June 04, 2020, 03:21:03 PM

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Re: The King's Paws (with one holding a bottle of Peri Peri sauce.)
Someone touched something other than the lamp in the Cave of Wonders, so I've been sent out to sort things out!  ;D

. . .

Hope you are all well in every sense of the word. Looking forward to hearing how you are all doing.

I don't know what the Cave of Wonders is, but it's a delight to have you back, @The Gem Cutter.

The biggest update for me personally is that I finally have a publishing contract, in Roumania of all places. There is a separate thread on all that, and how it came about.

"Who disturbs my slummmmmberrrr!?"

So happy for you Eli. I think of you and Iceland often.

March 25, 2020, 03:35:45 AM
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Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
I veer between terrified for myself, my family, and vast swaths of society vs. a sort of numb “whatever happens we’ll deal with it” pseudo-calm. An infinity of worst-case scenarios unfolds in my imagination. Breadlines, riots, wars, and more. There is an argument that the financial impact is going to be more devastating than the illness (but that’s a discussion for the Virus thread). In any case, it’s the worry about financial impacts on everyone that have me whirling. And hungry, frustrated masses of people are not to be trusted with weapons.

A good friend is a doctor in the Detroit area. He asked me to tell him how to be brave, how to overcome fear. Of course, this is a great honor, to be confided in, to be trusted to be honest, and most of all, to be considered brave enough to answer. He is a new father; his daughter is perhaps a month old. He is at risk of exposure and has conditions that could lead to a difficult time if/when he gets it.

I told him to acknowledge that he is afraid, and that being afraid is a sensible thing. I told him to keep busy and never pause. I told him to steel himself and develop a sense of cigar-chomping bravado, to be shameless in referencing literature and film for examples. I told him to use mantras to strengthen his courage "Fear is the mind-killer..." and to employ them without shame. More than anything else, I told him to focus on others and their fear, to convince himself that he is stronger than they are, and that they need him, to remember that he is surrounded by the weak, and that they needed him to be strong. Strength for the self limited; strength for someone else is an entirely different and more powerful thing.

I told him "Remember that you are serving and defending those who cannot defend themselves. You are their protector, the sentinel in the dark watches of the night. It is you who stands between harm and the helpless." It worked for me, and I am no braver than anyone else. Perhaps it will work for you.

March 25, 2020, 03:49:07 AM
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Re: The Virus thread I had no idea my analogies could evoke geological events until this moment. Now, what to do with this power?
March 25, 2020, 03:51:11 AM
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Re: Only Mostly Dead Poets Society Courage
Deep inside it slumbers when no wolf’s at the door,
And fear is just a small thing, far off and no more.
It only wakes from slumber when the danger's great and near,
And strength is what is needed to face down all our fear,

Remember the brave ones who came long before,
Who did what they had to with less and for more.
Remember the ones who now stand in that space,
Between the weak and the helpless and the harm that they face.

Remember the fearful are looking to you,
And courage is a choice that the will must see through.
Fear leaps heart to heart if we let it, so don’t.
Be brave, be the one who could break, but won’t.

March 29, 2020, 11:01:44 PM
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Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel I wanted to follow up on my doctor friend, the one who was terrified not long ago (and still is, beneath the bravado). He has charged into things in the Detroit area. Short version, he brushed aside the crisis center director's emphasis on hoping this and that in a major meeting. The fallout - he has been tapped to assume control of the city's response. Of course, as a former superior in the military and as his conscience and cheerleader whispering in his ear, I get to feel a little warm about his contributions. Look at the kid go!

If there's a point, it is that giving a little support here and there make a big difference later on - so us old farts on the bench have a role, after all :)

April 03, 2020, 11:59:47 PM
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