Posted in Journey to Sanity

Journey to Sanity: Day 1

Hi.

My name is Edwin H Rydberg, and I have a problem.

I’ve become infected by the insanity of the modern world.

I know that complex issues do not have simple solutions. I know that coming up with an answer to such issues requires evaluation of many positions and consideration of many variables. I know that the side any person will take on an issue is dependent on their own perspective, their own experiences, and their own needs. I know that, while my own position seems most logical to me, it doesn’t, and indeed cannot, address all the various concerns held by others. Furthermore, I know that my position is arrived at by prioritizing my own values and that other priorities can be equally as valid.

I know all this, and yet I still become physically overwhelmed by frustration and even anger when faced with those who stand fast to a viewpoint in opposition of mine.

When I step back from the issues of the day that concern me, I ask myself, are these issues new? Are we facing them for the first time, or have they been around before? Are things really as bad as they seem? What is new to us now, and what is just the old wearing a new dress?

When I do this, I find that very little has changed and that history really does seem to be repeating in endless, iterative cycles. Of course, there are new faces, new twists, and especially a new pace to the changes and challenges. But in the end, they are the same old challenges.

I also ask myself, are things really as bad as they seem? Or am I, perhaps, viewing the world through a lense that focusses whatever I lay my gaze upon to the point where it becomes my entire reality?

When I look at all of these questions together and I view them over a longer breadth of history, I find that we have faced them before. Many times. Sometimes we won, sometimes we lost. So far, however, we’ve continued moving in what I consider a positive direction. So, I should take comfort in this continuity.

But I can’t. While I never have trusted the establishment, I now find I no longer trust a large segment of my fellow humans. And I don’t trust history to straighten us out.

That last is lazy and weak in the extreme. Of course, it’s not history that straightens us out, rather it’s the work of tireless people devoted to truth and freedom. And when they fail, it’s the sacrifices of soldiers fighting for what is right.

I think this is where my problem ultimately lies. The victories of our ancestors have led to such a land of luxury and wonder that I find myself without the desire or strength to fight. I don’t think I’m alone in this, and that frightens me because all it takes for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing.

It also heightens my fear that my child may have to live through the human world once again attempting to destroy itself. Only, this time I’m not sure we could reasonably blame our leaders.

Ultimately, however, I worry that I, like much of the popuation it seems, I am taking things way out of proportion to their danger. So, in order to determine some aspect of the truth for myself, I am attempting to extract myself from world news and pundit commentary for the month of May in order to restore sanity, rediscover perspective, and learn where reason lay.

I will sponsor some of the soldiers fighting for what I believe in through Patreon, and will otherwise withdraw, to experience rhetoric-free life in an attempt to determine the nature of my reality.

I shall report on my journey here.

Posted in Neural Spasm, Writing

What Superpower Would You Choose?

Destiny City, from my new Altered Destiny serial, features superheroes and supervillians with a lot of different powers. Starshyne has flight and energy projection, Black Pariah has heightened reflexes and an alien computer sidekick, Virtue Maroni is an expert marksman and tech genius, Dreadlock is superstrong with limited teleportation, Thixotrope is a futuristic nanite swarm, Neverland Nuance is a fairy, and Rembrad has a cosmic paintbrush that can paint reality, and that’s not even including the heroes that dies in the plague.

With all the vast different types of superpowers that have, and have yet to be, created, which would you choose? And why?

As a kid, my favourite superheroes were The Atom and The Flash. Even now I’d still love to have superspeed. Of course, it’s important to realize that each power is not a single power, but rather a host of powers. Superspeed is an excellent example. What good would superspeed movement be if you couldn’t think fast enough to process what was coming at you? Or if your reflexes weren’t good enough to dodge it? What about surviving the tremendous wind ripping against your body, bluring your vision? And that’s even ignoring the metabolic issues required with generating that much energy (from this, you can easily see the genious in creating the ‘speedforce’ in the flash comics, which solves all these problems).

And there are other issues.

In literature, superpowers fall under the category of magic. And all magic that is interesting to read about has a cost. If it didn’t the user would be a god and could solve all their problems instantly. That would be boring (although it would lead to a discussion of the character’s own flaws, as in Marvel’s Infinity Guantlet series). The most interesting heroes are the ones were forced to give up something important on their path to greatness.

So, considering that, would you still choose that power, and all the good it could do, even if you had to give up what was most important to you?

Starshyne gained cosmic powerbeams and flight, but lost her parents. Adam Johnson has amazing reflexes and an alien computer as a friend, but lost his wife. Even Dr. GrimLaw, supergenious, lost something. It’s easy to say ‘I’d love to have superspeed’, but much harder to accept the power if it comes with loss. So, would you still choose your power, if it came with great loss, or even a Faustian deal?

Would you?

Edwin

Posted in Reading List

Review: Book Launch Blueprint by Tim Grahl

If you’re at all like me, you’ve come to writing somewhat later in life. That means you’re largely self-taught, having read as many of the recommended ‘how to write’ books as you possible. Then, after finally finishing your first draft, revising and editing as per the suggestions of your writing group, you’ve read up on how to approach agents and publishers, and/or you’ve become a near expert at using the online self-publishing resources. Then, you get your book out there and you breathe a sigh of relief, finally able to relax and watch the sales numbers climb.

Only they don’t.

You don’t know why, and you won’t know what to do about it.

So you start reading marketing books and learn how to leverage the latest social media, and still your number barely climb.

Well, before you enter that downward doubt spiral of self-destruction, there’s one more book to try.

Book Launch Blueprint (and it’s prequel Your First 1000 books) by book marketer Tim Grahl is a breath of fresh air amid the current offerings this area. Without giving too much away (you really should read it yourself), Tim teaches a technique he calls the Connection Method. The fresh air part comes in what this entails.

Tim’s method is a down-to-Earth, honest, and friendly method of connecting with your audience. He stresses that marketing should be open and honest way of providing your fans with something they need (i.e. your book). You don’t spam, you’re not sneaky, you don’t do anything underhanded. You simply ask their permission for connecting to them by exchanging something of value.

Furthermore, in contrast to most book marketing advice, Tim explains why you can largely forget about social media. Tim stresses that the only real piece of online technology you need is an e-mail list (which he’s shown to be 9-50 times! more effective) – okay, a website of some kind is important too.

I’m not going to give any more details about his methods here, becuase I want to encourage you to read his books, but not only does he share a simple, straightforward method for building a fan base, but he does so in a clear and concise manner.

So, I highly recommed Tim Grahl’s Book Launch Blueprint (and prequel Your First 1000 Books) and I’ll be implementing his ideas into my own marketing strategies.