Honorable Mention Award

Honorable Mention Award

I’m pleased to announce that Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power has been awarded an honorable mention in the Wild Card category at the 2017 Hollywood Book Festival.

The category makes me smile because I’ve been wrestling with category choice. The book has a real world setting but with mermaids. So I often wonder if it’s fantasy or fiction. Then the series will take off into the future and dive deeper into mythology and fantasy elements. But in terms of fantasy it is not outlandish and there is a strong real world setting. Women are central but they have mystical and mythological elements. In the end Wild Card suits me just fine.

The Women of the Andromeda

 

What do you think is happening to women?

Numerous Roles for Women

From the beginning, in writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy, I was clear that the women had to be extraordinary. Related is the fact that I have always been captivated and intrigued by the movement to empower women. There is a battle and clearly there was untapped potential. And in that battle women are showing how tenacious they can be.

But I felt I could not begin from pure fantasy. Of course part of what intrigued me was my love of mythology and how it speaks to us. Mermaids keep appearing in myth and I chose them to join us for the adventure. But there were other elements in history that were intriguing. In Adrienne Major’s book The Amazons I learned about some of the real warrior women in history.

Presenting Themsleves

And so the women of the Andromeda came into being. Many Tethyan women were reserved in the sea against the day when the mission for the salvation of our beloved blue planet and humankind would be called. But especially on land there was presently to be a confrontation and warrior women were needed to help.

In the Beginning

But in opening the series it did not seem right to simply have the women rush into battle. Two realities collided. One was that major human conflicts often begin in a low key fashion. One thing with which I collided was myself. I wanted a “normal” beginning related to how people are. So I chose innocent Avery as the lead character who thought she had lost her family and felt abandoned. Little did she know she had an extraordinary family.

But her family wasn’t merely hiding in the sea. It had an organization and women had been chosen and chose themselves to be defenders in the movement to come. And there were certainly enough issues to be combatted in the real world as we understand it today.

Among the People

The Tethyan people fell generally into three groups. The people who lived in cities in the sea called the Primals, the women who came to the land to form families and the defense force of women called the Andromeda. The women in the sea cities searched history and precious documents for the meaning and substance related to their future. The families on land positioned themselves for future dedicated possibilities. And the Andromeda women took on real world missions. These women could be dangerous and violent if needed.

Dedicated Women

The roles women assume are often complicated and in what they feel they must do they often have to resist restraints imposed by the larger society. And such was the case for the Andromeda women. Certainly they could embed themselves in government and corporations, but they could also engage in other forms of intrusion which might be useful. And so some of them became consorts with the powerful, greedy men called the Overlords. From that position they gained valuable insights and information.

I’m sure there are those who will criticize me for putting these women in such positions which are often frowned upon and they may be unfairly criticized for what they dedicated themselves to do. But that was a component of the real world and it needed inclusion.

These women took terrible risks, gave valiant service and, in the writing, addressed a reality which exists now and will in the future. I took delight in them. Brigid was most prominent and strong. She came to her position through tragedy which, of course, is often what leads to dedication. And darling Luisa was irresistible. She was so engaging and clever and seemed innocent. Except she was not innocent but dedicated.

And so fantasy and reality meld and talk truths about our world as it is whether realized or not and the future as it may be. Such dedication often leads to transformation of many kinds.

And I think in the future I may just write detailed stories focused on these amazing women. In the near term there will be posts on each of them.

Do you admire such women?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

A Tragic Waste

 

What’s on your list of wrongs perpetrated against women?

Pervasive Efforts

A recent post presented the concept of the mysterium tremendum which relates to that which grips or stirs the soul. It is of interest because it is my belief that this sort of effect of women on men may well relate to the pervasive and eternal efforts by men to keep women from empowerment.

Daily we continue to see evidence of these efforts. Recently I turned on the television and saw an interview about the fight to get women who had piloted aircraft in World War II, Women Airforce Service Pilots or WASPs, the right to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery . These women had been granted veterans status in 1977 and burial rights at Arlington since 2002. Then, recently, they were deemed ineligible.

It is not necessary to go into greater detail. The subterfuges, the discrimination and callous attitudes regarding women are endless.

Truth From Leonardo

And then I ran across an interview with Leonardo DiCaprio regarding his recent movie The Revenant. At one point the interviewer asked, “Why is the role of women in the movie so small and the men so gruesome and dominating?” His answer was, “This represents the savagery of a lawless culture. Women have been the most persecuted people throughout all of recorded history, more than any race or religion.” He was not asked to elaborate or support his statement but I know what he meant.

And currently we have an ongoing war against women in the United States. And what I find is that the rationale is lacking in substance because of the pervasive nature of the war.

Inner Meaning Beyond Our Grasp

What is so interesting is that there is normally no in-depth discussion of this process. The battles are fought on specific issues but rarely focus on the extent of the discrimination and its inner meaning. It seems we don’t know the proper questions to ask and I believe in part it is because the real reasons are deeply buried in our psyches and we don’t know how to access the real process. Does the Mysterium Tremendum touch on the real reason ( See WordPress posts of 1/18/16 and 1/20/16)?

What does your intuition tell you?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

How Are You America? Pt. 5

Focusing the Way Ahead

How distressed are you about where we are as a country?

Two Sides to the Coin

On the one hand our country is doing fairly well. Unemployment is low and there seems to be optimism in the business community where profitability and stock prices are rising. On the other hand we are mired in partisan politics and obstruction. And it is the later that should give us substantial pause because the world is changing fast and there are increasing number of people who are left behind and being left vocationally isolated. The clock is ticking.

In “mental health” we tend to focus on pathology rather than addressing life management and what that it entails. We too often look at disability rather than need, change and adaptability. In so many areas there is a lack of vision. In opioid addiction we look at the addiction and fail to focus on the condition which led to the addiction in the first place. It is still there are needs to be addressed. The list of issues is long.

Making a Beginning

Little is heard about an assessment. In the largest picture it is apparent that capitalism is changing and there is a talk of the postcapitalism society. In fact though, we are not clear what that means or entails.

In specific issues such as coal we are failing to face the challenge. Renewable energy is becoming steadily less costly but it seems we are intent on not facing the effects of what has come before.

Detroit is diversifying and we see, in the past decades, what happens when we fail to face change. Our auto industry had serous challenges and the response came late.

It seems we may have two countries. The country which is thriving and the county peopled by people who get no assistance to foster necessary changes. These are the left behinds.

Making An Assessment

We have a choice to make. We can stay mired in this tiresome conflict or we can face and be energized by the challenges. Challenges can be fascinating and thrilling. Energy can be generated and the fact is that the problems we face can be challenged and affected. But we have to examine them, come together to seek mutually acceptable solutions. This is a time for liberals and conservatives to meet. Liberals can bring ideas to help us move forward and conservatives can bring a perspective of the need for functional and reasonable efforts. No one needs to be reckless and no one needs to be stuck in the mud.

Change

Change is not always easy and challenges can be difficult particularly if we fight each other. But people can change and solutions can be found. Part of it involves seeking perspective and using vision to explore possibilities.

America has a unique and interesting history. The people who came here were people who accepted challenge. Settling here was not easy and involved risk but one thing is clear, the people who came were venturesome, sought vision and faced challenges with solutions. These are traits which are passed down and those traits and the people are still with us. We just need to start exploring, setting goals and getting to work.

Where would you like to begin?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Struggle Eternal

 

Do you view yourself as struggling?

Many Forms of Struggle

There are so many things to explore in life. Of course we go looking for things like friends and a mate. We hope for success and seek joy and happiness. What we often seem to miss is the basic fact that life, in one form or another, is a struggle.

Of course the struggle is not just a personal one. We struggle as groups, as countries. And our literature is full of struggle. Romance isn’t pure joy and fulfillment. There is generally a struggle of one form or another. The outcome of romance may be an enduring relationship and that involves risk and effort. Is this person really right for me?

Less Than Total Control

There are many guideposts. One thing we are often told is that if we fail in our struggle or the outcome is less than we might have hoped for it is surely our fault and we may even have intended it. After my decades as a psychologist my response is—balderdash! Yes, sometimes we sabotage ourselves, but we also cannot be entirely sure of the outcome of anything. There are chance factors. Maybe some people find it reassuring to think that if it goes badly that was our inner intention. Life is simply not like that. You did not construct the asteroid that is right now streaking toward your village.

Boredom Versus Enrichment

Struggle is inevitable. And, since we are animals, we participate in the quest for survival in all its forms. It is not without purpose. Wouldn’t it be dull to be stuck in the Garden of Eden. We sought knowledge and enriched our lives—at a price. Certainly there were risks for Adam and Eve but the struggle actually enriched the world of humankind and the enrichment goes beyond mere survival. Of course, other than for the basics, you don’t have to have high goals to find growth resulting from your struggle. You get to choose.

A Higher Purpose

One of the themes I address in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy is whether there may be a higher purpose for our struggle. As beings we have come a long way from the trees in Africa. Struggle was no doubt instrumental in our development, even our acquisition of language. In writing this trilogy, one of the things which came to mind is whether there is another purpose for our struggle. Will we one day reach some kind of a transformation?

Have you found yourself making sudden gains, if not a transformation?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Women and Our Future Pt. 5

Is That All It Is?

Confronting Possibilities

What key memories do You have?

Long ago I remember standing in front of a cathedral in France. I was ten years old and looking around at a new world with new people. At that age I had little perception about what Europe had just endured nor the reach of its history. I recall my mother placing a handkerchief on her head before entering. I asked her why and she said it was “customary”.

Being who I was then and am now I didn’t press it further but for me it opened questions and they remain unasked in so many ways. The true answer and the depth of meaning remains to be probed. Of course, there are answers many people accept, but I find them shallow and lacking of substance. Possibilities always present themselves.

The Polar Bear

There are many interesting documentaries on television and recently I saw one about polar bears. I’ll put aside the barren environment in which they live and how it is now endangered along with their future.

Almost the entire documentary focused on the males search for a mate and the conflict involved. It seemed fraught in so many ways including his initial contact with the female with whom he wanted to mate. I had to think “Is that all It is?“ I doubt many people view our struggles as just about continuity as a species.

Power and Submission

In later posts I’ll go more deeply into the issues of power and submission but for now let me raise the question. I’ll just call it “Is that all it is?” which means are we simply in a battle between men and women about dominance and submission related to reproduction? I failed to see the greater purpose involved in a woman covering her hair in church and I fail to see a greater purpose in subjugating women. To me a better question to focus is whether we as a species have a larger mission.

The world of animals is fascinating in its diversity and their struggle for survival shows tenacity. From the struggle comes increased complexity, a culling process and new futures. Looking back at human history we can see something of a similar process but we also see something else. We acquired language and mastered the development and balancing of culture.

What’s Next

I am always asking what i might call my life question. Is the struggle to survive and gain a mate all there is? But does the acquisition of language and culture suggest that there may be other fascinating possibilities in our future. And how might an end to the subjugation of women fit in? “Possibilities” attend my life and I have to raise them again in this context.

We have hopes and dreams which alone suggest there may be interesting ways forward. And fundamental for me is the question about what may happen when we empower women which I firmly believe is to happen. And some of that is what has fostered my efforts in writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy.

How would you define the essence of our future as beings?

 

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

How Are You America – Part 4

 

What Is Intelligence?

First lets address the issue of intelligence which in some ways relates to job skills. I say in some ways because job skills also reflect personality and interest patterns. One definition of intelligence is “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills” – whatever that means. What it has often meant was the score received on an intelligence test.

The most commonly used tests when I was doing testing was the Wechsler which was available for adults and children. These tests had originally been developed because people wanted ways to assess scholastic ability. Up to a point it served its purpose. Over time we also used it to assess if there were learning disabilities. Again, up to a point it helped.

Another matter is what kind of intelligence a person has. Some people are highly analytical, some suppositories of information and some can regurgitate material fed to them without any true understanding of its meaning. The latter are sometimes found among people who graduate from respected institutions but, to be blunt, seem stupid.

I think you get the point. It is highly variable and discussion cannot be simplistic if the aim is to design a remedial system.

In What We Call the Real World

The point here is to not do an in-depth presentation about intelligence. In fact, the point relates to the changes needed in our society to prepare people for the employment future. And there is evidence of that future changing rapidly.

The Wechsler tests were designed with a Verbal and a Performance section. Verbal suggests what the word means and relates most closely to academic abilities. But they also included Performance which generally seemed to reflect abilities of “working class” people. A plumber needs different abilities from an accountant.

The conventional, professional wisdom was that if the Verbal I.Q. was 20 points below the Performance I.Q. meant there was a learning disability. Well, not quite. I tested people from all walks of life and often found that discrepancy. But gradually I came to see something. The people with higher Performance skills often came from working class households. In fact what I was seeing was a pattern of talent not disability. Such a perception was very useful when job issues were considered.

The point is that we cannot approach the future of our workforce in a limited fashion.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Vocational Change

Vocational rehabilitation is at issue for a variety of reasons. People get injured in a variety of ways and need to be retrained so they can be productively employed. But we had to play some games. The counselors often came to me saying they needed a disability to develop a retraining program which they could pay for. One of the things that meant was that I had to define a disability for women who were getting a divorce and had not worked outside the home previously.

Yikes! I knew exactly what they meant. Sometimes people suddenly have a change in their lives which needs to be addressed and they may not have the expertise or money to pay for it. So we went to work.

But, of course, there are other kinds of disabilities and needs for retraining as we are presently experiencing. Job categories disappear or shrink and we have to figure out what to do with the people who are no longer needed.

But something unfortunate happened. At one point when budgets were constricting. the rehab people had to work harder to justify what they were doing and they turned to the severely disabled. Sometimes that mean spending a lot of money on people who showed little if any promise for employment.

That is just one story. What we have to do is adapt to change in productive ways.

Designing for the Future

Our national dialogue in many matters is being shaped by partisan and idealogical conflict. What we really need in a society which is facing rapid change is an eyes wide open exploration of what the people in our society need.

One of the things I saw was that the people with Performance abilities had an interesting set of abilities which might not need to be applied in plumbing or electrical work. In fact, if we broaden our scan we see that their abilities can be applied in information technology work in an office. But what we need to do now is to evaluate our viewpoint and begin to study how we can approach the needs of people to be employed in the postcapitalism world. We need vision, flexibility and new thinking.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt