Mind Fields – People Are Crazy

Mind Fields

People are crazy. Many people who are crazy don’t know they’re crazy. They think that they are right, and that their form of crazy should be everyone’s crazy.

That’s crazy. Right? NO! We’re all wrong, most of the time! It would be nice if people could admit this fact. If we examine the history of human beings it looks like a traffic jam of midget cars where everyone jumps from the cars as if they got caught stealing them. They shout “That’s not my car! I’ve never seen that car before.”

This is not my planet! I’ve never seen this planet before! The very nature of life on this world is that humans get the wrong ideas about things that should be easy to understand. Those who don’t recognize their instability are dangerous. People who don’t recognize their craziness have few brakes. At some time or place such people can do terrible harm. They harm people who are crazy in a different way. We can inquire about Germany in the 30s and 40s. In today’s world Germany is known as a refuge for the dispossessed, a humanitarian engine of liberal democracy. Eighty years ago Germany was in the throes of a mass psychosis that turned the state into a killing machine.

This form of psychosis is always available to cultures. It’s there, waiting for the right conditions. It will burst forth and flourish for a while as it does its murderous business. Then it vanishes, only to revive in another time and place. Cultural psychosis is part of the human condition; it’s an undercurrent that feeds on poverty and distress. It thrives on income inequality, builds on the resentment of disenfranchised classes.

We’re ripe for another one. God forbid, as my grandma used to say. God forbid we should replay genocidal brutality like Nazi Germany, or Cambodia, Rwanda, Armenia, Bosnia. The United States with its native Americans, The Turks against the Greeks. God forbid. I pray that I’m wrong but I feel that looming presence, that evil spirit that is like a parasite fattening on its millions of aggrieved Americans who have not a single clue that they are insane. They have nothing to complain about. They are housed and fed, they have health plans, the very poorest of them are better off than anyone was a hundred years ago. You can’t convince them that they’ve got a good deal going. They’re certain that they’re being screwed. We sit atop a festering insanity that has been in America since before its founding, when vast crimes by white Europeans were enacted on the whole population of the western hemisphere. 

God forbid. It’s a comfort to think that things have changed, that maybe a threshold has been crossed by human nature itself, that we’ve learned from our past sins, that we have EVOLVED. Isn’t that possible?

I don’t know. I won’t pronounce this salvation as a done deal. Something IS different. Our children are different; they do things that were impossible. They move their bodies in new ways, they think in new ways. I don’t regard myself as a cynic but I am jaded. I’ve seen too much horror. 

It isn’t one thing or another. We’re neither saved nor doomed. We are continuing the story of life on earth. The planet keeps turning and it will turn for another several billion years. The drama of human life unfolds in its many chapters. Yes, we are crazy. History is a book of insanity, a review of the irrational.
Good judgment and reason break out in little pockets. They seldom last long.

The United States Of America is ripe for deep horrible craziness. I tremble for my children.

__________________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

_____________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Words to Live By – Inspiration, Legacy, and Beatles Music

Words to Live By

The first Wednesday of the month, writer Jeff Bowles muses on life, creativity, and our collective destinies as makers of cool stuff. You’re a writer, but have you ever thought about how or why? Here are some words to live by.

Paperback Writer

Over the holidays, I watched the new Beatles documentary released on Disney+, The Beatles: Get Back. I’m a huge fan of the group and always have been. I realize there are non-Beatles fans out there, but I have to admit, I’ve always been mystified by their lack of enthusiasm. To me and millions of other Beatlemanics, the band is a historical landmark, having written and recorded music that changed pop culture for generations to come.

This blog entry is about inspiration and legacy. I liked to write stories as a kid, but really, I wanted to be a rock star. This would’ve been in the mid-90s. At the time, many potential role models existed for me and every other outcast kid who picked up a guitar. I wasn’t into Nirvana or Linkin Park at that age, didn’t appreciate Red Hot Chili Peppers or Green Day. I loved The Beatles, plus lots of other groups from the 60s and 70s. Never mind that my older brother and mom began spoon-feeding me this stuff at a very early age, or the fact that I looked up to my brother and enjoyed liking the things he thought were cool. The Beatles were special, supernatural even. I believed that then and I believe it now.

But the truth is, I haven’t been feeling particularly inspired lately. Not even Christmas cheered me up. In fact, it only made me feel worse. This Get Back documentary, it’s exhaustive (and a little exhausting). Only a mega Beatles nerd could’ve pieced it together. Peter Jackson (director and co-writer of The Lord of the Rings trilogy) happens to have been that nerd. The film is almost eight hours in length, split over three episodes, focusing on just one month or so in the lives of the famous foursome.

The great thing about it is that we really get to see The Beatles’ creative process up close. Lots of labor and missteps, mistakes and dead ends. Critics have said this proves they weren’t as legendary as fans have always claimed. To me, it makes them more human, which is a comfort, because it proves anyone anywhere can muster enough talent and drive to produce work of honest significance.

Inspiration is great, but it’s not nearly as effective as perspiration. When I was learning to play and sing and write songs, John Lennon was my idol. I wanted to be him, and man did all the other kids in school think I was strange. I remember looking up at the stars one night when I was ten years old and whispering to the heavens,

“I want to be the greatest rock star ever.”

Or something to that effect. As it turned out, I lived a small (very small) portion of that dream. Played music with people all the way through my teens and early twenties. Lots of tiny coffee house gigs, open mic nights, bars, private celebrations. When I was twenty-one, I met the woman I would one day marry, and eventually I found I wanted different things out of life. Writing short stories and novels, the pursuit of some kind of career in this field, it replaced my desire to make music almost entirely. I grew dedicated to the craft and learned a hell of a lot. For the most part, writing has made me happy. I’m glad I took the years necessary to get good at it.

But I wouldn’t have found that dedication, that fire in my heart, if I weren’t already intimately familiar with it. There is an electric feeling that occurs inside the body and mind of a musician caught in the flow of her or his own creativity. The Beatles clearly knew that feeling well. It’s potent and wonderful, thrilling and powerful.

I came to learn that writing is a slower burn. Tons of work up front, and then maybe (maybe) a bit of adulation months or years later. But it still holds moments of intense creative gratification. No matter who you are, how popular or famous or legendary, this process, this mental birthing experience, it can be difficult and frustrating. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were all wonderful musicians. They had nothing to prove to anyone, yet they still worked themselves to the bone to make stuff that simply had no equal.

So here’s my question for all of you: how dedicated are you to what you love? What thrills you and gets you excited for writing or anything else in life? Maybe it’s a bit unfashionable to admit that music recorded some sixty years ago makes me feel ready to take on the world, but it does. Especially when I get to see it up close, visceral, all the creative battles, coming to the logical and favorable conclusion of work that stands the test of time.

Next time you’re feeling down in the dumps and not at all creative, head back to the source—your personal wellspring of inspiration—and see if it won’t refill your cup a little. Pick up a guitar, or a pencil or paintbrush or a media powerhouse of a computer, or maybe just watch a good film about one of your favorite things on earth. All hail the makers of cool stuff. Be they Beatles or bestsellers or nobodies in particular.

Peace and love to you this new year. May it bring you everything you need, and maybe a few of the things you want, too. Until next time.


Jeff Bowles is a science fiction and horror writer from the mountains of Colorado. The best of his outrageous and imaginative work can be found in God’s Body: Book One – The Fall, Godling and Other Paint Stories, Fear and Loathing in Las Cruces, and Brave New Multiverse. He has published work in magazines and anthologies like PodCastle, Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, the Threepenny Review, and Dark Moon Digest. Jeff earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at Western State Colorado University. He currently lives in the high-altitude Pikes Peak region, where he dreams strange dreams and spends far too much time under the stars. Jeff’s new novel, Love/Madness/Demon, is available on Amazon now!

Love Madness Demon Cover Final

Check out Jeff Bowles Central on YouTube – Movies – Video Games – Music – So Much More!


Want to be sure not to miss any of “Words To Live By” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it useful or entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields – Overdose!

Mind Fields

I didn’t think one could overdose on cannabis.

I was wrong. You can. I did. 

I use tincture that I buy from a local grower. It wasn’t the tincture’s fault. I made a mistake. The bottle comes with an eye dropper for dosage measurements and this particular bottle was so low on tincture that I couldn’t fill an eyedropper. So I simply up-ended the thing and poured it down my gullet. That’s not even a dose’s worth, I thought, and proceeded to add another half dropper from a new bottle.

Uh oh. 

I’ve been a hard core doper for much of my life and cannabis didn’t scare me one little bit. The most egregious overdose I ever had was with pharmaceutical Ketamine. Oh lord, that was dangerous. I made a perilous mistake and measured out a decimal point one too many after reading the Physician’s Desk Manual. I guess I wasn’t tracking too well even before taking the drug. That decimal point represented a ten times overdose.

After taking that stuff, I became completely dissociated. I was alone in the house. I sat in front of a candle, too terrified to move, while the candle burned down from its top to a mere stub. It was dark when I took the ketamine. It was light by the time I recovered enough to take stock and shake myself out of the trance. 

That was my most profound and wretched experience in a lifetime of drug abuse. Until yesterday.  I didn’t have enough awe for the cannabis tincture. I should have known better.

I proceeded with my normal day of chores and piano practice until I was pretty bone tired. I retreated to the bedroom, where I joined my wife for some late afternoon TV watching. 

I began to roll around inside my body. That was very strange. I felt VERY STRANGE and somewhat close to a state of panic. My cognitive ability retreated to a little corner of mind. About ten percent of me was still present. In that corner I recognized that I had taken too much THC tincture. I could use that ten percent to get out my tool box for the treatment of anxiety. Deep breathing. Yoga. Everything. The alternative was simply panic.

My wife recognized that I was in an odd state. She is forbearing and reluctant to interfere in my escapades. I had to slide the words out of my mouth. “I am feeling very dissociated.” 

I was confused. Where am I? I had to ask of myself. What is that? I was referring not so much to the TV but the programming that was on it. I recognized one of our favorite shows, a veterinary adventure, but I couldn’t connect with the content. I wanted to. It seemed petty and ridiculous in light of my emergency. I tried to explain it to Fox.

“Too much THC”. I struggled to form the words. Fox got the message.

“Can I help?” I didn’t know what to tell her. The idea of food crossed my mind. It might dilute further enhancement. It might bring me down. I wanted to come down. “Can you…banana dr…drink?”

“Don’t move from there,” she cautioned wisely. I didn’t move. I felt the urge to get up, but I listened to what my astute partner said. 

It’s easy to say, “I was sooo fucked up!” What does that mean? There are a billion versions of “fucked up” and some of them are not great. I was so fucked up that my very consciousness was tied in a knot. I didn’t know where “here” was. I didn’t know whether or not I was “here”. 

For further reference, it’s a good idea to know that you are “here”. Not knowing is a weak place, it’s ghostly and things can knock you over. I don’t want to ever get knocked over by anything.

I am HERE.


Mind Fields: The Dollar Store

Mind Fields

Last week I ordered a case of Nutri-bars from The Dollar Store. You know, it’s the candy bar that doesn’t want to identify itself as a candy bar so it hangs out in the hypocritical Health Food energy bar section. I ordered a whole case, that is, twelve little boxes of six bars each, because I like these bars and they’re healthier than my go- to candy of choice, which is White Reese’s Pieces. Nuh uh. I can’t eat White Reeses’ Pieces. I love them but they’re poison!

God damn. Now I want one. I got an email from The Dollar Store requesting that I review my last purchase of their nutrition bars. How many stars, from one to ten? The Oat Nut Bar is a ten for sure; but to be asked to leave a review of the oat nut bar on The Dollar Store website…? Well… it was just a bit much. I know there is a universe of reviews online, reviews of everything from sex toys to nose plugs to laxatives. 

What am I doing? I asked myself. Am I actually going to take five or six minutes out of my life and do a review of an itty bitty candy bar in an itty bitty store in an itty bitty suburban American shopping plaza? We all know these plazas so well. America IS itty bitty shopping plazas separated by hundred mile stretches of Nothing. Except in  Texas, where a three hundred mile stretch of Nothing is just that: Nothing. Between Walmarts. Nothing.

Here are some dumb ass things I do.

I spend the entire day watching Youtube videos of towns that I’ve lived in. I get on Google Earth and look at the current state of the houses in which I grew up. One house hasn’t changed at all. One has been torn down. And one has been upgraded with new construction. The trees are fifty years bigger. They were saplings when I lived there. Now they are mighty oaks.

I sometimes drink five large cups of coffee for breakfast.

Frequently, I forget I’ve taken a laxative and take another dose before the first dose hits.

Indulge in THC- saturated tincture so that in an hour my mind feels like it has spawned a trillion other minds which are active and full of neuron tendrils and contacts with unspecified regions of Buddhist utopias. Uh oh. See what I mean about THC?

Eat a whole bag of monukka raisins and THEN eat a bunch of white Reeses Pieces. I thought the raisins would quell the sweet tooth. They didn’t. Blame the THC.

What else did I do? 

Back out of the Safeway parking lot and forget to look in the rear view mirrors. Thank god no one was behind me. Sometimes the universe protects its holy idiots. Again, blame the THC plus a large dose of poor judgment.

If I think of more ridiculous/foolish/dangerous/wacko things that I do you will be the first to know.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

___________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: Human Times

Mind Feilds

Are we living in a creative golden age? Is there an explosion of artistic expression happening, or are there simply more people around who have better tools? I think the answer lies in both directions. I can spend entire days online investigating any subject imaginable. I can revisit my childhood, walk the same streets. I can go to the same school again, throw baseballs from the outfield. I explore my memory without needing to go to those places that are thousands of miles away. 

It’s a truism that the Arts thrive during troubled times. Of course they do! Nothing drives us to greater self inquiry than social turbulence. Art is built out of the bricks of self-inquiry. There is nothing more comforting than making beauty when there is wreckage all around. Human beings are talented at making messes, at leaving and repairing wreckage. 

During my lifetime the world’s population has doubled. Now there are seven billion people to make messes and I can feel it in my guts that things are getting more and more strange. There’s an antic quality to the upheavals of our time. The world is populated by failed standup comics, obscure book writers, cowboys, aging ballerinas and kids. Lots of kids.

When I was young there was more room. Today there is a squeezing quality, as if the entire world is a photo of that numbing rocket block of apartments in Hong Kong, with their laundry drying on thousands of railings and TV discs perched like gargoyles at every angle and corner. I’m tempted to call them Living Legos containing numberless thousands of other humans. But I won’t call them that: Living Legos. I’ll call them miserable sub-par toxic environment overpriced low cost housing. This stuff wouldn’t exist so massively in a world with half the current population. 

What are we going to do? I think “we” won’t do anything at all. I think the spirit called Gaia, in which I believe, will take care of this problem by killing off a few billion people before the end of the 21st Century. This is going to be a lethal century. It will recall The Black Death of the 14th Century. 

Gaia has a contingency plan. You may ask “What if I don’t believe in a thing called Gaia? What if there is no Gaia? 

It doesn’t matter what you believe. We will lose three or four billion people regardless. Earthquakes, volcanos, floods, hurricanes, plagues: no fun at all. If I were twenty and not seventy I would be pissing my pants.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: People Are Crazy

Mind Fields

People are crazy. Many people who are crazy don’t know they’re crazy. They think that they are right, and that their form of crazy should be everyone’s crazy.

That’s crazy. Right? No one is right all the time; not even some of the time. Everyone is wrong most of the time. We should assume that immediately. If we examine the history of human beings it looks like a traffic jam of midget cars where everyone jumps from the cars as if they got caught stealing them. They shout “That’s not my car! I’ve never seen that car before.”

This is not my planet! I’ve never seen this planet before! The very nature of life on this world is that humans get the wrong ideas about things that should be easy to understand. Those who don’t recognize their instability are dangerous. People who don’t recognize their craziness have few brakes. There are not enough forces to slow them down. At some time or place such people can do terrible harm. They harm people who are crazy in a different way. We can inquire about Germany. In today’s world Germany is known as a refuge for the dispossessed, a humanitarian engine of liberal democracy. Eighty years ago Germany was in the throes of a mass psychosis that turned the state into a killing machine.

This form of psychosis is always available to cultures. It’s there, waiting for the right conditions . It will burst forth and flourish for a while as it does its murderous business. Then it vanishes, only to revive in another time and place. Cultural psychosis is part of the human condition; it’s an under current that feeds on poverty and distress. It thrives on income inequality, builds on the resentment of disenfranchised classes.

We’re ripe for another one. God forbid, as my granma used to say. God forbid we should replay genocidal brutality like Nazi Germany, or Cambodia, Rwanda, Armenia, Bosnia… The United States with its native Americans, The Turks against the Greeks. God forbid.  I pray that I’m wrong but I feel that looming presence, that evil spirit that is like a parasite fattening on its millions of aggrieved Americans who have not a single clue that they are insane. They have nothing to complain about. They are housed and fed, they have health plans, the very poorest of them are better off than anyone was a hundred years ago. You can’t convince them that they’ve got a good deal going. They’re certain that they’re being screwed. We sit atop a festering insanity that has been in America since before its founding, when vast crimes by white Europeans were enacted on the whole population of the western hemisphere. 

God forbid. It’s a comfort to think that things have changed, that maybe a threshold has been crossed by human nature itself, that we’ve learned from our past sins, that we have EVOLVED. 

Isn’t that possible?

I don’t know. I won’t pronounce this salvation as a done deal.  Something IS different. Our children are different; they do things that were impossible. They move their bodies in new ways, they think in new ways. I don’t regard myself as a cynic but I am jaded. I’ve seen too much horror. 

It isn’t one thing or another. We’re neither saved nor doomed. We are continuing the story of life on earth. The planet keeps turning and it will turn for another several billion years. The drama of human life unfolds in its many chapters.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

______________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields – Casinos: The Indians’ Revenge

Mind Fields

In spite of a genocide of unthinkable proportions, the Native Americans are still here. They continue to guard and revive their languages, their cultures and traditions. A hundred and fifty years ago, they were snatched from their way of life, their children were sent to government schools and ceased being Native Americans as we knew them. Their lands were stolen, their food destroyed, their self respect slashed, their independence lost, their values derided. 

During the sixties, the hippie movement created an icon of the Native American, made a romance of the tribal and nomadic life. A resurrected spirit began to seep into our so-called civilization. We had killed them off, but they returned. Their ghosts had hovered above the land, waiting for a time when they would be called.          

Now, we are calling them. There’s a pathetic romanticism in this revived nostalgia for an aboriginal lifestyle. It’s pathetic because underneath the sentimental reverence for everything Native American lies a desperate plea for help from a culture that has lost its moorings.

Some people, mixed and full blood Native Americans, remain aware of their culture.  They are working in subtle ways to bring some redemption out of the horror of their genocide. 

Indian ways are viewed with increasing respect and admiration, as the values of our own culture decline, disintegrate and leave us grasping for something that will help us re-design our lives so they make sense.          

It is a painfully barbed irony that many tribes now make their income soaking white people in gambling casinos. This method of making a living may be a two edged sword. It is an industry built on a foundation of vice and the creation of addictions. But consider a quick capsule history: squeezed into reservations by expanding white settlers, Native Americans were put on starvation-level welfare. What lands they possessed were confiscated whenever minerals or anything of value was discovered. In 1934, The Indian Reorganization Act allowed tribes to ‘buy back’ lands that had been confiscated. The capital to purchase these lands they once freely used came in the form of royalties on production of said natural assets. In essence, it’s like a situation where someone steals your car, and then sells it back to you. After all, you needed a car, right? And this car was YOUR car, you liked it, you bought it once, you might as well buy it again instead of buying another car. We’ll just let you pay for it by forking over a fifteen percent gasoline tax, or a ‘transportation tax’, or something that will keep your debt alive and delivering interest to the government.

It could be that gambling casinos are the last but only viable choice of a way to get a return on Indian lands. They are tax exempt. All you need is a parking lot, a building, some slot machines, electronic poker and blackjack, a bar, a restaurant, and you are in tax free heaven.

Lately I’ve gotten suspicious of Native Americans. I think they’re fucking with white people’s heads. It would be typical of their humor to go all Trickster on us. Let’s say, hypothetically, that a white person approaches a well known shaman. White person is seeking knowledge, initiation. Shaman sternly instructs white person: go into the desert and kill a badger with a dinner knife. Eat its liver and bring the pelt back to shaman and await further instructions. White person accomplishes mission in spite of grievous injury. Shaman takes pelt, puts it with inventory of other pelts and brews up peyote tea mixed with Belladonna. Whoo whoooo! White Seeker hallucinates legions of coal-black skeletons dressed in scarlet Nazi uniforms. The shaman puts White Seeker through a year of increasingly bizarre hi-jinks. He bestows dignified Native name on White Seeker: White Seeker. The literal translation in the native tongue is Buffalo Farts.

You get the idea. I saw this in Carlos Castaneda’s work. Don Juan and Don Gennaro were cackling behind their hands. Let’s make Carlos believe that his car has vanished into thin air! Then let’s make him believe something else. Let’s make him believe that an owl is capable of stealing  his soul and trading it to Mescalito for power. How long can we keep this Anglo dangling? Dangling Anglo? Hahahha! Danglo! Let’s pretend that’s his Yaqui name. He’ll go around telling his white friends at college that his name is Danglo. Hahahaha. Pass me some of that mescal, amigo.

I know that Native Americans have been hurt by their casino bonanza. It’s a crappy form of reparation. It generates a lot of cash and a lot of corruption.  I am not qualified to understand the situation. It’s like being paid a cash amount for your soul. Thank you, Mephistopheles, thank you very much.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Words To Live By – Boredom, Star Wars, and the Unavoidable Lull

The first Wednesday of the month, writer Jeff Bowles muses on life, creativity, and our collective destinies as makers of cool stuff. You’re a writer, but have you ever thought about how or why? Here are some words to live by.

Boredom, Star Wars, and the Unavoidable Lull

So I’ve been away from my writing duties here at WtbR for a few months. Heck, I’ve been away from most of my creative obligations, not just blogging, which might be the reason I’ve been so bored sitting at home, knocking my tin cup against prison bars of digital entertainment, paperback novels, and maybe a household chore or two. Read that book you’ve read a half dozen times before? Watch the same old movie series you’ve been watching since you were a kid? Do I even have to ask?

Okay, what are we up to today? Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars or Star Trek? Maybe Indiana Jones? Hmm…

The reality is that some lucky beings on planet Earth are built like machines, incredibly industrious, real honest to god workhorses. Boy do I envy the workhorses among us. I’m just not one of them. I can admit that to myself now.

Unfortunately, and it took me far too many years to discover this about myself, I’m more of a work-in-exhausting-spurts-and-then-crash kind of guy. I’ve always been like this, even when I was in school. Sooner or later, mental and emotional exhaustion would get the better of me, and it’d be hell just to turn in assignments on time, keep a steady workflow going.

I’ve previously written about my experiences with schizoaffective disorder, at last diagnosed five years ago, so I won’t bore you with the details again. Suffice it to say, there are reasons—real and concrete medical and psychological reasons—that I can’t compete with so many avid worker bees out there. My mind and personality just don’t keep up; the flesh is willing, but the spirit is weak.

My family lost someone dear to us back in March, my wife’s mom, who was a wonderful person and a key figure in our lives. At that time I’d been running pretty hot as far as creative output went, having kept up with a reasonable workload, more or less, for a year or so on end. But her passing stopped me in my tracks, and I’ve sort of been floundering all summer long.

Didn’t write anything new. Didn’t even edit anything old, and I’ve got a whole unpublished novel sitting on my computer’s hard drive, an odd and hopefully entertaining piece of work I finished up at the tail end of last winter, the COVID winter, the one when we were all locked indoors anyway.

All this incompletion frazzles me. Our society tells us we’re not complete if we’re not working, and at that notion I’ve always thumbed my nose. Not because I’m a rebel or even a lazy slug (I mean, arguments could be made), but because for me, constant work has never been desirable or even possible. It hurts me that I need so much downtime. I’d like to be as dependable as a racehorse, constant as the northern star (God bless Will Shakespeare, had a phrase for everything). It’s just not how I’m built, I’m afraid. I need recuperation time, rest and relaxation that lasts however long it needs to last. There’s no way around it, at least not any I’ve found.

So does that make me an ineffective person? Worse yet, does it make me a failure in the professional sense? I feel like some people might say yes, but honestly, I’ve tried to take the bull by the horns, and well, the bull almost always has its way with me.

Schizoaffective Disorder is no joke, man. Very often I can’t trust my own conscious experience, and that’s lame, because consciousness is all human beings have. It’s the only thing given to us by default, our birthright, our entire universe. Never mind school assignments or projects that never get off the ground. What about the amazing feeling you get when you’ve completed something grand? I love that feeling. Don’t take that feeling away! I’m not done with it yet!

I’m glad to be back at Writing to be Read, but the truth is I don’t feel 100% yet. Yes, I’ve been playing video games and watching old movies and generally feeling bored out of my mind. But that’s what recuperation looks like for me. Read ‘em and weep. Or don’t.

I like to write about my everyday experience. It helps me parse through things that need careful consideration. You can’t fight your own mind. I mean, you can try, but it’s sure to cause literal raging headaches. I’m interested in learning about other long-term work habits people employ out there. Leave a note in the comments section below if you’re so inclined. How do you get your work done? Is it a struggle in the long term, or is it the easiest thing in the world for you?

Look for another Words To Live By next month. Count on it. Just don’t expect me to show up for dinner. I’ve got some more recuperation to get through. Star Wars or Star Trek again? Star Wars or Star Trek? Maybe Battlestar Galactica? Hmm…

Boredom never looked so … unavoidable. Until next time, folks.


Jeff Bowles is a science fiction and horror writer from the mountains of Colorado. The best of his outrageous and imaginative work can be found in God’s Body: Book One – The Fall, Godling and Other Paint Stories, Fear and Loathing in Las Cruces, and Brave New Multiverse. He has published work in magazines and anthologies like PodCastle, Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, the Threepenny Review, and Dark Moon Digest. Jeff earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at Western State Colorado University. He currently lives in the high-altitude Pikes Peak region, where he dreams strange dreams and spends far too much time under the stars. Jeff’s new novel, Love/Madness/Demon, is available on Amazon now!

Love Madness Demon Cover Final

Check out Jeff Bowles Central on YouTube – Movies – Video Games – Music – So Much More!

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of “Words To Live By” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it useful or entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields – Marketing to Obsessive Compulsives: Is It Fair?

Mind Fields

Marketing To Obsessive Compulsives: Is It Fair?

May 16, 2021

That’s not supposed to be a funny title, but it is certainly ironic. Aren’t we all slightly OCD? Isn’t the condition of compulsiveness generic to our culture? Isn’t it nurtured, encouraged, normal, to be obsessive when we’re bombarded with messages to buy stuff that we don’t really need? I’m compulsive. Is there a difference between being compulsive and being an addict? There is, but it’s a question of degree. An addict is compulsive beyond reason, dominated by compulsions that create a self-harming syndrome. A “normal” obsessive compulsive is just another citizen of modern times. 

This subject began to entice me when I went hunting for a new camera. I don’t really need a new camera, but my current camera is from 2013. That is ancient in terms of digital cameras and their markets. It’s like having a thirty year old dog. The compulsion to upgrade is generated by massive commercial influences. It’s Canon and Nikon, Pentax and Fujinon. Asian conglomerates pour a lot of money into creating an itch, for the latest gear. The two big companies, Canon and Nikon, continue to manufacture upgrades and new iterations of the same basic camera features. Mostly what the newest cameras do is focus faster and weigh less. A lot faster. A lot less. And they cycle frame rates at 20 shots each second. This enlivens the “lucky shot” school of photography, meaning everyone who shoots with a camera. I bought my first digital camera eighteen years ago. It was an Olympus that featured a 2.1 megapixel sensor. The resolution of camera sensors has taken wings and there are now consumer cameras with 50 megapixels. I own a 20 megapixel camera and it takes beautifully sharp and accurate images. As did my 12 megapixel camera, and my 3.3 megapixel camera.

Do I yearn for the new 32 megapixel camera from Canon? Yes. I can’t help myself. I can’t help wondering what would 32 megapixels look like? One problem is that this kind of gear is really good. The makers of cameras have conquered an array of technical problems that go with acquiring digital images. They are brilliant! How good can these cameras get before CanIkonAx (choose yr company) lunges into our brains and starts taking out the visual cortex to implant image sensors in our heads? 

BUT: people like gear. People enjoy gear, so the in-the-brain-controlled- by -your -thoughts paradigm may have trouble acquiring lift. It may never get off the ground because what’s the fun of doing cool jobs when there’s no gear to play with but a chip of silicon within our bodies?? That may take a few hundred years, when we’ve learned that our very hardware bodies are also gear and there comes with this gear some interesting software. 

I’ve digressed from my original question. Is it fair to market to obsessive compulsives? Who else is there to market to? If you find a person free of neuroses it won’t be a person easily conned by ads and glitz.

To answer the question: NO! It’s not fair. It’s a way of rigging the society to feed the voracious maws of Business. I’ve written elsewhere on the idea that “contempt sells”. We’re treated with contempt every day. It is assumed by highly placed marketers that we’re stupid. We ARE kinda stupid. A lot of our behaviors are stupid and against our own interests. Electing charlatans to high office is stupid, but it happens all the time. Buying TV sets the size of walls is a bit stupid. It’s kind of cool but still, how big does your TV need to be? Do you need a hoist and crane to install it in your house?

Being OCD is the modern equivalent of being religious. In the middle ages one HAD to be religious or the authorities would hunt you down and kill you. Heretic! In our own times it’s consumerism that drives our religion. There are so many ways to drain our bank accounts, so many temptations that leap from our social media and TV to entice us as if with a sexual appetite. 

UHOH! This is the new SEX! No wonder it’s so powerful! People will climb over one another to experience five minutes of pleasure. People do the same thing at a store sale. Climb over each other to save a dollar. Now I get it. 

It’s not fair to market to obsessive compulsives, but there is no one else to whom the companies can market. This OCD, which I will now dub Exogenous OCD, or EOCD, has been created by the forces of modern civilization. 

It is said by some Buddhists that Emptiness is the true nature of reality. Deep inside ourselves we are aware, and terrified, of this condition. We will do a lot to escape from Emptiness. There is a giant misunderstanding about this term, Emptiness. It isn’t Nothingness. It’s Everythingness pouring into Nothingness. Always and now.

The market will be aimed at obsessive compulsives no matter what else happens. There is nothing we can do about it. We are the obsessive compulsives we hope to protect.


Mind Fields: Scammed Like An Idiot By Hackers

Mind Fields

Scammed Like An Idiot By Internet Hackers Vol 3a

“This is completely crazy!” I shouted at my smartphone. I was on the verge of a panic attack. The man at the other end, in his classic Mumbai accent, replied, “No no sir, it is not crazy. Your computer is badly infected. Do you see all these people who are using your private information?” 

He pronounced Private with a “W”. Priwot.

My mouse pointer moved while my hands rested in my lap. The Command Window opened and showed an ominous list of white notations scrolling down the black background. Mumbai Man had control of my computer. I could see repeated iterations of the word “Trojan”

“See there,” he said.  “See, see?  See how many!” I had been fighting him for at least an hour and he was losing his composure.  I was stubbornly refusing to capitulate. Is this what’s called Ransomware? So it seems. I couldn’t get rid of the guy. I couldn’t regain control of my computer until I paid five hundred dollars. Needless to say, I was upset.  And I brought it upon myself by doing a stupid thing.

I had already been softened up. A week ago a demanding white pop-up window informed me that my computer had contracted a virus. In order to fix it I must call Microsoft at an 800 phone number. Riiight! And there are elephants on the moon. The pop up wouldn’t go away. No restart, no Task Manager, nothing. I shut down my computer by pulling the plug. When I rebooted I got on a treadmill of Windows fix-it bubbles that went nowhere. 

After a couple hours of futzing with various remedies, including a  non-functioning backup program, I realized that I had to reformat my computer. That was three days of work. Such work included ransacking all of my closets and bins looking for software. Labor intensive!

Everything was fine after the reformat, my computer worked for a week. Then that same white pop up window appeared and I knew I was in trouble. I didn’t want to reformat again! Like an idiot I called the phone number. Thus an ordeal began that went on for hours. Mumbai Man insisted that he represented Microsoft. He gave me an I.D. number. He gave me a phone number for…uh..Microsoft. I got another phone and punched that number. At the first ring a man with a Mumbai accent answered. “Microsoft Customer Service” he cheerfully announced.

The voice of Mumbai Man #1 created a bizarre feedback loop because as he spoke to me on MY phone, his voice sounded one desk removed on the phone that I had used to call…er…Microsoft..  I went through the motions, juggling two cell phones. I was assured by Mumbai Man #2 that Mumbai Man #1 was a legitimate Microsoft employee. His name was…uh… Sam Taylor. I wasn’t buying it but I was losing my grip on reality.  These guys were slick! They had an answer for everything. They talked and talked and their reasoning was insane. Slowly they dragged me into the upside-down world of internet thieves. They could demonstrate to me how badly messed up was my computer. They told me that even if I bought a new computer the same thing would happen because hackers lurked in my network. They told me that every computer I ever bought from this day forward would be infected if I didn’t pay five hundred dollars.

“Sir, why are you having a broblem with this?” asked..uh.. Sam Taylor, as if this were a perfectly reasonable situation.

“A broblem?” I shrieked. “A broblem? Five hundred dollars and my computer held hostage is a broblem!.  I can buy a new computer for five hundred dollars!”

 “Oh, but sir, the new computer will also have the same broblem if you do not take care of this right away.”

Listen, I love the accent of Indians, be they from Mumbai, Kalikot or Kerala. I love the way they sound like they have three marbles just inside their lower lip. I have adored Indian culture my entire life. However these fellows conformed to a stereotype, this was happening in the real world and in the real world most Americans expect their tech support to speak with that lilting accent. Weirdly, it added a gloss of credibility to what was blatantly incredible.

“I’m sixty two years old,” I told the thief. “Does your mother know what you do for a living? That you rob old people on Social Security?”

“Oh, sir, you are a senior citizen? Let me talk to my supervisor and see what I can do about getting a discount.”

Hmmm hmmm count to five. “Oh yes sir, my supervisor tells me that we can make the rebairs for three hundred forty nine dollars and ninety five cents.”

I gave in. I let them install their shit on my computer. Their spyware, malware, ransomware buggy shit on my computer. I gave them my credit card number. I still don’t believe I did that. Sam Taylor had turned me over to Steve Smith who worked in Billing, and Steve Smith had then given control of my computer to Richie Logan. I watched my screen as program after program was installed, operated, then uninstalled. It was spooky! I was afraid to pull the plug on the modem and shut them out. By this time I didn’t know what to believe and I had the futile hope that these guys were actually fixing my computer.

My lovely spouse had a terrible virus experience once and contacted a reputable repair company who charged her a hundred dollars to remotely fix her computer. I phoned them while my computer chattered away, rolling files across the monitor screen.

“Unplug your modem right now!” This was the order from Jeffrey Everard in Austin, Texas. He works for OneSupport. They handle situations such as the mess I found myself in. I trust them. I think.

Jeffrey worked for an hour on my computer and charged me a hundred bucks.

Barclay Bank shut down my credit card and promised to mail me a new one with a new account number.  Mumbai Men had yet to run the charge and they were not going to get my money. I called all my credit card vendors. I called the bank.

This was a horrible experience. Be careful. These crooks are skillful and incredibly persistent. They are glib, slick and ruthless. They are from India, Ukraine, Thailand, Poland, Belorus and the USA. They find your knowledge level with regard to computers and they know how to convince you that they’re not lying. They twisted my head so badly that I couldn’t locate reality after spending a couple of hours in their company.  Did a little alarm go off at Microsoft Headquarters notifying them that my computer was infected? I posed this vision sarcastically and they said, “Yes that’s exactly what happened!”

I am now afraid to do any browsing on my computer. I’m afraid that any program I purchase to fight malware might be the vehicle bringing malware to my computer.

I made a mistake, a dumb mistake and it could have cost me much more. It will be a while before I can relax and use my computer normally. If ever.

My hands are still shaking.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Art’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.