The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild
Published 9:42 am Thursday, December 30, 2021
By N. R. Tucker
The other day someone asked, “What’s the goal of your writing?” The question was unexpected. In truth, I have no lofty goals for my words. I write because it relaxes me, I enjoy the process, and I believe a busy mind is a happy mind. Writing while working and raising kids also made for a tired mind. After I retired from my day job, I focused on writing, and I’m happier for it.
I wrote short stories and such for years, always wanting to write a novel, but not sure I could write 90,000 words about anything. I’ve never desired to write an extraordinary literary work, just a fun read. I write fantasy and science fiction, two genres that are pleasure reads as opposed to great works to be studied.
But I digress. The subject is goals. Aside from writing and publishing a fiction novel, which I have done nine times, my goals are not so easily defined. I don’t want fame and fortune. Honestly, I would take fortune if it came my way. Someone else can have the fame. I do want to write stories I enjoy reading. Stories that make the reader smile and perhaps shed a tear. Stories of overcoming the odds, fantastic journeys, and personal growth.
One goal I never thought about, but I’m proud to say I achieved, is that one of my books was discussed in a classroom. A high school teacher contacted me via my website to ask questions about my books. When I asked why I was informed that one of my books was the subject of a book report by one of his students. I was both proud and a bit perplexed. I guess students can pick their own books now. I remember (back in the Dark Ages) we received a list of books and picked one of those to read and report on.
Another not-goal was to write a book because my readers asked for a specific character’s story. After receiving multiple requests for the account of Valiant in the Farseen Chronicles, it became the seventh and last book in that series. I loved writing it.
In the final analysis, my goal is not world peace, education, or another high-minded goal. My goal is a well-told story that entertains based on a world that I’ve created.
By David R. Moore
When was the last time you stepped into your backyard on a winter’s night and looked up? Did you brave the cold to watch last month’s eclipse of the moon? Have you looked into the recent Western sky to see Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter?
Winter may be cold, but that is when the air is driest and clearest to see the night skies stretching out with stars sparkling like diamonds on the curtain of space. As far back as historical and archeological records can take us, humans have always had an affinity to experience the eternity of space. You, too, can have this experience just by taking the time to step into your backyard. When you look up at the night sky, you immediately notice that stars are not evenly distributed but seem to assemble in groups. Early stargazers also saw how stars seemed to make conspicuous patterns in the sky and created images of legendary characters or animals. Over time, named patterns of stars, called constellations, became fixed. Astronomers and astrologers employ Latin names for the constellations, but many constellations are known by their common words, e.g., The Big Bear (Ursa Major). There are 88 constellations in the night sky, although only three-quarters of that number can be viewed from North Carolina. You would need to travel to the Southern Hemisphere to see the southern constellations, such as the Southern Cross.
The constellations we see throughout the year change as the earth orbits around the sun. However, as the constellations track their way through the night sky, they all seem to revolve around one star, Polaris. It is also called the North Star. The bright star is directly above the North Pole, about 35 degrees above the horizon (about a third of the way between the northern horizon and the overhead zenith). It stays in the same position in the sky throughout the year. So, when there is a break from clouds, look into the northern night sky, and see if you can find the North Star. Then take a look at the rest of the sky and enjoy the pull of the universe.
By E. Bishop
When the days get shorter and the holiday countdown begins, for some people that’s when the sadness sets in. And, it may not go away until well into the new year. We all probably know someone or have a family member that suffers from this cyclical depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). According to the Mayo Clinic, it is rare in children under age 13 but very common from the teenaged years to old age with more than 3 million cases per year in the US. About 5% of adults in the US experience SAD and it typically lasts about 40% of the year. It is more common in women. Some people may only have mild cases, recognize it and can deal with it. But, realize that there are those that do have a lot of difficulty dealing with it. It is very real to these people.
Actual texts and facebook postings received from a loved one go like this “I hate life, just being alone sucks,” “no one loves me anyway,” “wish I could just leave this world, no one would miss me anyway.” These statements along with losing a loved one around the holidays, feeling sad or hopeless nearly every day, losing interest in things usually enjoyed, low energy, and difficulty concentrating are clearly signs of depression and/or SAD, especially if noticed in the winter months. It is normal to have some days when you feel sad or down in the dumps but if it happens often and for extended periods of time, some type of intervention is in order.
According to the Mayo Clinic, specific causes of SAD are unknown. But some of the factors involved include the decrease in sunlight received during the winter months, a drop in serotonin levels and the disruption of the body’s level of melatonin. There are several risk factors that may predispose a person to SAD such as family history and low level of vitamin D among other things. And, there can be other complications associated with this depression if left untreated such as substance abuse, school or work problems, social withdrawal and suicidal thoughts or behavior.
The good news is that this condition has been recognized by the medical profession and that there are steps that can be taken to help those individuals diagnosed with SAD. It may be difficult to prevent, but if steps are taken to recognize it for what it is and get necessary intervention, the likelihood of serious complications are lessened. There are treatments such as light therapy, Vitamin D supplement, psychotherapy and medications to help deal with this medical condition.
By no means do I intend to give medical advice. But, if you deal with depression or SAD or know of someone that might, you will want to learn as much as you can about the situation, show love and compassion, and seek professional help.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) (nami.org) is an excellent resource to use for additional information and help on this topic as well as other mental health issues. Psychology Today offers a national directory of therapists, psychiatrists, therapy groups and treatment facility options. Open path psychotherapy collective is an organization that offers affordable therapy for those people who don’t have insurance or still cannot afford their copay. (openpathcollective.org).