So you can read my books

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Hanging would be more lasting _ A TO Z

" I will REASON with him, 
though at bottom
I feel hanging 
would be more lasting." 
- Mark Twain 

Ghost of Mark Twain again.

I made the mistake of watching the national news on Roland's flat window into the world.

Man is the REASONING Animal. 

Such is the claim.  

After watching the court jesters that pass for politicians these days, 

I think it is open to dispute.

 Those thugs are aware that loudness convinces sixty persons 

where reasoning convinces but one.

Take our president ...

He is not quite what you would call refined. 

He is not quite what you would call unrefined. 

He is the kind of person that keeps a parrot.

 But I digress

I was talking of reason and Man.

Does the human being reason? 

No; he thinks, muses, reflects, but does not reason. 

Thinks about a thing; rehearses its statistics and its parts 

and applies to them 

what other people on his side of the question have said about them, 

but he does not compare the parts himself, and is not capable of doing it. 

That is, in the two things which are the peculiar domain of the heart, not the mind:

politics and religion. 

He doesn’t want to know the other side. 

He wants arguments and statistics for his own side, and nothing more.

Look at me.

I've taken off the mask of humorist to show my philosophical face and gone to meddling.

Best re-mask and not lose Roland any more followers!

Besides what do I know? 

 No man is entirely in his right mind at any time ... especially humorists.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Isn't it QUEER? _ A TO Z

They give birth astride of a grave, 
the light gleams an instant, 
then it's night once more.   
 Waiting for Godot 
by Samuel Beckett

"I think that the realization of oneself
 is the prime aim of life."
Three Trials of Oscar Wilde

"Very few among us have the courage
 openly to set up
our own standard of values 
and abide by it."
 - Oscar Wilde

 "That’s the dark secret of our time, 
no one mentions it, 
but every time 
one opens a door
 one is greeted by a shrill,
 desperate and inaudible scream."
 - Doris Lessing

Ghost of Oscar Wilde here

I am fascinated by this medium called YouTube 

where ordinary people may voice their views on every topic imaginable, including

melodramas found on something called a flat screen TV of all things.

Roland and I have been viewing a program each of us had missed, Runaways.

Finished with its short run, 

we turned to YouTube to see how others enjoyed it.  

We stumbled upon the reactions of the lovely Eden Singer from New Zealand 

(Yes, my affections are drawn to my own gender, 

but I can appreciate beauty no matter where I find it.)

There came that moment at the melodrama's ending 

where two young women kissed in open admission of their love for one another.

Eden openly wept, apologizing to the viewers for the tears.

But I understood 

(as did Roland, though he is painfully heterosexual, in that it hurts when a beautiful woman looks through him.)

Eden felt acknowledged, seen, and considered of worth enough 

to be represented in this culture which often only mouths tolerance.

Though living in New Zealand, 

Eden spent hard-saved money to travel to Las Vegas 

to attend a convention celebrating those television melodramas 

which dare to include those who are often called queer.

Roland and I applaud their persistence in staying true to their hearts 

despite what many say behind closed doors.

To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. 

To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. 

It is no less than a denial of the soul.

The public has always, and in every age, been badly brought up. 

And it has been brought up by those who decree what entails acceptable entertainment.

But their time has passed and they do not know what to do.

They were told what they wanted,

 and they believed it. 

They can only keep their dream alive 

by being with others like themselves who will mirror their illusions.

People’s beliefs and convictions are mostly obtained second-hand, and without examination, 

from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue 

but have taken them second-hand 
from other non-examiners, 

whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.

Pay me no mind. 
After all, I was imprisoned for daring to live these thoughts ... 
until Mark Twain and Captain McCord broke me out of prison.
(in an alternate version of this world
 of course.)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

What keeps you turning the PAGE? _ A TO Z

“There is no terror in the bang,
 only in the anticipation of it.” 
- Alfred Hitchcock

Ghost of Alfred Hitchcock here

Twenty-eight of my movies were derived from novels.  

You might think of that as "Dial L for Literature."

I so enjoyed the works of British author Daphne Du Maurier, 

I based three of my films on two of her novels,  

Jamaica Inn and Rebecca and one short story, The Birds.

Too many look at a French novelist's name and imagine men at street cafes, 

wearing berets, smoking French cigarettes, and staring off into the distance 

as if searching for that abyss of which Sartre and Nietzsche wrote.

Please do rise above that provinciality and dare her work.  

You will be rewarded with fine storytelling.


It can all be reduced to one word:


The reader fears that something terrible is going to happen to a character for whom she has grown to care.

 Mystery is the hook.  Yet, mystery is an intellectual process. 

 Suspense is essentially an emotional one.


Fear isn't so difficult to understand. After all, weren't we all frightened as children? 

Nothing has changed since Little Red Riding Hood faced the big bad wolf. 

What frightens us today is exactly the same sort of thing that frightened us yesterday. 

It's just a different wolf

This fright complex is rooted in every individual.


The fear of being helpless in face of danger is universal and so can evoke empathy in the reader.

Take this  scene - 

A young girl gasping for breath inside an oxygen tent.  

She speaks to the icily beautiful woman standing by the oxygen pump.

"I will never call you mother.  You've fooled everyone else.  But not me."

The cool blonde smiles slightly as the young girl continues.

"Deep inside you there is someone terrible that no one else knows about."

The step-mother leans forward as she slowly turns off the oxygen and smiles wider.

"Now, I have everyone fooled."

As a good story-teller you will, of course, come up with a realistic way for which the young girl to survive.

But from that moment on, the reader will be bonded to your heroine. 


If you can keep the reader asking that question at the end of every page, 

you have succeeded in creating suspense.

It is the story-teller's primary function to create a living emotion.  

His secondary function is to sustain it.

What many fledgling authors do not understand is 

that the more successful your villain is, the more successful your novel will be.

Your antagonist must win at every turn.

Like a dinosaur caught in a tar pit, 

your protagonist must sink deeper into the trap with each attempt to escape it.

Your antagonist must be frustratingly urbane, intelligent,  resourceful, 

able to mingle with her victim's associates without arousing suspicion. 

If you craft your antagonist well enough, many of your readers will fantasize being him or her.

A woman who spends all day washing and cooking and ironing 

doesn't want  to watch a film or read a novel about a woman who spends all day washing and cooking and ironing.

I hope this has helped in some small way.

Now, I must be off.

I see the ghost of Lovecraft drifting my way,
and I scare so easily. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A TO Z _ There can be only ONE

"Don’t ever imitate anybody. 
All style is,
is the awkwardness of a writer 
in stating a fact.
 If you have a way of your own, 
you are fortunate, 
but if you try to write 
like somebody else, 
you’ll have the awkwardness 
of the other writer
 as well as your own." 
- Ernest Hemingway

Ghost of Hemingway here again.

If you want to succeed as a writer, you must be original.

You can only be a second-rate copy, 

but you can develop into a first-rate you 

if you persist in crafting your own style.

But you must persist. 

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man.

True nobility lies in being superior 
to your former self.

Be succinct. 

 Big emotions are not created by big words.

Write the very best you can at the moment.  

If you do not, you will destroy what talent you have.

If you find yourself dissatisfied with what you have written, fix it if you can.

But train yourself not to worry.  Worry never fixed anything.

Still reading?  

Start writing!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Just because you know my NAME _ A TO Z

"If I'm gonna tell a real story,
I'm gonna start with my name."
 - Kendrick Lamar

"Call me Ishmael."
 - Herman Melville 

"It ain't what they call you.
It's what you answer to."
 - W.C. Fields

How important do you think characters names are in your writing?

Think "Wesley" versus "Eric."  

What images come to your mind about the personalities of those two men?

Take Darth Vader.

Darth as in dark.  Vader as in the variation of the German "Vater" (father.)  

Dark Father.

How do you choose the names of your characters in your novels?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A TO Z _ Bathing in MYSTERY and WEP post


"We are bathing in mystery and confusion 
on many subjects, 
and I think that 
will always be our destiny. 
The universe will always 
be much richer 
than our ability to understand it.” 
- Carl Sagan

Ghost of Carl Sagan here

We are an infinitesimal part of the universe becoming aware of itself.

The "me" that you and I are took 13.7 billion years to develop ... 

as science now believes.

Yet, science, like time and space, is fluid ... 

so who knows what science will believe next decade or next century?

We are an indication of what hydrogen atoms can do, of how to co-exist with the unknown.

The quest for answers of how to do so birthed folklore, myth, and superstition.

We seem to be always on the verge of finding answers to how we came  to be.

But like the horizon, 

those answers always tease us by being just out of reach eternally.

But that quest has taken us so far and will take us farther if only we find the courage to continue.

That first photo of the earth taken from the moon ...

firstly, it gave us the sense that we are afloat in the vast sea of space

and second, the realization that the future of this tiny world depends solely upon us.

We must cut off the moorings to common sense to get farther.

We navigate the world by our common-sense perception, 

but that perception has blinded us to reality again and again. 

We have mistaken our sensorial intuitions for facts of the universe.

 For millennia, we held wrong beliefs about Earth’s shape, motion, and position, 

because it feels flat and static beneath our feet, and central to the order of the cosmos. 

We have mistrusted processes and phenomena 

beyond the boundaries of what we can touch and feel with our limited senses.

From the development of life, 

which unfolds on scales of time too vast to be visible within a human lifetime, 

to quantum mechanics, 

which operates on subatomic scales imperceptible and almost inconceivable to the human observer.

 We have to be very careful not to impose our hopes and desires on the cosmos,

 but instead, in the scientific tradition and with the most open mind possible,

 see what the cosmos is saying to us.

And that means trusting our curiosity to ask WHAT IF? 

as often as possible and being brave enough to follow where that question leads. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A TO Z _ Getting LOST

Ghost of Gertrude Stein here

I was a den mother of sorts to the most famous of the lost generation writers,

who excelled in their prose and failed in life.

Perhaps it was because they stumbled so badly in the war 

or in their struggle to get published that they grew too focused on their steps.

Everybody knows if you are too careful.

 You are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.

One must dare to be happy, 

knowing that we are always the same age on the inside but must learn to be wiser than that.

 After all everybody, that is, everybody who writes

is interested in living inside themselves in order to tell what is inside themselves. 

That is why writers have to have two countries, 

the one where they belong and the one in which they live really. 

The second one is romantic, is separate from themselves, it is not real but it is really there.

Your truth will come to you if you but let it come.

 If the communication is perfect, 

the words have life, 

and that is all there is to good writing, 

putting down on the paper words 

which dance and weep and make love and fight and kiss and perform miracles.

And while you pursue your dream, 

learn from my Lost Generation 

and do not let it become the nightmare of those closest to you.