What is Your Work In Progress?

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I am currently working on several projects: a first draft of a political thriller (about 1/2 finished), a third draft of a fantasy novel, and a  cookbook from meals by the characters in my series Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1 and Gallows Hill: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 2 by Charles F. French. This is a small, enjoyable book that I am creating for the sheer fun of it.

So, now I ask all the writers out there:

What is your Work In Progress?

 

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Magic In Stories: Revisited

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There is magic in stories. Magic is the transmutation of objects or the manipulation of the world in ways that move outside the realm of science. Whether or not magic is real in the sense of the here and now world is not the point; magic is a metaphor for fiction. It is an explanation of the way writers create characters and environments and how readers experience these creations.

Stephen King says, “books are a uniquely portable magic” (104). This magic is in the words, in their transmitting from the writer to the reader other worlds and ideas. In writing fiction, writers create a world that was not there; even so-called realistic, literary writers create an alternate world that readers inhabit when they read the book. The writers and the readers, in a mystical incantation, create another reality, one that can be so strong sometimes that readers can be moved to tears or laughter or sadness or joy or grief or sorrow or despair or hope. Readers come to care about the characters and feel empathy as if they were real. That is a kind of magic.

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Neil Gaiman, in his introduction to Ray Bradbury’s  60th Anniversary Edition Fahrenheit 451, speaks to the power of the written word and stories: “Ideas—written ideas—are special. They are the way we our stories and our thoughts from one generation to the next. If we lose them, we lose our shared history. We lose much of what makes us human. And fiction gives us empathy: it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gift of seeing the world through their eyes. Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over” (xvi). It is through the creation of artificial worlds, no matter how speculative or fantastic, that we experience our world in more intensity and with deeper clarity. This act of magic is what we share as writers and readers. I am honored to be a mere apprentice in the magic of writing novels.

Works Cited

Gaiman, Neil. “Introduction.” Ray Bradbury. 60th Anniversary Edition Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013.

King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. New York: Scribner, 2000.

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Of What Is Trump Afraid?

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I typically try not to post about politics in this blog, but it is more and more difficult not to say anything. Our President is acting like he is above the law, and he now has an Attorney General who behaves like a personal lawyer to Trump and not the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America.

It feels very much like a massive constitutional crisis or crises will soon occur, and I fear for our very democracy.

Our first President, George Washington, in his farewell address spoke of both the dangers of not obeying the law and of the perils of political parties:

But the Constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle and of fatal tendency. (11)

Washington does not say that all people, except the President must obey the law; he says that everyone must obey the edicts of The Constitution.

Furthermore, he adds his thoughts on the risk of party loyalty opening the country to foreign influence:

It [political party] serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another. (14)

The words of our first President are wise, and we should take heed of them. All citizens of the United States of America should ask themselves: what matters more to them–their allegiance to a political party or to the country?

I hope most Americans, liberal, conservative, and independent, choose country over political party.

And I ask again–why is Trump afraid of Mueller testifying? If he is innocent, then he should have nothing to fear. If he is guilty, then he is trying to stop justice.

Works Cited:

(https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/resources/pdf/Washingtons_Farewell_Address.pdf)

 

Who are your favorite Russian Writers?

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To continue on my series of favorite writers, I thought I would now deal with Russian writers.  As with the other offerings in this group of posts, there are many excellent authors from which to choose, so I will choose three whom I consider to be extraordinary writers.

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One of the most important Russian novelists was Fyodor Dostoevsky, who wrote many works that dealt with the interior workings of the human mind, including in its darkest states. Dostoevsky helped to usher in modernism and a deep psychological approach to writing. Among his most important and best novels are Crime And Punishment and The Idiot.

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Anton Checkhov was one of the most important playwrights of the world theater. His work was revolutionary in its approach, incorporating the idea of subtext, or the meaning that exists underneath the spoken words, in his plays. His work challenged both the actors who performed in them and the audience who saw the plays.  His best works are The Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.

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The third writer I will offer is Sergei Lukyanenko, the author of the fantasy series that begins with Night Watch and continues with five others novels. His books are innovative and powerful–he creates a complex world, inhabited by supernatural beings on opposing sides.

So, I ask all of you: who are some of your favorite Russian writers?

Happy Beltane!

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Happy Beltane to all, a day to celebrate and wish all well!

And please do not worry–this pagan Wiccan/Druidic holiday does not have anything to do with the devil.

Rather, this holiday is one of nature and spirit and celebrates the renewal of life! It is closely connected to rituals of May Day and is observed in much of the world with an ancient Celtic influence.

So, please enjoy the natural world and life itself!

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Quotations on Tyrants

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“Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always.”

                                                                  Mahatma Gandhi

 

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“Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!”

J.K. Rowling Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

 

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“The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”

                                                                           John F. Kennedy

Quotations on Fighting Oppression

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“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

                                                                    Robert Kennedy

 

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“You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police … yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home — all the more powerful because forbidden — terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.”

                                                                  Winston Churchill

 

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“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

                                                                  Elie Wiesel