The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

I like what Mike Rails said, that he's shared Intermittent Fasting with family and friends, and they are too frightened to try. Note this carefully. AFRAID. Look into the science of it, and you'll see that our bodies don't start cannibalizing muscle tissue until about 50 hours of fasting. For a normal healthy person (and even for many types of illness--but check with your doctor!) there is just no serious downside other than discomfort and emotional distress. Imagine if our ancestors really had to eat every day, let alone five times a day. None of us would still be alive. But there is deep, wide cultural agreement that we have to eat every day, and three times a day. Why? Because most of our history as a species, food was scarce. It made sense to eat as much as possible, and store as much fat as possible. Oh, yes, and burn as few calories as possible.

This drive (Eat! Store! Laze!) is, in my mind, precisely why we are getting so fat as a culture. And it breaks my heart how many people cannot look directly at the calories in-out equation, instead looking at the micronutrients, birth signs, blood types, time of day they eat, yada yada yada. The diet industry thrives on tis kind of misinformation.


The 101 program

The concept of "Triangle Goals" is a natural extension of the core concepts involved here: that if you move toward goals in all three basic arenas (fitness, career, relationship) we will run into every demon, negative belief, poisonous emotion, value conflict and shoddy perception we have. It simply isn't possible to address all three simultaneously without waking up. Or at least, becoming aware of the percentage of humanity that spends their entire existence dreaming.

I don't specifically address "spirit" because that quality cannot be measured cognitively. But the Chakra model suggests very seriously that a human being with a healthy, balanced foundation will automatically evolve toward the spiritual. Everything is spirit, from that perspective: Earthly existence, time and matter are the dream, and balance is the key to awakening to that reality--within the dream. This is why Lucid Dreaming, training yourself to awaken inside dreams, is an excellent training for "awakening" within life itself, by the way.

To create Triangle Goals, just pick five-year goals in each of the major arenas. For a person who is broke, alone, and sick, such goals might be:

1) By Dec 31, 2015, All of my bills and debts will be paid off, and I will have a net worth of 100,000$

2) I will celebrate my second anniversary with my soul mate, in Hawaii.

3) I am in perfect health, and complete a 10K.

Once you have your five year goals, check to be certain they are in alignment with your conscious values and beliefs. Back up and determine what you will need to have in place in three years. One year. Six months. Three months. One month. One week.

What will you have to do tomorrow?


Morning and night, you should visualize your goals, and the flow along that path. If you cannot visualize the intervening steps, you have work to do. If you feel anything but pleasure in connection with the intermediate actions, you have work to do. When you have the goals and steps laid out, the questions becomes simple:

1) Do you tell the truth?

2) Do you keep your promises to yourself?

3) Do you see the world, and yourself, clearly?

As you move toward the goals, you learn things about yourself and the environment. You learn that there is conflict between your conscious and unconscious beliefs and values, and will have the opportunity to adjust those things. Wisdom certainly encompasses the ability to control wants and desires. The wise person desires nothing he cannot have. What is the point of the wasted energy? But how can you learn what you can or cannot have without actually exploring your psyche and environment? Nice Catch-22. This is why we get to be young. It is expected that we won't make the same mistakes again and again.


Last Day of the Year. How many of you set goals? If so, would you be willing to share them? What were your experiences with goal-setting last time you tried? any of you have questions about these issues?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Route 101 Day 2

On the second day of the 101 program, we talk about Intermittent Fasting. This is a dietary pattern I've followed for two years, and it is the simplest and most powerful "diet" imaginable. Basically, there are two basic approaches:

1) Pure Intermittent Fasting. Eating every other day. I use this about 50% of the time. Other variations include eating from 6pm to 6pm, and then fasting the same--so that you are eating every day, with long fasts built in. There is also the Warrior Diet, which means to eat all food win a short window between, say, five and eight in the evening.

2) The "101 Diet." This is my own innovation, and it rocks. Every other day, you eat nothing but fresh fruits and vegetables. Wow. This one means no hunger at all, and you are improving your diet immensely.


Look: the basic science behind I.F. is solid, and I suggest that you Google the term. If you like what you read, talk about it with your doctor and/or health provider. We have diabetics using the pattern with success. I.F. comes as close to a "Magic Bullet" for health as exists, having a positive effect on cancer, impotence, obesity, diabetes, and a host of other illnesses. It is the most powerful anti-aging regimen I know of, and has even been shown to re-grow nerve tissue, I kid you not. Why does it work? Well, the basic pattern is a "wave"--alternate days of high and low calorie intake. The positive health effects result even if your overall caloric intake remains the same! The hunger actually isn't as bad as an ordinary "diet" because if you eat NOTHING, your hunger drive remains at a relative burr or low roar. The first bite you take, however, and wow! It wakes up like a tiger. This is called "Limbic Hunger" and is the reason you "can't eat just one" potato chip.

But I digress. There are so many things going on in your body with I.F. that I think it might be useful to look at it in a metaphoric, non-scientific way: you are tricking your body into believing there is a famine. From this perspective, your body believes that if you are not the most efficient hunter-gatherer possible, your children and village will starve. And how does it react? By giving you access to more of your strength, speed, intelligence, healing factors and sensory acuity. I do have to warn you that you may feel a bit more aggressive on fasting days. A little more of that "patience my ass! I'm gonna kill something" attitude, and frankly, I think that's a good thing unless you already have too much of it.

Another thing, and in my own sneaky way, perhaps the most important: if you can control hunger, you can control anything else. This fast was called "the fast of David" and thought to be one of the very highest spiritual practices. Easy to understand why.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The 101 returns

I got a comment from a Conservative, seems to be a nice fellow, who seems to think I make up the attitudes I've heard from his side of the aisle. Especially he claims that "You ask if conservatives think that welfare is more damaging than slavery to black communities. We don't. Anyone with a functioning brainstem doesn't think welfare is worse than slavery." Sorry. That just isn't true. If I hadn't heard this stuff from Conservatives a nauseating number of times (specifically: that Welfare has done more damage to black families than Slavery) I'd probably be one myself. If I hadn't gotten the: "oh, come on, Steve, you're not like them, you're like us..." speech so many times, ditto. The liberal side of the equation has just as many blind spots, and just as many assholes per capita, I'm sure. And are just as blind to it, I'm equally certain. But my attitudes are mine: please specifically attack what I have said, not what someone else said that kind of reminds you of me. I am never responsible for the attitudes of others.


Looking at the equations of beauty and power between human beings doesn't limit us at all--it sets us free. If a man's primary value in a relationship is power, and a woman's is beauty, it suggests a path of action for reaching a goal (becoming attractive to a particular type of person.) What if a woman is...well, ugly? Well, that's bad news, but no worse than a man being stupid. But if you REALLY believe that these standards are unfair and superficial, then you should be willing to totally, unhesitatingly embrace someone who is as far from THEIR "mark" as you are from yours, right? I remember a woman asking me what a woman should do if she has been, well, SERIOUSLY mistreated by nature. To tell you the truth, less than 1% of people seem to me beyond the practical effects of makeup, diet and exercise. If, for instance, she had been disfigured in a fire. Well, I replied, if I was that woman, I'd get a job working at the Braille Institute. She was dumbfounded. But blind men have friends who will whisper that she is ugly, right?

Yeah, but he doesn't have to look at it every minute. And as Ray Charles once said, "A pretty woman got no advantage with me. She's got to SHOW me what she can do." Boom shaka-laka, if you know what I mean.


The trick is that if you love yourself, and accept yourself at the same time that you move forward toward your goals, you will learn massive amounts about the human condition. In all likelihood, in order to really connect with your heart you will have to penetrate the illusions concerning things like beauty and power. And when you do that, IF you have done that, you should gain the insight to see more deeply into the essence of other human beings...and be willing to accept and embrace someone who is on the same road you are walking. If you cannot, then you are trying to cheat: you want someone more evolved, or more gifted, or more focused, or more awakened, than you are. And that just doesn't work. I know of some wild matches: a body-builder with a VERY middle aged lady who makes no effort to tone her body. But you know what? Their relationship works. They have a slight Mother-Son energy about their marriage, but you know what? I could be wrong, and what they have is just love off any chart I can devise. But she is extremely advanced in a discipline that he admires--so she has great power, and he has great beauty, and that balances in an odd way. But they are also business partners, so he isn't a stay-at-home plaything. It really is interesting to watch.

Obviously, my conclusion is that she HAS to be better than him. If he was as deep as she in their chosen arena, I don't believe they'd be as compatible.


The 101 Program is totally, totally free, and available at LIFEWRITE.COM. When I first created it, the plan was to polish it and make it a commercial product. But I watched people thriving over there, and just didn't have the heart to put a price tag on it. So...I'm using it as a testing ground for concepts I'm using in the coaching business.

The basic idea arose after about thirty years of searching for answers in my life, and turning over many, many flat rocks in many, many odd places to find them. And I started noticing that many of my most powerful and useful experiences and models of reality had fascinating overlap. And when I consciously compared those models, there were interference patterns where the same ideas emerged again and again. I came up with a basic rubric:

1) When the same ideas crop up in cultures widely separated by distance, pay attention.

2) When the same ideas crop up in cultures or philosophers widely separated by time, pay attention.

3) When ideas are successful at creating self-sustaining communities, and nurturing children to maturity generation after generation, pay attention.

4) When ideas are applicable to both extremely practical (say, survival) and esoteric (say, Human Adulthood and Awakening), pay attention.

And I started cross-referencing these things. About seven years ago, I had a real breakthrough in my understanding of writing: by creating an X and Y axes of the Hero's Journey and the Chakras, I started seeing/feeling a kind of Dynamic Sphere of storytelling (yeah, I know...a sphere has three axes. Sue me.) And I saw the rest of my life's work as a writer as filling out the wire-frame instinctive shadow of this "sphere" that now lives at the edge of my perception.

And about two years later, that "sphere" began to show up in my interactions with other people. And understanding of myself. Shadowier (if that is a word) and less distinct, but still there. And I "got it." I woke up. There is really no other way to put it. I saw clearly, both myself and the path I have walked. Jeeze, not really surprising: if you work at this stuff long enough, you get what you were looking for. The only question I had then was: how do I share this? And: HOW can I share this? And: What is the minimum time it would take to reliably bring people to this place? The 101 arose from this drive, this need inside me to share the light I had been given.

Man, do I still have work to do. I am REALLY aware...more aware than I ever was before, than I ain't enlightened. I'm what might be called "restlessly awake" with a tendency to slip back to sleep if I'm not careful. The "101" program uses the "safety rails" of goals in career, fitness, and relationship at least partially because I've watched so many spiritual seekers trash these parts of their lives trying to "evolve." And it just isn't necessary. So, while I have zero doubt that there are valid paths of growth that do NOT use these standards, I'm not qualified to guide anyone along those paths, especially if I'm coaching from a distance.

But if a student commits to all three arenas simultaneously, it's very unlikely to damage your life. And even if there is no such thing as "awakening" (I hear the doubters out there) you get the nifty results of a Soulmate, a career that gladdens your heart, and a slammin' body. Not so bad at all, really.

So heading into the end of the year, I've decided to start going over the 101 days of the program, answering questions and taking requests, as a way to supplement the free program that represents, in a way, my life's work. I think it will be sort of like going through it again, myself. And that sounds like fun to me.

Monday, December 28, 2009

You Only Need One

Just finished reading "Darkly Dreaming Dexter" the book upon which the Showtime series is based. There are some fascinating differences, but basically Showtime expanded this book out into an entire series of serial killer angst. The changes were, in my opinion, all to the good. There's a bit at the end of the book that influences Dex's relationship with his sister, and I don't like it as much.

I was just stunned and happy with the last season of the show, and the last episode was something close to perfect. Wonder what they'll do next season.

I also wonder how "24" will be this season. Starts in about two weeks. Will they soften it? I would expect fewer torture sequences, now that chuckleheads have actually quoted the damned show as if Jack Bauer is a real human being. THAT was depressing. And I'm not sure whether it was "mere" political theater or not...


Speaking of that, my recent experiences trying to get feedback on the downside of allowing anyone to buy into Medicare at "cost plus ten" has convinced me I've discovered another quasi-hidden rule of politics, one doubtless used by both sides of the spectrum.

1) If someone makes a sound and sane proposal, ignore it.

2) If you cannot ignore it, misquote it, and then attack the misquote.

3) Force the reasonable proposal off the table, and force your opponents to try to accomplish the same things through a series of clumsy, cludgy patchworks.

4) Attack the patchworks as if they were your opponent's original intent, blaming them for the inelegance.


It has been fascinating to watch. Who was it that compared the political process to making sausage?


Today is a Dream Park day. I have to get in there and work on my characters. There's a ton of work to be done, and I figure my best bet is working on a print copy, rather than on the computer. Odd how much of a difference that makes.


A friend of a frequent poster on this board wrote me, disputing my contention that black men don't get laid in movies if the filmmakers want to find an audience. He was wrong, of course, but I guess his intentions were good. I guess. What interests me is that Liberals tend to "get" what I'm saying rather rapidly, while Conservatives dispute it. I'm not sure why--whether it's the chicken or the egg. In other words, did their selective perception lead to BOTH a Conservative world view, AND a resistance to believing tribal preferences influence market forces? Or did a Conservative belief system necessitate believing in, for instance, a level playing field? Or do they just have a higher threshold for evidence of social issues? I would guess that that last might be true. But it does strike me as curious.

My guess: if the average person on either side of the political line is approximately equal in basic humanity, then Conservatives must view the unequal performance or status as indicative of things that were not caused by, and cannot be changed by social engineering, while Liberals tend to see such things as end-products of social forces, and therefore amenable to social programs. A fascinating exception is, of course, when Liberal social programs are said to be to blame (for instance, Welfare) in which case suddenly Conservatives are happy to assume that social programs or situations can be devastating, while Liberals refuse to look at it. Personally, I think it shall I say this? Non-optimal thinking to suggest that two generations of Welfare could do more damage to a group than ten generations of slavery and deprivation. That's just political theater, in my mind.

It is interesting to believe that there is equal but different asininity on both sides (with some variations for current social events and pressures). Makes it kind of hard to have certain kinds of conversations with either side. Everyone is just SO convinced that folks on their side are morally and mentally superior.


Of course, that takes things back to the personal level. In coaching, I have a couple of clients who have recently had a devastating romantic break-up. And their first tendency is to blame the partner, of course. "How could she...?" But the instant they turn that around to: "why didn't I see what kind of person she was...?" it becomes different. Instead of wishing they could trust their lover, they have to take responsibility for being blind to their flaws. And THAT is purely their own responsibility. Here are some questions to ask oneself about lost love, from the perspective of balance:

1) What didn't I see about my lover? Why didn't I let myself see it?

2) Where in my life have I made analogous mistakes before? How can I stop them?

3) What was the central wound in my beloved? How does it match one of my own wounds? If I had been healed on that level, would I have been so attracted to him/her?


The trick in healing emotionally is to take responsibility, and have faith. In other words, YOU made the decision to trust this person. If you were not able to understand them deeply enough to see their values and potential weaknesses, this is YOUR fault, not his or hers. Easiest solution? Ask their past partners. If not available? Be suspicious. Go slow.

And have Faith that there are good people in the world, healthy enough to sustain a relationship. All you have to be is one of them. So you also need Faith that if you look realistically at your own flaws, you will find a way to heal them. I think that people are terrified that if they really looked deeply into their hearts, they'd find an evil, twisted thing. So they paper it over, and look for other papered-over hearts, relating to each other on the superficial level, "surprised" when the old, neglected wounds fester and boil over.

That's a shame. Love is available to any human being willing to actually dump their egos and express their true essence. There are six billion souls on this planet--you only need one.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I woke up this morning ready to drive up to Paso Robles to spend time with my former In-Laws the Youngs. Nicki is living up there with her Mom, and even when she was down here with us, we would go up to Paso to celebrate Christmas. The Youngs do a GREAT Christmas, and are just fabulous people. looks like Nicki might have the flu, and it might be bubbling around the clan today. Yerch. Well...maybe we ain't going to Paso, and that sucks. But is just the way it is.


I want to make it clear concerning my writing: I LOVE writing. It is closer to my heart than anything outside the circle of my family. But writing isn't an objective activity: it isn't how far I hit the ball, it is how loudly the crowd roars. I aim at writing the very best work of my life: I have a couple of real corkers in mind. But if I plan for the cash flow from those books to be my primary source of income, then the time available to write them (as well as the emotional energy) is based NOT on how important the book is to me, but rather how much money I can get out of a publishing company in advance. That isn't fair to the books, because their quality is now determined partially by the subjective unconscious reactions of segments of the population who, in their hearts, consider themselves above bigotry, but are still influenced by race.

That sounds like a really ugly joke. I can't allow that, but see no way to avoid it while remaining totally within the publishing system. So the coaching is designed to take a skill I have developed for years but never really tried to approach professionally, and invert the relationship between teaching/coaching and writing fiction. Seeing myself as an "amateur writer" doesn't mean not writing. It means writing for love, and love alone. From that direction, I am offering a reward to the kid inside me who has been pulling the plough for thirty years. I'm saying: have fun, kid. Write what you want. Daddy's home.

I think that's a good thing.


It is vastly interesting to hook up with so many old friends and classmates on Facebook. I'm running into ladies I had painful crushes on back in school, and now they are grandmothers. That is enough to give ya pause, I'll tell you.


What were my favorite movies this year? Watchmen, Inglorious Basterds, Avatar, a few others. You guys?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

I really wanted to love this movie, and instead I just kind of liked it. A lot. Guy Richie's re-invention of the Sherlock Holmes film has, at it's core, a great idea: let's re-examine the way Doyle might have written about the exact same character in a more permissive, action-oriented era. All the elements are there: For others' benefit, “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist”, “The Adventure of the Naval Treaty”, “Gloria Scott”, “A Study in Scarlet”, “The Sign of the Four”, and “The Adventure of the Empty House” all make reference to Holmes' skill as a bare-knuckle boxer, swordsman, stick fighter, and man of extraordinary strength and agility. Holmes spent much time in the seedier sections of London, often in disguise, and it is impossible to imagine a sane man doing this unless he knew how to handle himself. He studied "Baritsu" (apparently a misspelling of a hybrid style of Japanese-British boxing and wrestling techniques) and used it to overcome Professor Moriarty. So, from my position, the complaints about Holmes and Watson as action heroes is just ignorant. Ignorant not just of Holmes' actual history, but of literary conventions of the time.

For instance, we are to believe Holmes is Really? Why, because Watson talks about Holmes never being involved with, or not trusting, women? And exactly what Victorian era literary figures were presented as pre-maritally sexual? Are we to believe that 1890's London, with a knock-shop on every corner and the Hellfire club and its satellites notorious, was filled with prudes? I think not. Watson is an unreliable witness. He and Holmes could have caroused in every whore-house in London, and he would never have breathed a word of it. So as far as I'm concerned, the real question is whether a film is loyal to the essence of what Doyle actually created. And that makes it legitimate to re-examine the psychological roots of the character, and re-examine in terms of what we know of real, flesh and blood human beings.

I'm interested in Holmes as flesh and blood. And unfortunately, Ritchies's hyperkenetic editing style, as well as an oddly off-kilter dialogue rhythm, keep this from scaling the heights. Oh, there is much to enjoy, especially the performances. Jude Law is wonderful, and Downy Jr. no less so. But the story, dealing with a serial killer, a secret society, and a plan to steal the English government, just isn't particularly smart. You will guess the plot points way ahead of the Consulting Detective, and that just sucks. Ritchie's visualization of Holmes' mental processes (especially during a couple of combat sequences) is very nice, just not the blazingly brilliant deductive feats we expect from Holmes.

A wasted opportunity, but not a wasted afternoon at the movies. I'll bet I'll like it better the second time around. Give it a "B-" but a "B+" for effort.


Steve Perry doubted that I'd really refuse to dump my new business if Steven Spielberg got on the phone and asked me to do a project. Let me explain: one of the core principles of success is to have a definite purpose, a written goal read twice daily. The path to this goal has to be expressed in continuous action, so that every day you know what you have to accomplish to stay on the path. If you do this, strange things will start happening, including unexpected assistance from unforeseen well as distractions aplenty.

I remember years ago, talking to a student who had had serious weight issues stemming from horrendous childhood abuse. She was working to peel the layers of protection away, and I warned her about something: if she was ever successful, if she lost more than about 25 pounds, her career would suddenly take off. She would start being offered wonderful job options that would bring her more money and prestige. Why? Well, viewed from one perspective, the entire game would be to distract her from losing the weight. Her ego would be seriously threatened, and would fight dirty to trash her schedule and fracture her intent.

Here's another example: It is often said that those engaged in serious meditation activities will often notice what are called "siddhis" occurring. These are powers: precognition, telepathic effects, psychic dreams, etc. Becoming unusually sexually attractive is definitely one of these. Now imagine: a guy who has had a string of bad relationships decides to use the Soulmate process. His target surrogate tells him she wants a man with a deeper spiritual base (this happened to me) so he begins to meditate. He finds that after a month, attractive women are coming on to him, inviting him to long weekends of carnal delight.

What do you think would happen if he took them up, and stopped meditating? Right: immediately, the very process that created the attraction would stop working, and he'd end up right back where he was. Only a little older.

Well, that's where I am with Coaching. I've been a professional writer for thirty years, and I don't want this any more. Finding out that there was indeed a blacklist, and I was on it, and that race was a factor--that HURT. And the fact that the field doesn't grasp its parochial, tribal attitudes means that thirty years of my pushing against that rock has only moved it a few inches. I'd be an idiot to trust the SF field with my future. But nor do I want the assholes to win, by driving me out. What is my alternative?

I've been cogitating about that one ever since Octavia died. And finally came to a decision: I want to be an AMATEUR writer, a "gentleman writer", without so much pressure from the bills. Under those circumstances, I will do my very best, and probably most successful, writing. But what do I have to do to lift that stress? Create other avenues of income. And what is predictable? As I continue to build my coaching business, and my students grow by leaps and bounds and my business gets more secure: of COURSE Spielberg (or the rough equivalent) will call. It is frickin' inevitable. You know how when you don't have a job you can't get a job...but as soon as you have one the phone starts ringing? When you don't have a girlfriend/boyfriend you can't get one, but as soon as you have one everyone else seems interested? 100% predictable. It's one of the really strange ways the universe operates, a little touch of magic, or as close to it as you can catch in a bottle.

So no. I dare not throw away this structure I'm creating. A call from Spielberg would be a symptom that I'm heading in the right direction. If I chased after it, I'd lose everything. This is going to be quite an adventure.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

If Spike Lee had directed Avatar..?

One of my favorite Mad Scientists, Jonathan Post, rather cheekily asked if I thought Avatar would have been different if directed by Spike Lee. Specifically, if their culture would have parfait'd along color lines, with lighter-skinned Na'vi lording it over the darker ones.

Naw. That happened in America because of the protective coloration thing: the difference in color between Africans and Europeans was stark, and formed an impassable barrier in and of itself. (We'll ignore for a moment the fact that I don't believe in the racial mix as presented in the film. Absent some innate superiority in white folks, in a hundred years things are gonna be considerably browner, rather than, as "Avatar" comfortingly suggests, whites will continue to be on the top of the heap. From this point of view, it wouldn't be "dark and light" but probably the most obvious difference--short, and non-blue)

As masters sexually plundered their slaves (not always rape, but never less than what might be considered extremely non-optimal conditions) we got mulattos. These children were treated better by whites than their darker-skinned brethren, both because they LOOKED more like whites, and because it is natural for human beings to feel protective toward their own offspring.

They got more privileges, and became an intermediate group between "pure" Africans and "pure" Europeans, a buffer group who could actually be used against their own people as spies and overseers. Needless to say, this triggered serious resentment in the darker folks, as well as urges to imitate them. By dress, language, appearance and social custom, many blacks did everything possible to look and act like the master class. Christianity was, from this point of view, another piece of protective coloration. I have no doubts that the average master treated a Christian slave better than an anamistic or Islamic slave.

Really complicated ball of snakes. Post-slavery there was a lot of hope that, if ex-slaves could just take on the attitudes and actions of whites, that they might enter the "promised land" of equality. Yeah, dream on. As decades rolled, you have cycles of optimism shaded by pessimism as the "two steps forward, one step back" of political and social reality set in. You get "upper class" blacks taking on all the protective attitudes...including, unfortunately, taking on the very attitudes of their oppressors, including considering light skin more "attractive" than dark skin.

TRUST ME, this is real. Growing up, I definitely saw and heard it. My own mother was light-skinned enough to have "passed", and spent her last years regretting she had not. Feeling that her dark-skinned children stopped her from connecting with more desirable men of higher social standing. Pretty nasty stuff. Poor Mom...that was the time she grew up in, a time of lynchings and trying desperately to believe that "black blood is the strongest in the world, because one drop makes you whole." Pretty abysmal coping mechanism. Don't think she really believed that for a moment.


Anyway, here's how it might happen:

1) IF Earth had controlled Pandora for generations, and

2) IF lighter-skinned Na'vi somehow had privileges above the darker, such that those privileges controlled their survival and breeding...

3) THEN it would be inevitable for poisonous, self-hating attitudes to gain strength.

But even then, for it to be as bad as it has been for black Americans, you would have to brainwash them, remove their culture and destroy their memory of their own history. Otherwise you would be in danger of engendering hatred toward the oppressor, rather than self-destructive value patterns.


Oh...and if Spike had directed Avatar, there would have been at least one black male character to identify with. Say...the other Avatar scientist? Maybe one of the support staff? Feh.

Still loved it, though. As I've loved countless SF works that excluded or degraded me. Is that sick, or what?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And then the fun begins

Really enjoying the new coaching business. The idea is pretty simple: due to a perfect storm of economic and social issues affecting the writing and publishing industry, I've decided I'd be an idiot to trust my retirement (if I ever retire) to the science fiction field, where my roots are deepest. But the question was: what to do? The solution I came up with was to shift to being a "Gentleman Writer", an amateur writer, as I was when I was a kid. I think that under that circumstance, I will do my very best and most successful work--when I no longer give a damn about its financial success.

The question was: well, if I'm going to replace a good chunk of my income, what in the world do I do? I mean, I have fairly specialized skills: writing, being a daddy/husband, and kicking ass. What am I supposed to do with that? Well...I took another look. And realized that teaching, lecturing, and coaching have been a part of my life for decades. I have mailing lists with thousands of people on them, teaching writing and life balance.

But is it wrong to try to make money helping people in this way? To be honest, I had a voice in my head whispering weakness. But there was an answering voice, and it said, "you would gladly do this for free. In fact, you would PAY people to improve their own lives, if you could. It makes perfect sense for you to do this."

So I started. For the last years, I've been trying to figure out how to get back into teaching and doing seminars, but life has been INTENSE for the five years since we moved down to Southern California. I just couldn't get the leverage to find the resources and allies to do that. Researched for months and months. Then Victoria Whitlock mentioned something called "Coaching". Took me a while to follow up, but when I started researching it, it looked almost perfect for me. I actually already had the infrastructure in place to reach prospects, and the perfect way was to offer a totally free half-hour session. So far, it's been great. I need to get SKYPE so I can speak to people in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa--places I already have students. What an adventure. The trick is that I mustn't allow myself to be distracted. If Spielberg calls and wants to make LION'S BLOOD, I mustn't sacrifice the foundation I'm building to chase the dream. Because that would be chasing after Siddhis--distracting oneself from the life work in order to reap temporary benefits. No. If I do this right, it will absolutely increase the quality and success of my writing. But I have to be strong on this.


There's a movie that isn't on your radar. A totally inappropriate, wildly notorious film called "Kick Ass", about vigilante superheroes. Above is the Red Band trailer. The set-up is that a geeky high school kid wonders why no one has ever actually tried being a superhero. He puts on a costume, goes out and immediately gets wiped out. But by the time he gets out of the hospital, the contagion has spread: others are also trying to be superheroes. Including a foul-mouthed eleven year old human ginzu named "Hit Girl." And then, as the saying goes, the fun begins.

Supposedly, this is the ultimate audience film--you gotta see it in a group. The poster shows a guy in a superhero suit, with twin Kali sticks. The caption: "I can't jump over buildings. But I can kick your ass." Can't wait.


And no, I won't consider a career as a vigilante.


Slowly getting into the Christmas spirit. It can be hard for me, but I always do it, and having a beautiful baby boy looking forward to Santa is quite a motivation. Jason is helping me scrape barnacles off my heart, I kid you not. Sigh. Life is good.