A List of the Books I Have Read This Past Year

Welcome back, my fellow travellers. It is a joy to have the pleasure of your company and spending a moment together. I hope your week has gone well and you’ve gotten as much life out of that as possible. 

Please like and subscribe. Then share the Bejesus with anyone you feel would appreciate it. Give your referral this link to my published work. If my story touches your referral, chances are high that they will enjoy the blog. Suppose my account doesn’t handle your referral. They should find another blog to read. 

As always, I welcome all of your comments. They are helping me hone my craft and on the pathway to becoming the best writer I am capable of becoming.

When I began writing full-time about two and a half years ago, one of the first books I read was “On Writing” by Stephen King. It is part memoir and part ‘here’s how to do stuff’ book. One of the things that struck me was his insistence that to become a good writer; you have to do two things. One is to write. Then I learned that writing is much more than just putting words onto the page or screen. I won’t go into it, but if you are a beginner writer looking for a good book about how to write. I can’t recommend it enough. The other thing that you must do is read. Purists will say that you have to read a ‘proper’ book. Stephen disagrees, and I share his opinion. There are many ways to read these days. Both in ‘proper’ book form and other media. Such as e-books and audiobooks.

I don’t think that there is anything to be gained by informing you what media the books I’ve read are in. However, when it comes to audiobooks, I realised there was a lot of empty air if you only played at the speed it recorded. x 1.0, in other words. Whereas if you increase the speed to x 1.5 or even more. I’ve found that my ear can tolerate a rate of x 1.8, which means that you will get through an audiobook in almost half the time it would take to read in the usual manner.

List of Books Read in 2022

Author Book
Surname First Name Title
Albom Mitch Tuesdays With Morrie
Angelou Maya I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Boghossian Peter How To Have Impossible Conversations
Bryson Bill The Body
Bryson Bill A Short History of Nearly Everything
Chomsky Noam The Essential Chomsky
Clear James Atomic Habits
Coben Harlan Deal Breaker
Coben Harlan Tell No One
Corey James S A Leviathan Wakes
Dawkins Richard The Selfish Gene
Doyle Andrew Free Speech
Fry Stephen Mythos
Fry Stephen Heroes
Gladwell Malcolm Talking To Strangers
Govan Russell Bank On Nothing
Haidt Jonathan The Righteous Mind
Haidt Jonathan The Coddling of the American Mind
Iannucci Armando Pandemonium
Jordan Robert A Crown of Swords book seven in the Wheel Of Time
Jordan Robert Lord Of Chaos book six in the Wheel of Time
Jordan Robert The Shadow Rising book four in the Wheel of Time
Karr Mary The Art of Memoir
Karr Mary The Liars Club
Kay Adam This Is Going To Hurt
Kidd Sue Monk The Secret Life of Bees
King Stephen On Writing
Kondo Marie The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Lamott Anne Bird By Bird
Logan Kirsty Things We Say In The Dark
Maksimovich Jennifer Two Shadows. A Ghost Story based upon real events
Manson Mark Everything Is F*cked
Manson Mark The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck
Martin George R R A Game Of Thrones
Maupin Armistead The Days of Anna Madrigal
McGrath Titania Woke
Murray Douglas The Strange Death of Europe
Murray Douglas The Madness of Crowds
Niven Govinden This Brutal House
Norton Graham Holding
Peterson Jordan B Maps of Meaning
Peterson Jordan B 12 Rules For Life
Pinker Steven The Blank Slate
Redek Amy What Happens At Night
Sagan Carl Cosmos
Sedaris David Me Talk Pretty One Day
Shapiro Dani Slow Motion
Shrier Abigail Irriversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters
Solzhenitsyn Aleksandr The Gulag Archepelego
Starkey David Monarchy
Stuart Douglas Shuggie Bain
Welsh Irvine Trainspotting
Walker Matthew Why We Sleep

Using apps allows me to carry a whole library of books wherever I go. Helpful when going on holiday. You are not taking up vital space in your luggage for reading material. It is also beneficial if I chat with someone about a book and they express an interest in it. I can send them a copy and share mine with them. It doesn’t cost them or me anything extra. As you know, a book habit can get costly if you’re not careful.

I will only tell you the author of the book and the title. I’m not sharing feedback on the books. However, I may do it at a later date. The list is quite long, and the author and title are enough.

Another thing that I have found extremely useful is learning how to read speedily. Most of us read at a rate of around 190 words per minute. Using a combination of apps and webinars, I have increased my speed to about 260 wpm. Don’t you think that’s possible? Try it and find out for yourself. Please don’t take just my word for it.

I will put the list in alphabetical order of the author’s surname. So if you have a favourite author in mind and want to know if I’ve read them, you can scan through the list quickly, which gives it some structure and makes sense to me. Other opinions and methodologies are available.

Suppose mine disagrees with you. Leave me a comment, and I will do my best to find another solution for you. Would a recording of the list be helpful, for example? Should I be thinking about more significant font types? What about other languages? Do let me know. I welcome all of your feedback and comments.

 

So there we go, a list of the books I read last year. As you can tell, I read a wide range of genres and a mix of fiction and non-fiction. Which I believe was something else Stephen King encouraged. I do read everywhere I go. That’s another benefit of having different media to choose from you. I can pick the press to suit the environment that I am in. I squeeze in a few minutes while waiting to have my groceries checked out. Or any other queue situation I find myself in. Doctor, dentist, pharmacy, customer service call on hold, and so forth. I can read in the car and my reading corner at home. I would instead read than watch something. When I want to watch something, I use a reward system—20 mins for each goal or sub-goal I achieve in a day. So for an hour of viewing. I would need to complete a minimum of three goals. I mark it off on a little chart on my fridge door. Seeing lots of ticks on the sheet as the weeks and months pass is very satisfying.

Has anyone else compiled a list of books they have read in the past year that you would like to share? Do you have any recommendations that are not your own? What reading habits have you taught yourself? Please let me know by liking and leaving a comment.

Well, that’s it for another week. Remember to hit the like button and subscribe to your inbox for future publications. 

Leave a comment by hitting the “comments” button, and leave your feedback which I value greatly. 

Click the links below for my social media sites, website and published work. 

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Published work

Three Ways I Use To Get Over Writer’s Block

I am a member of a forum for writers on Facebook and one question that keeps coming up is how to overcome writer’s block?

Here are three ideas that I use that you may find useful.

Look Outside

I have found that when I’m struggling to find something to write about. If I write about something else as a starting point this will often open up my mind to other things. So I look out my window. Then pick an object, a tree, bush, flower, gatepost anything really. Then write about it in as much detail as you can. Don’t do any editing just allow a stream of consciousness to flow. For me this can often be enough to spark an idea or thought for another piece of writing.

Magazines At Your Supermarket

Another way I’ve used is to go to my local supermarket and find the magazines. The ones with the ‘stranger than fiction’ stories in them. Buy a few of them and then over a hot drink either in a coffee shop nearby or back at home. Take notes on a few stories that grab you. Then genderbend the characters to make them different and more interesting. Then rewrite the story with the characters you’ve created using the situation of one of the stories. Write in 20 min bursts. Again do not edit or rewrite. Just let the story come out of you onto the page. Take a break and have a wander around or do some stretches and deep breaths. Then write in another 20 min burst. After an hour read through what you’ve written. It may just surprise you.

Three Boxes

This one takes a little preparation. It is also a good way of getting help from close friends and family. Pitching it as a way for them to help you become a better writer. They can make a contribution to one of three boxes.

Box 1 Names of characters.

Box 2 Situations

Box 3 Dramatic tension

Cut or tear some paper into strips large enough to write a few words on. Then write down the name of a character, situation or dramatic tension and drop into your box. Once you’ve collected around a dozen it is ready to use.

When you find yourself stuck for something to write about. Simply take a paper slip from Box 1 then Box 2 and finally Box 3. So you have Mrs Peacock in the supermarket having an argument.

Take a few moments to let you mind think about these random things. Then as before write in 20 min burst taking a break to stretch and breath before writing another 20 min burst.

I have found that by employing one or more of the techniques mentioned above I soon overcome any writer’s block. My mind is captured by an idea and another WIP is born.

Armistice Day

Armistice comes from the Latin word ‘sistere’, which means ‘to come to a stand’ or ‘to cause to stand or stop’. And ‘arma’, which means weapons. Therefore the literal translation is a cessation of arms.

The armistice we commemorate is the ceasefire ending hostilities between the Allies and Germany on the 11th of November 1918. It wasn’t the end of WW1 but rather an agreement to stop the fighting on the Western Front while the leaders worked out the terms of a permanent peace.

This year will be the first in living memory when we won’t hear the voice of H.M. The Queen, but rather it will be the voice of our new king we will listen to. As King Charles served in the RAF and the Royal Navy, he will speak with an authority the late Queen didn’t have.

Having served in HM Armed Forces myself, I find myself reflecting on the sacrifice given by so many over the 20th and 21st centuries as our armed forces battled with so many enemies that did their level best to obliterate us. The horror of it was brought home to me personally when fighting terrorism in Northern Ireland. During a time when so-called political prisoners went on hunger strikes and brought about riots in The Maze Prison in Belfast. In 1982 the IRA bombed a bandstand of musicians and members of horse guards who were parading at the time in Hyde Park and Regent Park. The band were colleagues of The Green Jackets. 11 died that day. Four soldiers of the Blues and Royals and seven bandsmen. It is those men more than any others that I remember each year as I was a bandsman. I learned later our regiment was scheduled to play that day. However, our assignment was switched last minute. I remember their sacrifice, filled with gratitude that it wasn’t me.

I will never fully understand war. To me, it is futile. No war has ever led to anything good. It devastates the landscape and the number of deaths every war produces. Not to mention the effect on the families of those killed. They are also blighted because the cost of freedom has been so high.

Up to 40,000,000 in WW1, 5,000,000 to 9,000,000 in the Russian Civil War, 8,000,000 to 11,000,000 in the Chinese Civil War, and 20,000,000 to 25,000,000 during the second sino-Japanese war. Then there were another 85,000,000 killed in WWII, another 2,000,000 during the Partition of India and up to 4,500,000 in the Korean War and a similar number in the Vietnam War. 3,000,000 each during the Nigerian Civil War and Bangladesh Liberation War. 2,500,000 during the Afghanistan conflict. 2,000,000 in the Sudanese Civil War. Up to 5,400,000 during the second Congo War.

Those are just the wars where the death toll is 2,000,000 or more. That is a total of almost 197,000,000 million human souls, with at least twice as many affected families, communities, and countries ravaged by the futility of war upon war.

We only tend to focus from a UK or European perspective. We are all citizens of the world. We are all brothers and sisters. How many millions more will count in the annals of history before we learn the lesson that war doesn’t solve anything? It has a devastating effect both in lives lost and countries in ruins. Physically, financially and emotionally, PTSD is in danger of becoming an epidemic. With the zombie, survivors wandering around in our communities as a symbol of the shame we are responsible for.

May our children or our children’s children one day live in a time when armistices are a thing of the past as the world moves into an era of unprecedented peace. That is my hope for this Armistice Day.

List of Albums produced on or after 2000

List of albums included in the top 100 best albums of all time produced on or after the year 2000.

Does anyone care to hazard a guess as to how many?  I’ll tell you this much, not as many as you’d think. 

Would you be surprised to know that the number is a single digit?

It surprised me. 

Here is the list

ArtistAlbumReleasedGenre
Adele252015Pop, soul, r&b
Adele212011Pop, soul
EminemThe Eminem Show2002Hip hop
Norah JonesCome Away With Me2002Jazz
Britney SpearsOops…I Did It Again2000Pop
EminemThe Marchal Mathers LP2000Hip hop
Linkin ParkHybrid Theory2000Nu metal, rap metal, alternative metal
The Beatles12000Rock

Eight Albums, however only six artists with Adele and Eminem both with only one-word names scoring double-whammies. 

It is a very diverse group of genres. Everything from Nu metal. I haven’t a clue how it differs from old metal and why Nu has an odd spelling. What can I say?  The US and UK. Two great countries are divided by one language. To a bit of cool Jazz and everything in between.

With only two countries hogging this pie. The US with 62.5% (five albums) and the UK with 37.5% (three albums) 

One could say that all of these albums are older than any living person identifying as Gen Z. 

You could infer that all the greatest music ever written by any group was produced before the year 2000. 

However, hold on a minute. I forgot something. 

In the list of top-selling albums of all time. From 1945 – 1984 a list of twelve albums. Half of them are musicals. 

Most of them were penned by the outstanding duo of Rogers and Hammerstein. Lerner and Loewe make their entry with My Fair Lady based upon George Bernard Shaw’s novel Pygmalion. 

Selling two million records way back in the dark ages of 1956. A trifle compared with the 1982 Album that sold over thirty-five million records Thriller by Michael Jackson. The biggest selling album of all time. Interestingly it was MJ’s sixth studio album. Produced by the leg end himself, Mr Quicy Jones ladies, gentlemen and others. By Epic records. 

Epic started in 1953. They were part of Columbia at the time. They started to promote records that weren’t in their wheelhouse. Jazz and pop are among them. It is currently owned by Sony. 

May I be so bold as to say? That anyone using the word Epic and NOT referring to music. Especially Jazz and pop. That is offensive to my ears. It isn’t very respectful at all. You are IMHO,, and others are available misappropriating the true meaning of the word Epic. 

You could say that Thriller is the most epic of all Epics records. 

All albums included on this list have their available claimed figures supported by at least 30% in certified copies. The percentage of certified sales needed increases the newer the album is, so albums released before 1975 are only expected to have their claimed figures supported by at least 30% in certified copies. However, newer albums, such as 21 and Come Away with Me, are expected to have their claimed figures supported by at least 70% in certified copies; this is because more music markets instituted certification systems after the 1980s and 1990s.[a] Certified copies are sourced from available online databases of local music industry associations. The certified units percentage varies according to the first year an artist appeared in the charts.

As a result of the methodology that the American and Canadian certification-awarding bodies (the RIAA and Music Canada, respectively) use, each disc in a multi-disc set is counted as one unit toward certification, leading to many double albums on the list—such as Pink Floyd‘s The Wall and the BeatlesThe Beatles—is certified with a number double the number of copies sold there. Such albums have the certifications for the number of copies (not discs) shipped indicated. Conversely, the American certification level for double albums that fit onto one compact disc, such as the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, reflects the number of copies sold. In 2016, RIAA included streaming in addition to tracking sales and album sales based on the concept of the album-equivalent unit for certification purposes, and certification, therefore, no longer reflects shipment alone.[1][2] For example, in the update of the certification for Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) by the Eagles in August 2018, the album was certified 38× Platinum (increasing from the previous 29× Platinum certification in 2006) based on the new criteria, making it than the album with the highest certification in the United States.[3]

The UK went with a number between the US and Canadian standards and flexed with each year. Or at least that’s what I’ve uncovered so far. 

So as the US appear to have the most reliable system. We will defer on this occasion. 

As this is a dynamic Wikipedia page, reserve the right to change our minds as and when will give us the biggest advantage. 

What?  It needed lightening up it was all getting a bit too serious. You know I won’t take anything too seriously unless there is no alternative.  

If you’ve made it here, you deserve a little thank you. So here is a link to a youtube clip of the top 100 songs of all time. You’ll never guess who’s number 1. 

Click here to find out

I Lost Dancing

Welcome back, my fellow travellers. It is a joy to have the pleasure of your company and spending a moment together. I hope your week has gone well and you’ve gotten as much life out of that as possible. 

Please like and subscribe. Then share the Bejesus with anyone you feel would appreciate it. Give your referral this link to my published work. If my story touches your referral, chances are high that they will enjoy the blog. Suppose my account doesn’t handle your referral. They should find another blog to read. 

As always, I welcome all of your comments. They are helping me hone my craft and on the pathway to becoming the best writer, I am capable of becoming.

Fourth Time’s A Charm

My Favourite Clubbing Night By A Mile

There is a dancing club in Manchester that may be the best-kept secret in the country. A club that, every couple of months, pulses and throbs once every three months with every flavour of House music. They are being served in phat, luuuvely vibes, from mixes by the outrageously talented fanatics Faye and her fellah Mike. From its basement home, in Sub 101, under its big gay uncle Cruz 101. A fixture on the gay scene more yours than most, the GenZs have been drawing breath. Swirling up to the streets of the Gay Village as fervent, great fans of Faye’s and Mike’s fantastic fierce collection throw fancy shapes at faces furiously grinning from the faultless mixes. Their feet fixed to the dancefloor. They were filling the fashionably compact and bijou space. Flirting. Flouncing. Flamboyant and FAB. Forging new friendships. Fellowshipping with others. Friends from far and wide. Feeling the music in every fibre of their being. Fearless, saying,  FUCK, I’M FLYING! Their frenzy is fanning a wave of energy, lifting it onto the filthy backstreets of the Gay Village and floating into the freezing faces of those who queue to frolic upstairs. Feeling for a fleeting moment the frivolity we’ve known for what seems forever. Would it be too much to say, Faye and Mike? Do you have a faithful family looking forward to their Fridays of Freedom? 

I Lost Dancing

Last year a track was written by Fred Again and the black Madonna, aka Marea Stamper. American DJ, Producer and musician, better known by her stage name, The Blessed Madonna, nee Black. A tune was sampled heavily from the excellent “Immortal” by Ellay Duhé, Sang, a song whose lyrics described the loss of dancing and clubbing during the COVID-19 Pandemic but also looked forward to its return. “We’ve Lost Dancin’” reached position 15 in the UK Official Dance Charts. 33 on Billboards US’s Hot Dance/ Electronic Songs chart. With other chart success in The Netherlands, Lithuania, Hungary, Ireland and Belgium.

I played that track a lot through some life-saving wireless headphones. So much that sometimes it is presented as a lament. Other times it was an anthem. I think it was connecting with my brain-damaged mind. My synesthesia is feeling sights and smelling sounds and hearing touches from shadows and sunbeams.  Tasting colours in the winds and hearing the trees sing mourning, twisted and creaked outside in the invisible waves of thick blackness heavy with a load of turmoil and death. Aural and visual hallucinations showed me palaces and dungeons like relics of mental anguish from childhood and adolescence. 

To distract it, I played that track a lot in solitude. Through life-saving wireless earphones, I was hoping for the sound to drown, the whispers and low rumbling like the gigantic gears wheels of some ancient machinery. Through life-saving wireless earphones, a sound barely able to hear but felt in every sinew and nerve. 

Years before this night, there had been many like it. Nights where I saw, heard, felt, smelt and tasted, albeit hearing through my skin, “seeing” with my heart and nervous system—experiencing magnificent aural and visual hallucinations. Where my intellectual, physical, spiritual, sexual and mental selves feel more whole, connected, loved and filled with a healing force. It uplifts me, and it inspires me; it helps me to connect with my inner self, 

Music has been like my version of Ariane’s Thread throughout my life. I cannot take credit for the intricacy of the weaving of one strand of what I say is a thread. It is a fact nothing like a thread. But when speaking of things abstract. The only hope is for me to communicate and even scratch the surface of my experience. And when I came out and started going clubbing, I found I could see things regularly. Deep house,  progressive house or trance music, especially Trance, when served by enormous talents like Armin Von Buren, I recognise the structures and motifs that the old masters used. However, whilst they took months and sometimes years to compose their masterpieces, Armin Von Buren does it on the fly. That blows me away. I particularly enjoy how each track would alter a musical motif or phrase slightly. Slowed down, sped up,  turned upside down or given through the voices of different instruments. 

It Is All About The Music

This club’s family is just like any other. A ‘logical’ family as opposed to a biological one. We are a mix of young, old, men, women, black, white, yellow, pink, able-bodied and less so, gay, straight, all creeds, and ideologies, crossing socio-economic norms and educations. Some are a handful, others are a delightful company, and some look like they lost a pound and found a penny. Some need the safety of the crowd others are free spirits learning about themselves. However, this logical family has a uniting force; you’ve guessed it already. It is the music. This club is unique, and Faye and Mike are a fantastic couple. The club attracts world-class talent. Tonight was no exception. Tonight we were blessed with the exceptional guest DJ, the world-famous Andy Carroll, who did something I have never had the pleasure of witnessing anywhere else in the world.

In his set of deep house vibes, he mixed in influences of maybe twenty musical genres or influences throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. How many do you feel you could count in the next two mins?  Would it come close to twenty? If so, you must message me because we will have a riot together.

  • Motown
  • Disco
  • 90s smooth
  • Soul
  • Techno
  • Synth-pop
  • Jazz-funk
  • The 80s slapped bass
  • Tribalism
  • Black Divas
  • Electro-pop The Human League
  • Americana with lush strings with Vaughan More and his orchestra
  • German synth-pop with some charming Hammond organ samples as well 
  • As classic Korg sounds. 
  • A touch of Gospel
  • Deep house vibes that used real acoustic instruments like trumpet and saxophone. 
  • Then there was some fresh-sounding stuff that may just have been his own 
  • Stuff. It didn’t sound like anyone else at all. 
  • I loved that I heard the same musical motifs over and over again. 
  • It reminded me of Armin Van Buren and had a trance overtone.

I was in awe. That doesn’t happen to me that often. 

I am not what you could describe as a good dancer, but that isn’t the point. The point is that I frigging love dancing. I have no problem walking into a club I’ve never been to in my life and getting on the dancefloor, and introducing myself to those who question my fitness and my age. I say go away and leave me alone, and nobody gets hurt and only come back when you’ve learned some manners. Thankfully that happens so rarely in this club because they go to great pains to ensure that everyone has a brilliant time. 

Andy Carroll is a bloody colossal talent, IMHO; other opinions are available. The music was off the charts. Andy, if you are reading this or someone has mentioned it to you. This clubber sends my deepest thanks for an evening of SS magic I have rarely experienced. You have knocked the amazing and adorable William Sizen Bell off the “My Favourite DJ High Stool” Faye doesn’t realise how good she is; she did a great warm-up. Then, when the other guest DJ was a no-show. She stepped up and did another set. The one where I fanned her with love and thanks for the unique soul she is. 

Well, that’s it for another week. Remember to hit the like button and subscribe straight into your inbox for future publications. 

Leave a comment by hitting the “comments” button, and leave your feedback which I value greatly. 

Click the links below for my social media sites, website and published work. 

 Twitter

Facebook

Website

Published work

Shri Krishna

A blog by Tom Gale. A new LGBTQ+ writer Salford, England. Aug 2022

Welcome back my wonderful followers or if you’re new welcome to you too.

Never let it be said that I don’t bring you variety. This is something a bit different but it grabbed me and I went with it and found something special. Hope you get something from it too. If not let me know what you would like me to write about and I’m do my best to make that happen for you dear reader. I am here for you.

Shri Krishna

Krishna I believe is a diety worshipped in Hinduism. Krishna is believed to be the eight carnation or avatar of Vishnu The Supreme Diety.

I am not a Hindu but I have accepted friends on my Facebook page who are. So I’m listening and learning much.

I find it fascinating that all over the world the symbols of ancient truths vary but at their core they are synonymous.

Is the reincarnation of a diety any more weird than God being made flesh and becoming Son?

To my Scottish ‘ears’ these words have a sweetness and lightness that sits well with me. I didn’t expect that.

Now as I understand it Shri Krishna refers to the self or what I most often term ‘the inner self’ I believe that active listening, finding quiet moments to breath or sip tea, think of loved one’s and close friends are a portal that may lead to ‘the inner self’

Remember this https://tomgalewriter.com/2022/02/28/best-interview-ever/

I think that explains it more clearly and has a context not too abstract to tie it to. A job interview.

This was another new word to me kaliyadaman

This is an ancient myth or legend of how Vishnu fought against a vicious and terrible many hooded serpent Kaliya.

Or more precisely the mount of Lord Vishnu Garuda the arch enemy of all serpents. Had years before banished Kaliya.

Kaliya knew something about Garuda that meant he didn’t mind being away for a bit he could concentrate a while on his family.

He knew a sage cursed Garuda that he would meet his end at Vrindavan. So Kaliya took his family to the banks of the river near Vrindavan and slithered around with his family keeping watch or maybe had sentries of creatures with ears. Spewing poison into the waters to make sure that he would not be interrupted by nosey neighbours asking personal questions.

Time passes and Krishna a form of Lord Vishnu is playing ball on the banks in that spot. The ball goes into the water. Krishna not heeding the warning of the water being poisoned dived under to get the ball back.

Immediately Kaliya takes advantage wrapping himself around Krishna and trying to pull him deeper in the poisoned waters.

Krishna fought and spun Kaliya around grabbing his tail and mightily pulls Kaliya to the surface and with the weight of the Universe and playing the flute Kaliya realises that this is no ordinary soul this is Lord Vishnu.

His many wives and he himself plead with Krishna to please spare his life promising never to torment anyone again.

Krishna does indeed forgive the dreadful Serpent who has now realised the awful error of his ways. Krishna did put a provisio on Kaliya’s redemption he would go back to Ramanaka Diwan and never return to Vrindavan.

What a lovely telling of the ancient struggle of Diety and horrific beasts who try to destroy them. I’m reminded of Herecles and the Hydra. George and the Dragon. David and Goliath are others that spring to mind.

Overcoming The Monster being one of the seven universal stories.

According to quantum mechanics – we are all connected and the chaos of life itself brings about our so called existence in this world.

This ancient myths and legends of Overcoming The Monster may be the memes of the collective unconscious. So memes come and go but the ones that mean more to us and touch us in a deep and meaningful way remain perhaps even for millions of years.

It is a hope that our monsters. Addiction, lying, cheating, slaves to our passions, mental illness, disease, loss, pain, suffering and so forth can be overcome.

I’m not saying I’m right. In the words of Foghorn Leghorn “You’re way off son. I say, you’re way off.” I’m just trying to make the best sense I can just like others.

There’s something that speaks to accepting responsibility to your monsters. Did they appear from thin air? If not then how?

Those are two questions that I spent the best part of four years of my young life trying to answer for myself. It is one of the themes of my WIP a memoir of that time and after. It is reaching a very excited ting stage but I want to get this as right as I can. This is so important to me. Things are moving and changing so quickly it’s enough to make most peoples head spin. I have my loving family and close friends to speak to to stop that happening.

In a few weeks I think I may be ready to reveal the title of this memoir. Access to the latest edit of my “Elevator Pitch” and maybe even the first chapter if the feedback from my team of beta readers give me the feeling I can or there’s maybe a little more work required.

My latest edit of a 500 word Flash Fiction. 40 mins to write first draft. Approx 10 hours for worthy finished product. I wouldn’t change a moment of it though. I am no stranger to hard work. I have been thriving on my own company for the majority of my adult life. My imagination was ignited as a child and the wonder spark was never put out in me as it has in so many.

Oh what a great title for a future project right there The Wonder Spark.

To Dash or Not To Dash-That Is The Question?

A blog by Tom Gale a new LGBTQ+ writer in Salford, England. Oct 2022.

What joy. Our paths cross again. Have I told you lately how much I love you all? No? Well, I
do. My heart overflows knowing you are following, liking, and commenting on my blog. I have
so many exciting things coming up that I hope you will love as much as I have creating them.
However, that’s to come. Onto this week’s topic. My poor grammar and punctuation.

No One Complained

Depending upon how old you are, drills in grammar surrounding commas, parentheses and
em dashes may have benefitted you greatly. Personally, when I missed the 11+ by a year, in
my mind, learning grammar wasn’t as high on my list of priorities. If I had my English
Comprehension and English Literature, Bs would have been As. However, as I was the first
pupil in my school’s history to have achieved 8 ‘O’ Levels and 3 ‘Higher’ levels, no one
complained about whether my use of commas was up to snuff.

Mortified and Bullied

The smile on my English teacher’s face when it was my turn to read aloud was enough to let
me know I was on the right track. However, she mortified both of us when she told the class.
However, as one was bullied every day for the first two years of high school-being, being
called ‘swat’ or ‘teacher’s pet’ was nothing in comparison.

Come Back To Haunt Me

As a new writer-having started writing full time two years ago, it has come back to haunt me.
So what if I use a dash or parentheses instead of a comma? Will it matter that much? Well, it
may. It may even matter greatly, particularly when I reach the point of handing over my
manuscript to a professional editor.

Insult to My Beta Reader

That was torturous reading. I didn’t take it personally and thanked them for their
thought-provoking feedback.
Once I had ranted and sworn a few times in private about the comments, I gave it some real
thought. I concluded that there was little I could show to bring doubt to their analysis. So I
decided to make it a point of personal growth to read some books on the subject. Choosing
books that included exercises over those focused more on theory and rules.

Getting Re-acquainted with Terminology

I re-acquainted myself with ‘absolute possessive’, ‘brackets’, ‘commas’ and ‘dashes’ amongst
many other terms, such as ‘vocative case’, ‘weak verbs’ and my personal favourite ‘zeugma’.
With a hand on my heart, I can say that is one word I never heard out of my English teacher’s
mouth in the four years I was in her class.

Pay Attention To This…

It felt like I was looking for a foreign language. I had forgotten many of the terms or never
paid attention in the first place. That was like a klaxon going off. ‘PAY ATTENTION TO THIS.

Absolute Possessive Pronouns and Possessive Determiners

The term “absolute possessive pronoun” refer to possessive pronouns “mine”, “yours”, “his”,
“hers”, “ours”, and “theirs”.

A Possessive pronoun is “a word replacing a noun (or a noun phrase) and shows ownership.”

The term “absolute possessive pronoun” differentiates these pronouns from possessive
determiners “my”, “your”, “his”, “her”, “its” “our” and “their”. Which are traditionally
called possessive adjectives.

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=possessive+adjective%2C+possessive+determiner&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1

%3B%2Cpossessive%20adjective%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cpossessive%20determiner%3
B%2Cc0

Another Steep Learning Curve

The realisation I was just the beginning of ‘As’ brought into sharp focus that this would be a
steep learning curve. Which shouldn’t have come as a surprise as every part of my writing
pathway has also been. Although, in my defence, writing full-time has been just over two
years, which has helped.

One Of My Sharpest Tools

I am determined to make this one of the sharpest tools in my writer’s toolbox that Stephen
King refers to in his book “On Writing”, which I found incredibly revealing about what it will
take to become a good writer day.

There’s An App For That

But Tom, don’t you know there are apps for that these days? I hear you screaming at me from
behind this page. The purpose is for me to learn grammar. I observed the apps I’ve looked at
while doing a splendid job of recognising poor grammar and offering suggestions. To me,
that feels much like the old proverb. “Catch a fish for a man, and he will eat today. Show him
how to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime.” I want my grammar to feed my writing. However,
it will point out spacing inconsistencies and correct all occurrences with a click. It will also
offer suggestions for rewriting a sentence(s). Or when a word repeats in the same sentence or

paragraph, it will provide recommendations for alternatives. However, will they ‘play nice
with my writing and blogging apps (I use five for different purposes)?

As I wrote in a previous blog
https://tomgalewriter.com/2022/06/06/why-do-you-have-to-learn-the-hard-way/

Loving What I Do

I want to be the best writer I can be, which is why I am doing this. It is more in keeping with
the spirit of “loving what you do” I am already doing what I love and am thankful for that.
But, like all jobs, some aspects are not as enjoyable as others. So this is me learning to love
more about editing more. I am also doing other things to learn to love marketing my work. So
that I will be able to say with confidence “that after some considerable time and effort, I do
love what I do.”

I think that will be a blog for the future.

To Dash Or Not To Dash

As commas, parentheses, and dashes set off extra information or expand upon something
preceding them. As mentioned earlier, the rule of thumb regards how close or distant it is to
the data. Commas do the job when the material is closely related to that around it.
Parentheses when the material is more distantly related. The middle ground uses the dash.

Or

You can use it to set off or introduce defining phrases and lists.

Something like “Sarah stared at a choice of three croissants-plain, almond and chocolate,
taking all her will not to go in.
Or

Use it in place of a colon or semi-colon to link clauses.

Leni would never forget the day the head called her to his office, brimming with
excitement-she had made history for the school.

Or

To set off illustrative or amplifying material. Phrases that may be introduced by, for example,
namely, and that is.

“You must see it now?” John said, stressing the must. “As anyone with even one eye would see
from its shape, the movement is horizontal, not vertical.”

Or

To introduce a summary statement.

Chocolate chip, oatmeal with raisins, peanut butter, salted caramel, macarons and
macaroons- the plethora of varieties on this week’s Bake Off was impressive.

Are you all still with me? I do hope so. However, I realise that will have been a lot for some.
If there was an easier way to explain it believe me I would have. That’s the thing with
grammar it is a stickler for its rules and definitions. My poor use of it up until now may well
be one of those key elements that determine within seconds if a manuscript goes in the “B”
pile, “B” for Bin that is. Or the “A” pile. “A” for Ah hah!
Those terms are fictional. They came from my own head. Whatever pile is the smallest.
So, if the pain of “to dash or not to dash” added to the pain of the terminology B-Z of which
there are many, I see that as the cost of being the best writer that I am capable of. When I can
witness to the truth of the saying “I love what I do.” not just do what I love.

Remember To Like And Share

As always thanks for coming back. Remember to like and share with your friends who might
be interested in my blog. Thoughts, comments and feedback are always welcome. Just hit the
comment button and tell me. Until we meet again you can find me

You can read my published work at the link below

https://madmagz.com/magazine/1933351#/page/51

Peace my friends.

A Research Side Street Uncovers A New Perspective on The Puritans.

A blog by Tom Gale. A new LGBTQ+ writer. Salford, England Aug 2022

On a research break recently I was checking my twitter feed. There were comments from trolls. Whom I’m reliably informed live under the sparkly bridge leading to twitter lovely land. That aside, the trolls target was Andrew Doyle who if you remember came joint first in my New Year Heroes list https://tomgalewriter.com/2022/01/27/my-awards-for-heroes-of-2021/

He has written a new book. The New Puritans. How The Religion of Social Justice Captured The Western World. It is on pre-order from a publishers house. Special signed copies are on offer with the reminder that nothing will be sent out prior to the 8th of September 2022. Yet the trolls are already doing that thing where they try to put words into someone’s mouth or thoughts into their heads by use of the phrase ‘So what you’re saying is___’

Now of course Andrew is far too media savvy to pay any attention to trolls, as he is a presenter on the brand new GBTV, where he has his own spot. Talking amongst other things, about the preposterous madness of wokeness and social justice. I’m sure he pays no attention whatsoever to the opinions of people who matter not a jot to him. However his rhetoric and sharp wit is IMHO, others are available, great TV.

The mention of the word Puritans rang a feint bell in my head. So I made a cup of tea and thought about it. Then two words popped like the anomatpaic clouds in the old Adam West Batman TV series. ZAAAPP! or POOOOWW! but the words that came were BOOOOKK! and BURNING!! something I suspect came from my religious seminary days when I was with the Mormon Church. (All the really juicy stuff is in the memoir due soon.)

That the Puritans who in a book called The Great Apostasy by a mormon writer James E Talmage, considered a world class scholar, mentions in great detail. A breakaway group from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th who believed that the ceremony and ritual synonymous with the Roman Catholic Church was not rooted in biblical text and that they had a direct covenant to enact their reforms. This put them at odds with both church and crown. Henry VIII on becoming Supreme Head of The Church of England set about dissolving the monasteries and confiscating their assets. So you can see how that might piss him off a bit.

It was certain groups under siege who migrated to the Northern Colonies in The New World circa 1620-30. Where they would lay the foundations for religious, intellectual and social order germinating in New England but now permeates much of what is termed the American Way right to the present day. As some favoured Presbyterianism and others Episcopalian. Both groups now identify as Protestants.

They lived in a time when this green and pleasant land was in fact riddled with scavengers, highwaymen and vagabonds who not only strained the charity coffers but challenged the commitment of the new order. Smaller factions in remote villages were targeted and one group in the Yorkshire village of the great name of Scrooby, feared for their safety and in 1608 moved to Holland. Then in 1620 moved to Plymouth in New England. Which American history refer to as the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock.

In addition they have the dubious reputation of being the first ‘book burners’ Well possibly the first on the New America perhaps. However in Christianity James E Talmage supports the idea that in The Acts of The Apostles. The fifth book of the new testament. Paul, the evangelist and traveller around the known world outside of Israel, gives an account of an exorcism and burning of books containing the strange works of the men of Ephesus. Perhaps books on Alchemy, Teachings of Other Gods such as Egyptians, maybe books stolen from other libraries that perhaps spoke of other scriptures, hidden things. I’m just surmising as the biblical account is pretty sparse.

Later in circa 325 CE The First Council of Nices. Of as Talmage refers to as the great schism. Constantine The Great emperor at the time sent out an edict against nontrinitarian arians. Arians preached their belief in the Trinity and that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Non Trinitarians taught the opposite. Arians who had lost their faith created another splinter in the great apostasy. The edict by Constantine included the burning of their books.

So the Puritan book burning was many centuries after that. The book they burned was a book that had been commissioned by James I of Scotland James IV of England after the translation of the bible into English making the sacred text available to all and not just the select few.

As mentioned earlier Puritans lived in Lancashire and Yorkshire during that time. Where they were at the centre of a dispute around Sunday recreations between them and the gentry of the area. Who before the Puritans showed up enjoyed the activities of what was termed ‘The May Games’ so dancing, vaulting, maypole shenanigans, archery and hunting no doubt too. The Puritans predicted that the trappings and activities of the world should be put aside and the silks and ermine trimmed gowns of the women be plain and they should. carry rushes and berries from their land to decorate the churches.

You can imagine the earache their husbands got after that particular meeting. The husbands mainly Catholic had the ear of the King and in response James commissioned the Book of Sports. In a way that hearkened back to Old Testament Laws and Strict Obedience rules that go on an on in great detail yet in the New Testament big events such as mentioned earlier barely got a verse. He went for a middle ground to banish blood sports and raucous activities. However suggested that Sunday activities be sport oriented. Which of course the Puritans didn’t accept.c

Point to note, throughout the 16th and 17th centuries in Britain, book burning started as a rare thing had gained a momentum to reach a point of almost being a moment of celebration. Like a carnival. So I could see the Puritans creating a case of what’s good for the goose is surely good for the gander. So to say that the Puritans were the first Christian book burners is simply not true.

The mormon church had many faults but to have attracted a mind such as that of James E Talmage was a puzzle to me for many years. What a mind. What a book.

First published in 1909 but when I joined in the late 1970s and into the 1990s was not superseded. it was the knowledge from that book that allowed me to stand in the midst of an angry mob of Seventh Day Adventists who used bible references like weapons that they hoped would see me off their parish but after 5 very long and gruelling hours only me and one of their number was left standing. We declared that we had both done enough and showed great courage and scriptural knowledge I had gained their respect. We shook hands as Christians and parted amicably. I think I was about 27 or 28 at the time. They were all at least 20 years my senior.

I’m assuming Andrew Doyle refers to the New Puritans in comparison to the Puritans who are responsible for much of the ideologies of the far right Christian Fundamentalist whos messages are to someone who was a Chirstian is as far removed from the gospel message of love, peace, acceptance, humility, grace, as you are likely to find. So look at the influence of the Puritans in America. Compare to the New Puritans of modern Europe if a way isn’t found to quiet these awful, horrible, hate filled messages then the danger is it could happen again. This time on the continent of Europe. After all the fires of hate need oxygen from new fuel to burn. If ways can be found to cut off that supply then it will in all likelihood save many lives. We see the tree of hate and evil stretching its tendrils out attacking the young and vulnerable. We need to chop that fucker down for the sake of those children and your children.

I shall look forward to finding out in September.

So until our paths cross again. Peace.

Mingalar Par

A blog by Tom Gale a new LGBTQ+ writer in Salford, England.

Like many people I have lived most of my life with only a casual relationship with the phenomenon known as Social Media. However since becoming a published writer I recognise that it is necessary evil. A tool that I must master to aid in developing my brand TomGaleWriter and putting into practice the first parts of my marketing strategy. I now have hard data to back up the work that I have done and the progress I have made. As my day job is Business Intelligence Analyst contractor for primarily NHS Trusts. I am no stranger to data and telling a story through the use of BI tools.

One of the most interesting and beautifully enriching developments has been the addition of Facebook Friends for such far flung parts of the world such as Myanmar. Formerly known as Burmah and was part of the British Empire. However after a couple of battles with their colonial rulers the country earned its place to independant. Adopting its new name of Myanmar in 1948.

Most of us will still remember the formation of the largest refugee camp seen in the 21st century in Bangladesh back in 2017. What may not be as fresh in a lot of minds is that the cause of this originated in Myanmar. Where the military, The Tatmadaw, under the rule of the Buddhist Ministry of Defence were accused of crimes against humanity. Committing genocide against a population of Muslim Rohingans. A million of whom occupied the camp in Bangladesh.

Britain has continued to provide support to The United Nations as it has marshalled support from Amnesty International, The US State Department and government officials from neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Malaysia as the crimes are investigated fully.

I mention all of this to draw attention to the fact relations between Britain and Myanmar have not been smooth. However one of the decisions that I made in regard to my Facebook Page is that I would not turn down any request made for friendship to a page that celebrates me as a writer and my writing. Particularly as I recount how the influences of my Facebook Friends have IMHO others are available, made me a better writer.

Where have these friends come from? I’m not entirely certain. I believe partly from my expanding social network and partly from conversations held with with Uber drivers here in Salford. As they are a captive audience I have become brazen at bringing the conversation around to the fact that I am a writer and provide links to where they can learn more about me and my writing when they show an interest.

This is something that I did not expect to happen so soon and in such great volume. It has been challenging to say the least but also very rewarding as we share our stories.

This brings me back to the title of this blog. Which may have gotten a few of you scratching your heads trying to figure out where the hell is this man taking us now? Or something similar.

So as I understand it The Mingalar Par is the collective unconscious of ancient Buddhist writers and teachers adapted into Myanmar culture.

In Myanmar someone may be greeted with Mingalar Par which is greeting that puts the greeted person in the ‘now’ with the greeter. In that ‘now’ is encapsulated 38 extractions of the ancient writings. Which echo many of the things I believe I have come to an understanding of as I have faced up to and battled my personal dragons. As well as drawing closer to and learning to listen to my inner self.

Now I know that my admitting these things I will have lost some of you. For those of you that remain here are the 38 extractions.

  1. To avoid fools.
  2. To stay close to wise people.
  3. To honour those worthy of honour.
  4. To live in a suitable locality.
  5. To have accumulated merits of the past.
  6. To be rightly concentrated on oneself.
  7. To be possessed of vast learning.
  8. To be possessed of skill.
  9. To be well trained in discipline.
  10. To be pleasant and good in speaking.
  11. To support mother and father.
  12. To cherish wife and children.
  13. To have unconfused occupation.
  14. To gives alms.
  15. To live righteously (or) To practice dharma.
  16. To help relatives.
  17. To do blameless deeds.
  18. To avoid thinking sinful things.
  19. To avoid sins physically and verbally.
  20. To refrain from intoxicants.
  21. To be vigilant in righteous acts.
  22. Reverence.
  23. Humbleness.
  24. Contentment.
  25. To appreciate gratitude.
  26. Listening to dhamma at proper time.
  27. To be patient.
  28. To be obedient.
  29. To meet with holy persons.
  30. To discuss the dharma at proper time.
  31. To restrain against worldly pleasures.
  32. To live holy and pure life..
  33. To have in sight knowledge of four noble truths.
  34. To realise nibana for oneself.
  35. The mind that stands unshaken.
  36. The mind that stands unsorrowing.
  37. The mind that stands passionless.
  38. The mind that stands secure when touched by worldly conditions.

It is all of these extractions that are encapsulated in the Mingalar Par. A greeting in the Myanmar culture. I feel that these ancient writings and teachings have resonated with a deep part of me. I find myself humbled and filled with gratitude that many of the teachings expressed in this list are threads that weave through the memoir I have written. It is this realisation that spurs me on with an even greater and stronger belief in this book of mine.

There are two words that for me have stood out. I won’t say which as I will have to take time to understand them for myself. However they may become the titles of future blogs.

As always thank for being with me today. Be well and take care of one another until our paths cross again in the not too distant future I wish you Mingalar Par.

Why should you read my blog? Only one reason and that is to read my published short story here https://madmagz.com/magazine/1933351#/page/51

If something in that touches you then you should read my blog. If it doesn’t touch you then you shouldn’t read my blog as I don’t think it would serve you.

You can find my blog on my website https://tomgalewriter.com/

Or on my newly created Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/Tomgalewriters-Blog-Page-105295965626523

It will also be published on my twitter account @tomgalewriter