Tag Archives: fear

Wednesday Afternoon Ramblings – 11/9/16

So the election happened, and now we have half the country believing we’ve been delivered from evil and half believing we’ve been tossed into Nazi Germany. Only time will tell who is correct, but one thing is for certain: right now, a lot of people are scared of what the future holds. If this election can be summed up in one word, that one would be my choice. Fear. The right fears further expansion of Federal powers, further eroding of individualism, further entrenching of overbearing political correctness. The left fears rampant racism and sexism, a rolling back of human rights progress, and the rise of fascism. These fears have led to levels of mistrust, hate, and vitriol that we haven’t seen in many decades.

In short, we are a nation divided in a way that could rapidly devolve into bloodshed.

The sad thing is, few of us actually want that. Most of us just want the promise of America: the opportunity to live our lives to the best of our ability and provide a prosperous future for our children. Most of us want peace. Most of us want justice. We may disagree about the definitions of those things, but few of us actually want conflict. However, if this election cycle showed us anything it’s that we have completely stopped listening to each other. Nearly all of us lost friends because of political arguments. Nearly all of us witnessed people on both sides who we cared about go after each other like rabid dogs. Those arguments only heightened the fears most of us feel.

Despite everything I’ve experienced in my life, I still believe in humanity. I still believe that most people at their core are decent, honest individuals who are capable of kindness, compassion, and generosity. I still believe that we as a species are capable of better than where we are today. And we as Americans especially are capable of so much more than all of this suspicion, hate, fear-mongering, and dehumanization. Right now, however, we have to set aside our differences and begin the process of healing. If we don’t, the next election cycle might become violent.

So my challenge for all of us is this: first, turn off the 24 hour news cycle (which is THE single biggest source of all this fear). Stop listening to media outlets which generate revenue by keeping you fearful of whichever bogeyman they are peddling. Second, start engaging your neighbors, especially those with different opinions from your own, in meaningful conversations. Find common ground with each other. I’m not saying seek out the most radical opposition you can find and try to convert them to your way of seeing things. That would be folly. No, what we need to do is start rebuilding bridges amongst each other again and realize that we are all more alike than different. Third, we all need to come back from the fringes of our political spectra and move more towards the center. Right or left, the fringes are approaching madness, and we desperately need sanity and compromise.

These are three small steps that all of us can begin right now. We are Americans, all of us. We are human beings, all of us. We need to heal and stop hating each other now. Otherwise, the next step down this downward slope involves violence, and that’s not a future I want for my kids.

Let’s Build Our Community

From the outset, I intended for The Brotherhood of Dwarves to bind together a community of like-minded people.  I know I’m not alone in my weariness of the fear-mongering media, corporate fascism, varying degrees of religious intolerance, and divisive  politics that have ripped apart our society.  I would like to see this site become a place where we can discuss the real issues we need to address and not be bombarded by the pseudo-debates of Chik-Fil-A or Duck Dynasty that are little more than overblown publicity stunts.  I would like a community where we can disagree about our religious preferences without attacking each other’s intelligence levels. Let’s grow this community into a forum for discussing, with open minds and critical analysis, the issues we face.

At its heart, my series is about the triumph of personal relationships over materialism.  It’s a message I believe our culture, especially the current generation, needs to hear now more than ever.  I know this message is important.  I know it needs to reach a broader audience.  I also know that because that message contradicts the corporate narrative, it will never be accepted by the mainstream.  As has been the case from day one, I will have to grow my audience one reader at a time, but if we can turn this community into one that is more interactive and supportive, with open discussions, I believe we can create a beacon of light for those seeking answers as to why materialism is so unfulfilling.

That will be my focus moving forward, to create a community for people who need to find their place in a world that is overrun by greed, fascism, and commercialism.  I hope you will help out by commenting on more posts and engaging in open discussions.  That’s all for now.

Dragon*Con Ramblings


I expected this to be a much different post.  I expected to write about what a good time I had hanging out with friends and talking about literature and meeting new readers.  But that is not what happened with my second experience at Dragon*Con.

First, a little background.  Some of you already know about my accident, but for those who don’t, in 1989 I was struck in the head by an 8 lb. shotput.  I suffered a concussion, brain contusion, and brain swelling.  Fortunately, the only major long-term effects from this injury have been sensitivity to light, a shift in my internal clock, a little difficulty recalling specific words at will, and disorientation in crowded places.  I’ve learned to live with all of these and typically function without any trouble.  However, on top of this, ever since my children left my home, I’ve also dealt with some anxiety issues.  It’s never been terribly serious, but occasionally I get rather anxious for no discernible reason.  The feelings will sometimes linger anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, but they’ve never been so bad I couldn’t handle them.

On Thursday night, my disorientation in a crowd and the anxiety combined to create a rather unpleasant experience.  I had decided to arrive on Thursday so I could pick up my badge and find the areas where I would be before the crowd arrived on Friday.  Let me emphasize here, I had been to Dragon*Con before in 2009, so I pretty well knew what to expect.  I had seen the lobbies on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.  I had waded through the Atrium level of the Marriott to reach a panel on time.  I knew what was coming.  I just didn’t expect it on Thursday night and was caught off guard.

It started as I walked my friend Andi Judy, who was gracious enough to offer me a place to crash for the weekend, to the Sheraton to pick up her badge.  At about 8:30 or so Thursday night, the line for badges wrapped around the block.  She assured me she would be okay in line, so I left and walked a couple of blocks over to the Marriott to pick up my badge.  There were few people on the street, and even fewer when I entered the lower level of the hotel, so I figured there had just been some snafu at the regular registration, which had created a log jamb.  As I rode the escalator up to the lobby level, I was not prepared for a crowd, so when I saw the lobby packed like a Saturday night, it was like a sucker punch to the gut.

I had to cross the lobby to find the hallway I needed, so I turned left and walked around the edge of the crowd, trying to avoid all the commotion.  It’s the chaotic motions and sounds of a crowd that disorient me.  It’s too much to process at once, and my brain kind of shorts out, which is hard to describe.  I literally (not figuratively) feel confused and lost, even in places I know well but especially on unfamiliar territory.  By the time I reached the far side of the lobby, I just needed out of there, so I blindly turned down a hallway to get away from the crowd.  Luckily, I had turned down the right hallway and found where I needed to get my badge.  That area was quiet and peaceful, so I leveled out and felt okay.

After that, I had to go up one level to find the Young Adult Literature Track.  The Atrium Level was twice as packed as the lobby, and I thought I remembered where the panel rooms were, but navigating the crowd and finding the hallway pushed me a shade beyond my limit.  That’s when the anxiety started.  I had never experienced the disorientation and anxiety together, but it was not pleasant.  I hung around the YA Track mixer for as long as I could handle it, which was about five minutes, and then headed for the exit.  Unfortunately, I had to go through the crowd again to get outside.  I went through the first doorway marked exit I found and ended up on a dimly lit stairwell outside.  I wasn’t exactly sure where I was, and I was in one of those urban dead zones where I had no phone signal.

I had never experienced a full-blown panic attack before, so at first, I had no idea what was happening to me.  That only made things worse.  It was one of the three or four scariest moments of my life.  I’m not used to feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by a moment, and I’ve been through some heavy stuff.  It took at least thirty minutes to pull myself back together, and when I finally did, I continued to tremble for hours.  I made my way back to the Sheraton to find Andi, who was still outside in line (at least an hour and a half later), and waited with her until we got inside.  Outside, with everyone moving in the same direction, I was fine, The moment we stepped inside and there were people moving in every direction, the disorientation started again, so I found a quiet corner and waited.

The next morning, when Andi and I returned to the Marriott, I had hoped to find the other tracks I was to participate in and be prepared to move from one hotel to the other relatively efficiently.  While the lobby wasn’t as crowded as the previous night, it was still pretty crowded and hectic.  Andi was working as a volunteer for the show, so I was on my own again, and maybe things would have been different if I had been with someone to help me navigate.  As it was, alone and disoriented in downtown Atlanta, I found myself unable to go anywhere.  I just sat down on the steps outside and watched the cosplayers walk by, and that’s when I realized things were only going to keep getting more crowded and more hectic all weekend.  Though it was a difficult choice to make, I decided to leave the convention and head home.  I’ve never bailed on a convention before, even some that probably should have been left.

I feel like I let a lot of people down, especially Andi, who was expecting me to be with her to and from the train station, but also my friends and readers at the show, my publisher, the college, and myself.  I’m sorry.  It was simply too much for me, and that’s not easy for me to admit.  I feel embarrassed that I couldn’t pull myself together enough to get through the weekend and that the anxiety overwhelmed me so completely.  In my mind, I should be stronger than the emotions, but the reality is that large crowds are too much for me to handle.  I have to accept the facts and not put myself in situations like that again.  For everyone I disappointed this weekend, please accept my deepest apologies.

Ides of March Ramblings

Warning: profanity ahead.

Here’s the simple, honest truth of where I am as a person: my tolerance for other people’s bullshit is gone.  If I didn’t directly cause the issue that’s got your ass puckered, don’t turn your ire on me because the backlash will be painfully honest, unfiltered, and more than likely profane.  If I did create the issue, I’ll be the first to apologize and make amends for my transgression, but if I didn’t, don’t even think about taking it out on me.  When I was young and insecure and weak, I let too many people walk all over me and take advantage of me and trample my self-esteem, but the great thing about a little stroll through hell is that it reforges your will into something stronger, something more resilient, and at times something a little meaner.

My trip through hell mostly consisted of losing my children and learning to live with that emptiness in my heart.  I was stripped bare to my soul and forced to look at myself void of any facade.  I saw myself pretty clearly: the flaws, the scars, the wounds, and the good.  In those darkest moments, when I truly was alone and had nothing, something quite amazing happened.  I learned to love myself.  I have every excuse in the universe to be a son of a bitch, a user, a junkie, a drunk, or a derelict, but instead of allowing others to rob me of the goodness and decency in my heart, I’ve continued to live by compassion, respect, loyalty, devotion, and enterprise, and no one on this earth will ever dampen my self-esteem again.

I’ve also, quite literally, faced my own mortality three times so far.  At 8, I got a serious blood infection from a tick bite and at the worst weighed 40 pounds.  Obviously, I was too young then to comprehend the gravity of that situation, but as an adult, I get it.  At 16, I endured the shotput accident and learned the fragility of life.  At 38, I thought my body was failing me and had to deal with the prospect of losing my independence and possibly my life before my children were grown.  To a man like me, that’s about as terrifying as it gets, but I’ve endured all three and come through the other side stronger, wiser, and yes, a little harder.

So before you step to me with some self-generated bullshit or something someone else has done to ruffle your feathers, you better take a long, close look in my eyes and make sure you’re prepared for the blow-back because I will not tolerate it, not from you, not even from my sons.  I’ve paid my motherfucking dues and have earned the right to stand up for myself.  And you best believe me when I say if I can live without my kids in my life every day, I damn sure can live without you, no matter who you are.  If you come at me with respect and treat me with dignity, you’ll find a pretty decent man who will offer you courtesy and compassion, tolerance and acceptance, but if you cross my line in the sand, just be forewarned that this hardened piece of hickory has a little sting to it.

Friday Morning Ramblings

Dear sons, one of my hopes for you is that you learn to be self-sufficient.  There’s a freedom to knowing how to do things for yourself that’s invaluable.  Not needing someone else to wash and iron your clothes or tend your yard or patch your roof or cook your meals allows you to stand on your own and not be dependent on anyone.  I hope you learn all of the essential skills and grow into the kinds of men who don’t need a woman to survive and who don’t have to call a contractor every time a faucet starts dripping.  You will be much happier men if you develop these skills.

I’m fortunate that your great-grandfather and papaw taught me how to do the basics of most things.  I’m fortunate that I learned to cook and do laundry while in college.  There aren’t many things I can’t do for myself, and I feel confident that even if I don’t know how to do something, I can figure it out with a little trial and error.  Part of learning self-sufficiency is not fearing making mistakes.  We learn the most when we try something, fail, and then try again.  If you want to grow into strong, independent men, set aside the fear of failure and try to do things for yourselves.

Even though this hasn’t worked out for me yet, I also believe that having self-sufficiency will make you a better partner for whomever you end up with.  When you can help out with the dishes as well as mow the yard, you can share more of the daily chores that make life a grind.  Sharing the load goes a long way to reducing stress in a relationship and makes you more equal as partners.  Also, if you can do for yourself, you are less likely to end up trapped in a bad situation because you have the confidence that you can survive on your own.

So sons, learn as many skills as you can.  As you grow, I’ll try to teach you some of what I’ve learned, but the most important skill I hope you cultivate is to teach yourself how to learn new things.  If you can do this, you’ll learn independence, and with independence comes freedom.  One of my great hopes for both of you is that you never feel dependent on anyone for anything.  I love you, boys, and can’t wait to see you in a couple of months.

Late Night Ramblings

I wrote on here a couple of weeks ago about the neurological issues I’ve been dealing with for the last 8 months or so, and now that I seem to be on the mend, I want to share more details of what I went through.  Back in 1989, I suffered a pretty severe head trauma and have lived with the side effects of post-concussion syndrome ever since.  For the first year, I had a constant headache, and not your run of the mill one either.  To this day, a headache has to pretty severe for me to even notice it.  For about 10 years or so, I would  occasionally lose focus on where I was and what I was doing.  It would sometimes take me a minute or two to come back to full consciousness, but fortunately, that symptom faded with time.  The three that have remained are sensitivity to light, trouble with word recall from time to time, and poor equilibrium.  To me, they are minor nuisances that I’ve grown to accept and live with.

Several years back, I started noticing a random tremor in my left hand.  It was infrequent and rarely lasted for more than a few seconds, so I figured it was just another effect of the injury.  Then, last summer, that hand started giving me lots of issues.  The trembling became nearly constant, and sometimes I would get a severe cramp that would draw my middle fingers together in a painful knot that took several minutes of rubbing to undo.  By mid-September, the trembling had spread to my right hand, though not as severe or constant.

Around this time, I also realized that mundane tasks like walking, especially on stairs, writing, and typing took extreme amounts of concentration.  I could still function, but it took all of my effort to do them.  My muscle strength was fine, but getting my muscles to respond took everything I had.  With each step, I felt like my legs were glued to the floor and didn’t want to lift.  Just holding a pen steady was maddeningly difficult, and while typing, I would constantly miss keys or hit two at once.  I went from being able to easily type 60 words a minute to struggling to complete 30.  Also, I noticed that my handwriting on the board kept getting smaller, especially the longer I wrote.  My arms and legs often felt like they were either very far away from my body or disconnected altogether.  After doing some preliminary research on WebMD and the Mayo Clinic, I was terrified I had either Parkinson’s or MS.

Then, in late September/early October, the muscle spasms started.  They would happen sporadically and without warning at odd places on my body.  Usually, they were in my legs or arms, but a few times, they occurred in my abdomen and once on my upper lip.  They weren’t painful, more just annoying, and they would last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.  I never knew when or where they would hit.

Then, sometime in October, the worst symptom hit.  The only way I can describe it is that I felt like I was dying.  Some days were worse than others, but the sensation never went away.  There were days when just getting out of bed took everything I had, and making it through each day at work required every ounce of energy I could muster.  The feeling was so real and terrifying I actually wrote letters to my sons in case something did happen to me.  I lost count of how many times I broke down crying from the fear.  To further complicate the situation, the doctors had no idea what was going on.  Every single test kept coming back normal, and as I wrote before, my neurologist treated me as if I were imagining the whole thing.  I know I wasn’t imagining that feeling of death.

The whole experience was a nightmare, and I’ve never felt so helpless and alone.  Today, fortunately, I feel like I’m healing.  The death feeling faded within weeks of cutting out gluten, and the muscle spasms have all but ceased.  I still have some trembling in my left hand, and my coordination isn’t 100%, but everyday I feel a little better.  If you are experiencing any unexplained health issues, I urge you to look at gluten as a potential culprit.  The effects of the sensitivity can mimic nearly anything, and it affects everyone in different ways.  The cure is simple, and there’s about a 6 month healing process.  If you are of Scots-Irish heritage, you are highly likely to have the sensitivity, so please, don’t ignore the possibility.

Sparkly Ramblings


The Ramblings of D. A. Adams, using award winning investigatory journalistic techniques such as surfing the internet and reading anonymous forwarded emails, has unearthed a shocking story of epic proportions that threatens to crumble the very foundations of  our republic.

The Twilight saga is a covert plot by the Chinese to drive Americans insane.

Shocked and appalled that such a masterpiece of literary and cinematic genius could be a weapon of international espionage, I rushed to Washington to learn more about this unfolding crisis.

“The numbers are quite clear,” claims Dr. Lottastatz of the Center for Researching Research.  “Since the release of the first Twilight book in 2005, levels of insanity in America are up 275%.  With the release of each subsequent book and movie, we see a clear upward trend in the data.  It’s quite alarming.”

Concerned for national security, I hurried to the CIA to speak with my inside source within the intelligence community.

“We’ve known about this plot since as early as [classified],” states [classified].  “Stephenie Meyer’s real name is Som Dom Chik, and she entered this country on a work visa in [classified] and assimilated into American culture.  We only learned of the plot in [classified] because [classified classified classified classified classified].  As you can see, it’s quite alarming.”

Unnerved by this top secret information, I hurried to Jones Creek, Georgia, home of Morbul Shidinski, currently America’s foremost literary scholar and critic, hoping her insights could help unravel this conspiracy.

“Contextually speaking, on a surface level, the Twilight series seems to be what we deem ‘purple prose.’  However, after deconstructing the sub-contextual layers, we find an intricate web of literary devices layered together in a specific chronology that is ideal for evoking a negative psychological reaction, known clinically as Sparkle Induced Psychosis, in its readers.  Furthermore, the true brilliance of the work is that these devices are so powerful that one does not necessarily have to read the text to be affected by them.  Merely hearing them described by an infected person is enough to render an otherwise sane individual completely bonkers.”

Now terrified for the future of this great nation, I raced back to Washington and the Center for Researching Research, seeking an antidote for this growing pandemic.

“As of now, we’ve only found one way to reverse the psychosis, but it’s controversial, to say the least,” states Dr. Lottastatz.  “The subjects we’ve tested who were exposed to Sparkle Induced Psychosis respond positively when forced to watch reruns of The Munsters non-stop for 72 hours.  Apparently, the creators of that show were aware that the Soviets had originally designed the Twilight Plan in the 50’s and created Herman Munster as a counter-measure.  Fred Gwynne was secretly a CIA operative who developed a comedic styling that numbs the frontal lobe, decreasing levels of psychosis.  We have a contingency plan in place to have every TV channel to run episodes of The Munsters non-stop for two weeks.  It may be our only hope.”

Editor’s Note: Due to the highly classified nature of this information, no portion of this article has been verified or confirmed by anyone, anywhere.