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Messages - JMack

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I can imagine your situation, Rostum. I hope it all works out.
Just make sure to take several breaths before reacting to something in a way that escalates.

As always, I’m up for feedback and to provide same.

Writers' Corner / Re: didactic
« on: June 24, 2020, 05:32:39 PM »
So, “didactic” means...
intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive.

I could imagine a fortune teller being didactic, if she was secretly trying to convince her clients of some moral actions they should take.  Essentially, not a story teller, but a fake one, parading moral instruction as a message from the spirit world.

Writers' Corner / Re: Which writing software do you use?
« on: June 24, 2020, 12:42:42 AM »
I’ve been wandering around for a while between Pages, Google Docs, Scrivener, and Ulysses. I’m currently using Ulysses, since I mainly write short stories. I’ll try Scrivener again (I have both), when I move to a longer piece.

I really enjoyed writing “Ship”; I’m glad other folks liked it too.
I voted for @Alex Hormann and @Caith, who barbecue guy just tickled my funny bone.

Skip’s glass dragon was a pleasure. I was a prude and held him to the 1,500 word limit.

I’m so glad Isos got the votes he did. It was great seeing his idea come to fruition. I also know from earlier versions that he made the brave step of throwing out a whole bunch of material to focus in where he started. Not an easy thing for any author to do!

All of the other stories had super things to recommend them. A great month.

Oh, and by the way, @ryanmcgowan:

Spoiler for Hiden:
”Ship” is a bit of an homage to “Grandfather and Goldie.” Just a different goldfish and a different dragon.  ;D

Is it not wrong to shame people for their skin colour?
In the UK we had an adviser to Corbin declare that a homeless white man has more privilege than a black man. They were the child of millionaires with all benefits that brings and well on their way to being millionaire themselves.

The privilege argument is a construct of identitarian politics and is designed to divide us and throw up barriers despite the proponents of it declaring the opposite.

I respect and share much of this concern. I also dislike the limited claims of Black Lives Matter, when Latinos and Native Americans suffer much the same as African Americans. And in countries around the world, migrants, minorities, and ethnic groups suffer from new and ancient enmities.

But when someone says: “No, all lives matter!” is this an honest statement that since all lives matter I am with you in your struggle? I doubt it. I think it’s a rebuttal to the idea that we should do something positive about the injustices that are real and evident. We can theorize about the reasons behind this rebuttal. It will be different for everyone, but there will be real commonalities.

So how do we do both things? Agree not divide one from another, while acting to heal the divisions that hurt, harm, kill and fester?

As to “white privilege”, I really hate the language. I also hate the language of “micro-aggressions.” Check our some of the video material on Evergreen College for when all this goes way too far.

But I believe I need to be careful in how I reject these concepts. There is a reality that people don’t get killed by police for “driving/jogging/walking to the store while white.” So what do we say about this?

We can say three things:

For a wide range of reasons, police too regularly act out of prejudice, fear, and reliance on deadly force when encountering Black citizens. This is true. Oh, you bad police people. Let’s only blame those under-paid, over-stressed public servants as though they don’t exist within a culture and set of rewards and punishments.

But what do we say about the culture that generates this? The long shameful history of treating Blacks as property (in law or in practice) continues to leave us with deep injustices. Nearly all whites continue to have and many act out of the privilege of not being Blacks, and many Blacks have internalized victimhood. White privilege, even if I dislike the words, exists.

Finally, in my rambling thoughts here, what I dislike so much is the idea that because I have privilege, it is somehow my sin and cannot be expunged. Well if I am defined by my privilege, are Blacks defined by victimhood? No! What I am defined by is my lack of action to change things. Of that, I am entirely guilty.

Mrs. JMack and I watched the documentary “I am Not Your Negro” this evening, which is about Black author James Baldwin and based on his notes for a final novel he never finished. He was a friend of a Edgar Evers (killed during civil rights era), of Malcolm C (killed during civil rights era), and Martin Luther King (killed and so forth). Fascinating, moving, challenging.

 Here is one quote: you don’t need numbers, you need passion.” Which can taken in terms of numbers of people; but was I think meant in terms of numbers to prove one’s position.

And “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but everything that is to be changed must be faced.”

Our CEO put out a statement in support of the Black community. One of my close colleagues wrote it. I believe our employees will be nearly unanimous in support of it. But we have 35,000 independent sales people, and many are quite conservative and vastly white. We’ll see what flack comes back. I’m glad we put it out there.

Thinking about my dad tonight, who spend his life pushing for a better world.

General Discussion / Re: Member birthday calendar
« on: June 06, 2020, 10:15:28 PM »
Happy birthday @Doctor_Chill! It’s been so great to have you back.

I've just finished watching the film "Hidden figures" again, and it just feels like nothing has progressed, apart from the segregation :-\
And I'm sure a black person will confirm that much more than me, it's just my impression of the world, as it stands.

Someone could accuse me of being dismissive in some degree of the change that is still needed, but:

My boss is African American, has married a white Australian, worked for multiple multinational food companies, and is CMO of ours. He was hired by a devout Mormon (of the religion that specifically said Blacks were made inferior by God, as a point of doctrine, until the mid 70s).

Our chief legal officer is Black, and was a reasonably high ranking military lawyer in his younger years.

The national news anchor for NBC is Black. Our former President is Black. The national security advisor under GW Bush is Black.

But, of course, this means there is a path for educated and “appropriate” Blacks, who speak “properly”, act “properly”, and in many cases (thankfully not all) are lighter-skinned.

Meanwhile, at our company, 75% of our factory and warehouse workers are Black, with supervisory staff who are probably 75%+ white. (When my father toured our factory, he told me how concerned he was that I’m working for racists.) Is this direct racism? Classism? Or the inevitable consequence of educational gaps (structural racism?). I don’t know, but it’s real.

Still, no matter how much things abso-freaking-lutely have to get better, I know they already have in many incomplete ways I don’t want to ignore.

The question is: how do we move forward in ways that truly work, not just sound good or spring from good intenti0ns.

[APR 2020] Imprisoned / Re: [APR 2020] - Imprisoned - Critique Thread
« on: June 06, 2020, 09:55:33 PM »
So, @Liselle, where do I see opportunities?

Let’s start with big picture stuff. Story structure.

1. This feels like part of another story, not a complete story in itself. We don’t know who Astora hitched a ride with, how she encountered pirates, why they put her in the pit, whether they knew about the crab, what happens to the crab, or how Astora gets off the island.

1b. Even if we stick with the exit from the cave as the very last moment, and if this is a stand alone story, then I think the final line needs work: “...she climbed out the mouth of the tunnel and looked around.” One solution is tie this to an earlier passage. thinking about the lovely “stars” passage, a simple change to: “...she climbed out the mouth of the tunnel into freedom, and a sky of stars she swore she would reach again.” (If this were a SF story  ;))

2. I think we need more conflict. One way to do it, would be to bring the pirates “on stage”. Let them jeer, laugh, trade insults, threaten, and anticipate the fun of Astora’s death - panicked drowning or gruesome butchery. Another trick is to use try-fail. Astora could try something, fail. Try again, fail worse; in fact, make her situation worse. Finally, try again, and succeed.

3. Astora, as our main character, is the one whose actions should matter. I think you’re almost there with her trying to get the crab to snip her bonds. But, really, the crab, for no obvious reason, is the initiator of the action, and Astora is the responder. I’d encourage you to think about how to do this, and still retain the twist that the crab will help, not hurt: perhaps Astora has an insight that the crab is more nervous than she, maybe it eats metal and Astora is inspired to suggest the chains snipping.

4. Getting a little more detailed, you’ve done a good job putting a deadline on the action - the oncoming tide. Since I’m suggesting putting some More framing onto the story (why she’s traveling; why she was imprisoned; how she’s hoping to continue her travels if she gets out), there could be more intensity to the deadline. Just by way of example, not suggestion, a rising tide could open a way for the ship she was on to escape the rock-encircled harbor of the island. Not only does a\the tide threaten her with drowning, it also takes away her one way forward. She’ll be utterly stuck, marooned. How about them apples?

5. Having the crab disappear into its hole and from the climax of the story feels... off. It’s such an important player. Short of the too-obvious “crab leads Astora to the exit”, what else could happen that involves the crab and leave Astora as the key mover in the tale?

Also, finally:
6. The exit from the hole feels long compared to the rest of the tale. Is this the climax, or is the crab freeing her the climax? Obviously, we need both events.

See the next post (maybe a little later) for annoying word-smithing suggestions, as though I’m a pro editor or whatnot.

[APR 2020] Imprisoned / Re: [APR 2020] - Imprisoned - Critique Thread
« on: June 06, 2020, 09:21:56 PM »
I would also welcome some feedback on Finally Snapped. :)

Hi, @Liselle.  Be careful what you wish for?  ;D

I have a whooole bunch of thoughts. Please disregard any that don’t work for you, and I hope you’ll take me at my word that I want you to both feel good about what you’ve written and, maybe, opportunities to improve.

What I really liked:
  • The MC’s inner voice is fun; I immediately related to her and cared what happened.
  • You have a nice sense of comic timing. The best example is when the crab breaks the chain, Astoria sits in shock - pause - then goes in giddy hysterics. This really worked for me. Another example “I’m not dangerous... Where did I leave that rock?”
  • Your description of the crab was super. “Complicated mouth parts”, very nice. “Lack of eyebrows...by design”, also very nice.
  • We’ve seen a twist like this before - monster helps hero instead of eating her -  But for me, you pulled this off very well. I enjoyed the suspense, the twist, and the outcome.
  • Finally,  some lovely and evocative imagery: “It was painted with a brushstroke of stars and planets, a wide open window to a world of freedom, impossibly out of her reach.”

See the next post for opportunities.

Doesn’t appear to be heart-related. Doc and I are thinking... asthma? Where would that have come from? It’s never been a thing for me. But, he’s put me on a ten day regime of prednisone. We’ll see where that goes.

@ScarletBea, if there’s a good side, it’s that the underbelly is exposed to view for a minute. Maybe some progress can be made.

Hey, @doclazurus, just want to wish you good things on this. Yes, there may come a time you have to choose between suffering under and getting out from under. Hopefully, the shark mentioned above will coming gliding along very soon.

Voted. Lots to praise and discuss.

Well, I don’t have covid-19. So that’s a relief.
Now if I knew why my chest and breathing feel a bit strained and strange when I walk around the house, that would be good.
Blood pressure is fine, and heart seems to not be the issue.
Something else has decided to weigh in (pun intended).

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