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Friday, July 21, 2017

Monologue: As Snowflakes Gently Fall

As Snowflakes Gently Fall

By Royce A Ratterman ©

Chief Winnemucca could have rescued us easily from destiny’s snowy precipice. He refused, however, because of who we were, because of who we had become . . .

        The occurrences up on that bleak mountain summit elucidated the primitive animalistic instincts found within the deepest resources of the human immoral subconscious being. The heinous acts perpetrated by fellow emigrant party members that cold blistering winter echoed a somber decree to the levels of degradation mankind’s dignity and human integrity can cascade during the direst of circumstances. Those actions transcended the parameters of moral reprobation which even our most ancient of ancestors considered the vilest of taboos; the consumption of . . . yes . . . forbidden flesh.
        We commenced our peril-destined journey during the spring of 1846, April, as I recall. Some two dozen of us departed from our farmland community in Springfield, Illinois to search for a new and better life in the bountiful frontier of the West; the territory that stretches beyond Sutter’s Fort to the coastal blue waters of the Pacific.
        As we traveled, many families joined us, those who also shared the hopes and dreams of attaining a prosperous and exciting new life. Our party soon consisted of some eighty-plus individuals, maybe more, almost forty of which were children, almost half of those being under the age of six.
        A schism developed, however, a faction of sorts. Many chose not to follow the direction and guidance of our party’s leader. We chose to traverse an alternate route, a route which, though shorter, proved to be the commencement of our spiral downward into the darkened depths of the human soul.
        By the time we reached the mountain pass it was somewhere between late October and early November. A hard and violent storm deposited an abundance of snow on our frail camp. A snowpack far beyond those of the harsh Illinois winters we were accustomed to.
        The wintry temperatures were especially hard on the children. Though stricken with colds and pneumonia, they remained confident in their adult companions. A confidence and trust that later would prove to be a fatal allegiance. As the temperature continued to plummet, we used all available and remaining resources to maintain our meaningless existences. Soon our supplies dwindled away as our morale deteriorated proportionately.
        What transpired over the ensuing months I cannot say, for it balances on the fine border located between logic and insanity, suicide and murder, reality and nightmare. Did anything happen, or was it nothing but a horrible dream? Can anyone, would anyone, choose to remember those phenomenal occurrences from our sordid past? Can we deny we lived and breathed those dark moments in our lives? Will we deny them?
        Almost fifty of us survived to live on, to live the rest of our lives with the memories of that dreaded winter. A dozen or more continued on to Sutter’s Fort, the rest . . . who knows? Maybe they escaped the temporal punishment mankind inflicts to carry their own mode of torture upon the shoulders of their minds. Perhaps we will never know. Perhaps we will never care.
        I did what I needed to do to survive, to bear the bone-chilling cold of that icy grave-like winter. Could I do any less? Must I have done any less? Would the taking of my own life been a better choice? I cannot and will not say. I stand here before you, humanity, pleading to the depths of your merciful souls, to let us live our lives within the suffering with which we must convey ourselves alone… to free us to a miserable existence and to excuse us into our realms of painful thought and pensivity.
        To live with this life is punishment enough. To tread the forever darkened pathways of our existence is more than many of us will be able to bear. I can say no more!
Monologue originally written for an audition 20+ years ago - but never used.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Literary Significance & Success

The Quest for Literary Significance & Success

"Want to be successful, watch what unsuccessful people do and...
Don't Do That!"

I still remember a TV motivational speaker once - while flipping channels - who gave that wise advice, but actually used the words “Rich” & "Poor". Success is measured by other means than temporal wealth, at least by people unscathed by shallowness of heart.

An article, once featured in Forbes by Kathy Caprino | Small Business, has some advice for its readers and much is applicable to Indie and Self publishers HERE

               Now... how will you incorporate this into your writing?

- - - Thoughts - - -

 Spending the required amount of research time (many months to years) investigating the various publication avenues available, including the pros & cons of each, blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, writing circles, etc., are only the beginnings before one's written work is normally ready for publication considerations. The process can be like fishing and at times waiting for a bite can be a long wait. But if you love what you're doing - 'fishing' - then there is no real problem.

Agents and the Big-5:
Research to see if these entities are seriously adding NEW authors, or predominately advancing hard cash to already proven successful authors they have under their belt in order to prod a new safe book ensuring sales. How long will a book that isn’t jumping off of the store bookshelf be on the shelf? And much more...

Do you have a background in computer programming? HTML? If not, you may not be self-sufficient enough to do your own formatting and find it necessary to hire that process out.

Paperbacks:   Can you easily incorporate your text into a template offered by self-publishing agencies (free of charge) and format, edit, edit, edit, and proof that text?

ISBN numbers:
Do you have the means in your country to obtain your own ISBN numbers? Does who owns your book correlate with who owns your ISBN number? Some countries (like the USA - Bowker) charge for the ISBN while other countries offer them free of charge.

Target audience(s)
Do you have a clear focus on who you are writing for? Maybe your target audience is very narrow for one work and very large for another. Maybe your readership overlaps many age groups.

Familiarize yourself with the category of literature you are composing and decide if you will play it safe and up-to-date, or attempt to expand the literary horizon of that particular genre. Being a pioneer can be an exciting experience whether you succeed or fail.
Why write?
Are you writing for commercial success, artistic expression, a project, combinations of these, other reasons? Multiple reasons?

Are you following writing/publishing blogs long term?
A vital tool with your research. Sift through the info to gain core tips you can use and apply to yourself.

Following info on the traditional market?
Watching agents quitting their profession? Major bookstores closing doors? Traditional authors contemplating self-publishing? Statistics?

Book format & layout:
What is your country's standard? Is that standard really what you want, or?

Can you focus on your project(s) and not be distracted by others’ desires for you to help them? Do you have a resource or two to pass on to the folks who nag you for free help?
Remember… Bill Gates - "Never do anything for free."

And there is so much more to consider...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Janteloven - Law of Jante

Aksel Sandemose

Janteloven - Law of Jante

There are 11 principles or commandments that form the "Jante's Shield" of the Scandinavian people.

In a novel by Aksel Sandemose, he defined 10 different rules in the law, all expressive of variations on a single theme... You are not to think you're anyone special or that you're better than us.

-Sandemose's novel portrays the small Danish town 'Jante' - he settled in Norway in 1930.

The ten rules state:

1.  You are not to think you're anything special.
2.  You are not to think you're as good as us.
3.  You are not to think you're smarter than us.
4.  You are not to convince yourself that you're better than us.
5.  You are not to think you know more than us.
6.  You are not to think you are more important than us.
7.  You are not to think you are good at anything.
8.  You are not to laugh at us.
9.  You are not to think anyone cares about you.
10. You are not to think you can teach us anything.

An eleventh rule recognized in the novel is:

11. You are not to think that there aren't a few things we know about you.


Janteloven lyder slik:

Du skal ikke tro at du er noe.
Du skal ikke tro at du er like så meget som oss.
Du skal ikke tro du er klokere enn oss.
Du skal ikke innbille deg du er bedre enn oss.
Du skal ikke tro du vet mere enn oss.
Du skal ikke tro du er mere enn oss.
Du skal ikke tro at du duger til noe.
Du skal ikke le av oss.
Du skal ikke tro at noen bryr seg om deg.
Du skal ikke tro at du kan lære oss noe.

Senere i boken kommer Sandemose opp med et 11. bud: Du tror kanskje ikke at jeg vet noe om deg?

What do you think of these rules?

Are they conducive to an advancing, progressive society?

Do these rules portray or produce self dignity,
self respect and the desire to excel... or?