Twenty and two years, it was staring me right in the face,

the 80s paneling on the walls of the apartment octo-plex

where my friend lived believing conspiracy theories

and not thinking of how her kitchen smelled

of overnight pasta and bad pipes.


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The Winter Soldier: Writing Ghosts

Recently, I sat down with my S.O. to watch the Captain America movies for the first time. I’d been reluctant to, actually, afraid the hero of the “American Way” a la “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” would come across as a corny, distilled rehash of patriotism. However, I enjoyed both, from the moment I saw Hugo Weaving playing a villain with the surname “Schmidt,” right up to the quote from the, er, “Bible” on Nick Fury’s gravestone (Q. Tarantino Translation).

But what I admired most was the writing in Winter Soldier, and its use of a tool John Truby calls the “Ghost.” In story, the Ghost is the past before the story opens. It can be trauma or inspiration, but it has made the protagonist who they are and holds some clues to what they have yet to overcome.

Since I’m still pulling at a cat’s cradle of long-term project attempts, I’m going to use this week’s post to analyze the concept of the Ghost in this movie. Since this will require running through much of the plot of both Captain America movies—

:::WARNING: Massive Spoilers Ahead:::

Winter Soldier is all about ghosts and resurrections.

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The 11 Parental Logics

I teach EFL students planning for debate to attack arguments that rely on the 11 logical fallacies. When asked where they might use debate skills, we talk about politics, the UN, and even business meetings…
But today it occurred to me that my parents pretty much used all of these to dodge my childhood questions.
  1. Ad populum: “Everyone is doing it.” —”Well, visiting your cousins is what people do.”
  2. Ad hominem: “You’re flawed, so the argument’s flawed.” —”You’re only twelve.”
  3. Appeal to authority: “The boss said it’s okay.” —“If Mom says it’s okay, you can play outside.”
  4. Appeal to ignorance: “No one can prove it’s not true.” —”If you keep making your face, it’ll stick that way.”
  5. Confirmation bias: cherry-picking for only favorable evidence. —”I always did my chores and I’m a happy adult.”
  6. Equivocation: deliberately using fuzzy meanings or words with double-meanings. —”Your mother and I need some alone time.”
  7. False dichotomy:There are only two choices (usually both extremes). —”Well, if Santa doesn’t exist, then where do the toys come from?”
  8. Hasty generalization: stereotypes, inadequate samplings.“Piercings get infected; the answer is no.”
  9. Red herring: going off-topic. —”Look, cookies!”
  10. Slippery slope: “One thing inevitably leads to another…” —“But if you don’t finish your homework, you won’t be ready for the test, and if you’re not ready for the test, you’ll fail, and if you fail, you’ll stay back a grade, and if you stay back a grade you’ll never make it into college, and if you…
  11. Straw man: badly defining the opposition so it’s easier to attack. —“You’re just upset because he’s mature enough for a driver’s license and you aren’t yet.”
#writing #RJEddystone #logicalfallacies #debate #TheRealLife #parenting

26: Reversal

We made it to the last chapter!

~~~ Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! ~~~

I mentioned at the start of this that I’d be working without a net.  We made it across the tightrope to the last chapter of a brand-new beta, which of course now needs some test reading and feedback.  Although it was a bumpy ride, your views, likes, and shares really encourage me to no end.  A huge thanks to you for keeping me going.

Now that the story’s coming to a close, I’d love to hear beta reader comments on:

  1. What worked and what didn’t.
  2. What felt superfluous or scant.  
  3. What seemed missing or perhaps too ubiquitous.

Please leave your thoughts, questions, and suggestions in a comment below!

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25: Peer Pressure

Chapter One here.


A crowd of artisans and soldiers are cleaning up — stacking sawhorses, stabling work horses, hanging up tools.  Soldiers chat.  Martin leans over another list. 

Loren enters the doorway, a brace of bottles in one hand.  SERVANTS (ND) linger behind him as he pushes into the crowd. Continue reading

Names: Diana

This character is late coming in the game, but she’s part of a major revision.  I’ve already added her into previous posts and the upcoming Wednesday post this week.  More details soon.



“heavenly, divine”

When westerners think of Russian names, they probably don’t think of “Diana.” Among Russian names, it’s pronounced “DEE-ana.”  This Latin name shares a root with zeus:  dyeus, which can also be tied to the Russian word dyen, for “day.”  Diana is almost always pictured or sculpted with a quiver and arrows, and she’s often accompanied by a deer.

In Roman Mythology, Diana is associated with the moon in the heavens, hunting among human beings, and forests in nature.   Her similarity to Artemis may also link her to wisdom and chastity.  She was seen as the caretaker of pregnant women.  According to one scholar’s theory, this may be be why she was also thought to guarantee the succession of kings.

On a personal note, when I hear Diana pronounced this way, I think of how the “D” stands taller than the rest of the word like a half-moon.  The second half, “Anna,” is associated with grace or favor.  To play with the words a bit, the name “Dyena” could be taken to mean day of grace, and have some subtle association with names like Ivan, which mean given by G-d.   The Western pronunciation of “DI-ana,” in turn, might imply a double blessing.

The name Diana brings to mind a person who might be:

  • a clever maiden
  • a wise matron
  • a doctor or service worker
  • a guardian or caretaker