The Daily Journal, Monday, April 22

In today’s Journal

▪ Still downloading
▪ Too Important for “Of Interest”
▪ Topic: Life Wants to Live
▪ A note about “Of Interest”
▪ Daily diary
▪ Of Interest
▪ The numbers

I visited yesterday and downloaded more possible cover pics for Blackwell Ops 5, and this morning I continued and downloaded even more.

And yes, as I scanned “women in shadow” pics (thousands of them) I also downloaded a lot of pics that appealed to me for future stories and/or covers too. Easy to get happily lost while doing that. (grin)

But everything’s moving forward. I’ll get the cover done for BO5 and get it distributed today, and then I’ll get back to writing BO6.

From the Too Important for “Of Interest” Department, see “Tracking Phones, Google Is a Dragnet for the Police” at

Topic: Life Wants to Live

If you write stories in which characters die, it’s important to have a sense of what that must be like.

Obviously, you don’t want to actually experience it, but you can think (conscious, critical mind, learning) yourself close.

It’s important to get it as right as you can. Not that the character in question will have any idea of what happened to him, unless, maybe, you’re writing a paranormal story. But as all of you probably already know, death also affects those who continue to live.

I’ve thought about death a lot, off and on. Not only the experience itself and not only its ramifications and repercussions and what leads one to experience it. One of the big questions I’ve always had (and explored) is whether the deceased really believed it could happen just before it did.

I don’t think so. I don’t think we have the capacity to really believe deep-down that we’re going to simply stop being.

I’ve been close to death more than several times. The first few times I wasn’t aware of it, at all.

I won’t bore you with details. What’s important here is what caused me to focus-in.

I had three heart attacks — the first in 1990 and the last in 2000 — and one near cardiac arrest (they aren’t the same thing).

The first heart attack passed on its own (it’s a long story) and the other two were attended to by physicians, the third with a 7-hour operation called the Ross Procedure.

Flash forward to April, 2008, the near cardiac arrest caused by a complete heart block (a disconnect of the electrical signal that tells the heart when to beat).

In short, my ticker kept trying to stop, so I’d pass out. Then my brain would send me the worst nightmare I’ve ever had. The extreme fear released a surge of adrenaline, forcing my heart to beat and causing me to sieze myself awake.

I went through several cycles of this, and each pass-out/sieze/wake-up cycle occurred in the space of several seconds to a few minutes each.

That was finally corrected with an early morning trip to the local 6-bed hospital (a 10-minute trip during which I passed-out/siezed/woke-up several times), a medevac flight that I don’t remember to Tucson Medical Center, and the implantation of a pacemaker.

But even with all of that, it was only during one of the ensuing six-month pacemaker checkups that I started seriously thinking about death.

Making conversation, I casually asked a pacer tech what would happen if my pacemaker stopped working.

He shrugged, looked up from his paperwork, and said, “Life wants to live.”

Wow. What a profound statement.

Life wants to live. Even if my pacemaker stopped cold, my body and brain would do everything it could to continue. Just as it had before. Of course, if it couldn’t….

Which caused me to begin wondering whether we ever really believe we’re about to die.

I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe we realize it just before it happens. I mean in the second or instant before it happens.

I suspect there’s an instant when the brain thinks something like, “Oh. So this is it then.” And then there’s nothing.

Of course I’ve read accounts of people “moving into the light” and all that. I make no value judgements. Whether those reports are credible probably depends on the individual, his or her belief system, and/or what s/he wants to believe in the moment.

For a writer, whether those or other reports or thoughts are credible depends on the story and the belief system of the writer and the character(s).

There are no clear answers to the question.

But as I used to say often, the most important grouping of words in the English language is the one that comprises a question.

Not because a question leads to an answer, but because it leads to more questions.

In other words, Questions lead to Thought. And in that way, questions verify and validate life. As René Descartes put it, “Cogito, ergo sum.” (“I think, therefore I am.”)

So think. Consider for a moment my pacer tech’s profound statement, especially delivered as it was past a so-what shrug: “Life wants to live.”

What do you think? In that final instant or second when s/he understands s/he will be no more, What would your character’s last sensation or utterance or thought be?

In “Of Interest” today there’s a post on ways to come up with chapter titles.

NOTE: if you still distribute to Smashwords, and if you use chapter titles, you’ll have to manually create an interactive table of contents (TOC). You can learn how to do that by downloading my free book, The Essentials of Digital Publishing. It’s PDF, so you can print it out if you want to.

I learned the hard way that Smashwords will create an automatic TOC only if you label each chapter with “Chapter 1,” “Chapter 2,” etc. It has to be the word “Chapter” followed by the actual numeral or numerals (not the spelled-out “One,” “Two,” etc.).

Rolled out around 1:30 and was in the Hovel by 2. I continued looking at and downloading photos from, then wrote the above stuff.

After working on the cover for Blackwell Ops 5, I distributed the novel for release on May 1 at D2D, Amazon and Smashwords. I took a break up to the house, did a few chores and finally turned to the WIP at 10 to begin cycling.

I’m a little annoyed with myself. I’m rapidly running out of time today (other pressing things to do) and haven’t added much new to the WIP, so I’m counting today as another non-writing day. Sigh.

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Wrong Direction” at

See Sean Monaghan’s “Finding Your Voice” at

See “Your Writing Process. Accept That It Is What It Is” at

Via Linda Adams’ newsletter, see “Six Ways To Come Up With Good Chapter Titles” at

See “17 Literary Journals that Read Submissions ‘Blind'” at

See “Elvis Presley — What Really Killed The King Of Rock ‘N Roll” at

See “Free Fiction Monday: Star” at

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1160 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 1160

Writing of Blackwell Ops 6: Charlie Task (novel)

Day 10… 3212 words. Total words to date…… 25902
Day 11… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 35940
Total fiction words for the year………… 253741
Total nonfiction words for the month… 26790
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 103860
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 357601

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 5
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… X
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 42
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 193
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

2 thoughts on “The Daily Journal, Monday, April 22”

  1. You’re pacer tech was so right. My great-grandmother’s pacemaker quit about 10 years before she died at 93. At her then-age, they didn’t want to put her through the procedure to replace it, so they told my great-aunt to “call in the family” since it wouldn’t be long before she died, since her heart wouldn’t be able to keep her going for long without it. Ha! 10 years later, after multiple cancer scares, a couple of bouts of pneumonia, and the pacemaker dying, all with medical personnel advising “call in the family”, she died peacefully in her sleep without any health compromises going on other than being old enough to have been there to see the events of the Old Testament personally. LOL

    • Thanks, Dawn. What a lovely tribute to your grandmother. Of course, I’m not old, but I do recall having to wipe the dinosaur poop off my battle-axe before being granted liberty on the then eighth day of the week, Lumday. 🙂

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