Introducing the latest author to join our Electric Eclectic family, let’s give him a warm welcome.
Tony hails from Manchester, England, but has a touch of the ‘Wild Geese’ about him.
To serve his passion for travel, Tony has worked as an English teacher, Bartender, Taxi driver and, in southern Africa, on construction work in the Transvaal goldmines, and the copper mines of Zambia.
He spent a year as a Special Forces mercenary in Central Africa.
He is a keen outdoorsman, sailor, kayaker, and canoeist, he also loves hiking, back-country skiing, and snowshoeing, he now resides, alternately, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Ste. Adele, Quebec, Canada.
This is the Award Winning novella from Phillip T Stephens.
The first novel, written for Twitter, is finally available in print (expanded and revised).
When a galactically inept inspector tackles the world’s most elusive AI, prepare for apocalypse. Determined to find missing programmer Alyson Sweetcheeks, Detective Bob unleashes a war between a tech conglomerate, a covert cyber gang, the mob, and a malevolent time-travelling intelligence bent on world domination. Will Bob beat astronomical odds to save the girl, the world, and his chances for promotion?
What inspired Doublemint Gumshoe?
When I published my book Raising Hell, author Rayne Hall advised me to tweet regularly with original tweets. So I started tweeting 140 character original stories, four to five daily, which I did for a couple of years. I kept returning to one character, Detective Bob, who had never solved a case. For instance, he would investigate a body with twelve bullet holes in its back, and conclude it was suicide.
I wondered if I could create a Twitter novel from the character, and after researching to find any examples of other Twitter novels, I realized this would be the first attempt. So, I wrote 12-20 episodes a week for six months. The plot evolved over time, as I threw in more and more wrinkles—cyber crips, aliens, Roku’s Basilisk, grey goo, not to mention send-ups of The Crying of Lot 49 and the movie Chinatown. Being a fan of Hong Kong and Hollywood movies, I took a kitchen sink approach, and to my surprise, it came together.
All that remained in Alyson Sweetcheek’s hotel suite:
One cornflower dress,
one navy dress suit with skirt,
one flash drive, and
six Doublemint gum wrappers.
Six wrappers. Crumpled on the bedspread next to her suit. Silver foil twisting in and out of the iconic paper strip: green arrows over mint green mint leaves on a whirlpool printed in green.
Sunlight drifted past the jacket which was draped over the desk chair—its shoulders straightened and lapels flat. Dust motes danced in the sunlight path like fairies in a daydream.
The hotel notified Alyson’s sister Sally. Sally called Alyson’s boss William Zuckerchange. Zuckerchange called the cops. Any sense of urgency collided with the writing on the police department wall: “We see this shit a dozen times a day.”
Another blonde missing from her room? Low on the list of police priorities. In San Noema a missing blonde was as common as a day without rain, as common as open convertibles on Interstate 5 with occupants risking the sulfur-oxide ambiance to tone their rock star tans, as common as a baby in bluebonnet photos in Texas and even though San Noema is a California city, in Texas missing blondes would be just as common.
Alyson isn’t blonde. Nor dumb, as Bob would discover, but that fact mattered little. As far as the cops were concerned, if a girl wasn’t attached to the wallets of prominent men willing to write five-figure checks to city council campaigns (or the daughters of those prominent men) she couldn’t shake a cop from the schedule.
Instead, they sent Detective Bob.
He skittered across her room. A six-three praying mantis with matchstick limbs and bony fingers probing for clues. He paraded his sleuthing skills in vain. Sally and the hotel manager ignored him to argue over Alyson’s outstanding bill.
Bob’s partner Duffy leaned against the door frame, ankles crossed, an unlit cigarette dangling from his lips. Wrinkles rode his polyester suit, a suit he bought from the clearance rack of the factory-seconds section at Walmart. He struggled to keep his lids open after a night closing down three different cop bars, which might be why his suit looked slept in. Slept in every night since 1966.
Duffy was destined to make captain. The guy who disappeared when the first bullet flew and reappeared in time to claim the credit. And the commendation. Veins crept from his eyes and down his nose. Five o’clock shadow from the Sunday before last. His hands? Not a tremble or shimmer, petrified by the cheapest booze on the shelf.
Bob probed every inch and surface, flipping the pillows, pulling out drawers. He crawled under the bed, hooked the knee of his powder-blue polyester suit on a nail. Tore a hole.
He swore under his breath. “Oh, feathers.”
He stood, brushed the bunny dust and dandruff from his shoulder and continued to probe with his best BIC Pen. He poked through the events guide on the desk, pulled a cloth from his side pocket, wiped the dust from his piano wire glasses, and poked through once more.
Sun from the window glanced off the oily spot at the center of his bald pate, fractured like light hitting a disco ball, and blinded everyone in the room. He swore to solve this case. His first solve (far from his first case). A glance at the cornflower dress and the opened curtains revealed the solution like a prize display. “Alien abduction.”
Sally stepped with the precision of a model, legs firm, bronze, a chain tattoo on her ankle. She alliterated perky and petite, from her five-one frame to the gentle slope under her pink crepe blouse to her trim tempting hips.
“Aliens?” She turned to his partner. “Tell me he’s joking.” She smelled of cinnamon and sugar. Bob wanted to sprinkle her on toast.
Officer Duffy pursed his lips tighter than a nip/tuck with Botox. He pulled his iPhone from his jacket and ran his fingers across the screen. “No alien activity reported.” He pleaded in silence, “Don’t say murder. Please don’t say murder.”
Bob ran his hands through the few strands of hair left to comb. “Murder then. It must be murder.”
Phillip T. Stephens attended the Michigan State writers’ workshop. He taught writing and design at Austin Community College for 20 years. His writing and art appear in anthologies, literary and peer-reviewed academic journals. His novella Doublemint Gumshoe won silver in the 2021 Electric Eclectic fiction awards, and his novel Seeing Jesus (soon to be re-released) won three indie publishing awards. He writes five days a week at Wind Eggs.
He and Carol live in Oak Hill, Texas where they built a habitat in the shade of their oaks to house foster cats for austinsiameserescue.org. They found new homes for more than three hundred abandoned pets.
“Way back in 2015, I was commissioned to write a story for a forthcoming comic book format sci-fi website. Alas, the website never came to fruition, and I was left with an orphaned story, a story with no home, a story no one would get to read.
I thoroughly enjoyed creating Mechanical Mike and could not allow it to languish, unloved and unread, in the dusty archives of my computer. So, I took Mechanical Mike from the files, dusted him down, and carefully re-wrote the story.
The result is this Novelette, available as an eBook, or a Paperback Pocketbook.
This is a fun story, a modern pulp fictional tale of a ‘gum-shoe’ style detective, a beautiful blond ‘bombshell’ of a girl, a mad scientist, robots, and evil Nazis, all in occupied France during WW2.
What some readers say…
I can imagine Paul White had a load of fun writing Mechanical Mike. It’s a bit like sci-fi in drag… well a mix between that and a thriller.
Add in loads of World War 2 action, the Nazis with a devious plan to win the war – that’s enough from me – you need to read it.
I loved it.
Author Paul White has blended the history of war films, Nazis, World War 2, and Pulp fiction. It is an extremely fast-paced story that skillfully mixes a wide range of genres, including Romance, War, and Thrillers.
The title, the book cover, the colours and design, along with the language used, is very well balanced, making it a great all-rounder.
Pardon me for not sharing the story here, I believe it would diminish the effort of the writer to entertainingly mesmerize his audience… that’s gotta be you too.
I would love to see this book made into a movie.
What a great fun read. It is exactly what you glean from the cover… and more.
Pure pulp-fiction/comic book meets sci-fi adventure, war-time romance.
I mean, what other read has robots, a mad scientist, Nazi soldiers, a beautiful girl, and lots of action in Paris, France, during WWII?
This is a true must-read for those who want to be excitedly entertained.
Road Rage is a fast-paced dark MC romance with plenty of murder, mischief, and mayhem, from Karina Kantas. (18+)
Beautiful and scarred, Gem works in a supermarket living the safe life she has chosen after surviving a violent past running with an outlaw motorcycle club. Excitement beckons in the form of a handsome biker named Shep, who introduces her to the rest of his legit racing club, Rage.
However, members of Rage won’t accept Gem until she’s proven herself, and Shep sees her as no more than a trophy for his drugged-up ego.
Gem makes the mistake of getting involved in Rage’s illegal activities, which lands her back in the arms of an outlaw motorcycle club and a deadly conclusion.
I shifted in my chair. I wasn’t ready for an interrogation, but I understood their need for answers.
The first round of questions they fired at me were routine: family, school background, and employment record. Then they asked me what bikes I’d owned or ridden.
“I had a Yamaha 125 at college, and then I owned a Harley Softail Crossbones,” I answered.
They didn’t look too surprised when I mentioned the Harley Davidson.
“I can handle any bike from a 125 up to 1000. As you know, I have a Suzuki GSX R600, and a Kawasaki 250, but would I’d like to own, if I ever win the lottery, is a Ducati.” I grinned but it wasn’t returned.
I knew what the next question was going to be, and my mouth dried up at the prospect of answering it.
“Have you ever been a member of any other motorcycle club?” Turbo asked.
This was a part of my past that I hoped to forget. I stared into Turbo’s face. I saw Doc nod, urging me to answer.
“Yes. I used to ride with the Hawks.”
The name was not unknown to them. Blade’s eyes lit. Doc smiled, but Turbo and Gbh looked uncomfortable with the news.
“How long were you a member?” Turbo asked.
“Three years. Listen, mind if I smoke?”
“Go ahead,” Blade answered.
I pulled the packet of cigarettes out of my jacket pocket. My hands were shaking. I hoped the others didn’t notice. I cupped my hands and lit my cigarette, inhaling deeply, glad for the burning taste.
“Do you still associate with them?” Gbh asked.
I shook my head. “No, I haven’t seen a Hawk since I left the club a year and a half ago.”
The chapter of the Hawks I used to run with was based in the South. I made sure our paths didn’t cross.
“And you were a full patch?” Pat asked.
“Women aren’t allowed to wear the wings, but I had the Lady tag, so yes, I was a full member.”
“So, you were involved with their illegal activities?” Blade asked, leaning forward in anticipation of my answer.
“I was involved, yes,” I answered defensively. “Look, that was a long time ago. I’m out of the game now. You needn’t worry about the Hawks.”
“We’re not worried,” Gbh growled.
“I want a copy of your birth certificate and driving license to me by the end of this weekend,” Blade said.
“Okay.” I reached over and took the book Doc was holding out to me.
“Here’s our code. Read it, memorize it then give it back to me next week,” he said.
I was surprised Rage had a code. The Hawks had their own rules of conduct and such, but they were a seventy full-patched member club. Rage had seventeen fully patched members, so I was interested to see what their club rules were.
What Road Rage readers say about the book…
“The story in this book draws you in, entwining you with the characters as each page is read. It is detailed and colorfully twisted to keep you on the edge of your seat. You really feel the pain of the main character and it envelopes you with emotion, as you hang on to every last word. I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it to everyone looking for an exciting story…looking forward to reading many more.”
“The MC genre is my favorite and Karina Kantas definitely did not disappoint me! The well-written storyline and the well-developed characters just drew me in from the very beginning until I turned the very last page. I loved how Gem and Doc’s relationship developed over time since I was rooting for them from the first time Doc was introduced into the story!”
“If you love MC books you’ll fall in love with this one, the characters, the storyline, and you won’t want to put this book down. Absolutely loved it.”
Karina Kantas is an award-winning author and filmmaker.
Karina is a prolific writer with 14 titles that cover the fiction genres of YA, horror, PNR, fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian, dark mafia romance, thriller, erotica, supernatural, dark MC romance.
When Karina is not working on a novel, she loves writing dark flash fiction.
Karina is an Electric Eclectic author, a podcaster, Booktuber, YouTuber, and radio host, and runs ‘Author Assist’, offering services and training to debut and established authors.
The seat was a fallen tree, a once-mighty oak, now moss-covered, and beginning to rot. It had lain at the top of the hill for as long as I can remember.
It was the place where I often sat in solitude, looking out across the valley to the hills, and onwards into the purple haze of beyond.
I am surprised more people do not know of this place, the place I think of as my own. Yet over the years of coming here, I have only seen a few people before today. The occasional dog walker, the tramp who wandered too far from the village, the little girl with the kite, and one or two more. I have never seen any of those people more than once. It seems that visitors to this place are far and few.
Perhaps, the problem is the woodland. To get to this clearing on the hill, one must trek through the densely wooded area, known locally as the Gallows Trees.
There are rumours abound regarding the woodland.
One such tale is the woods are so named because the town’s gallows were built from the old oaks that grow here. Like the one I often sit on. It is said the lost souls of all those hanged now wander aimlessly amongst the trees.
Another story is, years ago, a fellow called Gallow owned these woods, he was a woodsman. One day a cavalry officer rode up to the Gallow’s cottage on his charger, demanding Mr. Gallow’s surrender his daughter, so to become the officer’s wife.
Gallow’s refused, and a fight took place. As Mrs. Gallows tried to separate the fighting men; the officer sliced off her head with a mighty swing of his Sabre. Mr. Gallow retaliated by hefting his axe high into the air before bringing it down with all his might.
At that precise moment, young Annabel Gallow’s ran from the house, coming between the men. The axe cleaved Annabel’s skull in two.
Mr. Gallows was hung in the town square. His body was left dangling for a week, suspended from a frame he himself fashioned from the very oak trees of his own woodland.
Locals delight in telling this tale to outsiders, informing them Mr. Gallows ghost is constantly looking for Annabel within the woodland. On quiet, windless nights, it is said you can hear him calling her name.
“Annabel”, the air whispers, “Annabel, where are you?”
This is the story the locals tell. But others say it is not true.
One time, not so long ago, something unusual happened here.
A group of men came to this place. They carried with them an array of equipment. I heard they were called Ghost hunters, Spectral engineers, or Paranormal researchers. It really depends on who you listen to.
They were a strange lot, wandering about fixing camera points, heat sensors, movement detectors, microphones, and all sorts of gadgets throughout the woods, and around the green where the tree trunk lies.
Five day’s they stayed. Sleeping in a van, and a few oddly assorted tents at the north edge of the woods, next to what once was Black Mill Farm.
Every morning they milled about drinking coffee and checking their machines. They took turns watching the dials and screens they precariously placed on rickety trestle tables in an open-sided tent.
Nothing at all.
This is why, I supposed, they seemed somewhat dejected the morning they were leaving.
I thought I would never get another chance to see exactly what they were doing here, so that morning I walked closer, watching as they unplugged their equipment, and began to pack it away.
I was surprised how much care they took in placing their strange machines into those big black padded cases. Two men carrying them, gently lifting them, and sliding them into the van without dropping, banging, or jolting them.
So intent was I watching the men’s activities, I walked very close to their tent, much closer than I intended.
That was when everything in the tent started to buzz and beep. The men jumped, startled expressions appearing on their faces as they rushed about in excitement. I watched as they stared at the lights flickering and buzzing, pointing, and stabbing their fingers at the screens, and dials.
The men were looking up, out of the tent, in the direction I stood. I looked around and about myself, I could see nothing which would cause them so much excitement.
One man called out… ’Who are you?’
I thought he was speaking to me, so I answered him, ‘I am Annabel,’ I said.
I am surprised more people do not know of this place, the place where a once-mighty oak stood, now fallen, moss-covered, and beginning to rot, the place I think as my own.
Despite shops being closed for much of 2020, figures show Britons bought books in volume – although many authors continued to struggle.
More than 200m print books were sold in the UK last year, the first time since 2012 that number has been exceeded, according to an estimate from official book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan.
Although physical ‘bricks & mortar’ bookshops in England were closed from 23 March until 15 June, and then again from 5 November until 2 December, with differing lockdowns in place around the rest of the UK – Nielsen has estimated that the volume of print books sold grew by 5.2% compared with 2019. This equates to 202m books being sold in the UK last year and was worth £1.76bn, up 5.5% on 2019, said Nielsen.
Waterstones, Kate Skipper called the figures encouraging. “So many people have turned to books for sustenance, information and joy through this difficult year.”
Physical retail and online retail have taken dramatically different paths during the pandemic. Well-established chains like Brooks Brothers, GNC, J. Crew, and Neiman Marcus have all made Chapter 11 filings, while Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Target reported record sales.
While book publishing, generally, has performed strongly thus far during the pandemic, bookstores have not.
Despite much positive news around publisher net sales, the U.S. Census data show that bookstore sales declined 28.8% in October 2020 vs. 2019 and 31% YTD.
Through the summer of 2020, Barnes & Noble, like most independent booksellers, balanced opening restrictions against offering online order pickup and greatly expanded online sales. By late fall, cafe and magazine newsstand sales were still down significantly, but book sales were running ahead of a year ago, aided by a doubling in online sales.
COVID-19′s impact on publishing sales and the supply chain has been less than many feared it would be. Whatever doom and gloom surround the publishing industry during the COVID crisis, sales cannot be singled out for scorn. Trade sales in 2020 were almost uniformly ahead of 2019, and in several categories, unit sales were up over 20% through mid-December.
The ebook format has been to some extent reborn during the pandemic, recovering from shrinking percentages of overall sales, and publisher disdain for the format.
After years of spectacular sales growth, audiobook sales growth slowed significantly in 2019: 16.4% versus 34.7% in 2018, based on data from the Audio Publishers Association (APA). NPD Group reported that unit digital audiobook sales were up 15% through May 2020. The AAP calculated that downloaded audio sales were up 17.3% to the end of October.
In the library market, Overdrive, which had been seeing year-over-year growth in audiobooks, saw depressed audiobook adoption in the pandemic. A possible reason cited by the company: commuters who had been listening to books in the car (or on mass transit) were no longer going into the office.
ELECTRIC ECLECTIC asks…
Overall, the numbers are positive for audio; only the pace of growth is slowing.
Podcast consumption offers an interesting perspective on this data.
Spotify reported in July that in its second-quarter 21% of users were listening to podcasts, up from 19% in Q1. Overall consumption of podcasts more than doubled.
Podtrac recorded 47% download growth for the 52 weeks ending November 01, 2020.
Are these listeners being lured away from audiobooks? Or are podcasts just part of an overall burgeoning audio trend?
The pandemic has had an enormous impact on how publishing companies are staffed and how staff execute their work. And, by all accounts, that impact may mark a permanent shift in publishing workflows.
In early August, Penguin Random House confirmed it will not return to its offices “until sometime in 2021… or until it’s safe and it’s practical, whenever that may be.”
Also in August, Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch sent out a note that “we will not be requiring anyone whose work can be done remotely to return to any of our offices for the foreseeable future.”
Overall retail sales changed only slightly in 2020, but there were huge swings month-to-month. April sales were down 14.7% from March but were followed by an 18.3% jump in May. November retail sales dropped 1.1% from October but were up 4.1% from November 2019.
Book retail is a set of businesses. First, it’s both physical and digital. More than half of all book retail takes place online (with Amazon accounting for at least half of those sales). Physical retail, on its own, has several components, broadly speaking: chain bookstores, independent bookstores, big-box retailers like Costco, and “newsstands” at drug and grocery stores, airport stores, etc.
Then there is digital, capturing more than 10% of most book publisher sales, and the vast majority of self-publishing sales. Amazon controls at least three-quarters of that market.
The changes in the retail landscape speak volumes. (Pun intended).
On the one hand, from now on publishers must treat bookselling as online- and digital-first, physical-second, with no further questions asked.
Pre-COVID it was still valid for publishers to ponder “where does Amazon fit within our reseller channel strategy?”
The question henceforth is “how do our reselling channels align with an online-first strategy (particularly for Amazon)?”
…And the mouse in the corner might be heard to squeak “and what should we do about the bookstores?”
Although the sudden pandemic-driven shifts may slow or revert toward the mean with the achievement of a “new normal,” we believe that important underlying changes will persist and continue to evolve.
We are pleased to announce the winning authors of the Electric Eclectic Novella Fiction Prize.
The levels of entries were outstanding. Our judges, who ‘blind-read’ each manuscript had a most difficult task in selecting the winners.
After much lip chewing, hair pulling, and brainstorming we managed to select a shortlist, and then whittle the submissions down to the final three.
1st Place, Stevie Turner with, ‘Scam!’
Runner-up, Jonathan Koven, with, ‘Below Torrential Hill’
Runner-up, Phillip T Stephens with, ‘Doublemint Gumshoe’
The above stories are now in the process of becoming Electric Eclectic books.
Lauren West and Ben Hughes are saving frantically for their forthcoming marriage and mortgage deposit. When Lauren sees an advert online from a firm of brokers extolling the profits to be gained by buying and selling Bitcoins, she is interested enough to pursue it further.
Lauren clicks on the advert. She is soon contacted by Paul Cash, a knowledgeable stockbroker whom Lauren trusts straight away. He is affable, plausible, and seemingly genuinely interested in her welfare. Lauren looks forward to making enough money to be able to surprise Ben and bring the date of their wedding forward and to put a deposit down on their ideal house.
However, things don’t go quite to plan, as Lauren falls victim to a scam and loses £10,000 of their savings. Ben is furious. Paul Cash threatens their safety, and Lauren must try and get her marriage back on an even footing if she wants to win back Ben’s trust.
(To be published by Crimson Cloak Publishing for Electric Eclectic)
Below Torrential Hill
Tristen’s abusive father dies when Tristan is young: a suicide. Tristen’s mother, Lucy, copes with alcohol, occasionally violent. Tristen grows up, ignorant to his father’s abuse, substituting for an ill-equipped mother. Stepfather Lave moves out.
When Tristen is sixteen years old. A comet appears.
Lucy hears voices calling from the sink. Tristen steals his mother’s wine and leaves to a neighbourhood party, blacks-out, and argues with his friend Ava.
He chops a Christmas tree in the woods which his father frequented. After a disastrous visit from his stepfather, an argument ensues, and Tristen is assaulted by his mother.
Tristen gets far too drunk, scaring Ava. She manages to calm his temper and gifts him a marijuana joint.
Lucy discovers Tristen’s theft and reveals to him his father’s abuse, asking him to help her.
But he runs into the woods, falling off a cliff, just as his late father did. Tristen discovers a fallen meteorite. When he touches it, he experiences an epiphany about forgiveness.
Doublemint Gumshoe pits the world’s dimmest detective against its most advanced AI.
When a nano robotics engineer who moonlights as a nude model vanishes from her hotel room leaving nothing but empty gum wrappers, Detective Bob takes the case. But Bob has never closed a case in his long career, and the citizens of San Noema conspire to stop him from solving this one.
Pitted against a dying mob boss, a corporation with wide-reaching tentacles, a ruthless cyber gang, his own family (whose nepotism secured his job), a jealous girlfriend, aliens, competing narrators, and possibly an evil AI from the future, Bob is determined to find the missing girl who has captured his heart, and do it in fewer than 30,000 words. Gumshoe takes readers on a supercollider ride, sending up Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut, conspiracy theories, postmodernism, and even the movie Chinatown.
All of us here, at Electric Eclectic, congratulate the competition winners and eagerly await the publication of their books.
You can find more Electric Eclectic books by simply typing ‘Electric Eclectic Books’ into your Amazon search bar, or by visiting @open24, the amazon store for readers & writers, http://bit.ly/EEbooksonOPEN24
The Electric Eclectic Novella Fiction Prize opened for submissions back in February 2020, just before Covid interrupted our lives.
The pandemic delayed the judging by a few weeks but now can now reveal the titles and authors who have made the shortlist.
The following manuscripts are now with Crimson Cloak Publishing of Missouri, USA who will be selecting the winning entry, while Electric Eclectic are choosing the two runners up.
The shortlist is as follows, (in no particular order)
Jenifer Dunkle with ‘Aunt June’
Jonathan Kovenwith ‘Below Torrential Hill’
Kaare Troelsen with ‘Equilibrium’
Philip T Stephenswith ‘Doublemint Gumshoe’
Stevie Turnerwith ‘Scam!’
Wesley Britton with ‘The Wayward Missiles – A Beta-Earth Chronicles story’
Wilma Hayeswith ‘Power of Women’
Providing we have no further setbacks, lockdowns, etc. Electric Eclectic plans to announce the winners late May 2021.
While you are awaiting the final results, why not grab yourself a copy of an Electric Eclectic book and enjoy the read; you can find Electric Eclectic books by simply entering ‘Electric Eclectic books‘ into your Amazon search bar.
I first published this post, or a version of it, back in 2015 on my blog, ‘Ramblings from a Writers Mind‘. I share it here today because… well, read on, it is self-elucidating.
Ex Libris Legatum
As we age we amass many life skills; some taught to us by teachers, lecturers, professors, our parents and some self-learned by patient practice and repetition.
Many lessons are simply and, often unexpectedly, thrust into our consciousness by the events of living and from life itself, love, passion, loss, hurt, births, pain, grief and death.
At some point, during the period betwixt being born and gasping our last breath, we have also, hopefully, gained some wisdom.
Although, only too often, such wisdom is realised and recognised far too late in life for us to use it in any true and meaningful way for any length of time, such is the cruel nature of growing older.
However, for those who manage to avoid a premature departure from this world, those who never got hit by lightning or run over by that proverbial trolley bus, we become, in some respects, like a soggy sponge.
Yes we droop, our bodies are dragged ‘south’ by the constant pull of gravity and some people uncontrollably leak and dribble I am sure, but the analogy I was trying to draw was one of absorption and storage, the soaking-up and retention of knowledge.
I know, for a fact, I know more than I know I know, even if in that knowledge there is the realisation of knowing that one knows nothing.
With that stated clearly, I will return to the train of thought which initiated my fingers to start tapping away today; that is, within these southerly wiltings, the rather wrinkly, fading bodies which those ‘of a certain age’ seem to acquire, are still our sprightly, lively young minds which have seldom aged beyond fifteen… or maybe sixteen.
Now… these minds of ours need a little control. You see, our minds tend to fool us by considering whatever they think we, (those of us who are over 50 something) still have the physical ability to achieve such things as skateboarding, zip-lining, mountaineering and even imbibing in large quantities of alcoholic beverages and waking in the morning with a clear head… hummph… I wish.
The reason our minds ignore our creaking joints, throbbing tendons and our scar tissues, (which pull as taught as an elastic band every time we move like this… ouch… I should not have done that), is once-upon-a-time we have done all of those things; the once-upon-a-time when our mind was in its infancy and knew little of risk or fear and cared less, our mind (mostly) protected us from going too far; well far too far, too often.
It was during all those life-threatening adventures, (those naughty and dangerous liaisons, the arguments and battles, the fights and flights our immature brains took us on), we collected lots and lots of information, comprehension, realisation, skills and familiarity.
In other words, we gained awareness, understanding and experience, this is how we became educated and intelligent, this is what gives us an erudition of life.
It is what we loosely and casually refer to as wisdom and knowledge.
These are the life skills one collects in the only way possible, by living over a long period, or at least the longest period time allows our weak and feeble bodies to function.
You see, I have out-lived many thousands of others over the years I have been walking upon this earth, (which, thankfully, I can still do… unaided).
I am glad I saw the sunrise this morning, the sad thing is so many did not.
Many of those who never got to see the sunlight today are friends and family, many older than I, many younger. Worst of all, some had only minutes of life with which we could chart their age.
The fact is the number of people who are older than I is quickly diminishing.
Now my mourning’s are frequently for those of my generation, a generation who should use their life skills and knowledge to help and nurture those who are young enough and fortunate enough to have minds which believes it is protected by an invincible body, such as our own did all those years past.
All we have learned of life and living; those births we have witnessed, our loves, both lost and lasting. The passionate moments, some intimate, comprised of twisting limbs and thrusting loins, others of the soul; music, art, theatre, dreams and scenes, vistas of natural beauty. The recollection of our times of loss, of hurt, of feeling pain; both physical and of the heart, not forgetting the grief and deaths.
This is our accumulated wisdom.
This is what we should share, what we should endeavour to teach our children, our children’s children and their children.
‘Ahh’, I hear you say, but children do not listen, do not take heed, so it is best to leave them to find their way.
I do not disagree.
However, (which is a nicer way to say but because there is always a ‘but’.)
If we share our knowledge, leave it somewhere future generations can discover it, they can learn, or at least be guided by that which we have spent a lifetime accumulating.
This is why I believe I have a duty to leave my thoughts behind when I have gone when I have shuffled from off my mortal coil.
This is why I choose to write.
Woven within the lines of my fiction and on the pages of my fantasies are the truths of life and the facts of living. All the wisdom and knowledge I accrued during my lifetime.
The words within my books and short stories are my bequest to the world, to a future I cannot be a part of, at least in person.
I chose to be a writer, not for monetary wealth or recognition, but to leave a legacy beyond simplistic values.
My wish is my words are read by the generations yet to come.
Maybe then my life will not have been lived in vain.