Nightbeat: Every lie is true somewhere and vice versa

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Washington, D. C., January 23, 2017, Star-Gazer News Service–Woke up this morning and worried about the fact that my waking up might be a lie. In a post-truth, alternate facts world, it’s easy to doubt oneself, because wrong is suddenly the new right.

My therapist asked me to talk to a sock puppet named Billy Joe.

“Tell Billy Joe how you feel about your lack of certainty,” my therapist prompted.

“I feel bad and that ain’t good,” I said.

“Don’t we all,” said Billy Joe.

“I don’t know who you are anymore,” I said, “much less who I am.”

Wikipedia graphic

Wikipedia graphic

“Well, I’ll tell you. Most people don’t know what happened on Choctaw Ridge,” said the puppet as he settled down on top of a copy of Carl Jung’s Red Book. “I went up there to talk to my guru, and he said, ‘Every lie is true somewhere and vice versa.'”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

My therapist was furiously taking notes, and by that I mean, writing quickly rather than with anger.

“It’s cutting edge quantum theory,” said Billy Joe. “Unfortunately, the world didn’t understand such things very well in 1967. Personally, the guru’s revelation led to that embarrassing Tallahatchie Bridge incident.”

“I’m sorry that happened,” my therapist said.

“Don’t fash yourself over it because I’m not really dead. Sure, that’s a lie in this universe, but not in the universe next door. As my guru explained, everything that can happen does happen. But the things that happen split off like a family tree into many universes with hundreds of worlds, worlds more numerous than the stars in a clear night sky over the rock of waters.”

“Does that mean alternative facts are true in another universe?”

“It does,” said Billy Joe. “Once a person learns how to listen to the spirit of the depths, he’ll understand that.”

“You’re still up at the sawmill in alt-reality?”

“Alive and kicking along with the cat in the box.”

“So, somewhere else, I’m still asleep,” I said.

“How do you feel about that?” asked my therapist.

“Empowered.”

“That’s why you pay Billy Joe and I $375 for a 38-minute hour,” she said.

She stood, tossed Billy Joe back in the sock puppet bin along with “Big Bopper,” “Buddy Holly” “Ritchie Valens,” and “Judge Crater.” When I walked outside, I saw morning had broken and realized for the first time since February 3, 1959 that the music never died and that even though the spirit of the times loves alternative facts and post truth, the truth will never die either.

As a journalist, my job is to remain neutral while writing a story, but I still think it will be fair for me to ask those whose facts don’t ring true, “What universe are you living in?”

–Jock Stewart

Kindle 99-cent sale today on four books

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On Sale January 20th from Thomas-Jacob Publishing

 

historyof
Few of the eccentric inhabitants of her father’s Main Line, Philadelphia estate have much time for Fleur Robins, an awkward child with a devotion to her ailing grandfather, a penchant for flapping and whirling, and a preoccupation with God and the void. While her mother spends much of her time with her hand curled around a wine glass and her abusive father congratulates himself for rescuing babies from “the devil abortionists,” Fleur mourns the fallen petals of a rose and savors the patterns of light rippling across the pool. When she fails to save a baby bird abandoned in her garden, a series of events unfold that change everything.

appalachianjustice

Billy May Platte is a half Irish, half Cherokee Appalachian woman who learned the hard way that 1940s West Virginia was no place to be different. As Billy May explains, “We was sheltered in them hills. We didn’t know much of nothin’ about life outside of them mountains. I did not know the word lesbian; to us, gay meant havin’ fun and queer meant somethin’ strange.”

 

cwc

Lena, a shamanistic cat, and her conjure woman Eulalie live in a small town near the Apalachicola River in Florida’s lightly populated Liberty County, where longleaf pines own the world. In Eulalie’s time, women of color look after white children in the homes of white families and are respected, even loved, but distrusted and kept separated as a group. A palpable gloss, sweeter than the state’s prized tupelo honey, holds their worlds firmly apart. When that gloss fails, the Klan restores its own brand of order.

 

bloodonroses

 

In 1955, at the height of alarm over the Emmett Till murder in Mississippi and after the Supreme Court ruling against school segregation, Associated Press reporter Rachel Feigen travels from Baltimore to Tennessee to report on a missing person case. Guy Saillot’s last contact with his family was a postcard from the Tennessee Bend Motel, a seedy establishment situated on beautiful Cherokee Lake. But they have no record he was ever a guest.

 

 

Rescued Florida Bobcat Release in Protected Preserve

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florida-bob-catThis cute kitten is called Spirit Feather. She was found on a road near Orlando last summer, turned over to Big Cat Rescue, and given medical care, food, and the kind of training she needed to live in the wild–including how to hunt.

“Spirit Feather has grown up to become a strong, feisty bobcat equipped with the skills to return to the wild where she belongs,” said Jamie Veronica, President of Big Cat Rescue. “We are very happy that she will be released on a vast, protected property and find everything she needs there to thrive.”

You can see pictures of the work behind the scenes here as well as a video showing the bobcat’s release several days ago. I really applaud the work of these folks. Florida has diverse habitats and animals. If things had been done right over time, we wouldn’t see long lists of flora and fauna on endangered lists. The Nature Conservancy is a partner in many of the rescue, re-establishment and conservation projects,

Let’s hope it’s not too late to save the Gopher Tortoise, the Indigo Snake, and the Florida Panther as well.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell’s Florida Piney Woods novel “Conjure Woman’s Cat” will be on sale Friday, January 20th on Amazon.

Tarot cards after all these years

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“Tarot reading is an excellent way to learn more about one’s self, have a closer look at your inner self or to examine your very own intentions and ambitions.”

Raven’s Tarot Site

I’ve been tinkering with the I Ching and the Tarot since I was in high school. I don’t do readings for other people. In fact, most people don’t know that I know anything about these divination systems because once they know, they walk on the other side of the street whenever they see you.

knightofswordsI was happy that C. LaVielle contributed a Tarot and storytelling guest post on January 11th because she focused one of the reasons I like both the I Ching and the Tarot: understanding the characters in my stories.

Like Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, both the I Ching and the Tarot present ways of looking at the world. The Tarot, of course, is closely linked to the Tree of Life of the Kabbalists.  The future isn’t fixed. At least I don’t think it is. So I don’t use any of these ways of looking at the world for predicting the future. In fact, they tell me what I know that I don’t know that I know. That is to say, they tell me what the unconscious part of me knows to be true even though the conscious part of me hasn’t figured it out yet.

My sun sign is Leo and the card representing me in the Tarot is the Knight of Swords (called King of Swords in most decks). This is why the URL for this site includes “knight of swords.” When I do Tarot readings for myself, the knight is me. When I do readings about novels I’m writing, the knight is always the logic of the story, cruel at times, to be sure, but nonetheless the fiery part of air as the card is described.

As a character in one of my novels said, he doesn’t want to see the future because that would spoil the surprise. It would also impact what he (or any of us) choose to do right now. Our power is always in the now. I see that, but the characters in my stories don’t always notice it. Plus, seeing the future would give us the false idea the whole shebang out there is engraved in stone when, actually, nothing except epitaphs are engraved in stone.

As a knight of swords, I’m a trickster (among other things), so that means I’m always stirring things up. That’s one reason I write fiction–to stir things up. That’s also why I like my Tarot deck: it shows me that even when I don’t consciously know I’m doing it, I’m stirring things up–and creating ideas that I let other people carry out to completion after I’ve wandered off to something new.

I see this as the author’s first duty–sowing seeds, suggesting things that bother people while making them think, suggesting that things aren’t what they appear to be, telling people that whatever goes bump in the night is real, finding the story inside everything that happens.

It’s one hell of a thing to do, but somebody’s got to do it. Fortunately, my Tarot deck “advises me” when it’s time to step back before the mob shows up on my door step.

–Malcolm

Spotlight: Can the evil conjure man really turn into an alligator?

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Today’s spotlight focuses on my recent novel Eulalie and Washerwoman and announces a Kindle freebie for one of my short stories.

Eulalie and Washerwoman

ewkindlecoverThis 1950s story about dueling conjurers features an antagonist named Washerwoman who brags that his famous mentor, Uncle Monday, knew how to turn into an alligator. But can Washerwoman do it as well?

Eulalie, who first appeared in Conjure Woman’s Cat, knows all there is to know about conjure. She will definitely need her skills to stop blacks from losing their homes and then going missing themselves.

I hope you like the magic and the mystery of the Florida Panhandle piney woods where the activities of a strong KKK seldom got mentioned in the sunshine state’s tourism brochures.

Free Kindle Book

willingspiritskindlecoverMy Kindle short story “Willing Spirits” will be free on Amazon January 18-20. The story features the purported St. Louis spirit named Patience Worth who spoke via medium Pearl Curran between 1883 and 1937. Patience was so prolific that she actually wrote critically acclaimed books.

Now, a young high school student has waited until the last minute to read one of those books and write a book report. She considers contacting its deceased author. What can possibly go wrong?

Amazon Giveaway

Later today (1-14-17) I’ll be running an Amazon giveaway for my contemporary fantasy novel Sarabande. It features a very determined young woman from the Montana mountains who fights against more troubles than anyone can shake a stick at to find the avatar who she hopes will stop the spirit who’s been haunting her for three years.

Watch Twitter for the giveaway. They come and go so fast, there’s never time to post about them here once they go live.

UPDATE: Giveaway went live about 12:10 eastern time and within the next 10-15 minutes, the three books available were snapped up. Thank you to everyone who entered.

–Malcolm

 

 

 

 

Russia Hacks WordPress Spam Queues, Distributes Viagra ads to Vatican

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Moscow, January 13, 2017, Star-gazer News Service–Red faced officials at Federal’naya sluzhba bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsii (FSB) confessed today that their hacker bots “went awry” and offloaded millions of dormant WordPress spam queue ads for Viagra, condoms, and sex toys and massaged them into Vatican servers where “computer systems became stuck in limbo.”

According to insiders who were not authorized to admit they were insiders, FSB director Alexander Bortnikov was unavailable for comment because he was personally reading every one of the spam posts to “learn more about helpful products for anyone who might be impotent.”

The Vatican told reporters “we are not amused.”

Putin mobilizes fleet to search for sex bots.

Putin mobilizes fleet to search for sex bots.

Putin complained that the hacker bots were built in North Korea and were guaranteed personally by boss man Kim Jong-un who said, “sometimes Vladimir Vladimirovich (Putin) and I get our panties in a wad about the same things. Strange but true. And, as we say in our butt of the woods, ‘Aneun gildo muleogara’ (Even if you know the way, ask one more time.)”

Putin sent a dozen, long-stemmed red roses to the Pope with a card that said, “Lighten up, sweetheart, and start Putin on the Ritz.”

According to Take-a-Leaks, the Russian nonprofit that steals documents without a warrant and shows them to people who aren’t supposed to see them, “We do not have any direct dealings with Mr. Putin or Mr. un, so we are in the clear even though we may have inadvertently sent copies of the critically important information to ‘Weekly Reader,’ ‘Highlights for Children,’ and ‘Watchtower.'”

Various and sundry security agencies in the United States told Congress that “in light of everything that may have happened lately, this is a real hoot for Friday the 13th. We knew somebody somewhere would get caught with their pants down, we just weren’t sure who. Now we can breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn’t us.”

Industry spokesmen said that unauthorized erections were up 20%.

Story by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter

 

Storytelling and the Tarot

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chrissyToday’s guest post is by C. LaVielle, author of the new fantasy novel Forging the Blade. As Chrissy mentions in the kind words of her introduction, we share common interests in both the hero’s journey as formulated by Joseph Campbell, and in the seeker’s journey to transformation through the Tarot trumps.

While both represent potential life paths, they also represent interesting structures for novels and short stories.

Storytelling and the Tarot

I first “met” Malcolm in August of 2010. I’d just finished (or thought I’d finished) FORGING THE BLADE and decided to do a blog about the process of getting it published. Because the book’s story arc follows the order of the tarot major arcana from The

We are all Fools.

We are all Fools.

Fool (Chapter 0) to The World (Chapter 21), I also decided to write posts about the tarot and The Hero’s Journey. Malcolm was one of the very first people to comment on my posts because Word Press saw that we were both writing about the Hero’s Journey and we were both interested in the tarot and referred us to each other. His on-line name at the time was The Knight of Swords—a most apt handle because he is both an author (knights and swords deal with communication) and a knight in shining armor to me. He was, and still is, always there with a word of encouragement when I need it most. And as a newbie writer I need all the encouragement I can get. I have decided to write about the tarot and stories—topics of great interest to both Malcolm and me.

Our stories are some of our most valuable possessions. We tell them not only to our friends and family, but also to ourselves because they define us and give our lives meaning and purpose.

The Tarot Deck

The Magician teaches us how to gain control of our own stories.

The Magician teaches us how to gain control of our own stories.

A typical tarot deck is exquisitely designed to generate an infinite number of stories. When a reader lays down a spread, each card she lays down is a piece of a story which she reads to her clients. It is a satisfying and healing experience to have a small part of our own story repeated to us from a new, non-judgmental perspective. It validates us and helps us understand things and see things we might have missed.

The major arcana cards, such as The Fool, The Empress, Death, etc., represent the archetypal events that occur in our life stories. These are the biggies. Events that are destined to happen. Turning points and major plot points. Events that the Multiverse is sending us because:

  • They are what we must accomplish at this particular point in our lives.
  • They are who we must be or who we must encounter at this particular point in our lives.
  • We have single-handedly fought our way into this situation and there is no other way out.

The minor arcana are, essentially, a modern deck of playing cards with the pip cards (aces through tens); and four instead of three court cards (pages, knights, queens, and kings).

The Four Suits

The Chariot: Where there's a will, there's a way.

The Chariot: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

In both the tarot and a deck of playing cards, there are four suits, each one symbolizing one of the four magical elements.

  • Diamonds and pentacles: earth: money, business, health
  • Spades and swords: air: communication, logical thought
  • Hearts and cups: water: feelings, intuition, relationships
  • Clubs and wands: fire: motivation, inspiration, passion

When a tarot reader deals a spread for us she is looking at a sub-plot of our life story. The pip cards indicate what is happening on a mundane level and what part of our life is involved—money, love, health, passion, art, etc. The court cards indicate who the main characters are and, depending on their suit and placement, how they are dealing with the situation. The major arcana cards are wild cards dealt by the Multiverse, or, if you will, the Divine. These are the things that we, at this point, cannot control.

The Devil is master of the material realm. Don't let him ruin your story by convincing you that money and stuff are the things that are really important.

The Devil is master of the material realm. Don’t let him ruin your story by convincing you that money and stuff are the things that are really important.

Tarot as Story

A tarot reading is a story, complete with plot points, characters, and divine intervention.

  • Our lives are made up of hundreds of stories.
  • During busy or confusing times, we may be living two or more of these stories at once.
  • Plot-lines tend to repeat in our lives, but with different characters and settings, until we figure out how to make them have happy or at least appropriate endings.
  • These stories can happen in a moment or they may take years to tell.

The pictures are from “The Fool’s Journey Through the Tarot Major Arcana,” a ritual I wrote for last Summer Solstice.

More information about her novel:


forgingthebladeForging the Blade
An Adventure Through the Tarot Major Arcana Sixteen-year-old Molly Adair would love to spend all her time in WarCraft Universe. On-line she is Darkfire, a sexy wizard who fights dragons and saves kingdoms. In real life, she’s a chubby nerd with cut scars tracking up her arm, a knot in her stomach that won’t go away, and a nightmare of plunging through screaming blackness that slams her awake every night. Her life totally sucks and Molly is sure it can’t get any worse… Until her parents die in a plane crash and a terrifying shadow begins to haunt her.

A mysterious grandmother appears and whisks her away to Portland, Oregon, where a bizarre young man materializes in her bedroom, clicks a button on his smart phone, and sends her screaming into the land of Damia. The kingdom is at war, a rogue dragon is terrorizing the countryside, and the shadow continues to stalk close at her heels. A magical black cat and a gypsy’s promise are Molly’s only guides back to her grandmother’s house. On her journey Molly travels through each of the tarot major arcana cards, beginning with The Fool, Chapter 0, and ending with The World, Chapter 21.