Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Insecure Writer's Support Group - October 2, 2023


It is time, yet again, for the monthly installment of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. On the first Wednesday of every month, those that have signed up for the blog hop have an opportunity to talk candidly about the writing journey without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those that have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It is a safe haven for writer's of all kinds.

First and foremost, a big thank you is in order to the group's founder, Alex J Cavanaugh and the co-hosts for the October posting: Natalie Aguirre, Kim Lajevardi, Debs Carey, Gwen Gardner, Patricia Josephine and Rebecca Douglass.

Today's Question: The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts?

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein

I'll be honest. I am not sure that I like the thought of writing derived by artificial intelligence. I do not have any experience with it and I don't plan on giving it a roll. I understand what it is but do not know much about it. We are so dependent on technology that it seems like we are straying away from what makes the art so incredible. Knowing that a story or imaginary world has been completely created by the human mind is why I enjoy reading, writing and watching. I simply cannot fathom how Stephen King's mind works. I would think less of his creativity if I found out he used AI. To find out that Middle Earth was created by something other than Tolkien's imagination would be a buzz kill. The world he created while writing The Hobbit and LOTR is absurd to think about. Same goes for Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time. The sheer amount of information in these series is mind boggling. I can understand why it could be helpful in certain area's but don't like the idea of it being used as a substitute for human creativity.

If you are new to this site, welcome! Drop a comment if you agree or disagree with my take. I would like a chance to understand your thoughts on the topic of AI.

Not sure why, but as I was trying to answer this question, Ben Harper's song, With My Own Two Hands was reverberating in my mind so, I'll leave you with it. Enjoy!

Monday, October 02, 2023

Good Days Ahead

 Hello all! It has been a few weeks since I have had an opportunity to post. Life has been busy! While I have had time to check out a few new blogs from IWSG and comment on those that I had already followed, I have been stuck in neutral as it pertains to my own writing. (I will touch on this a bit later.) It hasn't been because of a lack of motivation, just a lack of disposable time. And while this excuse works for me, it was just steamrolled by Elizabeth S. Craig and her piece on the IWSG main page about setting aside fifteen minutes a day to write so, I did. This is what I came up with.

During the past six months, I have experienced many changes. All of you that have tuned in since my return know the story. Having to navigate a different path than I thought I'd be on has been interesting, to say the least. I have settled in to my new norm and it isn't as frightening as I thought it would be. I was not a fan of change before but realize now, that when your plans get derailed, things don't end horribly every time. There will always be something to look forward to. So, in this time of acceptance and growth, I carry that lesson forward. Happiness is mine for the taking but I will need to take it. The immortal words of Shannon Hoon ring true: "Cause when you stop dreamin' it's time to die." This lyric alone provides a  profound look in to my current mind state. Before, I had lived in the past and while trying to figure out the "why's", it didn't dawn on me that I was missing out on the present. I wanted it to magically go away with medication. That ended up not working out so well. Throughout life, we walk through the fire and we lose loved ones but we need to move forward in their honor. Not a single person that I've lost would want me to stay stationary in sadness. I can't afford to keep mourning loss. My daughter can't afford it either. "Get busy living or get busy dying!." (Just a little Shawshank reference) So, if I have experienced the worst that this life has to offer and I am still "upright and breathing." (Thanks Corey!) I'll take it!

Now, for the writing thing. Back in 2012ish, I came up with the idea of a story I wanted to tell. I had no experience and had no direction. I simply started tapping away on the keys. After having written a prologue and a chapter or so, I scrapped the writing idea entirely. Over the years, I did miss it and at random times, I would look at the old blog and think, "I should get back in to this." I never acted on my will to do so until recently. During the stories first days, I blindly started writing and it was fun but I quickly realized that I had no plot, no real cast of characters, no twists and no real sense of direction. I was just writing. All of these thoughts hit me smack dab in the tenders and I stopped. I kept up with the blog for a short time but soon after this epiphany, I stopped that also. I am not sure I will ever do more than this and that is okay. I know my original idea is limited. I will never be Stephen King or Tolkien and I get it but it doesn't mean I should stop. Just enjoy the process of creativity and let her rip. Maybe, if I just write like I used to, things will come together, but if not, I will live on. I have taken a break from The War West and started tinkering in poetry and song writing again. Both are some of favorite things to do. When I am comfortable with sharing those things, I'll add some here and see what you all think.

This past weekend, I experienced a weird and unexpected blast from the past and I wanted to share. Saturday, I golfed with my brother in law, my oldest nephew and his buddy, which is like another nephew really. He's been around the family for a long time. But after the outing, we stopped in at the local bar for a couple of beers and a bite. I came to find out that an old band that I used watch back in my early twenties were playing at the exact place I was at. I had no idea. So instead of going home early, I stayed and watched. I am so glad I did. I loved the local music scene in Fort Wayne, IN back then and these dudes were some of my favorites to go see live.

Allow me to introduce The Wailhounds performing Rickety Ol' Ford. I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Insecure Writers Support Group - September 6, 2023


Twelve Years!! Congratulations on keeping this group intact!

As always, I will begin by thanking Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this hop. I am sure that it is tiring at times, to juggle the many things that go along with creating such a place, all while continuing to add to  his own work. He seems to do this with ease. I am truly grateful. Mr. Cavanaugh followed my site long ago and guess who was the first to comment upon my return? Yeah, you know.

Also, I would like to extend a special thanks to the co-hosts for this month. Sonia Dogra, J Lenni Dorner, Pat Garcia, Sara - The Faux Fountain Pen and Meka James.

The IWSG was created to support those of us that love to write but have insecurities, hang ups, doubts and fears. The writers here offer support and tips to assist in making informed decisions in regard to our work. If you haven't already, join the hop at IWSG. Click the IWSG Sign Up tab under the header and begin reaping the benefits. While you are at it, be sure to check on others and if so inclined, offer support to when needed. It makes a difference, trust me.

Today's question: The IWSG celebrates twelve years today! When did you discover the IWSG, how do you connect and how has it helped you?

I originally came across the IWSG long ago, while it was still in its infancy. Circa 2012. I was (and still am) a novice when it came to blogging. I originally created the HabitualHobbit to shed light on aspects of having mental illness and the negative stigma that one feels when being diagnosed with a disorder. Over time, I garnered a small following of seventyish people that were interested in what I had to say and it emboldened me to keep putting myself out there. Along the way, I came across this group and decided that, if I was to continue, I would benefit from reading the words of such skilled writers. I did not anticipate the amount of warm wishes and tips I would receive, mostly from fellow group members.

After a long hiatus, I decided to enter the fray once more. Armed with more resolve, I sought out the group again. And, I am happy I did.

As always, I will leave you with song. Check out Incubus - Pistola

I think it fits nicely here.

Be will friends!

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Nope Rope, Part I

 "Never wound a snake, kill it." - Harriet Tubman

My sentiments exactly.

For those of you that have dared enter this site, I did try to warn you. The tab located on my home page entitled "The Rub/Contact" sums up this blog. It's messy and does not always make for comfortable discussion but you will get all of me, good and bad. My sense of humor can be skewed at times. I can look at myself through a different lens and see humor in my shortcomings and at times, I will be self deprecating but that is okay. This post is a redux from one published long ago, during the beginning stages of this blog. I removed all of the old material from 2012-2013 in an attempt to start with a clean slate. Here is a reincarnated version of the original.

Ophidiophobia is an extreme, overwhelming fear of snakes and yes, I have that. Not sure where this fear came from either. Throughout history, several cultures have myth's related to the serpent. In Norse mythology, Jormungandr, the great serpent of the sea, bit his own tail to surround the earth. When he releases said tail, Ragnarok (The end of the world) will begin and gods like Thor, Odin and Heimdall will perish. Greek mythology tells us of the Gorgons. Three sisters (Medusa, being the most notable) with hair made of snakes, would turn their gaze upon you and your form would turn to stone. Maybe it stems from the biblical story of The Garden of Eden, taught to me so long ago. You know, Satan disguising himself as a serpent, coercing Adam and Eve to partake in the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, even after God forbid them to do so. Or maybe, I am not as "in the minority" as I think and a good majority of us have an inbred fear of the nope rope. Any way you slice it, the fear is tangible, for some. This is my take regarding these dangerous little demons from the bowels of hell. Here are just a few examples of what resides here in the good old U.S of A.

We will begin by easing our way into the fray, starting with the Eastern Copperhead (picture below). The Copperhead is a pit viper, and can be found in many areas of the U.S. You will usually find them in heavily wooded areas or near rock formations. These little miscreants are prevalent in southwest Arkansas, where I recently visited on holiday. I didn't happen across any during this recent go around but I have seen them on golf courses in HSV a couple of times. Copperheads inject victims with hemolytic toxin. The venom breaks down red blood cells which will subdue smaller prey but are not normally life threatening to humans, if treated quickly. Even if it doesn't kill you, a Copperhead bite can still make for a crappy day.

This little fellow looks like he was probably pissed at birth.

Next on the board is the Eastern Diamondback Rattler (picture below). Family of origin is Viperidae. Widely known as the longest and heaviest snake found in the U.S., this species of death coil can be found in Southeastern portions of the country, including the Carolina's, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and into Louisiana. It's venom is a hemotoxin which break down red blood cells (yada, yada) which will disrupt clotting and in some cases, aid in organ degeneration and tissue damage. Fun, huh? I would be remiss if I did not mention that there are over eighty sub species of rattlesnake in the U.S., with the Western Diamondback having the highest toxicity per bite and the highest fatality rate in the states.


Finally, we come to the Coral Snake. (Picture below)

Remember, "red touch yellow, kill a fellow. Red touch black, friend of Jack.
Remember, "red touch yellow, kill a fellow. Red touch black, friend of Jack.

These little bastards are a touch different than those mentioned above. The coral snake is a species of Elapid, which include the black mamba, cobra and several species of sea snakes, which will all be mentioned in part two. Venom toxicity is strong with this one but, unlike the examples above, it's mechanism to transfer the juice is much different. See, vipers can unleash mass amounts of venom in a single, quick strike, where the coral snake has much smaller fangs. It will actually latch on to prey and stay in the bite for longer in order inject a lethal dose of neurotoxin. This is much different in the way it attacks the body. Bites are usually less painful but work quicker and paralyze the muscles used for breathing. Coral snakes are docile by nature and will hide or flee before they attack. Most species can be found in southern states with Florida being the hot bed.

So, there you have it. I know it is a small sample size but these are the most common venomous snakes in the States. There are twenty two known species around these parts and most dwell in warmer areas. That is fine by me. Come to think of it, living in northern Indiana isn't that bad after all. I am more likely to bite it being trampled by a buggy filled with Amish than I am any other way. I think I like my chances.

For now, I will leave this here. Be on the lookout in the future for a "part 2" because the scariest snakes live in other countries. I will get in to those another time. My anxiety level is elevated by simply choosing the pictures above so I must get moving. 

Enjoy "Snakes" as performed by Pixies.

Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Insecure Writer's Support Group - August 2, 2023


My, how time fly's. It is once again time to post for The Insecure Writer's Support Group.

I would be remiss if I did not thank Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this group. I have gained so much good information and support during the short time I have been a part of this unbelievable collection of creatives. I simply cannot thank those that have looked in and shared in this journey enough. I am still weaving my way around, introducing myself to those on the list and eventually, I will get through the whole thing.

Co-hosts this month are Kate Larkindale, Diane Burton, Janet Alcorn and Shannon Lawrence.

I have not been able to write much over the last week because I was away on vacation with the family but things are getting back to normal. I plan on visiting more of you on the list, all while adding to my little story.

August 2, 2023 question: Have you ever written something that afterwards you felt conflicted about? If so, did you let it stay how it was, take it out or rewrite it?

To be honest, I experience conflict while crafting every post. It is not easy for me to put myself out there for everyone to see (read).  I am constantly typing and deleting and rewriting again, looking for the perfect words to describe my current feelings, whatever they may be. Each piece I create produces a certain amount of stress internally because sometimes, I need to rehash some hurtful memory or circumstance that I would rather not think about. I want the reader to feel my experience. This blog tells my personal story. The mess and all things that come along with it, good and bad.

The same goes for my short story, The War West. I constantly delete and rewrite because I do not want to offend anyone. This may be my story's undoing because it is going to be impossible to complete without rustling some feathers. I guess I will need to deal with negativity when it comes my way. 

Cheers to twelve years!! I remember when this group was in it's infancy, way back. I missed so much during my years in the void. I pray that the group continues with the much need support for years to come. It is truly a blessing.