#122: Character Partings

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #122, on the subject of Character Partings.

With permission of Valdron Inc I am publishing my second novel, Old Verses New, in serialized form on the web (that link will take you to the table of contents).  If you missed the first one, you can find the table of contents for it at Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel.  There was also a series of web log posts looking at the writing process, the decisions and choices that delivered the final product; the last of those for the first novel is #71:  Footnotes on Verse Three, Chapter One, which indexes all the others and catches a lot of material from an earlier collection of behind-the-writings reflections that had been misplaced for a decade.  Now as the second is being posted I am again offering a set of “behind the writings” insights.  This “behind the writings” look definitely contains spoilers, and perhaps in a more serious way than those for the previous novel, because it sometimes talks about what I was planning to do later in the book or how this book connects to events yet to come in the third (For Better or Verse)–although it sometimes raises ideas that were never pursued.  You might want to read the referenced chapters before reading this look at them, or even put off reading these insights until the book has finished.  Links below (the section headings) will take you to the specific individual chapters being discussed, and there are (or will soon be) links on those pages to bring you back hopefully to the same point here.

There is now also a new section of the site, Multiverser Novel Support Pages, in which I have begun to place materials related to the novels beginning with character papers for the major characters, hopefully giving them at different stages as they move through the books.

These were the previous mark Joseph “young” web log posts covering this book:

  1. #74:  Another Novel (which provided this kind of insight into the first nine chapters along with some background material on the book as a whole),
  2. #78:  Novel Fears (which continued with coverage of chapters 10 through 18),
  3. #82:  Novel Developments (which continued with coverage of chapters 19 through 27),
  4. #86:  Novel Conflicts (which continued with coverage of chapters 28 through 36),
  5. #89:  Novel Confrontations (which continued with coverage of chapters 37 through 45),
  6. #91:  Novel Mysteries (which continued with coverage of chapters 46 through 54),
  7. #94:  Novel Meetings (which continued with coverage of chapters 55 through 63),
  8. #100:  Novel Settling (which continued with coverage of chapters 64 through 72),
  9. #104:  Novel Learning (which continued with coverage of chapters 73 through 81),
  10. #110:  Character Redirects (which continued with coverage of chapters 82 through 90),
  11. #113:  Character Movements (chapters 91 through 99),
  12. #116:  Character Missions (100 through 108),
  13. #119:  Character Projects (109 through 117).

This picks up from there, and I expect to continue with additional posts after every ninth chapter in the series.

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History of the series, including the reason it started, the origins of character names and details, and many of the ideas, are in those earlier posts, and won’t be repeated here.


Chapter 118, Hastings 81

The introduction of Sagrimore’s ghost was a sudden inspiration; I’d not given it any thought.  I needed something to happen here that was not just another vampire fight, and the introduction of a ghost made some sense.  Making it the departed spirit of her perhaps best Camelot friend gave it poignancy, and she was able to deliver one of her life lessons here.


Chapter 119, Brown 41

I needed to get past the part where Derek gets integrated into this society, somehow, and at present they were going to treat him as a lost child and a vandal, which wasn’t going to work.  So I had him go on the offensive here.

Derek notes that being confined to a psychiatric care facility is not functionally different from being confined in a prison.  That’s definitely true, from the client perspective.

My limited cybernetic abilities are probably evident to someone who is more literate in the field, but I think I did credibly well in describing Derek’s means of hacking into their computer system and reading his own police report files.


Chapter 120, Kondor 82

The gag about the dance steps proving that he was not in his own universe is funny to me; I don’t know how anyone else reacted.

I remember in college recognizing the difference between attending school for the knowledge versus attending it for the credentials.  I was there for the former.  It has adversely impacted my life in some ways—I might have done better with better credentials—but I think that the knowledge is the more important.  Joe had something of the same feeling, particularly as he knew that jumping from universe to universe would make certificates a bit less than completely useful; at the same time, the feeling of recognition for what he has contributed is significant.


Chapter 121, Hastings 82

It was my wife whose direction sense amounted to knowing how to get everywhere from her childhood home.  After college we moved to a house several towns away, and for much of the next year whenever we needed to go anywhere she knew and I didn’t, we went to her home town first and then went from there.

It seemed inevitable that at some point Lauren and Bethany would be overwhelmed by their opponents; it would not have been interesting if they always won easily.  Four vampires would be a challenge they would have trouble meeting.

The idea of bringing Bethany’s mother in as a vampire was quite abrupt here.  It was clear that Lauren probably could beat four vampires with Bethany’s help, so there had to be a way to take Bethany out of the picture without serious injury.  Seeing one of your loved ones as a vampire would be a shock for anyone—and as the story explores next, it has another layer of ramifications in the question of how you fight someone who was once your mother.

I often wonder what parts of a story the author anticipated.  This thread just happened.  I brought Bethany’s mother in as a vampire not knowing how I would handle it or what it would mean, only knowing that it would compromise Bethany’s ability to fight and I would have to find a solution for it (and I did not yet know the solution, I think).  I also did not anticipate that it would prefigure Lauren’s own confrontation with someone from her past in For Better or Verse, but it made good sense and gave me a lot of good story tensions.


Chapter 122, Brown 42

I always envision Mary Parker as a forty-something black female social worker, very sure of herself, a bit bossy, and very patronizing.  That’s typecasting, but it plays that way.

I love the line about the smile.

Derek counters the patronizing by insisting on addressing her formally.


Chapter 123, Kondor 83

Joe’s reflection that having the piece of paper legitimizes his claimed title reveals that he always felt it something of a pretense.  He never before earned a doctorate; now he has.

For us, the idea that space travel would be a dull routine is difficult to imagine.  One of the reasons Star Trek does well is that it maintains the feeling that this is always new and different.  It probably isn’t, and the seasoned space traveler probably feels about as much excitement as most seasoned professionals.

Not believing in divine guidance, Joe oversimplifies it.

Interestingly, Dr. Breyer in essence teaches Joe that the lack of information about his identity can easily be covered by the idea that he works in top secret projects.  He will use that again in the fourth book.


Chapter 124, Hastings 83

Almost everything in this chapter surprised me.  I needed something to make the fight tougher, so I abruptly created the idea that Bethany’s mother was one of the vampires.  I needed to save my characters so I abruptly thought to bring a rescuer, and then thought it should be Morgana.

I also brought in the idea that Bethany had to recognize that the vampire was not her mother.  Presumably Morgana could have killed the vampire, but then Bethany would have watched her mother die without reconciling to the fact that it was not her mother.

I took it that Morgana was changed by the passage of centuries; I deal more with that in Lauren’s next chapter.

One thing I thought was probably happening in the minds of the readers is the expectation that the characters are going to converge on the same world soon.  Lauren’s near death probably plays with that expectation.  I had not actually decided when or how she would leave.  I wanted her to find Merlin but not free him (she couldn’t free him, but she had to show Bethany where he was).


Chapter 125, Brown 43

I have a very clear image of Raeph in my mind, and not a clue where I got him.  He’s like one of those composite characters I have in dreams.

The name probably comes from the composer, Raeph Vaughn Williams.  The British probably spell that “Ralph”, but I didn’t want it pronounced that way.

The observation that more recent systems are always reverse compatible with earlier ones held true for most of my life.  Most computers still have a floppy disk drive somewhere, and old standard connectors for a lot of peripherals remain on new computers.  It’s not always so on every system, but they take a very long time to disappear entirely.

In creating Raeph through Derek’s eyes, I was discovering how he perceived Lauren; it was revealing to me to see Lauren “pirated for parts” as it were in the creation of another character.


Chapter 126, Kondor 84

I had to give some thought to what kind of medical classes Kondor could take that would teach him something he could apply in other universes.  After all, he would not have access to anything he couldn’t take with him.

The difference between designing a technological device and building one is built into the game rules.  Neither skill necessarily includes the other.

An electrical transformer converts alternating current of one voltage to another voltage.  (The current changes in the opposite direction, so the input and output power, that is, wattage, are the same.)  In essence, the alternating current in the primary, input, side creates a constantly changing magnetic field, which overlaps the wires in the secondary, output, side creating an electrical current.  The ratio of the windings in each side determines the output voltage.  Because what we have is in essence a large block of packed metals constantly subjecting itself to changing magnetic fields, the entire object vibrates to some degree, and the greater the power the greater the vibration (an undesirable effect, as it is in itself a loss of power).  As a result you can often hear the hum, usually at 60hz (55hz in much of Europe), somewhere in the lowest octaves of a piano.

Superconductors are in their infancy, but in general the use of supercooling systems reduces line losses.  Electrical resistance creates heat, and heat increases electrical resistance, so by cooling heavy cables with systems such as liquid nitrogen we reduce the amount of power that is lost to heat (and prevent conductors from melting).

I was finished with everything I really had for Joe in the Vorgo world.  The medical certificates were gravy, and I could have kept him there doing that sort of thing a bit longer, but I wanted to get him to the gather and I had no reason to keep him here.  Having what he would have recognized as a foolish attempt to build a huge kinetic blaster provided a good way to do it.

I was before this point aware that the second novel was growing to be longer than the first.  This chapter was particularly significant in that, because this is the last numbered chapter for the first book, but there is still quite a bit to tell in this one.


I hope these “behind the writings” posts continue to be of interest, and perhaps some value, to those of you who have been reading the novel.  If there is any positive feedback, they will continue.

#121: The Christian and the Law

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #121, on the subject of The Christian and the Law.

This is a rough presentation of the teaching I delivered at Living Water Connections Dinner Theater on October 21st, 2016.  It was drafted prior to that appearance and polished afterwards, but is not intended to be a transcription.

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Good evening.  My name is Mark Joseph Young.  It’s an easy name to remember–it’s a sentence:  mark Joseph “young”.

I apologize for that; it’s not my fault.

I have been asked to share briefly tonight, and since I am a composer and musical performer I will be doing several songs–but I am also a teacher, and it would be negligent of me not to share something valuable you can recall later.  And it happens that that first song [The Secret] gives me a wonderful opening, because it touches on an issue that is a huge problem for many Christians.  It was a problem for me for a long time, even after I had earned two degrees in Biblical studies: what is the Christian’s relationship to the Law?

We hear a lot of answers to this.  There are some who will tell you that the Christian is responsible to keep the entire Law, and that Jesus helps us do that and forgives us when we fail.  However, I don’t see a tabernacle or sacrifices, and I do see Paul making sacrifices in Acts, so I think maybe these people aren’t trying very hard.

A much more interesting solution suggests that the Law is actually several kinds of law, a ritual law, a dietary law, a civil law, but that the only part we are obliged to keep is the moral law.  Thus on this theory when I see a commandment like “Do not kill” I know that this is a moral law and everyone is obligated to obey it, but when I read “Do not boil a lamb in its mother’s milk” I conclude that this is dietary and doesn’t apply to me.  However, I notice that my Bible does not label individual commandments, this is ceremonial, this is moral, this is civil.  What about the directive that we not eat sharks?  Is this just a dietary rule, or is there some moral basis for the idea that sharks are a higher life form–not as high as man, but above ordinary animals and deserving some kind of special respect?  And what of that command about keeping the Sabbath?  That’s one of the top ten, but sounds more like ceremonial law than moral law.

What we find with this solution is that there really is no objective law but the one we decide–we make ourselves the lawgivers, and decree that God said these things and intended for them to apply to everyone, but these other things don’t apply anymore.  That’s not really a law; that’s us using scripture to support our own opinions.

It is obviously a vexing question, and you’d think that for something as important as this the Bible would have given us an answer–but it did give us an answer, it’s just that the answer is so radical that we don’t like it, so we ignore it and try to find a different answer.

You’ll find the answer–well, all over, really, but particularly clearly in the fifteenth chapter of Acts, what we call the Jerusalem Council.  The heart of the church was in Jerusalem, and several of the original apostles were there.  Jerusalem, being in the center of Judea, was populated almost entirely by Jews, and so the church there was comprised of Jewish believers who all kept the law, made sacrifices, ate kosher food, and circumcised their children.  However, up the road in Syrian Antioch Paul and Barnabas were part of a different kind of church.  Syria had some Jewish residents, but the majority were not Jews, were what we call gentiles.  Many of them had come to have faith in Jesus.  It was a mixed church.  And it was from that church that missionaries had been sent to carry the gospel to people elsewhere, so they were carrying the gospel as it was understood in Syrian Antioch, and it reached many more gentiles.

Some of the Jews in Jerusalem thought that these gentile Christians needed to keep the whole law as they did, to be circumcised and make sacrifices and stick to a kosher diet.  After all, the church’s own understanding of itself was that it was the correct denomination of Judaism–kind of like the disagreement between the Lutherans and the Catholics at the time of the Reformation, the former believing that the latter no longer represented the true faith and that they did.  If you were not Jewish but became Christian, that made you a child of Abraham and a true Jew, and that meant you should keep the Law as completely as every other Jew.  Paul and Barnabas disagreed, so they came with a delegation to Jerusalem to discuss it, and the church came to a conclusion and wrote a letter to the gentile Christans living in places like Galatia, part of modern Turkey, to tell them.  The answer was this:  you gentiles who have come to faith, you who were never Jewish, do not have to keep the Law at all.  It does not apply to you.  Oh, they suggested a couple things that should be done to prevent creating tension with the Jewish believers who were also part of the church, but these weren’t the Ten Commandments–one of them was don’t drink blood.

So does this mean that we can completely ignore the Law and do whatever we want?  Well, yes and no.  Paul explained it well when he wrote to the Galatians, probably just before this meeting, but he uses a word for which we don’t have an English equivalent because it identifies a specific household servant in households in the Roman Empire for whom we do not have a corresponding job in the modern world.  This person was almost always a slave, but he was given the task of raising the children and so was given complete authority over them.  He told them when to get up, what to do, when to go to bed; he could punish them, even beat them if necessary.  He was to see to it that they learned their academic subjects, did their homework, got their exercise and physical trainng, learned how to act in polite society, and altogether grew up to be responsible adult members of the household.  Then once he had accomplished that, he lost all authority over them.  His job was finished.

The Law, Paul tells is, is like that:  it was assigned to train us so that we would grow up to be responsible adult members of God’s family.  We who are Christians, we have become those responsible adult members of the family.  We act the way we do because it’s how our Father acts, and He expects us to act like Him.  We don’t follow rules; we act appropriately.

I have a wonderful example of this; I love this example.  How many of you remember Mommy saying, “Don’t touch the stove?”  Many of you have probably said it to your own children, because stoves are dangerous.  But gradually the rule changes, becoming “Don’t touch the stove without Mommy to help you,” then “Be careful when you use the stove,” then “I don’t have to tell you to be careful when you use the stove,” and ultimately the rule disappears–not because stoves have become safe, but because we have learned to use this dangerous tool safely.  Many of our childhood rules are like that, morphing into something else as we grow.  I still don’t fight with my brother over toys because I have learned that this is not a good way to resolve our differences.  I no longer hold my mother’s hand when I cross the street because hopefully I have learned to use the same care that she used when I was young.

This is not something I made up; the church has always known this.  It is exactly as Augustine said it was:  “The law for the Christian is love God and do as you please.”  He knew that was right because he understood that if you love someone, you try to be someone they approve, to be like them.  You don’t have any rules you have to follow; just be like God, showing love to everyone.

Which is a good segue into this next song [Free].

Video of the beginning of my portion of the evening is available on Facebook.

#120: Giving Offense

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #120, on the subject of Giving Offense.

A couple days ago I was asked whether I had again offended a Specifically Named Person by writing another piece on homosexuality.

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I had no idea how to reply to this.  I was unaware that I had offended this individual previously by my writing; I have no reason to believe he identifies as homosexual.  I obviously know that some people in my circle of relationships disagree with me on any subject you care to name, and this is one on which there are some significant disagreements–but I don’t keep track of who holds what positions on which issues, so I could not have told you that he disagreed with my views on this one.  It does not surprise me if he does; I know he disagrees with me on some issues, but then, everyone disagrees with everyone on some issues.  As the anonymous wise Quaker is quoted as having said to his closest friend, “Everyone’s a little queer ‘cept me and thee, and sometimes I’m not so sure of thee.”  I know of no one with whom I am in complete agreement about everything.  That does not bother me.  After all, I know that everyone is wrong about something, and I know that that includes me, but it also includes everyone who disagrees with me.  The trick is figuring out where you’re wrong and where you’re right, and not being more certain of it than you can justify.

What bothers me is that he would be offended by my opinion, or perhaps by my expression of my opinion.

I have probably written about tolerance before.  Being tolerant does not mean not caring about an issue.  It means having a strong opinion but treating others respectfully who hold a different opinion.  Many people who are not religious believe that they are tolerant when they are actually indifferent and condescending.  That is, their attitude is “all religious ideas are nonsense, so it really does not matter what nonsense you believe.”  However, changes in society are forcing these people to recognize that this is not true–that it really does matter what one believes about God, because that in turn controls what one believes about many practical issues, such as abortion, homosexuality, and the “norms” of society.  The criticism is that some religious people–those who disagree with the current attitudes on specific issues–are intolerant; the truth is that those who hold to those current attitudes are proving to be less tolerant.

Being tolerant does not mean that we all agree.  It means that we agree to disagree amicably, and to allow each other to hold differing opinions, to live by them as our own beliefs dictate, and to discuss them openly.  That’s all First Amendment:  the absolute protection of religious and political opinion.  Today those who hold certain viewpoints also hold the opinion that to disagree with those viewpoints ought to be criminal.  We encounter it in the homosexual marriage debate; it is rampant in the environmental field; it appears in issues related to reproductive choice.  If you do not agree with the approved opinion (whether or not it is held by the majority), you will not be tolerated.

On the specific issue of homosexuality, I agree that homosexuality is “natural”; it is as natural as heroin addiction:  you can encourage it, and once you’ve got it you probably can never really be fully rid of it.  There is sufficient evidence that homosexuality is not fixed in the genes, but involves environmental factors and choices on some level.  The position that the unborn are as human as their mothers and deserve equal protection equal to that extended to their mothers–and probably then some, as they are the more vulnerable class–is certainly defensible.  The issue of whether global warming is heading us into an environmental disaster, or whether it is instead staving off potentially disastrous global cooling and an ice age, can also be debated.

I hold some opinions which are apparently minority viewpoints, but I hold them honestly because of what I consider solid rational bases.  To say “I am sorry if that offends you” is not really an apology; it is more an expression of compassion for your disability, that you are such a person as would be offended by the expression of an opinion with which you disagree.  I think better of you than that.  I respect you and your opinions, even, or perhaps particularly, where I disagree.  I am willing to hear your evidence and your arguments.  I expect only the same courtesy in response.

#119: Character Projects

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #119, on the subject of Character Projects.

With permission of Valdron Inc I am publishing my second novel, Old Verses New, in serialized form on the web (that link will take you to the table of contents).  If you missed the first one, you can find the table of contents for it at Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel.  There was also a series of web log posts looking at the writing process, the decisions and choices that delivered the final product; the last of those for the first novel is #71:  Footnotes on Verse Three, Chapter One, which indexes all the others and catches a lot of material from an earlier collection of behind-the-writings reflections that had been misplaced for a decade.  Now as the second is being posted I am again offering a set of “behind the writings” insights.  This “behind the writings” look definitely contains spoilers, and perhaps in a more serious way than those for the previous novel, because it sometimes talks about what I was planning to do later in the book or how this book connects to events yet to come in the third (For Better or Verse)–although it sometimes raises ideas that were never pursued.  You might want to read the referenced chapters before reading this look at them, or even put off reading these insights until the book has finished.  Links below (the section headings) will take you to the specific individual chapters being discussed, and there are (or will soon be) links on those pages to bring you back hopefully to the same point here.

These were the previous mark Joseph “young” web log posts covering this book:

  1. #74:  Another Novel (which provided this kind of insight into the first nine chapters along with some background material on the book as a whole),
  2. #78:  Novel Fears (which continued with coverage of chapters 10 through 18),
  3. #82:  Novel Developments (which continued with coverage of chapters 19 through 27),
  4. #86:  Novel Conflicts (which continued with coverage of chapters 28 through 36),
  5. #89:  Novel Confrontations (which continued with coverage of chapters 37 through 45),
  6. #91:  Novel Mysteries (which continued with coverage of chapters 46 through 54),
  7. #94:  Novel Meetings (which continued with coverage of chapters 55 through 63),
  8. #100:  Novel Settling (which continued with coverage of chapters 64 through 72),
  9. #104:  Novel Learning (which continued with coverage of chapters 73 through 81),
  10. #110:  Character Redirects (which continued with coverage of chapters 82 through 90),
  11. #113:  Character Movements (chapters 91 through 99),
  12. #116:  Character Missions (100 through 108).

This picks up from there, and I expect to continue with additional posts after every ninth chapter in the series.

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History of the series, including the reason it started, the origins of character names and details, and many of the ideas, are in those earlier posts, and won’t be repeated here.


Chapter 109, Hastings 78

I think when I put this vampire here, I didn’t know what it was doing.  I developed that as I went.

It was simple good fortune that I had decided previously on two ghouls—well, not exactly.  I had done so precisely because I wanted each of my heroines to have exactly one opponent, so that Lauren would not be able to kill the enemy quickly enough that Bethany did not participate in the fight.  It thus worked out that the vampire here, looking for those same ghouls, was looking for two persons, and Lauren had the momentary fear that it would be she and Bethany.

The verse that begins, “Wail, for the day of the Lord is near,” is one that Lauren uses that my character does not.  It comes from Isaiah, and I probably recalled it from Randall Thompson’s The Peaceable Kingdom (where it would have been, “Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is at hand) and then looked it up for a modern version.  All my character’s verses came from the New Testament, and my character delivered them in the original Koine Greek.

Bethany’s verse comes from a Hebrew song.

The idea that a vampire could “play dead” was something new here; the way Lauren managed to deduce that it wasn’t was also new.


Chapter 110, Brown 38

Derek’s internal argument amounts to the recognition that if you don’t try deceit first you lose the opportunity, and that honesty in this situation was unlikely to be believed.

I didn’t want Derek’s hack to seem simple, so I gave the impression it took several days in which he ate his rations and slept in hidden corners.  It still happens quickly in the context of the book, because I didn’t see this as a terribly interesting aspect of the story, but it should feel like it took several days to do this.

Derek fails because of specialization:  he is so good at computer security he fails to consider whether there might be another kind that would be a problem.


Chapter 111, Kondor 79

I think at this point I realized that I had dropped Joe in a relatively dull storyline.  Even if it might be fascinating to read about the development of a new technology, a new scientific discovery, the fictional account of such a thing not actually discovered in reality was much less interesting.  I was creating the background but in a way still looking for the story; much of what was happening here really was that Joe was getting an education in fields he would want to know in the future.

The fact that he, a nineteen-year-old fresh-from-high-school military recruit, was now at graduate student level in a field he only began studying on arrival here should convey that he has been working on this for several years, without dragging out the years.


Chapter 112, Hastings 79

I needed to extend the search and keep the girls together longer, so I decided that Lauren’s magic either failed or was opposed at this point, sending them in the wrong direction.  I don’t think I’d yet decided which as the chapter started.

Lauren makes the point that it is possible not to know an answer not because you have no idea but because you have too many.  Her process of elimination is an effective means of reasoning through problems of all sorts, not just spell failure.


Chapter 113, Brown 39

We see police dramas in which they leave a suspect sitting in an interrogation room for a while to “sweat” him, to get him worried about his situation.  Derek considers that as a possible explanation for why he is sitting alone in such a room, but recognizes that he knows so little about this world there could be what to him is an entirely fantastic reason.

It also gives him a chance to think about his situation, which he does.

Derek is again thinking in terms of his life being like a movie:  this is what happens in scenarios of this sort.

People tend to say that the coral bushes of NagaWorld fire laser beams, but Derek, having studied some advanced physics and electronics, would know that that’s probably not the case (it isn’t—they use mirrors and lenses to fire focused light) and would not use the wrong word.

Derek recognizes that it is entirely possible that he is dreaming all of this, but that if he is that’s not going to be something he can prove even to himself.


Chapter 114, Kondor 80

I was in essence inventing the technology as I went along.  It was going to matter, ultimately, that Joe understood it.

The comment about everything he knew being the equivalent of a high school physics class in some universe reflects the observation that as our knowledge increases, the amount we regard as basic also does.  The math and science classes my kids took in high school contained at least some things that I didn’t learn in college.


Chapter 115, Hastings 80

Lauren hits several possible explanations for who might be misdirecting them.  I could probably have given more, but the point was only to establish that it didn’t have to be vampires.

Downhill is actually harder than uphill, but it doesn’t feel as hard, and the cart makes a difference, too.  Most people think uphill is harder, and thus psychologically it is.


Chapter 116, Brown 40

It makes perfect sense that a verser telling the truth to authorities in a modern setting would face a psyche evaluation.  Derek realizes that that’s what this is, but doesn’t quite know how to get out of it unscathed.

Derek’s ultimate defense is that the authorities do not have a better explanation for him than the one he gives.  That proves nothing, really, but it does shift the burden of proof significantly.


Chapter 117, Kondor 81

It was important that Joe was involved in the project and sometimes contributed, but equally important that he didn’t solve everything himself.  So I had him make suggestions and mixed them with the work of others to get the combination.

The Pernicans at this point were connected effectively to the Phoenicians, among the earliest of those traveling the oceans in large ships in the west.


I hope these “behind the writings” posts continue to be of interest, and perhaps some value, to those of you who have been reading the novel.  If there is any positive feedback, they will continue.

#118: Dry Spells

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #118, on the subject of Dry Spells.

I seem to be going through a dry spell in my writing.  I had posted most of the “new” material I had written (the novel chapters for Old Verses New and the accompanying behind-the-writings posts being mostly material written some time ago that was reformatted for web publication) and wasn’t coming up with anything new.  I was concerned, partly because there are some things I publish on schedule, and partly because I don’t like to limit my output merely to those things I post on schedule.  I certainly have not been doing nothing; the routine writing has been moving forward apace, preparing the Bible study materials, working on the support materials for the novels.  To some degree, though, that’s a bit like practicing scales instead of performing concerts.

img0118desert

That music connection, though, reminds me that I have often had the same experience with songs.  I have gone long stretches without writing any new music, and wondered whether I would ever write another song; then I have suddenly written one, and another, and a string of new material, before going quiet again.  I no longer wonder whether I have written my last song.  On the one hand, if I have, at least I have written enough songs for whatever purposes they’ll serve in this life, and there are quite a few which have never been performed or properly recorded by anyone so I have some fresh material to use if the occasion arises.  On the other hand, I probably have not, and when it’s time to write another song, I’ll write one.

I have also noticed that I tend to write songs when I anticipate performance opportunities.    When the band 7dB formed, I wrote Heavenly Kingdom and Still Small Voice and a couple other songs that have never been performed, and again when Collision was on the rise it was Passing Through the Portal and again several other songs that I wish we’d managed to learn and play.  Note, too, that those songs were not merely arranged for those bands; they were written for them, capturing stylistic goals and utilizing the abilities of the group.  That has often happened–Selfish Love was one of several songs written for TerraNova.  Part of it is the inspiration, that I see a good idea that I can express in a song, but part of it is audience, that I have a reasonable expectation that someone will hear it.

So I am not overly worried about not having much to write today.  I will find something.  We are rapidly closing on an election, and although I stopped writing about the nonsense in the Presidential race quite a while back (after writing #67:  Dizzying Democrats and #68:  Ridiculous Republicans), there are races outside of that which will want coverage, so I’ll have to find out what they are.  I have sources and resources for that.  Besides, I know that some of you are reading, and some of you are posting my articles to your social media pages to encourage others to read, so there is an audience.

I often tell the story–in fact, I told it in one of the old Game Ideas Unlimited articles which are no longer available since the demise of Gaming Outpost (although it might still be in the printed copy of the first (and only) print installment of those), but it’s worth telling again, and this time for a different reason.  It is a story about my parents.  My mother was New York City born and bred, graduated from City College of New York at nineteen, fast moving, fast talking, efficient.  My father moved to New York from Mississippi after getting his degree from Georgia Tech, and he was every bit the slow southern gentleman.  He met her at church, where she originally attempted to pair him up with a girl from Virginia, but his interest was immediately in her.  Eventually they were “courting”, as people did then, and since they both lived on Long Island and worked in the city he rode with her on the train.  There was another man, not another suitor but an older man who had been riding on the train with her and continued to do so, who did not think that my quiet reserved father was at all the right man for my on-the-move mother.  Then one day as my mother was speaking in her rapid hundred-words-per-minute patter, she abruptly stopped, and cried, “Oh!  IForgotWhatIWasGoingToSay!” (yes, just like that, as if it were all one word–that’s how she used to talk all the time).  My father replied, without even shifting his eyes, “Don’t worry dear.  You’ll think of something else.”  The other man roared with laughter, and thereafter in his eyes my father was the right person for my mother.

I am very much my father’s child.  However, I am also my mother’s child.  I may have said everything I have thought to say, but given a moment I will think of something else.