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Monthly Archives: June 2013

What if I really do know what you are thinking?

scallopsMy husband and I had a telepathic experience the other night, the kind that couples frequently have. Something special was needed for dinner and the cupboard was bare. “Wait we could have…” he began.  “We sure could,” I agreed. Dinner was prepared without either of us once mentioning the wonderful Nantucket Bay Scallops we’d frozen at Christmas. It was a warm, fuzzy mental exchange.

But do I really want to know everything he is thinking? Everything you are thinking? Worse yet, do I want you to know everything I am thinking?  Recent discussions about privacy and national security have bought up the argument that those who have nothing to hide should not be alarmed when their innermost secrets become known. Deep inside, no one I know agrees with that.

mindI do very little if anything that is illegal or even unethical. But some times I do or think things that embarrass me. Or things I think can be hurtful. If I sneeze too hard I pee in my pants. I think you’re kind of cute. I called a person in another car a “fucking asshole” on the way to work today. Whatever. I’m not perfect and yet I care that I’m not and therefore I don’t want you examining every flaw of mine. I don’t even want you to have the opportunity to do so. And frankly I don’t want to examine your flaws either.

In the novel x0, telepathy is a gentle skill, usually conveying emotions and seldom conveying specific information. Telepaths are considerate, they mind their own business. And even the unaware can put up walls to protect themselves.  It’s telepathy the way I’d want it to be.  Not very invasive.

As to everyone’s increasing ability to use technology to follow my behavior, and even perhaps to misinterpret my actions or my intents? Sigh. ….. A world with telepaths is starting to look like it would be the least of my privacy issues.

For more thoughts on “what if” check out my z2 blog post on what if this could last forever?  And see my y1 blog post on what if you could look like anyone?

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2013 in telepathy

 

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How things change: veggie burgers

Visit violets vegan comics

Visit violets vegan comics

When I stopped eating meat the summer after my freshman year of college, I pretty much lived on cheese omelets and french toast.  In my defense I was working at a 24-hour breakfast place and those were the options. I now occasionally eat meat, but my husband does not, and I am happy for the far greater variety offered to him these days and for the healthier eating choices that we are both able to make in restaurants.

So, I was puzzled when I read about the Red Robin ad that touted their garden burger as something for when “your teenage daughter is going through a phase.” Yikes.Talk about insulting your customers. About ten per cent of all Americans are vegetarian, and many more choose to eat less meat. Why would you make fun of them? Of us?

Then I came across another blogger’s take on the whole idea of exclusionary humor. In a wonderful post called Just a Joke: Confessions of a “Humorless Vegan” she provides one of the best analyses I have ever read on how little jokes marginalize anyone who is different and how the threat of appearing humorless keeps them (whoever they may be) from objecting.

Her solution? Try to put yourself in the shoes of the person telling the unfortunate joke, and remember that they are likely not nearly as hateful as they seem to you at this moment. She even quotes Gandhi. I love this lady.

Empathy is certainly the central part of this blog, and my heart does go pitter patter when it shows up once again. Empathy is the solution. When I stopped eating meat after my freshman year in college, I hardly ever heard the word empathy used. Now, it is the answer to rude drivers, rude relatives, and rude advertisers.

Some things never change. As society evolves, we keep finding new folks to make fun of.

Some things do change. We work together better to find ways to take the sting out of the joke. Yay us.

For more on how things change with time, visit my z2 blog here for thoughts on human trafficking and Broadway musicals. Also visit my y1 blog here for thoughts on gay psychiatrists and my hoarding disorder.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2013 in empathy

 

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Watch what you wish for

An old friend gives me a hard, meaningful stare. It is April 2012 and I’ve just published my first book, x0 and I am telling him about the plot.  His response?  “Careful what you wish for.” Then he adds in a warning tone “Life imitates art.”

Icarus: click for print

Icarus: click for print

The visit has not gone so well and this friend is already well on his way to becoming a former friend. His odd response to my story of a telepathic loner who discovers kindred spirits through her unusual mental talent finally clinches the deal. The implication behind his warning has always irritated me. Don’t reach for your dreams or you may lose all. Our culture is full of fables of backfired wishes and the assorted smiting of those who reach too high. The very myth of Icarus warns those who would chose to take flight and touch the sun.

Not that I don’t get the “cherish what you already have” side of this issue. It’s about balance. Again. Savor the moment and reach for the stars.

So what happened once I started to reach? Did my former friend’s dire warnings come true and have I found myself fighting off strange telepathic urges, kept up in the night by the sounds of countless souls? No, I found myself joining writer’s groups on the web and reading a lot of other blogs. It turns out that, just like in real life, I don’t have all that much in common with many of the aspiring writers out there fighting for attention on all the sites. And I am not terribly compelled to join in the countless threads of conversation on every blog I visit.  I’m a loner, even online. Maybe especially online.

visit the farmlet

visit the farmlet

But it also turns out that there are folks out there with whom I share commonalities. I met a wonderful writer named Bob Craton who has penned a series about four pacifists fighting to save their home world. I met a wonderful blogger named Christi Killien who tells a fascinating tale every week about life on her self sustaining farmlet. I’ve had people review my books who seem to get what I am saying far better than people who know me well. Wahoo!

And just this past week I’ve had a reader contact me to complain about all the mistakes in x0. Mistakes? I was horrified. The book has been professionally edited and proofread within an inch of its life. Okay, she offered.  Let’s call them “puppies” so you do not get so defensive. I knew as soon as she proposed using a new word, that I had the good fortune to meet yet another kindred spirit online. She is now in process of showing me what she means, taking some of the more difficult passages in x0 and rewording with a light touch that makes the concepts clearer. I will be using her input to give x0 a gentle tweak someday soon, and the second edition will be better for it.

As she and I exchange ideas, I think of the other remarkable writers, readers, and bloggers who have touched my heart and mind since I published x0, and then I think of my former friend’s dire warning. Now I know what I wish I had said.

“Life imitates art? Really? You promise??” I am so lucky that he was right.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in telepathy

 

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More ways to read

More ways to read.

 
Comments Off on More ways to read

Posted by on June 9, 2013 in my other novels

 

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