Posts

Three Magic Powers of Readers

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I can talk to ghosts. I also have a time machine which enables me to travel into the distant future. How far it goes, even I don’t know. I’m also telepathic. I can project carefully shaped thoughts from my own mind into yours.   Am I the chosen one in an epic young adult fantasy novel?   As much as I enjoy reading, and writing such fantasies, the answer is no. The truth is that you have these magical powers as well. Any literate person does. Reading enables us to converse with the ghosts of men and women who died centuries, even millennia, ago. Rating enables us to share our thoughts by bouncing them off a paper or screen, sending them mind to mind. We can even send out thoughts across spacetime, to share with people on the other side of the world or even with generations who will not be born for many centuries, or millennia to come.   Writing is, of course, just one form of media, and new forms of media are being invented all the time. In the future, realistic holograms, looking very

Oma Child - Thoughts on Toothism and Racism

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Are some children born cursed? A scene from Oma Child . Here in the United States, it’s Martin Luther King’s birthday, so I thought I’d ruminate on racism and other forms of collective insanity.   I recently watched an excellent documentary called Oma Child: The River and the Bush . You can find it here:  https://omochildmovie.com      In a certain society in Ethiopia, the belief existed (and for some people still exists) that certain human beings are “Mingi.”    Cursed.   Their mere existence threatens to bring drought and destruction upon their entire family and tribe.   One of the ways that you can tell if a child is Mingi is whether their first tooth starts on One side of the mouth or the Other. (I can’t remember and don’t care which side was which).   Because no family wants to be cursed, parents or grandparents kill Mingi children as soon as their “evil” manifests. Because no village wants to be cursed, if the parents themselves refuse to murder the toddler, other villagers will

Are You Living Your Best Life?

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Yesterday, I met a snow gnome. This was odd, since we have no snow in California. I was really cold, though. (Not sure if the gnome was to blame...) The snow gnome, or nisse , asked me, "Are you living your best life?" Immediately, I started thinking about a palatial estate with a gorgeous, cozy grand room, a fire crackling in the immense fireplace... "No," said the gnome, "Not THE best life. Not the best life you can imagine..." "Fair enough," I said, "Since I have a very vivid imagination!" "We know," said the gnome, "since you're talking to gnomes. But I meant: Are you living the best life you can live right now? " As I wandered home through the snowy street lined with white marble facades and glowing, festive evergreens... or actually, through a suburban California neighborhood lined with palm trees (but really cold, guys, I'm serious!) I pondered this. Am I living "the dream?" No... There'

Will Robots Give Us Too Much Art?

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In a previous post , I brought up the concern that AI generated art could start putting artists out of business. And I don't deny that new tech can discombobulate us. Shortly after I wrote that post, I read about an artist whose distinctive abstract style of art was stolen by one of the art-generation programs that easily produced imitations (although not as good, I have to say) as hers.  Stealing her style was pretty crummy. If she had created the program herself, though... hmmm. She could have fed it the original art to train it and then sold other people the right to make art in her own style. It's not the AI itself that's the problem, it's that our legal and commercial systems have to catch up in a way to reward the artist. That's tough, yes. Not insurmountable, but tough. But meanwhile, there's another issue that artists almost always overlook on this topic.  Has anyone really considered just HOW MUCH DANG ART we are going to need for the future? Let's

Does AI eradicate the need for writers?

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AI generated art. An English teacher, Natalie Kay, wrote about the rising difficulty to “ The College Essay is Dead ” posed by ChatGPT and like programs. (Natalie Kay   Dec 9, 2022, https://medium.com/predict/ai-is-here-and-its-harming-future-generations-and-the-present-ones-cf40985b9bbf) This time last year, I was in the middle of my one-year stint as a high school English teacher. There were many reasons I left the job (the teacher shortage exists for a reason, it turns out), but undoubtedly one of the most significant ongoing issues I had was plagiarism. I tried it myself using ChatGPT, the AI program he discusses in the article. I used a prompt that I had given to my own students when I asked them to write essays on Romeo and Juliet. The quality and level of detail was similar to that of my students. Even if I had been suspicious of plagiarism, I never would have found a way to prove that a student didn’t write the essay. It passed in every way I know to look for.  I’m grieving a w

Excerpt: The Tree & the Egg

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Bethany November 30, Wednesday night 21 Days to the Winter Solstice Kyrah, where are you? Please call out to me! I want to help you! Bethany Dilly Giscard was flying around, a sure sign that she was dreaming, ‘cause she didn’t have wings in real life. Moreover, Bethany was aware that she was dreaming, which was pretty cool—and usually a sign that it wasn’t her own dream—she was Dreamwalking. In the last year since Bethany had become a Guardian, she’d learned that her power was not limited to simply being a big, walking Null. As a Guardian to the Sphere of Dreams, she could visit that Blessed Realm in order to enter the dreams of anyone. Since entering another person’s dreams constituted a severe breach of privacy, Bethany didn’t do it often. Tonight, however, she was searching for her friend. Her best friend, Kyrah, had been captured by the Dark Triad, the three powerful sorcerers who were driving the Elven War. Bethany had been trying to connect to Kyrah in the Sphere for Dream

WiP: The Tree & the Egg

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  The Mirror is a Portal into Winterdom . My "final" draft of The Tree & the Egg came back with some scathing critiques from my Content Editor.  Ouch.  This is the last book in the Major Arcana series, which is meant to wrap up the whole series in a neat bow and yet still leave the door open for future series set in the Tarot Magic universe of Arcana Glen. The original draft was almost 50,000 words on the dot. The first round of revisions saw another 30,000 words added. That makes this the longest book in the series. It's not usual for the last book in a series to be the longest. It's the Final Battle, all the loose ends must be tied up, and every major character needs a moment to shine. I have twenty-two major characters, who each have at least one Point of View scene in the book. I also have several villains and gray characters (who may be either villains or anti-heroes) who aren't PoV characters but still deserve their due. In addition to that, I also want