Bobbing Around

Volume Five, Number Two
September, 2005

Bob Rich's rave

bobswriting.com/  anxietyanddepression-help.com/  mudsmith.net/  other issues

 
*About Bobbing Around
  subscribe/unsubscribe.
  guidelines for contributions
*The free contests keep coming
*The Problem of Evil
*The Shogun apologizes
  by Anwaar Hussain.
*Psychology
  'The I Statement' by Cheryl O'Brien
  Borderline Personality Disorder
*Health
  Soy or coconut?
*Free Trade:
  thoughts from a Wombat
*Writing
  The Hook: grabbing the reader
  Free book promotion advice, by Francine Silverman
  'Present tense and first person' by Jeanne Gassman
*Internet
  On 'Flaming'
Welcome to the Flyover Zone
  A lighthearted complaint by Cindy Appel
*Announcements
  Writers' festival in Bali
  Connie Gotsch
  Raffle results benefit students
  Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Kate Gogolewski
  Ann Herrick's book got a great review
  A writer's diary
  New low cost rural land share co-operative seeking members
  Naragebup workshops in Sustainable Living
*Book reviews
  The complete being: addendum
  Two reviews of 'Cancer: A personal challenge', by Charlene Austin and Lillan Cauldwell
'Thicker than Blood' by Penny Rudolph, reviewed in the Chicago Tribune
'Earth Garden Building Book' reviewed by Dr Murray Hollis
*Short Story
  'Duck Tales' by James Choron

   Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person. You may forward the entire magazine to anyone else.


   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.


You may quote me -- with acknowledgement

Grammar, spelling, punctuation are not the enemy, but tools of communication.

New counselling concept?

   Thanks to my daughter Anina, who is at Harvard on her post-doc, I am now a P-plated Skype user. Skype is a communication program that promises to do to the telephone what email did to the paper letter. While you are online, you can talk with anyone anywhere on earth, and simultaneously exchange text messages if you wish.

   I am considering the possibility of offering counselling through Skype. To trial the idea, I will give one hour of free counselling to any Bobbing Around subscriber, or anyone referred by a subscriber, until the end of October 2005.

   Further sessions will be at the rate I'll set and revise from time to time. Initially, I'll make this $50 per hour, to be paid in advance via Paypal, or electronic transfer from within Australia.


Building Book is finding new homes

   Here is a typical letter I got in the mail:

Dear Dr Rich,

   I have recently purchased your Earth Garden Building Book for my friend. We borrowed the book from our local library in Geraldton and he was so impressed that he wanted a copy of his own.

   I saw on your web page that you do a book plate. I thought I'd get one to surprise him. His name is Mike. We have just bought a block and he hopes to build a tin and rammed earth house on it next year.

   He said some of the things in the book he knew, but he was interested in the different ways you've suggested do to things, that he hadn't thought of. He is in his late 50s and done a lot of building/renovating/repairs during his life so he has a lot of experience, but found your book very interesting and informative.

Best of luck with your future books,
Lyn


Featured by book club

   Cancer: A personal challenge is being featured by SORMAG, a popular book club that gives you the opportunity of inspecting extracts from excellent books you won't find elsewhere. There are prizes for participating -- one lucky member will win an autographed copy of Cancer: A personal challenge.

The Problem of Evil

   A couple of issues ago I set out my ideas about life before and after death.

   It is so nice to think that there may be a Purpose to existence, as Yvonne Rowan writes in her chapter in Cancer: A personal challenge. It implies a benevolent... something or someone, a design, a progression over lives to something better.

   But then, how can we account for all the horrible things people do to each other, from the millions Stalin killed, to the current wars and poverty and starvation, and also for the many individual acts of evil? How do we account for people killed or traumatised in accidents and natural disasters? Why are some people born in defective bodies or develop painful conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and endometriosis? Why do some old people survive way beyond their use-by date, and exist as demented loads on their carers, or worse, as bed-ridden living vegetables?

   This is the problem that has puzzled philosophers, perhaps since the start of intelligent thought. It may be arrogant of me to think that I have found an answer. So, all I'll say is that I have a fancy. Why should my imaginings have any less validity than those of any other person?

   I wrote last time that life as a human may be a sort of a school. We choose a life that will present us with certain lessons. If we learn these, we can move up in the next level, if not, we need to face them again. And if we do badly, we may need to make reparations after death, not in some hell, but in a hell on earth, in the next life.

   This is fine as far as it goes, but why are there increasing numbers of people? Why are the students destroying the school? And still, how do we account for mass evil like Hitler's concentration camps, and Agent Orange, and Depleted Uranium?

   My fanciful theory is that life on Earth is not THE school, but merely A school. There may be many millions of planets with sentient life, all with the same Purpose: of allowing us to learn, to progress toward perfection through repeated lives.

   And I now think there is free will, and therefore there must also be unforeseen consequences. There is no puppet-master, benevolent or otherwise. That is compatible with there being a Guide or Guides (already perfect souls?) and of being held to a Purpose.

   Also in my book on cancer, Siegfried Gutbrod sets out his understanding on what happens after death. In accordance with a lot of intriguing evidence, he tells us that the surviving part of us reviews the past life, in reverse order. We sense the effects of our actions on others, and this is very motivating in setting up the new lesson to make restitution for hurts we've caused, and progress toward doing it better next time. As in Yvonne's story, there are indications of a Helper or Helpers, but this doesn't preclude choices. Indeed, if we have no choices, we cannot make mistakes, and therefore can never learn.

   Poor choices by one person will impact on others. Those beings in an early incarnation may do terrible things, because they have not yet learned. We have free will, and therefore are free to cause harm.

   Yvonne thinks there are no accidents, no coincidences. I now disagree. Rather, accidents and coincidences don't matter.

   If a life is cut short, the being will return another time to continue. So, when a tsunami or hurricane, war or act of terrorism causes mass deaths, that is tragic only to us who are bound to die anyway. In the long term, maybe, this is no worse than a student missing a few days at school through having caught the flu.

   Then there is pain and suffering, unhappiness, misery. It is inconceivable to me that something like modern war can be part of a divine design. Rather, I think now, from the infinite perspective, suffering is only temporary, and therefore bearable. I sometimes cause myself a minor injury, for example a bang on a fingernail while hammering. It hurts, but I can put up with it. It might motivate me to be a little more careful. It is my thought, my hope, that the worst human tragedies are no worse when looked at from outside.

   And what about the teeming billions, and the environmental destruction that may have us follow the dinosaurs? That is the result of billions of unwise human choices, no doubt each leading to a lesson. And when this particular school closes down, we can contemplate the consequences somewhere else, perhaps in the body of an intelligent dinosaur.


The Shogun Apologizes, Who Is Next?

by Anwaar Hussain

   Today, 16th August, 2005, the demons let loose by the warriors of the Rising Sun in the fifty years prior to Second World War have finally been buried. On the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the Japanese prime minister has at last apologized for the crimes committed against humanity by his country during that war...

   Although technically a monarchy, Japan was dominated by a group of militaristic leaders who did not shirk from using Japan's modern standing armies to solve the nation's problems rather than relying on diplomatic means. The centuries old respect, almost worship, for the Emperor played into the hands of those militaristic leaders of Japan. They exploited his name and image to create support for the war. Like using religious edicts, they used his name to silence the opposition to the war in Japan. A dangerous brew of militarism and nationalism in that Japanese society was the end result of this purposely nurtured fervor. That, in turn, resulted in the nation embarking on an escapade that left millions of victims in its wake.

   Today America has been taken over by a similar species of leaders who are taking America down an analogous course. The fascist leaders of today's America are no more a hidden entity. These leaders can now easily be recognized by their universal telltale signs. They promote a deliberate perversion of truth and fact, support a careful cultivation of seeds of discord among the saner portion of the population while encouraging hate and distrust of other peoples and religions. They claim to be super-patriots but would not hesitate to destroy every shred of liberty guaranteed by the Constitution to their fellow countrymen. They pretend to be champions of free enterprise yet are the most ardent agents of monopoly and control. The most obvious sign of such leaders, however, is that they are compulsive liars. In a masterful act of deceit and subterfuge, enchantingly camouflaged with fascinating religious plumage, these leaders will go to any length in using the state power and the market power to ultimately subjugate the common man in an eternal slavery. The contemporary Americans only need to check their premises...

   Please read the rest and comment.

Anwaar is a Pakistani journalist whose blog contains many provocative essays. He seems to have his facts right, so if you passionately disagree with him, you'd better marshal your evidence.


Psychology

'The I Statement' by Cheryl O'Brien
Borderline Personality Disorder

The I Statement
by Cheryl O'Brien

Cheryl is a lady I admire with all my heart. She has had more than her share of hardships, and yet she is always giving, always doing things for others. Her wisdom is worth listening to.

   Writing is just one tool of the communicator. I feel it is important for a writer to be an effective communicator in more than just the written word. Communicating effectively is not usually a skill we are born with but rather one we learn along the way.

   Yes I agree respect and constraint should go hand in hand. Assertiveness is a great example of respect and constraint working together. Learning assertiveness is not always an easy thing however it is well worth the effort.

   My most effective tool for assertiveness is the "I" statement. I have been able to share this tool with people clear across the world via the Internet and they have found it very useful.

   I felt perhaps sharing it here may be helpful.

   When trying to get a point across try using "I" instead of "You". This is much more disarming to the other person and does not put them on the defensive.

   These 'angry' or 'aggressive' statements are reworded into an assertive "I" statement and you can see for yourself what I mean.

   angry : "You are a dumb jerk! What would you know?" assertive : "When you speak like that I don't understand what you mean."

   angry : "Get out of my face!" assertive : "I am going to take a few minutes' break."

   angry : "You are always nagging me about that!" assertive : "This same subject keeps coming up. I would like to resolve it."

   angry : "You are a liar" assertive : "I disagree but I would like to find some common ground."

   By turning things around to be about "I" there is nothing for the other person to defend. This doesn't mean I am taking on the blame for the situation, it means I am taking resonsibility for the part of the situation I can change even if the only thing I can change is me being there.

   The skill of making "I" statements takes a lot of thought and practice, however it is a skill and anyone can learn to apply it. I am still working on this but find it an effective tool in situations which could otherwise become heated.

   I do believe that assertiveness is far more honest and polite than just accepting whatever others decide to dump on you and is certainly better than getting angry and losing control of the situation. There is much more integrity in being assertive than any other option.

   Other useful pieces of information I have taken onboard for resolving situations are:

   1) If someone says the same thing, tells the same story, every time you meet with them then the problem is not that they can't get over it, but rather that they have not had the experience of really being heard.

   I find this useful to remember because if someone I care about keeps repeating a story over and over I can choose to sit with them and really hear what they are saying, ask appropriate questions and give them some feedback about it. By spending a few hours doing this it resolves a situation for me (hearing the same thing over and over) and resolves something for them (being heard). If I am sure I have 'really heard them' before I try asking them what they need from me to know I have heard them.

   2) When people know better, they do better. This is not always true but I have found that it is often true. Keeping this simple thing in mind gives me hope for things getting better.

   3) I am not responsible for the actions of others, but, I am responsible for my response to them.

   4) No one can make me feel anything. They are my feelings and I am responsible for them. I can choose to feel differently.

   I am interested in hearing from others too about effective communication skills that work for them or any more information on the use of "I" statements.


Borderline Personality Disorder

   I hate this label. The form of suffering it refers to is not borderline to anything else. The term is an utter mistake.

   If you happen to struggle with BPD, you need to realise that it's not something you ARE. It is not even something you HAVE. It is something you DO.

   Think about it. This is a source of immense power for change. If you are doing something in a way that gives you and others misery, then you can learn to do things differently. The learning may be very hard work, and you can expect to occasionally fall back into old habits, but then, no-one else is perfect either (that's one of the lessons you need to learn).

   What is BPD, how does it arise, and why is it on the increase?

   If you artificially hatch a nightingale egg and raise the chick in isolation, it will have some chirps and trills, but never develop the full, beautiful song of its species. Calhoun's experiments showed that under conditions of stressful crowding, many mother rats failed to raise the next generation as competent adult rats.

   The same is even more true for humans, with our complex thinking and behavioural patterns. Emotions, abilities to relate to other people, language skills, physical coordination... everything needs to be learned in infancy.

   For some reason or another, there are people who missed out on essential learning. The worst one is the skill to form interpersonal bonds: some people didn't learn how to love. While the situation is more complex than that, this is the skill lack at the heart of BPD.

   People are intelligent, and good at adapting to impossible situations. The orphaned nightingale will never learn more than the infant chirps. A human with a lack of essential experience will invent behaviours to fill the vacuum. So-called BPD sufferers do this, which is why each of them has a unique pattern of actions and attitudes.

   There are commonalities, because they are reacting to similar situations.

   The cliché has it that love is blind. All the same, the skill of loving most people learn as part of their growth toward maturity is that a loved person can have faults, and yet still be loved. Conversely, a person who does something you don't like is not necessarily evil. This subtle lesson has to be learned over years. Typically, people struggling with BPD missed out on the opportunities.

   So, their reaction to other people is to see them in a Jekyll and Hyde way. The other is either perfect and loved, or horrible and hated. There is no in-between.

   This leads to repeated disappointments and grief. And most of the misery of BPD can be understood as the reactions to the myriad of failed relationships at all levels. Sooner rather than later, you feel rejected by everyone: parents, siblings, friends, lovers, your children.

   And of course, there is the issue of blame. Whose fault is it? If no-one loves you, you must be horrible, and need to be punished. So, you get deep depression, self-harming behaviours, and substance abuse to drown out the pain.

   And often it is easier to blame the other person. So, you may have feelings of rage, and repel the very people who are trying to be there for you.

   The first line of defence is to realise, if only intellectually, that the person you love at this moment has faults, and this is fine. No-one needs to be perfect. You need to realise that a person is not a set of behaviours. What people do is not what they are. So, if a loved person does something you dislike, this does NOT say anything bad about either of you. It is neither a failure nor a rejection.

   It will take years, and probably outside help, but if you practice this way of thinking, eventually it will become habitual, and feel natural. You will have conquered BPD. Others have done it, and so can you.

   Do expect the change to take years. After all, it takes years for children in normal circumstances, and they are at the 'natural' stage of their lives for doing this learning.

   BPD is on the increase. Nor is this surprising. All too many kids are being raised by TV, with its artificial, damaging messages. Some children spend more time watching a screen than interacting with humans! And, in the last couple of generations, the nuclear family, already way too small, has been disintegrating. Now, more than half of marriages end in divorce, and this doesn't count de facto relationships. There never is a family breakup without pain for all concerned.

   We need to return to a lifestyle ruled by human considerations, living together, for each other. If the dollar is in the way, re-engineer your life to reduce your requirements. And the social unit for raising children should be expanded once more. This is not a question of who has sex with whom, but of providing children with role models, loving adults who spend time with them.


Is coconut oil bad for you?

This press release was circulated on one of my lists, with a request to spread it. Makes you think...

   AMERICAN SOYBEAN ASSOCIATION -- HEALTH SCARES AND SMEAR CAMPAIGNS One of the most striking things about the pro-GM propaganda campaign is the frequency with which GM proponents accuse the critics of precisely the behaviour they themselves engage in!

   Here's a beautiful example. The American Soybean Association (ASA) has been at the forefront of those who, with the help of millions of dollars from Monsanto and others, have vociferously complained about the threat to US exports from an "anti-biotech" campaign that ASA's Technical Director, Kimball Nill, has characterised as made up of "unsubstantiated" and "untrue and deliberately misleading" assertions.

   It's interesting, then, to read recent articles about the way that ASA has promoted US soybean exports at the expense of tropical crops via a long standing "smear campaign" that has generated "negative publicity since the mid-1980s". Oh yes, and it involves health scares!

   The articles tell how the American Soybean Association (ASA) has led a continued negative campaign against coconut oil that has displaced 70,000 coconut farmers and resulted in an economic loss of $1.4 billion of the coconut industry over the last 20 years.

   The Philippine Coconut Oil Producers Association, Inc. (PCOPA) disputes claims by ASA that tropical oils containing saturated fats are unhealthy, while those rich in polyunsaturated are much healthier.

   They point out that research has linked polyunsaturated fat to cancer and other problems. Tropical oils like coconut oil have been shown to be safe and beneficial.

   Modern research has shown that not all saturated fats are alike and that fatty acids in coconut oil, the medium chain triglycerides, do not raise serum cholesterol or contribute to heart disease but are in fact very healthy. PCOPA said that contrary to conventional belief, saturated fats are in fact beneficial in many ways.

   GM WATCH comment: Many health professionals are now recommending that people cook with coconut oil, as research shows beneficial effects. See details of peer-reviewed studies on coconut oil at http://www.coconutoil.com/peer_reviewed.htm and some gruesome info about soy, including links to studies. Also look at this.


Free Trade

thoughts from a Wombat

John is the convenor and main spirit of the email group 'wombats at Yahoogroups.com' (go to http://groups.yahoo.com and search for 'Wombats'). Here is one of his thought-provoking and amusing raves:

   I have made here a few notes for y'all about the ongoing influence of "free trade" (a.k.a. neoliberalisation) on the sheep-farming and wool-making industries in the land of Aus. Some of this info is PR from a man who is with Western Wool industries, who was one of the founders of the wool mill in Parkes, NSW.

   The Parkes plant has now closed, as have most of the "value-adding" woollen plants. I know Parkes a fair bit and have been through there often. The plant had been cutting production time from six to five to four days per week, so the workers no doubt sensed the end was near some weeks before they got Final Notice. Now many are retrenched, about 150 I think. So what will they do? The old mill has shut down and for a few of the older men at least it is possibly the only job they know; and might have been the only work they have done? Can they retrain?

   To find work it seems that many, maybe even most, of these displaced Parkes workers are currently thinking they will have to emigrate from Parkes.

   China is the logical place for the wool industry to move to. Australian workers haven't got even the proverbial snowflake's chance in Hell of directly competing with those in China (no matter how much Howard and his mates succeed in stripping away worker rights and benefits). Labour there in China is as cheap as 80 c/hour. Also, Chinese industry is not unduly hampered with 'oppressive' safety regulations and in many respects is "free-er" than industry here (in the sense of being less 'saddled' with 'regulations').

   Possibly they also don't have to worry about "Greenhouse gases" in any way either? Although I am not certain at to what treaties, if any, they are party to on that score.

   Nobody in Australia is still willing to work for 80 c/hour. Many will work for say $10 an hour (a nice 'round figure' still), and some might go as low as $7 an hour I'd guess -- but I know no human myself in Aus who'd go as low as below $1 an hour. I would possibly not bother working for that and I'm just a wombat. I don't know about Bob but likely he wouldn't work for 80 cents an hour either?

   But it gets *worse* ... For to actually "beat" them (if you believe in all this 'competition' and 'excellence' stuff we are constantly fed by the pollies) then we would really need to work for LESS than 80 c/hour.

   Some of the Parkes workers, as I have heard, have estimated that to regain the competitive edge on what the neoliberalised world calls the "level playing field" would require them to undercut China and work for 50 c/hour. Quite clearly it's just not going to happen, is it!?

   What do you think is going to happen?

   I think that instead of Australians going on being prepared to work for less, what will happen is that the Australian wool plants will continue to close; much the same has happened to our heavy manufacturing and steel industries.

   On the "positive" side, as Pat Byrne of Western Wool has noted on TV, the cheap Chinese factory takeover of the wool industry might actually mean that woollen products will start to re-appear back in all our stores as 'affordable' once again. Maybe this will be good for the future of woollen garment production overall (and hence sheep farming per se is not under grave threat).

   So I guess there are always two sides to every coin, or the 'opposite' can also be true if we look for it. So Australia will still be riding on the sheep's backs for a while yet. The wool industry is by no means entirely doomed.

   In fact sheep here in Aus are not as endangered as wombats are.

   I wish Parkes the best of luck, but also fear that it is more than likely that the whole 150 jobs cannot be locally replaced. If so, then Parkes area population will not be sustainable and some will drift over eastwards to the ever-swelling seaboard populations. "Greater Sydney" (limited westwards only by the Blue Mountains) is the main centre of growth (although also Central Coast and Maitland have been booming in their growth over recent years), swelling in this manner from new arrivals - by something like an extra thousand or more hopefuls every week/month(?) (I forget exact figure - but I did see some stats on this a few months back and it sure was a large growth rate). At the moment Sydney seems to be the unchallenged golden metropolis of people's dreams. Here everyone thinks they will find work. But this may be a bit like everyone who goes to Hollywood thinking they will be a film star.


Writing

The Hook
Free book promotion advice
Present tense and first person

The Hook

   'The Start of Magic' was the first book I wrote that I felt was a story that could take the world by storm. I knew it had best-seller potential, and I dreamt of the 'Stories of the Ehvelen' being up there with the dragons of Pern and the Belgariad.

   That was in 1995.

   Since then, this book and its sequels have received many fine reviews, and have made a trickle of sales. Mixed in with these were lukewarm reactions; not exactly negative, but worse: uninterested.

   There are two possible ways of using this feedback. One is to say, 'Oh well, tastes differ, you can't please everyone.' The other is to ask 'Why? What can I do about it?'

   After years of the first, easy option, I have changed to the second one. I've done 'crit swaps' with a number of writers whose work I respect, and who were willing to give an honest opinion, and have identified the problem.

   One of my strong motivations during the writing of this book was to establish a realistic background for it, to make it seem real and therefore compelling.

   In fact, what I managed was to distance the reader from the story and its people. By presenting my heroine Heather through the eyes of her descendants 1500 years later, I put a filter between the reader and her sufferings, challenges and achievements.

   So, now I am rewriting. As Tracy Cooper-Posey explained in a previous issue, the perfect start for a story is to place your hero in the worst possible situation. Start with a bang. This is what I am doing in the new version of Heather's story.

   Fashions of writing change. TV and the movies have made the public expect instant excitement. Charles Dickens and Tolkien could start slowly. I remember having to read the Forsythe Saga as a school project, and was bored by the first two books. The tension came in the third volume! We do it differently, and in my opinion, a lot better. The first sentence is a HOOK. By the end of the first paragraph, the reader needs to feel that this is exciting (not just interesting or even intriguing). By the end of the first page, there needs to be a compulsion to read on, in order to find out how the characters will handle their terrible situation. Then, THEN, we can color the story in.

   Here is the new start. Let me know what you think of it:

   Do you want to know what happened next?


Authors Share Their Book Marketing Expertise With Web Visitors -- For Free
from Francine Silverman

   The book industry reports that 78% of the titles published come from small/self-publishers. With combined annual revenues of less than $50 million, these publishers have limited publicity budgets and their authors are expected to do their own promotion. Where can they turn and learn?

   Now authors with books to promote may ask questions of nearly 150 author experts whose specialties run the gamut from romance to foot surgery.

   Assembled from the thousands of subscribers to Book Promotion Newsletter, the experts include authors, editors, book reviewers, book coaches, ghostwriters, publicists and publishers.

   This free service is hosted by Maureen McMahon at http://www.maureenmcmahon.com, author of romantic suspense novels, Return of the Gulls, Shadows In the Mists and others, and Francine Silverman, author of Book Marketing from A-Z (Infinity Publishing 2005), a compilation of the best marketing strategies of 325 authors. http://www.bookpromotionnewsletter.com.

   The "Ask the Experts" link is on the left side of Maureen's Moonspinners Writer's Page, http://www.maureenmcmahon.com. Once at the Expert Side, visitors may ask a book marketing question of any of the experts. Responses will be emailed back to the inquirer within 3-5 working days.

   Lemon Drops Press is also hosting a bulletin board in which visitors may ask book marketing questions at http://lemondropspress.com/phpBB2. Both registered users and anonymous guests can post questions by clicking on "Marketing with Fran" in the community forum and then on "new topic" on the new page that opens. There are fields for a username, subject, and message, as well as a selection of fonts and emoticons (expressive faces). When finished, the user simply clicks the "submit" button and his or her question is posted. After Fran posts a reply on the forum, the person who asked the question as well as all other visitors to the Lemon Drops Press website will be able to view both the question and the response. "In this way," says host Lana Jordan, "the entire community benefits from the individual questions."


Present Tense and First Person
by Jeanne Gassman

Recently a controversy flared on one of my lists concerning the use or avoidance of these devices. Jeanne's post was so excellent that I asked her pemission to reproduce:

   To say that an author should never use present tense or write a story in the first person is both arbitrary and capricious. Both of these forms are accepted (and published regularly) in modern fiction, but they both have some serious limitations--especially for the inexperienced author.

   I'll start with the issue of writing in the present tense. The use of present tense in fiction actually goes back to the early 20th century when writers first began experimenting with form. In fact, I believe Virginia Woolf wrote in the present tense. However, it's vital that an author who wants to write in the present tense fully understands its effect on the reader. Present tense creates the illusion of immediacy, the sense that everything is happening now. This can produce a fair amount of tension in a story. It can also be exhausting for the reader. If everything is happening "right now," the reader begins to feel as though he is being pushed through a story at an increasingly rapid pace. It puts a demand on the reader to give every event equal importance. It removes that level of distance that reader may need to ruminate over plot or character development, something that is easier to do when the story is in the past tense.

   The use of present tense can be quite effective in high-tension genres such as suspense or action/thriller. It also works well in some simple children's stories. Present tense is not appropriate for the more leisurely generational saga, fantasy, and romance. You will also find many, many literary short stories written in the present tense. Finally, you can use present tense as a means to set apart a particular scene, such as a dream or hallucination. In my experience, the most common problem I see with stories written in the present tense is "tense slippage," a situation where the author falls back into the past tense for a sentence or two without being aware of the shift.

   There are plenty of first person novels published every year. I would hesitate to tell anyone not to write his book in the first person because it will be rejected out of hand. That simply isn't true. It is true, however, that some editors and agents are wary of the first person novel. Perhaps the main reason for their caution is that many first books written in the first person are highly autobiographical. If an editor or agent sees a book come across their desk written in the first person by a previously unpublished author, most of them will suspect that the story may be more memoir than fiction. The other big problem with first person is its limitation in viewpoint. You must tell the entire story from your narrator's viewpoint. If that narrator is unreliable or a liar, your reader will come to distrust the truth of your story. If your narrator is not present at a major plot event, then you have to devise a plausible reason for the narrator to know what happened. The first person viewpoint is the most intimate of all the viewpoints in storytelling. The use of first person requires that the author create a narrator who is likable, engaging, easy to understand, and complex enough to be interesting enough to listen to for an entire novel.

   Write your novel in whatever viewpoint or tense you feel works best for the story. But do be aware of the limitations and demands of your choice, and do be prepared to accept valid criticism if the technique simply doesn't work.

Jeanne Lyet Gassman is an award-winning author whose fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry have been published in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. In 2002, she received an Encouragement Award in Creative Writing from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Jeanne also teaches writing classes and workshops in the Phoenix metropolitan area.


On 'Flaming'

I belong to a writers' list that used to be pleasant, mutually helpful, full of fun and interest. Within the last couple of months, things have disintegrated, with a few posters holding a public no-holds-barred verbal fight. And anyone not in the original conflict could get abused simply by saying something about it. Here is my response. I am pleased to say that since I sent it to the list, things seem to have calmed down a little. There is only one person who still feels it necessary to abuse others. If I was the list convenor, I'd ban him. I don't have that power, but I do have a 'delete' button.

   I belong to over 40 email lists. Many of them have a firm rule against 'flaming', and with good reason. What has been happening here over the past few weeks is ample illustration of why flaming should be banned. Some days, I've received over 75 messages, with very few of them having anything to do with the purposes of the list. 'Flaming' is writing something about another list member that the recipient may take to be derogatory.

   The message is unacceptable if it has upset or annoyed the recipient, even if the same message going the other way would have got no more than a laugh. If a recipient objects to the tone or wording of a message, the only proper response is an apology.

   This is because communication in writing is qualitatively different from face to face contact, or even speech over the telephone. Nonverbal cues are lacking.

   Since 100% of the message is carried by the written word, we need to treat that written word with care and finesse. That is what 'netiquette' is about.

   It is perfectly all right to disagree with another person, at any and every level. It is perfectly all right to attack the argument, question claims of fact, pick holes in logic.

   It is NOT all right to attack the person, question the sender's intelligence, or pick holes in a personality.

   If you disagree with my statement, say why. Do not say that my statement is stupid. And if you say that I am stupid for having made the statement, then you should not be allowed to post on a list.

   Let's take a specific example. If a person expresses Christian values, and religious topics are allowed on the list, it is perfectly reasonable for an atheist to disagree. The converse is also fine. However, it is NOT acceptable, or constructive, for the atheist to call the Christian sanctimonious, hypocritical, or any other such term. Whether the atheist believes these to be true or not is immaterial.

   Specifically, some of the participants in recent debates sent public messages addressed to me that they would simply not say to me face to face. This is because five minutes in my company would give them an impression of my personality and capabilities that would make it unthinkable for them to do so. I don't know the other recipients of abuse, but the same may well be true for them too.

   In any case, it is a simple matter of human decency to treat other people with respect. This applies even to people who may appear to you to be simple-minded, ridiculous, or inferior to your no doubt perfect self.


Welcome to the Fly-Over Zone

by Cindy Appel

   I have to admit to how pleased and fascinated I am whenever I meet someone from the other side of the planet living in the smack dab middle of this country.

   After all, if the only American TV you ever watched came out of Hollyweird or Nuh Yawk City, you might conclude that nothing and nobody of any consequence exists between the East and West Coasts of North America. Folks at the major TV networks seem to enjoy dropping none-too-subtle hints that the only important cities, universities and cultural events occur along their skinny strip of land hugging the ocean.

   Only hayseeds, hicks, hillbillies and Hoosiers dwell in the middle of the continent, we've been lead to believe by our media. These quaint ethnic groups, of course, hold no sway over important matters happening back East with one exception--the last presidential election. Then somehow millions of us sprang up like invading locusts from the dustbowl, the prairies and the pure mountain streams fully grown. And we boldly voted against the candidates the movie and TV stars wanted us to vote into office.

   Who'd have thunk it possible? It's like we "hicks" have minds of our own!

   Well, I've got news for snobby coastal folks. We exist. And in spite of your put-downs and plain ol' ignoring us, other people in the world know we exist, too.

   My daughter's college roommate this year is from Japan. Obviously, people in Japan know that the University of Evansville exists. Obviously, they're not totally put out by sending their scholars to Indiana for a year to take an intensive English language course.

   I'm sure there are colleges with similar courses in New York and California, but why bother? Japanese students can listen to these American accents on TV and in the movies. If the Japanese want to learn to really speak with Americans--I mean really converse and communicate and come to know our culture--they need to learn more about how those who dwell in the middle of the country speak. They know they need to stop and stay a while in the heart of this great nation.

   Talking with recent immigrants, I am seldom surprised that they had no idea where St. Louis was when the UN refugee commission and the US government told them they were coming to live here. Most had heard of Chicago and New York and Los Angeles (along with Disney World and Hawaii) but very few actually realized exactly where St. Louis was before they hopped on the plane.

   While they're learning English as a Second Language or studying for their citizenship test, I like to quiz my students on US geography.

   "Where do you live now?" I spread a map of the US across the table in front of them. "Can you point to the spot?"

   Sometimes they can. Other times, they can't. I tell them they live on the big bump in the halfway point of the Mississippi River where the Missouri rushes in to meet it. I tell them they're living smack dab in the middle of the country. I tell them it's where all the people of any consequence live. I tell them to forget about the coastlines, the true spirit of America exists in the center of the continent.

   I know saying things like this probably won't make me many friends from upscale places like Beverly Hills or Manhattan, but do I care? They call where the majority of us live and work the "Fly-Over Zone". They close their eyes and forget we're here while jet-setting from NY to LA.

   Frankly, can you take anyone seriously who comes from a city that goes by its initials? I know I can't.

   Welcome to the "Fly-Over Zone" Junko and all the other international exchange students at U.E. We're glad you found us. Sit and rest a spell and we'll show you what it's like to live in the real America you seldom see on TV.

   Cynthianna Appel has published four light-hearted contemporary romances. Cindy's writer's resource The Slush Pile Survival Guide contains practical wisdom learned from working as a manuscript evaluator. Her articles and essays have appeared in over forty publications. Her web site is http://pages.sbcglobal.net/cynthianna or email her at cynthianna@hotmail.com.


What my friends want you to know

Writers' festival in Bali
Connie Gotsch
Raffle results--students benefit
Carolyn's poetry book published, and at TRI Studio
Ann Herrick
Writer's Diary
New low cost rural land share co-operative seeking members
Naragebup workshops in Sustainable Living

Between Worlds -- Ubud Readers and Writers Festival
Bali, Indonesia 6-11 October 2005

Michael Ondaatje   The lush Balinese mountain village of Ubud, home to one of the world's richest cultures, will host the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival from 6 to 11 October 2005. Ubud combines unique traditions, magnificent scenery, warm climate and hospitality. This year’s dynamic program includes discussions, debates, lunches, workshops, panels, theatre, dance and jazz. This year’s Festival brings together some of the world’s most exciting writers from 15 countries, especially the South East Asia region. Michael Ondaatje, Booker Prize winning author of The English Patient will reveal his magical prose and poetry in a discussion of his life and work. There will be many writers from South East Asian countries and a strong representation from Australia including Susan Kurosawa, travel editor of The Australian newspaper.

   There’s something for many styles and genres of writing: novels, poetry, zines, plays, film, hip hop, song lyrics and journalism. There will be sessions on publishing, editing, erotica, writing for teens, food, travel writing, activism, religion, culture, language and much more.

   On the website you will also find the full program, guest list, articles and the photo gallery.

   The Festival has been organised by the non-profit Saraswati Foundation for the Arts.

For more information:
Hal Judge
Media Adviser (International)
Email: halinubud@yahoo.com.
mobile 0412 661929


Reviewer Gets Reviewed

   New Mexico writer Connie Gotsch is used to submitting reviews to Midwest Book Review.com. Now her latest e-novel, Snap Me a Future, is reviewed in ScribeandQuill.com's most recent issue, June, 2005.

   A cross between a romance, a cozy mystery and a psychological thriller, Snap Me a Future tells the story of a woman facing and conquoring her worst fears.

   Snap Me a Future won second place for Full-Length Fiction in the 2005 New Mexico Press Women's Communication Contest. It is available from dlsijpress.com for $6.95.

   To read Scribe and Quills review of Snap Me a Future, go to http://www.scribequill.com . To read Gotsch's reviews go to www.midwestbookreview.com.

   To get Snap Me a Future, visit www.authorsden.com/conniegotsch, or http://dlsijpress.com. For an author media kit, e-mail conniegotsch@authorsden.com.


Winners for the TRI Studio Authors’ RAFFLE are Chosen
Proceeds Benefit LA City College Students

   Eleven winners have been selected for the TRI Studio Authors’ raffle, which ended on July 15, 2005. Checks totaling $285 were sent to the California Community College Foundation with proceeds to benefit LA City College students enrolled in writing programs. The funds will be dispersed in an awards ceremony by Alexandra Maeck, head of the English and ESL departments. The LA Community College administrators have extended their appreciation.

   The winners are listed below and in order of their winning status. They will select from fifty-three prizes donated by nineteen different authors and eight restaurateurs. Winners will choose in round robin style, starting with #1, the first place winner. Each winner will pick a total of five prizes from the prize list and will have three days to make their selections after being notified by email and phone, if provided. The eleventh and final winner will receive the three remaining prizes. The winners with their scheduled time slots are:
1. Esther Cohn-Vargas of El Sobrante, CA – August 5 through August 7
2. Cheryl McCann of Raleigh, North Carolina– August 8 through August 10
3. Jeff McIntrye of Calabasas, CA – August 10 through August 13
4. Mirja Hirst of Torrance, CA – August 14 through August 16
5. James Cobb of Tucson, AZ– August 17 through August 19
6. Mary O’Hare of Toluca Lake, CA – August 20 through August 22
7. Linda Jefferies of Lehi, UT – August 23 through August 25
8. Marguerite Lara from Gardena, CA – August 26 through August 29
9. Pat Campe of Sherman Oaks, CA – August 30 to September 1
10. Pam Lamont – September 2 through September 4
11. Tatiana Danby from Compton, CA – September 5 through September 7

   For further details, visit http://www.TRI-Studio.com and click on RAFFLE.


Carlyn Howard-Johnson's poetry book is out; She is featured poet at TRI studio

   TRI Studio LLC announces the renowned novelist and poet, Carolyn Howard-Johnson as the first Featured Poet for the site. Finishing Line Press has signed this award-winning novelist for her first chapbook of poetry, Tracings, to be released in the fall of 2005. Tracings will touch chords--both major and minor--for readers interested in nostalgia, tolerance, culture and aging. The author traces her life's experiences, which for her feels like "a movie reel running backwards." Howard-Johnson's poetry has appeared in literary journals such as the Mochila Review, Banyan Review and Poetic Voices, as well as a variety of journals and magazines, both print and online. One of her poems won The Pedestal Magazine's first annual Readers' Award. Her poetry has also been honored by Long Story Short.

   The author's first novel, This is the Place, has won eight awards. Her book of creative nonfiction has won three. Her fiction, nonfiction and poems have appeared in national magazines, anthologies and review journals. She speaks on Utah's culture, tolerance and other subjects and has appeared on TV and hundreds of radio stations nationwide. She is an instructor for UCLA Extension's Writers' Program and has shared her expertise on publishing and writing at venues such as San Diego State's world renowned Writers' Conference and Call to Arts! EXPO. She was recently awarded Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by the California Legislature. Her how-to book, THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER won USA Book News' "Best Professional Book 2004".

   TRI Studio is an authors' coalition writing for a number of publishers and ezines. Members include Kathe Gogolewski, author of TATO, a middle grade fantasy adventure published by Wings Press, Ann Durand, author of A Promise to Keep, a romantic suspense published by Double Dragon Publishing and Ray Grant, author of short stories and flash fiction. Interested poets are invited to submit their work for consideration as a TRI Studio Featured Poet by emailing AnnDurand@TRI-STudio.com.


Ann Herrick

   Ann Herrick's award-winning YA novel, The Perfect Guy, recently re-issued by Hard Shell Word Factory, has just received this review from Roundtable Reviews.

EXCERPT:

   "...I would classify THE PERFECT GUY as chick lit for teens. The book is well written and holds the reader’s interest from beginning to end. I didn’t see the conclusion coming until it hit me. Ann Herrick offers a great ending to Rebecca's story! "
Reviewed By Robert H. Goss

   For more information about The Perfect Guy, visit: http://ann.herrick.home.att.net/mybooks/bk_newperfect.htm


A new Writer's Diary

   I thought you might be interested in The Writers' Diary. Leah in the Kapunda Writers group has this very exciting and innovative project nearing completion. The covers are laminated and green with a full colour painting of rolled hay bales in the countryside.

   I've been working with Leah on this project and can recommend the diary to any writer...

   Each week has a writing exercise, plus writing tips and expert tips, plus 'record-keeping' facilities at the end of the diary (financial records, submission records, etc.)

   Please feel free to pass on this email/news about the diary. We are taking advance orders as of now...

Cheers,
Gillian.

Details from Leah Aplin leahapln@aol.com.


New low cost rural land share co-operative seeking members

   Mail: PO Box 64 Crescent Head NSW 2440 Australia. Phone: Tony on 02-6566-0890. Email: permaculture1@planet-save.com
More info

   A new low cost rural land sharing co-operative is being established on the mid-north coast of NSW between the Port Macquarie and Crescent Head for people of all ages with a common interest in conservation.

   The proposed co-operative will own in excess of 200 ha. (570 acres) and each shareholder will have a site allotment of 0.5 ha. (1.2 acres) for their own house and garden.

   40 shares are now being sold in this exciting conservation project for $30,000 each. You can built your house on your acreage just a few kilometres from the coast, and its only $30,000.

   The land is about 4 km from such beautiful hideaway beaches as delicate Nobby's Beach and Point Plomer. Crescent Head is one of the best right hand long-board surf breaks in Australia. Port Macquarie has well established hospitals and shopping facilities.

   The land is surrounded by natural bush -- Limeburners Nature Reserve and SEPP 14 wetlands to the east and other sympathetic properties to the north and west.

   The Co-operative is being established under the NSW "State Environmental Planning Policy No 15 -- Rural Landsharing Communities" which allows local councils to approve of multiple occupancy of rural land.

   The Rules of the Co-operative include: No cats or dogs, no weapons, no pollution of land, water or air, and protection of wildlife.

   A common ground with community building(s) and a 'primitive' camping ground will be the central point with clusters of separate hamlets or villages.

   The common interests of conservation and community cooperation makes these low cost rural landsharing co-operatives a great alternative to commercial sub-division living.


Naragebup workshops in Sustainable Living

   Fabulous range of short, affordable workshops on many aspects of Sustainable Living, including Permaculture, greywater, chooks, energy, money, health and more! Latest workshops brochure is available from the education section of our website. Book by phone, fax, email, post (brochure), or by calling in to the Centre. Naragebup, the Rockingham Regional Environment Centre, is an award winning not-for-profit organisation located in Rockingham, WA (southwest outer metro area of Perth).


Book reviews

The complete being: addendum
Cancer: A personal challenge reviewed by Charlene Austin
and by Lillian Cauldwell
Thicker than Blood
Earth Garden Building Book reviewed by Murray Hollis

The Complete Being

   In the last issue, I reviewed Tami Bradi's book. She sent me details of the book, and a few words about herself, but too late to be included, so here they are:

It is available at EbooksAd and CyberRead.
ISBN: 0-9738599-0-3; Price: $8.95.

Tami Brady
Co-Dean: School of Religion and Spirituality, Suite University http://www.suite101.com/suiteu/school.cfm/16647
Community Manager: History & Government Community, Suite 101 http://www.suite101.com/historycenter/
Author of The Complete Being http://trbrady.esmartdesign.com/


Cancer: A personal challenge
reviewed by Charlene Austin

Cancer: A Personal Challenge
Edited by Bob Rich, Ph.D., MAPS, AASH
Published by Anina's Book Company
ISBN: 1-877-053-11-2
Trade Paperback 202 pages $20.00
Electronic version $7.50
http://anxietyanddepression-help.com/cancerbook.html
Available through Booksurge

   Cancer, a creeping, growing, silent shadow, an indiscriminate killer that stalks without soul. It follows no rules, leaves devastation in its path. Dr. Bob Rich has gathered a team of experts. Experts whose knowledge comes from study and research, battle scarred veterans who have fought the beast from within, and those who fought beside them. Scientists, doctors, teachers, researchers, survivors, and those left behind share knowledge, information, resources, battle strategies and techniques, stories, and support in "Cancer: A Personal Challenge."

   "Slow Dance" a poem from a terminally ill child, a fictional story here and there, personal stories of battles to survive the beast and the devastation and loss it leaves in its wake are sprinkled through the chapters of information and resources to assist you in making informed decisions and research into strategies to help build healthy life choice defences against attack, and to build your own plans of attack. Motivation, inner healing power, determination, attitude, diet and life style changes, counselling and spiritual care, medical treatment options, nursing and therapies, all are explored, explained and addressed in easily understood language.

   "Cancer: A Personal Challenge" offers no one answer, but it does offer many. And in a time when our technology and lifestyles feed and fuel the growth of this threat to humanity, knowledge, information, resources and support offer the best defence. This book explores the physical, mental, and spiritual challenges of this demon destroyer, and it offers strategies and techniques to develop your "power of three" into a weapon of strength. Professionals who study and battle and treat it, explore and explain causes and treatments and techniques. Sufferers and survivors, care providers, family and friends share their stories, their pain, their loss, their hope. This book is for everyone, everyone who studies, treats, suffers, battles, and everyone who cares.

Char is the leading light of several writers' lists I subscribe to. Go to Topica and to a search for 'Writing Road' to find us. She was raised in Zion National Park, and now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with five of her grandchildren. A medical office manager, Char has been writing since she was eleven. She has published several poems and short stories and completed a paranormal mystery novel, Dream Pictures.


Cancer: A personal challenge
reviewed by Lillian Cauldwell

Cancer: A Personal Challenge, edited by Bob Rich, Ph.D.

   Cancer is frightening. Dealing with it doesn't have to be. In 'Cancer: A Personal Challenge', individuals share their stories and experiences about handling cancer themselves, or how their loved ones handled it. Cancer is a devastating disease, but it doesn't have to rob an individual of their dignity, self-respect, living conditions, and getting on with their lives unless the individual gives in to the disease and the pain.

    'Cancer: A Personal Challenge' isn't just a testimonial to those who survived the disease, but provides information and instruction on how to prevent and work with the cancer once the individual is diagnosed with it. Knowledge is power. Power over the disease is learning how to overcome the pain and even slow down the growth of the cancer cells. Breathing techniques, chronic pain and self-hypnosis exercises are provided for those individuals interested in improving and extending the quality and length of their lives with cancer -- from their chronic pain -- from their disabilities -- from any illness that lessens your life expectancy.

   I recommend 'Cancer: A Personal Challenge', edited by Bob Rich, Ph.D. to everyone who has a family member, friend or even an enemy with cancer, or who cares for an individual with cancer. The book is especially for an individual diagnosed with cancer. It is never too late.

Lillian Cauldwell

Lillian Cauldwell is the author of SACRED HONOR -- American Historical Speculative Fiction, Spanning the centuries from 1774 to 2276. She also hosts her radio show. She has lost loved relatives to cancer, and has found the book helpful for her own pain-related problems.


Thicker Than Blood
by Penny Rudolph

Poisoned Pen, $24.95

This review was published in the Chicago Tribune, June 12 2005. Reproduced by permission.

   Imagine the basic theme of "Chinatown" the plundering of an area's water rights with a troubled modern woman who runs a parking garage in downtown Los Angeles instead of a Jack Nicholson private eye, and you'll have some idea of the powerful mixture of ingredients in Penny Rudolph's fascinating new mystery, "Thicker Than Blood."

   Rachel Chavez, who survived a bout with drugs and drink when her mother died, has inherited from her grandfather a building across from the InterUrban Water District office, and most of that agency's employees park their cars there. When the pompous but attractive head of the agency is killed by a hit and run driver, Chavez is certain that the car involved belongs to the agency's fleet and is parked in her garage. She's afraid to go to the police because she doesn't want to lose the agency's business and because she served time in jail for drug possession. But when another agency official and Chavez's flaky, part time assistant are killed, she knows she has to start digging on her own.

   Rudolph gets it all right: the daily dirty work of running a small garage, the conflicting emotions of a woman trying to stay afloat and alive, the mixed motives of everyone from activists to bureaucrats. Water is what makes "Thicker Than Blood" an important social document. Here's hoping there are other kinds of clients near Chavez's garage, so she can come back soon and tell us their stories.

Dick Adler


Earth Garden Building Book
reviewed by Dr Murray Hollis

   The Earth Garden Building Book provides almost encyclopaedic detail for the owner-builder who wants to use any of a variety of techniques. It is particularly strong in the areas of mud brick and rammed earth construction, which is not surprising considering Bob Rich refers to himself as a "mudsmith". It is well written, easy reading, at times entertaining, sufficiently technical and the text is very well supported by excellent diagrams and photos.

   Although they deal in substantial depth with methods and materials for various alternative building methods (particularly mud brick, rammed earth, stone, and some straw bale), the real strength of the book is in the tricks of the trade, such as the essential elements of practical job layout and woodworking skills. There is a lot of detail, from timber joints, to the purpose, use and care of tools, to constructing a drystone wall; though, to keep things in perspective, they mention, for example, that "The apprenticeship of a stonemason in Britain is twelve years."

   Every owner-builder, even those with substantial experience, should get more than enough hints from this book to pay for it many times over in mistakes avoided, effective and efficient methods, etc. Whether you are building a house or pursuing a very small construction project, you should find it useful to consult this book. For tradespeople, the details of methods outside their specialty are likely to be of value.

   The book includes contributions from numerous other people on particular subjects-building blues, ant bed floors, mud bricks (cutting, puddling, mixing), straw bale, whitewash, bottle mosaics, splitting sandstone, etc. Although the authors have had plenty of practical experience to draw upon, clearly they recognise that they are not the experts in everything. They include a good 'Access Directory', bibliography and glossary, and it is well indexed. Mostly the book is about well-tried methods, rather than new innovations, but muddies should take note of "Bob's Bonza Brickmaker".

   The book covers every part of building from site layout and preparation to details of roof construction, with appropriate references to building codes, but sufficient technical detail is included in the book that there should be limited need to delve into the codes themselves.

   Every owner-builder should have this book handy. You will find this book to be a valuable guide, and it should become a well-thumbed reference book before your building project is finished.

Dr Murray Hollis has a background in physics, engineering and management in the university environment, and in recent years has developed new techniques of straw bale building and held numerous workshops. He also provides writing services to a wide variety of clients. He is the author of Practical Straw Bale Building, Landlinks Press, 2005.


Duck Tales

by James Choron

   If you have ever seen the Black and White version of "A Tale of Two Cities" you are familiar with the actor who played "Sidney Carton", the main character. His name was Ronald Coleman. In any case, Coleman had one of the most beautiful, resonant voices ever to grace stage or screen. If you have ever seen this motion picture, you know what I mean. His final lines are as unforgettable, now, as they were when he spoke them, over seventy years ago.

   Ronald Charles Colman was born at Richmond, Surrey, England on February 9, 1891. Height 5 feet 11 inches; dark brown hair and eyes; weight 158 pounds. He was, to put it mildly, one of the great stars of the Golden Age of motion pictures. He was raised in Ealing, the son of a successful silk merchant, and attended boarding school in Sussex, where he first discovered amateur theatre. He intended to attend Cambridge and become an engineer, but his father's death cost him the financil support necessary. He joined the London Scottish Regionals and at the outbreak of World War I was sent to France. Seriously wounded at the battle of Messines, he was invalided out of service scarcely two months after shipping out for France. Upon his recovery, tried to enter the consular service, but a chance encounter got him a small role in a London play. He dropped other plans and concentrated on the theatre and was rewarded with a succession of increasingly prominent parts. His early success in the film led to a contract with Samuel Goldwin and career as a Hollywood leading man was underway. He became a vastly popular star of silent films, in romances as well as adventure films. With the coming of sound, his extraordinarily beautiful speaking voice made him even more important to the film industry.

   Coleman was a longtime friend of Walt Disney. In the mid-fifties, he developed Parkinson's Disease. It eventually killed him. For the last several years of his life he was unable to work, due to the "palsy" that accompanies Parkinson's Disease. He had exhausted all the money he had in treatment, and was literally dying broke, with no way to pay his medical bills. Disney offered to pay all of it as a "loan", but he refused the charity, knowing that he was dying, and could never repay it.

   Disney then made a counter offer. He offered him a job. The man still had his beautiful, resonant voice...

   Disney made a cartoon especially for him. You may have seen it. It's a Donald Duck cartoon, in which Donald finds a box of pills on the street, which change his usual incomprehensible voice in to a beautiful, resonant baritone... It's the voice of Ronald Coleman...

   That was his last job...

   Coleman made just enough, and calculatedly so, to pay off the staggering medical bills that he had accumulated, and to pay for his funeral.

   Ronald Colman will live in the history of stage and screen. His face will remain an icon to those who study and appreciate classic film. But... to countless and endless generations of children, he wil be the faceless but unforgettable voice...albiet a temporary one... of a beloved duck.

Jim needs no introduction for regular readers of bobbing around. He is one of my most frequent contributors. Jim is an American journalist who has lived in Russia for many years. Before that, he lived in the USSR :) Much of his writing is designed to form a bridge between the two cultures.


The free contests keep coming

   I am pleased to be one of the featured authors in the Bookswelove.net newsletter, compiled by Maureen McMahon and circulated by Jude Morris. These ladies run http://www.bookswelove.net/. They hold an endless succession of contests with no entry fee and excellent prizes.

   The next contest:

   Books We Love's Autumn Harvest is in the form of a Scavenger Hunt to win a harvest of golden treasures, including Godiva Chocolates' "Golden Passion Chocolate Ballotin", "A 14K Gold Leaf Pendant on a 14K gold chain", an autographed copy of Katherine Smith's historical romance "Before An Autumn Wind", an autographed copy of Betty Sullivan-LaPierre's mystery, "Dirty Diamonds", an autographed copy of Marilyn Meredith's mystery "Final Respects", and an autographed copy of Betty Jo Schuler's romantic romp, "Male Wanted".

   To enter the contest you must complete a search through the Books We Love author mazes in order to earn contest entry vouchers. For example, the Romance Maze features the lines from Marsha Briscoe's sonnet, "Of Eros and Psyche". There are 14 lines in this sonnet and they have been hidden in Romance author guest books. You will receive one entry into the contest for every line of the sonnet you find. There are 9 mazes (Romance, Mystery, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Teens, Kids, Nonfiction, Westerns and Fantasy) You will earn one contest entry for every piece of any maze you complete. The Instructions for completing the Mazes will be posted on a link to the contest entry page on September 5th.

   You will find all contest information as well as the images by going to the Books We Love main page and clicking on the button that says: AUTUMN HARVEST.
 

   Here is what the Bookswelove newsletter says about me:

DR. BOB RICH:

Dr Bob Rich   Dr Bob Rich retired as a Research Scientist when he was 36, in 1979. He and his wife have chosen to live below the poverty line since, and have raised three wonderful children on next to nothing. They feel they live like royalty. And it all happened because he kept falling asleep in the University library...

   What Bob did with his time was to build his own house. It cost him $10,000 in materials, and nothing in labour. Now, 26 years later, it is still his favorite place in all the world: a good holiday is being able to stay at home.

   He can do this and get paid for it. Some money comes in from the sale of his books (13 published so far, 12 available), but the major source of the little money he needs is from editing. He works for several publishers, and a constant stream of writers. Two days a week he switches hats and becomes a psychologist, helping people to convert desperation to hope and personal power.

   His latest book, 'Cancer: A personal challenge' combines these fields of interest.


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.

   You may know someone who would enjoy reading my rave. Bobbing Around is being archived at http://mudsmith.net/bobbing.html, or you can forward a copy to your friend. However, you are NOT ALLOWED to pass on parts of the newsletter, without express permission of the article's author and the Editor (hey, the second one is me.)

   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.

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.

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