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Nothing Is A Coincidence

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I’m convinced the most abundant thing in the universe is irony. That’s why we see so much of it around us. Perhaps it’s even the binding force science has been looking for that holds everything together. At the very least it proves there is a certain sense of humor built into creation.

You see, in anyone’s life, if you are sufficiently obsessed with ferreting out the connections, you can find the paths of causal relationships between otherwise seemingly random occurrences. That is why I have concluded that nothing is a coincidence and there are no accidents. Everything happens because of something else, whether or not we want to term that a reason.

Why I bring this up is something that happened yesterday to remind me, in no uncertain terms, of the complexities of the connections between all of us. As many of you know I speak Chinese. At least, I used to speak it fairly well. Having studied it over 30 years ago and barely ever used it in the past twenty or so I’m pretty rusty when it comes to using any of the things I learned. In fact I’m often amazed at what I recall whenever I hear someone speaking Chinese.

Yesterday an elderly Chinese couple were pulled over to the side of a street blocking the bike lane I use to ride out of my neighborhood on my way to work. The old man flagged me to a stop. In his hand was a hand-drawn map with some of the streets labeled and a path highlighted. The man spoke broken English but it was clear enough that he was looking for a particular street address and was lost.

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After determining they they spoke Mandarin, and the two of them getting over the fact that seemingly at random they had come face to face with one of the few Americans in the local area who speaks any Chinese, I provided them with verbal directions while using the map as a reference. As the place they were seeking was less than a quarter mile from where we were, I asked them, in Chinese, to follow me and I showed them to way – which was on my way – to the apartment complex they were seeking.

Afterwards I felt pretty good about helping them out. I mean – it was a darned good thing that I spoke Chinese, right? Even though I’ms less that fluent, remembering what I did helped. And as a result a couple of people who were lost were able to find their way. Figure the odds that we would meet as we did, though.

Then the thought occurred to me, as it usually does because of how my brain is wired as a writer, that I may have studied Chinese for 47 weeks over thirty years ago so that I could give those two people directions. Yes, I have done other things with my knowledge of Chinese over the years, including the job for which I was being trained when I learned it. And if I hadn’t lived and worked halfway around the world I would have never met my ex-wife and my kids would not have been born. But, what if, due to the undeniable presence of irony in the universe, the whole purpose for learning the language of the largest population group of humanity was so that I could give directions to a lost elderly couple.

There is a flaw in my logic, of course. There often is. But it could be something just that silly and humorous.

I’m reminded of a book that Kurt Vonnegut Jr. wrote called Sirens of Titan. As a story ancillary to the actual plot it is revealed that many centuries ago an alien crash landed on Titan many. And being unable to return home he looked for the nearest populated planet, which happened to be Earth. He limped his damaged space craft to Earth and found a primitive species with some potential. He aided humanity in advancing to the point of building large monuments that would provide a signal to his people on another plants to come rescue him. And so, all of human history served as a means for one Alien to, in effect, phone home.

Hey, it could be as simple as that. We over complicate things because we want to feel that our lives have more meaning than they perhaps do. Maybe the purpose in life that I was seeking all this time was served yesterday when I provided directions, in Chinese, to a couple of lost people.

#Chinese #Irony #Coincidence #KurtVonnegutJr #SirensOfTitan

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Author Ken Donaldson Interviews Me

I’m not enigmatic and I’m not reclusive though it occurs to me that some think I am. It’s probably because I spend a lot of time in my creative space writing and because of that I’m not out carousing. Anyway, in an effort to tell more people about me I’ve been giving interviews. The following is a recent one my good friend and Australian author Ken Donaldson did with me and posted on Goodreads. It is used here with his permission.

Ken Donaldson

KD: I have seen you online, as I am sure many other readers have who are familiar with you from the self-publishing forums. Give us a little insight into your background as a writer.

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EW: Since I was 13 years old I have wanted to be a writer. I recall picking out a pseudonym that I have never used. In high school I wrote a few creative things and was a co-editor of my high school’s newspaper. That’s how I became interested in journalism, which is what I studied at Purdue University. While there I took several writing and literature courses and wrote a manuscript, portions of which eventually were incorporated into my first published novel, From the Inside. A few years later, while I was in the Air Force I served as a historian for my unit and composed an award winning 400+ page document, which was technically my first publication. Over the years I suppose my various muses and I have not always been on the best of terms. At one point I decided that I needed a lot more life experience before I could write the kinds of novels I wanted to produce. Mostly, I think I had to find my author’s voice and, of course, establish a better connection with my personal muse. In the mid 1990’s I drew together my notes and drafts that turned into the manuscript of my first novel in 2001.

KD: Tell me what other authors do you enjoy, who inspired you or influenced you the most to become a writer?

EW: I drew a little from Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Douglas Adams. I like the sense of irony in the works of both men. Also I particularly enjoyed Samuel R. Delany, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. In college I learned to appreciate a variety of other genres. I was particularly fond of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, Steppenwolf and Beneath The Wheel. Ernest Hemmingway was someone whose simple writing style I came to admire. Lately I’ve been enjoying a number of up and coming authors like Teyla Branton, Karen Perkins and Margaret Snowden. There are a lot of really gifted storytellers out there who at the moment are obscure but I’m confident you’ll be hearing about them very soon. I’m fortunate to call many of them my friends.

KD: What made you decide upon the genre you are currently pursuing?

EW: As I said before, I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy when I was younger. So it felt pretty natural to slip into that genre. It affords a writer great latitude in expressing his or her creativity. Since I’ve been told I have a wild and vivid imagination I tend to push the boundaries a bit and have never felt confined to the real world. Reality is an illusion, anyway.

KD: What is special about how you write? Do you have any set routine of method you follow?

EW: Early in the morning seems to be my most productive time, before the world around me wakes. When I start laying out a novel, I create the character profiles first and through dialogue I allow the characters to expose the conflicts. Later I go back and write the narrative pieces that connect things together, describing the settings and establishing the mood. Otherwise it is used to facilitate action sequences. However, sometimes the action is delivered through arguments between the characters. Novels with excessive narrative can be tedious to read and I personally feel narrative is more boring than dialogue. A reader should feel as if he or she is part of the story, maybe one of the characters or a bystander listening and observing what’s going on. Dialogue can drive a story in an immediately intimate and compelling way. The realism of the exchanges between characters is key to telling a story. I spend a lot of time making certain that dialogue flows well and sounds as natural as possible.

KD: What are the future plans you see for your writing next?

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EW: I’m working on a sequel to Fried Windows and several other projects. Always have at least two or three things going on at a time so that whenever one hits a snag you can move on to another. That is how I combat writer’s block. The next novel I have coming out is Becoming Thuperman, which is scheduled for release in January 2015. It’s a fun departure from Fried Windows about two kids – a boy and a girl – who are best friends. It’s summer vacation and like most kids they enjoy riding their bikes to the community park where they play baseball. There’s a big scary dog that lives down the street in the old house that everyone says is haunted. A spinster and her brother live there. Oh, and by the way, the kids are just discovering that superpowers run in their families.

KD: Do you have any brief thoughts in passing you would like to share with the readers?

EW: I’d like to express my gratitude for everyone’s support of my writing. There are more authors out there these days and there’s a wide variety of stories from which to choose a next favorite read. When someone tells me they have enjoyed Fried Windows or one of my other books it makes my day. Every author feels the same way. If you love an author’s work support him or her with a review – just a couple of lines telling other potential readers what you liked about the book. You don’t realize how important that is in the decision process for the reader or for the success of an author’s story reaching as many people as possible.

KD: I do wish you all the best in the future. Certainly has been a real pleasure Talk with you Elgon. That is where we conclude this Interview.

Link to Ken’s Amazon Author’s Page:

http://www.amazon.com/Ken-Donaldson/e/B00E6Y02E0

Link to Elgon’s Amazon Author’s Page:

http://www.amazon.com/Elgon-Williams/e/B001K8TYXU

#Interview #ElgonWilliams #KenDonaldson #Writing #Authors