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Confucius and opium


Illustration by Ye Su (耶苏)   This is where the hundred drugs are to be found. Classic of Mountains and Seas (山海经), 4th c. BCE He pierced his ears, making him able to understand the language of plants. Mircea Eliade, Shamanism The context If you suppose I’m proposing that the beloved sage was a man of depraved habits or had even been an addict, nothing could be further from the truth. But the idea is absurd not because a wise man, or a philosopher, would ever stoop so low. It’s absurd because drug abuse is a modern concept: to attribute it to the ancients is to commit a major category error. For untold millennia mankind’s relationship with the plant medicines — a term I prefer to “drugs” — wa...
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Down the Rabbit Hole a.k.a. Life’s Little Hiccups & Big Booms


I’m behind in my writing. Again. I wish I could say that I don’t know how it happens, but I do. While I accuse Life of sticking out its foot and tripping me so that I’ll look funny with arms … Continue reading → Original link Original author: Diana Stout
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Merging with Behind the Scenes…

I’m a fan of minimalist living. Less is more. Truly. Clutter of the mind is just as bad as clutter on a tabletop. Lately, I’ve been struggling with all the cluttering writing tasks that have been consuming my time when I should be writing and publishing books instead. In particular, I’ve been struggling in trying to maintain two blogs that are quite similar in content. As a result, I’ve decided to merge my Only for the Brave blog—this one—with my Behind the Scenes blog. Both are about writing. My goal is to still communicate with you, to share what I know, and what I’ve learned as I journey through my writing career. Now, though, that sharing will be more efficient and more effective. So, fo...
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The First 1982 Sortmind Plot

Sortmind, a novel by Michael D. Smith
During my first semester of library school I wrote out six short science fiction plots; at the time I wasn’t serious about them, though in retrospect I see I might have fused them into a semi-interesting novel. In any case, Number 6 arose from the my experience in the frustrating and time-consuming introductory Reference class, in which, way pre-Internet, we hunted down hundreds of scraps of trivia from dozens of printed reference sources in different libraries–simulating a day of hectic patron interaction. But a class near the end of the semester on the emerging reference databases gave me hope; it was obvious that no reference book, however recently published, was equal to the searchable, ...
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When the Shirt Hits the Fan: More Musing on Typos, and the Sortmind Editing Passes

Sortmind Editing Passes 2 Through 6
There’s not much more to say other than that we thoroughly despise typos, as they momentarily jerk us out of the reader’s trance not only necessary to a fictional story but to any writing; in order to fully sink into the manuscript, we want reassurance that the author is truly in command of every mark on the page. To my chagrin I generate some of my worst typos when editing a final manuscript. I won’t say in which of my novels my worst typo appears, but it’s enough to mention that in desiring to make “The gravity was astounding strong” into a pithier statement, I merely lopped off the fifth word without noticing I needed to change the fourth, to come up with: “The gravity was astoundingly.” ...
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Free Sortmind Press Titles March 3-March 9

Akard Drearstone by Michael D. Smith
The eBook versions of my literary novels Akard Drearstone, Sortmind, and The Soul Institute, as well as my science fiction novella The First Twenty Steps, can be obtained for free from Smashwords from March 3-March 9 during the 10th Annual Smashwords Read an Ebook Week Sale. Akard Drearstone A cinder block falls on Akard Drearstone’s head and he trades his print shop job for lead guitar. Months later, as the four members of the Akard Drearstone Group face the onslaught of national fame at their rural Texas commune, twelve-year-old Jan Pace nurses her crush for the narcissistic, paranoid bassist Jim Piston, growing up way too fast in a surreal summer between seventh and eighth grade. Sortmind...
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Why Did I Publish Sortmind?

Sortmind trade paperback from Amazon
Trantor Group CEO Peter Trantor scrambles to reassure his latest client, the lovely but unreadable bank executive Anna Winstead, that his telepathic Sortmind app really isn’t as deadly as people assume. But he has some explaining to do when a newly-hired programmer at Trantor, Mindwiped by Sortmind abuse, proclaims himself an alien from the planet Cnzaar. Given that I think this novel is so good, why did I publish it myself and not consider submitting it to royalty publishers? Sortmind is the last of my older novels that needed reboot and psychic repair; many of these stretched back decades to my first powerful but unformed urges for fiction, and this completion/destiny/fate mood runs throug...
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A Terrible New Enemy – Review of The Wounded Frontier

The Wounded Frontier by Michael D. Smith
After the collapse of the Grid, the vast collective mind of the Alpha Centaurians, humans and Martians in the United System Space Force now find themselves included in a new Grid, one they are told is completely voluntary, but who believes that? This book begins with Jack Commer and his crew embroiled in the nasty climate of resistance and hostility that accompanies widespread change. Called out for their dark histories, vilified and threatened by haters and the establishment, the crew escapes with their lives as they attempt to embark on an important mission to investigate an anomaly in a distant but familiar star system. Following is the sort of mayhem at which this author excels: bickerin...
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Sortmind Publication – What You Need to Know

Sortmind. a novel by Michael D. Smith
Sortmind, the Novel published February 2016 by Sortmind Press eBook: Amazon Barnes and Noble Smashwords paperback: Amazon (trade) lulu.com (mass market) The Overview Trantor Group CEO Peter Trantor scrambles to reassure his latest client, the lovely but unreadable bank executive Anna Winstead, that his telepathic Sortmind app really isn’t as deadly as people assume. But he has some explaining to do when a newly-hired programmer at Trantor, Mindwiped by Sortmind abuse, proclaims himself an alien from the planet Cnzaar. High school art students Oliver Perrine, a survivor of the terrorist bombing of the downtown library, and Sam Emersonn, coolly pragmatic and politically aware, struggle to defi...
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Harray Andreall’s Wedding Night, July 1975

Harray Andreall copyright 2017 by Michael D. Smith
A cinder block falls on Akard Drearstone’s head and he trades his print shop job for lead guitar. Months later, as the four members of the Akard Drearstone Group face the onslaught of national fame, Akard decides to throw a demented wedding reception at his rural Texas commune to honor manager Harray Andreall. But on the way to the commune Harray fights with his bride, the Exponentialist philosopher Michelle Morgan, in front of two hundred guests at the Austin airport. “Dammit, keep quiet, bitch! Everyone’s gonna think we’re assholes!” “Ah, fuck you, jerk!” Michelle wrenched open a glass door and stomped away. “You can’t call yourself mindful!” Harray screamed after her. “You’ll never be abl...
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Multilingualism and the time travel novel


  Wrap your watch around this Time travel has long provided rich material for writers. Yet problems crop up as soon as you try to work out exactly how to shift a mere hour forward in time, let alone days or years. Consider the following scenario. Arrayed naked on the table and draped with a towel, I announce to my masseuse as my 5:00 massage session is about to begin: “You see this fancy gadget on my wrist? It’s not a smartwatch but a time-travel device. I’ve programmed it to transport me instantly to 6:00 when I press the Forward button. To be frank, I don’t know if it will work, and I don’t know what will happen if it does. You will know for certain that it did work if I disappear. In that...
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I'll Be In The Library... researching earthquake survival.


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INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES: BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, WA -- EAGLE HARBOR BOOK COMPANY


How long has it been since you supported your local independent bookstore or library? I don’t care what your answer is. However long it has been is much too long. We all need to get out there and show some love for those lonely foot soldiers in the fight against illiteracy, literary apathy, and the threat of complete assimilation by the American zero-attention-span-unless-it’s-a-video-zombie-culture that is taking an ever-greater hold of our society. If you live in or intend to visit BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, WASHINGTON then here is a good place to start… EAGLE HARBOR BOOK COMPANY IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “We are a full service, locally-owned and proudly independent bookstore located on Bainbridge Islan...
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“Autumn flaming in its heartbreak, pining for the lost love of...


“ Autumn flaming in its heartbreak, pining for the lost love of summer… ”  (Kenai Lake, Alaska) ( https://bit.ly/2QEZIOK ) More at OwenThomasFiction 1000 Words per Frame ( http://bit.ly/1s2lEof ). #otfiction Original link
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DICTIONARY OF OBSCURE SORROWS by John Koening (presented by Owen Thomas Fiction)


THE DICTIONARY OF OBSCURE SORROWS John Koening has been working for nearly a decade to put together a book of invented words to describe human emotions desperate for a name. If you are interested in browsing on your own, you can find Koening’s website for “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” here: http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com . In the meantime, I will be using this space to feature some of my favorites. Like this one… LIBEROSIS n. the desire to care less about things—to loosen your grip on your life, to stop glancing behind you every few steps, afraid that someone will snatch it from you before you reach the end zone—rather to hold your life loosely and playfully, like a volleyba...
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Book Humor from Owen Thomas Fiction


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I’ll Be In The Library... from Owen Thomas Fiction


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I’ll Be In The Library, from Owen Thomas Fiction


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MY LIBRARY from Owen Thomas Fiction


If I ever have to build a bomb shelter… Original link
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American fascism: The sexual rage of the state


The monetization of infraction What if the state’s manner of dealing with traffic offenses were applied to all crime, and punishment consisted solely in monetary fines instead of jail time? Let’s start with the humble parking ticket and work our way up to more serious crimes. What interests me about this particular infraction is that everyone, the most conscientious car owners included, gets ticketed sooner or later. There are many otherwise perfectly law-abiding citizens who, whether due to sheer carelessness or obsessional necessity of some sort, get ticketed quite often. There are those who accumulate so many parking tickets they give up and stop paying them altogether. Or let’s take the ...
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