The Editing Struggle and Rising Panic

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What Lurks Beneath

Editing is frustrating.

At least it’s become that to me.  When I finished my first draft, I went on to my second book right away thinking I was being smart.  In some ways I have been.  If I had not finished my rough draft of my second book, I wouldn’t have had the ability to work on my second draft of my first book!  Nuts.  I know.

What I learned about my world, let alone how to write became instantly apparent when I went back and started adding names and places.  Realizing I had to concoct an ecclesiastical trial system based on old Norse/Icelandic Thing methods  (yes, a Thing is an actual thing, not just a pronoun, though it can be pronounced “Ting” to hear my friend Torfinn say it.) That was realized once I started looking back to the starting point of the story and having to wonder if I should start with a trial, or just get right to the meat of the adventure, and how do I unify it with the second book? All this is going on in my head, driving me insane.  Short trip I know.  Add to this pile is the constant debate of going from a single 1st person view to 3rd person selective so I could tell more of what was going on instead of leaving the reader in the dark… It’s been maddening.

At least I finally discovered who my narrator is which settles a lot of that argument, but not totally.

But now, I’ve added resistance to the mess.  The thing just doesn’t want to be worked on.  Oh, on my off days when I can write, I scribble out a few new pages, because let’s face it, I’m having to add between 5 and 7 new chapters to the book.  This is what happens when you learn a few things that turns your entire understanding about writing genre fiction, particularly when you create something that does NOT fit cleanly in any genre well.  The only assured things so far have been it is Fantasy and its Christian.  Beyond that… I’m banging my head against the wall.

This now begs a question: Can a series change genre as it progresses.  Right now, the first novel is feeling like an “Action/Adventure/Sea” story.  The second novel has elements of that, but it transmogrified into an “Epic/Political/Action/Thriller” sensation.  Heh… what if J.R.R. Tolkien had written “The Hunt for Red October”?  Anyway, yes I feel that what I’m doing is just that nutty.  So that has me concerned.  I haven’t even started to consider how to work the 3rd novel till after I finish the first, and then the second is in editing.

Gloria in Excelsis

Gloria In Excelsis

What I do know is that I need to light a fire under this.  I have my deadline set for July 9th to be ready for beta readers to look at it.  It’s a deadline I’m not sure how I’m going to hit because I have two added plot lines to insert into the story, and the characters have not even begun to start speaking to me yet  (Currently it’s June 14th as I’m writing this and the panic is starting).  Those of you who pants (aka write as you go) might know exactly what I’m talking about.  So, when this publishes and I have 10 days left, we’ll see how big the panic really got.

Since I work full time, I only get to write 3.5 days out of the week the way my schedule goes.  My goal is still to find an editor who can take this on in say September so I can finish and get a book release before Christmas (preferably before Halloween, but that may just be too ambitious if I don’t pull my thumb out).  I keep hearing that this is “normal” for writers to go through.  It’s a pain if true, but a pain I can handle.  The worst is now this nagging voice that keeps going “Every day you procrastinate or don’t write is a day more you can’t make a living off your writing”.  Of course, I don’t even know if I will be able to.  I am trusting in my own ego that my talent is up to snuff professionally to create a career out of this.  That unknown is daunting.

At least I’m smart enough to know that not all writing is about pecking at the keyboard, so I can spend the dead times at my job thinking about my book, maybe researching or listening to podcasts to hone my craft.  Something.  What I’ve started to do is pick up books of authors that I like to read and hit all the proper notes in me and look at how they write stuff.  I mean I see what I write and wonder if it really is good enough!  How does Mark Twain, or Andrew Vachss, or Ayn Rand, or Charles Dickens, or Caleb Carr, or David Weber turn a phrase?  What is it that I love about them and doesn’t seem hackneyed or stilted?  Maybe I will learn more as I go along.

I cannot just listen to them on CD or stream their audio books and understand craft as well save for how a phrase sounds in the ear.  That does not seem to impart understanding, really.  I started listening to “Alice in Wonderland” and was wondering how this was great literature!  I guess I still don’t get it, but you know, I listen to the way it’s constructed and go say “yeah, I don’t know how this thing is considered great when it seems so sloppy!  What is it that makes it work?”  And that’s the thing in the end.  Something other than the structure of the words is what makes it work.  Something I don’t understand yet.

That’s the flavor of the month.

Panic, insecurity, frustration and resistance.  If that was a Ben and Jerry’s flavor, what would it be?

I dunno, but I can’t seem to put down this spoon.

 

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Timeline of Akiniwazi: 1115-1190AD

The next century of the important historical events of Akiniwazi.

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1115AD – Thanks to stories from sailors who had plied the trade between Akiniwazi and Viking lands, the rumor that the Garden of Eden has been found in Akiniwazi spreads throughout the medieval church. During the Norwegian Crusade, this rumor catches fire with the men returning from the Holy Land. Instead of returning home, many wish to cross the ocean with the Vikings. Several of their allies who came back to Viking lands of other nationalities not of Norse blood want to go too. In a surprising move, King Sigurd the Crusader and his allied Jarls continued support the emigration policy of previous Kings. Akiniwazi increases significantly despite the restrictions as returning crusaders also bring their families to relocate despite many crusaders being refused.

1120AD – The population of Akiniwazi is believed to pass 250,000 people.

1131AD – Koenraadian Sect founded by Saint Koenraad. As the different monastic orders control and set up housekeeping in Akiniwazi to establish the Church, the amplified Gifts of the Spirit begin to exert an unexpected influence over their decisions. The first major break from the Roman Catholic Church and the Old World’s monastic orders is the renaming of the Church in Akiniwazi as the Kyrkja, and begins to form around the teachings of Koenraad, a monk blessed with extremely pervasive wisdom and guidance. It is through his revelations that the beginning of the Kyrkja begins to form, and the first Sect, based off of the gift of Wisdom and Discernment comes to be.

1135AD – Havarian Order founded by Saint Havar of Bergen. The order was a response to the need to preserve and disseminate knowledge as well as find a refuge for those men who wished to devote their lives to God in search of it.

1153AD – The first Monastery of the Havarian Order was founded outside of Mannvoenlandnaam on a small island on the Kisiina. Its relative closeness to the city allowed it access to the growing intelligentsia of the capital and courtiers and facilitating the importation of books of knowledge and other great works of the church and nobility for preservation.

A group of Jarls began to be concerned at the theft or destruction at the hands of Skaerslinger and demand that Havar take on a military force to protect the wealth there. Havar refused seeing the danger of the wealth and knowledge being politicized, but saw the need for defenses before crisis happened. He began falling back on his experience as a soldier during the second crusade to begin training Monks in combat. Havar was assisted in his efforts by a former soldier turned monk, Brother Ole Verndahl in creating a school of combat in which did not require weapons, but could use nearly anything as a weapon if necessary. It was named “Manu Dei Ducitur”, or also called “Manu Dei” for the amazing providence the art seemed to always exhibit in defeating foes. Although it is mostly used for non lethal defense, it can be quite deadly when the need arises. It serves first to incapacitate, rendering an opponent unable to fight by a variety of methods focused on locks and dislocations of joints or chokes. It does not focus on any weapons for it assumes the practitioner has been caught unarmed and surprised and therefore uses what is available to defend oneself this level of improvisation leads to very creative conflict resolution

1157AD: Koenraad dies and becomes the first canonized Saint for the Kyrkja.

1160AD – Native born children start outstripping the rate of emigration for the firs time. This shift allows the power of the Kyrkja grow. The Norse Monarchy, now in civil war, squabbled over the real claim over who was in control of the colonies of Akiniwazi. Many claimants to the throne believe this will help their cause.

Because of the great distance, most of this struggle was irrelevant to those colonials who also were adopting a more pious name of “The Forsamling” thanks to the influence of the Kyrkja. Some of the settlements forming on the shore of the Kiisina Sea started choosing which king they would follow during that time, unable to decide who was the real monarch they owed loyalty to, this often led to short lived skirmishes between towns and farmholds.

1180AD – The Skaerslinger begin open war upon the people of Akiniwazi. Previously, the Skaerslinger had taken a hostile avoidance attitude where they avoided the Forsamling and vice versa as much as possible. Conflicts previously were only due to unavoidable contact, or infringement on their sacred sites or nomadic paths, but now attacks were being made outright. With the settling of the Kiisina Sea becoming more complete, they attacked anyone who dares try to settle inland along rivers and lakes. The reaction varied greatly by settlement and Hirdman in charge. The Church calls up crusaders to go drive back the enemy and claim the land for Christ. This is immediately, but ineffectively resisted by the fractured Viking nobility. For the first time, a few non-Scandinavian bloodlines make it to Akiniwazi, but due to the Kyrkja’s effort on the other side, all passage become one-way limiting the knowledge of Akiniwazi outside of Viking lands.

1182AD – The Order of the Ragnarites is founded by Saint Ragnar. Their order is quickly bolstered by recruiting Crusader forces. They embrace the new found gift of miracles that assist them in spiritual warfare. It becomes an uncommon but not unheard of occurrence to have angels manifest in battle with Skaerslinger who manifest demons. Slowly, the Ragnarites begin forcing back the Skaerslinger south of the Athrfljot after discovery of a long portage to another river system.

1183AD – The Ankarite Order is founded by Saint Ankar.  An order of gifted preachers and orators around the gifts of exhortation, teaching and evangelism.

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1187ADThe Battle of Portcullis Lakes. A very large encampment of Skaerslinger holding a summer council is discovered around a set of lakes by a small army of Ragnarite Crusaders after weeks of raids by the Jarl of Mannvoenlandnaam’s huskarls that plied deep south on a river that had been recently discovered. They discovered a very large gathering of Skaerslinger as they were coming to a tribal gathering to ready for an even more powerful campaign to kill off the encroaching outsiders. The large force of Huskarls and Ragnarite Crusaders were reinforced by an angelic host as they caught the Skaerslinger off guard. Crusaders and raiders slaughtered the encampment by the thousand, scattering the remnants of the disorganized Skaerslinger. In the days after the battle, scouts discovered a series of small lakes that lead to the shores of a massive fresh water lake as big as any sea known before! This lake became known as Lake Ishkode (taking the name from the corrupted words “Lake of Fire” in the Skaerslinger’s tongue) This began a new era of exploration deep into the interior of Akiniwazi.

1188AD – 1190AD – Explorers quickly began sailing longboats across the interconnected waters and discovered all seven of the major lakes of Akiniwazi. The victory at Portcullis Lakes has only served to rally and unify the Skaerslinger tribes who warn of their revenge and desire to kill every foreigner in their land. Fortunately for the Forsamling, they did not have the ability to bring enough force to bear to drive them out of their occupied gathering grounds. As a further incitement, a new heavily fortified settlement began in the rich valley of the Portcullis Lakes. The Kyrkja order that the first Cathedral of Akiniwazi be built on this site and consecrate the ground as to form a permanent spiritual beachhead against the satanic forces that ruled the land. Some minor ruins are discovered showing that the Skaerslinger at one time might have conquered a more advanced civilization or be its savage descendants of a fallen empire of old.

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The Seraphim: God’s Hidden Sanctuary to Me

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My unit icon and motto that has kind of spilled over to real life: “I am the fiend who slays evil for God.

My last two personal posts chronicled the destruction of my elbow by willful malice of gravity and the failure of friction to do its job, I want to talk a little on the aftermath of that day.

For a few weeks, I was unable to use my arm after surgery.  In fact, my surgeon went so far as to warn me that my soft tissue damage from the fall was severe and my size was a threat to even having my arm recover.  It was suggested that the worst case scenario was that I might have to have it amputated at the elbow if things went horribly wrong!  You bet your sweet bippie I was very very cautious about moving it at all.  Every bump and wobble scared the crap out of me. ( as an aside, I saw my surgeon for the second year check up, on Friday  have been informed he is extremely happy with the surgical repair done to my elbow. Considering the degree of soft tissue damage and reconstruction that he had to do, apparently this is one of his best jobs that he has worked on. That gives me great confidence and it is nice to see a man who has done so many of these be so happy to see me every time I have to go in. God has blessed me so greatly in putting my surgeon in my life at a time when I needed such help.)

But over time, I was able to finally move my arm far enough to reach my mouse and play games.  I was still gorked out of my mind at times on pain meds.  Something I really did not like, and thankfully avoided addiction with some ease.  As I came out of my stupor I started getting bored being by myself.  I’m not a very social person to begin with, but days were blurring and I was getting itchy to go out and about or do something, but could not.

When you have an active mind to begin with, you can get bored really easy.  Salvation in this manner came in two parts.  First, a friend on Facebook mentioned that the game “Mechwarrior Online” was out.  I’ve been a gamer since the Atari 2600 and RPGs since the same time.  Loved Battletech, and the Mechwarrior videogame series.  So I said, ‘what the hey?’, and fired up the computer to download it and play.

What an experience!  The game was fascinating to me at the time.  But quickly, as I got killed over, and over and over again in Player vs. Player battles (which is all the game is) I got frustrated. My frustration was boiling over to full rage-quit mode, and feeling very depressed because it was also still so isolated.  Nobody was there to talk to or associate with.  I was beating my head against a wall and only making my head mushy.

Then I figured out that the game was a team game and I had to join a guild to thrive.  Well, I put my name up on the “Mercenary” forum and stated in no uncertain terms how pissed off I was at the game, and was looking for a home for my Christian Conservative sensibilities.  I’d seen one Christian unit in the game, and they were a no-profanity league on top of it all, and I swore like a sailor (particularly at this game at that time), so probably a no-go there.  A few nibbles happened to my ad, but nothing came to it.  They were too hardcore, and I was too new and unskilled.

Art by Ron Kovalic

From the Card Game Munchkin by Steve Jackson games. Play it.

Then I was contacted by Colonel Alex Reed (His character name, not real)… head of The Seraphim.  We struck up a conversation over Doctor Who, (My character’s name is Kjudoon, which is modified from the Judoon… go read this stuff here to get the connections.) and I said I was really interested in the Seraphim, but didn’t think I could hold to the code of honor.  (no swearing, taunting, trolling,family friendly, Christian behavior)  Did I mention I can be a terrible troll?  Oh yeah.

Anyway, long story short, I joined up and cautiously entered a new realm and society!  Downloading Teamspeak and chatting with people all over the world who had shared values and interests was an eye opener.  I learned to play MWO better, even though my computer could not handle the load, and I was limited severely by it.

So that was 30 miles of bad road to get to the point.

The Seraphim became my social circle in that time, when I did not have a circle of friends to hang with or be supported with during a very dark time in my life.  I was having a crisis of faith, a physical crisis and all the while fighting depression from setting in.  Having this group of brothers and sisters there to talk with, pray with and play with was something I desperately needed.  I am grateful that God put such a place in my life.

It wasn’t until months later that I started realizing that this was truly a unique group.  Sure you had Christian guilds out there, but, well, their faith seemed more anecdotal and in the background.  Here, they live their faith right out front.  I never knew a group of men who would stop playing their hobby when someone came in channel in need, drop everything like a fire brigade and go right to prayer for that person.  Their faith is personal and even extends into the games they play.  It’s no longer just MWO, but several other games as well.

Its a small community of Christians who play games, not gamers who happen to be Christian.  It has no intention of becoming big or famous, but to be a refuge for those who need it most.  I will always be grateful that I found it, and have been able to be part of the experience, adding my voice to theirs as I healed, and became as whole as I will ever be again able to pass on the same to others.

As a final note, it looks like my production schedule for resonance point is going to be Mondays and Fridays with Monday’s being personal / autobiographical posts and Fridays be more entertainment / artistic / miscellaneous interest. So I look forward to hear your comments and imports. If there are things that you wish to see or know about feel free to contact me.

Orion’s Articles: Pandifico

Written back in 2004, I participated in a shared hard Sci Fi community called Orion’s Arm.  It was based on transhumanist theory and sci fi writing, something that over time I became increasingly uncomfortable with as my walk in my faith grew deeper and my politics diverged radically from the belief in a collective future.  But during my time there, I put together a series of articles under a Creative Commons license.  To that end, these items are open to the public to use, but I would love it if you give me a shout out that you used them.


 

Pandifico (pronounced: pan-diff-EYE-koe) is a powerful diamondoid composite that is constructed to be elastic and flexible like rubber. This diamondoid fiber is incredibly resistant to damage and almost impossible to shatter. It is fabricated with permaform manufacturing technology. When struck with hard kinetic force the elastic features allow the fiber structure to flex and bend in a manner similar to that of polymers and metals. Because of their design the fibers do not stay dented or bent and can pop out – on their own or with a little help – to their original form.

Pandifico can be tuned to have different degrees of hardness and flexibility. As with ancient composite bows the fibers can be made to stretch at different speeds according to the strength and direction of an applied force. For example, a sheet of Pandifico armor may stretch along it’s X axis at a rate of 1 cm per 100 joules while along it’s y axis it may stretch 1 meter for the same pressure and only move a micrometer for the same force along it’s z axis. Pandifico could also be capable of increasing or decreasing its resistance depending on its tension or distance stretched, thereby giving reduced resistance through the middle portion of the stretch while offering high or medium resistance as it approaches maximum stretch. Pandifico retains the strength of standard Diamondoid even when stretched to maximum tension.

Pandifico can be formulated in any color (including transparent) or molded into the same range of shapes as standard diamondoid without any loss of functionality. It can be made to conduct electricity or be an insulator depending on the specific chemical composition of the fiber structure. Some brand names of pandifico are “Pandiflex,” “Foreverform” and “Eternilam.”

 

(Diamondoid is a theorized class of materials made from mechanically assembled carbon atoms that have the strength of diamonds)

Cutting My Way to Healing: Surgery

When my elbow was shattered three years ago on D-Day, the wrack and ruin of the injury was a real shocker to me.  I had never broken a bone, never had surgery, never even stayed in a hospital, save for one diagnostic thing years before… nothing serious.  Now, my surgeon tells me that I have three broken bones in my right elbow that could take up to a year to recover.  That also assumes no other complications set in and I even can return to work some day let alone regain use of my arm.

The break had torn all the soft connection tissue free.  That all had to be anchored back down and repaired.  Then the bones themselves were in 10 different pieces!  The head of the Radius and Ulna were shattered essentially into three and four pieces each.  The Humerus head had snapped just above in one big chunk making it the easiest repair.  What a way to look at it, but when your surgeon has put together elbows and wrists of men wounded in battle, I’m thinking I fared pretty well.

Throughout this time, I kept praying.  “Why, God?  What is Your purpose in all this?  I cannot see you, and know that I should be afraid, but for some reason, I am not.”  that was the strange thing.  I was scared, but I had peace.  A peace I should not have had, by human standards.  By spiritual standards, I know why.  He carried me through it all for I did not do it by my own strength or denial alone.

The day of the surgery was more of a relief on many levels.  It was going to hurt and freak me out, but at least it would be over and I would be able to heal proper and get better.  They never asked me to count down for the anesthetic knocking me out, so I volunteered anyway.  I remember distinctly saying, “Wow!  I didn’t think I’d make it past 85, but I’m still awake.”  They laughed at me, good-naturedly I hoped.  I don’t remember 84.

Then was in a hospital bed feeling like I had been out drinking all night.  Not hungover, but still buzzed and hating it.  My arm did not hurt at first, but then I moved reflexively.  Well didn’t that just tilt the pinball machine!  What went from a kinda tolerable, but miserable 7 on the pain scale to a 10.  Oh yeah, this is gonna be fun was my thought.  It wasn’t till the last week of rehab did I learn how the pain scale was supposed to be calculated.

Having to pee was embarrassing too.  You finally have to go so bad and are so gorked out of your mind you just don’t care who is watching and what you piss on.  I remember the process of  getting to the can being a disgusting an humorous operation, dragging poles and machines that went ‘ping’ behind me and finally not caring what my accuracy was, and the fact I was naked in front of three female nurses.  Oh who CARES!  My bladder is calling the shots and it says “You go NOW!” like an angry sumo wrestler.  Oh the joys of bodily functions in front of strangers.

Beyond that, mother morphine played deletion roulette with much of my memory.  I do remember lunch before being picked up being surprisingly tasty.

My father picked me up and we went to see the surgeon where I was informed of what kind of a mess I was.  A plate a bunch of plastic anchors and glue holding my tendons and ligaments together, a bunch of cartilage scooped out and a metal plate with four screws, and one for good measure through my Humerus.  Just…. really.  My surgeon cautioning me that because of my size, I could EASILY tear these things loose and be forced to suffer another surgery and some real potential problems.  So for two months, I had to live, arm locked at a 90 degree angle and praying that something horrifying did not happen, like falling in the shower (Which I did, more on that later) or worse.

Living alone, there was some concern about how I was going to handle things on my own.  Hell, I was worried too.  But, God provided a way.  I was always able to find a friend, or neighbor or family to take my clumsy butt where I needed, go shopping with me or help out.  To those people, you are saints, and I praise God for you.

But, that was the first big step in what has been a multi-year recovery.

 

Timeline of Akiniwazi: 800-1000AD

Like I said… I’m going to provide those interested with an ‘Inside Baseball” look at some of the resources to the world of Akiniwazi.  Outside of it’s atlas will be the timeline.  I think what I’m going to do is introduce these in alternating weeks, assuming they don’t interfere with my editing schedule.  Oh you have no idea!  These are pages, not posts, so watch for the heads up posts as they come along if you’re looking for fresh content.

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Akiniwazi is an alternate reality where the old world (all the continents of Asia, Europe, Africa are exactly the same as we know it today.  North America, as it pertains to this setting is radically different.  It was discovered by Vikings in this universe, and that is when the two diverge at approximately 800AD.

Again, this is a work of fantasy with historical roots that I have attempted to be faithful to the spirit of these real historical events as I saw them, but took literary license with it as well.  So if someone’s going to criticize that “It wouldn’t happen that way”, let me stop you now, hand you a glass of Handwaivium with a Getoveritonium chaser and ask you to enjoy the work for what it is:  Fantasy as about as hard as I could make it considering the circumstances.  This timeline will grow over time.  But for now, here are a few things to consider.

Also, please remember, these are ROUGH NOTES!  Not finished product, and is just here for your personal enjoyment.  So there will probably be typos and other organic things.  How often does an author share his mind like this, right?  Please take that into account when perusing the notes and see how the world grows.

Thanks for joining me on this journey.

Timeline of Akiniwazi

 

Three Years On: A Personal Anniversary

Three years ago just before midnight on D-Day, my life was turned upside down in a flash.

I drove spotter truck at the time, pushing semi trailers back and forth from dock to lot and vice versa.  It was physically difficult in a way not even many truckers realize when you are doing 7-10 moves an hour.

In and out.

Up and down.

Slam, bang, bump.

I had been driving professionally in various forms for going on five years and had just earned my Class A the autumn before.  I wasn’t sure I enjoyed trucking as much as I enjoyed bus driving.  But, I needed work, and this was work that paid the bills, so I did it as best I can, but slowly was starting to dread it.  Although, there were good times too.  Working overnights, and only four nights a week, that’s not bad money, and it wasn’t like the grueling 14 hour days 5 days a week with 16 every Tuesday I had to endure running inter-modal to Chicago and back.  That was psychological torture.

No.  this was physically harder, but my mind was at peace.  I no longer felt like a criminal 24/7 whenever I drove.

It was dry out, and a clear sky.  Sure some puddles remained on the ground from the rain two nights before, but my feet were not wet.  I just saw on my computer I got a “Freebie” move.  A liveload where the driver was still there, but they put the move up inside.  So I got credit for a move, doing nothing.  I just had to go wake him up and say “Yer outta here!”

It did not happen that way.

I pulled up to his cab with the spotter and got out to knock on his door.  The spotter door slid open behind me, and I went through onto the deck.  Spotters go in and out of a sliding back door, you know.  I started going down the stairs, and then disaster came.

Now, falling off my truck was one of my worst fears as a driver.  I have seen people break ankles and knees.  I almost broke my right ankle in a rail yard thanks to a lump of rotted out concrete.  But falling was particularly worrisome, cause I’m a big guy.  So I planted my feet, and took hold of the railings to go down the stairs.  Yes, spotters have very steep stairs with two railings that bent to angle with your motion.  Three points of contact.  Yes indeed.

Suddenly, it was two points of contact.  My left foot lost its grip on the worn-smooth metal.  Its timing a split second earlier or later would have made a world of difference.  No seriously, it was that precisely timed you would swear it was planned.  It slid under the fender a little, and partially in the open wheel well.  I still had both hands on the railings.  Two points of contact left.

Then inertia proved to be a harsh mistress.

My right arm hit full extension just as my grip was at that stupid bend in the railing.  That small, insignificant spot.  I lost grip with my right hand.  My strongest arm, and began to whip around by my left arm out and away from the truck.  All 380 pounds of me, swinging out like a swing ride at a carnival.  The centrifugal force was tearing my left hand’s grip free but it felt like I was sliding down the railing faster than I was losing my grip, and thought there was a chance to control my fall.  Amazing I can remember that in the split second of the time.

Then I hit the side of the truck with a loud bang that shocked me…

…hard.

Then I bounced clear and in a freefall.  I felt like I was suspended in air by that arm for a second, but it wasn’t the case.  Gravity took over and I was falling the rest of the way, my feet were maybe only three feet off the ground, but it felt so much higher.

I remembered faintly my judo training from decades before and tried to brace to roll with it.

Then I did the same thing that nearly dislocated my shoulder as a student:  I reached for the ground.

You ever play with those pose-able leg Barbies as a kid?  You know the ones with the plastic ratchet inside them.  That was the sensation I felt from my elbow.  And pain.  A whole lot of pain and shock to that right elbow.  I had saved myself from striking my head, but my elbow payed the price.

Flopping on the pavement of the lot and let out a long howl of agony and shock.  I couldn’t help squirming around, as I fought with the shock of what had happened…

Impressively, I managed to keep my right arm glued to the pavement.  A semi drove by me and ignored me.  He looked right at me… and kept driving.  I realized I was not getting any help at that moment, and had to get it myself.

I moved my arm, or tried to.  It refused to move at first.  So I tried to curl it back to me.  I felt that horrifying Barbie doll ratcheting and knew something was pretty damn bad.  I prayed it was just a dislocated elbow.  With my arm to my chest, the throbbing came, but the pain had subsided a lot.  I was quite surprised and started thinking, well, maybe I got this after all.  But I had to report the fall.  So I tried to climb back up into the spotter and my right arm was in agony with every move.

I’m sure now it’s dislocated, but prayed that it wasn’t broken.  I called on the radio for help and told the lead driver to meet me at the office and then drove, slowly, with every bump and crease in the drop lot causing shocks of pain to rattle my head as I drove.

Filling out the report was an ordeal.  Being forced to drive myself to the hospital they chose was brutal.  The agony of waiting and then maneuvering my body around as they took X-Rays and then an MRI.  There was a hairline fracture, but the doctor would have to tell me more.  I finally was given something for the pain, but it wasn’t much.  My arm was wrapped in fiberglass and gauze.

Then the next challenge came:  Going home.  I had to drive all the way back, 35 miles to home, by myself, on pain meds.  No family or friends were available in the middle of the night.  My boss tried to claim I did not follow safety regs, which I proved false the next day.  I was swimming with grief as I drove home.  I called my parents, and my father drove over 100 miles from their campground stay to help me get back to the hospital six hours later.

The next morning the surgeon gave me the news.  It was called “The Terrible Triad”.  A break so bad that it had it’s own nickname.  My Radius and Ulna broke through the head into multiple pieces.  The Humerus snapped right above the joint.  Every tendon was snapped free, and the ligaments were torn loose.  My cartilage was shredded.  So much for the hoping against hope it was dislocated or sprained or something that in a week would be fine, or at least just sore.  I asked him if it was the worst he’d seen.  He said no.  Later on I learned that he did this sort of surgery for the US Military, and could only imagine seeing the ruined limbs he had repaired.  Mine would be a cakewalk compared to a limb jellied by an IED or shrapnel.

Surgery was scheduled for three days later.  And then would begin the entire year ordeal where I would also face a second surgery because something else would not heal in my arm, and had to suffer a partial elbow replacement.  Just before Thanksgiving.

My life fundamentally changed three years ago today.  My career as a commercial driver, gone.  My record of never breaking a bone, gone.  My belief in my ability to recover naturally from anything?  Gone.  Ability to effectively wipe my own ass, gone for months but not forever!  Talk about a true discovery of how frail and dependent we are on our dominant arm.

That event transformed my life and all things in it.

But I thank God.  To this day I am thankful.

Although I am permanently scarred and partially disabled, I know how much worse it could have been.  Had I not gone above and beyond the call of duty with safety procedures, this slip would have put me head first into the pavement from a height of about nine feet.  I would have been lucky to be only paralyzed then.  More likely I would have died outright.

Worker’s Comp covered my medical bills completely, and if I healed well enough (which never happened) I would go back to work when it was over, with no fear.

Therefore, I praise God.  He gave me peace and supplied my needs throughout this crisis.  It makes me wonder why it happened, and I suppose some day, I will be shown why it happened and what was caused by it.

I’m still a safety lecture example of why drivers use three points of contact at my job and at my driving school.  I guess that might save someone’s life some day, and that’s a good thing.

But D-Day is no longer just a memorial for Operation Overlord for me.  It is a personal D-Day where I lost my former life and health forever.

In a split second.

Just before midnight.

 

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Ugh a horrible picture.  But this was my arm for almost three weeks!

Atlas of Akiniwazi: Lake Neezhoday

The second in our series of Setting notes and details.

Lake Neezhoday:

Lake Neezhoday is actually two lakes in one. She boasts a massive bay that is almost a lake unto itself, and therefore they are called twins. Although not as big or as deep as Ogimaque, she can be just as violent and deadly. The straights between the two halves of the Lake are treacherous with currents, often with strange tides and undulations of the water. It’s almost as if Half Bay is running downhill into her larger sister. Near her head where Lakes Ogimaque and Manitou empty into her, is a massive chain of islands including the Largest Island in all Akiniwazi called the Silenoyane or “Seive Islands”.  it is actually a Jarldom inside the political boundaries of Neezhodayland that controls the shores around it.  These islands are also home to a great many pirates and small colonies of Skaerslinger who use the small, densely forested islands for places of ambush.

Lake Neezhoday also sports another large bay that has treacherous bars, silting and cross currents as well that often threatens shipping as it leads out into the Vithrfljot [vi-THUR-floht] which connects it to her little eastern sister, Lake Bawagiigaywin. The Lake has a strange tendency to freeze over only one half at a time. Almost never do both halves freeze over, and never does the churning “heart” of the lake at the Sieve Channels.

It is also the home of Ulfhaugerstrondland, the home of the Kyrkja.  In an effort to prevent the corruption of both religion and politics, the Kyrkja was given the small territory of Ulfhaugerstrondland, on the south east shore of the Lake  Much like the Vatican, it is the center of the Kyrkja throughout all Akiniwazi and centrally located to all territories controlled by the Forsamling. (The Forsmaling or “Congregation” as they call themselves are the descendants of the Vikings who settled Akiniwazi.)

Prominent Features:

Helligevagr [hy-lih-GAY-VAH-gur] (Holy Bay)

Neinnvanbjarg: [NINE-van-BE-arg] (No Hope Rock)

Meidrhvall: [my-DERH-vawl] (Tree Trunk Pole Knoll)

Silenoyane[sigh-LEN-OOH-yah-nay] (The Seive Archipelago)

Thiggardborg [TIG-hard-BOR-guh] (Thiggard Town)

Thokatre: [tho-KA-tray] (Fog Tree)

Tryggahvneyrr [TRIG-ah-VEN-ahyer] (Safe Harbor Shoal):

Ulfshaugrstrond [oolfs-HOW-gur-strond] (Ulf’s Grave Mound Beach)

Vithrfljot [vi-THUR-floht] (Wide River)

*Note, the Kyrkja is the official religious body of Akiniwazi, and the Forsamling.  It was founded by Franciscan, Benedictine, Dominican and Cistercian monastic orders, but has gone through radical changes due to the nature of the land.  An upcoming post will talk more about the Kyrkja.

**As you may have noticed, the names look kinda wild till you convert them out of their native tongue.  In my experience, most places have very boring names when seen in their native tongue.  Either they are named after prominent geographical features or people or events.  Sometimes, they’re just named “New” something.  that same convention was carried on here.

 

 

A Real World Example of Eternity

My faith is the basis for a lot of what I write, and so I will be talking about interesting stuff with my beliefs here.  If you don’t believe the way I do or get offended by it, that’s cool.  We don’t have to agree.  Go in peace.  For those who don’t care or agree or can hack it, read on.

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Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of sermons online.  I love Tony Evans.  The man just gets it for deep learning of scripture.  Just fantastic stuff.  If you really want to deepen your walk with God and strengthen your understanding of Scripture and the Bible, he’s a great preacher and resource.  It has done so much for me in helping me understand my faith… I just can’t praise it enough.  Go check him out if you are so inclined.  www.tonyevans.org

Shameless plug is now over.

These studies and sermons I’ve been listening to have been getting me to think very intensely on the nature of eternity in comparison to how we live in temporal space of our reality.  Not only that, I was having problems envisioning it, till I hit upon the realization that I am a purveyor of metaphors, if not actual eternal products!  It’s been going on ever since man was able to do this, and to realize this is amazing.

As an extension of considering the nature of Heaven and how we will be alive for all eternity in a place that has no past or future and exists totally in the present, my brain threw a rod till I had this epiphany.  The real world example I can give you is writing a story.

“Bwuh?”  You gasp in surprise.  “How is a bloody book an example of eternity?”  Well, a book is one form that the concept of eternity can hold.  It can also be a movie, or TV show, or any narrative describing the nature of life.  Technically music and poetry can be examples of eternity, but it’s not quite the same thing.  But I digress.

Storytelling gives a set of events by which we are entertained, and is at its heart an eternal object.

Storytelling gives a set of events by which we are entertained, and is at its heart an eternal object.  Sure it can be rewritten and retold, but much like “The Hero’s Journey” it is still eternal.  You can, and have probably, distilled down a story to its essence to understand it better, but that doesn’t change the fact that the story is still eternal.

I will go even a step farther.  Every individual story, as told is eternity in action… or inaction… whatever.  Pick up your favorite book.  I’ll just grab David Weber’s “On Basilisk Station” because it’s handy and I love me some Honor Harrington.  This book is an eternal representation of her, the fictional character’s life and events as important enough to be told by the author.  From the first page to the last exist simultaneously as long as the book exists.  The entropy of matter is an irrelevancy for the moment.  That means that the events of when Honor Harrington “pots” the King Roger with a single broadside with the Fearless in a sneaky maneuver exists and happens concurrently as the seizing of the Mondragon for smuggling.  They are separated only by the limitations of our four dimensional existence (X,Y,Z,Time).

The point remains that the events exist equally in the framework of the story in your head.  The pages it is written exist simultaneously, chronicling the events, and by extension in some respect happen forever as well.  Those events do not change over time, every time you read page 152 or whatever, it will remain the same.  That means it is in an eternal state (ignore the entropy of our temporal entropy afflicted world you get the point I think).

Now before you say, “but”, on me let’s trot this thought out as well.  You ever hear about how some people want a copyright defined?  I heard this example once and was flabbergasted at its implications.  A musician that writes a song, like say, Stephen Foster and “Camptown Races” (doo dah doo dah), owns not just the paper of the song, or the copies of the song books or the recordings, they own the concept and even the thought or idea of the song!  That means if you destroyed every recording and piece of sheet music out there, and someone happens to whistle or sing those familiar notes and words, the artist owns those!  (…And is due a royalty.  Of course this was given by a record company lawyer so you can imagine who they thought really owned those.)  :::rolleyes:::  Which I include to point out that the nature of a story is immaterial and eternal.

Even our own memory is eternal in nature.  You just can’t recall it simultaneously, but that’s a limit of the temporal world.  All our memories are stored in our heads simultaneously.

This is the essence of how eternity exists in the form of storytelling.  The events in our minds make them eternal as transferred to us in the form of storytelling.  Even our own memory is eternal in nature.  You just can’t recall it simultaneously, but that’s a limit of the temporal world.  All our memories are stored in our heads simultaneously.  The story of “On Basilisk Station” is now in my head and the events are called up sequentially, because I’m trapped in 4 dimensions, but they can come in any order and any time I choose or am reminded.  Backwards and forwards in time in the context of the story at will.

That’s eternity.  All things happening at once without need of order or being sequential.  Or be a mashup where they can then take on a characteristic unique in its combination (Check out LeeDM101 for some fantastic mashup music).

You could, in effect do the same with an autobiography or any book on history which converts the events of the past into a pastiche of eternity even though it spent some time in temporal reality.

Pretty wild, huh?  Needless to say, I’m still wrapping my head around it but this has given me a hook.

(Stop reading if Christianity  or anything not Pre-Tribulation Christianity offends you.  You’ve been warned.)

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As an addendum, which I throw in to melt some brains.  For those who study the Rapture and end times events, I have come to realize why the whole “yo-yo rapture” criticism of “late/mid” Trib Rapture is irrelevant.   (By this I mean anything that occurs post 1st Seal opening.  Not Amillenialism, or no-trib, post-trib.  Those have other things to deal with.  Just specifically the “yo-yo” criticism.) This is epitomized by the idea that those ‘caught up into the air’, meet Jesus coming down to enact the wrath of God, turn around mid way, and come back as a victorious army.

If one is raptured out of the temporal world into the eternal world of heaven, it may seem like those caught up were only gone for a second or less or instantaneous, but instead spent an unknown amount of experience (since time is irrelevant) outside of timespace and could (from the remnant left on Earth about to get a-paddlin’) bounce right back down.  Meanwhile the experience of a lifetime may have gone on between that, including whatever needs be done to prepare those raptured to come back down and kick ass with Jesus.  Kind of interesting when you take that little wrinkle into account, hmmm?

Anyway, just a fun thought based on the above statements to bake one’s noodle with.  (45 minutes @ 350degrees).

 

 

(I like parenthesuses… and elipsesuses.)