Category Archives: Culture

Fiction Writer’s Resources

I’m spending most of my time and focus on writing a novel right now. So, hence this.

“Words to Use instead of Said”

http://www.spwickstrom.com/said/
This was the top result when I googled: what are some words you can use to describe dialogue besides said


I created an “Alter-Ego” Twitter (@ottersransom) for solely for my artistic endeavors. My main personal account (@Pickering) which I’ve had since 2007 just seems to messed up and cluttered.
I got this next resource from googling: what’s a good hashtag on twitter for fiction writers and novelists

44 Essential Twitter Hashtags Every Author Should Know

The Basic Theme of All Mythology

Opening the world to the dimension of mystery. To realize the mystery that underlies all forms.

“That’s the message of the myth: you as you know yourself are not the final term of your being.”

Joseph Campbell: The indication is of a notion of a plane of being that’s behind the visible plane and which is somehow supportive of the visible one to which we have to relate. I would say that’s the basic theme of all mythology… That there is an invisible plane supporting the visible one. Now, whether it is thought of as a world or simply an energy, uh, that differs from time to time and place to place.

Bill Moyers: What we don’t know supports what we do know.
JC: That’s right.

*About the 11:30 mark in the Power of Myth, the First Storytellers.

Ritual is one way of relating to this invisible plane.

JC: “Through the ritual that dimension is struck which transcends temporality and out of which Life comes and back into which it goes.” – 24:16

“What all the myths have to deal with is transformation of consciousness, that you’re thinking in this way and you have now to think in that way.” – JC – 16:10 Power of Myth, The Hero’s Journey.

The Essence of Zen

I just got through reading Alan Watts’ “The Way of Zen” which is just awesome, by the way. I didn’t really know who he was, other than, I heard Joseph Campbell mention him a couple times, and in the back of my mind I thought, “Oh, he was just some sort of 60’s new age guy who was sort of in Joseph’s ‘Entourage’.”

Wrong! This guy was the real deal. He was so “in it” so “grounded” that hearing him speak, which may be even better than his great books, you know you are listening to someone who was “transparent to transcendence.”

That’s what draws you to someone who is or has really followed their bliss, is that the ground is so speaking through them, that you can just feel there’s no Ego agenda that’s going to try to fool you, no editing out of anything, even competitive forces, because it’s like the ground of being speaking ‘through’ this person. That’s a paradox in itself, and as you get more into this world, you know you’re headed in the right direction as more of these paradoxes, oxymorons, anamorphuses, start popping up, and not only do you not mind, but they have a delicious quality to them.

Anyway, back to my main point. One thing that strikes me that may be the essence of Zen, especially when it comes to some sort of skill is that the practice isn’t what is making you better. The practice, which is of course required, is rather putting you in tune to receive the genius. The practice, the honest practice, sort of makes you worthy, like an initiation, to receive the message from the Gods. And then it becomes almost effortless, like the craft is working through you. You become a conduit for this genius. So the practice puts you “in tune” to be a conduit for manifesting the eternal.

New Poem: A Natural

“A Natural”

I won’t say the things that I have to say,
the feelings furrow all alone in the autumn mist,
until you finally get up and walk away,
and the chills that have eyes blow us their last, snowy, purpley kiss.

I cascade over the heights of your frozen, mountaintop world.
I skate upon your silky sweet, ice cream smile.
Deep in the forest, they write, sleeps the world’s most beautiful girl.
She awakens when you, inside yourself, find her missing child.

This is the light where the world can’t come in.
When we look into each other’s eyes what do we really see?
Together, the holly from Gethsemene flows into the Jordan’s bend,
feeding flowers opening brightly, resonating the mountain’s inner dream.

I am the god of the sea,
the fire in the rain spattering and splashing love.
When I swim to the surface, you are released.
When I dive to the bottom, you fly to heaven like a dove.

We are caught between two worlds.
I’ve seen your sails blow close to my shore.
One here, the other holding my baby girl.
Those eyes that shine, open at last, the secret, magical door.

Something primordial says that “she is my wife.”
But the harder I chase, the faster she runs away.
We’re out here on the playing fields, the field of our life.
And it’s only when I stop does she, a metaphor for something deeper, turn around and stay.

When I  first saw her, it felt like I envisioned a ring
that could bring back all of the things I’d ever loved.
She’s the white buffalo maiden who sings atop Harney Peak,
the princess in the snow marrying the sacred below with all that’s above.

© 2013 Stephen Pickering
 

Why Netflix Inc (NFLX) Won’t Raise Prices and What Their Real Endgame Is.

I don’t think Netflix is interested in raising their subscription price or tiered pricing. I think they look at the subscription like Magazines and Newspapers in the pre-digital days looked at subscriptions: a validation of intent and also to show the content creators the legitimacy of their audience. I think Netflix’s endgame is to become the “de-facto” global distribution network for digital motion pictures, tv, and entertainment. When that happens, then so many other options for revenue enhancement open up. Paid placement at the top of the page when you sign in, al lá “House of Cards,” for instance, and then also one can imagine theaters dying altogether, and Netflix being THE place the next big James Cameron or Ridley Scott release. That kind of thing is what I envision, and I think* that’s what they are shooting for.

If one wants to dream hard, since we are on the heels of it, wouldn’t a Global audience paying a modest but fair price, not only sufficiently finance the Super Bowl, but perhaps bring the NFL even more money and exposure, in a more satisfying and efficient way for both the content creators and the audience?

I think so.

The CEO of Citigroup at Davos said that the main economic themes right now are Globalization, Digitization, and Urbanization. It would seem to me that a company like Netflix is not only the beneficiary of, but leading the charge in at least two of the three of those trends.

Addendum: In Response to the article:  What if Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) Is Wrong? from InsiderMonkey.com

I think it makes the medium better and more enduring overall. It can be consumed more like a novel. And if the medium is strengthened that gives more leverage and incentive to make a better product. At the end of the day I think it comes down to whether the show or movie is good or not. That’s the value proposition. What this is, is an innovation in the distribution proposition. All business comes down to two variables: Value + Distribution. This new model is, of course, aimed at greater viewer satisfaction, which of course leads to subscriber growth and more distribution leverage. But is also interesting to think how innovation in Distribution could possibly also affect, in a positive way, the quality, i.e. ‘value’, of the content, the product itself.

Why Netflix Will Become THE Global Distribution Channel for Filmed Art & Entertainment.

House of Cards Promo(Editor’s note: I wrote this piece originally in response to this article from TheStreet.com:  Amazon vs. Netflix: Jeff Bezos Could Squash Reed Hastings Like a Bug)

A) I’ve been an HBO subscriber since the 80’s, watched almost everything on it, and “House of Cards” is totally as good as anything that has ever been on HBO, better than most. (I’ve seen the first three episodes, and wait until you see Spacey’s mind blowing performance in #3). B) Netflix is not competing against Amazon, nor HBO. I’m a subscriber to Netflix and Amazon instant, and even together their cost is 1/10th of my DISH bill. And if HBO had a stand alone $10/mo app, I’d sub to it too, and my cost would still be way lower, but more importantly my value would be greater. Think about the power of that: Greater Value and Much Less Cost. Netflix is competing against cable & satellite TV. And they are going to crush them. C) It’s about distribution. Hollywood cares as much about distribution as it does cash money. Perhaps even more so. Netflix has 30 million subs and growing. How many “Instant” subs are there? 30 million people all seeing “House of Cards” promoted on the front page of Netflix. That’s powerful. How much is that worth? And it’s growing. And it’s Global. Being released Globally at the same time as its being released in the US. I think that is a first ever for any TV show or Motion Picture. That is very attractive to the best writers, actors, producers and directors. Netflix and it’s model are the future: Digitization, Globalization, and Urbanization, and their endgame is to be THE Global distribution channel of filmed digital arts and entertainment, and they will succeed. They’ve already entered escape velocity. 5 years from now they’ll have at least 100 million subs, but more likely closer to a quarter billion. And once again, it’s not the $8/mo from those subs that’s the real power. It’s the distribution and reach of the platform and brand.
You see, at the end of the day, it’s all about distribution. Yahoo Finance gives you distribution for this article about Netflix. Google Finance doesn’t. Luckily, Finance is one category Yahoo does lead in. I leaned this from Dave McClure on Twitter: Business = Value + Distribution. There’s no question about Netflix’s value proposition. So, all these years it’s main focus of energy has been in building distribution, and now it has succeeded and will continue to grow massively.