REAL PEOPLE

Of all the comments I’ve received for “White Wolf Moon” a couple stand out above the others. One is about the dialogue. Most people that have read it appreciate the natural if sometimes scattered flow of the speech. Some tell me they sometimes found it difficult to follow but also admitted they felt they were eavesdropping on actual conversations. Their point is well-taken and while I’ve been involved in many real conversations that have been difficult to follow I have addressed this issue in the sequel. I do understand that because it flows in my head doesn’t necessarily mean it will be just as smooth for the reader. One of many lessons you learn when you get that first book published.

The other comment that stands out is that the characters feel like real people. This remark means the most to me. The fact that my people are based on actual friends from that era obviously makes them real to me but to realize that I have translated that reality for a reader is gratifying.

Today I find myself wondering…what is ‘real people’?

Those that have read “White Wolf Moon” know my feelings on the ‘real world’.

To me there isn’t an all-encompassing real world, only how you perceive your little corner of it. I learned a long time ago that anyone who says “welcome to the real world” is simply welcoming me to their world and generally I find their opinions or philosophies have no bearing on my life.

Now I wonder…is it the same with people?

To me real people present no facades. They have no agenda. Simply, what you see is what you get. They’re not hung up with the trappings of well-to-do-idness. There’s an inherent and perhaps indescribable quality about them. They have opinions and they don’t mind sharing them…not preaching them but sharing them. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we don’t but that’s not what’s important. The important thing is that we’re discussing issues in an equal forum.

Woodstock

I’m approaching seventy so I spent a few my early years in that sixties lifestyle. I wasn’t totally ensconced but I developed a lot of the attitude that people associate with the “Love Generation”. I worked in radio broadcasting at the time so it was okay for me to grow a little hair, in fact it was almost expected. My circle of friends (the characters in WWM) had a great little week-end getaway spot in the hills where we lived a beautiful part-time existence. We called it the “Bar Ass” ranch. Those who have read White Wolf Moon know all about this place as it, along with a few of our exploits, has been documented in the book. Yes I now admit there’s a lot more fact in that fiction than I previously acknowledged. It was this environment that provided the nucleus for what would become my life philosophy. There in those woods, surrounded by and appreciating nature and long before cell phones and laptops, we were cut off from the world. People were appreciated as people, not for what they had or what they brought to the table. Even if it was only a few weekends a month, it was invigorating in a peaceful sort of way.

My point is that this was my real world back then and those people were the real folks that populated my planet and some of them still do.

Maybe this is the key. Those living in the entitlement world of today might consider anyone who agrees with their philosophies as being real people while those I consider to be real people exist in a world similar to mine. We share a common outlook on the world in general…I identify with them and they identify with me.

But now comes the fly in the butter. Initially I thought, based on the age of those who appreciated the references in my book, that the more mature reader would be my reader…those who had lived through those times and could relate. I’m finding it interesting that the people I’ve met recently who have read the book and identified with the characters tend to be people I feel comfortable around and yet they don’t fit neatly into any age group or social status.

Perhaps my theory that real worlds and real people go hand in hand is wrong, I don’t know.

Perhaps real people are just where you find them…if you take the time to look.

 

 

21st CENTURY ON LINE ONE….

wolfshirt

From “Of Old Men”:

“Oh,” Marie said, “speaking of new things…remind me to give you Evan’s cell number in case you ever need to get a hold of him.”

“What? Mister rotary-dial has a cell phone? I thought he hated them.”

“I got it for him. He’s always taking off on his walks or little road trips and was out of touch for hours at a time. I finally insisted that he have one.”

Jenn grinned and pulled her phone from her purse. “What’s his number?”

“It won’t do you any good…” Marie pointed to the kitchen counter. “It’s over there. You can lead a horse to water….”

“Then what’s the point of having one?”

“He’s accepted it, he’s just not used to packing it with him all the time but he is getting better. Plus watching him trying to figure out how to use it was worth it in entertainment value alone.”

This was one of the first scenes I put together for my sequel to White Wolf Moon months ago. Evan has always been the traditionalist and doesn’t welcome new technology easily so I thought the introduction of something as commonplace as a cell phone would add some new wrinkles to the character.

At the time I wrote this I didn’t have a cell. While I appreciated the convenience and value they might offer, I never wanted one. Now, as of two weeks ago, I have a cell and for the same reasons that Marie states in justifying her giving one to Evan. It seems the family decided that I should be able to be contacted in case I choose to wander off (which I tend to do) so my wife came home, dropped the cell on my lap and said, “Get used to it…here’s your new number.”

Uh-huh.

Okay…I’ve dipped my toe into the vast ocean that is the Twenty-First Century but that’s as far as it goes, at least for now.

I find it amazing how many people I’ve talked to that are already trying to get me to upgrade. They usually tell me it’s “because you can do this, and this, and this.”

I don’t want to do that, that, or that. It’s a phone. Yes I message and to me that’s a practical thing but I don’t want all those other apps. I’m only toe-dipping, remember?

I pressed one icon and find I’m on the internet. Recently I have managed to set limits on my internet usage. I check email, facebook, and blog in the morning then I shut the computer off by about 10:00 am. Occasionally I’ll turn it back on over lunch but usually it’s down until after dinner. I found the amount of time I was spending on-line could be put to more productive purposes so I certainly don’t need the temptation strapped to my hip. My next task was finding the tool icon and disconnecting WiFi.

Back to texting…this I find useful. My son in Alberta and I share the same collecting addiction. On a recent trip to Kelowna I found a few things I wanted to share with him so I texted (complete with photos). At one point I found myself wandering through a mall working that little keyboard like crazy and I realized that I had become one of those geeks I usually laugh at. You know those folks with their eyes focused directly on that small screen, bumping into pillars and people?

Then I stopped for lunch at A&W. I remember when going to A&W was a treat…an exception. It was a good time that happened rarely and thus it was special. My sister and I would sit across from our parents and talk about all kinds of things.

Last week as I sat and consumed a Grandpa cheese loaded my cell was tucked in the holster. It buzzed once but I was eating…whoever it was could wait. I glanced through the restaurant. In the booth across from me was a family of four. Dad was on his cell talking to someone and mom was, I assume, texting. A girl perhaps fourteen was also texting on her phone while the boy who appeared to be six or seven was playing on a tablet. The family unit…together but not really.

Welcome to the 21st century.

BUT WHO’S COUNTING….

Are there really more idiots out there now or are we just seeing more of them because of social media? In the old days if someone walked up to me and threatened to “put a bullet through my ‘wolfaboo’ head” he would be arrested and, given a couple of witnesses, charged. It happens all the time on-line though. Safe within the anonymity of an A.K.A. and a generic profile pic people feel free to express their hatred for anything and everything. While one might assume that there is some sort of social-media police force out there that would monitor such activities…apparently there isn’t. Hatred in words and images abound and perhaps it’s gotten too out of control for anyone to reel it back in. There are those that claim ‘Freedom of Speech’ but that really doesn’t apply here. Social media, regardless of the “social” connotation, is private enterprise. Moderators have the right to control what is presented on their site/pages. Mainstream publishers all reserve the right to edit contributions for not only the integrity of their publication but for community standards. Why can’t the power people behind social media do the same thing? Perhaps it stirs up controversy, gets more ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ which means a few more pop-up ads…money. I don’t know.

wwmhw01

I like facebook. I can keep in touch with friends, read a joke or two, stay up-to-date with my interests, and let folks know that White Wolf Moon has two more downloads and one more on-line paperback sale over the last week. It’s fun but it also has a down-side. It has provided a ‘public’ forum for those who used to hide in the shadows.

One of these forums suggested that ‘we should have killed all those hippies when we killed all the wolves’. If it wasn’t for ‘those hippies’ you might not have this opportunity to spread your somewhat skewed philosophies. Some of those dudes were instrumental in the development of most of today’s computer technology and without them you might still be dwelling in the shadows where you belong. This is an example of not doing your homework before you open your mouth. It’s the same philosophy of the elk hunters in Wyoming and Montana who want to totally eliminate wolves from the landscape while bragging about record elk “harvests” and the record numbers of healthy and “trophy” elk taken. Take off the blinders and do your research. The hatred and paranoia they have for the wolf won’t allow them to see the benefit this animal has had on their questionable ‘manly’ activity.

Update on “Of Old Men”…two scenes to go then a read-through to determine edits.

I also want to take a line or two and thank the new followers. I’m checking out all your pages and it appears I have some interesting reading ahead of me. Welcome!

 

FOREVER EVA

I’m working on the third last scene of “Of Old Men…”, two more to go then I tie them together and begin the editing process. The emotional key in this scene is a song. It’s one that a late member of the band always wanted to perform but the other members didn’t feel it fit with their image. “What A Wonderful World” is one of those pieces of music that always strikes an emotional chord and one of the most powerful versions for me is by Eva Cassidy. There are few singers I can listen to and never grow tired of and she is one. She has a world-wide following yet most have never heard of her and that’s sad. If you love real music and an incredible voice you need to hear Eva.

I have ten of her cds, mostly covers with a few originals. These compilations are from a couple of trips to the studio, demo takes, and re-mastered live performances. Pop, rock, folk, and standards like “Autumn Leaves” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”…she sings them all with the purest voice I’ve ever heard. An accomplished guitarist and artist she did the coffee house circuit but preferred her time in the garden unaware of the fan base she was building. Then she realized who some of the people that had become her audience were…people that had come to see her. People like Sting, Paul McCartney, Roberta Flack, Eric Clapton, Mick Fleetwood…the list goes on. Mick Fleetwood played drums for Eva, considering it a privilege and Sir Paul wanted to do a duet with her. She had arrived…but it was too late.

In 1996, at the age of 33, Eva Cassidy passed away from cancer. After her death Europe discovered her music and she topped the music charts in popularity and sales. She would never know how cherished she would become on the world stage.

At her final performance she was weak and unable to walk unassisted to the stage. She and her audience knew that this might be that last time. “What A Wonderful World” would be the last song she would ever sing and I still can’t hear it without choking up.

In 2001 Ted Coppel devoted an entire Nightline episode to Eva and I have included that link.

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

Darkward

It has been a rough month for writing the sequel to “White Wolf Moon”. Another three sales this past week have given me a little boost but the frustration of being unable to put new words down became…well…frustrating. I haven’t neglected the sequel, far from it. I have my time-line of events to be included in this book but not the wherewithal to flesh them out. Life just kind of got in the way. The past month has not been wasted though. I’ve been tweaking previously written chapters, smoothing and polishing dialogue and quite enjoying that process.

I write scenes as they come into my head and sometimes they aren’t necessarily in chronological order so what I’m working on now is like a series of scripts for a half-hour sitcom when it should be a made-for-television movie. Each part stands alone and just needs to be tied together in a cohesive presentation which shouldn’t be all that difficult but until a few days ago had been. Now comes the reason for this blog.

When should the title of whatever you are writing be established? Should you come up with a title first or somewhere in the middle of the process? Perhaps when the draft is completed is when you should give it a name.

I’ve always referred to this as “the sequel” and in doing so I always have snippets of the original book in mind. This may seem appropriate and shouldn’t be a problem but what I’m writing now is quite different from the original. The same characters, yes, but the leaning (while still following the same format) is more in-depth with regards to the characters and explores relationships and scenarios in greater detail than “White Wolf Moon”.

Last week I forced myself to come up with the working title “Of Old Men…(& Wolves)” and something wonderful happened.

I sat down at the laptop, read the title a few times and realized that within those words a theme simmered. As rough as it is that title gave me the boot I’ve needed. Three scenes and 4,800 new words later things are beginning to roll again. I’ve also managed to seamlessly stitch earlier elements together…all because of a working title.

Or is it?

Now, instead of opening a “White Wolf Moon 2” file, I click on “Of Old Men”. The page that appears on my screen has a new ‘feel’ about it. It’s like the whole process is starting again, now…today. I’m looking at what I’ve already written with different eyes and approaching the new material with a fresh attitude.

It’s also time for me to spend some money and renew my publishing commitment with Friesen Press. Up until a few days ago I was questioning whether or not I should. Sales are scattered and come in waves, tiny waves mind you. As I said at the outset three new recent sales have made the decision for me. It’s slow and relatively steady but without that distribution it would be non-existent and there’s always the chance that the book will find a little niche and catch on. The dream is still there, the one that prompted me to self-publish in the first place.

Regardless of how any of this turns out I am pleased with what I’ve done. I certainly would like a bit more success but I’m content with what has happened. I won’t be one of those people who says “I’d like to write a book.” but didn’t. I’m going to be one of those people that did…twice.