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Monday, December 30, 2013

A New Year

Happy 2014!
2014 is upon us... What happened to 2013? It flew by. Is it just me, or do the years seem to speed up as I get older? Maybe it isn't a bad thing, though.

Looking back, some pretty awesome things happened to me in 2013. I'll list a few here:

1. My second child came into the world in August. She has brought me and my family so much happiness and joy! I can't wait to see what the future holds for her!

2. I went back to college to work on finishing my bachelor's degree. After a 2 year break, I felt fresh and rejuvenated... and even more determined to finish my degree. I still have a bit more to go, but I did take out a good chunk of what I have left. Even better, I feel like a better student. I think I have matured a bit, and have learned to be a student who knows how to excel. I had the best performance academically this year than I have ever had in college.

3. I discovered how epic Brandon Sanderson's novels/series' really are. A couple of years back, I read his first published novel, Elantris, and simply loved it. It was the best piece of fantasy I had read in awhile, and gave me the wonderful relief that the Fantasy genre actually still had some decency! Sadly, I didn't read anymore Sanderson until this year. Once I started, I couldn't stop. Here's a list of his books I read just this year:

Mistborn: The Final Empire
Mistborn: The Well of Ascension
Mistborn: The Hero of Ages
Warbreaker
The Emperor's Soul
Steelheart
Mitosis
The Rithmatist

Wow... 8 books by Brandon Sanderson read this year. They were all so good... so good, in fact, that I have started collecting the hardbacks to all of them. I was lucky enough to go to Sanderson's book signing for his Steelheart release back in September, and talking with him was very refreshing. I have known too many authors who acted like they were above everything and everyone. Brandon is very humble and down to earth. And the fact that his writing is so good makes him all that much better of a person! This year, I collected hardbacks of Steelheart, The Emperor's Soul, The Rithmatist, The Alloy of Law, and Warbreaker. I hope to have the rest of his collection next year. He has at least 2 more books coming out next year (rumored to be 3) so I have my hands full catching up on his books!

4. My second novel, The Network, was published in September. I wrote the initial first draft in 2010, then sent the next 3 years rewriting, revising, and editing it. After several beta readers sent me their suggestions on things, I went back to tighten the final screws. At long last, I was happy with the end product. The revision process took 3 times as long as I allowed for my first novel, Core of the Nations, and it really shows. I still look at my first novel as a rough draft, one that I will go back and spend quality time revising and editing.

Here are a couple of interesting facts about The Network:
-Since it's release in September, roughly 200 people own a copy (digital or hard).
-Although the book appears to be the same length as Core of the Nations, it is actually about 15,000 words longer, totaling at about 72k. The font sizes are marginally different.

Some praise for The Network:

"The author has created a captivating novel I think everyone should read. I especially like the part where.... actually, I'd better let you read it. Go ahead, it might just open your mind to some new ideas you wouldn't expect."

"An imaginative, yet plausible, depiction of what the distant future might look like. There is also a good amount of insight into the emotions of the characters and their sense of love. The book definitely peaks your interest. I couldn't put it down until I finished it. Keep up the good work, Jesse."

Okay, maybe this is too long already, but I am going to mention a few things I look forward to in 2014:

1. Finally graduating from the University of Utah! Fall 2014 will be my last semester! It will have been a very long and hard road, enough to write a book about (hmmm....), but so worth it! I have 2 brothers who got their bachelor's degrees at the same school. My father and grandfather also got their degrees at the U of U, too. My brother-in-law got his MBA at the U of U. Finally I'll be able to add my name to the list! My little brother is currently enrolled at the U of U, as well. My turn to urge him on to join the club!

2. I get to read more Sanderson! I started reading The Way of Kings today, and will hopefully have the time to finish it over the next 2 months. The sequel comes out the first part of March... I still need to read The Alloy of Law. Hopefully between these 3 books, I'll be ready to read Firefight, and if Brandon finishes it, the sequel to The Alloy of Law. Gotta finish collecting them hardcovers, too!

3. I haven't let this info out too much, but I have started another novel. This one is the first book of a series (something I have never tried before, but have outlined some pretty good stuff). This will also be my first attempt at the fantasy genre, which has always seemed very scary to me. I have a particular love for Tolkien and Middle-Earth in general, and it seems like nobody has ever been able to do what he was able to do. Nothing has the depth of Tolkien's world. I have come to decide that I will be frustrated with anything if I try to compare it to Middle-Earth, so I have decided not to make the comparisons. It's not fair to me, or to other authors for that matter, and I'm limiting my enjoyment and capacity. And so, I enter my new series currently titled as The Shadow Wielder. Stay tuned for more info (remember that I am taking 20 credit hours over the next year, on top of working full time. I have a family that is the most important thing to me, so movement on this story will be slow, at least until 2015. At that point, I will be able to spend the time I am used to utilize for studying and focus my efforts on The Shadow Wielder.).

These are the only things I can currently plan for in 2014. I am sure there will be much more to report on, and I will do my best to blog when I can. In the meantime, I hope you all have the Happiest New Year ever, and if you feel daunted or nervous about the future, take control. Be yourself, and be proud of the person you are. Grab the next year by the horns and make it the best possible. I know I plan on doing just that.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NaNoWriMo is Upon Us!

I work for the University of Utah, providing IT support for multiple departments on campus. Last night there was a scheduled power outage at one of the buildings I support, so I came in early first thing this morning to make sure all critical systems were A-OK (previous power outages have caused major problems to some systems). Fortunately, all systems came up just fine, and as I waited around for the rest of the employees to show up (to make sure all PCs turned on properly), one of them approached me and asked about my latest book The Network. This is one of the many reasons I love about being an author.

She had heard me talk about the book several times and had shown interest in the plot. Throughout the past couple of years, she has asked me about it. She asked for an update today and I told her that it was published and available. Her face lit up. She asked for the ISBN and instantly looked it up on Amazon. She was ecstatic, going off about how she has loved to read ever since she could sound out letters into words. She gets up every morning at 4:30 just so she can read for an hour and a half. That's awesome.

Not enough people leisurely read anymore.  Steve Jobs said "The fact is people don't read anymore." Dang. That sentence makes me want to cry. Are we too wrapped up in the world around us? Or do we just not like to read? I commute to work every day via public transportation. I spend most of that time reading. Leisure reading, if possible. That's 2 hours every business day. I look around sometimes and see people staring out the windows, doing nothing. That's fine. If what they need is some quiet time on the bus to think and ponder, that's great. But it just seems like a waste of time! Any time I see someone reading a book, it brings a smile to my face, particularly if it is a book I have enjoyed myself.

I've also noticed a lot of people remarking that reading is "nerdy" or "geeky." I don't understand this, but if this type of learning is considered nerdy, I'm all for it. And I'll keep it up, and I'll keep writing.

Speaking of writing, NaNoWriMo is upon us! Ahhhh! This Friday, National Novel Writing Month begins. For those of you reading, and don't know what NaNoWriMo is, every November is National Novel Writing Month. I have had a few successful NaNo's. Core of the Nations and The Network were originally written as NaNos.  50,000 words in 30 days! Sound easy? Give it a try. You have 2 days!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Book Review: Steelheart - By Brandon Sanderson

Where there are villains, there will be heroes. Just wait. They will come.

Wow. I'm blown away. This was such an amazing book on so many levels. I would say it is "epic," but that is just a little cheezy for this book review.

I went to Brandon Sanderson's book signing for this book on September 25th along with one of my buddies. It was a blast; Sanderson is as good of a person as he is a writer. The 40 minute Q & A/readings of upcoming releases was amazing. But when I actually got to meet him as he signed my book... well, let's just say I could have talked to him for hours had it not been for the uber line behind me.

Where to start? The book is non-stop action. Just when you think things are starting to slow down, BAM! something even crazier happens. This happens all the way to the very last page of the book. The characters are easy to relate to, particularly David, the main character. Cody is hilarious, and can't really decide what nationality he is. Then there is Prof, the main man of the Reckoners (the group fighting against the Epics)... not gonna give up any spoilers here, but some of his moments had my jaw dropping. Megan plays an essential role, particularly for David, throughout the book. Abraham is pretty cool, and the last member of the team, Tia, is probably the Reckoner I would want to be most like.

Then there are the Epics, the mad, crazy superhumans that have been given so much power, they can't think about doing anything but control others. Steelheart, obviously, is the main bad guy. You learn to really hate him. Then there are other "high Epics" like Nightwielder and Conflux.

Then there is Firefight (the title of the next book, too...). Dang. I want to go back and reread the entire book just because of Firefight! That's all I'm saying here.

Pick up a copy. You won't regret it. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if Hollywood picks this one up. A movie version of this story (ok, I'm gonna get cheezy) would be so EPIC!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Network is Here!

Well, my friends, my project of 3 years has finally come to its culminating end: The Network has been published and is available everywhere! (Most stores will likely have to order it in, or just go to Amazon and order it)

What a fun ride. The Network was a book I was excited about throughout the entire process. I loved the creation, the twists and turns the story brought me. I even loved the editing! If you want a quick look, just click here. If you buy your copy from Amazon, you'll get a free Kindle version, too! Yay for freebies!

Yesterday I was privileged to meet Brandon Sanderson at a book signing in Salt Lake City. He signed my new copy of Steelheart. He spoke for about 40 minutes, which was awesome. He read a few excerpts from 2 upcoming books - the sequel to The Way of Kings, as well as the sequel to The Alloy of Law. Both were awesome.

I'm 7 chapters into Steelheart, and I must say, it is really good! Sanderson sold the movie rights to the book, and I sure hope someone picks it up and makes a film out of it!

In any case, you need to get yourself a copy of this book! You won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Case of the Oreo Cookies

This is the first short story I ever wrote. I was 13 years old!

The Case of the Oreo Cookies
©1999

It was about 3:00 p.m. on a stormy Friday afternoon. Brad Neville was working with his dad at Neville’s Grocery Store as he always did each evening after school. Watching a step-van back up to the loading dock filled with all kinds of Nabisco cookies and crackers, Brad wondered why his dad was so anxious to have the Nabisco man finally arrived.

Offering to set up the cracker and cookie displays for his dad in an attempt to get out of mopping the floors, Brad opened the back of the step-van. Mr. Neville, the store owner of fifteen years, said, “Sure, son, go ahead… all except the Oreo display. And don’t forget the floors.”

While his dad arranged the Oreo display, Brad stacked Wheat Thins and Animal Crackers. He was determined to finish his displays before his dad finished the Oreo display. Brad had been kept busy all day in the store and was due for a break. He was hungry, and those Oreos would be just the snack to fill that empty spot. But with the floors still to mop, he was sure break time was only a dream. As he got the mop and bucket out, he kept one eye on the Oreo display as he watched his father place the final package of Oreos at the very top of a perfectly formed pyramid. With all the Oreos in place, Mr. Neville made eye contact with his son as he turned and went to his office.

As Brad passed his father’s display on his way to the storage room to get the cleaning compound, he skillfully swiped the top package of Oreos from the perfect pyramid. Quickly, he dashed into the storage room without turning on the light. He knew the storage room like the back of his hand. Hearing the door suddenly open behind him, he stashed the Oreos between cardboard boxes that would likely be tied up and sent away for recycling. Just in the nick of time, the lights came on and standing in the doorway was Mr. Neville. Asking the boy what he was doing here in the dark, Mr. Neville suspiciously eyed Brad and waited for a response.

“Gee, Dad, you know how the light in here always shorts out on stormy nights.”

Mr. Neville reluctantly nodded and muttered, “Oh yeah, I’ll fix that darn light one of these days.” Then he looked down at his watch and said, “I’d like to close up early tonight, Brad. Business has been slow and you need to get home and get going on some homework.”

Somewhat relieved, Brad smiled and said, “Sure thing Dad, right after I finish mopping the floors.”

Along about 9:00 p.m., Mr. Neville had Brad finish up a few odd jobs around the store before sending him home.

* * *

About half an hour later, Mr. Neville, who was still in his office looking at some expensive property he dreamed of owning someday, suddenly heard a noise inside the store. Walking quietly up and down the aisles, he heard another noise coming from the storage room. The storm outside made it difficult to get around the store in the dark, but he found the door to the storage room easily because light was shining through the bottom crack. With adrenaline rushing, he turned the knob and pushed the door open. At that precise moment, a bolt of lightning struck and the light shorted out.

Always keeping a flashlight handy near the door, Mr. Neville instantly grabbed it and turned it on when he saw a dark figure rushing for the back door.

When the identity of the intruder was revealed, the store owner felt both shock and relief all at once. After all, it was only Brad who had now stopped in his tracks.

“Brad!?” he exclaimed. “Are you stealing from my store?”

“No sir,” Brad stammered. “Honest. I wouldn’t steal…”

“Then what is in your hands?”

“Nothing, Dad.”

Mr. Neville gave him a stern look.

Seeing he was obviously caught, Brad confessed, “Alright, they’re Oreo cookies.”

Taking the unopened package, Mr. Neville looked at it and said, “I thought there was a package missing.” He gave it back to the boy. “Go home Brad, it’s late.”

Feeling ashamed, Brad took the package and left.

* * *

Brad got up early the next morning and, as usual, was hungry. Waffles sounded good, so he thought he would mix some up… until he spotted his partially eaten package of Oreos. He grabbed the package, turned on the radio, and made his way over to the table where he noticed a note written in his dad’s handwriting. Munching on his favorite snack, Brad read the note.

Am down at Bobby’s shop.
Fix yourself something for breakfast.
Should be back soon.
-Dad

“That’s cool,” Brad said aloud, as he put the next whole cookie in his mouth.

With music blasting, he thought about his dad’s best buddy, Bobby James, owner of the Hunting, Fishing, ETC. Shop. His thoughts then turned to Bobby’s daughter, Trisha, who Brad had been hanging out with these days. They had hit it off real well together and if Brad could, he’d like to ask her to go with him. There was just one problem… Bobby James. Brad knew Bobby James couldn’t stand him. This feeling became obvious when he first started taking Trisha out. Before that, Bobby James only pulled practical jokes on Brad. He would get a kick out of doing thing like tripping Brad or filling his soda pop can with sand. Brad was always a good sport about it though. Now Bobby James would, well… let’s just say, if looks could kill, Brad would be dead.

***

This is where I come into the picture. So, you ask, who am I? I am Private Investigator Jesse Booth. I was called in on the case a couple of weeks ago. Mr. Colby Neville walked into my office and laid out his suspicions. He hired me to follow his friend Bobby James, who he thought wanted to murder his son. According to Mr. Neville, his son Brad started dating Bobby’s daughter, Brad had gone from being a “naïve nerd” to a “smart-aleck schmuck.” He told me that Bobby James said Brad was a good-for-nothing idiot and would never measure up in his eyes. Bobby James even boasted that he was planning the biggest prank that he had ever pulled on the kid. And this one was going to hurt. That’s when I decided to look into the history of Bobby James. I found nothing of great significance. So I parked my van outside the Hunting Fishing ETC. Shop and watched the comings and goings of Bobby James and I must say in my investigation I came up with a lot of intriguing information on the case. But first, back to Brad Neville, in his kitchen, devouring those crunchy and creamy chocolate cookie treats.

Suddenly the DJ came on bringing Brad out of his day-dream with this special announcement: “Hey all you Oreo cookie lovers! Do you also like sporting goods? Well, have I got news for you! Thousands of Oreo cookies have been stocked at Neville’s Grocery Store, but ladies and gentlemen, only one package of Oreo cookies contains one single cookie without, AND I REPEAT, without that yummy creamy middle.”

Just as Brad reached in for the last Oreo cookie, he noticed that frosting was not in the middle! Could this be real? Brad quickly turned his concentration towards the radio: “That’s right folks, if you are the lucky winner of this Oreo contest, bring your creamless cookie down to Bobby James’ Hunting, Fishing, ETC. Shop for a prize to die for!”

Brad’s heart was racing. To think that he held in his hand the one and only creamless cookie Oreo cookie in the world; his ticket for a prize to die for! What could it be? He imagined the new Hot Rod 2000 fishing rod and reel, the one he had been wanting for the past three months. His first urge was to head right over to Bobby James’ store and claim his prize. Remembering Bobby James’ shop didn’t open until 10:00 a.m., Brad hesitated as he looked at the clock. It was only 9:13, but his dad was already there so he could probably go early.

***

Now back to me, Jesse Booth P.I.

I had done my homework and I was ready and waiting at Bobby James’ shop before anyone got there. I knew what was about to happen, and I was there to make sure it wouldn’t. I got myself safely inside the shop in my usual undercover fashion, which will remain my secret. At exactly 8:01 a.m. I heard the jingling of keys at the door. I could see through the door window. It was Bobby James, coming in and locking the door behind him.

It wasn’t ten minutes more and Colby Neville came knocking at the door. I remained undercover as Bobby James let him in. From the back room where I was hiding, I watched the two men discuss something. Bobby James reached for a case with a glass cover and showed Mr. Neville its contents. I couldn’t tell what it was until he opened it up and pulled out some kind of pistol, possibly a 22 caliber. Bobby’s eyes became filled with crazed excitement as he pointed it towards the backroom. I ducked briefly, just in case. Then, turning, Bobby James held his gun up to his own hand and pulled the trigger. A stream of water fell from his hand and onto the counter. The two men slapped the counter and hooted with laughter. Replacing the water pistol back inside the case and closing the glass lid, Bobby James put the case on top of the counter. Bobby and Colby then went out of the store, locking the door behind them.

I had the overwhelming feeling not to leave, that there was more to witness. My gut feelings proved correct because not long after, I heard the lock on the shop door being fiddled with. I strained to see who was at the door, but they must have been kneeling where I could not see because the counter was in the way of that half of the door. I did see the door open but still could not see who was coming in because of the counter. I didn’t move or make a sound as I watched carefully as a hand came up the other side of the counter, opened the gun case, reached for the water pistol taking it out. A second or
two later, I watched the same hand replace it with what looked like a real 22 caliber pistol. My guess was that it was loaded. As craftily as the prowler came in, he also went out.

***

At precisely 9:27 a.m., the door was unlocked again and Bobby James came in. This time he would get ready to open at 10:00. Colby Neville came in announcing that his son, Brad, was just turning the corner coming down the street. The two men gave each other a knowing look. The bell on the door signaled Brad’s happy arrival. Holding the single creamless Oreo in his hand, he sang out, “I WIN!!! I WIN!!!”

The two men looked at each other and then, faking a surprised look, congratulated Brad. The unsuspecting victim showed his proof and Bobby James nodded his approval. “So, Brad, what do you think the prize is?”

Shrugging and looking around the store, Brad’s eyes rested on the Hot Rod and Reel 2000. Full of hope, he asked if the prize could possibly be the fishing pole.

“I bet you’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Bobby James responded to his gaze.

With wide eyes, Brad nodded, “Yes.”

Bobby James said, “Well, I’m happy to say the prize is something better than that, Brad. It is to die for! Can you guess what it is?”

Growing impatient, Brad replied, “I can’t imagine what it could be.”

Knowing that the moment had arrived, Bobby James said, “Well, I guess I’ll just have to let you have it.” Sliding the gun case closer to him, Bobby pulled the gun out and slowly aimed it at Brad. With an evil grin, he pulled the trigger. Brad screamed in terror! Then, wiping water from his eyes and face, he moaned, “Oh man.”

Bobby shrieked with laughter.

At that moment, Colby Neville cried out, “What the heck?”

That’s where I came in. Coming from the back room, I said, “Are you surprised, Mr. Neville? Was this not what you had planned?”

Startled, all three turned around but no one’s eyes were as quite as big as Mr. Colby Neville’s. Revealing a pistol of my own, I stated with composure, “Mr. Neville, you are under arrest. The charges? Attempted murder.”

“I don’t see how there could be a murder here with a squirt gun,” Mr. Neville said coolly.

I answered, “With a squirt gun, no. But with a real 22 caliber pistol, such as the one here in my pocket, there could be a murder, couldn’t there?!” I pulled the murder weapon out with my free hand as the eyes of all three men got very big. “Mr. Neville, you should recognize this gun. It is yours, isn’t it?”

“I don’t own a gun and I don’t know who I’d be murdering if I did.”

“Well, Mr. Neville, maybe I could help you remember. First of all, your son Brad is the murder victim and you and your buddy Bobby here set Brad up to come down here today, and with what...? his favorite snack, an Oreo cookie.”

“But it was all a part of a little practical joke, Mr…. uh… who are you anyway?” Bobby James wanted to know.

“I’m the private investigator Mr. Neville hired a few weeks ago to find out why you would want to kill his son.”

Bobby James was horrified and Brad was dumbfounded. I went on, “Yes, Mr. James, your good friend set you up to kill his son for him. The hand I saw switching your water pistol for a real 22 belonged to Mr. Neville. Before you and Mr. Neville returned to the store, I switched the 22 back to the water pistol. It seems strange that anybody would want to have his own son killed. Or is he your son, Mr. Neville?”

“Of course he is, he has my name.”

“So, you say his name is Brad Neville?”

Brad spoke up suddenly, “Sir, that is my name and this is my dad. He is a darn good dad, too.”

Speaking to Brad now, I said, “Kid, I know this is going to be hard for you to hear, but you might as well find out now. This man is really your Uncle Colby, brother to your mother who passed away with your father in an accident when you were an infant. You see, your mother and Uncle Colby were born to very wealthy parents. Your mother was the older child and so when her parents died, she was put in charge of the estate. As she rewrote the new will, you, Brad, were named the next heir of the estate, not her brother. That’s a little hard to swallow, isn’t it Mr. Neville?”

“Where did you get your information, Mr. P.I.?” Mr. Neville demanded.

“Oh, the state records are a fairly reliable source,” I responded. “And the records state that Brad Neville isn’t Brad Neville at all. He is really Brad Kerr!” Then with sarcasm, I said, “Mr. Neville, I admire you taking guardianship of this young man for so many years. How unselfish of you.

“All you had to do was get rid of him and take the estate for yourself. So you needed someone to do the dirty deed for you. It was a pretty good setup, except you needed a private investigator to convict someone other than yourself, right?”

With a cherry red face, Colby Neville bellowed out, “It wasn’t fair! My sister should have given me the estate, not him! The money will be mine!” he promised.

I moved around the back of Mr. Neville to handcuff him.

“I’ll get you Brad! That money is mine!” Neville said as I ushered him out the shop door. “Sure, sure,” I said. “Save it for the chief down at the station.”

Another case closed, and no one got hurt.


***

“So, Brad Kerr, huh?” asked Bobby James. Both still in shock, Bobby James offered Brad Kerr an Oreo cookie. Never refusing an Oreo, Brad took it, put the whole thing in his mouth, and with a sticky voice said, “M-m-m-m-m… Minty!!!” With a sheepish grin, Bobby James replies, “Yeah, toothpaste!”

Friday, June 14, 2013

One form of writing on hold, another one in full effect...

It's been awhile since I've added anything to the blog... Work and school have been keeping me busy.  With that being said, I'm still finding some time to write... but I haven't been writing stories as of late.  I've been writing music! I have struck up a contract with an old friend to write children songs for his Youtube Channel, Kidslearningvideo. I have recorded and submitted 4 songs to him, but he has only created the animations and uploaded 2 of them.

Animal Sounds Song

 


This is an original song, written and performed by me.  My son, Jordan (2 years old) just loves this video.  You can't go wrong with all of those animal sounds! The next video has my own version of the classic "Old MacDonald" song in it.  Hope you enjoy them! More will be coming soon!

Old MacDonald had a Farm

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Network - Final Run

Yes, it is true.  I am nearing the end of the writing journey with The Network.  I'm down to the last few pages of final edits, and guess what?  I love the story even more than before.  I will be the first to admit that it is not perfect.  There are flaws throughout the story.  But I do love the characters.  I feel like they are close friends.

I am excited to finally get this novel out to the general public.  I think it will interest multiple people.  If you happened to be a beta reader for me, I thank you immensely.  Your feed back has helped me transform my novel into something far better than I expected.

I want to specifically thank Melissa Lemon, author of Cinder and Ella, Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem, and Blue Sky.  Her experienced suggestions and analyses were simply amazing!  She went the extra mile to help me out.  If you get a moment, check out her website!  She is great!

I soon will start a new quest, attempting to approach agents to see if I can spark some interest among any publishers.  My beta readers urged me to try this route.  As daunting as it is, I look forward to it with hope.  The book is a worthwhile read.

I will update this blog with any news on The Network.  If anybody wants to read it prior to publishing, let me know.  You can read the prologue here (it's currently the unedited version... I'll try to update it ASAP!).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Day of Mother Time and Father Nature

 




The Day of Mother Time and Father Nature

By Jesse Booth
Copyright 2012



The natural order of the earth­ includes fathers and mothers.  So it has been from the foundations of the universe.  But there was a time when time itself did not yet exist, and because of the resulting stillness, nature did not exist either.  If one natural law is somehow broken, others will most likely be broken as well.  But I’m jumping ahead of myself, for this tale begins when no natural law existed.
When a seed is planted, it does not instantly germinate and pop up from the ground, yielding fruit ripe for the picking.  Such an experience needs much help from nature.  Before a plant can produce anything, though, it needs time.
The world did not simply pop out of nowhere, sprouting plant and animal life.  The natural side of things, while important, could not happen until time existed.
As we all are living and breathing, and while you yourself are reading this very story, it is obvious that time does indeed exist.  Father Time created time.
So who is this “Father Time?”  He did not invent time. Father Time follows natural laws, which hints that he existed within nature somewhere else before his greatest task began.
Not much is known about his origins and exactly what kind of being he is, nor what he looks like.  But you have seen fragments of him.  The hands of your clock spinning slowly are his hands.  The alarm that screams at you every morning is but a whisper of a wake-up call (that you really ask for, no matter what side of the bed you wake up on).
            His wife is Mother Nature, who you see on a daily basis, but usually forget about.  Little is also known about her, but she is far less elusive than Father Time.
She is the sunrise in the morning and the sunset in the evening.  She is the brush of air parting your hair.  The slight drizzles from the sky are her tears, but they usually are followed by her rainbow smile.  The calm puffy-white clouds rolling slowly across the sky are her spas of relaxation.  The forests are her shrines; the deserts are her oases.  The oceans and lakes make up her heart; the rivers and streams are her arteries and veins.
But she has a mean streak.  Her mood swings are unpredictable most of the time.  Torrents of rain flood the ground, dark luminous clouds stretch over the land, great winds howl, and cold air bites.  No soul has lived on the planet without feeling some level of fear caused by Mother Nature.
Some days she gets downright out of control.  Amidst her tirades of anger, earthquakes rise up, causing ripples of damage everywhere.  Tidal waves swallow dry land.  Tornados rip and pull, then fling miscellaneous objects miles away.  Lightning and thunderstorms clash and boom in the sky, their hazardous fighting brilliantly illuminating the darkness in sudden bursts.
And she is a smoker: just take a look at her volcanoes!  Father Time has been trying to get her to quit for millenniums upon millenniums, but she cannot give them up.
While Mother Nature does have her mood swings, she usually stays reasonably calm.  Most importantly, she relies on Father Time in order to do her job.
Father Time is the greatest mathematician, physicist, and astrologer ever known.  He keeps the Earth spinning at just the right speed to allot for twenty-four hour days, sixty minute hours, and sixty second minutes.  And all of this is done at a perfect distance away from (or close to, depending on how you look at it) the sun, which provides the perfect balance for Mother Nature to keep life flourishing on the planet.
            So the world has been this way for millions of years, and so it should always be.  But one evening, as the world began to quiet down, they had an argument.
            “Father Time,” Mother Nature began, “though I could perform no task without your aid, I must state that at the end of the day I work harder than you.”
            “I beg your pardon?” he replied with an edge.
            “It’s true, you know,” she continued, quite positive she knew the facts.  “My job is full of great important tasks, as well as equally important small tasks.  To put it simply, I have more on my plate than you do.”
            “I can hardly believe that,” Father Time scoffed.  “Even after all this time we’ve been together, you still have no idea what I do.”
            “Don’t fool yourself,” she replied.  “I’ve watched you casually spinning the world on your finger for eternity now.  Sure, you throw in an extra day every four years.  But it’s no secret that I’m the master of multitasking around here!”
            “Master of multitasking?” he laughed.  “More like the master of mood swings!  You storm about day to day without any form of organization, and when the built-up frustration gets to you, you lash out at the planet!”
            “Don’t lecture me about organization!  I’ve got a lot more to fulfill in the twenty-four hour days you give me than you do.”
            “We’ve been over this before,” replied Father Time.  “Twenty-four hours is plenty of time in a day.  If I made thirty-six hour days, or forty-eight hour days, you’d be even worse off, trying to cram even more of your work into extended time.  Plus, every living creature on the planet loves my organization of time.  It makes sense and is easy to follow.  And it’s predictable!”
            “Well if you think my job could so easily be handled with your organizational skills, why don’t you try what I do for a day!” Mother Nature yelled.
            “Surely you jest,” he replied.  “You couldn’t maintain a single hour if I let you try.”
            “Oh, please,” she said in mounting frustration, “your work is child’s play compared to mine!”
            Father Time smiled.  “Very well.  At midnight we will exchange positions for a full twenty-four hour period.  We will see who has the more difficult job.”
            And thus, at midnight, began the Day of Mother Time and Father Nature.

            Midnight came quickly that night.  The hands of time were passed to Mother Nature and the administration of nature was given to Father Time.  After their exchange, each housed a smugness neither had ever felt before.
            “Balance is the key, my dear,” he winked to Mother Nature.  “So is organization.”
            “Thanks for the tips.”  Sarcasm flooded the statement.  “I’m not giving you any.”
            “No need, no need at all!  Good luck!”
And that was the end of conversation for the day.
            The beginning of chaos began.
            Right away, Mother Nature lost all rhythm with her spinning, throwing the time scale completely off.  Hours became minutes.  The whole world slowed down.  In an attempt to mend the situation, she overcompensated, speeding time up way too fast, tilting the world the wrong way in the process.  The equator suddenly raised perpendicular to its normal station. Polar ice caps immediately started melting quickly, causing ocean levels to rise dangerously.
            Balance, indeed, was the key.
            Unfortunately, these problems made things even worse for Father Time.  The sudden climate changes were wreaking havoc on the earth.  Being unused to such things, he reacted in the only way he could.  He caused earthquakes to snap along every possible coast in an effort to raise cliffs to protect inlands from going under water.  These earthquakes likely caused just as much damage as the water levels would have.  Before he could even think about the islands of the seas, they were buried.
            It took several hours for Mother Nature to put the planet back on the right tilt.  She could only imagine the damage she had just caused to her garden.
            After adjusting the tilt properly, she tried to figure out the proper speed the planet needed to spin.  Her mind was not made for such calculations. She continued to attempt the number crunching.
            Meanwhile, Father Time was trying to figure out what he could do with all the excess water when a brilliant idea came to him.  The deserts (which had always seemed so ugly to him) looked parched.  He caused great clouds to build up, vaporizing millions of gallons of water.
            Stirring up winds, the big dark clouds hustled to the driest locations of the planet.  This type of orchestrated organization was his right up his alley.  He let loose the built up condensation in every dry location.  Downpours began, and the parched sand greedily drank.
            Afternoon had already come.  The morning had been nothing more than a blink.
“Now for the real cleansing,” he smiled.  He forced more of the excess water through the vast system of tunnels in the earth connecting volcano to volcano.  He would finally be able to extinguish those blasted puffing mountains!
Steam belched and sizzled into the air, causing more clouds to form.  He did not care.  The ash-spewing mountains would become simple, everyday mountains.  If nothing else, it would break Mother Nature of her bad habit!
The hours moved on, and both Father Time and Mother Nature failed at their tasks miserably.
As Mother Nature focused on spinning speed, she lost track of Earth’s revolution around the sun.  While the rotation of the planet slowly improved, the orbital movement increased, causing time to speed up.   Hours became minutes.  She screamed out loud due to the frustration of the multitasking.
Father Time was dealing with a whole slew of problems.  The planet seemed to be bulging.  Then it dawned on him; the purpose of the volcanoes was to release the pressure from the core of the planet!  They were Earth’s ventilation system!  Why hadn’t Mother Nature ever told him?  He tried to figure out a solution on unplugging the clogged mountains.
His other main issue was the deserts he had flooded with rain.  They had transformed into bogs, and if you thought deserts were bad, bogs are even worse!
He shook his head in surrender.  He needed to be in an organized job.  All of this nonsensical nature business was beyond him.
In frustration he threw lightning bolts randomly.  He watched in horror as fires ignited where the bolts landed.  Quickly he gathered rainclouds in an effort to extinguish the hungry flames consuming plant life.
Once the flames were doused, he blew the rainclouds to oblivion.
If he was not already upset by the events of the day, he surrendered when he saw the forests not only charred, but also flooded by the downpour he issued.
“By Murphy’s hands!” he exclaimed to nobody.  He did not know anybody or anything by that name, but it came out of his mouth nonetheless.  Thus we learn the origins of blaming this unreal person, Murphy, in which a law was based off of and is still used today.  It is so easy to blame personal mistakes on others!
Mother Nature had also given up.  The whole time business proved to be too much for her.  She decided to speed up time to finish the twenty-four hour period more rapidly.
At last, the day had ended.  Father Time and Mother Nature ran to each other, both completely exhausted and exasperated.
“I’ll admit it,” Mother Nature breathed.  “Your job is far more difficult than mine!”
“I beg to differ,” Father Time disagreed.  “I’m not completely sure, but I think I may have left some permanent damage…”
“If you did, it was probably my fault.”
“Not at all, not at all.  Let’s just agree that both of us are perfect for our own jobs.”
“No disagreement will come from my lips!”
They exchanged responsibilities back to each other.
“Well, there’s our problem!” exclaimed Father Time.  “The planet is upside down and spinning backwards!”
“You never told me which way was up or down or which way the spinning should go!” Mother Nature replied in defense.  “And any case, look at my once-beautiful planet!  It isn’t even recognizable anymore!”
“Yeah, well, let’s not point any more fingers, unless they’re aimed at Murphy.”
“Who is Murphy?” she asked, confused.
“I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure he caused all of this.  You see, time follows laws and nature follows laws.  If for some reason those laws are broken, then Murphy’s Law comes into play.”
            “And what’s Murphy’s Law, exactly?” she asked without amusement.
            “Well, if I were to define it, it would be that if anything can go wrong, it will.”
            “Quite pessimistic, don’t you think?”
            “Perhaps.  But at least the blame falls on Murphy…”
            “Blame Murphy all you want, but realize that we caused all these problems by switching responsibilities.”
            “I can accept that statement,” he admitted.  “In all reality, I hope you realize how much I appreciate what you do.  Had we not exchanged jobs, I never would have come to this realization.”
            “The same goes for you.  Now please, get time back on schedule.  I’ll see to the repairs of the planet.”
            Thus, Father Time swiftly put the planet in its proper time frame.  The perfect balance of spinning, orbiting, and tilting allowed for Mother Nature to patch up the damaged planet.
            Millions of years later, the human race would exist, and never know what happened… until now.  You have read it.  And I’m quite sure you are pleased with Father Time and Mother Nature for working out their differences all those many years ago.