Archive for the books Category

The Scylla’s Blanket

Posted in adventure, books, fantasy, fiction, life, love, passage, poetry, relationships, story, travel, writing with tags , , , , , , on March 1, 2012 by tymora42

What a delightful day for a picnic!
The waves of Charbydis lapped against the beach
Helios had not yet set upon the Cliffside
And the song of Sirens played softly over the dune
Scylla laid in wait upon her blanket in the sand
for sailors, the most scrumptious of company,
To pass by her snare
She will reel them in like a fisherman
Entice them into her cavern with her sway
Posing all twelve of her long tall legs for the show and
Nibbling on appetizers of caviar and starfish

Fleets edge up to Beauty’s blanket
But only six men will be served
They would be wined and dined upon
A pound of meat; A bottle of red
“Oh, yes, dears, there is plenty enough to go around
Would you like some more?
You sure are a group of big strong lads.”
The conversation goes on like this
With the choral serenade still lingering in the distance
The calming waves churning along the shore
And Helios preparing for bed
Scylla smiles with all of her teeth
Then she cries
She wines like a babe about ceaseless desire
Here, they cry for her
She brings them close to her lips
They enter her and are consumed by her ways

The feast is done
The lambs were harvested on a bed of kelp
The ox were well seasoned with salt and brine
Beef and poultry and pig and man
All were taken down her gullet
With nary a crumb left for the ants
The men lay strewn about the den
From the ravenous ferocity of their hunger
In spent puddles along her floor
A little of them here
A little there
Gracious Host has the nerve to ask

“No, thank thee, m’lady.
But we must be on our way.”

Who said “The Definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”?

Posted in books, essay, television, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2011 by tymora42

Last night over dinner my father tells me, “Einstein said – The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I thought about this for a second and considered the fact that Einstein was a scientist. By profession scientists tend to do the same thing over and over and tend to get different results. Granted the variables change through the course of the process, however, each experiment must be performed repetitiously as close to the same way as possible to account for the various results and determine what variable must be changed to achieve a different and sometimes desired result. In my mind there was no way Einstein or any scientist worth their salt could ever manifest a quote such as this.

So, I told him this. He says he heard it on the news. It was Einstein. Then he dared me to “Look it up.” I do not know what news broadcast spouted this obvious misinformation. Knowing my father’s politics and the reference he was making toward the Obama entitlement spending force I can only assume it was probably FOX.

Einstein also proclaimed that “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” I do not see FOX repeating this quote anytime in the near future.

Anyway, I took his challenge and decided to look it up. This is what I have found:

The quote, through great debate, has been attributed to Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein and Rita Mae Brown. It has been repeated through variation by coaches, athletes, overweight women, neurotic psych patients, housewives and, most recently, conservative political commentators.

I decided to look for primary sources with years and dates attributed to the article. There is no citation of Franklin or Twain actually writing this piece of wisdom or being recorded saying it in an interview. Franklin is cited in Wikiquotes without documentation and with serious debate about redacting it. In that same discussion one user claims to have found an article in an issue of the 1925 New Yorker verifying that it was, actually, an Einstein quote. I followed her link to Google Books to find not enough information to satisfy myself. The picture near the article did not look like it was from 1925, nor did the citation reveal any dates printed on the page. The image was too small to be zoomed into a legibly readable size and there were no links for further perusal. Finally, it seems through context to have been written by a fiction author offhandedly claiming that someone else, Einstein for instance, said it. Thankfully the comment and source was redacted as being unreliable.

Did this leave Rita Mae Brown’s novel, Sudden Death, as the only originator? No. Narcotics Anonymous also used the quote “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results” in their Basic Text (otherwise known as the Red Book yet filed under the title Narcotics Anonymous: Approved Literature) published about the same time. I went to the Library of Congress to determine the actual date of publication for these texts. Brown’s Sudden Death was published by Bantam in 1983. It appears on pg 68. Narcotics Anonymous has a publication date stating 1982, however, a source profiling rare books states that the actual publication was March of 1983. To further shroud the origination in mystery there are claims (without documentation that I could find) that Brown used it in a 1981 interview before her book was published and that the quote was included in the original preview edition of the NA handbook in the same year and that it dates as far back as 1979 when NA began researching and putting together the manuscript.

Who knows? It could very well be just an ancient Chinese proverb. I would sincerely love any information you come across regarding this. After all, the great Einstein once said, “Knowledge is power and knowing is half the battle.”

Past, Present, and Speculation of the Future of Writing Technologies

Posted in blog, books, essay, technology, work, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2011 by tymora42

Writers Block by miss pupik

Standing outside for a breath before testing a writing program I am not familiar with recalls those writers who have come before with their limited technologies. I take a moment to daydream on the process of constructing novels, plays, screenplays, and even short stories in the time previous to the word processor. How easy it is for us in this new century? How easy will it become? It is no wonder why the once elite market has exploded in a variety of those dedicating their life to the craft of being a writer.

My first retrospective goes to the typewriter, the tapping out of solid words onto the page. The immediate editing process of Microsoft Word, simply hitting the delete key over the highlighted section and reconstructing the previous thought to closer perfection as the writer intends it, could not even be considered to such technology. Even when the liquid papering function was installed in the machine, it could only perform menially, a letter at a time, a punctuation mark, at most a whole word at a time, never a full sentence. Only years before this they would have to spool up the page, apply the whitener, and let it dry before they could continue the thought. Before this they would have to key the whole page over and over. Once the first draft of those thoughts were finally smashed onto paper, the real editing began. Sentences and sometimes whole paragraphs, cut and pasted into different locations of the document, are circled and arrowed with pen knowing that the entire piece must be retyped again and again until it is correct. Obsessive Compulsive editors like myself would never have made it without superior discipline. This is where the admiration of greats like Thomas Pynchon, where every word and placement has significance, must be recognized. And those like Stephen King creating volumes of work with such immensity. It is no wonder he hates the abridgment of them when every revision of a thousand page volume needs retyping after each editing. I can see the dry portion of those novels being the result of the editor self proclaiming pages as worthy for the sole reason of decreasing the workload. Did Steinbeck own a typewriter in the early years? Could he afford new ribbons and paper? This must be why Of Mice and Men is so short. What of Mellville? Jane Austen? Did they pen their works initially before consigning them to typed manuscripts? Were the walls of their rooms covered in index cards with brief character biographies, plot devices, scenery descriptions pinned into the drywall with threads of yarn connecting them to black and white photographs and illustrations like a detective movie?

Shakespeare did not have a typewriter. He jumps further backward in time to the days of quills on parchment. Notes of scratches and older versions of Midsummer Night Dream have yet to be recovered by English archaeologists. Like the zen quote about the river, one can never see the same play twice. It is constantly being rewritten as it is being performed. Lines drop. Actors ad lib. Blocking and scenery is constantly in flux to the whim of the players on stage. Surely their was a stable copy at the start and a final after the run. And I have to picture them learning their lines. Did Willie stand before them in the empty Globe Theatre running through his mix and garble of word from memory expecting them to regurgitate it after a single once over? I would like to have seen his one man show describing the first act with all of the characters and blocking and details of the scenery and pit it against the closing night for consistency. No, to construct a single line with a quill would take considerable thought before the ink every touched the surface. Taking in the scenario of a poet lingering over the page for hours on end before scribbling out a word or two gives credence to the thought that writers were lazy.

Before Email by vas0707

Now, the future is here and their will be more future tomorrow. We print one copy and xerox the rest of our novels in multiples for out writing groups to peruse. We edit. We print more. Ink is cheap and paper grows on trees. We post them on Trigger Street and The Red Room and Smashwords for user to (hopefully) read and comment. We post blogs. We podcast. We delete whole sentences at a time. We reorder paragraphs. The tacks have been removed from the walls of our study. The index cards are filed away in drawers where we can wonder what they were ever used for in the first place. Final Draft and Scrivener and Celtx organize the bodies onto virtual corkboards and sticky notes. Characters have tabs for their biographies with images and research encompassed in quick click of a button reference. We hardly even have to type anymore if we do not want. We can tell the story into a microphone and DragonNaturallySpeaking (dragonspeak) will convert the dialogue into text. Windows Journal and similar programs type out scanned handwritten documents for you.

The next great leap in writer evolution that will flood the market over the walls of the dam will be the invention of thought to text. From there it will be a short stroll into the conversion of dreams into movies. Pioneers will consume hallucinogenic drugs to record their experiences. A new Hunter Thompson will arise. Loving or being hated by a writer, if we can still call them writers, will have further consequences than they already have when they are hooked up to these experiential machines transcribing their emotions into novels.

Whole stories will be constructed in the blink of an eye, as fast as one can think them up. Is this what they thought about the video camera? We have come so far from the day when the Guttenberg Press made the scribe monk obsolete. From the days when the ancients chiseled letters into stones. Imagine the editing process of that form. We stepped over the home typesetting invention of the QWERTY keyboard, designed to be less functional than the Dvorak because the speedy keys kept sticking, to the digital manifestation of the word processor. We are now in the age of the work specific visual writing program. As much as the imaginative can prophesize, only the future can tell where we will go next. Who knows? Maybe there will be someone in the distance looking back at you for your contribution to the world and he will say, “And they had to actually write it all by hand.”

A Book to the Bar

Posted in beer, blog, books, faeries, review on July 23, 2009 by tymora42

You would think bringing a book to the bar might be a social deterrent. It is. Sort of. In a way. In another way it makes people curious. In a town with not many friends to speak of much less any friends or people I know at all it can be quite enjoyable. I sit. I read. i drink my beer. I like beer. If I were to sit there alone without the company of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, I might have left after the first round of Alaskan Amber out of sheer boredom. It was a young crowd. My favorite recent bar to sit at and read is far away in Boulder, but only walking (or stumbling) distance from my old apartment.

Tonight was as strange as always when I take my words for company. A girl asked me what I was reading. She had read it. She was surprised that anyone else would have ever read the same book as her much less be reading it in a bar. In college I would take my philosophers to the bar with me to study. Sometimes it is easier to understand them that way, hence the Monty Python song. It gave me the joy of reading and drinking. She started talking about SciFi, which this book is most certainly not. It is hard fantasy with a historical bend toward England in the 19th century. Not epic, though. I do not care much for epic fantasy. The next to approach was a guy named Mark, who does Wilderness Programs for teens. He was my favorite so far. He asked me to read to him. I did. Then, a girl named JoJo, who had very sparkling eyes sat with us. She was a Teen Outreach Nutritionist from what I gathered. Mark took a turn reading. I was close to the end, making it hard for them to truly understand. I gave the Cliff Notes as he went. That is a faerie talking. He was the one who killed the wife. Stephen is like a concubine except without the sex. Uh huh, a male faerie. People forget that faeries can take on the form of both men and women.

The drawback to a book in the bar is that Mark left the bar with JoJo. I left it with my book. Do I regret this? Hell no. I got through 3 chapters and 3 beers enjoying Suzanne Clarke’s conversation about these two odd magicians.