<![CDATA[Shanelindemoen.org - Journal]]>Sun, 20 May 2018 10:16:26 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Altar of gun]]>Thu, 12 Oct 2017 03:25:17 GMThttp://www.shanelindemoen.org/journal/altar-of-gun

When you die, there’s a tunnel of light.

There are gates made of pearls, where a keeper waits at the very end to let you pass into Heaven or turn you away.

For some, there’s a deep well that leads to a cavern of still water. A wide glassing river and a boatman dressed in black, who ferries you to the Judge so that your sins can be balanced by the weight of a very dense feather.

For others there is ladder of reincarnation. A stair of life that banks wisdom until you’re ready to enter paradise.

For many of us there is nothing. A yawning void of cold eternal blackness, stretching across the dying ionic winds of Hawking radiation. A frozen expanse of too much entropy spread across too much time.

For some, there are none of those things at all.

For these people, the first thing they see when they die is a man.

A plain man with no discernible features, who wears patch-work garments stitched from old military uniforms. If you look close enough – beneath the rags of digital, jungle and woodland camo -- beneath the layers of oiled leather and wool – you'll see bits of animal fur and shreds of pale red, ancient-faded cloaks.

This man embraces you with quiet reverence. He tells you to dry your eyes, and he asks you to follow him.

And as you walk through a dimensionless place – a non-place; a state of transition and nothing more – you see endless caverns and inside you can make out the silhouettes of countless men, women and children moving and interacting with each other just beyond the shadow-light’s reach.

“These rooms,” the man tells you, “house the people who gave their lives in very extraordinary ways.”

In one cavern, he points out, there are people who gave their lives so that another could protect someone they love. So that another could protect their own life. So that they could protect their home.

The next cavern is the place for men, women and children who died in war.

In the cavern after that, men and women who took their own lives are given a place to rest.

“Those people over there,” he continues, tilting his head toward another cavern. “Were victims of chance. Their lives were given to people who never intended to take them.”

Deeper into the non-place – beyond the caverns – there is an altar.

The man in the patchwork garments of war kneels, and upon that altar is a gun.

It’s a non-gun – a concept of a gun – with the shadow-shape of every firearm that’s ever existed – a formless, shape-shifting machine-like black limb covered in blood.

The altar itself is bleeding, but there is a beauty to it. A glistening rose of rippling light.

You’d expect it to be gory or horrifying, but it isn’t. What you see is astonishing.

It’s the stunning red of love and passion.

The scarlet of rage and life.

Of tidal femininity, and of shielding masculinity.

If at this point the soul looks away, the featureless plain-looking man will pull him or her into a warm embrace and search their eyes. If he sees tears there, he will dry them and try to comfort the soul as much as he can.

If the soul asks: “Why are you showing me this?”

The man will regard them reverently and say: “Because war is duty. And this is my duty.”

The man will wipe the tears from the dead soul’s cheeks that are swollen from grief and say, “you have nothing to be ashamed of. No reason to feel sad, for you are held in the highest esteem.”

“Why?” The soul will ask, staring into the man’s shifting face, thinking about the people they left behind so abruptly.

“Because you gave your life for the most important reason of all,” he’ll say. “You sacrificed yourself so that someone else could feel power.”

And when the soul feels rage in that moment, the man will meet their lost gaze so he can be sure that they understand: “Because for one singular moment in that person’s sad, pathetic, cruel, aimless life, you made them feel like they had control. You gave them that.”

​The featureless man will stand and pay his respects to the altar of power – still red with all of its donated life – and he’ll escort the new soul to their place of honor among the incalculable others that have been fed to it.
<![CDATA[Gun. ]]>Sat, 12 Dec 2015 02:55:14 GMThttp://www.shanelindemoen.org/journal/gun
Someone will get their hands on a gun. They'll take it to a public place, and they'll use it to kill many people. Their reasons for doing this will be their own, and the reasons vary from person to person.
There will be an emergency response, and the news will inform the rest of us.

The person with the gun will either be killed or captured.

In the following days, while the families of the victims make funeral preparations, people will argue about gun laws. They'll post memes and link articles and videos that either validate or falsify the cause of bloodshed.

People will argue politics, and use the event to either validate or falsify their opinions of certain politicians and political parties.

They'll argue religion. They'll point out hypocrisies and inconsistencies, and there will be endless discussion.

The families of the victims will bury their loved ones, and we will raise them up in the spotlight and say "look at this. Look at this pain. This pain could be yours one day. That could be your loved one in the ground. It has to stop."

We'll talk about the media, and what bleeds and leads and increases ratings. 
We'll talk about our culture.
We'll talk about other cultures. 
We'll talk about what could have been done. How to prevent the next one. And the next. And the next after that.

And we'll point fingers, and debate, and discuss, and we'll win arguments. We'll keep reading and watching the news and taking it all as signs that the world is coming to an end, praying and hoping that we won't be next. That our loved ones won't end up on the news or in the ground.

We'll do all these things because it helps. It's how we cope with the fear of it, the spidery thrums in our guts that never really go away.

We'll do all this, and the victims will still be dead. The families will still be devastated. The killer's reasons will still be their own.

​Rinse and repeat. This is our world now.
<![CDATA[Unexpected Shapes in the Mist: a reflection of one experience while writing Artifact.]]>Tue, 08 Apr 2014 23:10:38 GMThttp://www.shanelindemoen.org/journal/unexpected-shapes-in-the-mist-a-reflection-of-one-experience-writing-artifact
I knew that writing Artifact was going to be a process of discovery, in a way.  There were vividly frustrating moments as I tried my best to navigate through landscapes that were at first little more than shades in mist, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t also admit that it was vividly rewarding, and full of surprises, as the world took form and grew more coherent, and as the characters began to take more control of their destinies.

When I wrote the last sentence of Artifact, I knew far more about its hero, Lance, than when I had written the first line. After all, we experienced hell together, sometimes  traveled down roads that were designed and predetermined, and sometimes pulled each other over unexpected obstacles and into unknown (and often terrifying) territories. He's a scientist who wants to understand the secrets of a long dead race of free thinkers, scientists and engineers, in the hope of learning more about us as parallel species; he wants to find the purpose of his existence and where he came from; he wants his identity back; he wants to know why the ground is falling apart beneath his feet; he wants his life to mean something more than the random characteristics of his situation. And he does eventually become the hero of his own story, somewhat reluctantly. But he is not this story’s only hero.

A little more than halfway through the book, Lance encounters Sarah – a ten year old girl who witnesses her father sacrifice himself to save her life – who unwittingly helps Lance escape the various knots he ties himself into. Beyond a way for me to express the utter terror Lance is feeling, I hadn’t really anticipated much use for this minor character. But the Artifact had other ideas. It eventually appointed Sarah as the anchor that kept Lance invested in the resolution of his story, and so she followed him through the many splintered thoroughfares of Time, and into the terrible, epistemological uncertainty of what the next page would bring; and she accompanied him on a voyage that led to her and Lance’s ultimate revelation. By the third act, Sarah and Lance are separated, and the story alternates between them as the Artifact runs through its adaptation protocol, searching for the other half of its signal, and then they’re reunited again, and then they lose each other again.

I had a general outline for how the story was going to go – a kind of broad-brush frame work that I could attach everything to – but none of this was planned from the beginning. And just as the Artifact made Lance essential to Sarah’s survival – drawing upon Hebb’s Rule of adaptation –  so it also made Sarah an essential key to Lance’s survival. Sarah was not the intended hero of this story. She couldn't have been – she didn’t serve the Artifact in the same way its engineers did. She wasn't as subject to its whims as Lance.  She didn't even want to be a hero of anything. All she wanted was her family back. Sarah is instead an aspect of the innate, lost and directionless people of the world, the hoi polloi of which Lance is the ill-fated vehicle. She’s a hero to those of us who are as equally concerned about what our lives mean, and why we’re here, and where we’re going.

Through the expression of her innocence, Sarah became Lance’s hero, and in saving him, Lance was able to pick up the pieces: he weathered the storm and found a way to drag himself out of his own misfortunes and perils, and suffered his own heartrending injuries as best he knew how. That’s the surprising, awe-inspiring thing about creating these kinds of narratives: at some point, you’ll find that the story suddenly takes on a life of its own. As it turned out, Sarah was the character I'd been looking for without knowing it, until she turned up on the roof of that semi-trailer, filthy and covered with the grit of survival, burying her face into Kate’s heaving chest, not wanting to see her father ripped to pieces, such a small and unremarkable character, who fired Lance’s heart, and gave him the inspiration he needed to press on. In stories, as in real life, we should always keep an eye out for people like her.

<![CDATA[Crowdfunding Signal Boost: ]]>Sun, 30 Mar 2014 17:04:56 GMThttp://www.shanelindemoen.org/journal/crowdfunding-signal-boostA dear friend of mine named Candace Kidd is putting out a very specific call-of-assistance -- her daughter Ireland (a wonderful, curious little girl with her mommy's red hair, who's very partial to big smiles and warm hugs) is in need of stem cell treatment currently unavailable in the US. As such, she and her husband Anthony will be taking little Ireland halfway across the world - to the more, shall we say 'medically enlightened' country of Thailand - in the hope of saving her eyesight. $1 or $5 (or $100!) anything you can do to help... 

Many thanks to Ireland's supporters, and best wishes to the Kidd family on their adventure! 

<![CDATA[Parenthood and the Deep Unknown.]]>Sun, 13 Oct 2013 07:12:19 GMThttp://www.shanelindemoen.org/journal/parenthood-and-the-deep-unknown
It's been a while. My head is stuffed with measured quality nipple-shields, burp-methods, swaddling techniques, seedy yellow and black-tar baby-crap and endless high-pitched, end-of-the-world, soul-crushing wails. I'm never entirely sure if I should change his diaper or call a priest. Point is, my son is here. With a vengeance. And he's here to stay. 

I've been thinking about my new role as father. I'm still waiting for this sense of awe that people are telling me about. I'm supposed to be overcome with this kind of euphoric man-son abridgment. I haven't felt that yet. But here's what it's like for me.

Have you ever been in very deep, open water? Like the ocean, or a great lake? Because that's what seeing my brand new baby boy was like. It was like seeing the ocean for the first time. And the ocean is a vast thing. An existence apart from us. It's so endless, and beneath its surface is an entire universe of undiscovered, unknown, unobserved and terrifying possibilities. Seeing my son for the first time was like treading open water, peering through a crystalline lens of shock at the immense marine shadows moving slowly and intently beneath my dangling toes. Not seeing the tiny baby he is, but seeing the man that he's going to be, and that he'll be a reflection of me, was the most terrifying thing I've ever experienced. I hope beyond all hope that I don't fail that man, that distant mosaic of me. I hope that he likes me. People say, "bah, of course he'll like you." That's not so easy for me. The first fist-fight I ever got in was with my father. The first of many. He either beat what weaknesses I have into me, or tempered me with bone. I'm still not sure which. I'm not intending to be so intimate, but Hemingway said that writers should write what they have to say instead of speak it, so here I am: my deepest fear is that there's some natural law of the cosmos by which all fathers shall resent their sons, and vice-versa. I can't shake that fear, because it's all I've known, and I hope it drives me to be the best. I hope it pushes me to be a better man.

The first time I saw the ocean, I lost my mind. It was the biggest thing I'd ever seen. The horizon stole my breath. I flipped out and charged into the squall - ten foot waves - my wife as my witness, fully clothed, I swam as hard and as far as I could, not thinking about the deep unknown stretched out below me. It was pure, thoughtless joy - the kind of joy that can only be felt once you've cast yourself into something  massive and endless - an absolute torsion release of rope and tether and care and worry. That's how I want to approach this new time in my life. That's the kind of father I want to be.

<![CDATA[Review: [Sic] by Davis Schneiderman]]>Wed, 18 Sep 2013 05:44:25 GMThttp://www.shanelindemoen.org/journal/review-sic-by-davis-schneiderman
[Sic] is the second book in Davis Schneiderman’s Dead Books Trilogy. It’s a collection of classic works reprinted in their original forms (as far as I could tell; I tried combing the book as best I could, comparing things with what I had in my personal collection to see if I could find any deliberate changes, and nothing – I was especially suspicious of an actual [sic] notice, but whatever) which includes passages from things like Hamlet, The Canterbury Tales, and the Confidence-Man, among others, like the very first Tweets in history, and more interestingly, the DNA map of mitochondrial vertebrate, and the original source-code of David L. Smith’s 1999 internet-killer, the infamous Melissa Virus – each entitled with a curious, “by Davis Schneiderman” staple. The book is also interspersed with desaturated images of an all-white, featureless humanoid figure hanging around Paris (scaring the crap out of a kid in one photo, which gave me a few chuckles). I think this mischievous white vessel  represents the blank sheet of paper we all are the moment we’re born, before the world writes itself into us, but don't quote me. [Sic] is a statement about plagiarism. It’s a scrutiny of the idea of originality, and it’s an indictment of the absurdity of laying claim to thought itself. Let me explain.

You won’t simply read this book, and it’s complicated. You see, you’ve no doubt read the actual content of [Sic] countless times, poked and prodded the works therein, studied them, wrote term-papers and thesis’ and dissertations, devoted your lives to them and their creators. Separately, most of these pieces are beautiful works of expression: inspiring, epic and evocative – sliced up and stitched together, however, they become something else entirely. But as a body of work, [Sic] can only be read in the same manner as one would read chicken bones. When you make your way through this hauntingly genius monstrosity, don’t be surprised with the weird places your mind will go. Mine, for example, went to the connected and fractal nature of collective-knowledge. There’s a key part in [Sic] where Schneiderman highlights the etymology of the word “from,” which had me constantly circling back to this notion that nothing can isolate any single idea or thought from every other thought or idea that came before it. What an immense truth, isn’t it?    

And it’s baffling how many of our thoughts aren’t based on pre-existing conditions. When it’s quiet, and you have a little downtime – when the world melts into uniform streams of fantasy and wants, set aside some time to break down your inner thoughts and ideas, and try to remember where they came from. And then ask yourself: excluding biophysiological functions, drives, and needs, what’s left in your head that isn’t serial (or at least isolated from language, history, culture, values, mores, etc…)?

How many ideas sloshing around up there aren’t based on old information? Assuming you follow Descartes’ example, and you are because you think, try asking yourself how much of you is of novel origin. Examine it closer, if you dare, and play at the edge of that dangerous epistemological reservoir, which makes men pull against the many threads of their lives that are stitched into the deterministic fabric of our universe. Suddenly, free-will is an illusion, and you’re not special, and anything you can do, think, conjure, or conceptualize isn’t something anybody else couldn’t have done if the conditions were right. Talent is suddenly reduced to a margin of context and timing, refined by the opportunity of desire.

Admit that it isn’t possible to be original without embracing what came before. Admit that the only reason you’re able to utilize formulae to your own ends is because you have read the books you read, seen the movies you’ve seen, known the people you’ve known. The formula is true: you wouldn’t be you unless the world was what it is, and the fact remains that there isn’t a single thought in your head that hasn’t come from somewhere else. That’s called culture.

Originality is a factory that yields a generation of dreams, which then colors the dreams of the following generation, and finally makes new again what once was forgotten. This is a very clever (and important, even necessary) trick to being original, which freshens and reinvigorates the old, and keeps it relevant. The truth is that those past dreams are intellectually infectious, and the new dreamer is powerless to act upon them. And here’s Schneiderman’s question: who has the right to lay claim to that? By what circumstance have we come to earn that right? If nothing in your head is actually from you, how can you own it?

I worry that by saying things like this I may be adding to the overall redshift of what original content that does exist out there. And I think this is the point of what Davis Schneiderman is getting at; Of course my fear isn't the one true fear: who can honestly say that they have memorized Where the Sidewalk Ends, for example? But then who would you consider as reliable who couldn’t at least recite a word or two of Shakespeare? Even if you cared nothing to know anything about theater, you’d immediately recognize what follows, ‘O Romeo, Romeo […]’.

We think we want originality, but I suspect that we don’t really know what that means. At least for me, the wish for the new and the unknown is sometimes quite unsettling when granted. When you think about it, originality can be a scary and uncertain state. Humans are pattern-seeking animals in constant yearning for the comfortably familiar. This is how a story can become legend, before becoming a myth that precedes religion. What is there to love about the Bible if it isn’t the familiar cadence of its language? And it doesn’t just stop there; it’s the poetry of written language as a whole.

Even the word "Koran" means "the recitation," and it appears that in Arabic its conjuration can hasten people spellbound by sheer force, and yeah, even beauty. It’s the power of familiar, isn’t it? At least language gives substance to the concept of a connection to our distant past. It’s impossible for the new to exist without the old, and I won’t lie – I’m addicted to the familiar.

Yet sometimes, way past my bedtime, when I am not exhausted enough for sleep but too dizzy to continue absorbing anything news-related, I will approach the appropriate shelf and grab the unexpected: the books that have a tendency to surprise me. And then, of course, I’ll stay up even later than planned. I’ll grab a book like [Sic] by Davis Schneiderman, read it in a single sitting, see every familiar word in a new way, and sometimes, I really can appreciate that writing is not just done by hand.

Davis Schneiderman has created with [Sic] something that is truly one of a kind – you will never see anything even remotely like it again. And I think the discussion in years to come will be the entirety of Schneiderman's body of work – [Sic] is a single brushstroke on a larger canvas that will no doubt take a lifetime to fully appreciate, and he’s just getting started. Schneiderman is a master of his craft – of building images atop images – and provoking his reader to not only feel something, but to think unconventionally about conventional things. [Sic] is a lab-experiment. It’s an in-depth look at the mythical line between written language and visual-art. It’s an emblazoned declaration, a scathing indictment, a reverent homage, and a wonderful piece of expression all in one. You just have to check this out.

If you like what you see, drag your cursor to the RSS icon located somewhere in the right margin of your screen, and please subscribe. If you're feeling extra clicky, head over to my facebook page and click the Like button!

Thanks for reading, and as the islanders say: Live slow, mon.


<![CDATA[The Novel Has Landed: Part Deux ]]>Sat, 17 Aug 2013 18:26:42 GMThttp://www.shanelindemoen.org/journal/the-novel-has-landed-part-deuxPictureClick to purchase
I just finished draft number four of my latest project “Eigengrau.” (That doesn't mean it's ready for publishers or anything; it just means that it's ready for a few select readers to grab a hatchet and hack away any detritus — then I can play the king’s men and put it all back together again.) And in addition, I could be bouncing a baby boy on my knee within a span of weeks, on top of recovering from a very intense and painful neck-surgery – so I think I might be taking a few days off from smashing away at the keyboard to catch up on some much needed rest. Or something.

I don't have a whole lot to say at the moment because my brain is stuffed so far into the guts of “Eigengrau” that I can see daylight through its colon. Hopefully there'll be a surge of blogging in a week or two, once I’ve had a chance to heal, but until then feel free to talk amongst yourselves about whatever tickles you. My comment section feels a tad lonely and vulnerable – you should break it in a bit, give it some utility.

Meanwhile, I'm very pleased to announce that my debut SF novel, "Artifact,” is out now in paperback from Boxfire Press. You can order it from Amazon.com or find it in bookstores — a little birdy told me that Amazon has been running a few shipments behind, but I’ve been fielding reports from relatives and friends that paper copies have been spotted. Please note that this is the magnificent, top-shelf quality first edition, printed on real paper (or some synthetic, superheated mulch particles – whatever).

Congratulations to Candace and Treasure for being the first to get free signed copies of “Artifact” – they each purchased an electronic version and submitted reviews on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Thanks for the kind words ladies – you’ve made my dark heart shine a little brighter. I have eight free copies left, so shoot an email my direction and learn how to haggle one out of me.

That’s all I have for today, gals and gents.

Please consider buying a copy of “Artifact.” My widow and all of our seven adopted orphan children, not to mention the livestock, will be eternally grateful.

Thanks for reading – don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed (up and to the right). If you haven’t gotten around to it yet, my author page on Facebook (link) could use one of your coveted Likes.

Also, head over to goodreads and cast your vote for Paul Levinson’s Best Firsts of Science Fiction.

Until next time: LIVE SLOW


<![CDATA[The Novel Has Landed]]>Thu, 15 Aug 2013 20:43:29 GMThttp://www.shanelindemoen.org/journal/the-novel-has-landed
Yes, Artifact was officially released two days ago, but I didn’t have time to blog about it due to the worrisome presence of loose cartilage and viscera inside my spinal canal (Click the image above to order it…)

The surgery was a success, apparently – level-two cervical fusion and discectomy – funny story, post-op, doctor waltzed into my room, smiling ear-to-ear, shaking his head. He said, “Your type of herniation, Shane – and I’ve been doing this a long time,” he lunged for my wrist – well, he reached for my radial pulse, but through the molasses-haze of narcotics, he moved very much like a methamphetamine-crazed flea doing stand-up-improvisation with Robin Williams – but he said, “A long time, sixteen years – I’ve dealt with every sort of herniated disc you can imagine, even for professional athletes. But yours - your discs were the worst I’ve ever seen.”

Half-asleep, high as hell, I said something like, “Hhnng?”

And he said, “Yep, your discs were terrible – I can’t even imagine what that much pressure felt like!” So he tells my wife and I (mostly my wife, since I was in la-la land) that not only had my c67 disc burst into the spinal canal and push against the adjacent nerve, it also wrapped around the vertebrate and stopped flush against the opposite-side nerve - one disc, two nerves, lottery ticket? Basically, the disc burst so hard out of the left side of my neck, my right arm went numb. He also said that, once decompressed, my c56 disc fell apart like wet newspaper.

I’m back, more or less. Still dizzy and a little stiff, but alive. I had this aggressive promotional campaign planned for this week, which I’ll have to push back until I’ve healed enough for travel. There will certainly be a small tour – I’ll start in the Twin Cities, then head over to Boston, Dallas, Denver and San Diego, maybe Chicago – what determines which cities I visit is where I make my sales. Stay tuned for updates.  

I would like to take this moment and thank my hometown – the East Side of St. Paul.

When I started promoting this novel, I wasn't entirely sure how things were going to pan out. I've been pretty reclusive these past years – lost touch with old friends, kept in touch with others (mainly through my wife). The moment I signed the contract with Boxfire, I knew Artifact would need strong support from home if it was going to have any chance at all. My publisher advised that I set up a LIKE metric for each month leading up to release. I expected a ten percent growth of total likes each month, for eight months, which I would have been more than happy with. Honestly, I couldn't think of any reason why people would bother with anything I had going on, so I set a pretty modest goal - 193 page-likes before release. Well, to my pleasant surprise, your continuous support blew that goal out of the water: 255 likes at the finish line. No matter what happens, know that you've made me feel relevant, and that you’ve rekindled that campfire sense of home and community, even if it's only for a little while. Many thanks.

Now, if you’re into science-fiction thrillers , I may have a book for you to check out…

<![CDATA[Bothersome Realization. ]]>Mon, 29 Jul 2013 05:40:47 GMThttp://www.shanelindemoen.org/journal/bothersome-realization
Regrettably, a few weeks before Artifact launch, it seems that I can either write books, or I can write blog-entries - at the moment, I'm in the heat of finishing the second draft of another novel. Bloggin' ain't easy, I'm afraid. It's not where my passion is, you know? I'll attempt to finish up a meaty post for you all as soon as my creative juices cease flowing. In the meantime, well - let's spark up a discussion about something. Give me a few prompts and whatnot: it's much easier to blog once I've suckered you into giving me ideas. Come now, don't be shy...

On that note, consider this my open-call for volunteer bloggers to help a brotha' out while he's healing from surgery. Send me a message on facebook, if you're interested.
<![CDATA[Brief Notice]]>Thu, 11 Jul 2013 20:51:32 GMThttp://www.shanelindemoen.org/journal/brief-noticeNot feeling very well, I'm afraid. Doc pinged me back with some shitty news (but news nonetheless, which is good): I have not one but TWO herniated discs in my neck (c56 and c67), slight bleeding along the spine, spiced with some cervical nerve damage. I'm gearing up for some likely surgery, a bouncing baby-boy and a book-release all within a span of weeks. No complaints, just... excuses for lack of content. I will be dropping a motherly sized article in a few days titled, "The Art of Trope Killing, and the Narrative Genius of Cabin in the Woods," so stay tuned for that. I'll attempt more content soon. Thanks for being patient. Special thanks to Damian Hirtz at Alliance Brazilian Jiu Jitsu MN for hooking me up with Twin Cities Spine - these folks wasted no time figuring out what was wrong - previous doc wanted to place me on a painkiller, anti-inflammatory regiment coupled with physical therapy instead of an MRI, which would have certainly done irreversible nerve-damage. 

Have a good'n,