What are you really?

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Sorry, what?

That’s UK English for ‘What’re you talking about?’.  In this case, what I’m going to go on about is the various names for and meanings of “writer”.   Due to my own position, I learned at some point to describe myself as being ‘a writer’.  Well, while it was true, I can’t say that it has done any good.  The reason for that, is that the vast majority of professional writers are not called writers, and they don’t describe themselves that way at parties.

I was young and naïve when I began as an amateur and happy student and also early on when I started getting paid, at least now and then, for writing something or for having written something.  Now, I wouldn’t say it’s that I haven’t grown up, but there is some kind of weird vibe.  I think the weird vibe is when one develops a sense of self that isn’t simply the job title of an occupation but then does try to apply it or to at least continue to use it during gainful employment.

Amateurs and Professionals

Let’s just say that getting published despite significant or tremendous competition is considered to be some kind of legitimate achievement amongst people who write and those who actually respect people who do.

I admit that it was thrilling for me to get published offline, and with considerable competition even when the only payment was recognition or a copy of the book that I wrote a review of for the magazine.  Despite that, I always wanted to write so as to be paid well even though I also wanted to write with 100% personal integrity, rather than feeling that I’d sold out on myself.

Brief aside about “selling out” and “selling out”

This can actually be horrible or fantastic.  For instance, currently, I have works of which I am the author which I want to sell out of, thanks to having found real live paying customers who want to read the novels and I want them to feel afterwards, that it was well worth the money they spent.

It is also true, that often when people say, “selling out” they mean in the much worse sense of the phrase.  They mean the painfully sad story of exchanging one’s values for material security or happiness or success.  It is a sorrow that can be spiritual degradation with age, instead of becoming better with age or at least staying the same.  It can be a sorrow that is actually merely ego-related.

Poetry and Op-ed where they meet

Poetry and Op-ed writing are examples of terrain where many who do work within the field frown upon those who are paid to do it almost as condescendingly as people tend to treat prostitutes despite the weird similarities that every good wife gets paid for by her husband, and prostitutes are single women who get paid by their lover even when it isn’t only one who is her husband.  Well, poetry is strangely similar.  There have been many women poets thrilled to be recognized for their poetry and are proud to be published, who find it rude at best, and evil at the worst, for anyone to be a paid poet/ess.

Opinion and editorials, letters to the editors, and much of online writing goes unpaid.  The majority of people looking for honest opinions about books, prefer to read ‘unpaid reviews’ hoping in an often corrupt world, to find some objectivity, honesty and truth.

That granted, there has always been and still is something to be said for real professionalism.  Not surprisingly, more adult male poets are able to publicly seek pay for their poetry without being scoffed at by the general public.  Even so, one of the greatest poets of all time, William Blake, was forced to work a day job in an unrelated field.

In that respect, William Blake comes across as a heroic artist of the middle classes and as a suffering, real, artist, forced to hold down a day job even though he really was one of the greatest poets to ever live, and one of the greatest of his generation.  Humility in greatness, or just depressing facts about how the world really works?  You decide.

The bottom line may be: that’s how tough it is to earn a living from poetry.

Culled 11 Dec. 2018 from the Penny Hoarder online: average pay for a greeting card writer is $51,000/year when doing it full-time, as a staff writer: 2 to 20 cards per week, every year, year after year.

Now, admittedly, that’s a respectable income.  Envision your life and the looks you will get at parties or family reunions if when someone asks: what do you do?  Should you say, “I’m a writer,” and let them ask for any details, or should you tell them, “I’m a greeting card writer,” or would you feel less dirty or more proud-yet-secretive if you tell them that, “I work for Greeting Card Producing Company X.”  If they ask, you can divulge – maybe after a 2nd glass of wine, “I write greeting cards.”

No, not at all; actually yes

I know that sounds a little crazy, but in truth it’s that I have met professional grant writers in real life who seemed either incapable of believing themselves to be a kind of professional writer or unwilling to admit to it.  They did seem willing to be the “I have a job at Such-n-Such a Company,” type of writers.

This is only the beginning

There is so much more to the various mysteries of what happens with “writers”, including those with professional aspirations.  As for myself: thanks to events in 2015, I became qualified for at least 2 years to call myself a “journalist” which was a first for me.  I could also claim to be a freelance article ghostwriter, a professional ghostwriter for books, a professional editor, a copy writer, and an author of poetry, short fiction.  As of 2005 I could call myself someone who successfully completed the Writer’s Bureau creative writing course.  I call WB a trade school because it is exclusively to develop people into writers who get paid for their writing.

If it’s me, you could also say I’m an author and ghostwriter of books.  Just do a search here at my blog, or online to find works of which I am the author which are for sale.  Volunteering is nice, but not being paid for working is exploitation or slavery.

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Avid Readers, check out this uranian fiction!

Miriamspia's Blog

555545_4438412967325_1970803969_nThe Future of Engineering – an anthology
This anthology of short science fiction stories is ideal for college students or those who are curious about it. The author originally wrote these while living as a foreign exchange graduate student in London, England. While, definitely science fiction shorts, the ambiance of international academia and college students shines as the background setting.

Jimmy Bodeilo Travels Through Time
This is a single short science fiction story starring Jimmy Bodeilo who is about 11 years old. He appears in more than one story by the same author. To keep it simple “If it is a Jimmy Bodeilo story, then you know it is for kids.”

The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead  This is an urban crime novel.  You can also check out a page at the blog, and read a chapter for free.

The Children of Loki at Jet.com Using mercenaries in corporate…

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Blogospheric Interactions

Read, Respond

While still coming down emotionally from upset based on a formatting issue (I tried to put an image at the top of this blog post), I’m starting this today.

A few of you may have read the odd post that I wrote directly related to someone else’s post.  I’ve been known to also do that at Facebook.  This type of behavior is sometimes known as “Letter to the editor” of Newspaper X.

Not surprisingly, I’m sure that all of us have some degree of desiring to interact or to now when we read blogs.  I’m no different in that I would guess that 70% of the time I spend reading, I do so with a desire to interact involved with the behavior.  For some reason, I get the feeling I can’t or won’t with in person living people so I read or watch videos of people speaking on given topics.

It’s also usually true when writing, including this post.  Again, I have been assuming this is the case for at least 50% of the people, but am open to being corrected if I am just being blind to the fact that “It’s just me”.  Sometimes that can happen to people; we think we are mature enough to know the difference, but really we don’t know.

Feel free to let me know if you have the same feeling and think I’m right that most of us are like that: when we write a blog post or article or read one or a book, our desire to interact is engaged.

Blogosphere

The blogosphere is actually fairly complicated, I think.  I feel my own knowledge of it is like having touched a few places on that smaller upside of the proverbial iceberg.

Some of it is purely professional and segmented according to the industry in which a given blog exists.

Other blogs are a mixture of business and pleasure, or somehow come across that way.  Most recently Christian Mihai and MakeItUltra and Isha Garga (Garda?!) come across to me as a blend of personal and business.  Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha is often right on top in my WordPress Reader feed.  It occurs to me: is this the same for everyone?  Maybe not; when I searched for it, I was able to find Psycho Bunny’s blog and of course there is always The Writer in Black.

There are blogs that are strictly personal, but I’m not sure 1) whether I would claim that mine is.  I have tried just letting my blog be natural but then,…a few years ago, just as I began to improve how professionalized it was…something happened that made the upgrade die in the water like the recent death of one of my pet fish.   This paragraph is almost entirely personal rambling on.  2) If I know how to find which type of blog or if the truth is I only very rarely bother to search up someone’s personal blog.  That said, I can easily imagine feeling I developed an intimate psychological relationship with someone via his or her blog.  Resulting in “I feel like I really know you, although we’ve never met” until the sting of reality hits and he or she is like “Who the heck are you? Get a way from me, you weirdo!”  Of course, if the whole thing is not a delusional fantasy, the other person will say, “Wow, it’s mutual.  I guess we’re fans of each other” or will try to be diplomatic but not duplicitous and will say something like: “Well, I’ve accessed your account and have found that you’ve commented on the blogs…You know, I think me and just a few of the other employees here have been reading the messages you send and the posts you post….You know, wait a minute So-n-So is on staff and I see that s/he has handled your posts in the past…” You get put on hold for a few minutes and then finally someone says, “Yeah, hi, I remember you I’m So-n-So Not-the-Star you contacted at Star’s Blog.org.  Yeah, I’m starting to feel like I know you.”  I think you all know what I mean.

Today’s Experiment

This blog post should be viewed by the readers as an experiment in connection with you all.  It makes a big difference whether or not any of you see this, read it and provide feedback that I will be able to notice at my end within the upcoming week.

If so, I hope you feel that I’ve reached out, so to speak, without embarrassing myself in any way.

Things gone awry

Below is the image intended for the top center of this blog post.

 

German castle in the mountains

Positivity and Negativity

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Public talk

We hear a lot about how much good attitudes help.  In general I agree, but today, when I read a post by Dr. Perry on the subject of positivity and negativity I felt inspired to write about the subject.

When negative is bad

Negativity can really ruin peoples’ previously happy day.  People can be going along and decide to be sociable only to run into someone who seems to just drain their energy.

Complaining, blaming others for events that are really one’s own fault and negative attitudes can really negatively impact other peoples’ moods.

People can develop negatives attitudes and behaviors both accidentally and on purpose.  It can come from lots of disappointment or from buying into ideas picked up in the media.

People can desperately need to break free of negative people in their lives and/or bad circumstances or attitudes.

When negative is good

There are times when negative is good, rather than bad.  The first examples I always think of are when:  the results of the medical tests are negative – you or I or you plural don’t have a disease.  The other case that I think of most strongly, right off the top of my head is what a relief and a joy it is whenever a woman or a man finds out that the partner is really not having an extramarital affair.

Negativity is also good when it means that a person is able to be honest, at least with the self, about emotions and circumstances.  This can include being truthful about negative emotions or feeling badly about a particular set of circumstances.

Being negative can help motivate people to make needed changes in their lives.

Criticism

Criticism is a well known form of negativity.  It can also be good or bad.  Constructive criticism is one of the most helpful non-things that a person can ever receive from a more experienced person who knows what he or she is really dealing with.

Correction is really a great gift to the recipient.  Most of experience this from loving parents, from school teachers and from religious leaders.  Once adult, most of us also experience correction and constructive criticism from colleagues and bosses at work.

Destructive Criticism

When on the wrong side of this, destructive criticism is actually devastating.  It can make people insecure; bullying can destroy people.  Criticism can make people hopeless and incredibly depressed without any self-esteem left at the end.

One common example of this is when a person is so ridiculed for something that he or she no longer tries.  In my own life, I relate this most easily to living in a foreign language atmosphere.  The amount of error one must endure to even attempt to use the local language is sort of horrible.  Destructive criticism can make a bad situation worse, because it becomes much harder to learn if one doesn’t dare to even try.

Over all

Due to all of that, I personally don’t believe that negativity is particularly bad or good but that like so much in life, if the balance is wrong it makes matters worse but when right, it is healthy and helpful.

 

Author Interview: Robert Fitzgerald Jr.

Welcome to this blog.  Today, we are featuring the interview with the author of the science novel The Children of Loki by Robert Fitzgerald Jr..

Q. Robert, is this your first novel?

A. Yes, at least this is the first novel I’ve ever published using that name.

Q.  Wow, was it hard to get it published?

A.  Compared to what the main characters in the novel go through, no, not at all.  My life is much easier than those of the characters in the novel.  I did find it challenging to get published but I can’t be sure whether that’s only because I haven’t been living in NYC for the past 30 years or if that’s not the cause of the problem.

Q. Can you give us a general feeling for what kind of story this is?

A.  It’s military science fiction.  It’s intended to be able to complement or rival David Drake’s Hammers Slammers and the like.  I’d rather people read both than just lose to his fans.  It’s very much subgenre fiction.

It’s about military soldiers working in the private sector after completing military service, but it’s nothing like what happens when veterans from Afghanistan or Iraq become corporate managers or trainers.   In fact, that could be construed as misleading based on what the novel is really like, but its also an almost freakishly accurate way of describing the actual plot line.

Q. Really?

A. (makes strange sound) Yes, absolutely.   It’s about a business start-up only…If I tell you, it might be a spoiler.

OK, let me ask you a few different types of questions about it:

Q.  What did you use for character development in your fiction novel The Children of Loki?

A.  Oh, wow, that is a different type of question.  I used a number of features.  How to express unique individuals in writing is an exciting and fun part of the process.  I used a few traits and pieces of world-views and attitudes to set up how each of the main characters tends to make decisions.

None of the characters is taken from anyone alive, although I would like to cast that man Rock to play the lead male character if the novel were turned into a movie during the upcoming 5 years, which sadly, isn’t likely.  The main male character is a big, strong middle aged mulatto from right here on planet Earth.  He has significant military experience but he wasn’t career military.

In stark contrast, the main woman character is a cradle-to-grave soldier.

Also, just to be clear, I dared to make the leads not a romance; I know that’s very un-Hollywood, or may seem anti-Hollywood but all the “why nots” are shown and explained well in the story itself.  Just one hint about that might be her fear-inducing body odor and how that was scientifically developed in her native culture.

In truth, I haven’t been able to find anyone I would cast in her role.  There might be someone living who could do it, but I tend to think she would be done using advanced graphic arts, and a voice-over actress.  That’s not necessarily easier on the acting staff: something about green walls and pretending to talk to someone who isn’t there, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.  I’m not sure who’s voice would be ideal.

I realize that’s strange to have easily cast one role but not the others.  I don’t know if the Rock would even want to play Kiel Bronson in a movie, but he’s got the right physical size and his face would also suit the part.

(the author blushes) and looks sheepishly at the interviewer.

Q. Can you tell us anything about the setting?

A. Sure.  In truth, there is a map from a game that I did use for guidance.  Some map that shows the main starts within the 50Light Years closest to our Solar System.  The setting is within 50 LY from Sol and out planet.

(author makes a noise that sounds like a mixture of chuckling aloud and suffering from embarrassment)

I made up almost all the details.  It’s set in the distant future or else in an alternative but very nearby universe where most things are the same, but some stuff isn’t.

It’s a typical military science fiction setting.  (something that seems like fidgeting again, on the part of the author).

Q.  If you could only tell us one more thing about the novel what would it be?

A.  For me, the author, the 2 main characters, Gezka and Kiel, drive the whole story.  In truth, the characters, events and setting are all interconnected but that’s what it was and is like for me, the author.  That’s part of why it says on the title page *a Gezka FaucMerz and Kiel Bronson novel.   In the event of related sequels, from my perspective it’s that the future stories would star one or both of those 2.

Q. If we want to buy it online, can we?

A. Yes, of course.  Here are a couple of links.  The Children of Loki from Barnes & Noble bookstoreThe Children of Loki via Amazon .

Q. Is it possible to buy it offline?

A. You can also buy it from nearly any book store, especially a large chain store, but you have to ask for the store to order it.

A.  Also, I actually go out to sell the books for myself.  So, depending upon our relative locations I might show up out of nowhere offering the book.  It is very common for authors to have a few copies of their books in the trunk of their car, or stashed nearby for selling to people when it comes up.  Unfortunately, the publishing companies don’t handle most of the marketing for me;  I wish they did, but they don’t.