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Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

“Why is there something rather than nothing?” Martin Heidegger famously asks in his Introduction to Metaphysics, and then goes on to tackle the question assiduously, stretching language to the point where phrases become fingernails on blackboard, as in:

  1. Does the Nothing exist only because the Not, i.e. the Negation, exists? Or is it the other way around? Does Negation and the Not exist only because the Nothing exists?
  2. What about this Nothing?—The Nothing itself nothings.
  3. Anxiety reveals the Nothing…. That for which and because of which we were anxious, was ‘really’—nothing.

Heidegger2Rudolf Carnap makes good fun of the complicated language postures Heidegger adopts to address this question but, like ballet, touchdowns, and coitus, sometimes what is worth doing requires pressing mundane components into bizarre configurations.

More recently, The BBC takes up the question and frolics through recent work in physics to find the answer, after acknowledging it has been philosophy’s question historically, not physic’s. But, no problem; philosophy has lots of questions. Unfortunately, the answers all seem to be extrapolations from the BIG BANG, a theory named, and roundly criticized, by Sir Fred Hoyle.  The BIG BANG, as you know, is that explanation of the beginning of the universe in which, at a time before there was time, in a place where there are no places, a singularity so tiny we needn’t worry about the fact that the whole idea of size doesn’t work in this timeless/spaceless situation, and so dense as to contain all that is or ever will be, explodes. The premise of the BBC article is that now that we know how the universe came to be we can use that information to determine why.

I should stipulate at the onset I admire the BBC for taking up questions like this so courageously, and, I admire the energy, persistence, intelligence, and creativity that has gone into honing the Big Bang Theory. I regret these efforts focus on the material, presuming, I presume, the spiritual can be derived from there. This hyper-focus is perhaps understandable in this era of attention deficit disorder, but I prefer Edgar Alan Poe’s work on this topic, Eureka: An Essay on the Material and Spiritual Universe, which, though it science has never taken it seriously, has the spunk to acknowledge the spiritual dimension of reality needs explanation as much as the physical, and moreover, arms itself with a larger conceptual toolbox to deal with it:

To the few who love me and whom I love – to those who feel rather than to those who think – to the dreamers and those who put faith in dreams as in the only realities – I offer this Book of Truths, not in its character of Truth-Teller, but for the Beauty that abounds in its Truth; constituting it true. To these I present the composition as an Art-Product alone: let us say as a Romance; or, if I be not urging too lofty a claim, as a Poem. – Preface to Eureka, by Edgar Allan Poe

 Two points I would make with regard to the quest to understand the origin of everything. The first, is, Parmenides was right, being doesn’t come from not being. There is no origin; the universe in some form or other is eternal. This is a matter of logic. Nothing doesn’t become something. It may well be that particles emerge from empty space, as the author of the BBC article, Robert Adler, reports:

Their admittedly controversial answer is that the entire universe, from the fireball of the Big Bang to the star-studded cosmos we now inhabit, popped into existence from nothing at all. It had to happen, they say, because “nothing” is inherently unstable.

He cites, as confirmation, the view of quantum mechanics the particles emerge from empty space all the time:

Quantum mechanics tells us that there is no such thing as empty space. Even the most perfect vacuum is actually filled by a roiling cloud of particles and antiparticles, which flare into existence and almost instantaneously fade back into nothingness.

Which helps explain where all the stuff that fills space came from if only we can explain where the empty space came from.

One thing they have found is that, when quantum theory is applied to space at the smallest possible scale, space itself becomes unstable. Rather than remaining perfectly smooth and continuous, space and time destabilize, churning and frothing into a foam of space-time bubbles.

All this, while interesting, only extrapolates what might happen to nothing from what happens on the tiniest scale in (or to) space and time. Yet, as the previous quote acknowledges, space-time isn’t nothing, it’s something, and a busy something. Nothing is something else altogether. Nothing isn’t vast (else it would have dimension, which isn’t nothing), nor is it eternal (else it would be temporal, which isn’t nothing), nor, of course, is it busy. It seems apparent to me, in this realm where appearances are deceiving, that the universe must be eternal in some form or other, which is to say, it has time in it, and isn’t in time.

My second point is similarly grounded in what seems apparent to me. Why does the universe exist? is not a question answered by explanations of how it came to be the way it is, clever and interesting as they may be. The ‘why’ question can only be answered with explanations involving purpose, which is to say, the spiritual dimension of reality. Without purpose there is no why. It is possible, of course, the universe is without purpose insofar as its existence is concerned, but that only leads to the same questions about its character.

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A Sonnet? The Chapter Headings Form A Sonnet? WTF?

Cover for novel Only Breath

Cover by Becca Vickers

The chapter headings in Only Breath (coming June 19, kindle pre-orders available here) make up a sonnet in the Shakespearean tradition, namely 14 lines in 3 4-line stanzas (quatrains) and a two-line unit (couplet), all iambic pentameter. The couplet turns attention inward and usually is indented slightly to set it off.

Some who read Mikawadizi Storms thought it had too many chapters (45, each for a separate character). These readers will be delighted to hear Only Breath has 14. Okay, why twist the entire structure of the novel into a sonnet? Good question.

A deep theme in Only Breath is the ‘inner voice’ and it’s role in self-consciousness, especially as conflicted spirits work through their troubles using internal dialog (or monologue, depending on how you count). There’s a theory out there, springing from Paul Oppenheimer’s 1989 book, The Birth of the Modern Mind: Self, Consciousness, and the Invention of the Sonnet, that modern thought and literature were born with the invention of the sonnet in 13th-century Italy. According to Oppenheimer, the sonnet is the first lyric form since the fall of the Roman Empire meant not for music or performance but for silent reading. It is designed to portray the self in conflict and to explore self-consciousness. Other interesting developments came about in Europe (very generally) around the same time – writing in the languages of everyday speech, more general literacy and access to written works. Some say the very idea of reading in one’s head (not aloud) developed early in the middle ages. St. Augustine reports in his Confessions that he was surprised to see St. Ambrose reading to himself – this would have been around 383 AD. Can it be that ancient Europeans all moved their lips when they read? It’s hard to picture Plato doing that.

So, on Oppenheimer’s theory, Petrarch lusts after a beautiful married woman, and the sonnet structure provides him the perfect canvas for the churn in his head as he watches her in church. The same lyric structure works for Shakespeare as he mulls over his feelings for his handsome young friend and later the dark lady. In the process emerges the modern concept of self, intimately associated with the monologue (or the speaker of the monologue) in one’s head.

Since I wanted to explore the inner voice and self-consciousness in Only Breath, arranging the chapter headings into a sonnet seemed a fun idea and a fitting tribute to this lyric form. So, here’s the poem

HIS INNER VOICE WHISPERS SOLILOQUY,
HIS SEETHING BRAIN IS FILLED WITH COVERT WORDS,
WHILE LOST HIS HEART CONVERTS TO MELODY,
THIS TEEMING FLOCK OF SWARMING CACKLING BIRDS.
WHEN WORDS ARISE INSIDE TO TEST THEIR WINGS,
TO WHISPER SINS NO OTHER EARS CAN HEAR,
WHOSE MOUTH IS THIS WHO SPEAKS THESE FADING THINGS,
THAT RATTLE INNER AIR THEN DISAPPEAR?
WHOSE SECRET VOICE IS THIS THAT DARES TO TALK,
AND BRINGS THESE AIRY THOUGHTS FROM MUTE TO BREATH?
WHOSE SECRETS FALL WHEN INNER DOORS UNLOCK?
WHAT LONG SUBMERGED IDEAS FROM THIS DEPTH,
RISE AND FLY LIKE LIBERATED BIRDS,
WHEN THOUGHTS TRANSFORM TO BREATHING BURNING WORDS?

It’s all in CAPS because these are the chapter headings.

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Only Breath – Illustrations and Characters

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000030_00049]

Only Breath: A Ghost Story, to be released June 19 (pre-release copies available here),  includes pencil drawings of characters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks to everyone who participated in the weekend giveaway. I hope you enjoy Passing Through Paradise!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the weekend giveaway. I hope you enjoy Passing Through Paradise!

Passing Through Paradise ebook is FREE THIS WEEKEND!!!

I’m delighted to draw your attention to a new cover for Passing Through Paradise, originally published early in 2013. The new cover is a colorized etching designed by my daughter,

Cover Becca 1Becca Vickers. You can see more of her work here. All of my other books, Witless, Bluehart, The Second Virtue, Adam’s Apple, Between the Shadow and the Soul, Double Exposures, and Mikadawizi Storms, feature covers Becca designed, and now Passing Through Paradise joins them.

Passing Through Paradise is a literary collage, i.e. a collection of short narratives, definitions, journal entries, poems, whatever, arranged so location highlights common themes. There are 88 elements. Two linear story lines are interwoven into the mix, along with numerous complementary entries. Here are a few of the entries, in no particular order.

Life Eternal

Silenus. “Walking Notes.” Dog Treats: Chronicles of the Jaunt. Chicago: Collar & Leash, page 277.

The trees are the first to know. A blush of warmth returns to the soil; roots push their sap up into frigid trunks in response. So it begins anew, yet there is no beginning, only the eternal cycle of life – earth, warmth, air, water, acting together with purpose. Trees stretch sun-ward. Individuals seek identity, esteem, self. Trees, bears, humans, all the same; also frogs, ants, worms. Behold the dance of identity, the self-loving endeavor of each personality, our hamartia. All dance the same dance, sing the same song, play the same game. – Silenus

Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down

Orpheus. “Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down.” North Coast Gazette 15 October 2011: A2.

Explosions rumbled like rolling thunder from distant sheet lightening. Puffs of grey dust ballooned from a hundred places around the base of the ancient building. For a moment, the theater hung suspended, frozen in time. Observers held their breath. Slowly at first, accelerating quickly, the magnificent old theater fell. Steel girders screeched, concrete disintegrated, bricks rumbled and tumbled over each other as they plummeted onto the heap forming in the basement. Suddenly a second noise, the whump of gas igniting, filled the air. A third noise, the deep, thunderous boom of tons of concrete dust exploding, followed immediately. This last explosion blew a wall of hot gas past the observers, turning their faces away. Some ran for cover but made only a few frantic steps before the artificial wind subsided and the fire resolved into flames licking the fallen carcass, rubble of the Lost Paradise.

A cloud of smoke enveloped the collapsed behemoth, billowed into a giant ring, and rose majestically into the fiercely blue sky. “Do you see it?” a voice shouted, “Groucho Marx! His face! There! In the cloud!”

“Eva Tanguay!” a second voice corrected.

Undeniably, the smoke formed a face as it rose against the sky, maybe Marx, maybe Tanguay.

“It’s Jesus!” a third voice screamed as the cloud drifted farther away and the face seemed to form a beard. A dozen cameras snapped photos, opportunities to reconsider what shapes the smoke took, what faces witnessed the execution, how this citadel of drama exhaled its soul into the morning breeze.

Now loaders and trucks work the rubble like beetles feeding on a carcass. Now only the hole remains, and that is the best place to end the story. Greed destroys this aging dame of the theater and leaves not a ruin, but only her hole.

Homily on The Hill

Anon. Dog Treats: Chronicles of the Jaunt. Chicago: Collar & Leash, pages 453-460.

Silenus stopped walking, leaned on his stick, looked over the Dogs following up the hill. They picked up their ears. A hush spread through the crowd as the hard breathing of climbing gave way to concentrated attention.

“We are cast into life’s journey with no map,” he called out. “Anyone can understand, wants to understand, needs to understand, but no one is born understanding.”

Though the rules of the Dogs forbid it, some fumbled with phones to capture these words live.

“We make stories. What else can we do? We become artists of language, our ancient paint and canvas. When we find the right words everything is captured, everything is explained, we understand everything.” He grinned; his eyes twinkled in the early morning sunlight. “So we imagine.”

Those near the front exchanged looks. This was important, an important addition to the Canons.

“Words are only words.” He waited for the import of this to take hold. “Blesséd are those who know two languages!” He laughed. “The bilingual! They see the world with two eyes; they stand on two legs; they grasp the earth with two hands!”

The Dogs remained silent and listened intently. Dark clouds moved along the distant western horizon. Brown prairie grass bent in that direction, stretching toward the rain. Slivers of light flashed from cloud to earth. A minute later thunder rumbled in the distance, the sound of huge bass drums.

“Our stories are phantoms of fleeting moments reflected in mirrors.” He turned slowly, looked to the west. “In truth, we are mere images of apparitions, impermanent as convenience-store bananas.” He slapped his hand against his chest as he made this point. “The only question is, what sort of word will you be? Will you be lie, or truth?” His gaze moved from dog to dog, locking onto each pair of eyes in turn. “Certain, or uncertain? Clear or unclear?” He grinned and raised his hand over his head, open palm. “Blessed are the certain, the clear. Without them the world has no truth.” He signaled to move on toward the east in advance of the storm. “And blessed are the bilingual!” he shouted over his shoulder. “They hold the world in two hands!”

Thursday, December 28, 1989

Andreas, Damien. “Life Notes.” Unpublished Journal. n.d.

With one eye in the natural world and one in the supernatural, Mother was quick to notice when something was about to go wrong. “There’s no word for what I have because other people don’t have them,” she said. “I call them blinklings. They come to me quick as a blink and they’re delicate as angel breath.” She wondered why I didn’t have them too, since I was her son, home schooled, and had her curly hair and brown eyes. I tried, and she tried to teach me, but I was blinking blind. I never doubted they were real though; they were as everyday as the bowl my oatmeal came in. They were a familiar part of living with Mother until I was eight-and-a-half years old, the day she died.

To celebrate Passing Through Paradise, version 2-point-oh, price of the paperback is temporarily reduced to 12.50$ in the US, with corresponding reductions internationally, and the Kindle book IS FREE ON SATURDAY, MAY 16!

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Language of the Gods trilogy, Dennis Vickers (2015-201?)

William 001I have a solid draft of Only Breath in the hands of editors/reviewers and, while they do their work, I’m sketching illustrations and outlining the second and third novels in the Language of the Gods trilogy. The premise binding the three novels together is this: in very ancient times, humans spoke a common language, thought by some to be the language of the Gods, thought by some to be useful for conversing with animals, thought by some to be free from deception because it was made up from primordial sounds understood by all. Here’s a brief interview with Dr. H. Dean Brown related to the subject: Brown. My three novels approach (will approach) this idea from different angles, as represented (somewhat enigmatically) in the guiding line for the trilogy:

Although they are only breath, these are the only words we have, and so our only hope.

The first novel in the series, Only Breath is described so:

Only Breath: A Ghost Story by Dennis Vickers (2015)

A century ago, cement magnate Luca D’Angelo retrieved corpses from the morgue and put them to use in a macabre ‘lost-wax’ process as he cast the statues that adorned his mansion’s grounds. Decades later, the statues are home to angry ghosts and the park is a dangerous place. Visitors are driven insane, knocked unconscious, in one case struck blind. When William Kepler attempts to calm this unrest, he uncovers a century-old murder. Marci Moore (uninhibited, high-spirited, world-wise) and Lisa Hart (insightful, witty, careful) compete for William’s attention as they vie to help resolve the mystery, bringing fire and wit to the undertaking. Will this unlikely trio discover what has so upset the ghosts and bring peace to the park?

The second novel, Only Words, takes up with many of the characters in Only Breath, but quickly flashes back to prehistoric times and a parallel set of characters (ancient ancestors?) who create and bury a rune stone that will be unearthed by their descendants several millennia later. What will they write into this message for posterity?

The third novel, Only Hope, will pursue further how our language shapes our perception and both limits and expands our imagination, very Wittgensteinian. In fact, I’ve been rereading Wittgenstein in preparation.

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Mikawadizi Storms by Dennis Vickers

Kindle Cover

Mikawadizi Storms

Available at last!

The title, Mikawadizi Storms, comes from an Ojibwe phrase (miikawaadizi) meaning she is beautiful.

The plot draws energy from a conflict between those who would dig an open pit mine in scenic Mikawadizi Hills and those who oppose them. The former include the KAMS (Keep American Mining Strong) consortium and its principle member, Gready Metals. The latter include La Roche Verde Indian Nation. As the book’s preface reveals, a similar conflict is underway in Wisconsin, USA, pitting Gogebic Taconite against a slate of environmental groups led by the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, over an open-pit iron-ore mining project in Wisconsin’s Penokee Hills. Mikawadizi Storms is not, however, a report on the Wisconsin conflict. It is purely a fictional piece (magical realism, in fact) that draws on the energies such conflicts generate and uses those energies for literary, not political, purposes.

The novel is organized into 45 chapters, each named for a separate character (almost), and each telling the story of someone entangled in the main conflict. Each chapter begins with an illustration (mainly character portraits) drawn by the author. In effect, the novel’s narrative mainstream is created from 45 smaller narratives that cluster around it, as an image might be drawn by coloring the spaces around it. One character (Evie Arnold, freelance journalist) appears in many of these clusters. She agrees to report on the conflict and so touches the lives of many who are more engaged in one side or the other. Her life is the thread that binds much of the narrative together.

Through this structure (mini-narratives creating a larger story), the novel explores personalities and values associated with the mining conflict. As in real life, smaller stories make up larger ones, and, in the end, personalities and idiosyncrasies of individuals project onto a larger screen.

A third of the way through the story, another character tells Evie, “If you claim you don’t have an opinion you’re being disingenuous; that, or you don’t give a shit. Either way, nobody cares what you have to say about it.” In fact, Evie doesn’t treat the two sides in this values contest evenhandedly; she comes to support, and eventually adopt, ideals represented by the anti-mine group. The same might be said of the novel itself. That’s good, because the magic that fuels the magical realism resides there.

Copies available in paperback or kindle format.

Here’s the video trailer.

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Mikawadizi Storms: The Illustrations

Upcoming magical realism novel, Mikawadizi Storms has 45 chapters, each revolving around a different character. The characters’ names are the chapter headings. Each chapter begins with a drawing of the character and a quote. Some characters appear in many chapters as the overall narrative unfolds — this isn’t 45 short stories, but one mainly linear story involving many characters and perspectives. Below is a description of the story, and below that, the 45 illustrations and quotes.

Thirty-five, unemployed, and rebounding from a failed relationship, Evie Arnold reluctantly moves back in with her parents. She dusts off an old journalism degree and sets out to write freelance human interest stories. Her first project is to cover the emerging conflict between billionaire Clive Gready, who is intent on digging an open-pit mine in magnificent Mikawadizi hills, and the La Roche Verte Band of Indians, who are pledged to protect their ancestors’ ancient homeland from this defilement. Evie begins the project neutral and objective, but soon her research and interviewing nudge her toward the Indian camp. She’s in the thick of things when all hell breaks loose. Mikawadizi Storms casts characters drawn with bold strokes into situations spiked with magic and smoldering with tensions of contradictory world views pitted against each other in an all-consuming contests of will. The offspring of these conflicts are enchanting narratives, with extraordinary characters sweeping into miraculous, magical outcomes.

Wesley Dubois: “We may be related.”

Wesley Dubois: “We may be related.”

Descendants know what their ancestors learn. I think it makes all the sense in the world.

Descendants know what their ancestors learn. I think it makes all the sense in the world.

Ward Commercant: “Capitalism is a treadmill where you run until your heart breaks”

Ward Commercant: “Capitalism is a treadmill where you run until your heart breaks”

Walt Strider: “We don’t have earthquakes here in Meskousing, not big ones anyway.”

Walt Strider: “We don’t have earthquakes here in Meskousing, not big ones anyway.”

Wally Wittstruck: “We got video that makes you look like some cheap-ass organ-grinder’s monkey - gimme, gimme, gimme!”

Wally Wittstruck: “We got video that makes you look like some cheap-ass organ-grinder’s monkey – gimme, gimme, gimme!”

Wade Rivers: “By bullshit she means I may have taken some narrative liberties.”

Wade Rivers: “By bullshit she means I may have taken some narrative liberties.”

Senator Gerry Spitz: “Don’t you think we should stand a little further to the right?”

Senator Gerry Spitz: “Don’t you think we should stand a little further to the right?”

Senator Biff Fanny: “This opportunity seems insurmountable.”

Senator Biff Fanny: “This opportunity seems insurmountable.”

Sara Laurent: “Can I be Indian and still be a scientist?”

Sara Laurent: “Can I be Indian and still be a scientist?”

Preston Prescott: ““Indians! They’re Indians! Once you grasp that everything falls into place.”

Preston Prescott: ““Indians! They’re Indians! Once you grasp that everything falls into place.”

She named the boys Edward III and Edward IV, but calls them Niso, and Niyo, except when she wants to get the attention of both, when she simply calls Edwards!

She named the boys Edward III and Edward IV, but calls them Niso, and Niyo, except when she wants to get the attention of both, when she simply calls Edwards!

Napoleon: “There’s no recording devices allowed in the compound, not cameras, not voice recorders, not telephones, not nothing.”

Napoleon: “There’s no recording devices allowed in the compound, not cameras, not voice recorders, not telephones, not nothing.”

The experience of the Patriot Mine left lasting imprints on the Mikawadizi Hills and on the related cultures -- both the La Roche Verte, and on the immediate Western culture.

The experience of the Patriot Mine left lasting imprints on the Mikawadizi Hills and on the related cultures — both the La Roche Verte, and on the immediate Western culture.

Marjorie Wilkins: “Cats – It’s like they’re not of this world.”

Marjorie Wilkins: “Cats – It’s like they’re not of this world.”

Makwa: “What is going on down there? What got those spirits so worked up?”

Makwa: “What is going on down there? What got those spirits so worked up?”

Louis Dubois: “Of course I’ve read the assignment. I’m ready for the quiz.”

Louis Dubois: “Of course I’ve read the assignment. I’m ready for the quiz.”

Lotta Moore: “We take good care of her and she takes good care of us.”

Lotta Moore: “We take good care of her and she takes good care of us.”

Karen Prescott: “He’ll be born without a heart!”

Karen Prescott: “He’ll be born without a heart!”

Josh Migizi: “So what? I walk up to Cammie in the grocery store and I say, I hear you’re having a baby. Am I the father?”

Josh Migizi: “So what? I walk up to Cammie in the grocery store and I say, I hear you’re having a baby. Am I the father?”

Johnny Appleplanter: “There’s something I must tell the world! Trees can talk!”

Johnny Appleplanter: “There’s something I must tell the world! Trees can talk!”

Jimmy Duquesne: “Are there pills you’re supposed to take?”

Jimmy Duquesne: “Are there pills you’re supposed to take?”

Ghost Cat: “If we’re going to be partners there’re some things we need to get straight.”

Ghost Cat: “If we’re going to be partners there’re some things we need to get straight.”

“This is heaven? It looks just like the Mikawadizi Hills.”

“This is heaven? It looks just like the Mikawadizi Hills.”

Evelyn Arnold: “I feel a dark cloud has billowed up around us.”

Evelyn Arnold: “I feel a dark cloud has billowed up around us.”

The young French nobleman cut a dashing, though diminutive, figure in his heavy woolen shirt and pants, knee-high leather boots and crimson scarf.

The young French nobleman cut a dashing, though diminutive, figure in his heavy woolen shirt and pants, knee-high leather boots and crimson scarf.

Edna Swineburne blinked and sniffed, causing the nostrils at the end of her long, slender nose to dilate slightly. “I smell money.”

Edna Swineburne blinked and sniffed, causing the nostrils at the end of her long, slender nose to dilate slightly. “I smell money.”

Dr. Stuart Suring: “Hormonal changes in particular can have surprising effects on how we perceive the world.”

Dr. Stuart Suring: “Hormonal changes in particular can have surprising effects on how we perceive the world.”

Dr. Zumo: “My counselor’s name was Danny, but we called him Handy Dandy because of his obsession with masturbation!”

Dr. Zumo: “My counselor’s name was Danny, but we called him Handy Dandy because of his obsession with masturbation!”

Dr. Ed Commercant: “The walls of the cave were striped with seams of pure silver.”

Dr. Ed Commercant: “The walls of the cave were striped with seams of pure silver.”

Douglas Fournier: “Mark me well. There will be no open pit mine in the Mikawadizi Hills.”

Douglas Fournier: “Mark me well. There will be no open pit mine in the Mikawadizi Hills.”

Dorothy Arnold: “She was mummified under the sofa in your study. I guess she was waiting for you to come in and read something.”

Dorothy Arnold: “She was mummified under the sofa in your study. I guess she was waiting for you to come in and read something.”

 Deloris Le Boeuf: “You want something else to eat?”

Deloris Le Boeuf: “You want something else to eat?”

 David Arnold: “I don’t know how apple pie came to be what things are as American as.”

David Arnold: “I don’t know how apple pie came to be what things are as American as.”

Clive Gready: “Indians, regulators, weather, doesn’t matter what the obstacle, we keep moving forward.”

Clive Gready: “Indians, regulators, weather, doesn’t matter what the obstacle, we keep moving forward.”

Clinton Makwasaam: “Photographs say more about who takes them than who’s in them; Drawings and paintings even more so.”

Clinton Makwasaam: “Photographs say more about who takes them than who’s in them; Drawings and paintings even more so.”

Cliff Hangers: “I don’t have to put up with this! I’m a journalist!”

Cliff Hangers: “I don’t have to put up with this! I’m a journalist!”

Chief Namekagon: “You can’t eat me! “You ate me already!”

Chief Namekagon: “You can’t eat me! “You ate me already!”

Cheryl Pepin: “She’s the mate of the mucho-macho sky god. When they screw the thunder rolls.”

Cheryl Pepin: “She’s the mate of the mucho-macho sky god. When they screw the thunder rolls.”

Cammie Loon: “Right now he has my tit in his mouth. It makes him look a little...I don’t know...sucky.”

Cammie Loon: “Right now he has my tit in his mouth. It makes him look a little…I don’t know…sucky.”

Bolt Steelee: “The land mines aren’t line mines per se.”

Bolt Steelee: “The land mines aren’t line mines per se.”

Bart Gready: “If trees can talk, I’d like to hear them.”

Bart Gready: “If trees can talk, I’d like to hear them.”

April Le Boeuf: “My Grandmother sleeps in these hills.”

April Le Boeuf: “My Grandmother sleeps in these hills.”

Apple Strudel turned his head and his huge brown eye met her eyes. The message was clear – Shut up!

Apple Strudel turned his head and his huge brown eye met her eyes. The message was clear – Shut up!

Ann Gaazhagens: “Fun? Like when I kicked your ass in the Hanson case?”

Ann Gaazhagens: “Fun? Like when I kicked your ass in the Hanson case?”

Alison Martin: “What do you call these militia men who took aim on children and fired, ripping their bodies open with lead bullets?”

Alison Martin: “What do you call these militia men who took aim on children and fired, ripping their bodies open with lead bullets?”

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Mikawadizi Storms

ImageI’m closing in on completion of the first draft of a novel called Mikawadizi Storms (nee Lost Shadows). Backbone of the plot is the opening of an iron ore mine in the Mikawadizi Hills, pitting the mine owner, Clive Gready, and his chorus of politicians against the local Indian tribe, the La Roche Verte Band and a few allies. It’s all fiction; in fact, it’s magical realism, but the underlying conflict will be familiar to people in Wisconsin. Main characters include: Evelyn Arnold, a thirty-something woman shaken out of the track her life was on by infertility issues. She becomes a freelance journalist who decides to cover the mine controversy. Edward Commercant, a young Indian  torn between traditional Indian culture and western culture. Clive Gready (pronounced Grādy), mentioned above. Lotta Moore, runs Moore’s Bed and Breakfast, an long standing house of prostitution in the small town of Squirrely. Wesley Dubois (a.k.a Old Ham Pockets), an old Indian man constantly followed by a pack of stray dogs because he once fed them his commodity ham. There are many other characters. The narrative is organized into 40 chapters, each named for a character, each around 2,000 words, most told in linear time but a few out of sequence.

Where’s the magic? Here are a few tastes: Lotta’s whore house is well over 100 years old but it maintains itself in like-new condition and immaculately clean with no help from anyone living there. It does the same for the women living there. Evelyn carries a stuffed cat with her always, physical anchor for the ghost of her long dead cat, Fluffy. William Dubois metamorphs into a butterfly to lead an army of butterflies against a battery of evil spirits released from the earth when the mine pit gets too deep. Edward Commercant splits into  two young men (twins Ed and Ward) who go their separate ways.

Editing, polishing, and drawing character sketches should take about three months, so I’m planning for a September publication date. This is one of my favorite points in writing a novel – close enough to the final product I can see how the many parts integrate. My other favorite point is the beginning, where inspiration and creativity can run wild.

photo from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net (http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=1232&picture=orange-butterfly&large=1)

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Double Exposures here!

And, now, the second shoe drops! The paperback is available through Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Double-Exposures-Dennis-Vickers/dp/1494723905/ref=la_B007QT0K4E_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397176934&sr=1-5

I’m delighted to report my short story collection, Double Exposures, is now available in the Kindle format. The link is

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JKXIJNI

The paperback format should follow in about a week. The cover includes an image Becca Vickers took from a video she shot while riding around Bangkok on the back of one of those motorcycle taxi’s the guys in the orange jackets drive (ride?). It’s a beautiful image with startling colors. The cover also has cuts from two reviews — one from Tracy St. Claire (Editor, Changing Minds Weekly) and Ryan Winn (Tribal College Journal Columnist and Media Reviewer). These cuts now open the video trailer. The reviews themselves are inside the book cover.

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April 10, 2014 · 12:20 am

Passing Through Paradise

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