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Awakened and Enlightened ..Guest Post by Tallis Steelyard

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! 

Did I not promise you of great things to come?  I told you that I would be part of a team that would present fiction in a new way.  I am installment eight.  You know that little kid near the end of the line, costume on and ready to hit the stage and delight you.  Then the IT gremlins came out to play and put a halt to things at about installment four or five, so just to get the you in the mood I started posting from the beginning the installments.  Well! Gremlins conquered and we are ready to rock. So I am posting my part YEA! and below that I will have the links to the foregoing.

Visit Jim for more and more and more

Awakened and enlightened

Awakened and Enlightened

I decided it was time I made my way back towards home. One thing repeated exile teaches a poet is humility. Disappear to avoid the results of some unfortunate understanding and it doesn’t take long for people to either forget you or to shift the blame onto some other poor beggar who didn’t absent themselves so briskly. Hence I was sadly confident that my return to Port Naain would evocate little reaction.

I headed south to Port Naain, working my way down the coast. This is an area I know better and even have friends I can call upon. It was one of these friends who is largely responsible for my meeting up with the Venerable Order of the Awakened and Enlightened Siblings.

We lingered too long over breakfast, so that it made sense to take an early lunch, and it wasn’t until early afternoon that I finally set off. Thus I was still seven or eight miles short of my destination when I decided I really ought to look for somewhere to stay for the night. The first place I saw after making that decision was a sprawling old mansion set back from the road. It seemed in good repair, there were plenty of lights showing at the windows and by the gate was a sign announcing to the weary traveller that this was the monastery of the Awakened and Enlightened Siblings and that travellers were welcome to stay.

Thus encouraged I walked up the drive and pulled the bell pull by the main door. A middle aged lady in a long robe admitted me and led me through to a reception room where she proceeded to ask me various questions; the usual things, name, occupation, reasons for travelling. I admit to a degree of caution, as I felt it might not be entirely wise to go bandying about the name of Tallis Steelyard. So I merely said I was Torris Blurt, gave my profession as ‘clerk’ and said that I was travelling to Port Naain to seek employment.

I was shown to a small sparsely furnished room. All it contained was a sawdust stuffed mattress on the floor, but this was accompanied by what appeared to be an adequate number of blankets. There was a hand-pump in the yard for washing, and when ready I was encouraged to visit the guests’ dining room.

It seems that I was the only guest. So as I ate I had the undivided attention of the guest master who proceeded to expound the teachings of his order.

Their beliefs appear simple enough. That once one reaches a certain level of wisdom one realises that man is the only god man needs. This is called ‘the awakening.’ Once somebody is awakened they realise that it is the duty of the awakened to guide and govern the rest of the population who so obviously are incapable of governing themselves. These masses are known as the sleepers. But the awakened also realise that even they are not yet ready to govern, so they purify themselves by a strict diet, celibacy and abstaining from alcohol. Success in purification takes the initiate to the highest level when they become enlightened. It is to the enlightened that the populace should look for leadership and guidance.

Judging by the meal I ate, a dish of beans cooked in water, and served with some coarse bread; the recommended diet for the awakened or the masses was unlikely to include such things as meat. On the other hand I did get a glass of beer to drink. It was thin and sour and I recognised it instantly. It was ‘Abbot’s Ale’, sold by many taverns and inns in Port Naain. Even by the undemanding standards set by Port Naain brewers, it was bad.

So I tentatively asked the guest master about the ale. He held up a glass of the pale yellow liquid. “It serves two purposes. Firstly sales help to fund our order, so that we might continue our good work. Secondly and perhaps most importantly, those who drink this will not be drinking stronger drink, so it reduces drunkenness and encourages teetotalism. It is indeed fortunate that we sell such a lot of it.”

With that he poured me a glass of a fruit cordial. “This is what we encourage folk to drink instead and we supply it very cheaply to those places that take the ale.”

The fruit cordial was pleasant enough, but again I recognised it. In the sort of bar where folk drink ‘Abbot’s Ale’ it is customary for the person purchasing it to ask for their glass to be ‘fortified.’ The vendor would fill the tankard three-quarters full of the ale and then top it up with a mix of half fruit cordial and half cheap spirit. The resultant drink is, it must be admitted, considerably more pleasant than the straight ale, but one is advised not to drink too much of it. Opinions differ as to how much is ‘too much’. Personally I’d suggest the sensible limit is less than a full glass. I have known people drink it to excess and not merely lose any memories of that evening, but of the following three or four days as well.

The talk then drifted delicately to the topic of donations. I cheerfully pulled out my purse and poured a small quantity of low denomination copper onto the table. The one ‘silver’ coin contained so much lead it had bent and I gently straightened it out again. Given the whole heap wasn’t worth much more than the value of a glass of beer, he gracefully declined. I assume he thought I had more money secreted about my person, but he was mistaken. As befits a poet, my penury was entirely authentic.

He encouraged me to contemplate joining the awakened. He pointed out that only the wise and properly educated could govern the populace properly, and the masses could only benefit with members of the order guiding them. After all, with us to lead them by example into lives of frugality and sobriety the world would be a better place. Then as I grew in wisdom and understanding, I would inevitably rise to join the enlightened.

I said I would sleep on it, and made my way to my room. To be fair the mattress was not uncomfortable, and there were enough blankets so I slept tolerably well. Unfortunately I awoke early feeling distinctly hungry and was unable to get back to sleep. So I dressed and went down to the dining room. It struck me that I might find the makings of an early breakfast and then I could be on my way. The dining room was empty and there was no sign of anybody in the kitchen. I was a little surprised, but it wasn’t until I looked out of a window and saw the false dawn that I realised how early it was. I continued to drift through rooms like a particularly peckish ghost, until I came upon a short corridor I’d never noticed previously. I walked down it and opened the door at the far end. This led into a dining room rather more elegantly appointed than the one I had eaten in the previous evening. Was this perhaps for the enlightened?

There was a door off the dining room which led to a separate kitchen and a substantial pantry. Here I was indeed enlightened. I returned to my room, collected my cloak and the trusty wicker fishing creel which had served me so faithfully as a pack and made my way once more to the pantry. There I nibbled on honey-cooked sausages whilst contemplating my possible breakfast. In the end I took more sausages, several slices of cold roast ham, some bread which I sliced and buttered thickly to save time later, a honey comb and two bottles of a rather fine white wine. I also acquired a quantity of black pudding and bacon which I could offer as my contribution to the meal should I stop at some peasant household that night.

I slipped quietly out of the window, closing it gently after me and made my way back to the road. It did strike me that within the order, it was obvious that abstinence from alcohol and decent food was only a requirement for those lesser beings. These were rules that the enlightened were wise enough to set aside for themselves. Whether the rules set aside by those who adjudge themselves wise also included celibacy is a question I am afraid I cannot answer.

At this point it seems pertinent to mention that the story of Tallis’s escapades continues on other blogs. They will be reblogged in what may one day be accepted by biographers as the chronologically correct order on his own blog. Thus and so you can easily follow his gripping adventures.

 Also, as an aside, the reason for this whole performance, (aside for being ‘Art’ with a capital ‘A’) is that another volume of his anecdotes has been published. Containing some work that has never appeared on the blog, this is ;-

 Tallis Steelyard. The Monster of Bell-Wether Gardens and other stories.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steelyard-Monster-Bell-Wether-Gardens-stories-ebook/dp/B075DG5JJ6/

 

https://www.amazon.com/Steelyard-Monster-Bell-Wether-Gardens-stories-ebook/dp/B075DG5JJ6/

AND PREVIOUS LINKS TO BEGINNING CHAPTERS

https://scvincent.com/2017/09/24/guest-poet-and-raconteur-tallis-steelyard-a-family-saga/
https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/09/17/playing-the-game-guest-post-by-tallis-steelyard/
https://addandsomuchmore.com/2017/09/18/of-kings-and-kindness/https://tallissteelyard.wordpress.com/2017/09/27/the-spice-of-life/

https://tallissteelyard.wordpress.com/2017/09/27/the-spice-of-life/

https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/questions-happily-unanswered-tallis-steelyard/

https://jenanita01.com/2017/09/25/the-monster-of-bell-wether-gardens-and-other-stories-by-jim-webster-short-stories/

https://patriciaruthsusan.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/if-a-tree-falls-and/

 

 

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Hunkering down and about to do the hardest thing in the world ….for me

Oh I look so forward to a real writing day.  No visits to make.  No chores to do (okay lots of chores just begging for my attention but none that I shall acknowledge.  I believe dust bunnies are my friends.)

A perfect day to write.  I got out for an early morning walk before the heat sets in.  We are facing a five day run, at the END of September of temperatures 29C (84.2F) to 31C (87.8F).  And that is not including the humidity factor which will make the actual temp feel to be in the 40’s.

Back to my real writing day.  I have discovered, rather uncomfortably, that I can sit down at my desk, phone shut off, doors closed, segregation complete, until I start the Beast.  First quick check of emails but don’t respond, too many.  I found out the hard way that just one click and my morning is gone, baby, gone.

I notice there are comments on WordPress to answer,  Well, that has set up a deadly train to Happy Land but also No Production Land.  And I am in severe danger of being lured into doing and an actual post, always pleasant but again not productive for my immediate needs.

World’s Best Selling and World Changing Book of Fiction aside, I have been working on a very special project and it must be done by the end of October so I can have it ready for Christmas.  That’s all I can say about that.

Oh yeah, The Hardest Thing in The World for Me To Do?  TURN THE INTERNET OFF because I have no will power not to peek. 

Not enough to turn the phone off and create arctic conditions of seclusion.  I have friends who are grown up enough to just sit and write.  Not me.

But clicking that icon to ‘off’  is the hardest worst gut wrenching feeling.

See here I am coffee to the left of me, water to the write…I mean right, and instead of just ‘clicking’ I am writing this to you.

Enough – here I go – leaping.  It will only hurt for a nano sec.  Have a good day everyone.  I shall return.  Say in 10 hours. No sooner I say!

Writing about Writing: Those early morning thoughts

Darned if best intentions, scheduled schedules, and even well thought out plans, don’t  just go awry on a whim.

It’s Tuesday and here I am thinking about effective time use and scheduling my week.  I did mention it is Tuesday didn’t I?  And most of the world is already almost half way through their week, you know Wednesday being hump day and all.

Judith, way down under New Zealand way and I spend a fair bit of time, either during our weekly Skype visit, or by email, or Messenger talking about scheduling our days to allow for all we want to do: writing, blogging, reading, socializing, chores and cleaning (rubber gloving as she calls it).  She even has a neat Excel Sheet to schedule our activities and one to track our writing success on a daily basis.

Now Joss, our accomplished Canadian writer, living in Cuenca Ecuador also joins this little group and we chat and discuss and at times solve all the world’s problems, unbeknownst to the world of course.

Aside from Beta reading for Joss, talking about writing and schedules we also talk about writers and their routines and schedules, as we did last week.  I read a lot about successful people, not so much as to try their style, as much as hoping that just the act of reading about it will make it stick to me somehow.  Alas, I have come to the conclusion that if one want’s to be successful, one must work for it.  There is no sticking by association.

Part of last week’s discussion was about writers who go outside their homes to write. (Joss writes this way).

Jeffery Archer: 

Jeffrey+Archer+WAHRX7OiVTHm

Describe the room where you usually write

I have a home in Majorca that has been built into a cliff. The study is separate from the house, and I love its calmness. It has 20 foot-long windows and overlooks the sea. There is just a desk with pens, pencils, a rubber, an hourglass, paper, pictures of my family, and me. (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/one-minute-with-jeffrey-archer-novelist-7545587.html)

Oh also Stephen King’s Top 20 rules for Writers (article here) from a Barnes and Noble Blog is just to good to pass up.

th_stephen_king
Stephen King

Oh yeah, writing outside your home.  Mr. King has written anywhere and everywhere, but once when his children were young he rented an apartment across town for six months.

There are many writers who write outside their home but now I have come across this article about Detroit Nonprofit program for providing homes for writers called

A Room of Their Own: How Write A House Is Putting Writers in Vacant Homes

from Electricliterature.com, and my mind if off in a few more directions.

Oh yeah, and about writing about writing – it occurs to me that that may be my expertise.  You know, rather than actually writing something.  Time will tell.

Handle with Discretion

“Though the big estates are interspersed now with middle-class homes, the overall impression is of money, carefully cultivated and preserved, vintage elegance harking back to a time when wealth was handled with discretion and material display reserved for one’s financial peers.” Kinsey Millhone’s observation in “C” is for Corpse

Sue Grafton is one of my rereads. You know, those books that become good friends, that bring you comfort and make you feel cozy all over just by picking it up? I highly recommend her alphabet series or anything else she writes, but it is her character Kinsey Millhone that provokes great thought for me. As I reread each book there is always something that stands out that did not the last time.

Yesterday was one of those A Plus days for me. The kind where wonderful things happen, one after another, and you end up driving along thinking, “I think I have everything I could possibly want in this life.”

And in that moment of absolute bliss came a mixture of emotion. I want to shout from the roof tops or stop every person walking along and tell them how perfect my life is, and then it occurred to me that so many people are in pain for one reason or another. There are problems, terrible sad problems.

Would my expression on joy be just that, an expression? Or was I thinking the world should just be happy because in that moment I was happy? Should I feel guilty at what I have and others do not?

I recognized that what I should be, and was, is grateful for my good fortune. I wondered how I could reconcile what joy I had with the poorer states of others. Loved ones, struggling, worried.

And then I thought of the above quote I had read yesterday, “when wealth was handled with discretion”, and it occurred to me that happiness and good fortune should be handled the same way. Not at all, SEE WHAT I HAVE? SEE HOW HAPPY I AM? SEE MY GOOD FORTUNE?

But with discretion, and gratitude.

Kinsey’s adventures are some of the best you will read, but her draw for me is where her head is at. What she thinks. What she observes. I think of her often throughout a day because in her I find a monitor of some sort. Not perfection but honesty that is clean, humorous, and core basic. I am not sure if that makes any sense to you but I do like how it rolls around my gray matter. I think I could write a book about the kind of person she is but Grafton pretty much has done that also with her book, “Kinsey and Me.”

What I realize is that our society is all about showing off what we have, what we do, where we go and who we know. The thought about discretion and being circumspect (another word that comes to mind in this), is appealing, and comforting, and proper somehow, though the idea of ‘proper’ seems to be shamed and scorned these days.

**In case you are wondering, no I did not win the lottery (yet), and nothing earth shaking happened, except a couple of very small things made me realize I am Blessed and Grateful. And I wish the same for all of you.

*** Yeah yeah I know, bad miserable days when nothing goes right will come again, but for now there is happiness!!

C is for Corpse

Intelligence Intellect Creativity

Intellect Intelligence Creativity

lm montgomery

I just finished reading The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery The PEI Years 1901-1911 by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston and it got me thinking about intellect, intelligence, and creativity.

Montgomery is the author of Anne of Green Gables and many other stories.  Her personal journals have been published both after she had edited them and then in completion and since she lived from 1874 until 1942 I feel I absolutely must find the others and read them. Of course when I searched, my rusty trusty local library only carries the one book I have just read so now I have to decide whether to fork out some moola for the others.

There is a lot to discuss and share about the girl whose mother died 22 months after having given birth, whose father left her with his grandparents while he went off to another province, leaving her to be raised in an unloving, don’t you ever forget what we have done for you family. Seeing her life through her eyes is fascinating.  It was a stark life both emotionally and environmentally.  Prince Edward Island is one of three Canadian Maritime Provinces and while it has beautiful summer and fall seasons the winters can be brutal and when the annual storms from December to April raged it meant physical isolation for extended times.

But what I am thinking about this morning is creativity.  Maude Montgomery talks about the people in her life, family, friends, acquaintances, and notes those that are intelligent, intellectual, simple, coarse, common, and endearing.

But to get back to creativity – are writers born?  Many of my favorite writers say that from a very young age they had to write. Can you be creative and not intelligent?  Can you be intelligent and not an intellectual?  Can you be creative and not an intellectual?

Graham Collier in Psychology Today indicates from my understanding, that Intellect is Fact, and Intelligence is Feeling.

Can you increase your intellect or intelligence?  There is a lot of information on the internet dealing with this very question.  It seems yes, you can become more intellectual by learning, seeking out, and yes more intelligent, though it seems you can also be blessed with an intelligence gene.  In fact intelligence seems to be innate and intellect acquired.   So it seems you can be intelligent but not an intellect but if you are an intellect you must have some intelligence to have acquired it.

But where does that leave us on the Creativity question?  I don’t consider myself creative, at least not the kind of creativity where I am driven to create with intensity.  In fact it has crossed my mind that if there is reincarnation I may have been a successful writer in some past life but damaged my karma to such an extent that I am left aware in this life of the capability and to some degree hunger for it but lack just enough of je ne sais quoi to actually achieve anything.

Interesting huh?

I’m Your Man

 

I’m Your Man

There is a truth in fiction that can never be found in most non-fiction save those factual by measure or geography. As I write that sentence I wonder how many exceptions may exist, but generally. In my mind anything biographical or autobio is suspect.

Why? Perception. To perceive something, even that experienced by self, is flavored by condition, circumstance, past, belief, and personal understanding.

Fiction has always been my preference but the wisdom of age encourages me to widen my knowledge base. Seek new things, learn new things, do new things. My friend Joss Burnel who is one Crowing Crone Woman of Wisdom leads by example in stepping out of one’s comfort zone.* I can’t link for some reason so Joss can be found at crowingcrone.com.* I am not sure there is much bravery or adventure in broadening one’s reading preference as she now travels the world having really stepped out, but it is a start.

My own perception of age is changing from a youthful belief that old age is a time to take it easy, a well-earned rest, to one that continuing to change and learn and work is vital. To stop learning, to stop changing is to stop living and all of a sudden having reached the sixth decade and soon to see it in the rear view mirror of life, the ability to learn seems crucial. Now when I check out of the library every few days I include at least one non-fiction in my haul. Included are several bios and autobios as well as books on religion, politics, sciences, well, almost anything that catches my attention. Almost all autobiographies are difficult reads, presented in very two dimensional slices with gaping holes big enough to qualify for the Swiss cheese designation. I have read biographies that seemed to have way too much of the author’s persona imbedded too deep to recognize resulting in a ‘barely there’ subject leaving me feeling too much has been glossed over. How much do we really want to share about our lives anyway? How much should we share?

I have made several starts at a family history, something I think my children might value. Part way through it occurred to me to question exactly how much information should I be passing on? We are all entitled to privacy I think and I believe our paths are very private. We all make mistakes and that is how we grow and learn. Do we need to hang out all the dirty laundry?

Celebrities and the over exposure of their lives make for great entertainment, at least as far as the public is concerned. God knows every magazine and entertainment show knows this and they reap mega bucks in the revelations. Mind you some so called stars beg for the exposure and then whine when lines are crossed.

The thing is, people tend to believe what they read. Good fiction makes you feel the possibility. Do you think that is true? I mean look at those who so wanted to believe Dan Brown’s story The Da Vinci Code that they now believe. Of course that is why I love fiction – I, you, any of us, can make it real thanks to the wonder of imagination. The greatest skill, the greatest gift in any work of fiction is to make it real.

Is there any truth at all in biographical non-fiction? Probably about as much as there is real milk in some so called dairy products? Does it matter? Perhaps not. One recent book of biography was a welcome refreshing exception to my perceptive bias. And a bias it must surely be since I have not read every bio ever printed so can only judge on very limited experience.

I’M YOUR MAN: The Life of Leonard Cohen

Sylvie Simmons was a new author to me and of course the initial draw to the book was the subject, Leonard Cohen, someone to whom I would declare complete and total admiration. Why? I guess because he did it his way with no apology. Did he do it right with no regret? Of course not. Are there any of us who have no regret? I’d sure like to hear about it if he/she is out there. Without dissecting the content I would just say it is a good read that felt more honest than most.

Why do you read Fiction?

What do you think about when you pick up a story?  I hesitate to say ‘pick up a book’ because stories are accessed in many ways today.  The most obvious answer is entertainment, a peek at, and an opportunity to enter someone else’s world for a while. To become a part of another experience and by the time the last page is perused a sigh perhaps of satisfaction, or frustration, or contemplation.

Most of us have favorite authors we depend on, knowing what we will get, not necessarily in the events contained within, but a guarantee of familiarity.  What I like to think of as the Comfort Food of literature.  Some of you follow the top sellers keeping abreast of what’s in, providing opportunity for new experiences and thoughts.  I make it a point during my weekly library trips to include new authors, at least to me, and when a book is recommended by a friend, I read it.  I am not much for romantic themed or erotic stories and therefore have never read Fifty Shades of anything, the series that brought shades of education and blushes to the cheeks of females who otherwise may never have admitted publicly taking delight in sexual adventures.  When pressed by many acquaintances to at least give a read, my response has consistently been that I do erotica, I don’t read it. Ha Ha.  Whether that is true or not is not for discussion, but it was a glib enough response to satisfy and take the encouragers off on another path.

My Comfort Food Fiction list is fairly extensive and is the source for rereads as well as waiting in anticipation for the next volumes to appear.  Included are Koontz, Crichton, King, Cussler, Meyers, Rowling, Buck, and Dickens.  Of course those that have passed on can only stand as rereads and that is fine.

Comfort is hard to come by with a few authors and yet I embrace them heart and soul.  Reality in fiction can be sad, even depressing but the struggle, or rather surviving the struggle is a story worthy of notice.  I wonder in this western culture of pursuing happiness, if we have done ourselves a disservice and weakened our ability to survive by believing that happiness is indeed the gold ring of achievement and not survival itself.

Reynolds Price wrote a book published in 1998 called Roxana Slade which was referred to me by a friend.  It almost seems that this man merely channeled the voice of Roxana who at ninety odd years relates her life tale and takes you, the reader on a journey of struggle, loss, and survival.  His (the author) is so skilled that you quickly embrace Roxana and fold her being into your existence.  Whenever I put the book down for a bit, the characters and situations stayed with me, and I found myself thinking about them throughout the day until I could again curl up and turn another page.  Now that is amazing writing.

I have another favorite author that I simply cannot allot to my Comfort Food Fiction list, and that is Patricia Cornwell.  Her Scarpetta Series and characters are as familiar to me as my own family, but I seldom feel a sense of comfort.  The most recent read is ‘dust’.

Cornwell is a must for me even though I know there will be questions, anxiety, and frustration from time to time.  All of her characters are flawed and not in the cute little way popular fictional hero characters are flawed but overcome, but in a haunting kind of way that strikes me at times as too real.

As a Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta always has a mystery to solve but the story is more about the struggles and survival of our characters, the things they battle internally to still carry and on and succeed.  People get unjustly fired, are not well liked, have struggles with what they wish life was like and is not.  Justice does not always prevail.  Solving the mystery, catching the bad guy is often anticlimactic to the process, the living, the surviving.

Frankly, for me, experiencing the discomfort of some of these stories, the reality and the survival helps me keep my own reality in perspective.  There are sad, bad, unjust, horrible things in life. But there is much more to be valued.

Have you found the same thing?  What do you get out of Fiction?  Why do you read Fiction?

Discovering Aberration Part 2!*

scbarrusvintage_medium

I am very proud to present to you, my wonderful and generous hearted readers, the second part of my guest host’s presentation about his exciting new novel.  Thank you thank you all for being so wonderful in reposting and spreading the word.

It started with a dream

Over the course of the last two and a half years I’ve been working late nights and lunch breaks on a novel entitled Discovering Aberration.

But it didn’t begin as a simple idea for a novel. It began as a dream.

In this dream I was a part of an expedition on a remote island with my cousin searching for a lost  civilization. Through the thick jungle we trekked, pressing through walls of great leaves and hanging vines. We pressed on and eventually hacked our way through the foliage. The world opened up around us, and before us was revealed a great lake; a crater with a  shimmering light submerged deep below the surface.

We rejoiced at finding the light below the water, it was the first sign of our discovery. But as we peered into the depths of the lake, our hearts sank as we saw a horrific sight. Within the lake was a massive beast, a dragon like creature which  swam about our discovery, protecting it over the centuries.

Immediately we set to work, building a device, a rocket strung to the ground with massive rubber bands. We climbed inside and the strange device shot us up into the air, and then, when we reached the point at which the rubber bands were stretched to their limit, we were hurled back down towards the lake to speed past the great and terrible beast.

It was a silly, adventurous dream. Most of it didn’t end up in the  novel other than as a little inspiration, but something about this dream stuck with me and eventually a novel only just barely related was created.

About Discovering Aberration

Discovering Aberration is a character driven steampunk adventure story taking place in  the era of budding steam and clockwork technology. The country of Victoria is in the  midst of a socio-economic divide, and in this divide, crime and villainy has festered. In this world lives our protagonists.

Freddy Fitzgerald is an esteemed adventurer/travel writer. His good friend, Thaddeus Lumpen approaches him on cold spring day with the discovery of a life time, an ancient map he’s stolen from under the nose of a notorious gangster.

Convinced this map will lead them to a long lost  civilization, they immediately build a rag tag team of explorers and archeologists and set out on a dangerous expedition. But in this world of villainy, news of the map leaks and suddenly they are up against a small army of competition.

Vengeful  archeologist, dangerous mercenaries, manipulating scarlets, and more  seek to head them off seeking the fame, the fortune  this discovery can offer them.

When they get to the island, all is not as it should be. People  are going mad, and what’s more, the island hides a deep, dark secret,  lurking in its heart.

Writing Discovering  Aberration has been perhaps the most rewarding work I’ve ever been a part of. I’m  so pleased with how it’s turned out. The novel has become so much more  than the dream ever was.

Indie Publishing

I’ve decided to publish Discovering Aberration myself, so I’ve become not only a  writer, but a publisher, an entrepreneur, a publicist and a marketer.

It’s a strange and competitive world I’ve stepped into. But unlike the  violent competition in my novel, my competition is other writers who  have proven to be some of the most helpful, supportive people in the  world.

I am taking the first step towards publishing  Discovering Aberration by launching a Kickstarter campaign. For those  of you who haven’t heard of Kickstarter, it’s a crowd-funding platform that enables artists like me to bypass  traditional corporations by seeking out funding from everyday people like  you who want to contribute and support.

For as little as $5, you can pledge your support for my novel and in return you’ll receive a professionally edited and  designed copy of the novel before it’s released to the general public. The more you can pledge, the  greater your rewards, including having a character named after you at  the $500 level, and even more in between.

If you’re interested, or want to learn more, please visit my  Kickstarter page which explains the process in detail.

But before you invest in my project, take some time to read the novel itself.  The first 28 chapters  is currently free to read on Wattpad.com.

If you enjoy reading Discovering Aberration as much as I enjoyed writing it, then please consider a small pledge, and be a very real part of this project.

Finally, I’d like to thank Chris for giving me this opportunity to share my  story and my project with you. She has been incredibly gracious and an  early supporter of mine (perhaps the earliest). And I look forward to  meeting and thanking every single one of you who choose to back my  novel.

Cheers,
S.C. Barrus

About S.C. Barrus

S.C. Barrus writes strange and thrilling literary adventures. He’s published short stories, essays and poems in print and online. Born in Canada,  S.C. Barrus grew up near Seattle in the pacific north west where he  lives to this day. He received his degree in creative writing from the  University of Washington.  You can learn more about him at his website Away and Away

Links:

Visit the Discovering Aberration Kickstarter

Read Discovering Aberration on Wattpad

The Question on at least 1280 Minds This Morning Is: Where is Miss C

Miss C as most of you know is Celi or Cecilia is a petite, tiny enough thing so you’d think the wind would knock her over, never mind those animals, who lives an exciting life on the prairies creating a self sustaining life in the most remarkable way.

We find her every morning at The Kitchen’s Garden and she always gets there first because while we mere mortals languish in our beds soaking up several hours sleep, this wee lady and already done a day’s work.

She paints the drama and comedy of her life daily and much like the readers of Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers series in the eighteen hundreds, we wait, breath held, fingers crossed, for news.  We cheer successes, lament losses all the while persevering and all the while giving thanks for every moment of life; the Good, the Bad… well you know what I mean.

News of what you may ask?   Is there sustaining dramatic entertainment anywhere in this world to keep folk interested in events, in lives?

You betcha!  And if Miss C’s stories sold even for a penny as Dickens’  did one hundred and fifty years ago she would no doubt have great monetary wealth, for once you find her it is pretty hard to let her go.

But this drama, this suspense can hardly be tolerated, and it began on July 1st, just a few short days ago.  The link above will take you to the start of this tale for I am overcome at the very thought of each step along the way to even try to relate to you the surprise, the angst, the trepidation, the hopes for welcome resolution.

The last word I had yesterday was from FB in which it seemed successful resolution had once more escaped.  Where or where are you Miss C?

It isn’t just me and The Cast, and 1280 others, …okay wait …maybe it is just us, but probably many more who need to know:

DID YOU MAKE THAT PLANE?  Our hearts and minds are in a suspension until we know!!

Cecilia G

When Discovering Aberration is a Good Thing!

LADIES AND GENTS: Prepare yourselves for a wonderful treat! One of my dearest and earliest bloggers I met here on WordPress in the beginning, has done all I set out to do except he actually, actually accomplished it!

He is the hardest working, most dedicated author I know of and one of my fave authors sharing that honor with Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Cussler, and yes my main man Charles Dickens.

Sit back, enjoy your read, and please dearest readers, please repost!  Let’s spread the word!

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 Creating

There is this thing out there floating around the universe hiding secretly behind every passion. I don’t know what it is, but I know it’s there planting seeds and fueling flames. The Romans called it a Genius (origin of the word Genii), a spirit that would inhabit the bodies of passionate people and make them feverishly create things.

I don’t know if I was ever possessed in such a manner. All I know is my life has been driven by a singular passion since I was young. Maybe it was planted when I was very small, this urge to create things and share them with others. Maybe it didn’t take form until I was older. Whatever the case, this passion, this creative drive has fueled every major decision in my life.

Hi, my name is S.C. Barrus and I’m a writer. I remember writing my first short story back when I was still in elementary school. It was a satire about the growth and bankruptcy of Microsoft and it was all of 2 pages long. I wrote it grinning all the while, convinced that the work was genius.

I was so excited to hear what others thought, I ran to my dad and began to read the work aloud. He listened patiently. He didn’t laugh, didn’t so much as smile. As my jokes fell flat, part of me fell through a hole.

I quit reading midway through. “Maybe I should write about something else…” I said nervously.

My dad looked at me with a quizzical half smile and said, “Maybe you should.”

For some reason, I didn’t stop writing that day. And my dad has been a huge support since (didn’t want to leave him hanging there 😉

I was in highschool when I really sat down and began writing a novel. I wrote it with a deep passion convinced it was a masterpiece. It was full of teen angst and sex and drugs, all the things my adolescent mind obsessed with, and was written with a style stolen directly from Chuck Palahniuk, my teen hero.

When I finished writing, I started exploring the strange world of publishing with a fervour. I taught myself about publishers and editors and agents, about queries and rejection. The process struck me as strange then, but I accepted it because I supposed “that’s the way it is”. It felt strange that I had put in so much work and alone created something, but when the book sells I’d get 15%. But then again, what did I know?

Despite my drive, the book was never picked up, and I was left with nothing but a stack of pages littered with ink. To this day, I’m glad I littered those pages with ink, because I learned so many valuable lessons. But I’m also glad it didn’t make it, because that taught me even more.

Despite the outcome, my creative writing teacher got behind me, and my school counselor began giving me gifts; books of poetry, pamphlets to writing contests, and an award for literary excellence. It might have been obvious, but I didn’t recognize it at that time. There were people guiding me from the beginning, people who believed in me.

Ira Glass once said that artists start creating art not because they are talented, but because they have good taste. It takes years before an artists work is any good. I was going through the motions, hoping to make a great work of art, writing and writing all the while. I pushed new stories into the world one after the other, sometimes publishing, but usually merely for the act of creating.

Then, two years ago, I began crafting another story. About midway through the writing of it, I realized that this was it. I was creating something worth standing behind and sharing with the world.

Check back next week for part 2 where I share with you the story behind my upcoming novel.

Cheers,

S.Cody Barrus