Call for Comments – Structural Poverty, Ignorance & Violence

I posted this on myFacebook page. So if any of my friends see this and wish to comment, please just find the post on my page:

https://www.facebook.com/ronheacock/posts/4325825096293?comment_id=4503153&notif_t=feed_comment

For everyone else, please comment – but try and keep your comments constructive. I will be compiling your comments for a future blog post.

When I lived in the rural south I learned to recognize structural poverty, ignorance and violence. Now that I am living in Portland I can see it wherever it is. And though it is more prevalent in rural areas, it exists everywhere. I truly believe that education (which must include a basis for from which we learn to recognize and trust truth.) is the only remedy. I thought my generation would see a diminishing, a movement toward a cure. We have not. I am leaning why (and it is not a Facebook conversation). What I want to know is: What are You Willing to do About it? Because it is killing our world.

Who Would Enjoy Reading your Novel?

I have been researching CreateSpace https://www.createspace.com/ so that I can fulfill the rewards for my proposed KickStarter Grant.

So you know some background, I wrote Happily After Ever between 2003 and 2004 when I was laid off from EDS (because they eliminated my position – that’s code for: “We gave your job to someone who could work for half of what we paid you because they live in a country where VOIP is subsidized by their government and the cost of living is cheaper “) my wife asked me what I wanted to do. I said write. So she thought that I would get it out of my system with the severance that they gave me for seven years of service by spending a few months writing. But instead I began writing 2000 words a day and got started on a novel. It took about a year.

Then after editing and rewriting it a couple of times, I put it away. Got another job, worked at that for two years, got my position eliminated again (This was due to the crash of 08) went to Goddard College, got my undergraduate degree (used the novel as APL [applied prior learning – see http://goddard.edu for more info] – receiving credit hours for my work), got another job, graduated, started my MFA and now I have lost that job. I am pulling the novel out of the drawer and polishing it up.

Kickstarter seems like a great way to fund this sort of project. Check them out if you haven’t already: http://www.kickstarter.com/.

Yes, CreateSpace is Amazon and yes, I understand what Amazon means to the book business – we can rant about that later. They were the ones that answered my questions first and fastest and since I am hoping NOT to self-publish this book, then they will do for now for what I need: Print on Demand and a way to create quick digital reader versions of the book.

Why am I doing all of this work if I do not want to self-publish?

Well, the way I look at it is that my KickStarter project is a promise. I promise to edit the book up to professional quality, and get it published and my backers promise to give me the money I need to accomplish this task (in return for certain rewards).

I can guarantee that I will do everything necessary to publish right up to the point where someone else makes the decision to take it on and actually publish it. Since I can’t guarantee someone else will go for it, then I need to have a contingency plan. Self publishing is plan B. I can make the hard cover and paperback copies I need for the limited edition rewards without a publishing agreement. This means that I will be able to fulfill my promise without someone elses ok. I feel confident about that.

Anyway, I have been reading all the support documentation from CreateSpace and KickStarter. I recommend it highly.

One article I found by digging on CreateSpace is Guide to Targeting an Audience By Maria Murnane. You can access it here: https://www.createspace.com/en/community/docs/DOC-1553 I opened an account, I do not know if you will need to, but it’s free.

After reading this I made a list and it was helpful for me. I suggest you do it too – even if you have not finished your novel. It can’t hurt to understand who you are writing for. I encourage comments. You can also “like” the Equalibrium Press Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/equalibriumpress – and keep in touch that way.

Are you someone who:

Enjoys magical realism?

Is looking for imaginative solutions?

Likes quirky characters?

Liked The Secret?

Liked What the Bleep do we know?

Wants to know the secret of manifesting your deepest dreams?

Is open to change?

Is open to seeing the world a little differently?

Enjoys urban fantasy?

Reads new age fiction?

Believes in miracles?

Likes dogs, even talking dogs?

Can accept that voices in your head don’t necessarily mean you are sick?

Can appreciate the writer’s life?

Likes Nashville?

Appreciates creating an extended family?

Is a Baby boomer?

Believes that Invisible forces are at work?

Believes in wishes?

Believes in Empowerment?

Is interested in Intuition as a guiding force?

Sees spirit at work in common life?

Likes Wayne Dyer, Louse Hay or Deepak Chopra?

Believes in Healing?

Believes in the Ability to change your own life?

Is not afraid of a little course language?

Wants to be real?

Can handle a little sex?

Finds the humor in difficult situations?

Then you will love Happily After Ever


To Galen, on her wedding day, May 1, 2010

In 1982 Karen and I were expecting our second child. Unfortunately during labor, a short while before she was born, her heart stopped beating. The hardest part about that time was explaining to an expectant 5 year old Justin that his baby sister (who he had named Little-By-One) would not be coming home- that, and the feeling that my daughter had somehow chosen not to be born. Whether something was incorrect with the body we had made for her or our relationship was somehow unprepared, at the last moment she backed out as if to say “no, not yet.”. It didn’t make rational sense, but the feeling persisted for years.

We tried again in and in 1985 our beautiful son Morgan was born, literally kicking and screaming. He was and has always been a joy. But the space left by my missing daughter persisted. Somewhere in the back of my mind I felt that she was still poised there, waiting to be born.

One night, four years later, I we decided to try again. I think the conversation went something like…

INTERIOR SCENE BEDROOM NIGHT

RON: “Hey, wanna make a baby?”

KAREN: “Sure.”

CUT TO

INTERIOR SCENE BEDROOM MORNING

RON: “Whoa, what were we thinking?”

Too Late.

I am sure in retrospect that Galen was hovering just on the other side at precisely the correct moment of ovulation urging us to let her through. That is just her style you know; persistence coupled with excellent timing. Even if it may not seem excellent at the time, it has always turned out to be right.

So, some 7 years (almost to the day) following the birth of Little-By-One, Galen Kahlyl Heacock was born, in a cooled down hot-tub, in Marquam Oregon. This may have influenced her propensity for baths (sometimes several a day as a young girl).

I do not have any proof that soul had almost been born in 1982 and then, through some change or maturing process decided that the time was finally right to take the female form in 1989. But, the feeling that I was waiting for her all that time suddenly and completely evaporated.

Fast forward twenty years.

Lest you think that twenty years is not old enough for the inexperienced to even contemplate, let alone enter into the long term and complex contract of marriage, let me assure you that as young as they are Galen and Steven have worked at preparing their relationship for several years. They have lived together here at the farm and alone in their own home in Murfreesboro. They have had their trials, experienced separation and the effects of then trying to live apart. I have watched them. And remember that Galen has excellent timing- even if it may take a while to recognize how perfect it really is. I believe they have a better chance of success than most.

I have some experience along these lines.

I picked up Galen’s mom hitchhiking, almost 35 years ago. We knew each other for three months before we were married. Though this unique fact has been used against me in the decades between, I can tell you that Steven and Galen possess the keys to make the contract work:

  1. Flexibility.
  2. Knowing when to give in (for the greater good).
  3. And the almost obsessive and most important trait of all- never, never, never giving up.

And even so, they will need your help.

I have a friend, Mikhael Yowe, who recently graduated from Goddard College with his Independent BA. As a senior thesis project he created a guide to rites of passage called The Core Ritual. His postulate was that our society (and in fact most modern societies) do not include complete rites of passage. Through his research he determined that an effective and complete rite includes 1) Separation; The removal of the candidate from their current social standing, 2) Transition; the process of initiation usually accomplished through some personal challenge or trial, and 3) Reintroduction; the process of welcoming and re-integrating the initiated back into the community.

I asked Mikhael about marriage as a rite of passage. He explained that our society’s current marriage ritual lacks the reintroduction phase. The married couple is not welcomed back into the culture at large with the confirmed intent of bringing them back into the fold (as it were) of the greater community to which they now belong.

I have understandably spent a good deal of time lately wondering about the ritual of marriage. And I think this is why we traditionally assemble a large group of our closest friends and family to witness and celebrate the largely symbolic connecting of two people into the union of marriage.

And it may even go deeper than that.

There may be a more mystical union taking place. Whether or not you believe in a Supreme Being or underlying spiritual current supporting the universe, there is something powerful and binding about making the commitment to love, honor and cherish each other in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, until death parts you. It may just be the overwhelming traditional weight of those words but I think not. Something elemental changes when you marry.

We are called upon today to transform this event into a real change in the way we see and support Galen and Steven.

With this toast let me declare to the universe that we welcome Galen and Steven McAlister into the greater community of our human family. It may not yet feel different to them but we should all pause and reflect how it will be different for us. Because now, where they were two separate individuals we will forever consider them as one. Think of it like a new born child; as a bundle of love and potential.

20 some years ago Galen, we made you from our love, maybe twice. And it is with these seeds of love that we send you on to your marriage with Steven to create your own traditions and seeds to carry forward in the unbroken line of love that extends backwards through time from the beginning of all human existence.

Now that you have committed to carry one another’s burdens the weight will never be more than you can bear.

With the greatest love and affection,

Your Dad

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping for Piglets

I thought I would feel differently. I thought I would never want another pig. The day before yesterday they took my pig to slaughter. We had a trial run the day before that, with Hen Wen (named after the Lloyd Alexander character) examining the truck, walking down to the ramp munching the lawn and tasty bits until everyone conveniently decided she would not take the leap into the truck and they would return again another day.

It’s been a long road for me reconciling the slaughtering of a beloved barnyard creature. I kept feeling I might keep her, have her bred and therefore; postpone the experience for her piglets. I know my vegetarian friends would argue why did I even have to make the decision, and some health conscious foodies might claim pork is not very healthy for you anyway, but the truth of the matter is she ate well, lived a good life surrounded by love, and we bought her with the intention of developing a food source for us as sustainable farmers. I have type “O” blood. My body does better with a high protein diet. I know that eating meat keeps me healthier. It’s a catch 22. I love my animals, I need to eat them.

I came home late the day they came to load Hen. The farm is now quiet. She does not complain that she needs her scoop of corn first. I miss my friend. After two days I know I want another pig.

I’ve been reading, The Shack for school. It’s a story about a man who needs to find love after the death of his child. He finds God (literally) and has long conversations about love and relationships. It’s a wonderful book, so I won’t say anymore. But it leads me to wonder, would anyone trade the life we live, if we knew it was going to be snatched away from us? And yet, the end is inevitable. We will someday all be gone from this world.

It is a question of faith for me. I believe that we all are SOUL and that the body is NOT US. We exist beyond our death. The last time I saw Hen I whispered to her, “Hurry back.” I couldn’t help myself. It was the only thing I could say that felt right. I said it even though I was thinking I would never buy another pig. I was not really built for this kind of experience. How can I love and kill that which I love?

Today I’ve decided that the joy we will share will be worth the small price at the end of the road. Ultimately, the joy is much stronger than any loss or pain. I say small not because I think the cost of her life was a small thing. It was a great sacrifice. I say it because the love outshines the pain a thousandfold. Today I am calling the pig breeder to see if he has any piglets coming soon. I think I will pick the pinkest pig, but probably more likely I will pick the one who has some strange sense that she knows me.

I can’t say I have truly reconciled the slaughtering of a beloved barnyard creature. But I am coming closer to it. When the pork comes home in freezer packages, I will have to eat it to honor the life we shared. It oddly feels sacrilegious, not to. Perhaps next year, I will be able to perform a sacred slaughter. This time I am glad it’s just the silence I hear. And it makes me want to go shopping for piglets.

If Pigs Could Fly ~ ©k. walasek January 7, 2010

for Cooper


How quickly you left diving

Beyond the quilted grey

I rocked the empty weight

That you once called home

 

I imagine your dreaming

Your third eye sparkles

Explosive rainbow force

That escapes like steam


If pigs could fly they would

Rocketblast fast as Sunlight

Breaking clouds to stars

Mere seconds to be gone

 

Push back purple and green

Fat Pigs RUN like wild horses,

How quickly you FLY! Wait,

Wait… I can’t catch up


 

 

 

 

 

 

If pigs could fly, of course,

They would leave behind all

The extra heaviness, proving

Without a shadow of a doubt

– That animals have a soul.

 

 

Sweet Dreams, Cooper