A Quick Catch Up From Sarah and Sunday Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

So, we don’t have a promo post.  I might have to talk to the oyster, as I think our wires got crossed somewhere.  It’s also possible he’s really busy and as you know — Bob — he’s doing this as volunteer work.  So, cutting his salary in half would be wholly ineffective.

We didn’t quite encounter the same luck flying back as flying out, as only one plane was late and ONLY 2 hours.  We’ve more or less decided next time if we don’t have money to go earlier and stay later, we’ll just go earlier and leave Friday night.  The horrible trip out left us kind of useless the entire conference, particularly since for whatever reason we didn’t sleep very well while there.

The conference was fascinating and there will be primary posts reporting on it for PJMedia (and my visit to NASA-Marshall) and several secondary order posts for here.  Yes, some might be on “what it profit a man to lose his soul if he gains space.”… particularly if the soul is lost for other reasons.  I think no one alive today who does not — like some crazy people including me — do extensive reading on the world wars fully understands those generations.  Not saying those generations were immaculate (not even the “greatest generation” an encomium the boomers think makes up for under-appreciating their parents when they were young) rather that they were harder than we — much less the generations after — can dream of being.

Right now, though, I came home to an embuggered (totally a word) automated cat box, which also led to secondary order effects (though in general they were way better than I expected) and to house keeping by medical-student-in-clinical-year, which is to say worse (far worse) than none. (I could write a book: “Places NOT to put dirty silverware/dishes.”)

So I’m going to do a lick-and-promise version of my weekly cleaning, then work on Guardian, and then write a few articles, since I missed most of a week.

And now, put your hands together for:

Sunday 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: virus free

Persuasive

I’m kind of out of it.  For various reasons, we slept really badly every night here, which is why I got absolutely nothing done beyond attend the lectures.

There will be posts about that (and interviews) for PJMedia and here, but since I’m in Huntsville — bear with me — this led to my reading about the original rocketry work and the “stealing” of German scientists after the war.

The book I’m reading is of suspect moral standing, since it likes to rail against “the madness of the cold war paranoia.” Apparently the author is unable to understand that when a form of government — international socialism, soviet brand — sets out to conquer the Earth, (and needs to, because its non-functional economy can’t really feed its citizens for any amount of time without tribute from conquered (or afraid to be conquered) lands) to suspect that you might be on the menu soon is not paranoia, it’s survival.

Because of this, the hand wringing over importing “convinced Nazis” induces a lot of eye rolling on this side of the screen.  The more so for two other reasons:

1- it seems to me that the Nazi philosophy being based on the idea of inherent racial superiority kind of collapsed and fell apart for MOST PEOPLE the minute they were defeated.

2- because the ideas of racial superiority the Nazis espoused were widespread and “everybody knows” on both sides of the war at the time.

One of the giggle lines of this book was when they said that “Hygiene” appeared to be a code word for the extermination of “inferior” races.  Well, yes and no.  Hygiene was one of the touchstones of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and got applied in ways that can’t help but puzzle us now.  Call it the ‘quantum’ of its age.  But you can’t really read any primary source documents without coming across the idea of “hygiene” meaning you don’t let “inferior” people breed.

Among the people supporting that sort of hygiene was none other than H. G. Wells, a socialist of the internationalist variety.

Now am I saying everyone that the US recruited was a kind of angel who only went along with the Nazi program out of a love for science.  Pfui.  No, I’d bet most of them were a shade of rather dark dingy grey, who took advantage of things like slave labor or worse.  Why?  Because under totalitarian regimes, the pure angels get killed (Or run.)  Everyone who lives any time, even under a much milder regime than Nazi Germany, ends up at least paying lip service, and often — if they want to survive as most people do — doing morally reprehensible things.  Depending on how long it goes on, and how bad the regime is, those things can be outright evil, even if the people started out no worse than most of us.

What we did when the Soviet Union fell was arguably far worse than what we did when the Nazis fell, as we held no trials, drew no line, didn’t say “you are dingy grey and we don’t approve, but we’ll let you live if you behave and serve a decent cause.” or even “You went beyond the pale, and must die for your crimes.”  No, we pretended that communism had descended upon an unwary people, and all were happy to see it lifted, and all deserved to go about their normal lives.

But communism instills evil patterns of thought (its cardinal virtue is envy, after all) that practically guaranteed its return under “this time we’ll do it right.”

At any rate, I’m not going to pronounce on the moral value of the men who started the American rocket program.  I don’t know enough.  which is part of the reason I bought three books yesterday and have been reading them (even with the rolling of eyes.)

But thinking about how widespread the inherently evil idea of “lives not worthy of living” (a trap we seem to be falling into once again) and how widespread it was, I thought of how the left is banning and silencing people who espouse this idea.

And I’m troubled.

I disapprove of the idea of “superior races” mostly because race in humans really is fluid, (as opposed to sex, which really isn’t) and at least partly what we think of as “races” are cultures.  So the idea is utterly poisonous.

It was also an idea of its time, the early twentieth century when our knowledge of biology was…. not that advanced, and the idea of treating people as something between machines and farm animals seemed perfectly logical.

The site that was banned by no one carrying its IP?  No person with a modicum of understanding of history or genetics could take it seriously.  I once happened onto it by accident, chasing a detail of Portuguese history, read three paragraphs and started laughing so hard I could barely breathe.

One of the claims was that the Portuguese used to be tall and blond until the import and interbreeding with slaves made Portuguese one of the “inferior races.’

As proof of this they used the…. Portraits of kings of Portugal.  Apparently, they’d missed on the memo that royal families are mostly related to other royal families.  Yeah, for a while in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, a lot of German blood sneaked into the Portuguese royal line, in the same way that it sneaked into every royal line.  The Portuguese monarch that got deposed by the republic was, of course, a close relation of Queen Victoria, probably several times over.

This does not mean, as the dingbats assumed that all Portuguese were tall, blond and blue eyed.  Sure there were distinctly Celtic-looking villages in the mountains, but mostly Portuguese looked like their ancestry: Roman, Greek, Phoenician with a leavening of what fell in the pot.  The rise and fall of the Portuguese empire has much to do with the inherent strengths and weaknesses of Portuguese culture and bloody nothing to do with whether the hand holding the sextant or the whip happened to be able to tan.

It is the inherent sad silliness of the remnant of Live Action Reich Players that makes me worry that the left finds them worthy of going after and suppressing.

Even if I felt like washing with turpentine after even a few seconds on their page, it never even occurred to me to warn my kids about the site, much less to want it suppressed so other people’s children don’t see it.

At the time I stumbled on it, my kids were ten and six, and I trusted possessed of functioning minds and a sense of history so they wouldn’t fall for that nonsense.  And if they came to me and asked questions, that type of lie is not all difficult to debunk.

How much less danger would it be to adults?  If crazy, rather sad people who failed to internalize the fact that if the Germans could not conquer the world, they self-evidently weren’t the “Master Race” want to write rants about it?  Let them. (Actually Germans buying their way into the financier of Europe’s folly might indicate they’re the “crazy race” if one believed that race not culture is the determinant of how nations behave.)   They’ll get the inevitable percentage of misfits, but the idea itself has long been defanged.

So, and this is what worries me — why is the left worried about these ideas being out there?  Do they find them so persuasive that they must be silenced?

Note that I don’t even care if the left’s crazy ideas are out there, and they’re far more dangerous because not only haven’t they been defanged, as the continuous push from our educational establishment makes them seem more plausible, or at least preps people for them.

But the truth is, the more they talk, the less plausible they sound.  So, I understand — or flatter myself — their shadow-banning sites like instapundit, because we make sense and are “normal/credible” but the fact that they also feel the need to ban Live Action Reich Players makes me believe these people just have no filter at all for crazy ideas.  They are incapable of reasoning their way our of a paper bag and going “Oh, that can’t be true, because this this and this contradicts it.”  Instead they’ll believe whatever they’re exposed to that is loud enough.  And so they must ban everything that is “bad think” because it might drown out what they’ve been told is “good think” and which they ALSO can’t evaluate at all.

What a sad way of existing, above and beyond the danger that they banning will take a slippery slope, or that by becoming mysterious these ideas will become more attractive.

I don’t suppose we could convince them to use a modicum of reason, instead?

And if now, what can we do with them, in the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alien Nation

So tonight we all went to a public talk on the subject of the search for alien life.  Yes, Tabby’s planet was mentioned.  And another 11 (or was it thirteen) odd “objects” that might be alien life.

The talk itself was pretty good, though I confess that while at one time I had Seti@home on my computer, and of course I keep an ear out for such things (being a geek) aliens are something “I don’t believe in.”

This begs explaining, of course.  I mean, rationally I’ll concede it’s possible there’s tons of alien life.  It is perhaps likely.  It’s even likely there’s tons of sentient life.

I’ll admit, rationally, too, that the chances are that alien life is way too distant from us in space or time to make any difference.  Of all the billions and billions (eh) of planets in the universe, the chances are that if there are sentient civilizations they’re too far away from us to make contact in our lifetime or indeed in the lifetime of our civilization even if we last for thousands of years more.

Now, this doesn’t mean I should have this blank spot in my inner compass that says “Aliens, nothing there.”

After all I routinely write about things that objectively don’t exist, such as dragons and mermaids.  And about half the things that I write about aren’t supposed to exist even in my great great great grandkids’ lifetime.

So WHY is there a blank space under aliens?  A “I don’t believe in them enough to even play along” spot?

I don’t know.  It’s probably some quirk of how I’m put together.  Curiously and bizarrely, if we landed on Mars tomorrow and found men just like us living in underground cities, either colonists from our own world or some other, I”d just go “Oh, okay.”  It’s more the non-human extra terrestrials that I find weird.  And no, don’t tell me that non-human extra-terrestrials are likely, while human ones, without a time machine, are well nigh impossible.  I know that.  It’s my subconscious that doesn’t and subconscious(es) are weird beasties who make no sense whatsoever.

Anyway, accounting for the fact I find the whole thing very unlikely at a gut level, it was an interesting talk and all.  And of course I’d be interested if we did find aliens, because at a rational level it would answer tons of questions, like, you know, is there a pathway that life might follow at a basic molecular level?  Is life perhaps all related, as Hoyle suspected, etc.

But after the talk the audience got to ask questions.

There was the question about what do we think it would do to society if watchers/listeners found unmistakable signs of alien life.  I confess I didn’t even GET that.  And Laura Montgomery, who sat nest to me whispered “We’d all go maaaaaad Maaaad.”

This was probably payback for my having told her earlier that the only message we should send to the stars was “Only hoomans allowed here, no aliens.  Stay off our lawn.  Go away.  This means you.”  Which had made her laugh.

But at the same time she’s right.  So imagine that astronomers or whatever detected unmistakable signs of intelligent alien life…  Why should it do anything to our society?

If it was 100 light years or so way, maybe my grandkids might make contact, maybe.  BUT if it was — as is more probable — 10k or more light years away… well… we wouldn’t even know if whatever sent those signals would still be there.  I mean, ten thousand years ago, humans’ most civilized activity was digging in the dirt.  And you know what?  we might be doing that again in ten thousand years.

The presenter seemed rather puzzled by the question too and said something like “Well, we’d have more funding.”

I suspect the question was an attempt at “gotcha”.  There is a very silly type of atheist who thinks that people of faith would lose all faith if we found He had also create aliens.

This always seemed rather odd to me.  I mean, sure, He created us in his image and semblance, but that’s assumed to be our spirit, right?  Why shouldn’t His infinite spirit have other images and semblances?  Who are we to tell Him who He can create or even who He can adopt?

I don’t FEEL we’ll find aliens, but honestly, it will be more suspicious if we don’t find them.  Then we’d sort of have to start quirking an eyebrow and try to figure out what is going on here.  Is this a joke?  Is it aimed at us?

If I were writing this, we’d find humans.  They’d have been flung back in time by accidental time travel, or they’d have evolved in parallel or they and us would be seeds of an ancient, ancient race.

I’m not going to ask.  I might write it someday, mind.  But it’s possible that Himself doesn’t have my twisted sense of humor.  After all, I’m the plucky comic relief.

Oh, I’d also plump for little green aliens with a twisted sense of humor (Read Martians Go Home.)

But I confess most of all, as much as finding aliens would be interesting, because it would allow us to know ourselves better by comparison, it disturbs me how some people (thank heavens no one at this talk, but some famous tv-scientists, and you know exactly who I mean) look to potential aliens as a source of ethical guidance.

This I don’t get, even if they are more technologically advanced than us.  Aliens would still be aliens, and while they might not have the same blind spots we do (perhaps, after all, you know, it might be baked into sentient species) they will have blind spots.  It strikes me as the same as taking ethical and spiritual guidance from your cat.  “Partaketh thou of the Tuna”  “Chase the mousie.”  Seriously?

In that sense, the idea of finding aliens worries me.  Doubtless it’s saner to seek guidance from aliens than from crystals (at least assuming the crystals aren’t aliens) but it’s still insane.  It would be another thing for some number of humans to hang all their world view upon, which doubtless would irk me.

Fortunately it’s unlikely to happen, as I’m thinking as hard as I can “Only hoomans allowed.  Get off our lawn.  Go home.  This means you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still absent

I’d say I was being kept in durance vile, but sitting around listening to lectures on how we might go step by step to the stars qualifies neither as durance or vile.

What it does qualify as is very little time at my computer to even get hold of one of the waiting guest posts.

For instance, right now I am typing g this on my phone which by a quick of screen won’t show me what I’m typing, which means I’m feeling lucky indeed.

If I can’t get the time tonight, I promise to be back on on Sunday.

Do try not to use the time machine again. Let me remind you that while it might be fun for you to have tea with the heinleins, they have/had/ will have work to do.

I’ll go back to learning how to take us to the stars, which some would argue is the only sane place for this blog.

I Am At TVIW

Sorry, guys I am at TVIW.  I meant to write a post early morning, but I took from 4 am to 9 pm to get here yesterday (plane delays, rebooking, etc.)
So, by the time I got to where I could write a post, I was a zombie.  And I failed to get up early enough this morning.  Better tomorrow.
Amuse yourselves!

What About the Squid Farms

Yesterday I came across one of the silliest memes I’ve ever seen — and most political memes border on the idiotic — about, of course, the second amendment and protection from tyranny.

It said (only in pictures, you know, since memes are politics for the illiterate) that in 200 years guns had killed neighbors, pets, family members and innocent bystanders but had done nothing to avert tyranny.

Will someone find my eyes?  They seem to have rolled so hard that if I weren’t writing this from the airport, the cats would be batting them under furniture.

We won’t go into the other things guns have killed in 200 years, starting with deer and ending with criminals, burglars, would-be-murderers and people attempting home invasion.  (Apparently these people’s neighbors pets and family members include a great number of gang members and criminals.  Hey, I don’t judge.)

Rather, we’re going to ask “How do you know it didn’t prevent tyranny?”

And they’re going to sputter back something about armed rebellion.  But that’s not the point of allowing the populace to be armed.

Oh, sure, it’s part of the point.  If things get that bad that midnight arrest squads are going door to door and kicking doors down and trying to arrest you, sure, that’s when you need your guns to resist.  We’ve never got there.  That’s because when an armed populace is working properly to resist tyranny, it never gets to the point of midnight arrest squads.  Why not?  Because they know you’ll shoot their traitorous asses, that’s why.

How do we know tyranny is being prevented or at least curtailed?  Well, how would you know if there is no tyranny?

I think a pretty good indication is how would-be tyrants and statists hate despise and try to do an end run around the second amendment.

They know as well as you do that higher gun ownership correlates to lower crime, and they don’t even try to bring that up most of the time.  Instead, they try to ride the emotion wave, whenever there’s a mass murder.  From Sandy Hook to Las Vegas, they’re there, standing on top of barely cold corpses, demanding that guns be taken from everyone, even though objectively in every one of those cases, no regulation would have prevented the crime.

No, not even if you forbid guns utterly.  Why not?  Well, first because laws aren’t magical.  Just because you write something down, it doesn’t magically happen. Even in countries where guns are forbidden, guns still get in.  They get in through criminal connections, hostile country smuggling and myriad other means.  It’s just that it’s only the criminals who are armed.  Because law abiding people try to abide by the laws.

And honestly, even if someone like the Las Vegas shooter were unable to find a single gun, he could have done worse and thrown explosives down into the crowd.  If you think the death toll is bad now…

But the whole point is that asking us to show you when tyranny was prevented is the same as us telling you that socialism has prevented the existence of squid farms on Mars.  You can’t prove it, unless there’s a machine that shows a parallel world where different conditions obtained.

Or you can use your brain and think logically, something these particular meme=makers seemed unable to do.

You can read American history and the very real abuses of civil liberties under such would-be-tyrants as Wilson and FDR and realize they never got as bad as in other countries at the same time, because, well… because an armed populace might not put up with it.

Or you can look now, at the fact that most attacks take place in gun free zones or gun free cities.  Or in this case from enough distance to render that moot.

That might give you some indication that some attacks, domestic or government, are being thwarted.

You can also study the statistics.  There are remarkably few gun-killings by accident, despite all the crying you hear from the gun-grabbers.  Sure, there is any number of children shooting children, but those statistics, to be meaningful, had to be inflated by calling 19 year old gang-bangers “children.”  The truly accidental child shooting child incidents are probably about as many as tragic lawn mower accidents or child-pulls-pan-of-boiling water on head.

And there are a remarkably large number of times guns saved lives.  Or I should say saved innocent lives.  A number of those won’t show up except as a blip in local news, stuff like “local widow scares away burglar by pulling gun.”  In other cases, they swell the “gun deaths” statistics, because the homeowner or accosted passer bye shot the evil doer.

In those cases, it’s a squid farms situation all the way down.  Yeah, I know, I can hear the left wail about “murdering” criminals who could be rehabilitated.  But listen, okay, there’s something we’ve learned over the 20th century by virtue of keeping statistics: a) it’s almost impossible to rehabilitate criminals.  While it might be meritorious to try, it’s still an almost impossible task.  Particularly criminals who have progressed to breaking and entering on an occupied house or perhaps armed robbery.  b) most of the crime is committed by habitual criminals.

So when someone kills a criminal in self defense, there’s a good chance they didn’t just save their own life, but the lives of everyone that criminal would go on to attack.

It’s a squid farm situation, again.  You can weep over the poor dead criminal, but you don’t see how many of the victims who didn’t die were spared.

The problem of socialism is that it hides both the benefits of the policies it detests, and the injury of the policies it promotes.  Perhaps if we didn’t spend all our money paying people not to be productive or creative or industrious, and therefore had a completely different type of society, we would have those squid farms on Mars.

But for now I’ll settle for the equally impossible tyranny that was never established over these United States.

240 some years and no sign of tyranny.  Obviously the armed populace is working.  Give yourselves a pat in the back, and go forth in liberty.  And don’t let the idiots and the power-hungry tell you it would be better if you abdicated your responsibilities to governmental and impersonal forces.

Your liberties are yours to guard.  Keep it up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Will Be Late

Possibly very late.  I’m all right, but traveling down to TVIW. (Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop.)  This is not a wonderful time, but somethings have to be done, even if it’s not a good time, and I always learn a lot at the workshop.

So, yesterday I wrote this:

The Las Vegas Shooting and the Attack of the Carrion Crows.

 

I find it appalling that people immediately advance an agenda that would solve nothing, and NOT prevent the crime they use as an excuse, out of sheer blind insanity.

Keeping The Magic Fresh- Doug Irvin

Keeping The Magic Fresh- Doug Irvin

 

One of the sad state of affairs we humans have to put up with is that when we grow out of childhood, our imaginations are stunted. It’s like the loss of milk teeth triggers a drying up of our sense of wonderment.

It doesn’t have to happen that way.

In fact, for some people it doesn’t happen at all.

The best part of childhood is looking at everything through new eyes. As adults, we tend to treat a new wonder as so much ho-hum by the eighth day. That’s very true, even for children. I have a three year old grand daughter who managed to hack her mom’s smart phone and would call me every morning. She doesn’t know how the magic works for calling, but she’s utterly used to using it.

Fortunately, it is possible to train yourself – even starting from adulthood – to regain the sense of wonder.

I call it recapturing the magic.

As we grow and mature, our minds are forced into narrower and narrower channels of thought. For some, though,  even as they learn the lessons needed for adult pursuits they still manage to retain that sense of newness.

The writer/philosopher C. S. Lewis who wrote a fantasy series called the Chronicles of Narnia, understood the process of recapturing magic. It’s a matter of looking beyond mere details, to what might be called the meta-data. Not ‘what is it?’ but ‘what is it about?’ or maybe even ‘why is it?’.

This was demonstrated in a scene from Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The crew members have landed on a far away island, where they find men caught in an enchanted sleep. They finally meet the owners of the island, who are pressed for sailing details for the region beyond the island.

*****

“And are we near the World’s End now, Sir?” asked Caspian. “Have you any knowledge of the seas and lands further east than this?”

“I saw them long ago,” said the Old Man, “but it was from a great height. I cannot tell you such

things as sailor need to know.”

“Do you mean you were flying in the air?” Eustace blurted out.

“I was a long way above the air, my son,” replied the Old Man. “I am Ramandu. But I see that you stare at on another and have not heard this name. And no wonder, for the days when I was a star had ceased long before any of you knew this world, and all the constellations have changed.”

“Golly,” said Edmund under his breath. “He’s a retired star.”

“Aren’t you a star any longer?” asked Lucy.

“I am a star at rest, my daughter,” answered Ramandu

“When I set for the last time, decrepit and old beyond all that you can reckon, I was carried to

this island. I am not so old now as I was then. Every morning a bird brings me a fire-berry from

the valleys in the Sun, and each fire-berry takes away a little of my age. And when I have become

as young as the child that was born yesterday, then I shall take my rising again (for we are at

earth’s eastern rim) and once more tread the great dance.”

“In our world,” said Eustace, “a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.”

“Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is but only what it is made of.”

*****

Eustace had been one of those tiresome people who strive for adulthood by ignoring and disdaining anything considered childish. Fortunately for him, this trip managed to work a new sense of possibilities into him.

We are fortunate indeed if we can find a sense of newness again.

There is magic everywhere around us.

I don’t speak of the arcane and mystic arts as portrayed in Harry Potter or any of the urban fantasy stories prevalent.

I’m talking about the glory of a soap bubble. When you can see one, and even knowing the mechanics of making one you rejoice in the brief existence it has, then you are on the path of regaining your childhood magic.

I know scientists who yet have that magic. They see a rainbow, and though they can explain the physical properties in how they form, they still smile at the beauty – and maybe even hope for a pot of gold at the end.

When the magic is sucked out of a life, the body may breathe and move, but the real life is missing.

I tried to instill a lasting appreciation for magic in my children. And I’m proud to say that in at least one case, they continue that with their children.

When you have the magic, the world is full of possibilities. There may be giants, but they are friendly. Dragons wait to have their heads patted. What others see as a swarm of dragonflies, you can see their inherent faerie nature.

You can know the mechanics of reality, and still rejoice in its unknowns.

You can see the star is a huge ball of flaming gas.

But you also know that star has a personality that perhaps you can come to know.

If you have the magic.

 

 

 

Sunday Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and a Round up of Sarah’s for Pay Posts of the Week

Sunday 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: appear

Sarah’s Posts of the Week At PJMedia

The Puffington Host Now Doing Bad Science Fiction

The Twilight of the Liberal Gods

Has Michelle Obama Ever Met A Human Woman?

The Lieutenant Wouldn’t Like It

Would Obamacare Repeal Mean More Abortion?

Greebo’s Editorial Tips

I was born a poor black cat.  Okay, stop laughing.  It is actually true.  I’m mostly black, except for spots of white, embarrassingly shaped like human body hair, which show when I lie on my back.  And I was born in the crawl space of a rental house from a feral mother who was dumped as a kitten, and the neighborhood gentleman Mrs. Hoyt pleases to call The Resident Mad Feral Tom.

I wasn’t much more than ten weeks old when I had to defend mam.ma cat’s honor against a roving tom who took the opportunity of papa cat (who used to baby-sit us when mama went about her errands) being absent.

To be honest with you, I didn’t so much worry about my mother’s honor.  It was that the tom made it very clear my brothers and sister and I should be done away with and possibly eaten, so mama could turn her attention to his offspring, the getting of.

Well, I was tiny, but I had needle sharp claws, so I jumped on his head and–

Mrs. Hoyt says that’s when she decided to call me Greebo.  It didn’t hurt for the name that when the neighbor next door trapped me and my siblings (we could never resist tuna) she took me to be “fixed” (I wasn’t aware of being broken) to a feral-fixing service, which then cut half of one ear so people knew we were fixed.  She did this despite Mrs. Hoyt offering to pay for the fixing, which to be fair, she was never forgiven for.

Another thing she was never forgiven for was locking us all in a six by nine powder room, and not letting us be adopted.  To be fair, she let the Hoyts come and pet us and play with us, but she kept insisting we were feral and dangerous — she wasn’t a cat person, and to be fair, I didn’t like her — and not letting the Hoyts find us families.  Then when we were a year old she turned us out just before winter.  This is when Mrs. Hoyt took over looking after us, and trying to re-tame us, as we were rather traumatized at being dumped out into the freezing cold.  She even bought us an insulated house to sleep in during winter, and had us chipped and vaccinated.

Despite this, my brothers chose to live with the neighbors.  Okay, fine, I might have chased Maurice away.  Mr. Underfoot genuinely preferred the neighbors, even though they called him Dumb and Maurice Dumber.  Look, given how et up with cats the Hoyts are I judged my chances of being brought inside best if there was just one of us, okay?  A cat’s got to do what a cat got to do.

At any rate, Maurice owed me, because that first winter out, a fox got him in an indelicate place — to put it bluntly, the fox took an off-center chunk off Maurice — and if I hadn’t descended upon the fox like the wrath of Greebo, Maurice would be dead.

Mrs. Hoyt is still confused at my bringing her half a fox’s tail, ripped vertically.  I’d heard they were valued for stoles, but I think she threw it away, silly woman.  What do you expect from writers.

I also once saved them from a fugitive.  It happened like this, see, I wasn’t very fond of the outside house, so I convinced them to put a cat door on the little screen door to their mudroom.

The mudroom didn’t lock, because back then Colorado Springs’ Old North end was, in the main, very safe.  Besides, all they kept there were these tall plastic shelves with gardening stuff and basketballs, and the kids scooters.  That kind of thing.  Oh, and two cat beds, one in the lowest shelf and one on the highest.

It so happened that every so often a fugitive escaped the maximum security facility somewhere South of the Springs, and then the police would hunt them down and have lights shining from helicopters to catch them. We all knew what those lights meant.

Of course, the problem with that mud room — the Hoyts called it an air-lock. Shakes head at the silliness of science fiction people — is that once you were in there, you had all the time in the world to break into the kitchen.  I knew Mrs. Hoyt was there, cooking, because I’d greeted her at the kitchen window — purr, rub on glass, purr — before going to sleep in the top most shelf.

I don’t know why I know this man was a wrong one, except he smelled bad, of fear and bad intentions, and besides he wasn’t daddy, who was the only person who should be coming into the air lock at that time.

Well — flicks claw — I have my claws.  And I remembered who I got rid of mama’s suitor.  Yep, I dropped on his head.

He ran out of the airlock with me on his head, and I stayed on, yowling and scratching, and let me tell you it wasn’t easy to keep my balance, so I held on with my front claws and ripped with my back claws.  When we found the police he was sobbing, asking for his mommy, and saying something about demons.

Mrs Hoyt was very proud of me and gave me tuna.

So, what does this have to do with writing tips?

Be still, there’s more to the story.

Imagine my surprise when the Hoyts moved away and left me behind.  I thought it was understood I was THEIR kitten — albeit a near 20 lb muscular kitten — but apparently the strange pink monkeys thought I was the neighborhood cat.

So I sat my butt in front of the house and yowled ALL NIGHT.  It worked.  One of the neighbors called and told Mrs. Hoyt she had to come get me, because I wouldn’t let anyone sleep.

And that’s how I achieved my long term goal of being an indoor cat.

Now, because I know she has a lot of other cats (Yeah, not happy about that, but one is old enough he shouldn’t be with us long, the other one is really her son’s cat and just staying with us for a year, and the third is probably just an animated ball of cotton wool) she has to feed, and I don’t intend to go without my tuna, I also herd the silly woman to the chair to write at all times, so she has money to keep us.  Because, and here’s the thing,  found if you work at it, you will be successful.

So, my tips for writers are:

No matter who you were born, or to whom, or how unlikely your circumstances, you can do what you set out to do.  It just takes effort and determination.  Tell yourself right now you’re not going to give up and die when the big feral tom wants you out of the way.  You’ll chase him off if needed, even if you’re much smaller.  And you’ll do it WELL.

Develop your innate abilities.  Mine is chasing off large wild life and terrorizing neighborhoods.  This not only saved my brother Maurice and the other cats in the neighborhood, since the fox found another place to prowl, but it made me beloved by a lot of people who only heard about me.

It also made me capable of chasing off a real, dangerous fugitive and earn the gratitude of the Hoyts.

Also, as I keep telling the writer-woman, when you become what you always wanted to be, don’t slack off.  Be vigilant and always on the job, and you know, sometimes you’ll even get tuna rewards.

It’s all in working hard and never giving up.  Now go write, before I figure out a way to come to your houses and chase you to your keyboards.

Happy hunting.