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Hi, I am being very happy you are to being good writer! Thanks!

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My god. This is hilarious stuff. I have to post some of it because, well, just because. I don’t know whether to have pity, be annoyed, or just shake my head. What gets me is, they have to actually sit and type this stuff out, and they do it over and over again. I never approve any of em (obviously), but there they are, every day. The same yahoos, posting the same ridiculous spam. Maybe it’s some sort of automation I’m not familiar with yet, but I’m almost certain that the auto spamming programs do a better job.

“Do you have copy writer for so good articles? If so please give me contacts, because this really rocks!”

“The topic Still on the Social Media Kick | Writingfourmylife.com* is totally new for me, but it sounds very interesting. I have to read more about this topic and make me my own opinion. Thanks, Katy Wein”

“After reading you site, Your site is very useful for me .I bookmarked your site!My Home free battery”

 I particularly like the last guy’s name “Freebattery” Very creative.*sarcasm yes*  He shows up on other blogs I manage as well. Funniest part about em is, if they put half this effort into actual seo and promotion, they would get somewhere. Oh well,delete, delete, delete….

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The great disconnect.

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No, I’m not going to launch into some great promotion about getting everybody to go offline and turnoff all their gadgets for a day, though I would suggest it’s a good idea now and then. I’d rather address something that’s taking place every day, contributing to the challenges we face as a society dependent upon this living world for our existence. I’d like to talk about our slow and misguided march into a world without nature. Sounds kind of apocalyptic yeah, maybe even dramatic, but it’s happening nonetheless. 

As human beings, and like all life, we are driven by an inherent desire to survive. Our rationality and reasoning lend even greater impetus to our basic survival instincts by allowing us to understand that not only can we survive, but we can improve the quality of our survival in the process. This push to not only survive, but to survive comfortably has led mankind to great technological achievements as well as biological dominance over his environment. We mold and adapt our surroundings to our benefit, while other less conscious creatures must simply adapt themselves, or die. 

While having the extremely beneficial effect of allowing the human race to prosper like no other creature in the history of the earth, there is a serious repercussion to be considered. As we change and adapt our surroundings to our needs, there is a tendency for human beings to become disconnected from the very environment they seek to control. An environment that no matter how much we try to control it, no matter how much we try to mold it into our own visions of paradise, ultimately holds our fate in its own survival. It is where we find our beginnings, and it could very well be where we find our end. 

As human beings raze and build, as we push back the boundaries of our forests, as we send other species into extinction, we draw ourselves inwards. We leave behind the trees and the grasses. We forget about the rivers and the streams. We spend our lives inside walls of concrete and stone. Our forays into the outside world are spent insulated from it inside vehicles of glass and steel. Our children grow up never knowing what it’s like to catch a frog, or climb a tree. They never see a fox run through a meadow, or chipmunks playing in a hollowed out log. Animals become characters in a video game, and a housecat is the closest as they come to the wild. 

As we draw inwards, the importance of the natural world to our lives fades. As we shield ourselves from the hardships of nature, we remove as well the wonders and beauty it has to offer. We forget how important it is to have trees to clean our air. We forget the simple enjoyment of lounging in the shade of an oak tree, or the fun to be had from a secret swimming hole. We lose appreciation, because we lose our reasons to have any. 

 We become ignorant of how vital it is that every creature be able to survive according to natural laws, and not those we arbitrarily declare according to our own desires. When we lose an entire species, when we alter an entire chain of nature’s events by destroying massive chunks of wilderness, we are ensuring that our own future survival will eventually become more of a challenge. And we do this constantly, on a massive scale. 

It becomes easy to clear old growth in the name of progress, because so many of us have never so much as taken a walk within it. It becomes someone else’s problem when a river becomes too polluted to swim in, when a bear is killed because it had to cross into a neighborhood to find food. It doesn’t affect us in the warm safety of our concrete and glass. 

Despite our great achievements, human beings will always be reliant on the natural world for their survival. If our plants die, if our waters become polluted and poisonous, if our land becomes barren and our animals perish, we too may find ourselves imperiled as well. It is a certainty that our survival will become many times more difficult. This is why it is so important to be involved with what is happening all around you. It’s not enough that you recycle, or donate a couple dollars to a local green cause now and then, though it is definitely a step in the right direction. 

We need to relearn and foster an appreciation and understanding of our environment within our children and ourselves. We need to get our children away from the video games and into the sunshine. And we need to support efforts that not only advocate conservation, but a true stewardship approach to our existence on this earth. Efforts that aren’t a political war, or a battle of ideologies, but a passion and love for the world, and all the living things within it. 

We as human beings have achieved a great deal. From stamping out diseases, to setting foot upon another world, no other creature has our potential for greatness. It would be not only right, but fitting, if our greatest achievement was the preservation of our planet for all generations to come. 

We need to remind ourselves, that nature is not something we visit when it suits us, a resource to be consumed, or a tool to be used then tossed aside. We are a part of it, and it is a part of us.

~Paul Novak~

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It’s Appropriate.

 

When I named my website, I had a different idea in mind. The graphic I chose of writers with a gun to their heads was me being facetious, mocking the stereotypes of the starving writer, desperate for anyone to buy his stories. I meant to be sublime and convey a sense of finally doing what I wanted, free of demands and deadline, stress and expectations. I wanted to adhere to an ideal, where I WAS writing for my life, but not because if I didn’t there would be dire consequences, but because I wanted writing to be my life. I wanted to live to write, not write to live. How true that has become. More than I planned. In the last two weeks I’ve written approximately thirty three articles, on probably 20 different subjects, with a ton more in the works. I have a freebie project I took on because it’s worth it that I’ll get to momentarily, and of course, I have an online store with the requisite website to maintain and continue promoting as well. I figure if I give up sleeping, drink about 3 pots of coffee a day, and write while in the shower, I should be able to take a break in a month or two. 

I’m not complaining. I’m trying to hash out the disconcerting way life has of changing things on you, and trying to wrestle them from your control. They way it takes things you want so bad you can taste them, and turn them into great hulking gorillas riding on your back. I don’t want that happening with writing. I won’t let it. I’m no literary genius, but I do enjoy it while making a buck now and then in the process. The second it becomes a burden, the moment I find myself stressing out because I HAVE to write something or else, I’ll know I’ve let that monkey get too big. I’m living to write, which is what I want, and that’s ok.  Anyhoo, onwards dear Watson! 

What I’d really like to bring up now is Victor Matthew Campbell. Sounds innocuous enough right? Maybe it could be the name of a character in a new detective thriller, or the lead role in a new prime time drama. Truth is sometimes more interesting than fiction. Matty Campbell is an artist. An interesting artist. The kind you read about now and then with the interesting life story that peels back in layers like an onion skin, but thankfully it won’t make you cry.

Matty is something of a nomad, and something of an innocent soul. He’s also guilty of much like most of us, but again like most of us, it doesn’t define him. Breaking rules and paying the price is nothing to new to anyone. It’s how you move on afterwards that tells your tale. Matty has lived his life, paid some prices, and now he’s ready to keep moving on. 

Matty has moved on in a way that will keep his tale an honorable one, and I’d like to help him in his journey. Which is why I am rambling along here trying to give you a sense of who the man is at the same time I am trying to fit him into a peg myself.  As I’ve said, Matty is an artist and a damn fine one at that. Before even looking up his background to get a sense of the man I would consider helping, I instead took a look at his work.

I’m no connoisseur of fine art, but I’m not quite an unwashed ignorant either. I can appreciate talent, and the skill it takes to do something not only well, but unique. Matty has it in spades. His is the kind of work you look at, and might expect to find it belongs to someone famous. Perhaps someone who attends gallery openings, hobnobbing with the intellectual elite while sharing witty stories of his past travails and adventures. But you’d be wrong. He’s just a simple man, with a talent for artwork, and a heart for caring.

Matty has had his share of adventures, but I doubt he spends much time relating them to the intellectual elite. I can instead see him sitting in the sun somewhere, contemplating who he is and how he’s gotten there, and how he’s going to take his next step. Maybe telling a story or two to the neighborhood kids while sketching a picture of them at play. I see this in my minds eye because his artwork shows an appreciation for the innocence of life, and an ability to invoke meaning with nothing more than colored pastes and imagination. His island life and travels heavily influence his artwork, and it’s clear his mind is an even richer canvas than those he has painted on. 

He’s lived in the Caribbean and worked as a wind surfing instructor, lived on a desert beach, had his work featured on Caribbean cruise ships and included in documentaries. Now settled in for the time being in the low country of South Carolina, Matty has finally begun the long journey of what with luck, perseverance, and the strength of his talent will finally bring some of the recognition and appreciation he has so much hoped his artwork would receive. Active locally, he’s been a presence in the Folly Beach area as a member of the Folly Beach Art Guild, and has joined the South Carolina Heritage Corridor Art Trail. He’s on the right path, he’s paid his dues, and he’s moving on with character. 

Check him out. Visit his page. Even better, recommend his work to someone you know. His art deserves it.

 www.mattydreadlocks.com

http://www.follybeach.com/artistmatty.php

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Florida in North Carolina

I’m what many would consider something of a “good ol boy”. No, I don’t chew tobacco and tie dead animals to the hood of my pickup for display at the local bar. We can thank movie maker stereotyping and popular myth making for that wonderful imagery. No, unlike the less than flattering media depictions, good ol boys in truth make up a pretty ecologically aware group of people, particularly when it comes to matters of nature and conservation. Who better to understand the importance nature holds for us as human beings, than those people who have made the natural world an integral part of who they are? We’re not tree huggers, or radicals. We just happen to like trees better than concrete.

Growing up in Maryland I was fortunate enough to have spent a great majority of my time roaming the couple thousand acres of woodland that surrounded our community. If there was one place I was most happy, most content, and most at ease it was in the woods with my dog, letting her run loose to chase after squirrels and rabbits while I investigated the thousands of great things to be found in a forest. I learned how deer will actually come to recognize one person from another after a time, and if you’re alone will be comfortable enough to hang around in the open with you fifty feet away, and how you’ll never find them if you bring someone new along.

I got to explore the very old ruins of a home that from the looks of the stone and mortar used to form the foundation, dated back to colonial times. I taught myself how to make shelters out of nothing but tree trunks and leaves. I spent nights camping out, watching owls swoop through the trees, and listening to a whippoorwills distinctive calls. I’ve literally walked into small herds of deer with them looking back at me with what I imagine was the same surprised look on their faces I wore on mine. There were times I’d see bobcats peeking out behind a fallen log at me, waiting for me to leave before breaking cover. A couple miles over from these woods were the ranges and conservation land of Ft. Meade.  I’d waded miles of the Patuxent River there, stopping occasionally to rest on sandy shorelines accessible by no other route and finding an entire bear skeleton half buried in the sand on one of them.  

It was with great unhappiness that I watched the bulldozers and logging trucks roll in, and within a year, turn a couple thousand acres of woodland into flattened mud. A large road was cut right down the middle of the area, and the creek that ran through those woods and fed into the Severn River was turned into a giant concrete culvert. Today, the whole area is nothing but row houses, or “Town Homes” as they call them. I call them waste. Two years after their construction, those homes sat with nearly half of them unoccupied, lending opposition to the justification of their existence on the grounds that new homes were needed for the growing populace. My childhood “playground”, and two thousand acres of wildlife habitat, was eradicated to make way for a developer’s profit. Wiped off the map, to make a buck.

It’s a common story, and as time goes on, one that is repeated too often in too many places. I recently visited Scotland County in North Carolina. It’s my intention to settle there soon, and since I have family in the area, I spend time evaluating the prospects for a successful move as often as possible. It’s a beautiful place, with rolling hills and heavily wooded plots of land as far as you can see in some areas. There is wildlife in abundance, and various animal tracks crisscross over each other in some of the more heavily wooded areas. Standing outside on my sister’s porch at night, I can hear no cars. There are no airports nearby, so aircraft are a rarity. Rabbits come out of the woods to run all over the yard in the early evening, and deer sign is everywhere. The nearest neighbor is almost two acres away, and the others even further. For a good ol boy like me, it is heaven. 

But like everywhere else, what one person thinks of as heaven, others think of as needing some improvement. A few miles away, land is being cleared in great swaths. Signs are being erected touting the coming housing developments desirability, proclaiming it a place where the residents will enjoy “country living”. How that’s supposed to happen when the trees are gone, your neighbors are twenty feet away on each side of you, and a road cuts across the front yard is beyond me.

It’s not as if a new industry has opened in the area. There are no new factories with workers to house. The area’s economy is rather depressed, and franchises still trail behind privately owned businesses. Having lived in Florida for the last twenty years, I understand quite well what is going on. The local government has bought into the progress myth.

The one thing the area has in abundance is cheap land, and rather than take the sensible approach and concentrate on creating infrastructure and sustainable industry, and letting that dictate the actual demand for development, they are taking the easy route. Just like Florida has done, and with disastrous results. 

They are fast tracking development applications, modifying comprehensive plans, and are going to rely on real estate to create an economic upswing. A bad plan, proven to be unsustainable and leading to economic crisis in the long run if Florida’s and the nation’s current situations are any indicator. 

So of course with these new homes will come the “need” for 7-11’s. Wal Marts, gas stations, shopping centers and the whole lot of “progress” they represent will soon follow. One has to wonder, do any of the people signing off on these projects ever stop to think about what they are setting in motion? Have they ever had to live in a place where the traffic never stops? Where sitting on your back porch means hearing the endless drone of vehicles? Where the boom boom boom of rap star wannabes in their cars rattles the shelving from your walls at eleven o’clock at night? Where the only wildlife to visit your yard is the local feral cat? Where you have to lock your door day and night because of the latest shootings and home invasions? Yes, that is what I currently live with, and my area is considered “nice”! 

That’s growth? That’s progress? That’s improvement?

No thanks.

Perhaps the saddest part is, that after they’ve cleared, built, and crammed every single bit of land they can with structures and buildings, after polluting the waterways and skies with toxins and noise, after killing ninety percent of the wildlife, they’ll notice what they’ve done. Then declare they are all about preserving what is left and controlling growth. Exactly, precisely, as Florida has done.

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