(Note. If you want to argue with me in comments feel free, but know that debate is welcome, vacuous abuse will be ignored. Learn how to justify your opinions.) Rant starts here.
Let me begin with the fact I don’t have a problem with terms like, POLITICALLY CORRECT or PATRIOT. My problem is that the meaning of these terms has changed. The terms nowadays are used mostly by Right Wing Nut-Jobs who seem to think that these terms are a defence of their right of free speech.
“You’re anti war? You’re not a patriot.”
“How dare you take me to task about my rape joke. Oh, you’re just being politically Correct.”
That’s not a justification people, that’s a cover for your inability to defend your beliefs.
I love my country, but the term patriot is used by so many racist groups now, who seem to think a lack of melanin in their skin makes them somehow superior, that I refuse to use the term to describe myself.
On Twitter, Facebook, etc. you’ll find these terms almost exclusively used by people who want to be racist, misogynist, homophobic or anti anyone different. They are used by people who want to shut down debate. I keep coming across people using these terms in place of a balanced and reasoned argument to support their opinions. This is not about people being offended by “Naughty words,” this is about people who never step into anyone else’s shoes. This is about people who refuse to show any kind of empathy. As my friend Katie Taylor wrote recently, “There is a BIG difference between being crude and just being an arsehole.”
A friend of mine posted a meme recently which read “POLITICALLY CORRECT. A term used for whiney, overly sensitive pansies who need everything sugar-coated for them.”
I’d like to respond with this. POLITICALLY CORRECT. A term used predominately BY privileged white males who can’t handle being told they’re being an arsehole.
I’m kind of sick of people using the term to excuse treating other people like Shit.
The sheer cognitive dissonance involved in defending free speech by telling someone they’re being PC and should shut the F. up would be hilarious if it didn’t make me cringe so much. Like, really, that’s the best you can come up with? If you want to justify your racism, misogyny or whatever other prejudice you hold, you better have a logical argument because otherwise I will dismiss you as a fool, though I will harbour the fear you could also be dangerous. “Words never hurt anyone, ” I hear them say. Ignoring the irony in how hurt they sound being called out for their prejudices, This is not always the case. Tell someone who’s suicidal they should kill themselves and see how much those words hurt. Tell someone who has been sexually assaulted that someone should rape them and see how harmless your words will be.
If you use terms like PC and Patriot to hide behind, to reinforce you hate, then understand just how you appear to me and expect me to give you nothing but logical, thought out arguments that prove you’re an arsehole.
Is that PC enough for you?
Today, as with most days, I spent an hour walking in one of the pockets of bushland near my home, just trying to take a breath and remember that not everywhere is concrete and steel, and that beauty is still around me. It gives me a chance to think, to create, to dream and to contemplate this crazy world we live in. This morning however I observed something about myself that I felt I should share
As I walked along a track, surrounded by grevilleas, Tea trees and gums, the sound of birdsong in the air, I heard the familiar sound of crows up ahead, calling to each other and I knew they were talking about somebody up ahead on the track. Soon I saw a woman, I’m guessing in her 40’s, walking away from me.
Now I walk quickly, a product of bushwalking with my brother as a child, his motto being, “Keep up or get left behind.” At my less-than-leisurely pace I would catch up with her quickly. Then this conversation happened in my head.
“Slow down. Your in the bush, alone, and having an old fart come up behind you could be a little frightening to a woman on her own in the bush.”
I slowed and stopped, and spent a few moments just watching a kingfisher going in and out of its nest, having tunnelled into a termite mound up a tree nearby.
After this I continued on my way, never seeing the woman again.
Did she notice? Would she ever realise I had given her space so she’d not feel uncomfortable? Almost definitely no, but that’s not why I did it. I did it because at the cost of a couple of minutes watching a royal blue kingfisher in it’s natural habitat,(Not really a cost at all), I ensured I didn’t perpetuate the air of danger that has become commonplace for women today.
Now the MRA brigade would howl, “Why should I have to change my habits just so some uptight woman doesn’t feel threatened. It’s her hangup not mine.”
To the members of my gender who still don’t understand we live in a world where the next President of the US can laugh about sexually assaulting women. If you can’t see that kind of world puts all women on the defensive, then I don’t know what will. To you I say, who the hell made your feelings more important than anyone else’s? When did giving up a minute or two of your precious time become more important than ensuring others feel secure.
I think a lot about this world we live in, and as an observer of people, I find it’s important to stop sometimes, take a breath and step into other people’s shoes
Who knows? In the space of that breath, you might find your humanity.
An interesting thing happened on the way to filling out US tax forms for Amazon. Old farts and Technology… What could possibly go wrong.
I’ll try to keep the dry and dusty details to a minimum so I can get to the sheer frustration.
While doing said forms, I somehow created a new account, under the same email address, as my original account but with different names, the new one Chris, in line with my more chilled attitude and the original one, Christopher with all that I’ve published for the last five years.
Now I admit I should be better at keeping passwords, but I’ve had everything wanting new passwords lately and I can’t remember exactly how to access Christopher.
Of course I have no idea how I managed to open the new account in the first place and now it seems there’s no undo button on Amazon. What I need is someone to talk me down from the ledge, tell me I’m not going to lose control of my last five years work and walk me through untangling this mess. What I’m getting is stressed help desk workers who seem to reach a point of impasse and hang up. Neither were rude, though the first was kind of like talking to a wall.
All I want is to delete CHRIS and access CHRISTOPHER, if you catch my drift.
Seems that could be impossible. I’ve just sent a third email response to continue this circular dance of depression, and I await the response with some trepidation bordering on panic.
The saga will continue in the comments.
Okay, this is my game face. The feedback has come back, mostly positive, yay, and so the next round of edits and rewrites begins. A full rewrite of the Prologue, a few hours of edits and sifting through the feedback, (sincere thanks to Meg, Talitha and Russell.)
One thing that’s come out is how the first couple of chapters has been polished to within an inch of it’s life, only needing a few minor things, but it’s been pointed out that the use of 2099CE slang is strong at the beginning but tapers off. The upshot is a bunch more slang is needed to season this world of words.
Now I have always been fascinated by the evolution of common language. Some words come into use and never leave, for example the ubiquitous F-Bomb, whilst others fall by the wayside like Groovy, Ace and Choice. (What you still say that?!) So with this novel it’s been fun inventing new ways to call someone an Arsehole. (Yes Arsehole not Asshole.)
So come on a little journey to where someone might call you a Sphinct, Triangle or Whack, where something can be completely Fracked Up, and only Westies say Wuks.
When creating a language, any language, whether it be for Sci-Fi or Fantasy, you should bind the vocabulary with rules, give a sense of logic to what your characters say. Every word should have a reason for coming into that particular use.
In Harmony, I’ve attempted to weave the words into the dialogue, to have the characters speak in the tongue of 2099 Australia, and Sydney specifically. One thing you realise as you study how languages grow and change, is the more isolated the place, the more the local lingo becomes unique.
In the present day, mobile phone/internet obsessed world, the language is slowly homogenising to an extent. What I’ve done with the story is created a logical timeline of language (much of it swearing or insult). I’ve thought long and hard on what would happen if there was a major catastrophe in 2048 and that inter-connectivity we take for granted today was lost for the next 40 or fifty years. Every word or expression needs a reason.
Fracking for fuel through the 2020-30’s caused major toxic problems, ie things can be really, really, really fracked up.
This is the letter A, note the hole in the middle is a triangle, therefore an A_Hole is a triangle. Sphinct should need no explanation.
Drug users, like the small packets of Happy available from a licensed Spence, have their own labels. A good Spence will have a wide variety of merchandise, servicing the pharmacological needs and desires of those who partake in such pleasures. Skank to ease the pain, Scream to touch the sky, Kick to keep you going and Bluies ‘fore you party. Pay the Spence and it’s yours.
And the people of Sydney and Kings Cross, they all have their labels, Head-Kickers and Night Walkers, Ragers and Ravers and Toolies, all are welcome if they’ve got the Creds to blow. The Trogs and the Roaches, inhabitants of the desolate old business end of Sydney, barely ever come to the Cross. It’s no place for the poor.
As you can see, language tells a lot about the world of Harmony. I look forward to you all getting to read the finished book.
Life gets busy sometimes and I forget to update this blog. My bad.
Among other things, (Being a dad and husband,) there are responsibilities that come when you pass the 50 year mark of your life, (I’m fifty one.) I work part time as my gross income from writing at present is Zero. I write when I can, in between the aforementioned responsibilities, in the hope of one day becoming a full time Author. (Writers average incomes are woeful) . I don’t write because I think it will make me a fortune, I’m far too pragmatic for that, but I do hold on to the idea of one day making a living with words.
I do hope one day to be able to look back at the things I’ve written and feel proud. My series, Parallel and The Immortal Darkness were penned when I was just starting out taking my writing seriously and hindsight now four years later makes it clear they could have been so much better. I’ve learned so much since then, mostly from other writers. The community of Speculative Fiction writers is incredibly supportive here in Australia. Especially here in Queensland. There is a close knit community of SciFi, Fantasy and Horror writers that feed each other with encouragement as we strive for the same goal, to make the best stories we can.
Now I’ve finished Harmony, my third novel, I feel like I’m gaining some momentum. Along with that come the fears, what if it’s not good enough, what if people don’t like it, what if I can’t find a publisher? The head gets full of doubts around this time. Having the writing community behind you is a good way to keep your sanity.
So there it is, Part Time Lunatic indeed. I work part time, write part time, do what I can to keep a household going, part time and occasionally, lose my mind.
It’s been a while. I’ve spent the last year and a half getting my collective shit together. I’ve written a new novel, a couple of short stories and got two thirds of the way through the Final book in the Kasdtien Cycle trilogy. You’ll be hearing a lot more about that later. While health issues in house have made life challenging, overall it’s been a pretty bloody good year. Oh the stories I could tell!
But the upshot is that I’m ready to face a busy 2016. This is the fourth year of my five-year plan to become a full-time author. So far things are more or less on track but could very quickly go pear-shaped if I’m not on top of everything.This year I have a to-do list that requires several pages tasks to do to be ready by next December.
My hope is that I might gain the services of an agent like Curtis Brown UK For the new novel which is currently in the edit stage.With the help of my writers group, Vision Writers, and with thanks for their collective wisdom, I am ready to cast my words out to the world again.
What started as a NaNoWriMo in November 2014, (thanks guys,) is now a fully fledged novel of about 80,000 words.
So what’s it about? I’m glad you asked.
The novel is called Harmony the title referring to a drug that gives people the ability to not only read minds, but share the emotions others.
But this isn’t the story about the drug, this is the story of Key, Kiara Black, a cop for hire in a corrupt Australian city, Kings cross, in 2099. She’s come up the hard way from a very different world to today.
In 2048 there was a massive disaster In the Pacific Rim, a tsunami hit the entire coast of Australia and wiped out millions of people. More would have been lost, had the government not been moving people away from the coast to avoid the already rising seas of 2048. The details are sketchy but we lost contact with most of the rest of the world and will be revealed in the next book, (Yes, there will be another book, good lord willing and the seas don’t rise. (Sea levels have risen about 15 metres from today’s high tide, in case you’re interested.)
Fifty-one years after that disaster Australia has got itself more or less back on its feet . Government is a strange mixture of rampant bureaucracy and background noise to a cop chasing rumours of a new drug. When a drug bust goes wrong Key’s partner is exposed to a massive dose of Harmony. She’s also exposed but to a lesser dose absorbed through the skin more slowly.
Drugs are tricky things, affecting different people different ways but this one is instantly addictive, unpredictable and It’s really easy to lose yourself in other people’s heads. Add to that withdrawal brings on an uncontrollable Desire to top yourself, to end the emptiness of being just yourself.
Key’s problems get serious when she defies the Mayor, her boss and goes chasing answers, despite being ordered to drop it. But as she chases the source of Harmony the question remains, what will she do when she finds the source? What will she do now she’s hooked.
The clues take her from the subterranean world beneath Sydney’s derelict and streets, to the other side of the Great Dividing Range. Meeting some (hopefully) interesting people along the way, including a hot doctor, the richest man in the world and a guy I kind of love called Roan. Roan is something special. I won’t spoil it.
Continuing to defy the Mayor of the Cross, Key follows the clues, to the source and finds a conspiracy three generations in the making.
After that the shit really hits the fan, but you’ll have to read it to find out what happens next.
I’m looking forward to everyone reading it, and if you leave a comment I might even let you be one of the beta readers. 🙂
So thank you all for seeing me through this quiet period on the blog, and now that I am out of the dark shadows of beating out an 80,000 word book, I can write more about the things that interest me and hopefully that interest you as well.
Remember, sometimes there’s a lot going on in the silence.