Those Sideburns!

I love the fact that, back in the early 80’s, Isaac Asimov supplemented his writing income by pimping for Radio Shack…

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Writing Is Good For Your Brain

If the Universe is Aware, What Is It Looking At?

I’ve been fascinated with the question, “What is reality?” since I was a teenager. I think I missed my calling in life, perhaps I should have been a philosophy major instead of a communications major. But then again, I have such a goofball sense of humor, no one would have taken me seriously – and philosophy seems to be oh so serious. Better to make light of the question while examining it than bog it down and make it dull. But let me break it down to a simple chain of logic based on what we know from science:

Action at a distance, which is the mind-boggling concept that particles get “entangled” and, what you do to one will affect its entangled partner — no matter how far the distance — implies that the two are actually connected even if they’re on the opposite sides of the Universe. How? It would have to be via dimensions we can’t perceive, and what we think of as two entangled particles are actually sections of the same particle. The two are a single object, but we can’t see the whole object because it actually has more than three dimensions. My conclusion: there are definitely more dimensions than what we perceive.

Heisenberg’s uncertainty principal shows us, without any room for doubt, that particles are affected by observation. Matter itself knows when you’re looking at it, and it behaves differently. My conclusion: awareness is built into matter.

These are just two pieces of a vast puzzle, but they’re enough to hint to me (and remember I’m a communications major with a wild imagination, not a scientist) that the Universe is both bigger and more complicated than you’d expect, and it is also self-aware. But not self aware as in how you and I are self aware, but in a bigger, grander, more complex way. But get this: you and I are part of this Universe. We are not separate from it, we are part of it.

We are the Universe and we are aware of ourselves. Hence, even from this perspective, the Universe is in fact aware of itself.

So if the Universe is aware, what is it doing? What is it interested in? If all it does is cosmic navel gazing, what is it watching?

We have strong hints right in front of us. The Universe seems to love beauty. It seems to love conflict. It seems to love drama.

It seems to love a good story.

Look through a powerful telescope and there are stories everywhere. Stories of birth, struggle, death, and rebirth. Stories of power, of gluttony, of conflict, and also harmony and beauty.

Stories of how chaos transforms into order – all by itself.

And all this is at extreme macro levels. Who knows what amazing stories unfold every second at every level in the entire cosmos – just look at all the drama, conflict, and beauty right here on our own little world.

And we see it all, and it interests us – and remember, we are part of the Universe looking at itself. What we see, the Universe sees, and what interests us also interests the Universe.

First Draft of Forever and For Always: DONE

I started writing this manuscript on Christmas Day, 2014, and just a few minutes ago I typed “The End”

And now it’s time to take a vacation from writing fiction.

Chaos produces order. Randomness begets meaning.

I’m going to post this here because I consider you a smart bunch of people. I’ll keep it as short as possible because we all have shrinking attention spans.

(I blame you, Internet.)

I write, take pictures, and make videos for a living. I write philosophical sci-fi and fantasy as a hobby. I’ve always been fascinated by quantum physics, but now I’m even more fascinated by chaos theory. Before your eyes glaze over, give me a chance to explain why — maybe it will fascinate you too.

I’m writing a series of realistic fantasy books and one of the characters is the god of chaos. Through this character, in studying to write it with some intelligence, I’ve been led to an amazing fact that is filling me with wonder.

We all spring out of complete and total randomness. Everything that is us and our world, and even our thoughts, are the product of complete and total randomness.

If you can wrap your head around this, you begin to understand that we have a general misconception of what “random” truely is. Apple Computers had to come to this conclusion, oddly, because when they first had a “random” setting on their early iPods people complained that it couldn’t possibly be random because it kept grouping songs together. They had to tweak their “random” algorithm to not be truly random so that it actually seemed random.

I promised I would keep this as short as possible, so I’ll end here, and just let you think about this: what we consider a rational, coherent universe is, at its very heart, complete and total random chaos.

Chaos produces order. Randomness begets meaning.

What does that imply to you?

The Method to My Madness

I’ve been writing novels for most of my life, but the last few years have been more prolific for me than ever, and I think it’s because I’ve found a method which works perfectly for me.

I have ideas for stories and I write them down, but besides keeping idea notes or bits of random scenes, I won’t actually start writing on a manuscript until I know how I want it to end. This forces me to know what the point of the story is, and to foreshadow clues to the ending all the way through.

Jerry in his Misspent Youth

I will create a loose outline of the story, and I’ll have some notes on the main characters — all of which are subject to change. As new characters introduce themselves I keep notes on them after they appear that I can refer to later if needed — this becomes important later.

I use my phone’s camera a lot to take pictures of interesting settings I wander into in daily life. I may never use them, but they go into a stash which I can pull from later.

As the story progresses, I will face blank pages where I don’t exactly know how to get the characters from point A to B, or more likely A to G, because my outline is so open and vague. I’ll draw inspiration from my actual surroundings or, if I’m sitting at home at my desk, I’ll either draw inspiration from Google Maps street view (in the case of something set on Earth) or from where I teleport to randomly in virtual reality (Second Life or Open Sim, etc.) or, more often than not, I either use a memory from my own life, or I pull from the stash of settings photos I’ve taken with my phone camera.For sci-fi and fantasy I get inspiration from virtual reality

I will also pull actual events from my own past, modified to fit the context of the story, so that there is always autobiographical bits and pieces included. Conflicts and sex scenes especially. This way my so-called misspent youth was not entirely misspent, and the story is well and truly my own.

A memory from Jerry's Misspent YouthAs the writing progresses, usually at about the 2/3rd point where I used to bog down, I throw away my outline and create a new one that is more in line with what I’ve actually written. By this point the ending may have also changed — though by now I have fully established a theme, which I do not change. It used to be I’d always bog down at the 2/3rd point because I would be struggling to reconcile the direction of the outline, which had grown stale, with the direction my story was trying to go. Now I go back through the manuscript and and refer heavily to what has transpired to inform my new outline and new ending. This keeps it fresh and exciting for me, as writer, as I expand on what is now familiar territory. Also I’m now no longer forcing anything for the sake of plot. The flow remains natural, and it makes sense.

We're not who we were in the past.The ending of the story will jump out and tackle me as I write it, much like a cat leaping out from around a corner to grab my feet. And then, I’m done. I type “The End” and feel really good about it.

I let the manuscript sit for at least three months without looking at it, while I work on other things (lately, it’s while I work on the next manuscript). But after I’ve let it sit for those 90 days, it allows me to forget many of the details, so that when I go back and do the rewriting I can be more objective, as if I’m refining someone else’s work — because, really, I am. None of us are the same person we were 90 days ago. We’re very similar, but we’re no longer the same person. Time changes us.

Huh … there’s a new story idea right there. The God of Time changes us into new people. Hmm…

I think I’ll put that in my notes.

The Bridge of Eternity

Brandy’s father once told her that being a reaper was much like being an IRS agent. Everyone hates you, but you’re just there to carry out a task that was determined from a much higher power. Just like an IRS agent didn’t make up any tax laws — that was the job of Congress — a reaper does not cause anyone to die. An IRS agent and a reaper are both there simply to make sure everything is in order.

– An important snippet from my current manuscript which I probably can’t use