Sunday’s mixed bag for May 21

  • Sunday’s headline about the ongoing Alberta forest fires: Rainy forecast offers hope to subdue Alberta wildfires. I hope the rain helps firefighters get on top of one dangerous mess. I’ve visited Alberta many times, usually flying in and out of Calgary, and hate to see this kind of destruction. According to the story, “thick wildfire smoke has settled over much of Alberta, prompting a special air quality statement across most of the province that advises people to avoid being outside due to the health risks of the smoke. On Saturday afternoon, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) listed Edmonton’s air quality at a 10+, or very high risk.”
  • While I like the premise–the impact of the observer on reality–I’m disappointed in the pace of the Robert Lanza and Nancy Kress novel The Observer. It starts off at a notoriously slow pace with the main character basically trying to decide whether she wants to be the main character. I’ll probably see it through to the end, but at this point, I cannot recommend the novel at all. I think I would have been happier reading Lanza’s nonfiction than this thin approximation of a novel.
  • Ah, a sunny day for once. Maybe I’ll be able to cut the grass that will soon be high enough to tower above the riding mower. The rain has alternated with brief periods of sunshine, ensuring that the grass is always wet and/or getting wetter.
  • If you’re a writer and not already a regular who surfs the Poets and Writers website, you may be interested in the organization’s series of helpful PDFs ($4.95 each) about the publishing process. These definitely have a mainstream focus, i.e., large publishers, agents, and MFA programs. However, even if you are self-publishing or focussing on small, traditional publishers, you may find one or more of these guides to be helpful. I used to be a member of Poets and Writers and, among other things, enjoyed their slick magazine. However, the membership was one of the things that fell by the wayside as part of my cost-cutting plan.
  • After re-reading one of James Patterson’s Alex Cross novels, which I like, I cheated on my cost-cutting plan to continue my journey through the well-written Kathy Reichs’ series of Temperance Brennan novels. I was a fan of the TV series “Bones,” based on her books and the author’s scientific expertise, I’m finding the books very compelling though–like the TV show–not for the squeamish. Actually, the show was a lot more gory than the books, delighting in the worst possible ways to find dead bodies. I like the fact that the science used in this book is real inasmuch as the author is a forensic anthropologist. There are currently 21 novels in the series.
  • Political note: I grew up in Florida but am thankful I got out before Ron DeSantis was elected governor and started fighting “the mouse that roared.”


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of contemporary fantasy and magical realism novels and short stories. This is a contemporary fantasy set in Glacier National Park.


You create your own reality: that idea is a hard sell

Some people say we–as individuals and groups–create our own reality. And by this, I mean the literal reality we experience rather than the more limited (but true) idea that we control how we view and react to reality.

The belief that we create the future we’re stepping into is a hard sell because, in part, nobody wants to take responsibility for fabricating a “bad things happen to good people” world for themselves. My response to that is usually, then create a reality in which bad things don’t happen.

This subject has been on my mind for a lifetime and, quite likely, many lifetimes. Since it’s a belief and not an avocation, I don’t have (or want) the kinds of credentials or resume that leading proponents of this belief such as Robert Lanza can bring to a debate. I don’t even remember when I first stumbled across the concept, though I think it was in high school. But it’s always made sense to me even though it’s never good to tell others that such things make sense to me.

I don’t want to go through life fielding questions like: “So Malcolm, what you’re saying is that if a person is killed in a terrible car accident, they created that accident?”

Yes, I am.

The idea that something like that could be true is senseless if one believes life is what it appears to be: you’re born,  you do various things, you die, and that’s all she wrote. This belief seems so flawed to me, I don’t know where to begin. But it’s the consensus, I think, even for those who devoutly believe in an afterlife.

But I think life is more complex than the idea that we only have one life so we best make the most of it.

Yes, we should make the most of it, though I think we’ll be back. And part of making the most of it is learning how to cope with the realities we create. I have no need to convince you of this, though I do think it’s worth pondering.