Why write?

DogReadingSomeone posed the question, and offered up a blog. “Why do people write?”

I read the article. It went off in all directions, and gave a multitude of reasons, vague, general, plausible, but in the end, it did not at all answer the question, for me. That alone might have been its intention; there is no answer. Still, I quibble with such a postulation, with the realization that I can in no way answer why everyone writes. I can only attempt to answer, “Why do I write?”

Back to any time where my synapses might fire on recall, I remember stories and their influence is present still. My mom read me stories…Booster the Hound, a most wonderful dog who ran off from home looking for adventure, got lost, and had a most difficult time finding his way back home. …Bessy, I’m a little messy, a delightful story of a young man who decides to repaint his wagon, and the paint gets on everything; yet the entire family manages to laugh and embrace his efforts. …Agnes, that was a more serious story of a young girl who died for her religion, perhaps a little over the top for a bedtime story, and it has stuck with me. The usual others, Robin Hood, the fables, et al.

In my pre-teen years I got into the Hardy boys, Nancy Drew, The Bobbsey twins, and a host of others, together with a myriad of comics, and of course the reading required by school.
As I branched out on my own, I moved to the latest best sellers, recommendations from friends and acquaintances, some such books worthwhile, some, well… The Happy Hooker, you judge.

In my latter years, I look for books that offer information, especially on the spiritual, and the science of the cosmos, ya, nice fit, hehe. And to get a break from there I eat fantasy books from the likes of the late Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, and a few new ones that have been recommended.

Any time I read a book, it changes my state. I enter into that special place created by the author. In a book about the cosmos, I might get lost in the perplexity of what is being said; or I might be in “aah” of the vastness and grandeur. I can touch the thinking of the author who I imagine is sitting at his powerful telescope scribbling all that information down, just so I might understand.

Oh ya, why do I write? Well, the obvious is that I want to tell a story that will capture the reader and allow them to enter a different state for a short time. I want to stretch their thinking and imagination to ponder situations that might offer a conflict to their usual way of thinking. I hope that everything I write gives a broader view of humanity. I want the reader to walk away, fully satisfied, and they have found the hero in themselves, for there is one in each of us.

I was so happy and relieved when Booster made it home, and I could tell he was as happy to see me, (the kid, Tommy, or whatever his name was) as I was to have him home.

Oh, one last thing. My writing will offer to those who enjoy an ethical and moral challenge a number of conundrums to, at a minimum, will question the notion of what is truly right and wrong. To that, I do not provide answers, my job is the story, you be the judge.

Soap Box Alert

A_Dark_Mood,_Black_PantherSoap box alert.

Almost without exception, when I get asked to do a review of a piece of work, I get a very cold reception to what I write. I am firmly convinced that folks either don’t want your honest opinion; or, are in some euphoric state of believing their work to be perfect, and any points to consider I might raise, are in fact my fault.

I am careful that when someone has released a final piece of work, such that it is now open to the public, it does no one any good for me to bash it. I either like it or I don’t and move on. It is one of the reasons I would not enjoy the job of reviewing books; the mix of subjectivity and objectivity that comes into such an undertaking requires a most discerning person of fairness and accuracy.

But, why ask someone to critique your work and then rebuke the outcome without a thank you or a minimum of dialogue that my efforts have not been a waste of time. I am always careful to point out what I find good about the piece. But, I believe I serve the author best by offering everything that pops out at me that any reader might find confusing, inconceivable, awkward, Grammarly incorrect (yes, pun on the software), misleading, and a host of other things that might trip up a reader and make them consider to stop reading.

Yes, I am harsh, but not spiteful. I react immediately as a reader might, and I note what I deduce in the margin. When I am done, most documents are awash in my hints, suggestions, feelings, observations – not all objective; but, my honest and heart-felt effort to give the best feedback I can.

It has taken me three years of this to realize I am wasting my time.

Closed for business.

The Dawn of Magic

Winter

A little snippet from Book 2 – The Dawn of Magic – currently being edited by me, and then on to outside editing, beta read, and final review for release in late summer of early fall.

Walker Bob took a cigar out of his pocket, and bit off the wrapper. He spit out the loose pieces. The match flared as he slid it against the side of his pants; puffs of smoke billowed from his mouth while he rolled the cigar in the flame. He gave the cigar a twirl, took another puff and tilted his head; a mushroom plume rose into the air and spread across the ceiling.

“I’m heading back.”

His personal guards snapped to attention and waited as he exited the room. He grabbed his coat from the hook and tossed it to a guard; time for some refreshing air. He felt the heat of the cigar against the coolness. These damn things will kill me. Unless death gets me first.

The sled was already idling. He looked around, more to command the moment than to appreciate anything in his view; he then straddled the solar sled and sped off into the night. In this moment, no fear, no expectations, no needs, just satisfaction. Walker Bob was at the apex of a long journey. Finally after all these years it was in his grasp.

So long ago, Brady had come close to upsetting his plan of order and progress. But much had transpired since that time. He wanted Jackson to inherit a world that was unified and powerful, all under his son’s control. He was close to making it happen.

The old days of raids and pillage were all but finished. His Island City now relied on its manufacturing of solar storage units and a complete array of other technologies, in order to sustain itself. It had been some twenty years since Brady was killed; and Walker Bob had not wasted any time in putting together a technological empire that the rest of his world relied and depended upon.

He had turned the tide of needing to barter for food and basic subsistence items. He now named his price, his conditions, and his terms of delivery with all customers who came his way. He was supply; they were demand; though no one demanded anything from Walker Bob.

Walker Bob was confident that what he had accomplished was a necessary and logical growth that put people and technology on a path to a higher prosperity and satisfaction; his portion being naturally bigger than the rest.

The next part of his plan would bring that quality of life to the complete continent. The first phase would go east and south. There would be little resistance, if any. Within a year he would control the entire continent, its people and its resources.

They might not like it at first; but in the end they would all be better off. They would have to follow rules, his rules. They would have to follow the plan, his plan. But that was a small price to pay for safety and security. Everyone would adapt; or die.

Walker Bob pulled into the courtyard and snarled a command to give his snow sled a complete work up. Walker Bob likes his sled to be the fastest and most cared for.

Snow

Winter

Snow

by

Russell Loyola Sullivan

It’s been some time when last I admired mounds of snow,
Limbs bending; hollows all around the trees where snow refuses to go.
I wonder about those holes.
As a child on crusty snow we would steer clear of such obstacles,
Sailing over the icy surface left by a cold rain upon the blessed blankets of snow.
Still, a bad turn, a slip of the runner on the slick surface now and again, gave us up;
And we would have to be pulled out from the jolt.

Long icicles droop down from the eves, evil things that point to heat loss.
They look like tons of weigh that might drag the whole house down.
I wonder why they changed.
Even with a mittened hand we would pull one from anywhere we could reach,
And savor the coolness and the refreshing wetness against our thirsty acceleration.
They were pure and as welcome as candy, one to be had whenever we wanted.
Water and ice came freely then.

Perhaps I compare too much; then again I might remember too little.
I feel the stillness and the great cover it gives to all that rests beneath it.
But there is an urgency pulsing inside of me that I must get back to life and living.
I should but understand there is nothing to get back to. I am the interruption.
When I am gone, and all who follow my way have gone,
The snow will still give up its beauty and its special gifts.
Perhaps then the snow will find who best to share its nature with.

One Last Time

sunrise

One Last Time

One last time to the Ocean side
One last time to see
One last time let the wind and tide
Bring memories to me

We walked the shores
I was yours
And you were meant for me
But the work of life
Is a two edged knife
That cuts with sad decree
One edge seeks to carve a path
To where the love might be
Gives the other edge a desperate need
To slice each lover free

Big sailing ships
Must sail
And sailors must roam free
When lovers part
Tides pull their thoughts
To much that cannot be
Seasons turn to memory
And lonely is the soul
Who waits each day by a dreary sea
A loving heart grows cold

Ocean storms
That howl the nights
Lay restless on her mind
Too many times
Down to the shore
Some piece of him to find
One cold grey dawn
Only wanting to be free
She let the waves that crashed the shore
Tell her love for me.

One last time to the Ocean side
One last time to see
One last time let the wind and tide
Bring memories to me

The Prison (Emotional warning)

pigPerhaps they don’t know I’m here. She looked down at her feet; the matted pieces of straw mixed in with the dirt on the floor. Bars on all sides, inches from her body. It was a cage of some sort, she could not remember being put here, or why she had been captured. All of her sisters were gone, and her mother; God knows what had happened to them.

She managed a glimpse of being placed here. She wasn’t placed, she was thrown in, slammed against the bars and then had passed out from the ordeal.

There was little light; maybe it was night.

The time rolled excruciatingly by. In a few weeks she lost track of time all together. The food she received was intermittent at best, and was always the same. No place to move, her food soon mixed with the feces and vomit, her young body reacting to the vile circumstances. She was never taken from her prison; a jolt of water spray would wash away the evidence of the inhumanity each time it piled up.

As the weeks and months registered the steady cruel monotonous repetition of filth and deprivation, her mind mercifully blacked out any trace of who she was. She would chew on the bars until blood rolled down her chin. Even the aches and pains of not being able to stretch or move turned into a dull acclamation and acceptance that life was far from being precious; that life was a mad dance with sublime loss of reason and spirit, a grueling multiple of uneventful continuing torture of a poor soul lost to existence; forgotten, alone, yet made to endure against all of hope.

By the time she was taken from her cage, it matters not. She no longer recognized the sun or the ground. Movement was a strange and difficult ordeal. The sores on her side where long since ignored, in their festering. She noted briefly in the next few days that the slop she was served daily was no longer given to her – not really missed, just a last notion of a life never lived.

She arrived at the pig slaughter house and gave one last cry as she left behind her misery.

Babe in the Woods

babe in the woodsFear is the great disabler.

The sixties, seventies were my “young man” years. I use that term loosely as “man” conjures up some affinity with maturity, wisdom and responsibility; none of the traits I was capable of exhibiting at the time. None the less I was out on my own at an early age, married way too soon, and very much ready to take on the world – well, the world I thought I knew.

I started with a “Big Eight” accounting firm in 1973 with a salary of $650 and not a care in the world. The big bad world consisted of work from nine in the morning until (most probably) nine at night, in winter months add the courses at McGill for the advanced diploma in accounting, and the prep to write the CA exams. Thursday meant drinks out, not too late; Friday, drinking began at noon, back to work until four, and then full tilt to a weekend of partying.

Lots went on the world: Vietnam, racism, civil unrest, drugs. But none of it came overstated. There were just the six and eleven o’clock news, which none my age watched, and not much else busted into our day to make us think we were not in a perfect world. Of course we had Charlie Manson, but he was an anomaly.

Then came the internet, twenty four hour news, twenty four hour weather (still can’t figure that one out), twenty four hour O.J, twenty four hour reporting on every calamity under the sun. And God forbid it should be a shooting, especially children; as the news will rain down on the world, the likes never seen before since Noah and his Ark.

When the media and blogs now run out of crisis to pander, well beyond the last remnants of road kill, they turn to telling us how much trouble we are in with our lives; how to spend our money, exercise, eat, live, have fun, cry, get depressed, order to take our pills in, when to sleep, get up, take vacation, how to dress, raise our children, the list of disorders we must have because of age. All of these things are merely filler until the next disaster can be flushed out and slammed into our consciousness with all the might, misdirection and fabrication as a Freddie Krueger movie on steroids.

Oh, the babe in the woods? That’s what we have become to let them do this to us.

ESCAPE

Book A Novel IdeaI want nothing more than to escape.

I don’t mean I’m going for good. I just want to escape for a short time. It’s a little like Friday night, or maybe Saturday morning. There has been five days of work and routine, playing by the rules; and now it’s okay to let things slide. A few hours out with friends on a Friday Night allows escape; a slow Saturday morning with family does that; a good movie does that; a fixed set of favorite tunes does that.

It’s also why I write. Okay, I know the little pieces that I post to my web site won’t take you far from reality. I do hope it suspends your serious matters in life for a few minutes. In those few minutes I pray to present a different thought, a different view of some matter that you might  allow to brush across your mind—maybe ponder and smile. If you do that then I have stirred your imagination, your view of the world. I know that will not change the world, but hey, it says we now have a common experience, even if your view might be different than mine.

I hope an entire novel allows an even greater possibility to escape and explore settings and people who might make different decisions than we ourselves might make; and give us a moment to set aside our life’s struggles, maybe even envision other possibilities. I say ‘hope’ as I cannot speak for everyone. I only know that when I write I want my reader to let go for a few precious hours and find a different place to be; find characters who they might love or hate; find a place to sit and rest a bit from the tribulations of life; get immersed in possibilities for change and understanding, struggle and growth. Yes, these are the things of our very lives; although I believe reading about it gives us assurance that we are not, after all, alone; that we are all connected and share many of the same experiences; hopefully on a lesser scale that what is required from the characters we read about.

Two Faces

opposites_attractThere is a raw unsettling awareness which rips the very fabric of defense away and leaves a body open to the dread of utter annihilation. It is so much more than a foreboding of calamity and disaster; for it gives not its moniker – it just is. It sweeps in quickly as if a polar wind had been plucked from the cold Arctic tundra and somehow sent swirling angrily into a sunny afternoon where at once the calmness of a summer’s day becomes a mad frigid dance with death.

What’s more it cannot be explained away. Indeed, it cannot be explained at all. Hope is immediately abandoned. Purpose has no purpose. All that sits with relevance and importance now pales against the absurdity of living, the useless maniacal struggle to move one leg in front of the other, one thought to follow the next, one day to follow another, a mundane repeatable procession of forgettable events and situations, soon lost to antiquity. Only despair remains. It is preordained as the sun might shine, the stars might twinkle in the evening sky, the air itself might allow breath.

There is a euphoric bewilderment to all of creation. Love itself seems plucked from the bosom of humanity and now wrapped around your soul. You are joined to the oneness of it all, the grand design, the sparkling threads of humanity, the eternal bliss of being. The connection is willful and real, such absolute knowledge of being together could not be conjured by mere desire

It cannot be fabricated by a wish. Nor need it be; for it comes when it is least looked for; it sits there and pounces on those open for its arrival. There is no end to how magnanimous its sharing, and no matter how much is taken there is always more. All it asks in return is the jubilation, the perfect feeling of serendipity, the mad embrace of a returned lover, the gushing fullness of a life with purpose and design. It is preordained as the sun might shine, the stars might twinkle in the evening sky, the air itself might allow breath.

Blame it on Spellcheck

sunriseOnly days before Christmas.

But the darkness hid more than the slumber of busy people soon to arise and scurry about in preparation for the coming days of celebration. For that matter even the events to unfold had a christening long before what was now preordained. It was often referred to as ‘the gathering’ or ‘the harvest,’ but those were not terms chosen by the beings who were plucked from their place in the sun and stuffed into darkness awaiting what was now to come.

They were simple beings, connected to mother earth as they were products of the sun. In the darkness that connection was now broken. Such captivity ended their journey, ended any further need to sustain a life; packed as they were so tightly together. They were beings used to being close, but not so where one crushed against the other, devoid of sun, devoid of life itself.

No matter, it would all end soon. They had been divided up like packages of meat from the slaughter and sent to where the end would be quick if gruesome. Some were crushed even before the final slaughter, the lucky ones among the many.

And so it was but a few days before Christmas, in the darkness before the dawn; frost on all that nature touched outside, a cold bone chilling wind attempting to get inside, if only to witness the carnage. The first of the little beings were tossed into a hopper of sorts. Two arcs of a rotary steel blade stood silent with length to cover the entire surface with its sweep. This was the first light they had seen in some time; it might be best that it was so; they would have no time to adjust to the light as the massive blade began to spin even before the last of the beings settled in.

It was over in moments. The hopper lifted into the air and what was left of the beings spread like flecks upon the boiling water, and next were twirled into a concoction leaving all trace of what they were.

They were now nothing more than morning coffee.