The End Is In Sight

No, not the end of the world. My book, Order of the PenTriagon. I know there have been many people claiming the rapture will happen at any moment now due to the stores being empty of toilet paper, but I’m not one of them. Even though I have weird glimpses into the future (see previous post), I’m not a prophet. I’m just weird.

I’ve been busy working on the tail end of my book the past couple days, which accounts for no warm-up post. I’m on a roll, you see. Today, I want to be able to give the happy news in an edited update to this post that I’ve finished the final scene. Of course, being a loose plotter, I will have to go back through and change a few things near the beginning. I don’t need to change anything major, however, just a few little things. So when I hit the end, I’ll still throw myself a party.

I have a number of books in the works, but as I was listening to Daft Punk’s Give Yourself to Dance yesterday (Random Access Memories is my favorite album for writing), I decided I would focus on my breakdancing cyber punk novel next. I didn’t make New Year’s resolutions this year; I already discussed this in a post a while back. But in order to make it through my fit of pique (brought on by my own onslaught of self-berating), I incorporated a bare minimum of writing 1000 words a day, Monday through Friday. Now that my 1000 daily words is a developed habit, I have hopefully worked my way into finishing a second book this year rather than waiting for another three to finish the next. By the way, 1000 words a day, five days a week is approximately 20,000 words a month. That’s plenty to finish the first draft of a novel in about four months. It doesn’t take that much effort to write a book, after all. Depending on the day, 1000 words will take between a half hour and three hours. Oh, sure, the sweating through pre-plotting and post-editing might seem like an extreme effort, but the actual rough-draft writing is fairly breezy.

I don’t have much else to say; all my work has been cancelled for three weeks due to Coronavirus. My tutoring work is cancelled as schools are closed down, but I don’t have an editing project scheduled for another three weeks (one doesn’t usually need to quarantine oneself from e-documents). It’s almost as if I’m being given a break from on high, as if God really can work things together for the good of those who love him and are called to his purpose. Please believe me, I don’t think the Coronavirus is a punishment by God to an ungodly world. It is an effect of nature, which God created. If you believe in conspiracy theories, it was created by humans…who are given to evil human nature. Whatever the source of the virus, I don’t believe God reaches down his hand and intervenes in nature, even though he can. From what I see around me, his hand in the lives of the saints is a bit more fluid than that. He gives us the opportunity to complete our purpose(s), even if we are ultimately not immune to the tragedies of nature. I’m going to use this time to restart my YouTube channel and edit PenTriagon because that is what I believe I’m supposed to do at this time. And pray. God wants all of us to pray.

***I did finish the final scene today, at around 10 p.m. MT. It needs an epilogue and some minor additions and rewrites, but it is done.***

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Future Memory

My husband just texted me that I should watch the latest Scott Adams Periscope because he discusses future memory in it. If you go to Adams’ Twitter page, you will easily find the video near the top (obviously, this is time-sensitive to this day, 3-16-2020), and then you will find the future memory bit starting about 47 minutes in. Here’s a link for those who are search-impaired: https://twitter.com/ScottAdamsSays/status/1239552289037156352.

I’m a little stunned by the video. Well, not exactly stunned. I already knew that Adams believes in the power of positive thinking, that if you speak something to the universe long enough, it has a greater chance of coming to be. This is esoteric thinking, and he has no problem with it. He discusses it in his book on success. Thus, I’m not so much stunned as intrigued by this segment on future memory. Adams is an odd mix of high intelligence, atheism (at least in the past; in this video he mentions God as a concept that might be true), and curiosity. He isn’t a scientist, but if he were, I imagine he would stick to a basis of what is known to be true but would veer from it where his mind and ideas led him. He would not make his ideas public until he had cause to do so. That is my assessment, anyway.

Regarding the esoteric concept of future memory, he brings it up hesitantly at the end of the hour long video. To be fair, I can only take his word for it that he does indeed possess the ability to have visions of the future. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt for a couple of reasons: anybody who puts themselves out there as a kind of “prophet” will only be successful temporarily if his statements don’t turn out to be true; I have experienced future memories myself. As for the first reason, many false “prophets” have not let the temporariness of their fame stop them from dishing out their visions, but Adams is the type of person who looks at the long view. He’s not a rash person, in other words, who is willing to go down in a bath of poisoned Kool Aid with his followers. The second is my personal weakness. If I’m willing to believe in esoteric ideas — that they are in fact real in my life — I’m more willing to believe them in another person if that person is reputable. By the way, I’ve put prophet in quotes above because prophecy isn’t simply knowing the future. It’s essentially speaking God’s word, which might include future edicts. I don’t think that future memories are necessarily something that come from God. Rather, they seem to be part of the reality of a universe we don’t fully understand.

I believe in future memories as a concept because, as I said, I’ve experienced them. I might have written blog posts on this in the past. I have more than ten years worth of blog posts; I can never remember what I’ve written and what I have not. Scott Adams calls his future memories “visions.” I don’t know that I’d call mine visions as much as I’d call them obsessions. I get obsessed with an extraneous detail that seems irrelevant. One example I like to give is the Ford Fiesta. I became obsessed with the idea of having a Ford Fiesta when all I had was a gas-guzzling SUV. I guess you could say I had a vision of a blue Ford Fiesta, but that is a sorry sort of vision. One would hope a vision would be more exciting than an economy car. I didn’t tell anyone I was obsessed with Ford Fiestas. I might have told my husband I wished I had an economy car like a Fiesta so that I could drive to the big city and visit museums and health food stores. I was stagnating in our small town, and I was ready to move on and see the world. The car was a symbol of mobility to me and that is all. But I didn’t tell anyone else. In other words, I didn’t plant the idea of it in anyone’s head. Later, when my husband was given an unexpected job opportunity in Roswell, he asked his brother to find him an economy car that would help him commute to Roswell until we were able to move. His brother picked a blue Ford Fiesta. The car is extraneous because my future memory was really about moving. I could sense a move, and the car represented that. Also, the car was a piece of crap. It caught on fire last summer and the engine burned up. It had problems. P.s. don’t buy a 2013 Ford Fiesta.

Other visions I’ve had have been similar: obsessions with certain types of houses or of meeting people I hadn’t yet met. Some of these obsessions set me up for disappointment because in some cases, I thought that God was directing me. Those have been few and far between — generally the visions of meeting people before I had actual conversations with them. Looking back, I no longer believe God directed me to those people. Not that I don’t believe God orders my steps. It’s as the Bible says, “[His] word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” I believe he will also direct us to people for specific purposes of spreading the gospel. In those cases of future memory, I saw events that were going to happen, but those events weren’t necessarily earth-shattering and didn’t involve spreading the gospel. They were just weird pre-cognitive glimpses of the future that I couldn’t put into context until later. I gave the example of the Ford Fiesta, but there was also the vision of a mid-century brick home, of tearing up carpet and finding original asbestos tile flooring that had to be cleaned up as a secondary layer. Actually, that was a dream rather than an awake vision. At the time, I thought my subconscious was telling me I had many layers to tear up inside my mind before I could reach a clean, bare state. When we eventually were in the market to purchase a home, we looked for houses with the flooring already done, but we didn’t find one (oil industry has narrowed the housing market). We instead found a house that looked like my dream, which had the original asbestos tile under the carpeting. To be honest, I wouldn’t have wanted to guess this context because I didn’t want a huge fixer-upper project.

If you’ve read my book The Minäverse, you know I dealt with this concept of future memory in my main character, Oso. The original (working) title of the book was Future Instinct. While I don’t think it’s a great book — the plot barely hangs together and it could use another editing pass — it will always have my heart in it: redemption, humor, and future memory. My next book is much better as far as plotting and (hopefully) reaching an audience, albeit it isn’t humorous. And there are prophecies rather than future memories and characters I don’t love nearly as much as Oso and Gillilander. Ah, well. That’s the way it is.

I don’t know what you make of future memory. I have no expectation that you consider me anything but crazy at this point. I’m guessing, though, that most people have these little glimpses into the future without knowing the context or seeing any importance to them. Most people might not even remember or acknowledge these little glimpses. I happen to be an obsessive person, and hence my remembering them. Scott Adams might be, too. Focused is the complimentary term for it. Go listen to the end of his video if you don’t think we’re crazy. You might find his story fascinating.

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Because We All Needed Another Coronavirus Post

For being such a skinny person all my life, I’m like a slow-moving giant. It’s a good thing not everybody is like me. The world needs people who can respond in an instant to crises. Crises might require slow and measured thought at some point, but not when it is time to act.

New Mexico has shut down all its public schools for several weeks. They did this almost immediately after three people in the state tested positive for the Coronavirus. Knowing New Mexico, they were not testing at all for Coronavirus before these travelers from abroad came staggering back across our border with respiratory illnesses. That’s the way New Mexico operates. New Mexico is perhaps the biggest slow-moving giant (there’s a reason I fit in here), until you poke her.

And then we’re still a slow-moving giant. I doubt anyone is actively testing for further cases of Coronavirus. It is partly the nature of New Mexicans to be lax about such things, but we also simply don’t have the medical personnel to cope with a fast-acting disease. So those in charge did what made sense to them: they shut down public gatherings, with an exemption for schools, and then quickly turned around and shut down schools. It makes sense. Schools are disease incubators. It makes perfect sense, except when you consider that New Mexicans are one paycheck away from not being able to pay their bills and thus won’t stop going to work unless they’re forced to stay home. The kids will be babysat by their grandparents, the parents will bring their diseases home to the kids, and then everybody will get sick anyway.

I’ve never been inclined towards panic or doomsdayism. My sense of fear doesn’t operate as it should. Yet, I’m not a fool and can look at the picture of what is happening around the world. Coronavirus infects people quickly, and while I don’t think I should dress up in a black cape and beaked nose and run a wheelbarrow up the street shouting Bring out your dead!, it does appear to have a higher death rate than the average flu virus. It is smart to try to keep it in check and be prepared for quarantines.

If I do have a panic button, it will occur out of annoyance when I go to the store and find empty shelves. Stocking up is a good thing, but I know how this works already. A handful of people will clear the shelves of everything because, hey, if you’re going to be prepared, you might as well make sure you have five year’s worth of water, toilet paper, etc. — and everybody else be damned. One middle-school student told me her dad had done just that, cleared everything off the shelves of Wal Mart. Carts full of stuff. Because he can. New Mexicans are like that, too. That’s the funny thing. They operate paycheck to paycheck and still manage to single-handedly scrape store shelves clean.

I’d better stop. I’m finding I like these writing warmups on my blog, but this particular one is making me cynical and grumpy, and I haven’t even begun to imagine what it’s going to be like for the next few weeks, as I will no longer have a few morning hours to work in the quiet by myself. I do not want the flavor of cynicism in my book. As of now, my two main female characters are in the kaleidoscope viewing room and have just realized the viewers are actually portals to…! And the male hero is about to slay…! That would be giving things away. Have a great Friday.

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Belief Isn’t of the Mind

This subject happened by accident. I was listening to Tucker Carlson on YouTube (someday I’ll tell you why I like Mr. Carlson), and that brought up a video made by a man called Ray Comfort, which was ostensibly about Rhett and Link falling away from Christianity. For the record, I don’t know who Rhett and Link are. Comedians, apparently. Comedians who used to proclaim Christianity and now no longer do. I used the term ostensibly because the video isn’t specifically about Rhett and Link. Ray Comfort (I’m not familiar with this person either) is applying universality of the human condition to the falling away of Christians from the faith. But he’s made his point to me long before the video has ended for a reason he might not have intended.

The video is a series of interviews Ray Comfort has with young university students on the subject of evolution vs Christianity. He is in the Christianity camp. Ray Comfort is clearly more intelligent than the average person. He has all the answers, knows the answers, can talk circles around young people with average or maybe slightly above-average intelligence. And he does all this calmly and politely, without raising his voice one time. To give it a sense of fairness, I guess, he also interviews three evolutionary professors, who also can’t compete with him, at least in the clips he shows of them. Journalists who conduct interviews are almost never honest in their video cuts, though Ray Comfort might be. I’d like to think a Christian would be inclined toward honesty.

Ray Comfort reminds me of the average professor of evolutionary biology when they are in control of the conversation. They are older and, by the law of averages, more intelligent than most of their students. They talk circles around their students; they have all the facts and know everything, and the faith-based students find themselves in a position where they can’t argue against their teachers. Oh, there might be one or two who try, but it doesn’t go well for them when it comes to grading time. Professors do surprise me at times with their egalitarianism and generosity, but I have mostly seen that in the humanities. Those in the sciences are a special variety.

What are the results of Ray Comfort’s interviews with the young people? After his logical case and intelligent words, one responds positively; there are a few agnostics, and then there are the ones who just say no to Christianity. The same phenomenon occurs in a university classroom, where the professor is trying to convince his students that evolution is a fact and that God isn’t. Some believe the professor; others remain agnostic, while others adamantly continue in their faith.

This is because belief doesn’t happen in the mind. It happens in the spirit. Our spirits will either believe in God or they won’t, and our minds simply devise intelligent arguments (well, some of our minds do) for what our souls have chosen. Like the Bob Dylan song from the iconic Slow Train album, we all have to serve somebody. It may be the devil; it may be the Lord, but we’re going to have to choose. It doesn’t matter how intelligent we are. It doesn’t matter what our politics are. We will end up serving a master. If we believe we can circumvent this by serving ourselves, we have believed a lie.

Ray Comfort shows a few clips of either Rhett or Link claiming that he simply believed what people told him growing up, and now he has started seeking out knowledge and has begun to question Christianity due to this knowledge. I don’t know where this man will end up, but it isn’t book knowledge that has altered his perspective. To be honest, I don’t know he got to the age he did without seeking out knowledge. But not everybody is motivated toward the same things — he obviously went the route of being on stage telling jokes instead of reading books. Still, it isn’t book knowledge that has caused the questioning of his faith. It’s a wrestling in his spirit for who will be in control of his life. I hope he eventually chooses God.

I’m not devaluing what Ray Comfort was trying to do in his video. While he does talk circles around the youths, he also brings everything back to the gospel and our human need for a savior. As I wrote this post, the video was still playing, and I was taken aback by the power of the gospel as Comfort gave it to the people he was speaking to. The young woman he spoke to looked very conflicted, her face a slew of emotions, and a peculiar shade of red by the end. So while I saw Comfort use his intelligence and knowledge to intimidate his audience, I also witnessed what the power of the gospel can do to a person’s soul. Who knows what direction the agnostics will go now that they’ve been confronted with God’s word? Who knows whom they will end up serving? My mind is skeptical, but my soul rejoices at the possibility they might choose God.

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Someday I Will Crack the Code

Yes, now that I’ve broken my silence, I’m writing a slew of posts. I have thoughts. I write mental essays. Generally, they sit in my head. They are probably best left that way. On the other hand, it’s hard to jump into my book, especially right now as I’m approaching the end. On a completely unrelated note, do you know how hard it is sometimes to get your characters from point A to point B? They need to go to a specific viewing room of kaleidoscopes, but they are in a palace besieged by soldiers. How will they make it to the kaleidoscopic vision of earth? I do not know because they’ve stopped on the clockwise spiral staircase. On a more related note, I’ve tried to incorporate all manner of conspiracy theories in this book from aliens to immunizations.

At night, when I finally collapse (and while my characters are still stuck on the staircase), I’ve been reading a book called And There Was Light: autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran, blind hero of the French Resistance. This is one of those autobiographies that excites me and makes me want to import salient quotes into numerous blog posts, the problem being that most of the book is quotable. It’s really quite astonishing and inspiring. I haven’t liked an auto/biography this much since I read Andrew Carnegie’s several years ago. I’m sure you will find at least three old blog posts on Carnegie. He was an early inspiration for my character of Oso, though Oso took a darker turn because he’s a gen Xer and not of an earlier optimistic American generation — however, the Carnegie book being an autobiography, I’m sure he didn’t tell us anything he didn’t want us to know. The difference is Oso doesn’t care if the world knows about his bad morals and vicious drive to be in charge.

Back to Lusseyran — I want to give him a fair blog post and not this conspiratorial one. And so this is just an intro to the man. He was blind; he had an inner sight that guided him. That sight was in part due to his faith in Christ. When he became a French resistance fighter — when, in fact, he started a French resistance organization — he was inspired by his sense of justice and morality being assaulted by the Nazis. He was anti-communist and pro-democracy. I’ve had my negative thoughts on democracy, though they’re never as dark and hateful as the thoughts I have towards communism. And when it comes to the French resistance, I honor those who were not communists because so many of them were.

In passing, Lusseyran mentions that Albert Camus was also part of a French resistance organization. This made Lusseyran a little uncomfortable for the obvious reason that he knew many of the people working underground were in fact communists. Camus, however, was at best a reluctant communist. He was rather more libertarian and leaned in the direction of anarcho-syndicalism. He saw that the communists were working toward changes in society and conceded to work with them. Later, he was more adamantly opposed to the communist party.

On one of my many sleepless nights, I looked up Camus to get a better sense of who he was. That’s when things got interesting. I noticed Camus had died in a car accident at the age of 46. Wait…hadn’t Lusseyran also died in a car accident at the age of 46? Were they eventually friends, and had they been in the same car accident? No, Camus was eleven years older than Lusseyran. By the way, that’s an interesting fact: Lusseyran and his buddy resistance fighters were teenagers. They were so young they couldn’t be put to work in the German labor camps. That is really an aside, but it shows the drive these men had at a young age. Camus, on the other hand, was a full-fledged adult when he became a resistance fighter.

What a weird coincidence, I thought. Here were two men who had been French resistance fighters, both of whom had been vocally anti-communist who had died in car accidents at the age of 46. Some suspected Camus had been taken out by the KGB. Nobody seemed to suspect anything of Lusseyran’s death by car accident.

I did what most insomniacs do: I took it to the internet. Surely, somebody else had noted the strange coincidence of their deaths and lives. Nope. I couldn’t find anyone who had tried to develop a conspiracy off of this. But I did end up on a website giving a list of notable people who had died at the age of 46. I assume the site came up because Camus was on it. Lusseyran, not being as famous, was not on it. You know who was, though? That’s right; you guessed it. The biggest conspiracist’s dream, John F. Kennedy. In between the deaths of Camus and Lusseyran, was the assassination of our beloved president at the age of 46. Is there something significant to this age? Was all this part of the Cold War? What had really happened?

I got up and paced the house. What is an insomniac to do when she is completely mad from lack of sleep and too much alcohol that hasn’t really done the trick to put her to sleep? She is left to pace and run her fingers through her hair, to stare at the moon out the kitchen window, to shift into 3rd-person perspective and remember that she herself is 46. And what now? Has she finally cracked a code and now she must die because of her current age?

I (re-entering my blogpost) should have cracked the code several months from now when I turn 47. But it’s all right. I’m sure the Cold War is over now, and I was never a resistance fighter. Rather, my life is taken up by arguing with young communists on Facebook who think they’re democratic socialists like the French have become these days. Oh, boy. What a life this has become! The internet just doesn’t have the intrigue of underground newspapers circulated by teenage boys who are fighting for truth and justice and Christianity. I need to up my game if I’m going to survive in my soul past the age of 50. Let alone 46.

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