Two Visions in a Storm

As I write today, the remnants of Harvey are soaking Mississippi and Tennessee. The wake of this storm stretches backward across coastal Texas, through the inundated metro area of Houston, to the wonderful resort regions of its Gulf Coast. As a disaster, assayers have already speculated that the damage will exceed the wretched tally of Katrina.

The Editress and I left Texas in 2013, but it is apparent in these days that the place never entirely left us. Now, we watch the people there stand tall as they deal with the business of each day, as they did even before the storm subsided. Columns of towed boats answered the calls for rescue craft. Neighbors now are helping neighbors, joined by Texans from across that great state and aided by others even farther away who remember help sent in times of need. Trucks are rolling, and funds are flowing; these are moments of testimony sufficient to still the world around as they happen and we watch.

No one is asking how people chest-deep in water voted. Rescues are not taking place based on skin color or creed. People needing help are being helped, because, having passed under the power of nature and survived, their commonality is undeniable.

This is a vision of America. Though starkly evident elsewhere in the manner of all actions of the productively accomplished, the efficacy of practical values is amplified by desperate necessity. Our nation, however, is more vast than the Gulf Coast of Texas. The farther a given region removes itself from acculturating the wisdom born out of hard lessons of natural law, the greater extent to which it engenders opportunities there for exploitive deception sinking its roots into a neglected moral landscape.

Texas is overcoming adversity through unity, and that is the great lesson of its recovery. The same tonic is available everywhere. It is able to lift renewed humanity above overcast perspectives: those too long denied the light shining from great hope our founders kindled in the ideals of Americanism. One nation, where under God the people rule, indivisible, with liberty and justice evenly distributed and applied.

What’s the other choice? Affiliation with lesser philosophies: division into factions whose humanity then blunts under the onslaught of seven deadly sins. Distracted, self-absorbed stock animals focus by design on imagined oppression and undeserved entitlements. Thinking themselves empowered, they are being swept into a great camp whose only goal is to lull them into accepting unbounded governance with unsustainable promises of its benefits. It is one contending vision, set by those afflicted with a cynical compulsion to direct the lives of others rather than to empower and enable strength, endurance, and virtue in all its various manifestations.

Two visions compete for our future, flashing past in vignettes of perception; We Together stand against We Apart. Americanism as truth testifies against the presentation of western values as a lie. National identity will again be slandered as nationalism with the added indignity of implied racism, in spin propagated by globalist interests and proponents of a diluting and weakening philosophy of multiculturalism. Responsible, limited governance contrasts with the ever-hungry gradient of socialism, a disease of institutionalized delusion with the singular goal of More: more funds, more intrusion, and an unending progression of control.

In Texas, the people themselves, in their immediate response to desperate need, are outpacing what the more deliberate momentum of departments and bureaus can accomplish. Later, as infrastructure is restored in the proper role of public works underway, the people, through their government, will continue the effort of recovery in the same practical manner as orders life across the Lone Star State wherever matters proceed well.

The choice between these two visions of the future collectivizes only in consensus. Primal decisions are made by one soul at a time accepting or rejecting the base premise of either. When times are good, the urgency of clear vision is less important than it is in Houston, or Beaumont, Port A, or Rockport today. Individuals having learned will not forget, and once they are enough, affairs for a time will again be set right.

We are creatures who grow strong by lifting weight encountered in many varied kinds. The husbandry of character will never happen in any other way.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, Novel10/Sean4 stands near twenty-six percent completion of production editing. The Yemeni Package features the return of General McAllen with previous characters from Daniel Sean Ritter’s back-story. They combine with the introduction of the dark and dangerous passion of CIA case officer Thalia Kebauet, in her role of conducting mission oversight for the National Command Authority. Ritter’s fourth is projected for first quarter 2018.

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Swallow

Unless this is the first web page you’ve seen after emerging from a coma, you know the mental landscape has changed. Society is a bit less sane than you remember. If you’re going to keep your level horizon, you’d better have a decent grasp on Why.

The fading virtue of rationality concerns itself with primary skills, one of which is consequential prediction. The following store of experience results in wisdom, itself predictive of survivability. Thus, successful individuals will walk unbowed out of whatever arena tasks them, and do so over the charred bones of their competitors and opposition formerly possessed of a lesser ability to attend the rules of natural law.

Nature, being impartial to any factor other than results, is vested in truth. Valid precepts, natural law decrees, always have been and ever shall remain. Men and women and the creatures brought before them to name have lived by its canon since the dawn of time. Nothing has changed in this regard since the onset of the Internet, social media, or politicized identity since it will not, ever. Step one on the road to clarity is acknowledging the essential state of affairs.

Right about here is the point where rationality has a head-on, double-airbag-deploying collision with the human ego. Dammit, someone wants something. They need it, they are convinced, and so driven will believe anything reinforcing their conviction.

That blue-smoked squealing of rubber against the highway you hear is the engine of natural law stopping to gawk at a wreck about to happen. What. The …

Oh, bloody hell. Someone just bounced onto the Internet, and [censored] SHAZAAM! instantly found a community of hundreds of other idiots laboring under an identical delusion. Your addled neighbors just politicized their special interest and now spend most of their time affirming shared infirmity … and a great deal of money shaping social policy.

Dear God. You might even be living in Oregon.

Naturally, healthy thinking is going to ignore idiocy with in the bounds of polite interaction. The real problem is that politicized idiocy will not be ignored, as it is driven by the same need for affirmation that inflicted a divergent perspective in the first place. You’re going to play, or you will pay. Bigot.

Wait, you were minding your own business, muddling along until presented with idiocy. And now you’re accused of bigotry? How does that happen?

It occurred in the 1970s when said divergent groups adopted the aura of righteous indignation justly leveraged by the civil rights movement of the previous decade. One of the hallmarks of liberalism, as Andrew Breitbart told us, is the propensity to occupy unearned moral high ground. Before anyone knew it, challenging another’s behavior suddenly evolved into a situation able to threaten one’s reputation and livelihood.

With enough people intimidated into silence or actually playing along, the moral environment degraded, and the agenda of people given to unsatisfying pursuits shifted to a focus progressive in more than one sense. Divorced from nature—that being vested in truth, you remember—they now expect to present the most radical lies and have them accepted as a subjective reality while another letter is added to the LGBT+ pantheon.

Swallow. Bitch.

“No.”

What?? Bloody hell. Someone just rejected The Narrative. Call for backup! Call the Sensitivity Police! Call … the Internet! Feelings have been vandalized by an uncaring clot of humanity requiring excision from the arena of ideas.

We are at a point where utterly indefensible delusions are being purposefully presented in order to intimidate society to not only accept them without comment, but accommodate the same endlessly. When commentary fails to arise, an agenda without a goal other than self-indulgence may advance, temporarily assuaging pathologically indefinable needs manifested in the pursuit of acceptance and enablement.

When politicized dysfunction butts up against basic and constitutionally delineated rights of free expression, religious conscience, and willing association and wins, matters of course are not proceeding in a sustainable fashion. But what is there to do at this point?

You’re being tested. Pick your side. Define and order your loyalties as is the business of an functionally adult mind.

All journeying souls pass opportunities to leave the ideal road at every step. Ahead is truth, and on the left and right is another way. Lots of those, actually, as there are many more ways to deviate than remain on course. Truth is singular, in that there is only one best way to represent the actual state of affairs. Test a premise and find it solid, and you’ve not only discovered a truth but taken a step toward heaven. Make this basic functionality a lifestyle whose basis no one can legitimately criticize. If you find a cognizant and conversant Christian, they will be able to help you discover historicity and reliable precepts—truths unseen but for the search—you might not have discovered flying solo.

You’re not alone, nor have you ever been, those of you who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for clarity, for something to embrace lasting throughout a count of days whose number will only tally rather than diminish. Claim your inheritance of life from its Source. God, loving you, wills it.

Choose to love as well, -DA

*****

In production news, the fourth title of Sean’s File, The Yemeni Package, is at nine percent in primary editing and anticipated for the end or beginning of the year. Another chapter in the building of Daniel Sean Ritter introduces the beautiful and deadly CIA case officer Thalia Kebauet, as Ritter’s team, now hers, pursues an emergent and charismatic advocate of terror across 1999’s United Arab Emirates.

Bullies and Bloodings

It’s July Fourth here: America’s Independence Day. Two hundred and forty-one years have passed since men decided they’d had enough of unjust power, derived from sources other than the consent of the governed. The founders were being bullied, and being men and women of virtue chose to handle the situation in the only pragmatic fashion.

Portions of the news media are playing the victim lately by decrying ‘bullying’ from various actors in the White House. Gravitating toward reflexive complaint stems from moral, physical, and intellectual weaknesses generally defining the political Left. Strong and capable people neither make such claims nor are they as a rule susceptible to bullying at all. Should someone try, an aggressor is likely to have the tables turned instead, as when our forefathers eventually saw the fight through to Yorktown.

Such action requires individual initiative backed by grounded values engendering the confidence to oppose and overcome an aggressor. Conviction is the foundation of character, and if not present at the onset of conflict had better develop prior to facing any critical disadvantage. As always, natural law has no court of appeal, and it’s hardly surprising that when put to it snowflakes would call for their mothers instead.

Character is not an attribute only for hard times; it should also display as much in positions of advantage as under adversity. We should not be indistinguishable from what we oppose. One would think that a political figure who could truly embody the courage, strength and dignity of the American ideal would own the political scene. Half of us, however, reside on the left side of the bell-shaped curve and are being unfortunately accommodated in policy by the ideologically irresolute, even though they are empowered in Washington. Nothing better speaks of weakness so in contrast to the strengths of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence than leaders bullied while holding the high ground.

The spirit preventing such contemptible flaccidity, as is becoming apparent, is bestowed or withdrawn as we deserve. My character and Bosnian journalist Luci Crnjak, in Novel8/Sean3 ‘King of a Lesser Hill,’ observes, “There has to be some difference between what they are and what we become. How does it matter who wins, otherwise?” Once patriotism is given over to statism—and the designators of supposedly oppositional political parties lose their distinction—the only choice left to a citizenry unwilling to transition to servitude is starting over.

An American conscience will neither submit nor compromise a righteous position, which is why so much effort is being put toward degrading its definitional values. A concurrent grail of the political Left, for example, is coercing faithful public servants into violations of conscience with the mantra “Do your job!” Being ungrounded, they have no concept of conscience as a higher order of loyalty than ruling or legislation and so are making the same mistake as did Britain in the eighteenth century. We can hope this will end the same way, though the dignity of Cornwallis surrendering his sword, even if undertaken by an intermediary, is more likely this time around to be replaced by another display of screaming denial accompanied by hysterical snot bubbles.

Strengths are cultivated individually, one soul at a time, with the aid of God’s Spirit to those seeking Him with their whole heart. Are there enough of us left? The winnowing of natural law never ceases, nor does it take notice of philosophical outrage in defiance of its canon. Only another time of crisis will judge us worthy, or not, should the Lord tarry in the interim. It never has been or will be any other way.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, being that Boone’s fourth novel is on the street, Daniel Sean Ritter’s next title has entered Content Edit. CE, unlike primary editing, is of an unpredictable span, though past performance by the Editress suggests a possible first quarter 2018 release, God willing.

Boone’s fourth is available!

Actions have consequences, some of which are predictable … and some not. In Boone’s fourth novel, complications arising out of her covert history interfere with an attempt to start a new life.

Following simultaneous attacks in Washington and Moscow, Boone and her allies learn of what was thought to be an extinct breed of predator: Vedro Krovi (VAY-dro KROWV-yi), a company of Russian mercenaries unleashed by patrons uncomprehending of the level of commitment and ruthlessness they have unwittingly engaged.

This, while Deborah Vosse—the premier investigative journalist for her left-leaning ForwardNews network—is prompted by the murder of a colleague to examine the relationship between heads of state and the shadowy figures of international intelligence. Connections never intended for public knowledge begin to unveil those who covertly enabled or interdicted the agendas of masters or enemies.

The plot develops into Boone’s largest challenge to date, with everything she holds dear, including her beckoning life and freedom, at risk on multiple fronts.

Here’s the blurb:

“Boone, now a former covert operative, looks forward to a fulfilling marriage, new career, and brighter days. Investigative journalism by one of her country’s most prominent news personalities, however, begins to unravel a thread of actualities thought to have been classified out of existence. Actions once undertaken in the national interest threaten her new life.

When not only Boone’s people but the servants of the ill-intended and powerful are targeted for elimination, the result is an undeclared war between the keepers and the kept. Forced back into a high-stakes game against international players, she will need to call on all her resources in order to defend those whom she loves against two of the world’s most powerful men … and sins of her past.

Approx. 92,370 wds./ 323 pp. print length”

Boone’s Big List of Links:
Kindle – iTunes – Nook – Kobo – Smashwords – Scribd

Trade paperbacks at Amazon and CreateSpace!

As always, your contributions toward signal boost in spreading the word are appreciated. Read. Rock. Review. Recruit. Repeat.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In more production news, Ritter’s fourth title, The Yemeni Package, has entered Content Edit in preparation for an anticipated first quarter 2018 release.

Your Part of the Story

Or is it You’re Part of the Story? Either sense is correct. Interconnectedness is a vital aspect of the human experience, and without an appreciation of the precept, we would each develop into someone far below our potential.

You, however, are my readers. I’m not content to leave you there.

Many worthwhile things can be accomplished on an individual level, and some of those in no way else. Even the most independent achievement, however, is the culmination of capability fostered by affecting influences. Those are the drops and rivulets contributing to the flow of who we are and what we do … for better or worse.

Likewise, each event in the past contributes its part to the composition of the current scene. Frank Capra did a better than adequate job of illustrating totality in It’s a Wonderful Life, so I won’t bother to recap his conclusions here. It’s a pity, though, that sometimes this essential realization drops while reading fiction when we so wholeheartedly embrace it watching that film. I sometimes wonder if its absence also contributes to a less-than-sufficient grasp of history generally, much less the problems this can cause with dedicating attention to a novel.

I mention every so often how much I dislike encountering formulaic fiction. Emphases vary between plot-driven and character-driven structure such as mine. One won’t find action leading the way in a Dale Amidei novel, for the same reason that unanticipated, out-of-context conduct in real life generates confusion and anxiety in its witnesses. The ideal here is removed from pulpy exploits and steeped in substance instead, and the distinction sometimes requires the accumulation of momentum in defining a character’s situation.

Structure, done from farther out than a singular or first-person perspective, sometimes requires this. I’ve never written under the latter restriction, much preferring the weave of multiple points of view I encountered in my best formative reading. Reading first was a process that stretched across four decades before attempting my own serious novel, one that ran somewhere past thirty consecutive five-stars on Amazon and once was, by one website’s weighting, the second highest-rated fiction title in the Kindle store.

Character-driven fiction requires an investment on the part of the reader in the imaginary folk he or she is encountering. Its dividend must be paid by the author, but this takes time. It also, sometimes unfortunately, requires depositing a span of attention nearly every aspect of modern life seems intent on degrading. No one, if you’ve not noticed, ever dies in a Dale Amidei Chapter One. In Chapter Two and following all bets are off … but by then you will at least have an inkling of what’s happening and why.

What and Why, now that Boone is about to appear in her fourth novel, both play a vital role in her latest adventure. The interconnectedness to which I alluded in beginning this post is coming full circle; the cascading implications of fulfilled duty in her previous title, One Last Scent of Jasmine, extends from Washington to Moscow as two of the world’s most powerful men turn to ruthless pragmatism in seeking to distance themselves from their moral culpabilities.

Boone’s fourth is now set to appear on June 28, 2017. I hope you’ll be coming along on a trip not to be missed, whether you jumped into my interconnected character universe through Jon’s Trilogy, or Sean’s File, or with Boone’s debut in Absinthe and Chocolate. She and I need your reads, your reviews, and your help in boosting my signal on social media. You’re part of this story, and once it’s finished, I promise that Boone’s will remain part of you. To produce a novel that shakes the blessed earth is my prime motivation of course, but also to go forward with you from then on. Afterward, both of us will hopefully fulfill the clear vision of our Craftsman within the remainder of what He intends.

You do your part. I’ll do mine.

Choose to Love, -DA

*****

In production news, as mentioned above, Boone’s fourth novel, Meat for the Lion, is progressing through its final quality assurance steps before publishing later this month. Once retail pages are live, her Big List of Links will appear here as a separate post.

True Measure

If you want to learn what there is to know about a person, ask of them their definition of faith, the child of hope and conviction of things unseen. You might get an answer out of Sunday school, or from wanderings through the world looking for an answer to the same question you posed, or the sarcasm spilling from the wounds of a reprobate mind.

The many connotations of the word faith weaves itself through our language, marking the essential nature of its consideration. But this is Memorial Day, a remembrance highlighting a powerful demonstration of the concept. Its validity is marked in formations of simple white headstones, row on row, each standing guard over the resting place of a soldier.

Not all died in war, but all served. Some met their last measure of devotion in a contest on foreign soil, while others returned to resume the life that, for a time, they had set aside in obedient service to something more, for the sake of what they believed.

Those who passed out of this life in war did not necessarily do so because of a shortcoming, failing, or loss. It was, in many cases, a last victory instead, and a final assessment and testimony to what he or she valued above what could be seen with earthly eyes.

Faith produces an order of loyalty beyond the self. To do otherwise is to bear the mark of faithlessness, and trade the vast potential inherent to our condition for a mean and lowly shadow of what we can become only through the Spirit.

To preserve oneself at any cost is futile, buying time with precious currency bankrupting our character. We live a life marked by a beginning and an end regardless. The days between are available to be lived as a noble or a coward according to what philosophy we embrace.

Faith at times lends vision clear enough to pierce the veil of the world, to discard the illusions of deception and grant clarity through to even the mind of God. Love is one manifestation of insight, and from that grasp of truth might emerge the strength to accomplish any number of divine goals. Sometimes—faith says—those cannot be tallied by this world.

Faith is the oxygenated blood moving our willing spirit through to what purpose we are given. So it was with those we remember today, and in every quiet time laced with appreciation of what we have, who labored before, and how we’ve been blessed. To put it all aside in favor of lesser ideals would be a sin even greater than never realizing our bounty at all.

John McCrae, at the very end of his days, knew its power. Because of this, his poem In Flanders Fields, below in part, will be recited today in a uncounted places by thousands of voices as his vision of the concept carries on:

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

May it never be so. On some future Memorial Day and each to follow we will know the peace they strived to achieve … if we carry on and believe.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, the last chapters of the fourth title in Boone’s File, Meat for the Lion, now are passing under the eyes of the Editress. As the novel, my ninth, remains on schedule for an anticipated June release, there will be more to say next month, God willing.

From China, through Rome, to Hope

Writers are readers first and forever. Once we appreciate the mind-to-mind transmission of ideas and scenes as a craft, words take hold of us. Afterward, it’s our turn to draw from the inkwell and take up our own purpose. What results is a snapshot of sorts, at times representing very well its author’s essence, as preserved through transcription.

Lately, I’ve been working my way through Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, an emperor of Rome in the second century following the birth of Christ. Not an undertaking for the easily distracted or weak-willed, these twelve Books comprise the man’s personal notes, set down for no one but himself. In this they are similar to George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation, composed as a means of self-edification.

The nature of truth being what it is, the date of a valid premise is irrelevant. What is, in a broad enough sense, always has been and ever shall be. Yet today, we may reliably draw on the prim, intellectual propriety of Washington, the Stoic observations of Aurelius, and the selfless clarity of Lao Tzu, whose Tao Te Ching predated them all.

The study of history, apart from the rote memorization of timelines, is also a quest for past perspective. That, if you’ve not noticed, is a factor powering my fiction: the deep points of view relating the personal factors driving its characters—good, evil, strong, and unenduring—to act as they do.

It is something more than an arbitrary delineation dividing history in the period before the birth of Jesus and the epoch Anno Domini. Regardless of any secular designation as Before Common Era or CE, the point of demarcation is the same. To a lesser extent, the line of time in the ebb and flow of cultures, viewed as history, will be reflected in the microcosm of our personal experience. Each of us will have our predating, transformative, and later periods.

Washington, of course, wrote in the context of a Christian culture, one whose eventual adoption of our founding documents acknowledged rights given universally and an essential dependence on blessings bestowed to the reverent. Aurelius worked at the dawn of the Church and from the perspective of a pagan and Stoic, though his text alternates between poly- and monotheistic language. Lao Tzu penned his eighty-one chapters wholly in his own pre-revelation context and more than two thousand years ago.

I was struck almost immediately by the similarity between Lao Tzu and Aurelius. Both depended on naturalistic observation in a moral presentation of natural laws. Likewise marked by a serene acceptance of the overall state of affairs, this is presented as one best lived within rather than striven against. Self recedes in such philosophy as perspective broadens. Each of these wise men, however, reached the limit of their individual vision. Though the What, Where, and When of their reporting is valid, it is also limited in supplying the Why.

Why is an important component of understanding, as it aids repeatability, which in turn helps assure a given lesson will be passed along. Why helps define the observations of validity resulting in the universal canon of natural law.

Why is also the reason we divide history at the point of the appearance of Christ. Without His mission to validate its prophecies, the testament of Judaism would have faded alongside the competing sects of the time in which it flourished, crumpling into the sands of history with the ruins of its Temple. Because He arrived, we can assign rational hope to scriptural promises yet to be fulfilled. In portraying Why on Calvary, He allowed us to assume our place in everything going on, just as Christ exemplified and proved a sure hope through demonstrating the Resurrection.

Absent this resultant Christian assurance, the benefits of anticipation are lost for the faithless. Life fades into nothingness with each year, day, hour and moment of time. Standards of behavior become relative without guiding moral absolutes, and wandering follows to varying ends.

Moral strength isn’t enough. Lao, once his calligraphy brush dried, rode into the desert to die, sick at heart of the ways of men. Aurelius found his end disappointed in a son whose upbringing failed to reflect in its results. Both were denied a sufficiently broad vision to bestow hope, yet allowed wisdom enough for their observations to endure through many centuries. To what end we can debate without knowing, but not without something to which we might, in our present era, hold onto.

God, in His essence as embodied in the mission of Christ, has an inclusive plan for those receptive to wisdom. His equations balance our inadequacy with overwhelming sufficiency in our favor, somewhere, I need to believe, past legalistic boundaries and strictures set in limited understanding. The brightest of us see only, as Paul said, through a mirror darkly, on a path toward clarity as starkly terrifying or joyously fulfilling as His just judgment or coverage in grace might decree.

Such questions on the way from here to there remain worthy of consideration. Truth remains what it is, now as in times past: a treasure sought by the living.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, my ninth novel and Boone’s fourth, now approaching the three-quarters mark in primary editing, continues toward an early summer release. We remain optimistic this will occur in June, but also are determined to hold off until it’s ready, and without applying arbitrary deadlines. You should expect a read worth the wait, once the second half of Boone’s File launches with Meat for the Lion.