Climate Crisis Strikes

How asleep we must be to need children to wake us.

Bless Greta Thunberg and our lesser known Canadian activist Autumn Peltier for somehow managing to accomplish what adult activists only wish they could.

I’ve spent the better part of five years attempting to awaken the sleeping masses to a number of very real concerns without success. I even wrote a book which I hoped would get parents and young adults thinking about big picture issues. It did not fly because nonfiction must either be written by a PHD or a celebrity for it to have any value in the publishing world. David Suzuki has the whole package and yet the masses, politicians, and corporations somehow continue to ignore his words as well, despite the fact he has won awards, written 87 books, and has been talking about all this for about 60 years.

If David Suzuki couldn’t stop the insanity, I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on myself for failing miserably as well.

He was a participant in what I call the golden age of activism: the 1960’s and seventies which laid the groundwork for the equal rights and equal opportunities which we enjoy today. This same generation also taught the American government that high body counts and collateral damage in their endless conflicts would not be tolerated.

Why is it that environmentalists were not as impactful?

Oh sure, various anti-pollution measures were a direct result, as was the green movement, but these were not enough to save today’s young people from what is to come in their lifetimes. Sadly, it takes a crisis with an impending disaster before people will get off their asses and do something about it. We all should know what was going on in the American South in the sixties, unless our education systems have completely failed. There was a public outcry and outrage; the only things politicians worry about.

Where did all the hippies go and why aren’t we living in a loving, clean, sustainable Utopian world fifty years later?

Some “dropped out”; many joined “the establishment”, but most ended up working for “the man” absorbed by society: having babies, buying houses and cars. . . leading busy productive successful lives—living the unsustainable consumerism dream.

Their grandchildren are doing it all again.

Hopefully, these so-called kids will get it right by seeing how we all failed.

You go, girls.

P.S. If you have any advice for me or David, we’re all ears.

When “Experts” Tell Me I Must Blog Something.

I laugh and laugh.

‘Tis true, I care not what experts think—especially publishing and online marketing types—as most wrote a book or books solely for the purpose to sit on a perch and collect money from the rest of us without any guarantees whatsoever their methods will make your book a success.

Artists are makers surrounded by takers.

Don’t be a sucker.

If you are an author, in the name of all you consider holy, LEARN THIS BUSINESS before it rips you off.

Why be a starving writer when you could be a starving naked artist.

I am so sick of computers and everywhere they take us.

Being a writer means being married to your computer. Things are made worse if you are a published author because you also have long term commitments to social media and publishing sites. My almost one-year-old Dell is an evil wife. She has melted down twice in the short time we have been together; a RED FLAG if ever there was one. So why continue to put up with the daily torment of weak WiFi, boggy performance due to updates and background processes, and the general stupidity of the online world when there is little or no money in it?

I can do other things.

The real question is: What other things can I do which don’t involve computers? I could reinvent myself once again as a post modernist painter. I might use my initials to create a new artist identity: Ethan Alfonso? It has an artsy ring to it. I could add a hook as well: All Alfonso’s are painted in the nude. Post modernist erotic portraits of lonely housewives and  divorcées, painted by a still pretty hot naked guy, should get me laid more than writers do. The fee for such commissioned portraits would certainly exceed what I make as a writer; perhaps several times over. For a tiny initial investment—far less than book publishing—I could whip off a bunch of samples to lean against the walls of my apartment for prospective clients to peruse; perhaps over wine, if they are hot. I could sell some works beach-side while working on my tan. Once summer ends here, I can move into a spacious van and travel to various beach communities down South, chasing the warmth of the sun, and making Canadian winters something I don’t do anymore.

What’s the worst that could happen?

It’s possible I might be killed by a jealous husband, but this has always been my preferred check-out plan anyway.

Sounds like a worthwhile endeavour to me.

Where is that art supply store?

I’d Google it, but this hunk of junk Dell—soon to be ex wife—sucks harder than the vacuum of space during a hull breach on the Enterprise.

Get caught up on my latest relationship misadventure over on my book’s site.

This week on my Ms. Creant blog, I show how our social media walls can reveal a great deal about what we are feeling.

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Your Beliefs Create Your Reality: Part 5

Health Challenges:

My train of thought has been known to derail.

In the previous installment I touched on the subject of health as part of a general view of my personal reality. A few weeks after posting that one, I wrote an e-mail which expanded on the theme which I will share to complete the thought.

First, for those who have not yet read Ms. Creant, my book delves into LIFE–which of course include matters of health. There is more room in a book to go into detail but for the sake of brevity I will give you the key idea which I presented on this subject:

There are four integral parts of a human which need to be kept healthy or else we open the door to major health challenges.

We are bombarded by books and articles about the importance of exercise, eating right, and eliminating the intake of things that we know to be bad for us. These writers tell us that if we look after our bodies, we will be more energetic, happier and will live longer. IF THIS WERE TRUE:

  • None of them would ever have to face significant health challenges but many will.
  • None would ever become depressed but approximately 17% of this group will.
  • All of them would outlive the rest of us but many do not.

The reason is fairly simple to grasp. They focused on only 25% of their being’s needs to the exclusion of the other 75%.

Here is what they missed:

  • They placed little or no value on nourishing their INTELLECT. The more advanced the thought processes, the more power the mind has to moderate the intake of things that we know to be bad for us.
  • They placed little or no value on the exploration of their inner SELF–who they are—their identity.  They were not able to moderate the intake of things that we know to be bad for us on an emotional level.
  • They placed little or no value on nourishing their SPIRITUAL side–the part of all humans that needs to believe in something  greater than themselves so they can remain hopeful. They were not able to moderate the intake of things that we know to be bad for us to offset feelings of hopelessness or meaninglessness.

You cannot nourish that which you do not know or understand.

  • To nourish our INTELLECT, one must simply READ; READ; READ! I would love to tell you that you must read my genre (nonfiction) but it would be self-serving if I did so because there are thought provoking books in many other genres. The key to a good read is its ability to make you think–not merely escape. People who feed their intellect are less likely to succumb to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
  • To nourish your SELF, you must explore the who, what, when, where and how of the significant events which affected you emotionally creating your behaviors. You can read a great deal on psychology but it is doubtful you will be able to accurately assess your own behaviors without a perspective from someone trained in the field. People who understand themselves have fewer emotional outbursts, are better at managing stress, anxiety, depression, and are less prone to psychological disorders in general.
  • To nourish your SPIRITUAL side you must first acknowledge that there is meaning–if not a plan–to your existence. Next you must find inner peace in some belief or (better still) beliefs you can call your own. Philosophy; even the philosophies of various religions, are particularly useful in giving life meaning by again adding an outside perspective to your life. Everyone knows of my disdain for religions who profit from fear mongering; who help only those of their own ilk; that endorse sexism and violence while perpetuating the division of humanity . . . but even their books contain worthwhile messages for a seeker of meaning.

Preface over; now on to the subject at hand.

Hope springs eternal. Hope is what keeps us going. Most people consider this a given until presented with challenges they were not PREPARED to face. The least AWARE among us will be quicker to lose hope, while thinkers will take their time to process this new information before ACCEPTING the opinions of the very fallible indoctrinated humans who dispense it.

If you believe a singular prognosis, it is YOU who will make it a reality.

This brings us to the point you were making. Reasonable or cautious optimism are a part of what thinking people wrestle with constantly. We must be cautious yet hopeful. Most importantly, we must be careful not to RATIONALIZE poor choices or behavior as a result of a new-found belief. At the same time, we must not DELUDE ourselves either or we could allow a decline in our condition which could have been prevented. This is a great deal of information which we must process. Fortunately the human brain is capable of this level of cognitive reasoning when the mind has been properly trained to think about the probable outcomes of numerous possibilities.

Thinking people ponder their options while other humans merely react.

A person who is considering several courses of action is undecided about the outcome so they have not yet chosen to BELIEVE anything. Conversely, the person who immediately chooses to believe, will also immediately begin to live a REALITY created for them by someone else.

We have a choice as to what we believe. This is certain and it also implies that we have a choice of realities.

A health challenge is a test of WHO we are: our intellect, our spirit, our emotional stability and our will to continue. No school program ever PREPARES us for these life challenges, even though they should. I wrote my book, in part, as an attempt to create change in what we teach–to encourage life preparedness. In order to achieve this we must place emphasis on creating young people with fully formed and understood identities rather than letting them flail about in the world, HOPING they will find their way.

A prepared mind is less likely to believe in a reality created by someone else, and more likely to see their HOPES come to fruition.

I wish I had thought of the line above sooner . . . it would have saved a great deal of time.

A Study In Positivity

Having spotted a blog group looking for “positive” messages, I will attempt to put a positive spin on everything I write in this blog.

I am too pragmatic to do rainbows, daffodils, unicorns, and Zen. I do not know if this will make their cut. It is a challenge for me being a student of human nature. As such, I all too often see the glaring negatives of mankind without acknowledging the more subtle positives. I suppose I take the easier path that pairs well with my attempts at sardonic witticisms. Sarcasm is a tool used by comedians and writers alike to make light of serious subjects, but for the purposes of this blog, I have to explore humanity’s “up-side” and that just may end up being good for me.

To a poor unpublished author, a blog becomes an outlet for pent up frustration so I will not go out and buy the assault rifle I sometimes wish I owned.

Upside 1:

Not all sociopaths carry out attacks on their fellow humans.

A personal philosophy which has yet to be disproved goes like this: 33.3% of the world’s population are genuinely good people with good hearts. 33.3 percent of the population are evil malevolent creatures; and the remaining 33.3% can waffle from one side to the other on any given day.

Upside 2:

Therefore we can extrapolate there must be days when almost FOUR BILLION people on Earth are doing good things for their fellow man and the planet.

Place a new-born baby in the hands of the most case-hardened worldly-wise man and you will see the inspiration for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. His heart will grow ten sizes in that moment as he gazes at the little creature who is totally innocent; a blank slate and free of evil. This subconsciously engages his protective instincts. Not to be sexist, if it we substitute out man for woman in the above, chances are that subconsciously she will find her nurturing side bubbling to the surface.

Upside 3:

Almost all humans, regardless of the hand life has dealt them, are capable of having their soul touched by innocence, goodness, and joy as we naturally covet these attributes.

On the subject of the more politically correctly named “Holiday Season”, in the G8 countries at least, Christmas carols and old holiday season songs are infectious—playing on the human desire for peace, joy, and our yearning for simpler times. People smile a little more easily and they are a little nicer to strangers despite the hustle and bustle of crass consumerism, and the plethora of social obligations. I was hoping to report that crime rates fell as a result of “good cheer”, however the statistics indicate there is a huge increase in alcohol consumption which netted an over-all increase in the crime rate.

Upside 4:

For a week or so each year people are generally nicer to each other, even though it appears to be alcohol induced.

In a world filled with stupidity, waste, and evil there are continual stories of “random acts of kindness” from around the globe which is evidence of them being a natural human trait. Humans have the capacity for sympathy and empathy which when taken to extremes, can manifest into tremendous acts of bravery and sacrifice. There are countless stories, especially in conflicts, where someone laid down their life to save another. The person who made the sacrifice, did so in the belief the person they were saving was indeed worthy of their sacrifice.

Upside 5:

The person saved feels a huge burden of responsibility to the one who sacrificed him or herself.

They feel they must live a good life from that point forward in an effort to be worthy of the one who saw something in them worth saving . . . even if the saved individual could not see it in themselves at the time. Better humans are created through “random acts of kindness” whether they witness a supreme sacrifice or a minor one.

Love:

We all want it. Few can hang on to it.

Those without it are jealous and envious of those who flaunt having it. Young love is rarely more than a hormonal overdose. {The following are excerpts from my book Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!} DOPAMINE is the love hormone. Just seeing the one you think you love will cause its production. It is interesting that its production naturally sags after approximately two years with the same person. If you want to “Bring back that loving feeling…” boost intake of vitamin B6 and magnesium. PEA- (Phenylethylamine) has been nick-named the “Molecule of Love” and the “Love Drug”. Found in chocolate and your brain, this organic compound creates the stirrings of sexual excitement including that rise in heart rate that we all have felt. Studies indicate that the onset of DEPRESSION may be due to decreased concentrations of PEA.

Upside 6:

When I see an old couple holding hands on a bench after living a lifetime of hardships together, it proves the existence of true love.

It is more than companionship. It is loyalty, trust, mutual respect and a sparkle in their eyes when they look at one another that is eternal. SOUL MATES ARE REAL.

Artistic types are typically more damaged, flakier, more anti-social, and more oblivious, but they can also be more talented and more cerebral than the average human.

Upside 7:

If there is any part of humanity that could warrant our continued existence, it is our capacity to appreciate and create beauty.

Film, photography, paintings, sculptures, theatre, music and literature occasionally capture or help us to envision the stunning and wondrous.

“Pay it forward.” or “One good turn deserves another.” are proven concepts that may define humans. We all live in a hell of our own making, but when we stop feeling sorry for ourselves just long enough to smile or hold a door open for another, we prove that we do not belong in such a place; and that we are capable and worthy of existing on a higher level.

Hope leads to belief;

Belief leads to optimism;

Optimism leads to learning;

Learning leads to wisdom;

Wisdom leads to growth;

Growth leads to increased hope.

IT IS A CIRCLE!

 

What it’s like to finish writing a book: The Regurgitation

Poets have it easy.

They can wrestle with one page and then type those two magic words: THE END. For any writer who is trying to produce a book, it is a far greater undertaking.

I took about a year just researching and making notes. It took about a month to assemble those notes into a very rough chapter outline. I wrote early versions of the Preface and Introduction to use a compass to keep me from straying too far off course which was necessary, as any of my readers know, because I love to travel tangential lines to see where they lead.

Thoughts come faster than fingers can type. You must have a pen and paper near you at all times for that moment of clarity when it arrives. There were sticky notes everywhere.

I wrote all the basic Ms. Creant stories next, and then placed them in those rough chapters with related notes. To begin the writing of those chapters, I only needed to put the notes into sentence form; building on thoughts and ideas as I went. You never stare at a blank page this way, but it will add a huge amount of editing time at the end.

After three years I had five chapters completed, but stalled there as another Ms. Creant came into my life. A couple of years later, she was gone and I had another story to add. I got back to writing the book. In one massive push over a three month period in the fall of 2014, I completed the last three chapters of what I now call “the First Edition” and wrote the two magic words: The End.

I poured a single malt scotch and lit a Cuban cigar because that is what my influences would have done, and then sat back to bask in the afterglow of this tremendous accomplishment. The feeling is akin to having the best sex of your life, but the feeling stays with you for weeks instead of hours. You wear a silly grin all the time. You pat yourself on the back, A LOT!

I took three days off and just watched a favorite TV series; seven years of it; full time.

“The End” is just the beginning.

The word count was just over 51,000 words at that point in time. The editing began. With every pass through your work you will add to it, improve it, and make it longer. As a nonfiction book, Ms. Creant required a Reference and Index. By the time I had the First Edition e-book completed, the word count had reached 60,000 words. The Second Edition which I thought would be in print, had an extra chapter with an “alternate ending”. It sat at 65,000 words. The Third Edition added another chapter and I expanded on a number of ideas throughout, creating a new word count in the 80,000 range. I nervously sent the manuscript off to an editor, and what came back made me realize I had to take my writing more seriously. Another two chapters with at least twenty proofreads to this point and I sent it off to the publisher with a word count topping 100,000. There are still two rounds of revisions remaining in the coming weeks prior to the September release. Nonfiction writers should plan a week just to get a handle on the most basic Index. I took a nine page article and practiced on it before screwing with 100,000 words.

Fantasy vs. Reality:

As I wrote my first book, I thought it was good enough to get me an agent who would work hard to get me a publisher. This publishing company would produce a well distributed book that would attract the attention of a publicist who would get me on the Times Best Seller List. This would of course lead to a guest spot on The Daily Show which would garner to attention of a producer who would get me a television or film screen-writing deal. All this attention would have managers clamoring to my door who would arrange speaking engagements at major universities leading to a fellowship with an honorary degree, landing me a tenured professor position.

This was “the dream”.

Here is the reality:

When I had completed three chapters, I decided to fire out a Query Letter to the top agents in New York to shake the proverbial tree to see what fell out. In a word: nothing. Stock but polite rejection letters came back from most of the over twenty agencies I pitched. They did not even ask for so much as an Outline nor were they curious enough to ask for some chapters. In some future blog after the book is published, I will explain why. For now we will just say the publishing business is a tough business for first time authors.

YOU WILL WRITE THOUSANDS OF WORDS AFTER YOUR BOOK IS FINISHED!

Query 1:                                  395 words

Query 2:                                  416 words

Overview:                               747 words

Marketing Platform:              1611 words

Competitive Title Analysis:  1290 words

Chapter Outline:                    1004 words

Author Info:                             499 words

Agents mailing list:                421 words

Publishers mailing list:          989 words

Facebook:                                1000 words per week (easy).

WordPress:                            25,000 words / year (estimated).

Twitter:                                    5500 words / year (estimated).

6 miscellaneous sites          6000 words / year (estimated).

Website:                                 4788 words (and counting).

TOTAL:                                   Over 100,000 words since writing the book.

I am developing and identity crisis.

I set out to be an author but have become:

  • a media copywriter,
  • a blogger,
  • a mail room clerk,
  • a publisher,
  • a social media student,
  • and a full-time time manager of all of it.

I now resent all things which keep me from writing; especially when I am “on a roll”, including the seemingly endless maintenance of my middle-aged body. It is common for me to have two sinks full of dirty, but rinsed dishes (I am not a cave man.), as well as a herd of dust bunnies roaming the floors. I tend to neglect showering because it is hard to make notes in there. Shaving is the first thing to go, and the brushing of teeth drops to once a day on occasion. This does not go on for long as life and the biz will force you to make yourself presentable to go outside again. Perhaps it is for the best.