Wednesday, July 11, 2018

America's Denouement

In his inaugural address on January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy observed among many other truths that we, as citizens, must be vigilant:  

“Let the word go forth that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.”  

Are we still committed to those rights 57 years after those words were spoken?

With the advent of Trumpism, we are losing our Democracy, slowly but surely.

Under the title, Kennedy was Right:  we are Heirs of the First Revolution, John W. Whitehead wrote a piece in the Huffington Post back in 2013.  He seemed to see it coming even then, back before Donald Trump was elected president. This is what he says:

The freedoms we often take for granted did not come about through
happenstance. They were hard-won through the sheer determination,
suffering and sacrifice of thousands of patriotic Americans who not only
believed in the cause of liberty but also acted on that belief. The success of
the American Revolution owes much to these men and women. In standing
up to the British Empire and speaking out against an oppressive regime,
they exemplified courage in the face of what must have seemed like an
overwhelming foe.
Those revolutionaries were average citizens, not agitators or hotheads. They were not looking for trouble or trying to start a fight. Like many today, they were simply trying to make it from one day to another. But they finally had enough and decided to stand and fight for the one thing that makes an American an American:  freedom.
It wasn’t easy. Many lost their livelihoods and homes. Many lost their lives.
But, like Tom Paine, they would not be sunshine patriots. They would not shrink from service to their country.
If we are to survive as a nation, we must regain the spirit of the American revolutionaries. It’s time to turn off the television set, put down the cell phone and, if need be, take to the streets and make sure our voices are heard. Some of our fellow citizens are already on the front lines of freedom. Let’s join them. In the words of Patrick Henry:”
Why stay we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me: give me liberty, or give me death!

From The Blog @ The Huffington Post 

11/22/2013 10:52 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014
Kennedy Was Right:  We are the Heirs of the First Revolution, by John W. Whitehead

Friday, June 8, 2018

Anthony Bourdain

Hearing today of Bourdain's suicide in France was a terrible shock.  I've watched his show and admired his style and now, he's gone from all of us.

I'm sad.  But I understand. He has no obligation to continue living if he feels he's had all he can take.  I do not believe in Heaven or Hell and I don't believe it's a sin to take one's own life.  It is, after all, one's own life.

God bless you Anthony.  But I wish you hadn't hanged yourself -- ugh:  painful and ugly.

As for me, I want to maintain awareness through that whole transition.  So, perhaps a couple of scotches, a hot bath, a pill or two and a quick slit to the wrist as one watches the warm blood flow?

I'm not trying to be morbid, though I do sound that way.

Sic transit Antonio.     


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Elements of Story

Years ago, in my English classes, we learned that Story = Protagonist + Antagonist resulting in Conflict.

Conflict creates rising Tension ultimately resulting in Climax and (hopefully) Resolution. With resolution comes Denouement or gradual reduction in tension.

These are all arbitrary guidelines for the beginning writer at best and in my writing, they’ve been thrown out the door a number of times.

But the antagonist can be the beginning and end of story -- one of the most important elements.  To ensure this, some writers work very hard to "plot" his or her story in order to create and maintain the kind of rising tension, initiated by a powerful antagonist and required for a really good story.

That writer would spend plenty of time in her initial structuring of the book on that particular element of story with a definitive profile and the full development of the character.

But what happens when your novel takes a side trip from your planned itinerary and you have to go back, pick up and try again?  I was not able to control that.

In my novel, “When the Eagle Flies with the Condor,” the antagonist is not a person, but a situation arising out of emotions such as feelings of abandonment, estrangement and perhaps even jealousy. 

It is unrequited love. Sound corny? Not when the love is between brother and sister. Their love is more representative of “agape” (from the Greek) than romantic, but the point is, it wasn’t planned that way. It happened and I wanted to be as honest as I knew how to be, thus allowing the antagonist to become whatever it needed to become.

I do believe that having a good idea of what your story is going to say and knowing how it will end is one way to write a novel. But I also agree with some who say that allowing the mind to soar uncontrolled into unexpected regions can be very satisfying and productive and end up perhaps being more. . . well. . . or maybe. . . less -- formulaic?  It's my understanding this is called the "panser" method rather than the "plotter" method.

I rather like the term. Perhaps I've been a panser rather than a plotter all along.  Or maybe a "plodder."   You get the idea.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Life is a Banquet

Don't nibble on the good things.

Life is a banquet.  Devour it!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Words of wisdom, eerily relevant today.

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." 

Martin Luther King, Jr.