The Lonely Hearts Cafe

There are two kinds of loneliness. The obvious physical one of living on a deserted island, or being lost in the mountains, or in a shack in the desert, or in a boat in the middle of the ocean.  Nobody around, that’s not so bad, it’s the idea that nobody is going to be around that gets you. You are on your own and that’s it, baby.

Loneliness in the middle of a big city, or a small town,  is the kind that drives people to eye their razor blades, count their pills, or climb to a rooftop. There’s nothing worse than hearing the laughter from a party you weren’t invited to. 

Loneliness and alone are not the same thing. I mentioned Abby Sunderland in my last post. She’s the 16-year-old sailing singlehanded around the world. In a recent post of her blog,  http://soloround.blogspot.com , after rounding Cape Horn, she wrote about  seeing land for the first time in two months, “It made me miss being on land a little bit… but not that much. I’m still very happy out here!” About as alone as you can get, but definitely not lonely.

At the other extreme, though it’s impossible to know for sure, was Donald Crowhurst. He participated in a singlehanded round the world sailing race in 1969. Instead of sailing round, he reported false positions and waited in the S Atlantic until the other contestants came round. The consensus seems to be he realized his deception would be found out and  guilt and insanity cause him to  step overboard and vanish. How lonely must he have been during those last days?

Obviously, loneliness is a state of mind. Two people in the same situation may have totally different feelings about it. One may be thinking, “Thank God none of those bazillion, yapping, nosey  busybodies are anywhere around me. The other may be thinking, ” God, I wish somebody would talk to me even if it’s that old curmudgeon on the other side of the valley who wants nothing to do with people.”

Isolation can happen anywhere. Just ask any shy person. There’s nothing worse than being a shy introvert in a room full of extroverts. Especially when the extroverts haven’t a clue  what the introvert is feeling. Not that all introverts are shy.  Some simply prefer their own company to others. The conversation is always more interesting.

Loneliness should not be confused with aloneness. Aloneness is a choice. Loneliness is not. It might be caused by the sufferers own shyness or fear. Or by circumstances beyond their control;  shipwrecked, lost, not knowing the language, all your friends are dying faster than you can make new ones, criminal intent to isolate you and pretend to be your friend so as to con you out of your money or murder you with nobody noticing, or both.

All the reasons the make people lonely can be mitigated by a caring, concerned, observant extrovert willing and able to help a shy person out. Unless the person is shipwrecked, then your name has to be Friday.

IDEAS

What if you were new to a city where you didn’t speak the language, and didn’t know anybody, and you were lonely and afraid and needed a friend. And you found the one you needed; kind, smart, attractive, and needing you as much as you needed him/her. And you nurtured and loved each other so much you had to start a restaurant called the Lonely Hearts Cafe to help those that, like you, needed a friend. And the happiness and tragedy that came from that cafe was legendary. What characters might you meet, what stories might they tell, in the back room after closing, maybe to a new employee who needed just such a place?

What if  you were new to a city where you didn’t speak the language, and didn’t know anybody, and you were lonely and afraid and needed a friend? And you found the one you needed; kind, smart, attractive, and needing you as much as you needed him/her–and someone took that person you loved–away? What would you do with your grief and anger? How would you use the loneliness that cloaked you like a gray fog. Maybe to remove yourself  from the restraints of society, to do as you will, with no thoughts to consequences. Maybe you can think only of escape, leaving the city, wandering the world, trailing the contagion of your despair like a typhoid Mary of loneliness, until you find yourself deep in a jungle or high in bleak mountains where you find the  solitude you’ve been unconsciously seeking. That place where you can let go of breath and be free of  the exquisite loneliness you’ve come to embrace as the manner of your life.  And What If as you exhaled that last painful breath, and that gray cloak rose into the heights, it was that cloak that guided the one you thought lost, one who at that moment, knowing of the incredible pain you carried, was climbing up to you with the sole intent of reaching into you and removing the grief that had hardened your heart for so long.  Would they reach you in time to replace that last breath, or would the two of you be together forever high up on that mountain or in that deep jungle hideaway.

Or What If that person above turned their grief and anger to revenge.  Maybe the ones who took away your happiness were cops, corrupt or not. Maybe you’d turn your loneliness not to the actual perpetrators, but to the ones they love. One by one you take a family member, a friend, a pet, always leaving a clear message — As long as you live, your loved ones are not safe.  How would those people, whether cops or criminals, react? Run, fight, hide? Which of them would take their own life to save their families, which would save themselves. How far would they go to stop an implacable heartbroken killer. And you, would the possibility of new love, maybe from a potential victim, be enough to stop your mission of revenge?

What if  you lost your spouse.  What if you had money, but had lost your way.  You were drifting, drinking, screwing around, not giving a damn, lonely. Maybe you felt that your pet was your only friend. Then it dies. Through your tears, you see a TV program about African, South American, Asian wildlife conservation and the next thing  you know you’re there,  helping out.  Something happens, and you’re alone in the bush. That’s okay with you, the animals are your friends, until the poachers arrive. You fight them alone, they come after you. That’s when the loneliness kicks in. You’re wounded, scared,  searching for help. Then, through your own efforts, no Deux ex Machina allowed, you meet the man or woman you needed to meet, not only for your present situation, but for your life.  Is that caring, observant person you?

What if you were the only immortal? How familiar with loneliness would you be, watching the ones you love grow old and die. How many marriages and births would you be responsible for? How many funerals of loved ones could you stand to attend? Especially if your one true love was long dead and your long life was dedicated to reuniting with him/her, through either scientific or magical means.

What if you were an immortal, aware dog? What of history would you have seen and experienced that a human could not possibly imagine. How many masters would you have grieved for? How much time spent alone, abandoned, with no pack to belong to? Would you be able to communicate with other dogs? What depths of loneliness would you experience, aware, yet cut off from your own kind and unable to communicate with humans. Would you recognize an immortal human if you were lucky enough to meet one?

Question— Do you think an ordinary dog, born immortal, would over hundreds of years, become self-aware?

 Help an introvert, immortal or not, today.

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Go In The Water!

Water, whether you love it or it terrifies you, you got to have it. Dying of thirst isn’t much fun. Your blood gets thicker and thicker and eventually there’s only a red dust tumbling through your veins, like one of those old dolls filled with sawdust. Unless you are possessed by an evil spirit, or, if you’re lucky, a good spirit with a sense of humor, you’ll be blowing’ in the wind,  baby, like a dust devil in the desert.

Of course, too much is just as bad for you. If you’re one of those athletic freaks, oops, sorry, species who go to bed and get up with the mantra hydrate, hydrate, hydrate coursing through your brain like a Noir murder mystery movie  where the old Victrola is playing the same relevant refrain of a scratched record over and over before revealing the dead body slumped over the desk, you don’t want to drink too much water. Drinking too much, whether, flavored, fortified, purified, or, God forbid, plain, will turn your blood into a thin rusty tea, that won’t do you any more good than red dust.

Drowning is no fun either. And even though I’ve heard that it’s not that bad a way to go, sucking in that first cold lungful of water’s  gotta be a bitch. In any case, whether you’re in the ocean a thousand miles from land and your boat sinks and you can’t quite make it to the liferaft the wind is blowing a little too quick for you to catch up, or if you’re dead drunk face down in three inches of gutter water, lungs full of water are not a good thing.  Either way, or any way in between, that whole life passing before your eyes thing might be trippy.

A lot of people like water, sailors, divers, surfers, fisherpeople, beach goers and Real estate sales people among them. I like the water and hope to be sailing on it again one day. Abby Sunderland likes water. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be attempting to be the youngest person, she’s 16, yes, 16, to sail around the world singlehanded, nonstop. If a 16-year-old girl can do it, I can, too.  You can follow her blog at http://soloround.blogspot.com  or at www.abbysunderland.com . She should be rounding Cape Horn as you read this. Yea, Abby.  I am so jealous.

Many people don’t like the water. I don’t know why, except it might kill you and that most likely  just beyond the limit of your visibility, whether that’s one foot or two hundred feet, something is waiting to eat you. I’d sail across an ocean in a minute, but I have no desire to jump in the water a 1000 miles from anywhere because I know, I know, that if I do, a long tentacle will shoot out of the depths, wrap around my leg,  and drag me down. And not to introduce me to some long-lost Atlantean civilization where I’ll live forever in undersea bliss. Those monsters down there are HUNGRY, man.

Sure, water soothes the soul and all that. We’re 90 something per cent water and like attracts like. We even respond to the pull of the moon’s gravity, just like water. Must be why a full moon pulls the werewolf out of us. But, soothing your soul while you lay on the sand soaking up all those nasty sun beams doesn’t really make for exciting stories like–

IDEAS

What if you were sailing for the S. Pacific and you were stuck in the Doldrums and to bide your time while waiting for the next rain squall, you looked into the water and saw something swim up out of the depths and it wasn’t a tentacle but a mermaid. Not  a Manatee, those old-time sailors must have been really hard up to mistake one for a mermaid, but a real mermaid, or merman. Maybe she begged you for help, told you evil gangster mermen were after her, and you helped her. Brought her aboard, made a bathtub of the cockpit. The thing is, is she running from the gangster mermen, or was she escaping from mermen police? What is her/his agenda, and are you helping because you really believe there’s a mer-something in your cockpit? Or is he/she pulling a Call-of-the-Siren thing on you and leading you astray?

What if you woke up one morning and heard the dripping of water in your head? It would not go away, drip, drip, drip. You tried to go about your business, but there it was, drip, drip, drip. Sometimes a bit faster, sometimes slower. You try to move away as it drips slower. Blocks, miles, cities, states, countries, the sound slows, but never stops, never…stops. Like the Chinese Water torture, you become so used to the drip, drip, drip, when it stops you go crazy waiting for the next drip of water on your forehead. Finally you have to  move toward the dripping, following the sound in your head, faster, faster it draws you toward the source. This is now your quest, your life. You wander, miles to the North, miles South, East, West. Is it faster this way? This way? Slowly you narrow down the location. Your heart beats faster. You know where the dripping water comes from. You remember. Dread fills you. No. Not there. Please, not there. Yet the drip, drip, drip inexorably draws  you to… your redemption or damnation.  Which do you deserve?

What if you were a boy or girl on the cusp of adulthood in an Island society? It was time for your ritual ceremony. You drank the potion, breathed the special smoke… and woke up in a small boat on a big ocean. You had a little water, a little food, and no idea where you were, what direction was your island? What would you do? Survive, perish? Find your Island, find another island? Sail into legend as the mysterious sailor who brings good or bad luck if sighted? What adventures might you have alone a sea with only your wits and the creatures of the sea to help you?

What if the Apocalypse came and went and you were still here and controlled the only water source in a hundred miles. Would you share it, hoard it? Dole it out as long as  the recipients did what you wanted, vile or virtuous? Virtuous at the beginning, how long until you passed the line to wicked to protect your water, and your power?

What if you had to take a Heart of Darkness trip up a river? Lots of things can happen, real or otherwise, on a journey up a close jungle river, whether accompanied by friends (are they really?) or strangers. Which ones do you think you should trust your life to?

Think about it. I’m sailing off into the sunset for awhile, figuratively, if not literally. Untie that dockline, will you?

Your Own Piece of Heaven

Read to the end or check out the comments for the last post to see other replies to my Hell question.  

Thanks to all of you who submitted answers to my Hell question in my last posting. The consensus seems to be that not knowing why you were sent to Hell would be worse than knowing. If you were a real criminal type you’d always think you were innocent and you’d make yourself miserable thinking that somebody framed you and it was all somebody else’s fault!  If you were a one-off criminal you’d beat yourself up wondering what did I do, I wouldn’t do anything bad, it was somebody else’s fault!    

Molesters, pedophiles and serial killing sociopaths  probably don’t care.  They only care about doing the nasty things they do.  Once they go to Hell, most likely they’re put in some kind of cage or cell where they can see all the other souls, but never touch them. You have to wonder if they got loose in Hell if  molesting, raping or murdering a dead soul is as good  for them as a live person. One might think that would be Heaven for them. Except for the ones who get off on eluding the Police. For them, it’s Heaven on Earth.  

What would Heaven be like for regular folks? Would it be a regular one size fits all place, where you wore a toga, drank wine out of fountains and basked by the cloud pool all day without having to worry about sunblock? Sounds a bit boring. How much better could a tan get after 10-20 years of forever, anyway? Besides, one man’s Heaven might be another man’s Hell. If I had to go to the Opera every night I’d be wondering what I did to deserve this Hell and whose fault was it I’m here!  

I’m pretty sure, though I certainly don’t have any inside information, that Heaven is an individual thing.  For a writer, every book would be a bestseller and every script would at least win an Oscar for best original screenplay, and just to add a little excitement, maybe a best picture Oscar. For a salesman every client would be smart, savvy and devious, but he’d always make the sale.  A race car driver would always win the hard-fought race. A sailor (my personal choice) would always have fair winds (whatever his idea of  fair winds is) a safe anchorage and varnish that never needed touch up.  You get the idea.  For the really lucky ones, Heaven would be no different than life. They’d slip on into death and barely notice.  

There is always the question of who gets into Heaven. Do you have to believe to get in? That’s a question for another time and place. Though feel free to comment. To see my personal idea of who goes to Hell, and using the same criteria, to Heaven, read my book Hell Cop.  

IDEAS 

What if  a soul meant for Hell was accidentally sent to Heaven? If Heaven is an individual place, how would a detective or bounty hunter find him/her? Would each piece of Heaven border others, or would they overlap, every soul seeing their own little piece of Heaven? Who would be the detective/bounty  hunter’s sidekick? A saint, an apostle, JC himself? Maybe Joan of Arc as a Femme Fatale.  

What if the opposite happened? An innocent soul is sent to Hell by mistake. In that case see my Hell Cop books. I’ve mentioned this before, but what if a soul meant for heaven was kidnapped to hell by a stalker/admirer with a long memory? Could she escape? Would she escape? Would anybody help her?  

What if you got to the Pearly Gates and St. Pete told you your records for the last ten years had been lost and you had to go back and live those ten years over again? And by mistake you remembered  what you had done those years and so had the chance to make them count, not only for you,  but others. What would you do?  

What if God took a vacation and  some slacker/pothead got to be in charge for a week?  

What if the woman/man you loved died. You missed them so much you wanted to die so you could be with them. So you accidently/ on purpose died. In Purgatory they called you on your death – suicide, no Heaven for you. But you got to appeal the decision. What would you say to plead your case? How would you explain the power of love?  

Speaking of which,  I would love to continue on but it’s time to close the Gates for the night and return to my little piece  of Purgatory with a lovely view of the River Styx.  

Other Comments on th Hell question.  

I think the latter would make the story more interesting but the storyline would have to have a positive outcome in the end. People like happy endings or some life revelation unless it has a great twist at the end – similar to the sixth sense movie.
 
Oh, clearly that I did NOT know what I had done. As a bad guy I would constantly have to review and relive all my transgressions, wondering what — or who — and tripped me up — and I wouldn’t even be able to exact further revenge! 
 
Worse to be there and not know why (although I could probably guess), since most bad people never really see themselves as bad.

  

    

   

    

Where are we?

Hi All,

I have a question to do with a screenplay I’m working on. I hope you can take a minute to consider it and submit an answer in the comment section. —- If you were a bad person and died and got sent to Hell, all torment and punishment being equal, do you think it would be worse for you to know what you did to get yourself there, or worse to know you were in Hell, but not know why you were there?

Thanks for your comments. And speaking of Hell…

Location. Location. Location. That’s the mantra of Real estate. But it’s a fairly important concept for regular people, too. Where are we now? Not just physically – Jail, work, home,  city, state, country, planet, galaxy, universe ( if they apply to you or someone you know.)  On the road – whether walking, driving, sailing, flying, by plane, helicopter, balloon, or (if this applies to you, all Clark Kent wannabes) just flying on your own. But where are we financially, socially, culturally, politically, psychologically,  relationship-wise?

Knowing where you are right this second, is usually important in figuring out where you will be in the next 1000, 1,000,000,  100,000,000 seconds. But a lot of people don’t give  a damn. They’re only interested in NOW. There are, however, plenty of weirdo geek, pundits  out there to take up the slack and tell us Where We Are, and their favorite, Where We Will be. Unfortunately, (though not according to them) they’re often contradictory, if not plain ass wrong.

Also unfortunately, even if they are wrong, or making it up as they go, there are plenty of people who are in such a place that they will believe anything, and in extreme cases act on anything,  these know it all people say. That’s not right, and has led to many a tragic story, in  both fiction and real life.

It’s important to know if  you’re  in the wrong place at the wrong time, right place at the right time,  or any of the  variables, when you ask that big question – Where amI? And once you’ve answered that question – then what? You have a choice to make. Just like any good story, the choices the character (you) make determines the outcome. Being in the right place at the right time can easily become wrong and wrong if somebody isn’t thinking and makes a wrong choice. To go or stay, fight or run, pick up that bag of money or not, help that person or not, open your mouth or not. The choices are endless as are the consequences. If they weren’t, there’d only be two stories ever written. He did or he didn’t.

IDEAS

What if you woke up with your spouse and another couple on sailboat in the middle of the ocean without a clue how you got there and where you were? And maybe one couple didn’t get along so well. Think Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf  meets Dead Calm.

What if a family is on a road trip vacation and the spirit of a murdered child took over their GPS, guiding them to locations where they’ll find clues to the killer.  

What if  a spaceship is hit by anything, or has an explosion and all the crew are unconscious for a long period of time. They wake up close to a planet, but all their nav instruments are knocked out and they haven’t a clue where they are or how to get back to civilization. And what if they discover a huge deposit of a very valuable material while exploring the planet. They’ll die filthy rich if they can’t get home. And if there is a helpful/friendly, murderous/paranoid  alien race on the planet, too, how does that affect their attempt to figure out where they are?

What if you were the best man/maid of honor at your best friends’ wedding and you were late getting into town and didn’t know where the church was and you just couldn’t find it because a Trickster who had a thing for the Bride, or the Groom, or had something against them was making it impossible to find the church,  but then the bride and groom figured it out and the wedding was about to start but couldn’t for some reason without you so they ran out of the church to stop the Trickter and find you and hilarity, and maybe a bit of violence, ensued, before the wedding went off perfectly. Whew!

What if one day you woke up and you could make a connection with a missing person, through their possessions say, and  go exactly to where they are, dead or alive, as long as you kept up the connection, which took up quite a bit of your energy. But if the connection was lost, it could not be regained. No fake psychic stuff, the real deal. And what if a child was kidnapped and the kidnapper knew you were on the trail and so he kept moving, knowing that eventually your energy would run out and the connection would be lost. No pressure there!

And I’m feeling the pressure of being behind in the editing of my new book, Blood Justice, so you know what my location is going to be.

Cheers.

Run, Baby, Run!

 

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  Running can be broken down into two categories – Running to, and Running from.  Sure, there are subsets  – Running scared, running wild, crazy, in place, for fun (now there’s a horror story!) or running out of gas. All can be taken  either literally or figuratively

Running in place may be a third category. After all how many of us work hard, work fast, scramble to get things done that need to be done (or we think need to be done) yet end up where we began. This may be over a period of hours, days, weeks, months, or years. A tragic story way too many of us experience for real. Hence, the development of religion. Work your ass off to survive in this Life and no matter how bad it is here,  there’s Heaven waiting.      Whether you go for that or not,  it’s a subject for another day.

One of my favorite running movies is Run, Lola, Run. It’s three versions of the same run showing how one tiny change can lead to a very different ending.  It’s unique and entertaining. Check it out.

Opposite of Lola’s run is the running (metaphorically speaking) of  different paths that all end up in the same place. Destiny or Free will? Another one for another time.

Another question you might explore is, What If your character thinks he’s running toward something, but is actually running away from something. When/how do they figure that out? Do they have the courage or insight to stop and confront? Is the prize ahead worth what they’re leaving behind? Is the prize ahead what they’re running from so they’ll end up where they began? The happy ending. Or will they keep running and tragically never reach their goal which is behind them?

There are plenty of reasons for your character to run from something. Bad guys are after you. Good guys are after you.  Aliens, demons,  monsters, nature,  your past, are all legitimate reasons to run and can be good stories without delving too deep into philosophical, psychological, religious, emotional, or legal underpinnings of the character’s motivations.  However, to be a great story, you might want to look under a rock or two. Having two characters running together, for different reasons (In their minds) won’t hurt either.

We’re all running toward the same final finish line. Some  rush headlong toward it, not believing they’ll ever really get there, but they will.  Some  keep running in place, ignoring it, thinking they’ll never get there, but they will.  Some actively run from the finish line, using herbs, and potions, and diets, and mental tricks, believing they’ll never reach it, but they will. And some, way too many, are tired of running and can’t wait to cross that line.  Support your local Suicide Hot line.

IDEAS

See above. If you can’t find a story idea up there, slowly close your word prossesser and walk away from the computer.

What if you ran or you died? I don’t mean run, or that piano falling from the thirteenth floor is going to crush you. I mean what if  “something,” real or imagined was chasing you and you knew that if you stopped running it would kill you.  If every time you looked over your shoulder there “it” was.  To stop, was to die. What would you think? How would you handle it?  What if you were a marathon runner and could keep going and going and going? How long could you go before you ran out of steam and gave up, ready to die? What about the jerk who followed you, taunted you, laughed at you, called you crazy, threw beer cans at you? Would you stop, grab him, and just before the monster shredded your bodies, remind him what an asshole he was, and say, “See, I’m not crazy.” What about your followers who ran with you a la Forrest Gump? Would they feel vindicated if you stopped and was torn to shreds? What if  you stopped and wasn’t torn apart, it was all in your mind – you were crazy!! Would they tear you apart so they could feel good about their belief in you?  Would there be a time when you went from running “from” something to running “to something? Maybe someone you love is up ahead and if you could only get to her/him you’d be safe.  Maybe as you began to believe in yourself  more, the monster, Real or Imagined, would fall farther and farther behind.

What if  you couldn’t  stop running. Literally! For you Stephen King wannabes, maybe you did something you shouldn’t have and drew down a curse on yourself. “You want to run through my flowers, Buddy? I’ll show you running!” And you kept running and running and running and couldn’t stop if you wanted to. How would you eat, drink, sleep, shit? Where would you run to?  Eventually your shoes would wear out and you’d run barefoot, then your feet would run out and you ran on bones, then your bones grind down  and down and you finally die but keep running through the night and thus become the Legend of the Barefoot Runner.

I’ve mentioned this one before – What if a loved one was in danger and only you could save her/him and you were half the world away and your path was continually blocked but you had to keep on running though it might take years. How long can love keep you going? Or hate?

That’s the thing about running of any kind, to get where you want or need to go takes courage, determination, toughness, perseverance, friends, guts and luck. Keep running for your goal, you’ll get there.

That’s it. I gotta run.

 

        

                                                                                                                   
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What the Hell?

“Hell’s a Hell of a place.” That’s a quote from my novel Hell Cop. Or it should be. I might have left it on the editing room floor.  The point is Hell is a bad place to be, therefore it’s a good place to write about. Just ask Dante. He’s been milking it for years.

Everybody is familiar with the Christian version of Hell — fire and brimstone, demons and the Devil’s minions doing unspeakable things to the deserving. Of course there are some who would like to have some of those unspeakable things done to them, but that’s a subject for another time. Hell is for the people who do unspeakable things up here on our level. It’s meant to scare humans into being God fearing ( shouldn’t it be Devil fearing?) citizens so they won’t do bad things. The thing is, the people who do those things don’t give a damn about God or the Devil. Well, okay, there’s the religious fanatics who give too much of a damn about one or the other.

Not every religion has a Hell to it.  For some it’s just a black void, some have a sort of town dump area, some have a Purgatory type place where you can eventually work your way out, some reincarnate you as a living being either up or down the scale.  That could be a special kind of Hell for some, like maybe a hot shot Wall St. trader who drops dead after living too large on other people’s money (whether they know it or not) and comes back as a fly on the wall where he hears all the cool, secret insider info and can’t do anything with it!! Now that’s Hell, baby.

There’s lots of different kinds of Hell, it’s not all underworld fun and games. There’s plenty of Hell on earth. Just ask the people in Haiti, or Chile, the starving and poor in India, Africa or here in the USA, or people dealing with tsunamis, or volcanos or hurricanes. And don’t forget the more interior Hells: Jealousy, greed, guilt, love, hate, depression, addiction, despair, marriage, divorce, grief, poverty or pain. All these Hells are bubbling brimstone for writers. The stories aren’t only in the coping with your particular Hell, but the descent into and, with luck and fortitude, the ascent from your torment.  A writer could, and probably has, made a career from this last paragraph.  

IDEAS

What if a stalker attacks you but you end up killing him instead? A few years later you die and while your waiting in line in Purgatory, the stalker kidnaps you and holds you captive in his own private little spot of Hell. And you escape. That would be an interesting pursuit. Would you finally end up safe in Heaven? Who would help you? Other souls? Are all demons evil and nasty,  or are some workaday demons who don’t want to get involved and will give you directions to the way out? What if you couldn’t, didn’t, or chose not to make it out. What would you do with Free will and eternity in Hell?  —– I wasn’t going to give out any ideas I might be considering for myself,  but I couldn’t resist. Do I go to Heaven or Hell for that?

What if you were kidnapped, conned or forced into slavery, whether sexual or otherwise. What sort of strength or courage might it take to break free from that kind of Hell? Would you save others, either right then or later when you were safe? Would you go back to rescue others, or be too afraid? Or would you save yourself and leave the others? What if you were so dead inside that you couldn’t tell anybody else and later you heard that the others all died. Would guilt be your new Hell? Would another person’s love help you conquer that guilt and allow you to attempt to make amends? Or would your guilt be so strong that you would turn that person away as a self imposed punishment?

What if Satan lead all the demons in Hell into space and they settled on a planet, and years later a colony ship of humans landed on the planet? What would they find?

What if Satan lead all the demons in Hell into space and they settled on a planet. What would Earth be like without them? Would psychopaths take over the tormenting duties? How would God fair without his counterpart to play the bad guy to His Saviour?

What if some future leader eliminated the Hells on earth of poverty, famine, abuse, etc.? How long do you think that would last? Do humans need a Hell to blame?

If you are a believer in Hell, what do you think it’s really like?

To read about what I think, check out Hell Cop and Hell II  – The Golden Palace at www.smashwords.com/profile/view/davidburton.

Bridge to Nowhere

Bridges to nowhere don’t do anybody any good, except the people who get paid to build them, because bridges are connections, whether physical, emotional or mental.  They bring countries, cultures and people together.  Of interest to writers, destroying them  allows one to put a barrier up to the other, possibly, permanently. Hence, “Burning your bridges.” 

Humans have been putting up, crossing, and taking down bridges since the first caveman thought,  What if  I drag this log across this stream? Maybe I can cross to the other side and connect with that cute cavegirl I saw up stream.  That’s how bridges get started, whether a chicken or a culture, somebody wants to get to the other side.  Unfortunately, there’s often  somebody on the other side who doesn’t want you to cross. And that’s when the trouble starts. 

It could be that a bridge is a good idea, but nature is the barrier, see “The Ghost and the Darkness.” Or the bridge is a bad idea and human nature keeps it down, see “The Bridge On the River Kwai.” Up or down, bridges change things. A fallen bridge may be an inconvenience to a commuter, or a new bridge could be the death knell of a culture.  In either case there’s a conflict, and conflict is what writers, and readers, crave. 

IDEAS

What if a bridge could be built across the Straits of Gibraltar to Africa? How would that have changed the world, depending on when it was built? An Alternate History writer’s cornucopia.

What if a young woman has a meeting with a man who owns the biggest and best bridge building company in the world? Though she has no training, her designs are elegant and beautiful. He can’t get them out of his mind. The opportunity arises to build one of her designs. Though the design can’t possibly work, it does and is hailed as the most beautiful bridge ever. On opening day, as the man, and his wife? who have semi adopted the woman who has no family, or past, watch the woman walk ahead, she disappears. Stunned, they can’t figure it out. Finally they find clues in her apartment and as they walk in the same place, they also  disappear. Suddenly, they are on another planet, in another dimension, the future, past, Heaven, Hell, alternate universe.  They must find the woman and get her home–or must they? There are always other bridges to build –physical, cultural, or mental.

What if a wormhole is discovered on another planet. It’s floating in air over the Y junction of  three canyons.  They have to build a 3 way  bridge to get to the entrance from each side (country?). Lots of political wrangling (conflict.) Extremists may go to any length to prevent it, or to make sure it does get built. And what if the wormhole has three exits and you don’t know where you’ll come out–someplace Hellish, Heavenly, or pure utopia. Maybe the story of 3 people. Each ends up in a different place and we find out about each place from their individual experiences. A 3 book series! A bridge to bigger and better things.

What if  you were a child and your  parents are getting divorced and you don’t like the idea? How far would you go to build a bridge to keep them connected. Would you do something extraordinarily (beyond normal human abilities?)  good so  they would be forced to come back together for you? Would you benignly manuever them to a lonely cabin hoping they’d get together, but a storm comes in and they have to fight for their lives, together. Maybe they die and that’s your bridge to the mental institution where a kindly doctor builds a bridge to you and brings you back across to sanity, except you have these slightly extra-normal abilities that he wants you to use for some nefarious world domination scheme.  OR, you could do something nasty like sell their souls to the Devil, send them to a haunted house, cabin, town, tunnel, pit, planet, or your own basement. See “The Cask of Amontillado.” Together forever.

What if, not to be negative all the time, Boy meets Girl, Boy loses Girl, Boy/Girl has to build an emotional/cultural/maybe even physical  bridge to connect to the one they love.

What if there was a bridge and people came to it and it collapsed? Why were those people there at that time and place? Were they all connected, or brought there by fate, chance? Or  perhaps driven by love, hate, desire, or criminal intent.  See The Bridge of  San Luis Rey.  In a similar vein, draw bridges can be frustrating, especially when you’re in a hurry. Like Red Lights, they can be the great equalizer, everybody has to stop, rich or poor, late or early. What might be the difference in your life, and the life of those around you, or that you are running toward or away from,  if you make the bridge or don’t.

By destiny or free will, this is my bridge out of here.  Feel free to run your bridge idea by me. I’d love to hear other ideas. And don’t forget to connect with www.smashwords.com/profile/view/davidburton.