Breaking Free

April 11, 2019, SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The sentiment is mine. (Photo credit: SpaceX)

I admit it’s possible to discover something accidentally. Take bacteriologist Dr. Alexander Fleming, for example. In 1928, he returned to his lab after a vacation in Scotland to discover a mold called Penicillium notatum had contaminated his petri dish colonies of Staphylococcus aureus, and was preventing its growth.

“When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn’t plan to revolutionize all medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic, or bacteria killer. But I guess that was exactly what I did.” Dr. Alexander Fleming

Of course, Dr. Fleming had already studied bacteriology, so while it may be possible even you and I could accidentally discover some new scientific fact, if we don’t have the underlying knowledge, if we don’t know the rules, our discovery probably won’t make much of an impact on the world.

But for someone who has the knowledge and knows the rules of their field, like, say, art or agriculture or aerospace engineering, the rules can be a springboard into new understanding and advances.

“You have to know the rules before you can break them with purpose.” Me, reflecting on what little wisdom I’ve been fortunate to stumble into.

I lament the passing of my generation’s defiant motto: Question Authority. We didn’t believe the rules weren’t meant for us or that there shouldn’t be any at all. We wanted to know why they were rules and what would happen if they weren’t. Could we get along more peacefully if some of the rules were different? Like desegregation. Or Congressional term limits. Or decriminalizing pot. (Legalizing marijuana was only a pipe dream back then.)

Today, it seems too many people simply believe the rules don’t apply to them. We can see examples of the resulting chaos in any city that harbors those solar powered scooters as helmetless scofflaws ride them in the wrong direction on one-way streets, or cross multi-lane streets mid-block or against red lights. We can see that chaos in any government that denies reality, espouses ignorance, and ignores the Rule of Law.

Where will we go from here? To Mars? To a nation of healthier, better educated citizens? Or will we remain stuck in a man-made quagmire, clawing the mud to keep up with the rest of the world?

I know what I want. I’m watching for people who know stuff and understand the rules well enough to think beyond them. Those are the people who will launch us forward. Those are the people who can make a large-scale, positive impact on the world.

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Weird Shorts

sue ranscht
Cover Art by Ian Bristow

Each of us has at least one weird friend who defies convention and relishes the bizarre. It’s even possible many of us are that friend. Of course, there are degrees of weirdness — I, for instance, consider myself to be on the charmingly eccentric side of weird as opposed to being on its totally bonkers, crazy-eyed, bat-eating, raggedy edge.

However, even if I were, I would still enjoy indulging in other people’s weird literary thoughts — like the stories in The Rabbit Hole — just as much as I enjoyed writing “Life Changing” for this anthology.

I hope you’ll consider acquiring a copy or two, in paperback or for Kindle, for your weird friend and yourself. The proceeds will benefit the Against Malaria Foundation, a GiveWell top-rated charity.

Space, Time, and Raspberries, the Picture Book

“I will not be its illustrator.” S.T. Ranscht, author of Space, Time, and Raspberries.

“Good.” Everyone viewing this page.

 

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Blowing a big, wet raspberry at Einstein’s Absolute Speed Limit (Image credit: S.T. Ranscht, Not a Real Artist)

The only thing Raspberries wants is to go as fast as lightning. But when the teacher says, “Nothing can go as fast as lighting — it’s a Scientific Rule,” Raspberries must either give up the dream or keep trying to break the Rule, even though no one knows what will happen if the Rule breaks.

My beta readers (ages 5-9) — and their adults — have given me such excellent feedback on my most recent edits, that I believe Space, Time, and Raspberries is finally ready to meet the right publisher.

Let the hunt begin.

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A to Z Theme Reveal

One year ago, I stepped off the cliff and fell into Space, Time, and Raspberries.

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Kind of a squishy, juicy landing, but — ooo! — was it ever yummy!

It was the 2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge, and I finally saw a reason to set up a site of my own. When I’d signed up for a WordPress account two years earlier, I didn’t really anticipate becoming a blogger. I only did it so I could comment on a friend’s posts. (Huh. It didn’t seem so silly back then.)

Continue reading “A to Z Theme Reveal”

Rejection Repurposed, #4

Tacoma 2, Postcards, Duncan James Livingston
Tacoma Rainbow Postcards (Photo credit: Duncan James Livingston)

We recently received a form letter rejection of ENHANCED from an agency based in Tacoma, where 41″ of rain fall every year. That’s 2″ more than the national average, and doesn’t even count Tacoma’s annual 4″ of snow.

My point is that Tacoma is green. Emerald green.

A reminder: When Robb and I embarked on the Big Game Agent Safari, I decided to commemorate each rejection by making something beautiful.

Continue reading “Rejection Repurposed, #4”

A Little Closer to Home

Let me bring you back from the Center of the Universe to our own Solar System. Allow me to introduce the haunting Sound of Jupiter.

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Artist’s concept of Jupiter’s magnetosphere conducting the Solar Wind Symphony around Jupiter. (Image credit: JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency)

#SoundOfJupiter

Rejection Repurposed, #3

We inferred Rejection #3 from a Del Mar agency’s non-response yesterday. Today, to commemorate the non-occasion by making something beautiful, I created a book thong whose ornaments and colors imply the sea.
 
Elation is the tide that ebbs and flows. Happiness, the wave that comes and goes. Beneath them both, unending currents roll, and so Resolve propels us to our goal. S.T. Ranscht

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Somewhere beyond the sea,
Somewhere, waiting for me,
An agent stands on golden sands
And loves all the pages I’m sending.
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New book thong in an old (1893) book