Abstinence: How To Do It And Why

I had my Facebook day yesterday. It started well. Then the drama came, the gossip, the signs work was in progress only to fall asunder to the overblown insecurities of mankind.

Still, I do my best to stick to what I created as a two-week abstinence plan. This plan only works if I mark it on a physical calendar. It didn’t work if I just tried to count the days and remember. Two-weeks seems to be the key to become more grounded again even as I struggle to face what has happened to us with this world of bumper-sticker images, like-clicks for both approval and conforming to masses, and the deluge of inflaming unimportant things.

The Pit Update For November 2016 podcast reveals a much calmer person in me. This was created by the consistent use of that two-week abstinence plan from Facebook. One Friday every two-weeks and with errands to run, so that I’m not using it all day either.

I feel there is hope. This log was not invented for the creation of glorious photos, though I’m sure most who look through it are seeking solely those. It was created for studious observances and also to keep myself sane.

Have any of you noticed becoming too excited and your temper riled much more often than it once was and on almost any whim? This is created by a lack of true engagement with people. The version you see more often than not in this day and age is a video-game creation of socializing. It doesn’t give you vocal inflections, tactile pats on the back, handshakes, hugs, or the visual expression of another human. What you see of other humans are fragments, mostly still photos of them smiling. The truth in human expressions is that they move and flow. In real life smiles form in motion, they don’t hold their shape constantly. We are receiving echos and tiny portions of each other in the belief we are having hearty human relationships, when in essence we are only getting crumbs.

Living on junk-food or fast-food gives the impression that you are fed because your stomach feels full. If the food is not giving you the nutrients you need you are still hungry, but unable to put the nutrients anywhere as you just filled yourself with junk. Human relationships work in the same way. If you aren’t getting proper human interaction, as is healthy for living, but are tricked into believing that you are? You are starved and begin behaving just as crazy as one going through famine. The only difference is famine sufferers are aware food is lacking, whereas with junk-food and social media we are given the false notion that our human needs are being met when they are not. It is living a contradiction and that creates insanity.

Social media makes it too easy to show pleasure due to happy buttons such as like-clicks, up-votes, +1’s, little hearts on tumblr and cute stickers. Your ability to express insight and what gives you joy is eliminated by these easy-to-use buttons and choices. Your emotional understanding in the positive atrophies by this use. Life isn’t so much of a joy anymore, it’s merely a click, or an excess of clicks from other people. It makes me wonder what would happen if we only had thumbs-down buttons. I don’t desire that, but I wonder about it. Would the ability to hate shrink, the way the ability to love has with happy-buttons, by the use of only having down-votes and -1’s? Who’s to say?

The main thing I know is in the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s there were “bad vibes” online but they didn’t show up so very frequently. Not that many people were using the internet anyway, and it was never on an expanded version of a portable telephone. We looked for newsgroups and pen friends and told of our particular interests to find who we may be akin to. And also we had to sit in chairs to use it. At the end of the day?

You turned it off.

What happens when we are constantly hooked up to the internet and carry it around with us everywhere? When we never have a solitary moment except to be interrupted with a beep or a notification popping at you?

Well, as the old joke goes:

“You’re soaking in it!”

Did that make you laugh? Maybe just a little. Humour is recognizing the awful truth with a little blurb attached at times.

 


If anyone is asking if I got into the online-entertainment racket just to observe the waste and trouble going on in the world? The answer is no, I didn’t. I got into it to get the reflective responses of what the characters were doing and learning along the way. What I got instead was social media, the advice to use it, and having to engage with an audience that avoided discussion of my creation, as well as ego-driven types who could spend all their time telling me what I was all about and should do in negative ways when I’d never met them before in my life, as well as watching how people were spending their time in gossiping, ranting, posting repeats, throwing links and images around like candy spewing from a pinata, and that was what was left to me.

Occasionally, and very occasionally, someone would post commentary on Episode One in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows and EVERYONE would celebrate as if the problem was solved or would be solved, “You see there, Daryl! Look! It’s finally happening.”

Do you have any idea how damned many times that false alarm flashed before all of us? Fifty times? One hundred times? Have we lost count? I have.

But the claims of “being busy” kept coming in. Yeah. I spent a few years mostly on Facebook. I could see pretty easily what all y’all were so “busy” doing. Wasting-time for the most part, but with the periodic crisis, or rare revelation, or the visit to a restaurant in which we get to view what was on your plate. Gosh, pretty busy all right. Busy with nothing for the most part. Gotcha. How long did it take to keep creating all that “busy” news and posting it? How long did it take to write out paragraphs of excuses about why “people” weren’t doing what they naturally used to do?

Tingler got through fourteen episodes in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, reported his enjoyment of it, and had fun doing it in twenty days. He was busy with things in his own life, yes. Being on Facebook was not one of them.

The intense reaction of “I am not addicted!” has been screamed at me many times. It’s one of the first signs that someone is addicted. Now? It’s being admitted more and more often that social media is addictive and people are admitting to being addicted to it. It is not a joyful admittance either like, “I love watching movies. I’m addicted to them!” Nope, it’s being said as a sad fact one wishes they could change. (Even some of my relatives are saying it, a few of which I am not fond of. Wow.)


“What can I do?” one may ask. Well you can write to me about how I accomplished the two-week abstinence plan if you would like to, if you’re not too terrified to write to me or can remember how to write an email or letter. I got into this to help fictional characters. Helping people, real or fictional, is obviously something ingrained in who I am, but it does come at a cost: good behaviour, gratitude and trust.

The other thing you can do? Learn to observe carefully. I did and that is what has made me who I am today. And if you want a fun way to learn how to observe?

Sherlock Holmes.

Not the new versions of him, not the flashy ones, the old versions of him:

the-complete-sherlock-holmes-sherlock-holmes-books

The books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Or the wonderful rendition as closely based on the books as possible:

holmes-with-magnifying-glass

 as performed by Jeremy Brett

And that is where you start.

My Evil Plan Is Working…

I’m going through many scripts and ideas and I have a scene in mind…

Angelique vs Beetlejuice

BJ: Vulgar, hideous serpent, I shall deliver you to hell’s doorstep!

And frankly? With the continuity of Diablos between Dark Shadows and The Pit? I think he will!

(Otherwise? Keep listening to the show and enjoy re-reading this web-log. Why? My show and web-log are based on programs that are over 40 years old. Why do you keep needing something new???)

Loving the letters and email, by the way. Keep it up! 🙂

Pit Update November 2016

nov-2016n

 

A calm, fireside chat update for fans of The Pit. Delving into The Munsters, there is some discussion about type-casting, both for Fred Gwynne and Jonathan Frid especially. Reasons to celebrate the allure of Barnabas Collins rather than being offended by his romantic choices. How fans of the Barnabas/Maggie pairing are preferable to me and to each other. Touches on the mythos of The Vampire through Barnabas and Josette’s romance.

The general vibe seen from fans of The Addams Family as well as The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. A welcoming to more fans of Wadsworth and the film “Clue” due to how The Pit operates in lines and actions. Discussion of game play for the boardgame of “Clue” as well as classic games in “The Pit”.

More expression of exactly why file-sharing and buck-passing didn’t work and why we all thought it would for discussion. Welcoming fans of M*A*S*H and Beetlejuice as well as relieving any concern over the romantic pairings for this program.

Explanation of the human need to break-free from what social-media does to many people, and how to tap back into focus for more healthy interaction. Dismissal of the idea computers are no longer being made. Rekindling old face-to-face friendships, however few.

Most importantly: the joy in our own lives as a blessing in return for providing an atmosphere of love to characters on the screen who didn’t have it before.

Pit Update November 2016 (podomatic link)

Pit Update November 2016 (podbay link)

Pit Update November 2016 (archive.org link)

Also available on iTunes


Background music for this podcast:

“November Spawned A Monster” – Morrissey (1990)

“Anabasis” – Dead Can Dance (2012)

“Sh-Boom” – The Crew-Cuts (1954)

“The Human Game” – Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke (1998)

 

The Promise of What Praise Can Do “Margaret Josette Dupres (A Novel)” [Note 10]

Yes, I wanted to go back to wonderful commentary on such a day like this. I’m feeling so rested by my time off of Facebook and successfully hitting my 2-week spans away from it. Plus I know people want further chapters of this novel and in order to maintain my focus for it means going through the joy of previous chapters. Hard study in passion is such a delight, don’t you think?

What I’m working on now is Chapters 42 & 43 in tandem. For some reason looking at more romance after a re-born Sarah chapter seems to help the prior chapter that is more focused on Sarah’s development to come forward. Having read and written about vampires before helps, but my original babies were far more jubilant in their long life-spans than Barnabas and Josette. (Plus my original vampires were total night-time, whereas Barnabas and Josette get some sunlight; awakening usually at midday. This allows for the more human sixteen-hours of wakefulness they deserve.)  These adoptees of mine have a spell-binding captivation from the previous traumas as witnessed on the original Dark Shadows.


However, Chapter 21 isn’t about our star-couple at all. It’s about the proposal of Tony Peterson to Carolyn Stoddard. I was sure it would come in the radio drama someday but it helped to write it out as a memory Carolyn Stoddard is sharing with our Schooner Bay writer, Carolyn Muir. The confusion of sharing the same name and working together is touched on with amusement.

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Once, when my spirits weren’t dragged into turmoil by the knowledge of silence by so many for The Pit, I was rapt in the plan of Carolyn & Carolyn eventually opening a publishing firm together. Muir has the expertise and Stoddard has the collateral. Can you imagine my amazement watching First Year Dark Shadows and Carolyn musing to Victoria about writing a book someday? I screamed!

Then with the laid-back approach to ghosts between these two in The Pit? Who might help them with a short work of fiction? The ghost of Bill Malloy and the ghost of Captain Gregg. Would they get along? I can see it happening. That part in the chapter is brief and happily inserted with Osheen Nevoy’s interest.

The chapter unfolds with Tony taking Carolyn to the beach and proposing with an engagement ring. To Tony’s approval she is not dressed-up, but dressed-down for helping to wallpaper a room in The Great House.

Somehow Carolyn Stoddard in olive overalls, a long sleeved white shirt and a bandana scarf to cover the top of her head was endearing enough for him to think: Yes, perfect.

Rather than kneel in the sand he encourages her idea to remove her shoes on the beach, then picks her up and places her on a large rock so that she is standing above him. As Carolyn realizes that Tony is about to propose to her she feels embarrassed not to be dressed-up for the occasion.

Osheen had also helped me a great deal in trying to determine why I was getting Carolyn Stoddard’s answer to Tony Peterson. I knew it was accurate for Carolyn Stoddard but I couldn’t understand how exactly.

Carolyn and Tony

Osheen reasoned wonderfully when I explained my troubles about Carolyn’s decision, telling her, “I can’t figure out why this is. I wish I did.” Osheen’s response was, “Well, I think the example of her mother’s less-than-successful marriage (not to mention how Liz almost tied the knot with the vile McGuire) would be more than enough reason for Carolyn to decide that she and Tony can be together in a perfectly satisfactory way without having to say ‘I do.’ (!)” We talked further on this but that was the right answer.

The other wild thing about this chapter is I knew so little of The First Year but somehow I’d gleaned these things about Carolyn Stoddard’s personality without previously studying that back-history. It was even more fascinating to see, on Dark Shadows, Joe Haskell, drunkenly aggrieved, come to Mrs. Stoddard about Carolyn and blaming her for causing Carolyn to fear marriage in general. (Joe and Carolyn had become engaged at the beginning of the program.)

Perhaps this is a similar condition to Eternal Sunshine On A Spotless Mind (2004) in which, even with memories eradicated, the people involved end up making the same decisions in any case. Picking up on the personality of a character in-depth can show the trepidation they have even though we’ve rarely seen the proof of it. I trusted my intuition about Carolyn Stoddard. I wanted her to say yes to Tony, I couldn’t imagine her not saying yes to Tony, but when the story started to process in my psyche, Carolyn was saying no, yet also saying she wanted to be with Tony Peterson. How to have both? I certainly wasn’t against it on moral grounds by any means! My husband and I “shacked-up” for 15 years before finally tying-the-knot. How would Collinwood approve of such a relationship? Then again, this is a laid-back Collinwood. (And it helped to recall the love-life of H.G. Wells in the late Victorian age. Some of this stuff is old-hat.)

Music inspired me, as it so often does, and I’d just been enjoying the Vanessa Carlton song, “I Don’t Want To Be A Bride”. It was set to a wedding-march rhythm and sounding so much like a song for a bridal walk down the aisle, but the lyrics expressed not getting married and living happily ever after, or at least happily with bits of the usual-life troubles. It helped so incredibly I put it into the chapter. Not likely to make it for the print publishing, but very likely to make it to the radio-drama.

Carolyn Stoddard stared carefully at him, “How about I wear this ring to my dying day… how about I’m yours forever without all that paperwork nonsense? … how about us being engaged and that’s as far as it goes?”

Tony Peterson smiled widely and kissed her passionately, then said, “Engaged? Forever? … I’ll take it.

Much approval was gleaned for this chapter, both in 200 Years Away and Margaret Josette Dupres


Osheen Nevoy chapter __ . Feb 26, 2014
Lovely! I think you’ve worked it out perfectly. It makes absolute, total sense for Carolyn to make that decision. I love the descriptions of Tony; it’s so nice to see him portrayed as someone to be passionate about (which he is, of course, the dear man!), when he is so often more-or-less ignored in the Dark Shadows universes. The descriptions in general, in fact, are excellently done – loved the one about their boulder & how it could be the top of the world. And excellent little details such as Tony not wanting to get his trouser-cuffs all salty and sandy! And, of course, add in the ghost of Bill Malloy, and I’m happy as a clam! Nice to see him & Capt. Gregg enjoying themselves! Of course, Bill didn’t drink much (usually) when he was alive, but I can see that after death he might well let his hair down a bit – not so many work responsibilities, etc.! – and certainly with the captain around as an influence on him, that makes sense! I would love to read the two Carolyns’ books! Maine really does have to be haunted to the gills, if Collinwood is anything to base that judgement on!

Ayup! Osheen had to wait for the finished product eventually to really know what went down but I dedicated the chapter to her for helping me so much and I added Bill in the best I could with what little I knew about him.


Magical Irish Dolphin chapter __ . Mar 6, 2014
I love it! It’s the perfect agreement for Tony and Carolyn, and you explained Carolyn’s reason for not wanting to get married beautifully. And it’s also pretty fluffy in the most awesome way. I think this is my favorite story you ever wrote!

To this I respond-reviewed (which I tend not to do anymore because we’re a little less shy about email):

Daryl Wor chapter __ . Mar 7, 2014
Oh, thank you! It means a lot. I had my husband read it to me and then we played the song. Osheen really helped me crack the nut on why I wanted what I was channeling from them. I could not figure it out until then. I had a number of ciders throughout the weekend while I was writing it and it’s one of my favourites, too. It’s one of my proudest achievements and I’d love it if more Tony & Carolyn fans appreciated that. I felt like, okay, no matter what, she HAS the ring, and right there on the beach, in this beautiful way, they *are* married. As Tony’s says to himself, “This is what I want, this is what I have, and this is what always will be.”

Plus, I know where they’re coming from as my chap and I were together 15 years before we finally did get married. So between Tony & Carolyn, along with Maggie & Barnabas… we know… 🙂 It’s wonderful.

More was reviewed for the renewed MJD posting:

Magical Irish Dolphin chapter 21 . May 27, 2014
I really love this. I think this is the cutest thing you ever wrote. I love Tony and Carolyn on the beach. It’s perfect. I’m glad more of your readers are giving this pairing another glimpse and seeing them in a new way. You certainly made me see them in a new prism. And I know what you mean about developing couples that harbor potential but were never fully realized on the show… Thanks for adding this chapter in your novel.

Thanks for enjoying it so effusively as I do! 🙂


Oddly enough I noticed, after Cassandra’s wily ways, Tony & Carolyn getting back together, however briefly, on Dark Shadows. I’m starting to wonder if the relationship fizzled due to Tony Peterson losing favour with the story-lines. I’m getting the feeling it’s actually that. Tony’s final appearance on DS is episode 578 after an attack by Adam who is jealous and wants Carolyn’s affections. Beyond a few bruises, Tony’s relationship with Carolyn is apparently intact. Go figure. This is why I like to remind audiences everywhere that Dark Shadows is a daytime-drama and when the potential for happiness arrives it’s often thwarted in that style of storytelling to keep the viewer on-the-edge. (Luke & Laura’s longevity on General Hospital is anyone’s guess! Princess Diana even sent champagne for their fictional wedding.)

I already know the dwindling of attention-span in book-reading. I fear the general population has also lost the ability to discerningly watch television. It’s often based on the availability of the actors. Was Jason McGuire removed from Dark Shadows because the production team wanted him to leave? Nope. The actor, Dennis Patrick, bless his heart, wanted to leave in the strongest terms. Real lives alter the story-telling of a television program. But for soap-opera material Jason McGuire was a villain to be reckoned with and who kept you tuned-in with major hate for him. Tony Peterson and Carolyn Stoddard didn’t have an edge-of-your seat romance going without trouble. Their romance was likely dropped due to running out of trouble for them with which to wrestle.

Mainly I remember feeling like Hell that Tony & Carolyn were being parted via Cassandra and her mind-control on Tony that by the time the show may randomly have healed their love and then drifted-off from the relationship, I was already invested in the relief-series idea and wanted to see those two, not only happy but, having plenty of fun adventures. And I still do!


 Ms. Karen Trask chapter 21 . May 21, 2014
I enjoyed reading this though with my own thoughts about it, as you might imagine 🙂 but it was a very nice telling of a story line many fans wanted to see happen. Great read!

Thank you! We do like to see lovers succeed. I believe it’s very natural when they are mutually attracted.

katieyoung1960 chapter 21 . May 25, 2014
Perfect!

I was relieved when my husband and I read the chapter together to believe so. I happily sighed with astonishment, “I couldn’t have asked for anything better.” 🙂

Helena Clara Bouchet chapter 21 . May 21, 2014
That was a romantic chapter although I was as confused as Tony at first. But we get it now 🙂 I am happy for the couple. So when is their engagement celebration or party?

I’m guessing it will be during the radio drama someday. As for this log entry I think one chapter is more than enough to dwell on considering all the studying and consultation that was required to make it happen. As a soap-opera relationship? It ran it’s course. For a humour-mystery audio serial? I shall always be on the edge of my seat for Carolyn & Tony. ❤


Before the lyrics the chapter ends wonderfully with Tony Peterson’s understanding of his relationship with Carolyn Stoddard.

Tony held her up about her middle, her knees around his, and swung her around on the beach, kissing her intently. It doesn’t make any difference now, he thought, this is what I want, and this is what I have, and this is what always will be.

kissing