Tag: writing

Requiem for the Big Bang

You live in a new Age of Enlightenment…you just don’t know it yet.

Let me tell you why, and what it means to you.

For over a century, scientists have dumped billions of your tax dollars and tied-up countless intellectual resources researching the structure and origin of the cosmos. The result has not shed light on anything.

To the contrary, they have shrouded the truth in dark matter, dark energy, black holes, and big bangs. They invent theories of parallel universes, multiverses, many worlds, quantum foams, and rolled-up dimensions that no one can detect – and tsk-tsk that only they are damn smart enough to comprehend it.

Do their theories sound like reality? Do they resemble anything we actually see, or experience?

They say miracles don’t happen. They say the universe exploded from nothing without any reason. They say the more matter you have, the smaller it gets, until it disappears in a ‘black hole.’ These sound like miracles to me.

It’s also depressing. They tell us everything we see is only 4% of what is there, because the rest is made of stuff we can’t touch, see, measure or even imagine. They say only they have the intellectual authority to comprehend, so just shut-up and give them more money to study it.

Doesn’t this picture of the universe leave you cold, bleak and disconnected – understanding less – not more about it?

If their theories were used cars, we’d have solved the energy problem because we’d be driving mathematical constructs – things without wheels or engines.

Today there are scientists with a new theory – and this one works – it has wheels!

They describe a universe full of light, life and promise. A universe that is comprehensible, based on theories we can test, see, and that time and again, produce astonishingly accurate predictions. It is known as the Electric Universe.

In 2004, the Thunderbolts Project launched to explore the Electric Universe. The Thunderbolts Project is a group of scientists and scholars who are making sense of our universe and the role humans play in it. They are also making sense of our ancient history. That means your place in history and the cosmos, too.

They have taken science out of the dogmatic paradigms of invisible mathematical concepts to look at the universe as it really is – and discovered its beauty – coursing with real energy and real purpose.

Led by plasma physicists and a growing number of scholars, Thunderbolts has taken a fresh look at space and realized – hey, it’s full of electricity. Everywhere astronomers look, they see evidence of electro-magnetic forces at work.

The standard model of physics ignores the forces of electro-magnetism, relying instead on the idea that gravity is the only architect of the cosmos. But electro-magnetism is trillions of times stronger than gravity and we can see it at work. Why does mainstream science ignore it?

Mainstream science doesn’t understand plasma.

Plasma is everywhere we look in space – stellar nebula, stars, solar winds and galaxies. Plasma rains down in the beautiful displays of polar auroras and lightning, right here on earth.

It is a fundamental state of matter – along with solids, fluids and gasses, there is plasma. It is a charged soup of electrons, protons and ions. And plasma conducts electricity.

Why don’t mainstream physicists account for this in the universe? Because if they started finding real answers we’d stop paying them to make-up imaginary stuff.

The Electric Universe does not throw the applied science we know and depend upon under the bus. Gravity still keeps us stuck to the earth. We still have E= mc2.

It simply discards the unworkable and unreasonable theories of magic in cosmology and seeks to understand what is really out there. And boy is it working.

Their predictions so far are astounding.

  • They explain the surface features of Pluto, Mars, Mercury, Venus, our Moon and the rocky moons of Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto, as well as features found here on earth which still baffle and cannot be adequately explained by mainstream science.
  • They explain the nature and behavior of comets, and made predictions that have been verified.
  • They explain how stars and galaxies form in a Universe coursing with electricity.

The theory is solidly supported by the evidence we observe without needing to imagine invisible dark matter, dark energy, dark elves, or any other phony flavor of the day.

Not only do their theories predict the behavior of our universe, they explain the greatest mystery of mankind – our ancient history.

Dating from the end of the last ice age, cataclysmic events in the sky and on earth were recorded by our ancestors around the world in petroglyphs, hieroglyphs, megaliths, pyramids, obelisks, legends and archaic texts we have struggled to understand ever since. Science says they are just stories, made up by our ancestors to scare the kids into bed.

Mainstream science says the alignment of megalithic structures, like Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid were just so the builders would know when to plant crops. Why would they need huge boulders to do that?

They didn’t. They were recording events that rocked their world – literally. And these were electro-magnetic plasma discharges and a rain of planetary debris.

That is why mythology is full of fire and brimstone raining from the sky. And global flooding, fiery dragons and the heroes that battled them, which live on as ancient legends around the world. It was a cataclysm that nearly wiped out mankind, and we’ve been suffering the trauma ever since.

The Electric Universe brings into focus what is really happening in our universe with elegance, clarity and simplicity.

It is no more mysterious that the computer screen in front of you. Okay, so that’s a mystery to me, too. But any electrical engineer can understand it, and so can we. Its stuff anyone can comprehend.

You don’t need to be an Einstein, or Hawking, with an IQ big enough to dream-up things that don’t exist. And you don’t need to keep sending those guys our tax dollars. Go to Thunderbolts.info to find the real story for yourself. You will be amazed.

A.D. Hall

An Open Letter to Visitors from Biker Entourage

Pardon my French, but Sacre Crapeaux! It means holy shit…I think. Bells ring in my head, addled as it is. Eureka! I have found my spiritual home.

Bikerentourage.com

Is it possible? Biker Entourage is motorcycles, psychedelics and the people who ride them? I feel more interconnected than a DMT flash. I feel more resonance than a 998 Desmocedici at 8500 rpm. I feel both!

Psi-rider…mount your café racer for a ride in my brain!

Take the on-ramp to my Cerebrum. Ignore the Temporal Lobe…it is closed for repair.

Beware off-camber twisties in the folds of the Frontal Lobe. There are potholes there.

Add power…add speed for the sweeper ahead,

Drag your knee in Basal Ganglia and up-shift with throttle-wide in the Corpus Collosum,

Do a wheelie in Medulla Oblongata, if you like, and burn rubber in the Occipital Lobe,

But, red-line the Hypocampus and downshift drift the Amygdala, echoing a thrum upon the Pons.

Then park in level C of the Cerebellum. I’ll meet you there.

I feel how I imagine a ride to the shooting range with Hunter S. Thompson – or pubbing with Peter Egan and Terence McKenna. Those things aren’t possible for Terence and Hunter, bless their souls – they will never know the experience of reading me, or having a beer with me.

But we can! Yes, you and me – reader and writer – as I still live and write. This can change at anytime, as you well know how it is with writers and motorcycles. But once written, it lives forever…and thereby my heart feeds you, as I feed on you like a parasite, too.

I digress. You are probably wondering who in hell I am. I am A. D. Hall, a writer and a traveler. May favorite rides are a Ducati S4RS and Mescaline – so visceral and erotic.

Psilocybin and scooters are a close second. The elves like scooters. I’d love to own an Indian and take Ayahausca some day – it seems a marriage of the gods, no?

I live in Arizona, which is psychedelic in itself, especially this time of year. I think the temp is 111, as I write, which means I can go outside for fifteen minutes and experience hallucinations. I do this on the scooter – the Duc would fry my legs. It produces total, irrevocable madness within twenty minutes, so I am careful.

As the swamp cooler blows a moist chill on my sweaty neck, and the cheap Canadian whiskey I bought last night yields it’s last precious ounce into my cup, I almost weep with joy. The emotion is real, if exaggerated – that’s what whiskey does to me – but let this be known; I wish to join this community.

I wish to pledge my considerable writing talent as a voice – to you, to us, and to those out there who have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s my humble opinion they need to understand. The whole world needs to understand.

Who can engage one’s mind with spiritual botanicals, or race two-wheeled on a smooth, curved mountain road, and still be bothered to commit jihad, or send thousands of troops to their deaths in foreign lands? It’s inconceivable. So like Jesus, we have a message. It is as important as his – the “do unto others…” one.

No ma’am, no sir! I’m not comparing myself to Him. I am but a disciple, no matter how arrogant my tone. That is a consequence of the cheap Canadian stuff…like I said. But the mission – the mission – let’s not lose our thread.

It is to Trip Others – a term I now coin – unawares, into a forced psychedelic experience for the betterment of mankind. My idea is to create and weaponize a psychedelic toenail fungus that pumps psycho-actives into the bloodstream, like a tic delivers Lyme disease, but with altruistic intent. Then disperse it in Moscow, Tehran, Beijing, Washington and other strategic places.

I am thinking of a Dr. Scholl’s type delivery system of our own patent, or perhaps Korean nail salons. There are many details to fix, and talks with the Koreans are not going well. Are there podiatrists among you?

San Francisco, Paris and London won’t need it. Those places are already enlightened – unless they want to volunteer. I figure, once we know how to make it we can grow enough for everybody.

That includes your city, Gotham – New York, New York! Grimy Atlantis of the Millennium. I have spent good times there. High times. If only I lived closer, my first instinct is to join you on a ride, side by side, somewhere Upstate to look for Bigfoot. We’re teaching him to ride out here. But let’s speak of that another day. Today, our topic is the Purple Armageddon.

Bikes are the instruments of distribution, of course. We can go any place on earth with the right, dual-sport bikes, and escape, too. You know traffic in these big cities. A rush hour attack and we own the split-lane! Get it? Is the picture coming to focus? Rebels with a cause – that’s us!

I implore you. I don’t have the mycological knowledge to do it myself. Nor could I be a lone superhero like Ewan McGregor, riding the globe dispersing the stuff and still get the coordinated mind-meld that’s most effective.

It will require a common temporal battleground, a Megiddo of the conscience. If we can get all of the world leaders into the same “room with the elves” – problem solved – that’s the plan.

That’s why a community like this needs me, for this kind of brilliant idea. So, now that we’re together – tell me how I can help you, so you can help me – let’s work together. Who is the Shaman of this new family of mine? Call me.

Before I close and let this sink in to your minds – I’ll assume it is momentarily stressed at the audacious criminality of our venture – let me say, fear not. The utter logic of it will eventually take hold and you will gleefully go forward, a battalion of ghost riders; Knights Templar of the Psychedelic Apocalypse – keepers of the Grail of Enlightenment – Onward Psychedelic Soldiers…Marching as to war!

Even if your ultimate fate is crucifixion in a stuck-up, unenlightened world, rest assured, I will carry the torch. I am shielded from crucifixion by fixion. A linguistic inoculation that protects me as a writer.

So relax, and let me offer a diversion while your mind assimilates. I published a book of complete and utter nonsense about a character that is struck by lightning in a thunderstorm while on an Amanita Muscaria trip, and the consequences that flow from this profoundly dark and damaging experience.

Why don’t you take it to the beach this summer, as the Psychedelic Apocalypse gathers headwind. Enjoy its hallucinogenic, raunchy humor where the characters happen to – have you guessed, yet – Ride Fucking Motorcycles! Yes, that’s right. I wrote a novel specifically for you! Ain’t that the fuckin’ tits?

It is my modest gift, for the listed price at your e-book retailer. Just follow my links below and see my website, other writings of mine, and the book: “Lapse of Reason.” It’s my debut novel.

Such synchronicity – meeting on the very brink of my book’s release – the world in crisis and needing us – social media to bind us – are the result of long-term psychedelic brain modification, on my part, yours, and the elves, without a doubt.

Trip safely my friends, and feel free to share your favorite psychedelic with me (in a plain brown envelop with no return address). Adios for now. Our plot shall thicken!

Thank you.

A.D. Hall 6.25.15

https://andrewdhall.wordpress.com/welcome-2/novel/

Ten Things to Think About Blogging That You Haven’t Thought Before

I blog. I never set out to do this. It’s a requirement though, a machine sub-set routine I must initiate to flow attention to the novel I wrote. That is my job, writing novels, I thought.

It turns out that writing novels is only half the writing. The rest is all about traffic to your book in the age of Social Media and that’s business.

Fine. I can write creative posts. Apply my craft and try new voices in short form with direct feedback from the reader. It sounds like a good idea for a writer hungry to learn.

So I’ve been researching. It seems the way to do this is guest blog, which this is, and I thank the host for this opportunity. The host is me. I’m posting to myself. I just wanted to show how polite I am.

I’ve been reading blogs of other writers, looking for places to join or contribute, thinking that is where I can meet others of my ilk.

I have had trouble, and that is what I want to talk about. I see some great writing, but it’s dry, business-like. Everyone speaks as themselves.

Why shouldn’t writers of fiction, write fiction? Even when they’re not!

Isn’t it the task of the fiction writer to weave a reality? No one said that reality can’t be real. Go ahead. Fill the reader with facts and lists of Ten Best Things. Tell them what they need to know.

But do it with style. Use your voice. Create a drama, points of view. Don’t just lay your bloody thoughts out like the thing you left in the commode this morning. Write the thing!

I just thought I’d see more of that among the literary crowd. Where do thoughts fly like angels, with emotion and prose? Damn it! Will somebody please point me in the right direction?

Thank you.

A.D Hall, 6.30.15

Green Chile Werewolves

Friends, it is my passion to cook. I am not a particularly subtle cook. I like to spice it up.

I also don’t go in for fancy dishware and the like. I like to cook. So I’m posting something informative with a recipe of mine. You must try my Green Chile Werewolves. I will get to the recipe in a moment.

I warn you, this dish is clean, simple, but hot. Mighty hot. I think of it as a manly dish. That’s what brings to mind my topic: Manly cooking.

I know, cooking channels everywhere have male cooks, chefs and eaters. Probably more than female, I don’t know. The cooks are all mixed, the eaters are all male. There is no shortage of gluttonous women, but they don’t do it. It’s a manly thing.

Females never eat pickled bat guano in Thailand, or shove one hundred fried habanero-stuffed turkey balls in their pie-hole in under thirty-minutes. I never see “No Flicking the Jalapeno” plaques or trophies in the bitch-cave commemorating nacho-eating contests.

In fact, I’ll just get to the point. Eating is the only manly thing I see men doing. Their cooking sucks. Its too feminine.

I have no issue with the babes. They do feminine cooking and they should. A dish should be proud of its gender, and so the cook should be proud of the gender they give it. But it should be their-own gender.

I am not getting into the matter of that Jenner fellow…gal I mean. He’s another issue entirely – one that confuses me. No, I wish to speak about good-old, manly cooking.

Now here’s the thing. You’ll say, don’t men barbeque? Of course, and grill too. These we may set aside as particular male obsessions, in fact. But it is a narrow specialty.

I ask, who among men is out in the world doing the hard work of true, honest peasant cuisine in the very heart of darkness?

Out there, where there is no foam food. Out there, with a big knife and spoon, a bowl and iron pot, and the flames of Dante’s furnace the only tools.

There was a man of great talent once, who forged meals in such a way. Let me tell you of him.

He was a gentleman, his talent as a cook well known. But that is not the key here. This man had something else; an indefatigable curiosity and manly joy for life. Yes life!

For he recognized that food is the very essence of that joy. It is communion, and delicacy, and drinking, and pleasure, and drinking, and fun and glorious! And it’s even better with a drink.

That man is Keith Floyd. Did you know him?

Keith Floyd was the original manly cook. No one before or since has honored food in such a way. Articulate-smart-funny-tasteful. But he didn’t suffer fools. He made one of himself with regularity, and never tried to hide it. Such honesty in a man transcends mere cooking!

The BBC program, ‘Floyd on Fish’ was his first. I believe it to be his best and the only place to start, if you are so inclined. It was he I watched in my youth, and from him I learned the essentials.

If you’re a man and can’t cook anything except meats, learn from Floyd. Find him on You-Tube.

Now grab a beer, let’s cook Green Chile Werewolves.

Green Chile: One pound of pig meat.

One 32-ounce can of whole Green Chilies.

One 14-ounce can of chopped tomatoes.

One, big as you dare, can of chopped jalapenos.

A big onion.

A handful of garlic.

Stock – you should already have stock from scratch. I don’t have time to get into that now, go buy chicken stock.

Werewolves: Cheese – you call it, pick your mold. I like a blend of Mexican stuff, fresh made. You may not have it where you live. Longhorn Colby mixed with Jack always works.

Big flour tortillas. Be a man and spring for the kind sold raw. Cook them yourself. If you’re a pussy, go ahead and get them made and packaged.

Have some good olive oil on hand. Now let’s cook.

Chop that pig meat into chunks. Use a cleaver, or machete – make fast work of it.

Turn your blade on the onion and garlic. Chop it rough. Throw the pig in a cast iron oven with some oil. Fire it up. Season it. Brown it. Throw in the onion.

Wait – no garlic yet. Let the onion get soft. Now garlic, throw it in and turn the fire down so it doesn’t burn.

Give it salt and pepper. If you like chile, add your favorite.

Let it simmer while you open all those goddamned cans. Dump them in the pot when you’re done. Chop those chiles first and sop up the mess. Add enough stock to make it swim.

Now stir the thing and put a lid on it. Let it cook for a good long while on a low burn, just watch the thing doesn’t char. Grab another beer.

Your going to cook again when the wolves are ready, but let that damn pot cook while you have a smoke, or something. Smoke the right thing and the timing will work out perfect.

Shred your cheese. Cook the tortillas under-crisp in oil. You want them bendable. Roll that cheese up in tortillas and put the damn things in a greasy pan. Those are the werewolves.

Now pour that stew on the wolves when it’s ready. Throw the pan in a hot oven for a while, until it gets bubbly. If you put some extra cheese on top – see it gets browned.

That’s it. Take them out and let them cool. Then feed your people.

I did this recipe for you men. Now, go get my book. Women won’t read it.

Thank you.

A.D. Hall 6.29.15

Happy Birthday, Mom

Photo on 2015-05-27 at 12.29 #2It’s three AM and I’ve been writing. I’m tired and ready for bed, but before I lay down, I check. She lies awake.

She can’t sleep the night through. Awake, alone in the dark, I don’t know how long she’s lain like this. I give her water and kiss her head.

She sips a drink to wet her lips, not interested in swallowing. Her legs are crossed, her hand clutches the rail, and she is sideways in the bed. She’s been writhing. It’s another rough night.

I straighten her out, stretch her leg and feel the tightness. A Charlie-horse is in her thigh that never goes away. I try to imagine what that is like.

I put ice in her water and raise her head to let her drink through a straw. I know she likes the cold water. No one gives her ice anymore.

She drinks the whole glass, and whispers, “That’s good.” Then rests her head.

That’s all she’ll say, I don’t expect more. Her brain was split apart by stroke, half of it dead more than a decade now. The stroke shut her mouth.

She’ll have lucid times on a good day, if she’s stimulated. She rattled-off five short sentences one afternoon, totally coherent communication, but that happens less often. Most days, there isn’t much stimulation.

We get her up at nine for the bathroom. Then at noon for coffee and cookies – that’s her favorite. Oatmeal and banana for breakfast, sitting in the wheelchair. Mid-afternoon we move her to the Big Chair, where she naps until five. Then it’s coffee and cookies again before dinner and to bed about eight. That’s her day.

Except for the meals and the transfers, she sits like a piece of furniture, barely animated, barely awake, as we go about our business. The room is calm and quiet, with the TV usually on a station the health care worker watches.

The lovely woman who helps care for Mom will not be here today, so I’ll do these things, plus take her to the bathroom, clean her ass, wipe the piss off the floor, dress her in a clean gown and scrub my hands before serving her cookies.

If she can’t get back to sleep, I’ll have to get her up to the bathroom and then the Big Chair. This gets her leg bending so it eases the muscle and she can sleep. The Big Chair reclines.

The prospect of this at three in the morning angers me. I’m running on ass-dragging empty. I want to lie down and catch a few precious hours of sleep before this routine begins. Right now, I don’t want to lift sacks of potatoes and wipe piss off the floor.

She won’t sleep. She looks at me and pulls crab-like on the rail, pulling her body sideways in the bed. I slide her back in place. I’m not patient about it and she slaps my arm as I push – a strong backhand.

I toss covers off her leg and she says, “Covers!”

“In a minute Mom. I’m going to stretch your legs.” I do the right first, bending her knee and growl at her, “Push…push your leg out, Mom.” She makes an effort and I can feel the muscle begin to ease-up. It never fully relaxes anymore.

Her hand scratches for the sheets to pull them over her bare legs. This, believe it or not, is because she’s modest about her yoo-hoo. She shouldn’t worry. I ain’t lookin’.

I do the left. She doesn’t push with the left. That’s the dead one, where the muscles are drawn into rigor. My tone with her is harsh. “Is it easy now?” I want her to tell me it’s okay, so I can go to bed. She can respond when she’s alert, like now. I’m gruff because she won’t.

She looks at me, her eyes brighter than usual at this time. She’s fully alert. I pull the rocking chair close and sit by her. I raise the bed so she sits upright. That stretches her hip and legs and I get more ice water for her.

She’s happy I’m there. She doesn’t want to be alone. I want to go to bed.

“You know, we can’t do this forever, Mom.”

I am the youngest of five sons. When she had the stroke, it was our decision to keep her at home. My brothers, the best heeled of the bunch, took the financial burden on themselves for Mom’s care, and we all take turns on “Mom duty.” There was never a question of putting her in a home. She had a home.

“You’re like a cockroach, you know that?” I say. Her body won’t quit. She grew-up barefoot in Arkansas while World War One raged in Europe. She’ll be one hundred and one on her birthday. By cosmic coincidence, I was born on her birthday. We share that.

She learned to type and moved on her own to live and work in Dallas. That’s where my Dad met the pretty, sweet, but independent young woman.

They came west in the years of Depression, and raised chickens and five boys. Dad passed away. The boys retired, except for me. I’m just out of work.

The oldest son can’t come to see Mom anymore. Cancer has him. It may be Mom outlives him. I don’t want to see that.

Mom’s health is faltering. She can’t exercise anymore. But she slides down the slippery slope very slowly. Jim’s catching up fast. Not that I want the race to end, I just don’t want him to win.

I give her more water. “I’ll lay you back down,” I say. “See if you can sleep.” She closes her eyes as I lay the bed low. I leave to brush my teeth. Out of the room, I scream, “For fucks sake God, take her away! Why leave her hurting like this?”

I’m not expecting a response from him either. The worthless fuck.

I check one more time. Her eyes are closed. She’s pretending. I sit by her side. “You’re not sleeping,” I say. Her eyes open, still bright. She knows I want to leave.

I know she doesn’t want me to leave. She doesn’t like to lay by herself in the dark…hurting. She doesn’t want me to be mad though.

I lean close to her. She turns her head. She is embarrassed and does not want to breathe on me. She knows her breath is awful.

I don’t care. “Mom,” I say. “This is crazy. You need to let go. This isn’t good for anybody.”

Her eyes are bright and she reaches out to me. I feel her soft, warm hand on my ear. She sticks her finger in.

Tears well from somewhere I haven’t been in a very long time – a little boy with his mother pinching his ear.

I bow my head and cry. She pinches me again, still looking at me. Still caressing my ear.

I’m in a place I never want to leave.

I look at her. I don’t see her mouth hanging open. I don’t see her drooling. I see my Mother, who taught me to listen, to cook and to love. I remember now. I love her. I love her so much that it hurts.

I say, “Let’s get you up to the Big Chair, Mom.” She smiles her crooked smile and I know that’s the thing that she needs. As gently as I can, as patient as I can, with all the love I can, I do all the things that entails. I have no more anger. I’m with her. I want her as long as I live.

A.D. Hall 6.28.15

Writer’s Cramp

THIS NOVEL OF MINE

I look for a novel

Idea to find

Deep in my heart

And deep in my mind

*

A character appears

A new story-line

I spew forth his tale

I know it’s not mine

*

I’m a medium of sorts

A conjurer of words

That tells you his story

This novel of mine

*

Where do we go

I’ll take you he said

A journey to nowhere

With this man in my head

*

I’m losing my grip

My plot is not sound

How will I end this

What twist can be found

*

Just follow the voice

The man in my head

Then trip him and flip him

Don’t let him be fed

*

He’ll find a way out

Or else he’ll be dead

It’s his job to find it

It’s my job it’s said

*

So bleed on the keyboard

Put it all down

I’ll fix it later

This first draft of mine

*

His story’s complete

The story I wrote

So I relax and enjoy

This moment of note

*

Because now I must read

That first draft I wrote

And I will not like it

It’s full of word bloat

*

So I must turn

From killing my man

To killing my prose

Of the weak and the canned

*

I’m a slayer of adverbs

And the passive voice

To make it read lively

But not like James Joyce

*

It’s a helluva task

To remove what I wrote

Like throwing away

A favorite old coat

*

But I read it again

And I certainly note

It reads much better

Without the old bloat

*

But something is wrong

This new draft of mine

It lacks something special

It lacks flow and rhyme

*

So I re-write again

It’s a bloody damn crime

To read it once more

For the sixty-sixth time
*

I’m ready almost

To let it be read

From cover to cover

By eyes that aren’t mine

*

My God! What they say

Is it really that bad

No one will read this

I feel really sad

*

I pull it together

And get kind of mad

It’s time to re-write it

This novel of mine

*

But where is the voice

The man in my head

I need him to tell me

What else to be said

*

I drink and I smoke

And sink in my head

Looking to find

This novel of mine

*

The dog needs a walk

And garbage trucks grind

The gears in my head

Have rusted I find

*

The muse has escaped me

And the man in my head

Refuses to help me

I wish I were dead

*

What possessed me to write this

I may never know

But polish I must

To make the thing glow

*

He visits again

A night when it’s late

And no one’s around

So I finish his fate

*

And finished at last

No typo is left

It has  ISBN

And its cover’s a blast

*

Let luck take it somewhere

I hope it is read

By people who like it

My novel ain’t bad

***

Copyright 2015 by Andrew Hall

What the hell…now I’m writing poetry?

Where is this coming from?

Ginger’s Choice – Selected Reading From ‘Lapse Of Reason’

The Editor has selected the following section from ‘Lapse of Reason’ for you to sample. She thinks this is clean enough not to offend anyone. This is from Chapter 9 – Vulcan Breakfast. You may also sample the first three chapters at my Smashwords book page: Smashwords.

cropped-dads-blog.jpg

A fresh breeze carried the smell of rain, and caught Sidney’s hair as she climbed out of the Cadillac CTS in front of Ian’s house. She held a straw fedora on her head and saw flashes in the clouds, accompanied by distant rumbles. “Great traveling weather, Leah, at least it will be in your car.”

He locked the front door and carried his duffel bag to the street, as wind whipped leaves and billowed dust across the yard. “Nice car!”

“Will you drive?” Leah asked.

“I’d love to.” He took the keys and she went to the front passenger side. Sidney got in the back seat.

“This weather will make the trip interesting,” he said. “I hope there’s a big rain.”

“Ian,” said Sidney. “Look to the south.”

Bank upon bank of storm cells lined the southern horizon, leaving a blue-black hollow beneath. “That’s where we’re heading,” he said. “It’s not too late to take the bikes.”

“Yeah right,” Sidney said. “This Caddy will do just fine.” She snuggled into the soft leather backseat.

They traveled west a long distance before turning south to the border. It seemed they might get in front of the storm, but the thunderheads kept pace with their westward movement, and when they reached the turn south, the road led into the heart of the dark chasm beneath. Sidney watched hanging shreds of cloud clot together in a rotating mass ahead of them. Rain pelted the roof so hard they had to yell to be heard. As they lost daylight in the storm, the headlights bounced off a sheet of rain that fell like a screen. Ian slowed but kept going. For the first time, he noticed someone was behind – lights in his mirror. He sped up to stay ahead.

Lightning burst, illuminating the heavy underside of clouds hanging low over the flat, desert plain. Sidney saw crazy twisted shapes silhouetted in the flash – organ pipe cactus looked like alien soldiers – upside-down squids on a battlefield. Thunderous cracks came the moment after a flash, booming right on top of them. She huddled into her seat; while Ian leaned forward, better to see through the rain. Wind whipped the car from side-to-side.

The maelstrom continued for twenty minutes before the sky opened-up. Back-lit by the moon, everything below was cast in black and white, strobing to the pulse of lightning from the storm behind. “No worries,” Ian said, “we made it through safe. Now the air is cool and moist and smells fresh. I’m rolling down my window.”

Sidney saw they were approaching a bridge over a sandy wash. At first she didn’t recognize what she saw. There shouldn’t be anything moving in the wash, but there was. She saw a brown wall of mud rolling at them.

She screamed as Ian drove casually onto the bridge, unaware it was about to be slammed by a raging wave of water. They were halfway across when it hit. A standing wave rose like a wall inches from the car, slapping the elbow Ian hung out the window – it was that close. The impact rattled the bridge, almost bouncing them into the torrent. “Oh, my God!” Leah cried.

Sidney watched a tree surge forward, its broken trunk aimed at her. Ian took the only course of action available: he gunned the car across the remainder of bridge. Water washed in a rising tide over the road, but the Cadillac’s momentum carried it forward. Sidney felt the car float, and then the tires grabbed enough traction when they hit the curb to stop its sideways travel – she felt the car jerk with the impact. They reached the other side just as the tree smashed the bridge, sending a thud through the earth that shook the car.

“I think the bridge just broke,” Sidney said.

They drove in silence for a moment, hearts pounding, stunned by the freakish flood and how close it came to sweeping them away. Ian finally spoke up; “Holy shit! We are so fucking lucky!” he said. He pounded the steering wheel for emphasis. “If we crossed that bridge a split second later we’d be dead. I saw a car behind us. I’m going back to warn them.”

“I didn’t see any car,” said Sidney. “I was looking around the whole time, nobody is behind us.”

He spun tires on the shoulder making a U-turn. At the bridge, they got out of the car and stood at the threshold, watching foam and brown water cascade through a chasm where the road used to be. He couldn’t see anything approaching the far side – he was sure he’d seen them – maybe they turned around. “There wasn’t anybody there,” said Sidney.

Over the roar of the flood, he heard laughter. At least he thought he did, it was impossible to tell with the torrent pounding only feet away, but it sounded like a deep booming laugh from somewhere in the dark. He never saw the lights again.

A half an hour later, driving under clear skies and a brilliant moon, their adrenaline had ebbed and the incident was a thing of the past. He asked, “Leah, why do you want to do this Ayahuasca thing? I mean, if it’s for clinical studies, why do you need to take it?

“So I know its effects. How can I relate to the effects in patients if I haven’t experienced them myself? Of course, I can’t tell anyone. Beside the two of you, no one else knows. I can try it in Mexico, and it stays in Mexico. Besides that, we can have a great time.”

“Well, I’m just wondering,” Ian kept probing. “I mean doctors don’t give themselves chemo-therapy to test those drugs, do they? Did you try electroshock before giving it to patients? I don’t see why you need to take Ayahuasca.”

“This is a psychoactive drug, and I’m studying its effect on the brain – on consciousness,” she said. “It’s different than the physical treatments you’re talking about – these drugs have an effect on perceptions and that can’t be measured with an instrument – I have to experience it to understand it.”

Sidney stuck her head between the front seats, “Ian, are you afraid to take Ayahuasca again? I thought you had a mellow trip, talked to a snake, got really horny afterward. What’s wrong?”

 “I don’t know. For one thing, you’re risking your career, Leah,” he said.

“If we all keep our mouths shut it won’t be a problem,” she said. Her voice had an edge they’d never heard before.

“We won’t say a word, will we,” Sidney nudged Ian’s shoulder.

#

The moon was halfway across the sky by the time they pulled onto the dirt road leading to the Ranch. Ricky never referred to it any other way – just the ‘Ranch’. They stopped at the fence and Sidney hopped out to open the gate. The drive wound through a hundred yards of overgrown cactus before the headlights lit a bare tin-sheeted house. Ricky appeared in the headlights and waved them to stop in front.

“Hello, my friends!” Ricky called. He stood in the lights wearing a red jumpsuit. “Nice car.”

“Nice jump suit,” Ian said, and introduced Leah and Sidney. “Ladies, meet Ricky.”

Ricky herded them into the house. Ian could see it was a hodgepodge of buildings molded together in an amiable sort of structural chaos. Adobe walls surrounded a courtyard with apartments in back. The front house was tin and wood frame, with a large kitchen and veranda connecting the buildings. They were led to a spacious den paneled in knotty pine, where cool air blew from an evaporative cooler humming on the roof. It had a homey, cabin-like comfort that put Ian at ease.

“You can crash in here,” Ricky said. “There are couches and blankets and pillows all around. Make yourselves comfortable. You can meet the old lady and everyone at breakfast. Tomorrow night, I’ll have a better place. She told me there was a big storm and you guys weren’t coming, so I didn’t expect you tonight. Usually, she’s right about such things.”

“Who’s ‘the old lady’ you’re talking about, Ricky?” Ian asked.

“Kay – she owns the Ranch. She’s gone to bed. You’ll meet her in the morning.”

“Okay, well we’ll just crash then. By the way, we did have a big storm hit us on the way. A flash flood almost killed us.” Ian said, as he walked Ricky to the door.

Ricky shook his head, “She’s usually right about things like that. Maybe, it was supposed to stop you from getting here.”

#

A New Project

Ginger and I are writing a new book. We mentioned in the first blog that we’d keep you abreast of new works, so we want to talk about that now. In the weeks to come, Ginger said she would clean up a chapter or two of draft, and share it with you.

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Before we do that, let’s just talk about another thing. Truth, because that’s the point for this book. I think it’s only fair I tell you what I’m up to. And that’s truth, because every great writer says you have to write the truth – or write truly (and drunk) if you’re Hemingway. So I wrote a novel, just like all the greats, and you know what? I made the whole thing up. Entirely fiction. That’s what novels are, duh – not a shred of truth in it.

Then I realized there must be deeper truths. Properly done, the novel is an artful expression of the human condition in some way – however odd that might seem. Well, I didn’t do that – that’s some heavy lifting for a writer, let me tell you. By the time you have a story, bleed it out, and figure an ending to the damn thing, you have to re-write so it’s readable. When you’ve edited it to a readable manuscript, it reads like molten lead – fluid, but devoid of color and boring as hell. So you have to re-write all the juice into it. By this time your so sick of it, the thought of proof-reading causes panic attacks, because you know you’ll keep finding things to fix, and this cannot be avoided, so it’s procrastinated instead.

IMG_1431This is before anyone else has laid eyes on it, mind you. Later, an editor snarls and makes you feed her cheese and re-write everything again. So it’s hard enough just making an entertaining read without having to weave in some artful, meaningful message redeeming you from the heap of crap you just wrote. Besides, I don’t want redeeming, I want redeemable, preferably in cash. I became a writer so I wouldn’t have to crawl out of my bathrobe before noon to scratch a living at the brickyard.

So all this heavy lifting as a writer seems a stretch too far. I’m opting for a simpler method of truth in this next book. I’m going to tell true stories to practice truth in writing, rather than attempt the brain twisting to come up with a truthful metaphor.

I’ve always wanted to write a travel book. I’ve read many, it’s a favorite type of book; true stories of adventure, drama and mishap in exotic places. My dear friend, Jim, is a travel writer, and I’m jealous. So naturally that is something I’ve thought about since I made the leap to writing. But therein lies the problem. I’m a writer, so I’m broke and have no money to travel. Catch 22 for anyone would-be travel writer who isn’t already well heeled.

IMG_1239Then a solution occurred to me. By the very fact I became a writer at a mature age, I haven’t spent an entire life chained to a keyboard. I actually have a great deal of travel experience already packed away that I can dust off and string together.

Ginger is looking at me like I’m crazy. She’s never seen me gone more than an hour and thinks that’s way too long. Her time between snacks is shorter than that. But she’s only three years old, and doesn’t realize I had a life before her.

I first titled it “The Art of Travel.” I thought that sounded presumptuous and not very literary, especially for a collection of stories that won’t describe anything like an artistic experience. Most stories are about events that were abject misery at the time. It came to me because the art in travel isn’t in the action itself. The art is in the telling. The story is what matters. The event is history.

I changed the title after that, but the sentiment still stands. Which brings me back to truth. And dare I say it…I‘ve been avoiding the other thing…embellishment. There, truth versus embellishment. You will find both in this book. That’s the real point I have to make now, before I can even write it.

It works like this. I write the true story and add a bunch of embellishment that makes the story read nice and have the right drama, or humor, or whatever. But I stay true to the story. You, dear reader won’t ever know the truth from the embellishment. But that doesn’t matter. You’re still getting the true story in the most entertaining way I can deliver. If this obscures facts a bit, so be it. Guilty parties should appreciate that, and the reader should appreciate the fact, without such obscurity, many of these stories wouldn’t be told. It’s still the truth.

This book will be a collage, a collection…an assembly of stories. They are not all my stories, but some are. Dear, anonymous friends and family have related some to me. However, I will write them in the first person, as if they are my stories for the sake of literary expression. Why bother the reader with shifting voice and points of view, when is it of no consequence to the story who it really happened to. It is the fact they are true and interesting stories, hopefully funny, that the reader cares about. If I’m wrong, you’ll tell me.

I’ll change names, of course, and stay vague on dates, precise locations, and I’ll attribute some of my more embarrassing actions to others – to help me objectively tell the tale. By the same reasoning, I’ll take credit for the more admirable actions of others. This artifice of literature will not be brought up again. I just want to preempt litigation.

Travel, in this book means whatever I choose to write about that I can somehow link to a travel situation. It may include IMG_1247stories of travel by car, motorcycle, plane, train, or by foot. I don’t know since I haven’t written anything yet, although I have decided to stay away from the wilderness trekking and backpacking stories. They certainly belong in a travel book of mine, but are of a character and setting that is quite special and I think should be set apart. Therefore, I’ll stick to urban hikes that only occurred subset within a larger travel dimension. I set these parameters out now, lest you to be fooled into thinking we’re actually going somewhere. We may amble, in the fashion of travel at it’s best, not knowing the scene around the bend.

Ginger’s Post

IMG_1747[1]Welcome to Ginger’s Post. Actually, I write and she edits – she has final say. Therefore, this writing space is named for her. Ginger, as you may already suspect, is a dog. She sits in my lap streaming editorial comments as I write. Most of her comments pertain to cheese, and I must fight her on this constantly. I tell her we will write about cheese another time. She does not seem to care. She wants me to stop writing and give her cheese…okay!

This is Ginger’s entrée into the world of social media. I’m sure someone will be quick to say: dog blogging is so pre-millennial. Is it obsolete? Should we twitter? Ginger doesn’t know. She’s looking at me with watery, Spanish drama queen eyes. Is it because of my uncertainty, or does she want more cheese? Never mind…I know the answer.

This first article is hers because the editor-in-chief insisted – of course. She has something to get off her chest about dog intelligence. She believes people misunderstand. People will argue her point, but it’s not an argument people can win, because people can’t argue about dogs with a dog. She knows that, which gives you some idea of how smart she is.

Ginger says the problem is that people look at dogs through people eyes. She wants you to see the dogs’ perspective. Before we dive in to that, however, a little about Ginger. Ginger is a mutt – part Chihuahua, and the rest is anyone’s guess. Whatever she is, it’s a strange combination. But it has created the most intelligent dog in the world, I kid you not; and that is the point of this article. She wants to set the record straight.

All dogs are smart compared to the average human. Every breed falls somewhere just above the mean of human IQ – no smarter than the average woman, but at least one standard deviation above the average male. We can all agree the debate is over about that – it’s the human perception of relative dog IQ that Ginger says we have wrong.

We see the smartest dogs as the dogs able to do a lot of things. Guard dogs, water dogs, bird dogs, sheep dogs; even lion hunting dogs – Rhodesian Ridgebacks are bred for that. But they are not very intelligent dogs, claims Ginger. A dog can get killed hunting lions.

“Why,” the dogologist asks, “does she say that? Such bravery, comprehension and acuity to the master’s direction is an amazing display of intelligence,” or something to that effect…I’m making this part up.

Well, the reason those dogs aren’t smart is because they work. Sure it takes smarts to do work, but if they were smart about working, says Ginger, they wouldn’t be at the bottom of the employment food chain, working for meals and a chain-link pen. There would be Bill Gates-dogs and Facebook guy-dogs. Googleionaires are popping up all over, but no dogs. And don’t mention Rin-Tin-Tin, Lassie, or any of those big actors. They got scale wage in Hollywood – the industry with the worst income inequality in the world.

To find the smartest dogs you have to look at lap dogs. Remember, get out of your human head and enter the dog’s world. Trainable dogs seem smart to humans, but training leads to following direction, which leads to work, which we’ve already established dogs are not that smart about. No, trainable dogs are not the smart ones, it’s the entitled little yappers.

Not every lap breed is super smart, either; don’t mistake this. Just like people, there are the successful copycats – oh my, that’s not a good choice of words – the not-so smart, but cunning emulators, such as the Pug and Dachshund, whose refinement is only hide deep. So, one must pick through the breeds like weeds. One must understand how they take advantage and use their intelligence, indeed look into the very workings of their mind, and then it is evident which the smartest dogs are. Watch a tiny lap dog when a big dog is around and you will see what I mean. It’s the little Napolean who is the boss.

The miniature poodle is a good starting point. Extremely smart dog. Notice first, the miniature poodle does no work. This is actually the primary sign of true canine intelligence, contrary to human consensus. Poodles are entirely ornamental. They are useless, except for being cuddly, cute balls of fur with a flicking tongue.

This is intentional on their part. They haven’t just outsmarted working dogs by becoming treasured accessories to wealthy, doting, elderly women who overfeed them and carry them in a purse. They have even outsmarted the cat.

How, you wonder, is this possible – smarter than a cat? Cats are masters of the universe, having enslaved humans to feed, and care for them, so they can do whatever they damn well please. We all know the rat-chasing thing is only for their amusement.

SAM_0175But they live filthy lives, skulking about gutters and eating fishy things. They are utter sociopaths, unavailable for emotional support when you need it, and always ready to give you that haughty look that says you’re an idiot. Their finest display of affection is a dead bird on the doorstep – now just what does that mean? No one depends on a cat. Just watch when the can of tuna is opened. This makes cats…well, dispensable when it comes right down to it. Just leave them outside for the night and let the coyotes do the rest.

Poodles have this figured out. They are there for love at the drop of a hat. Try it. Just drop a hat and they’ll wag their tail. Drop anything and they go nuts. If it’s food they’ll eat it, no questions asked. Get down at their level and they will attack you with love. They make you dependent on them without doing anything except hang around eating snacks and smothering you with affection. That is damn smart.

Step up a level on the canine IQ and you are almost at the pinnacle; the Chihuahua. Chihuahua’s are annoying, yet they still manage to do everything the poodle does, only better. It’s the saucy attitude and single-minded devotion to one true love of their life – you – that makes it work.

Did you know aristocrats used poodles as bed warmers? Oh yes. Now here is where you see frightening intelligence. They do absolutely nothing but sleep in a warm bed and that’s their job. But they aren’t working, because they are asleep in a warm bed. And it’s your bed, and you’re keeping them warmer than they’re keeping you. You see how it works?

I know…it’s scary when you think about it like that. You can see it in their eyes. They face forward like a human’s. They bulge with innocent vulnerability; and are big, and brown, and get dewy and can make you do anything they want. This has been laboratory tested against a control group of Yorkshire Terriers, an accomplished lap dog in it’s own right, and the eyes of the Chihuahua have been found to be more persuasive in nine out of ten cases. That is a statistical slam-dunk – and yes, the hair was brushed from the terriers’ eyes.

Ginger is part Chihuahua, and no doubt her cunning ways are founded in those genes, but she is mixed with other strange canine genetics impossible to determine…she is a mutt. Gone is the nervous jitter of the Chihuahua. Gone is the yapping mouth. Thanks to her genetic mishmash, she has all the favored attributes of the breed without the annoying ones. Instead, she has the attitude of a big dog. Indeed, she is not aware she is not a big dog, while at the same time being very Chihuahua.

As a result, she sleeps in the bed and acts as a reluctant bed warmer – she growls if you roll on her. She eats part of anything anybody is eating, never long between snacks. Amazingly, she stays slim. They say six, small meals a day – she has about eighteen. People let her out the door, and in the door, as many times as she asks. She lounges in the sun and she is taken for walks.

Lots of dogs get those things, you’re thinking. What makes Ginger special? Just look. The eyes of Madonna herself, gazing upon baby Jesus couldn’t be more touching. I have handed over my last savory bite of steak to those eyes many times.

IMG_1707That is why I call her a pirate. I’m writing while she’s in the other room, because she does not like to be called that, but she is a thief and I’ll come back to that later. Between her eyes is her nose, which is a feature of incongruence. It is the nose of a hound, with a slight under-bite, stuck on the head of a Chihuahua. This gives her a regal cuteness that she uses in the most incorrigible way. With her nasal length and under-bite, she can bare her teeth in a crooked snarl by lifting her left cheek, which has the effect of telling you exactly what she wants you to know. In other words, she communicates.

I know, dogs communicate, but I’m talking very specific things here. I mentioned she is a pirate, but she does not like to be called that. If I dare whisper in her ear “pirate,” she bites my nose. Every time I speak that word she will do this. It’s not a hard bite – it’s almost a kiss. But it’s not. It’s a love bite she delivers with a snarl that tells the real truth of her feelings, which is a barely contained dervish-like anger. She then chews my hands.

IMG_1729[1]This childlike cuteness melts butter in my heart and will force me to do anything, which is communication of the highest order, and this is when she shows her piracy. She has carte blanche then…requiring cheese, harassing cats, or she steals a toy from the neighbor dog. She steals a toy everyday. She pees and poops and runs to the neighbors, and takes a great deal of time selecting from the pile of toys they keep on the porch for their dog, Cookie, who is just a puppy, and then Ginger selects the finest, newest item and brings it home. She’ll do this in front of Cookie, when he is just begging her to notice him.

If I attempt to take it away, she lifts her left cheek until a bit of teeth show, and says, “Arghh, arghh!” in a very serious fashion, which stops me in my tracks. She knows she will get away with this because she has already conditioned me with the pirate play-anger. Now, how does this imply great intelligence? Well, I can leave a plate of filet mignon sitting on the coffee table within her easy reach, and leave the room, yet she will not touch it. Now we have already established she is a wanton thief, stealing from her neighbor everyday. So, why does she not take the steak? Because she knows she will be rewarded handsomely for not taking the steak. In fact she will get a pat on the head and a big piece of steak anyway. She understands consequence with such subtlety that I am amazed.

She knows she won’t be scolded for another dog’s bone, but take steak off my plate? Now you get a flavor for what I’m talking about. She is a Machiavellian charmer of the highest order. She is also a critic. She won’t write – can’t with the paws, but she edits with her lip. I read my copy out loud, and she “arghhs,” then I fix it. Which brings us back to the name of this blog, which is Ginger’s Post – not Andy’s Post. Outsmarted again!