Graphic Art for the Rebellion

We’ve reached the end of the Obama era. Now America swears in a man who’s already proven he’ll be the worst president in its history.

I’m joining the women’s strike, which means I won’t be doing any posting over the next couple of days. After that, I’ll be spending my time offering up every ounce of resistance I’m capable of.

This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This administration deserves no first chances, much less second ones.

Here is a collection of some of the graphics I’ve created for resisting the assholes determined to fuck this country and the world over. Feel free to use them for your own rebellious purposes. Continue reading “Graphic Art for the Rebellion”

Graphic Art for the Rebellion

Martin Luther King Would’ve Been (Non-Violently) Kicking Right Wing Ass

Yesterday, we saw that Martin Luther King would’ve definitely been part of the resistance to Trump’s regime. Today, we’re going to see he would’ve also been one of those politically correct social justice warriors. He would’ve been marching for a guaranteed minimum income, higher minimum wage, and affirmative action. He would have been demanding universal healthcare and championing Obamacare in the meantime. He would have been defending Planned Parenthood to the hilt, probably even doing clinic escorting when he could. He would have been standing up to protect public schools from people like Betsy DeVos. And he definitely wasn’t at all here for your libertarian free market at all costs bullshit.

How do we know? Because he had very definite opinions on those subjects. Look:

On Following the Law

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.”

Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963)

Black and white image of Martin Luther King Jr., showing only his face. He is speaking, facing left. Caption says, "It's a dark day in our nation when high-level authorities will seek to use every method to silence dissent. But something is happening, and people are not going to be silenced."


Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.

Speech to the Second National Convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights – Chicago, March 25, 1966

Economic Justice Continue reading “Martin Luther King Would’ve Been (Non-Violently) Kicking Right Wing Ass”

Martin Luther King Would’ve Been (Non-Violently) Kicking Right Wing Ass

Okay, No, But Seriously, Gimme Topics!

The holidays are over, booo! That means it’s time for us all to get back to work. Personally, I can’t say boo to that, because it just means I’ll be doing more writing. But in order to do some really excellent writing for you lot over the course of 2016, I shall need topics. TOPICS!!!

Image shows a tabby kitten with blue eyes standing up and pawing at someone holding the camera. Caption says, "Want topix."

You can recommend pretty much anything: geology, science in general, religious nonsense, atheism, social justice, writing (fiction and non), and many other things. Do try to avoid most sports, because I haven’t any interest in them (although if the Seahawks somehow end up winning another Super Bowl, I might just get round to finishing that series on their championship rings). We can talk about Quidditch. Possibly horse racing. If it involves balls, though, you’re probably on your own. Continue reading “Okay, No, But Seriously, Gimme Topics!”

Okay, No, But Seriously, Gimme Topics!

Today’s Really Terrible Bible Inspirations

You’ve all seen those inspirational posters with the pretty scenes and the carefully-selected Bible quotations. Some of your coworkers probably have one hanging in their cubicle, or framed on their desks. You probably have a grandparent or other relation whose walls are adorned with such tripe. And you, being an atheist, or agnostic, or other sort of person who groans upon beholding saccharine nonsense, might wish you could replace that nice quote with something a little more representative of the Bible’s content.

My darlings, I am here to help. Behold: Really Terrible Bible Inspirations. Continue reading “Today’s Really Terrible Bible Inspirations”

Today’s Really Terrible Bible Inspirations

Being Visible

Agents of change make status quo folks rather squirmy. Folks who were previously absent or invisible either join up or speak up, and next thing you know, colored people want to drink out of lily-white fountains, and red people want their land back and treaties honored, and homosexuals want to get married, and women want to be treated as more than sex objects…. It’s hard. It’s very hard for those who’d been used to the Way Things Were. There the world was, ticking over nicely in their estimation, and suddenly a horde of uppity upstarts are there harshing their mellow. Continue reading “Being Visible”

Being Visible

Dana's Gift Emporium for the Terminally Late and Non-Shopaholic

Right. Crap. Christmas and/or other midwinter holiday requiring giftage. There’s very little time left to get that special someone a little something, isn’t there? Suppose I’d best boot the Dojo to another day and get on it, then.

If, like me, you’re teh suck at this whole shopping thing, hopefully the links contained herein will offer a bit o’ the old inspiration and assistance. Even if you do have to give someone a card saying, “I ordered your gift late, so you get to open this card first.”

What if you’re buying for someone you’re obligated to buy for but don’t really like? Oh, just wait. Got that covered, too!

Science Gifties

Evelyn Mervine has the definitive list of gift ideas for geologists, by geologists. You’re sure to find something good here, but in case you need more ideas, Agile has also got some suggestions.

I’d like to plug Edmund Scientifics, because when that whole uproar started over gendered science kits, even though they weren’t the main offenders, they responded by doing the right thing and ending the gender segregation. Check them out for a little something for the Young Scientist on your list. They have a remote-controlled flying shark on the front page right now. How awesome is that?

Rocks In a Hard Place offers some fabulous items for the geologist on your list, and comes recommended by Garry Hayes. Their front page alone made me scream with joy. They’ve got fluorescent bloody minerals, and really, who doesn’t want fluorescent bloody minerals?

Also, there’s Mini Me Geology, which has some adorable options, and there’s that Austin Powers reference in the name, which makes them all the more awesome. Plus, Rock Detective kits. Seriously, where was that shit when I was growing up?! Recommended by Kate from Iowa.

Do you know someone who doesn’t own Brian Switek’s Written in Stone yet? Remedy that immediately!

And, this may not exist yet, but what an idea:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/Volcanologist/status/144715400893042689″]

Here’s a one-stop shop for the geek on your list from Double X Science.

For Those Less-Than-Loved Ones

Our own Stephanie Zvan uncovered a treasure trove of ideas for those obligatory gifts you must present to people you’d rather not buy a gift for, and will present with a present only because social niceties demand you do so. Even if you haven’t got one of those people in your life, read the post – it’s good for a belly laugh.

Charitable Works

Speaking of belly laughs, bust your gut laughing and find some good causes to give to at The Bloggess, where The James Garfield Christmas (And Hanukah) Miracle Returns. Sort of. This also ties in beautifully with the begrudging gift category. See Miracle #3.

And the JAYFK is having its Holiday Vaccine Drive. This is a fabulous thing – you can, for not much money, potentially vaccinate an entire village. We wish each other good health every season. Why not do more than wish?

Too Poor For Awesome Gifts

Are you kidding? Srsly? You can afford whole worlds!

Sign at Powell's Books

Doesn’t even have to be a new book – plenty of beautiful stuff at used bookstores at a great price. Doesn’t even have to be a physical book – get an ebook for those with ereaders, and you can afford even more!

But if you’re super-amazing poor, don’t forget the greatest toys of all time, which often don’t cost a thing. Give a copy of that post along with the toy, and you might make it out alive.

And always, always, remember the love. Give plenty o’ that, and get plenty back, my darlings!

Dana's Gift Emporium for the Terminally Late and Non-Shopaholic

Why SF Is Important

Last Sunday, I posted my own thoughts on the importance of speculative fiction. Okay, yes, it was a rant. I do that sometimes, when things get up my nose.

We’re going to follow up here today with a fantastic post that inspired me to post that one. It’s called In Defense of Geekery: Why Society Needs SF/F. It’s written by Becky Chambers. I want to buy her a drink. I want to buy her several. Because she managed to say what I needed to say in far fewer words:

Continue reading “Why SF Is Important”

Why SF Is Important

Wellsprings of Inspiration Part II: Movies and Teevee

One of the cardinal rules of writing is read, read, read.  Read broadly and deeply.  Read everything you can get your hands on.  And there’s this sense that, unless you’re writing scripts, you should really turn off the teevee, avoid the theater, and just read.

But you know something?  This is weird, maybe, but I didn’t really start improving as a writer until I started watching.  I hit a plateau and stayed there for a bit.  Yeah, friends and family thought I was some shit, but they’re my friends and family – of course they liked my stuff.  Or at least were kind enough to say they did.

I think my problem was that I had a hard time visualizing things.  I’d have a few visual images, but a lot of what happened in my scenes was abstract to me.  But then I stopped watching movies and teevee as entertainment and started viewing it as work.  Really fun work, but work nevertheless.

A perfect storm of things came together when I was writing the novel inspired by C.S. Friedman’s Coldfire trilogy.  I wanted to write an anti-hero.  Not a hero in tarnished armor, but a really truly true anti-hero.  Didn’t have any idea where to find one in my story world.  Then my best friend came out for an impromptu visit caused by his girlfriend’s parents breaking up with him.  He brought the best of  Highlander.  He introduced me to Methos.  Something went bing! in my mind.  I watched a few episodes in a sort of stupor and then, while Garrett slept, went out for a walk in the dark.  And a voice started speaking to me, telling me the story of his life in a cultured British accent.  I’d found my anti-hero.  He’s got Peter Wingfield’s voice, Methos’s survival instinct, and no real morals to speak of.  Readers loved to hate him and, by the end, hated to love him.  Perfect.

Don’t ask me why, but Mission; Impossible II ended up being a huge goad to creativity while I was writing that book.  I had a routine established while I was finishing the book: get off work, go to the theater to see MI2, go home and write my heart out.  None of the characters are anything like my anti-hero.  None of the situations were even close.  But there was something about it that made the words flow.  The Muse is an odd duck.

But it really all began with…

Buffy and Angel.  A friend of mine moved in, bringing his collection with him.  I hadn’t had cable for years at that point, had barely watched a movie, much less a television show, and didn’t intend to watch this.  When he asked if I minded if he put it in, I humored him.  Yeah, sure, why not, if it’ll make you happy?  Well, he knows me too well.  He put in that episode where Spike’s up on a rooftop making fun of Angel, and it was all over from there.  Totally hooked.  I watched all available seasons for both series start to finish in the course of a couple of months.  I bought all of the DVDs.  I barely slept.  Because it wasn’t just a couple of shows to me, it was a seminar.  Joss Whedon’s a brilliant man.  He knows how to tell stories.  And if you listen to the commentary, he’ll tell you how to tell stories, too.

I wrote his words o’ wisdom down on notecards.  I took what I’d learned and applied it to my own writing.  Scene-blocking came much more easily.  The romantic bits that had to be there for the plot stopped feeling so awfully stilted.  The Big Bad (yes, I ripped that term from him) started looking a little less cliche.  I can point to that period in my life as one where everything changed.  My writing took off in a new and necessary direction.

Then came Firefly.  I’d needed some science fiction.  Sure, it’s space cowboy stuff, but it’s outstanding space cowboy stuff, and it’s Joss Whedon.  That is all I need to say.

Even with Buffy and Angel’s influence, though, I still sucked at the passionate stuff.  Until Alias.  Watching the way J.J. Abrams worked the romantic angles in to very face-paced storytelling helped immensely.  And another thing I learned from him that’s proven hugely valuable: don’t be afraid to reference off-camera events.  Do it.  Let your characters talk about things the viewer (or reader) will never directly see and won’t really figure out.  It gives the sense of a whole huge world that exists when the viewer isn’t viewing.  It makes the whole thing feel more real.  As long as you don’t make a big deal over it, it’s a great trick for fleshing out the world, and telling the audience your characters have lives that go on out of their sight.

I don’t watch Alias anymore unless I’ve got a few months free, because I know what happens: I’ll be working on the later books in the series.  There’s just something about it that really unleashes the Muse on that time period.

But even Alias didn’t do half as much for me as The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I knew Tolkien had inspired very nearly every fantasy writer out there, but I had no use for him.  Too wordy, too archaic, and I really didn’t like Hobbits.  I went to see Fellowship because a coworker had no one to go with, and I’d heard it was good.  Came out of it hyperventilating.  That.  That.  That was it.  The sum total of everything I’d ever hoped to accomplish: the drama, the richness of the detail, the compelling characters and tough decisions and impossible odds, the beauty, the darkness….  I went out and got my hands on every book on Tolkien I could find, finally read The Lord of the Rings for myself, and tore down my world in order to rebuild from the ground up (a project still ongoing).  Seeing the differences between the books and the movies showed me a thing or two about revision.  There’s no part of my writing that those movies, books and all the rest hasn’t affected.  And yes, when you see pictures of me and see that ring around my neck, that is indeed the One Ring.  I wear it because I made a promise, and because it reminds me of what’s most important in my life: the stories.  Always the stories.

Yes, I know.  I’m a tremendous geek.  Well, you would be, too, if your whole life had got changed like that.

Believe it or not, Batman Begins is the real driving force behind one of the most important characters in the series.  I’d loved Batman for a long time, mind you.  The idea of a fully-human superhero definitely informs my main character, who’s got all of these amazing powers not by virtue of being born that way, but because, like Bruce Wayne, she works her ass off.  They’re quite a lot alike, those two, and I’ve always known it.  But that was comic book Batman.  When I saw Batman Begins, it felt like looking at Sovaal in a mirror.  When you see the trajectory of his life and what he is now, you might catch an echo of it, too.  Their lives have been very, very different, but that melancholy intensity Christian Bale brought to the character of Batman is Sovaal to a T.  And, considering the series is, at core, all about Sovaal, that’s important.  The movie gets him talking.  Considering how rarely he talks, that’s an extraordinary gift.

I want to state something for the record right now: I wasn’t watching House when I wrote up some of my main character’s habits, like her propensity for scribbling on markerboards and hounding people for ideas.  I’d already written that scene when, one night, ill with labyrinthitis, I collapsed on the couch and decided to see what my roommate had on the DVR.  It turned out to be an episode of House, and I watched in slack-jawed amazement as Dr. House did the things Dusty does.  I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised.  Both of them are somewhat isolated geniuses and Sherlock Holmes fans.

Later, House inspired the psychiatrist character who occasionally pops in for a bit of perspective and random comic relief.  And the show has validated my markerboard scenes.  I shall let them stand, even though I’ll be accused of imitation.

Finally, we come to the reason why I’ve spent a week pre-loading a month of blog posts in an effort to clear my calendar: Doctor Who.  And I would, once again, like to state for the record that I was not a Doctor Who fan and had never seen a single episode of the show when I was writing many of the scenes in which my main character displays a smart-ass sense of humor whilst leaping into chaos with manic delight.  Yes, she sounds very much like the Doctor, so much so that when I read out a few bits to my best friend a few weeks ago, he gasped in shock and then started howling with delighted laughter.  As he says, she is the Doctor for her universe.  That wasn’t intentional.  It just happened.

That said, I’m finding enormous inspiration in this show.  The storytelling is so compelling that it feels simultaneously like an addiction and like falling in love at first sight.  And the reason it compels me so is that it’s prompted me to look at my universe with new eyes.  The Doctor’s eyes, even so.  Which has forced me to question long-

held assumptions.  There are many bits I knew were weak, many places where there was a lot of hand-waving and a hearty, “That’s just the way it is!” in place of a valid explanation.  There were assumptions I didn’t even know needed questioning until I started viewing things through the Doctor’s eyes.  It’s poured new life into the stories I want to tell.  It’s given me a new passion for storytelling, for figuring things out, for doing the hard thinking.  And I can no longer claim to be an atheist, as I am busy worshiping Steven Moffat. 

There are other shows and movies that have inspired bits and pieces, but the above are the main drivers.  They’re the ones I can point to and say, “They made me a far better writer.”  They keep me writing.  They allow me to experience my story worlds with all my senses.  And that, my dear flummoxed friends, is why I’ll sit here obsessively watching them dozens of times over.  It’s not entertainment so much as education.

Not to mention the most important thing: inspiration.

Wellsprings of Inspiration Part II: Movies and Teevee

Wellsprings of Inspiration Part I: Novels and How-To

Glacial Till asking about how I became a blogger and Nicole asking about my long-term writing goals got me to thinking about inspiration.

Inspiration doesn’t always come standard.  There are times when the magma chamber’s emptied, and there’s a dormant phase before the volcano’s ready to erupt again.  I’ve gotten used to those phases, resigned to them, one might say.  But I don’t sit idle.  Magma chambers don’t fill all by themselves.  There has to be a source.  And I’d like to talk about some of those sources.

We’ll skip childhood, although I reserve the right to revisit the authors who set my feet on this road in some future musing.  And we’ll just have a shout-out to me mum, who spent a good portion of her young life feeding stories to an insatiable kiddo.  Without her, we wouldn’t be discussing writing, because I wouldn’t be a writer.

Right, then.  We should start with Robert Jordan.  I hadn’t planned on writing fantasy.  Hated fantasy, in fact, until a friend forced me to read The Eye of the World.  When I finished that book, I knew what I had to do.  I had to write fantasy.  And the later books in the Wheel of Time have kept me on that road.  Robert Jordan taught me the importance of building a richly-detailed world with vivid characters.  And because of him, I don’t fear writing maclargehuge books.

Another Robert, R.A. Salvatore, planted my feet further along the fantasy road.  You wouldn’t think that a series of books based on a roleplaying game would be all that special, but if you think that, you haven’t read The Dark Elf Trilogy.  Fiction, I learned, and particularly fantasy fiction, was an excellent way of exploring the really essential issues, the ones too tough to face head-on.  And yes, Virginia, you can write a pulse-pounding sword battle.  I once stayed up finishing one of his books by candlelight because the power had gone out right in the middle of one of those battles, and there was no way in the universe I was going to just set it aside until the sun rose.  That’s how intense he writes ’em.

Another friend foisted Neil Gaiman’s Sandman on me.  Before I read Preludes and Nocturnes, I wasn’t a comic book fan.  After, I was.  Spent an entire afternoon in Phoenix going from bookstore to comic shop in search of absolutely everything he’d ever written up till that point.  Neil Gaiman showed me the power of myth and how to weave it through stories, and why it’s so very important to do so.

When I made the decision to write science fiction and fantasy, I decided that getting a book called How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card might be an excellent idea.  To this day, it remains one of the most valuable how-to-write books I’ve ever read.  And since that had been so good, I picked up Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead to see how well Orson practiced his preaching.  Pretty damned well.  Speaker for the Dead remains one of my favorite books of all time.

The Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman taught me the value of a good anti-hero.  I still think it’s one of the absolute best trilogies in all of science fiction and fantasy, and I feel very sorry for people who haven’t read it.

Connie Willis blew me away.  Absolutely left nothing but scattered atoms behind.  One of my major goals is to become the kind of writer that writers like Neil Gaiman and Connie Willis read, because then I’ll know I’ve made it.  I mean, we’re talking about a woman who can tell you, the reader, something the narrator doesn’t know when writing in the first person.  I didn’t think anyone on earth had writing chops like that.  She also got me interested in science fiction per se, because in her hands, it’s far more than just rivets.  She showed me it’s possible to be funny and profound and tragic, sometimes all in the same page.  She’s amazing.

Lynn Flewelling and her Nightrunner series showed me it’s completely possible to write kick-ass, non-preachy gay characters.  I’m indebted to her for that.  And for the best brothel scene ever.  I love those books.  They make me feel that all’s right with the world.

Terry Pratchett honed my humor skillz.  And showed me that it’s possible to mix science and magic to excellent effect.  And created some of the characters I love most in this world.  Sam Fucking Vimes and Granny Bloody Weatherwax, people, that’s all I’m saying.

Warren Ellis did things to my brain with Stormwatch and The Authority I’ll spend the rest of my life sorting out.  His Jenny Sparks is one of the most hardcore female characters ever written by any author anywhere in the world.  And he did with superheroes what no one had ever done before: he dodged away from the tired old vigilante or forces-for-good wanker tropes and headed straight for, “We’ve got this immense power.  We’re goddamn going to use it to make this world a better place.  Under our terms.”

Which leads me to J. Michael Straczynski’s Rising Stars, another superhero comic that went where no superhero comic had gone before.  That one forces you to face issues and questions and dilemmas that most superhero books are too busy beating up the bad guys to pause and consider.

And no comic book paen would be complete without mentioning Warren Ellis again: Transmetropolitan.  Killed my fear of taking characters to an extreme, that did.  And I want to be Spider Jerusalem when I grow up.

Back into regular books…. I love reading the gritty stuff, but I’m not particularly good at writing it.&
nbsp; What I really, really want to be able to do is write symphonies with words.  And there are a few authors who do a particularly fine job of that.

t Holdstock’s Mythago books weave a peculiar kind of magic.  Incredibly haunting stuff.  Utterly mindbending.  And I had the bizarre experience of reading Lavondyss for a second time after years away, and it seemed like the entire book had changed.  I sometimes wonder: if I open the book again, what will I find?  What will it have become?

Patricia McKillip writes some of the richest, most lyrical books I’ve ever known.  Just read The Book of Atrix Wolfe.  That’s all I ask.

And Guy Gavriel Kay.  Oh, reading him, it’s like sailing a sea of sound and sensation.  It’s like a voyage home through fantastic places.  When I read The Lions of al-Rassan, I knew, just knew, that was the way I wanted to write.  Not what, mind, just how.  I want my words to flow and dance like that.  I want to leave my readers with that feeling, a bit of delightful melancholy, a glorious uplift. 

But how to get there?

There was this one book on writing, the one single book I believe every aspiring author, no matter what genre, should read.  It’s called Writing the Breakout Novel.  I almost didn’t read it because the title sounded too much like that schlocky foolproof-method-for-writing-bestsellers! bullshit that’s so often foisted upon the unwary.  But I picked it up, and read a few pages, and realized this was something altogether different.  It utterly changed my perspective.  Donald Maas isn’t talking about a formula for flash-in-the-pan fiction.  He’s talking about writing the kind of novel that endures for generations.  When I read that book, it forced me to reassess everything I’d ever planned to do, and put me on a new trajectory.  I was able to figure out what my stories were all about, really, at core.  And it gave me the patience to go back, strip everything down to the fundamentals, and start rebuilding from the ground up.

Finally (and you knew this was coming, didn’t you?), J.R.R. Tolkien.  This is a nice transition from Part I to II, because I didn’t like Tolkien until I’d seen Peter Jackson’s masterpiece.  I mean, really, seriously, didn’t like Tolkien at all.  But as you’ll see, those movies got right down into my soul.  I saw on screen what I’d always hoped to do in print.  This led me to attempt The Lord of the Rings again.  This time, loved it.  But I didn’t stop there.  I read other books by him: Tree and Leaf, Father Giles of Ham.  I read books about him: biographies, letters, essays by authors inspired by him, books on how he’d created Middle Earth.  I learned about his languages and his motives and all of the things he’d done to make that world come alive.  It was quite the education.  And that was when I went from being a two-bit hack to being someone who could actually begin to craft a story.

So there you go.  There’s some of my major influences.  Next episode, we’ll move on to the movies and television programs that have inspired me, some of which have filled the magma chamber to such a degree that we’ve ended up with VEI-8 eruptions.

Wellsprings of Inspiration Part I: Novels and How-To

How It All Began

Here we are, then: the first in the series of user-generated topics.  Glacial Till writes:

I think a post on your blogging history would be cool. What led you to blogging? Who are your inspirations and such. 

Oh, my.  Let’s see if I can remember back that far…

Got me start on LiveJournal, actually, many years ago, babbling about writing with and for some excellent writerly friends.  Started me own (now-defunct) website after a bit, still writing on writing, but this was the height of the Bush regime and so some political rants crept in as my liberal tendencies were unleashed.  Because friends had forced me to sign up for a MySpace account and because it was easier to blog there, I migrated for a bit – you can still see it here, if you’re that bored.

And those, you might say, are the prequels to ETEV.  So why did this blog start?

Because I couldn’t take it any more.

The rampant political stupidity that made me want to howl from the rooftops.  The rampant IDiots, running about mucking up biology education and making hideous movies like Expelled.  Not to mention all of the other rank stupidity stampeding through the world.  MySpace wasn’t a good platform for the full-throated rants necessary to counter it.

PZ’s the one who inspired me to start this blog, and to celebrate science upon it despite the fact I’m no more than an interested layperson.  This post, right here, is one you should go read right now, because it explains everything this blog became.

Well, nearly.  Getting adopted by the rock stars of geology set ETEV on a whole new course.  Somehow, it had evolved from a foul-mouthed baby blog focused on political stupidity with a smattering of science into something that geobloggers recognized as one of their own, even if I couldn’t see that.  But they inspired me to work me arse off delivering the goods.  And that’s fostered my interest in science, which feeds back into my writing, and ever onward in an endless circle.

This is still very much an amateur effort.  Someday, maybe even sooner than I expect, I’ll make the leap into full-time professional writing.  And I’ll get there because of the bloggers like PZ and Bora who showed me the importance of this medium, and the geobloggers and other science bloggers who showed me that all it takes is hard work and passion to write something worthy of reading.  But they’re only part of the equation.  I’ll get there because of the inspiration provided by my favorite authors and fellow fiction writers/bloggers like Nicole.

I’ll get there because of my readers.  Yes, you – the one sitting there reading this post right now.  Without you, do you think any of this would be possible?  Do you think I’d still be dedicating so much time and effort to these pages, if it wasn’t for you?  Without you, I’d spend that time in front of the teevee, or tucked in bed with an improving book, or practicing karate with the cat, when I wasn’t struggling on alone with a very difficult fiction novel.  And I’d be less of a writer because of it.  Not to mention, I wouldn’t have half the motivation to go out and have adventures and take the very best pictures I can.

So, dear reader, when you ask where my inspiration comes from, the very first thing you should do is go find a mirror.

And now I shall take the opportunity to give a special shout-out to my geoblogging inspirations.  I read more geoblogs than I list here, but these are the folks who, combined, form the star I revolve around.  In no particular order, then:

Silver Fox at Looking for Detachment
Lockwood DeWitt at Outside the Interzone
Glacial Till at Glacial Till
Ron Schott at Geology Home Companion
Brian Romans at Clastic Detritus
Ann Jefferson and Chris Rowan at Highly Allochthonous
Dan McShane at Reading the Washington Landscape
Wayne Ranney at Earthly Musings
Elli Goeke at Life in Plane Light

I want to mention four bloggers in particular who have provided more support, encouragement, and food for thought over the years than I ever expected.  They’re fantastic bloggers and even more fantastic friends:

Cujo at Slobber and Spittle
George at Decrepit Old Fool
Suzanne at Two Ton Green Blog
Woozle at The Hypertwins Memorial High-Energy Children Supercollider Laboratory and Research Center for the Inhumanities.  Okay, so it’s not technically a blog, but who cares?  Especially with a name like that!

A special shout-out to the man who made me believe in bloggers, and who got me thinking and writing about politics so many years ago: Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly.  Before him, I didn’t really take blogs seriously.  He’s an incredible talent, a wonderful human being, and still the one political blog I turn to when I haven’t got time for more.

And, finally, a very special shout-out to Karen, whose comments have so often given me that much needed prod in the arse necessary to keep me going.  How I wish you’d start a blog!

How It All Began