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Dear Past……Sincerely, Present

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Dear Past,

Things have changed now since time has past,

I’ve grown, I’ve lived, and I’ve had some laughs.

I’ve struggled in this role I’ve been cast,

And at times I’ve wanted to say “I’ll pass”.

But Life directs me as it will,

I don’t always get my choice.

You made your plans right up until,

Life turned you around and stole my voice.

There are regrets of course there would be,

We’re human after all.

You did some things I knew to be empty,

Some things that might have been the wrong call.

But here we are in this present day,

You and I, me and you, we’ve come so far.

It seems that we and me are here to stay,

Chasing forever the same star.

Sincerely,

The Present

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Trusting Those That Have Been There

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It’s hard to admit when you need help sometimes. It’s even harder to admit that you don’t know what you’re doing when you have a set direction, an idea, and yet no clue on how to implement either of them. That’s how I feel in starting my own blogging site. I know what I want to do, I know what I can do, but getting there is a gap that I have yet to cross and to this point I haven’t found the materials I need to build that particular bridge yet. I do have a mentor that is willing to help, but listening to him at this point is harder than most things for a couple of reasons. One, I’m older now and set in my ways, which hampers my ability to keep an open mind at times, and two, I’m just too damned stubborn sometimes.

Thankfully I see the point of listening to those that have been there, done that, and can possibly guide me through the steps I need in order to make this blog a workable thing. Believe it or not, opening your mind to new possibilities is easy enough when you see the crushing defeat that someone who’s been there predicted might come. Even if you haven’t gone over that precipice, and it’s a hope that many of us won’t, it’s possible to come to the edge and see just what might happen if you keep going in the direction you were going.

Listening to those with experience isn’t hard, it’s accepting what they have to say when it argues with what you feel is the right course.

Blogging doesn’t have to be a business of course, it can be something fun and engaging that allows you to meet new people across the web and can help you to share ideas with others. But for those writers that want to get paid for doing what they love to do, blogging is one of the simplest things, in theory, that you could possibly fall into. The difficulty as I’ve seen thus far is getting anyone to pay attention and to find your niche, the one spot in writing that can be yours and will grant you the kind of following you want. So far my followers have been great and they’re extremely appreciated, but there’s always that desire to reach more, to inform more people and to make them realize that you’re worth listening to.

Getting to that point, to where you can speak to someone and have them believe that you know what they want to hear and know something about it, is a tough step. But once it’s accomplished people will seek you, they’ll tell others, and your following will grow. My mentor might argue vehemently with this, and he has told me more than once at this point that it’s all about knowing your market, which I can agree to, but it’s about knowing people as well. Instinctual writing is just as strong as popular writing, though in my belief it’s far less lucrative as people seem to be more uneasy about sharing what they feel deep down inside than they do when it comes to popular opinions and creating the kind of buzz that gets them noticed.

It’s instincts that make a writer however.

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All the prose, structure, marketability, and reading in the world mean nothing if you don’t have the writer’s instinct. If you don’t have a story to tell or the desire to tell it then writing is not the field for you. We will all tell a story in some way, but in terms of being a writer, of being a blogger, of being anyone that wants to share the many stories they have inside, instinct is what helps to define us.

I trust my mentor because he has that instinct, and I trust his judgment because he has the experience. But I trust my instincts as well, and I believe that people want someone to open up to that won’t belittle them, that will share with them when they want, and that will be forthright when they need it.

Am I wrong?

Why Vaccinating Your Child is Important

For a long, long time now, human beings have had to grow and adapt to a world that is more aggressive towards anything living than we could ever be to each other. The right of our generation and many before us and many that will come after us has been hard-won by evolutionary shifts that have allowed us to become more and more resilient to certain types of disease and infection that at one time might have caused widespread sickness without the possibility of a cure.

But as human beings have evolved so have the diseases, becoming stronger and stronger as the attempt to survive in this world is being won at the microscopic level just as often as it is at our level it would seem. The diseases tend to win if we can’t defend against them, and yet the one thing that helps our young to fight back while their immune system develops, the one thing that might insure the survival of our race, is the same thing that many people rail against because of the odds that harmful side effects could possibly happen.

It’s a gamble, that’s very true, but it’s also a surety that a child that is not vaccinated can be akin to dropping a biological bomb in the middle of a city and allowing it to spread as far as the winds and their fellow humans can carry it until it burns out. And if it’s a particularly strong virus? Then all bets are off. But really folks, please, rail against vaccinations, argue against the chance that we’re being given to prevent widespread disease. We risk our lives walking out of our houses every day, but we make sure we’re as ready as can be, don’t we?

Let’s talk about truths and falsehoods for a moment.

The claim that vaccinations cause seizures has gone on to state that the number of seizures have skyrocketed, as one in 20 children under 5 will suffer from epilepsy. The truth of it is that around 1 in 166 of kids under 5 will suffer epilepsy. Try again.

It’s been claimed that vaccines can cause childhood epilepsy, fever, infection, and brain swelling. Some folks might want to read a little harder as much of what was just stated is not caused by the vaccine. Febrile seizures can be caused by an inactive pathogen in the vaccine, but otherwise it’s been found that many upon many individuals that experienced epileptic fits were caused by an underlying genetic mutation. In other words it was inherent within their DNA before the vaccine was administered. The truth is that about 2 out of millions of children will have unexplained seizures after being vaccinated. That’s not quite an epidemic-level.

It would seem that vaccine package inserts actually state that they can run the risk of causing seizures. But as with every other FDA-approved medical treatment vaccines are require to be labeled with the potential risks. There is the possible risk of seizure, but much of the time this is related to those that have a family history of seizures. In other words if a family has a history of seizures then an individual might be at risk of suffering a seizure after being vaccinated.

To all those that are against vaccinating their children. It is your right, and your decision to vaccinate or not vaccinate your kids. Just don’t expect people that catch something from your child to say thank you for standing up.

Letting Go of Conventional Wisdom

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Of course I’m going to talk about writing and how this applies, but I’m also going to point out the life lesson as well. How many of us have held on to just about everything we felt we needed growing up? How about when we lose something, or someone? We hold onto things, moments, places in time, and even people because to lose them is a scary proposition. It seems to mean that we might forget those ideas, things, and people if they’re not around all the time.

But the truth is that they are. They don’t disappear when you let go of them. They don’t just up and fade away. They’re an imprint on your heart, your soul, and your mind. Those things and people you cherish won’t just go away. They’ll always mean something to you and so therefore they’ll always be there.

In writing and in life we have to learn how to let go and move forward, because that’s how life is lived, and that’s how the story progresses. We don’t ponder or worry over what might have been done differently in life largely because at this point we can’t change it. Even if we can or could, it’s not the best idea because in a way it would rewrite history, and the ramifications for such a thing are huge.

You’re stronger when you let go, as holding on only makes you weaker.

The more you cling to the past, the weaker you’ll become when it comes time to face the present and the future. You won’t have the skills, the experience, or the type of learning you need to continue the story, nor will you have the strength to face what is still to come. The story has to go on, but it can’t if you’re stuck in the first chapter trying to figure out what went wrong, what could have been done differently, and what you could have possibly done, said, or even helped to influence that might have made a difference.

By moving forward you continually push your limits, you gain strength by continually stretching the landscape of the story to fit your life, and by not allowing the past to take over what could become an interesting and very fulfilling tale.

It’s in our nature to fight, but it’s also in our nature to move forward.

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Think of it this way, if we didn’t tell new stories and only lived on the old and dated tales, what would our society look like? What would this world be like if we only focused on the past and didn’t move forward? Conventional wisdom tells us to move on and let go, to keep pushing forward. But we have to let go of even that from time to time and do something really hard, something that’s almost sacrilegious to some.

We have to forget so that we can remember what it’s like to move forward.

Hear Me Roar (part IV)

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(continued)

Yuma, Arizona

November 3rd, 2020

No one accosted her, and as far as she could tell no one had been in her home as she went about packing what she might need and being careful to not take too much or too little. The essentials such as toiletries would be wise, and several changes of clothes would also be a good idea. The $20 thousand dollars left in the top drawer of her desk where she kept her flash drives and other information-gathering devices was unexpected though.

She’d expected her family to have left her a small amount, big enough to live on but not enough to start a new life if she desired. Her family wasn’t super-rich by any means, but they could take care of themselves better than most in the city of Yuma. Twenty-thousand dollars wasn’t their life’s fortune, but it wasn’t a weekly allowance either. Alexis didn’t bother to question why they’d left this for her, thinking that no matter what they’d done or how they’d looked at her they still loved her, and this was just more proof. There was also a cellphone beneath the stacks of money that was not hers.

It was a smartphone, a prepay as she could see, and rather than see what it had been programmed with, if anything, she stuffed it in her bag and was on her way to the garage where her car, a sensible dark green Range Rover that she’d helped her parents pay for, was parked, gassed-up and ready to go. The Rover was an older model and hadn’t come with a lojack system attached to it thank goodness. She’d even had a mechanic friend of hers do a thorough check of the vehicle and he’d come up with nothing but a cool $200 for his troubles that she’d been happy to pay.

As she made her way to the top of the stairs leading down towards the lower level and almost directly to the garage however she heard the unmistakable snick of the front door being opened. A person could have tried to be as quiet as they possibly could and never have managed to open that door quietly enough to avoid some noise being heard. Of course it didn’t help the person coming in that she was fully alert and listening for anything at this point.

When no one said “hello?” however she was more than confident that the intruder was not here for a social call.

“Go around to the back,” someone whispered from the doorway, “She couldn’t have gotten far.”

Her fear warred with her anger at that point, but the latter finally won out. Thankfully she managed to tamp it down as she kept herself out of sight just beyond the staircase, thinking of what she could do in that moment that might not get her killed, captured, or otherwise harmed.

She didn’t give a damn about whoever had just invaded her home.

(to be continued)

The Painted Actress (part IV)

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(continued)

Rockaway Beach, OR

October 23rd, 2019

A few hours later she was standing on the beachfront, staring out at the large rock formations that sat hundreds of yards away, the surf lapping at their sides and sending spray to climb the rocky faces with each impact. Nico had driven her here and then gone off to do his part, which meant taking care of her and her career in any way that was needed. The rest was up to her.

“Hey look, the rockstar decided to join us today,” came a voice from behind her, snide and demeaning as always. Her costar for the film that she was about to shoot a scene for, Dylan Weathers, was about the most dickish and rude individual she’d ever met, yet because he could literally charm the pants of many women his age or younger he thought he was some kind of gift to the world. He’d tried to charm her out of her panties more than once and had only ever received a slap to the face and then a five-knuckle duster to his chin for his efforts.

“What’s that smell?” she asked, wrinkling her nose, “Did someone eat some bad tuna?”

He chuckled without humor as he came to stand a few feet from her, “You’d be smelly too if you’d just gone a few rounds with the weatherman,” he said with a sigh, stretching so as to show off the muscular physique that drove so many women wild. Jaymie could only roll her eyes in disgust and annoyance.

“Hey there are my stars!” exclaimed the director, who’d been pacing the beach not too far off to her right, apparently waiting for Jaymie and Dylan to show up but also trying to figure out which angle would be best to take in the Twin Rocks from. The location for the next shot had been her idea, as the director had wanted to be away from this place as quickly as possible after having spent only a couple of days here. He was from Los Angeles and said he couldn’t stand the lack of noises at night. To Jaymie though it was simply serene and a welcome reprieve from the many cities she’d had to visit during her career.

“Hope you’ve been working on your pucker,” Dylan said with a leer, making a kissing face at her as Jaymie grimaced, “Don’t be sucking at my lip like a dying fish, this shot needs to be good.”

“Then why are you here?” she quipped. It might have been the wrong thing to say, but Dylan was already walking away, acting like he hadn’t heard. That was fine with Jaymie. It gave her more time to think about how to best execute her plan.

(to be continued)

How to Plan Like a Writer

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Get that? Can it be any clearer? Oh sure some people will still argue about it until they’re blue in the face and then argue some more when writers calmly tell them “Don’t plan, just write.” It’s the nature of the dance between a reader that thinks they can write and a writer that’s been doing it for longer than the reader’s been flipping pages. You don’t plan to write, you simply write. If you have to plan then the chances are that what you write might not be all that great or that you might be selling out the moment someone offers you a crisp dollar bill. And that’s still not writing, it’s performing a trick for those that are willing to pay for the spectacle.

Writers don’t plan.

Yes you might contest this stating that of course they do. Writers keep outlines, they have a set direction in which their story needs to go, and they have notes aplenty that help them to move the story along in the way they desire. Fair enough, some do, but when you sit down to write the plan can turn to ash at a moment’s notice as it might no longer conform to what the writer wants. The mood of a writer can change like the tides, and will be just as barren or as flush as it can be on a regular basis. Planning doesn’t factor into it all the time unless you’re a control freak, in which case you are in the wrong profession.

You’re not there to control the story, you’re not there to control the reader, hell you’re not even there to control how your ideas hit the page. The writer is there to convey the story, to let it grow legs and run whichever way it will and entertain whoever reads it. They’re there to be the narrator, the caretaker, the guide at times and the voice of the story as it rolls out among those that want to be amazed. But one thing it doesn’t do is adhere to planning.

A story that’s planned out is going to miss out on a lot of details.

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Your job is to tell the story, and from there it’s up to the reader to read it and the story to entertain. As writer’s we’re the conduit between the different realms of imagination and the reader. We’re the doorway that opens to let the story come forth, we’re not the blueprint, the diagram, or even the faint, lingering outline that is meant to give structure to the story.

Don’t plan to write, just write.

Hear Me Roar (part III)

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(continued)

Yuma, Arizona

November 3rd, 2020

There wasn’t time to worry if anyone was around, she knew who this man represented by the sound of his voice, the fact that he didn’t speak to her longer than a single sentence, and more importantly, the way he smelled. She felt her teeth sharpen within her mouth, felt her bones strengthen, and felt the shift take over her entire form as she spun away from that hand, covering it with her own as her fingernails grew thin and incredibly durable as they dug into the flesh of his hand. Time seemed to slow down as he reacted much as those before him had, reaching for the handgun holstered at his hip. If he’d come towards her firing he might have had a shot, but just one.

Anything else would have been wasted ammunition. As it was, she wanted no wasted motion and as he opened his mouth to scream from the pain of her nails filleting the back of his hand she was moving, reaching up with her other hand as she stepped in close, using the immense strength she’d been given to clamp his jaw shut hard enough to shatter teeth and drive their jagged stumps into his gums. Blood began to seep from between his lips as he tried to resist, to pull away, but found that he couldn’t. She could already feel the effect beginning to wear off. When she was surprised and had to react too quickly the power she held wouldn’t last forever, but as she scanned about she saw nothing and no one that had been disturbed by this sudden altercation.

Days in Yuma were unbearably hot at times while nights were somewhat chilly, even in the winter, but it was rather temperate at the moment. People should have been outside, moving about, and she should have had to worry about onlookers seeing what she could do. But not even a dog or a stray cat could be seen moving about, and that worried her. That didn’t mean she was about let up on the pressure she was exerting on the man’s neck as she continued to push as much as she could on his jaw.

She didn’t stop until she heard the telltale crack and then the crunch of his vertebral column separating from the hole in his skull, a feat that one such as her normally would never be able to accomplish. It was amazing what one could do with enough additional force at their command. She would have to eat after this however, and soon, or she would succumb to sleep for longer than she believed she had.

Letting the man drop she felt the power she’d exerted begin to draw upon her reserves, her fingernails returning to normal and the pressure her enlarged teeth had placed upon her gums and lips lessening as she left the dead man to slide slightly down the incline she’d been standing upon. He would be found soon enough, which meant that she didn’t have much time.

It was time to take her family’s example and leave. She could only hope that she wasn’t too late.

(to be continued)

The Painted Actress (part III)

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(continued)

Garibaldi, OR

October 23rd, 2019

There was a moment of silence between them as Jaymie sat in the cushioned seat opposite of Nico, blowing over the top of her drink as she stared off into the distance. Nico inhaled through his nose as he leaned back, lifting one foot to put it on the side of the bed.

“What is it?” he asked with a long-suffering sigh.

“I think today’s the day,” Jaymie said quietly, taking another sip.

Nico didn’t move, didn’t say anything, and in fact only the soft shake of his head was evident as he closed his eyes. She’d been talking about this for weeks, but he’d been hoping she would never go through with it. He of course wouldn’t stop her since he knew just what she was doing, but he still didn’t fully approve. He was her agent and one of her best friends, so whatever she did affected his business but it also affected him because he genuinely cared about her.

But this was madness.

“I need to Nico,” she said after swallowing her sip, “It’s been too long since I started and nothing’s changing. In fact it’s getting worse.”

“I know,” he said with a sigh, taking his foot off of the bed and leaning forward as he looked at her seriously, “But are you sure this is the route you want to take?” He shook his head as she just looked at him without answering, “Of course you are, silly of me.” He blew out a long breath as he pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and index finger, “You know, being friends with you is turning me gray.”

“I thought that’s why you had kids,” she teased, smiling at him over her cup.

“I might as well count you as one of my kids,” he quipped, “We’ve known each other just about long enough.”

“And I definitely don’t listen when you want me to,” she said with a smile, raising her cup to cheers him softly as he grinned, shaking his head while grabbing his own cup. As the rims of their cups met he grinned back, a warm gesture she’d grown fond of too many years before.

“It’s going to be one helluva show kid,” he said, “I hope you’re ready.”

“Me too,” she replied.

(to be continued)

A Vendetta Against Religion? Not Really…

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I’ve been accused in the past of being anti-religion, and even accused of having a serious issue with religion itself. While it’s true I don’t view organized religion as a perfect thing it’s also very true that I won’t ascribe to it for my own reasons. For others it is a part of their lives that they choose, that they cling to, need, hold to, and possibly must have in order to make their life whole in some crucial way.

But like anything in this world it’s a belief in something, anything, that is more than one can possibly explain on their own. The faith that is required for any religion is a faith that, to me, is not wasted on those that practice any given religion, so long as they do so in a manner that is allows the rest of society to live in the manner they desire.

The ‘war’ between science and religion is laughable at best and dangerous at its worst.

For a very long time science and religion have stood on opposite sides of a divide that is created by human beings and widened by the denials of those that refuse to see what is right in front of them. Religion is all well and fine and there are moments throughout history that seem to beg for a greater depth of research so as to verify if certain things did in fact happen. But more and more that path will delve into science as it utilizes scientific methods that are not based solely on faith and will seek to unearth truths about the world that religion might not be able to handle.

This is where the trouble tends to really start. Up until a person’s faith is challenged there is typically no need for conflict, no need for anything other than a polite discourse between the devout members of any religion and the scientists that seek to draw out the truths of the world in which we live. The faith that can be, at times, overwhelmingly stubborn and even fanatical, will often cry foul at the findings of science and seek to debunk such facts and data by stating that it’s been fabricated and otherwise faked in order to question the faith of mankind.

Keep in mind this is worst-case scenario, as there are religious scientists and scientists that believe in religion even if they don’t fully ascribe to it. But those zealots from both camps that simply will not compromise and will not seek to discuss the overlap between both worlds are often those that continue this ongoing debate and find others to join the cause.

There is a great deal about the reality in which we live that we still don’t know.

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Science is at most a best guess as to what happened during the history of the world. It is taken on the faith of the hard evidence that is gathered and discovered throughout the world as it comes, and nothing more. Science isn’t as perfect as people seem to think, and neither is religion. We have only best guesses and the accounts of those that managed to log the information of the past when possible to go on, and as that goes we are all blind men and women seeking out a flickering candle flame that was lit millions upon millions of years ago.

What happened upon the emergence of our galaxy? How many others are there? How long will we remain here until something happens that wipes us all out or delivers us to the next stage of evolutionary change? Who knows? Science and religion will give us best guesses, as both are limited by the fact that humanity is in fact limited by our own hand.

There’s no need for a vendetta against religion. It’s limited in what it can possibly tell us about our world and what is to come, but then so is science, no matter how much more of the world it’s unveiled. What we know is that we don’t know, and in relation to both science and religion, there is still a great amount that human beings have yet to discover.