The Literary Drover No. 481

I stopped posting to Facebook when documented proof was provided that Mark Zuckerberg was willing to sacrifice Free Speech for access to the Communist Chinese market.

I suspended posting to my Twitter account when factual proof came to my attention that the CEO of Twitter authorized censorship because he had a partisan political agenda.

Effectively immediately my relationship with Twitter is terminated because it has come to my attention that Twitter (along with Facebook) has launched a campaign against the United States Armed Forces, with the basic intention of undermining their presence and effectiveness.

In my opinion this action constitutes an act of sedition and treason, and I will not aid, support, or condone it.

I know that this decision will likely cost me followers and supporters, and it will likely affect the sales of my books, but I choose, as a legal American citizen, to stand for and with the United States of America, the United States Armed Forces, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, who, unlike the CEO of Facebook and Twitter, are ready and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of democracy and freedom.

With this decision I give notice that my only Social Media presence will be my blogs.

The Literary Drover No. 477

When asked why I live where I do instead of Los Angeles or New York or even Miami, I reply: Because this is where reality begins and ends.

There is nothing more real than stopping by a friend’s house to ask if he would be available for a hike to photograph wild flowers and finding out he has been up for three days straight, tending to a pregnant cow as she struggles to bring a new life into the world.

There is nothing more real than sitting quietly on a hillside and realizing that I have company and then learning the company is a mountain lion, which only has eyes for a herd of elk across the meadow below.

There is nothing more real than a sunrise or a sunset and knowing between each I made a difference with writing.

The Literary Drover No. 476

Research can take many forms, including bushwhacking through knee-deep snow on snowshoes.

Although such undertakings can be enjoyable because they provide an opportunity to experience Nature at its best (and its worst, when the weather changes by way of howling winds and whiteouts), they become burdensome when the company includes an individual whose purpose in Life – so it seems – is to be the biggest pain and nuisance they can be because they deem such antics appropriate.

My guide for this particular outing was a friend of many years, whose knowledge of the mountain lion is almost without equal. He suggested the journey because he needed to set out a group of wildlife cameras to check on a mountain lion population, and offered me the opportunity to go with him because he knew I was doing research for a writing project involving the outdoors in the cold of winter.

As to our companion – I later learned he had invited himself along, and my friend, ever the polite sort, did not discourage him from joining us.

We were less than a hundred yards from the access point – there was no actual trail or trailhead – and the whiner made it known he needed to relieve himself. “David” suggested using a grouping of trees nearby for privy. When the whiner was out of earshot it was suggested in hushed tones that I break trail and put some space between myself and the whiner, whose presence and subsequent whiny was putting a dampening effect on the proceedings.

By the time the whiner finished his personal business I had managed to push through more than two hundred yards of snow. Six hundred feet might seem a sufficient distance, but in the cold of winter, when sound carries, it is not enough.

To make a long story short, I would like to say the journey was worthwhile. It was not. We had to return shortly after we began because the whiner remembered he had another obligation elsewhere.

Here’s a story idea that may require further research: If you buried a body in knee-deep snow, how long would it be before it was discovered? Or does Nature do well to keep her secrets, within her gelid embrace?

The Literary Drover No. 474

Spend time alone and learn that the need to verbalize does not exist; know that in the absence of vocalization the mind achieves clarity; understand that with this truth of all things becomes apparent: When words, carefully chosen, are spoken they are like precious stones, containing power and worth beyond the mortal – the means to engage, entertain, enlighten; console, hurt, heal.

Spend time alone, void of the spoken and realize that words reveal the product of the thought and not the process required.

The more astute noticed my brief absence recently. A few went so far as to inquire about my well-being. Simply, I took a Social Media sabbatical – I spent time alone, in the place devoid of not only Social Media but television and radio. I unplugged from the reality of cyberspace and the Internet and the World Wide Web.

In doing so my thoughts, my mind, through the senses, sharpened, and my awareness heightened.

Within the power of silence I found direction once more.

For me, writing is about process and method, defined by goal. The goal: Write. When that goal is realizes a new goal is established: Produce writing that merits consideration. When that is fulfilled, another goal: Publication. Again, realization becomes a new goal: Financial compensation from the writing produced.

SCENE OF A CRIME/FOR UNTO US is one example of this process and method, and a sense of accomplishment results when the last goal in the series is achieved.

But there comes a question for me: Is this all there is?

When I decided to write the first Jhon Collector story well-intended experts tried to dissuade me, asserting that none would want to read about “a half-breed”.

Sitting quietly, without speaking, I wondered if the opinion were true. Perversely, I wrote the story, and began another. The first Jhon Collector story was published and the response was singular: The character of Jhon Collector upset people with his uniqueness, his perception and opinion at large.

But there came, singularly, a request for more stories about him.

When I asked for an explanation to this apparent contradiction – why do you want to experience, again, something that upsets you?

No one could explain in verbal terms, and implicitly I knew what I know now.

I no longer post to Facebook because words no longer possess meaning in that reality, and no longer have worth or value there; words should mean things but on Facebook they are merely weapons of destruction and ruin, fashioned as threats and insults, hatred and bigotry, prejudice and certain evil without equal.

When I take a Social Media sabbatical I find, in the silence that results, ascension to a level of existence that allows for the means to write as writing should be written. I am not surprised by the response. More than a few who have read FOR UNTO US have told me that the first reading caused them to have nightmares. But after they examined why this happened they read the story a second time and found dreams replaced the nightmares.

Asked to explain the trick involved to provoke this outcome I reply that there is no trick involved.

Only the power of words: Written and spoken.

The Literary Drover No. 472

[The description and accolade are intended toward a mule, but they also apply to the humble scribe, the ink-stained wretch, The Writer. I don’t what that implies.]

Perhaps there is no other animal so much abused, or so little cared for. Popular opinion of his nature has not been favorable; and he has had to plod and work through life against the prejudices of the ignorant.
—Muleskinner Harvey Riley, 1867