Back to Basics

It wasn’t just about the closing of Red Room.

It was a series of small things slowly piling up.

 

They all just came to head at the same time.

Red Room was the best cover up.

 

Scrambling to get back to center I searched.

Meditation here, small talk there, coffee at Philz.

 

Long walks, bookstore visits and meals alone.

Sitting on the bench and people watching.

 

Little by little they all added up.

I thought about my knitting needles.

 

And just like that I decided to knit again.

I have forgotten how quickly a knit and a purl can cure!

 

I haven’t been able to put my needles down.

Knitting every moment I can.

 

One doesn’t really have to go far to enjoy life’s perks.

You just have to remember where to find it!

 

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The Writing Day July 28 2014

Surged past 52,000 words in the science fiction novel, Returnee, today.  Wrote a major lynchpin scene.  Now the characters are heading south into California and Silicon Valley.  It's a wild world outside the domes.....

I've only inhabited other planets, space vessels and the wilds of southern Oregon in this novel thus far.  Now we're heading into Earth's domes.  Earth, while the model for other worlds being terraformed, doesn't resemble the model the others use.  The model is the ideal that Earth once was for humanity.  That's not the novel's point so I don't dwell on it but it's there. 

Meanwhile, going into the domes, this is where the new Earth really exists.  How have people changed?  Yes, they're much different from the unincorporated wilds that live outside the domes.  First, they're quite beautiful.  And they're clueless.  Vacuous.  Consumers consumed by having the latest, seeing the latest, hearing the latest, being the latest.  I've just started thinking about them and won't give them much thought.  Although the Silicon Valley dome is my heroes' destination, little time is spent in the dome and few people are encountered.  Teleporting is the norm.  Lots of fun and reflections are required to get from here to there, starting with the notion that I must discard the notion that Earth is a uniform and static place.  Even today, if you travel America, you'll encounter wide variations among race, religion, attitude, appearance and experiences.  While the domed regions become more homogenized within them, outside of them is less so, and the domes and regions are vastly different from one another, part of our growing polarization and the increasing likelihood that each person will seek out their own kind and live among them and essentially ignore anyone outside of their tribe.  While everything is cyclical, this is far enough into the future that the cycle has gone through a few turns after today. 

Over on the publishing side, my wife found an interesting article about Self-Publishing on NPR, an article that sufficiently convinced me to say, WTF and just go that route.  I'm immensely displace with current iteration of 'traditional' publishing.  I'd rather just enter the wilds of self-publishing via the e-publishing model rather than wasting time and energy on agents and publishing houses.  After some thought, I decided that I'll edit Dark Red as my first attempt. 

Here's the link to the article:  http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/07/25/334484331/unknown-authors-make-a-living-self-publishing

Now I'm done writing like crazy for today.  The coffee has been drunk and my ass is thoroughly numb from sitting, staring at walls and typing.  Time to brave the burning sun and hot air and walk home.

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Don't Read This Book

Brace yourself.  A rant is exploding out of me.  To protect you from similar sickness and rants, I'm urging you not to read this book.  This book peels back the covers on humanity's greed and government uselessness.  If you're anything like me, you experience this too often, way too often, like too many minutes in too many days.

The book is Flash Boys by Michael Lewis.  It's about how stock markets pricing, buying and selling are being managed by computers and how High Frequency Traders, sneaking in through the systems' many gaps and the laws and regulations' many loopholes to game everyone to make money from them without adding anything of value.  It's about how corporations, driven to increase profits, pretend to protect its investors and do whatever they can to make money off of them.  It's what I would call pure, thoughtless, senseless greed.  Just greed, the sort of greed you hear about but you don't want to believe exists but the greed that rises up from swampy, fetid places wherever humans reside. 

Worse is how stupid, senseless and brainless so many of these greedy people are, and the inept, pathetic responses American regulatory agencies demonstrate to stem this greed and actually regulate markets and protect anyone from the greed.  If you read Flash Boys and believe it as true, there's not shit you can do as an individual investor about it.  They're going to make money off you if you buy or sell stocks.  The book informs us about the joke that we call Wall Street and The Market that dominates so much of so many people's life blood. 

If you read it, think about those people who would tell you to do away with Social Security and other safety nets.  Save your money yourself.  Invest it in the stock market!  As if there's not ample evidence already of the many things that can go wrong with that theory, read this book.  Then, any time you hear a wise person tell us to invest, ask them to tell you about dark pools.  Ask how many stock exchanges there are.  Ask about rebates and high frequency traders.  Ask them how they fit within this chain of greed.

Sadly, at least in America, we need money to survive.  Our water isn't our water;  we must pay for it.  We pay taxes to keep up our land and we're often prevented from growing things on it.  But when you do, well, see the point about water.  Can you grow enough for you and your family to survive?  What about surviving the winter's cold without being able to buy and build?  Looking at the connections of cause and effect, you wonder where we're going with all of this.

I do, at least.  If you don't wonder, then don't read this book.

It's better to be ignorant and not wonder.

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Time in a Bottle

I hope that most people have another kind of memory image — one that brings back pleasant remembrances.

In 1973, singer/songwriter Jim Croce was killed in a plane crash at the height of his popularity. He had a huge fan base and several of his songs were released as singles just after his death and became classics of the mid 1970s era.  I was “keeping company” with a young woman who was to become my wife in 1976 and she was a serious Croce fan. She was a much more enthusiastic fan than I was but I enjoyed her enjoying Jim Croce’s music because that’s what we did in the 1970s…music was important.

One of those posthumously released songs was “Time in a Bottle”. The song was a classic love song of the era. It was probably included in countless weddings. 

 

If I could save time in a bottle

The first thing that I’d like to do

Is to save every day

Till Eternity passes away

Just to spend them with you

 

In the summer of 1975 I managed to talk this city girl into going on a backpacking trip to the Wyoming wilderness. This was very uncharacteristic of her and friends and relatives were astounded that she would agree to do something like that.  Going off to the mountains on a field trip with a guide and an organized group would be challenging enough but going off with one other person — on foot — was crazy talk.

We had a couple weekend trips to get in shape for the walk and check out our equipment. I had a stove that wanted to blow up in my face each time I turned it on.  We decided to take her car, which had a standard transmission, so I had to learn how to use a clutch. We had to waterproof everything and rub silicone into our hiking boots that weighed a ton. We tested out the freeze-dried turkey tetrazzini and granola bars. We packed and repacked but finally ended up carrying about 110 pounds of stuff in our two backpacks including the tent, sleeping bags, foam mattresses, food, water and that stove.

 

If I could make days last forever

If words could make wishes come true

I’d save every day like a treasure and then,

Again, I would spend them with you

 

We scheduled the trip for late July and finally hit the road, camping along the way. We agreed that we would stay in a real hotel with a real bed after we came out of the mountains but would camp as much as possible.  Half the fun of the trip was just getting there. At one point she decided that she wanted to see a buffalo so we were off on a wild buffalo chase in an overloaded Ford Pinto. We found a small herd but almost left the oil pan at the bottom of a ravine in the process.

We said goodbye to civilization, hoisted our packs and staggered around the parking lot for a while until we eventually disappeared into the Big Horn Mountains and Cloud Peak Wilderness. (We heard later that Jimmy Hoffa disappeared that day, as well…not backpacking)

It turns out that we had a great time. The mosquitos were bigger and the trout were smaller than we expected. We camped on a breezy ridge overlooking a lake and the wind kept the mosquitos away. We didn’t get eaten by bears or mountain lions and had only one serious encounter with a Mule deer. We saw only three people the whole time we were on the trail.

 

 If I had a box just for wishes

And dreams that had never come true

The box would be empty

Except for the memory

Of how they were answered by you

 

We came out of the mountains and went on with the trip. We stayed in that hotel. We had a close encounter with a bear at a later campsite. I convinced her to go camping again. We eventually got married and had a wonderful life together for 31 years.

The picture that most often brings this trip to mind is scratched and faded but the memory is bright and clear.

 

But there never seems to be enough time

To do the things you want to do

Once you find them

I’ve looked around enough to know

That you’re the one I want to go

Through time with

 

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Latest Comments

Stephen Evans A Visitor to your Planet: A One-Minute Play
19 February 2018
High praise! Thank you.
Katherine Gregor A Visitor to your Planet: A One-Minute Play
18 February 2018
Beckett would be envious.
Stephen Evans A Visitor to your Planet: A One-Minute Play
05 February 2018
I just realized that the last two posts were plays. How true to the spirit of The Green Room!
Rosy Cole A Visitor to your Planet: A One-Minute Play
04 February 2018
Interesting dynamic. Reflects the popular conception of 'democracy'. (Look at it this way, the US is...
Ken Hartke Flipping the Omelet
01 February 2018
One word: Fritatta

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