Saturday, July 20, 2013

Charging up and Unwinding

This month's Saturday Round-Robin topic is about what you do to recover, recoup, relax, refresh, re-examine, or whatever, So how do you unwind from life's stresses, or re-energize from its mundane moments? In some way, both extremes seem related to me. You change whatever you are doing to something you like to do, and I think you choice changes according to where you are in your life.

When I was very young I wanted to escape parental control while waiting to begin my 'own' life. I lived in books and daydreams. It must have shown because I remember my 10th-grade art teacher telling me I looked like a dreamer. Hmm. Lost in my own world? It didn't sound so good then. I still do both today, they are still escapes, and I can't sleep without reading first, so for sure it is a great relaxer.

As I became a mother my most de-stressing time of day was putting toddler children to bed. We had a bath and a book ritual. One long play bath followed by ten to twenty minutes of reading whatever book they selected. It was a blessedly peaceful time of day since I knew calm and quiet would rein after the noise and hassle of the day. Now I enjoy doing this with my grandchildren when they come to visit.

Vacation is supposed to be about getting away and unwinding, but I've always found it stressful.  Planning and packing is a pain. Traveling is tiring whether by car or plane. I take many photos and enjoy doing it, but don't really enjoy standing in line to visit attractions.  And camping? I don't think so, too much work. My air mattress is always the one that goes flat. Short trips are fine - a long weekend, great; a week or two? No. First off, I have to get a cat sitter, and second, my garden goes wild the minute I turn my back on it.

So besides reading and daydreaming, how do I unwind? Writing, which combines the best of both reading and daydreaming; but reading isn't supposed to be peaceful. A good story needs thought-provoking, emotional, dangerous or adventurous situations to bring the catharsis that readers desire.
Hopefully, my October release will provide some of that.

Please go on to the next author participating in today's topic listed at the bottom of the post.

Excerpt from The Nanite Warrior:

"Holy shit, sir, that's the pilot. We picked up the body tag." The pilot quickly tracked the crashed ship's pilot. "It's at fifty-thousand feet sir."

With Aginfeld's stronger gravity, it would be a faster transit than Earth training allowed, but the body continued to fall for what Ithan felt an interminable time.

"He's at three-thousand feet, sir. Looks like he's going to crash with Aginfeld, too," the copilot said.

The falling body suddenly jerked backward and upright as a parafoil deployed. His downward speed drastically changed and the shifting wind affected the parafoil's direction and trajectory. The sensors followed the parachutist down to his landing many kilometers from the crashed craft. With some satisfaction, Ithan saw the winds dragged the man for some distance over the rough land before stopping. The body didn't move.

"Hard landing," the pilot said in satisfied amusement, "have the location pinpointed, sir."
Five minutes later his pilot fought the wind buffeting the craft to land his heli.

Four Enforcers stood, already suited for outside and preparing to leave the craft. After a thousand years of terraforming, Aginfeld remained a dangerous and untenable landscape, and according to sensors, a windstorm brewed. "Get the body and bring it back on board asap, but take no extraordinary efforts, if the pilot cannot be collected easily, leave him," Ithan ordered.

Within ten minutes they returned with the body and the parachute. The creases in their suits scattered trapped sand and pebbles as they moved into the heli. The pilot they brought with them wore a silver flight suit and a high altitude-space helmet. The dark-lens view shield obscured the face. An oxygen tank hung from the chest straps of the flight suit, its tube running to the helmet.

"Strap in," came an order from the pilot, "It's going to be a bumpy takeoff." Everyone complied, leaving the body tethered to the heli's deck anchors. In a minute they were in the air.

"We are closer to Abode," Ithan shouted his order to the pilot as this area of the craft was far noisier. "Cancel the flight to Van Garth Habitat and head back to the Enforcer landing deck on Abode." He kept his attention on the pilot tied to the floor.

Noting the pilot's chest rose and fell in shallow breaths, he loosened his restraints despite a warning from Randall. Several hands reached out to restrain him as turbulence bounced the craft. Shrugging them off, he let his past medical training come to the fore. He heard numerous other restraint locks release. Ithan grasped the helmet's attachments and unlocked them, slowly removing the helmet. "Get an oxygen mask ready, Randall," he looked at his men, "find out our estimated time to landing and warn the port." Carefully removing attachments and hoses from the helmet, he finally pulled it off.

"My God!" Randall said as he returned. "He's a girl."

* * *

Next stop on the Round Robin Blog tour -- Please check out about relaxing in Vienna:

 Lynn Crian's blog A Writer in Vienna
Other links to Round-Robin bloggers:
Western Romance author Ginger Simpson at Dish'in It Out
Mystery author Billie A. Williams at Printed Words
Mystery author Beverly Bateman at Blogging with Beverly
Fantasy & Scifi author A. J. Maguire 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Reading and the Space-Time Continuum

Some people don’t like fiction, saying, “It’s all just make-believe, I prefer biography,” or “I’d rather watch a movie.” Whatever, they are still experiencing a tale. We do not know when the oral traditions of storytelling began, but probably long enough ago that fiction became entrenched as the biological need it has become. Biological need? Yep. In biology, survival tends to get rid of anything unnecessary, yet fiction continues. We have a need for it and spend countless hours in other worlds of fantasy (all fiction is fantasy), which might be better spent doing something else, so why? In some ways, it remains a mystery, but Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, and Vladimir Propp showed in their respective researches how stories might serve some deep spiritual and mental needs for both the author and the reader.

Fiction isn’t just a way to relax and to pass time, or a method to relieve stress, or to help a person fall asleep. It is an ongoing collision between fantasy and reality that takes the reader on a journey of some sort, whether an adventure tour, a voyage of growth, a drive to change entrenched viewpoints, or an expedition to achieving a long-sought goal. A story always contains a problem that needs solving, which provides an experience that calls for the reader’s personal interaction, learning, and maybe his or her personal change. If that interaction doesn’t happen, neither does the story.

Each of us lives in a finite space and time, and physics, even philosophy have indicated the possibility of multiple universes. So maybe that’s where reading takes us--a junction between biology and the space-time continuum fueled by imagination. Maybe imagination is where infinite universes intersect and all those stories are true in some other time and reality.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Friend in the Peace Corps
I have a friend, Bonnie, who joined and left on a mission for the Peace Corps. She is blogging on her experiences, some of which, like this ONE, are hilarious, but certainly intriguing.

Please pay her a visit and make a comment -- let her know there are people interested. This is an adventure I'm sure you will like to share, and Bonnie will probably need encouragement.

A Book in Six Weeks

April 26th I started a new story. Granted it takes place in an already established world (Home World ~ Aginfeld), but I finished it in mid-June and have a contract on it for publication in October. That gives me several months to read through it again. Here is the working cover so far -- but it might well change.

I've never done a story so fast, but the idea formed and then everything just came together. Very strange, for me at least. I've never participated in a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where someone writes 50K in a month, so I found the experience interesting.