The “If Mesh Takes Off” Wish List – Part II

The "If Mesh Takes Off" Wish List - Part II

Read Part One Here

Continuing my discussion from last week – a wish list of things I’d do if Mesh takes off – I put some more thought into this and here are some more details about how life would be different for me when my novel hits the big time. These aren’t shopping lists, as you’ll quickly find out. More like guiding principles. Here is what I have so far:

Live Simply, So That Others May Simply Live

The terrifying part of wealth and fame is how it transforms people into their worst selves. You think you’re escaping the prison of poverty only to find yourself in the penitentiary of prosperity. Money changes you, and it changes how people see you. Unknown pressures, and unseen stresses can break people under the best circumstances. Under the worst, they become those craven, cold-hearted souls you see on reality TV.

I have no interest in that, which is why my life plans are about staying grounded; living simply. Just because you can buy something doesn’t mean you can afford it. Think about guys like Mike Tyson, or MC Hammer. For me, they represent teachable moments. As Jim Carrey is famous for saying, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”

So yes, living simply. A living space that has room for a cozy reading nook and a place for my cats to sleep. Yes, my life will still need to include the people who are important to me now. That means Mason and Bandit are coming along for the ride, wherever we go. You may be aware that cats are completely uninterested in the idea of large, complicated houses. Our little universe is just fine for them, upgrading would cause them stress and nobody likes the smell of cat pee.

Help Others

My therapist told me a while back that, while I’m limited in what I can do because of my circumstances, I should try to find a way to help other people because it brings me joy. I’m happy to say that the Blog has already helped other young authors and I hope that it will continue to do so in the future.

Listen to the Wind Blow

Finally, whatever happens in my life I want to make sure I have the time and space to listen to the wind blow. Writing is about distilling life experiences into things you can share with others. Few people can relate to a story about traveling with Dr. Phil in Monaco (Thank you, Ron White, but no thank you). So, I’ll need to continue being my anonymous, private self so that I can continue taking in the life experiences I use in the stories I tell.

So that wraps up this ‘Wish List.’ I hope you take the time to think of your own success map, what you’ll do with fortune when you find it. There’s nothing better than seeing the benefit of your hard work, and my hope is that Mesh will be that moment for me, and also for you.

E.T. Proves the Empire Will Eventually Come to Get Us

E.T. Proves the Empire Will Eventually Come to Get Us

E.T.’s on Freeform right now and something occurred to me while watching: Eventually, the Empire is going to come and get us. Thanks a lot, Elliot.

Of course, everyone knows about the theories surrounding how E.T. connects us with the Star Wars universe. However, something deeper is at foot within the movie and I think we should be prepared to defend ourselves on the day the Dark Side comes to town.

In one of the early scenes of the movie, E.T. is introduced to Elliot’s world. Toys, food, clothes, and people. Elliot uses his toys to explain life on Planet Earth and E.T. patiently let’s him speak. What’s interesting about that moment is, many of his toys are from the Star Wars universe. E.T. doesn’t recognize them, but he does recognize Yoda and that forms the basis for most of the E.T./Star Wars connections.

Now, E.T. goes home and life goes on. The Star Wars universe however also knows, because E.T. knows, about the little blue/green planet that seems to know an awful lot about their people. They are so familiar with Mandalorians (E.T. is shown Boba Fett), Rodians (E.T. is shown Greedo), and Ithorians (E.T. is shown Hammerhead) that they even make toys out of them.

Now the Empire, or the First Order – wherever we are in their timeline – are evil but they aren’t stupid. Wouldn’t you, as a defense analyst deeply concerned with the security of your civilization, want to know more about this planet that knows so much about you? One step further, if you were the Empire, what would stop you from simply attacking our planet as a preemptive strike?

Until we achieve multi-planet residency and interstellar travel, Earth should contemplate a realistic defense strategy against a hostile space-borne enemy. It’s imperative for the survival of our species, and for peace within our part of the galaxy.

Now, do I believe any of this? No, of course not. This little exercise is just a bit of fun, a bit of nerding out, even for a guy who’s completely over the Star Wars universe.

I mean, sort of.

The “If Mesh Takes Off” Wish List

The "If Mesh Takes Off" Wish List“So Jackson,” some have asked. “What’s with the ‘Author Success Sequence’ over there on the right?” You might have asked the same thing, seeing the tiny control panel on the right ->. That’s a simple way for me to express where I’m at and where I’m planning to go in this venture. Today, I thought I’d expand on that by describing my wish list – stuff I’d do if ‘Mesh’ takes off, becoming a popular title as we all hope it does.

To be sure, it’s a little odd to be thinking about what I’d purchase in the middle of this pandemic; I’d buy an end to our vicious reality if I could. But Coronavirus is making people face the fact that some things in life cannot be ignored, wished, threatened, or purchased away.

Maybe some day they’ll wake up. Until then, I’m thinking about what I would do with success if I’m fortunate enough to receive it. So here are some things I’ll do when the ‘Author Success Sequence’ lights are lit: Continue reading

The Philosophy of Superman

This is an interesting piece of history – Christopher Reeve talking about the philosophy of Superman back when the first movie came out.

Remarkably fresh take on what a superhero movie is supposed to do for it’s viewers (Hint, it’s not about punching people)

 

Theorem of Taylor Swift’s Constant Outrage

Theorem of Taylor Swift's Constant Outrage

This post isn’t about science fiction, but rather the craft of storytelling and why Taylor Swift is an expert at it. I’m reminded of that quote from Network where someone says Peter Finch ‘articulates the popular rage.’ Swift can also be credited for articulating her outrage with modern mendacity, which is why I’m writing down another theorem for modern life:

Theorem of Swift’s Constant Outrage

For every emotional inconsistency or toxic behavior related to human relationships that evokes a sense of outrage, there is a Taylor Swift song written about it. 

I don’t think of myself as a TaySwift fan, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy her music. In fact, I discovered a new amazing song today while looking for Youtube videos related to the idea ‘This is why we can’t have nice things.’ Lo and behold, there’s a Tay Swift song about this and she’s spitting fire with those lyrics.

So because I appreciate good storytelling and articulate concepts, I’m taking a moment to say that Taylor Swift is pretty darn good. Is she perfect? Of course not, but she’s talented and if you’re looking for someone to learn from, you could do worse.

Good on’yer, TaySwift

 

Carl Sagan: Cool to be Smart

I know I’m dating myself, but modern day television is an absolute wasteland compared to the elevated discussion happening on a show like Johnny Carson back in the seventies. Young’uns wouldn’t know this, but there was a time when it was cool to be smart, thoughtful, and fact-based when it comes to science and science fiction. Take this 15-minute clip of Johnny and Carl Sagan, talking about the science of Star Wars and pivoting to the realities of FTL travel:

I love everything about how Sagan breaks down the science of Star Wars without losing focus on the fact that Star Wars is cool. He uses the interest to pivot over to what the discovery of extraterrestrial life might be like, and you can see the basis for his novel ‘Contact’ in some of the ideas he articulates.

No major takeaways from this blog post, only that we can be smart when we want to. My hope is that we will choose to be smart over the next few years, if only for our own sake.

 

 

 

You Don’t Have to Be Perfect at Everything

You Don't Have to Be Perfect at Everything

Let’s take a moment to appreciate this drawing of somebody … Indiana Jones. Doesn’t look like much, does it? In fact, it looks like something a bored twelve-year-old would draw in fourth period English class. But the signature proves otherwise, and makes an important point to every creative out there. Steven Spielberg drew this picture in 1980 when he first envisioned who Indiana Jones was supposed to be. This picture proves that you don’t have to be perfect at everything to be good at what you do.

Tons of funny comments erupted on Reddit. ‘Was Spielberg nine when he made Indiana Jones?’ Others discussed the origin of Jones’ look from Charlton Heston in the Secret of the Incas.

None of that really matters. What matters here is that Steven Spielberg, although a brilliant director and storyteller, doesn’t have much in the art department. And that is perfectly okay. By the time he drew this picture, he’d made millions of dollars, redefined filmmaking, redefined culture. Yet, for all that success he’s still a person, just as flawed as anyone else.

If he were less confident in himself, Spielberg could have been sidetracked. Go to art school, get better at drawing. He didn’t do that, he let the artists handle the concept art while he made the film. That’s important. That is critical. Spielberg didn’t let his flaws define him, he stayed focused on what he actually is good at. His success changed the world.

For the rest of us, this serves as an important reminder to be okay with our flaws. There’s nothing that says you have to be perfect at everything, even though social media suggests otherwise. One day, this nonsense will pass and we’ll swing back to the point where authenticity and humanity matter again. We’ve already started in that direction, so we want to be ready when it happens.