She showed you mine so I’m sharing hers.

“Turnabout is fair play.”

A 1755 English/Irish proverb which suits my purposes here.

I have a friend; a really cool friend; an honorable friend; a supportive friend; an aware friend; an empathic friend; a scary smart friend who writes on a level so impressive I asked for her hand in marriage after reading only a thousand or so of her words. It was in jest, I think, and years ago now, but as I recall, she didn’t exactly say no. . .

Since that time, she has purchased, read, and favorably reviewed my book; an act which showed her to be good to her word; a person of substance; a person of character rising out of a sea of pretenders who made similar promises without delivering the goods. Such is life as an author. You become accustomed to it while paying close attention to the solid people you meet in your journey.

Today she made some noise about my book on twitter so I thought a little surprise reciprocity might be in order.

Her name is Shelby Kent-Stewart

a.k.a. The Sultaness of Snark

(I just made that up.)

and I’m proud to call her my friend.

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So when a friend you admire, or perhaps adore—I’m still working that out—who you are slightly intimidated by as a writer asks you to write with her, you get butterflies in your stomach reminiscent of your first school dance. Your palms get clammy, your mouth goes dry, your respiration becomes quick and shallow, and you struggle with words that seem to want to form sentences written by a chimp.

I gathered myself as we discussed the possibilities and we settled on a starting point. A simple blog post from two points of view to see if our styles, philosophies, attitudes, and perspectives could somehow mesh into something worth reading without destroying our friendship.

We did it.

In my heavily biased opinion, our first collaboration is Blog of the Year material, if that’s a thing, and we hope you enjoy reading it this weekend as much as we enjoyed producing it for you.

Go straight to our article. It should be up late in the week.

Shelby has six 5 STAR rated books available on amazon.

Like and Follow her on facebook.

Get to know Shelby on twitter.

Watch for her new book: For Love of Honor coming soon; part of the Wicked Tails Stories series.

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Thanks for everything Shelby. You are appreciated, and I’ll try to keep up.

 

 

 

 

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An Unsent Email

I am still disappointed and even more disgusted than ever by the things I have discovered since we split up.

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Long ago, at the beginning you said: ‘Sometimes I have trouble knowing right from wrong.’ I should have seen this for what it is; a common trait among sociopaths, but instead I intervened in what I now see as your karmic destiny.

In another conversation, you told of being called a succubus, yet you did not really mind this worst of all slurs of your person. In fact you seemed to like the idea of playing the part. As a so-called life-long “religious” person, this should have been the ultimate affront to you because of the morality your church has been preaching to you for years, apparently without success.

“A succubus is a demon in female form, or supernatural entity in folklore, that appears in dreams and takes the form of a woman in order to seduce men, usually through sexual activity. The male counterpart is the incubus. Religious traditions hold that repeated sexual activity with a succubus may result in the deterioration of health or mental state, or even death.”

Is the above really who you want to be?

The “shoe” fits, princess. My career was slowed by making you a priority in my life—dealing with your endless problems. My health suffered as a result of the concern, stress, and time you took away from making badly needed money. And wow, did you screw with my mental state. It took longer than the two weeks I joked about when we were “together” to get over you. It took two months.

I don’t care that you have not paid the outstanding amount owed to me. In my rage I was as cruel with my words as I was capable of, and you have obviously used this to rationalize stiffing me. HOWEVER, what is not acceptable is you have not paid at least one of our mutual friends, and perhaps others, now that you have a life which affords you the opportunity to repay those who fell for your bullshit.

Get your crap together and pay your debts before you do end up in hell.

(This one is really just for kicks, shits, and giggles because I needed to blog something here. I do not hold out any hope the party in question will suddenly develop a conscience. Peace out!)

Rationalizations: What To Do When The Internet Is Down

First thing this morning my neighbor sent a text to inform me the Internet is still down, but they claim to be working on it. Apparently a major cable was cut last evening leaving our entire area without service.

Thanks for the update., I thought to myself as I ran my morning self-diagnostics to see if I was fully functional before getting out of bed. I worked out yesterday so you never know. Out of HABIT I turned on my computer anyway and headed to the coffee-maker.

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Photo by Georgi Petrov on Pexels.com

As I stood in the kitchen waiting for The Nectar Of Awakening (© 2019 E. A. Barker LOL), I pondered the importance of the Internet to him because he is a well-to-do guy who loves his toys. His home is run by Google and he likes his fully-automated lifestyle, and I don’t think he likes it when I speak of the potential for abuse of the users privacy. He only has his phone now. All that is good in his life has perished. Perhaps this is why he sent this out of character early text which woke me from some badly needed sleep.

Coffee in hand, I sat down on the couch and drank the entire over-sized first mug while staring blankly at the Windows start up screen. The only thought I can recall during this semi-conscious period was: They chose a nice shade of blue.

What will I do this morning? Maybe go for a walk? Too cold. Read? Eyes still too sleepy and brain not receptive to input. Write something? There it is. But what? We’ll wing it.

Anyone who reads my crap knows of my contempt for the Internet and my fervent belief that it is a mind control weapon employed against the oblivious masses in the final stages of our enslavement. Yet, it has also become a part of my ROUTINE to have my coffee while scrolling twitter and chatting with online friends.

It was not always this way. I remember having a satisfying life before all this book writing nonsense took over.

Here is an example of RATIONALIZATIONS running wild:

I RATIONALIZED this CHANGE IN MY BEHAVIOR by TELLING MYSELF this was necessary to launch and promote my book. I further RATIONALIZED I should continue promoting my work beyond the one year period I had originally planned for as there were still occasional requests for interviews and the like coming in. I continued my RATIONALIZATION to stay on social media because we were entering the peak selling season. That’s no time to quit. My latest RATIONALIZATION, after almost four years since I first appeared on social media, is I now have a handful of people whose words and thoughts I enjoy. It would be wrong to abandon them.

Or would it?

A flaw in my thinking just made itself known on mug three. I am PROJECTING my character traits onto them; people I have never met. I ass-u-me they share my values: morality; ethics; scruples; sense of decency etc., when in truth, I really have little hard evidence to support the mental picture of them I have created in my mind. It is hard enough to discover the TRUE NATURE of people we meet in real life, without compounding the problem by believing what we see or are told through an electronic medium.

Recent─all too public events─began with provocative hurtful posts which I could have been spared from seeing. I retaliated. That was wrong. The enraged are not in touch with rational thought. Things escalated from there into a tangled mess of unimagined proportions. If you witnessed any of it, my apologies. I now have first-hand knowledge of the gossips, spies, stalkers, trolls, and double agents we have all heard about when chatting about facebook dramas.

I am disgusted on many levels by many things, but mostly for allowing myself to be temporarily lowered into The Pit Of The Petty (© 2019 E. A. Barker LOL) where the worst parts of humanity reside.

Unchecked RATIONALIZATIONS can lead to DEMONIZATION or even DELUSION.

I am only guilty of the first two. I plead temporary insanity. I have and continue to work hard to be fully conscious and self-aware, and I pride myself on my ability to stay grounded in reality. This heightens your powers of perception so you can see things for what they are, and not how you would like them to be. However, this trait will not be considered endearing to anyone who lives in a fantasy world of imagined futures. Normally, I am so good at this people have called me a mind reader, or suggested I have them under surveillance, or even that I can predict the future. In truth, once you have really explored WHO YOU ARE and wrestled your demons into submission─with only occasional escape attempts─you are given a gift of heightened sensitivity which is composed mostly of sympathy, empathy, and compassion. Some call this being loving or caring; I just call them good people.

Humans like to think of themselves as complex creatures when in fact most human behavior is transparent and predictable to the few of us who bother to know ourselves. Once you know the best and worst you are capable of, and even though your self-control can slip at times, you can make shockingly accurate assessments of people as well as predictions of behavior and consequences.

To the superficial and narcissistic, life will always be a mysterious sequence of tragic events. They create petty RATIONALIZATIONS of their abhorrent behavior with statements like: “The heart wants what the heart wants.” or “We are only human.” or “They told me to do it.”. . .

Every single one of the seven billion souls on this planet are capable of moving beyond this most basic form of existence. I sincerely hope the readers of this will be some of those who do.

This was the second time I became embroiled in a facebook drama. There won’t be a third. Farewell facebook friends and followers. It was quite an experience which I can no longer RATIONALIZE.

Keep in touch by email if you like.

My Current Attitude Towards Facebook and Other Pointless Endeavours Summed Up in a Single Photo.

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I love Iron Man and many of the other Marvel films.

The appeal is obvious—aside from wishing we were genius billionaire philanthropists—there are times when we wish we could take matters into our own hands; to be a lone gun-slinger, dispensing our own brand of justice or seeking retribution. Alas, until “civilization” slides a little farther into the abyss, or we have nothing left to lose, we must  settle for watching others wreak vengeance in film and video games; living vicariously through them. But oh how we wish sometimes. . .

Your Beliefs Create Your Reality. Part 8

Are “solid” people disappearing?

I know that if I choose to BELIEVE this, the universe will conspire to make this my REALITY so I fight this negative thought despite the overwhelming mounting evidence which seems to surround me. If I were to make this a personal belief, it could forever change me into someone I do not like. I could become bitter, resentful, and wary of the intentions of the people I meet. Truth be known, I am wary. I accept this about myself and simply view it as a defense mechanism―a result of living a long life among other humans.

What is a “solid” person?

Everyone will have a slightly different answer depending on their life experiences and their personal code of conduct which reflects how well developed their super-ego is. Freud first used this term almost one hundred years ago to describe the part of us that is supposed to moderate the wants of our id and ego. Some call it a moral center or compass, but it is also made up of the ethics and scruples taught to us which are also key components to a conscience. When we assess whether or not a person is “solid”, we are JUDGING them based on our own set of values.

People usually want to surround themselves with people possessing similar values but we cannot expect others in our social circles to live up to the standards we set for ourselves or else we set ourselves up for disappointment―a mistake I keep making.

I set very high achievable standards for myself, even though those standards often require a significant effort on my part in order to clear the bar. I have always wanted to be a good person―a “solid” person. When I was young and naive, just a couple of years ago, I actually thought most people wanted the same for themselves. However, life has a way of showing you just how wrong you can be.

Traits of “solid” people:

  1. They are honorable. Their word is their bond. It means everything to them.
  2. They care. They will drop everything to help a friend, loved one or even strangers.
  3. They give. They are grateful to be in a position to help.
  4. They remember everyone who ever helped them.
  5. They have your back. They know your worth. They stand up for you when gossips attempt to assassinate your character when you are not around.

I am fortunate to have a few such people in my life. Sadly, the number has dwindled over the years as the true nature of some fair weather types was finally revealed to me. If we are to use the above list to JUDGE others, we absolutely cannot fail someone for not achieving a perfect score. There are caring, giving, appreciative people who just cannot keep commitments they make, usually because they lack the organizational skills to keep track of their lives. While these good people may not live up to our Utopian expectations, they are nonetheless well meaning. They will frustrate us when they fail to come through on time, but the point is . . .  they do come through eventually.

Some say: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

If we must KEEP SCORE in order to gauge the quality of these relationships, I believe we should measure intentions vs. deeds expressed as a ratio. You can very quickly separate the talkers from the walkers in this way.

If you are over forty and have to deal with millennials or younger people on a regular basis, you will be frustrated by what appears to be a total lack of honor―where their word means nothing. Give them time. Eventually they will see the importance of being honorable. Until then, keep an eye on their intentions vs. deeds ratio before you say they are not solid.