C (in a Roman sense)…

This is the 100th post here on Surfing the Zeitgeist. Since I began this project the subjects have ranged from legend to futurism. From creative process to both profession writing and sculpture. From who I have been to who I aspire to be.

Maintaining a nearly weekly schedule on a blog has helped focus my thinking, which as you’ve seen can range across a wide range of topics. That’s fine for amusement but when there’s a task at hand it helps to have a structure and/or outline. There have been a few personal landmarks along the way – not the least of which being the loss of Leonard Nimoy.

I’ve also been able to celebrate my collaborations with Leanna Renee Hieber, the Nerdy Duo, and Simon Berman. There have been links to my other blog-work at Criminal Element. Through all the past 99 posts I have enjoyed tracking the nations from which Visits and Likes have come. The number of countries on that tally coincidentally sits at 99. It’s fun to have a bet with myself on the next addition to the list but I’m nearly always surprised, though I am fairly certain № 100 will not be North Korea.

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Apart from providing insight to how I go about my projects I’ve given a few glimpses at my philosophy – hopefully without being controversial. My heroes and notions of civics don’t have to be yours; if we all agreed on every point what would be the purpose of a blog anyway?

A hero’s journey and a personal one may both fall under the rubric of per aspera ad astra (through hardships to the stars). High hopes lead to higher aim. My motto for the past 25 years has been, “The only raw material required to manufacture hope is time.”


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The Return of Strangely Beautiful!

Good People,

Permit me to (re)introduce you to a very important book. If an earlier addition of Strangely Beautiful is on your shelf, you’re in for the special treat of new content. If you’ve not had the pleasure of reading this tale, you are invited to make a purchase of it today. Once it arrives, I’m certain you will enjoy the time spent with Leanna Renee Hieber’s finely crafted and much beloved characters.

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The unique and original creation – Percy Parker – features in this work by a true pioneer in Gothic & Gaslamp fantasy. Miss Parker is, in a sense, an outcast from birth but who among us hasn’t felt the same way some point in our lives? She and Alexi Rychman take center stage, surrounded by mystery and almost Poe-like goings-on.

If you’re a fan of such film and television series as Crimson Peak, Ripper Street, and Penny Dreadful than Strangely Beautiful must adorn your attention and library.

You can read more here.


This post is, of course, utterly share-able.

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“Five feet out that door is the real world…”

Teiresias-JanusSince I remembered Teiresias from grade school lessons about Greek and Roman mythology, I rather assumed he was a famous seer. In some recent conversations, it turns out he’s not that famous. I find the character fascinating because he stands in so many thresholds at once – between mortal and divine, sighted and blinded, male and female, and the present and possible futures. If Odysseus’ visit to Hades is included, the liminality of this world and the Underworld is added.

And for a persona so involved with seeing the future and curses of the gods, it seems odd that none of the stories about him (or her – as “Teireseia” in the novel I’m writing, A Song Heard in the Future) directly involve the Fates. It seems a glaring omission, to be honest.

Chorus: Who then is the helmsman of Ananke (Necessity)?

Prometheus: The three-shaped Fates and mindful Erinyes (Furies).

Chorus: Can it be that Zeus has less power than they do?

Prometheus: Yes, in that even he cannot escape what is foretold.

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound

Writing is not just telling a story. The act of crafting a novel is a process of making decisions. Two of the largest choices, particularly when it involves research, are “Do I include this and, if so, how?” along with “What does this mean in context of the book I want to present?”

In showing the journeys made by Teiresias, there’s a journey for me. I think that may be part of my renewed fascination for the seer and all of his thresholds. In a recent conversation I said, “Each person lives only one day at a time.”

Within the talk it was meant as a reference to how much one person can do in 24 hours and within reason. It isn’t fair to measure one person by one day’s work and another by that of a decade. But in this post it means that each day can be a journey – even when it is a slice of the experience of someone who can see the future.

Janus was the Roman god of Start and Change. He was also the deity of doorways. It does not seem that there was a Greek equivalent. I am beginning to wonder if it shouldn’t have been Teiresias.

Tales from the Hereafternoon…

The concept of the Audience of One has always fascinated me and said Audience is not necessarily always also the Muse. In brief, the concept pertains to circumstances when – if an artist’s work is seen by only a specific, intended viewer the artist can be content. (There’s a bit of that notion in this post’s title).

There was a time when I could reliably be expected to spend most of my day in thought, listening to good music, and engaging in rampantly philosophical discussions with one of my dearest friends – Randy Reitz. We both still do all of those things but for the past 15 years there has been 1,100 miles between.

This past week (with a few extra days added for good measure), he and I picked up about where we left off, and without much lost momentum.

He hasn’t been able to take the whole week off so I’ve been working on a new batch of Pandora’s Pets, which we debated might be called the “Worry Warts” batch. (The first set are called “Millstones”.)

Randy and I have always had an interest in the arts; all of them. I think it’s fair to say it took him longer to find his own. It’s also true that, once discovered, his art enjoyed a wider audience than did mine. Until recently, it rather surprised me when anyone but Randy took an interest in my creations. We have both, I believe, always tried to encourage each other but making art must come from the artist – regardless of how much encouragement there may ever be.

While making sculpture in his home, I realized that I tend to “hmmm” while in the process. The unconscious comes very near the surface as these tiny little demi-demons are summoned. The process is almost meditative, maybe. It isn’t only a metaphoric exorcism. Earlier today, between stages of making today’s Pets, I realized that my fingernails and fingertips are no longer stained from having been a smoker. When out “finding oneself”, no matter how often one needs a reminder, ask the folk who know who you have wanted to be.

I’ll be offering Pandora’s Pets for sale via ebay and etsy very soon. There will be a post about that once a few more details have been taken care of.

At the Crossroads…

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Let me introduce you to Telixaus Brood. It is a member of my newest creation – Pandora’s Pets, which debuted at TempleCon this past weekend. Each of these small spirits is designed to help with a specific worry so their host can focus on a decision. They do not wear their own emotion but rather that with which they hope to alleviate.

The sell starting at $15, plus shipping costs, when applicable. And apparently, they eat more than just your cares.

The TempleCon organizers presented their 10th event – fittingly themed “Crossroads” – and the second that I’ve attended. The staff and volunteers certainly count among the best organized and supportive of their respective brood. From pre-registration to loading out, every member of the TempleCon crew with whom I interacted was clearly dedicated to making an enjoyable event. They are helpful and professional in each detail and at every turn. One asked me what brought me to TempleCon and I answered (for 2014) that I have traveled nearly every geek avenue they showcase as part of their programming, from goth to steampunk to historical fiction to gaming – though not necessarily in that order.

And my involvement with TempleCon this year – my first as a presenter and vendor – was due entirely to introductions and encouragements made by Leanna Renee Hieber. Among the wide range of scheduled attractions was a reading by Ms. Hieber of her first hardcover novel, The Eterna Files, which officially releases tomorrow. Our collaborative writing has not yet been published but Pandora’s Pets do represent one intersection of our creative approaches. The Pets and I are truly all gratitude for her work and support.

Tomorrow (February 10) is the last day to order a signed personalized copy from WORD.

The great spirits of unworldly artist Kelley Hensing, exemplary sutler Major Salisbury, and itinerant lecturer Mark Donnelly further enhanced the excursion.

Thank you, Lauren, for permission to use your photograph.

…Just Six Words Long…

That’s how long the shortest funny and true story I know is.

I woke up this morning and officially began celebrating my 50th birthday. There was a party in my honor nine days prior but the actual “event” is today. The recent, new normal of research and word count is suspended for 24 hours – although musing on A Song Heard in the Future is almost certainly going to happen. This day is a landmark. And an opportunity to decide how I’d like to spend the next 50 years. I think I have some strong, brilliant, and beautiful ideas…

I woke up this morning having spent the last full week without a cigarette. Also a landmark. And possibly a sign that I’ve at least partially made the aforementioned decision and a commitment. The novel is, in part, about hope and justice. While celebrating my own landmark day and what it may mean, I should really learn to permit both hope and justice visit me more often.

My intent with these posting is that they happen about once a week, going forward. If either the birthday or cessation of smoking landmarks help you feel better about life and living, please consider Following this blog.

Thank you.