If Adam Twist could hop off the pages of Twist and into 2013, I think he would appreciate this part of Obama’s speech on Tuesday: “The question is not whether we need to act, the question is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late.” No truer words could have been spoken. However, it occurs to me, is it already too late? While reading about the president’s speech I found another story that outlines some of things we could lose if global warming continues. There are the obvious things like loss of coral reefs, polar bears, land mass, and fish populations. However, we could also lose some of the little pleasures in life: food and drink. Wine, German beer, honey, peanut butter, chocolate, strawberries, and disturbingly, coffee. These are just some of the many products that global warming threatens. Whether you’re concerned with rising green house gases, melting glaciers, devastated ecosystems, or not being able to get your caffeine fix, we should all think about what a warmer planet will mean.
Hardboiled fiction: “Although deriving from romantic tradition… hardboiled fiction deviates from the tradition in the detective’s cynical attitude… conveyed through the detective’s self-talk describing to the reader… what he is doing and feeling. The genre’s typical protagonist is a detective who… witnesses the violence of… crime… while dealing with a legal system that has become as corrupt as… crime itself. Rendered cynical by this cycle of violence, the detectives of hardboiled fiction are classic antiheros.”
“Hardboiled” accurately describes detective Adam Twist, the protagonist of the novel Twist. Caught in the brutal, corrupt, survive-at-all-costs dystopian world of Wichita in the year 2075, he manages to maintain his ethics, empathy and compassion. The hardboiled detective lives by his code, founded on civilized human rules of law, justice, mercy, fairness and protection of the weak, even while surrounded by pre-human influences of vengeance and cruelty. You could say that he and his female ally, Kit, symbolize a parental unit, and along with the wayward girl, Dora, manifest the values of a family – cooperation, caring, and dare we say love?
Ice, polar bears, salmon, parkas, and cold. These are just a few of the stereotypes that pop into my head when I think of Alaska. Now, try and imagine an ice-free Alaska, 100° weather, and melting sea ice. It’s a crazy thought, but we may all have to get used to the idea. A picture taken a few days ago shows a melting Arctic and a nearly ice free Alaska. The same day the picture was taken it was 96° in Talkeetna, Alaska, which usually has an average max temperature of 64.4°, for June. According to one article, “the state is likely to see the first climate change refugees in North America, due to rising sea levels swamping native villages on the Arctic Ocean.” In my novel Twist, the Gulf of Mexico has risen all the way up the Mississippi River Valley to Wichita, Kansas, and the sun blisters skin in seconds. According to this new report, it looks like the northern hemisphere may be in similar trouble soon.
I have a trusty sidekick in my black cat Mr. Magic. This morning, he lazily stretched out on my keyboard while I typed away. As he lay there, I came across a video about a new breed of cat, Selkirk Rex. This newbie to the cat world has a fluffy curly coat. I couldn’t help but wonder what Mr. Magic thinks about this strange ball of fur.
I think it looks like a mad scientist spliced a toy poodle’s genes with a cat’s, and I’m pretty sure Mr. Magic agrees. However, Selkirk Rex is not the result of human meddling, but of a natural mutation. After taking a second look, I decided these cats are actually pretty cool. Before today, I don’t think I had ever seen a curly haired feline. While they might be fun to look at, I don’t think these cats would last very long if they came up against Mr. Magic in a dark alley, outside the walls of Wichita, Kansas in Twist.
When we think about global warming and climate change what often comes to mind are visions of smog covered cities, toxic polluted rivers, and giant gaping holes in the ozone. However, I think we all tend to forget the scariest consequences of global warming: people starving to death because of famine, extreme tornadoes and storms, villages flooding, and the livelihood of hundreds threatened. A report came out today, from the World Bank, laying out a grim future. It said that a rise in temperature by 2° Celsius, in the near future, may hold people in extreme poverty, cause massive food shortages, create droughts in India and Sub-Saharan Africa, increase flooding and extreme drought in South Asia, and bring severe storms to South East Asia. According to the report, the people who will suffer the most from these climate changes are those that are already struggling with poverty. Not only that, but those that will experience these hardships had little to do with causing climate change. It seems unjust that because of environmental damage caused by wealthy industrial nations, those in poorer developing nations are going to suffer. All of these predictions sound like a scene right out of Twist. I hope the words of my novel don’t come true, but according to the new report the year 2075 may not be that far off.
Whether I’m reading or writing, I have always enjoyed literary fiction. Escaping into a different world, a different mind, and a different person has always been something I relish. Whether it’s writing about being a private detective in the the future or reading about Scout Finch, there is something wondrous about escaping into the world of fiction. Scientists have recently done a study showing that there is a lot more than pure enjoyment when it comes to reading fiction. According to a recent article, “Exposure to literature,” the researchers write in the Creativity Research Journal, “may offer a (way for people) to become more likely to open their minds.” The next time you are reading and start feeling guilty about neglecting other responsibilities, just remember that with every page you turn you are opening your mind and improving your thinking!
Looking at the pictures of the wildfire damage, I felt that I, like the very atmosphere of earth, was suffocating. The thought of how this will affect our planet, how long our world will suffer, the effects that we will never know and will never be able to stop… all crushing the life out of me. But then, after looking at the fiery scene, I was brought up short. The distant fire glowing neon through the smoky darkness stole my heart back to a distant smoke-filled memory from a more innocent time, when smoke was a good thing, and we never even considered the damage to our own lungs, or to the lungs of the earth…
I was a traveling blues musician, working the back road clubs in Europe. Those were days when people went to clubs to remember, just for a night, that life was itself an occasion for celebration. There were no designated drivers, no “political correctness”, and no non-smoking zones — there was smoking, and lots of it. Cigar smoke mixed with the multitude of European cigarette varieties – French Gauloises, British Senior Service, and the rich nutty aroma of Balkan Sobranies. Through it all filtered the perfume of whatever the folks were smoking backstage, creating a haze that hung stale during the day and was revived fresh every night. Looking at the crowd from onstage, all the faces were softened by the blur of the smoke, which added an aura of warmth and beauty. The buzz of conversation and laughter seemed to be amplified by the smoke, merging with the vibrations of my guitar until the thick air seemed alive. It felt like life, excitement and joy, and I inhaled it with all the intensity of a man being saved from drowning. You bet your ass, I inhaled.
If you live in New York anywhere near the coast line you may want to build some flood walls, soon! According to The New York Times, the New York City Panel on Climate Change reported that “the sea levels will rise four to eight inches by that time,(the 2020s) with a high-end figure of 11 inches.” Sea levels could rice by 11 inches in a decade, that’s terrifying! If that can happen in 10 years what’s going to happen in 50? If impending flooding doesn’t scare you, then the rising prices of flood insurance may. Apparently more than one million structures are now going to need more flood insurance. Oh, it gets worse, the panel also said that if another storm like Sandy hits, the damage could be much much worse. So like I said, whether it’s the fear of flooding, being gouged by the insurance companies, or another massive storm, you New Yorkers may want to take care.
Myron here. So yesterday I created a Facebook Page for my novel, Twist. Check it out, like it, share it, and comment on it. Also, be on the look out for an upcoming Tumblr, and Facebook pages for my other novels.