The Ode

Ode to the Writer

By Tom Foster


We are the lords and ladies of creation, yet we are still just players.
In the beginning we are as in the end.
We do not aspire, we simply do.
There is the dream, tempered by the reality, and given form by the thought.
By our thought, by our dreams, and by the reality we impose.
It’s a madness of the sort that only poets and writers can truly understand, and even among those only a few can comprehend.
Comprehension, that is a truly frightening thing.
We play with words, we are those that can immortalize, and those that can do what must be said and say what must be done.
It is confusion, this comprehension, and in the midst of it all, it is the single word that carries power, the one among all that is ever elusive, ever there, always waiting for us to return to, to remind us what it is that drives us, what keeps the fountain flowing.
Every last soul that has ever put ink to paper, ever put finger to key, every vague idea that swirls inward from the maelstrom we call the world, the universe, and everything in between and without.
For everything that could come, for everything that has and will come, we are there. We are the ones that do not deny the voice that tells us, “this must come to pass”, or “this must be remembered”.
It is who we are, what we do, and through everything, it is the lifeblood of those who cherish this timeless art form, this undeniable urge to say, in their own manner, “I AM”.
We are not gods, we create, and yet in the process, we are created. It is our words, penned and copied throughout the ages that have helped to shape the world, to say that, “WE ARE”, that “WE EXIST”.
Whether tyrant or savior, good or evil, saint or sinner, the words that are put to time’s test are those that will come to define the world we know. Memory is not enough, though it serves.
As do we.
We are the lords of creation, the ones whose words will last and echo into the ages, for all to see, and all to remember.
Is it truth?
The better question is: Does it matter?
We are the lords and ladies of creation, and by our words, the world we know is shaped, molded, and given to the next generation, and so on and so forth until the whole mess ends, only to be rebuilt, and to crumble again.
We are the lords and ladies of Creation, and this is our legacy.


Don’t Talk if You Can’t Walk


Ever met someone that talked a great game but was utterly useless when it came time to do something they’d been talking about since you met them? They talk themselves up, they hype themselves out of control, they do their best to insure you that they’re the best at what they do, or that they know what they’re talking about, and when the time comes to prove it there’s one of two things that happens.

A lot of us probably know what those two things are, but let’s explain them anyway.

They back out or back down.

They were never that great in the first place but felt the need to play themselves up as though they were. Whether or not they want to make excuses is beyond the point, it’s that when they were given the chance to prove how awesome or how knowledgeable they were and they backed down without even trying. This is the easiest way to quiet a talker that can’t back up their stories or their bravado. It’s a great way to shame them, but that tends to lead to a great deal of negativity that many people don’t need in their lives. Those that can, will. Those that can’t, will talk.

They make excuses.

So let’s say they do attempt to show you how great they are or how smart they believe themselves to be and decide to do so by example. That’s great, you might get to see someone in action that can really back up what they’re talking about, right?

And then they fail.

It’s not just a straight up accidental fail or a failure under pressure. It’s a horrific “what did I just watch” kind of fail. It’s trying to hit the hoop with the ball and sailing it several feet under or under the rim without touching anything but a whole lot of air fail. It’s talking about a subject as though you’re an expert and then being schooled by a grade-school kid kind of fail. In other words it’s the kind of fail that lets everyone around the person know that they were fronting when they knew very well they couldn’t deliver.

But then the excuses come in, usually something along the lines of “I wasn’t ready” or “Who in the world remembers that kind of thing”, you know, the excuses that make them look like the victim or perhaps paint them in a kinder light than their failure just revealed. You might be able to give credit to the talkers for trying, but when they fail the overall feeling is that they still lied, and worse yet they’re comfortable enough to make themselves look like fools while trying to gain your sympathy and understanding.

Why is any of this important?

In a personal, social setting it really isn’t unless you can’t stand or abide liars in your company. In a business setting it’s extremely important since the talkers are the ones that hype themselves up and then can’t deliver or make excuses and blame others for their deficiencies on the job. That’s hard to abide, and many employers will simply choose not to for the sake of the business.

So do yourself a favor, if you don’t know enough or aren’t skilled enough to do something, be honest about it.

Snow Fall (part I)



“Are we really going up there?”

“Do we have much choice?” Merida replied, “The things might very well cut us down if we try t’ run.” The archer’s rich blue garments were largely covered over the iridescent traveling cloak she wore, but there was more than enough mobility there to allow her to move about and fire off her bow if need be.

Mulan and Red were similarly adorned, though were Merida wore light leather armor over her forearms, chest and stomach, and legs and loins Mulan was garbed in heavier, lacquered armor reinforced by light steel bands. Red had opted for a light suit of chainmail so that she might wield her chosen weapons, the dual handaxes she’d carried along for this particular trip.

“You mean you can’t pick them out of the sky?” Red teased, tugging her hood back into place as she looked up the winding trail that led up to the decrepit-looking castle called Grimhilde, after its former owner.

Merida growled slightly, “P’raps you’d like t’ test yer hand against multiple movin’ opponents…”

“Enough,” Mulan said, imposing her will as their leader as she too looked upon the trail, “Snow is our friend, and she has been for some time. We need to find out what has happened to her and why.”

“An’ if she’s not in the mood t’ let us leave?” Merida asked. Mulan gave her a sideways glance but without a reprimand. Merida was only saying what they all were thinking, that since the dreaded force known as the Dark had visited the many realms nothing had been the same. So far as they knew, the warrior known as the Chosen, or Champion, or Tyler, depending on what one wished to call him, had banished the force controlling the Dark in this realm. But there were still pockets that remained, isolated forces that had not been banished along with their foul master.

“Then we persuade her,” Mulan replied, “Let’s go.”

(to be continued)

Keeping Calm Under Pressure


So let’s be honest, everyone’s felt pressure in their life be it small or earth-shattering in their opinion. Pressure is something that doesn’t just go away on its own most times, it has to be dealt with or somehow lessened in a way that allows the individual to finally draw an easy, unencumbered breath that will allow them to relax more than just a little bit.

For some of us dealing with pressure is a constant and expected struggle, for others it’s something that threatens to tear us down if the right trigger is pressed and we’re not ready for it. And then there are those odd individuals that look at pressure as nothing major and no big deal. How is this possible?

Well, there are a few ways.

Breathing is a good idea.

Even when everything is pressing in on you, deadlines have to be met, people have to be satisfied, and everything has to happen now, a deep breath can be a quick and calming method of soothing your nerves and letting you think clearly before diving into the maelstrom. The act of taking a deep, cleansing breath can calm you down, allow your mind to focus, and therefore give you the needed seconds or longer it takes to sort your way through the maze that needs to be solved in order to get through your day. By learning how to breathe you don’t even need to stop in your efforts sometimes and can plow right through in order to sort out what needs to be done, what’s a priority, and what can wait.

Breathe in, breathe out, and repeat as you go through your day. That’s one helpful step.

Prioritize, prioritize, and then organize.

Not everything has to be done RIGHT NOW. Sure it all has to be done according to the deadline, but if you have a list of what needs to be done some items are going to take priority over others and as such you should look into getting them done first. Some things might take a while, some might go quick, but if you prioritize in a way that makes sense to you, and is efficient enough to allow for sufficient time to get everything done, then it will take a humongous load off of your shoulders. By organizing your workload and managing it through prioritizing what needs to be done now versus what can sit and wait for a bit, the work becomes less of a storm and more of an orderly system that, while still chaotic in some ways, is easier to handle.

Don’t work in the mess, make the mess work in the way you need it to.

Focus on what you’re doing, don’t worry about others.

There are times when things are a team effort and it’s important to make sure that everyone’s doing their part and to offer help to those that need it. But in other situations it’s best to focus on what you’re doing and get your job done to the best of your ability. If you find yourself getting done early and discover that someone needs help, then by all means do what you can. Don’t force yourself on them but ask if they would care for some assistance if it’s at all possible. First and foremost though, get your job done. You help no one, especially yourself, by stepping away from your own work to help another with theirs. It’s a hard way to look at it in the spirit of teamwork, but by ignoring your own work you only increase whatever pressure you’re under and could possibly become overwhelmed in the process.

Focus on what you’re doing before you worry about others. If you don’t do your job it’s possible they won’t be able to do theirs.

Pressure is something we deal with on a continual basis no matter how severe. Learning how to navigate around and possibly through it is a skill that can benefit pretty much anyone.

When You Want to Start an Argument


Sometimes we get into arguments on accident and don’t mean to, other times we walk into them without knowing. And then, sometimes people start them just because they have nothing to do. There are many ways to end an argument and even some ways to bring them to a head without violence or even hurt feelings. Arguments are said to be borne from ignorance instead of honest discussion, but the truth is that arguments are in many ways a harder but more honest discussion that forces both sides to see the point of the other even if they refuse.

Winning an argument is usually still a loss for someone if not both parties, so there must be a way to end an argument amicably so that both sides can walk away without being completely satisfied but still with the feeling that something was accomplished.

Know what you’re arguing about.

It’s not just the fact that you have to be on the same page when you’re arguing, it’s that you should know something about the subject you’re arguing about. If you walk willingly into an argument and don’t know one thing about the subject then you’ve done more than lost, you’ve wasted your time and the other person’s before it’s really begun. For instance, don’t argue about government policies if you don’t have the faintest clue what they are or what they mean to the average person. The less you know about the subject the more you’re going to look like an ignorant putz that just wants to fight. It’s easy enough to avoid this by just closing your mouth and deciding not to fight if you don’t have enough ammunition.

Be willing to listen and hear the other person’s point of view.

It’s not hard to just agree that someone else might have a point unless you’re that closed off and can’t bring yourself to agree with anyone out of sheer, pig-headed pride. Holding fast to a faulty viewpoint doesn’t make you smart, and refusing to listen to a good point doesn’t mean you’re standing your ground. It means that you’re simply too arrogant to really take into consideration someone else might know something or have an alternative thought that might make sense. It pays to at least listen to someone else and hear their point of view before you decide to disagree. In some cases you might actually learn something.

Be able to finish the argument.

If you’re going to willfully start an argument you’d better be able to finish or you’ll look just as foolish as you would if you don’t have enough information stored away to get going in the first place. Those that willingly get into arguments know deep down that there’s a chance that they won’t reach the end wearing a happy face since arguments tend to end in compromise or with one side or the other feeling like they’ve been put through the ringer whether they’ve won or lost. But the important part is that you finish what you start, or else you’ve once again wasted your time and another person’s by not being able to see it through.

If you’re going to argue, know what you’re doing before getting into it with anyone.

I See Race, I See Color, I See Humanity


I see you’re black, I see you’re Asian, I see that you’re Middle Eastern, I see that you are different, I see that you have struggled, I see a great deal more than people think, and as they’re judged unfairly for the qualities they may or may not have, as are the rest of us for belonging the same race as those that persecute them. If a person is bitten by a certain type of dog do they fear all dogs? Do they deny that any dog has worth? If a person is struck by a lightning bolt do they refuse to go outside? Do they shun electricity for fear that it might shock them?

Not really. One could be struck by lightning or bitten by a dog and there’s only a percentage chance that many people would go so far as to shun anything and anyone that had anything to do with that occurrence. So why do we do this with people? Why are there those among ethnic groups that will gladly condemn an entire race and all those in it because of the sins that others committed? It’d be too easy and a bit insulting to say “all white people don’t…” since it’s an argument that’s been made before and has been rejected many times over.

So no, I won’t pity you, and unless I know you, I won’t help you.

Sounds like something a white person would say, right? Think again. A lot of people in the world say this. Those that have been persecuted and believe that they would never inflict the kind of pain, degradation, or offer an unkind word to anyone have done this. Human nature is a bitch sometimes, it forces us to look inward and refuses to just allow us to act like civilized beings. If you don’t know a person the chance that you’ll help them is fifty-fifty at best in this world. For those that buck that trend and help anyway good for you, you’re ahead of the curve and have a spark of something truly unique in you.

So what’s wrong with the rest of us? Nothing, we’re following a very basic human instinct, do for you and yours before anyone else. It’s not always perfect, but it’s what we fall back on when uncertainty rears its head.

Your skin color doesn’t mean much to me, nor does your religion, or your race.

You’re a human being right? You bleed like anyone else yeah? You walk, talk, sneeze, snort, and well, you know, so you’re human. Barring any discussion about aliens or animals if you’re human you’ve already earned your dignity and a small measure of respect that’s reserved for those you don’t know. The moment anyone decides that race, skin color, religion, or anything that makes a person different is a target waiting to be hit, their own dignity and respect is forfeit. Their own status as a human being becomes suspect, and they lose the right to judge another.

So you’re a different person? Okay, in this world that means you might look, sound, and act different. But you’re still human, so we’re square, and there’s no need to do anything but treat you like a human being. Yeah?

You want reparations for something you didn’t go through? Good luck.

Those that had to go through it, those that still go through, are due something for their pain and anguish. Some won’t take it as they’d rather push forward and try to make a change. Others will take it and continue to perpetuate the cycle of people that feel that they’re owed something in this life. If anyone owes those that were savaged, beaten, enslaved, or otherwise harmed or humiliated, it’s the people that did such vile acts. Their progeny did nothing and owe nothing to anyone. Their descendants owe nothing to those that suffered, as they weren’t even born yet and can’t be held accountable. Life is the only one left for some of these people that can be held accountable, and in many cases life might just laugh if it had a mouth.

Yes the past was horrible in many ways for many people, but collecting for past sins has to be done from those that are guilty of them, not those that had no hand in the doing. Punishment for those that have done nothing is not fitting reparations.

I see and I’ve heard. And somehow I still believe in humanity, in ALL of us.

Everyone Breaks (part VII)



Origin (formerly Long Beach Peninsula)

May 8th, 2073

The caretaker stopped short, unable to proceed as he felt his senses fuzz over for a moment. He’d felt the presence of interloper only a moment ago but now it was gone, almost as though something was blocking it. That hadn’t happened in a while, but he knew what it meant at least. Growling his frustration he looked around the area he’d transported himself to, looking for anything out of place, or anyone that didn’t belong here, which would mean anyone.

But he was looking for someone in particular.

“Come on out already,” he said in a gruff voice, “If you want to talk, hiding isn’t the way to go.”

A light chuckle reached his ears as he spun around on one heel, lifting his other foot as he did. From behind a broken down old colonial-style home came the form of a woman he’d not seen in a long, long time. The reason for this was that she’d died in his arms many years ago. Her infectious smile, tanned skin, and long, wavy locks reminded him of that long ago day when he’d held her close and watched the life fade from her eyes. In this moment however, the sight only made him angry.

“You know, your lack of hospitality has become a thing of legend,” said the Creator, smiling up at him as the form of his sister stopped only a few yards away, “People are so fearful of this place that only the most foolish and the bravest will even dare to cross the river or the bay.”

“What do you want?” he asked in a gruff tone. It wasn’t every day he got to speak to an avatar of the only being in this or any other reality that could challenge him, but as usual it wasn’t a pleasant meeting.

“So forceful,” the Creator chided, forcing a mild pout on his sister’s features. The caretaker wanted so badly to crush this avatar as he’d done to others, but he restrained himself, for the moment.

“You remember what happened to the last form you sent my way?” the caretaker asked with a mild, sadistic grin.

The Creator nodded, “I do.” There was no concern on his sister’s stolen features, only a mild grin that told him that the Creator didn’t fear him, as always. That was fine, the caretaker didn’t give a damn if he was feared.

“You need to speak to this one,” the Creator said, the voice of his sister coming forth with all sincerity, “He’s not like the others that think of this place as a prize.”

“Then why’s he here?” the caretaker asked. He was already tired of this conversation, but he would listen simply because he had nothing better to do, other than anything.

“He’s here because I brought him here.”

The caretaker’s eyes widened in that moment, and as the Creator had known, this was the wrong thing to say.

(to be continued)

Don’t Get ‘Em Mad (part VII)


Planet: Buluake

City: Kualtal Capital

Nal didn’t recall much of the last several moments before the end of the fight for one reason: it was over pretty quickly.

Among their other qualities such as their teeth, their claws, and their ability to fight blind, the Kulah had one last tool that was a natural part of their arsenal, and it was the natural agility to create something known as the Death Twirl, a whimsical name for something that translated out to something far less pleasant in many languages. The name in Basic was pretty straightforward, but the way it was said in the Kulah language translated more to something along the lines of “the spin of death in which claws and teeth become the storm”. The simple description was quite alright with Nal since his people had a penchant for being long-winded sometimes in their own language.

He’d not performed a Death Twirl in a long, long time, perhaps since he’d been a small Kulah and had done so to impress the females. But every Kulah was able to do the Death Twirl to some degree, the only downfall was that one had to let their enemies get in close. It hadn’t taken much, the Canin’s had already been good and angry with him, and feigning a sudden wave of fatigue had them thinking that he’d be easy prey. As intelligent and cunning as they could be, Canin’s weren’t always the wisest creatures in the galaxy, and despite the fact that only a couple of them hadn’t been marked yet their confidence had still been high.

Nal had let them have that much as he’d leaned over, clawed fingers resting heavily on his skinny, muscular legs as he took one breath, then another, pretending to be winded as the Canin’s moved in. They probably figured that this would be their best chance, and so thinking dove inward, attacking in force as the remaining bunch decided to gang tackle him. Nal reacted quickly after that.

The Death Twirl was powerful, but the Canin’s each outweighed him by a hundred kilograms or more and more than that, they were throwing their weight forward and down, meaning that their momentum would be too great for him to thwart or match. Physics could take into account what it meant to get a Kulah mad, but it couldn’t change the fact that he simply wasn’t strong enough to throw off three fully-grown and experienced fighters. So he didn’t bother.

Nal moved aside from the rush and let loose with the Death Twirl, his teeth and claws flashing and sinking into whatever exposed area he could find as he struck at each of the Canin’s, maintaining just enough control to keep from striking any vital areas that might cause sudden or immediate death. He raked at muzzles, pulled at lips, sliced ears, and did anything and everything that he could to discourage the creatures from continuing the fight.

Thankfully it had worked, and now here he was at his stool once again, ordering another round and laughing with his friends as they gathered around again, having already watched the Canins depart with their wounded in tow.

It was good to be a Kulah, and good to be the friend of one, so long as you never got them mad.

The End

The Impotency of White Supremacy


You might find it hard to laugh at white supremacists since quite honestly they’ve been seen to be capable of horrible things in the last couple of years and those occurrences haven’t exactly been laugh-worthy. But honestly and truly the picture above is just one reason why you should feel it necessary to laugh at them, not to mention why they’re one of the most ridiculous bunches of nuts in the dish at this point.

So why is that? How can a bunch of yahoos that are organized and inherently deadly and stacked behind some of the most powerful people in the nation be considered impotent and silly?

Look at their behavior.

Some of their most notorious members, the KKK, have, or had, to wear hoods to terrorize people.

If you want to talk about what it takes to be a brave and confident person yet wear a hood over your head to do so then you might be a hypocritical white supremacist. I kind of doubt that Foxworthy would ever let that one loose on stage but it seems pretty accurate. Obviously all white supremacists don’t wear hoods but a lot of them tend to band together in order to feel safe when confronting people they don’t agree with. How is it brave again to form a mob to frighten those that aren’t threatening you in the first place? Oh right, there’s the perception thing, white supremacists seem to think that people of other races and colors are threatening them simply by existing. Silly me, or better yet, silly them.

They carry tiki torches during a protest, ’nuff said.

The mob wasn’t laughing, the people they were rallying against weren’t laughing, but a lot of us that saw the torches were laughing our asses off. Really? They brought tiki torches for their protest? At least you know they’ll be safe from mosquitoes and flies while they’re marching, and they might even look fashionable doing it. Back in the day people would actually go out and find a lantern, or a log, or something that would burn and actually look intimidating. Today’s wannabe white supremacists though are trying to keep up with the trends it seems and are doing their best to bring the 1950’s back in a big way by dredging up the old prejudices and lawn fashions.

When all is said and done and their heads hit the pillows they come to one realization, they won’t do anything.

Sure they bark and bark and bark, but the majority of them won’t ever bite. They’ll rant and rave on the outside while on the inside they’re praying that no one will notice that they’re about two steps away from wetting themselves when they realize just what it is they’re doing. White supremacists might think that they’re trying to make a better place for their race, but in truth they understand on some level that the rest of the white race that doesn’t think like they do, that enjoys diversity, and that will stand against them, aren’t about to change their minds.

Why are white supremacists impotent? Because they can’t see past their own limited doctrine, and therefore there’s no way for them to really adapt or evolve. They’re a limited breed, and they’re bound to die out long before anyone else. They know this, they fear this, but getting them to admit it is something that we need to work on.

Anyone up for the challenge?

Be Silent, Don’t Be Quiet


It sounds a bit contradictory doesn’t it? How can you be silent but not be quiet at the same time? To be honest it might not make a lot of sense to those that can’t get themselves to think around corners and need it laid out for them. But silence is not just the act of remaining quiet, it’s the process of observing, of allowing the world to work while you watch and take note of the many different tenets that are necessary to operate this wondrous place that we call home. Silence is the ability to note without bias just how the many different parts mesh and work together, or don’t. Silence allows us to figure out new ways to go about perfecting old methods, and silence can allow individuals to reason through problems that have plagued our species since the beginning of time.

Unfortunately silence comes at a very high premium, and is quite rare in regards to the human race. In order to take advantage of silence humanity needs to back up a step or two, and that doesn’t seem as though it might happen anytime soon. Too many people desire everything to happen now, to move forward at an accelerated rate, and to push onward without taking the time to figure out why certain aspects of life come back to haunt us and why we can’t seem to solve the problem.

Moving forward isn’t the problem, it’s a natural part of life that needs to happen and should happen as progression is how humans grow, evolve, adapt, and continue to live a life that’s worth living. But in the silence between generations, and there are those blessed moments, it’s important to not be quiet and let those moments go, but to speak up and allow people to realize the extent of our problems in a way that can help fix the problem, not cast blame or create a scapegoat so as to allow the issue to continue. In being silent we take the time to pause and reflect, but in remaining quiet we do nothing to remedy the problems that continue to haunt us.

Humanity is not perfect in any way, shape or form. No one race is responsible for the downfall of any other no matter how it’s been seen in the past. Individuals and groups of all sizes from each race have managed to cause horrors to those of other races that still feel the sting of history and the echoes of wrongs that are still committed to this day, yet no one is willing to take those moments of silence and sort out just what has to be done and what should be done. We’d all rather play the blame game with those that have nothing to do with the despicable acts that were and have been perpetrated against those that didn’t deserve such indignities.

Silence is not consent for what happened, but instead a moment in which we, as a species, not a race or a people, can come to understand what happened, why it happened, and what we can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The refusal to be quiet is important as it will continue to bring up the need for something to be done, the reality that these things do still happen, and that the need for a resolution is still desired.

Be silent in order to listen, but do not be quiet when it is time to speak.

Hear the Voices, Make A Choice


Everyone jokes about the voices in their head, they tell themselves that it’s the voices, the voices that are telling them to do things, to say things, to be crazy and out of control. What if some of us are right? Of course psychologists and rational-minded individuals will say that the voices are nothing more than the imagination of a mind that’s not quite balanced and has possibly suffered some sort of trauma. Some religious individuals might say that it’s our conscience or inner voices that tell us to do things or warn us against them. Some might even claim it’s the devil trying to steers us in the wrong direction, since of course the great deceiver would want to sow as much chaos as possible.

But what if we depend on those voices?

It’s true that if you talk to yourself you’re likely to get looked at funny, even if you’re not expecting an answer. Of course if you answer yourself the looks will get a little more severe, then you might even find yourself as an island as people actively avoid you while you’re having a full-on conversation with yourself. Then if you start losing the argument, to yourself, you might find that people just don’t want to be around you in general.

That’s okay, the voices are there. The voices will ALWAYS be there.

So long as you’re okay with them and they don’t bother anyone else what’s the harm? A person can hear voices in their head and think it’s perfectly okay. If they talk to themselves then so be it, why would it would be anyone else’s business? Well, unless they decided to carry on a full conversation with themselves in public, then it gets a bit awkward if it turns into an argument, since one side usually has to lose or both sides come to an agreement amidst a group of people that aren’t quite sure if the person speaking is going to be okay or suddenly run amok with an axe.

But hey, those are the risks we take by choosing to keep those voices.