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June random thoughts

Isn’t it kind of bizarre that a very minor crash is enough to “total” a car? Maybe it’s just because I drive a really old car, but last year I was hit in a roundabout, so we were both going less than 20mph. Think how much we pay for cars, even used ones, and so many accidents and problems often cost a great percentage of what the car is worth to fix. People often complain how a health crisis can throw a family into poverty due to the high costs, well, so can a car crisis. For some, cars are considered a luxury, but in America in most places you really need them to get around. On the flip side, it’s can be a good thing that a minor accident can do a lot of damage, because it probably incentivizes people to drive safer as a whole. If we had indestructible bumper cars, it could mean more would recklessly drive, as a minor hit wouldn’t hurt them or the car.

Notecard story: Planning on getting another card out this weekend sometime. So far it has been a fun and challenging writing exercise and I’m thinking there’s potential homemade Christmas presents in this idea.

Priest slapping baby at baptism video. Not sure how viral this video is, or if you’ve seen it, but it is an amazing example of how parents and especially fathers are the main protectors of their kids. As the mom struggles even against a very old man, to get her baby away from him, it is the father’s physical strength that ultimately succeeds in the getting the kid away. As we recently had Father’s Day, it’s a great example showing how the fact that fathers are both willing and able to protect the ones they love is the primary reason they are needed. Really don’t know what was up with the priest, senility, or as some cry, demon possession of some kind, but it’s certainly scary to watch, especially because in a church and at a baptism that kind of violence is the last thing expected.

Trolls for Dust, Season Two: Revisions and proofreading are underway, and I hope to be able to share the awesome cover soon. I am really excited about this story and I am getting to reveal the longer arc of the series. In rereading Season One, it’s been fun to see that I really like some parts, some maybe could use work, but that as a book as a whole it is a good jumping off point for where Seasons 2, 3, and 4 are going. At first I thought the series would end up being a trilogy, but there is so much going on and so much material that I really want and need to do four books. Hopefully, each book won’t take four years to write, but I think as I get better at writing and storytelling and the whole process, things will come faster and faster over time.

Kid crisis/border crisis: Many Trump supports say that the biggest impact of his presidency is going to be to harshly deal with trafficking, especially child trafficking and abuse. And there’s been thousands and thousands of pedophile and trafficking rings busted all over the world since he’s taken office. The current outcry with kids being held at the US border is a part of this. Many of these children are not with their parents, but with traffickers and abusers. So, it’s just going to be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Christian apologetics: Attended a conference for that this week and just found it so crazy that like in other fields, politics, medicine, law, etc., religion is the same. People are taught lies and not shown the facts that are available. There’s so much out there indicating the Bible is true, but what is taught in many places is this lie that there is no evidence at all that the Bible is true, and people grow up believing it. Believing in the Bible and Jesus as one’s Savior from sin is a work of the Holy Spirit and of faith, but if that is indeed the truth (and I believe it is), then it makes sense that there would be some amount of actual evidence indicating that it is the truth. It’s actually similar to the whole vaccine topic, because people often hold a different, higher standard for evidence for those two things above and beyond what in regarding other topics and fields they would accept as sufficient evidence. It’s fascinating and it really hit home to me that what evidence is accepted by the individual ultimately says more about the individual than the subject under consideration. We have a harder time with the facts and insist on more evidence when something does not confirm what we already believe, but readily accept almost any evidence that supports our current beliefs. This way of thinking is our nature and very hard to overcome to truly look at and judge things objectively.

–P. Beldona

The Stolen Necklace, Notecard #4

This week’s notecard is from Dorian Tolliver. He’s more competent than I expected, but uses stamps and symbols for no reason, which is why perhaps his sister and Charlotte have trouble taking him seriously. Big question: Does he have a thing for Charlotte, or is he just playing the gentleman?

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The Stolen Necklace, Notecard #3

So far I haven’t chosen to make any replies to the first couple of notecards, but I want to do that in the future, and the next card, I think, will be a response from Charlotte’s friend, Juniper. We also have yet to hear from Dorian Tolliver or Lord Dovecoat and could do with more from Aunt Amelia. The last note, I want to be short and either a surprise or something poetic and sweet. Seven more cards to go, though, so we’ll see. I like Rose a lot, but she and her brother seem like they would always be getting into trouble. The hard part is going to be making it a complete story. Stories are extremely easy to start, but ending them well, and especially short stories… uff da. Well, it’s good practice.

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Your Best

Once in a while in life, one is forced to admit they aren’t giving their best. I had one of those moments not to long ago, not with writing, but with piano. I was accompanist this past year for the high school choir at our church. Most of the songs were easy and they only actually performed a couple of times, so I wasn’t too worried about it. Practice once a week for a bit seemed to be enough–at least for weekly choir practice.

Why, when tasked with this position, didn’t I practice more? The job certainly called for it. I had ample opportunity and access to a grand piano and I had enough time if I would put it aside. The answer was simple: I figured that by practicing a little bit a week, things would just come together. If you are relatively smart yourself, you recognize this attitude. It is the attitude of skating by instead of giving one’s all. Sadly, I spent most of my school years in this mode, having the capability of being an A student and getting by with B’s because, well, other things were so much more interesting than studying. I would throw together research papers the night before and get B’s, sometimes even A’s without even trying or without really considering the topic of the paper. This sounds great, but it has actually has been a great sorrow to me all my life.

Only giving one’s part, not one’s best, eventually will catch up with one, and boy, did it catch up with me the other day. The one song that was really hard for me to play we ended up singing. I hadn’t put in a full effort of practice on it and also hadn’t asked for help in figuring out notes I could leave out in order to make it easier to play. So it was two mistakes, really. In finding out we were actually going to perform the song, I got really angry and blamed the director. Didn’t she know I just couldn’t get it? Wasn’t she concerned I would let everyone down?

But after I cooled off, I admitted to myself that I really hadn’t given my all on it. I hadn’t practiced enough, and worse, I hadn’t taken up the director’s offer of help with it. Swallowing my pride and realizing it was silly to demand we didn’t perform at all because of me, I got help with it, figured out the fingering, and practiced, practiced, practiced. It could have ended up miserable–it really was a difficult song for me to play–but amazingly enough the changes and the practice helped. Most importantly, the change in my attitude helped. I really didn’t want to let those kids down. Both our performances went well and although my playing wasn’t perfect, I felt that I had truly done my best.

My thought after was, “how can some people keep up this passion all the time?” It was an amazing feeling and a little tiring, but it gave me confidence to put in more effort in every part of my life. In writing, especially, I don’t think I’ve even begun to give my BEST. I have so many great ideas and spend a lot of time working and thinking things through, but often still feeling like I’m just skating by. The challenge is making each project my focus for the time I’m working on it. I am so distracted by other things–politics, K-dramas, daydreaming about whatever handsome guy I just met, and so on. If all females are like this, I can see why men tend to be the real achievers in life. I long for that male single-mindedness sometimes, though I suppose they have their distractions as well.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my little story and say that if things aren’t going well, the first step may be admitting to yourself that you are guilty of not giving your best. Even if you fail, if you at least give your best to something, you can let it go without worry. Victory for that project wasn’t going to be yours, yet you tried your hardest to achieve it. That is an accomplishment in and of itself, because it is the shaping and refining of you, of your character. If you didn’t give your best, you’d never really know if you could have had that victory. There would always be that little voice saying “what if? What if I’d simply had given my all and done my best? Would x project have succeeded, then?”

Give your best. Easy to say, hard to do, especially if you’re smart enough to just skate by. It’s a sort of curse that only you can dig yourself out of, because to other people it may seem like you are trying your hardest. But they don’t know you as well as you know yourself. You know when you’re only giving a partial effort. You know the greatness you are actually capable of and the gifts you’ve been given. So, strive, give your best. Have passion in your work and life. The world doesn’t really care how hard you try, it’ll use you up either way. ┬áBut YOU care, you really do, which is why that “what if” nags at the back of your mind. Give your best. Refine your character and, win or lose, you’ll have a golden satisfaction in life that can’t come from anywhere else. You can’t be on fire for everything in life, but be on fire for YOUR life. We only get one and what we do on this earth matters more than we can possibly imagine.

Storytelling with Visual Aids

NotecardsMaybe it was just that the notecards are so fancy compared to my Minnesota life, maybe it was the thought that there must be some wonderful story ready to be unveiled in the slim, 10-card pack. Maybe I just really, really wanted by pretty stationary. Whatever the reason, ages ago, I bought this pack of notecards and envelopes from Barnes and Noble thinking that I would use them for a story…somehow.

Feeling creative, I’ve unearthed them from by box of (ahem) other unused cards and stationary. What I’d like to do is tell an intriguing story written as letters or notes on the cards. This is more problematic than you might think. A) I am a lefty with atrocious penmanship, so I will have to write painstakingly slow just to make the words legible. B) How do I go about different characters writing to each other? See problem A. How can I make my penmanship that of a lord or prince or captain or spy, much less a simple belle of the ball? C) What will the story be? Star-crossed lovers? Napoleonic spies as in The Scarlet Pimpernel? Humorous commentary on society, marriage and like, as in Jane Austen? Or will the story be about people writing from a far advanced future where physically writing on notecards to each other is in vogue again? So, so many possibilities.

Next week I plan to have the first card ready to present, so stay tuned. Maybe I’ll even attempt writing in cursive after too many years to say. At any rate, it will be a pleasant side trip from regular story writing. Back to my revisions, I go!