Archive for the ‘#currentevents’ Tag

No Magic Formula   9 comments

May 11, 2020

How soon is too soon to include a real-life event in a fictional story?

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That’s a Personal Question

A personal and individual answer is necessary for something like this. I don’t think there’s a single answer because writing is incredibly personal. What bothers me might not bother you. Or it could be the other way around.

I admit I have kind of thick skin. Journalism teaches you to be that way. I have to watch myself not to interview friends who face tragedy. It’s second nature. But I do know when it’s inappropriate, so I don’t know that I’ve ever actually done it, but it’s occurs to me when some things have happened. And sometimes, that talent has been useful. I know how to ask questions that cut to the heart of the matter.

A Very Personal Example

Some friends of mine lost their daughter to a serial killer. I was still in high school and didn’t know them until 10 years later. I knew them about another five years before their granddaughter started asking questions. I was her youth leader in church and the questions she asked deserved to be answered, so I sat down with her grandmother and interviewed her. I did it for her granddaughter, but Annie said telling her story helped her because she finally got some closure.

That was nearly 20 years ago and I still haven’t put it in a story. It’ll be too soon until Annie passes from this world. It’s too personal to someone I care about and I would not want to hurt her.

Protecting the Not Guilty

About 25 years ago, my husband sat a jury for a Murder 1 trial. The brief story is an Alaska miner was having problems with an abusive neighbor. He and his wife were headed to breakfast at a roadhouse 120 miles from the nearest police station. Coming out of grizzly country on a 4-wheeler, they were both armed for their own protection. The neighbor sat on the screened porch of the roadhouse and assumed they were coming to shoot him, so he started shooting at them first. They hit WG’s wife and he took a bullet to the shoulder. In the meantime, the neighbor’s wife exited the roadhouse by the other door and started shooting at WG from behind. Confused, injured and bullets whizzing around his head, he shot the neighbor six times and killed him.

The trial was really fascinating because it showed the difference between the law and reasonable human behavior, and my husband learned about the power of the jury system to get justice.

I wrote article about the trial within six weeks and it was published in a magazine. I’ve played with writing it as a fictional story several times. The thing is, I wouldn’t want to write THAT story. I’d want to base a fictional story upon the real-life event, but I wouldn’t want to stir up crap against the man who did the shooting because opinions vary. I would want to change some of the details protect those who were found not guilty.

Opinions Vary

So that story was ready to be written in six weeks, but not ready to be fictionalized even now. Or maybe not. Maybe I’ve just got too many stories and I’ve not found time to write this one.

Both of these stories have come up in writing workshops. Some writers recommend writing those stories, never mind anyone’s hurt feelings. Others have said “no, no, no, never write those stories”. Opinions vary and I’m not sure there’s an appropriate waiting period on writing based on the personal tragedies of other people. Then again, there might be some useful explorations involved in reading about them. It’s just not that easy to know.

What about BIG events?

Walt Whitman wrote two poems about Lincoln within a couple of months of his death. Both are acclaimed as classics and tributes to Lincoln. Sometimes current events compel writers to delve into them immediately.

I was asked this week if I would write about cordonavirus. My answer was that I started writing about a flu epidemic more than two years ago and it just happens that the topic features fairly prominently in my current WIP (Winter’s Reckoning, due out this autumn) — not because of the current situation. I planned from the beginning to write a biological weapon into the series; it just happens that now is the time to write that part of the story. Will the story be better because of what we’re learning from coronavirus? Possibly, but my story isn’t actually based on CVD19, so I must pretend it doesn’t exist in my books. And frankly, I’m not willing to fictionalize this particular virus until we’ve had some space from it to find out what it really does. Imagine if I’d fictionalized it and declared millions of people died from it. I could certainly do that based on the 1918 Flu pandemic, but CVD19 doesn’t currently look like it will result in millions of deaths like that historical virus did, so letting a bit of time pass keeps me from looking foolish.

Artifacts

Of course, current events are seeded throughout my writing. Some are referenced as they really occurred, some are fictionalized and some are given new meaning by the memories of those characters who survived those events. Sometimes those events used as a model happened yesterday and sometimes they happened decades ago.

When to use a real-life event in fiction is a very individual decision, personal to the writer or the people involved in the event and it will vary according to circumstances which will be different for every writer.

Posted May 11, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Billy Graham Got An Upgrade   2 comments

Image result for billy grahamThis morning as I drove to work, the news was filled with the “tragedy” that Billy Graham, the evangelist, had died at 99 years of age. “Oh, so sad,” one commentator said.

No! Billy Graham got an upgrade. He’s no longer living in this messy world with pain and lies and evil. He’s with God — a relationship he worked to sustain partially for 85 years is now his fully.

Enjoy the next eternity of life, Billy. My husband and got to hear you preach once, in Anchorage, in 1984. The thing I remember about that crusade was a story you told about a man who said he was “just a pastor” and how you responded that there was “no such thing as just a pastor”. You went on to say that while you accepted your calling as an evangelist, one of the things you regretted was that it meant you couldn’t be a pastor, which you actually considered a higher calling. Since I hadn’t grown up listening to you and really didn’t know you all that well, I was amazed by your humility.

If there is a tragedy in you passing, it is that future generations will not get to hear you preach in person … this side of the veil anyway. We face a world that could use your wisdom. But you’re beyond that now, and I’m sure well-shed of this life.

 

Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.
My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.

A Sea Change?   Leave a comment

A bedrock tenet of the American justice system until the 20th century was that everybody was presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law before a jury of one’s peers … which would be people in the community in which you live.

Christopher Wray is pictured in 2003. | GettyThat has slowly gone away to where an accusation of a crime is considered as good as proof of a crime and the federal courts believe that a trial for an Alaskan in Florida is the same thing as a jury of your peers. Gross injustice comes about from these sorts of mishandling of the justice system.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-to-nominate-christopher-wray-as-next-fbi-director/2017/06/07/a3cf7790-4b78-11e7-a186-60c031eab644_story.html?utm_term=.8f93c2f2dec2

I had been skeptical of the FBI for a long time when they began investigating people here in Alaska for holding “radical” ideas … ideas like I espouse all the time on this blog … that people have rights inherent in their being alive and that the government has no authority to violate those rights, some of which are listed in the Constitution, while others can be inferred from the premise of you own yourself and  you own your property.

The FBI has sent informants into private homes to gather information on various people here … all of whom, to my knowledge, are just people going about their lives, trying to negotiate the labyrinthine maze of government regulations that encompass us all about and assure that many of us, through no fault of our own, commit felonies without even realizing it. These people under FBI investigation are NOT presumed innocent. They are tricked by the informants into saying things they actually don’t mean, into wording what they do mean in ways that are incriminating and, then, if that doesn’t work, the informants out and out lie to get what they want. Of course, this ignores that fact that these people are pretending to be friends while in reality they are informants for our domestic surveillance agency.

So, President Trump may be making a move in the right direction. Christopher Wray is a defense attorney, which means he has spent his career automatically presuming innocence. I don’t particularly care for his work with the Department of Justice during the 911 aftermath, but I think we all realize that mistakes were made following a horrific terrorist attack on the mainland of the United States. This contrasts to James Comey, and most former FBI directors, who spent the majority of their careers as prosecutors and Deep State employees. Sessions and Mueller had experience as private defense attorneys, but most of these people are tightly embedded, and therefore indoctrinated, with the Deep State.

Again, I’ve said that whenever President Trump does something I approve of, I’ll say so. He’s still not out of the doghouse for the bombing of the Syrian airfield, but this is a step in a right direction. This is another of those times when the people who voted for Trump influenced his policies, because many of the Trump voters I know have been asking for reform of the FBI and this looks like (potential) reform.

 

The Amazing Arrogance of the Paris Climate Agreement | Jeffrey A. Tucker   1 comment

It was December 12, 2015, when headlines in the world’s leading newspapers, in implausibly bold type, celebrated the “historic” agreement in Paris between all nations of the world to curb carbon emissions and thereby stop climate change: or so they said, as if elites get to say what is and is not historic.

Source: The Amazing Arrogance of the Paris Climate Agreement | Jeffrey A. Tucker

 

The spin, like the agreement itself, was crammed down our throats.

Image result for image of paris climate change agreementEnergy stocks weren’t affected in the slightest by the diplomatic agreement.

I read the stories that day, and the next and the next, and the continuing coverage for weeks that nearly every reader – apart from a few dedicated activists and permanent regime bureaucrats – ignored. The stories appeared on the international pages and didn’t touch the business pages. Energy stocks weren’t affected in the slightest.

The stories had all the signs of dutiful public service announcements – “fake news,” as they say today – and they contained not a single quote from a single dissenting voice, because, of course, no respectable news outlet would give voice to “climate deniers.”

Deniers?

Let me pause to protest this “denial” language. It attempts to appropriate the widely shared disgust toward “Holocaust denial,” a bizarre and bedraggled movement that belittles or even dismisses the actual history of one of the 20th century’s most egregious mass crimes against human rights and dignity. Using that language to silence questions about an attempt to centrally plan the energy sector is a moral low that debases the language of denial.

This rhetorical trick reveals all you need to know about the desperate manipulation the climate planners are willing to engage in to realize their plot regardless of popular and justified skepticism concerning their regulatory and redistributionist policies.

And you wonder why many people have doubts about it.

And what are the specifics of that agenda? The Paris Agreement is a “voluntary” agreement because its architects knew it would never pass the US Senate as a treaty. Why? Because the idea of the agreement is that the US government’s regulatory agencies would impose extreme mandates on its energy sector: how it should work, what kinds of emissions it should produce, the best ways to power our lives (read: not fossil fuels), and hand over to developing world regimes billions and even trillions of dollars in aid, a direct and ongoing forcible transfer of wealth from American taxpayers to regimes all over the world, at the expense of American freedom and prosperity.

And you wonder why many people have doubts about it.

The Trumpist Reaction

Consider what else was going on December 12, 2015. Donald Trump was in the midst of a big battle for the Republican nomination. He started with 16 challengers to beat. He was widely considered to be a clownish candidate, a guy in it just to get press attention to build his business brand. Surely the American system of electoral politics, largely but imperfectly managed by responsible elites, would resist such demagogues. Besides, the media that trumpeted the Paris Agreement would be on hand to shame anyone who supported him. He couldn’t win.

The press mostly pretended that he wasn’t happening. The Huffington Post put coverage of his campaign in the humor section.

Obama would be our master and commander, ruling on our behalf, fresh off cocktail parties in Paris with the best and brightest.

And so President Obama came home from the Paris meetings to the acclaim of all the right people. He alone had made the responsible choice on behalf of the entire country: every business, every worker, every consumer, every single person living within these borders who uses some measure of this thing we call energy. He would be our master and commander, ruling on our behalf, fresh off cocktail parties in Paris where the best and brightest – armed with briefcases full of government-funded science – decided to give the Industrial Revolution its final comeuppance.

The exuberant spokespeople talked about how “the United States” had “agreed” to “curb its emissions” and “fund” the building of fossil-free sectors all over the world. It was strange because the “United States” had not in fact agreed to anything: not a single voter, worker, owner, or citizen. Not even the House or Senate were involved. This was entirely an elite undertaking to manage property they did not own and lives that were not theirs to control.

The Backlash

And then Trump spoke. He said that this Paris bit was a bad deal for Americans. We are already in a slow-growth economy. Now these global elites, without a vote from Congress, are presuming to mandate massive controls over the economy, hampering its productive sector which benefits everyone and transferring countless billions of dollars out of the country, with the acquiescence of the party in power.

Globalism and nativism are two sides of the same statist coin.

He spoke about this in a way that bested all his opponents. The entire scenario fed his America First worldview, that the global elites were operating as parasites on American prosperity and sovereignty. His answer was to put up the wall: to immigrants, to trade, to global managerial elites, and reclaim American sovereignty from people who were selling it out. It was another flavor of statism (globalism and nativism are two sides of the same coin), but it tapped into that populist vein of the voting public that looks for a patriotic strongman to save them from a distant ruling class.

Everything about the Paris Agreement seemed structured to play into Trump’s narrative of how the world had gone mad. And then he won the nomination. Then he won the presidency. None of this was supposed to happen. It wasn’t part of the plan. History took a different course from what the power elite demanded and expected to happen. Not for the first time.

How Dare Anyone Dispute Our Plans?

But the “globalists” of the type that tried to make Paris work have a stunning lack of self-awareness. They pretend to be oblivious to the populist resentment they breed. They act as if there is not a single legitimate doubt about the problem, their analysis of cause and effect, the discernment of their selected experts, or their proposed coercive solution. And there certainly isn’t a doubt that their mighty combination of power, resources, and intelligence can cause all the forces in the universe to adapt to their will, including even the climate that King Canute himself said could not be controlled by kings and princes.

These are all attempts to subvert the capacity of society to manage itself on behalf of the deluded dreams of a few people with power and their lust for controlling social and economic outcomes.

As with countless other statist plans over the last hundred years, they figured that it was enough to gather all the right people in one room, agree to a wish list, sign a few documents, and then watch the course of history conform to their wishes.

The Paris Agreement is no different in its epistemological conceit than Obamacare, the war on drugs, nation-building, universal schooling, or socialism itself. They are all attempts to subvert the capacity of society to manage itself on behalf of the deluded dreams of a few people with power and their lust for controlling social and economic outcomes.

Rejecting Elite Politics

How far are the Democrats from recognizing what they have done? Very, very far. John C. Williams, writing in the New York Times, has decried the “The Dumb Politics of Elite Condescension”:

“As a progressive, I am committed to social equality – not just for some groups, but for all groups… Everyone should have access to good housing and good jobs. That’s the point… Too often in otherwise polite society, elites (progressives emphatically included) unselfconsciously belittle working-class whites. Democrats should stop insulting people.”

That would be a good start. But it is not only about rhetoric. Policy preferences have to change. A global agreement that somehow binds entire countries to centrally plan and regulate the whole of a crucial sector of economic life that supports all economic advances of our time – at the very time when the energy sector is innovating its own solutions to carbon emissions in the cheapest possible way –  is certainly going to breed resentment, and for good reason. It is a bad and unworkable idea.

The backlash against globalism can be as dangerous as globalism itself.

Continued reliance on undemocratic, uneconomic, imposed strategies such as the Paris Agreement will only further feed the populist revolt that could end in the worst possible policy combinations of strong-man nationalism, nativism, protectionism, closed borders, and backwards thinking in general. No good can come from this. The backlash against globalism can be as dangerous as globalism itself.

You might think that the election of Trump would offer some lessons. But that is not the way the arrogant minds behind the climate agreement work. They respond by merely doubling down on disdain, intensifying their commitments to each other, heaping more loathing on the workers and peasants who have their doubts about these deals.

Trump and his ilk abroad, backed by voting masses with pitchforks and torches – and not a managed transition from fossil fuels to clean energy – are their creation.

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