And I Can’t Get Up A Blast From The Past From April 2020

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And I Can’t Get Up A Blast From The Past From April 2020

If you’re like me, you have trouble with the usual encouragement and sayings that are meant to give you strength/courage/optimism.

You know perfectly well what I mean. I’m not going to give sources for these, because I hear them from everywhere, and my mind isn’t really good at buying anything wholesale.  Hint, my mind buys it even less if it comes with a cute kitten.  I think I started hating motivational posters before I had my first job (Which this being the eighties was PLASTERED in them).  (Though at one time I did have the “hang in there” poster because the kitten was adorable.  So, I’m inconsistent. Deal with it.) We are naturally attracted to demotivational posts out of frustration with the easy pollyannaish motivational posts, and annoyance with the people who believe in them.  Hold on to that thought. It’s important. Seeing people for whom things seem to work, particularly things that our annoying brains tell us are far more complex than the poster/maxim/story is making them out to be causes annoyance. Frustrated annoyance. And a desire to believe the opposite.  If people tell you “Hang in there” you know you’re going to drop hard. You just know it.

Some of it is born of experience, sure, but be honest with yourself, you expected it all along.  Remember that too, it’s important.

One of the things that annoys me most is the saying that “the best predictor of whether you’ll succeed is how many times you fail.”  Mostly because that’s not how that works. That’s not how any of that works.

That saying is sort of the incarnation of survivor bias.  The more you’ve gotten knocked down AND still managed to get up, the more likely you are to succeed, sure. But that’s because you’re already by any definition a fairly exceptional person.

I’ll use writing for a bunch of this because it’s THE experience I have, but honestly, you could use anything, from your love life to your attempts and being the world’s best tiddly winks player.  (Why am I obsessed with tiddly winks? Well, my eidetic, brilliant brother spent something like 12 years devoting all his free time to playing tiddly winks, a game that in Portugal, usually was left behind at age six or so (for boys. Girls didn’t play it.) In retrospect, it was an addictive behavior. If he’d had video games, he’d probably have been addicted to that. It’s not unusual for very, very bright people to need to dull the pain of… well… of the world not being made for them. And if they have an addictive personality, even if they don’t fall into drugs or alcohol, they’ll get addicted to something REALLY weird.  For one of the worst times of my life, I was addicted to fanfic for a TV series that I never watched. Why? Well, it kept the brain minimally occupied so I could dream my life away without DOING anything. Yes, brother eventually stopped it. But meanwhile my parents kept joking his ambition in life was to be the world’s best tiddly winks player.)

Most people who want to be writers never start.  Laziness? Maybe. Perhaps. Sitting down and putting fingers on keyboard is not physical work, but it is work.

I’d argue though that most of the time the problem is not so much laziness as the fear of never getting better. I know that’s true for almost everyone who tries to draw anything.

And trying to write a story is a series of compromises. In your mind the thing is multicolored and gigantic, with 100 actors and 1000 elephants. But you can’t write that. It’s simply not something you can put on a page. No one is going to follow that sort of diffuse action. So you compromise.  You’ll tell this person’s story. Maybe 10 actors. And one elephant.

And even then, if you’re a beginner you’re going to botch it.  For instance, it’s perfectly normal for beginning authors not to be able to handle more than two characters on the page at a time.

So most people give up. Our model as humans seems to be “perfect first time, or I’m no good” but also most people don’t believe they can get THAT much better. (Hint, you can.)

I no longer remember the statistics, and since I don’t know how they collect them anyway, they’re probably meaningless, but it’s something like:of a million people who ever thought to write a book, one actually does it.  Of course, there’s no way of measuring how seriously they thought of it, so again, it’s just a vague indication.

We do have more solid ground for people who actually wrote anything significant AND submitted it, ever getting accepted.  The ratio is something astronomical like 100000 to one.

Why? Because most people give up after the first rejection.  On this, I’m going on my experience in many writers’ groups over the years.  Any number of people I met along the way wrote ONE NOVEL. It was a good novel, in most cases (two were brilliant.) They then spent the next five, ten, fifteen years trying to sell it, so single mindedly focused on selling it, that they never wrote another.  And the novel got rejected. It got EPICALLY rejected. It got rejected by every reputable outfit and a dozen of the oh, 100 or so I knew ended up falling for scams like “pay us to read” or “pay us to publish.”  When this failed to obtain success, they stopped writing. Well, honestly, they’d stopped writing years before, in favor of selling the one novel. But that’s something else. The truth is that they looked at that novel as “proof of concept” and since it didn’t sell, they knew nothing would sell and they gave up.

This is understandable, but completely contrary to reality.  So contrary it doesn’t even coexist in the same plane.  It’s part of the lies we tell ourselves and the world tells us “if your thing is good enough, it will be a bestseller.”  Doesn’t work like that. You’re not submitting your novel to some all-knowing perfect judge. You’re submitting it to a person who is flawed and has issues in his own life and views your story through their own lens. And sometimes their lens has bloody nothing to do with anything you could anticipate when writing the novel. For instance, one of my series took SIXTEEN years to sell, because it was weird, but also because the one house who WOULD have bought it rejected it with “we bought something very similar just last week.”  You know, in such circumstances I assume they’re lying. But I know what they bought, and yes, it’s very similar. And it went on to be a bestseller.

Let’s assume you’re one of the very resilient few and write a second novel and a third novel, while trying to sell the first. (I wrote nine. Three of those have sold since.)

The fairy of good fortune comes and touches your novel.  It sold. YAY.

Good for you. Be aware the chances of its becoming a bestseller is not dependent on quality, but on distribution, cover, and how much the house pushes it.  Heck, the chances of it becoming a GOOD seller are minimal.

Most people who sell a book never sell a second. I don’t know how many, but way in excess of half.

By the way, all of this applies to indie. Most people who put a novel up never sell more than a dozen copies. Discoverability is the problem, mostly. Just advertising your novel everywhere is not going to make it a bestseller (for one indie is heavily biased for series.)  I’m not in writers’ groups now, but I KNOW just from people who write me and who decided they were “no good” after a novel or a short story that the “drop out because of perceived failure” rate is about the same.

So, what about if you sell a second or a third, or a fourth novel?  Yeah. My career has died… eight times now.  Utterly dead. At one time it took me almost two years to sell anything to anyone again. I did a full relation of my career here.  Well, more or less full. I elided some set backs. And there’s been one more since that was written. Without going into details let’s say my own remaining option — ONLY option — is going indie with both feet. Whether I’ll ever recover my IP is something else again. No, I’m not ecstatic about any of this. More on that later.

One of the most bitterly funny things about me is that most people perceive me as an optimist.  One of you in comments yesterday asked where do you master the will and the optimism to try again.  Ah!

It has nothing to do with will or optimism.  Seriously. Absolutely nothing. It has to do with being alive and wishing to remain so.

My family is notoriously unlucky. I was born knowing that or at least imbibed it with mother’s milk.  Seriously “if we made baby bonnets, babies would be born without a head” unlucky. The stories of wars, investments and just general life in which we backed the losing side KNOWING IT WAS THE LOSING SIDE is extensive.

On dad’s side (you don’t want to know about mom’s truly) we tend towards melancholic depression, dark sense of humor and sad poetry.  Because I’m half mother’s daughter, my depressions can get way more active and self destructive. Which is why I learned to control them early.

To all this is added a disposition I’ve started calling “born owing money.” (Though in fact I wasn’t, mostly because my parents have a debt-phobia, one they passed one.)  You don’t approach the world as though it can give you things. You approach it as though you’re afraid of bothering it, and would much rather it didn’t notice you.

How much are all of these attitudes responsible for the repeated failures in my career.  I don’t know. When your lens is flawed, what do you see through.

I don’t believe in affirmations. Sometimes I’d like to, but I don’t. They’re like the motivational posters.  It does you no good to write on your mirror “I’m beautiful and everyone loves me” if you know with bone deep certainty that this isn’t true.

And yet, I know from observing others lives that what you start out with really influences the outcome.  And by that I don’t mean your gifts, talents, beauty, or even wealth.

A little man who looks like a monkey and smells like a diseased weasel but who believes he’s the master stallion of the world will have women hanging off him. A smart, handsome man who thinks he’ll never get a romantic relationship will die bitter and alone.

Part of it is that if you don’t believe something is possible, you don’t even see the opportunity when offered.  Part of it is that when you get it, and attempt it, you keep expecting it to crash. And part of it is that you don’t protest bad treatment, don’t ask for what you deserve.

i.e. Yeah, your beliefs about life and yourself can set you up for failure.

I realized last year I simply did not believe I could be successful in writing.  What does that influence? Well, everything. From how much I put in my writing, to how much I write, to how much I promo, to…

“But Sarah,” you say “I’ve really failed over and over and over at thing x. Why should I try again?”

And I’ve failed over and over and over again at becoming spectacularly successful, or at least having a publisher recognize the potential of anything I wrote. (Weirdly a ghost written novel for another writer made her career.  Odd, uh?)

So, why not just lay down?  Why not give up?

It depends.  Is it something you CAN give up? By which I mean without significantly losing part of who you are and what you want from life?

I could give up sewing or art tomorrow. I probably won’t, but I could. They’re “interesting” occupations, not part of what I am and how I’m made to function.  Not the thing I’ve wanted all my life.

I’ll eventually have the kids move out of state (probably) and see them only a few times a year. That’s fine. My relationship as a mother is something created to be given up (if successful.)  If we’re lucky, we’ll replace it with friendship.  But could I give up my marriage?  Well, we’ve had our ups and downs, but I fight for it because no I couldn’t. Not without losing a significant part of myself.

The crucial question is “And if you give up, then what?”

For something that’s central to you, the answer is usually “I don’t know. I do nothing.” or perhaps “I’ll just drift.”  That might not be the answer, in those words, but it is what will happen.

In the few times I thought I HAD to give up, I undertook bizarre, mind numbing activities. To avoid doing the beloved thing, because that hurt.

So, where do you find the strength — ah! — and the optimism — ahah! — to get up again?

You don’t. You get up because you have to. Because there’s nothing else on the other side of giving up.

Look, we tend to think in static categories.  “I’ll just give up.”  Or “I’ll succeed.”  Or “I’ll fail.”

But none of these are permanent. Nothing stays still, not even our emotional states.  All of them are followed by “and then what?”

Even those who succeed will EVENTUALLY experience failure.  Trust me, I have a ton of friends who are bestsellers. Most of them have experienced catastrophic failure more times than success.

“The key is to get up one more time than you fall down.” Sure, but how. From what?

From a fear of what happens if you don’t.

I hesitate to write this, because the person might read this blog and know himself. But if he does, perhaps it will help, because it’s high time he understood it.  Hell, we saw it happen and we didn’t understand it.

Decades ago, when we were young and green as grass, and Dan was just starting up his career, we met someone about our age (a little older)who wanted more than anything to be a writer.  His education and background were different from ours and he thought this was massively important but it wasn’t.  When we were all young, he was starting out in a profession with just as much potential as Dan’s, and he was moderately successful and made just a little less than Dan.  And hell, he had advantages I never had in writing. For one, he was a native speaker of English. For another, he had some vague idea of how publishing worked.  Very vague, but better than mine.

Over the years, I wrote and wrote and wrote. It took me 9 years from first sending anything out to selling a short story at semi-pro rates. It took me 13 to sell a novel (and that series crashed hard.)

I’m not made of iron. I’m naturally pessimistic. Sometimes rejections hit so hard they disabled me for months. Not just being unable to write, but sometimes spending months crying and trying to hide it from Dan and the boys.  One day I had 60 some rejections ON MY BIRTHDAY.

But there was nothing else, so I kept writing. Along the way I stopped here and there, tried to give up and got some really spectacularly stupid addictions (fanfic for TV series I’d never watched, for instance.)  And carried them on for months/a year before realizing it was not just making me useless, it was making me hate other people/resent them for no good reason.  Like, I hated everyone who was still writing — even my closest friends — even though they had NO success.  Because they were writing, and I couldn’t/had given it up.  When I started being mean to my kids, because I was hurting and someone else had to hurt, is when I realized I had to pull up. Even the stupid addictions are hard to give up. Trust me. It was difficult.

Along the way I had some successes too. Some critical acclaim. A couple of awards. Series that sold well enough I had the income of an underpaid secretary now and then for some years.

Our used-to-be-friend?  Not so much.

He had a story accepted and the magazine went under without publishing it (note this happened eight times with the first story I sold. It killed magazines.) and this seemed to be it for him. He wrote a few more stories because all our friends were writing them, but some of them he seemed to think he was being clever and mocking our idea you could just write many stories. He seemed to think he was writing very bad stuff.  In fact, that’s some of his best, but never mind.

And he became more and more invested in the idea he’d write a novel, it would be a world-shattering success, he’d be set for life.  This is not the way things happen.

I don’t know if he tried it. One of our kids thinks he did. And got rejected.  Possibly.

What I know is that year on year, as the “defeats”– and he seemed to view MY successes (such as they were, dear lord) as his defeats — accumulated he did less and less and less. He restricted himself more and more.

And though it took us years to realize it, he came to first resent us, then hate us.  It manifested in a hundred different ways, all under the flag of continued friendship.  We felt sorry for him and tried to help him, but every time we saw him, it became more unpleasant.  Until two years ago at the end of the year he went too far and at a time when we had neither financial nor emotional resources to handle it.  He has tried — at least twice — since then to “avenge” himself by bringing crisis into our life, at a time when he thought we were at a party or enjoying ourselves. (We weren’t, but that’s something else again.)

Normally I hate losing friends. I hate cutting off contact with anyone. This time I realized I was ridiculously relieved.

I realized over the years he’d acquired the habit of belittling us, attacking us verbally, inflicting his presence on us at the least wanted times, and generally being a pain in the ass.

Why?

See the thing above.  This was an immensely talented individual who fell down a couple of times and decided that was good. He’d just lay down and rot.  But he couldn’t help knowing what he’d wasted. And he couldn’t help resenting those of us who had gone on to do ANYTHING.  Anything, even my halting, painful, not very profitable career seemed amazing to him, and also like “if there was any justice, I should have had that.”

From the amount of times he tried to bleed us (financial emergencies. Loans never paid. Etc. etc. etc.) he also viewed us as “very wealthy.” (We’re okay.  We make do. A little stressed now for reasons that should pass in a year. But mostly through the miracle of living beneath our means, buying from thrift stores, etc.)

You can’t lie there.  You can’t just lie there.  You’re alive. You can’t stop. Because you can’t. Because that’s not how humans work.

Not getting up is a choice, and not one that ends in a static option. You’re not just going to be there, forever, world without end. No. You’re going to become bitter, resentful, envious of everyone and everything, even JUST those who are still trying.  You’re going to say “I wish I had their optimism” without having a clue if they have it, because they must have SOMETHING you lack.  You’re going to think it’s their academic education (ah!) or their higher class background (ahah. Doesn’t translate between countries) or that they’re prettier than you, or have better clothes, or … Lord alone knows.

And in the process you’re going to destroy everything, including the regard of people who once cared for you. You’re going to push everyone away. Most of all you’re going to destroy yourself.

The opposite of trying once more isn’t just laying there.  The opposite of trying is dying. And a horrible death in bitterness and self-destruction.

The example I gave is NOT the only one I’ve seen, it is just perhaps the most spectacular example of it I’ve ever seen.

When you fall and decide you can’t get up, you’re choosing to reign in hell, rather than serve in heaven. You don’t have to be religious to understand that. Milton knew a thing or two about people.  You are NOT lacking strength or optimism.  Because those aren’t needed to get up again, and try again.  You can do that from nothing but stubbornness.

No. You’re choosing to lie there and die because your pride is hurt. You should have been an amazing success.  Don’t they recognize your genius? Fools! you’ll show them.

Only the only person you can destroy is yourself. And you do.

This is why I crawl up, on bloodied and hands and knees and try again. Despite total pessimism and lack of strength. Over and over and over again.

If they made a motivational kitten poster of me, it would be too bloodied and gruesome to hang in an office.  My spirit animal is Inigo Montoya.

Will I succeed? I don’t know.  I am actually trying to convince myself success is possible, because I’ve realized mind set is important.

Will I lie down and die? No. Because that’s not an option. Failure is not just a static state. It’s decaying and bitterness and giving yourself in to evil. And I’m not doing THAT.

So.  Up on bloody knees. Despite weakness and despair, up.

Because there’s nothing else.

Burning and Curing

Everywhere you turn these days, the term “civil war” is on everyone’s lips.

We know the left WANTS one, both because they tell us they do, and because, true to their mechanic of projection, they tell us it’s the “right” that wants the civil war, and latch onto the craziest things, like Hawaiian shirts, which men of certain portliness wear, as a sure sign we’re now wearing a uniform and we “want a civil war.”

The thing might be unavoidable, of course, since they’re trying so hard — and I’ll explain WHY they’re trying so hard in a minute — but my earnest question to those on the right doing things like posting memes of the Founding Fathers with “my homies and I would already be stacking bodies” (Which is historically wrong. They put up with a lot more shit than we have. The Road to the Revolution was loooong. You only hear about “relevant precipitating incidents”, but it was a long time before Americans snapped. This has been true in every war, btw.) is “WHY would you give the left what they want?”

Have they been alive in this world at the same time I have? Because I don’t recall a time that what the left wanted wasn’t good for them and bad for everyone else.

In this case, the left needs a civil war. They need to destroy civilization, control the news again, and install a totalitarian regime where no dissent will be allowed. Yes, they’re trying to get it by means of censorship, but if that were working, they wouldn’t be so hot to trot.

The most baffling thing about what I’ll call “The dogs of war” on the right is that it doesn’t stop with circumstances. No, seriously. Before 2016, they wanted to burn it all down. (To an extent, I DO understand that, by the way. Because after Obama, Hillary would have put an end to us. It doesn’t mean going out in a blaze of glory was the smart choice for us and for the future. But it was understandable.) Then Trump won, and they REALLY wanted to burn it all down. Uh? You have the president, the house and congress. Yes, embattled. What, you expected it to be a fairy tale and the dragon imploded? But still, you’ve shown you have the ability to change with the system you have…. and you want to blow it all down? And now they want to burn it all down….

At which point do they realize that whatever is driving them is not the current political situation? And that maybe what apparently are called “black pillers” are not people who have our society’s best interests at heart?

Has the time leading to Trump’s election taught you nothing? All the people running around, approvingly talking about how racist he was, who disappeared right after the election….. YOU THINK THEY WERE REAL? YOU THINK THEY WERE AMERICAN? YOU THINK THEY WERE ON THE RIGHT? Are you out of your minds?

That’s the beginning, but there are other things. Like the insistence that our loss of the rule of law is unprecedented. That cancel culture is unprecedented. That our colleges are uniquely infected.

Every time I hear this — and often it is from a leftist who is changing — I want to post this:

Look, I do realize I see things a certain way, because of where I was born/grew up. But I’ve lived here most of my adult life.

The shock was not coming here as an exchange student, from a country dominated by the left where education taught the splendors of communism and my suddenly enjoying the land of the free. The shock was realizing your left was a lot like our left — just more veiled — that the history books taught the same bullshit, only less openly, and that you had to keep your mouth shut about how bad the left/communism/socialism were or risk being treated as crazy or an idiot by all the bien pensant.

The number of times I told my host family “This is what is really going on” and they told me that stuff didn’t happen in America and I was being paranoid is in the hundreds. You know, stuff like sitcoms painting Reagan as a crazy person and practically campaigning for Carter? Yeah, stuff like that. They, btw, eventually came to see it. By then, at eighteen, I couldn’t figure out how people didn’t see it.

And yes, of course I kept my mouth shut in school and social situations. Because if even my host family thought I was insane, what would strangers think?

And when I came here as a young wife, it was no different. Yes, part of this were the circles I ran in, which were academic/artistic and technological on the husband’s side. But it was the same. When our dentist, during a session, campaigned for the democrat for mayor, and talked about the horrible racism of the GOP candidate (assumed because GOP) do you think I set her straight? She’d just decide I was racist.

As for cancel culture…. PFUI. With a cherry on top. Why do you think I kept my mouth shut in order to keep writing. It didn’t even take much. I know for a fact a liking for elephants as an animal was enough to make people suspect you of being a secret republican. And like the hunt for witches, once they suspected you, it was easy to find “corroboration.” You’re religious? Ah! Obviously an evil right winger who wants to kill all non believers, put women in chain, restore slavery, etc. etc. (The fact their image of the right has bloody nothing to do with reality never stopped them. Besides it was reinforced by entertainment, the news, everything.)

And yes, you’d get cancelled. I saw it happen. Granted, it wasn’t all politics. You could get cancelled for all sorts of reasons. Word went out that you were seen with so and so, who once called your editor a b*tch, and you were friendly with them. And no one would touch you again. Suddenly you were “difficult to work with” and no other editor would accept you.

Why not? There was an infinite supply of widget-writers, and what made you really successful was whether you got promo and push or not (to an extent not wrong, after selling to the net, btw. It just took them a while to figure out that they couldn’t make dog turds shine.) You were done. More importantly everyone was warned not to talk to you, read you, or even think about you. You were banished.

It was no different in other entertainment, academic, or even news or scientific circles. Cancel culture has been alive and well ever since I’ve been in this country. It’s just that most people weren’t aware of it. This is how we got the myth that only leftists were talented, because they were the only visible ones. The other ones disappeared. And though people tried to explain why civilizational product in general, from science to art, was going down, (the left loved the theory of the decadence brought on by capitalism), it never occurred to the average man on the street that the people in these fields were being judged and culled by criteria that had nothing to do with ability or merit.

Heck, even some people to the right of Lenin who had come in before me, when the left at least attempted to pretend they were even-handed didn’t see it. They bought into the myth it was all merit. BUT they knew too. Because they advised you not to be seen with so and so. They just never correlated it. And if I brought it up, I was told it was a conspiracy theory. So I didn’t.

It wasn’t a conspiracy, btw. As we’ve found out, a lot of fellow-travelers who all believe the same thing and head the same way is indistinguishable from a conspiracy. Also, the power to cancel and destroy was the stronger because they controlled the mass media, the press, etc.

But Sarah, you say, we’re seeing uniquely partisan persecutions, and attacks, and–

Really? Want to bet on that? I’m remiss on studying the history of the US, I confess, but while there have been better times — mostly while the west was open, which meant there were places where it was hard to track people, although that had its downsides, too — and worse times, partisan persecution, oppression, suppression of opinions, etc, have always been with us. They probably always will be, honestly. We are human.

It’s good to have the ideal of equal treatment under the law. It’s also important to realize that it’s never going to happen. Not completely. For various reasons, but mostly because no, ever judge is not going to be a paragon. Every police officer is not going to be a saint. And there are no angels among the populace, either. Miscarriages of justice will happen. To demand a world where there is no miscarriage of justice, ever, puts you in the same mind set as the idiots who think all men should be responsible because one of them is a rapist. That’s not how humans work.

But Sarah, look at how they’ve gone after Trump and his people….

Yeah. I’ll forgive that to the college kids who don’t know any better, but those of you who were old enough to shave at the same time I bought my first lipstick (at 17. I was a late bloomer) do not get that kind of pass.

It’s like you’ve forgotten the endless “scandals” of the Reagan administration, that kept them tied in lawfare. It’s like you forgot that aids to Bush were thrown in prison on bullshit procedural “crimes.” It’s like you don’t realize that compared to what Obama clearly has gotten away with, Nixon was a choirboy.

And by the way, I’m sure all of that goes back much, much further back.

But Sarah, the federal government didn’t have that kind of power in the past–

Oh, yeah? Read first-hand sources during WWI. Or WWII. Or read The Forgotten Man which is like a manual on how a deranged totalitarian president can screw this country. Ask yourself how we got where we’re now. How the crawl through the institutions happened. How they came to have control of our societal mechanisms. Go ahead. Ask yourself how we got here. And how long it’s been going on. (Heinlein said that the Democrats had been taken over by communists by the forties. That communists were in control where it counted. I see no reason to doubt him.)

Your ignorance of how bad things were in the past, doesn’t make this the worst things have ever been.

So, what has changed?

Well, it’ more visible now. Things have changed, indeed — changed at such a pace that it qualifies as “catastrophic change” in the last 20 years or so. 20 years ago? I’d be praying a lot and keeping my mouth tight shut. Also, most of the publishing establishment would think of me as a very domestic woman with no political opinions. One of those Latin moms, you know? Why? Well, because I would want my stories to continue being read.

Now?

Despite all attempts at keeping only the official narrative going, the dems are losing control. They’re losing control of the very institutions they worked so hard to control completely. They can cancel people to an extent, but people KNOW ABOUT IT. And that in itself, even if the canceling works, goes against them, because other people realize what’s going on.

Obama? They tried to paint him as a boy scout, pure as driven snow. But it didn’t work. Stuff leaked. No one but the most invested of the left believes that his administration was ethical and pure. Hillary? They tried to sell her so hard. SO hard. Media and entertainment burned their credibility to do it. (And it was planned, since at least Clinton’s first term, when I heard a bunch of editors talk about how long it would be before we COULD have HER, who was the real hard left in the family.) And it didn’t work. Enough stuff had leaked, that the stink clung to her. And their media lost a bit of their shine.

Their war on Trump? Sure, it’s been worse than anything I’ve seen. But part of it is that I’ve SEEN it. What was going on before, when we relied on the tainted media to report? Do you know? Because I don’t.

I know that most republicans before didn’t fight. I don’t judge them harshly, even those who clearly developed Stockholm Syndrome.

I don’t judge them because…. go up there and read that if things hadn’t changed the way they have in the last twenty years, I’d probably still be tightly politically closeted. Trying to embed messages in my books, sure, and probably getting more and more depressed because I couldn’t tell the truth (which would increase my silences) but …. What would be the point of telling the truth? Or of blowing things up and start shooting people? I’d just go down in history as a monster and be used to destroy people like me. Be used to increase the repression. (Yes, that is still in effect to some extent, though it’s changing. The fact the right refused to condemn Kyle Rittenhouse scared the living crap out of the left, which is part of the reason they started calling out the rioters. BUT his case is so clear cut defense, that the left had trouble selling it. And also, even so, a lot of the “not politically connected people” BOUGHT the idea he was a white supremacist murderer. So the stupid press still has some power.)

So I don’t judge the older republicans too harshly. And I do realize why Trump daring to fight back drives the left bonkers. It’s not just that he fights back, but that by and large he gets away with it, which is a reminder of how much power they have lost.

Guys, the very fact they’re OPENLY talking about stealing the election via fraud, is not a sign of their power, but of how they are losing power.

If they still had the power they had 30 years ago, all you’d hear is how the people would all rise up and vote for Biden. Seriously. And you wouldn’t even have a suspicion he’s demented as f*ck. Because you’d watch the debates and think it, but then you’d hear everyone talk about his acumen and wonderfulness, and you’d go “well…. I might be crazy.”

Yes, this year has driven me nuts, partly because I’m cracked due to past experiences. You don’t need to have been in physical battle to experience PTSD. And I think that’s hitting a lot of you too.

But what you have to realize is that the old establishment, from corrupt scientists to the news media, to the lefty governors, to academia and the schools went all in, did everything to create a crisis (it’s not a surprise. They were openly wishing for something to crash the economy. And for the idiots reading this, no, I’m not saying they created or made up the virus. I’m saying they directed the response in the craziest, most counterproductive way possible) in order for the mass media to regain their captive audience, and the left to sell their story.

And they’re failing. Across the country they are failing. What they succeeded in doing, in fact, was destroy what remained of the credibility and finances of the institutions they control.

So, yes, they want a civil war. That’s their hail mary pass. That’s their only chance. If we remain free and functioning as a society, they’re done, and they know it. This is also why they’re openly fantasizing about fraud.

This is not the behavior of people who subscribe to an ascendant, powerful philosophy. This is the behavior of ants whose hill has been dug up.

There is a book, and I wish I knew which, only I think I rather hated the book, and that it was one of those mainstream things that I read because I had to, which had an insane description that stuck with me.

It was talking about a little boy with a boil. The little boy was very proud of that boil, and watched it swell, and become huge and red, and admired the sheen of the stretched skin. Yeah, it hurt a bit, but look how big, how beautiful it was. And then someone (I don’t remember who) lanced it, and all this yellow, bad smelling stuff came pouring out. And he cried because the stuff was revolting, and he no longer had his big shining boil.

That is kind of what I’m seeing. All this bad smelling, yellow/green corruption you’re seeing? It was always there. In fact, the modern left have become uniformly horrible human beings because the cover of the institutions meant their corruption was never found, so they could do whatever they wanted with no fear. My guess is that the sewer-like effluvium we’ve not yet seen is much worse than we can guess at. Worse than anything we can dream of, because we are not by and large insane.

BUT just because you didn’t see it, weren’t aware of it before, or were briefly aware of it, and then it was covered over, it doesn’t mean things weren’t as bad before. I think they were worse.

The new tech was enough to lance the boil. Oh, not fully. But enough for us to see some of what’s inside. Enough for the left to be unable to keep it all secret, and pretend only crazy people oppose their program, and that they’re the best there is.

And that’s what scares them. If the boil is fully cut open, we’ll all see what it holds and it will heal. Sunlight and the disinfectant of people’s disgust will destroy their cozy corruption. They can’t stand it. They want to destroy our ability to open that boil more. And only a complete collapse of society will give them that power again.

This is why they’re pushing so hard for civil war.

The question is, why should we give it to them?

Yes, it might become inevitable. But that point is not now. Hell, the point might not come if they win through massive fraud. It might, though. Depends on what they do with that, and how far to North Korea they manage to take us. My guess is, like Obama, they’ll find they’re not as powerful as they think they’d be. And also that the levels of fraud will generate more resistance than they dream of. I could be wrong.

Am I saying there won’t be a time to fight? Who? Me? One of you gave my husband a shirt saying “I’m with the excitable Latina.” You know better.

I’m just saying that though I too long for a clear confrontation, one that will finally lay everything bare…. That’s not the way reality works. We’re not a in a movie.

Listen to those in the comments who have experienced civil war and insurrection. Or read (real) histories of the revolutionary war and the civil war. Once the shooting starts, things get murky, and high principles get lost.

Yes, we got very lucky with the revolutionary war, and to a certain extent with the civil war — it could have been worse, believe it or not, even if the changes to our government set up the seeds of the current mess — but do you want to roll for a third time? Before it’s absolutely needed? Really?

Sure, the time might come — and unfortunately not far off — to live free or die. But if the time comes it must be done with forethought and in the certainty it won’t lead to what we’re trying to avoid. Trusting the left to poke us into it, and thinking it will turn out all right is a fool’s game.

This is no time to go wobbly. If the republic can be saved at the ballot box, the cartridge box should stay shut. Full and ready, but shut.

In the end we win, they lose. Unless we start falling for their — weak — mind games.

Be not afraid!

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo

Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM MARY CATELLI: Lifestone.

A mysterious castle holds an evil wizard.

How evil — the knights only learn when they come to the very gate, where he can wield the Lifestone.

FROM MARY CATELLI:  Were I You.

The Fair Folk live in the neighborhood, disreputable with their magic, and Rosemary Whitney ignores them as best she can, like all respectable people.

But Old Peg starts to tell a story, about changelings, and whether Rosemary Whitney is herself, or Old Peg’s daughter Mad Nan. . . .

FROM AMANDA S. GREEN:  Cat’s Paw: A Nocturnal Awakenings Prequel.

Five years after the world learned shapeshifters are real, Mackenzie Santos is at a crossroads. Her responsibilities to the local pride and the Tribunal are taking more and more of her time. As the Dallas Police Department’s official liaison with the federal government on all things dealing with shapeshifters, she often finds herself on the road. That means she is away from her daughter, who is growing up much too quickly. Something has to give, and it might just be the job she loves.

But walking away isn’t going to be easy. Someone out there is determined to prove monsters do walk the face of the Earth and that they are the top of the proverbial food chain. They don’t care how many lives are lost or how many innocents are hurt. This is war and Mac and those she loves are in the middle of ground zero.

Leaving the DPD may no longer be an option. Yet the restrictions placed on her as a cop may prevent her from stopping the carnage, especially since she doesn’t know where the danger comes from or where it will strike next.

ELLIE FERGUSON:  A Magical Portent (Eerie Side of the Tracks Book 4).

Storm clouds gather. An unknown danger nears, one that may spell the end of Mossy Creek, TX, and all those who live there.

Dr. Jax Powell and her best friends, her sisters from other misters, are determined to do whatever it takes to protect their town and loved ones. Each of them, once considered the town’s wayward children, have returned home. All but one: Magdalena “Maddy” Reyes. She’s not refused to return to Mossy Creek, but she appears to have dropped off the face of the Earth—or at least from the streets of Dublin.

Can they find Maddy and save their town or is it already too late?

A Magical Portent is novella-length story that follows Rogue’s Magic.

FROM CEDAR SANDERSON:  The Violet Mouse.

Trust me.
There are things in the lab no-one ever talks about.
Risk everything.
How far would you go to save a friend’s last hope?

Three friends, one fateful conversation. You can’t let your closest friends do something drastic, not if you can help it. When one of you has a a brilliant mind, another is a skeptic, and the last one is willing to be a guinea pig… should you stop them?

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: Wide-eyed.

Elastic

I don’t feel up to writing a post, mostly because my head isn’t “fully on” yet, (I’ve managed to be jetlagged for two time zones at once) and I’m not up to writing the Witch’s Daughter chapter that’s ridiculously overdue.

I’ll try to do it tomorrow or tonight, around the promo post which, yes, I’m aware is ALSO overdue.

Look, the last two weeks were excessively 2020, okay? I’m trying to recover.

So I’m going to tell you what I was thinking of, apropos nothing (as far as I know) this morning.

I was thinking about Faustina, the elastic lady.

Uh?

Well, it goes something like this: my family has a tradition of scaring unruly children into behaving.

I’m sure it will shock EVERYONE here that I was an unruly — though more pain in the neck, rule lawyering — kid. Actually that’s how I managed to get kicked out of kindergarten. I kept rule-lawyering the teacher, and not just about my issues (I was actually fairly well behaved, as I’d hide in a corner and read) but everyone the teacher tried to punish. Mostly because she had a tendency to pick on kids who didn’t know how to defend themselves.

After bribes of candy (I hate hard candy, and that’s what she offered) and a glow in the dark rosary (who can resist that you ask? Well, I did) had failed, she took me by the hand, walked me back home, and handed me to grandma with the words “Next year, we’ll have to take her. Until then the law doesn’t say she has to be at school. Keep her at home, please.”

Anyway, as you can imagine, since I was — mostly — impervious to bribes and kept coming up with creative ways to argue why I should be allowed to do whatever I wanted, my family had to come up with something that would …. oh, make me go to bed on time, or shut my mouth for a minute or two.

And that something was Faustina, the elastic lady. The weird thing is that I remember nothing about this woman.

She was one of the peddlers who made the rounds of the village one day a week, and sold — I presume — not just elastic and lace, but probably other sewing notions. I presume like the other peddlers she did the rounds of other villages on the other days. (On Sundays we got the fun peddlers: cookies, candy, soda and potato chips. But during the week we got the Olive Man (who also sold oils) and the fish vendors, and probably others I don’t remember at all. I remember the olive man, because his donkey wore a hat, and because if I had been good I got to give the donkey a carrot. And the fish man because if I had been good, I got a half dozen clams to cook on top of the wood stove. Look, life was very boring, okay?)

BTW it’s a measure of how much my life has changed that I can’t IMAGINE how someone could make a living, no matter how small, selling sewing notions (and I presume elastic was the greater part of her business, since she was called Faustina dos Elasticos.) Maybe fish, or oil since both were major components of our diet. BUT elastic and notions? I can’t picture it. Yes, things were more expensive, and buying these from stores involved going to the city,which cost bus or train fare (and my mom did, because she was a professional, but even she bought from Faustina of the elastics now and then.) But still. This woman was on foot, and sold only what she carried. How can she have made a living?

It’s unsettling to realize that my worldbuilding might suffer from not really understanding/being able to picture such limited economies.

I have no idea why Faustina scared me. I’m going to presume she did, or my family wouldn’t have seized on it, nor invented such an outrageous story about her. But I don’t remember her at all. It’s possible she had a squint, and a half a century later, I have the impression she had a weird hamster voice.

Kids are merciless about “strangers” — which is why all the stupid stories about how babies are racist are ridiculous. Of course children shy from strangers. That was part of remaining alive and not becoming dinner when humans lived in family-bands — and find things strange that wouldn’t even register for adults, mostly because they have such a limited experience of the world. They don’t know how weird things and people can be and still fall in “the range of normal reality.” (Now I think about it, that’s the problem with all the woke superannuated children. Having been raised with a narrow idea of what’s normal, and carefully indoctrinated to distrust anything and anyone new, they can’t imagine the different without assuming it’s “evil.”)

One thing I’m almost sure of, (though I can’t verify it unless I call mom, and if I call her out of the blue RIGHT NOW and ask her to verify it, she’ll think I’ve lost my mind, even more than she already thinks it): is that Faustina walked with a weird gait, probably because of having one leg shorter than the other, or perhaps she’d had polio as a child, or something.

Why am I sure of that? Because I think whatever she looked like/moved like scared the heck out of me, and I started hiding from her.

Having glomed onto this my family — honestly, probably mom because she’s the only one I remember telling me that — told me that Faustina had legs made out of elastic, and could stretch to any length, and that she specialized in reaching into houses and grabbing naughty children, which she took away in her sack.

I remember being terrified of her, to the point that mentioning her name would get good behavior from me.

I don’t remember when I stopped being scared, or when she stopped making the rounds of sales (though I think it was before I was six or so, when we moved to the new house and the lady down the street opened a newspapers/magazines/notions and tobacco store operating out of her front window. (I can’t remember her name, but her village nickname was “of the tobacco” and her virtue was that she sold whenever you knocked on her window, so during the hours the general store (which sold tobacco) was closed.

And I can honestly say I didn’t think of her again till this morning.

Which is how kids grow, I suppose. I mean, we scared older son into compliance by telling him if he didn’t behave the trashmen would take him away. This was after an incident when we’d forgotten to put our trash out, and the collectors banged on our back gate and screamed and cursed, scaring the little two year old playing in the yard.

For the next three or four years, we could get compliance by picking up the phone to call the garbage collectors. I don’t know when he stopped being scared, but my guess is when he was rational enough that we could argue for compliance without having to scare him (and we only scared him when he was a danger to himself, the pets or his brother.) And unlike what our friends told us, he’s not scared of garbage collectors, and is perfectly civil and well behaved to them.

I’m not particularly scared of people who sell elastic, either, I must say. Or even lace and notions.

BUT I realized that in a weird place in my mind, there is this dark figure carrying a sack, who shambles down the old village street at twilight, before jumping up on elastic legs, to snatch a naughty child through a second floor window.

And yes, I realize she must appear in that guise in some future story, poor woman.

Absolute Truth and the Death of Turpitude by Cedar Sanderson

Absolute Truth and the Death of Turpitude by Cedar Sanderson

Riots, looting, shootings in the street. Get woke, go broke, believe all women except that one, and that one… You’re only black if I say you are…

Where did all of this violence, hatred, and sheer greasiness come from?

The death of truth and morality. When philosophers replaced the concepts of absolute truths with the idea that everything is relative, and it’s all what feels good, man! When those who did not fully understand relative truth began to use it as a justification for destroying the foundations that upheld the concept of turpitude, civilization as we knew it began to totter.

John Macfarlane in his paper, Making Sense of Relative Truth, wrote:

“Relativists often try to meet this challenge by giving a definition of truth that makes its relativity plain. If truth is idealized justification, then it might reasonably be thought to be assessor-relative, since ideal reasoners with different starting beliefs or prior probabilities might take the same ideal body of evidence to support different conclusions. Similarly, if truth is defined pragmatically, as what is good to believe, then it might also be assessor-relative, insofar as different things are good for making sense of relative truth different assessors to believe. But although these coherentist and pragmatic definitions of truth capture the ‘relative’ part of ‘relative truth’, I do not believe they capture the ‘truth’ part.”

He goes on in this talk to the Aristotelian Society to discuss the methods of ascertaining the relativity of an asserted truth, and comes up with a very useful ‘commitment to truth.’

“Here are three things that might be thought to constitute the ‘commitment to truth’ one undertakes in making an assertion:

(Withdraw) Commitment to withdraw the assertion if and when it is shown to have been untrue.

 (Justify) Commitment to justify the assertion (provide grounds for its truth) if and when it is appropriately challenged.

(Responsibility) Commitment to be held responsible if someone else acts on or reasons from what is asserted, and it proves to have been untrue.

Everyone should be able to agree that assertoric commitment includes at least (W). Imagine someone saying: ‘I concede that what I asserted wasn’t true, but I stand by what I said anyway.’ We would have a very difficult time taking such a person seriously as an asserter. If she continued to manifest this kind of indifference to established truth, we would stop regarding the noises coming out of her mouth as assertions. We might continue to regard them as expressions of beliefs and other attitudes (just as we might regard a dog’s whining as an expression of a desire for food). We might even find them useful sources of information. But we would not regard them as commitments to truth, and hence not as assertions.”

He concludes, finally, that “the weakest form of relativism about truth would seem to be true.” So, looking at MacFarlane’s commitments, we can judge just how weak relativism is, against absolutes.

Commitment to withdraw an assertion in the fact it is untrue: fact-driven reality. If the statement is made ‘the sky is green’ and it is backed by evidence, or data, then the statement need not be withdrawn. The statement ‘the sky is blue’ is indeed a relative truth provable only under clear, daytime conditions. Green skies ahead of a tornado also exist.

However, to come back to turpitude… the statement that riots are necessary to effect change is a truth relative to what? That it is demonstrably true, as they have caused change; the statement was ambiguous in that the change was not desirable to anyone who was not enriched by their own looting.

A commitment to justify the assertion if and when it is challenged. If you state ‘businesses destroyed by looting and riots can simply claim insurance’ then you must give grounds for the factuality of that statement as it is demonstrably untrue in absolute terms. And then you must honor the first commitment, to withdraw that assertion. If you state that the President called soldiers ‘losers’ and you expect this to be accepted as veracity, you must be able to produce evidence of your assertion.

Finally, a commitment to be held responsible if someone else acts on what is asserted, and it proves to have been untrue. For a hundred years, it was asserted that forest fires were bad (demonstrably true according to those who live in their path) and everything possible must be done to stop them. In tandem, logging was decreed to be bad because it disrupted the environment and the wildlife through removal of those trees the forest fires also threatened. Good for the woods and wilderness, yes?

As a result of those twinned assertions, wildfires are raging on the west coast of North America. Not only will they kill people, animals, and destroy property. They will also kill the forests the assertions were meant to save. It has been shown (an absolute truth) that proper forest management through controlled burns and logging saves the trees that are killed when an out-of-control unnatural fire burns so hotly as to destroy all life. Even trees that would survive a more controlled, routine burn as they did for long before the environmentalists came along to ‘save the trees.’ However, far from being held responsible for their relativist and untrue assertions, the ‘truth’ being espoused now is that controlled burns are bad (as are the wildfires they cannot control) as they release carbon into the atmosphere and provoke climatic change. Which means the wildfires that are so devastating will continue, and human lives will be lost while forests die.

The crimes collected under the legal term ‘moral turpitude’ have been defined as “acts of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private and social duties with a man owes to his fellow men, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man.”

Leaving aside the ‘squishiness’ of such a broad and sweeping definition, you can see how relativism would be the downfall of turpitude. So what specific crimes are we talking about here? Including, but not limited to: fraud, arson, blackmail, burglary, embezzlement, extortions, malicious destruction of property, fencing stolen goods, bribery of gov’t officials, perjury, counterfeiting, tax evasion with intent, harboring a fugitive, abandonment of a child, assault, bigamy (see comment on adultery below), grow indecency, kidnapping, lewdness… there are more. But you get the drift.

What is notable that we are seeing both in the recent past, and current societal drift (as portrayed by mass media) movement toward decriminalizing, and normalizing, moral turpitude. Adultery, as I noted above, used to be in that list, but has already been legalized and is seen as so normal as to barely cause comment. Movement toward legalizing bigamy (polyamory), incest, and contributing to delinquency of a minor (sexual) is very much in evidence. The attitude toward looters in the current unrest (see burglary, theft, and assault) is one of positive sympathy in the news. Nothing about that societal duty which a man owes to his fellow man comes up. Not even when minority business owners are the victims of ostensibly persecution-based looting.

The social contract, the one once based on the relative truth of “love one another as you love yourself” is being fed into the shredder. The loss of the concept of an absolute truth: “This statement is always true” was only the beginning. Relativism has its place. The statement ‘this is beautiful’ is relative. On the other hand, stating ‘This (riot, fire, logging) is harmful’ may not be relative, and once the assertion is made, if attacked, grounds can be found to justify the true statement. However, if the argument for truth is not allowed, if the assertion is made that all truths are relative, and therefore nothing can be absolute, then we move to the place where duty to fellow men and responsibility to the truth of your assertion can be abdicated. This ground is where we stand with it can be said with a straight face ‘my feelings trump your facts’ and ‘children can consent.’

All manner of evils spring up from what relative truth taught wrongly has sown in this ground.

So, Obviously Not QUITE Normal

So, obviously this was not quite a normal day blog wise.  Sorry.  Truly, tomorrow everything should be back on track.

And there was no big issue today.  It’s just that I woke up and realized it was important for our garden not to look QUITE like a jungle tomorrow.  So I spent the morning mowing and weeding the front, till I ran out of battery on the mower.  Which means I forgot to charge it after mowing last time.

So, I plugged the battery in, realized it would take three hours to charge and went “if I stop now, I won’t mow the back.”  So I cleaned the house.  Which is more of a lick and promise, since the place still looks like a cross between a storage unit (with all the displaced stuff) and a construction zone (with the flooring stuff.)  But it will do. And it doesn’t smell.

Meanwhile I found another reason to miss Greebo.  Apparently he was helping Havey with basic hygiene.  Washing my bedspread every day is getting old.  We’ve shaved him back there, but apparently we need to shave him more…. by the time we get to the point he can keep clean, he might be a cornish rex.

Other bits and pieces of straggle-business pretty much took till now.

So I’ll glancingly mention some other stuff, while I’m at it:
I have a ton of guest posts (thank you) which I’ll be running once or twice a week, as — for various reasons, it’s kind of important I use this month and a half to work for PJM as much as possible.  And to finish novels.

The thing with facebook — i.e. their ability to ban forever anyone who’s been banned even once — means I might be gone from facebook, and with it the diner.

If this happens, or at least in preparation, I’m going to make a point of being on MeWe more.  There is a diner there.  I got tired of going there because not only do I have a ton of friend requests, but people use different names there, and I don’t know which requests are legitimate.

If you want me to friend you on MeWe contact me some other way (FB included and tell me if you sent me a request and under which name.)

Also, I mentioned this in the comments before: there will be scraps of flag available.  If you feel this will help you getting through what might very well be very dark times ahead, I don’t judge.  Just send me an email (or PM) with your snailmail address and I’ll get them to you, at least while supplies last.

And now, ladies, gentlemen, dragons and strolling minotaurs, I’m going to vegetate. Tomorrow there will be a post. Might be a guest posts.  Depends on how the spirit moves me.

 

Back Home

After a much longer trip than we expected, with 5 days added on for not the happiest of reasons.

The funeral was simple, and we saw family we haven’t seen in years. Also on the way back, we got to see friends we normally see at Liberty con, so that was good.

And at home we found Havey has made himself hoarse from crying while we were gone.  At last I assume this was so, since my going to the bathroom upon coming home occasioned a bizarre fit of crying outside the door…

We rolled into Colorado this evening, with smoke in the air and a blood red moon.

It’s a bitter-sweet homecoming, filled with the knowledge our time in this, my beloved state, is coming to an end.  Not today, not tomorrow, not this year and possibly not the next, but almost for sure 2022 will see us packing up and leaving the mile hi city, something I’d never thought I’d do.

No, it’s not the politics, though that’s not helping, as it’s already changed the texture of life in Denver beyond recognition, particularly in this fucked up year of our Lord, the year when the mask mandate dropped the remaining masks.

It’s not even the persistent back of the head niggling fear that we’re going to get stuck behind the lines.  (And being by heritage Portuguese I’m assured by friends who scarpered from various places that when the Portuguese leave it’s already too late [seems to bear out by the number of relatives who came crashing into our lives with only the clothes on their backs and their lives all through the seventies.])

It’s the undeniable effect of high altitude and low oxygen on our systems as we age.  So, that’s about it.  Against biology, even Odds strive in vain.

This trip — the longest we’ve been away and not flying — just made it very clear.  There is no way to wind up our affairs and appurtenances here in under one and a half and likely two years.  But after that, barring death, the death of the republic, open war, or other disaster, we’ll be on the move.

Where, only G-d knows, since this is the only place I’ve ever wanted to live since I was eight.

I’d say — having sang with Kansas all across Kansas — it was apropos that as I drove us — I drove more highways this trip than I’ve ever done prior to that.  Enough to break the fear? probably not.  But it’s not a panic fear anymore at least — into Denver we were singing along with the Eagles “After the thrill is gone.”

But it’s not.  Every time I roll into Denver, there’s that closing of the throat, that prickling of the eyes, that certainty that I am home in the place that’s been part of who I am — if only in dreams — as long as I can remember.

So, tomorrow I clean and unpack.  And then it’s back into our routine, (and regular posting, though I’ll use guest posts a lot the rest of this week,) but now with the long term plan of consolidating, fixing, getting rid of excess stuff, and planning an eventual move.

Into whatever adventure comes next.

I Am Alive

Hi guys, I am alive, but I haven’t even had time to put up a guest post, much less the promo.

Be patient with me!

Have a picture to amuse you and keep us in mind tomorrow for the funeral and Tuesday and Wednesday PARTICULARLY when we’ll be driving down and across most of the US on the way home.

Driving yesterday was…. Odd.  Every time I got behind the wheel it turned into a kind of “crazy driving training video.”  If Dan took the wheel it was fine and boring.

In no particular order I got “car next to me letting its towing rig drop so that it was getting flames from friction on the ground” (Everybody move to the left!), HUGE German Shepherd loose on the highway.  (I would have stopped and rendered aid if I were confident I could get across five lanes of traffic to the berm, AND then run back and forth on the highway, to capture the creature without being hit.)  As it was I avoided hitting him (twice) and prayed really loud he’d stay on the grassy berm toward the exit.  No idea where he came from, but I hope he survived. Looked like a nice pup, though probably part great Dane. I mean, a kid could have ridden him.  Even though he looked EXACTLY German Shepherd), “tiny red dumptruck merging at 40 into stream of traffic at 70 trying to merge six feet in front of me, while I have an eighteen wheeler on my left.  Followed by, crazy traffic, construction, deluge, direction dyslexics marking construction (left, right left, no, we meant right) in the two miles leading up to it, while playing leapfrog with eighteen wheelers.)

Dan would take over, and it was a beautiful, calm drive.  we finally gave up, so I drove maybe 4 hours to his 6 or 6 and a half.

So, whoever was pulling that off, stop it, just stop it.  I CAN drive, but I don’t enjoy it, and in the middle there I almost had a heart attack.

Dan SWEARS there was no rain of frogs, no plague of blood.  Bah. I know what I remember.

Anyway. Be patient if I don’t post much till Tuesday or Wednesday.

 

Remembrance and Determination by Amanda S. Green

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Remembrance and Determination by Amanda S. Green

Nineteen years ago, this nation woke to a tragedy unlike anything it had seen since Pearl Harbor. We were under attack. Four commercial airliners had been hijacked. Two flew into the Twin Towers in New York. Another crashed into the Pentagon and the fourth in a field outside of Shanksville, PA. That last plane crashed where it did because of the heroism and sacrifice of the passengers and crew onboard who refused to let their flight be used as yet another weapon against our nation.

To say the country was in shock as it reeled from one event to the next is putting it mildly. We were stunned, hurt, angry and so much more. We watched as first responders risked their lives in an all too often vain attempt to rescue those trapped by the terrorist actions aimed against all of us. We watched in horror as people jumped from the Twin Towers. We couldn’t believe it as the towers came down. It was the thing of nightmares.

But something else happened that day. In cities and towns across the country, neighbors and strangers pulled together. There was a sense of need–to act, to help, to cope–that joined us. People in areas immediately impacted by the crashes opened their doors to those trapped in town because routes away from the Twin Towers and the surrounding area were shut down. They donated their time, their food, their money.

In towns like mine, so far from where it was all happening, we did our best to pull together as well. Within an hour and a half or so of the second plane hitting the Towers, I was standing in line at the local blood bank. It was the only thing I could do right then. I was surprised by the number of people already there. The blood bank wasn’t even officially open and there were already close to 75 people in line. It didn’t surprise me to see the doors to the center suddenly swing open. Employees had come in early, without having to be asked. And not just those who were set to work that day. Those who were off, as well as at least two who no longer worked there, came to do what they could to help.

Within another hour, at least another 100 people stood in line behind me. The blood bank had a line that extended down the length of the center and around the corner. One of the employees came around and told us the line was about to turn yet another corner. Finally, with something like 200-plus people waiting in line before 11, they sent a worker out to talk with us. He had a pad and pen and was asking if anyone wanted to leave their name and number and come back the next day or two. There was simply no way they could process anywhere close to as many people as were there.

No one ahead of me volunteered to come back. I didn’t either. Why? Because I needed to do something. We all did.

It took time, but they finally whittled the line down to about 100-125. And man were those techs hustling.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

The sandwich shop next to the blood bank also opened early. It opened its restrooms to us and offered us free water and soft drinks. Someone, and I never did learn who, brought up a TV and several radios so we could listen to what was happening. Other people who lived nearby brought some lawn chairs for those of us standing in line.

Albertsons, one of our local grocery stores, sent their manager and several clerks with half a dozen or more ice chests filled with drinks, ice, etc., All free of charge. We wouldn’t even have known who they were if someone in line hadn’t asked. They came in their personal cars and didn’t wear anything to identify their employer. They simply wanted to help.

It was almost 5 by the time they got to me. As they took me back to a chair, another local merchant arrived. This time, it was a local restaurant. They had coolers and hot boxes filled with food–meals–for the workers and for those of us still there. Again, no one wanted recognition. They simply wanted to help.

In the nation’s hour of tragedy, people pulled together.

I look at that and then I consider what is happening in our nation today. We are in a different sort of war now. It’s not a war waged by an external enemy—although we have plenty of them who are more than glad to cheer on our internal adversaries and offer them aid if needed. No, this is a war waged by those who live here and who have decided it is time to destroy the very foundations of our nation.

It is bad enough that we have “mostly peaceful” demonstrations that have led to destruction, injury and loss of life. It is worse that we have politicians who refuse to take steps to protect the citizens of their towns. But, worse of all, we have those who actively advocate the suspension of not only our civil rights but our constitutional rights.

We have a presidential candidate in Joe Biden who has all but threatened workers and business owners who do no support unions coming into their shops. His running mate is more concerned with being seen with the victim of what she terms police brutality than she is in making sure the woman who has accused him of a crime has a chance at justice. But there is no hue and cry about it because the current narrative is all about how police are evil and should be abolished.

We have a Speaker of the House who not only proved she has no regard for the law, but who had no problem setting up one of her constituents for doxing. Worse, Pelosi claimed victim status for herself because she just had to have that hair cut before her interview with Vice—where she extolled the need to continue the mask mandate, business shutdowns, etc. When faced with proof of how she ignored local Covid-19 regulations, she claimed ignorance and the said she’d been set up.

This is the person who sits in the line of succession to the presidency and she didn’t know 1) she should have been wearing a mask and 2) that beauty salons IN HER OWN TOWN were not allowed to open for anything but outside work?

There are so many other examples of steps being taken by both foreign and domestic enemies of this nation. Too many to set forth here. But here’s the thing. They don’t have to win. This battle, much less the war, isn’t over. Our nation has proven time and again that it can overcome obstacles, be they economic or constitutional or even military. But we have to want to win.

I challenge each of you to remember those first days and weeks after 9/11/2001. Remember not just the desire but the need to make sure our country came out of the attacks stronger and better than it was before. Now put that same desire, that need into play today. Do not go gently into the night.

Do not sit at home on election day.

Do not let your voice be silenced.

Do not forget our history and do not consign our children and grandchildren to a future we can’t be proud of.

I want to leave you with this. I was proud of our nation on 9/11 and on the days following. We proved we could pull together when we need to.

And, by all that is holy, we need to do so now.

As Todd Beamer said, “Let’s Roll!”

 

The Insanity of History

Good morning boys, girls and dragons. It is sweet to see your glowing morning faces.

What time is it at According to Hoyt? You’re right. It’s heresy time!

My husband has long ago learned that there are places it is not safe to take me, because he just ends up dragging me out while I’m still trying to get a last zinger in at the speaker.  Yes, that has included churches. We don’t attend there anymore.  But mostly it’s lectures or movies or theater performances, where the person in charge believes we’re in need of hearing just a little more of that ol’ time (what? He’s been dead a long time. And most of his adherents are either fossilized while living or brain dead, so….) Marxist religion.

Yesterday we almost added museums to that list. It came this close. You could smell its tail when it went by.

You see we thought it was safe to go to a WWI museum.  And as you guys know I’m interested in the era. Partly because I think that’s when the wheels came of Western culture and we started skidding on dangerous ice. Without wheels. Downhill. And there’s fire at the bottom of the ravine.

In a way the visit was good — the exhibits are excellent, and we might go back because I didn’t get to look at all the guns as I would have liked to. I’m not an expert, no, but the national variations on light machine guns are fascinating, and I still have to write World War Dragon — because it solidified a) what went wrong. b) why lately — like the last three years — the history has been “tasting” as if it rhymes with WWI.

My talking back, though started with the introductory movie.

I’ve told you guys before the causes I was taught for WWI, which included fervent nationalism, militarization and idealization of the military, as well as Germany coming late to industrialization and feeling hemmed in.  That last is probably true, btw.  Though at this point I’m in no mood to give consequence to “historians” infected by Marxism and therefore prone to running headlong down stupid blind alleys towards brick walls.

I have bad news.  In the forty years since they’ve pounded that arrant nonsense into my head, they’ve added more.  To that list is now added “Social darwinism” (Talk back “Did they confuse it with the SECOND world war?”) “Which believed that evolution applied not only to organisms but to cultures and that the fittest culture would survive!” (Talk back “And you don’t? Why not? What the hell do you believe? Or are you confusing culture with race again?”) Income inequality (Talk back: “As compared to what fluff brain? ANY time before that the inequality was greater.”) And the terrible treatment of the working classes in cities (tb: “Again, compared to what? Have you been asleep while India and China industrialized?”) which led to socialism (TB: “I too love to blame socialism for just about everything. But for world war I it’s a step too far.”) which was sweeping the masses, so practically every worker was socialist (TB: Snort, Giggle “No, butt-brain. The intellectuals were socialists, and it’s not hard to recruit petty criminals and useful idiots to swell your ranks. But no. Most workers were not socialist.”) AND THEN the one that made everything click: “Imperialism. Those darn hyper nationalistic states of Europe were going to Africa and Asia and creating colonies.”  And it clicked.  Particularly since the next point in their description was about how the Balkans didn’t like being under the heel of the Austro Hungarian empire.  (Not that I blame them. I mean, for a brief time Portugal was too, several centuries back.)

And the back of my brain went CLICK.  And now I need to descend into heresy from everything you’ve been taught. Although note, I’m not going to rewrite history. I’m not one of THEM. I’m just going to challenge the way it’s been interpreted and force fed to generations of people.

There is a very stupid meme going around facebook that talks about how terrible it would be if Europe had ever been treated the way that Africa and Asia were treated, and partitioned and repartitioned at random by uncaring colonial powers.

It’s one of those that makes me faintly nauseous, (like the one that claimed the pilgrims had white privilege) because it betrays just how far our schools have gone into not teaching the kids any kind of history beyond “Europe bad” and “everywhere else good.”  It would be less criminal if they simply didn’t teach them to read and write (wait, that’s true!)

Because of course, not only was tribal, mostly pre-historic Europe partitioned more or less blindly by conquering powers: Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians. But it was then repartitioned again and again at the whim of invaders (Goths — yes, their horned helmets were all black. Someone bop the comedian on the head and drag him out in the alley, please — Ostrogoths, Swabians, Franks, Alans and only Bob knows what — he’s very learned Bob — else.)  In fact the “national” borders of Europe are no more “real” to the genetic make up of people’s than are national borders anywhere else.  They are mostly where they ended up.  The fiction that the things inside the walls are “races” or ethnicities is a creation of public schools and national poets and … well, fictionalizing historians. Something the left should be quite familiar with.

This is not to say there should be no borders — more on that later — but frankly if the rest of the world wants to have the same “inside border” cohesion as Europe what they need is not to redraw them and moan about colonialism: it’s a shameless and ruthless propaganda machine to convince school children of bullshit. That should be easy. Communists can do it.

Anyway, the point is that “colonialism” and the “unrest in the balkans” are not because of nationalism and “people becoming aware of ethnic differences” (I swear to Bob they said that. Do Historians nowadays know bloody nothing of history?) and dragging poor Darwin into that stew (fish stew. with heads in) is just purely mean.

Industrialization and the rapid change of ways of life does come into this because Man — and woman, child, infant and dragon — does not live by bread alone. Some wise Rabbi said that, and He was, as grandma would say, covered in reason (Hopefully the Reason of the Postrel era. It’s gone down hill.) I.e. men who can see time before and after their lives and whose lives are far too brief for their minds, need a narrative to fit into.

For a long, long time the narrative had been religion and a way of life.  “I farm, as did my father, my grandfather, his father etc. etc. etc.”  When you moved away from the village, where you could visit the graves of all your ancestors, you needed a narrative to be part of. Which is where nationalism and to an extent militarism fit in. (To the other extent militarism was always part of it, and now there were dime-novels talking of adventure, which is often in war or happens to military man.)

But there was real unrest at the time.  And while we know of a few where socialists spoke, etc, I don’t believe it was at all “socialist” or “Marxist” even.  I mean, look, I’m running on stories I heard from my grandparents who heard them from their parents (their being children during WWI.)  And other people’s grandparents, too, in other countries.

Oh, sure, the intellectuals loved Marx. They still do. They’re a very conservative constituency.  And the organized Marxists (which at the time flew under a number of banners, including gutting and wearing the skin of Anarchists. They also still do) were running as hard as they could to get ahead of the mobs that were getting pissy.

But the mobs weren’t getting pissy because they wanted socialism. Socialists just happened to be the only organized ones who could claim credit/responsibility/ stir things their way.

The unrest had more to do with a lot of dislocated people living in a large group than ever and running around without a narrative to fit their lives into.

But there were other things….

Glanced by in the presentation is the fact that most of the ruling class of Europe was related to Queen Victoria.  They didn’t talk about it, but here’s the thing, the other problem is that the vast empires of Europe had been vast for a long time, but not really centralized.  It’s possible Americans don’t know this, but large European countries (Sometimes you can swing a cat not needing a passport for the cat) were “one country” only in name.  The regional variations in everything from dialect to cuisine, not to mention the administration of local laws, and even local laws imposed by the local grandee made them effectively several tiny, locally-administered countries overseen/protected by an overlord.

In the nineteenth century that changed.  Not only was the ruling class running in possession of faster means of transport, and the wealth from the industrial revolution, but heaven help us, most of them had IDEAS.  (A lot of those ideas very similar to Marx’s.) They, by gum and golly were actually going to govern ALL of their holdings. Down to the smallest village.  (This had started with Louis XIV, may his name never be sufficiently damned, but in the 19th century they had the ABILITY as well as the desire to stomp on every peasant face forever.)

So what that presentation never connected (they had drunk too much Marx) but should is this:

Just before WWI people were rebelling against distant and often dogmatic rulers, who frankly didn’t know anything and cared even less about local needs and conditions.  This applied equally to European villagers and to Congo tribesmen.

And the European Elite, basically one family, was about as clued in and with it and insulated from the consequences of their bullshit as out would be world elites today.

So, yeah, they were having the equivalent of tea parties and yellow jackets outbreaks, which of course the socialists infiltrated and tried to claim — stop me when it sounds familiar — which explains what actually happened where the presentation used all sorts of passive voice “the respect for established monarchy was broken.”  Uh no.  People were sick and tired of distant rulers who didn’t get them trying to tell them how to wipe their behinds.

So yeah, things were breaking down and the ruling hierarchy found something to distract the people: a long, and bloody war.  Although to be fair, they were probably trying to grab more territory to mis-administer from afar. It just all came together in a perfect storm.

And afterward the Marxists blamed….  nationalism and the free market.  And tried to force internationalism — aka more control from afar — on people and treating people as faceless members of nations, with the guilt and victimhood ascribed to groups, not people.  And when that blew up in WWII… they doubled down.

We’re now in the middle of a massive, new revolution (Call it the digital revolution, though I don’t think that’s exactly right) in the way people live and work, and the old narrative doesn’t fit.  Unrest is breaking out all over, and the socialists, who are now, by and large the ruling elite, keep trying to appropriate it, and ascribe it to the same old same old.

If we double down and prescribe more internationalism, which they do, it might kill civilization and humanity with it.

And to be clear I am for borders.  I see the point of larger countries (commerce and military mostly) but the administration must be as local as possible.  When it comes to government it should always be as small, local and personal/adaptable as possible. Because people aren’t groups, or widgets that fit into groups, be the groups race, cultures, or nations.  Or even villages (trust me.) And because if the local government is doing something particularly idiotic, you can go and have a talk with them.  While if — oh, at random — all of Europe is governed from Brussels, you can’t even vote the bastards out, much less go and have a pointed, finger to sternum, conversation with the worst offender

What we’ve been doing for 100 years now is doing the same thing over and over again (A war? Let’s erase national barriers, and have people governed by impersonal groups far away! That will cure it!) and expecting a different result.

And we all know what that means.

If we don’t break out of this loop, we’re headed to World War Three and afterwards the socialists will try to set up ONE government for the whole of the Earth, because that will stop wars (they never heard of civil wars, the idiots.)

Let’s stop this, shall we. Do not buy the narrative. Speak up, talk back, disrupt the “accepted causes.”

Disrupt the story of the accepted causes of everything really.  And keep talk back. Because everything has been infected with Marxism. And we must drive this heresy train all the way.

Good thing it has no brakes.