Damn Plot Points

Pic of the day:  Windbuchen

798px-Windbuchencom

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Who is there, my friend, can climb to the sky?
Only the gods dwell forever in sunlight.
As for man, his days are numbered,
whatever he may do, it is but wind.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet III Babylonian version

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I haven’t written in days.  Not a single thing.  I couldn’t finish the book idea I had during Nanowrimo because I got stuck.  Too many things in the middle of the book that need to be altered and worked on that affect the outcome of the book to finish it before the end of the month.  That doesn’t mean it wont get finished, it does mean however that it won’t get done in the 30 days that Nanowrimo wants work done in.

But this entire exercise was not about Nano for me.  It  is about writing a book, or something book length that resembles a book with a plot, characters, action  and storytelling placed in such a way as to make the reader want to turn the page and find out what happened next.  I don’t know if what I have done so far resembles that basic concept, but I hope it does.

I feel a hair guilty about it as well.  I could have written in all likelihood, nothing stopped me from going to the keyboard and banging out a few hundred or even thousand words, and I’m not inhibited now either.   Every time I wrote something for that book I easily knocked out well over the average amount of words that was needed to get to 50,000 words in 30 days.  In my heart of hearts I know why I’m not working on it right now.

It isn’t good enough.  I think, or more appropriately feel like what I wrote wasn’t good enough, and that comes from a lack of planning and forethought on my part about the story.  I got to the part of the book where I am now, nearly 40,000 words in knowing that there is a great deal of work that has to be done to salvage the story.  I am going to get to it, but first I am going to extend my outline and work on those story elements that were lacking internal cohesion.

There was good news though. There was one bit of my writing that went well, that I really liked.  Character development.  The story which was going to be very much event driven came to be very much character driven, and the word pictures I drew of the characters was complex and showed effectively how the characters interacted with their surroundings.

Now if only I could get my damn plot points straightened out, life would be much simpler.

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Enkidu opened his mouth,
saying to Gilgamesh:
“where you’ve set your mind begin the journey,
let your heart have no fear, keep your eyes on me!

The Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet III Babylonian version

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There is a reason for the quotes from the Epic of Gilgamesh.  As I have been looking for inspiration for my writing I have been listening to a great many audiobooks.  But since I don’t have any money to burn I have had to listen to free audiobooks, and I have a favorite site for them, Librivox.

I was listening to a bit of Kurt Vonnegut, the story 2 B R 0 2 B, Deathworld by Harry Harrison, and a number of short stories by H.P. Lovecraft. It was then that I went random and started listening to the work of a man named Donald Alexander Mackenzie in a book titled Myths and Legends: Myths of Babylonia and Assyria. Which I have found to be an absolutely fascinating book.  It was not the stories themselves though that had my curiosity piqued.  It was how closely the “myths” of Babylon and Assyria mirrors the beliefs, customs, stories and in some cases the names in the Bible.

Which is amazing seeing how we are several languages and several thousand years removed from Babylon.  It is pretty amazing to me to think that any religious person from anywhere on the globe at this point is essentially telling the same stories and using the same psychological constructs that were in use several millennium before the birth of Christ, and makes the point, though not in so many words, that stories attributed to Christ were in fact stories that had existed for a great deal more than a thousand years before Christ was born.

Interesting and amazing stuff.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Give Thanks

Pic of the day:  Thanksgiving Day Greetings, by Frances Brundage

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Damn me, it’s worth a fellow’s while to be born into the world, if only to fall right asleep. And now that I think of it, that’s about the first thing babies do, and that’s a sort of queer, too. Damn me, but all things are queer, come to think of ’em. But that’s against my principles. Think not, is my eleventh commandment; and sleep when you can, is my twelfth — So here goes again.

Herman Melville, Moby Dick

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At the very beginning of black Friday I am here to tell you that I am thankful.

Thankful that I am not out there with the crazy people who go shopping at midnight.  Thankful that I am not taking part in that gluttonous ritual.  Thankful that I am not part of the madding crowd.

I am tired.  I ate entirely too much food, as a great many Americans do.  I ran, I exercised,which I love doing as it makes it possible for me to keep myself from becoming a blob that I would clearly become if I didn’t run and exercise.  I’m quite happy that I can do that, not everyone can, and many simply don’t want to, which I’ve never understood, at least not since I started doing it myself.

I did my daily write on my book, which seems to be stalling a bit in a few places, but is still moving nicely.  Took an hour and a half and wrote 1300 words.  Not enough, but a good amount for the time I spent writing.

I am thankful that I have the time and energy and patience to do all of that.

I am thankful that my wife loves me.

I am thankful that I have a roof over my head and food to eat while under it.

My life is replete. And for that I give thanks.

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That’s it from here, America. G’night.

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How?

Pic of the day: North America from the low orbiting earth satellite Suomi NPP

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It is natural that one cannot understand deep and hidden things. Those things that are easily understood are rather shallow.

Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure

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We ask questions like “Who made us?” and “Who made the world?” Because we make things. If we never made a thing, it never would have occurred to us that the world was a created thing, created by a being of any type. The thought can only exist in your head if you are capable of imagining it, and any creature capable of an act of creation can imagine other acts of creation. And because the world is gigantic when thought of in proper proportion, it cannot be helped that some of those thoughts would necessarily turn to the immensity of the world we ourselves live in.

We ask questions like “Why was the world created?” and Why were we created?” Because we, every single one of us act with intent most every day, and have for millions of years of our evolution. If we hadn’t, we would not be the creatures we are now. We could not have survived to become the top of the food chain without it. We didn’t survive because we had the biggest claws or the best physical anything. Intention and creativity gave us the strength to become who we are today. We created bows and spears and a thousand other weapons to kill that which threatened us, with the intent to protect ourselves. Intention and creation are at the heart of who and what we are.

We cannot imagine a world without intent because we have intent everywhere in our lives. It’s hard wired into our brains. Capitalism is an intent engine. It starts with the intention to create capital, to intentionally create something for ourselves to build a better life for ourselves. Nations are intent engines, as are political machines. We are intent engines whose sole purpose is personal fulfillment. Nothing in our lives goes untouched by these things.

So when I hear the above questions, I cannot help but think they are the wrong questions. Who and why, as good a set of simple questions as mankind has ever created, should be replaced with a more pertinent question. How?

How were we created? I don’t know, to be honest. I wasn’t there. I have heard speculation about it but have done no research myself. I think we came down from the trees a few million years ago, but that’s just me. I could be wrong.

How was the world made? Again I don’t know as I was not there when it happened, but I have an idea because others have done research and I’ve read and heard some of it.

It isn’t enough to ask questions. We have to ask the right questions. The wrong questions lead to wrong answers and push us in the wrong direction.

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I feel bad for not writing here much lately. I have been writing, a lot. My novel is coming along nicely. A hair over 33,000 words since I started on November 1st. I’ll write more about that later.

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That’s it from here America. G’night.

Vignettes

We hear curious things from the press sometimes.  Some people might say constantly but i’m not that jaundiced.  Cynical, yes but not so cynical that I automatically judge everything negatively from an entire class or group of people.  But there are times when the silly becomes so obvious that I have to say something, if only to make sure my voice is heard.  Even if only I hear it.

At a White House press conference today I heard Chuck Todd from MSNBC ask the President for a definitive answer to the question of whether Tax increases for the wealthy must be part of the plan to back us off of the “Fiscal cliff”  a great misnomer (fiscal cliff my ass) if I’ve ever heard one, but I’ll get into that subject at a later date.  Chuck worded it differently but that is what he meant, with the implication (and he may have stated it, I forget precisely what he said) that if the Republicans don’t accept it then any deal is off.

Now even if that were the case, do you seriously think, America, that the President would have answered yes? Of course not.  It’s a negotiation, and he is trying to bring them to the table, not shut the door on negotiations.  If he drew that line in the sand, that would almost make it necessary (and I am only saying almost to be nice) for the Republicans to draw a line in the sand themselves, if for no other reason than it would make them look weak if they didn’t respond in kind.

That is not how you negotiate.  That isn’t what negotiate means.  When you start making demands, you aren’t negotiating, you’re dictating.  And as much as it would be refreshing to see him tell the Republicans what he needs to get this done and simply put the ball in his court, he knows that the harder he plays this, the harder they can and will play, placing him in a position of weakness when trying to get the fairest deal for all of America that he can from the  vantage point where he and the nation now sit.

Kind of silly of Chuck to ask that question in that manner.

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Israel and Hamas are going at it.  Again.  This time there was a new wrinkle.  Twitter.  Both sides jumped on twitter to bark displeasure at the other side of the fight.  Good to see that they know how to do more than just shoot each others asses off.

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John Boehner won’t extend the middle class tax cuts.  That is his right, though, isn’t it?  Gives you a warm feeling in the pit of your stomach don’t it? Ya know the one you have when your whole world is going to come crashing down on top of you and their ain’t shit you can do about it?  THAT’s what John Boehner brings to America.  Perhaps mister Boehner should follow his own words…

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Just because you have a right to do something in America does not mean it is the right thing to do.

John Boehner

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…And why, lord someone explain to me why people in power cheat on their spouses? Do they think they’ll get away with it?  They don’t, ever, but the stupid S.O.B.’s keep doing it.  Did General Petraeus think he was different from everyone else? Better?

We’d be so much better off if he simply kept his wick dry.  We could get this Benghazi crap out of the wa yand get on with our lives, but no, now we have to do this shit too.  Thanks General Dumbass…

And on a lighter note, I love the fact that the word press spell check  tells me that Petraeus is Perpetrates spelled incorrectly.  🙂

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…And would someone tell me why Mitt Romney seems to think the President won the election by giving gifts to people who voted for him? Srsly?  Gifts?  I don’t remember any gifts. Now to his credit Mittens was talking about the affordable healthcare act in at least one instance.  That isn’t a gift to people who voted for him, though.  I don’t think Mitt understands the basic principle of that legislation.  It’s about healthcare for AMERICANS, not just people who voted for Barack Obama.  If you voted for Mitt, or anyone else, you can still get healthcare.

I’m telling ya, these excuse making loons on the right sound like paranoid hippies after a bad batch of hash brownies.

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That’s it from here, America.   G’night.

3:00 am

Pic of the day: Silence, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest. It was a scandal that a breed of fearless and sinister people ran around freely, so they attached a nickname and a myth to these people to get even with them, to make up for the many times they had felt afraid.

Hermann Hesse, Demian

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The clock says 3:00 am.  Doesn’t feel like it.  I’ve  known 3:00 am before.  3:00 am is bone tired.  3:00am is hard work that no one else will do and that is always there no matter what.  3:00 am is fear masquerading as bravado, dancing  in the pit of your stomach exclaiming “You can not sleep.  Sleep is for the weak.”

The clock says 3:00 am.  The lights are out.  The only light coming from my monitor that burns too bright in the darkness, and the television which is currently tuned to a classical guitar channel.  Light guitar music, nearly 500 years old, plays quietly, barely on the periphery of consciousness dances through the air.

The sound of an air cleaner running across the room and the monotonous staccato of fingers on keyboard damage the silence, but only slightly.  This night feels like 10,000 others that I experienced a lifetime ago.  I kinda like it.  I should not be awake.  My pillow is mere feet away, calling me, calling me to dreams.  I do not listen.  There are other dreams I chase this night.  With joy in my heart do I work on my writing.

The book calls to me, tells me there is much work undone that cannot wait.  I smile at this thought.  In another window a program sits open words on the screen waiting for me to add words, concepts, paragraphs, story lines.

Things to do, I must away.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.