Writing ruined reading

I’m trying to become a writer. Fiction novels and short stories.

I wrote a novel last summer and the process was cathartic. But ruinous.

What happened was that although my story held merit, the writing itself was sophomoric — as one might expect given my limited training. So, I endeavored to teach myself how to write; to be come a critical editor of my own work; to evaluate writing — of all sources and authors.

And now that’s all I can do. When I read ANYTHING — I’m an editor. I don’t get taken up by the story, I don’t get attached to the characters, I critique everything I read.

And it sucks.

Not the writing, although, yeah much of what I read needs serious editing (including my own work). No, what sucks is that my desire to become a writer has warped my ability to be a reader.

Before all this, I used to pickup and read novels all the time. I never really evaluated them and their writing styles. I could immerse myself into those stories. Lose myself.

Now, all I do is analyze.

DO NOT TELL — SHOW us how she cried, sat, danced, ate, slept…

Use of passive vs active voice (over use of the word ‘was’ or ‘were’ or ‘is’).

Use of flag words: very, quite, always, suddenly, quickly, and all the tiny obvious verbs (get, got, do, did, put, walked, went, gone, run, ran, see, saw, crossed, turned)

Adverbs — use sparingly (ha!).

A funny list to the cause:

1 Avoid alliteration always.
2 Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3 The passive voice is to be avoided.
4 Avoid cliches like the plague. They’re old hat.
5 It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
6 Writers should never generalize.
Seven Be consistent.
8 Don’t use more words than necessary. It’s highly superfluous.
9 Be more or less specific.
10 Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
I’ve become a pretty good critic. But at the expense of enjoying my precious story time reads. And I don’t know if I can ever undo the damage.

Trading & gold mining: useless professions

To society gold mining is a useless profession.
The same is true for market traders.

What good is gold? It turns out gold is practically useless. A fraction is used in electronic circuits and an even smaller amount is used on the helmets of spacesuits or the surface of space telescopes. And it’s worn as a decoration, like beads of shell or glass ornaments for glamour and prestige. Other than that it’s pretty much useless.

Yet huge industries have been built, massive migrations of humans have traversed the lands and sailed the seas, all to converge on a location to shred the landscape, strip it of dignity, and tweeze out minute particles of Au. For what? Well, gold is money of course.

Only, it’s not. Gold has no real “value” to society. It’s only so called worth is that it’s rare, like gems, and as such coveted by humanity. You can’t eat or drink it, wear it (as clothing), use it to build structures or vehicles with, or make weapons or tools with. It’s, for all societal practical purposes — useless.

Yet still there are companies that dig for it. People who live for it. Television shows that exploit it. It’s a massive industry.

Hmm. Useless to society but huge investments of time and money and human effort put forth to pursue it. Kind of like market trading.

Market traders: day traders, high-frequency traders (and their algorithms), swing traders, proprietary trading shops, traders of every stripe, traders who don’t care a whit about the underlying trading vehicle, crude oil, or IBM, EURUSD, or VIX, or some derivative of any of these, these traders have no purpose.

Society does not need them. Just like society does not need gold miners. Both are useless professions.

Yet billions of dollars are spent to perfect the process and train the people. Billions of dollars that would be so much better spent for true societal needs. Worse still, thousands of the brightest minds and, like the gold miners — hardest working — people are lured into this emotionally empty and ultimately unfulfilling occupation.

Here’s a simple test to see if your job holds societal merit: if every trader or gold miner on the planet, today, chose to do some other society benefiting occupation, what would happen to the world? Would it stop? Would chaos ensue?

If every trader or gold miner quit today and did something else, something positive with their life, the world would instantly be a better place. Investors could still buy their stocks WITHOUT traders. Companies and farmers and produces could still trade commodities WITHOUT traders. Money would still exchange hands across borders through FX channels WITHOUT traders.

The system is setup to do all of this without the need for vampire like traders sucking drops of money like grains of gold from the machine that is the world market system.

Oh, but traders make it so much more efficient! No they don’t. That’s a rationalization for their existence which frankly just doesn’t work.

Just like gold miners have no real purpose in society, neither do market traders. They just don’t.


Bernie Sander on Drumpf’s 100 daze

Bernie, you’re relentless. We all love ya, but take a breath, sit back and reflect on the absolute absurdity of this “down the rabbit hole” situation we’re in.

“I know, I know, it’s hard to realize just how bizarre the country’s political landscape has become, but bear with me here…”

“You could not write this as fiction, you would be laughed out of the publisher’s house…”

“You wake up and think this is a twisted, impossible nightmare. But let me reassure you, this is real. And, yes, it is hard to take day in and day out, but we must prevail, so stay with me here…”

You need to personalize this. I know it’s hard for you; the facts, one would think, should speak for themselves. But “facts”? No, it’s not just the story — it’s how it’s told. Appeal to us as humans. Breath, laugh, roll your eyes — you do it once in a while — add some incredulous pauses to your expose’s.

But yes, do keep at it, we want to see this Press-a-dent (into the history books as the worse human being ever to take office) gone from our media feeds. We want to see this incoherent bloviating imbecile turned out to drool pablum in some retirement home.

Take a breath and laugh at the impossible absurdity of it all.


Of labels and classifications

“A young black man walks into a store…”

Why does he have to be black, or white or Asian or Hispanic or…? Why can’t he just be a young man who walks into a store? Why do we have to label people?

Why does he have to be young? How about “A man walks into a store…”

Even that sentence has classified our protagonist. Why does it have to be a man?

“A human walks into a store…” What? Now we’re prejudice against animals?

“A sentient being walks into a store…” Whoops, we’ve got still one more bias to eliminate — walking.

“A sentient being enters a store…” There. Now we’ve eliminated our biases. Well, most of them… Sentience? Is that a bias? Are we favoring beings that can think? Or move?

My point here is that biases, prejudices, labels and classifications are required — at some level. But where do we draw the line? At what point do our bias-agnostic intentions become absurd? Surely there are divisions that make sense. But what are they?

So far in this simple exercise we’ve reduced our biases to the absurd. But what if we expand them further? “A shirtless, mentally handicapped young black man with one arm, who hasn’t eaten for days, stumbles into a store…” As a story teller, perhaps this description fits our needs.

But as a reporter — explaining a robbery — perhaps such a sentence crosses into bigotry. Should a reporter call out the race, age, gender or disability of the accused? Under what context does information descend into prejudice? Should we try and refrain from attaching labels to people when we describe events and situations?

I personally would like to, and in fact, try to avoid race, religion or culture anytime I describe someone. To me a person is just a person. It’s hard mind you. And I slip, often. But to me it’s a worthy effort to change the way I label or classify people.


Wealthy dream of wealth?

When I dream I dream poor, struggling and oppressed. I’m floundering in some quagmire or combating assailants who are set to deride and abuse me. Not always mind you, but mostly.

I never dream I’m powerful. Or privileged. Or special in anyway.

Do the wealthy dream they are wealthy? Haughty and elite? Do they strut around in their dreams giving orders expecting them to be obeyed? “Remove that filthy animal from my sight — at ONCE!” “I would never be seen wearing THOSE shoes…” “Is it possible for me to get ONE GOD DAMNED SLICE OF CAVIAR TOAST WITHOUT SOMEONE SPITTING ON IT?!”

People’s life stations must surely influence their dreams. Their environment providing the context of who they see themselves as when they dream.

Or does media, their reading, their daytime dreams and hopes influence them more? “I vow to be the best TSA Agent in the airport today!” And then dream of foiling a bombing attempt…

I never seem to dream of success. There’s always contention with my efforts in my dreams. You? Do you dream of a life of luxury and ease? Or what?


UBER + MADD

Who would love to create an app that keeps drunk drivers off the roads?

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers — that’s who.

We don’t need no UBER to commandeer the entire ride sharing economy. Lyft? Yeah, Lyft this!

What MADD might want to do is build their OWN app and offer DEALS through BARS around the world to get the app onto people phones and to provide a discount for app users IN THE BARS! Alcohol is CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP – and bars can afford to pony up a discount or three to those who use the app and hire MADDrivers to drive them home.

Mobile App for Drunk Drivers MADD!


Chromecast + Home = Present

If you had a Chromecast plugged into your TV, and a Google Home…

And if I had the same…

Then maybe they should be able to talk to each other. You know, telepresence. Call it Google Present.

And if every household (probably in their kitchen) had a setup like this — we could all “Hangout” together, all the time, that is, never off. We could always be connected.

“Hey G-Home, is my Dad home?”
“Hey son…”
“Hey Dad. Did you see what Sis’ sent me?”
“No, what was that?”
“Here, hold on. Hey G-Home, call up sister Kassandra.”
“Hey brother, what’s up? Oh, I see Dad’s here too.”

And so it would go. All the tech is there. it just needs to get connected and packaged right.

Google Present — my present to google.