Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fiction: Matrices

Renjin gently placed one finger on the glass. It rippled slightly at his touch, as though it were a thin vertical film of water hanging on the wall to his hotel room.

He ran one hand through the glass in a sweeping arc, watching the ripples follow in its wake.

It was time.

He backed up slowly, putting a careful distance between himself and the glass. The bedcovers lay untouched on his right, the TV silent on the wooden turntable to his left. He backed up a little more, feeling the coldness of the bathroom tiles and the yellow stare of the Fire Exit diagram behind him.

Renjin sprinted. The pads of his feet tensed on the carpet, propelling his body forward in a blur of sudden motion. He was halfway past the bed before he knew it, and in the next moment he leapt into the landscape beyond the wall.

The glass melted before his slow-motion form. There was a sensation of pressure in his ears, as though he had fallen underwater with one elbow held in front of his face. There was also a tingling feeling in his scalp, a great drop in temperature that plastered his hair to the back of his head and gave the whole world a strange blue tint.

Then he was out in the cool night air, staring at the light of the streetlamps nine stories below, suddenly wondering how he was going to find a soft landing place.

Renjin panicked, hands involuntarily reaching for the wall in a spectacular display of fear at its finest. His fingernails dug grooves into the fresh paint, his skin sanding itself against the smooth surface. Renjin shut his eyes and concentrated; There was only one way out of his predicament, and he had only to remember how.

Then there was a wrenching pain in his left hand, and when he opened his eyes, he found that it had fused into the concrete wall.

Renjin grunted in mute understanding, and then pushed against the solid surface. As did the glass before it, it rippled slightly under his hand. He worked the fabric of the stone into his fingers, felt it against his skin, knew it, made it his own. And as he did so, he felt his body move into the wall, the molecules of rock and plaster moving slightly aside in order to accommodate his presence.

He dropped through a set of paisley-colored wallpaper into an empty ballroom, and almost retched into the carpet.

Then, after a few minutes, Renjin finally managed to steady himself against the wall. He pushed away from it, propelling himself drunkenly across the floor. His arms swayed wildly to a strange rhythm of the spheres, his tie flopped madly in the trauma of recent experience.

When he joined the crowd mingling together in the center of the elevator, they assumed that he had merely had one too many, and avoided him for the duration of the ride up.

Call Waiting

It's not the meetings, really... it's the fact that I have to plunk down a sizeable chunk of change for an Internet connection around here. Whatever the case, it'll be a challenge for me to get online before I get back next Saturday.

What's really weird is that I've been getting at least one text message from back home each day since I first arrived. First it was a business colleague asking if I had already left for Warsaw. Then it was one of my editors, asking if I had finished a manuscript that I had promised to him by the end of this month (which I haven't done yet). Then it was a close friend asking if I could meet up with everyone for dinner back in Manila. And finally, earlier today, it was another close friend who asked if I was interested in purchasing some components for a Mac (which I don't own, by the way).

Things eventually came to a head at 2:30 one morning when somebody actually called me on the cellphone, asking if we could meet up sometime next weekend for a business proposal. He was extremely surprised (and just as rightfully apologetic) to find that I was groggily answering him from a third of the way across the world.

On top of all that, I've found that I can't seem to send text messages to my counterparts back home in the Philippines. As it turns out, this doesn't just mean that I can't immediately answer anyone who texts me -- it also means that anyone who fails to get a response from me inevitably continues to send messages, hoping to get my attention. I've had to make at least three calls in the last three days just to rectify the issue.

I suppose I shouldn't be angry about the situation, and I'm not. I can't expect to inform everybody I know as to my actual whereabouts, after all. And beyond that, who would possibly buy the excuse that my company decided to send me to Poland on a business trip? I'm probably going to get quite a few stares of disbelief once I get back home.

I suppose that I am grateful for the attention, though. There's probably no better way for a man to find out just how often people try to contact him on a regular basis. (Now, if it only didn't cost me so much...)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Elvis Has Left the Building

My flight boards in less than an hour.

I'll admit that it's interesting to find myself in a flight lounge again. Apparently you get a complimentary stay here whenever you fly business class or higher, and when company policy dictates that you get a business-class ticket for trips with a duration of one week or more, it takes every bit of self-control to prevent yourself from scarfing down free sandwiches and playing computer games. In short -- I could get used to this.

The only hitch has been with the Internet connection around here; Sometimes I wonder who builds these computers. The keyboards are rickety, the browsers are running on Windows 95, and the power supply units are humming their own version of the Gregorian Chants. Somehow I'm not surprised that the businessmen around here prefer to use their own laptops.

Now that I think about it, I didn't bring a camera. Yes, I know -- that was probably not the best thing to leave home. But for one, I'm on a business trip: I might not have the time to go around looking at the sights, much less snapping photos. Besides, I'm not much of a photo person. And besides, my sister wants to use it sometime over the next two weeks.

I'm on a direct flight from Manila to Amsterdam, after which I'll have about one-and-a-half hours to transfer to a connecting flight that will take me to Warsaw. Nobody else seems to be headed in my direction around here -- so far I've seen a number of American tourists who look like they're enjoying some world tour, as well as a bunch of Japanese businessmen who presumably have some work to do in the Netherlands. All in all, it looks like a lonely fifteen-hour flight; I just hope that the hotel will have some transport available once I arrive.

I've actually come loaded for bear, based on my experience with prior vacations and the well-meaning advice of some colleagues at work. I did bring a grand total of three paperback novels for consumption over the next two weeks: George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, and the first two books of Manfredi's historical fiction series about Alexander the Great. That's a lot to read through, yes, but I've effectively got fifteen hours to kill, and I've plowed through far longer books in far less time. In fact, just in case that happens to come up short, I've also brought along my copy of the second Philippine Genre Stories digest.

What scares me about this whole thing is the fact that I've probably gotten used to the routine of heading out of the country, and prepping for the corresponding trip back. I find this odd, assuming that I'm one of those people who doesn't have any particular affinity towards travel in general. I'm good with travel, yes, but I don't look to doing it very often. What's just really strange is the rate at which I go moving around: I'm less than 30 years old, and have already been to at least twelve different countries. At what point did I suddenly decide to go traipsing around the world? It just doesn't make any sense, that's all...

So now I'm sitting in front of a computer terminal in a high-class passenger lounge, blogging with one hand and surfing the news with the other. It's not normal behavior for one with business class connections, but then again, we live in an ever-changing world. Besides, what else would I do -- gorge myself on hors'd oeuvres or something? I hope I never turn into what looks like a jaded, world-travelling business executive; Sometimes you just have to keep even a little bit of your sense of wonder alive.

There's my call. It's time to pack up, head outside to the gate, and see if I can grab a seat. I've got fifteen hours ahead of me, and George R. R. Martin will come a-calling pretty soon.

With luck, my next post will be direct from the city of Warsaw. With luck, I'll put it up without having to suffer the inconvenience of jet lag and other such traveler legends like that.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Elvis is Leaving the Building

In case the cat's not out of the bag yet, let me pull it out by the tail: I'm heading to Warsaw this Saturday morning for about two weeks' worth of business meetings and corporate discussions.

Yes, that's right: Warsaw, Poland. It's not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think "business trip", but that just happens to be where I'm going. From all indications, Poland seems to have a sizeable pool of programming talent. That, and I hear they have great museums.

The funny thing was that, about three weeks ago, I wasn't expecting on a sudden trip to Eastern Europe. The entire affair sort of got dropped into my lap one Friday afternoon, after the company's original choice decided that circumstances wouldn't allow her to go.

Sean: "What?"

??: "You're going to Warsaw."

Sean: "In Poland?"

??: "Yes. You need a visa."

Sean: "For Poland?"

??: (Pulls out long list of requirements) "You've got till Monday to get all this stuff together. Processing takes three weeks, maybe longer if you're unlucky. Kiss your weekend goodbye."

Sean: "Poland?"

??: "It's not good to hold your mouth open like that, you know."

As anyone who's ever applied for a visa probably knows, it takes forever to get the processing done. A Poland visa, moreover, was no exception -- it had to pass through an accredited travel agency, mail itself to the nearest consulate in Thailand, and otherwise join a presumably long waiting list.

After a long and harried weekend, I had about half of the requirements readied by the time I reported to work on Monday. It took me about two days to gather everything else that I presumably needed for the visa processing, a fact that got its share of "tsk, tsk" comments.

??: "Have you submitted your requirements yet?"

Sean: "I need two more signatures! And a credit card number! And a miracle!"

??: "Your deadline was yesterday, you know."

Sean: "Where's that envelope? Did I copy those IDs they needed? Where's my wallet?"

??: "Normally, you should expect processing time to be delayed about about one week for each one day you're late."

Sean: "I'm doomed."

I ended up submitting everything on a Wednesday... two days late. Naturally, things were looking grim a couple of weeks later, when not even so much as a single word had arrived from the consulate. I asked the travel agency for an update, and all that they could tell me was that my application was "in process".

True to form, I decided to throw in the towel this Wednesday. There was no way the visa was going to arrive in the next two days. For all I knew, it wasn't going to come around in the next two months.

Sean: "Sorry, everyone. Looks like I won't be able to make it."

??: "It's okay. You did what you could."

Sean: "I suppose so. Ah, well... I might as well fill my next two weeks with meetings so as to make up for my non-presence."

??: "But what if the visa arrives?"

Sean: "Suuuuure. Like it's suddenly going to magically appear before the end of the week."

And, like clockwork, Murphy's Law kicked in.

Suddenly my colleague in Warsaw was on the communicator, telling me that they had fast-forwarded my application. Suddenly the travel agency was on the line, telling me that I needed to re-book the flights and hotel reservations that I had cancelled. Suddenly -- with bags unpacked, supplies opened, and two days left before departure -- I was royally screwed.

It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that I'm tired right now. I've been running around all day, postponing appointments, taking notes, and desperately picking up stuff at the last minute. What's worse is that I'm likely to continue doing the same thing tomorrow... and that the constant feelings of apprehension aren't going to abate despite my finally getting on that fifteen-hour flight. I'll be spending the next two weeks constantly worrying that I've forgotten something really important.

So I'm going to be in Warsaw for a while. I figure that I'll probably have Net access, which should hypothetically allow me to update this blog. I obviously won't be in direct contact with a lot of people for a while, though... but we'll always have e-mail, I suppose. And Messenger. And global roaming.

Now... where's that suitcase?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

In Witness Thereof

I've read through a few contracts in my time. Nowadays, whenever you submit a story or an article of some sort to a professional publication, you have to expect such an agreement to be drawn up. What's more, there are no exact standards to any relationship between a writer and a publisher -- so such considerations have to get drawn up on paper, leaving us to the mercy of lawyers and their endless fine-print clauses.

I'll point out that it's clear as to what the writer receives with regards to such agreements. The most obvious benefits to professional publication should be as follows:

Your work in print. While this is not automatically guaranteed (as any number of factors may prevent publication), you can be sure that any publishing company that acquires your work usually won't end up sitting on it.

Compensation. I've described the different kinds of payment you can get in return for a story back in a previous post; Suffice to say, however, that this will usually involve money, tangible objects, or future services (hopefully involving dinner).

Future work. Some publishers will agree to contract you for more writing jobs, whether this will involve journalistic articles or editing, or the acceptance of further pieces of literature. Even if a publisher doesn't specifically do so, however, the fact that they now have experience working with you might make them more favorable to your future work submissions.

Corporate backing. While this is not too obvious, selling the rights to your work to a publisher effectively gives them a stake in your affairs. This will be effective with regards to bringing your work to a broader audience, or securing further legal representation: It's much more difficult to get away with plagiarism if the work in question has a good-sized corporation with some very vested interests in it.

What I feel is not entirely clear, however, is exactly what the publisher usually wants -- and gets -- from writers. Different publishers will usually want different things depending on the length of time they've been in the industry, the type of publication they're running, and the nature of business according to their own opinions.

From my experience, publishers seem to want any or all of the following items:

Publishing rights. This is the most obvious thing that the publisher signs for, and usually why the contract exists in the first place. This allows the publisher to turn out copies of your work for sale in various places, and win a certain amount of profit for its own efforts. Publishing rights like these are usually exclusive (i.e. you can't publish the same work anywhere else), and are usually reserved for a fixed period of time. Generally, the greater the degree of exclusivity or the longer the length of time, the higher the compensation for the writer.

Ownership of your work. Publishers can also buy your work completely, in which case they'll own pretty much all the rights to it in exchange for what's hopefully a good amount of cash. I expect that this is usually the case when it comes to ghost-writing affairs, but I wouldn't discount the enthusiasm of a few publications.

Guarantees of originality and quality. This should go without saying, really -- a publisher will not secure the rights to anything that was copied or sourced from another person's work. Most publishers will, I think. Probably. Well, at least more than a few.

Exclusivity. Sometimes exclusive rights to a single story aren't enough. If you're a talented enough writer -- or if you've got a ravenous enough publisher -- a writing contract may require that you give up any future obligations to other writing venues. This isn't as bad as it sounds, of course: It does mean that you're being held in a certain regard. Some people will prefer writing in a more open environment, though.

Right of first choice. A few publishers will go as far as to demand the right of first submission, one that requires you to submit your works to them for consideration before offering them to other venues. This is a little better than the notion of exclusivity, in that you still retain the possibility of working for other people. Another positive aspect is that the publisher is almost certain to provide a home for your writing in this way. The catch, however, lies in the inconvenience: Some people won't be comfortable with the idea of waiting for a story to be rejected before being able to use it.

Your eternal soul. Just kidding.

Exactly whether or not a writer agrees with these requirements is a question of how much each person is willing to accept. The great debate probably lies in how far we're willing to be beholden to our publishers, and how much freedom we need in order to do our writing. Some people prefer a freelance status, while others look for a certain amount of governance to their actions. We'll even have to admit -- figuratively, that is -- that some people would even be perfectly willing to sign over the last item on that list above.

When in doubt, I suppose, we could just read the contract to begin with. Then there's always the question of negotiations to fall back on. The beautiful thing about contracts is that, during their formulation, they're not entirely written in stone quite yet -- it's pretty much up to us to be flexible enough to adjust them as we see fit.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

These Boots Were Made For... Ouch.

I hate my shoes right now.

Sharp-eyed readers will probably realize that these are the exact same shoes I wore back during my little journey through the rain. It's been almost a week since I decided to break them in, mind you, and the verdict is already sounding clear in my head: I hate these shoes.

Where do I start? Their frame is surprisingly rigid, the tops of their heels are bent inwards (so as to bite into your skin), and to top it all off, the insides of their soles feel as though they've been pasted on. This last point is a particularly sore one -- literally -- as every step I take now constantly squeezes the bottoms of my feet against the reckless folds of hard leather. I've been wearing these things for less than a week, and I'm now the proud owner of some very painful blisters. That's pretty bad, as far as shoes go.

A few hours ago, I decided to take the bits of black footwear for an acid test: I wore them on my occasional after-work "rounds", which involve little more than punching out at six o'clock and walking around the mall for the next four hours. Now I'm sitting at one of the tables in an internet café, stretching my legs out and letting my feet touch the floor as little as possible, wondering why I punish myself like this.

I said it once, and I'll say it again: I hate my shoes right now.

I actually fear going home, kicking off the offensive pieces of stiff leather, and peeling back my socks; I don't want to see what my feet look like at the moment. This is not the discomfort that comes after you finish your morning jog, mind you. This is pure and comprehensive pain, the sort of feeling that shoots through your veins because the right pressures aren't being placed in the right areas.

Good shoes aren't like this. Good shoes are supposed to make your feet feel contented. They're not necessarily supposed to pamper and caress each and every one of your toes, but at least they're expected to let you walk without the slightest hint of an artificial limp.

I'm wondering if a couple of foam insertions will improve matters here. They're supposed to cushion the soles of your feet against the pockmarked leather, and as far as I know, they seem to work for most people. The catch is that I bought my shoes as a near-perfect fit. Throwing in something that effectively amounts to an extra layer of insulation might make the shoes even more uncomfortable.

The only other alternative I have -- short of actually continuing to wear the silly things -- is to simply buy a new pair of shoes. That'll run me another one or two thousand pesos (about twenty to forty bucks in American currency), and I'd technically be back where I started. If I somehow manage to acquire another dud pair, then I'll probably switch to sandals for good.

Somebody should really come up with the idea of shoe warranties sometime. That way, if you buy a pair of shoes that turns out to be really uncomfortable, you can turn it back into the store for a substantial refund. That, and they'd probably chastise the designer for his or her lapse in judgement. You could even argue that this might make for an interesting job market: You'd need people to "test" new shoe designs, after all. And you could even have an entire R&D department dedicated to figuring out why certain models are uncomfortable while others are not. It would be their sole purpose in life. (Yes, that pun was definitely intended.)

And right now, I hate my shoes. The only thing that's keeping me from kicking them off right now is the notion that I don't want to foist them on an unwary public. In my humble opinion, there are better things that one can do with bad shoes or with unwary publics.

Being the generous sole... er... soul that I am, I'll probably give the shoes one last chance. If they see me through on the way home, then I'll consider showing them a bit of mercy. Otherwise, well, I'll just have to drag out the remnants of my last pair and use them to go shopping. That, or I'll go barefoot. Anything to avoid this terrible mix of leather and nails. Anything to make the blisters die down. Anything for a bit of solace in shoes.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Life Issues

Sorry, everyone. I have a number of outside affairs to wrap up at the moment, among them a bunch of work concerns as well as an upcoming business trip at the end of the month. This means that, although I'll continue updating this blog whenever I can in the near future, I must admit that it has to take a lower priority among whatever issues I have.

That said, I'm still aiming for at least ten posts this month, as I do for every month nowadays. So, do keep passing by.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Then Came the Rain

After five years of toting it to both office work and friendly gatherings, I finally decided to set aside my trusty black umbrella and leave it at home. As it stood, I was already carrying too many things to and from the office: a knapsack, a laptop, a couple of notebooks, my breakfast... one three-foot-long umbrella simply made the whole mess a lot less manageable.

For most of the day, this seemed as though it was the correct decision.

Then, at around six-thirty today, it started to rain. Hard.

I've long held the notion that the universe was against me, but this was probably the first time that I had some hard evidence to prove my point. Knowing that fact did me absolutely no good, though -- whether you like walking around in it or not, the rain gets a shot at you anyway.

Sometimes I wonder just how people can possibly consider standing in the rain to be epiphanous. Or romantic, even. I've walked through the rain before, and I find it difficult to see as anything beyond miserable. It's like some huge transparent fog that you have to trudge through, cold and wet and forlorn. The knowledge that you'll have to clean up both your clothes and your belongings when you get home doesn't make it any better.

Apart from the fact that I was standing right there outside my office building wondering what kind of fix I had gotten myself into, there was the matter of the shoes. Yes, the shoes -- after about three years of wearing out the same set of leather soles, I finally decided to trade them in for some brand-spanking new ones. That, and I decided to break them in today... the same day I made my stupid decision not to bring along my umbrella.

Rain isn't quite murder on modern shoes, of course. It won't totally ruin them, it won't necessarily age them prematurely, and it won't usually run into the glue that normally prevents the leather from peeling apart. But even a little rain can make the best shoes feel moderately uncomfortable, and I can tell you that there's nothing that feels as nasty as the squinch-squanch of wet soles padding across the puddles on the sidewalk. More so, especially when you're the one making those same squinch-squanch noises. And because you just happen to be the person foolish enough to walk in the rain, you just know that your new shoes are going to need five days to completely dry out afterwards.

As if to punctuate its approval of the situation, the universe even decided to throw a little wind into the mix. Wind is pretty bad when you get it with a rainstorm. It's bad enough having those little droplets of water falling from the sky and onto your clean hair, but when those same bits of fluid are stinging your eyes and drenching a perfectly good set of clothes, then you know that the universe has suddenly decided to pull out all the stops.

And after a while your socks start getting wet. This, I find, is a lot more uncomfortable than it feels at first glance. After even the shortest period of time, the combination of socks and shoes makes you feel as though you're stepping into a cold puddle no matter where you place your feet. Making things worse was the fact that I had decided to wear black socks today -- the cheap kind normally sold in most department stores under a generic trademark -- and I knew that the dye was most definitely going to run. Once I started scrubbing my bare feet at home, I mused that it would have been far easier to have dunked those toes in a tub of India Ink. At least it would have been much more warm.

With all that, it probably won't come as a surprise to anyone that I'll start toting my umbrella around the place again. It may look strange at times, and it may be one more item of note in an increasingly overloaded life... but at least it'll have its uses, and at least my socks will probably be able to stay dry.

That, and at least I can thumb my own nose back at the universe.

Let's just hope it doesn't do anything more drastic, though.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Feedback Hierarchy

For every story out there, there's bound to be somebody who conceives an opinion of it. This is the essence of critique: Sooner or later, regardless of circumstance or motivation, any author is likely to run into these conceived opinions centering around his or her work.

From there, it's up to the author as to whether or not these opinions should be taken seriously. Sometimes these external thoughts can be discarded and ultimately forgotten. Other times, however, the author will take them as significant pieces of advice, and will bear them in mind with regards to improving future stories. This, now, is the essence of feedback.

Feedback is a very open matter for most writers; The vast majority, after all, actively seek to hone their craft, correct their errors, and generally write much better stuff than the pieces they've produced in the past. Much of the question lies in exactly where they receive feedback from, and how they determine what they can use and what they can discard.

I figure that there's a hierarchy of sorts that's in place here, and it goes as follows:


Yes, that's not much of a chart. Darn it, Jim, I'm a writer, not a literary analyst.

Now, imagine that each of the four rungs on the feedback hierarchy above offers you a review of your stunning new work. In a sense, you get four reviews: One from your close friend, one from one of your readers, one from your editor/publisher, and one from an experienced literary critic. Which one do you take the most seriously?

The way I think the feedback hierarchy above works is that, the higher you go up the totem pole, the more seriously you're obligated to internalize reviews. Most writers will consider the opinions of a critic to be far more "legitimate" than the opinions of, say, an anonymous reader. That sounds reasonably logical, I suppose: Literary critics are assumed to have made thorough studies of the craft, to the point where they can provide far more qualified opinions than your publishing editor. Or an anonymous reader, mind you, who may be uninformed and ignorant of most literary requirements. Or of a good friend, who's likely to say something positive no matter how bad your story is.

But then again, not all writers listen to the hierarchy above. More than a few people, for example, follow the one below:


Yes, that's still not much of a chart. Were you expecting a 3D representation, or something?

Writers of this type obviously hold the opinions of readers in much higher regard, perhaps to the point where they may eclipse the weight of critics' reviews. The logic here is also relatively sound: Critics only represent a small segment of the literary audience, and thus do not necessarily represent the reactions of all readers. Moreover, critics may simply be out of touch with the reading habits of a more general population... which might explain why some books become commercial successes despite being critical failures.

But then again, I believe that there are even some writers who believe in the setup below:

Critics - Editors - Readers - Friends

Yes, that's still not much of an improvement. Maybe some good Samaritan out there will gift me with some nice graphics one day.

You're reading that chart right, by the way. Some writers won't care a single whit about who the people are, only that they're giving a clear and concise opinion on their work. These writers take everything with more or less exactly the same weight.

And that's where the hierarchy falls apart, I think. We can keep making any number of direct strikes against it: The fact that people can shuffle the rungs as they want, the fact that they can lay the pieces out in different combinations, the fact that they may even add or remove certain rungs at will... all that this little exercise just shows is that writers can get their feedback from any number of sources, and may either internalize it or otherwise in any number of measures.

What this also means is that we don't know where an author will concentrate his or her attentions. Yes, we're aware that most people will want to improve their own writing skills, but different people will have different ways of doing so. Some will only listen to what the critics say. Some will just as easily listen to the man-on-the-street who's had a passing glance at the work in question. And some, of course, might not even listen to anyone at all.

Surprisingly, this doesn't affect the process of critique much. People will still form opinions about certain works, whether the authors of those works are willing to listen to them or not. But what this implies -- and what leads us to our conclusion here -- is that there's a wealth of opinion out there just waiting to be used. All that we writers have to do is learn how to take advantage of it.

That, mind you, is why writers write for an audience. We give a little bit of ourselves to the others, we get a little bit of the others back, and we use that to improve ourselves for next time. It's a strange symbiotic relationship we have.

And no, I'm not going to try to represent that by means of a chart. We've had enough charts today.

Maybe next time I'll be able to get my hands on a nice graphics editor somewhere...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Disclaimer: May 2007

TAKEST THOU THESE ten commandments and go forth in my name, that ye shall inspire men to write their own words.

I. I AM SEAN, he who writes this weblog. Thou shalt not assume that these articles have been written by others besides me; All that thou sight here is completely original, save for those precious few allusions to others.

II. THOU SHALT NOT use my name in vain. While thou may take what I write and hold it close to thine heart, thou must ensure that thine acquisition of my words remain fair and within original context. Thou shalt contact me prior to any such use.

III. REMEMBER TO KEEP thine words proper. I may easily choose to disallow thine use of my work, should thou intend it for unworthy, uninformed, or disreputable purposes.

IV. HONOR THE WORD of others as I do. I hold profound respect for other writers and sources; Thou shalt note that I make clear reference and acknowledgement to them when needed.

V. THOU SHALT NOT kill the intent of the writing. Should thou own an excerpt of text that appears on this weblog and wish to complain, we may meet and discuss thine demands for my use of your work just as well.

VI. THOU SHALT NOT adulterate my works with those of others, nor shalt thou adulterate others' works with my own.

VII. THOU SHALT NOT STEAL. Plagiarism is stealing, whether thou observe it being done to blogs, or books, or works of art.

VIII. THOU SHALT NOT bear false witness against thine parents, teachers, editors, managers or readers by passing these words as thine own.

IX. THOU SHALT NOT covet these words, nor the ideas that write them. Thou art perfectly capable of forming thine own words and ideas, should thou be willing to work for them.

X. THOU SHALT NOT covet these articles, nor these pieces of fiction, nor these examinations of the human conscience. Thou shalt read the terms of the Creative Commons License below and to the right, and find out more.