For millions of years Iba immersed herself in education. Every word, sound, or action, had a diktat, from the teachings of life by her mysterious and often volatile siblings, the Elder Immortals, to the algorithms provided by the elaborate Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines. Iba loved to learn new subjects, or rediscover old forgotten ones. Now she had an opportunity to speak with the MA Kind, the latest and most advanced beings. Iba just couldn’t wait to meet them. Her professor had told her last week that she had been selected to speak to one of the New Nine members, the first MA Kind ever created.
“One of the New Nine!” She excitedly exclaimed, as Iba shifted excitedly from one foot to the other.
It was the overall thoughts of how much of a blessing education had been to Iba that gave her an extra pep in her step as she negotiated the fragrant floral campus of Lady Margaret Hall of Oxford. As she moved along within the stream of the world’s future mental champions, Iba’s mind drifted to the past.
Iba happily recalled the teachings of the earliest tribes of the Neanderthal and those important lessons of Cro-Magnon men that would follow. How she had migrated north from the region now known as Ethiopia Prime, along the banks of the great and ancient river Ni, a river that no longer exists due to the violent discussion between tectonic plates of the continents and the immense bodies of earth’s waters. Iba remembered that when she walked along banks of the river Ni, you could not see the river’s other side. She remembered that the Ni’s water had nourished many types of dinosaurs before man’s appearance, and much later the earliest of mammals, reptiles and birds dwelled by the fecund waters. It was hard to leave that place, but she did, as there were more lessons to learn and suspicions about her unchanged form began to attract attention.
Iba later settled with a tribe in another lush and fertile land which later became Saudi Arabia, and there, centuries later her schooling changed yet again, because of Islam. It never bothered Iba whether she studied with male or female or a mix of male and female, just as long as she studied.
Her pursuit of education eventually took her from Saudi Arabia and brought her to early Saxony England in 999 A.D. and after some 1200 years she found herself at Lady Margaret Hall of Oxford. She loved this campus, and happily dwelled there; her head stuck in computers or on rare occasions, and with bliss, stuck in some book or ancient manuscript she had not seen in thousands of years.
Today as Iba neared the hall where she would be teaching as an associate professor, she heard the unmistakable sound of laser and gunfire. The onslaught of lead bullets of various calibers and deadly laser emissions of different colored light was followed by the macabre screams of adults in a chorus of all ages and genders. The discordant sound pulled Iba’s mind to the present, as students, professors and administrators surged in random directions of panic with only one thought in mind, to find safe shelter or escape.
Through the panicked crowd Iba saw Nichole Ashmond, a five-time winner of the Mountain Survival Competition, a three-month ordeal of survival in the harshest places on earth. Nichole was also rumored to be an active white supremacist, although that was just talk.
Unlike everyone else, Nichole’s strides were deliberate and not panicked as she made her way to the gymnasium electrical shelter; in her hand she gripped some type of remote control. Once inside she peered with a leering face out the single window in the door at the scattering crowd. Up in the sky a hacked security HD moved with malice, dispensing deadly rounds of bullets and laser fire into the dense crowd.
Iba sprinted to the shelter door, her Immortal legs carrying her swiftly. Nichole immediately saw Iba approaching quickly wearing a Muslim dress. Iba nimbly hurdled the fallen and the dead. Nichole mouthed a muffled command and the HD focused its laser fire at Iba while the ballistic onslaught continued spraying into the panicked crowd, large caliber bullets neatly vaporized limbs or cut people into large pieces.
Iba did not duck as a laser blast connected with her arm. She did not scream nor did she curse; she was nowhere near mortally injured as she began to heal instantaneously.
“You’ll have to do more than that little one.“ Iba screamed as she slammed through the door.
Why did I even bother running to you? Iba thought as she looked at Nichole’s face of rage.
“You can’t stop me, you sand nigger. You’ll never stop me. A lot of nigger lovers are going to die today and it’s your fault.”
‘Yes I will! You big bitch!” Iba screamed and for that instant she was angry, truly angry.
Rage left Iba’s body like a shot, and when it got to Nichole it removed her mouth so that there could be no more profanities or screaming. The rage continued to feed on Nichole taking massive bites out of the physically fit woman. Upon the eighth bite Nichole was all but gone.
“Now finish your meal and go.” Iba said to her rage, her hands spread upward to a darkening sky, and in a flash her rage moved past her exploding though the shelter door to the outside.
People continued to scream as they saw the door of the shelter consumed by something vile and angry. Those that were nearest abandoned their hiding places, deciding that the HD’s bullets and lasers were a better fate then the thing that emerged from the shelter.
The HD hardly got two more shots off before Iba’s rage was upon it. The hacked security HD writhed in mechanized distress as it too was consumed, its once deadly lasers and bullets dissolving into nothingness.
Over the cries of the wounded, and the approach of first responder’s sirens, brave people rose to their feet and looked at Iba.
Iba’s communicator chimed, and a southern voice calmly spoke, “Girl, it’s time to come home now.”
“Yes, sister but for the record, that bitch had it coming.” Iba said.
Footnote from the author.
Description of Iba - The Seeker of Knowledge:
Iba, an Elder Immortal (EI), is a true academician and seeker of knowledge. She is one of the most curious of the Elder Immortals, thereby giving her a more human-like essence. However, as the reader can easily see, Iba is endowed like all Elder Immortals with immense power, and when coupled with undisciplined passion can yield truly terrifying results. Even after years beyond count the Elders Immortals can be moved to great passion.
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Visit Iba in my novel, Origins - Testament of the One.
Here I lie in this hospice bed waiting for my death. Life transition HDs constantly hum about me, temporally prolonging organs that should have long since betrayed me. My chest hurts, and an HD does something to help my rasping lungs. My back hurts, and another HD does something to aid my failing kidneys. My head hurts, and yet another HD provides something to soothe my comatose like mind.
Throughout my long and blessed life I have been at the bedside of many that have died. I have often wondered about their thoughts and how their souls felt as it sloughed off the final restraints of mortal life.
My name is Tom. Tom Anderson. And I have accomplished only one significant thing in my life; the creation of the base program that allows HDs to bond with humans. In this single contribution I find great pride. It is my only achievement outside of my marriage worth telling. But strangely enough, I cannot take full credit for the interface program, nor can I generously bestow it to my beloved wife solely. The true credit of this revolutionary accomplishment of man-machine interface forever linked to my name, truly belongs to a strangely compelling woman, and her example of an unyielding and complete love of another. She has no doubt touched millions in a similar fashion as she touched me. Let me tell you of Areum, the Elder Immortal, through my dying eyes.
It was 300 years ago and I had just met my true love Lisa Bredergant. I was beginning my first year of internship at the small, but very cutting edge company called ManMachine Industries (MMI). For my first job I was given the opportunity to write the base code for the new HD 101 series. I eagerly jumped into my job working sixteen hours per day, seven days a week. My fleeting spare time was spent with Lisa or sleeping, or maybe the reverse.
In three month’s time I had accomplished what a team of ten engineers could not do in two years. I was hailed as a prodigy in organic machine interfaces, given a corner office, a large promotion to include my own division, and I hadn’t even reached fifty years of age. My meteoric rise into management was unheard of in that time, especially within MMI.
Ten years from that momentous achievement, I sat in a park across from the Museum of Natural History in New York, waiting for my beloved Lisa while watching all the people amble about with their HDs in tow. I loved to people watch, and I loved museums.
It was then that I saw the strangest thing; I witnessed two people walking with only one HD accompanying them. They casually made their way up the center steps of the great museum hand in hand in deep educated conversation. I was so taken aback that I swiftly left my perch and ran to catch up to them. I finally got inside the museum, and caught up to them.
“Hey, you.” I called and they both turned simultaneously amidst the shushing of the museum staff.
“How is it that you are accompanied by only one HD?” I asked.
“Only one stayed with us,” the man said with a smile. His wife stood silently smiling at me as well.
“The HDs arrive every day, sometimes more than once a day after the preceding one explodes,” the woman said.
“Explode! HDs do not explode!!” I answered incredulously.
“But they do child,” said the woman her continence of such peace that I could not even begin to argue with her, let alone feel any ire with this absurd conversation.
“Show me.” I said.
“Very well, follow us.” The man said.
“I am Ammon, and this is my true companion, Areum.”
Areum smiled at me, and my heart was filled with such happiness. I will never forget the peculiar words Areum spoke to me that day. So strange, initially, I was thinking about HDs, not lovers, as Areum spoke.
“I am known as the true companion, the ever faithful, the enricher of life, the one who brings to completion, the joy, and the blessing personified.”
As she completed the extensive definition of herself, we had entered into a relatively quiet section of the museum. Areum took ten brisk steps away from Ammon and the HD followed for five of those paces, shook suddenly, turned from a normal green status to an amber warning state, then to a red critical grade, and exploded.
I stood there, aghast! Looking at the two of them and listening to a few screams from passersby.
“How could that be? How is that possible?” I queried, as my beloved Lisa approached from behind and took my arm. We usually held hands but rarely did she take my arm in such a loving fashion, her breast held snuggly and warmly against my upper arm. I sheepishly looked around, self-conscious of the overt affection Lisa demonstrated.
“Lisa this is Areum and Ammon. They are quite extraordinary,” I said.
Before Lisa could respond, I continued.
“Honey, I must leave,” I gathered up the broken pieces of the HD and headed straight to my lab at MMI.
Three questions swirled in my head as I rode in the hover cab: Why was there only one HD for them both? What was Areum talking about? Why did the HD explode?
I reviewed in forensic fashion, and in isolation, the HD parts and its program. After four weeks of hard work that none in the company thought was needed, I prevailed with possible solutions. Every week or so I would personally configure and send to the couple two HDs. One would return to me without fail within hours, and the other would mysteriously explode, in some isolated location, preventing any fatalities; and I was told by Ammon or Areum where to find the remains. The only thing harmed was the HDs themselves and my pride. Finally, I gave up.
It was another 18 years before I was smart enough to ask my beloved Lisa to marry me, and of course she said yes. With my attention focused on my bride to be, and not those damned exploding HDs, I was the happiest man in the world. While on our honeymoon in Cairo, Egypt, we saw Areum and Ammon again, appropriately enough, they were standing outside the entrance to the lost artifacts of Imhotep.
“Hey you,” I called once again to the shush of the curator staff. Lisa and I approached with zeal. People in the surrounding area were more amorous than usual, including Lisa. I chalked it up to our honeymoon, but beneath that reason I knew that the amorous reaction all of us felt was because of this amazing couple.
Ammon looked at me and smiled. He said no words, but merely pointed; the single HD floating between them substantiating my bruised ego, that all those years of hard work had yielded no solution to this dilemma. This time I was smart enough to not ask Areum and Ammon to step apart.
Areum looked at Lisa and me, and with a voice of the most beautiful moonlit summer evening she spoke, and everything washed away from reality.
“My words are pure and unchallenged, my actions just, to love’s cause only. I am the one that Albus saw before he chose to walk away, forgiving the greatest sin by us. My name is Wife, she that nourishes and rejuvenates all unions.”
My heart pounded with such contentment that I fainted...
Many years have passed with Lisa and me since that day; and we have had the most wonderful union I have ever known. Just a year ago my beloved Lisa passed away. Now, I find myself in this hospice bed with my medical HDs linked to my emotions in perfect harmony. Although I must admit the link technology between humans is far more eloquent now, it gives my heart great pride that my baseline code still runs through this magnificent union of man and machine.
Slowly, and with great purpose, the door to my room opened and two silhouettes walked to my bedside. It was only when they stood directly next to me that I could see their faces, Areum and Ammon unchanged. Once again, Ammon only smiled and said nothing. He stepped back from the bed and his image all but vanished, leaving me in blissful isolation with her, with Areum.
She began to speak with words my mind could not fathom, but my soul leapt with joy to hear. I reached for her...
“You are almost there.” Areum said.
“And will I see her there?” I asked.
“Yes.” Areum said.
“And will she know me? Will my Lisa remember me?”
“Yes.” She said.
“Will there be others there? All the others I have loved and lost, will they be there too?” I asked with rasped breath.
“Yes, can you see the way to them?” Areum asked.
“Yes.” I said.
“Good, for the healthy mortals cannot see these paths.” Areum said.
“Will you be there as well?” I asked.
“I am in both worlds, altogether. I am as constant as the brightest star; I will forever be there, in both places.”
Suddenly, I could feel Lisa’s warmth, I could smell her, I could see her, I reached for her hand and she gently took mine.
I heard the HD explode. And I laughed...
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Footnote from the author.
Description of Areum - The feminine of the Lovers:
Areum, an Elder Immortal (EI), is the epitome of the "Bride and Wife." Her existence is the personification of life, peace, comfort, enlightenment, strength, and patience. In this writing the reader is given a glimpse of Areum and her Elder Immortal companion Ammon, through the dimmed eyes of Tom, a dying man; but it is clear that death may not be the end, albeit a powerful doorway that humans must journey.
Visit Areum in my novel, Origins - Testament of the One.
Unlike her Clique sisters, Ms. Rosa Antonia Medina hated technology. Every time she got into that ghastly hover limousine her heart dropped as if someone had locked her in some elaborate well-appointed prison cell. As a Clique member, Rosa had put Venezuela firmly back on the map of beauty and fashion. She stood with utter command upon the highest stratus of feminine splendor. And for three hundred years, she carried that mantle with humility, poise, and grace, all encased within her fiery personality. Looking at her, one would find it very difficult to believe that Rosa came from humble beginnings, from the small town of Camatagua, Venezuela.
Before she was discovered by the Clique, Rosa spent her time working with her father on their burgeoning farm, which produced some of the fastest horses that the world had seen from that region in sometime. So Rosa, like fledgling stallions, grew with unbridled freedom, strength, and spirit. Her father told her that no horse should ever be forced to carry any man or woman. In fact, Rosa and her father would take a month trip annually to a very isolated area of their ranch, it was there far from civilization, that a horse would choose them, if they were lucky. During one of these trips, Rosa and her father Rodolfo were interrupted by the panic of one of the ranch’s chief field hands, Posito.
Posito told them between panicked breaths, that Rosa’s younger sister Miss Ximena Olivia Medina was badly hurt at her food service company in America. Ximena had put her all into winning a contract to serve food at the largest US Military show of the year, “The Military Expo.” Rosa looked back and forth, between her father and Posito as they received the terrible news, her heart already telling her what she must do. She must go to America and fulfill the promise of her younger sister. Rosa would have to leave the peace of Camatagua. So, selflessly she left her father alone in the field waiting to meet the next great stallion prodigy.
After seven hours of flight time, Rosa landed in San Diego, miles from the peaceful glades of her ranch and her beloved father. Rosa went straight to the hospital to see her sister. The sounds and the sights of the city agitated her from the first, but she pushed those feelings aside, she had to help Ximena. Every hover cab driver stood at full attention when they saw her exit the airport, they were enraptured beyond reason by her magnificence. So, she picked a female driver to take her to the hospital and then to the San Diego Convention Hall where the Military Expo was to be held.
Her sister’s team was a wreck. The Convention Center Manager, Mr. Thomas, had berated the team lead to the point she had run from the convention center and could not be found, leaving two assistants in further disarray. Mr. Thomas was well on his way to bringing another of Ximena’s team members to tears when Rosa entered the hall with the Convention Center’s Assistant Manager, Mr. Trist in gleeful tow. Mr. Trist was all too happy to assist such a beautiful woman.
Upon seeing Rosa, Mr. Thomas came to a faded stop, his yelling dwindling down to a whisper, as he adroitly studied the beauty before him.
“Who are you? And where did you come from? Some farm?” Mr. Thomas asked in a normal tone as he looked at Rosa.
“As a matter of fact, I did come from a farm, I came from the Equus de La Hacienda, my ranch, the ranch of Equine Majesty in Camatagua, Venezuela. Who are you? And where are you from? Some basement condominium in this dreadful city no doubt.” Rosa retorted without hesitation. This man irritated her, and she didn’t care who heard her insults. Her father would not have approved of such thoughtless outward anger.
“Why you little foreign...”
“Mr. Thomas, she is co-owner of the food company Ximena Foods.” Mr. Trist interrupted with a stupid smile on his face.
“Oh, is she? Then you better be ready for tomorrow young lady, get this food station organized or we will seek recompense from you so fast it will make your head spin. You have no idea how...”
“We will be ready. Now go rude man... Go!!!” Rosa’s raven hair tumbled from beneath her Stetson as she removed it in frustration.
An astute observer of people, Mr. Thomas made a hasty yet threatening exit.
“I’ll leave you to this mess,” he said over his shoulder as he strode away with Mr. Trist hesitantly following, looking more behind at Rosa than ahead.
“Gooo!!!” Rosa screamed with such fury that all the other vendors, including her own disheveled team, stood and watched Mr. Thomas pick up his pace from her single command.
The Ximena Foods team worked throughout the night, in the restaurant’s well organized and stocked kitchen, and as each meal was prepared, the all too familiar aroma of Rosa’s mother and grandmothers’ well renowned meals filled the hungry air; Rosa smiled as the boisterous aromas conjured up Camatagua.
“This is home!” Rosa exclaimed to her sister’s kitchen staff as they joyfully completed dish after dish.
She could feel the presence of her mother and grandmothers. Rosa smiled as she remembered the many splendid conversations between her mother and grandmothers, as to whose recipe was the best. She could see the men of her family being dragged into the kitchen to sample the food, smiles on their faces as they eagerly participated in multiple taste tests.
So splendid were those memories, Rosa thought.
Meanwhile, the restaurant’s HDs delivered the piping hot food to the teams at the huge serving stations of the convention hall; there the food was properly prepped for their prospective patrons. And when the sun rose above the horizon it was met with the perfection of Latin cuisine.
Mr. Trist was promptly sent to the food court, and reported back to the manager that all stations to include Ximena Food’s station, stood ready.
When the Expo participants saw Rosa, they lined up to taste the food that this beauty prepared. The draw of the audience was such that the Expo guest star Miss Aditi Noa Ashima, the reigning Miss Universe, was told of this most beautiful woman serving food at this Latin food station. And the food was great too.
Miss Aditi Noa Ashima arrived at the food station; when she saw Rosa, she gasped at Rosa’s beauty, inclined her head in deference to Rosa, removed her Miss Universe crown and placed it upon Rosa’s head to the applause of the crowd.
Aditi voiced a command to her HD commutations link and a southern voice sweet with desire answered.
“Hello Aditi, how you doing sugar?” A lilting southern voice spoke, silencing the crowd.
“CE, you must see this woman, she is absolutely striking!” Aditi replied...
Footnote from the author.
Image description of Rosa:
Ms. Medina, a human, is seen here enjoying a moment away from the coven of powerful females known as the "Clique." She is always looking for ways to get outdoors for a breath of fresh air, which annoys some of the Clique members. Here she strolls down the street untethered from the group's ghastly hover limousine.
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Visit Rosa in my novel, Origins - Testament of the One.
There he sat before the world with much hubris, on the Accounts Receivable Throne. The throne was made of the most precious materials of earth. A throne fashioned like that of a massive scale, the other side completely obscured behind a wall of lead, and the side on which he sat jutted out into the immense hall. Up and down, he slowly moved as if on a teeter totter, and some unknown force placed weights on the hidden side of the gargantuan scale. Before him, and at his feet formed an immense line of humans and machines. Tens of thousands, all with their eyes, faces, and sensors turned upward to him. For all things were measured by him, all things weighed for their value or worth.
Behind him, to his left, and his right, hovered the calculators, each machine efficiently clicking and flashing with additions and subtractions of the petitioner’s value, which stood before him. He would have asked the petitioner to kneel as they addressed him, but Immortal laws forbade such an act of total surrender. Kneeling did not matter to him as much as it did to his Immortal Elder younger brother “The Bossman,” for he had not yet assigned a worth for that action. However, his mind of late had moved to quantify such an action, and in doing so he smiled a broad and greedy smile.
The woman who stood before him mistook his smile as one of possible credit, her life and work may yet yield. Perhaps she would be able to go home and tell her family that today she is still of value, that the world still had use for her and her life, that she would be allowed to continue to work and provide for her family. But the calculators to her left, those that tabulated debt, continued to click and clack with computer efficiency. While those computers to the right, those that accounted for ones worth, had long since stopped calculating. The woman’s eyes cast upward filled with tears of desperate hope. Her thin pink lips trembled at the sound of the debt calculators to the left, and the wicked smile of this very powerful being that sat on the throne.
The occupier of the throne is Barret Blueblood; he is the richest being on earth. To Mr. Blueblood, everything has value until it simply does not. And when the “not” occurs, that human, machine, and now MA Kind, would simply become nothing. They will find no job, for they are found useless to society by Mr. Blueblood’s decree. These poor and unfortunate would be sent to Urynthus, a place where beings and things were turned into energy to power the production of products and things Barret and his calculators had deemed appreciated. Or maybe they would be allowed to serve as a slave to Bossman.
The woman that stood at the front of the line and directly before Mr. Blueblood is Mrs. Wendy Mary Brennor; wife, nurturing mother of five, caring grandmother of sixteen, and loving great-grandmother of two, compassionate middle sister with two siblings, and the “cool” aunt to seven.
The last clicks of the debt calculators to the left slowed to a few clicks every few seconds. When Wendy began to scream, the credit calculator to the right clicked one final time, calculating the worth of the actual scream.
The silence of the calculators, and not Wendy’s screams, brought Mr. Blueblood’s focus back from his calculation of the “worth of kneeling,” to that of Wendy herself, who now stood before him trembling.
“You are a debt,” Blueblood spoke, with quick perfect enunciation.
“Please, Mr. Blueblood, sir. I still have worth!” Wendy screamed.
The debt calculator clicked once again tabulating further debt caused by her statement. Wendy’s sobs caught in her throat for fear of incurring any more debt.
“You are a debt, and only a debt, even in your total liquidation you will still leave a negative balance.” Blueblood spoke as he looked to his right at the calculator responsible for Wendy’s debt.
“Off with you to collections,” Blueblood said with eyes of wrath and a pronounced British accent. The floor beneath Wendy’s feet instantly gave way, and Wendy fell screaming through the trap door.
The machines directly behind the precious throne quickly typed a message of liquidation and sent it to Wendy’s family, with a note that Wendy’s husband has now assumed her debt, and that he must appear before the Accounts Receivable Throne to balance that debt in one week.
Mr. Blueblood looked at the debt calculator that allowed the negative debt and spoke one word that echoed throughout the vast well-lit hall, “Overrun.”
The levitating calculator fell to the ground with a metallic thud cracking the expensive marble floor.
“Deduct that damage to the floor and the repair thereof from the debt calculator’s manufacturer,” Blueblood spoke, and another debt calculator accurately adjusted the ledger account.
The next in line came forward a boy of five, gently pushed by his mother.
“We are done for today,” Blueblood spoke.
Without hesitation, the immense crowd quickly shuffled away under the harsh direction of the scheduling machine that ubiquitously updated all with a new report date and time.
Blueblood leaned back on the throne and thought, my calculation of “kneeling worth” could not be successfully accomplished until I have possession of the Albino, the One for whom all would graciously kneel.
His deep-set eyes searched the vacant hall.
“I must find Him.” Barret whispered.
Footnote from the author.
Image description of Barret:
Mr. Blueblood, an Elder Immortal is pictured here, he is rarely seen without his extensive entourage, perhaps this exclusive solo picture is available because he is comfortably at one of his financial institutions. On top of his golden walking stick is the peridot world of "Ep," a tiny mystical place filled with the Epi creatures with strange appetites.
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Visit Barret in my novel, Origins - Testament of the One.
Q: What is your inspiration for writing?
A: Life itself is my inspiration. To truly capture the highs, the lows, and all the necessary elements between. To look at something head on, and to move through the fear or the jubilation of the now, and then to later set aside yourself in the experience of remembrance. I have been blessed to have microscopic focus, as well as possess the limitless imagination of a child. There is so much joy and pain in the deep understanding of life. There is boundless Inspiration.
Earlier, I referred to the “highs, lows, and all necessary elements” of life that I like to explore in my writing. These various aspects are especially poignant in the creation of Origins, and they continue to compel me throughout the successive novels. In the beginning and long ago, when I first began to flirt with words on pieces of paper, I was struck with an ephemeral deep and abiding sorrow from the egregious state that mankind has levied upon itself in its relationship with higher powers, spouses, family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, other animals, and even earth, the one and only place in the entire universe that sustains us in a hospitable state.
Many have, and will continue to argue that through the struggle of evolution, we grew into the sublime symbiotic balance we selfishly take for granted with our planet. Others would vehemently subscribe to a divine source that moves all things, and that by that source, we were given this place in which to dwell and grow in harmony with our fellow inhabitants. In my opinion, the beginning is most important from the perspective that a great cost has been paid, either by the love and care of the divine, or by the countless unsuccessful genetic sacrifices paid to the pool of our evolution.
The examination of the now and its inexhaustible variations compelled me to scribe the tale of Origins, and the follow-on books. Most times, I rise each morning with the characters contending amongst themselves for my attention, they demand me to write of, love, peace, war, respect, fear, destruction, hatred, forgiveness, knowledge and above all understanding.
In compliance, I write until near mental, physical, and spiritual exhaustion, knowing that a full day of other work awaits. I find myself rejuvenated by the sublime release of the voices of each character or situation of the moment which held me captive during my slumber. Therefore, you will find in my anecdote, the perverted harmony of elemental extremes found in the Elder Immortals (EI), the desperation of the Intermediate Immortals (II), the fury of the Younger Immortals (YI), the manipulative nature of humanity, the sacrifice and faith of the MA kind, and the logical inevitability of the machines.
So, until the next we meet.
Q: What college did you go to?
A: I attended Kutztown University. I obtained a BS in Physics, but more importantly it was there that I began to believe that those individuals that asked me to let go and write, asked me to do so because my words needed to be written, and my thoughts decried to be heard. A gift is wasted if it is never opened.
Friends and other students. When I told stories, many would comment, “you really need to write.”
Q: Did you write while in college?
A: Yes, I did. Sadly I never kept any of my work. I began to “word weave,” that is to say, to tell stories again. And I also learned a painful lesson about structure and critics.
Yes, I did write in college, mostly informal scribblings during my free time. I did attempt to write in the formal setting of a university class. The class I selected was technical writing. My counselor thought technical writing would the best writing class selection for me, since my undergraduate focus was physics. I have to say that I didn’t do too well in the beginning, and not because of effort or desire.
We were required to look up a technical word each day in class; the professor timed us. Because of my diminished vision due to albinism, I clumsily paged through my traditional dictionary, as my classmates moved through theirs at a more rapid pace given the advantage of normal, or correctible to normal sight. One by one, and by direction of the professor, each student would vocally acknowledge when they had found the word of the day. With each successive “got it”, from each sequential student, my heart sank further into my gut, as I understood that I still had many pages left to leaf through by magnifying glass, until I would be close enough to be on the page where the word may lie.
After some time, usually arbitrary, the professor would ask one of the students that had quickly found the word to begin to read the definitions, which added to my stress, as the sound of my continued page flipping made it more difficult to hear the student that was reading the various definitions associated with the word of the day. Finally, out of a sense of shame, embarrassment, and courtesy to the reader, I would discontinue my search. Devastated, but not defeated, I would look up the word later that day and think back to the lesson, as I proudly read the definitions by myself.
I found the technical writing assignments a chore, as the professor, doggedly sought and rightfully so, to extinguish all but the necessary words from our works. This left my creative side in ire, as my colorful writing style was considered abhorrent to the direct nature of technical writing.
Finally, after weeks of never finding a word fast enough, and successive terrible grades on my writing, I finally distilled my writing down to a work that earned me a “B.” The professor with great hubris, announced to me and the class that I had finally got it. However, all I could see was a new form of ridicule, one that accompanied the bombastic announcements of the other near failing grades prior. I promptly told the professor that I was glad he was pleased, but that I had come to the conclusion that an incomplete on my report card would be better than a C or less. It was the last day I attended that class.
My informal story telling and prose, blossomed from that experience, my words like the glory of the flower, knew the hope of the sun, after the rain.
I have thought back on that experience many times, and it has filled me with many emotions, save one, regret. I am proud, that I stuck it out to earn myself a single mark of B, and I am proud, that I had enough understanding of myself that I knew when to walk away. Mostly, I am proud, that I did not let that one incomplete stop me from meeting my goal and graduating. That technical writing class gave me an appreciation of those who do it well and for a living. It also fueled my desire to get back to the type of writing and story telling that I love so much. It inculcated in me that rigid teaching, can be as destructive as teaching falsehoods.
I believe that each teacher must always see and teach from the view of diversity.
Q: What inspires you?
A: It would be easier to tell you what does not… shallowness does not.
In an earnest effort to never perpetuate in any shape, form, or fashion, even the slightest modicum of “shallowness,” in our rapport, let me expatiate.
Okay, my visceral dislike towards shallowness goes way back in my life. I can vividly remember at five years of age, speaking to my beloved grandmother, the only one of my four grandparents I had the opportunity to meet, about various happenings in my fledgling life; such as the behaviors of my siblings and, or, other children or adults I had encounters with. Those splendid conversations with my grandmother usually began with a question of great significance, such as; how are you? Or, what are you thinking about? In retrospect, the fascinating element of the initial question was that it was not posed by either of us until after we got settled on the couch. It is funny how comfortable seating and acceptable appurtenances like a cold Pepsi (my grandmother’s favorite drink), or a tasty sandwich, adds to a meaningful exchange between individuals.
Even back then, I understood that the answer to any preliminary question immediately set the tone for the entire tête-à-tête to follow. And so, early on I was given the opportunity to express my deepest opinions, beliefs, and feelings, with the matriarch of the family. More importantly, this woman to whom everyone in the family answered, weighed my feelings, opinions, and beliefs, with great seriousness. In return, it was implicitly understood that I was also expected to listen to the best of my ability to her retorts or questions. Our discussions were delightful, and without obvious boundaries. We both wanted to hear what the other had to say.
So at five, I learned three important aspects of all great conversations:
- From the onset there must be mutual respect of the art of dialog before the first word is uttered, one must decide that the other party’s words are worth your time and undivided attention.
- That listening is best done at all levels; not only are the words important, but so are those words left unsaid, and the body language of the conversational partner or partners are equally significant.
- The words you choose are very vital, as they speak to who you are, and the level of thought and consideration that you have given to ensure a respectful response to the subject matter and conversation partner(s). The gravity of any great conversation is understanding.
As an avid scholar of the art of conversation, I often find shallow discussions painful, like ill fitted shoes, however, I momentarily marvel at those that can communicate at the shallow level; and I have conceded that there is an art to superficial discussions as well; although I still refuse to participate in such. I have with age, somewhat grasped the art of a graceful “bow out” and retreat from a less than enlightening discussion.
My philosophy is; if we have decided to engage in discussion, the least we can do is to attempt to understand what each has said, and to ensure we both have something worth saying.
Q: What is your writing style.
A: LOL, I was temped to hop on the web and start to look up the main ones, But I figured I would let those who truly understand the various styles argue it out amongst themselves. I hope to hear that my style is “great.”
Narrative, narrative, narrative; did I say my writing style is narrative… Origins - Testament of the One, as with all my writings has a deep narrative style.
Origins, has a set of clear unrelenting plots, that like life, sometime line up to be additive, or subtractive, divisive, or multiplicative, and on occasion, dreadfully in a “zero-sum” scenario, regardless of the perceived situational gain or loss. Often my subplots like subbing gears; drive the large machine, of the book’s plot. The various character types; the Immortals, Humans, Machines, and MA kind, struggle amongst themselves and with each other to move forward in life from a compromise they can live with. Every action harvests a reaction, and the result is often not what was intended; sometimes it is.
The novel’s numerous settings speak to the characters nature more than their interaction at times. I’m always intrigued with novels that can paint a scene from multiple aspects, just like life, every experience holds a physical, mental, and spiritual element, and lessons that resonate far beyond our immediate personal impact.
Intense character dialogue, Origins has a huge pantheon of characters, and just as in life, some folks come and go, leaving the reader with a longing desire to want to know more about them, or wish that they had never met the individual. Others stay with us and we helplessly suffer, from their unrequited love, hatred, or indifference.
Origins has much conflict, and sometime resolution, but sometimes resolution is the beginning of a new conflict and vise versa.
And there is a timeline or sequence of events in Origins, which further build or impact conflict and resolution, and it pushes us toward a cliff; and we realize sometimes the world is flat.
Q: Do you write every day?
A: I try to, I can definitely say that I am involved with some aspect of writing every day. I do enjoy those delta’s in time when I can exclusively write from the imagination, completely untethered from structure or right and wrong.
It is certainly my pleasure to expatiate upon my short answer. Currently, I have a full time job outside of my true pleasure of writing. As you can imagine, that job consumes a majority of my time, resources, and energy. Add to the full time job, my visual disability constraint, due to my albinism, and you can imagine that by the end of the day I am pretty well spent, having dedicated collectively more than 15 hours per day in front of a computer during each weekday. Not to worry though, I try to spend some time during the weekend engaged in activities independent of the world of computers. I guess my visceral weekend comportment harkens back to my childhood, when computers were but a scientific notion, and imagination was king, for both children and adults alike.
So, the way that I ensure I get in my writing is for me to start at it very early in the morning, usually around 0400 hrs. I am an early bird anyway, so I get a chance to get down my thoughts before I begin my day, and through my early morning yawns, I allow my imaginations to run, untethered by the world. The toughest thing for me to do sometimes is to stop writing, as it is truly cathartic for me.
Recently, I’ve come up with a plan to cover all of the categories of writing (website correspondence, tweets, etc.) that is required to satisfy not only my desire the continue my work on the Origins Saga (working on book two); but also to take time to spend with you through this much desired correspondence. I have already put my new plan and efforts into motion, with the hope that it will yield me my desired result of having fun in all aspects of writing in today’s busy world. Wish me luck, and talk to you soon.
Q: Do you have writers block?
A: I wouldn’t call it writers block, there are times when I just need to be outside of writing. I need to put it down for a while, and that what I do. I then do something different; whether it is just walking outside, and letting my senses run wild, or participate in a nonjudgmental heated discussion with someone over something we are both passionate about, or just listen to others and not adding my opinion at all.
This is all about balance for me, and not from the perspective of a static equilibrium, but rather from one that resembles a teeter-totter between writing, and everything else. Up and down, both sides go, with me gently pushing one or the other side up to maintain balance. It is a never-ending effort on my part. My secret is to try to keep the weight of responsibility on both sides as equal as I can, as well as equal distant from the center point, that way a gentle push on either side is enough to keep somewhat of an overall balance to my very busy world.
There are times when through my own fault, I place too much weight on one side or the other, or I move one side or the other too close or too far to or from the center, and that is when things can truly get tricky.
So, as long as the weight of everything else balances that of writing, and I keep both at a compatible distance from the center of importance, I have been lucky enough to avoid writers block, knock on wood. I must say that it isn’t easy, but it is worth it.
Imagination fueled by my deep opinions on various topics, is also a very important aspect of avoiding running out of things to write. I’ll speak more about this in the next question.
Q: How do you cure writers block if you have it?
A: I have never encountered writers block, I do this by never letting my stores of imagination get to a critical supply, and I accomplish that by always having an open heart.
Beneath the syntax and semantics of that which is written, imagination and to be unprejudiced, are the two most important ingredient’s a writer must possess. Conversely, authors should avoid pusillanimity and narrowmindedness in the creation of their works, at all cost.
Q: I noticed your manuscript has Science Fiction leanings, have you always been into Science Fiction?
A: Yes, I have always loved Sci Fi, but you’ll also find healthy helpings of Fantasy, Horror, and Romance as well in Origins; as I mentioned earlier, it is the critical buttressing elements that makes the book so compelling.
I like to think of my writing as a sumptuous dish, composed of many types of elements, the main ingredients are reliant upon those that provide flavor, texture, aroma, temperature, and display, culminating of course into the perfect culinary experience. So, I would say that my writing, depending on where you are in the story, has equally important spices such as horror, romance, fantasy, and spirituality. Each enhancing the main ingredients of love, hatred, lust, ignorance, sacrifice, avarice, sloth, want, etc.
Q: Was there a particular event or events in your life that gave birth to this novel?
A: There have been many events in my life that have contributed to the birth and writing of this novel, and many and more will lend their unsilenced voices to the follow-on series of books. To date, my life’s events can be summarily described as the trial of well placed faith. I have found that faith placed in the wrong cause or person is worse than that of no faith at all. And like life, my characters struggle to grow in the divine balance; some are broken, and others are not. We are the product of ourselves.
Life is the event that creates my books. Vivid depictions of individuals that are at the beginning, in the middle somewhere, or near the end. As well as entities that know no beginning and have no end.
Yet all of them, with their unique differences, like us have a common thread that cannot be broken, that thin tether called evolution. Add to that the sobering remittance of “the sins of our fathers and mothers visited upon us.”
Observe if you will, our struggle to evolve through COVID 19. I find it fascinating that humanity is struggling to evolve past this pandemic. Our desire to socialize in an unsafe manner continues to cost thousands of lives. Origins speaks to this.
Q: We all have people in our lives that give us inspiration. Who or whom gave you inspiration to tell this story?
A: True, there have been those that have provided buttressed inspiration. All those that have sought to heal rather than to hurt, to create rather than destroy. I have also been intrigued by those that would seek evil over good, misery over happiness, fear over joy. For those people that continuously demonstrate the latter examples I hold very little equanimity.
Q: Journaling has been part of my life through the years. Do you regularly journal? Or have you journaled earlier in your life?
A: There was a limited time in my life when I did journal. Regretfully, I did not continue the cathartic habit. I do admire those that do.
Q: When did you know you could write? Did your teachers/professors notice your special writing abilities?
A: Great writing always came to me when I was at peace, which meant in my early life that was seldom. Many teachers told me I had a gift of writing, and that I should hearken to, tend, and allow it to grow; but I was too busy contending with the challenges of my life with albinism. I did carry their words in my heart. It was through my verbal storytelling, or word weaving that I began to find joy. Later I found enough peace to allow the fragile gift of writing to grow. Now, I find that word weaving sustains me.
Q: After reading about the character Ai Kahn, I felt a lot of evil surrounding her; does this character ever in later chapters show some redeeming qualities.
A: Maybe, maybe not, this gift of life offers to us all an opportunity of free will. Ai’s joy and gift, is the deliverance of death. Is there something or someone worth laying it down for? Is there a greater love for her? You’ll have to see.
Q: I love history; knowing that we must understand our past to truly be ready for our future, what points in your family’s history stand out to you? Did this prompt you to write?
A: I am an avid student of history as well. The points in my family history that stand out to me are the years of slavery we endured. It is however the “present” that firmly holds my attention, and the future my greatest hope. Every African American has earned the right to freedom. But I wonder if we as a people understand what freedom is and what is necessary to keep it. Yes, freedom can, and has been lost to many of us today in various forms, from incarceration to housing zones created to segregate. To me freedom is the relentless pursuit of betterment. It is the unmitigated obligation to render to life positive growth in all things your hand is involved in. Freedom also means that we must at no time tolerate those words or actions that speak to aspersion or less than. Origins speaks to this concept on so many levels.
Q: Were or are you a comic book reader? And if so, what were some of your favorites?
A: Yes, I am. Some of my favorites are Superman, Thor, Black Panther, Captain America, Vision. I also carry admiration for complex villains such as Thanos, Darkside, Brainiac, Dr. Doom, Joker, Nefaria Supreme. I also am a very big fan of Elric of Melnibone
Q: How did your analytical scientific brain help you in your novel? Was it difficult to write a readable novel for the masses?
A: My scientific experience allowed me to comfortably reach beyond the limits of pragmatism. It isn't difficult for me to imagine many things. It was somewhat a challenge to find the words to explain those things imagined.
Q: What is the main theme of your book?
A: The arc of Origins is the earth itself, and the individual care that we owe to the only home we have. A parallel arc is the choices we make and the consequences of those choices, not only to ourselves but to everyone we interface with.
Q: As a millennial coming from "the land of milk and honey", I try very hard to preserve our planet; does your novel give us practical things we can do for our world to help?
A: I would like to think that the most practical subject matter Origins provides to its readers on the subject of earth’s conservation, is the sober acknowledgement that Earth is a living thing and that we are the chief caretakers of it, and all those things contained therein.