Rambling: Cigarette Ash and Clock Radios

There are times I yearn for my teenage and early adult years. No, not the depression and anxiety. The stress of high school/college. The near death experiences and occasional hospitalizations. More I yearn for that period of creativity that I had.

I yearn for the late nights spent up well past my bedtime, during punishments of not being allowed internet because of bad grades, typing away at my old 1997 off-brand computer from FingerHut. The once pristine white casing stained yellow from years of cigarette smoke and tar that no amount of cleaner or bleach could clean or scrub away.

The bright light of the old hulking monitor as my clock radio played beside me. My window cracked as I smoked the cigarette butts that I had foraged from my parents’ ash trays when I thought they weren’t looking (but they knew). The heavy smell of cigarette smoke and eucalyptus incense that I burned in my room nearly day and night.

The first light of dawn as I realized what time it was and had to rush to get dressed for school – racing to the bus stop on less than an hour’s sleep because I was up all night writing.

The seeming unending inspiration as I jamed out to my stolen Linkin Park cds (stolen from my sister, not the store.).  The 1 foot tall stack of disks that held all my stories, my books, my poetry, my notes and research for my stories.

To this day, I can’t make a single playlist to listen to for my writing that does not include every single song from Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory and Meteora albums – because their music just always hits the right buttons for my creative streak. They are both my muse and my soundtrack for life itself.

I mean, I’m happy with my life as it is, and where I am in it. The people I still have in my life and the people that have come into it.But there are some days, some nights like tonight that I can’t help but long for those old days when it was just a blank Notepad file, the blinking red of a clock radio with the time still not re-set after a power flicker, and my own thoughts in the dark before the bright, brilliant screen of a 10lb late 90s computer monitor.

Ramble: Eliciting Emotion Without Details

Recently I posted 3 new chapters to a fanfiction I’ve been writing for a rather long time now (no, I’m not going to link it. It’s embarrassing. If you happen to find it though… well… anyway). These chapters dealt with some very harsh, dark themes such as rape, torture, mental fuckery – among others. One of my favorite readers, who leaves reviews nearly every update, mentioned this in one of her latest comments:

“You weren’t kidding about there being hard things in this chapter, but you did a good job of having us feel the horror without needing to go into gruesome detail.”

And it got me thinking about all of the stories I’ve read over the years that I can remember. Both in regular and in fanfiction And I’ve come to realize that many of the stories I have enjoyed the most leave a great many details up to the reader’s imagination. While yes the basic description of characters and scenes are given, or building up to an event and using language to direct the reader to experience a certain emotion, stories that suddenly jumpcut immediately after making it clear what is about to happen, but not having you read the gruesome detail (especially in horror and suspense situations) – those to me are the best. Not only does it allow every reader to have their own personal experience with the work, but there is nothing more frightening than the worst possible things we can imagine. Perhaps the scene was leading us to believe that a favorite character was about to be tortured to death, but then didn’t let us see/read the torture taking place. When we read the segment that the character appears in afterwards, perhaps having escaped their jailers, how they are described and appear will guide us to imagine the things that may have happened to them. Perhaps the reader is more afraid of water torture – they may imagine that’s taken place to the hero. Or maybe starvation and beating? They’ll imagine that THAT is what may have happened to them.

But later still in the story, the hero may confide in their best friend or lover what truly took place in the jail/dungeon/cavern, etc. And how relieved the reader is that what they feared most wasn’t the thing that has happened… Or, for those who imagined correctly, the overwhelming empathy the reader feels for the hero. This method, which I honestly unintentionally used in my piddling little fanfiction, makes the reader more emotionally invested in the story, and in a way makes them feel like they are part of it. And when a reader becomes so invested in the story, they will keep reading.

That’s my take on it, for what it’s worth anyway.

Ramble: Small Town Blues

I have a love-hate relationship with small towns. When I lived in Debary, then later Deltona, FL I loved it. They were small in their own right, but smushed together so closely it felt like a larger city. It was perfect, really. And had easy access to anything I needed via public transit. The town I currently live in, the town where I grew up… I love it because it’s so peaceful (usually) and reasonably quiet. It’s a kind of place where everyone either knows everyone, or you know of them enough to wave and say hi, have a great day.

But at the same time, it is this “everyone knows everyone” aspect that I hate. It’s the inconvenience when there is no public transit that I hate. It’s the inconvenience of everything being so spread out that I hate. Being such a small town that if I want to catch a special showing, one night only event at a movie theatre, I have to drive out to Rome or Atlanta to do so (Rome is about 45mins to an hour away; Atlanta is abut 2-3 hours depending on traffic).

But most of all, it’s the higher likelihood of bumping into people you’re not exactly fond of (to put it lightly) when you step out the front door. This has happened to me exactly 3 times in the month.

First, my husband and I bumped into a guy we both met around the same time in 2013. We’ll call him, uh, “Rob”. When we each met Rob, he was in a long term relationship. But he and his girlfriend wanted more. They wanted to be in an open relationship. And hey, that’s fine. I got no right to judge. Well, turns out that Rob wanted me to be his fool around buddy. Just like his girlfriend, we’ll call her “Margo” had already hooked up with the man that later I would end up with. (It must be noted at the time that my husband and I were not dating yet. We were both single. It must also be noted that meeting him and these 2 people, and when we DID start dating happened in the span of 2 weeks.) Between meeting my husband, and meeting these two people, whom he met at the same time, and when my husband and I started dating, the following happened: Rob and Margo fought daily, resulting in a domestic violence situation. Margo pulled a knife on Rob. Rob pulled a knife on Margo. Margo lost her shit and pulled a knife on the landlord. Rob repeatedly tried to get into my now mother-in-law’s pants (despite her frequent protestations of being a lesbian), continuously tried to flirt with me and having the goal of sleeping with me, and Margo doing the pants off tango with my future husband (again, during this 2 week period, my husband and I were NOT dating one another, and I didn’t really care what all he did because he was just a friend). This resulted in false claims of abuse, rape, and a fake pregnancy. This all came out at the end of 2 weeks when Margo’s aunt tried to step in and defend her niece, only to discover it was 100% made up and she slept with someone else of her own free will, was not pregnant, and was the primary abuser in her own domestic situation. And that ALL of the drama stemmed from the fact that she got booty outside of their “open” relationship while Rob was continuously turned down and rejected… because it was Rob’s idea in the first place.

Needless to say, it was rather awkward seeing Rob again after nearly 4 years – jobless, homeless, and with another woman. We gave him $2. I told him about different places in town that were hiring, and then husband and I quickly went on our way to Gamestop, then dinner. This encounter reminded me to appreciate my relationship with my husband, and our narrow escape from the drama llamas that were Margo and Rob.

Next up, we’ll call her “Penny”. Penny was my brother’s fiance up until his death in January 2014. Generally a decent person, we lived with her after my son was born, up until August of 2014. While she herself is generally decent, one of her kids caused multiple problems while we were living there, resulting in potential legal issues simply because we happened to live with her. Penny’s daughter, however, was taken into the foster care system for reasons I’ll not divulge. Penny is a decent parent, but her daughter is an out of control fucking monster. Penny knows this. However, Penny also lied to us about the situation and tried to use us as a shield so that her daughter could not move back in. She also lied to us about how her court proceedings would affect us – this resulted in us having to move out in 2 weeks or less with no notice. She was upset that we didn’t pay the next month’s rent… rent and all utility bills for a place we would no longer be living in. What we DID do was give her our share of the utilities up to the point we moved out, even though we were under no obligation to do so. And rather than hand the money over to her like she had wanted, we went directly to the offices and paid only our share, leaving the rest for her to deal with. She had also lied and said the landlord had not wanted to add our names to the lease. After we moved out and were settled in, I contacted the landlord. He was surprised to learn we had moved out, as he had been expecting Penny to be moving out and us to take over with a new lease. He had also been willing to lower the rent because my husband was on disability.

Well… I bumped into Penny oh, about a week ago at the laundromat. First time I’ve seen her, really, since we moved out. Life has not been kind to her. That daughter I mentioned? Made Penny a grandmother, and Penny is raising the baby. She’d bought a trailer, and had to give it up again. Her mother, last I knew, lived on her own in low income housing. A nice little place, too. Now she lives with Penny and her roommate. In the time since we moved out, with the exception of my Asshole Neighbor Eddie and my older sister whom I’ve written about before, we’ve actually been doing much better physically, emotionally, and financially. Our lives have been more stable, and less drama filled (again, with the exception of the 2 things mentioned above). Bumping into her made me remember to appreciate what I have gained and what I have.

And lastly… that dastardly sister who lived with me for a good chunk of 2015 (as read about in my Word to the Wise series of posts…) For those who don’t want to read that clusterfuck, here’s the long and short f it. I let my sister move in, in good faith that she would maintain the progress that she had made, and look for a job. Four months or thereabouts fly by, I’ve had enough, tell her to get a job. All hell breaks loose and we end up falsely imprisoned in our own home, scared out f our minds, and she threatens to have my child taken away for the sole fact that she had her kids taken from her and I made her upset by telling her to get a job or get out. We finally managed to kick her out. But the lasting damage to my marriage, and to my mother’s mental state, is still evident. Last we knew, she had gone to Savannah. We haven’t seen her since my mom stopped by her motel a few days after we kicked her out, to let her know my dad was dead.

Well… I saw her Saturday. Same laundromat as Penny. Thankfully, unlike with Penny, I was already done and loading up my car when she showed up. I noticed her getting out of a car that happened to have parked right in front of me. I was halfway through loading up my car when she came back out of the laundromat and called me out by name to say hi. Needless to say, given her history with me, I wanted out of there ASAP. I did try to be kind-of polite because hey, we were in a public place. But still… it had me rather shaken up. If I was a drinker, Saturday is the day I would have switched from beer to whisky, that’s for certain.

So what did I learn from THAT encounter? Well… it might be time to look for another laundromat. Unfortunately, that one is the only one with free wifi.

Ah, higher frequency of awkward and unwanted reunions. Such is the price we pay for quieter, more relaxed and peaceful living.

Ramble: On Inspiration, Creativity, and the Lack Thereof

He stood in front of the Untempered Schism. It’s a gap in the fabric of reality through which could be seen the whole of the vortex. We stand there, eight years old, staring at the raw power of time and space, just a child. Some would be inspired. Some would run away. And some would go mad. – The Doctor (David Tennant); “Doctor Who: The Sound of Drums”, 2007

Since 2005, I have had a very deep fondness for Doctor Who, both the revival/current running series and the classic stories from the childhoods of those who’ve come before me. But every Whovian has that one line, that one special monologue or quote or scene that really touched them in a meaningful way. For many it’s the First Doctor’s farewell speech to his granddaughter Susan when he leaves her to find a new life and to settle down with a man she has come to love. For others, it’s the Fourth Doctor’s statements following his refusal to prevent the creation of the Daleks, questioning whether or not he made the right decision but also certain that without the Daleks many races who came together to fight them would otherwise be fighting one another. And need I even bring up the various speeches given by the Sixth Doctor during “Trial of a Time Lord“?

For me, it has been, since it’s first utterance on screens across the globe, the quote above. It really hit me right in my feels, and evoked a very powerful emotional response in me. I know everyone has their own interpretations of, well, anything and everything really. Even reality. So just because I’m about to go on a long diatribe about mine, it doesn’t mean your interpretation is any more wrong or right than my own.

That segment of dialogue inspired me in a point in my life that was still… dark. It was looking up. I’d gotten a job that year that I loved dearly. I made friends in college, I was doing well in school. But emotionally I was a train wreck. Problems at home caused me to become very withdrawn from my family and I spent more and more time losing myself in my fantasy worlds – be it through writing or artwork, movies and video games. But, as was always the case – Doctor Who was the thing that started to get through to me. At the time, I saw it as “It’s okay to be scared out of your mind. No one knows what the future holds, and even if you were staring it down it could always change tomorrow. Nothing is set in stone. You can let yourself go crazy worrying about it, be inspired to change it, or keep running away in fear of it.” And at the time I was so sure that is what it meant. It gave me hope and reassurance in a really crazy time in my life.

Years later, as I’m periodically putting the series on for background noise as I clean, write, knit, cook, ecetera, I hear it and feel… something else entirely. Now I read those words and I am reminded of all the wonder of childhood. The wild imaginations and dreams and hopes and… and then… the drudgery of life and growing up. And losing that sense of childish wonder we come into the world with. Eight years old is around the time kids in school start getting reigned in. And over the following decade of their lives the creativity, the wonder, the imagination, the excitement is stripped away in order to “make them productive members of society”. To “prepare them for the real world”. No, it doesn’t make them productive. It doesn’t prepare them for the real world. It makes people apathetic. It makes them ignorant of their own potentials. Keeps them from aspiring to be more, to be better people, or to better the world around them. It makes them accept the mediocre and makes them wholly reliant on others to tell them what to think and how to feel. It teaches them that individuality is inherently wrong and that in order to succeed they must conform 100% to someone else’s ideals and morality rather than their own. It creates drones who’s sole purpose is to do as they are told, when they are told, how they are told, and that it is pointless to ever want to work towards something more, especially for the self. And many who manage to get through it all, and manage to build themselves up, twist the system to their own benefit, and shape others to their own brand of ideals and morality. It does not matter if you are left or right. Liberal or conservative. Blue. Red. Hell purple with pink polka dots and from Pluto. The fight to get to the top of the food chain twists us all in some way, and rather than seek out the better and the new for others as well, we turn it back to that which created and shaped us, feeding it to others. Stripping THEM of their uniqueness and shaping them to meet OUR standard. And so the cycle continues.

I could go further into a long political diatribe at this point, but I’ll save that for another time. Besides, I’m pretty sure ALL OF US are tired of EVERYTHING being made into a political statement at this point…

We NEED creative people. We NEED imagination. Creativity and imagination lead to hoped and dreams, which drive people to be inspired. I know it’s old hat at this point to use the “I bet everyone thought the first person to build a fire was crazy” example but let’s just imagine a world where say… toilet paper was never invented. It’s a pretty gross world and I’d bet you wouldn’t want to eat anything someone hands you, or, well anything that anyone else has even touched… guess it was a really great thing someone was inspired to take some paper and wipe their behind after going to the loo, isn’t it? Otherwise we might still be using hands, or worse – corn cobs (which apparently was a thing in rural America according to my maternal grandmother… so… that’s a thing that people actually used to do).

There’s more to it for me, but it’s getting rather late as I write this and I need to get some rest as I’m meant to be getting up at 6:30AM (it’s currently 12:30AM as I write this bit here) so I’ll save that for a part 2 or something.

But the point of this post is… we won’t be able to break the chains that restrain us, that strip us of our hopes and dreams, that hold us back from our creative natures and inspire us to do more, to be more – we won’t be able to end the cycle until we stop trying to force our ideologies on the next generation. Stop insisting that every weird, odd little quirk needs to be stopped and corrected. Stop forcing our own ideals and standards on them. Give them some structure, yes. Teach them fundamentals like right and wrong, manners, how to share and be kind to others, definitely. But also we must encourage them to learn. To explore. Imagine. Play. Build. Draw. Sing. Dance. Read. The more we feed their creativity, the more we feed their imaginations, the more they will dream. The more they will hope. The more they will be inspired to do great and wondrous things. We used to be like them – collectively as a human race we’ve done so many great things. Some of us looked at the moon and wondered “what’s it like up there?” And others stood there and looked out further still and wondered “what’s out there?” – Without the dreamers, we’ve seen a generation where the space program has been stripped to it’s bare minimum. Where people obsess over what some reality show bimbo said about some other reality show bimbo’s husband. We’ve seen an entire generation of young people enter the “real world” with nearly all of their wonder and drive stripped from them at an early age, to “prepare them” for the big bad “real world”… and I hate to say it but all that preparation has failed, leaving an entire generation where going five minutes without checking Twitter can lead to severe panic attacks or worse – destruction of property and assault.

So please, PLEASE we as just people need to change this. My generation is pretty much a lost cause if today’s social climate is anything to go by. But the next one, and the one after that? They are all waiting to be tempered. Do we continue to strip them of everything that can help bring change for themselves and for their peers? Or will we instead inspire them to do better, to be better than we ever could be?

Okay, now I’m done for tonight. Nearly half an hour after my last time stamp (it’s now 12:56AM).

Filling Time with Meaning

Monday my son starts his special preschool. It’s also his birthday. Today I did double duty shopping – buying him clothes and a book-bag and various school things as well as birthday shopping. But mostly clothes and school things. (Seriously, he’s needed some new clothes for a bit now after a Winter growth spurt. But we were holding out until my mom’s taxes came in. They came in yesterday morning.)

We’ve already planned for the first week or two while he’s at school to finally get some serious cleaning done with regards to the room at the back end of the house, and rearranging furniture and such to give my son his own room and space.

But after that is done, and I run out of things to do at home to fill those few hours each weekday, I’ve decided to take up flash fiction writing. But first, I need to get the practice in before I turn around and submit my work to any publications. (I know, flash fiction doesn’t pay much, but it’s at least some pocket change here and there to treat myself to something nice. Like yarn, or a new book, etc.) But, I don’t want to post it here on THIS blog, because this is my personal space. Where I write about my personal stuff. My life, my kid, my family, all of that.

My biggest problem with attempting NaNoWriMo last year was time, energy, and commitment to large scale projects. I didn’t have all of the time and energy to spend on it. Though I wanted to. So I’ve decided to work on the smaller scale. Because I do have the time, and will have the energy to spend on small things. To start with, I’m going to practice with a 30 day writing challenge, likely sometime in either April or May. I find that starting on the first day of a month helps to keep these things straight and organized. I’ve got a list of prompts to use to start with, ones taken from multiple “30 day challenge” lists that I think would be fun or interesting to do.

When I do decide to move ahead with it, I’ll also be considering platform as well. Do I create a new blog? If so, what service would best suit my need and situation? Do i want it to go viral or do I want it more subtle and homey? Should I give in and get a Twitter and build up a social media presence for the project? These are all things I need to think about and plan out ahead before I start the project, that way I can focus on the writing and let the rest take care of itself.

Anyway it’s mostly just to get me to fill time each weekday. But whatever comes of it, I hope it entertains people.

Life, Birthdays, and the MCU

I voted today. That’s all anyone needs to know about that. Now then!

So this last week was the start of NaNoWriMo – and I’ve yet been able to sit down and have the energy and time at the same time. The first week of November is always a busy one, so I’m going to marathon over the next few days to bring my word count up from 0 to at least something. This year is mainly my practice run anyway.

Additionally this week, my husband had his birthday! He’s 43 this year, and I made a very lovely from scratch dinner. Porterhouse steaks (beautifully marbled, roasted in the oven with just a hint of salt and pepper.) cooked alongside home made macaroni-n-cheese. And spinach. Usually I bake a birthday cake, but this year my health has been such that I just couldn’t do more than make him a nice meal. Let alone go out and buy a cake. Since my mother was working on his birthday, and we’ve only the one car, we stayed in and he played video games all evening while I tended to our son.

Doctor Strange also came out on his birthday, and we had planned originally to go out and see it opening day (but had the backup plan of dinner at home because at the time we didn’t know my mom’s work schedule for the next month). So instead, her first day off after his birthday, we went out for dinner and a movie. That was last night.

I’m not going to spoil the movie itself but there are 2 credit scenes. One mid-credits, and another after all the credits. One ties into the greater MCU via Thor, and the other is likely leading to a Doctor Strange sequel (gods I hope so because hot damn I need more Benedict Cumberbatch films in my life).

Anyway, after the movie, we went over to Hooters and had dinner. He loves hotwings, and I like their burgers. Though, our local Hooters… eh. The burger wasn’t as good as the others I’ve had at other locations (my favorite menu item is the Western Burger, so I tend to compare those more than other menu items). I think next time we go, I’ll order one of their chicken sandwiches. See how that goes. The night went super well, and we both really enjoyed the movie. Though the previews were just…. oh dear. One of them made me cry. IT was for a movie called “The Space Between Us”. The trailer for “Logan” played, which threw me for a loop because Marvel Studios and Fox rarely ever let previews for each others projects show before their films. (I think Deadpool’s success had something to do with this change in status quo.) It was sooooooo good. And I think the little girl he’s protecting might be X-23 (Wolverine’s replacement in the mainline Marvel comics. She’s a female clone of him). The Guardians of the Galaxy trailer was HILARIOUS as to be expected. I forget what other trailers showed as there were quite a lot of them.

As for non-plot related Doctor Strange stuff, now that I’ve seen the film, I think the actress they picked for The Ancient One actually works quite well. The thing about the MCU and the main Marvel Universe comics (Earth 616) is that they are two distinct Marvel Universes in the Multiverse. Marvel’s even given the MCU it’s own Multiverse designation. This means that it being a different universe, things happened differently. Instead of an Asian man (I do not know exactly what ethnic grouping The Ancient One in the comics is. Likely Chinese, but unsure. Hence the broader term of “Asian” here). Whereas in another timeline the The Ancient One may be Egyptian, or Native American, or yes – even a Celtic woman. Hell, in one universe Doctor Doom is the Sorcerer Supreme instead of Stephen Strange. That’s how vastly different things can be between Marvel universes.

The explanation given in the movie, while short and sweet, gives us more world building for this alternate timeline that makes up the MCU. And I for one love anything that expands on the MCU’s universe and it’s history.

But I bring this up only because again, after having seen the movie, and having brushed up on what Doctor Strange stuff I didn’t already know from the comics going in, everyone was so focused on a non-Asian woman being cast as The Ancient One, citing accuracy to the comics, and yet not a single person complained about Baron Mordo being cast as a black man. I mean if we really wanted to go for comic book accuracy, Baron Mordo is a white man. If we wanted to go for comic book accuracy,the most accurate film version of Nick Fury is actually, and I am loathe to say this, David Hassellhoff was the most accurate looking Nick Fury ever to grace our screens. And yet…. Nick Fury as we know and love him today is Samuel L. Jackson. – My point is, the MCU is an alternate universe, where things happened differently. As a result, there’s going to be changes to a lot of things. Changes to a lot of support and secondary characters. But despite these changes, the core elements of the stories themselves, the core elements that lead our heroes that we love to watch on the big screen, remain the same. Tony Stark was still fighting his way out of a terrorists cave, an arc reactor in his chest, using an Iron Man prototype. The only difference was which terrorist group snatched him up. Thor still was cast to earth, had to prove himself worthy of the hammer – he still had to fight against Loki, his adopted brother and thus become enemies and bitter rivals. Loki still fell from favor and became the bad guy. Bucky Barnes still became the Winter Soldier, but wasn’t Captain America’s teenaged sidekick first. And who the hell really knows how we went from a David Hassellhoff (though his film wasn’t part of the MCU, again he did play the character and is the most accurate looking actor to have done so.) looking Nick Fury to Samuel L. Jackson but, here we are.

And that’s the beauty of the MCU. The main, core characters, the IMPORTANT characters, remain the same. It’s the journey that led them down their heroic paths that’s changed. I mean, in the MCU there are no mutants! In the real world, it’s because of Fox owning the film rights to the X-Men characters and having copyrighted “mutants” for their films. So, we have Quicksilver in an X-men movie, and we’ve got Quicksilver in Avengers 2. The difference? One’s a mutant. The other is a result of experimentation (along with his sister, Scarlet Witch).

So, whenever someone begins to complain about who is cast for what, especially when it’s related to a Marvel film, I reserve any judgements on it until after I’ve watched it and if there’s a logical explanation for the change presented in the film, even if it’s a single throw away line, then hey. This is the canon of THIS universe, and is one of the many divergent points from which the MCU split from the main Marvel Earth 616 Universe.

And this post went into a direction I wasn’t expected it to. Anyway, that’s my ramble for this week or so. Time to get back to writing!

Books and Covers (People and Social Media)

NaNoWriMo is looming closer. I’ve finished 1/2 of my outline, and will be working on more throughout the day today when I finish here and my lunch. I’ve been a bit busy recently, and the few days away from it gives me time to not get burned out too early, as well as help me to see an idea fresh and see if it still works or not before building further on it. During the time not working on the outline last week, I created a “book cover”  to post on the NaNoWriMo website for my novel (all free public domain images from verifiable sources, to assure the copyright minded people out there). And as I worked on the image, I was concerned with how people would perceive the subject matter of my novel. So, due to it taking place in a remote boarding school during autumn, I chose to use an image that looked similar to the setting, but adding a charred wood filter to make it a bit more sinister looking, as the plot is of a supernatural nature.

I was reminded of my book cover recently as a few days ago, I received the oddest of messages in my Facebook inbox. It was of course in my Filtered Messages folder since I was not on this person’s friend’s list to begin with.

aggywhat

There’s quite a many things wrong with this. Firstly “Missy Aggie” is an alias. Secondly, while I do not profess to be besties with the admins of a the group she mentions, I am on good terms with them. They area wonderful group of people, and I have benefited much from their combined years of advice and wisdom on copyright problems, and writing in general. Thirdly, the Facebook group “Pagans Against Plagiarism” does not represent me. They do not represent anyone, actually. When someone brings copyright infringement to the attention of the group, it is because often the illegal copies or stolen works belong to a member of the group itself – the group is primarily composed of authors, artists, publishing company representatives, magazine writers, web designers – people who either create things or facilitate in the creation of things – but also those who represent an author or estate’s legal interests (for many this means a Llewellyn representative, as they are the most popular publisher to have works ripped off from, and some of their authors are deceased but the publisher holds the copyrights). And lastly, the admins of Pagans Against Plagiarism created the group in response to someone stealing their works and attempting to self publish them through places like Amazon under another title and under their own name. The group was started so that they had a common place to discuss what to do about the problem, and what legal recourse they could take provided some of the authors and artists who had been ripped off were not only in the United States, but some were in Canada, others in the UK. So trying to sort out all the international issues as well was very important in going forward with sorting it all out and moving forward. Now the purpose of the group is to help educate others on what their rights are as content creators, who’s responsibility it is to file legal actions when their works are stolen, to alert content creators and/or their representatives when a member stumbles across theft and plagiarism of someone’s work on the internet, and generally just to help people who don’t know what to do if or when their work is lifted by someone else. And of course, it’s mostly pagan oriented because the initial creation of the group was to help pagan authors.

Now, how does all of this remind me of when I had questioned whether or not people would understand what my book was about based on the cover I had created?

Again, I must state that before I received this message I had never encountered this person before. They were not on my friends list, and I was not on theirs. This is a case of someone looking through a membership list of a group, and messaging newer members since the last time they had pulled something of this nature, and judging them based on the sole fact they are a member.

Rather than speak to me one to one, rather than open a dialogue, this person just up and said “Nope.” For all this person knew, I had joined the group because someone stole my poetry or my paintings. For all this person new, I could have been a member of the group who agreed with them. But again, rather than start a dialogue…

Ah well. It’s clear that “Missy Aggie” has a vendetta against the group founders, likely because it’s an alias of the person who had been responsible for the situation resulting in the group’s creation in the first place.

It just makes me sad to know real people still judge people like they are judging what book to buy.