Saturday, 16 April 2022

Different lives.

Hello and welcome, reader.

Once again, weeks passed before I knew it. As usual, you must pardon my apparent laziness. For most times, when I take a break from writing these pleasure notes, it means there’s work for hire going on elsewhere.

Either that, or I’m resting between bouts of fiction writing.

I ought to have told you, by now, how if a writer doesn’t work, he won’t get paid.

In case I forgot, there you go.

So, my take on the hustle will, most often, keep us away from here.

But it’s no wonder to me that we seem always to return, because we enjoy posting these few and occasional lines for you to read.

I also like it for more reasons than just practise. Though one is ever aware, writing takes endless amounts of that.

As neither diarist nor biographer, however, this blog also stands among the few examples of personal writing I have ever made public.

For here, and only here, everything is personal.

Aside from it, most everything else I do or have done was or is for either hire or sale.

If you’ve wondered, I make a habit of not speaking about my work, neither how I do it nor what it is I’m doing.

Besides that, I’m also not one for sharing personal stuff. Those close to me have grown used to our being that way over the years.

I’m also careful with whom we share our private opinions.

One supposes those statements, at first glance, might be hard for a reader to grasp when made about a man who publishes what he writes. But like the concept of separation of church and state, once you do, you see, plainly and at once, how everything else is made better because of it.

Likewise, if he is to survive in a world made by the artist, we save a man only by knowing where one life ends and another begins. At all times, this must be so.

For if it is not, we place sanity at great risk.

In my life, that’s the way it was, is, and ever shall be. And I’m also quite sure, though many seem unaware of it, that most of us share an experience quite similar, in fact. As far as it goes, the only real difference between you and me is the way my job puts those multiple identities on public display.

Here’s what I mean.

Most folks live several markedly different lives. In many cases, they have at least a distinct personality they take to work, and a separate one they put on when they get home. As all of us who are old enough to read this know, we can say the same of school-age children. Not only that, but in every situation a person finds themself, most tailor their looks, speech, and demeanor to best manage it.

In this way, at most times unawares, we are but social animals reacting to life’s demands.

Because it’s so common, and desperately needed, when managing daily life, most of us do our best to ignore these facts of our own behavior.

Few of us wish to either be or think ourselves false.

Here, we accept people are not acting so. At least, not in most cases. And much of the time, when it happens, there’s no mean intent.

Instead, we see these most common and widespread habits as one among many instincts key to our survival. I will even go so far as to claim free will is largely unknown among our kind.

But despite making the statement, I must also make clear how I am no determinist. Though I also hold firm to my belief in the latest physics and its philosophical implications.

In short, as an atheist, I’m happy enough living in a deterministic multiverse which responds to choices made by its inhabitants.

Of course, you’re free to believe your own thing. To me, it makes little difference. Just as what I’m thinking means nothing to you.

As far as I’m concerned, live, and let live is the highest ideal pursued here.

It’s certainly a tough one against which to measure oneself. But that’s the gig. So far as I can tell, anyway.

However, I digress.

Because what I want you to know is I’m not hiding anything from you. Aside from what I don’t want you to know about my personal life.

The above statements are correct for both myself and my work.

Despite the extremely public nature of what is now a career of some length, I have always and ever will demand the privacy of my personal life be respected absolutely.

Those few willing to accept my terms are only then made part of it. As they who choose otherwise, soon enough are not.

My reason for keeping this rule is simple. The blood I’ve spilt, and there’s been plenty, whether in the ring, on the stage, or written on some unread page, is all I have to give you. For myself, I must preserve what is left of me.

I also want you to know the choices I make about what I write are mine. I make them because I believe them not only best but correct. For all concerned. As well, when writing, I do my best to show things as they were. That’s because, as a writer, I see the job first, as not a place to either moralize or claim to know better about what I’m writing than those who lived it in real time.

My job is presenting the facts of life as fiction, with as little praise or admonishment as I am able.

And if possible, without either regret or exaggeration.

Only by doing so can I let you see, and, I hope, feel, how it was for the people about whom you’re reading when you crack the spine on one of my books. And that, believe it or not, is also the whole and complete basis, and entire explanation, for how and why I have lived my life.

Now, you should know I think it’s a damned shame if these simple facts are not to your liking. But you must also accept it won’t change either what I’ve done, or what I might do next.

Because with a pirate manning the helm, the artist must chart an outlaw’s course as his own.

Another good thing to know about me is I write fiction, not biography.

Before everything else, for a reader, I believe that most important to know. You should also understand I do not write for myself. I write for those who might come along behind me one day, and want to know what it was like back there, in the long ago.

I guess it’s also worth recalling how I don’t care too much about things like money, fame, or being popular. For me, it’s always been about knowing, and then showing, what we did to one another while we were here.

I write mostly about things you should learn in school, but don't.

At least, that’s how I see it.

So, there you have it. Now, I could surely waste many more words explaining, but the name of the game is minimalism here. Along with that, come a few constraints I’ve applied, with great care and far more trouble, to each of my novels.

Beyond this, I think it best to leave the rest of the figuring out to you. Have fun.

Thanks for being here. And for sharing this note with anyone you think might like to read it.

Peace and love,

TFP

April 16, 2022

  

Saturday, 19 March 2022

A secret.

Hello again, reader. I’ve decided to share a big secret with you this week.

Because for me, by now it seems like we’ve got some kind of private club built here. Where it’s quiet, and members consider many questions, but keep their own counsel when answering them. The place is open twenty-four hours, and free, too.

That might be what I like best about it.

Anyway, as it does in most clubs, being in this one comes with perks.

So, don’t go spreading this around.

Here it is. I love not writing. There’re few things I like better.

Well, if I’m keeping it straight, writing would be ahead of not. Because writing is up there. For me, a spot in the top five seems about right. It’s behind only the necessities, I mean, like say, eating, sleeping, and that other thing.

Aside from those few, it’s near the top of my list.

But the secret is not doing it.

Not for real, anyway.

That’s right. Even the words I’m writing now are not yet real. Not to me. To become real for me, they must be published or shared.

For much like a diary, words unpublished exist only to their writer.

Did you catch that? Good, because I won’t say it again.

Nor will or do these words exist for you until you see them. In fact, some folks claim they won’t, aren’t, and can’t be thought real until some unknown point in the future when they are seen by an entity other than me.

Until that time comes, their fate is, at best, uncertain.

As were I to die, and they not being first published, and later read by someone else, they will never exist in this slice of the temporal universe.

I think of that as the nature of quantum reality. Of course, you could say I’ve always been crazy, too.

After all, I’m also the man who re-wrote manuscripts for thirty years but didn’t publish a first novel until eight years ago.

Though since then, you may have noticed, I’ve kept to a publishing schedule believed better suited to a working novelist.

Here, that means a new one every year or two.

Also, these next facts are no secret. I live for the vast privilege of doing it and love to write novels absolutely. The work fascinates me as nothing else ever could. And I have and do bear eternal gratitude to an uncaring universe for the blessing of the talent that lets me do it.

As likewise, my greatest regard is for the patrons who have long supported me and this work.

But my point is, not writing takes up far more time than doing it. Not only that, but I have also proved to be painfully slow with the re-writing that’s eventually published.

Do I have to say again that all first drafts are shite? Thanks for sparing me the repetition.

Anyway, it turns out, not writing is the secret to it. That’s right. Much like that of a certain candy bar, the secret to making it is something of a paradox locked inside a conundrum. And if you don’t accept that is so, you’re unlikely to get much writing done.

Because only life happens in real time. Meanwhile, our understanding of what the eff is going on lingers far behind. That’s a tough one to grasp, I know, but it’s the only fact that matters.

Likewise, when writing the best thing a novelist can do for it, after he’s made a first draft, I mean, is leave it alone. That’s right. Put it down and walk away. Go ahead and leave it alone for a while, too. And don’t worry.

It’s part of you, and can’t go anywhere or do anything, or even exist, without your say so.

Breathe. Pull the air deep into your lungs. Feel the ground beneath, and sky above. Hear the singing birds. Enjoy the many sounds of a world alive outside your mind.

The best thing for it, is not doing it.

Sleep. Let dreams return to replace the nightmares of creation. Hide the bleating alarm clock in a handy bedside drawer. Let the silence of an empty room embrace you.

The best thing for it, is not to do it.

Eat. Savor each bite. Give in to what your palate demands. Let the crackling of grease in a pan be your symphony. And the heat of an oven your conductor.

The best thing for it, is not doing it.

Heal. Let distance soothe old heartaches. And fading scars lend perspective. Laugh at the many dogs who set to barking when you pass.

The best thing for it, is not doing it.

Remember these words, too, writer, and reader, don’t forget. We do this thing alone. We live this life by our own rule. We answer only to our own voice.

Because we live this thing, as we always have, and ever will, as we choose it.

As, likewise, we know, today, after decades of living this way, that the best thing for the writing, is not doing it.

Say what you will and think what you want. Here, proof is believed found only in pudding. And living it this way, by now, I’ve made plenty.

Whatever work you’ve done, is sure to speak for itself. That is, if you get anything finished.

I know mine does.

I know too, that the best thing for it, is not doing it.

And so, I do love not writing. Almost as much as I do writing.

So, there’s your secret. If you’re a writer, I hope it helps you do your thing. If a reader, I trust the news will make the habits practised here easier for you to understand. With any luck, it makes the novels better for you, too.

I’m not writing now. Instead, I’m busying myself trying to promote and sell my latest novel Refugees of Confederation. That, and get some needed rest. Because a couple of weeks back, I finished the first draft of what will, some day, I hope, be my next novel.

Thus, I’m also taking my own advice, just now, and leaving it alone for a while.

Next, to housekeeping news.

March is the month when all posts here, except for the most popular one of the previous years, are deleted. So, don’t fret when you find many recent posts have gone missing. I preserve only those readers liked best, as shown by hit counts.

Yes, that means you voted every time you read a post. It’s also true I use the method because it takes the least amount of thought on my part.

C’est le vie.

Thanks again for being here. Thanks also, for sharing this with someone you think might like to read it.

Peace and love,

TFP

March 19, 2022

 

Saturday, 12 March 2022

The important stuff.

A reminder, this week, to support your local independent artist.

I’m starting with the important stuff this time. Because, as a working pro, I have long relied on sales of books and music to earn my keep.

My latest novel Refugees of Confederation is now available in paperback, hardcover, and eBook worldwide on Amazon.

Click the Buy Books page above or the URL below to get a copy today.

https://www.amazon.ca/Refugees-Confederation-T-F-Pruden/dp/B09SBP3PGD/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

If needing to tell yourself something to feel better after making the purchase, try thinking of it as keeping a wack job off the street.

That sums it up well enough here, anyway.

What? Like, I’m not supposed to earn a living. Buy a book! Click the Buy Book page here, order from your local Barnes & Noble, or get it worldwide on Amazon.

Reading isn’t your thing? Buy one for a friend who likes it. And, if you don’t have any pals that read, make a new one that does.

It’s an easy way to make the world a better place.

Oh, by the way, according to Flesch-Kincaid, we’re reading at the grade seven level today, so get ready.

Did I lately mention how this gig is and always has been an independent small business operating to produce profit? How about that I’ve not ever taken a government grant, loan, or any taxpayer support for any part of it? Have I also mentioned charting records in countries around the world? What about having produced a pair of singles topping the US Americana charts?

All that goes without saying a word about the latest crown, as world’s least popular novelist, that with suitable pride, I wear today.

To earn the title, I first wrote and published a half dozen novels.

A web search will easily confirm the above examples as fact.

Today, and for the last few decades, music and writing is my work.

For many years before that, however, I worked at both on the side. On weekends, at night, in the early morning hours, or whenever I could find time. I worked at it part time, to improve my craft. In the daylight hours, I humped for a living at many a day job.

Did I mention being quite introverted, and not liking crowds? That could be what kept me from making too much noise about the dreams I chased back then.

Anyway, until music and writing paid well enough for me to eat, though an overriding passion in my life, it remained an avocation.

So, I worked at my stuff that way, on the side, until people decided it was good enough to pay me for doing it. Even then, when I started earning money for writing and playing my stuff, it was only a part time thing.

But after a few years, there was enough going on, around or because of it, to make the life I dreamed of as a kid. Since, through years fat and lean, it’s been my living.

And for that, I am ever grateful, to them, and to you.

Because, without their ongoing investments to support me and my work, I couldn’t make it. As likewise, only readers like you buying and reading and talking about my books make it possible to keep writing and publishing them today.

But, and all the same, a person is wise to remember that in this country, in the twenty-first century, one has but a single choice to make about such matters.

One can choose to personally support the artists they like and buy their stuff direct.

Or one can let assorted levels of government use our tax dollars to pay for what they want us to read, hear, and see.

Of course, if the sycophants living off the nanny state have their way, our personal income taxes will soon pay a lot more for it than they already do.

So, let’s get back to the friendly reminder this post is intended to be.

Because for decades in Canada, there’s been a move afoot to make artists stop working as independent craftspeople.

Instead, there are now many people, mostly unemployed, often arts school grads, who wish to be designated by their government as artists. After which, they want to be paid a guaranteed wage, as some kind of glorified civil servant, one supposes, for the privilege.

That’s right, lately, a growing throng of wannabe artists raise a call for even more direct taxpayer support.

Indeed, coast to coast, often by unemployed failures not too much different from me, waves of entitled bitching rise.

The proposed fields of practice are opened wide for such a plan. From painting and sculpting, through writing, music, broadcast, film, and anything else such entitled, and work-averse people are ready to dream up.

Of course, most anything is now claimed as a valid artistic expression.

This approach is, of course, promoted largely in response to the failure by many, if not most, who pursue the career, to make it on merit, by selling the stuff they claim is art.

It must also, however, be matched by the sense of entitlement making such a person unwilling to suffer for their creation. Later, when the stuff doesn’t sell well enough to support doing it.

Let me tell you, there’s no denying their idea beats the shit out of earning the title.

But, in fact, one earns the title of artist only by making art.

No matter what social media and the internet may have told you. Or how much money you earn from it.

Anyway, back to the story. After being selected by an unknown group of like-minded peers, reporting to no one, they would be paid a wage, funded by our tax dollars, for the privilege of living that way.

For in the entitled minds of such people, an artist’s life is expected to be one of leisure and plenty.

Despite a millennium of widely known facts proving otherwise.

The results of sixty years of government arts funding meanwhile, now speak for itself, both loud and clear. In the flavorless homogeneity of what passes for it in this country nowadays.

Tax dollars fund cabals and fiefdoms that rule the arts in Canada.

Meanwhile, the country’s taxpayers are treated as virtual mushrooms, raised in darkness, and covered in bullshit.

Despite being used as a piggybank.

As billions of tax dollars are annually handed over to a few well entrenched corporate players.

Who, along with their designated industry stooges, then dictate the stories told, portraits painted, and most everything else seen or heard about our society.

Without our consent, or, often, awareness.

Nowadays, most of the country’s artists, musicians, and writers can’t earn a living in an arts landscape fractured by the internet.

So, many of them instead line up, with both hands extended, and beg for government handouts, in exchange for their artistic freedom.

In response, I feel we must ask a couple of simple questions of them, and of you, too, reader.

Have this country’s people forgotten what the term conflict of interest means? Or is ignorance once again being claimed as bliss?

I’m not saying it should be a surprise, if so. After all, it’s hard to tell the difference between right and wrong when many of us live in a world that won’t stop claiming getting something for nothing is a reasonable expectation.

Though no amount of such claims makes a whit of objective sense.

And my dad was right, when he told me long ago, don’t eat that, Junior, it’s horseshit.

Here’s what he meant. When one goes to working for the government, one often gives up the legal, and frankly, the moral and ethical right to either question or criticize it. And the job of art, for those unaware, is to question everything.

Is that plain enough for the seventh grade?

And despite my published doubts about sense data, it remains the reality I accept. Nowadays, that also seems to have left me, and you, too, reader, in the minority.

You’ll have to pardon my taking the optimist’s view of your being with me on this, as the glass looks about half full from here.

Anyway, it’s your tough luck if you’re not. Because I think one must stand, both for, and on, what one believes best.

That’s the way I do it here.

Not only that, but not knowing what I don’t, doesn’t prevent my acting on what I do. As one can only know what one believes themself to know.

The rest, no matter how it’s dressed, is guesswork.

Lately, despite endless bleating about troubles elsewhere, what’s been most plain are the brutal facts of life here at home.

Because the only sure result of pointing one finger at someone else, even an ocean away, is having three pointed at you.

And so, when assigning responsibility, one is always best to look first into a mirror.

But, as I hope to have pissed you off plenty, already, that story is best left for another time.

Thanks for being here.

Peace and love,

TFP

March 12, 2022


Sunday, 20 February 2022

Of selfish concerns.

Many are called. Few are chosen.

That sums up the work of my life well enough. At least, it does for me. Maybe that’s lucky. Because it won’t do for some. Or so it seems.

Anyway, it’s that way here.

Long ago, I decided to do this thing. Because it made sense to me. Despite being even then surrounded by a world not only surreal in deportment but filled with inexplicable danger.

This place in which we all live has ever made little objective sense when viewed up close.

So, faced with constant change, it seemed a good idea to write down what went on for people who might come along later. That is, if the place survived its current inhabitants.

And that’s what I did. Because the world into which I was born claimed itself to be both democratic and free.

Now later, when things didn’t go as I hoped, there was only me to blame for the results of my actions.

I had chosen, of my own accord, to do what I did. Thus, only I am liable for the results.

C’est la vie. That is life.

Because the job of a free and democratic society is to let people pursue their dreams, not make them come true.

Likewise, in a society that seeks democracy and freedom for all, not one of us is ever likely to get exactly what we want.

Because the basis of both democracy and freedom is compromise.

People who claim to believe otherwise are profiting by dividing the ignorant and pitting them against one another in ideological warfare.

And, yes, that statement could refer to any number of loudmouths lately made famous by spouting ignorance and hatred on a certain worldwide streaming platform.

You’ll have to make your own pick.

Now, back to our story.

Where, as usual, a tiny but vocal minority of only thousands these days threatens the freedom of mostly silent millions in this country.

While profit-seeking corporations and the echo-chambers of social media foment treason by pandering to the ignorant and ill-informed.

And our democracy staggers under the weight of its people’s blind stupidity.

For the price of a world built on the fantasy of everyone getting what they want, seems plain enough here.

Participation medals led to this.

Ignorance, and intolerance, too.

Along with hate, bigotry, and its idiot cousin racism.

All made possible, so I believe, by stupid.

Are you offended by such honesty?

Good.

I am offended by stupid. I am offended by extremism. I am offended by bigotry. I am offended by racism, both individual and institutional.

I think you should be, too.

And if you’re not, you know why we can’t be close.

That doesn’t mean we can’t share this country, and live as neighbors, in peace.

If all of us agree to respect the rule of law.

Which means accepting my freedom ends where it infringes on yours. And likewise, that yours ends where it impedes your neighbor’s.

Democracy means I don’t get to have my way. And neither do you.

We also have a thing called a charter of rights and freedoms that’s aligned with and supports the rule of law here.

The law also makes it clear that small groups of people, no matter how vocal, or violent, may not impose their will on the often-silent majority.

As a member of a minority group, I know this well. I also respect the democratic principle behind it. It means we, and everyone else, must rely on the rule of law when seeking justice.

Or when airing civic grievances.

But, if any should choose to deny the law while either protesting or disagreeing with it, the law must at once be enforced against them.

Otherwise, the freedoms enjoyed by the rest of us are put at risk.

And I’m not willing to say nothing while either stupid or cynical people try to destroy the democratic society bought and paid for with the lives of my forebears.

Not only that, but here, in Canada’s democracy, we make choices with ballots, not bullets.

On this island of intellectual freedom, meanwhile, I stand against the intolerance, greed, and stupidity promoted by the convoyed minority groups that now threaten the rule of law in Canada.

I also suggest that you, like me, break your silence. To let your elected reps know you support the rule of law.

And that we, the people, will always refuse to allow terrorists to dictate the terms of Canada’s democracy.

No matter on what side of the political spectrum they stand.

And despite the color of their skin.

That’s right, we know what color most of these so-called protesters are. Other people are nice enough not to say anything about it.

I’m not.

And we also know the grounds of both parliament and border crossings would be covered in blood if colored folks tried making such a protest there.

In case anyone is wondering, the fact it hasn’t happened to date is the result of privilege.

They’re soaking in it. At the expense of the rest of the country.

While exercising what they believe are their democratic freedoms.

Just as today, I’m exercising the democratic freedom and privilege that allows me to publish these words.

Ain’t democracy grand?

I don’t know about you, but I love it. Because, though it may not be a perfect system, it’s better than anything else we have ever tried.

That’s a fact, easily confirmed. Of course, you’ll have to read a little history if you don’t want to take my word for it.

Now, let’s return to matters of selfish concern. Because, after all, that’s the point of this site.

The big news this week is that my latest novel Refugees of Confederation is now available in paperback, hardcover, and eBook worldwide on Amazon.

Click the Buy Books page above or the URL below to get a copy today.

https://www.amazon.ca/Refugees-Confederation-T-F-Pruden/dp/B09SBP3PGD/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Remember this, and don’t forget, books make great gifts.

Thanks again for being here. Thanks also for sharing this with anyone you think might like to read it.

Peace and love,

TFP

February 20, 2022