Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 - Winner!

It is done!

Congratulations to all that worked so very hard this month and best hopes for your novel in the future!

Mine of course, is a total mess!

Love, Bratty

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Tweet Cloud 11-15-2011

Hey,

Am I an obsessive One Life to Live fan or what? My Tweet Cloud is all about the show, and a few other things, such as news. Take a look:


Maybe some day, I'll tweet about the more serious things in life! 

More later,

Bratty

P.S. You gotta love the fact that Victor and Roxy are side by side, no? Peas in a pod...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Swerve -- Post 2

Greetings,


I have just finished Chapter 4 of The Swerve by Stephan Greenblatt. As you may know, I found most of Chapters 1-3 a most frustrating read. However, with Chapter 4 now we are getting into the heart of the matter - what passed for philosophical thought in the early days, what happening occurred that forced changes in direction of the thinking of man, by who, and why.

Actually, Greenblatt begins to set the background to the discussion in Chapter 4 in mid-to-late Chapter 3 where he writes:

"Just when the gods had ceased to be, and the Christ had not yet come, there was a unique moment in history, between Cicero and Marcus Aurelius, when mas stood alone." (Gustave Flaubert) pg 71

The time period referred to here is from Cicero (106-43 BCE) to Marcus Aurelius (121-180 CE). People were free to choose how and what to believe, even taking under consideration the writings of Epicurus. Early in the next chapter, it's time for a swerve to happen - in this case, the rise of Christianity - and the teachings of Epicurus are all but swept away by the tide.

One can accuse Epicurus (341-270 BCE) of being a reasonable man, but not a religious man, and that, perhaps, was his downfall. For the early Christians could claim religious piety as part of their allure, rather than Epicurus's common sense, equanimity, and the seeking of pleasure in the otherwise painful life. The Christians claimed pain and suffering for themselves, set before man a God who loved beings that suffered, and then proceeded to make suffering pious and denounce reason as ridiculous:

In the TOS episode, All Our Yesterdays, Spock loses his reason, and devolves to a more unenlightened form of Vulcan. Something which humans are also prone to do, and which religion has certainly not cured.
"But it was not enough to blacken the reputations of Epicurus and Lucretius, to repeat endlessly that they were stupid, swinishly self-indulgent, insane, and, finally, suicidal. It was not enough even, by this means, to suppress the reading of their works, to humiliate anyone who might express interest in them, to discourage copies from ever being made.... What had to be undertaken was the difficult project of making what appeared simply sane and natural - the ordinary impulses of all sentient creatures- seem like the enemy of the truth." Page 102.

I found Chapter 4 rather chilling, as it showed the systematic destruction of thought/reason by religion, and the hideous lengths Christian believers would go to by way of refusing all pleasure and embracing only pain. Their behavior reminds me of the Catholic sect, Opus Dei, which came to public attention recently in The DaVinci Code novel by Dan Brown, and the resulting movie adaptation.

Chilling, yes. And yet, still, how Buddhist like Epicurus seems to be. I find it interesting that much of what I've read in Buddhism could have come straight out of Epicurus's works. As Spock would say, "fascinating!"

Either Epicurus was a Buddha, (albeit a very early one), or Buddha read Epicurus extensively. We'll never know for sure, but the refrain on page 75,  "If you can hold on to and repeat to yourself the simplest fact of existence - atoms and void and nothing else, atoms and void and nothing else, atoms and void and nothing else - your life will change. You will be freed from a terrible affliction - what Hamlet, many centuries later, described as "the dread of something after death...", reminds me much of the Buddhist chant, "All is impermanent, all is without a self."

Right now, even though NaNoWriMo is impermanent, I'd better go make some word count, and stop futzing around with this book!

More later,

Bratty



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

2011 NaNoWriMo Day 9 update!

Hey all, it's Day 9 of NaNoWriMo and I'm officially behind :) Right now I'm at 11,021 and need to make some words happen tonight.

It's been a hell of a week, and it's been hard to get much word count. Plus, I'm proofing and working and my story is waffling....GRRRR!

But, here are a few tidbits of the NaNo WIP for you all to chuckle over..... (because it's better than writing, no?)

Whee!




His fingers brushed hers and then captured them, stroking gently. “Hotel? No, that’s out of the question I’m afraid.”
Warning bells went off in her head just loud enough to be heard over the deafening roar of YES YES YES from her fingers. “W-what? Where are you – where are we going?”
He smiled patiently, mischievously. “You’ll stay with me, Miss Fitzgerald. I’ve already arranged it.”
“But – but I made reservations!”
“Cancelled.” He smiled as though he’d paid off the airlines the hotel, and all the taxis in Palermo without thinking twice about it, or even breaking a sweat. “So sit back, relax, and let me show you how to really enjoy Sicily.”








“I’ll see to her. Once I’m done, I have a few errands to run. I want you out of here by the time I get back,” he hissed.
“But, how am I getting to the airport?”
“Call a taxi.”
He started to leave and she grasped his arm. “I’m sorry, Edoardo.”
“So am I. I’m sorry I ever believed you were different.” He removed his arm from her hand. “If money and power is all you wanted, you could have just married me. God knows you wouldn’t have been the first money-grubber to try it.”
She raised her arm to slap him and he caught it mid-air.
“Good bye, Miss Fitzgerald.”



Beep.
“Cassidy, it’s Sutter. Howard Jones is in the office again, insisting yet again that you take this crackpot case of his. I can’t get rid of him, so, I’ve promised you’d do it.”
“What?” she screeched.
“In addition, Willoughby was by today and is concerned about your sudden lack of involvement in his case. I fear we may lose the account if you don’t return immediately. And I don’t have to tell you that if the account goes, so does your promotion. I can promise you that.”
Her heart sank into her belly. The promotion was as good as gone if she didn’t get her ass on that plane. The little girl had enough family to take care of her. Surely someone would figure this out without her. She needed to go back to work. Surely they could understand that?
Beep.
“Hi Cassy, it’s mom.” She sniffled a little, just enough to spice her message with guilt-inducing drama. “Had a lovely birthday without you. Again.” Sniffle.
Mental. Head. Slap. God, she’d forgotten her mom’s birthday. Again. What kind of a terrible daughter was she anyway? Sorry mom, I’ve been busy.
“Georgie took me out for dinner and a cruise of the harbor. If you called more, you’d know I’d been wanting to do that for a while now.” Sniffle. “Well, I guess you’ll call your poor old mother when you’re not busy.” Click.

More later,

Bratty

Monday, November 7, 2011

Blurb of WIP for AW Nov-Blog-Roll

Howdy,


Here's a very short blurb for my NaNoWriMo WIP that I'm posting per this month's Absolute Write blog -or-rama:

Hotshot American lawyer Morgan Fitzgerald is blindsided by her friend’s untimely death, and then shocked at the news Martina left her one and only daughter – to her. She has no room in her life for a child, and even less for the tall, dark and so very handsome Edoardo Castilletti. The Count stirs her blood in more ways than one, and soon she’s questioning whether what happens in Italy ever stays in Italy.  

Edoardo Castilletti will do anything to protect his eight-year-old niece, even if it means sticking to his sister’s crazy plan. But seeing Morgan again rekindles a passion that won’t wait and he’ll do everything a good Sicilian man would do to protect her. Even if it means he has to tell her the truth. Well....maybe.


See what kind of stuff comes out of my brain? See what I deal with?

Later,


Friday, November 4, 2011

The Swerve -- Post 1

Dear Bratty Friends,

For the month of November I am currently reading - along with the usual smutty proofing jobs - a recent non-fiction work, The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt.


Why, you might ask, would I do that?

Well, I do consider myself a philosopher, sometimes a down in the dumps one, but a philosopher nonetheless. In addition, the subject of Sociology is fascinating to me, so I was interested to see what Greenblatt had to say about how the works of Titus Lucretius Carus changed the world as we know it, by contributing - so very heavily, asserts the author - to the underpinnings of modern thought.

I am currently on Chapter 3, page 59, and thus far I have learned nothing whatsoever about Lucretius's work On the Nature of Things, or how it contributed to modern thought. Greenblatt devotes a lot of text to other matters entirely:

In Chapter One - he introduces us to book hunter Poggio Bracciolini, who is the finder of the long-lost manuscript. He talks about the clothes he must have worn,  his former employer the deposed pope John XXIII, and how much coin he had in his pocket.

No words of Lucretius - yet.
Anitpope John XXIII

In Chapter Two - he talks about the monastery system, Poggio's dislike of monks, his excellent handwriting, the origins, grades, and different types of parchment, Greenblatt's suppositions about the kind of man Poggio was, and how he might have acted, and who his competitors were.

No words of Lucretius - yet. At this point, I kind of wanted to throw the book against the wall. Sorry.

Thus far in Chapter Three - he writes about the Romans, Lucretius's contemporaries, those who commentated on him, and an old well-stocked library. And I'm beginning to skip pages. .....

No words of Lucretius - yet.

Poggio Bracciolini
At times I get the feeling that Greenblatt feels he is a history writer, and is writing an historical novel, not a ground-breaking, philosophical, intellectual treatise on how the writings of a secular humanist - which I also happen to be - changed the world.

I'm not sure at this point that Greenblatt will - ever - deliver on his promise. But I shall wait and see.
Stephen Greenblatt
At this point, I can say I enjoyed the prologue much more! Here is a quote from the prologue that describes what the book is supposed to be about:

"The transformation was not sudden or once-for-all, but it became increasingly possible to turn away from a preoccupation with angels and demons and immaterial causes and to focus instead on things in this world; to understand that humans are made of the same stuff as everything else and are part of the natural order; to conduct experiments without fearing that one is infringing on God's jealously guarded secrets; to question authorities and challenge received doctrines; to legitimate the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain; to imagine that there are other worlds beside the one we inhabit; to entertain the thought that the sun is only one star in an infinite universe; to live an ethical life without reference to postmortem rewards and punishments; to contemplate without trembling the death of the soul."

Now THAT is worth reading.


More later,

Love,

Bratty