My Favorite Form Of Locomotion

Hiking Souls. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Hiking Souls. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

I love movement.

Like all of us, I’ve done all kinds of it:

  • Crawling
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Boating
  • Driving
  • Yard Work
  • Martial Arts
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga
  • Weight Training
  • Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Stretching
  • Flying
  • Skydiving
  • Scuba Diving
  • Trains
  • Eating*
  • Talking*

*Yes, both of these involve movement of the mouth, in which many have expressed that I’m far more proficient than the average bear in my performance of said operations.

Though I’ve been on a couple of locomotives and loved them, no, that is not my favorite mode of movement. Though I’ve done tons of biking—road and mountain—no, also not my favorite mode.

I have found that my absolute favorite form of locomotion is walking.

I love the idea…the philosophy…the Zen of moving through life by walking.

You can literally get anywhere by putting one foot in front of the other. It is not only a physical expression, but a philosophical one as well. “Putting one foot in front of the other” has been used many time to illustrate the notion of moving forward in life. But I’ve always loved just locomoting on my own, without the aid of metal or rubber (okay, I use Vibram soles…). I love moving among the terrain of rocks and dirt and trees and wind and sun. Even snow. Love the feel of the earth pushing back up to meet the downward movement of my body. On a good hiking trail or in a really nifty forest, I could go on forever, exploring and experiencing the dirt and the trees. In fact my fascination with walking inspired my short story, “Walkers” (which you can find in my anthology, Do The Dead Dream?).

Though I can no longer (at present) hike the long trails because of an injury, I far more prefer buying a good pair of hiking boots over a bike. While I can no longer do day-long hikes, I can do short, daily hikes of an hour or so, and this fills me with joy! Even my wife comments on how much happier I am having gotten back into my daily hikes (different reasons as to why I’d temporarily stopped hiking). I love hiking through varied terrain…rocks…dirt…trees. Up and down…cool-looking turns and and hidden nooks and crannies. “Single-track” (a biking term), I’ll call them…by which I mean the trails are not paved routes, but I’ll certainly walk them if that’s all I have. Single-track biking trails are a blast, and just that—narrow trails involving all kinds of cool impediments and terrain to bike over, under, and through…so I love the transfer of the term to walking and hiking.

And more than once, I’ll experience some cool, mystical moments, like I did on my May 22, 2018 hike. This seems to happen to me more on foot, though as I was learning Tai Chi I did have similar moments of Zen (I’d since stopped that, as well—not enough time in the day!).

So…I urge each of you to also take up some movement in your lives, whatever form that may be. It’s not very difficult. All you have to do is just

Move one foot in front of the other.



Posted in Leisure, Metaphysical, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Leaving A Little Mystery

Insert Imagination Here! (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Insert Imagination Here! (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

I love a little mystery.

But in feeding the beast of social media (SM) there is none. Making oneself constantly available defeats that. Orienting your entire life and awareness around SM is/has become addictive and sickening.

SM exists to be used. And in so doing it becomes many’s life.

It evolves and transmogrifies according to your usage. I’d recently learned that how you use it affects your usage and availability (i.e., who sees what). You’d think that when you post something that all in your sphere of influence (“friends” and followers) would see or have the opportunity to see what you posted…but you’d be incorrect.

The long and the short of it is that the more you use the constantly developing aspects of whatever SM you are using, then and only then the more your posts are distributed to your audience.

And that cycle perpetuates itself with your “friends.” For example, just replying to a post with “Thanks!” gets you nothing…unless, say, you reply using four or more words and specifically developed hashtags. The algorithms are constantly reworked, but that is what current SM algorithms are looking for and promoting. Facebook…Twitter…Instagram. These platforms are looking for as much interaction from you as possible…including trying out any new developments they’re pushing at the moment. So if you don’t interact much beyond a simple “Thanks!” you are not going to have your posts pushed out to whomever you’d think and expect your posts are pushed out to.

In short: you are ignored.

SM constantly requires and craves more and more of you time. More and more of you.

It is actually manipulating you to perform as that platform (i.e. the corporation behind the application) WANTS you to perform.

YOU…are being MANIPULATED…into addictive behavior.

I don’t want that. I am not willing to play that game. I do not want to spend all of my time on SM.

And I certainly I do not what to put all aspects of my life onto SM.

I do not want to make myself constantly nor immediately available to others. As I’d said up top…I love a little mystery.

Now many try to take us “hostage” by saying that we have no choice. That if you want to get your products out there you HAVE to “do” SM. I resent this. I resent being told what I have to do…and I resent SM. I do not see anything “social” about it…what I see is addictive behavior…and I do not want to enable and perpetuate this “immediate gratification” that is addicting our world…yes, even at the expense of selling my books. Much to everyone’s disbelief books…books and movies and soda and pencils…were all sold before SM ever existed.

Imagine that.

Literally—imagine that.

What I want is for others to wonder and imagine about everything.

If someone reads my work, I want them to imagine…”what if”…about other ideas that enter their minds that my work might spark and inspire and not freaking Google it. Google is a whole nother manipulation discussion, and there are whole movements against its wholesale manipulation and cyberspace bullying tactics.

I want all of you to wonder and imagine on your own.

If you’re curious about me or my words, I want you to find my works and imagine how I write them. What else I might think about, what things I might do during the day.

I want conjecture about what I may drink, might have done at 1:15 in the afternoon, or whom I might have visited.

I do not want you to know.

To me it’s like movies and books that reveal just enough about a scene without having described every last detail and leaves the rest to the imagination. That is far more powerful to me than actually seeing it.

I feel use of the imagination develops other areas of our being that cannot possibly be developed or exercised in any other way. It develops genuine curiosity. Respect. The ability to think for oneself. Develops and strengthens the imagination itself. Develops discipline, the ability to wait. Listen. Be observant. Sensitivity. It develops areas of our brains and functions of our mind. Enhances our sense of AWE…our sense of wonder….

In short, a little mystery is good for the soul.



Posted in Technology, To Be Human, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stylized Violence—Stories of Science Fiction

I have been watching the new AMC production of James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction. And to be honest, I don’t buy a common thread throughout the extended dialogue: that writers and directors are writing and creating all these nasty, dystopian, and bleak worlds as cautionary tales.

Sure, at one point, I think it was Spielberg who said, where’s the fun in presenting good stuff where nothing happens, and I truly believe that is the real reasons most create what they create. That phrase seems to have been glossed over. It’s not some noble and altruistic ideal warning a readership about what could happen if we aren’t careful.

I’m sorry, but I call BULLSHIT.

Shenanigans, for you of the easily offended.

We have far too many such “cautionary tales” already out there than are needed. Far too much excessive and graphic violence within them. Far too many negative views of life in the past, present, and the future.

You folks are not writing this stuff to warn us.

You’re writing it for other reasons that have revisionist theories applied—or selective editing—because it sells stuff and makes for great conversations, swats at the hornet’s nests and stirs emotions.

Makes it all seem “good and right” and not nasty and violent and depressing.

I may be told I cannot possible know what people’s motives are, and that is an arguable comment. However, actions speak louder than words. Actions.

Why would we need to see people graphically shooting “zombies” at point blank? People’s heads bashed in. Decapitated? Being torn apart by whatever.

Sure, great work for special effect’s artists, but is it really needed?

I maintain that if you’re focusing on all this trash, dystopia, and negativity, you cannot maintain a peaceful, optimistic outlook on life. On humanity. And this is needed! If you want to better life, you don’t do it by focusing on the bad. How can you when you’re writing scenes that display graphic violence? How can you live an optimistic life? How can your actions telegraph the needed goodness and positivity, which enriches life (and is so needed right now) and can be passed on to others?

I maintain that you cannot.

And listening to all these experts commentate on just such affairs I find irresponsible.

They lend authoritarian dialogue to negative and disgusting topics, again, all in the nobly misguided attempt to justify their actions…of explaining all of it away as some-kind-of-necessary. I believe an extremely select few may actually think that way, some of the greats, like Cameron and Spielberg, but I do not believe the majority of those who sit down before their writing platforms do so and consider: Gee, what social commentary shall I write today? I just do not believe it. And I say that based upon what I see being presented out there. When I interact with much of the entitled generations, I do not get such introspection. When I see nothing but bent-over heads and shoulders in any grouping of humans, I can pretty much guess it’s not about introspection. It’s about social media. When I see the explosion of video-game-like zombie movies that only seem to be about high body counts and explicit dispatching of the said creatures, I don’t see “cautionary.” I don’t care about so-called “character development.” I don’t care about so-called “cathartic experiences” for “what’s going on in the world.” You want a cathartic avenue from all the nasty in the world, go hit the gym. A heavy bag. A five-mile run.

This carnival of the verisimilitude, in which our hosts discuss some artificially noble idea of today’s science fiction may appear to work for viewers who don’t have any truck with writers and actors and directors, but I know some of each in these professions—and a lot of writers—and I have a pretty good idea of how these people are. They may not openly admit it to me, but I know it through their actions, their words, their body languages, and—obviously—their writing. Now most of those whom I know don’t seem to mask their efforts in some veiled nobility of Cautionary Tales, in that I do not ever remember hearing any such declaration from any of my writer friends and acquaintances (not that that means they never told me…I just do not remember any such statements, and as such, wasn’t important enough in our conversations to stand out…). Some have freely admitted to it that it’s more fun, contrasting, and conflicting to write about. And I get that. Who wants to read about someone lovingly feeding their family and pets and doing the dishes and laundry and absolutely nothing goes bad? For some the writing really could be cathartic. Some may not even know or realize why they are writing what they’re writing. Or perhaps because they don’t even realize there’re other methods to reaching a similar goal…other ways to get the job done.

I also maintain that another reason there’s so much of it is because it sells.

There is a lot of frustration out there for a lot of reasons, but again, you are feeding the wrong beast. If you’re constantly planning for war, you cannot have peace. If you’re constantly thinking and writing and living about death and destruction, you cannot be at peace.

When I began writing, I wrote horror stories, and some were graphically violent. And as I discussed in the Preface to my anthology, I didn’t even know why I wrote about what I did when my dad first asked me. It wasn’t until later that I realized why and changed my direction. My methods. What did I like about writing about horror? It wasn’t the violence…it was the weirdness.

So when I hear all these eminent public figures discourse on the Cautionary Tale aspect, I do not buy it. People are people. And while one or seven of these people might actually feel this way—or partially this way—I don’t buy for a second that they all operate from the same point of view. I believe that some may very well have even reverse engineered their reasons after having had the idea for whatever violent story. Hey, this is a nasty story, but I could also market this as a Cautionary Tale….

You are what you eat…what you think…what you focus all your time and attention upon.

If you really want to change the world, change what and how you write about what you see in the world. You do not need to graphically portray the negativity. And if you really want to write about Cautionary Tales find better methods to convey these stories than graphically depicting zombie decapitations or the stylized violence of the new breed of Mad Max movies.

All I’m really seeing in most of today’s efforts is stylized violence. And I’m sick of it. I no longer go to the movies like I used to, nor read as many new books as I used to.

And just come clean and admit why you’re doing what you’re doing. Acknowledgement is the first step. Admit that it is more fun to write about The Bad than The Good. Gives more texture to stories, more contrast. More depth. Sometimes is even critical to the stories themselves. And, yes, may well be cathartic to readers. Or that all the anger and frustration you have about all the violence and corruption in world is manifesting in your writing…and that sure, you can see how others may use these stories as Cautionary Tales, but that was not the intent. Do you really want to fill your head and the heads of readers with violence? Look at what’s going on in our society. Just to pick on one aspect, look at all the high-school shootings. It may not be just your story that caused that, but I’m sure such stories, such video games, such graphic novels, such TV shows all exacerbated it…along with internal family dynamics. Everything affects everything.

It was pointed out by our hosts that the tone of SF had changed after the 50s, from hopeful to dystopian, but I don’t know that that discussion was given the depth that it should have been given. Or maybe I was too focused on all of the above and it colored my perception of the rest of the discussion. And, what the hell, but look at the concern it has raised in me with this post (well, actually, I have noticed this trend since the 70s, when I was a heavy reader of SF). But I do not buy that these all are—or the “best” of SF stories are—Cautionary Tales. At one time, yes, but not now. It’s literally been done to death. But the sound bites…the interviews…they look great, man. Moody. Cozy. Intellectual. Two people intelligently discussing across a table from each other with stylized lighting and shadows.

I’m just finding it all rather hyperbolic…and quite disappointing.


Posted in Metaphysical, To Be Human, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Psychic eBook Finally Available!

© Psychic (F. P. Dorchak and Duvall Design, coming mid-2014)

Psychic (© 2014, F. P. Dorchak [cover art: Duvall Design])

After some four years, I’ve finally made the ebook for Psychic!

I had to use a new formatter,, which had been recommended by my former formatter, Pam Headrick. Pam had far too much going on and had to pass on the formatting, so she recommended a couple of options and I went with Kimberly Hitchens and Booknook.

But even getting this whole thing done had several false starts.  As I began to review the file, I found that…somehow…the entire file had become corrupted. All kinds of weird things had happened to it…mainly many line returns had gotten screwed up, but also—and randomly—sentences had gotten broken up, the oddest errors of which literally involved the ends of a couple of sentences being truncated off—then repositioned before the sentence of which they had been removed from! Sometime several lines above it!

(disbelieving and frustrated face-palm)

There were other issues, but none of that now mattered. I had to now pull out my paperback copy and had to go line-by-line to compare my electronic file against the published copy.

Ugh. This was extremely tedious. Involved a couple of my own false starts.

But…long story, short, I managed to finally get that done, re-compared again after the first pass and I’d made the needed corrections, and finally completed the file reviews I needed to do. On the re-compare I did find two other issues I’d missed on the first pass. Of course. No matter how many times you go over things—even with other’s eyes—you’ll always find “new” mistakes.

So…several months later than expected, I finally have the completed Psychic ebook, while also finally getting my Sleepwalkers back into ebook format. Now all of my books are finally available electronically…and I can finally be freed to move on to totally new work, without having this hang over my head any longer! Both of these had been hanging over my head for many years, so this feels quite satisfying to have completed!

Psychic is now available at Amazon and Smashwords, and should also later populate to other retail outlets, for $4.99.

Posted in Books, Technology, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Today’s Hike – Garden of the Gods – May 22, 2018

Today I had gotten back outside and taken what has become my “usual” hike. It’s through Garden of the Gods, so it’s not really a gnarly hike. I can’t do those anymore…at least not until I get a certain something corrected.

Anyway, while out there I snapped a couple of shots I thought I’d share!

Devil’s Paintbrush–the Western US Version

I’m used to a different version of the paintbrush family, having grown up in the Adirondacks of upstate New York, but here is its western cousin. Still pretty.

Devil's Paintbrush (© 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Devil’s Paintbrush (© 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Bunker Hill

There’s a hill on the edge of Garden of the Gods that’s mostly rock, and I like to take the climb. I love the view and the rocks. I wish some deciduous trees were populated, but, alas, this is the southwest, and those are far and few-ish between.

Anyway, I had stopped to enjoy being alone–up to this point hadn’t passed a soul—and it was quite windy, which I love. It felt…magical. So I turned around and saw this view:

Looking Back (© 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Looking Back (© 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

When I checked how it came out it wasn’t as I “saw” it, so took another. Zoomed in a bit.

This was how I “saw” it:

A Second Look (© 2018 F. P. Dorchak)v

A Second Look (© 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

And, yes, there was a strangely magical quality to it. I just stood there and looked at it for a while. Taking it in. When I added this shot to the post, I looked at the image again, long and hard.

To me, anyway, yes, there is still a pleasantly creepy, eerily magical quality to it….

Posted in Fun, Leisure, Metaphysical, Nature, Spooky, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Power of Love

I did not get up this morning with the intention of watching the royal wedding, but my wife wanted to watch it, so I watched some of it with her.

I’m glad I did, because I caught the incredibly moving and passionate speech by Michael Bruce Curry, the current presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church.

I am not a religious man, but a spiritual one. But I loved the passion of this man and his delivery on the power of love. I’m sure that was the most excitement that UK church had ever seen! I’m sure the Brits had no idea what they were getting into when they signed this guy up!

I loved what this man had to say. I do not believe in his religion nor its trappings, but I do believe in his talk about love and how we should live our lives. As the bishop said, I believe that were Humanity to operate from a position of LOVE

…businesses would be different.

…government would be different.

…politics would be different.

…weather would be different.

…problems would be different.

people would be different.

…LIFE…would be oh, so wonderfully different!

Even if not religious, I ask that you view this speech. He had me riveted. It is powerful. It is passionate. And if you feel any love within you…

It will move you.

Pass on your love to the world.

Posted in Metaphysical, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mountain of Authors at Pikes Peak Library District – 2018

Mountain of Authors 2018! (Used with permission of PPLD MOA Staff)

Mountain of Authors 2018! (Used with permission of PPLD MOA Staff)

Last Saturday, May 5, I attended my third Colorado Springs Mountain of Authors (MOA). At this point it is my only author gig for the year. I do not plan on attending MILEHICON, and I’ve heard nothing about Denver’s Comic Con. Things could change, but as of now, this is it for the year. I have an upcoming shoulder surgery I need to get done, thanks to to many years of heavy weightlifting.

It felt good seeing my writer friends! I sat between two of them for the day—Kevin Ikenberry and Shannon Lawrence. Great people and I had fun talking with them and hanging out for six hours. But I also got to see and spend some time catching up with Barb Nickless, Fleur Bradley, Karin (K. D.) Huxman, Becky Clark, and others. Robin L., a friend of mine who has begun writing-in-earnest the past few years, also stopped by and we caught up. It was great to see everyone!

Mountain of Authors 2018 Schedule. (Used with permission of PPLD MOA Staff)

Mountain of Authors 2018 Schedule. (Used with permission of PPLD MOA Staff)

The list of events may be found here, but the layout was this: all of the authors were set up around the perimeter of the conference room, while the center of the conference room was arranged for the speakers (up front) and audience members (in the center). Outside the conference room several writer organizations were set up. Throughout the entire day people were able to come and go and mill around and talk with us and buy books, while the various segments (The Writing for Children panel, freelance, self-publishing, and marketing workshops, as well as the All Pikes Peak Writes Award Ceremony) played out on center stage. A couple of times it got a bit noisy while people were speaking from the stage, but it was not the norm. One of the workshops was particularly interesting to me, the Marketing Workshop, presented by Rob Eagar. I tell ya, it’s getting crazier and crazier this promotion of one’s work. It really is becoming rocket science.

MOA 2018 Writing For Children Panel (Photo © F. P. Dorchak)

MOA 2018 Writing For Children Panel (Photo © F. P. Dorchak)

The The Writing for Children panel, moderated by Karin Huxman got to me the most. In a nutshell the panelists discussed how sometimes we all need a break…and how not to let the publishing industry “get to you”…but to accept and ride out your need to get away from it all. To not forget to cultivate your LIFE…about not allowing writing to BE your entire life. They devoted some words to “not making it” in the publishing world. That we shouldn’t allow the publishing pitfalls to carry over into the rest of our lives…to be sure to nurture our real lives and to take that time to rest from writing when you feel the need. I point this out because for the past few months I’ve been feeling just a little bit burned out, and it touched a nerve. The panel all had much good to say about publishing and writing that went beyond their genre. It was a wonderful panel and well-moderated by Karin. A hearty Thank You! to all the panelists and Karin!

Kevin J. Anderson was the Keynote Speaker. He’s written more than 140 books. Geez, I can’t even count that high.

Author Shannon Lawrence. Buy her new book, Blue Sludge Blues. She's scary. I mean she writes "scary." (Photo © F. P. Dorchak)

Author Shannon Lawrence. Buy her new book, Blue Sludge Blues. She’s scary. I mean she writes “scary.” (Photo © F. P. Dorchak)

I’d met him either last year or the year before at Denver’s Comic Con (DCC), not that he remembered, but he’s also the Word Fire Press (WFP) publisher, who an author or three I know are with. Anyway, here he spoke of his rise to power—I mean, his becoming the best seller that he is.

He’d begun his journey at age 5 with frequent trips to the local bookmobile. Throughout his life one thing after the other just seemed to fall into his lap—which doesn’t mean it was easy for him. Though he had tons of projects “just come to him,” the man still had to produce. And produce he did. I have not read any of his work…I’m just not interested in that genre anymore, but I am going to pick up one of his books and check him out, but the man has had his hands in just about everything since the creation of Heaven and Earth—and I’m sure some of his ideas were even employed in their creation! So, you really do have to hand it to the guy. He made his way to best-seller status through sheer grit. I’ve heard and met many others out there had also “fallen” into success, enough so that they could live off of writing, but Mr. Anderson had literally gone light-years beyond merely “living off” of his writing. The man obviously has quite the active imagination.

MOA 2018 Keynote Speaker, Kevin J. Anderson and His First-Ever Trophy. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak)

MOA 2018 Keynote Speaker, Kevin J. Anderson and His First-Ever Trophy. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak)

MOA 2018 Keynote Speaker, Kevin J. Anderson and His First-Ever Trophy. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak)

MOA 2018 Keynote Speaker, Kevin J. Anderson and His First-Ever Trophy. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak)

MOA 2018 Keynote Speaker, Kevin J. Anderson. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak)

MOA 2018 Keynote Speaker, Kevin J. Anderson. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak)

That trophy that Kevin Anderson is brandishing above was (if I remembered correctly) the first-ever award he’d won, and I’d wish I’d written down what he’d said about it. It was a tongue-in-cheek award basically declaring “Congratulations, you’re a writer who won’t make a living at being one,” or something funny like that. Sometimes I could just kick myself. Anyway, he had fun talking about it and brandishing the trophy. Afterwards, when I went up to thank him for speaking to us, I looked at the trophy, and man, was it ever battle damaged! I guess that comes from all the action/adventures he’d (lived?!) written about….

The crowd was much smaller than the past couple of years, but I still had fun and enjoyed some thought-provoking conversations with those who stopped by to chat and buy a couple of my books (thank you to all who did so!). As I’d previously mentioned, I’ve been feeling a tad burned out, so coming here and seeing all this and talking to my writer friends greatly helped kick me out of that funk!

This is a great little event, and I do love attending! Thank you, Bryan, for inviting me the past few years!

And speaking of Bryan, here he is:

Bryan Matthews! PPLD MOA Guru! Secret powers include folding event table cloths. (Used with permission of Bryan Matthews)

Bryan Matthews! PPLD MOA Guru! Secret powers include folding event table cloths. (Used with permission of Bryan Matthews)

Bryan Matthews. The humble, secret weapon behind the Mountain of Authors (sorry about outing you, man!).

But along with Bryan, thanks again to the rest of the tireless and dedicated PPLD MOA staff: Karin Huxman, Joelle Wren, Christine Dyar, Shannon Miller, and the Colorado Springs Library 21C for again hosting and inviting everyone to this wonderful event!

Enjoy the slide show! Most are shots I took, but Shannon Lawrence graciously sent me a couple of images she’d also taken. Thanks, Shannon!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Books, Fun, Short Story, To Be Human, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments