THINK BEFORE YOU YAP….

About a year ago I posted a quote from the introduction of a study written by Berton Hernie (a renowned British animal biologist) to one of those ‘intellectual’ anti-wolf pages. I received quite a few responses but surprisingly only one that asked for a link to this study…only one. I suffered a lot of sandbox-caliber names and was criticized for using quotes from someone who doesn’t live in North America (which is a fair comment). “It doesn’t apply…what would a British *** know about the wolves of the west”…you know, the usual rants from the usual list of suspects. One poster informed me that she had read the study and accused me of “cherry-picking” the “pretty line” that suited my argument (again, fair enough). I had a comment from the moderator of another anti-wolf page suggesting that Mr. Hernie’s research applied only to the wolves of Europe and if I’d read the full study I would have known that. In fact I ended up with seventeen comments in the hour before my post mysteriously vanished. Seems someone finally realized that there is no such person as Berton Hernie and if you say his name over and over you’ll realize to whom I was referring.

All I was trying to do was make the point that some folks are more eager to argue about something they know nothing about than to think. I honestly didn’t believe anybody would fall for it but I was wrong. I didn’t do it to embarrass anyone although I’m not about to apologize to any of those people that took the bait (especially the two that actually “read” the study).

By the way here’s the quote I used (taken from the ‘introduction’ of Mr. Hernie’s ‘paper’): “To fully appreciate its value one must only venture into the backyard of the wolf. There you’ll find a garden of beauty, harmony, and balance. Scientific terms fail to describe the splendor of nature untarnished. That task might best be left in the hands of the poet unfettered by prejudice and with open eyes, heart, and mind.”

This goes back to my previous post about research. I stated that without doing my research for a scene set in Edmonton, Alberta, anyone residing there could have taken me to task for my lack of knowledge of the city even though I’d lived there most of my life. My “Hernie” comment prompted only one person out of seventeen to research what I had quoted but sure as shooting she would have been the one to pick up my book.

As writers of fiction we actually need people that will pull apart what we’ve written. They keep us honest and on our toes. Another quote from Berton Hernie: “It isn’t what the writer puts into the words; it’s what the reader takes out of them.”

Playback

Advertisements

RESEARCH? Why bother?

The current way of thinking pertaining to the Canadian Grey Wolf on certain anti-wolf pages is that the Canadian Government decided (wolf) generations ago that it was going to design and breed a super wolf…a hybrid killing machine that would eliminate the ungulate population in the U.S. so that a) hunters would have to come to Canada to hunt and spend their money and b) the American government would cite that “without any hunting there would be no need for guns” and therefore would implement gun control measures.

I love America and the times I’ve visited I’ve found the general population to be genuinely friendly and real folk but this is just one of those absurd issues that make me wonder what the hell is going on not only there but here…and everywhere.

I have to keep reminding myself that this type of thinking is spouted by a minority with a collective big mouth but I also look at the number of people buying into these fairy tales. I’ve come to the conclusion that a certain segment of the world’s population needs bad stuff to make them feel good. I’ve grown weary of all the conspiracy theories surrounding JFK and 911 but now Sandy Hook was all a conspiracy? The Boston Marathon bombing was a conspiracy? I suppose if you buy into these then Canadian scientists developing DNA for a super-wolf pack back in the late forties makes a lot of sense. I can picture these three or four science guys sitting around plotting how they can destroy game herds in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho in 2014. And they acquired the technology needed to carry out their nefarious scheme from a flying saucer that crashed through the roof of Maple Leaf Gardens during a Stanley Cup final game. It killed about 3,000 people but of course we had to cover it up. Okay I made up that last part but I’m sure someone will believe it.

Since this non-native super wolf story unfolded there have been countless reports of these 250 pound killers (no actual proof though) showing up on people’s back porches and chasing elderly women from bus stops. Stories about a fully-grown wolf “trying” to get through a patio screen or, my particular favorite, a hunter and his son breaking through heavy underbrush only to “surprise” seven wolves lined up in a clearing ten feet in front of them. My God…paranoia fodder or what? These fables have become common and are accepted as Gospel by the disciples who worship these pages.

ginn2

I write fiction but even fiction needs a firm grasp in reality if it is to be believed. My son has a Pit-cross that is probably half the size of that wolf “trying” to get through the patio screen but his dog went through our screen like it wasn’t there. And before you make up a story about “surprising” a wolf pack you might want to research the wolf’s hearing and sense of smell then tell me you could get within ten feet of them without them knowing you were there. I won’t even get into the configuration of a wolf pack at rest. Suffice to say they wouldn’t be “lined up”.

Research is all important if you’re writing anything. I daresay the fiction writer does nearly as much research as someone writing a fact-based book. In the book I’m currently finishing I refer to Edmonton, Alberta for one chapter. I lived there most of my life until I moved in 1994. Even though the area was clear in my mind after I’d completed the chapter I googled all the landmarks I’d referenced…then had some re-writing to do. Most of them were gone and the street I referred to is now one-way and an action I had presented would not be possible. Studying the google earth photos gave me a clearer reference and helped me add the touch of realism I wanted.

Is this important? Yes. Without me checking up on myself someone from Edmonton could pick up my book and see right through me but as it is they can now follow the story-line in a setting that they’re familiar with.

It’s all in the details.

FIRST, AN APOLOGY….

My computer contracted a rather nasty virus that was adding advertising links to not only my blog but any others I visited. I have been assured that I wasn’t spreading the virus but just in case I did, I apologize. I’ve picked up a program that cleaned my computer and based on how quickly it’s running and the total lack of pop-ups and alien-links I’m coming across now, it must be working.

This is why I haven’t updated my blog or facebook (as the virus was affecting parts of that as well) but it’s not the only reason I’ve been somewhat absent over the past couple of weeks.

I’ve dedicated my time to writing the sequel to White Wolf Moon and although I’m still struggling with a title I’m in the wrap-up stages. I’ve started the first read-through and so far I’m impressed with the lack of changes I’m making. There’s still a lot of work ahead of me and I will be continuing to concentrate on that project above all others.

As for the rest of my life, it’s almost back to normal.

The kitchen renovation is done and I’ve managed to get caught up on all those nagging little house projects that I had to put aside to complete that task.

hammer

I‘ve also allowed myself a little play-time over the last few weeks and have taken a couple of evenings off to re-work and modify that RC truck that my wife and kids bought me for my birthday last year. I think above all that’s the one thing that has helped me get a bit refreshed and give me a different set of eyes to work on the book.

So basically everything is back in order (at least temporarily) and I’m picking up where I left off last December.

To those out there following my blog, thank you. I’ve set tomorrow aside to get caught up on everything you’ve posted over the last month or so and starting Monday I’ll get back to my regular routine and keep in touch more often.

Mike

More Odds & Ends (mostly odds)…

Clean up time.

The kitchen renovations are still going on although I’m down to painting the cabinets so I suspect this chore will be over soon. It’s actually looking pretty good. One disaster though…I broke our new microwave. I was opening the door and my hand caught the upper lock and bent it back so now the door won’t close. A lot of my issues are due to a lingering cough and fever that has pretty much laid me up for a week….but that’s neither here nor there.

I’ve created a monster with the sequel to my book ‘White Wolf Moon’. At one point I was down to one scene left then a wrap-up but I chose to try a little something different to add some drama and now the ideas are flowing. One scene became two, two became four, and so on. Now that I’m up and about again I hope to settle in and get this thing done.

There is an advantage to being stretched out on the couch nursing the flu…it gives you time to think. I had the laptop beside me and any time I envisioned various scenarios for my characters I’d type them point form. I’ve realized this was a good idea as when I read them back I didn’t really remember coming up with the idea so without the laptop they would have been gone forever. Some of them are a little over the top but mostly there’s some pretty interesting stuff there.

I worked on an emotional scene for a couple of hours last night but went to bed leaving the widow of one of my characters in a state of confusion. I lay there trying to sleep but I was feeling badly that I’d done that to this poor woman. My first task this morning was to put her mind at ease. It’s funny (and sometimes a little scary) how close we get to our characters.

And finally, over the last few weeks I seem to have raised the ire of some of the anti-wolf/wolf hunting crowd again. As I haven’t posted anything to any of their sites since last summer I have to assume they lead pretty dull lives. I’m directing this to “Mr. Crockett” who, along with a couple of others, dared me to approve some pretty inane and disgusting comments on one of my wolf blogs. Very simply “Mr. Crockett”, I have no problem posting any comments on my pages. I use my real name and I am quite easy to get in touch with…which you already know. I would post your comment (deleting the playground name-calling and threats because, well, I have a certain amount of class) if you’d grow a pair and give me your real name and contact info/links (blog, facebook, etc.) to post publicly so that others could see what I deal with on a regular basis. It’s easy to be a big man when you’re cloaked in the anonymity of the internet. Be brave “Mr. Crockett”…get the goods to put your real self forward and stand behind your somewhat skewed convictions. Being a nameless skulker does nothing to validate any argument you may think you have. You can disagree with me all you want…just keep it clean and mature and I’m fine with it.

blogsign

ANOTHER YEAR OVER…

New Years. Everybody stops eating, drinking, smoking, running red lights, wearing unmatched socks, and arguing with the kids.

Why do people make promises they know they can’t keep? Getting elected comes to mind but other than that I think it’s because they honestly believe that this year is going to be their year and if they can just get it together everything will be so gosh-darned swell.

Every January First I get it together and spend the rest of the month trying to figure out where I put it. But this year will be different. For starters I’ve decided to make my resolutions easier.

pic

I’m going to stop arguing with anything bigger and hairier than me except for maybe the parking meter guy. It’s tough to quit cold turkey. I’m not going to go trail-riding. Horses and I just don’t get along and they’re also bigger and hairier than I am. So are cows but cows don’t run as fast. Neither does the parking meter guy. I’m also going to stop arguing with inanimate objects such as taps, toilets and bank machines. They always win anyway. I’m giving up skiing. It’s far too costly and dangerous. Besides I’ve only been skiing once in my life and one plummet down a mountainside is enough. I vaguely remember trying to scream but when I opened my mouth nothing came out. They heard me at the top of the hill so I was obviously traveling faster than the speed of sound. I’m not going to honk my horn at jaywalkers because they have a much shorter life expectancy than I do and I’d like their remaining days to be peaceful. I’m not going to try to figure out rap lyrics. It’s impossible to make sense of a thousand monosyllable string that doesn’t have to mean anything as long as it rhymes and follows the popular beat. I’m not going to try to figure out politicians for the same reason. I’m no longer going to visit those ‘anti-wolf’ pages until they can come up with more imaginative names to call me or until one single person on them offers up an intelligent comment. No, I don’t think this will ever happen…it goes back to the whole rap thing.

I am definitely going to make this my year. I’m going to approach each day with a new improved and easy-to-use attitude. I’m going to be nice to rich people. I don’t know why it just seems like a plan. I’m going to save up all the free airmiles everybody throws at me and give them to the lady next door with the loud stereo. I’m going to stop and smell more roses, pat more puppies and skritch more cats… except for the miserable deaf one that lives next door.

And above all I’m not going to start anything that I can’t