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Following A 2000 Year Old Tradition

July 15, 2020

Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book
– Cicero. M Tullius circa 43 BC

Okay, maybe the tradition is 2,063 years old if we are to believe Cicero was the first to have this thought.

I’ve been “writing a book” for years.

Billy Joel was once asked about the characters in his song “Piano Man.”

“Every character in that song is based on a real person.

“What’s a real estate novelist?”

“Right, ‘Paul was a real estate novelist.’ He was this guy named ‘Paul’ who sold sold real estate. And we asked him, ‘So when you aren’t selling real estate what do you do?’

‘I’m writing a book.’ So that was a real estate novelist.”

It’s been a while since X-Files went off the air. One of the most interesting character in X-Files was a guy simply referred to as Cigerette Smoking Man. In the final seasons he came to symbolize the “others,” the “them” that FBI agent Fox Mulder was trying to expose. He was a seriously creepy character played brilliantly by actor William B. Davis. He’s especially creepy because we don’t know anything about him. We only know that he seems to know everything and he smokes cigerettes constantly. Often directly under the “NO SMOKING SIGN.”

Anyway, at the end of the series. As the storyline is being wrapped up we see the Cigerette Smoking Man at “home.” It’s a lonely hotel room. He has just gotten a rejection letter for a novel that he’d written.

I’ll tell you, every writer watched that scene and just felt terrible. We’ve all been there. We poured our heart and soul into something and the gatekeepers decided it just wants good enough. That one scene completely changed the Cigerette Smoking Man. He went from a threatening menance, to a failed writer. Talk about a twist.

My point is that I’ve started seriously working on my novel. Actually it’s a series of novels. Since you dear readers have put up with my scribblings to this point, I will presume to impose on you both as a sounding board and also an source for accountability. As I start this trip.

I’ve written books in the past. They were technical books. I wrote three and two were published. This is my first foray into fiction. I’ve always loved Science Fiction and that’s the story that I’m going to tell first.

Here’s a brief overview of the setting and the story.

The story is set on a planet named Syren. Yup, that’s a reference to the Sirens who tempt Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey. The tie-in is that everyone on Syren is deaf, except for a few rebels. Our hero is a young man who can hear and must lead his two friends on a desperate mission to rescue a young boy before he will be surgically deafened.

It’s a little Percy Jackson, some Fellowship of the Ring, and definitely a touch of Harry, Ron and Hermoine from Harry Potter.

I don’t think I’ve talked here about my involvement with the deaf community. I’ve known sign language since I was about 15 years old. I spent two years working exclusively with deaf people as a missionary in Chicago. And I have many lifelong friends who are deaf or interpreters.

Deaf peole navigate a world that is designed for us “hearing.” I’m looking forward to building a world designed for deaf people. While a deaf person cannot pretend to be a hearing person, a skilled enough hearing person can pass themselves off as a deaf person. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a serious insult and even when I was that talented, I would never dream of telling someone I was deaf when I wasn’t. But, I also don’t live on Syren, where being hearing is a crime punishable by surgury, or even death.

Anyway, it will be a few weeks before I’m ready to post a chapter, but I’m excited to take you all along this journey. Both the writing, and the adventure.

If you have questions about the story, or suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments.

And let me know if you’ve ever thought of writing a book.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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