Sixty Years On

Now available in July, two new novels: Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel. Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. Release date was yesterday, July 14, 2017. Blurb and information can be found on my website (found at the bottom of this page).

The Harsh Lands is available as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5), for Kindle (ASIN: B01N69YCCW), or in the EPub format (ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9). This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1) Kindle (ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4) and Epub (ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1) and Desperate to Survive: Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8) Kindle (ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4) and Epub (ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1) are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition. Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback (ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6) Kindle (ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3) and Epub (978-1-946179-05-0).

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I picked this title from the title of a song by Elton John that he sang back in the seventies. I have to admit that I always liked it. Still in many ways what it reflects is a view of when one reaches those older years. And in my case I definitely qualify. If any of you out there haven’t heard the song here’s the link to one of the versions from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEcafVVUxqk

In a sense what one takes away from this song will be as a result of who and where you are personally. For me it has to do with the title referring to sixty years plus, which is where I am, since I’ll turn sixty eight this year. Others may think about the fact that it seems that every generation have their wars to fight, others who want to see guns disappear will see a possible future where they don’t exist. And still others might focus on the religious aspect, and because of this none of us would agree what this song is about – and that’s what keeps life interesting.

What I am writing here will be through my eyes as I’ve viewed events, and marked time. And if we truly think about it for all of us it is this way. What is being witnessed throughout our lives will always be colored by who we are, what our experiences have been, our heredity, the influences that are around us, and where we are in our own timeline. Nothing we see is what it truly is. It cannot be any other way since we view all things from our inner selves, and our personal senses.

For example, in my case I’m partially colorblind. That means that certain colors do not exist for me and when you remove those colors what I see instead is the color that would be created if that missing color didn’t exist. To explain what I mean, here is what would happen. If you remove red from purple the color you would end up with is blue. And we can say the same thing with brown. Since red is the most common colorblind color then if we remove red from brown we get green. So this would mean that to any of us with that particular color blindness trait those other colors wouldn’t exist, i.e. brown and purple.

By the way, back when you were a kid, and for me that’s a long time ago, did you ever try to mix all the colors with your crayons or colored pencils to get white? Logically you’d think it would work since sunlight is white and we were shown and told that it is created from all the colors.  And by using a prism they prove it. Yet when we mix those colors on a sheet of paper we end up with black – one of those mysteries of life I guess.

Memory or memories can be tricky things. It has been shown that what we remember isn’t necessarily what really happened. Time and distance has changed those memories into something different, yet we believe what we see in our minds is correct. There have been a number of experiments done over the years that prove that memories can be implanted and have no basis in reality. So when I look back on my memories I find that with some there are warm nostalgic feelings that can lead me to smile, while others I’d sooner forget. Are they accurate, I believe so, but there’s no way for me to prove them to be so. If we think about this too hard it can leave us on shaky ground with nothing firm to stand upon. It comes down to do we trust or not trust our personal memories. Personally I’d rather trust them until they are proven to be wrong.

So what’s your earliest memory? Mine, and I’d guess I had to be around three at the time, has to do with a family outing to an observatory, standing on the steps leading up to the entrance. That’s it, nothing about going inside, or about the trip to and from, or any other aspect. There must have been something about that one location that created this permanent memory.

Other memories? Well, there’s the one where we went out to look at property when I was six. We turned a corner and everything to the west fell away and suddenly it was like I could see forever. As a boy scout taking that ninety mile hike we did as a troop, graduating from high school, (fifty years ago) the night I left home on the way to a war zone as a soldier, wild fires, where eventually one did destroy our homes, marrying the woman I love, who brought two daughters into my life and our family, being there for the birth of our sons, and now after all these years going to their weddings. As you can see most of these memories are ordinary and as such could belong to anyone. Yet, each and every one makes me who I am, as the ones you have make you who you are.

Local and beyond memories? The Kennedy assassination when I was in high school, the space race and landing on the moon, an airliner crash that almost hit an elementary school, and further back and personal, a military fighter crashing on the property and almost hitting our home, 9-11-2001, and the resulting wars that we still face today, terrorism and the many tragic losses from these extremists, and I guess I can throw in the mine rescue. In this mix I can add the resignation of a president and vice-president, and the first time we had a president who came to office unelected. And all of these form the backdrop of my and our lives influencing how we see and view our world.

The common factor in all of this is time. And for all of us time is the limiting factor. We are only given so much of it before we die. And it’s surprising how fast that time approaches. It seems like yesterday when I graduated from school and while I was in school it seemed like it was forever. Now fifty years later I’m returning from that reunion celebrating a half century since graduating. Yeah this means I’ve been out of school much longer than I was in, and that time between has more than flown – leaving me to wonder what happened

It is here at this time in one’s life that they realize that much of their lives are over, and whatever dreams and goals one had are no longer obtainable. It is sobering when one realizes that all the chances are pretty much used up, and are part of your past. Still I can say that once I retired that it allowed me one more chance at one of those life goals, and here it is right before you. I always had a desire to write, and in truth I never knew if I could be successful or not. I guess, in the end, I can say yes. When I seriously began to write, (after retiring) I set goals, whether I’d ever reach them I didn’t know. I honestly didn’t know if I could write a book or novel and finish it. Yet, in the end, I did reach those goals, surpassed them, reset those goals and will reach and possibly surpass those new ones.

Still, time is piling up, burying me under that weight, telling me that soon those creative juices will probably dry up. So next year as I work on two new novels,  they may be my last. Still I’m happy with the results of my writing. In the end I’ll have written twelve novels, plus one of short stories that I’ve presented over the years on this blog. And when I do look back on my life I see many twists and turns, dead ends, failures, and a few successes now and then. Still overall I have my health – more or less – and a loving family. I believe in God and would love to see a peaceful world. Still, I’m realistic enough to know that this will probably never happen. It still doesn’t mean that I hope to be wrong. We are still a world of tribes and have that tribe mentality. And until that changes nothing ever will.

In conclusion, all I can say is to keep reaching. Keep yourself active mentally and physically. Set those goals, and reach for them. If you don’t make them, at least you tried, and in a sense that’s the bottom line isn’t it. It has been said many many times, it’s the journey, the road you travel. Even though that road will have many unexpected turns, dead ends, and branches that will completely change your life and direction, you only fail when you give up. And unlike the games we play we cannot go back and start a level again. In life we get one chance, and it matters not whether you have the experience to make an educated decision, we must decide and then live by where that decision sends us.Whether my novels become more than a hobby only time will tell. Still I’m happy to have traveled down those many roads, and I love following my fictitious characters through their lives, and must admit that I’ve enjoyed their life stories and journeys as they unfolded. And if I want to admit to it I think I would like to meet many of them personally. Of course this is impossible since they’ve never lived except in my mind and on the pages of those books – still, they are real to me. Remember –

Don’t be afraid to reach high and to seek the impossible. Who knows, you may be the one who makes the impossible possible. God Bless! Have a great week, and learn from all the mistakes we all have a tendency to make. It is only then that we grow. (http://www.fdbrant.com)

 

A Celebration of Life

At the beginning of February we joined family and friends in the celebration of life for one who has passed away. It is during such celebrations that one learns, from the many who knew them, who and what this person represented to each individually, and how many lives she touched. (And one thing that became clear is that she really loved people.) For us as we go through our lives this is something we really don’t think much about. Here I mean the influences we may have left on individuals be it positive or negative. And here in such a setting we begin to see just who the one who passed away was and the many she did touch. If we think about it we play many roles during our lives. First off it is as a child having to deal with our parents and siblings – let alone that bully down the street. Then from that time on these roles grow to cover the many different aspects that is us. And many times at such ceremonies we learn about a different side or aspect of the one who has moved on that we were never aware of, and can be surprised by what is revealed. It is important to remember that for most of us those influences we leave behind are generally unknown to us, and sometimes these influences are seen from afar leaving us with no idea that we’ve left this legacy behind.

I believe that a little background is necessary, especially from one who came into this family from the outside. In other words I married into this family, as my wife married into mine. Still with her family, whenever family gatherings were held it would be at her brother’s home. And his wife Pam would be gracious, always smiling as the hoards would descend upon her home and chaos would reign supreme. So it became a tradition, and they had a pool, so the children loved to go there since they could swim to their heart’s content. Pam would interact with all of us, with that infectious smile of hers, and she always seemed to have a good word for any and all who would invade her home – in a good way of course. So we would always have fond memories of our time spent there.

What is it that makes a person this way? In many ways to find the answer is beyond me. If we had more like this woman, then there would be less strife, less commotion, less ill feelings, probably less demands, and maybe in the end a better world because of it. She, like the untold millions, will never be remembered beyond her family and friends, leaves a legacy that will be hard to follow or to live up to. No she’s not an angel or is she a perfect individual. Still what she had would give any of us a lofty goal to attain.

While this isn’t true of all men, most of us want to protect our women, and strive to do so. If we honestly think about it, because of the demands of the modern world, this protection is more of an illusion than fact. Because it requires both individuals in a relationship to work, it means a good portion of any day we are separated from our mates and then they are beyond that protection we want to provide. Still as the years pass by us, much too fast to be honest, we reach a point in our lives that we know that one of us will pass on before the other.

And if anything, the statistics show that it is the fact that women generally outlive men. So we, as men, try to make sure that if we are the first to pass on we leave our spouses in such a way that they won’t have to depend on others to make it through the day-to-day routine, and much of what is required will be taken care of and provided. And because her husband Dan, my brother-in-law, had almost died from the very same cancer years earlier, he felt – no, he knew he’d pass before she did. Only to learn, after doing everything necessary to make her time alone after he passed on, easy, it was not to be. It was discovered that she had a GBM, and it was already stage four. And two months later it took her life.

What can one say? What can one do? When all you have planned for, with the reality that you face knowing that it is you who will leave first only to learn you are completely wrong. Now it is he who is sitting in that lonely home after more than half a century of being together. How does one reconcile such a loss? At least for Dan, he has a loving family, and a rather large group of friends, who will continue to check in on him and assist him in his needs. And at times his home will be filled with the joy and laughter of his grandchildren – a blessing in itself. Yet on the other side of all of this will be the times when he will be alone, which are the toughest of all.

You see, when he learned of his cancer, none of his sons were married and if things held true he would not live to see any of his future grandchildren. And then within ten months all three were married, and as is the norm each added to the extended family, and he was able to enjoy those grandchildren. He was given the gift of seeing the future of his family, and the daughters-in-laws who joined his loving family. Since the cancer he has usually means that within two months he would succumb to the disease, in truth it is a miracle he’s still with us. In fact during the time of discovering the GBM he “flat-lined”. Yet here he is over six years later. Yes, all of us know that in the end it will take him for it is the nature of a GBM. It can only be suppressed and will return to finish what it started. There is no cure.

This leads one to think about the home they were living in as a loving couple and a family for all those wonderful years together. Any of us can relate to the fact that when we enter into someone’s home we can immediately sense the influences of the ones living there. Some homes invite you in making you immediately comfortable, and others leave you with the impression that the sooner one can leave the better. Theirs definitely is the former.

In the past I wrote a post dealing with a home, and how it goes through stages until sometime in its future it is replaced with something else. I looked at this from the point of view that when someone lives in that home it becomes a personal representation of them. And when you come to visit their history is there for you to see. And you know the warmth, the friendliness, and the love that is there. And I can say it is definitely here in their home. Still, sometime in the near future it will become empty as his time comes to an end as all of ours will someday.

Then, as family descends upon that home, with so many good and happy memories, slowly, as it is emptied of those keepsakes from the past, it will transform from a home to just a house, becoming vacant with nothing to remind any of all that has happened within its walls. Nothing to talk to any of the love, and joy that was there. No history of the past. At this point it becomes a blank slate waiting for a new family, and new memories to created. We all know it as the circle of life.

So what can really be said here other than the fact that we will see this happening right here in their loving home. When we are in the present, and we all live in the present, even with our ability to remember our past and attempt to see our future, this is something that is furthest from our minds. We love the time together as a loving couple, as a family and with friends. And at those special times we let the future become what it may. And then suddenly that future is the reality we are facing, and you see your loved one pass on ahead of you. And in most cases it is much too soon. Yet, in the end, all of us are only given so much time here. And the lesson we should take away from all of this is the fact that the most precious commodity we have, and we seem to do a great job of wasting it, is time. From what little I knew of her, Pam, like the rest of us, probably did waste a lot of time, but in the end before her time ended, she saw her children grow into responsible loving adults, and she absolutely loved her extended family and the growing family filling her home with the laughter of her grandchildren. And from her interaction, with that infectious smile, she held every one of these young lives in her loving arms. What will those same grandchildren’s memories of her be, well only they can say. Still from the images left for the future generations I’m sure it will be fond loving memories of their grandmother.

In this we cannot forget the adding of three women to the family, which had to be a nice addition for Pam since she had been surrounded by four males making her the minority. So to finally balance it out had to be wonderful for her. To have other women who became family must have filled her heart with joy. And for her the transition seemed effortless. Still, from what I can determine even towards the end you could see the love she had for her family.

And in the end we, in our time, will follow a similar path leaving memories of us with our family and friends. I guess the obvious question here is this: What will those memories of any of us be when it is our time? It is said that we die twice. The first time is our physical passing, and the second is when all who knew and loved us have joined us. At that point there is no one to remember or to know who we were. May it be for Pam, and Dan – when his time comes – that this second one will be a long time in the future. They truly deserve these loving memories. God Bless!

Published in: on March 25, 2017 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Personal Tragedy

Before beginning this week’s post I’d like the mention that the book, Unexpected, Unplanned, and into the Unknown, has been released to Amazon Scout. Here readers have a chance to read an excerpt and rate the story. If enough are positive then Amazon will publish it under their own label. Here is the link, if any are interested please check it out. https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/QINQQURWHJS3

With this title, A Personal Tragedy, one would think that it refers to something that happened to me personally, but this tragedy was something I witnessed which took place over a period of time. At the time of the incident and what followed I worked in a small rural community. In these places people have a tendency to know each other, and if you are one who works in one of the businesses one has a chance to meet everyone. It isn’t unusual to find unlocked doors, and people always willing to help others in the community. In a sense my book “The Woman in the Snow” reflects this kind of committment that is common in these communities.

If we want to be honest, somewhere in our lifetime we will either be a part of a tragedy, be a witness to one, or know someone who had a tragic incident in their own lives. Many times these tragedies involve death bringing to us the truth that none of us get out of this world alive. I know as a child I thought it would be nice to know when one would die, after all it did seem like it was important. With as much life behind me as I’ve had (and it’s been said many times, time is precious) I now disagree. If we know when, we would never accomplish what we do in our lives with that final date staying in the forefront and dominating our thoughts.

Overall the community had a mix of people, with many living here being retired. Others commuted to work into the larger communities to the west, and a few actually worked the land. This meant we have farmers, ranchers, young families, older families, many singles, and retirees. Very similar to any community be it large or small. Mostly everybody got along. Still in such a setting there were issues, and many times such issues were large enough to polarize the community. Still overall it was no different than any of the small communities (or large ones) that exist in this country.

For a period of time we even had a small local newspaper, but eventually it disappeared and is no more. If one was driving the road that went through the main part of town, the town would be easy to miss. It had gates to many of the ranches, and if you were driving east the first building that would mark that you might be entering a rural community was the fire department – a simple volunteer unit. Then for a short time there would be nothing. The next one to show would be the Post Office followed by a combination restaurant and grocery store, and across from this would be a state fire station. Once past these you would be heading out of town and on to whatever your destination would be. In others words, if you blinked you’d miss it completely.

Yet, if you had turned off onto the one main road back into the community you would find a library, the local school and the many roads that led to where most lived. It was back in this area where the tragedy took place. For any of us who are from such areas there really is much that happens that is never heard about outside of the community. That doesn’t mean it has less of an impact or doesn’t influence those who are involved, because it does. It is no more or no less important for any who happen to live in the largest cities in this nation where such could be reported.

Part of the draw for those who are looking for more than cities provide is the freedom and openess of the lands. It, over all, is a harder lifestyle, and not all can live it. Many need to be surrounded by people to feel safe and secure while others feel less people the better. I have seen some who have moved into these rural communities from the cities and only after a few months run screaming back to the crowds, swearing they’d never return.

A young family lived back on one of the dirt roads and their son was out riding the family’s ATV, after receiving permission to do so. As most kids who have something powerful at their control he was going too fast down the dirt road he was traveling and ran into another vehicle coming from the opposite direction. It killed him and threw the family into turmoil, which is no surprise. After all it is said, and for good reason, “No parent should outlive their child”.

Statistics say that the loss of a child can lead to the breakup of the parents. And unfortunately it did in this case. I was friends with both of them and shared in their tragedy. They tried to keep it together but the “what if’s”, the blame game, and so many other factors that were never revealed eventually led to their breakup. In many ways in this world of failed marriages no one would look at another one and consider the whys. “Just move on”, would be stated. “After all there are many out there who would love to share your life.”

Maybe so, but if this tragedy ended here, then maybe we could say, after the healing, if such is possible, that they moved on and found others to replace their loss. Still in this situation such didn’t take place. As far as the woman she eventually left the community and nothing was ever heard from her again.

And before I continue I have to mention another similar tragedy that happened in the same community. In this case the child was an adult and actually had been in the Navy. Driving home one night he crashed his vehicle and died from the injuries. The mother had difficulty dealing with the tragedy, which is completely understandable. Eventually the area brought too many bad memories and she moved away only to continue to fight the demons she faced. Any of us who face similar situations may try and find such a solution. The major problem with this is the fact we cannot run away from us. It is we who carry the emotions, the history, the memories, and a change of location will not change what is part of us. Until we can learn to deal with ourselves we will not escape our situation or problems.

Back to the ones we are following: Eventually he moved away but his life turned self-destructive. From a promising future, to the loss of his son, to the break up of his marriage, it all left scars he couldn’t cope with. He changed jobs, became involved with a series of flings, and somewhere along his personal timeline couldn’t deal with what happened and took his own life. In a sense this enlarged the original tragedy.

So they went from a loving family and in a short period of time back to only one with death taking two of them. Could any of this been prevented? I’m sure the two of them asked themselves that too many times to count when they learned of the death of their son. And I’m sure the blame game became prominent. Still the point we all must face is that our lives can change in an instant. And from that point on what we face and the direction of our lives is forever changed. Yes we can look back and wish and hope that things could be different but none of us can go back and change the past.

All of us are stuck with what we have in our present, and if it wasn’t the direction we had planned, or had set goals to reach, then we must adjust or like him give up and die. We are only given one chance, one life to live. And many times what we are given is difficult, and at times seems impossible. And while we may never face such a tragedy in our lives, that doesn’t mean we won’t face some type of hardship. All of us have setbacks, and all of us have unexpected events that change us forever. In the end it is what we do with these events that will define who we are. God Bless! (www.fdbrant.com)

Writing Style

Writing style: Many times this is called the voice of the writer. It is the way he or she presents stories to the world. For most writers this voice is the result of their lives, the way they see the world, and their personal experiences that color those written pages. And as time goes on, and we continue to write, our personal styles become cleaner, and the descriptions, actions, and worlds become more real. Many times, as writers, when we look back at our early works, we can almost be embarrassed because we can see the errors, the poor writing, and the potential never used. And it means since most are already published we cannot go back and correct those blatant mistakes, the stilted dialogue, or weak character development.

In a sense I suspect this is true of any vocation. When we begin we do not have the knowledge, skill set, experience, or the abilities that we gain later in life. And things we couldn’t see in the beginning, things we should have anticipated, are things that become obvious once we’ve gained the experience and learned our craft. One of the problems with writing is, it is a craft that always changes, and like practicing medicine one continues to learn throughout one’s life, (One example of this is how something like the spelling of a word changes. When I type these two words in, with word processors they show as misspelled or autocorrect, but at one time they were correct. The two words are “alot” and “awhile“, with the second still being used but restricted when comparing the usage to the past. And there are other such examples. It is why what we speak is called a living language.). And yes, we may have some natural skills – God Given gifts – but unless we use them, train hard, and learn our lessons we never become the person we could be.

For example: I have two sons who have some wonderful gifts. And those gifts could be of great benefit to both of them. Yet, at this time in their lives, I don’t see either of them ever developing or using them. It means that in the end these special gifts will go unused and be lost. I decided, after retiring, to pursue one of my dreams which happens to be writing – it is something I’ve always had a desire to do. In this process I’ve written 8 books with number 9 finished as a first draft (yes 5 are unpublished at this time), numerous short stories, and have made well over 250 posts to this blog. And while I consider myself a good writer, one of my sons puts me to shame with his gift of writing. And what sucks, for me, for him it’s all effortless. My other son has the ability to imitate almost anyone he wants to, and this includes accents. He can also memorize almost any script instantly, and again, in his case it’s easy, effortless. We continue to tell him he should do “voice-overs”, but seems uninterested, or maybe it’s just a confidence thing, I don’t know.

And while I’ve been keeping things here in general terms – presenting an overview so to speak – what I want to talk about, as we work our way towards the end of this post, is my way of writing and how it changes according to the work – thusly my writing style. Sometimes it takes a while for me to recognize something I do unconsciously with my writing, and until I take the time to sit back and look, it is something I wouldn’t even notice. I find in my novels that I’m most comfortable with the third person perspective. I know at one time that this statement covered any writing style dealing from that perspective. Of course this has changed (The one constant in life is change?) and one can no longer state, “I write in the ‘third person’ point of view.” Because the questions that usually follow can be like this: “Do you mean Omni or personal, or a little of both?” Of course referring to the whole story world or up close and personal and not revealing all that is happening around the protagonist.

It was then I realized that when I switch to short stories that I generally write in “first person”. Again even here I have a tendency to reach beyond just the first person and allow the reader to see beyond the character. When I began to think about this I realized that in novels we are dealing with incidents and lives that cover the whole fictional world, and for me first person would be too restricting. In a sense my novels are in the style that I call, “meanwhile back at the ranch”. Meaning that I give the reader a chance to see what’s happening with all the characters in the story be they the protagonists or antagonists. I remember trying to write my first novel in first person and failing miserably. I had to go back and rewrite the first third of the book converting it to third person, which to be honest, was a bear. Just for the fun when I look at the perspectives of the stories such as first or third person I always wonder what happened to second person, is there one, and if so what would the writing style look like? Maybe, as a guess, it is another telling the story and we are seeing it unfold from their perspective.

I found that the short stories in comparison only covered an incident, a small slice in time. It is a place where the personal becomes, well, personal. And for me when I’m dealing with a small slice of time, and only one individual, (Not that one doesn’t in full length novels.), the world from their perspective becomes all. For me it is easier to stay in that first person style to allow the story to have the impact I desire. (If we want to be honest our personal worlds are all first person. We only know what we know from our personal interaction with the world.) And I guess one of the best examples of this is the 2014 Christmas story titled, And it Came to Pass. Through the eyes of the protagonist we can experience the world around him, his feelings, his regrets, and see his life through his eyes, bringing the world and story to life, making it feel real. And maybe such stories make us more aware of our surroundings. After all, isn’t part of a good story there to show us something, or maybe teach us? Story tellers have been with us as long as there has been language. And even though they were having fun with it, we saw story telling in the animated movie, “The Croods”. (Yes I love animated movies, the old cartoons, and such.)

And there is one other aspect to my voice, to my story telling. And I suspect it is the way the story is told that determines this. When I first begin a novel I really can’t tell you if it will be a timeline novel, an episodic story like the one I recently presented in this blog, or whether in the end it will be a standard chapter book. The story as it unfolds sort of dictates how it will be. While the majority of my novels are chapter books, of the nine I’ve written, one is timeline and one is episodic, eight are science fiction, and one is contemporary Christian fiction. In fact when I began writing my first novel I had to go back later and figure out chapter breaks, while now I can sense where the change is and thusly the beginning of a new chapter, which generally run around twenty pages long – give or take a few.

In fiction writing the stories we present reflect real life. And because it is fiction it gives you the reader, (And, of course, we as writers.), the ability to soar where the real world cannot take you. And we, the writers, try to present these stories in such a way that as a reader you want to visit these fictional worlds, the fictional people who populate them, and like a voyeur, without feelings of guilt, watch their lives unfold. It is said that novels are about life with the boring parts left out. Because of this, we, as readers, cheer from the sideline as our heroes in the story discover something that helps them. And on the opposite side we try to reach out to them when we see something about to happen for which they are completely unaware. It is this fictional life journey of ups, downs, failures, and growth that bring us into these worlds. And if the author, with his or her voice or writing style, has done his or her job and it is something that appeals to you, then I suspect you will return looking for other such works by this particular author, never considering any of what is stated here. For you it is just a good or great story. And probably this is the way it should be. God Bless! (www.fdbrant.com)

The Dark Ages

Personal Opinion: I try to stay away from politics and what’s happening in this nation. It might seem like I’m ignoring the problems and conditions of this nation and the world, but I don’t see it that way. I’d rather sit back and look at the overall situation, avoiding the flash news that tries to influence the way I think, and the way I will decide some issue. Yet, when it becomes as it has, I finally must speak out, as I become more and more alarmed at the trends which I see are arising. I see this nation dying right out from under me and that scares me to death. If we go down where in this world can we go to find the freedoms that we had, (purposely past tense) here? I know of no other nation on this earth where I can go. After all, we are stuck here on this little planet with no escape at this time in our history. So as we begin the new year I present to you my personal thoughts, opinions, and views. And as the reader you have the right to agree, disagree, reject the writings as hogwash, or see what I see. For me, it is all I can do. Next week we will be back to the short story, The Hunt:

It appears that in this country we are entering the dark ages. In the recent past my wife pointed out to me that in the state of California they have recently passed a law stating that it is no longer required that anyone in high school pass an exit exam or anything similar. It basically stated, if you, as a student, show up, then you get a diploma. It doesn’t matter whether you sat on your behind and did nothing,  failed every class, and generally wasted everybody’s time, you were there so here’s your diploma.

What this stated to me was how much in control of this country the Socialists are. It has been stated that knowledge is power, so the axiom to this has to be, illiteracy allows one to be manipulated, and under control. This method was used throughout the dark ages of Europe where the supposed elite were educated while the common everyday citizen was illiterate. This allowed the Church, the aristocracies of the time, and the monarchies to dictate, and control all aspects of people’s lives. And when you look at the situation here in this country, at this time, it is easy to see similarities to those times.

Socialism and Communism is all about control, and we can see that plainly when we look at this present government. We have a president who has been more of a dictator, or king. If he doesn’t like the way a law is written that came to his desk, even though he had no power under the Constitution to change it, other than vetoing it, he will rewrite it and sign it into law. If laws have certain dates they are to go into effect, he changes it. Then he’s written laws and pushed them on the unsuspecting public, all well beyond the power of his office. And Congress does nothing.

And while I’m on the subject of Congress, did you know that they recently voted on a law that would allow a foreign power to come into this country, occupy it, and take all the weapons that the Second Amendment protects? It seems to me when we look at history that a nation was normally occupied by a foreign power when they lost a war. Yet, we have seen Congressmen willing to do just that, to turn over our sovereignty and freedoms, to circumvent our very laws so they can get their way. And what truly sucks was how close the vote really was. In the past such acts would be considered treason. But it seems, for now, that it’s business as usual. (U.N. resolution #2117) 46 of our senators voted to pass it.

Unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. Both major political parties have been infiltrated heavily with the Socialist Doctrine, and like two sides of the same coin it doesn’t matter which side you see, it still is the same coin. So whether you elect a Democrat, or elect a Republican, you get the same. What they say during their campaigns to get elected means nothing, and when they are elected into office, nothing changes except a furthering of distance from the laws of this land leaving them behind to do as they please – in other words, the Constitution of this United States of America.

We’ve seen unbelievable budgets being passed that puts this country further behind in its debt obligations, and no desire from any to stop this insanity. We see the government support illegal immigration into this country by giving them everything they need to live here. It’s no wonder Social Security is broke when the government gives freely, to these illegals, our hard-earned money. If you add the benefits together that they receive and translate it to an hourly wage it would equal to a wage of over $30 an hour. Free schooling, free medical, free meals at the schools for their children, welfare and housing, SSI,  and yes your social security benefits – none of which they deserve. By our very laws, which our government are required to enforce yet ignore, these illegals are to be deported and returned to their countries of origin. Instead they are given all these freebies including such things as driver licenses, voting rights, (really?), WIC, food stamps, and so much more that we hard-working Americans cannot get.

With these trends it is only a matter of time when the whole mess implodes, and the darkness that we are beginning to see will spread and cover this whole nation leaving it as dark as a starless, moonless night. Making this once powerful country no more than a third world welfare state having to depend on the rest of the world for support – at least the parts of this nation that will survive this quagmire. And if you think that any of this will not happen, then you haven’t studied your history or know that history has a tendency to repeat.

Solutions? Personally I have none. With a lawless government in control, (And I mean this because of the failure of our government to follow the laws of the Constitution.) who can stand against them? Is this so different from the USSR at its height, or Germany during the Hitler era? I’d say overall that the answer is a simple no. And not only has the government become Socialist, but the same has infiltrated our schools and are bringing up our next generation to be this way and expect to be governed this way.

One of the goals of such organizations is to eliminate religion, and you can see the attacks made presently against the predominant religion of this country, Christianity. Again the Socialists and Communists know that atheism and making the government the predominant religion brings the people further under their control. The Catholic Church, during the dark ages, knew this well, and used its considerable power to maintain control, not only over the people, but the monarchies of the time. The overall goal here is to make the government the only place any can turn to for anything, making those in control the elite. Total Power Corrupts Totally.

Can any of this be stopped at this late date? Again, I don’t know, but one thing for sure we cannot depend on the two major parties to bring about the required change. Maybe this is why the one person who is outside of the political machines has been doing so well in the polls. Still we see the goal of the parties is to place their chosen in the coveted position. We do not need two families, (no different from the old monarchies in reality) controlling the office of the president.

We are coming closer and closer to the time when there will be only one candidate presented for office. If you do no believe this look to the Democratic party and see who they are presenting. A known Socialist, and a second, and that’s all. How long will it be until even two will be considered too many?

Then we have this, (I’ll be providing a link): Here is an attack on the First Amendment and the rights it grants the citizens of this country. Losing this right would mean that if you disagreed with what the government was doing and spoke out you could be arrested and put into jail as a political prisoner with no recourse, and probably no speedy trial. And while it wasn’t a serious attempt, it shows the ignorance of the American People and especially college students. Again it would be pushing this nation closer to the old USSR. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/12/16/yale-fail-ivy-leaguers-caught-on-video-clamoring-to-kill-first-amendment.html

This was followed by the announcement that the DHA was looking at several states with the possibility of invalidating their government issued ID’s, (Driver licenses, State issued IDs,  and such) as invalid for travel requiring passports to move between states. Passports? Really? Are we Europe where there are many countries and each autonomous to the other, or are we the United States of America where traveling between states without papers is one of the freedoms we enjoy? Yet, if this comes about we are looking at a further loss of freedoms, and coming oh so much closer to further control by the government, since this, once again, is coming from the Federal Government, and is pushing us further away from the vision of the founding fathers, and definitely would be outside of the Constitution.  And while they push, “It’s for the safety of our air travelers”, we become more under the control of this government. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/12/29/terminal-confusion-dhs-push-could-make-some-ids-invalid-for-flying.html?intcmp=hpbt1

Again, as I have stated throughout this post, I have no answers, or ideas as to how to turn this around back to the way this nation is supposed to be governed. The last really strong leader who believed in the Constitution and the people was Ronald Regan. An actor who became governor of California, (and we won’t even discuss what’s happened to California) and who then served two terms as President of this United States of America. All I can do, through what I see, and of course, present this as personal opinion, since it is, and let you, the reader, decide. Let you, the reader, check out the facts and see if what I’m stating is accurate. Because in the end one cannot bring change. One still can bring forth ideas, show facts, and begin the processes of returning this nation to its roots, back to sanity, and away from the lawlessness this Federal Government has shown. But in the end is takes all of us.

 

A Christmas Wish for 2015

Last year for the first time I linked a video for this important time of year. This year and since this is Christmas Eve, I’ll be doing the same. On Saturday I’ll be having my regular weekly post with this year’s Christmas short story plus links back to last year’s story and my wish for the 2014 Christmas season, with that link to a video, of course. This year throughout the month of December, on my Saturday posts, I have been linking back to my past short Christmas stories starting with 2011 the year I began this blog.

I recently heard this song by Casting Crowns and thought it appropriate. Peace on Earth is a wish most of us pray for but have never seen. May your Christmas be a time of friends and family, and a remembrance for the true reason for the season. God Bless, and enjoy.

 

Published in: on December 24, 2015 at 7:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Just an Update

This is to let you know the surgery was successful, and I’m recovering at home. Lots of pain, but such is life. My guess is that it will be at least 1 to 2 weeks before I can return to my normal posts, at which time I will continue the short story “The Deeps”.

Have a great week (or two) with the anticipation of new posts just down the road. God Bless! (fdbrant.com)

Published in: on February 14, 2015 at 6:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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What is Absolute Shall Remain

Personal thoughts and Opinions:

I’ve thought about this for a while, and what the title states is true. What I mean is this; if indeed there is a God, and I believe personally there is, the laws, the rules that were laid down are unchangeable period. No matter how mankind tries to change them, influence them, or ignore them they are there and will remain long after mankind is gone. It doesn’t necessarily apply only to the infinite, but also to governments and the laws that those governments are supposed to honor, and everything in-between.

If we were to look at the Constitution of this country (USA), those to the left want to change it so that it reflects more of the way they think, the way they act, the way they want to rule. And right now since the left is controlling the government it is obvious the direction of the country. And they are completely ignoring the laws of the land (the Constitution). And they state it is this way; “Because the constitution is an obsolete document it doesn’t apply to us. If it were only a living document then we might actually follow it. Since it’s not why should we be bound by or to it?”

Of course they want it to become a living document since doing so allows them to interpret it in any fashion and any direction they want. To translate it and change it to more reflect how they see it. In other words make it over in their image because it is their right to make these changes, and who cares how it will affect the citizens, the laws, and what this nation should be, and why should I care what any other might think. Because, bottom line, it’s my way or the highway.

We see similar things in many of the religions of this world. The learned ones or leaders who supposedly speak from the knowledge, education, and understanding, apply the laws within their particular religion as they see fit. If it doesn’t happen to fit the situation – their situation, then the inconvenient truth is they change it so that it will fit their personal beliefs. Yet, if what God states and what is written is Absolute, how are they able to change what is written, and change it in such a way that the results lead to their personal interpretation, making it convenient for them to accomplish whatever is their agenda? In other words, by taking anything out of context they can make it say anything they want it and we see this happening much too much.

We are seeing people killed for supposedly doing things against what these sacred scripts state, while others who violate the very same laws or scripts are getting a free pass because what these others are doing happens to support those in charge and their agendas. Again if what is written is absolute, how can it apply to one and not another, allowing  man to change it anytime he pleases? In truth he can’t, but does that change the facts or the inconvenient truth that they are saying they have such a right, are more knowledgable, and are better than the One who created all of this? Of course nobody has this right, but this is what we are seeing throughout this world.

In the end it probably comes down to these two words – power and control.  The ones who are pursuing these two words are doing whatever they feel they must to gain what these two words represent. The inconvenient truth lies in the fact that too many will do whatever is necessary to be part of those two words. It doesn’t matter where they are in the hierarchy, it only matters that they find a way, including the compromise of all that is written, and/or what they personally believe to get to the point where it is their word, their demands, their views that all must bow down to.

Yet one of the axioms, which has been around for much longer than I’ve existed is, Total power, corrupts totally. No matter how it comes about, whether for good, or for personal gain the results are always the same. There are more examples of this in history, than there are examples of this type of rule, this type of leadership, producing benevolent results. You name it, kings, sultans, socialism, communism, and even to some extent democracy, because there are many within this system that find a way to manipulate it to their wants and needs, and all have been corrupted by the lure of power, the lure of control.

We find it existing in all religions of the world. Where the ones on top of the hierarchy find ways to influence the governments, or in many cases become the government, bringing total control over the people who are under them. Study any of the history about any of the major players and you will find greed, deceit, corruption, the grab for power, religious wars, and so much more. Of course all of this applies to all the governments in this world. After all we are corruptible, and given the chance – any chance at all and we will be corrupted.

In a sense you see this with the pecking order throughout the natural world, and even where much is shared, inside families. And if one really thinks about it, when the leadership is shared there is less chance of the law or axiom of total power doing its worst. We see it in the world of birds, in the wilds with animals where the fight to be the alpha male and female is a constant day-to-day struggle. So is it a surprise we see the same thing with us in the world of mankind? When the alpha position is being used properly all benefit. The real problem lies in the fact that the siren’s call, her lure of power and control is so strong that the ones who reach the pinnacle of leadership eventually believe they are better, know more, and overall, what is needed for all the people who lie beneath them to remain beneath them. Pride and ego go before the fall.

There is a reason for the wisdom of the world to have been written and to be followed. Most of these writings strive to balance us, to keep the corruption out. The problem lies in the fact that even at the beginning, whether the goals were as they should be, and the ones who have reached this point of leadership, have been reading and following this wisdom, eventually they reach a point where they feel that all of this history, all of what is written, all of the admonishments, are no longer valid, and as such none of this rubbish applies to them.

It is at this point that the restrictions in the texts, or the Constitution become problems. After all, it means they cannot accomplish what they’ve set out to do, and so it is time for a change, time to make these documents living, “So any or all of them can reflect my point of view, my agenda. Because, I can see so much more, so much better than all, and because of this I will conveniently ignore what I want, and apply it the way I feel is in the best interest of, well, me.”

And when these leaders reach this point it is the world that suffers, with death and destruction, pain, torture, loss of life, and so many other unspeakable acts. Yet, when all is said and done, and in the end, it is still true, no matter what has been done, or the attempts to place such documents as being unimportant, a waste of time, an irritant, a restriction, they will always be Absolute and shall remain long after the time of the corrupted leaders who will be forgotten at some point in time, and be long buried in their graves.

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January has bit the dust, and the first month of the new year is ending. It is the time of the gathering of documents, a time leading to what is known here in this country as tax season. It forces us to look back on 2014 and in a sense financially shows us whether it’s been a good year or not so good. I can only hope that is was a good one, and this year will be a better one. Have a great week and see you back here on Saturday. God Bless! (fdbrant.com)

 

 

A Christmas Wish

God Bless All! It is the time of family, of remembrances, of watching the magic in the eyes of children as they anticipate Christmas morning. It is the traditional time to celebrate the birth of Christ and all that this event represents. It is the reason for the gift giving, for all the traditions that have developed over time, from the Christmas trees, to St Nick. And the gift giving is also a representation of the Gift God gave to us that first Christmas.

May this time of year be one of love, joy, and peace. And may the new year, which is only a week away, be one of promise. Again, God Bless! And I’ll close this with a link to a Christmas song from the Piano Guys. F. D. Brant

Published in: on December 25, 2014 at 6:44 am  Comments (2)  
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Pete and Repeat and Do it all Again

Personal Opinion and Thoughts:

It’s that time of year once again when we face important issues, and the making of critical decisions as to who will represent us in the government, and the laws that we will live under. And because of this both our mailboxes, and our entertainment sources, are filled with political ads touting why it is important (or not) to either pass some measure or elect a certain individual. The rhetoric gets so heavy we have a tendency to tune it out. And if one really listens closely, it becomes obvious that it is the same lies from past elections, stating; “if you elect me then I will accomplish this or that” or “oh you don’t want them because” – leaving us wondering what’s really going on, and who will truly represent us instead of themselves. Leaving us as voters to try to find that one individual who will make a difference instead of maintaining the status quo.

Let’s, for a moment, look at these candidates as if they were working for us, and we were their bosses. Now if you want to be honest this really is the truth. Supposedly they are working for us and we approve of what they are doing by allowing them to continue to represent us. Yet, when we compare what the previously elected, and the ones up for election are saying, it sounds no different from when they were up for election before. Same problems, same issues that they said they would solve in the last election. Strange. Because  if it had been any of us, in our jobs, performing at the level of incompetence that we are seeing from our supposed representatives, then we would have been fired a very long time ago. So why are they still in office, why haven’t we fired them? With that in mind here is a link to a website that should help one determine if what they (the politicians) are saying is actually what they are doing (the old adage: actions speak louder than words). https://www.govtrack.us/

If we, as citizens, are not doing our part of this very important job, then, in the end, we can only blame ourselves. Let’s look at history overall and see what we can see. It’s important to reflect on this since history does have a tendency to repeat itself with nations and empires springing up only to disappear. While not always true, still in the vast majority of cases, it can be shown that it is a rot from the inside that is the real reason for the failure and collapse of that empire. Oh it may have been conquered by another, but that is only because of the growing failures within that empire. (Does this seem to apply to us?)

It begins with one weak government after another. A government who seems more interested in personal gain than gain for their empire or nation. They continue to find ways to manipulate the masses to their way of thinking (sound familiar) so that they can continue to reap the benefits and have things continue to go their way. We are definitely in that situation in this country, this nation, at this very moment in time. And because our government is supposed to be a representative government, who, in the end, are the ones responsible for this mess that we are in? Why the simple answer is we are. If we had done our jobs, as citizens of this land, then what we are seeing, what we are facing, our uncertain future, wouldn’t exist.

We supposedly elect these representatives to keep order, keep our borders safe, to protect us against enemies, both domestic and foreign, and to work for us. Yet, if we want to be honest, absolutely none of this is happening. So if those elected officials who are up for reelection are spouting the very same arguments that they did before, it is obvious that they are not doing their job that they were basically hired to do. So what happens when we don’t do our job, we get fired. And there is no doubt that it should happen to them also. But that isn’t what is happening. We, as citizens are definitely failing to hold up our end and because of this are paying a heavy price for that lack of involvement.

Buzz words, words to grab our attention and our emotions. It’s for the children! Protect our elderly! We need to raise taxes to fix our schools! And so many more. Well, here’s a question: Why hasn’t any of this been solved by now? Why is it the same problems over and over again? What happened to all that money they were given in the last election for those very issues and problems? Funny thing, nobody seems to want to give an honest answer, or tackle these and other hard questions. And we continue to blindly give them what they want – why?

Tell me, have you ever found a government when they get new revenue from some additional tax that doesn’t immediately spend it and then ask for more? How does that work? We are not seeing increases in our personal income and must live within our personal means, so why should our government be any different? Yet, every election, every time ballots come out there are requests to increase the flow of our limited money to the government. I haven’t seen any increases to my own pockets and must live within those means, so shouldn’t the government be required to do the same?

Half truths, which are no more than lies. Tell a lie long enough and it becomes the truth. Tell a partial truth said in such a way that it changes the facts and understanding, and the actual truth, now hidden, where the ones who spoke that half truth can say they are not lying, since there is some truth to their statements, need to be held accountable. Still by having knowledge of that half truth and spreading it, changes nothing – it is still a lie. And on that subject you do know that many years ago Congress passed a law dealing with Truth in Advertising, providing penalties for lying to consumers. Of course they exempted themselves knowing full well that in all of their Political Advertising that they would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And probably putting most of them behind bars. Just recently I saw a prime example of this falsehood. Taking a statement, deleting what wouldn’t say what they wanted it to say, using the 3 periods to show a break, recombining the information and completely changing the original statement to become what they wanted it to say. I hate to say it but it is common practice among our politicians. And we put these liars in office and expect the truth from them? Really?

Do you realize how little our representatives in Congress actually work? How about less than half a year for every year they are on capital hill. And to have a salary such as they do, besides the perks that go along with such a job – amazing. And many have the audacity to not even show up.  So where do I sign up?

As a member of such an elite group I really only have to make an appearance every once in a while. I have unelected people who I hire figuring out how to write those bills, doing all the research, and anything else that I might need. I have a dedicated staff that is well paid ( tax dollars of course) to keep me isolated, and when I retire, I retire with the same salary as when I was (well I can’t call it working) employed, no matter how long I served. What’s not to like? Free vacations, free protection, a motor pool from which to take and use a vehicle anytime I like, free trips around the world, free propaganda back to the people I represent, a government credit card to cover all my needs and wants (again our tax dollars at work), exemption from the very laws and regulations that I pass. And since I can vote for my own pay raise it means I can earn any salary and damn the economy and the working people. Yeah, sign me up.

I know in today’s world that time is a fleeting thing and the one thing that there never seems to be enough of. Yet, if we do not make the right decisions, the right choices during the times of these elections, then we deserve exactly what we get. We have had a weak, very expensive, out of control government, for quite a while now, and if things do not change, and change now, we will go the way of other nations that no long exists. We will become a footnote in history, no more than memory, a distant memory that will be taught in the educational systems of the potential that was there, the potential for greatness, but in the end there was only failure. Because in the end, the people failed in their duty and responsibility to place the right ones in their government to keep them safe.

* * *

And the speed of that fleeting thing called time is making itself known – this is the last post for October marking an end of another month. Halloween is fast approaching and will arrive next Friday. When you are out and about on that special day that children love, be overly careful. This is followed by November, and here in the USA the celebration of Thanksgiving. A time to look back and reflect on the past year. Have a great week, enjoy Halloween, and come back on Saturday for the next post – God Bless. (fdbrant.com)

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