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This Morning I Woke

I woke this morning and opened my eyes to the world — my world — and its peaceful, benevolent calm. By chance, I closed them, again, and was startled to see the cosmos spinning, a sea of tiny stars.  Intrigued, I watched.

First came vistas I could recognize — Betelgeuse and the belt of Orion, Sirius and the Swan, the great square of Pegasus. Then that vista moved …or I moved, and went beyond what my brain recognized as known to see more, then, more than that, all moving. I opened my eyes, again, and knew I sat upon my bed …closed them, and there, yet, was cosmos.

Enthralled, I just sat and breathed, keeping closed my eyes to watch in wonder ever broadening horizons that stretched all ways to beyond the knowns of all infinity.  Then, a cat called — Pepper — demanding my attendance, and I opened up my eyes, again …left that cosmos to its spinning.

Rising, I made my bed, turned the plant lights on, started my day, and, yes, attended Pepper.  I cleaned the downstairs bathroom after morning ablutions, careful in that cleaning not to jostle and destroy a carefully constructed corner home (behind the toilet) of the room’s long-time resident spider.  Too close my hand, and, terrified, darting, she hid beneath her wedge of web, a thickened pad of strands just a little bigger than her inch-diameter self. I eased away and waited, and, sure enough, she came back as quickly, climbing back atop her bed to resettle and arrange her legs and pedipalps. I smiled, pleased that she is once again comfortable and happy in our home, hers in mine and mine in hers.

I made my coffee, then sat contemplating for the minutes that first cup permits me take before I must start morning chores:

When I go out into the natural world, I am embraced by nature’s quiet, by natural shapes and colors, all gentle and complementary to each other, sometimes sharp, sometimes muted, sometimes bright, but always gracious in their presentation. When I go out into the human world, I am accosted by a sea of rudely regimented shapes and structures, all saturated with a cacophony of too loud, unnatural sound and colors too intensely brash, those shapes, those sounds, those colors all rubbing garishly against each other.

When I go online, again I am accosted by this same cacophony and brash intensity. I can mute the sound; I can place a filter on my screen to dim the garishness.  What I cannot filter out is the human ‘rude’, a rude expressing forth an attitude of influence, of will, of conflict.

Why, I wonder, do we celebrate inflicting influence and will, wreaking battle, war, and conflict — the conquering of others different than us, their destruction, their obedience to “our” will, their subjugation, defeat, and even death?  Why is it that getting our own way, despite what harm, pain, and cruelty that means to others — any others, be it other human, animal, plant, or rock and mineral — brings us pleasure? It’s in the games embraced by the teeming multitudes, in the images and sounds the throngs prefer, in the very knit of what the masses label civilized. And all of it pits tribe against some other tribe, tribe against the world, tribe against nature and reality, tribe against its own members. And in ‘tribe’s’ triumph and glorification of ‘defeated’ enemy, there’s no recognition whatsoever that, within a moment’s time — just a moment — the tribe will again turn restless, craving violence, to find ‘enemy’ within itself to engage in battle and defeat in bloodied conflict.

It’s in the winning, in the gory glory of annihilating and stamping out another and the many other upon which humans seem to thrive. It’s in subjugating life, home, sustenance, perspective, culture, and proclivity of others, all (plant, animal, rock and other human), that humans find their satisfaction, never recognizing that their own lives, homes, and sustenance, their own perspective, culture, and proclivity is vulnerable when the mob turns to find anew another enemy from within.


Today, it’s Pouring, but Yesterday…

Got a wonderful blast of sunshine yesterday. It was an absolutely glorious autumn day. Today? We’re back to much-needed rain. Enjoy. The first is a still-green maple sapling, the second is one of our century-old-plus cedars, the third is a shot of the also century-old tamaracks (larch) turned their wonderful autumn color just before they lose their needles. (Yes, they are one of the few pines that lose their needles every fall, so, those of you unfamiliar with them, don’t cut that tree that’s bare if its a larch, because, yes, it drops its leaves in the fall.)

maple sapling still green though it's fall one of our century-old-plus cedars century-old tamaracks turned their fall colors just before they shed all their needles for winter


Gravy Days in the Country

September and October are my favorite months. Yes, there’s November looming with its scramble to batten down the hatches, but September and October are those months where summer work is mostly done, and I can sit down and simply enjoy Earth.  Sure, there’s a bit of cleanup and tidying yet to do, but, all in all, it’s time to wallow in the relative quiet of kids gone back to school, tourists gone home — a time to embrace the Gravy Days, as my mother used to call them.

Our October this year didn’t start in gravy. There was a cold foreboding to the weather that promised a very cold, hard winter.  Everybody felt it.  Then, midway through, things changed.  And we got, not Indian Summer, but Gravy Days, all the same. Last fall clean-ups in pleasant progress and, yes, finally, the roofing crew, promised in Spring, here two days before the rains come.

My biggest project prior to November is … raking the drive and the pathways in preparation for snow removal this winter, manual clean-up necessary to get the bits of branches and fallen leaves cleared so they don’t get sucked into the snow blower with our inevitable wet snow and bind up the big machine, which, if and when that happens, makes me turn the air, not just blue, but purple with my cussing.

The Roofing Job, Done Late (Very), But Done

Hand-Raking the Drive

Halfway done (the rest, already completed, is behind me)

Three-quarters done

Done!

 

Gravy Days Pictures


Start of One of the NF Books I’m Writing

In case you think I’m fooling with you, I thought I’d share the draft first chapter of one of the non-fiction books I’m working on. Here ya go. Tell me what you think over on my DLKeur Writing As page on Facebook.


WORKING TITLE: Writing Your Novel – The Very Best, Easiest, Fastest, Least Frustrating Way to Write Your Novel

I like books that get right to the point, so let’s, shall we?

 

I’m, by nature, a pantser, that is, I like to create organically, writing on inspiration driven by emotion, rather than pre-calculated structures.  I like to let my characters lead the way through the crises presented to or perpetuated by them as churned by the story’s plot engine.  It’s an exciting way to write …if you know what you’re doing and where you are going.  It has surprises, elicits moments of pure genius, and, most of all, is sublimely fulfilling.  There’s a ‘but’, though.

 

Organic novel writing, or pantsing (‘writing by the seat of your pants’), has its problems, namely left turns, right turns, U-turns, and, worst, winding up completely lost.  These problems can leave the writer frustrated and discouraged, their manuscript unfinished and abandoned.  There’s a reason for that, and there’s a way to avoid it.

 

A successful pantser, just like a plotter—a writer who calculates what happens next in a story based on their detailed outline and story mapping/plot mapping—should know a few things before plunging into the writing, namely:

  • what their story is and what that story is about (two different things, though related),
  • who the story is about, and
  • where the story is going and will wind up (terminate).

 

You also should know the main conflict and pretty well understand how the plot will flow (the overall plot mechanism to be utilized).   Most importantly, though, you must know your ending …usually. (Don’t you just love exceptions? We’re going to proceed without discussing those exceptions, though, because they so very rarely apply to such a very few writers.)

 

Further, you really should know your main character(s), their vulnerabilities and strengths.

 

What you don’t have to know is the how of where the story is going to go next and next and next as you write it through, not unless you’re a died-in-the-wool plotter.  If you are a plotter, then, yes, you will need to know exactly or all but exactly where your story and its plot are going next and next and next through every moment of every scene.

 

My main complaint about plotting is that there’s absolutely no excitement or real joy in writing a novel via the plotting method.  It’s pure labor.  Once you’ve dryly outlined the whole of it, it’s a matter of padding it out so it holds reader interest.  My brain goes cold and my eyes dry up doing that, so that method is absolutely not something I advocate for anyone who isn’t writing pot boilers for minimum wage income.  And nothing really genius usually happens unless the character really takes it off script—those extreme left, right, or even U turns organic novelists regularly can experience, twists and turns that often lead to surprising, even brilliant results, but sometimes lead to complete disaster.  Nice thing about disasters is that, as the creator, you can go back to the fork in the road that leads to it and try again, over and over, taking yet another pathway until you find the one that’s perfect.  Of course, that means that writing without plotting can take regrettably longer to complete.

 

Disasters like this rarely happen to me, and there’s a very good reason.  It’s called ‘know your story’.

 

For those of you who read my How to Write a Good Book in 17 Days, you’ve already seen a crash course that employs this technique.  In this book, though, I’m going to elaborate on the process and start from inception and conception, then walk you through execution.  Let’s begin.

 

Every Story has a Beginning that is the Result of a Previous Ending

Every story has a beginning, but that beginning is actually the result of an ending.  You’ll often see me end a novel or short story with ‘The Beginning’ instead of ‘The End’.  There’s a reason for that.  Because the story’s culmination is actually the beginning of the next story.  This is true of every cherished novel I’ve ever read, be it something by Mark Twain, Conrad Richter, Ursula Le Guinn, Kim Stanley Robinson, Greg Bear, Charles Todd, Prestin and Child, or any of the other many authors I enjoy reading, a list way too long to present unless you’re the kind of person who enjoys reading through the begats in the Bible’s Old Testament.  If you check your own list of favorite novels and novelists, though, I think you, too, will find the same to be true of your favorite author’s novels.

 

The end of one novel can beget a new unwritten novel’s beginning.  And therein lies a clue to effectively starting your novel….

END EXCERPT


Fuss, Fume, Bother

Rage, castigation, derision: Not only do we have constant contention on the main streams of social media, but we’ve got it in the groups and communities, as well, including, I’m sorry to say, the main flute group on FB. Can we concentrate on playing our flutes and discussing (with civil tongues and benevolent perspectives) the nuances of effective performance? No. Can’t seem to.

I took to lurking, then left the main flute subreddit over on Reddit.com — too much cliquishness support for questionable, even erroneous ‘expert’ advice. Then, here on FB, after one of the skirmishes that blew up over much ado about nothing, I took to mostly lurking on Flute Forum, https://www.facebook.com/groups/fluteforum/ . This isn’t because I don’t enjoy a lot of the people there, but because, again, there’s this contentiousness that creeps into any discussion, and anyone is fair game for contemptuous, derogatory treatment by cliques of a different mindset.

Then, of course, there’s the ‘show and tell’ that really should be relegated to one’s own personal FB pages and the “buy lessons/master classes from me” posts. Oh, yeah, and the “buy tickets for my performance this weekend at JackAndApes” posts.  These things I can do without.

You know, I really am on social media to interact with people, not to look at advertisements and duns for attention. I want to be part of flute discussion groups because I wanted to interact with other flutists. It doesn’t work, though. It’s become just like the present political and socio-cultural landscape — in a roil, a CONSTANT roil. It’s all fuss, fume, and bother, so, honestly, why do I bother.

Dawn's Azumi flute


Winter is Coming

This morning early, ~1AM, it was breezy, but balmy. Later, by 7AM, the wind had turned vengeful and bitter.

Winter is coming.

I’m very glad Forrest will be home this winter, not driving dangerous roads. Meanwhile, though, the chill put a damper on my spirits — completely. It’s depressing to think that, in a matter of days to a spare couple of weeks, we could be facing below zero temperatures …which would be very early, even for North Idaho.


The Trans-Dimensional Shift Machine Let Loose

8 Months Research, a Breakthrough, So It’s Build Time

Inside The Dimensional Shift Machine, strip

Back in January, 2016, I quit publishing.  I had book #3 of the Country James series ready to throw to my editor and was pounding out the final manuscript of E. J.’s Come-Back Road, the second book of a planned three book series covering the life of one Dr. Warren Jeffries, DVM that started with Old Hickory Lane. I quit because I got a good solid look at the piracy numbers of just one of my titles.  Then, I got the rest of the numbers, too.  

Throughout 2016 and 2017, I published nothing.  And I was pretty darned sure that I would never publish another novel, not until piracy could be defeated (Ha! Dream on. Did a year of research on that and found no good solution.) Then I met author Laura Belgrave, mystery/crime author of the Claudia Hershey Mystery series.  Like a drip of water that slowly wears away stone, Laura got my rock hard petulance worn down bit by bit.  It took her until January of this year.  Then, once again, I began to research.

I’ve got a very interesting brain.  It works at its own pace, and, usually, that pace is quite fast.  Not this time.  I kept shoving data in, but got back …silence.  I shoveled in more data.  Then more again.  Still silence.  Eight solid months inputting more and more data; eight solid months of dead silence.  …Until last week, when, like gears finally starting to move once the penetrating oil does its job or like one of those strange flowers that takes months to form, then bursts open into full bloom all at once, the whole evaluation and conclusion precipitated from subliminal simmering into fully served answer.

So I tried it.

And it worked.

Now, I’m scurrying about, pulling out projects I built, then mothballed as unworkable, and all the pieces are hanging together quite nicely.

I’ll keep you posted on progress as I work through all the various branches of the project’s build. See you on the other side.Inside The Dimensional Shift Machine, DLKeur 2016 web

 


Site Updates and Upgrades in Progress

Yeah. I know. It’s about time, huh! So, I’m working on EJRuek.com and CountryJames.com, then it will be DLKeur.com right after. Then, I’ll see about revitalizing Aeros’ site. Meanwhile, I did release another E. J. Ruek book. I just never got around to posting it up here on this, my main website. It’s titled Slightly Disturbing Stories and those folks who’ve read it seem to really, really like it.




How to Write a Good Book in 17 Days

Way back before I set a moratorium on publishing my novels because of piracy, I set out to write at least two books a year. And did it. In fact, all three of my Montana Love Story novels were written in a month and under, with the second and still unpublished third book drafted in seventeen days and sixteen days, respectively. It was something which I hadn’t thought myself capable, that is to write a good book — one of my books — in shorter than a year. I proved to myself that I could …only to quit publishing in a fit of temper about all my books having been pirated, even those exclusive to Amazon.

Now, a full two years plus since my last novel’s release, an author friend’s needs prompted me to put my process down in an orderly, organized guide. Here it is:


Guns, Schools, Kids, Safety, and the Human Predator

There’s a LOT of hyperbole, a lot of emotion, a lot of tears and cries of anguish. But the sides involved aren’t communicating with each other effectively. In fact, they aren’t even talking, just pointing fingers and screaming back and forth, filled to the brim with emotion about keeping kids safe by banning certain kinds of weaponry. Why am I hearing, I wonder, about guns? Shouldn’t I be hearing about BANNING VIOLENCE?

You know, there are disturbed children. There are born sociopaths. And there are damaged children, some of whom will never become undamaged. And, truth be told, there are just some people who are born mean-spirited. The fact is you cannot legislate safety and you cannot protect people from predation until and unless you somehow identify those who potentially could become predators …which, because we are human, the super-predator, is everyone. The problem with trying to outlaw tools of predation is that other tools then become employed, tools with equally unpleasant consequences.

Everyone wants to live in safety, but humans are, by nature, a very cruel and vicious creature. Heck, most of you don’t think twice about killing a spider that has walked across your path, even when you’re in that spider’s garden.

Let’s look at the rabidity of the factions involved in even this debate. It’s practically torches and pitch forks, no dialogue, no seeking common ground, no attempt to understand each other’s concerns.

I was the kid who was bullied when stuck in a public school. I was a kid who was shunned as ‘different’, not because I was a sociopath and mean, but because I was an outsider. No one befriended me. Nobody protected me from being beaten with chains by my school mates, this in high school.

I can fully understand why a bullied child would turn a gun or a crossbow or a bomb on his classmates. I can understand them lacing candy with poison to retaliate. I never did it, never even thought about doing it, but I can certainly understand the motivation to ‘get even’. I have a broken spine in my back today from those chain beatings. But I was raised by a father who came from the Dutch Reform heritage — always taught to turn the other cheek and to forgive.

You all want safety for your kids and for yourselves. Great. Then you and all of us have to change the nature of human beings worldwide, a huge undertaking with the understanding that not everyone wants peace and tranquility and safety. Some thrive on cruelty and mayhem, on butchery and terrorizing. But, to begin, we have to set an example and that begins with each one of us not engaging in name-calling, castigation, spurning, ostracizing, and condemning those who don’t share our perspectives.

That also means that, reality check, you and your kids have to be always prepared and always vigilant, capable of defending yourselves, even if it means the death of another at your hand.

Just my thoughts.


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