"I cannot escape death, but at least I can escape the fear of it."
Dear Reader, November flew by in a flash. Faster than I would have liked, but every moment was worthwhile.
National Novel Writing Month came and went. The first three weeks of the month were productive, but the final week of November was not the most effective for writing, unfortunately. I succumbed to a cold for over a week, and my daughter, Kylie, was in town for Thanksgiving. Visiting with family and friends took precedence for a few days, and that offered a respite from a very hectic schedule.
I also attended a celebration of life for one of my Iaido instructors. His mentorship and friendship will be missed, but never forgotten. His good humor, patience, and skill has helped me strive to become a better person in all facets of life.
I made great strides on two fronts:
I finished several drafts of the short story and sent it out to beta readers to review. I’ve already gotten great feedback that I’ve applied to the story. The story’s title is The Undying Schism of Ana Kane. The anthology is scheduled for publication in mid-late 2024. Other stories within the anthology are great so far, too. Everyone’s best drafts are due to the anthology’s editors by December 31. After that, the editors will review the stories, and the anthology’s authors will get a chance to review other works. It is an exceedingly collaborative effort to create the best finished product possible.
I also sent out to my update subscribers an excerpt from The Blighter’s Shadow. If you read that selection, let me know your thoughts. The book is progressing, and I only have a few chapters remaining to write.
I have a few Beta Readers committed to assist with reading the entire book prior to its final publication. There is still time to assist. If you are interested, please let me know via email. I’ll get you details on the next steps as soon as I finish the first full draft.
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Write a review of the book you finished. You don’t have to write much at all. “I enjoyed this book” is a simple, yet effective method and takes a few seconds.
Death? An inspiration? For me, yes.
The thought of dying is ever-present in my mind. Not an obsession, by any means. Death is part of the background. Like an old friend whispering bits of wisdom in my ear. A friend who deeply cares about me, no matter how that sounds. All I have to do is listen closely. I try to capture those whispers, but many flit away when I lose my temper, I offer snap judgements, forget to return a call, or fail to tell others how much I appreciate or love them.
But I can sense my old friend death smiling when I try to live life to the fullest.
A real question all of us should ask ourselves frequently: since death is our only certainty, what will I do with my remaining time?
Death is the final arbiter. It isn’t some evil entity wishing to extinguish your life at the first opportunity. Rather, it serves as a continuous teacher of how beautiful your life can be for the remaining time you have.
Death seeks out each of us without fail – we all have this one thing in common. One thing that can help us guide toward a better society. A better and more interdependent humanity.
I find that refreshing and hopeful. And inspiring.
What am I reading, watching, and listening to?
Ikigai & Kaizen: The Japanese Strategy to Achieve Personal Happiness and Professional Success by Anthony Raymond
Productivity is an obsession for modern humans. This independently published book steers away from the obsession to focus on ikigai (meaning), hansei (self-reflection), and kaizen (goal achievement). Raymond does a fine job of fitting the various strategies together for a whole-picture approach. Highly recommended.
Making It So by Patrick Stewart
When I first learned of Sir Stewart’s autobiography, I was excited. When I learned that he read the book for the audiobook, I just had to listen. His story is fascinating, filled with trial and tribulations, and helped me remember that even folks like Patrick Stewart have their flaws mixed within the joys of life. In all, I enjoyed all 18 hours and 50 minutes of the audiobook. I was fascinated by his path to Star Trek to serve in the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. The role still shapes who he is today, as he is still thinking about ways to broaden the Star Trek universe with Picard’s character. (To say that I like Captain Jean-Luc Picard is an understatement – our Auggie fur friend is named after Captain Picard.)
Blue Eye Samurai (Netflix)
This show was in production for years, fortunately. It deserved every minute. This animated samurai tale is simply amazing. The main character, Mizu, is devoted to a path of vengeance. The minor characters offer humor, compassion, love, violence, and a way to remind the viewer of Mizu’s humanity. There are also several villains that steal their scenes, as they are written so well. Their stories are fleshed out for the viewers, yet the main villain is a despised person with a fully fleshed out background.
Is this for children under 18? No – I don’t recommend it due to the content.
Finally, I learned about one cool anthology that you should check out. It is comprised of many stories that are exactly 100 words long. A novel is tough. A short story is tough. But getting a story narrowed down to 100 words? Challenging on the best days.
Check out Year Five - Black Hare Press when you have a chance. You will be surprised, and maybe inspired, to try your hand at the challenge of writing and submitting a 100-word story.
Challenge for December and January
Winter is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere. Enjoy the extra sunlight each day.
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Reviews are quick to create!
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Until next time, take care of yourself. May the next month bring you solace.
A place to ponder the world of writing, among other things.