Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why I write 3

I thought today I would write about some of the ideas behind my vampire novels, death being number one.

Hardly a day passes where I don't think of the possibility of death. Sickness and illness usually will provide you with some warning of an impending doom. Accidents and being murdered provide very little if any warning.

For most of us, thank you very much, being murdered is probably our least fear when it comes to us dying. Accidents can kill us at any age, with car accidents probably the number one cause of accidental death. Illness can also come at any age but the odds increase as we age.

One thing is certain, sooner or later we will all die.

You know the expression, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." This is meant to be uplifting and to offer hope. But it is just as true that the day you die is also the first day of the rest of your life.

I mention this not to trouble you but to ask you to think about how important death is to life. Every day you live, you cause things to die so you may live. Oh but I'm a vegetarian, you might say. Still, the plants must die for you to eat. Trees must be cut to make room for houses, farms and roads. As long as you live, you will cause death. You might say, in a poetic mood, Death and Life must be partners for there to be the Dance of Life.

These ideas are the ideas which dance in my head when I write about my vampires. Yes they do kill, but they kill for the same reasons humans kill. They kill to live.

My idea that if there were vampires, they would be created by God, is not so far fetched when you think of all things in creation created by God to cause people to die. Just think of all the plants, animals and microbes created by God that can cause a human to die.

Why might God want to create so many ways for people to die? I think the answer is shockingly simple. This is a finite world of limited resources and God loves to create what is fresh and new. Without death, there would not be room for the new. The Earth would become a museum. Life would become stagnate.

Writing vampire fiction gives me the chance to play with these ideas and see where they might lead.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In defense of Native American and smoking

You might be inclined to think our elected leaders (don't you just love being led?) are a bunch of bigots when in comes to Native Americans.
Here in New York State, in their lust to spend money the state elected leaders want to raise the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products to an unconscionable to the point where one pack of cigarettes will cost over $9, except in NY City where it will cost about $11 per pack.
If that were not enough, they want to force the Indians to collect the tax on their sovereign lands.
What all of this will do is help bootleggers sell more cigarettes.
Didn't anyone learn anything from prohibition?
And it isn't just cigarettes I'm talking about.
Maybe you are one of those who thinks controlled drugs should be legalized and taxed. Maybe you think only marijuana should be legalized and tax. But if anything is legalized and taxed in the way cigarettes are taxed, the drug cartels will not miss a beat.
Forget about the greed of business. You want to see real greed, look at your government and your elected leaders.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Why I write 2

I hope I'm stating the obvious but for those who have not thought about it, here goes.
We would not be able to think were it not for words.
We would have feelings without words. All animals have feelings. Their ability to express themselves is limited to some vocal sounds and "body language." But thought as we know it really does require words.
Humans with a limited vocabulary are limited in their thought process and their ability to communicate.
Tell the truth. Don't you just hate it when someone says, "You know what I mean?" Don't you want to say, "No. Would you please tell me."
Obviously, as a writer, I like words. Most often I don't have to search for the "right" word but sometimes do because I want to write or say what I mean. I want the reader to have the clearest idea possible. Without the right word and sometimes even with the right word, misunderstandings can quickly develop.
I think anyone who works with words or cares about words must have at least a bit of the philosophical in their nature. You know the wrong word can mislead and you know some words can create an intended or unintended emotional response. Just think of some perfectly good words, such as four letter words, and how they can send some people "all a twitter."
Laugh whenever you hear someone say, as I often do, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."
And it's not just the words themselves that convey meaning. Let's not forget their placement in a sentence. Let's not forget how modifiers can weaken or strengthen a word. Modifiers are also a way to sneak in opinion.
Here is a parting thought.
Writing is a former of creating a puzzle you hope the reader can correctly put together.

Patrick Fleenor: High cigarette taxes stoke bootlegging, violence : Another Voice : The Buffalo News

Patrick Fleenor: High cigarette taxes stoke bootlegging, violence : Another Voice : The Buffalo News

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Adirondack Hikes in Hamilton County (2)

Why I write

I haven't been too active here, mainly because I spend most of my time writing/reporting for the weekly newspaper, The Hamilton County Express, and because the balance of my time is spent working on my novels or going on a hike in Hamilton County.
When I do blog here, it's usually on something topical that has caught my interest. Those who have read the few blogs I have posted, should know by now I like say things, sometimes crazy off the wall things, just to get people to think about things in a different way. This I will continue to do.
But what I would now like to do more of is to write about why I write and what I think about writing.
Let me start by saying I call myself a writer, not a journalist or an author.
First let me say why I don't like to call myself an author. To me, author is a past tense word. You could write just one book and forever call yourself an author. I hope I never reach the day, at least until I'm dead, when I plan never to write another book. Therefore, I prefer to call myself a writer.
When it comes to the word journalist, the problem I have with it is it strikes me as being a bit presumptuous to call oneself a journalist. I report. I write a report of the meetings and events I cover. Therefore, I am a reporter. I do my best to inform without taking sides. I try to be as objective as possible.
I think that's enough said for now except to add one thought.
In my vampire novels there is a fair amount of nudity and explicit sex. In these books I'm doing or trying to do what I said earlier about trying to get people to think about things they might not want to think about. But there is a sub-theme here too.
As my main vampire character is a nude/stripper dancer in a topless club, so too, I believe, is anyone who writes fiction. What I mean is - every writer of fiction is doing a bit of a strip tease. They use different characters to do a dance of the Seven Veils to both hide and expose themselves. Sometimes this is done intentionally. Sometimes it takes place accidentally. You know the phrase "There but for the grace of God." I believe this is true for all of us. All of us have within us the ability to do what we think we could never do, both the good and the bad. We can be more or less than we think we are. We are the other and the other is us.
It is the other which attracts us to read fiction or watch a movie. We want to see what the other is like, even if we are horrified by the other. We want to know what makes them tick.
More on this later.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Out of control satellite

According to a May 12 AP story, A TV communications satellite is drifting out of control thousands of miles above the Earth, threatening to wander into another satellite's orbit and interfere with cable programming across the United States.
I have problems today on some of my stations.
Anyone else having problems?