Thursday, July 23, 2015

Spots on Pluto

Spots on Pluto
James M M Baldwin

Pluto splashed his haunted mind
Onto the underworlds' souls

His Ambitions beaded on the surface until fermented
Hunting gateways through the thought fabric protecting inner layers

Inside, minuscule particles spread across a vast blue synapse expanse
Bit by bit, literary granules seep deeper

Wrapped in damp fog blankets
condensing into clouds
Forming puffy white images
A bear
A lion
Growing darker
Growing larger
A dragon

Lightning bolts race from synapse to synapse
Thunder's rumble portends catastrophe

Teardrops fall on a windblown path
An explosion of understanding
Hitting fertile neurons
Gushing torrents

Nourishing the sapling as it sprouts and rises
Branching out, producing fruit

Aspiration achieved

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

New Horizons Pluto Flyby

At more than 3,000,000,000 (3 billion) miles, flying between 30,000 and 50,000 MPH, it has taken our New Horizons spacecraft nine years to reach Pluto. How long would that same trip take using the ship in my short story "Son of Thunder?" At one-tenth the speed of light, my fictional series III nuclear propelled space shuttle could make the trip in 5 days. To read more about light speed space travel and my proposed methods, see my blog post titled, "Light Speed Travel, Part I." Read the story "Son of Thunder" in "Orion’s Arm; Tales from the Milky Way" here .
‪#‎NASA‬ ‪#‎NewHorizons‬ ‪#‎PlutoFlyby‬

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Spotify Top 50 Rock (A Poem)

Next Wednesday I'll be presenting a poetry lesson on observations for the Nebraska Writers Workshop. The object of the lesson is notice unusual things in your surroundings. The observations won't necessarily become a poem but could wind up being just the right detail to get across a particular intention.

I love my Spotify. I listen to it almost every waking hour. I've discovered many new bands I otherwise would have never listened to. While listening to Spotify's current top 50 rock songs, I noticed how poetic all of the names of the songs, albums, and artists are. I know, that's kind of the point of music. But anyhow, I wrote them all down in the form of a poem to show you. Let me know what you think. Maybe next week I'll turn out a poem using titles from the top 1930's jazz recordings.

So, without any further ado

Spotify Top 50 Rock
James M M Baldwin

Hit the Lights, Bring Me the Horizon
Cried the Man Overboard
Drowning, Neck Deep in a Brand New All Time Low
A Low Lower than Atlantis

Spilling Royal Blood
Of The Earl of Grey
The Pale Emperor
As it is, All of Them Witches

I Survived the Great Flood
The Days of War
Play the Gaslight Anthem
Telling the Story so far of Three Days Grace

The Muse Refused to lose
Entering as Romans do, Breaking Benjamins
The Offspring Puppy of an Incubus in Early November
36 Crazyfists Carry the Fire of Jekyll and Hyde

Real Friends Finding Superheaven
With a Bullet for My Valentine
Perfecting the Art of Dying
What's Next?

With Next to Nothing
With no Way Out
When God Comes Back
With Lightning at the Door

Heavy is the Head in the Church of Noise
While She Sleeps Beyond the Gates
of a Broken Generation of Mice and Men
We Explode in Brainwashed Madness

Lonely the Brave
Sleeping With Sirens
Skeletons in the Gallows
Get Out of the Way

Feast and Famine
Time and Trauma
Man is not a Bird
Fly! Fly Like a Leaf

Rise Up, Set it Straight
Stay Vicious, Get Hurt
Move, Shake, Hide, Bloom, Breathe
Something's Gotta Give

Get Lost, Find Yourself
Find the Gold Hidden on the Black Map
On Backroads, On Sonic Highways
An Odyssey with No Way Out

Imbue the Great Beyond with Your Smile
Set me on Fire Between the Stars
I Don't Love you Anymore
Everything Will be Alright in the End

The World I Used to know
Is Coming for You
I Am Machine
No Mercy

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cover Reveal

Today is the reveal of the new cover for "Spencer Murdoch and the Portals of Erzandor."

Without any further ado.
Drum roll please.

A construction worker risks his family’s safety to fulfill a prophecy and stop a global storm ushering in the reign of an evil ruler. Spencer Murdoch unearths a supernatural portal and discovers an ancient being guarding a gateway between heaven and hell. Spencer must find the person chosen to enter the portal before a power hungry doctor can use it to release evil into the world.

James M M Baldwin writes speculative fiction with an interaction between spirituality, science, and humanity. His science fiction, fantasy, and horror writing interjects spiritual self-awareness and its influence on the natural environment and the universe. Adding to the relationship between human nature and enlightenment, the occasional rocket ship and alien creature color his imaginary worlds. James is an author, artist, poet, musician, and an avid bicyclist. He is an active participant in the Nebraska Writers Workshop and lives in Omaha with his wife and children, their dogs Flash and Waldo, cats Wink and Ash, and ferrets Merlin and Magic.

The new paperback version is smaller than the original with a more compact interior.
This version retains all of the original artistic interior details of the original, the smaller size combined with fewer pages allows me to offer it at a reduced price.
Although the official relaunch won't be for a couple more weeks, the book with the new cover is available now at the following outlets;
The book is available at Amazon in both soft cover and electronic versions. If you get the softer cover addition at Amazon, the Matchbook Program allows you to download the e-book for free.
You can also get the book direct from my CreateSpace store here.
For a limited time you can use discount code 4LY6WWV6 and receive an additional $2.00 of at my CreateSpace store.
You can get "Spencer Murdoch and the Portals of Erzandor" at the ridiculously low price of $8.99.
So don't delay. Get yours today.

I also want to thank the good folks over at Writely Designed for all their hard work creating a beautiful cover. Take a look at their design options for your latest project, please go here;

Friday, April 17, 2015

Cover Reveal in One Week

Check here next Friday, April 24th, for the unveiling of the new cover of the second edition of “Spencer Murdoch and the Portals of Erzandor.” And don't forget to check out the designers over at Writely Designed who worked very hard creating the new design. Take a closer look at their design options here;

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Watch This Space- Coming Soon

Watch This Space- Coming Soon
Cover reveal.
I've been very busy lately. I'm on chapter 19 of a 30 chapter rewrite of the second novel in my "Spencer Murdoch" series. Soon I'll be releasing a smaller, less expensive, second edition of the first "Spencer Murdoch" novel titled "Spencer Murdoch and the Portals of Erzandor." The wonderful designers at Writely Designed have worked very hard on creating a beautiful cover. If you'd like to take a closer look at their design options for your latest project, please go here;

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Big Announcement

I didn’t want to release this until everything was confirmed so as not to jinx it. Now that the ink is dry on the contract, I’m free to say:

Due to my longstanding relationship with PepsiCo, specifically Diet Pepsi, they have offered me a ten year contract allowing me to obtain the property for my writers retreat in Aspen. As of April 1st, 2015, I will be moving to Colorado to supervise construction.

In exchange, all I have to do is wear their shirt when making public appearances. i.e. speeches, readings, presentations, and concerts.

I want to thank Pepsi for this opportunity. I look forward to many late night, caffeine fueled writing sessions.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Persistence of Memory

Persistence of Memory
Inspired by the 1931 painting by artist Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory

Persistence of Memory
James M M Baldwin

Surreal melting pocket watches
Unconscious relativity
Time space
Cosmic order met collapse
Like soft cheese in the sun
Lacking order
Time has passed away
Its persistence at its end
A dream of ants on sleeps decay
A landscape barren, cut by shadow
Arrow of time no more
Pocket watches drooping losing time
Irrelevant in a summer slumber
Distorted entropy
Backward spinning
Time does not persist in the dream
Only memories

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Do Ants Have Souls?

Do Ants Have Souls?

I love art and design, and I ride my bicycle a lot. While riding, it gives me time to observe things, more than if driving in my car. It also affords a view not available from the roads. Humans are amazing creatures.
Some structures we build are magnificent. Even old, rundown warehouses present a character combination of functionality and personality. The façade of each building reflects the individuals it houses.

Humans aren't the only animals that build things. An example is bird nests. Swallows build unique nests, using layer after layer of mud to build little adobe structures. Some birds take it to a new level.
Eagles get an award for nests six to nine feet wide and just as tall.

Weaver birds, or weaver finches, get their name from elaborate nests they weave from fresh grasses.
Bower birds, perhaps, win the award for most elaborate. They weave detailed structures on the ground, then proceed to decorate the surrounding area with colorful objects gathered and arranged in interesting patterns.

The other day, I was riding my bike and noticed something small on the trail. As I passed over it, I realized the object was an unusual anthill. It stood a couple of inches tall and about the same across its base. But what made it unique was that it got wider as it rose from the ground.
Sort of a curved mushroom, or a branching out tree shape. As it reached its full width, its sides rose straight up, perhaps a half and inch before reaching the top. Across the top, it sloped gracefully down toward the middle, toward the hole, the entrance to the underground labyrinth. The ants had used the thousands of tiny excavated pieces in the construction of the splendid entrance. It's hard to describe, but it was a remarkable structure. I had never seen one like it.

I often see ants swarming on the trail. You've probably seen this yourself. From a distance, it's a dark patch, seeming somewhat out of place. Upon closer examination, you see that it's hundreds or thousands of swarming ants. Writhing and pulsing in some unknown ceremonial dance. I'm not sure what the ritual is behind the swarm. Whether it's movement of the hive, a division of the community, or perhaps a war between two rival colonies. Whatever it is, it's interesting and eye-catching.

I once heard a description of what indigenous North Americans thought of the onslaught of incoming European settlers, comparing them to ants that just keep coming. Coming and coming in unstoppable numbers. The indigenous people could not slow the invasion of this seemingly inexhaustible supply of newcomers.

When riding, I usually recognize the swarming ants from a distance away. I can maneuver around the activity so as not to disturb it. I often adjust my path to avoid a sunning grasshopper or wriggling caterpillar. Sometimes I can avoid them, other times I cannot. I hear the telltale crunch as the creature meets its demise. Surmising from the numerous carcasses strewn across the path, many insects fall prey to bicycles. The bikers probably rarely notice.

Back to the ants: Sometimes it's too late to avoid the swarm. After riding through the dark patch of teaming workers, I imagine what it would be like to be at their level. A giant black object rolls through their community, killing hundreds of their sisters. Ant bodies fly into the air, tossed aside, and smashed flat in a wide swath. In the aftermath, writhing and kicking wounded lay among the corpses. Do they make a noise? Are there thousands of minute screams? Do ants even have ears? Do the other ants care? Do they even notice? Can ants even think? Do ants have souls?

The other day, a local paranormal investigator asked, "Where is the soul located in the body." Most people said either the heart or in the brain. I always assumed our souls were shaped like us; our entire bodies- head, torso, arms, and legs. After all, God made us in his own image. So what else would our soul look like? Whatever the soul looks like, I think it would be made of energy. Our souls contain our life force. It is who we are. With or without our caporal body. If God made us in His likeness, maybe He is energy and made us from energy.

If God created the entire universe and everything in it, He must be energy. If God is everywhere at all times, He must be energy. Without God, there is nothing, we are nothing. Physics tells us, energy can never be created, nor can it be destroyed. It can be transferred and stored, but never created or destroyed. If God always was and always will be, He must be pure energy. Science tells us that our entire universe was created in one giant burst of energy; The Big Bang. In the beginning, darkness filled the great abyss. God said "Let there be light" and created the first day. What is light? Energy.

What about Jesus? Accounts vary on the number of miracles He performed. Somewhere between 34 and 41 documented in the Bible, but according to John, many others undocumented. Of these, I categorize them into five types. First, there are 6 food/fish miracles; changing water to wine, twice multiplying small amounts of food to feed many, two miraculous catches of fish, and a tax in a fishes mouth. I'll bet those took a lot of energy. Secondly, there is what I call the three nature miracles. Jesus calmed a storm, walked on water, and withered a fig tree. Energy, energy, and the removal energy. Thirdly, on nineteen occasions Jesus healed people of various ailments and afflictions. Sometimes He healed one person at a time and other times many in one day. In one incident, a woman was healed when she touched Jesus as he walked by. He sensed the "power" go out from Him. The fourth type of miracle often crosses over into the healing category. Seven times, Jesus cast out evil or demonic spirits. The most spectacular of which, caused a heard of pigs to stampede over a cliff to their death. What is a spirit? Good or evil. Energy. The fifth type of miracle I find the most powerful. On three occasions, Jesus raised people from the dead. These resurrection miracles return the living energy to a body that has lost its life force. Beyond these five categories, we have the transfiguration, the consecration at the last supper, I might add the image on the clothe when Veronica wiped the face of Jesus, and finally, the resurrection. I'm intrigued by the story of the Shroud of Turin. Whether or not this is the actual burial shroud of Jesus, scientists and archaeologists have examined it many times and have been unable to determine how the image on the fabric was made. I've read that it was burned there by a flash of radiation or high energy. Interesting.

Getting back to the laws of physics concerning energy. If our life force is energy, if our souls are energy, then our souls can never be destroyed. Depending on where that energy is transferred to upon our death is the basis of some religious beliefs. In reincarnation our energy is recycled into other living things. In other beliefs, our energy can go to a harmonious place in the sky where our life force can mingle harmoniously with God in everlasting bliss. Possibly, our energy could be transferred to the inner reaches of our planet where it will be tormented forever in the fiery pressure of Earths molten core. Can we choose where your energy goes after we die? I hope so.

So, do ants have souls? They obviously have energy. Ants can lift fifty times their body weight. That's a lot of strength. Is strength energy? Comparatively, that would be the equivalence of a human lifting ten-thousand pounds. Do you know how much energy it would take to lift that much weight? I don't. But I know it would be a lot. Comparing again, ants are packed with a lot of energy. But do ants have souls. All animals are alive because of energy. Do all animals have souls? Even a sloth has energy. Do sloths have souls?
All living things have energy. So do all living things have souls? Does every tree have a soul? Does every blade of grass have a soul? What about microscopic creatures? What about inanimate stored energy? The largest sources of energy in our universe are stars and planets. Does a planet have a soul? In C.S. Lewis' "Out of the Silent Planet," it seemed the planets did have souls.
Does a star have a soul? Does our own Earth have a soul?

These things may not have a sentient soul as we imagine it, but all of these things are a part of God. What about theories of a multiverse, where universe upon universe structured together create something even larger. What might that large something be? There is only one answer. God.

Conversely, if we travel to the subatomic level, we reach the same conclusion. The atom is the basis of energy. It is made up of even smaller parts; electrons, neutrons, protons. The electrons and neurons are where the atoms positive and negative charges are stored. By charges, I mean energy. Those parts of an atom are made up of even smaller parts, fermions, quarks, baryons, mesons. In turn, those minute particles are made up of even smaller parts. Through the work at the Large Hadron Collider, the smallest known particle currently is the elusive Higgs boson; often referred to as the God particle. Are those infinitesimal particles made up of even smaller and smaller infinitely small particles? Currently, God only knows.

So, do ants have souls? God only knows. But maybe, just maybe, if we live our lives in such a way to eventually become harmoniously united with God, we will know also. Hopefully I'll see you on the other side.

What do you think? Do ants have souls?

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Lost Seventh Sapphic Stanza of the Song of Sappho Restored

The Restored Lost Seventh Sapphic Stanza of the Song of Sappho
James M M Baldwin

In July, in the honor of Sapphic history and Sapphic study, I posted a fragmented lost seventh Sapphic stanza from the Song of Sappho. Here is the restored stanza.

The Lost Seventh Sapphic Stanza

Sappho's lamentations lost antiquities
Descendant from Grecian Island of Lesbos
Reputation enduring fragmented parchment
Lamentations lost

Should I have left it lost?