Yet another weird ad for my novels

I slept in.  Now I’m paying the price.  I haven’t even brushed my goddamn teeth—the only way I could make it to boot camp fitness was to throw on some clothes and drive like a bat out of hell.

“BOX JUMPS!” our instructor yells. 

As I hop up and down on my thirty-inch crate, I suddenly realize I’ve made a grave mistake:

I’m wearing gray sweat pants.

People leer at my jouncing and bouncing, award-winning peen with envy, lust, or an avaricious combination of both.  I stop exercising, but it’s far too late. 

“IT’S PERFECT!” a soccer mom screams.  “GIRTH, UPCURVE…I’M BETTING IT’S ALSO GOT A HEALTHY DOSE OF MELANIN, WHICH WOULD PREVENT IT FROM LOOKING LIKE A GROSS-ASS MOLE-RAT!’

Vajeens and wieners expel gallons of fluids, mingled with spurts of horned-up saliva.  In the blink of an eye, I’m swept out of the studio and onto the street, screaming my ass off with dozens of other bystanders who are now caught up in the torrential flood. 

One of them manages, “Damn you, Kent!  DAMN YOU AND YOUR WIENER-HIGHLIGHTING GRAY SWEATPANTS!!!”  He tries to keep yelling, but it’s lost in a mess of glub-glub-glubs.

Fuck.  FUCK.  All I wanted was to start my day with a challenging workout.  Now I’m gonna drown in a river of sex-juices.

No options left.  So I open my eReader to a Kent Wayne novel, activating its mind-bending reality distortion powers.  Magic flash.

The WHUP-WHUP-WHUP of a nearby chopper cuts through the air.  I sputter and gasp, narrowly avoiding a floating Prius and an uprooted stop sign, then spot Giada De Laurentiis leaning out from the helicopter, staring down at me as the skids draw abreast.

“I said godDAMN!” she bellows.  “Look at that beautiful he-slut fuckpig!”

“Stay back!” I gasp.  “My wiener wreaks havoc on untrained minds!”

“I’ve shielded my psyche with a year of meditation, just so I could enjoy your girthy upcurve!” she assures.  “Also, I’m hooked up to a backpack IV so I won’t get dehydrated!”  She leans down from the helo and extends a hand.  “Come with me if you want to smash!”

I grab hold of her arm, grinning like the cat that got the motherfucking cream.  This is WAY better than some lame-ass box jumps!  Kent Wayne wins again!  HEH heh heh!

Have you unthinkingly rushed into a group exercise class, wearing a pair of sweatpants that highlight your unbelievably gorgeous, hydration-depleting genitals?  Never fear!  Buy my books and summon a Food Network hottie that will put your junk to good fucking use!

Get A Door into Evermoor here: A Door into Evermoor.  Get Weapons of Old here: Weapons of Old Get Kor’Thank here:  Kor’Thank:  Barbarian Valley Girl.  Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here:  Vol. 1 on Kindle.  Vol. 2 on Kindle here:  Vol.2 on Kindle  Vol. 3 on Kindle here:  Vol. 3 on Kindle  Vol.4 on Kindle here:  Vol. 4 on Kindle  Echo Omnibus here:  Echo Omnibus  Echo Vol. 1 & 2 Combined Edition here:  Combined Edition  Musings, Volume 1 is available here:  Musings, Volume 1  Here’s the miscellaneous gear that I use to try and become an uber-human:  Optimization!  🙂 🙂 😀

Hold on!  I just got approved to be an Amazon affiliate!  If you’re going to buy ANY product from Amazon, and you’d like to support my efforts for absolutely free, then simply click on one of the Echo links I’ve provided—they’ll send you to Echo’s Amazon page—and THEN buy whatever product you wish.  Amazon gives me a small referral fee each time this happens!  In this manner you can support my books, musings, zany ads, or my adventures along the noble path known as The Way of The Man Child WITHOUT spending any more money than you were already going to!  Should you do this, I vow to send you a silent blessing, causing your genitals to adopt the optimum size, shape, smell, and death-ray attachment of choice that paralyzes your enemies with fear and envy!  Entire worlds will bow before your nether parts!  😲💪 😜  #Kindle #KindleUnlimited #writingcommunity #writer #booktok #writerscommunity #writing

85 thoughts on “Yet another weird ad for my novels

  1. Well, One of the blessings of age if you are a woman is that you don’t need an e-reader to protect you from that kind of stuff, even if you struggle to find a combination of shirts and baggy AF pants that covers all of the ample ways you could wiggle and jiggle. You start becoming much more invisible to that sort of attention the farther past 45 you are… either that or people think you need that e-reader to find more stuff to cover up possible ways you’re wiggling and jiggling could be slightly saggy 😅🤣 So, I’m feeling pretty damn safe right now 🎉Perhaps for some men that age sets in a little bit later, so perhaps *you* might still need to keep your e-reader handy…

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    • I don’t know…older ladies are pretty popular in certain circles…😏

      I definitely need the ereader, but just in case I forget it and I’m caught in a deluge, I’ve decided to wear an inflatable life vest wherever I go. Also might invest in a jetpack…🤔😂🤣

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      • Certain very well maintained women who don’t look like the average for their age are very popular in certain circles 🧐 Just saying! Glad to hear you have a backup plan, if you drowned to death in all of that fluid, you wouldn’t be able to finish your next book 😱

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      • Despite the urge to dive into a porn/horror/comedy, I shall fulfill your wish! 😂 In book 2 I got to futz around with pirates and ships, now I’m going deep into the sky culture of Aerie Denir. It’s a range of mesas (a bit like the ones in the American southwest) that I envision as taller, much more numerous, and surrounded by forest and plains instead of desert like in the United States. I briefly mention hang-gliders (skyfoils) in book 2, but I wanted to build a society around elevation and flight, which would coincide with the metaphorical ascent of Jon’s character. The inhabitants are humanoid, but they’re a little bit avian in that they have feathery plumage on their shoulders, membranes between their arms and ribs (if they need to bail out of a glider, it’s possible for them to wingsuit over to a buddy’s, then climb on using a trapeze bar-like tether that can drop from the back, but this is super dangerous and considered a last-ditch resort). The span of mesas is kind of like a county, while each mesa (festooned with vertical orchards, flatland farms, and rope-bridges, swings, nets, catwalks, and caves for residences, shops, and governance) is like a town or a city. I figured the fantasy genre is known for world-building, so that’s kind of my impetus for fleshing out the structure and culture of Aerie Denir. Plus it’s nice that the symbolic nature of flight and height coincides with the last leg of Jon’s inward journey.

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      • Whew, glad to hear that 😀 You’d have a hard time escaping all of that mental stink eye if you abandoned the series part-way through, lol! I have to say, I am moving at a snails pace compared to my usual through your latest book. There has been a lot going on over here, and I’ve been mostly maxed out schedule wise (hopefully that may ease up soon, but I’m setting up appointments with advocates, soon the school, it’s just a busy time for many reasons), but I am approaching the half-way mark on the book. I have noticed the increase in world building, and I *love* it! Honestly, I’m thinking except for the evil despot queen, I’d maybe move there if it existed in real life! You are correct that there can be a fine-line for anyone’s preferences, some people do go way overboard with the minutiae…I noticed more expanded physical descriptors also (kudos), and my nerdy word girl heart has just been appreciating the vocabulary nuggets. If I actually make it to the point where I have time to drop a review (no promises on that one, I need to prioritize my sleep and my sanity right now), it will have a heavy bias disclaimer at this point. I will try to give relevant and meaningful comments, but it’s hard to escape that I have definite biases I’m going to have to work hard to block out in order to do so at this point given that you chat with me nearly every day on-line and you have shown astounding patience with the excessive length of some of my replies.

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      • I’m pretty surprised you’re that far as it is! I think that means you’ve read about Syfaedi Kysaire, who grew into one of my favorite heroes with one of my favorite exchanges of dialogue I’ve thus far written. I didn’t set out for this story to focus on representation, but as the personal dynamics and themes became satisfactorily solid, I saw natural opportunities to start fleshing out more representation that would stay true to the themes and maintain the flow. No spoilers, but I really, REALLY enjoyed Syf being realized as a kickass leader and communicator, not just a badass fighter and strong personality. As far as the world building, I think that was probably the primary focus for me in book 2. With book 1, there were multiple devices I’d never done in long-form (specifically 1st person), but also romance, Jon’s balance of dorkiness and sweetness, non R-rated humor, and fantasy-world speech. Evermoor is noticeably different from traditional fantasy, and I didn’t want to weigh the flow down with lengthy descriptions of the minutiae, but I still want to convey a sense of culture and history. That meant for book 1, I really focused on dialing in the speech and word choice, to try and evoke a high fantasy feel while still expressing personality and nuance and not making people into fancy-mouthed caricatures (I feel like that happens a lot in fantasy, where the “fanciness” of the speech becomes pretentiously clunky, and exacerbates an even worse issue, which is that the characters are one-dimensional stereotypes–meatheads, snobs, cowards–who happen to be navigating a fancy-sounding environment). Honestly, the speech was probably my first focus in the first book–I wanted it to be adventurous, a little romantic, and something I would genuinely want to hear if the circumstances were right. So with the fundamentals from book 1 in place, I wanted to flesh out the novelty of Evermoor, and go beyond just the regular elves/dwarves/halflings, to include the food, races, and especially the ecology. As far as the vocabulary, whenever I slip in an exotic or little-used word, I try to really make sure that the context makes it fairly self-explanatory. (Microsoft word kept trying to spellcheck “gaol” even though it’s a legit word). Anyways, I appreciate that you’re going ahead with the read! There’s a lot of complex stuff in there, and it’s also a YA book, so I had to make sure that upon closer inspection, I felt like it could hold up, but at the same time, the story would move fast enough to satisfy a teenage reader, which is pretty hard to gauge, I’m not gonna lie. 😅

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      • Well, I will say that typically I read very fast, but I’ve at most been devoting 20 minutes a day to reading this right now, but you did make it to the top of my reading priorities (I have even being ignoring my library books, 2 of which I’ve already had to return unread), so there’s that, lol! It’s all of those biases getting you to the top, dude. None of those other authors have read my rants even once much less for so long… it grants you reading prioritization superpowers! And I had to re-read a few sections at that to be perfectly honest, because there have been some things going on for me lately that have left me pretty emotional at points, which makes it a little harder for me to focus. Working on that, but… that being said, I can see your journey as a writer, and honestly, I think you are very creative. And some of your posts crack me up also, and literally some days my world just needs more laughter, so I appreciate those moments wherever I can find them ❤

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      • I’m also a pretty fast reader. I remember as a kid I’d make my mom angry by staying up at night, reading under the covers with a flashlight. Then later, in my early twenties, I had the brief-lived, truly dangerous habit of sneaking in a bit of reading at stoplights.

        I’m honored that I’m at the top of your list! But as I tell everybody, I won’t mind if you stop reading for any reason. I have a bit of a different view than most authors, in that I don’t get bent out of shape if someone doesn’t read my books, even if free, because it seems a lot of them think their books are like personal favors. I see it as a two-way street, because a book takes a lot of time to read. If it’s entertaining enough to where people want to invest that much time, then I’ve succeeded. But if someone isn’t entertained, I don’t want to subject them to the same experience I endured when I read stuff as a kid that I didn’t want to, simply because it was “highly recommended,” a “classic,” or some other reason that was supposed to justify my lack of personal enjoyment.

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      • Whew, because I toggled back and forth between your book and book #3 that is about to go back to the library unread because I at least wanted to get a start on it before my next hold on it kicks in, lol! I think Syfaedi is my favorite of the characters in this series so far. I think for me, I have moments where a certain read is what I need, and that dictates what I read. Right now, you know, there’s been a lot going on and I’ve just needed listening to music more than reading, and really, my time has been stretched. But I also will say that some of the humor in your current book has brought a chuckle from me on days where I didn’t feel like laughing at anything, so… I read what I want to, that list is about what I want to do with my time at this point, not anything else.

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      • I’m glad I could get a laugh! Yeah, it would kind of defeat the purpose if you read my book out of duty and not because you enjoyed it. It’s not a school assignment, lol!

        Syfaedi was kind of an unplanned character, insofar as how much I was originally going to write about her. Originally, the water stuff wasn’t going to be that big a deal, kind of a minor transit, but I happened to stumble upon a docu-series called the Lost Pirate Kingdom on Netflix while I was writing about her, which delved into the Caribbean pirate community during the 1700s. There’s a lot of hearsay and idealization in the anecdotes passed down on how pirates acted, but I saw the opportunity for their democratic process and their conflict with slavery to play into my story. She also wears a six-pistol harness like Blackbeard, and one of her dialogues is based on a supposedly epic historical exchange between a pirate and slaver.

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      • Thanks for sharing some of the inspiration! I may have to check out that docu series before our Netflix subscription officially cancels after this paid for month… It recently got sacrificed on the budget Grinch altar (I, of course, being the budget Grinch in this scenario). Syf as a character in some ways also cracks me up. Big fan of how blunt she was in the tavern with the duelist she’s got the hots for… 🤣

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      • It’s got some well-produced dramatized sequences, although most of pirate lore is spotty, so it probably misses the mark on the actual details, which I don’t mind. I found the broad strokes pretty interesting.

        I didn’t plan for Syf’s clumsiness when she was hitting on Idinia–a lot of times I just immerse myself in the vibe and the characters speak through my keyboard. If you’ve got that far, I feel comfortable revealing that Syf’s exchange with Deybau was inspired by a similar exchange between a pirate named Sam Bellamy and a merchant captain named Beers (I misspoke in an earlier comment and said he was a slaver). The dialogue is very old-timey, so I had to heavily modify it for my characters and themes, although I managed to keep a few phrases of the old speech in my version. It’s also an alleged speech, as is much of the specifics of pirating history, so it’s definitely not something to take as gospel. I did, however, have a blast writing it for multiple reasons. I wanted to paint Syf as a multifaceted leader, capable of critical forethought, good judgment, administration, and communication; not just to her crew, but specifically against someone who was openly disagreeing with her. I’ve spent a lot of time in that piece of my imagination, cheering to her words along with Jon and her crew, and also reciting them to no one in particular in my empty condo, partly to make sure they sounded right to me, and partly because they fired me up 😁

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      • I started watching the documentary you mentioned last night with Andy…I had commented to him on how some of the dialogue seemed speculatory in nature, but I do find some of the details fascinating, and it looks like it could be a very interesting documentary. Hopefully we’ll get all the way through it before the last date of our subscription! I think you have done a great job of conveying Syf’s strength and competencies. For me, yes, I can see your point about the clumsiness of her interaction with Idinia, but at the same time, I honestly really hate/hated flirting and could totally appreciate it when someone dropped something that managed to be both upfront and non-cringey. I used to have hair down past my knees, and literally the number of Lady Godiva pick up lines I got…may have contributed just a teensy bit to me chopping all of it off, lol! That and people just walking up and sticking their hands in my hair without any sort of permission asking just because they were struck by the appearance of it…

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      • I’m not a fan of flirting either, lol! I feel like it’s some weird contest to see how clever and personable I can be, without revealing anything too profound or subversive because that’s not part of the game. My thoughts spend a good amount of time in the profound and subversive categories, so I’ve often felt the gears stalling in my brain when I suddenly realize a girl is flirting with me. It’s kind of stressful, honestly.

        I really enjoyed that documentary! Fair warning–there’s a pretty gross reenactment of a syphilitic wiener being treated with some kind of archaic plunger/needle device, if I remember correctly, in one of the later episodes. Not really sure why they felt it was necessary to put it in there, but after it caught me off guard, it was good for a laugh. You and your husband have caregiver backgrounds, so maybe it’ll be ho-hum for you guys, though.

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      • Well, I think you hit the nail on the head for one of my most common thoughts about flirting- it’s a game, and I don’t like playing games, lol! And sometimes, it also feels like it can be false advertising. Unless the only thing a person is hoping to gain out of the interactions is some no-strings attached physical intimacy, some things it’s just better if everybody knows about upfront so that nobody’s time is wasted. While we all have to tone ourselves down or modulate ourselves in certain contexts, in a relationship where intimacy is intended to be long-term, all of that stuff usually comes to light anyways, and it’s even more of a trainwreck once everyone involved has feelings. Too smart? Better to be rejected for that up front. Problem with the trailer park trash roots? Again, better to be rejected for that up front. Can’t handle all this bodaciousness? Keep on walking. It is what it is.

        Thanks for the heads up on the scene! I think that its an odd choice, but even more surprising they showed any male parts. Truthfully, there’s just an infuriating double standard there in terms of how much female nudity is considered necessary to tell a story versus how much male nudity. Last time I checked, we all had to get into some state of undress to do certain things, lol!

        And, off topic-ish, the scene with the kehcraws, the imagery of sailing through the wave barrel…all of that, super well done and very engaging to read! My compliments…

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      • I agree. It’s kind of a BS game of deception where I have to try and evoke resonant attraction by putting up a facade. Ironically, I feel like fiction, though an outright lie, is much more honest in nature, because through the lie, it’s trying to convey an archetypal truth or clarified theme. A lot of flirting, in my opinion, is kind of the opposite, in that I’m putting on an act for generally shallower purposes. In my 20s, I was kind of interested in the topic from a mechanics perspective, so I read a bit on the pickup artist culture, and it was pretty slimy from what I remember. Decades later, I spoke with a friend who knew about it and was dating around, and he told me that some of it has evolved into a more honest methodology, in that the principle thing is being secure with oneself, because that will attract other secure people, and to become comfortable approaching in an easy manner and saying something honest and straightforward like “I think you’re beautiful, can I have your number?” While it may not always work, the theory is that it will work on straightforward, honest people who you want to be around. The other stuff will work as well, but it won’t work on people who are straightforward and honest, so it will probably set up future complications. That seems to make sense to me, so if I ever get back to being a frequent flirt, I’ll stick with the straightforward approach. That’s kind of what I was trying for when I wrote Syfaedi’s exchange with Idinia, although it was also fun to make her vulnerable after being so confident and forceful.

        I never even thought of the lack of wieners, but now that you mention it, I’m sure some would appreciate it, lol! A couple years back, I was situationshipping with a Midwest mom, and she commented that she wished that men would just put a description/measurements of theirs on their dating profile so she could know what she was getting into. Also, another lady I was seeing clued me into a whole range of considerations besides length and girth, to include color and angle as well. After an in-depth dialogue about the subject, my confidence was boosted to sky-high levels! 🤣

        I’m glad you enjoyed the dustup with the kehcraws! When I was a kid and me and my friends tried to play D&D (think we played a grand total of one actual campaign), we’d take a break from endless character creation sessions by playing Magic the Gathering or the board game Dungeon, which was basically a bunch of figurines fighting monsters and collecting treasure in a dungeon labyrinth drawn on a board. I always felt that exploring a dungeon was a classic, iconic piece of roleplaying culture that I wanted to evoke in a fantasy book. As far as the wave, that came from two things: I saw a photo of a giant wave touching the clouds, and I thought it would be badass to see that in real life, and even more badass if it was a regular occurrence like in the Jadewisp Breaks. I’ve also been casually interested in surfing, but mostly for the purpose of one day surfing through a barrel of water during the sunset. One of my philosophies in writing is to try and amp things up as much as possible without infringing on the rhythm, so I combined the two into the classic “escape from the enemy by plunging into something more potentially dangerous” storytelling device. And, in the spirit of amping things up, I threw in sea serpents and life-threatening injuries.

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      • It is true that the straightforward approach is going to resonate much more with someone who is that way themselves. At the same time, for me personally, I always want to be more than just my “beauty,” however one would categorize what I have or don’t have in regards to that. Even if a hypothetical interaction is only sexual, unless a person can see me as another person whose boundaries deserve to be treated with care even in only that context… thanks, but no thanks is kind of my position.

        Truth is, I’m aging gracefully, especially for a woman who doesn’t botox, doesn’t anything of the kind. But I’m aging. And even when I look at things like my chest and thank my lucky stars that I didn’t need implants to get here, I know a diagnosis of breast cancer could take it all away. But I would still be me. And for all my flaws, the things that have and do make me the most beautiful in my eyes have never been about my gradually creasing and wilting face…and if that’s all someone is there for, yeah, I’d just rather they kept on walking and didn’t bother dropping anything off their lips straightforward or otherwise, because I am so much more than that.

        And yes, I very much enjoyed that scene. I’m about 83% of the way through the book at this point, and I will beg your pardon for needing to refresh my memory on something…I remember that you also mentioned typos you corrected in the updated version, am I misremembering that you also mentioned editing out a name that maybe didn’t make as much sense to have been present based on the scene (the blindfolded dude in the mirror)? If it’s something you hadn’t noticed…if it was me, I’d want someone to tell me, so… that being said, I actually really didn’t want to put your book down yesterday, and if a book can make me anxious to finish reading it, that’s a great thing!

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      • I heard an interesting take on that on a podcast, attempting to clarify the generalized difference between how attraction works for men and women. When men see sex, the visual element is where they focus, but women want to know why they’re having sex, what caused them to be so attracted to each other that they decided to do it. That’s probably not true in every case, but I immediately resonated with it and felt like it explained a lot.

        I don’t think I misplaced a name, but the typos mysteriously have all been corrected, even though Amazon says they only update if you buy the newest version of a book. Nice to see you’re still reading! I thought from your earlier messages you were going to take a break so you could catch up on some TBR books, but I’m happy to hear that it’s entertaining enough to keep at it! Now that I know where you roughly are, I can say that writing the dance scene was pretty challenging, but it was also really fun. I never knew Cyndi Lauper could give me the feels until I saw this Kevin Smith-directed episode of Supergirl where Supergirl’s adopted sister is going through a mutual breakup with her girlfriend, so they’re moping around to some sad music as they’re facing the prospect of one of them moving out, then her girlfriend is like screw this, changes it to All Through the Night, and they share a cheery dance and have some breakup sex to end things in a positive, upbeat way. When I was a kid, I liked Kevin Smith for his now outdated nerdy subversiveness, but he always put a surprising amount of heart into his emotional moments, and it definitely came through in that scene. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to use it somewhere, so that’s where some of the inspiration came from. It was also nice that the lyrics fit with the thematic elements.

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      • Well, I think that how attraction works and what matters to any given person can vary depending on the individual, and while some things can be common themes, that when you are dealing with matters of intimacy you are always dealing with individuals, and it is knowing how the desired partner feels about those things that is the most relevant concern. For me personally, I am ever aware of the fickle nature of physical attraction…aging, accident, illness… all of that can take away anything that would have ever physically drawn another to me, which sometimes means that the way men relate to and prioritize physical desirability doesn’t always land in the best spot for me personally to relate to. So, unless I’m only ever planning on having a very short, very limited set of physical interactions with someone, that is one of the main reasons I think the “why” would matter to me. Because if I wanted more than the other person did, I think it would be a waste of everyone’s time to walk through that door as anything other than a buddy. And for me, the emotions of a person always impact how I feel about a situation, so…it’s just an individual matter.

        And, yes, I did continue reading and actually finished your book! I was switching back and forth between reading your book and parts of that other one, though I will need to finish the other one when my next digital hold on it comes through at the library. And as luck would have it (or not, depending on the perspective) the universe really seems to want you to get a review from me because my husband tested positive for COVID yesterday, my system is clearly fighting off crud (though I am holding up well and continue to expect that I will continue to do so), but most in-home therapies have been cancelled for the next few days and I am at more liberty to do so. So, probably on goodreads sometime in the next few days, I may put something up.

        For me, personally, you have sold me on the vision of this being a dream you deserve to succeed at. I know what it is like to have people not support the dream of the moment, so I am a big fan of supporting other people on the path of chasing after theirs. You are super creative, and I loved some of the elements of the story building so much! I will give you a heads up, because there were two things that I felt in my opinion might have made the story telling even more seamless and effective, that they will be in there. As a reader and a writer, I think it would have been more effective to have not given Arganti’s name in the description of the bathroom scene. In my personal opinion, readers would have understood who you meant my Jon’s descriptive statement and it would have made the scene feel like the reader was right there, experiencing the disorienting aspects of the experience. I also think that for characters like Terrelly, who you described as a Hispanic man, it would have been more effective to say “hispanic looking” because the same cultural, racial, ethnic, nationality type boundaries wouldn’t exist in that world.

        Those are just my opinions, and as my daughter is quick to tell me, nobody gives a poop about my opinions. Nor do they have to. Those are just my thoughts. I loved the book, and I love what you are planning in doing with Lucky’s story line in the future…again, your creativity rocks and I appreciate that you chat with me on-line ❤

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      • I saw your review! Thanks for reading and posting! Also, thanks for your constructive criticism!

        I totally flubbed the Terrrelly thing, lol! Because when I first drafted Jon’s impression of Idinia, I just straight-up wrote she was Indo-Pakistani, then later edited it to account for the dimension hopping context to “I’d guess Indo-Pakistani, if I was back on Earth.” As far as Knifelock, it seems I misjudged that as well, because I remember thinking I haven’t mentioned him in hundreds of pages, plus Jon is remembering bits and pieces to include Erany and Alijyar’s names here and there along with other little details, so I thought using Knifelock’s name would fit his fragmented remembrance, and also serve to remind the reader that this guy is still in play, even though he’s been absent for a decent stretch. It gets tough for me to gauge because I’m viewing the flow of events through two perspectives–one is the drafting perspective, which throws off my perception because I read 500 words way faster than I draft it, and the other is the editor’s perspective, which towards the end is really trying to nail down an organic rhythm and flow, but it can never duplicate the first-time reader’s perspective, because I’ve spent way too long with the story at that point, so I can only guess at what that feels like anymore. The obvious answer is beta readers, but I gave up on that a while ago because too many of them come with an urge to fix something just because they’re beta readers and not in the spirit of making it more readable, and I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.

        Thank you for your opinions, regardless of what anyone else says about em! I think part of why writing appeals to me is because I get to shape mine into what I feel is the very best and most entertaining representation of them, and I enjoy the feel of putting my opinion out there when my expression is on point. So no offense to your daughter, but nobody gives a poop about nobody else supposedly not giving a poop about yours. Your self-expression isn’t about mass consensus; it’s about you inscribing your own unique perspective onto the narrative of time and space, as some might say at certain points in my book. It’s part of why I don’t bring up writing too much around family and friends, even though I could talk about it ad nauseum upon request. If the fates direct them to read my stuff, then so be it. But my self-expression is for me alone, and I’d rather not have a barrage of input on what would resonate with them specifically.

        And thanks for your compliments on my creativity! It’s a good thing I do this in private, because when I describe what I’m planning to do with some friends, they give me a puzzled look, so I stick with more easily explainable details like age of sail ships fighting with magical cannons, or trench-walking Texas-sized sea-monsters that are strong enough to change the tides. I feel like the stuff I’m conceptually interested in is far enough out there that in a writer’s group, I’d get similar reactions. There’s been quite a few times while I’m writing when I think man, I haven’t seen anything like this anywhere else, so I need to make sure I nitpick it so if someone dove deeper into it I’d be able to explain what’s happening at a philosophical level. Complicating matters is that a lot of times I write dialogue and realizations through implications to maintain the pace. By that I mean I don’t fully express when Jon or someone else processes a realization, instead he just speaks with the understanding (or lack thereof) of that knowledge nested in his reply. So that way, not only do I speed up the pace, but I also feel like I’m respecting the reader’s time and intelligence, if that makes sense, because I don’t spell things out if I don’t have to.

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      • Ok, I hit shift and my laptop decided that meant “post comment,” lol! Sorry about that…

        Can’t even blame that on not being entirely through the first cup of coffee…So, first, it always impresses me, your gracious handling of the feedback I do give. Many people get defensive, and many people think or say “who the hell are you to comment anyways?” And my take is, the person you’re asking to give you some of their money, you definitely need to care about how your products are landing with them. Genuinely landing, if you want to be successful long term. And, I felt like you applied what I said in the first book about character descriptions, and many people don’t apply something they should, especially if they think it comes from somebody who doesn’t have the professional credibility they would consider themselves to be accountable to…as in, they’ll accept criticism (maybe) if and only if it comes from someone with a high enough credentialling. So, thank you for your awesome attitude!

        Also, I was fighting off the crud (swelling lymph nodes, feeling tired). but I’m feeling very normal today, so I kind of wish I had mentioned some of the other elements I found to be so creative in my review. I loved what you did with the evil queen’s great weapon. I cannot say it enough, I really bow to your creativity. To be honest, when I started reading your latest book I was emotionally in one of those places where I was using my rescue habits because things had knocked my sense of joie de vivre off it’s axis. It was the creativity and the humor that managed to get me from “I know I would normally being enjoying this so I’m reading it” to “I’m enjoying this despite all these other things that are raining on my happiness parade. There are some authors I read, and literally, it’s like they’ve got the same damn plot line in every single book but they just switch the character names, same damn setting to. How many people can really be attacked and nearly killed by crazy stalkers in one little tiny town in the south, I ask you? Your creativity rocks!!!

        In terms of the scene for Knifelock, I felt the way it was put in was almost like a one sentence switch of narrator sense Jon then goes on to give a description that shows he doesn’t recognize him, so it was just my personal view of how the situation landed with me. That being said, I remember the first time I got my panties really in a bunch about something copy editors and the authors missed in a best-selling fantasy author’s book (I think I was in middle school at that time) and my angst wasn’t so much that an error happened, it was that an entire team of people that it went through on the editing/copy editing chain managed to miss that the moon phase got goofed. You don’t have team like that as I understand it, and I’m not as snotty about these things as middle school me might have been (although I think even middle school me would have appreciated the distinction between an indie writer and one fully backed by all the resources of a publishing house).

        Again, I thank you for your gracious take on my thoughts, and truly, I was happy to support you. I felt like it was the only good thing that came out of our recent COVID exposure. You’re creativity has brought genuine smiles to some days where far too many of them didn’t actually reach my soul the way I would have liked them to. I try the most positive person I can be, but sometimes life hits hard over here. Take good care of yourself, sorry for the length!

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      • I’m not trying to be the annoying devil’s advocate guy, but I agree with you in some respects, but probably diverge with you on others on the topic of accepting input. I used to hold the attitude of owing an obligation to others because of what you mentioned, the money factor, but later I changed my mind to writing for my own fulfillment first and foremost. The practical aspect of that is that I have enough money coming in from other sources so I can choose to write things as I want to write them, on the timeline that suits me (if you want to generate regular, salary-comparable sales in this industry, it’s best to go romance or erotica, and pump out a novel every three to six months). At this point, I want to write something that I would have loved to read as a kid, and that evokes emotional resonance in me to the point where I have no problem believing that it would be awesome to see on screen, and though it may sound cocky, warrant massive sales (once again, in my own mind). The thing about accepting input is that I believe enough in my manuscripts at this point that I’m not threatened by people who aren’t fully on board with my stuff (Mitzy Shore, famous founder of the Comedy Store, said if everybody likes you, your material lacks substance). Your input happened to be valid and with the characterization, something I wanted to do anyway, since to this day, even though I’ve read The Hobbit multiple times, the only Dwarf I can distinguish in the party is Thorin. (To be fair, I heavily skimped on describing Lanctom’s villagers and most of the sailors, because I felt like it would unnecessarily slow the pace and it’s already a pretty long book). The bottom line is that if someone gives me input, I’ll give it a listen unless it’s toxic (I’ve blocked or stopped responding to plenty of people because of that), but ultimately, I’ll listen to my heart when it comes to the final decision. I remember my ex actually got bent out of shape when I was writing Echo, she didn’t like something in it, and I decided to leave it in anyway. I gave her a listen, but at the end of the day, my reasoning was nothing more than “I think it’s cool, so I’m leaving it in there.” (That’s my last informal rule of writing–even if it doesn’t hew to the themes and development, if you think it’s too cool to leave out, then it deserves to be in there). As far as achieving widespread appeal, that’s a tricky thing, in that it seems to be arbitrary at heart. The most stark example of this is Moby Dick, which wasn’t seen as great until after Melville died. Also, especially in today’s day and age, there are plenty of “stars” who are ultra popular/rich/what-have-you within a niche audience, while being completely unknown to the greater populace. The idea of a star isn’t as clearly delineated today as it was in the 80s, when if you made it as a movie star you couldn’t go out in public anymore. My point with that is that there are some niche successful people that hold absolutely no interest to me, and it’s led me to realize that I don’t need to cater to a criteria of widespread consensus, especially with examples of era-specific appeal like Moby Dick or Lenny Bruce and Charlie Chaplin, who would be seen as duds in today’s comedy world. The widespread consensus to me really depends on hitting a resonance with a specific era and culture, and that’s elusive enough for me to no longer constantly pick at my writing trying to iron out weaknesses, and instead focus more on what I’m really trying to say and convey. If I was going for that widespread appeal, I suppose I would try and generate metadata on trends and solicit tons of beta readers and try to concoct a formula that checked the boxes, but that would turn writing into something I wouldn’t want to do anymore.

        Honestly, your complement about not necessarily being in the mood to read my book, but the book being solid enough to make you want to read anyway, is one of the greatest I could receive. I remember going through tough times as a kid, but a good story was enough to pull me away from all that and send me into another world. Looking back on it, it was an awesome gift to receive, and I’m super happy I could play a part in doing that for someone else!

        Apologies if any of that came off as standoffish or browbeaty (I can never tell when I’m even partially disagreeing with someone at length, especially in text, if it’ll rub them the wrong away) and apologies if I come off as hypocritical, because I remember that yes–I have said I want to be rich in the past from my books. I still do, but it’s not the only way that might happen, and with my books, it’s the expressive freedom and personal criteria (write something I want to have read/read presently, and also write it so that I believe just from the manuscript alone, I don’t have a problem believing it can be a big movie/show and/or warrant massive sales), that come first. In my current situation, I get to have absolute control over my writing, and I want to truly revel in that, if that makes sense. Because if/when my writing takes off, I may ironically and wistfully look back on these days, when I didn’t have to deal with studio execs, agents or lawyers, lol!

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      • First, let me just say, I didn’t feel browbeaten. When you disagree with me, you’re always respectful about it, and if someone is respectful about it and not bent on taking the worst possible interpretation of whatever I said or did, they can give me a counter argument for everything I’ve said and I’m going to be loving the conversation just as much and valuing that they trusted me enough to not loose my shit over being disagreed with.

        Second, I can honor and appreciate what you said about your reasons for writing. And I can honor and appreciate that you took time to give me a rebuttal and not just block me for my opinions, lol! How you feel about your writing, That is how I feel about my poetry. I’m not really open to anybody else’s opinion on what I should have said, what rules I should have adhered to (I’m kinda like a Jack Sparrow/Capton Barbosa-esque poet in that I feel like the rules are more like “guidelines,” but most of the time, I just do what feels right for my art). I have never been focused on what is commercial for any of that, nor for my blog because that’s not why I decided to chronical some of the goings on over here.

        I do remember you saying you wanted to be rich off of your books (even when POTS is giving me a hard time these days, the memory is getting better and better every day. May not ever be what it was again, but, still grateful!) You are spot on in terms of your comments for what generates the most income for writers. And you are absolutely correct that the nature of what resonates is capricious, and if the love of creation is the muse, than creating what enamors the soul most is always best, because than at least you are guaranteed one fan- yourself.

        Officially, I may give my opinion if I think it’s valid and I think it will polish the writing because I believe in your creativity and your writing. At the end of the day, you can ignore anything I say if you feel it doesn’t resonate with what your vision is for a piece.

        In some ways, I am like you in that I will give people a listen, if they’re not giving me their opinion paired with a personal attack (and sometimes even if they are, I try to separate the attack from the point they are trying to make, but it’s harder for me sometimes depending on what’s going on in my life to do that the way I’d like to), and if it resonates or they can sell me on what I may have goofed, I will own it and do what I can to fix it, even if my efforts are awkward at first. My comments were too general to apply to the passion of true artistry, more about someone wanting financial success in general, and all of your points are well taken! 😀

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      • I’m a little confused as to why someone would try to impose rules on your poetry. In my mind, poetry is the innovative edge of written communication, where the page is used as a visual medium more than in any other form. It also purposefully breaks from logic and structure, in order to favor artistic expression and evocative feeling. Since that’s the case, I don’t see why someone would try and focus on logic, structure, or tradition, since the primary goal in poetry seems to be to evoke feeling in a way that breaks from logic, structure, and tradition more than any form of writing.

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      • Well, this could be long, but thank your lucky stars I have a lot to do today, lol! Historically, there have been plenty of rules governing rhyme, meter, number of lines for poetry or certain forms of poetry. What would be accepted as a poem for publication in Shakespeare’s time would be very different than modern times, where there is more of a reverence for “anything goes.” But even with that…haiku, for example. In order to be a haiku, a poem must follow the “rules” set forth for what defines a haiku. Sometimes people in any art like to pigeonhole you…I will use whatever forms and rules I please. Sometimes I care about rhyme, meter, and number of lines. Sometimes I don’t. It’s kind of what I feel like fits the mood I’m trying to create with what I wrote, what is the best vehicle for that…

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      • I found that seemed to be a common thing with English professors, although I’m undecided as to whether it was a bad thing. There’s probably validity to the idea that learning the rules is a good stepping stone to creating better ones or breaking them in a way that helps get your point across. But in most instances, I felt like they were of the opinion that we were meant to serve the rules, not the other way around, although I could easily be mistaken on that, because I was pretty immature when I was taking English classes. I can sympathize as well, because if I was teaching kids who struggled to communicate information in a basic manner (rudimentary essays), I would probably try and teach them more rules to clarify their writing.

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      • Our OT needed to leave early, so I’ve had a head start on a couple other things, so I think I’m just going to flesh out slightly what I was saying. While there are some forms of poetry that even in modern time have certain guidelines and criteria governing what is needed for it to be considered in that style, I would say that, and this is just my opinion- which could be worth nothing because I don’t keep abreast of the current literary trends in poetry because I’m to busy trying to channel my inner therapy goddess and get our son into a school- is that people expect you to pick a lane, or have a defining style. I don’t. If you consider for example, “Afterbirth,” a poem of mine that won a contest many years ago, you can see from the opening lines I used rhyme, I used meter, I used the same number of lines per verse, it was structurally a very different beast from my poem “Butterflies,” which was blank verse and freestyle AF. I don’t have a defining style because I don’t like being caged, put in a box, or defined. Sometimes life does that to us anyways, but at least in this area… those are just my thoughts. Some will say I’m full of the poop on my views there, but…that has just been observationally and experientially where I was coming from when I made my statement about rules as regards to poetry…

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      • The ironic thing is that the people who came up with those styles weren’t following the rules, they were creating them. For me, it’s all about resonating with what I’m writing, and hopefully passing that resonance on to others. I’m sure you’ve noticed that I break the rules in my stuff, where I’m switching between first person and third person, or using the white space in the page as a visual medium (I only did this once in A Door into Evermoor, but I did it multiple times in Echo 4). It’s kind of weird; when I first started writing, I was trying to unlearn some essay-type stuff like don’t start sentences with “and,” don’t use sentence fragments, and don’t use run-on sentences. At first I just saw that fiction authors did that stuff all the time, so I had to start asking why they did it and what made that stuff work. I started to realize that even in fiction, there is a rhythm to writing, which, much like music, can catch a reader’s attention without necessarily being sound in content. For example, I don’t really care at all about the Great Gatsby, but the rhythm and word choice are captivating enough to where I can enjoy reading it. I’ve actually had to wikipedia the plot after reading it because I wasn’t paying attention to what was happening, only to how it was being conveyed. It really is about what rhythm I’m trying to put together, in my opinion. A run on sentence will distract the reader from the specific details and put more focus on the single-gear pace, which can be useful in certain instances. Like in Echo 3, Atriya teleports, and because Echo is ultimately a story about dissolving boundaries and merging with transcendence, the description of the teleportation reflects that in his perception, so a run-on sentence with a mishmash of psychedelic descriptions is how that was achieved both rhythmically and thematically. I think it’s fine to learn rules, but it’s always important to remember what they’re ultimately for, and the constructive potential in modifying, recreating, or breaking them.

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      • I think that often times people who either think they are deficient or actually are deficient in innate creativity are huge proponent of the rules because they create a metaphorical “paint by numbers” structure, though there is also this vision in passing on information that it’s important to teach the construct. However, over dependence on any set of rules becomes a box, and sometimes the whole damn box just needs to be smashed so to speak. I have seen people become way too limited by what the supposed rules are in anything, and it prevented them from seeing alternate solutions that could work. It can be seen in therapy, it can be seen in writing, it can be seen…fill in the blank.

        That being said, there is also this heavy bias in determining who gets to set “the rules,” even in writing. Historically, when it came to poetry or any other literary “rule,” it was wealthy men of a certain class, and as regards to western literature, of certain racial and ethnic backgrounds. Women weren’t even allowed to have a literary voice much less be considered as innovators of literary convention in general except for some outliers (who sometimes initially even had to publish works under a male pen name) for quite some time. Often who is seen as a rule maker versus a rule breaker is a matter viewed through the lens of privilege of some kind, as in “who does everyone think has the right to be determining the rules?” “Who do we accept breaking them?”

        I think that in art the important thing is evoking something. If a piece is technically “perfect,” but viewers/readers can’t connect to the piece emotionally, it’s not as effective unless it’s a technical writing. And even then, I think texts are much more pleasant to read if they aren’t so damn dry and boring as hell when it comes to the stuffiness. And, when I write poetry often how I structure it depends on the feeling I’m trying to evoke. I have a poem where the structure is literally meant to cause the reader’s mind to stutter over the wording every second or so because I was aiming to make a certain emotional impression resonate that way. I think in nature conversations, few people sound like a grammar book, so in fiction, I think playing fast and loose with the “rules” can be one of the best things to do to connect with readers.

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      • I’m on the same page as you, as far as evoking something. My brother has an MFA in media arts, and hangs around with other academically trained artists. It’s a world that seems almost insulting to me, in that the principle justification to me seems to be that they’re pushing the conceptual boundaries of art theory. One example would be a pair of broken glasses in an empty room. Another would be his girlfriend shouting you don’t understand at an audience over and over. It’s really an insular community that kind of incestually caters to its own insular members in my opinion. When rich people buy a fine art piece from them, the value is usually determined by a desire to have something that other rich people don’t. The shallowness of it was demonstrated to me when my brother made a sketch, then his girlfriend (who spends energy building up art world rep) puts her signature on it and it sells for a few hundred dollars because they think it’s from her and not him. He once told me that the dirty secret in this world is that while all the artists publicly look down on pop culture, they secretly love it. It kind of cemented my decision to write stuff I could personally resonate with, and while I may throw in some cool devices or innovative structure here and there, I always want to make sure it’s in service of as visceral and entertaining a story as I can write. I have no interest in producing a theoretically and conceptually brilliant piece of writing that can’t entertain people who don’t have advanced degrees in literature.

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      • I think in the world of art at whatever level, it is as you have said…some artist’s work are never really appreciated in life they way they are after their death. I was reading an article on CNN this morning about Evelyne Axell, who did erotic surrealistic pop-art, and what two of her paintings are estimated to sell for at an upcoming auction undoubtedly exceeds what they would have while she was alive, adjusting even for the difference in earning power of money over that period of time. When one is trying to chase the money with art, unless one is lucky enough to actually have their passion and preferred medium being what is feeling the sunshine of societal adoration at any given moment, it’s pretty much like any other business in the sense that you have to track what is selling and modulate yourself accordingly, rules or not. The world of academic art…you know, it’s just really not my world. I had a drawing teacher in college give me a B on an assignment once, and her whole reason was she didn’t like my subject matter. Wasn’t the technical merits. How art goes is always about opinions in the end, whatever those opinions are…

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      • It’s kind of what cemented my belief that since I have my needs taken care of, I don’t want to create headaches by prioritizing my writing to make money. Obviously, I am attracted to the idea, but I’ve kind of trial and errored my way into pursuing advertising and exposure to the degree that I am willing. Back in 2018, I used to write two ads a day, do one musing a day, and also respond to messages three times a day. Definitely not my thing. It’s also why I don’t want to write a screenplay (can’t feel resonance in the scenes in that format) and why I don’t want to work with other writers, because I am SUPER picky about how stuff happens in my story, and I don’t want to deal with the equivalent of a veto-empowered beta reader.

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      • I can understand that, for me, writing isn’t always a group sport so to speak either. If it’s not a poem or fiction, I may be more receptive to an opinion…as in, I will ask if I’m maintaining the most professional air possible when I’m trying to skirt a difference of opinion, etc. with a therapist or funding source…

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      • That kind of attitude is probably what contributed to me becoming introverted. Koreans are always in each other’s business, trying to subtly show they’re doing the right thing or telling their peers what they should do. I’m guilty of it myself, which is sometimes why I don’t want to hang around people–because I feel the need to try and fix them, and I’ve learned the hard way that if they’re ready to fix something and I’m going to be involved, they’ll usually come to me or there’s going to be signs that I’m meant to be involved. So I’d rather not project that or be subject to it. And my limited experience with writing groups seems to be they’re a complicated bunch; most of the time, people are there because they want external validation, but a lot of times they want to get validation by fixing something that isn’t broken, so they can experience the vicarious satisfaction of having “earned” worth because they made a tangible contribution. My buddy says that’s not how his was, but at this point I trust my own process enough to know that I’m almost certainly never going to be in a writing group or work with a co-author.

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      • I think that the emergence of review culture has to a certain extent created a sense in people that their views should be listened to. And, sometimes they should. But it’s also true that the person/entity on the receiving end can stamp whatever was said mentally with a “not applicable” or “not interested” or “not listening” or… whatever internal rejection mechanism exists within that person. I think for me, I’d probably only be interested in a writer’s group for the social connection aspects. I’d probably not be too open to anybody tinkering with my writing depending on what it was. Sometimes I want feedback, but it’s usually only for legal stuff on non-fictional wiring. I have one post that I wrote but never posted a few years ago, “The Mustard Seed,” that’s kind of waiting for me to feel like I can prioritize paying for a consultation from a family law attorney, because it discusses the emergence of Tony’s sensory symptoms as a baby, during the time he was legally in foster care. Even though we are the adoptive parents, there are certain laws discussing what can or can’t be discussed about an individual’s time in foster care within the state of Arizona, and I kinda need to make sure it doesn’t break any laws before I post it, for example. Or, every now and then I want to make sure that my filter on how I’m discussing something is careful enough to avoid a lawsuit by anyone who might be so inclined to do so for any hypothetical grudge they might be holding, you know, that sort of thing.

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      • Interesting, I never considered the legal ramifications of non-fiction 🤔 I use a pen name because I feel it’s freeing, in that the things I write won’t be tied to me as a person who stands for this or that. Maybe you could write it as fiction or under a pen name?

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      • Well, to kinda snatch the vibe of Vanellope von Schweetz, “part of the joy of being” a parent of a kiddo who is the only known person diagnosed with his combination of genetic disorders is that makes me very identifiable no matter what name I use when I am writing about his circumstances, and part of what I was drawing on for that post were screenshots and e-mails sent to social workers, attorneys, etc that were connected with his case at the time as we were documenting symptoms, what was happening. So, there’s witnesses who would recognize the source material, because some of it is on the unique side. I have to consider the legal ramifications of what I write. The whole reason I decided not to do a yelp review of a certain agency that had screen shots was simply because I didn’t want to be sued. I know I could have won in court, but at what cost? And, I do think there is a possibility that at least one of the people involved would want to go that route, in my opinion, just because…so sometimes with fiction, it’s a good idea to consider your what you’re willing to pay to see something through if the other side wants to try and intimidate you into backing down because they think they might have a bigger war chest. In those cases, it is always more prudent to ask yourself “what would an attorney recommend I say or not say about this publicly?” No matter how much someone might have done something that I think warrants very public exposure in the community at large, my first priority is always to advocate for the best interests of my family, and sometimes that means not giving every little detail unless it is safe to do so or I’m in a place where I won’t mind the added stress or expense of fighting it through the courts.

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      • That makes it tricky. It can definitely get frustrating when the justice system does not prioritize justice, but who can afford the proceedings that may or may not bring it about. Those kind of things nudge me toward a deeper trust in a benevolence underlying existence, one that accounts for short-term unfairness and misfortune, because I would live in misery if I personally tried to right the wrongs I’ve been dealt. I’ve been in similar situations, where I could have pursued official means to try and balance the scales, but I was faced with the same question of whether I wanted to involve myself in such an obviously biased proceeding that would severely drain me regardless of outcome.

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      • And, I would also like to add, part of the reason I decided to have any level of public presence about our son’s story was how difficult it was for me to find anyone talking about or providing therapeutic guidance, etc to address the level of symptoms our son has. So part of what matters to me is to have something that a parent in need of resources can find some potentially useful information about possible things to expect and possible things to help. Fiction doesn’t really work for providing that, people want a real life example and a real life story before they take it that way.

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      • Sounds like the therapy business is a great way to express that and realize your experiences and views! Eventually, I hope that circumstances will change so that it can also be expressed in your writing 😊

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      • Well, I actually feel very confident I would have won in court if, in the case I was thinking about, the person had decided to sue, because any review I wrote would have been strictly the facts, only the facts. I just viewed it as being a possibility I didn’t want to risk, because already that individual had seemingly been, in my opinion, the person orchestrating the use of tactics that, in my opinion, not only violate the ethical code of conduct governing practice for that field as they have been explained to me by other people in that field… yeah actually I don’t think I need to go any farther than that. When someone handles certain situations a certain way, it is always wise to consider all of the places they might be willing to go just because. I have heard of cases where customers wrote negative reviews, factually based about their experiences, and been sued by the business to take it down, and just the expense of defending against that isn’t worth it even if I would win. Oh, and I would have. I mean, if I had so much money I could literally make a pile of thousands, light it on fire, and it wouldn’t matter…maybe it would be worth it to post a review in that type of situation. Otherwise, it’s just more important to have our son’s needs taken care of and being met. And the truth is, it’s so hard to get therapy services in certain parts of town, most people don’t look at the reviews when they’re choosing an agency out here, they just look at who has an opening, in part because DDD has a policy stating if you can’t find a provider, they will assign you one…and it could be an hour or more from your house. Anyways, thank you for the kind words. I’m hoping soon life will calm down and I’ll be able to have more time for all sorts of things…

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      • It’s a good, honest conversation to have with oneself, whether or not to pursue an officiated manifestation of justice or whether to go down another path, depending on what the signs are showing you. It’s really about a prioritization of perspective, in my opinion, in that what is truly important? Is retaliation the most constructive approach, or is it better forgotten, or held off on until a later date? I think it’s always case by case, and in yours, it seems like it wasn’t the best option.

        I hope your life will calm as well! Gotta expand on naps, Halloweens, and Thanksgivings!

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      • I agree that a prioritization of what is more important is necessary. In my reflections as to that situation, I had to consider as I was making decisions what I felt was the greater good to the community of developmentally disabled individuals where we live. If the person involved in my situation was more directly involved in more client’s cases, I might have felt it was a matter of community good, as in the community of individuals like my son who should *never* *ever* have to deal with that sort of situation from an organization of that nature. But if a hunt for justice hypothetically materially damages a business so that it can’t be around to provide services to a community that needs it, that also damages that community, so I considered many things. As it was, it would be unexpected for the person involved in our situation to be directly involved in client care to the degree they were involved with us…so I decided the best decision for the community and our son was to focus on building his future in other ways. I too want more of those happy moments, for everyone involved 😀

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      • That sounds like a pretty mature consideration of the long-term effect, which in general seems to outweigh the short-term, in my opinion. I’m going to interpret it as a clarification from the universe for your business aspirations and how you can differentiate yourself from other providers, and offer a level of nuance and understanding that is specifically ignored in a field that tends to be ignored in general.

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      • And, since we are on the subject of poetry, I have been meaning to ask…if I am remembering correctly, the first time I ever visited your blog the intro to you portion wasn’t as enthusiastic about poetry. It appears to me, though perhaps I am mistaken, that your stance has evolved to be a bit more embracing of it. How would you say your thoughts on poetry have evolved and was there a particular body of work for one of the more revered poets that contributed to that evolution, or something else?

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      • I think it started when I was young and insecure, and I read this comic called Preacher (groundbreaking at the time, but it hasn’t aged well), where this Irish punk rock vampire stumbles upon a bunch of broody, emo, vampire-wannabes and after they make fools of themselves, he says, “Too much time on their hands. Leads to poetry.” So as someone who was looking to look down on others, I took that to heart because I didn’t understand how poetry could be entertaining. Then I realized rap was poetry later on, and I like some rap, so I grudgingly shifted to the idea that I like poetry if there’s a backbeat. After I started writing, I started realizing how important rhythm is to evoking emotion. I can write in clipped sentences, which would convey being ultra focused on a practical task or some kind of emotional suppression, like “Red car. Sedan. Two passengers. Old man, middle-aged woman, both dressed in winter jackets.” or I could convey a state of disorientation or lack of cognitive organization by using a lot of “ands” As in “The snow was cold and there were deer and things were burning and I was scared and” I also watched Shel Silverstein do this minutes-long spoken word poem about magic tricks where he flipped cards toward the camera, and his performance was absolutely captivating. It was like watching a mind-blowing movie where all you can think about is the movie for the next few hours. Anyways, I realized poetry is where rhythm is a crucial element–I can screw up a sentence or paragraph or even a chapter, but it’s really not that forgivable in a poem. Part of it was also I read a quote from Stephen King that said books are also visual mediums, and the white space in the page is an element to telling the story. All that combined changed my previously negative view on poetry.

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      • Thank you for sharing that! I always appreciate your unflinching accounting of yourself. As someone who has written poetry since the 4th grade, I would say it’s more like too much pain sometimes leads to poetry, lol. The ability to express something and be able to write it in a way that the subject matter, if in finding it decided to read it, might not get that it was about them….although mostly in the 4th grade I was writing short stories, because elementary school me was quite certain that humanity was going to face an apocalyptic level environmental crisis, so a couple of my surviving pieces are pretty dark along those veins. Yeah, all lyrics are poetry. Some of the heavy metal writers, they are really amazing poets with the imagery evoked and I have a deep appreciation for the word artistry that can be there. An approach can be slanting and obscure AF, or it can be very direct, such as in “La Mejor Version de mi,” (which is definitely not heavy metal) it’s pretty literal the messaging there…currently one of my favorite songs to listen to. Sometimes things speak to us. You are correct, the white space matters, the pacing matters, the grammar sometimes undermines the emotional message, so you just have kill it sometimes… thanks again for sharing that!

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      • Of course! I realized at a certain point that everyone references this mysterious “flow” in writing they have to try and capture. When I first started editing, I would reference it myself without any other qualifier than it feeling right to me. But as I kept editing, I started to define how that came about, and nowhere is it more evident than in poetry. Authoritarian rules like “adverbs are bad” or “passive voice is bad” completely miss the point. Stephen King, despite saying those very things in his book On Writing, made me curious so I re-read some of his stuff only to find it full of adverbs and passive voice. There was one group of Harvard writer/students who gave themselves a masturbatory pat on the back after combing through their manuscript and taking out every adverb, which I found ridiculous. In my opinion, everything is reflected through a character’s perception, so if they’re feeling short and focused, I’m going to describe things in a clipped manner. If they’re feeling loose and contemplative, I’m going to write in a less-connected, more free-flowing style. If they’re disoriented and scared, then I’m going to try for jumpy, paranoid descriptions. There’s a bunch of rules out there, but I can’t find one that supersedes the idea of understanding who the character is, understanding how events and themes are reflected through whatever’s happening to them, and writing descriptions accordingly. The rest of it can easily transform into a literary religion-lite.

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      • In certain types of writing, there is nothing more important than understanding the vernacular of your target audience, in my opinion. How a person feels most comfortable speaking may be the level of language they are more comfortable processing for leisure reading. And that might been grammar is a dirty word for some people, and cleaving to it will only keep them from resonating fully with the work. People like to pat themselves on the back for all sorts of things, I’ve been guilty…I mean, hey, if that brought them joy, hope they got their rocks off on their path to adverb annihilation, lol. Poetry is you know, it’s own beast in a way, for me personally, where I am definitely trying to open a window that paints with both words and the emotions that can be wrung from them, and it’s all filtered through the perspective of the narrator. Sometimes it’s directly me, sometimes it isn’t directly me in my poems. But the pacing of the lines, the verses, whether I rhyme or not, the way I combine words, it’s about creating the emotions and imagery I want with the piece.

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      • Ironically, when I first sent some samples of Echo to a friend who was interested in writing, he pointed out that there was too much repetition here or there. Being new, I took that to heart, but it was actually the start of me learning to value rhythm and poetic impact, because when I replace a word with a simile I have to consider the connotation and syllabic meter, or flavor, so to speak. That’s still a very significant part of my editing and writing process.

        I can understand the emphasis on grammar from a certain point of view–if people are new to writing, their first priority should be to make themselves intelligible. It just seems to bleed inappropriately into fiction, where the primary goal is to be felt. I remember watching Life of Pi and not understanding what was happening, but still being incredibly entertained. I figured it out later, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the movie when I first watched it. It actually parallels my existential view on life–if it can only be understood and insufficiently felt, then it is an incomplete understanding, if that makes sense.

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      • I didn’t see the movie, but I did read the book. Even in the book, it’s kind of a situation where you don’t really get a full sense of what is going on until the end, as I recall. I think sometimes repetition as a literary device has a purpose, because it conveys certain things…memory disfunction, for example. But often in writing repetition isn’t seen as desirable, and depending on the type of repetition and the circumstances, a case can be made for it either way. It sounds to me like you’ve grown a lot in your confidence as a writer, but I have to say…your creativity really shines. I am working on a therapy program with Tony where if he requests a break on his speech device, he gets one, and during the break request before this, I was reading your latest “weird ad.” I was laughing so hard my husband asked me why, so I read it out to him and I was still laughing hard enough the second time through that I had a hard time getting all of the words out. You’ve got a gift with that, whether it takes you where you want to go or not, you have a gift with your creativity and I hope for the dream that you nurture within you and are working for that it does take you the places you want.

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      • Thank you on the compliments! I have definitely grown in my confidence as a writer, partly because as narcissistic as it sounds, I have come to occasionally enjoy re-reading my books as my own fan! I know you mentioned Lyderea’s whip a few times, and before I forget to elaborate on it, I wanted to say that when I first envisioned the relationship between Evermoor and Earth, it was going to be much more on the nose, in that items would physically transform when they crossed over, while still keeping their symbolic value. I originally envisioned a pen for Jon that would transform into a sword when he went into Evermoor. And I was going to make guns turn into whips, to do some kind of commentary on tools of oppression. That idea didn’t resonate when I started drafting, so I focused on other elements. However, I wanted to create some kind of narrative scaffolding for the Rosecraft Blade and Ailura Qartesi–so they wouldn’t just be a pair of random ultra-powerful weapons floating around in Evermoor–so I threw in that explanation of the seven Great Weapons. Then I brought the idea of the whip back, because it fit Lyderea’s MO of oppression, and, of course, I asked myself the question of how can I amp this up, which led me to make it into a nine-headed scourge, which also squeezed the life out of people while torturing through laceration and breaking their bones. I felt like that was a good amplification of thematic context that hewed to the spirit of what I was trying to do, and also, I was like damn, that sounds super nasty and I’d never want to fight someone with that thing, lol!

        Also, maybe my spidey-sense is off, but I felt like I passed some kind of existential checkpoint when you said with WEapons of Old, I’d sold you on the idea that my work deserved widespread success. It helps affirm my own belief in that dream, so thank you for the kind words! I’m looking forward to a future where I can see a movie with magic pirate battles and world-in-the-balance standoffs where wyverns and skyfoils are dogfighting in the background! 😊

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      • I don’t think it sounds narcissistic, I like to re-read some of my poems, etc. sometimes. And, really, you do have top-notch creativity! The universe doesn’t always reward that in the arts, but in my view anyways, it definitely merits success. For what has been and what is, for what may come to be, either way, I wish you happiness on your journey. ❤

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      • Thank you!! I’m glad I could entertain and elicit a laugh, and I wish you the utmost happiness in what comes next for you! You’ve gone through a lot to clarify what you want, and you deserve to have that materialize in your life!!

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      • Sometimes I just need the bit of laughter to deal with the not-as-happy stuff in my world, so I appreciate anyone who brings laughter into the universe or my reading schedule 😀 I have found clarity with some things, others I am still working on because sometimes I find I am surprised by things I didn’t expect and it forces me to reflect on a whole other level, but I will get there. And who knows where Tony really will be 7 years from now? It only took me a few days to teach him how to enter in the 4 digit pin to his kindle, and he’s fully independent now, remembers it properly, sequences the movements appropriately from the motor planning perspective…we shall see what we shall see for all of it. I hope life brings you also all of the happy moments that you want!

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      • That’s awesome! Not only in regard to progress, but I also like your attitude of who knows what will happen 7 years from now. I used to view that kind of uncertainty with suspicion and paranoia, but it’s been made clear to me that it can turn out for better stuff, and, if I’m being leap-of-faith about it, WILL turn out for the better. I’ve conversed with another mother who had similar challenges to yours, but wasn’t as deprived of resources or time. Kudos to you for recent successes, positive aspirations, and future outlook!!

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      • I appreciate that you recognize the difficulties involved in a lack of resources and time, though the one leads to the other (and quite frankly, I think the lack of resources would be enough to cause many people to break, I’m just some sort of happy enough weed that can find a way to flourish in piss poor circumstances sometimes, so it’s a blessing in many things but especially in this). What I lack in other resources I have had learned to rely on me, and even post-POTS me is quite a lot and brings a lot to the table in terms of internal resourcefulness that can be and has been utilized to help produce positive outcomes. I think few people appreciate exactly the depth of what we have done because they weren’t living the day to day. There’s a reason (or a multitude of them) nearly everyone who offered to help when Tony was younger backed out when they found out the details. If anything, I publicly minimize because I want people to understand what it can look like for families such as ours but I don’t want them to see so many details that they feel completely closed off to even the idea of anything positive happening for him. Emily is one of the few people whose been around like enough to really appreciate most of the differences, and even for her, she started work with him as a music therapy intern when he was 3. Positive is relative…many people look at where he is and still don’t think that’s positive, but that’s in part because they lack perspective on the big picture vision of where he was.

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      • I definitely can’t imagine being in that kind of situation, and I definitely can’t imagine dealing with folks who gave up on you when the going got tough. I remember one of the things that truly angered me about my ex was with each dog that we got, there was a period right afterwards where she would fold and start wondering if we should send it to the shelter. Not only was I the one doing the training and housebreaking, but she was the one who pushed to get each dog before we got it, which really, really did not do good things for my view of her character. In certain cases, like breaking the four minute mile, I believe a chunk of someone’s contribution comes from simply upending what others think isn’t possible. You seem to be going a step beyond, not just innovating new solutions and redefining consensus limitations, but also being ready to implement that into something that can help more people. That’s a pretty nice combo!

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      • It felt a little on the brutal side emotionally, not gonna lie. When you are already going through what providing care and safety entails for a kiddo with our son’s level of need, its the kick in the groin nobody asked for…especially when many of them became so embarrassed by backing out that they started avoiding me, and I didn’t even ask most of those individuals for help in the first place because my internal assessment had already been it would be a bridge too far for them, so trying to process all of that at the time while taking care of my health (I was dealing with, among other things, an episode of medication induced liver damage while all of this was going down) it was a lot, and not the good kind. But, as I said. Happy enough weed. I made it through, and the people who are still standing in my world, I really have no doubts that they care about me whether they feel up to Tony wrangling or not- because I do honor it if someone does not. As the advocate who is working with us on the school transition put it, many families would have wanted to do what is called “disrupting,” and return Tony to the state when things really hit the fan. Never crossed my mind. In my heart, there is no distinction that ever existed emotionally. He is my son, however he got here, and I will take responsibility for what is mine. I think in regards to who does what in relationships of any kind, sometimes it isn’t an easy equation to get to character math for me personally, especially if the other person has some mental health challenges where they’re either not capable of holding up equally under certain conditions or they don’t realize exactly how much they are defaulting to the other person. Though I can *certainly* understand why you would have found what you described frustrating. Sometimes the answers aren’t easy…even when some one is dealing with all of my thorns (and I can be every inch as tough as I need to be most of the time), truth is I have a lot of caring on the inside and that is part of what moves me in good ways, and some times it means I will also deliberate more in other situations and maybe err on the side of compassion when I can.

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      • Erring on the side of compassion is what I prefer as the default mode. For a while, I did it out of a feeling of obligation, being influenced by a quote I read when I was a kid that went something like “you gotta be one of the good guys, because there’s way too many of the bad.” Not only is that automatically transactional in the sense that you already owe a debt, but it easily leads to elitism, which is arguably nested in the statement through implication. Nowadays, I like erring on the side of compassion because it feels natural and right, and also because I’ve refined my knowledge of my own boundaries and intuition. So where before I could be driven to do things mostly out of guilt or a chain of duty-shored logic, now I can better navigate when I shouldn’t do something for no obvious apparent justification, and trust that the reason will make itself clear in the future. There’s obvious adversities that need to be tackled sometimes regardless of personal preference, but I strongly believe that life shouldn’t be lived through a perspective where personal motive is dominantly comprised of peer pressure or societal imposition.

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      • I think humans are social by nature. I come from a family with multiple Aspies (some diagnosed, some not, and either path or position should be honored in my opinion), and you know, the stereotyping about not caring about the social stuff is BS. Even Tony cares, and his dial for desiring social approval is pretty damn low, but he definitely has people he loves and wants to see happy, even if he doesn’t want to do certain things that would make them happy (like leaving the fan on in the living room). There is just maybe a different weight placed on certain things, and probably it’s easier to cut ties if that is necessary. What holds us together is a caring for the needs of another, so the question becomes where is the boundary between showing caring and imposition? I think it is in the mind of the beholder or the individual so to speak. People’s lines are in different places for different reasons, and you know, for a lot of people, they’re “not bad, they’re just drawn that way” in the eyes of others because perhaps who they were born to be doesn’t line up with what the other person needs socially or whatever. I think the urges in humanity to form social connections and cater to those goes too deep to cut, I think it is a foundational stone in our civilization, so to speak, and people tend to form groups along the lines of what they personally value and find meaningful….I think it’s only an imposition if the person involved feels that it is, and maybe if that is the way they are feeling, some things need to be evaluated and considered along the lines of what are the personal priorities and values that need to be lived/expressed for the highest level of happiness for that individual…

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      • I have some pretty inconclusive beliefs about humans being social by nature. I’ll probably strike common ground with you in that I believe most humans must have consideration for society, whether it’s out of care, need, or even from selfish desire. If there’s any dominant trait I would ascribe to humanity, it’s variance across individuals, and variance within individuals throughout their lives. So much like sexuality, I believe humans have a wide variance for their preferred relationship with society. Some hate it, some love it, some feel obligated toward it, some see it in a Machiavellian light, as a functional tool and nothing more, some become hermits, later or earlier in life, then switch and become social (there’s an interesting phenomenon of modern-day reclusion in Japan, Korea, and other countries where people live in a single room for years at a time, to the point where the government is offering stipends and programs in an effort to get them to socialize). But while consideration for society at some point in life is probably unavoidable and necessary, I believe caring for society is a tricky thing that can easily become unhealthy, in the same way that caring for a corporation or the military is not the same as caring for a real person, and the people that take that attitude often get hurt because corporations and militaries do not care for people as individuals and will move on without a second glance.

        As far as humanity’s fundamental nature, that starts getting existential if you break from a Darwinian model (which I happily do, because I have an open personal bias that not everything is survival-related or a mutational effort to offer an evolutionary advantage). I’m not sure if you have any appetite for this rabbit hole, but I’ve been casually interested in UFOs my whole life, and VERY interested since 2017 when the New York Times broke the story on the Navy footage of the TIc Tac craft, which the government has admitted as being real and unexplainable in capability. So before this topic gets explored, I find it useful to delineate “tiers of believability,” to avoid mixing the far-out speculation with the more easily verifiable and agreed-upon. The first tier of believability (most believable) is that there are craft of unknown origin that defy the known laws of physics. I think almost everyone if not everyone agrees on that. The second tier of believability–where most agree by implication–is that these craft originate from non-human intelligences. Beyond that, there are reports from insiders that the craft operate through consciousness, with implications that physical reality arises from consciousness and not the other way around, and that humanity was either engineered by non-human intelligences, or altered by them during our evolution (a rumor I find fascinating is that Jimmy Carter, who was apparently determined to find the truth about UFOs partly because he experienced them himself, cried after finding out that major religions were programs instituted by non human intelligence that were intended to try and tamp down violence in humanity, he was intensely religious so this came as a shock to him). Anyways, I don’t want to go too deep down that rabbit hole, so I’ll tie it back to my main point of my beliefs about human nature being fairly inconclusive. Before I can be more deterministic in my view about human nature, I think I’d have to have a clearer idea about the nature of reality, specifically about the relationship between consciousness and matter, as well as some basic idea of what UFOs are. Without some reconciliation with our known physics (first tier of believability), and our evolutionary history (several tiers further out), I’m pretty wishy-washy about what makes us tick. But as mentioned before, it seems that similar to dogs, humans are characterized by intense physical variation, and especially intense mental variation throughout groups of individuals.

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      • Those are interesting points and rabbit holes, and I am not opposed to going down it, though I often choose to devote my energy to other places. Our son’s new RBT commented that we have an unusually high level of crises going on. I had to tell this individual it’s been that way for years. And that is not to worry anyone. We are fine and we will be fine and you know, it’s a blessing I can be as tough as I need to be. But, ever since I developed POTS, all of that state of “one thing after another” means I am putting a great deal more conscious effort into calming down the chronic stress reactions because I am working on healing my autonomic nervous system, and to focus on downshifting all of those crisis related “fight or flight” related hormones and reactions is important and where my energy is being more successfully employed right now. I do think you have said many fair things. But I do think some level of social cohesion is necessary, even amongst people who might not have a great deal in common. My sister -in-law, she’s a staunch member of our former church and has political and social views that are very different from mine. But we build on common ground. And you know who was there for me to sit with me and Tony to try and help out when I first developed POTS symptoms and just sitting to have a short conversation left my heart rate in the high 120’s to low 130’s? It was her. It is hard to be insular and have enough support to meet one’s needs through all of the challenges of life. Now, we shouldn’t just play nice because we need each other. To see the beauty and the worthiness of others is better even in the midst of an ocean of differences. She sees mine, and I see hers and I am grateful for that. Because I know even when I am left with very few resources the entirety of it is more than I can do by myself, and so it is with life, even for all of the users and the people who will just try to mess with you or take from you or leave you behind when they think they’ve wrung maximum usefulness out of you. I like to think of the people who truly stand with me in those moments, because that is the better joy for me personally to focus on.

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      • Kudos to your sister-in-law for acting as an individual rather than a set of instructions! I absolutely respect your perspective. I think it’s functional and is probably calibrated for maxing out net fulfillment, comfort, and positivity.

        My view on social behavior (and hence human nature) is kind of weird, as you can probably tell by the things I’ve referenced. For me personally, I need a better understanding of causality to make more definitive conclusions about human nature, and hence behavioral design. That’s why I’m interested in reconciliation of physics, consciousness, and existential philosophy. I want to see anomalies accounted for, as well as view phenomena as holistically as I can. There’s a tendency to go down rabbit holes with that stuff, so I guess another way to phrase it would be I’d like to mull causes (fundamental pillars of reality) which can iterate into symptoms (human nature to human behavior). I heard a fascinating take on the topic of reconciling the standard model, quantum physics, consciousness, and UFO observations yesterday, in that the guy was saying he suspects we are about to move past Aristotelian science (based on induction and deduction, or data trends and educated guesses derived from mostly reliable, consensus-based thought mechanisms) into what he called science 2.0. He wasn’t convinced it would equate to a theory of everything, but it seemed like he believed it would be a step closer toward it. It resonated with me–I think if humanity doesn’t get set back through devolution or disaster, that would be the direction we move in, if I had to guess.

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      • I think my sister-in-law has a lot of top notch qualities! And I will say, that my alter ego self has mental energy to focus on existential and reality based concepts. My every day self is pretty hung up in other things right now, and some of it needs to be, and some of it doesn’t. You know, literally I don’t think anybody should look to me as an arbiter for what should or shouldn’t be considered weird. I think too many things get lumped into that category. Humans can be tough to nail down. Sometimes they can surprise you, even when you look at their behaviors and their nurture and their whatever and you try to forecast it…the rest is literally nothing I can do anything about, it’s so beyond my control and I have too many things that need some sort of action or movement from me on in my present. Memory exercises to try and strengthen what POTS damaged? Yes, yes, and hell yes I make time for that even when my to-do list is eating my backside alive because in the absence of a full recovery, it will give me everything I need for what I want. UFO’s? Literally beyond my scope of influence, and knowing might just stress me out right now. So, I honestly prefer not to think about it because I’m not in the right place emotionally to handle the answer.

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      • I think I can relate. I’m not in to politics for what I think is a similar reason, in that I don’t feel any pull toward it, and I’ve been given no indication that it holds any potential for me. That’s not to say that politics aren’t important, but every time I talk to my friends about that stuff, I don’t feel energized in the slightest. It always seems like powerless-feeling people targeting supposedly more powerful people for not using their power in an appropriate manner. I always got the vibe that I should be outraged and complain to others about it, and try to inspire them to complain to others. I’m not discounting that that can’t be useful in some situations, but until I resonate with it and feel like there’s something productive there for me, I think it would just be a waste of energy for me.

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      • At the risk of being obnoxious (totally excessive length is my personal default style for anybody who would prefer a shorter response and I get that, so my apologies in advance), I am just going to chime in quickly because I feel like in a way, I didn’t fully honor a conversation that I would normally love to have with anything other than a “too stressed out” brush off. And, if we were in person having a chat under “you’ve already been blocked out for two hours of my time at a cafe kind of conditions,” I probably wouldn’t have copped out as much, and I decided I felt bad about it, since you are chatting with me and showing up in that way in my life and this is something that matters deeply to you and under many circumstances would be something I would be fascinated to discuss. So, it is true my brain doesn’t really want to discipline itself to think about this type of thing right now, because it thinks it has more pressing problems. But I will say…as regards to your thoughts that reality may be consciousness driven: I think there is merit to that. I have heard some of these other theories that you have discussed as well, but I don’t really even dip my toes in thinking about them much right now because of some of the other things going on in my life. I think probably the rabbit hole I would be most interested in climbing through if I were in that cafe would be the origins of religion. I think in some ways, if that was the intent (and I have heard similar theories before), there were some serious backfire events. Crusades for example? Done in the name of religion. But if someone looks past the use of the zeal for demonstrating the superiority of religious ideology by using it as a tool to justify conquest, if someone looks past that and truly adheres to the tenets as regards to non-violence, non-judgement, etc…I think there is a valid case for that as a possibility, though every deeply religious person I know would think that was crazy and an attack on their faith…the view being that religion came from their belief as to the source of creation, etc. I would say though, I think plenty of leaders of religion added in a whole bunch of stuff that suited them in other ways or was designed to be group building, support fund-raising, etc. Just saying.

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      • No worries–if you don’t want to talk about UFOs, that’s perfectly fine! Most people don’t, so I tailor my responses to minimize the rabbit-hole nature of the subject and try to keep it relevant to the point I’m trying to make.

        As far as the religions failing to stem violence, I’d agree with that. I forget who the reference was, but it’s well into the farther reaches of believability (past the consensus-heavy agreement that there are craft out there that can break the laws of known physics, then the less-agreed upon but still heavily accepted implication that they originate from non-human intelligence), but there was speculation I heard that stated there was more interference during humanity’s early years, then when we acted in ways that were unexpected and unproductive, non-human intelligence backed off. It’s not quite the Star Trek prime directive, in that they still interfere, but more on the fringes. According to some, the crash retrievals are drone craft or piloted by drone AI-bodies, which makes sense to me, because why would you crash if you have unimaginable levels of precision? The speculation is that crashed craft are like easter eggs, kind of like throwing a quantum computer to a bunch of cavemen. They might be able to understand a bit of the external design, but their worldview is way too primitive to build a working theory of the interaction of the internal components. Just like there are tiers of believability to the information, there are tiers of reputability to folks in the community. The first tier of reputability (most reputable) belongs to career defense and intelligence officials (multiple decades in the service), along with esteemed scientists who have done solid work in other fields. A good amount of these folks are saying that consciousness is integral to operation of the craft, and that’s why we have a hard time reverse-engineering them, because our theories of causality (physics) don’t have any place in them to account for consciousness, which goes back to my analogy of throwing an easter egg in the form of a quantum computer to a bunch of cavemen.

        I’d also think that if religions formed in the way I mentioned, then the originators definitely didn’t think it would inspire Catholic indulgences, where you could buy your way into heaven. I would go so far as to say that without the mystical aspect (omnipotence/benevolence is everywhere, in all of us, at every time) all religions to include Buddhism are transactional in nature, where you must trade inconvenience or suffering for unquantifiable virtue (in Buddhism, you must meditate and yoga your way out of karmic debt so you can become enlightened). That doesn’t ring true at all to me. I don’t believe I came to exist so I could spend my life paying off a debt, in perpetual danger of falling deeper into it, with contradictory nebulous sets of rules as my only guide to doing so. Given the mystical premise, the focus becomes more on appreciating what’s in front of you (since omnipotence/benevolence is right here, right now) instead of cutting yourself off from it by chasing lack-born, externalized alleged solutions. It is remembering and relaxing into your power and chosen adventure, rather than pretending you’re arbitrarily stuck in a horror story.

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      • Well, there is a great deal to consider and reflect upon in what you have said. I would say that it isn’t so much an interest level, as it is understanding where I am at, what I am trying to achieve, and what I am up against. So with POTS, the autonomic system, in struggling to regulate the standing and moving heart rate, tends to pour extra adrenaline into the system in it’s efforts to regulate those things, as I understand it. Now, that system can be retrained if the progressions are methodical, roughly 3/4 of individuals with POTS will have some form of amelioration with those progressions and some lifestyle changes that involve things like drinking more fluid, compression tights (which I thankfully was able to wean off of, those things were not so comfy!), upping the salt. For some people, medication is the only way to improve their symptoms enough to provide for any quality of life that allows them to participate in the community as regards to most jobs, etc. I am in a position where the only medication they could have used with me because of the need to keep epi efficacious can’t be used because my resting heart rate is too low for it to be safe- so, progressions and being mindful of what can stress me out and trying to throw enough self-care into my schedule to help hold things on the path forward is kind of what I’m left with. So, if I recognize a topic could perhaps lead me into an unnecessary fight or flight response, and considering all of the potential negative ramifications for UFOs certainly could, I tend to try to block it out of my head because it is soooo far out of my control. Tend to try, anyways, I don’t always succeed with topics that could have negative ramifications, especially if they are more proximate.

        Sometimes chasing a solution is needful. If I did nothing, I would not have the level of recovery with this I do have. That being said, I do understand in my own limited way there is more value in appreciating the moment than I sometimes give it. It is easy to be caught up in the details of how to produce a desired result for me, and it is something I reflect sometimes based on our discussions that I need to be improve upon. For you, what was the most pivotal realization or moment that made it easier for you to focus on present-dwelling?

        And, your points about indulgences and the transaction based nature of religion, . I think they are spot on. And that latter bit doesn’t resonate with me either. And I think consciousness is integral to a lot of things.

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      • I kind of struggle to communicate what I mean by appreciating the moment. Like most of the subtler things, I think it lends itself to a lot of subjectivity. I believe that even though someone is outwardly striving or planning, they can harmonize with a present-moment resonance that’s indicated by a mix of intuition and feeling. Only the individual can fully determine if they’re appreciating the moment or not. To be reductive, it’s being in the zone. It can happen during strategizing or fantasizing or an all-out, last-ditch sprint. So in the interest of clarity (and I know I’m putting a lot of personal parameters on this which can easily turn into a rabbit hole where it exclusively and only applies to me), appreciating the moment is harmonizing with a transcendent, present-moment resonance. It is an internal state, characterized by a feeling of existential rightness (doing exactly what I need to be doing, at the exact right time, in the exact right place, which is why I like dancing so much because it’s a very apparent manifestation of those principles) and/or inspiration. So regardless of outward pain or struggle, regardless of apparent mental machinations, I believe the most optimal way to exist is to move into harmony with a transcendent resonance that exists throughout all of reality, that lets itself be known through intuition/inspiration/emotion, and that is what I characterize as being present. I believe that by definition and nature it goes beyond words, which I think is why perhaps the most comprehensive way to refer to it might be poetry, which can use words as signposts rather than constraints.

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      • I like the way you have described poetry, as signposts more than constraints. And it is wise to say that being in the present is subjective…many things are. Sometimes it is enough to appreciate and soak in the moment in a space of absolute brevity. Our little man acted like an absolute saint in our time in his school district office today, and he’s never been there before. To keep my mind on the moments themselves while we were there, I had to. New environments always come with potential pitfalls. But for every moment after, there was something else knocking on the door handing over a “bill due” notice for attention. But to take that moment to really appreciate the “whoo-hoo!” of a moment…because it is the moments where I don’t have to have absolute focus on the present that I can struggle because my mind likes to multi-task, but for me, it is something I want to be able to do, is multi-task less and appreciate more the moments as they are, every little good that can be in them.

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      • That’s awesome! Yes, I am obviously of the opinion that being present is more fulfilling and emotionally more rewarding, but if I had to revert to a purely logical view, I can do that as well, in that I don’t know how or when I’m going to die, empirically we seem to be insignificant (the vastness of existence compared to the tiny influence we seemingly exert), so I’m going to adjust my perspective to reflect that evidence and focus on enjoying the moment, rather than getting caught up in the delusion that something is important enough to sacrifice my internal peace and appreciation for. Or I can approach it from a question of design: am I here to mentally live in the future and the past, either destroying my peace out of concern for what may or may not happen, or regretting what has already happened and I’m trying to somehow make up for it? Maybe. And in that case, my reward would either be restricted to after I die, or it would come in fleeting glimpses between bouts of strife. But I’d argue that’s a cruel design, and I have no interest in honoring it.

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      • Yeah, it really was awesome 🎉 He’s been good for my cardio this morning, because he’s doing well enough on his tricycle I have to jog to keep up with him on the uphill portions also now, my POTS can barely keep up with him, but I am guessing he’s going to fix that to the point I am going to have to limit and then expand how long he tricycles 😅literally, just a heads up, I don’t know if this will post in the right place to make sense in the conversation, because lately when I hit the reply button from the email link using my phone, it just drops it to the end of the page…life has it’s ups and downs all the way around, I feel part of the trick is not giving the down moments too much weight. That can be hard to do. I was describing a sequence of events recently that happened several years ago to our son’s new RBT, and he was stunned by the level of bad luck that happened in a very short period of time (same day actually) in what I was describing. I don’t really want to go into the details, because what I definitely want to be in alignment with is good things and good luck coming into my life right now. But I will say, when you have had a lot of experience with the negative happenings, the pattern recognition system in the brain… It takes a lot of work to not just anticipate a continuation of that. So for me, not projecting possibilities from the future into the moment that could be “destroying my peace out of concern for what may or may not happen” is sometimes a struggle for me personally because I have had a lot of those bad luck events in the past (and processing those emotions can also make it harder to keep the past from invading the present and that takes a lot of work too sometimes) and literally I want no more of either invading my present period, I want the good so much more but I am aware of the ways I can struggle and where with that and I’m personally working on it. One of my strengths is my ability to believe I can bring about a positive outcome even if the hand I was dwelt is total poop. And I can usually reorient myself to positivity, so it’s a journey and a work in process that I don’t really want to judge myself for because I understand the history behind the things I struggle with and I have compassion for me…

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      • Maybe jogging can take bellydancing’s place! I use my notifications to reply to comments, so hopefully that will keep things coherent in my head if comments get scattered on the actual page.

        The negative experiences, in my opinion, become a tricky thing to navigate, in that they immediately present a couple of unconstructive options. One is to wallow in the negativity, and amplify and shore it up through a web of supporting evidence or ruminating on the gall of the universe/perpetrators. The other is to try and completely deny it, which just amplifies it for me. I think my primary mechanism is acceptance that it’s negative, which can be subtly but significantly different than wallowing or amplifying it. For example just admitting, yep this sucks, in a spirit of matter-of-fact, that’s-how-things-are-right-now, versus this sucks and the people behind this deserve to pay, they’re wrong in their actions which stems from their corrupt worldview which needs to be remedied through misfortune and suffering…that can become an endless rabbit hole in my mind. The key component for me is the emotional resonance. The vibe is of acceptance and relaxation into the circumstance, rather than resistance, denial, and powerlessness to effect immediate change. And that’s what’s most important to me–the words and sentiment don’t really matter, it’s the emotional vibe and resonance. If I’m joking around with my buddies about fucking over someone who deserves it, I think as long as the vibe is lighthearted and amusing, that can be constructive. If there’s bitterness and venom in there, that’s a different story which can lead to us feeding each other’s rage. A relatively new component that helps me out (I’d say over just the last year) is the reflection that negative things, given time, have turned into positive things for me. So that helps speed things up for me personally, because I don’t have to rely on faith as much, and I’m more supported by trust.

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      • Hmm. Well, technically, neither is great for my tendon, but I do know that if I were talking to a sports ortho doc or a podiatrist they’d say the jogging would be riskier, but I use a shoe that has a lift for the heel, and that helps. I don’t try to learn belly dance moves for the cardio at this point, it’s more the challenge and I appreciate the art. Though, that’s actually harder for my tendon because of the fact you’re supposed to be barefoot and have your heel on the ground. I’ve seen some dancers on Youtube cheat and use kitten heels, and I may do that, LOL! I was just so happy when I finally got the Hagala and the shimmy down with decent form, because that is harder for my tendon. Though if I’m being honest, if I get to where I can take a dance fitness class for fun outside of my home (and you know, I’m thinking someday I just might get there), I’m going to for pole dancing because that looks like a lot of fun and I can really appreciate the artistry behind some of the more serious dancers in that area. I don’t care if I’ve got wrinkles down to my knees by the time I get there, it’s the journey and the fun that count for me, the feeling of what I can accomplish on the inside that matters, not whether or not anybody feels like it’s body or age appropriate for my look, etc.

        I think radical acceptance of the negative sometimes is the only thing one can do, because in accepting it, you have the best chance of seeing if there is a way to improve the situation. But sometimes shooting for the sky optimism is really helpful, because it helps to believe that those good results are obtainable, to really believe it. Because if you don’t….well. I have self-sabotaged myself I have found when the belief wasn’t genuine, so I do try even if I am struggling on the inside to get to the most positive position I can as quickly as possible so that I can be that cat that lands on her feet when somebody tries to drop her on her head.

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  2. You’re just such a visual writer man. It’s just so much being pictured in my head and the blooming of cum trees makes me like… smell your story. I just… it’s a lot. But I’ve never said that I’ve smelled a story before and that’s a lovely new word combo.

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    • Thanks, lol! It’s how I edit. I try to arrange everything so when I read through it for the umpteenth time, the sensations pop up in my brain. If I do it right, it’s almost on par with a really strong remembrance.

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