Saturday, July 21, 2018

Danger and Somtimes Violence in Writing

I want to begin with definitions of danger and violence because I've noticed people often understand a word from different perspectives.

My definition of danger, based on Merriam Webster’s Online, is being within the jurisdiction, reach, or range of someone powerful, or deranged, or holding evil intent, and/or someone holding the control, desire, influence, and intent to harm someone else. Another aspect of the definition is being near or immersed in something liable to cause injury, pain, harm or loss. Danger implies fear, worry, and sudden change.

Danger can lead to violence, which is the use of physical force to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy someone or something or to cause injury by verbal actions using distortion, interference, or opposition. It can also be the intense, turbulent, furious or destructive actions or forces such as accidents or storms. Intense feelings expressed in a vicious display of physical or verbal behaviors can qualify as violent even if no one is physically injured. Violence implies a cost, perhaps in esteem, physical loss, or trauma.

In my writing, these definitions show a wide range of situations able to become dangerous or violent, which sometimes comes from or leads to depravity on a character's part and often trauma for another character.

All stories need drama, and emotion and physical tension create this between characters or the situations they will endure. These are often both psychological and physiological. Emotional reactions to any number of situations can add drama to a story. Tension also develops when the reader knows a character's actions will lead to danger. The character attempting to avoid violence can also lead to intense suspense. 

Have I used danger and violence within my stories? Yes, and the scenarios are often based on the types of violence done by humans in different eras of history. Most of our most esteemed eras of history have had very gruesome practices in war and in punishment of criminals, opponents, and slaves. I’ve used these in some stories; some graphically described and some only implied. It all depends on the character, the situation, its time and the location.

The reader's reaction, often based on their personal emotions, morals, and experiences, determines if the type of violence in the story hooks them into reading more or stops them from reading altogether.

Please check these authors' view on this topic:

Dr. Bob Rich
Victoria Chatham
Connie Vines
Anne Stenhouse  
A.J. Maguire 
Marci Baun 
Skye Taylor
Fiona McGier
Anne de Gruchy
Judith Copek

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

BUZZ: The Nature and Necessity of Bees -- Thor Hanson

From publisher Basic Books 
ISBN-10: 0465052614
ISBN-13: 978-0465052615
Publish date: July, 2018

BUZZ is more than a title because a ‘buzz’ of interest kept me reading. The information on the evolution of bees from wasps, changing from carnivores to vegetarians during the age of dinosaurs, was fascinating, as was learning how long man has been harvesting and treasuring honey. It shows cave paintings of this activity! As a gardener, I also found the number of bee species astounding and their effects on how flowers developed through the millennia interesting. Only recently I learned Michigan has over 300 varieties of bees, but had no idea on how many species there are in the world. All the information Mr. Hanson gives on the many types of bees in BUZZ is thought-provoking, and goes far beyond the scope of honey bees and their decline.

BUZZ is a well-written personal narrative telling of the author’s own interest and journey of discovery on the topic of bees. Author Thor Hanson writes in easy-to-understand language rather than in the jargon of science, but he provides quick definitions when words of a scientific nature are used and gives supporting evidence on his information from many experts in the field. BUZZ also holds a message that humans need to become more aware of their relationship to the creatures and plants that surround us and makes living possible.

Over Population & Global Warming

Whether global warming is the fault of humans or just a natural cycle as many seem convinced, the results will still have catastrophic effects on our human population, and with the rate of growth in population, we have severely limited our sustainability options.

After thousands of years of habitation on Earth, the human population reached one billion in the first decade of the 19th century. In the past 200 years, the population has grown to seven billion and increases by a billion every twelve to fourteen years. Much of this, of course, is due to better nutrition, disease prevention, and safer environments, yet not all of Earth's citizenry have shared in this advantage. Worldwide poverty and hunger remains a huge problem. A Scientific American article in October of 2011 titled “Human Population Reaches 7 Billion--How Did This Happen and Can It Go On?” talks about this issue and how long the Earth can sustain such growth.

Some countries have seen birth rates lowering, including the United States, but it probably is not enough on an Earth where we are consuming 150% or more of the Earth’s resources each year. It isn’t the only landmass that we are taking over for raising food and for habitation, but we are also using more fresh water and more oxygen while having the highest extinction rate for other plants and animals on the planet since the end of the dinosaurs. We need all of those plants and animals. Our survival and their survival are tied together in many ways. We cannot live as the only species on Earth with the ‘selected’ species we chose to save. Every living thing has a purpose. Humans might not like the purpose, but we don't always understand the overall mission. 

If you have children or grandchildren, you need to be concerned. What type of world are we leaving behind us when we pass? What type of life are we leaving our progeny? Yes, we are an inventive species and may develop some creative means to counter some of the effects of too many people on a planet limited by size and resources, but at what cost? 

Once started on a path, the Earth follows its own dictates, and might not respond to human cajoling. It's more likely to slap us. And no, it's not my fallacy or other global warming believers' deceit or miscalculation, but a fact borne out by research which we have ignored for thirty years or more. We are now seeing those predictions come true in both the Arctic and the Antarctic. As the Earth continues to warm up, the change will affect more environments and the people living not only in those sites but also everyone worldwide. Along with the possibility of warming waters changing ocean currents, we must also contend with the change in the water chemistry of the oceans. Yet another problem with which to contend.
We have had many warnings, and I don’t understand those who ignore the news or who think the information unbelievable ‘fake’ facts. Some, I know, believe God will save us, but the deity only gave us dominion over the Earth and never promised a second chance if we destroyed the first one. So please wake up and start taking this news as important before it becomes an even greater crisis (maybe already too late). Start thinking about how you can live and what you can do to begin encouraging change for a sustainable population and resource allotment. Many internet and books tell steps to take. This article '17 Ridiculously Easy Things You Can Do to Help Save the Earth Every Day,' by Renee Jacques in 2017 explains how to start.

At the same time you might start asking yourself why so many of our national and world leaders in general don't speak on this issue. Why? What is their purpose (or lack thereof)?