Don't Say I Didn't Warn You.
How many times have I heard that. I think it was my mom who was the first one to ever utter those words to me. I'm sure it was, that's what moms do. I can't exactly tell you what her warning was about. Maybe she was trying to say something was hot and I'd get burned, maybe it was too cold outside and I'd freeze, maybe I was in a tree that was too tall and I was going to fall, I really can't remember. This week's Positive CJ Thoughts are all about warnings. Warnings about things we shouldn't do and sometimes, things we should.
I stopped and tried to think about how many warnings the average person might get a day. I can tell you mine starts at 4am. It's when my alarm goes off to tell me it's time to get up or I'll be late for work. Now I get it, you might be skeptical that my wake-up call is a warning.
Being late is not one of my favorite things. In my job, being on time is important. At a 24-7 operation, if a replacement doesn't show up, someone doesn’t get to go home. Then it snowballs into that person being late for whatever they are supposed to do. I tell rookies that one of the most important parts of the job is show up, ready to go to work. There is a level of respect for the job and for the people who need you to do that job that is an absolute requirement. At times, it's life or death. Firefighters receive calls for service on a constant basis. The individual that called for help, needs us to show up as soon as possible to fix or handle whatever the situation is. If someone is bleeding and I'm slow to the call, they bleed out. If someone's house is on fire and there is any delay, the loss can be devastating.
Some of those calls come from warnings the resident personally has received. It might be a smoke alarm or a carbon monoxide alarm.
A pending health crisis warning might come in the form of chest pains or shortness or breath. Warnings, each and every one that something is wrong, danger exists.
We get warnings all the time and think little about them. Think about the road signs you see daily. 'Slow down, construction ahead'. It might be an electronic sign that tells you 'heavy congestion' and that it's going to take you longer to get where you're going than anticipated. As soon as I turn onto the main road from my house, I get a warning about the 'extreme grade' and 'sharp turns' to the bottom of the mountain.
Once I hit civilization, I start seeing traffic lights, red, yellow, and green. I'm a Murphy so rarely do I pull up to an intersection and not see a red or a yellow light warning me of a change of the right of way. Warnings, all warnings.
I take my medications so that I can walk after those two back surgeries. I take one pill just so that I don't stroke out from my blood pressure going through the roof. On the side of almost everyone's prescription bottles, there are warnings. 'Don't take this and operate heavy machinery', 'don't consume with alcohol'. 'May cause drowsiness'.
My own body sends me warnings too. I suffer from migraines, ocular migraines. I see a pattern of triangles that begin to form a circle in my vision.
When the circle closes, it completely blinds me visually as it delivers a nauseating sledgehammer to my brain. As soon as I see the first flashing triangle appear, I have to get meds in my system without question. Another set of warnings.
Right now, my television and radio are full of constant weather warnings with Hurricane Florence pounding the Carolina coast.
Why do I need to worry about that in West Virginia, since there isn't a single inch of coastline in my home state? Our ground is saturated with the never-ending rain this summer. The run off and flash flooding could devastate communities that only see sand in their kids sandboxes or they go on vacation to the beach. I listen to a daily 2pm weather call that warns me what to expect. Who will see the brunt, where the water is going to rise and what could be our worst case scenario. In 2012, HURRICANE Sandy dumped FEET of SNOW on my area as I told you in a previous blog.
In 1985, HURRICANE Juan killed 38 people and caused over $700 million dollars in damage in West Virginia. I remember that flood. I was still in high school. It DEVESTATED whole communities. Some never recovered. Somewhere I still have a six pack of water from Anheuser Busch when there was no drinking water available and way before bottled water was readily available. It was one of those events that people still go back and ask "Where were you?"
We may not have a beach in West Virginia, but when we hear about a hurricane, we pay attention. The warnings are too important not to.
I get warnings from my wife too. Sometimes it's when I've failed to do something or I've actually done something I shouldn't have. I won't lie, I get cranky. I try to hold it in check as much as possible and yet, it still rears its ugly head. When she looks at me and tells me 'you need a nap', I know I've stepped in it. Warning bells start going off.
How about those good warnings? I've had friends tell me if I didn't eat at a new restaurant that just moved in, I'd be missing out. A new song comes on the radio and the disc jockey tells me it's going to floor me. Maybe it's in the form of a reminder, "vacation is right around the corner, have you made your reservations?"
Warnings in one form or another of something we just don't want to miss. I have alerts set up for certain authors, performers and things I'm watching for. I have certain holy grail I keep my eye out for. Even eBay sends you a warning when you've been out bid.
In 2018, we currently sit at 2 minutes to midnight on the Doomsday clock.
We are the closest we have ever been to destruction since the cold war and our commander in chief (trust me, there are air quotes around that and a rolling of the eyes) dictates policy and diplomacy in two hundred and eighty characters as he tweets at 2am. The man who has his finger on the figurative 'big red button', praises dictators, alienates our closest allies, belittles whoever he feels challenged or threatened by (including other idiots who have big red buttons), and acts about as diplomatic as a turd in a punch bowl.
He could move us to one minute before midnight or make the clock strike twelve with a childish 280-character rant.
At this point if you don't see the robot from Lost In Space waving his arms up and down screaming "Warning, warning, warning," and hearing those loud sirens going off, then you aren't listening --on purpose.
Positive CJ Thoughts, Positive CJ Thoughts, Positive CJ Thoughts. Find the positive, find the kind. A few blogs ago, I told you about a TV reporter that make me laugh with her zany product testing. Lately, she's been using a line …'be a flashlight'. Shine light, be someone's light in the dark.
This brings to mind a scripture…'Neither do men light a candle and hide it under a bushel' and the children's song "This Little Light of Mine".
Well, here's your flashlight, warning- Positive CJ Thought-----
DO NOT GIVE UP! DO NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT.
Fight for your rights and the decency that's been stomped out like a discarded cigarette on the sidewalk. GET THE HELL OUT AND VOTE IN THESE ELECTIONS!
Sitting back and saying 'woe is me', won't cut it. To see change, you have to make change happen. No one is going to do it for you. Be the biggest damn spotlight you can be for those who need it.
Find those of like mind and support each other. In the lesbian literature community, quit chewing off your own arm so that you don't have to shake their hand. That's like standing out on a very thin branch and jumping up and down.
To those brave enough to put pen to paper, THANK YOU! We are a small but powerful voice and we need to use that to strengthen ourselves and OUR genre. No one else is going to do it for us. BE THAT FLASHLIGHT for another author. Jealousy gets us nowhere except for an isolated place and eventual extinction. It's damn dark out there, it would be really nice to be able to stand in the light and warn those around us that the world is a dangerous place if faced alone. Together, we find strength and our survival.
I'm happy to be able to share the front cover for "The Bucket List". The wonderful Ann McMan, of TreeHouse Studio, has once again nailed the fractured pictures in my mind and pulled them together to create a visually stunning representation of this books overall theme. I reveal to you, "The Bucket List" by CJ Murphy.
According to my publisher, Desert Palm Press, we hope to have this out by late October, early November. I can tell you, I left it all on the page with this novel. It's a whirlwind ride.
Here is the book blurb.
Professor Jordan Armstrong, a biogenetic engineer, is at an impasse in her super food research. In order to move forward, she is adamant that her former professor, Noeul Scott, is the key. The problem is, Noeul vanished after a personal tragedy. Jordan stumbles upon a coded 'bucket list' that she hopes will reveal clues to where she's gone. With the help of her cryptologist sister, Jordan follows clues to several National Parks where hidden memorials to Noeul's deceased wife, contain the next set of coded ciphers. Jordan must decode each in order to reveal the next location. Along this expedition, she is guided by something, or someone, she can't see. Unexplained happenstances continue to direct her steps.
Retired professor, Noeul Scott is alone, living in her mountaintop home in West Virginia. After the loss of her wife, Aggie James, she believes she is meant to live a solitary life, existing and not truly living. The love of agricultural research helps her pass the time as she experiments with unique grafting techniques in her primitive lab. Noeul begins to be visited by Aggie from the afterworld, who reminds her that life is meant to be lived in the present, not in the past. Her solitary days are interrupted after she reads about a former student who is advancing her research in a promising new direction.
Two jaded souls walk a similar path that puts them on a collision course. Pain, old hurts, and uncertainty may keep them on parallel paths without intersection, unless they can seize the opportunity before them.
I've made a decision to cut back the blog to twice a month for the time being. I'm trying to fracture myself into too many things and don't like struggling to figure out where my PCT's are going to come from. Sometimes, it's a foul ball and sometimes, it's a base hit when I sit down to write it. If I'm capable of hitting the home run, then I need to focus a bit more than worry about my own self imposed deadline. I may post just a short thought of encouragement.
Until "The Bucket List" goes to print, you can still pick up my Goldie Award Winning Debut Novel, 'frame by frame' at your favorite online retail outlet.