Bobbing Around

Volume Five, Number Nine
June 2006

Bob Rich's rave

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

 
*About Bobbing Around
  subscribe/unsubscribe.
  guidelines for contributions
*'Freedom' contest at Bookswelove
*Politics
  Where 'Mothers' Day' comes from
  Bird flu
*Conservation
  Energy: Keep it simple, stupid
  International Day of Action against Climate Change
  San Francisco to go solar
  Sue's easy guide to E.con
*Response to 'More watts for less';
  a new solar development,
  and solar roof tiles
*For writers:
  Who needs a comma, anyway?
  Will Greenway on sustaining tension
  seeing into all the heads
*When is a poem not a poem? the discussion continues
  Doug Arnold
  Tim Rowe
*For your interest...
  Darrell Bain writes about his early years, and announcing his newest book
  Ann Herrick's young adult novel is out
  Anne Maxwell High on American-Australian differences
  New paranormal romance by CJ Winters
  'Flashes in the Pan' anthology by Raymond Grant
  A diary for writers
*Philosophy: the donkey
*Counselling
  The first session
  Youth suicide -- why?
  First aid for depression
*Thank you from a whale
*Book reviews
  'Climate Change: Turning up the heat' by Barrie Pittock
  'Striking Back From Down Under' reviewed by Gloria Oliver
*In loving memory of: a touching story from James Choron

   An elder Cherokee chief took his grandchildren into the forest and sat them down and said to them, "A fight is going on inside me. This is a terrible fight and it is a fight between two wolves. One wolf is the wolf of fear, anger, arrogance and greed. The other wolf is the wolf of courage, kindness, humility and love." The children were very quiet and listening to their grandfather with both their ears. He then said to them, "This same fight between the two wolves that is going on inside of me is going on inside of you, and inside every person." They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked the chief, "Grandfather, which wolf will win the fight?" He said quietly, "The one you feed." (Sent by Michael Larocca; Author Unknown)


   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.


   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.

Helen Caldicott: Depleted is uranium. Depleted uranium IS just named depleted because when you dig uranium up from the ground there are basically two isotopes. They are both radioactive; one is uranium 235, which is used to power nuclear power plants and to make nuclear bombs, and the stuff that is left after you remove the uranium 235 is uranium 238 and it's called depleted only because it's depleted of uranium 235.

Never heard of depleted uranium? You MUST read this and this.


Personal snippets

   Best selling electronic author Darrell Bain sent this to me:

   "The next time you read a good book, give a little bit of thanks to the editor. He or she probably almost certainly contributed to your enjoyment. Just a note here: Savage Survival is my highest rated book. It’s also the one where I felt the editor did a particularly good job." You see, I edited this book for Twilight Times Books, who are issuing it as a paperback. Without doubt, it's the best book Darrell has written to date.

   Later, he wrote in his newsletter: "In the meantime, I’ve just finished editing the print version of SHADOW WORLDS. It’s been out as an E-book for a year or so now. The print version will come out later this year. Dr. Bob Rich was the editor for this book, as he was for SAVAGE SURVIVAL. He is the best editor I’ve run across in the E-book and small press publication field, and those of my books he’s done are much better because of his efforts. Whenever I draw him for an editor, it always makes me wish all the small pubs could afford editors of his caliber."

   A lady named Aniko wrote from Holland: "I've decided to contact you. It took a while, although the reason is quite simple. I've been surfing on the Internet a few weeks ago and found the book called: Aniko (the stranger who loved me). I've read about it, I've also read a part of the first chapter and it touched my heart. I've placed the link to "my favourites" and came back to it time to time. Now I'm here, trying to write you an e-mail, hoping that I don't disturb you. Fact is: I am very interested in your book. I would like to find out, how I could order one, under which circumstances. Since I live in the Netherlands right now, it could be a bit complicated and quite expensive, but I'll try to deal with it. I hope you can provide me some ininformation about the above question. I am interested in the paper based version, not in the e-book. I'm quite old-fashioned in that sense. I love books." She has received her autographed copy.

Announcing the contest winner

   I ran a contest in the last issue: one buyer of my book Woodworking For Idiots Like Me was to win an autographed paper copy of Anikó: The stranger who loved me. The winner is Karyn Robinson of Caringbah, NSW, Australia. She has received her book too.

Politics

Where 'Mothers' Day' comes from
Bird flu

Where 'Mothers' Day' comes from

Mother's Day Proclamation
by Julia Ward Howe, 1870

   Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

   Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

   From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!"

   The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail & commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesars but of God.

   In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Biography of Julia Ward Howe

   US feminist, reformer and writer, Julia Ward Howe was born May 27, 1819 in New York City. She married Samuel Gridley Howe of Boston, a physician and social reformer. After the Civil War, she campaigned for women's rights, anti-slavery, equality, and for world peace. She published several volumes of poetry, travel books, and a play. She became the first woman to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1908. She was an ardent antislavery activist who wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic in 1862, sung to the tune of John Brown's Body. She wrote a biography in 1883 of Margaret Fuller, who was a prominent literary figure and a member of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Transcendentalists. She died in 1910.


Bird flu

I have not been able to either confirm or deny the claims of company ownership in the piece below. But even if it is urban myth, the truth beneath is valid. It is the way business works...

Do you know that 'bird flu' was discovered in Vietnam 9 years ago?

   Barely 100 people have died in the whole world in all that time.

   Do you know that it was the Americans who alerted us to the efficacy of the human antiviral TAMIFLU as a preventative?

   TAMIFLU barely alleviates some symptoms of the common flu. Its efficacy against the common flu is questioned by a great part of the scientific community. Against a SUPPOSED mutant virus such as H5N1, TAMIFLU barely alleviates the illness.

Do you know that to date Avian Flu affects birds only?

   Do you know who markets TAMIFLU?

ROCHE LABORATORIES.

   Do you know who bought the patent for TAMIFLU from ROCHE LABORATORIES in 1996?

GILEAD SCIENCES INC.

   Do you know who was the then president of GILEAD SCIENCES INC. and remains a major shareholder?

DONALD RUMSFELD, the present Secretary of Defence of the USA.

   The base of TAMIFLU is crushed aniseed. Do you know who controls 90% of the world's production of this tree?

ROCHE.

   Sales of TAMIFLU were over $254 million in 2004 and more than $1000 million in 2005.

So the summary of the story is as follows:

   Bush's friends decide that the medicine TAMIFLU is the solution for a pandemic that has not yet occurred and that has caused a hundred deaths worldwide in 9 years.

   This medicine doesn't so much as cure the common flu.

   In normal conditions, the virus does not affect humans.

   Rumsfeld buys the patent for TAMIFLU from ROCHE.

   Roche acquires 90% of the global production of crushed aniseed, the base for the antivirus.

   The governments of the entire world threaten a pandemic and then buy industrial quantities of the product from Roche.

   So we end up paying for medicine while Rumsfeld does the business.


Conservation

Energy: Keep it simple, stupid
International Day of Action against Climate Change
San Francisco to go solar
Sue's easy guide to E.con

Energy: Keep it simple, stupid

TechnologyCost/MW/hrSource
Nuclear$100 - $150CSIRO; UK House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee
Clean Coal (Geosequstration)$104International Energy Agency
Natural Gas$35 - $452004 Energy White Paper
Geothermal$40 - $70CSIRO; Geodynamics
Wind$55 - $802004 Energy White Paper
Energy Efficiency$0Council of Australian Governments
Coal$352004 Energy White Paper

   The full blooded debate on energy can be kept simple by looking at the costs of the different energy technologies.

   The Government has consistently said that while it wants to reduce emissions it won't introduce measures to increase the uptake of clean energy because of the cost to the economy.

   Yet at $150 MWh for nuclear power, $45 MWh for natural gas and $70 MWh for renewables the answer to affordable, low emission electricity is obvious.

   Australia has pursued silver bullets to climate change before. First it was hydrogen, and then it was clean coal -- now it is nuclear. In the meantime our emissions continue to spiral out of control.

   If the debate on climate change is over, as the Government claims, then the Government can no longer ignore existing, known technologies which are low cost and low emission.

   Media contact: Richard Wise 03 9349 3077 or 0437 255 351


International Day of Action against Climate Change

   19 of the 20 hottest years on record have occurred since 1980. Islands in the South Pacific are already evacuating due to rising sea levels. Storms and hurricanes are growing more severe. Polar bears are drowning as their icy habitat breaks apart and drifts out to sea. Greenland and Antarctica are melting. Every day we spew more greenhouse gases burned from fossil fuels into the atmosphere; every day we are one step closer to what scientists refer to as "the tipping point," on the verge of catastrophic and irreversible climate chaos.

   On July 15th, the "Group of 8" (G8) richest industrialized countries will gather in St. Petersburg, Russia, to plot their continued commodification and domination of the planet, this time under the banner of "Energy Security." A leaked G8 "Communique on Energy Security" calls for trillions of dollars in new investments in oil, gas and coal production worldwide, plus wide-scale global expansion of nuclear energy. With runaway climate change looming just over the horizon, such neoliberal business-as-usual poses a direct threat to the continuation of life on Earth as we know it. Resistance is self defense. The G8 agenda promotes petroleum-dependent "Energy Security" that pollutes our land and atmosphere, ravages poor and indigenous communities, and scorches the Earth's climate. Their recipe for disaster must be met with our global opposition!

   July 15th will be an International Day of Action Against Climate Change. As G8 energy ministers promise trillions in new subsidies to the industries destroying our planet and our future, we will take action to shut them down! This is a call for autonomous, decentralized actions appropriate for your town, city, or bioregion. Use this international day of action to support local struggles against oil refineries, gas pipelines, strip mines and coal-fired power plants. Disrupt the financial backers of the fossil fuel industry. Host teach-ins to spread sustainable post-petroleum living skills. Find a weak point in the infrastructure of resource exploitation and throw a literal or symbolic wrench in the works. Visit your local polluters and give 'em hell!

   The July 15th International Day of Action Against Climate Change is being mobilized by Rising Tide North America, a new network initiated in the US by the Earth First! Climate Caucus, with inspiration and support from the UK's vibrant Rising Tide direct action movement for climate justice and against climate change. Rising Tide North America is actively mobilizing July 15th actions in local bioregions, as well as reaching out to environmental justice, climate action and radical sustainability movements in all of the G8 countries plus the Global South.

   Rising Tide North America is building a large collection of outreach and agit-prop materials that can be used by groups around the continent (and the world) to organize locally. These materials will be downloadable from www.reclaimthecommons.net and from the website of Rising Tide North America (comin' soon).

   Join the Rising Tide North America network, and tell us about July 15th actions against climate change being planned in your community or bioregion! Contact us at efclimatecaucus@wildmail.com.

   Want more information and updates about July 15th international actions against climate change, plus news and links about additional global resistance against the 2006 G8 Summit from July 14th to 17th? Go to www.reclaimthecommons.net. Learn more about the global Rising Tide movement! Visit www.risingtide.org.uk and read "Rising Tide Takes the Helm: Mapping Strategies for Climate Justice" in May-June 2006 Earth First! Journal: http://reclaimthecommons.net/article.php?id=316.

As you will see from the language and punctuation, this was written by a much younger hand than mine. I am pleased that some young people have the intelligence to recognise the threat to their future, and the passion to strive for a better world.


San Francisco to go solar

May 16, 2006

   Mirror, mirror, on the Hall. San Francisco's City Hall that is. More than 300 activists joined me for a rally in front of City Hall yesterday, lighting it up with small mirrors to show our support for solar energy.

   That's because San Francisco is on the verge of building the largest municipal clean energy network in the world, and the city's mayor can make it happen.

   I don't have to tell you about skyrocketing energy prices or Bush's failure to address global warming. I'm here to tell you that we don't need President Bush anymore -- not with local leaders like Mayor Newsom stepping up to the challenge.

   And why should you care about what happens in San Francisco? Because this project won't just be the largest renewable energy system in the country -- it will be the largest in the WORLD, setting a precedent that every city, large or small, can follow.

   TAKE ACTION Thank Mayor Newsom for his courage and leadership in making San Francisco the world leader in renewable energy.

   No matter where you live, what happens now in San Francisco could change the future of renewable energy everywhere. That means less pollution, a step towards solving global warming, and lower energy costs.

   You don't have to shine your mirror on City Hall to express your support for renewable energy - just send a note to Mayor Newsom now.

   Just a minute of your time could literally change the world.

   For a clean energy future,

Samantha Rodgers
Greenpeace Energy Campaigner


Sue's easy guide to E.con

   Let me tell you about E.Con! No, not the Nigerian banking scam, but energy conservation. Every man and the proverbial canine knows we have to get down and dirty to save the planet (and ourselves) from certain destruction 'cause of global warming -- or do we? Do we need to go all primitive and give up the good things in life? Let's try another question.

   How many environmentalists does it take to change a light bulb? Haven't got enough fingers and toes I'm afraid! By the time we consider type of light(conventional, fluoro, compact fluoro, lcd,) embedded energy (manufacturing, transport, materials), energy source (coal, wind, solar, etc.) peak load (who's got what switched on when) it's faster to light a candle... embedded energy?)

   No wonder it leads to the "too hard basket" (plus sleepless nights plagued by visions of hellfire for the guilt ridden Irish Catholics among us). So ease up on the grey matter and try:

Sue's Definitive Guide to Easy E.con:

   Walk or WalK or WALK -- or use public transport/bike/carpool. www.pedalaustralia.org.au is fantastic -- highly recommend.

   Minimise consumption -- Do you really NEED it, will something else do, can you borrow or share it? On the rare occasion the dog gets a bath, we fill up the chook food bin for her (no correspondence re animal health/hygiene thanks), and our old BBQ and rubbish bin lid is now the bird bath. Check out street clearances/op shops/ the tip/EBay or www.freecycle.org. Buy new as a LAST RESORT and BUY LOCAL.

   Honey, I shrunk the living room! Yep, the most BASIX way to reduce energy and water consumption in housing is to BUILD A SMALLER HOUSE guys. Fewer initial materials, transport, land, plus ongoing savings. Use recycled/renewable low energy inputs and if you already live in a Mansion -- share it.

   Eat fresh local food, and less meat. Meat production ties up land, is very inefficient because food is first grown and transported to feed the meat we use as food (?), uses heaps of energy and water and often mistreats animals :(

   Switch it off -- always -- at the power point. It's odd really, but often even when you turn stuff off it's not always off. So, when does "Off" mean "Off"? When you turn the power point off! Compare the energy consumption of your appliances try http://search.energyrating.gov.au/.

That's how easy it is. Have a great "low energy" day ;)

After 25 years in finance Sue Loudon has downshifted to organics, pottery and urban permaculture, plus freedom from doing things well to simply doing -- e.g.breadmaking, painting, tiling. She co-houses with five adults, a dog, chooks and native animals, in Sydney's bushland verge. She wants to share her passion for low impact living and the reawakening of community.


More watts for less

A response to the last issue
Nanotechnology promises cheap solar power
Solar roof tiles

Hi Bob,

   Thanks for these news, galvanised iron thing is interesting. I expected to find more interesting news at that address. However, I think your calculations in that part are not based on right assumptions even though final figure is reasonably right (25%).

   I am a mechanical engineer and we were taught that the best power cycle can only generate 35% of the energy in fuel (coal, gas or whatever). You cannot generate 85% of energy even in an ideal power station. Also I know that the losses in transmission can be reduced up to 6%. This may be very hard to achieve, but in many countries losses are about 15-20%. So the final figure 25% is roughly right, but most of the losses occurs in power station, not on the way.

In solidarity,
Reha


nanotechnology promises cheap solar power

   Nanotechnology is manufacturing at a molecular level. One company, InnovaLight, is having a go at applying it to solar technology to create nano solar technology. The idea is abandon the solar cell concept by going outside the box. Instead of panels, the company hopes to create nano solar dots on a molecular level. The dots will then be incorporated in an ink that can be applied to sheets of building materials. In an ideal situation, this nano solar technology could even be mixed into paint, which would turn the walls of a structure into solar energy platforms.

   The real keys to nano solar technology will be efficiency, cost control and flexibility. If the company is successful, the cost of manufacturing and purchasing solar will become exceedingly inexpensive when compared to current platforms. From a flexibility standpoint, the product would allow solar technology to break out of the glass panel restrictions. Further, the nano solar technology is supposedly far more efficient than current models because the dots can be tuned to convert different spectrums of sunlight, a major limitation for current technology. Imagine a house that looked like a “normal house”, but the paint converted sunlight to energy! Goodbye energy problems. Goodbye global warming!

From http://www.solarcompanies.com/nano_solar_technology.


Solar roof tiles

   A roof tile that harnesses solar energy to heat water and generate electricity has been invented by an Australian industrial designer.

   The plastic tile is filled with solar cells and connects to a house's hot water system and electrical wiring.

   Sebastian Braat, a graduate of the University of Western Sydney, says the tiles are designed with urban dwellings in mind -- particularly the new generation of so-called "McMansion" style suburban homes.

   "My project is focussing on getting the technology into the city and easing the power burden our housing estates are rapidly creating," he says.

   The tiles consist of a clear polycarbonate chassis containing a water vessel and photovoltaic cells.

   The tiles can be manufactured to match a variety of roof tile styles.

   Between 12 and 18% of thermal energy that hits the cells is converted into electricity. The remainder is used to heat the water.

   Braat says he runs a coolant through the water in the tiles, which goes to a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger transfers the heat to a regular hot water storage tank.

Creating an energy surplus

   Meanwhile, the solar cells generate electricity as direct current that goes to an inverter connected to the house's power box, which remains connected to the electricity grid.

   "The idea of being grid connected is that you generate loads more power than you need during the day and that gets fed back into the grid," he says.

   "That means the house in effect is generating its own power and generating the excess into the grid.

   "If the house uses more than it generates the user gets charged, if not they get a credit from the power company."

How many tiles does it take?

   Braat says it takes about 200 tiles to generate a maximum of 1.5 kilowatts -- more than enough for an average three-bedroom suburban house over a year.

   Dr Dong Chen, a research scientist with CSIRO Manufacturing and Infrastructure Technology, who wasn't involved in the design, says it makes sense to use roof tiles, or any exposed parts of a house, for solar heating.

   He says Braat may need to look at how efficient the tiles are, and the pitch of the roof may affect this.

   Chen says the inventor will also need to look at the cost of the tiles, including their maintenance, and how safe they are.

   He says it's also possible the roof could leak because the tiles may involve a number of small joints.

This article by Judy Skatssoon was reproduced with permission from ABC Science Online.


For writers

Who needs a comma, anyway?
Will Greenway on sustaining tension
Seeing into all the heads

Who needs a comma, anyway?

   I belong to many writers' email lists. A lady recently posted this comment in one:

   'Recently, I saw something online that mentioned "We don't need commas to tell us when to breathe." (That's an interesting statement, actually.) This declaration caused me to speculate that the writer is young, doesn't have to write or type letters or contracts, and probably has the hobby of cell-phone text exchanges.'

   There is a clear criterion for what should and should not be used in writing: anything that reduces reading difficulty is good.

   If you think about it, reading is a very complex process, with several necessary steps before the meaning of the text can enter our consciousness. Squiggles need to be interpreted as letters, their combinations as words, and in turn the words as meaningful phrases. Very often, a combination of words will actually have only one correct interpretation, but before the reader can settle on this, other possible meanings need to be eliminated. In a book I recently edited, I read the word string '... Rose's mouth watering apple strudel.' This only has one meaning. However, in a different context, 'Rose's mouth' could be meaningful, and while 'watering apple strudel' is unlikely, its form is similar to 'watering roses and violets,' which is. In the fraction of a second before we understand the meaning, we need to get rid of such possibilities.

   Even worse, in many situations, a word string can have more than one legitimate interpretation. If the broader context allows it, we can select one. The stock example is 'They are flying planes.' Depending on the discourse this is in, that could mean, 'Hey look at those planes in the air; they are flying!' or 'Those men are model plane enthusiasts. They are flying those devices up there.'

   One secret of good writing is to eliminate as many possible interpretations as possible. If there is only one potential meaning, then the text is easier to read than if each sentence needs to be deciphered as one of several likely meanings. In the case of 'Rose's mouth watering apple strudel,' a good trick is to use a hyphen for the compound adjective: 'mouth-watering' immediately eliminates the two non-meanings I mentioned. The hyphen is a signpost directing the reader to the correct meaning.

   A comma is also a signpost (although it signals many different things). Therefore, correctly used, it is good.
 

  • It can eliminate ambiguity (as in the case of contracts), or entirely change meaning.

       'The man who knows John is over there.' Compare this with 'The man who knows, John, is over there.' The first indicates that there is one man here who knows John, and points the listener to him. The second indicates that John is the one with the information being sought.
     

  • It can tell us where an interpolation begins and ends, thereby eliminating a couple of pre-understanding computations, particularly in a complex sentence like the one you're reading.

       'In the fall of 1973, the beginning of my senior year of high school, many things converged at once in my life.' Without the commas, this sentence will take you about twice as long to understand as when they are in place, showing the breaking points of the complex sentence.
     

  • It separates items in a list, and these items may be phrases rather than individual words, so again a computational process is eliminated.

       'She brought the pie fresh out of the oven, the sharpest knife in the kitchen, a selection of spatulas and a bright smile on her face.' The helpful little commas make it MUCH easier to make sense of this.


    Will Greenway on sustaining tension

       One challenge that many new writers face (or think they face) is that of making a story sustain. To be more specific, there is a concern, and it is an important one, that the reader will continue to remain interested in the story before them.

       How do you know that it's working? How do you KEEP it working?

       Firstly, let's get something straight. Every story has its own tempo. What passes for conflict and energy in a romance novel will not cut muster in a suspense thriller. Conversely, the energy in a suspense book might well kill a romance reader--and we wouldn't want that to happen... Actually, kidding aside, it's just not in the frame of expectations.

       It is expectations that keep your reader engaged. Your story must make a series of promises. You, as the writer, must KEEP those promises by delivering on the promised payoff. In an action novel, it could be the well deserved drubbing that is finally doled out. In a fantasy novel, it might be the epic confrontation of good and evil. In a mystery, it is obviously the solving of the crime. You can call these "promises" plot if you wish. They are essentially conflicts that need to be resolved. You will have the main promise of the story. Then you will have smaller issues that support and provide texture to the story.

       Most people will find a story without subplots (or sub-promises) to be somewhat flat and linear, and most writers instinctively add this subordinate material to their stories. In most cases, it is in these sub-stories and side-conflicts where characterization and chronicling of the protagonists (and sometimes antagonists) go on.

       So, how does this pertain to sustaining energy? Sustaining, is the art of dangling the carrot. For each cusp in your story there must be attempts to resolve or make good on the promise. Notice, it's ATTEMPTS, NOT successes. It's these near misses which will build energy in the story. Three is a magic number--and three efforts to resolve fit most stories. Each effort and subsequent failure should further complicate and exacerbate the issue. By the fourth and final attempt, the reader should be ready for the payoff.

       Now, let me temper a bit here. What I am discussing is the bones of story; the raw mechanic underneath the fluff. Never let your reader see or feel the bones. Don't let them be aware of the man (or woman) behind the curtain. When you consider structuring around the three strikes technique, take pains to make it organic and not some contrivance. If the reader sees the string attached to the carrot they may lose interest out of disgust for being manipulated.

       I think anyone familiar with any amount a literature can think of instances where this structure occurs. I'm merely formalizing the mechanism for you. Anyone who thinks their story is boring can fix it. Really. It's a formula and simple one; character, conflict, more conflict, more character, hope, tragedy, victory and denouement.

       Seem overly simplistic? It really isn't. All stories must focus on a character that engages us at some level (love, hate, or intellectual). The key thing is that the writer makes us care enough about the character (or sometimes the environment) that when they are threatened the reader cares (conflict). They will struggle with this problem, but invariably it will get worse (more conflict). The adversity usually brings out aspects in the protagonist and acts a catalyst for change. Change is important--it is key--most characters should change and grow in some way through the story. (more character). The mid-point of the story should be framed by (hope), an emotional peak that will spur the protagonists on. This hope will usually be dashed by some calamity--the loss of a loved one, an accident that blows the perfect plan (tragedy). Tragedy marks the emotional low of the story. This is where the hero must hitch up his/her belt and give it a final go even though he/she is at a disadvantage. This last ditch effort is usually the final effort that resolves the conflict (victory). In some dark stories, it is not an actual success, but a restoration of the status quo (the good `ole bad `ole). The story is not done with victory however, we have other promises to keep and threads to tie up. That's the denouement.

       Can you find these elements in your story? Do they occur in the right places? That's the litmus test. It's purely a matter of mechanics to go back and add these dynamics if you find your prose lacking them. The most important thing to remember is that your story was not engraved on a stone tablet. It can always be molded and fixed, provided you have the will to do so.

    First published in 1983, Will Greenway started his creative career wanting to draw and script comics. After a number of years, he found writing better suited to his skills. Aside from writing and art, Will is a self-taught programmer, PC technician, and network troubleshooter. He enjoys skiing, racquetball, Frisbee golf, and is steadfast supporter of role-playing games. To date he has completed eighteen novels, more than twenty short stories, and numerous articles on writing. He resides in the Spring Valley suburb of south San Diego. He has contributed to the previous two issues of 'bobbing around'.


    Seeing into all the heads

    This question was sent to a writers' email list:

       "When writing from an omnipresent perspective, is there a method of incorporating thought into the story? I want to be able to comment on each person's thought process, as well as an overall story. The limitation is -- I want the story to be primarily from one family's perspective. I don't think I need to imply thought processes outside that family in the book."

     

       This is not a good idea.

       Any device can be examined from the point of view of what effects it has on a reader. When the author tells you about the inner world of more than one person, the signal is, 'This is a story. It's not really true.' Far more effective is to have the writing disappear, the storytelling to become invisible, and for the reader to be sucked into the reality you have created. One of the strongest devices for this is point of view (POV).

       Think of your story as being composed of scenes. A chapter may be one scene, or a succession joined by a suitable thread. Each scene is presented from the POV of a witness. It is perfectly OK to change the witness from scene to scene, but make each scene unitary with respect to POV.

       If you have done your job well enough, and if the reader has sufficient in common with your character, you'll actually get this person to temporarily become the witness. The reader will feel the witness's emotions, accept the thoughts and reactions, be immersed in the story.

       Even if this is not achieved, the reader is likely to become a 'fly on the wall', and watch the action from within the story. After all, you can't expect everyone to have full empathy with every one of your characters.
    :)
    Bob


    When is a poem not a poem?

    The last couple of issues have contained contributions to a discussion I started. You can access the previous ones from http://mudsmith.net/bobbing.html.

    Doug Arnold
    Tim Rowe

    from Doug Arnold

       Poetry, as you well suggest, is simply not prose. Today's poets seems to have the idea that if there are any elements of rhyme, rhythm or line structure, it is somehow archaic. Steven Fry was complaining of this on radio four some weeks ago. I remember it because my ears pricked up at the discussion. I was looking a prize winners online and though it mostly obscure, unstructured tosh that followed stream of consciousness Freudian nonstructure that would do Virginia Woolf credit.

       The argument, it seems to me, goes back to the turn of the twentieth century. Victorian realism and Romantic dalliance with the medieval finished abruptly in 1914. From then we have Wilfred Owen et al writing poems about the horrors of the first world war. By 1930 the whole world had come to a crunching halt, as though it had stopped turning. The Wall Street crash, The Spanish Civil war, (capitalism and fascism, versus communism), the apparent success of the economics of USSR in a working class revolution, the women's movement with The Suffragettes, and sexual enlightenment in Married Love: Dr M C Stopes: The list of revolutionary change in social structure is almost endless. Because of this, the ruling classes were seen as incompetent and the working classes were almost below the franchise and certainly below the economic horizon, they were powerless. The intelligentsia took a position as guardians of the literate. They were almost to a man,(yes women were almost completely excluded from the private club), products of the English public school, Oxbridge set. The literate world was drawn into a dichotomy of aestheticism and modernity. There were the surreal schools and the high poetics of Auden, TS Eliot, McNiece and Spender. So: difficult, left wing poetics was the way of the world and until humorous poets like Larkin came on the scene, that was all there was. Still Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Robert Frost and other modern poets, maintained this idea that to be good, poetry has to be obscure and difficult. Today that seems to go so far that it seems that if a poem even begins to look like a poem, it must be bad poetry.

       In conclusion then, I will suggest that if a piece of writing looks more like a poem in construction than a piece of prose, then I think it safe to call it a poem. Writing poetry is difficult. Poetry, if it is any good, is difficult. If the sum of the work is not greater than the words in it, then it is not going to make the grade of my concept of what poetry is, or ever should be. Great poems capture moods of nations in a few lines. They are works of art which have influenced politics, culture and the way society thinks of itself. When Philip Larkin wrote:

       He captured a mood, the sixties.

       When he wrote:

       He altered they way that a whole generation raise their children, even if they have no idea that the poem actually exists, the cultural influence has influenced them as much as the errant Dr Spock.

       And that is poetry.

    Doug's bio blog is more or less the poetry and stories on the website: www.writenotes.co.uk.


    from Tim Rowe

       A key part of the discussion of poetry in recent issues of Bobbing Around seems to have been where to draw the line between poetry and prose. Everything that can be said about poetry -- especially free-form poetry -- Bob claims to be true of prose too. I think that this is exactly right, but also that there is a useful distinction between poetry and prose.

       Yes, that might look like a contradiction, and it might be. But only if one expects there to be a clear line between poetry and prose. If one doesn't expect there to be a clear line, if one expects them to merge imperceptibly from one to another, then one would do more than tolerate things said of (some examples of) one to also be true of the other: one would expect it.

       Cheryl O'Brien rightly identified a number of characteristics of poetry. I think that a key characteristic of poetry is the interaction of sound and meaning. That's not the only characteristic, but for me it's an important one. Poetry exists somewhere in the middle of this scale. At one extreme the meaning is irrelevant and the sound is everything -- "scat" singing and "human beat-boxes" perhaps. As some meaning comes in, we start to get the nonsense verse of Lear, Milligan, Sitwell. More meaning and we move into what is pretty much unquestionably poetry; Shakespeare's sonnets, Wordsworth, Milton. Put even more emphasis on the meaning and compromise the sound still further and one comes to moves into free verse and forms such as haiku, then into "prose poems", then into prose itself. Keep going and completely sacrifice interaction between sound and meaning, concentrating solely on meaning, and we reach the other end of the continuum; legal contracts and drier forms of technical writing (with perhaps formal mathematics as the buffers at the end of the line).

       Where does one draw the line? Where does green fade into blue? Perhaps a better question would be, "Why does one draw the line?"


    For your interest...

    Darrell Bain's memoirs, and announcing his latest book
    Ann Herrick's young adult novel
    Anne Maxwell High on American-Australian differences
    New paranormal romance by CJ Winters
    Anthology by Raymond Grant
    A diary for writers

    Darrell Bain

       Every grade school boy carrying a knife to school? Absolute truth when I was a boy! Read about it in my memoirs at www.darrellbain.com. And anyone who does the household laundry, male or female, might want to read this latest segment of my memoir. Just think of washing clothes like this for a family of seven! This segment covers the years 1943 through about 1947. It contains lots of information about how people lived in the country back then, the state of medicine as applied to my family, and many more tidbits of life as a small child in the 1940s. Click on the Memoirs link at my website. This section is the May posting.

    Also from Darrell:

       I'm pleased to announce the release of my newest book, The Focus Factor, co-authored with Gerald Mills, a futuristic suspense thriller, and on another level a manifesto for political change in America. It is available in E-book now at www.fictionwise.com and should be up within a week or two at www.ereader.com and will be released later in print. Darrell Bain

    Darrell Bain
    Author of The Melanin Apocalypse, Savage Survival, Alien Infection, Strange Valley, Doggie Biscuit!, Medics Wild!, Hotline To Heaven, The Pet Plague, The Disappearing Girls, Life On Santa Claus Lane, and others.
       See all my books at www.darrellbain.com.


    Ann Herrick

       Ann Herrick's Young Adult novel, Walk Softly and Watch Out for Bigfoot is now available from Hard Shell Word Factory.

       It's a story that answers the question: Can a girl from New York survive her trip to the Oregon wilderness and her encounters with bears, soap-opera stars, and the mysterious Bigfoot?

       For more information about this and all of Ann's books, visit her web site at http://ann.herrick.home.att.net.


    Anne Maxwell High

       Humorous anecdotes enliven this insider's tour of the differences and similarities between the Australian and U.S. cultures; a "must read" for Australians and Americans in business or personal relationships.

       Witness the hilarious incomprehension that occurs between two English-es. Discover why Australians and Americans are not always satisfied with each other's cuisines, and taken aback by each other's eating habits. Unearth the assumptions Australians make about Americans, and the artefacts of Australiana that influence American perceptions of Australia. Delve into the historical and geographic forces that have shaped these two cultures.

       - Aussies, get tips on tipping and other social minefields!
    - Americans, see your own culture in a new light, and know all this could happen to you in reverse!
    - Everyone else, join us for a fascinating glimpse into the realm of cross-cultural encounters.

       Anne Maxwell High was born in Melbourne, Australia, to which she returned to study librarianship, after growing up in Queensland, Australia. In 1998 she joined the small town's worth of Aussies scattered throughout the USA. Currently settled in Seattle, Anne has answered questions and discussed cultural differences with hundreds of readers who visit her web site aussieinamerica.com.


    CJ Winters

       C.J. Winters is pleased to announce the release of her newest paranormal romance, Autumn in Cranky Otter, Book 4 of the series, in electronic and trade paperback formats. The series is a 20th Century American family tapestry, woven of the love stories and luminous psychic threads binding four generations. The stories take place in 1920, 1942, 1961 and 1991 (plus a contemporary epilogue), and reflect not only the characters' perspectives, situations and psychic talents, but also their times and locales. Read a chapter of Foredestined Summer, Fires of War and Winter, A Dazzling Spring, and Autumn in Cranky Otter FREE at www.hardshell.com/ or www.cjwinters.com/.

       And from Jewels of the Quill: in June, C. J. Winters (Dame Tanzanite) is the featured author. You can read about how the Autumn in Cranky Otter series came about as she discusses Book 1, Foredestined Summer, at www.JewelsoftheQuill.com/. And by registering for the Jewels of the Quill newsletter, you might win an autographed paperback of Book 3, A Dazzling Spring.

       In addition to C.J.'s giveaway, Jewels of the Quill will be giving away a download and a trade paperback of one its anthologies EVERY MONTH until August. In June, the group is giving away a download and a trade paperback of TALES FROM THE TREASURE TROVE, Volume I, the first, multi-award-winning Jewels of the Quill anthology.


    Raymond Grant

    If you are a busy person who enjoys short stories, this is for you:
    First Book Release for Raymond Grant –-
    Flashes in the Pan, Fifty Short Stories for the Impatient

       Flashes in the Pan, Fifty Short Stories for the Impatient, by Raymond Gogolewski writing as Raymond Grant was released by Double Dragon Publishing in May, 2006.

       Ann Durand, author of A Promise to Keep, describes Flashes in the Pan as “fun and pithy. It’s perfect for those circumstances when you need something enjoyable for a few minutes to entertain yourself. No one should ever be waiting in a long, slow line without a copy!”

       Esther Schrader, editor of Twisted Cat Tales, author of Desparate Straits and The Shadow People, writes, “Flashes in the Pan serves up fifty tasty stories for busy readers on the go. Raymond Grant has organized his brief stories into categories to whet your appetite… Grant obviously takes pleasure in writing… There is something here for every reader.”

       Lea Schizas, founder of the award winning MuseItUp Club and Muse Marquee writes, “Flashes in the Pan has to be the quickest and funniest read I’ve come across in awhile. Grant has demonstrated with his book that there is no need for an extensive amount of wordage in order to delight, to touch, and to transmit an enjoyable experience to a reader... If you are searching for an antidote for boredom, then Flashes in the Pan is your prescription.”

       Raymond Grant, a retired Program Manager and Consultant, writes short stories and poetry full-time. He says, “I enjoy the challenge of creating laconic stories that stimulate the imaginations of my readers.” He is a Tri-Studio author and a member of the MuseItUp Club, Zoetrope Virtual Studio, and Publishers and Writers of San Diego, from which he was commended as an Outstanding Member in 2005. His poem, The Ship, and his flash story, A Strange Feeling, each received a top ten award in the 2005 Preditors & Editors Readers' Poll. Samples of his short stories and poetry can be viewed at http://tri-studio.com/RaymondGrant.html.

       TRI Studio Members include Raymond Grant, Ann Durand, author of A Promise to Keep, a Romantic Suspense published by Double Dragon Publishing, and Kathe Gogolewski, author of TATO, a middle grade fantasy adventure published by Wings Press.


    Kapunda Writers

       Designed by writers for writers, this diary for the financial year 1.7.06 to 30.6.07 is professionally produced and contains exclusive tips from industry experts, writing exercises to inspire and motivate, together with record-keeping forms and important contact details and more!

       Every writer needs this diary!

    RRP $20 (plus $4.50 P&H within Australia); overseas air mail rates available.
    If ordering by phone and wanting to use credit card facilities, please contact: Janice/Eric Clarke, Tel: 08 85662846.
    Mail orders: All orders must be accompanied with payment to:
    "Kapunda Writers",
    PO Box 132, KAPUNDA, 5373, South Australia.
    Enquiries: TheWritersDiary@aol.com.

     


    The donkey

    My friend Elaine keeps sending me these gems...

       One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

       He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

       A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

       As the farmer's neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

       Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

       Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

    1. Free your heart from hatred -- Forgive.

    2. Free your mind from worries -- Most never happen.

    3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

    4. Give more.

    5. Expect less.

       NOW -- please read on.

    Enough of that crap

       The donkey later came back, and bit the shit out of the farmer who had tried to bury him. The gash from the bite got infected, and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.

    MORAL FROM TODAY'S LESSON:

    When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you.


    Counselling

    The first session
    Youth suicide -- why?
    First aid for depression

    The first session

       I've edited an otherwise well-thought-out book that has a few scenes set in a therapist's office. That part was so off the mark that it got me thinking, what is the first session for?

       First, there is a need for the therapist and client to form a close bond. Without any sexual implications, temporarily they love each other. Research shows that 30% of outcome success is related to the forming of strong mutual positive regard. Something isn't working if this hasn't happened by the end of the first session. If it still isn't there in the second, then the therapist should refer the client on to someone else. Therapy is simply not going to work.

       Second, when people are under severe stress, they put a negative filter on their thoughts and perceptions. They only see the bad: events and personal characteristics that are in tune with the problem. They lose sight of good aspects of their situation, environment and personality. And, again, research shows that 40% of outcome success is 'client factors': the availability of precisely those things the client is currently unable to perceive. So, the therapist's task is to listen to the client in such a way that the negative filter is weakened or even removed.

       This is perfectly possible in one hour. The therapist need not attempt to fix the client's problems. There is no need for advice. The client almost always has the appropriate resources. The therapist merely needs to ensure they once more become available. The tool for achieving this is 'reflective listening', a very empowering way of attending to the meaning of the other person's message, pioneered by Carl Rogers.

       Many clients will only need one session to remove the shackles of the problem. After that, they can improve their situation unaided. But even if the problem needs a long time to address, the process is the same. The client does the solving. The therapist is there to make this possible, not to do it.

       Forming a bond and removing the negative filter happen while the client is telling the story of the problem: what it does, its history, what attempts were used in the past to address it, the client's theory of how it was caused.

       Finally, it is part of good therapy to offer first aid. If the client leaves that first session with the feeling that something has been improved, then the therapist has won.


    Youth suicide -- why?

       A correspondent to an email group I am on wrote: "...you know we lost quite a number of those I went through school with country town, large classes, same pupils in same classes from start to finish). It would have been getting on for around 18 of a group of 42 by the time we were in our mid 20s."

    My answer:

       That's terrible.

       A lady in New Zealand lost her son to suicide some years ago. She formed a group of concerned people, and they worked with the local kids and teenagers, and have made a huge difference. I am afraid I don't have any of the details.

       Every month, I get between three and ten desperate emails from young people who don't know why they are alive. When it is that frequent, it has to be the fault of the culture.

       We are told, explicitly and through subtle messages, that the purpose of life is to seek happiness. This is as ridiculous as saying that the purpose of eating is to have a nice taste in the mouth.

       We are told that in order to happy we need to have Love, and Success, and Money, and Status, and all the things money can buy. So what do you do if you don't have these? You despair, or you blow your mind with alcohol or other drugs, or you hit out at the society that has you with your nose pressed to the window of the shop but you are not allowed in.

    :(
    Bob


    First aid for depression

    Hi Bob

       I've just been browsing your website and wanted to say thank you for your first aid for depression article. It makes more sense than anything I've ever read before!

       I've been struggling with depression for years up & down but mainly due to the fact I've had difficulty coping with two very disabled children and little support. However its been a wonderful journey in which I've learnt many things.

       I find years later I deal with the symptoms much better than I used to although I still struggle with overeating and low self esteem. I'm overcoming it and I await the day when I have victory over this condition that has robbed so many years of my life off and on.

    Anyway again many thanks Bob!

    Rachel

     

    Dear Rachel,

       I turn I'd like to thank you for your encouragement. That was a very thoughtful thing to do.

       I used to be depressed, for all my childhood and much of my youth. Then I controlled it through cognitive tools. I used to crash, but knew I could get out of it any time I chose. Nowadays, I feel truly content, even when life annoys me.

       One helpful question you can ask yourself is, 'Suppose that before I was born, I chose my current life with its problems and challenges. I did so because I needed to learn certain lessons. What are those lessons?'

       When you find the right answer, your life will change.

       Give your kids a cuddle from me.
    :)
    Bob


    Thank you from a whale

    Elaine sent me a little news item that is very relevant, with the whaling nations having won a 'victory', the reinstitution of commercial whaling (read murder of intelligent marine mammals).

       If you read the front page story of the SF Chronicle on Thursday, Dec 14, 2005, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body - her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.

       A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her - a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.

       They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around-she thanked them.

       Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

       May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate--to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.


    Reviews

    Climate Change: Turning up the heat
    Striking Back From Down Under reviewed by Gloria Oliver

    Climate Change: Turning up the heat
    by Barrie Pittock

    CSIRO Publishing http://www.publish.csiro.au/pid/4992.htm
    ISBN: 0643069313
    AU $39.95

       I had this review substantially written when less than halfway through the book -- but I read to the end from interest. This is the strongest compliment I can pay to a highly technical introduction to a field which I only understand as an interested layman.

       Climate Change: Turning up the heat is a serious work that would be an excellent tertiary-level introductory text for studying climatology. At the same time, the language and logic of presentation are clear enough to be understood by a high school science student, without minimising the complexity of the subject. I find this to be a remarkable achievement. Dr Pittock is not only a distinguished scientist, but also a champion communicator.

       Unlike many other books on the topic, this one is without hype, or any bias I have detected. It is a reasoned and reasonable examination of the evidence, with full consideration of how that evidence is generated.

       This makes Dr Pittock's conclusions all the more impressive and believable. These are:

  • The planet IS warming up. Climate change is real, and with us now. It is going to accelerate in the future, whatever we do.
  • It is possible that some of this warming is due to the kinds of natural variations that have happened many times before. However, that can only be a minor factor, because the amount of warming and the rate of change are unprecedented. Warming during the 20th Century is likely to have been larger than during any other century during the last 1000 years.
  • If you map the evidence, you get a 'hockey stick' figure, with the last 10,000 years being more-or-less flat, and modern times taking off. This is not natural.
  • There are well-understood (and well-explained) mechanisms that tie various human activities to climate change. The change in the greenhouse effect is REAL, MAJOR and THREATENING.
  • Not only do we need to worry about gradual change, but also about sudden catastrophic changes as certain thresholds are exceeded. For example, if the pattern of ocean currents is affected, climate change will be extremely rapid and cause incalculable death, suffering and economic loss.

       There are other conclusions, but this will do to show that we are in a crisis situation, right now. And the long lead times involved in the various processes mean that, whatever we do, sea level will continue to rise, climatic zones will move faster than plants can move with them, and extreme weather conditions like cyclones will gain more energy.

       What can we do? Dr Pittock outlines both adaptation (living with the changes) and mitigation (reducing future impact by current action.

       He shows that while adaptation is necessary, it won't be enough. We also need to change how we do things, now. There are no surprises in his recommendations on how to go about this, but the book certainly should provide plenty of motivation for governments, business and individuals to do everything possible, NOW.

       This is not a doomsday book. It is not written by an alarmist. The frightening predictions are made because the evidence shows them to be accurate.

       If you are already an environmental activist, read this book so that you can understand what is going on, and so that you have ammunition when debating with doubters. If until now you have dismissed climate change as false, or irrelevant to your life, or too expensive to do something about, then you owe it to yourself to find out what the facts are.


    Striking Back From Down Under
    reviewed by Gloria Oliver

    Available from Twilight Times Books

       Premise: This is an anthology of Dr. Bob Rich's stories about bullying, victimization, the preying of one person on another, and how the victims are able to overcome the stumbling blocks placed in their path.

       Review: This anthology was a finalist in the EPPIES in 2001. Bob Rich's characters are believable and likeable, his prose easy on the eyes. Many of the stories are set in Australia, while others deal with people from different cultures or other exotic locations. All give a nice peek into other places and sometimes ways of thinking. Some of the content may prove a little strong for some readers, but aside from one or two not overtly so. Though it is listed as the second story in the book, I would recommend starting with "Cruelty and Compassion", it nicely exemplifies Dr. Rich's skill and is a better taste of what to expect from the rest of the book than "Game Planet". Overall I enjoyed it and was well worth the read.

    Gloria Oliver lives in Texas with her husband, daughter, and three cats. She is the author of the novels "In the Service of Samurai", and "Vassal of El", both in the Fantasy genre and both finalists in the EPPIES. Two other fantasy novels are due for release in 2006 and 2007, "Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles" and "Willing Sacrifice". She also has stories in "The Four Bubbas of the Apocalypse", "Small Bites", and "Fundamentally Challenged" anthologies. She is also a proud member of EPIC and Broad Universe.

       When not busy working with numbers at work, she enjoys reading, writing, watching movies, Japanese Anime, trying to learn Japanese, and making her mind mush by translating Japanese comics. To find out more, please visit www.gloriaoliver.com.


    In loving memory of

    by James Choron

       Pancreatic Cancer has the lowest survival rate of any form of Cancer. Well over 80% are gone within six months. The rest sometimes make it to one year. No one has ever been known to go into complete remission. No one has ever survived longer than five years. From the point of diagnosis, which is usually in the tertiary stage, the progression of the disease is both devastating to the body and frightening to watch. For both the victim and those of us who love them, there is the knowledge... the certainty... that, ultimately, nothing can be done.

       The only true immortality is the amount of time that we live in the hearts of those who loved us. None of you knew this person, but as you read this, please say a prayer for Sherry and Jimmy... two people that you don't know, and never did...

       In loving memory of...

    Sherry Ann Holt King
    September 11, 1956 - October 31, 2001

    Dear Sherry,

       You were not my last love, but my first, and, if the truth be known, my longest. We were children, then; half a world and a lifetime away... We parted in the now distant dawning of our youth, married, had families, and drifted out of contact as most "childhood sweethearts" do. But even then, you were never long out of my thoughts. The last time I saw you was over thirty years ago, now... You promised that you'd wait for me, and I promised I'd come home to you. Well, we both know what happened, don't we? Your "soldier boy" went marching off to war, and didn't come home like we planned.

       I always called you "Baby Girl" when we were together. When you were born, I was just learning to talk and those words, "baby girl" were the first ones that I identified with you. From then on, no matter what, you were always my "Baby Girl". We spent our lives together... we grew up together from the tiniest of children. We had just a little more than seventeen beautiful years if you add it up. They were the best years of my life, the happiest years of it, even looking at it from the perspective that I have today. I used to tease you on your birthdays and tell you that you were "catching up with me". You... always used to tease me about being older than you. Well, I'm still older than you, but it's not thirty-three months any more... Now, it gets to be more and more as every long, lonely year goes by. You see, I'm still getting older. You're not, and never will get any older now...

       You probably wouldn't recognize me, if you were to meet me on the street today, but I pray that, one day, we will meet again in heaven. I know in my heart that you will always be the way I remember you, the way you live in my memory, and in my dreams, the way I saw you last... young and full of hope, big brown eyes that sparkle when you laugh and long black hair flowing in the wind of a long ago East Texas spring... sneakers, jeans, a "Beatles World Tour" tee shirt and a big smile.

       Sherry, "our song" was always Bobby Vinton's "Roses are red." I still think about you, every time I hear it. When we first heard it, I never dreamed that it would be the "story of our lives". I remember sitting with you, in your grandmother's house, and watching Bobby Vinton on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand". You were about six, I was eight. We listened to it, again, years later, in the old "Dairy Queen" the last time I saw you. That was when I gave you a little gold ring with a blue stone -- a "friendship" ring -- because I knew, then, that it would be a long time before we ever saw each other again. I had no idea how long it really would be.

       Maybe one day we will see each other again. I believe that. I make myself believe it. You know, American Bandstand's gone too, now, Sherry, nothing but a memory. It's like so many things that mark the years -- a beautiful, bittersweet memory. For me, though, the "roses" will always be red.

       So, Wherever you are, I hope that somehow you know that there is someone, far away, across the sea who never forgot you, and never will, and that he loves you as much today as he ever did. A long time ago, half a lifetime ago, half a world away, you said you'd always wait for me. Well, I know now that you still are. I know it with all my heart and soul. I hope you know that I'm still waiting too.

       You see, I still love you, Sherry. It's been a long time since I said that. Maybe it's a little late to say it now, but I think you know. I hope, in spite of how long it's been since we've seen each other, that you've always known. I love you... then, now, and always...

    Lt. Col. James L. Choron,
    Moscow, Russia
    But, always, to you... "Jimmy"

    I asked Jim if he really wanted such a personal story published. Here is his answer:

       I gave that piece a lot of consideration before I sent it to you. You're the only one that I would, in fact, send it to for publication because of the way you handle this matter. You see, Sherry and I are only children. There in no one left now in a way. There are people who remember her, and those who remember me, but there is no one who remembers an "us". I suppose in that sense that means we're both dead already. I really want this to get out. It's not a matter of vanity. It's a matter of just what I said in the piece. This killer claims 100% of its victims. The success rate is no better now than it was over 100 years ago when it was first diagnosed.

       The government, any government, can spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a 14 year, useless and pointless war in Vietnam. The same amount on half a dozen or more useless, pointless little military adventures all around the world. Literally,billions of dollars a day, on a useless, pointless war in a pestilential sand pile halfway across the world from either my nation ou yours. It would appear to me that they could afford the research that would give people like my Sherry at least a fighting chance for survival. To spend so damned much on death and not even the fraction of that sum on life is not only assinine but criminal. Maybe reading this, mine and her story, will wake some pepole up to the idiocy of this. I know it's what I want, and I know it's what she'd want... and I know that neither one of us ever hid how we felt for each other, so that's not even a consideration.

       So, if you can use this, please do. There's more than one kind of cancer survivor. I sometimes think that those who survive the actual disease are far luckier than those of us who survive those who are taken by it. I know that Shery's better off than me. But I'm a writer, and this is the only way I have of letting people know about this. I hope that letting them see a tiny slice of our lives and what this terrible killer did will wake some of them up to the fact that hundreds of billions that could be used to literally give people life are being thrown into the jaws of death.

    Jim


    Bookswelove Freedom Contest

    Contest dates: June 14 – July 14, 2006. First drawing June 16, 2006.

    The contest: Contestants will be chosen at random from the signatures in the various guest books. Be sure to leave an email address so we can contact you. Our network guest books are buried in the site and not susceptible to random spammers.

       To enter the contest, simply sign as many guest books as you like. Every week two names will be drawn from the signatures found in the guest books. There is no limit as to the number of times you can enter. You will find complete contest information by visiting the Books We Love main page and clicking on the contest link.

    Prizes: Two collector's coins, to two different winners. Also, two autographed paperbacks will be given away each week while the contest lasts.


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