Won’t be doing much blogging. Back in early March. Invading the Grand Canyon and surrounding vicinity.
Try not to miss me. };-)>
Won’t be doing much blogging. Back in early March. Invading the Grand Canyon and surrounding vicinity.
Try not to miss me. };-)>
As with many people, I aspired to write a book one day. Now that I have done it—book should be out in a month or so—, I thought I might write on writing. A book, that is.
I don’t know if there is a right way or a universal formula, so I’ll just describe what I did. It may or may not apply to you.
While I do love fiction, I’ve always wanted to write non-fiction. The problem was, I never really had anything substantive enough to write about. Plus, those married-with-children years didn’t actually leave me with a lot of spare time, either.
This isn’t to say that I didn’t write—I did. Mostly shorter professional writing, though. (If you blog, you’re writing too.) But not the book or books that I had wanted to do.
Then something “good” happened. I had a divorce from hell starting in 2008. Every feminist within reach seemed to line up to put the boots to me. I finally had something to write about.
I did plenty of research. It’s so easy in today’s internet age. I checked all the applicable laws and regulations. As it turned out, I discovered that what some of the feminist social workers, lawyers, and judge did to my kids had a name: abduction, as defined in the Criminal Code. When I brought this to the attention of the authorities (everyone that I could think of), it was covered up.
I had a couple of false starts in writing the book. It really got going once I learned about writing a book proposal, as this allowed me to wrap my head around the project. With a planned structure in place, the writing had a framework to hang itself upon.
This is the last post on my series on book proposals. It has links to all the instalments.
It took me about five months, working vacations, evenings, and weekends, to write the first draft. It was in rough shape in terms of typos and errors, but there it was. This was almost a year ago. Since then, I’ve been doing a sequence of test readers. Get the feedback, check my emotions and ego, and think about it. Make enhancements. Another test reader. Repeat. Repeat again.
Around two dozen test readers later…
It appears that the trend for new authors is definitely to self publish their first book(s), and hopefully to get noticed and then signed by a traditional publisher. So, I began the self-publishing stuff in earnest last fall, while continuing with the test readers. I chose FriesenPress.com, as they offered a fairly comprehensive package. I have to do most of my own marketing, but that’s par for the course.
The beauty of test readers is fourfold, as I see it. First, they can give you the unbiased advice that you might be incapable of giving yourself. Second, they read what you actually have written, whereas you tend to read what you think you have written. Third, with enough eventual positive feedback, you gain confidence in both your manuscript and your ability to write. Fourth, if you work at it long enough, are personable enough, and are grateful enough, you just might build a humble PLATFORM that is said to be essential these days.
I’ve reviewed the galley proofs for my book and sent them back for correction. I should be receiving the revised galleys any day. The cover design, which I have deliberately not revealed yet, is finished, and people say that it is striking. I am getting so close.
This started five and a half years ago. Obviously, perseverance is a virtue as a general rule, and this applies to writing books as well. There is a message that everyone should take from this.
If I can do it, so can you.
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I blog as navigator1965. My blog The Mirror is a reflection upon life, and covers different topics. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I do thank you for your kind interest in this guest post. Note that test readers are also referred to as beta readers.
As a general rule, the lives of celebrities do not interest me in the slightest. The current and very public controversy surrounding Woody Allen, however, strikes a little close to home for me to ignore. My thoughts on this are with reference to the excellent article in today’s National Post by Jonathan Kay.
Allen’s 28 year old daughter Dylan Farrow has publicly accused Allen of sexually abusing her as a child. A heinous act for certain, if true. But as Mr. Kay astutely implies, it almost certainly isn’t. Dylan’s older brother Moses is the key to seeing through the smoke screen here.
As Moses relates, it was his mother Mia who drummed into him and sister Dylan to hate their father for tearing the family apart and for sexually molesting his sister. It was Mia who created the atmosphere of fear and hatred towards their father.
While Kay doesn’t use this term specifically, what he is describing is the ruthless and brutal emotional form of child abuse known as parental alienation. I’ve lived through it.
The clinical expert in my case who conducted a neutral, court-appointed parenting capacity assessment was Toronto’s Dr. Sol Goldstein. Dr. Goldstein had four decades of experience in this field at the time. He was a child psychiatrist, and adult psychiatrist, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and a psychoanalyst. He studied psychoanalysis under no less an authority than Dr. Otto Kernberg, a giant in the field of narcissism theory. Dr. Goldstein had stopped counting his high conflict divorce cases after he got to 500, well before he saw my family.
At a later stage in my case, Dr. Goldstein warned me of the possibility that the parental alienation could expand to include false allegations of sexual abuse of my severely alienated daughter. Apparently it’s par for the course in severe enough cases. Thankfully, this did not come to pass. My life was hellish enough at the time without such false accusations.
As Jonathan Kay points out, the high-minded presumption of innocence can go out the window in cases of alleged pedophilia. While we need to protect our children, doing so at the expense of justice opens the door to a narcissistic and vindictive ex to brainwash the kids into thinking one has committed heinous acts.
There but for the grace of God go I. And I, like Mr. Kay, believe I know what the truth of the matter is when it comes to the allegation made against Mr. Allen.
This is going to be a fun post.
I was an avid reader as a kid. It started with Mom teaching me to read with the slightly Eurocentric Dick and Jane.
Around grade 3, it turned to boys’ mysteries and adventures such as Brains Benton, adventures which I shared with the protagonist boys and treasure to this day.
Grade 5 saw me find H.G. Wells classic “The Time Machine” in my school library.
By junior high school, it was golden age science fiction and epic fantasy. I still recall being enthralled by Tolkein’s “Silmarillion” in grade 9, and I rather enjoyed the Shakespeare comedies that we studied in high school English class, along with provocative science fiction such as simpler works by Ayn Rand.
When I hit university, what became important was the caliber of the writing and the mind behind the writing, more than the genre. I got into the Easten Press’s “100 Greatest Books” program before the 90s military pay freezes, the Canadian dollar tanking, and the cost of raising a family put an end to it. (If you’re into great books and great minds, you’ll probably enjoy jrbenjamin’s blog. I do.)
One additional set of books that I bought from Easton Press that I have never had the chance to fully read (got through most of Book One before the kids and the rest of life interfered) is Edward Gibbon‘s classic of the Enlightenment Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
My goodness, but Gibbon had a beautiful mind. One is best advised to have a dictionary at hand when reading him.
Gibbon’s work will be a major foundational element in the sequel to my current book. To introduce him to you, I thought we would look at some of his more famous quotes. To make it fun, I am introducing a poll. It asks which Gibbon quote you like best. The results will form the basis of a new post.
With apologies for the one day delay due to workload and a somewhat unpleasant cold, I now unveil my 31 January 2014 submission for the delightful Barbara Fraken’s AWAKENING series at her blog Me, My Magnificent Self.
Barbara is a decidedly spiritual person in what I would describe as a New Age way sort of way, and her enthusiasm for spirituality is infectious. Her series deals with awakenings, or decisive points within a person’s life when they achieve quantum advances in spirituality. Her guideline to structure submissions is:
*Remembering My Childhood… and ‘if applicable’ Shutting down the contact with my soul to fully experience my humanness…
*First Stage of Awakening… My Call to Attention…
*Second Stage of Awakening… Dismantling my Life…
*Third Stage of Awakening… Glimpses of Clarity and Releasing Human Desperation
*Fourth Stage of Awakening… Quiet Time and Potentialising…
So here goes:
The journey to a spiritual existence is, I suppose, different for different people. Who can say if any two journeys are exactly the same? What follows is my journey, as best I can understand it, and placed against the framework that Barbara has kindly suggested:
Remembering My Childhood
We were a military family, and so we moved rather frequently. I have generally fond memories of my family. I remain close to my two younger sisters, and I also enjoy wonderful relationships with both my parents, who are now in their early 70s. Ours was a moderate Catholic family that focussed on love, forgiveness, charity, and generally behaving in a good way. No fire-and-brimstone. It was an excellent start in life towards a spiritual existence, with my father being more orthodox in his interpretation, and my mother being more intuitive. Due to the frequent moves, I was always the new kid and was often bullied and occasionally beaten on. Thus, I had plenty of learning experiences in terms of forgiving, although I was decidedly imperfect in this.
But I did try.
First Stage of Awakening
I suppose this could be said to have started when I was in high school, when I began to think more actively about being a good person in the moderate Catholic context. I was to later learn, thanks to an insightful question from blogger Kim Saeed, that I am likely INTJ on the Briggs-Myers personality type inventory. Basically, everything in my world has to logically fit together. Even spirituality. My brain is constantly trying to knit things together to find patterns amongst even disparate things. The pursuit of wisdom at this early age seemed to me to be a very logical and noble quest, as with wisdom one could discern between right and wrong in God’s eyes, and thus with some confidence one could lead a decent life.
I thus carried on in the tradition of my father, being a moderate Catholic, getting married, and having three children. Well, at least contributing to having three children, to give credit where credit is due. };-)> Tai Chi was a part of this in the earlier years, and it is something that I enjoyed and would like to have the time and resources to be able to pursue once again.
Second Stage of Awakening
Given my INTJ nature, in the mind-body-soul triumvirate, my mind is, perhaps, senior amongst equals, or tends to be. The dismantling of my life began intellectually with a book by the late Professor Charles Hapgood titled Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings. Succinctly, Hapgood’s analysis of maps that stretch as far back as the Library of Alexandria showed or implied geographical, mathematical, and clock technology knowledge that history records us not having achieved (together) until the late 1700s. Mind blowing! This, in turn, opened my eyes to the field of alternative research – history, archaeology, science, engineering. Together, this implies that there perhaps was, in high antiquity, a unification of all branches of knowledge that continues to elude us today. Maybe the biblical story of the great flood isn’t so crazy, after all.
Third & Fourth Stages
I am not certain where I am in terms of the third and fourth stages. I had a terrible divorce starting in 2008. My ex-wife, it turned out, has expert-confirmed narcissistic personality traits. The utter opposite of genuine spirituality. She severely alienated our three children from me during this, and every feminist within 100 miles seemed to line up to assist her – social workers, lawyers, politicians, and judges. I still haven’t seen my daughter in over five years due to this, although with a prolonged fight, I was able to salvage relationships with my two sons.
Learning to forgive and let go of the anger has been a challenge, but I’ve made progress. If there was a purpose to it all, it was that my mind could see the underlying pattern in everything the kids and I went through, and then tie it into the broader world that surrounds us. I’ve had some magnificent insights into people, narcissism, and society, and I am capturing these in a two book set, the first of which will hopefully be out next month (i.e., end February or early March): The Mirror, Book One – Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood. I’ve never written a book before, so this itself is exciting, especially as I’ve had highly encouraging test reader feedback.
The books are an emotional, intellectual, and spiritual catharsis. Through these, I hope to be able to move onto to the fourth stage of awakening and learn to live a truly spiritual life. I invite people to visit me at http://www.navigator1965.wordpress.com or to email me at email@example.com if they are interested in having a read of the book (free, of course!).
It was, as evenings go, a cold and snowy one. We were late, and The Nameless One, so named as she must not be named, was slightly vexed. We could not permit ourselves to be one of THOSE inconsiderate people who arrived late to yoga.
Were we to permit this to happen to us, we would be bad.
Through a hazardously blinding snowstorm, we raced to the Yogateria, that hallowed hall of harrowing contortions. We entered the main cavern silently, for one is better advised to make noise in a public library than in a yoga chamber of silent horrors. To our surprise, there were only a couple of penitents laying prostrate on the floor, whose hidden sins surely weighed mightily upon their dark souls.
I lay down, oblivious to the peril into which we had placed ourselves. Thankfully, The Nameless One was not so naive and innocent. She, scarcely to be heard above a silent breath, whispered to me, “We may be in a dirty studio.”
A dirty studio is good if one is dirty dancing or partaking in other forms of debauchery. On the other hand, a dirty studio is bad if one indulges in the yogic arts of contortion and twisted self-suffering in recompense for one’s evil masculine existence. I was bathing on a floor coated with the wicked perspiration of sin that had been sweated out of the previous collection of spandex clad convicts of conscience. I was unclean, only more so, a lost moral leper looking for his colony of sin and suffering.
As the yoga janitor came in, we rolled up our mats and headed to the other, smaller cavern of yogic contortions. We were almost late – perish the thought! There were but two spots left for us two sinners at the front of the dark and somber room, spots which were right in front of The Wall of The Mirrors of Shame. The two spots were separated by two spots in between, and in the darkness I spied the silhouette of the two lithe spandex clad penitents on those two spots awaiting their torturous absolution.
As I drew near to my spot, the place of my soon-to-be future trial by agony, my eyes discerned the nature of the two spandex yoga warrior princesses frozen prone in anticipation of what was to come. Next to me was Muffy the High School Cheerleader. Sans pom poms, no less. Perhaps one day she would be old enough to get her driver’s licence.
Next to The Nameless One was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. And Sweet Mother of our Blessed Redeemer, what a tattoo it was! It was a sultry tattoo. It was an evil tattoo. The wicked worm’s wanton head was worn clearly visible between shoulder blades laid bare by the heathen and slightly open-back Lulu Lemon spandex top of sin that its malevolent mistress wore, which should have been a size two, but was a size four, as this apparently is how one sizes said sinful Lulu Lemon tops, not that I would know. Where the dragon’s tail ended, I could not see and did not want to know for fear of my sinful soul’s lost salvation.
I sensed I was in immediate danger. Surely I could be sent to prison for doing yoga next to one so young. I gazed about the room, nonchalantly, innocently surveying the male yogateers. Perhaps one of them was an undercover cop. Were those guns in their pockets, or were they just happy to see me?
I did not wonder for long, as the High Priestess of Yoga entered the room and began the incantations to initiate the solemn rite of demonstrating excruciating male inflexibility. Upward dog, downward facing dog, chatterungha, cobra, and other names too horrible to mention, names known to strike fear into even the stoutest of male hearts.
I was no stranger to pain that evening. Nor was I to fear.
At one point we, for sins that must have been so great in some former life that they beggar the imagination, were in a contortion that mimicked Superman in full flight parallel to the ground and a stork standing on one leg in silent contemplation of its place in the universal scheme of things. In response to the unrelenting horror, my mind has thankfully forgotten the name of this pose, or at least it is very good at pretending it can’t remember. It was in this Superman-stork-from-hell position that my head was twisted to the right, towards Muffy the High School Cheerleader. God please, let there be police, no sirens, and no billy clubs!
As my gaze swept past Muffy the High School Cheerleader in the valiant but doomed attempt to preserve what little innocence I still possessed, whom did my eyes fall upon but The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Whereas I was a bulbous flying one-legged pickle barely leaned over from standing vertical in a mockery of the Superman-stork-from-hell position, she was herself vertical, but in the other direction. In the most unnatural and demonic act yet witnessed in the Yogateria, she, standing on her left leg, had her head on her left foot and her right leg extending straight to heaven in a flagrant act of inhuman heretical flexibility.
It did not go unnoticed.
I have spent many years on this Earth. And in these many years, I have gained insight into the mysterious ways of wily women. Women can have raging battles in plain sight, terrible battles, horrific battles, and all that men see are sweet smiles and innocent gestures and meaningless words. And so I recognized, to my horror, that what The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo had done was not just to offend decency, Heaven, and Earth with her display of spandex clad hubris.
No. What she had also done was thrown down the womanly gauntlet of yogic flexibility right in front of The Nameless One. It was more than a challenge.
It was a declaration of yoga war.
One challenges The Nameless One at one’s peril, and so did The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that horrible evening. The Nameless One may be ever-so-slightly past her glory years in terms of absolute yogic flexibility, but she is not helpless. She is the veteran of P-90x commando fitness bootcamp. She is a devoted acolyte of psychopath fitness warrior empress Betty Rocker. She is a veteran of the Toronto marathon. She cross country skis. And she does not fear girls with dragon tattoos.
It was a battle of unsurpassed violence, a battle replete with victories and defeats, a battle of wounds inflicted and sustained, a battle of grim determination and grim resolve beyond that of any male contest of arms.
And the men were oblivious to a man, with me the sole exception. They remained just happy to see me. Either that, or they really were police; one can never be certain of these sorts of things.
It was during the Sideways Starfish of Supreme Suppine Sorrow position that The Nameless One struck a telling blow, a mighty blow, a devastating blow, and the hubris of The Girls with the Dragon Tattoo was exposed in all of its fickle fragility, only then to be dealt the truly horrific mortal strike of the v-sit, as NO ONE out v-sits The Nameless One.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo lay broken on the yoga floor, and the men were none the wiser. I was. I was a survivor of the Great Yoga War, my scars visible to no man but myself.
And with her lawful foe laying vanquished beside her, The Nameless One joined me in celebrating our emancipation from that hot and sweaty twisted Purgatory as the High Yoga Priestess spoke the long awaiting incantation of freedom.
* * * * *
Thus ends the Yogateria Chronicles saga. For the time being, anyways. The instalments are: