the Unending Journey of the Wandering Author

A chronicle of the unending journey of the Wandering Author through life, with notes and observations made along the way. My readers should be aware I will not censor comments that disagree with me, but I do refuse to display comment spam or pointless, obscene rants. Humans may contact me at thewanderingauthor at yahoo dot com - I'll reply as I am able.

Location: New England, United States

I have always known I was meant to write, even when I was too young to know the word 'author'. When I learned that books were printed, I developed an interest in that as well. And I have always been a wanderer, at least in my mind. It's not the worst trait in an author. For more, read my writing; every author illuminates their heart and soul on the pages they write upon.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Elusive Ultimate

This week's prompt from Velvet Verbosity is the word ultimate. The challenge is to write exactly 100 words on this topic, in any form you like. I always enjoy seeing the very different responses each word provokes in different writers.

Elusive Ultimate

How often
We seek the ultimate.
How often
We proclaim it found.

Yet -
Is life long enough
To sift centuries of wonders,
Comparing, discarding, selecting?

Does any have insight enough,
To speak another’s mind?

At twenty,
Dreaming ultimate dreams,
Daring to hope
Fragile promise durable.
At forty,
So often weighted by
Doubled experience,
Dreams crumble, tumbling
Into nightmare,
Leaving only ultimate loss -
Which, too, may pass.

Future thoughts
Forever beyond view,
Chasms greater and stranger
Hide others’ minds unguessed, unread.

The ultimate -
Ultimately elusive.

Thus preserving,
More to seek,
Heights to strive for;
Ultimate fountain
Of hope.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008


This is, of course, all too common, but I'm posting the details for those of you who want to keep an eye on your content. I just noticed, while leaving a comment over at Velvet Verbosity, that the post had been 'scraped', and it appeared to be my work that had been stolen. Lest anyone forget, my original work was posted days earlier.

Note that anything that follows is my own personal opinion of events, and is backed up only by the facts I provide in this post. Make up your own minds. But I do stand behind my opinion, that honest, decent people would not behave in the way several companies have done in this case. If you define honesty and decency differently, that is your right - go shout it somewhere else.

First of all, in case any of you are ignorant of how these things happen, this has nothing at all to do with Velvet Verbosity. Scrapers steal anything, from anybody. That simply happens to be where I noticed the clue pointing me to the thieves. Scrapers and spammers: look at the 'quality' of that 'blog'. If you enter the main domain name,, you will find they maintain a whole list of "Info for You!", also known as scraped content thrown together to lure suckers into clicking on dubious links.

If you checked the scraped page, you will notice they quoted only my work, under someone else's name. Again, not anyone's fault but the scraper and spammer. And, of course, to heap another injury atop stealing and misattributing my work my words are being misused to promote and advertise one of the very things I was speaking out against! So I looked up the WhoIs information for that domain, intending to insist on proper payment for the unauthorised use of my work, plus correction of the attribution. I discovered the scum who make tons of money by stealing other people's words to help them defraud others want to 'protect their privacy', so they hide behind this extremely ill advised service. Link edited; original text was "seeming front for criminal activity".

Portions of the following paragraphs edited to reflect the response I received Monday morning, 23 June 2008.

Why did I call this organisation a seeming front for criminal activity, and later edit my comment? Well, they not only protect their clients' 'privacy' - they isolate them still further, by refusing legal notices sent to domain owners at the only address provided, instead forcing victims to go through their 'screening' first. They could at least forward mail sent on legal matters to their clients. Instead, they slow down justice in the name of 'privacy'. I find that extremely ill advised at best; less of a protection for privacy and more of a useful shelter for sploggers and other lowlifes. However, I did alter my original opinion somewhat when I got a response within 48 hours of my complaint, exposing the splogger's details to the world. It may be they are simply too foolish and idealistic to understand how easily they can be misused, or how much distress they cause the innocent. Nevertheless, I suffered for those 48 hours, wondering just how difficult it would be to take action.

I suspect they will claim they get "too much mail to handle" - well, that's because you let scrapers, spammers, and who knows what else hide behind your skirts. If you didn't accept such people, if you checked out their sites yourself to verify they were honest sites, maybe you wouldn't get so much mail. Of course, that wouldn't be as profitable, would it? Perhaps the reason isn't profit, but whatever it is, if you truly hope to offer a fair, honest service, you shouldn't adopt a policy of this kind.

Portions of the preceeding paragraphs edited to reflect the response I received Monday morning, 23 June 2008. Please note there is no longer any reason to complain to the New Zealand authorities, as that situation has been resolved, and the identity of the true culprit, residing in Texas, is now known to me.

This "service" is based in New Zealand, and I hope all of you will join me in complaining to the New Zealand government. I think it is an outrage any country's laws would allow such a situation to exist. You can e-mail the New Zealand embassy in Washington at info at nzemb dot org or you can contact the US embassy in New Zealand at aucklandacs at state dot gov - correct the ats and dots appropriately, of course.

I am including a quote of my own message to the New Zealand embassy in Washington, which does not provide very useful contact information for such a situation. My message isn't worded very well, I suppose: I'm still very shocked and upset.

"If you simply read my post on my blog here:
[link to this post omitted] you will see the basic details of my complaint.

I am shocked that your country would permit such a blatant front for criminal activity to exist, without even requiring them to accept and to forward legal notifications from victims of the criminals they shield.

Writers do not make a lot of money. I don't have the time or money to fly to New Zealand to pursue some elaborate court case. This has done me immense economic and emotional harm. My words were not only stolen - they were misused to promote one of the very things I was speaking out against!

If the New Zealand government does indeed care about justice and about protecting the victimised without forcing them to jump through hoops too high to reach, please advise me what I can do to take action about this.

If you will simply look over my own blog, and the 'blogs' maintained by the scraper hiding behind a New Zealand organisation, you will see mine is the honest blog of a writer, while the other is a collection of spam. This is a pretty simple issue."

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This week's prompt from Velvet Verbosity is the word protection. The challenge is to write excactly 100 words on this topic, in any form you like. I find this challenge is a lot of fun, and different words draw very different responses from me. In this case, for those who don't understand the poem, I'm illustrating it, below, with a photograph of the place I had in mind, Fort Warren, on Georges Island out in Boston Harbour.


Sturdy walls of stone
Withstanding cannon’s recoil,
Shouldering dense green thickets,
Yet marked by something slight
As passing moments.

Amidst great guns firing,
Roaring deadly defiance,
Massive blocks of granite
Stood unshaken.
Beneath spreading roots
In thick soil awaiting hostile reply,
Roofs bear up unsagging.
Unyielding fortress,
Silent now,
Not expected cataclysms of war,
Only time’s unceasing footfalls
Conquered island bastion.

Once blocking enemy ships
Astride harbour approaches.
Turning aside even thoughts
Of attack.
Now ignored, overflown
By aircraft, time’s little joke
On designers, builders.

Vital protection,
Outdated, abandoned;
To simpler years.
What bulwark can repel
Passing time?

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Monday, June 02, 2008


The latest challenge is up over on Velvet Verbosity. This week's word is plastic. I hope my thoughts will get you thinking, as well.


Plastic, a cheap substance not inherently beautiful like metal or wood, breaks easily in use, yet refuses to degrade and go away when tossed aside to clutter up meadows and forests. At best an inexpensive, less satisfying alternative to better materials, the ultimate cost to our world is high.

Plastic, not real, not honest, not strong enough to resist pressure.

In neither sense is plastic a positive idea. Yet our society makes more and more from plastic, trusts it to do more; we vote for plastic leaders, idolise celebrities with plastic bodies and personalities. What does this say about us?

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Plans, Thoughts, Hopes

I have several plans I'm considering. Of those, some are too vague yet for me to write about them. But I do have a few things I would like to move forward on. First of all, I do intend to keep cleaning this poor, old blog up. Second, I hope to start a serious discussion among interested writers about the issues raised in the previous post. What can we do to make a living? What will work, what is worth trying, and what isn't worth even wasting time thinking about?

If you are interested in this topic, please leave a comment. I'd really like to find a few serious writers who understand just how important this is. We need to put our heads together, brainstorm, and work on finding real solutions. I know we're all busy, but please don't offer to take part unless you are really going to make the time to do it. I would like to help improve the choices all writers have as they seek to survive doing what they do best.

Finally, I have toyed with one idea for a while, and I'd like your thoughts. I sent out one enquiry, but I am also interested to see what my readers think. I've been wondering what I could do for America's troops overseas. Whatever your politics, these guys aren't the ones making the decisions. They are leaving their homes, going to harsh and hostile lands, and risking death. They see friends die around them. Most of them are just kids. And they do all that because somebody else orders them to.

They volunteer because they want to protect their country, their families, their friends, to guard all our freedoms. How they are used is not theirs to decide. There are those who would disagree with me. If so, go write about it on your blog, the one you're free to express your opinion on because of men like the ones you despise.

A lot of Americans, even those who don't despise them, don't seem to give them much thought. I do. My son was one of them for a while, when he was in the Marines. He served for eight years; he's home now, safe and sound, but I can't forget that people just like him are still there, still dying. Now, I don't have enough money to contribute anything significant to the care packages sent over there.

What I can do is write. In some ways, it is useless, but perhaps some of the men and women over there would get a bit of encouragement out of the idea that someone was offering to write something to entertain them. So my idea works like this: I'd ask for suggestions for ideas - stories they'd like to read - from the men and women stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Every two weeks, I'd pick an idea I can work with, write a story, and post it (on a separate blog set up for this project, or a special web site). If I found I could manage more frequent stories and posts, I'd pick up the pace. The story would be dedicated to the person who suggested it.

I'd keep the basic Copyright rights, but I would post the stories under a blanket grant of non-exclusive rights to any service member to print it out and to pass on copies if they like. If other writers are interested, they could join the project, and select the ideas they wanted to work with. They would keep the rights to their own stories, but would grant the same blanket non-exclusive rights I've described above.

I would be the overall editor; this is not open to just anyone who thinks they are a writer. Only someone able to write decent stories, ones that at least might end up in a magazine, would be accepted. In addition, I'd look over their stories and suggest any changes they needed to make so the story would be the best it could be. The idea here is, if we're going to do this, the troops deserve soemthing decent.

Actually, they deserve the best, but I'm not the best and I know it. I am at least a halfway decent writer, though. At least, I hope I am. I don't think it would be appropriate to take on any writers who weren't at least good enough to describe as "halfway decent". If you are interested in taking part, leave a comment here. I'll get back to you as soon as I can. If I think you are good enough, or that I can edit what you write so it is good enough, I'll count you in.

Tentatively, I'm calling this Tales for the Troops. I hope I can make it work out, and I hope it will bring a smile to at least some of the faces that badly need it. Maybe it will be a reminder to them that at least a few people do care what happens to them.

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