Sunday, September 1, 2013

What if you're writing about the last person on Earth?

Not the last person you want to meet at the mall, but really, truly, the lone survivor on a ruined world.  What changes would that person undergo mentally?  What might they see, do, and think?

Often, nonfiction books can give us some clues.  For instance, Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks is about actual hallucinations, their characteristics, and the underlying medical or physical conditions associated with them.  Sacks is a neurologist who writes clear, interesting and informative prose; the book deals with drug- and sensory-deprivation-induced hallucinations as well as those associated with medical conditions such as dementia or blindness.  It doesn't deal with hallucinations associated with mental illness, which is actually rather scary, because you find yourself thinking Anyone, even me, could suddenly begin to hallucinate.  That's not a happy thought.

However terrifying the implications might be, books like this are especially helpful to SF and fantasy writers, because so often we write about people in extreme or unusual circumstances.  Perhaps our main character is the last living person on a spaceship or a dying world.  What would he see and hear?  Perhaps one of our characters has just imbibed an unusual drink given to her by one of the fae.  What would she experience?

Read Hallucinations, and you can make better, more believable guesses.

Learning is an important part of living the creative life.
Most creative people are curious,
and would probably describe themselves as lifelong learners and/or readers.
What kind of learner and reader are you? 

Friday, August 2, 2013

RIP Mom - A Light Has Gone from My World

Amelia Marie Quinn, 89, was born in Johnstown, PA on Dec. 13, 1923.  A long-time resident of Washington, DC, Bladensburg, MD, Tucson, AZ and Mesa, AZ, Amelia's last years were spent in Sierra Vista, AZ.  She passed away on July 28 at Kindred Hacienda Nursing Home in Sierra Vista.

During WWII, Amelia worked at the Post Office and the War Office in Washington. DC.  Later, she was the office manager of a moving company and the information operator for the City of Tucson. 

In addition to being a hard worker, Amelia was a devoted daughter, wife and mother whose family meant the world to her.  Her hobbies included crocheting, reading, and spending time with her grandchildren.  She was active in church and service organizations such as the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department's Women's Auxiliary, the Elks, the Eagles, and the Mesa Senior Center.

Amelia was preceded in death by her parents, John and Amelia Nahtigal, and her husband of over 50 years, Philip Patrick Quinn.  She is survived by her children Philip Quinn, Eleanor Hockaday, James Quinn, and Tina Durham; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandson.

The family wishes to extend our thanks to Dr. VanDivort, the staff of American Geriatric Enterprise, and Kindred Hacienda for their professional, compassionate and loving care during our mother's final illnesses.

A memorial service will be held at 4:30 PM on Monday, August 12, at Southlawn Mortuary in Tucson, AZ.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Party's Over (or the Stunning Conclusion to "Trust, Love and Include? I don't think so")

In our previous episode... 

My husband and I were invited to play music at my co-worker's Christmas party.  My ever-lovin' hubby heard the pros play, and chickened out.  Yeah, that's right, the man chickened out - hid behind a potted plant and let me publicly make a fool of myself trying to play by ear with someone I'd never practiced with.

Here's how I saw it then:

Normal people lie.  If he didn't feel comfortable performing in front of amazing musicians, he could have said, "I have a headache.  Sorry.  Let's go home."

Honest people tell the truth.  He could come out of his hidey-hole and whispered, "I didn't practice enough.  I don't feel comfortable doing this." 

Courageous people enter the fray and do their best.  Honorable people keep their promises.

Cowards and oathbreakers hide behind potted plants.

This is what I said:

"I am never going anywhere with you again!"