Books and stories by M. Pia & R.Fitzgerald Jr.

The 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 conflict and cross-cultural relationships are the central themes of The Children of Loki. A middle-aged mulatto man from planet Earth discovers his military muse when he comes across one of Emperor Rejkyavik’s organic sentient warriors in The Rim.

Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them In stark contrast to the other works, this is a practical philosophy mini-book.  Is there a God?  What is knowledge? Is morality absolute or relative?  These answers and more are addressed in this short and handy publication.

Just click on the link to purchase any of these.  They are all available at multiple locations.  The books can be ordered at any book store.  The short stories are available to Kindle readers.

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Maternal Wellbeing: Baby Blues?

Something wrong?
Luckily, most mothers are happy after childbirth, albeit a bit sore. Depending upon the type of birth it may take 3 to 8 weeks for a woman to heal from the effects of giving birth. Losing all the weight may be a separate issue – remember, you may not want to lose muscle mass but just extra flab you developed while making sure your baby had a safe place to stay – inside you.
Unfortunately, many women have short term emotional problems for the first few days or weeks after giving birth. Why might that be? Most of the reasons are clear.
1) Hormones. Your hormones begin changing dramatically yet again after you give birth even after you just rode the hormonal ride of the pregnancy.
2) Major change. Either you had a bad birthing experience – emergency medical care like a c-section, or the baby being born dead, or discovering a handicap in the baby or just a long and arduous labor, or else you had a relatively good experience of giving birth with reasonably long labor, decent pain management, a smooth birthing process in the manner of your choice and just some soreness afterwards. Regardless of how it went – you have completed your pregnancy by giving birth which is in itself a major event.
In my own case, aside from unusual aspects of the whole matter I really felt the baby in the womb had been a combination of having grown another portion of myself and then I gave birth to that and he was a baby boy. I also had felt so connected to the baby that it was a bit of a shock. I was also delighted to be lighter and to be able to be in a different room. The greatest joy for me in terms of my own body rather than about the rest of it, was that my son would no longer stick his heels into a well bruised spot between the top of my womb and my rib cage which he had been doing for about 3 months before he was born. He looked so small once born, compared to how large he had been feeling in the womb. Anyway, giving birth is a big change in your life.
3) Adjusting. Now that the baby has been born there are suddenly feedings and nappies and hopefully you have a good partner and now your life as a couple has become a threesome of sorts. If you do not have a partner then you are also dealing with that.
Baby Blues or Post Partum Depression?
You may exhibit signs that something is wrong or you may feel moody, or anxious or lousy. You may have trouble sleeping due to your body having changed again and proceeding into ‘after birth’ on all levels. If this goes on for a few days after you give birth get plenty of hugs, rest and fresh water, but don’t worry.
Nowadays, doctors describe a significant difference between the baby blues and what they call post partum depression. Anybody who comes down with depression needs help. 60% of the emotional or mental illness known as depression in general is environmentally controllable – people can cure it with kindness, distraction from pain, addressing real problems a person may be having. Talk therapy and medication may be necessary or plenty of bed rest-or more exercise depending on the true nature of the problem. Human cruelty and indifference can actually cause people to suffer from the mental illness of depression so this is not an issue that anyone can honestly shirk responsibility for.
Post partum depression is similar to the baby blues in that it may involve increased: anxiety, sleeping problems, sadness, disappointment, feeling empty, mood swings.
If you web search ‘get help depression’ you can access some more detailed information about getting the care that you need.
Post partum depression often does not even start until months after the baby is born. In severe cases it interferes with the woman’s ability to care for the baby, but obviously not the same way returning to a job a few weeks or months after having a baby might. Some women are desperate to work again and other mothers and babies are absolutely heart broken if separated so the money can work for pay. Women may well have all kinds of moods relating to raising a baby and work and family life even when there is nothing wrong and she is not suffering from post partum depression.
One way to ‘be sure’ that a woman is suffering from post partum depression is that if there is really no discernable cause for being miserable. If that is the case, it may make sense to get a chiropractic check up because many spinal alignment problems cause anxiety in the sufferer and are invisible to the naked eye or are overlooked as somehow not possibly being the real problem. If there are no known problems and a chiropractor checks out then get help to get to a doctor to get medical treatment.
Warnings & Help Signs
If you or someone you know has depression, please do what you can to help. The most dangerous truths about psychological depression are that 1) depressed people often reject or find it very hard to get help, especially if instead of supportive caring friends they think only of how their competitors at work or rivals in love might abuse their suffering against them. In general, severely depressed people may be too far gone to get help. They need help getting help as seriously as people who have been physically seriously injured do, but for totally different reasons. So, if someone you love seems depressed – help the person get to help. In many cases it is not nearly as urgent as a physical health emergency such at heart attacks or broken legs, but it is actually a serious problem.
The other worst danger about the emotional illness of depression is that most of the depressed people who commit suicide actually kill themselves when they are starting to get better. They have started experiencing a return to being more active about their lives. Because of that, depressed people often need the support of loving friends or relatives or medical professionals while healing to actually prevent them from going suicidal during their recovery.
Talk therapy, medication and not being left out too much and then treating any underlying life issues all help allieviate depression including the post partum blues.
As it happens, many spiritual teachers say that becoming less selfish and self centred can prevent and cure some kinds of depression. However, that is not meant as a means of belittling the real needs of a person who has depression. Addressing maturity issues and spiritual issues should only be done when the person is well enough to not be in any suicide risk and is either steadily on medication or no longer needing medication.
Get Help Depression
Is one great way to search for relevant online information. The good news is: the post partum depression can be healed. The majority of people who suffer from depression are not chronic depressives, and will not need to spend decades on medication. Whether you or a loved one is or has ever been depressed please know that there is help and you can be healed. You just need some help. Everyone needs help – that’s why humans live in societies instead of in isolation. There is nothing wrong with that, but getting the right help at the right time for the right issue matters a lot.

What is Philosophy?

the most concise work of applied philosophy ever known

What is Philosophy?
Most people know what religion is. For those who don’t go to church with their family, religion is an organized way of helping people to grow spiritually; that means mainly to help the good stay good, to help people improve – especially morally, and in terms of their awareness, and to help people to help each other better. Religion is usually also associated with beliefs: beliefs and methods.
Philosophy addresses many of the same core questions that religion does, and that science also does. Due to that, sometimes philosophy can be understood as being part of religion and part of science but other times it isn’t. For example: what is knowledge? and Is God real? If so, what is God like? are all normal philosophical questions.
Sometimes philosophy is viewed as conflicting with religion or with science. How do we know that scientific research methods are as good as or better than religious writings like The Bible? Are both just as good? Are social science case studies and legal witness testimonies any better, worse or as good as testimonies about God’s activities in The Bible and elsewhere? Are they scientific evidence? If so, then why do scientists sometimes complain about religious people or claim they are unscientific and superstitious?
There are also famous or infamous atheist philosophers, including David Hume and Friederich Nietzsche, and Bertrand Russell. They were able to write and to publish without being burned at the stake by other people and they were not struck down by God for not being believers. However, David Hume did not dare publish while he was alive because the Church was so powerful in his day and he was terrified of them.
Many theologians also study philosophy, and those who do not fear and hate it, in contrast refer to it as ‘the handmaiden of theology’.
Ethics
Ethics is the philosophical term for morality when people try to talk about it as if it is not religion. Many theologians and others are comfortable dealing with morality as ethics. The types of problems that ethicists (moralists) deal with are often political; they require thinking about both the small and the large scales in life.
Here are a few examples:
1) At what point can a physician remove life support from an unconscious patient and not be breaking their Hippocratic Oath to protect and preserve life?
This one is clearly a medical question. Hence, hospitals are one place where ethicists often work, but as there are standards for the large scale, agreements about such matters turn into laws, regulations and public policies. As such, they are also political.
2) How many refugees can the country take in, in an emergency? To what extent does a nation’s right to protect itself and it’s own welfare override a moral obligation to help those in need – such as refugees? This is more obviously political, but is just as personal as the previous one. Clearly, this is not medical ethics.
Both of these questions can be looked at from a definitely religious perspective but may have to be faced by people who do not consider themselves to be religious or to even have a religion. Neither question has a quick, easy cut and dried answer.
People who consistently address these questions from a religious perspective are still doing moral philosophy or ethics. It is just that, this is also philosophy to those who take any other kind of approach to seeking good answers to the same kinds of problems.
When it is not
Philosophy is not always religion, and not everything in religion is philosophy.
When Socrates asked the young men at Plato’s parties if they knew what “justice” is, he was not trying to practice religion. When Aristotle chose to catalog animals while working for Alexander the Great he was not doing it as religion. Both were activities of philosophy.
Many religious activities are caused by the God-based philosophy (also known as theology), but the ritual of each religion is not philosophy itself. Many of the good works done, such as building schools and hospitals and feeding the hungry are likewise based in theology but are not philosophy itself.
Many businesses put together a paragraph or two about their company’s philosophy for employees and other customers. That is normally not considered to be religion.
Together and Separate
Philosophy and religion can be found together or treated separately. Real life is holistic of course, so there may be times when a categorical separation seems artificial but that’s okay. If you are used to one, but not the other rest assured that you can know both quite intimately. The better you know them, the less you will get confused about which is which.

*If you loved this article, check out Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them.  You can buy it online Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them.

Writer – Stereotypes

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Stereotypes 

The Drunk / The Poet

Made more common by the romantic English poets of the 1800s, one stereotype of writers, especially book authors and poetry chapbook writers – even more so, middle aged male poets, is that of a drunkard.  Sometimes the hung over person holds down a day job always hoping to earn more money selling chapbooks of poetry but forced to bar tend to earn a living.  In other cases, the stench of whiskey building up in the drunkard tends to improve the quality of the poetry to the dismay of everyone Godly, and to the not-alcoholic adult children and ex-spouse of the drunkard poet.

The Gossip / The Journalist

Journalists are not really writers;  they are gossips.  They are able to present themselves well and are eager for a story, but only a true news story.   While they are one of the best known and best paid types of writers, journalists are notoriously “not artists”, and due to that are as much weirdos compared to novelists as scientific illustrators and police sketch artists are compared to painters whose works end up sold in galleries, illustrators who work in comics and cartoons and so on.

Whereas a book author may spend months doing research in some of the world’s libraries, the journalists are on the telephone and rushing around, full of noise and energy, all to meet tight and real deadlines.

Journalists are also most likely to be guilty of something the poet would describe as a mortal sin: they shamelessly write for pay.  Many of them openly state that they write only because they get paid.

The Novelist

In this case there is more than one stereotype:

Rich and Happy

These authors are best sellers.  They have stable marriages in many cases.  They live in castles or mansions.  They may be average looking or handsome/beautiful.  They draw big crowds doing public speaking engagements and are consistently treated like adored and respected celebrities.  Many of them are fairly quiet and reserved, especially compared to the journalists, but are capable of being polite and friendly enough to be used as interview subjects by journalists.

Poor and Miserable

These are the majority of authors, who write or have written entire books only to find out that it is way harder to earn a lot of money for doing something major like writing books, than they had thought.  Most of this type of author fluctuates between lamenting suffering from the burden of being an author, and being forced to endure being an artist instead of having been one of the journalists or corporate communications people or happy to work in advertising firms and abusing their creativity for respectable salaries.

Some of these authors have jobs, and some don’t even have jobs because they are really novelists or nonfiction book writers, and aren’t good for much else.

Obsessed

These are the authors who suffer from compulsive writing, but they have a successful novel series and a good fan base.  Thanks to that, their mental illness is indulged, left untreated and viewed as a viable means of earning a living.  Such authors are often either treated as a celebrity or ignored.  The people who believe they love them the most really are the fans of the fictional worlds and characters they have created, putting them into a rather bizarre real world situation.

 

Basics of Book Writing

Type of Book

This is the most important aspect of the project. Are you going to write a nonfiction book or a fiction novel? If the book is going to be a nonfiction book, there is more than one way to decide which type of book to write. One can look at the market and see what is most needed. One can look at oneself and see what one most wants to write about. Each leads to a good decision but not the same kind of wise choice.

If the book is going to be nonfiction, then one needs to make a decision on which type. Likewise if fiction, it helps to know the genre before one begins the writing process.

The goal of the end product does also matter. If one is just doing the work for fun, without any need to make money from doing it, then one can be driven more by preference and maybe take more risks. Money making endeavors can involve risks, but on

Planning

You may have just a simple form of the idea.

Pitch

You have to decide based on your self-knowledge whether or not you are going to pitch your idea to the publishing industry at this stage, or after you have an outline, or after you have written the book. There is one other option and that is to put together enough for a book proposal and pitch that.

Pitching an idea, means meeting with or calling or emailing industry moguls to see if any of them are interested in your idea. For some people this is the easy part, but for others this is the part that is harder than making a private trip to the Moon.

Outline and first draft

When that is the case you can start with an outline. In the case of fiction, some authors prefer to develop a detailed plot line and outline before they get to writing. Others begin by just writing and seeing where the creative process leads. People like that often face a great deal more editing after they have produced a first draft.

Depending upon the other demands in your life and your over all personality structure, you may also need to create a scheduled production time. This could be anything from ‘for an hour in the morning before the children get up’ to ‘9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.’

Editing & Book Proposals

After you have a draft, you can edit the entire work. Around the same time that you do this, you can also begin to query, and to prepare the book proposals. If you pitched and it worked, then you know who will be directing your queries to or where you will be submitting your book proposal. If you have had astoundingly good luck, then you will actually already have a publishing deal for your book. In that case, you know where to send the edited version of the book.

Editing tips: while a lot of editing can be done right after you complete the work, the more emotionally invested or simply overworked you are from writing the first draft the more you need to let the draft just sit for a while before you edit it. How long it should just lie around without you doing anything with it can vary from 2 weeks to 13 years. In most cases, you will be able to edit the thing with improved emotional distance after 2 weeks to 2 months. Even if you think you are not emotional about your book project, you should wait. Once you forget the exact details of what you meant to write, it will be easier to see what you actually wrote. Typos and other errors will become more readily apparent.

If you have the money and the connections to, hire a second person to edit the work for you at least once. Constructive criticism can be a big help in improving your performance. Outside editors tend to see things you miss as the author. In some cases, your editor will make you happy by showing you how well you wrote your book or story.

Once the work is edited, put together your query letter and assemble any other information the prospective publishers may want from you. This may include: an overview of the market for the type of book you have written, the first 3 chapters of the manuscript, a direct sales pitch letter to the publishing company to convince them how great your book is. They do normally expect a short bio, but it can be quite brief, telling them mainly how or where your work has been published and how well you were paid or if the problem is that you were not.

Submission

You may have to decide where to submit your book. You can try literary agents and you can try publishers. The Writer’s Market is one example of a resource that tells you which publishing companies require literary agent representation and which ones do not.

You also have to check whether or not simultaneous submissions are viewed as acceptable. Simultaneous submissions is like dating multiple people without having to get sexually involved in order to land a spouse or both in one. Some people get offended by it, and others are comfortable with it. Check with the publisher or literary agency.

Nowadays, you may sometimes email the publisher or literary agent. There are people who prefer this, and others who still want it the old fashioned way. Find this out to submit the way they want it.

Response

There is nothing left to do after submission but wait. Most of the results of a long wait are the way it is in romance: you don’t want to marry each other and you aren’t ever going to have sex. They will neither represent your book – in the case of a literary agency, nor will the publisher actually accept your book for their investment and publication.

Now and then you will be fortunate and get a positive response. Sometimes a positive response means “We can’t use this one but if you write another book, be sure to let us take a look at it.”

Be wary, but realistic. Many a positive early response rather than being serendipity should set off your alarms. It is probably a self-publishing company willing to publish your book as long as you pay them to. There are times when self-publishing is a perfectly sound idea but for most writers who are still naïve about the publishing industry, having no one but self-publishers interested after all your hard work can be devastating or, for the tough minded, only a little disappointing.

Seriously, it is possible for an author to ‘hit the jackpot’ and get a big publishing company to pay tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, even as an advance on sales for your book. Not only that, but in some cases, the editors won’t even change it so much that you no longer feel as if it is the book you submitted to them but does still have your name listed as the author.

Most likely, that is not what will happen. Most likely, if you have written a really good book you will be able to find a small publishing company willing to support your work with a small advance or no advance but a decent professional production of the book. In other cases, you can get it self published. I’m not sure about the % on this.

A large minority of writers will find that after all their hard work absolutely nothing more will ever come of the project. After a while, the author will get over the shock and numb, and move on with his or her life.

 

Response to Isha Garg’s Art of Knowing Post

This gallery contains 1 photo.

  Isha Garg’s Post While listening to the band above: I went ahead and checked out a few other blogs and posts today.  First, I ran across Cristian Mihai…then moved on to Isha Garg.  I read hers because it was filed under art and I’m both into art/ists and like all the other women and many […]

Culture Shock: 2 years after

Re-entry

Two years ago this coming November marks 2 years living back in the USA after 6 years in Germany.   Those of you who recall, may have read a post or two about ‘return culture shock’.  Maybe you wonder: was there any ‘re-entry culture shock and if so, how long did it last’?

 

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Yes

The short answer is that yes there was culture shock upon returning to the USA for more than one reason.  One reason was that, much as I enjoyed how much everyone spoke English and I could finally go to my normal church, the relative lack of good public transit was not good.  To my own astonishment, I actually missed people speaking German and in fact, I still do.  This is even though, over there, I was only finally getting to be fluent, and still had to fight a cultural bias: a tendency to be dismissive of German language information as irrelevant because I’m an American or native speaker of English.  I was quite happy with myself as that tendency declined while living in Germany, but felt mildly stunned by how bad about that I still was after 5 years of living in Germany.

There are a few other matters, such as the amount of brick.  It is the norm in Stedorf, along with bales of hay.

Part of what I dealt with was being right near where I grew up.  Syracuse University Orangemen Football and Basketball….whereas in Ireland, the Orangemen means the Protestants of the Northern Counties.

There were familial issues which seemed to exacerbate a sense of confusion or dismay about it all.  My father was never comfortable with my husband being a German or about my son being both German and American rather than only American.  He wasn’t horrible about it, and sort of tried to treat that as acceptable but never quite did: this is a man whom I not sure ever wants to really see his daughter ‘married off’.  I mean, for some reason, I either can’t tell how he really feels about it or else I can but the truth makes us uneasy.   Some days he seems to feel I should be married off,  but other times he seemed delighted if some man of his baby girl’s turned out to just be a toy boy or temp rather than anyone who really permanently took her away from him.

Meanwhile, my mother and sister were just sort of nonplussed by my presence.  I think they may have tried to enjoy it, but felt bad knowing it was induced more by hardship than by pure love…and sort of trying to ameliorate the problem and to try being kind while making me feel guilty about having turned up and not having left after 3 days….Or even, guilty for seeming to want love and attention from relatives I haven’t spent much time around for 20 years or so.  I had hoped that our having time together would be cause for celebration and that we would update our relationships, get on well etc…but instead what happened caused me to nearly regret having even turned up and I nearly went back to Germany rather than staying in the country.

Terrain: in reality, CNY is loaded with hills.  They are not giant mountains or anything of the sort, but both Indianapolis and the area around Bremen, are flat lands.  I spent a total of 16 years in flat lands having been raised in this hilly terrain.  It felt wonderful to be back and yet strange to deal with actual hills and other traits of the land I come from.

No

Of course not!

Not True

In reality, in 1999 I returned to living in the USA after 5 years of living in Southern England, North Greater London, and Slough, Berkshire mostly.  That time, I moved to Indianapolis, where I had never lived before in my life.  It was most definitely back to living in my native country!  at the same time, it was somewhere new.  Even so,  locals told me that it took a year for me to “lose my accent” by which they meant what I and the English perceived as my “watered down American accent”.

Again, when I reached the point of having lived in the North side of Indianapolis for 5 years I did have weird emotions: it really was as long as I’d lived in England.  My second year back I had started saying “Dude” again, which was a major shift.

I’ve been back from living in a village around Bremen, Germany for more than 18 months now.  I still miss needing and using German a lot more.  I still miss fantastic public transportation.  There are other qualities of the nation’s culture that I find that I do honestly miss.  Some are the public support system and educational system.  Some are much more subtle – I’m not even always sure what it is that I’m missing.  There was something different about the air quality there, which I never understood.

At the same time, I’m really finding myself easily ‘moved’ in a happy way about various organizations that are around here – I mean stuff like: the schools I went to growing up actually are around here.  The neighborhoods I lived in growing up really are right in my current local area.

Here and there are people I knew, and I fairly frequently come across others who are or have been involved with some organization I was also part of: a a dojo, a school, a Y, or a church, or even a bar or party place.

It is relaxing to have such free use of my native language again and to have it be in common use.  Of course, I always knew that people speak any language because that’s what the people around there spoke like when they were there.  I realized that in Germany as much as I did here, but that simple lesson has somehow been deeply reinforced.

Different / Changed

I think maybe the truth is that I feel changed, neither in a good or a bad way, but just different.  My perspective and experience were definitely effected.  My attitude towards foreign residents is nothing like it was 25 years ago.  I was never cruel nor malicious but now I’m downright sympathetic and realize that being foreign can be a struggle but also gives a spirit of adventure to every day life.

I certainly wouldn’t say that I won’t live in a different nation again: I would love to live in London, England more: especially if the circumstances would be nice…and I would even brave Germany more, but would prefer to try a city and in whichever nation I would prefer to have a good job or to have plenty of money even if I don’t have a job.