Saturday, 14 October 2017

The gift.


This month’s note emerges from the bottom of what appears to be a deep hole, out of which with diligent shoveling I continue trying to extricate myself.

At this writing, my efforts have resulted in little more than increasing the distance between the top of a deepening cavern and the floor upon which I stand.  No matter the hours invested, only more distance appears between where I am and where I would seek to be in response to what has proven more than less continuous exertion.

Meanwhile, though a man’s fascination with digging seems only to increase, what remains unclear is whether that’s despite or because of the results.

From within such ordinary maelstroms, this writer’s work is completed.

Also, let it not be said a man did not suffer for his art.  Recall instead long years keeping alight a flame known of by few and cared for by less.  Remember too, in such crusades most writers toil, seeking not immortality but release from the relentless grasp of an undying compulsion.

Life after all, remains neither more nor less than what you choose to make it.

This writer has, and ever will a man would suppose, always appreciated that fact most.

As the end draws undeniably nearer, the joy received from what has proven a daily grind increases despite the increasing moan of old age’s infirmity.  While not an unwelcome surprise, with the vigor of youth but receding memory a man is doubtless best-off spending as much time looking ahead as he is back.

Despite knowing what’s left behind most often defines the way forward.

It has been this writer’s intent to describe with his work a continuous discourse upon a singular experience.  Using a variety of forms and media, from poetry and prose to music and acting, from CD and mp3 through assorted journals, ezines, blogs, indie films, the Kindle and at last paperback, documenting everyday happenstance was the first goal.

As result, a fictional account of life among those either less fortunate or not famous might in time be constructed.

The record of an enrichment otherwise unknown, by his own hand and those of his fellows, could thus also be documented.  As factually as fiction allowed, under the fiercest of editorial restrictions should the writer produce his record.  By careful alteration and inconsistent addition, using incoherent sequencing and unreliable subtraction, the routine and unbelievable circumstance of experience would be reconstructed into a series of near recognizable literary landscapes.

From building blocks of existential philosophy and metaphor, with equal parts sarcasm and symbolism, tales of heartrending adventure, bold farce and tragic romance are told, each within the framework of fictional memoir.  Found there, is entertainment, distraction, perhaps an insight or two, and with luck, a brief respite from the temporal confines in which all of us here are ever trapped.

No more, and nothing less.

As mentioned on near countless occasions, the contents of these notes much like the writer’s works are intended to momentarily distract.  Neither this man nor the writer have interest in leveraging either the work or the site as a platform from which to espouse personal political opinions.

For to this belief the writer holds: the greatest gift an artist can give is that of entertainment.

That does not mean a man is either unaware or ignorant to the societal divisions now running amok around the world and here at home.  For the first time since the turbulent nineteen sixties of my early childhood, the evil forces of racism and bigotry take to the streets, publicly inciting the always simmering fuse of privately repressed intolerance, ignorance and hate.  From the despicable rhetoric spewing from the highest political office of our closest geographic neighbor to the deplorable anti-Semitic rants of regional right-wing municipal politicians, current public discourse demonstrates both populist bigotry and systemic racism at levels unseen since World War II.

As a less-visible member of a historically repressed minority group in my own country, a man is disappointed by the situation to say the least, and concerned for the future of progressive society if pushed to say more.

To those interested in such matters meanwhile, it’s unmistakeably clear that left-leaning and progressive ideology govern in these parts.  If these facts arrive as news to you after reading or hearing any of my work, you must at once consider occupying yourself with less challenging intellectual pursuits.  For in the writer’s opinion, it could scarce be more obvious.

Despite and whatever our differences might be however, a shared commitment to live and let live is what allows our democracy to work.

Besides, that’s not the point of either this site or its contents.

The site is devoted to literary entertainment and the pursuit of insight about the human condition.  If you’re in search of an argument, look elsewhere.  As not only in fact but also by intent, a man has neither time nor patience for the vast ignorance driving much of the vicious anger now threatening the peace and freedom of our democracy.

Even less when confronted by endless work and ever-lessening time in which to complete it.

For to this man at least, the attempt is everything.  Around here, honor is believed located in commitment to a task considered ethically just, not its completion.  As such and in most cases, neither success nor failure can be properly apportioned by reviewing apparent results.

Thus, in every writer’s work is found a secret.

It has of course, been left for the reader to decipher with but a simple caution: nothing is as it seems, and you must look inside to discover each person’s story.

On that note, we turn to the all-important local literary news.

With the calendar showing no sign of slowing down, the struggle to complete proof reading the manuscript of third novel ‘One Fate Befalls’ while awaiting a formatting date continues.  With any luck, the novel arrives before the holidays and the fast approaching end of another year.

Watch the site for news.

Thanks for sharing the blog.

  • TFP
    October 14, 2017

 


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Of consequences, intended or otherwise.


The latest end to another extended break from a life-long practice is commemorated with this month’s post.

That along with a brief nod to current events must suffice.  For ongoing efforts to keep an old man’s nose above the water line continue to receive the lion’s share of available time in these parts, leaving few moments spared for the largely unpaid labor of constructing prose intended for something other than mass consumption.

It would be a mistake to consider the observation a complaint, for this writer appreciates wielding the pen no matter in which direction working with it might lead.  After all, the fictions a man creates might also lend themselves to applications altogether different than either imagination or intention could supply if their author will allow it.

For a timely example of the unexpected value occasionally created by consequences unexplainable before the fact ~ low hanging fruit admittedly ~ one must only look south to find one of the plainest demonstration witnessed in this writer’s lifetime.  There but miles across an undefended border, our neighbors must these days live with values created by their unexpected choice as president, in many cases only now realizing the unexplainable consequences forced upon them as result of it.  In time, and a good neighbor hopes not long, their response to the circumstance is sure to reshape and renew their commitment to the grand experiment of democracy.

With any luck, a restoration of sanity will shortly follow.

In these parts meanwhile, we must now deal with consequences created by the so-called ‘leader of the free world’ providing thinly-veiled encouragement to white supremacists.  From coast-to-coast in Canada newly emboldened bigots, reinforced by a racist underground daring to show its carefully hidden face to a more than less shocked nation, emerge.  In Canadian cities large and small, populated by speakers of English or French, demonstrations by extreme-right activists including white supremacists, racists and bigots of all styles lately seek the legitimacy of public spaces and police protection.

Canada’s response to these despicable fringe elements must leave no doubt there is no longer any place for such disgusting ideas in our democracy.

As in all cases however, only time will tell.

To leave the dreariness of current events for the joy of personal literary interests, only a final proof read remains for what is scheduled as novel number three of my own to publish.  I hope to share the at-last finished work later this fall, all things willing and the creek don’t rise, and will announce the arrival date for ‘One Fate Befalls’ here on the blog.

Despite an unexpected interruption created by the necessary pursuit of commerce, my belief is the unexplained value created by a shortage of time helped the finished work.  As a writer known most ~ if at all ~ for incessant rewriting with little interest in the calendar, a manuscript rewritten more than twenty times at the cost of over a million words will finally reach the printed page at somewhere north of sixty thousand.

I leave the decision regarding its fate to its readers.

As far as its writer is concerned, this one is it.  If it should turn out that ‘One Fate Befalls’ receives a market response more than less similar to its predecessors, a man’s career as independent publisher shall reach an end.  For despite the presence of a completed fourth manuscript there lives here no taste for vanity projects, leaving bottom-line concerns the factual arbiter of this writer’s fate as publishing novelist.

Like many nowadays, I love writing novels.  In this writer’s case, it’s a time-consuming habit difficult to interrupt once begun and a real danger to most other pursuits.  The obsessive among us perhaps best understand the stubborn compulsion to complete a task once begun, while those fortunate to suffer a love affair with the unsightly prose habit know well the circumstance of which I speak.

Such energy is also a gift a man can harness for any variety of purpose, including those commercial pursuits encouraged by our society.  The reader might thus rest, assured the writer’s fate is both less and more a function of consequence, not intent.

As ever, a man is best served remembering that while many are called, few are chosen.

Thanks for sharing the blog.

  • TFP
    August 23, 2017

 

Friday, 23 June 2017

The responsibility of government: a definition.


A note to remind of the writer's continuing responsibility is offered the reader this month.

Time remains in short supply in these parts as the demands of commerce continue to receive the benefit of first choice.

To this writer's peculiar brand of art meanwhile, is apportioned the leftovers.

C'est la vie.  A man yet endeavors to persevere.

The nonsense topic of economic disruption is subject of the latest diatribe, with news of impending disaster once again gathering like storm clouds on the world's horizons.  All in the name of progress of course, this despite benefits in most cases limited to a tiny group of Silicon Valley billionaires.  For these new age oligarchs, much like their predecessors, seduce the disparate populations of the planet with promises of a democratic future.

Fueled by the power of technology, heartless entrepreneurs possessed by dreams of unlimited power build multinational corporations to maintain their financial position.

A quick review of the latest consumer gadgetry shows the puppet masters at work behind the scenes as internet conglomerates boldly threaten industries built on the sweat of earlier generations now relegated to 'old tech' status.  Entire business models; with the taxicab business but a single apparent example, once identified as 'inefficient' by these moguls, soon discover technology-based and conglomerate-provided replacements proposed for their services touted as not only inevitable but preferable.

Subsequent review of the technology or business model suggested as replacement soon reveals not only a multitude of service inefficiencies ~ mainly created by ignorance ~ but also extraordinary corporate greed, industrial safety standards ignored, and vastly unregulated business practices, all designed to enrich a remote corporate parent.  With what these oligarchs claim publicly as industrial efficiency revealed as little more than private refusal to underwrite the actual expense of doing business in a functional society.

Included among them are inconvenient necessities such as full-time employment, taxes, benefits, or skills training.

While the shareholders of such corporations are enriched by the shedding of these essential costs of doing business, the working-class members of society in most cases are soon left jobless, free only to fend for themselves.

Make no mistake, the Silicon Valley oligarchs driving the internet view the model as the sure path to an ideal society.  For in such a place, the rich are allowed to grow richer via the effort of the poor or disenfranchised while contributing little or nothing to the society enriching them.

With the free press long ago destroyed, its internet based replacement ~ available to all at no charge courtesy of the technology providers that killed it ~ now controls not only the news but also what the consumer perceives as fact.  A technology capable of near universal thought control is thus near perfectly disguised.  The gadget-obsessed consumer meanwhile is so thoroughly entangled by the incessant demands of technology that self-awareness appears relegated to status as but another anachronistic pursuit best left to history.

To paraphrase words attributed to the fellow Barnum once spoken to his circus-owning partner Bailey, no man shall grow poor who relies upon the gullibility of his fellows to earn his daily bread.

In terms as certain as sunshine, the oligarchs of Silicon Valley have perfected the practice to such a degree as to shame the owners of the once popular circus!

            As far as this writer is concerned, more's the pity.

            In post secondary classrooms filled with eager sycophants meanwhile, charlatans disguised as scholars hold court.  Waxing fulsome on theories grounded in pseudo-scientific evaluation of historical information best considered anecdotal if at all these pretenders advise, predict, cajole or otherwise confirm a personal insight into matters as resistant to the scientific method as any so far discovered.

            While in the interim, the rich get richer as the poor increase in number everywhere.

            For the study of economics is not science.  Those who claim it to be are at best charlatans, at worst outright liars.  This fact is most clearly demonstrated by the study of economic activity being fundamentally immune to experimentation.  The so-called study amounts to a review of historical data, followed by concoction and application of explanations promoted ~ though entirely lacking evidentiary provenance ~ to reflect what happened in the previously recorded annals of history.  As corporal reality makes it impossible to reproduce either circumstance, participants or even an environment suitable to experimentation, the practice is shown as little more than nonsense best suited for traffic among fools by charlatans.

            Rest assured dear reader, the maxim holds: only a fool takes advice from a charlatan.

            These twenty-first century flim-flam men, using technology beyond the imagination of the once-famous nineteenth century circus masters, also now routinely opine on the duties, failings and countless obligations of government.  From educational pulpits or corporate boardrooms everywhere the calls for either more or less government economic intervention rings, with primarily the rich, white or otherwise privileged leading a sustained wail.

            These powerful business leaders with the pseudo-scientific support of their tenured hirelings ~ disguised as learned men with University positions in schools teaching economics worldwide ~ contend they know the business of government better than its democratically or otherwise elected practitioners.  In the twenty-first century, they claim government’s first responsibility is not to the people, but to the economy.  By extension, this means creating an environment conducive to the success of corporations should be the focus of government activities, not the well-being of citizens.

            Another word used to describe systems based on those principals is fascism.

            Last time I checked, in much of the western world, we the people long ago chose to live under a system of democracy.

            I must state for the record that as an ignorant person born to an underprivileged class in the democratic west the notions presented here often demonstrate bias either moderately progressive or stubbornly liberal.  In the polarized world in which we live today, that’s enough to cause as much as half the population to disregard my opinions out of hand.  Recognizing this fact, I’m fortunate to be able to turn to a conservative thinker of great renown for reinforcement of the dangers this ‘modern’ school of economic theory represents to our collective style of government and thereby our individual freedom.

            I thus quote the following statement directly encapsulating a learned conservative thinker’s viewpoint on these matters, attributed to the great American conservative author, speaker and educator F. Reid Buckley.

“Moreover, the more powers that are invested in government, and the more powers that are wielded by government, the less well does government discharge its primary responsibilities, which are (1) defense of the commonwealth, (2) protection of the rights of citizens, and (3) support of just order.” – F. Reid Buckley, 1930-2014.

Not even the late Mr. Buckley, a much-respected educator of known conservative philosophy, considered the economy a main concern of government!

What then to consider as appropriate in response to charlatans using technology and education to shape a public opinion designed to enable the fascist agenda?  Where to begin a conversation in support of restoration of the primacy of common-sense to our collective societal agenda?  How to convince a society coerced by information overload their destiny yet remains within individual control?  When to launch such an unrewarding and unpopular effort?  Who to offer information with neither sensational nor prurient appeal?

The writer admits to lacking motivation while a man looks on with scorn.

At some point in the past I trust it was mentioned somewhere that in science, most answers lead only to more questions.  In this way and many more, the scientific method demands a relentless commitment to fact-based understanding.

Unlike the so-called study of ‘economic theory’ which claims to provide definitive answers to all things but only increases the vast gulf between have and have not.

Only one of the methods described above is trustworthy.

I leave it to the reader to judge which it might be.

On the literary front meanwhile, I’m pleased to report copy and line editing complete for my next novel, with only a final proofread necessary before it moves on to formatting.  I look forward to a fall publishing date and to sharing it with you.

Thanks for sharing the blog.

  • TFP
    June 23, 2017

           

 


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Intellectual freedom ~ unwanted by the free.


As the old saw claims, neither tide nor time for any man waits.

It's a long while between posts, so I've stopped a few moments to crack wise at any who might fear or welcome my disappearance.

If truth be told, I've long been unwilling to write when distracted by passions otherwise inflamed.  Ever ruled by one sort or another, a man admits self-interest is destructive to his best attempts at literature.

C'est la vie!

As is customary around here, a man avoids promoting his personal opinions about the way of the world or the state of affairs between people or places.  To do so risks not only the embarrassment of being widely ignored, but also near certain relegation to 'cranky old man' status.

To this writer at least, one seems no more attractive than the other.

Yet even recent news of ever-increasing intolerance, fear-mongering and rampant bigotry seems outweighed by that of the increasing intellectual delicacy of the 21st century student bodies lately emerging from institutions of higher learning.

Near daily it seems unfortunate reminders of the narrowing intellectual confines of the leaders of tomorrow resound in escalating attacks upon the principles of free speech.  There in a discordant cacophony from campuses around the globe, the cry of censorship in defense of 'trigger response' fills air once considered devoted to intelligent discourse, learned disagreement, or educated discontent.

In its place, the fearful masses insist self-preservation renders factual understanding or empathetic appreciation of unvarnished history, literature, or art unsuitable for educational consumption!  Save the grit of reality ~ likely to cause an emotional response ~ first be sanitized, or those fearing it relieved of responsibility for dealing with it.

Though reason for encouraging a modern student to believe his or her self incapable of surviving the routine onslaught of corporal reality remains, to this writer, an unfathomable mystery.

Was a man given to making noise about such matters, noting that not only does censorship inevitably lead to ignorance, but fundamentally opposes the principles of higher learning might approximate a likely opinion.  Though not one to do so, a man might also suggest those who support assaults upon freedom of expression must be opposed with undying ferocity if intellectual development of the species is to continue.

As mentioned on numerous occasions however, the writer's focus here is reserved for matters related to his writing or practical to its purpose.

Though if asked, a man would mention that finding examples of common sense in the wild today seems a lot more difficult than it used to be.

Thus with the two novels so far published content to languish upon the virtual retail shelves, the urge for self-preservation now prevails upon this most unsuccessful of the world's independently publishing novelists.  Most time or energy is again devoted to the entrepreneurial grind, with the search for sustenance receiving the best of it.

As is habit in these parts, the writer must wait longest for his turn.

At times like these, a writer much appreciates not inconveniencing an audience of great size by occasional extended absence.  For to tell the truth, unofficial status as 'world's most unpopular writer' appears factually achieved.

Though a dubious claim, it pleases a man to live in a world where such matters with reason are estimable.  After all, without the wonder of modern independent publishing as enabled by Amazon a man's literary work would remain a myth.

The response of some to the above statement might well be more's the pity.

In response to which a man repeats: c'est la vie!

Meanwhile though not displeased to serve a limited audience, a writer must also be pragmatic in response to the realities imposed by it.  For the effect of a limited audience is to make eating a challenge, absent an alternate source of income.

The reader may rest assured, this writer's dedication remains to art for its own sake.

A man however, must paraphrase a songwriter by mentioning that when the phone doesn't ring, you'll know it's me calling.

Until publishing the next novel in the fall, only as time allows will a man make known his whereabouts here.

Meantime, only your purchases encourage ~ or fund ~ writing more of them.

Thanks for sharing the blog.

  • TFP
    May 9, 2017