Sabbatical

Well, I realize that I have not been that faithful to my blog this summer, being much to busy to be regular, but I am about to take an extended leave of absence.  I am leaving to go to Georgia for almost three weeks to volunteer for a campaign with some friends.  I will not say that nothing will appear here during this three-week period, as I might be able to catch a few spare moments, but I wanted to inform you, that the decrease in activity is not (Lord willing) a slow fall into nothingness.  I plan to pick back up as soon as I have the chance.  In the meanwhile, try not to forget about…

Wyatt Fairlead

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Naming Characters

I have a hard time naming my characters.  I have been thinking about naming characters for a while now, having read in the not to distant past one or two blog posts on the subject, and then most recently coming to a part in my “book to be” (maybe?)  that required the introduction of several characters.  My stories so far have all tended towards the historical/ fantastical fiction.  This being the case, my names are not supposed to resemble the names of this world very much, but it is hard to strike that line between sufficiently different to merit real attention, and completely over the top.  I generally run them by my sister who helps proof read and edit my manuscripts as I go along to see what she thinks.  Anyway, the other trouble that I have is trying to get inspiration for names.  If it can’t sound like names we would commonly use, than I can’t really just sit and think of a name that sounds good.  I usually have to go to a dictionary.  My favorite dictionaries for names of this sort however, are usually foreign language dictionaries.  For example, my Latin to English dictionary is exceptional for my medieval protagonist nomenclature.  On the other hand, much of the inspiration behind the antagonists of my story is based on German.  (Heavily mutilated I grant you, but I did say inspiration.)  I feel the need to clarify that the German is not the antagonist inspiration because it’s German.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with nationality but entirely revolves around the nature and sound of the language.  I am offsetting two entirely different cultures with two entirely different heritages.  Therefore I of necessity, must have two diametrically opposed sounding languages; and let’s be honest, the only thing less like Latin than German is maybe Russian.

So, cat is out of the bag.  If I ever become a famous author, (Highly Unlikely!!!)  You can try to figure out what the word behind my character is.  I can say though that in most cases I will purposefully not make it easy on you.

Wyatt Fairlead

The Gathering Storm

 

Today I finished reading Winston Churchill’s book, The Gathering Storm.  I decided to read it mid-way through the month of May and enjoyed it thoroughly, though I did not get through it as quickly as I was hoping.  I believe that Chruchill was a man with incredible insight into human nature and a shrewd judge of character.  He was proved correct time and time again in his predictions, which he gave in spite of jeering and hostile opposition that considered him a warmonger.  His political life was a series of valleys and mountaintops, but he continued to rise to the forefront of British politics during times of peril.  The natural question is: Why would a man with such a volatile record always be called on when there was trouble?  I believe it is because he was a man who was unafraid.  He was determined to see the facts of a case, no matter the outcome.  He would rather face the problems that where coming in the future head on than hide from them and hope that paltry efforts and quick fixes would be adequate.  And most importantly, he was willing to say what no one wanted to hear, and do the things that no one wanted to do, for the good of all.

The Gathering Storm is Winston Churchill’s chronicle of the years between the World Wars and then his part in World War Two before he became Prime Minister.  During those years it was possible to have bloodlessly prevented the coming conflict with Hitler on numerous occasions.  This is something that a little proactivity on the part of Britain and France, with the prodding from a few prophets of the time, such as Churchill, could have prevented.  The problem was that Europe had just emerged from the worst, most bloody conflict that history had ever known, and the last thing that the western world wanted was an armed confrontation.  The world wanted peace.  What they got was war.  And why?  Churchill puts it best in the book.

“It is my purpose, as one who lived and acted in these days, to show how the malice of the wicked was reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous.”

It is my belief that this world needs another Winston Churchill.  This is a critical time in the world.  There is a lot hanging in the balance.  We need someone who is willing to say what no one wants to say and no one wants to hear.  We need someone who is willing to do the things that no one is willing to do.  But I think that there is something else that we need even more than another Winston Churchill.  We, as people, must learn the lessons taught to us by the past.  We must be willing to hear and act upon the things that we don’t want to hear or do.  If we are unwilling to do so, we may find ourselves in a position of no less peril than those who belong to the era named the greatest generation.  Perhaps not peril of war, (although it is entirely possible) but through a myriad of other problems that may be forced upon us.  Churchill ends the preface to The Gathering Storm this way.

 

“It is my earnest hope that pondering upon the past may give guidance in the days to come, enable a new generation to repair some of the errors of former years and thus govern, in accordance with the needs and glory of man, the awful unfolding scene of the future.”

                                                WINSTON SPENCER CHURCHILL

 Wyatt Fairlead

A Motivational Poem

The Things That Haven’t Been Done Before

-by Edgar Guest

The things that haven’t been done before,

Those are the things to try;

Columbus dreamed of an unknown shore

At the rim of a far-flung sky,

And his heart was bold and his faith was strong

As he ventured in dangers new,

And he paid no heed to the jeering throng

 Or the fears of the doubting crew.

The many will follow the beaten track

With guideposts on the way.

They live and have lived for ages back

With a chart for every day.

Someone has told them it’s safe to go

On the road he has traveled o’er,

And all they ever strive to know

Are the things that were known before.

A few strike out without map or chart,

Where never a man has been,

From the beaten paths they draw apart

To see what no man has seen.

There are deeds they hunger alone to do;

Though battered and bruised and sore,

They blaze the path for the many, who

Do nothing not done before.

The things that haven’t been done before

Are the tasks worthwhile today;

Are you one of the flock that follows, or

Are one that shall lead the way?

Are you one of the timid souls that quail

At the jeers of the doubting crew,

Or dare you, whether you win or fail,

Strike out for a goal that’s new?

            I have always liked this poem since I memorized it in fourth grade.  It is a very motivational poem, at least to me, and while I have never gone off the “beaten track” so to speak, it encourages me not to be easily discouraged when I try to do things that are new to me.  (And I am very easily discouraged, as I almost always have unrealistic expectations of myself.)  Hope this poem will give you a little boost towards whatever project you are working at in the coming week.

Wyatt Fairlead

July the Third

Today is one of the most important days of American history.  But July the third is not only one of the most important days of American history in general; the actions that took place on this date in the past had the profoundest impact on the organization of what we now call the United States.  But before you all get the idea that this has anything to do with Independence Day and the Declaration of Independence, it does not.  The event I am referring to happened 87 years later.  I am referring to the last day in the battle of Gettysburg.  Today, 149 years ago, the Confederacy made its high water mark on Cemetery Ridge, in what became known as Picket’s Charge.  It was on this day that the Union almost broke.  The fate of the southern states depended on the outcome of this day.  Much of this is in hindsight; but even General Lee knew then that had he won the battle of Gettysburg, the path to Washington would be cleared and President Davis would be giving President Lincoln the South’s terms for peace.  The rest is History.  The Union line held against an assault of more than 15,000 Confederate soldiers across a plain 1 ½ miles wide and forced Lee’s retreat back to Virginia.  It was today that proved America could not overcome itself.  This is a story in Lee’s biography, which was written by A. L. Long, told by a union soldier.

            “I was at the battle of Gettysburg myself . . . I had been the most bitter anti-South man, and fought and cursed the Confederates desperately.  I could see nothing good in any of them.  The last day of the fighting I was badly wounded.  A ball shattered my left leg.  I lay on the ground not far from Cemetery Ridge, and as General Lee ordered his retreat he and his officers rode near me.

As they came, I recognized him and, though faint from exposure and loss of blood, I raised up my hands, looked Lee in the face, and shouted as loud as I could, “Hurrah for the Union!”

The General heard me, looked, stopped his horse, dismounted, and came toward me.  I confess that at first I thought he meant to kill me.  But as he came up, he looked down at me with such a sad expression on his face that all fear left me, and I wondered what he was about.  He extended his hand to me, and grasping mine firmly and looking right into my eyes, said, “My son, I hope you will soon be well.”

If I live to be a thousand years I shall never forget he expression on General Lee’s face.  There he was, defeated, retiring from a field that had cost him and his cause almost their last hope, yet he stopped to say words like those to a wounded soldier of the opposition who had taunted him as he passed by.  As soon as the General had left I cried myself to sleep there upon the bloody ground.”

            Today is one of the days that made the United States of America what it is, and we so often forget it.  They were regular men, Union or Confederates, Americans all, fighting for a cause, and changing the course of history with them.

Wyatt Fairlead

I Splurged

So I went to the Green Valley Book Fair on Saturday.  We usually only go once a year, but this year we are going to have the opportunity to go twice in a relatively short period of time.  (Which was great for my strategic buying.)  I had decided ahead of time that I was going to buy some books that I wouldn’t ordinarily get, because I might not necessarily read them, but I wanted them because they are just good books to have.  At any rate, I had a great time, and for any of you out there that are into good deals, I will make you jealous. The Green Valley Book Fair buys books in bulk from overstocked publishers and stores that go out of business etc.  All the books are new, and they range over every subject you could possibly think of.  You never know what is going to be there because the books that they get entirely depend on the suppliers, but you are always sure to find something interesting.  I bought twenty-eight books on his trip.  Yes I splurged, but for fun I did a price check of all the books that I bought at the book fair on Amazon.  Here are the figures that I came up with.  I spent $112.60 on all my books.  If I were to buy the exact same books on Amazon, excluding one that I couldn’t find, (the selected works of Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats) it would have cost me exactly $314.37.  I am happy, and looking into building myself a wrap around bookshelf in my room as my upright bookshelf is past full.

Wyatt Fairlead