Monday, October 26, 2015



Food.   We need it to survive but it's about far more than survival.  Food has psychological overtones, cultural ramifications not to mention political messages.   At a basic level,  we think it shows love.  Most of us buy it at the supermarket or maybe farmers' market.   We expect a wide variety of  nutritious and even unblemished produce to await us.  A few talented individuals grow their own.

Ireland's infamous potato famine came from a crop that did not originate in Ireland.   Potatoes were imported to Ireland  from the New World, aka North America, yet  the humble potato became a symbol of Ireland.  Reliance on monocrop led to disaster when the potato blight struck.

Going back millions of years,  misconceptions about hunter and gatherers--the first human cultures--are entrenched in our belief system.  Their lives did not simply involve wandering around a verdant paradise picking nuts off trees and hunting woolly mammoths.   We assume that the women collected and the men hunted.   But the traditional male and female roles we assign to that era originate in our own belief systems.   But there's no proof of this.  This way of life continued for almost two million years,  perhaps, in part, because hunter/gatherers could pick up and leave for more abundant resources over the hill.  

But their lives were more complicated.   There were social connections among groups, including trade.  Although we think that there must have been a lot of hungry hunter/gatherers waiting for the next herd to pass by, in reality they had more security than the next phase of human evolution, the agriculturalists.  Agriculturalists stayed put and were at the mercy of crop failure, insects, weather, soil degradation, not to mention enemy incursions.  Famine happened to agricultural societies.  This way of life  only started about ten thousand years ago and slowly spread to other areas of the world.

Hunter/gatherers thrived because of their limited numbers.    Some people today fish and even hunt but it wouldn't be possible on a large scale today.      We need organized, mechanized food production to even attempt to feed seven billion plus people.   Some people aren't happy with factory farming methods, pesticide and herbicide use, irradiation and genetic modification.

Is there another solution in the wings?

Monday, October 19, 2015

This Sounds Familiar

  This article in the Huffington Post concerns a man who had an embedded chip in his hand.  It seems relevant to my novel, A New Premise.  Here's an excerpt:

      Alexa remembered the old days when people used money: the paper and coins or plastic cards.   People had different amounts of money at their disposal and could save it up and spend it however and whenever they wanted . . . and wherever.  Workers were paid different amounts depending on their education and experience as well as the job.  Now, the government set wages and salaries and controlled rents and interest rates. Everyone received a base amount, an allotment.   Saving money, or hoarding, as it was now described, was not allowed.  Describing how things used to be sounded unbelievable now but Alexa knew well that was the way it had been.

      Nine years ago everything changed.    Alexa had been twenty-eight years old; a special year because Max had been born.   She still had high hopes of her marriage to Jack.  Then terrorists had flooded the world with money and cards that were fake but indistinguishable from the real thing.   Not coins though; they were too expensive to manufacture, apparently.   She had thought it ironic that while elaborate preparations had been made against missiles and other weapons, a different type of destruction was being secretly planned. 

      The terrorist’s cards and bills could somehow be used to obtain unlimited amounts of money without detection.   Everything was chaotic.  Banks closed.  Stores would only take silver or gold coins; who had any of those lying around?   Some would take smaller coins, half dollars and dollar coins, the older pennies, nickels and dimes been phased out although lots of people had a jar of pennies somewhere.  But not much could be purchased with them.   Most people could barely get together enough of them to buy a loaf of bread.  

     Then came the riots.  Many people were killed or just disappeared.  Stores and businesses lost millions, billions of credits or dollars as the money was called then.    When the government came up with the idea of the implanted microchip or grain as it came to be called, it seemed the best solution.  It was supposed to be a temporary solution.  People were desperate for someone to take charge and fix the situation.

     Alexa remembered her mother’s scathing remarks that it used to be that only the family dog had an implanted microchip but her father had shaken his head at her and that had ended the conversation.  Everyone was afraid, even afraid to speak.

      I'm going to start putting  up excerpts from my novels, especially when it is relevant to a current issue. 

Monday, October 12, 2015


From a prompt at my Writers' Group:

Remembering can be a lovely, warm, cozy pastime, even when it is a solitary one.  You sit in an easy chair, mug of tea or coffee close  at hand, and let your mind wander back to some half-forgotten event or unexpected pleasure.   The sun always seemed to be shining and in your mind's eye, any images of yourself had you at your most radiant and slender.

With a close friend or relative, with whom you are on amiable terms. time spent in mutual reminiscences can be equally pleasurable.    You usually recall events slightly differently and then there are the delicious tidbits of gossip which can be enjoyed without guilt since the event is by now long past.

Less pleasant are the remembrances that are tinged with regret or recriminations.   You recall when a lover, now a spouse, forgot to bring you flowers for an important relationship milestone or when an adoring child, now a mostly absent adult, declared that you were the bestest mom in the world.  Some  other memories can still bring waves of grief that leave you shaking.

Perhaps it is advisable to cultivate those memories that bring you joy and as for the rest, pack them away with the now too small dresses  and company dishes that need to be hand washed before and after each use.  Focus on the memories, not the regrets.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Quiet Joy

From a Writers' Group prompt:

My fingers move on the keyboard,
Sounds emerge from dots on a page,
Now loud, now soft,
Poignant and sad,
Happy and glad.

Beethoven rages,
The Phantom embraces,
The Lion Sleeps tonight.

I cannot claim creation,
I never wrote a song,
But it's a kind of communication
From one of the composer's admiring throng.