Everyone has to start somewhere. I started a few years ago writing about things using a blog similar to this one. I will soon retire from my day job and thought I might try fiction.

I grew up with my nose between the pages of books. I remember fondly of owning a lockable attache where I would store my favorites for reading over and over again. My love of reading still shines brightly and I would love nothing more than to create my own for the pleasure of stories, writing and entertainment.

This blog is to be my training hall. I will study diligently and then attempt to create short stories of fiction for anyone who would dare to enter the darkest of rooms, my mind of imagination.

Venture forth my friends, enjoy and if you find it pleasing - return at your leisure for more.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Winter’s Spell

Winter, snow deep enough to make a deep dish pizza cry. A group of guys, a boyfriend not a true friend, a girlfriend who just wanted the boyfriend to love her and a Marine with integrity and a willingness to step up when the need arises.

A mixture influenced by group dynamics and the expectation of sex and violence.

An episodic sexual encounter leaving a women exposed and vulnerable.

A moment in time that would change everyone's life.

A gathering of forces that would create a dangerous mixture leading to one way of life or another. Except the moral fiber that led to just one group member to take charge and redirect the group toward a morally higher ground that would allow just one person the safety to leave and avoid both conflict and the violence that would have followed.

A boyfriend who lost his way and a woman who forget her instincts. The man taking advantage of the kindness and love of another then leaving her exposed to a wolf like pack easily led by their heads toward a violent act that would lead to grave bodily and psychological harm of an innocent. It is so easy for a group to be led astray, a state of the group that allows its dynamics to become dangerous. When the right suggestion is presented at just the right time it often leads to things many in the group would consider as morally wrong causing guilt that the group forgot in the moment.

A woman left alone in a dark room, a man who led the group down a bad road and then those in the group approaching the dark room with nefarious and dangerous thoughts without regard for the safety and well being of another human.

One man with a solid sense of self who has led a life separate from a need to belong, belonging being a group need and a sense of self developed over time from living a life with great intestinal fortitude toward justice and good. As the group fostered and promoted the dynamic they grew nastier and meaner othering the woman in the room until she became nothing, a piece of meat meant to be devoured to fill the stomach of a monkey whose only gaol is to hurt and take and dominate while satisfying some base need not necessarily of a sexual nature but one of status as perceived in the moments group needs. Call is a spell cast by an animal like hunting process that goes way beyond any real need of survival.

One man who moved into harms way as a group on the hunt hell bent on doing violence can turn quickly into a dangerous situation where one man could become a target of grave harm or death. Facing the growling snarling drooling wolf pack mentality and insinuating a sense of right to deescalate and redirect a group force toward a more acceptable social act simply by taking a stance and exposing the groups intent for what it is, the wrong intent and act. To go against the group, a group with a strong connection and pull and to take action to move a group into another direction when the group dynamics has such a strong instinctual hold on its members. To be a member who can hold on to a more acceptable way and actually get them to move away from this action and to take on another makes for a strong mind, body and spirit. It is about becoming a strong and influential leader, an alpha, who can make a difference that will affect the group but also effect the groups target.

… stay tuned

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cool, Clear Water

No one knew, no one saw it coming, it came out of the night like the mist over the ocean creeping slowing, silently and with deadly intent. When this first started the entire planet just assumed it was another one of those things so they acted the same old way until the ship rights itself have a huge wave passes. No one even considered what those small and seemingly insignificant obstacles came and went like small ripples after dropping a small stone in a pond.

I wake, the new day begins with waiting, waiting for that first indication that it is safe to begin moving. No one moves unless they feel that trigger, the trigger that sparks the use of energy and lets us all know we are able to move - without the dire consequences that come with no trigger. The trigger is how all of us determine our day, our days, those remaining days as we search. The search is a constant in our lives now, it is about our survival so we all wait for the trigger then we begin the search. We search for sustenance while we search for life and we hope and we wonder, who and when will the discovery occur and then the next step, notifying everyone. Now, that is how hope stays its course, the hope that the signal will come and that all this was for something. Funny how such things change perceptions and perspectives. Yea, really funny like not ha-ha funny but that kind of funny that is more … something.

Our group, our tribe, is nomadic. We didn’t start that way but when we took up the sword we knew it meant leaving the safety and security of the town but it also meant walking consciously and with purpose into harm’s way. We once would have scoffed at what we now see as harm’s way. After all, when it first hit unbeknownst to us, we were more involved in world survival from terrorist and such. We say and reacted to the twin towers, we reacted and stopped Osama Bin Laden and we dove right in to fight the good fight over there but this insidious little bastard didn’t give us any obvious word or signal or indication that we were in real danger, far more than those so called terrorists. The terror would slide in silently and before we could possible understand let alone take appropriate actions it struck, hard. 

It was one of those weed like growths that alone mean you pull it, you treat the soil in the hopes it won’t return then you go on about your business. If you had a week that you knew would spread underneath the soil taking its seeds to every single square inch of your green grassy yard and literally choke it out and leave a dust bowl behind you might have done something but alas, you merely pulled that single insignificant weed. 

I sit for a few moments waiting, patiently. We all have become patient waiting for the trigger yet we also feel the stress and strain of that waiting for if it fails to come then someone, maybe all of the tribe, will perish. Not in an instant but within a very, very few hours. That insidious thing stands over us like the grim reaper just waiting for the trigger to fail so that he can capture and take another human, another tribe. He is also patient because he has the advantage, the advantage that he is nature itself although of a nature that is swift, silent and deadly. We all know he stands at our shoulders every single beginning but when the trigger hits he slithers off after other victims. I suddenly get this … “Feeling.” You learn to be aware, especially aware of our single largest organ, our skin, so that when anywhere on it we feel it, that is the trigger that it is safe to continue. One of the greatest and saddest parts of this existence is our daily reminder as to the tenuous connection that life has on our planet. We are reminded daily that our lives hang in the balance of that one thing we have no control over, not yet anyway. After all, we humans have the pension and tendency to overcome and survive a good many of life’s obstacles and that contributes to our daily renewal of hope, the fact that we believe we still can find that one critical thing before we all turn into the dust bowl that makes up our home. 

I felt mine at that moment, the moment that creeps into the mind almost daily as well, that moment you start to believe this is the day, the day when it all stops for you. When that day arrives, as we have witnessed time and again with others who walk our nomadic journey as well as those we pass on that walk, the moments that stretch into forever until the person, our friend and comrade in our journey, lets slide the eyelids half covering the eyes where we watch the light of life slowly ebb into, “Nothing, the void.” That which holds the beginning, middle and end of all the myriad things that make up the Universe. But, for me, not today. The trigger has hit and I, once again, sigh, bow my head to reflect within and give thanks that I have been blessed with another day to find the “One thing” that will bring all of us back from the brink - the brink of human extinction.

I also look forward to the “Telling” that all nomadic searchers tell each week. When we make one more week in the search, in existence, we celebrate by telling the story. We tell that story to remind us and the help us remember so when we find it and bring human kind back we will not make the same mistake or same mistakes we made in the beginning that let this become what it has become. Today is the “Telling Day.” It is my turn to tell the story and I look forward to it for the joy of the telling as well as the symbolic nature of the telling, we made one more week even if we were unable to make the discovery.

The day has been hard. One of ours had a critical failure in their suit. It was not an immediate life loss but we all knew, as he knew, as a catastrophic failure, i.e., one where the fix is not possible, that either that day or the next morning he would not feel the trigger. When this occurs we all know, we all come together into a tribal huddle, much like our days when we played football and rugby, we huddles around our comrade, we gave thanks for his efforts and gave our blessing for his new journey. We all hugged and embraced with the joy of life and the certainty of death then stood back to allow him his sole journey into the land where he will be turned to dust. This ceremonial parting is out of respect for that person and to allow the tribe to continue its journey unencumbered, a necessary ritual learned from hard and terrible experience, and experiences. A ritualized ceremony that allows us to continue against great odds and huge obstacles.

The light ebbs away like the slow receding tides of the ocean. The sun tuns to a failing glow that lightly spreads as the sun reaches the horizon. We gather and light the warmth of the burners. We gather in a circle, sit and then patiently meditate over the days events giving thoughtful consideration and self-awareness so that the new information is absorbed and encoded for the nest sun rise. Five minutes only for time, rest and today’s story are necessary to allow for the deep rest necessary for physical, mental and spiritual renewal. The renewal for the new day’s search for that one thing.

The group spreads out while facing inward to the burner. The burner is representative of the “One” that gave birth to our planet and our lives while our gathering into the circle symbolizes mother Earth. Within the circle the tribe represents the myriad things that made up the Universe and our Earth as well as those myriad things that are still to come, to be discovered. Since today is my honor, duty and obligation to tell the story, I rise up to take a position standing near the center, the one, the burner where I will begin the story while I slowly walk in a spiraling way around the burner as Earth revolves around the Sun and the Moon once revolved around the Earth giving homage to life itself and then I tell the telling.

The Telling

It all began so long ago or so it seems. We as a society ignored the signs but now we pay the price. We are the remnants of humanity left behind those who took out to the black in search of new planetary digs. Those three gargantuan vessels were Earths last hope but we few here planet side still believe we have a chance so we search. 

It began with a declaration of a drought. Some thought that this couldn’t happen to them or that it simply is not true and consumption continued unabated. We all began to believe that it would not, could not and will not happen in this or the next lifetime but in the end we found just how stupid we were and now we suffer the consequences. There are always consequences as that is the nature of the Universe. 

Earth has become the “Earth that was,” because the beauty that our Earth once held has all but disappeared. It died out because of our abuses and resulting loss of water, the life blood of humans and our planet. 

I get ahead of myself, this is only how it began. It began like a swift and silent predator running down its prey, it was not noticed until the chance to turn things around had passed. Yet, we who travel in search of the Earths water believe we may find that well that will allow us to reestablish human existence once again with all the beauty of nature that was the Earth that was.

In the vastness of the prairies and plains along with the mountains, rivers, lakes and oceans we witnessed losses great and small. Then one day we began to suffer loses due to droughts and dehydration. It took another decade to create the suits that would gather, recycle, recirculate and provide each human enough moisture to survive. We, the travelers, today use those suits to maintain our lives in the hopes we discover a well of water that can continue to sustain us till the Earth that was returns to its former glory.

The Telling is our way to pass down the truth of our plight so that we can continue on along with giving our due to those brethren who took to the black so that humans can exist and continue but with a mindfulness toward our effect on ourselves, our planet and nature. The telling is about remembering!

So, here we sit and listen, each of us with the honor of telling the story so that others tell the story and so on in our renewable hope of survival. 

When it began humanity reacted with denial, we all believed that somehow the drought was a mistake or it was a ruse to run up the billing for water usage and it was about current reality. Most of us refused to believe that water, natures life, would be scarce and end up disappearing slowly resulting in the death of the Earth. 

Then the anger set in, we began to realize that water was not the economy and it was the gold that would drive our anger to great lengths. We humans hoarded it and used it to get what we wanted and needed creating a false sense of security and longevity. Humans did what they always did when anger struck, the let anger lead them toward false goals and we found the best way to get there was through violence. 

Some of us tried to bargain in the false hope we could avoid it and its casue of human grief. We all thought that through such negotiations we could extend our lives and create a new lifestyle with less trauma and compromise. Humans actually fooled themselves into thinking they could find answers in a political move never realizing until death took them that political efforts died with them and went fast into the unknown. 

All of humanity soon feel solidly into a depression and despair that fueled anger and resentment often directed toward others while still falsely leading the survivors into the belief that death was not stalking them at every corner, down every street and waiting just beyond the horizon ready to take their due. 

During those tumultuous and deadly times over three quarters of humans and nature itself died. They died of starvation, they died of thirst, they also died at each others hands in brutal fashion. Only two chosen factions remained.

The first made a place that protected them while they stockpiled necessities that would take them all on the longest journey of human kind, out into the black of space in search of another Verse that would support them all. There were three sub-factions of this group who would take on responsibilities, a kind of redundancy effort to ensure at least one would make it.

The second faction is us, the searchers for survival and the only one’s who achieved a technology that would allow us to search and find the water so that we and the Earth that was could revitalize and give birth to a new and better human generation. 

It is our telling that must sustain our efforts and help us to achieve what is thought of as the impossible. Through our obstacles created by the refusal to allow us into the space program we remained and remain steadfast in the greatest effort and achievement possible to us, seeking the well of water toward continued life on the Earth that was.  

It is about the signal, nature and mankind have been ignoring that signal and it is a signal of declining health and well-being. Nature has told us time and again what is coming and we ignored nature as well as our instincts as humans. In our overwhelming need for instant gratification and envy of one another we ignored all the signals that our Earth, and its human and animal residents, is screaming that our lives and actions are killing us all.

Our human pride misdirected resulted in human ignorance that blinded humanity to the repercussions causing the very blood life of Earth to bleed out leaving a dust bowl of nothing more than the dead dirt we all now search through for the life water we hope will replenish and return the Earth that is to the Earth that was. We are failing.

As the story is told around this evenings fire we have hope. Hope in finding and filling Earth’s needs but hope that humanity will find a new home out in the vastness of the black but also hope that they will prevent humanity from making the same mistakes. Hope is mankind’s mantra. 

Stay tuned for the next chapter, coming soon ….

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Fair Use

Caveat: This article is mine and mine alone. I the author of this article assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and/or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this article. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding.)

Wow, like self-defense I never realized what I thought I knew along with that, “I don’t know what I don’t know” thing I am discovering fast just how much I don’t know in martial arts, self-defense and writing. This post is on writing. Writers already have a good idea on the subject simply because of the title, “Fair Use.”

I made assumptions about how I use materials from the sources I am studying. As I got closer to completing my effort to write a book on martial arts I started to research writing and publishing. Since I do use quotes, etc., from my sources books I realized that at a “minimum” I needed to give them credit but just found out that “may not” be enough. 

Like the self-defense world, the world of writing is chock full of stuff that effects how you write especially when you publish. Note that publishing includes blogging and even FaceBool Wall posts. I will use one quote here for what I perceive is nonprofit educational purposes, i.e., mine and the readers who may want to write themselves. The quote is, “Fair Use is an “affirmative defense — the defendant copier has the burden of proof to show that Fair Use applies. Essentially he says, ‘Yes, I copied the work—but I am allowed to because my copying is Fair Use.’” - Excerpted/quoted from “What Every Writer Ought to Know about Fair Use and Copyright by JOEL FRIEDLANDER on FEBRUARY 8, 2010”

When I read the quote, it reminded me of all the quotes in all the books on self-defense where it is painfully and comprehensively explained that self-defense is an “affirmative defense.” Then upon considering all the ways one can find themselves outside the “Self-defense Square” I then realized that this is the same in the “Fair Use” arena. Granted, there is more and I have not researched it enough yet but it does make for a cautious approach to my writing especially if my book is going to be published for money.  

What I am saying is that my book is going to take a great deal more time in the editing stage. I have used my references to learn and to pass along that learning in an attempt to educate other like minded folks but I NEED to make sure that I am well within the “Fair Use Square (to borrow a bit from Marc MacYoung’s version of SD Square).

My ultimate goal in writing the book may have been altruistic in nature but the fact that it might infringe on my reference/source authors does not sit well with me. I respect and admire their work and do not want to even hint at some infringement even if they don’t really care because all my efforts are toward “getting it right.” It is a slow learning process but that is what I intend. 

The last thing I want to do is break copyright of these most excellent authors but that would include the fair use aspects in writing. I need to study about copyright and fair use then develop a check list to guide me toward creating a book that will, hopefully, provide some guidance to those martial artists out there who, like me, went so long training, practicing and teaching under a cloud of ignorance and misinformation with a strong emphasis toward the self-defense domain. 

Stupid is as stupid does says Forrest Gump and like him, I need to not be stupid and not do stupid. In closing I would like to express the following, “If I have written anything that misuse your materials let me know the post/article with your concerns. I will do one of two things, first I will correct the mistake or, second I will remove the post/article completely. 

Lessons learned: If you have a desire to write regardless of the venue, i.e., magazine articles, blogging, FB entries, books, etc., you really need to learn about writing completely, fully and as comprehensively as possible, i.e., start with copyright law along with fair use law and requirements so you don’t misuse and misrepresent what you write and what your sources “worked so damn hard and diligently to produce.” My mistake here comes under that misquote I use, “You need to learn what it is you don’t know you don’t know and DON’T MAKE ASSumptions!”

Thanks and have a great day!

Note: I immediately went to the Google images page to find a cool looking graphic to associate with this post then I stopped and asked, "Am I using this under a fair use thing? Is it copyright infringement? Do I need to ask permission? Does the use pass the four rules of fair use? Questions, questions, and more questions. I will use avoidance this instance until I acquire more knowledge on this fluid subject.