Category Archives: Advice

IN GOD? WE TRUST

Frame of Mind series. Composition of human face wire-frame and fractal elements with metaphorical relationship to mind reason thought mental powers and mystic consciousness

I recently hit upon the idea that God (my god, your god, the force, whatever name you give universal truth) brings enlightenment through science…

Consider all of the changes in thinking that have occurred because of scientific discovery, and all the damage done through science denial.

We humans have the capacity to reason. This is a powerful gift which has continued to expand throughout the history of humankind. One brick of knowledge upon another, and then another, ad infinitum.

To my mind, to deny science is to deny “universal truth”/God.

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NO ONE IS COMING, BUT WE ARE ALIVE AND WE ARE TOGETHER

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. This is his blog. He talks a lot about writing. And food. And pop culture. And his kid. He uses lots of naughty language. NSFW. Probably NSFL. Be advised.

I set that as my 7AM reminder this morning.

I set it because, I dunno, maybe up until this point I’ve been hanging onto a loose and fraying thread that clearly, surely, some savior force would come in and reverse what was coming. The vote would prove to be rigged. The “OMG RUSSIA DID IT” investigation would advance to the point of no return. Obama would rip off Comey’s mask and reveal Old Man Giuliani underneath, who would’ve gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you crazy Millennials. Joe Biden would challenge malarky-havin’ Comrade Dumpkov to a ski contest on the K2 and he would win the day against the rich punks for all us underdogs and underachievers. I dunno what the fuck I thought was going to happen. Probably nothing, but maybe something.

Maybe?

Please?

Yeah, no.

No one is coming. Our plane crashed, and we’re alive, and no help is on its way.

That sounds dramatic, I know, especially to people who think this isn’t a big deal — but we’re staring down the barrel of a president whose stated intent is to sand down nearly every foothold we’ve gained in the last several decades. Worse, he’s got the run of the table with a Congress who has already begun their monstrous rending and flaying. Everything’s on the chopping block: women’s rights, health care, the free market, arts, humanities, science, education, national parks, bald eagles, anyone who has ever been marginalized, you, me, all of humanity, the whole fucking planet. Pounds of flesh cut from those who cannot afford to lose them, and given over to the vampire kings above us who want to bleed us all dry. It’s not dramatic to think that, at the very best, we’re going to experience an existential tumult over the next four years. At the worst, I dunno. At the worst we get hill cannibals, probably. Nuclear hill cannibals.

No one is coming.

But we are alive.

And we are together.

That means something. I don’t mean that in a glib, WE ARE THE WORLD way, I don’t mean it to be some kind of shallow sing-a-long. I mean that our president — the one who comes with the biggest winking-butthole-asterisk of all time by being a president who won by losing, who won with the help of shady Kremlin no-good-niks, who won by surfing to the White House on a churning tide of sexual assault and racism and inane non-policies, who still hasn’t filled most positions, who wants to fill his cabinet with the swamp monsters he exposed by draining the swamp — our president is way the fuck outnumbered. This is our asterisk president. This is a president who we didn’t earn, who didn’t win, who has a historically low approval rating and a historically high disapproval rating. He works for us, and we outnumber him by heroic numbers.

That’s a real thing. That’s truth. It’s not arguable that he’s surrounded by a miasma of illegitimacy. He can earn his way out of that — he can clear the fog by doing right for all Americans, not just the richest among us — but let’s be clear, the likelihood of that happening creates betting odds no gambler would take.

No one is coming.

But we are alive.

And we are together, and we can save each other.

You’ll say to me now, what does that mean? What does that mean, we can save each other?

My honest answer is, I don’t yet know. Not really. Because I don’t know what’s coming down the pike. I know the next four years will be contentious, but I don’t know if they’ll be ruinous or simply bizarre. But here’s what I think it means.

I think it means we can be there for each other. And we can be kind. We can help each other up.

It means we can use what power we have to help those who have less power.

It means making each other laugh, because oh Sweet Saint Fuck, we’re gonna need to laugh.

It means staying involved, and keeping up the pressure, and using our voice and our vote not just for our behalf but for the behalf of our neighbors.

It means sharing the things we love: art and books and movies, quotes and images and ideas.

It means knowing who our enemies are, and pointing our metaphorical weapons to those outside the trench, not to those hunkering down in the mud alongside us.

It means kitten pictures and dog videos and other forms of random comfort, and of course what I mean is otters, because fuck yeah, otters, you can’t deny the healing power of otters.

It means turning an ear to listen and offering a shoulder to cry on and letting people just wordlessly shriek at or near you for as long as they need it.

It means working around the system to find new ways to keep each other afloat — it means giving money to the ACLU or Sierra Club or it means demanding our companies do better for us even when our government won’t, it means finding loopholes and trapdoors that help us to help each other, it means empowering others to do the work when it’s work we can’t do ourselves.

It means harnessing the one-two-punch power of Critical Thinking and Empathy, which not coincidentally are also the names of each of Uncle Joe Biden’s malarky-thumpin’ fists.

It means being good stewards of this planet because we all share it, and no matter what the administration wants you to believe, it’s our responsibility not to fuck it up.

It means creating art and telling stories because stories have power, stories help us through, stories provide a narrative for those of us now and those who come later.

It means helping ourselves and practicing self-care because sometimes before you help someone else with their oxygen mask you gotta make sure yours is on nice and tight.

It means whatever it means going forward.

I’ll be here at the blog and online if you wanna swing by and say hi. Hope you’re doing okay. Fuck the inauguration. Go to a protest. Check out a museum. Read a book. I’ll see you on the other side.

p.s. fuck international fascism

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TEARS ON THE WINDSHIELD

It’s August, and parents all over the country are crying.

Some are crying tears of joy…finally summer is over and the kids are heading back to school.

Some are crying tears of fear…their “babies” are heading off to Kindergarten.

But the most all-encompassing tears are being shed by parents of young adults who are moving into dorms in preparation for their first year of college. — Their tears cascade over their cheeks in an unexpected gush of joy, pride, anxiety, anger, awe, and yes . . . fear.

Joy for their offspring, as they see their beaming smile while they unpack in the closet posing as their new home.

Pride for producing such an obvious genius compared to all the other losers wandering the halls, unable to find their assigned rooms.

Anxiety about all the sage advice they worry they may have forgotten to impart . . . oh, and about that unusual looking character covered in tattoos and piercings who was part of the welcoming committee for their child’s dorm.

Anger due to frustration with the roommate’s parents, who insist their child must take the lower bunk because of ‘back issues.’

Awe, as they take the campus tour given by their brilliant child, who remembers the name and location of each building after only visiting the campus once before . . . six months ago.

And finally —

Tears of Fear,  as they slump into the front seat of the family car, preparing for that emptied-soul, heartbroken, lonely trip home, and then wrench their necks as they try to get one more glimpse of their “baby,”  . . . which raises the fear they may have to visit the chiropractor at the college medical facility before they can hope to be able to drive back home . . . where they will be able to cry, sniffle, and wail noisily, without embarrassing their very own newly-minted college freshman!

 

 

Photo Credit: Sue Panzone Rosica, Belmont University, Tennessee

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BABE IN THE WOODS

I have a confession to make . . .

I’m freaking out a bit.

You see, I’ve agreed to be one of several authors at a  local venue next week for a book signing! What the hell was I thinking?

I have personally witnessed book signings (by others) about four times in my entire life. Two of those times were for my indie author husband, where my participation involved ironing the table covers and making sure there were cookies for his “fans.” Not exactly activities I could include on my resume as “book signing experience.”

What I do know:

Bring 10,000 copies of my book, “Bosses and Blackjacks: A Tale of the ‘Bloody Fifth’ in Philadelphia”                                                                  Wait a minute . . . did I say 10,000? . . .  I meant 10.

Bring a pen (that works). On second thought —better bring two.

Bring a table cover (freshly ironed, of course)

Bring the clever(?) bookmarks I spent hours designing and re-designing to give away to anyone who gets within three miles of my table. (I do know how to make paper airplanes!)

Bring business cards — to make it easy for reps from those big publishing houses and movie moguls to contact me day or night! (Think positive…think positive…think positive)

Bring a stiff upper lip —so I don’t dissolve into a puddle of disappointment if no one shows up — or worse, if people show up, but no one buys my book…or, God forbid, doesn’t even talk to me.

Oh damn! I almost forgot —bring cookies!

 

Seriously folks . . . if any of you, Dear Readers, have  helpful  advice to get me through this horror show called “A Book Signing,” I will be checking back every day for the next week to read your comments.

It’s so weird — I keep hearing Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” in my head. Sorry to leave you with that ear-worm!

 

TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

Sometimes when writing, you are required to go back to some point in time in your own past to recall a scent, a touch, an emotion, or perhaps a scene, in order to convey an experience your readers can relate to.

When you do that, it can be difficult to relive a moment that evokes the gut-wrenching pain of an emotionally draining event. There are also the memories of embarrassment or shame that somehow have to become a series of words forming sentences on a page, which draw your readers into another world.

In reality, it’s a black and white sketchbook of word-pictures drawn from the author’s most intimate life experiences.

This grueling process could explain the far-away stare emanating from that dreamer, whose morning beverage is getting cold next to their laptop perched upon the corner table, in the coffee shop where you stop every day on your way to work.

Don’t try to disturb them. You can’t. They won’t hear you. They are not in this world. They are creating new ones for you to enjoy.

(Featured image:  Memory Extraction Spell – Harry Potter)

 

MIND GAMES

Ever wonder why many old people get along so well with little kids? I think I’ve found the answer!

Young brains are constantly absorbing everything in the world around them for the first time. Old brains have stored so much they get to the point where they have to release some of what they’ve accumulated, or their heads will explode.

The logical thing for the elderly to do is hang out with little kids and shower their tiny brains with old people’s excess creativity. Problem solved.

“Psychology Today” in 2009, provided this more scientific blurb, for those of you who like sciencey-type explanations…

“Finally, intelligence studies indicate that older individuals have access to an increasing store of knowledge gained over a lifetime of learning and experience. Combining bits of knowledge into novel and original ideas is what the creative brain is all about. Thus, having access to increased internal warehouse of knowledge provides fertile ground for creative activity in the aging brain.

Many seniors are already making a mark for themselves in creative fields. Consider Millard Kaufman, who wrote his first novel, the hit book Bowl of Cherries, at age 90. Then there’s 93-year-old Lorna Page, who caused waves in Britain with her first novel A Dangerous Weakness. Following in the footsteps of Grandma Moses (who did not take up painting until in her 70’s), former patent attorney John Root Hopkins turned to art in his 70’s and had a showing of his work in the American Visionary Art Museum at age 73. There are numerous examples throughout history of the creative power of the aging brain: Benjamin Franklin invented the bifocal lens at the age of 78, Thomas Hardy published a book of lyric poetry at age 85, Frank Lloyd Wright completed the design of the Guggenheim Museum in New York at and 92, and Giuseppe Verdi wrote Falstaff, perhaps his most acclaimed opera, at the age of 85.”

This explains, quite clearly, why I wrote my first book and started this blog at the age of 152!