The Journal, Thursday, July 26

Hey Folks,

A few decades ago I started writing aphorisms and definitions, more as a mental exercise than anything else.

Be forewarned: Of the definitions, some are serious, some are attempts at humor (ala Ambrose Bierce) and all are cynical. Which, if any, you perceive as humorous will depend on your own life and experiences.

So today, here are a few random thoughts, definitions and aphorisms. Except where noted, these are original to me. If any of them spur story ideas, please feel free:

From a poster I saw on Facebook — “The past is in your head. The future is in your hands.” (

My take on it — “The past is in your head and the future is a possibility. But the present is in your hands.”

Or the way Wes Crowley put it, “Any day that starts with you seeing the sun rise and ends with you seeing the sun set has the potential to be a good day. The rest is up to you.”

Why do I focus on character and setting? Because maybe 10% of a fiction is comprised of events that take place in a setting. The other 90% is the characters’ reactions to that event, which also take place in a setting.

Democratic Republic, n. That form of government in which, every four years, the citizens are kept busy canceling each other’s votes while the electoral college selects a president.

Fictionist, n. One who puts the truth, save the boring parts, into the proper perspective for the entertainment of an audience.

Friend, n. 1. One who knows the difference between intent and perception and gives greater weight to your intent than to his or her perception. 2. One of two or more people, each of whom feels superior to the other but will not say so out of an egotistical sense of kindness; situationally, one who needs.

Addendum to the definition of “Friend”: Honesty above all else. I’d rather have an honest enemy than a dishonest friend.

Friendship, n. 1. That relationship which exists when each trusts the other to do no intentional harm, and when each trusts the other will not leap to the conclusion that he or she meant intentional harm. 2. A sometimes fleeting condition for which Need is the catalyst and Trust is the currency.

Intellectual, n. 1. One who will drive a Hummer six blocks to a Save the Ozone rally or fly internationally on a fuel-guzzling jet to plant a tree. 2. A closet tuna-eater. 3. One who will gladly sacrifice your life to ensure his right to spout off. 4. One who quickly and gladly latches on to a bit of propaganda and fervently bears witness to its truth until it’s proven false, at which time he clears his memory and latches on to the next bit. 5. One who, handed a scrap of paper with “see other side” penned on both sides, would not fall for the gag, but would apply for and receive an NEA Foundation grant to study the phenomenon.

Intolerance, n. Proof of an atrophied mind and a lazy disposition.

Casting a blanket of blame is a handy way to escape the rigors of original thought.

The right to free speech does not include the right to an audience.

There is no greater conflict than that of a character with a conscience, a choice of paths, and an urgent need, provided by an external stimulus, to choose one.

I think that’s a good smattering of jagged fragments from a frayed mind. Hope you enjoyed them.

Of Interest

Wow. See “Business Musings: Sometimes I Just React…” at

See “First Page Critique” at I don’t usually recommend these, but this one is so sweeping and spot-on I do recommend it.

See “An Ode to Libraries, the Original Co-Working Spaces” at

See you again soon.