Monday, February 13, 2017

Mister David's Answer to my Letter

After writing my letter on my blog, I used the comment system on Mister David's blog to deliver it. This is what he wrote in reply...

(Edmond Dantes)

I don’t know if we have a class society in the same way that, say, the UK does, so much as a determination of where you are on the financial side of things that is determined by where you start out. But there are plenty of examples of people being born with nothing (including our previous president) who was able to build himself up. Trump may indeed be a part of the one percent of people who have tons of money, but that doesn’t put him in another class that is exempt from following rules. That is a fact that he is currently discovering, and it’s clearly pissing him off. Thus far throughout his life his money and position have exempted him from having to deal with the same laws that everyone else does. But he’s discovering that the founding fathers indeed saw that someone like him might come along and built safeguards–checks and balances–into the governing process. He wants to do something unconstitutional and the courts are saying, “Nope,” just as Sally Yates knew they would.

PAD

Sunday, February 12, 2017

An open letter to Peter David

Regarded Mister D,

I hope you do not mind me using you as a crutch, but I feel that this entry would work better as a letter. One with lots of questions, but no answers. (I do not do answers. You can blame Anton Chekhov for that. It's a long story.) So, anyway....

Looking at the world today, I feel the question must be asked....does freedom exist ? Not long ago - from a historical point of few - humanity lived in a class society. (As anybody who has seen Titanic will attest, this was still visible as late as 1912.) Have these days truly passed ? Or have we simply become better at hiding the lines ?

Do we not all follow the expectations of society ? (A good example of this question might be Another Brick in The Wall by Pink Floyd, Part 2. Is it ? Decide for yourself.) We go to school, we get a job and pay the rent. Is this freedom ? After all, how many people actually chase their dreams ? And how many of us put these 'on hold' ? For practical reason, we tell ourselves. And we do not have to worry to about our dreams.

After all, as soon as life allows it, we will resume chasing them. Won't we ? And how many of us are lying to ourselves ? I do not know. I will not say. Instead, I will - as I often do - let people decide for themselves. (Despite not having meant it that way, I seem to have to developed that as a catchphrase. But I digress...*wink*)

To conclude this letter, I would like to speak about why I picked you as the receiving end of this letter. It is The-President-whose-name-shall-not be spoken. Is he not a symptom of the class society attempting to dig its claws into the US of A ? Or am I - as an outsider living the Low Lands - seeing this wrong ? Is this not the true threat to the Land of the Free ?

Should America not demonstrate its principles now ? Which - as I understand them - are that anybody can become anything, as long as they would hard and - this is where it becomes sticky for President Donald Voldemort - play by the rules. (In this case meaning the law and the US Constitution.) And should not demonstrate them by showing that nobody is above said rules ? (No matter how much idiocy they catapult at judges and media.) And is the best way to do this not to remove anybody - regardless of money, rank or status - from office ?

Regards,

Edmond Dantes

P.S. I know the chance of me getting a reply is 0.0 percent. But no pain, no gain. Also - for anybody reading my blog (if there is anybody) - up next in this series....Why did I pick Edmond Dantes as an alias. (Or...why the Netherlands is not perfect either.)

Putting Opinions into stories (The Chekhov Paradox)

Dear Want-to-be-Writers of the World,

Today I want to talk about the practice of putting opinions and morals into stories. This is something that many a writer does. But in my opinion, should not be done. And thus, in three sentences we have hit what I have called the Chekhov Paradox. It is named after Anton Chekhov, who believed that - in order to write good stories - a writer should write from a neutral viewpoint. And that realism should take precedence over providing answers.

This is a paradox, because while I agree with this view, I can never say so in a story. Because if you do so, you violate the very principle of not putting an opinion in a story. (Fortunately, this blog is slightly more flexible in that regard.)

To continue....I feel this neutrality is not only better story telling, but it forces the reader to think. If the writer does not provide a morale or answers, but merely questions, the reader must find them for him or herself. Further more, I agree with Mister Chekhov that talent is more important then opinion.

Why ? Well, as I said in my previous entry.....Writing is easy - there are plenty of writers out there. But good writing - which has a chance of improving the world - that is hard. Extremely hard. And rare. One last opinion....

Never, ever presume/say you have talent. The only writer I know to have done so, was Harry Mulish. (I know many people in the Netherlands consider his books classics. I do not.) The man was arrogant and selfish. At least...In my opinion...But was he really ? Or do you agree ? Decide for yourself.

Edmond Dantes

Edit: After I finished this piece, I read it on the blog myself. And I noticed it had an aura of arrogance. So while I accused Mister Mulish of arrogance, I have to admit that I am susceptible to it as well. So, my last tip....keep your ego in check.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Quantity and Quality

Hello want-to-be-writers of the World,

After I finished my post yesterday, I realized that there was something else to discuss. The issue of quantity versus quality. To be honest, most of the posts here are run-of-the-mill announcements - continuing work on this, posted a chapter of that - and posts like Inspiration and Chess and Chekhov are much rarer things.  As demonstrated by the multi-month gap between the two.

However, whenever I do research on how to promote my blog, I always find the same thing.....write regularly. But is that enough ? You can write a lot, but if the quality is sub-par, why should people read it ? This is another reason why writing is hard. Or perhaps is should say that writing is easy, good writing is hard.

But that is exactly is good writing? Well, as I often say, decide for yourself. It is after all a matter of opinion and taste. (I could do a piece on putting opinions in writing, but that can wait.) But I will give one simple piece of advice:  Don't be afraid to step outside your confront zone. Yes, you will fall flat on your face (probably more then once). But it is the only way to grow.

As for me....I am currently pondering writing a NCIS story on Fan fiction.net. (And you can consider this the announcement.) I have no idea on which character it will about and what the plotline will be. And there is a good chance I will fall on my face. But as Frankie 'Blue Eyes' Sinatra would put it, that's life....

Edmond Dantes

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Inspiration

Dear Want-to-Be Writers of the World,

Ages ago  - at least that is how May of 2016 now feels to me - I wrote an entry about Chess and Chekhov. And how this inspired me when I hit a lull in my creativity. (For those of your who have not read it and wish to do so now, here is the link: http://xanthi-rising.blogspot.nl/2016/05/chess-and-chekhov.html And if you don't that's okay as well.) That post kind of digressed into the subject of how we (perhaps ?) should see the world and the future.

So today I would like to continue the discussion of inspiration. For example, the inspiration for today's blog has been bubbling below the surface for quite a while now. But - at least in my experience, perhaps this is different in yours - to properly surface and blossom, you have to take your time. No chores, no appointments....just you and the paper. (Or - for us Bloggers - PC.) And - as mentioned in Chess and Chekhov - the right music.

It is at this point that I must give credit where credit is due....This post was inspired by my Uncle Roel. A while ago, he wrote a book called Music That Makes Your Heart Sing. A book containing a selection of 99 works of music, with space 100 left empty for the reader to fill in himself. (For details see....http://www.roelsteenbergen.nl/muziek-/ Alas, the site comes only in Dutch. But there is always Google Translate.) When I got my copy, I believed that I would never fill in space 100. It simply did not feel like my cup of tea.

But - as also mentioned in that old blog - time (and perhaps life) is change. So I found my number 100 in the form of a song called Hallelujah. But with this conclusion rose a very difficult question....which version ? This song has many a version (having been covered by many an artist), but the two most popular ones - or so they seem to me - are Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley.

The key difference between these two versions is the lyrics. Both are about a man in trouble. But whereas the Cohen version ends with the man pushing through his pain and clinging to his faith, the Buckley version ends with doubt and loneliness. So which is the better ? I honestly do not know. Some days Cohen wins out, while the other the Buckley ends up on top.

The point I am trying to make here is that while you may find fixed sources of inspirations, others maybe be in flux. Some days they may inspire you to write, while on others they fall flat. And that is okay. For that is life. And in my opinion there is only one way to deal with this flux. To have as many sources of inspiration as possible. Agree ? Disagree ? Like I have said before, decide for yourself.

Edmond Dantes

Another Two Chapters

Hi all,

I am happy to report that Stargate Nova Roma has once again been expanded.
Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 can now be read by clicking the link to my 128 blog.

Regards,

Edmond Dantes

Monday, January 23, 2017

Stargate Nova Roma

Hello world,

I am happy to report that my fishing expedition has indeed yielded some inspiration. The result is a new Episode for Stargate: Nova Roma. Just click the 128 link and read away.

Regards,

Edmond Dantes