Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Blog Post as Memoir. . .

Broken but Useful

a Poetic Odyssey for the Peoples of the World


Alexander M Zoltai

A Project of B. I. D. E.

Benevolence In Dharmic Exploration


I’ve Escaped and found a way to Help…

to Help… somewhat

Between Escape and Help,

a long span of time;

and, it wasn’t always nice…

I’ll attempt an elaboration…


It began in a regular old state in a country not aware it was decaying…

“It” was my birth; and, I think my first cry signaled that the

War had begun…

So, also, begins the movie of my life; and, if the

Editor seems frail and puts That before This,

Bear with the story—

the actors are real, though flawed—

the scenes are true, though, at times, full of unrealities…

Unrealities in these troubled times…

And, while I’ll now relate to you what I grew up through,

there will be a eulogy for the future;

though, the past will have its say;

and, some judgements and remedies will be offered…

And, while I ponder in words about what has occurred and will happen,

Do, please, remember, there is really no “Them”, just Us…

One last idea before I sail the sea of story…

There is a primal Oneness that surrounds you; and,

perhaps you will allow it to embrace you…

A large part of my tale is how I failed, for so long,

yet regained,  somewhat,

that sense of Oneness…


My life began with many moves—

city to city with few memories retained; but,

much of that memory was mined with later

conceptual digging—

If this, then that…

If I was overbearing,

Then at least one of my parents helped me learn it—

If I hated my father for my first thirty years, for the way he treated my mother,

Then I didn’t realize my mother, for all that time, must have bought into his verbal abusing—

If I wandered so often, covering much territory, becoming, often, homeless,

Then I must have felt quite unmoored in my youngest home life…

The earliest pressures can have the longest pains.

The mistakes of parents can harm for years.

My heart is still bearing such things…

The things that nearly engulfed my soul

seem legion beyond surcease—

There is but one way they’re gone for good,

A grace from regions Beyond…

And, I must pause my dealings with the past

to deal with where this odyssey heads…

No doubt I was born into and developed in a quaking world—

no doubt it will continue shuddering, ‘till it releases,

through pain and ordeal, its new Self—and,

I’ve felt, so deeply, this long travail,

this extended birth through pain

of humanity’s destined maturity—

so hazardous, this path, for any sensitive soul…

Back to the harrowing times of my youth—

a dogmatically fervent father,

a strong but obsequious mother,

two older sisters—all so far from my inner World…

So much of that time is blank—extended family orbiting my own,

yet all far distant and forgotten…

Memory enlivens in the high school years…

My first love…

My first fight with a woman…

My first running away from life…

My most toxic instance of burying embarrassment…

Apart from the love leading to embarrassment,

I remember high school being the time

of beginning to hate the

procedure of education; though,

I’ve never stopped learning on my own.

I swiftly became an educated maverick…



Had my head smashed against a brick wall—

perfect excuse to leave college behind…

Soon realized I was headed for a major clash with society and

was weak enough to still believe my success in life demanded

adherence to social norms—while realizing I had no chance of

adhering by myself,

I joined the Navy,

to be forced to adhere—

four interesting years…

Vietnam for one of them…

Return to San Francisco in time for the

Summer of Love


the beginning of a forty-five year binge on pot and beer…

Naturally, memory, in the main, fails

except for certain landmarks:

First time of being critically broken—

being banished from my daughter’s life…

Broken; but, instantly wiser about my being

an addicted social outcast…

Second time of being critically broken—

Mother’s death…

Followed within a few years by

oldest sister’s death…

Followed within a few years by

Dad’s death…

It could be said I’d been not only broken; but,

shattered, crushed, and ground to dust…

I believe I was all of 40 years old; but,

the constant pot and beer took a massive toll on memory—

this part of my life’s movie may have some mistakes in timing—

yet, what I’ve mentioned happened—

in some order of its own…

Still, I can date something precisely at 42—

The beginning of the Escape…

I’d thought before the Navy I needed

severe discipline to tow Society’s line—

I now knew I needed to adhere to a much

Higher Code than society could offer—not

a maverick life—more a life

apart—a life dedicated to


I found a Faith—

I call it an Escape—

an Escape that still demands

constant Adherence to

a way of living the prevailing culture



The Escape that

demands Adherence also

demands an awareness that

all Faiths are One—

while most believers still want to fight each other—

while most of the western world shuns any Faith—

while the majority of humanity are

closer, in their simple, grounded beliefs to

True Faith…

Seem confusing…?


what with all the contentions swirling while

humanity experiences the

Travail of Rebirth—

entrance to the new Age—



The Spring of Unity

demands the Winter of the

dissolution of what the

Rulers and Financiers deem

Standard Operating Procedure—

Procedure that rapes the earth—

that destroys trust—

that breeds contempt—

that will eliminate current

Givens and




Seem confusing…?

For most, it is confusing…

How can what seems to have always been

become so seemingly suddenly utterly outmoded?

One simple act can unwrap the religious confusion that permits such human suffering—

a humble appraisal of the actual Teachings of the Prophets—

Not the beliefs of the believers—

the actual Teachings bear witness to a fundamental


I force no claims—

I demand no agreement—

I only state the State I’ve discovered—

existing above yet within us all…


I struggle…

Have for thirty years…

Accumulated dross seems solidified—

Karma reeks of retribution—

Mistakes of the past call for repentance…

Was that shot in the arm, from a needle wiped by

the bloody rag used on the guy in line ahead of me—all of us being prepped for

Vietnam—could that simple swipe have been the infecting that

grew for so many years?

Backing up a bit…

The early years of struggling for my Faith led to

radical resistance by my ego,

which led to attempted suicide.

Went to a psychologist—

Blood was taken—

Diagnosis delivered—

Hepatitis C…

A deadly disease shook me out of a desire to kill myself…

Stranger things have happened.

Eleven months of sledgehammer medicine…

They said I was “cleared”; a cure not possible…

Mind and emotions still vied for a basis of understanding—

the Solution was very clear—

applying it is still problematic,

not to be wondered at in this world of ours—

Fraught with vexations,

full of troubles,

frantic with worries—

rulers dismantling justice and fairness,

corporations acting like rulers,

both fouling our Earthly nest…

Our current world is like a badly written

horror-crime novel…

The antagonists of the book are those

financiers I mentioned and

the rulers those money-folk control.

Justice has wilted and fairness been crippled and love become a street-walker…

A Short Laundry List of Crimes Against Humanity:

* Corporate takeover of peoples’ lands that pollutes those lands.

* Materialists controlling economies, polluting peoples’ hearts with consumerism.

* Rulers claiming exclusive sovereignty and imperiling their peoples’ well-being.

* Companies creating toxic products.

* Advertisers making false claims.

* Doctors in bed with Big Pharma.

* Clergy encouraging contention.

* Education that isn’t…

* Sham democracies brewing materialistic “Rights”,

turning “liberated” individuals into warring camps of protestation—

freedom of speech being so misused it’s ashamed of what it’s saying…

* Countries causing or funding wars in other countries,

then refusing entry to the innocent folks trying to flee

and encouraging radicals to hassle and kill the refugees…

Just a few of the reapings of the multinational-greed-dealers

Just a few of the factors that will demolish the old Order,

be the Winter preceding the blessed Spring…


There’s a new Order…?


There are people, around the Globe, building the foundations of this

New Order of Unity—

this Equality of All—

this Oneness of Humanity.


Since my Escape some thirty years ago,

I’ve been attempting to master my particular way to Help.

To Help… somewhat

I’ve written a novel,

Nearly one hundred fifty short stories,

A fable,

A book of poems, and

blogged for nearly eight years straight—providing aid and assistance to other writers…

All of that took nineteen years,

all of that just a bit of Help for our ailing humanity…

How could it help…?

By portraying Principles in Action—

an animated representation of Ethics—

Morals contrasted with Immorality—

Stories, Poems, Articles that have

reached eighty countries and territories—

Global Effort that’s still just a bit of Help…

All the while, I’ve struggled to live up to my Faith—

struggled against the inertia of the old Order—

nearly sucked down into the materialistic morass—

stumbled over my own virtues, kept walking on

bloody knees—

striven toward

transcendence of self…

I still pray, will always pray for aid and assistance…

I pray all the words I’ve written,

here and elsewhere,

have helped—somewhat

All of these ups and downs and ins and outs and damage and repair

led me to writing this Poetic Odyssey…

Led me to say:

May all your tribulations be slight—

May you live to see a slightly better World—

May your children thrive…

I leave you with a small bit of advice:



is the strength you seek elsewhere


If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…


For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Staying Out Of The Headlights: On Finding My Own Writing Process

From today’s re-blog:

“…I’ve learned to respect the cyclic nature of my creative life.”

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

KDaly Author Photo.jpegBy Kara Daly

I’ve always hated writing prompts. They shine headlights on me and I freeze. On-the-spot writing exercises fill with me with fear, creating a barrier between myself and what I need to say. The pressure does the opposite for me what it does for others. I require inspiration and an open field in order to write, whether it’s poetry, prose, or music. But I don’t have to resign myself to a life of being a helpless “vessel.” I can comb my life for patterns, name them, and learn to create the conditions for inspiration to occur, and my field opens.

I had a teacher once, who I love and respect, and whose passion for writing inspires me to this day. But I remember something she said at the beginning of the course that, at the time, struck me deeply, but which seems contrary to how operate as a…

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Even More Conversation about Writers’ Groups . . .

Writers' Groups This discussion began on November 14th, and continued on Nov. 16th, and 19th

We’ve covered quite a bit of ground in those past posts…

And, there’s quite a bit more to cover today.

Our first commenter is from the U.S.A. and is a former journalist and award-winning author who I’ve spent time with in a virtual world:

“I’ve belonged to many writer groups in the past and my experience has been varied. Some have turned out to be ego clubs existing only to tell each other how wonderful our work is. Those are my least favorite. Some have turned out to be ridiculously critical to the point where arguing about specific details kills the creative aspect and the group consensus is that everything is always terrible. I like those better, but not by much. I’ve gone to writer groups that get very complicated with emails going back and forth and critique schedules. Those are good for me but they take a commitment.

“Now I have an informal writers group. I join associations in my genre (my favorite to date is Horror Writers Association) and we organically team up to critique, review and support each other. Once a year we meet up face to face at Stokercon where old friendships are renewed, new friendships forged, and a whole lot of honing our craft happens. My writers group has taken the monchu path, as in they are people I choose because we inspire and edify each other.”

This first comment reminds me of two links from past posts in this series, about elements of a successful writers’ group and hidden dangers of writers’ groups…

Two things that stand out for me in this comment are the “organic” nature of her current writers’ group, which I take as meaning they naturally and easily formed the group; and, the fact that they inspire and edify each other…

The next comment is from a regular contributor, an accomplished author from Australia, and is directed at the last commenter they were both in the virtual world I mentioned… ) :-)

“I have often tried to get my writers’ group to meet in a virtual world, mainly when a member may have been too ill to travel… But, it has never come about. The folks in my group often travelled very long distances to keep up and attend the group. I have always thought that a virtual meeting may be the solution.”

Would that our Australian friend could accomplish that goal; but, I’ve talked to her about this and some of her fellow group members seem quite resistant to stepping into a new environment; yet, being in a virtual world certainly opens up the geographical distance that a writers’ group can span…

Our final commenter is from Denmark and is an author, poet, editor, photographer, and blogger who happens to be one of the admins in an online group that I recently joined. Her first sentence refers to a statement from a past post:something that seems to me to be essential for writers’ group participants: using questions to hone in on the writer’s intentions before critiquing the writing, whether or not the work is ‘good’ or ‘bad’“:

“Your point about intentions is so true. My group asks for your goals with the piece and for the type of feedback you’re looking for at the time. While sometimes we might stray from that in what we give, it does help us focus our feedback and moderate it.

“When looking for peer review, it helps to have multiple members at a similar skill and goal level to yours, however, we’re not always good at assessing that ourselves. Some people underestimate their skills and others are blind to their own flaws.

“I’ve been in several groups in the past and my initial critique experience comes from college. I made my first professional sale yesterday and I owe it to my online writing family. They’ve glued me back together when I’ve gone to pieces and pushed me to improve my writing and editing skills constantly. They challenge what I think I know about writing and bring out the best in my work.

“I think writing group choice is often very personal and depends on your needs and expectations. An always-someone-there online group works well for me. I can stick my nose in when I need a break, a kick in the rear, a hug, or a brainstorm buddy. Helping others brainstorm can help me get excited about a story of my own or kick off a new idea for a story or exercise.”

Congratulations to her for that first sale; and, appreciation for such an instructive comment to wrap-up this portion of our discussion… However, I must do a pull-quote about what a writers’ group can do:

“They’ve glued me back together when I’ve gone to pieces and pushed me to improve my writing and editing skills constantly. They challenge what I think I know about writing and bring out the best in my work.”


Are you in a writers’ group…?

What do you most enjoy about your group…?

Or, do you think you need to join a writers’ group…?

Or, are you sure a writers’ group would never fit your needs…?

Have you formed or are you about to form a group…?

What do you think is most important for a successful writers’ group…?

All it takes is one reader comment to continue this conversation :-)
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
Our Blog Conversations are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—the rest of the week, I share valuable posts from other blogs

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

How To Eat An Elephant, writer-style

Much to think about in today’s re-blog…

Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking

How to Eat an Elephant, writer-style

You probably all know the answer to this riddle, don’t you?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

It sounds silly, really. If you are a member of the !San people, the method for eating an elephant (generally one slain by others) was to get every family you know together and commence an eating marathon (see the film, The Gods Must be Crazy 2 for this: but as I am sure you realise, I’m not talking about a real, literal elephant.

So many things in life feel overwhelming and unachievable, and the classic way to face them is to break the task down into a series of smaller, more achievable stages (bites!), and it’s a good way, as long as you can just keep “eating” away. When I began learning Tai Chi, a little over three years…

View original post 1,111 more words

Still More Conversation about Writers’ Groups . . .

This discussion began on November 14th, and continued on Nov. 16th… Writers Groups

The last post had three different reader comments that all shared the important idea that a well-functioning writers’ group needed the potential for friendship among the participants…

Today’s first commenter, a regular here and from Australia, is an accomplished author and creator of virtual worlds:

“Over the years I have been in a number of writers’ groups. The first one was led by a published author, whose writing class we had attended. In this group we read our work out loud. However we did not provide a written copy of the work to help others follow the reading and now, in hindsight, I feel that was probably needed, if we wanted any kind of serious critique. Now I’m in a fantastic group of writers who have all been published, some extensively. We all take turns to send an emailed copy of the work we want to get feedback on (half the group one month and half the next). We read and edit the works with written comments on the emailed manuscripts, which we then bring to the meeting to discuss. Our meeting is usually held in a cafe. After lunch, where we socialise and catch up with our news, we get to work and discuss each submitted work in turn. We always try to honour the creativity of the writer and the value of their written work. At the same time we discuss the works in detail and make suggestions for improvements.

“The value of this approach is that it helps the writer, who may be too close to the work at that point, to get the perspective of other more detached opinions. It has been said that, after an initial draft, a writer should put a work away for a period of time so that when they return to it, some time later, they can see the work more clearly, warts and all. Having a ‘panel’ of experienced writers/readers to shorten that maturation time for the writer, with their considered opinions, is invaluable. But you do need to pick your ‘panel’. You need honest but non-destructive critics who take writing seriously :-)”

Interesting comparison of two different types of group…

And, the current group has three critical activities:

  • socialize and catch up on news
  • honor each other’s creativity
  • discuss in detail and make suggestions


Whether a group you might be in has all of those specific qualities or not, some form of “warming up”, “respecting”, and “close inspection and edification” are, I feel, important to consider as valuable group activities.

One other thing to consider from our Australian writer’s experience is the Preparation necessary for carrying out those particular group activities…

Our second commenter, a novelist and short story author, is a native of the Northern Plains of the USA and maintains his web site right here :-)

“I once co-founded and ran a community writers’ group in college. The experience was overall positive. I’d generally lead the discussions, critiquing a work by a member we were all to have read at some point that week. Once a month we’d do a writing exercise and then share the fruits of our rushed labor. Everyone enjoyed these writing sessions.

“I think the hardest part was simply not liking some of the writing. Sometimes one could see potential. Other times a piece was pretty good. Once in a while it was hard to give feedback for improvement because the group member’s story just didn’t feel at all inspired with even a grain of potential. Not only was it the hardest, but also the most dangerous part: trying to be truthful without being offensive. The best remedy I found was to ask lots of questions rather than jump right in with advice. If there was advice to be given, I had to get at the writer’s mindset first.”

Our new commenter has stated something that seems to me to be essential for writers’ group participants: using questions to hone in on the writer’s intentions before critiquing the writing, whether or not the work is “good” or “bad”…

What do you think about that last statement of mine?

For that matter, what stands out for you in either of our commenters’ experiences?


To prompt you to share a comment:

Are you in a writers’ group…?

What do you most enjoy about your group…?

Or, do you think you need to join a writers’ group…?

Or, are you sure a writers’ group would never fit your needs…?

Have you formed or are you about to form a group…?

What do you think is most important for a successful writers’ group…?

All it takes is one reader comment to continue this conversation :-)
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
Our Blog Conversations are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—the rest of the week, I share valuable posts from other blogs

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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