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  • Kurt Brindley 12:18 pm on March 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Guest Authors, , ,   

    Sticking It To The Man: A Cultural Response 

    #PROTESTART

    VIA ACTUS MAGAZINE

    #RESIST

    #LEWD
    #NSFW

    Actus Magazine

    By Abigail Gilson 

    There is a reinvigorated cultural response to the current political dysfunction on the rise. Artists from around the world have mobilised together to troll Trump by creating controversial protest paintings, sculptures, and murals- and they’re holding nothing back. There is no limit of political satire nor hues of orange in these depictions of the U.S president however their outright messages have provoked censorship across social media sites (so much for free speech, eh) and even the administration has threatened particular artists with litigation. Alas, all is not lost with this dose of cultural reassurance: here are five distorted versions of D.T that are sure to make protest-art great again.  

    Emotional Downloads by James Ostrer

    1168536(Donald Trump), ED 213M

    This grotesque rendition of Donald Trump is not for the soft-stomached as it is curated completely from raw meat, fish, chewed up pieces of croissant and drizzled in…

    View original post 556 more words

     
  • Kurt Brindley 10:35 am on February 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Dave Astor, , , Guest Authors, , , , , wit,   

    From Author Dave Astor: Guest Literature Post by Donald Trump! 

    I was considering writing a satire post (i.e., FAKE Post!) with its premise being our so-called president writing it as a Guest Author.

    As I was getting set to channel Trump for the writing, I got cold fingers, so to speak, from the damage the channeling might do to my so-called brain; so, I backed slowly away from the keyboard, thought about it for a minute, then made the decision to search around to see if anyone had already done something similar.

    I’m happy to have lost my courage to allow my brain to think as a non-reading Trump would and I am awe at the courage author Dave Astor possesses and the risks he was willing to take to share his brain and blog with him, for his sacrifices have allowed us to enjoy this reblogged post of his.

    If you’re a reader of such things as “books” that are written with more than 140 words and that may contain troubling brain hurdles such as nuance and non-linear plot and plotless constructs, then you must check out Mr. Astor’s witty and wise blog.

    ★★★

    Dave Astor on Literature

    This blog will be different today, because Donald Trump demanded to write a guest piece. I told him he doesn’t read literature or know much about it, but he insisted. Anyway, things will go back to normal next week, but until then…herrrrrre’s the illegitimate president:

    The Donald (me) doesn’t read novels, but I do read the backs of cereal boxes. Lots of back story, ya know?

    Actually, I know a yuge amount about fiction. Not the literary kind — the “alternative facts” kind.

    I can’t deal with The Wings of the Dove. Why didn’t Henry James write The Wings of the War Hawk? Sad.

    The Red Badge of Courage? Stephen Crane — what a loser. Believe me, I showed more courage getting Vietnam War deferments for alleged bone spurs in my heels, even though I played a ton of sports at the time with no problem. They…

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  • Kurt Brindley 8:00 am on October 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , dystopian, , Guest Authors, , , , , YA, young adult   

    RISE OF THE CHOSEN by Guest Author Anna Kopp 

    In Sam’s world there are two rules. Rule #1: Nobody dies. Protect the living at all costs. Rule #2: Everybody dies. At least once.

    The Waking was a global event in which a force called the Lifeblood invaded all humans who died. The few strong enough to control it came back as powerful immortals. The rest let the bloodlust take over and awoke with one goal – to kill.

    Newly appointed Watch Guard Samantha Shields has a legacy to uphold. Her father died a hero defending their city and now she wants to follow in his footsteps. Except for the dying part, of course. Unfortunately, fate has other plans as she discovers deep dark secrets that make her choose between her loyalties and the lives of everyone in her city. Both rules are in play as Sam is forced to make hard decisions that could cost her everything – including the person she cares about most.

    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RISE OF THE CHOSEN


    • This is not another zombie book
    • Action-packed
    • LGBT MC (#ownvoices)
    • Unpredictable page-turner

    Advanced reviewers are calling it ‘intense’, ‘gripping’, and a ‘fresh take on the zombie theme’. Fans of The Walking Dead and Divergent will love this book. But don’t just take their word for it – order on Amazon today and see for yourself!

    EXCERPT

    “Do you eat? I mean, I know you don’t need to, but do you?” Sam
    asked curiously. David gave her a blank stare.
    “Eating is inconvenient,” he finally answered, eliciting a confused
    look.
    “Because it takes time? Or effort?”
    “Because it produces unneeded side effects from the body that
    could cause an interruption in our duties.”
    She mulled over the answer for a moment. Finally understanding
    what he was talking about, she turned red as a beet and continued to
    eat in silence.
    Julian laughed at her reaction.
    “That’s our Sarge, always worrying someone’s gonna have to take a
    piss in the middle of a call.”
    David turned to him. “With you and Mexican food, that’s not the
    one I’m worried about.”
    Sam almost choked on her burrito.
    “Holy shit, did Sarge just make a joke? Well, well, maybe there’s
    hope for you after all!”
    The death glare from David was interrupted by a loud warning ring
    from the computer, followed by the distant wail of a siren. He whirled
    around to get the location and was immediately out the door, yelling
    back at his scrambling teammates.
    “Two at the gate.”

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Anna Kopp was born in Russia and immigrated to the United States when she was 11. She joined the US Army and lived in Georgia during her military career before settling down in the Cleveland, Ohio area. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in business but her true passion is writing. She is a wife and business partner to a software developer, and a mom to two rambunctious boys obsessed with Minecraft. Anna’s hobbies include reading, writing, and playing World of Warcraft. She is a true geek at heart and would love nothing more than to see her imagination become a part of something greater.

    Contact Information

    WEBSITE: http://www.annakoppauthor.com
    BLOG: annakoppwrites.wordpress.com
    GOODREADS: Author Profile
    AMAZON: Author Page
    FACEBOOK: facebook.com/annakoppwrites
    TWITTER: @AnnaKoppAuthor



    I would like to thank Anna for her donation to my Website Campaign to raise funds for my movie. I ask that you please take the time to visit Anna’s site, check out her work, and follow along with her on her literary journey. It definitely looks like it is going to be an adventurous and rewarding one.

    Now that the IndieGoGo Campaign to raise funds to produce my movie has kicked off, my Website Campaign has ended. I ask that you please check out our stellar cast and crew, see what the flick is about, and, if you feel so compelled, donate to show your support of Independent Filmmakers. And whether you are or are not able to donate, please share the news about the campaign to your network of family and friends.

    Thank you!

     
     

     
  • Kurt Brindley 11:13 am on September 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Guest Authors, , , , , , ,   

    Don’t judge my book… 

    Kathy Cecala, an Indie Author and an active and valuable member of our private Facebook group for writers and readers, has some interesting and useful thoughts on the dark art of choosing and creating book covers. I strongly encourage you to check it and all the many other intriguing and compelling writing she has shared for us to read for free on her website.

    KATHYCECALA.COM

    Like

    Kathy Cecala: The Persistent Writer

    Yes, I’m on a writing break, but it doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about the cover for my next. As we all know, you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. But we all do, it seems.  Supposed experts in publishing tell us the cover is your most important marketing tool, though my own informal survey of readers begs to differ. Some readers will choose a book solely on its cover, but others could care less, using reviews or information on the product page to make their decision.

    Truth be told, I’m in the latter group. Half the time I don’t even look at the cover of a book, even when I’ve finished reading it. And this probably explains why I tend to give short shrift to my own covers as an author. But this time I’m trying to take it seriously, mainly because I don’t feel the…

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    • Restless Mind 11:40 am on September 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reading her post, I never realized how discriminatory I am when choosing books based on what’s shown on the cover…oops!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kurt Brindley 11:49 am on September 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        For all the good and bad of it, it’s in our nature to be discriminating in our tastes, I suppose.

        Like

    • Jay 12:16 pm on September 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It’s about time people just accept that we absolutely judge on covers, so make them most of them.

      Like

  • Kurt Brindley 8:00 am on July 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , dark suspense, , , Guest Authors, , , small town horror, suspense, , WTWS   

    Calling all fans of creepy suspense… | A Guest Post by Author Timothy G. Huguenin 

    Calling all fans of creepy suspense, small-town horror, and dystopian fiction!

    My name is Timothy G. Huguenin (but let’s cut the pretense here—just call me Tim). I just launched When the Watcher Shakes, a dark suspense novel about a mysterious religious sect hidden in the isolated mountains of West Virginia. It’s such an important story to me because it’s representative of my own spiritual and personal journey, and it’s also set in the same beloved mountains where I grew up. I want to share it with you guys through Kurt’s blog, because he’s all about relationships and characters, and though it’s something of a genre story, I wanted to focus heavily on the characters residing in this cult and how their leader’s lies affect each person differently. The story is kind of a mix of Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines series, my life experiences, and Orwell’s 1984.

    Here is a nutshell version of the book to whet your appetite:

    The walls were meant to keep evil out—but they only hid the evil within.

    John has given up his ordinary life to find wisdom traveling the country and enjoy the freedom of living as a nomad. But when he stumbles across a mysterious town tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains, walled off from modern society, he discovers a group of people who could use some freedom of their own. Are they a harmless religious sect, or is there something less benign underneath the surface?

    The townspeople are initially wary of their new visitor, but as John questions their way of life, some of them begin to have questions of their own. As the leadership’s tight control unravels, men and women break free from the chains of legalism–some literally, and some at the cost of their own lives.

    The best thing about this story? The Kindle version is free until Sunday. So get on over to Amazon and check it out!

    I’d love to have you visit my website, tghuguenin.com. Come on over and let’s get to know each other.


     

    tghuguenin.com

     


    I would like to thank Tim for his donation in support of my movie making endeavors and for sharing the news of the launch of his debut novel with us. Please take the time to check out Tim’s site and his writing and support him in his efforts.

     
     

     
  • Kurt Brindley 8:00 am on April 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Guest Authors, , , , love stories, Pamela Schloesser Canepa, , sci-fi, , ,   

    ENTERTAINING THE WHAT-IFS | A Guest Post by Author Pamela Schloesser Canepa 

    NOW ON AMAZON FOR KINDLE!

    Made for Me, a Sci-fi romance novella by Pamela Schloesser Canepa, takes the awkward first date story to the extreme! What happens when an indecisive girl uses a 100% guaranteed website to find the man of her dreams? How can they truly guarantee happiness for Abrielle, who can’t even decide what she wants for dinner? Meet Sampson, open-minded, spontaneous, and financially stable. All of the elements seem to come together for a perfect match. Yet, it becomes apparent there’s been a website glitch! Sampson is even more unique than Abrielle could ever guess. For this to work, Abrielle must accept the truth behind Sampson’s perfect skin, buff physique, and welcoming smile.

     

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pamela Schloesser Canepa lives in the Southeast with her small family and her dog. She has been writing since childhood, and has just started publishing recently. She considers herself an avid sci-fi movie fan and loves authors such as Stephen King, James Patterson, Phillip K. Dick, Suzanne Collins, and Laurie Notaro, among others. Pamela’s genres include science fiction, realistic fiction, and poetry of all types. Made for Me is Pamela’s first published work of fiction. A sequel is in the works, and Pamela is working on editing a full length time travel novel for publication in e-book and print, hopefully in the next year!

    pamelascanepa.wordpress.com
    Amazon Author Page


    PAMELA HAS DONATED MONEY TO SUPPORT KURT’S FILM
    PLEASE SUPPORT PAMELA

     
     

     
    • pamelascanepa 8:43 am on April 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Kurt Brindley! This is truly networking at its best!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kurt Brindley 11:09 am on April 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        The pleasure is all mine, Pamela. Thank you for your support in my film. Good luck with your writing and let’s stay in touch.

        Like

    • Matt 11:14 am on April 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This actually sounds really interesting. Maybe a little too close home for me since I am no stranger to online dating disasters.

      Liked by 2 people

  • Kurt Brindley 1:33 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Guest Authors, , , , , , , Sherrie Cronin,   

    INSPIRATION IN THE WORST OF PLACES | A Guest Post by Author Sherrie Cronin 

    With pleasure and gratitude, it is my honor to share with you a Guest Post by Author Sherrie Cronin. As April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, Sherrie’s post, and her books, are timely, important, and educational, as, sadly, the exploitation and abuse of women only seems to be worsening. Obviously, we must do more to prevent this; for this is not a problem only found in countries far and distinct from our own, it is a problem that just may be found not too far from our very own doorstep. On the sidebar, you will find her novel c3 and a link to where you can learn more about Sherrie and her books. I strongly encourage you to support Sherrie and her efforts.


     

    INSPIRATION IN THE WORST OF PLACES
    by Sherrie Cronin

    46ascending.org

     

    When I first outlined the stories for 46. Ascending, I knew that c3 would be about a group of young women who would thwart a sex trafficking ring, because I wanted a venue to explore the extreme edges of the way we as a society pretend not to see the many ways in which young women are exploited. I fully expected that my research would take me to some horrifying places, and it did. An internet connection is all one needs to visit ping pong shows in Bangkok and to peruse ads for “sexy and willing” Russian women. I still get the ads — I need to wash out my browser with soap.

    What I did not expect, however, were how many inspirational stories and websites I would encounter as well. I stared my research with Somaly Mam’s book The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine and I highly recommend it.

    My browsing then took me to the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, a group of Catholic Nun’s who have spent the last couple of centuries reaching out to women in unfortunate circumstances. I liked what I read so much that an imaginary nun worked herself into my story even though she wasn’t even in the outline. I hope that members of the order would not be offended by my spunky Sister Teresa-Marie, as she turned out to be one of my favorite characters in the book. Please read about this fine group and their efforts to help victims of human trafficking at goodshepherdsisters.org/trafficking.htm.

    Next I found several non-profit organizations dedicated to stopping human trafficking, each one with an inspiring story. I will likely blog about them all individually here over time. One of the first that I encountered was an organization called Shared Hope International, founded by U.S. Congresswoman Linda Smith after she traveled into the heart of the brothel district in Mumbai, India where “she witnessed the brutal exploitation and sexual slavery of women and children.” She has been trying to do something about it ever since. This group also has a Facebook page well worth visiting and liking.

    I expected to be disgusted at some of what I found, and I was. I expected to believe that this was a problem with no solution. Instead, I found brave women and men of all nations, ages, and belief systems working for positive change. I did not expect to walk away from my research marveling at those who fight every day to shine a bright light into the darkest of corners. But I did, and I am marveling at them still.


    To find out how you, too, can promote your book or project, please visit here.

     
     

     
    • M. L. Kappa 2:21 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Well done. It takes guts to tackle subjects like this one. We get so much horrible news already, it’s so tempting to avoid them…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sherrie Cronin 3:00 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks M.L. I struggled with not sugar-coating the topic and yet not writing a book so painful that no one would want to read it. It was a challenge. I appreciate your encouragement!

        Liked by 3 people

    • Bookwraiths 5:28 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It is so difficult to believe that human trafficking and this type of exploitation of fellow human beings still take place in this modern age. Good to know there are people tackling this issue head on, and writers willing to delve into the topic and bring it to everyone’s attention.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sherrie Cronin 7:23 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Bookwraiths. According to the many sources I used, and to the social worker I consulted who has some knowledge of this field, this remains a real problem today. What is new is the technological resources available both to the perpetrators and those trying to stop them.

        Liked by 2 people

    • nvsubbaraman 7:15 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Nice and enjoyable post. Thanks . Congrats.

      Liked by 2 people

    • oldpoet56 10:20 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      • Sherrie Cronin 1:13 pm on April 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Old Poet 56: while I initially appreciated your publicity for my book, this morning I spent some time on your blog and am compelled to tell you that I am offended by the harsh Islamophobia that I found on your website. I am approximately your age and have worked with a large variety of cultures as I spent 32 years as a geophysicist in the oil business. I have found many good, kind people among every nation, creed, age group and other demographic I encountered and I believe you do humanity a huge disservice by painting any one group with a single brush. I think it would be best if you removed any reference to my book from your site. If you read it, you would find that it treats all cultures found in Central Asia with appreciation and respect and that it presents a theme of peace well at odds with the tone of your blog.

        Like

    • krushnakulkarni 9:49 am on April 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Good subject and you are very nicely carved your thoughts in it. I really like your blog.
      keep writing. Thanks for sharing with us.

      Liked by 2 people

  • Kurt Brindley 6:34 pm on March 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Guest Authors, , , , , , , ,   

    So, I’m Going To Make A Movie… UPDATE #2 

    Well, as grand, collaborative endeavors often do… we’ve run into a few delays in our effort to launch our Indigogo campaign to raise funds for our short film LEAVE.

    Fortunately for us the delays are good problems to have because it may allow us to have an even stronger team and announcement once we do go live.

    But I got to thinking (I know, I know…), that even though the Indigogo campaign may be delayed, why can’t I begin seeking funding support now right here at my website?

    In fact, here I can offer unique donation incentives that I won’t be able to offer at Indigogo.

    Seeing how a great majority of you all out there are Indie Authors and Indie Creators of other sorts, why cannot I offer you an opportunity to promote your imaginative wares here for a few dollars in donation to help me pre-fund my film?

    And by “pre-funding” I mean funds that I can use to hire someone to make killer graphics (as opposed to my black-and-white snoozers) and a killer trailer; and funds I can use to promote and market the Indigogo campaign as it is running.

    Twitter and Facebook ads are expensive. And while I have a large Facebook following at my Author Page, Facebook throttles every post I make there so hardly anyone sees it unless I pay to promote the post.

    So what do you think? Would you be willing to support my film if I were willing to promote your work here?

    For example, the campaign incentives would look something like this:

    1. $5 = I will list your name with a link back to your site on a special Donors page.

    2. $10 = #1 plus I reblog a post of your choosing

    3. $25 = #1 plus you publish a Guest Post about your book or whatever you wish to write about

    4. $50 = #1, 2, 3, plus I advertise your book, etc. on the sidebar for a week

    5. $75 = 1, 2, 3, plus I advertise your book, etc. on the site scrolling header for a week

    6. $100 = 1, 2, 3, plus I advertise your book, etc. on the header and sidebar for a week

    7. $500 = 1, 2, 3, and 6 for the duration of the campaign, plus you will receive Executive Producer credits on the film

    Or, if you have ideas for additional incentives, I’d love to hear them.

    During the campaign, I would take down all the advertisements I now run to supplement my disability payment (yes, I just took a blatant tug at your tender heart string) to create a better environment.

    All of the sidebar promotion would be at the top above all of my work.

    And I would have a link directly to Paypal where you could donate all easy-peazy like.

    Of course all donations would NOT be tax deductible. However, unless you intend to donate more than the present $14,000 gift exemption for the 2016 tax season, your donation will not be taxed as a gift. Because I am not a lawyer, for more information, please see the IRS GIFT TAX FAQ.

    This all is just a rough of what the campaign would look like… but what do you think?

    Would you help me help you by donating to support my film?

    Of course, submissions to the Relating to Humans feature will remain open throughout the campaign so all can continue to freely share and promote their creative expressions and ideas regardless one’s level of support.

     
    All votes are anonymous to Kurt

    UPDATE: This poll is now closed. Thanks to everyone who voted. I guess we’ll give it a go! :)
     
    Thank you for your support!

     
     

     
    • notoriouslysinglegirl 2:18 pm on March 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Oh gosh…. I feel your pain….. I had a similar issue w/ my feature documentary….. my collaborative partner…. sent me a bill for filming…. luckily is was before we shot the crowd funding and it’s still very much a concept…. which takes me back to the drawing board…. in a good way….I think you have a great idea w/ crowd funding and running promo ads for peeps! Good luck! :)

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Critical Lady 8:53 am on March 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I wish you the best of luck on your film! The road isn’t always easy or straightforward. Just wondering, what stage are you at with it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kurt Brindley 1:30 pm on March 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Well, we have a script, of course, and we have the high-level production crew, and we have committed and willing to commit, schedule providing, main actors, we have a location, and we have the heart… however, we don’t yet have the funds. I thank you for your well wishes, TCL – and I would be evermore thankful for your donation. :)

        Like

  • Kurt Brindley 1:09 pm on July 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Guest Authors, , , , , , , , ,   

    I HAVE NO VOICE AND I MUST WRITE: A Guest Post by Author K. D. Rose 

    I love caustic writers. They write how I think except they’re more witty. And incisive. And, um, better writers.

    Here’s an example of what I mean. Check out Chuck Wendig’s piece called Dear guy who is mad because I wrote a gay character in a book.

    Or try John Hartness, entitled: Why your self-published book looks like a pile of ass and won’t ever make you any money.

    Or read any part of Kurt Brindley’s blog.

    Just as important, and sometimes forgotten in bouts of unabashed sarcastic glee, behind the blunt force acerbic trauma these writers actually give a damn about other people. See Chuck Wendig’s week’s long thread where he offers advice to any question from other writers; look at the reveals and reviews that Brindley does and the opportunities he offers for guest posting and exposure; look at what John Hartness is doing underneath seeming asshattery– the advice in that post is golden.

    I just don’t have that cred yet. Or maybe it’s balls. Okay, I literally don’t have balls, but what I mean is I don’t have anything to back up my opinions, and you know what they say about opinions…

    I’m not sure how this devolved into genitalia.

    Some of my writing meets acerbity half-way while trying to point out trends. The Re-emergence of the Book rightfully lambasts publishers but somehow lacks that arrow through the heart. Here it is republished most recently on Literative. The Next Big Thing in Tech asks similar questions on a different forefront. Here it is in Startupdope.

    The title to the post your reading of course is a play on words from the great Harlan Ellison, still one of the best in-your-face writers I can think of. Why did I write that last sentence? Because someone might not get the title. Is this really writing? Or do I just write and forget people who don’t get it; they can just take the writing at face value. Welcome to Heavy Bags of Soul.



    But why would someone who likes authors who don’t pull punches write a book like Heavy Bags of Soul? Half the book is codes.

    Delving deeply into systems of belief requires codes no matter how one chooses to write about them. Each system has its own language, often meant to describe the very same principles or experiences as another system, though you’ll get a swat on the hand with a ruler if you say that out loud.

    Metaphors are also codes. Live with it.

    But I guess it doesn’t matter because everyone hates poetry, right?

    I don’t think or write like many. I contemplate my world in a non-linear way. Putting it all together to make sense to someone else is tough. It’s not even like puzzle pieces; it’s like an invisible puzzle that changes shape depending on the connections you make and the analytical lines you can draw among them, and then you have to draw it for others… And then finally you
    have to:                 SPELL         OUT          THE          CONNECTIONS.
     


    “But I guess it doesn’t matter because
    everyone hates poetry, right?”


     

    Because I think and write like the Tasmanian Devil. You know. The cartoon one. Only…friendlier.

    Oops.

    I mean:

    See? Doesn’t that tornado look friendly albeit slightly confused as to how it’s going to make sense of all the convoluted ideas it pulls in? Actually it looks pretty damn stressed out. Freudian much, KD?

    When I do a shitty job at connecting these streams of what amounts to analytical dots (I was an analyst for the government), the writing is scattered and readers go “huh?” When I do a decent job, you get one of the articles like I mentioned above. When I do a brilliant job, you get a book so tightly connected that no one understands it. Welcome to the world, Heavy Bags of Soul. Welcome to obscurity, K.D. Rose.

    I guess I really am a Jackess of all trades. Ah, you gotta love homonyms.

    If you like that last bit, you’d like Heavy Bags of Soul.

    ***

    I wanted to write a blog post titled: “When Sex Doesn’t Sell.” When you don’t use the words people have come to expect, when you don’t write to titillate but to translate, sex on the page can seem as obscure as Peter Higgs before March 2013. Insert supercollider sexual innuendo here. One day I’ll have to count and find out just how many poems in the book are actually about orgasms.



    I revel in the succinct. Not just succinct but short and dense. And by dense I mean, packing mountains of information or wisdom into forceful passages that stand like mountains in slim volumes of work. Why? Back to the difference in thinking habits. Long and drawn out is the linear norm. A takes us to Z through a series of stops along the way that build upon one another to the conclusion. Slim volumes on the other hand—poetry is one key example— build vertically, with ever expanding circles, tangents, and some linear thrown in. Dense.

    Have you heard of Steganography? Steganography is derived from the Greek words “steganos” and “graphein,” meaning covered writing. Overlay and overlay of information. I liken dense works to steganography and other forms of covert communication, such as the ability to reduce a large amount of writing to a simple point like a dot. Dense works are not covert by intent, their innate structure simply reveals layers underneath. Rimbaud’s entire life’s work could probably be displayed in 50 pages. The Upanishads, a sacred Sanskrit instruction on the entirety of the universe is about 100 pages. The point is sometimes the most efficacious way to communicate complexity and remain effable is to ingrain mountains on each individual word. Terse. Succinct. Vigorous. Forceful.

    There is a very slim book called Flatland. It contains and explains dimensional concepts beyond its format of simplistic satire. The book created a cult following. Check out the brilliance sometime.
     


    “One day I’ll have to count and find out just how many
    poems in that book are actually about orgasms.”


     

    Here’s some of the starkness that is my voice, encapsulated in a picture also currently in print.

    But who wants to read poems of mourning or grief? No one. Who should? Everyone. It’s one of those unspoken things we all go through and never talk about.      TO      GET      YOU      THROUGH.      This one won Reader’s Favorite International Silver Medal Award for poetry. Which doesn’t mean a damn thing. Writing that just now made me feel like a talk show host. I may need to shower.

    ***

    When my first book didn’t sell I started writing mainstream and got contracts with a publisher. Although my first contract was for an NA series, I found out the publisher really wanted romance. I learned about heat levels and equating them to specific naughty bits. I literally had to find a sex scene to read to figure out how to write one.

    When the publisher went out of business I took out the sex though it was kind of hard to do considering each story centered on a sexual situation. The driving force for each was not actually sex, however. Hence the title: Anger’s Children. I have anger now and good reason for it, but I don’t want to release the Kraken so it was interesting to think of how others might experience that energy, tension, and release. The stories are still risqué though. There’s a lot of passion in anger.

    Recently, I took my own advice on new technology, so right now I’m writing an interactive story called Kill Chain. Readers vote on what happens at the end. Chapter 1 is up so far. I managed to work myself into a corner in only one chapter.

    These are free reads on a platform called Storyshift. I wrote an article about the platform and what it attempts here. Beware. The article is written in my “happy writer” voice. Somewhere along the way it became “the voice” everyone online uses. Non-offensive and perky, it makes me want to slit my wrists. After Heavy Bags of Soul, I turned from my own voice on the advice of the rest of the world online. Enter happy writer voice; superficial blogger voice, and Prozac delirium advertising voice.

    I can write kind of normal in a way that doesn’t suck my soul into the abyss of lost credibility. It only took a forced topic for me to do so. Yet, it’s not really me.

    I have an authentic voice. I’m not an exclamation point type of gal. Nor am I a smiley face emoticon breach from a Stepford psyche. My most recent book, The Brevity of Twit is a collection of three years of Tweets. If you dropped twenty believing it’s not the authentic me you’d lose that bet. It’s a thin volume. Apropos, the underlying point shows that communication, even deep understanding, can be conveyed within those 140 character bits. At my best I’m pithy and piercing.

    Heavy Bags of Soul is also piercing. It is the collection and curation of thirty years of work. Maybe one day I’ll break it down and sell pieces to Reader’s Digest.

    ***

    I learned today something worth remembering to me. To me, I say, because I relate everything to quantum physics and watch over science like a hawk. Insert your own joke there to make it Hawk-ing. You’re welcome.
     


    “At my best, I’m pithy and piercing.”


     

    Anyway, they finally found the answer to a question that had been posed since the 1600’s: when two pendulums are hung next to each other, why do they end up swinging in opposing directions within 30 minutes? The answer is sound waves. If you think this meaningless or unrelated to other physics or even, say, Focault’s Pendulum, scrounge up that term on Wikipedia and watch how fast the science moves from Focault’s original pendulum theory in the 1800’s to Minkowski space-time.

    I make a Minkowski joke in one of my dialogues in Heavy Bags of Soul. It’s from what could be considered the most intellectual piece in there. My favorite though is an absurdist short story starring Heisenberg and Schrodinger. I wrote it based on the premise of an old joke but physics humor scares people off. You really only have to go skin deep though to enjoy it. It’s an absurdist play for god’s sake. Not that it’s an absurdist play for the sake of god. Erm, you get the idea.

    Too much of that talk above could get me labeled as a screwball if it hasn’t already. I try to stay away from that. Here’s some down-to-earth science you might want to take an interest in: The Really Big One. “Down-to-earth” would be a joke, but now you’ve read the article so it’s not funny. Really not funny.

    In the meantime, I’ll let physics explain why there is a slight possibility that the chair you’re sitting in could turn into a mushroom at any given moment. Then, as a non-screwball type, you can explain to me why, as I’m writing this, Trump is ahead in the GOP poll at 22%.

    ***

    There. I think I’ve got it all out. Being a Tasmanian Devil Tornado and a pantser to boot, I never know the point to which I will arrive, only that I will get there. Despite doubts, upon arrival there is a cogent thread underneath. So shall we sum up?

    • Skewer Your Readers
    • Erotic Romance Sells
    • Read Heavy Bags of Soul
    • Campaign for Absurdist Humor

    That was it, right?

    Or just:

     

    You must excuse me now, I have to go learn the MFA voice. It’s all the rage.



     

    K.D. Rose is a poet and author who currently has published “Heavy Bags of Soul”, “Inside Sorrow”, “I AM”, “Erasing: Shadows”, “Anger’s Children: Three Shorts That Will Blow Your Mind”, “A Taste for Mystery: Two Novellas” and her new release, “The Brevity of Twit”.

    Her poetry has been published in Candlelit Journal, The Voices Project, The Drabble, and showcased in the Tophat Raven Art and Literary Magazine. K.D.’s book, Inside Sorrow won the Readers Favorite 2013 international Silver Medal for Poetry. With fellow authors around the globe, KD was also a founding member of the e-magazine, INNOVATE.

    K.D. has an eclectic mind and loves language, physics, philosophy, photography, design, art, writing, symbolism, semiotics, spirituality, and Dr. Who. KD Rose is an avid supporter of music, the arts, cutting edge science, technology, and creativity in all forms.

    SOCIAL MEDIA

    Blog: authorkdrose.wordpress.com
    Website: authorkdrose.com
    Twitter
    Tumbler
    Google +
    Facebook
    LinkedIn
    Goodreads
    Instagram

    PUBLICATIONS

    New Release:
    The Brevity of Twit
    Publisher Three Worlds Press
    (links to all buy sites- Amazon, Kobo, etc)

    Heavy Bags of Soul

    Inside Sorrow

    I AM (Poetry in Motion)

    Angers Children: Three Shorts That Will Blow Your Mind


     
     

     
  • Kurt Brindley 5:16 pm on July 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blended relationships, , , , Guest Authors, , , , , , , , societal issues,   

    NO RACE TO CALL HOME: A Relating to Humans Race Issue by newmommytesla 

    NO RACE TO CALL HOME
    newmommytesla
     

    I have no idea what race or culture to identify with.
    My blood is mixed. I don’t fit into any one category. I’m Aztec, Spanish, Scottish-Irish, English, German, and little slivers of many more.

    It was difficult growing up, not being able to relate to one side. Not being able to deny or fully embrace one or another. I can’t speak Spanish. I don’t feel Irish or German. When I lived in North Dakota and was the only person with a last name like Rodriquez, I was known as “The Mexican.”

    Being a mixed blood did nothing to help me find myself as a teenager, either. But as an adult it’s helped me to relate to more cultures and races than I ever thought possible.

    I belong nowhere. And everywhere.

    I know I’m not the only one.

    After a thoughtful pause during a recent conversation with my mom, as she contemplated what else is in my blood, she said, “There’s going to be a little bit of everything in everybody at this point.”

    She’s right. It’s rare to find someone of only one race or culture. America and the Americans in it are as much of a mixed blood as I am, yet we have some of the worst cultural, religious, and racial clashes.

    Indian and the white man. Black and white. Muslims and Christians. The list goes on. Look at the news. Cultural clashes are among the top headlines.
    America has a big opportunity to prove peace can be real, that cultural divides can be conquered. But we’re too busy concentrating on what one side of ourselves we want to identify with most – just as I did as a teenager.

    It reminds me of a passage in the Bible my mother pointed out:. “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”

    Does America not want to stand? Do we not want to accept the truth staring us in the face?

    We are all related.

    Imagine what America could be if we embraced that. Imagine if the United States was actually united. Imagine the potential to excel for our children — for the mixed-blood child growing inside me now.

    Let’s get out of the teenage mentality and grow into adulthood as the people of this country. Let’s admit that each race, culture, religion has done something — many things — wrong, and move on with breaking down the walls that divide us.

    Let’s acknowledge, as I had to, that we are no one side. We are all.


    trailblazingmotherhood.wordpress.com

     
    Have you gained wisdom in how to relate with us fickle humans that you would be willing to share? Visit the Relating to HUmans page for submission guidelines.

     
     

     
    • juliabarrett 6:22 pm on July 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Well said. I too am a mutt. I’m proud of it. I detest those who make money off racial politics and posturing and who point out our differences instead of our commonalities. Most people just want to survive, to feed their families. My dad said it best – When we were kids and had both a cross burned in our yard and a swastika painted in blood on the side of our house, he said, get over it. Someone will always find a reason to hate you. Might be as simple as the color of your hair. Live your life and be a good person. That’s all you can do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • erlande 12:13 am on July 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Désolé mais si vous n’avez pas d’identité ou si vous en avez mille ,vous êtes un mort sans sépulture,un sépulcre blanchi,un mort-vivant,un zombie manipulable à merci!

        Like

    • janjoy52 7:51 pm on July 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Not a bad place to be in.

      Like

    • howardat58 8:21 pm on July 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Just tick “Other”. If everybody had the wit to do that then some of the nonsense might be bypassed.

      Like

    • gayguidecambodia 8:26 pm on July 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      There was a country – multicultural, multilingual – meeting place between east and west and three religions. It had population of 23 million before it was destroyed. Now every nationality has their own state and they are pretty much all worse off than before. Second biggest “ethnic” group was made of those born in mixed marriages. These now belong to nowhere. No, it was not in Africa. It was in Europe. The blame game has not finished though, 20 years after civil war(s) finished. It was good for the famous 1% – yes they are everywhere. Looking at America from far away I have a feeling that problem is more of social justice than racial. Those who don’t want issues of social justice solved profit from presenting it as racial issues. Divide and conquer.

      Like

    • Nandini 12:00 am on July 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Well said Kurt and your mother’s wisdom. Being an immigrant myself I want my kids to feel as an American first before their race. My mum would always say “United we stand, divided we fall”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kurt Brindley 10:28 am on July 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Nandini. This post if from our Relating to Humans feature and was written, not by me, but by “newmommytesla.” That said, I certainly share your sentiments toward your children. :)

        Liked by 1 person

    • xandrad 8:55 pm on July 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      We have a saying in Scotland, “No matter how diluted the blood, you are Scots to a thousand generations.”

      The motto of the USA was once “E Puribus Unum” – one from many. Laudible sentiments, but sadly rarely practiced. Which I do not understand, because it is indeed made up of immigrants from all over the world. Okay, so is the UK, but to a much lesser degree – and that is more a result of days of empire than anything else.

      I would suggest newmommytesla reads Bhowani Junction by John Masters. It is set in India in the days before independence, and surrounding the life of a British Indian woman – half Asian, half white. Masters was a British Indian himself and he tells how they weren’t wanted in India, and the British didn’t want them in the UK. They were effectively a people without a home. And that shite goes on unto this day. In the 1980s the UK government ruled that British born in India were “non-patrials”, effectively taking British citizenship away from thousands. Even the singer Cliff Richard and the zany comedian Spike Milligan were effected by this. Spike always claimed that he decided to be Irish instead, phoned up the Irish Embassy in London and asked “Can I be Irish?”, and got the reply “Oh, shore. We’re terrible short o’ people.”

      Of course, take it back far enough and we are ALL the children of immigrants. If that were not true, we’d all be living in sub-Saharan east Africa.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Berna 10:00 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for posting this. I am “pure” Filipino, as my dad would say. I married a man who is Italian, Norwegian and German. My brother married a Caucasian who is a blend. One day, many years ago, we were all at the park and my dad looked at his five grandchildren and exclaimed, “look how beautiful they are!” My point is that we are all meant to mIx. It is our human calling. The future of our race, and the future of our country, will be strong because of our mixture. Again, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Kurt Brindley 11:41 am on June 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Guest Authors, , Linda Foxworth, , Talking About Wine With Ease, Trafford, , wine books, wine tasting,   

    TALKING ABOUT WINE WITH EASE: A Guest Post by Author Linda Foxworth 

    Author Linda Foxworth

    Last spring a friend in my wine tasting group, who is also a certified specialist of wine, asked me if I would be interested in co-authoring an introductory wine book with him. After thinking about it for roughly three seconds, the amount of time it took me to consider how much I love wine and how much I love to write, I said, ‘yes, yes I would.’

    The writing process went very smoothly. We took turns writing a few chapters each month. Within six months the first draft was complete. Then came the tedious work of editing; checking and re-checking the pronunciation guides, re-working the maps multiple times, until we finally gave up and found another source (drawing maps is much harder than I ever imagined) and debating the usefulness of the Oxford comma. After another six months, yes, the editing took as long as the writing, but wasn’t nearly as much fun, the final 138th draft (I exaggerate…a little) was ready to be shipped off to the publisher.

    We self-published and used Trafford. They put out a quality product, have reasonable prices, include an isbn, and have many covers from which to choose. After learning at a writers’ conference that blue covers sell more books than any other color, we changed our cover to blue.

    Our book is available on amazon. It is an introductory book. If you are already deeply in the throes of wine study, this book will do you no good. But if you know very little about wine and would like to know a little something without having to work too hard, this is the book for you. It includes the basics on wine regions and grapes as well as fun facts and talking points. Each chapter opens with the bare essentials for that region, the three or four or five things you should know about a region in easy-to-reference quick tips.

    I will be giving out free copies of the book, Talking About Wine With Ease, to the first five people who contact me, Linda Foxworth, at foxress@charter.net and put ‘free book’ in the subject line. If you are the sixth person to contact me, the book is available on amazon for $10.99.

    Amazon’s Book Page
    foxress.wordpress.com
    foxress@charter.net

     
     

     
    • Megi 2:23 pm on June 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on HappyNest in America.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jay 2:39 pm on June 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Oh I’ll have to check it out, we’re about to do a Napa trip and I was just wondering if they’d throw us out. I mean, we should know more than we do since a) we drink a considerable amount and b) we have a wine cellar, but really, we’re newbs.

      Liked by 3 people

      • foxress 5:10 pm on June 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Jay, I will be happy to send you a copy if you email me your address. Have a great trip. I’m sure nobody will throw you out.

        Liked by 1 person

    • A // W // F 8:01 pm on June 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      What a great idea! :) I grew up in a family of teetotalers, & so I didn’t get to experience the magic of wine until I was an adult. I know what I like and what I don’t, but I always feel highly undereducated beyond that point. Thank you for sharing your knowledge! :)

      Liked by 2 people

      • foxress 12:31 am on June 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        You are welcome. email me if you would like a free book. I have one more to give away.

        Like

  • Kurt Brindley 8:04 pm on June 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , emergency rooms, , , Guest Authors, , , , Philosophical Issues, , trauma,   

    THE GHOSTS OF THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT – A Relating to Humans Philosophical Issue 

    It’s been a while since I have shared a submission from the Relating to Humans feature and I so pleased to get things started again by sharing this hauntingly beautiful piece from our Philosophical Issues feature by Philip A Green.

    As a quick update, on Wednesday evening we’ll have a much anticipated (certainly by me) Guest Post by author Manizha Sepas (bedvilledadventurer.wordpress.com) and next Friday evening I will post my review of our IABS&R Volume 3 pick HAWSER by author J Hardy Carroll (jhardycarroll.com).


    THE GHOSTS OF THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT
    by Philip A Green

    I worked in an ER once with old wooden doors on the rooms. The patterns created by the grains in the wood became a Rorschach test for patients- some saw mountains, some saw animals, some saw nothing at all. But room nine, directly across from the trauma rooms, was different. Something in that door frightened patients.

    It was the schizophrenics who first made me aware of it. God, they hated that room when the door was closed. I lost track of how many times the crash of that door being kicked open shook the department. The wall behind it had a fist sized hole from the handle punching into it. It finally reached the point where I had to make a rule, no psych patients in room nine.

    I blew it off for years as a strange quirk until one morning, about three am, when I was interviewing a patient. In a sleep deprived stupor I sat on the stool next to the room nine bed, the gurney with the patient on it between the door and myself. The door was closed to give us some privacy. I was talking to the patient when the hair on the back of my neck began to rise.

    There were faces in the door watching me. They wavered back and forth between a pattern in the wood and the Lost staring me down. I sat afraid, frozen in place, unable to understand what they could want from me. Finally, my patient on the gurney before me gave an awkward cough, and asked if I was ok.

    That was a long time ago. I’ve moved on since then. Other ER’s, other towns, other stories. I never told anyone at work that I too, could see the faces. I’ve often wondered if a few of my nurses saw them as well. More than once during a trauma I’d catch a nurse staring off at the door on room nine across from us. The nurse and I would make eye contact, both waiting for the other to acknowledge the impossible. In the end, we never spoke of it, some things in the ER best being left alone.

    The roughest part of what I do is getting out of bed each day, knowing an onslaught of suffering is barreling towards me. As I wake, so too are my patients. Perhaps we all drink coffee, sitting at our own breakfast table, chatting with our families about the day ahead.

    I can’t help but think if only there were some clue, some way for me to warn them. Today is the day we will meet in the ER. Do not glance down at your phone on the way to work. Stay off Division Street. Wait, just one extra second, that’s all, just one second, before you step into the crosswalk in front of the school.

    I imagine myself a ghost. Begging, pleading, screaming at them to stay home. Yet as a ghost, no one can hear me. My words have no meaning, my warnings no heed, my panic no justification. Nothing has happened yet. Today is starting out like every other day has started out, and those days were fine.

    So instead we all get up, we go to work, and the day begins. I arrive at the ER, knowing my warnings have been unheeded. All I can do is prepare.

    I walk through the department at the start of my shift. Airway equipment, check. Central lines, check. IV equipment, check. IV fluids, check. Room by room, item by item, I mentally touch and confirm each tool. As I see each item I make a quick practice run in my mind, so that when I need it I don’t have to think or feel. I can become pure action and resuscitation when need be.

    Step by step I approach readiness, while somewhere, step by step, someone else approaches disaster. Like two planets whose gravitational fields pull them together, we begin on a collision course, gathering speed and momentum, neither of us yet aware of the other. I know a crash is coming but not who or what or where. My day is 10 hours of bracing for impact.

    The buzzer on the radio squawks out through the department that a car has hit a pedestrian. The victim is unconscious on scene, rigs 7 and 12 are responding, and I know our planets are about to collide.

    A hush falls over the ER as we listen to the call. They are on scene now, it’s bad. The victim is a child. She is critically injured. The car was speeding through a school zone. The quiet ding of a cell phone text has once again changed the course of the universe.

    The medic phone rings and through the chaos and the static of the call there is only one thing I hear- the shakiness of the medic’s voice. ETA two minutes, he says, extensive facial trauma, chest trauma, maybe a collapsed lung. IV established, patient being bagged, not intubated.

    My job now is to drain the department of all emotion. I become a human black hole. We cannot afford to feel. A child is dying. Feeling is for later. Now, we must focus. We must move. But we must not feel, or we will lose focus and fail.

    My voice is calm, business like. As if we are getting a shipment of broken computer parts that require nothing more than reassembly in our shop. Part A will attach to Part B will attach to Part C. Nothing more.

    I sound confident and ready, even to my own ears. It’s so convincing I almost believe it. Yet inside I feel it. The sheer terror. There’s no other word. The faces in the door of room nine show up in force for the show. They stare out at us, watching, observing, grading us. I try to ignore them as I prepare myself to once again bear witness to the horror of life tearing apart before me.

    I take in a deep breath and push it down. Somehow I find a little space left inside to cram some more suffering. I shove one more round of fear into it, knowing at some point it’s going to break, but hopefully not today, not now.

    We scramble to get the trauma room ready. There is motion everywhere. People run. Voices shout back and forth. Tubes are prepared, drugs are drawn up, machines are wheeled about through the department. Bright yellow gowns and blue gloves are handed out like bullets and helmets before a battle.

    Everyone knows their role. The techs prepare the monitors and gurney. The nurses draw up meds one by one, laying the drug filled syringes out on the counter in a row, ready for whatever the enemy throws at us. Pastoral services arrive with a Bible. I stand off to the side, my head racing through protocols, doses, tube sizes, and back up plans. There is an excited buzz in the air as we prepare. Then it happens. We achieve readiness.

    A silence settles over the room like a lens focusing us into existence. Nothing moves. Each of us alive and vivid and real and anxious and excited and terrified at what’s coming. The colors of the room seem brighter, my friendships with the nurses feel stronger, my mind feels sharper as I breathe air that suddenly feels cleaner. I can feel my heart in my chest, my hands, my skin, every part of me.

    The medics come crashing through the door, CPR in progress, and once again motion returns. As they roll into the trauma room time slows. I focus all of my being onto the child sprawled on the stretcher before me. She is twisted and broken like a flower that has been stomped part way down into the soil. I know this battle has been lost before I even touch my stethoscope to her blood-covered chest.

    The next several minutes are holy and private and terrible. And they shall remain that way forever. That is the one small power that I do have. Suffice it to say there is another face that stares out from the door in room nine, watching, waiting, perhaps remembering.

    Weeks later, months later, years later, her face comes to me. I will be camping alone in the desert, as far from another human being as I can get. The door of room nine will rise in my mind, and I can feel the faces out here with me.

    The desert, the stars, the heat, the desolation, the emptiness are not enough to keep them away. They follow me everywhere. That womb of stuffed down fear and horror inside me has to give birth eventually somewhere in my life.

    I stare into my small campfire, the smoke twisting like ghosts rising to the night above. I wonder. Do the stars know? Does God know? Does the dirt know? What is this place, this life, this brief flash of light before we fall back into the darkness again from which we arose?

    I watch the fire dance and the smoke rise for hours. The faces sit with me. I can feel it. They too wonder at it all. Finally, my fire burns out, the smoke stops, and the sun rises. In two days I have to go back to work. But now I understand.

    The faces will always be with me.

    Waiting. Watching. Making sure that I’m never alone when the next trauma comes.

    philipallengreen.com

     
     

     
  • Kurt Brindley 7:28 am on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Guest Authors, , Jason Greensides, , , , , , ,   

    A Guest Post by Author Jason Greensides 

    Mysterious Characters and Unforgivable Acts of Violence
    by Jason Greensides
     

    One piece of writing advice that never set well with me – however useful it is at a practical level – is to know your characters: that you should be able to understand every little aspect of your character if you ever want them to be believable, sympathetic, and to leap off the page. Of course, in general this is useful advice, however, not only has this the potential to make writing less fun (one of the reasons I write is to discover something I didn’t know), but seems a fundamental flaw in how we should perceive other people in everyday life, particularly the violent and anti-social ones. It presupposes that characters and real people can be fully understood (and therefore judged), which I believe to be not only impossible, but ethically wrong.

    The Baltimore Riots and other events of social upheaval always produce the same reaction in me. Not: How could those people act that like that? But: How could those reporting on events (which, because of ‘likes’, shares and unseen algorithms, is actually you and I), cast absolutist judgement upon people whose circumstances we can’t fully comprehend, as they themselves can’t. This too is another reason why I hate that writing mantra Know your characters: How can I truly know my characters when I don’t understand all the things that make me me?

    Not only do the episodes of one’s own life seen through the lens of chance obfuscate analysis of what motivates us – our childhood, our parent’s lives, our grandparent’s lives, and back through human history – but at a genetic level, when you analyse how genes move from generation to generation through natural selection. It is the interplay between their outward characteristics and the environment in which they find themselves, not foresight or inherent strength, that ensures their survival through time. Once you know this, you can’t help but come to the conclusion that really genes just make this shit up as they go along.

    Then there are random geological and cosmic events that shape the course of the planet and life as a whole – an endless swirling and shifting series of events with (possibly) no primary cause, adding yet more uncertainly about what made us who we are.

    And at the atomic level, Heisenberg stated that you can’t know the position and momentum of a particle to 100% accuracy. So if you can’t know that then how can you know everything about someone’s deeper motivations, which in turn are obscured by their own life’s events, and in turn their understanding of those same events.

    Life is brimming with chance and the ever unknowable – it’s everything but perfect and absolute – and this is what we (as artists, as writers) must embrace if our work, however down-to-Earth, is to reflect the great mystery of existence.

    The hard thing about this is, of course, when writing so called ‘evil’ characters (and if you’re still with me you’ll agree this is a useless term), or seeing ‘evil’ acts play out in society, trying to suspend judgement upon them is one of the hardest things we can do. If a group of guys broke into my house, for example, and assaulted me and my wife, I too would call them evil, would want absolute judgement to squeeze the breath from their throats. I too would not be able to forgive.

    But we must try, because ultimately, however you think about it, there had to have been at least one Nazi who, while placing the cold barrel of his Luger to the back of the head of a Polish Jew, thought, ‘Seriously, what the hell am I doing?; there must have been one Cheka officer who, while denying a Kulak his daily allowance of bread, thought, ‘My wife is really not going to like this’; there must have been one RPKAD commando in Indonesia who, before raping the fifteen-year-old daughter of a suspected Communist, thought, ‘What if my own daughter found out?’ Then moral complexity is further muddled when we do not consider pilots of Allied forces carrying out the bombing of Dresden as monsters, do not view leaders of the Western world as having committed an atrocity when imposing economic sanctions on Iraq.

    So, suspend your judgement in everyday life, if you can (and I, for my part, will try to suspend my judgement upon those who deal with sweeping, all-inclusive statements of evil), and maybe, just maybe, the characters you create may have a little mystery, may have a little of the unknown, may be dynamic enough to hold our attention until the last page.


    Jason Greensides

    Jason Greensides


     
    The Distant Sound of Violence

    A contemporary novel by Jason Greensides

    WEBSITE: JasonGreensides.com
    TWITTER: @jasongreensides
    FACEBOOK: facebook.com/jasongreensidesauthor
    GOODREADS: goodreads.com/Jason_greensides

     
     

     
    • Aimer Boyz 11:06 pm on May 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for your literate, logical defense of NOT knowing your character’s every quirk and dimple before you start writing. I not only find that impossible but unnatural. A stranger becomes a friend over time, through shared conversations and experiences. So too, my characters evolve over time through scenes and dialogue. To me, NOT knowing your characters but, rather, learning to know your characters as you write seems more authentic.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Robert Mitchell 5:23 am on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      A brave statement — not only on the subject of knowing one’s characters but with regard to the nature of evil. I would add that the best fictional villains, like their real life counterparts, are trying to do what they think is right and struggling with their internal demons. Vlad the Impaler is a hero in his homeland, and Columbus a villain to the native cultures he destroyed.

      Liked by 2 people

    • jasongreensides 6:01 am on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I completely agree, Aimer. Discovering and getting to know my characters as I go along is where all the fun is!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jason Greensides 6:15 am on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, Robert Mitchell, the waters of moral judgement are murky indeed

      Liked by 1 person

    • jasongreensides 8:03 am on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on jasongreensides.

      Like

    • PaulXylinides, May the mermaids sing to you ... 2:46 pm on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It seems to me that there is a difference between understanding a character’s state of being and capturing one’s sense of it – isn’t that where the interest lies as the act reflects as much upon oneself? Quite right, when one meets someone and detects their good mood, there is no need to wonder if it is due to a perfect latte that morning.

      Liked by 1 person

    • PaulXylinides, May the mermaids sing to you ... 3:06 pm on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      One added thought – a certain type of information would, however, seem essential for the true presentation of a character. If a so-called evil actor’s motivation comes from a particular world view that justifies the act, it would be incumbent to unearth and provide this within the depiction especially if one is fictionalizing historical persons.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jasongreensides 6:06 pm on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, Paul, that space between a character’s state of being and our sense of it (and how the writer chooses to convey it) is where our work lies – agreed. And yes, of course there’s going to be essential information about a character which must be given to the reader… I just think that if you compiled all the facts of a persons life, for example, put every event in a Excell spreadsheet, you still couldn’t fully make sense of it, there would still be that 1% margin of error…

      Like

    • Angel 4 Light 1:31 am on May 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on Angel 4 Light.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Kurt Brindley 7:05 am on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: author, cartoonists, , , Guest Authors, , , J Hardy Carroll, , , , , ,   

    A Guest Post by Author J Hardy Carroll 

    It is my pleasure, privilege, and honor to present to you a whirlwind of wisdom and intrigue from the author of HAWSER, our IABS&R Volume 3 selection.


    Or So You Say
    by J Hardy Carroll

    Tell me the truth, now.

    You always dreamed of being a writer. Doesn’t matter whether your dream took the shape of Erica Jong in a penthouse sipping Moet while talking into a Dictaphone or Hemingway slouched over a café crème wearing down a stub pencil in a composition notebook.

    Your dream isn’t of fame, of wealth or even of the admiration of your fellows.

    No. Your dream is much simpler.

    Your dream is to be paid for your unadulterated idea.

    It is a strong dream, a storyteller’s dream, but it is a dream fraught with questions.

    Who are you to tell a story?

    What makes your idea worth anyone’s time?

    How in God’s name can you call yourself a writer?

    You know the facts. Writing badly is easy. It just comes. You’re so pleased with it. You are proud. Until you forget.

    You forget that writing well is ridiculously hard, a series of tasks, many unrewarding and some downright unpleasant. Self-delusion lurks in every dark corner and all your worst tendencies get laid out naked on the slab in public view. Your clever clichés and trite situations and penchant to lecture form a kind of cesspool though which you wade, dragging for a story as though it was the body of a murder victim.

    J Hardy Carroll, Writer, Poet, & Cartoonist

    My, how you do go on.

    But tell me the truth.

    Secretly, you think you’re great. Admit it.

    Well, maybe not great. Not yet. But good. Good enough to get published, anyway. Except for the fact that there aren’t any publishers these days willing to take a chance on somebody without an MFA from Iowa or Emerson or Columbia.

    Or maybe it’s this: maybe you’re not so great. Maybe you are only great at lying to yourself.

    So start another story. Maybe this time it will turn out better. Maybe this one will actually be something you can open in six months and read with a degree of pleasure or even pride.

    Did you read that piece on Andre Dubus, about how he would take a year to write a single story, how he would trim 150 pages down to twenty, how one perfect sentence followed another?

    Did you read about how Jack London pawned his bicycle for postage to send out his manuscripts only to have them come back months later with form rejection notices tucked inside the self-addressed stamped envelope?

    Did you read about Annie Proulx writing cookbooks?

    By the way, who in hell do you think you are?

    You didn’t finish college. Your father was a professor who taught Chaucer and Beowulf and who never wrote anything down. You dedicated your first novel to him but he died before he got a chance to read it. In his life he finished only one short story, the one about his father called My Father’s Dreams that you read when you were in high school, the one that made you cry and wonder why your dad didn’t write more.

    Or at all. Your dad could talk an acorn into an oak, but he never could finish anything. How many stories did he start and never finish?

    Is this about him? Is that all there is to the dream? No? What, then?

    Don’t give me that shit about how when you first read Faulkner, hacked your way though the twisted vines of his prose only to find yourself lost in a thicket, befuddled and a little angry, how you went back and started again, trying hard to not be bored, trying hard to be smart, trying not to give up and re-read that Trevanian book instead.

    Don’t give me that shit about Faulkner being hard because there was that afternoon when you realized what the story was about, when you saw that the pattern of random rocks in the road was a secret code of musical notes scoring a symphony that only grew in richness over the span of years.

    Don’t give me that shit about Vonnegut, either, about how you read Breakfast of Champions at the age of sixteen when you were so depressed you wanted to kill yourself. Don’t tell me that reading that book made you decide to go to the hospital instead of jumping off the parking structure of the Pioneer Hotel. The part where you were going to be polite and wrap yourself in garbage bags so as not to make too much of a mess is pretty funny—irony—but I still don’t want to hear it.

    You know what? I don’t care. I don’t care what makes you want to do this thing. I am not interested in your ambitions to have people read your work. People read your work all the time, read it and like it.

    I’m not interested in your quest for a perfection you will never achieve, not interested in your heroes or even your opinions on truth, war, love, loss, fatherhood, death or any of it.

    So what, then? What interests me?

    I’ll tell you.

    It’s the act of writing. Writing every day, writing something. Think of the hummingbird. Think of the shark. Think of the way your heart is beating away in your chest at this very moment. No rest. Ever onward.

    Don’t give me your reasons. Don’t give me anything. Don’t think about it. Don’t think at all.

    Empty yourself out and get to it. You can think about it later.

    And by God, you probably will, too.


     

    Hawser

    IABS&R Volume 3 Selection

    hawescapes.com

     
    • A Journey With You 8:45 pm on April 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I love this!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Rose Red 8:54 pm on April 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Holy crap. I feel like you kicked me in the teeth and patted my back at the same time. Thanks. Good stuff

      Liked by 4 people

    • lsm510 9:08 pm on April 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Heh. I’m getting more of the kicked in the teeth vibe. Maybe because I don’t manage the writing every day thing. I settle for once a week and might even slip up on that at times. Where is that parking garage and trash bag you were talking about? Honestly though, can this be a hobby? Pretty please?

      Liked by 2 people

    • J Hardy Carroll 4:04 am on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      My inner dialog is often pretty mean, but the voice is good. Sometimes I channel Lou Grant, maybe.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Rose Red 12:15 pm on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Good old Lou, could count on him for tough love, or a snort of whiskey, at least

      Liked by 2 people

    • enkimoz 3:34 pm on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      So ‘just do it’ as you and Nike say. And do it without going through my litany of excuses? Aaargh.

      Liked by 2 people

  • Kurt Brindley 7:55 pm on March 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Guest Authors, , , , , , , , Rose Red, ,   

    MAD ABOUT THE VERSE – A Guest Post by Poet Rose Red 

    This blog rewards me in so many wonderful ways. The most wonderful way is when, through it, I get to meet new and different and interesting and motivating authors and poets and artists of all sorts who inspire me through their artistry and temperament to want to not just continue on here, but to continue on here with bigger and better and more inclusive endeavors.

    Through her kind and encouraging feedback to the work I’ve published here and in book format, and, more importantly, through her own poetic example, Rose Red of geletilari.wordpress.com has had such a powerful suasion on me, and I am happy to be able to thank her publicly for her support and her artistic example.

    And I am just as happy, and honored, to be able to present to you Rose Red’s highly interesting and inspiring guest post. I ask that you please take the time to visit with her at her site and enjoy her artistry and insight as I have.


    Mad about the Verse
    by Rose Red

    I am passionate about poetry. When did this begin? I wonder if it ever wasn’t. I think about the books I read when I first started reading at 4 years old. They were lyrical. There was rhyme. There was imagery. I recall great allegories, analogies, rhymes and fancies, with Dr. Seuss at the forefront. My mother would sign up for book promotions at the grocery store or through the mail. The first book was free, or inexpensive, then she would buy them one by one until we had the entire set. But, I was going to talk about being a poet, about writing poems. Yes, but reading is first, at the heart of it all. That is the passion we follow, reading and seeing words assembled in a way that makes us feel something. I have no words to express this as well as my old companion and favourite poet from my youth, Emily Dickinson. I was enamoured and mystified by her poetry. It broke every rule, and told so much.

    If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold
    no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically
    as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.
    These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?

    Emily Dickinson

    This is what she said about poetry, that great love of my life. Good poems, right? No, she did not define in terms of good and bad. Her definition was at its heart. Feeling. When you have passion, the words delight. They incite action. They make you smile, laugh, grin, guffaw. Like being in love, you can also be in hate, you can be angry, disappointed, elated, surprised, engulfed. In Noël Coward’s play, “The Astonished Heart”, that subsequently became a film, Christian Faber, at a particularly low point, describes himself as being ‘submerged’. Have words ever made you feel submerged?

    I have this overwhelming desire (need?) to figure out what I feel and put it out there. Some call it narcissism. Perhaps it is at its core. But, as time goes on, I find myself wanting to share it, just give it away. I want the kudos at times, yes. Let’s get that out of the way now. I don’t think about that while writing though. Like that lover we spoke of, I am true to her. I write what is inside, making that attempt to bring to the surface what is lurking beneath. If someone else can relate to it, the gratification is immense. I am not alone. If I was alone on that proverbial desert island, I still believe that I would tell my story. I would be sitting by a palm tree, telling it my life and loves.

    So, is this passion no more than a great need to analyze myself on that great shrink couch of life, then unleash my psychoses on the world? Do I just want to hear others agree with me? My husband does not get a vote here. But I do think that at its center there is a desire to be heard and understood that is innate to all of us. Not everyone wants to pick it apart and describe it, comparing it to a fig leaf, a dog, or a cloudy day. So what makes me, and other poets different?

    If you are passionate about these words, you scribble on anything that can be scribbled on. I heard that John Cougar Mellencamp wrote the first lyrics of “Hurts So Good” on the shower door with a bar of soap. I’ve written on envelopes, menus, pages of a crossword puzzle book, the margin of the crossword page in the newspaper, my hand, and a program from a music recital, among other things. Often the music will inspire words and I am afraid I will forget them.

    I am yet to be paid for anything I have written. So what good is it? I will tell you what poetry has done for me. It has saved my life, more than once. It has allowed me to connect with strangers, more times than I can count. It has allowed me a new connection with my children, to tell them how I feel in a special way that is a gift only for them. It gives me a media to use in prayer to God, when I feel afraid and like I can’t pray, and words fail me aloud. I start writing and it just flows out of me, all the pain, the worry, the questions, and the doubts.

    I started writing poetry at 9 years old. It is hard to say if it first came from a joyful place or a dark place. I was living in a dark place at home, but I think the poems were joyful because I loved school and Sunday School. There were teachers that were kind to me. I got a respect I did not get at home and I liked it. I have in my cedar chest the first poems I wrote, or at least the first ones preserved, from 4th grade. They are mostly about God or my dog. As time went on, they became clouded. I was confused about my folks taking me to church and then showing indifference, unkindness, and neglect at home. I couldn’t reconcile it all. I can’t say why I wrote them. Maybe they were for school at first? I have always written from that point on. In 5th grade I had a teacher that encouraged my creative side. She showed me poems of her own and gave me a part in the school play. In high school that darkness reached a dangerous place and nearly a deadly place. But I had a few adults in my life and a couple of friends moving in and out of my sphere that would help me not to give up. My senior year I wrote poems for the fledgling school paper and for the church bulletin. The little bits of praise I received were immeasurable in terms of self worth. But it was more. What touched me was when someone would say it made them feel something. Wow. What a rush.

    About that time, my mother brought me a typewriter. I look back at that act of love in a time that we were very poor and I know it showed that she loved me. I wrote this in her memory last year.

    Sometimes the words flow like water
    From my finger tips and from my mind
    I don’t even try because to try is to alter
    Genuine heart-felt stone cold feelings.
    But this morning at four a.m. my mind
    Is on you Mom and I open up my typewriter
    You bought for me 33 years ago at Sears
    Because I need a little something to make me go.
    I needed a boost, though you weren’t always so good at that-
    But there was this time when you noticed me, my poetry
    And that was what drove me on and you bought it for me
    Said I’d need it, and it meant everything, you know.
    Did you know that? Me, the beggar girl
    And you gave it to me and I did not have to ask.
    Mom our life memories are full of scars and I am
    Starting to forgive you when I remember
    We went through triage together.

    As I have moved through various stages of adulthood and parenthood, I discovered that my words were something that could grow with me, and give me a voice. I often felt crossed off and invisible. I can live without fame or money. Just don’t take away my words. Don’t take the one thing intrinsically mine. It is a means of communication. When you are out of options, you are not out of options. Write. Talk about it. Show it to someone. Read their words. Listen. Share. It is something that will change your life.

    I don’t get hung up on format as I think there are as many ways to express a thought as there are people. I enjoy paying attention to meter and form, and I like working over the words and making my thoughts fit into a frame without losing their meaning. But if by doing so I will lose the feeling and deeper meaning, I just keep the words flowing in free verse. I am allowed. I have a poetic license.
     

    geletilari.wordpress.com

     
     

     
    • Ompong 11:15 pm on March 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      For most of the artists and poets alike, compensation is only next to the appreciation we get from those who will be inspired from our work. :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rose Red 10:01 am on March 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Nothing could be sweeter than to know I have inspired someone else. Priceless, you are right

        Liked by 1 person

    • Priyanki 5:37 am on March 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Commendable!! It’s so good to read every word of this & know more about you. Thanks for being such an inspiration for all.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Rose Red 10:02 am on March 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks so much. I am gratified being part of this community

      Like

  • Kurt Brindley 8:00 pm on December 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Guest Authors, Hiroshima, , , , Marcel Duchamp, Murasaki Shikibu, , , , Zhang Huan   

    Paul Xylinides, Author of THE WILD HORSES OF HIROSHIMA 

    Covered in Fish Oil and Honey while Sitting in a Public Toilet
    by Paul Xylinides

     

    Paul Xylinides

    Paul Xylinides

    At one time, I might have listened to my puritanical side and questioned this title for a post and perhaps especially a post that I had been invited to contribute as unnecessarily sensationalistic in the same manner that I once dismissed the real life event of performance art to which it refers. In fact when I began to write the novel whose working title The Sumo and his Bird finally became The Wild Horses of Hiroshima one of my intentions was to undertake a full-scale critical denunciation of events similar to what is described and commonly tagged by the rubric of “performance art”. I intended at the same time to include in the sweep of my scathing criticism much of the “installation art” that I had long dismissed as either insulting or derivative. These attitudes of mine reach far back to the original instigator of this type of art presentation – the one who contributed to the world’s cultural understanding with the galley exhibit of a men’s urinal. The following is the Tate Gallery’s description of the object and something of Marcel Duchamp’s idea of its artistic utility:
    (More …)

     
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