Posted in Author's Notes

We The People

My whole life I’ve thought of myself as a free-thinker. I’ve never been especially political until the tail end of last year, when it became clear that a lunatic, misogynist, racist, hate mongering demagogue was attempting to become president of the United States. I think he aims to rule us all, if he can. He talks a lot about all these terrible problems ‘visiting our shores’, but I’m sure many of you reading this will agree with me when you say that every summer vacation you’ve gone to the shore and seen no blood-thirsty gangs or immigrants ready to chop our heads off. Have you? I haven’t, the shore is one of my favorite places to go in the summer for a little R&R.

You may be wondering why my website is so drastically different looking. Even my logo has changed. When the country changed yesterday, I changed with it. I changed my mind and my approach to a lot. Many people have said publicly that this is the first time in their life they’ve ever been so politically active. I’m right there too, as politically active as I ever thought I would be. My website now reflects nature, something I wish to preserve. It reflects calm, and order, which are values and qualities worth reminding ourselves about, and peacefully organizing around maintaining.

Yesterday I had the privilege and honor to march and stand with my wife and almost five million  men and women all over the world in peaceful defiance of this man whom I can only call Trumple Thinkskin. (I heard about this from my wife while she was looking at facebook on the way home from the rally in Philly, so I have no idea who coined that awesome phrase first, just know it wasn’t me.) And it wasn’t just defiance. It was a uniting of our voices that women are equal to men in all the ways that count but also superior (in my view) to men because they can make other people, because they can bear pain we can’t even imagine, because they have been compassionate and graceful while the patriarchy has held them down for thousands of years.

My wife and I at the Women's March in Philly, 01/21/2017 My wife and I at the Women’s March in Philly, 01/21/2017

Women everywhere all over the world, and men too, and LGBTQ, are raising their voices and will go unheard no longer. The world changes because people change, because nature changes. No one, not even this new ‘POTUS’ can actually take us backwards in time. Trumple’s words are just the pathetic sounds of a dog’s barking. The People will not resign themselves, nor give up a fight, nor turn a blind eye based on new laws that have been past. No. I submit that people will continually do the right thing to ensure a better planet. That people will risk more with their personal lives and their businesses to make sure people of all walks of life get a fair shake. I see cities uniting against Trumple’s ridiculous changes and forging their own laws and customs, and fighting for what they believe is right. In fact, many cities have already made such promises before Trump swore in to office. I see a mass resistance the likes of which has never been possible before in history.

While it’s true that history often repeats itself, it is also true that at no other time in history have The People been so united and coordinated with technology, with intelligence, with passion, and with so many great purposes to further. I see a world where The People start calling more shots in the absence of a leader who can properly perform the job at hand. I see people who are watching everything Trumple does very carefully, because they’re there with him, right in front of him, and waiting for him to make the wrong moves that threaten their lives and security. I see a world full of people not willing to allow yet another dictator. You may think I’m a dreamer, or a wishful thinker. But no, I am a free thinker. I am thinking about this with logic and with understanding.

It’s not prescience, the words I offer here, it is trajectory and momentum, it is faith in good people, and it is belief that no one person can undo what millions of people are against.

Posted in Author's Notes

The Competition for Reading vs Watching

Do you feel like you’d rather read or watch a story? Now that Netflix and Amazon Prime are apps on your phone, you might feel conflicted when waiting at the doctor’s office, at the auto repair shop, or anyplace else you find yourself with time to occupy not doing productive things. And in those rare cases (ha ha) you might be wondering if you should open your Kindle app or one of said streaming services. There’s no right answer here. Stories are stories. You’ll exercise your brain by reading, but you’ll also be entertained and enriched by the hard work of good actors and directors, special effects crews, and evocative camera angles. Your own brain can actually create a good number of these special effects and angles when you read, assuming you do it enough.

A good number of years ago I was talking with someone who told me that when he read books he just saw the words and nothing they really pointed to. Which meant to me that he wasn’t really reading, just acknowledging the words on the page and doing nothing with them. The more we intend to understand what it is that we’re reading, the more we can (potentially) glean from the author’s intention. And the more we end up exercising our brains, our imaginations, and opening up to a world that wasn’t in front of us previously. Some books I’ve read have given me something so panoramic and detailed and enchanting that it can never really be captured on screen. Case in point: Harry Potter series. The movies were decent adaptations to the world created, but they were far less than the reach of my imagination. I’m certain it’s like that for those of you who are readers too.

I chose HP because that is a pretty popular and common pointer. I can certainly use many others. Jurassic Park by the late and great Michael Crichton is another example, but so was his brilliant masterpiece Sphere (I know not everyone agrees about his works). Or how about Orson Scott Card’s inimitable Ender’s Game. I loved the movie, don’t get me wrong, but it can’t reach the depth of articulation brought fully to life by Orson’s use of description and dialogue. Though I admit that some of the special effects in the movie version were really well done, and I enjoyed the acting too!

There’s something else about reading that you don’t get with watching. Time. With watching movies or television series (there are a lot of amazing original series by Netflix, Stranger Things, The O.A. and Travelers spring to mind) you only have a season (or maybe a complete season, like with the unique and totally awesome Fringe) or three available at a time in many cases. You get a lot, but you get so much more from actual books. You, in the words of my astute wife, develop a relationship with the book you’re reading.

Yes, there’s a lot to read out there, and so little time. This comes back to the favor of watching. With watching, when you have limited time to ‘veg’ out, it’s a no brainer. You click on your preferred story and let her rip. Then there’s also something to be said for the acting, those people put forth incredible performances for our viewing joy, and we get to watch it for very little effort. A writer on the other hand must produce all aspects of his or her work and portray faithfully the full range and action of his character crew. Not only that, the writer must be set director, as well as story arch, character arch monitor and creator, and everything else. When it’s done well, it competes very mightily with the viewed world. I also know a good number of people who would rather curl up with a great book any day (even if it is on their kindle and not physically a book in their hand) than watch a TV show or movie on their phone when waiting for _____.

I leave this as an open ended idea for you to play with. What’s better? Which one wins? Well, neither one, or both, and it entirely depends on what you prefer at any given moment, I’m sure. I know that a lot of my fellow indie author friends worry constantly about sales of their books and whether they can possibly compete with streaming media services (oh gosh, I forgot sites like Hulu, oh well) or other well-written books. In my mind there’s room for both activities, and depending on anyone’s given mood it will determine which platform of consumption wins out at any given time.

What do you think is best? Watching a story or reading and using your imagination to go into deeper areas with a story?

Posted in Author's Notes

Meditation & The Worlds Within

There really is an ocean of story. I borrow the term, ‘ocean of story’ from the Indian mythos. If you think about it, we’re usually consumed with what television shows and books we’re reading lately. We ask our friends or acquaintances whether they’ve seen X, or read Y, often. Have you looked on Netflix lately? There are more movies and television shows and original shows by the company than you can shake a stick at, or probably ever hope to watch in a lifetime. And if you hope to…may I suggest getting out once in awhile? You know, breathe fresh air, see the sights? All kidding aside, did you know there are over 5 million books published by independent authors like myself in the US alone every year? This isn’t including other authors from other countries.

I always marvel when people tell me they are bored. In this day and age I find it a relief to be bored for a bit. Because the alternative is over-stimulation. This is one reason (among many) why I meditate every day. To do nothing and to be absolutely bored is the point. Actually the point of meditation for me is to get very familiar with my inner process of attraction and aversion. What compels me, and what repels me. Why am I drawn to one kind of thought and push away from other kinds of thoughts? Watching the background of emotions in this body as I sit with my eyes closed I get a keener understanding of where and what my hangups in life are. This does not mean I need to do something or ‘improve’ myself. It’s the act of watching myself.

Certain thoughts produce a feeling of pain, there’s emotional pain involved just in thinking about certain people, places, or even just ideas about those people and places. That is SO powerful to think about!

There’s an ocean of story just within my own consciousness. I know there is that same ocean of story within you. I actually use that ocean of story when I, you know, write stories down. And I write as much as nearly every single day. It’s amazing to get to know what’s inside yourself. There’s a beautiful therapeutic power just in witnessing the sore places inside, the tender and uncomfortable spots. There’s also a lot of healing when I open up to the strengths and courageous aspects within myself. All this while sitting, not reading or watching television. There are deep worlds of story inside each of us. I’d argue that getting deeply and intimately familiar with them will aide you in your own storytelling.

I don’t believe in ‘ordinary’ people. Every ‘ordinary’ person I’ve ever met is actually extraordinary. No matter how domestic and routine their daily lives appear to be on the outside, there’s inner worlds of magic, wonder, pain, power revolving with everyone you meet. I see it so clearly in others because I can see it in myself.

Of course I meditate for many more reasons than just getting glimpses into myself or other people. It helps the brain according to this article. It’s good for the body in general, and as I’ve said, it reveals insights into the inner world and the ocean of story within each of us. It also underscores the massive potential and truly profound nature we all share.

Posted in Author's Notes

Top 8 Reasons You Should Go Ahead and Write That Book

I’ve met a lot of people who say they’re going to write a book. Someday. I think it should be today. Now, as soon as you’re done reading my 8 reasons to write one. You might be wondering about the glut of books already available. Don’t write a book to make money (that will be a separate post anyway), write a book because of one or all of the following reasons:

  1. You love to write (fiction, non fiction, whatever).
  2. You have a story you want to tell.
  3. You have great ideas, so many in fact that they won’t all fit on a blog or facebook post.
  4. You are skilled at communicating specific ideas that will help someone with their _______ (fill in the blank.)
  5. You’ll get a deep sense of accomplishment if you write a book.
  6. You know that taking the time to articulate your thoughts, feelings, impressions, or imagination can have a lasting impact on yourself and others.
  7. You have luminous insights that would appreciably affect the reader, including yourself.
  8. Writing a book has always been a dream of yours (then what are you waiting for?)

Other reasons to write a book:

For one thing, writing a book seriously exercises your brain. For another thing, writing a book (even if you never publish it) establishes a baseline of your mental and emotional endurance and perseverance. You might wonder how difficult it can possibly be to write a book. Until it’s you trying to lay one word in front of the other and make something that wasn’t there before, you can’t really know. If writing a book has never been on your list of things to do, there’s absolutely no need to go for it. But if you’re someone who’s always wondered what it would be like, if you have a fantasy to see your book in your hand or on Amazon, then you should write one and publish it only for yourself to know what its like.

Maybe you want bragging rights (you’ll always be able to point to it in future discussions). Maybe you think writing a book will impress your friends (that’s really hit or miss, they might be impressed you did it, but less impressed with the actual production due to their own personal tastes conflicting with your own.)

Reasons to avoid writing a book:

There are more reasons not to write a book than to write a book. I’ll list a few of the truly exceptional reasons to avoid writing a book, to save you time and potential embarrassment.

  • You think it will make you a lot of money. (Results and mileage will vary on this, just sayin’.)
  • You believe writing a book on your chosen topic (this doesn’t include fiction) makes you an authority on that subject. It doesn’t.
  • You mistakenly think that writing a book will get you paid speaking engagements. (Don’t count on this.)
  • Sometimes there’s a notion that when you have written a book and published it that you’ll feel or be perceived as cooler than you are now. That’s total fantasy. Even if you write an international bestseller, you’ll still be you, the person who wrote that book that people really liked and did well.

Writing a book can be a source of enduring pride, but it can also go to your head. There’s no instant celebrity status involved, no fanfare, and few (if any) interested readers most of the time. Should that stop you from writing? It depends on your intentions. If you intend to write books to make a living, it can be done, absolutely, but you have to learn, and work hard for it, just like anything else in life. If you can tell great stories, do it. If you can give excellent and clear instructions for people who need them, then do it. If you want to do it for a little vanity and don’t care about whether or not it succeeds, if it boosts your self-image, then do it.

I’ve had mixed results. And as I’ve told people, I aim to write over a hundred books before I die. I’m not sure as to their success, but I’ll keep writing them and sharing my stories (and ideas) because I love it.

What do you love?

Posted in Author's Notes

Standing Rock

I’ve taken a stand with Standing Rock. Have you? Please scroll below this video for links to Banks that support or fully pay for this unnatural obstruction of our potential clean energy.

A list of banks that are financially supporting the Dakota Access Pipeline and how to get in touch with them, courtesy of Yes Magazine.

Wells Fargo*

CEO Timothy J. Sloan
timothy.j.sloan@wellsfargo.com
BoardCommunications@wellsfargo.com
866-249-3302

Corporate Office:
Wells Fargo
420 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94104

BNP Paribas*

CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe
jean-laurent.bonnafe@bnpparibas.com

Corporate Office:
3 rue d’Antin
75002 Paris, France
00-33-157-082-200

U.S. Office:
787 Seventh Avenue – The Equitable Tower
New York, NY 10019
212-841-3000

SunTrust*

CEO William H. Rodgers Jr.

Corporate Office:
303 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
800-786-8787

Chief Communications Officer:
Sue Mallino
404-813-0463
sue.mallino@suntrust.com

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ*

Chairman Nobuyuki Hirano

CEO and President Takashi Oyamada

Corporate Office:
2-7-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo, Japan
81-3-3240-8111

U.S. Office:
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020-1104
212-782-4000

Mizuho Bank*

President and CEO Nobuhide Hayashi

Corporate Office:
Otemachi Tower
1-5-5, Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 100-8176, Japan
81-3-3214-1111

U.S. Office:
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
212-282-3000

Citibank (CitiGroup)*

CEO Michael Corbat
Michael.L.Corbat@citi.com
212-793-1201

Corporate Office:
388 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: 800-285-3000 and 212-793-0710

TD Securities*

Chairman, CEO, and President Bob Dorrance

Corporate Office:
P.O. Box 1, TD Bank Tower
66 Wellington Street W
Toronto, Ontario
M5K 1A2

Investment Banking: 416-307-8500
Equity Research: 416-307-9360
Trading Floor Enquiries: 416-944-6978

U.S. Office:
31 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019-6101
212-827-7000

Credit Agricole*

CEO Jean-Paul Chifflet

Office:
12, Place des Etats-Unis
Montrouge, France 92545
33-1-43-23-52-02

U.S. Office:
1301 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10019
infoamericas@ca-cib.com

Intesa SanPaolo*

CEO Carlo Messina

Corporate Office:
Piazza San Carlo, 156
10121 Torino, Italy
39-011-555-1

Corporate Social Responsibility Unit:
39-02-8796-3435
CSR@intesasanpaolo.com
sostenibilita.ambientale@intesasanpaolo.com

ING Bank*

CEO and Executive Board Chairman Ralph A.J.G Hamers

Wholesale Banking, Operations & IT, Sustainability, Corporate Governance:
Carolien van der Giessen
carolien.van.der.giessen@ing.com
31-20-576-63-86

Head of Media Relations:
Raymond Vermuelen
raymond.vermeulen@ing.com
31-20-576-63-69

Corporate Office:
Amsterdamse Poort
Bijlmerplein 888
1102 MG Amsterdam
The Netherlands
31-20-5639111

Mailing Address:
ING Bank N.V.
P.O. Box 1800
1000 BV Amsterdam
The Netherlands

U.S. Office:
ING Financial Holdings LLC
1325 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019
646-424-6000

Natixis*

CEO Pierre Servant

Corporate Office:
Natixis Global Asset Management, S.A.
21 quai d’Austerlitz
75634 Paris Cedex 13, France
33-1-78-40-90-00

U.S. Office:
Natixis Global Asset Management, L.P.
399 Boylston Street
Boston, MA
617-449-2100

BayernLB*

CEO Johannes-Jorg Riegler

Head of Communications:
Matthias Priwitzer
Matthias.Priwitzer@bayernlb.de
49-89-2171-21255

Corporate Office:
Brienner Straße 18
80333 Munich
49-89-2171-27176

U.S. Office:
560 Lexington Avenue
New York City, NY 10022
212-310-9800

BBVA Securities*

CEO Carlos Torres Villa

Executive Chairman Francisco Gonzalez Rodriguez

Corporate Office:
Calle Azul, 4
28050 Madrid, Spain

34-902-22-44-66

DNB Capital*

U.S. office:
200 Park Avenue, 31st Floor New York, N.Y. 10166-0396
212-681-3800

ICBC London*

CEO and Managing Director Jin Chen

Corporate Office:
20 Gresham Street
London EC2V 7JE, United Kingdom
44-203-145-5000

U.S. Office:
520 Madison Avenue 28th Floor
New York, NY 10022
212-407-5000

SMBC Nikko Securities*

President and CEO Yoshihiko Shimizu

Corporate Office:
3-1, Marunouchi 3-chome, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 100-8325, Japan
81-3-5644-3111

Societe General*

CEO Frederic Oudea
https://www.linkedin.com/in/fredericoudea

Chiarman of the Board Lorenzo Bini Smaghi
lorenzo.binismaghi@snam.it

Corporate Office:
29 boulevard Haussmann 75009
Paris, France
2.0@societegenerale
33-1-42-14-20-00

U.S. Office:
245 Park Avenue
New York City, NY 10167
212-278-6000

The following banks are involved in funding for the entire Bakken pipeline:

Royal Bank of Scotland

CEO Ross McEwan
ross.mcewan@rbs.co.uk

Director of Media Relations:
Chris Turner
44-20-7672-4515

Corporate Office:
Gogarburn
175 Glasgow Road
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
44-131-626-3263

U.S. Office:
600 Washington Boulevard
Stamford, CT 06901
203-897-2700

ABN Amro Capital

Chairman of the Board Gerrit Zalm

Corporate Office:
ABN AMRO Bank N.V.
Gustav Mahlerlaan 10
1082 PP Amsterdam
The Netherlands
31-10-241-17-23

U.S. Office:
100 Park Avenue, 17th floor
New York, NY 10017
917-284-6800

Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)

CEO and President Brian J. Porter

Corporate Office:
Scotia Plaza
44 King Street W
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5H 1H1
416-866-6161
email@scotiabank.com

U.S. Office:
250 Vesey Street,
23rd and 24th floors
New York, NY 10281
212-225-5000

Scotia Howard Weil (“Energy Investment Boutique”):
Energy Centre
1100 Poydras Street Suite 3500
New Orleans, LA 70163
504-582-2500 and 800-322-3005
howardweil@howardweil.com

Citizens Bank

Chairman and CEO Bruce Van Saun

Head of Media Relations:
Peter Lucht
Peter.Lucht@citizensbank.com
781-655-2289

Consumer Lending, Business Banking, Wealth Management, Corporate:
Lauren DiGeronimo
Lauren.Digeronimo@citizensbank.com
781-471-1454

Corporate Office:
1 Citizens Plaza
Providence, RI 02903
401-456-7000

Comerica Bank

Chairman and CEO Ralph W. Babb Jr.

Investor Relations:
214-462-6831

Corporate Contacts:
Wendy Bridges
wwbridges@comerica.com
214-462-4443

Wayne Mielke
wjmielke@comerica.com
214-462-4463

Corporate Office:
Comerica Bank Tower
1717 Main Street
Dallas, TX 75201
800-521-1190

U.S. Bank

Chairman and CEO Richard K. Davis
richard.davis@usbank.com

Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Dana Ripley
dana.ripley@usbank.com
612-303-3167

Brand, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sponsorships:
Susan Beatty
susan.beatty@usbank.com
612-303-9229

Corporate Office:
U.S. Bancorp Center
800 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55402
800-685-5065 and 651-466-3000

PNC Bank

Chairman, President, and CEO William S. Demchak

Media Relations:
Fred Solomon
corporate.communications@pnc.com
412-762-4550

Investor Relations:
Bryan K. Gill
investor.relations@pnc.com
412-768-4143

Corporate Office:
300 Fifth Avenue
The Tower at PNC Plaza
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
412-762-2000

Barclays

Chairman John McFarlane
john.mcfarlane@barclays.com
CEO Jes Staley

Corporate Office:
Barclays Bank PLC
1 Churchill Place
London E14 5HP, United Kingdom
44-20-7116-1000

U.S. Office:
Barclays
745 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10019
212-526-7000

Press Office:
212-526-7000
CorporateCommunicationsAmericas@barclays.com

JPMorgan Chase

Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon
jamie.dimon@jpmchase.com
212-270-1111

Corporate Contacts:
Andrew Gray
andrew.s.gray@jpmchase.com

Jennifer Lavoie
jennifer.h.lavoie@jpmchase.com

Brian Marchiony
brian.j.marchiony@jpmorgan.com

Corporate Office:
270 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017-2014

Bank of America

President, CEO, and Chairman Brian Moynihan

brian.t.moynihan@bankofamerica.com

Executive Relations, Office of the CEO:
Matthew Task
813-805-4873

Corporate Office:
100 N Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28255

Deutsche Bank

CEO John Cryan

Corporate Contact:
Renee Calabro
renee.calabro@db.com
212-250-5525

Corporate Address:
Deutsche Bank AG
Taunusanlage 12
60325 Frankfurt Am Main (for letters and postcards: 60262)
Germany
49-69-910-00

U.S. Office:
Deutsche Bank AG
60 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005
212-250-7171

Compass Bank

Chairman and CEO Manolo Sanchez

Director of External Communications:
Christina Anderson
christina.anderson@bbva.com

Communications:
Al Ortiz
al.ortiz@bbva.com
281-433-5640

Corporate Office:
15 S 20th Street
Birmingham, AL 35233
205-297-1986

Credit Suisse

CEO Tidjane Thiam

Board Chairman Urs Rohner

Suisse Banking Ombudsman:
Bahnhofplatz 9
P.O. Box 1818
CH 8021 Zurich, Switzerland
41-43-266-14-14

Corporate Office:
Uetlibergstrasse 231
P.O. Box 700
CH 8070 Zurich, Switzerland
41-44-333-11-11

U.S. Office:
650 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: 415-249-2100

DNB Capital/ASA

CEO Rune Bjerke
https://www.linkedin.com/in/rune-bjerke-04714639

Chairwoman of the Board Anne Carine Tanum
47-915-04800

Executive Vice President Communications Even Westerveld
47-400-16-744

Corporate Address:
Dronning Eufemias Gate 30
0191 Oslo, Norway

Sumitomo Mitsui Bank

President and CEO Takeshi Kunibe

Corporate Office:
1-1-2, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo, Japan
81-3-3282-8111

U.S. Office:
277 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10172
212-224-4000

Royal Bank of Canada

CEO David I. McKay

CEO and Board Communications:
Paul French
paul.french@rbc.com
416-974-3718

Corporate Media Relations:
Catherine Hudon
catherine.hudon@rbc.com
416-974-5506

Corporate Address:
200 Bay Street P.O. Box 1
Royal Bank Plaza
Toronto, Canada
416-974-5151 and 416-842-2000

UBS

CEO Sergio Ermotti

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sergiopermotti

Head Group External Communications:
Mark Hengel
mark.hengel@ubs.com
Phone: 41-44-234-32-21

Chief Communication Officer-Americas:
Marsha Askins
marsha.askins@ubs.com
212-713-6151 office and 917-226-4743 cell

Corporate Office:
Bahnhofstrasse 45, CH-8098
8001 Zurich, Switzerland
41-44-234-11-11

U.S. Office:
1285 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019
212-713-2000

Goldman Sachs

Chairman and CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein
lloyd.blankfein@gs.com
917-743-0939 and 212-902-0593

Media Contacts Americas:
212-902-5400

Corporate Address:
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
200 West Street
New York, NY 10282
212-902-1000

Morgan Stanley

CEO James P. Gorman
jgorman@morganstanley.com
212-761-4000

Corporate Office:
Morgan Stanley
1585 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
212-761-4000

Origin Bank (formerly Community Trust)

Chairman, President, and CEO Drake Mills
https://www.linkedin.com/in/drake-mills-554a3a20
http://www.ctbonline.com
318-768-3048

Corporate Office:
3921 Elm St.
Choudrant, LA 71227

HSBC Bank

Chairman Douglas Flint

Group Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver
managingdirectoruk@hsbc.com

Corporate Address:
8 Canada Square
London E14 5HQ, United Kingdom
44-20-7991-8888

U.S. Office:
HSBC Headquarters
425 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10018
212-525-5600

Head of Media Relations, HSBC USA:
Rob Sherman
212-525-6901

Posted in Author's Notes

Post Election Rant

I don’t know about you, but I’m still in shock over the results of this presidential election. I’m mortified that more than a couple of people in my own family (blood relatives) supported Trump. They didn’t think racism or sexism or misogyny, or bad business practices were major deal breakers. They looked at their own interests. I know we all look at our own interests, but when it is at the expense of people because of the way they look, their gender, their sexual orientation, or even their physiological and mental status, I can’t abide. I can’t get over that. I don’t want to get over that. There is nothing redemptive in condoning people who think it’s fine to vote for a man who openly dismissed, dissed, and ridiculed people who weren’t like him. Hitler did that same kind of thing and rose to power by instigating the imaginations and emotions of millions of people. Hello! My last name is Jewish, my great grandparents were from Hungary, and my ancestors suffered cruelly and helplessly by people who were blinded by hate and divisiveness. To make matters worse, this wasn’t long ago. Not long enough ago by a long shot.

We have a problem in this country and it has to do with perception. I am not going to find a way for Trump’s new reign to ‘be okay’ or ‘make things better’ because I don’t believe it will be. I’m going to do a peaceful protest with some friends of mine in 2017 to give voice to my disapproval and outrage. Here’s the hard part to swallow: maybe things will turn out well overall for people in this country,  a very weak ‘maybe’, but I doubt it. For instance he has hired Stephen Bannon as the White House chief strategist which is terrifying all by itself, considering he’s an avowed racist, rightwing nutjob. And is it just my imagination, or does he bear a striking resemblance Plutarch Heavensbee, “the Head Gamemaker” from the Hunger Games? Is there even a coincidence in this? (I don’t believe in coincidences.)

As a writer I try to carefully construct the antagonists to my main characters, sometimes the antagonist is the plot itself, sometimes it’s a person or group of people, and as in the Owen Hunter Series, it is incorporeal entities working with incorporeal people who have yet to move onto other realms. While these are fun to write and tie up in pretty bows at the end, what’s not fun is to see the real villains take a boatload of power right from the people they pretend they’re giving it back to. What’s not fun is that these chapters are ones we have to try and live through, and how it will further cause the breakdown of democracy as time moves onward. We all know Trump lied (he admitted to it gleefully) to get where he is. Which means that most of what he promised to do for the American people he actually won’t be doing. He won’t be getting the middle class richer. He won’t be making our country great again (remind me when that was again…) He won’t be helping anyone but himself and his suspect agendas. Like any other business man he’ll be interested in one thing and one thing only: padding his own pockets, foisting blame on anyone else but himself, throwing two hundred and forty character temper tantrums on Twitter, and abusing his newfound power for god only knows what purposes. And all that’s going to come of it is that we will get the shaft, we will be the ones who suffer, the people in my family will suffer all the more realizing their mistake in having voted for a man this corrupt.

Now, taking a deep breath, I submit that the best we can do is to help each other raise our voices, to . We need clear calm sanity, deliberate strides towards making a difference. There is an enormous need to develop stronger compassion muscles. People are terrified, hurting, and being maligned by the emboldened supporters of hate. Threat of deportation and the unconscionable use of terms like “the illegals” when discussing people who have entered our country without due process only serves to dehumanize them and make them “other”. This kind of talk is not only deplorable but needs to be called out as soon as we hear it being used.

I just need to say this as well: I’m ashamed of all the smug older white men, some of them iconic actors whom I used to look up to, saying, “get over it! Stop being such a wimp. Stop trying to be so politically correct and quit your bitching.” This isn’t bitching about political correctness. You don’t get to say that people should just ‘get over it’. If it were suddenly YOU being targeted because you were different, or YOU who were going to be thrown out of the country, or YOU being told you couldn’t do something to your body because of X or Y newly passed law, you wouldn’t be wining, you’d be just as upset and terrified as the rest of us. You know what, it’s a bad thing to make fun of someone who is physically and mentally challenged. Because if the shoe is on the other foot, you realize how defenseless you are, and yet how human you are too.

So here I am raging away about this. I’m not done raging. I’m not done taking this seriously. Telling me to calm down, to face the music, to just accept it is like telling a brick wall to stop being a brick wall. Not going to happen. I’m going to continue voicing my sense of injustice about this and I’m going to keep looking for ways to help make things better for everyone I know. One last parting gift, that I think will help put some things in perspective, is this BBC documentary called Century of the Self. I think everyone should watch it.

Posted in Author's Notes

Now is the Time

This will be the first ever time in my life I have written a semi-political piece on my blog. So here goes. Now is the time to, for those of us who lost (I did vote for Hillary and wanted her to be my president) be steadfast in our vision of a greater world, a more peaceful and compassionate country, county, state, city, town, and village. That responsibility is up to each of us, as we can not necessarily rely on it to be so from others we do not know. What just occurred is not some new evil in the world. This is an unearthing of the quiet ignorance, the forces of brutality, misogyny, racism and rigidity of not just Americans but of the people who call themselves that.

What has occurred before our very unbelieving eyes is a revelation of greed, mistrust, and ‘me first’ mentality. It has always been there, but now we can see just how rampant it is. Lest we forget it, all of these same characteristics and qualities are in each of us, even if we have overcome them mentally and emotionally in our every day lives, these are embedded in our DNA. We don’t get to say we’ve erased our ancestry from our genetics just because we know right from wrong. We don’t dispose of our demons, we live with them. Sometimes, if we’re successful and lucky, we knock them unconscious within ourselves, but they are always there.

So now is the time, with deep adversity staring us in the face, with our rightful sense of incredulity at this turn of events, to really embrace our ‘angels’, our refined qualities, our sweeter nature. Giving into reaction, to defeatism, to feeling like we lost, to eating whatever we want because we didn’t get what we wanted, that is a recipe, that is opening the doorway, to all the qualities and characteristics we now rail against.

All the worst stuff we do not like about humanity is revealed to us in startling high definition clarity. Our only job, the only adult thing to do, is to accept life on life’s terms, for right now. Accept the outcome, bitter pill as that is to swallow. And with that acceptance, double down our efforts to get in touch with all that is right and good and loving inside ourselves and reflect that back out to the world. Not just because it will make us feel better (it will) but because it is, in principle and in practice, the right thing to do, and because it will be good for anyone around us. I caution myself to safeguard against slipping into a depression, to giving up. Acceptance is not about giving up, it is about acknowledging what is and taking new steps to approach the world in a way we want to create it. This can only be done right now.

Whatever else happens, there are so many of us in this together, willing to do our part to raise the bar beyond where we set it originally. Now is the time to remember that anything can happen, that what happens now is up to each of us. It’s on each of those of us who voted for her to live up to and perhaps (perhaps) surpass the standards we sought to live under for the next four years.

The good things in our lives are the good things we make, so we need to start being a factory of good, of love, of compassion, of strength, of dedication to our dignity and perseverance. Now is the time to embrace with passionate arms the discipline that is required to shine the light of our conscious attention and will on our depth of character and our potential for excellence in all matters.

Now is the time to galvanize our spirits, to move forward from this moment onward with vision and purpose.

Posted in Author's Notes

A lot to say. Not much to say.

As I get older (a phrase I never thought I’d say in earnest) I realize that I have a lot to say about life and other phenomena in general. It’s so much to say that I end up saying very little. Examining my reasons for remaining quiet shows me that the things I say would be unpopular, out of favor, and generally off-putting. The cure for this? The best outlet I have is fictional writing. To date, I haven’t really made any bold statements or provided any serious messages in my fictional writing. I’ve tried to tell a story that’s bigger than the events that take place in them and convey the possible parallels in our every day life. You’ll see that most strikingly in my newest novel in the Owen Hunter Trilogy Series, PREVAIL.

Sure, you can laugh it all off. It’s just fiction after all. But I don’t know for sure. I can’t say it’s entirely fictional because we see ever more striking similarities with what I’ve written (you’ll see what I mean if you read the new novel when it comes out) and what’s been taking place in the news. I’ve tried to make my novel more outlandish than what happens in the news, and I think I’ve succeeded on that score. But as time goes on? I guess we’ll see.

On the other hand, I try to never take anything I feel I have to say too seriously either. It’s better to have levity in my thought processes than all seriousness. The more I’ve perused Facebook the more evidence of humanity’s collective psychosis is in full swing. From one extreme to another, like a crazed monkey on a jungle gym course.

What I notice most of all (and I’m not saying this is good or bad as things go) is the rage and outrage people are expressing about the world we live in. I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again here: history repeats itself in ever more clever and bolder iterations. I know it’s 2016 and I know we should be looking at this Utopian world that science fiction writers of yore have painted for us by now, but that is precisely where we get tripped up: our notion that the 21st Century ought to be a certain way already. And it isn’t. And it won’t be for a very long time. And if I should venture into the murky water of voicing my own opinion on the matter, then I should say things will not be getting better over time but worse. That seems to be the mad trajectory of our species. For every luminary the world so lovingly holds, there are four hundred million idiots who are ruled by their base emotions (fear, anger, jealousy, arrogance etc.) I needn’t explain the odds, or do long maths here, should I? And yes, maybe it’s a gross exaggeration of the luminaries to idiots quotient, but I’m not sure by how much.

Regardless of this fearsome shadow, nay this setting of the sun over humanity’s collective altruism and goodness, we can focus on the luminary aspects within us. Sometime’s we are the villain, the bogeyman, the monster under the bed, and sometimes we’re the hero or heroine who thwarts that aspect of ourselves back into the dark crevices of the unconscious from whence it arose. But much of the time, and here is where we are all implicated in the crimes against humanity itself, we are the ‘innocents’ who do nothing about any of it. Our refusal to play a part is playing the part of allowing the bad and the stupid to continue it’s down-spiral and insane collision course with who-only-knows-what.

Irrespective of the above I am a die-hard faithful in humanity. You might call me an optimist, but I think I’m a cautious-optimist. I think we can make it as a species for a few hundred more years, assuming Mother Nature doesn’t tire of our antics and sneeze into extinction, or an asteroid makes it past all the necessary gravitational pulls of bigger more powerful planets and careens into ours without distinction or mercy and wipes us out first. Because for all of our myriad foibles and predictable imperfections as a species, the brighter stronger side is also there for each of us to cling to and expand on.

If we choose it.

Posted in Author's Notes

Sleepless in the Rain

Around 5 in the morning, most mornings, he showers in the dark, with only a nightlight plugged in to guide him. He shaves this way too, while in the shower. A ‘fog-less’ mirror suctioned to the shower wall. He must rub soft soap with delicate care along the surface of the mirror in order for the fog to remain off it.

Why does he do this? The design of this ‘apartment’ is such that the master bedroom and the bathroom windows are near each other. One faces north, the other east. When light from the bathroom is turned on, it spills into the master bedroom where his wife tries to sleep; her side of the bed is puddled in light, to which she is entirely sensitive.

When the morning ritual of cleanliness is achieved in near silent darkness, he carefully enters the living room, then straight into the kitchen and begins his day making a one-cup coffee wonder. A coffee pod in a machine. An exact amount of filtered water from his cup to the machine. And a coffee creamer to sweeten and flavor the brew when its hot and ready.

Next he attends his phone or his laptop. Sometimes he writes for thirty minutes or an hour, depending on when he’s scheduled to be in to work.

Sometimes he writes for fifteen minutes and then meditates for a half hour. Most days he forgets to eat a proper breakfast and is famished by lunch.

Today, now, outside it is pouring rain. He sits and listens. When it rains through the night most people can sleep like babies. Not him. He does not sleep well. If he is wakened to relieve himself and it happens to be raining, his sleep is banished, as though he had a shot of espresso.

It is an unusual thing, he thinks. To be so electrified by the rain. Who knows why—nothing he can remember about the rain makes this a particularly significant event in which he must stay awake. It’s as if some ancient portion of the brain is at work to defend him from unknown evil that only comes out when the heavens spill their waters onto Mother Earth’s thirsty lands.

When he thinks back very hard he can almost remember a time when the rain lulled him to sleep. This is way back, to when he was a child. Primordial history.

These days, however, upon hearing the rain in the middle of the night, the cerements of his sleep are banished post haste.

Any viscidity he may feel in the body is wiped clean, replaced by fresh verve. And with it he is up, coffee nearly forgotten, he is ready to tackle the day, or…tackle something.

Posted in Author's Notes

Controversial Themes in Writing and shameless plug for my new short story out today!

Earlier this summer I had announced on social media that I was writing a neat short story. It had mostly come to me fully baked, but I had to take a break from it for over a month and now it’s almost October and I’m just about to publish it online as an ebook. The ending came to me right as I was meditating before falling asleep. I knew two things. 1, it was a much better ending than the original and I would change it in the morning when I woke up. 2, it was absolutely controversial.

This got me to thinking about the fact that we live in a world where the new taboo is sharing too much of oneself, unless you’re famous in which case you’re often rebuked for not sharing enough. This short story is as far away from political as I could get it, which isn’t difficult to do with the kind of imagination I have. And because it’s me, this short story has a definite supernatural element in it.

I’m willing to bet that many of you who read this, if you participate in social media at all, want to share your views as publicly and vocally as you can, and then refrain. Because to be open about your views leaves you just that; vulnerably open. Open to whatever it is that may come your way, in the form of praise or blame, rebuke or shaming. And so we’ve learned to take pictures of food and give witty updates. And if you’re not a social-media maven or near-denizen like many of us, congratulations; you probably aren’t sure how to communicate in that condensed and flattened format. You might prefer the human touch, and I’m with you. You may scream at your television or tell your closest confidant what you really think. At least you have an outlet, which is great.

For the writer, his or her prose (or non-fictional letters and books) serve as his or her voice. That’s me, in a nutshell. The written word often suffices. Teaching as I do in the healing arts also suffices for the voice that I think is buried in each of us. I’ve learned to let my inner voice do some talking through the medium of art. Art has the magic to embellish (highly) and create distortions that don’t get to occur in our shared waking reality. That’s why I love writing it.

This is all to say that the new short story is not to be taken literally. Usually you see some kind of Copyright notice with words similar to this: “All incidents, characters, locales, and businesses are either coincidental or products of the author’s imagination.” That is a neat way to say, “This stuff didn’t happen, but it could. It didn’t happen to me, and it certainly didn’t happen to anyone I know. It’s written for your entertainment.” And while said entertainment is assuredly dark, let me remind you that the dark is a process of uncovering the light beyond it. That’s partly why I write what I do. This short story doesn’t give any answers, leaves you with a sour taste, but that’s the point. And the point of this, I guess you’d call it preamble, is to forewarn you as such, and give you plenty of room to decide whether you want to read it or not. If it’s not your thing, believe me I won’t be offended—just don’t read it and accuse me of saying nothing first.

Guaranteed Or Your Memory Back is one of those fictional stories that is meant for mature audiences.

Enjoy, and let me know if I did my job properly or not with your review.