Bobbing Around

Volume 2, Number Two
September, 2002

Bob Rich's rave
email me
bobswriting.com/  anxietyanddepression-help.com/  mudsmith.net/

 
*About Bobbing Around
subscribe/unsubscribe
guidelines for contributions
Thank you, Linda Eberharter
Featured book from Atlantic Bridge.
Philosophy/Politics/Ethics
'The N-word for Today': an important and courageous essay by John Gorman about the War on Terrorism.
Why Environmentalists Can't Stop The Coming Disasters
An essay by Darrell Bain.
Environmentaly Friendly Cats?
A challenge and a recipe by Gillian Curtin
My response to a response:
'Depression is a chemical imbalance.'
Technology
Are electronic books any use? Laraine Stacey, Rita Toews and I.
Poetry/Philososphy
'Dust If You Must'
Health
What causes cancer?
What is sanity?
I wish everyone was as crazy as Stephen and Lesley Mazey.
Depression in Old Age:
Answer to a worried son.
Internet:
A New Language for Emails?
Eliminate broken links.
*Announcements
(News my friends and I want to spread around.)
Me first!
Cass Andre
Word Museum
'Not the Usual Way' book club
NDK
Misti Jackson
Christine West
Writing:
Unblocking the Writer
*Book Reviews
'Through Other Eyes' by Bob Rich
'The Winnowed Woman' by Celia Ann Leaman
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that was going on inside himself.

   He said, "My son, it is between 2 wolves. One is evil: Anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego...

   The other is good: Joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith..."

   The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"

   The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one I feed."

Contributed by John, Chief Wombat of the Wombats mailing list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wombats.


Disclaimer

   I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.

Thank you, Linda Ebertharter

   This e-zine is distributed with the generous help of Atlantic Bridge Publishers. As a form of 'payment', I have offered to Linda, the Publisher, that I would publish a press release about a book of her choice.

   This time, Linda selected Missouri, a romance by Renee Angers.

   A state, or a state of mind?

   Missouri is the story of Jude Denemy, the son of a once well respected independent farmer who's bitter outlook on life sloshes around in the bottom of bourbon bottle and more often than not, splashes out to stain his son. Jude's father exists only to condemn his own son for the horrific accident that devastated their family years earlier.

   When the girl from across the highway, and a childhood crush of Jude's, returns home to care for her aging mother, Jude finds himself falling in love with her against the wishes of his drunkard father.

   Missouri's sweltering summer and frigid dry winter bring cruel yet necessary lessons to the Denemy men. Inherent alcoholism can no longer be an excuse to keep silent about the blood soaked field next to their house. The thick and quiet blame between them is broken when his father emerges from a ten year drunk to stand by his son.

   Look it up at Atlantic Bridge


The 'N-word' for Today

by John Gorman

Listening to President Bush's speeches about his War on Terror brings another war to mind: The War on Drugs. Once again, we are being conscripted for an interminable and unwinnable war. In this new Hundred Years War, our grandchildren will be as much threatened by terrorism as we are today. The most notable casualties, as in The War on Drugs, will be our liberties.

   But there is another way into the future: the dreaded "n-word," negotiation.

   Once again, The War on Drugs provides a useful paradigm. We could open negotiations with the 20% of our fellow citizens who prefer "dangerous" drugs over the state-sanctioned alcohol and tobacco. We could recognize the hypocrisy of banning substances which kill a few thousand a year, while encouraging the consumption of others with death tolls exceeding half a million in the United States alone. We could admit drug use is a public health problem, not a law enforcement problem. Having made this admission with alcohol in 1933, we could substitute reason for rhetoric once again. With peace at home, agreement abroad would not be hard.

   Negotating an end to terrorism is not impossible either.

   First, we need to agree at home to drop some of our demands on the world by abandoning the notion that we are entitled to:

  1. Overthrow governments whose internal policies we find objectionable and install tyrants of our choosing. (September 11 is the anniversary of the death of Salvador Allende, democratically elected president of Chile, murdered in a CIA-inspired coup.)
  2. Finance and forment civil wars in small, weak nations we dislike, as in Nicaragua, where the Contra War cost over 30,000 lives.
  3. Attempt to starve into submission those who reject our rule, as in Cuba and Haiti.
  4. Invade and lay waste tiny countries whose leaders annoy us, as in Panama and Grenada.
  5. Be 6% of the world's population and consume 46% of that world's non-renewable resources, ignore global warming and plunder the planet.

   Having forsworn these "rights," we could demand that others respect international law and conduct themselves according to the norms of civilization. We could call a true World Conference on Terrorism to arrive at working definitions of "terrorism" and "terrorist" that go beyond the cynicism of "a freedom fighter for the other side."

   Once this conference had decided what conduct marks a terrorist, it would pay no heed to what cause or country the perpetrators serve, demand the accused be handed over to the International Criminal Court for trial and be ready with appropriate sanctions, if they were not.

   Some organizations, however, are too large and too deeply rooted to be dealt with this way. With them, we will have to negotiate. Those who insist we "never negotiate with terrorists" need only look at Great Britain, where leaders swore they would "never negotiate with terrorists" either. Negotiations with the IRA go on because all parties have reluctantly concluded military victory is impossible, and endless war is intolerable. Perhaps we will not have to wade through so much blood to reach their realism.

   Negotiation, however, is not surrender. Negotiation requires only acknowledging that each side has a de facto right to exist and has grievances that must be addressed.

   In the meantime, a higher standard of behavior on our part would cut the ground from under most terrorists. Like Drugs, terrorism is a demand-driven business. There is no supply of idle terrorists waiting to be assigned missions of destruction. The need for their "services" arises out of the rage of millions at humiliations suffered every day at America's hands. Anything we do to lessen this fury will reduce the "demand" for terrorism.

   Despite these measures, we could still face a hard core of unregenerate international thugs we cannot wipe out. In those cases, we may have to adopt the 18th Century policy of the European powers toward the Barbary Pirates and buy them off until better strategies can be found.

   Buying peace has a long tradition. Ask the Greeks, the Romans, the British, the French and many other great powers of the past. A bought peace would be hard on our pride, but its cost would be negligible compared with the losses of September 11. It would also be better than no peace at all, which is what President Bush is offering us.


   John Gorman is a writer of well-researched historical fiction. His King of the Romans was an EPPIE Award Finalist in 2000, and is available from Awe-Struck.

   Many people may disagree with John's opinions. I am happy to print responses in the next issue. However, he has a right to his views as you do to yours. Any replies that attack him personally will be rejected.

   The current situation reminds me of McCarthyism in the 1950s. History has judged that Joseph Stalin was evil, but has condemned Joseph McCarthy with equal harshness. Osama Bin Laden is evil. Will George Bush be found to be any better?

   I consider this essay by John Gorman to be the voice of reason. You may disagree, but at least carefully consider his message.


Why Environmentalists Can't Stop The Coming Disasters

by Darrell Bain

   The planet's resources are being used up. Just about any resource you want to name is finite. And even if they weren't, their very use causes insoluble problems. The present global warming trend may be part of a normal warming/cooling cycle but it has become apparent to all but the most pigheaded that humanity is a major contributor.

   There is no end in sight. Industrial pollution (besides global warming) is a consequence of resource use. Pollution is massively increasing in countries like Russia, China and India. And even though it has abated somewhat here, that won't last. We are well-off enough at present to afford some environmental fixes (or attempted fixes), but future prospects are grim.

   Why the pollution in the first place? Why the exorbitant use of resources?

   The reasons are actually pretty simple. Man is both territorial and competitive. If one nation becomes dominant in, say, steel production, other nations will contest that "territory". Great have-not nations such as India or China do their best to catch up, regardless of consequences like dirty rivers, poisoned soil, etc. There are dust storms from encroaching deserts, caused by denuding the landscape of vegetation. Massive flooding in the plains below the Himalayas is from the same reason. Russia's nuclear subs rust away with nuclear reactors and fuel still present. And while we're on the subject, nuclear fuel is stored in the open, in flimsy buildings, because of the NIMBY syndrome.

   Now add overpopulation to the equation. Hungry people can't care about the environment. In Africa, elephants and chimps are slaughtered for food. Elsewhere, women walk miles simply to find firewood. In both Asia and Africa, lakes are polluted and/or fished out.

   It can only get worse as population increases, and it will. The only way discovered so far to stabilize any population is to reach a comfortable a lifestyle, where there is money for birth control, gynecologists and abortion facilities. Even China's draconian methods aren't working as census figures are proving. China's population keeps going up even with the one child per couple official policy.

   Suppose then that the whole world attains the American economic life-style? Would population decrease? Heck, you bet, because civilization would soon crash; there is no way to sustain such a lifestyle for the whole human race. The resources aren't there, and even if they were the industrial byproducts would quickly poison the earth. The sad fact is, though, that our consumer economy is emulated everywhere.

   Why? Simply because the urge to be comfortable is bred into the race just as surely as is the urge to reproduce and compete and protect territory. If it is possible to have inside plumbing, a vast variety of packaged foodstuffs, air conditioning and central heat, we will have it and damn the environment.

   There is nowhere on earth where long term prospects show an actual improvement in the environment. Humans care for family first, then tribe, city, state and nation. The planet is last in line. We're just built that way.

   How about environmentalists? Can't their example be imitated?

   Which environmentalists? The ones who drive gasoline powered SUV's on their way to a Sierra Club meeting or the Save The Animal enthusiasts who aren't vegetarians, wear leather belts and shoes, etc. Most environmentalists have a very narrow agenda, and outside their narrow concern, e.g., Save The Whales Society don't practice environmentalism any better than the rest of us.

   There too few of them anyway. And only the very hard core would give up their comfortable lifestyle to practice true conservation. As has been said frequently, Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal. It is the rare individual who can get past our environmental and genetic programming to see what must be done to save the planet from coming disaster.

   So what's going to happen? And When? The answer to either question is indeterminate but the fact that disasters will happen is not. Eventually, (perhaps sooner than we think) the combined excesses of agriculture, consumer economies, industrial pollution and global warming will destroy our present civilization. When climate change starts to destroy the food supply capacity of even the industrial nations, when jobless swarms roam in destructive waves over cities, when pollution drives people from their homes, we'll know the answers--too late. Nothing of consequence will be done. Civilization will collapse back to a primitive level. There will be a massive die-off of humanity. Some might think that's good. Perhaps it is, in the long run, but in the long run the cycle will just repeat, over and over. Remember: competitive, territorial, sexual reproductive and religious driven. That's the human race, for better or worse.

   What could be done? Genetic engineering? I suspect that even if it were turned loose, we would soon have more of a problem from that than we have now.

   And genetic engineering of more efficient food producing organisms just leaves the door open for more population increase. How about nanotechnology, where creation of goods and foods is done on a molecular level? They talk a good fight, but practical results are too far in the future to matter.

   I am predicting total disaster within a hundred years, with a collapse of industrial civilization and a massive die-off of humans.

   Take industry to space? The transportation system would probably create more pollution than it prevented. Space flight might help one way, if done in time. With the recent discovery of massive amounts of water on Mars, colonization could begin there and perhaps save some our knowledge and perhaps use it to do better on a new world. I doubt that there are enough far-sighted politicians and voters to provide the funds to even begin that in time, though. Too bad. No way out.

   So, should we just give up? No. There is always the possibility of new discoveries which might ameliorate or even prevent the coming disasters. And now a little paradox--some of the environmentally inclined use all kinds of technological marvels to reduce harm to the environment, such as solar power for homes, energy saving appliances, small cars, etc. And these things couldn't have been invented and produced without a solid technological base--which causes the problems in the first place. Nevertheless, scientific research is our only hope. A slim one, but still a hope. So don't give up. If you're doing a bit to help our planet, keep doing it--and add a little bit more. Try to educate others, including me as I sit in an air conditioned home, drive a big car and my concession to the environment is using low power florescent bulbs and cutting down on our cat population. Well, no one ever said it would be easy!!

   Get at least one wacky story a month plus much more with Darrel's free newsletter, LAUGHING ALL THE WAY. Subscribe at http://www.authorsden.com/darrellbain or mail dbain@lcc.net with Subscribe in subject. His print books are at www.lighthouseeditions.com. His website www.santa-claus-lane.com His e-books at http://double-dragon-ebooks.com/ and www.SynergEbooks.com and http://www.writers-exchange.com/epublishing/darrell-book1.htm.


Environmentally Friendly Cats?

by Gillian Curtin

   Can you 'keep' cats and be environmentally responsible? YES!

   Irresponsible owners have created a problem for which cats suffer the consequences.

   The keeping of cats (and other domestic animals) isn't always permitted in eco villages. It IS possible to be environmentally responsible and still keep companion animals wherever you live.

   The simple answer is: CONTAINMENT.

   But, (I hear you say), cats must roam - it is in their nature.

   Not true! My experience has always been that 'owned' cats roam because of a number of factors, but most importantly because of:

   For over 20 years my cats have been contained. They show absolutely no sign of any neurosis because I have 'deprived' them of their freedom. Rather, they have thrived. They die of illness or old age, rather than mis-chance or malicious killing. They have not killed any other animals except the occasional mouse or rat that has stumbled into their domain.

   Whatever the size of their human's dwelling, cats are quite happy to be contained provided they have sufficient stimuli and resources supplied for them. What might these include?

CAT RUNS.

   There are companies offering customised cat runs that affix to your house, or are free-standing for the garden. Cats can be contained in these areas, but have the illusion of freedom. These cat runs can be expensive, but a home handy-person should be able to make something similar using thick wire, piping, wood; the design and luxuries contained in the run are only limited by funds and imagination.

   When I lived in the suburbs, I enclosed my fern house/pergola with chicken wire (walls and roof) and it took some weeks for me to cat proof it. Now in the country, I have another cat run affixed to the house; I have a window open so that the cats can climb in and out during the day as they choose. At night, however, the cats are locked in the house.

   When I moved to the country I had a cat run/fern house purpose-built professionally which has provided an outdoor recreation place for the cats and myself. It is impervious to feral cats, foxes, and other unwanted visitors. Inside my cat run there is grass for the cats to eat, a children's sand pit filled with soil (changed every few days) for the cats' outdoor toilet (this provides a diversion, so the cats don't dig out my pot plants). There are things for them to climb on and over, and in: simple and inexpensive - ladders, chairs, tables and a shade-cloth hammock that the cats can sleep in off the ground.

   The result of this is that my cats are contented and safe. The wildlife outside is safe. (the annoying thing for me, however, is that I am making a wildlife sanctuary from previously barren land. Two years later birds are coming back, I have a growing population of lizards and a frog). But they aren't going to be safe from the neighbours' cats who free range day and night into my land).

   Therefore, with a little time and effort and minimal expense, you can have your cats and your environment.

    Gillian writes marvellous books as Astrid Cooper. She been writing since she was 5. Combining s.f./fantasy with romance, her books have won awards and hit best-seller lists in Australia and overseas. Crystal Dreams has been re-issued by North American publisher, Zumaya Publications and it has been a fictionwise best-seller. Check it out (under romance) at fictionwise.com. Visit her web site.


Nothing but a chemical imbalance?

   Jeff Sullivan responded to my attitudes concerning antidepressants with: ''Depression, as clinically understood, is not a choice but rather due to chemical imbalances and is most efficaciously addressed via pharmaceutical interventions.

   'The "talking therapy" may go on for quite some time and is more expensive both money and frustration-wise.'

 

   Jeff, you should read the literature on treatment outcome studies. That would shake your prejudices.

   In summary, the facts are: 'Cognitive Therapy' and 'Interpersonal Therapy' are about as efficacious in an 8-session course of therapy as antidepressants given during the same period. All three are significantly better than a no-treatment, 'come in for a chat' placebo, and help about 85% of sufferers (about the same as surgery for a condition such as gallstones).

   At six months' follow-up, those patients from the drug group who have ceased taking medication have a considerable relapse rate. Relapse rates for the two therapy groups are not only significantly less, but also the difference is practically impressive. At one year follow-up this difference increases.

   'Talking therapy' has NO side effects, unlike every antidepressant that has ever been devised, including Prozac. It has no medical complications, and best of all, no withdrawal symptoms.

   During the eight sessions, you learn a new way of looking at yourself, and certain skills. These stay with you for life. For less than the cost of a new engine for your car, you can have this monstrous condition under control for the rest of your life. (I know because I've done it personally, and helped many hundreds of clients along the same way.)

   Drugs, in contrast, only work while you are taking them.

   I invite you to read an important article I have reproduced with permission from the 'Family Therapy Networker' (recently renamed 'Psychotherapy Networker'):

   About depression being a chemical imbalance... of course it is. So is for example tiredness. I overwork a muscle, it has too much lactic acid. Do I inject it with an enzyme to dissolve this? No. I have a rest, gentle movement, a massage, a bath...

   Sexual excitement is an altered chemical state in my brain. It is due to certain environmental stimuli, thoughts and expectations. If I want to induce it, I don't shoot up with a drug, but naturally get those chemical flowing, by thinking certain thoughts and doing certain activities. And so on.

   Depression is just as much a set of core beliefs that are triggered by environmental events as sexual desire is. Both result in a certain, characteristic pattern of brain chemicals. But this doesn't mean that the chemical pattern IS the emotion, any more than the movements of the steering wheel are the control processes in getting the car to go somewhere. The steering comes from the person who turns the wheel. The movements of the wheel and linkages are the MECHANISM that enables the driver to translate intention to action. Brain electrical activity and brain chemical production are the mechanism that enables us to think, feel and act.

   I can tell if a person is depressed by asking certain questions and observing certain behaviors. I can also note that depressed people show certain patterns of brain activity. But this second indicator is not 'more basic', THE cause, but an inevitable part of ANY behavior. When I am creative, you will find that my brain has a characteristic pattern of chemicals, which will be similar to that of any person being creative. But would you want to start taking 'creativity pills'?

   Well, maybe you would, mate. I prefer to write a book.

Ciao,
Bob


Are Electronic Books Any Use?

   Laraine Stacey posted this to one of the email lists I am on:

Okay you guys,

   Another (author) list I'm on is having what's turning into a heated discussion on ebooks. Of course, I'm one of the few defending them and posting articles that do the same. For every one I post saying ebooks are on the rise, someone else posts another article saying "E-book Sales Don't Stack Up" or prove it with numbers. Help!

   Some questions being asked are:

   One author says: As others have commented, the number I would like to know is the number of fiction ebooks sold that have not been published as a traditional paper book (i.e., not counting print on demand).

   Another says: I think it behooves us as writers (or would be writers) to find out how many people buy and read these e-books, and what sort of people they are (statistically speaking) Another thing to consider is what sort of e-books are selling, SF, fantasy, romances, msyteries, or non-fiction?

   Another says: I think in the long run, e-publishing will be a good companion to print publishing, but I don't see it as a particularly solid option right now. If I have a book, how do I get the largest return on my writing investment, and how do I insure that readers know about my book. With major bookstore shelf publishing, the answer is already there - with e-publishing it still isn't in general.

   These are just a few of the comments -- ones actually asking questions. If we can't convince authors that ebooks are viable, how do we plan to sell then to the public? Help me here. These are intelligent people that want to be educated on ebooks. What else can I say?

 

My answer:

Larraine Stacey asked for some ammunition to defend e-books.

   Larraine, first go to http://bobswriting.com/ and read my two pages on this topic. One is a speech I have given a couple of times, and on each occasion people have bought copies of my e-books. There is also a speech given by Canadian writer Rita Toews.

   The main points I would say to your doubters are:
 

  • They are perfectly right about the past: the sales have NOT been there. The same has been true about other innovations at first.

         You should read the disparaging comments about pump-up bicycle tyres when they first came out -- until a few sportsmen tried them and won every race organized.

       The Gutenberg printing press was dismissed as something that could only generate rubbish, compared to a proper book (hand-written on vellum, and properly illuminated).

       And my favorite quote about paperbacks is from Alfred Hitchcock: 'All they are good for is as doorstops. I'd never read one.'
     

  • Paper books are based on a technology that is rapidly going to become unviable. Already, paper is 65% of the production cost of a book, and this will keep rising thanks to our voracious appetite for paper. Trees are being destroyed at many times the regrowth rate. In effect, forests are being mined.

       This has hidden as well as obvious costs, the main one being climate change. Billions of people could die if there is a catastrophic effect such as rapid melting of the Antarctic ice, or a major change in the Gulf stream.
     

  • Technology is changing with extreme rapidity. Two new screen types are almost in production stage: 'electronic ink' (Xerox) and 'electronic paper' (MIT - Philips). Or I may have them assigned the wrong way around. Anyway, the technology is similar. It is claimed that an A4 size (approximately letter) screen will cost about $1 to make. These devices are flexible, though they can be mounted behind glass of course. They provide BETTER resolution than black ink on white paper, can be reused indefinitely. They need power only to change the display, not to keep it as it is. Philips is to release the first hand-held device using a hybrid in 2003.
     
  • E-books are a godsend to the visually challenged. Any computer can zoom in, so that every book can be a large print. And there are now several affordable programs that allow your computer to speak to you.

       Will that do for a start?

    All the best,
    Bob

       I could have added a description of the fate of the typical book paper-published by a 'midlist' author. Rita Toews has this to say:

       "...There really are only about 7 publishing houses left. Bertlesman Group owns Random House, Ballantine, DoubleDay, Bantam, Dell, Del-Rey, Lightning Source, iUniverse, xLibris... which is most of the print publishing house in the world and WAY over half in the US. The bookstores -- Ingram and B&N are also owned by Bertlesman. The independents have either been bought out or put out of business by high costs.

       It was the independents that published new authors and mid-list authors. These authors then moved up to the major publishes when they gained recognition with the independents.

       NOW- once you've submitted it, publishers don't allow for multiple submissions. That means that you can't send your manuscript to any other publishers until that one has made its decision. It will take anywhere from six to nine months for that publisher to reach a yes or no decision about publishing your manuscript. That's six to nine months that your manuscript is tied up before you can send it to another publisher.

       Then, IF the publisher takes your manuscript out of the slush pile where only 1 in 1000 are found acceptable, it can take up to 18 months (if not longer) for the book to be released. Once your book is released, you have a very short window of opportunity to sell as many copies of your book as you can. Print publishers print what they call a first run (usually about 5,000 copies). If that first run doesn't sell relatively quickly, then your book is doomed to becoming an out of print book.

       They provide about $2,000 advertising for a mid list author - which will buy about one end rack at a book store for promotional placing. You're expected to do the major promoting yourself.

    DID YOU KNOW?

       About 80% of books that are printed are never sold? In the words of a local manager at an un-named book store -- they are window dressing! They end up in landfills. That's a lot of trees sacrificed for window dressing.

       65% of the cost of producing a book is paper, if 80% don't sell, that's a lot of money going into paper to fill landfill sites..."

       What Rita and I are saying is that Laraine's 'opponents' are not all that well off, trusting to the conventional publishing industry.


    Dust If You Must

       Contributed by 'Chief Wombat' John, though he disclaims authorship. He is the founder of the email group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wombats


    What Causes Cancer?

    Cancer is not a disease. It's a symptom, like headache, or a sore throat.

       Every day, cell reproduction goes wrong in various parts of the body. This usually results in a dead cell, no damage. Occasionally, you get a 'somatic mutation': a hair cell that no longer produces pigment (=grey hair), a location on the skin that makes extra stuff (old people have bumps all over the place), bone cells that fail to store calcium properly (osteoporosis), little bone growths within a joint -- you get the idea. Life goes on.

       Sometimes, these changes involve an essential part of cell life, without killing the cell. The cell becomes different enough to be 'foreign', and fails to do its usual job. If it is still able to reproduce, you have the start of a tumour. And if the changes involve removal of the controls on reproduction, you have cancer.

       Somatic mutations can be caused by many things:
     

  • certain viruses
     
  • UV radiation
     
  • X rays, radiation, cosmic rays
     
  • ingestion of various metals in certain forms
     
  • a great number of poisons eaten, breathed in, absorbed through the skin

       One reason for the increase in cancers, particularly for young people, is that we have flooded our environment with carcinogens, surround ourselves with electromagnetic radiation, put carcinogenic additives in our food and water...

       Usually, the start of rogue cells does not lead to cancer. The immune system bounces on them and everything is all right.

       One of the defenses is to isolate carcinogens. They may be inactivated by the liver, possibly at the cost of some liver damage. They can be stored in fat. Of course, if you suddenly lose a lot of weight, this can mean a concentrated assault on your body.

       White blood cells and antibodies will destroy rouge cells.

       The trouble is that the immune system can only cope with so much. Increase the insults on the body, and some rouge cells can get away.

       When you are depressed, emotionally distraught, under a lot of stress, your immune system becomes far less effective. This is the subject matter of a science that was invented in the mid-1980s called psychoneuroimmunology. There is a lot of evidence that if you can make yourself feel good, your immune system improves. If you feel lousy, it drops in effectiveness.

       So, combine today's stressful lifestyle with the poison soup we live in, and you've got to predict an increase in cancers.


    What is Sanity?

       Steve and Lesley Mazey run the wonderful speculative fiction web site Eternal Night. We became friends after they accepted a short story from me -- and paid for it. Later, they posted a second story of mine. Since they don't charge for anything, I asked Steve where the money was coming from, accusing them of being 'Rockefellers in disguise'.

       His answer:

       'With regards to the philanthropy, although a not little part of me is in favour of keeping this a secret, I feel that the more publicity we can get means the more hits we get means the more exposure we can give the authors we feature. Or in other words, please feel free to include whatever you like in your newsletter.

       'Ah, profit - that would be a nice thing. I am afraid we do it for the love of it and fund it entirely out of our pockets. We don't even charge for the banners we display - we just add banners/buttons for people we like, and that ask us.

       'I wouldn't say we are Rockerfellers in disguise, certainly not in that league anyway. I'll explain. We are both lifelong sf/f/h fans. We are both professional types with well established careers having been doing what we do for getting on for fifteen years each since graduation. We have no children, we do not smoke, drink or eat meat. We do not go to clubs, and neither do we follow the dictates of fashion.

       'This means we do not waste money on such. Hence we can use to fund the site -- and to collect books, paintings, and sculpture.

       This is a for-the-love-of-it operation. I guess as a psychologist you could find all kinds of strange meanings in what we do, and I think I'd be interested in your evaluation - as long as you don't think we are ready for the padded room and the coat with the long arms.'

       My reaction:

       Exactly the contrary. Yours is a life of SANITY. The worst hell is bearable if it has meaning, and the greatest heaven is hell without it. When I have troubled people coming to me, I try to gently steer them towards the kind of 'craziness' you exhibit.

       By having no children, you are not adding to the number 1 pollution of the planet. Why should you not do good where your interest lies?


    Depression in Old Age

       An email correspondent was concerned with his elderly father's suicidal depression. Here is my answer:

    Dear John,

       If your father is still mentally alert, he would benefit from two kinds of counselling: 'cognitive-behavioural' and 'logotherapy'. If he has lost mental abilities, as even the most intelligent person can, then antidepressant medication is the only form of available relief. 'Magnetic treatments' are placebo only, ie, garbage. Hypnotism is a valid approach, but is counterindicated for severe depression because 'disinhibition can lead to stronger suicidal tendencies'.

       Logotherapy is based on the work of Viktor Frankl. You will enjoy his wonderful little book, 'Man's Search for Meaning'. This man was a Jewish doctor in Vienna during the Second World War -- not a good idea. He was taken to Auschwitz. His wife died there, but he lied, saying he was a carpenter, and became a slave labourer. He survived the war, to write this book.

       I think you could read the book, then talk to your Dad about its concepts. That would be more powerful than the same thing coming from a stranger.

       Cognitive-behavioural therapy is valid and useful, IF the depression is based on irrational beliefs. That is, if the person is depressed in a situation that from the outside does not seem to be too terrible.

       Now we come to something that you may disagree with. Our society has an unfortunate phobia about death. Here is a gentleman in his 80s. He has done a lot, achieved it all. The chapters are written. Why should he not be allowed to close the book with dignity?

       It is entirely possible that your father is NOT depressed in the sense depression would be defined for you or me or your daughter. He may be grieving losses in a fully rational, understandable way. He may simply want to go, to avoid further losses and indignities. His 'depression' may be an entirely logical, reasonable and laudable reaction.

       We come back to logotherapy. Suicide is against the law, and assisting someone to suicide can land a person in jail. If he is intellectually up to it, help him to find meaning in his current circumstances. Help him to cope with the loss of dignity with dignity, the way Viktor Frankl did.

    All the best,
    Bob


    About the Internet

    A new language for emails?
    Eliminate dead links

    A New Language For E-Mails? ...
    by Pamela Faye

    'hey babe take a walk on the wild side!!'

    Sir! ... Do I know you?

    'call me footloose and fancy free!' ...

       And so the need arises to ask:-- Why is it that e-mails are frequently flashed onto New Messages without heed to the simple rules of English, be they propriety, punctuation, and even correct spelling? ... How hard can it be to hit the 'ABC' Spell Checker before a message is flashed through cyberspace?

       For writers, editors or publishers, this rebellious style sends the spirit searching for the set of rules that e-mails appear to have modified for their own personal use. Amazingly, this modified style holds no segregation between the educated and the laid-back 'Mr.Footloose'. Even creative writers are known to swing with the changing winds of time rushing towards that 'Fancy Free' feeling of riding the wind with a 'Devil may care attitude'. This phenomenon has evolved with the flashing blink of e-mails that often resemble the act of standing back and slapping food onto a plate with a nod of, 'She'll be right Mate!'

       Modern Technology is swiftly replacing hand written letters, once governed by defined protocol, with simple e-mail messages that hit their mark a lot quicker but often leave the mind reeling 'Is this message for me!'. What happened to the friendly greetings ... Dear Tom or Dick or Harry ... Hi There! ... Hello ... Yo Footloose ... Gaday Babe ... or even, Howyagoin Mate? ... All too frequently there is no greeting at all just a charge of miss-spelt words, lacking conformity, and ending with the simple salute 'Jo Blow'.

       Our eyes will never tire of beauty, whether it be the beauty of a friendly greeting, or the explosive promotional release of an exciting new book. So why are e-mails developing a style that holds little appeal with their frequent rebel outbursts? There is 'Power' in the written word! Why crucify that power through the lack of propriety, or punctuation, or spelling mistakes.

       So as the younger generation often charge ... 'We Need To Get An Act Happening Here!' ... At the very least, out of respect for time saving Modern Technology.

       Pamela Faye is the Australian author of the unique Native American novel Chétan! Her love of writing is endless and inherent from her G.G.Uncle who founded the MacLean Advocate, then two other newspapers in Australia. Her teacher was a Publisher-Editor-Writer. Number six novel 'Niugini Gold!' is nearing its completion. Look her up at www.electricumbrella.com.


    Eliminate dead links

       When I'd finished uploading my web sites to the new server, I asked for help in spotting errors. Two friends sent the link http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html, to 'Xenu', a MARVELLOUS little program supplied free by Tilman Hausherr. As a satisfied user, you are invited to contribute to a charity, preferably to an organisation helping cult victims, but there is no obligation. And Tilman responds to queries and requests for help almost instantly, and very effectively.


    Announcements

    Me first!
    Cass Andre
    Word Museum
    Not the Usual Way
    NDK
    Misti Jackson
    Christine West

    Bob Rich

       Since my entry to the world of the internet, my ISP has been 'web solutions'. Unfortunately they have gone out of business. My new home page is http://users.tpg.com.au/bobr/. I have now redirected all three of my domains to subdirectories, allowing rapid cross-linking. Do look me up. The first person to spot any fault (dead link, missing graphic, frame within a frame, typo, etc.) will receive one of my electronic books for free. Read the list of available titles.

       My offer of 'two books for the price of one' has been so popular that I am continuing it. Buy any of my books, in any format, and you can select another for free (in electronic format only).

       My latest novel, The Making of a Forest Fighter is now available for only $US5. Be one of the first to read it.


    Cass Andre

  • 26 year old, mother of 4...
  • Author of 10 sexy romances...
  • Web designer for some of today's top authors...
  • Founder and Operator of E-Books Rock!...
  • Award-winning poet...
  • Book reviewer...
  • And web design instructor...

       What can't this amazing twenties-something author do?

       Currently, she's working on her eleventh and twelfth books, and collaborating on an undisclosed project to break into the screenwriting market.

       Cass has exciting experience and opinions and is willing to speak on a number of writing and non-writing related subjects including:

  • Web Design 101 (designing your site and creating net presence)
  • How Can I Write A Novel When The Kids Are Driving Me Crazy --(balancing dreams and family)
  • Listening To Your Muse (finding your creative inspiration)
  • Breaking Into The E-book Market (why write for the e-market and --where to begin)
  • And, of course, she's willing to speak about books!

       Her web site is www.booksbycass.com.


    Elaine Hopper

       WORD MUSEUM, the popular award-winning author hosting and writing site, changed hands August 1st when Kim Cox, Sher Hames Torres, and Elaine Hopper assumed management from founder Lori Soard. Our goal is to continue providing excellent service and promotion for authors in the fine Word Museum tradition.

       We invite you to visit the grand re-opening, visit our multi-genre authors, check out the fab vast array of new writing classes, read articles for writers and readers, and take advantage of our awesome grand re-opening author web page and advertising specials.

       We want your article submissions, too! We are accepting articles for writers and readers of all genres at this time. http://www.wordmuseum.com.


    Not the Usual Way

    NUW Authors Book Club Has the Answer to the New Question:
    WHAT'S A BOOKLOVER TO DO?

       Now that Oprah's gone AWOL from the literary scene? And Ripa's Readers only offers romances (which Regis profanely dubs "beach trash")? And the BBC has chosen Garrison Keillor (who thinks he really lives in a fictional town) as the author to launch their worldwide book club?

       As an answer to the dilemma, NUW (Not the Usual Way) Independent Authors Community, founded by Kristie Leigh Maguire for authors who have chosen alternative methods of publishing, announces the opening of their Book Club. The Grand Opening is set for October 1, 2002.

       At the NUW Authors Book Club, you will find some of the brightest, funniest and most entertaining new writers on the horizon. Each month the Book Club will spotlight its Top 5 List, which will include various genres to whet your reading appetite, no matter what your tastes are. Once you decide which book title suits your reading yens for the day, just click on the cover image and order directly online without ever leaving the comfort of your home.

       The first five titles featured for the grand opening of the NUW Authors Book Club are: Emails from the Edge by Kristie Leigh Maguire (women's fiction); Angels on my Wings by Roger Vizi (adventure); Dunnottar by Janet Elaine Smith (historical fiction); Hunters of the Shadows by Mark Haeuser (thriller) and This is the Place by Carolyn Howard-Johnson (family saga).

       You have never heard of any of these authors? Be brave! Be daring! A few years ago nobody had heard of John Grisham or Nora Roberts, either. Don't be afraid to test the waters; you'll be glad you did.

       The NUW Authors Book Club has many other features in addition to great books for sale. Fancy something for free? Just click on the NUW Free Downloads. Have a question to ask the authors? Just click on the NUW Forum. Want to know more about the NUW Independent Authors Community? Click on the NUW Community.

       Find all this and more at: http://clik.to/NUWAuthorsBookClub


    NDK

       Due to changes in format and the acquisition of new editorial staff, Allforart's official publication The Free Articulator has been postponed until further notice. Publisher, NDK says "We're currently working hard to condense a tremendous amount of research and organize an international cadre of writers, poets, screenwriters, fine artists and others in preparation for publication. A notice will be sent to all subscribers prior to publication of the first issue. The Free Articulator is a vehicle for cultural ideas whose time has come. Anybody interested can subscribe at http://www.freearticulator.com." Opportunities to contribute will be available to writers and other creative artists once the premier issue of The Free Articulator is released.


    Misti Jackson

       I would like to recommend my new book On the Net, Resource Guide for Writers. It provides several listings of markets and resources for writers that can be found on the Internet, such as Publishers (Print on Demand, E-book, and more), Editors, Literary Agents, Research Sites, Clubs and Mailing Lists for Writers, Book Promotion Sites, Online Newsletters and E-zines for Writers, Sites to Sample Query Letters and Synopses, Book Award Sites, and more. The alphabetical indexes help you easily find the Publisher, Agent, Editor or Genre you are searching for. You will find over 450 markets and resources that can be found on the Internet, right from your home office.

       Whether you're searching for a Publisher, Editor, Agent, Job or just a resource to help your writing or promotion, On the Net, Resource Guide for Writers is the most useful tool to keep by your computer.

       On the Net Resource Guide for Writers is available in paperback, on CD, and in e-book (PDF) from http://www.virtualbookworm.com/onthenet.html. Also, just in paperback from the authors web site, http://www.geocities.com/illinoiswriterus/, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and for order through your local bookstores.

       Misti Jackson is also the author of Help From Above and three poems which have appeared in anthologies. In addition to Ms. Jackson's writing, she also enjoys helping other writers, which is what inspired her to write this reference book for writers.

       Misti is the founder and manager of The Writers Dorm, a community for Writers, Publishers, Editors, Agents, or anyone associated with writing. Misti is available for interviews and online chats. Contact her to schedule a date and time.


    Christine West

       Not only does Christine West have extensive experience as a waitress, she has also spent nearly five years interviewing 100 servers and 1000 customers in preparing her book, Service With a Smile, an instructional book for waiters and waitresses. The book includes 1001 tips for making bigger tips, and has already been used as a training manual by several organisations.

       To learn more about Christine West, go to www.keynotebooks.com or e-mail her at Christine@keynotebooks.com


    Unblocking the Writer

       It's every writer's dread. You have a concept, go to write it down -- and nothing comes. Or you are in the middle of a great story, and the flow dries up. The more you work at it, the worse the blockage.

       There are several potential causes for writer's block, and several remedies you can try.

       When I was writing the second book of my trilogy The Travels of First Horse, I came to a dead stop after my hero and his friends managed to get out of Egypt alive. I had a detailed plot, knew all the characters, even had descriptions of locales, but... the words wouldn't come.

       I decided to skip ahead, and wrote about their arrival in Damascus. I described the scenery, wrote summaries about the local people -- and that was all the fruit of days of futile striving. In something like despair, I put the book aside altogether, until I realised: the problem was that all I wanted to do was to write up the climax of the book: Horse's penetration of the hidden and forbidden city of Meluhha, where he was to steal the secret of making steel.

       So, I skipped ahead and wrote the entire chapter in about two days. It needed very little fine tuning later. After this, I was able to return to Egypt, the desert, Jerusalem and Syria, and wrote it all without any trouble. All the pieces became welded together without a visible seam.

       I should have known. Years before, when I was a research scientist and had to write papers for learned journals, I ALWAYS wrote the Introduction last, when I knew what I was introducing. Writing from start to end is not always the best way to go.

       This case study illustrates two unblocking techniques.

    1. If you get stuck, move to another part. It makes sense to set down all the most exciting scenes of a story, then cobble them together, then find a satisfying ending, and at the last devise the leading part.

    2. You can go stale. Too much effort can get your mind driving around in fruitless circles. The solution is to put the tract of writing away, let it get cold, then return to it with a fresh eye, and fresh enthusiasm.

       There must be a reason if this doesn't work. Usually it indicates a fault with the scene. You may be trying to force your people to act out of character, or there could be a discordance between what you say about them and how they act, or some essential component may be missing.

       The choices are:

    1. Cut this scene altogether, and introduce a replacement situation.

    2. Modify something in the preceding sections, so that the problem scene now rings true.

    3. Rewrite the scene, allowing the people within it to decide what they say, how they act. Part of the problem may be that you have been looking at it all from the outside. Get within POV (Point Of View) and BECOME the person who is your current witness.

       There is one further reason for getting stuck, and it has nothing to do with writing. When you are physically exhausted, ill, or under severe stress, your creativity just has to suffer. The cliche has it that 'Necessity is the mother of invention.' Not true: creativity is the child of inner peace and well-being. Get yourself together, and the words will return.


    Book Reviews

    'Through Other Eyes' by Bob Rich
    The Winnowed Woman' by Celia Ann Leaman

    'Through Other Eyes' by Bob Rich
    Review by Alan Clay

        'Through Other Eyes' is an intriguing, entertaining anthology of short stories by award-winning author Dr Bob Rich. These short stories will take you on a journey of 26 realities, as the author, a psychologist, gets you to look at the world through eyes like those of Marge, whose daughter is now in jail, Tony who'd love to use his condom, Marjoram, fighting a desperate battle against Vikings, and Peter, trapped in a wage slave's hell but afraid to leave it.

       This appeared in Alan Clay's widely circulated e-zine 'Artmedia - e-publishing news, August 02 http://www.artmedia.com.au.

       Alan Clay runs Artmedia Publishing. Alan's third novel, 'Believers in Love', is now available on order through bookshops and on-line stores. Order the paperback, or download the eBook, US$6.95, from online stores like www.amazon.com or from bookshops throughout America, Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand.


    The Winnowed Woman' by Celia Ann Leaman
    Review by Joyce Lavene

    Available in PDF, HTML, LIT, Hiebook and Palm and costs $2.50 from http://twilighttimesbooks.com/Winnowed_ch1.html

       THE WINNOWED WOMAN isn't an easy book to read. But between elegantly crafted words and beautiful illustrations, it moves back and forth like a weaver, creating a tapestry that is at once glorious and thought provoking.

       What makes it so difficult to read is the raw honesty in the words. They leap at you from the pages and make you want to howl in anger and pain. No one should undertake a journey of this sort. No one should shred their skin to let so much light in.

       Yet author Celia Leaman courageously lets us see it all. This journey isn't the kind you can read all in one night and sit back feeling fine and happy. It takes time and patience to get through it. Because it reflects pain all of us have felt. It speaks to our souls and we listen.

       The author explains the meaning of 'winnowed' to us at the beginning of the book. It was aptly named since it separates the wheat of life and love from the chaff. Another courageous woman, Anne Morrow Lindburgh, held the spotlight on herself this way and when we looked, we saw ourselves.

       THE WINNOWED WOMAN is every woman's story. Painful, daring, full of heart and sometimes, fear and anger. It shouldn't be missed!

    Joyce Lavene, Lagniappe Books reviews www.joyceandjimlavene.com.

     

    Excerpt Poem From The Book
    To my Inner Child #2

    About Bobbing Around

       If you received a copy of Bobbing Around and don't want a repeat, it's simple. Drop me a line and I'll drop you from my list.
       And now there is a new way: send a blank email to bobbingaround-request@atlanticbridge.net, Subject: Unsubscribe

       You may know someone who would enjoy reading my rave. Bobbing Around is being archived at http://mudsmith.net/bobbing/index.html, or you can forward a copy to your friend.

       If you are not a subscriber but want to be, email me. Subject should be 'subscribe Bobbing Around' (it will be if you click the link in this paragraph). In the body, please state your name, email address (get it right!), your country and something about yourself. I also want to know how you found your way to my newsletter. I hope we can become friends.
       Again, the new way is to send a blank email to bobbingaround-request@atlanticbridge.net, Subject: Subscribe.

    Contributions are welcome, although I reserve the right to decline anything, or to request changes before acceptance. Welcome are:

    * Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
    * Brags of achievements that may be of general interest, for example publication of your book;
    * Poems or very short stories and essays that fit the philosophy and style of Bobbing Around;
    * Above all, responses to items in past issues. I will not reject or censor such comments, even if I disagree with them.

    Submission Guidelines

       It is a FALSE RUMOUR that you need to buy one of my books before your submission is accepted. Not that I cry when someone does so.

       Above all, contributions should be brief. I may shorten them if necessary.

       Content should be non-discriminatory, polite and relevant. Announcements should be 100 to 200 words, shorter if possible. Book reviews, essays and stories should be at the very most 500 words, poems up to 30 lines.

       Thanks to the new distribution method provided by Linda Eberharter of Atlantic Bridge, I can now also include graphics. They should be small file size gif or jpg.

       Author bios should be about 50 words, and if possible include a web address.