Wilderness — A Meditation

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet

I have been told that one must have a 'platform' if one wants to be published and if one wishes to sell novels, memoirs, magazine articles, and poetry.

However, for the past few years it has been impossible for me to wear the newest foot fashion — platform heels.  I can't even manage the straw low-platform variety.

I use trekking poles when I wander around the wilderness of the real world and keep close at hand a strong forearm attached usually to a handsome younger male person when wandering around the wilderness of malls, theatres, dinner houses, and city walkways. 

Of course, I do realize the 'they' who contend that a 'platform' is a necessary accoutrement to life in the fast lane of publishing are not referring to one's footwear, but to the public awareness of one's existence.

At the same time, I am also incredibly aware of my resistance to following rules set by those whom I have not been given the opportunity to vote into office - even non-political office (as if such an office exists in the world anymore). I am an outlier, one of those persistent folks who believe that the rules are made for somebody else - certainly they have nothing to do with me.

On the other hand, I do need to find an agent, a publisher, an audience for my work or I may end up another Emily, with shoeboxes (read that cds) full of words words words that no one reads until after I die.  I don't compare myself to Ms Dickinson, by the way.  I just compare my circumstance with hers although my father died long ago and I'm a lousy housekeeper and I live in North Dakota.

And so—in an attempt to create a 'platform', I am changing the name of my blog and inviting those wondering what this novelist is all about to join me here for a regular commentary mostly on writing. I do hope those of you who have been regular readers will understand and those of you who may have stopped by for the first time, will bear with the process and find something of interest.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Characterization - One Way to Develop Characters in Your Novel

Characters - ah yes, how do writers create characters?  Often from their own experience, I'm sure. However, Erikson offers us some effective ways of looking at our creations according to their age and role in a story. Following through with reactions, actions, assumptions, and dialogue can be easier if one takes a look at Erikson's theory in the chart above.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Coot's Catastrophe - tiny excerpt

I smiled, shook my head and walked out the front door headed for the slough.

Now slough is a tough word for those of us who live in more urban areas of the country.  It suggests a morass of waste water unfiltered and unclean. But, here in this corner of the world, the slough is the center of bird life, a slow moving waterway located in a slump of the prairie.  The slough bordering Flaxton is over a mile long and about a quarter mile wide.  It runs west to south east and hooks up with several other small bodies of water to make up what is called locally referred to as Stoney Run.  The surface waterway ends at North Gate Dam where the surface water halts.  There water filters into an underground aquifer connecting with Des Lac, a much larger lake about twenty miles farther east. Like prairie personalities, the energy under the surface is far more important than what can be accessed above.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

North Dakota..a fact or three

from: Terry Nowak

1. At 3.2%, North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the United States.

2. In 2012, North Dakota was the fastest-growing state in the United States. The growth was largely due to an oil boom in the Bakken fields in the western part of the state. The state became the 2nd-highest oil-producing state behind Texas. Despite its oil boom, agriculture or farming is still North Dakota's top industry.m
Due to its oil boom, North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the U.S.

3. The world's largest hamburger was eaten in Rutland, North Dakota. It weighed 3,591 pounds and more than 8,000 people were invited to the meal.

4. Most of the pasta in America is made from North Dakota durum wheat. Grand Forks holds a huge pasta party each year in honor of the crop. 

6. It's illegal to go dancing in Fargo with a hat on. It is even illegal to wear a hat at a party where other people are dancing. It is also illegal in North Dakota to take a nap with your shoes on. After 11 pm, it is illegal to set off fireworks at Devil's Lake in North Dakota.

7. The smallest city in North Dakota is Maza, with a population of 5 people. North Dakota does not have towns or villages. Each place is officially a city, no matter how small it is.

8. North Dakota is the least-visited state in America.

9. Lying just under the surface of western North Dakota is about 25 billion tons of lignite, enough to supply the region's coal needs for over 800 years.

10. Dakota is the Sioux word for "friend" or "ally."


Monday, October 21, 2013

The Rehearsal - A Review by Christina Gordon

Christina Gordon on facebook was heard to say:
I finished reading The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton yesterday. Thanks to Charlotte Otter for the recommendation. A wonderful read. I absolutely loved it!
It revolves around the effects/affects and various reconstructions in the discourses of other students and teachers over the sacking of a music teacher for having had an affair with the elder sister of one of the main characters. But there are no horses’ mouths talking over the subject, only the neighing and braying of other voices who are creating a whole mythology (and an entire play) from the tiniest snippets of knowledge and the plethora of rumours circulating over the incident. What becomes evident is that more important than the salacious 'topic' in this narrative is the 'theme' that’s being explored. This is very much an examination of the construction of self as character. There are some rather salient truths revealed, in a very clever manner, about how the gossip, fantasies and assumptions made of others is seeped in the construction of one’s individual personality.
The style of the writing makes the feel of the entire book like sitting and watching a play, but the rehearsal in the title refers less to the play in the book than to adolescence – the rehearsal for adulthood! I wish I’d had this book to read with I was 15/16, and I kept thinking while reading it that this is the sort of book that should be on the high-school curriculum.
I will definitely be putting The Luminaries on my to be read list. Catton is an exceptional talent! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lucy Lawrie - who writes funny romantic comedy

"Now I’m lucky enough to have a publishing deal and my first novel is about to make its way into the world. It is an amazing feeling to be sure, finally, of what I want to do, and to be in a position to give it everything I’ve got.

And if it doesn’t work out, well maybe it’s not too late to retrain as a retired dentist."

Catch her newest romantic comedy : Tiny Acts of Love available in February 2014

A charming lawyer gives birth to her first child and skips through funny, engaging adventures around Scotland. A little love, a little mystery, a ghost, a little relationship angst, and some damned good writing will keep you engaged.  Check it out; you'll love it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Author as a fledgling ...

A deviation today from the heavy duty issues of oil pipeline leaks and a devastated American budget —

This photo from 1974 or thereabouts of the English department of one of America's premier high schools shows the author smiling on the extreme left.  Who remembers this lass with too much leg and long chestnut hair? Not I. :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tyranny in the House of Representatives
There have been many articles being circulated today that exposed Rep. Cantor's weaselly maneuver to ensure that any bills related to the shutdown run through him or his designee, in particular a YouTube video. I did a little digging in and found the specific text for us to post everywhere a right-wing ideologue claims that Cantor never did that or the House is not trying to sabotage any negotiations.

The operative text for this resolution is:

"9/30/2013 11:37pm:
Rule makes in order for the House to take H.J.Res. 59 from the Speaker's table, with the House amendment to the senate amendment thereto, insist on its amendment, and request a conference with the Senate thereon. Section 2 makes it in order for any motion pursuant to clause 4 of rule XXII relating to H.J.Res. 59 be offered only by the Majority Leader or his designee."

Notice that the rule change was inserted only 23 minutes before midnight to ensure that it would not be challenged before the government shutdown.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Our Good Buddies: The Koch Brothers

Bernie Sanders Terrifies the Koch Brothers By Outting Their Role In the Government Shutdown
By: Jason Easley
Monday, October 7th, 2013, 3:58

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is standing up the Koch brothers attempted takeover of the United States government by outing the conservative billionaires’ role in causing the government shutdown.
Sen. Sanders put the blame for the government shutdown square on the Koch Brothers, “Let’s not kid ourselves. This shutdown is not something that just came about a couple of weeks ago through Ted Cruz. This has been planned by the Koch brothers and other very, very wealthy people from the day after Obama was reelected, and what their feeling is. Let us go to the extreme. Let us be prepared to shutdown the government, not pay the national debt. Let us use every ounce of leverage that we have. Even if it means catastrophic pain for America and the world, so long as we get our way.”
Later Sanders discussed the Koch brothers’ agenda, “If you look at what the Koch brothers agenda is. Look at what many of the extreme right wing people believe. Obamacare is just the tip of the iceberg. These people want to abolish the concept of the minimum wage. They want to privatize the Veterans Administration. They want to privatize Social Security, end Medicare as we know it, massive cuts in Medicaid, wipe out the EPA. You don’t have an Environmental Protection Agency anymore. Department of Energy, gone. Department of Education, gone. That is their agenda, and many people don’t understand it. Koch brothers have poured hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars into the tea party, and to all other kinds of ancillary organizations to push this agenda. So what you are finding now is a continuation of the class warfare that as been going on this country for the last many years. The rich are getting richer. Poverty, number of people in poverty all time high. Middle class disappearing, and these guys using Citizens United and other forms are now banging away and doing everything they can to get more tax breaks for the people on top, and devastating cuts for working families.”
The Koch brothers don’t like the kind of attention that Bernie Sanders brings to them. They want to operate behind closed doors. The Koch brothers know that their agenda is doomed if the American people understand what they are trying to accomplish. Charles and David Koch are happy to let their Republican stooges like John Boehner and Ted Cruz take the fall for them. As long as they are willing to spend the money, Republican politicians are disposable goods.
The Koch Brothers are the real power behind the government shutdown.
The point that Sen. Sanders made can’t be expressed often enough. The real ideology and agenda behind the government shutdown belongs to the Koch brothers. The Koch boys hate Obamacare because they don’t want the working and middle class people to have the same access to healthcare that they do. They are opposed to anything that empowers working class individuals, because are seeking a new Gilded Age where the employer controls the lives of their employees.
Sen. Sanders is one of the few members of congress that is willing to stand up and tell the Koch brothers no. Bernie Sanders is also doing something that is very important. He is pulling back the curtain and showing America who is really running the Republican show.
At heart, the Koch brothers are cowards who hide behind Citizens United in order to anonymously advance their agenda. A senator like Bernie Sanders scares the Koch Brothers. He ignores their money and rallies the masses to join the fight. If the American people are ever going to get their government back from the conservative money men, they are going to have to send more people like Bernie Sanders to the House and Senate.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

'Covert Messiah'

London (PRWEB UK) 8 October 2013
American Biblical scholar Joseph Atwill will be appearing before the British public for the first time in London on the 19th of October to present a controversial new discovery: ancient confessions recently uncovered now prove, according to Atwill, that the New Testament was written by first-century Roman aristocrats and that they fabricated the entire story of Jesus Christ. His presentation will be part of a one-day symposium entitled "Covert Messiah" at Conway Hall in Holborn (full details can be found at

Does this sound just a tad like the Koch Brothers working overtime to reformulate the Constitution of the United States?  Well, it does to me.  The K Brothers must have done some reading in 1st century Roman literature.  

Probably not since neither is well enough classically educated to read early Latin.  However, they have enough money to pay scholars to feed them information that is reputed to have changed the world.  I love this article and hope you will take a look yourself. Discussion the subject of whether the Jesus  story is a creative non-fiction or a fiction manuscript (read that The New Testament) ought to be alive and well here on the Internet.

Please know that I am all smiles at discovering this tidbit to share with you.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

America's Dirtiest Power Plants

How close do you live to one of these behemoths spewing CO2 into the atmosphere at a rate that is helping to cause climate change? Maybe a note to your governor or legislature would make a difference? Maybe.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Rejections: Good for Writers

Take note: tough skin is good for the ego in the long run.  Go for it.  I blush when I admit to well over two hundred rejections to my work in the past three years.  One day though, my manuscript may well be in your hands being read by your eyes while creating lasting images in your 'mind's eye'.

You just wait and see! ;)

Check out the web page.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Recall Elections For Recalcitrant Tea Party Representatives

Eighteen states have recall provisions. Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin all have recall of some kind available to their voters. Only seven of these states require any grounds.

WHY NOT RECALL THE OBSTREPEROUS TANTRUM THROWERS IN THE House of Representatives rather than force us all to endure the closure of business of the United States Government?