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City Afloat – Part One – a teaser

When the waves settle, and the dappled sea shimmers like silver cloth, there are the tales of ages past…

Dave Cline - lost and found

City Afloat

Part One

~ Flood ~

barrelRaft“Baba, tell us again.”

The wee ones scurried about the woven planks like hermit crabs. Every night it is the same; Baba, tell us the story of how we came to be. Only the little ones beg so. The older ones, those more than seven or eight, slip like eels from the hut when I begin the story. They know better. They know the why of it. And that knowledge has settled in their hearts like stones. Stones to drown them.

“Once there was earth, rich and brown, almost black, like night, like a shadow beneath the high, bright sun. And this earth was like the sea; it stretched further than you could see. And on this earth, and in it too, grew the food. Life. Well, life of a different sort, life made from green not silver.”

The wee ones knew that…

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A Hot Beverage

How about a spicy soda?

I was daydreaming, again, and came up with these, what do you think? (my lame Photoshop skills at work…)

Cap Cola

Which uses capsaicin — the same chemical in chilies or peppers that make them hot.
“A volcano in your mouth”

CapCola

Pepper Pop

PepperPop

Which uses piperine — the chemical in black pepper.
“A spicy dance in your mouth”

 

Waz’ UP soda

That uses  allyl isothiocyanate from the Wasabia Japonica,
“A punch in the mouth”

WazUp

 

And lastly (no image)

Ginger SNAP Soda: with gingerols from, well, ginger root of course.

 


Sheesh, Capitalists!

“Here’s What Stocks You Want to Own in the Event of a War With North Korea”

https://www.thestreet.com/story/14316270/1/north-korea.html

What a load of aristocratic horse hockey! Cramer’s TheStreet is trying to tell you “Hey, here’s how to make money on the up coming end-of-the-world — get in now while you still have air to breathe!”

  • Do these people even realize how like human scum they are?
  • Is there a more despicable slice of humanity than capitalists?
  • Do capitalists even have souls?
  • What do you call 1,000,000 capitalists at the bottom of the sea?
    A good start. (an oldie but tasteless joke).
  • Are there conscientiousness capitalists? I guess… I’ve never met any. They “say” they are but most likely would read an article like that and, if it made sense, take financial advantage of the information.
  • Do I despise capitalists? No. Only those who own capital.

 


The Age of distraction

We now live in the Age of distraction.

How long can you go without reading email, listening for or checking your phone, checking facebook or twitter or the news or paying attention to your pets, or your kids or your partner, your co-workers, or your boss or the idiot driving the Hummer behind you?

Let’s realize that we WILL be distracted. So, let’s prepare for it. Plan for it. Or even better, intentionally include it in our calendar, in our day-planner, in our personal rhythm of work or play.

It’s not going away you know. In fact, I’d wager it’s going to get worse.

We Will Be Distracted.

However, by WHAT will we be distracted? That’s the question now isn’t it?


Know that distraction is a political tool.

While I’m nefariously negotiating with drug companies, tobacco companies, investment banks… Or if I’ve got collusion with such corrupt entities to hide, or, (hold your breath), I’ve got interests with foreign antagonistic country’s agents or leaders… Then I had better give the people something to get riled up about, over there — while I go about my business, over here, out of the limelight.

While we all get twisted up regarding the latest media promulgated HOT TOPICS of the day, remember, the insidious agents of our current government are secretly planning further subterfuge, erosion and destruction of our country’s ideology.

Yeah, we’ll be distracted by these. But don’t let it become a permanent distraction.

Plan to get back to the work at hand, plan to get back to what matters.

 


Writer’s Log: progress hour 852

It’s been a year since I began my writing <quote>career</quote>. (tags intentional)

What have I learned?

Well, writing is hard. No, that’s not right. Writing WELL is hard. Writing is pretty easy. You just sit and pour your thoughts out and there they are, a scrambled mess. Writing well is a whole other recipe.

So how have I learned to, if not write well, write better?

I’ve learned that one can become two-brained while you write. Half of your mind is focusing on what you want to say, your story, your character’s dialog, your allusion to conflict, or intrigue or an unknown darkness. And the other half you can tune to be paying attention to the way you write. Your grammar can become more accurate. Your awareness to style becomes more refined. And the triggers which you slowly add to your writerly-mind will increase in number.

Triggers? Yes. Over time I’ve added triggers to my writer’s awareness, which alert me when my wording strays into novice territory.

Like what triggers? Passive voice triggers. Point of view (POV) swapping triggers. Lofty word triggers. Dialog tag use triggers. Verbosity triggers.

~~~
Benny contemplated the swarm of gears and parts on his bench. He was overwhelmed by the complexity and intricacy of the clock. “I can’t fix this!” he griped, vehemently.

Doris tsked in her mind. “Will he never learn patience?”
~~~

You read that and it doesn’t read poorly. You can get the picture and the emotions right?

But it’s full of problems. And a whole chapter of this style of writing, a whole story? Eventually, you’d be put-off, and maybe not know why.

Passive voice: “He was overwhelmed…”  Better to have the clock’s complexity do the overwhelming.

Redundancy: “complexity and intricacy” Just skip the second word.

Dialog tag: “…griped,” We’re to avoid dialog tags that are not “said, told, asked.” Show how Benny was overwhelmed, don’t explain how he said something.

Superfluous adverb: “…vehemently” Again, this is explaining Benny’s frustration not showing us.

POV swap: “Doris tsked in her mind” We were in Benny’s head, then we jumped to Doris’?

~~~

Benny contemplated the swarm of gears and parts on his bench. The complexity of the clock, its tiny exact wheels and jewels, overwhelmed him. Violently shoving the array of brass and gold pieces across his desktop, he said, “I can’t fix this!”

Doris trundled over and rest her hand on his shoulder. “Patience, dear. You’ve fixed works like this that were much more detailed.”

~~~

Seeing this in its altered form, we get a better picture of what’s happening with Benny, the clock and Doris.

These are some of the highlights I’ve learned so far. It’s been a massive slog, but, hopefully worth it.


Aristocracy stymied corptocracy

European countries do not kowtow to corporations the way the United States does. In the US, the corporations own the politicians and they do the bidding of the plutocrats and the oligarchs — you know, the share holders and board members.

But European countries don’t let corporations run the show. And I wondered why this is.

Could it be that because Europe has had the bad taste in its collective mouth regarding kings and queens through the ages, that when it came time to form democratic governments they KNEW how to construct rules of government that limited the power of the powerful?

In the US, the new aristocracy are the corporate plutocrats that run and pay for government. The Koch asshats, and their ilk. When the corporations were just beginning to become “a thing” in the US, the likes of the robber barons, the train tycoons, the oil and steel magnates (Rockefeller and Morgan) we tried to handle them and the monopolies they formed (as all true capitalistic enterprises will eventually try to do). But when dozens, then hundreds and then tens of thousands of corporations and the power they wielded rose and demanded control of the country, its resources and its wealth — US Citizens had NO IDEA what to do? Why? Because we’d never had tyrants trying to run our lives for century after century.

So, is the United States just an aristocratic victim in the making because there’s no way that the plutocrats in power are going to relinquish that power? Or, like Europeans, can we learn to control the corptocracy?


Passive state, active action

In a prior article we examined passive versus active writing with regards to things vs actions or events.

https://anonymole.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/on-passive-vs-active/

Now I’d like to consider another nuance with regards to passive vs active voice: That of the state of being.

Everything has state. And it is with the irregular verb “to be” that we most often establish state.

  • The sky is grey.
  • The monkey was screaming.
  • The girls were dancing.
  • The bridge was swaying.

To Be has a veritable plethora of variations of past, present, and future tense, and singular and plural and just a whole pile of combinations of those. But regardless of usage or variation, every instance of the verb To Be is used to establish state.

And that’s OK for things that have certain characteristics of being. Sometimes it’s acceptable to use “is” or “was” or “were” or the other variations of To Be when you have to get people, stuff or surroundings into a scene, into a scene and described.

  • “The cliffs were higher than any he’d scaled before.” Here we’re simply trying to establish the state of these geological features of the scene. The cliffs aren’t doing anything aside from just being.
  • “His hands and face were charcoal black from digging through the burned out husk of the cabin.” Again, his hands and face have state — the state of color — and we just want to get that known to the reader.
  • “The car was destroyed. No amount of repair could return it to working order.” The car has an operational state here and it’s not good. It’s bad, destroyed in fact. We just need to let the world know this.

Sure there might be ways to write these descriptive sentences in the active voice, but I’ll say that some usage of passive voice can be allowed when, again, we’re just trying to establish state.

So in addition to the rule previously mentioned: “when we think of people or things in a story don’t think only of their state — think of what they will do, how they will act.” We have another heuristic: “When describing state, it’s okay to use small doses of passive voice to set the stage, primarily with settings or things that normally do not act or have behavior.”

  • The cliffs were higher than any he’d scaled before. The climb to the top left him terrorized, his heart thumping in his chest, his wrists and knees trembling.
  • His hands and face were charcoal black from digging through the burned out husk of the cabin. He’d tried to save it. Pail after pail he swept from the creek and tossed into the blaze. But the rotten roof and worm drilled timbers fed the fire that consumed the cabin.
  • The car was destroyed. No amount of repair could return it to working order. She stared mesmerized as the great claw of the wrecking crane slammed down through the windows squeezing the top in its talon grasp. Up it lifted the car, the first car she’d ever owned. It swung the car over to the clapper where the crane released it in a spasm of mechanical glee. Down it slammed into the pit which then began to methodically crush her orange Ford Pinto into a yard square, iron trinket for the foundry.

Set the stage with state using “is”, “was” and “were”, and then follow it up with action.