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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sample of Part 1 of The Saeshell Book of Time

The Saeshell Book of Time is a 4 part serial novel that is part of the book series, The Children of Sophista. Each part of the serial novel is a full length novel in itself, but the story continues on into the next part or installment of the novel. The end of each installment is not a cliff hanger, so the reader does partially get a conclusion.

The sample contains paragraphs that are marked with bullets. An "@" bullet means that the speech is occurring on a private telepathic link that only a few characters can hear. A diamond bullet means the telepathic link is only heard by characters in physical contact with each other. Physical contact links can also transmit images much like virtual reality. Italicized text means that what is being said is a telepathic broadcast receivable by any nearby telepath or computer capable of receiving telepathic transmissions. Telepaths frequently talk aloud and telepathically at the same time. So the bullets help the reader follow the two or more interleaved conversations happening at the same time.

The novel is targeted for ages 6th grade through adult. One reason I say the novel is targeted toward the gifted is that the interleaved conversations cater to the asynchronous way gifted people think. It is not meant to be exclusionary, it's just means I have removed the sequential constraints so that these readers may better enjoy the novel. Gifted teen's lives tend to be more metaphorically similar to the lives of the characters of the novel.

Unless a publisher comes knocking on my door, I will be publishing this novel myself in the middle of fall, 2011. The version of this sample is MS4 (manuscript 4). This version has not been through a professional edit so I apologize in advance for the errors you may find. Early readers: this is a later version than you have read.

To read the sample (hosted on Google Docs) please click here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Feedback from Gifted Adult on Part 1

Demographic: Adult, gifted, female.
This feedback is for the MS4 version of Part 1 of the Saeshell Book of Time.
This version was recently submitted to a large publisher or two.

1. Who was your favorite character?

ALL the characters become beloved friends! I liked them all, except for Elof's dad. When push comes to shove, my most favorite character was Ty; Stefan was a close second. I liked Tova also.

2. What was your favorite chapter?

Probably the ones about Elof's past--because they happened in my ol' stompin' grounds! I found it interesting though--the relationship between Elof and Tova...unrequited love. Who doesn't relate to that?!

3. What do you think about how giftedness was portrayed in the book?

I thought you did a good job. It seemed that you focused certain OEs on certain characters--for example, Ty has empathy in spades yet still is intelligent; Tyco has the psychomotor stuff going on, but develops a softness to himself.

4. Do you have any other comments?

I found the story compelling. I wasn't bored at any point. I did wish for more action, less talk at times. I told you about how I struggle to get into fantasy/sci-fi books, so I had that going, but once I was into it, I really enjoyed it and looked forward to reading it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Unrequited Dreams of the Gifted

I was wandering around in my memory this weekend when I came across this music which I had totally forgotten about. I suspect there was a reason for forgetting about it, namely that when I played this particular song, it was rather cathartic and painful. As soon I read the lyrics, I understood why. This song could be the theme song for the undiscovered or frustrated gifted, or more importantly, the unfulfilled dreams of a gifted person. Although this song implies an old age retrospective, this retrospective could occur at any age. One thing common to all gifted people, I think, is the intense dreaming when we are young about what the future could be and what our role in it will be. Heck, that dream landed me in Silicon Valley, the place where dreams can become reality (if you can find that infinite pool of money to back you). The trouble is that when your dreams meet the constraints of life and then are stirred by gifted perfectionism, that toxic brew can be quite discouraging. While anything might be possible when you start out your life, in some ways, as you progress your way towards becoming an adult, those choices narrow. At some point, usually during college, you realize that indeed might not be able to go to the moon in your lifetime. Even more likely for the gifted is that our many interests lead us down many trails. We run into trouble when we stop and take stock, realizing we haven't been down any trail very far.

Here is the lyrics for the song. It is called "Day after Day" by The Alan Parson's Project from their "I Robot" album. Read the lyrics and see if they resonate for you. I'm pretty sure that the character "Syon" in my book probably had his foundations in this song.
Syon does have stars that appear and disappear in front of his eyes and he is able to bend and change the course of time. His talents is what I think every gifted person wishes they had. One lifetime is simply not enough.

Gaze at the sky
And picture the memory
Of days in your life
You knew what it meant to be happy and free
With time on your side

Remember your daddy
When no one was wiser
Your ma used to say
That you would go further than he ever could
With time on your side

Think of a boy with the stars in his eye
Longing to reach them but frightened to try
Sadly, you'd say, someday, someday

But day after day
The show must go on
And time slipped away
Before you could build any castles in Spain
The chance had gone by

With nothing to say
And no one to say it to

Nothing has changed
You've still got it all to do
Surely you know
The chance has gone by

Think of the boy with the stars in his eye
Longing to reach them but frightened to try
Sadly, you say, someday, someday

But, day after day,
The show must go on
And you gaze at the sky
And picture a memory of days in you life
With time on your side

With time on your side
(day after day the show must go on)
With time on your side
(day after day the show must go on)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Was Here First

I have many tags. Sometimes I am a computer nerd. Sometimes I am an internet hack, a philosopher, a science nerd, an amateur mathematician,… Tonight, I am wearing my writer's hat -- the hat I often wear when I am contemplating a new point of view. In my previous post, I discussed that instead of my drive-by spray-paint tag of “gifted”, I preferred the infinity symbol exclamation point tag. Tonight, I wanted to delve more into the word “gifted”.

First of all, I want to dispel the rumor that Harry Potter smite me in utero with his magic wand, giving me some magic gift in my head, that I must now share with infinite patience and gratitude like a burger joint with curbside service. I am afraid Harry was previously engaged at the time of my birth, probably with some cute little red haired chick. Instead, in some organic goo pool, actually, a number of them stretching back 300,000 years or so, the dials of some chemical slot machine spun. Ding, lemons and gold bars were displayed and out I popped. Contrary to popular belief, I was not given a gift nor was I a gift to the world. As far as being a gift to my parents, who knows what was on their minds nine months before.

Traveling to adulthood was a rather interesting process of being bored to the point of actually crying and then being studied/tested to see what changes that caused. The tormenting ceased being entertaining so I was actually given something to do for a while. Soon, though, it was back to boredom again. Actually, before being excreted to college to fertilize some ideas there, I accidentally made a fairly large explosion in some high school chemistry lab vent hood. And in my high school job, I learned the amazing fact that a school system’s repair person’s tool bag contains four items: a screwdriver, wire cutters, electrical or duct tape (electrical tape was a higher pay grade), and WD-40 lubricant spray. It is just amazing how well audio-visual equipment and school intercoms work after a nice WD-40 bath. My job involved me reverting said equipment back to its former sad working state. Actually, to tell the truth, I worked for a small business so it was a little more than that. I got to experience dead rats falling on me as I replaced a restaurant’s chewed-through speakers and repair the sound system at some disco with some rather impressive … well let’s not talk about that one.

I searched through all of this and I just wondered, where is the gift? Oh, well, I did get a lot of money from the school system courtesy of the school repair person. It beats flipping burgers. Perhaps the gift was the little voice in my head 24x7 saying, “Learn something new or I’m going to hurt you.”

With all the draining of school budgets and all the clawing and scratching and identity politics being played with, I want to plant one little perspective. Every race has “gifted” people (as far as I know). Using a little computation of the evolutionary chemical slot machine, that means one interesting thing. Giftedness occurred before all race differentiation in humans. Gifted was the original differentiation in the human race. So all I’ve got to say about all the political gamesmanship and prioritizing for resources is this: I was here first. And I am still here, waiting to be the fullest of my potential. So are many others, still too young to have a voice. But they all share one thing in common: They have an exceptionally good memory for what was done to them in their childhood and that little voice.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Concept of Giftedness

I thought I would hop out of the box tonight and just start typing. I started thinking and contrasting the idea of concepts verses buzzwords. Buzzwords are a favorite among the socially and politically inclined. What is contained in a buzzword? Well a buzzword is rather like typing a command on your computer, except that you are typing a command to a group of people's brains. That command results in an automatic response from the commanded brain to load a certain set of images and a certain emotional state. As with any computer command, what happens has nothing to do with any external stimulus. Really, you wouldn't want your computer to perform actions based on how the day's going, now would you? So the command shuts off outside influence and performs the action it was intended to perform.

I think the buzzword, "gifted", is a command. Depending on the programmer, typing the gifted command causes different groups of actions to be performed. Lately, gifted seems launch a lot of other commands like "elitist", "different" which launches "defective" if below a certain age or "cloak" if above a certain age. I think astute political programmers, who are not shy about getting into anyone's files, have tried to point the command at "shoot down the stars" oops I mean "shoot for the stars".

That's the trouble with a buzzword. When it's executed, people don't think about a concept. They become a computer readily executing the program. By speaking one word, the target person is literally reduced to a robot. Computers don't care who launches the command and neither do robots. So the response to the "gifted" command is the same no matter who launches it, whether it be a politician, a hateful person, a loving parent, or a teacher. And the worrisome thing is that the fastest programmers seem to be political or social agenda based people. Yet, as a gifted person, I have the right to express what the true concept of gifted is, to have my identity just as much as any person does. And anyone who has known a gifted person knows that there is nothing robotic about anything we do (though sometimes in our jobs we may feel like rented computers).

What is at the core of giftedness? Conceptualization is definitely one thing at the gifted core. We basically take a disordered world and with our expansive ability to correlate random and widely scattered facts, we build concepts that bring order. So rather than buzzwords, could I communicate giftedness through a concept? A concept is different than a buzzword. It is a framework of data and relationships. When you receive a concept, it is identified by that data and its relationships. So if you edit those components, you get a different concept. Once formed, a concept can't be edited. It's either correct or incorrect. It's all or nothing. So how do you express giftedness as a concept? Hmmmm.

Here is my try at that. You will notice on my new avatars that there is a blue computer display window with only two symbols in it. It contains an infinity symbol followed by an exclamation point. Simply: infinity factorial. Or metaphorically: Infinite possibilities. To me, that is a concise, immutable description of giftedness. Political/social agenda types can try to change the meaning of that symbol combination. But really, it just makes them look like ridiculous clowns. Mathematics, a language of conceptualization, tells you the only meaning those symbols can have.