Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 9)

He has it right

This morning, as I was painting a cabinet for my bathroom, I heard an interview with a former college professor of mine. Pretty much anyone in the DFW area who listens to the news is familiar with Dr. Alan Saxe. A small man with a huge heart, he has never met a topic he isn’t willing to research and discuss. Today, he took on the topic of political correctness and how it is silencing a number of Americans because they are too afraid to speak for fear of what others will think.

Dr. Saxe is a small man, not someone you would normally look twice at. Back in the Dark Ages when he was my Political Science prof at the University of Texas at Austin, he was energy personified. That was the first thing that struck me. The second was his joy for teaching and for making his students think. I had him for at least four classes, probably more. He was my favorite professor. It didn’t matter that we disagreed on a number of political issues. When we did, it was a civilized disagreement, one where we could discuss our views and learn.

And boy did I learn from him and, as today proved, he is still teaching any and all who are willing to listen and think.

To the surprise of the radio interviewer, Dr. Saxe said this trend toward being afraid of what we say started in the ’50s and ’60s, with the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. Society was changing and words that had been accepted, if not necessarily acceptable, were now forbidden. These words became loaded and the use of them, even innocently, could mark you as, at be, unenlightened, and at worst a racist.

Social media increased this trend. As Dr. Saxe said, we are too quick to use the term “hate speech”, diluting its meaning and impact. We are just as quick to call someone a racist or Nazi, often to simply silence points of view we don’t agree with. It is a dangerous trend, one that needs to not only be slowed but stopped.

As Dr. Saxe said, he teaches people to think, to consider the context and the meaning of a word withing the context. He noted that the quickest and easiest way to avoid a number of the pitfalls we face today with so many trying to silence speech they don’t agree with is to simply think and be nice. No name-calling, no shouting down to silence an opinion that doesn’t match our own. Discussion and consideration.

What a revolutionary idea — not.

One thing that dawned on me as I listened to Dr. Saxe (beyond the fact he isn’t as liberal as he was years ago — or at least he doesn’t seem to be on certain issues) is that two of my favorite instructors, the two who taught me the most about critical thinking and really listening to what others say and framing discussions only after listening were two of the the most liberal. Of course, back then, a Texas liberal was a conservative most everywhere else in the country.

But I digress.

Dr. Saxe was right when he said we are on a slippery slope where free speech is concerned. We have to stand up for our ideas and quit being afraid to speak. Sure, we might say something to hurt someone’s feelings but no one ever guaranteed any of us a life where we wouldn’t get upset or insulted. It is up to us to listen to what people said, learn from it and learn how to discuss issues we don’t agree upon.

Oops again

As you already know, blogging didn’t happen yesterday. My only excuse is that I was writing. When I get into a writing jag like I’ve been on the last few days, I tend to put off blogging, partly because I don’t think about it and partly because I don’t want to break the flow of words. So, where does that leave me with the WIP? It leaves me in a very good place. I have figured out what was slowing me down and throwing me out of the previous version. It has been saved and put into the folder where I leave work that isn’t “working” at the moment.

What that really means is that the book I was writing wasn’t the book I meant to be writing. That’s not to say it’s a bad book. With some tweaking it will be far from bad. No, it just wasn’t fitting what I needed for the next installment in the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe.

How do I know this new version is right? That’s simple. It is pouring out of my brain and through my fingers onto the keyboard. I haven’t had a story pour out like this in a very long time. I’d forgotten how awesome it is when that happens. I just wish the other demands on my life would take a step back until I finished. But that’s not going to happen and that’s okay. It’s that life that helps keep me grounded.

One of those real life requirements I’m going to be dealing with over the next few days is redesigning my website and blog. But that will wait until I’ve had more coffee and have written for a bit this morning.

Until later!

Oops!

I just realized I hadn’t been back with the promised afternoon blog. Sorry. The words have been flowing on Light Magic and the afternoon came and went without my notice. The good part of that is the words are coming so easy right now and the story is no longer fighting me. The bad part is it means I forget things like needing to go to the grocery and blogging.

So, my apologies. I’m going back to writing. I’ll be back in the morning with a blog. For now, the world is still spinning on its axis. Other than that, everything is subject to change.

Later!

It’s done!

Just a quick update. The final draft for the expanded version of Vengeance from Ashes is finished and off to the beta readers. Five new chapters have been added and some scenes expanded. It doesn’t change anything with the overall story arc but it does, I believe, give more of an insight into who Ashlyn Shaw is and what happened to make her the woman she is at the time VfA opens.

Assuming the beta readers don’t find anything major wrong with the updates, the digital version will go on sale in all the major markets by the middle of the month. The print version will be out shortly after that. I am also hoping to release an audio version of the book — as well as of the subsequent books — but those details are still being worked out.

In the meantime, it’s back to work. There are always more stories to write.

Hurricane Harvey

Despite the early jokes about a large invisible rabbit going to hit the Texas coast, Harvey has been anything but invisible or fluffy. It is going to take months, years in some cases, for the impacted communities to recover. The fact there have been no more deaths than there have been is miracle. Unfortunately, the danger isn’t over and won’t be for some time. More rain is expected and, by the end of the week, some communities will have seen more rain fall in a week than they usually get in a year. No matter how good the infrastructure might be, it isn’t going to be able to handle that much water at one time.

If you’ve watched the news any over the weekend, you’ve seen examples bravery, giving and stupidity. People have pulled out their own boats to go through flooded neighborhoods to help those stranded by high water. Others have done whatever they could to help rescue those foolish enough to drive into high water. And, yes, there have been way too many who either misjudged how deep the water happened to be or who thought if they drove fast enough, they could get through flooded intersections.

One video I saw yesterday showed a man in a large pickup trying to drive through a flooded section of one of Houston’s freeways. People who had either parked or who had walked from downtown to see the flooding lined the roadway and yelled for him to stop. He didn’t and before he knew what happened, his pickup was floating. Yes, floating. Then it was sinking. He climbed through the window and, instead of swimming to safety, he moved to the front of the still floating and moving truck. I swear it looked like he thought he could push it out of the water. Then, when he realized that wasn’t going to happen, he moved to the back of the pickup. At one point, if I remember correctly, he went back into the cab of the truck to get something. He is lucky all he lost was his truck. His lack of judgment — Hell, let’s be honest. He was stupid — could have cost him his life.

Yet, for ever video I saw like that, I saw or heard about at least two counter-examples of people helping friends, neighbors and strangers. Just as times like this bring out the worst in some people, it brings out the best in many more. We will never know how many “every day heroes” made their way through the areas impacted by the hurricane, helping those stranded, bringing them to safety. I salute each and every one of those men and women. They are what helps make this country great.

One of the saddest images I’ve seen so far was of a Houston-area nursing home. Approximately a dozen residents, some in wheelchairs and others on O2, had to be rescued from waist to chest-deep water. Why they hadn’t been transported before conditions deteriorated, I don’t know. It ranks right up there with stories I’ve been hearing of some hospital patients being discharged home prior to Harvey hitting, not because they were medically ready to be discharged but because the hospitals didn’t know what their power situation would be when the hurricane arrived. How many of those patients would have been better served to have been transferred to other hospitals outside of the area and how many then found themselves trapped in their homes by the flooding? (One of our local anchors was worried yesterday about a friend who was one of those patients. The friend had had brain surgery just a few days prior to being discharged because of the incoming hurricane and lived in one of the areas of Houston with some of the worst flooding.)

Should Houston’s mayor have ordered the city evacuated? That is a question that is going to be debated for months. It is easy now, as arm chair quarterbacks, to say he should have. But knowing what traffic is like in Houston on the best of days, I shudder to think what it would have been like with panicked drivers and bad weather.

Along similar lines, we are already seeing some folks criticizing those in the path of the hurricane for not leaving even without the evacuation order. I’ll even admit to wondering that myself. Then I remembered all the potential “paths” the National Weather Service had for Harvey up until less than a day before it made landfall. How many times have the folks on the coast evacuated, only to have the storm du jour veer off and nothing more than some heavy rain hit? How many of those who have condemned them for not leaving considered the cost of doing so? Some people simply couldn’t afford financially to leave their homes. When it because apparent the financial costs of leaving were much less than the potential loss of life, it was no longer safe to leave. They were, in short, caught in a Catch-22.

Houston’s Medical Center area is also under a minimum of 2 – 3 feet of water right now. The doctors are having to look at evacuating the most critically ill of the patients there. But that isn’t the only problem facing the hospitals in the Medical Center area. The hospitals are cut off. That means the only way patients needing treatment can get to them is to be airlifted in. It also means staff and supplies can’t get in. Conversely, the staff members already at the hospital can’t leave. It is most definitely not an optimal situation for anyone.

And before anyone gets too smug about how this won’t impact anyone outside of the areas directly impacted by the hurricane, think again. Consider the importance of the Texas Gulf Coast region to this country’s oil production. Think about the fact that much of our shipping traffic comes into the ports along the Texas Coast. Then consider parts of Louisiana are going to be impacted by Harvey as well. This is not only a local emergency but a state, regional and, to a lesser extent, national one as well.

Hurricane Harvey and it’s impact on the Houston area and surrounding counties is a perfect example of the adage, “there but for the grace of God go I.” Take a long and hard look at what happened and look at your own home and city. Are you, personally, prepared for an emergency? Do you have a plan in place if something were to happen and you were to lose electricity for days? Remember, if you lose electricity, it’s a pretty good bet your local grocer will as well. If that happens, what are you going to do?

Look.

Learn.

Plan.

Prepare.

And, today, pray for Houston and the other impacted areas. If you have the means to send help — donations or actual volunteer hours — do so.

 

 

I’m still here

And still working. Nocturnal Rebellion is rapidly moving toward release. Hopefully, I will be able to reveal the cover this afternoon. I have also started on  the “Special Edition” version of Vengeance from Ashes. I’ll admit that project really excites me. More on that in the upcoming weeks.

There are several topics I want to blog on but I need to do a bit more research before I do. In the meantime, I have a post up at Mad Genius Club this morning. Check it out.

Now I’m off to fix breakfast for the family. I’ll be back later with a more substantive post.

Until then, have a great day!

 

No blog this morning

Like so many others, I am trying to take in the news. The high-rise fire in London, with its deaths and injuries, is bad enough. Now we have a gunman opening fire on a group of Republican politicians playing baseball in Alexandria, VA. I’ll be back later with thoughts on both but not now. Now I am offering my thoughts and prayers to all those involved or impacted by these terrible events. I offer my thanks to the first responders. And, as I do, I wonder where the outrage is from certain sectors of our society, not that I’m surprised by its absence.

Manchester, England

My thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by the bombing last night at the Ariana Grande concert. What happened is a parent’s worst nightmare. It was an attack on not just a soft target but one filled with children and young adults.

I will blog about what happened later, after more facts are known. In the meantime, I light a candle for the lost and dead. I say a prayer for them all and I damn to the deepest depths of Hell all who might have been involved in bringing about this tragedy.

Please tell me it’s no longer Monday

Yesterday was not a great day. One hot water heater replaced. One smartphone decided to go on the fritz. Carpet still soggy. But today will be better. Why? Because the carpet won’t be getting any soggier. The smartphone will be replaced later today — or hopefully it will be an easy fix.  As for the carpets, well, the wet vac is about to come out to play again. Once all that is done, I’ll be able to sit down and hopefully finish Battle Wounds. (In case you missed it, here’s a link to the short snippet I posted yesterday.) Better yet, Cold Reign by Faith Hunter is out today. Yay, new reading!

I’ll be back later, hopefully around lunchtime, with a “real” post. In the meantime, check out my entry at Mad Genius Club.

Until later!

Boy is it Monday

Of course, Monday started yesterday when I stepped into the hallway and the carpet went squish. Like any pet owner, I hesitantly checked to see why my bare foot was now wet and the carpet was making such icky sounds when I walked on it. Relief because there were no “gifts” left for me — not unheard of with two cats and a dog. But then memory of the last time the carpet went squish in that same area flooded — hah! — back and panic began to set in.

There are joys to homeownership but there are downfalls as well. Hot water heater leaks being one of the downfalls. The current hot water heater is 9 years, 2 weeks old. Yes, I looked it up. The actual heater doesn’t look to be leaking but the sheetrock on one side is wet, started about 5 feet up and spreading downward. So, my guess is we have a leak in the line going into the heater.

Sometime between now and noon, I’ll find out for sure. Once I have — and once I have recovered from learning how much that repair will cost — I’ll be back with a real blog post. In the meantime, you guys have a safe Monday morning.

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