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Archive for January, 2009

So this is how he did it.

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On writing

It’s high time I wrote a little bit about writing.  After all, I started this blog as a way to showcase myself as a writer.

In the beginning I was thinking children’s books.  It’s still in the back of my mind, but it’s no longer my main priority.  My main vision was to write, and to be able to do it for some amount of compensation.  My husband and I are now in the situation where we need to write to pay the bills.  That will give one a very different perspective on the conventional route to publication that involves sending multiple query letters or manuscripts on spec, waiting for months before getting any sort of reply, piling up the rejection notices, and trying again.  The problem with that scenario is that you can’t send a rejection letter to a utility company, especially when you’ve been using their services.

I learned very quickly that the way to make money at this business is to write not what I want to write, but what other people want me to write.  I don’t mean this is any sort of cynical way.  It’s just one of those life lessons that are best not ignored.  I can still write what I want to write; I just need to make sure I am doing a certain amount of writing for others first.

With that in mind, my freelance writing career is doing quite well considering the time and effort I’ve put into it.  I got regular writing gigs for two local newspapers thanks to the connections of a member of my writer’s group.  I also landed a gig writing for a friend of a friend who has several web sites on topics of interest to me.  I was pretty content with that for a while, but in the past month have strived to increase my client base.

I landed my first national client through Elance, and have completed my first project.  I’m hoping to turn it into repeat projects.  Through another freelance writer, I got introduced to a couple more editors and am looking to see where that goes.  It seems to me the way to get in is through connections.  I haven’t had the greatest success writing editors cold.  Though I haven’t sent out many, query letters and manuscript submissions have been an unmitigated failure.  I’ve gotten the farthest when a writer who already works for an editor recommends me.  Once I’ve gotten in, I’m in.  At this time, I don’t know too many people, so I don’t have too many connections.  But that is slowly increasing.  At some point it will start to snowball.  My attitude right now is to consistently knock on a few doors, then run through the ones that open.  So far it seems to be working.  I’d love it to work faster, but then doesn’t everybody?  At least it’s moving.  It’s better than waiting months and months to hear back on a query letter or manuscript.

Having said all that, my attitude about submitting a manuscript on spec is changing.  For a few months I was adament that I wouldn’t do that.  I’d only write what I’d already sold.  But at the moment I have two publications in mind that I think would like some material I feel I could write fairly quickly.  So, I’m going to go for it and see what happens.  These aren’t big publishers.  They are local magazines.  It’s worth a shot, as long as I’m keeping up with the writing I have sold.

So that’s the quick summary of my writing experience.  Now it’s time to get on with life and with the paid writing 🙂

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No, I’m not talking about Obama!

There’s this interesting You Tube video I came across last night that details one of those secret black ops projects (that so many people seem to know about) where giant holographic images of various deities will be projected in the sky across the world.  These images will be accompanied by mind suggestions as to what they mean.  Depending on where you live, what you’ll see will be an image based on the prevalent traditional religion of the area.  So, in a predominantly Christian area, you might see Jesus; in a Muslim area, you might see Mohamed, etc.

The claim is that all the mental suggestions going along with these images will lead people to believe that we’ve all been wrong up to now about God and what He wants, and that what we really are supposed to do is submit to the new One World Religion.

Conspiracy nut stuff?  Maybe, but bear with me for a minute.  Some insiders say we have the technology to pull this sort of thing off.  There certainly are those who would use religion or any means to control the masses.  It may not be in the works as the video claims, but it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility either.  Besides, something like that has been predicted in the Bible (Matthew 24).

I mentioned this to my husband this morning and his comment was:  this is so typical of what arrogant people seeking to control others would come up with.  He went on to say that these power brokers actually believe that religious people would be fooled by that sort of thing.  Many undoubtedly will be.  I’m sure everyone will be initially impressed by the special effects.  But at some point, people who have faithfully practiced their religion for years are going to notice that the implanted voices inside their heads aren’t jiving with the sacred writings they have so long studied, or what they have come to recognize as the voice of God in their hearts.  I can speak to what a Christian might be thinking for that is my religion.  A basic doctrine we have been taught since infancy is that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation and by extension, to get to heaven.  It’s simplified, but essentially what we believe.  So, is a faithful Christian going to suddenly do an about-face because he or she saw an image of Jesus in the sky and “heard” him say that He wasn’t the only way after all, in fact, He wasn’t any sort of way?

Perhaps with the right amount of coercion, even the most faithful of Christians may turn.  But I do believe it will be pretty clear to those who want to hold onto their faith that the whole thing will be nothing but a super high-tech hoax.

The people most likely to be deceived, in my opinon, are those who really don’t have a solid faith in anything.  As far as they are concerned, Jesus could say the most outrageous things because they have no idea what Jesus actually did say.  It would take far less than giant holographic images to deceive them.  If you are in that group, you should consider that you may be vulnerable to being controlled in a way you hadn’t anticipated.  You might want to dust off a copy of the Bible, crack it open, and take a look at what it actually says–especially the four Gospels.  You’ll find it’s different than what you might think.  I’m not saying convert to Christianity, or even believe a word of what you read.  Just get a working knowledge of what’s written.  That way, if you happen to bump into some false messiah making this or that claim, you’ll at least be able to know whether or not “he” is contradicting what the real Jesus said in the Gospels.  When you perceive the contradiction, just be wary.

The real danger in getting lead by some special effects into a One World Religion isn’t so much that the new religion would be so bad, although I personally believe it will be horrible.  It’s more that you will have been lead down that path through deception and that the religion itself will be used to control you.  Legitimate religions have for years been used to control and harm people.  An invented religion will be used to the same ends.  Do you really want to risk becoming a part of that?  This is one situation where knowledge may not exactly be power, but it can at least be protection–for a while.  So, educate yourself on what is in the Sacred Scriptures.  And maintain a healthy skepticism no matter what you see.

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Wholesome food

Here is a very interesting interview with Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilema and In Defense of Food:  An Eater’s Manifesto that talks about the food production issue.

A couple things stood out to me.  One is the observation that for an increasing number of people, access to high quality food is becoming a real health concern.  Pollan mentions the high rate of diabetes in New York, with one in six people affected.  These people need good food as the readily available processed food will only make them sicker.  I am in that group of people who consider quality food to be paramount to good health, as one of my daughters has a special need and requires certain types of whole foods to keep her healthy.  I currently have access to superb food, but there are times when I feel incredibly vulnerable because if that access were cut off, it would be horribly detrimental to my precious daughter.  I am glad someone like Michael Pollan is publicly talking about this issue because I’m not sure the need for whole foods is always legally or medically recognized as legitimate.

The second thing that stood out is Pollan’s comments about how the organic and whole foods movement has grown incredibly in the last ten years or so with no government support.  His view is “think of how much more it would grow with support.”  My view is that the government’s lack of support is probably the biggest benefit to the movement, and that the government should leave well enough alone and instead focus on ending subsidies to agribusiness.  More and more people are clearly finding alternatives to agribusiness poison despite the government’s massive subsidies.

Anyway, production of high quality food and access to it are important and I’m glad to see more of such food becoming available at reasonable prices.  I have great admiration for growers who offer CSAs, sell at farmers’ markets, and in other ways deal directly with the consumers.  I don’t expect Mr. Obama to add anything positive to this issue and I wish people would quit looking to him as if he might.  But I do believe more people will embrace wholesome food no matter what the government does or doesn’t do to either promote or thwart the effort.

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