#355: Versers Resettling

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #355, on the subject of Versers Reorienting.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first six novels, Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel, Old Verses New, For Better or Verse, Spy Verses, Garden of Versers, and Versers Versus Versers, in serialized form on the web (those links will take you to the table of contents for each book).  Along with each book there was also a series of web log posts looking at the writing process, the decisions and choices that delivered the final product; those posts are indexed with the chapters in the tables of contents pages.  Now as I am posting the seventh, Re Verse All,  I am again offering a set of “behind the writings” insights.  This “behind the writings” look may contain spoilers because it sometimes talks about my expectations for the futures of the characters and stories–although it sometimes raises ideas that were never pursued, as being written partially concurrently with the story it sometimes discusses where I thought it was headed.  You might want to read the referenced chapters before reading this look at them.  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 also a 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, giving them at different stages as they move through the books.

This is the second mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 7 through 12.  It was suggested that more shorter posts were a better choice than fewer longer ones, so there will be posts every six chapters, that is, every other week, for this book.  The previous entry was web log post #354:  Versers Reorienting.

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

Chapter 7, Hastings 188

I needed Lauren to do something impressive, so that the Tiras party would warily accept her; however, it would be out of character for her to do something specifically to impress someone.  I had first thought that her gear would be in a side room or passage to which the access would be too small for the cart, and she would use the disintegrator to make a larger doorway.  However, she needed light to travel, and as I reviewed her light spells (very much as in the book) I recognized that the only one likely to be particularly helpful was also far above anything any of these spellcasters had ever seen.  Thus the light spell was sufficient.

I brought in the stirges for several reasons.  One was that a cave this big would almost certainly be populated; that meant that the light spell would almost certainly alert whatever was here.  I had been working with stirges for a OAD&D game I was prepping, so they were readily recalled.  It also made sense for the denizens to be bat-like but dangerous, and these fit the bill.  Finally, I needed to maintain the action in this story because the other two promised to be quiet background builders for a while.

Sheegoka Noar Samurai was a player character of Bill Friant; Gojo Mupar was a non-player character, but because his name had become part of Tiras’ title I decided to keep it.  Ed named him because we were playing in a garage and those were product labels on the shelves.


Chapter 8, Takano 15

I am working toward establishing the Billings house as Tommy’s residence while here, at least for the present.  I expect that Mrs. Billings has a part-time job or something outside the home and an elderly woman comes to care for Tommy, but she will become ill requiring the Billings to find daycare quite abruptly and ask Tommy to help.  For the moment, though, I am establishing a rapport between Tommy and Tammy to move her more into the family.

The wooden blocks are very like a set with which I played as a child, but I always had the problem that there were never enough.  (It would never have occurred to me to ask for more; my parents provided me with many different kinds of building toys, including plastic building blocks (precursors to Lego), Lincoln Logs, and Erector Sets.)  For Tammy, I just assumed there were more.

Castles always seemed the obvious thing to build with the wooden blocks; I’m not sure why.  Towers were always a challenge.

Knocking down what you built was part of the fun, at least sometimes.  I don’t remember ever doing anything else with my castles, but it was quite a long time ago.


Chapter 9, Beam 58

When I created the location designation number, I knew what it meant; when I returned to it maybe a month or two later, it took me a bit of thought to unravel.  L027-NA-S0357-RU0063-A01 stands for Level 27, North America, Section 357, Residential Unit 63, Apartment 1.

The room registration process was something I invented here to be consistent with the scenario.  I don’t recall anyone trying to claim a room in that world in play.

After I had written chapter 20 I decided to do a review of what I had written, and while reading chapter 6 I realized that I had stated the cupboards were bare, but that later I had Beam go through the dishes and pots and such.  I decided to remedy that by adding a paragraph in which he ordered those things, and included other necessities at the same time.  I was going to include bath products, but decided instead to add these to the welcome wagon.


Chapter 10, Hastings 189

I am still introducing Lauren to new readers, as well as slowly building the group that surrounds her.

Taz was a monk played by William Lyons.


Chapter 11, Takano 16

A lot of the dinner details come from my childhood.  My father got home somewhat late and spent a bit of time with us, but ate dinner with my mother and without us, we having been fed and prepped for bed.


Chapter 12, Beam 59

The welcome wagon idea was an abrupt thought, but I let it simmer for a couple days while I wrote the other stories to try to get the details.  Even so, I was winging it on what would be in such a package in this kind of world.

I kept trying to think of a name for the pizza place that wasn’t already used, and settled on Papa Pietro for the alliteration.  It wasn’t until sometime later that I remembered that Pietro’s was one of the two pizza places in town when I was in high school.

Again I had forgotten that the cupboards had been bare, so here I added that the supplies Beam ordered in his previous chapter arrived on the heels of the welcome wagon cart, and that he sorted them and put them away in place of that he inventoried what he had.


This has been the second behind the writings look at Re Verse All.  If there is interest and continued support from readers we will endeavor to continue with another novel and more behind the writings posts for it.

#354: Versers Reorienting

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #354, on the subject of Versers Reorienting.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first six novels, Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel, Old Verses New, For Better or Verse, Spy Verses, Garden of Versers, and Versers Versus Versers, in serialized form on the web (those links will take you to the table of contents for each book).  Along with each book there was also a series of web log posts looking at the writing process, the decisions and choices that delivered the final product; those posts are indexed with the chapters in the tables of contents pages.  Now as I am posting the seventh, Re Verse All,  I am again offering a set of “behind the writings” insights.  This “behind the writings” look may contain spoilers because it sometimes talks about my expectations for the futures of the characters and stories–although it sometimes raises ideas that were never pursued, as being written partially concurrently with the story it sometimes discusses where I thought it was headed.  You might want to read the referenced chapters before reading this look at them.  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 also a 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, giving them at different stages as they move through the books.

This is the first mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 1 through 6.  It was suggested that more shorter posts were a better choice than fewer longer ones, so there will be posts every six chapters, that is, every other week, for this book.

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

Chapter 1, Hastings 186

When I began publishing Versers Versus Versers and had introduced the Tomiko “Tommy” Takano character I attempted to get feedback from my readers through social media.  I got very little, and most of it amounted to, “Keep writing the novels”.  The clearest single statement I received said that one particular reader who is also an author most enjoyed the Lauren Hastings stories, also enjoyed the Bob Slade stories, and did not at all enjoy the James Beam stories.  That gave me good reason to include Lauren.  I also had another reader who loved all the James Beam stories, which combined with the fact that he was the second newest character gave me reason to include him.  The Tomiko stories got some favorable mention, or at least I so understood it, and since to this point she had only seen a dozen chapters it made sense to continue her in this book.  Meanwhile, that gave me reasonably different settings, so I have some decisively distinct stories.

I also realized that all three stories were going to be long and involved, which wasn’t bad in itself as they could intertwine in a long book, but I was already posting the chapters of the sixth book and it was short.  I was thus anticipating not having a finished product by the time I finished publishing the other.  As it turned out, I wrote the last chapter of this book after I finished posting the last chapter of the other, but by the time I had posted all the character sheets (at three per week) to the support site, I had finished a quick read-through edit and a workable cover and was formatting chapters for e-publication.

I had had some time to work out in my own mind how Lauren was going to experience the impact of the truck and the arrival in the new world.


Chapter 2, Takano 13

The decision to have her live in Delaware was a bit of a risk for me because I’ve driven through the state and visited many people and places within it, but I’ve never lived there.  Still, I think I’m familiar enough for what I need.

When she said that she was from Delaware, I realized that I hadn’t actually decided whether that existed in this world.  I subsequently decided that yes, this was the United States as I know it.

I needed to connect Tommy to something in this world, and the fact that she gets at least partial credit for saving the four-year-old was a good basis for the mother to offer her lunch and a chance to clean up.

I think that the Billings family was part of a 1950s TV show, and Janet may even have been one of the names from it, but I’m not sure of that.  It just seemed like a 1950s suburban family name.


Chapter 3, Beam 56

The Industrial Complex is the kind of detailed world that takes quite a bit to get oriented, and the player on whom Beam is modeled did many things here most of which I don’t remember.  However, I’m starting by getting him aware of some of the important details.


Chapter 4, Hastings 187

The character she meets was what was called a Winged Folk in a variant D&D game Ed Jones ran; I played him, and used his name as well as I can recall it from the game.  I am still attempting mentally to reconstruct the members of the party, with a bit of help from Jim Denaxas (who played the druid Zamfir in that game).  I also know where they are going, but have very little notion of what they are likely to experience along the way.

Asking whether Tiras is an angel is a bit of a joke, because Lauren was once asked the same question, and having been to the edge of heaven she is aware that heavenly beings come in a lot more shapes and sizes than just winged men.  However, confronted by a winged man it’s still her first thought.


Chapter 5, Takano 14

I needed a likely light lunch for a little girl in the summer, and decided that grilled cheese and tomato soup was probable.  As soon as I thought of it I realized that Tommy had had quite a bit of cheese recently, which put her in a bit of a quandary, but then, she would choose to eat rather than not.

I am not a bubble bath person; I remember it from childhood, though, and I know that women are often fond of them.


Chapter 6, Beam 57

I don’t have actual floorplans for apartments in the originally designed world, on the assumption that these would be so numerous and varied that referees would need to devise them as needed.


This has been the first behind the writings look at Re Verse All.  If there is interest and continued support from readers we will endeavor to continue with another novel and more behind the writings posts for it.

#353: The Song “I Use to Think”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #353, on the subject of The Song “I Use to Think”.

I wrote this sixteenth song on the list almost certainly in late 1974 or early 1975.  I was reading a lot of C. S. Lewis at the time, and I recall at least playing it if not writing it on a piano in one of the halls at Farleigh Dickenson University’s Teaneck-Hackensack campus where I was working as a security guard.  In my mind there was a perhaps loose collection of aspects of life that were impossible without God, and this song managed to string four of them together.

I have perhaps always been a bit ambivalent about this song.  Although it was written while The Last Psalm was still together, it was not performed then.  Arguably I did not include it for TerraNova because I had not conceived vocals for it, but I also did not suggest it for Cardiac Output.  On the other hand, when I started recording the midi-based songs, this was the opener of the second disk; and Collision used it to open many concerts and as the opener of the album Of Worlds.  It is a Christian song in the sense that it undermines worldly values and concepts; it doesn’t put forward the answers.  It is very much about how modern knowledge without God leaves us without answers.

I ranked it twenty-sixth for the song itself, but this recording, from the Collision Of Worlds album, came in at number twelve, and Tristan likes the song, tying for number nine on his list.  (The ranking system is explained in connection with the first song, linked below.)  I do very much like how the title, which begins as a suggestion that I’ve learned otherwise, comes to the end to mean that–well, that would be a spoiler.

The lyrics were posted previously in connection with Cardiac Output mostly because I was looking for songs with minimal repetition in the words; There is an extensive discussion about it in connection with Collision.

I Use to Think.

So here are the words:

I use to think I loved you, and I told you once before
That as each day continued I would love you more and more.
I knew what I was feeling, and I thought that it was real,
But now I find that anything I feel is nothing more than how I feel.
They tell us in biology
It’s just a change in chemistry;
It’s just as plain as it can be
That love is not reality.
It’s not for you, it’s not for me–
A child is for posterity,
And if there are too many, we
Must bend to the society
It can’t be from up above;
Is that all there is to love?

I use to think that living meant that life would be worthwhile,
And so I searched for something, and I traveled many’a mile.
I thought life was important, and I sought to find out why,
But now I guess that anything I thought before was just another lie.
They tell us in astronomy
That’s one impossibility.
We’re just a tiny speck, you see,
Compared to one small galaxy.
What happens here could never be
Of such universality
To have a lasting memory
Beyond the world of you and me.
The sweat and the blood and strife–
Is that all there is to life?

I use to think that heaven was unquestionably true,
That God was up in heaven, and was watching what we do.
I thought if I did good then I would surely reach His throne.
But now I find that good is nothing more than just a preference of my own.
They tell us in philosophy
That that is all mythology.
It obviously couldn’t be–
A God is an absurdity,
And if there is no God, you see,
There can be no morality.
It’s only the majority
Preserving the society
It strikes me as rather odd:
Is that all there is to God?

I use to think that reason was the basis of my mind,
That reason was not doubted, and would not be for all time.
And so I did my thinking, and I thought through all my plans,
But reason is worth nothing now, because it’s clear that it is based on chance.
They tell us in psychology
That thinking works mechanic’ly:
A thought from our heredity
Is formed environmentally;
They tell us in anatomy
That thinking works electric’ly:
A jolt of electricity,
A slightly altered chemistry.
A brain can be built and bought.
Is that all there is to thought?

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love”