Monday, February 22, 2021

Agree to Disagree

In today's culture, we seem to have lost the fine art of agreeing to disagree. Actually agreeing to disagree.

No one agrees 100% on everything with any one other person. My sisters and I are close, and we agree on a lot, but we don't agree on everything. For instance, my middle sister prefers LOTR to Narnia, but Narnia is more special to me than LOTR. (I do love LOTR, though, and my sister's preference for it might be because I made her watch The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe five hundred million times.) Even couples with a great marriage who are on the same page on a lot of things don't agree 100% on everything. For instance, my mom loves broccoli and my dad won't eat it.

But my sisters and I don't get into heated arguments about whether Narnia or LOTR is better. My parents don't fight over whether my dad should eat certain vegetables (though we do make sure he gets some vegetables because we want him around for a good long time).

I was raised Presbyterian in Baptistville, and so I'm around a lot of people I disagree with on certain fine points of theology. I'm reformed, I have dear friends who are not. We don't have arguments about the doctrine of election.

I'm a Christian conservative and have campaigned for conservative candidates since I was eight years old. I have worked with people who assuredly do not share my political and religious beliefs. But we work together and do our jobs, and serve the people in front of us.

Is it hard to not argue with people? ABSOLUTELY. 100%. I'm argumentative by nature. I have many times argued with people when I shouldn't. I often have to bite my tongue and just move on to another topic. And it can be hard. But it's worth it.

I look around America today, and I see all this negativity and volatility and violence. Sometimes people fight over unimportant things, like whether The Last Jedi was any good. Sometimes people fight over things that matter, like religious freedoms. But what good does it do when we just yell at each other? It only makes people more mad, more defensive, and more set on their position. It creates more violence. Perpetuates cancel culture. And I'm tired of it.

We live in what is supposed to be a free nation. The First Amendment is supposed to protect freedom of speech. And we should be willing to let other people have their own opinions and beliefs. We should be able to discuss our differences calmly and rationally, being willing to see others' viewpoints. Maybe we'll convince each other to change our views, maybe not. But if we're willing to sit down in a non-hostile environment, then just maybe, even if no one changes their mind, we can agree to disagree and unite on the things we do agree on. Even if the only thing we can agree on is that chocolate is awesome. 

Above all, "Be ye kind, one to another." All of this fighting is the opposite of kindness. You don't win people over by burning down their business, or by firing them from a job they do well because they disagree with the mainstream narrative. You win people over with love and kindness.

And if that's controversial, then so be it.

"When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind."

Monday, February 8, 2021

We're Supposed To Sing About Piratey Things


Well, I've never licked a spark plug or sniffed a stinkbug, or painted daisies on a big red rubber ball, and I've also never been to Boston in the fall. More importantly, I never hoist the mainstay and I never swab the poop deck and I never veer to starboard 'cause I never sail at all. Which is a bit of a problem when you're writing a pirate book.

Which is as much to say, I got to chapter three of my pirate book and realized just how rusty I am on ships and sailing terms and general piratey things. So I took about a week or so off from writing to read as many ship and pirate books as I could find in my library system's juvenile nonfiction section. Those usually have more pictures (not that I found a great cross section of a sloop, but I have a little more direction) and tend to be more concise. I'm not writing a historical fiction, so I was mostly looking for inspiration and little things to jog my memory.

Because what's great about fantasy is that I can pick and choose what I want from real history, and make up the rest. I'm not stuck to reality, I can do whatever I want.

I did learn some interesting things in my research though. So I thought I'd share.

  • Cutlasses could chop through bone and muscle. Also, they were shorter than rapiers which made them less likely to get caught in the rigging during a fight.
  • Pirates were not generally well-trained fighters, they’d just hack away at their victims.
  • They would create stink bombs of clay jars filled with burning sulfur and rotten fish guts to make victims sick in an attack.
  • Pirates would often remove raised decks so the main deck was all one level, which made for a better fighting platform.
  • Pirates typically only attacked when they had a good chance of winning.
  • Pirates voted for captain and were run like democracies...and if the crew didn't like what the captain was doing, they'd throw him overboard or maroon him on an island.
  • Walking the plank wasn't really a thing, but they did throw people overboard, whip them with the cat o' nine tails, and keelhaul them.
  • Pirates rarely buried treasure. Usually they spent it as soon as they got it.
  • Gambling on board ship was typically banned to reduce fighting among the crew. That didn't stop them from gambling when they went ashore, though.
  • They actually stole a lot of everyday goods. They could be sold for money, and they often needed supplies and medicines themselves.
  • Also, Edward England's crew marooned him for treating a prisoner too well.
  • And Pirates of the Caribbean is not an accurate representation of piracy. Who knew, right? 😂

My pirate book is proooooobably going to be more along the lines of PotC than realistic piracy, but that's fine because it's fantasy. And who doesn't like PotC? I even just watched 4 and 5, even though they're really not that good. Because let's face it, we all know "they get more watered down after each one" but if they actually go through with making a sixth one, we'll all still watch it. Because