Friday Fictioneers: “Gilbert’s Big Win”

Friday Fictioneers * Rochelle Wisoff-Fields * Photo Prompt by Rich Voza *

“Gilbert’s Big Win ” * 100 words * Angela Shaffer * 24 June 2016

100_7227-1

Gilbert’s Big Win

Shuffling through the airport necessities, Gilbert’s mind drifted. Hours ago, he faced the ultimate wager. Time spent counting cards no longer tasted of success. Money bought problems not happiness. Years — just chasing the river. The proposition from Count La Fuse involved more than money. For once, Gilbert’s poker schemes produced some good. Facing foreign high rollers and eclectic thugs, he came up aces. Staring out the window, Gilbert felt like the hero. He cracked a smile when gate A19 lit up. The winning card caught a two on the flop. Gilbert won the pot and a mail order bride.

Hello Dear Readers and Fellow Writers…

About a month has passed since I’ve contributed to Friday Fictioneers. Apologies, but… I am in the throes of theory. Only four weeks left for my Master’s capstone project! I am filled with anxious terror and determined hope. MTF.

Who knows why I saw Gilbert’s story in this photo, but here he is. Recently, I’ve had a deep distaste for those who gamble carelessly because of personal experience. I do not gamble, I just watch others lose lose lose. Gilbert sounds self-important and bizarrely off-kilter as to what is good/right. Even in his semi-human moment when he realizes money does not buy happiness, Gilbert still takes the bet in efforts of buying a spouse. Seems my frustrations is surfacing here in my fiction, as I could not grant the character much human decency due to his gambler “nature.” Well, at least it is out of my system. Maybe now I can get back on positive reinforcement.

If new to Friday Fictioneers:  Click the Blue Frog below for a redirect link that houses all the stories written for this photo prompt. Talented and charming Friday Fictioneer authors post 100 word stories once a week as prompted by Ms. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Feel inspired to craft your own story? Plz do…the Frog also has a posting link.

Advertisements

Early Thoughts on #Brexit and Islamic Appeasement

10 Tidbits of Recent Concern

 

Hello Dear Readers…

This morning I am researching what is happening overseas. Curious, yes of course, but the way things go…if England is affected by something, there is a strong possibility that America will feel repercussions. I feel like if we research we will be better prepared to handle any outcomes.

That being said, there is much information available online. What can a reader trust? Personally, I trust no one. I find “truth” by comparing numerous articles and looking for similarities. Because, frankly, there is no hard “truth,” only subjective interpretation.

What can we really know?

1. That’s a hard one. However, one must be steadfast. Opinion cannot be accepted as it varies per person. “Facts” cannot be praised because they were ultimately written by a person. If every event has at least two sides to the story — or fifteen sides in the quantum world — then reading a story is not going to assist that much in “truth finding.”

2.  There is one thing I can extend a gram of “trust” to, and that is historical themes. A theme does not depend on opinion, it is a trend in history. Cliches are annoying but some are right – history does in fact repeat itself. Not in the sense that each event replays continuously, but in the way that humanity moves in a zigzagging pattern much like evolution. We go out with our ideas, but when the ideas don’t work, we come back home to sort out a new plan.

3.  Considering recent European events with this train of thought, I do not think that it is unexpected that Britain left the EU. I am not taking either side – I do not know their politics enough to cast judgment. What I am saying is that the trend of the EU was progressive – they tried to bring democracy and drop walls. However, reality did not embrace theory. What looked good on paper did not stand up well in the here and now. Historically, the reasonable action is to withdraw – “go home” and lick one’s wounds, and then…develop a new method.

4.  Taking history into account, there are time periods that act as a “reply” for past occurrences. Currently, the entire world is trying to figure out what to do about the Islamic culture. On my small scale, my advice is education. I’ve said it before and will repeat it here:  Educate the youth in hopes of securing a better future. First off, introduce them to Darwinism, Biology, and Genetics. Science confronts life situations with empirical data. Certain cultures refuse to read any book that is not religious. This is a huge misstep. Human thought, expression, and consciousness expands at escalated rates. Yet, some people do not know “science is real.” Some people fail to notice the damages brought on by incest, or marrying one’s cousin.

w583h583_744206-spineless-leaders-of-democracy-political-cartoon

 

5.  When I think about “historical replies” I cannot help but land on the dangers of appeasement, or giving in to a “bullying” force who issues demands for a select group. Uncontrollably, the image of Hitler comes to mind. It makes me uncomfortable because I saw comments yesterday that Atheist sites were being taken down from social media. The motivation:  Islamic culture. Supposedly, since the Muslims find Atheists offensive, the Atheist viewpoint is restricted. How is that just?

6.  Ah, it is most definitely not just. I find sporting events offensive, but does that mean that the sporting industry should be dismantled? Nope — it means that I make the personal choice to not watch sports.

7.  Social media should include all aspects of human preference. The moment one group limits another indicates that the first believes they are “better” than the rest. Guess what…we are all humans. We are all species. Not a single one is better than another. We are all forms of life. Darwinism illustrates the connection of species. If all cultures accepted scientific evidence then much of belief’s illusions would fade away.

8. Western culture is filled with individuals. Individualism is our bag. However, older cultures still operate under collectivism. Huge difference. Here is another historical theme – Individualism developed out of the Enlightenment. In America, we recognize the Enlightenment era as sloughing off tired beliefs that no longer rang true because of the empirical evidence presented by science. Collective societies have not learned Enlightenment lessons – they refuse to read or accept the science. So why, for Reason’s sake, would progressive thought kneel to backward society?

9.  Society cannot give in to backward demands. Society strives for the betterment of the human race just like evolution. Or it should. Religion and Science are expressions of human thought. One relies on belief, the other on empirical evidence. The individual gets to decide which one speaks louder to them. What’s important is that each person should have the right to choose for the self.

10. I am not religious. I prefer understanding reality through science. However, I see value in both as dependent on the person. Humans should be able to believe whatever they want to believe, or believe nothing and look for knowledge. The point is that it is personal preference. I think if everyone recognized the effort it takes in constructing the self, we could realize that each person has a great task before them. Each person is in charge of their own reality, and nobody…nobody…has any right to limit individual growth.  –Not a government, not a Union, not a Culture, not a Religion, not even Science.

Link to Interview w/ Bev Zizzy…as promised

Interview with Bev Zizzy

Music Improves Society

6190506_orig.jpg

Hello Dear Readers ~

Happy Friday! Today brings an extra *smiles* as Bev Zizzy, an artist I interviewed for my music journalism internship, released her new album Standing on a Platform of KINDNESS on iTunes. Click HERE to purchase, or follow the link provided in the interview. Click HERE to read the interview “Reclaiming 13 and Supporting Compassion:  Bev Zizzy Slides Societal Issues with Acoustic-Soul” (Punchland). Thank you to Mr. Taron Cochrane for introducing me to Miss Bev, she is the most interesting of individuals! To any of my you DearReaders who are also TalentedArtists – click HERE to view Taron’s twitter and connect for entertainment relations.

13 is a theme of the album that Bev noticed afterwards, and I add my own notice of 13 here. The article has been ready-to-print minus the music till today when the tracks released. It was then that I noticed there were 13 revisions. In a tweet, Bev said:

That is wicked awesome! Can you hear me laughing out loud! I LOVE IT!

The experience is enlightening — hashing out philosophical fundamentals through discussion and music. At one point, one has to let language go and let the brain accept music’s message. Here, we can learn lessons even language cannot capture. Truths we cannot tell but may absorb, and in turn, express.

More Truths can be found through culture and more culture. However one was raised is one’s culture, but let’s get more. The act does not have to diminish the original, but can be used to better understand internal motivation, which presents awareness. Yesterday, Dr. Bob helped me to better understand and face ugly historical happenings. We must be brave and bold, courageously confronting truth.

#RisingArtists #Dionysian #MusicMoveMe

Shout to sources:  iTunes, Punchland, Twitter

Hate: The Embarrassment of Humanity

I avoid mainstream media as much as possible. Yesterday, Husband told me about the shooting in Florida. My heart cries for humanity. The lives lost – over fifty human beings – at the hands of terror is a horrifying truth to accept. But, looking deeper, the social factors at play here are also of strong concern. The message the shooter expressed is “My will is greater than yours – you deserve extermination.” There is not a single human voice that can authentically support this claim – all species are flawed. What is important is what we make of our journey. That journey is subjective, unique to each person, and there is no authority – not animal, mineral, or vegetable – that holds any inherent right over another. Not here, not now in the twenty-first-century.

We cannot allow these injustices ground to breed. We cannot turn a blind eye to violence, cruelty, and dehumanization. We cannot let fellow Americans be targeted by “wrath-worthy” vengeance. The fact that terrorism continues is an embarrassment to human progress. The fact that other people think they have a right to determine who a person should marry, love, or what have you is not only ridiculous, it’s rather childish. Why is Betsy’s life bothered if Tim down the street prefers Dave over Sue? Why does Betsy care? …she’s not in the picture. Why is society so nosy about people’s sex lives? Isn’t there enough reality TV to go around? Why is there so much animosity for groups of people who are trying to love and live?

250px-vigil_to_unite_in_the_wake_of_the_orlando_pulse_shooting_27358803690

Why would any of that be motivation for terrorism? Now, as a rational individual, I have to say I cannot see a genuine reason for terrorism, period – other than to enforce one’s will over another. I don’t care if a god, a government official, a newscaster, or a peanut-butter sandwich whispered in one’s ear and said terrorism is okay… it’s not. It is never cool to dehumanize. Each human has inside the self the a priori understanding of right from wrong. When religion tells one to ignore those morals, something is up. When government says to reject those morals, again – something is wrong in Denmark.

What can we do?

1. I don’t know. I’m thinking. It’s been a long think, one rolling for years now. One thing I’ve recognized is the authority found in individualism. No, it’s not enough, but it is something, a starting point – a personal choice. Make the personal decision to reject hate – in all forms. Hate is a nasty creature; if let in for one group it will easily spread to another.

2. Heighten awareness by talking, posting, commenting, or participating in social issues. Raise the call to arms for justice but when arming the self: reach for love. Hate and terror breed more violence – violence is not the answer. Read MLK and hold onto his message.

3.  When you hear others negatively supporting injustice, do not silently absorb their message. If you feel strong enough to defend – by all means do, in a rational manner. If your voice is still soft, or if you notice entering into debate will only lead to harm: leave. Silence is powerful when others realize you will not tolerate barbarism. One cannot change another person, but one does not have to expose the self to negativity. If one person is able to refuse listening, then others may follow. They may admire your strength – regardless, by leaving you have improved your environs.

4.  Redirect conversations by implementing “good” stories or examples. If you do not have any personal examples, widen your circle – oftentimes, when one steps out of their comfort zone they learn valuable lessons. Personally, my go-to story when I hear people complaining about LGBT marriages – I ask them if they’ve ever attended a ceremony, and once the guffaws clear out, I inform them that the lesbian wedding I participated in, Septemeber 2013 was the most beautiful celebrations. This holds clout because I was a stylist for over twenty years and trudged through many a wedding. All brides have some shade of fickle, all weddings issue stress and drama, all weddings (typically) bum me out. Why? Well, I feel like marriage holds a lot of limitation, conformity, compromise, and domination. Yes, Husband and I struggle, lol…I am not an easy wife nor is he a basket of sunshine. Every bride that ever sat in my chair received my last minute getaway speech and promise of an Ocean City holiday if she just wanted the beach. Every bride save two – the two that married each other. I’ve prepped hundreds of heads for their “big-day” and only one couple – a same sex couple – demonstrated what I envision as a “perfect love.” Not only my Brides, but their maids were also delightful. The guests were all happy. The décor was fabulous. I actually stayed for the wedding, took a cabin, and shared breakfast with the whole bridal party the next morning. When I think of a happy marriage, their lovely faces come to mind.

5.  What do you think we can do? “We” as in society as a whole, “We the Human Race.” How can one person’s action affect the world? Let’s see…try to implement positive change where one can. I will keep thinking, and I hope you will, too.

Peer-Review: When are Comments “too much”?

Writer Workshop / Peer-Review

I love a good hangloose (a mental hangout for ideas). When writing, a workshop fits the needs better than just exchanging ideas. Critiquing comes into play, however, that may come with negatives. The following are a few tips I cling to when considering the work of others.

1.  Find errors and offer suggestions.

A writer writes often, which means much time is dealt with creation and personal editing. However, writers develop almost x-ray lenses as they’ve lived in their topic for sometime. While editing, the writer may cut information required for a reader to understand, but… since the writer wrote the material, they may not realize their stepping stones vanished. Reader’s can see the slip. I know this to be true as I just cut forty-three percent of my paper and lost much. It happens, and it is horrible. However, critiquing can fix misconnections. “Silly-slips” are found this way, little things like typing “in” instead of “it/is” or “there” instead of “their”…you know. When I suggest a different word or sentence structure adjustment, I end the comment with a question mark as this shows the author I am not certain only curious. This allows the author to make the ultimate decision without feeling forced. It’s a small thing – a “?” instead of a “.”

2.  Stick to your guns – grammar, structure, sense.

If there comes a moment when you’ve lost interest or cease to understand, leave a thoughtful comment noting your confusion and ask for explanation. Do not give up on the review. The author still needs your help – possibly now more than ever. However, as an editor/reviewer, one cannot demand the piece change, or reach for something that is not there. What one is left with is grammar, structure, and as much sense as one can see. Even if one does not “like” the piece, it is proper etiquette to complete the review. Failure to do so makes the editor/reviewer look bad, not the author. Keep that pen poised and assist with fundamentals if theory has escaped.

3.  Balance negatives with positives.

Authors are looking for correction assistance, but they also appreciate praise. Remember, the words one reads are the sentiments of the author – their views, feelings, perspective on the situation. Authors bear their soul, if their work is passionately written. Critiquing can be an act of bravery, with the author’s courageous effort laid naked at the reviewer’s fingertips. Show decency and appreciation for the effort the author put forth. There are many pieces I have not “personally liked” but find numerous ways to offer appreciation for the author’s work. One thing to keep in mind:  the author did not write the text for you – it was written for an audience. The reviewer’s voice is one among many. Surely there is something good one can say about any given text. ie:  “Crime and Punishment details elements of human nature, expounding on guilt and anguish” – sounds rather interesting, right? The secret is that I hate that text in an absurd way {I literally threw it into the fire}.

4.  Read as if there were two papers – the first as information, the second as confessional.

As mentioned in point two, the author {if the text is good} has exposed their inner soul. When critiquing, imagine one is two editors:  the first reads for fact and information while the second reads for artistic expression. Topic or genre is irrelevant. If fiction, the “fact and information” would mean the fictional rules and order. Are the character described? Can one visualize certain images by reading? If essay or non-fiction, is the information true or accurate? If literature, was the lesson learned and the protagonist changed – can you see more than one story within the story? Editors and reviewers look for structure with one eye and creative flow with the other.

5.  Remember:  suggestions are just that, the author may not accept or agree.

The editor is not the final word on the document – the author is. If during the initial workshop the author ignores or rejects the editors suggestions, the editor should not take this personally. Sometimes it is hard to do, but one must drop the issue. Shake it out. The piece belongs to the author, and while they appreciate critiques they are the last gasp and will write how they choose.

Where you been Ole Girl?…

On Becoming…

e3441207b7504922ab89ad333ce83eef

Funny you should ask, I’ve been rolling through theory for ten weeks. I am evolving, twisting turning. Shedding old skins that no longer fit my season. Its weird, to say the least…but we like weird. And the further I crawl in evolution research – the more I begin to see that we are all a little weird in our own right {not just the “us-es” that live in me, all those “you-s” too}. And that’s not even opening the can of “species” in which one is indeed many different things. Most recently, I’ve considered transcending dualism…you know, asking “What is next?” Are we really two? Or a form of one with multiple expressive components. A large, flexing plurality micro-sectioned into millions of individuals. Creepy, I know<>. If there were a choice, to be be all body or all mind, which one would you select? Here, I see the need for unification. What would be the point if action held no meaning, or if thought could not experience? The two go hand in hand. We must have both.

Anyway… The rest of my Grad School update – I’ve constructed a reviewable rough draft! The original, rougher-rough draft, is a sprawling beast. However, when I began the cuts I could not bring myself to really “throw the draft out.” I saved it, and – as recommended by my peer – will possibly look into book form once my degree is attained. Really, this is a bonus – now there will be a paper and a book possibility for the future. That is not to say that I am not nervous as all get out that the paper will bomb from the heavy cuts. O Fortune! smile upon this wayward researcher. Motivation is for the degree, but also… I’ve grown to love my topic, and I see much truth in the words – I hope that publication is possible because I want others to read my discoveries. I think it will help with real-deal life. I know that the research and writing helped me with my daily issues. This thesis led me out of the valley of despair. I want to lead others out, that valley is not good for the genes – much pickling and souring goes on there.

What else…?

My music journalism internship was officially complete 27 May 2016. A hectic day – my SweetJane graduated High School and James Bobin’s Alice Through the Looking Glass released. Exhaustion seized me, and I went to sleep around ten p.m. What a day!

I use the term “officially” because I still have one music assignment waiting to complete. An amazing interview with Bev Zizzy will be published 17 June 2016 – in conjunction with her new album release. I say “amazing” because I am the one that interviewed her – she is hands down the most interesting woman I have met in my physical life.

Followers of this blog will note that I am not a “believer,” but I am a “seeker.” Unfortunately, my MO in the past has been “seeking” to shatter “belief” with “truth.” Ultimately, a lesson I learned nearly a decade ago resurfaces:  truth is subjective. I know this, yet seemed trapped in that terrible Pursuit of Truth. I broke free, and switched it up for the Pursuit of Optimism – but positive living is dependent on will power and forcing the good. Needless to say, it takes work and effort.

I went through a stage where I thought “signs” were pointless, or rather, imaginary. A trick of the mind, leading to delusion. Now, after the internship, after speaking with living, breathing artists…

After the strange Tibetian Monk approached me in New Orleans with a message… After I randomly met the YouTube TruthTalker I once followed online and danced with him in the street… After I philosophized with a new friend of Middle-Eastern culture… After much contemplation of “the egg”… After Bev Zizzy released “Stay Soft”…  I am not certain.

Embedding issues :-< apologies… Watch for the interview on 17 June 2016. MTF

“Stay Soft” by Bev Zizzy. Click HERE for preview and purchase on iTunes.

I am curious again, maybe not fully “curiouser” yet, but I see my own purpling underway. I’ve come to the point where I am seeing more and more signs, but I am trying to ignore them. Trying to cling to science, reason, and the physical world. One thing – I am reminded that I am an Artist. Whether I am a “good” one or not is to be determined, but I am one. Not a musician or songwriter, not a painter or sculptor…but an Artist all the same. I am an Artist because I look at reality and see more than other people do. Sometimes, I see more absence where there should be presence, but that is still more than meets the eye. Mundane life is not enough, there is more if we make there be more – juice it up like a turkey.

I am an Artist, and life can get thick.

My canvas is the mind, my brush dripping in consciousness. I wrap words and break down complex situations. We Artists see the beauty most vivid, and we relate that to others. We Artists see the horror in thirty-three tints of terrible, and we relate that to others. We see

image024

the “good” and the “bad.” We share awareness for altruistic encouragement. Artists revive other Artists, reminding them of the meaning hidden behind it all.  Artists bravely look in reality’s face and demand more. Recognizing this makes me monitor what I share, say and side with – I am an Artist, and others will follow. Careful then, as to where we lead them.

Artists are a light, guiding species through evolution… We may not know the answers, but we are brave enough to explore possibility. #RageOn fellow Artists. There is much to be revealed.

Victorian Fat Shaming: Harsh Words on Weight from the 19th Century

Victorian standards to note. Thanks Mimi!

Mimi Matthews

“All defects are in the nature of ugliness, but certain ones are more degrading than others; and of these obesity, which is a deformity, is signally ignoble.”
The Woman Beautiful, 1899.

Unknown Painting by Ivan Makarov, 1870. Unknown Painting by Ivan Makarov, 1870.

During the early and mid-Victorian era, a great many health and beauty books echoed the popular 19th century sentiment that plumpness equaled good health.  It was leanness, not heaviness, to which beauty experts directed the majority of their criticism.  For example, in his 1870 book Personal Beauty: How to Cultivate and Preserve it in Accordance with the Laws of Health, author Daniel Brinton states that a “scrawny bony figure” is “intolerable to gods and men.”  According to Brinton, the only occasion on which excessive leanness had ever been beneficial to a lady was in an encounter with a cannibal.  As he explains:

“The only lady who we ever heard derived advantage…

View original post 1,087 more words

Friday Fictioneers: “Cowboy Camp”

Friday Fictioneers * Rochelle Wisoff-Fields *

* Photo prompt by Madison Woods *

“Cowboy Camp” * 100 Words * Angela Shaffer * 23 April 2016

Cowboy Camp

Summer camp looks like heaven when daily life drags on. However, if one winds up in the desert-mountains, eating carmelized-in-the-can pork-n-beans, surrounded by Christian-rock hymns – you quickly realize this is Cowboy Camp. Illusions of fun evaporate. The ruins drew my curiosity. I was eleven. I left the herd, took up with the Natives. I met kids who would love the beans I ignored. Starvation. When I cut the wire, the stupid cows stared at me, wouldn’t budge. One didn’t make it, but the rest of the cows trotted across the bridge I made from a plank. They used it all.

 

Dear Readers and Fellow Writers ~

Apologies for the day late post and absence last week. As soon as I saw Madison Wood’s photo I immediately thought of my childhood experience. “Cowboy Camp” is based on the cult-like event Mother thought would be good for my “bad” attitude. I wanted to set the cows free because in my mind I thought the Native Americans could benefit. In truth, I could not find anything strong enough to cut the wire. Even if I had, the real cowboys would have corralled them back. I did, however, take what food I could sneak from the chow tent. The saddest part was that I had to go back to camp eventually. Though we did not speak the same language, we connected.

Thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for weekly fiction fun and special thanks to Madison Wood for the photograph. Click the Blue Frog below to read and/or contribute to Friday Fictioneers weekly Flash Fiction challenge.