The Pharmacuetical Wild Goose Chase

Today’s post is a story and a Q/A for our enquiring minds out there.   Q:  How do we handle our medical care in remote areas of the world?   A:  Like everything else, with patience and tenacity. We sailed from Maumare and spent several nights anchored off a beach where monkeys play in the shallows a

Source: The Pharmacuetical Wild Goose Chase

Lessons From A Comic

You may recognize the comedian in the video, especially since he’s introduced by name and all. He gives a Master Class in Comedy. I’ve studied comedy before, but my earlier study only covered the basic mechanics of a joke, how to handle a heckler, stuff like that. Steve Martin’s class includes advice on what goes into the soul of comedy, the heart, if you will. I’m going to summarize what he says down into one sentence, and make that sentence be the entire next paragraph. You ready?

Always be  yourself, your culture, your sense of humor, your age, your everything.

Okay, this blog is not about Comedy per se, although you can find stuff that was supposed to be funny when I wrote it, and some of it actually is, if you search this blog for Comedy, either as a category or as a tag. But, no, this post is not about Comedy, even though there’s a funny bit in that video for you to watch. You’re welcome.

A mistake I read some writers make is that they try hard to make a particular point. It doesn’t matter what the point is, either. It can be something which I wholeheartedly endorse, or something I truly dislike, it makes no difference. By trying to make a point, you become what is known in the business as “on the nose.” That is, you are telling us, not showing us. That said, many great writers make excellent points all of the time. Wha? Howzzat? Well, they don’t try to make a point, they just put their authentic selves into their stories. When they do that, whatever they might believe in shines through the narrative like the spotlight on a police helicopter at two in the morning. It’s obvious, I mean. And the greats don’t try, they just do. (Yoda approved sentence there.)

In terms of my comedy, Steve Martin’s class has provided a bit of an epiphany. Then, I realized, it was reinforcing what I’ve advocated for years in my writing. And, it can be applied to what books you should write. If you remain true to yourself, don’t prejudge what might or might not sell, don’t try to write what you think someone will want to read, then the odds are good that you will, if you persist, find your audience. I’m not saying it will be quick and easy, but it will happen. So, go for it, dammit!

On February 15th, 2018, Mercedes M Yardley will be speaking to the Las Vegas Writers’ Group about “Writing and Marketing for Your Personal Niche.”  Click the link to learn more.

The Last Jedi

Bourbon Street 2010
Bourbon Street 2010

We went to a showing of the latest Star Wars movie on Christmas Eve. Since then I’ve read comments positive and negative about the movie. I liked it, but that’s not what this article is about. This is about the nine-chapter story arc that is Episodes I thru VIII. Most of the complaints I read about the franchise are, apparently, from people who have no idea how a story is structured. Each movie has its own plot, and should, theoretically, be enjoyable to someone unfamiliar with the other eight episodes. I was worried about The Last Jedi, because I was afraid that they might follow some of their fan base and ignore the long arc of the entire series. I worried for nothing. Episode VII is, if nothing else, a good example of how things in a story build to a total mess shortly before everything calms down and returns to a (new) normal. Whew!

Lucas originally conceived the series after talking extensively with Joseph Campbell, the author of The Power of Myth, among other things. Writers have been falling over themselves since to include ideas from that book, plus a Hero’s Journey motif, in everything they produce. Which is good. After all, the Odyssey is as pure a hero’s journey as you can find, and it’s still in print millennia after it first came out. Back to Episode VII, I was reminded that, in the universe conceived by Mister Lucas, the actual protagonist of the nine episodes is not Anakin Skywalker, not Luke Skywalker, not Rey, nor Ren Solo. The protagonist is The Galaxy, taken as a whole. And I remember that, in the end, the hero(ine) must pull all of the disparate elements to which we’ve been introduced together into a coherent, functioning whole. And once the story ends, so does the magic. Yes, it is probably time for the magic that’s been used throughout the series to go away. Because, after it’s over, the hero(ine) is in charge of his/her life, and trying to use magic would only interfere with doing what needs to be done.

As Donovan put it in one song, “Riki Tikki Tavi, the Mongoose, is gone.”

So, here we are. One more chapter to go. I imagine that many people will indulge in any number of spinoffs, which is fine, but they will be just adventure stories. The real story is ready for a heart-stopping climax. One that will end life in the Galaxy, not just as we know it, but probably for real. Except that it won’t, because the bits inside the hero(ine) will come together, do the impossible, and, finally, restore actual peaceful order to the Galaxy.

Or so I predict.

Hard of Hearing Wedding Crashers

The Island of Flores spans approximately 200 miles East to West, with light to no wind this time of year all along its Northern coast. Is covered in jungle and surrounded by mountain peaks made of volcanoes.  In addition, fishing FADs, nets, and unmarked fishing canoes litter the coastline.  We deci

Source: Hard of Hearing Wedding Crashers

AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

From 2015, just after midnight PST, in Las Vegas. Taken from our roof.
From 2015, just after midnight PST, in Las Vegas. Taken from our roof.

In another week the Holidays will be over for another year. Heck, it’ll probably be several months before WalMart puts out the Christmas stuff again! It’s a new year, and time for new stories, new plots, new characters, new dialogues, and maybe a new keyboard because you’ve worn out that old thing. 2018 is upon us, and that means, well, what it really means is that nothing about writing has changed at all.

Sure, forty years ago the big thing was to bang out your manuscript on that new IBM Selectric II, which was a great typewriter, by the way. Then the big thing was to key it in on that Apple IIe. Heckuva machine, that Apple. You could open the hood and swap cards on it. That was before Wozniak left the place to Jobs, who, you may have noticed, had other ideas on how to proceed. Then you might have switched to WordPerfect, which used to be my favorite. It still has its advocates, but what turned out to be the real game changer was MS-Word for the Macintosh computer. Slower than molasses in January, it was, but it was the first commercial use of a Graphic User Interface, and it took the world by storm. Well, at least until Windows came out. Windows sucked, but it worked, mostly, and cost a lot less than a Mac, so, now you maybe had Microsoft Word on your 386 instead of WordPerfect (to this day, Word will automatically convert WordPerfect files for you.)

And then came more specialized software. Mac users believed that theirs was the only computer to do a lot of these things, but they were simply deceived by Apple. Some of the new software that’s come along includes Scrivner, and for scriptwriters, Dreamweaver. We saw such things as Grammatik get absorbed by Microsoft Office. Now, instead of buying six different programs to help you crank out your manuscripts, you can probably just buy one system, plug it in, and start writing in five minutes flat.

If there ever was an excuse for not writing, it disappeared years ago.

But, the thing is, in 2018, as in 1818, 818, and back in Homer’s day, it isn’t so important how you record your words. What is important is that your words add up to a good story. I’ve belabored more points on how that gets done than I’d care to remember, so I’ll just tell you to fire up whatever device you’re using these days and get to work! That story you thought about in the grocery line the other day is waiting to be committed to a manuscript. You thought of it, so now it’s your job to so commit.

Go forth, and amaze the world!

T’was The Night Before Christmas, By Captain Andrew

‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the bay not a creature was stirring not even a ray.  The flip flops were hung by the port hatch with care in the hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.  Sonrisa’s crew were nestled snug in their beds, while visions of dragon fruits dance in the

Source: T’was The Night Before Christmas, By Captain Andrew

Thanksgiving #2, Dance of the Pando

Skitter, skitter…   I toss around a little bit in my sleep, I’m dreaming about a scorpion running across my arm.   ….Skitter, skitter.   My consciousness rises through the fog layer of sleep like a hot air balloon carrying me skyward until suddenly, my brain can interpret palpable, physical footstep

Source: Thanksgiving #2, Dance of the Pando