Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Short story

#Writers & #Movies


I wrote a post featuring Movies about Writers back in 2016—it included 12 films. #Writers and #Movies

There’s a more recent post in The Independent Publishing Magazine called, Seven Films About Writers That Will Motivate You.

So…

19 movies about writers…

In one of my past posts, I said:

“…the legendary director and producer, Francis Ford Coppola, said he preferred being inspired by reading short stories rather than movie scripts.”

I’ve also said:

“As a writer, I think watching movies is an excellent way to absorb the craft of storytelling. Even though the approaches differ in certain critical ways, you can ‘translate’ between them.”

So…

Movies about writers and movies for writers…

How about a few videos for writers?

Just go to Aerogramme Writers’ Studio and check out their post, 13 Inspirational TED Talks for Writers.

I’ve included at least four of those videos in past posts; and, I drop one in here for the folks who just hate taking links out from blog posts :-)

Enjoy this talk about storytelling freed from politics, from the author, Elif Shafak :

(very sorry if you have to watch an ad before the video :-( or, heaven forbid, even after the video…)


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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Sixty-One


“So… What if there’s a life after this one on Earth?”

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

 

“So what, if there’s a life after this one on Earth?”

“Joe, that’s not what I said—I said, ‘So, what if there’s a life after this one on Earth?’.”

“Right Pete, and I said, ‘So what?’.”

“Can’t even have a decent discussion with ya on this one, eh?”

“What discussion—discussing means it might be true.”

“Well, it might…”

“Says you.”

“I think it’s like backing up your files on a computer…”

“Some other life is like backing up?”

“No, realizing there might be another life is like backing up—some nerd said, ‘I’d rather have backed up and not needed it, then not have backed up and needed it.’.”

“Why? You mean if I don’t believe there’s some other life and there actually is I’ll lose all my data?”

“Sure, go ahead, make a joke out of it…”

“I’m not—‘data’, like what makes me what I am…”

“Damn, Joe, I think you’re on to something…”

“Hmmm…”

“Let’s talk about it again—in the Next life…”

They laughed…    And, wondered………

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Sixty


“It’s all that really matters…”

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

Some of you may think I gave up a good thing…

But, good always depends on the angle of perception…

Sure, there’s nothing inherently wrong with owning things, even many fine things; but, I’d become a slave to my things…

I suppose I’m writing this to warn others who may feel their things aren’t possessing them…

I had more than “many others” and less than “some others”.

I had a median amount of things—house, car, decent computer, clothes for many occasions, a variety of foods, a bit of nice art, various tools and small equipment to affect trivial repairs, enough left over to pay the utilities, go see a movie once a month, go out to eat perhaps twice a month, buy gifts for family and friends on special days, etc…

More than many, less than others…

I really don’t have to warn the folks who have what I had but are able to stay “detached” from it all.

Still, some of that last group of humans may feel they’re detached when, if it were all suddenly snatched away, they would bewail their fate and curse the gods that be…

I suppose that’s the core of what I’m trying to say—trying to warn about—the “gods that be”.

There are many “proofs” that this life on Earth, with all its stuff, is just a school house for a further type of life…

I won’t argue any proofs but would feel remiss if I didn’t mention all the “intangibles” this life on Earth has—love, glory, rapture, astonishment, the imagination, the will to act; and, even though most folks will agree with me, there are “scientists” and “philosophers” and “eminent people” who will violently disagree about what you might want to call the spiritual side of life…

So…

Whatever gods there are, or whatever God you worship (or, don’t worship…), I must warn you that you will fail at life if your “higher self” must absolutely possess the things you possess…

I was so engrossed in what I’d owned that I couldn’t even see other people—oh sure, I perceived that there were other folks around me—even talked to them; but, I didn’t really “See” them—their uniqueness and all their intangible assets…

And, because of my willful blindness, I became quite sterile, quite alone, quite banal, quite like the living dead—God help those with way more than I used to have who are also living dead…

It happened on a Saturday, I think it was in October—I sat down on my couch and began to cry—six hours of tears (soul-tears after the ones from my eyes were used up…).

Then, I was numb all night—no sleep, no nothing—blank…

As I regained a bit awareness, my first perception was what’s called, It-scared-the-shit-out-of-me.

Made me wake up and smell the intangible roses.

Made me start donating most of my eating out and movie money to a worthy charity.

Made me quit my job and camp-out in my luckily-paid-for home, with my luckily-paid-for car in the driveway.

Made me realize I didn’t need any new things.

Made me locate places that sold used things—clothes, etc….

Made me feel just a bit guilty when I went to a regular store for toilet paper, etc….

Made me start helping out my neighbors with all sorts of odd jobs; and, without even asking, earning just enough to buy food and toilet paper, and all the other things I needed if I stayed in a “civilized” part of the world….

Made me volunteer to read to kids at the library.

Made me write this (and actually publish it).

Please don’t get me wrong—I’m not, in the least, saying anyone else should do what I did.

It’s just that I’d gotten to the end of the materialistic road—knew I had an addiction to things—discovered sweet detachment.

And, what is it that the title of this essay says is “…all that really matters…”?

The condition of my soul………

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Fifty-Nine


The Road…

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

I’m not really a brave man; but, something had to be done…

Our System has three inhabited planets and six inhabited moons—seventy billion of us; but, things had gone down so far, so fast, that folks thought they could never go back up.

You see, Corporate Entities had taken over the rule of the continents of the planets and the plains of the moons.

There had been many massive environmental disasters as well as disasters in overcrowded space lanes—monstrous disasters. There was little the average person could count on—economically; socially; even, psychologically.

But, all this wasn’t just a series of chance happenings—there were cold-hearted reasons…

~~~

Hardly anything is ever all bad, because bad is so often good dressed in strange clothes.

While the old “normal” Leaders were doing things that caused significant tearing down (economic, social, environmental), ordinary folk were quietly building things up again.

That is, until the last ten cycles before the Great Mourning—cycles that saw the new Corporate Leaders trying to play God…

Most people had lost their integrity (actually, had it stolen by being psychologically broken)—they bought in, completely, to the Corporate ways of life…

Just when things became so bad that there was talk of it every day in nearly every space and haunt, there began a massive rumor about a new Prophet… Mavasun was His name.

I was told that Mavasun recast the concept of religion as “the impelling force for the development of consciousness”, spawning cycles of growth that always left us with a bit more higher awareness—rather like the growth of any of us from Infant to Child to Youth; with, apparently, the stage of Maturity being what we were beginning to strive toward…

So, the normal tearing down/building up cycle was transforming itself—tearing down was to be massively total, while building up was within the power of any individual with a hint of spiritual yearning.

I met one of Mavasun’s followers and agreed to help with a “Community Building” program—shaping new, self-sufficient communities that could tend to their own spiritual and material well-being.

I remember in our conversation, in that dark little building on the edge of the city, how that Mavasunian was so gentle in speech, when the things they were saying dealt with world-altering actions… I especially remember them saying: “It’s as simple as walking up a Road and meeting Friends all along the way.”—it took me awhile to understand that…

Luckily, I didn’t have to become a full member of Mavasun’s religion—didn’t think I could follow all the Laws; yet, it was fascinating how His followers were still so sympathetic towards me.

~~~

Please understand that my writing of this account has various “inconsistencies” in the time-line.

The basic time flow is correct; but, some things seem to be “overlapping”—past lapping against present and present lapping at future…

It’s because my life is changing as swiftly as the old Order is breaking down—as swiftly as our “toddler” Society seemed “overnight” to become “all-grown-up” and demanded that Life bend to its Will. All we got for that swift growth was the Corporate overlords…

I just hope the plans being made and the huge efforts being expended in the Community Building that Mavasun envisioned aren’t infected by the Corporate Leaders’ diseases.

And, this is one of the time-flow issues of my Tale—Mavasun seems still alive (He passed to the Other Realm 125 cycles ago); yet, His Spirit is living in his followers and their new Communities.

~~~

So, there I was, going to help build our new, more caring World—putting myself right in the teeth of the socially decaying trends…

I chose where I’d work on Community Building, very carefully—I was going to move there and settle—a small village on the fourth moon of Pitran—become One with the folks—be a Teacher for them.

My responsibility, apart from becoming a true friend to folks and keeping a job, was to teach them the Principles of Mavasun’s Faith: the three most important being the Oneness of All, the Equality of the Sexes, and the need for an All-Encompassing Governmental Structure covering all nine of our Worlds (assuring Justice and Fairness for all—eliminating Corporate Enclave Competition that drained the common folks’ lives of all meaning…).

I remember my conversation with the Mavasunian, as I was learning how to Teach:

“How can a Worlds’ Government, so total, stay fair and just?”

“Dear soul, have you forgotten that we believers, when we vote for our Assemblies, have no campaigning—we vote our conscience, privately. Plus, the Assemblies of localities elect the Assemblies of Regions, and so on, up to the Worlds’ Assembly—it is generated by the People… This is the model of governance we hold up to the Worlds.”

The purpose behind Teaching these Spiritual Principles was that folks could then contribute to the transcendent as well as the material well-being of their communities. They would do it by offering Acts of Service; essentially, learning the good in themselves and relying on that to help others. Once this fundamental Learning took hold in a group of residents, a Program of Growth would emerge (which, naturally, included Learning for children and youth); and, folks would start having Conversations of Significance with other residents. All this would begin to enlarge the possible sphere of  influence of the newly forming Community.

Again, in a conversation I had with the Mavasunian:

“How can these noble Principles spread far enough to affect change in our Worlds?”

“We work through hearts—one heart at a time; but, one heart aflame with Love for All can ignite many, many other hearts…”

This may sound oversimplified (I have trimmed it down a bit); but; if you can realize how the concept of a Corporate structure for Society was also simple, yet led to a simply horrible life, you may realize that this Community Building Plan, being not merely Material but also Spiritual, could just as simply lead to a beautiful complexity of civilization that was Fair for All.

Some said, “Why not just look out for yourself?”; and, all I could think of to say, in the early days of my Service, was, “Because, this is what I’m Supposed to be doing…”.

The trick to making the Teachings “stick”, I’ve discovered, is to encourage a strong sense of Collective Will and Effort; and, Mavasun said this will happen when Love becomes the root motivation of our actions. And, that’s really rather logical, if you ask me…

~~~

So, eventually, after a full cycle, I was Teaching a group of twenty souls.

The most absolutely phenomenal thing is that over the next cycle, as we all helped each other learn how to be of Service to others, we had the following results:

We became aware that our spiritual forces were being amplified.

We found that former, apparent dichotomies began to yield to beautiful insights.

We found our sense of Unity and common-calling strengthened (even though, remarkably, we all remained such different individuals…).

We gained a new and very strong confidence that a better world really could be created.

~~~

We knew that the number of people sharing this commitment had to rise; and, our capacity for undertaking action within our Plan had to increase, many times over.

We also became aware that, just like any Living Organism, growth can occur quickly when the right conditions are in place.

While continuing to grow our Community over the next ten cycles (and, linking its activities with near-by Communities); and, while increasing our ability to explain the society-building power inherent in the Spiritual Endeavor we were involved in, we were beginning to recognize that the deep Purpose behind this work was also increasing our awareness of its delicate character

If folks could get the Principles anchored, deep in their hearts, all their talents and resources and connections could be used to build Communities independent of the nearly collapsed Corporate Order.

~~~

I had been a Teacher for three cycles. My main task was soon to become tutoring others to Teach.

The old Order was still collapsing, horribly; but, this Work, this Endeavor, was Sustaining

In many consultations with a number of Mavasunians, I absorbed some very wise ideas:

“We all need to continue to learn.”

“Teaching is an expression of Love. Learning is a manifestation of Devotion.”

“Most folks have learned how to live by osmosis. We’re teaching them to learn consciously.”

“Learning the Truth is critical for learning what Justice is.”

At this point in my Service, along with everything else, I was learning how our efforts to engage in meaningful conversations could bring us into many social spaces, increasing the number and types of folks we could introduce to our Plan—folks who could contribute to the betterment of Society.

More and more dwelling places became gathering spaces for Community Building activities, making each a center for the diffusion of the Light of Spiritual Guidance, Material Well-Being, and Social Cohesion.

~~~

Numerous cycles passed, with me continuing up the Road of Commitment and Consistency and Compassion…

We’re not There, yet—that Promised Space of All the Worlds enjoying Conscious Awareness and Continuity and Fulfilling Endeavor…

The old Order is nearly, fatally and completely, collapsed—many more folks are realizing that the Community Building Plan we have is something they Need.

And, even though the Road is steeper than ever, we have the Momentum of Love and the Light of a most Logical set of Spiritual Principles.

I completely respect Mavasun; and, He really does seem to still be alive…

I can’t help but wonder if there’s another Prophet, in one of the countless Planetary Systems out there—Teaching the same Truths—helping other basically good folks rebuild their Civilization after the corrupt and greedy Leaders had brought it to a point of excruciating decay………

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Fifty-Eight


What Is Fiction?

by
Alexander M Zoltai
Dedicated to
Jane Darnton Watson

~~~~~~~~~

He sat at his computer in the cheap apartment, contemplating how to fertilize the story-seed that had infected his mind…

Not quite ready to create a draft—needing some skeleton-shape to hang it on—he began writing about fiction itself…

“We think our daily doings are real and they certainly are; but, not like a good story…”

Something happened in his mind—swift merging of meanings—a rising of worth; and, he continued:

“The writer sat there, wondering if this idea flitting through his soul could be coaxed and committed to words…”

The Flow had begun:

“He let the idea come to him, made a Space for it, wrote a few words…

  ’The writer was hit with a story, smacked in the heart—opened a new file and began typing:

    ”She wrote her way out of her old life—created a new one with her words…”

  ’He sat back and brooded—not sure which way to take the trail…’

The Flow stopped—he saved the words in the Cloud and on the flash-drive, shut down the computer, and waited a day to return to the budding Tale…

~~~~~~~~~

Four months slowly pass…

~~~~~~~~~

He was nearing the end of the Tale.

He began where he’d left off the day before and suddenly realized the story was wrapping itself up much earlier than he’d suspected:

“The writer didn’t want to bring the tale to such an abrupt ending; but, the muse must be obeyed.

  ’Rushing to the end—unaware of the reader—devoted to the story:

    ”She finished putting down the words, feeling like a new creation…”

  ’No second guessing, the trail was winding itself to its end…’

He typed the final words:

“Life is often like this…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Read More Story Bazaar Tales

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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…
Visit The Story Bazaar

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