Rest and Writing

While writing a novel I have all of my characters swirling around inside of me–their motivations, their fears, their joys, their good days and bad. Right now I am working on a war novel that is about a group of 12 soldiers and an army Chaplain who fight those who create wars: bankers, politicians, and war profiteers.

Novels Books

While writing a novel I have all of my characters swirling around inside of me–their motivations, their fears, their joys, their good days and bad. Right now I am working on a war novel that is about a group of 12 soldiers and an army Chaplain who fight those who create wars: bankers, politicians, and war profiteers. And I carry all of these characters with me inside of my subconscious throughout my waking hours and for the entirety of the time I write my novel until completion.

If you want to know what I write about, imagine war stories, serial killers, people who are insane, people who have been hurt, tormented in life. And I know all of my characters as much as I know myself. At times it becomes painful knowing all of these things, carrying their pain and suffering with me along with my own.

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And though I enjoy what I do immensely, it is very trying at times, as I’m sure you can imagine, to have these characters, some who are not the nicest people in the world, hurting some of the other characters who are nice and kind people around inside of me. They are living beings, doing their things, sometimes harmful things to themselves and others, and I have to remember that they are simply characters in a work of fiction.

But that is also why I have to have a drink, exercise daily, and get plenty of rest otherwise I am overwhelmed with my characters’ battle fatigue.  When it is time to rest it is time to rest. Usually I slog along until the novel is done and then I take my vacation from those very painful situations and strained individuals. A welcomed respite indeed.

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The American Empire Part 6 Conclusion

The American Empire will collapse someday…as all other great civilizations have in the past when they’ve turned from truth, tradition, and soul to mindless amusements, the God of government and money, and brutality.

an inconvenient truth meme

The American Empire will collapse someday…as all other great civilizations have in the past when they’ve turned from truth, tradition, and soul to mindless amusements, the God of government and money, and brutality.

In the end it will go like other empires, burning at the hands of barbarians, lost in the sands of time with only broken monuments as a remembrance of something staggering and wonderful in its inception and a slide into moral and ethical decay.

Can we save it?

I believe we already hit the iceberg and are sinking like the Titanic did some years ago. The main reason I believe this is because everyone has become accustomed to their lifestyles regardless of what they might hold. And in order to save it we would have to change a lot of things about how we act in our communities and around the world. There are a lot of people in high and low places with their snouts in the trough. In fact everyone has a part in this game though it’s not completely our fault: most of us were handed this life and told to get their piece of the pie.

Sadly, America will be remembered, as all empires are, as once a beacon of hope for its people and those who wanted to partake in it from foreign lands who then slid into an avalanche of things that didn’t matter and concluded with non-traditional values.

I don’t care what happens at this point. I feel the empire will outlast me. But someday it will be gone and whether it happens in my lifetime or not is moot. I feel like if it does collapse in my day that I will actually get some enjoyment out of the sublime destruction of a Titanic unsinkable ship as it breaks up in the sea. But, I would also like to be there to throw a life raft to those in need and to rudder toward calmer waters.

Editing

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I become angry with my editors after they finish giving remarks on my work because my novels are my babies that I have born into the world and raised up to be special and loved by everyone.

When someone tells me that my child has a problem, is at fault, is lacking, obnoxious, arrogant, poorly dressed or boring I become resentful and want to fight their accusers…even though they are right(most of the time).

 

 

“The Valley” is complete

The first draft of my current work-in-progress, “The Valley,” was completed today. It is a story of a rogue group of 12 soldiers and one army chaplain who begin fighting proxy wars against the establishment who create wars: politicians, bankers, and corporate owners profiting from war.

Hopefully, it will be ready for publication by the end of 2018. Below is a video of the madness that was my life for the past 11 months.

Water works from Danielewski’s “House of Leaves”

“It begins with the birth of a baby, though not a healthy baby. Born with holes in its brain and “showing an absence of grey/white differentiation”—as Doc put it. So bad that when the child first emerges into this world, he’s not even breathing.
“Kid’s cyanotic,” Dr. Nowell shouts and everywhere heart rates leap. The baby goes onto the Ohio, a small 2×2 foot bed, about chest high, with a heater and examination lights mounted above.
Dr. Nowell tracks the pulse on the umbilical cord while using a bulb syringe at the same time to suck out the mouth, trying to stimulate breath.
“Dry, dry, dry. Suck, suck, suck. Stim, stim, stim.”
He’s not always successful. There are times when these measures fail. This, however, is not one of those times.
Dr. Nowell’s team immediately follows up, intubating the baby and providing bag mask ventilation, all of it coming together in under a minute as they rush him into the ICU where he’s plugged into life support, in this case a Siemens Servo 300, loaded with red lights and green lights and plenty of bless and whistles.
Life it seems will continue but it’s no easy march. Monitors record EKG activity, respiratory functions, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, as well as end tidal CO2. There’s a ventilator. There are also IV pumps and miles of IV lines.
As expected, nurses, a respiratory therapist and a multitude of doctors crowd the room, all of them there simply because they are the ones able to read the situation.
The red and green lights follow the baby’s every breath. Red numbers display the exact amount of pressure needed to fill his fragile lungs. A few minutes pass and the SAT (oxygen saturation) monitor, running off the SAT probe, begins to register decline. Dr. Nowell quickly responds by turning the infant’s PEEP (Positive End Expiratory Pressure) up by 10 to compensate for the failing oxygenation, this happening while the EKG faithfully tracks every heartbeat, the curve of each P wave or in this case normal QRS, while also on the monitor, the central line and art line, drawn straight from the very source, a catheter placed in the bellybutton, records continuous blood pressure as well as blood gasses.
The mother, of course, sees none of this. She sees only her baby boy, barely breathing, his tiny fingers curled like sea shells still daring to clutch a world.
Later, Dr. Nowell and other experts will explain to her that he son has holes in his brain. He will not make it. He can only survive on machines. She will have to let him go.
But the mother resists. She sits with him all day. And then she sits with him through the night. She never sleeps. The nurses hear her whispering to him. They hear her sing to him. A second day passes. A second night. Still she doesn’t sleep, words pouring out of her, melodies caressing him, tending her little boy.
The charge nurse starts to believe they are witnessing a miracle. When her shift ends, she refuses to leave. Word spreads. More and more people start drifting by the ICU. Is this remarkable mother still awake? Is she still talking to him? What is she singing?
One doctor swears he heard her murmur “Etch a Poo air” which everyone translates quickly enough into something about an etching of Pooh Bear.
When the third day passes without the mother even closing her eyes, more than a handful of people openly suggest the baby will heal. The baby will grow up, grow old, grow wise. Attendants bring the mother food and drink. Except for a few sips of water, she touches none of it.
Soon even Dr. Nowell finds himself caught up in this whispered hysteria. He has his own family, his own children, he should go home but he can’t. Perhaps something about this scene stings his own memories. All night long he works with the other preemies, keeping a distant eye on mother and child caught in a tangle of cable and tubing, sharing a private language he can hear but never quite make out.
Finally on the morning of the fourth day, the mother rises and walks over to Dr. Nowell.
“I think it’s time to unplug him,” she says quietly, never lifting her gaze from the floor.
Dr. Nowell is completely unprepared for this and has absolutely no idea how to respond.
“Of course,” he eventually stammers.
More than the normal number of doctors and nurses assemble around the boy, and though they are careful to guard their feelings, quite a few believe this child will live.
Dr. Nowell gently explains the procedure to the mother. First he will disconnect all the nonessential IV’s and remove the nasogastric tube. Then even though her son’s brain is badly damaged, he will administer a little medicine to ensure that there is no pain. Lastly, he and his team will cap the IV, turn off the monitors, the ventilator and remove the endotracheal tube.
“We’ll leave the rest up to…” Dr. Nowell doesn’t know how to finish the sentence, so he just says, “Well.”
The mother nods and requests one more moment with her child.
“Please,” Dr. Nowell says as kindly as he can.
The staff takes a step back. The mother returns to her boy, gently drawing her fingers over the top of his head. For a moment everyone there swears she has stopped breathing, her eyes no longer blinking, focusing deeply within him. Then she leans forward and kisses him on the forehead.
“You can go now,” she say tenderly.
And right before everyone’s eyes, long before Dr. Nowell or anyone else can turn a dial or touch a switch, the EKG flat lines. Asystole.
The child is gone.”
–A passage from Danielewski’s “House of Leaves

Pomodoro Timers for Writers

If you are a writer and you struggle with actually sitting down and putting words on paper, a Pomodoro timer might do the trick.

Pomodoro timers, for those who don’t know, are basically phone apps that will run for a set amount of time and then go “ding” when the time is up. It will then give you a short rest period and go “ding” again when the break period is over.

Pomodoro timers typically run for 25 minutes and then you have a 5 minute respite period. So, for writers, you can write for 25 minutes. Go balls out if you want. And then you get a 5-minute pee, drink break or whatever you want to do for 5 minutes and then it’s back at it for more 25-on, 5-off periods if you so desire.

I feel that most writers struggle to get into working at certain points in time. And if you have a Pomodoro timer you can tell yourself, “I’ll write for 25 minutes,” and then after you get into it, you will probably write for at least an hour, maybe an hour and a half simply because you started by thinking you were only going to write a short time and then you got into a groove.

It’s a trick, but it works for me when I don’t really have the drive to write sometimes.