manuscripts. The first drafts of all I'd written throughout my lifetime that I had saved for years and years.

Reminders of the myriad failures and of the painfully slow process of self-teaching of English composition and How-To-Write learned by trial-and-error that I had saved since the 1970s -- ALL of them -- some written in pencil and pen and others typed on old key-clogged manual portable typewriters -- saved for all those years, survivors of many moves from state to state, city to city.

And along with them I callously tossed in my huge collection of moldering rejection slips. A lifetime's worth. All of them. All of those cold stark and ugly printed form-letters along with the hastily penned little personal notes from thoughtful editors.

All of them are now resting to rot in peace in discarded flimsy plastic grocery bags in the bottom of my curbside trash can awaiting final burial in a landfill by the 'pall-bearers' -- the city sanitation workers who will arrive in the darkness of early morning this coming Monday well before the light of day.

The past is the past and no longer exists except in memory.

Out with the old and in with the new.

. . .

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Mind's Sluggish Today

Yesterday (Wednesday) Microsoft sent me (via automatic download) its latest Windows XP Security Update, which consisted of 10 files. Took about ten or fifteen minutes for my computer to 'install' the new files. Hopefully it will improve the Windows security.

I had stopped using Internet Explorer (version 8) a while back. After finding out (thanks to John Bailey) the Google Chrome did a much better job of browsing and at a much faster speed, I made it my default browser. At times I use Opera or Firefox, and occasionally Safari.

But I only use IE8 when I visit long-standing sites from my Links Page and I have IE set at its highest security setting. The reason I do this is because IE is set to open with my favorite-links page. No other reason than that. Kinda senseless, I know, but sometimes I like to indulge my silly-side.

Selling my possessions is certainly proving to be a slow process. Today I sold my dual-band 2-meter/70-cm Amateur Transceiver, the little Alinco mobile and a magnetic-mount dual-band mobile antenna that works great with the rig. Sold it for far less than it's worth but that's good luck for the purchaser, a local Ham named Jerry.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Can't Think Of A Suitable Title

Back in 1994 I subscribed to a Writers Mailing List -- a group of people who shared with each other their creative-writing experiences, both their accomplishments and their failures. It was a large group, at that time with at least one hundred active members and it kept a guy busy reading all their postings and fully-absorbing their sometimes suddenly revealed hidden meanings.

Without getting into blame or the various reasons for what it has become, I'm sorry to say that Writers has degenerated into a mere shell of its former glory, the long-time members reluctant to post and the newer members too unsure of themselves to risk opening themselves up to possibly hurtful criticism. Presently less than ten of the members regularly offer postings. It is now a small group. It's now down to a few diehards like me. See Photo Album

Happily the demise of Writers has been accompanied by a rapid proliferation of aspiring writers who fill the social void (in me) by posting written (also sometimes hidden secret) images of their personalities to individual websites provided by Blogspot.

Separating the wheat from the chaff has been a long process but now I have amassed a fair number of such blogs that I now read each morning before I dive into the (cess) pool of my own mind to come up with something to post in my own blog.

I admit, though, that lately I have been quite remiss in investing sufficient thought into my blog entries. My excuse is that I am immersed in the multitudinous details of getting ready to move from Florida to another state. And doing so is taking a toll, which I am reserving as grist for future blog postings.

Not that it matters. Very few are reading my postings anyway. But that will change one day, of that I am fairly certain.

Until then, though . . .

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Four Topics Under Consideration

The importance of diversion

Madness lies in wait for the mind allowed to dwell on itself alone

Futility of fruitful endeavor

Meaninglessness of biological life

Monday, February 8, 2010

What In Sam Hill's A Conundrum?

anhinga . . . gazing up at . . .

Just think . . . if a nuclear bomb explodes in the atmosphere it will disable computer components (via EMP, electromagnetic pulse) and Facebook and Twitter, and planes and trains and busses and CARs will all stop running... because they are computer-controlled too, you see.

Why do I do that? Why do I have a need to cloak the resulting conclusion of my keenest observations in mystery? In a series of seemingly unrelated and obscure references?

Well . . . the jokes on them, on that vast multitude of ingnoranuses who for reasons of their own do not read this blog.

It's funny . . .

"I'm not laughin' though."
(Will Smith, Men In Black)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Leaving The Nest

My grand-daughter, having graduated from university and having obtained employment is moving into her own apartment today. Leaving the nest, as it were. I have given her some of my furniture and the family will be here with a truck to pick it up shortly. And I have been busily getting the stuff ready for its departure.

So, there is no time for blogging this morning.

Tomorrow, perhaps . . .

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bollocks, Nutrition, et al.

When Australian Science Writer Peter Macinnes used the term 'bollocks' I immediately hastened to look up the word. At the Urban Dictionary website I found that the word bollocks has multiple meanings. Fascinating. Thank you, Peter.

If you are concerned about your health and about nutrition but have never heard of Michael Pollan you have missed out on a great deal of valuable information. A New York Times review of his new book Food Rules: An Eater's Manual might heighten your interest.

Or it might not . . .

A writer of fiction lives in fear.
Each new day demands new
ideas and he can never be sure
whether he is going to come up
with them or not.
--Roald Dahl

Friday, February 5, 2010

Blah And The World Blahs With You

I woke up at five o'clock this morning in the grip of the blahs. The blahs of both the body and of the spirit. My stomach informed me that I had eaten too much too late in the day the evening before, and my brain kept hinting at a week lacking in sleep.

After booting up the computer and reading the overnight accumulation of email, I turned off the monitor and crawled back in bed, and tried to sneak my way back to sleep. But to now avail. So I picked up my latest night-time paperback novel and finished it. Which took almost three hours.

The radio informs me that a line of showers and thunderstorms is headed this way. Perfect A dim, gray, cold day with an overcast sky to hide the sun, one to match the wintry gloom of my mood.

Why am I writing down such nothing thoughts and feelings? Why would that information possibly be of interest to anyone who might be reading this blog? It doesn't even interest me, the writer.

Something is going to have to be done about my attitude. Something radical. Many times (too many times) I've been told that "life is what you make it." And this makes some sense.

I feel a need to embark upon a new endeavor. Something challenging.

My upcoming move away from Florida to another state could be the perfect opportunity for me to accomplish this. A new beginning? Could be.

Yesterday I spent a few hours in the afternoon visiting a random selection of Google's Blogger Pages and was surprised to find that many of them were being written by authors of Young Adult Romance Fiction, and that most of these authors were young girls, very young girls.

Their writing was appallingly bad. But all had either published a novel or had a sale pending, all in the hands of an agent. And all of the novels featured a cover ablaze with color and a young man with long flowing golden hair and a shirt opened down the front to reveal a steel-hard six-pack of finely-fleshed and bronzed stomach muscles.

And all offered a free excerpt, a chapter with a scene of steamy sex between a nubile young girl and a handsome vampire.

Oh, who am I trying to fool? This is not a day for writing, not even in a blog.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Nothing To Fear But . . .


Via Google, this is what I have learned about FEAR so far.

The emotion of fear stems from several hormonal and neurochemical responses in the brain. The source of fear is there.

Hormones are released throughout the body. They trigger defensive mechanisms such as raising adrenaline and cortisol levels, and increasing heart rate and respiration. The "fight-or-flight" response. The chemical action is meant to stay active for only a few seconds or minutes, just enough time for a person to react to the object of his fear.

What do you think happens, however, when that object is not real? What if it's simply a situation created by your imagination? In this case, for many people, the high levels of adrenaline and increased cardiorespiratory rates remain in the body for longer periods, adding more stress and consequently making the body experience "burnout" and total exhaustion.

So, it seems that fear is basically nothing more than a chemical reaction within the brain. Oh Wow! Just knowing that makes my fear more controllable.

Right . . .

FDR had something to say about Fear:

And so did Adam Rulli-Gibbs:

Villagers scurry like ants at
the howl of the chimera
and the griffon's call.
Nowhere to hide from the hydra,
the centaur, or the dragon.
Man-eaters one and all.

One man alone will stand his ground
and, like a mountain,
bars the way.
The stance, the face, the attitude.
All say he fears nothing but fear.
We visited his grave today.

Copyright Adam Rulli-Gibbs
2004 - 2006

No, that is not all I have to say about FEAR. But I am still contemplating the years I've lived with my own fear and how I have reacted to it throughout a lifetime. And I am not sure how much of this recollection and self-examination I wish to reveal about (or to) myself. Or how to do it. Personal Memoir? Essay? Fictional Account?

More about this later . . .
It takes time, you know.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What Is This Thing Called Fear?

For several days I have been researching the subject of FEAR. And I was surprised to find that there is not much of value to be found. Those famous quotations most of us are most familiar with are seemingly not original thoughts at all but merely re-worked repetitions of earlier statements made by long-dead, supposed philosophers.

One thing is certain. Research is unbelievably time-consuming. I've spent the last four hours reading other peoples ideas regarding FEAR. And I have learned nothing new whatsoever.

It's almost as if this notion of FEAR is not a reality in itself, but is merely human-intelligence's mental embellishment of the lower animals' natural reactive instinct

But of course I know FEAR is more than that. I just don't know what that 'more' is. Yet.

People react to fear, not love;

they don't teach that in Sunday

School, but it's true.

--Richard M. Nixon

Well . . . back to the research. Maybe I will have more about the subject tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

This, That, And The Other

Early this morning I received an email containing a tip for the aspiring author regarding how to "get published." It suggests that your author's "voice" might be one of the things an editor is attentive to while reading your query or your submission.

"What exactly is voice, anyway," I asked myself, and having no satisfactory answer handy I then Googled "voice" and read at that "voice" has two meanings as it concerns creative writers:

1. Voice is the author's style, the quality that makes his or her writing unique, and which conveys the author's attitude, personality, and character.
2. Voice is the characteristic speech and thought patterns of a first-person narrator; a persona.

It also states: "Because voice has so much to do with the reader's experience of a work of literature, it is one of the most important elements of a piece of writing."

And it continues with: "Young writers are often urged to find their own voice in fiction, but many teachers believe that voice is something that emerges naturally as a writer develops."

Well, if that be the case then why pursue the subject?

Now, that's a good question. And my immediate impulse is to answer, "Don't."

So I won't. Not now, at least.

A couple of days ago I was notified that in a recent dispute between myself and a fellow-writer, a man for whom I have much respect and a goodly measure of affection, that he has now come to believe that I was right and he was wrong.

I thought about that for a while and then composed this little answer:

There's no such thing as right or wrong;
different people have different beliefs. I
find that my beliefs change just about as
often as a lady's taste in undergarments.

I did not send that to him, though. Somehow it seemed wrong to do so. Too 'flip' perhaps? Too subjective? It did in essence say what I wanted to say but something cautioned me to hold back. And then I decided it best to not respond at all.

So I did not.

Not directly.

Recently I read the following sentence:

"My copy of The Concept of Benevolence by T. A. Roberts, in the series New Studies in Practical Philosophy, was deaccessioned from a university library."

Well . . . a new word, a completely unfamiliar word: deaccessioned.

Using Google, I entered... define:deaccessioned ...and was returned the definition:

Selling or disposing of books from a collection. Librarians use the simpler and more descriptive term "weeding."

Marvelous! Simply marvelous.

A friend sent me the following:

From The London Times . . .
"A Well-Planned Retirement"

Outside England's Bristol Zoo there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 buses. For 25 years, its parking fees were managed by a very pleasant attendant. The fees were 1 for cars ($1.40), 5 for buses (about $7)

Then, one day, after 25 solid years of never missing a day of work, he just didn't show up; so the zoo management called the city council and asked it to send them another parking agent.

The council did some research and replied that the parking lot was the zoo's own responsibility. The zoo advised the council that the attendant was a city employee. The city council responded that the lot attendant had never been on the city payroll.

Meanwhile, sitting in his villa somewhere on the coast of Spain or France or Italy is a man who'd apparently had a ticket machine installed completely on his own and then had simply begun to show up every day, commencing to collect and keep the parking fees, estimated at about $560 per day -- for 25 years.

Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over $7 million dollars...and no one even knows his name.

"A genius is a genius ... and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race."
--Ayn Rand

I do not understand the significance of the above quotation.