Alone | Maya Angelou

Poetry with a true punch.

The PBS Blog

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

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Rohingya Refugees Falling Prey to Sex Trafficking

Spread this as much as you can.

The Human Lens

Recently the report by Thomson Reuters Foundation cited the many evidences of the thriving sex trade in Bangladesh that currently hosts large number of Rohingya Muslim refugees that escaped from Myanmar following the barbaric military crackdown in August 2017.

Almost eight months passed but the Rohingya conflict has escalated into more chaos, whereas Myanmar’s de facto Leader Aung San Suu Kyi continues doing virtually nothing to stop the crimes committed by the military against the Rohingya.

This report shows that in  Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar district, the biggest Rohingya camp in Bangladesh with 547,616 refugees, the clandestine sex trafficking goes unchecked. The disturbing trend of refugees falling into the sex industry is nothing new, and in staunchly conservative Muslim nation of Bangladesh, everything goes on.

Everyone knows how Rohingya women and children are used as a fodder to feed the sex industry demand but hardly anyone cares.The…

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The Smidge: Walking The Walk

A while ago I blogged a viewpoint arguing the notion for every writer to embrace a smidge (just a pinch of the smidge mind you) of arrogance.

Just a Smidge

This, I suggested was necessary to fire up self-belief when starting a project, when the times get rough when starting out on the marketing part or all the other aspects which torment most writers.
Once the post was posted a thought cropped into my mind. Now most of us have a store of quotes from films which we use on all sorts of occasions, and my thought was encapsulated in the line from Full Metal Jacket;
‘You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?’

In short, there I was going on about how you should be arrogant (just a smidge), and leaving myself wide open to the criticism…..’Oh yeh. That’s fine for you to say! I mean SAY, but how does it WORK for you? Uh?’

Sssssoo, I thought maybe there should be a walk-through with this book of mine just to demonstrate how this arrogance approach works. The business is not without risk when I have completed this post some might say:
‘He’s delusional if he thought his book was working’
‘Ha! Cheap marketing-central!’
‘I wonder what’s new on Netflix?’
Lesson 1: “So what do I care? I’m going to say what I am going to say”. This is a fundamental of the Smidge approach.
(At this stage, dear reader you are entering my world. Do not worry. You are only experiencing diagrammatical commentary on the subject matter. Take notes if you feel these are necessary)

As stated in the previous post my writing usually focuses on Fantasy. It is the area I am most comfortable in mostly because the world of Reality does not suit me. To be able to make up my own and make sure things go my way (with the consent of the characters of course) is my idea of rewarding effort, if the known Laws of Nature need to be extended or circumvented, so much the better.
Lesson 2: “I will work my story on the ground I am most comfortable with, (or I am intent on carving out my own way)”. Familiarity and Intention breed confidence. Confidence is the dry tinder for the Smidge, which in turn gives fire to more confidence.

A writer will, of course, encounter successful writers. They might inspire. They might also inadvertently stifle the new writer. A new writer might think: How can I ever reach this standard? Fair enough, however in any book you have read, would you say the whole work was perfect. Were you happy with every aspect of the narrative? Open your mind to the small whisper of doubt, the slight nagging of unhappiness at one aspect; dwell on just why you skipped quickly through those few pages.
Lesson 3: “I think I could have done that theme better if given the chance…. I will give myself that chance!” There is nothing wrong with having your own opinion. It’s only those play at being kritks and whine about anyone new without having lifted a pen/tapped a keyboard to write their own stuff who should shut the frib up.

A writer will encounter much worthy advice often contradictory, which is nothing new under this particular sun. However, there will also be the subtle and pernicious beyond the realms of these blogs which will suggest that certain themes, styles, and even conclusions lack the zest or punch. Says who? More to the point…. Don’t’ care.
I happen to like a tale which has well-meaning folk of approachable personalities as central to the tale. When I start out the intention is to have if not a happy ending have one which suggests hope and that the bad folk have not triumphed. My book ‘Of Patchwork Warriors’* was always going to be a feel-good tale, with mild triumphal action, some romance, a running theme of humour and an upbeat ending. There are many good books which don’t give the reader as easy time and have stark endings. I don’t do them. Enjoyment was my intention.
Lesson 4: “I am no one’s Imitator. I will not follow What Sells. Only What Spurs Me”

Lesson 5: “Balance & Credibility. Never forget The Balance & Credibility of the Characters”
The theme I wanted to explore would involve three young women, from different backgrounds. This was not going to be easy, hence using a style which was comfortable. If I as a man in his late 60s was going to write a credible tale without prurient interludes, lacking ‘female’ stereotypes but sufficient reality and trying to concentrate on believable people in a fantasy world I did not need to have to be looking over my shoulder or at my feet (in allegorical ways that is) with the narrative construction.
I wanted to avoid an ‘Alpha Female’ of greater than average height, folk who grumbled, made mistakes, squabbled, didn’t have a smooth answer for everything and at times lost control of a situation. Although there is a nominal leader in the form of the soldier Arketre, she is at times failing to impose her will and making bad decisions. Whereas Karlyn is somewhat appearing to be crazy, she does not have a thick hide and blind confidence. Trelli is the newbie, but has her feet on the ground; she is the one who has to grow up quickly and has the biggest struggle, it’s a challenge for her.
With these three occupying centre ground in essentially a male world, the next problem was to make sure many of the men were their equals or at best not in awe of them. This required a deal of attention, honing of words, and re-writing to spreading strength of purpose all around the place, so we just had People.
Going back to the humour, there was some slap-stick, being set in a Middle Age/Renaissance era a lot of bawdiness and observational comments. The effort was trying to keep in context, putting humour into situations which themselves are not comic but can seem funny at the time in the stress of the situation, trying to think what one person might say in a pithy or sardonic way, when they are fretful, just plain ticked off or giving way to mischief. Karlyn being the loose cannon allowed for leeway in some of her more outrageous actions, after reading a few chapters of her no one would be surprised at her behaviour.
Then came the very, very tricky part. Since anything I write being feel-good will end up with a romantic interlude (I’m sentimental. So sue me!), this was going to find a way in. One conclusion was written, then read and the response was ‘What The Frib, were you thinking about when you wrote that? It’s worse than bad; it’s verging on the ridiculous straight-to-DVD-in-a-supermarket bargain-bin-terrible. It wouldn’t even qualify for a tenth-rate fan-fiction/slasher site!’. Well, Trelli and Wigran the young son of the Household she worked in who got her involved with ‘powers’ were always going to be in a will-they, won’t-they? But there was more traction and potential in nothing being concluded, particularly as Wigran was out of his depth in most things and their last meeting went badly.
It was the other which caught me by surprise. Originally Arketre, the soldier was being loved at a distance by a captain of the same outfit, forbidden by regulations romance. Didn’t work, like went you try and fit a jig-saw bit in the wrong place. Then as I re-wrote something occurred to me, Karlyn and Arketre were scraping a lot and yes, Karlyn was definitely flirting, what was more she was getting very upset when they truly argued; while Arketre was comfortable with Trelli, she was edgy around Karlyn. ‘Are you sure?’ I asked myself ‘Read the damn narrative willya!’ the pair told me…Yes, you should always listen to the characters. Well, Arketre, the soldier had been around a lot, seen the world, and once the crisis had passed, she made the first move. Gay romance. Well, it hadn’t been the original intention, but the jigsaw piece fitted., as long as there was romance within in the situation, yes it worked. I was not worried about any reaction or analysis, it made sense in this context.

The above ‘lessons’ were my guidelines. I don’t know if the book will ever become visible to the public at large because I am a terrible marketer, but when I read it for continuity as the second volume gets underway, it doesn’t seem too bad. (even if despite Grammarly a spelling error has still slipped in!).

So be your own person when you write, don’t seek the invisible and intangible ‘approval’ as you craft each word. Not going to happen. Write for your sake and its own sake. Just that smidge. Just that smidge is all you need.

  • The book in question….

*Book Cover 9

Back to The Sanity of Writers and Writing

So I quit there, shaking its dust off of my shoes, so to speak (New Testament reference), seething with fury at the ignorance, blinkered thinking, hypocrisy and their smug self-satisfaction. They might not be the majority, but neither is UKIP and I wouldn’t go near them either.
To spare you the full-on rant, which would probably descend into profanities and thus would do nothing for my views, to sum it up I parted ways with the UK Labour Party. Whereas the nationalisation, the increases in taxation and public funding are my dream and I don’t really dislike any of its leadership, do not have faith in them, but that’s different. No, it is the selective view of the world and the venom which pours out of a body of supporters when you disagree with them. Constructive debate? Ha! Nope let’s all follow Intolerance!
Having them whinge about the BBC being against them is one thing, since the Government supporters do the same thing. Stop following them on FB and I am spared that. What exactly the Royal Family have done to them is a mystery to me, but there is me not caring. For over a year I gave them leeway over Israel and hoping they would wise up and tone down the notion that all Jews are for the Israeli govt and if they really cared they’d read up on the Arab-Israeli Da’am Socialist Party…..nope, more important to huff ‘n puff on FB and play at who is the more outraged. Denial over the Poison Attacks and Selective anger over one part of the violence in Syria…predictable, pull their strings and they twitch.
The final straw was the outbursts against The White Hats in Syria; folk who risk their lives trying to expose the regime, the willingness to assume these are funded by the CIA and who knows who. Anything but facing the reality of the Torment of that land. I could have been reading a watered down conspiracist account of Sandy Hook
I guess for three days I fumed, going through every insult, profanity (there it is again), and posts I was very tempted to put up on FB; then it occurred to me….What is the point? I may as well go onto a USA Alt-Right site and plea for a rational approach to responsible gun-control. It is a bit of a shock when you realise your neck of the political woods is filled with as much bigotry, narrow-minded thinking, ignorance, and paranoia as your average Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones’ or Nigel Farage fan-base.
It was definitely time to get out of that cess-pit pond and walk my path back to WP and indulge in visiting posts where folk discuss Writing for Writing’s sake; there’s a freshness and a sunshine here. To be back amongst people who have something constructive to say. To share ideas and views on the valuable art of writing stories, novels, blogs. Accounts of their experiences, their hopes, plans, and strategies. Would I was still not so simmering that I could be more eloquent in praise of The Writer, The Author, and even more so those who can Write and Edit for others. (How do they find the time?).
There is a such a joy to witness creativity instead of stale bitterness. To read of folk who are doing something useful with their time, pouring out into the world their visions, their stories for the thrill of writing and the intention to entertain or invoke. To see a blog which has book covers displayed brings a smile to my face; OK they may not be to my tastes, but this is not the point; here is another person who have invested time and effort in producing something which is available to all the world, if it so cares. There is nothing which declaims ‘YOU’ can’t read this unless I say so! There is honesty, there is hope, there is effort.
So I will stick to my writing and read of other’s efforts. There are political blogs I respect I will stick with, but no more mindless hate, no more foul-mouthed vilification, and the attendant excuses. Conservatives (UK Party), Labour (UK Party), until you put them in order and get your rabble factions under control a plague on both your houses! At least I finally understand why some folk were Pacifists in WWI & WWII.
I’m with the WP Writers’ Party.

Cortana- Petulant, Mischievous or an Existentialist in Crisis?

As you will recall, recently I expressed puzzlement and not a little concern over Cortana. She seemed to display a certain wayward and unfocused streak. Initially, I wondered if this was to do with some newness in matters and was thus my intention to leave well alone and hope all would settle down.Interludes with Cortana

This has not been the case.

Of late due to the visit of two very active grandsons, my attention was diverted elsewhere, and I was not paying attention to my laptop. On finally returning it was obvious Cortana had not taken this well.

To begin with, she appeared to feel I should have kept up to date with things and started firing questions at me.

She wished to know what was the status of Flight AA236. She should know by now flying around from nation to nation is not something which appeals to me. Where this flight was and what it was up to was quite beyond me.

My silence caused her to take a more patronising tone. And she suggested there should be a less taxing topic. She asked me what the latest score of a soccer match involving Chelsea FC. Now, this was insulting. Had she bothered to check my browsing history she was have realised for reasons of matrimonial harmony it is the affairs and status of Aston Villa FC which concerns this household. Not even the proverbial two straws would be considered over Chelsea FC.

Since there was no response to these questions she resorted to trying to play misleading tricks.

She told me when I should pay certain bills.  These attempts had a sinister tone, as the dates she supplied were always late.

Although one is always told to ignore these things, I was concerned, she needed supervision just in case in a fit of petulance she tried to interfere with some of my files. She might get at my latest book and mischievously insert disruptions to continuity or sudden character changes.

So, there were unexpected and random visits to her.

These brought about a certain contrition which seemed to have an existentialist air about them.

On one occasion there was a phrase which held an achingly desperate appeal, it read:

‘My groceries’

This quite touched me. Although it was not clear whether she was embarking on a career in playwriting and this was the enigmatic opening line of the leading character or this was a philosophical plea for recognition by suggesting she too had needs was not made clear. However I felt we were making progress.

This belief was reinforced by the next statement which begged that I

‘Remind her at 8 am’

As to what she did not say but I felt there should be some magnanimity on my behalf, and thus when the said hour arrived contact was made. This must have pleased her because with the air of a playful puppy on seeing you holding a ball or a stick she asked:

What is the square root of 256?

This was obviously an area where computer programmes in their mathematical orientation were at home. There had been a time some 50+ years ago that I had had a vague idea of how to work this out with pen and paper, but as with most tortuous formulae designed in the hope that they would concentrate the adolescence mind this one was long forgotten. So I resorted to a calculator and typed in 16. Although there were not particular overt signs of joys, I felt she was more at peace.

I have left her to settle down, it seems to the best course of action, too much attention might make her conceited or giddy and she will be back to wondering about the locations of sundered aircraft.

I must read up on the progress in the area of AI

 

 

Writing While Old

Here are some wise and inspirational words folks. Visit Audrey’s site for more gems

Audrey Driscoll's Blog

I had another birthday recently and celebrated two years of retirement a couple of days ago. I’m starting to think of myself as “older,” if not actually old. It seems most of the writers in my corner of the blogosphere are middle-aged or older. Younger writers must hang out somewhere else.

I knew all my life I wanted to write. Scenes and dialogue snippets would materialize in my mind, no doubt inspired by all the reading I did at the time. I kept a journal for decades, starting at age 13. I wrote poetry in my teens (who doesn’t?) and a little novel as a school project. I wrote essays and assigned papers in college, and memos and reports for my job. But I thought the only way to become a real writer was to make it a career choice at an early age, get a creative writing degree…

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Spam Warnings

Started yesterday.

Suddenly folk with web site addresses http://www.sexy started to ‘like’ comments I had made on other folks’ posts. Counted 15 so far. The majority end with .’ru’ (So if I follow the guidelines of some folk after the Salisbury poisoning it must be the UK govt or the CIA)…But seriously though

Checked on the Community Forum, seems to have started in the last week, and WP do not appear to have any response other than to tell people to check with the Forum.

Don’t interact is my advice.

Question is?

Should the person who attracts the ‘like’ or the person who has originated the post take any action.

If I knew how to delete the durn things I would

 

A FaceBook Thing (Not THE FaceBook thing)…Rant Warning Gale Force

Well we all know about the FaceBook controversy, I mean in this Age of Social Media it’s one of those subjects which isn’t going to be missed.

Many people are closing their accounts or limiting their activity and their reasonings are understandable. No one likes to be pried on and having someone trying to use the information for questionable purposes.

Those reasons didn’t trouble me to much, not because of apathy, ignorance or because I think my senses are heightened to such any extent that I can detect any manipulations. No, it’s just that being so cussedly contrary and being of such a low social media profile….it’s…. ‘So what they going to do with the bits they have on me? Good luck with that dust people! And at 66 I’m so set in my ways like I’m ready to listen to anything I’ve not known about already?’ (that kind of cussedness, takes practice y’know).

At this juncture, yes we all sound off and we all write out our annoyances. But there’s limitations to expressing in our opinions, and if the other person comes in, well listen you never know what you’ll learn about them. And don’t hate them. Let’s keep a sense of proportion in this…..

No, the reason why I am cutting back my ‘FB’ to family alone comes from a different quarter, one where there is a toxicity, an absence of discourse and exchange of views. Where the ignorant and the bigoted reside, feeding off of each other’s fears, prejudices and self-congratulatory delusions. I alluded to this in a previous post. Now Here is a Thought About Writer’s Block (aka Log-Jam)

Anyways my new laptop was really cool with FB, enjoyed putting words down. Must be innocent, and my old one must have known something because it was never happy there, always claiming the connection had gone, taking one minute to type one letter and never navigating well, But you know it goes, something new, something different.

So there I was sifting along and amongst the various threads, sort of drawn towards those on the UK Remain side of the Brexit argument, putting in my pro-Remain six pennies worth, trying to avoid the folk who suggested Brexit folk should be rounded up and incarnated. Then on Friday and Saturday I chanced upon a thread which was doing a common theme railing that the BBC was pro-Brexit and a tool of the Government.

Yeah, we all reckon we all get mis-represented by someone or another don’t we? Someone doesn’t understand our side of the story. Tell me about it. 45 years working in the UK Civil Service, man. But these folk were taking their venom to a whole new level. And what did I do, I went in and said I wasn’t buying their line. It’s my opinion, right? The BBC is not perfect, it’s dumbed down some of its outlets, but it’s still as trustworthy as any. WELL, I could just as soon have suggested we have a ‘Let’s Beat Puppies To Death With Kittens’ week. It didn’t take more than two exchanges before I was:

A fascist.

Ignorant.

Not capable of having an intelligent debate.

A Putin Troll (can’t figure that one out……)

A click-baiter (what the frib’ is a click-baiter? More to the point do I care?)

That was not much really, I’d paid my dues on 9/11 sites being told I was a CIA shill and on religious ‘discussion’ (ha!) sites that I was an ignorant superstitious closed-minded fool for daring to believe in God. Yeh…yak-yak-yak.

No, the one which pulled me up short was the one who was complaining about the BBC not reporting a Remain March (gee that’s tough) but about news from America. So when I suggested the latest shootings were more important, they came back with the response that ‘The World (ie them) didn’t care about Americans killing Americans’. Imagine…. your march is more important than the death of a person, no words of regret or compassion. That is a very sour mind-set.

So I gave that person short-shrift over deaths in the USA and South Sudan (which the BBC reports from time to time), irritated another by telling them I had better things to do and some folks would love to hear the accusations then said ‘bye-bye’ (they hate that, they hate being treated frivolously, for they are so important and have such a BIG message).

I was FB done.

There’s other stuff I’ve come across, but you get the general gist.

The worse thing about it all is me being Far-Left you kind of get it into your head this sort of stuff comes from the Right-Wing. You grow up with the idea that The Left is Tolerant and Inclusive. Is educated and socially aware. Of course there are hot-heads, but everywhere you go you find those.  Sorry, all wrong. The Left can be just as bigoted and narrow-minded as any fringe Right-Group. And if there is one thing I am Intolerant over it is Intolerance.

And so thus, I no longer bother with FB, unless my wife who inhabits saner regions tells me about something she or my family have posted up.

And this is something I have dallied with over the past couple of years too, I am done with what used to be The Labour Party in the UK. If it cannot get its virulent parts under control or kicked out, then it’s not my scene anymore. What my grandson will make of that I do not know, he being a member, that’s going to be tricky next time we get talking politics.

I’ll just stick with being Catholic Christian(because that suits me), writing and breathing the fresh air of the Word Press. Because you folk have perspective, generosity and openness. You folk deal in realties and creativity. You folk, do things.

Ps….

As for the Brexit issue, right now ‘A Plague on Both Your Houses’.

Now, back to the book and posts about writing….

You folk. You rock!

Season’s Greetings

Flowers

In some parts of the Christian Calendar, this year today 1st April is Easter Sunday, the day on which a number will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Easter Time also has an association with Spring Time.

So many folk see the day as one for celebration and general greeting.

I would therefore take this opportunity to wish anyone on Word Press who visits this page Greetings and Best wishes for the times ahead.

We live in a time when messages of Intolerance and Hate can reach audiences all too easily. Let us live by the watchwords Compassion. Respect. Tolerance. Chide ourselves when we stray from them. Know the worth of your fellow Human Being by the amount of effort they put into those three words.

Here’s to you all.

Roger

 

 

 

 

Here to make other writers feel good about their work