Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

On Being Human and a Writer Plus Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links

Ponderable article for todays’ re-blog and the extras are nice :-)

Live to Write - Write to Live

multiple identitiesBeing human is complicated. And, being a human who writes adds a whole other layer of complexity to your existence.

Unlike animals who live simple lives that inhabit a single identity, we humans must constantly shapeshift between myriad roles, sometimes changing who we are multiple times over the course of a single day. In any given twenty-four hour span, I am mother, lover, daughter, sister, neighbor, mentor, and friend. I am a professional freelance content creator, an aspiring fiction writer, and a nascent entrepreneur. I am a caretaker, housekeeper, and accountant, a cook, laundress, and student.

We slip in and out of these skins in a matter of seconds, like chameleons adapting to the colors, textures, and shadows of a rapidly changing environment. With each transition, we must rebalance ourselves around a new set of expectations and priorities. We change our behavior and make choices based on new criteria, which…

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Forty-Five

Who’s Your Guru?

Alexander M Zoltai


Adam was mind-blastingly excited—he’d been granted an audience with an up-and-coming Guru, potentially leading to a viral Internet article that would firmly establish him as Important.

He had to use every bit of his journalistic experience to corral his thoughts into the proper bounds—away from his potential fame and toward the job ahead…

Not many folks knew about the Guru, who insisted on being called Joe; but, certain sources Adam knew (sources he would richly reward) had claimed the guy was incredible…

Adam had learned that the man was of Vietnamese birth, from an incredibly wealthy family (which he’d disowned); and, his move to Scotland had happened along with his assumption of the name Joe.

Adam had lined-up a number of people who’d attended sessions with Joe to get their feelings and thoughts before he had his own audience, in what he’d learned was an extremely upscale hotel in Aberdeen.

The trip to Scotland from the United States was an exercise in calming down—getting back to the journalistic roots Adam had acquired over the last twenty years.

His slow climb to the top seemed as if it was about to get a huge boost…


Once in Aberdeen, he interviewed the folks who’d met with Joe.

Basically, they all agreed that Joe was “Phenomenal”, “Amazing”, “Incredible”, and, most important to Adam, “Accurate”.

He’d asked them all what exactly “accurate” meant and he got variations on the theme, “told me exactly what I needed to hear.”

Adam was sure Joe had researched him, too—made sure the journalist selected for the audience would give him the best boost in his own guru-like endeavors; but, Adam felt strongly that he had to cover the story, find the truth, and avoid being a patsy for a greedy guru…


The audience happened on a rainy day in the posh rooms Joe was staying in, undoubtedly due to the proceeds from his followers, since he’d disowned his wealthy family.

Adam was in process of admiring the highly polished wood and the finely textured wall covering along with the stunning chandelier when Joe appeared in the doorway, paused, then walked over and sat down opposite Adam (with no handshake…)—his very ordinary clothing was striking in contradiction of Adam’s expectations—sweatshirt, jeans, and running shoes.

Joe spoke: “Welcome and please forgive me for making you wait—there were folks to attend to.”

Adam detected a slight accent but knew that most people would think the man was an American.

Joe continued with: “Will you have some refreshment?”

“Ah, no, thanks; would love to get down to work.”

“As you wish—your questions?”

“What makes you qualified as a guru?”

“Me? A guru?”

“This is what everyone I’ve spoken with calls you…”

“Hmmm… I suppose it’s an understandable mistake since what I tell them seems to help them so much…”

“What would you call yourself?”

“I’m a free-lance counsellor who only asks people to pay me when they feel my advice is worth something. It pays the bills and lets me help others.”

“I assume this place is paid for out of what your followers give you?”

“This residence is a gift from one of the people I advise.”

“You must have given them some extremely valuable advice.”

“They do feel that way…”

“So, Joe, may I ask for a bit of advice and pay for it with my article for the online newspapers?”

“As long as you only have it published because you feel it’s helped you.”

Adam turned on his mini-recorder, then said: “O.K., tell me what I should write about.”

Joe looked mildly surprised, smiled slightly, and replied:

“Hearts and minds are being ripped to shreds by various cultural and intellectual fads. This is very sad and should be countered.

“Also, civilization is good as long as it’s not so confusedly guided by conflicting demands.  All seem to agree that humans are fated to be consumers, yet all want to cater to those pitiful consumers in ways that war with all the other caterers.

“I would also add that the true nature of humans is not what pertains to their bodies—people are important for what they do with their spirits—spirits that are beyond dollars, sex, and nationality.

“Finally, it is important to realize that all forms of prejudice are due to ignorance of the most important facts.”

Joe rang a small bell that was sitting on the table next to his seat.

Adam was trying to gather his wits.

A young man entered with a tray bearing coffee and tea pots, a water canister, and cups and glasses which he placed on the low table between Joe and Adam.

Adam poured some tea then said:

“These are all seemingly fine ideas… You expect me to take them to the papers, have them publish these thoughts?”

“Adam, you asked me to tell you what to write about. Would you now like me to tell you why you should write about those ideas?”


“First, because real knowledge should not be hoarded by the few at the expense of the many.

“Second, because real knowledge is only obtained when the physical and the spiritual realms are consulted—science and religion should get together and start agreeing on what humanity needs.

“Third, whether a person’s explorations of truth are spiritually or materially inclined, they need to cleave to justice so that superstition is banished.

“Finally, when both sides of the human-argument are engaged in proper determinations of truth, unity will be attained.”

Joe reached for the coffee pot, poured a cup, sat back, closed his eyes, and sipped the coffee…

Adam watched—thought—watched…

Joe opened his eyes and said, “Anything else?”

“Please… tell me how I can let people know these things…”

“If you perform your work as a true service to humanity, it will be as if you’re praying. This will aid you in the telling.

“Also, consider that the people you’re talking to are all human—they truly only differ in skin color and other very bodily-determined factors—the rest of the differences are from the atmosphere of their upbringing—take these as the forms and colors and fragrances of various plants in one human garden.

“Do, also, be aware that, just as one human body must have its component parts all functioning in unity to maintain health, just so does the human family need unity of its various groups and peoples. Do never forget that you deal with people who have caught dangerous maladies from the illness of their all-inclusive Family.

“Finally, realize that you, alone, cannot deliver this message to humanity, no matter how many Internet outlets you include with your efforts. You must deliver your message to the people you feel will most resonate with it. Then, leave it up to them to carry it forward. Certainly, you can stay in touch with whoever carries the message forward; but, realize all are responsible and all must learn from all.”

Joe gave Adam a lovely smile and said, “It’s good you’ve recorded what I’ve said. Do go and study it.”

Adam smiled back at Joe and said, “I know why people flock to you, Joe. You have an amazing depth of knowledge and you know how to read people.”

“Dear, Adam, what I told you was not from reading you in any way, unless it was my unconscious doing the reading; and, the knowledge I’ve given you is not mine. It’s all borrowed from a man named Abbas Effendi; and, his wisdom was from his Father. I fear I’m using this knowledge improperly by accepting money from people; it does trouble me and I very well may stop accepting the donations… So, do realize, Adam, that all I’ve told you is as important for me to do and share as it is important for you—we are comrades now in the effort to heal humanity of its dire illness…”


Adam returned home, locked himself in his apartment with enough supplies for a few months, and began his preparations to complete the toughest journalistic assignment he’d ever had…


Read More Story Bazaar Tales

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Writing is Centering, Like Prayer

Today’s re-blog is, in so many ways, what I’ve lived through…

Humans are, in fact, more alike than different…

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

marciabilykBy Marcia Krause Bilyk

The day after Trump’s inauguration, when Sean Spicer stood at the White House podium and declared the crowd the largest in Inaugural history, instead of scoffing at him, instead of declaring him as nuts as his boss, I was transported to my childhood feelings of rage, fear, and despair.

I grew up with a narcissistic father. Our home was suffused with his grandiosity, his exaggerations, his uninformed opinions. Mother, for reasons I couldn’t understand, didn’t contradict or question him. If I complained to her in private about his bullying, she’d say, “Your father loves you.” It felt crazy. Mother warned us not to speak of what went on at home to our friends. Dad’s rages were a closely guarded secret. There was no predicting what might set him off.

I withheld from Dad what he wanted and expected of me: affirmation, loyalty, devotion. I vowed I’d be…

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The New Wave of Healing in the Dark Times . . .

We live in dark times; and, if you feel your life is completely sunny and care-free, you really should make videos about how you keep the dogs-of-malevolence at bay; then, share them widely so the rest of us wouldn’t have to suffer so much…

We live in dark times; and, I assume that most of the folks who are reading this engage in some form of art—painting, singing, playing music, dancing, sculpting, writing, and so forth…

However, this blog focuses on Reading, Writing, and Publishing; so, if you don’t write or publish, I’m fairly sure you read, right?


What’s with that rather hippie-like title up there, The New Wave of Healing in the Dark Times . . .?

The simplest way for me to explain myself is to point toward that blue link up towards the top of the left side-bar that says, Main Street Writers Movement, then share a quote from the Founder of that movement; plus, share another quote from a post two days ago called, Dystopia & Apocalypse ~ Two Seemingly Immortal Genres . . .

Quote from the Founder of the Main Street Writers Movement:

“These are scary and uncertain times, but we must continue to use our voices and to listen to our neighbors’ words….strengthen the national literary ecosystem through passionate engagement at the local level. Let’s honor and amplify our communities’ underrepresented voices. Let’s buy from local bookstores and small presses. Let’s leave our houses and dance in the streets to the sound of each other’s words.”

Now, the quote from that past post (and, I can safely say that, even if you’ve already read it, it bears re-reading...):

This is your assignment.

Feel all the things. Feel the hard things. The inexplicable things, the things that make you disavow humanity’s capacity for redemption. Feel all the maddening paradoxes. Feel overwhelmed, crazy. Feel uncertain. Feel angry. Feel afraid. Feel powerless. Feel frozen. And then FOCUS.

Pick up your pen. Pick up your paintbrush. Pick up your damn chin. Put your two calloused hands on the turntables, in the clay, on the strings. Get behind the camera. Look for that pinprick of light. Look for the truth (yes, it is a thing—it still exists.)

Focus on that light. Enlarge it. Reveal the fierce urgency of now. Reveal how shattered we are, how capable of being repaired. But don’t lament the break. Nothing new would be built if things were never broken. A wise man once said: there’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Get after that light.

This is your assignment.

D’ya get the idea?

I’ll boil it down a bit:

If you have even a scrap of creativity, realize that it is Light.


Cast your Light as far as you can!

We all need more Light

BTW, if you take this link, you can get a poster with the “This is your assignment” Credo…
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

10 Life Lessons Found in the Pages of Middle-Grade Fiction by Melissa Roske

Today’s re-blog says it’s for “middle-grade” folks; but, I found most of the life lessons apply to me, too :-)

Nerdy Book Club

When writing for children, Madonna said it best: Papa, don’t preach. That means: no heavy-handed moralizing or high-horsey finger wagging. Kids get bossed around enough as it is, so why subject them to further instruction when they’re reading for pleasure? That’s not playing fair.

At the same time, finding inspiration in a great book can enhance a child’s reading experience significantly. It’s the icing on the cake; the cherry on the sundae. So, without further ado, 10 life lessons found in the pages of middle-grade fiction, new classics and old favorites alike:

harriet the spy

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

“Life is a struggle and a good spy gets in there and fights.” (p. 132).

When Ole Golly expresses this sentiment to her charge during an emotional goodbye outside the Welsch family home, it’s clear to the reader – and to Harriet, who tries to be brave in the aftermath of her…

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