Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Stunted art scene, the Inland Northwest

September 18, 2015

It isn’t very often that I do this, provide a paragraph sized transcript from a book in progress. But today I will: Chapter 16 — The Black Unicorn.

“This huge black creature surveyed the on-going battle, being played out in the narrow valley far below. Men well garbed in battle armor on the upper halves of their bodies, lay dead in heaps next to their poorly equipped foes. Lances and spears were being hastily flung into the roiling mass of combatants. Only those spears and lances were being met in equal measure, by bowmen expert in their profession. Men on either side, cut down in their prime of life. Shouts from the leaders on each side, exhorting their followers to greater efforts. In contrast to screams of men laid low with a fatal blow. Flashes of short swords and knives, glinting in the rain and flashes of lightning. A tableau of men hewing and hacking away at one another, a gut wrenching horror that seemed quite destined to never end. The flying creature watched this grim act played out, with a preternaturally canny red eye. It glided through the strong winds, or it sometimes banked and flapped about in a circling pattern, in an effort to fully investigate this frightful act of war. Not yet was the creature seen, by opposing forces struggling to survive, whether victory for either side could be achieved or not. No, in a day made dim by clouds and rain, spectrally lit up by periodic bolts of lightning. A moving shadow amidst all others, would provide no cause for anyone to pay much heed. When the battle-hardened warriors finally did realize what bizarre creature was in their midst, it would be too late for some. Only the men destined to die this day, would not include members the rebel forces. Such a time might arrive when the monster finally preyed on them as well. But not this day, or in this particular era. No, the demonic creature was simply biding its time, until it could select it’s next victim to feast well upon. Not just a victim to be certain. Rather, this ravenous monster would feast upon as many victims as it could claim. Indeed, that would happen after the outnumbered rebels abruptly abandoned the field of battle, and fled for the sheltering hills. The remaining Roman soldiers, would be caught in a new and deadly conflict, with a blood thirty and implacable foe. Thus a new front in this battle would be opened, and very soon. But the creature the Roman legions fought against, could not be cut down by sword, or spear, or lance. Not this flying creature, vaguely resembling a unicorn with wings. By description: an amalgam in all its parts of mist, rain, clouds, and hard driven wind.”

“The Inlander” just came out with its Fall Arts Guide, and I could already see that the only city or state they really planned to showcase, Spokane, Washington. And writers of interest, especially female, also living in Spokane, Washington. Of the latter in particular, women writers who were able to get their books published by traditional means. Congratulations are in order of course. But are they going to be the only female authors “The Inlander” wishes to showcase?

So let me tell you about, the publisher’s marketing strategy to get “magazines excited about debut novels and first time authors of books.” They wish to recoup the advances they give to the authors, and their initial investments toward the book itself. So the publishing companies aggressively market the books to as wide a readership as possible. And “The Inlander” locally helps that along by showcasing the authors in question. Of the majority of the female authors mentioned, sorry, but I don’t know them from Adam and never will. Just as it is not likely, that I will ever make a trip to “Aunties,” downtown Spokane, to ever pick up one of their books. Of the one author in particular, as stated by “The Inlander” — a columnist for the Spokesman-Review — I was never very impressed by her work. That was any time she stepped in to temporarily replace the author of the Huckleberries on line blog, hosted by the Spokesman-Review. To put it bluntly, I don’t care to be entertained by her pet cats and photos of firemen.

Well now, “The Inlander” requires a publisher to tell you all about a book and an author, before they will showcase either one? What if the publisher is an e-reader? Then it would seem to me, that if an author of said e-book notifies said rag like “The Inlander” of a debut novel, by e-mailed book link to be exact. Then it should be possible for the same publication, to interview the author or show case the e-novel. In particular, if the author lives only 30 minutes away from Spokane, Washington. You would think under the circumstances, that Coeur d’Alene, Idaho has no literary groups at all. No authors worth speaking of, if they don’t reside in the city with all of the action: Spokane, Washington.

“Black Unicorn” is my third e-novel in the works. It will debut, when I am done writing it and publishing it to an e-reader format. But I think that I shall not e-mail a book link to “The Inlander” again. I shall do my own marketing, through what networking I am most familiar with. Personally showing people the fruits of my own labor.


Soul Searching Time

June 19, 2015

We have all heard it by now, Rachael Dolezal, outed by her biological parents as ethnically white. What a bombshell that produced and the media feeding frenzy to follow. Also, how quickly the people who had come to praise her — President of the Spokane, Washington NAACP, etc. — how quickly they turn to condemn her, for (gasp!) lying! At this point, I am not going to defend her actions. Albeit, her work on the behalf of minorities is actually commendable. Nor am I going to second guess why, Ms. Dolezal felt she had to “puff up” her resume, so to speak. Instead, I am going to ask a different set of questions.

Ever hear of snob appeal? 1. That is when you get invited to a social hour in which you are expected to: Dress to the nines in millions of dollars in clothing, jewelry, and accessories. And literally, you are never going to get through the door of a multimillion dollar mansion, if you aren’t wearing your most spendy duds imaginable. Basically, you are trying to out-shine, the woman or man next to you, at this particular party. Now for the kicker: everything you wear is a cheap knock off. Or you are engaged in some other act of “let’s pretend,” so that you can crash this particular party. Don’t laugh, it likely happens more often than any of us knows. Under the circumstances, would we call this “doing a Rachael Dolezal?” 2. Politicians and other notables can literally “buy a degree or a diploma.” With this bit of hype in hand, these men and women in various legislatures or the throughout the business world, have improved by considerable their status of acceptability. That is precisely the key phrase here, “status of acceptability.” So considering even these two examples, Ms. Dolezal would not be any different from other people, who have done the same thing. What is sad about it? Us. We can’t “respect” anyone, who doesn’t meet our narrowly defined set of criteria for “acceptability.”

Jacob H. Fries, editor of the “Inlander,” made plain his own brand of snob appeal. Oh yes, we shall admit that Ms. Dolezal freelanced a number of articles… We shall admit to her being this, and that… But under the circumstances, she “lied” to get accepted into our good graces. Therefore, she no longer writes for this newspaper. Real huffy now, what we want, is the truth! Seriously? George Nethercutt has a really big problem with the “truth,” and he is allowed to publish his blithering nonsense, regardless. So my response to that commentary of Mr. Fries is this: Major Gut Busting LOL!

Shall I do a Rachael Dolezal? Actually it is a fact that as a nascent senior citizen, I established a e-novel writing career. You will find on, “Are You a Space Alien? And other adventures, a four part science fiction novel.” Yes, as you will also find in the amazon search engine, “Aesgard Awakening! After Ragnorak, the Gods are Alive!” If I were going to do a “Rachael Dolezal,” I would claim some kind of degree in oh, English, or English Lit. (None actually exists.) Or that I have some certificate of achievement out of a creative writing class. (None actually exists.) That I have a degree as a reporter or a journalist. (No, I do not.) I can name X newspaper that I have worked for, over a number of years. (It would not be true.) This is just so, that I can get “The Inlander” to acknowledge, that I have a sci-fi and fantasy novel on the bookshelf. Because otherwise, the only local authors they seem to want to acknowledge exists: Had won awards, were well-beloved (already mentioned in other publications before the Inlander picked up on it), already had a career (freelance or otherwise) in the newspaper, or was related to someone who actually worked for a newspaper. But e-mail a link to the latest e-book (which I most certainly have done) to “The Inlander,” and it is met with * silence *. How about that. In short, even the “truth seeking” Inlander, operates on snob appeal. And Rachael Dolezal, is that gal dressed up to the nines in a lot of cheap knock offs; who dared to crash our party. I think that is a sad reflection on all of us.

Why can we not as a society, just respect each other for ourselves? That our street creds and achievements honestly earned, should simply be recognized on the merit. Apparently this was never the case with Rachael Dolezal. To be recognized, she had to put on a costume and engage in an act. Once that costume was forced off of her, and the act was proclaimed for the cheap theater that it is; “we” decided to become very angry. What for? Would a “white” Rachael Dolezal have been able to take the helm of NAACP in Spokane, Washington? Would a “white” Rachael Dolezal have the street creds needed, to advocate on the behalf of minorities? As for the snooty “Inlander,” they needed Ms. Dolezal to be a minority, before she could have presented them with any legitimate articles. Otherwise, would a “white” Rachael Dolezal have unquestionably passed over? No, this is not “race baiting,” or reverse bigotry. Instead, everyone should see this as it really is: the social psychology of shallow thinking. Rachael Dolezal proved conclusively, that image matters more to us, than the truth. We don’t want the truth; we can’t handle the truth. Because if “the truth” actually mattered more, we would have to accept each of our neighbors as they are, warts and all. Sorry Mr. Fries, even you preferred the image to the individual.