And I Did Not Speak Out

Quotation from Martin Niemöller on display in the Permanent Exhibition of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Niemöller was a Lutheran minister and early Nazi supporter who was later imprisoned for opposing Hitler’s regime.

— US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

The quotation stems from Niemöller’s lectures during the early postwar period. Different versions of the quotation exist. These can be attributed to the fact that Niemöller spoke extemporaneously and in a number of settings. Much controversy surrounds the content of the poem as it has been printed in varying forms, referring to diverse groups such as Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, Trade Unionists, or Communists depending upon the version. Nonetheless his point was that Germans—in particular, he believed, the leaders of the Protestant churches—had been complicit through their silence in the Nazi imprisonment, persecution, and murder of millions of people.

Only in 1963, in a West German television interview, did Niemöller acknowledge and make a statement of regret about his own antisemitism (see Gerlach, 2000, p. 47). Nonetheless, Martin Niemöller was one of the earliest Germans to talk publicly about broader complicity in the Holocaust and guilt for what had happened to the Jews.

Source:  extract from https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007392

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Hey, White House

I used to clean horse stalls for a living.  I recognize manure when I see it, and that seems to be all you’re peddling these days.  There has never been a more vile and contemptible government in America since the day it was founded on principles of moral decency.

(Sorry, about the ‘big’ words I’m using.  I realize you don’t understand anything much beyond first-grade English.)

Hidden Treasure

I’m an organizer.  And a listmaker.  This doesn’t just apply to one thing but to many – work, genealogy, books, music, video, food supply.  I make lists of what and where things are.  Why?  Because I hate rooting through box after box or cupboard after cupboard, trying to find where I put something.  It was long a family joke (well founded on facts) about my “map to under my bed”.  But it was true.  Boxes – numbered.  Then a list of what was in each box.  And it got even easier when computers came along so I didn’t have to do it all by hand.  The map told me where exactly the box was stored.  So, if I wanted something, I could search the computer list for it and go right straight to it, with minimal effort.

You can do the same.  It’s much easier to do it from scratch, but it can be done in hindsight if you tackle it a little at a time.  Before you shove anything into “storage” (a file folder, a box, a closet, a drawer, a computer file) put it on the list – then grow the list from there.  Add to it whenever possible.  If you have to dig through a drawer to find something, make a list of what’s there while you’re doing it.  [Computer files work a little differently – they get sorted into folders.]

Yes, people will laugh if they discover you have a map to your closet or under your bed, but you’ll have the last laugh when you can readily lay hands on everything you own.  And they can’t.

Uh Oh!

I think my auto-pilot is broken.  I got up to take the dinner dishes out of the living room and ended up with them in the bedroom.  Shouldn’t have listened when the GPS said turn left at the next intersection.

Depression. Suicide. Courage.

In light of two recent high-profile suicides, just a reminder that help is available. Cristian Mihai wrote this blog about it. Also, NBC News did an article on finding mental health services that you can afford.

Please seek help if you’re struggling. For those who aren’t, be a little kinder, and a little more aware of others’ struggles. We’re all in this together.

Mental health services: How to get treatment if you can’t afford it

https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/mental-health-services-how-get-treatment-if-you-can-t-ncna875176

You should also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK

if you’re in danger of self-harm. It’s free, open 24/7 and totally confidential.

Cristian Mihai

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall…

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Quotes I…Relate to

Can’t exactly say I ‘like’ this one, but unfortunately it applies to too many people I’ve known.

“I’ll Always BE THERE when I need you.”

                                – unknown (teeshirt saying found in Signals.com catalog)

Am I the Only One?

I’m on two e-book sites that alert me when certain e-books are on sale.  But too often their “summary” consists of telling me how wonderful the author is, what else they’ve written and how everyone raved about it (and maybe even won an award).  Ummmm, could you give me a hint as to what this story is about?  Rave reviews and other things written by the author that I liked might draw my attention, but if this story doesn’t sound interesting, I’m not going to read it and certainly not going to buy it.

If I like X other author, I’ll like this?  Maybe, maybe not.  My favorite authors have written books that I didn’t much care for.

By a New York Times bestselling author?  And was this book one of those bestselling entries?

A gazillion 5-star reviews on XXX.  So?  A gazillion people absolutely can’t be wrong about a book?

The book Twilight readers are reading.  And that means if I liked Twilight I’ll like this, but if I hated Twilight I can skip it?

Good authors have sometimes written bad books, or at least books that didn’t interest me as much as their others did.  I can still dislike a book even if 500 people gave it a 5-star rating (I just will wonder why they did it).  If you want me to read something, make it sound interesting.  “Perfect for fans of Robert Ludlum” doesn’t tell me if I have any interest in this book not written by Robert Ludlum.  What will get me reading is an interesting premise, a unique idea, a clever summary that suggests the author’s style or the book’s tone.

For those who self-publish, or post online, or in some way make their writings public, keep that in mind.  A great title isn’t enough.  A great cover picture isn’t enough.  Being coy what the story is even about isn’t enough.

When the movie Tangled came out years ago, the ads I saw simply showed a ton of hair with a guy and girl peeking through it.  It in no way gave me a sense of what the movie was about.  Yes, it was Disney, and, yes, I could guess there was a Rapunzel connection.  But so what?  Consequently, with no idea what the movie was about, I never went to see it.  Only years later did I rent it on Netflix to see if it was any good.  I ended up loving the movie, but the marketing department had failed to sell it to me.  They tried to play coy with details and I just walked away.  Writers don’t want readers doing that to their books, etc.

Give them a reason to want to read it.  To paraphrase a movie line, “If you intrigue them, they will come.”

Holiday Weekend, the Bonus Round

In connection with my earlier post, about writing this weekend, I thought I’d offer up another “Up For Grabs”.  In case you want to write but are feeling a little uninspired.  You can work this up into something, or just play with it to hopefully get your creative juices flowing.

Seeing as how we had a royal wedding last week, this idea seems appropriate just now.

England’s Royal Family – England does away with monarchy – see them coping with life in the real world  (prompt based on watching clip of William and Catherine’s wedding, with Harry standing by his brother)

 

Up for Grabs explanation:

Wherein I have written something, whether a single line or two, or several paragraphs, but think it highly unlikely I will ever do anything with them beyond that snippet.  Therefore, they are herewith put ‘up for grabs’.  If any of you writers can and wish to make use of them, feel completely free to do so.  I don’t even require any sort of acknowledgement if you do.  You can take a tiny part of them, the thing in its entirety exactly as is, or the basic idea and completely do with it what you will.  It just seemed pointless to let these things sit ignored on my computer until the end of time, knowing full well I won’t do anything more with them.  Rest assured, if there is any idea I have even the vaguest intention of pursuing, I will not be posting it here.  So, no fear that I’ll change my mind.

Men Aren’t the Only Ones Hung Up On ‘Looks’

I’ve been on vacation this week, and done quite a bit of writing on my WIP.  On the off chance some of you folks intend to write this holiday (US-based) weekend, rather than just relax and have a good time, I thought I should do a serious post about writing since the last three have been frivolous.

 

‘teams up with gorgeous Carter’

‘wind up seduced by handsome, arrogant’

‘when a handsome stranger’

Are men more prone to superficial attraction?  Who knows.  But it is clear that they are not the only ones.  Yet if you read story descriptions for books, both for adult and young adult females, the outward appearance adjectives are also there.  Just as plain Jane might like to be the heroine, adored by the hero, so too might plain Joe like to be admired and loved despite his lack of muscles and rugged, chiseled features.

Sure, men and women, boys and girls can enjoy beauty.  That’s unlikely to change.  But sometimes beauty is found in more than physical appearance.  Seeing a man tenderly holding and caring for a child.  Seeing a woman compassionately helping someone who is weak or infirm.  I think often you could line up a bunch of gorgeous men or women, and then turn away only to not particularly remember what any one of them specifically looked like.  Beauty alone did not make them remarkable or memorable.  But if in that lineup of beauty, the man or woman (plain or average as they come) is doing something (carrying groceries for an elderly neighbor, working a garden), you will tend to remember them with a smile when you turn away.  And you will remember them even when you can’t provide any details about the others.

There are various images around, with messages that are some form of “Be your own kind of beautiful”.  Yes, do that, but also look around for the beauty in others, even if it isn’t the most obvious kind that media usually touts as desirable.

 

I had written down the basis of this blog when I came upon another blogger, Laura Mae, who had written an article about Male Characters (and Female Characters) and the stereotypical tropes that plague them.  You may also want to look at that post:

https://lauramaeauthor.com/2018/05/09/male-characters/