Thought for the Week – Airplanes

A good landing is one you can walk away from.
A great landing is when they can reuse the airplane.

Wishing you great landings,

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Looking Back

I’ve been working my novel, so far I am up to about 8,500 words of notes.  Actual story, about 1,500.  At this rate I figure I’ll have to have about 200,000 words of notes with maybe a 50,000 word book.  I might have to rethink my work.  One thing I was thinking about, was past failures to complete projects, and some of literary works that have influenced me.

When I was in my teens I developed a test for apocalyptic science fiction novels and movies.  I devoured books like, Earth Abides, Always Coming Home, Alas Babylon, The Time Machine, and On the Beach.  When I couldn’t find enough of those books I read dystopia novels like Brave New World, Animal Farm, Player Piano, and 1984. The list just goes on with depressing books I read back then.

When I wasn’t reading these books, I was at the movies watching things like Planet of the Apes, A Boy and His Dog, Damnation Ally, War of the Worlds, Mad Max, Logan’s Run, Omega Man, Testament, and The Lathe of Heaven along with the film versions of the books I read.

By my late teens I had decided that I wanted to try to write a novel.  I started out with great enthusiasm.  I wrote some notes, a couple of scenes, and then let life interfere.  In 1983 ABC aired a made-for-TV movie with the title, The Day After.  It was a depressing film and not exactly a great work of film making or story telling.  It was more a statement on the dangers of nuclear war.

What was even more depressing was the fact that the novel I had envisioned was also titled, “The Day After.” Yup, they stole my title and I dropped the project.  Which is likely just as well because the PBS movie, Testament was largely the same story I was planning to write – except mine had a few battles between the survivors.

And thinking back, I have to admit that my book idea was mostly a rehash of every movie I’d seen and every book I’d read.  I think it was some time after my fifth viewing of On the Beach, that I finally realized two important things: I wasn’t adding anything new and I hadn’t really thought out the plot.

That coupled with the feeling that I wasn’t mature enough in my writing skills made me put the story aside.

Now, many decades later I feel like I am in a different place.  I’ve had more life experiences, I’ve read more widely than the Sci Fi isle, and have even studied a number of Shakespeare plays.  I’ve also written much more and feel more confident in my writing gift.

Looking back can be useful as it can help us avoid past mistakes, but it also has its dangers.  It’s far to easy to spend too much time there.

Today, I look back to see where I’ve been, in hopes that it helps me move forward.

Till next week,

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Thought for the Week

The moon maybe smaller than the earth, but it’s further away.

More deep thinking later,

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Just Stop It

Likely you’ve seen the news this week.  Attacks, death, fear, and grief seem to be taking over our world.  Everywhere it seems like a new horror awaits us.  It feels like our world is falling apart.

Certainly we’ve been in the midst of great social upheaval.  It started shortly after humans figured out how to use tools and cultivated the land.

Human history is filled with the stories we see on CNN or BBC.  The things that happen today trigger fear while history is just a trivia game and source material for the next “Game of Thrones” episode.

Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  Which of course, is a rephrasing of a quote from George Santayana (early 20th century philosopher and writer) who really said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Still, even with a solid knowledge of the past the future is a bit murky because there are new factors in play today. Things such as rapid global communications – we not only hear of yet another coup attempt in Turkey, but we get to see it unfold in real-time and not weeks or months later. Seconds after a police shooting the video is uploaded.  We see police officers gunned down as it happens.

That puts an immediacy in a world-wide audience.  The outrage, the fear, the anger, the hate, the worry, the grief all by viewing a simple headline.

Then as the event passes, the world wants change.  People yell for this to stop and then the inevitable arguing starts again – more/fewer guns, more/less police, declare war on this – and nothing real happens to prevent the next outrage.

We should never forget the great quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.” (Most often credited to Albert Einstein, but also to Ben Franklin, Alcoholics Anonymous, and as an ancient Chinese proverb.)  The problem is that when something bad happens, we react the same, and wonder why it happens again.

And again.

It’s time to change the conversation.

It’s time to remember the past and know this will happen again, unless we change.

The world doesn’t have to fall apart.  There are plenty of reasons to have hope.  Just four years ago I was treated for a cancer that was untreatable just 100 years ago.  People are living longer, we have more knowledge and information in our hands than at any other time in human history.  There are plenty of good things in this world.  There are places where peace and happiness happen.

If only we change us, risk, and have the courage to speak of hope and love.

Oh, I could go on and on about what you should do and how you can fix all this, but my father’s words still ring in my ears – the only one you can change is you.  I could try to influence your thinking and actions, but in the end father is right.  It’s me that has to change.  My actions, my words.

Which is difficult for me.  I am by nature a watcher, not a doer.  I don’t know if I can change to a doer, but I know I can do more than I do.

I have no real plan, but to start asking different questions and to start saying more.  Some of the ideas floating in my head are part of this novel I claim to be writing.  I think about today and wonder what kind of world this will become.

Perhaps, I could help change a world with mere words and a simple story.

Perhaps you’ll see more about that here.


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