Inner Life of a Late Bloomer Baby Boomer

Free picture (Abdeckung. Herbst Blumen.)fall-flowers-very-vivid-colours-fragment-58174

Sometimes, pardon the expression, it sucks to be an empath and an introvert. For years I’ve been a magnet for other people’s emotions which has caused me lots of confusion and emotional turmoil. And yet, now that I’ve learned to separate my emotional states from current events and the people I’m interacting with, I’m grateful that I have the ability to understand how someone else is feeling. I think we could use more empathy in the world right now.

While I was growing up, I felt like an outsider. For one thing we moved a lot, so I was always the new kid. And then I seemed to feel things more deeply than the other kids about events in the world, about the characters in the stories we read, or history we were studying. I had lots of thoughts and emotions going on in my head and heart, but I learned to keep them to myself to keep from being ridiculed. I wasn’t comfortable with this decision. I longed to be the person who said and did outrageous things and didn’t care what other people thought. But that always came with consequences of being bombarded with their emotions. I wasn’t brave enough to be that vulnerable.

One great thing about getting older, I know that I’m not in charge of how other people react, or respond to the things I say and do. So, I’m using this as a kind of test essay for a book I’ve been thinking about writing for eleven years. I’m finally ready to be outrageous and share some of the things I’ve been thinking about religion, politics, human relationships, and life in general. I’ve kept them locked in my head and heart for so many years, they are bursting to get out. So here goes.

Sunday August 12, Barry and I were watching CBS Sunday Morning, as is our Sunday ritual. This episode had a piece about the German artist, Georg Baselitz, one of the world’s most famous and highly sought after living artists. He grew up during and after WW II, the son of a wounded Nazi soldier, in the rubble of a destroyed landscape. When he became an artist trying to make sense of his topsy turvy world, he eventually turned his paintings upside down as well.

Something Stephan Akin, (not sure that’s spelled correctly), who is curator of the Hershorne Museum, said about Baselitz, “(It) is a sign of his great intellectual honesty, he has struggled, but accepted the fact that he was German. He could never be anything but German …”

That was one of those Wow! moments for me. I’ve lived through so many terrible and great things as an American. As a kid I was proud to be an American, a member of the greatest country on earth. But after years of demonstrations, brutality, scandals and revelations about our government, my pride eroded. As my husband said once, “I’m grateful to be an American, but I’m not always proud.” I’ve struggled to make sense of our real history with so many mistakes, atrocities, triumphs and tragedies. I’ve felt the burden of the genocide and oppression we’ve perpetrated, so much so that at times I wished I could be from some other country. And yet … I’m an American and will never be anything other than an American. Which means I’ve got a responsibility to be part of the self-examination we need to be doing right now.

It’s difficult to face reality. I loved that illusion from childhood that I lived in this open hearted melting pot where we learned from each other and everyone was treated equally. But shattering illusions isn’t always a bad thing.

In my personal life, I had to learn to accept the entirety of who I was, even though I wasn’t perfect and have made many mistakes. As I’ve been able to do that, my life has become more joyful. I interact differently with people than I did when I was younger. I’m now more loving and accepting. One of the spiritual teachers I follow said that the way to heal the world is to heal yourself first. I’m still working on myself, but I’ve made progress, which gives me hope that not only can individuals heal their wounds, but our country and the world can too.

I want to say one more thing that I might normally keep to myself. I’m glad we’ve been knocked off our pedestal as the world leader. Being on a pedestal is an extremely lonely place to be. To quote Bing Crosby’s character in White Christmas after Betty tells him he’s her knight in shining armor, “Well, it’s mighty lonely up there on that charger. A fella’s libel to fall off.”

But falling off can be rewarding. Once we’ve fallen off our pedestal, we find there are lots of people and nations who’ve had similar experiences and not only survived but thrived. We find allies, support groups, and eventually friends we can play and work with.

I long for the day when we act as a global community appreciating each culture and working together to ensure the health and safety of each individual and the planet as a whole.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it very much.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news about the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Quick Update

“The more failures, the more successes. Period.” ~ Tom Peters, Author of In Search of Excellence

“It took 15 years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because, by then, I was too famous.” ~ Robert Benchley, American Humorist

I’m back, temporarily, to give you an update on my latest creative activities.

It’s monsoon here, which means almost everyday there is a thunderstorm, which in turn means, I have to turn off the computers and internet. That has slowed down the progress of doing the audiobook version of The Space Between Time. I could complain about that, but it’s actually been a good thing. Let me explain.

Some years back I found this wonderful fantasy series by Alexes Razevich, The Ahsenthe Cycle. The first of the series is Khë. It’s one of the most imaginative fantasy series I’ve read in a very long time. I loved these books so much, I joined Alexes’ mailing list.

About a month and a half ago, Alexes sent out a call for reviewers for the third book in her Oona Goodlight series. I jumped at the chance to read this new set of books and promised to review all three for her. While The Ahsenthe Cycle is pure fantasy, The Oona Goodlight books are basically paranormal mysteries. They are fun.

In the process of reading the books I had cause to email Alexes about errors in the manuscript for one of her books and during that exchange she agreed to review my novel. As our messages went back and forth about our writing and my audiobook project, she told me of her experience recording the audiobook for another of her books. She found mistakes, and portions of the book that she thought needed revisions. She decided to take the time to improve her manuscript, and upload the corrected version.

In the meantime, I had discovered a few mistakes in the first couple of chapters I’d recorded, and there were sentences in others that felt clunky when I read them. Alexes suggested that I would not be sorry if I took the time to improve the manuscript. I knew she was right, but it’s a long book and I’m both narrator and audio engineer. I was hoping to get the audiobook published next month. And yet, it’s never a bad idea to take the time to do my very best work. I decided to think about what to do while I took a little break preparing my fall semester classes.

And, the verdict is: I will go back, find those rough patches and little mistakes and improve my book. It costs nothing to upload a new version at Smashwords, and only a small fee to order a new proof at Amazon. Even though the friends and family who have read my book have told me they love it, I’m enough of a perfectionist to want to do the very best I can on this final version before going back to finish book two. I don’t know who said it, but it’s true, you never have a second chance to make a good first impression. And since I haven’t sold even hundreds of books yet, I might as well make sure subsequent readers get the best book I can produce.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. I’ll check in again in the not too distant future.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Summer Break

Ashley Pond Park in Los Alamos, NM

“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” ~ Barbara De Angelis

For the last few days I’ve felt restless. It feels like big changes are coming. I guess it’s time to take stock of my activities, not that there are that many, but, I need to do some life evaluation. One of the things I’ve decided to do is sit down and do the audiobook recording of my novel, The Space Between Time. It’s a long book so it will take some time just to read, then there is the editing to do, which I’m learning to do myself. I also want to clear space to do more work on my second novel, Time’s Echo.

Since I’m rather single minded, this means I may not be writing regular posts for a few weeks. No doubt something will come into my head that I’ll just have to share with you, and I’ll check in every once in a while to let you know how my projects are coming along, but it’s time to take another little break from writing these twice-weekly posts.

I hope you take some time for a vacation, or some kind of get away that relaxes your mind as well as your body. See you on the other side.

Just a reminder that both my books are half off at Smashwords through the end of July. Happy reading.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

How We Treat Children

Unbridled Joy

“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.” ~ Fred Rogers

“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.” ~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

There is a saying that you can tell a lot about a society by the way they treat animals. I contend that you can also tell a lot about a society by the way they treat children. I’ve been thinking a great deal about children lately and the way we’ve been treating them.

Last weekend my husband and I went to see the documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? about Fred Rogers and his PBS children’s show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Fred Rogers’ approach to dealing with children was so loving and kind. It’s the way we should be treating all the children we come into contact with, even if their parents came into this country illegally.

Mr. Rogers was an ordained minister who used television to help children feel like they were heard, seen, and appreciated. He also used the show to help young children deal with things that most adults have trouble dealing with as well. Things like death, divorce, tragic events, being bullied, and even social issues that might impact them. No topic was off limits for Mr. Rogers. During the Civil Rights movement when people were having black children removed from public swimming pools for no other reason than they had a different skin color, Mr. Rogers invited the neighborhood police officer, who happened to be black, to join him in cooling off his feet with him in a little wading pool. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and then Robert Kennedy were assassinated, he did a show about what the word assassination meant. He did shows about divorce, disabilities, and so much more. He always ended his show by telling the children that he liked them just the way they were. He meant it and they knew it.

Even though many parents and children loved him because of who he was and how he treated them, he had his detractors too. Some journalists, or psychologists, or politicians said that because of Mr. Rogers’ show, a whole generation of children were growing up entitled and narcissistic because he told them they were special. Not everyone is special, they reasoned, and we shouldn’t tell them they are.

I don’t understand the human predilection for blaming the wrong people when bad things happen.

The argument that Mr. Rogers was to blame for the failure of parents to love their children, reminds me of the parents who would say to me, “I want you to fix my child.” I had a whole raft of thoughts going on in my head that I was too nice, or unable to say because of school policy; things like, “I teach five classes a day with 25 to 30 students in each class, and you want me to fix your child? And I see your teenager five hours a week. How many hours do you see your child in a week? If you want them ‘fixed’, you’ll have to change your own behavior. I’ll try to help them deal with the bleep you put them through, but you need to take a good look at how you’re interacting with them if you want them ‘fixed’.” I tried to help teens deal with the things they were concerned about, but I wasn’t always successful. I made mistakes, and I couldn’t reach every student.

In the same vein, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was on for one hour every weekday, that’s five hours a week. Yet people were blaming him if their children didn’t turn out the way they thought they should? Who’s the narcissist blaming others for their own mistakes?

And then, this week, I discovered that my favorite version of Jane Eyre is on Amazon Prime Video. As I watched the first segment, I remember how I felt when I read the book in high school. I was so angry with Jane’s aunt. She treated Jane horribly and encouraged her children to do the same thing. Here was Jane, an orphan being blamed for all sorts of wickedness that, of course, she was not responsible for. Her aunt hated her so much that she sent her to a horrible school for girls, which was more like a prison. The girls were not fed properly, didn’t have proper heat, or warm clothes, and they got punished often for tiny little infractions that really didn’t matter at all. I just didn’t get that? And we’re still doing similar things to children today.

Most people claim they want children, then some treat them abominably when they begin to walk, talk, and think for themselves. You hear parents in the grocery stores, or at the soccer field, or in restaurants yelling at their children for all kinds of trivial things. Heaven forbid a child should have their own feelings. This kind of abuse leads some, when they get to be adults, to have a difficult time relating out in the world and we wonder why.

While I wrote all of that, I was thinking of all the years I worked with young children. I started before I was out of high school, teaching Bible School classes and graduated to being an aide in Montessori Schools, child development and day care centers. In the mid to late 1980s, I was a teacher in one of the four year old classrooms at the child development center sponsored by my congregation. For the most part it was fun creating the projects and choosing the books to read to the children. But sometimes I encountered a child with severe problems. I had one little boy who would get extremely angry, throw chairs and other things around the room, and hurt the other children. The director and I didn’t really know what was going on. We informed the parents of the boy’s behavior and asked the other staff to keep watch. One day one of the teachers found the boy in the bathroom with another boy doing things that little four year old boys should not know anything about. That’s when we got a clue that this little boy had been sexually abused. We called in the parents and told them our suspicions. They had emigrated from one of the war torn African countries to avoid such things and were appalled. They began an investigation and discovered that the abuser was their baby sitter, a woman who had been recommended by their pastor. If I remember correctly, it was discovered this was not the first time the woman had done this. She was arrested and I think convicted of child abuse. And the parents had to send their beautiful little boy for counseling. He got better, but oh my, what a heartbreaking situation that family had already suffered just to get here and then to have that happen. I sometimes think of that little boy, who is now a man, and wonder if he healed from that traumatic time in his life. I hope he did.

That little boy makes me wonder what will happen to the children who were recently ripped from their parents arms and locked away. Will they be able to heal after they are reunited with their parents? I hope so, but I feel terrible what happened to them in my country.

In my opinion, children are our most precious gifts. Fred Rogers knew that and tried to make the lives of children easier. He tried to help them process their feelings and understand the world a little better. We need more people like Mr. Rogers in the world.

I encourage you to go see Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Mr. Rogers was the perfect example of the meek, gentle person, who is dismissed and sometimes ridiculed by more outgoing types, but nevertheless changes the world. If you’re sensitive like me, you might want to take plenty of tissues when you go see the movie.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and liking. I appreciate it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Book Recommendations

“I am a horse for a single harness, not cut out for tandem or teamwork … for well I know that in order to attain any definite goal, it is imperative that one person do the thinking and the commanding.” ~ Albert Einstein

“One of the best ways to minimize your interaction with energy vampires is to become ‘empowered in the negative.’ In other words, learn how to turn people down, even if you have to hurt them a bit in the process. This is essential. Be like those old drug commercials: Just Say No.” ~ Dr. Christiane Northrop, Dodging Energy Vampires

I’ve been doing lots of reading this summer and I’d like to share my thoughts on some of the books that have made me think. Two of them are non-fiction, but first I’d like to write about the novel my family book club chose for our summer read.

The Circle of Ceridwen by Octavia Randolph, is the first in a series of historical novels that begins in 871 in Angle-Land. It had been split into seven kingdoms ruled by the Anglo-Saxons. However at the beginning of the book, the Danes (Vikings) control five of the seven kingdoms, all in the north. The central kingdom Mercia, is the home of Ceridwen where her father and then uncle were lesser lords. This kingdom is on the border of Dane-land. Wessex in Southern Angle-land, is first ruled by Ælfred’s older brother, but when he dies, Ælfred becomes king. Mercia and Wessex must defend their homeland. Ceridwen, having been raised by her uncle and then the Prior of the local monastery, is an unusually educated and independent young woman. When she turns fifteen, she decides to leave the monastery escaping marriage or the veil, to find a position serving a noble family. On a bitterly cold day, when she’s in danger of dying, she meets Ælfwyn a Saxon maid. She is on her way to marry a Dane as part of a bargain her father made to save his lands. They become instant friends and once at Four Stones, they transform the place in a very short amount of time.

Until I read these books, I thought I knew what the middle ages were like. But this series of books gives texture to my flat understanding of the people, industries, medical practices, trade, and politics of the times. Reading them was better than studying a dry historical textbook. I highly recommend this series to any lovers of history or historical fiction. It is based on historical events and people.

During the late spring I heard Dr. Christiane Northrop speak about how to dodge energy vampires. She referred back to her latest book Dodging Energy Vampires: An Empath’s Guide to Evading Relationships That Drain You and Restoring Your Health and Power. Even though the full title is a mouthful, I immediately bought the book and devoured it in three days. I’m highly empathic and a sensitive introvert. For years I hid that fact and slowly learned to dodge energy vampires. One of the most difficult lessons was to stand up for myself, and saying goodbye to the vampires in my life.

Even though I’ve learned a great deal, for the most part I continued to hide. This book gave me hope that I could come out of the shadows and embrace who I truly am. As I read, I began to see that the qualities I possess are highly valuable and I need not be ashamed of them. More than that actually, in Dr. Northrop’s estimation, empaths are here to help transmute negative energy into positive. At the end of her book she states that often empaths do that just by being present with people who need healing, or a change of attitude. I loved that! She said that empaths/introverts need to embrace their particular gifts and not let energy vampires drain them or push them around. Which led me to the book I’m reading now.

The book is Quiet:The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. She did a fantastic TED talk a year or so ago about introverts and how important they are to creating the progress we need to make. Her talk has been viewed maybe a million times. That’s how I was introduced to her work.

In Quiet, she documents how the American and European cultures became worshippers of the go-getters, dismissing one-third to half the population who hide in the shadows. She also outlines the strengths of introverts and, as I heard her say in an interview, how introverts and extroverts can team up to create something fabulous. In fact, they already have. Apple would not be what it is today without both Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs working together creating fantastic personal computers and marketing them to the world. There are many introverts who have contributed to the world in amazing ways. On her list are Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Albert Einstein and many more. In my reading so far, she has examined leadership strengths introverts have in certain situations, that are superior to extroverts. But don’t get her wrong, she knows we need both personality types to progress.

I’m hoping by the end of the book, she will predict where the new studies of personality types that are taking place now, will lead us. Maybe introverts will soon be able to state proudly who they are and society will embrace them as valuable just as we do extraverts today.

Thanks for reading, commenting and liking. Have a fantastic weekend whether it is partying with friends or staying home and reading a great book.

By the way, both my books are half off at Smashwords the entire month of July. Click the Smashwords link below to get yours.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Writing Lessons So Far

Thunderstorm over Corfu

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~ Toni Morrison

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” ~ Gustave Faubert

This morning as I awoke, for some reason I was thinking about what I’d share with eager attendees of a writing workshop should I ever conduct one. Sometimes I wake up with these kinds of flights of fancy rolling around in my head. I don’t know why. Maybe they are part of a dream I was having so it’s fresh in my mind.

In any case, since I’m not finished reading the next book I want to write about, I thought I’d write down some ideas so I can get them clear in my mind just in case one day I end up writing a memoir, or conducting a workshop about my writing process.

In my mind, memoirs by creative people are much more valuable to the new artist than a how to book about writing. I know, how to books are very popular. And common wisdom tells writers to get a MFA in creative writing, or take writer’s workshops. But I’m a contrarian. I take the view that the only person who can teach me (or you) how to write is me. I’m not saying don’t take that writing class, I’m saying that if you are going to be creative in any way, the muses are going to speak to you differently than they are to me. And what you have to share with the world is unique to you alone. No one else can share what you’ve experienced.

Last year I read Ann Patchett’s wonderful memoir, The Getaway Car. It’s about her writing life. It’s called The Getaway Car because in the beginning Ann tells about being a waitress and writing her first novel was her getaway car out of a job she hated. I loved that image, because I had a similar feeling about my writing.

But the point I wanted to make about her memoir is this, she writes about a fellow writer who had to move her writing desk away from the window so she couldn’t look out. She did this because her writing instructor told her having her desk by the window would be distracting. I was appalled! I would never presume to tell someone how to organize their writing space, nor what rituals to adopt, or what time is the best for writing. I wouldn’t do that because what’s great for me, might be disastrous for you.

My writing desk is right next to a window. I love seeing the wildlife that traipse under it. It gives my mind a little break every once in a while so that some new idea can sneak in. I prefer to wake up, get my husband off to work, then meditate, read something inspirational, write in my journal all before entering my office to write. That’s my routine. You may write better at night, or very early in the morning. You may need to play music. I can’t do that, it’s too distracting. See what I mean. Every one of us is unique. And if you’re going to be creative, you’ve got to plug into that core desire that is beating in your chest, train yourself to listen to what it’s telling you, and dive into a life apart from most of the people you know.

Here’s the thing about embracing the wild and crazy life of an artist. It isn’t easy, nor even fun sometimes. It can be scary and frustrating. Sometimes what you want to express plays tricks on you and hides. And the only way to come to terms with your fear and illusive ideas is to take a break for awhile. Sit by that window and watch the birds, or the storm gathering. Let your mind wander. Sometimes I go do housework, or read a book. But no matter what, you can’t let anything stand in your way of finishing that project. You have to go back to that chair, or into the studio and practice, practice, practice.

Barry and I had a voice teacher before we got married who used to say, “Perfect practice, makes perfect.” And I have a writer friend, Debrah Strait, you should check out her books by the way, who says, “The rough draft is always crap. Don’t worry about that just keep writing.” Those two statements may seem antithetical, but I disagree. As you practice, you do the very best you can at the moment you’re creating. When you go back to look at it later, you may well say, “This is crap.” But you practiced as perfectly as you could at the time. Then you throw away the bad parts and take the good parts and mold them into something new. Or you start over again with a new idea. We learn more from our failures than we do our successes. At least, I do. So, as Elizabeth Gilbert suggests, tell that critical voice in your head, “Thanks for sharing, but I’m going to get back to work now.”

I’ve been writing full-time for ten years now. I have two books published, and five years of blog posts trailing behind me, but I still feel like I’m an amateur. Taking creative writing classes may have helped me move along faster, but, again I’m a contrarian. I don’t want an instructor giving me writing prompts and then criticizing a story I didn’t want to write in the first place. I’ve learned that I’m a slow writer. I don’t do well if I have a deadline and that’s why I self publish. I have to let my story roll around in my head picking up little tidbits to add from lots of different sources. I never know how long it’s going to take me to finish my book and that’s okay with me.

So, if you feel the urge to create something, don’t let anything stop you. Jump right in. You will learn as you go.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Unrelated Lessons This Week

Northern Cardinal

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” ~ William James

“We can’t understand when we’re pregnant, or when our siblings are expecting, how profound it is to have a shared history with a younger generation: blood, genes, humor. It means we were actually here, on Earth, for a time – like the Egyptians with their pyramids, only with children.” ~ Anne Lamott

I have no book movie connections to write about this week. I am reading, just not books that I’ve stacked up to include in this blog. So, today I’d like to write about some random things that happened that I’ve been thinking about.

Story One
Yesterday I met with my independent study student. It’s the dramatic structure class that is normally taught during fall or spring semester. She’s taking it now because she’s going off to a four year institution in the fall and the theatre program at her new college doesn’t offer a class like this. This young woman is remarkable. She just graduated from high school and already has a number of college classes completed toward her theatre degree. Though she’s a fantastic actor, she was in my spring production of Measure for Measure, her first love is theatre tech.

I could talk about movies all day. She and I have fun talking about the movies we’ve watched, but yesterday I had reason to be further impressed with her. We were discussing Cloud Atlas, a movie/book connection I’ve written about before in this blog. The movie can be very confusing because it switches back and forth among six timelines. Because of this, I created a movie guide to help the students notice important aspects of the movie. My student impressed me when she said that because of my guide, she got what was going on during the first viewing. It helps that she’s also taking a film class at the same time.

As we got to talking about the many themes of the movie, she connected them to things she has learned in her life. And I have to say, I was so happy to hear that she has already learned things it took me well into my fifties to understand. I find this to be true of many of my students. They are so self-aware. It gives me hope that what I believe really is true: When I do my personal work and gain insights, they are passed on to future generations. We talked about that too, because it’s one of the major themes of Cloud Altas. Even if no one remembers our names, our experiences help those who come after us.

I told my student I was happy that she was so much farther along in her development than I was. Don’t be fooled that the younger generation is going to hell in a hand basket. It’s just not true.

Story Two
A week or so ago, I wrote about the book and TV show Dietland. I don’t think I mentioned that I also watch the show, Unapologetic with Aiysha Tyler which airs right after. It’s a talk show linked to, but not exclusively about Dietland. In fact the main part of the show is discussing women’s issues. I hope it stays around. Aiysha has three guests on each week, they discuss current events as part of the format. About a week ago, Aiysha had a woman, who had been part of Obama’s administration, on her panel. Sorry, I don’t remember her name. The woman said that signing petitions and making phone calls to our elected officials really does make a difference and to keep doing it. I loved that, because in recent weeks I have been tempted to give into battle fatigue. But no more. I’m going to speak up as often as possible.

Story Three
Barry and I have a friend who is a lesbian. She and her wife just celebrated fourteen years of being together. Today, on her Facebook feed, she wrote a moving story about a conversation she had with a gentleman while they were getting their cars inspected. He talked of his wife and family and what they were going to do this summer. When he turned the conversation to find out what her summer plans were, she felt a bit panicked to come out to him. At first she made her plans with her family generic, but finally she just came out with the facts. When he realized that she had used the word, “wife”, his face changed for a moment, but then they continued their conversation as if what she had said was perfectly normal. Wow! I want to become that vulnerable. As an introvert, I don’t like revealing too much about my personal feelings and beliefs. But our friend, Joy, who has much more at stake than I do, taught me a valuable lesson. Being vulnerable, open, and honest can help us change the world.

One final little tidbit. Last Sunday David Edelstein, the film critic for CBS Sunday Morning, urged the viewers to go see Won’t You Be My Neighbor? a new documentary about Fred Rogers and his groundbreaking children’s show on PBS. But he said something that I completely disagree with, that seeing the movie will make you feel good until you go back out into the real world. He implied that treating everyone with respect and love is abnormal. I disagree with him. I believe that, for the most part, we come into this world with open hearts and a desire to love everyone, but those natural impulses are altered by the time we reach adolescence. I will go see the movie and aspire to be loving and respectful at all times just like Mr. Rogers.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. Have a fantastic weekend. And by the way, The Space Between Time is half off this entire month at Smashwords. Click the link below to get your copy.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Dune – Evil Kills Itself

Dune SONY DSC

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will let it pass over me and through me. And when it has passed I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where it has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” ~ Paul Atredies in Dune

The other morning as I was in that nether world between sleep and waking I heard a voice say, “Evil always kills itself.” I opened my eyes and thought back to all my favorite novels, movies, and events in history and confirmed the truth of what I’d heard. It may take a long time, but people who lust for power are eventually crushed under the weight of all they try to control.

Later that week several things happened, too numerous to relate here, in which various people expressed fear over current events. These two ideas converged in my head and I thought that I’d write about the book and movie/mini-series, Dune, which is one of the great examples of what I heard in my head that morning.

One of the things I love about the fantasy/sci-fi genres is that they can take the things we struggle with everyday and show them in a new way. The authors and movie makers put their stories of human experience on a distant planet, in space, in a parallel universe, or in the struggles of superheroes so we can examine ourselves at a safe distance.

Frank Herbert’s Dune, is such a story. The power struggles in his story are not confined to one planet, but to an entire universe. Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV is trying, desperately, to hold on to his power, but there are many forces against him, The Baron Harkkonnen, the Spacing Guild, and the Bene Gesserits, an all female order, all want to control the spice melange on the planet of Arrakis. This spice extends life and enhances certain psychic powers. Whoever controls the spice, controls the universe.

In the middle of this struggle is Duke Leto Atreides and his family. The Duke has no taste for power other than to rule his own home planet of Caladan. He’s a benevolent ruler and his people love him. His humility and humanity makes him popular with the lesser nobles in the universe as well and a threat to the balance of power. This makes him a target. The Emperor and the Baron, commanded by the Spacing Guild, join forces to destroy not only the Duke but his entire family.

Meanwhile, extended use of the spice has caused the Spicing Guild leader to become something other than human. He can see the future and knows that the precarious balance that exists will be upset by the unexpected coming of a super being created by ninety years of genetic manipulation of the Bene Gesserits. This being is called the Kwisatz Haderach. The Spicing Guild wants to kill this being to maintain their power, the Bene Gesserits want to control him to gain theirs. Their plans are upset, however, when Duke Leto’s concubine, the Lady Jessica, a Bene Gesserit who was to have had only daughters, disobeys because the Duke wanted a son. This makes her son, Paul, a dark horse, and a target for all those struggling for ultimate power.

The Fremen, the native inhabitants of Arrakis, are another dark horse element in the struggle. Everyone assumes that the Harkkonnens, who have governed spice production on the planet for centuries, have killed off most of them. When the Emperor orders Duke Leto to become the new governor of Arrakis, the Duke sends out a trusted ambassador and discovers that the Fremen have been living in hiding in the deep desert. Their numbers are vast, and they want their planet back. Duke Leto vows to help them do that, but before he can put his plan into motion, he’s betrayed and killed. Jessica and Paul escape, unbeknownst to the four groups struggling to gain the upper hand.

In the end, Paul, Jessica and his young sister Alia, become Fremen. It is revealed that Paul is the Kwisatz Haderach. When he announces himself after the Fremen win the final battle on Arrakis, all power shifts to them. All the maneuvering, to gain power by the four main combatants falls apart and balance is restored to their universe.

I love all versions of this story because it shows that the lust for power destroys those who attempt to control everything. It also shows that “the powerful” really aren’t. They live in fear for their safety far more than those they dominate. They think that what they have accumulated will protect them. It won’t. It’s like mist and can dissolve in a moment. What the power hungry don’t understand is that there are larger forces that work to maintain true balance.

Frank Herbert and the movie/mini-series makers did a fantastic job of weaving an intricate story to show that real power is embodied by the humble, intelligent, loving and fair rather than the arrogant and cruel. It may take a very long time to restore the balance of power, but it always happens.

And I believe what our good friend John Berger used to say, “There are no victims, only volunteers.” So, going back to our current political situation in this world, though it appears that people’s lives are ruined, or they die as a result of cruel leaders, those “victims” have volunteered on some cosmic level, to help us choose which master we’re going to serve. The stories I love the most all have characters who choose to stand up to cruel tyrants and claim their personal power. I want to do the same.

I just occurred to me that, though it doesn’t look like it, this is an appropriate post for The Fourth of July.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it very much. For those in the United States, happy Fourth of July. I hope you remember why we celebrate this day.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Open Mic Night Video

Revised book cover for The Space Between Time

On June 15, 2018, I got to do my first book reading. Some of you might not be aware of how much time it takes to choose what you’re going to read and then to practice reading the selection. There is usually a time limit for the selection too, so in my case, I had to cut down some of the pieces to fit the allotted time.

All of the preparation is fun, but for me, having been an actress at one time, it was a blast to get up in front of an audience again. Even though I am now a teacher and director, there are times when I miss the energy I get from an audience.

Probably because of my theatre background, I usually begin by writing dialogue. Then on subsequent passes through the manuscript, I fill in what I see in my head about the body language, emotional states of my characters, and connecting information.

While I was rehearsing the sequences, I decided to go all out in terms of emotions of the characters. When I read in front of an audience, I was glad I’d decided to do that because most of them were with me all the way. I am convinced that I should be the one to so the audio book versions of my books. Who else knows what I intended for the characters to be thinking and feeling but me?

Here is the video of me reading from the opening sequence in my novel, The Space Between Time. I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading, (or watching), commenting and liking my posts. I appreciate it very much.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Outlander

Sam, Caitriona, and Diana at Outlander Premier.

“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.” ~ Richard Bach

“The relationship between husband and wife should be one of closest friends.” ~ B. R. Amedkar

“For where all love is, the speaking is unnecessary.” ~ Diana Gabaldon, Outlander

I honestly can’t remember if I’ve written about the Outlander series before now. Barry and I binge watched season three recently, which made me want to write something about what I know of the story so far.

I can’t think of any exceptional stories that are NOT about relationships. Even movies like Castaway, where the main character is alone for most of the movie, has the heartache of a loving relationship interrupted. Outlander has that element to it as well, with a little twist.

I once heard, or maybe I read it, Diana Gabaldon say that she wanted to write about a fifty year marriage. That’s one of the things I love about this series. In general, I’m not a huge fan of romance novels mostly because they end shortly after the wedding. We don’t get to see the couple dealing with the ups and downs of their relationship. But the Outlander series is full of fights, and make ups, danger and heartaches that need to be resolved. I love that.

Though romance, and lots of sex, are a big part of Outlander, that is not the only focus of the series. It’s category is hard to define. It’s historical, with time travel, and paranormal aspects to it. Readers get to learn practical things such as medicinal plants and other healing techniques. There are lots of heart wrenching events and fun adventure too. At the heart of it all, are Claire and Jamie Fraser.

The series begins with Claire Randall just returning from being a combat nurse during WW II. She and her husband Frank, are in Scotland on a second honeymoon trying to get reacquainted after so many years apart. While in Scotland, Claire and Frank secretly attend a ceremony at some nearby standing stones. While there, Claire sees a plant she wants to study and goes back the next day to get it. When she approaches the stones, she hears voices emanating from them. Curious about the voices, she touches one of the stones and is transported to the 1740s. Disoriented about what has happened to her, she is plunged into immediate danger when she meets a man who looks exactly like Frank. A group of Scots save her from being raped. And that’s when she meets Jamie. The first thing she has to do upon meeting him is to save his arm from much more serious injury by his friends. She resets his dislocated shoulder, much to the amazement of the gathered men.

Claire is immediately taken away from the stones to an estate a few days away. She has no idea how she will get back to the stones so she can return to Frank. And she must conceal who she is and why she’s dressed so strangely. This makes her mission to return extremely difficult. The Laird of the manor does not trust her. Nor does anyone else, which isolates her.

Against all odds, she and Jamie form a friendship. Her healing skills come in handy, and eventually gain her a measure of trust. But later, to protect her from Black Jack Randall, the man who nearly raped her, she must marry Jamie. Though Frank will not be born for two-hundred years in the future, Claire is torn. She’s attracted to Jamie, but her heart is still with Frank back in her own time period. However, an undeniable bond forms between the newlyweds, which further confuses Claire.

Of course, danger is never far away and there are bumps in Jamie and Claire’s relationship since they are from two different time periods. Claire never gives in to Jamie or any of the other men. And slowly, Jamie accepts that Claire is a strong minded, independent, educated, capable women a fact that attracts him more than he’s, at first, willing to admit. Claire is also a healer, kind and knowledgeable. She saves lives and since she’s seen more death than anyone else in her new time period, she knows how to ease the passing of those she can’t save. This earns her respect that she might not have had otherwise.

I read the first four books before the series even came into existence. I love this new trend of paying particular attention to themes of the source material for television series like Outlander. The producers, directors and writers take great care with each episode, and while some of the situations are slanted differently than the way Diana Gabladon created them, the overall look and feel of the visual series is closely related to the book series and make compelling television viewing. The two versions of the story enhance each other. I love that.

I realized just now that maybe I really wrote this post because I’m working on a section of my next novel in which Jenna and Jack have some issues to work out. It’s difficult for me because I, like most new novelists, want my characters to be perfect. But as great stories like Outlander show us, real to life characters dealing with their problems is much more interesting than fluffy, syrupy sweet stories are. I’d much rather read or watch stories where the characters go through tough times, and come out the other side changed for the better, than one where the characters aren’t challenged in anyway. I aspire to write satisfying stories where the characters learn from their trials and help the reader gain insights as well.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it very much.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.