Betrayed by Eyeballs 😵

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Eyeballs are pretty much a necessity to me…especially for their ability to see. Don’t get me wrong – I am well aware that there are many people whose eyeballs do not function and not a day goes by anymore that I don’t pray that I will be able to develop their skills if my eyeballs continue to degrade and betray me.

Backtrack.

About a year ago I started seeing ‘chains’ at the outer circle of my vision. From there I’ve developed ‘leopard spots’ and intermittent grey, blank spots, mostly when my eyeballs are hit directly with light. Sun, sitting under a lamp where the bare bulb is not hidden by the shade…a bright internet page – it makes no difference what lumens, my eyeballs rebel.

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That’s why I’ve not been online lately, except after days of protecting my eyeballs, and then for only a few minutes. Still unsure the exact cause because I’ve not sorted medical insurance yet – so I ask for a few good thoughts and prayers for my poor eyeballs, if you would be so kind, that they won’t completely betray me – well, at least til I’m finished with Folded Dreams. After that, I’ll be happy to start practicing alternative methods of writing and finishing my other books!

Ta Dahhh!! The Old Fossil is Celebrating 1 Year with WordPress!

Yeah. I'm cool like that, too :)

             Yeah. I’m cool like that, too 🙂

It’s The Old Fossil’s 1-Year Anniversary on WordPress!!

“Where do you go for research?”

While I may be only beginning my book publishing journey, I’ve been publishing posts and articles on other blogs and websites since 1996. I retired as a content writer for my last employer’s company and his main concern was summed up thus: “Where do you go for research?”

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My final employment was with a telemedical services company. The owner eventually approached me to work with his social media manager to learn to write content for our company web and blog sites. He also requested that I post original content about the subject of telemedicine on two of my own blogs.

I learned a lot working under ‘Shell (the social media coordinator). She was a brilliant teacher and mentor and not only understood exactly what content was needed, but suggested professional websites that would help insure the accuracy of my posts. Ultimately, my preferred research sites were under thimagesca94x3kne auspices of John’s Hopkins Hospital and University, the Mayo Clinic, JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association, NIHL (National Institute of Health Library) and the research libraries that Duke University, Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Oxford make available to the general public.

When I began to evolve my book, Folded Dreams – the Beginning, into novel form, I made full use of the experiences I’ve had with these online resources. Beyond having used these resources for research on previous site content, however, I have learned a good bit more about using my favourite search engine, Google, to research such subjects as physics, theology and religion, neurology, psychology and history (both social and geographical). And of course, I still research the old school way.

Go old school: read a book!

        Go old school: read a book!

From the results of my searches, I have come in contact with writers and authors, individuals who are experienced in the publishing world, whether as lay or professional persons, physics professors and students, clerics – including priests, rabbi’s and teachers of eastern mystical religions – and a number of other writer’s resource materials.

When I have completed Folded Dreams, the novel, rest assured that, while what is written may not be factual, it is done so purposefully. It is, as I have many times stated, a work of fiction after all.

I hope this post as to where I go for research helps those who are not yet familiar with my work, whether as an author or a site administrator/content writer, to understand that I take authorship very, very seriously. Let it not be said that amateurs can be spotted a mile away!

Speaking of which, there are only 15 days left to enter my Goodreads Giveaway, where you can win 1 of 10 print copies of my precursor book, “Folded Dreams – the Beginning”!

Where book characters are born or ♪ ♫ “Who’s that girl?” ♫ ♪

THIS...is one person!

THIS…is one person!

Regardless of genré, all fictional book characters are born in the writer’s mind. Whether historical fiction, scifi, metaphysical, visionary fiction or any other genré, the character is either a faithfully reproduced version or a conglomerate of individuals the author has known or seen. How many times have friends, acquaintances, family members…or anyone who reads a book…quoted, in essence, the old song – “Who’s that girl?” – when they find that they can relate to the protagonist. Or antagonist?

My sister was (and still is) one of my heroes, as are my mother, father (may they rest in peace) and children, in some way or another. They are, or were, not perfect. Everyone has their bad sides, no matter how easy it is to forget when they are such awesome and admirable human beings 98% of the time! It is worth it to bear in mind, however, that there are two or more sides to every single person who has been born on this planet, and any writer worth his salt will be able to objectively access these when creating a book’s characters. Of course, this is only my opinion.

Let’s be perfectly honest; how do we define certain adjectives or adverbs as they might apply to a protagonist or antagonist – if only to ourselves? As for me, all of you who follow this blog or have corresponded with me have often heard or seen me say, “Mama always said…”, usually followed by some tidbit of wisdom. Elsewhere, I also relate stories and memories of my childhood, experiences with my own children, strangers, hospitals, employers and even my own attitudes and beliefs as an adult when describing something.

For example: “That character is like one of the people I used to work for; he has a good heart, but unlike my granny, he lacks the strength of character to do the right thing.” The character in question is built on memories of my boss and my granny, and probably with a few other character traits from others I have known.

Now read my books. You will find all of the above in the personalities and experiences of the characters I have given birth to. Sometimes those characters are patched together as though I was the long lost great-great-granddaughter of Frankenstein, only not so evil…usually!

The human mind is like a computer: data is never completely lost no matter how many times you delete and “Empty Recycle Bin”. It is from all the data that has ever been entered into the writer’s brain that the characters in their books, short stories or poetry and prose are born. Experience is how we learn and experience is what fuels our imaginations.

“Who’s that girl?” Well, that’s my sister and her compassion, my mother and her wisdom, my granny and her strength of faith, and my father and his boardroom persona. When I state in the Disclaimer at the beginning of my books, that “the characters in this book are fictional and created strictly from the mind and imagination of the author”, it is true. Mostly. But then, so it goes with other authors.

Just sayin’.

“MS Relapse”. Food for thought and a kick in the – – writer’s block

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I learned a new term  today, from Angie at Reflections On Life 281:

“MS Relapse”

Now, this refers to the medical condition, MS (Multiple Sclerosis), but what you may not know is that “ms” is also an abbreviation for the word, “manuscript”. Before I go any further, let me iterate that I know how debilitating a condition MS is – my eldest grandson’s paternal grandmother, who was one of the sweetest women I ever met, suffered with it for many decades. I am totally in awe of anyone who is tough enough, determined enough and stubborn enough to shake their fist mightily in the face of this disease and continue living strong.

Angie said, in effect, that having to stop whatever she was doing for a bit before she plugs on is what she refers to as having an “MS Relapse”. Following her blog, though, I can see that she views such times merely as temporary set-backs, then she gathers her strength and continues doing what she is called to do. That same courage applies to people like Alicia (liebjabberings.wordpress.com), Danielle (Books, Vertigo & Tea) and oh! so many others, who must fight against the waves just to do the things that they used to do without thinking. What heroes, are these!

It is for the women and men who have toughed it out, in spite of the limitations forced on them by any disability or chronic disease, that I shamefacedly adopt the term, “MS Relapse”, instead of ‘writer’s block’ (or any other “poor pitiful me” excuse for not writing). It is not said in jest, and nor is it meant to demean. It is to remind myself that, from brain lesions to MS, and fibromyalgia to CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and everything in between, if they can persevere in spite of it all, who the hell am I to cry over Writer’s Block? Food for thought, isn’t it…

So let me kick myself in the….writer’s block, and call it “MS (for manuscript) Relapse” and, by God, grow a set.

A Folded Dreams Primer (Part 2)

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In my previous post, Folded Dreams: A Primer – Part I (renamed “A Folded Dreams Primer”) I hinted at part of the basis for the novel’s main character, Ginevra’s, uncommon abilities of comprehension as though she was a ‘savant-in-the-making’…which she is, although not because of any bio-neurological anomaly. Her story touches on a number of sciences (always subject to poetic license because, after all, this is a work of fiction), including religion and philosophy, psi and physics and…well…”life out there”! In this post, I speak of a deeper understanding of the basic premise from which I weave my tale.

A Folded Dreams Primer – Part II

When I made the decision to expand the original story of Folded Dreams – the Beginning into novel form, it became incumbent upon me to do more than rely on my own beliefs. For lack of any truly honest guidance, I was presented with the opportunity for a fair bit of in-depth research into the witherto’s and whyfore’s of religion, theology and the sciences, beginning in childhood and continuing to this day.

It is somewhat fortuitous that my belief system – formed in the course of a lifetime of experience and ‘gut feelings’ – sprang from too many questions and not enough logical answers. As ‘the powers that be’ seemed to have their noses stuck pretty far up their own…self-importance….I was left with reliance on my own independent studies, discernment and intuition, so the idea of digging deep was not a new concept.

(Probably not the most notable of backgrounds upon which to base a book that I want to be taken seriously, fiction or not. Still, the older I’ve become, the more content I am with those beliefs.)

The Veil of Forgetfulness

In preparation for trying to shape a decent work, I decided to categorize the different elements that touched the protagonist, Ginevra’s, life. The first and main element is the timelessness of spirit and the so-called ‘Veil of Forgetfulness’, which is actually a term I learned via the Mormon† religion.

This same concept is referred within Judaism, relating to the fully aware state of Spirit in our pre-birth “life” – which state becomes hidden from us when we are born into this physical world and the ‘veil’ drops over us as a separation from ‘then’ and ‘now’.

Just a note: the whole “a baby having that level of cognizance is completely unbelievable” idea has apparently been the biggest sticking point regarding the preview chapters of the novel by enough readers, that I felt compelled to even tackle this so-called “Primer”.

A Foray into Judaism:

I have always enjoyed the blessing of a really good memory. In my later years, that memory has, unfortunately, been affected by a series of mini-strokes which were triggered by personal losses suffered over the course of a very short time. Now, while those strokes may have cost me no small amount of neurological function (at least as viewed within the context of my chosen ‘old age career’ as a writer), the need to continuously study and read in order to hang on to what is left of my ragged brain, has been a wonderful perquisite‡ (ha! how many of you knew?!! ). It is a ‘perk’ to have the need to study so that I might remember why I believe what I believe!

The idea of life in the pre-birth state has been with me since childhood. I can’t say what initiated that belief, but as an adult, the sheer logic of it seems immutable – at least to me – precisely because there are so many unknown quantities in the studies of neurological processes. Those unknowns prompt a plethora of questions regarding the so-called ‘Mysteries’ of life.

I recognized early on that certain books in the Old Testament (King James Version) which dealt with health, could be proven with today’s science, beginning with cautionaries about pork (I won’t go into it here, but I trust that everyone is familiar with what can happen if you eat under-cooked pork)! It took millennia for science to catch up to the reasoning behind all that. What’s to say the Bible has the answers (if not the explanations) behind other ‘theories’ as well?

With a background in Mormonism when I was a teenager, and a real thirst for finding the truths in the Bible, it was only a matter of time that I would look for the original texts from which this book is based: the Judaic sacred texts. And it was there that I came to a deeper perception of that spiritual existence.

Let me just share the notes that I made (copy/pasted from my text doc notes):

NOTE TO SELF: KEEP IT TECHNICAL AND VERIFIABLE

There is an article, What Happens After We Die?,  which explains the belief that (and this is found in the Talmud, Niddah 30b): “The fetus in its mother’s womb is taught the entire Torah . . . When its time comes to emerge into the atmosphere of the world, an angel comes and slaps it on its mouth, making it forget everything.” :O ).

(Sounds a bit mean, but hey, who am I to disagree with a multi-thousand year old text?)

The ‘person’ is more than just a physical body of flesh, blood and bone. It is within the fleshly body that is housed the spirit and that part which returns to The Source and The Creator, respectively, upon the death of the physical body. The fleshly body, the spirit and the soul…all connected, yet all separate.

We breathe, swallow, blink, maintain our standing, sitting, walking, running balance, our hearts beat…all as a matter of physiological instinct or neurological automation, so to speak. Synapses fire, triggering these automatic actions over which we have no conscious control, at least not in the long run. But none of this can explain thought. We can map the action of thought, but not the origin of thinking. Face it, one can be taught to analyze, but you cannot learn to think!

TRYING TO GET THESE TERMS STRAIGHT IN MY HEAD!

(nucleus: soul – – – – encased in moving parts: spirit – – – – encased in earth bound: body???? sheeesh!!!)

THE SOUL:

  • Neshamah – eternal soul which returns to G-d upon physical death?
  • Nefesh – physical, life-force? Body? Biological?
  • Ruach – self-awareness?
  • Yechidah connotes the essence of the soul–its unity with its source, the singular essence of G‑d. For the essence of the soul of man is “literally a part of G‑d above”–a piece of G‑d in us, so to speak.

(mercy…it’s confusing. contact rabbi b for clarification)

CROSS REF:  Upon death the “spirit returns back to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7 KJV)

* * * * * * *

There’s more, but that’s it in a nutshell.

My poetically licensed take on it all

So, this will be my take on all of this, after a good bit of poetic license has been taken, and this is only as I am applying it to the Folded Dreams novel:

  • Pre-birth, we exist on a spiritual level. Imagine, if you will, a massive beach (The Source) made up of every grain of silica that exists on every single shoreline…all the sands both above and beneath the waters. Each individual grain represents that spark of energy (life spark) that is distributed to every single person who has ever been or will ever be born into physical life…then, once that energy is no longer needed to animate the human husk, or body, it is gathered back and re-integrated into the whole. This spark is not just mindless energy, though. It’s that sentience that makes human-kind self-aware, with intellect, intelligence and deep knowledge.
  • The soul is what makes a person an individual. This is a completely different spark…it is that which consciously analyzes life and makes decisions. The personality. The ‘choice’. The ‘free will’. The Person…that part of us which is most closely attached to God.
  • The body is a husk – or a biological machine which relies on input, whether physical (tactile, environmental) or abstract (thought process whether purposeful or instinctual).

Both the body and the soul have a final destination: death and decay for the one, the end of opportunity to affect change on the physical plane for the other.

The spirit, however, is pure energy. It cannot be destroyed, only re-routed. It cannot ‘stop’, only be recycled.

In Folded Dreams, Ginevra is one of those for whom the Veil of Forgetfulness is only temporary. She is destined to ‘make a difference’ in life. She is empathetic. Her influence on the world around her is, to all outward appearance, of the subtlest nature. The impact she eventually has on those who know her, however, is tangible. In the end, they will be able to say, “If it wasn’t for her, there’s no telling where my life might have led.”

(Coming: “A Folded Dreams Primer – Part III)

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† Mormon: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS)

‡ per·qui·site – /ˈpərkwəzət/ noun formal

  1. another term for perk2.
    • a thing regarded as a special right or privilege enjoyed as a result of one’s position.
      noun: perquisite; plural noun: perquisites
      “the wife of a president has all the perquisites of stardom”
    • historical
      a thing that has served its primary use and is then given to a subordinate or employee as a customary right.